Society Is Based On Violence

Human beings love to control other human beings and there’s no arguing with this – it’s what we do, it’s our number one preoccupation. We don’t want to admit it but this is how it is. Controlling each other is ‘the name of the game’, it’s what it’s all about. To exist as the compartmentalized rational ego is to be inescapably committed to non-stop controlling.

We wouldn’t put it as bluntly as this of course. Even the most shameless dictator wouldn’t put it as bluntly as this – what we generally say to excuse our controlling is that things just aren’t right the way they are and so we want to make them right, which – on the face of it – seems like a highly commendable motivation on our part. Or if it’s other people we’re talking about, then we say that other people aren’t seeing things the right way whilst we are and so it is incumbent upon us to educate them in this regard, to show them the right way. This is an old, old line of course – it’s the oldest line there is, in fact. On the one hand we have the control, and on the other the justification for that control, and that’s how human society works.

What we don’t focus on when we automatically justify our controlling is the way in which it is us who get to SAY what the right way is or is not. A vampire has been put in charge of the blood bank, a biased person has been put in charge of the argument, which means that any talk of what is ‘right’ or ‘not right’ is just a very thin disguise for our visceral need to be in control, a transparent and derisory justification for it. Controlling – when we’re talking about the ‘psychological’ rather than the ‘pragmatic’ side of things – is simply about getting our own way, it’s simply about ‘getting to be the one who says what goes and what doesn’t go’. We automatically throw in some justification in for this most basic of behaviours – we might invent some religion, some philosophical or political set of ideas, for example, but that’s all it is really is the insecure rational ego trying to assert its supremacy wherever it can. I don’t seek to control because I’ve got the ‘right idea about how things should be’ (which is a meaningless thing to claim) I control because it feels good to do so, I ‘control for the sake of controlling’, I control because doing so satisfies some deep-down unacknowledged need that I have.

Everything in society is about control – society is simply about ‘regulating human beings so that they can be relied upon to behave in a generic way’. How we think is regulated, how we behave is regulated, how we see the world is regulated, and all of this is just ‘regulation for the sake of regulation’, or ‘adapting to the coercive system just for the sake of having a coercive system to adapt to’. We never, ever say this however – we talk about values or principles or ideals, which makes what we’re doing unquestionable, ‘for the greater good’, etc. When a bunch of people get together and – through the process of social adaptation – tacitly agree on what the right way to live life is then a kind of ‘mass justification’ sets in which is extremely hard to go against. If we can’t (or won’t) go along with the group norms then we will feel deeply ashamed, as if we had betrayed life itself in some inexcusable way, rather than it simply being the case that we have exercised our innate freedom with regard to whether we want to play the social game or not, with regard to whether we want to ‘do what everyone else is doing or not’.  Deviance is only a sin because the group makes it so, in other words, because it needs for it to be. Rules create ‘rule-breakers’.

What we don’t focus on is the fact that control – when it’s people were talking about – is always an act of violence. This means that society is fundamentally based on violence, as Krishnamurti says, and if society is fundamentally based on violence then what good can possibly come out of this? We blame the individual perpetrators of violence (or anti-social behaviour) – we have a whole self-serving ideology in place which says that crime comes about comes about because of ‘bad people’, ‘bad actors’, because of people who freely (if unaccountably) choose to behave in a certain way. This means that the role of society must be to make an example of these individuals by locking them up in prison, or punishing them in some other way (whilst in doing so cleverly exonerating the collective of us for any responsibility). We wash our hands of the miscreants, the wrong-doers. But how can we do this if the whole of society is actuallymade up of violence, made up of control? We make an example of the offender in order to create the impression that this is a special case, and not reflecting the values that we as the collective hold, and this is flagrantly not true. It’s a barefaced lie. The truth of the matter is that the individual concerned is not skilful enough, or clever enough, to disguise their violence by hiding behind some untouchable institution, some collectively held ‘value system’ that will justify our behaviour. The more unquestionable the institution, the more irreproachable the cause, the more safety it provides us with to freely enact our violence.

