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On Making Choices

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of April 23, 2007

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by Netta C.]
  • How do people's perceived roles affect their ability to picture the choices?
  • Is making a choice always affected by a person's sense of time?
  • How does having a wound around time affect a person's choices?

Do you know?

I've been working with a woman whose son has Asperger's Syndrome. This mother has had great difficulty including her son in her advocacy for him. In essence, the decisions she makes about his life are rarely presented or even discussed with him. Thus, I've been trying to help her to have a picture for making these choices which includes her son.

I've also been getting some of these same lessons at home recently, from watching my one year old son demand his right to choose what he feels is necessary. My questions are:

[Question 1]How do people's perceived roles affect their ability to picture the choices?
Picturing one's choices is tantamount to consciously choosing or at times accepting a role. Are you the teacher or the student? Do you accept your role? Are you a parent or a child? Do you accept this role? In order to see our choices fully, we must be able to accept whatever role we are currently in. Otherwise we may not see the choices we see present as being available for us to make.

For instance, say you are a sixth grade teacher and see one of your students, a boy with Asperger's, touching his genitals in class. Many teachers in this situation feel confused as to what choices are actually theirs to make. After all, they are not the school psychologist nor are they this boy's parent. So do teachers have the right to say something directly to this boy? Or must the teacher send the boy to someone else who does have the right?

In truth then, this is exactly what you imply when you use the phrase, "perceived roles." Again, this idea means you must see and accept your current role in order to see and feel the choices present are yours to make.

Finally, there is the ambivalence we all feel even if we do accept our roles. For instance, if you are the parent of the boy I've mentioned, do you forcefully intervene and try to make him comply with the social norms or do you calmly accept he needs to learn to make choices on his own and find a way in which to help him to do this?

My point is, yes, people's perceived roles definitely affect their choices. However, even when you accept your role, you still have to do the work to feel entitled to make these choices. Otherwise they are little more than paper choices; possible in theory, but not really something you would actually feel free to do. Which in effect then eliminates these choices as being real choices.

[Question 2] Are the choices I make always affected by the things I can and cannot picture?
In light of that you said, "affected," my answer to you would be, "always." Especially since choices must be pictured in order to be considered real choices. What I'm saying is, choices which cannot be pictured are like choosing something from behind a group of closed doors. Do you pick door number one? How the heck would you know? The freakin' door is closed.

Choosing "choices" which you cannot picture is exactly like this only worse. Why? Because it is not only missing a visual component, it also includes the person's assumptions which may or may not color his or her guesses. As well as the idea that there is no guarantee that what is behind the door is a real prize or a booby prize.

Of course, the thing to remember here is that all holes in our ability to visually pick among the choices are potentially areas we can heal. But only if we choose to define this particular hole by choosing to picture what is visible around this hole. If you do this, then you can make visible all kinds of previously hidden choices, and this area of life then becomes much like making a choice while the doors all open. Amazingly simple compared to what it is like when they are closed.
[Question 3]
Are my choices always affected by my sense of time?
Yes. Even more so when you consider there are two basic ways to perceive time; Before Age-Seven Time (B7T) and After Age-Seven Time (A7T). What's the difference?

In Before Age-Seven Time, you feel only the choices which are right front of you. Or more accurately, you perceive only the choices you can visualize in that one single moment. And this holds true even if you have many other possibilities from other times. The point is, if you perceive your choices in Before Age-Seven Time, you sense what is in that one moment, the moment you are currently picturing. As opposed to what may lie on a historical time line extending into your past or your future.

This second idea then is the basis for After Age-Seven Time; being able to visually or logically connect one moment in time to one or more others. This experience in fact is the basis of all planning, including short term planning like preparing a meal, and long term planning like saving for college.

Essentially then your real choices are those which you can place onto the field of time within your own mind. Thus, with B7T, you can see only the choices present within a single moment of time, while with A7T, you can see both past and present choices as well as those in potential future events as well.

As for answering your question; Is making a choice always affected by a person's sense of time? My answer is, yes. And our sense of time; B7T and or A7T essentially determine the size of the time line onto which we can pastes our choices. Thus, with B7T, there is room for only one choice per given moment. And with A7T, there is room for more than one choice.

Finally, it is important to see that while B7T is close to useless for planning, it is the essential ingredient in all creative processes. Why? Because putting all of one's conscious visual energies into a single moment of time means the person sees levels of detail and visual intensity not normally visible to those in A7T. Why not? Because the person in A7T is using much of his or her conscious energies to mange the timeline itself. Thus these energies are not available for seeing deeply into things.

[Question 4] What about if a person has a wound around time. How does this affect their choices?
Netta, all people have wounds in and around time. This is because we all have wounds and because there is no wound which does not impair a person's sense of time in one way or another.

How exactly does a being wounded affect a person's sense of time? For one thing, it narrows the context within which you get to make sense of the particular life event. For instance, if your husband screams at you to watch out while you are driving and you get so startled you incur an injury, then in all likelihood, the only access you will have will be to the instants just before and during the shouted "watch out!"

The thing is, your husband might have only seconds later apologized for startling you. But if you got injured and went into shock, then you probably would not remember this happening, let alone have felt better.

How does time play into this? Part of what would have happened to you would be that your sense of how long this event played out would have shrunk to a few instants. The result? Your mind would in effect edit out your husband's apology. Not because you did not want to hear it, mind you, but simply because this is the nature of getting wounded. Moreover, if this did indeed happen, then even if your husband later apologized repeatedly to you, you still would not be able to hear what he said as being sincere, as every time he said it, your internal clock would come to a stop.

So where is the choice to hear the apology? It is outside of the range of accessible time. Thus even if you can hear the words well enough to repeat them back, because time is part of your injury, you would experience these words from a distance, effectively ruling out the chances that you could take these words to heart.

[Question 5] Recently I've been exploring how noticing my surroundings, being aware of literal time (if I must decide within a certain time period, for instance), noticing a person's reaction (a parent, my son), and even consciously noticing the sounds and smells if I'm comfortable affect my decisions. How does being conscious of the details surrounding a choice affect one's ability to love making a decision?
The details present in all decisions can and should affect your choices. Good. Bad. Or otherwise. In fact, you cannot love making a decision if you make it unconsciously. Moreover, this holds true regardless of how well this decision turns out. Thus, even when the decisions turns out really, really well, at best, if you made this decision unconsciously, at best, you'd feel distantly relieved or mildly glad. But love? You can love something only when you are conscious.

How then does your question apply to this? Simple. The more conscious, visually, you are of the details present and of your surroundings, the higher the possibility you will love this decision.

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