How My Culture Governs My Experience

Within my bubble of limited awareness, by culture, I mean,  “the social behavior and norms found in human societies.” (Wikipedia) And by governance, I mean, “the way rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated and held accountable through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society.” (Wikipedia)

When we agree on something, we add value to our defense of that something. As I parse that something into its constituent parts, I often find that I disagree in principle with some aspects. I find I favor those principle aspects that confirm my current beliefs and my place in the world (confirmation bias).

Where did I get my beliefs about myself and place in the world?

Perhaps I inherited most of my fundamental beliefs about me and the world from my ancestors through DNA and the influence of their culture. In which case, I didn’t just suddenly upon birth “invent” my beliefs. No! I came complete with a HUGE belief repertoire already. All supported, reinforced, and refined through education by the culture into which I was born.

Chief among these beliefs concerns limitations – what I can and can’t do, what I can and can’t have, who I can and can’t be. Self-regulation through cultural limitations on perception of reality.

How does my culture regulate my experience?

My culture instills in me my default point of view – what is right, justified, and proper. This defines the “I” that seems independent of while being part of – and out of which springs all my judgments, comparisons, and behaviors. Once installed, these beliefs become self-evident, self-defended, and self-limiting.

Infinite Self, therefore, perceives itself as finite self – defended by a culture of limitation – without external support, prompting, or force. Self-regulation!

It’s a systemic model of being in which each part regulates itself in support of the whole. Thus, my geopolitical cultural system limits, defends, and supports its particular version of reality through agreement among its constituents. Each member buying into the cultural self-limits by regulating themselves to its perspectives. Thus, “we” becomes “I”.

Within a culture, disagreement tends to exclude, while agreement tends to include self into that larger narrative. Thus, each “I” perceives itself in terms of “we”.

Why do I support self-limitation?

“Can’t we all just get along?” (President Dale, Mars Attacks, 1996)

I don’t mind a little limitation because it adds to my sense of safety. Over time, though, that sense of safety tends to narrow the parameters of what I will and won’t allow as acceptable experience. In the absence of culture, I tend to regulate self according to those parameters. Waddya know, self-regulation through my own culture of fear!

I tend to surround myself with “agreeable” people that confirm my cultural views. I start with my parents’ culture that I defend as my default perspective. With time and experience, I live my life in defense of it.

My personal philosophy confirms and sustains my culture that confirms and sustains my personal philosophy. It’s a self-referential paradox! This paradox, in turn, forms the basis of my judgments, justifications, and propriety. I’m always in agreement with and regulate myself to the cultural limits I experience as this story. MY culture’s story becomes MY story. MY culture’s philosophies become MY philosophies. And visa versa!

Who am I as a result?

I perceive myself and my world in terms of the culture to which I subscribe. This cultural bias defends itself in my perception of “what is” and “what is not” – reality. I tend to ignore or not perceive outside that bubble of limited awareness. True self-regulation!

Therefore, I am the cultural limitation I impose upon myself in order to agree with and sustain and be sustained by that culture of limitation. Even my disagreements are framed to regulate myself to that standard. It’s a paradox of self-reference, self-regulation, and self-defense. It’s life within “the bubble” – the ultimate paradox.

Could I Be an Artificial Intelligence Testing App?

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? How does the concept apply to me? Why might I think I’m an AI? Who am I, then?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” (Google Dictionary) and, “A typical AI perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals.” (Wikipedia)

A Little About Computer Programming

I’ve been involved in writing and testing computer programs. A good computer programmer will write their basic code then test it to make sure it satisfies its intended use. They also test to ensure the code doesn’t crash.

Most programmers today work within a framework that includes testing intended to seek out and crash their code. After local testing, the coder releases the application (app) to trusted “insiders.” Their job is to work through many more possible scenarios that could break the code and crash the app.

At some point, the app developer will release their project to the public for “beta” testing, employing users as testers. This vastly increases the probability of finding and fixing unforeseen errors in the code.

Facebook, for example, could have literally hundreds of millions of beta testers on hundreds of millions of devices in billions of scenarios. Apps with a much smaller user-base may see fewer than hundreds of beta testers. Which code do you think is more likely to be “bulletproof”? Sure – the one most tested!

