Residual effects

​Every decision we make—or consider taking—is a residual effect of past experience. This is inescapable; where we’ve been, who we’ve known, what we’ve done and the things we’ve thought shape every single choice. Which means our decisions are biased towards our experience. For example, I can only make decisions through the lens of my own life. I will be unlikely to choose the same thing at the same time for the same reason as a black slave in America in the 1800s.

There isn’t a complete remedy for this imbalanced perspective, but there is a partial counter-weight; the deliberate accumulation of vicarious experience, followed by a simple act of imagination called role-play. True, I cannot actually embody the mind, body and spirit of someone from a different era, with different values, different fears, different desires and different capacities. But I can, quite easily, pretend to. And this is, perhaps, the only way to make good, sustainable decisions. Only by imagining and attempting to embody diverse perspectives on the critical factors affecting a decision can we make the choice that most benefits us all.