Choice

joejo's picture



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I think the subject of Choice is not dealt with in a comprehensive manner when we pit free will against determinism debate. There are some who feel that choice is anathema to spiritual life. "Thy will be done", is a famous refrain which could mean a fatalistic surrender or that the Subject at best feels that a entity outside of him makes crucial decisions. To make God will things turns him into a capricious fellow.

To start with I go with the assumption that there is no person outside of our psyche viz, God or angel who chooses for us. It is clearly said of God in Gita that he is neither the creator of duty or 'ought to' nor of the various actions that one is as if forced to perform, nor does he assign the fruits of actions or the results for they necessarily follow the natural Law. One of the official explanations is as given below.

"Lord Krishna clarifies this point in this verse and the next stating: prabhuh or the Supreme Lord does not create any agency in the world of beings, rather it is the embodied beings own individuals nature and the level of nescience and ignorance of the atma or soul that determines how they act out existence."

The second point I wish to make is that choice is a fact of life and to go with 'No Choice' is also a 'Choice'. All actions depend on something so it would be interesting to examine the basis or background of Choice. I am not going into the mechanism of choice based on sensations and thought but what we choose and why from a broad perspective.

To quote Gita Chapter 6 verse 5 & 6

"Lift up the self by the Self
And don't let the self droop down,
For the Self is the self's only friend
And the self is the Self's only foe. "

"For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy."

Choice then can be studied at three levels. The highest type of our choice arises from self concept. The choices that shape our destiny are made at this level and it is quite possible that one is not fully aware of the choosing. This gives a general direction to our life and does not interfere in the daily routine of life.

The second level of choice depends on what interests our heart. This is hardly a choice for one naturally follows it and often against his rational thought. The only way to choose differently in this case is to have a change of Heart. It is a cause of much contradiction and suffering.

The third level of choice which we come across in our day to day living is made mechanically without much thought or with great deliberations but which does not involve any moral dilemma or is not in conflict with our core values or beliefs.

We can be defined by 'What and How' we Choose and an understanding would help us Choose wisely for we are Free to choose but have to face the consequences of choices whether we like them or not.