Bustling thoughts: the decision happened without you

It’s either clear that philosophy really affects me or that I’m a philosophical person.

Something else that I always keep in mind that my philosophy professor (you sh/could add the word “design” in there somewhere, but ‘philosophy’ is more appropriate) made an offhand comment in class once that it’s difficult to actually remember the point when you made a decision.

He pointed out, that it’s more like, one moment you have these two choices and you are not sure what to do. And then, moment’s later—or maybe the next day—you realize you have made the decision. You realize that you have an opinion on what happens. You, if you’re anything like me, will even tell people that you haven’t decided yet in case you need to backtrack later, but you really have. Sure, you might be scraping through your memories right now and thinking of the moment where you had an epiphany-like stance on a life question, but I know that’s not the case for me. What I have experience is realizing that the decision has already been made.

It’s like feeling this little weight tied to one of the options in your mind that gets heavier, more certain, as time goes on.

It’s able to withstand new information and the different opinions of the friends. “I still like that one,” you think in your head.

I was thinking about this recently because I bought a very expensive bike recently (expensive for me). After visiting several shops, I realized I was going to spend more than I had anticipated, and was in full hem-haw mode. When I was talking to the clerk at the last store and he gave me his strong recommendation for one, I kicked the metaphorical dirt and told him I’d think about it. But some time as I was leaving the store, and even though I would harass my friends for opinions the following week, I knew that’s the one I wanted to get. I was being pulled in that direction.

I won’t claim that it’s completely mysterious. There’s a lot of context that goes into pointing you into your decisions. I was bringing my own experiences of having tried several bikes, I had gone to many bike shops, I know that I’m an absurdly naive and trusting person, I know that I have been striving for quality in my life over quantity & price. And, for their side, the bicycle store did a good job of constructing the user experience: Well-designed and opened layout, exceptional reviews online, a friendly staff…and they have a good logo. All that circumstance gets blended together, sure, but what is more illusive for me, is remembering precisely when I made that decision and pinning a single “what” to it. Because, you know I love to catalogue things.

 

Psychologically, we’ll always justify our actions. Now that I have the bike, I actually don’t have buyer’s remorse. I really like it. It’s amazing to feel like you’re moving efficiently through a clogged city. It’s such a stark contrast to the commute I make everyday. Sure, I might have liked any bike just the same, but that’s in some other hypothetical dimension.

My bus is pulling in! Until next time.

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