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Friday, August 20, 2010

More on Decision Making

Someone left a comment yesterday about decision making--how hard it was to decide between two options on the basis of which option was based on fear and which option was based on love of something because they could usually make a case for either side being out of love for something.

Like the question about should I leave my abusive boyfriend because I really love him even though he beats me up occasionally. Do you really love him, or are you afraid to be alone, and fear there is no one else who will be attracted to you.

It is difficult. One thing to remember is that there is a difference between wisdom and truth. Truth is an absolute, infinite. It cannot be reached through the reasoning process as Joel Goldsmith warned in his book "The Infinite Way." Why? Because the mind is finite. Wisdom however may be attained by judgment and reasoning. At some point I think it is probably true that when one is wise enough, and has struggled hard enough to do what is best, truth will reveal itself in the way of some small guidepost to indicate the way we should go.

I was waiting in the post office line and wondering if I should continue to wait or proceed to my booksigning. I was concerned I was going to be late. Should I stay in the line out of love of getting the package mailed or leave the line out of fear of being late for my booksigning. I reasoned that uppermost was fear of being late, so I should stay. Then I looked again at my watch, judged the line and noticed how involved the transactions were at the counter, and the number of packages, and thought, this is ridiculous, if I insist on mailing this package I can be REALLY late and I can mail the package afterwards. Love of being on time intruded and took precedence over love of getting the package mailed. I left for booksigning. At some point reality intrudes (truth reveals itself) and points us forward out of our philosophical quandary.

It may seem that two wise things may contradict each other. For instance, in the "Desiderata," which I think is a very profound piece, back to back are these two things which seem to be opposites--"listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story" and "Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit." How can you both avoid people and listen to them.

They are not really opposites. They are two different principles, two different lenses through which we can see the human condition. A case certainly can be made that we should avoid people that cause us stress because they are hard to be with. On the other hand, listening to people that cause us stress may help us understand some small truth that we otherwise would not come across. Sometimes one principle (for the love of which you are basing your decision) may be more appropriate to apply to a situation than another principle. A. B. Curtiss


Ginger said...

Wonderful. Thanks for sharing further insights.

The lines from Desiderata are great. There's no "one size fits all" response that's appropriate. We have to be fully present in each moment in order to access the wisdom needed in each circumstance. There's no "automatic pilot" button to push. Darn!

Last night at mass, the homily was about taking the "narrow way." I thought about you & what you shared here as the priest spoke.

He told the story of a great pianist. An adoring fan told him he was a genius. The pianist said, "If I miss a day of practice, I can tell the difference. If I miss two days, my critics can tell. If I miss three days, my family can tell, If I miss four, my audience can." "Oh," she insisted, "I'd give my life to do what you do." "Indeed, my dear woman, that's exactly what I've given to do what I do."

The priest went on to ask, "Why do we seem to think that we will just *drift* into a meaningful life?"

This notion that we must continually, intentionally, work at creating our lives, and ourselves, seems to run counter to how we imagine a "good" life happens. We'd rather have the automatic pilot button!

I appreciate how you share your personal examples of "working out" with ideas, of walking through the narrow gate. You show us that there is a process, even for a successful author who has read widely & acquired degrees. You still work hard at learning, growing & becoming more.

Ginger said...

Should have said "earned" degrees. "Acquired" conveys kind of the opposite of what I was trying to say!