When Self-Reliance Fails You, an Actor's Story

When jarred, unavoidably, by circumstance, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better group of harmony if you keep on going back to it
— Marcus Aurelius

I can’t say that I have reverted to myself in these last moments. I ended up taking a drive and screaming in the car at the most resonant frequency my vocal chords could allow. Why?  Why did I crumble into an outrage I couldn’t even share with a family member? Well, actors heed; the mental circus we endure with all of its bull whips and caged freedoms is something few others will ever understand. 

Ne te quaesiveris extra - (Do not seek things outside of yourself)

I broke for the negation of the above. I have allowed myself the decadent reverie of a future that was not yet endowed. I have sought, and illusorily found, a thing, a mode of life, outside of myself that I very much wanted, and then as things go, I was awoken from the dream. 

A few weeks ago I was sent on a theatrical audition. Run of the mill audition for a series regular role on a new network TV show. I seldom talk about acting because it’s commonplace in my life. I enjoy it dearly, but the fruits of the pursuit have been thin and without too much promise, so I roll with the flow and keep quiet for the most part. Days after the audition I get the call-back. Fine. I’ll go back and read for the folks - It was fun the first time ‘round, why not? Well… another success; I was present, alive, reactive, listening. It felt good. Days pass and then another call to perform; a producer’s session. (This is when the majority of the people who make the final decision sit in a room and ogle at your performance) Now, as of late, I have been meditating with relative frequency, but I still get a little in my head when the pressure is on. It’s basically when you get past the general conceptual understanding of you as an actor playing a part in a fictional piece, and start scoping the larger picture with its needless details involving networks, budgets, bigwigs, career launches, etc. Even though the pressure isn’t supposed to be on and you are doing LITERALLY the EXACT SAME thing as all the other auditions, your root chakra tickles a little and synapses do a funny thing of fabricating a hologram you in front of you that watches you and judges you harder than any producer could. But I still rock it. This rarely happens for me at this stage. It’s a beautiful thing for Pasha when Pasha doesn’t trip over himself. Moments tick and another call tolls, late in the evening of that day; caller ID reads the number of management. 

“They want you to go in tomorrow for a chemistry read with the character that plays your brother. Producers and director will be watching via Skype.”

This is the first time I have ever gotten this far for a role so prospective. In my entire 10 year career as an actor, after all of my close calls and co-star/guest-star bookings, I have never been wheedled down to one of the final picks for a lead recurring role on a tv-series. 

I prep. Drink my coffee. Write in my morning journal. Meditate. Commute to Manhattan. Arrive at the Warner Brothers office. Meet my already “booked” brother. Skype is fired up. We’re called into the room. We vibe. We read. We improvise. We take critique. We are complimented on our performance. I leave. 

It’s a fun mental game to play trying to wave away passing thoughts as if they are clouds one intends to dissipate.  Did you get the part? Did you not? What did they really think of your read? You could have read that part better etc etc… But when you are thinking about the future you could possibly have if these clouds materialize into guiding wind currents, it is very difficult to just let them pass without giving them any thought. In my particular case, it would be akin to winning the lottery. I even joked with my girlfriend who is located at an unfortunately long distance away, “Hey, if I could relocate you, if you didn’t have to work any longer, and we could live together, and we would thrive and write, would you say yes?” She hummed in affirmation. It is impossible not to think about these things. 

Hours pass and I finally get the text from my manager, “They loved your read, but they decided to go in another direction with your part.” 

Are these the men that judge me?

Are these the men that judge me?

Blow to the lower intestine. 

Now…I signed up for this game after reading its rulebook. I knew the clauses, the fine print, the foreboding script of likely alcoholism and bouts of depression. I agreed to it all. But let me swing back to a time demarcation in the text; 10 years, perhaps 12 at this point, I’ve been going through these emotional tumults, honing my craft, hardening my psyche, remaining woefully and naively optimistic.

The truth of the matter is that I could write this very passage on my deathbed with only one thing altered for continuity; time spent in this race. 10 years? Could be 70.

 Actors, musicians, writers, thinkers, performers, entrepreneurs, innovators are given no guarantee of success, of posterity, of recompense. If you are in pursuit, my fellow man, I give you my energy and good-will! Know that in solidarity you have a place in my heart. I cry for you as I clench my fist and bleed for you. I understand. 

