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The Loop Of Conditioned Existence

As soon as we say ‘what something is’ we get trapped in whatever it is that we have said it is; as soon as we say ‘who we are’ we get trapped in that too. The two things – ‘saying what something is’ – and ‘getting trapped in what we have just said it to be’ are actually the same thing. It’s all the same movement. There is no such thing as a judge who is also free from their own judging, a labeller who is free from their own labelling, an evaluator who is free from their own evaluative process.



There is a loop – of sorts – a loop that we are rarely quick-witted enough to catch sight of. The first half of the loop is apparently empowering, apparently liberating we get to say what things are, we get to identify this as being this and that’s just being that. Rational-purposeful orientation becomes a possibility. The world makes sense to us and that gives us the possibility of exercising control over what’s happening. With knowledge comes power, so it is said – first we have to understand the world and then we can perhaps control it. Having control is where all our ontological security comes from, when it comes down to it – nothing else counts as far as ontological security is concerned…



The act of being able to say what or who we are is super-empowering, so it seems. It gives us a real kick, and this is why we love ‘identifying’ as much as we do. In one brave movement (the movement of thought) we have brought order to chaos – we know what the world is and we know who we are and we also know what we’re supposed to be doing in that world (to some extent or other, at least). The pre-programmed life of the purposeful self can now unfold. This moment is like starting off on a game of Monopoly – we have no debts, no worries, and we’re heading out into the world with $200 burning a hole in our pocket. The world is our oyster and we can’t wait to get out there and get our hands on it. What could be better than that, after all? The chase is better than the catch and the chase is what we all start off with. The moment identification takes place is the moment of maximum euphoria therefore and it all goes downhill after this. We might hope to repeat that glorious moment but we never will…



The moment of maximum euphoria is the same thing as ‘the moment of maximum delusion’ we can put it either way. Euphoria comes out of our delusions and our delusions come out of our euphoria. When we say ‘I am this’ then we automatically create the Positive (or Known) World which is the projection or continuation of that self. When the Positive World is created then there appears to be very great possibilities in store as we have just said; the Purposeful Self (which is constructing the PW out of its unconscious assumptions) mistakes the PW for being something other than ‘it’s own projection’ and this is what fuels the whole process. The purposeful self is anticipating exploiting the positive world which is the externalisation of its own unexamined assumptions and this is very exciting, very thrilling, for it. The first half of the loop that we’re talking about is pure euphoria therefore – this is Happy Hour for the ego which has yet to see through itself and which is – for this reason – full of brash and groundless confidence.



Euphoria is what gets us started in the game – we’re in a rush to spend our money and avail ourselves of all the good things that are on offer, but very quickly there is no more need for all that ‘pleasurable anticipation’ to keep us hooked into the game. Before very long we’re hooked in whether we like it or not. When all the euphoria evaporates – as it does – then the motivation to avoid dysphoria cuts in with equal facility and so now we’re playing the game because we’re afraid to not to; instead of playing out of our pleasurable anticipation of ‘what’s going to happen next’ we are now in the territory of fearful anticipation – we are motivated by a need to prevent the bad outcome from happening (even if we don’t know what that bad outcome is). The game needs to appear to be fun only at the beginning therefore; once we’re in it (once the honeymoon phase is over) then that’s when we get to become more familiar with the life-denying grim realities of addiction. This is the learning that we can do ‘at our leisure’, as slowly and as reluctantly as we like…



The reason the euphoria comes in the first place is because the moment of identification – which is where we say who or what we are results in the creation of the Positive World. When the Purposeful Self (the self that makes sense to itself in terms of its own purposes) comes into existence its immediate perception is of all the good things that can be availed of in the known world, and these good things are simply a ‘carrying forward’ of all the assumptions or lazy thinking that we started off with. This pleasurable anticipation launches us into the thick of the game. The second half of the loop we’re looking at here (the loop of conditioned existence) is not empowering, is not liberating or exciting, and it involves us finding out that the freedom we thought we had we actually don’t! The promise was there, or so it seems, but it never gets fulfilled. Promises never get fulfilled when it’s conditioned existence we’re talking about.



The reason the return phase of the loop of conditioned existence is there (the reason the loop of conditional existence is a loop and not a gloriously exciting straight line) is because the PW is a straightforward projection of the purposeful self (the PW is composed equally of our hopes and fears, our purposes either to realize the former and avoid the latter, in other words). If my destination is the same place as ‘where I’m starting off from’ however then all the excitement I have about getting there is without basis. I perceive it to be the case that there are lots and lots of possibilities out there for me, but the truth is that they aren’t any. I only thought that they were all these glorious possibilities out there waiting for me and that ‘very exciting thought’ (or perception) is the result of my ignorance, my ‘mistakenness’.



The moment of identification is the moment of maximum euphoria and it is also the moment of zero consciousness – the two go together, naturally enough. The moment I say what something is (or what I am) is the moment all consciousness disappears from the picture. Identification is unconsciousness, in other words. Identification is unconsciousness because when we identify as being something (when we compulsively identify with this, that or the other) then the world which we perceive ourselves to live in is made out of the very same cloth. ‘Imagination always turns in the same circle’, says P. D. Ouspensky. The world I believe myself to live in is an extension or continuation of that original act of identification – it is ‘the world that is relevant to my idea of who or what I am’, in other words. The PW is the world that makes sense in terms of my original (mistaken) assumptions about reality and so it is ‘my original mistaken assumption’.



