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The Designed World [7]

When we are safely insulated from the Immensity then the only concerns we know are small concerns, petty concerns – utterly empty concerns. Were the insulation in question to start to fail us then this would immediately induce a state of terror – the existence (however vaguely we are aware of it) of the Immensity threatens to expose our concerns to the light of day and show up exactly how small they are. Because of our involvement in (and long-term commitment to) these petty concerns we are just as small as they are. We not even one tiny bit larger than our attachments (the things we like and dislike) and so it is our frightening pettiness that is going to get shown up by the immensity. We are going to find out just how small we really are…



The Immensity is no friend to the conditioned identity therefore – it is no friend at all. In order for it to be able to live the only kind of life that it is able to live, the conditioned or partitioned sense of self has to bury the immensity as deep as anything ever can be buried. The Vastness (the ‘Big Picture’) has to be buried so that absolutely no one knows anything about it! This is of course exactly what we have done – measures have been instigated in order to remove the Immensity from sight and we are – as a result – now living with the consequences of this action. The consequences in question are easy enough to talk about – for a start, we can say that when we live in a world that is the same size as us (which is what the manoeuvre in question comes down to) then the price for this dodge is that there is no meaning in our lives. Meaning only comes about as a result of us living in a world that is bigger than we are, to whatever extent. If we live in a world that is only a tiny bit bigger than we are then this is enough – that’s enough to make life interesting. That is enough to open up a dialogue with something that isn’t us. That means that there is actually something which isn’t us…



By ‘meaning’ we don’t mean the fulfilment (or otherwise) of some great plan, or anything like that; the best way to explain how we’re using the word here is to say that it is that flash of awareness which comes when we realise we are in truly unfamiliar territory, when we realise that we are face to face with something we don’t at all understand. Our usual way of looking at things is to say that when we find ourselves in a situation we absolutely don’t understand (or in a world we cannot fathom) then this represents a serious failure on our part, since ‘knowledge is power’ and if we don’t have any knowledge of the situation which we’re in then we also don’t have any power! What we call ‘power’ (or ‘self-efficacy’, if we happen to be a psychologist) can only exist in a world without meaning therefore. This might sound somewhat odd, but all we’re really saying here is that we can only control within the Domain of the Known. It is important to us that we stay in control for as much of the time as possible and to do that we have to make sure to stay within the bounds of the DOTK. Furthermore, when we do stay firmly within the bounds of the Domain of the Known we can no longer know that there are such bounds, which is another way of saying that we think that the DOTK is the only reality there is.



The DOTK – aka ‘the Mind-Created Virtual Reality’ – is self-sealing, therefore. Once we’re in it then we lose any possibility of seeing that it’s possible not to be in it! The plus side of the deal is that we get to be ‘effective controllers’, with all the excitement and (potential) satisfaction that comes with this. We can build a whole world on this basis and that is in fact exactly what we have done and although this appears on the surface of things to be a perfectly good and workable world, there’s a secret flaw. The secret flaw in the Positive World is that there is no meaning in it – meaning, that is, in the sense of ‘relating to something that is bigger than us’, or ‘relating to something that isn’t us’, as we were saying earlier. If what we had previously understood to be true is being actively falsified then there is meaning or truth in this, we are actually ‘partaking in the truth of things’ in this case. If we are in the Domain of the Known, on the other hand, then this never happens; when we’re in the DOTK then what we understand to be true stays consistently true throughout – it will never be falsified. That’s the whole point of the DOTK, after all! If there was any possibility of some kind of new awareness coming about (some kind of unsuspected awareness which would throw a new light on everything we thought we understood) then the paradigm of control would fall to pieces on the spot. As we have said, control can only exist in a world where radically new viewpoints can’t come along at any time and throw our most basic assumptions into question.



