Wednesday, 17 June 2009

'the paradox of choice'

We are spoilt, aren't we?

Why does the multi-billion-dollar 'self-improvement' (self-satisfaction, self-fulfilment … self-gratification!) industry exist?

A few thoughts I recorded earlier this year.

To quote the synopsis from the above clip: choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

Stretching the topic to a higher level (or lower, depending on your POV) I believe that values transcend choice – or, ideally at least, should.
Barry made his point very well: a surfeit of choices doesn't necessarily improve our satisfaction levels; indeed, they somehow? frequently increase our dissatisfaction.
Again, why?

Choices in what or how we consume don't essentially improve who we are; that is, our character … OR what we in reality need to lead a contented life.

… So, what's the missing link?

Learned values enable us to judge what really matters.
All too often, the self-styled (all-too-often affluent) 'victims' of our market-driven Western society are increasingly obsessed by (what I consider to be) superficial matters – from 'the burden of choice' and 'the cult of celebrity' to tax-brackets to 'download limits!' – and then all too often piss and moan about what's Missing in their Lives.

WTF? Life-coach, anyone?

I think Barry slipped in the magic word ('values') once or twice but it slipped through the cracks.
Perhaps that's the real missing link in this suitably-named paradox?
Moreover, he also made the point that the 'curse' of choice is - indeed - a product of affluence.
Around three-quarters of the world's population probably crave this affliction!

I think people need to simplify their lives and get a grip on what's really important.
Or at least start thinking about it.

As I mentioned a few days ago, do we - en bloc - really want Freedom any more?

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