Springingtiger's Blog


The Language of Choice: Choosing to Choose

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Choosing is in itself a choice. There are occasions when faced with a series of options we find ourselves unable or unwilling to choose one. Sometimes it may occur to us that we need more time to make our decision. It is possible sometimes to choose not to make a choice which is not the same as not choosing. When faced with the option to choose or not to choose whichever we do choose is a choice. However not choosing from a state of confusion or overwhelm is neither being at cause nor responsible.

On the other hand a choice compelled by circumstance is also not coming from a position of power. It may appear more positive than not choosing, but it has no more validity. People will often condemn the failure to make a choice as weakness, choosing merely so that you can be seen to be doing something is equally weak and possibly more dangerous. When the United Kingdom Parliament was debating whether to bomb Daesh in Syria one of the reasons put forward to support bombing was that something needed to be done. That it is better to do anything at all rather than nothing is very flawed logic and dangerous  ̶ particularly for those on the receiving end of such a decision.

No matter how urgently a decision is called for it is essential that we step back and apply a degree of reason. We need to step out of our circumstances and beliefs and before we even make a choice we must consciously choose whether to choose. When we are in a situation it is easy to be swept along by emotions, arguments and circumstances, when we choose to choose whether to choose we take a meta position to the events upon which we will make our decision. We make a choice free of circumstances.

Although not choosing because we are unable to because of our circumstances and choosing not to choose both result in an apparently identical outcome  ̶ that is of no choice being made ̶ not choosing is a choice from powerlessness, whereas choosing not to choose is a choice made from a position of personal power.

From a detached meta position it may well become clear that the consequences of an action are unclear or unpredictable. It is a valid and responsible choice to choose not to choose. It is utterly irresponsible to rush into any action with insufficient comprehension of the risks involved. Sometimes once the risks are understood we may still choose a course of action, but we do so responsibly and understanding our responsibility. We may choose not to choose, but we do so aware of the possible consequences of not acting. Sometimes whatever we choose there will be unfortunate consequences. A responsible choice is made in awareness and accepts the burden of responsibility for the outcome.

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