Freedom From Choice

A.J. Jacobs, master of the year-long book stunt, spent a year trying to live by all the rules dictated in the Bible. As stunts go, it’s not that interesting to me (“Hey, I grew a beard!”), but one of the lessons he mentioned learning in this Newsweek interview indicates he really did go in with an open mind:

We all talk about freedom of choice, but there’s something very attractive about freedom from choice. Religion provides structure, mooring, anchoring. Should you covet? No. Should you give 10 percent to the needy? Yes. It really structures your life. After my year I felt unmoored, overwhelmed by choice. I have adjusted, but I’m still overwhelmed by choice, as we all are in America.

There’s an analogy here about why those who preach simplicity in the realm of technology sound so much like they’re preaching religion, and why those who agree with them often take on a near-religious fervor, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.