The Most Sinister Process Of All

The most sinister process of all is the process where the world is ‘re-presented’ to us in oversimplified terms. This may not – at first hearing – sound like ‘the most sinister process of all’, but it is. We just need to stop and look into it a bit more to see this. When the world is ‘represented’ in oversimplified terms then all the ‘non-simplified’ aspects (which are the aspects which are actually real) are necessarily covered over. The subtlety of things is ignored, denied, glossed over, swept under the carpet. We can think of this in terms of a bad movie – in a bad movie human experience is rendered in a very crude palette, so to speak, so that there is no space for any actual depth, and depth – of course – is what makes things interesting. But that’s not all, there is another factor that comes into play and that is the coercive nature of the crude narrative that we are being subjected to. The world is being described to us in such a way that this description controls our thinking. We are in effect being hypnotised by the crassly oversimplified version of the world that has been presented to us so that we forget that there ever was anything else. It is as if we have been drugged without realizing it and have now become hyper-suggestible.  Someone has slipped us a Mickey Finn, rendering us utterly helpless, utterly vulnerable – we’ll believe anything we’re told, and everything we’re told is for ‘someone else’s benefit’ (so to speak) and not our own…

 

It’s not too hard to see why oversimplifying reality is a sinister business, not once we get to reflecting on the matter. There is a certain convenience in simplifying things down, to be sure, and that’s where the actual utility of the thinking mind comes in – by making generalisations we make it feasible to use methods and systems when interacting with the world so we don’t have to work everything out from scratch every time. Otherwise, we’re ‘working blind’, so to speak – we have no map, no picture of things to guide us; we have no ‘angle’, no way of actually orientating ourselves, and this makes the process of living in any practical sense) highly problematic (if not to say impossible). It’s as if we are babies again, incapable of making sense of sense of the data they are receiving. Our descriptions of the world are not just ‘useful’ for us – they are what makes it possible for us to interact with our environment in a purposeful way. So there is the undoubted value of what we have called ‘utility’ on the one hand – a utility which allows us to ‘understand’ (as we say) the world in a logical way and therefore operate purposefully within it – but there is also the matter of the ‘sinister process’ of information-loss, which we can so very easily forget about. What we looking at here is a trade-off therefore, but it’s a trade-off that presents a huge dilemma.

 

As far as we are concerned however there is no dilemma. There’s no dilemma because we all automatically opt for the ‘utility’ side of things and we’re so very enthusiastic in our choice that we don’t even know that we are making one. There is no question of us agonizing over our decision – we don’t know that there is or was one and that’s the reason why the whole business is so sinister. Loss of information is always sinister (which is why the news media, for example, is inherently sinister) and adapting to a generic version or copy of reality always involves loss of information. We lose all other ways of looking at the world without knowing that we’ve lost anything – if we knew that something had been lost then that would be a different matter entirely. When information is lost then an important part of what’s happening is the loss of information regarding the information loss. Sleight of hand only works when we don’t advertise the fact that sleight of hand is occurring; a lie is only functional when we don’t draw attention to the fact that the lie is actually a lie…

 

Information, we could say, is a measure of the different ways of looking at the world that we have available to us. If we start from the ‘non-generic’ (which is to say the unique) aspect of reality then we can say that the information content here is at a maximum. It’s at a maximum because there is no ‘prescribed’ way to look at the unique – there is no precedent for the unique (which is why it is unique) and so they can be no prescribed way to look at it. Another way of putting this is to say that because there is no ‘one’ way to look at the unique this means that ‘all possible ways are equally good,’ and the situation where all always ‘all viewpoints are equally good’ (i.e. the symmetrical situation) has no limits, no boundaries, no rule associated with it. ‘No specific way’ of looking at things means that they are an endless number of ways therefore, and so there is no restriction of information. We are not being blinkered in any way and so perspective (or information content) is at a maximum.

 

When we are looking at the world in terms of our model or theory or map (which is to say, in the terms that are supplied to us by the thinking mind) then there are not endless ways in which to do this. Quite the reverse is true – there is only the one specified way of looking at everything. We read things in the way we are meant to read them, in other words. When we are using thought as a way of apprehending the world then everything is ‘running smoothly on pre-existent tracks, everything is ‘running on rails’, and so the picture of reality that we are relating to has minimal information content by the definition that we have just given. Any defined ‘picture’ of the world is of course always going to have a minimal information content – this is because any picture or model (i.e. any representation) is by its very nature an oversimplification of what is being pictured, and when we ‘oversimplify’ (or when we simplify in any way at all, for that matter) then we are throwing information away.

 

When we say this it sounds so very obvious that we might, in retrospect, wonder why we bother spelling it out like this – of course representations of reality involve information loss. What else would we expect? Yet even though we might know this very well in a theoretical sort of a way, we still don’t actually appreciate what it really means. We go around every day of our lives interacting with our environment on the basis of our mental categories, without ever reflecting on the fact that this is what we are doing. We might say that we know information is being lost as a result of the thinking / conceptualizing process but that doesn’t mean that we know anything about the information which is being lost!

