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‘Fatal Determinism’ – The Designed World Part-4

As odd and peculiar as it might seem, our underlying or ‘unconscious’ motivation for just about everything we do is always to ‘escape the simulation’. This is our ‘secret agenda’ we might say, the agenda that even we don’t know we have! Obviously this motivation is going to be unconscious – we don’t know that we are in a simulation and so how could we have the conscious motivation to exit it? Our awareness of being conditioned in the way that we are comes down to pain (loss of freedom is always painful) but the mechanism of unconsciousness works so as to displace all pain on the inside onto ‘the outside’, where is appears as ‘problems that need to be fixed’. On the pragmatic level, the point of fixing a problem is simply to ‘fix the problem’ (naturally enough) but on what we might call ‘the ‘unconscious-symbolic’ level (i.e. the level of theatrical pseudo-solutions to our ‘problem’) the fixing of the problem represents something else entirely to us – it represents the elimination of the unwanted and unowned pain that we are displacing onto some external hook, and that means ‘escaping the simulation’. The simulation (which is to say, our conditioning) is where the pain comes from, after all…

There are two profound impossibilities here – one is the impossibility of ever entering the Designed World, and the other is ever leaving it again once we have enteredit! We can’t enter the DW (as we have said) because it isn’t an unreal place and no one can ever enter an unreal place. Of course no one can enter an unreal place! We can’t ever leave the DW for the very same reason, only that reason is now turned around. The point is that that when we do fall for the trick of thinking that the simulation isn’t a simulation (that it’s the real thing) then that means that we too have become a simulation and– a simulated entity can never leave the simulation of which it is part. That would be like the picture leaving the TV screen or the pattern leaving the cloth that it is woven into, as we said earlier – it’s simply not a viable proposition! Gregory Tucker speaks of the dreamer’s need to prove that he or she is not dreaming, and it is clear enough that this motivation is pretty much the same thing as the unconscious desire that we have to ‘exit the simulation’ – the only way we could do that would be if we ourselves weren’t part of that simulation, if we had some kind of existence outside of it, and we don’t. Our attempt to ‘exit the simulation’ – we might say – comes down to simple, straightforward denial – it is denial because we want very much to get away from the security-producing framework that we’re stuck in whilst at the same time being fundamentally unwilling to see the truth about this painfully ‘stuck’ situation of ours…

It’s not hard to see how this way of looking at things relates to everyday life. Our so-called ‘dreams’ inevitably involve just this – our dreams generally revolve around our hoped-for liberation from the mechanical or routine life within which we struggle and strive daily to something that lies beyond, something that is ‘more truly us’ than this dull and somewhat oppressive way of living that we presently have. This is what we call ‘dreaming’ – it is the aspiration for something better, which is not in itself of course a bad thing. This motivational force is hijacked by the simulation however and we get caught up in the irony of having to ‘invest more and more in the system in order – ultimately – that we might be free from that system’. We play finite games in order to bring end to finite play, to use James Carse’s terminology. We are – ultimately – trying to prove that the dream is not the dream, that the simulation is not the simulation (or as Greg Tucker says, we are ‘trying to prove that truth is false’). The (unconscious) proposition that ‘the simulation is not the simulation’ is Greg Tucker’s Master Lie!

We are hoping that happiness will come our way if we play the game correctly even though it is the game that is preventing us from being happy. Even when we talk about ‘looking for happiness’ what we are calling ‘happiness’ is a concept that exists strictly within the game, and not anywhere else. We can’t understand happiness or freedom for what they truly are (i.e. liberation from the simulation) but rather we see it as something that is quintessentially dependent upon the conditions that exist within that system. That’s why all of our attention and all of our energy goes into ‘controlling’ – we’re trying to bring these ‘happiness-producing conditions’ into existence. By ‘happiness’ what we generally mean is some kind of ‘positive state of being’ that we can establish a permanent relationship with. We want to define ourselves in terms of ‘being happy’, in other words. We want to exist in the world in a way that makes us feel good and not bad. As we keep on pointing out, there is a glitch here that we can never iron out however and that glitch has to do with [1] the impossibility of us ever leaving the simulation, and [2] the impossibility of ever experiencing joy or ease or peace just as long as we are living in the simulation. On one level we need to be free because life without freedom is a joyless, sterile life, and on the other level we need for the freedom-denying simulation to be there because we cannot imagine life without it. On a deep-down or unconscious level we are actually terrified beyond all measure of letting go of the simulation; we’re terrified because for us the simulation is everything. We’re terrified because for us the simulation isn’t just ‘the simulation’…

