When everything gets flipped around to the POV of the unreal mind-created self then reality gets to be seen as an error. We don’t or care to know any more than this – we just know that it’s an error and that’s all we need to know. We just know that it’s an error and that’s good enough for us! That’s all we need to know. The emphasis isn’t on knowing what the error is, the emphasis is on fixing it. Our lives are full of this constant fixing-type activity – it’s second nature to us, it’s something we engage in without us even knowing that we are doing it.
We don’t notice ourselves constantly fixing, constantly correcting, constantly adjusting, but what we do notice is when our automatic fixing no longer works! When this happens we notice it very well indeed, and the awareness is highly disagreeable to us. What happens then is that we become aware of our ‘second-order fixing’ – we become aware of ourselves trying to correct for the failure of primary or first-order fixing mechanisms. We’re still fixing therefore but the difference is that the fixing-activity that we’re engaged in has now become conscious. We can actually see ourselves trying to fix and this is a strange type of a perception for us because we didn’t up to this point know that it was happening. When this process of becoming aware of our own automatic fixing behaviour advances far enough (or lasts long enough) we refer to it as a neurotic disturbance and at this point it often happens that we seek professional help with the ‘fixing of our automatic fixing mechanisms’ – we seek therapy, in other words…
What’s really happening here is that our ‘comfort bubble’ has sprung a leak and we’re trying to plug it as best we can. We’re like the little Dutch boy standing with his finger in the hole in the dyke. We don’t see it like this of course – we don’t see that we’re trying to fix the error that is reality! we don’t see that we’re trying correct the faulty correcting mechanism whose job it is to automatically the ‘error’ which is reality so that we don’t have to become aware either of the automatic correcting mechanism which is always working away in the background or the error (i.e. reality) which it is supposed to correct. We don’t see things like this because we’re seeing everything backwards. When we’re in denial of something and the thing that we’re in denial of starts to make itself painfully (or frighteningly) known to us we don’t see that a reality or truth that we have been in denial of is now starting to burst through our defences, we just see that a very bad thing is happening. That’s good enough for us – that’s all we need to know! We see that the enemy is at our gates and we see the need to take drastic action; what we definitely don’t see that ‘the enemy’ is actually reality itself!
What we’re talking about here therefore is the legitimization of the failing defence mechanisms, and the demonization of the truth that we are so unwisely defending ourselves against. This spin-doctoring is what the ‘flip over’ is all about – this is precisely how it works. We start off on the basis that what is true isn’t true and then anything that contradicts this primary assumption automatically becomes the error that needs to be corrected. We ‘make up’ something, we invent it, we say it is real when it isn’t, and then the next thing is that we conveniently ‘skip over’ any awareness that we might have that we actually did this and proceed to the next stage in the sequence which is where we act on the basis that what we have invented or made up is genuinely true. Once we are acting on this basis then everything has been turned on its head without us realizing that it has been. We have legitimized ‘defending the illusion’ and we have demonized ‘seeing the truth’ and this is the precious POV of the unreal mind-created self.
This is such a simple thing to understand and at the same time it is also an endlessly profound thing to understand. What could be a more profound understanding than this? No matter what anyone may tell you they know about psychology, if they can’t grasp this very simple principle then they don’t understand anything! They actually know less than nothing because whatever they ‘know’ they know backwards. And of course it is almost invariably the case that a person who claims to know about psychology doesn’t grasp this key principle, the principle of the mind-created self necessarily seeing everything backwards so that it sees ‘the real as being unreal and the unreal as being real’. We none of us see this because if we did then that would put us in a very peculiar situation indeed – we would find ourselves at odds with the whole world! If we saw this then that would of course revolutionize everything we know. What could be more revolutionary than discovering that what we took to be real is unreal, and vice versa?
The reason the so-called ‘science’ of psychology never comes anywhere close to referring to this essential ‘flip-over’ between real and unreal is of course because it is predicated upon our standard rational POV being the legitimate one. All of our psychological theories are, therefore, part of the ongoing effort to defend the illusion. Any part of our rational output, any part of our rationalization of life, that we take seriously can only ever be part of ‘the on-going effort to defend the illusion’. The only thing is of course that we don’t see our theories as part of an ongoing endeavour to prove that our arbitrary basis is in fact the one and only correct way to see things. We don’t see our rational endeavours in this light; on the contrary, we see them as the noble effort to push back the dark tide of ignorance and superstition that has for so long washed over humanity. We see ourselves cast in the heroic mode, holding high the torch of rational knowledge, pushing ever further into the darkness, ‘reaching bravely for the light-switch’, as we might say. What we’re really doing however is extending the domain of our ignorance. What we’re really doing is the perfect inversion of what we think it is – we are ignominiously perpetuating the deceptive domain of our false knowledge, we are scurrilously perpetuating the domain of our denial.
True psychological insight comes in a single, world-changing flash. It isn’t a slow, tedious accretion of ‘research findings’ or any such pedantic nonsense as this. It isn’t the dull accumulation of yet more stultifying theories and models – it isn’t any positive proposition that is put forward on the basis of the POV of the unreal mind, the unreal self. What it is is the clear understand that everything we perceive as being ‘true’ or ‘real’ is perceived as such only from a vantage point which we ourselves have set up as being legitimate, as being unquestionably valid. Before everything else comes this crucial act, this act of deciding that a particular arbitrary viewpoint is the only valid one, the only possible way of looking at things, and then conveniently forgetting that it was us who decided that this should be so. We make a random choice and then suddenly develop amnesia about the fact that it was only a choice. As Berger and Luckmann say, the ‘opus proprium’ is thus transformed into the ‘opus alienum’.
From this point on all our day-to-day activity necessarily becomes defensive in nature – it becomes both defensive and profoundly humourless. It becomes dull and concrete. We’re trying to uphold what can’t be upheld; we’re trying to fix what can’t be fixed. As we have already said, we’re legitimizing our on-going ‘fixing’ in terms of some sort of ‘glorious onwards progress’, in terms of some sort of noble or heroic task. We see ourselves as achieving all these marvellous inspirational goals but really we are the ignominious slaves of the system of denial. All of our rational output, all our purposeful activity, has become part of the denial-based attempt to ‘fix what cannot be fixed’. Almost everything we do, almost all of our daily purposeful activity, comes down to the ‘legitimized defending’ of an illusion that we cannot see as such. Inasmuch as we are so solidly identified with the POV of the unreal, mind-created self, how could this be otherwise?
We naturally see ‘fixing’ as being a good thing – the word itself asks to be understood in this positive light. ‘Fixing’ is clearly the way to go – we understand that there is a problem and we also understand that what we are doing is (hopefully) going to make that problem ‘go away’. But when ‘the problem’ that we want to eliminate is the truth, when ‘the error’ is reality itself, then what’s so good about this?
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.