The Illusion of Reason, Meaning and Choice

There have been many circumstances in my life where i have felt lost. Like the meaning i was deriving from the moment was incorrect. Often i would think one thing and it would turn out to be something else. My reasoning was off, my meanings were misunderstood and choices seemed incorrect. This made me feel inadequate, as if i was unable to do what others could. I am telling you this not to demonstrate my belief in my own stupidity. No instead i want to demonstrate the insignificance of stupidity. To be stupid or to be intelligence is a demonstration of knowledge in comparison to each other or another scale put into place by someone who would consider themselves intelligent. Let us first consider a classroom of students. We will name three of the students A, B and C. The student refereed to as A is considered intelligent, B is an average student and C is considered stupid.  A Mathematical test is placed in front of the children. A passes the test with an impressive score of 100%, B passes scrapes a pass with 60% and C fails with a score of 30%. In this situation we can derive that A is intelligent, B is average and C is stupid. Take the students again. However, this time the test is based on the game mechanics of an online multiplayer computer game. This time around the scores have flipped. A fails with a score of 30%, B remains consistently average at %60 percent and C breezes through the test with a clean score of 100%. Who is now considered stupid? Most would say that understanding game mechanics of a computer game is unimportant to the real world. Understanding a computer game is not as important as understanding mathematics. This is where as humans we jump to reason and meaning. Our reason will tell us that mathematics are using in most industries of work, where as understanding the game mechanics of a single game is irrelevant to most industries. In this scenario we may derive that this person spends too long on the computer. They are wasting their life on such irrelevant activities as playing computer games. We can only agree, most people do basic addition and subtraction most days at work, very few need to take down the minions of Azaroth for a living. Consider now that the three students have returned from their weekend and are fresh to attend school. They sit in the classroom and the teacher asks each student what they did over the weekend. Student A finished all of his homework ready for the upcoming week. Student B did most of the work and student C did not do any of the work. The teacher wanted to understand why they had all done such varying levels of work. “Student C, can you explain to me why student A has finished all your work and you have not done any of it?” A reason relies on reason to accept the answer. “I did not have time, i was preoccupied all weekend.” The teacher would of course wonder what was more important than school work. “He explained that he was playing computer games all weekend.” The teacher is not impressed with this and gives him detention in order for him to catch up on his work. It would appear to us that student A is still our top candidate for best student. As student C arrives at detention the teacher supervising questioned why C was in detention. “I did not do my homework because i was busy playing computer games.” The teacher was surprised by the casual nature of which C gave his reason, as if he believed his choices were morally correct. “Do you not think you education is more important than playing silly games?” At this student C looks the teacher square in the eyes and says “Computer games are my education.” The teacher shakes her head and says “How do you expect to make something of yourself when all you do is play computer games.” Now student C smiles, “Myself and my four friends that i play with won the world championships this weekend and we won $1,500,000.00 each.” Who is now our top student? The one who made $1.5 million before he left school or the person who got the top grade through his whole school life? The truth is irrelevant, and the truth is personally to each person reading the story. Some will desire the money, some will desire the fame. Others will want the quiet life and some will want to be lawyers. The point is that there is no right or wrong, there is just your own reason and meaning that have all come to be from the choices you made. But what choices did C make? Sure he chose to play games instead of doing his school work, but was that his choice? Someone had to introduce the game to him. Before that someone had to make the game. What if a teacher had connected with him more at school, perhaps the gaming world would not have appealed to him as much. Perhaps he is getting bullied and that is causing him to withdraw from school instead of interacting. The only choice he made was to go for what makes him the happiest. His life, his belief system and his experiences created the opportunity for him to find is own purpose in the gaming world. Choice is an illusion, it always comes down to the experiences leading up to the moment, the state of mind you are in when you are presented with the choice, it is determined by your awareness of the choice and the only choice you make is the one that you want the most. Everything else is just noise, words and excuses that we make to attempt to explain the choices we make. Choice always has to options. To do or not to do. The best example of this is Yoda’s famous quote. “Do or do not, there is no try.” This is very true, you cannot attempt to make a choice or not. You either make it or you do not make it. Trying to make a choice is still you making the choice. Every action you take is in response to an issue. For example student A likes mathematics and therefore dedicates himself to this. Student C has no interest in Mathematics and therefore doing his uninteresting homework becomes an issue. This issue creates the illusion of choice. I can either do the work i do not like doing, or i can play my game to practice for an upcoming competition. The most appealing choice to his overall happiness is to play his game rather than do mathematics. The real question here is why? Throughout his childhood C would have been told how important education is, while computer games are a “waste of time”. Most of us are influenced by the importance of education projected onto us by teachers. But where are teachers getting this belief that education is important? This was most likely created when they were in school. As we move on from school we are reminded of the importance of education. University applications, collage applications, NVQs and many more other forms of certification. But what do they really do? it is nothing more than a piece of paper. Most people forget large parts of their education when they complete their certification. It is the repetitive action of work that creates work place intelligence. Just because someone has an engineering degree it does not guarantee that they can construct the specific needs of all engineering companies. It is the repetitive action of the job role that gives him his intelligence for the subject. We experience this whenever an exam is coming our way. Most of us will sit ourselves in a dark room for days on end memorizing an entire encyclopedia on dung beetles. We then go to the exam, frantically tick away in the little boxes and as soon as it is all over? Poof, everything you knew about dung beetles has now been eradicated from your brain with only some residual memories remaining of the subject. Does this really prove that this person knows anything about dung beetles? Or does it simply prove your ability to memorize information over a short period of time? Your choices have consequences, some good and some bad. The only way you can confirm what the future holds is to take the actions of your wants and wait to see what happens. Some actions will return positivity and some will return negativity. These are new experiences that will shift your belief system closer to the wants that were generated from making the choice. Who you are, what you want and what you believe is changing with every choice you make. Allowing yourself to make the choices you want will help you evolve into who you wish to be. Accepting what you want is accepting yourself. All you have to do is manage the collateral damage of doing what you want. Your choices should not enforce any form of reality onto someone else and if it must, you must limit the damage or negative energy that is created. If you can manage the collateral damage of your actions, you will become more accepting of who you are, and so will others. They will see you taking active action to not hurt people. Even if you do hurt someone, they will accept it better if empathy is demonstrated. Your choices are based on your reason, reason is based on your wants, your wants are based on your beliefs, your beliefs are based on the meaning you extract from all of your passed experiences. We become victims of the illusion of choice. we are lulled into a false sense of control. But it is okay, because we have lived like this for thousands of years now. So how can we learn to accept our choices? How can we take a broader viewpoint on the meaning we derive? How can we truly trust in our own reasoning? Self-awareness and self-actualization is the key to not losing yourself in the question of “What choice, reason or meaning is right and which is wrong?” It is key because you will realize that everything you think or believe about the world is just inside your head. Just in the same way that every way that everyone else believes the world is only exists inside their head. Learn to believe in your own choices and beliefs. Learn to enjoy you for who you are. You are the thoughts in your head, just as the thoughts in your head are you.


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