Do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

When a fire courses within you, there is nothing you can do but heed its velocity. It urges to be fanned by whatever means necessary, and only you can decide how to facilitate its fickle desires. For me, it was/is theatrical arts, but ever more frequently I am coming to realize that the existence of my personal fire no longer wishes to be privy to exogenous whims; to producers, casting directors, to directors. 

Many of you have been following the development of my alternate inferno “Glass Hamlet”. Although I still can’t say when the first comprehensive project will be released (the album) due to uncertainty and constraints of audio-engineers, I can at least say that an entire album + 2 separate EP projects have been RECORDED. I may not be strong enough to continue down the path of the actor. Or perhaps, I have found myself another mountain; my mountain. 

And to my fellow actors - keep fucking trucking on! The psychological olympics to which you are subject are of a superhuman level. As queens and kings of uncertainty, know that you are capable of transplanting yourself into any other environment in the world with adroit ability to still make it work… And with a smile no less! 

But as Cory Allen would say, “We are all just souls in these meat taxis of our bodies on the ride of life. So enjoy it.”

PS: those of you who haven't heard my latest collaboration with a cat from Dublin, check it out below! 

Immortality isn't guaranteed...but tattoos are

    I have terrible self-control, almost no follow-through, and a small catalogue of procrastination habits. Marry these fantastic qualities with a pursuit of an autonomous profession and you have something resembling a reptile that hasn’t quite evolved legs, but really wants to get out of the water onto land. I flounder 80% of my waking life. Philosophers back to Plato and Aristotle called this paradoxical failure of the will - Akrasia.  Akrasia and I have been intimately seeing one another for the good part of the last 6 years. Recently, as I have grown past my rambunctious 23 years, my experimental 24, I have reached 25, where I should generally have the semblance of my shit together. Along this path I was given many opportunities to indulge in real careers that my technical education is suited for, yet some strange “I” always pulled the handbrake before accelerating down that slippery hill. I’ve never made a conscious decision to pursue “art”, and honestly, I think that term is too lofty for my britches, yet through the daily tumults, Pasha has embraced a fate that will likely lead to unnoticed oblivion. Music! Ha! This is my formal decree; I belong to IT now.    

    Going back to procrastination and my ever advancing age, I decided to get a little commitment device. The term commitment device is from game theory and applies to strategic situations. It refers to a way of changing one’s own incentives to make an otherwise empty threat or promise credible. Odysseus tying himself to a boat to hear the sirens is a classic example of a commitment device. I fashioned my adaptation around a quote and a previous affinity; a tattoo. 

He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times. - Friedrich Schiller

   With one life we are given only one chance to do our best, in whatever field we may find ourselves. I guess I’ve had a hard-on for immortality since reading Kundera’s, you guessed it, “Immortality” and ever since fantasized about an intellectual legacy. Perhaps that’s the “I” that has kept me in the quest of finding an outlet for my quirks and habits. But the defeat of mortality would assume noteworthy work left behind in my jet-stream, and I can’t say whether or not this will actually ever happen. That’s the risk, I guess. Well, the real risk will be if I will make enough life tokens from my work to buy my future wife anniversary presents and feed for my husky.     

    Schiller may have been trying to provide simple consolation with his words. Alas, he only said, “Do your best!”. Well, leave it to me to mince his words and etch, “BECOME IMMORTAL YOU SAVAGE!!!” on my arm. (It actually says “live for all times”) Now, when I think it’s ok to sleep in, I’ll have a present reminder that that’s not my best. When I decide to stay out late when I have to record in the morning, I will be told that that’s not my best. Likely, the metric of BEST will never be understood, but the certainty of death will always loom. Cut the morbid with a lime…I only say this to suppress my own ego. To conclude, I only hope that Akrasia doesn’t plead for alimony and that something comes of this circus…I’m missing out on legit game-time by foregoing Pokemon Go sessions. 

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I think I'll write again

    I’ve been sitting in front of this blank screen for about an hour. I’m starting to write again. No artistry here. I’ve even started off my last song with “I’m not a writer”, so just typing words. Yes. I’ve started to type words again. Maybe i’m out of touch, or maybe i’m trying to force it, or maybe i’ve just forgotten how, but it’s “sure as shit” (as my father says) hard. There is no deadline, no looming requirement, but it happens every so often that you have an urge within you that needs be satiated. Maybe it’s a benevolent goddess that’s trying to get out to see the first rays of spring? Well here I am, spinning contrived words, then deleting, then blowing the dandelions again in hopes that some combination of these type clicks will let her free. 

