Renata Salecl: The Paradox of Choice

With free­dom come choic­es. Every choice is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to select the best pos­si­ble out­come, the one that would make us hap­pi­est. More choic­es lead to more hap­pi­ness, right? Of course we find the oppo­site to be true. As choic­es increase, so does anx­i­ety. In the lat­est install­ment of the RSA ani­mat­ed lec­ture series, Sloven­ian social and legal the­o­rist Rena­ta Sale­cl argues that this anx­i­ety, cou­pled with the cap­i­tal­ist ide­al of the self-made per­son, leads to a kind of social paral­y­sis. “Today’s ide­ol­o­gy of choice,” says Sale­cl, “actu­al­ly paci­fies peo­ple and makes us con­stant­ly turn crit­i­cism to our­selves instead of orga­niz­ing our­selves and mak­ing a cri­tique of the soci­ety we live in.” The ani­mat­ed fea­ture was adapt­ed from a lec­ture Sale­cl gave last sum­mer in Lon­don. (You can watch the entire lec­ture here.) It draws on ideas pre­sent­ed in her book, Choice.

Oth­er RSA Videos:

Sir Ken Robin­son: A Cre­ative Edu­ca­tion

Good Cap­i­tal­ist Kar­ma: Zizek Ani­mat­ed

Smile or Die: The Per­ils of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­o­gy

Steven Pinker: How Innu­en­do Makes Things Work

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