Theatrical Happiness [2] – ‘What The Dreamer Knows’

An interesting question to ask  – if we are given to asking such questions, that is – is this: “What does it feel like to become 100% adapted to the external authority?” This is of course the very same thing as asking what it feels like to be psychologically unconscious, which in turn is like asking what the dream feels like to the dreamer.

 

 

This is an interesting question to ask, but at the same time there is absolutely no way to answer it! These are all unanswerable questions. Who can say what the dream feels like to the dreamer? We might assume that the dreamer himself or herself would know but they are of course the last person to ask! The dreamer is dreaming – they don’t know what it’s like to be dreaming because they don’t know that they are dreaming. If they knew that they were dreaming then they would no longer be dreaming. The dreamer is having a false experience – an experience that doesn’t really exist…! Similarly, if I am 100% adapted to the external authority (which is the same thing as ‘the framework of reference’) then I don’t know that I am – I have lost all perspective. I have lost all perspective because rather than supplying me with perspective, the framework takes it away! The framework doesn’t supply perspective about the framework being the framework, so to speak. It doesn’t draw attention to itself; it doesn’t ‘tell us about itself’. Thus, I don’t know that there is such a thing as ‘the external authority which determines or reality for me’ and I also don’t know that I am adapted to it!

 

 

The word ‘dream’ carries with it the connotation that the experience is to a significant extent perfectly believable to the dreamer, i.e. that it is ‘non-dream like’. Of course, sometimes we know (or feel) that we are dreaming but this is the exception rather than the rule; the general rule of dreaming is that we should not know that we are dreaming. Similarly, if you ask me what it feels like to be in a day-dream I can’t really tell you because the whole point of a day-dream is that I do not know at the time that it is a day-dream – if I know this then the integrity of the particular bubble of ‘virtual reality’ that I am enjoying is ruptured and so there is no more day-dream. So what we have here is the idea that the dreamer only knows what the dream ‘falsely appears to be’ (or ‘presents itself as being’) since if I knew what the dream truly felt like, I would be a wakeful dreamer, which is a different kind of thing altogether!

 

 

In addition to this point we were arguing that the exact moment of transition does not stand out – we pass from the reality into the dream quite imperceptibly. In terms of actual dreaming (the normal everyday (or rather everynight) sort, we know from experience that this is so – how often do we note the precise moment at which we start sleeping, or start dreaming? Obviously, this is a kind of a practical impossibility. The boundary is blurred, it is in some way taken over by the dreaming process and reconfigured according to the rules of the dream, and thus it is quite lost to us. Our dream rewrites our immediate personal history to suit itself, and so obviously there are going to be no overt inconsistencies. The dream subsumes and rewrites reality and so there is no perception of a transition between the one and the other.

 

 

But we are using the notion of falling asleep and dreaming as a metaphor for something else, for the process of ‘becoming passively identified with an extrinsic source of order’. This is in a sense just as familiar to us as the process of snuggling up in bed and wafting off to dream-land – we do it all the time, in one way or another. We can give a highly familiar example of this sort of thing to make what we are talking about a bit clearer. Suppose that I am in an ultra-large and ultra-modern hypermarket and I am making my way up and down the aisles pushing my trolley in front of me. Supermarket Muzak is playing in the background, no one is hassling me at all, and I am at peace simply to shop as I please. I have plenty of money to spend and no other constraints or deadlines to make, and so I take my time and allow myself luxuriate shamelessly in ‘the perfect shopping experience’. This experience involves me suspending all critical faculties, any sense of guilt that I might have about spending perusing and purchasing products that I don’t really need. There is in this a delicious sort of a feeling – it is as if I have been granted a licence, and can now take full advantage of the freedom that has been unconditionally afforded me. The pleasantness of this feeling has to do with the fact that I can have exactly what I want: I can exercise my ‘power to choose’ with perfect freedom, with no impediment acting on me whatsoever. This is very much like being flattered – no matter what I say I am encouraged, made to feel clever and generally great. Everything I say is right, everything I come out with is treated as a stroke of minor genius. If I go along with this tide of warm flattery I go to an interesting sort of a place – it is a place of perfect ‘vacuity’ – but there is no longer anyone there to realize this.

