Lack and My Growing Need to Overcome It

To paraphrase Stephen King’s “We all float down here!” – what if we all feed down here (on earth)?

In my bubble of limited awareness, I perceive I need to feed to survive based on my intention to end my sense of lack. I perceive I can satisfy that lack by taking from “not me” that which I perceive it has. Then I add that to me to gain a sense of wholeness (fulfillment).

Cause and effect is evidence of my perception of needs and their fulfillment. Every need presents a cause, every fulfillment presents an effect. Each effect then becomes the basis for the next cause and so forth. This suggests that no one thing is independent of other things. All are based on intention. Form and function work to satisfy the intention to exist.

I use the word “feeding” to represent what and how I exist in my reality. By the same token, I perceive and project that same need on all other forms and their functions. That, because I perceive my life in terms of cause and effect.

Figurative Feeds – Solving the Problem of Lack

Today, we are surrounded by symbols that communicate interdimensional concepts – like emotions, psychological states of mind, philosophies, histories, and etc. For example, The USA uses an eagle as its national symbol. Language represents a collective cultural understanding of identity. An eagle is not the USA any more than a language is the culture it represents.

Let’s consider the figurative nature of feeding as interdimensional representations of lack. Feeds represent satisfaction of desire on many levels of lack-consciousness. The result of this belief? I’m not enough, so I have needs and wants. This is validated in the reverse: I have needs and wants, so I must not be enough.

As I insist upon my interpretation of symbols of lack as the only interpretation, I become less flexible. Inflexibility closes off consideration of other interpretations, other dimensions, and, so validates my deficit. I’m also less able to solve the problem of lack.

That Which I Feed Will Grow

Feeding my inflexibility sets up a growing sense of want/need, defense of that sense, and resistance to alternatives. Awareness of that sense grows as I feed it, providing more awareness of it. Thus, feeding awareness of want grows awareness of want.

As I feed my insistence upon my interpretation, I grow more insistent, more resistant to change – increasingly inflexible. I might view that resistance as a problem in a rapidly changing world because evolution tends to favor flexibility.

My intention to solve the problem of inflexibility may result in a presentation of the lack of its fulfillment. Thus, intending to solve the problem of lack, I confirm and validate the problem I seek to solve. So, intending to solve a problem may result in feeding it! Paradox?

What if I, instead, feed figurative thinking? Might this solve the problem of lack without feeding it? Might our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings represent multidimensional realities that are figurative rather than literal problems seeking solutions?

What if there is no problem for me to solve, no intention to feed, no resistance to feed on? Imagine that!

My Personal War of Hidden Intentions

“My intentions were good!” How many times have I heard or said that? An action based on a good intention can seem to be the right thing to do at the time. Yet, an intention may give itself permission to act outside of conscious awareness. Thus, a hidden intention in a limited awareness bubble.

I’ve heard it said, “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” Some of us take that idea seriously when inserting our own special kind of service to our world. Yet, an unsuspecting do-gooder can face disapproval or worse for their well-intentioned interference.

Sometimes, even when my heart is in the “right place” I end up hurting myself or someone else. Because my heart desires connections, I have to wonder why my intentions result in disconnection. Could I be unconsciously pitting one intention against another?

And So, the War Begins!

Perhaps I have a war raging between intentions. The intention to survive may view the intention to connect as a lower priority than personal safety, for example. Relationships present ambiguous threats to safety! This is a perfect environment for conflict – a war of intentions!

My intentions are always about problem-solving for the better. This is particularly confusing when the problem is my ambiguous intentions.

All too often, I have no idea how a hidden intention invaded my actions that hurt people. I trust that if I say I had good intentions, others will somehow give my hurtful behaviors a pass. I think I can escape accountability for my intended behavior by excusing it with “best intentions.” The real intention, then, was to protect myself from accountability for my unconscious actions.

Here are some questions I can ask myself to help reveal my conflicting intentions in personal relationships:

  • What am I feeling right now? What do I imagine others are feeling right now?
  • How does this difference in feelings present a conflict of intentions?
  • Why do I need to make others feel this way?
  • Who am I? Who would I rather be?

