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Stigmatization and Blaming Mechanisms in the Mind-Created Virtual Reality

What we call neurotic distress or neurotic suffering is the result of us getting to the stage where we are unable to successfully displace mental pain any more. Normally we do whatever we do to ‘exit’ the pain without either noticing that it is there or noticing that we are ‘exiting’ it and this unconscious procedure facilitates us carrying on living in the way that we habitually do live it. The show goes on, in other words. But there comes a stage when our pain-avoidance tactics simply don’t work anymore – we press the button but nothing happens. We do whatever it is that we normally do but the action gets us nowhere, it falls flat on its face. Faced with this failure of our unconscious pain-avoidance strategies (which is in itself an unprecedented shock to the system) the only course of action left open to us is to escalate the behaviour that we normally use to escape the pain. This escalation doesn’t help us, but we carry on with it anyway because it really is the only card we have left to play. We never did have another card, and even this card was one that we didn’t know we were playing! So not only do we have the distress of being confronted with the fact that our pain-escaping (or fear-escaping) strategies are not working any more, we are also confronted – at the very same time – with the awareness we have these strategies there in the first place. And on top of this distress we have the additional level of distress which is caused by the out-of-control escalation of whatever dysfunctional behaviour it is that has now become painfully visible to us…

 

 

This – in a nutshell – is the ‘blue-print’ for all neurotic suffering, no matter what form it may take. Neurotic pain comes down to the failure of comfort zones we didn’t even know that we had! There is however a yet simpler way of looking at what are called ‘neurotic mental disorders’ and that is to say that they all come about (without exception) as a result of the Mind-Created Virtual Reality becoming too painfully constrictive for us to live in any more. The MCVR is always painful but normally we manage to displace it, we manage to push it away somewhere, out of sight. Neurotic pain is therefore – as we have said – a combination of the original pain along with the pain of becoming aware of the original pain and not being able to do anything with it. The MCVR is always a pain, in other words, and neurotic distress is us becoming aware of this fact!  What we think of as an illness, as a ‘malfunction’ of some kind – is actually the reality of our situation being brought home (in however unwelcome a fashion) to us…

 

 

When we fall into the grip of neurotic suffering all we want is to go back to how we were before. All we want is to be able to live life ‘normally’ again, but this means ‘living in the mind-created virtual reality without seeing that we are living in the mind-created virtual reality’. ‘Normal’ means the MCVR! When we’re stuck in the MCVR knowing that we’re stuck in a false version of reality is the furthest thing from our consciousness – we are very far indeed from being aware of this and if anyone were to come along and try to explain it us we wouldn’t stand for it for a second. For something to come along and somehow make us aware of the reality of our situation (against our will as this may be) constitutes something of a miracle, therefore!

 

 

Neurotic suffering is this miracle but it is of course a miracle that we want nothing to do with! It is a miracle that we would pay anything to get rid of. We don’t think miracles come in the form of grindingly painful debilitating awareness – this doesn’t fit in with our way of looking with things at all. We want something that will enhance us and empower our idea of ourselves – not something that will reveal us to ourselves as we actually are. We want our illusions to be facilitated, not to be ‘shown up for what they are’.

 

 

The MCVR is a mechanical thing and when we’re stuck in it that makes us mechanical too. It runs us as parodies of who we really are. How after all can being a mechanical version of ourselves not be a parody? How could we ‘live in the MCVR without knowing that we are living in the MCVR’ without being made mechanical, when the only things it allows are mechanical things?

 

 

The pain of being unknowingly caught up in the MCVR is that we are living as parodies of ourselves without knowing that we are living as parodies of ourselves and this particular type of pain is not therefore something that we aware off – it is something that is filtered out of the equation. It is something that is safely removed from our day-to-day experience as we live the type of ‘virtual life’ that is provided for us by the MCVR. Neurotic pain then – as we have been saying – represents the breakdown of this mechanism that prevents us from becoming aware of the parodic nature of our existence. ‘Normal’ means that the system gets to run us as parodies without us having any suspicions about what is going on, therefore. If we do have suspicions hen we are advised to go and get professional help. We are said to be unwell, we are referred for some kind of treatment or therapy…

 

 

It sounds strange to say that life in the MCVR is a ‘parody of what life really is’, or that ‘the system runs us as parodies of who we really are’ but this is actually a very straightforward proposition – life itself (we might say) is a free-flowing process, which is to say, it happens not because it has to happen (not because there is a rule saying that it must happen) but because that’s just the way it does happen. The MCVR on the other hand is NOT a free-flowing process because nothing ever happens in it unless there is a rule saying that it should.

 

 

The only way anything can happen in the MCVR is if it is prefigured or predetermined or preordained that it should – i.e. stuff can only happen when the possibility for it happening has already been decided in advance. Nothing new can ever happen in a formal system so of course everything that happens here is prefigured, predetermined, preordained. To say that ‘life is a free-flowing process’ is another way of saying that it contains freedom, and the contrast with the MCVR is that the MCVR contains no freedom in it at all.