As has often being pointed out, in the social system that we have created for ourselves the real criminals never (or at least rarely) get caught and punished. On the country, they are generally rewarded for their violence, they are as a rule celebrated for their skilful and ruthless exercise of social control, and the reason for this is that they have been clever enough to align their interests with those of society. We are in effect singling out and punishing those who are doing exactly what we’re doing, only less successfully. As a culture, we fervently worship success in whatever form that may take, but at the same time we take care to never look into what exactly this so-called ‘success’ actually involves, or what we actually mean when we say the word. As long as I am ‘successful’ (i.e., good at doing whatever has been collectively validated as important or meaningful) then no one is going to look any deeper into it, no one is going to be asking any awkward questions – if the group validates it then it must be okay. Thus, as P.D. Ouspensky says, ‘the biggest crimes escape being called crime’

In existing criminology there are concepts: a criminal man, a criminal profession, a criminal society, a criminal sect, and a criminal tribe; but there is no concept of a criminal state, or a criminal government, or criminal legislation. Consequently, the biggest crimes actually escape being called crimes.

 Singling out individuals for punishment because they exemplify – in a blatant way – the violence which we all tacitly agree to subscribe to (but which we deny all the same) is of course violence itself. The denial of violence is itself violence – everything violence does to justify itself, excuse itself, validate itself, is also violence. Nothing can ever come out of a situation that is fundamentally based on aggression apart from more aggression, in whatever disguised form it may take. As Krishnamurti points out, even if we say that we want to be non-violent (and do our best to bring this about) this remains an act of violence; we imagine that by turning violence upon itself we can undo it, but this is not the case. All we get then is a ‘double dose’ of the poison, like a person who is angry with themselves for being angry, or like someone who is judgemental towards themselves because they are so judgmental. Conventional morality – which has the stated aim of improving human behaviour, of making it less violent) only has the effect of compounding the problem. What happens then is that we turn our violence (which is the only tool we have) against the impulses that are arising, in a moment-by-moment basis, within us. We’re ‘exercising self-control’, as it is said, but since control is itself violence we‘re not ever going to get anywhere like this.

All of our aggression, all of our violence, all of our vicious judgmentalism, all of our control, comes down to thought and because it comes down to thought it can never be cured by thought, remedied by thoughts, ‘fixed’ by thought. ‘Every thought is a judgement’, as Eckhart Tolle says – every thought is ‘a last word’, a ‘black-and-white statement of supposed fact’. Our thinking works, in other words, by saying what things are (or what they are supposed to be) and so when we say that we are suffering as a result of having too many ‘shoulds’ or ‘ought’s or ‘musts’ or ‘have to’s’ in our vocabulary what we mean is that we are suffering as a result of thought. All thought has this dictatorial nature; thought is ‘the Tyrant Holdfast’, as Joseph Campbell puts it. Once thought says what things are (and we fall for this) then nothing else can follow on from this apart from controlling. If we know what things are, or how they should be, then there is simply no room for anything else but controlling, obviously. There’s no room for anything else other than ‘trying to get things to accord with our unexamined ideas about how they should be’ and this is – therefore – the very root of all the trouble and suffering that comes our way in this world.  

Thought corrupts all of our relationships – there can’t actually be any such thing as ‘relationship’ when thought is involved. Relationship depends upon openness (which is to say, it depends upon us not taking our own viewpoint, our own position, as being absolutely unquestionable) but that’s just not how thought works. Thought can never question its own basis. The only type of activity thought can ever produce therefore is the controlling sort, the violent sort, tyrannical activity, it asserts itself in all things, and it can’t not do. Thought is ‘a machine for setting certain taking-for-granted (or unquestionable) values’; it’s certainly not the case that thought is a machine that can question its own functioning, question its own rules – no machine can do that! Our relationship with ourselves is corrupted along with our relationship with others; all we can ever do – when we are operating on the basis of the Thinking Mind –  is to project our ideas ‘of how things should be’ (or ‘how people should be’) on everything and everyone we come across, and this includes ourselves. When we say that we want to ‘improve ourselves’, for example, what we really mean is that we are ‘dead set on forcing ourselves to accord with whatever ideas we might have on the subject, no matter how stupid, unrealistic or downright ridiculous these ideas might be’. We’ll never gain any insight into how ridiculous or unrealistic our ideas are because all our attention is directed towards getting things to be the way thought says they should be, with no attention left over for questioning or examining these assumptions. Control is always blind, in other words.

