The machine world is like the Hotel California because whilst you can check in any time you please, you can never actually leave. According to all the advertising brochures the machine world is a marvellous place. According to the information which it itself provides us with the machine world is THE place to be. That’s where is all happens. That’s where the action is. The machine world can make all your dreams come true. The machine world can give you everything you want…
There is a bit of a proviso to this however. There are a few qualifications in the small print. The proviso is that the machine can only make those dreams which it itself gives us come true – if we buy into its dreams, and take them to be our own, then it can make them come true and we can be correspondingly over the moon’ about it. We can then be happy and content. Or so we are given to understand.
So the proviso is that the machine world can give us whatever we want just so long as we want what it wants us to want. The machine world can provide us with whatever we want just so long as we agree to go along with the desires and hankerings that it itself has implanted in us, and adopted as our own. The machine world supplies us with the complete package, in other words – it supplies us with the wants and it supplies us with the means of satisfying them. We don’t have to come up with anything ourselves, we just to pay our money. We just have to ‘buy into the package’…
So this is all great but there are couple other little provisos as well, a couple of other qualifications that we’d know about if we’d bothered to read the small print. One of these provisos is that the machine won’t always provide us with what we want (what it wants us to want). The deal is (as we would know if we bothered ourselves to look at what we were signing up to instead of rushing straight in like fools) that the machine will provide us with the guaranteed possibility of us getting what we want (what it has told us to want). It’s like entering a sweepstake – there’s no guarantee that we will win but at least we know we’re in with a chance! The other possibility on the cards is (of course) that we won’t win, that we won’t get what the machine has told us we want, that our dreams (which is to say, the machine’s dreams) won’t come true after all…
This proviso turns the whole thing into a game therefore. It’s a situation that is marked by the uncertainty as to whether we will get what we want or not, as to whether our dreams will come true or not. No matter which way it works out, we will still want to obtain the things that we have been striving for, we will still be yearning for our dreams to come true, and so if it goes this way we will feel very bad about things. We will feel very bad about things even thought the dreams that didn’t come true weren’t ever really our dreams at all. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t really what we want, it doesn’t matter that it isn’t really our dream. The machine creates for us the possibility of feeling good at the same time that it creates the possibility of feeling bad and so all we can do is try our level best to get the right result rather than the wrong one. This is how the game works, this is what it’s all about.
There is a third proviso, a third qualification that we have to accept if we want to go along with what the machine world has to offer, if we want to be ‘in with a chance’ of wining. This third proviso is simply that the machine world reserves the right to remove all references to anything else other than itself. The machine world reserves the right – in other words- to call itself simply ‘the world’ and take out a copy-write on this appellation. Any mention or inference that the machine world isn’t the real world becomes at this point (once the contract has been signed) a ‘prohibited awareness’. The third proviso is therefore that the game which we are playing – the game which we are compelled to play – isn’t ‘a game’ at all but the only way things could ever possibly be.
This is why we can’t leave the machine world, this is why we can’t simply ‘check out’ when we grow tired of it (as we will). There’s nowhere to leave to. There are no other possibilities. There’s nowhere else. The very notion of ‘checking out’, the very notion of ‘not playing the game’, has been taken away from us. That constitutes the ‘prohibited awareness’ which we have agreed to forget forever. This prohibited awareness is what we ‘don’t know and don’t know that we don’t know’. Because it is prohibited the the awareness never arises; ‘checking out of the hotel’ is a possibility that we can never consider – we can’t ever consider checking out because that’s the way the hotel is constructed.
There are only two possibilities that haven’t been prohibited and they are the two possibilities of ‘wining at the game’ and ‘losing at the game’. That’s all we care about. That’s what it’s all about. That’s the thing. This is all that we are allowed to care about. This all that we do care about therefore. We obsessed with being winners rather than being losers and what this means is that we ‘obsessed’ (so to speak) with never leaving the remit of the machine world….
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.