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TED Talk on Why Fish (and We) Need a Fishbowl

In his TED Talk, "The Paradox of Choice," secular psychologist Barry Schwartz claims that many of us live by this unspoken but "official dogma": maximize your happiness by maximizing your individual freedom. And according to Schwartz, "The way to maximize freedom is to maximize choice."

Schwartz points to his local supermarket as an example—a place that offers 175 different kinds of salad dressings. Even our personal identity has become a matter of choice. "We don't inherit an identity," he says. "We get to invent it. And we get to re-invent ourselves as often as we like. And that means that every day, when you wake up in the morning, you have to decide what kind of person you want to be."

Schwartz ended his talk by pointing to a picture of two fish in a fishbowl as he said:

The truth of the matter is that if you shatter the fishbowl so that everything is possible, you don't have freedom. You have paralysis. If you shatter this fishbowl so that everything is possible, you decrease satisfaction … Everybody needs a fishbowl … The absence of some metaphorical fishbowl is a recipe for misery, and, I suspect, disaster.

Possible Preaching Angles: This would also work well as an object lesson illustration with a real fish in a fishbowl.

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