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Choosing is a choice

My third motto is “choosing is a choice”. Doubting creates a lot of questions, and potentially a lot of options or scenario’s to choose from. Although it might feel very comfortable to be in a state where all options are open, where you experience autonomy to make your own choices, it can also be quite scary and passifying. So my solution is to become better at choosing between the options available, to choose for choosing. I guess the ‘motto’ “I doubt therefore I am” could be followed by “I choose, therefore I do”.

  1. Mireille permalink

    Your post – and more in general the gist of your blog – makes me think of “controlled folly”. The term was coined by Carlos Castaneda and it made a huge impression on me when I read about it in one of his books. I was in my early twenties then and an “eternal doubter” – in as far as one can become an eternal anything in a little over 20 years. 😀 I really felt paralysed at the time because I couldn’t get at a solid foundation on which to base my evaluations and actions, in a setting of personal & philosophical conflict and pressure. What I remember reading at the time was a description of “the warrior”, who doubts, takes no one truth or solution or path or angle utterly serious, but still chooses and then acts passionately on that choice. As if one voluntarily, knowingly and temporarily puts on a partial blindfold – like the ‘oogkleppen’ of horses, I don’t know the English term for ‘oogkleppen’. I have always remembered this notion, it has become a kind of “deep part” of my thinking and understanding, and it has helped me tremendously in my life (I am 53 now). It has helped me balance reflection (my need for truth, for understanding by thinking and doubting or challenging, then rethinking again… – often a slow, messy, painful, and socially unpopular process) with the objective necessity to act, which also is a deep personal need and which requires “controlled folly”, a temporary suspension of if’s and but’s. Through this all I have come to understand many other important things, I mean important to me. 😉 Like how we partly become what we are through our encounters with others and by the way we act in the world, and how complex issues can only be addressed by tinkering and trying, not by predesigned solutions.

    Just some quick thoughts. Thanks for making me think about it, and write some of it up! 🙂

    • Mireille, thanks a lot for your story! I totally relate with what you’re writing, and really like the term ‘controlled folly’ (in fact, I think I will write a post with that title sometime). I’m thinking about this sense-making followed by decision-making (just my way of putting it) a lot, and coincidently the posts that I scheduled to be published for the next couple of days are about exactly this (or what it is for me at this particular point in time). Still a lot of the pieces of the puzzle missing (luckily, as puzzling is so much fun), but your comments made me think of some new pieces to be added (e.g. what guides us in our sense- or decision-making). Thanks again!

    • P.s. I looked up Carlos Castaneda and found some wonderful quotes, like this one:

      “His controlled folly makes him say that what he does matters and makes him act as if it did, and yet he knows that it doesn’t; so when he fulfills his acts he retreats in peace, and whether his acts were good or bad, or worked or didn’t, is in no way part of his concern. A man of knowledge may choose, on the other hand, to remain totally impassive and never act, and behave as if to be impassive really matters to him; he will be rightfully true at that too, because that would also be his controlled folly.”

      • Mireille permalink

        I love the first and last part of your quote. But I don’t like this sentence: “whether his acts were good or bad, or worked or didn’t, is in no way part of his concern”.

        There must be a loop, an evaluation, a reckoning, otherwise the controlled folly idea would be just about ‘intentions’ or ‘personal conscience’.

        We act in the world, the world is acted on by us. We touch other lives and other people profoundly, both now and in the future. And thus we have an obligation to be care takers.

        Perhaps it was the birth of my son – which made me into a mother – that made me feel this in a new way.

  2. Mireille permalink

    Very welcome, Dubito. Reading your reply, something else just popped up in my mind. Logic. Propositional logic, modal logic.

    Propositional logic is about true/untrue. Modal logic adds and formalises the notions of probable/possible, which was a kind of revolution in itself and is applicable to domains ranging from perception psychology to risk.

    Dave Snowden addressed a bit of it here (on risk) To be honest I do not really get the difference between possible, probable and plausible – I mean the way Snowden uses these terms is oblique – but his view on risk is interesting anyway.

    And then there is Deontic logic, I never really dove into that, but it might add some other new variables/concepts to your formula mix, like obligation and permission.

    I am just thinking aloud here, but I have the feeling that there might be yet another dimension which might be formalized, if only for fun, something about the idea of controlled folly. You know the sensation that you see something, kloink, then it escapes you just as fast? That is what just happened to me, so I may be off track.

    Your blog is – I think – about thinking and about exploration, about journeying. So I hope it is all right if I just post some unfinished thoughts…

    • Thanks for your thoughts, and thanks for them being unfinished! Questions are way more interesting than answers! 😉
      I will look into the different kinds of logic and the video.

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