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.

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My Roller Coaster of Choice Predictability

Sometimes my life feels like a roller coaster. A paradoxical ride through the ups, downs, twists and turns of conflicting choices. Based on the certitude of my choices and their outcomes, I create a dependency equation. I apply the same equation, choice + defense = predictability, to every outcome.

I believe that predictable defenses mean predictable choices that result in predictable outcomes. Ambiguity develops as my dependence on specific outcomes from specific choices wavers. This challenges my defense and so affects my choices and outcomes.

Certitude and Rigidity

This kind of thinking can lead to a sense of certitude that leads to rigid thinking. This makes manifesting intended outcomes much more difficult and unpredictable. What if ambiguity invites questions about the certitude of my predictability formula?

Because I’d rather be right than accurate, I have an inclination to remember past events as being predictable at the time. In other words I reconcile differences in expected and actual outcomes by justifying results with false memories. This keeps my certitude in place regardless of outcomes.

A difference between expected and actual outcomes occurs because I am not in the same frame of mind when making a choice as when perceiving the outcome of that choice. So, to deal with the paradox, I lie to myself by revising my memory to justify what I perceive and feel now.

Predictability and Fear

This makes future outcomes seem much more predictable and choices more reliable than they actually are. It’s a useful thinking error when applied to confidence building. Not so useful when applied to medical procedures where overconfidence can lead to malpractice, for example.

When I feel conflict in yet-to-be-made choices rising within me, I may feel fear over that unpredictability. To calm my fear, I look to predictability of past choices made that I defend with my support and loyalty today.

Am I tall enough to ride this ride?

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Aced Out! A Blue Jay Metaphor

Sometimes, nature provides an obvious metaphor for me to enjoy and incorporate into my life. From their acrobatic flight style to their azure color, we love blue jays, Several live close to us. We also enjoy their apparently playful nature.

We put unsalted peanuts out on the back porch occasionally and enjoy watching our little jays sort through, pick out, and fly away to secret them.

The jays don’t eat the peanuts. Rather, they fly away to bury them. We later find peanuts in our garden beds, our compost pile, in our grassy areas – everywhere.

We lay out peanuts and then watch from our vantage point above the action. The fun begins when more than one jay notices the peanuts, which is common because we call them when we put the peanuts out.

Aced Out!

One jay I’ve named Ace after the Toronto Blue Jays mascot busies himself chasing the other jays away from the treasure hoard. There’s plenty for everyone, but Ace apparently believes otherwise.

Ace misses out on the feast because he is so busy chasing his competitors away. Chasing away each of the other jays, Ace works himself to exhaustion. Meanwhile, his companions fly in behind him and swipe every bit of his hoard. In the end, we see Ace standing by himself on the porch with no peanuts to enjoy.

It appears he has lost his hoard to his companions because he sees them as competitors. Thus, perhaps he actually lost out to his own fear, greed, and sense of lack.

Had he shared his hoard with the others, he would have had his fill. Because of his fear-driven belief in lack, his need to protect what he believed was his alone, and his greed, he left himself with nothing.

Ace repeats the performance every time.

A Metaphor for Me

I’m looking at all the times when I felt lack in my life – and what I did about it. How I’ve chased away others because I feared they would take what I believed was mine alone. How I’d sought to protect what I believed was my property by warding off others – rather than enjoying the abundance with them. All those times when, while I was away fortifying my belief in lack, others enjoyed the bounty I refused to see.

And most important of all – what will I do with the lesson of this metaphor? Will I reach out to connect with others or continue to chase them away? Will I join in the feast or continue to busy myself working to satisfy a need that isn’t there?

There’s a lesson our beautiful jays are showing me. What will I learn from it?

Will I continue to ace myself out or will I choose another way?

Thank you, Ace!

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Investigating My Fearful Manifestations

In my limited awareness bubble, what is true is also what is right. I interpret every manifestation according to what I intend to be right of me. The first thing I intend to be right about is my survival. I then work to prove that interpretation right, which I present as invulnerability to death. My fear of death makes me defend against vulnerability!

I hide my vulnerability to control my presentations of what I intend others to believe is right about me – that I’m invulnerable! I look for feedback to confirm whether my presentation is convincing or not.

Manifestation provides feedback I can use to validate my beliefs. Yet, when need requires belief to outweigh facts, interpretation of manifestation can be a powerful convincer.

“A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” (The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel)

Because I can imagine a scenario in which even the most benign thing might hurt me, I live in a world of fear. That fear affects my interpretations, which affects my experiences!

Intention + Perception = Interpretation of Manifestation

Fearful intentions affect perceptions that affect interpretations of manifestations to prove rightness of fearful intentions. Because I live in a world of fear, here’s how I do this:

  1. I set a fearful intention to prove right my first intention, to survive.
  2. My perceptions make me aware of my symbolic representations of fear.
  3. I compare those symbols with my fearful intention.
  4. I interpret manifestations according to those symbols to fit my fearful intention.
  5. This interpretation proves that my fearful intention is right.
  6. I defend my rightness against the appearance of threat.
  7. Thus, I’m successful in fulfilling my first intention – to survive.

Since I tend to judge based on my sense of sight, my perceptual interpretation of visual appearance can affect the accuracy of my experience. For example, I might distrust a person dressed as a clown based on a scary experience I had of a clown. It doesn’t have to be a threat to present a threat. It’s in my interpretation of the presentation.

When I see someone else’s vulnerability exposed, I may feel relief that it wasn’t me exposed! On the other hand, their exposure confirms the possibility of my exposure. Thus, strengthening my fear of exposure and my need to defend against it.

Eventually, it becomes less about defending myself against real threats and more about defending myself against the appearance of threat. And what is the greatest threat? That which challenges my first intention – rightness!

What About Self-Inquiry?

How can I inquire about the true nature of Self when such inquiry may challenge my rightness and/or expose my inquiry to attack? How do I make a challenge without provoking a defense against it? What happens when I see myself as a threat?

As long as a question appears as a threat that invokes the very mechanism we described above to defend against it, how do I even begin to ask?

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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?
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