Tuesday, April 3, 2012

AOC: Choice Remains An Art


Haley Scholar Reading Groups

By Danielle Hall

Over the course of this semester, we have read and discussed varying choice processes including informed intuition, collective choices, and limited or restrictive choices. The processes all point to the myriad ways that we both inform and are impacted by choice.

In the epilogue, I found the following statement by Iyengar a useful point to consider that sums up her main thoughts and arguments throughout the book: "Science can assist us in becoming more skillful choosers, but at its core, choice remains an art" (268). In order to benefit the most from our choices, we must be willing to accept its ambiguity as well as its paradox.

How about you? -- What's one concept raised in the epilogue that drew your interest? In brief, explain why that concept or example was notable or intriguing to you?

11 comments:

Joe Brown said...

I quite enjoyed the reference to the "Choose your own adventure" books on page 261.
I enjoyed reading those books as a child, and like Mrs. Iyengar, I also enjoyed "cheating" as she called it. It was always exciting to see what choices lead to which consequences or rewards. It was the same reason I bought guide books to video games in adolescence, just to see how I could win, but still keep things within my own control. It is very tempting to look ahead into our futures, to forecast, to "cheat", or to divine. But when it comes to reality, it is hard to look ahead, because in life we really are the characters in the story.

Hilary Conrad said...

The part of the Epilogue I found most interesting was about Rachel the young lawyer who just found out she was pregnant. I graduated 2 years ago and more and more I see girls I knew in high school pregnant and having kids. I always pondered what I would do if I became pregnant now. If I chose to have the kid not only would I have to give up school, but also running track. Having many younger siblings and cousins, they look up to me. I am the first in my family to play a college sport. Not only would I feel like I let down family and friends, but I would also be letting down my team. If I chose abortion, which is against my families religious beliefs, I again would be letting down my family and what I believe in.

Maame A said...

One topic in the epilogue that really interested me was the story of Rachael (pg 262-265)and her choice to either continue the pregnancy and have her child, or build her career as a young lawyer. This topic interested me so much because I feel that this is an issue that I will be having in the future as a young professionalist.I also really liked the quote stating "As far as she could tell, whatever their decisions, the ones who had ended up most happy had given consideration to both their instinctive and their calculated responses." I liked that quote because it truly embraces what goes into making a correct choice. You must go with your gut feeling, but also calculate the outcome of the worst that could happen if you choose a certain thing and if its worth it.

Jaimie Belen said...

Rachel, the young lawyer, was the most interesting topic to me in the epilogue. I thought that it was interesting because my two best friends got pregnant. One was in high school and one was in college. I honestly don't think that getting pregnant can set anyone back from what they want. One of them is in nursing school and the other one just graduated from nursing school (she received her associates degree). I think that sometimes the consequences could be a good thing. For example, they both tried harder in school because they knew that they needed to be able to support a child.

Society labels young pregnancy as a bad thing, but we do have the choice to help these girls or look down on them when they are capable of doing anything that they want.

Robert B said...

I was intrigued my Rachael's story as well. Even as a male student, I feel that I can relate to the difficulties of a situation like this. And as a male there is a third option that comes into play. One can choose to take on the role of a father, push for an abortion, or even just leave the mother on her own. While the latter seems a terrible decision, it is not uncommon. Leaving is the easiest road to take because the repercussions of pregnancy are easily avoided for a man. It's the temptation to avoid consequences that can make if difficult to make what would appear to be the right choice.

LaToya Bond said...

The concept that drew my interest was the one about Jane Hodge that committed suicide. I hear quite a bit about suicide because I am in the medical field but you never really see people take the approach that she did. Most people commit suicide because they are unhappy with their life and they find it as their escape. People also commit suicide because they are tired of suffering. In Janes case to be 90 she was still living a good and healthy life, and she committed suicide because she didn't want to suffer. Personally I couldn't make the choice that she did because I wouldn't want to leave my family like that because suicide takes a toll on your loved ones because there are so many unanswered questions. At the same time, when you are terminally ill and suffering that as well can take a toll on your family and can often times be worse because they are kind of just waiting around for you to go. You could go back and forth on her decision and this topic all day long!

