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The Curse of Rational Psychology

Nothing is more denying of the individuality than the generic self. This is of course a very obvious statement to be making; it’s an obvious statement to be making but it needs to be made all the same because it is so very rare that we distinguish between the two. Not only is it very rare that we distinguish between the two but it is also very rare that we appreciate there is such a thing as ‘the generic self’ (and what exactly this might entail). Without a keen understanding of what identification with the generic self entails we cannot in the least bit appreciate the nature of the cosmic drama that is being played out here. We are oblivious to this drama, pertinent to us as it is.  

We are all familiar with the term ‘ego’ but very few of us understand the true psychological implications of that term. We are too familiar with the word – we think we know what it means but we don’t. We couldn’t be further from understanding what it means. We talk about ‘my ego’ for example but this is a mistake because it’s not us who owns the ego but the ego who owns us. When we are subsumed within the ego then there is no individuality and if there is no individuality then there is no ‘us’. When we have been subsumed within the generic self then there is no ‘uniqueness’ to us any more, there is only regularity. The thinking mind is implicated here of course because the TM only deals in regularities. The TM is a machine and that is always the way with machines, naturally enough! There is no such thing as ‘a machine that can produce uniqueness’, just as there is no such thing as ‘a machine that can recognise uniqueness for what it is and not automatically write it off as error’. ‘Uniqueness’ is nothing other than reality itself and so machines cannot recognise reality. No one is ever going to design ‘a machine that can recognise reality’ – that’s just not going to happen!

No one is ever going to design a machine that can recognise reality for what it is and – more to the point – this is something that the thinking mind is never going to be able to do either. To say that this is an absolutely fascinating thing to reflect upon isn’t putting it anywhere near it emphatically enough. How often do we contemplate the fact that ‘the thinking mind cannot ever recognise reality’, that it is constitutionally unable to do this? In what psychology books can we read any mention of this cast-iron impossibility, and it most surely is a cast-iron impossibility, despite the fact that we will never hear anyone (least of all a psychologist!) talking about this fact, or even alluding to it in any way whatsoever. It’s as obvious as the nose on your face that the thinking mind can never recognise reality – the mechanism by which it operates is after all to compare incoming data with its categories, and thereby say what this incoming data means, what it gives us an indication of. This mechanism is nothing if not straightforward and there is hardly any need to go into it any further; the point here is simply that there is no ‘template’ by which to recognise reality – reality is a discontinuity not a logical continuity and logic only recognises that which is ‘continuous’ with itself (which is to say, logic can’t acknowledge the existence of anything that doesn’t fit in with its assumed framework, or doesn’t match its unexamined assumptions). That’s how limited logic is, and that’s also how limited thought is…

This is a very straightforward thing that we are saying here; there is no need for any theoretical buttressing – we are simply using the two terms ‘reality’ and ‘information’ interchangeably. If we know that something is coming, and we know – moreover – what exactly it is that’s coming, then ‘what’s coming’ isn’t information. Far from being ‘information’, it’s a tautology, it’s a redundancy. If something is only ‘tautologically true’ then this means that it isn’t actually true at all – it’s ‘an appearance rather than a reality,’ in other words. If something isn’t contained in the previous moment, wasn’t inherent in the set of assumptions that we have already made, and yet it ‘comes up’ all the same, then this is what constitutes information. This is just another way of saying that what has just made himself known to us isn’t merely an extension or projection of our dead ideas about reality but is actually the genuine article itself. Thus, the logical continuum equals ‘redundancy disguised as information’, whilst the discontinuity (i.e. what is not expected or assumed) is genuine information, is ‘the real deal’. It’s the real deal precisely because it doesn’t fit in with their ideas about it; it’s the real deal because there is no match between <Actual> and <Expected>.

