Digging a hole to nowhere through nothing – synthetic realities
Every person’s world is full of synthetic realities. In the commercial world, corporations have raised to a fine art the ability to manipulate human wants. (And many would brag ‘to create out of whole cloth’) They would have you believe that by using their product you will be faster, more attractive, more intelligent, live longer and/or be more successful. They hope to put you in contact with those synthetic realities (and have you consider them as ‘real possibilities’) as an inducement for buying their product or service. (A classic example are the gyms which offer year-long contracts that they know will probably not be used after the first couple of months – in fact the profitability (not to mention the survival) of these organizations depends on their ability to sell memberships that will not be used. If everybody who was a member suddenly started using the facilities, the gym would be overcrowded.)
Classically, synthetic realities are used to induce an action by providing a vision of an alternative way of being which is easily seen as more desirable. Ideally, these synthetic realities will dissolve shortly after the desired action is taken. (In other words – and this is critically important – the mouse will loose all memory of the maze at precisely the point which it, having followed the proscribed pathway, reaches the cheese – and, upon reaching the cheese will, based on focused conditioning along the way, find it the most delicious cheese that it has ever had – and that that thought will dissipate to make room for the next maze – instant gratification and instant forgetting in the same package.)
Consider the advertising for diet programs or pharmaceuticals. These tell you of a life which is considerably different – and by implication considerably better – than the one you are presently living. Their purpose is to induce the ‘vision’ of what ‘is not’ and compare it favorably with what ‘is’ – and then to suggest that what ‘is not’ can be what is. (With appropriate proscriptions and provisos provided by lawyers, of course)
Celebrity – Who?
Now think of this ‘modern’ celebrity focused culture that we live in. Who are your heroes and how much do you know about them? These celebrity ‘persona’ are manufactured and carefully groomed ‘virtual’ realities promulgated by what used to be called ‘snake oil salesmen’. People actually live their lives in negative comparison with these ‘idealized’ visions of non-existent people – automatons whose principal purpose is to deceive and misdirect. So, for some, life becomes a burrowing into these synthetic realities. But in reality, this amounts to digging a hole to no ‘where’ through no ‘thing’. (It is a short journey from accepting these synthetic people as ‘real’ to accepting masks – synthetic versions of your self – as ‘real’?)
There is a real problem when synthetic visions of your self are substituted for the real thing. Synthetic realities are entirely virtual. There’s nothing ‘there’ but the ‘vision of the virtual’. (Without constant affirmation or intensive operand conditioning, virtual realities tend to dissipate rather quickly – hence the extended time and effort required for maintaining brainwashing.) Take this idea and turn it inward – what of those masks you have constructed because you bought into some anti-humanist load of crap that was ‘sold’ to you by people and companies that have no interest in who you really are?
Its time to take a fresh look at your list.
Returning to the List
By now you should begin to see your list in a very different light. At first, they have seemed like lies that you have told yourself – you have been both the ‘snake oil salesman’ and the ‘mark’ – seller and buyer. But I hope that vision is beginning to be supplanted by another. The masks are challenges to overcome and markers for the demons that need to be slain. In fact, we have been developing a road map to recovery. It should now be possible to see these ‘virtual realities’ and ‘manufactured masks’ as deadwood that needs to be cleared away.
Well, you can’t just call in a bulldozer and push them off the map – self-deceptions are made of sterner and more enduring stuff. So how do you attack these demons?
The True Meaning of Being Born Again
Well, first and foremost, you realize that not only are they of your manufacture (Yes – you manufactured these demons – they are not real) but there are support structures – like the spokes of a wheel – that keep them in place and maintained. (A wonderful example of what I am talking about is the 1956 science fiction movie Forbidden Planet. Dr. Morbius’ creatures of the id destroy all that opposes his will. The Krell – the race that developed the ability to empower these creatures – was destroyed by their own inability to come to terms with these creatures’ power – a fable of some relevance to our discussions here.) The spokes are their weak points. The self’s complicity lies in the maintenance of these spokes – the superstructure that keeps the masks in place. (In Forbidden Planet, Dr. Morbius dies in an attempt to deny his ‘creatures’ “I deny you!”, he shouts. But, of course, his pronouncement had no real effect. You face no such fate unless you die with out having made the attempt.) The first step in this process is to bring those off-key mutterings into better tune by removing the spokes that keep the sources of dissonance in place.
Empowerment (And, indeed, the path to enlightenment) begins when you start to see things as they are rather than insisting on them being what you would prefer them to be. (It is what it is and isn’t what it isn’t) This is a very powerful idea – think about it for a minute – or a decade – some ideas are very good constant companions. Then ask yourself, “What do I gain by self-deceiving?” (In this case I am making a distinction between misperceiving and self-deception and attaching an intentionally to the very act of self-deception – whether you choose to call the decision conscious or unconscious – the self decides to self-deceive – and, for me, that is a conscious decision.) Come on now – don’t let your self off the hook so easily – think about it – think hard. What does it seem like to you?
If it seems like a form of self-sabotage, then you are on the right track. The intention implied in self-deception implies a decision to deceive – and that intentional decision can only have been made by the self. (Someone else or some set of circumstances might mislead you – that is different – self-deception begins with the conscious decision to deceive the self.) How do you break out of this circle into a wider spiral? You begin by challenging that intentionality to self-deceive wherever you find it. That intentionality is precisely the energy which your self is deploying to maintain the masks – your intentionality.
A Death and a Smile
As a first step you need to assume responsibility for ferreting out those inclinations which you have used to create virtual distances within a synthetic recasting of your self. In short, you must begin to plan a death and burial for the burial shroud which you have so carefully woven over the years of your life – a ceremony that will take place, of course, without a corpse – only the shroud.