In every deliberate thing that we do we are rejecting consciousness. Why is this? Simply because everything we deliberately do we do for the sake of the concrete (or unreal) self! If we were not to reject consciousness, then this definitely wouldn’t be for the benefit of the concrete or unreal self! It wouldn’t serve the concrete self at all…
The self we daily experience ourselves to be as flatly incompatible with consciousness – even the tiniest little bit of consciousness is uncomfortable for the literal or unreal self! The only thing that doesn’t make the literal self uncomfortable are its own entirely delusory statements about the world, statements which are an extension of its own ‘literality’, its own obtuse ‘concreteness’.
The only thing that doesn’t make the literal/concrete self uncomfortable is a world that is every bit as concrete and literal as it is, in other words, and that word doesn’t actually exist. Reality is not ‘literal’ in its nature – it doesn’t have the property of confirming our concrete expectations, our concrete anticipations. This is actually the only way that we have of talking about reality – by saying that reality is that which never confirms our expectations.
What is it like to come across a world that never confirms any of our expectations? What kind of an experience is this? One answer is to say that it’s the experience of ‘being wrong’, and without any doubt the concrete or literal self doesn’t like to have the experience of being proved wrong! But reality does more than this, it doesn’t just prove us wrong the odd time, every now and again, it ‘proves as wrong’ every time. We simply can’t ‘get it right’ when it comes to anticipating (or ‘making true statements about’) reality.
This kind of thing isn’t just ‘disempowering’ for the concrete self, it’s lethal, it’s the end of the road! The concrete self constructs itself through the confirmation of its expectations, not by their thorough-going falsification. ‘Confirmation’ can work in one of two ways – either the world around us can literally agree with our expectations or it can equally literally disagree with them; either it can answer ‘yes’ to our implied question or it can answer ‘no’. Either way works perfectly well as confirmation because the meaningfulness of the question that we have just asked is affirmed in both cases.
When there is neither ‘yes’ or ‘no’ however then our question is just left standing there as a kind of ‘failed experiment’ – we are left out on the end of a very long limb, and that limb has just been shown up to be rotten to the core! It’s always like this when we are ‘making guesses about reality’ – it’s like trying to answer a riddle, but the thing about this riddle is that we are never going to guess the answer. We’re never going to get the answer because there just isn’t one. No one has ever cracked this code and no one ever will! This is the enigma of all enigmas that we are talking about here – the Enigma that is reality itself.
We could try to argue that reality isn’t an enigma and this is actually what the concrete self does all the time – it’s very being (as we have said) depends upon the assumption that ‘reality is non-enigmatic’. The concrete self needs to prove that the universe which it exists within is fundamentally non-enigmatic (since this is its ‘basic hypothesis’, its ‘key assumption’); the universe however (or ‘reality’) is under no obligation to play ball here. It doesn’t need to prove anything…
The quintessential nature of reality is that it is an unfathomable enigma that will never confirm any of the guesses we make, a mystery that will never validate any of our hypotheses or theories. This might sound like a tired old religious formula that we’ve heard many times before but it’s simply ‘the way things are’. Of course reality is like that – we’d be complete fools to think otherwise! We don’t think that the nature of reality is profoundly and irresolvably enigmatic, but that is simply the way that thinking works – thinking doesn’t have a category for ‘something that doesn’t fit into one of its ready-made categories’ or ‘something that has no bearing on its unquestionable assumptions.’ Thinking works out ‘what something is’ by seeing which of its ‘notches’ that ‘something’ fits into – reality itself is never going to fit into any of its notches however, obviously enough!
How could there possibly be a category for ‘the Whole of Everything’ (which is another way of talking about this thing that we are calling ‘reality’)? A subset of the whole cannot contain the whole (and thereby say ‘what it is’ by providing a context for it)! This is nothing if not straightforward – we always have to be a world that is bigger than us. Otherwise it would not be ‘a world’ at all, it would simply be ‘an extension of ourselves’! ‘Bigger’ here simply means ‘beyond our powers of description’, or ‘beyond our powers of comprehension’. This is such a basic point to make, as well as being such a very simple point to grasp – how is it then that we have such huge difficulties in appreciating it?
Reality is always bigger than we are – how could it not be? If it were otherwise then nothing truly new would ever be able to happen; everything would in this case be merely a repeat of what has happened before. What we are essentially talking about here is information therefore – the two terms ‘reality’ and ‘information’ are interchangeable. When reality is always beyond our comprehension then life is always new, always ‘fresh’ (as it clearly is). It is possible for us to perceive that something that something real is actually happening, as opposed to the stale situation where everything that happens is merely a reflection of our pre-existing categories, our pre-existent ‘mental pixels’.
Reality is a continual movement beyond what we think we understand; it’s a continual ‘falsification of our ideas’, in other words. What could be greater than this? What could be more splendid or more wonderful? What could be more awe-inspiring? And yet for the concrete self there is nothing awe-inspiring about this at all! ‘Falsification’ (or ‘devalidation’) is the kiss of death as far as the concrete self is concerned. The whole point about ‘being concrete’ is that there is simply no question of our fundamental unquestionable basis ever being falsified – that completely and undermines the meaning of the word ‘concrete,’ after all.
There are two ways to live life, therefore. One is ‘as who we truly are’, which is consciousness (or in other words, which is ‘the movement which takes us beyond the known’), and the other is ‘as the concrete self’ (the concrete self being ‘an idea that we have and which we refuse to see as merely an idea’). In order to be able to hang onto this idea (this idea that we are so very attached to) we have to reject consciousness at every turn, we have to reject consciousness wherever we encounter it. And we what choice do we have in this when we are acting on behalf (as we are!) of the concrete (or unreal) self? What else could the concrete (or unreal) self ever do?