I recently borrowed a book titled “Existentialism: All that matters” by David Cerbone. In the second chapter of the book, he explains that in there is no objective “right” answer for our decisions. While we would often think that our feelings and emotions get in the way of making better decisions, it could actually be the opposite. Without our own personal bias and preferences, the decisions we make may result in a better result from the perspective of others. However, it would not be for our own personal benefit as it does not satisfy our personal desires.
Without taking into account what one truly desires, attempting to make an objectively better decision is simply doing things for the sake of the “bigger picture”. However, in existentialism, there is no “bigger picture”. There is no greater meaning in this world. Thus, the truth is that we have to figure out what is meaningful from our own perspective. What we feel is best for ourselves, is likely best for ourselves. In other words, the best decision to make is subjective. Subjective to the desires of the one making the decision. Others have no right to tell us what we think is right for ourselves.
When I was studying in school, I always thought to myself, “why must I be so disinterested in all of these subjects? Why doesn’t anything here interest me?” Despite such thoughts, I continued to study hard. I thought that I needed to be more objective. Studying is essential to get good grades to help us get jobs in the future. I cannot let myself be overcome by laziness or personal disinterest in the tasks set out for me to accomplish. I need to become a productive member of society and give back for what has been given to me. I cannot be selfish.
However, these very thoughts are what prevented me from trying to find something that I could actually do passionately to the best of my abilities. Something I could enjoy doing while helping myself find a plausible goal in life. I never thought of what I really wanted to do until I ended up having time to relax at home on weekends and not worry about anything since enlistment into the army (since it is mandatory for 2 years). With so much free time over the weekends, I could search for and discover something that means something to me. For the first time, I found something I wanted to do. Write.
Even if we make “mistakes”. Even if we make decisions that we regret later on, we were simply acting on what we believe is right. If we feel the despair and regret of committing to a certain action, our feelings would shift to desire something else. Just because we do not like the consequences of the decisions we made does not necessarily mean that things would have been better if we made a different choice. We simply do not know such things due to the fact that every choice is a one-time thing. As we experience grief due to our decisions, we learn from them. There is nothing wrong. We would not know if it was truly a bad decision for us until we try for ourselves. I mean, just because someone says that doing what you desire to do is a bad idea or something you would regret, he is only saying it from his perspective. Or at the most, based on what he thinks he knows about you.
There is no such thing as a bad decision if you follow your own desires and follow through. The only bad decision would be to not follow your desires. To dwell on what you want to be but never taking action. Or to dwell on your weaknesses and hating yourself without doing anything about it. Those are the only two decisions, that would never lead to anything good.
Since my previous post was about the existence of a right or wrong answer, I decided this post would be a good follow-up.
If you are interested, you can get Existentialism: All That Matters from BookDepository. Simply click here.
Do you think that decisions on what to do in your life are subjective or objective? Is there a goal that each individual should strive for that is already set in stone due to unchangeable facts? Or do you agree that the best decision is one that the person is content with? Comment your thoughts below. 🙂