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Seeing Truly

The everyday self can never say or do anything sincerely, any more than it can ever see anything truly, which is to say, as that thing really is rather than ‘as the self is predisposed to seeing it’. This is a flat impossibility. The self can’t do it…

 

The reason for this flat impossibility is that the self is in essence a kind of knot or glitch in reality – it consists of a type of ‘error’ in perception that can never see itself as an error. Put simply, the everyday self (which we always take for granted and never look beyond) is based on seeing everything in a way that is not true, and which we cannot see to be not true. We can never see it to be not true because we always look ‘out’, and never ‘in’. We can never see our own bias – only what that bias shows us.

 

 

The self can never do anything sincerely because everything it does is mediated by the rational mind and this mind arises out of an assumption that we make, and then proceed to take for granted as a foundation for everything. Although ridiculously flimsy and ‘ten-a-penny’ at the outset, this assumption (which we make and then forget about) then goes on to become – for us – an absolutely unquestionable way of seeing reality.

 

 

To state this in the simplest possible way –

 

If the self is based on a lie that it is constitutionally unable to see as a lie, then everything it thinks and says and does must inevitably be an extension of this very same unacknowledged (or invisible) lie!

 

Similarly, everything the self understands to be true is inevitably going to be this very same lie reflected right back at it, as if it were an independently-existing truth, a truth that had not been arranged in advance. What I see as being ‘true’ is only my own bias reflected back at me, in other words!

 

 

Put this way, the situation of the self doesn’t appear particularly wonderful. What is it to do? How is it to proceed? The situation of the self is in fact quite hopeless, as resistant as we (or rather it) might be to seeing this. As we have said, the self has no other nature than that of an invisible (to itself) ‘glitch’ in reality and so everything it does and everything it sees is also glitched. The only possible way out of this mess is therefore for the self to let go of itself, relinquish itself!

 

 

This is the one thing that can help the situation but it also happens to be the one thing that I’m not willing to consider. It’s the one thing that isn’t on the bargaining table! If everything I do is on behalf of this arbitrarily-constructed ‘self,’ and if ‘a self’ is what it is because it always acts for its own benefit (i.e. because it unreflectively or automatically acts in what it perceives to be its own interests) then this business of ‘relinquishing the self’ is never going to be something that I have a sincere or honest interest in. I might pretend to have an interest in it (if I think this pretence might be of some sort of benefit to me) but this isn’t really true…

 

 

The reason I have no capacity to be sincere or honest in my desire to relinquish or let go of the self is because I have no capacity to be sincere or honest about anything!  No matter how badly want to do something sincerely, or say something honestly, I can’t. No matter how I might strain to be sincere, no matter how I might contort myself in the struggle to be honest, it just isn’t going to happen…

 

 

Sincerity/honesty is simply not a possibility that is open to me! As we have already said, this ‘chronic insincerity’ (or ‘chronic dishonesty’) derives from the fact that my understanding is glitched right from the onset. My understanding is glitched right from the onset because I am seeing everything from the standpoint of the rational mind, and this taken-for-granted standpoint simply doesn’t allow for the possibility that there might be other ways of seeing things. The rational mind is a jealous god, and it most emphatically does not tolerate any competition.

 

 

If someone comes along and says to me that the nature of the self is that of ‘a glitch that cannot see itself as such’ then this is frankly incomprehensible to me. If someone comes along and says that the rational mind (which we trust so implicitly) is based upon a false assumption, an assumption that we have made and then forgotten about, then this too is frankly incomprehensible to me. These are profoundly meaningless statements to me because as far as I’m concerned the standpoint which is the everyday self is the only standpoint there is, just as for me the basis for understanding the world which is the rational mind is the ‘only basis there is’. Just as I can’t question my self, I can’t question my mind.

 

 

If someone comes along and says that the only way to see reality as it actually is in itself is to ‘drop the rational mind’, drop it completely and without any reservations, then this doesn’t make any sense to me at all because this rational mind that I am supposed to drop is the only basis I believe in.  I have absolute trust in this basis – trust that is all the more absolute, all the more unshakeable because I never examine it. The rational mind – like the notion of the self, which derives from that mind – is we might say ‘the most taken-for-granted thing there is’ – it is at the one and the same time both entirely false (or ‘entirely arbitrary’) and entirely taken for granted!