The glitch sets in just as soon as we [1] create virtual reality world for ourselves and [2] ‘take up residence in it’. As it happens, the two stages of ‘creating a virtual reality world for ourselves’ and then ‘inhabiting it’ both tend to happen at exactly the same time; they are actually one and the same thing because a virtual world only becomes a virtual world once we move into it! This is like saying that a game only becomes a game once you start playing it – playing the game makes it into ‘an actual world’ for us. We can see the root of the glitch quite clearly when we consider that the Designed World that we have created for ourselves is (of course) our own doing; this made-up world is made up of nothing but our intentions, our own expectations, our own projections, and there’s a problem with that. Our projections can’t make a world – or as we could also say, the world of our projections is inevitably a glitched world.

When we live in a world that is made up entirely of our own ‘doings’, a world that ‘we ourselves have made’, then we have carried out a substitution; we have ‘substituted ourselves’ for reality and now we have a relationship as possibly with our own doings (i.e. a relationship with ourselves) rather than a relationship with something that is not us,. This is what ‘being a prisoner of our own device’ means! When our only relationship is with ourselves (or with a world that is made up of our own concepts, our own expectations) then all that happens is that we get stuck in a game of push and pull, a game of up and down, a game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’. There is simply no flexibility in the system for anything else to happen – ‘flexibility’ meaning (we might say) the capacity of the system to change in ways that is not ‘implicit’ in it right from the beginning. The only type of ‘change’ that we’re looking at here is a type of change where one polarity gets reversed into the other – that is after all the only way ‘change’ can be measured within the framework – it is measured against a static (abstract) axis that reaches from positive infinity at one end and negative infinity at the other. We can move up the axis or down the axis, in other words, but we don’t have the flexibility to jump off the tracks that we’re on.

It’s not just our ‘movement’ that runs along linear tracks in the FW, it’s also our thinking. The only type of ‘meaning’ available to us is the meaning that is provided by the +/- axes (or templates) that make up the FW – no other way of looking at things or thinking about things is available to us other than the one that is afforded us by ‘the principle of polarity’. Polarity is ‘closed space’, we might say. The polar world is a closed world  because ‘tracks’ or ‘grooves’ that make it up are based on self-referentiality – straight lines are always based on self-referentiality because they are predicated (we might say) upon the principle of ‘more of versus less of’. The important point here is that it is ‘more of the same’ versus ‘less of the same’; linearity is a way of mapping out ‘a constant’ in other words and so ‘the constant’ is the one thing we can never depart beyond. Instead of ‘positive versus negative’ we could think in terms of ‘advantage versus disadvantage’ (or ‘gaining versus losing’) and so the straight line we are looking at here is the straight line that reaches ahead of me to ‘infinite gain’ and behind me to ‘infinite loss; the self-referentiality involved here is obvious therefore – no matter how far I travel either up or down the track I’m never going to get away from me! This is why we can say that ‘Yes equals No’ – ‘Yes’ equals ‘No’ because both equal me…

Although a linear axis looks as if the two ends of it are heading off in completely opposite directions this is not the case therefore. The two ends of the axis are shooting to the same place and – what’s more – they never left that ‘same place’, which is the constant that is being mapped out. This is what self-referentiality means – it’s like a satellite orbiting a planet. In the situation of a satellite orbiting the heavy mass of the planet defines every aspect of the satellite’s movement and for this reason it’s never going to leave that planet. In the same way, then, conditioned space (unlike actual space) always curves around on itself so that there is never any such thing as ‘new territory’. Everything is always a rehashing of the old, and ‘the old’ doesn’t actually exist.