In order to step out of the self-imposed prison of our own thoughts, our own prejudices, we would have to be OK about relating directly to life’s inherent uncertainty (or lack of convenient definition), and that’s where the big stumbling block lies. We’ve been ‘institutionalised by the thinking mind’, so to speak, what this means is that we’re used to being spoon fed, we’re used to having everything spelled out to us in black and white terms, despite it being the case that these black and white terms don’t actually exist outside of the thinking mind. We are habituated to having our food handed to us pre-chewed and pre-digested (thus saving ourselves from having to go to the trouble ourselves). How much easier after all is it to go along with the picture of things that we have been given than having work it out for ourselves? Once we’re in the habit of doing this then suddenly having to deal with an undigested reality is always going to come as a major shock to the system. But the price of keeping the security that thought offers us is that we have to live on the basis of control and – as we’ve said – the problem with this is that we are never going to be able to have an actual genuine relationship with anyone or anything. The ‘controller’ (whether they happen to be successful or unsuccessful) is always going to be fundamentally disconnected from reality, and this is therefore a modality of existence – a ‘fear-based modality of existence’ – that has precisely nothing to recommend it…





Image – alchetron.com






The Subsuming Of Individuality [Part 1]

There is a type of ‘seminal event’ that takes place in early childhood which is never mentioned in the developmental psychology textbooks but which makes an absolutely tremendous difference in our lives all the same and this event is the subsuming of individuality within the generic self (or, if we want to put this in Gurdjieff’s terms, ‘the imprisonment of essence within personality’). The reason there is never any mention of this crucial event is of course because we have all already passed this point in our development and – as a consequence – it is profoundly invisible to us. The only way we have of looking at the world is via the eyes of the generic self and the generic self cannot ever see itself for what it is. Or as we could also say, ‘history is written by the victors’ and the victory of the generic self over the individuality is as thorough as thorough can be, as complete as complete can be. Our true individuality has been replaced, as a fledgling cuckoo replaces the original inhabitants of the nest, and so it is never missed. Personality never considers the fact that it owes its so-called ‘autonomous existence’ to the process whereby essence is subjugated, and the subjugation (or imprisonment) of essence by personality is never going to be part of the official narrative. It’s like a big country annexing a much smaller one whose independent existence it never acknowledged in the first place – the act of annexing a country whose existence you do not acknowledge is not going to be acknowledged either!

 

The transition between childhood and adulthood is seen as a process of growth or maturation; the transition between childhood and ‘adult generic-selfhood’ cannot be regarded in such simplistic terms however – in a very real sense this is something of a backward step and certainly not the glorious progression we like to see it as. As Brian Aldiss writes,

When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of Hell. That’s why we dread children, even if we love them, they show us the state of our decay.

This is not to say that they aren’t any legitimate elements of growth and maturation taking place, or that we would be better off staying as children forever, in some Peter Pan-type world, but rather that the adaptive skills which we place so much stock in are only ever ‘provisionally useful’, and actually turn out to be an obstacle rather than anything else in the long run. Our adaptation to the social world is absolutely ‘an obstacle that we can’t see as such’. Obviously this is the case – society is only a game that we play after all; it’s a game that we only take seriously as we do because we don’t want to see beyond it – it’s a ‘surrogate life’ rather than a means to life. We naturally do feel ‘adult’ when we have successfully adapted to this game and this accounts for that peculiar type of ‘ego confidence’ that a lot of us exhibit but to be well adapted to a game (the hidden purpose of which is to allow us to spuriously evade our legitimate existential insecurity) is hardly grounds for complacency and self-congratulation.

