Decision Fatigue

For some background, Zippy:

In a perfect liberal paradise all choices are available but nobody falls into the imprisoning trap of actually making one.

And now for my idea:

  • Modern liberal democracies act as though creating the largest number of consumer choice options in as many areas of life as possible is a primary goal.
  • But due to decision fatigue, this makes people tired and unhappy.
  • Thus modern liberal democracies act as though making their citizens tired and unhappy is a primary goal.

In practice I think this explains a lot of observed behavior among us moderns. Why do moderns place such high value on entertainment and relaxation? Because we really do feel tired and depressed, and naturally seek those things which promise to salve our pain. Why do modern romantic relationships seem so unstable? Because we have to choose one person, out of thousands. Because choosing a person means destroying our ability to choose a person, and “What if someone better comes along?” Thus we feel resentment at our current choice, and constantly feel the need to look for other options, if only to validate that the choice we made was correct. But no one can find peace like this, and war is tiring. So we end up tired and unhappy.

(Please don’t misread me as claiming that decision fatigue is the only reason moderns are unhappy, or the only flaw in modern society. I’m just pointing out that this plays a part.)

Moderns are a mess, as our government intends.


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