Saturday 7 April 2012

Holy Sederday

Free will is an illusion not because you don't have it, but because with every choice, you give it away. With every choice you make, you surrender choosing not to, and with every choice you choose not to make, you surrender choosing to make it. Free will is therefore not a freedom, but a sacrifice.

This isn't just hypothetical situations, like who would be a better senator. This applies to every waking decision you make, everything you eat and don't eat, drink and don't drink, buy and don't buy, every person you visit and don't visit, speak well or ill of.

Most of the decisions you make every day are based upon convenience, even if the biggest sacrifices you make are terribly inconvenient. And while the impact of the one may seem greater because of a personal connection, it doesn't preclude that the impact of the other might be even greater, in spite of its being out of sight and mind within seconds of your having decided it.

Disciples of democracy believe that voting is the ultimate choice, the abstinence from which amounts to anything from relinquishing one's theoretical right to complain, to shirking one's duty. They believe that the risk is too great that the wrong governors will have too large a role in affecting the collective will of society, or that they'll curtail individual liberty. But either way, they worry that their choices in life will be limited.

The Cola Wars
Some of democracy's apostates argue that the system itself is part of the problem; that under a democratic system of government, you have already limited your choices; that voting for Candidate A or B (or C or D or any coalition thereof) is just rubber stamping the oppression of some minority.

With this in mind, voting only encourages democracy.

Where PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have succeeded greatest is in co-engineering a soda-drinking species. The only thing that would stop soft-drink consumption now is if its manufacture were to cease. The same goes for Microsoft and Apple vis a vis computer usage.

It's not just where the money goes. Yes, you are choosing to help pay for their exploitative production practices and funding the same tyrannically-minded Political Action Committees as they are. The ultimate effect, however, is that you reinforce a societal paradigm by looking at the world through their goggles. For here, you're not just making a choice, but choosing to play a role.

You can choose not to vote because you know that no matter which candidate you choose, they're still going to do what they do. But if you choose to play a role, it doesn't matter if you do it off-Broadway or in the back of a pawnshop in Pinckneyville, the show will go on.

If you choose being able to know where your children are at all times, then you sacrifice anyone's not being able to know where you are right now. If you believe with each new excuse for your comfort and well-being that your safety is not being compromised, then you don't have a close friend or family-member who's been caught in the crosshairs. Yet. This is the stage we are headed to.

Will you step through that door? You likely already have. What else were you gonna do?