The Burden of Choice

Decisions, decisions, decisions

When the idea of CHOICE is brought up in a discussion, we think that the discussion is a no brainer so why even talk about it. That is a good point. However, I would argue that those who live in a free society versus a restricted one. If you live in the United States of America, chances are that you are inundated with choices every single day of the week. Choices may vary from determining whether you should make your bed or not, what will you have for breakfast, will you have breakfast, do you have time for breakfast, what clothes do you wear, and so on and so forth… and you haven’t even made it out the door yet.

I think you can agree that some choices are more difficult than others. A funny example of this is that there are some that can’t determine what shoes to wear with their outfit. If those people aren’t careful, hours are spent figuring this out. That aside, there are some serious choices that are made each day that affect your life as well as those around you.

Psychology Today has sourced information indicating that an average person makes a staggering 35,000 (that’s THOUSAND) choices a day )How Many Decisions Do We Make Each Day? | Psychology Today). This number may be difficult to believe considering there are 86400 seconds in a day. This would mean that every 2.46 seconds, a person is deciding something. No wonder we are so exhausted at the end of the day. But think about it, how many minor choices did you make just now? The choice to keep reading this blog, the choice to scratch and itch, the choice to ignore a text (because this blog is just that interesting), and so on and so forth. As I type this up, I am deciding what word(s) to use. The idea of being able to choose is proof positive that humans are meant to live as free people.

Is there a Right Choice?

The question of “Is there a right Choice?” is ever present.  Something as small as determining whether you should make your bed or not after sleeping in it may not seem like it has a right answer. It depends on your views. Some individuals will see making a bed the first accomplishment of the day. This gives him/her the satisfaction of a small success setting him/her for a good day. This helps a person look towards to the positive things in life. Which segues into my next statement.

A person has the power to choose to be happy, sad, mad, afraid, brave, etc. regardless of the circumstance they have been placed in. You may be asking “How can you say that Muckrakers?” following up with “there are people in this world who are in severe poverty, homeless, and even been subject to heinous acts upon them.” “How can you say a person has the choice to be happy, brave, or strong on those instances?” I think this is very important to address. There is ample evidence of people being persecuted throughout time all over the world. On that note, we are all dealt a hand of cards, so to speak, in this game of life. Some start out with better hands that others; others are given an OK hand, but throughout the game acquire better cards; then there are those who are given an OK hand, but play poorly and lose out; and of course there are those fringe minority who are given a hand, but just don’t want to play, call everybody else cheaters, and yell out that the game is rigged regardless of the fact that they still have yet to play or check out. Let’s not focus on those people yet. Instead, let’s get back to the people who have been dealt really poor hands. These people will continue to play the game. The phenomenal thing about being in the United States of America, for the most part, is that if a person chooses to play the game of life, if that person learns how to play better, if that person chooses to work towards making good choices, that person will rise to the top no matter what. Will that person have obstacles to encounter? Absolutely! Will that person experience some type of adversity? Yes! But call it as it is; don’t call it what it isn’t. The bottom line to this message is that choosing the right decisions will help greatly in life.

Take a look at Amanda Berry as a good example of overcoming adversity Amanda Berry – Story, Daughter & Facts – Biography. Amanda was 17 years old when a much older man, Ariel Castro, kidnapped her. By the time Amanda was kidnapped, Michelle Knight, 22 years of age at the time, had already been captive for a year! During Amanda’s captivity, Castro taped (as in duct tape, not video tape) her limbs together and shoved a motorcycle helmet on her head while leaving her in the basement. She was, effectively, a prisoner for 10 years (she escaped in 2013). The story is outrageous; you can read it here What Life in Captivity Was Like for Cleveland Kidnapping Survivors Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus – ABC News (go.com).

Amanda was dealt a terrible hand; she was kidnapped, treated terribly, raped, and if that wasn’t hard enough, gave birth to the kidnapper’s child without help from anybody. That is a tremendous burden for somebody; yet, Amanda has decided to embrace and appreciate her freedoms. Of course, she has to be working through this very hard situation much like a member of the military who has seen some serious combat goes through PTSD. The bottom line is that Amanda has chosen to have a good life with her child. She decided to share her story with Gina DeJesus in a book called Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland.

