Life, it seems to me, is a series of choices. Constantly we have to make choices and decisions…and the quality of our lives and often the direction it takes is decided by the quality of the decisions we make.
As Neo rightly guessed in the Matrix Reloaded, “ Choice. The problem is choice.”.
I have been faced with choices, often life-changing ones, and had to make the decisions by myself. Most people would prefer to leave the decision in someone else’s hands or postpone it until the decision matters no more or their hands are tied and they are forced to choose one over the other.
I failed to get into IIT through the JEE and even the GATE rank I got first time around was not enough to get me a direct admit. I kept studying , kept obsessing about it and attained Nirvana on the 29th of April this year when before I went in for a viva my mom informed me I had got a direct admit from IITM. I had been called gateguru, my hobbies apparently were limited to studying for the GATE. I even faced accusations that I judged people by their AIRs. It was a choice I had made…why?…I don’t know…it was almost an automatic one.
Maybe this exchange between Neo and Agent Smith at the end of Matrix Revolutions will shed some light…I think it is the most important exchange between them in the trilogy…I could identify with the dialogue personally.
Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?
Neo: BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO.
The last line I think is the most significant …because I choose to.
To be able to make these choices there is need for introspection, often self-appraisal…a need to ask yourself…How good am I ? What do I really want?
Once that is done…I suppose the choices become easier to make…often automatic.
This passage from the Foutainhead is one of my favourites,one between Peter Keating and Howard Roark…
“If you want my advice, Peter,” he said at last, “you’ve made a mistake already.
By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don’t you
know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?”
“You see, that’s what I admire about you, Howard. You always know.”
“Drop the compliments.”
“But I mean it. How do you always manage to decide?”
“How can you let others decide for you?”
“But you see, I’m not sure, Howard. I’m never sure of myself. I don’t know
whether I’m as good as they all tell me I am. I wouldn’t admit that to anyone
but you. I think it’s because you’re always so sure that I…”