Internet and the Paradox of Choice - REDENDRON To Be Human

Internet and the Paradox of Choice


The Idea of diving into a thousand different lakes is more alluring than diving into an ocean. The world now offers a plethora of things, hitherto unseen, and it springs a plethora of choices for us to make. The things we choose ultimately shape the course of our life. Serious or trivial, choices are to be made, and we comply.

We are offered innumerable types of coffee, there’s a myriad to choose from and myriad of ways to prepare them. And if we don’t find a meaning to our futile existence, there’s myriad of ways to kill ourselves.

The observable universe of an individual on the third planet from the sun is plagued by change in climate for the worse, large scale conflicts, ignorance and an inherent lack of altruism, if he chooses to acknowledge what he sees.

But a deeper introspection would reveal something different, albeit minor than the aforementioned, but quite tumultuous in the individual’s life.

Riddled by the sheer number of choice and availability, he forgets to brew a cup of coffee of his choice, he wallows in anxiety, floating harmlessly in the ocean of uncertainty, casually bumping into the sharp edges of reality that tear him bit by bit, a dream at a time, only anchored by a faint streak of hope. When the need arises to kill oneself he’ll choose to die by drowning in the shallow waters of contemplation, wishing he’d die sooner.

A few centuries ago life was different, times were simpler. Our sense of individuality and the choices we had to make were lesser than it is now.

If you were born into a farmer’s family you had to be a farmer. If you were a potter, your son would make pots or be the one who kills the one who shall not be named at the battle of Hogwarts. That’s how things were. There were no decisions to be made by ourselves, we were a part of a group and had to be socially accepted.

If you were born a peasant, aspirations to be a king were beyond the realm or reason. Back then our destinies were etched in stone.

©Bronson (2008)

Over the course of many generations and the futile evolution of the society, we have been given the control of our lives and our destinies. We are responsible for everything including our failures. Our future is born from our free will, albeit there are external factors playing its role ceaselessly inhibiting or assisting us. And we call it luck.

We are told we can become anything if we try hard enough. Today information is so easily available on the internet. Here one can learn about quantum physics and how to make a cup of hazelnut latte with equal ease and enthusiasm. But hardly anyone, none become a scientist or a barista. He’d contemplate learning something different and choose to be someone different, someone more exciting and entertaining than a scientist or a barista.

The internet offers variety to an individual living in uniformity. More importantly it provides him a solace of solitude and anonymity, free from judgment brought upon by failure.

Information is so easily and readily available on the internet, it loses its weight. The good and the bad, the evil and the righteous, black and white, all seem to appear the same through the adulteration if the computer screen. Here gathering information involves no pursuits. This makes choosing something even harder than anticipated.

So he wallows in the shallow waters of the internet surfing a wave, one after the other, somewhere between life and death without a cup of coffee.

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