 

The problem is that by allowing ourselves to feel that we have ‘got somewhere’ as a result of adapting ourselves to this artificial world that we have created for ourselves we have actually acted against our own best interests – we have accepted a laughable ‘dummy prize’ in place of the real thing (which is not such easy thing to get the hang of) and the consequence of this is that we no longer have any awareness of the actual challenge of life, and if we have no awareness of the way life is challenging us then we will simply cease to grow. We have been effectively sidetracked, in other words – we have been sent down a dead-end. Another way of putting this is to say that when we develop an identity that suits the social world (an identity that is a faithful reflection of that social world) the assumption that we are unconsciously making in the process of this adaptation is that the social world or social system is ‘the only world there is’ (obviously enough) and so where this assumption falls down is in the face of the undeniable fact that the social world isn’t the only world there is! It’s not actually a real thing at all – the social system is very clearly a ‘made-up thing’, a convenient fiction. To be adapted to society (or to the socialised view of reality) is to be adapted to an illusion and to be adapted to an illusion is to be disconnected from reality. This is a rather significant thing to consider therefore, by anyone’s standards. There could quite possibly be serious problems in this! ‘What type of disadvantages might come from being disconnected from reality?’, we might ask ourselves. ‘What type of knock-on difficulties might this involve?’

 

This is of course a tremendously open-ended question to be asking and it is very hard to know where to even begin answering it. There is no starting point and no terms of reference. The only thing that we absolutely can say however is that the consequence of adapting ourselves to illusion is going to be very great pain (or very great suffering) and this – in essence – tells us all we need to know. If we were o be very clear about this (which we aren’t) then this would be enough for us; this would be enough to open our eyes to our situation and put an end to any further involvement, any further collaboration. It’s as if we find that an old and dear friend of ours has been swindling and exploiting us right from the start; once we see this then it becomes clear that he was never any type of friend at all – that particular illusion will be gone once and for all. It will no longer be there to hold onto. ‘Pain’ of course is a word that can have lots and lots of meanings – it has so many meanings that we quickly come back to the point of again not knowing where to begin with the discussion. One way to start looking into the pain or suffering that inevitably attends ‘fundamental alienation from reality’ is consider a bit further what happens when we adapt ourselves to the illusory social world – when we are adapted to an illusory or artificial world then we are necessarily going to define ourselves in relation to that world – we don’t have anything else to define ourselves in relation to, after all – and the result of this ‘identification with an illusion’ is that we ourselves become an illusion. We thus become every bit as illusory as the world that we have adapted ourselves so enthusiastically to.

 

If the system represented some sort of genuine reality than ‘the identity which we have within it’ would also be real but seeing as how it just plain doesn’t our identity (which is all we know of ourselves and all that we can know just as long as we are remaining the state of adaptation) is completely fatuous, completely bogus. Because our sense of identity is completely fatuous we have precisely zero chance of relating to the real world and to call this ‘cause for concern’ is putting it a very mildly indeed – what could be a graver catastrophe than ‘the loss of reality’, after all? We might ask ourselves if it is perhaps possible to compensate for our loss of connection with reality in some way and whilst this might sound like a pretty stupid question to be asking it actually isn’t – just about everything we do serves as some kind of an attempted compensation for our loss of connection with anything real. Our ‘activities in the game’ are all compensatory devices whose function is to offset the ‘fundamental alienation’ that resides in our core and if someone were to ask exactly what our ‘activities within the game’ might consist of then the answer to this question is very straightforward indeed – our activities within the game are all about ‘winning’ in whatever shape or form that might take. What else does anyone ever do in a game apart from ‘try to win’, after all? What else is there to do?

 

‘Winning’ within a societal context simply means doing well within the specific terms that society presents us with; we – for our part  – simply interpret this as meaning ‘doing well’ full stop – we don’t see it as ‘doing well within the terms of the system’ because we don’t know of any other terms. We don’t see the system as being ‘the system’ and so for us any gains that are made within its remit are seen to be of an absolute rather than a strictly provisional nature. We feel that we have really and truly have got somewhere rather than just ‘having got somewhere within the strictly provisional terms of the game’, which obviously wouldn’t be a particularly meaningful proposition – that certainly wouldn’t be anything to get too excited or self congratulatory or about. So to come back to what we started off by talking about, we compensate for the pain-producing lack of connection with reality by [1] deceiving ourselves into thinking that our societal goals are ‘meaningful in themselves’ and [2] engrossing ourselves in the very demanding (and profoundly immersive) task of trying our very best to attain these goals.

