We all adapt to our circumstances. We change them, in so far as change is possible – for the rest we adapt, we embrace our life, resist it, negotiate it, talk with it, lose our illusions or heighten them, bury ourselves in closed routines with varying degrees of illusory openness, aspire for freedom and think we’ve attained it. We have choice, no matter how limited. But our choices are limited, not just by factors outside our control but by the very values that are constitutive of our identity, that make us who we are, and who we are remains – if we are willing to see – the most fundamental choice we’ve made. And we have choice in so far that we are aware of those values, in so far that we know – or are willing to know – who we are. It hurts; the paradox lies precisely in the fact that the more you are at peace with ourselves, the less these constitutive values come to the foreground, hence they do not appear to limit you and you experience more choice – in theory – not by being able to do more but being wholly content with what you have. But a state of heightened consciousness, or – more simply – awareness of these values brings with it an inevitable awareness of possibility and the need for change. The difference is one of awareness, of a choice to be aware. Choice is a function of the imagination, of being able to conceive of alternatives, of other lives. And even in the midst of oppression, choice in this sense remains a possibility.

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