The “freedom” of choice

Recently, in my environment class, we were discussing the increasingly evident surge of materialism among our generation. We are constantly searching for the “next best thing” whether it is the new IPhone 5, or the just released IPad mini. We encourage each other in both obvious and subtle ways to buy more, buy new, and buy expensive. It is a part of the reality of society that we live in. There are countless billboards; commercials, previews, and online propaganda that tell us that if we spend our money we can be happy, and the options to do so are endless. We are bombarded with different choices in this regard, whether it is cereal at the grocery store, cars at a dealership, or colors of the IPod Nano.

In giving us choices, society tells us we have freedom; the freedom to make decisions. But is this really freedom? Yes, we may have options, but these choices at times seem more constraining. What happens when you can’t make a choice? Is it even your choice if your decision comes from a television ad or something that popped up on your Pinterest?

I think that what we consider freedom is really a form of manipulation. It is the efforts of big companies to get you to buy “more, more, more” because we are told that more is better, and that we must always search for the next best thing. Maybe it is time to take a step back and think about living in a more minimalistic manner, and think about if we really need to take advantage of this “freedom” we are given.

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