Change and My Need for Permanence

I like to think that if something is true it never changes – it’s permanent. I try to make my beliefs permanent by defending them against change, thereby making them true.

I intend for my truths to be so well defended that they are beyond question, even from me. Questioning my beliefs would be equivalent to attacking what’s right and good, permanent and therefore true.

Certainty of my truths defends the intention to put them beyond question. That certainty is like a dam that I build for my rightness against the flow of change. Thus, certainty makes my intention appear permanent – just like truth!

What About Resistance?

I define the non-disturbed state of no movement as permanence. And the disturbed state of movement as change. Each state serves the other through the contrast inherent in their complementary differences. I experience existence in the relationship between the two states.

Perhaps the resistance in those interactions serve as proof of permanence and change. Thus, change serves permanence and visa versa resulting in a reckoning of time. The tic-toc of permanence and change, cause and effect, disturbed and non-disturbed states evidences this relationship.

What about Psychological Permanence and Change?

Who am I in relation to my psychological environment?

That which I resist tends to exist. Change involves breaking down resistance, which my need for permanence rejects. I attend to what I resist in order to conform it to fit my beliefs. Once I do, I let go of my attention to it. That frees my attention to move on to other problems I need to solve.

Here then is choice – to embrace change and permanence through their defense. When I choose one, I also choose its complement – thus, the “and” bit. I defend one option with active attention, I defend its complement with passive attention in denial.

I give equal value to their defense as benefit or threat. Arguments for and against compete for my attention. Thus, choice validates the conceptual separation between permanence and change. Of course, what I believe is choice may instead be a defense of value. Value defends my belief in competition in the context of my own survival competence.

In limited awareness, I’m never in possession of all the facts. Every choice, therefore, includes some element of assumption not based in fact. For example I choose this because it appears to be more permanent than that. I must see competitors as competitors in order to make a choice. I compete for and against truth as I perceive it competes with me. We’re both competitors!

Perhaps truth is relative to the value I assign to my concept of self: How valuable am I?

Permanence and My Need for Security

From ancient monuments to the golden record on the Voyager probe, mankind has sought to create a permanent record of itself. In my limited awareness bubble, I feel a need for permanence for those things I like (me, my immediate family, my dear friends, etc.). I’m maybe not as hot about permanence for things I don’t like.

Perpetual motion machines, age regression creams, life extension products, immortality – all attempts at providing evidence of a magical elixir called permanence. And yet, we know permanence is impossible. Nothing can remain unchanged indefinitely.

Change vs Permanence

I feel I can’t change that which I believe is unchangeable. That sense of endless invariability can make me feel as insecure as that which changes in an inconsistent way. Maybe I need some change and some permanence.

Perhaps my sense of rightness arises from my need to feel secure. When I make a prediction, I may feel right about my understanding when a result occurs that I feel defends the prediction. This builds a sense of dependence upon my understandings. What I depend on, I defend as truth. Thus, and in many other ways, I seek to make my truth the truth – a permanent feature of the universe. As a result, I feel more secure.

For example, I depend upon the sun. I feel secure knowing the sun will rise in the morning. It’s also proof that I survived the night. That sense of rightness about the sun’s cycle may give me a sense of permanence to something I depend on. Since I feel a need to survive, my predictions about the cycles of the sun can give me a sense of security.

Thus, I derive a sense of:
Predictability <=> Rightness <=> Security <=> Permanence

Defense of my sense of rightness may be based on my need for security. In search of something I can count on, rightness seems to fill the bill. At some level of rightness, certainty satisfies my need for security. Certainty can feel like without being permanence, which may explain why I tend to prefer it over doubt. And yet, doubt may be the doorway to real understanding.

A New Perspective on Mystical Thinking

Mystical thinking combines the rational with the irrational to create a convincing story about life. To explore this phenomenon, let’s consider these two aspects of mind – rational and irrational.

  • The rational mind thinks in terms of certainty, probability, and knowledge.
  • The irrational mind thinks in terms of uncertainty, possibilities, and assumption.

Each mind competes and defends itself in its relationship with the other. This adversarial relationship results in an experience I perceive as my life. A life in which I compete and defend.

A New Thought Process

My life experience could be considered mystical because it is simultaneously and wholly rational and irrational. Explainable and inexplicable. Separate and whole.

Within this mystical life experience lay a vast territory available to me by virtue of my capacity to imagine and make choices.

Mystical thinking is the result of these two aspects of mind coming together to defend a single reality. For example, one might apply an imagined irrational attribute like “scary” to a rational physical thing, like a tree – to create a “scary tree.”

Mystical thinking includes that which has a “meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence.” (Merriam-Webster)

How does one defend the indefensible?

