To be, or not to be” is the opening phrase of a soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, I would say often the dilemma is not as much to BE but of DO. So my opening phrase would have been ‘To Do or not To Do‘. The dilemma of ‘to do or not to do’ could pretty strongly influence ‘to be or not to be’. My observation indicates ‘To be or not to Be’ is often a matter of chance but ‘To do or not to do’ is always a matter of choice. Sometimes it is similar to that of throwing a dice, the choice is only of throwing or not throwing, once thrown one is at the mercy of the outcome and has to bear it’s consequences.

I guess it is the fear of the consequences that puts one in a dilemma of ‘To do or not to do’, one is sometimes lost in the ‘what ifs’ and shies away from ‘To Do’. Some instances one throws the dice but refuse to own the outcome. Apart from outcome of the ‘Do’ , even the dilemma itself could be overwhelming and people could become depressed, hysterical or disillusioned as sometimes ‘Not to Do’ could also be the right thing to do! Nonetheless, nobody is ever completely free from the dilemma. Infact I would say that ‘To Be’ would often and invariably lead to occasions in life where the ‘To Do or not To Do’ is unavoidable. I guess there are only two ways to deal with it, think through the situation like a chess player before you move/do or instinctively throw the dice like a gambler, but in either situations be ready to get surprised.

Recently I saw two movies that beautifully highlighted both the dilemma. It manages to bring out the dilemma and how the decision in either direction has strong consequences.

The first one called ’12 Angry Men’. depicts how a small doubt in the mind of one of a 12 man jury converts a 11:1 in favor of Guilty is converted to 12:0 in favor of not-guilty. Yes the movie itself is very beautifully shot with characters that we could relate to, however importantly it holds up some interesting questions of 
How our personal belief and bias influences decision making. 
How we often pay less attention to the consequence of our decision even if it was costing somebody their life. 
How a simple dispassionate and logical probe could lay open our vulnerability. 


The second one called ‘The Ox Bow Incident’. is completely in contrast to the one I described above. The movie depicts how inspite of there being sufficient doubts and no eye witness an angry mob themselves believe three people to be guilty and decide to take the law in their hand and kill them ,without a fair trial, only to discover that they were wrong! There were voices of dissent in the mob but they were stifled to submission by the majority. Again a very beautifully made movie with characters that we could recognise and also possibly identify with.  the question of
 ‘To do or not to do‘ and also
 if ‘to do’ then ‘what to do‘ and how do we decide what to do. 
When we decide is that purely logical thinking based on facts or does it have our accumulated, emotions, view points and bias that influence what we decide, also 
When we decide do we really think about the repercussion of that on people around us



These may appear to be rather isolated incidents, from the point of view of the circumstances under which these movies are set. However there is a larger question. the question of ‘To do or not to do‘ and also if ‘to do’ then ‘what to do‘ and how do we decide what to do. When we decide is that purely logical thinking based on facts or does it have our accumulated, emotions, view points and bias that influence what we decide, also when we decide do we really think about the repercussion of that on people around us? I invite you to view these movies at leisure and enjoy the contrasting view points they depict.

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