Analysis: The Paradox Of Choice

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In this paper I will argue that trying to maximize happiness actually decreases the amount of happiness one experiences, and I will show why one should satisfice rather than maximize. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz presents the pitfalls of maximizing, with one being counterfactual thinking. Schwartz also introduces the concept of hedonic adaptation, which provides reasoning to why there is little importance to the choice that maximizers spend much time and energy with. To further show why satisficing is the better option, I will argue that people can never truly have complete control or authority over their own happiness. In The Questions Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger argues something similar, as he highlights the pitfalls of mankind’s belief that modern technology is something to be controlled and mastered to serve a purpose.

To understand the argument, we must know what it means to “maximize” and “satisfice”. According to Schwartz (2004), to maximize means to strive to make the best choice that is possible. For example, if a maximizer went to the mall to purchase a pair of jeans, they will search until they find the best pair of jeans possible. This is only
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Humans see choice much like they see technology, something that can be manipulated to their benefit. This is more apparent in maximizers, as they believe that each individual choice will affect their life in some way. This is why for maximizers small decisions begin to bear so much weight, as “[w]hen you put a lot of time and effort into choosing […] you want that effort to be rewarded with a satisfying result.” (Schwartz, 2004, p. 74) However, based on what Heidegger says, no matter what choice is made, ultimately humans are not as powerful as they believe themselves to be. Therefore, often their choices do not actually affect their happiness as much as they

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