The original mistake (or mistaken identity) takes place in a flash – this is the easy part of the process; mistakes are easy to make and if the mistake in question generates a whole heap of excitement, a whole heap of euphoria, then the one thing we are absolutely guaranteed not to do is turn around and question it! No one wants to question a euphoria-producing mistake. The first phase of the loop of CE is where we don’t turn around and question our first perception, therefore – ‘not questioning’ is in fact the key ingredient here. Mistakes are easy to make but then come the consequences, of course, and seeing these consequences for what they are is not easy. We are deeply attached to that initial illusion after all – the very last thing we want to do is to see it for what it is. If we did that then we’d be free from the trap but the whole point is that this is one trap that we don’t want to be free from! We love the illusion more than we love the truth, we could say. Or as we could also say, we love the illusion as much as we do because we fear the truth










  • Alain

    Rationalisation as I will try to do right now is simply an effort to cover up ‘truth’ with a very thick and opaque carpet.

    Life as a human being is an incredible opportunity, first because one can wake up, secondly because if you don’t wake up, it does not matter, for everything is fine, everything is fundamentally OK. It is fundamentally Ok, because waking up or not, never happens, for there is no-one to whom these could happen, nor is there any ‘happening’.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a quite ordinary, simple, ‘normal’ life which rest on the adherence to consensus (world made up of words ideas).

    A world idea is an opportunity to see a landscape unfold. Our consensus, ways by which we interpret ourselves, the world, all those is and is not, are an opportunity to see a ‘world’. And as we walk along this ‘world’ of ‘ours’, the landscape and the horizon changes, moves along with us. Ideas are the eyes of unity, as those ideas gathers that by which we look from to that which we look at (and vice versa). I wrote ‘ the eyes of unity’, by which I mean a unifying process. I do not mean by this a ‘God’ or a transcendental unity or totality, in brief; unity is not a thing, it is process, dynamism, and that dynamism is an ongoing unifying process.
    Intrinsic meaning is that by which we look from, extrinsic meaning is that which we look at. It is ‘only’ a question of emphasis. More ‘recently, this emphasis ‘now’ is/has shifted on the what we look at (extrinsic meaning), which is made of ephemeral discontinuity or objective world.

    One may have or get the ‘essence’ but be blind to the function (or vice versa). And that function is the world itself (including our more or less consensual ways of seeing). Fundamentally there are no differences between essence and function, or essence and dream for that matter, or this unifying process or dynamism and the world. You can call it ‘groundlessness’ if you prefer, it is deeply, deeply alive, dynamic, for it is all there is, nothing resides outside it.

    Many, many years ago, I read something which I still think about once in a while; without ‘dreamers’ and dreams, there would be no world, for it is those dreamers and dream that stand under the ‘existence’ of the world itself. And so, we must be very grateful for the “blinds’/walking dead corpses.

    Dissonance is something nobody really enjoys, and we all tend to go on the defensive when we meet this dissonance or dissonant voice. Dissonance acts similar to ‘lifting up’ a corner of our carpet; our rationalisations. The role of a ‘Maestro’ is to allow this dissonance, all the while trying to contain it as the symphony goes on and on.

    The little life experiences I have tells me something; that one may create a lot of suffering by trying to change people, in fact a lot thinks that it is necessary to change or waking up the whole world. But the world/groundlessness is ‘perfect and complete’ right now and surely does not need any ‘assistant’ in order to make things better, furthermore ‘it’/groundlessness is one, alone and secondless. ‘I can help’ is illusory and unnecessary.

    Denial and resistance is our first line of defense and the threat of having the thick carpet of our rationalisation removed can be very painful and impossible for many. All this for what? To be free? Freedom from, is never true freedom, as this freedom is dependent on the something it needs to be free of. Freedom is where we start from, not where we could end into. To end the dream/dreaming? There is no such a thing as ending the dream/dreaming. One does not wake up away of all dreams/dreaming, one wakes up to the fact of dreams/dreaming. And that dream continues as it was ‘before’, but with a slightly different ‘attitude’; a well contained euphoria.

    I sincerely hope that my carpet hasn’t made things even more opaque.

    January 30, 2022 at 9:28 am Reply
  • Alain

    Yes, that is an ongoing dilemma that I have; this inadequacy in just about everything I do, everything I say, think. If I talk (and sometimes way too much) I feel deeply that I am inadequate, but then, if I don’t, I feel this same inadequacy.

    It is the same thing as saying that what something is, in a ‘rational way’, is an ephemeral discontinuous point of focus (or objective world), all ‘is’ are of this ‘nature’, all are condemned to fade away, all is are discontinuous, and so is this objective world of ours.

    Fine tweaking what? Our illusions? I would think that our rationalisations, trying to make sense of what is basically an impossible situation (our situation) act as a contra-buffer. It prevents us from falling into a deep abyss of despair out of which there is no escape.

    February 2, 2022 at 6:20 am Reply

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