Jose Ortega Y Gasset on “Decisions”

Our lives are continually affected and altered by the decisions that we make, the paths we choose to move within and about, the paths we choose to realize. As you already know, you can’t not decide and therein lies the difficulty – the difficulty of choice. It is a perpetual “trip” through the choices that we make or choose not to make that shape our lives. Any way we cut the cake, we move through these situations in spite of and with respect of the consequences of what kind of life we have chosen to live.

Ortega Y Gasset, in his Man and People says, “But life is nothing except man’s being; so that here we have the most extraordinary, extravagant, dramatic, and paradoxical thing about the human condition – namely, that man is the only reality that does not simply consist in being but must choose its own being. For if we analyze the commonplace thing that is going to occur in a little while – the fact that each of us will have to choose and decide the direction of the street he is going to take – you will see that the choice of such a seemingly simple act will be made only with the intervention of the entire choice that you have already made, the choice that at this moment, as you sit here, you carry secretly in your inmost selves, in your most hidden depths: the choice of a type of humanity, of a way of being man, that you seek to realize in your living.” (44)

What this means for us is that each of us carries and lives-through the ability to become, while acting out the stories that we imagine ourselves as experiencing. Our humanity is caught up in the decisions that we make and, more than that, is embedded in the decisions that we have already made. I am reminded here of a CL adage of, “if you want to change who you are, change what you do.” We live our life in terms of what we do and, more importantly, in how we (and the others around us) interpret what we do. The life that you want to have starts with your moving toward that kind of life with the tools and competencies you have at hand in the context of the life that you currently are a part of.

Thank you for deciding to read this article. DO your best and CHOOSE wisely.

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