The paradox of choice
This podcast deals with the paradox of choice in western industrial societies.
According to B S, the issue begins when people tend to increase their welfare by maximizing individual freedom, which means that more choices will lead to more freedom which will conduct to welfare (well-being, happiness). And the danger is that people just stand on the positive side of the concept. In reality, there are negative effects of having many options such as the simple difficulty to choose.
In fact, B S shows up two important problems with the fact of having numerous choices. First, what he calls “paralysis” which causes indecision in one’s mind leading to procrastination. The risk is that the person who has to make a decision on many possibilities can end unsatisfied of his choices than if he had fewer possibilities. That’s why the more option we have, the easier it is to regret.
Then, we have the issue of high expectation. When we have too many options, we expect too much of the result of the choice we make but once the choice is made, we realize it’s not perfect and we blame no one else but ourselves. And it is dangerous for human well-being because we ban excuses for failure which provoke pressure that may provoke suicide.
In conclusion, B S explains that having many options to choose from is not necessary a good thing. On one hand, we get more freedom but in other hand, too much choice kills choice. It can have serious repercussions on people’s behavior and can endanger lives. This is what he calls ‘The official dogma’.
In my opinion, this subject is very important as in professional as non-professional way because in every part of our lives we need to make choices. “Life is a matter of choice”. It is true that someone could probably feel happier and freer if the autonomy of decision making was diminished. In real life, when we face a problem and have to make a choice, we expect the best result of this choice. I