2009-06-03

Too much choice. (or not)

Choice can lead to paralysis and regret.. I realize that. The issue is learning how to make better choices and enjoying responsibility.

I followed Jesse Keatings blog link on links. It was a video by some psychologist named Barry Swartz.

I started off the talk hoping to learn on how to make better choices and strategies on how to better limit choice down. Instead I felt I got a mind talk on how I should welcome my new fascist masters. My jaw dropped on his diatribe (5:30) that he has to give out less homework because his students biggest concern is that they have to choose if they should marry or not. I am not sure that being married would have allowed me to have any less concerns.

At 7:47, I had to go and take a breather. He asks the question, is having more choice better today or worse and 'rhetorically?' says the answer is yes. He then goes and says we all know whats good about it... and I wanted to shout NO WE DONT. If we knew what was better about it we wouldn't have groups like the Taliban, No-Nothings, or similar fascist organizations. The whole goal of these organizations is about removing choice from people. Choice is bad because it means you might not fit into some selfmade definition of who you are, what you can do, and why you exist.

However sticking it out to 10 minutes started to get into why too many choices can be a problem.. The first is that too many choices can make people freeze because a) they want to make the right choice and b) they don't want to regret making the wrong choice.

And then we slide into how the world is better off without any choices. Because any choice must make people more unhappy and so we should decide for them... and then I decided a nice walk was what I needed. Because we go into how clinical depression is higher because we have to take responsibility for our actions and our choices.

There are parts of the talk that are useful.. but the presentation made it very hard for me not to walk off pissed. I realize that yes having a large number of choices makes me more responsible about things and I have to accept that responsibility if I do not wish to live in a fascist world.

I am not sure this is what Jesse had in mind with that link.. I will say that I understand emotionally what KDE people feel in various discussions over Gnome vs KDE in desktop layout and such.
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