Freedom to Choose

The heroine in my latest book refuses to fall into a courtship with a fellow island local chastising others for implying that “proximity and lack of choice are all one needs to fall in love.”  But, building on my last post about my existential angst about filler, let me also ramble about the disconcerting modern trend of unlimited choice. Well, it’s disconcerting to me anyway.

Food brings this into focus. There is the phenomenon of being overweight, of course, thanks to the endless supply and choice of tasty fat and salt laden tongue luxuries. I, however, am talking about getting overwhelmed by ice cream and pasta joint’s make-your-own menu options.

I tend to do one of two things in this scenario:

1)      I make something I’ve had before that someone else made and I enjoy it.  Like recreating the Friendly’s Reese’s Pieces sundae.

2)      I make something up, my own genius concoction, and then proceed to feel disappointed.

Now I suppose #2 becomes worth it simply because I might hit on something amazing.  And maybe I’m just out of my skill set here.  But these kinds of experiences make me think that the unlimited choice is simply not helpful.  I do best creatively when I back myself into a corner and have to create something within a structure of some sort.

I fell in love with my husband because he was the man I was most attracted to / connected with in my college social circle. I honestly don’t think I could have found a better match on the entire planet.  Just luck or am I made content by the limitations?

Is this human nature?  Is this just preference? Do we all do this in some way? Are the unlimited choices of modern living a blessing, curse, both?




  1. I enjoy having a plethora of options but hate drowning in the details! My wife is much better at deciphering the details than I am.

    I’m like the mayor of Halloweentown: “Jack, please, I’m only an elected official here, I can’t make decisions by myself!”


  2. Yes. Simple. Frosting. Chocolate or vanilla. I concur.

  3. Also, I bet the things you make up at the smorgasbord are awesome and it just seems disappointing to you because you’ve been thinking about it for several days and it’s bound to fall short of your imagination.

    Holly is just now finishing a spoonful of buttercream frosting. We like to keep things simple here.

  4. You might enjoy this article by my meditation teacher.

    What is freedom? It is the moment by moment experience of not being run by one’s own reactive mechanisms. Does that give you more choice? Usually not. When you aren’t run by reactions, you see things more clearly, and there is usually only one, possibly two courses of action that are actually viable. Freedom from the tyranny of reaction leads to a way of experiencing life that leaves you with little else to do but take the direction that life offers you in each moment. Hence, the illusion of choice is an indication of a lack of freedom.

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