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Week 9: Does it matter what you choose?

Anne Dalke's picture

On page 365 of Prodigal Summer, Deanna reflects "it didn't matter what she chose." Today--during election week, and two-thirds of the way through a course on choice--what do you think? Does it matter what you choose?

Jessica's picture

Representation is as important as the outcome!

There's definitely a limit to the extent which a vote can influence the outcome--it wouldn't matter if I voted for the Democrats in Texas because the majority favors the Republicans. However, I think voting represents a bit more than that. By voting, I would get to reflect on my beliefs and clarify in what kind of ideas I believe in. Maybe the outcome wouldn't be influenced by my vote so much, but I would definitely benefit from the process of making decisions, which makes voting worthwhile in my point of view. Secondly, even if the outcome isn't what I wanted it to be, I would represent the percentage of people who voted the same as I did. It would be tragic if everyone in Texas voted for the Republicans (sorry for using Texas as an example) just because they think they know what the result will be--it wouldn't give the Republicans a chance to wonder about why some people would vote for the Democrats! I think representing the minority is important for this reason, even if the outcome may favor the majority. Voting shows people how many of other people in this country believe in certain ideals.

lcatlin's picture

 I think to figure out if

 I think to figure out if something matters, who need to ask the question first of who it matters to. When Deanna decided it didn't matter, I think she thinks that it doesn't matter what other people think of her situation with Eddie and with her pregnancy. Everything matters, you just have to figure out to who. What other people think of her scandalous relationship could mean something to gossiping neighbors, but not to Deanna. 

I think voting does matter, because it's very important for me to have faith in my political system. I voted for the first time (absentee style) for my town's school board and town council, something I've looked forward to since I was under 8, probably. It mattered to me to vote because its something I've wanted to do for a long time. It also mattered for the people I voted for, or didn't vote for. 

I think to say that nothing matters is totally depressing and untrue. 

rmilitello's picture

Does it matter what we choose?

 I think that it always matters what we choose, because even if our decisions do not have a large impact on the world around us they at least have an impact on our own happiness. Every choice we make takes us in a different direction in our lives. Whatever we do now will affect us later, even if in the smallest possible way. One seemingly small decision and ten years down the road you can be working as a cashier in your hometown, a professor at a college, or a researcher well on your way to finding a cure for a disease.One seemingly small decision and 10 years from now you can be sitting across from the love of your life, your worst enemy, or no one at all. I think to say that our choices don't matter is like saying we don't matter. I think when we say it doesn't matter what we choose we sound like we are giving up. It's like saying, "It doesn't matter what I choose because it's not like it's going to make a difference." Maybe not to you it won't, but maybe it would to someone you care about. What if you decided not to go to your best friend's speech on human rights, or anything really, because you figured there would be so many people there she wouldn't even notice. But she did notice, and because you weren't there it seemed like you didn't care. The question is do you care enough about yourself and other people to believe your choices do matter? One vote may not seem like it is going to make a difference in a presidential election, but imagine if everyone had that same attitude. One vote makes a greater difference than no vote at all. Deanna, Lusa, and Garnett all make their fair share of choices, but it's not that those choices don't matter. If one of those characters changed their course of action their lives may not have intercepted in the end. Maybe that doesn't matter to the rest of the world, but it should matter to them.

avietgirl's picture

What we choose

Everything choice have some impact on something else. No matter how small or big the choice, it matters. We are faced with many choices everyday. Some we make are unconscious. However, it counts because it makes us who we are. If it does not matter then we wouldn't bother to choose. Choosing can be very hard sometime, this is betting our choices are important. It will have some affect on us, and that is why we even bother choosing. If what we choose did not matter, then I don't think that we will even bother to choose. Life will be simple if it didn't matter.  

nbagaria's picture



 The choices that people make are often based as much on their judgment as perspective. In fact, judgment and perspective are not mutually exclusive. One stems from the other. If there is no perspective, there can be no judgment and if there is a judgment there has to be a perspective. Thus, every choice that an individual makes is a reflection of their perspective.
  In no other situation is one's perspective judged by society as much as during an election. This is probably because in most countries, there are limited political options as to where you can stand as a voter. Thus, every single voter has to choose, based on his or her perspective as to which party they want to vote for.
  Hence, every choice that an individual makes as a voter is a representation of their personal perspective and every decision can as easily be argued for or against, because perspective cannot be judged, it can only be challenged by another.
Shayna S's picture


The question reminds me of the presidential elections. In this case, individual choice varies greatly between states. States with large populations, such as California, tend to diminish the importance of the individual vote. States with small populations, like Rhode Island, exaggerate the importance of a single vote. In the end, however, it is the majority that decides which candidate the state will go to. Using this perspective, one vote does not have the impact that the majority votes have upon an election.

