When we react automatically we create a defined environment. Not only this, when we react automatically we create a defined environment and that defined environment becomes us. The defined environment becomes ‘who we are’.
I can’t ever leave the defined environment once I have been defined – all I can ever do is to carry on reacting! All the defined self can do is ‘react’ – that is its nature. The point is that when we react then this reacting always takes place in relation to some sort of a defined environment; we can’t react to something that hasn’t been defined, after all. Furthermore, we can say that when we react to a defined environment then we perpetuate that defined environment. We are faithfully ‘creating it’ every time!
This – needless to say – is a contradictory kind of thing because the whole point of us reacting is to change things, not keep them the same. The whole point of reacting is to try to change things both quickly and dramatically, and yet what we are actually doing is repeating the situation that we’re trying to get away from. By trying to change our situation we are repeating it, and we do this over and over again. It’s the only trick we know, and it’s not a very helpful one! It’s not very helpful because we tripping ourselves up every time, because we’re shooting ourselves in the foot every time.
When we react automatically we create a defined environment, but there’s more to it than this. There’s more to it than this because it is the defined environment that is causing us to react in the first place. What’s actually happening here is that the DE is replicating or reproducing itself through us. Our ‘reactions’ don’t belong to us at all therefore – they belong to the environment that we are reacting to. Our reactions aren’t ours, they pertain to this thing called the ‘defined environment’ and yet we think that our environments are us, we think that they are an essential part of us.
When we react automatically we think that it is us reacting and so of course we feel that our reacting is us. This then is the ‘primary delusion’ – the delusion that ‘we are what we aren’t’. Reacting automatically to the defined environment causes us to become the defined as the defined environment; ‘reacting’ is the glue that holds everything together therefore – if we didn’t react then none of this would happen. If we were not to react then the endless propagation of the deterministic (or defined) self would come to an end.
We are very much sold on ‘reacting’ however – we think that it’s the answer to everything. ‘Reacting’ is just about all we do, all we care about. We think that this will get us wherever we want to go. ‘Reacting’ essentially means anything that derives from the rational mind; it means thinking and everything that comes about as a result of thinking. All thoughts are reactions because all thoughts proceed according to necessity – which is to say they proceed mechanically, they proceed ‘according to rules’.
The only way there wouldn’t be this essential reactivity going on where X follows Y in an inevitable fashion (i.e. where X causes Y) would be, therefore, where there isn’t a causal relationship, where X doesn’t have to follow Y. A discontinuity comes into the picture and linear causality ceases. What we’re talking about here is simply freedom in other words. Freedom never comes about as a result of thinking. It never comes about as a result of thinking because thinking always follows established grooves, because thinking always proceeds along predetermined channels.
Given the fact that we always say that we value freedom so very much, that we hold it such great stock in it, it is very peculiar that we spent all of our time thinking, and behaving in a way that is consistent with this thinking, since there is absolutely no way that freedom is ever going to come about as a result of us doing this. It’s the same as claiming to be a vegetarian and yet eating donner kebabs for breakfast, lunch and dinner – there is a basic inconsistency here.
Once we understand what’s going on as a result of all of our reacting (or all of our thinking) then the inconsistency (or contradiction) starts to make more sense. We react in the way that we do react because we want to change our situation, as we have said. This is our motivation: either we want to change it because the one we we’re in is too uncomfortable for us, or we want to change it because the one we are aiming at looks more comfortable, and therefore more desirable (both of which come down to the same thing of course). What actually happens as a result of our automatic reacting is however that we perpetuate our underlying situation over and over again for as long as we live, if we can get away with it, even though it is this stuckness that is ultimately responsible for the existential pain from which we are attempting to flee. Nothing hurts as much as ‘being stuck’, after all.
The answer to the riddle as to why we are behaving in the perverse or self-defeating fashion that we are behaving is therefore that it’s not really us who are reacting. The reactions don’t belong to us, they belong to defined environment that we are reacting to, as we have said. The DE supplies both the triggers and the way in which we are to react to them. The DE supplies us with the logic that we utilise in order to optimise our situation and it also supplies us with our understanding of what the ‘optimisation of our situation’ would or should entail. The DE supplies us with the grooves down which our thinking proceeds, and in this way the defined environment automatically perpetuates itself, automatically reproduces itself.
There are two things going on here, therefore. There are ‘two agendas’, so to speak. One is the agenda which we have to optimise our situation, which translates as we have said into avoiding discomfort and seeking comfort. We would typically say that ‘we want to be free to escape from or solve our troubles’, or that ‘we want to be free to pursue our goals, our dreams’. This is what ‘optimisation’ means, we might say. The other agenda is the agenda of the determinate system, the DE, to endlessly perpetuate itself. It isn’t an agenda in the usual sense of the word, it’s more of a ‘reflex’. The DE reflexively perpetuates itself because ‘that’s what it does’, or because ‘that’s what it is’. The DE ‘is its own agenda’, in other words. The system equals ‘the reflex to perpetuate the system’.
There are two things that are going on here therefore and we can state them as follows:
Number 1 – the attractive fantasy that we are ‘pursuing freedom’, or ‘trying to fulfil ourselves’, and
Number 2 – the far less glamorous reality, which is the reality that we are merely acting as a passive vehicle for the determinate environment to continually replicate itself, even though that determinate environment has nothing to do with who we really are, even though its agenda has nothing whatsoever to do with us or our actual well-being.