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.

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.

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.

How Intention, Choice, and Bias Resolve Life’s Ambiguity

In order to initiate a conscious choice, I must perceive two or more options relating to the concept under consideration. My life presents me a menu of options. Bias narrows the options from which I may choose. I compare those options to determine how well they might work to confirm my bias.

In my comparative world of limited awareness, life is ambiguous. It’s not 100% clear whether I’ll live or die in any moment. It’s unclear who I am. I must clarify myself to myself. I work my whole life to disambiguate the paradox of the life I live. Bias is one way I seek to clarify this ambiguous situation.

I’m unambiguous about my intention to live. So, I favor all that confirms that intention and fear alternatives. I make choices based on this intentional and fundamental bias. Thus, I resolve life’s greatest paradox – that I am ambiguous, being one and separate, for and against.

Intention

The intention to survive underlies all intentions. A default program ensures I make a preselected biased choice – both for and against. It’s paradoxical. Biases defend the underlying intention to survive, in which I’m:

  • against what threatens the underlying intention.
  • in favor of what benefits the underlying intention.

In this environment of bias, I’m seeking to disambiguate while defending a paradox. I do this by choosing for and against what affects my intention to survive. Thus, increasing the ambiguity I’m seeking to decrease.

Fear and Bias

My fears are an effort to defend myself for being right and against being wrong. Two sides of the same coin. Fear of being wrong plays an influential role in my ability to make a clear choice.

If my choice results in survival, my commitment to its rightness abates fear. When I realize I’ve survived well, my commitment solidifies into a bias that rules over my life. The paradox is that increased defense of what’s right increases fear of its alternatives.

About Choices

Questioning my bubble of limited awareness challenges my perception of survival. Denial is the default program that defends my biases and resists change.

It seems like I’m choosing all the time. Choosing only concepts that support my biases, is not choice – it’s confirmation bias in action. Once I’ve made a choice, I cannot change it while in defense of it. Bias is how I automate the process.

Conscious living may be more about challenging my reasons for making choices than blindly following them.