Our actions are consistent with our thinking

And that’s sometimes a source of shame.

Remember that when it withdraws into itself and finds contentment there, the mind is invulnerable. It does nothing against its will, even if its resistance is irrational.

If I look at someone and see them taking action and doing something self-evidently stupid, the first thing to remember is that within that person’s brain this is immensely logical. From the inside out, the person views that action as the best possible choice.

Meditations 8:48.

Me, from the outside? I will see someone’s external event or action. It may be self-evidently self-destructive. Or it may be irrational from my internal frame of reference.

From that I infer . . . what, exactly? . . . about the person? I certainly judge him. Maybe harshly condemn him.

My judgment (even if correct) doesn’t make the action a good one. But slow down a bit. Remember that people act rationally within their own inner frameworks, that they seek a local optimum for themselves when choosing an action to take.

Which means something about change. If you seek to change a person’s actions, maybe you should seek to change his internal rationality and internal definition of local optimum.

Don’t just punish the action. That’s likely to be counterproductive because it is the result of the person’s best logic and best efforts and best understanding of the situation.

And you’re telling him the action is wrong? In his mind there is only one response: “Does not compute”. It is the rare person (looking at myself here, because I am not that rare person!) who can say “Hmmm. If the action was wrong, that means my mentality was wrong. I better get to work on my mentality.”

Who does this? What an order. I cannot go through with it.

Since the Serenity Prayer is a thing and I can’t change other people, what I really mean is I should seek to change the inner me rather than flagellate myself about things I do — which, when exposed to view, reveal the poverty of my inner man’s logic. The inner man, me, created this bad result through bad thinking. Change the thinking.

Hey. It’s hard. Self won’t reveal self to self. (That’s for that concise gem, Anderson). But I’ve done it. Backslid. Done it again. I’m in the game.

So keep at it. We are all privates in this army and we will all end up the same. Dead and forgotten. The game is in keeping at it.

Maybe this is where shame comes from. Or partly, anyway. Shame may partly be our feeling of revulsion when we momentarily get an unfiltered view of cause and effect — from our own thinking and action — and strongly wish we were capable of doing a far, far better job.