Illusions of Choice


What does that word mean to you?

Independence? Vacationing in Europe for 2 weeks? The ability to vote your government into power?

Typical definitions of the word, all fine and good. Personally, these typical definitions leave me feeling quite empty, and far from free.

It was only a few days ago that America celebrated its Independence. Fireworks, BBQ’s, Flags, Beach, Sun – an enjoyable day off to do whatever. An extra day to tack on to the weekend to do as you pleased – a feeling of Freedom!

But how many of you reading this, woke up Tuesday morning, back to the same ole routine? You have bills to pay after all. Can’t live like that every day. Do you really have a choice; this is just how it is.

Despite our conditioning, the ability to hop on a plane and break loose for a bit or cast a vote in the ballot box, we are not free. And every now and then there are shocking examples of just how free we aren’t.

Woman Faces Jail Time for Vegetable Garden

A bold headline which stood out on my Twitter feed this morning. Serious? I had to read this, especially since today my morning plans consisted of starting my own potted herb & vegetable garden!

This article reveals a Michigan woman, who decided to grow a garden because the price of organic food got too high, was being repeatedly cited by the local government and chastised by a few of her {ignorant} neighbors. All for growing food? Apparently she’s in violation of a city code stating one’s yard must consist of suitable, live, plant material.”

Ok, are vegetables not suitable, not live and not plant material? Am I the only one scratching my head here? So what’s the issue? The issue lies in the word “suitable”.

According to Webster’s dictionary suitable is defined as common. And the City’s planner goes on to say “If you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers.”

Land of the free? Sounds to me like we live in a land of do as everyone else does or you may end up in jail.

In the land of the free we are programmed to believe we have choice, yet choice is only an illusion.

Stories like that of the Michigan Vegetable Garden Grower send a shiver up my spine, and hopefully yours too. But I believe the real purpose of stories like these is to wake us up to a reality hidden in plain sight.

  • Coke | Pepsi
  •  Big Mac | Whopper
  • Starbucks | The Coffee Bean
  • Walmart | Target
  • Elle | Bazaar
  • ABC | NBC
  • Democrat | Republican

Defined by our choices, every day we’re picking a side. You like this or that. You are this type of person, not that kind of person.

Competitors? There is no difference.

They share so many commonalties – same format, same marketing tactics, fundamentally the same ingredients. The only difference is in name. We identify with a color, slogan, logo, catch phrase, poster boy and never let it go. Simple magic tricks.

Sadly,  it’s quite common to respond with disgust to a citizen or neighbor who truly exercises their freedom. But who wants to be a commoner?

Fuck that, I want to be free.

What’s your response to this story? And we how do we become a society of truly free individuals?

One Response to “Illusions of Choice”
  1. “Am I the only one scratching my head here?”
    No, you’re not. I’m doing the same each and every day.
    If you don’t want to feel alone with your point of view, feel invited to reed my blog.

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