We might perhaps imagine that this way of talking about information could be used to provide a way of making a machine that can detect information but it just doesn’t work like this – mechanical processes always need a positive description of what they are identifying, a ‘negative description’ just won’t do. Negative results are always how a system determines error and this can’t be switched around to work the other way. All mechanisms have to be targeted toward something specific just as all rules by their very nature always have to point to something specific, some particular defined outcome or situation. There can be no such thing as a ‘non-specific rule’, after all. There’s no such thing as ‘a rule that can direct us towards a unique situation’ just as there’s no such thing as ‘a criterion that can distinguish reality’. It is the incapacity of the thinking mind (which is based on criteria and nothing else but criteria) to acknowledge or in any way relate to reality that results in the creation of the generic self therefore. Thought can do nothing else but give rise to the generic self – if allowed to do so. So just to come back to what we started off by saying, there is nothing more denying of the individuality that the generic self and so if it were to be the case that we value our individuality then we would pay a bit more attention to this malign process, in the same way that we would pay attention to a black mamba or spitting cobra suddenly entering the room – it wouldn’t do to be blasé or casual about this sort of thing, after all! When there is a very great danger than it makes sense to respect that danger for what it is, and the unchecked activity of thought is a very great danger. It is a very great danger to our individuality and our individuality is who we actually are…

What we looking at here is a very strange situation therefore – we are looking at a situation where what is most precious to us – who we actually are – is allowed to be subsumed within the generic identity (which is not us but some cheap imitation which flagrantly masquerades as us) any time of the day or night without us paying the slightest heed to the matter. In practical terms, then, our true nature, our individuality, doesn’t matter in the least to us – we couldn’t care less if it gets subsumed by the crass ‘generic self’. We give it away at every opportunity without even noticing what we are doing, without ever giving it a second thought. With things that are precious to us we don’t do this, obviously – we don’t let people casually take our children away from us for example, but we will let the generic self step in our shoes any time it wants to – which is all of the time. When does the generic self not want to subsume the true individuality, after all? We might as well ask when a starving wolf would not want to eat a big fat sirloin steak that is left right in front of its nose? Or we might also ask, when does a hungry predator not want to eat its lawful prey? This is a mechanical law that we talking about here and mechanical laws are not ‘hit or miss’ – mechanical laws are the most reliable thing in the whole universe!

The reason we are not more mindful of the danger of the individuality being eaten alive by the Wolf of the generic self (and the reason we ‘compulsively give ourselves away to the predator every time it presents itself to us’) is of course because we have absolutely no idea of what is going on. We couldn’t be further from understanding what is going on because we don’t appreciate the dynamics of this situation – we don’t see that there is any conflict between the unique and the regular going on, or that one represents ‘who we really are’ and the other ‘who or what the thinking mind compels us to believe we are’. The ‘unique’ is so very ‘underrepresented’ that – in practical terms – we don’t even know that they is or could be such a thing. We actually live in the World of the Generic – a mass-produced world, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ world, a world that is produced by thought, and in such a world there is simply no place for the unique art or the unique. Thought works by eradicating the odd and the unique, as we have already said; thought’s efficiency lies precisely in the way in which it sweeps aside anything that has nothing to do with its agendas, its goals, its antiseptic way of looking at the world. Thought is ‘as brisk as a tomb’, although if you were to say this to anyone they wouldn’t have a clue as to what you are saying. In the Thought-Created World everything has its place and everything is ‘there for a reason’ and we always forget that the ‘reason’ in question is only there because the thinking mind has arbitrarily said that it shall be.

This is the dilemma of modern psychology – the modern so-called ‘science’ of psychology is entirely founded upon thought and so there is no room within it for anything apart from ‘what thought has produced’. The whole point of this discipline is to say something meaningful about ourselves (what would be the good of it if it couldn’t!) and yet thought can never say anything about who we truly are. That – as we have been saying – is the one thing it’s absolutely can never do! Thought has nothing to say about the unique; it has no relationship with the unique. This in itself would be fine – thought cannot tell us anything about the unique and a thought-based psychology can’t tell us anything about who we are, and that is perfectly as it should be. That is only right and proper. The problem is however that this is an ‘impossibility’ that is not being respected. This is an impossibility that has been very convincingly ‘glossed over’. It is a possibility that we are not ever allowed to know about! So rather than coming clean about its limitations (which is something that thought can never do since by its very nature it can’t see its limitations) a type of ‘confabulation’ takes place, a type of confabulation in which reams upon reams of stultifying pseudo-knowledge are generated, pseudo-knowledge which – if taken seriously (as it is) – will cause us to forget even more thoroughly about who we really are. ‘Rational psychology’ is the ultimate weapon of the generic self therefore – it is the generic self’s way of proving that it is ‘the only true contender for the throne’. It is the generic self’s way of burying the individuality forever, and it is unquestionably doing a very good job of this…

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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