How Biases Are Choices

Biases limit my ability to select from a wide range of options down to just those I feel I can defend. This fools me into believing I’m making a free choice from all the available options.

However, I’m actually defending as few options as necessary to make me right or, at least, not wrong. Over time and practice, this becomes a pattern of behavior that narrows my perspective, turning choice into confirmation of rightness.

Perhaps it’s impossible to make a “free” choice when my need/fulfillment is to validate my rightness. Because rightness tends to feel like wholeness, I don’t feel limited by bias. I feel justified – whole! That which I validate validates me!

Biases – a Twofold Defense

One side intended for and the other against. This alludes to paradoxical thinking, in which I fight for what’s right by defending against what’s wrong. Bias weights one side over the other.

Could choice actually be a form of defense? When I make a choice, I also create a defense for that option and against others. Perhaps my defense is present before I make the choice. In that case, I’m double-defending my selection with bias.

For example, when I choose vanilla over chocolate ice cream, I have a preconceived reason. Maybe I think the vanilla tastes better than the chocolate ice cream because of a bias.

Bias offers complementary defenses for and against that must validate each other for me to consider each as an option. That is, what I like and don’t like counter and so validate each other. Even weighing one over the other, the end result is validation of separateness, which appears as my choice!

“Why” is at the root of my biases, which I defend as truths. This sets the stage for proving biases as truths. Thus, more than affecting my choices – biases ARE my choices.

Expectations, Assumptions, and Illusions of Choice

In my bubble of limited awareness, I assume I’m living my life by making choices. Because of my well-developed senses, I can learn and know what’s best for me. I can know what to embrace or avoid. I interpret these perceptions in terms of the choices I’ve made to validate separation.

For example, “I am me and not others” appears to be an assumption based in choice. I don’t need to choose what is true… it just is what is! In this case, perception is not choice – rather, assumptions based on choice.

When I defend a no-choice position, I discard any options that could be relevant to a choice. A choice can cover many solutions that validate one specific intention. Yet, choices aren’t choices when they are intended to be used repetitively and on the same issues.

Punishment and Reward in Limited Awareness

In classical (Pavlovian) and operant (Skinner) conditioning, a subject learns to behave in a certain way through a system of punishments and rewards. In nature, an individual interacts with their environment in this way and learns how to adapt.

I must assume I can create wholeness within limitations. That’s to believe that if I do, have, and/or be enough limitation, I’ll achieve wholeness. That’s a world of hope. And a paradox!

I feel motivated to seek for and to validate more separateness. In the mastery of separateness I might then be initiated into the experience of wholeness. My service to my intention meant I could get a sense of wholeness as a reward.

Options

My only options in this dimension of separateness are how to defend it. Yet, I must seek separation to find wholeness by comparing them. Since I cannot attain the unattainable – I’ll settle for a substitute – an illusion of wholeness.

What if all that – environment, systems, and conditioning – is within me. As the perceiver of my universe, I might act/react as conditioner of my own behaviors. I may be more in charge of my world of limited awareness than I once thought!

I wonder if I develop much of my definition of wholeness by trial and error. Another way to learn is by observation, which allows for choice by association.

Trial and error development sounds a lot like conditioning. Freud observed that we tend to seek pleasure and avoid or escape pain. That’s a perfect setup for conditioning by punishment and reward in a system of learning by trial and error.

When I behave in compliance with my conditioning, I feel good – I get a dopamine blast as a reward, I feel whole. Conversely, I suffer a punishment for misbehaviors and feel separate.

Who applies that punishment or reward? Nature? My society? What if it is my own intention?

A Wholeness Measurement Problem

How would one measure wholeness? Before birth, I acted as a separate entity – “I”. That “I” prepared to come into a reality of many separate entities – a perspective within a social structure. Likewise, my body is a collective of separate parts that function as a whole society. These social environments have similar rules, regulations, and boundaries.

Within my bubble of awareness, I could think of my separate self as a fractal within a system made up of fractals. Each fractal element mimicking the demands and understandings of the larger collective fractal. This continues outward to the fractal-like systems beyond earth. Each element with its own yet similar set of rules, regulations, and boundaries.

Before conception, I am parts that when brought together, form one body and mind. Yet, within me, there are competing and complementary systems working to experience what can’t be experienced individually. A society shares the same cooperative and competitive processes that a single human experiences from moment to moment.

The Problem-Solving Paradox in a Separation/Wholeness Paradox

What if the “problem of being me” is in the solution to the problem – me? The problem appears because “I am” appears as a separation problem for wholeness. Perhaps the objective of life is not to solve the problem of separation. Maybe instead, to appreciate that problem in its solution.

