There was an episode of Doctor Who this season — “Mummy on the Orient Express” — that ends with the Doctor telling Clara, “Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose.” I loved that line despite it being a little pat. I mean, it’s cold comfort when you’re deciding between shit and shit.
It made me wonder if choice is inherently empowering, or if only certain choices are empowering. I guess we need to start from a place of agreement, if you have two terrible options, are you making a choice if you take one option over another (vs. if the choice is made for you). Or is it not a choice if the options are both terrible. Did Sophie, for instance, in Sophie’s Choice, really make a choice?
So let’s pretend that you said that yes.
If there are multiple options (even if they’re all bad) and you choose one (instead of having it chosen for you), then you made a choice. It may be, as the Doctor says, that only have bad options, but you still have to choose. Well, do you? I mean, there are certain things you could wait out so the choice is made for you. And then you didn’t choose. So you don’t have to choose. Or is he saying that in order to be empowered human beings that we need to exercise our free will? We need to keep making choices, even when we don’t want to make choices?
I guess I’ve been thinking about this quote this week due to Brittany Maynard. She only had bad choices, and all of them led to the same place. The only choice she got to make was how she reached the end point.
I don’t think I would like the alternative; I wouldn’t want my free will removed. I don’t like choices made on my behalf. We try not to make any choices for the kids on their behalf unless we must. But are all choices empowering? Do we always want to have a choice?
Big thoughts for a Sunday to think about with whatever part of your brain isn’t being used to compile tomorrow’s #MicroblogMondays post.