 

 

But no matter how much we might take it as a self-evident fact that the rational mind, and its focal point of the self, is ‘the only way to look at things’, this is not the case at all. It’s only the case according to the assumed basis of the rational mind! It is only the case according to the taken-for-granted standpoint of the everyday self, which is totally biased…

 

 

It just so happens that when I look out at the world from the basis of the everyday mind it seems like an absolutely unquestionable fact that this is the only way to see things. It just so happens that when I look out at the world from the super-familiar standpoint of the everyday self it seems super-obvious to us that there’s no other way to look at things. This is what being ‘trapped in the thinking mind is all about’.

 

 

When we operate on the basis of the isolated or disconnected self then we tacitly agree to abide by ‘the rules of the game’, and the rules of the game are that we shall not know that it is just a game. Being the self which is separate from everything else (i.e. the self which is which is the ‘disconnected onlooker’) requires that we accept this limitation in the way we see the world.  In order to experience life via the static standpoint of the everyday ‘me’ I have to subscribe to the limitations of perspective that go with it – the one equals the other!

 

 

Similarly, it is a necessary condition of seeing the world via the portal of the rational mind is that we be restricted or confined to the one unchanging standpoint (rather than being able to move freely between all possible standpoints). There are multiple perspectives on the one thing – infinitely many perspectives, in fact. A simple example of this sort of thing would be the situation where there is a wooden fence around a building site with little viewing slits positioned at regular intervals, each of which offers a different perspective on what lies within. Every different slit shows me a different view, which means that I cannot take any particular angle as being definitive. If however I restrict myself to ‘just the one viewing portal’ then every time I look through it I will see the same old picture, which means that the view I have of things is now definitive (albeit only because I refuse to acknowledge any other view).

 

 

The essential protocol of the rational mind is therefore to ‘always look at things the same way’. It has a basic template or framework, a set of standard rules, and it applies this standard every time it takes in information about the world. If it doesn’t apply the very same yardstick every time then the whole exercise falls to pieces – this strict uniformity of approach is the only way to obtain the logically consistent picture of the world that we implicitly understand to be the world. We always see everything through the same old set of standardized categories (i.e. our thoughts) and this is the only reason we feel that we actually ‘know’ what it is that we are looking at…

 

 

This raises the question as to what exactly the world would look at if we dropped our standardized set of categories, if we dropped the well-worn yardstick of the rational mind. Our general inclination is to think that what we’d see would be a mess, an incoherent jumble of incoherent impressions – we suspect that without the organizing rational mind we will be very much prone to falling into a morass of sheer unbridled chaos. We can’t help imagining that to lose the static mind would be a huge disadvantage – if not to say an utter catastrophe. We can’t help imagining that without it we wouldn’t be able to make any sense of the world at all.

 

 

In one – very narrow – way this is perfectly true, but what we don’t see is that the ‘sense’ we lose when we lose the static mind is the sense that is recognized by that same mind as such! What we call ‘sense’ is that particular view that corresponds to our habitual narrow viewpoint, and so the whole thing is entirely tautological. We just lose what we’re used to thinking of as important, in other words.

 

 

The truth is that every single viewpoint that we might take has a sort of ‘sense’ that goes with it, which corresponds to the particular set of assumptions that is made in each case in order to be able to ‘decode’ the world. Every viewpoint produces a different (and mutually exclusive) logically-consistent picture, which tends to leave us wondering which picture is the ‘right’ one, since each one disagrees with all the others, just as for example the followers of one theory of economics will disagree with followers of another, or as the adherents of one particular fundamentalist sect will be adamant in their disagreement with all other sects. The answer to the question regarding which picture is the right one is of course that each one is ‘correct for itself’, but that if we do not choose to look at things only from the one angle, and ignore all the rest, then none of them are correct, since all possible logical viewpoints are equally arbitrary.

 

 

Saying this leads us to wonder again, perhaps, what the hell reality would look like if we didn’t take some specific angle or other. What would we see if we dropped all standardized yardsticks? What would we see if we dropped the omnipresent static mind altogether? This is the really interesting question. Everything else is a cheat, everything else is a pointless exercise in redundancy since the view we see is already contained (or inherent) in the logical viewpoint that we have chosen to adopt.

 

 

If we say – as we have done – that everything we see from the standpoint of the ordinary, rule-based mind is false, an ‘error that we can’t see as such’, then it follows that what we will see when we drop this mind is ‘the truth’! If the invisible glitch is removed, then the view will become unglitched, the view will become ‘what it actually is in itself’. But this of course still doesn’t tell us anything useful – it just tells us that what we will see when we drop the ordinary mind is the truth, rather than the redundant old everyday illusion that we ordinarily see, the illusion that we can’t see to be an illusion because it agrees with the illusory mind that is looking at it!