On the other hand, the book mentions constantly the interconnectedness of all things, the web that every person, animal, and inanimate object is involuntarily involved in. The message throughout the second half of the novel is “we are not alone.” In this sense, an individual choice is almost impossible because of the wide-spread influence the costs and benefits will have. The choice of Eddie to shoot the wild turkey took the opportunity of that tom to become another predator’s food. But he also nourished himself and Deanna that would, however minute, lead to the nourishment of their future baby. Individual choice, it seems, may not even exist in the perspective of Prodigal Summer. To sum up the answer to the question, it probably doesn’t matter what you choose, but what or who your decision affects.



Serendip Visitor's picture

of course it matters.

It definitely matters for a person to be able to choose. One of the many reasons it is so important for people and even animals to choose is so that we can make the best choices for ourselves, our children and people that matter most for us. For choice to not matter, would be to not care. I look at it as carelessness, as ignoring the choices put in front of you. But also, a slew of choices inst always the best thing. Too many choices can make you choose the wrong thing and over analyzing those possible choices screws with your own head. The choice to choose, i believe, is one of the best and worst things given to our generation and to those generations to come.

kdlz's picture

 Ahhhh of course it matters

 Ahhhh of course it matters what we choose! Every choice we make has repercussions in some way -- whether they are big repercussions that affect us in the long term, or small repercussions that may only affect us for a day, or an hour, or even less. For example...eating an icecream vs. becoming vegetarian. Both are really different decisions but both will affect you in some way, albeit not on the same scale. Eating an icecream may affect you for a few hours (getting a sugar high or something) while becoming vegetarian is a whole lifestyle change that affects you in the long run (becoming conscious of what you're eating & making sure that you get all the vitamins (ex: iron) you need). I guess you would only NOT care if you didn't care what happens to you.. (but no one really DOESN'T care about their well being, aren't we programmed to be generally selfish and look our for our own needs?). I think we need to care to different degrees about the choices we make -- small trivial choices require very little investment, while big choices that affect us in the long run require more investment. idk :)

c.k.koech's picture

"Hakuna Matata"

to me this statement does hold some truths, but I also feel that it is also very dependent on the actual person making the decisions and what the decision it. I feel like over all decisions are made as an "end all be all" type of solution to a problem. Choosing the right computer or pair of jeans is now more than ever an activity that can induce the same amount of stress and anxiety as bunji jumping and it is just unessessary. In some situations it does matter what you choose but those decisions are not based on a grand scale they are still your decisions so make them how you see fit. but in the grand scheme of things the decisions we make dont really matter at all, as long as we dont hurt or abuse others  in the process and live our lives by the phrase "Hakuna Matata" it means no worries...(for the rest of your days)...we are here for a limited time only if we fret over the little things how can you truly live..unless that is just how you live (go for it)...these statements dont apply to like murders and stuff.

c.k.koech's picture

three little birds

After looking at some of the responses other people wrote, I am suprised at how many people feel that choices do matter and not just that but they matter a great deal. the choices like whether to eat breakfast today or what to wear affect us on a daily basis. the sentimentalist in me would agree with dumbledore the choices we make shape us into the people we will become (I think that is the jist of what he was saying). in rhetrospect my "no worries" attitude should be altered, although I still feel that in the grand schem of things our personal decisions dont matter, but when those decisions start to  affect others there is a problem. The  decision to litter, to drive instead of walk , decision to  cut down rain forests, and to fight wars for no reason, decision to kill and rape others, or to drink and drive, these decisions all matter to us all because they affect us all in the immediate and sometimes in the future. but for the list of other decisions we make homework, clothes, food ect habit and environment force us to think they matter but life is too short to get an ulcer from deciding between coke & diet coke.

jrf's picture


As noted earlier, Deanna was in a bad place when she decided her choices "didn't matter"-- she had just had an experience of her actions not having an effect on the world, and she seemed to be thinking in a very individual, limited sense: the choices I make will not save a species, or even a few lives, therefore they do not matter. Obviously, the choices Deanna makes over the course of her life impact her greatly, if we assume that they were freely made choices and not unavoidable outcomes. Deanna's story often makes reference to the impossibility of her choosing in a way other than she does-- for example, when Eddie arrives, she feels so powerfully drawn to him as to not be able to stay away. However, there usually seemed to be another option-- Deanna could have given her baby away, or found some other escape from society than the forest, etc.-- and the choices Deanna makes have a significant impact on her own life as well as on Nannie and Deanna's future child. If this level of "mattering" counts, even though it doesn't necessarily alter the course of history or even always of individual lives, then our choices are very important.

