Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Monday, March 01, 2004
Christopher Caldwell has written a beautiful article about the phenomenon of too much choice, moving with admirable ease from the mundane sense of consumer paralysis we all feel to the larger, more profound questions of directionlessness(nesslessless) that seem to plague me and many of my privileged "cohort".

Caldwell's final paragraph -- he builds up to it beautifully -- resonates with me at the moment:

Strangely, we lose sight of our human resilience when we make big choices. People are consistently puzzled that so many things they had dreaded—from getting fired to being ditched by a spouse—“turned out for the best.” Gilbert and Wilson even speculate (in a diplomatic way) that our inability to forecast this adaptive capacity spurs some people to a belief in God. “Because people are largely unaware that their internal dynamics promote such positive change,” they write, “they look outward for an explanation.” A tendency to overestimate the joy we’ll get from buying baubles and winning honors is only half of a complex predisposition. The other half is our enormous capacity for happiness, even in the absence of such things. The surprise isn’t how often we make bad choices; the surprise is how seldom they defeat us.

Lately I've been starting to feel like maybe I don't need to agonize so much. The missus and I have been through our share of tsuris lately, and there's plenty still on the horizon...but we've weathered things pretty well. For my part, I don't know how I'm going to handle it all, but I'm starting to have faith that I will handle it. It feels like a growth spurt, and it's a welcome one.


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