Playing by Ear

At about 16 (most people) teens realise that their parents are fallible and have their own monkeys on their backs. They realise that adults too make mistakes and that teachers don’t always know everything.

As a result of those realisations, I developed this nagging fear – I worry that no one really knows hat they’re doing. Adults and people of our age alike (watch how I hopelessly try to deny the fact that i’m an Adult already). Fear that no one knows the answers and that everyone is just taking things a step at a time, playing things by ear. I fear that like some twisted set of practice questions handed down to you from a fallible Senior, they have no answer, but are rationalising the answers as they know best. (I’m know sitting here staring at that last sentence realising there are so many layers to it that it’s no longer tongue in cheek).

This fear extends beyond Liberal trains of thought where you understand that some choices come with a certain amount of negative impact. I’m thinking beyond this. I fear that there’s no ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’ decision when it comes to the choices we make.

I’ve spoken about this to a few people recently and I think they see what i’m getting at – Decisions are ‘Right’ relative to ‘Wrong’ ie. People think they’ve made the right decision when things go well and nothing untoward occurs as a result of that decision.

A lot of people think that being rational – weighing out the pros and cons is probably the best way to decide between two options – is the best way to make decisions, all in the hope that they make the decision that produces the most benefit, the least harm and carries with it the most minute amount of risks. It’s the decision that at they point in time, they think is the ‘Right’ decision.

Assuming one does go through the process countless times and arrives at a decision, executes it but is disappointed because it was all harm, no benefit and extremely risky, then that person assumes that they’ve made the ‘Wrong’ decision. If that person is the least bit introsepective, they’ll attempt to figure out what went wrong and is sure, at some point, to wonder what things would have turned out like if they went with the other option, the one that was initially perceived as ‘Wrong’.

Here’s the catch – none of us get to go back on choices that we make (if you’ve found a way, tell me quick!). We all know too little to figure out decisions that are truly risk free and with the least negative implications. Worst of all – considering that no one really has the Answers, we’ll never know if we’ve made the Right or Wrong decisions. We could’ve made the wrong choices but just not have the negative implacations of that choice come around and nip you in the heel just yet.

We’re just playing it by ear, aren’t we?


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