By Grace Rust
The problem with having a variety of choices is that, in the end, we always have to make a choice. And, as we drift further and further away from any type of imposed guidance, we begin to realize that the traditional distinctions between “right” and “wrong” or “good” and “bad” aren’t as easy to make as they used to be. The choices we can take become more complex. And so, we have to figure out what will affect us when we make our choice. Will my ideology affect my choice? Will my political affiliation affect my choice? What about the values imposed on me by my upbringing? Is it possible to even be able to make a choice without concerning these factors?
The truth is, our histories reveal a lot about how we make choices. The combination of life lessons served to us by our families, our tragedies or our joys are never forgotten. As we become more whole people, as we build experiences to become more complete, our decisions not only become more complex but they have a history to them. Furthermore, our decisions start to matter as well as how we perceive our decisions.
It’s no longer important whether we have a blue lollipop or red lollipop, but whether we turn in our exams in time or not. Let’s look at the bigger (and perhaps extreme) viewpoint in this particular example. Our history dictates how we look at the choice to submit our exam and how we approach this choice. Perhaps one person was raised in an academic environment and attended a competitive high school. Perhaps another person experiences anxiety about turning in assignments. These factors will play a role in making a choice to turn in an exam in time or not and what is done beforehand. Perhaps this exam will lead a person towards succeeding in their major and getting into a good third-year university. Most likely that person would turn it in. And vice versa, maybe not. In the grand scheme of things, it could affect or not affect her whole life. It’s all about perspective, and each choice will affect the choice made after. We can look at our life as a train with many different tracks. Start the train and it’ll go down one path. Change the tracks and it’ll go down a different track.
But you may ask, what does it matter what track I go down? How do I know if it’s the right track?
The bigger question is always present: is there a right or wrong decision? Is there a “morality” in turning in exams? Is there morality in anything? The Nihilists would say, “No, of course not. Nothing is morally right or wrong.” The argument is this: nothing is morally right or wrong; therefore, no moral judgments are true; therefore, all attempts to try and describe the moral features of things are failures. One could look at this as a guideline for making decisions, but I believe that everyone has their own ideas of what is moral or amoral and structure is needed to live.
Instead, I would look towards the Existentialists when confronted with the question of choice and morality. This world that we live in can be called an “irrational universe,” and we must give it meaning. One has to find meaning in their own life. These groups believe that there is no higher value that we all must uphold; therefore, one must make their own. You possess the will to make your own decision that define your life and who you are as an individual.
The value that can be taken from all of this is that you can choose to give your life meaning. All the choices you make affect you, whether you realize it or not. And you choose what affects the choices you make. So, I bid you, choose well.