 

 

When we are unconscious there’s no one to know that we are; when we’re ‘adapted to the external authority’ then there’s nobody there who is adapted! We can therefore say that the state of passive identification (or the state of unconsciousness) is rather like being sublimely vacant whilst at the same time thinking that one is perfectly present. The ego is flattered, and thus feels good, but at the same time that ego also doesn’t exist. We can see very clearly, therefore, that this process of flattery (in which the illusion is being effectively validated), whilst appearing on the face of it to be kind and comforting, is actually an act of violence – this is ‘an act of violence’ because who we really are (our true self, so to speak) has been gotten rid of, and replaced with a vacuous substitute that doesn’t know itself to be a vacuous substitute. ‘Who we really are’ has been extinguished, just like a candle being blown out.

 

THE THEATRICAL LIFE

 

We can also look at this process in terms of ‘becoming famous’. This is a particularly neat way of illustrating the way in which ‘what seems desirable is actually the worst possible news’, because becoming a celebrity (a ‘somebody’) is of course the main way in which we measure success in the social game – that is how we know that we have made it, that is how we know that we are a winner and not a loser. Outward success tends to go hand-in-hand with inner impoverishment, as in the story of Dorian Grey; the overwhelming danger is that I will be swallowed up by fame, which is to say, that I will allow myself to become wholly constructed by other people’s view of me, which is purely a projection on their part. It goes without saying that I am of course more than willing to go along with this process, since my ‘audience’ are positively projecting on me, and seeing me in a very flattering light. The pleasure that comes with flattery is both seductive and insidious, because of the way in which I can take it as being ‘mine by right’. I feel that – objectively speaking – I have deserved the good opinion that people have of me (that it is based on fact) and the result of this of course that I feel perfectly justified in accepting it. The process we are talking about here is the process whereby I identify with the consensus viewpoint, so that what the ‘abstract audience’ sees as true, I also see as true. In this way, I am able to perceive the worthless and groundless ‘positive validation’ that I am receiving as genuine currency.

 

 

The old snag comes along at exactly this point however. As the often quoted saying has it – the media only build you up so they can have the pleasure of tearing you down later on. There are exceptions to this rule in the shape of ‘perennially popular stars’, but the fate of most middle-ranking celebrities (and more than a few of the upper echelon ones too) is that a period of ‘building up’ is followed by a period of ‘taking down’.  The reason we are dwelling on this is because it highlights the price that we pay for taking up the mantle of the theatrical life (i.e. living one’s life in the public eye) – which can be stated thus:

 

If I buy into the ‘fame’, then I am at the same time buying into the ‘blame’ that is inevitably to come along afterwards.

 

In other words, if I adapt to the consensus view so that I am able to perceive the positive validation of the abstract audience as a genuine currency, then I am bound also to perceive the negative validation of the abstract audience as being genuinely meaningful (even though it is in reality just as empty as the positive variety). I simply cannot enjoy the pleasure of flattery, without making myself equally vulnerable to condemnation and blame, but because I am so very partial to the pleasure, I never actually focus on the deal that I am making here.

 

 

Now it is important to point out at once that the danger is not only for celebrities (who as we all know have put themselves in the firing line quite deliberately, and so are obliged to take the rough with the smooth) because the process of adaptation to a consensus reality is something that is equally significant to all of us. We are all media stars in our own ways, inasmuch as we have some sort of a ‘role’ (whether hero, villain, victim, helper, comic relief, or whatever) in the lives of those around us. We are all flirting with fame (albeit fame of a very minor degree!) and so we are all allowing ourselves to be defined by our fellows. In fact the existential validation of being accepted in whatever role we feel capable of performing is generally so rewarding that we are often quite happy to continue with it even if the role itself stifles and annoys us. The feeling of being ‘someone’ – even if it is not someone very important – is so important to us that we tend to make whatever sacrifices we have to make, and the result of this is that we are completely dominated by the thought of how we look or seem in the eyes of others. This (usually invisible or unconscious) social anxiety is the price we pay for living the theatrical life –

 

If we covet the boon which is the cosy feeling of belonging (or ‘collective validation’), then we are wide open to being afflicted by the unmitigated torment that comes when we are unable to win this validation, or when it is withheld.

 

HEALTHY DEPRESSION

         

The state of clinical depression is regarded by us in purely pathological terms, but if we say that depression is when we see the vacuity of the egoic fiction that we have been encouraged (or rather compelled) by the ‘external authority’ of the thinking mind to identify with then clearly this is not ‘sickness’ at all but health. How can the perception of reality be sickness?

