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.

Confusing Wants and Needs in Lack Fulfillment

In my world of limited awareness, I perceive a reality of separateness because I believe I lack wholeness. Wants and needs serve my mind as tools to validate this perception and belief. That is, unless I’m confused. Because my mind knows only wants and needs, it may see everything as a problem of lack to be solved.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” (Maslow, 1966, Law of the Instrument cognitive bias)

My sense of separateness, along with a desire for wholeness, subjects my problem-solving mind to serve that paradox. The paradox defends my belief in lack fulfillment.

The concept of achieving wholeness out of separateness is “The Impossible Dream.”  It’s an invitation to live in a paradoxical reality of want and need fulfillment.

A Paradoxical Intention

My paradoxical intention applies want and need to my experience to achieve no want or need. Wants and needs can feel confusing, even when I‘m confident I know the difference. Like when I know I’m choosing and when I’m not.

My initial intention is a general sense of lack of wholeness. My mind adjusts the general and undefined sense of lack by defining intention as wants and needs. And by attaching what and how I achieve fulfillment as a means for want and need to express as manifestation. My mind uses want and need as tools to serve intention.

  • Want expresses intention to increase or gain – using more options.
  • Need expresses intention in terms of survival, a defense against loss – using fewer options.

I get confused when I think my want is a need and vice versa. Both wants and needs support my intention to be whole. They define reasons that motivate me to advance towards my image of wholeness.

Thus, mind solves the paradox of intention by creating an image of wholeness my intention senses has been served.

Unconfusing Wants and Needs in Lack Fulfillment

My intention to be whole results in a general perception of lack. My mind sees lack as a problem and gets to work solving it. To find and apply a solution, my mind categorizes intention into definable expressions of wants and needs.

Needs define intention as a survival problem with few options. By narrowing the field of options, need applies a specific direction for fulfillment toward survival fulfillment. Want tends to broaden awareness to expand options for fulfillment.

To clear the confusion and become aware of my hidden intentions, I might question my wants and needs. Those concerns that don’t qualify as needs must be wants. For example:

  • What do I need? (What action/thing do I feel will satisfy my intention to live?)
  • How necessary is it? (For example, “How likely is it that I will actually die if I don’t fulfill the need?”)
  • Why do I need it? (What are my justifications? What lack do I feel this fills?)
  • Who am I with and without fulfillment of this need?

Need Authorities and My Need to Abrogate Accountability

In my world of limited awareness, I obey a lot of authorities. Wants and needs appear to me as one type of authority. Wants appear as passive authorities I can question while needs appear as active authorities I cannot question.

Symbols of Authority

I add the word “need” to add emphasis and/or authority to my want. For example, “I want a new phone” states a desire. “I need a new phone” adds demanding authority to my want. Questioning the desire for the new phone can lead to greater understanding of the want or need behind that desire.

What greater authority than that of life/death? I don’t have to BE in danger – just FEEL that I’m in danger – to invoke the authority of need through fear. Thus, need assigns authority to fear to increase need’s influence just as fear assigns authority to the need of it.

This brings us to choice where under the rule of authority, I have no choice – I must obey without question. I don’t question need because I’m obedient to its authority. It’s as simple as that!

The authority of need seeks to avoid a WHY question: “Why must I…?” I assume the need is justified, so I have no need for the question. Thus, I assume rather than ask.

Assumption limits awareness within contexts. “I need a drink” could mean something different depending upon the context. For example, a fellow crawling in from the desert vs a guy sitting at a bar. In both cases, however, the word “need” connotes a lack of awareness of options. It also invokes an appeal to authority rather than reason to answer a why question.

Have you ever been around a “needy” person? Maybe you felt drained afterwards. Both you and the person you judged as “needy” accepted the authority of need. UNTIL one or both of you questioned it.

Do I Need Authorities of Need?

I recognize authority in that or who I believe has power over me. I can ratchet up the value of anything or anybody by adding authority to them. By needing authority, I add authority to authority. I increase my desire and, so assume my obedience to authorities over me when I feel the need to!

Authority of need acts as a justifier and question killer. Need justifies defense without question – ruling by assumption. Add need to any of the following to avoid questioning them – giving them a boost with the authority of need. Thus, I remove choice from the equation. For example:

  • Wants/desires – I want a new phone vs I need a new phone.
  • Fears – I must be afraid of a real threat. I feel afraid, so the threat must be real.
  • Assumptions – “I expect (need) this behavior from you…” and “You’re a [negative judgment that seeks to satisfy my sense of need]…”
  • Obedience – I must (rather than want to) go to the store (to satisfy my need to eat)…
  • Patterns and Predictions – That must happen because this happened… because I need it to…
  • Responses – You did something I don’t like so I must over/under-react…
  • Traditions – I’ve always done it this way… so, I need to continue in order to preserve the tradition.
  • Symbols – This pattern must mean this, so I can assume this meaning… In a world of ambiguity, adding need to symbols adds security while seriously reducing the field of possibilities I’ll consider.
  • And a whole lot more!

Using need as authority is another example of how I seek to use creativity to abrogate my responsibility for my creation.

How an Intention to Be Whole Keeps Me from Wholeness!

Why do I need to do anything? Why do I have needs? What intention for my life would I have to have in order to believe I need something that will fulfill that intention?

Let’s investigate the most fundamental of all my intentions – the intention to be whole and complete. In my bubble of limited awareness, I may sense that intention as a desire to return to wholeness. This sets up a condition of lack and motivation to “move forward” towards wholeness. It’s a deficit situation in which needs play a critical part.

This situation derives from my fundamental intention to be whole. This results in a symbolic value equation that provides an experience of relativity I call life:

I + something = more whole than just I alone.

Intention Rules!

Holding the equation as objective truth, I can NEVER achieve wholeness. I’d be forever seeking and never arriving. There is never enough!

As my lack equation led me to this point, I’m left with motivation to “improve” on my way to the ultimate goal – wholeness. That sounds great until I realize it’s a paradox in which achieving and defending wholeness results in less than wholeness.

One might see need in this paradoxical way, too. Fulfilling a need eliminates it while making it real. Thus, needs are relative rather than absolute or objective.

Values, too, must be relative – rather than objective or absolute.

Because my equation is a paradox, there MUST BE another way to understand. What if I were to consider another equation:

I = Wholeness

From that equation, intention may become irrelevant – I am having the entire experience I’m having – no need to seek it. I’m feeling all the feelings I’m feeling – no need to seek more. I don’t have to seek wholeness because I already am whole.

To see yourself as whole, you would see everything else as whole and a representation of you and yourself as representing everything as whole. From that perspective, values, like intentions and needs, are irrelevant.

To quote from a scene in “The Incredibles,” “When everyone is super, no one is.” One has an entirely different experience when value comparisons are irrelevant.

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?