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The Self-Defeating Logic of the Inversion

The consequences of the Great Inversion (the inversion which is the state of psychological unconsciousness) are far reaching. Given the fact of our identification with the positive or purposeful self, our orientation is such that the only way things are ever going to be good for us (or comfortable for us) is when we can control the world in accordance with our assumed value system, which is provided for us by the thinking mind. This immediately calls into existence the polarity of good versus bad, right versus wrong, pleasure versus pain, etc. The polarity of good versus bad, like versus dislike, pleasure versus pain,etc., is the game that we are playing, therefore. It doesn’t feel like a game, it feels like the thing that matters most in the whole world to us, and because this is so the game of opposites is also the thing that we are least likely to ever question. It’s not just ‘the thing we are is likely to question’ either – our sense of what is right or wrong isn’t on our list of things to question at all. Right versus wrong or like versus dislike feels like the most fundamental level of reality there is, and yet this polarity has nothing to do with reality at all. Right and wrong, like and dislike, pleasure and pain, is ‘in me’; it’smy own stuff which is being projected out onto the world and then treated as if it were the world. Johann Fabricius refers to this as a state of engulfment whereby the manic ego subsumes the whole world like a giant, all-consuming amoeba such that no differentiation is made between ‘the state of the world’ and ‘the state of oneself’. The ego is always‘manic’ when it comes down to it – it’s just a matter of degree, and what cycle stage of the site of the ego’s act. At the moment of engulfment the ego is in its full glory because it has become the world and there is therefore nothing that is ‘not it’. Its victory is complete. The Empire stretches unbroken from horizon to horizon and no enemy can stand against it so this is a moment of exultant euphoria or unassailable triumph’. The ego’s supreme victory is however also its ultimate terrible defeat because, by engulfing the whole world, and thus becoming the whole world, it has at the same time (it has by the same token) cut itself off from reality since it was never the world and the world was never it.

By subsuming reality and replacing it glibly with its own counterfeit version the ego ‘achieves everything’ and yet the everything’s achieves isn’t anything because only a fraudulent copy – the ego’s copy of the world isn’t the world but only itself, and what’s more, ‘itself’ has no actual existence, no actual basis in reality (since the only existence could have had would have been as a function of its ‘relatedness’ to the real world, which as we have said is not itself. By claiming all the territory the ego has lost any territory at all and so the only it has now is ‘the territory of its own projections’. By being too greedy, it has killed the goose that lays the golden egg and what’s more it always will be too greedy, since unqualified, short-sighted greed is its nature. As in the story of the ever-demanding wife in The Fisherman’s Wife, this inflationary pseudo-entity has ‘pushed it too far’ and has therefore ended up with nothing. The ego or concrete self always wants to separate its connection with reality, although it doesn’t of course see things like this. The ego only ever wants to expand and it will do this in complete oblivion is what this actually means – it will do this every time. It will race down the road to disaster every time! By engulfing the whole world the ‘manic ego’ severs its connection with reality and having done this it has no option other than to keep on chasing itself around in circles, alternating between grotesque elation and equally grotesque despair, both of which are functions of its own alienation from any reality outside of itself. Euphoria is a function of unreality therefore, just as despair is.

The Inversion gives rise to the state of psychological unconsciousness and this condemns us to spend our entire existence in a solipsistic bubble therefore. The world which we inhabit is ourselves, and we never see beyond ourselves – we actually exist in a state of fear with regard to the question of ‘what might lie beyond ourselves’ and this fear causes us to deny that there is anything else, anything that is not ourselves (or ‘anything that is not ‘the Mind-Created Virtual Reality’). This denial is of course unconscious – as denial always is – and so we don’t know that we are refusing to admit the possibility of anything existing that is ‘beyond ourselves’, just as we don’t know that the ‘world’ which we are living in is simply ourselves, is simply a world that is made up of our own projections, our own ideas, and preconceptions. This is what is thing that we are calling ‘the Inversion’ is all about – we are saying (without admitting it) that ‘ourselves’ equals the real world, the proper authentic world, the only world there is or ever could be, and that the actual world doesn’t exist at all. We have blanked out the actual world so completely that it has – as a result – become utterly incomprehensible to us. The ‘real’ has been rejected so thoroughly that were any aspect of it is somehow become manifest for us, either to a lesser or a greater degree, we would push it away as quickly and as violently as we possibly could, and in this compulsive ‘pushing away’ we would have no comprehension that what we are trying to eradicate is actually reality.

