Choice and Consequence Part 1: An Introduction

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Course Ideas / Reflections

Each of us occupies a construct of memory, belief, identity and meaning that not only generates the sense of self we require to meaningfully function as individuals, but generates our picture of the external world as well. I often call this construct a worldview. It is an active perceptual process within each of us that works continuously to sustain, protect and strengthen the idea at its root. And while it may seem there are a great many such ideas possible—billions if we consider that each human being on planet Earth must have one—the reality is there are only two. Exploring this in detail will be one of the purposes of this series of posts.

“Worldview” is a term I often use that is central to how I think about things but that I’ve not taken the time to explore in detail. I also speak of “thought systems,” “the perceptual stance of separation,” and “unity,” as well as other similar terms with limited explanation. As I hope to show, a great deal hinges on them—everything, in fact. I don’t believe it’s hyperbole, for instance, to suggest that the content of our consciousness is the single most decisive factor in the trajectory of human events, the conditions of the non-human world (at least presently), or the quality of life generally on this planet. It thus behooves us to consider carefully what this extraordinary gestalt of awareness is and how it functions.

The future we create together not only depends upon the content of our consciousness, but the specific ranges of possibility that lie before us are tied to our interpretation of this natural aspect of our being. Meaning two things: there is ultimately no neutral perspective on the subject—no view of consciousness can be said to be free of causative implications to one’s life and the lives of those around them; and the experiential outcomes available to us depend upon our view of this subject. Views of consciousness, in other words, live at the very root of our individual and collective worldviews, and inform all the perceptual processes that follow.

This series will touch on perspectives I know others prefer to what I will ultimately suggest here, so let me say at the outset that while I think the subject matter here is of profound importance, the intent is to explore the possibility that largely hidden choices at the root of our self-constructions have consequences. It is not to deny the fact that other views may also be logically consistent, attractive and possessive of strong explanatory or predictive capabilities. In fact, part of what I wish to do is suggest that it is possible for us to collectively open up new, more constructive, nurturing and life-centered ways of being without discarding anything we may have encountered along the way that is truly valuable.

This series will in many ways tell a story, a narrative explanation for the way things are and the way they might be. Such expositions have the connotation of being false, fictitious, made-up. We’ve been trained to find out what really happened. But as we’ll see, even this insistence is an artifact of a particular worldview—a choice made about the nature of the world, what it is and how it unfolds, and who we are. There’s just no escaping the fact we cannot begin until we have chosen. Choice, in fact, is the beginning…

15 Comments

    • I could have been a little more careful with my wording on this point I think. I was trying to say that for all the myriad unique people, there is still, at the root of all such constructs, one fundamental choice to be made–a cornerstone on which all else rests and to which all else returns, in a sense. The intent is not at all to suggest we don’t each have unique, differentiated and individual perspectives, personalities, vantages, beliefs, experiences, etc. But it is to say all of these constructs can proceed from one of two starting points… More to follow! Thanks for reading and responding, Val!

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    • Much appreciated, Don. This is something of a new project for me–to try and summarize how I think about things and why. I don’t know it will be an easy task. The good news (haha) is none of what I have to say is terribly new in the grand scheme. Though surprise is certainly possible, and one thing could lead to another, and into some new territory!

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    • Thanks for being here, Ka! Me, too! Haha. I have lots of little threads I wish to tie together in a way that is slightly more shareable than how they breakdance in my head and heart…

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  1. I’m looking forward to what you have to say, Michael. As we’ve discussed in the past, I do subscribe to a Yin-Yang view that embraces science and spirit as halves of a whole. That said, I have to echo Val Boyko’s raised eye-brow at a philosophy that starts, “There are two kinds of people…”

    FWIW, I thought you were right the first time about there being billions. We gather here to learn about your unique worldview in which there appear to be two fundamental perspectives. I’m especially interested the involvement of choice!

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    • Thanks, Wyrd! I hope my explanation to Val makes a little sense to you as well, but there will certainly be more on this topic. And much clearer explanations. And yes, a bit about choice and free will at some point. This may be the end for me, but will at least be fun. Haha.

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      • I’ll wait to read your posts, but perhaps it’s a bit like a key starting point question I’ve expressed before. One must first decide if physicalism (or materialism) is the end-all be-all… or not.

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  2. Looking forward to this, Michael. It sounds as if you’re dealing initially with an idea of one’s Worldview being equivalent to that of the social construct of selfhood, as per Erving Goffman — and that is indeed a narrative construct. But we’ll see.

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    • Hariod, I don’t know much about Goffman, and realize quickly that a 10-second web search is not going to be sufficient to enlighten me. So I don’t know for sure. But definitely I’m thinking that a default of human consciousness in the present age is an integral view of self and world that is a narrative construct. And we can’t get far without one! It is inherently an interpretative act, in a sense–a way of making sense of and organizing the raw experiential material of embodied existence, which itself is in a sense neutral.

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  3. galenpearl says

    Like others, I look forward to the development of your series here. Choice — yes, that is everything. Many choices that all essentially boil down to Love or Fear.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well said, Galen! I’d say we’re tracking here… 🙂 This type of dichotomy is definitely a version of what I wish to explore more fully… More to follow and thanks very much for reading and responding!

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  4. Pingback: Choice and Consequence Part 2: Prelude to a Story – Embracing Forever

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