Limit Approaching Zero

I’m fairly well read in existentialist literature, I still buy into portions of it, for they allow great strength to be present within an individual, thereby strengthening myself.

But as with all things in me, there is an inevitable backlash. Although I am not quite sure this one is a true backlash or merely another spin.

Instead of freedom of choice in the world, we are totally limited by that very freedom.

My understanding of existentialism, is that, though the world is inherently meaningless, we as humans, have the ability to create our own meaning for ourselves within the world, thus giving ourselves control over our lives.

But this series of choices has another side. If I make a choice, by its definition, I have also excluded other choices, thereby limiting my own existence. However, if I make no choice [in and of itself still a choice], I remain stagnant and limit myself in that way.

An example:

You are in a room with two doors. You can go through one of them, or you can go through the other [sound a bit like the Matrix: Reloaded, or the Lady and the Tiger?], or you can go through neither and remain in the room. These are your choices.

If you choose to go through one door, you exclude going through the other, and exclude choosing neither, you have limited your choices, and moved forward.

It works the same with the other door.

If no choice is made, you just remain, and are limited to the current set of choices.

So it should be undeniable, if a person is concerned with progress making a decision and moving forward is preferable to remaining still.

Yet each decision cuts off the possibilities that other choices could have made. Thus, the ability to choose the path you follow, the existentialist freedom of meaning, contains within it a paradox. You choose what path not not to follow as well. This freedom, considered the ultimate freedom [by me at least], is limiting.

In any case, we are bound by forces outside of our control. Since we all die, this limiting freedom is only something that is as extant as our mind.

Metaphysics is a whole different ballgame.

c’est la vie.

2 thoughts on “Limit Approaching Zero

  1. you raise a good point, and i should clarify.
    for me “progress” does not necessarily mean things are better than before. that definition seems to create more problems than it solves. “moving forward” is a better description, but again sometimes “moving backward” could be an equally appropriate phrase. “moving” by itself does not suffice, because something could move orbitally, and essentially not change.

    change is the criteria for my kind of “progress” the idea that “things are different now [not better or worse, just different] because of my action/choice” is what i was trying to get at.

  2. i think the “undeniable” part of your argument, the thing about “progress,” is a difficult thing to grasp exactly. it’s maybe a bit “western” to think that “moving forward” equals “progress.” i may prefer action to inaction, but as you mention, inaction is also an action in a sense. perhaps action helps me believe i’m in charge and that i am making some kind of progress through deliberate choices, but i don’t see any reason why there would be an automatic guarantee for progress in a meaningful sense simply because i am moving through a particular door. or rather, maybe i am just wondering if “progress” is a word describing something moving forward, and questioning whether the word means anything more than that (as in “better than before”).

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