 

 

If life is in its essence a ‘free’ sort of a thing (rather than something that has to occur according to the rues) then of course when we run a simulation of life in the MCVR it is going to be a parody! What else could it be? It is as if I am the absolute dictator of some country and I gather together a few thousand of the people who are totally under my control and get them to march up and down the square triumphantly waving brightly-coloured flags and singing songs about freedom. That’s how much of a parody it is!

 

 

As we have said, we are usually very far indeed from seeing that there is (or could be) this surrogate version of reality (which we are calling the MCVR) that we are unknowingly trapped in it and which runs us as parodies of who we really are. Because we are so far from this awareness the suggestion that it is this peculiar situation which is the root cause of all neurotic distress is something that we are culturally very indisposed to seeing. What we are referring to as the MCVR is, to almost all of us, what we see as just being ‘the way that things are’ or ‘how life is’.  Saying this means of course that we don’t see it at all. The MCVR is our base-line – it’s the thing we never question, the standard which we measure everything by – and so what this means is that right from the start we are prevented from understanding the particular approach to mental health that we are exploring here. Such an approach is ‘automatically meaningless’ to us…

 

 

Our taken-for-granted standard for what constitutes ‘sanity’ is therefore that ‘the MCRV is not the MCVR’ and so we see any glitches that arise is due to ‘something else’ and not this base-line of normality (or sanity) that we have spuriously assumed. The problem is externalized, in other words. If we develop neurotic patterns of thinking / behaving then this is not because we live in a self-contradictory pseudo-reality that has been created by the over-valued rational mind, but rather it is due to some sort of ‘malfunction in our minds’ that has come about as a result of genetic or environmental influences. Even though we don’t usually come right out and say it, there is this unspoken view that the neurotic problem is somehow ‘our fault’, or ‘our responsibility’. But even if we don’t as a rule come right out and say that “it is our fault if we are anxious or depressed or obsessive” the very fact that we assume it must be possible to ‘correct matters’ with therapy or medication or ‘positive mental attitude’ means that our neurosis automatically becomes our fault if we don’t quickly manage to get on top of it after we have sought professional help. Once we learn what to do in order to get better then ‘it’s up to us’ and if we carry on being neurotic then by definition this must be because there is some element of deliberate non-compliance / self-sabotage / malingering on our part…

 

 

As we all know society itself tends to give mental-health sufferers a ‘blaming message’ for their condition anyway (irrespective of whether they are visibly trying to get better or not) and this is phenomenon is known as stigmatization or prejudice. We assume that stigmatization is something that we can eliminate by education and promoting proper views but in reality the stigmatization of people suffering from ‘mental ill health’ is not something that is so easily sorted out. The problem is not so easily sorted out because the victim-blaming view is an inevitable consequence of the way in which we take an anxiogenic / depressogenic pseudo-reality as being an honest account of the way things are.

 

 

Because what we call ‘mental ill-health’ is actually latent in all of us – since it is implicit in our modality of mental functioning – of course we are going to fear and shun it wherever we come across it! Of course we are going to ‘blame the messenger’! It is like being ‘secretly depressed’ but never coming out and admitting it – if someone comes along and overtly manifests the symptoms that I am putting so much effort into denying then of course I am going to stigmatize them! Because we have made ourselves incapable of questioning the MCVR this business of ‘pain-displacement’ takes place (as it always does) and we question the sufferer instead. We blame the sufferer, even though we will not necessarily admit that this is what we are doing since victim-blaming is not politically correct anymore in these supposedly more enlightened times…

 

 

So we don’t come right out and say it (unless we’re real ignorant backwater red-neck types) but we think it instead, albeit on an unconscious / semiconscious level. We don’t say it but our attitude shows that we (unconsciously) mean it! ‘Political correctness’ means that we aren’t allowed to admit to our own thinking on the matter (even to ourselves) but our fundamental lack of understanding as a culture of neurotic suffering means that we are sending out the blaming or punitive message all the same, whether we know it or not. We still doing it only we’re doing it in a way that can’t be challenged because it is in some way disguised, because it is hidden beneath the surface. For the sufferer, the resultant ‘mixed-message’ (‘the pressure to get better and the unspoken intolerance if we don’t’) is of course felt very clearly but we will probably not see what is going on with any degree of clarity since we are more than likely to internalize whatever blame is going around (disguised or not disguised) and add it to the bountiful store of self-blaming that we are already carrying around inside of us.

 

 

On the face of things it does sound wrong to say – as we have been saying – that as a collective we are acting in a concerted fashion so as to make sufferers of neurotic distress suffer even more than they already are doing, and all under the guise of ‘therapy’, all under the guise of ‘helping them’! The suggestion that our ‘state-of-the-art’ mental health-care system makes people sicker rather than better is naturally not going to go down particularly well. But given that the MCVR is inherently toxic (i.e. anxiogenic, depressogenic, etc) and given that our culture, our way of life, is predicated upon the MCVR not being the MCVR (but being something unquestionably wholesome and good, like grandma’s apple pie) it is of course utterly inevitable that this should happen. This is the nature of the road we’re going down – the road of collective denial. If we – out of a stubborn reluctance to face a painful truth – push further and further the road of denial, we can’t realistically expect to get anywhere good as a result! If we as a culture are rolling down the road of denial as fast as ever we can then we are – come to that – hardly going to be in a position to talk meaningfully about ‘therapy’’ or ‘healing’! We can talk about it alright but when we do we will mean something quite different – we will mean ‘shoring up our collectively-validated defences’, not exposing ourselves to the truth.

