In my routine scan of this nation’s Sense of Democracy I had to stop this morning while scanning the commentary in The Fulcrum to think about about the term ‘core belief’ and the politicians who have compromised or abandoned their core beliefs. The question becomes what is a “core belief” . This might be another rabbit hole in terms of writing a blog but the question could also be the title of a book or the summary of a life’s work. I will try make some comments in three short paragraphs and put it in the context of making good decisions which will be a tough assignment.
In my experience, the Sense of Good has everything to do with the “core belief”. The core question becomes; “What do I believe about the word “good” that isn’t a bargaining chip in the casino of life, or simply my end of a quid pro quo arrangement with one or the other of the false gods of the universe?” What do I believe that when I violate it through conscious decision will poison my capacity to enjoy and celebrate my life? I try not to count the number of people who have told me they suspend their sense or senses when they vote because they can’t bear the discomfort of trading a core belief for a political trade off. Yet I also can believe that if everyone was brave enough to genuinely witness the potential cost of their votes in terms of real world human pain and suffering, we would have a radically different political landscape than the one we currently inhabit. Someone or something has tricked many of us into bargaining away our true Sense of Good along with core beliefs in the context of politics and this world is the result.
In the Post “Grief and the Guns of Euvaldi and Buffalo” (see link below) I spoke of witnessing as a form of radical empathy and imagination. We do not need to see these tragedies in person to at least begin to understand the outside margins of the pain that arise from them. If it were necessary for us to personally witness an event in terms of being on the premise, there would be no need for empathy or compassion in the human experience. But like it or not we have brains, bodies and hearts capable of anticipating and empathizing with future pain and suffering and with that capacity morality is born. To deny our decisions can cause pain and suffering in the world for me becomes a form of amorality. When we deny our senses and capacity for empathy we are deliberately making ourselves capable of causing pain and suffering. I think we all, including myself, have been guilty of that error at one time or another. I have squinted away some of the damage I have done only to have to return to the scene of engineered ignorance to make recompense. Witnessing deepens our humanity but ignorance seems only to reinforce false innocence and cruel righteousness.
So to wrap up in three paragraphs, a good decision like all decisions can’t help but be in part a natural micro-violence that resides in the human condition. With two viable options, we will spend some time wanting to go both north and south at the same time. You can in the process of preparing to decide anticipate both directions in your mind, but that is not humanely possible at the execution of decision after which the chosen thing thrives and the unchosen diminishes. The four Pauses of The Good Decision are the both/and process, but the execution of the decision is the binary yes/no. The Ballot Box is a binary yes/no. We are recognizing the need to soften the binary of balloting with ranked choice voting but in the end election is still the tabulation of progressive binaries. Core beliefs lie at the center of our humanity and the word ‘good’ frequently wraps itself around our core beliefs. The term micro-violence refers to the the imperfection of human decision making because we cannot fully control or anticipate all the consequences of any move we make. Upon making a decision we must anticipate and ultimately witness the consequences of what we have consciously chosen both in terms of gain and loss. My core belief here is that ultimately the courage of empathy and compassion can save us from the cumulative violence of human imperfection. My Pause at the Sense of Good tells me we must not hold our noses, close our eyes, plug our ears, shut our hearts to the consequences of decisions and votes because these capacities of perception are the gifts life has given us. If you aren’t religious, this kind of shuttered, engineered ignorance is called missing the mark, and if you are religious, I think it might be called a sin.