The title comes from the philosophy of comedian Louis C.K. on western culture. As defined by sociology professor Barry Schwartz, the dogma of western industrialized society is “if we are interested in maximizing the welfare of our citizens, the way to do that is to maximize individual freedom.” As a country we constantly preach for personal freedom and we’re at the same time trying to find methods to express that freedom. Aligned with our economic structure, we turn to purchasing accessories to shape our physical image of who we are. Our choices for fashion, technology, and lifestyle are endless and we’re told this is a good thing. However studies show that the more choices we have to make, the less happy we are with our final decision.
It’s not only the volume of variety that depresses our mind, but also the speed at which we are exposed to it. What’s also shocking is that the rate at which new technology is released is not even close to how fast it is developed. For instance, the gaming industry is split between console and PC. Due to the consoles’ lack of ability to upgrade to better hardware, game development is hampered in order to create balance between platforms. It’s already tough to financially keep up to par in computing standards. The fact that progress is delayed so as to be able to get the most potential income from a single product is mind-boggling.
Our world adapts and grows faster than we can keep up but slowing down isn’t in our vocabulary. It’s a scary prospect to wonder how we will learn to be able to mesh with all this information and not fry our brains. Will progress bottom out once industry gains the true formula for distribution? Is it better for us that progression is moderated?