The axiom of choice states that given a collection of objects, one can always pick one. Applied to ordinary life, it means you can always choose between alternatives. This requires you to be able to distinguish one object from another, and one usually does that visually. Two cubes cannot occupy the same region of space, and there will always be space between them, so that even if they are identical, you can pick the one on the left, for instance.
Philosophers have been interested in similar questions, by adding a new dimension, the notion of contingence, or moral obligation, such as when we say that we "must" choose. A culture in which people regard themselves as free, prides itself on providing its member with the ability to choose.
If that same culture, however, watched closely what individuals do with this freedom of choice, its pride would be short-lived. For people do not want to have the choice, because it puts them in the position of having to make informed decisions, and decision comes from the latin decidere, which means to cut. Right, left, you now must choose. But what if you can't? What if you have no clue as to what is better? How can you choose?
The answer is, you don't. Instead, you let someone do this for you. When Joshua Bell, famed violin player, agreed to take part in the experiment of playing in the D.C subway without saying who he was, he probably didn't expect to make less than $33 in tips. He must have thought, surely people will realize how well I play, and I will make decent money. Little did he know: Deprived from all the external signs that prove that Joshua's playing is exceptional, people were incapable of establishing this on their own.
They never did, and still can't. What they can do is this. Given that they are in Carnegie Hall, and that they payed $150 to hear a violin player that people, whose opinion is important enough to be printed on the program, say that he's great, they can agree with them and share other people's appreciation for Mr Bell's talent. But alone with Joshua, equipped with their uneducated ear, they can't.
And that is where the producer enters. The producer has an educated ear, and spends money to make sure Joshua plays in a setting where his talent can be recognized without going through the process of having to choose between Joshua Bell and another violin player, and hopefully will earn more than what he spent so as to come out ahead.
We live in a world of signs, designed to bypass the paralysis that would seize us if, presented with two violin players, we would have to decide which one is the best and pay $150 to hear him, and instead replace the problem of choice, by the much simpler one of recognizing the choice made by other, more cognizant people.
Freedom is tough, so is chosing. But with it comes responsibility and pride in being able to say: I made a cut between right and left, and I stand by it.