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Thread: Rabbit holes

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    @Chuck
    Isn't my point clear? I have questioned, in multiple ways, the general idea that people are independent consumers free from the toxic effects of marketing around "choice" and a variety of purchasing options. It's all the same topic here, and all related to the OP and to your comments. It's like when my high school students say that cars are good because of the "freedom" that they bring to their lives. That's of course not the entire picture of the benefit/burden equation of the automobile.

    The automobile is an analogy, not a new topic.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    That's the problem, we don't come to the same conclusions. That's why they make different flavors of ice cream. It is not because ice cream makers are mean and want to harm your child.
    Fair enough. Ice cream flavors is a pretty safe choice. But the excess resources and packaging and waste produced and then dispersed into our rivers and soil just so humans can have the additional "choices" of many flavors has its own kind of "cost" to our environment (not to mention the dietary "cost" to the children growing up with it in their homes every night). The association we make between purchasing options and personal freedom or "happiness" is one that consumer product companies hope that we will never question deeply and which environmentalists wish we would question more sincerely every day.
    I am confused. The OP started the thread about himself having too many options and quoting someone who said, based on his research, that it causes stress. The OP is an adult and never mentioned children or packaging. You've introduced children and now excess packaging. How do you comments address the OP's opinion that too many fountain pens are available leading to stress?


    That's a bit of a mischaracterization. As the OP I started this thread because of two pieces of information - one, that there is a theory that having too many choices presented to us may lead to stress (for a variety of reasons) and possible lowering of happiness state, and two, that there are an awful lot of choices when it comes to pens and inks.

    My curiosity, idle as it often is, says why not ask if there is any truth to the first of these in general, and whether it may at times apply to our hobby in particular. So far, of late, I've learned about the concept of laddering. That was a new one on me, and quite interesting.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    My apology to the OP for misunderstanding their intent, but I do not think you've established truth that too many choices increase stress. I just purchased tires online where my choices included several brands with multiple models available, perhaps as many as 60 tires. It made me happy, not stressfull, that I had so many tires compared to my local tire shops which carry what they decide I need. I read the reviews and compared price and my own experience. For me, many choices provide an opportunity to make good decisions there were never an option 20 years ago. However, you did start the thread in the general fountain pen section so I assumed incorrectly that you were stressed out because so many pens were available. I also didn't realize you were speaking of children and packaging.

    @tsherbs, I didn't find your point clear. What I found was clear was you biases toward what you perceive about marketing which I do not think is at all valid.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    @Chuck

    It's a "bias" to claim that advertising sometimes targets people's insecurities? Do you deny that this is sometimes true?

    By the way, you just keep stating that these feelings are not true for *you.* Well, that is fine. But what about people *other* than you?

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    As the OP I started this thread because of two pieces of information - one, that there is a theory that having too many choices presented to us may lead to stress (for a variety of reasons) and possible lowering of happiness state, and two, that there are an awful lot of choices when it comes to pens and inks.
    How many is "too many?" Can you define "too many" universally, or only by reference to a particular person reporting that they feel stress?

    Can you quantify a "happiness state?" Or the increments by which it may be lowered?

    Can you argue with equal validity, given the subjectivity of the issue, that people may have their happiness states lowered by there being too few choices?

    How many angels can dance on the nib of a pen?


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  8. #46
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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    1. That is far too nitpicky for this conversation. The statement you refer to was a general one. However, yes there is an experimental way of measuring how additional choices lead to indecision.

    2. Again, yes. Happiness states can and are measured in a number of different studies. The accuracy and validity of the outcome is most likely compared to previously developed population norms.

    3. Possibly, though in the absence of knowledge of possible extra choices it is unlikely that a person would be less happy with the presented choices on the basis of there being less. If you have fewer choices than the person whose life you are comparing yours to, then you are still victim to lowered states of unhappiness by virtue of their greater choice. That's indirect of course.

