How we can cope with unlimited choices: Tyranny of Freedom {Review}

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Today we are discussing a book that provides helpful puzzles to cope with the multi-options world. Good Brainfood for the young generation, who just do not want to continue like in the past - and of course just like that for the older ones.

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By the way: You can find many more hand-picked reading recommendations in our section Editorial book tips.

Here writes for you:

Oliver Ibelshäuser 85Oliver Ibelshäuser is a journalist and owner of the editorial office Text und Vision.


The big lie of the unlimited possibilities

More than a dozen different yoghurt varieties in the refrigerator compartment, 30 new partn suggestions in the Internet single exchange and the planned summer holiday to Mallorca, are more than 50 potential last minute bargains open? Is this the beautiful new freedom?

Not at all, says Renata Salecl in her clever book “The Tyranny of Freedom”. The almost unlimited freedom of choice does not solve problems, but creates new ones. “Fears and anxieties,” says the author, are reinforced because the seemingly larger selection and variety of everything increases the pressure to make decisions, and with it the risk of wrong decisions.

Decisions about life and death

The “more possibilities” is also not equally distributed, but follows the strict rules of social stratification: “In reality, economic constraints prevent people from all countries from making any real decisions, with the result that the wrong choice can have catastrophic consequences.”

In her analysis, Salecl shows that the decision-making principle encompasses all areas of life. Consumption anyway, the choice of partner (“hook-up culture”) to dealing with life and death. Because those who only invest enough money can "hide the signs of aging and find a way to postpone or even stop death."

Red card for the affluent society

The popular science book “The Tyranny of Freedom” shows the affluent society the red card. In the spirit of Ulrich Beck's individualization theory, Renata Salecl explains that the seductions of mass consumption do not make you happier, but produce new constraints and at the same time make differences in status visible:

The one suffer from too many options in the supermarket, the others have none and look at an empty plate. A very good book, which encourages us to rethink our own behavior and reorient it in case of doubt. Note: We are not alone in the world.

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