Free Choice: Is it all that it’s cracked up to be?

I was raised to be grateful that I had the privilege of crafting my own future through my free choice. American society is based on the concept of free choice, and it is one of the most important foundations of our country. But after contemplating society’s desperate need to categorize, and after evaluating how affected society is within context, I am questioning how truly free our choices really are.

It is known that humans respond well to positive reinforcement. When we receive a positive stimulus we are likely to repeat the behavior that caused the stimulus. When I was young and constantly complemented on the pink dress or bow my mom dressed me in, was I conditioned to repeat that behavior? Was a simple choice of dressing myself taken away from me through manipulative psychological reward? Similarly, when I see a tall, skinny, blonde, model receive a positive reaction, is my definition of beauty being conditioned to fit society’s standard? None of our choices are completely unaffected or unconstrained. External circumstances are constantly affecting our personal choices and as a result our decisions are much less free than we often tell ourselves.

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