Avocado's picture


 This question is a little too open-ended, I think.  There is so much I can choose to relate, so much space I can choose to take up with this posting~ so much to ignore!  Huzzah!  Choice!  Indeed there is choice among us!  I think this is somewhat of a given!  Alors!  I suppose the two vexations wondered about in this novel are~ the debacle of choosing to decide based on the effect your decision will have on the universe, or choosing, going from the macro to the microcosm, based on the effect of your decision on your own personal happiness.  Well... basing your decisions on your relevance to the world seems to accomplish very little.  I might agree that in most cases pursuing personal ends is actually the most effective way of influencing populations as a whole~ if only because you choose by your endeavors (consumer choices, employment, neighborhood, politics) to join others, to become parts of a whole that can be measured and put to collective use, directed (or oppressed, as the case may be).  BUT I think choice goes as far as human capability, and to languish in the hopelessness of your situation, dwell on a lack of choices, is wasteful.  There are always choices, and though there may be very strong pressure towards one lifestyle or another, one major or another, one partner or another the power to decide remains wholly invested in you.  Now.... if you choose to become a serial killer there will, of course, be consequences, and part of decision making involves considering costs.  But the decision still remains open, it is possible to choose to become a raging maniac with a large gun (because a small gun would be entirely inefficient).  The consequences of becoming such an individual are just so extremely unhelpful to health and happiness (to most people) that the choice loses some of its attraction.  But it IS a choice.  However ridiculous.

ED's picture

Choice: Humans Are Animals Too, Thank God (or Nature)

 With such a hefty question, Does it matter what you choose?, I am inclined (or even slightly nudged?) to spiral into truisms and ultimatums about how much an individual choice matters-- but the point of this Seminar is to be able to have a discussion about choice (and whether/how it matters), which necessitates gradient scales and critical thinking instead of black and white thinking, which helps a thinker like me avoid generalizations or truisms about choice.

This question is left open-ended, as Anne/Peter meant it to be. Who is "you"? Is it everyone, or just you, or just referring to an individual choice? On page 364 and 365 of Prodigal Summer, Deanna has an epiphany while she is running away from thunder storms (her irrational fear), about the choice she feels she must make about the frustrating argument she's been having between her mind and her body's wants-- As she suddenly sees the cabin and watches the black snake (Eddie's irrational fear), leave the cabin for good. "relief, it felt like, enormous and settled, like a pile of stones on a steep slope suddenly shifting and tumbling slightly into the angle of repose. The pounding of What do I want went still in her breast. It didn't matter what she chose. The world was what it was, a place with its own rules of hunger and satisfaction. Creatures lived and mated and died, they came and went, as surely as summer did. They would go their own ways, of their own accord." (365). My interpretation of what she realizes is that what has been stressing her out so much is a purely human contraption, a purely human-invented problem, existing in her own world outside of the "natural" course of things.

Her realization connects somewhat to Lusa's belief in life systems existing even when you cannot see them... Lusa trusts that pheromones and molecules and memories are really floating out there in our auras, and will guide us in our decision-making processes. Call it intuition, call it a gut-feeling; Lusa believes it's real, while Deanna has gotten caught up in the human world of logistics and choice. Though she is an expert on nature and is surrounded by it, Deanna is the one who thinks it matters that she and Eddie Bondo would be a strange sight to see out in public. To that, Eddie responds: "but no one can see us, and so it's not strange" (something like that). He seems to believe more in intuitive choice than she.

