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


No Choice Choice

Trefethen Family Vineyards, Oak Knoll Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

June 19, 2010



This essay, No Choice Choice, is the companion piece to Damned Choice.

I am indebted to Dusan Djukich who inspired this conversation.




In the ordinary course of events, in the business as usual  sense of the word, when I think of a choice I think of a menu  of options. I think of a selection  of alternatives. When I think of a choice I think of more than one  of something ie I think of a list to choose from. If there isn't more than one of something to choose from ie if there isn't more than one thing  in a list to choose from, then I say there's no choice. If there's only one  of something, I say there's no choice. And if there's nothing  to choose from, I have it that there's definitely  no choice. Especially in the case of the latter, I suffix it with a smug, well placed "... Duh!".

That's how I regard a choice in the ordinary course of events, in the business as usual sense of the word.

For the purpose of this conversation, consider the possibility of having a choice even when there's only one  of something. And if you stay with me with this, then I promise you that out of the possibility of having a choice when there's only one option, will come the breakthrough realization that there's a choice even when there are absolutely no  options at all.

They didn't teach you this in high school. They didn't teach you this unorthodox maverick  idea that there's a choice even when there's only one option. And they for sure  didn't teach you there's a choice even when there are no options at all. In fact, the fewer the options the more powerful the choice. I assert choosing when there are no options at all is a very, very  powerful choice.

Choice is a linguistic act. On the surface of it, in the ordinary course of events, in the business as usual sense of the word, when we choose we select freely between objects. That's objects - plural. This is the ordinary definition of choice. In the business as usual concept of what a choice is, there has to be more than one  of something. There has to be a list of objects to choose from.

In this way, usually unexamined, it looks as if choice is dependent on objects. In this way, usually unexamined, if there aren't objects - plural - to choose from, then there's no choice. And here, when I say "objects" I don't necessarily mean "things". Here, when I say "objects" I mean the objects of choice  ie what we choose. An object ie an object of choice may indeed be a thing (a chocolate  or a vanilla  ice cream cone, for example) but it may also be a lifestyle or a way of being. I can chose, for example, to transform  my life, or I can choose to stay on it  and blame my circumstances for the aspects of my life I don't like or which don't work. Be clear that saying a choice is a free selection between objects, doesn't limit a choice to physical entities.

Here's what I want you to consider: a choice isn't dependent on objects. You don't choose because of objects. You choose because you choose.

Typically we have alternatives to choose from. But this isn't a requirement of choice. Having alternatives to choose from isn't a requirement for you to choose. It just makes authentic  choice palatable. Authentic  choice is choosing because you choose  - related to yet independent of what  you choose. Until you distinguish authentic choice as choosing because you choose, related to yet independent of what you choose, it's more palatable to regard a choice as when you have alternatives - plural - to choose from.

But you don't need alternatives to choose from in order to choose. You always  have a choice - even when you don't have alternatives, even when there's only one  to choose ... AND  ... even when and especially  when there's none  to choose. When there's none to choose, it's the no choice  choice. And the thing about the no choice choice is this: because there's none to choose, the choice isn't determined by or distracted by the objects of the choice. Choice in this instance is a linguistic act. Choice in this instance is a stand. And this  is what a choice really is. Really!


1)  Ordinary Choice:

    Red or Blue!

    Choose.


2)  Extraordinary Choice:

    Red!

    Choose.


3)  Breakthrough (No Choice) Choice:

    !

    Choose.


When there's nothing to choose from, you can choose what's so. You can choose the way it is. You can choose what's in front of you. You can choose what's here. You can choose what you got.

Because this is what's so. Because this is the way it is. Because this is what's in front of you. Because this is what's here. Because this is what you got.
Werner Erhard teases out the irony of all this  being here because you already chose it. To move on, choose it again, newly.



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