In the world that has been created for us by thought there will never be any ‘radically new viewpoints’ arising. There’s no chance that any new awareness can unexpectedly come along (and any awareness is a new awareness). There’s no such thing as ‘an awareness that is old’, ‘an awareness such has been knocking around for a long time’. In the everyday psychostatic world that we are so familiar with there’s no such thing as ‘suddenly seeing things in a whole new way’, there’s only ‘the old way’ – as always. There’s no such thing as awareness, in other words (‘awareness’ and ‘meaning’ being synonymous terms here). Awareness (in this particular sense of the word) brings meaning to the world; if there is no awareness in the situation then there is ‘redundancy that we cannot see as such’, ‘redundancy which we falsely understand to be newsworthy’. The everyday psychostatic world facilitates the existence of the ‘doer’ or ‘controller’ superbly, therefore.  The positive (or psychostatic) world does a brilliant job of facilitating the ‘doer’ or ‘purposeful self’. We might think of PW as an aquarium that has been set up to support some delicate tropical species of fish with exactly the right temperature, salinity and level of oxygenation. If the required parameters are not strictly adhered to then the tropical fish in question will die very quickly, and exactly the same is true for ‘the doer’, exactly the same is true for this perception we have of ourselves as ‘the purposeful self’. Any newness (which is to say, unconditioned reality) in the aquarium and the concrete sense of self is in serious trouble. Newness equals ‘ontological crisis’ and an ontological crisis is precisely what the CSOS is always trying to get away from!



It might seem unduly harsh to state – in such an unequivocal way – that the psychostatic version of the world contains ‘zero reality’ but this is exactly the point. Reality is that which unfailingly shows up whatever assumptions we are operating on to be false – it is an ongoing falsificatory process, a process in which all our concepts are completely dissolved, as if in a bath of acid. The MCVR – by contrast – holds together by constantly validating its own assumptions, and this is just another way of saying that the MCVR exists by denying reality every step of the way. Our normal, everyday modality of being is a state of denial, therefore; it isn’t a spontaneous state of being but a predetermined state, a controlled or managed state. It’s ‘a function of the machine’, the output of a black metal box…



This controlling (or managing) – although we don’t see it – is mandatory; it’s a given when we’re in the psychostatic mode of being, when we’re in this mode of existence that is based on the denial of what is really true and the forceful assertion of ideas which are not real and have nothing to do with anything that is. To live in an artificial or false world (which we insist on saying is ‘the only true one’) is of course always going to be about controlling and controlling is struggling. Living in this world is of course always going to be a never-ending exercise in control – what else would we expect? We’re going to have to keep at it forever, or at least for as long as we are able, and then when we finally do lose ground in the struggle then the thing that we most fear is going to happen. It was always going to happen, needless to say, and deep down we knew it. Deep down we knew it and it was this buried awareness (or rather our fear of this awareness) that was fuelling our controlling, fuelling our struggling and striving, all along.



We can say a number of things about the psychostatic world therefore. We can say that is the type of world that we want to live in, the type of world that we are overwhelmingly attracted to, and we can also say that it is a world in which nothing we want to come true ever can come true, a world within which our wishes and desires will never be realised, no matter how much we may be tormented by them. It’s a world that will never give us anything and the reason for this is that the prizes we are being offered don’t actually mean anything – we only imagine that they do.  This is a world with zero reality in it and so we shouldn’t really expect that much from it; the most it can do for us is induce the highly suggestible or manipulable mental state within which its non-stop meaningless promises seem meaningful! It doesn’t suit us to see things this clearly however; the moment we gain clarity on this score is the moment we start having a very difficult time – not just because our projections are revealed to be phantoms but because the one who is busy chasing (and creating) all these projections also gets shown up as ‘not really being there at all’.



This confounding perception (the profoundly confounding perception that there is no one there to either pursue its goals or even have them in the first place) is so hard to process that we shut down this ‘experience of non-experience’ before we even get to register it. This is akin to the avoidance reflex that Freud observed to be at the root of all neurosis – it’s ‘a reflex’ because it happens mechanically without us knowing or caring very much (if anything) about it. If there is a perception that causes us sufficient mental pain then (so Freud tells us) we repress that troublesome perception without us getting to know anything about it and the outcome of this tried and trusted ‘coping mechanism’ is that we are allowed us to carry on just as if it wasn’t there. The more stuff we repress the more superficial or shallow our lives become, it’s true, but the thing about ‘living superficially’ is that we are now too superficial to notice that this is what we’re doing. The difference with the type of automatic censoring that we’re talking about here is that ‘the pain-producing perception’ in question just happens to be ‘our awareness of reality’. We’re playing endless neurotic games rather than facing the situation posed by our own hallucinatory existence head-on. This is the mechanism by which we run away from our own awareness, therefore, which means that our entire existence is one long exercise in ‘escaping’ from the truth – we say that we’re ‘chasing our dreams’ and this happens to be quite literally true…



If we were aware that what we understand as ‘life’ comes down to nothing more than ‘escaping from the real world in favour of some tortuous analogue or simulation thereof’ then this would catapult us into a radically different modality of being but because this ‘radical change of awareness’ happens to be maximally challenging for us and because conditioned existence is the type of existence which only holds together when we don’t take on any radically new insights this is not a possibility that we are ever going to register – not in the regular run of things, anyway.



