Fear and the Choice-Defense Algorithm

Consider how fear validates lack at the physical level by motivating the fulfillment of physical needs. That physical sense of fear influences choice-making by effectively removing options. Fewer options means more time available for fulfilling needs. That’s critical in life-or-death choices where use of time makes that choice.

From an instinctual perspective, choice may be entirely based on compliance to symbolic representations and pattern recognition. Thus, my choices defend my certainty of the reality of my symbolic representations.

Fear is the driving force of compliance – an intense, unquestionable obedience that motivates all need fulfillment.

If the instinctive world had a motto, it would be, “Do what you know!” Perhaps conscious choice threatens that knowing by questioning the certainty of the motto.

Because of the primal nature of instinct, questioning the motto will initiate defense. Fear represents preemptive defense of the motto, preventing me from even asking by returning my consciousness to the instinctive state.

Questioning is only half the equation – consideration is the other.

The Choice-Defense Algorithm

The choice-defense algorithm is a filtering process. Perception of an option’s value and immediacy affects the algorithm. For example, a high-stakes option will eliminate all lower-stakes options from the competition. My investment in fear artificially elevates an option’s value to higher-stakes. Repeated use of a certain fear in choice-making results in a bias in its favor. Thus, raising the stakes on certain options as they appear.

When I feel I have time to consider many options, I’ll filter them through a value-based mental/emotional consideration sieve. This filtering process is steeped in instinct. I already have a bias and preconception of the outcome of the process. In other words, it’s not a choice, it’s a defense algorithm!

The algorithm takes into account each option’s relative characteristics – based on a knowing. Like choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream – I’ll select the option I already believe is best – a bias. This because we select through symbolism. For example, I compare vanilla to chocolate in symbols I perceive as color, taste, temperature, etc. I then defend my “choice” with an explanation or reason for why it is better or best.

It’s an unfair comparison process because I’ve added biased value to MY selection compared to others. Competition and defense – the cardinal characteristics of my bubble of limited awareness.

Fear adds preemptive defense value to the already biased choice-defense algorithm, returning choices to the realm of instinct.

An Insight into Solving the Problem of Resistance

Intentions indicate a sense of lack. A sense of purpose arises to fill that lack. For example, I breathe to satisfy a sense of lack of oxygen.

I seek to satisfy physical and psychological needs by solving problems. That means asking questions that lead to solving those problems.

When I become aware of a problem, I must solve it with a change. That’s a problem because I resist change.

How do I solve the problem of resistance? That resistance is a state of mind and states of mind can change. A state of mind break might be useful.

Breaking focus from a defensive state of mind to a more resourceful state of mind involves a simple change of attention. For example, when I’m focused on a problem and resist its solution, I might use an insightful question to break the resistant state of mind, “What do you want?” Or I might yell, “Snap out of it!” in my mind. Or, I may engage in some unrelated activity, like walking, redirecting focus, or asking an unrelated question.

Solving the Resistance Problem

With awareness of my defensiveness, I might follow-up with some self-awareness questions:

“What do you need?”
“How might the information I’m resisting be useful to me?”
“What else could this mean than what I think it means?”
“Why am I resisting this?”
“Who am I?”

These questions may bring about awareness that stops the resistant response.

In the process of solving the problem of a resistant state of mind, the discomfort of resistance can awaken awareness. Once activated, awareness is an opportunity for insightful understanding. Awareness questions experience. When I question my experiences, I bring clarity of understanding to them.

Let’s look at some examples of how I might use clarity to solve the problem of resistance.

Problem – Solution:
Fear – Pause from present actions and intention to investigate purpose, refocus, and ground.
Certitude – Question present resistance with, “Is it true?” “Can I know it’s true?”
Stress – Calmness
Stuck thinking – Consider alternatives, “What else could this be/mean?”
Inattention – Check my intention, “What do I want?”

In doing the above, I’m taking a shortcut to problem solving. In this case, the problem is resistance, the solution is understanding.

Permanence, Relativity, and Change

Relativity, Change, and Permanence

Permanence is relative to the perspective of the one perceiving it. For example, I perceive the sun and earth as permanent. I expect the earth to continue to rotate in its day-night cycle indefinitely. Yet, I also know that the sun and earth did not always have that relationship. At one point in time, neither existed as I know them now. Their relationship only appears permanent because I’m comparing it to my lifetime. It’s relative!

Likewise, the permanence of truth is relative to the one perceiving it. My truth appears permanent to me when I hold onto it long enough.

Change, on the other hand, is a permanent condition. Everything in the universe is in a state of change. That because everything moves in relation to everything else.

My perspective has a frame of reference I perceive as permanent truth. Certainty represents my commitment to that truth in this framework of reality. Defense of that perspective focuses attention that eliminates all other possible realities. Life OR death. That’s quite a limitation!

