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?

Does My Life Journey Answer the Question, “Who Am I?”

In achievement of goals, the process one undertakes is important as it contains the action that results in the achievement. The voyage contains essential information about and for the one who takes it. Perhaps the journey defines the traveler as much as the traveler defines the journey. What if my bubble of limited awareness is a symbolic story of identity?

In the Hero’s Journey story format the hero doesn’t go from zero to hero in an instant. S/he becomes a hero in a process that progresses from resisting to embracing.

The hero starts out unaware of their hero status. Through the journey of awakening, the hero becomes aware of that which was always there – their “hidden” identity. The quest culminates in their embrace of that identity. The supposition is that they will continue on as a hero.

Life As A Journey

Perhaps life is about living the journey rather than arriving at the destination. I might consider my life as a story that started in conception, through birth, to a destination that must be death. That makes my hero’s passage from birth to death a series of mini-journeys of beginnings and destinations. A story that culminates in embracing an awareness of a new me awakening, while laying to rest old misunderstanding. Self in a return to wholeness.

Maybe my resistance to the journey provides me with the experience of it. In that case, I wonder if death simply represents my letting go of the need for an identity – played out in my story.

My journey of life seems to remind me regularly to focus on my purpose as well as my process of living it. This invokes a “why” question: Why am I who I am? The answer may help me recover hidden motives and understand my original intention for the journey.

I follow a process I’ve been building as my truth from before birth. That process is inspired by a purpose, one that sustains my enthusiasm for the journey and my process. In this regard, my life is self-sustaining.

Maybe it’s not about changing the “wrong way” I’ve been doing life to the “right way.” Maybe it’s about becoming aware of why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing and who I’ve been doing it for, rather than how I’ve been doing it. With gratitude and attention, there’s no need to fix the journey, just flow with it.

Right now, I’m doing what I do to experience gratefully what I’m experiencing. Living is the expression of that gratitude. That’s a gift!

Reincarnation and Conscious Awareness

An interesting phenomenon of limited awareness is that of sleep. During sleep each night, I leave conscious awareness of one reality and experience “reincarnation” into an alternative reality. Although that reality often seems as real as my awake state, it provides clues to its illusory nature. While I’m dreaming a dream, it is reality to me.

It’s all about conscious awareness!

Between conscious awareness of one dream reality and conscious awareness of another, I experience conscious awareness of the nothingness from which consciousness arises. During that time, I experience nothing – an awareness of no sensory perception of any kind. This usually happens in the deep or delta level of sleep.

Perhaps that’s when “I” returns to the pool of all “I’s” from which my “I” differentiated itself as me. As my “I” realizes its self as separate from other selves, I have an experience – conscious awareness of a dream.

Apparition of Separation

When I awake in the morning, I may bring some of those dream awarenesses into my waking awareness. Real as my waking awareness may seem, it is, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from any dream I had the night before. Have I simply reincarnated from one reality into another?

What might happen when conscious awareness of “I” becomes aware of the cycle? Or stops its awareness of this cycle of reincarnation?

This raises some questions:

  • What makes me think this reality is any more real than any other reality?
  • How might I tell the difference?
  • Why do I believe this reality is THE reality?
  • Who am I in this reality, that reality, another reality?

How My Culture Governs My Experience

Within my bubble of limited awareness, by culture, I mean,  “the social behavior and norms found in human societies.” (Wikipedia) And by governance, I mean, “the way rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated and held accountable through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society.” (Wikipedia)

When we agree on something, we add value to our defense of that something. As I parse that something into its constituent parts, I often find that I disagree in principle with some aspects. I find I favor those principle aspects that confirm my current beliefs and my place in the world (confirmation bias).

Where did I get my beliefs about myself and place in the world?

Perhaps I inherited most of my fundamental beliefs about me and the world from my ancestors through DNA and the influence of their culture. In which case, I didn’t just suddenly upon birth “invent” my beliefs. No! I came complete with a HUGE belief repertoire already. All supported, reinforced, and refined through education by the culture into which I was born.

Chief among these beliefs concerns limitations – what I can and can’t do, what I can and can’t have, who I can and can’t be. Self-regulation through cultural limitations on perception of reality.

How does my culture regulate my experience?