Practical Interactions with Mystical Thinking

What happened when the first human came across the giant fossilized bones of a dinosaur? They probably wondered what kind of animal has stone bones and of such a huge size. Perhaps they made up a story to justify and fit their giant find into the cultural understandings. That is, they sought to fit the evidence of giant creatures into their social storyline where there were no giants. They created mystic stories of impossible creatures and places where these stone-boned creatures must exist. For example, the ancient Greek myth in which all who laid eyes on the Medusa were turned to stone.

What do I do when faced with an unexplained aspect of my life story? How do I justify living in a dimension of rational and irrational experience? Perhaps the first thing I might do is adjust the evidence to conform to my perspective of reality. Then I’ll defend that belief. With mystical thinking, I can adjust the story to fit the evidence and/or adjust the evidence to fit the story. It’s a much more flexible way to think.

It’s a way to fit the unexplained into the context of a previously explained story. Thus, saving energy and making the story more interesting in the process! I can use a sense of mysticism to make sense of a world I may be incapable of understanding – now.

Some Benefits

Perhaps one benefit of mystical thinking is to bridge the limits of my logic to include the illogical. Like use of symbolism, art appreciation, and application of various beliefs without the necessity of empirical evidence. In this type of thinking, explanations need only make sense to the observer to be logical to the observer.

In this way, I can settle for a sense of wholeness when I perceive I don’t have it. Mystical thinking is my way of rationally compensating for the irrational thought that I am not already whole.

Instinct and the Antelope-Cheetah Question

In instinct, I don’t question, I simply follow the program. I see this process in automatic responses like reflexes – gut reactions in which I simply do without thinking. As a human, I have the capacity to exceed this instinctive level of living through learning. When I recognize instinctive behavior, I can question the unquestioned.

What if evolution is the result of questioning?

Things tend to remain as they are until something changes. Change can be initiated by a question – “Why must I continue doing what I’ve always done?”

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” (Rita Mae Brown, in her 1983 book, “Sudden Death“)

One example is the relationship between the antelope and the cheetah. When the antelope perceives the cheetah running toward him, he instinctively jumps into flight. He doesn’t question his actions, he just does them.

What if he were to initiate a new response? What would happen were he to instead of running away, start running toward the cheetah. The cheetah’s slender physique is no match for the horns of the antelope. And yet, the antelope never once considers this possibility – it’s an antelope and antelopes run from cheetahs. It’s a formula!

Occasionally, I’m faced with the cheetah. My instinct is to fly away as quickly as I can to return to my safety zone. It takes time I don’t think I have to investigate options by asking questions. And, like the antelope, I might get eaten as a result! It’s a formula!

Risking Advantage?

Adding a questioning program offers the individual an option to improve upon instinct – possibly adding an advantage. There’s a risk involved in this process. For example, the ovum will remain a single cell until it questions its singular status by opening its membrane to another. It risks losing integrity of its membrane while offering an opportunity for something else to develop. This is repeated at the crisis point we call birth where we challenge our safety to experience what is beyond.

What might happen when I apply a questioning method to all my learning – including questioning? That is, questioning that which I feel I know. Questioning the questioner! Might this open a new understanding about my limitations?

When was the last time you questioned an instinctive response – like a fear or pain response? For example, when your body winced in pain, did you ask in your mind, “What does this pain mean?” “How does this represent who I am?” “Why this pain in this location in my body?”

What if I questioned my attitudes? Moods? Judgments?

Relationship between Possession and Lack

“He who dies with the most toys wins,” has driven my world-view for much of my life. That’s because I grew up in a society based on possession. In that view, I see ownership as a characteristic of abundance and the solution to lack.

In my society, we’ve collectively chosen to view lack as public enemy number one. We’ve expended a lot of energy and resources to its eradication. In the process, our consumerism is rapidly depleting the resources of the planet.

Lack is a perception and concept. In its basic form, lack is a comparison value judgment. Possession is one way I seek to mediate the sense of lack. Still, no matter how much stuff I possess, I can still feel lack. Though there seems to be a relationship between possession and lack, that relationship may be an apparition.

Why do I perceive lack as the enemy?

I need a concept to counter wholeness in order to realize my intention to achieve it. This is a basic tenant of duality – separation from oneness. For every “this” I need a “not this” against which I can measure in order to perceive it.

How could I appreciate wholeness unless I conceive of its complement against which I can measure it?

You could say, I need lack in order to appreciate wholeness. Far from being the enemy, lack may instead be my friend. Appreciation of lack in the form of gratitude for everything that I perceive short of wholeness may be the only appropriate response to lack.

Possession does not cure lack. Nor does it equate to wholeness. Possession is merely a human contrivance that helps us order and defend societies. Without society, possession is pointless. Ultimately, upon death, I must release all interest in all possessions. I don’t even possess my own body.

I am having an experience of time and space – the result of my belief in it. I possess nothing in this world because there is nothing to possess. I experience it as I believe it.

Imagine that!