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The Paradox of Choice

April 18, 2008
Posted by mmarvs in : Audio and Video, Debates
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Having a choice is supposed to give us freedom and happiness in life.

Not according to Barry Schward, a sociology professor at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice. In this talk, he persuasively explains how and why the abundance of choice in modern society is is in fact a burden and making us miserable.

Do you agree?

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1. Rocio alvarez 5h - 21 April 2008 

Great video!!!! I really enjoy it, and I find it absolutely true. I have felt that paralisis he talks about, more than once ; specially when I do have to choose what to get dress: ohhhhhh my God!!! I just open the wardrobe and I find it completely difficult to choose, so I always rise the same question “mum, what should I got dress????”.
If I did only have one skirt, one jumper…I’m sure I will not have any problem, jajaa :)
On the other hand, if that happened, I would always be moaning about not having more clothes…so, are choices good or bad??? and the answer is: YES!!!!

2. sp_18 - 24 April 2008 

I find this video very interesting and it is absolutely true!The example about the jeans is a real case,I mean,when you go to buy clothes you don´t know what to buy and this make me furious.People are always claiming for freedom but we actually know how to use it?

3. Warlock - 24 April 2008 

Interesting video, although the idea of freedom which he talks about is very well-known since the “consumer society” appeared. It’s a real fact that you have to choose your own way, not only when you go to a supermarket where it’s supposed you are going to make lots of decisions, but in every moment in your life. Freedom surrounds us every minute we live. You can stand up and jump through the window right now or keep on reading this comment. The main point you have to consider is to stay calm and think “OK, I’ve made a decision, I could be right or I could be wrong, but I did it, which is much more than do nothing”. Only in case you were extremely obsessive about choosing another thing, think about other people that can’t choose what you choose. This doesn’t solve your problem, but it helps.

4. ana sanchez pitiot - 24 April 2008 

I partly agree with this speech. Everyone needs limits. A clear example are children, you can’t give them anything they ask for, if you really want to prepare them for real live.
I also agree with some of the motions he mentioned. There are too many choices when you need to buy a mobile phone, some clothes, etc, and you’ll always be worried because you could have bought something better or cheaper. But, what will happen if you had less choices? Won’t you complain because you can’t find anything better?
It is all up to you, if you want to be worried about something, you can be sure you will find it.

5. Cristina González Blanco 5º G - 24 April 2008 

The real thing is that all the movements of our life are based in choices (bigger or smaller). Even though you don’t notice it, since the moment we get up until the evening, we have to select among plenty of staff, actions… For example, what to have for breakfast, which way to go work if we don’t want to get stuck in a bad traffic, how many hours we spend with our friends, what to see at TV, and more…

Making a proper decision could deeply mark the difference in our future way of living. Bearing in mind we don’t have to obsess with this fact, otherwise we will be thinking about the other choice we haven’t selected. This could get us crazy!

6. MARIA COTELO - 5 May 2008 

I absolutely agree with this matter. The more choices we have, the less free we are. There are loads fo posibilities in our life, but at the same time this no limit feeling actually does not provide us welfare. In fact, in many cases this the reason why women and men suffer from depression. In most of the cases this kind of patients do not know why they feel down. Aparently they do not have problems, because maybe the problem is completly the opposite: the lack of dificulties in life.

7. Sara Gutiérrez Alonso, 5ºH - 10 May 2008 

Choices, choices, choices…I really hate them!! There are thousands of things in which you have to make one: clothes, films at the cinema, where to go on a Saturday evening….I can’t stand them! I’m so indecisive…

8. Àgueda Fernàndez Quintana - 10 May 2008 

Freedom is a deep issue and I find this man very smart as he talks awesomely!

Choices are hard for me because I’m quite indecisive.Small choices like clothes and general shopping can be difficult sometimes but big choices drive me mad.

I do believe the fear of making mistakes is the main think that scares us when we need to choose.

9. Manuel Menendez - 13 May 2008 

Good topic! To be perfectly honest I do not agree with Barry Schward. Thank goodness, now we have multiple choices in many different moments. This leads to a diversity of ways we can take in our lifes and this has to be good by itself; this is freedom.
I´m glad to say that what really block people is fear and responsibility. People don´t want to be in need to choose. People’d like to have the choice taken by someone else so the responsibility is transferred.
Once people learn to defeat fear to take decisions, multiple choices are good.

10. Verónica Díaz Suárez (5º H) - 14 May 2008 

After watching this video, I have my mind divided into two points of view. The first one is the fact that the freedom and the possibility of choosing have been positive for developing our countries and our mankind. If you have the opportunity of choosing between several options is better than someone imposes you what you have to choose because there is only one possibility.

However, having lots of choices can be difficult. You have to think carefully about the positive and negative consequences of your choice. For example, when I bought my last mobile phone, it took me ages to compare all the useful functions that they had and if I was going to use them quite often, and sometimes this sort of silly decisions can make you feel quite stressed. I find quite hard taking decisions related with my health or with my future, I spend a lot of nights without sleeping. I think that they are decisions that are going to affect me in a long period of time, so they need too much time to decide, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like to have a range of choices.

Having the right of choosing is very important. Life is quite complex, is not only A or B, there are more possibilities.

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