[The Art of Choosing]
Sheena Iyengar's travels to multiple countries and her interactions with
hundreds of people, not to mention her attention to studies involving
thousands of participants, have given her tremendous insight concerning
the cultural factors that influence choices.
Iyengar notes that "members of individualist societies are taught the
special importance of choice" while on the other hand, "members of
collectivist societies place greater emphasis on duty" (45). Iyengar
strives, by the way, to move beyond the typical task of suggesting that
one society's approach is superior to another; instead, she highlights
and celebrates the differences.
What aspects of choice, in relation to the influence of cultural
background, seemed most essential to you and why concerning chapter 2
(pages 22 - 73) of Iyengar's book? Please provide a page number for your citation.
The topic of marriage, specifically arranged marriage, really stuck out to me in a different light. I personally believe that people should be allowed to choose who it is they would like to spend their life with. However, I think that people often choose a life partner for shallow or convenient reasons or out of hyped-up affection rather than making the choice and effort to invest in a marriage. I also think that aspects of arranged marriage are quite beautiful and practical. I like the idea that arranged marriage involves the entire family and their blessing rather than an exclusive relationship. I also appreciate the idea that people can learn to love and make the choice to be devoted in a marriage. Some of the text on pages 30, 38-39, and 44 prompted my curiosity on this.
The American Dream. As stated, this dream is all consuming for those living in this country; including myself. I was raised in an American family culture where I was taught, “If I strive and work hard enough, I will eventually have what I desire.” And so it is. I chose college because I wanted an education to get the “perfect career.” I chose the church I go to so that I may be comfortable and it fits my desires as well.
Over all, as stated I chapter 2:
“The only freedom deserving the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it…Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, tan by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
[pg 32]I have an individualistic viewpoint which drives the decisions I make mainly for myself. Not completely disregarding my family or the collective” but a driver for the benefit of my life.
"Central to individualist ideology is the conceiving of code in terms of opportunity - promoting an individual's ability to be or to do whatever he or she desired." (Pg. 32) I believe that I'm an individualist but only to a certain extent. I understand that I must make my own decisions due to me being old enough to havea mind of my own; I also uunderstand that I must take into considerationn others opinions along the way. For instance with marriage. It is in fact my decision who I marry but I must also respect my parents opinion of the man I chose to marry as well.
On pages 36-45, it talked about the Tale of Two Marriages and that really caught my attention. I find it really difficult to wrap my mind around the possibility that I could have ended up in a culture or society in which I was forced to spend my life with a complete stranger. I am a very guarded and hard-trusting person and I also like to choose whom I give my time to. My characteristics would be much the same regardless of my culture and the thought of not being able to freely choose who I would mate with, spend my life with, and devout myself to is terrifying. The power of choosing is crucial to anyone's way of life and that choice is one I would never want to give up.
The topic of marriage on pages 38-45 really stuck out to me. I think it stuck it to me mainly because it's so crazy how the people who set up arranged marriages think. The stories that were presented showed how different cultures have totally different meanings of matrimony. I'm happy I have the choice to pick who I marry because there are a lot of bad things behind arranged marriages.
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