Renata Salecl is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana, and holds a professorship at Birkbeck College, University of London, studying the effect choice has in our lives and whether or not it is an unhealthy obsession.
In her TED video, “Our Unhealthy Obsession with Choice,” Renata explores the problem of choice in our society. Renata believes that choice is the key to change, but first we have to look beyond ourselves.
Renata’s friend uses the psychology behind our choices to boost her car sales. The saleswoman would encourage a buyer to purchase the more practical car, but would suggest purchasing the more luxurious car in the future. Often customers opt for the more expensive car. The story demonstrates our tendency to make irrational decisions based on an idealized self-image.
We obsess over an ideal self, and at the same time tend to ignore the more critical issues. We often opt for ignorance. For example, many people with life-threatening illnesses choose to reject treatments as a way of ignoring their terrifying reality. Renata explains that people often turn to political leaders or gurus because of the unwillingness to personally face the bigger issues.
Our passion for ignorance robs us of our power. Renata recommends that we stop obsessing over individual choices, and focus more on social choice.