good enough, is good enough, when the initial conditions of a desire are satisfied, without aspiring to the absolute best solution to that desire imaginable.
So if you're shopping for an item of clothing, it's fine to have a look around but if you're trying to find something perfect you're gonna be disappointed, there are just too many options to make the 'best choice' possible, and once you've bought the item buyers remorse sets in 'could i have got the same item cheaper somewhere else', 'wish i knew if this is the latest fashion' etc. The psychological jargon is 'maximisers' and 'satisfiers' in other words those who tend to seek the maximum from an experience and those who are less aspirationally minded.
Nowadays this supermarket of choice extends from the trivial to the most important aspects of our lives-we've gone from a one size fit's all society to a bespoke society in a generation or two.
This is partly because happiness has become increasingly linked to choice- 50 or 60 years ago (in the UK, though the same can be said of much of the West) marriage was pretty much a forgone conclusion for most people and by default so was parenthood.
There was a kind of template you got married-for the main part before your 20’s and you became a parent not long after. That was the model, and even though there was choice in terms of partner, or number of children, it was a fairly circumscribed range of options-if you got a girl pregnant-you married, if you were gay-well homosexuality just wasn’t factored into the equation-you married. Divorce was possible, though rare because of the social stigma still associated with it and the financial difficulties of being a one parent family-especially for women.
Now of course social relations have become increasingly a lifestyle choice. What's interesting isn't merely that this is the case, but that we tend to think more and more choice will lead to a greater sense of fulfilment or satisfaction, but ironically that's not the case all. Whats really happened is that the existential dilemma becomes greater and greater, as our choices increasingly define us-for better and worse.
This leads me to the last part of your point about 'I don't see us advancing at all if were to think good enough is good enough'.
It's important to distinguish between futile aspirations and necessary ones.
Ending poverty or slavery are good not because they offer us infinite choice, but because they are prerequisites for the flourishing life.
So while i celebrate choice, fetishising choice would undermine it's potential to liberate us.
Well yeah, the desire for ‘perfection’ or at least ‘the best’ can be a millstone around the neck. It’s good to aspire in certain fields, but in most day to day, ordinary affairs, there simply is no ‘best’ and by assuming there
is you’re setting yourself up for a kind of psychological fall.
'good enough, is good enough' Barry Schwartz
At first site it seems quite an innocuous quote, but the beauty of it is that taken at face value it's actually a maxim for living.
You say it with such conviction, Jesse.
It's highly debatable as I see it. If I tell myself that whatever I have is good enough and rest my case there, then probably I will be able to sleep better at night but then again, I don't think it will make me happy in the long run. But most importantly, when is good enough is truly good enough? Exactly where do you draw the line?
Also, I don't see us advancing at all if were to think good enough is good enough. That’s just my stance on it.