    It’s balance that we seek, no? On the Hegelian tight-rope we walk with the desire to get to the other side while not losing our wits, while remaining rational human beings. Why does this balance become so elusive then? Even while pursuing one’s dreams (whatever that may mean) we become frustrated, distraught, and ultimately disenchanted with whole enterprise. I am being highly idealistic in my complaint, but I think we can diverge from a fate of the ouroboros and not eat our own tails. 

    There are a few people in my life that I consider real friends. For some reason or another, we have imprinted upon each-other an armored bond that continues to endure the trials of time. I say this only because I almost never see the fuckers, but if reason were to rise, they would fly out in a moment’s notice. (One of you is Brazilian, one of you is German, and with one of you I ate mushrooms and walked around the Metropolitan Museum of Art…You know who you are) Though it’s not because we can’t find the time for one another, it’s strictly because we have all developed hyper-accelerated rhythms of life which is simply a by-product of having a freedom to pursue bigger picture goals. Why wouldn’t we strive for our higher “I’s”. We, you and I, are gifted an opportunity to succeed at any whim of a frivolity with the only caveat being aburden of unbridled competition. “You can have this delicious truffle, but first fight this invisible gorilla that may or may not materialize…” Can we consciously refuse and oppose such a proposition? It’s absurd..but the truffle is Belgian, and I can speak on behalf of the licensing agents of Godiva chocolates that Belgian truffles are the bee’s. Surely we say yes to the dream and forego anything that may impede it’s realization. Est-il vrai?

    I live in a country that is dominated by an electronic revolution where denizens walk in urban spaces in tender continuous interaction with pictures, tweets, and information dollops that insulate us and create virtual pseudo-realities that flow so seamlessly that one can forget why It once rained cats and dogs and that the speakers chirping in the park are an IMITATION of living creatures. This is a country of limitless growth and high-tech capitalism that naturally implies ever-increasing productive and ceaseless intensification of work. You can have it all and have it all again, and if you want more, have more on the side…but only if you spin those wheels! 

    I’ve spun and spun, and you can read my previous blog post about what happened when the wheels found themselves facing opposite directions. In short, I found crackers in my mattress.

The price I paid for this free-for-all battle to achieve a nebulous goal of “success” was the desertification of daily life and the virtualization of emotional life that converged on a condition of utter loneliness.

My only interactions became those who with whom I conducted my business. Isn’t that glum…

    The reason I am writing again is to regain a sense of a balance that will ward off any anthropological mutations to throw towels in places they shouldn’t be. The thing is, I have been pursuing a goal so completely, so fervently, that it has left me isolated and with a frequent sense of meaninglessness. I guess I’m eating the damn truffle while being wailed by the gorilla. If there is anything I learned, it’s that we’re social creatures and need the occasional IPA at the local watering hole with a few of our buds. So go and do that…Your screenplay, short story, book, song, painting, app, work assignment, etc. can all WAIT. You’re more important than the totality of it all. 

PS - If you have any questions, or topics you want me to touch upon, feel free to drop a line in the comments! 

Consistency, and a few words about Glass Hamlet

Hemingway wrote a short story in Chicago called ‘The Current’ in 1921 just before his twenty-second birthday. It is narrated by Stuyvesant Byng, and in the story he proposes to Dorothy Hadley. She laughs ‘tinklingly, like the chiming of one of those Chinese wind bells’, and tells Stuyvesant 

‘You’re inconsistent… You play a good game of polo. But you would never stick to it. One year you were runner-up at the National Open. The next year you didn’t enter. You play lots better than at least two internationalists that I know… But you’re not a sticker Stuy’
She goes on: ‘Pick something out and make an absolute, unqualified success of it… And then you can come and ask me again.’ He answers, ‘By Gad…I’ll do it.’ soon becoming a professional boxer by the name of "Slam Byng, the Hoboken Horror". 

Now, although Hemingway’s early attempts at wielding the pen were juvenile and he didn’t have the courage to be daringly specific with his metaphors, there is a simple truth that resonates within the text; one must be consistent. No matter what you do, stick with it until the end. The response to a marriage proposal hinged on this man’s firmness of purpose! 

