The space-time continuum is the archetypal introject – it is the introject behind all introjects. This is an unconventional way of looking at things. We implicitly think of the space-time continuum as being quintessentially open, as being genuinely ‘spacious’ in the sense that it possesses an intrinsic expansiveness that is capable of containing the full unimpeded range of all possibilities – whatever that range may turn out to be. We think of space-time (again, implicitly rather than explicitly since we don’t generally think about the space-time continuum very much at all in the course of everyday everyday life) as constituting the generous, all-giving, all-permitting basis of everything, the very matrix of possibility. To see it as an artificial, intrusive, unnecessary, limited, and perversely confining introject (or ‘imposition’) is therefore as remote from our way of thinking as any thought or idea ever could be.
This is of course the way with all introjects – the very last thing that is going to occur to us is that our thinking is being constrained by some invisible, inaccessible, unsuspected but nevertheless all-determining bias. Generally understood, we could say that an introject is an implanted or conditioned viewpoint or attitude of some kind, a specific way of looking at the world which isn’t really ‘my’ way at all, but which I unreflectively take to be mine (as opposed to someone else’s).
We could also say that the introject represents a very limited (or stilted) way of looking at world which we – as soon as we adapt to it – are no longer able to see as being limited or stilted. It is therefore a brutally crude constraint upon my freedom to relate to or interact with the world at large that I am – notwithstanding its lack of subtlety – quite unable to perceive as such. I am limited without knowing that I am limited, stilted without knowing that I am stilted, controlled without knowing that I am controlled, and so on. The introject has co-opted all of my awareness into itself and so there is simply no free awareness left over to see what is going on. To use Jean Baudrillard’s vivid metaphor, there has been a crime committed – a murder even – but this crime goes unnoticed because there are no longer any witnesses left to testify to the fact. More essentially, we could say that the ‘introject’ is a rational framework (nothing more than an old tin can) that wishes to be more than a rational framework, more than an old tin can – we could say that it is rational framework that wishes to be promoted to the exalted status of ‘the Supreme Principle of Reality’!
The essence of the introject is therefore that it is not seen as an introject. The very idea of me seeing that the thoughts that I am having, the opinions or observations which I am expressing, the beliefs that I am staunchly defending, and so on, are not mine at all, that they have been ‘introjected into me’, is one that is simply too radical for me to get my head around. I will laugh out loud at the suggestion. I will dismiss it instantly as the purest most ridiculous nonsense. This is actually a version of the ‘Big Lie’ principle mentioned by Adolph Hitler in Mein Kampf –
All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.
So the idea is that we all have a nose for little lies since we tell them ourselves constantly, but if we come across a lie that encompasses everything, a lie that is truly universal in its scope, then we will be quite unable to detect it since we ourselves would never have the sheer audacity to try to get away with such a tremendously big lie. Because of our own incorrigible pettiness, we will be utterly helpless in the face of it, and so we may take it from this anyone with the nerve, the balls, the audacity to put the Big Lie principle into practice will never be found out.
Similarly, therefore, we may say that the degree to which I find the idea of the introject flatly impossible to entertain even for a moment is also the degree to which my consciousness has been co-opted by the introject. It is simply too big for us to question, too audacious for us to doubt. In short, the introject does not allow us to be aware of the introject, any more than our conditioning will allow us to see that we are conditioned.
THE REITERATION OF THE LIE
The introject is – we might say – fundamentally mean, fundamentally impoverished. It does not tolerate anything other than itself and ‘itself’ is so wretched meagre as to be nothing at all! It does not permit any voice other than its own voice, and its own voice hasn’t really got anything to say! It is therefore like an insecure leader who is driven to repress any other points of view because he secretly doubts the value of his own. He rams his viewpoint down everyone else’s throats all the more forcefully precisely because it is so utterly lacking in any real substance. He repeats the same old hollow formula as relentlessly as he does precisely because it is so hollow, and this is the only way he can get it to ‘stick’. The lie – as always – has to be constantly reiterated – it has to be constantly repeated, constantly justified, constantly backed-up and reinforced precisely because it is a lie.
