Corners of Unreality: A Journey of Increasing Disbelief

Born to Disrupt

Dave begins the event with the words “born to be a disruptor.”

Is he saying this about himself or about all of us? Both, or neither? Inside of an Oshana event (this one is “Driving Deeper: Lifting the Corners of Unreality”), words are never quite as linear as a scribe would like them to be.

If you think this is easy, I will take that as a compliment; except that it also means you haven’t been paying attention.

Dave ends the event by cautioning that we are all prey to an addiction that we don’t easily perceive that we have.

The reason we don’t get out of the prison we are in, he says, is because we believe in “the Wizard broadcasting its voice across the planet of our minds,” never realizing that it doesn’t have the authority it claims to have.

What Dave is attempting to provide is “real-time intervention”: something that takes away our illusions. The problem is that no one wants to have their illusions taken away: if they did, they wouldn’t need someone to do it.

There’s an even deeper problem, which is that even finding someone lost in illusion is not easy, never mind bringing them out of it.

We all relate, not directly to one another, but to figments of our imagination. We interact not with people but with our concepts about people. Dave’s lament today is that all the ways people relate to him are unrelated to why he is there for them.

He uses an analogy: Dave is undercover as a prison guard. His mission is to spring me from prison. Instead, he finds himself constantly reminding me that he is not here to get me extra jam on my porridge, or secure for me an extra change of boxer shorts every week. He finds himself constantly asking me: Do you understand the consequences of a prison break?

Dave’s job is simple: to make me cease to believe in my mind. So when Dave tells me this in words and it goes into my mind to process it, should I believe it?

 

First Principles

As a boy in physics class, Dave annoyed his teacher by asking difficult questions. As the teacher presented an equation to the class, young Dave asked, “Aren’t you making assumptions with this equation? Shouldn’t we go back to first principles?” The teacher reprimanded his precocious and difficult student: “We aren’t here for that! My job is to get you to pass the exams!”

This example is to illustrate how we start with one or two unquestioned assumptions, and before we know it, we have built a whole life on them.

Getting enlightened, Dave says, is about hugely doubting yourself.

Hey, I can do that. Years of practice. But still here looking for more jam on my porridge.

Snippets from an audio journal I made the day before Sunday’s meeting. Approach with caution for an example of the perpetual motion machine of a chronically doubting mind.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 12:39 — 7.2MB)

 

Into the Void

Enlightenment happens, he says, when the sticky thread between our awareness and the cluster of assumptions we call our mind, breaks. Then we break free of the gravitational pull of the conceptual planet we call thinking.

Many of our concepts, he says, are after-effects of something shocking or traumatic. They are stories we tell ourselves to keep these painful impressions at a distance. Hence, none of them lead to freedom. What needs to happen is something has to change inside us.

Right before that, Dave used the phrase “journey of increasing disbelief.” I noted and underlined it, thinking it would be a great title for the next blogpost. Later, since both Dave and I enjoy acronyms, I considered “vector of increasing disbelief” as a viable alternative. It spells VOID.

This VOID requires disdain, dislike, antipathy, allergic reactions, and disinterest in what our minds are saying is true. Our lifelong experience of the mind is like a dysfunctional relationship that we keep going back into, always willing to give it a second chance, no matter how many times we get abused. It’s like a TV show that starts out strong, but steadily degrades itself. Why do we carry on watching? Because we are invested in the characters.

Like a TV show needs ratings, our mind is like a semi-sentient creation that constantly wants our company. It is also a complete illusion. Getting free of that illusion means going cold turkey on certain aspects of our minds.

 

 

Where Does Thought Come From?

We are addicted to certain recurring sequences of thoughts in our minds, says Dave.

I know this from observation. I have noticed how, when I am lying in bed at night, waiting to go to sleep, if I am not listening to old audio journals of myself (literal mind-tapes), then I am listening to a live audio stream of my mind. I have noticed that I will set up a series of thoughts that I expect will be stimulating and pleasing to me, and then relax into the warm anticipation of the next few thoughts coming down the “Jasun” pipe.

When I mentioned this, some years back, to my wife, she seemed surprised, shocked even. My guess is that we all do it, all the time. I think I was just becoming conscious of something I had done throughout my life, unconsciously.

Withdrawing authority from our minds entails letting go of the need to have any clear idea about ourselves.

