Choice and Its Effects

Mike - Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Entered on September 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

My name is Mike and I believe that every action has a significant effect in our lives. Every choice we make will affect our future. I used to live life carelessly and take choices for granted. However, upon entering my sophomore year and having been impacted by a teacher who believed in philosophy, I was changed. I now believed that things were not as simple as they appeared to be, and this gave me new insight. I became more philosophical and questioned life. I entered junior year and was excited to be taking a philosophy course, which I am very lucky to be offered. In this class, there was much I learned by listening to my teacher and by students presenting projects on different philosophers. What intrigued me the most was the existentialists. They believed in the infinite choices we were given and how the extent of those choices gave us a freedom that trapped us. They also point out the absurdity of life, and how if we die our lives have no meaning after that, we are forgotten along with everything else. Our existence is as important as a computer or perhaps less so. We become outdated as we grow old, we get replaced, and we die. We just live cycles. Before philosophy, I had believed that just because I breathed, ate, and drank, I was alive. I realized that it was how I used my life that gave me life and perhaps my own meaning to life. I believed that everything was subjective and that I was the result of my experiences. With so many things going through my head, I needed to take more time out of my life to reflect and think about these things, so I did. At some point in my high school career, I learned at about the chaos theory, as well as the butterfly effect. The theory essentially states that some things are ultimately unpredictable because such small scale events affect the outcome of something so much bigger. Butterfly effect originates from the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in California could potentially cause a tsunami in Japan. I took this into consideration and thought about if this system was not only in predictions of scientific things, but also my own life. Did every choice I make significantly impact my future? Could my choice of breathing now, instead of in two seconds harm me? Perhaps something as insignificant as that could not hurt me, but maybe saying hello instead of saying nothing could change my future. Could my future and possible death be affected not by me but by someone else? Am I not really in control and should I just let it go? I am now a senior and try my best to live this way. Sometimes, however, my instincts and habits get the best of me and I incautiously live my life. I do understand that sometimes life is best lived without worrying about it. But when I do remember, I try and live my life cautiously so as to create the best possible outcome, not only for me, but for anyone I know and care for.