You know by now that I get an idea for a post, write it down in my planner, and then when I get to that day, I write the post.

For today, I have written down:

Is freedom constricting or freeing-Grantchester episode w/ nun

Here’s the thing: I’m about a month ahead on ideas- (when I wrote down a post idea yesterday I was scheduling September 20 I think). Often, when I open my planner my one hope is   that my notes aren’t totally cryptic and I have a vague idea about what I intended when I wrote it down.

Today I totally remember what I was thinking when I wrote down the note. I had watched the PBS show Grantchester, which is about a clergyman in England in 1957.In the season finale, one of the characters mentions a great quote asking whether freedom is freeing or constraining.

It was a great quote.

But instead of backing up the TV to write down the quote, I just saved the episode to my DVR, figuring that I would just go back to the episode when it was time to write the post…

But then my cable box died and I lost the episode. I don’t have PBS Passport, so I can’t rewatch the show. There was a far more interesting quote in the episode,  so when I google the episode, my quote is not there.

I can’t find the exact quote.

But it was something about too much freedom actually being worse than having to follow a strict set of rules- that too many choices stymy a person more than less choices…

So…in my roundabout way:

Do you think it’s easier to have less choices? Does a plethora of choices make life more difficult?

When you go to the paint store, do you really want thirty shades of gray, or do you just want one shade of light gray, one shade of regular gray and one shade of dark gray?

How often do you get option paralysis- where there are so many choices before you you actually can’t decide? Your brain hurts from overthinking the possibilities?

So- choices- good, bad, too few, too many…

Discuss

88 thoughts on “The One Where I Forgot

  1. Definitely not a black and white answer, lol. Yes, I want freedom, but sometimes, just tell me what to do. Short answer is yes, complete freedom is a big responsibility and can be difficult.

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  2. Oh, the paradox of choice. We think we want a zillion choices, but the reality is that having all those choices makes it so much harder to pick something. It’s why I wish US grocery stores were more like European ones. You have two kinds of tomato sauce, and that’s it, and it take about two seconds to make a choice instead of having to wait and wait while the person blocking the aisle agonizes over the virtues of five different flavors…

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    1. Exactly! Does anyone need an aisle with 100 different cereals? How much time is wasted choosing one item over another, when in reality, it probably doesn’t matter. I have a friend who once took a year to decide on a computer…now you know that the thing he finally chose was obsolete by purchase time…and the whole thing started over again….

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      1. Ugh… I don’t understand that. When I bought my car, I emailed the dealer and told them what kind of car I wanted, and about how much I wanted to spend. The guy at the dealership gave me four options. I test drove three, and from that I picked one. It took less time to choose the car than it did to do all the paperwork and financial stuff. And I am still happy with my choice.

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      2. I totally get what you did. I would be the same way. I just bought an exercise bike. I knew what features were most important, so when I looked I narrowed down my options before I began. But some people need to look at everything…..that would drive me crazy…FYI…going to a restaurant with my sister is mind numbing as she literally debates every single item they offer…

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      3. I try to avoid places with large menus….first off…there’s no way any chef can do that many dishes that well. Secondly, how long have those ingredients been sitting in your kitchen to have that much stock?

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  3. I think it depends on what it is. I completely agree with your paint example. When I was looking for an accent color for one of my studio walls it was so difficult. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have wanted to be limited to just the primary colors either. I think because we are all so different, we do need to have choices. It is not a one color fits all world.

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  4. As usual the answer is both! Often to shorten the discussion about what to eat – I give my wife three choices, not to restrict her freedom to choose but to shorten the discussion. They are all going to chices that tempt her.
    Discussions about freedom also need to restricted to responsibilities and the rights of others. Does the right to own a dangerous animal conflict with the right of others to be able to use a park? I believe those societies who are considerate of others are the ones I admire. I am sick and frustrated by people who pollute with garbage dropped on the ground, and recklessly behave in a vehicle or with guns. I live in this world community, I want to walk on the ground and dodge garbage or feces because others have no sense of responsibility. I suppose I think when others have a sense of responsibility to others, then you don’t need rules or enforcement. Sadly utopia is just a word in the dictionary.