Where do thoughts come from anyway? Do they all come from the same place; do they travel into awareness in the same direction? Do they come one at a time or in clusters? Dave has commented many times (and I have observed this, though probably to a far lesser degree than he has), that our thoughts have a spacial layout. When we go to a particular sequence of thoughts or associations, we are locating them in the spacial field around our bodies, rather like a computer desktop that has programs and folders on it.

This can be observed, if we watch ourselves closely, or others, while we or they are speaking.

Breaking free of the illegitimate persuasion tactics of the false identity involves interrupting certain recurring sets of assumptions. It means not going into these old files and programs conveniently situated on the desktop of our minds. This is my analogy, not Dave’s, and it causes me to wonder if “shortcuts” on a computer desktop are the equivalent of especially rapid automatic associations, the ones that occur more frequently and effortlessly?

Our technology mirrors our psychology.

 

Insstence

Dave likes to point out that we have two eyes, and that means we actually see two images whenever we look at existence. Those two images are confabulated into a single image that we then take for reality. We make assumptions about what we see being actually out there.

Just like video processing (or celluloid film) depends on our filling in the gaps that exists between pixels/frames, our assumptions weave together disparate aspects of existence into a seamless whole that is holey, and hence (maybe) wholly illusory. Assumptions may even make up the lion’s share of our experience of reality. It’s called living in a dream world.

Dave asks how detailed is our ability to take in non-confirming evidence? Can we maintain a position of doubt, of being unsure about what is going on?

This is a slow method, but it allows us to question what our minds are telling us, and to suspend automatic assumptions about what is true.

The split within us is this: there are many things our minds are telling us throughout the day that our life force simply isn’t interested in.

Earlier, Dave demonstrated his problem talking to people who are, in his previously cited analogy, asking him for more jam on their porridge, while he is trying to break them out of their prison cells. The more he expresses his skepticism about the problems they believe they have—problems that circle, like hornets, around the uncomfortable feelings that their thoughts are buffering them against—the more insistent they become that, really, the problem is not enough jam on the porridge: that and nothing else.

To demonstrate the way people get with him when he doesn’t take their mind-selves seriously enough, he leaned forward and raised his voice. He asked us if we had noticed what he was doing and then what it communicated. I typed “insistence” into the chat area of the Zoom channel. Actually, I typed “insstence.” I didn’t bother to correct it, because Dave is an educated guy, and I knew he could figure it out.

He made a face when he saw the word, then remarked that there were “too many s’s. He brought the word up again later, and made the same comment about the “s’s.”  This made me think of snakes; but when I looked at how I’d typed the word, I realized it wasn’t a question of too many s’s, but of a missing “I.” 

 

Wave of Decimation

In the last few minutes of the event, Dave reiterated that we are driven, not by our thoughts, but by feelings we don’t want to have. We conjure forth figments of the imagination, idées fixes, obsessions, to protect us from those uncomfortable feelings. The narratives we generate are all geared to get us to suspend disbelief and, by making an invisible threat appear visible, to act out fantasies that will temporarily relieve our distress without ever facing the internal reality that is causing it. (It’s called LARPing)

At that point, I wrote in my notes: NO CLUE ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON.

Bringing serious doubt to one’s life doesn’t sound like progress, says Dave; or that it could be sustainable. But cold turkey never seems like a good idea to the addict.

What if what I’m involved in isn’t really about hearing what you have to say, at all? What if whatever you have to say is the enemy, speaking through you?

Do you like these apples? Would you buy them from this man?

This rescue mission is to separate you from the hallucinating voice inside you. My job is basically to decimate you, from the inside.

Dave extends a laughing challenge to the scribe at this point: See if you can romanticize that and make it more palatable to people, Jasun. He then relieves me of the task a moment after assigning it, by ending on a suitably Matrix-y flourish:

As bad as total decimation sounds, he says, it is the only way to free the human race from an alien homunculus that has taken us over—and turned us into its precioussss.

How’s that for positive spin? Take the “I” out of insistence and what do you get? Too many sssssssss.

Next Up with Oshana Online: “Breaking Back Into The Matrix; Grasping the Glitch; Cracking the Code; Bagging the Black Cat; Manipulating the Mechanism,” Sunday, 24th May 9 am Pacific time.

12 thoughts on “Corners of Unreality: A Journey of Increasing Disbelief”

  1. “How’s that for positive spin? Take the “I” out of insistence and what do you get? Too many sssssssss.”

    LOL!

    Currently wondering: how “badass” become an honorific.

