Choose Your Own Path

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” The most notable quote from all of Shakespeare’s plays. Hamlet debates in his mind, if it is better to live or die. This is just one example where the main character makes a choice for themselves. We are all the main characters in our own story, which leaves the question, “What is the good in making decisions for yourself?”

The novel Siddhartha perfectly describes the highs of making your own decisions. Making your own decisions clears a path where you were meant to go. For example, Siddhartha changed the entire career path which he thought was going to improve his life. He felt waves of guilt surface as he felt desire, for anything. He admired one woman, Kamala would change the way that Siddhartha lived his life and viewed life around him. Not only that, it would change the way that other people had viewed him. Throughout the novel, readers are seeing Siddartha make decisions for himself that don’t seem rational. At the end of the book, an old friend of Siddhartha, Govinda, tells him that he is irrational and that his thoughts are strange. However, when he listened to his instinct, he was able to live an enlightened life. 

There are plenty of tropes in books and films where people have to make the right decision and that is the entire plot. In The Seven Samurai, Kyûzô is one of the characters who makes decisions that tell a lot about his character. When it was raining, he decided that it would be a good idea to go out to the woods and practice. This decision that he makes, allows viewers to see the determination of his character. While out in the woods, he spots Katsushiro and Shino together trying to help the village grandmother. The rest of the samurai crew find it suspicious that Katsushiro wants to save his food. The samurai figure out it was for the village grandmother and that they would help her too. Kyûzô knew that this wasn’t the only secret that Katsushiro had, but he decided to keep it to himself. As the samurai are setting up for the first day of battle, Kambei Shimada says that they will let at least one of the bandits in. Shichirōji expresses a small desire for a musket that only the bandits have. A villager offers to retrieve one from the enemy and Kyûzô opposed, “No. You are looking to die. I’ll go.” Making decisions does not always have to come out of a selfish motive. When someone makes a decision, they are choosing the path which they and the others, who they may be helping, were meant to follow. 

In the 1950s children in primary school had 2 hours of playtime and no homework. Their play had no supervision. This may seem like a terrible thing for parents and teachers to do, but this allowed kids to self-direct their play and learn from the decisions they make. During play now, children have many sets of rules telling them how to play a certain game. They are being told how to have fun. With the focus on more education as time goes on, there is less playtime, more homework, and less self-directed play. There are fewer options to control the way that kids play and use their time as the desire for higher education becomes stronger. Education is significant, but the development of kids being able to make choices on their own is also just as important. It has been proven that with less self-directed play, there has been a rise in narcissism, decline of creativity, and certain mental health issues. When kids think they are choosing the path they want, they are choosing what is “recommended” to them by authority figures.

When making decisions for yourself, there is a certain instinct that only you have. Listening to instinct could be the best way to make decisions. As long as the choices you make aren’t ignorant of other people’s well-being, you should be the person who makes the calls for important circumstances.

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