The Doubt-Certitude Paradox

In my bubble of limited awareness, life’s ambiguities raise doubts about the certainty of my choices. Those doubts tend to increase as my awareness of ambiguity grows. Doubt can be a benefit and a threat – depending on the context.

Choosing based on fear validates fear as a certainty. In order to feel safe I must believe I’ve made the right choice. This, in turn, solidifies my devotion to my certainty.

Fear resolves a paradox by feeling certitude in doubt, rather than doubt in my certitude. The paradox arises when I must be certain and yet I must have doubt. For example, in life, certitude convinces me the experience is real. Meanwhile, doubt makes life appear to change in unexpected ways. I doubt and I’m certain.

Doubt and Certitude

Doubt offers me the kind of options that challenge my comfort zone choices intended to result in safe outcomes. My instinctive choices would probably have caused me to seek escape from threat, which could’ve been disastrous! Instinct isn’t always reliable for safety.

Where life most threatens my comfort zone, paradox is there to confront my safety defense. However, the slower and straighter the ride, the more boring it feels in contrast. I need enough contrast between doubt and certitude to perceive change.

The greater the contrast, the greater the opportunity for awareness of the paradox. In my perceptual world, I’m more likely to choose from well-established options, those I rely on. That certitude creates a comfort zone of trusted options I don’t doubt.

Thus, I deliberately limit options to those that validate my comfort zone. And resist those that might throw doubt on my comfort zone.

The paradox remains until a choice appears to resolve it. Once I settle on the results of a choice, I resolve the paradox by defending it. Thus, by making a choice, I confirm the paradox by defending it.

That is a paradox!

A Paradox of Oppositional Agreement

In my bubble of limited awareness, where there are two or more, there is opposition. Thus, I exist because you exist in opposition to me – you’re real because I’m real – validating my reality.

I defend this perception because it allows me to make comparisons. This requires me to divide reality into comparable parts, enabling me to define and refine it in terms of relationships. Things exist in relation to their environment. I exist in relation to my environment.

In this reality, I extend my self-referenced perspective to serve the environment by considering the perspective of that environment. Any thing is a part of my environment while I am part of its environment. How can we be separate and together? You can in a relational reality – where I validate my intention by validating your intention. I assume both. When I acknowledge your existence, I acknowledge my own.

Comparative Validation

I assume you have needs that require fulfillment because I do. My attention is drawn to your similarities to me to assess what needs you have and fulfill. When I see you do something I do, I assume you do it for the same reason. This validates why we do something – and that we exist – therefore, I exist.

At the same time, I’m noticing differences. I assess those differences for the purpose of understanding this other aspect of me. Are they a benefit or threat – and how much of each are they?

With each perception, I notice and judge differences and samenesses to discover my needs and their fulfillment. It’s an oppositional agreement relationship I have with me. It’s a paradox of complementary agreement where I acknowledge that you exist because I need to exist.

Intention Fulfillment

Intention fulfillment is an expression of oppositional cooperation. For example, the pencil and paper express their purpose in cooperative opposition to each other. Each acknowledges the need for the other in their expression.

Within each conflict are aspects seeking acknowledgement of their contribution to existence. This while seeking to express their existence through opposition. And overcome whatever threatens that expression and acknowledgement.

Thus, reality by conflict is a paradoxical consensus in which opposing sides of a conflict agree to conflict. That opposition gives relativity to common agreement – an agreement to make what is opposed real. Each aspect of a concept relates to others in the language of opposition – defense.

Once I learn the language of defense, I can apply consciousness to adaptation. In this way, I can interpret in new ways. Before conscious awareness, I must react in order to live. After conscious awareness, I can choose to respond differently. I move out of reaction and into choice.

Conscious awareness turns opposition from a threat into an opportunity.

It’s a Question of How Attention Follows Emotion

What element of my limited awareness most affects my attention? Even needs will only get attention as I feel threatened by my lack of attention to them.

How and how much I feel about an intention, stated or unstated, will affect the outcome I perceive. Knowing, although important to my process of manifestation, does not generate movement towards an outcome. Knowing I have a need, for example, does not predict action on my part towards satisfying that need. Sufficient emotion about that need will. E-motion motivates action.

I attend to that which I feel emotion. My attention follows my emotions. Thoughts can assist me in discovery of those emotions. Thoughts alone, however, are typically merely defenses of my emotions. I do what I do – thought, action – BECAUSE I feel some emotion. The mental aspect of a “because” narrative results in defense of that intention. Emotion always indicates defense.

“Because” is where intention directs attention.

As we’ve discussed above, the intention that gets the attention wins. The intention with the most emotion behind it tends to win the competition for attention.

And yet, even when I put a lot of emotion behind a stated intention, I can sometimes feel disappointed with the outcome. Disappointment is an emotion! I immediately get busy backing my emotion with attention to defending it with excuses, reasons, logic, and denial, etc.

What if the intention was not disappointed – rather, I expressed the emotion of disappointment. Disappointment confirms an underlying intention to feel in order to convince me that I’m alive. Nothing quite like satisfying the intention to live with a sensation of aliveness. Emotion does that!

Perhaps I always get what I feel rather than what I think I want.

Where I’m convinced, I use attention to strengthen and defend the sense of it. I’m also not questioning it. Where emotion is present, I’m far less likely to question my certainty. Yet, this may be the place to ask pertinent questions about it:

  • What do I believe so strongly I can’t question?
  • How does my emotion convince me?
  • Why don’t I question this?
  • Who do I believe I am that appears in this emotional expression?