Additional citation: Amanda Berry Now: Where Is She Today in 2020? | Heavy.com

Consequences of Decisions

Let’s take a moment to go back in recent history, relatively speaking, to go over a very critical timeline that led to devastation and decimation. I am talking about the Auschwitz Trials. During the first session of the trails, 42 senior personnel who served at Auschwitz were indicted, 23 were sentenced to death, and 6 were sentenced to life imprisonment. This was the consequence of their actions upon a group of people. What should concern us all is why they did this heinous act? A group of people exterminating another group of people should, I would think, raise a flag. Why did a certain group of people choose to do something so unimaginable?

There was a study performed by Gustave Gilbert in Nuremberg, Germany to try and uncover why a certain group of people would carry out such a mission. His findings were astonishing. The individuals he studied were incredibly smart; their IQ was well above average, regardless of their morality. He used various methods to study the minds of his subject in the hopes to discover why a human might make such a decision as to end another person’s life… why would this group make such a process out of it?

Citation: Psychologist of the Nazi mind (apa.org)

Here is something that should blow your mind: October 1946, Master Sergeant John C. Woods told a reporter from Time magazine that he was proud of his work (carrying out death sentences of so many Jewish people. Their crime? Being Jewish. “The way I look at this hanging job, somebody has to do it . . . 10 men in 103 minutes. That’s fast work” (Nuremberg Trials – Definition, Dates & Purpose – HISTORY). Woods was more interested in the work he performed, how well he performed it, and how he could make the process more efficient rather than focus on what exactly he was doing. That, everybody, is a choice he made. I need to emphasize this because this is extremely important: He decided to focus on improving some process or procedure pushed down by his government rather than focus on the atrocity of murdering thousands of people, people that bleed red just like you and me. Basically, he wanted to kill people faster because it was his job. The bottom line is –> he didn’t think critically! There is a morality line that what obviously crossed. We, as a people, have to think deeper. If we only think superficially, then we are going to repeat history.

“Gilbert believed that the Nazis’ psychopathic personalities caused them to commit their atrocities. He concluded that the Nazi culture of deferring to authority was so strong that it dominated all other factors of intelligence and reason. As a way to avoid such catastrophic blind obedience in the future, his recommendation was that democratic leaders should be taught to think critically” (https://knowledgenuts.com/2015/06/09/the-psychological-test-results-of-the-nuremberg-nazis/).

Conclusion

To conclude, it is incredibly important to be able to think critically through any and all situations. Yes, we are all tired at the end of the day. But that does not mean that we should compromise our choices. Yes, it is easy to turn on the evening talk shows and let the personalities tell you what you should think; but I am going to challenge you to make the choice to spend some extra time looking up the real facts. As a citizen of the United States, it is imperative that we all use critical thinking and really analyze the things that are going on around us. It is easy to just read a headline and jump to conclusions just like it is easy to make some statement that sound just; but in reality, if you could spend a few more minutes to really understand the situation, you will become much more informed, know all the facts, not just partial facts that fits a narrative, and ultimately we will all be better off.

I have an example… I saw a statement on one of the social media platforms by an opinionist (not a journalist, that is for sure) regarding how “Texas Republicans found 16 cases of false addresses on registration forms out of 11 million votes in 2020 and tried to pass country’s worst voter suppression law” “Texas had 3,683 gun deaths in 2019 and legislature passed bill allowing Texans to carry guns without permit”. Regardless of the poor grammar, regardless of the lack of punctuation, and regardless that this is an opinion that was sprinkled with a few flakes of some flavor of facts, this person does not cite these numbers, nor does this person provide the actual detail needed to explain this post. Is the audience just supposed to take this post as gospel? Unfortunately, a lot of people would read this post and just gasp. “Yeah, man. What the heck man?”

To you, I am challenging you to think on your own. Think beyond the narrative. Make the choice to stamp out the opinions of the activist pretending to be journalist, look up the facts, understand why (I mean really why) people choose to focus on some things and not others, choose to see all sides of the story, choose to be open minded, choose not to just post some opinion that isn’t really based on anything substantial, and choose to make wise decisions.  

If you want more material like this, or you want to expand on this material, or if you want to talk about anything else (within reason), please email us at TheMuckrakers@protonmail.com.
Thank you,

The Muckrakers.