Locality is only a meaningful concept when we are operating within the context of a framework – frameworks are made up of ‘an array of possible locations’, after all – but it isn’t in the least bit meaningful outside of this context, obviously enough. This is a straightforward enough argument to put across but what isn’t so straightforward is to see how frameworks (any frameworks) are only ever ‘arbitrarily imposed things’. Understanding this doesn’t come so naturally to us, in fact it doesn’t seem to come naturally to us at all. We only ever relate to the world that the FW shows us and the only way we can relate to the world that the FW shows us is by thoroughly ignoring the existence of the FW!
We live in a world made up of information. Or rather, we live in the world made up of what we call ‘information’ but which actually isn’t. The information we traffic in everyday is ‘information that makes sense within a specific framework’, within the specific framework that the thinking mind imposes to be precise, and for this reason it isn’t a real thing. It’s only provisionally real, as we were saying earlier. It’s real only if the framework that gives it meaning is real, and that doesn’t happen to be the case. That isn’t the case because the FW isn’t a naturally occurring thing but something that we ourselves need to put in place and this means that the information making up the world of ideas and concepts that we relate to every day isn’t actually real – it’s just a representation of reality within terms that aren’t themselves real. This means that the world which we take for granted every single day of our lives isn’t for real either and this (which equals genuine information) isn’t something we can take on board just like that. It isn’t something that we want to take on board either. This isn’t the same as saying that ‘nothing is real’ however; we’re not making a sweeping statement like that at all (that particular sweeping statement is a self-contradiction in any rate, since it too is inescapably part of the very same thing it claims not to be real) – we are merely saying that information which is found within a framework is only provisionally true. It’s only true if the imaginary framework is true, and all frameworks are imaginary. We’re not saying, therefore, that what lies on the outside of the framework ‘isn’t real’ – we don’t have any basis to say that, after all. We have no basis to say anything about what lies on the outside of the framework.
We don’t have any basis to say that what lies outside of a framework isn’t real because the only basis we could ever have to make definite statements (of any sort) is a framework and we have just argued that no statement that comes out of a FW can be real. No one is saying anything about what lies outside of a FW being unreal; no one is saying that it is real either, for that matter. We’d be overstepping the mark in both cases, ultimately – as we have indicated – all frames of reference come down to the FOR which is the thinking mind and our argument is simply that the information provided by the thinking mind can only ever provisionally true, which is to say it’s only real (as we keep saying) in relation to what it itself assumes. Inasmuch as the only world we know about is the world which is made up of the ‘information’ that is provided us for us by the TM, this means that the world which we believe in and take for granted every single day of our lives is nothing more than a phantom appearance. It’s not that there’s no reality at all, simply that there’s no tangible reality, no reality that would make sense to the rational intellect.
It isn’t nihilistic to say that what the world our thoughts tell us about isn’t real and that the so-very familiar picture we have of things (and ourselves) is only a phantom appearance; this isn’t a dark and despairing thing to say but a jubilant thing! This is unparalleled good news not bad news – there simply couldn’t be any news better than this. Thought provides us with a very rigid and narrow view of life; it provides us with a very rigid and narrow view of life and life isn’t rigid or narrow. Life doesn’t come with a whole bunch of rules and regulations. Thought is showing is something else not life – it’s showing us its own version of how things are, its own digital analogue of reality. Thought doesn’t just narrow our view down, it narrows us down too; it traps us in a 2-D analogue of life and a cartoon-like static identity which lives in that 2-D analogue of life and so to be able to see beyond this, to see beyond the narrow formal descriptions that make up our world isn’t a bad thing, even though thought warns as most ominously that it is.
Thought always tells us that to wander off the map is a bad thing; This -according to the TM – is the ultimate error and so if it looks like we’re departing from the script it will set off all the alarm bells that it has. It will sound red alert; it will signal a catastrophe and flood us with fear. Of all the scary things that could possibly be out there, the possibility of having the Domain of the Known shattered and infiltrated by the ‘radically unknowable’ exceeds everything in terms of sheer terror content. Nothing trumps ontological terror! Motivated by thought therefore, we will always do our utmost to avoid losing (or going beyond) our theory or model of the world; we are like snails who won’t venture out of their shells under any circumstances, the difference being that shells are helpful to snails whilst our impermeable unassailable belief structures aren’t. Having a theory or map of the world is helpful up to a point, but beyond this point (when the whole thing rigidifies on us and seals us off in a private cave of prejudice) it is a disaster.
This point is true for thought as a whole: the instrument of the rational intellect has a very specific domain of useful applicability and if we stick with this domain then everything is fine; if we go beyond that domain and start applying thought to everything ‘across the board’ however then this creates a situation which is not at all helpful to us. We create a situation which is the exact reverse of helpful. This is a very simple and straightforward point to make therefore – thought is a useful and diligent servant, but an extraordinarily terrible and cruel master. This is not a new thing to hear of course; we can hear it in any mindfulness class, we can read it in any number of books or see it posted online many hundreds of times, but that doesn’t mean that we understand it. It’s not just that the TM will turn against us and give us a hard time, that we will think upsetting or self-critical or negative thoughts, or that our thoughts will be distracting us with nonsense the whole time. That isn’t it at all – when thought becomes our master then it encapsulates us in the Domain of the Known and turns us against reality, it turns us against ‘the actual truth of things’ so that we end up seeing everything invertedly as ‘the reverse of what they really are’. When thought is our master then we see the real as being unreal and the unreal is being real, which is no small handicap! It is therefore our mode of perception itself which is be acting against us and keeping us prisoner; not only are we ‘seeing through a glass darkly’ we are living exclusively within the world that this ‘glass’ is showing us.