The introject is in itself quite barren – nothing can come out of it other than itself, and ‘itself’ is no more than a ‘glorified deficiency’. What it is deficient of is – we might say – simply ‘the truth’, and this is of course something of a major deficiency, given that ‘the truth is all there is’. The introject is barren simply because it tolerates nothing other than itself; by ruthlessly suppressing all other viewpoints it condemns itself to sterility. Its triumph is its sterility – the two are synonymous. What the introject is opposed to is reality itself – unconditioned reality is so generous in spirit that even the slightest contact with it would instantly show the introject up for what it is, and what the introject ‘really is’ is an imposter, a pretender, a phoney, a fake, a ridiculously inadequate copy of the real thing. It is precisely because the introject is a ridiculously, absurdly, laughably inferior substitute for the real thing that it cannot permit any authority other than its own.
An introject might be defined (in a rough-and-ready sort of way) as a narrow, intolerant judgement or opinion – applied either to oneself or to others. The characteristic activity associated with an introject is criticizing, blaming, judging, condemning, haranguing, complaining and so on. All of this really comes down to the same thing – it all comes down to the introject attaching negative evaluation to anything that fails to meet its own rigid and narrow standards. In addition, we can say that this negative evaluation is, typically, highly charged – it comes with a sting, it comes loaded with toxicity. It comes with a heavy freight of anger, bitterness and resentment. It comes with a charge of pure, undiluted negativity that would turn a lorry-load of milk sour at a distance of five hundred meters!
The only possible way to meet the approval of the mean-minded introject – and not meet with a toxic charge of negativity – would be to conform utterly to its rigid narrow expectations – nothing else will do. The twist here is therefore that the introject will only evaluate you positively when you totally submit to it, when you become its abject and unquestioning slave. In short, the introject will only stop giving you a hard time when you cease being yourself, and be what it wants you to be – which is an exact copy of itself! This ‘twist’ ought not really to come as too much of a surprise, given that the chief characteristic of the introject is – as we have just said – that it can approve of nothing other than itself.
I AM THE GIMP OF THE INTROJECT
Insight into the nature of the introject is essential to any genuine understanding of psychology. If we don’t have this insight into the nature of the introject then we know nothing – we’re merely deluding ourselves. It is no exaggeration to say that introjects – of one sort or the other – ‘run the show’ as far as most of us are concerned. I may naively imagine that ‘I am the boss’ (and live my entire life on the basis of this supposition) but this is pure fantasy – the introject is the boss, and I am its stooge, its slave, its fall-guy, its gimp, its badly-treated tool.
Evaluating the introject as ‘a bad thing’ and feeling angry or hostile or indignant or resentful towards it isn’t going to help either because these negative evaluations are the introject’s own tactics, its own smokescreen. The only way to become free from it is to understand it very well – to know it both intimately and impartially. ‘Impartially’ means ‘non-judgementally’ and if we define the introject as ‘that which judges’ then clearly (as we have just said) to judge the introject is to become the introject. And needless to say, ‘becoming the introject’ is not the same as becoming free from the introject’!
There are other things that we could say about the introject – we could start by saying that the main trick which it employs in order to ‘get its own way’ is that it automatically deflects everything the whole time. In other words the fault is always exteriorized – even when I am blaming myself I am ‘exteriorizing’ because I am locating the fault somewhere other than in the introject itself. The accusing finger always points elsewhere and no matter where it point it always wins because it is successfully distracting attention away from itself, which is what it has to do if it is to continue operating! It can never allow itself to be seen, because that would be the end of the game. The ‘fault’ – i.e. the deficiency – always lies in the introject because as we have said it has nothing to give, nothing worthwhile to say. It’s only claim to fame (its only validation) is that it is something which it is not, i.e. genuine unprejudiced reality. It substitutes itself for this genuine reality, and yet it cannot come up with the goods! It lets us down every time, it short-changes us, it takes us for a ride, it rips us off…
DEFLECTING THE PAIN
The deficit is always seen somewhere else, it is always projected somewhere else (the deficit in question being the shortfall between the false or artificial reality which the introject creates for us and the genuine article). This ‘short-fall’ between ‘what we’re presented with as reality and expected to believe in’ and ‘what this fundamentally deficient version of reality is actually replacing’ produces suffering (in fact it is suffering) but rather than seeing the pain where it belongs – in the phoniness or inauthenticity or general crappiness of the introject – we see it either as being the fault of others, or of the world in general, or of ourselves. We see it anywhere else than where it belongs, in other words. We don’t see the fault in the introject because we know nothing of the introject, and wouldn’t be able to understand what it is even if someone where to come along and try to explain it to us.