 

This throws up an immediate dilemma when it comes to defining what mental health means because whilst from the point of view of the game that is being played good mental health means ‘continuing to find our goals meaningful (which means ‘continuing to find the experience of striving for them as being satisfying and fulfilling’) any deeper understanding of what it means to be mentally healthy would have to involve, in a crucial way, the seeing of the actual truth of what is going on here, and this would of course completely contradict the first definition that we gave of ‘mental health’. Any discussion of what it means to be either mentally well or unwell which ignores or fails to take account of this contradiction is bound therefore to be utterly facile. Any discussion of mental health that fails to take this flat ‘contradiction in terms’ into account is bound to be absolutely and completely absurd, but this is exactly what our culture fails to do. Our culture refuses to look at the ‘bigger picture’ (or rather, it refuses to acknowledge that there could be any picture other than the picture that is provided for us by the thinking mind). We could go further than this and point out that our so-called ‘culture’ is nothing other than an extension of the rational mind and this of course is absolutely inevitable given the fact that the rational intellect is the only part of the psyche that we give any importance or credence to. We see the world as a machine does and the machine never sees the full picture (to say that ‘a machine never sees the full picture’ is simply a restatement of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem).

 

To come back to what we have said earlier, the fact that a machine (or the rational mind) cannot see the full picture is not a problem in itself; it’s not a problem if we can see that the rational mind is not showing us the full picture, but if we can’t see this then all sorts of intractable difficulties immediately come into being – all sorts of paradoxes arise and the thing about paradoxes is that they are quintessentially insoluble. That’s what makes a paradox be a paradox – the fact that the attempt to solve the problem only makes the problem worse! Or as we could also say, ‘the attempt to solve the problem actually creates the problem.’ When we can’t see that the RT doesn’t show us the full picture (and according to it, it always does) then what we take to be unequivocal gains are in fact circles – our apparent games (which only come about because we take what thought shows us to be the same thing as reality) turn out not to be gains at all – they aren’t gains at all because there are only ‘gains within context of the game’, the game which we take to be the same thing as reality. There is in another words no such thing as genuine change within the mind-created world even though change or progress within the mind-created world (i.e. ‘winning’) is precisely what we are always chasing. Coming back to our point therefore, ‘health’ within the societal game means that we continue not seeing that the goals or ‘progress markers’ that we are orientated towards are paradoxical or duplex in nature. It should come as no surprise therefore to see that paradoxicality is hardly ever mentioned in the world of therapy – paradoxicality is after all the death of purposefulness and – in our simple mindedness – all of our therapies are purposeful (or goal-driven) ones. They are, we might say, ‘doing-based’ rather than ‘insight-based’.

 

‘Paradoxicality’ means that our attempts to escape the problem embroils us in it even further, or – as we have just said – that our attempts to fix the problem actually create it (i.e. the problem wouldn’t actually be a problem if we weren’t trying to solve it). We have an unwanted, pain-producing thought or feeling and our (very simplistic) approach is to believe that we can ‘deal with’ or ‘manage’ it in some sort of purposeful way, via some sort of a procedure or other. ‘Control’ is the paradigm that we are operating within in other words; control is the only thing we know, the anything we trust, and so we apply it ‘across the board’. Naturally therefore, paradoxicality is the very last thing we want to hear about! Our entrenchment in the overly simplistic ‘purposeful mode’ of operating goes a lot deeper than we might imagine however – it goes far deeper than we might imagine because ‘who we take ourselves to be’ (which is to say, the concrete sense of identity that is created by the process of us ‘adapting to the mind-created world’) absolutely relies upon our perception of there being such a thing as genuine positive goals, goals that are absolute in nature rather than duplex (‘duplex’ meaning that they have both a negative and positive aspect to them such that the one is always cancels out the other). Hard as it is for us to understand, our goals are mental projections and mental projections are always duplex (two-sided); projections are always duplex or two-sided by virtue of the fact that they are projections. My projections are an extension of me, after all; my projections are an extension of me and yet I treat them as if they ‘weren’t me’; I treat them as being ‘other than me’, as if there were ‘something new’. Because we relate to our projections as if they were something new (rather than seeing them as just ‘a restatement of the old’) we experience euphoria when we ‘progress’ towards them. The projection is not something new however – it’s just a tautology. It looks like a ‘new development’ in other words; it looks as if I’m ‘saying something new’ but really I’m just ‘saying the same old thing an apparently different way’ and this is why my projections are always duplex and will therefore ‘turn around on me’. This is why I can never really either ‘successfully catch them’ or ‘successfully run away from them’, in other words.

