This is another boring blog entry, and I apologize in advance. I feel badly that I told a bunch of additional people about this stupid blog, and now am writing consecutive posts that refer to philosophy. Sorry, guys. I assure you that, really soon, I will return to more vapid ramblings. Probably because I will have exhausted the extent of my philosophical knowledge, which is pretty scant.
Anyway. THIS ENTRY IS ABOUT CHOICES, AND FREE WILL, AND STUFF. And for some reason, I will begin by complaining. Here we go.
I’m now PRACTICALLY 30, which means that I think I can say with legitimate authority that my 20s could have been better. Difficult breakups, some bad relationships with family members, lost friendships, my stupid cat falling off a thing and almost dying, THAT TIME THAT GUY WRONGLY ACCUSED ME OF STEALING ICE CREAM, and, you know, getting divorced. Certainly not the WORST problems in the world to have – I have a home and food and a family, and I count myself lucky in all those respects – but some of them were kind of tough. (ESPECIALLY THAT ICE CREAM ONE, JESUS CHRIST.)
So, on the one hand, I’m pretty jazzed about leaving my 20s behind (it’s still another 1.5 years away, but still). On the other hand, all of the sudden it seems like I’m making alarmingly momentous decisions at alarmingly increasing rates. THIS IS A LITTLE DISCONCERTING. For example, when I was 18, a really hard decision was, “Gee, should I dye my hair PLUSH PLUM, or RUBY RED?” This was a question I would debate for hours, if not days, trying to find random articles of clothing that would most closely match said colors, and then draping them around my head, AS IF THAT WAS GOING TO GIVE ME AN IDEA OF WHAT I WOULD LOOK LIKE.
(That is a true story, guys. It’s fine, you can laugh; it’s a ridiculous image. Also, please note, I’M FUCKING COLORBLIND.)
Now, though, instead of debating the merits of Plush Plum and Ruby Red, I’m worrying about where I’m going to LIVE, and where I’m going to WORK, and whether I’m going to buy PROPERTY, and whether I’m going to raise ALPACAS…etc., etc. These are big decisions, obviously. Hair grows out, guys, but alpacas are forever. Or, you know. 12-15 years? Actually…I have no idea how long an alpaca lives. BUT SURELY IT IS LONGER THAN IT TAKES TO GROW OUT HAIR.
Anyway, as I ponder these life decisions, I’m reminded of reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. You know, the ones where you were given options about what the main character would do next, and then flip to the appropriate page to see how the story worked out. These were GENIUS, I thought. I GOT TO MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS! Except that, the thing was, once I played out one version of the story, I could always go back to the other decision, just to see what would have happened. Which is how I arrived at the idea that, when I died, it would be awesome if I could then trace back through my life and see what would have happened if I had made different major life decisions. (Please don’t ask me what MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS I was concerned about at the age of 8, when I was reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, but it’s probably fair to assume that it had something to do with what color glasses chain I should wear. NOBODY TOLD ME THOSE WEREN’T COOL, OKAY?)
Obviously, all of this was before I’d figured out whether I believed in “fate” or “god.” And once I ultimately decided I didn’t believe in the latter (thanks, Richard Swinburne, for your wholly unconvincing arguments!), I concluded that it was impossible to believe in the former. Then I read Arthur Schopenhauer (one of the great German philosophers who someday I will probably not read in his native language); specifically, Über die Freiheit des menschlichen Willen (On the Freedom of the Will). Basically, Schopenhauer concluded that, while there are no physical obstacles preventing us from making whatever decision we want to make (i.e., there is no predetermined fate), we only ever truly want to make one decision, and we are incapable of making a decision other than that one.
This is not to say that we don’t truly agonize over decisions – we do – but rather that, in the end, the decision we make is the decision we want to make, consciously or not. So, while there is nothing external deciding our fate, it is still the case that we could not have done other than what we did. If you could go back, and go back again, and go back again, you would make the same exact decision every time. (To horribly, horribly oversimplify it. My apologies, Herr Schopenhauer.)
IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT POSSIBLE THAT ANYONE HAS CONTINUED READING THIS FAR.
If, for some absolutely insane reason, someone IS still actually reading this, you’re in for a grave disappointment: I have no ultimate point. That’s why this entry is categorized in RAMBLING; did you not notice that?! I don’t know. Whatever. The non-point is, I’ve made a lot of decisions, and will continue to make more. Some of them have been good, and some of them have been bad. But the others, the really scary ones, are forever unclassifiable, because – much to my 8-year-old self’s dismay – life isn’t a Choose Your Own Adventure book.
Seriously, though, guys, and this is really important: Glasses chains are NEVER a good decision. Regardless of the color. I’m pretty sure even Arthur Schopenhauer would agree with me on that one.
ONCE AGAIN, I am sincerely sorry for boring you to death, and, by way of apology, will conclude with another Calvin & Hobbes comic.