“The Greatest Illusion in the World is the Illusion of Separation”

The greatest benefit I’ve found from the internet is the way it functions as a tool for Serendipity. It is an electronic I Ching of sorts, though with many additional pitfalls one avoids by sticking to casting bones or sticks.

The title of this post appeared as one of those FB images sent out to attract “likes…”

That doesn’t make it any less true.

Separation is an illusion, yet we strive to avoid it. All of our social media churning is the latest way of cashing in on our compulsion.

This still appears a predicament. It’s certainly not a problem begging solution. How do we get enough of an illusory fulfillment?

Yet, we are caught in a quandary. Our current inter connectivity is – or at least appears to be – inadequate. Our locations are almost non-places. This, as the result of the commodification of the world, so that any corner of suburbia, or urbia, or even what passes for rural area, is so entangled with abstractions of measures of value and strategies of use that they, and those of us living in them, are to a great extent living in limbo. We are blocked from doing otherwise by both statute and raw power as well as by our own lashings to habit and conditioning. This prison hardly needs physical walls, although it does not lack them.

So, with our actual places and the possibilities for actual interactions fraught by a virtualization of the world, we turn to this virtual world to make up for it. Incoherence takes on many forms. They can be recognized as this can, by the ways in which contradictions become invisible to us as we continue to press against their limits with ever more feeble results. This is another example of our zombification.

The tension this creates is never far from the surface. It is a growing factor in my considerations of how best to go forward.

Efforts spent to write for this format have given me the most tangible results in having discovered and forged connections with people spread over the face of the earth. But then, there’s the rub. They have done little that I can reach out and touch. Although the tempting promise of something developing far enough to precipitate out of cyberspace and reach direct physical reality continues to hold me unable to simply pull the plug.

I’m not about to announce that I’ve done that, or will soon – at least not without having been driven to it by external conditions. But to ignore this deeply problematical paradox would be to give in to futility.

Everything points to a need to turn away from engaging with Spectacle and forging a life from what is available at hand. If this were easy, or even truly possible….

What keeps me here is a drive to make further connections and take advantage of what this medium offers while minimizing the risks of exposure to its caustic elements and horrible attention holes. It’s just that this is exactly the kind of bargain that keeps us in thrall. The carrot and stick which maintains our pace. Each navigating within our own comfort level between seduction and pain.

There is a connection here with the ways in which we use tools in any context, even within Craft. But these tools are not the sort that help us maintain a discipline between their abilities and our needs. These tools hide tremendous levels of violence and hegemonically wielded power beneath their slick surfaces. They make what they do so easy, while hiding what we might want – not so much in vales of difficulty as under veils of invisibility. Seduced by their ease we soon find ourselves doing their bidding, or their masters, scrolling and tapping those like and share buttons like dutiful citizens of cyberspace.

Reaching these points when our behavior dissolves into its components of manipulation and conditioning could be seen as a traumatic time. This does us no service, only helping to hold us in these traps while we develop defenses and build up our denials. I’ve found these times exciting. There is a promise at the other side of this valley, a promise of the dissolution of a tie to a binding illusion. Without passing through this stage we cannot arrive at the point at which it dissolves under the gaze of further insight.

This post is just a musing on some of the clues. The title appears to hold keys….

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4 thoughts on ““The Greatest Illusion in the World is the Illusion of Separation”

  1. Carrot and stick…I see this more in terms of a Faustian pact: getting to ride the beast – what it does to my soul, nobody knows. But Faust has his roots in the Gnostic tradition, and in there, the diamonds are scattered in the mud for those who take up the task to find and re-collect.

    I’ve been thinking about integrity and coherence lately. Especially in the practice of living – and how that translates into text: writing or speech. Some people are artisans with words, but looking at them live their life: the subtle sensitivity of text can cover a life of unexamined garbage. A dream can be so much better than reality. This is one reason I have reservations about meeting authors of books I really like. They say a book, for example, is an independent work of art, and I should not let the person of the author affect my opinion. But I am affected – sometimes afflicted. If I would not want to chat with a person, why would I want to read a book written by them? This may be a limitation that I make.

    At lunch today I was complaining to a co-worker about the temperature: it was -25C yesterday, and I have outhouse for toilet. The cold really bites my ass! But I like my principle: not mixing shit with drinking water. I am willing to suffer for that.

    • Wowie! Where? I wish we had some of that here in Colorado. The climate thinks it’s summer here… 70F today.

    • Kristina,

      Yes, a diamond shines brighter from the morass! When something bright and beautiful shines from a place unexpected, it grabs you and captivates your attention.

      I have been fortunate to have lived among artist. Painters, writers, musicians, poets, you name it! Most of them had pretty rough- hewn personalities. Drugs, alcohol, massive egos and fragile ones and pre-madonnas,the list goes on forever. Sometimes despicable, sometimes pathetic. And yet they could produce things of such beauty. Some’ suffered’ for their art, and others ‘lived’ through it.

      I often think of the story of the” Elephant Man”. Such beauty and understanding from something grotesque.

      Within the same community, Montecito, CA, were all the Beautiful people. The actors, the movie stars, the new rich. Among all those pretties, I suffered more ugliness in a day than one should endure in a lifetime .

      So I can’t fault you for your reservation. It is a good way to avoid disappointment, or disgust. Most of us wear a mantle that disguises our core. It isn’t disingenuous. and when occasionally it cracks and leaks out the truth , take it for what it is.

      John

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