Friday, 17 March 2017

How to make difficult, strategic life decisions

How should we make big life decisions? - Given that the usual two methods - logic or gut-feelings - are each inadequate, yet they cannot be combined.

The logical method is most commonly represented - at the extreme it involves something akin to stating a proposed course of action then making a list of pros and cons - and subtracting the disadvantages fro the advantages to see whether the outcome is net positive or negative. The inadequacy of this is apparent from considering how it might be employed to decide whether or not to marry someone.

Yet gut-feelings, in many ways the opposite of logic - and regarded as tending to compensate for the inadequacies of logic - are also inadequate. Their main inadequacy is that they are unstable - they vary from day to day, often from hour to hour - also, they are easily manipulated. And furthermore, gut-feelings tend to favour short-termist and selfish courses of action.

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Christians also have recourse to asking for divine revelation - and when this is clear and forthcoming it should be decisive. Yet it seems likely that there are many problems in life which we are meant (and I mean divinely meant - as part of the destiny of our particular lives) to struggle-with and work-out for ourselves. In such instances - for our own good - there will be no divine guidance forthcoming; and we will - for our own ultimate benefit - be thrown-back onto our own resources.

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My sense of it is that we need to sort-out several aspects of a situation, before we can make good decisions. In the first place we need to have an understanding that there is indeed such a things as a right decision to make - and that this rightness is defined in terms of spiritual aspects.

For instance; the right decision is not defined as the one that leads to optimal health or happiness, comfort or convenience, in the short term - but the one which is most likely to help in achievement of our eternal spiritual destiny (or necessary personal development); and this is difficult for us to evaluate given our limited and distorted perspective.

This implies that we need the right motivation - or at least to aspire to the right motivation - if we are to make the right decision.

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Having established this framework there are two main things to get right: The first is that it needs to be our true self which makes the decision; the second is that in asking for a decision, the true self must think in a way that is active - being both purposive and intuitive.

It must first be our true self that is doing the deciding - because only the true self is free, autonomous, an agent. Most people, most of the time, are working from false selves - habitual personalities that 'automatically' process information and make decisions on the basis of socialisation or training; and by being trammelled with external constraints, and learned or spontaneous compulsions.

Modern false selves are mostly materialistic - thereby ignoring or denying most of our experiences and thoughts - things known by instinct, inspiration, imagination, intuition etc. The non-materialistic 'subjective' modern selves tend to be distortions - sometimes inversions - of instincts; which we have been corrupted and propagandised into - or are the consequences of the artificiality of life.

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So we need to do the two things of thinking actively, consciously and universally (in a way which includes all aspects - not just the material) - and this thinking must be done freely by the true self (and not automatically by false selves).

Since not very many people can - at present - do this combination - then difficult, strategic life decisions will usually tend to be made badly.

And our important decisions will, therefore, usually have bad outcomes. Bad - because the decisions have been made by false selves using false reasoning...

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This analysis suggests that learning how to think properly is - or ought to be  - a major priority for modern people.

Yet, of course, real thinking is not just a means to an end - but an end in itself; and if we treat real thinking as merely a means to an end, then we will not be able to find the motivations needed to develop it.

We need to recognise, we need to be convinced that -  real thinking of the kind I describe above is something we ought to be doing for the highest, deepest, most necessary of reasons; that it is, in a phase, divinely-destined.

Which turns things around - because if real thinking is divinely destined and yet we do not do it nor do we strive to do it - then this failure is a defiance of our divine destiny: a very serious matter indeed...

This is why I feel strongly that real thinking - conscious, universal and purposive thinking by the true self - should be a major priority here and now, and for (almost) everybody.


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