How many of our choices are actually false choices? What does this even mean? It means sometimes we are given or experience the illusion of choice, and may not realize this.

The simplest way to demonstrate this is with a question a parent, who wants vegetables eaten, might ask a reluctant child: Do you want broccoli or carrots? It seems a clever way to get a goal accomplished, when dealing with a child, that is. Sometimes a false choice is so subtle you don’t see it for what it is.

A man and woman were guest experts on a news program, to discuss a finding that claimed the happiest wives, based on a study, were ones whose husbands stayed at work longer. That the ideal number of hours a husband should be at work each week is 56. The man said that after people are married a number of years, they don’t want to be around each other as much as they once did. The woman said one reason this office time for husbands makes wives happy is there is more money available for the wives to take care of themselves with and for them to have lunch with their girlfriends; that these husbands working 56 or more hours a week are supposed to come home after their day on the job and make their wives feel special and cared for. She then mentioned that women who work outside the home always have two jobs: the office and the home and children, which is why husbands should help at home. The man countered that he realized men are now expected to help with housework, but that wives complain that they washed a dish with cold water rather than hot.

I don’t think I blinked the entire brief time they spoke, and I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped. Was it a real study or a quick survey, and what questions were asked? How accurate are we to believe the results are? One guest added quickly, as an afterthought at the end, that the participants were middle-age. How effective and representative is it to test only one age group and only one gender?

What’s sad, I think, is how many people may have watched that segment in part or in its entirety and then believed the finding is a truth that should be adhered to—because the guest experts said so—or rather, because they said the wives involved said so, which they then shared as gospel, and the rest of us are supposed to accept as fact. We are to believe that any husband not doing this is now wrong. That a husband’s choice is to work 56 or more hours a week and have a happy wife or work fewer hours a week and have an unhappy one. What might some women and men (and children) who heard this think their choices are? What were your thoughts as you read this?

The two program guests were to be considered authority figures by viewers, but I saw them more as promoters, of what though, I’m still not sure. There are some who hear or read such information as the guests provided and believe it’s their only or best choice, made consciously or subconsciously. Any choice given that leads one or more sentient individuals into being controlled or manipulated, no matter the path or the provider, is a false choice, with only the provider’s agenda in mind. This is important because too often we miss or don’t recognize that believing in or dealing with false choices is not only about who offers the choices and what the choices are but also about us and our willingness or conditioned habit of going along with such controlling or manipulating methods.

We have the ability and the Free Will Right to make discernments and judgments for ourselves. We are not supposed to believe everything we’re told, including by those we consider or are told are authority figures. We are meant to listen to or read information then assess and decide for ourselves, using rationale, reasoning, and, as appropriate, personal experience. We are to notice when a false choice is being offered to or pushed upon us. We are to use common sense and conscience to guide us about right and wrong.

Anytime we KNOW a particular choice is wrong for us or just plain wrong, yet choose it or agree to it or allow it anyway, we practice a form of schizophrenia (split-personality), and that can add up over a lifetime, with negative effects, especially about decision-making and what we believe we deserve. Have you ever felt that way when you weren’t on board or aligned with something but did it or agreed to it just the same? You’re uncomfortable—about the choice and about how you feel during and after what follows. Maybe you made the choice or chose to go along because you may have been afraid of some form of loss, criticism, reprimand, or penalty or punishment if you didn’t, whether imagined or real. That’s also a false choice experience, imposed by another and exercised by you. Head and heart alignment is imperative, to keep us in integrity.

There is a certain amount of going along that gets done in life because it is a rational choice made in order to avoid unnecessary conflict, especially violent, and to exist peacefully. But this isn’t to happen when our choices are clearly seen as false ones we truly don’t agree or align with based on what is morally appropriate and inappropriate or right and wrong. We have the responsibility to discern what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong; and not just according to our perceptions, which may be falsely indoctrinated ones, but by looking at what’s really there for us to see.

Perception serves us best when it aligns exactly or as closely as possible with Truth. In The Trivium, Sister Miriam Joseph stated, “Truth has an objective norm in the real.” Objective, not subjective. My dictionary defines the word perceive as “to take hold of, feel, comprehend through; to grasp mentally; take note of; observe; to become aware of through one of the senses, especially through sight—SYN. DISCERN.” Perception is meant to assist us with greater accuracy in our translation of information received and what we discern about it then do with it.

Perception often gets confused with attitude adjustment or alignment, the interpretation that results after we pass what we see or experience through personal mental-emotional filters. An example is the “glass half full, half empty” one. We can observe and then perceive the truth that the water is at the halfway mark. Being told we must choose whether the glass is half full or half empty is a false choice. Deciding subjectively whether it’s to be thought of or called half full or half empty by us is a personal choice, made for our own benefit or comfort, but the objective truth is the water is at the halfway mark.

Several decades back a diet book written by an expert became a mega-best-seller (I will not mention the name). The information in the book was assumed to help people lose extra weight and stay optimally fit for life. What actually happened was that after several years, the obesity rate in the U.S., as well as diabetes, escalated in a way never before seen. In fairness, the author did state who in particular was to follow the diet and who wasn’t, which was ignored. The fact is that each individual is responsible to learn what his or her body responds well to and poorly to. If a diet method says to ingest something your body doesn’t tolerate well, you have the free will choice to ingest or not whatever it is that creates the symptoms or reaction. And, using a product available to mask symptoms of your body’s reaction to something it doesn’t tolerate is a choice you can make, but based on a false choice. That’s allowing someone deemed as in authority to tell you it is okay to do what’s inappropriate or harmful for you rather than you being responsible and saying, “No, it isn’t. There has to be a better way, even if it means not doing it” or “I choose to do what I choose to do.”

False choices occur as often as they do because some people attempt to skew others’ perceptions of reality to their own, for their own purposes, or to the one they want to sell (Aspartame, once listed by the Pentagon as a biochemical agent for warfare, now renamed AminoSweet because it sounds “healthier,” for example). Please—read my articles if you choose, but question what I say as well; do your own research and exploration. We all need to be able to question what we see and hear in an intelligent manner and not believe everything we’re told. If the latter is what we practice more often, we’ll make choices that seem correct or appropriate but are anything but, for ourselves and for others. This is important not just for individuals to practice, but for the collective as well.

When what we’re told to believe contrasts with the reality we see and experience, what then? Do we trust the truth we observe or experience ourselves, or do we engage in a shared collective hallucination? What false choices do we present to ourselves, including behaviors? We also have to monitor ourselves for false perceptions, as well, self-induced or otherwise. Sounds tricky, doesn’t it? But, it’s a worthy practice we owe to ourselves to engage in. You can know the truth (water at halfway mark) and also choose how you wish to consider it (half full, half empty), if making that choice assists you in any way, but don’t then consider the truth as unimportant or subjective.

Know that when you recognize a false choice or an inaccuracy for what it is and perhaps choose not to go along, you may be criticized, ostracized or even penalized. I know how strong that sounds, but it’s not an unfamiliar experience for any of us, if we pause to think about it. When you are given the choice between two or more options you recognize as equally not good, be willing to recognize it for what it is: a false choice, not a real choice, because neither or none are what you would choose. What you do or choose from there serves you better if you follow your true moral compass, which isn’t always necessarily easy to do but can be done and is worth it. Keep your integrity intact through head and heart alignment. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer

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Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru” and other books/ebooks, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at http://stateofappreciation.weebly.com/guest-articles.html#.UPGKUB3BGSo