    Reply
  2. I’m sorry you are feeling depressed. Perhaps physical pain isn’t helping anything.
    I’m choosing to feel disappointed rather than depressed. Trying anyway. I have been hoping to discover that women I’ve known for 40 years or there a bouts might have been awakened by now. I’m saddened to find that they are not. They are smart but remain programmed. It’s lonely being awake and disconcerting because I have to be quiet lest I wake a hostile woman. Not a pretty picture. Wild hair, long nails and sharp tongued. Yikes. I can’t image how much of oneself one has to give up in order to fit in. I could never do that.
    So, I remain awake and tread softly through the maze.
    Cheers for now, J’nia

    Reply
  3. Listening to your audio journal, your solitary words, hearing your footsteps in the forest I can see in my mind: it feels intimate, even a bit voyeuristic. You – your words, your tone – connect with my fears, easily. And you see a bird unable to fly and a fish on the road ie out of water, both echoing how I so often feel.

    VOID was Sebastian’s band wasn’t it? The photograph that comes after that paragraph looks a lot like him too: did you do that on purpose?

    I was happy at Dave’s meet here because I was relaxed and engaged and hopeful; but then he said our words are our enemy, the mind and I plummeted into despondency: I have tried so hard to be real and speak with truth; then again I know what he means, in some deep place sometimes at least

    On it goes.

    Reply
    • I hadn’t thought of the void connection, funnily enough, tho now it seems striking & I also brought up his later musical project, Rhythm of Life, in a previous Dave-post.

      The pic wasn’t intentional tho I did have to choose between two of falling men, picked this one because the shape of image was better but also it seemed slightly more humorous.

      Ironically it may be the enemy who is feeling despondent at being so rudely routed. In other words, despondency is also dispensable.

      Reply
  4. Is not the mind just a tool? A tool propagandized (rhetoric) to lead us astray, if one is not discerning?
    The logic preceding the grammar, making us blind to the grammar in the end (as far as the trivium is concerned, echoing McLuhan’s book thereon)?
    The flip side is just as destructive, that of positive thinking.

    The unapologetic reality, where projections fade; to quote t.s. eliot;
    Go, go, go said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.

    “Do you understand the consequences of a prison break?” is the line that reverberated. The book “One, no one, one thousand” came to mind, then Jesus (or any number of martyrs). It even brings up the dredging of past electronic footprints, missteps necessary to growth. What’s the saying, the more one is alive, the more one sins (as defined by culture, gov’t, religion, the other).
    Perhaps I have circled around to an answer;
    fear tries to push us back down; a regression.
    ‘When danger approaches, sing to it.’ ….

    “Assumptions may even make up the lion’s share of our experience of reality. It’s called living in a dream world.” – gently down the stream, merrily …. [in polyphony]

    Reply
  5. A question that came up for me was: in doubting, to what degree is this an active mental process? How can the ‘filtering’ soul ‘check’ whether a given prehension is doubt, neuroses or dissociation?

    I swig a drink, sweetness hits, then I think ‘Is this really good for me to drink these kinds of drinks?’ – mostly like neuroses and overthinking, right?

    Someone says something to me, I find myself disagreeing, then 7 seconds later after feeling compassion rise up from within my body, find I can understand, accept, and agree with what they’ve said. An embodied soul check, borne from doubt?

    As someone who until recently had been suffering from quite extreme dissociation at times, the depersonalisation was far more troubling than the ‘derealisation’ of imagining myself on an alien planet with purple sand and cyan waves washing at my feet. This is the mind’s defence mechanism against trauma taking the POV completely away from the body. But what has moved? The soul? The soul is then transported to a false reality constructed by the mind, I guess.

    Which brings me back to my question of how you can know how much of what we take for granted as waking life is also ‘a false reality constructed by the mind’ ?

    If I perform the thought experiment of being a soul that has thrown off the false narratives of the mind and freed itself to experience, what would each prehension ‘feel’ like to me? Different in many ways, I imagine. But how would I know that I’ve gotten to this point? How would I know if the mind is creeping back in?

    The times when I am doing something that does not involve the mind almost at all – good, loving sex springs to mind – feel like bliss.

    But then hiking and having ‘good’ thoughts that clear the mind and make sense of the soul also feels good.

    Oblivion, doubt, dissociation. What is the relationship?

    Reply
  6. I have been trying to commune with my? unconscious. Being a former insomniac, I sometimes still have poor sleep nights. When I retire to bed, I (in my head) sing ‘Mr. Sandman’ to Carl Jung. Works like a charm.

    Reply

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