Certainty as A Mental Shortcut in Limited Awareness

Because of certainty, I feel I can predict my experiences. The more certain I feel about who I am, the more confident I feel in predicting who I will be. Certainty is a sense of knowing so strong, I won’t question it. That makes certainty a top-flight mental defense against change – and an energy saving shortcut.

Mental Shortcuts

In my perceptual bubble of limited awareness, some aspect of me believes I am limited. Because I believe in limitation, I have needs. I perceive those needs as problems requiring my attention to solve. Movement of attention from problem-solution-problem-solution results in experiences of defending my life. Need fulfillment appears as living life. Life must be defended to be lived.

This belief in limitation causes me to seek out ways to best use the finite resources I believe I have to survive and thrive. This results in the use of shortcuts to conserve life-force energy.

Mental shortcuts are rule-of-thumb strategies that help me use less mental effort to solve problems. This is especially important in need fulfillment – where I need every ounce of limited energy in order to live. Instinct is an example of a mental shortcut because we expend so little mental energy before initiating an instinctive behavior. This helps us use the least energy to survive.

That because, in certainty, I assume I already have sufficient information about how to accomplish need fulfillment. This assumption is perceived as quicker and more efficient because it bypasses the questions, research, or more attention that involves more time and effort.

This shortcut appears in unquestionable knowings like assumptions and biases. For the most part, I’m unaware of these. Like instinct, I act on my previously programmed thought process!

I become dependent upon mental concepts I feel certain of. I invest trust in them and, so may become more defensive of them. In my certainty, I may even assume I’ve not made the presumption of truth. Instead, I’m defending what I know is right! Done!

Up and Downsides

The downside to shortcuts is the manifestation of artifacts that appear as thinking and perceptual errors. Built-in mistake maker – and defender!

I use a forced perspective to interpret feedback to fit my assumptions, which I then defend as truths. Thus, I am able to achieve a kind of self-convinced ability to accurately predict my experiences. And block out anything else.

With focused practice and disciplined choices, my mind can build enough trust to predict my life with absolute certainty. That fulfills my need to be right – successful at survival.

And SO…

Unlimited consciousness in limited awareness sets up a bubble of defense in order to experience a sense of separation it cannot be. More defense further limits awareness. Thus, increasing the sense of separation. Certainty, therefore, serves unlimited consciousness by limiting awareness to provide a sense of separation.

Surprise! We’re competing and defending on purpose! I’m certain of it!

Resources:

Kendra Cherry, MS. Heuristics and Cognitive Biases. Verywellmind.com. Updated Nov 13, 2018.

Exploring the Matrix of the AHA ZONE

Exploring the matrix helps me understand it. By studying my bubble of limited awareness, it becomes a proverbial tool in my hand to investigate “Why?” Why the bubble, why limited awareness, why and why not?

This has led me to ask, “What, how, and why else?”

Perhaps the answer to all my questions lies in between the asking and the answering. Could this be where limited awareness is seeking resolution? A trip from nowhere to nowhere that I experience as reality?

Might recognition and appreciation of this instant of no-where-ness and no-when-ness, result in an incredible sense of gratitude and bliss? Could this be the fabled gateway to what lies beyond imagining, beyond questioning, beyond reality as I know it?

It’s All About Awareness!

Due to the limiting effect of separation, I can attend to only one mind at a time. Each mind competes for my attention.

Conscious thought promotes recognition of a paradoxical relationship between confusion and inquiry. Awareness promotes inquiry that promotes awareness. Awareness and inquiry are mutually supportive of an environment conducive to conscious choice. This awareness, in turn, affects the perceptual dynamic of fear in which I associate psychological change with physical threat.

That consciousness affects the way the mind interacts with its physical environment. This took the mind from fear and pain to questioning its reality. “In the past, I acted like this and failed. How else might I act instead?” That kind of inquiry spurred greater use of imagination. And exploration!

In ancient times, change was slow, painful, and in-your-face personal. Today, I can affect and accept change in an instant of Aha!

Breaking Out of Instinct

One evolutionary step in the direction of a new awareness was the recognition of symbolism. Someone realized that the world they perceived was more than it appeared.

Just as the mirror image is not the one it reflects. Those who drew animals on cave walls understood that the drawings were not the literal animals they drew. They applied an esoteric meaning that transcended literal interpretation.

