The Paradox Of Choice Meets Overpopulation

"We are a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice." - Margaret Atwood

Source: Kirill Sharkovski - unsplash.com
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I was recently skipping through Spotify and I noticed something…odd. I had not listened to one song in its entirety. Now normally, I have playlists or albums I am overly engrossed in, or use for certain tasks. However, this particular day, I didn’t know what I wanted to listen to and all the algorithms in the world could not help this case. Rather than go back to the usual playlist I’d stick on shuffle, I sat with that feeling and thought differently. The more choice I had the less satisfied I was with the song I would eventually listen to. If I listened to a sad song would it make me sad or would it just act as filler in the background as I took care of the day-to-day norm?

On the one hand, the choice is exciting. Change is enticing and opportunity is addictive. How does it affect our psychological makeup? It made me wonder if with the advancements in technology, that now make any musician across the world instantly accessible, would mean that now we need to relearn how to listen? Actively listen. Sit with a song and explore its layers. I think about how enjoyable it must have been when you had to wait to buy an album. The anticipation of knowing that you would soon own this physical thing that brought you one bit closer to the artist you were obsessed within that moment. 

What changed?

(Source: Jen Theodore unsplash.com)

Consumption for one. We now have access to more information than is physically possible to consume in one lifetime. We now have more people on this planet, more ideas, more dreams, more realities. The more people that exist the harder it is to control society in a way that satisfies everyone. The more people that exist, the more choice we create. The more choice we have, it becomes impossible to make a decision. Or so it seems. Choice is the one thing that each individual has that is truly their own. It can be influenced, it can be swayed, it can be argued, but make no mistake your choices are your own.

As humans, I feel we naturally tend to seek out groups, to find a sense of belonging. This can be the most wonderful feeling. When you find a bunch of people who march to their own drum and yet somehow keep in time with you, it is unbeatable. 

Never forget that your tribe does not control your vibe.

You don’t have to listen to this one album because everyone else is, just so you don’t have to make a decision. You don’t have to watch that Netflix series because everyone’s talking about it and it makes it easier to make conversation. You can choose to watch the “how it’s made” videos and learn how they made that thing that blew your mind that one time. Then tell everyone in your group how they made the thing, I guarantee they hang on your every word and if they don’t who cares!?

It means relearning how to listen – because the mediums have changed. Relearning how to consume information because there is a mass of it. Relearning patience, because that is required with learning anything at all. 

When you learn how to be quiet behind the noise. How to stop scrolling through motivational quotes on Pinterest and actually use that energy to do the things you want to do – you can be unstoppable. 7billion realities living on this planet and you have the miracle of living your reality. How amazing it is to know that you can make your reality anything you want when you realise you have a choice. Nobody else can dictate the choices you make, only you. 

I will add, however, that my most recent choices have been waffles, cream and fudge bites at 3 am, while unhealthily binge-watching episodes of American Dad I have already seen.

So I don’t fucking know….

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