to top

The Dance Of Dead Mechanical Energy

What we don’t generally know about this world is that the things that we do have their own strange type of momentum, and that this momentum rules our lives, no matter what comforting fantasies we may have to the contrary. The things that we think have their own momentum too, as Carlos Castaneda says, and this is something else that we have zero insight into. In the absence of such insight – into the deadly inertia possessed by the things that we do and the things that we think – it is inevitable that we will get caught up in their immense inertia, that we will the slaves of their deadly momentum. If we had any insight – if we were willing to actually look into the matter – then things could be very different…

 

 

If we don’t know that the things that we do and the things that we think have their own momentum then what’s going to happen is that we are of course going to be swept along by it. It’s like falling into a fast moving river – only we don’t even know that we’ve fallen into a fast moving river. Instead, we think that what the river wants us to do is what we want – we simply have no perception at all of any external controlling force. Our live get hijacked by the momentum of mechanical actions and thoughts and this momentum has no intelligence or awareness to it; it’s just a blind force that charges ahead heedlessly. What we are essentially talking  about here is a form of fundamental confusion – we fall into the situation where we mistake ‘what the momentum wants’ for ‘what we want’ and as a result our entire life gets turned on its head. We become the deluded servants of pointless inertia.

 

 

The momentum or inertia doesn’t of course really ‘want’ anything – momentum is only momentum, inertia is only inertia, habit is only habit. I don’t enact a habit out any genuine volition; it enacts itself through me because it has the momentum to do so. It has the momentum to do so and – furthermore – I automatically mistake this mechanical usurping of my will for genuine, honest-to-goodness volition. Once this inversion of values takes place then instead of me having any interests of concerns that are independent of the habit-energy (of the mechanical momentum) everything about me gets defined by this dead form of energy, which is in no way any different to the energy of a boulder that has been set off rolling down a steep hillside, or a great spring unwinding, or a pendulum swinging back and forth…

 

 

When we put dead momentum on a pedestal – as if it is or should be the ultimate decider of all values – then (although we don’t know it) we have put ourselves into a terrible position. There’s nothing good we can say about this position at all –it has absolutely nothing going for it! The idea that’s given over is of course that ‘it’s all for a good cause’; that as a result of obeying this external force (that we don’t see as such) we’re eventually going to get to a good place. There is an ‘over-all goal’ and the official story is that reaching the goal is well worth all the trials and tribulations that we have to go through in order to get there. It’ll all be worth it in the end. Our sufferings are meaningful because the end justifies the means in other words, and with mechanical processes we are always given to understand that ‘the end justifies the means’ because the end is (of course) going to be so great and so glorious.

 

 

All of this is just the cover story however – the end doesn’t actually justify anything because its only just a boulder running heedlessly down a hill, its only just a mechanical process blindly unwinding. There might be trumpets blaring and news bulletins telling about how glorious the struggle is and all that type of stuff but actually there’s nothing glorious or splendid going on at all. In reality, it’s all rather sordid – as history shows. What we’re actually looking at here is simply an equilibrium-seeking system doing its thing; entropy is the only deciding factor here, no matter what we may claim to the contrary. The reality of the situation is that there is an E-seeking system heading inexorably to its end-point of ‘maximum entropy’ and we have gone and made this system into the boss of everything – we have made the final equilibrium state the ultimate value, the gold standard that we always have to aim for, the unquestionable decider of everything.

 

 

Yet this equilibrium value, this sanctified benchmark, isn’t at all what we take it for, as we have already said. Equilibrium is just another word for inertia; it’s just another way of talking about ‘dead momentum’. So whatever the established pattern of things is, that’s the gold standard. We see everything in terms of ‘the unquestionable greatness of reaching the end-point that is implicit in the mechanical process’; this way of looking at the world conditions our thinking and so for us the dead momentum of our habits has become god. We have elevated ‘dead momentum’ to the position of ‘the decider of all things’ and so this is what guides our whole approach to life, and yet at the same time we bizarrely expect ‘good to come out of this’…

 

 

The ‘official story’ is as we keep saying that the process is going somewhere good, somewhere glorious and so we should all be happy about that. We should be both happy and properly grateful. We all have to salute the flag every morning; we all have to pledge allegiance to the Great Institution of which we are part. That is the attitude that is expected of us and it is also the attitude that we expect of ourselves. There are two levels of meaning here, therefore – there’s the official narrative that we have been talking about (which is the phoney ‘cover story’ that we are all ignominiously going along with) and there is the counter-current to this official story, or the ‘heretical questioning’ of the official line, which can somehow never quite be stamped out by the mechanical forces that rule this world. Both exist together – the current and the counter-current, the aggressive ‘patriarchal assertion’ of the way things are and the secret rebellion that is always taking place against this crude authoritarian stance. This dynamism, this ‘basic cosmic opposition’, is the story of the world, and it always was!

