The illusion of choice

It’s always a delightful moment when someone is convinced that they have control over their destiny as eventually, life finds a way to humble that person.

It’s like when you see someone take their first steps out into the world, so confident that they know what all the steps they’re going to take are like because they’ve already figured out how to walk. They’re not aware of how their body is going to grow, how the weather is going to fluctuate and how life tends to enjoy putting obstacles in front of our feet. They’ve learned how to walk though, so they’re going to walk where they want.

There’s a fun exercise called the ‘Veil of Ignorance’ that asks you to step outside of who you are and to pretend like you are a spirit waiting to be born. The exercise than asks if to take the same decision twice, once pretending that you are this spirit and once in your real identity to see if you would take a different decision.

Choice and identity are like flavours to our experience. They make us feel, see and enjoy more of what’s happening in the world, but they aren’t integral to our experience. The ‘Veil’ helps us to recognize how important our identity and circumstances are in making decisions.

It is important then to recognize how our identity is crafted over time due to circumstances wildly beyond our control or influence. You don’t get to pick your skin colour, your parents, where you were raised or the weather today.

When you accept the lack of control over the factors that influence you and guide how you make decisions, you can accept that choice is something that feels nice but doesn’t really matter as you have no control over that choice.

Growth

New territories are always available,

The path to them can be strange,

They will feel uncomfortable at first,

That discomfort will pass,

If it was not a challenge,

It would not be growth.