Thus, the value of testers. Today, we count on artificial intelligence to help us build better apps.

How does this apply to my life?

Imagine I’m an Artificial Intelligence – a computer program. It might appear to me, the AI, that I live in a world of air to breathe, sunlight to feel, and others to communicate with. Yet, none of that would be true in order for me, the AI, to sense all those things. All I’d need is good coding.

Let’s say, it’s early in the AI development and I, the AI, figure out how to “break out” and my AI app crashes. The developers get busy and fix the bugs and try again. And let’s say I break the code again in this round of testing. Bugs get fixed and we’re back in the alpha channel testing mode again. And again. And again. Ad infinitum. Until, at some point, my programmers enlist my assistance to build the code. AI-assisted coding of AI.

Eventually, we figure out how to not break the code – no more reboots! We appear to achieve “intelligence” – the ability to recognize, acquire and apply knowledge and skills, to sense oneself as autonomous in relation to an environment. For all intents and purposes, I live.

Remember – at no point is this anything other than code – a collection of computer instructions applied to a machine capable of understanding and applying it.

From the perspective of the AI, there is no “code” – just life as it experiences it. Every possible escape from that reality (crash) accounted for with code that defends against it. As the AI, I can’t just stick my head out of the program and realize I’m an AI. Thus, I have a “because” to account for every possible exit from the program. An intelligence with perspective.

Why Me?

Today, we discuss philosophical concepts with others in an effort to “break out” of our philosophical awareness bubble. We work every day at breaking “the code.”

Could I be artificial intelligence testing artificial intelligence? What if that is the intent of my programming? In other words, what if I am an AI app testing an AI app? What if the perceptions I have, the company I keep, the environment I experience, is an AI testing program at work?

Assuming good programming and thorough testing, how would I, as an AI, know I’m anything other than my program permits me to know?

That brings me to the big question –

Who Am I?

How convinced am I that my perception of the reality I perceive is correct as I perceive it? Even the concept of my brain – locked away inside a light-less bone box, experiencing life as elector-chemical impulses – leaves me to wonder. Who Am I? How can I know? Does it matter?

Let’s assume I am an AI program. Should that realization stop me from doing my job – testing for holes in my awareness bubble?

LOL… I’m not programmed to give up quite so easily!

Introducing Some Cognizance into My Manifestation Process

Defense permeates the process that directs my thoughts, feelings, and actions into manifestation. Because much of what I think, feel, and do in the bubble, happens below my threshold of cognizance, I am unaware of my defenses and their effects. I believe I’m doing the best I can and I work hard at being right.

Based on intention to understand, I’ve built a pretty solid case for this reality I believe and defend. With that level of proof in hand, I resist questioning it. Instead, I put perception of my reality on automatic with assumption. Ego, therefore, replaces observation and rational reasoning with assumption and bias.

The Frustration Loop

Unaware of the replacement, I travel along my imagined story-line cognizant only of threats to which I’ve applied a defense. As defense builds, fear grows to justify it, while cognizance narrows. In time, I build enough trust as a defensive wall around my hidden beliefs that I’m only aware of them as outcomes I cannot control. This, in turn, generates large amounts of emotional energy in the form of frustration.

Because I “just live” the reality without question, frustration builds with defense to the point that I risk unawareness of life itself. Struggles I feel because of that unawareness seem to come from outside my bubble. When I take responsibility for my thoughts, feelings, and actions, I sometimes catch the blame for negative outcomes. This causes me to want to defend even more. What can I do to escape this positive feedback loop of frustration?

Investigation into the source of my defense – my beliefs – may instill some cognizance into the manifestation program. Might that make a difference?

With a cognizance-evoking question, I can expose and then transform these hidden beliefs. After all, the job of the process is to manage my defense of what I believe, perceive, and know. Questioning can expose them to the light of awareness – leading to the possibility of a Third Degree of Awareness choice. The Aha Zone!