 

 

To say that depression as a perceived ‘lack of meaning’ with regard to the life that we are living is of course fairly uncontroversial but what is controversial is when we follow that statement up by saying that the perceived lack of meaning is actually quite legitimate! Our life actually is meaningless – it is meaningless for the simple reason that the life in question is being lived by a fiction. If this type of a supposed ‘life’ isn’t meaningless then what – we may ask – is? The ‘lack of meaning’ which is revealed by depression has been created by the everyday mind, which provides us with a picture of ourselves which is entirely not-true. Who we take ourselves to be is essentially an artificial posture that we are supported in by the societal matrix within which we live. The picture we have of ourselves is not who we genuinely are, it’s who we artificially represent ourselves as being. It’s an artifice, a construct, a ‘maintained thing’. There are two aspects to this situation:

 

[1] Our mental posture is there because it suits us for it to be there.

 

[2] It also suits us not to see that the posture in question suits us, and so there exists a state of total, impenetrable denial regarding the intentionality of ‘the way we are’.

 

This ‘two-step’ formula is of course a highly familiar one at this stage, constituting as it does the essential make-up of the unconscious state. The artificial posture that we are talking about may be referred to in terms of ‘theatrical happiness’, i.e. we are happy because it suits us to believe that we are happy. Equally, we could talk about theatrical (or ‘virtual’) meaning and say that ‘my life is meaningful because it suits me that it should be meaningful…’ No matter which way we look at it, the principle remains the same:

 

By virtue of the fact of our attachment (which is to say, by virtue of the fact of our unconscious bias or preference to believe in the picture we are being presented with), the ‘perceived reality’ that we obtain or secure for ourselves as a result is always going to be null.

 

NAUSEA

 

Not only is it the case that the self-image is only there because we have willed it to be, it is also the case that we have to go on willing it. This not only takes a lot of effort, it also takes a lot of effort that we cannot in any way acknowledge! We are helped in this effort by the universal collusion that manifests itself as the ‘social meaning system’. We may speak of logic (or the external authority) as a sort of bully that coerces us by pure brute force into seeing things its way; we can similarly speak of the social system as a giant bully – the only thing being, it actually suits us to be bullied like this, because it means we don’t ever have to question anything. The social system very effectively supports my artificially constructed sense of self, and endows it with huge stability. Of course, I would do the same thing anyway, all by myself (if I had any say in the matter at all, which I usually do), but the point is that the massive reinforcement of social life represents the ‘icing on the cake’ as far as my denial goes. My system of denial has been externalized, institutionalized, universalized until it assumes colossal proportions. We are all the puppets of this system of denial; we are all the slaves of a system that exists purely to oppress us, purely to do violence to us. And yet to see things this way is deemed – by our ‘superior’ culture, by our ‘advanced’ civilization – as being pathological!

 

 

Now the overall point that we are making here is that theatrical happiness (or theatrical meaning) is the same thing as depression – it is the denial of depression, which means that it is the depression that we are denying. This is a principle that we may meet in a number of different formats: we could for example say that ‘if you spend your life avoiding, then your life is defined by the need to avoid whatever it is you are avoiding’. The consequence of this is of course that there is no independent ‘life’ as such, only life as it becomes when it is pressed into the service of the compulsion to avoid (or ‘deny’). Life itself (as Alan Watts says) is an entirely free kind of a thing – it is not a compulsive state – and so life that has become a compulsion is life that has become ‘not life’. All that exists is the compulsion – which is a dead thing – and the life that I lead as a result of my being enslaved by this compulsion is a ‘dead life’ (so to speak). Another way of putting this is to say that when I am being unconsciously ruled by denial (which is of course the only way that denial does rule) then everything I perceive and think and do is that system of denial. That system of denial is not recognized by me as being such (that being the nature of denial) but rather I perceive it as being life itself, which is to say, I perceive what goes on as being the free, creative, and spontaneous manifestation of my true nature. Thus, the system of compulsions lives my life for me in a purely mechanical way and at the same time hypnotizes me into believing that what is going on is not mechanical. Instead of the joke which says “Live? But I have servants to do all that for me…” I could instead say “Live? But I have compulsions to do all that for me…”

 

CREATING MEANING

 

