‘Seriousness’ is the great hoax that the thinking mind plays upon us – we always believe that the mind-created issue which we have got caught up in is ‘serious’ when it is not. ‘Seriousness’ (or ‘the oppressive sense of humourless necessity’) is the essential confidence trick that is perpetrated upon us by the system of thought. The exact nature of the trick is easy to describe (ridiculously easy, in fact). We can explain it by saying that thought tells us that there are two possible positions, one of which is ‘where we are’, and the other of which is ‘where we should be’. This is ‘seriousness’ in a nutshell! Sometimes of course the two can briefly be the same, and when this happens we feel very good; we have been validated, and there is nothing that tastes as sweet to us as validation! We’ve ‘got it right’, in other words. The only thing about this however is that it never takes very long before things start changing we need to start struggling to be validated all over again. The euphoria of validation never lasts very long, as we all know perfectly well…
Life becomes enormously simplified when we impose this black-and-white format on it; there are now only the two possibilities, only the two things that ‘matter,’ – do we get it right, or do we get it wrong?’ Are we winners or losers? This polarity (whether we can see it or not) is what we get bogged down in every time we start thinking about something. The thinking mind is constantly fielding potential issues to ensnare our attention. What generally happens is that one issue quickly gains precedence over others (just like a presidential candidate getting more votes than on the others, and being elected to office) and at this point we forget about all the other candidates. But the point here is that none of the issues are real; they are tricks that the system of thought is playing on us – it’s just that some of these tricks get a hold on us whilst others don’t. This is a good way to see just how much power thought has over us – the more power it has the more issues we are afflicted within the course of our daily life. If the thinking mind has too much power then the day becomes nothing other than one issue following fast on the heels of another…
Contrariwise, we could also say that the process of becoming free from the power of thought is the process of becoming free from these ever-proliferating issues; each issue captures a little bit of our attention, a little bit of our consciousness. A big issue swallows up all of our attention, all of our awareness; if something doesn’t have anything to do with the overvalued polarity of ‘how things should or shouldn’t be’, then it simply doesn’t figure for us. It is part of our picture. Only the polarities are ‘the picture’. This world as it is represented within the framework of the polarity is all that matters to us – life itself has been simplified down therefore to a polarity, to a mere ‘mechanical problem’.
When life has been simplified down for us into an issue, into a problem, into a ‘right/wrong polarity’, then we could – if we could hypothetically manage to stay curious about what’s actually happening here – notice something very strange about this ‘simplification’ which is the Mind-Created Polarity. At one end of the polarity is ‘yes’ and at the other end is ‘no’ and stretched tautly between them – we might say – are ‘lines of force’. These ‘lines of force’ are like magnetic field lines – they’re showing us which way to go, they’re giving some kind of shape to space for us (even though space doesn’t have a shape). The ‘magnetic field lines’ are defining reality for us, in other words. Whenever we have been taken over by an issue (or the ‘Mind-Created Polarity’) then reality is being defined for us by these field lines. Whenever we see things through the lens of the thinking mind we are letting reality be defined for us by these plus/minus ‘field lines’ that stretch tautly from one pole to another and contain within them what we assume to be ‘reality’.
The ‘strange thing’ that we’re talking about here is this: the world that has been created for us by the field lines of the thinking mind doesn’t actually contain any reality! The mind-formatted world is quite devoid of reality – that’s the one thing that absolutely isn’t present. Why this should be so is not at all hard to show – the whole point about the Mind-Created Polarity is that it defines everything in terms of the right and the wrong; that’s the essential simplification that we have been talking about here. If everything wasn’t being seen in terms of the overarching polarity of right and wrong then there would be no simplification going on. But when everything is defined in terms of right versus wrong (i.e. in terms of the field lines of thought that give shape to space and which exist between the two poles of yes and no, then something fairly noteworthy has just taken place (noteworthy but invisible) – we’ve started seeing the world entirely in relation to these two poles, entirely in relation to these two ‘abstract extremes’ which aren’t actually real and this means that what we are seeing as ‘the putative reality’ isn’t real either. It’s just a weird kind of ‘distortion in space’. It’s a kind of a ‘wrinkle’.
The two poles of right and wrong aren’t real things. Clearly they aren’t! What kind of a thing is ‘right’ when it’s at home? What kind of a thing is ‘ wrong’ when it’s in its natural habitat? ‘Right’ doesn’t exist in reality – it refers purely to the game-plan that we have imposed upon the world. It refers entirely to the agenda that thinking mind is busily projecting. Reality itself – of course – has nothing whatsoever to do with our agenda, with the Mind-Created Polarity. It has nothing to do with yes or no. ‘Yes’ to what, ‘no’ to what? There’s no ‘yes’ and no ‘no’ in reality, these are merely the projections of our mind. When we believe in these projections of the mind as being ‘real things’ (i.e. things that we ourselves have not just created) then we have ‘fallen for the hoax’ – we have started taking something seriously that is not actually serious at all. All of a sudden all the humour has gone out of the world and we never noticed it go!
There’s never any humour in the MCP – it’s a humour-free zone! When we’re caught up in the MCP then it never occurs to us that this important ingredient is missing – we’re taking everything far too seriously for that. Humour seems like an unimportant thing, a kind of unnecessary and disrespectful flippancy. When we do see the absurdity of a type of reality that has no humour or light-heartedness in it then this in itself is a rather funny thing to see. We can’t take the story as seriously as we used to – we can see that, in a way, there is something more than just a little bit ‘funny’ (as in ‘odd’) about it. It’s a bit suspect. It’s serious for sure but when we stop taking ‘serious’ in its own terms we find that it doesn’t actually mean anything. It has been de-potentiated, debunked in some way.
