Choice

As I was (against my intention) glancing through my Facebook homepage, I encountered a somewhat interesting article linked by Bishop Savas (the only consistently facebooking Orthodox bishop I know of; apparently it’s one of his ministries) about choice. The article is alright, but the TED talk it links to is better. As an aside: at one point Ms Lyengar mentions how some Eastern Europeans don’t think of flavors of soda as separate choices, but only as “soda” in general, which I found funny because if you ask a Georgian for soda (“lemonadi”), they often don’t ask for further clarification, but just bring you whatever fruit flavored soda they feel like at the time. Non-fruit flavored soda comprises its own category, however; you have to ask for “cokeacola” in that case.  They are also not at all shy about picking up your cup that’s a quarter filled with soda, and pouring another flavor of soda into it, without asking. So in Georgia I guess there are three soda flavor choices: fruit, non-fruit, or fizzy mineral water.

I don’t usually put much thought into consumer choice, which is the main topic of the article, but I am not uncommonly baffled by choice of activities, or how to spend my time, along with what to intend to do in the future. I don’t own very much, and have no reason to do so, but I do travel a bit, volunteer a bit, and generally have a lot of free time to dispose of as I will. This is even more confusing than a choice of objects, I think; it’s often more like trying to invent an object, especially in Georgia, where you have to engage in rather extensive networking just to figure out if there’s a teacher for this, tickets for that, a trip somewhere, and so on. My initial feeling about this was that I don’t love it (“ar mikvars!”). I don’t love it because it accentuates the arbitrariness of our activities, and also because, as an introvert, I tend to expend all my networking energy very quickly, before I’ve quite figured out the logistics of the thing I’m trying to do. I’m not sure that this is in any way related to the presentation or not.

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