 

We not seeing reality at all but rather we’re spending all our time relating to our referents for it – and this is all for the sake of ‘utility’ or ‘practicality’! OK, so there are practical advantages to this, but what possible ‘advantage’ could compensate us from being alienated from reality itself? What meaning does the term ‘advantage’ even have when we have entirely lost touch with reality? The trade-off that we have made has become entirely absurd at this stage – we have gained something that is actually meaningless. It is ‘meaningless’ because what we have had to lose in order to gain it is reality itself. We have ‘lost the most important thing’ – there is a tremendous richness, subtlety and poetry to the world that would transport us to a different realm entirely if we could but see it, but our compulsive engagement with the generic world means that this is precisely what we don’t ever see. We are being denied it; we are in effect being held captive in a crude world that has nothing genuine to offer us – we’ll never get anything out of this so-called ‘world’, not ever.

 

Obviously, if we are to be fed some sort of crude/over-simplified version of reality there still has to be at least something there, but the point is that what is presented to us doesn’t have to have any actual depth. A description that doesn’t have any depth is what’s called a literal description; a literal description ‘doesn’t have any depth’ because it doesn’t relate to reality – it can’t relate to reality because reality never consists of what is seen from only the one viewpoint. When there is only the one ‘viewpoint’ then what is seen is an abstraction from reality; it is an abstraction because out of all the possible ways of looking at the world that are out there, we have filtered out all but one. This is the very definition of abstraction – one specific way of looking at things is pulled out of a ‘rich mixture’ consisting of infinitely many ways. The symmetrical situation where ‘all ways of looking at the world are equally good’ is collapsed into the situation where ‘there is only the one way’, which is the asymmetrical situation where ‘only one way of looking is right and all others are wrong’.

 

The abstracted viewpoint doesn’t provide us with any information about reality, that’s not what it’s about. If it did, then there would be what we might call some kind of ‘healthy release’ involved in the process, but there isn’t. The goal is presented to us, we attain the goal, and then (or so we might imagine!) we will find release in this attainment, we will no longer be tied to the mechanism of thought, to the mechanism of control. But this doesn’t happen – we are never released and the reason we are never released is because the goal is only an abstraction and it is therefore no closer to reality than any other description that we might have. Literal descriptions never ‘do what they say they are going to do’, in other words; they say they are going to release us but they don’t. If on the other hand we had a description of reality that did have some depth (a poetical description of reality, so to speak) then it would take us closer to the real world, and as a result there would be some kind of release occurring. Another way of putting this is to say that we would then find ourselves in a ‘peaceful’ (or ‘free’) state rather than in a ‘driven’ (or ‘unfree’) one. There is no ‘coerciveness’ in a poetical description, in other words; no one is being forced to ‘buy into anything’. We aren’t being compelled to see the world in any particular way; we aren’t being compelled to think in any particular way. There is no ‘plot’, no ‘conspiracy’…

 

Living in a world that is made up of literal/concrete descriptions comes with two very significant ‘disadvantages’ therefore – one being that there is nothing of any substance (or nutritional value’) and it, the other being that the world that is thus produced is entirely coercive in nature, and control everything about us without seeing that this is happening. The literal world is both arid and brutally manipulative, and when we are adapted to it we do not have not the slightest insight regarding either of these two factors! There is another way of talking about the coercive nature of the environment within which we find ourselves and that is to say that it misinforms us about both who we are and what it is that we want out of life, thus creating a false version of ourselves which has no connection with our true nature, or with the true nature of the world we live in. We are motivated by this environment to do all sorts of things, and engage in all sorts of tasks, and none of this serves ‘who we really are’, therefore. Once we express things like this, it can be seen that this situation has very little to recommend it, to say the least!

 

It is, as we have said, in the nature in the nature of the thinking mind to produce literal descriptions of the world. That is what it’s supposed to do and inasmuch as the physical universe we live in is an ‘oversimplification’ of Original Symmetry (which is the universe before it is collapsed into an asymmetrical state) this thinking or categorical mind serves as a perfectly legitimate guide. This is the ‘utility’ aspect of the trade-off that we talked about earlier. If we let the thinking mind have free reign however, and determine everything about us, then the ‘collapsed’ or ‘asymmetrical’ aspect of reality becomes the only aspect that we are capable of knowing about, which puts us in the situation that we have just talked about, which is where both our being, and our aspirations (or motivations) are entirely falsified for us by the coercive environment. This situation is where the trade-off that we have made becomes totally absurd (as we said earlier) – we have now been put in a situation where we have been ‘turned against ourselves’ such that everything we do is to our ultimate detriment, and so no matter what we do we are creating more misery and confusion for ourselves. We are obliged therefore to both respect the practical value of the literal mind (which is our guide to this material realm) and see the very great danger that this mind brings with it, which happens to be an awareness that we absolutely do not have. We in our strictly utilitarian civilization have not even the slightest awareness of the danger inherent in a world that is made up of literal descriptions; there are always a certain amount of people who appreciate the poetical description of the world as opposed to the concrete one, but no one ever takes such people seriously. The only voices we ever listen to are the concrete or literal voices, and we cannot see just how sinister the world these voices tell us about really is…

 

 

Art: Smug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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