[The Art of Choosing]
By Danielle Hall
In Sheena Iyengar's The Art of Choosing, each section of chapter 3
expounds on notions of dissonance and the earlier concept of
collective choices. The chapter title bears the name of Walt Whitman's
poem "Song of Myself."
At one point, Iyengar discusses the parallels between Whitman's rhetoric
of self contradiction as an organic and multi-layered concept. She
suggests that ours is more complex when we are unable to or less likely
to find balance or reconciliation within our multidimensional selves.
Here, she states that many people enter into a state of "cognitive
dissonance" when caught between conflicting forces, which are typically
our beliefs and actions (97-98).
Even at the core of what we consider to be our own unique qualities and
individualisms or what we understand about our path to self discovery
are in fact interconnected by both internal and external relationships.
Those relationships are related to what we believe about ourselves, the
manifestation of our actions, and societal perceptions of who we are.
These ideas, more or less, are malleable as we change and develop over
time or on a daily basis, with whom and how we interact and navigate
throughout various spaces or settings.
What idea from chapter 3 fascinated you most? Why or how so? Provide page citation please.
The idea that interested me the most is in the section titled "I Am Unique, Just Like Everyone Else," pages 85-93. The title all its own grabbed my attention but as I read through the section, I realized that most people do label themselves as unique. So, wouldn't that make us all the same? The example given about an iPod still holds very true right now but instead it's with iPhones. Most of the people with iPhones (including myself) did not buy it because of the panaramic camera or whatever special characteristics the phone has, but because of the name, Apple, associated and just about everyone else has one.
I found her second part "Do Your Thing" to be interesting. Mostly because of her statement that the only way to stand out really is to fit in with everyone else. It's true albeit ironic because people try to promote the idea that you should simply be yourself and to be your own individual person, but it only applies to certain behaviors. If you doing your own thing or your idea of expressing your individuality is weird, it's something you shouldn't do.
I found the "Do You See What I See?" section so interesting. The idea that we are all trying so hard to be unique is so fascinating. The wine ordering example was actually kind of funny. I feel like this idea of "'not a copycat"' is running rampant through society today and that everyone is so busy trying to not like what everyone else likes that they can't even discover what they like themselves and it is hindering us more as individuals than if we found that we did happen to like what everyone else did.
The concept that caught my attention was "I Am Unique, Just Like Everyone Else". When I first saw this title, I was very confused as to what she meant. But, after reading, it made me think a lot about myself as an "individual". In this chapter, she states that we all believe are unique, different from everyone else. But yet, If we all believe the same thing, what exactly makes us different from the next person. We all aspire to be great in life, to be remembered for whatever we aspired to do, so what makes our goals, our dreams, bigger and better than the next person? If you think about it, we are all the same, in a way. We may take different routes in life, but we all have the same goal at the end of the day; to live life to the fullest.
In the section "Song of Myself," I found the idea of the conflicting aspects ourselves that begin to arise as we age. Pages 96 and 97 were most specific, as it labeled this phenomenon as cognitive dissonance. I found this idea most interesting because I find it most relatable at this point in life. A lot of subjects come to light in my English, and I usually already have an opinion on those subjects. As people start to discuss their own opinions, it forces me to view my own opinions in a different perspective. Many times I leave class unsure of my stance on certain issues that I had previously been confident about.
In Chapter 3 “the marshmallow matter”, on page 112, was a fascinating topic. This experiment dealt with one’s choices and how time and temptation plays a role. What I found most intriguing is that the children, on average, waited nearly 3 minutes before ringing the bell. I could relate to this topic because as humans we sometimes look at the now and not the overall picture.
Also, the topic, “do you see what I see?” on pare 101 was fairly interesting as well. People’s fear of being a “copycat” or not having their own identity is a dilemma when it comes to choosing. In this section it stated that we want to fine “common ground” (103). Having an identity does affect decisions and it opened my eyes to why people make the choices they do when around people.
In chapter three the most interesting idea I found within the reading was the "I Am Unique, Just Like everybody Else." When I was reading the profile description on page 85 I noticed I could relate to a lot of the listings. I soon realized that those same characteristics were read by someone else who thought the profile sounded like them too. This idea was the most interesting to me because everyone likes to believe that they are different or unique, but in actuality everyone is very similar.
I loved reading the "Do You See What I See?" section. It basically talked about how people desire tob e unique and they're really opposed to being copycats. I read that on page 101. It made me think that after the 'Be yourself' movement, things got a little out of hand. People were encouraged to embrace being unique and different so much that they started seeing being normal as bad. So, they do anything in their power to be original or stand out. But, this can also be very fake.
I found the section "I am Unique," Just like Everyone Else" (pg. 85) to be interesting. It's interesting because last semester my English teacher posted a very similar paragraph and asked the class to read it. Then she told us to raise our hand if we thought the paragraph described us. Everyone in the whole class raised their hand. It goes to show that people like to think that they're different from one another, but in reality we are very similar and everyone has a generalized idea of what they like to think about themselves.
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