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Decision Points - Back to the 'is' Theory

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it" -Yogi Berra, baseball icon, and quote dispenser extraordinaire.

"When you face a fork in the road, step on the exhilarator!" -Pat Riley, NBA coach and motivational speaker

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference
." - Robert Frost
(complete poem can be found here)

"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw the Cheshire cat in the tree. "Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then said the cat, it doesn't matter" - Lewis Carroll (from the book "Alice Through the Looking Glass")

"People often say that in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course that's not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote --- a very different thing." Walter H. Judd

"Both Jim and I are interested in the limits of conventional decision-making. The idea that an expert will give you the best outcome --- we think that's inadequate. You need a whole palate of different strategies. We're critiquing the same narrow idealogy." Malcolm Gladwell, (from the book "Blink, And The Wisdom of Crowds")

The five basic tenets of 'is'

That's a lot of quotes to think about this time. That's because every binary choice has a lot of choices associated with it.

Let's take the case in point of coming to a fork in a road. What are your choices? The obvious choice is to go left or go right, BUT, this has the built-in implicit decision that you want to "keep going somewhere else". That's the default decisionometer at work in the background that I've talked about so much. What if we turned it off for awhile, though? Shut off autopilot and go completely on manual control. All of a sudden, a whole raft of new options becomes available to us consciously, and since autopilot (subconscious guidance) is shut off, we MUST make the decisions, all the decisions, and in some sequence, or there could (will) be consequences. Not only do our actions have consequences (good or bad), but the sequence of our actions do also, because they are intersecting with time. Time is a frameline which outside entities use in their decision-making, just as you do. It is this timeframe-controlled intersection and interactions which lead to what I have been calling serendipity, namely events occuring in conjunction with one another when it might not be expected that they would.

There are two main ways of having an external event coincide with an internal one; 1) making it so, as a result of your direct or indirect actions (i.e. calling a friend will cause you to have a conversation with that person), or 2) observing it to be so, then acting on that observation (i.e. you unexpectedly see a friend in a store across the street while you're out shopping, and go out of your way to cross the street, enter the store and engage in a conversation that would not otherwise have taken place).

So let's return to our fork in the road. Here is an incomplete list of options that might be available to you if you are not on autopilot.

Go left or go right.
Turn around and go back instead of continuing to go forward.
Sit and rest awhile (holding the "fork in the road place" constant, and letting time be the variable). Climb the tree and pet the cat.
Dig a hole down and hide in it.
Wait to see who comes by first, and then go the same way they do (both time and choice being randomly controlled).
Flip a coin to decide.
Follow a previously made-decision (i.e. the route to get to a place you're going is pre-determined, so there's no decision to be made....hinting at auto-pilot again, except that you consciously made the decision at a time prior to reaching the fork, and are following that pre-arranged plan. The distinction here is that the fork effectively doesn't even exist, since you already know before you get there which way you're going to go at some future time when you actually do get there).

Even though it looks like there are at least 7 or 8 options readily available (and, I would suggest, the actual list is infinitely long), you really are only faced with a single binary choice. Why do I say that? Because, the only question that you are really constantly asking is "At this moment on the line, what will I do immediately next?" And in answer to that question, there is only one choice which will answer "Yes, this is what I will do next". ALL other answers will be "No, I won't do that". So, the binary choice that you face on each and every single plotted point of your lifetime is "What ONE thing will I separate out to do, from all the rest." That one thing defines who you are about to become, regardless of the consequences, and if you're not consciously making that choice for yourself, your default autopilot system is making it for you, based on the database that you've piled up for it to draw on.

It is my philosophical, spiritual, and natural, belief that the fundamental default decisionmaker of any and every entity, reaching far beyond the scope of mere humanity, always defaults it's answer to "Yes". The evidence is always intuitively obvious that that was the choice that was made. This is not circular reasoning, nor is it mere wordplay. Choosing not to do a lot of things is ambiguous. Choosing to do a single thing from a menu of choices is precise. And it is that precise "yes" choice which must be made, for any other "No" choice to even register on the radar screen. Keep in mind, you may always choose "NOT" to do do something. That is a still a "yes" choice. It is the only choice available.

If you turn on your default mechanism again, {you'll pick the right path to your neighbour's place, you'll rest if you're tired, you'll wait for your buddy to catch up, you'll turn around and run back from where you came if you see a wild bear down the road,....}. Have you ever set out in the car to go somewhere you don't normally go, and suddenly find yourself {driving to work, school, the grocery store, the most familiar route that you usually drive.....}? It's not daydreaming that got you there, it's autopilot. You forgot to override it. Autopilot doesn't always guarantee the right results, it just guarantees the right choices.

Before you read the next part, watch this 3-minute-or-so cartoon video. (just click on the 'play' button)





So, in the video, you are indeed just a dot on a line. You had the choice to milk the cow or eat it, eat the bull or milk it, fight the wheelbarrow or laugh at it. Consequences, interpretation, fear, conception....the list of factors we process to feed the autopilot is dauntingly huge.

I offer to you that one part of my problem as a bipolar disorder sufferer is that occasionally I assume that there is a glitch in my default mechanism, or I try too much and too hard (am too conscious of the options) to override it. Case in point, and the conversation that will likely cost me the friendship that I spoke of yesterday. I had been called to testify as a witness in a cornerstore robbery that I was witness to, and the young lads were in a stolen car at the time. I was telling my friend that I would have great difficulty under oath swearing to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." I genuinely felt very conflicted since I value my word, and certainly my oath, and in this case I didn't have a clue what the whole truth was...only the kid who had committed the alleged offence knew the whole truth, and he was the only one not allowed to speak!

I ended up in the hospital during the last Presidential election. It was apparent to me since there was such an exact split in the country that the obvious solution was to elect both men as co-Presidents and represent ALL the citizens. I was even writing letters trying to get a campaign going to bring this to the attention of the masses before they voted (I tend to get involved when I think it's the right thing to do {smile!}). Logically, it makes utter and simple sense. Lawyers always seem to get in the way of justice. That's where my thinking goes when I get hypomanic....it goes logical, but nobody comes along with me!




My PEACE link for today is a collection of thoughts and writings from the Peace Library. Here are two quotes it contains:

"I'm a war president...I make decisions here in the Oval Office ....with war on my mind" President George Bush, to reporters, Feb. 8, 2004

"The intense beauty of American democracy is that we can choose our leaders, and the choice in this 2004 election season could not be clearer. We have war leaders who are leading us on a warpath---a path guaranteed to generate more and more violence, militarization and human suffering. Now we must choose peace leaders, who will make the peace path their primary goal. Peace is more than the absence of war."

So the question is left begging, does democracy inevitably lead to war, is the United States system of democracy fundamentally flawed, or is the fundamental essence of United States democracy that of perpetuating war (perhaps domination?)?



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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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