On Introspective Observation
When considering any actions I have taken or those I have deferred, I usually ask myself whether I could have made better ones, and what would have given me the groundwork for making those better choices? I often wonder what conditions would be conducive for a better framework for making more productive decisions. I think it is more difficult to evaluate choices and decisions from a contemporary point of view, when actually faced with them because of being too close, emotionally and intellectually, to conditions that can be better judged from a retrospective point of view. But in actuality, most choices have to be made without knowing the ultimate consequences. We don’t have the luxury of time or an opportunity to have a more exhaustive review. We often have to make choices on instinct and accumulated experiences, and hope that what results is beneficial to our lives.
There is no such thing as a right or wrong choice, only an easy choice or a more difficult one. The notion that this is right or wrong is more based on whether a choice causes some internal pain or conflict, usually of a moral nature. Difficult choices are never easy to make. They usually require some kind of prioritizing of goals that force us to sacrifice something for something else in the process. Having to prioritize things in our lives is never an easy process if what we have to put on the lower end of the list is something that we consider perhaps as important as those at the top of the list.
So, what do we need to consider as a basic guideline for making any choice? I’m suggesting that we at the very least need to try and structure our thinking and our perceptions to be more aware of the reality that is going on around us as opposed to what we think our reality is. To do this we need to be able to take a more dispassionate view of our lives by aiming at becoming more objective rather than subjective and personal. In this way we can slowly gain over time a perspective of our reality that is more free and detached from our personal neurosis that so often affects the very choices we need to be obejective about.
I am not suggesting that being dispassionate means we need to be unemotional. Being unemotional is impossible if we have feelings. What I am inferring is that we need to understand and have a clearer sense of what feelings should be important in considering any decision and what feelings clutter our judgements and do more to obscure the real issues.
If in some way it were possible to view our lives as if we were sitting in a movie theatre audience and watching our lives on the screen, then it would be possible to see our lives more as others see it, and perhaps judge it less harshly as appropiate or inappropriate, and that in itself would help us to see a more realistic accounting of our actions that can teach us over time to make better choices. Although we all want to make better choices, especially if the ones we have made up to this point have resulted in making us unhappy. But it is unrealistic to think that the process of making choices will become any easier even if we have more knowledge. What is needed is a carefully nurtured instinctive wisdom that recognizes that what may cause “pain” should not be seen as bad or negative, because in the end, we can only look at the consequences of choices long after they have been made. If they first appeared to be painful, but in time resulted in a more enriched life, how could we possibly consider them poor choices?