How to Avoid Making Fateful Decisions
- Join a religion.
- Just drift (as in “The Beat Generation” of the sixties).
- Allegiance to a school of thought. (Allegiance to a school of thought sounds like a mere variant of allegiance to a movement, but it is actually importantly different. Membership in a movement is generally palpable and overt, and one’s consciousness of it is usually crucial: it helps to give one an identity. Allegiance to a school of thought can be like that but usually is not. Typically, it is quite unselfconscious and even denied outright.)
- Exegetical thinking (Exegetical thinking assumes that the text that one interprets is right. Thus the text is treated as an authority. If what it seems to say is wrong, the exegesis must be inadequate: the interpreter is wrong, never the text.)
- Manichaeism. (The Manichaean insists on the need for a decision, but the choice is loaded and practically makes itself. It is like being asked to choose between two dishes of food and being told that this one is poisoned and will make you sick, while that one tastes incomparably better and will improve your health and expand your consciousness. All good is on one side, all evil on the other.)
- Moral Rationalism (Moral rationalism. It claims that purely rational procedures can show what one ought to do or what would constitute a just society. There is then no need at all to choose between different ideals, different societies, different goals. Once again, no room is left for tragic quandaries or fateful choices.)
- Moral Irrationalism (Moral irrationalism claims that because reason by itself cannot show people what to do, reason is irrelevant when one is confronted with fateful decisions.)
- Pedantry (Pedantry plays a central part in the creeping microscopism mentioned earlier; and I have noted previously that as long as one remains absorbed in microscopic distinctions one is in no great danger of coming face to face with fateful decisions.
- Faith that one is riding the wave of the future (Those who employ the ninth strategy never stand alone or unsupported: they always feel backed up by force majeure.)