To return to the initial question, does it matter what you choose, I would say yes, when the "choice" isn't a paradox; when it isn't between a few choices that all seem to put you in a worse position. Choice matters when it makes you happy, when it gives you agency. In Deanna's situation asking herself what she wants, she forgot to stop thinking-- which is the only way a choice like "want" can be made, I believe. The choice between body and mind couldn't be made; humans don't get to choose which they compromise-- but alas, the earthly needs of the body almost always win (humans commit suicide, but not as often as they choose to live, which is bodily), even if your mind doesn't want it to be so. So, at this point, relax. Be relieved, as Deanna is. There is nothing you can do about your station in life when it comes to this basic level of needs- so let the choice go and be grateful for the headache ending. Be choosey in every other situation, if you can handle the deliberation. If you can't deal, "simplify," as Barry Schwartz might recommend.

ellenv's picture

Choice and Change

This question first made me think of all those TV shows that show how simple changes in how people choose to do something significantly change how their day (or, even life) turns out. Each choice we make leads to a consequence and because of that, even the smallest decisions can have an effect on all aspects of our life. At the same time, this makes it seem as if we all life in very self-absorbed worlds in which we think that all of our actions are going to change the course of human history. Yes, there are some choices that are more important than others, but often there are certain choices that you make in life that you first think will have little impact that soon after you learn will have a greater impact. Like, when you decide what eat you may think it is of little consequence, but hours later when you feel sick, you might regret eating that piece of food that didnt look so fresh. Back to television. While I always love watching the shows that show how simple changes could change the course of our days, at the same time I think they are slightly unrealistic because there is no way that we could say "if only I did this, then my life would be so much better" because there is no way of knowing whether the long term consequence will be much better. Or, it could be that the short term consequence is positive and the long term is not, or vice versa. That being said, I dont think that I will stop enjoying such shows anytime soon.

jtm715's picture

Everything is a Choice

 I don't agree with the sentiment that it doesn't matter what you choose.  Everything anyone does in life is a choice, whether it be choosing to buy store brand macaroni and cheese over kraft or choosing to quit your job.  Just because something isn't life-changing doesn't mean that it isn't a choice.  Everything in some small way affects the final outcome.  Sometimes the choices we make aren't plainly obvious, they're just a subconscious action but the still change the course of a day or a month or a year. 

lkuswanto's picture

every choice matters

No matter what you choose, there will always be consequences for choosing that particular choice. Whether you made the right or wrong choice, you will have to deal with something after it. Every options offer its' own merits. Sometimes, if you choose to make the wrong decision, you will get stuck in a cycle that is hard to break. Besides that, what you choose will definitely have something to do with your life. Thus, it does matter what we choose.

If what we choose does not matter, why bother living our life? We might as well just kill ourselves because it does not matter whether we live or not. I strongly disagree with Deanna about how our choice does not matter. What we choose to do in life will somehow define our life. If we want to live a meaningful life, then we have to choose the right choices. That is why, again, what we choose matters a lot.

In practical life, we are faced with options that may look simple and trivial. People often think that this kind of options will not affect our life if we choose a particular one randomly. They are wrong. Even the tiniest thing does matter. This small thing will eventually lead us to something bigger and more significant. 

pxie's picture

It matters, but not always....

 How could it be if all of our choice didn’t really matter? It would be horrible. People would be reluctant to think and have no incentive to move because no matter what they choose, the result is always the same. So, what we choose does matter. However, after giving it a second thought, people would find that we, in many cases, are powerless before choices. We can never choose the choice offered to us, which always seem to be more powerful than the decisions we make. Choosing a college, for instance, is not entirely our choice. It is somehow a mutual choice: the college chooses the students it wants and we choose the college we like most among those offer us admissions. Therefore, we do not have absolute freedom to choose whatever college we like most. Moreover, the environment also matters. More often than not, we are greatly influenced by the people around us, though sometimes we are unconscious of it. In a word, though our choice does matter, we do not always have absolute control of it.


hlehman's picture

To Choose or Not to Choose

 I think that it does matter what you choose.  When I think about it, I make choices almost every second of every day and I think everyone else does too.  What to wear? What to eat? When to sleep? And then there are the smaller things- what I am typing right now-choosing what words and how to explain my opinions.  I think that because we are constantly making decisions, most people would probably feel that not every choice matters, especially long term, but most of the time, each choice leads to another and a different result, so even the seemingly most insignificant ones do take some effect.  

When people ask me what made me pick Bryn Mawr, I can list off the obvious/ big reasons in a snap, but when I really think about it, my decision was built on choices I'd been making for years.  I probably made over 1000 small decisions that lead me to choose Bryn Mawr.  I'm not saying that I can list every single one right now because to be honest I don't think I even know half of the small decisions I made that lead me to where I am now.  Somewhere inside me the effects of those choices I've made over the years remain and when it comes time to make big decisions they bond together and give me that "gut feeling" of what to do.  Like I was saying before, I think that every choice leads to another and therefore they all do matter in some way.  