    4. Researchers explore all sorts of interesting questions.

    To reiterate something I mentioned earlier in the thread, I was interested in this topic (and hopefully the discussion of) with respect to populations and not individuals. A common problem in discussing such subjects is the showcasing of individual examples that do not reference the population.

    Part of the problem here, and which I am totally responsible for, is that I have narrowed the choices down to pens and inks. In the totality of our lives, we are bombarded with myriad choices at every turn. There is barely a part of life where there are not now too many choices comfortably to keep track of, and many of the choices are ephemeral - like mobile tech for example.

    We live in a positive ocean of choice. With constant media pressure to conform to fads and trends, as well as the vaunted fear of missing out, we often find ourselves unwitting puppets to market forces. I would suggest that for most people it is likely impossible to be completely divorced from this environment.
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; July 14th, 2020 at 02:13 PM.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by kazoolaw View Post
    How many angels can dance on the nib of a pen?
    As many as they want!

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Kazoo, that something is subjective does not mean that it cannot be measured and studied in groups. And of course different persons will have different responses to the scenarios in question. That's why people are studied and surveyed in groups.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    By the way, some people deal with this stress simply by buying every option that they can: in other words, by avoiding the stress of choosing. In fact, that is frequently recommended in these fora when a member is having trouble choosing: "Just get both!" Someone will soon say. Problem (stress) solved.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    @Chuck

    It's a "bias" to claim that advertising sometimes targets people's insecurities? Do you deny that this is sometimes true?

    By the way, you just keep stating that these feelings are not true for *you.* Well, that is fine. But what about people *other* than you?
    You've not convinced me its true for others. I'm fine with you and Empty to have your opinions. Also, I hope it's okay for me to push back a bit. I'll stop otherwise.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    I am beginning to sense this thread was not begun for discussion, but possible a rant against having so many options. I've been trying to cast a positive for options, media, and market driven business. I will bow out because I feel I am causing some emotional stress which is not my intent.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Thread was begun purely for discussion, as I thought the subject was of interest both in the wider sense of where we are socially, and also how this may affect our members (if at all). Your (Chuck Naill) opinions are both pertinent and appreciated. With this kind of discussion, especially between very disparate people over often long distances, it is especially important to reach some sort of consensus on the meanings and usage of particular terms. To avoid misunderstandings and unwanted detours!

    Given the sheer number of threads where a member is agonizing over their choice of the 'next pen', to explore the potential correlation of choice with stress (and thus with levels of satisfaction and happiness) seems quite apropos. Obviously that is my opinion, but I was hoping for a discussion rich in both variation and depth to help me (and anyone who is interested) in understanding it a bit better.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes


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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Thread was begun purely for discussion, as I thought the subject was of interest both in the wider sense of where we are socially, and also how this may affect our members (if at all). Your (Chuck Naill) opinions are both pertinent and appreciated. With this kind of discussion, especially between very disparate people over often long distances, it is especially important to reach some sort of consensus on the meanings and usage of particular terms. To avoid misunderstandings and unwanted detours!

    Given the sheer number of threads where a member is agonizing over their choice of the 'next pen', to explore the potential correlation of choice with stress (and thus with levels of satisfaction and happiness) seems quite apropos. Obviously that is my opinion, but I was hoping for a discussion rich in both variation and depth to help me (and anyone who is interested) in understanding it a bit better.
    So, the agony may be not with choice, but other factors. I submit that the financial resources may not allow for a fuller exploration of the various pens available. If price is no concern, the stress over choosing the wrong pen is no big deal.

    With vintage pens the stress could be over finding a reliable source to restore and at what cost. I admit that it has taken me some time to learn and explore options that others simply may not be able to take the time to learn.

    When someone posts in what appears to be agony, perhaps we need to ask question to learn from where this stress is originating.

    For me, the Lamy Al Star is the best overall FP. Not that I particularly find it interesting, but it works, the nibs are easily replaced, the converter is cheap and functional, and most any one can afford. It can sustain a fall to concrete.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    @Chuck

    It's a "bias" to claim that advertising sometimes targets people's insecurities? Do you deny that this is sometimes true?