Reality is thus one thing, whilst our way of modelling it is quite another. Unconditioned reality doesn’t have any tracks to run on whilst our minds do and so our conceptualization of the world around us means mapping ‘the movement of reality’ onto our tracks, which are tracks that never change,  tracks that never ever ‘go anywhere new’. The thinking mind moves in a circle, the same way that rules always go round in a circle; everything determinate goes around in a circle, after all. If something is ‘determined’ then it can’t escape what it is determined as being, and if it can’t escape what it is determined as being then it has nowhere else to go.

We persist in thinking – of course – that just because something is defined that doesn’t mean that it isn’t free to move about in an unrestricted (or open) way; what we don’t see is that a ‘defined thing’ can only exist as such within a framework – the framework that has been used to define it. Nothing gets to be defined without us first defining it, after all! This being so, we can’t say that the defined object has any real freedom; we can’t say that it has any real freedom because it isn’t free to leave the limiting framework that defines it. Our problem here is that we are confusing actual space (which is to say, ‘openness’) with that prescribed and limited domain which exists within the bounds of the framework. It’s not merely that the two are ‘not the same’ – they are antithetical situations. The true are antitheses of each other: on the one hand we have the open situation (which corresponds simply to ‘freedom’) and on the other hand we have the ‘closed situation’, which is the predetermined situation that exists within the remit of the all-defining framework, where all processes, all ‘events’, have to run on tracks. It is for this reason that we can say that the only type of activity possible in a FW is always going to be of the circular type; instead of reaching out forever, conditioned (or ‘formatted’) space always curves right back on itself, like the surface area of a globe. Only the undefined can escape the gravitational prison that we’re trapped in.

Coming back to our essential theme now, when we create the DW and enter into it, then we ourselves are now doomed to be forever going around in circles. The ‘closed’ type of space which exists within the bounds of the framework is itself a circle – conditioned space is circular space, as we have just said. The conditioned state of being is always a circularity for the simple reason that ‘conditioning’ is always made up of plus and minus in equal proportion. The domain that is mapped out by the framework is always made up of plus and minus in equal proportion. If we think of each axis making up the FW (no matter how many axes there might be) we can see this very clearly – half of every axis is made up of positive numbers, the other half negative numbers. The axis (any axis) shoots up to positive infinity in one direction, and negative infinity in the other. Another way of putting this is to say that the domain that is mapped out by the FW is made up of two complementary halves, each being the exact mirror image of the other. No matter which position we take, the ‘reverse position’ is always going to come into existence at the same time. Any movement that we engage in is always going to be occurring in tandem with the possibility of the ‘equal and opposite movement’ (obviously enough, since ‘movements within the terms of the framework’ is nothing more than a sequence of defined positions, each of which can only have the conditioned existence that it does have in relation to its polar opposite. A positive statement only exists through its relationship with the corresponding negative statement – both statements need each other in order to exist. ‘What is up without a down’ in other words? Or as Robert Wyatt says, “What are soldiers without a foe?”

It isn’t sufficient just to say that when we create the DW, and enter into it (so that its terms become the only terms we know) then the only type of movement that we can engage in is movement of the circular variety; that misses out the most important thing – what we should also say is that when we enter the DW then the only type of movement we can engage in is movement that is circular, but which we cannot for the life of us see to be so. This situation comes about because of the way in which the boundaries of the conditioned realm are ‘undisclosed’ or ‘understated’ The conditioned realm only has the type of existence that it does have because of the FW that defines it – the FW is what bounds this domain therefore but the point is that the FW never declares itself. The FW doesn’t declare itself to be the FW – if it did then you would have to make reference to that which is not the FW and that is something that it just can’t do. Anything that the FW refers to must of necessity be mentioned ‘in relation to itself; that’s just how frameworks work – they ‘grant reality’ to the world via the act of self-reference. A framework cannot acknowledge any authority other than itself; it simply doesn’t have any mechanism by which it could ‘transcend itself’ in this way. No such mechanism exists.