I think that when it comes to deciding what is "right" and making the "best" choice, it really depends on the person.  From my experience I have learned that everything is more about how one reacts to a choice and what happens after making a decision. I don't think every choice I've made has necessarily been "good" or smart, but no one makes only "good" choices because in order to make "good" choices, one needs to make "bad" ones first in order to learn what a "good" choice really is.


Lydia Jessup's picture

 Yes, the choices we make

 Yes, the choices we make always matter.  This does not mean that every choice we make will change our lives, but even small choices add up and can change an aspect of our lives.  The statement, “It didn’t matter what she chose” can be better understood when put in context.  The next sentence is: “The world was what it was, a place with its own rules of hunger and satisfaction.”  At this moment Deanna was feeling helpless.  She felt that no matter what she chose the outcome would be the same, because the world had it’s own plan and she was too small to change that.  Sometimes this is the case, but I believe that more often the opposite is true.  We always have a choice and what we choose can greatly affect the world, especially if you add up everyone’s choices.  The last line of the book stayed with me: “Every choice is a world made new for the chosen.”  I agree that every choice we make creates a new world.  Think about how many choices are made every day by everyone in the world, and imagine how many potential worlds there are that are never realized and the ones that are chosen and lived. 

maliha's picture

Does it matter?

Of course it does. Although the daily choices we make might not have huge, life altering consequences, each choice we make alters our own lives in some way. These small changes add up to make us who we are and that also affects the people around us. You can't make choices for other people, so it might seem like the things you do have no effect because you are the only one doing them. But because your choices do affect other people, everything you do matters because one decision of yours can spark someone else's choice.

kgrassle's picture

Choices are Contagious

          The overwhelming amount of choices that we have are extremely important because it gives us the ability to control our personal happiness. In a world full of uncertainties, bad things can happen unexpectedly.   How we choose to react to unexpected situations, however, leads to different outlooks on life.  If we choose to stay positive, our overall quality of life can be improved.  Even when there is not choice in a certain situation, we can choose to approach it so that in the end it gives us a positive life experience.

            What people choose not only immediately effect themselves, but also others.  For example, my choice to go to Bryn Mawr has had a significant impact on my life.  But what about my roommate’s life?  If I hadn’t chosen to go to Bryn Mawr, her year would be completely different.  Her social interactions and outlook on her first year of college would be completely different with a different roommate.  It would also impact her interactions with others as well, leading to a chain reaction.  Even small choices to turn off the light in a room not in use can make a huge impact when these choices become contagious.  If the population begins to make choices collectively, they result in a global impact.

Rabbitbmc's picture

Dumbledore has the right idea.

I think that everybody wants to be different. Deep down, all people want to be unique, and they want to have that certain something that separates them from the other thousands upon thousands of people in the world. I think that the uniqueness among people is created by our choices. Our choices are what differentiates us, which is why they are so important! Who here wants to be just like every other Tom, Dick, and Harry out there? Because I sure don't!

After writing that I feel like I sound an awful lot like Albus Dumbledore who stated,"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities". This may sound silly, but I think that this fictional old man is right! I think that our choices, no matter how small or large, are extraordinarily significant in our lives and the lives of others.

As for Deanna's dilemma? I do think that some of our biological choices are made out of our control, which can seem a tad unnerving. But as far as I can tell, this inner and natural part of humans that makes these decisions without us knowing seems to know what its doing, so I trust it (just like I didn't mind trusting Pandora last week). This powerful pull in us is a good thing. If nature walked up to me and said, "so Eva, you have to make your own choices today about pheromones, the best of luck", I wouldn't even know where to begin! I think that this choices are no more or less significant than the choices we make consciously, BUT I do think going with the flow is best.


But overall, it looks to me like we should all have a little Dumbledore in us somewhere when it comes to making choices.

Calála's picture

How can choice not matter?

I am not sure I understand how no can be an answer to this question. When Deanna reflects "it didn't matter what she chose," her statement stems from her frustration in a particular instant. She is reflecting on the fact that what she chooses cannot control the actions of other creatures, but this does not mean that choice has no effect at all. The choices we make every day affect our lives if nothing else. For example, Deanna made the choice to leave her life in the city, to take the job with the National Forest Service, and to live a solitary life on the mountain. Lusa made the choice to stay on the Widener farm even after Cole's death. The choices Lusa and Deanna made had huge impacts on their lives.

