The Demiurgic Principle
When the system of thought sets us futile or meaningless tasks (as it does do) and compels us to engage (and believe) in them, there is – in a superficial sense – an actual point to what it is doing. There is (if we look at things one way, at least) a type of meaning to the activity of the system. In one way, we might say, the system ‘knows what it is doing’. In a deeper sense however, it doesn’t at all. In a deeper sense, the system of thought is ‘acting blindly’ and – left to its own devices – it can never do otherwise.
The point is to create the ‘encapsulated sense of self’, which engages in futile activities on an ongoing basis without being able to see that this is what it is doing. The encapsulated sense of self is necessarily blind to its own futility. The point of the system setting us futile tasks (and compelling us to believe in them) is therefore that this allows us to believe in the existence of a fully-fledged, bona fide ‘autonomous entity’ – a ‘causal agent’ (or ‘controller’) which we are pleased to call the self.
So there is (we could say) a legitimately meaningful and non-futile reason for the system setting us pointless tasks that we have no choice about and that is to create the extrinsic self, which may be defined as ‘the supremely futile entity (or pseudo-entity) that we all think we are’. This is a point that we have to be very clear about, if we are not to lose track of what’s going on entirely and become submerged in ‘the Realm of Invisible Futility’ (which is also sometimes called Samsara). Everything the disconnected / encapsulated self does is futile, it’s just that we don’t (and can’t) see it. The ES itself doesn’t see anything in a true or honest way, after all – it can’t, by its very nature, do this. The ES is an arbitrary bias that can’t see itself to be arbitrary and which is bound (because of this constitutional blindness) to keep on trying to validate itself. It won’t ever succeed but this doesn’t mean that it has to stop trying!
What we are calling ‘the system’ is helping us when we look at things from the point of view of this disconnected self, but seeing as how this artificially-produced sense of identity is a complete and utter dead-end (when it comes right down to it) this is the type of help that is working against us, not for us. From our point of view (which is to say, the conditioned POV) the actions that we engage in (as the concrete sense of self) aren’t by any means futile – they are, on the contrary, deeply meaningful to us. Our compulsive self-centric activity is the only thing that is meaningful to us, for the simple reason that we don’t have any measure of things other than the one that is provided by this artificially-produced viewpoint.
It is often said that meaning is there one thing we can’t do without in life, but we need to be careful about what type of meaning we’re talking about. On the one hand, we have extrinsic meaning, which is meaning that is imposed upon us (meaning that we have to ‘buy into’ by identifying with a viewpoint that isn’t us) and on the other hand there is intrinsic meaning, which is meaning that arises by itself (‘from within’, as it were) and which has not therefore been artificially created. Extrinsic meaning is meaningful only to the viewpoint which isn’t us, whilst intrinsic meaning has nothing to do with this arbitrarily-assumed vantage point and the activities which are seen as being important (or even vital) when we identify with it.
Extrinsic meaning is ‘disguised meaninglessness’, in other words. EM is a motivational force that compels us to pursue our goals and engage 100% in our plans and projects. It is the meaning that makes us hold on tight to our agendas, no matter what type of a battering we may take on their account, and this type of motivation is always (when it comes down to it) about improving the situation of the assumed identity. Improving the situation of the assumed identity is the name of the game! Activity which is carried out on the basis of the extrinsic self seems quintessentially non-futile to us – by definition it is seen as non-futile and for this reason it is endlessly motivating (as we all know), but this is only because we are incapable (when we’re in this mode of existence) of seeing the futility of our situation. We are constitutionally blind to seeing this and that blindness is where our motivation comes from.
To come back to what we were originally saying, there is a point to what the system is doing when it keeps us busy performing futile (or circular) tasks (and believing in fake realities) and the point is to create the purposeful or controlling self, the self which cannot doubt the importance of its own activities any more than it can doubt itself. The system is facilitating us in playing ‘the game of self’ therefore – it is ‘helping us’ by providing us with this concrete sense of self and by providing us with a whole gamut of activities that are 100% futile but which we cannot see to be such (because we have blindly identified with an ‘unreal sense of self’). The game has become very real indeed to us, and this happens via the agency of thought. Thought is ‘the Blind God‘ which creates false meaning without knowing what it is doing.
Taking a broader view however we can say that what the system of thought is doing is futile all the same, since creating a situation in which our actions are futile without us being able to see that this is the case hasn’t in any way gotten rid of the underlying futility! If anything, it has been enhanced. We haven’t created meaning via this trick, we have created ‘the inability to see that the meaningless world to which we have been consigned to actually is meaningless’. We haven’t created meaning, we’ve created ‘disguised meaninglessness’ and this DM works by sneakily substituting itself for the genuine article. Meaning can’t actually be created, in other words, and if we try to do so (as we do) all we do is create a glitch that we can’t spot – we create a killer glitch that we can’t see and which proceeds to ‘eat us up alive’, so to speak.
Meaning can’t be created, and yet this is all that the system of thought ever does – its job is to create meaning. The system creates artificial meaning and it coerces us into believing in it. The system’s job is to create meaning even though this can never actually be done. The system – more properly speaking – simulates meaning, and simulated meaning equals ‘disguised meaninglessness’, as we have been saying. If the system is helping us by disguising the meaninglessness or futility of our situation (so that we never ever find out about it) then we can on this account consider it a good friend. But this – as we have said – would be a very perverse way of looking at things! The system is ‘helping us’ by creating the most amazingly water-tight (or ‘fool-proof’) trap there ever was or ever could be, and this is the Demiurgic Principle.
Image- Keiichi Matsuda, on hyper-reality.co