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Impact’s Columnist on… Indecision

Cr-Isis or Bodega? Extortionate pimping student pad or cheap and skanky crack den? Team Sparkly Pouting Vampire or Team Gratuitously Topless Werewolf?

Even if you’re not a gormless teenage girl with the ability to attract brooding MTV-friendly Halloween types despite your own crippling passivity, indecision can attack you on all frontiers of life. For instance, when I’m standing in the skincare aisle in Boots systematically reading labels on tubs of moisturiser – in an attempt to find an elixir that will make me look a little more Lucy Liu, a little less Mr Miyagi – I can’t pick between the one with 24-carat pentapeptide horseshit and the other one containing nymphomaniac moonpig biospheres. And should I plump for that nondescript tube of cream, or is it worth forking out fifty quid more for the latest concoction by Estee Lauder? To justify that kind of price disparity, the difference must be that the former is like rubbing a sausage roll over your face, whilst the latter presumably contains some magical ingredient excreted by Albus Dumbledore and cultivated in the Loire Valley.

It’s difficult to make a truly rational decision about any of this. Especially when businesses compete for customers by arbitrarily attaching fantasy lifestyles to products which are in fact essentially the same – a practise also known as advertising. What’s the difference between this can of deodorant and that one? Not much, except apparently one makes your girlfriend love you more and the other makes women want to have sex with you in Tesco. As well as being inundated by an overwhelming quantity of consumer choice, the modern condition of indecisiveness can also be caused by advancements in social mobility. Greater equality of opportunity means that just because you’re born in Yorkshire doesn’t mean that you have to work in a mine. Shockingly, you can also do other stuff, like become an investment banker or go on The X Factor and that. However, this can often mean that young people and graduates experience the increasingly common quarter-life crisis.

Plot lines narrow the narrative of our lives. Whether you decide you’re going to be a high flying city slicker or are predestined to become Simon Cowell’s bitch, you are also deciding not to be a Nobel Prize winning physicist, or to save small children and animals in some impoverished part of the world. It can further be noted that jumping to decisions too quickly – and without valid justification – can have dangerous consequences. Do foreigners have a basic human right to seek a better life in another country, or must we curb immigration in order to prioritise the wellbeing of the existing population? Is promiscuity a sign of freedom or depravity? Should the Kings of Leon have stuck to their kooky brand of hillbilly rock, or is Ocean a better place because of Sex on Fire? Sometimes it is okay to not believe that there is an answer, but rather to acknowledge the sheer complexity of the situation.

At the same time the world cannot consist entirely of armchair philosophers and reflective stoners, perpetually locked in some existential quandary. We need people to take charge, to make a stand, to drive change in a certain direction. It is decision makers who make the world go round.

Clearly, sometimes you’ve just got to decide when to decide. Argh.

Stephanie Soe

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