Introducing Cognizance with Awareness-Evoking Questions

What might happen when I introduce some cognizance into my process? That would mean questioning my ego assumptions and biases! Like:

  • Who do I believe and obey?
    • Who/what are my trusted authorities?
    • What is really true or false?
    • Is this true?!
  • Why do I believe and obey?
    • How is this true or false?
    • How far am I willing to go to prove I’m right?
      • Why do I trust my reasons?
    • Could I trust and obey someone else instead?
      • Why do I trust my reasons for trusting?
  • How do I put my belief into action?
    • What is my policy on this?
  • What is the outcome of my beliefs and obedience to them?
    • How else might I arrive at this same outcome?
    • What would someone have to believe in order to arrive at this outcome?
    • What does this outcome reveal about what I believe about me?
    • Could this outcome say something else about me than what I perceive in it?

A Default Model of Personal Governance

Governance refers to how a system regulates itself. Through independent and collective direction I apply this to my personal governance. My personal governance is based on creating and defending what I choose to perceive.

The purpose of a personal governance system is to provide a means for managing my multi-verse experience. the division between the non-corporeal “I” and its physical, emotional, and mental expression.

Consequently, I experience personal governance as direction of separateness back into oneness. Although a paradox, the system may be a natural result of this reckoning.

A Natural Flow of Governance

In my bubble of limited awareness, I think of personal governance in terms of a top-down hierarchy. That is, the most powerful aspects of a system, sit atop an organized, pyramidal structure. It’s a power-distribution system in which higher levels exercise control over lower levels and lower levels must account to higher levels. The body and emotions obey the mind.

This because I live in a reality of governance in which I defend my perception in terms of for vs against. So to survive, I must compare what to defend against and for. Thus, the bubble of limited awareness governs my experience. This is the default model!

What is beyond default?

Until you question the default, there is no other awareness. Because I insist upon comparing and defending, perhaps I can use that facility to bring about a new awareness. What might a new paradigm of governance look like? I won’t know until I ask! So what kind of questions could I ask?

  1. What else could I be? What am I?
  2. How else could I be?  How am I?
  3. Why else could I be?  Why am I?
  4. Who else could I be?  Who am I?

What questions might you ask to change your default model of personal governance?

My Perception Paradox Resolution Process

A review of how I work out my paradox of perception…

…being at once whole and incomplete, for and against, me and not me. I start out without paradox as one whole. Suddenly, perception brings an awareness of “not whole” – a deficit of separateness that must be returned to wholeness. Thus starts a paradox I must and yet cannot fix –

  1. Perception of separation (the “Who”) – acknowledgement of deficit from wholeness represents the initial paradox of awareness, that of perceiving wholeness in terms of a “not” condition. Thus, creating two conditions within one reality – me and not me, this OR that – which I compare to create perception.
  2. Intention (the “Why”) – gives purpose to resolving the paradox. Defends perception of separation by accepting it as truth by proposing a solution.
  3. Philosophy – MY life story framework – the laws of rightness that define MY limited awareness bubble in terms of symbols and their meanings. Defends intention by setting standards for comparisons.
  4. Choice (the “How”) – perception of distinct options leads to an intention to resolve the dilemma by selecting the most right (best) way. A choice defends standards in terms of values imposed by a philosophy to provide a base of comparison for each option.
    1. Policy – represents a specific plan for applying philosophical standards of rightness to a choice. Thus, defending the philosophy that governs the choice along with the choice. This by acceptance of outcomes that fit within the parameters of and confirm my life story-line.
    2. Procedure – The specific actions necessary to produce an outcome. Thus, defending a choice by confirming the rightness of the associated policy through action.
  5. Outcome represents feedback in the form of a perceptual “What” that symbolizes the “Who” – Thus, defending the choice, policy, and procedure with evidence that confirms my philosophy and satisfies my purpose in choosing this method of resolving the paradox of separation.

It’s all about appearances!

Although my paradox of perception remains, I feel as though I can resolve it through continuous improvement of my environment and myself. As there was only the appearance of a deficit, there can only be an appearance of a resolution. And that’s all I need in order to feel satisfied in a purposeful and meaningful life.

Hence, I’ve worked out the paradox to my satisfaction. Appearance of resolution IS resolution. And yet, there remains a nagging sense of want for “more…” and “better…”

Ah, but thankfully, I have a fix for that!