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At birth, our preprogrammed beliefs and behavior patterns are in the contents of our DNA, formally defined as instinct. Usually organized around a value, beliefs are generalizations about our ability to act in the world. Additional belief systems are fundamentally programmed into who we are by the age of about five. Our perceptions (internal representation of external events), generate emotions which drive our behaviors. Behaviors are reinforced by strategies used to achieve a successful outcome; (within a specific context) that certain outcome may not be a desirable outcome at the moment, but none the less was successful on some level with positive intentions being the driving force behind all behavior. What all this means is that we are making the best possible choice at all points in time based on the filtered internal representation of the external event.
Quite often, this neuro linguistic model of choice is misunderstood. What it means by making the best choice at the time with positive intentions may only be true within a specific context, and may not be the best choice in any other context. For example, lets say a choice was made congruent with a certain strategy. In the context of one's memories, beliefs, values, emotional states in gestalt, a person will always make the best decision s / he is able to see. Remorse may immediately follow that decision, but in the context of the moment the choice was made, it was the best choice perceived as being available. Now, when the best choice available in any single person's map / model of the world is unethical and isn't ecologically sound, then that's where I believe America has its learning problem.
I argue that in a country like America where a large portion of the populace sees ecologically unsound and morally reprehensible choices as being the best choices; the educational system lies at the heart of the problem How can we see the world as real if the being that is determining it to be real is intangible? We as humans consciously & unconsciously create a map-like model of what represents our experiences in gestalt. The model is not the territory it represents; it is only a representation of what is believed to be real. The model has a structure similar to the territory; the degree of similarity accounts for how useful it is as a map. To sum it up, our perception of reality is not really reality, but it's our conception of what we believe to be real. I believe that there is no one good or bad map to be used by any one person.
The only thing that matters is, are you getting desirable results that are ecologically sound in your own life? If not, then the implication is that the map being used is incomplete, distorted, or generalized in a way that is detrimental to long term individual and social goals and welfare. Simply, ecologically congruent choices resulting in win win outcomes. Practical application of this interpretation of behavior best illustrates its usefulness. Believe it or not, in a drug addicts world, that person is making choices that best fit their current value system in the attempt to cope in dealing with problems in which drugs are used. Now, I'm betting that this individual isn't taking responsibility for the reason why they turned to drugs in the first place.
Drugs only make you feels so good, and then the next day you feel even worse, some people might call it a hangover. Then I would say that someone needs and updated map. With drug use being seen as the best choice, this person has limited his / her ability to change their behavior. It's only a belief, and the solution is that person needs a better choice in his / her paradigm, other then drugs. Short term benefits of drugs are immediate relief of responsibility for why they feel the way they feel. Long term benefits equate to zero, in which eventually will inevitably bring more suffering.
This would fit perfectly in the model being presented here, considering that everyone makes, what they believe to be the best choices. How is this problem fixed? By changing a self destructive belief and giving this person a better choice in which is ecologically sound and beneficial to everyone. Seems simple right? Well, this is where the learning problem all begins. Most if not all grownups, resist shifting perspective to look at anything in a completely new / better way.
This is common when an alternate perception challenges any deeply rooted belief. Limiting the individual's ability to see only that which they want to see. If you believe that the only way to feel better or not feel bad is to use a drug, and you believe nothing else can be as beneficial. Blinded by ignorance and refusing to learn a more effective strategy that could not only be beneficial to the person, but also to society in its most general sense.
How is this problem going to be fixed is the real question. For the most part the model is very simple to understand, but for some reason hard for grownups to use. It seems clear that a vast majority of the population is unaware that our self destructive habits are justified. An invaluable and rationalized question to ask before making a decision is, where's my greatest long term profit?
What is my long / short term benefit? America will continue to have similarly rooted problems until we change the belief systems that enable these dysfunctions.
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