My culture instills in me my default point of view – what is right, justified, and proper. This defines the “I” that seems independent of while being part of – and out of which springs all my judgments, comparisons, and behaviors. Once installed, these beliefs become self-evident, self-defended, and self-limiting.

Infinite Self, therefore, perceives itself as finite self – defended by a culture of limitation – without external support, prompting, or force. Self-regulation!

It’s a systemic model of being in which each part regulates itself in support of the whole. Thus, my geopolitical cultural system limits, defends, and supports its particular version of reality through agreement among its constituents. Each member buying into the cultural self-limits by regulating themselves to its perspectives. Thus, “we” becomes “I”.

Within a culture, disagreement tends to exclude, while agreement tends to include self into that larger narrative. Thus, each “I” perceives itself in terms of “we”.

Why do I support self-limitation?

“Can’t we all just get along?” (President Dale, Mars Attacks, 1996)

I don’t mind a little limitation because it adds to my sense of safety. Over time, though, that sense of safety tends to narrow the parameters of what I will and won’t allow as acceptable experience. In the absence of culture, I tend to regulate self according to those parameters. Waddya know, self-regulation through my own culture of fear!

I tend to surround myself with “agreeable” people that confirm my cultural views. I start with my parents’ culture that I defend as my default perspective. With time and experience, I live my life in defense of it.

My personal philosophy confirms and sustains my culture that confirms and sustains my personal philosophy. It’s a self-referential paradox! This paradox, in turn, forms the basis of my judgments, justifications, and propriety. I’m always in agreement with and regulate myself to the cultural limits I experience as this story. MY culture’s story becomes MY story. MY culture’s philosophies become MY philosophies. And visa versa!

Who am I as a result?

I perceive myself and my world in terms of the culture to which I subscribe. This cultural bias defends itself in my perception of “what is” and “what is not” – reality. I tend to ignore or not perceive outside that bubble of limited awareness. True self-regulation!

Therefore, I am the cultural limitation I impose upon myself in order to agree with and sustain and be sustained by that culture of limitation. Even my disagreements are framed to regulate myself to that standard. It’s a paradox of self-reference, self-regulation, and self-defense. It’s life within “the bubble” – the ultimate paradox.

My Perception Paradox Resolution Process

A review of how I work out my paradox of perception…

…being at once whole and incomplete, for and against, me and not me. I start out without paradox as one whole. Suddenly, perception brings an awareness of “not whole” – a deficit of separateness that must be returned to wholeness. Thus starts a paradox I must and yet cannot fix –

  1. Perception of separation (the “Who”) – acknowledgement of deficit from wholeness represents the initial paradox of awareness, that of perceiving wholeness in terms of a “not” condition. Thus, creating two conditions within one reality – me and not me, this OR that – which I compare to create perception.
  2. Intention (the “Why”) – gives purpose to resolving the paradox. Defends perception of separation by accepting it as truth by proposing a solution.
  3. Philosophy – MY life story framework – the laws of rightness that define MY limited awareness bubble in terms of symbols and their meanings. Defends intention by setting standards for comparisons.
  4. Choice (the “How”) – perception of distinct options leads to an intention to resolve the dilemma by selecting the most right (best) way. A choice defends standards in terms of values imposed by a philosophy to provide a base of comparison for each option.
    1. Policy – represents a specific plan for applying philosophical standards of rightness to a choice. Thus, defending the philosophy that governs the choice along with the choice. This by acceptance of outcomes that fit within the parameters of and confirm my life story-line.
    2. Procedure – The specific actions necessary to produce an outcome. Thus, defending a choice by confirming the rightness of the associated policy through action.
  5. Outcome represents feedback in the form of a perceptual “What” that symbolizes the “Who” – Thus, defending the choice, policy, and procedure with evidence that confirms my philosophy and satisfies my purpose in choosing this method of resolving the paradox of separation.

It’s all about appearances!

Although my paradox of perception remains, I feel as though I can resolve it through continuous improvement of my environment and myself. As there was only the appearance of a deficit, there can only be an appearance of a resolution. And that’s all I need in order to feel satisfied in a purposeful and meaningful life.

Hence, I’ve worked out the paradox to my satisfaction. Appearance of resolution IS resolution. And yet, there remains a nagging sense of want for “more…” and “better…”

Ah, but thankfully, I have a fix for that!