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Pseudo-information

Living life means leaving the defined logical realm of our minds, it means departing from the map, it means leaving behind the positive reality. There is no life in the positive reality that is created by the thinking mind – no life at all. The adverts might say that there is, but there isn’t! There is only the semblance of life in the positive reality, the cheap and nasty 2D appearance of life. The only time we get to live life itself – rather than the mocking semblance of it – is when we stop reading life from the script…

 

 

How do we stop reading life from the script that the mind has provided for us? What is the knack? What is the trick? What steps do we have to take in order to go about such a radical departure? These are the questions we are very much inclined to ask, but if we ask such questions then all that we’re doing is asking for a script to tell us how to stop reading life from a script! We’re looking for an idiot’s guide to improvisation, a beginner’s guide to ad-libbing, and this just isn’t going to work! Departing from the script is the one thing there isn’t a handy script for…

 

 

If we want to actually live life (rather than some pale generic imitation of it) then we have to leave the script behind. It’s worth repeating this point a few times because it’s the point that keeps being missed! We live in a world that is full of scripts – there’s one for every occasion. We’re positively bombarded with helpful scripts; they are being fired at us from all directions. We have been reared on a diet of them. We munch on them for breakfast, lunch and tea. We graze on them constantly, in fact. We see them as ‘helpful information’ but they’re not – they’re prescriptions for how to think. Information is something else entirely!

 

 

The stuff that we’re bombarded with on such a regular basis may be referred to as ‘pre-digested information’ – its information that comes with a ready-made context, a context which we take for granted when we tune into whatever it is that we’re grazing so peacefully on. No one ever notices the assumed context – this being the nature of assumed contexts! The pre-digested information is information that is useful from the point of view of certain ways of thinking, certain ways of looking at the world and because we take these ways of thinking or ways of looking at the world for granted the phoney information that we are being bombarded with gets mistaken for the real thing. There is the intoxicating illusion of ‘freedom of choice’, but the choice is an empty one really because it’s all just the same thing. It’s all just the one narrow viewpoint. We feel empowered by the fact that there is so much ‘information’ out there for us to peruse at leisure and draw upon any time we want – this profusion of apparent information seems to be bestowing us with a real and tangible advantage in life and so we never think twice about it. How can information be  a bad thing, after all?

 

 

Whilst genuine information is empowering, is enriching, is revitalizing, pseudo-information is not. All it does is divert our attention from seeing that the ‘way of thinking’ which this ‘information’ is useful to is not our way of thinking at all, but simply an artificial implant – a programme for living life that we have somehow picked up along the way, a ‘mind-virus’. The so-called information that we are constantly being bathed in is only valuable from the POV of the rational introjects that have taken residence in our heads and are busy running our lives for us. The more pseudo-information we are subjected to the less likely it is that we will spot these rational introjects (these assumed ways of looking at the world) as being artificial implants, and not who we are at all. Pseudo-information has the aggressive quality of ‘replacing reality’, therefore. It is utterly voracious, and knows no limits in its quest to expand outwards forever…

 

 

Pseudo-information is legitimate information from the POV of the rational introject, the POV of the script that we are unreflectively reading our life from. It is an analogue of information, in other words – it passes for information just so long as we don’t see the rational introject for the rational introject, just so long as we don’t see the script we’re reading from as a script. When we do see the introject for an introject, the script for a script, then we see pseudo-information to be poisonous, to be toxic, to be harmful and not empowering at all. The reason this pseudo-information is toxic is because it is burying us, because it is smothering us alive. The more our awareness is taken up with pseudo-information the more we neglect ourselves, the more we forget ourselves, the more we become strangers to ourselves because we are identifying more and more with ‘the artificial viewpoint of the rational introject’. We’re taking the instrument of the thinking mind totally for granted because we’re utilizing it so much, and so we put ourselves in the position of not being able to question it. What it says goes!

 

 

Another way of putting this is to say that pseudo-information acts as a very effective anaesthetic – it acts as an anaesthetic because it puts us to sleep. The more we hand over our attention to the incoming barrage of phoney-information the more shut-off and disconnected we become from who we really are, the more we forget who we really are. And we don’t forget just a little bit – we forget completely. This is total amnesia. This is full-blown. The ‘pseudo-information’ is meaningful / useful only in relation to the artificial way of looking at the world (the frame-work) that we have haphazardly identified with and so as we focus more and more on the ‘information’ that is coming in on all directions the more alienated we become from any other way of looking at things. Anything that isn’t the ‘rational introject’ gets forgotten about – this interloper wants the nest all for itself and so all the other (less demanding) baby birds get unceremoniously thrown out…

 

 

The process of ‘forgetting’ (or ‘falling asleep’) that we’re talking about here is – in essence – the process by which the unique is transformed into the generic. What we have been calling ‘the artificial viewpoint’ or ‘the rational introject’ is – we might say – the same thing as the generic mind, the mind that we pretty much all have, the mind that gets passed on from one person to another like a particularly contagious viral infection. Logic or rationality is of course always generic in nature – the whole point about logic is that it is generalizable, that it is ‘generally true’, that it is ‘true across the board’. This is the same as saying that rules are always generic; that’s what a ‘rule’ means – it means that the same thing has to happen every time! So when we tune into the type of information that makes sense to the generic (or rule-based) mind this means that we lose the connection with our non-generic nature, which is who we really are, which is ‘unique rather than regular’.

