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July 11th. The Paradox of Choices.

Which would you like? Asks the Owner.

In her right hand is My Lolly, oozing Mango and just beginning to Drip. In her left hand is Squeaky Cat, my Inestimably Faithful Companion, wearing a Beguiling Expression inviting Play. Or at least Most of Him, as one of his Arms spontaneously Dropped Off after a Chewing this morning.

A Terrible Suspicion seizes me. What do you mean, which would I like? I say.

Well, says the Owner, you can have Squeaky Cat, or you can have a Lolly. Which is it to be?

You are making the Moral Dog Choose? I ask. Between his Beloved Squeaky Cat and a Lolly?

Well, says the Owner, unless the Moral Dog has required Extra Lips then I do not believe he can Chew Both at the Same Time, says the Owner.

But how am I to Choose between my Faithful Friend and a Basic Necessity? I ask. Both are Hugely Desirable, I say.

I suggest that the Moral Dog determines a Preference Ordering of the two Options says the Owner, Convention would then suggest that it is Rational to Choose number One.

I cannot Preference Order Squeaky Cat, I say, as a Moral Being he would never forgive me.

Then perhaps the decision is made, says the Owner. Surely you must choose your Friend, Squeaky Cat.

True, I say. I must choose Squeaky Cat, I say. He is my friend, I say. The fact that he is not Icy Cold and Flavoured with Mango on this Very Hot Day can have No Bearing on the Moral Dog’s Preference Ordering, I say.

Obviously not, says the Owner. The Moral Dog’s Voice is saying he chooses Squeaky Cat, says the Owner, but I cannot help but observe that he is Salivating on my Feet, says the Owner. Squeaky Cat is starting to look Nervous, says the Owner, and I myself am in Imminent Danger of Digestion, says the Owner.

Squeaky Cat as a Moral Being would understand why the Moral Dog might need the Lolly, I say. But the Lolly will not understand if I choose Squeaky Cat, I say.

Then the Moral Dog should choose the Lolly, says the Owner. I cannot sit here All Day, says the Owner. The Lolly is Melting, says the Owner.

Argh, I say. It is like being James Bond, I say. The Moral Dog is Faced with an Impossible Choice and Time is Running Out, I say. He cannot Win, I say.

I think the Moral Dog is confusing a Loving Owner, offering the Moral Dog an Iced Lolly and a Playdate, with the Archvillain Dr No, who offered Mr Bond a Swim with Sharks and an Appointment with an Unfortunately Targetted Laser, says the Owner.

The Moral Dog should not be forced to Choose between Squeaky Cat and a Lolly. This is Oppression, I say.

If you do not Choose to Choose, says the Owner, then I will put them both in the Fridge. That way the Moral Dog will not have to Choose, says the Owner.

Choosing not to Choose is also a Choice, I say.

Choosing not to Choose maybe a better Choice than Choosing, says the Owner.

That makes no sense at all, I say. How can Choosing not to Choose be better than Choosing when it involves Choosing and, moreover, results in a Lack of Choice? I say.

The Moral Dog has encountered the Paradox of Choice, says the Owner. The Paradox of Choice is the understanding that, whilst Choice is commonly associated with Satisfaction and Happiness, too much choice causes the feeling of Less Happiness and Less Satisfaction. It is sometimes called the Tyranny of Choice, says the Owner.

This Explains why the Owner sometimes looks so Agonised in the Presence of Internet Sites Devoted to Shoes, I say, but it does not help the Moral Dog, I say. Only an Oppressive Owner would subject her Moral Dog to the Paradox of Choice, I say.

That would be True if the Owner were forcing the Moral Dog to Permanently Abjure that which he does not Choose, says the Owner. But of course the Moral Dog can actually have Both, says the Owner.

Phew, I say. The Owner had me going for a minute there, I say. I thought I was living with Dr No, I say.

The Moral Dog does his Owner a grave Injustice, says the Owner. I trust there will be Apologies, says the Owner.

Of course, I say. Consider it Done, I say.

With Grovelling, says the Owner.

The Grovelling will be Integral and Thorough, I say. Just as long as we have Established that the Moral Dog can have both Squeaky Cat and a Lolly, I say.

Indeed, says the Owner. That was Excellent Grovelling, says the Owner. I enjoyed that, says the Owner. Now, which One of these two Equally Available Treats would the Moral Dog like First?

Unbelievable.

Categories: dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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