The introject’s gimmick (its only gimmick!) is constant deflection, constant projection, constant exteriorization. This characteristic ‘exteriorization-type’ activity can either take place in a negative way or a positive way. In the first case I am criticizing, blaming, judging, condemning, haranguing, complaining, griping and so on, and in the second case I am getting all enthusiastic about some type of positive goal or ideal, and vigorously putting all my energy and attention into attaining it. In the first case the perceived fault in the outside world symbolizes the deficiency that exists ‘on the inside’, and in the second case the goal (the projected idealized situation) symbolizes freedom or release from the pain that is caused by this invisible inner deficiency.
The basic idea of emotional ‘pain-displacement’ is of course perfectly familiar from a regular psychotherapeutic perspective. If I am in the situation where I am not acknowledging my own emotional pain (i.e. where I am not ‘feeling it where it belongs’) then clearly this un-owned pain is going to have to be displaced in some way and if I happen to be engaged in some sort of purposeful activity, then it is very likely to be the case that the successful resolution of this purposeful activity is going to unconsciously symbolize for me the resolution of my pain, my ‘hidden neediness’. My goals are over-valued because they are my way of escaping the pain I don’t want to feel. Similarly, we can say that the thought that I might fail in whatever task it is that I am over-valuing is going to be heavily loaded upon so that the prospect of ‘failure’ seems far more terrible (far more damning) than it actually ought to, in strictly practical terms. ‘Failure’ isn’t therefore just about ‘not obtaining the goal’ (though on the overt level of meaning it has to be); not attaining the designated goal unconsciously symbolizes a vastly more significant failure – it symbolizes the failure to escape from the problem that I’m not even admitting that I have! So my successes – however trivial – symbolize my power to escape from my own unacknowledged inner pain (which is of course ultimately an illusory power) and my failures – however petty, however insignificant – darkly point to my fundamental incapacity to escape from what is biting me.
DISCHARGING THE MISERY
Very commonly, if I am operating on the basis of an inner deficiency or lack that I am not allowed to see, and some snag prevents me from reaching my goal, then whoever or whatever it is that is getting in the way of the completion of my task is very likely to feel the brunt of my anger. Anger is the classic and unmistakable manifestation of pain-displacement, since the pain was there – albeit buried somewhere under the surface – long before whatever X, Y or Z went wrong, and thus ‘the thing that goes wrong’ constitutes nothing more, if the truth were to be known, than a handy pretext for me to discharge (i.e. exteriorize) this onerous burden, and displace my pain upon some convenient target.
If we are to speak in terms of the ‘psychology of the introject’ (as we have been doing) – we could say that the unacknowledged pain comes from the inadequacy of the virtual reality projected by the introject to successfully simulate reality. This displaced pain is plainly visible in the degree of seriousness (or ‘humourlessness’) that is present in my thoughts, my speech, and my actions. I will of course say that I am being serious (or being humourless) because whatever it is I am thinking or saying or doing is highly important, but really that so-called ‘importance’ is really just a pretext for me to discharge the unmitigated misery that I am experiencing as a result of being under the spell of the introject.
Taken further, stepped up a notch or two, this ‘seriousness’ is inevitably manifests itself in the form of harshness, coldness, judgementalism, vengefulness, hostility, maliciousness, sadism, aggression and outright violence. Because I consider myself to be ultimately justified in everything I do, anything that causes me affront, anything that gets in my way, automatically gets put in the worst possible light. If my cause is unquestionable good then anyone who stands in its way must be equally unquestionably bad. Polarity sets in and everything gets seen in terms of black and white, right and wrong, friend and foe. The fact that my cause, my mission is so ultimately justified, so unquestionable valid means – in short – that I can get away with anything in its name and so this becomes extraordinarily useful to me from the point of view of pain-displacement – all of the pain and misery that I am so unwilling to own up to in myself can now be used to fuel my condemnation of the ‘wrong-doer’, my blaming of the ‘wrong-doer’, my violent intolerance of the ‘wrong-doer’…
This discussion about introjects and pain-displacement is all very well but what does it have to do with introjecting space-time? We can get to grips with this possibly somewhat peculiar idea of what it means to treat the space-time continuum as ‘an introject’ by looking first at the nature of space. The type of space that we are specifically looking at here is linear space, which is the type of space that exists within a logical continuum, the type of space that lies between two defined points. The key point to understand about a continuum of any kind is that it is – of course – continuous. This means that there is ‘nothing in it except itself’, which is to say, the definitive fact about a continuum is that there can be nothing in it apart from what that continuum itself lawfully contains. Thus, every single point within a continuum can be exhaustively defined within the terms assumed by that same continuum. The type of ‘linear space’ that is to be found within a logical continuum is therefore a quintessentially measurable sort of a space – it is a known domain with no nooks or crannies or hidden little folds in it that are not definable or ‘knowable’ within the terms of that system.
