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On decisions and unlimited possibilities…

Coffee junkies like myself probably know that situation very well. If there is no decent independent café around we sometimes enter clandestinely one of those temples of modern so-called coffee culture. Apart from any regional economic, social or ethic questionabilities then we are faced with a simple but nevertheless demanding challenge: What the f*** will I order when the friendly person on the other side of the desk looks at me with big questioning eyes? The range normally goes from a simple plain coffee (you maybe might not want) to an unbelievable ‘Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Decaf Organic Frappuccino’… not to mention all the regional and brand differences.

It’s the paradox of our time: We have so many – not to say too many – possibilities! Of course I am not talking about those small problems with ordering coffee here… it’s much of a general problem thought. A parodox is well known defined as a statement or a situation which apparently sounds reasoning from true premises, but leads to a self-contradictory or a logically unacceptable conclusion. So what is wrong with having too many choices?

Over the few last days I was thinking about my next destination. As you probably might imagine, Greece turns out to be a far ‘larger’ country to travel than the almost 132.000 km2 Wikipedia is speaking of make you believe. It’s incredibly mountainous and the more than 3000 islands are widely scattered over a far larger area as well. You definitely need some time for traveling here. Apart from Athens at the end of my stay in Greece I wanted to visit just one more region. Here the problem began: island or mainland, south or north, city or countryside,… even if that was by far the easiest choice. Overall, I will have spent a lot of time in cities and therefore I thought that I probably would get a better overview of the country visiting now a rural area with smaller villages – let’s say a larger island. No sooner said than done – I thought. But then I became sort of a victim of the almost unlimited amount of possibilities we have today. No joke: I spent almost two whole days with searching (and finally finding) my next destination. What utter nonsense! Two days I could have done far better things…

Once again I became aware that we are surrounded by literally countless information. Additionally we can retrieve them from almost everywhere and all-day – 24/7 – due to an ubiquitous presence of the internet and its easy access nowadays all over the world. Getting information from different and independent sources is good for sure to strengthen democracy and civil society and to live a self-determined life – however, we don’t use it only for those things. We started to use it for almost everything, even the most insignificant decision. Which mower is the best and why? Which highly sophisticated fully automated coffee machine do I need? Which café or restaurant should I chose for my lunch today? Which island has the most beautiful beach? Which accommodation has the best interior decoration. Which location is the most interesting place? Where do I get an all you can eat buffet? Which… question one could ask oneself even more? Better will always be the enemy of good though…

Have I really been so unhappy while traveling with just an InterRail ticket, with just one very limited guide book in my backpack and without any mobile phone at all – not to speak of internet? Would I have made it better otherwise? Did I miss something important on my former trips? I don’t think so… I just would have spent more time with searching and less time with experiencing…

Don’t get me wrong, this all I am talking about is not meant as a yearning for the good old times. And for sure it is good to be informed. It’s also great to have the choice – but I’m speaking of having the choice between just a manageable number of different options. Otherwise, the crucial point is that it is so easy to get lost in all this. If gathering information about the best possible way to live becomes more important and more time consuming than just living the best available life right now in this moment (even if there could be a slightly better way)… puh, then one might be off the track. At least I am quite a little bit off the track… and I am realising this more and more on this journey.

This combination of information and possibilities – or I should better say the sum of its multiplication – with a certain availability of time and money gives us such an overwhelming number of options to do things… without always being better than having just one single possibility. Or in other words:

“My days were more exiting when I was penniless...”

– Christopher McCandless –

By the way, about my final choice and the next destination I will write in my next post… 🙂

7 Comments

  1. Nesrin says

    Hi Peter,

    I wish more landscape and city photos and photos of “EUROPEANS” 🙂
    Make the choice and go on! 😉

    Thanks in advance

    Ganz viele Grüße aus Köln,
    Nesrin

    • Peter says

      Hi Nesrin,

      hey, do you remember what I have written in my last post? I’ve skipped the project approach. And I am not on the road for travel photography 😉
      But I will make for you an one-off exception…

      And to give you the choice which Europe you would like to see, I will show you always two images of Europe 🙂

      European landscapes:
      null

      European cities:

      The Europeans:

      Enough to begin with?

      😉

      Liebe Grüße zurück nach Köln,
      Peter

  2. Till says

    Hallo Peterle,

    während du wahrscheinlich im Zug oder im Cafe oder im Zugcafe sitzt und immer noch darüber nachdenkst, ob es denn wohl die richtige Entscheidung war *dort*hin zu fahren und nicht *da*hin, werden wir deine daheimgebliebene Mitbewohnerin mit selbstgemachter Pasta dafür trösten, das sie dir bei deinen Entscheidungen nicht beiseite stehen kann 😉

    Maach et joot!
    Till

    • Peter says

      Hey Tillowitsch,

      das habe ich schon gehört… und ich glaube meine Mitbewohnerin freut sich auch schon sehr darauf 😉
      Aber keine Angst, ich HATTE zwei Tage damit verbracht, mich für Lesbos zu entscheiden und bin daher seit Mittwoch Abend schon hier. Und hatte auch gerade schon sehr leckere Sardinen (kaum Neid bei Dir, vermute ich) mit ebenso leckerem Ouzo (wohl eher Neid) zu Mittag und laufe jetzt mal was rum, damit der Kopf freier wird und nicht wieder so lange braucht, um sich zu entscheiden… 😉
      Lgp und guten Appetit heute Abend!

  3. Stephan says

    Deine Aussagen:

    “Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Decaf Organic Frappuccino” … “Which highly sophisticated fully automated coffee machine do I need? Which café or restaurant should I chose for my lunch today?”

    … brachten mich mal wieder zu einem Witz des Tages: “Sitzen zwei im Stehkaffee!”

    Tiefgründig … und guut!

    Genieße die Zeit und zu deinen decision Problemen kann ich nur sagen: Gönne Dir genügend Zeit fürs nichts tun, denn dann fällt dir schon was ein!

    Cheers!

    • Peter says

      Mache Dinge vermisst man nicht 😉

      Und danke für die guten Wünsche, auch wenn ich langsam das Gefühl habe, ich rede – äh – schreibe zu undeutlich. Es geht doch mitnichten darum, dass ich mich nicht entscheiden konnte. Das ist so interessant wie wenn ich Griechenland eine Flasche Tsipouro umfällt (was bei Lichte betrachtet sogar schlimmer viel ist).. aber was soll’s 🙂

      Lgp nach Bonn

  4. Nesrin says

    Danke jetzt bin ich glücklich! Projekt Hin oder Her ….

    Es ist schön zu schauen 🙂

    Danke für die weiteren tollen Fotos!

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