A Collective Choice
Ode and tools for self-sovereignty in a polarized world
This short essay, which started with the intention of a regular post and quickly turned to a bigger format, is meant to share a perspective regarding the election coming up in the US.
It might not be like other pieces you may have read.
I’m hoping it can be of some help by shedding another light on the situation, which might aid us augment our understanding and spirit of co-creation.
As I’m writing this two days before the election, you can guess I don’t have much ambition in the way of influencing anyone’s vote.
Still, I feel the need to let this out―and reality operates in strange ways.
I’ll go wide first, and close up after.
Vote & Freedom of Choice
As it exists right now, vote is not something that helps much on the way towards the well-being of humanity and of the planet. At least, we could probably all agree that the outcome of an election doesn’t bring much change to the table. What’s done gets undone, and vice-versa.
But somehow, it still participates in our natural evolution by allowing the growing awareness of the mirrored illusion it carries : freedom of choice.
Vote and the current democracy system try hard to convince us that the best way to get in any given direction is to vote. That voting is a basic and civil right, a duty to which, as good citizens, we must abide. We vote even when we buy, when we like, when we live.
Through that first acknowledged principle, which is rarely debated, we have the responsibility to choose between the offered options by using our freedom of choice.
But this choice has been narrowed, funneled through limiting programs preventing us from dreaming something else, robbing our attention away, tinted with the opinion of others.
The thing is : we have freedom of choice, and it can never be taken away. We only have been convinced to use it at a very limited potential.
The true nature of freedom of choice actually allows for the choice between all possibilities, including of something else than what is offered. Something that is kept hidden because it would jeopardize the current world structures, as frail as they already are.
And you must know, that choice has been made.
A Collective Choice
All of us made it, when we felt deep within ourselves that there must be more to life. That something is not quite right.
It could be on a physical level (we sure can feed everyone, right ?) as well as on a metaphysical level (what about all those out of body experiences ?), but the source of that feeling is the same.
Now, for some more than for others, that feeling grows stronger. It resonates, harmonizes with the field and emerges in the world, vibrating in a wave which shakes all ships and animates all souls.
It takes form, among other things, in a choice that is glowing through all else, in a conscious, unconscious way.
The choice to be our highest selves in a (fairy ?) fairer world.
The choice of removing a layer of illusion from this incomplete reality. To reveal what is truly possible, and to build it together.
Even though this choice is impregnated in the unconscious level, for us to make that choice at an individual, conscious level, we need to reclaim our attention.
The War For Attention
To get to our highest potential as human beings is a question of where we put our attention. This is the fundamental choice we have, and the currency of the dying system.
Attention is extremely powerful, but also easy to disrupt.
It’s quite simple, really : everything we experience is shaping how we use our attention, and most of it is directed by brands, politics, media, trends, ideas, because they extract―“mine”―value from it.
Since these attention-grabbers can only survive through specific social flows, they have a motive to shape our mind with preconceived field of ideas, and they benefit to feed us ready-made trains of thoughts.
Our attention is lured away from what truly matters.
One of the most powerful ways to do so is through polarization.
We might notice the stretching happening lately. Limits are stretching. Meaning is stretching. Time is stretching. Most is extreme, few is balanced. Neutral is gold.
In polarization, we take side. We separate from one another, we diverge and never concile. We build higher the wall of our certitudes.
And now we’re at a point where that wall is so high it sways, unsure whether to fall, not knowing where to let go, nor how to do so safely.
This polarization makes discussions intenable. The darkness of both sides gets out, doom is called upon one another, hate becomes the ruling word of will.
In polarization, the magnetism is so strong it exerts a palpable force, transmuting (often misrepresenting) any little piece of information to make it fit into one side of the narrative, or the other.
As we couldn’t survive in separation, we get along with peers, we’re part of the “good” team. We’re recognized and sense a form a belonging.
The need of acceptance is mostly manifested by the fear of rejection. Most of the social behaviors which does not make sense get carried along ceaselessly by the need to fit in.