We might ask why this should be the case, why there couldn’t be a little gap or pocket in a continuum that isn’t all mapped out and measurable down to the nth degree and the answer is quite simply that if there was such a gap or pocket then it wouldn’t be a part of the continuum! Such a gap or pocket would have nothing at all to do with the continuum precisely because it isn’t continuous with everything else in it, precisely because it isn’t subject to the rules that every other point in the continuum is subject to. The continuum is the realm of the known, the realm of the measurable, and as such the one thing we know for sure about it is that it can never contain any radical surprises.
THE REMIT OF LOGIC
Really, then, what we are saying is that a logical continuum is a ‘formal system’ – it is the same thing as a mathematical set or ‘a game’, it is exactly and precisely what we define it as being and nothing more. In mathematical terms, every single point within the continuum can be ‘arrived at’ by extrapolating the same basic underlying statement, and so what we call ‘the continuum’ is really just the set of all possible linear transformations of that statement. We could also say that the continuum is the entirety of what can be ‘seen’ (so to speak) from a particular logical vantage point. A different vantage point would give rise to a different continuum, one that is separated by a gap, a discontinuity which absolutely cannot be traversed or navigated by means of any logical procedure or protocol. Any point that cannot be reached (or seen) from a particular logical standpoint constitutes a logical discontinuity with regard to that standpoint and what this means is that it represents a domain or region about which nothing definite can be said.
Logic of course only deals in definite statements and therefore logic can say nothing whatsoever about the discontinuity that borders its lawful domain on all sides – it cannot even acknowledge the existence of that discontinuous region because to say that it exists is a definite statement and if it could make a definite statement about that region the region would be logically continuous rather than discontinuous. The discontinuity is thus a region of irreducible uncertainty, a region which is so radically and irreducibly uncertain that logic can’t even say if it exists or not. In practice, therefore, logic ignores the limits of its own applicability, which is to say any particular logical continuity acts exactly as if the discontinuity (which surrounds it just like the Pacific ocean surrounds a coral island) were simply not there, which is of course the only way that it can act.
Just because the whole of the continuum is definable or ‘accountable’ to the overall rule or criterion from which it is logically derived – i.e. the so-called ‘vantage point’ – this does not mean that there aren’t any infinitely more possibilities out there which are not visible to it (and regarding which invisibility it is necessarily blind). We could say that as far as the rule in question is concerned these possibilites, because there is no way in which they can be validated, do not exist, but saying this would be to miss the point – it would be better to say that the rule of which the logical continuum is an extension is sublimely uninterested in them, just as a hard-working income tax inspector – in the course of carrying out his duties – is sublimely uninterested in the fact that you grow petunias and sunflowers in your front garden. That simply isn’t his concern – unless of course you start selling them for a profit. Just as we can’t blame the income tax inspector for not having any interest whatsoever in the non-taxable activities of the people whose income he is inspecting, so too we cannot really blame the continuum of logic for being utterly ‘uninterested’ in any possibilities that lie outside of its narrow remit – it is in the nature of logic to be like this. However, just because any given logical system is always going to be oblivious to possibilites that it cannot make definite statements about, and treats them exactly as if they don’t exist, this ‘non-existence’ is entirely relative in nature, it is relative only to that vanishingly insignificant logical standpoint.
