When we chose to look at the world in a particular way and then forget that we have so chosen, then – in a sense – we have ‘moved outside the Circle of Nature’. We have ‘moved outside the Circle of Nature’ because we no longer have any genuine ‘root’ – we have therefore become unrooted without knowing it! We’ve lost our connection to anything real. Now, the thinking mind has become our root and this is no good because the thinking mind isn’t actually any sort of ‘root’ at all…
The thinking mind can never serve as ‘a root’ because nothing that comes out of it can never grow. Everything that comes out of the thinking mind is that same thinking mind – thought just repeats itself in lots of different ways and because we are so hypnotised by it – because thought supplies for us all the reality we are ever allowed to know about – we perceive its tedious reiterations as ‘something new’. We perceive its tedious reiterations as ‘genuine reality’.
Nothing interesting can never come out of the thinking mind and so how could we ever call it a’ root’? Roots are rooted in something other than themselves, and they give rise to some sort of growing plant with a stem and leaves and possibly flowers. Thought on the other hand derives from an illusion and it never goes beyond that illusion. How can we move beyond an illusion on the basis of that same illusion? How can we step away from an illusion unless we see it to be as such? If we don’t see the illusion to be such then we will simply carry it with us wherever we go! We will lug that useless illusion around with us every day of our lives, heavy though it may be…
So thought takes us on an endless journey that isn’t actually any sort of the journey at all; the ‘journey’ thought takes on isn’t any sort of journey at all because it starts from an illusion and never departs from that same illusion. We never depart from that illusion because when we’re under the influence of thought we never see it for what it is. What we are engaged in therefore is nothing more than ‘endless distraction’. We’re caught up in a state of distraction that goes on and on forever, unless it is interrupted.
All of this is absolutely inevitable once we choose to look at the world in a particular way and then forget that we have done this. Our particular way of looking at the world becomes the world, in this case! The world itself – which is not a choice – gets completely forgotten about, it gets lost without a trace. So at the same time we forget that we chose to look at the world in this particular, slanted way, we also forget that they ever actually was a world to choose to look at! The choice we made is invisible because the true world is (or vice versa).
People love to say that ‘we create our own reality’. This is a meme we get bombarded with almost every day. Indeed we do – but not in the way that this phrase is generally understood! We create our own reality, but it isn’t actually any sort of ‘reality’ at all. It doesn’t actually have any connection with reality at all. It will be better to say that we create our own illusion; we create our own illusion which we mistakenly perceive to be ‘the only reality there is however could be’. We create our own personalised illusion, and we ourselves are part of that personalised illusion. We create our own illusion and we ourselves are that illusion!
When we choose to look at the world in a particular way (a particular narrow and slanted way), and then proceed to forget about this choice of ours (or forget that this choice is a choice) then we have created ourselves, in other words. The way we create ourselves is by making a choice and then losing sight of the freedom that we had to make it. The way we create ourselves is by losing sight of freedom, therefore! Unless freedom is completely eliminated, then there can be no such thing as the self.
What extraordinary trick this is – in a blink of an eye (and with as little effort as this) we can forget about the world which is not a choice (which is also ‘the only world there is’) and instead, we get completely swallowed up in a world which was our choice but which is not a world at all but merely a state of ‘endless distraction’! What a truly astonishing thing this is! This ‘trick’ is so very easily done – what could possibly be easier than ‘forgetting’, after all? What effort is there in it? What could be easier to do than to forget, and what could be harder to do than remember again? If forgetting is the easiest thing in the world, then remembering what we have forgotten (when all traces of it are gone) is the hardest…
We do indeed ‘create our own reality’ therefore, but what of it? Creating our own so-called ‘reality’ is – as we have just pointed out – ‘the easiest thing in the world’ and so we can’t really expect to get a Nobel Prize for it! It’s as easy as falling off a log, and a lot harder to recover from. We do indeed ‘create our own reality’, but the truly perplexing question about this is “What do we get out of it?”