 

 

The trouble is that the illusory mind is asking for an answer to its question, which means that it is asking for a question that ‘makes sense’ to it. Obviously, it doesn’t want an answer that doesn’t make sense to it! Any answer that makes sense to the illusory mind is however by definite going to be an illusion too, which means that we aren’t getting anywhere. We’re just going around in circles. The truth doesn’t make any sense to the illusory mind – the truth is the very last thing the illusory mind wants to know about. The reason the truth is the very last thing this mind wants to know about is of course because the truth falsifies it – which is to say, the truth will show up the illusory mind to be illusory and so then of course it won’t be able to carry on with its pretence any more…

 

 

The only way the glitch in reality can continue existing, continuing being viable, continue ‘hanging in there’, is if we don’t see it as being a glitch. The whole thing only works when the glitch is invisible – this is the necessary condition. A glitch after all has nothing to recommend it! A glitch is something that looks as if it is going to take us somewhere, but doesn’t. A glitch is something that looks as if it is capable of relating us to reality, but isn’t. The only reason we go along with it is because we want to get somewhere, because we want to relate to reality, and so as soon as we see through this essential fraudulence we are of course going to ditch it! I will keep on voting for a politician just so long as he has succeeded in convincing me that he is working for my good, and that I stand somehow to benefit for him being in power but the moment it becomes clear to me that he is only there for his own benefit, and that he has been hoodwinking me the whole time, I am of course going to stop giving him my support…

 

 

The essential point to understand here therefore is that everyday self and the everyday thinking mind are both aspects of the same tautological ‘glitch’, the same self-serving ‘loop of logic’. Everything I see via the everyday mind proves that this mind is ‘right’. Everything I see via my habitual narrow viewpoint validates this viewpoint. Similarly, every time I look at the world from the point of view of the self this validates the self. From this standpoint of the rational mind it is unquestionable that this standpoint is ‘the right way to see things’, and from the basis of the egoic self it is unquestionable that this is ‘who I really am’. It is impossible to break out of the loop on the basis of the loop, and – more than this – it is impossible to see that the loop is a loop…

 

 

The everyday mind is loop because it only ever relates to its own projections, because it relates to its own projections as if they were not its projections. The ordinary mind is a loop because whilst it appears to relate us to reality, it actually only relates us to its own images of reality, its own simulations of reality. The self too is a loop, for much the same reason – in a nutshell, the self is a loop because it constructs itself in relation to its own projections, in relation to its own goals, its own ‘history’, its own hopes and fears, its own likes and dislikes, and so on. It can only relate to stuff that makes sense in terms of its own personalized (or private) way of seeing the world and if it ever did see something that didn’t have a place within the closed terms of its own private and self-referential way of seeing the world it would immediately start to feel unreal – it would start to feel unreal because it would then be seeing something that is not just another of its own banal redundant ten-a-penny mental projections…

 

 

Both the everyday mind and the everyday oh-so-familiar self come down to the very same logic-loop. What I relate to as ‘my self’ is after all just one more creation of thought – it has no genuine existence of its own, it has no genuine reality of its own whatsoever. What I call my ‘self’, and base all my thinking and purposeful activities upon, is an opaque surface generated by and sustained by that very same thinking – it is ‘a reflection caught between two mirrors’, ‘a copy of a copy’, ‘an echo of an echo’, ‘an echo echoing itself’…!

 

 

The everyday self is a vibration that is forever bouncing back and forth, back and forth in the virtual gap between two solid walls which are really the same wall, between two reflective surfaces which are really the same surface. Far from having a genuine reality of its own, it is – to use Poe’s words, nothing more than ‘a dream within a dream’…

 

 

This doesn’t mean that ‘nothing is real’ however – it just means that thought isn’t real, and that the sense of identity which thought creates isn’t real. It means that the thinking mind isn’t real, any more than what this thinking mind shows us (or relates us to) is. There is a reality, we could say, but it is a ‘non-comparative reality’, a psychic datum that cannot be defined or determined or substantiated in relation to ‘something else’. This non-comparative (or non-referential) reality cannot be verified in relation to some external framework or reference system that somehow – supposedly – has jurisdiction over it.

 

 

This reality is not a refection but the original article, which was somehow lost sight of. It is not a standardized or mass-produced copy, but the unique original, which has been sneakily denied by the copying process. It is not a self-referential ‘closed loop’, a frenetic and frustrated vibration which is doomed to be forever separate from the world it tries so hard to relate to, and which it wants so badly to be part of.

 

 

This non-referential (and therefore wholly unsubstantiated) reality is not defined in black-and-white terms in relation to ‘itself’ because it has no ‘self’ to define itself in relation to – and it is not separate from anything for this very same reason…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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