Correlations maintaining flexibility for complexity BY: Troy Murphy | November 2016
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Human behavior is best understood through correlations; not exact equations. Very seldom does the simplicity of algebraic rules such as behavior (A) equals consequence (B) apply to our complex lives. The equation more often resembles: behavior (A) tends to lead to (B) as long as (C), (D), or (E) are not present; even this would be a gross simplification of our complicated lives. Simplified truths can’t be expressed in a few lines, chapters or even volumes. With almost every clarifying correlation between action and consequence come countless exceptions deviating from the correlation. But exceptions don’t invalidate the rule—exceptions simply remind of complexity, encouraging skeptical evaluations, warning of the dangers of blind acceptance to inflexible dogma.
I encourage self-empowerment. There’s a tangible correlation between people believing they have power to direct their lives and their enjoyment of life. However, the correlation doesn’t suggest complete control. We are responsible to an extent. Some happenings are because of wise or foolish choices; other events occur because of outside factors—we may be innocent victims. We collide with destructive, life-changing moments not of our choosing.
Self-empowerment doesn’t evolve into omnificent power over the universe. The universe acts according to its own rules. A self-autonomous being doesn’t have power over everything; to view the world from a perch of superiority is egotistical and demeaning, dismissing the importance of others. Self-empowerment, while not controlling the universe, does create the skills to constructively and purposefully respond to an unpredictable universe.
If we believe we have a choice or believe we have no choice, we are correct. When we believe we have no choice we thoughtlessly react to the vicissitudes of life, blown to and fro whichever direction the winds dictate. When we believe we have a choice, we engage experiences with plans and creative thought utilizing experience to catapult us towards desired destinations. We become the captain of our ship. We can’t choose the direction or force of the wind but we can adjust our sails to properly determine our direction.