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Pre-packaged

We live in a pre-packaged world. We rarely create. Instead, most of the time we choose “a package”. This is often referred as the “freedom of choice”. Let’s not forget that giving you a free choice, by itself is neither free nor is a choice. It’s rather a manipulation, a manifestation of power and the means of control – however subtle it might be.

You choose TV channel to watch, radio station to listen to. You choose to buy clothes, shoes and styles made for the average consumer, not you. Many of them display the brands we choose, so that more consumers see the greatness of our choice, and make choices of their own. Gucci or Hugo Boss? Gap or Banana Republic? This is to maximize the gains of those who sell. Simple!

To make fast-food even faster, we choose McDonalds vs. Burger King (feel free to substitute it with your personal choice of brand) and then enjoy the menu from 1 to 8 of more or less the same content. We eat pre-made microwave heated pizza, while our kids enjoy pre-mixed macaroni and cheese. Paper or plastic? Iced or hot? Pre-packaged gourmet turkey or pot pie? Red or white?

We choose pre-arranged doctor recommendations and drugs. We choose insurance plans from all 4 best available options. We choose smalltalk and greetings from the pre-packaged meaningless phrases. – Hi, how are you! – Good, and you? – Very well, thank you. – Good!

We no longer talk to a human when we call for help over the phone: for marketing press 1, for customer support press 2, etc., to hear these options again, press 9. The customer support would read a screen with instructions and their menu options, pretending to be human. Some no longer do even this, replacing it with fully automated chat.

Pre-mixed music. Rock, pop, classical, country, jazz, international. Pre-arranged literature. Fiction, drama, comedy, novels. Pre-sorted entertainment. Baseball, football, NASCAR, sitcom.

Pre-packaged political party from the menu of two, one better than the other. And even this choice becomes more and more challenging every year. – Are you pro-gay or anti-pro-choice? (being neither a gay nor a pregnant woman). – Are you anti-pro-immigration or against great-again? Big pharma or Big Oil? Big military or Wall Street?

You can freely choose between Married Filing Jointly and Single when doing your taxes. But if you fail to make this choice for 2-3 years in a row, you may end up in a place with much less freedom of movement.

Pre-packaged lifestyle. Suburban, city, country. House-3-car-garage-kids-schools, apartment-suit-office-job-public-transport or corn-field-tractor-everybody-knows-everybody. Exercise your freedom of choice.

Pre-packaged god. Jesus, Mohammed or Moses? Consider Buddha. Or scrap all these ancient fellow. Choose science. Well, this one is not really your choice, not to start with at least. It depends more on the geo-coordinates you are born in, your family and upbringing. Free will of your parents? Not really. They inherited this, much as you do.

Pre-packaged lifestyle. Suburban, city, country. House-3-car-garage-kids-schools, apartment-suit-office-job-public-transport or corn-field-tractor-everybody-knows-everybody. Exercise your freedom of choice.

And so on, and so on. It’s all like this. No escape. The only real choice it seems, is whether to continue to live or not. Pre-packaged death. Various options available.

But until then, can we create (vs. choose) anywhere, anytime, anything that’s not fed to us just like ranchers feed cattle?

… Even if just only in our imagination.