owning our choices

Neurologists have studied what is called “moral cognition” in the choices we make and the given reasons for them. They identify four categories in all human action. To paraphrase, they are; 1. Self-serving actions that do not affect anybody else, 2. Self-serving actions that do, 3. Actions beneficial to others with an expected reward, and 4. Actions beneficial to others with none. The last category, the altruistic action with no expected benefit or reciprocation in return, is one unique to human beings apparently. Whether or not feeling all smug and proud of yourself if you do something nice for someone else is an indirect form of “reward,” however, is not discussed, so don’t congratulate yourself just yet.

Your life is a unique and unrepeatable combination of successes and failures, lucks and deliberations, inevitabilities and surprises. Own it. Cherish it as much as you are able, for you can no more change it now than you can repeat it. It has made you who you are, for better or worse. You may be happy with who you are, but you will surely face difficult times before long, because that is the nature of the world. You may feel lost and disillusioned, victimised and discriminated against, but at least you are alive. Make the best of it that you can, and be courageous. No misfortune lasts forever, or is inherently yours alone to carry.

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