On Line Behavior

a: Self restraint online ~
b: Ulysses lashed himself to his ship's mast

What: Not long ago, I started an experiment in self-binding: intentionally creating an obstacle to behavior I was helpless to control, much the way Ulysses lashed himself to his ship's mast to avoid succumbing to the Sirens' song. In my case, though, the irresistible temptation was the Internet. But before I began, I wondered about the genesis of the term "self-binding." So I hopped online and found Jon Elster, a professor of political science at Columbia University, whose book "Ulysses Unbound" explores whether voluntarily restricting your choices enhances or curtails freedom.

Writer: andredolorious
Date: Oct 31 2009 2:38 AM

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