Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Decisionless Moments

I was involved in 2 decisionless moments today (both with groups) got me thinkin. The first was in a lunch that was being thrown, at work, for a coworker who was getting married this weekend. There were several minutes of sitting in a group, looking at the heaping pile of food on the table. People were hungry, people were able to (socially acceptably) eat, but most noticeably was that everyone was aware of the potential action that could happen at any moment, we were all waiting for something to give and we can start eating. Eventually someone said something about digging in and then the eating started (rapidly).

Other time was driving back to work at the end of lunch- at a busy 4-way stop - myself (i'm a car) and two other cars pulled into the intersection, each of us stopping evenly at the same the distance from each other --- forming a near-perfect square of space from each other (a square? with three cars, brett?). After the briefest of moments i continued straight through the square and out the intersection.

All anybody wanted in either of these situations was somebody to make decision. None of the drivers (the other two cars had drivers, i'm a car, remember) had particularly strong feelings about what the decision was, just for that moment, that pause, we (they, --still a car here) wanted SOMEBODY to make a decision so that we could continue the pattern/learned activity that we had been doing/ knew how to do - driving, in this case [<-said british="" detective="" font="" in="" voice="">

At the lunch, nobody cared enough to decide to say something about digging in (until someone did).

Starting from square 1: When it comes to not-everyday/less intuitive decisions, its only when we care about something enough that we commit ourselves to making a deliberate decision about it; only when our I-give-an-shit level crosses a certain threshold, let's say.

Both of these aimless, decisionless situations i was in today made me wonder how much time we spend waiting for a decision to be made, rather than waiting to make a decision ourselves. i think it's easier to conceive of ourselves individually, with high awareness (of "why" we made that choice) when it comes to the decisions that we make and the things we do day in day out. The situations I was in gave a sort of look-behind-the-curtain at groups of individuals (including myself) who were content to - preferred to? -be buffeted around by the decisions of others or the group. It was when a decision of significance was having to be made that tensions raised/awarenesses increased - once someone (anyone!) made A decision, we knew what to do then: OK, now can drive || OK, now can eat.
If i had to throw a hula-hoop in the dark i'd say there's something to this as far as our actual tendencies when interacting with each other, compared to the idea of the rational, unaffected, individual decision-maker.


as i've written this post i've doubted more the whole concept, the whole idea, but i had started the writing of it so had to finish it. also felt better about it towards the end

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