On the other hand, what if wholeness is a problem for separateness? From the perspective of separation, wholeness might appear as non-existence. No borders, no definitions, no me, no you, no perceptions – nothing! Separate “me” might see that as death, a problem that avoidance of its awareness might solve!

I wonder, could interpreting what I think of as separate actually be my definition of wholeness? I wonder too if the reverse is the case.

A Wholeness Measurement Problem

With all the ways to experience separateness, my mind is evolving to interpret things in systematic measurements. I have conditioned myself to believe my senses and opinions as accurate forms of measuring my world.

Grouping is a wholeness measurement problem that assigns individual value according to that of a group and visa versa. In this case, my measurement of each individual represents my evaluation of the whole group. I also evaluate the whole group based on an individual in the group. Which I use to compare my value to anyone in the group or to the entire group. “My group” is good and “your group” is not, for example. You must be bad because you belong to a group I don’t like. And, I don’t like anyone in your group because I don’t like you.

This short-circuits any measurement I might make of any individual to that of the group and visa versa. The essence of prejudice – a measurement problem of measuring me.

The Problem with Measuring Me

It’s easy to see how prejudice can spread by grouping things and people together. The measurement problem is one example of how I experience the problem of being me. This makes me question my comparisons of “me” vs “not me.” I can see from this example just how wrong I can be.

Thus, the wholeness measurement problem becomes the problem of measuring me, an immeasurable entity. I have no reference from which to make that measurement except me. One cannot measure something against itself. I cannot measure myself against myself embodied in any perception I have of any person, place, or thing.

How would one measure wholeness? Measurement requires separate points from which to measure. Wholeness would include all points as one point – no separation means no measurement.

Thus, we are immeasurable.

Presuppositions in Reclamation of Self

I make some fundamental presuppositions in my intention to reclaim the wholeness I feel I’ve lost. I don’t know how it happened, yet I feel a need to return things to their original condition of wholeness. Thus, the popularity of movements, books, and movies about restoring our former glory.

Fundamental to this intention is change. I must change in order to reclaim some kind of perfection, glory, or innocence I think I’ve lost. For example, politicians spout the concept of a return to better days – and garner lots of votes.

Reclamation Presuppositions

This concept of reclamation is based on a presupposition that we’re not enjoying wholeness now. That we’ve lost it! It also presupposes that there is some kind of shangri-la perfect state of being that I can and must achieve. Thus, I find myself in a state of eternal want in a land of plenty – forever seeking, never achieving. Never satisfied, always at a loss!

Let’s look at my reclamation presuppositions in four questions:

  1. Who? I am separate from wholeness!
  2. Why? So I can seek/reclaim wholeness!
  3. How? With an intention to be whole in limited awareness!
  4. What? Proves I am separate, seeking, limited, and right!

This reclamation concept may contribute to and defend my bubble of limited awareness. Because I have a belief in a perfect state of being and that that state is behind or beyond me, I’ll always experience limited awareness now. By seeking perfection, I defend my belief in my limitation now. Thus, seeking to go beyond limited awareness keeps me in limited awareness now. Sweet paradox!

This is the underlying concept behind self-help – the idea that I can find my wholeness and get back to it. What if that ain’t necessarily so?!

What About a Fix?

When I conclude that something needs to change, I assume a “fix” is necessary and even possible. Further, that the “fix” will result in an end to the change – done! What if that ain’t necessarily so?!

For example, every problem has a solution – that limits the problem to the solution. Even viewing problem-solving as a problem to solve sustains the mind to problem-solution. Any problem solved is no longer a problem. What if that ain’t necessarily so?!

The same goes for need and want and their fulfillment. Once fulfilled, the expectation is that the want or need dissolves away. What if that ain’t necessarily so?!

In my bubble of limited awareness, I believe that things damaged can be restored. All that is needed to accomplish a “fix” should be fairly simple and straightforward. What if that ain’t necessarily so?!

Reclaiming Defense

Could reclamation simply be another form of defense that keeps defense in place? Whatever the need and its fulfillment, they defend my belief in problems and solutions.

Reclamation appears evident – when I defend it. I typically play this out like this – I:

  1. Imagine what I want/need to reclaim.
  2. Recall or create a plan for how to reclaim it.
  3. Perceive evidence of loss and reclamation.
  4. Maintain.

This to solve the problem of separation. However…

What if my current life condition is a solution to the problem of wholeness?