We used to have a ‘purpose’ with regard to what we are doing, but the problem is that over time the ‘purpose’ (if we may call it that) has worn awfully thin! It has got thinner and thinner as the years have gone by and even though we are all very adept at not looking at that assumed purpose, not ‘checking up’ on it to remind ourselves of what it is, we are all suffering from the consequences of that ‘thinness of purpose’ all the same. We are ‘suffering even though we don’t know that we are suffering’ (despite the fact that this sounds like a contradiction in terms).
We are all behaving purposefully, which is to say, were all running around the place doing things supposedly for a ‘purpose’, and this purpose (which is as we have said something that we never really look at) is like the battery that powers us in our everyday life. We come to a complete stop without it; we ‘wind down’ like clockwork toy when the spring is no longer wound tight. The trouble is that in a closed system, EVERYTHING winds down and when we don’t examine our ‘assumed purpose’ in life this automatically creates a closed system! That is the very definition of a closed system because this way no new information can ever come through to us. In order for new information to come in we would have to question what we’re doing, we would have to question our assumptions. A closed system means one thing and one thing only – entropy.
The reason we don’t notice entropy setting in is because our perspective shrinks at the same rate that the entropy sets in so we don’t know that the process is happening. Our ‘purpose’ wears ever thinner, but because we never question it, because we never look at it, we don’t notice that our lives have become petty, banal and ‘cartoonlike’, and that the so-called ‘purposes’ that motivate us in our daily lives are unworthy of us. Saying that we ‘don’t examine our purposes’ is the same as saying that we don’t examine ourselves and this is what locks us into our ‘downwards trajectory‘, this is what turns it into caricatures of ourselves, parodies of ourselves, shadows of ourselves.
We end up in a situation where our ‘purpose’ is to distract ourselves from seeing that our purposes are hollow, and this is the hollowest purpose of them all! This tautological meaning is the only type of meaning that can exist in a closed system; the meaning is tautological because the meaning of our activities is to distract ourselves from seeing that our activities have no meaning. For there to be any other type of meaning we would have to have something in our lives outside of the stale confines of the closed system, but the whole point of a closed system is that we are acting as if there is nothing outside of it. There is of course something outside of it, but we act as if there isn’t.
What we have done (quite unwittingly) is that we have shut out reality. We have disconnected ourselves from reality and we have also disconnected ourselves from seeing the reality of what we have done. We have surgically removed all reality from the situation, and this means that anything can now pass itself off as being real, being important. Any ‘purpose’ that comes along becomes a magnet for our attention, and thus ‘magnetising’ for our will. We have therefore put ourselves in a situation where any ridiculous so-called ‘purpose’ can come along and hijack our attention, hijack our will, and this is the crucial inversion that marks a transition from consciousness’ to the degraded state of ‘unconsciousness’. That’s what the state of unconsciousness is all about – putting ourselves in the absurd situation where we can be hijacked (or ‘possessed’) by any thought that comes along.
To question the system that we are trapped in then becomes something that we are far too fearful to do – if we start questioning then we may uncover the truth and that would be a horrific thing for us! The system is our master and we do not want to question its right to be so. If we do that then we will discover that it is unworthy of being our master (i.e. we will discover just how frighteningly hollow our purposes are) and that would put the responsibility right back on us. Because of our fear of making this discovery we are trapped in our device and the consequence of being trapped in our own device is that we become subject to the law of entropy. This is the price that we pay for the ‘comfort’ not having to question our purposes, of not having to question ourselves…
As far as consequences go, this is without any doubt the cruellest price ever paid. We have gotten rid of reality and we have some short space of time left to us before we have to confront this fact. We have told a blatant lie and we have a certain period of time left to us before the lie gets found out. And even within this brief period of time things aren’t really all that they’re cracked up to be; we can’t really get rid of the awareness that we are living on borrowed time, living in a fool’s paradise. What sort of comfort is it when we know that our lie is going to be found out, after all? ‘Success’ in this realm of self-deception becomes redefined as ‘success at being able to ignore the awareness that we are living in a fool’s paradise’, whilst failure comes to mean that we have failed in our endeavour of proving to ourselves that what is blatantly untrue actually is true! Our entire value system has been turned on its head, in other words.
The lie that we have to believe in is the lie that says our purposes have not worn terribly, terribly thin, that they are in fact perfectly robust and respectable! This is the lie we tell ourselves every day and this is the pressure that we are under without even knowing that we are under it. We are suffering but we don’t know that we’re suffering – we only know how much we are suffering when we give up this tortuously futile and self-defeating task. The fool’s paradise to which we are so attached isn’t actually any sort of ‘paradise’ at all – it’s not life at all but only a mockery of life, a parody of life, a caricature of life. The trouble is however that we’re far too frightened ever to find this out! We’re prisoners in the bubble of unreality (or mock-reality) because of our profound unwillingness to see what is really going on…
Art: David Choe, taken from mymodernmet.com