So no matter what we might have to say regarding the very many drawbacks of the type of existence that we describing here (the type of existence that has been created by thought) it isn’t going to have any impact on us because we simply have no way of understanding what is being said. In order for this to make any sense to us we would have to be unconditionally aware and we aren’t. When we’re adapted to life in the Mind-Created Virtual Reality then the only type of awareness we can have is the type that follows the tracks that have been laid down for it to follow, and this can’t properly be called ‘awareness’ at all. Rather, it is the state of passive identification, the state of being controlled by some external authority.  Regulated awareness is not awareness; conditioned consciousness is not consciousness – our so-called ‘life’ is simply one long mechanical reaction, and somehow this mechanical reaction has been able to proliferate out of hand until it has replaced everything non-mechanical. The runaway copy of life (the copy that runs without the need for any consciousness to be involved) is what we might call the outer life and the outer life thrives at the expense of the inner one.



We have said that when we are insulated from the Immensity then the only concerns or interest that we are ever going to know are going to be small ones, petty ones, thoroughly trivial ones. Even saying this paints a picture of hell – it’s impossible to take this awareness on without being appalled by the implications. Could there be anything worse than a way of life in which our only concerns are vanishingly trivial ones? What an absolutely terrifying thought this is! And yet the truly ghastly thing here is that this is the type of life which we have all – however unknowingly – opted for. On the one hand it could be said that this is a type of life that we have opted for, and on the other hand it could be argued that it’s the type of life that we’ve been press-ganged into, but it comes down to the same thing either way. It may be said that the type of life we lead is the result of the choices we make but at the same time these were never truly our choices in the first place. They were ‘choices’ that were implanted in us by the mechanical system which we were born into, and so what we’re talking about here has nothing to do with choice and everything to do with conditioning. We’re talking about virtual choices, theatrical choices, choices that we supposedly made but which were actually made for us. We often harp on about the importance of making the ‘smart decisions’ in life, as if everything that happens to us hangs on this, but that’s just the system jinxing us, so to speak. This is a classic manoeuvre, a classic double-bind – if we don’t make the smart life choices then the blame for whatever happens to us as a result lies fairly and squarely with us, obviously enough, but then again even if we try our hardest to make the very best possible choices we will find that this doesn’t work either because the whole thing was a con from the start. There are no right choices within the Mind-Created Virtual Reality. When things don’t work out for us – as they definitely won’t – we won’t see that we have been duped, we will see ourselves as being the problem instead. We’ll think that there is something inherently wrong with us. We’re not allowed to question the system and so we have to question ourselves instead. ‘Questioning the system’ is not allowed and the system was loaded against us from the start.