 

Talking in this way allows us to see, very clearly, that the ‘purposeful’ or ‘positive’ self is a game – it’s a game because it is based on us ‘pretending that our projections are not our projections when they are’ (or us ‘pretending that our goals are not duplex when they are’). The positive or purposeful self might be said to have its own type of health therefore and we might refer to this as ‘virtual health’. Virtual health is the health of a purely virtual entity, it’s the health of the ‘self’ that we pretend be in the game whilst not knowing that we are pretending anything. The projected state of being that we are calling ‘good mental health’ (and which we are aiming at so determinedly with all of our purposeful therapies) is a very peculiar type of thing. It’s a very peculiar type of thing firstly because it doesn’t exist and never could do, and secondly because when we have allegiance to it – as we do have allegiance to it – the ‘natural order of things’ is turned on its head. This is the ‘Inversion of Unconsciousness’. The inversion comes about – to recap what we just said a moment ago – because we are pretending that our projections aren’t our projections when they are, or because we are pretending that goals aren’t duplex in nature when they are duplex. This act of pretending (which we are wholly unaware of since we are also pretending very seriously that we are not pretending) creates the positive or purposeful self, and when we are identified with this self we automatically seek to organise the world according to this basis, in accordance with this basis. We will try to impose the values of this unreal sense of self onto the world, in other words, and this is the type of activity that we will always engage in when we are ‘psychologically unconscious’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything Is Communication

Everything is communication of one sort or another. Or rather, everything is either communication or ‘the fake analogue of communication’ (which we may also refer to as ‘pseudo-communication‘). Pseudo-communication doesn’t mean ‘lies’ or ‘fake news’ so much as the appearance of a two-way interaction going on when actually there is none. Pseudo-communication isn’t a real thing however – its just some kind of ‘collective fantasy’. In genuine communication there is actually something happening; with pseudo-communication however nothing is happening…

 

There is no interaction at all going on in the case of pseudo-communication because ‘interaction’ means that it’s a two-way street – otherwise, what we’re talking about is merely control and control by its very nature only works the one way! Control tells but it doesn’t listen. Control is the antithesis of communication therefore and in this world of ours everything is about control – either of the overt or covert variety. And yet control – ultimately – is an unreal thing. From what we might call ‘a psychological perspective’ (rather than a straightforward ‘mechanical’ one, which is of course purely practical), control is always ‘fear-driven’ and for this reason we can consider it to be a kind of ‘postponement of reality’…

 

In the past ‘the authorities’, the ‘rulers’, saw no need to disguise their power – it was taken as part of the divine order of things that the powerful should rule over the less powerful. No explanation was needed other than this: ‘It is the divine right of rulers to rule‘. Actually, this so-called ‘explanation’ was itself a manifestation of power, a manifestation of ‘effective covert control’. When the population believes that it is the divine right of kings to rule, then the question of challenging their power never arises! It’s no accident that the monarchy and the church were traditionally so closely related, so closely intertwined with each other.

 

The Queen of England, for example, has a particular (and very peculiar) position of authority within the Church of England – this authority in some special circumstances exceeding that of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the United States presidents talk a lot about God even though we might quite reasonably wonder what the connection what exactly the connection is between the shady business of power-politics and the divine. A democratically elected president might seem very different from a hereditary monarch, but there is still this implied relationship with God. We could quite reasonably ask what presidents (or the Queen) would know of God, but the answer (of course) has to do with the validation of their rule.

 

Within the last hundred and fifty years or so the idea that one human being should have power over another, for no other reason than the brute fact that they are in a position to assert this power, has become to be seen as completely unacceptable – is apparent in fact. ‘Might’ and ‘right’ are no longer synonymous. In one way this is undoubtedly representative of a huge leap in consciousness – humankind has woken up out of long dark slumber, or it seems. And yet in another way however it might be said that the gains we have collectively made in terms of freedom are more apparent than real. The change is that control is not explicit any more, as has often been pointed out – the wielders of power have simply grown subtler in their approach.  They have upped their game and we have failed to keep up with them. We have allowed ourselves to believe in the false freedoms that they have given us.

