Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Damned Choice

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

September 14, 2015



"You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives."  ... 
This essay, Damned Choice, is the companion piece to It is also the sequel to Ordinary People.

I am indebted to Geoff Heise who inspired this conversation.




We associate freedom  with choice  to the point where they've become synonymous ie to the point where they've become glommed together as "freedom of choice", "freedom to choose" etc. When choice is or leads to  freedom ie when freedom pivots on the availability of choice, you could say choice is the access to freedom. You could also say if there's no  choice, then there's no possibility of freedom ie there's no access to freedom.

I assert there's always  choice ie I assert there's never not  choice - at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances. If there's always choice ie if there's never not choice, then there's always the possibility of freedom ie there's always the access to freedom - at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances. When it looks like there's no choice, I assert what's actually  happening is I'm not choosing  (do you see what I did there?). It's at times like these when choice is always there, yet it looks like there's no choice because I'm not choosing, that "no choice" itself seems to mock and taunt me until I realize "no choice" simply equates to "I'm not choosing". This is when I refer to choice as "damned"  choice - and to be quite clear, I mean it is I  / we who are damned when we're not choosing (there's always choice).

Choice is always available. There's always  choice - even if from time to time it looks like there isn't. Choosing is woven into the fabric of ie into the DNA  of being human. That's the powerful place to look for it. Looking for choice in the circumstances is milquetoast  in contradistinction. Exercising choice is pivotal to the quality of life and to the live-ability (if you will) of life. It's certainly pivotal to the quality of my experience of it all. When from time to time, it looks like there's no choice / no freedom, I notice I make excuses, and I also give reasons and fabricate great explanations to support my excuses that I have no choice in the matter. More than that, from time to time when it looks like there's no choice / no freedom, I notice I have it that someone's (or something's) to blame for it. But consider there's always choice, and the access to restoring choice when it looks like there's no choice, is choosing  (so much for having no choice in the matter).

<aside>

If this is beginning to sound like a mantra  ("there's always choice" ... "there's always choice" ... "there's always choice" ... "there's no place like home"  ... "there's no place like home"  ... "there's no place like home"), that's good enough for jazz  for me.

This conversation isn't about what to do when there's no choice. It's about choosing when you're not choosing.

<un-aside>

To make a choice when it looks like there's no choice, I have to give up the capricious notion that there's no choice. It's more than a capricious notion that there's no choice, actually: it's a racket  that there's no choice. I also have to give up that someone's or something's to blame for me having no choice in the matter when it looks like I have no choice. After I've given up that's there no choice, and after I've given up that someone's or something's to blame for me having no choice in the matter, I notice there always was choice except I wasn't choosing. If there's choice and I'm not choosing, I'm the one I hold accountable when it looks like there's no choice in the matter (blaming someone else / something else / the circumstances when there's no choice in the matter, is a cop out).

<aside>

Holding myself accountable when it looks like there's no choice in the matter, isn't the same linguistic act as blaming myself (or anyone else or anything else or the circumstances) when it looks like there's no choice in the matter.

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.

<un-aside>

Choice is always mine to make. Not  choosing is also a choice which is also always mine to make. And all the while, ever-present choice doesn't care, at every moment of my life, under all circumstances, whether I choose, or whether I don't choose - which is to say, whether I choose, or whether I choose to not  choose. Whichever way I choose, it's I who's accountable, and choice doesn't care. That's why I call it "damned" choice: because it's ever-present choice itself which calls me on my racket that I have no choice in the matter. That's why, when I complain or pretend there's no choice, or forget there's always choice, and it's I who's not choosing and who's not being accountable, and choice itself doesn't care, I begrudgingly (and respectfully) call it "damned" choice, surrender to it, and begin choosing again.



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