This is a recurring memento in my life and just when I start stepping off my path to notice how the dew is collecting on the bark of the nearest tree, I am reminded to keep trudging forward. I assume the paradoxically invigorating riddle to solve is what the final room will look like at the end of this labyrinth. Where is this narrow path taking me and why is the brush gradually increasing as I move ahead? 

Woe is me, right? I really can’t stop crying about how far removed I am from having any purpose and this is ultimately the reason for a profound turmoil that makes me understand ever more why people throw in the towel and jump off bridges. 

Nevertheless I can spot patterns and I see that I have always been literarily inclined, writing a book and all, yada-yada, but i’ve also always written music (since I was 10 if I recall correctly)…Now I have been presented, by a series of events and I dare to say "mystical signs" (!), to start and complete a project that is feasible. I speak of Glass Hamlet. Even though it is nebulous in it’s form, it still has a beginning and an end. A song starts and then it trails off into silence. There will be 10+ songs. I have all the recording equipment to make this happen. For the first time in a very long time I feel passionate about something, I feel animated to live, and that sublime moment when one cannot discern whether it is himself or a higher-being that is creating is indomitable and persistent once again. This completeness in feeling can only be attributed to the fact that the fate of this project is absolutely in my control. It’s a supreme test in resilience, because usually I get bored with things and drop them before they become anything more than a passing hobby. 

To achieve the release of this album (or mixtape, still don’t quite know the difference), I have actively put a lot of things on hold. Even acting class has taken a back-seat. This is my one priority now and I couldn’t tell you why, yet something deep inside is tugging me by my sleeve and won’t let up. Do you think you will become a recording artist? Maybe. Sounds nice. Do you think you're gonna be the new white rapper, the new Eminem? That’s absurd. And only If you understood Russian and were exposed to the spoken-art that’s being produced out there would you understand my motives. 

Neil Gaiman addressed the University of the Arts class of 2012 by saying - 

Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal. And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.

Recording music isn’t my mountain, but playing with words most certainly is. Ingesting life and expressing it through the intricate weave of verse has always been something that rested well with my heart. 

It’s hard to accurately predict how long this will take because I have never participated in such an undertaking. Recording is a sonofabitch that leaves me utterly exhausted. Take after take and I haven’t even gotten to the mastering and producing side of things which I am also attempting to learn from scratch. Maybe the end of December? 

Regardless of it all, I love the process. A 3 track "EP" has turned into a 10+ track LP with collaborations with other vocal artists. And like Dorothy Hadley said, "pick something and make an unqualified success of it". For now, this is what I am picking, and who knows, maybe Glass Hamlet will one day get in the ring with the Hoboken Horror! 

EP Preview; "Tomorrow's Etude"

I have been conjuring up a musical project for the past month and would like share a track that I am really excited about. 

Spoken word poetry has been ingrained into my mode of expression ever since I was a child. First it was classical Russian poetry, then a heavy dose of 2000's American rap music, then underground Russian all through college, and most recently I have been heavily influence by modernist American/British poets and specifically how adroitly they spout free verse, much like the loose yet premeditated nature of a Pollock painting. 

I decided to give my poetry form and set my words upon the tracks of fantastically produced beats made by some Russian beatmakers and producers. 

This is the first track of a multi-track EP that I will be releasing later this month. Mind that this is the most experimental of the bunch. If you can roll with this, you will love what is to come. 

I introduce to you, Glass Hamlet's "Tomorrow's Etude". 

Guest Post: Today, I am 3 years sober.

Today, I am 3 years sober.

It took me 5 attempts to sober up, almost everyone who asks me about it knows it was during Hurricane Sandy when it finally stuck. I’m always curious why people don’t ask about the first attempt. 

I was 19 years old.

It was the last real conversation I ever had with my biological dad, who I have not spoken to in almost 10 years. I have no intention of ever speaking to him again.

My dad was an alcoholic. I asked him to quit drinking for 2 weeks "just to see if he could do it," and I told him I would be sober with him. I really would have done it with him too. When I asked him, I think I was just too scared to say “I have a problem. I don’t want to do this alone. Please. Help me.” Also, I had just put bread in our computer printer, it was a scary time.