LOGIC CONTAINS ZERO PERSPECTIVE
The standpoint in question is of course not ‘vanishingly insignificant’ to itself – as far as it is concerned it is the very centre of the universe, the fulcrum around which everything else revolves. But this is just the way logical standpoints work – when you adopt that particular position and proceed to survey reality from this vantage point, then its particular authority drowns out and utterly invalidates the authority of any other viewpoint. But again, this is simply how logic works – any particular logical continuum represents a domain in which there is zero perspective. ‘Zero perspective’ means that we do not have the freedom to see that the particular rules to which we have adapted are not universally valid (or absolutely valid) but only valid from the specific standpoint or position which they themselves assume.
This sort of validity is of course entirely redundant – any set of rules is inevitably going to appear valid from the perspective of the logical standpoint which it itself assumes. That doesn’t prove anything at all. If I take a particular viewpoint then I will see a particular view – the view I see will be a logical extension of that viewpoint! But if I say that the view which I see must be true because of the fact that I am seeing it then I am missing the point that I have chosen for it to be true by choosing to look at it the world in the particular way that I did. Intentional acts are always redundant: If I choose for something to be true, then obviously it is not ‘true’ at all – it is only ‘arbitrarily true’, which actually means nothing. The inability to see that the view I see will always be ‘true’ in relation to the viewpoint which conditions (or ‘gives rise to’) that view is the fundamental ‘lack of perspective’ inherent in all logical systems, and it is this lack of perspective which makes it possible for logical systems to make definite statements about the world in the first place.
At this point it becomes fairly clear that logic isn’t so very different at all from the type of common-or-garden ‘narrow and opinionated viewpoint’ that we were talking about at right back at the beginning of this discussion. Both logic and the narrow mind see only what they are predisposed to see, what they are ‘set up’ to see, what they want to see. Both are utterly prejudiced, in other words. A prejudiced man only approves of things that agree with his own taken-for-granted viewpoint, and he discounts or dismisses everything else with superlative ease. Similarly, any particular logical stance or viewpoint only registers as real what it was set up to register as real in the first place, and dismisses all else without even realizing that it is dismissing anything. A mathematical way to put this is to say that logic automatically creates sets and the thing about a set is that it is all about black-and-white definitions – either a particular element is in the set or it is not.
When we talk about ‘logic’ we are talking about rules in other words, and the whole point of rules is that they are entirely unambiguous. If I pull a particular rule out of the hat and put it on the pedestal then what I am doing is creating a set – if an element matches the rule then it is in, and if it doesn’t match then it is out. If the element in question is ‘out’ then the rule or the criterion has nothing to say about it, no interest in it, no ‘relationship’ with it. Logic has absolutely no flexibility in this regard and it is this absolute lack of flexibility that makes logic what it is. Any flexibility or ‘give’ at all, even the slightest trace of it, and logic simply wouldn’t be logic. Any sort of humour or curiosity at all and logic wouldn’t be logic.
Apart from its attributes or properties of being absolutely narrow, absolutely inflexible, absolutely humourless and also absolutely incurious, logic also possesses a very curious attribute that we might call ‘false generosity’. The way this false or deceptive generosity comes into play can be explained in a fairly straightforward way. Whilst logic is by its very nature utterly and completely lacking in generosity (which is to say, it never under any circumstances lets into the party anyone who is not on the guest list) if you look at the world from its given perspective then logic will nevertheless appear to be supremely generous, supremely ‘allowing’, and supremely bountiful in its blessings. This is like saying that when you join a cult and start seeing things the way they want you to then that cult will appear to be extraordinarily magnanimous. The leader of the cult will now seem to you to be an extraordinarily benevolent and far-seeing individual, rather than being narrowly self-interested and despotic…
When you look at the world from the perspective of a particular logical viewpoint then the only world you know will of course be ‘the world of the invited guests’ – you won’t know anything at all about all people who were not uninvited, and in fact you will now be constitutionally incapable of either knowing or caring about them. The only world you will know will be the world of the party, and the guests who are at the party, and so logic will seem to you to be a very generous host indeed. This is because absolutely narrow or restricted domain which is the domain of logic is now ‘the Totality of Everything that is Possible’. So naturally logic now seems bountiful – it is after all the magnanimous provider of ‘the Whole of Everything’ (or so it seems) and what could be more generous than that?