 

 

What we implicitly see as ‘sanity’ or ‘well-being’ is the state of successful denial, i.e. it is where we get to successfully say that the MCVR is not the MCVR. This is equivalent to what Dr Gregory Tucker calls the ‘Master Lie which is where we say that ‘the dream that the mind is dreaming isn’t a dream’:

 

The dream features the dreamers using their rendition of “The Personhood Package” in the dream to defending “The Master Lie, or what it takes in this dream to defend the fiction right now is real, and not a mind generated dream. If right now can only be a Mind generated dream (MGD), then trying to prove truth is false can only be a mind generated charade, featuring the dreamers in ‘reality’ defending the lie it’s possible to prove truth is false with their rendition of “The Personhood Package,” which always includes story, or the conclusions the dreamer assembles to defend the fiction right now is real, the self, which is becomes the hero in the dreamer’s story, and the skit, or how the dreamer engaged in “The Endless re-run of its story,’ for a lifetime, or until the dreamer wakes up.

 

 

We’re dreaming that the dream is real, but no matter how much effort and dedication we put into this project it clearly isn’t going to get us anywhere. We’re starting off on the wrong basis! This endeavour is a bottomless pit into which we can throw as much effort and dedication as we like.  We’re trying to dream the dream that the dream isn’t the dream (that the dream is real) but how is this ever going to work out? What are our chances of pulling it off? What’s the prognosis for this project?

 

 

The Mind-Created Virtual Reality isn’t just ‘generative’ of neurotic suffering, its neurotic suffering in concentrated form. It is like some super-concentrated super-advanced liquid detergent that we can use one capful at a time to do hundreds upon hundreds of washes. It will go on producing lorry-loads of froth on until the far distant future. Instead of being packed with wholesome goodness however it’s packed with self-contradiction. The MCVR is a storehouse of impossible dreams – dreams that will rebound on us like industrial-strength rubber bands that have been stretched too far! The more effort and dedication I put into getting somewhere on the basis of the MCVR (which is the only basis I know) the more painfully all this effort and dedication is going to rebound on me a bit later on. I can stretch it – that’s the whole thing about rubber bands after all – but the energy I have put into the system is like a massive boulder that I have been painstakingly rolling up a steep hillside that goes up and up forever (unlike normal hillsides). The boulder can’t go up the slope without effort on my part and it can’t even stay where it is without me holding it there – the ‘boulder’ that we are talking about here has only one way to go and that is down. Anything I do to try to change my situation – whether I care to admit it to myself or not – is merely a ‘delaying tactic’…

 

 

The conspiracy is therefore to say that if we put enough energy and determination into stretching the rubber band, into rolling the massive boulder up the steep slope then one day – as a reward for all our hard work and dedication – we will reach the place where we don’t have to stretch the rubber band any more, where we don’t have to push the heavy boulder up the hill any more. As Gurdjieff says, we like a man frantically rowing a boat here, there and everywhere, driven by the hope that if he tries hard enough and searches long enough he can eventually reach the place where he doesn’t have to row any more…

 

 

The myth is that if we strive hard enough (and are not put off in our efforts) then we’ll arrive at the place where we don’t have to strive ever again. The myth is that if we control carefully enough then we’ll reach the place where we don’t have to control any more – the place where we will be free from the onerous burden of ‘having to control’. The myth is that if we routinize ourselves thoroughly enough (i.e. if we conform to routine existence assiduously enough and don’t rebel against it) then one day we will – as a result of our unquestioning obedience – be free from routine. The basic story that is being sold to us here therefore is that if we hand over our freedom to the machine (i.e. if hand over our freedom to the MCVR) then the wonderful reward that we will earn as a result will be freedom from the machine…

 

 

On one level we very clearly believe in this myth enough to keep on falling for it time and time again, but then on another level there is also an awareness that is being denied by our involvement in all this mechanical activity – the awareness that what we hope for isn’t ever going to happen. The one thing that the MCVR can never deliver is after all freedom from the MCVR. Because we have this repressed or denied awareness of the utter futility of our situation we are naturally unkind and unsympathetic (despite what we may like to believe to the contrary) towards those who develop the neurotic symptomology that makes visible the true (futile) nature of the Mind-Created Virtual Reality. We are harsh and judgemental toward them – we refuse to see their situation as it truly is.

 

 

We are unkind to them just as we are unkind to ourselves. This is what living in the MCRV is all about – it is all about denying our true situation, it is all about being harsh and unkind and judgemental towards ourselves (and others) when we (or they) fail to fit into it as it demands that we should. It’s all about us refusing to see that we never CAN ‘get it right’ since what we’re trying to ‘get it right’ in an illusion….

 

 

 

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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