Stopping the War of hidden Intentions!

The default is ambiguity. Ambiguity allows my defensive self some latitude in its plausible deniability. That is, I can always fall back on, “I didn’t intend… blah, blah, blah!” and, “My intentions were good.”

Observing the reactions of others opens a window into my own hidden intentions. It’s not too late to ask a question. It doesn’t have to be painful, and it’s not a waste of time! Asking some useful questions can help clarify ambiguous intentions and maybe stop the war. Communicating clear intentions tends to clarify understandings in relationships.

Threat and the Overkill Response

Consider what we think of as reactions to threat – fight, flight, or freeze.  Now consider a word I think conveys a fourth option – “Overkill.” In bubble awareness, each of these implies an intention to remove a threat with an action. That action provides me a sense of control to mitigate the fear:

  1. Fight – intention to confront a threat.
  2. Flight – intention to escape a threat.
  3. Freeze – intention to avoid a threat.
  4. Overkill – intention to destroy a threat.

Each of the above appears totally justifiable by the one perceiving the threat in that moment. Not necessarily when viewed from outside that perception.

Let’s look at some examples of logic overkill. This represents an over- compensation response to threat. It appears reasonable from the perspective of the one applying the logic. Excessive from outside that perspective. From the overkill perspective, actions taken may not be or ever be enough, yet are totally justifiable. Remember, these are responses to fear:

  • Striking someone to get a point across.
  • If one piece of cake is good, two even better, then more…
  • If I go on a diet, I’ll have to starve.
  • I know I can’t make the rent this month, but I gotta buy this…
  • I’m not good enough, so this behavior tries to compensate for it.
  • Temper tantrums, bullying, showing off, bragging.
  • Winning an argument at any expense.
  • Gossip, spreading rumors, fault-finding, fear-mongering.
  • Flaunting wealth, education level, physical strength, social position, authority.
  • Hoarding.
  • Drug, child, animal abuse.
  • Murder, genocide, prejudice and bias.
  • Self-importance, self-deprivation.
  • Wishful and magical thinking.
  • Poverty consciousness.
  • Revenge, back-stabbing, and other passive aggressive behaviors.

When is enough enough? Timing plays a huge role in knowing when to stop.

How Fear Turns Appropriate Into Inappropriate Action.

My body has two action channels: sympathetic (GO!) and parasympathetic (WHOA!). I use a combination of the two in every perception and action I take. The balance I justify between GO and WHOA determines my judgment of the appropriateness of my actions. This is completely independent of facts, objective measurement, or rational thought.

What might happen when fear causes my GO-WHOA equation to jump into overdrive? At some point, enough GO or WHOA results in overkill. Where is that point? Personally, I’d not like to test that boundary. Instead, I’d rather stay far closer to the neutral balance point. Angry not to the point of enraged. Desirous not to the point of neediness or theft. Etc.

Social Overkill Algorithms

Agreement about a threat can foster swarm or mob mentality that can lead to overkill like genocide. Basically, add sufficient fear to the mix and just about any relationship can devolve into overkill behaviors.

Some computer hackers use social engineering to entice someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do – like click a dangerous link. Such social algorithms cause people to do hurtful things they would not ordinarily do. Add societal prejudices to the mix and the chemistry of mass fear will inevitably drive an excessive response.

Prejudice is an example of fear on automatic.

Sometimes that can lead to overkill – when societal fear rises to sufficient levels. One sees examples in the near-extermination of Native Americans in the 17th-19th Century and the Japanese-American internment program during WWII. Many examples exist that reveal the danger and damage of societal overkill.

On a personal level, this societal phenomena shows itself in my rage against opposing political personalities, parties and policies. At some point, I could be persuaded to take extreme action against them or their supporters – overkill.

That is, unless I use my language and/or emotional energy as a cue to question my beliefs. For example, I might think or say, “They always do that!” (referring to something I don’t like). I might question, “They?” and “Always?” That is, can I identify specific individuals or actions I don’t like? And, can I think of an exception to the “always” claim?

