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Defining Choice

Updated: Mar 10

A field of colorful flowers.

Choice is the ability to preserve or alter anything or anyone in accordance with our motives and preferences. Desire is not a necessary component for a choice to be made, because choices can be made regardless of one's desire, even if desire is indeed a major motive for our usual choices.

In addition, choice is also a potential that we either have for a lifetime or for a smaller, more specific period of time. We can either pursue or avoid this potential, and the fact that we have this potential does not obligate us to actualize it.

Likewise, we do not have to reproduce just because we can, and women do not have to be pregnant just because they have a womb.

Here are some examples of choices that we can make without desire:

  • We can choose to eat healthy food even if we don't feel like it.

  • We can choose to exercise even if we're tired.

  • We can choose to study even if we don't feel like it.

  • We can choose to forgive someone even if we don't feel like it.

  • We can choose to be kind to someone even if they're not kind to us.

These are just a few examples of how we can make choices without desire. It is important to remember that we always have the power to choose, even when we don't feel like it.

The less external or internal intervention there is while making a choice, the more independently you can choose and execute it, regardless of the choice's nature.

Aspiring to make a choice while you cannot, either because of a disability or because of a powerful obstacle or more obstacles standing in your way, is an incompetent ambition.

Incompetent, as long as you are unable to surpass these forces and disabilities in any way and at any point in the future, making you a potential victim of suffering from an unfulfilled desire.

Aspiring to choose to live forever, for example, is not an ambition of liberty, but one of slavery. Of slavery to a mindset that can ultimately decrease your mental health through constant feelings of anxiety and fear. The fear of death. Thus, such ambitions are best discarded by focusing on what can indeed be chosen.

What can always be chosen is one's mindset. While you cannot fully determine others' mindsets, you can determine yours, regardless of your situation. Thus, the ultimate freedom, the freedom where there is optimal variety of choice, does not lie within financial prosperity or a desired social reputation. It lies within your mind.

And, logically, you will never find any greater freedom than the one that lies within your ability to preserve and alter mindsets. I conclude that nothing beyond the things that provide for our needs is necessary. Even self-actualization is a need.

The Soviet communists, who believed one should receive a salary "each according to their needs", have ignored the importance of actualizing our merits as a need. What differs between machinery and human beings is that human beings have the additional need to actualize themselves according to their best individual merits. This can be realized even after a day's work ends.

Therefore, the choice that we have over our current and potential mindsets should always be our top priority. Such a logical preference can save us from much suffocation when external events do not turn out the way we expect. However, no such "turn of events" exists when one learns to practice their inborn ability to surpass the power of their thoughts and alter or preserve them in any direction they wish to choose.

Thinking is a verdict for us living beings (for I am unsure if a state of not thinking is possible while alive), but the thoughts themselves can be of our own choosing. If we choose our thoughts, we will not change reality by itself, but we can necessarily change our perception and some portion of our general health.

Fun fact: There are elections in North Korea. However, there is only one candidate, and yet, even there, you can still make the choice not to vote for him. But if you refuse to vote for him...

Here are some additional thoughts on the topic:

  • Our thoughts are powerful. They can shape our experience of reality, both positively and negatively.

  • We can choose our thoughts. We can choose to focus on the positive or the negative. We can choose to be grateful or to be resentful. The idea is to choose the thoughts that fit our ambitions.

  • Our thoughts can affect our mental health.

  • We can choose to change our thoughts. If we are unhappy with our thoughts, we can choose to change them. There are many different ways to do this, such as therapy, meditation, and journaling. Philosophizing can also help.

It is important to remember that we are not our thoughts. We are the observer of our thoughts. We can choose to focus on the positive or the negative. We can choose to be grateful or to be resentful. We can choose to change our thoughts. We have the power to choose our own perception of reality.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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