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    1. Totally get what you mean. Freedom doesn’t mean you restrict someone else. We probably should stop using the word freedom, because without defining it, you get lots of gray areas….

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  5. Many years ago my husband and I made jewelry to take to Arts & Craft festivals. Our ‘bread and butter” items were small sterling silver wire rings ($1.00 – $3.00 each), which we left in a large pile at the end of our display table. People would crowd around the pile, trying on rings, looking for different styles, all the while blocking “real” customers from the more quality jewelry (and who knows how many grew legs and walked away). Finally, I grabbed a handful and put them aside, thereby limiting choices to those milling around to just a few dozen at a time. Made the sale quicker and moved the crowd along in a more timely fashion, leaving room for the serious buyers. I would throw another handful onto the table when it looked sparse, but no one ever complained because there were still plenty of choices to suit. My only complaint was when a new mother bought a tiny ring for their newborn – either for a finger or a toe. I just knew before that night ended that it would be found in the baby’s stomach. And so cautioned. So freedom of choice is ideal – within reason.

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  6. Your post reminded me of how much I liked that last season of Grantchester. I never got into the first few seasons with the redheaded guy because whenever I tuned in he always seemed to be sitting in a pub by himself with a whiskey and a cigarette. The new guy has a very soothing voice, and the storylines are good. Oh, the topic was freedom and choice……as Janis Joplin said “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I remember last summer trying to pick out beige paint for the kitchen and now I need to pick out blue paint for my table and am dreading it. At least it will be outdoor paint so that might narrow the choices. That’s all the philosophy I can manage before coffee…

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  7. Very interesting question- and I love Grantchester, by the way! I think there’s a big difference between the question of wanting freedom and the question of how much choice is too much. True personal freedom within a society comes with responsibility, as others have said. That responsibility includes obeying the laws that have the overall well-being of its society in mind. It also includes an expectation of being responsible for your own actions and wellbeing. When Russians lost their authoritarian communist rule in 1989 (after forever, since before that they had emperors and they were serfs), many people found it extremely difficult to live with “freedom”. They had no experience whatsoever in making their own decisions. Decisions about schooling, about work, you name it. I suppose the fact that some retail stores provide so much choice is a sign of the “free market” going mad, I don’t know. Most of us just buy what we always buy and get annoyed when it disappears and gets replaced by a new brand, usually an in-house brand.

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    1. You hit the exact point….how much is too much….we need to learn how to make decisions, but how many options does anyone need. Though, I will say, I know a lot of wishy washy people who can’t make a decision no matter what

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  8. I like having choices but then I’m rather definitive about most things. I like trying something new, as long as I can still have the something old if I want to go back to it. Hence I like the variety.

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      1. Well, I’d say yes it does. When it comes to paint/color, it’s all about the undertones. If people don’t understand that they dither, but that knowledge comes from experience, let me tell you. Now I’m most decisive. You live, you paint, you discern, you learn!

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      2. I’m betting most people wouldn’t know the difference. I know my husband still thinks we have the same tv for the past 15 years, not remembering we got a new one 3 years ago, and the new one is larger, and has a totally different base, so it sits differently on the tv stand. And he looks at it every day.

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      3. Ha! Could be that I’m more observant than most people, although I think once you become acclimated to something you forget about it IF it’s of no difference to you, like a TV set.

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  9. I loved that episode of Grantchester (well, I love them all:), but I don’t remember the quote. In answer to your question, I think this varies widely (or wildly!) depending on a person’s personality. Some are more artistic, some focus on small details, some are hey-ho go with the flow, and others are a bit OCD. I personally feel more comfortable with less choices.

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  10. Too many options is not a good thing. I am not sure we humans are equipped enough to deal with that. No option is not good either; it kills our willpower. The best is just a few options maybe. But even then, we might not be able to decide. Maybe in that case, we need to work on our decision skills.

