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The Paradox

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    Why is it that societies of great abundance — where individuals are offered more freedom and choice (personal, professional, material) than ever before — are now witnessing a near-epidemic of depression? Conventional wisdom tells us that greater choice is for the greater good, but Schwartz argues the opposite: He makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today’s Western world is actually making us miserable.

    “Infinite choice is paralyzing, Schwartz argues, and exhausting to the human psyche. It leads us to set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices before we even make them and blame our failures entirely on ourselves. … Too much choice undermines happiness. …

    “‘Clinical depression has exploded in the industrial world in the last generation. I believe a significant — not the only, but a significant — contributor to this explosion of depression, and also suicide, is that people have experiences that are disappointing because their standards are so high, and then when they have to explain these experiences to themselves, they think they’re at fault. And so the net result is that we do better in general, objectively, and we feel worse. …’

    “‘If some of what enables people in our societies to make all of the choices we make were shifted to societies in which people have too few options, not only would those people’s lives be improved, but ours would be improved also. This is what economists call a ‘Pareto-improving move.’ Income redistribution will make everyone better off — not just poor people — because of how all this excess choice plagues us.’”
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    (Original post by yonex83)
    Why is it that societies of great abundance — where individuals are offered more freedom and choice (personal, professional, material) than ever before — are now witnessing a near-epidemic of depression? Conventional wisdom tells us that greater choice is for the greater good, but Schwartz argues the opposite: He makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today’s Western world is actually making us miserable.

    “Infinite choice is paralyzing, Schwartz argues, and exhausting to the human psyche. It leads us to set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices before we even make them and blame our failures entirely on ourselves. … Too much choice undermines happiness. …

    “‘Clinical depression has exploded in the industrial world in the last generation. I believe a significant — not the only, but a significant — contributor to this explosion of depression, and also suicide, is that people have experiences that are disappointing because their standards are so high, and then when they have to explain these experiences to themselves, they think they’re at fault. And so the net result is that we do better in general, objectively, and we feel worse. …’

    “‘If some of what enables people in our societies to make all of the choices we make were shifted to societies in which people have too few options, not only would those people’s lives be improved, but ours would be improved also. This is what economists call a ‘Pareto-improving move.’ Income redistribution will make everyone better off — not just poor people — because of how all this excess choice plagues us.’”
    I quite agree. I would actually rather more of my life was mapped out for me and I hadn't been fed bull**** at every turn about how I can be anything I want and I can do absolutely anything.
    The tragic thing is that it's kind of true - I have a bewildering range of options - but all I do is sit here for years on end unable to decide or commit to anything.

    Choice and variety in food has been looked at as something that ****s our appetites up, as well - that's an interesting one.
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    The solution to the crisis is reorganizing the individual and society.
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    Or just destroying it all. When you have to struggle to find food and shelter I bet you don't have time to worry about much else. Peaceful, in a way.

    All of civilisation is built on that sort of misery that one finds when their basic needs are met.
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    WHAT A BUNCH OF RUBBISH! If having too many choices is just too great a burden for anyone then those people can feel free to go put whatever limitations on themselves they want to make themselves happy. However, I want as many options as I can have. I like it this way and I am happy. If anyone feels I should be obligated to unwillingly give up my options in life simply because the existence of those choices may make them feel overwhelmed and inferior or something then tough. F*** OFF!.
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    Affluenza.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluenza

    Abundant choice does not create happiness. Freedom is not the choices between what job and what car. We're depressed because modern life is completely divorced from happiness. Accumulating wealth and material goods doesn't make people happy. We're more atomized, isolated, scared and feeling more woefully inadequate that we ever have done before.

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