This goes without saying course; it goes without saying because if we were to acknowledge – to whatever degree  – that that what we are pushing away reality then we would also have to acknowledge (it would be the same acknowledgement) we are unreal and to have this awareness – the awareness that I myself am unreal and that I’m fighting as hard as I can to erase any trace of reality from my sphere – would take tremendous integrity and when we are ‘rooted in unreality’ this is – naturally enough – an integrity that we just don’t have. What integrity can ‘an unreal entity which is pretending as hard as it can to be real’ have, after all? The whole thing is an exercise in ‘self-deception’ and ‘self-deception’ is evidence of a lack of integrity rather than a manifestation of it. If my apparent well-being (or comfort) is founded upon me pulling the wool over my own eyes then it must be the case that I have zero integrity. So here is an interesting game – the game of having zero integrity whilst being convinced of the contrary! The advantage of this game is that no effort is needed for us to avail of the apparent semblance of that dignity which comes with having integrity, which is something that would otherwise cost us a great deal. Little wonder therefore that we tend to go for this option, the option of playing a game. The state of unconsciousness is one that is quite bereft of dignity, but the ‘upside’ of the deal is that just as long as we stay unconscious we will never see this.

From saying all this it becomes very clear indeed why consciousness has become such an unwelcome guest at the dinner party – there is so very much that is unpalatable to be revealed! There is everything to be revealed – it’s hard to know where to start. The first point that we have made in this discussion is to say that our mode of orientation in the world is based on nothing more than ‘the polarity of thought’ thrown out onto the world and treated as if we didn’t put it there but rather as if it were simply ‘the way things are’. There is no ‘right and wrong’ out there in the world, no ‘good things and bad things’, and yet we have no hesitation whatsoever populating the world with our projections of polarity. Our environment thus becomes nothing more than a playground for the enactment of our conditioned will – when we can cause the world to conform to our intentions then that is ‘right’ and when aspects of our environment fail to accord with our plans in this way then this equals ‘wrong’. We’re happy when we can bend the world to our will and we’re frustrated and annoyed when we can’t, in other words. Whether our state of mind is to be a pleasant one or an unpleasant one is dependent upon our successful control. What this comes down to therefore is the imposition of ourselves upon the world around us – we feel good (or euphoric) when we are able to successfully impose ourselves on the world and we feel bad when we can’t. What we’re doing is that we are essentially ‘turning reality into reflection of ourselves’, in other words. Whether we are able to control successfully or not makes no difference in this regard – the efforts we make to control are secondary to our evaluation of the world and our ‘evaluation’ – as we have said – comes out of our unexamined assumptions. Our ‘unexamined assumptions’ are us, when it comes down to it – we’re nothing more than this.

The second and closely related point that we came to is the point that we have, via the mechanism of the Inversion, opted to retreat into a solipsistic bubble of self-referential reality. We don’t consciously opt possibly to retreat into this solipsistic state but we do ‘bring it about ourselves’, or the same – we bring it about without knowing what we’re doing, we cause this to happen whilst imagining that we are doing something completely different to what is actually happening. As far as we are concerned, we are ‘controlling successfully’ or ‘enacting the plan’ or ‘achieving the goal’. What we’re doing, in other words, is ‘acting in accordance with what the thinking mind is showing us’ and this is what locks us into a self-referential (or closed) reality. We’re ‘optimising our game’ and this is a self-reinforcing behaviour because the better we do at the game the better we feel! The consequence of this, which we can’t at all see – is that we are separating ourselves from reality itself. ‘Optimisation’ always means separating ourselves from reality and this is because reality is always ‘other’ and the ‘other’ is of no interest or use to us when we’re in the business of optimising our game. We have no time for the ‘other’ when we’re in this hard-headed, business-like, practical mode, no time for it at all. We have no time for the ‘other’ when we are chasing our goals, when we are ‘trying to realise our intentions’. The other was never a goal, never an ‘intention’ or ‘purpose’. The Inversion happens therefore when there is no sense of other, when the other is entirely eradicated. At this point we have ‘become so smart that we’re stupid’; we now know everything there is to know about nothing at all – our cleverness and diligence in adapting ourselves to the game we were playing has backfired on us causing us to become ‘unreal without knowing it’. This is – needless to say – a very peculiar predicament to find oneself in – a predicament, moreover, with no apparent way out.

We often hear talk of ‘creating our own reality’, which is said in such a way as to imply that this is a truly wonderful and inspiring thing. The implication is that this represents the beginning of sometime kind of hitherto unimagined freedom – beforehand I had been trapped in a reality that had been ‘created by someone else’, now at last I can break free from this servitude and become the author of my own reality instead. It is of course true that we are, generally speaking, trapped in someone else’s idea of reality (or in society’s idea of reality) and that believing wholeheartedly in this made-up reality is obligatory. Freedom doesn’t come from ‘creating our own reality’ however – that’s not the way to freedom at all! Any reality that I create is always going to be a closed system and all closed system are prisons – my prison cell might be decorated in a different way to yours, but it is a prison cell nonetheless. Anything ‘created’ is a closed system; in order to ‘create’ we have to specify the parameters and that is exactly how closed systems come into being – by specifying parameters. If I didn’t specify any parameters (which is a purposeful or deliberate act on my part) then nothing will be created and so it is not-doing that leads to freedom, not ‘purposeful action’. This is a conundrum however – who it is it after all that does the ‘not-doing’? If there is anyone there intending it then it’s doing that we’re talking about rather than not-doing and so what this means is that there is no one there doing the not-doing. If there’s no one there doing the not-doing then there won’t be anyone there to enjoy or appreciate the freedom that comes out of this negative act. ‘It would only be for God’s sake, not our own,’ as Jung says and this is rather discouraging for us, to say the least!