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    1. I like choices. That being said, how many choices is too many? When I buy granola at the market, the granola is actually in three different section, regular, organic and gluten free. And amongst those sub sections are endless choices. Do I need to look at three sections, ten brands in each section and then five flavors per brand to make a choice? End result? I now make my own granola

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      1. HA! So true. I remember visiting the states as a kid and being BLOWN AWAY by the choices..Specifically I remember an earring store at a mall in New Jersey where my cousins lived..just ALL earrings, hundreds of them..and the radio stations..so many, so much great music! I would buy blank cassette tapes and just record hours of music to take back home with me..commercials and all! 😂

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      2. The one summer I remember it was Elton John and KIKI Dee (sp?) Don’t go breakin’ my heart..I sang that song and ate peanut butter on wonder bread for two weeks straight! GOOD TIMES!

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  11. Restricting our freedom and choices is a slippery slope, I feel restricted already by politically correct opinions dominating the culture and everything else is shut down. This limits our ability to find creative and alternative solutions to complicated issues because there is only one acceptable approach a problem.

    I agree having 15 options for black slacks at Macy’s is daunting but I would hate only having one style that made my ass look disproportionate. This is only an example, my ass is fine, but the word is so applicable. C

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    1. I just wonder what the right number is. I was just at the market. I needed chicken. There was a woman at the chicken section for at least ten minutes deciding which chicken to buy, with her cart blocking it because you know social distancing. I got fed up and grabbed what I needed and she got all huffy….but….do we need so many options of chicken tha5 it takes more than ten minutes to decide?

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      1. I’m not sure of the optimal number of choices? Some people can’t make decisions even when the options are limited (chicken is chicken). I think fear immobilizes many people, fear of mistakes, making the wrong choice, fear of regret, fear of looking foolish, fear of their own indecision, it’s endless. So options might not be the real issue? Maybe we tackle the root of our fears? C

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  12. I think that in a lot of cases, too many choices is not a good thing. I also don’t believe that is always the case. I know that when I have too many things I want to work on creatively, I struggle to decide and often end up just not working on any of it. Having a blank page in front of me with the prompt to create something has a tendency to just blank out my brain. If there is anything at all on that page or a specific direction given on what to create, I tend to do so much better. Now, if I’m trying to do something like shop for clothes, I rarely find that I have enough good options to choose from. I think the difference is that when it comes to something like clothes shopping there is still a foundation for the choices that allows for an immediate sorting of the choices and automatically narrows down the pool where the prompt to create something has near endless possibilities.

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    1. Sometimes it’s narrowing the pool. And I totally know the blank page thing…on a light note, I play this design game. Most of the time they give you parameters of things you must use, and I do great on these. I falter on the one daily challenge that gives you carte Blanche…but with clothes, I use a subscription service because I can’t be bothered to go store to store to find what I want. Macy’s is nyc is I think nine floors and a full city block….why would I eve4 do that?

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  13. SO many choices have been reduced since COVID, and that has simplified life considerably. AT a restaurant the other night, the menu, found by scanning the QR code on my phone) offered three appetizers, three entrees, and three desserts, instead of the usual 15 or so of each. It wasn’t easy to choose between the items, since none of them were irresistible, but it was fine. Having too many choices simply means wasting mental energy thinking about them…

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  14. I’m comfortable with most of the choices I’m presented with. For instance, I tend to reach for a brand I’ve used before when in the supermarket. If I were in a different setting, there could be too many things to choose from, such as your illustration with the paint store. I could get bewildered by unfamiliar things.

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  15. I do get analysis-paralysis at times especially when making a decision that requires an outlay of money or a situation where I am not totally sure of my footing. I do feel that with many choices you need to stand up for what you want. If we only had 3 shades of grey then those mfgs. would have a corner on the market and could do as they please. I clearly remember a time when I was doing my weekly food shopping and while in the produce section I noticed a group of middle aged women and a woman in her 20’s, she appeared to be showing them around. I went about my choosing of fruit and needed to be next to them, I realized they were not speaking English and 2 of the older women were clearly upset and crying. I was concerned and asked if they needed help and the young woman explained to me that they were recent refugees awaiting asylum and they had never seen so much food in one place and they didn’t know places like that existed. What I have taken for granted was something amazing to them, to have a choice at all was a big thing but to have so many was frightening.

