We’re entering a time when lightworkers will be called upon to be group decision-makers.
Currency holders will become donors and begin a life of making one decision after another.
In light of that and in preparation for it, I’d like to make a distinction between choice and decision and offer an example or a decision-making process.
The clearer we can become on what’s involved in making a decision, the less confusion we’ll experience later on.
I’d like to reserve the word “choice” for those acts of will that mainly concern and pertain to the self – what religion we wish to follow, what career we want to pursue, whom we wish to marry, etc. Freedom of choice protects the individual.
For me, choice is an action of the Natural Self. When I say “Natural Self,” I regard that as a synonym for “heart.” Self-realized consciousness for me is heart-consciousness.
I can safely make choices from intuition or inspiration, either from my Higher Self or from my guides. These factors may enter into our decision-making but not to the same extent.
We wish to continue living life with the right to choose intact.
If we were hermits on an island, all would be choice. Only when we become involved with others do we make decisions, as I’m using the word.
I’m reserving the word “decision” for those acts of will – commonly called “making up our mind” – that involve, implicate, or affect others and our common welfare.
Decisions call into play different demands and processes than choices, as I conceive of them.
The word “decision,” Werner Erhard said, has, as its root, to kill off – suicide, homicide, fratricide. We’re eliminating the alternatives, he used to say in workshops. That got our attention. (1)
As a former refugee decision-maker, I can accept that decision-making involves winnowing out the non-credible alternatives. (2)
There are big and small decisions. We can make a decision on a pair of shoes we’ll buy or where we’ll eat today, going through a quick cost/benefit analysis or just consulting our preferences.
But the decisions that affect us as lightworker decision-makers are those that arise when we interact with each other. And they usually involve group welfare. And the group they involve will just get bigger and bigger for those of us who are going to be stewards. At some point the call for having a conscious process will arise.
The kind of decisions we’ll be making are more complicated than personal choices. More factors will enter into them than simply how we feel about the matter, what we want, our intuition, or our gut reaction, although they may play an important part.
Decisions involve more than just a “yes” or “no.” We don’t have to defend our choices but we may have to defend our decisions. Consequently many stewards may want to keep a record of their “reasons” for making a decision.
Many people will depend on our decisions (donees, funded organizations, connectors, etc.). Many people will be watching and scrutinizing them.
We have to show that we arrived at them by relying on considered and credible opinion, that we weighed the alternatives, and that we arrived at one that best fit the facts and all other relevant circumstances.
That’s why I recommend recording one’s reasons. At the Immgration and Refugee Board (IRB), our decision was communicated to the claimant in writing or orally, through what we called “reasons.”
Many of us will not need to do that, but we may need to demonstrate that we arrive at our decisions after careful consideration and by a demonstrably-fair and equitable procedure.
What might that a “demonstrably-fair and equitable procedure” look like? Here’s the one I recommend from the IRB. Errors are mine.
You’re welcome to refine it. Pardon me if I sound a bit formal. (3)
(A) In arriving at a decision that affects the common welfare, we start by gathering all pertinent, credible, and available evidence.
Here’s what an IRB Member had to consider: personal information form, hearing room testimony, non-verbal behavior, submissions, country conditions, precedent, persuasive opinions, treaties, conventions, statute law, etc.
(B) In weighing or considering it, we needed to take into account exceptions, unusual circumstances, and cultural preconceptions.
In one case, I suspected a Sikh woman from the Punjab of lying because she wouldn’t look me in the face. I asked counsel to help me out by making mid-hearing submissions on the matter. He explained why an abused and demeaned woman from the Punjab, improperly jailed and mistreated, would not look a government official in the face. I was projecting my western bias onto someone from another culture and another situation.
(C) We winnow out the evidence that strikes us as improbable, implausible, impossible, inconsistent, contradictory, etc. and we’re left with the most credible among the alternatives.
(D) After due reflection on all surviving evidence, we weigh the matter and arrive at our decision.
(E) I regard it as useful and in many cases advisable to keep a record of our reasons for it.
Using this process, we can never determine what the truth absolutely is. This frustrates many decision-makers. The most we can do is eliminate what’s probably untrue.
This is the process that I’ll be requesting Michaelangelo Fund decision-makers to use to begin with. They’ll refine it later on, but to start out with.
I’ve actually seen, lived in, and worked with a judicial system that was fair and equitable – the Canadian refugee judicial system from 1998 to 2006. So impressive were their arguments that I used to read their decisions at lunchtime as some people do the daily newspaper.
So I know this kind of fair and impartial decision-making system can be built and made to work.
But let me stop here. We’ve made a distinction between choice and decision and outlined an example of a decision-making process.
Everyone is entitled to their choices – by human and divine right (4) – but decisions that affect the common welfare should be made by a demonstrably-fair and equitable process.
We may want to remain clear on the differences between the two (choice and decision) as we embark on a new career with the need for tremendous personal discernment and the possibility of tremendous social benefit.
(1) Was this not Sherlock Holmes’ approach?
(2) I spent eight years making human-rights decisions for refugee determination at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. I was trained by their Legal Services Dept., whom I can’t thank enough. I hope some day they know how much those years with them have benefitted me.
(3) Someone complained recently that my language was becoming too technical and complex. I apologize for that. I’m doing my best, in all cases, to use what a former colleague would call “Peter Rabbit English,” so as to reach the widest possible audience.
(4) See “How the Law of Free Will Operates – Part 1/3,” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2017/03/16/how-the-law-of-free-will-operates-part-13/