 

 

This is not just the story of the traditional power-structures and orthodoxies and customs that exist in the world, it is also the story of the personal world, the psychological world, the world of the internal power structures and orthodoxies that prevail there. There is a dominant narrative here too which has its own tremendous inertia and which we have to go along with because it’s far too powerful for us not to go along with. But as we have said not only so we simply ‘go along with it’, we buy into it. We buy into it big time and proclaim as truth whatever it proclaims. We align ourselves completely with the force of inertia, with the equilibrium-seeking system, and when we have done this we simply have no other way of seeing the world than this. This adapted position becomes our way of seeing the world and so it becomes us – we identify with it completely. This then is the true nature of the ‘inversion of values’ that we have been speaking of – the ‘inversion of values’ is that we identify ourselves completely with the blind mechanical force of inertia.

 

 

When we properly understand what this ‘inversion’ that we are speaking of entails the impact is truly staggering. The impact of this insight defies description – what has happened in everyday life is that we have identified ourselves with the dead momentum of the system and so we see the working out of that momentum as being the most wonderfully glorious and fruitful of all possible developments. We see the blind senseless inertia of the system as being ‘who we are’ and so – for this reason – we obey its dictates instantaneously, without question. Of course we obey and faithfully enact the dictates of the inertial system without question; we no more question it than we question ourselves. That’s the whole point – as far as we are concerned the dead momentum of the system IS ourselves…

 

 

Mechanical energy is the very antithesis of consciousness. Of course mechanical energy is the antithesis of consciousness – it is completely and absolutely lacking in sensitivity. Whoever heard of inertia being ‘sensitive’? the very definition of inertia is that it is insensitive (or blind to) the outside world; for it the outside world simply doesn’t exist. The E-seeking system knows nothing but itself and – actually – it doesn’t even know itself either. It has no self to know – it simply does what it does and goes where it goes and there is never any questioning of this. The very question of ever questioning this never arises; momentum is the antithesis of ‘questioning’ – there is only the inexorable working out of blind mechanical laws. There is only ‘the heedless mechanics of the situation’.

 

 

And actually – if the truth were to be known (which it very seldom is) – the inexorable momentum of which we speak doesn’t really exist. Momentum is a tautology and tautologies don’t really exist. That’s what ‘tautology’ means – it means that we seem to be saying something but actually we’re not. It’s all just a trick. It only seems to us not to be a trick because we’re caught up in it, because it’s all we know, because it’s the whole world to us. That’s the thing about a ‘tautological world’ – we can’t for the life of us see that it’s ‘tautological’ when it’s our world! So we think that we’re actually getting somewhere, we think that there is an actual ‘destination’ that we are getting closer and closer to, a ‘destination’ that is different from our starting-off point, but we’re not. It’s all just ‘the tautological world’; everything is always just the tautological world – including our conception of ourselves, our conception of who it is that is going to arrive at the so-called destination…

 

 

This ‘tautological world’ is actually the thinking mind; the thinking mind is an Equilibrium-seeking system. Of course the thinking mind is an E-System – what are all our ideas, our thoughts, our beliefs, our conclusions, our judgements, goals and identifications if not ‘equilibrium values’? The rational mind only deals in E-values – it doesn’t recognize anything else. It isn’t capable of recognizing anything else; that’s not how it’s built! Momentum is the force or energy of the system moving towards the equilibrium point, the point at which the system will finally come to rest, but this point doesn’t actually exist. It’s not a real thing, and neither is the movement that is happening in this direction. Linear change isn’t change – it’s staying the same! The movement isn’t real therefore. It isn’t really happening, it only seems to be happening. And yet this imaginary movement or progression to an unreal equilibrium value defines everything about us; this movement is our yardstick for everything, our benchmark for everything. We see everything in terms of whether gets to happen or doesn’t get to happen (whether we get to obey the rule successfully or whether we don’t). We pin all of our hopes, all of our dreams, all of our aspirations upon what will happen when we finally close the gap between ‘where we are’ and ‘where we want to be’. We pin everything upon that glorious moment when we finally get to reach our destination. But the so-called destination doesn’t exist and so nothing will happen when we get there! That’s what we get for being identified with the force of inertia – we think we’re going somewhere (and we get all worked up about it) but we’re not. It’s all a storm in a non-existent tea cup…

 

 

So the things that we do, the things that we say, the things that we think have a strange momentum of their own and this momentum ends up ruling us. The things that we do, the things that we say, the things that we think have ‘a life of their own’, only it isn’t really life. It isn’t a real life – it’s certainly not our real life! If the truth be known (which it isn’t) what we’re looking at here is a mechanical life; it is a mechanical dance which we are unwittingly compelled to partake in. It’s the danse macabre, the ‘dance of death’, the dance of dead mechanical energy, but we don’t see it….

 

 

 

Art: Istolethetv

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Nick Williams

Nick Williams works and writes in the field of mental health and is particularly interested in non-equilibrium states of consciousness, which are states of mind that cannot be validated by standardized experiments or by reference to any formal theoretical perspective.

(Visited 85 times, 1 visits today)
  • Michael Lee

    Nick,

    I think you would enjoy the short-story by D.H. Lawrence, “The Rocking-Horse Winner”. We are rocking as hard as we can, but never going anywhere.

    March 24, 2018 at 9:57 pm Reply

Leave a Comment