An experiment that comes to mind is one where scientists put some actors in a waiting room and let a subject enter, not knowing the experiment had started.
When a certain ring rung, all the actors got up, until the sounds stopped and they sat back down again.
As you might have guessed, the subject stood along, even if wondering about the cause of this peculiar ritual.
But what is most revealing is that as the actors where called away from the waiting room and replaced by subjects, after a while all the occupants of the room where subjects, and all would stand up at the ring.
The reasons for this behavior can be numerous, but what matters most is to see it for what it is and understand its effects on our individual reality.
We ought to recover our sovereignty, to better our individual sense-making, trying our best to void it of external influences.
To do that, it helps to get rid of the noise and go back to the source.
Filters : An Inquiry
We must take a step back and observe our own interpretation of what is happening. We must see it as a thing of its own, slowly evolving, shaped by our experiences, and shaping our experience in a perpetual motion of self-creation.
The best tool of inquiry has always been its core essence : the question.
Some examples include :
- Am I driven by emotion ? By hate ?
- Do I let fear affect my state of being ?
- In what measure is my opinion shaped by that of others ?
- Do I let the jugement of others influence my reasoning, my actions, my choices ?
- How is my perception altered by attention-grabbers for their own interest ?
- Do some topics or statements trigger a negative feeling in me ?
- Do I let that trigger rule my attitude, maybe knowingly so because I feel it is righteous ?
- Do I associate that trigger with a part of who I am ?
Can I release myself from it ?
- Do I absorb information coming from different places, with different points of view, or do I confine myself within stream of content confirming what I think is true ?
- Do I put attention directly on the source of an information, or do I absorb someone else’s interpretation of it ?
- Do I feel very certain of my positions, or do I let some space for doubt and consideration ?
- Am I able to form strong opinions, while maintaining a loose hold on them ?
- Can I be sure I’m not wrong ?
- Why do I want to be right ?
Relationship to others
- Am I allowing others to have different opinions without judging them ?
- Am I allowing the space to discuss the matter with them ?
- Do I refuse to talk to someone if [X] is true about them ?
- When disagreeing with somebody, am I kind and open or aggressive and closed off ?
- Am I using various biases and logical fallacies in my discourse ?
- Do I communicate in a way that really serves collective understanding and sense-making ?
- What do I think of the voting system, and of its help in getting to where I want to see the world go ? (And where do I actually want the world to go ?)
- Whether I think voting works or not, what do I do aside from it to head in that direction ?
- When visualizing “change”, do I limit myself to my perception of what is possible, or do I allow myself to explore the uncharted territories of my dreams ?
Such an inquiry is necessary to be able to know ourselves better, specifically the part of self which not the mirrored image of others.
We must be the witness of our forged character.s.
In doing so, we will be able to see more clearly the various ways we can consciously be the masters of how we shape our own reality, instead of letting it be shaped by unconscious processes.
Then, using our reclaimed attention, we will be able to use our freedom of choice to make those that are aligned with our true intention. We will know the true weight of those choices, why we make them, and we’ll be at peace with them.
The Weight of the Election
In truth, as everyone is probably aware of, there is not that much difference between the two possible outcomes. Well, usually there isn’t. But this time, there may be a bit more difference than usual.
First, let’s acknowledge that the part the US plays in the fabric of the world stage is quite heavy. It is the most powerful country in the world, to some extent, and the path it takes sometimes has repercussions in the furthest reaches of understanding.
Long term reality (decades)
I will first let out of the way that, when considering the collective choice briefly discussed above and which outlines a path spanning decades, there is no difference in the outcome of this election.
As a species, we’re heading in a direction with a will and power that far outshines any human-scale event.
The elected officials will only be temporary leaders, quickly replaced on the way to tomorrow. I understand this may be self-evident, but there is a deeper way in which this is happening.
Mid-term reality (years)
The world changes fast, really fast. But our mind keeps operating in a linear fashion, oblivious to the exponential nature reality has taken in the last century, thinking the future will be somewhat the same, but better.
