The belief that we have a choice is preposterous. As much as we try to convince ourselves it is the case, we are doing nothing than deceiving ourselves much further.
Upon deeper and insightful reflection, it is obvious that most of what we take as a reality, truth, or the way we should live was chosen for us even long before we were conceived.
Our religion, political affiliation, culture, education and even behaviour were long pre-determined.
For example, we are given the impression that we can choose a field of study of our preference but on a subconscious level, such choice has been subliminally implanted in our brains.
As children, we are often posed with the same question: what would you like to be when you grow up? This question, as innocent as it may appear, it basically refers to what choice we would make based on what we have been exposed to, so far.
In a society where you have a limited number of professions or careers, the child would also have very limited options. The part of the question though and probably the most powerful one is the silent statement that the child is not enough or complete at that moment.
It presents the impression that only if the child finally assumes a certain position of a profession or an academic qualification then they are complete or good enough.
The sad part of that it does not affirm the uniqueness and existence of an individual. It does not give an opportunity for an individual to come as they are to present the gifts, talents, or visions that he or she naturally has. It then clearly shows that the choices they are to make are not a natural inclination but of influence – if not interference.
A very good example to demonstrate this is the case of peer pressure. It is interesting to see how one can easily model the behaviour of their peers without a conscious and deliberate intent or decision to do so. In this case, it so happens that one may be going through identity crisis – which is nothing but a normal phase of self-identification.
Often, this phase is inevitable, especially in the world where one has never been presented an opportunity to be themselves or as they come.
For the fact that this phase makes one vulnerable, it becomes an opportunity for the presentation of the illusion of choice especially by those whose profession is to do so for a buck.
The case of peer pressure is no different than a case of a person buying a certain type of car or house simply because they believe it is in line with their social status. At face value, this individual is making a choice but in fact, this choice was made for them already.
It is nothing than modelling others who hold the same position of leadership or status and mostly by assumption.
Most of the choices we make are choices already made for us by good marketing strategies. The impression given is always that what is new is better – even when the old or present is doing just well enough.
At the time of purchase, though, the individual believed they were making a choice to buy the product and believed they needed it. What the person may have not noticed is that their choice was not truly theirs but was made for them and may have been tricked by the manufacturer, who is merely trying to increase their bottom line.
By Karlos The Great
OSHIMWENYO is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.