Of course, compulsion is not my servant but my master, only the mastery of this dark force is made complete by the fact that I am wholly convinced that I am living ‘an authentic life’. There are flaws in this apparently perfect set-up however and the explicit manifestation of depression is one of these flaws. With a little reflection, it can easily be appreciated that this situation, the situation of being in thrall to our compulsions (and the situation of needing not to see that we are in this situation) means that I am forced into the theatrical life – it is the only place that is safe for me, it is my only haven. This being the case, the game that I am playing can be spelled out very plainly indeed: what I need to do is to seek out as much meaning in my theatrical life as I possibly can. The reason this need is paramount is because there actually isn’t ‘innate or inherent’ meaning in the theatrical realm – the theatrical realm is totally devoid of any ‘natural’ meaning, it is of course surgically sterile in this regard (this ‘lack of natural meaning’ being the proper and correct nature of the organizationally closed mental state). Whilst this sterility (or ‘closure-of-meaning’) fulfils my first need (which is the need to be safe from whatever is ‘out there’) there is a second need which follows hot on the heels of the first, and that – as we have said – is the need find some sense of meaningfulness within my aseptic bubble of self-referentiality.

 

 

Now this is a pressing problem, but I can work out a solution because it is within my powers to create some sort of ‘tension’, some sort of polarity of goals that makes the difference between one outcome and another meaningful to me. What we are saying, in simple terms, is that it is possible for me to find a ‘game’ to play that will effectively distract me from seeing that I am in fact in a perfectly null situation. For this reason we can say that the single most important currency (or ‘commodity’) in the theatrical realm is to have some sort of sense of meaningfulness about ‘who I am’ and what ‘I am doing’. Existence in the theatrical realm, therefore, must be (or so we must assume on the basis of what we have been saying) all about finding and hanging on to this ‘fickle but much to be desired’ sense of meaning. This type of meaning, the type of meaning that is the outcome of ‘successful manipulation behind the scenes’, we can refer to as assigned value. The curious thing about this commodity therefore is that it is both highly prized, and completely unacknowledged’, just as the commodity of psychological security (which we may define in terms of the believability of our theories or beliefs) is both extremely important, and never ever mentioned in polite company.

 

 

Actually, despite having drawn what looks like a parallel between two distinct concepts, we can easily see that the two are really the same thing. Instead of saying that the basic currency of the system of thought is ‘virtual meaning’ (or ‘believability’) we could just say that it is certainty. Certainty works both forwards and backwards at the same time, which is to say:

 

If I experience certainty regarding my goals (which necessarily involves certainty regarding the world within which these goals exist) then this sense of certainty implicitly validates the ‘me’ that has the goals, and which ceaselessly manoeuvres for advantage within the defined world within which those goals make sense.

 

THE ‘DOUBLE-ASSUMPTION’

 

What we are talking about here is a basic dissymmetry with regard to beliefs. A belief creates a whole world, and due to the boldness of the way in which this world is highlighted no one notices that the belief never draws attention to itself in the same way that it draws attention to the world that it creates. In the one way the belief is very strong, and in the other way it is very weak (in fact it is not just ‘weak’ but non-existent). Therefore, we can say that the strong sense of certainty associated with the goals that I am chasing makes me take for granted the certainty of the self that constructs itself in terms of these goals. All my attention is on my goals (and whether the goals are negative or positive makes no difference) and so I never really stop to question the very basis of these goals – which is the paramount importance of the self and its very particular way of looking at the world.

 

 

There is a ‘double-assumption’ here, the double-assumption being that [1] everything is about me, and [2] my way of looking at things is the ‘right way’. If I stopped to question this double assumption my goals would immediately shrivel up and die, but because everything is working the other way, the goals are all-powerful, and the double-assumption gains ground, becoming more and more real every day, despite the fact that it isn’t real. The double-assumption that we are harping on about is of course something that is highly ubiquitous, so ubiquitous in fact that there isn’t a hell of a lot of room for anything else. What we are talking about is the common-place everyday reality that greets me every day shortly after I wake up – it is both the familiar world that I dwell in and transact my affairs in, and the familiar sense of ‘self’ that does the dwelling and transacting. Between these two poles, what else indeed is there room for? So, to get back to our argument, the point that we are making is this:

 

Because of the totally unreflective way in which I accept all my attachments (i.e. the outcomes that I want, and the outcomes I don’t want) I put all my attention and energy in activity of a controlling nature, which is to say, actions that are designed to eliminate the distance between me and those objects that I am positive attached to, and create distance between me and those objects that I am negatively attached to. The effect of being fixated on control (or the need to control, which is the same thing) is that the objects of my positive and negative wanting become real, as does the assumed subject that does all that ‘positive and negative wanting’.

