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Or perhaps just utterly pedantic, regarding the nature of 'Choice'

(86 Posts)
RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 14:22:01

If I am, I know I will be told (forcefully and with much swearing wink and I can take it grin

Just because you don't like your choices, doesn't mean you don't have them.

Just because choices are often between two equally shitty things, doesn't mean they aren't choices

Just because you are afraid to make a change, does not mean you are not making a choice to do nothing (doing nothing being in itself a choice)

Not wanting to do something is not the same as having no choice.

Not liking to admit that you have choices or have made choices, does not stop them from being choices

Bad choices are still choices.

You choose to do something, you don't have to do it. You only have to be ok with the consequences of your choice.

I am just so tired of arguing about the meaning of choice with my husband that it would be good to hear other views. grin

Teeb Wed 09-Oct-13 14:24:21


MrsTerryPratchett Wed 09-Oct-13 14:28:48

Most of those are Hobsons choice though. Take it or leave it. You are contradicting yourself somewhat, If you say a null/bad choice is a choice, then no, I don't want to be OK with it.

RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 14:31:21

See, this is part of the argument I have with him grin I maintain that two different but equally shitty things are still choices! you just have to choose which you hate less. He thinks that it's not a choice unless you're choosing between a great thing with only positives and a crappy life wrecking event! But most choices are a case of weighing up which pile of shit you are least unhappy to be plunged into.

How am I contradicting myself? I'd love to understand the other view. Maybe I am unfair grin

whitsernam Wed 09-Oct-13 14:38:29

yanbu!! Life is what it is, and not all choices are good, but you still have to choose. Someone needs to grow up.

RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 14:40:48

meant to say that I am not saying that everything in your entire life is a choice. there are things that are not. death, disease, getting burgled, etc etc. That's not what I'm on about. I am on about actual things where there are in reality, two or more possible courses of action.

I'm talking about, well, to use the ridiculous and completely unimportant example that sparked the (lighthearted!) debate again today - you don't HAVE to spend an evening with someone just because you have travelled down to them to ask a favour. You can choose to have a coffee and a chat, say thanks very much and leave. It's not that you don't have the option of doing that. There's no gun to your head.

That's an extremely trivial example of it, just off the top of my head. grin

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 09-Oct-13 14:42:17

You're saying you don't have to choose something. For example, if someone says they will poke me in the eye or kick me in the leg, that is not a choice because it is between pain and pain. I don't have to love having that choice and "be OK with the consequences of your choice" because it is not really a choice.

However, I am of the firm belief that you try to deal with what life hands you with stoicism and good grace.

RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 14:45:19

See, I would see that as a choice. A choice between a pain in your leg and a pain in your eye.

I'd choose leg. It would hurt for a while but a poke in the eye could cause damage to my sight. grin Of the two options available to me, the leg is the one that would damage me the least.

A choice between two shitty things is still a choice. There doesn't have to be an outcome that is good for the options to be choices.

Again, that's my take on it and I am having trouble wrapping my head round the idea that if there's no good choice, there's no choice. But I am listening and trying to get it. Honest.

shewhowines Wed 09-Oct-13 14:52:22

You may have to do something that is completely against what you would choose to do, for the sake of others. Yes, I know this is a choice you make but it is a choice that is not of your making.

Mothers gave up their babies for adoption years ago, because they felt they had no choice. They've lived with the devastation of that choice ever since. Was it really always a choice?

Actually, I agree more with you than your DH. I'm just trying to think around the issue.

RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 14:55:00

That's a really really good argument.

YoureBeingADick Wed 09-Oct-13 14:57:20


Totally agree with you and have said the same quite often on MN. Seems to be a lot of people who dont understand this.

SinisterSal Wed 09-Oct-13 15:01:11

Thinking about the coffee & chat thing:

It may not be a straightforward choice between staying chatting for 20 mins vs 3 hours.
there is a lot of subtext behind that.

Your Dh may have this perspective:
Being rude and ignorant, just blatantly using them for the favour vs being polite and considerate enough to spend time with them

You may have this perspective:
Asking them quickly for a favour, and getting out of their hair vs being rude and ignorant enough to ask them for a favour AND taking all their evening as well.

So the choice is between politeness and rudeness, and of course, that is no choice at all for most people. But the faultline is a subjective,

SinisterSal Wed 09-Oct-13 15:03:05

Oops pressed post too soon

The faultline between the two is subjective, and the source of the debate.

So that goes for a lot of choices.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 09-Oct-13 15:04:19


I think people say they had no choice when quite often they really mean they don't want to take responsibility for their choice.

I don't think mothers giving up babies a long time ago is any different. The choices were both going to have negative consequences for them, but they still made a choice.