Art: undervolt & Co mutation. Yoshi Sodeoka
Good Evening Nick,
I’ve been reading your blogs for a while and this post struck something. You ask – We do indeed ‘create our own reality’, but the truly perplexing question about this is “What do we get out of it?” – What do you mean? I don’t quite get it. You think we are prepetrating the illusion of ourselves? Ad your question is not whether we create reality, which you seem quite sure of, but what is the meaning of us creating our reality? I’ve looked up the search query “create your own reality” on Google, hoping to find information about it and your website came up. I have never read the sorts of information that you display here. In my world I was looking for something related to the law of attraction and I couldn’t imagine, or never thought of the things your write about. Forgive me for being uninformed about the topic and I find I quite hard to understand, also given that English is not my primary language. Thank you for the attention
thanks for your comment. It’s a confusing issue actually because most people do see this thing about ‘creating your own reality’ in terms of the law of attraction but I think that just perpetuates an illusion. My point was that what we create isn’t real, any more than a story we make up isn’t real. So if I make up a story of what reality is then that isn’t real, even though I can believe it and get totally ‘lost’ in it. Reality is what I myself never created, in other words.
When we create our own reality this is a bit like a short-circuit – we’re ‘shorting out’ reality. Or maybe a better way to explain it is to say that it’s like looking in a mirror and not realizing that what we see is our own reflection. We’re not seeing ‘what’s really there’, we’re just seeing our own assumptions or expectations reflected back at us, only we don’t recognize them as such. We think that we’re seeing the real world, and we continue on that basis.
The ‘problem’ about living in a world that is made up of our own assumptions or expectations is that we will never see anything else, and so it is a ‘sterile situation’. It’s like talking to yourself’ – the trouble with talking to ourselves is that we will never learn anything new!If we want to learn something new we have to talk to someone else, someone who ISN’T ourselves!
This is a tricky point though and I’m not sure how well I am explaining it. If I want to see reality then I have to ‘get rid of myself’ – which means dropping my habitual way of looking at everything. Normally I ‘create my own reality’ and this is only the reflection of my own unexamined assumptions. When I examine my assumptions I discover that they are ‘arbitrary limitations’ that aren’t anything to do with reality at all. But it is also true that when I drop my assumptions (which aren’t true anyway) then I also drop ‘myself’.
So no arbitrarily-limiting assumptions means no me, ‘no face staring back at me from the mirror’, and when there is no face looking back at me in the mirror what is really there can be seen. I have ‘got out of my own way’!
Thanks for your question Xhiov and please do tell me if my attempt to clarify the point helps at all!
Hello, I understand better your point now. You say, since the thought and the thinker are the same thing, and whatever we think (or assume, or have been brought up to cosider as normal and real) becomes the new “us”, the new reality; then what’s beyond that? What’s the least tainted reality (zero thoughts or assumptions) that we can have. Going back to the mirror example, if I was to never think and keep building te illusion, wouldn’t I stop seeing myself? I think some philosophies entertain this. I’ve read something about “koans”: an enlightened master, in order to make you come to grips with the illusory truth of everything, would invent a form of trick that would allow the pupils to erase their thoughts. Such as “what’s the sound of only one hand clapping?” These sort of things are tricks to create a void in the mind and create “the silence”. Some other philosophies I think reply to your question of “what’s beyond” the crafted self by telling you that there’s nothing past that, that non existence is also possible. Since thought is the only thing that is and ever was, some say that it should also encopass non existence in itself. Like that tale of that wise men that went on top of the mountain to meditate on nothingness and after a while, there was nothing left of him. What do you think?
I will append another comment by offering some thoughts on this:
I can understand why you would think that the perpetual thinking generates reality that is always illusory because it’s always US that create it. You say that this is our prison. But being able to craft whatever reality is fundamentally the same as NOT doing it from a freedom point of view. Since the only thing that is real is llusion, you have the choice of using the illusion or NOT. I understand that for you, in order to comprehend reality and break free from the illusion, we have to stop the thinking. But when we do we also stop our existence. Because, as you say in the other blog Uncertainty is the only thing that is real. Which from what I understand means that we are simply illusion. I think it’s just the other side of the coin. I hope I am making sense. I have never thought about these things and I might be confused thoughs 🙂
‘What’s the least tainted reality we can have?’ is a great question! ‘What’s beyond the crafted self?’ is also a deeply fascinating question. If you were to stop building and maintaining the illusion then I would say that you would indeed stop seeing yourself, Which would be quite a shock since the self is always there, haunting us, so to speak. The self is like the product that is being marketed, in this sense, so that just as in an advert or commercial everything always comes back to the product that the company wants to sell us. You would never have a commercial without the product being mentioned because there would be no point in outlaying the money if there was going to be no return. Although I think there have been adverts that don’t mention the product in the initial phase of the campaign so as to excite curiosity. Advertising executives are smart cookies, after all…
I agree that being able to craft whatever reality we want to is fundamentally the same as NOT doing it, from the point of view of freedom. Its the freedom that counts, not what we do or don;t do. The way it usually works is that we work away at crafting the illusion because we don’t have any freedom not to, and also we don’t see that we don;t have this freedom. We imagine there to be freedom where there isn’t. This always happens when we are acting out of the ‘concrete self’ because this self is nothing more than a blind compulsion. I was trying to think of different ways of talking about this ‘mirror metaphor’ and I remembered this word from a book called The Self-Organizing Universe’ (by Erik Jantsch) that I read a while ago. The word is ‘decomplexification’ and the way the author meant it was in terms of how in reality there are always many ‘layers’ of possibility coexisting but not agreeing with each other. This is what is meant by ‘complexity’. Lots of things are true at the same time and yet none are true. ‘If everything is true then nothing is true’, as someone once said.
