Conservative Mode isn’t just about overtly trying to preserve stuff (or ‘hang onto the old’), it also comes into play – although not so obviously – every time we make a plan or conceive of a goal – plans and goals mean nothing if the Frame of Reference (the Mind-Frame) to which they belong changes. The ‘Mind Frame’ is another way of talking about the ‘Ego Identity’ and so we can also say that this that unless this sense of identity stays the same then there would be no good feeling, no euphoria, upon attaining the goal, upon bringing the plan to fruition. The desire to obtain ‘euphoria’ (or pleasure) is the sole motivator when we are acting out of the static mind-frame – the perception that we have achieved some sort of advantage (within the terms of the game as we understand it) always translates into euphoria. Advantage equals euphoria, just as long as we stick to the frame of reference that we started out with, and so we can say that Conservative Mode is all about chasing euphoria.
The Extrinsic Self – which is, we might say, the embodiment of Conservative Mode – is ‘always waiting for stuff to happen on its own terms’, therefore since it is only when things happen on its own terms that it can obtain any satisfaction, any pleasure. It has to wait because its own terms are 100% unrealistic – which is to say, they will never match anything that happens in the real world (since the real world doesn’t fit within its assumed Frame of Reference). The logic of the ES is therefore ‘to keep on waiting until this impossible thing happens’; it can’t do otherwise because it simply has no flexibility in this regard – it can only see things in the way that it sees them! Thus, the ES always has to be playing the waiting game. If it stopped playing the Waiting Game then it would cease to exist (since it only exists within its own FOR) and that clearly wouldn’t be in its own interest. There is no satisfaction (no euphoria) to be had if the idea we have of ourselves ceases to exist, after all, and – as we have said – if there is no prospect of euphoria then there is no motivation. No one’s interested. The opposite motivation operates here because if the ES is no longer ‘centre stage’ then there’s going to be no more prospect of euphoria ever – we can say goodbye to that hope and saying goodbye to the hope of euphoria is the one thing the ES doesn’t want to do.
All we can ever do (when we’re working out of a fixed frame of reference) is seek the ‘advantage’ – that’s the only logic we know, this is the ‘rule’ (or ‘principle’) which the game we’re playing is based on. Advantages (like disadvantages) only exist within our assumed FOR and so we’re never going to look outside this closed domain. Within the closed world that thought creates for us there are only two things – advantage versus disadvantage – and this constitutes what we may call ‘the Domain of Extrinsic Motivation’ (which is the domain where we are ‘motivated by external / mechanical forces’). In the Open Universe there is no such thing as advantage or disadvantage since that would require a standard or baseline to make comparisons with and there can’t be a ‘base line’ or ‘standard’ in an open situation. That’s a contradiction in terms.
What we see as ‘striving for the advantage’ is really just the preservation of our Frame of Reference, therefore. We say that we’re ‘trying to improve things’, that we’re ‘trying to bring about positive change’ but the truth is less inspirational – we’re simply ‘maintaining the status quo’, we’re ‘hanging on to the known’, we’re ‘playing the waiting game’. We can therefore say that what the Ego Identity is doing the whole time is ‘extending’ (or ‘copying’) itself – i.e., the Mind-Created Identity ‘creates itself by copying itself’. If the ego doesn’t reproduce itself in every action that it takes then it won’t get to be there and that – as we’ve said – was never part of the plan. All we’re looking at here is a long, long line of ‘copies’ – each one faithfully reproducing the one that preceded it, and all in the name of ‘improvement’. This is ‘my narrative of myself’, the continuous linear extension of my starting-off point. Linearity is copying – it’s the copying out of a single isolated geometrical point in a linear dimension. The Extrinsic Self is ‘the copying out of an abstract point in the linear dimension’ – it is the ‘refusal to change’ disguised as something more noble, something that is not just legitimate but downright heroic. The overt level of meaning is that we are trying to improve stuff whilst the hidden meaning of what we’re doing is that we’re endlessly reiterating the same set of assumptions (because that’s all we ever can do in a Closed World).
