This sense of certainty is rare in the contemporary world. Indeed, modern life can seem to be defined by its opposite. An unrelenting flow of choices confronts us at nearly every moment of our lives, and most of us could admit to finding ourselves at least occasionally wavering. Far from being certain and unhesitating, our lives can at the extreme seem shot through with hesitation and indecision, culminating in choices finally made on the basis of nothing at all.
>"All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age" by Hubert Dreyfus, Sean Dorrance Kelly
>The choices that confront us are recognizable to all. Some of them seem trivial: Should I hit the snooze bar again? Is this shirt too wrinkled? Fries or a salad? And so on. But some of the choices we confront, perhaps even regularly, seem deeper and more troubling. It can feel as though they cut to the core of who we really are: Is it time to move on from this relationship? This job? Shall I pursue this opportunity or that one? Or none at all? Shall I align myself with this candidate, this coworker, this social group? Shall I choose this part of the family over the rest? Many of our lives seem rife with these kinds of choices. We wonder on what basis to make them; we regret or rue or celebrate the ones we have made. Many will point out that the freedom to choose is one of the great signs of progress in modern life. And there is certainly some truth to this. Those who live in abject poverty worry very little about which kind of food to eat precisely because there are no choices before them. The freedom to choose one career over another is not available when a poor economy has stripped all the jobs from the area. And yet the characteristic feature of the modern world is not just that many of us have a wider range of choices than ever before— choices about who to become, how to act, with whom to align ourselves. Rather, it is that when we find ourself confronted with these kinds of existential choices, we feel a lack of any genuine motivation to choose one over the others. Indeed, about our own lives, our own actions, it is rare to find the kind of certainty that Wesley Autrey felt when confronted with a person in distress.