So as years go, a lot could be said about various mechanisms of society in general that will change, and I will save that for another time, but the mid-term effects of the election will mostly be an extension of the short-term effects.
A thing that would be different in that span of time, though, is the realization happening through the general public. Awareness of some things might surface differently, more or less rapidly, depending on the outcome.
Short-term reality (months)
Considering what we’re experiencing on a global scale, which shall not be discussed here, I think that it has become clearer than anytime before that political decisions greatly influence our daily life.
What is “political” and how it operates is for some other discussion, but we can probably agree that two very different―polarized―visions of the future are clashing, and that the result of this clash will be prevalent in the shaping of our day-to-day way of life (can we say “normal” anymore ?).
The biggest impact of the election will be on the way we experience our short-term reality.
Core concepts are on the stage for everyone to stare at―and maybe participate in their dissecting : freedom, law, authority, life, death, openness, transparency, corruption, saviors.
Also, there is a huge idea of responsibility here, resting on US voters’ shoulders, that I shall not discuss but which is nevertheless part of the story.
Leader #1 or Leader #2 ?
Now if you have decided to use your power of vote and freedom of choice in this way―and know that you are free not to do so―a drastic choice has to be made.
It may not be easy, and it might not resonate with you in regards to the things discussed earlier. Do you really have to choose between two old, mostly lying men ?
Well, know that it is not really a choice between two men, as much as the media tries to bring our attention on personal attributes.
It is a choice between two opposite visions of reality.
And that is why, even if those visions are narrow and far from all-encompassing, it might be the most important election in our recent history.
To help understand that choice, we must ask ourselves :
- What conception of reality do these two contenders hold ?
- How do they see life, humanity, and interact with it ?
- How do they plan to address my real-life concerns about the fabric of our society ?
- What is their individual journey, and how did they get there ?
- What is some of the darkest secrets they might have ?
- What vision correlates the most with mine, obtained through self inquiry ?
The choice is yours to make, dear US voter, and as I write this it is most likely already officially made.
But know that the influence of the collective, through its attention and expectation, both peaking right now, is also quite determining.
Even how your thinking may evolve past the “decision point” might influence the outcome. Reality operates in strange ways.
What now ?
What can we do as human beings, when so much of the world seems so desperately out of reach for us to change ? When even such an important moment in humanity’s course of action seems so hopelessly futile ?
Well, change is actually not as out of reach as we believe. To get to that realization, a question could first emerge : “Why do I want to change the world ?”.
Of course, there are numerous reasons we could list ! But they would only obscure the underlying, enlightening question of our role in that changing.
Our role not of doing something for the world, but of being someone in the world. Our role of becoming our true selves.
And it links back to the collective choices we made.
The choice to live in a different world; one that is not visibly offered yet, but which we can feel being born inside us, emerging through us.
The choice to acknowledge our connectedness with one another, and with everything else.
The choice to forgive and host the uniqueness of others, because they are just a part of us who lived a different experience.
The choice to remember that we are the co-creators of our shared reality―on oh so many levels.
The choice to be at peace and to live fully, at our highest potential as a human being.
As cliché as it became, Gandhi got it right when he said : “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That is for three main reasons : it will make you feel good, it will make your neighbor feel good, and it will indeed change the world !
So now, let me ask ourselves one question :
What is the one thing I can change today to become a better version of myself ?
Because if everyone answered that question everyday, well, we can only imagine what would happen. Let it be our first imaginary step : the dream.
But deep inside, we know the fulfillment of that dream is right there, at the doorstep of our spirit. We know the door is just in front of us, we can feel it through the darkness of our times.
The only thing preventing us from reaching out and opening it is our self. Raging with the fear of letting go of its conception of the world on which it built its house, it will try anything to convince us that its cozier inside. That it’s safer because not-unknown.
But isn’t it the unknown which defines, challenges and ultimately expands the known ?