This is how the set-up tricks us – it gives us a bunch of choices that are no choices and then allows us to believe that the ball is in our court, that everything now depends on us. This is – as we have said – a classic double bind because if nothing goes well for us (whether we conform or don’t conform) the fault is clearly ours. Psychological therapies do the same thing – they apparently offer us the means by which we can extricate ourselves from our mental distress and so if nothing helpful happens as a result of the therapy we are obliged to internalise that blame too, along with all the rest, along with the self-blame that we already carry. It could be said that this is just another way of talking about a game since this is precisely what a game does – it presents us with an alluring offer of what seems to be possible (i.e., what it says is possible) and then lets us take the blame when we’re not able to avail of this ‘supposed possibility’ We then get to wear the ‘loser’ label around our necks and feel extra-bad on this account. We could of course ask what happens if we actually win, since that too is a possibility within a game. There are winners in the world as well as losers, after all. The thing about this however is that even the winners are losers really – what, after all does it mean to win in a game? What exactly do we ‘win’? The point here is that the game, because it is a game, is unreal, and this means that whatever we obtain by playing it is also going to be unreal. As soon as we succeed we have to start up with it with the struggle all over again because the succeeding is hollow, because it only ever leaves us hungry for more. The more we succeed the hungrier we are for more success and this is because the game we’re playing is only skin-deep. We’re a very long way from seeing this however – instead, we see ourselves as being either winners or losers and we proceed on this non-existent basis. If we’re ‘winners’ then we’re elated and if we’re losers then we’re depressed, but both of these are pointless unreal mental states. In the euphoric instance I have the empowering perception of being ‘the successful doer’ and in the dysphoric case I have to carry around the perception of being this ‘hideously impotent or sadly malfunctioning doer’. Either I come into the luck or I don’t come into it and this is why we are always so reverential to this particular concept. If the doer is nothing more than a construct of the game we’re playing (if it is the doer itself which is the illusion) what does this mean for our so-called ‘luck’? ‘Luck’ is an utterly meaningless concept – it’s not meaningless in the sense that a rational-minded person might say it is but rather it is meaningless in the sense that there is no doer to whom this so-called ‘luck’ can accrue.



Luck is a type of ‘unexamined code word’ which stands for the magical ability to do something which is quite impossible, namely, to arrive at a state of well-being or happiness as a result of making the correct choices in life (which is to say, by availing intelligently of the valuable options that are being provided for us by the system). The deluded perception that there is this thing called ‘luck’ has lured many a gambler to their doom and it is similarly responsible for all of us socially-adapted humans sticking like glue to the rational-mechanical modality of existence in the hope that we will one day get somewhere this way when we won’t. There is no way to escape from the game by playing the game, there’s no way for us to extricate ourselves from an artificial situation by resorting to further artificial means. There is – in other words – no way to escape from a situation that we ourselves have invented by following all sorts of escape plans or strategies that we have also invented, on the foot of the mess we have already made, so to speak. Because the game doesn’t declare itself as such, and because we completely believe what it is telling us, this puts us in the position of having to take the blame for everything that’s actually wrong with the game. The game can do no wrong and so it must be us, in other words. What we’re talking about here is the perfect abusive relationship therefore and just so long as we don’t see the game to be a game this is how it’s always going to be – the system will abuse us.



There’s no such thing as ‘a correct life choice’; there’s no such thing as ‘the right set of choices or decisions that will allow us to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life’. No information, no special skills or ability is going to help us; the more we try to wangle it the worse off we’re going to be, in fact. All choices equal the thinking mind, all decisions equal the repetitive game that we are playing. If existence itself were a game, were a logical system, then this would be fine – we would learn how to play it correctly sooner or later (or at least those of us who are smart enough or lucky enough would) and then we’d ‘hit the jackpot’. Or to put this another way, if the universe were not an enigma (as Umberto Eco says it is) then the problem-solving approach would pay off for us. If however the universe actually is an enigma then we will be chasing ourselves around in circles forever. We will be chasing ourselves around in circles forever since the only thing we’ve got to go on are our own assumptions. Our assumptions are – after all – the things we automatically take as being true and this means that they constitute ‘the starting-off point that we can’t ever get away from’. When we joust on this basis – like 9medieval knights errant – we are more like Don Quixote than Sir Launcelot or Sir Galahad. We’re chasing our own projections, we’re trying to solve the problem that is ourselves, only we don’t know that the problem we’re trying to solve is ourselves. We think it’s something outside of us, something independent of us. We could of course take on the pain of seeing this – the only thing needed for this would be our own willingness to leant something that we don’t want to learn. No special tricks or skills are needed to see reality after all, only the dropping of our automatic resistance – the truth is ever ready to offer itself to and the only thing that stands in the way of this happening is our habitual refusal to play ball. If we aren’t willing to take on ‘the pain of seeing the truth’ then the only thing left for us is to choose one of the predetermined options that have been given to us and hope against hope but it turns out to be ‘the right one’! The only thing left to us in this case is our own ‘magical thinking’, in other words, our own insistent on believing that something which can never happen actually will happen, if we keep on trying, if we keep on ‘being positive’, if we keep on hoping, if we keep on ‘gamely enacting the same tired old dysfunctional procedures’…









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