Free will or fait accompli?

Whether buying a house or auditioning potential mates, Goethe has some advice for you: “Choose well. Your choice is brief and yet endless.”

So how do you order from a menu? Simple:

If you want to experience more pleasure before the meal, order something you have had before; you can access your memory of that pleasure. But if you want to create new memories—more pleasure in the future—order something new. And don’t think too much about the meal beforehand. Research has shown that merely thinking about a certain food can invoke the phenomenon of “sensory-specific satiety,” whereby our liking for that food begins to decline the moment it is in our mouth (and apparently beforehand).

Tom Vanderbilt has more on the “barrage of choice” we face these days.



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