Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Would you say this statement is true: "We're all the same except for the choices we make."?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42442points) February 16th, 2015

Once I subbed, long term, in a 4th grade classroom. “My” kids started a riot on the playground. I was so mad at them! I tried reading them the riot act, but my college graduate vocabulary got in the way.
One kid said, “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, Ms.V.”
A girl, her name is Princess, spoke up and said, “She’s trying to say that we’re all the same except for the choices we make.”

Out of the mouths of babes. I thought it was awesome. Wanted to put it on a bill board.

So, what’s your opinion of the statement?

Just trying to start a conversation. Please, no fighting.

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8 Answers

ucme's avatar

Gloria Estefan thought so…“Seal Our Fate”

longgone's avatar

Hm… It does sound good, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

janbb's avatar

No, of course not. Some are born with more brains, some more money, some in poverty-stricken war-torn regions, some with congenital health issues. Our choices of what to do with that basic material are under our control but we are not all the same.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

It may be technically, but socially people will act as if we are different.

Dutchess_III's avatar

True @longgone, but it worked. I was just impressed that a 10 year old was able to wade through all my words and get right to the heart of it.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s a useful philosophical thinking-point or koan, which is sort of true up to a point, and is useful to try out thinking from, but is not literally true, except “from a certain point of view”, as Obi-Wan Kenobi might say.

That is, when we are balanced and self-aware, we have a great capacity beyond what we usually realize, to choose who we are and what we do in the world, and from an absolute existential point of view, that might be considered to effectively be “who we are” for all practical external purposes. In essence, our choices determine who and what we are to a great extent.

That can be a very valuable and powerful metaphorical standpoint, which even (or perhaps, particularly) a child can appreciate, which can transform how a person lives the entire rest of their life in a pro-active way.

It’s also not literally true, from certain other points of view. But those points of view may not be as useful. Getting caught up in what’s true or not is probably not the most useful way to look at it, unless you’re a philosophy major. So it’s good to preface such things clearly with something that communicates, “I invite you to try on for a moment the suggestion that… we are all fundamentally the same, and what makes us different is the choices we make.”

It’s just a powerful place to stand, not the absolute literal truth in all contexts.

Zaku's avatar

I think 10-year olds tend to be better at understanding this type of thinking, because they have not had our culture’s lessons pounded into them as much as adults have. Also, it has not been so many years since they made choices that are starting to define how they are, so the memory of those choices is fresher.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I forgot. It was a race riot they started. Most of the kids in my classroom were black. Still are, I would imagine. I think that was the angle I was coming from. It was 20 some years ago, tho.

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