However, I also believe that choices we make have a bigger impact than just controlling out own lives. Although Deanna wonders whether her choices matter if the world is set in its natural ways, I believe that since the world is constantly changing, it is affected by everyones' choices. It is like a chain affect. A choice you make, whether to attend a certain school or recycle a bottle, affects at least one other person's choices, which in turn will affect another person. This chain effect creates a world wide web of interconnected choices that would be impossble to escape. So choice absolutely matters.

thatcaliforniagirl13's picture

Choices choices choices

People make choices everyday. From the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the classes they take and the person they wish to marry. All of these choices may become overwhelming. I think that it definitely matters what you choose. My aunt is constantly reminding me about "choices and consequences". She'll talk to me about her daughters and how she tells them, "do whatever you want; I'm not going to stop you, but remember that there are always consequences to the choices you make in life." In sense, I would have to agree with her, however there are choices that matter more than others. Choosing what college to attend, choosing your significant other, choosing what to major in: those are choices that matter more, because they are more long-term. On the other hand, choosing what to wear in the morning, what to eat for breakfast, those things aren't necessarily a matter of life or death. They aren't exactly significant to long-term; they are more short-term. 

I also think that some choices should be more thought out than others. However, overanalyzing choices and comparing the "what ifs" may change your initial thoughts about a choice. Therefore, I find it better to make choices based on that gut instinct. Make the choice and don't look back. 

rshen's picture

I may be Deanna

Deanna reflects on choice in various parts throughout the novel. In a conversation with Jerry, she remarks, "Tell me something Jerry. If the President got shot his afternoon, what would you do tomorrow that wouldn't be any different from what you'd do if he hadn't?" (Kingsolver 249). For Deanna specifically, she thrives on this notion that she is independent and removed from society and her past life. For her, she finds comfort in knowing that what she does one day will not effect her future.

I'd have to agree with her. Most of the time I'd be riddled with anxiety if I had to think about the long-term picture. And when I'm face with times that I know my choices will affect my future I usually go through an internal struggle similar to Deanna's. When I had to apply to colleges last year I knew I wouldn't apply ED because that one application would dictate my next four years. I also attempted to stay emotionally disconnected when I was visiting schools so the decision seemed less critical in my life than I knew it was. In a similar respect, Deanna doesn't have a long term plan until Eddie comes and then she has to face the idea of their future together.

Deanna and I realize that what we choose will matter. And one coping mechanism is emotionally detaching ourselves from the conflict, or at least trying.

Annagibs's picture

There can be no other answer than "Yes"a

I always believe in the validity of choice.  This isn't a comment on the existence (or non-existence) of God or Fate.  It isn't even a comment on the pros and cons of democratic republics. I've always believed in the power of my choices, as well as the principle that there are personal, social, political, economic, GLOBAL consequences to everything that I do.  I believe in the interconnectedness of all things and people, I believe in a global ecology.  I see things much the same as Deanna sees them, but I imagine it all on a global level.  I know that my choice to turn on a light will effect everything from the creatures that live in area surrounding the coal mines which generate that electricity, to the coal miners' health, to the quality of air that someone hundreds of miles away from me breathes. Perhaps I weigh too heavily on the consequences of choice, but I believe that's where the power of it comes from.  

I read a novel once in which the author asserted that "humans are cowards in the face of true happiness". It spoke to me, and from that quote I ascertained one of my general perceptions of life: All Life is a series of choices, and everything matters because one's personal happiness is the deciding factor between a life worth living and one that could have been spent more wisely. I always make sure to choose the path that makes me the happiest, and so it is an indisputable fact that YES, it always matters what you choose!

Maiya Zwerling's picture

Matters? Choice?

 There are some really important things that come with having the ability to choose. We choose our elected officials. We choose our life partner. We choose our career that makes us most effective in accomplishing what we care about. Without choice in these three categories and many more it does matter simply because it effects not only how we live our lives, but how others live theirs. Those are long lasting decisions whose effects will be seen for days, months, years to come. Because of their long lasting significance, they matter. What doesn't matter nearly as much is the every day decisions we make about food, clothing, etc. They only begin to matter when we begin to think about their long lasting consequences on our lives. For instance, if we have an eating disorder of course it matters what we eat. It matters that we choose something that can help us maintain our health. If we want to make a lasting impression on our boss at our first day of work of course it matters what we wear - people judge on first impressions. Those are rare occurances, however, and we cannot care about all of them too much. We must find a balance. Choice is a virtue, it is something we are luck to get. But it is also something that is necessary to live the comfortable lives we expect. And I think it is a great privledge that we have that power over our own lives.