What are basically talking about here therefore are rules – rules can only exist by acting in reference to themselves. A rule doesn’t (in other words) doesn’t come along and say “Do what I say unless you happen to have a better idea…”  On the contrary, a rule simply says “Do what I say!” Nothing else comes into it; a rule doesn’t acknowledge any authority other than itself and that’s how it gets to be a rule. The rule doesn’t declare itself as being ‘a rule’ – if it did this then it would have to indicate the possibility of it not being valid in certain areas and if it did that then it would no longer be a rule. It would be saying, in effect, obey me if you want to but you don’t really have to.’ And that just isn’t a rule! That isn’t anything. So when we are in a bounded domain that we can’t see to be bounded (a bounded domain that we are functionally incapable of seeing to be bounded) then we can’t see that the only activity we can engage in is activity of a strictly circular type. Not being able to see that the world we live in is bounded is the same thing as ‘not being able to see that the only type of activity we can engage in a circular activity’. When we are living in the DW therefore, we can’t see that all our willed activity is circular (or self-cancelling); or to put this another way, as soon as we enter into the DW we create a type of ‘freedom’ that doesn’t actually exist. We have created an imaginary type of freedom, in other words. This virtual or imaginary type of freedom is perfectly real to us all the same; it does the job of freedom, so to speak, perfectly well in other words, even though it isn’t freedom. We have therefore created an antithetical analogue of freedom that – surprisingly – functions perfectly well (in a strictly subjective way, of course) as freedom. This – by any reckoning – has got to be the most extraordinary thing going! What could be more bizarrely extraordinary than this? If this doesn’t cause us to scratch our heads and wonder then what will?

This – then – is ‘life in the Designed World’. Life in the DW is a topsy-turvy kind of life; it’s ‘topsy-turvy’ because the principle of determinism has replaced the principle of freedom without anyone noticing. There is more to this business of ‘losing freedom’ than might immediately meet the eye. In losing freedom we are – we might say – losing more than we know! When we entered the DW not only do we lose freedom, we also lose ourselves. As soon as I enter the DW I’m replaced by my surrogate, by my analogue, and this whole ‘substitution’ process is cloaked in secrecy and happens entirely without my knowledge. I no longer genuinely exist – I’ve been replaced by a clockwork version of myself that I am now convinced is me. I identify so wholly and unreservedly with this clockwork version of me such that its fortunes and misfortunes are keenly felt as being mine. I go through the movements that been determined in advance for me and I imagine that it is myself who is doing the determining. If I succeed in obeying the mechanical rules that are controlling me then I feel pleasure, and if I fail to obey them then it is the pain that I feel instead.

There is, we might say a ‘fatal determinism’ associated with the DW; there is a fatal determinism associated not just with the DW itself but also with our designing of it, our envisaging of it, our constructing of it. It is as if, once having created the Designed World, we have no choice but to enter it. Our fate is already sealed because we can’t help walking into the trap that we have just created for ourselves; the temptation to hand over our freedom to the device at this point becomes too much for us! It is as if the device is already determining our actions. It is as if we have become hypnotised by the doom that we now see in front of us and so cannot help ourselves walking into it; we can’t help ourselves ‘walking into it’ even though we ought to know better than to do this, even though – on some level – we do know better. We think a thought and then – automatically – we believe the thought. This is always the way – we think the thought and then – straightaway – we get trapped in the thought. We define ourselves and then we get imprisoned by this definition; we create a narrative for ourselves and get entangled in that narrative…

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