“The ordinary man believes he is free when he is permitted to act arbitrarily, but in this very arbitrariness lies the fact that he is unfree.” - Hegel
Hegel called it "negative infinity.” The distance between those who recoil from choice and those who have no choice at all is not very great.
I wasn't remembering Hegel last month. And I wasn't remembering a book by Barry Schwartz, a social scientist at Swarthmore, called The Paradox of Choice. Schwartz says “unlimited choice” can “produce genuine suffering.”
So what did I do? I offered a lot of prompt choices for November poems via another site that was offering a prompt a day for 30 days. That should give readers 30 times the options of previous months when there was one measly prompt you had to address.
Do you think my inbox was flooded with submissions? Nope. Two submissions so far (plus 11 poems that don't address ANY prompt except the one they heard in their head).
Are you out there poets? Overcome by choices or overcome by the financial crisis, or overwhelmed by the Obama victory or overstuffed by Thanksgiving?
There are just a few days remaining for our November prompt: choose any one of the prompts that Robert Brewer has posted this month. When you submit your poem to Ports Online, be sure to include in the email an indication of what the prompt was that you used.