I spent a little time considering choices, after watching a video raising posted by a friend concerning the USA’s idea of Democrats verses Republicans within their elections, (where said video forwarded the idea that perhaps neither were right for America), today.
It occurs to me that, to have choices, to cognitively choose a direction, you must first know that the direction in question is available/exists. To do that, generally, we rely on information given to us, and also a projection of what is expected of us. The choice to have an affair with a lady if she comes up to you and starts to tell you about backpacking across western Europe, is there for everyone to see, and that is a yes/no (on/off) choice. However, certain parameters exist within which we then proceed to make that choice. Societies morals, instantly tell you “No”, so that is an environmental pressure. Wonderfully pert breasts on the afore mentioned temptress might present an argument to counter such influences, playing on the biological urges rather than the social conformity / peer induced reluctance. But then there are consequences of actions. Risk of discovery weighed against bedroom debauchery etc etc. As you expand out the ripples from its epicenter the knock on effect is ever expanding, consequences growing from actions which were initially based upon a yes or no answer.
So, like an electrical circuit operator, or indeed binary, we are reduced to basically a positive/negative flow of information/influence. Is this good? Is this bad? Grey areas are calculated by measuring the proportion of good within a decision, with the proportion of bad. For grey to exist at all, it has to be created by combining the two originating conditions. This works with everything. Right v Wrong, Light verses Dark etc etc…. everything is basically polarised. North and South pole… considered opposites and positions on the globe geographically are calculated by their distance from each other.
However… all of these things are based upon someone else having predefined constants which we now take for granted. In things like navigation, and communicating location, this is really useful. It enables us to correlate information and successfully get us to where we physically wish to be. Wonderful! Being a chap who has exceeded 40 flights now (probably 50 even) I am thankful that such a system exists. The problem comes when these predefined constants switch from what goes on with transport, to what goes on in our minds.
From a very early age we are told what is good, and what is bad. We’re taught at school to recognise differences, and using sets in maths we associate “different” with “does not belong”. “Weak” and “Strong” are introduced as concepts, polar opposites, one being desirable, the other, despised, not least by the people who realise they fall into the negative category. The fact that Weak and Strong fall into definitions given to us by someone else, doesn’t matter. They go from being attributed to a person by someone else, (or a whole society), to attributes, something which is used to define a person. Labels. Sticky ones at that, in many cases.
So what’s my point? Well… it’s simple really. What if you could break the whole ON OFF, good bad, hold that has been placed on you? What if you understand that you are basing your choices and reactions/interactions on parameters given to you by someone else? If you’re fine with conforming in this way then that’s fine. Doing what is expected of you is at the end of the day how this world functions. You are expected to go out and work for society in order to gain currency, which you will then give back to said society in exchange for food and shelter. The fact that, as conscious individuals, none of us actually asked to be caught up in this cycle is a topic for another day. It is as it is unfortunately. But what happens if you cease doing what is expected of you? What if you do not conform to the stereotype, do not take up the attributes delivered to you, and choose your own way?
What happens generally is this, you stick out, you stand out, you are looked at as odd. Not normal. (Normal being a concept given to us by other people.) Peer pressure will invariably try and force you back into the collective, and by fair means or foul you will generally end up back there. This works for people who stick out positively as well as negatively. I recall at one job order picking I was faster than most people due to being fit and able to run round the racking. I was quietly taken to the side and told not to go so fast as it was making others look slow! So, although it mean’t actually more work was being done, to conform and fit in, I had to go slower! Another rather more taboo version of this would probably be premature ejaculation. The purpose of sex is purely and simply to reproduce, and anything else is a bonus, and is also an addition given to it by humans. Logically to have the act done as swiftly as possible would increase the chance of being in the physical locality of the female in order to, *coughs* “go again”, for want of better words. However… in reality that’s not quite how it goes. I am reliably informed that there should be some lingering between this instance of an In/Out On/off operation! Failure to conform to such standards results in a severely reduced chance of revisiting! And the reason for this? Well it’s because (western) human society has introduced “Pleasure”, into the equation. Much like the ability to navigate, I am quite ok with this development, and as a suggestion to anyone out there considering none conformity, I would not recommend knocking out pleasure from the above example. It’s biting your nose to spite your face!
The fact is, to be able to break free from YES/NO, on/off operators etc is far harder than it sounds. The nail that stands out the furthest is the first to be hammered. But consider this, next time you run into a situation where by you are offered a choice. Is that a choice you are making for yourself, or is it a choice that is being given to you by someone else. In America, you are not obligated, but are expected to vote, and you basically have Democrats or Republicans as your options. (There ARE others existing but, perception is a vote for them is a vote for the party currently ruling as it is NOT a vote for the only other part who can beat them.) These are not options you have cognitively chosen to be available to you, they were given to you by, ummm oh… themselves, democrats and republicans, as part of the “privilege” of living within that country. What is worrying is, in this example, they are basically two sides of the same coin. Heads I win, tails you lose. The outcome is the same irrespective. Check for this as a possibility when making choices.
They say you forge your own path in the world. The irony is… forge means fake, falsify, counterfeit. There is much talk of the man who takes the road less trodden, but the fact exists that that was still a path that was made and it’s destination confirmed long before that man got there. The idea that it is an unusual / fantastic choice is all of the above. False. Counterfeit. He was offered a 50/50 and chose accordingly. Had he ignored both roads, and levitated upwards, (think Star Trek 2 Wrath of Khan : stop thinking in 2 dimensions), THAT would’ve demanded respect!