Friday, January 18, 2008
To be or not to be?, that is the question. To what do we owe this dilemma that we face every waking hour, every waking minute of our lives? Some people will say "meddio tutissimus ibis" or "you will go most safely by the middle course". But to some dilemmas there is no such thing as a middle course because they say "you can't have it both ways" or "you can't have the best of both worlds". That is why it is called a dilemma because we have to make a choice between two options with both having unsatisfactory or unpleasant consequences. It would have been better if we were living in a dream. Because in dreams there is no choice. It is our subconscious that takes over and we have no say, consciously, as to the outcome of the dream.
But it is no the outcome of the choice that weighs us because the end, as they say, justifies the means. The outcome of the choice is both pleasant and satisfactory. However, it is the consequence of not opting for the other choice that is the crux of the matter in the first place. The fact that there is a choice is not actually the perplexity here but it is the fact that we have to make a choice that makes it intricately complicated. Just like asking a layman to make a choice between proving either Galileo's Universal Law of Gravity or Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, in mathematical form. In this case, it is the outcome that is unpleasant. How about asking a person who loves cars and fishing to choose between a brand new car or a brand new speed boat. In this instance, either choice is pleasant in terms of satisfaction. But the consequence of not choosing either will make the choice more complicated.
The person in the latter case would then certainly ask for more time. Time for what, you would ask? Time to consider and ponder. And as the person ponders, more pros and cons appear and as more pros and cons appear, the problem becomes more complex. As the complexity increases, he becomes more perplexed with his dilemma and realized that he is now unable or unwilling to make a choice due to the unsatisfactory consequences of not choosing either the car or the boat. He is now in a state of indecision and has become confused. This is a situation in which when asked if the person would like the car, he would answer with a "yes, but....". If asked if the person would like the boat, he would also answer with a "yes, but....". What a dilemma, is it not?
In our everyday life, there are always decisions to be made. But due to our conditioning, the choices are more or less automatic. Like when we wake up, should we get up early or late? Should we take a shower or not? What should we wear today? Which shoes do we put on today? Which perfume to apply today? A myriad of decisions but trivial to dwell upon because it does not come with dire consequences.
Nevertheless, we should never forget that we have a freedom of choice. If we allow ourselves to be robbed of this most precious right then we become mere robots, automatons who do as they are told without the freedom of choice. So, let us rejoice that despite the complexities of some decisions that turn into dilemmas, we still have our God given freedom of choice.
And, that is the answer.