    By the way, you just keep stating that these feelings are not true for *you.* Well, that is fine. But what about people *other* than you?
    You've not convinced me its true for others. I'm fine with you and Empty to have your opinions. Also, I hope it's okay for me to push back a bit. I'll stop otherwise.
    Of course its fine to disagree.

    Are you claiming that no one is ever stressed by choice? I'm having trouble understanding what you think is likely true out in the world beyond yourself. Have you ever heard anyone lament, "Decisions, decisions!" for example? Or, "I never know what to order off a restaurant menu!"? Or, "Why would I ever consider marrying until I have dated at least a 100 people to make sure that I understand the range of choice out there?"

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Let me also add to the general discussion that unfulfilled desire--or yearning--is recognized as a "stressor" on our psyches. We each respond to this differently, but the act of yearning is a requisite increase in tension before the "release" of acquisition. And yes, the analogy to sex is deliberate, and, I think, apt.

    See if that stokes up some discussion, EOC.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    @Chuck

    It's a "bias" to claim that advertising sometimes targets people's insecurities? Do you deny that this is sometimes true?

    By the way, you just keep stating that these feelings are not true for *you.* Well, that is fine. But what about people *other* than you?
    You've not convinced me its true for others. I'm fine with you and Empty to have your opinions. Also, I hope it's okay for me to push back a bit. I'll stop otherwise.
    Of course its fine to disagree.

    Are you claiming that no one is ever stressed by choice? I'm having trouble understanding what you think is likely true out in the world beyond yourself. Have you ever heard anyone lament, "Decisions, decisions!" for example? Or, "I never know what to order off a restaurant menu!"? Or, "Why would I ever consider marrying until I have dated at least a 100 people to make sure that I understand the range of choice out there?"
    Besides introducing children and packaging a "what about this" argument, you now introduce an argument of extremes. Of course I cannot say no one is never stressed by choice. People get stressed by a fear of running out of toilet paper, but then, any old butt wipe will suffice I suppose.

    Actually, I am suggesting that more are like me than the image of the buyer the OP seeks to project within the market for a pen.
    Last edited by Chuck Naill; July 14th, 2020 at 05:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Again, and gently, I'm not looking to project an image but rather to explore whether such an image is appropriate. Personally, like many others in this hobby and other areas of interest, I've had moments of indecision and associated stress that was driven largely by both the choices available and my own inability to correctly assess the information that I've been given. I find this is exacerbated somewhat as price increases*, though this thread is not really about prices.




    *I find price tends to lend sharper focus on value.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

    Be a little more open into accepting other viewpoints, if you can, as it really deepens the experience. - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Consider these three factors:

    1. The cost of making one choice over the other
    2. The length of time until we can choose again
    3. How different our perceived experience will be with choice A vs choice B


    The existence (or abundance) of choices is less likely to lead to stress when the cost to choose one over the other is well within our means and/or when we know that we can always make another choice soon enough. And when we perceive to have varying but comparable experiences with either choices.

    Example: Ice cream flavor. It cost me the same if I choose Chocolate or Vanilla, Rocky Road or Jamocha. And if I choose Pina Colada today, I know that next week I can choose the Pistachio. And even though I may like Tres Leches better than Peanut Butter, it's not as though I will stress over any of them.

    Choices can lead to stress when the cost is such that we have to forsake the other if we choose one, and/or when we know that it will be a long while (if ever) that we can take another shot at it. And when we perceive that we'll experience something different depending on what we chose.

    Example: Do I choose the Pelikan M1000 or I do choose the Nakaya? I can't afford both. If I choose one, my pen fund will be depleted for a long... long time. And what am I missing if I go with either one?
    Sounds familiar?
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Rabbit holes

    Well put, penwash.

    Additionally, the pressure and stress of choice is likely felt differently from those of different economic strata, where even the illusion of choice (plethora of expensive pens, for example) can breed never-to-be-fulfilled desire, and then resentment.

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