Questioning generalizations can sometimes stem the tide before it gets started. A simple question may be all it takes to avoid potential overkill. When enough isn’t enough, I might ask a useful question:

  1. What do I want?
  2. How can I get what I want?
  3. Why this in particular?
  4. Who am I?

Metaphor, a Problem-Solving Paradox

Metaphor takes perception of reality and twists it into a problem-solving paradox. The literal view seeks to defend its perspective as truth – using memory, facts, and logic to resolve paradox. The figurative view seeks to apply meaning to the literal view through metaphor, using imagination and possibility to resolve paradox. Together they seek a resolution to a fundamental problem – life.

Did You Catch the Paradox in the Metaphor?

The choice we suggest as metaphor-thinking operates best as a paradoxical view we experience with others in relationships. Thus, I understand me in a metaphor of my perception of you in relation to me. This is made all the more paradoxical when I act on my belief that you and I are literally separate.

Consider how difficult it is to see one’s own face without looking at its reflection. One would have no idea what their face looks like. With a reflective surface, sufficient light, and a properly working visual sense, and awareness of self, however, I can see a reflection that, although not me, presents a metaphor that I think represents me. Do you see the paradox in your reflection?

Even though I hear your voice doesn’t mean I hear your words. Just because I hear your words doesn’t mean I understand their meaning. Even when I hear your words and understand their meaning doesn’t mean I understand your concept. Sometimes I want an example to help me get to the meaning of a concept. That example is not the concept – it is a metaphor to help me understand the concept in an alternative form. Do you hear the paradox in these words?

What If Metaphor Presents a Problem-Solving Paradox?

Living in a problem-solving mind creates a paradox that connects solutions to problems through justification. Justifying the solution is a problem because it defends one against alternative solutions. The defense focuses attention on only one option rather than to search for alternatives. Once justified, this solution presents a mental scotoma – a problem that mind has difficulty resolving through ever-limiting repetition.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

This sets up a self-referential paradox in which problems justify solutions that justify problems. As the paradox expands, it further limits the range of awareness. This limits my realization of me as both me and not me.

Reinterpreting what I defend as a solution can’t be done – due to its defense of problem and solution. Sounds like a catch-22 situation. Oh, no! Not another PROBLEM!!!

This makes metaphor inevitable and necessary.

When I consider, “This is not as it appears,” I open my conscious awareness to metaphoric interpretation. And loosen the grip of my narrow focus on literal interpretation.

Did you catch the metaphor in the paradox?

 

Agreement, Problem Solving, and My Life Story

My first engagement into my life – my life story – is to see a problem that needs a solution. Problem solving orders chaos into meaningful equations, like cause->effect, entropy->order, separation->wholeness, etc.

Imagine a perfect world and that you know how that perfection should appear. Now, compare that perfect world to the one you’re experiencing. That is the world of should – a problem  needing a solution, a story of comparisons to an imagined standard of perfection. Why does my world differ from the standard of perfection? Is that difference a problem that can be solved? As long as I view it as a problem, I’m driven to solve it – by living it!

Houston, We Have a Problem-Solving Problem!

To solve the problem of the should world, I link problems I create with solutions I create. This creates a coherent story that seeks to solve the why problem – why am I conscious?

Is my life story an awareness of what my Dad used to call, “one damn problem after another?”

Houston: Agreed! You Have a Problem!

Agreement is one tool I use to solve the problems inherent in my imagined world. Basically, an agreement works for me when it satisfies my need to be right. To fit agreement into my world of perfection, I standardize it!

A standard of agreement determines social understanding that makes judgments acceptable to those that agree. Agreement amplifies my trust in the perfection I’ve imagined. This builds a perception of trustworthiness into a social structure as a sense of predictability. I believe my perceptions are real because I can make and prove predictions.

Who I believe I am is the result of identifying with judgments supported by agreements. This is how I view myself as my job, my community, and my level of agreement. “I am a doctor, an American, the president of my organization” for example.

Agreement seeks to solve a fundamental problem of reality – Who am I?