Questioning Myself

Nature presents me feedback about my relationships with myself. That feedback gives me an opportunity to experience myself in ever-changing ways. Without a clear understanding of how to interpret those opportunities, I may miss out on some insightful perspectives.

Limited by faulty reasoning and minimal awareness, even the best self-inquiry questions will tend to build false equations from my imagination – like assumptions. For example, “If this, then that.”

Defense represents the value I place on myself. When I challenge a defense, I’m challenging my own value. I’m also challenging the value of my certitude – and my idea of permanence. Questions may help me shake loose the stuck permanent-truth frame.

To investigate myself, I may want to start with letting go of false equations by questioning assumptions.

  • Who am I if not who I appear? (clue: listen to feedback from “others” – especially those you resist)
  • Why do I care about appearances? (clue: probably not what you think)
  • How do I feel and behave about who I am? (clue: check in with the body first. Emotion will more likely invoke mental defense rather than insight)
  • What do my senses tell me about who I am? (clue: report it out loud to yourself for a cool effect)

Change and My Need for Permanence

I like to think that if something is true it never changes – it’s permanent. I try to make my beliefs permanent by defending them against change, thereby making them true.

I intend for my truths to be so well defended that they are beyond question, even from me. Questioning my beliefs would be equivalent to attacking what’s right and good, permanent and therefore true.

Certainty of my truths defends the intention to put them beyond question. That certainty is like a dam that I build for my rightness against the flow of change. Thus, certainty makes my intention appear permanent – just like truth!

What About Resistance?

I define the non-disturbed state of no movement as permanence. And the disturbed state of movement as change. Each state serves the other through the contrast inherent in their complementary differences. I experience existence in the relationship between the two states.

Perhaps the resistance in those interactions serve as proof of permanence and change. Thus, change serves permanence and visa versa resulting in a reckoning of time. The tic-toc of permanence and change, cause and effect, disturbed and non-disturbed states evidences this relationship.

What about Psychological Permanence and Change?

Who am I in relation to my psychological environment?

That which I resist tends to exist. Change involves breaking down resistance, which my need for permanence rejects. I attend to what I resist in order to conform it to fit my beliefs. Once I do, I let go of my attention to it. That frees my attention to move on to other problems I need to solve.

Here then is choice – to embrace change and permanence through their defense. When I choose one, I also choose its complement – thus, the “and” bit. I defend one option with active attention, I defend its complement with passive attention in denial.

I give equal value to their defense as benefit or threat. Arguments for and against compete for my attention. Thus, choice validates the conceptual separation between permanence and change. Of course, what I believe is choice may instead be a defense of value. Value defends my belief in competition in the context of my own survival competence.

In limited awareness, I’m never in possession of all the facts. Every choice, therefore, includes some element of assumption not based in fact. For example I choose this because it appears to be more permanent than that. I must see competitors as competitors in order to make a choice. I compete for and against truth as I perceive it competes with me. We’re both competitors!

Perhaps truth is relative to the value I assign to my concept of self: How valuable am I?

Permanence and My Need for Security

From ancient monuments to the golden record on the Voyager probe, mankind has sought to create a permanent record of itself. In my limited awareness bubble, I feel a need for permanence for those things I like (me, my immediate family, my dear friends, etc.). I’m maybe not as hot about permanence for things I don’t like.

Perpetual motion machines, age regression creams, life extension products, immortality – all attempts at providing evidence of a magical elixir called permanence. And yet, we know permanence is impossible. Nothing can remain unchanged indefinitely.

Change vs Permanence

I feel I can’t change that which I believe is unchangeable. That sense of endless invariability can make me feel as insecure as that which changes in an inconsistent way. Maybe I need some change and some permanence.

Perhaps my sense of rightness arises from my need to feel secure. When I make a prediction, I may feel right about my understanding when a result occurs that I feel defends the prediction. This builds a sense of dependence upon my understandings. What I depend on, I defend as truth. Thus, and in many other ways, I seek to make my truth the truth – a permanent feature of the universe. As a result, I feel more secure.

For example, I depend upon the sun. I feel secure knowing the sun will rise in the morning. It’s also proof that I survived the night. That sense of rightness about the sun’s cycle may give me a sense of permanence to something I depend on. Since I feel a need to survive, my predictions about the cycles of the sun can give me a sense of security.

Thus, I derive a sense of:
Predictability <=> Rightness <=> Security <=> Permanence

Defense of my sense of rightness may be based on my need for security. In search of something I can count on, rightness seems to fill the bill. At some level of rightness, certainty satisfies my need for security. Certainty can feel like without being permanence, which may explain why I tend to prefer it over doubt. And yet, doubt may be the doorway to real understanding.