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”).

Comments are closed.