A human broke the old instinctive patterns of interpretation by asking a question. They may have thought, “Wait just a second! What does this mean?” The Aha Zone is in that “instant” when we consider a meaningful question.

Today, I continue this tradition when I seek meaning in my life.

In each generation, one seems to appear to challenge the status quo – prompting all of us to explore beyond. That required an element of risk and some courage. Some of those folks in my past risked being barbequed for their disruptive ideas.

Over time, the concept of pain has shifted. I see pain as evidence of change. Because I expect change, I find pain much less frightening. Because change is inevitable, I can embrace the pain – and celebrate it as I adapt to the change.

Constant inquiry is the Aha Zone at work.

Some years ago, I listened to Fritjof Capra in which he stated that matter only appears to exist. That it is actually not material at all – instead, matter is made up of probability patterns.

Later, I heard that the closer to the speed of light one travels, the slower time passes. As an observer, I’d see light travel at about 186,000 miles per hour. If I were a tiny particle sitting on the photon I’d observed from a distance, I would experience no passage of time. I would literally arrive at my destination in the instant I left. The photon experiences no time passing. No concept of time as the observer reckons.

In other words, time and space do not exist as I reckon them.

Imagine that – having an experience of time and space where neither exists. What?!! How is that possible? It’s a paradox!

In order to experience, one must take themselves out of the flow of acceptance, investment, and defense… and into… the Aha Zone!

“What else…?” drives me forward, giving me the experience of change. I am cause, all I experience is effect. I experience time and space because I am change. Everything I experience expresses who I am. I am and I am not my experiences. Like the map is not the territory it represents, I am not reducible to an experience. It’s all figurative!

What does that mean? Well, then, maybe that is the ultimate question, “What is consciousness?” What gives me the capacity to have an experience of separation within wholeness? How am I the creator of my experience of life?

Occasionally, these questions flash a light into infinity – the Aha Zone.

What does this mean?

Memory as a Messenger of the Unknown

What if, within my limited awareness bubble, memory works in time and space? A conscious agent uses memory as a vehicle to perceive a relationship between time and space. If so, I must defend time and space in order to live. The “I” that lives in time must store the data necessary to balance the unknown with the known – memory.

Now seems to be the only condition of time that allows me to be served by memory. Memory’s linear design is a means of holding time accountable to space and for me to be accountable to a future I haven’t yet realized. Time supports space that supports time. Memory supports the concept of linear time and space as imagined sequences of causes and effects.

What I can perceive I can believe is real. Therefore, my memories are real because I perceive them to be. I’ve perceived fear as real and I have referred to it for present experiential support. Fear as the main criteria of my memory now seems to dominate the experiences of the present. Once I believe fear is real, it will remain so until I question and change it.

Because the unknown represents my greatest fear, I create memories to fill-in what I don’t know. With memory, I can relate the unknowable to an imagined known, a reality I call my life. This known reality brings a counter-balance and a sense of direction to mitigate the fear of the unknown.

What Is the Message of Memory, then?

Memories are my link to linear reality, which includes time and space and who I am in them. In my limited matrix of associations, I can apply a memory to justify any current situation that exists in terms of time and space.

When it comes to fearful situations, applying a known in the form of a memory can provide a sense of reality. Thus, an imagined or recalled known can substitute a sense of peace to the unknown. It’s a paradox! And while the unknown remains unknown, at least I can feel better about it!

What if memory is a messenger of the unknown telling me about me through the known? Perhaps memory is loaded with data. I can mine that information about who I perceive I am beyond what I know. What is my memory telling the known me about the unknown me?

Rather than defend against the unknown with fear-based memory, what if I instead asked some questions?

  • What is true and untrue in this memory?
  • How is it true and untrue?
  • Why is it true and untrue?
  • Who am I as a result of believing this?
  • Who would I be if I didn’t believe this?

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 .

My Justified Life Story

“It’s my story and I’m sticking to it!” My life story is a history of justified emotions I’ve attached to my thoughts and actions through time. I defend any story that adds to the importance of my story.

My story presents a linear timeline that directs my imagination to access a string of memories. Those memories I choose to access validate and support my present emotional experience.

My beliefs hold my perceptions of time and emotions as universal truths, giving authority to my story. There’s a paradox. Although my emotions feel tied to time, they don’t exist there. For example, time flies when you’re having fun and seems to drag when you’re feeling sad. Emotion affects the perception of time.

Read more My Justified Life Story