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Can we consciously choose from less once we know there are more choices available?

This question is troubling me after listening to Sheena Iyengar's talk.

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    Jan 22 2012: that was exactly my question about her first talk, in which she called for reduced number of choices even more directly. can someone choose not to be able to choose? this sounds crazy.

    but you know what? i believe it is possible. people can do even that. and it makes me sad.
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    Jan 23 2012: Yes.

    I don't know if I'm simplifying your question too much.

    Let's take the example of shopping for food:

    Education about nutrition helps a consumer choose from less, even though there are many choices.

    You choose between the fresh fruits available.....mangoes, oranges, apples, pears, grapes.

    Now, someone who just wants to please the palate, without any regard for nutritional value, goes down
    the aisle of juices.

    You have Libby's, Goya, Juicy Juice, Kerns, Ocean Spray, Capri Sun, Tropicana, Motts, Whitehouse to name just a few brands. Then, each brand has a large group of choices in flavors.

    Are these really choices? I liked what Ms. Lyengar said that someone noticed about their choice of drinks in one particular experiment...."It's all just soda, it's just one choice."

    Don't you think that an educated consumer realizes that the "true" choices are few; The rest are "meaningless minutia"?

    As to a choice in the spiritual realm...education is also key. In Christianity, if someone has read the book and knows it's main message of love, then the choice is clear. The book even says to use our "power of reason" and mentions our mind many times, encouraging us to really think and meditate, and not follow men.

    I'll end with this observation: When we make a choice, and someone else criticizes it. What they really are trying to do is to get you to do what they want. They are trying to get you to give up your right to choose. Hence the no sugar with your green tea example at the onset of her talk. I'll admit that I smiled listening to it, because after having lived in Japan and having drunk green tea without sugar for many years, I cringe when I see people add sugar to green tea.:)

    In order to make choices with full conviction and then defend those choices, education is the key. And that, takes a lifetime, we are lifelong learners, and one is better prepared when one has an open mind.

    This is my humble opinion. I look forward to reading what others say.
  • Jan 23 2012: Do you think one needs to become more religious for this sort of mentality to develop?
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      Jan 23 2012: i don't know, but i see one link: if someone is ready to accept that others choose for him, he is also more susceptible to accept the doctrines of a religion. religions are somewhat the opposite of thinking and questioning.

      it all boils down to responsibility. if someone else makes choices for us, it might be not the right choice, but it is not our fault. and if we are in this situation not alone, but together with many many people, we feel safe, we feel good. even with the wrong choices.