Having written on this tome for a while, I have what I think may be a starting point. One of the challenges of writing generally is the balance between too little and too much information. Especially with these complex, or at least esoteric ideas, I catch myself putting in lots of details. That’s pretty much the idea behind this blog. I figure after I write enough free form, the kernels of the ideas will come to the surface, will blossom so to speak.
In that spirit, I think I’ve found where I want to start my manuscript. We’ll see if it holds up to the end.
THE DECISION POINT
In life, we perceive that we cross many decision points, some large some small. The ones we perceive as large can build up quite a bit of predecision energy. Should I take the new job? Should I jump out of this airplane? Or even more dramatic. Should I have this operation? Should I send in troops or drop a bomb?
All these decision are huge and naturally build up a lot of energy as one approaches the point of no return, what we’ll refer to as the decision horizon. And each day, we make many smaller decisions that don’t have quite the level of energy associated with them. Should I buy eggs? Should I have the large fries? Decisions that don’t seem to have major or longer term implications.
I’ll argue that via chaos theory, there is no such thing as a small decision, but conversely, at least at this point, I haven’t figured out much of a way to know which decisions matter. On the other hand, the reverse is also true. Many decisions that seem huge at the time end up being just break even. In general, low predictability can indicate that the wrong parameters are being measured. In the words of philosopher Yogi Berra, “Predicting the future is really hard.”
What actually matters about crossing a decision boundary is more closely related to the firmness of the outcome. Whether the outcome is proposed good or bad is not as critical as that the outcome is well grounded. Forget the eggs? Probably not too big a deal. Deciding to open a new production facility? Challenging. Just to finish out my operational model based on chaos theory (I think? I will unfortunately, remain a civilian. Please don’t hesitate to amend/correct as required.), it is possible that you go back, grab the eggs and a lottery ticket and wallah, you have some turn of good luck based on making the bad decision to forget the eggs.
So, within this fabric that we have dubbed Life, it does not seem possible to exclude the extraneous event, the unexpected outcome that initiates life shifting patterns. It’s likely very beneficial to the system generally. As well, these events could not be outliers if they occurred regularly. The entire premise of insurance is based on this notion. We can’t predict the event, but we can predict its inevitability.
If one gets good news that is certain, that’s good. If one gets good news that is not very firm, the anxiety of the decision remains. The outcome did not have sufficient energy to cross back out of the decision horizon. The gravitational attraction of the uncertainty is still too strong to move forward with confidence. [A side note – for you stock traders, this may seem pretty familiar in terms of breaking or not breaking support levels.]
By this model, if the outcome of the decision is bad news, but the decision is firm, the anxiety surrounding the decision begins to fade. Conversely, if the news is good, but the decision is still not strong, the anxiety will remain. Example – You have the unfortunately experience of having your house flooded. If you house is condemned, that’s bad. But… you can move on. If you’re told instead, “Well, we’re not really sure yet. It may be ok… But it may be condemned.” The level of uncertainty is higher, even though the potential outcome is more positive.
I am not a mathematician, and am too old to make a credible stab anymore. And I think that is occasionally a disadvantage when composing this type of content. It is a synthesis of MY research. What I will say in defense of this approach is that I make no claim to present more than the pedestrian view. There will be plenty of places within where, in the words of Stephen Bruton and Gary Nicholson, “Funny how falling feels like flying for a little while.” So, yes there is some faith mixed in. But until such time as we can say, “There is nothing left to know.”, then there will always but a little faith required.