 

 

‘Generic information’ (which is to say, information that makes sense to the regular old categories of thought that make up the rational mind) ‘sends us to sleep’, therefore. This is the anaesthetic that we are all breathing in in such prodigious quantities every day. As we have been saying, information that makes sense to the generic mind isn’t information at all however – it is merely confirmation. It is that same generic mind reflected back at itself. It’s a closed loop. The type of information that the generic mind trades in is – necessarily – its own biases, its own reflections reflected faithfully right back at itself. The angle that we have taken gets confirmed as the right one; the question we have asked gets validated as being a meaningful one (because an answer comes back to us). What we don’t see is that the so-called ‘answer’ is merely an echo…

 

 

‘Confirmation’ doesn’t ever tell us anything new and for this reason it isn’t information. But it’s not just that confirmation isn’t information – it’s something that looks like information on the surface but which is actually the very antithesis of it. It’s something that works as the reverse of information. Genuine information is something new – it’s ‘the difference that makes a difference’, as Gregory Bateson says. Because it is something that in its essence is completely new information challenges us and if we take on this challenge we change. Information equals change, in other words. What could be more vital than this? Confirmation (or ‘pseudo-information’), on the other hand, isn’t about change, it’s about ‘staying the same’. Pseudo-information doesn’t challenge us – on the contrary, it tells us that we’re right to be doing whatever it is we’re doing. It tells us that we’re right to be living life in the narrow, stilted way we are living it. We’re right the way we are so the message is that we should STAY the way we are! This is the ‘conservative message’.

 

 

Confirmation is telling us that we have ‘already arrived’, in other words, and this is why it is putting us to sleep. We have stopped questioning; we have stopped looking into things. We might as well be dead because we’re only sleep-walking – we’re going through the same old motions over and over again on autopilot! As soon as we believe that ‘we’ve got to where we are supposed to be’ we stop looking at the world, we stop marvelling. It’s over. There is nothing more injurious to the spirit than to think ‘this it is’ because at this point life has stopped being a journey into mystery and has become something else. It has become something that isn’t anything really – it has become a time-honoured pattern of recycled thoughts and repetitive movements, a kind of shuffling ritual. It has become a ritual that we obey for the sake of the ritual; a ritual that we are pointlessly re-enacting because we don’t know what else there is to do. Everything has now passed over into the realm of the absurd…

 

 

When we put ourselves on a diet of pure confirmation then this has the inevitable effect of causing us to take life totally for granted. Only it isn’t life that we’re taking for granted but ‘something else’ – something that isn’t even a good copy of life! Whatever it is – it has no relation to life at all. As we have said, there is no life in the positive (mind-created) reality. The positive reality is made up of our concrete descriptions of ‘what life is’. To be more accurate, the positive reality is made up of two things:

 

[1] The scripts that are telling us how to see the world and how to think about the world

 

 

[2] The type of ‘information’ that makes sense to us when we operate on the basis of these scripts

 

The scripts and the type of information that gets registered by these scripts are of course one and the same thing – they constitute the two halves of a closed system. Our mental categories and the world that these categories show us fit together perfectly – they fit together perfectly because they’re the same thing!

 

 

Another way of putting this is to say that there’s no room in the positive reality for anything that isn’t that same positive reality. It’s a kind of a ‘solid block’. That’s the way that it is with positive realities – there is only room in them for what has been predetermined to be in them by virtue of the biases which they exemplify. There’s only room in a positive reality for what that positive reality itself has already decided shall be in it. And because a positive reality IS its biases (what else would it be?), this means that there’s only room in the positive reality for itself. So the positive reality is a kind of solid (or opaque) block made up entirely of itself and what ‘itself’ is has no genuine relationship with any actual reality.

 

 

We could therefore say that the positive (or mind-created) reality is a kind of bubble that insulates us from the world, rather than being something that allows us to actually engage with the world (which is what it claims). As Anthony de Mello says,

 

A thought is a screen, not a mirror; that is why you live in a thought envelope, untouched by Reality.

 

There’s only ‘me and my thoughts’ and in this bubble of ‘me plus my thoughts’ nothing new can ever happen. There’s no space for anything new to ever happen. My thoughts are an extension of me, a projection of me and so I live out my life in the ‘pseudo-space’ that exists between the rational introject and the world that is the redundant projection of this rational introject! Because this pseudo-space is no space at all, it follows that the so-called ‘life’ that I lead in it is no life at all…

 

 

The ‘bubble’ is made up of ‘me plus the pseudo-information that I don’t see as pseudo-information’, the pseudo-information that is created in such amounts by the thinking mind. The pseudo-information is supposedly telling us about the outside world but it isn’t – its telling us about a world that isn’t there, a world that never could be there! But it’s not just the case that the bubble is made up of ‘me plus the pseudo-information’ – there’s more to it than just that! The pseudo-information doesn’t just tell me about a world that isn’t there, a world that never could be there – it also tells me about a me who isn’t there, a me who couldn’t ever be there. That’s the other side of the story which is no story.

 

 

I define myself in terms of the world that the pseudo-information is telling me about and so what this means is that the self I define myself as being is a pseudo-self! The bubble that we’re talking about – therefore – is made up of ‘the pseudo-self plus the pseudo-information that doesn’t get seen as pseudo-information’. the bubble is made up of ‘a pseudo-self in pseudo-world’, in other words! And if this doesn’t strike you as peculiar, what would?

 

 

 


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.

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