 

 

It is important to stress that whether I actually succeed in ‘getting my own way’ or not makes not the slightest bit of difference – the key element is that I want to get my own way, that this is an ‘all-important issue’ to me. If it is an issue to me, then even if I don’t obtain what I want to obtain (or avoid what it is that I want to avoid) I am still going to be dominated by attachment (which is to say, I am still going to be ruled by the twin motivation of ‘greed & fear’). Now there is always at this point the possibility of saying “So what?”  – I might be willing to accept that there is such a mechanism, but unwilling to accept the ominous implication in our argument that all this is ‘not a very good thing’. Suppose that my cosily familiar illusion of a ‘me’, and my comforting illusion of a ubiquitous world for that ‘me’ to inhabit, is made progressively more real via this irreversible principle of ‘reification due to unreflective action’ – why should this worry me? Actually, I quite like the sense of confirmation and security about it all, so why should I be wary of the process? One good reason to be wary is as we have said that we are setting ourselves up to be stalked by a horror that we ourselves have created.

 

 

This ‘horror’ can have two ways of showing itself. One might be when we start to feel a lessening of the motivational factors that drove us to do whatever it was that we used to do, along with an associated lack of enjoyment associated the actual ‘doing’. This we could call the negative manifestation of the syndrome, and it is in itself quite exquisitely horrible, as anyone with a bit of imagination (or anyone who can call to mind some personal experience) can easily appreciate. But meaninglessness can also show itself in a positive way, as an actual ‘thing’ that invades our lives. The following series of passages, taken from Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel Nausea (1938, p 32 to p 50), illustrate this ‘positive’ aspect of meaninglessness in a very clear way:

 

Things are bad! Things are very bad: I’ve got it, that filthy thing, the Nausea. And this time it’s new: it caught me in the café. Until now cafes were my only refuge because they are full of people and well-lighted: from now on I shan’t have even that; when I am run to earth in my room I shall no longer know where to go.       …

 

 

His blue cotton shirt stands out cheerfully against a chocolate-coloured wall. That too brings on the Nausea. Or rather it is the Nausea. The Nausea isn’t inside me: I can feel it over there on the wall, on the braces, everywhere around me. It is one with the café, it is I who am inside it.    …

 

 

The cards fall onto the woollen cloth, spinning through the air. Then hands with ringed fingers come and pick them up, scratching the cloth with their nails. The hands make white patches on the cloth, they look puffy and dusty. More cards fall all the time, the hands come and go. What a peculiar occupation: it doesn’t look like a game, or a rite, or a habit. I think they do that to pas the time, nothing more. But time is too large, it refuses to let itself be filled up. Everything you plunge into it goes soft and slack. That gesture, for example, of the red hand falteringly picking up cards: it’s all flabby. It ought to be unstitched and cut down.  …

 

 

I am beginning to warm up again, to feel happy. There is nothing out of the ordinary as yet, just a little Nausea happiness; it spreads out at the bottom of the slimy puddle, at the bottom of our time – the time of mauve braces and broken benches – it’s made of wide, soft movements, which grow outwards at the edge like an oil stain. It’s no sooner born than it’s already old, it seems as if I had known it for twenty years.    …

 

 

I can no longer distinguish the present from the future and yet it is lasting, it is gradually fulfilling itself; the old woman advances along the empty street; she moves her heavy mannish shoes. This is time – naked time, it comes slowly into existence, it keeps you waiting, and when it comes you are disgusted because you realize that it’s been there already for a long time.

 

THE UBIQUITOUS ‘RATIONAL COMFORT ZONE’

 

Several elements stand out from Sartre’s account of the phenomenon which he calls ‘nausea’. Probably the most telling is the tautological aspect, where apparent novelty is sickeningly revealed as being the same tired old story. Another aspect that Sartre dwells on is its inherent ‘flabbiness’, or ‘slackness’, which is equally odious to perceive. We can take this flabbiness as being much the same thing as ‘tautology’ inasmuch as it is a sort of hidden redundancy, a pointlessness that doesn’t actually see that it is pointless. It is possible to tie in Sartre’s nausea to the general theme of our discussion by saying that our much-prized certainty (the sense of absolute rational assurance to which we are addicted) produces nausea as a sort of ‘unwanted and unacknowledged side-effect’.  We can orientate our lives around a set of rational constructs that possess the property of being – in a pragmatic sense – absolutely certain and sure, and we can obtain, as a result of doing this, obtain the sense of psychological security that we want to much, but the inevitable consequence of this is that we create that most singularly unpalatable of things, nausea. Nausea is our psychological security, only seen in an aspect that does not reflect our usual way of thinking about things; essentially, a perception of nausea such as Sartre puts forward above represents the unintentional view. The way in which we usually perceive the world is intentional (i.e. our perceptions of reality are intentional), but the unintended aspect of things leaks through from time to time, as it must, and because the whole point of our intentionality was to generate euphoric states of mind, the backlash to this is a dysphoric state of mind. ‘Nausea’ is therefore just another way of talking about dysphoria, which can be explained in terms of a perception that has ‘nothing pleasant or agreeable about it at all’…

