It seems I never tire of writing about choices! Mad Men, and its reviews, is the reason for the latest bout of thinking on the subject. Very specifically, S7E6 and the review at AV Club. As the show nears its end, it is easy to see how each character’s choices have led them to a particular point. Much like our own lives. This, from the review, pretty much sums it up
You can see why that made me think a bit deeply on choices, free will and predestination. (deja vu!) The more I think about it, the more I am inclined towards free will. Thanks to the above passage, it struck me that it is only because of consciousness and the development of our brain that we are able to see a pattern in the events of the past and and attribute it to predestination, and connect it to our here and now. It could have happened any other way and we would still find a pattern. To quote Jobs, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.” And to me, consciousness looks more like an evolutionary phenomenon than anything divine.
None of that, however, takes away anything from the anxiety that I feel when I have to make a choice. Because, to quote again from the review,
..you suddenly realize that there are more paths you can never follow than there are paths you can. You’ve made your choices, and no matter how you might try to blow up your life, you’re trapped by those choices. Your fate has been sealed, to some degree, and you’re playing out the string. You are finally you, and there’s something wonderful and terrifying about that.
Every few years, I arrive at a point where I think that this would be it – a point after which I wouldn’t have to revisit most of the things I have taken for granted. And every few years, I learn that it is not so. The rabbithole spirit never leaves life! The latest free will thought though, has helped me look forward as opposed to backward. While I do learn from my choices – about me and the ‘lifescape’ I operate in – I also understand that they are no canons for the future.
A few days ago, I experienced something I haven’t been able to in a while. A ride on my Activa at around 6PM. I told D how this was my favourite part of the day. (remember) A character in The Remains of the Day too says, towards the end of the book, that the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. I have a few hours to get there, and as one Stevens remarks, one must make the best of the remains of the day.