On Choice and Being

You see, there is a most profound difference between having our choices and being our choices. When I reduce you, your being, down to the choices you made under circumstances I have not faced, feeling feelings I have not felt, I am reducing all you are and all you could be down to one label, one concept inside my own head. It is a violation.

Does my humanity depend on my choices? There may well be better choices and worse choices. There are choices that are made in love and choices that are made in fear. In the grand scheme of things, does each type propel me to explore on ever-deepening levels the landscape of my own mind and heart? Perhaps. Through my choices, then, I am exploring my own humanity. Like in Alice in Wonderland– if you do not know where you are going, any path might get you there.

My humanity is not conditional. I exist on this stage—not that if I choose this, I will exist, if I choose that, I will be diminished. If my choices are ignorant, or dictated by the reptilian brain, if they are my ways of justifying my being in a culture that tells me I have to justify my being, I am no less human. Perhaps, just perhaps, that is the proof of my human condition. My imperfections, my ignorance, my messy edges that never quite learnt to fit back together after that initial shattering- that is my humanity too. My blackness and the endless spirals of my own treacherous mind are pieces of my being. I am.

So, to the murderer and the rapist hidden within the folds of the well-conditioned, well-socialised, upstanding citizen, I say, there you are. To the philanthropist and healer and crying child within the folds of the convicted criminal, I say, there you are. Whether you act or pass this life by in silence, the humanity of you is far greater than the darkness of you or the lightness of you, depending which way you look. I could condemn you but then am I really condemning you or am I condemning myself? What is the difference?

My humanity is unconditional. I could choose to climb up the mountain today, or down the mountain tomorrow. I could turn right or turn left. I could love with the force of a thousand suns or hate with all the fury of hell. And I could switch it right back in a minute, an hour, a year. On this great highway, you and I greet each other by the honour of our being, by the honour of our humanity. If I hail you by the phase of your moon or the length of your shadow now, and an hour past midday wonder where I lost the one I thought I met in my meanderings—is the blindness yours or mine?

My choices may be wise or unwise, terrible or glorious, or even simply immaterial. When all the tears are shed and anger raged, laughs laughed and wails wailed, what is left? My humanity holds. And that is our relationship together- friend, or enemy, lover, child, neighbour, tyrant, all.

Of course, this is hardly the complete picture, but even that is a myth really.


Image Source: https://scontent-sea1-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/s480x480/e35/c1.0.1078.1078/1170162_1745929862309380_868749348_n.jpg

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