Instead of saying that humour is missing from the MCP, we could instead talk in terms of freedom – freedom (or ‘spaciousness’) is missing and we can’t see that it is. If you could see the absence of freedom, the absence of spaciousness, then in this seeing there would be freedom, there would be spaciousness. It’s a basic psychological principle: to know that one is not aware is to be aware, to remember that one has forgotten is to remember. If we weren’t under the spell of the compulsion then we would notice the lack of humour, the lack of freedom, the lack of spaciousness. We wouldn’t be able not to notice it – the lack of spaciousness/freedom will turn around and bite us. The suffering of restriction will become visible to us instead of visible; it will manifest clearly for us just as soon as we stop engaging in the compulsory games that we have been given to play. What happens to prevent us from being aware of the lack of spaciousness is the fact that we are busily trying to obey the compulsion, in other words. The constriction of the lack of freedom (the lack of space) is reformatted into something else – it is reformatted into a ‘plus/minus (or ‘pleasure/pain’) polarity’, which is the ‘compulsory game’ that we are playing.
Just as soon as we start seeing the world in terms of the mind’s dualistic formatting the lack of freedom becomes profoundly invisible to us. Both the pain caused by the lack of freedom and the lack of freedom itself are invisible to us because they have been ‘re-presented’ to us in terms of a ‘positive’ on one hand , and a ‘negative’ on the other. Lack of freedom is turned into the right / wrong duality. What this translates into in practice is simply a feeling of compulsion. And even saying this isn’t right because we don’t notice the compulsion – it’s normal to us, it’s our baseline. It isn’t actually pain for us because we have adapted to it – it’s just ‘the way things are’. This invisible compulsivity translates into two things – the attractiveness of our goals, and the aversion we feel towards the prospect of failing to attain these nominated and highly desirable outcomes. The thing is that because we are focusing on the attractiveness of the goal and how good it will feel to obtain it we don’t actually realise that we are suffering. Because we’re not aware of the pain of our baseline, the pressure it is putting on us gets split into the greedy anticipation of ‘escape’, and the fear of not escaping. The pain of compulsivity has been refracted into two components therefore – one attractive and one aversive, one that seems to be the most wonderful solution to all our problems, and the other that seems to be the most terrible fate that could ever befall us, the dreaded ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ – the stuff of nightmares.
What has happened here is very interesting therefore. Lack of space or lack of freedom (which we can also call ‘the state of compulsivity’) can be split into these two elements, these two complementary ‘opposites’. The idea of splitting zero into two opposites is not a particularly odd one – we are very familiar with this principle in particle physics, which states that as long as’ the books are balanced’, anything is allowed. Thus it is that the ‘play’ of the physical universe can come into being, and eventually ‘come to nothing’, as it is bound to since for every plus there is a minus. For every new positive there is a negative which will sooner or later catch up with it and cancel it out. It’s already caught up – we just don’t know it! It’s already happened – we’re living on borrowed time but we don’t see it. The same very same principle applies to what Timothy Leary calls ‘game reality’ – game reality is created when ‘zero freedom’ gets split up into positive and negative compulsions, neither of which (of course) have any freedom in them.
Splitting zero freedom into plus and minus compulsion isn’t too much of a stretch for us to understand – there is no more freedom in positive compulsion (or desire) than there is a negative compulsion (or fear); we get pushed one way and pulled the other way and there’s no way either of them (or any combination thereof) is ever going to add up to freedom. The question is, how do we contrive not to see the lack of freedom in this situation? The trick to this – of course – is that we identify with the positive compulsion and see it as being ‘what we want’. When we identify with desire then we see freedom as ‘getting what we desire’. As far as we’re concerned this is what freedom is all about! When we talk about ‘following our dreams’ what we are really mean is ‘following our desires’ and ‘following our desires’ is another way of saying that we are ‘obeying the positive compulsion’.
Our understanding of freedom is therefore is to say that it is the scenario in which we can dodge or outwit our nemesis, which is the negative compulsion. Just as long as there is the possibility of’ ‘beating’ the negative outcome, then we will say that there is freedom (or at least the possibility of freedom) in the world. But we know that this can’t happen – we know that no one ever beats the negative outcome, we know that there is no ‘outrunning’ of our nemesis. To chase the positive outcome is the very same thing as chasing the negative one, after all! This means that there can be no such thing as a ‘final winning’, or a ‘gain that can never be lost again’. This is the illusory ‘attractor state’ that we all hunger for. But there can never be any ‘freedom’ therefore (or at least, not in the way that we understand it). In order to carry on believing in our imagined freedom therefore we have to deceive ourselves on two counts, not just one – we have to  deceive ourselves that there can be such a thing as ‘winning without there being an equal and opposite ‘losing’ waiting in the wings somewhere’, and  we also have to fool ourselves that what the positive compulsion tells us to do is what we actually genuinely or freely want ourselves.
Believing that we are free when we are living in the compulsion realm is a very easy thing to do but nothing good ever comes out of it. What good can come of us believing ourselves to be free when we’re not? We get a thrill of enjoyable excitement when we imagine that we are escaping the problem (or ‘attaining the goal’) and this is one side of the ‘wrinkle in space’ that is the MCP and we get a nasty jolt of unpleasant excitement later on when we come to the other side of the wrinkle. But if we had the perspective available to us then we would see that the enjoyable excitement and the unpleasant excitement are both ‘the wrinkle’ and the wrinkle (or distortion) doesn’t really exist. The MCP – as we have already pointed out – doesn’t really exist – it only seems to exist when we are in the position of being trapped in it. When we’re trapped in the MCP then from the point of view of POSITIVE negative exists and from the point of view of NEGATIVE positive exists but outside of this closed loop neither have any reality at all…