The Ability to Choose Freely

From a young age I kept a note book with wise sayings I’d gathered. A quote I particularly remember is, We live in the presence of constant choice. The freedom to make wise choices can be limited, either through internal factors or external ones. Or a combination of both. Yet still we live in the presence of constant choice. I’ve wanted to point out a certain website for some weeks now and somehow everything came together yesterday evening. Instead of posting I went to sleep instead. Here is yesterdays posting, this evening.

Beautiful calm evening. We set off in happy anticipation of good conversation, a stimulating exchange of ideas and a joke or three for good measure. All is well with the world, walking companion, me and Fred. We are just a few yards down the lane when…. FRED! Followed by barks and snarls and confusion and pulling and dragging thereby nearly slipping the collar. We have two dogs in our family, Fred and Harry (aliases of course, to protect their privacy). They are fine together for the most part however if they should meet on their leads it’s not a happy moment for any of us.

Returning to the beautiful calm evening I offer to take Fred’s lead since my companion’s arm has been half ripped from his shoulder… Dogs! Love ’em or leave them at home. In this instance the later is not an option. The subject of assisted suicide and prescribing practices at end of life walked with us, all the while punctuated with come on, keep walking and how much pee does one dog have? And finally the enactment of the five second sniff rule. There are limits, even when one loves ’em.

At times like this when; dog meets dog, dog walks with humans and humans (do their level best) to get along with dogs one realizes the difference. Dogs are animals fare and square and while humans have animal natures too, there is a difference. An obvious difference is our ability to make conscious choices. I’ll skip over a whole lot of things I might say as the evening draws on and point you instead to a web site which addresses, most compassionately, the issue of choosing to come off psychiatric medication. In the next breath I have to say I’m not advocating for or against this choice. However if that is your choice I’d urge taking heed and following the advice offered on the above site. That’s really important. (BTW the site is a treasure trove of information about psychiatric drugs.)

This might seem an odd juxtaposition of subjects; dog walking and animal nature, the assisted suicide issue, the prescribing habits of many doctors at end of life, the freedom to choose, the ability to choose to, or not to, to take prescription drugs, choosing life or death, choosing quality of life. However the way I look at it now, there is nothing odd at all.

Nearly home from our walk and car stops beside us. A familiar face smiles peaceable from the drivers seat. We greet the troupe, here in the valley for our family week-end. The chap behind the wheel just happens to be the one who gave me the link above. Thank you and it was a pleasure to spend time with you all.

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2 thoughts on “The Ability to Choose Freely”

  1. Nice post; lots of relationships tied in, not at all ‘an odd juxtaposition’. As the existentialists would say – ‘we can choose to choose or choose not to choose’. Which brings one around to the thorny question of free will. Our choice is limited; we are bounded by the forms of the moment and ever shifting. And the nature of reality…? The level of truth afforded by our mental condition…? The nature of death and what is beyond forms…? Yes we seem to have more awareness of the options than a dog, but it’s tricky to consider how much more choice and at what level… And the great fortune in good physical and mental health.

    Humans like to communicate with language; its our wonderful nature to be able to conceptualise. Dogs like to communicate with a good sniff; I wonder what they take in in those five seconds…

  2. Thank you for this post Rev. Mugo. A lot has jumped out at me from the dog walking, to the choices, to the assisted/suicide. I did miss my dog and walking her whilst at Jukai.

    I’ve been away for a few days in the dales with my family. They’ve been on holiday, as supposedly have I (LOL) But whilst walking round Bolton Abbey and Skipton Boat Show and some beautiful blue bell encrusted woodlands, I’ve been pre-occupied with the choices I have to, and have been facing at the moment with medication, work opportunities, family responsibilities and the balance of them all.

    Thankfully assisted suicide isn’t one of them (but has been in my mind in the past)but there was a reasonable (for TV) discussion on The Big Question http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kc2l1/The_Big_Questions_Series_2_Episode_16 with a person from Exit amongst others.

    In gassho, Kevin

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