Feren (feren) wrote,

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The price of freedom...

Today didn't start well at work today - a router crashed and took down our entire farm of AS/400s. Fortunately that was a quick fix.

It's later in the day that things got really nasty.

I was presented with a choice. It wasn't an easy one, nor one I wanted to make at this point. Really, it was one I wasn't ready to make -- and the implications were far reaching. Ultimately, I decided I wasn't going to take either of the presented options. In so abstaining from taking the choice, I also made a choice. I'm sure most of you are familiar with this fact by now. The decision I made hurt two people I care about deeply. It hurt them both very much. My choice may very well have alienated from one of them completely -- and that knowledge kills me on the inside.

After I made my decision, as I sat and thought about what I was going to do next, I started to realize that this is the curse of being sentient and free-willed. We are able to make decisions. Perversely, it seems, because we are ABLE to make decisions we are forced into HAVING to make them. We have to make decisions every day. We make thousands of them throughout the whole day. We pick out what we wear, we pick when we leave for work or school, we decide what to get for lunch. Should we merge on the way back and get payback on that jerk that cut us off? Thousands of them -- the mind simply boggles. Think about it. We make all those decisions, without blinking an eye.

This isn't the problem.

The problem with being sentient is you can see what the implications of your decisions are. Not always, but if you're reasonably self-aware you can see what the big ones are, and what can happen when you choose one way or another on these bad ones. This makes them immensely difficult. You can agonize over them for minutes, hours, days. You wrestle with your conscience and your morals. What's more important to you? Is what you're doing going to harm somebody else? Or harm you?

It's the hard ones that sometimes make us wish we didn't have to decide.

I'm not saying I'd like to be a dog or a butterfly, and run simply off instinct so that I would never have to make decisions that can be so far-ranging... I wouldn't give that up, not by any means. I do realize that every benefit has a cost, a trade-off that must be taken. I just wish that sometimes these damned tradeoffs weren't so incredibly painful.

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