Certainty as A Mental Shortcut in Limited Awareness

Because of certainty, I feel I can predict my experiences. The more certain I feel about who I am, the more confident I feel in predicting who I will be. Certainty is a sense of knowing so strong, I won’t question it. That makes certainty a top-flight mental defense against change – and an energy saving shortcut.

Mental Shortcuts

In my perceptual bubble of limited awareness, some aspect of me believes I am limited. Because I believe in limitation, I have needs. I perceive those needs as problems requiring my attention to solve. Movement of attention from problem-solution-problem-solution results in experiences of defending my life. Need fulfillment appears as living life. Life must be defended to be lived.

This belief in limitation causes me to seek out ways to best use the finite resources I believe I have to survive and thrive. This results in the use of shortcuts to conserve life-force energy.

Mental shortcuts are rule-of-thumb strategies that help me use less mental effort to solve problems. This is especially important in need fulfillment – where I need every ounce of limited energy in order to live. Instinct is an example of a mental shortcut because we expend so little mental energy before initiating an instinctive behavior. This helps us use the least energy to survive.

That because, in certainty, I assume I already have sufficient information about how to accomplish need fulfillment. This assumption is perceived as quicker and more efficient because it bypasses the questions, research, or more attention that involves more time and effort.

This shortcut appears in unquestionable knowings like assumptions and biases. For the most part, I’m unaware of these. Like instinct, I act on my previously programmed thought process!

I become dependent upon mental concepts I feel certain of. I invest trust in them and, so may become more defensive of them. In my certainty, I may even assume I’ve not made the presumption of truth. Instead, I’m defending what I know is right! Done!

Up and Downsides

The downside to shortcuts is the manifestation of artifacts that appear as thinking and perceptual errors. Built-in mistake maker – and defender!

I use a forced perspective to interpret feedback to fit my assumptions, which I then defend as truths. Thus, I am able to achieve a kind of self-convinced ability to accurately predict my experiences. And block out anything else.

With focused practice and disciplined choices, my mind can build enough trust to predict my life with absolute certainty. That fulfills my need to be right – successful at survival.

And SO…

Unlimited consciousness in limited awareness sets up a bubble of defense in order to experience a sense of separation it cannot be. More defense further limits awareness. Thus, increasing the sense of separation. Certainty, therefore, serves unlimited consciousness by limiting awareness to provide a sense of separation.

Surprise! We’re competing and defending on purpose! I’m certain of it!

Resources:

Kendra Cherry, MS. Heuristics and Cognitive Biases. Verywellmind.com. Updated Nov 13, 2018.

The Messages of My Biases

In my bubble of limited awareness, I defend what I value. I value most what makes me right. My being right equates to survival. Thus, I must invest in confirming my rightness to confirm my ability to survive. Confirmation of rightness gives me a sense of satisfaction.

My need to be right is a bit of an addiction that affirms my sense of having value. With every confirmation of rightness, my sense of personal value increases, bringing me closer to my goal of wholeness.

I feel I must win or at least not lose. Bias lives by this gain/loss formula. I have a sense that I was born with bias because I need to feel success rather than failure. I set up a system for myself to “guarantee” success. This is like the guy who has a “fail-safe system” for beating the odds at the casino. That system is bias, a program that helps me cope with separateness.

My bias regulates my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When I have a rebellious thought, bias regulates me back into the safety of compliance with what is right. This is how bias serves a system of defense that favors the status quo. Thus, keeping me safe in my bubble of limited awareness.

A Conflict of Bias

For every argument, there are opposing biases. Because a bias is a bi-directional defense, there is that which it defends and that which it defends against. Therefore, a conflict exists between for and against. Bias illustrates a more fundamental perception in my limited awareness – that of me vs not me. This extends beyond my perception of me – in my social constructs.

For example, I want to support my society by contributing to its general benefit. My investment would include surrendering independence to the service of society and its relative safety. In this I feel a conflict. Why can’t I have independence AND safety?

This raises a question about my value system of loss/gain. Why do I have to give up something to get something? This haunts my relationship as an investor – because I must attend to the conflict of me vs not me.

Questioning Bias to Discover Its Message

I might question myself to discover my self-limiting biases and what messages they may have for me:

  • What society do I serve?
  • How do I serve?
  • Why do I serve?
  • Who do I serve?

Could Choosing Be a Hidden Defense?

In my world of limited awareness, making choices seems to be one of the most natural things we do as humans. So natural, we think we’re making choices even when we’re not. From choosing my words to choosing my mate, to choosing what flavor of creamer I put into my coffee, I think I’m making choices all the time.

Choice has some requirements – like a perception of comparable options from which to select. Comparing options makes the exercise of judgments necessary. Judging options by biased criteria limits awareness of possible alternatives. My rightness serves as the standard against which I judge options. Thus, perhaps most of what we call choice is actually a commitment to defend a judgment. Defending a choice is not a choice!

How can I know the difference between making and not making a choice? Especially when I think I’m making them all the time?