Where they may not have had a choice was when they had sex in the first place, maybe because they didn't realise it could lead to pregnancy, or they were forced, or they just didn't know what was happening, but by the time they chose to give a baby away or accept the shame and the life being a single mother would be for them, they did have a choice.

shewhowines Wed 09-Oct-13 15:09:48

Not if they were young and had no means of support and were going to be thrown out of home. Their hands were forced. How could they have coped with no support. Their babies would have been taken from them if they couldn't cope.

Annonynon Wed 09-Oct-13 15:09:57

I agree with you

Yes there are things we have no choice over, but mostly there are choices even if it doesn't always feel like that

Someone said to me once that it was unfair that men got the choice to walk away from their children but women didn't, but actually that choice is there for everybody- just because it's a choice most (men and women) wouldn't consider in a million years doesn't mean it doesn't exist

shewhowines Wed 09-Oct-13 15:12:19

Sometimes you have no choice but to wait and see what happens? desperately tries to find some argument in support of DH

shewhowines Wed 09-Oct-13 15:13:37

Ok ok I know it's a choice to wait

ShreddedHoops Wed 09-Oct-13 15:17:11

Interesting thread.

I think your definition of choice is quite vicious though - a bit 'you made your bed, now lie in it' like you have no right to complain if you made a choice to do something that turns out to be crap or you regret.

It can be a tool in abusive relationships as a way of gaslighting - 'would you rather I go out with my friends, or stay home with you because you clearly want me to?' - yes there's a choice, but it's a horrible one.

I do it with my toddler in fact - so if I'm predicting a tantrum about wearing shoes, I say 'ooh which shoes would you like to wear, your trainers or your boots? Aren't they both lovely?' And he's momentarily baffled and doesn't complain grin

ShreddedHoops Wed 09-Oct-13 15:19:48

Or the 'choice' to formula feed, which is the worst ever choice in some MNers' eyes - it's ok to ff but not if you chose to, it has to be something you didn't choose, then there's no judgement or guilt attached. Or you have to pretend you didn't choose it - 'my milk didn't come in' or whatever. It's the biggest insult, choosing something considered wrong.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Wed 09-Oct-13 15:20:32

I think your DH is probably very justifiably frustrated with your outlook on this right than you grin

However, I'm supposed to be in the car now (school run) so will have a think and come back later with a more reasoned post!

That is my *choice grin

monicalewinski Wed 09-Oct-13 15:34:04

I agree that choice is choice, but you have to own your decisions.

For example, I really, really don't want to be in the job I am now and purely down to the nature of my job I've had to put up with things such as going away from my family for periods of time and having to take the kids and live apart from my husband for an extended period etc (we're both in the forces). BUT, I choose to stay in as I am only a couple of years away from a departure point which will pay me an immediate pension and large gratuity - I hate the position I am in, but choose to stay in it for eventual benefit. If I wanted to leave I could, but I have made a choice to stay for a short while longer.

A bit waffly, but basically I agree with OP!

RevelsRoulette Wed 09-Oct-13 17:18:31

oh gosh, does it come across like that? That moaning is forbidden? I never said that! grin We all have the odd whinge about stuff. I'm going back over my posts frantically to see where I said or hinted that you make your bed now lie in it. cos that really would piss him off if he thinks I'm saying that grin

I agree that you have to own your decisions. That's why I said that you have to be ok with the consequences of the choices that you make. Note I said ok and not happy grin You often have to make a shit choice that doesn't fill you with joy, but you have to be accepting of the fact that that was the choice you made and you made it for a reason. I've always thought seeing it like that was empowering, that you own your choices, you weren't a victim in them, they weren't done to you, you did have the power. A way of thinking that gives you control.

you also don't have to accept the choices presented to you, you can go with your own. The toddler can say no, I'm not wearing any shoes at all (he can't read yet, can he wink I don't want to be responsible for that grin) and the woman can, well, I want to say hit the arsewipe with a frying pan and bury him in the back garden, tbh.

Some very interesting points and, as always when I put something out to MN, lots of new things to consider.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 09-Oct-13 17:27:18

I agree with you.

But it may be more complicated by not always only having two choices but only being able to identify two so what you think is a choice only between two shitty things may actually be a choice between 6/7 shitty things and 1/2 not shitty things.

BeScarefulWhatYouWitchFor Wed 09-Oct-13 17:27:20

I maintain that two different but equally shitty things are still choices! you just have to choose which you hate less. He thinks that it's not a choice unless you're choosing between a great thing with only positives and a crappy life wrecking event!

So what is it when there are two good things to choose from?

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