I was in our local Sam's Club with my wife Friday night. It's a trip I don't take often, out of consideration for my sanity. The place is too big, with too many choices, too much stuff. Too much abundance; makes me feel guilty, somehow.
I am the primary cook in our house, which also makes me the primary grocery shopper. Here, too, I am assaulted with far too many options. How many different kinds of yogurt, choices of cereal, or selections of barbecue sauce does one nation really need?
It occurred to me a few years ago that ten people could walk into my grocery store, al with exactly the same grocery list: Apples, bagels, diet cola, cheese, coffee, hamburger, toilet bowl cleaner, and ice cream. It is more than possible that none of the ten would walk out with any single product in common. What about hamburger, you say? Well, you can get it in 6 different varieties (ground sirloin, chuck, etc.) and in patty form or tube form, or frozen or fresh......and that's simple, compared to the yogurt section, or the salsa choices.
Where I'm going with this is that it is a symptom of our culture where everyone can have everything just as they want it right now. Remember the old Burger King ad, "Have it your way, at Burger King?" I see it everywhere. At my gym, no one talks any more. They are plugged into their IPod's, listening to exactly the mix of songs they want---the heck with the entire CD. OR they are plugged in to the TV attached to their cardio machine watching whatever show they want...heaven forbid we should all have to watch the news, or Oprah, or a football game together.
With 1 gazillion channels, we can watch or listen to just who we want to, and worse, just who we agree with or who makes us comfortable.
And here's the secret.....if we all do our own thing, we do less and less together, we have fewer and fewer common experiences......and lose a bit of understanding of how other people act, think, believe, and feel.
Too many choices can isolate. Isolation can turn into iconoclasty, less willingness to listen, much less compromise.
I dunno. It just worries me.