Postindustrial society thrives on the idea of choice. The individual is not only perceived as able to choose among various consumer objects; he or she is also taken as someone who can choose his or her identity, sexual orientation, body shape, and so on. In the ideology of postindustrial capitalism, one's life is perceived as a work of art and as a particular kind of enterprise. The overemphasis of choice, however, does not seem to bring contentment to the individual, but rather increases feelings of anxiety and insecurity. In order to appease feelings of anxiety, people often resort to following random advice on how to fashion their lives.
Psychoanalysis questions how the malaise of civilization affects the malaise of the individual and vice versa. A pessimistic conclusion about the changes in today's society holds that the increase of psychosis and of anxiety are related in a particular way to the ideology of choice. Psychoanalysis, however, has always understood choice in a complex way. Instead of perceiving the act of choosing as a purely rational gesture, psychoanalysis understands choice as linked to the unconscious. Since choice always involves a loss, it is per se anxiety provoking. Today's society has problems precisely with the idea of loss, which is why we see the emergence of options promising to impose control on what is often uncontrollable.