Henry Ford once famously said that folks could have the popular Model-T automobile in any color, “so long as it is black.” Ford cars did come in other colors but scaling up the newly-invented assembly line was easier with less variables. Fast forward to today and those with means can have any and all options. But even for us average Joes, the array of decisions we are required to make every day, has led to the modern phenomenon of “decision fatigue.”
In a recent Substack, Michael Sacasas, notes that modern consumer society enjoyed the “proliferation of choices” until it became counterproductive. “Now freedom as choice gives way to freedom from choice, but with no clearer sense of what freedom is for.” In his insightful way, Sacasas observes there is a strangeness about a society for which planning meals can be outsourced to an app. Could it be that there is joy and satisfaction in “the sorts of tasks we are told to see as mundane, trivial, and inconvenient”?
Sacasas seems very cognizant of the draining nature of the white noise. He suspects that a lot of the burnout we feel is because society has made optimization an end in itself. The result is busywork that “serve[s] only the operations of a techno-economic system designed to offer us everything but satisfaction, schooling us only in various forms of envy, addiction, and dependence.” While the slow avalanche of modern life can sweep you along without your noticing, Sacasas sees making decisions, even tedious ones, as essential to self-governing persons. Saying “Yes” or “No” is a powerful thing.
Those who caught last week’s Stop the White Noise will know that Rev. Fisk is not a fan of New Year’s resolutions (and neither are we!) But any time is a good time to “arrest the drift”, seek God’s wisdom and take comfort in his Word. Do our priorities change when we remember that this world is a passing dream, that we are citizens of the city whose builder and maker is God? As St. Peter wrote: “The end of all things is at hand.” So, let’s be sober-minded, and “rest our hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He is risen. You are paid for and He won’t be long anyway. Happy New Year!