Yes We Choose and So We Live.
It is we who are able to decide. Human beings alone are endowed with the capacity to choose. Inevitably with this capacity for choice flows the responsibility. Even if one does not want to make a choice still one chooses not to choose. This means that we have alternatives which are equally possible. Our choices and decision will indicate what we want to make out of our lives. A person becomes a drunkard not because of his family, financial situation etc. but he chooses to be so and he is. A person chooses to join a monastery and live a secluded life not because he is frustrated with the pleasures of this world but he chooses to be so and he is. Whatever we choose will fashion our lives and help us to become what we choose to be. This seems to be the law of life.
From the time of our birth till our last breath we make choices. Quite truly they are in different magnitude and varied importance. But we do make them. When we were children, parents might have done a lot of deciding and choosing for us. As we grew into adolescence we were placed with the responsibility of choosing. For some this might have been the most dreadful experience. Choice is not easy for a person who is reluctant to bear the responsibility and be accountable for whatever has taken place. How much difficult it is and how much painful choosing might be, still we have no other go. We have to learn to make them as well as take full responsibility for our actions.
We choose our friends and decide on our educational field and what we want to be. We chose to stay late at night either to watch TV or to invest that time in our career. Whatever it might be we choose, and whether we like it or not we will continue to do so. Most of the adolescent blues are about making decisions. Psychologists have seldom paid their attention to the difficulties that the younger generation go though in choosing or in the decision making process. This choosing continues into our early adulthood, adulthood, and middle-age.
A person married has to choose the best way to cater for his family. A national leader has to choose what is required for the uplift of people whom he is representing. A government officer will have to decide whether to comply with prescribed rules or to alter them in certain situations. A citizen of a country will have to choose whether to speak against the injustices that occur around him or to observe silence. Whatever might be the choice they make, finally the justification lies in the individual that made the choice. In other word no choice can be justified by its outcome, future expectations, commanding duty but only because an individual has made it. At this point I am not discussing the rightness and wrongness of a choice, but the mere fact that a choice was made and a human person is responsible for the decisions that are being carried out.
This is one of the main reasons people prefer to downplay the human capacity for decision making. A classical example that history could give us is the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. It is said that thousands of German soldiers who had not really believed in Hitler tortured and killed Jews just because they obeyed orders. Their innocence will be argued, by some, from the point of that they have never really made a choice by themselves and never taken a decision but simply obeyed the orders. This seems to be an absurd argument. Any human being decides in a state of inner freedom that no external chains can take away. Under any circumstance, person is free to choose what he chooses. A person in a state of freedom makes a decision by his own will to which he would be absolutely responsible.
Just open a newspaper and read what is taking place or what has taken place during the ongoing session of Parliament. What are the issue being raised? What had been or what is the dominant talk in the political circle? Is it not to justify oneself and put the whole blame on others? Each day we read in the newspapers and watch in television, how our leaders become the first to justify themselves by criticising others. By this they try to avoid any personal responsibility for their choices and decisions. After a natural or human catastrophe why there is unending blame games and mudslinging. It shows that we are not ready to accept the responsibility for the choices we have made in life. Although criticism is a positive act it cannot take place in the void of self-responsibility. Ultimately, it is we who are responsible for the choices and the decisions we make individually.
As people of India what choices we make individually. How much we choose and to what extent are we ready to hold ourselves responsible for those act. Many a time we blame the government for the potholed roads and polluted environment. If I throw a bag of garbage into the street, for my convenience, who will be held responsible for this act? Can the government be blamed all the time for all that take place? I believe that we are reducing our lives into automated machines. Machines work on set commands and do not possess the creative power to choose. They do act and undertake work but do not realise what they do. We would have been glad if everything was reduced to laws and regulations because then we will be free from the agonizing responsibility that comes with every one of our choices. Conformity would be easier and lesser human than deciding and taking the responsibility for our choices.
I have come to realize that life is all about making decisions and holding oneself responsible for the decisions and the choices one has made. If this is the case with all human beings, then world would have been a beautiful place. There is no other way to humanize a dying humanity, afraid to make choices and shun away from being responsible for their decisions. This is the best form of law that we could ever have. It is up to us whether we want to remain at a mean level of existence or live a human life with all its significance and potentiality. The ultimate challenge before us is not reaching distant stars or discover new galaxies, but learn to be true to ourselves, learn to make choices and hold ourselves responsible and accountable for the choices and decisions we make. Thus we will give birth to a new humanity more humane, a humanity of hope and courage. That would be all about life.
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