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  16. As long as we have plenty, why do we need so much choice – it just encourages waste and complication.

    The very existence of taupe is an abomination. Did we really discover penicillin, invent trigonometry and go to the moon just so that we can paint walls in a browny-grey shade of mediocrity? Did Leonardo or van Gogh need taupe?

    I have two sorts of trousers – one to wear and one to keep in the wardrobe for funerals. Al my shoes are the same, apart from the black funeral pair. I am working towards less choice in all my clothes. If my ass looks big in the trousers I have two choices – one is to ignore it, two is to exercise more. I don’t need different trousers and I’m not going to change to accommodate the views of others about my shape. If they don’t like the way I am that’s their problem, not mine.

    Not saying choice is a bad thing, just saying that we don’t need too much of it, and not everything in life is just about choice.

    Meanwhile, yes, in politics, for instance, choice is good.

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      1. Seems fair enough. We should take our destiny in our own hands and, with only a limited choice provided for us, march into the sunlit uplands of doing it for ourselves!

        You start the revolution – I’ll follow. 🙂

        And, do yuo really have plasns for blog posts until the 20th of next month?

        In terms of choice – Grantchester or Father Brown?

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      2. Yes, I think it’s the 20th. But I only write actual posts four days a week….Friday’s I do favorites, Saturday’s are gratitude and Sunday are pictures. My brain needs a little time to recover. I’m quite verbose….. hmmmm….I think Father Brown is quirkier and a little more fun, but Grantchester usually has something topical and applies to present time (though often forced) if you’re talking about the tv series. I’ve only read a few of the books

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      3. I don’t really care for either of them in writing – I find one is dated and the other laboured.

        I like Father Brown better on TV as it’s lighter and the characters are more fun.

        Again – so much choice!

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  17. I want a middle ground. In Mexico there were very few choices. For example, there were 2 brands of dishwashing soap. Neither was effective, and the only option was really size. It took very little time to choose one, but I wasn’t satisfied. In the U.S. there are more brands and each brand has choices with multiple features. Or maybe they don’t; maybe it is really the same thing marketed different ways. It takes a long time to choose (unless you know what you want and it is in stock with the original labeling), but you have better odds of being satisfied. In Mexico shopping was tiring because of translation efforts and trying to find substitutes for products unavailable there. In the U.S. shopping is tiring because of the effort involved in sifting through the choices. I’m not a shopping enthusiast.🤷🏻‍♀️

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  18. YES absolutely too many choices make’s life more difficult, my Grandparents lived a happy simple life, neither had a great deal of money, they had rather unexciting jobs but they had a close circle of really good friends and enjoyed themselves, they KNEW all of their neighbours to chat to, the had one holiday a year and were content with very little to worry about…………………………….. I switch on the news and it’s like a prerequisite that I should care that there’s been suicide bombings in Turkey, riots in Belarus, covid in Florida…………… the tsunami of bad news is never ending!

    (Transport me back to 1950s Britain please where I can live a quiet village life, I’m actually beginning to hate the internet, we’d all be better off without it!)

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  19. I guess I don’t equate freedom with having too many choices when I shop or dine. So the quandary as presented doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Freedom to me is not being tied to a job with a boss and a fixed schedule. Being able to use my time however I see fit. I can never have too much of that!

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  20. I like fewer choices when shopping, unless I’m looking at clothing or cars of motorcycles, then I want many, many choices. I don’t necessarily equate choices to freedom. Freedom is broader than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think we definitely have too many choices. But not always good ones. I get frustrated with all the garbage on TV because I can’t find anything worth watching. There are other examples too where it’s often easier to simply choose nothing.

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