We cling to what we know because we don’t trust what we don’t know, because we’re afraid to admit that there could be such a thing as ‘change that hasn’t been orchestrated by ourselves, or by some system that we have put our trust in’. The Conservative Mode is all about us trying to benefit ourselves, whilst actually blocking (or thwarting) ourselves entirely. The CM is a total jinx, in other words – it’s a double bind that we have put ourselves in. Another way to put this would be to say that we have been hypnotised by some kind of pernicious illusion – the illusion in question being that there is such a thing as ‘improvement versus disimprovement’ (or ‘gain versus loss’). Gain versus loss can only exist within a static frame of reference, as we keep saying – to be fixated upon goals is to be committed to maintaining the status quo and when ‘maintaining the status quo’ is the only thing then we are systematically ‘refusing to let ourselves live’, although we absolutely can’t see this.
Just as long as we’re in Conservative Mode we will continue down the tracks that thought has put in place for us. We’re trying to benefit ourselves (and in our imaginations we might appear sometimes to be succeeding in this) whilst the reality is that we’re sleepwalking to our doom. We’re sleepwalking to our doom because when we’re playing the Waiting Game what we’re waiting for can never happen, and to be forever waiting for something to happen that never is going to happen is most assuredly ‘a doom’! To be ‘operating out of the conservative mode’ is to be ‘identifying with a machine’ and the consequence of this is that even when we do attain the prize (when we achieved what we have defined as ‘the prize’) it will do us no good whatsoever. It will do us no good because the machine-we-think-we-are can’t in any way enjoy it or appreciate what it has attained. Machines can’t enjoy anything because machines are only machines and – as such – they exist in a state of strict isolation from the real world. They can’t connect with anything outside of their own assumed FOR. All the Extrinsic Self can do is play the Waiting Game forever because – as we have just said – what it is waiting for is impossible to attain. The linear dimension is the Dimension of Illusion, therefore.
There is truth even in illusion however and this truth is represented by the Law of Degradation! We see the operation of this law is a terrible thing, a sinister or dark thing, but the truth is that it is simply reality showing itself, revealing itself to us. The Law of Degradation only applies to closed systems (which is to say, it only applies to the ‘simulation of life’, which is what the ES has to make do with instead of the real thing). The process of entropic degradation is showing up the ES (and its world) to be untrue, to be an illusion, only it is doing so very, very slowly – bit by bit, as it were. The disintegration or decay of the system that we’ve put all our money on is a manifestation of reality or truth but at the same time, because of the way we’re seeing things, this isn’t at all how it appears to us. To us truth equals disaster and what we are pleased to call ‘the truth’ is merely a self-serving illusion. Degradation (or disintegration) is the ultimate evil as far as we’re concerned and so we resist it with everything we’ve got. We want to build on what we have obtained, not see it smashed by some sort of ‘cosmic wrecking ball’. The ‘decay function’ happens against our will therefore, but it is happening all the same and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can equate the decay function with Old Father Time (which is to say, with Saturn) – which is to say, with that grim and unforgiving master whose rule no one can escape escape.
The doom we’re sleepwalking to is only a doom in terms of the-sleeper-who-doesn’t-want-to-wake-up, we might therefore say. As far as ‘the-sleeper-who-doesn’t-want-to-wake-up’ is concerned this is the worst thing ever. We couldn’t think of anything worse – everything is going against us and – sooner or later – we’re going to be unceremoniously pushed off a cliff edge. The process of being dragged unwillingly to that cliff edge was no fun at all, and the process of being pushed right off into the abyss isn’t exactly going to be a barrel of laughs either. There’s nothing for the ES to look forward to here – not even the slightest sniff of ‘an advantage’! The whole thing is bad news as far as the conditioned sense of identity is concerned, so we can hardly blame it for cutting up rough. We can hardly blame it for being so ‘negative’ in its outlook when this happens – it’s having a thoroughly horrible time and no one can tell it otherwise. ‘What we don’t give away (or risk) we will lose’, as the saying goes, and the thing about Conservative Mode is that ‘giving stuff away’ or ‘risking’ (when there is no guarantee of being recompensed for our troubles, of getting something back in return) giving stuff away just doesn’t make any sense at all….
Image – theoi.com