The dictionary defines choice as:
the right, power, or opportunity to choose; option.
This is quite a loaded term. In many societies, choice is an entitlement; a right. There is a bevy of choices: choices such as in films, food, clothing, colleges and majors, significant others, politics, and residence. It is as if there are too many choices to know the right choice to make; it is as if too many choices become too overwhelming to make a simple decision. The United States society is a fair compare and contrast to make in regards to options. Choices are great for the reason there are alternatives. It is easy to take choices for granted because they are in supply.
What if there were no choices?
In China, this is the case in some instances. For example, a college student is not afforded any option in what they will major in. This is chosen for the student based on the scores from a National Exam or working very hard in college. From these exam scores, it is dictated the college the individual will attend. Despite earning top scores, those scores just may not be good enough to attend a specific university coveted or even a third ranked choice. Then there is the lack of choice regarding a degree of study; a type of decision, which is a pin of one’s’ livelihood. It means a student studies long and hard for a career, which they could be terrible at or merely detest. The positive about this is it results in the person learning to love it and be the best at it. The job situation is also very competitive and jobs are scarce based on the population numbers in China, so a person is grateful if they are able to find a job at all. In the United States, there is a luxury to choose a career, to choose subjects, which are entertaining, and to choose an alternate major, if the initial choice doesn’t work. There is also an option to quit and tackle a different type of job. Even in a struggling economy, a degree is not binding for the career an individual will work in for years to come.
Second, a choice in relationships is a wonderful feeling. The population in China is a ratio of one female for twenty males. In China, it is customary to date one person for the duration of young adulthood until the parents decide it is time for the couple to get married. Afterwards, there is a wedding and in most cases, ever after. The reasons for this are that China is a conservative country in its ideals and beliefs, and the population available doesn’t allow for pickiness and fickleness in mates. There is also a stigma attached to women who engage in relations with more than one man. In America and other countries, there are many options for whom to sleep with, date, marry, and possibly divorce. The relationship can end for whatever reason, and there is a choice to proceed onto the next partner.
Third, in China, there is one party; one ruler. There are no constituents. There are no voter ballots. There is no Congress to act as checks and balances. One individual makes decisions which either build or hinder the nation; one individual to glorify or blame. However, blaming the leader is not necessarily a wise option residents in China are given.
In the United States, people are given liberty to blame the party in power. People are given options for what party they want in office. There is a choice to run for political office as well.
Fourth, the choice of residence is what a society was founded on. In China, the hukou system dates back to ancient China civilization. It is a residency permit, which was mandated in order to avoid overpopulation in cities. A worker would be required to apply with bureaucracies if wanting to move from the country to the city in order to work in the non-agriculture arena. The restrictions for the number of workers accomplishing this were tightly controlled. From there, there were controls over education, employment, marriage, and other lifestyles. Nowadays, it is fairly easy to track hukous due to the latest technologies. In the United States, a person can live in any city of their desire. A person can build a home in rural areas. If the individual does not like their location of residence, whether it is the city or country, they can move somewhere else.
Choice is so powerful. It stimulates, empowers, and excites. Yet, choice will not create happiness. It is the creation of freedom in the entire sense of the word. Appreciation and awareness of all the options accessible at the fingertips leads to that much more liberation.