You don’t always have to have a coherent philosophical explanation for everything you do and care about.
Life is not made of philosophy. Philosophy can be a good thing, but it’s not a prerequisite.
You don’t have to have a coherent explanation of how God works for it to be ok to practice a religion or identify with a community. You don’t have to have a compelling explanation of where the universe came from in order to be an atheist or decide not to practice a religion.
You don’t have to have a deep and compelling theory about the nature of gender to know what your gender is. You don’t have to have a deep and compelling theory on where sexual orientation comes from and what it means in order to know which words you use to describe yourself, and who you are or aren’t interested in dating.
You don’t have to have a rigorous philosophical understanding of the mind and neurology to understand that you are disabled and that your cognitive experiences are different from most other people’s.
Or anything else. Your life is yours, and you get to have your own ideas about who you are and what you want.
You don’t have to have a compelling philosophy that convinces other people in order for it to be ok to know who you are and how you see the world. You don’t even have to have a coherent philosophy that convinces *you*.
Many philosophical questions that might be relevant to your life are unanswered, and unlikely to be answered in your lifetime. It’s ok if you want to work on solving them, but it’s also ok if you don’t. It is not a prerequisite, even if other people who use big abstract ideas want you to change.
Life is bigger than theories, and having a compelling theory is not a prerequisite for living, choosing, or caring about things.
Sometimes, when you are dealing with a really awful therapist, people will tell you “That is a terrible therapist! You should find another one!”
And sometimes that is the right thing to do.
But sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes the right thing to do is decide not to go to therapy anymore. Or to decide not to go to therapy *right now*, even if you’re open to it in the future.
Therapy is a choice. And it is possible to decide to stop going to a bad therapist without making plans to find a new one.
Irrational people have the right to make choices.
Personal autonomy is not conditional on other people thinking that you are using it correctly.
That’s pretty much what makes it personal autonomy.
For instance, people have the right not to interact with dogs
- Even if the only reason they don’t want to is that they have a phobia
- Even if the phobia is completely irrational
- Even if they would be better off getting over the phobia and learning to like dogs
- None of this gives anyone the right to make them interact with the dog
- That’s their business and their choice
People have the right to decide what they eat
- Even if it’s for ridiculous reasons
- Even if they think it’s healthy and it isn’t
- Even if they are in the grip of food fads and think that avoiding the color blue will solve their health problems
- Even if they’re too religious for their own good
- Even if they’re picky
- Even if they’re fat
- Even if they’re thin
- Even if they’re being overly cautious about their allergies
- Even if they are completely, utterly wrong
- People have the right to make their own decisions about these things
People have the right to end relationships
- Even if they’re only doing it because of a fear of committment
- Even if the person they’re breaking up with has all kinds of reasons for thinking the relationship is a good idea
- Even if they’re going to regret it
- Even if it’s a stupid decision
- People have the right to make their own choices about who who spend time with and be close with
People have the right to choose how to spend their time
- Even if they are wasting it
- Even if they will regret wasting it
- Even if they have tons of potential and could be accomplishing so much more if they just applied themselves
- Even if they watch a lot of TV and have terrible taste in TV
- Even if they express dissatisfaction with the choices they are making
- People’s time is their own, and they have the right to choose how they spend it.
The right to make choices includes the right to make mistakes.