It’s Halloween. Most people think that Michael Myers, Jason, and Freddie are scary. Not me. I think walking down the aisles in a grocery store is as scary as it gets…
Stress comes in many forms, and one of them is that our modern world asks us to make too many fucking choices. Like I said, just walk into a store, go down an aisle and look around. I mean, how many energy bars can stores sell? Or bottles of water? Or toothpastes? Or try sending your husband to the store to buy tampons or pads? God forbid, you search for something online! And what about all these diets? People don’t even know WTF to eat anymore! Way, way, way, way too many choices.
The stress response can be boiled down to 4 options: fight, flight, freeze, and in the case of women, befriend. I think too many choices result in either fleeing or freezing. People either consciously or unconsciously choose to check out and others are paralyzed.
I love Mark Manson’s book Everything is Fucked for this reason: too many choices actually diminishes our freedom. Check out what Mark has to say:
“The more options we are given (i.e. the more ‘freedom’ we have), the less satisfied we are with whatever option we go with. If Jane has to choose between two boxes of cereal, and Mike can choose from twenty boxes, Mike does not have more freedom than Jane. He has more variety. There’s a difference. Variety is not freedom. Variety is just different permutations of the same meaningless shit. If, instead, Jane had a gun pointed to her head and a guy in an SS uniform screaming, “Eat ze fuckin’ cereal!” in a really bad Bavarian accent, then Jane would have less freedom than Mike. But call me up when that happens.
This is the problem with exalting freedom over human consciousness. More stuff doesn’t make us freer, it imprisons us with anxiety over whether we chose or did the best thing…
If the pursuit of happiness pulls us all back into childishness, then fake freedom conspires to keep us there. Because freedom is not having more brands of cereal to choose from, or more beach vacations to take selfies on, or more satellite channels to fall asleep to.
That is variety. And in a vacuum, variety is meaningless. If you are trapped by insecurity, stymied by doubt, and hamstrung by intolerance, you can have all the variety in the world. But you are not free.
The only true form of freedom, the only ethical form of freedom is through self-limitation. It is not the privilege of choosing everything you want in your life, but rather, choosing what you will give up in your life…
You can become freer right now simply by choosing the limitations you want to impose on yourself. You can choose to wake up earlier each morning, to block your email until midafternoon each day, to delete social media apps from your phone. These limitations will free you because they will liberate your time, attention, and power of choice.” (p287-290).
Well said, huh?
In the spirit of real freedom and vitality, these are things I choose. I don’t have to waste my time thinking about it. These things keep my life simple and free up my energy. Maybe you’ll see something new for yourself:
Breakfast: 99% of the time we eat Mulay’s Breakfast Sausage and