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Spoiled for Choice

2003-12-19 - 11:24 a.m.

I think we here in Australia, living in this period of history, are all spoiled for choice. That's why we (still, I think) call it the Lucky Country.

But are we ready for the amount of choice we are presented with today? I mean in an evolutionary sense; are we ready? I think there is more to the saying, 'spoiled for choice' than we give credit for.

It was merely 100 years ago that women did not have the choice to vote; 80 years ago that men did not have the choice not to go to war for their country; 50 years ago that we did not have the choice of what to watch on television or buy at the supermarket; and not more than 20 years ago we did not have the choice of when not to have children.

Our technological, medical and societal progression has led us to these choices. I think 'variety is the spice of life' has been the mantra providing the momentum for this progression. But what we have not considered in our blind scramble for infinite choice, is that we may not have progressed enough emotionally to deal with these choices.

The importance we give to choice being the essence to 'quality of life' is huge. It instills in us a notion that no second is to be wasted. We have pedestalised choice so highly that we are now compelled to fill our life with choice and try as many options as possible.

My brother and his girlfriend have just had one choice removed from them, an unusual situation in this day and age. She has discovered she is five months pregnant - too far gone for there to be a choice in the matter. Naturally, at there stage of life, this wouldn't be a choice they would make - indeed it is one they were actively discouraged to make.

Without this choice they have no option but to be excited and happy about their new circumstances. Had she have found out earlier in the pregnancy, they would have had the burden of choice resting on their shoulders - would their relationship last? would their careers be hindered? would they survive financially? would she survive the guilt if she chose not to continue the pregnancy? would she be able to concieve again if she chose to abort? Should she be making the choice for my brother as well?

This weight of choice is heavy enough to crush a person or a relationship. This freedom of choice can suffocate us and sap us of the basic instinct to make the best of any given situation. That human right has been taken away from us, we now bear the responsibility of our own choices, our own happiness.


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