 

 

Given that we generally arrange to perceive a world that pleasantly confirms our preferences for what that world should be the phenomenon of a reality emerging in front of our eyes that is completely disagreeable to us is bound to be a most singular experience. It would in fact be so singularly disagreeable that it is hard to see how we could ever forget seeing such a thing, but forget it we do. Sartre’s evocative descriptions are perhaps one bit of evidence, even though it is at the same time undeniably true that the perception of ‘nausea’ doesn’t seem to be a common feature of everyday life for most of us (most of us not being existential philosophers). Another bit of evidence might be provided by the way that ‘the blandly familiar world of everyday experience’ (which is of course by its very nature ‘un-menacing’ and ‘non-disturbing’) can sometimes flip over and become a suffocating horror, a thing of unspeakably oppressive menace. This rare but memorable flipping-over from the normal everyday state of blandly unconcerned unreflective reassurance (which is the state of psychological unconsciousness) into the nightmare of ‘the familiar turned unfamiliar’ is hinted at here by Colin Wilson (P 602):

 

…As living creatures, we find ourselves confined in a world that appears to have four dimensions, three of space and one of time. Our science concerns itself with this world. But this ‘real world’, as grasped by reason, leaves no room for life, let alone freedom. We ought to be totally trapped in cause and effect.  Yet I can reach up and scratch my nose or decide not to scratch it; I can decide whether to think about philosophy, sex, or my dinner. There is no room for freedom in the real world, yet it exists. Stare at your face in a mirror until you have lost all sense of identity; suddenly you are seized with horror at this strange face looking at you. You were living in your own inner world of being and freedom and, suddenly, you are stranded in a world of objects in which freedom is an impossibility.

 

Sartre’s nausea is – we might say – the pure thing itself, isolated as if by a skilful chemist from the usual mix in which it usually lurks, only to be felt indirectly and from other, distracting angles which serve to disguise its true source and nature. Nausea is the invisible horror that we have unwittingly created for ourselves – the glitch in the system that most of us never get to see. Admittedly, most of us don’t particularly want to see it either, and so we would go searching for it either. We aren’t particularly interested in hearing about it, or in cultivating an intuitive understanding of it. In fact this is the very last thing we want to have an understanding of because if we did then we would no longer be able to enjoy our theatrical lives. If we could see the redundancy (or nausea) that lurks unpleasantly in every corner then our dreaming would no longer have the ‘savour’ that it does for us.

 

 

However, just because we very rarely (if ever) get to perceive ‘the horror’ in its pure form (since we don’t have the necessary integrity for that) this doesn’t mean that we escape with impunity. We don’t escape at all – we just get to experience the glitch in our dreaming in indirect or oblique ways instead. We refract it into all sorts of confusing and troubling echoes. We incorporate it (as best we can) into the dream so that instead of spoiling the game it becomes – to some extent, at least – part of it. The horror thus becomes concretely identified as this or that – possibly specific elements that we have a particular horror of (or ‘phobia about’). If we can’t compartmentalize it then it might appear as a generalized sense of dread and unease (which gets attached to everything, or can get attached to anything) and this generalized anxiety represents the first stages of significant failure in the integrity of the game we are playing. Or maybe it will appear as depression – the loss of appetite for life itself. Only it isn’t of course a loss of appetite for life so much as it is a loss of appetite for living life in the particular stilted way that we have been living it. Really, it’s a loss of appetite for the game, and this means of course that it isn’t such a terrible thing after all. It’s not life we have lost our appetite for in depression but our false version of it. We have lost our appetite for this thing that we have called ‘theatrical happiness’ – we have finally come to see what an unspeakable horror this theatrical happiness is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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