Denita Campbell said...

I found Rachel's story the most interesting in the epilogue. I favored her story the most because as election time is approaching us women's rights and choices are a big issue. Career women are often discriminated against in our society when it come to the idea of pregnancy. Not too long ago it was an issue of ow long women should have for maternity leave form their jobs. Women are stuck to make a choice between their careers and their families. Being a working woman myself these are choices that I need to consider for the future.

Alexis Cortes said...

I found it interesting that Iyengar states, "To choose means to turn ourselves to the future...In that sense, we are all amateur foretellers..."
This excerpt didn’t leave me thinking about short-term decisions like what to have for lunch. There isn’t much need for thought about the future when making choices like that. I thought back to when I declared my major.
I was forced to think about the future in this situation. How’s the job market in journalism? Is everyone right when they say newspapers are dying out? What kind of lifestyle am I setting myself up for?
As I’m rethinking, panicking, and rethinking some more, I remember something I was told by a stranger. He was very nice and encouraging to me when I told him I hoped to be a journalist. He left me with this advice, “People are always going to need their news. Newspapers aren’t going anywhere.”
This one man gave me enough faith in the future of journalism that I had no problem declaring my major in mass communications. I realized that it is impossible to tell what the future is going to hold. This man could be right. Everyone else could be wrong! Maybe I will find a job after college.
I never thought of myself as an “amateur foreteller,” but it is so true, especially for college students. I know that I’m not the only one who had a similar experience with declaring. We’re all looking forward. We see how important technology is becoming, for example, and guess that we had better take some classes in computer science so we don’t get left behind.
Turning ourselves to the future is a beautiful way of saying what we do every semester, every year, until graduation and even after.

Alexis Cortes

Tia Borders Baptist said...

The topic that drew me in the most in the epilogue. Rachel's story about making a decision to have a child or no was one that i find many women with careers have to make. It seems that we as women have to worry about theses type of situations because it affects us most of all. I understand that the men have to go through the process also but women have to take on more when it comes to pregnancy. So many things change with the women and if she has to be in a professional setting then things will be different. I can definitely understand why she would feel this way about making a choice and what would be best for her not just everyone else. I am glad she decided to keep it cause i think she would've regretted her decision. I like the quote, " Its important, therefore, that we examine our assumptions about choice and that we openly discuss how, when, and why it falls short. Only then can we begin to realize the full potential of choice. "I t just says so much about how we look into things with actual facts but just assumptions and usually make decisions base on these assumptions then we wonder why they fall short. We have to realize that much more goes into making actual decision.

Shawn C. said...

The portion on choice in the future as a whole starting on page 260 truly spoke to me. It is funny how much choice about the future can impact our lives in such a way, but in reality we will never know if we make the correct choice about the matter at hand. Since we are uaually confronted two paths to venture in regards to choice if we chose one, we will most likely never have the chance to know the outcome of the other. With that being said, in my eyes there is almost no true way to regret a choice made because we lack any comparison to "what could have been" if we had decided to endure the other course of action. An example of this in my own life is the choice to join the Army medical corps upon the acceptance into medical school (hopefully!). By choosing this and giving up my chances to learn medicine in a civilian setting, I will technically have no reason to personally believe that the choice I made and its outcome will/is better than the option that I left behind. All in all I believe that the choice about the future is way more than knowing if the outcome is the correct one for our lives, but instead every choice we make is indeed the correct choice. Even though the outcome may seem grim at the time, it will always lead to the next set of choices about the future, which may lead to an outcome beyond our wildest dreams.

Rob Caffey said...

The portion that was most interesting to me is the part that spoke about the future. We at the age we are now have to make many decisions that will impact our future forever. After I was laid off from my previous job I had to make a decision on whether I would go to the air force or go back to school. I obviously chose school and that is the reason you are able to read this post today. my future would have been completely different if I made the other choice.