Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Choice versus Autonomy

Being kicked in the closed mouth
Or smiling with no teeth
They’re both choices, yes
But it’s impossible to eat.

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy Famous and Dandy (Like Amos ‘n’ Andy)

We all have choices, as the quote above suggests, but by no means all of them are meaningful. One of the best tricks consumer capitalism plays is making people think that trivial choices (Pepsi versus Coke, Orange versus Vodaphone etc.) are significant. The time and energy spent making these choices, and filtering out the maximum-saturation advertising of the West, is time and energy not spent on developing your autonomy.
Choices for free time, clean air, non-deadly economics aren’t on the menu.

Having choices depends quite a lot on how many resources you have (money, friends who can help out, skills that are valued in the society you live in) and a bit on your self-confidence and “get up and go”, which will have been nourished or bashed out of you depending on the circumstances you grew up in. To some extent, life is a shit sandwich: the more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat.

See also: Liberty and Freedom, Individualism and Egotism
Reading: William Styron Sophie’s Choice

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