And he looked me square in the eyes and said "No. I will never quit drinking." 

I don’t know. Maybe it was just his tone of voice or the way he said it. It wasn’t as if he was saying he couldn’t do it, it was more that he genuinely didn’t want to.

Retrospectively, I should have talked to my mom and sisters. Because I was just looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, and it turned out to be an oncoming train.

Fast forward. College is over. Somehow I survived, which is still an absolute mystery to me. I did everything from light fireworks off inside my apartment to boxing against former professional fighter, Victor Davis. I actually met my Step-Dad with 2 black eyes, a broken nose and concussion after losing that fight. My only regret is elaborately planning to steal a giraffe, but never actually following through. Either way, I graduated with a near perfect thesis in hand, did some really bad things, and hated everything. Everyone used to give me a hard time actually because I started almost every sentence with "I hate."

"Oh what a surprise, Chad hates something." 

"Let me guess, you hate that?" 

"Why bother? Chad's just going to hate it anyway."

I could be talking about anything and I wouldn't find any joy. Vermont, chimney sweeps, strange foreign currencies, there was nothing that I wouldn't find the negative in. I always wanted more or for everything to be a certain way, which it never was. For some misguided reason in those moments, I justified my convictions and convinced myself I was right and everyone else was wrong.

Eventually I found myself feeling very alone because everything in my life didn't meet the grandiose scale I had imagined. Kind of like the Lorax, except he lived in a rent controlled forest and had the ability to grow an infamous mustache. 

Then a few years later, something horrible happened.

It was the middle of winter and I was the only one home. It must have been 1 am, and the snow just wouldn't let up. While shoveling my driveway with a flashlight, I got a call that a good friend had just been murdered. I don't even remember the conversation. Just hanging up and standing there in silence. I could actually hear the snow falling around me and thinking…it could’ve just as easily been me. I had been in that house a million times, and it could’ve just as easily been me. He didn’t need to die, and I still miss him. He was a good kid and a good friend.

You can't just do things and say things and expect nothing to happen. Otherwise, what's the point? What's it all mean? Unless you’re a magician – the only census group that really can do and say anything.

I was deep in the process of ruining the rest of my life without even realizing it. I was filled with hatred, and with it, I had single-handedly driven almost everyone I cared about away from me. I don't think I would be dead or in jail if I was still drinking today; I would just be alone. Not even sad; just living in denial, alone. People probably would come and go like a revolving door, and I would be okay with it. Or worse, I’d be surrounded by people who make me feel alone. And I would probably mistaken tolerance for my words and actions as acceptance. 

And even then, it took me another year to do it. November 1st, 2012. Hurricane Sandy. I had enough. I told my family I was going to quit drinking. And when I say I’m going to do something, I do it. That was all I needed. With that being said, I’m going to make my first feature film in 2016. I’m also going to have John Stamos tuck me in at night and tell me stories of the old days. It’ll be hilarious.

Fast forward. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. 

“I’m a little over a year sober at this point, listening to Neon Cathedral on repeat. She’s Helen of Troy and here I am, wearing a suit that’s 2 sizes too big. She makes me want to be better. I just want to make her smile every day. It’s like seeing the world in color for the first time. She was genuinely nice to me, even though I barely could hold eye contact. It’s not that I’m afraid to talk to her, it's just she deserves better than some former junkie who is rebuilding his life from scratch. But either way, I hope someday I have the opportunity to make her laugh, even if it’s just one time.”

(I wrote this paragraph in 2014, the same night that we met, after a 10 minute conversation.)

Fast forward another year. My suits are bespoke, I’m successful with my career, I don't hate, I still don't lie, I still do stupid things from time to time but nothing that will land me cuffs, and most importantly, I am the best version of myself that I can be and still working on it each day. 

Then somehow, I got the girl and I made her laugh every day that I could. We both really wanted it to go the distance, more than anything. Even despite the fact I can’t grow a beard, and I’ve been trying for 28 years. Somewhere along the line, we both got hurt. Somehow it didn’t work out. And that really sucks. Because I really gave it my everything.

