Bad Choices are in the Past: The Right Course Now is Simple and Easy

Warren Kinston 24. March 2012 12:00

I just read about a new tax scheme that has had over $20m of research expenditure.  It's basically a good scheme but, frankly, the research was mostly a waste of money.  It would be simpler to see that taxation has gone wrong and wronger as an aspect of political manipulation.  We experience the effects of bad choices in the past. The misuse and abuse of the tax system has had little concern for the well-being of the country: at least any country that claims to be a democracy.  The bad choices were made because the focus was on election campaigns.  If you stop viewing taxation as an ideological issue of higher or lower taxes, you may start to see some easy solutions.

Many social issues have simple easy solutions.  Especially if the problem seems complicated and overwhelming.  The mess is so extreme because it is the effect of bad choices.  The issues then become overwhelming because of political factors. 

Exactly the same thing happens in people's lives. If you discover that you are in a mess, I can assure you that it resulted from bad choices.  And there is an unbelievably simple solution: it is just that you don't want to take it.

Let me explain how it works.

Everything was going along more or less OK until, at some point, there was a stress and a fundamentally bad or wrong choice was made.  It may have been an unfortunate event, it may have been an issue of being forced to choose when growth led to a fork in the road.  It may have been an opportunity or a challenge that turned out differently from expectations.

For whatever reason, life took a certain course based on a bad choice.  It was a mistake.  They happen.  It does not matter too much why that mistake occurred.  Too many people get lost in history, but we can never really know why something occurred, either then or now.  Yes, we should learn from history.  But our primary focus must always be on managing ourselves now for the future.  Self-blame, condemnation of others, recriminations, dreams of 'if only'—this is all foolish.  It's a waste of energy: a willing imprisonment in the past for no good reason.

In any case, as a result of that mistake, things start happening which are unsatisfactory.  There are then responses to those unsatisfactory things, which embed that initial poor choice.  In political life there is also a view that any admission of error is weakness, so a mindless defence that further embeds the error is common.  In addition, there is often a gaming of the system that leads to further distortions.  Each new distortion leads to attempts at correction and solution.  However, all those corrections and solutions are built on the faulty foundation of the original bad choice.  So they just compound the difficulties.  By this time the situation is so complicated and even chaotic that it can only be described as a mess.  It is a system of inter-linked problems, many of which continue to be viewed largely in isolation.

In society, large numbers of people end up being caught in this sacrifice trap: they have vested interests in the mess no matter how much they suffer from it.  Many make large amounts of money making speeches or writing books about the mess, or setting up institutes and investigating solutions, or handling litigation.  But, make no mistake, society suffers.  So everyone suffers.

In the case of a mess within a personal life, the mess may be individualized but it spreads into many aspects of living, and the sacrifice trap is highly emotional.

There is only one sensible way forward.  That is to re-focus on the original wrong turning.  Accept fully that it was wrong.  Know that utterly.  Then make the right choice.  Ignore the mess.  It will resolve itself if the right course is now chosen.  It is never too late to do what is right.  Never.  Stop sacrificing the future for the past.

Will there be transitional pains?  Of course there will.  Is a clean-up required?  Usually.  Do you expect to do the wrong thing for years or decades and then have everything become perfect by the flick of a switch?  But knowing the right course makes these difficulties bearable.  In addition, just as the wrong course compounded wrongfully, so the right course starts to generate compounding benefits. 

In the next blog, I'll come back to a simple solution for the Gordian knot that passes for a tax system.



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21st Century Enlightenment | Politics

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Warren Kinston is the creator of the THEE-Online website as an open forum for the further discovery and development of THEE. He writes this blog as an escape valve for the excitement and frustrations of the work. More info here.

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