Imagine for a moment that you are planning to buy a car and the only decision you have to make was whether to buy one or not. The decision regarding the make and the model does not exist for there is only one car. Imagine for a moment that world of no options. Instead we now have a world of over-choice. Alvin Toffler had talked of this in his books. Indeed for a teenager the progression of possessions is rather fixed. While the actual sequence may vary it is typically made up of cycle, mobile, laptop/pc, driving license, car and so on. Of course things like a girl/boy-friend, making the cut in local soccer/football/cheerleader team will get bunged in along the way. All these aspirations are riddled with over choice.
Look at the spin off. There are hundreds of periodicals on a single topic. We all have seen a boom of magazines just before the Internet era relating to Hollywood or Bollywood. Fashion magazines were the next huge cluster. But now there are much more in topics as diverse as gardening, pets, DIY, medicine, astronomy, astrology – interestingly more on the Internet than in the print media.
Worries that the print media will die when Internet matures is not true. I see newspapers co-existing quite happily. The question is can we live in a world of no options? Nature thrives in variety. The permanent need to improve drives nature in to mutation and increasing variety. It is natural to see variety. In the manmade world does it hold? In traffic studies it has been proven that more options to reach from point A to point B results in chaos and not order. Traffic is essentially greedy.
Look at the world of medicine – multitude of options for even a simple ailment such as a cough (though I am sure there are opinions out there to prove that cough is equally deadly!). The first time I visited the local supermarket, I was surprised to see an aisle that just marked ‘Breads’. Imagine a whole row for breads alone. Software architects spend weeks in developing a solution because time is wasted evaluating half a dozen products each time – downloading, installing, testing and comparing – before zoning in on one.
I can now appreciate the predicament amongst the homemakers and the better half for many of us. What to cook for lunch and make everyone happy? Next time if you end up with baked beans and bread or lauki ki sabzi thank your stars that you did not make the decision.