Automatic Choice Paradox

Responses to situations that seem threatening initiate automatic programs we obey without question. My life may depend on how I respond. What becomes automatic to obey is a program. Not all programs work the same way.

For example, when I turn my laptop on, certain programs initiate automatically without input from me other than pressing the power button. Once the computer is booted up, it presents me some choices – or so it appears. To fire up a program, I must tell the computer I want that program to run. I don’t dictate to the computer how that gets done. A program dictates that process. The more I learn about the operation of my laptop computer, the more useful it becomes to me.

How do my automatic programs affect my choices? I see them as a natural part of my daily life. Are they? Where does choice come in?

Although we may see choice as a means of solving limitation, the program for making a choice supports it. Paradox!

Questioning My Choices

Because I follow a set program for making choices, they cannot be considered free. Instead, I experience a sense of choice while obeying a program of defense without question. Even when I question my choice-making program, I’m obeying the previous choice-making program to make a choice to obey a new one! Catch-22!

When I ask an awareness-expanding question, I open a door to possibilities – where freedom of choice resides. In an instant of inspiration, one is faced with a choice between acceptance of accountability and the default, which is to return to defense. This “instant of choice” happens out of time – where flashes of inspiration and possibilities reside. The Aha Zone!

Maybe it’s time for me to question my choices – in a new way. Starting with an investigation of my selection-by-defense program.

Tools that Serve My Intention

With intention come the tools to achieve it. Without awareness of a means to achieve fulfillment, intention would be an endless unfulfillable experience.

Intention Tools

I use tools to serve my intention to be whole. These are based on body and mind working together to achieve intended outcomes to serve the cause of need and its effect on fulfillment of this intention:

  • Purpose provides motivation to a cause with a specific effect.

    1. What specific form does my tool take? Ex: My body and my mind in its form and thought capabilities provide a means for carrying out the need of my intention.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: The actions of my body and the thoughts of my mind work to achieve specific goals for my intention.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: My logic supports my life story.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: My identity, symbolically represents my cause to serve.
  • Certitude – provides conviction to my purpose. An imagined ability to see, envision cause and effect within a scope of my direction.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: Generational beliefs and philosophies.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: Experience and acceptance from others.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: My reasons based on principles and perceptions
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: relational perspective of self and use of imagination.
  • Predictability – provides an advantage of pattern-recognition in cause-effect relationships. Makes things possible through trust.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: Comparing and assigning values based on usefulness to me; relating certain types of patterns with success.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: Habitual behavior and attitudes depend on the continuous search for patterns I trust.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: Prediction algorithms save me energy and time.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: My ability to maintain patterned beliefs and ritual behavior symbolizes success through prejudiced predictability – a sense of rightness. Result: I feel successful, therefore, I’m validated.
  • Justification – provides reason and logic to a storyline that defends a perspective.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: If this/then that thinking creates equations from a closed perspective -> you hurt my feelings = you don’t care about me.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: I’ve created an imaginary world of reasonings designed to escape pain and convince me and others I’m right. I justify my perceptions in order to prove my intention and purpose.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: Convincing is more important to me than the truth.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: I take on a persona tailored to justify blocking interdependence and connection, “I’m right and you’re wrong!”

As I become aware of my intention to be whole, I apply different tools that work to fulfill the implied needs. In the process of fulfillment, I have an experience I call my life.

How Bias Achieves My Intention and Keeps Me from It

There are some beliefs that I feel more passionate about than others. I feel I must defend those things to a greater degree. That’s when my biases come into play.

Bias frees me from the desperation of indecision when my beliefs are challenged. And from a sense of overwhelm when my peace of mind feels bombarded by too many options. This helps me achieve and/or question my intentions.

Yet, that freeing feeling can disappear because biases limit my perspective. Because my biases limit the range of options from which I may select, they limit my experience. The controlling nature of bias might feel like I’m being pulled to and fro by a determined dog on a leash. This keeps me from achieving my intentions.

When might I instigate an investigation of my biases? How narrow does my comfort zone have to get before I challenge it? How much discomfort am I willing to endure before I do something about it? How can I tell when my bias crosses the line between supporting my conscious intention and resisting it?

Rather than continuing in this reactive path, how about a proactive approach to my biases?

Because biases tend to work in the realm of subconscious awareness, I must become aware of a bias before I can consciously challenge it. Thus the value of education leading to pertinent questions –

  • What biases do I exhibit? (see a list at Wikipedia)
  • How do they affect my life?
  • Why do I use them? (see this Aha Zone post)
  • Who am I as a result of these biases?

Recognizing How My Biases Serve to Defend My Beliefs

I can question my bias to ascertain which ones challenge choice by defending old truths or encourage choice by questioning my truths. I might start by questioning my needs now:

  • What do I need that would make my life complete?
  • How do I satisfy that need?
  • Why do I need that?
  • Who am I as a result of my need?

Perhaps I ask and answer these questions every instant of every day – automatically through bias. Consciously asking these questions might just open a portal into a totally uncharted adventure of awareness.