This brings up a conundrum: I must feel safe enough to inquire. Inquiry makes me feel unsafe. Further, in order for me to feel open enough to respond to questions of my personal feelings, I must trust who is asking. And why. Inside my bubble of limited awareness, my circle of trust is small indeed.

The first thing I may want to do in order to put my mind into a state of inquiry is to interrupt the emotional state I’m in. An inner cry that shakes me, like, “Wait a second…” or “Stop!” can help. In the brief silence afterwards, I move quickly into inquiry mode with:

  • What else can this mean? (other than what I thought it meant)
  • How else can I feel about this? (other than how I felt about it)
  • Why not another intention? (other than the one I had)
  • Who could I be? (other than who did what I did)

My Significance in My Universe

To me, every thing is a concept, a notion within a system of connected notions forming a complex whole – my universe. Significance is a value I place on concepts to indicate their importance to me in the scheme of my universe. This includes every action of every thing, every feeling I feel, and every cause and effect. All within a universe of thought – my thought.

“The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.” (Sir James Hopwood Jeans)

The Nature of My Significance

In my bubble of limited awareness, how might I find personal significance in the universe? My experience of life is real to me and not conceptual. There’s a huge gulf between non-corporeal thought and physical sensory experience.

Most of my memories are based on sensual perception of physical experience on which I placed a judgement. Those judgements included what should or shouldn’t have happened and emotions that identified the impact those experiences had on me. I know the difference between a thought about and the physical record of pain my body stores for experience.

Why do my thoughts and emotions feel as real as an associated physical experience? How can a simple concept, a notion, feel as significant as a physical sensation?

Am I experiencing life as sensual perceptions that validate concepts that only appear real? In a sea of concepts within a universe of cause-effect physical relationships, my intentions may seem insignificant when I consider them as thoughts. Among significant concepts I consider are the intentions that concern survival.

Even within my own mind, thoughts compete to survive.

How can one thought have any influence at all in such a vast sea of competing thoughts? After all, the size of my body is insignificant when compared to that of the earth. The earth is insignificant when compared to the number of celestial bodies that make up a galaxy, which is insignificant when compared to the whole universe. You might say my body represents many orders of magnitude of insignificance.

Insignificant – until I realize the irrelevance of the comparison. So, I’ve applied a physical measurement comparison to the non-physical.

The Nature of Perception

I have my own notions of such abstract ideas as justice, freedom, friendship, and love. These interact with concepts of some more concrete perceptions like my body, plants in the garden, and carpentry. Each a concept in an environment of concepts.

One concept that makes all others possible is that of separation from wholeness. This concept of differentiation turns one idea into an appearance of many. It also endows the universe with perspective, the capacity to differentiate me from not me. Because of this differentiating principle of perspective, I have experience. Without a notion of differentiation, there is no perception, and thus, no experience. Perception arises from a concept.

My Significance in a Universe of Concepts

To me, “I” appear to be my body, thoughts, and feelings. And yet, I am actually beliefs about those things. Beliefs are concepts that are thoughts. The perception of “I” represents the central thought in a universe of my own thoughts. Thus, in my universe of limited perceptual awareness, I am the literal and figurative center and creator of everything.

What if significance is a value that I, the dreamer, place on a concept to indicate its importance to the dreamer in the dream? Rather than infinitesimally insignificant, as the dreamer of the dream, might I instead be ultimately significant?

Change a thought and you can change the entire universe. Imagine that!

Memory as a Messenger of the Unknown

What if, within my limited awareness bubble, memory works in time and space? A conscious agent uses memory as a vehicle to perceive a relationship between time and space. If so, I must defend time and space in order to live. The “I” that lives in time must store the data necessary to balance the unknown with the known – memory.

Now seems to be the only condition of time that allows me to be served by memory. Memory’s linear design is a means of holding time accountable to space and for me to be accountable to a future I haven’t yet realized. Time supports space that supports time. Memory supports the concept of linear time and space as imagined sequences of causes and effects.

What I can perceive I can believe is real. Therefore, my memories are real because I perceive them to be. I’ve perceived fear as real and I have referred to it for present experiential support. Fear as the main criteria of my memory now seems to dominate the experiences of the present. Once I believe fear is real, it will remain so until I question and change it.

Because the unknown represents my greatest fear, I create memories to fill-in what I don’t know. With memory, I can relate the unknowable to an imagined known, a reality I call my life. This known reality brings a counter-balance and a sense of direction to mitigate the fear of the unknown.

What Is the Message of Memory, then?

Memories are my link to linear reality, which includes time and space and who I am in them. In my limited matrix of associations, I can apply a memory to justify any current situation that exists in terms of time and space.

When it comes to fearful situations, applying a known in the form of a memory can provide a sense of reality. Thus, an imagined or recalled known can substitute a sense of peace to the unknown. It’s a paradox! And while the unknown remains unknown, at least I can feel better about it!

What if memory is a messenger of the unknown telling me about me through the known? Perhaps memory is loaded with data. I can mine that information about who I perceive I am beyond what I know. What is my memory telling the known me about the unknown me?

Rather than defend against the unknown with fear-based memory, what if I instead asked some questions?

  • What is true and untrue in this memory?
  • How is it true and untrue?
  • Why is it true and untrue?
  • Who am I as a result of believing this?
  • Who would I be if I didn’t believe this?