The key point here – as we keep coming back to – is that whatever we create is always ourselves in disguise. ‘Creating’ is a code word for extending ourselves. If I ‘create my own reality’ then I am merely extending myself, therefore (which is what I always do); the so-called ‘reality’ which I created is made up of my own endlessly recycled preconceptions. It’s ‘the same old story repeated yet again’ and so there’s nothing very wonderful or inspiring about it at all! There’s nothing to get excited about here because what we’ve done is what we always do, and what’s so thrilling about that? The closed system is the reality that I have created and the closed system is also the self that does the creating; the self cannot see beyond the assumptions that it has unknowingly made – it cannot see beyond itself and it cannot understand that they could ever be anything beyond itself and so of course all it can ever do is serially ‘recreate’ itself. When I am operating on the taken-for-granted basis of the concrete self or ego it feels very much to me that I understand that ‘there is a world beyond myself’ – I would laugh out loud if you tried to tell me that I didn’t understand this point – but all I’m doing (as we keep reiterating) is projecting my own unexamined assumptions onto the world so as to ‘create my own personalised (or solipsistic) version of the world without realising that this is what I have done’. This isn’t a particularly hard thing to understand either – it’s just that we as a culture are not disposed into looking into psychological matters this much. The truth of the matter is that the self can’t afford to see that there is a world beyond its own preconceptions, beyond its own hastily-made assumptions – were it to see this then it could have no further existence as ‘the concrete self or ego’.

Every time we think we automatically generate the ‘purely conceptual reality‘ and every time we act purposefully then – because our purposefulness is congruent to this conceptual reality – we solidify (or ‘reify’) this Mind-Created Virtual Reality. The more we invest in rationality and purposefulness the more we reinforce the prison walls that are holding us in, therefore. The peculiar type of freedom that we possess when we automatically/unquestioningly believe in the Purely Conceptual Reality is ‘the freedom to perpetuate our existence as this illusory self in the virtual world that is the projection of that illusory self’. Everything we think or purposefully do has the ‘secret’ function of projecting the MCVR therefore, and so if we imagine that it is possible to think or do anything that can help us to escape from the Mind-Created Virtual Reality then we are sadly mistaken in this. The MCVR isn’t just ‘an illusionary world that we will get lost in’ – that’s not expressing the matter clearly enough. It’s not the case that the MCVR (or PCR) is a type of a prison or containment unit, but rather that it is our undoing – it is a self-cancelling realm within which all of our efforts and plans always come to nothing. I create such and such a desirable outcome or scenario for myself and – simultaneously – I also create the opposite outcome or scenario. Everything always proceeds via ‘pairs of opposites’ in the purposeful realm after all and so when we consider the stubbornly-deluded mentality that insists that it is possible to ‘obtain a positive outcome’ (if only we put the correct form of effort into it) then we can see how just how self-defeating this is. All of our energy goes towards the end of ‘defeating ourselves’! This isn’t just a hobby or pastime for us – it’s a brutally compulsive obsession. It’s an obsession can’t ever escape from and one that we don’t even want to. It’s an obsession which I will celebrate until my dying day!

When we talk so glibly about ‘creating our own reality’ what we should talk about instead therefore is ‘creating the Nullity’ – that would be putting it in a more accurate way. Our delight is to create the Nullity with every thought we think and with every action we purposely carry out, and yet what kudos do we imagine we will accrue from creating the Nullity? What satisfaction is there in creating it? The only type of satisfaction is satisfaction of the self-cancelling variety – which is the situation where vicious euphoria is shortly cancelled out by an equally vicious despair. All of my life energy goes towards this end – the Nullity is greedy and it will take all the energy we put into it and still want more. Servicing the Nullity is like feeding matter into a black hole in the hope of satisfying it – the more we feed it the greedier it gets. It steadily gets greedier and greedier and as it gets greedier it also gets more powerful. Or we could say that the pursuit which we are compulsively engaged in is like ‘placating a bully’ – the more we try to placate the bully the more pathetically ridiculous we become in the eyes of the bully and the more than bully gets to enjoy bullying us! The more we try to placate the bully the more we empower him and disempower ourselves. We get progressively weaker and easier to control and the bully (the bully which is the Nullity) get stronger and more able to control. And the stronger the bully gets the meaner it becomes. There is no limit to how mean the bully which is the nullity can get…

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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