Freedom of Choice

What is choice?

On the one hand, there are the choices which do not present themselves to us as choices at all. We call them circumstances.

For example: we chose to wear particular brand names as children, follow particular diets as teenagers and young adults, live in a particular city, and so on. We chose our religion and, truth be told, we chose capitalism. These are the choices that form the background of our day-to-day lives but are not immediately made conscious to us. We typically believe that these choices have been made for us or on behalf of us (or before us!). This provides us with a maximum level of comfort: we did not make the wrong choice, somebody else did! This is the freedom of the first type of choice. We are free from superegoic judgment, free to complain about capitalism because we didn’t choose this system.

On the other hand, choices present themselves to us in the present. These are the choices that often rob us of our freedom by instituting a ruthless superegoic judgment. We have the freedom to choose but we are destined to make only one choice. If, for example, you select the Latte instead of the Cappuccino then Coffee Snob culture will finally understand that not only did you choose a weaker espresso but that you did so freely! This is why it is better to have the Barrista choose the coffee for you. It is better to appear an idiot with respect to coffee culture than to open one’s mouth and make a free choice so as to prove the coffee snobs correct.

Whenever we make a free choice we are subjected to intense pressure from the world around us. For example, nobody asks a toddler omnivore if they or their parents chose that diet for them. But everybody asks a toddler vegan if they or their parents chose that diet for them. In Catholic families I learned this logic very quickly: when my son was born my parents were adamant that I baptize him. They cleverly insisted that this meant that we would not locking him into a religion, but rather that we would be giving him a choice later in life!

You can see the brilliance of this logic!

If you do not baptize the toddler then even if he doesn’t choose to be catholic when he is older he will make it to heaven if he dies. This is the blessing of having somebody else choose (your religion) for you. This way he is protected from his lack of choice and is free to live until he can make his own free choices.

It is the same with veganism. In this context, veganism is often understood as a dogmatic choice and precisely because it is dogmatic it is typically perceived as the wrong choice (although this situation is changing rapidly).

All authentic choices today are rendered dogmatic by public opinion.

But the real dogma is the imperceptible omnivore diet for which we have not yet taken responsibility.

Choice itself is under attack! The omnivore child is not thought to have made a choice and so breathes the air of freedom from judgment. Today all authentic choices are thought to be dogmatic – and all of those dogmatic choices that form the backdrop of our day-to-day lives are rendered free choices precisely because we did not make them.

We must be made responsible for the choices we didn’t know we made and we must be free to make the choices we didn’t know were options in the first place. That is, today more than ever we need to be dogmatically free.

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