Friday, December 27, 2013

Thoughts on choice

Today I hit the snooze button several times before fully waking up. In that last cycle before waking up, I was, as one does, dreaming. I'll spare you the full details, partly because they don't matter, and partly because I don't remember them.

In this dream a young woman was passing through a lobby or something of her workplace, when she passed one of her superiors having coffee with what was apparently potential clients. Her superior (Allan Harper from Two and A Half Men, though don't ask me why) stopped her, and proceeded to verbally berate her in a rather cold, bully like manner regarding her hair and outfit.

She was wearing a purple striped outfit, and her short cut blond hair had purple tips arranged so as to form spiky little stripes circling her head. This was apparently normal for her, and had been totally fine until now. As Allan said, "that sort of thing may have been ok when Carolyn was here..." The young lady was shocked, and looked like she'd been hit in the gut.

At which point, one of the potential clients steps in, and gives a verbal beat down to Allan, pointing out that her hair is irrelevant to her work, that he admires her independence, and "never forget that her choice to be independent represents a sacrifice of being normal, and the benefits that she might get by conforming to society's notions of normal," and if Allan wanted their business, he'd shut up and let her work.

My snooze alarm woke me up at that point, but this time I was thinking, so I stayed awake. That idea of choice representing sacrifice was running through my head. I think there's something to it. Any time we make a choice A, we block ourselves from choice B, sacrificing what might have been. Sometimes it's pretty damn minor, like last night for me. I chose to go to my local Freethought group's happy hour, instead of staying home. I got good conversation, good pizza, decent wine, and gave up a few more hours playing Skyrim. Not a bad sacrifice.

Other times, it can be more consequential. What job do you take? How do you spend limited amounts of money? Do you try getting time off from work during the holidays to see family, or not? But it's always a choice (though it doesn't always feel like one), and it's rare that we can get both A and B.

Just a thought for the day, I guess. You folks have any thoughts on this?

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