This is a comment on the continuing discussion about choice. John Woods
seems to be saying that as prisoners of our paradigms we are really not
free to choose. Our internal programming sets us up to make certain
"choices" that are really not choices.
I sense the same frustration now as I did 25 years ago in college
discussions of logical positivism and determinism. Basically, what
difference does it make whether we are really free to choose? What
matters is whether we *think* so. Maybe it has to do with Aristotle's (I
think) dictum that the unexamined life is not worth living. If I'm unable
to make choices, imprisoned by the complex programming of my destiny, then
why should I bother with self-knowledge? Nothing will come of it anyway,
except that I'll be able to see the cell bars more clearly.
So I don't want to hear that I'm a captive of my perceptual set, or that
it's just karma, or that choice is an illusion. The faith that I can make
real choices is what drives me, it's what makes my life meaningful, it's
what distinguishes me from the apes. Ultimately, as my father once said,
we can act like humans or we can act like dogs, and what sets the species
apart is our human ability, unique among all earthly species, to be aware
of our thought processes and make choices about what we do with them.
I choose choice because that's what makes me human. And right now I
choose to wish all you fellow learners a fulfilling hoiday season, and I
charge you with the wondrous task of helping everyone you interact with
find fulfillment in their lives. But I guess that's your choice, eh?
-- David E. Birren Phone: (608)267-2442 Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources Fax: (608)267-3579 Bureau of Management & Budget E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Our future is to be food - Wisdom's gift - for what comes after us." -- Saadi (Neil Douglas-Klotz)