Speaking as someone who circled ‘buddhist’, ‘mormon’, and ‘agnostic’ on a recent survey…
I have a trouble with sticking to things. My decisiveness varies in direct proportion with the time I’ve had to think about a decision. The less time to think, the surer my answer. It’s not the best way of living- but it does mean I get to try random things. Like stick fighting, or getting a tattoo, or going to UBC.
But as school starts up again, I get slightly panicked by the options that lay before me. The Main Carnival for Imagine Day was so full of choices that it’s a wonder I escaped with any less than a forest’s worth of pamphlets. As with all third-years, the previous term was fraught with the selection of my major. You can imagine the difficulty I had with that, considering I can’t even choose a stance for my religious beliefs. But then I chose international relations (how Terry*!), not because it was a childhood dream or because I wanted to travel or because I found it interesting. Because I simply went the choice that seemed intuitively ‘right’. You know, since I didn’t particularly love economics or politics…this major was somewhat of a gamble. I felt bad about people who were much more sure and passionate than me who wanted to be in the program, but I didn’t know how else to choose. All I know is my way of making choices has done me okay so far. Now I know how to defend myself a la Jason Bourne, and have a reminder of youthful rebellion, and get a bachelor’s in a cool subject.
This started me thinking. Decisions shape the world. Like how Obama’s decisions are supposedly reshaping US health care. He’s pushing it through, I’m sure, because of his conviction that reform is necessary. How about all the other decisions in this world though, all those choices which are much more important than my major? How do they come about and who chooses? When a politician chooses to run, or a farmer decides to move to the city, or when a country opts for secular education… are they guided by convictions as strong as Obama’s or inclinations as vague as mine? Conviction certainly seems more valid than inclination, but I can’t be sure. I mean, I recently had an argument about whether or not free will exists at all.
All this only raises more questions. Which I’m going to choose to leave as rhetorical, and not even attempt to answer. Do you know how you choose? Why are you reading this, for example? Why do you like the music you like? How did you get to this point in life? Are you glad you can choose? Is this important at all?