Decomplexification means that we get rid of all competing realms of possibility until there is only the one ‘truth’, only the one way of seeing the world. We throw away information, in other words, by making a crude caricature of reality. So when we decomplexify the world we create the self and the self’s viewpoint is all that we can then see. The universe actually contradicts the self in lots of ways (because the universe is incomparably BIGGER than the self!), but we never allow ourselves to see this because that would then mean ‘the end of the self’, as we were saying. So the self and its view of the world are both illusion (both are the same illusion) but Uncertainty iSN’T an illusion (I would say) in the sense that Uncertainty
means ‘everything is true’ and – as I said earlier – if everything is true then no PARTICULAR thing is true…
Hope that makes sense – I would say that you are pretty clear on what you are saying, even if you haven’t thought about it much up to this point!!
It’s interesting to me that religious faith is synonymous with proactive confirmation bias. When approached by someone practicing street epistemology, it becomes dreadfully apparent that their belief hinges largely on faith and personal testimony. But the massive elephant in the room is that no one recognizes that full belief in the idea of a personal relationship with the creator of the universe would produce the kind of results that they see. Faith healings, overcoming addiction, feelings of ‘oneness’ etc. It’s a staggering oversight.
But if you get Robert Anton Wilson’s notion of the Thinker and the Prover, then all you have to do is encourage the thinker to think the idea (i.e. through the mechanism of faith), then the ‘Prover’ will go about seeing it everywhere. What’s also interesting to me is the ‘counter-measures’ of religious apologetics rely on a steady diet of false equivalencies and red herrings that stops the mind for a split second, long enough for the confirmation bias to set in again (because what else is there to turn to?). Once the faith bug has got the host, they’re move to an insular community, where sermons gradually deepen the neural pathways.
What’s really alarming is to realize that everybody is operating on similar principles all of the time. It’s just how the brain operates! It’s often said by believers that life without faith (or confirmation bias) would be meaningless, and it seems like a trite point, until one realizes that confirmation bias is the only game in town. It’s not just a religious thing, religion just particularly highlights the charade. The best we can do is become aware of our confirmation bias and try to grasp it a like a slippery bar of soap. Even then if we succeed we cannot control it and ‘direct’ our lives in the way typically sold to us by self-help, we can only find ourselves experiencing spontaneous novelties that may represent a step backwards or forwards according to our ‘fixed’ identity.
Always great hearing your perspective. Thanks Nick!
Wow, that’s really nicely expressed. I love the term ‘street epistomology’! What good are spontaneous novelties to the fixed identity, anyway? Unless the spin-doctor spins them to make them suit our bias then they’re always going to undermine us. Reality itself will undermine us so we’d better watch out for it! ‘What the thinker thinks the prover proves’ means that we are always going to be living in a universe of thought, in a universe where everything supports our thought. Our bias is always going to be confirmed. It is quite astonishing that most of us would say – as you point out – that a life which isn’t based on concrete religious faith or belief would be meaningless, when actually living on the basis of ‘what the thinker thinks the prover proves’ is the ultimate appalling cop-out. We’re afraid to see what the real world might be like so we make up a sterile lie for ourselves that we refuse to question. Nice tactic, huh? Religion – as we come across it – becomes therefore this absolute refusal to take any sort of existential risk. What does THAT says about us? Thanks for your comment, Rudy!