 

Everything is communication of one sort or another and communication is just another way of talking about consciousness. Consciousness is our essential nature and our essential nature is to communicate – this comes as naturally as breathing. What passes for communication’ in this modern age of ours is something very different however – it has the appearance of communication but not the nature. We could equally well say that what passes for freedom’ in this world is a pale shadow, a deceptive analogue, of the real thing. We are free to do anything we want just so long as it is within the terms of the game that we have not yet recognised as a game.

 

Similarly with what we like to call ‘communication’ – we are free to communicate about anything we want, just as so long as we do so within the framework of reference that has been supplied for us, without us ever realising that there was any choice in the matter. We talk about the things that we have been given to talk about, in other words. We’re interested in what everyone else is interested in; we follow ‘what’s trending’ and what’s trending is simply what everyone else is passively following. What could be dumber than this? But isn’t not so much the ‘things’ that we are thinking and talking about but the context of meaning within which these things are embedded – the messages that we focus upon are part and parcel of a framework that we don’t focus on and so we’re swallowing something without knowing that we are…

 

The overall point that we’re making here is that if I am thinking within some ‘externally imposed framework of reference’ without realising I am doing so, then I am being controlled without knowing that I am. My way of seeing the world has been decided for me, and what more effective exercise of power could there be than this? ‘None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free,’ as Goethe famously says.  If I as ruler compel you to live within a certain predetermined structure (within a certain format of existence that has been decided by me) then this state of affairs is actually a communication in itself – I am communicating my power to you in no uncertain terms. That’s the message you are getting, loud and clear!  But when I control you (by ‘regulating your reality’ so to speak) in such a way that you never suspect that anything is going on, then in this case I am most definitely not communicating my use of power, which makes my the control of you all the more complete. The ultimate form of control is therefore where I control what things mean (i.e. ‘what is true and what is not true’). This is a type of control that cannot ever be questioned.

 

Within this set-up we imagine ourselves to be freely communicating when we are not. We aren’t freely communicating – as we have already said – because the terms that we have been given to communicate within are not our own. We’re playing someone else’s game. We are operating within the confines of a framework of meaning that has been imposed upon us from the outside without us understanding that we ever had a choice. Given these circumstances (given that we are ‘playing someone else’s game without knowing that we are’) there is of course absolutely no way that we can communicate freely. There is no way that we can be said to be truly communicating because in order to communicate we must first be able to see what is actually going on! Authenticity is needed first, in other words.

 

If we were to look at this in terms of interaction, we could say that there is no possibility of us genuinely interacting either with each other, or with anyone who might be in a position of power or authority over us. There is the appearance of this possibility, but that’s all – there is only the appearance. We are allowed to fool ourselves into thinking that our interactions are genuine and not ‘pre-programmed’. What’s happening is that we’ve been wrong-footed right from the start because we’re not responding from the standpoint of ‘us being autonomous beings’ (which is what we naturally assume ourselves to be) but inauthentic basis of us thinking that we’re autonomous when the truth is that we’re not. We’re actually heteronomous not autonomous – enforced heteronomy is after all ‘the rule’! There is – as we keep on reiterating – absolutely no way that we can be autonomous beings when our entire  way of seeing the world has been supplied to us by some ‘external authority’!

 

The ‘external authority’ that we’re going on about here can be very simply explained by saying it is the very same thing as ‘the game we are playing without knowing that we are’. The ‘external authority is the framework that we live out the course of our lives within without ever paying attention to the fact that it is there and that we are allowing it to decide for us what is real and what is not real. We could also say that ‘the external authority is the structure we adapt to, without ever paying attention the fact that we are adapting to anything’. If we had some understanding of the fact that we are in the position of being adapted to a common structure, adapted to a common system or ‘machine‘, then there would be freedom in this understanding and so we would be able to actually communicate. If we don’t have this understanding (the understanding that our way of seeing the world is only ‘one of infinitely many’ such possibilities) then we never communicate at all – all we’re doing in this case is ‘passing on the propaganda’. We’re passing on the propaganda that we have passively absorbed without realizing that we have! We’re allowing ourselves to be mouthpieces for the system’s ongoing super-virulent output of ‘pseudo-communication’, which isn’t communication at all but merely an exercise in covert control….

 

Art – florentjin hofman: big yellow rabbit