When all we know is the restricted realm of the system of logic then it is not given to us to know that we are restricted. This is like a world where the only food that we get to eat is over-processed, mass-manufactured, innutritious tasteless pap – because this poor fare is all we know it becomes the standard to measure what is possible (the standard of what is good or bad), and by its own standard this inferior substitute for genuine food is not deficient or lacking. Anything, when measured up against itself as a standard, will always pass the test with flying colours! In the same way, if we were to be unfortunate enough to live in a world where the standard of music was abysmally, appallingly, cataclysmically low, and as a result of this we were brought up listening to third or fourth rate performers, utterly lacking in any originality and ruthlessly marketed by an all-powerful music industry on the basis of ‘the images that sells’, then this for us would constitute decent fare. We would consider these performers to represent the dizzy pinnacle of what is possible in terms of musical virtuosity. How would we be able to know otherwise? The industry is ‘generous’ therefore in that it provides us with what we understand to be a wide selection of highly original and spectacularly talented performers. It is ‘generous’ because it provides us with what we understand to be a high-quality, bona fide, and genuine product.
In the same way, logic is ‘generous’ in that it allows or permits the full range of all those transformations that already lie within the remit of what constitute – for it – lawful possibilities. This ‘lawful realm’ may be thought of as a giant chequerboard stretching off in all direction, such that if a possibility corresponds with a demarked square on the board somewhere, then that transformation is allowed. Each square represent a valid state that I can occupy, a legitimate place that I can be. Each square marks a move that is allowed for me. The question is – does this black-and-white set of demarked possibilities regarding ‘what is possible’ or ‘what is allowed’ constitute a genuine type of freedom?
The answer to this is clearly a resounding NO. The point is that no matter how many squares there are on the chequerboard this is only ever going to be a closed system. I can only ever ‘obey the system’, and what kind of freedom is this? Logic only permits those transformations (or moves) that match its own utterly rigid criteria – it is a dictator who bestows upon us the dubious freedom to obey his dictates to the letter under all circumstances. Or we could say that logic is like Henry Ford’s joke when he said that you can have any colour car you want just so long as it is black. There is an initial impressive gesture of expansiveness which immediately turns into ‘the taking away of all choices’ – an apparent generosity which actually covers up or conceals the exact opposite.
LOGIC SIMPLIFIES REALITY
Logic reduces – just as Aldous Huxley says the brain is a kind of ‘reducing valve’ – so too is logic. Logic ‘converts space’ into ‘surface area’. Logic dimensionally degrades space – it converts the real into the abstract, analogue into digital, metaphor into dull routine fact. Logic filters out the illogical, which turns the inexplicable into the explicable, the unexpected into the expected, life into routine mechanical movement. We could also say that logic functions by ‘shaving off’ appearances (two-dimensional pictures) from an N-dimensional hyper-solid, which can generate or provide an inexhaustible supply of these appearances, these two-dimensional pictures, precisely because it represents a higher order of dimensionality…
The realm of logic is a closed set of possibilities which looks ‘from the inside’ as if it were not closed at all. It is a closed set of possibilities which presents itself as being open. Logic permits itself, but nothing else because it is – by its very nature – devoid of any capacity to register about anything this is not ‘itself’. Thus, we can say that any given logical continuum always represents the end point of a cataclysmic ‘dimensional collapse’ in that a tremendous amount of information is irretrievably lost once we do end up looking at the world in this way. Information is lost and we don’t know that it is lost. The realm of logic is thus an abstraction that – by its very nature – disallows everything else – that is how it gets to be an ‘abstraction’ in the first place. Logic creates abstract pictures or simulations of the world precisely because it ‘only allows itself’, precisely because it only sees things in the one way…
The logical simulation is ‘signal’ and everything else is ‘noise’. Anything that matches the system’s initial assumptions is signal and signal is ‘the only thing that matters’. Everything else is the discontinuity and the discontinuity is everything which doesn’t fit into the over-simplistic scheme of the logical continuum. Put like this, logic doesn’t sound so universally wonderful after all – in fact it tends to sound rather sinister. The idea that we could get caught up in a simulation (i.e. an over-simplistic description of reality) without knowing it is sinister. The idea that we could be trapped in some kind of routine mechanical (or digitalized) analogue of the world is sinister. The idea that we could live out the course of our lives in our banal mental construct of the world (full to the brim as it is of endlessly repetitive and endlessly pointless redundancies) is sinister…
TRAPPED IN THE SIMULATION
This does not mean that logical simulations are necessarily useless or sinister in themselves. A mental/logical simulation is pragmatically (or ‘relatively’) useful whenever it accurately corresponds to a logical pattern or format which happens to exist in the outside world and in this case the simulation (or the simulation-creating mind) may be said to be adaptive. Insofar as the rational mind is good at spotting and understanding patterns that really do exist out there in the physical world it is adaptive (which is to say, useful) but the immensely valuable adaptive property of rationality comes with a risk attached that we generally have very little (if any) insight into. The risk can be succinctly explained by saying that all logical systems (all logical simulations) are the same insofar as they are constitutionally incapable of presenting themselves as being only relatively correct, which is the very most that they can ever be.
