How To Make Good Choice On Anything

test/ June 5, 2014/ Philosophy, to be moved

Have you ever felt like you have so many choices to review that there’s no way you can ever choose and now you are paralyzed? Well you’re in luck, here at CatholiConnection we’ve developed a few different methods for eliminating the worst choices and making the best decision.  We’ve arranged the advice of 62 famous thinkers’ approaches to making the best choice, you just need to first pick which method is best for yourself – because its of zero value if you don’t make the decision for yourself. That was sarcasm.

We all know that having options is better than not having options because it allows us to become better people– if we make the right choice.

I ask everyone to watch the following TED talk: 

In the United States in particular, but also most of the western world after the ‘enlightenment’, we have accepted this idea that if you do something without choosing it, it’s barely worth anything. Not only that, but the ability to choose actually trumps whether it is even a good choice or not. This is why we feel almost ashamed to tell anyone that they might be doing something wrong when the action they are doing doesn’t necessarily have immediate bad effects on other people — we are being “judgmental.” I’m fairly sure that this was the consequence Pope Gregory XVI was concerned about when he, in Mirari Vos (1832) and Pope Leo XIII in Libertas Praestantissimum (which I am writing about in an ongoing series 1,2,3,4,5…), wrote:

“Since, however, both these faculties [intellect and reason] are imperfect, it is possible, as is often seen, that the reason should propose something which is not really good, but which has the appearance of good, and that the will should choose accordingly. For, as the possibility of error, and actual error, are defects of the mind and attest its imperfection, so the pursuit of what has a false appearance of good, though a proof of our freedom, just as a disease is a proof of our vitality, implies defect in human liberty. The will also, simply because of its dependence on the reason, no sooner desires anything contrary thereto than it abuses its freedom of choice and corrupts its very essence.

Freedom is not such a great thing if we choose the wrong thing now is it? We get stressed out that we ARE making an incorrect decision, end up making a decision much later or never making a decision. But you can be sure, it will be a ‘better, more informed decision’.

My point here is to affirm Barry Schwartz in his recognition that choice, by itself, is not a value that trumps all else. What this practically means is a whole other topic… Does it mean limit the choices before you? No. Does it mean trust tradition, for example on the topic of how to fish or raise a happy family? Usually. Does it mean bring back thinking from a natural law perspective? Certainly. The next time you have to decide between coke or pepsi, consider man’s final end/purpose and it should be easier. Don’t bother with the endless scientific studies and polls on the topic.