What is it really, that creates change?
In my last post, I wrote about changing habits. But if it was that easy, wouldn’t we all have changed our bad habits a long time ago?
I think what I wrote to be good advice. It sounds reasonable and attracts us. But the question is if that is the case because it is the whole truth or because it means we can procrastrinate a little bit more? We can set up a plan. Step by step. Steps are easy to like.
But, when do we actually decide? When is the point of decision? When have we had enough?
Our reactions is a mix of our biology, prior experiences in relationship to the current situation. But we had no control on where we were born or in what environment. Who had I been if I was born in China? Would I have had the same view on life? The same values or opinions?
We may say we chose a certain education, a direction in life or that we chose to go to a certain country. But why did we chose that? Did we choose it because of prior experiences? People we met, or books we’ve read? And why did we meet just those people? Why did we read those books? Two people can be in the same spot at the same time, meet the same person or read the same book, yet still have a completely different experience. Why is that?
Every situation is unique. Despite them being apparently the same.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that who I think I am, is more a coincidence than something within my control. All my prior decisions or actions is based on prior decisions and actions, which are based on prior experiences, based on prior decisions and actions.
At the end of that line, who am I? Is there something here making decisions at all? Is there free will? Or are we just like a river. A blob of water following the law of least resistance on it’s way to merge with the ocean?
According to Benjamin Libet, he proves through his research on human conciousness and free will that our brain has already made decisions prior to us becoming aware of it. That processes in our brain has already chosen a direction up to seven seconds before we think we make the decision.
We can choose (or can we?) to not believe in this, quesiton the validity of his methods. But in any case, it brings up questions about something that almost everyone of us takes for granted.
So, if we decide to change our habits. From where does that decision come? How was it made, did we have any control over it? Or is it just something that happened?
And if it just happened, is it then important to write about it? Talk about it? Does it matter wether I write this or not? Or, maybe, by writing this, someone reads it and in that moment, something is triggered in that person. A change is created beyond the control of a someone writing it or reading it.
If this is so, it’s easy to think that nothing no longer matters. There is no point in living or doing anything. But asking yourself that question brings you, immediately back to motivation. Are we motivated because we want to do something, or because life is self-motivating? Maybe I’m writing this, not because I want to or having decided to do so, but just because I do. The law of causality is no longer working. First there is an event happening, then, after there is an explanation saying that we wanted to or that we made a decision. Our experience of control and autonomy is a fabrication, an illusion.
The logical next step is that we really have no control at all. It is not possible to act in any other way than we do. Nothing can be undone and we can be no other than we are. It may sound depressing, but it also bring a huge sense of freedom. Suddenly, all concepts of guilt or shame disappear, thoughts that are based on the idea that we could have acted in any other way than we did. Suddenly our worry disappear that we might not act in the future the way we want to or hope for. Suddenly our pride of past actions and achievements becomes meaningless. The constant focus on what has been or what will be.
Our experience is no longer about things outside of our control and instead on the here and now, being in every situation as it is.
Maybe it is not at all about changing habits in small steps. Figuring out how to create change or make decisions. Maybe it is rather so that we stop worrying about it, live each second fully and suddenly change happens by itself.