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Furthering Ourselves In The Consensus Reality

We always almost always seek to further ourselves, or develop ourselves, in the human world, which is to say the consensus reality that we ourselves have unwittingly created. It’s pretty much unnecessary to say this – where else would we seek to make a life for ourselves, if not here? On the face of it there would seem to be no choice because that is ‘all there is’, and because there doesn’t seem to be any other possibilities we just get on with it; we get on with it without ever giving the matter a second thought, as it were. We ‘accept the reality we are presented with’, as the line from The Truman Show has it.



That seems to be no other option, and it is of course also true that everyone around us is also busy adapting themselves to the socially constructed world as best they can, and – one way or another – finding their place there, and so the very thought that there might be ‘something else to life other than the one everyone thinks that there is’ never arises – or if it does, then it is stillborn. How can there be a life other than the life everyone else says there is? How can there be a reality other than the one we are taught about in school? Not only is this something that never occurs to us, it’s also something that even if it did occur to us, we would never be able to air in public. People would only laugh at us and take us for fools, after all.



The problem is however that the life we collectively agree upon just isn’t real, no matter how many millions of us collude in it. It’s a socially validated fantasy. Nothing collective, nothing that ‘we all agree upon’, is true; the one thing that going along with what everyone else says will never do is lead us to the truth! An agreement is never true – it’s just ‘what we agree upon’. It’s ‘true’ only because we all say it is. Agreements are very important when it’s collectives we’re talking about – we have to agree on stuff in order to come together as a group – but this doesn’t mean that what we have agreed upon is actually real. If we think this then we have confused a mere social convention with reality itself, which is a very basic error…



What actually happens (on a regular basis) in life is that we absolutely do end up confusing social conventions for life itself. That – as they say – is the name of the game! We can’t tell the difference between the two things, and since the pressure is on big time for us to adhere to social convention – and since reality doesn’t put pressure on us in this way – we end up living social conventions instead of life. It might sound strange to say such a thing but this is nevertheless exactly what we are doing; we’re adapting ourselves to an artificial or unreal world because that’s where all the pressure, all the behavioural reinforcement, is coming from. In the short time, on the basis of the immediate pressure (both positive and negative) that is being applied to us, it makes perfectly good sense to adapt; in the longer term however it doesn’t make any sense at all. It doesn’t make any sense at all because ‘games are only games’ whilst the truth has the quality of actually being true! [‘Know that the unreal has no being and the Real never ceases to be.’ – Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 16.]



The better we adapt ourselves to the artificial world that we have invented for ourselves the more positive reinforcement we stand to receive from it; but all the adaptation in the world is going to do us no good when the time comes for us to be set face to face with reality. It’s not even the case that our success in the consensus world won’t help us when it comes to actual reality; but rather that it counts against us. It counts against us because the more we invest in the unreal the more painful it is going to be to see that the unreal is the unreal! As Adi Shankaracharya says, ‘rules of grammar will not save you at the time of your death’. We spend our lives obsessing over pointless details, details that have no relation whatsoever to the ‘bigger picture,’ and somehow think ourselves prudent (or ‘virtuous’) to do so…



This doesn’t necessarily mean that we can ignore reality with impunity until this point, however; even though the ‘made-up world’ puts all this immediate pressure upon us (which takes up all of our attention, leaving us none left to attend to anything else) the unconstructed (or natural world) is ‘not without influence’, if we may put it like that. The world that we make up ourselves is crude in the way that it is imposed upon us – it couldn’t be cruder – whilst the influence of ‘what actually is’ is subtle in its nature and is not something we can simply ‘obey’ in the same way that we can obey a rule. ‘Obeying’ is a very crude thing, after all; what kind of life would we be living if all we ever do is ‘obey rules’? We even go so far as to imagine (in the monotheistic, ‘Father-god’ type religions) that God demands of us that we obey His rules, His ‘commandments’, in the fond belief that the Deity is some kind of deranged ego-driven autocrat, just as our own political leaders tend to be…



There’s nothing subtle about the rule, nothing subtle at all. A rule is the epitome of aggression – it is nothing but the arbitrary application of force. All human laws are an arbitrary imposition of order, and this is why all human systems are essentially ‘empty of meaning’. On the ‘plus’ side, we can say that anything we want to say is true come against to be true, but the downside to this apparent freedom is that whatever we declare to be true – no matter what it is – is guaranteed to be the purest fantasy, as we started out by saying. We prefer to have the illusion of control (even though what we’re controlling is entirely hollow) rather than seeing that reality is always going to be radically ‘out of control’.



Because Assigned Meaning (which we can also call Extrinsic Order) is by its very nature ‘entirely arbitrary’ it has to be aggressive; this is the basic principle of ‘compensation’ – if what I am claiming to be exclusively true is in reality just as true (or untrue) as anything else I might take it into my head to say, then I’m obliged to be as aggressive as I possibly can in order to ‘win out over the competition’. This is how it always works in the World of Assigned Meaning – the one who shouts the loudest (or – even better – the one who is able to silence all the opposition) is the one who gets to be believed, the one who gets to be listened to, the one who gets to be taken seriously. I’m not being so forceful because what I’m saying is true – which is what we naively assumed to be the case – but precisely because it isn’t true.



The world we live in is the result of an ongoing power struggle therefore, and what we all take to be true, and swear allegiance to every day of our lives, is nothing more than ‘the bullshit that gets promoted the most’. It’s only real because it is being aggressively promoted as being real, in other words. But this ongoing struggle – the power struggle to be the one who gets to define reality, the one who gets to say what is true and not true – is itself meaningless, is itself hollow. It doesn’t matter how reality is defined, or what we say is true, so fantasy all the same. No defined version of reality is true, and thus the competition the struggle to be the one who gets to define reality is itself meaningless.



It’s not the case that we need to get involved in this struggle therefore the struggle to be the one who supplies the dominant narrative because to be involved in this struggle is to be involved in an absurdity. Human history is the history of different groups trying to assert their own version of reality and this is absurd because all of these versions are equally true and equally untrue. How does it matter who wins in such a stupid competition? Ultimately however, it’s not about groups of people (the famous ‘elites’) imposing their version of reality on everyone else, but about the blind mechanism of thought imposing its meaningless game on us and causing us to imagine that what we’re doing is real and meaningful when it isn’t. We’re all the helpless puppets of the machine which is thought, whether we’re billionaires or beggars.  We all strive to improve our situation within the terms that thought provides us with, but all we’re doing as a result of our efforts is getting further and further away from what is actually real




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