All simulations (i.e. all formal descriptions) are inevitably going fall short of explaining what is really going on since reality is of course always going to be more complex than the logical formula that is being applied to it, but logic itself has no way of recognizing its own limitations in this regard! For a logical viewpoint to recognize its own limitations it would have to be able to ‘see beyond itself’ and this is the one thing logic can never do. For a logical simulation to see that it is not the ultimate word on the subject would be the same thing as a rule seeing that it is not the ultimate authority with regard to whatever it is saying, and if a rule were to acknowledge that it is not the ultimate authority on whatever it is saying, then it simply wouldn’t be a rule! The digital simulation cannot represent itself in analogue form – once reality has been digitalized then it cannot be un-digitalized. It cannot be un-digitalized because there’s no analogue left in it! What we’re talking about here therefore is entropy. Entropy is a way of talking about irreversible information loss. Irreversible information loss means that there’s no going back – it means that the process of digitalization only works the one way…
The risk that we are talking about here is therefore the risk of getting trapped within our own logical simulations since if a logical simulation cannot see beyond itself and if we are relying on the simulation-creating rational mind as an absolute authority (which is how it presents itself) then there is no way we are going to be able to see beyond it either! In the absence of any insight into the relativity of all rational statements (and as we have said, rationality itself cannot supply this insight) we are automatically going to get trapped in our own thoughts, our own ideas, our own opinions, our own beliefs. We are automatically going to get trapped in our own protocols, our own methodologies, our own routines, our own systems. We are also – of course – going to get trapped in that system of methodologies, routines, and ideas known as society.
Once we are trapped in the thought or idea or belief, trapped in the routine or protocol or methodology, then the system we are trapped in instantly becomes ‘over-important’ to us – it becomes absurdly over-valued as a result of the absolute lack of perspective inherent in all logical systems and it is because it has become so over-valued that we cannot let go of it. The idea becomes more than just an idea, the belief becomes more than just a belief, the routine becomes more than just a routine, and so on. Something which is essentially ‘light’ or ‘playful’ has been put on a pedestal and ridiculously solemnized – it has been turned into a stupidly pointless ritual. The way this ‘solemnization’ or ‘ritualization’ process works is as we have said comes down entirely to over-valuation – if we didn’t over-value the viewpoint then it would remain light and playful and when we do over-value the viewpoint it becomes cumbersome and absurd. It becomes preposterous, like a person of no great merit or vision who suddenly becomes convinced (in an entirely unwarranted way) that he is now some kind of all-seeing, all-knowing genius…
What has happened in a nutshell is that the system has greedily subsumed everything else within it so that it starts to signify far more than it really does signify. The system (or ‘viewpoint’) doesn’t actually explain anything really – it’s simply a manifestation of play – but then because of the out-of-control inflation that comes about as a result of this subsuming business it ends up laying claim to far more than it ought to. A tremendous distortion has entered the picture and what happens is that instead of seeing the system that we have identified with as a particular system or a particular view, we see it as something far more important. What has happened here is the logical system (i.e. ‘the introject’) has eaten up the whole world!
This is the ‘sinister business’ to which we were referring earlier. Something limited is laying implicit claim to be unlimited, something of only local or relative significance has (by denying or dismissing everything other than itself) is laying claim to absolute significance, absolute importance. Something squalidly mean and dismally petty has enthroned itself within us and made itself out, amidst a fanfare of trumpets, to be the Glorious Source of all wisdom and generosity!
When this happens – as it does all the time in life, in an endless multitude of different ways – then we have fallen under the power of the logical introject. The tail is now vigorously wagging the dog. In fact the tail has gotten rid of the dog entirely…
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.