This past April, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that was affecting my hormones. Until recently, I kept it pretty quiet for the most part. I thought just because this tumor was benign it wouldn’t affect me and I didn’t need to keep a close eye on it. I was wrong. September and October, I wasn’t acting normal. My personality began to tilt. As time went on I could barely function as a human, even losing my ability to speak at one point. I think if there is ever a reason to be completely docile and have no rational reaction processing ability, brain tumor is a valid reason. Eventually, I landed myself in the hospital. I’m happy to say that just last week, I finished chemo injections and I finally feel like I’m back to normal. I feel like me again. A total weirdo.

It’s funny to think how it really didn't work out between me and this girl. How all I want to do is have a slow dance with her on my roof to celebrate this 3 year milestone in my life and the fact I’m human again. And I can't. And I really wish I wanted anything else in the world right now, like to rent a sheep or to have a spelling bee with truckers over a ham radio. I will probably still do those things but livestock and early 19th century technologies aren’t a priority to me. Living in New York you see beautiful women everywhere, but she is actually the only girl that changed me for the better the moment she entered my life. I never told anyone. Not even her.

Today.

I really try at everything I do now. I really do. Everything I do in my life, I give my everything. Not just most of the time, I’m talking all the time. More than you could ever imagine. And not because I crave validation from everyone, or need people to love me as it’s often misinterpreted. I put effort into everything simply because I never did before. And my old life really was the opposite of great.

Nevertheless. If you think you want to change something, no matter what it is, then summon all of the courage in the world, swallow your pride, and do something about it. It's never too late to make things right. It'll be the scariest thing in the world, but if you can face that fear then you can handle anything. If you've actually taken the time to read all of this, thank you. I hope you would be kind enough to share it. Because somewhere out there is a scared 19 year old who is asking the wrong person for help, who may not see he is capable of doing truly amazing things, too frightened to say he doesn’t want to do it alone, and just really needs to hear that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train.

@ChadwickPrima

The Paradox of Choice

Choice is a beautifully gilded piece of architecture. To a person glancing the menu of western luxuries, choice holds a fortified position as being the most frequently enjoyed. And so we bask in it and demand more until an unnerving anxiety sinks in. But it's not that choice satiates to a point of discomfort, it's that its overwhelming presence debilitates and often confuses. With choice, we enter onto a stage where immediately we start sifting through the sea of variety to try to pick out what's the ideal; what's best for us, how does our decision compare to other's, how does it weigh on our social projection, and finally, is this all there is?

I distinctly recall a summer evening when I was sitting in a restaurant among friends and a few new acquaintances. I am by no means a sommelier, but I was somehow delegated the task of choosing the wine. I looked at the menu and scanned the prices. Too expensive and I seem pompous. Too cheap and I'll look stingy. I had to not only defer to the absolute median price, but also insisted on paying so as to relieve myself of any true social judgement. The vast menu exhausted my decision making reserves and the perception of myself in this environment filled my gut with unease. I could have just as easily been pacified into declining to make the choice altogether. Looking back, I think I may have actually preferred to drink anything that the waiter himself recommended, as long as it wasn't my decision to make.

"The problem is actually that today’s ideology of choice-led capitalism, the idea that everyone is a maker of his or her life, which goes very much the reality of the social situation, actually pacifies people and makes us constantly turning criticism towards ourselves instead of organizing ourselves and making a critique of the society we live in.” ~ Renata Salecl

Under the facade of "the entire world is yours" lies an insidious subjectivity that suggestively insists on more consumption. This "pacification" into indecisiveness due to the plethora of choice cozens our questioning mechanisms into being turned off, thus allowing passivity to continue. The gilded architecture mentioned earlier is that of a belief that "you are the master" with submission actually being the underlying principle. Who knew that all those commercials we are being bombarded with are just tranquilizer darts!

The ideology of choice melts into something that isn't so optimistic and subsequently prevents social change. Choice almost starts looking like loss. If I pick this, I am missing out on that. If I help this person, I am in turn not helping another person. We hold on to what little we have, relatively speaking, and become afraid to take chances on what we really want. This also holds true with sticking one's neck out and helping to provoke any sort of social change and being strong with critiquing the environment in which we live.

Just as with any sort of psychological bias or mechanical habit that doesn't serve the user, sometimes it's enough to just be aware of it to catalyze change. Our society, which promotes more options and more products and more choices, won't decelerate anytime soon. But we can definitely go with the flow and mitigate the negative side effects of something that inherently should be beneficial, or at the very least benign.