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.

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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!

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Choice, a Self-Referential Paradox

Could a choice be my initial defense of what I determine as right or wrong? Right may be as subtle as best or better than someone or something else. Wrong can be just as innocuous as not as good as or worse than.

A choice is a symbolic gesture of separateness, which represents defense of that symbol.

At the point of choice, I must first perceive separation between separate things. Through a values system, I then determine what’s more right and less wrong. I attach defenses that support my determination. I then choose a counter balance of defenses that represent why I didn’t choose otherwise. My choices are always based on a need to be right, which is instinctual – survival thinking. A self-referential paradox of separateness.

For example, I made a choice to wear my sneakers today. That seemed reasonable because the hiking trail is rough. Reflecting on that choice now while on the trail, I feel grateful I didn’t choose to wear my sandals. My choice to wear sneakers was based on “it’s better to wear sneakers on the trail” vs “it’s worse to traverse the trail in sandals.” My process has evolved from determination defended by choice to choice defended by choice.

The choices I make are at the foundation of survival of who I think I am. The truths that follow those philosophies are built on paradoxical reasons. The measure of value my truth possesses is based on the effectiveness of its reasons. The more effective my reasons, the more I feel the need to defend them. A self-referential paradox of choice!

My need to compete illustrates the power of choice

Out of my need to be separate came the paradox of thought, I experience competition between thoughts. Let’s look at time for example. I experienced time as normal prior to receiving anesthesia for surgery. When I awoke five hours later, I wondered where that time had disappeared. I felt confused and surreal because I could not account for my time. So, I accounted for that time with imagery that supports my life story.

My defense of a now and a not now seem different, yet, are the same. I plug a memory into my present experience as though they are the same. “Things never change!” As long as my concept of time supports my truths, I will continue to defend it.

Somehow, memories from a past that can’t exist now, do. I’ve sacrificed the present for a past irrelevant to it in content and context. Irrelevant also is a future where memory can’t exist, yet does. “It’s always been this way and it always will be!” A self-referential paradox of time.

The addition of time reckoning to my paradoxical perspective helps justify my separateness into what, how, and why I am. I can believe I am and am not my experiences.  A self-referential paradox of being.

The great defender of paradox

From one choice come many defenses – belief, truth, reason, philosophy, process, policy, and etc. Further defense serves to strengthen the choice that serves to strengthen the defense. A self-referential paradox .

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My Life Philosophy as a Story

Overall, one experiences their life philosophy in a series of policies carried out over time. Like a story read one word at a time, I perceive my life as I would the story of a hero’s journey.

In visual perception, I feel I have clarity only on that to which I’m attending right now. The future and past are vague visions of what lay beyond a certain point of clarity I call NOW. I can only make clear that which I focus on now – all else is vague.

I’ve been writing and reading my story to this point. I’ve written and read some of it. I’m writing and reading it now. And, based on what I’ve read so far, I can imagine where the story will go in a vague future, though with a sense of certainty because I’m imagining it in what I read now.

I imagine past words must support the current words by supplying a vague sense of premise, motive, background, and direction. I imagine future words must support the current words by supplying perceptions of danger, anticipation, and anxiety. As the vague past meets the vague future in the clarity of now, I get a paradox in the confluence – like reading through turbulent water.

Back to my story!

There may be plot twists like those I’ve already read that give the future some interest to me and so I read on. How exciting! So interesting I can’t lay the book down! My curiosity drives me onward – to learn what happens to the protagonist (me) as he deals with all the antagonists along his way. Because I care, I want my hero to succeed in his quest. With dangers laying along the path, opportunities for interesting plot twists abound.

Every element of my story must fit within certain parameters. Every element must:

  • Obey the setting of the story. These are the basic laws and conditions under which every element of the story must work.
  • Cause and effect must be observed. I must account for every situation with a reason, logic, or feeling.
  • As the protagonist, I and those I care about must win in the end.

A good storyteller is one that during and after reading, I want to read more. Perhaps this explains depression in which the story begins to lose the interest of the reader. Maybe it’s just then that a surprise plot twist might rekindle that interest.

The reason a plot twist engages the reader is because s/he didn’t see it coming. Surprise! When I feel depressed, I let my mind wonder to, “What might happen next? I hope it’s delicious!”, and, “Something amazing is about to happen!” I can’t wait to read on!!!

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My Intention to Resolve an Impossible Paradox

Intention

Within my bubble of limited awareness, underlying every intention is a perception of deficit from wholeness. With awareness beyond the bubble, I realize there is no deficit. It’s a perceptual paradox – a side effect of limited awareness. Meanwhile, back in the bubble, every intention is a search for resolution to this paradox. Yet, in searching do I not affirm and confirm the very paradox I seek to resolve?

From intention comes the need paradox – an acknowledgment of a deficit that, though never lost, requires restoration to wholeness. I then act to defend that truth by convincing myself I was right to perceive the need. This belief in need supports a Self that is dependent as separate from wholeness. Thus, motivating me to seek evidence to defend that truth – proof, such as stories borne of experience.

My memories and logic are based on those stories and so become my philosophy of life. The power of this mythical life turns my experiences into a cohesive reality that satisfies my need for defense.

Choice represents my philosophy by comparing what I experience with what I believe. I compare to compete to serve this paradox of perception. Choice works as a competitive form of reasoning. This unshakeable belief system forms one continuous philosophical story, a hero’s journey. As the hero, I triumph over challenges from the world outside the bubble. Thus, fulfilling needs through the use of defense.

Resolution

I satisfy my perception of deficit with an appearance of things and persons I feel complete this segment of my story… again and again.

In this way, a philosophical format connects intentions together to create a cohesive string of perceptual needs. Stories develop my intentions into an organized framework, making choices seem logical and justifiable.

My Paradox Resolution Process so far:

  1. Perception – a sense of separation creates a paradox
  2. Intention – a sense of need to resolve the paradox affirms and confirms the paradox
  3. Philosophy – the story line that sets the framework for choices that validate the paradox
  4. Choicedetermines the strategy for implementing a defense of my intention according to my philosophy

This is my resolution process from perception of deficit to choice. Thus, I intend for my perception of separateness from wholeness to serve the paradox it creates – whether or not I’m aware of it.

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