There is more to it than this however – the Principle of Inversion goes deeper than one might imagine from what we have said so far. Within the context of thought, ‘locality’ refers to categorisation, the splitting up of meaning into <plus/minus> polarity, so to speak. This is the Law of the Excluded Middle – if the answer is <YES> then it can’t also be <NO>. Meaning is therefore localised, but at the same time that it is ‘localised’ it is also necessarily nullified. Every category is made up for both <IN> and <OUT>, <YES> and <NO> in equal measure – a category is in essence a boundary in other words and a boundary is an imaginary dividing line which keeps <PLUS> and <MINUS> apart. But the imaginary dividing line is only imaginary and <PLUS> and <MINUS> aren’t really separate at all – they’re only separate within the game that we’re playing. Categories are the game that we play with reality, the game that is based on the principle that ‘if the answer is <YES> then it can’t also be <NO>’…
This then is one form of locality – the locality of thought. Thought is always ‘local’ – it can’t ever not be. It’s stuck to an ‘abstract surface’ and it can’t have any existence other than this. Thought is always ‘nailed down’ and it can’t acknowledge a form of existence in which things aren’t nailed down or defined. The Big Parallel here (which isn’t by any means an immediately obvious one) is with the form of locality which has to do with the framework of space and time. This is of course the generally accepted way of understanding the word ‘locality’; physical locality (we might say) also obeys the law of the excluded middle – if an object is <HERE> then it can’t also be <THERE>. This is so obvious that we never stop to question it – that’s just the way things are and so it would be stupid to question it; nobody stops to question things that are very obvious, after all. People will make fun of us if we do that. We’ve got it entirely the wrong way around however – it’s not stupid to question things that are very obvious, it’s stupid not to! There is nothing ‘very obvious’ in this universe of ours and so if we do come across such a thing then it’s got to be bogus, it’s got to be a facade, an artificial appearance… If we don’t question the facade, the bluff, the artificial or theatrical appearance then naturally this makes us stupid – we think we’re clever for going along with what seems to be ‘a basic fact of existence’, but all we are doing is ‘stopping asking questions of life’. All we’re really doing is ‘taking things for granted’ and there’s nothing at all clever about that. That is actually the very definition of ‘being dumb’!
Physicists – being curious by nature and not given to taking things for granted (they wouldn’t be very good physicist if they were) – have of course questioned physical locality and it has been found not to be a primary level of reality. We know this because there are many instances of the principle of locality being violated, instances of reality showing itself to be ‘outside of the framework’ and for this reason not being bound by its inflexible bureaucracy. What this means is that particle with (of whatever sort) are revealed as not being primary, despite our conviction to the contrary. The (assumed) existence of existence of primary particles is – we might say – crucially important to us in a psychological sense because it is the belief in particles that allows us to feel we are living in a tangible universe, a universe that is founded upon actual ‘substance’. If atoms or molecules (or the associated subatomic particles) don’t represent a fundamental base level of existence then this makes a tremendous difference to our worldview, it makes the biggest difference there is – one way matter is real and we live in a genuinely material universe, the other way matter is a mere hollow façade and we don’t…
This makes for a very good reason for not questioning the firmament, therefore. If we start to question our apparently solid basis then this ‘basis’ will explode in our faces, it will open up very dramatically to reveal vistas of open space with no <UP> and no <DOWN> in it, which is enough to give anyone vertigo. This is Kierkegaard’s ‘dizzying freedom’, which Buddhists call the state of ‘groundlessness’. But whatever we call it it’s a situation that offers us nothing in the way of security! Particles aren’t fundamental, they aren’t ‘things in themselves’ for the same reason that categories aren’t when it comes down to it. The parallel is exact, although not necessarily easy to see. A particle is a ‘package’ and packages always come down to a question of boundaries or demarcations. These boundaries are a function of our way of understanding things rather than representing an aspect of reality itself – reality itself doesn’t come in the form of packages – it’s all the one! It’s ‘all the one tablecloth,’ we could say (by way of an analogy) and so can mess about with the tablecloth to create wrinkles in it and then we can say that these wrinkles are ‘things in themselves’ but that’s merely the game that we’re playing. The wrinkles are provisionally ‘there’ if we choose to look at things that way but ultimately they’re not there. The only thing that genuinely is there is the tablecloth itself.
The wrinkles in the tablecloth are our abstract frameworks (we could say) and so the thing to remember is that they aren’t really there – they are self-cancelling displacements of an underlying intangible and perfectly symmetrical medium. This is an important thing to remember (if we are to be able to distinguish what is real from what is not real) but we always do forget it; this is an important thing to remember but – on the other hand – it is also true that our whole modality of existence / functioning is based upon not seeing the wrinkles merely as being wrinkles but rather as being actual fixed features of reality itself, and so the ‘forgetting’ of which we speak is a crucial manoeuvre. This manoeuvre is the Inversion itself, the means by which what is unreal gets to be real and the real gets to be unreal. The Inversion is the act of forgetting about the tablecloth from which all things are made (or from by which all <apparent> things are manufactured). Our very great attachment to these ‘apparent things’ means that ‘remembering the tablecloth’ is the very last thing we want to do. It’s the very last thing we want to do because our allegiance or loyalty is to the apparent things, even though these apparent things don’t really exist and never could do.