Ability to choose

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Today most of us are awash with choices. The abundance of material goods available to us in the developed world can turn each one of us into "a kid in a candy store"; the ability to travel more or less where we like; to spend our time in pursuits of our hobbies and special interests; to do as we please, etc, etc. The choices appear unlimited. For some this myriad of choices equates to increased freedom and independence - as we have such wide choices; they believe that we are free and without restriction. However that does not always follow.

With so many choices available these days, we've become so dependent on something being available to entertain us or to excite us or for us to indulge in or to.... So much so that we've lost the ability to not only entertain ourselves without it but we've also lost our ability to appreciate its value. We all frequently find ourselves seeking more and more new gadgets, cars, houses, music, etc. unable to enjoy any one thing for more than a period of a week or month or two. Perhaps, we should take a break from these toys!

In "The Era of Choice", Edward Rosenthal argues that choice, and having to make choices, has become the most important influence in both our personal lives and our cultural expression. Choice, he claims, has transformed how we live, how we think, and who we are. Unfortunately, most people do not realise that this constant need and its subsequent choice is a continuous cycle of ups and down that most of us ride for all of our lives - a roller-coaster of need, choice, excitement and then rejection which is repeat again and again.

What does Sikhi have to say

Although it is accepted in Sikhi that we have many choices to make, most of the important ones have already been made for us. The choice of who we are has to a large extent already been made. Which environment are we to take birth and exist is outside our control. The country where we are born? Rich America or poor slums of Africa; healthy Switzerland or disease infested slums of Bombay; the clean air and countryside of Canada or the dirty industrial centre of Azerbaijan? All this is predetermined.

What sort of family we are to join is pre-destined. Our father and mother are decided for us. Whether we are going to have kind and hard working parents or lazy and aggressive ones is beyond our choice. What sort of childhood we experience is not left to us; are we going to attend school and nursery or be homeless and without education is not something that we have any control over.

(to be done)

  • no choice of gender
  • your state of health is beyond ones control
  • Your age and when one is going to die is not under ones control