Do you remember the first computer games console, the black and white one with rectangular blocks that you controlled to go up and down to play football, tennis or squash?
It had 2 speeds as well.
Now you get games on your TV, games on your computer, games on your phone, games in your hand, games in your face with over 40,000 results on Amazon and 538,000,000 results on Google.
But is it a good thing?
Of course, as we can match our needs and wants specifically with what we are willing to pay.
Or is it?
In the Paradox of choice, Schwartz argues that as choice options grow, negative aspects of having choice options grow. We have to invest more time and energy with making the decision, there is more doubt that we have chosen the right thing after we have chosen it, more worry that it will go wrong and more anxiety that we have missed something better.
He also talks about the paradox of our times from this: that surveys suggest people want more control of the details of their lives i.e. be able to make choices over major and minor issues but also want to simplify their lives – which having more choices to make won’t help with.
Close social relationships are highlighted as being key for happiness in life but these can often reduce choices (think social expectations / marriage to one person). Rules can mean time saving choices such as putting a seat belt on.
What might this mean for Christians?
- Don’t offer too much choice to people – Jesus or nothing / anything.
- Christian communities are key to peoples’ lives.
- Rules are not always wrong.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14 v 6).
Not much choice there then.
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