I’ve been waiting for something worth writing down to come to me after reading Ishmael.
Perhaps I should still be waiting….
In the meantime, this came to me this morning.
Deep denial is not the denial of bad outcomes, like “global warming” or “injustice.” It’s the denial that we get what we are after. That beneath all the excuses around “unintended consequences” is a denial that these consequences were intended, hoped for, all along.
This touches on one of the ways Ishmael struck me as profound. Unmasking the denial that places a life “affirming” veneer over-top the Takers’ destructive ambitions.
A few years ago, I discovered a simple equation: Control = Death; that the only way we can control anything is to kill it and therefore all seeking after control is ultimately destructive.
At first I thought, “Wow! People need to learn about this! If they only knew!”
A significant part of my personal disillusionment has been to realize that this is far from the case. This morning’s whisper provided a conclusion to this disillusionment and an understanding of why it is so.
The Taker’s pledge was to put the will-to-control over life and seek out all that this sets into motion. The results are not unintended. While Will is a poor way to create anything it is perfectly suited to destruction. The Sky God’s Will is surely being done.
Quinn has dramatized how this is so. Bohm and Krishnamurti – and now Kajtar – have been working on how this happens as a result of the incoherence inherent in our uncritical acceptance of the illusions put forth by thought to make some imperfect “sense” out of its constant flow through our conscious attention.
This is where this deep denial functions. It is the final – in every sense of the term – refuge of Ego. It is Hitler’s Bunker under the ruins of Berlin. It is the rage of Ego against the – in its eyes – feeble and worthless wretches unworthy of its greatness and deserving of the destruction raining down from all sides.
This touches, directly, on the other theme of Ishmael that struck me. That the Taker’s creed or story is an attempt to end evolution with us and forever. This ambition is not merely to accept as inevitable the results of “collateral damage” and “unintended consequences,” but to embrace the Apocalyptic as the greatest aim we can aspire to. “Apres moi, le deluge.”
This arrogance of a dead king expanded out to encompass the desired end for humanity itself, at least as envisioned by the Takers.
The blinders we all wear to the violence around us works to hide this grand delusion from us. It keeps us mouthing the destructive language of “Salvation” only now extended to include non-human victims, Whales, or Bears, or “the Planet” itself. Hidden within layers of denial this is the ultimate denial that our aim is the destruction of all that might live and ever evolve. And for what? Because we’d rather believe ourselves to be right than to allow for the uncertainty that is at the center of life and the ways in which it changes through time. – Including our ultimate incapacity to ever truly encompass how life evolves within any set of so-called “Laws” we might write down. This, an accident of history as the language of reductivist Physics was carried over into the oxymoronic “life sciences.”
The key to coming out of any delusion is to accept the depth of its hold on us. So long as we remain in a habitual cycle of striving after symptomatic “relief” we will continue to be trapped within its maze. Nothing can be done without first accepting the depth of our denial and that when bad things result from our actions they are not a “complication” to be swept out of view, but most likely the very point of our deluded striving.
Here we run into the entire predicament of our Enormity. Enormity cannot be “reformed.” It cannot be solved. We cannot be saved, or save anything, from it. What we can do is sound its depths and find how it has grown out of our deepest denials.
5 thoughts on “Deep Denial”
We’d rather be ruined than changed.
We’d rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the present
And let our illusions die.
W. H. Auden
Another fine post, I’m reading in reverse order.
There’s an interesting slippery slope in this idea: control=death. Getting really practical there are situations where loss of control=death, too. If I open the gate of the paddock and a horse who knows he can walk over humans decides he wants to get out, I have to give way or be walked over. The real, for me, is always a dance of surrender and control – both are needed for a form to appear. Only control, only surrender: these are abstractions, and not really rewarding. The interesting thing is to be able to sit on the knife’s edge and balance. Now control, now surrender. Always asking myself: am I responding or reacting? Am I dancing or am I being dragged, am I pushing others or showing steps so they can shine?
I’ve got to read Auden in depth sometime!
You’ve captured the point precisely! It is the absolute of control that equals death. Neither extreme taken as an absolute is helpful. It is on that knife-edge, or riding that wave that life can shine.
“It is the rage of Ego against the – in its eyes – feeble and worthless wretches unworthy of its greatness and deserving of the destruction raining down from all sides.”
In the current culture I see many symptoms of this mood: what I’ve read about the newest Batman to those folks demanding we “save” the earth. A sort of depression that gets so deep it starts destroying itself. Watching Enormity in helpless terror, being sucked into the maelström, getting crushed against the stones. Feeling of being sucked into something so enormous that one can’t fight back, only hoping for the end of it all.
I’ve worked years through the idea of evil. What I’ve come to is this: things that are sticky for the attention are evil. Things that capture my attention so, that I can’t get it back. Stealing my attention – maybe the only thing I have. But here is the funny thing: is that stickiness really outside me? I have this check: whatever I am doing, can I stop it to pet the cat? This is a practice for my attention. I can’t remove the sticky items from the world, but I can make my attention so fluid that it will not be stuck. This check is just to have a moments pause, and continue – or catch oneself before doing something. Can I turn my attention away and then back? If not, I may be riding a maelstrom and I need some extra effort to steer away.
I had this dream (maybe 2 years ago) where there was a big market, little vending stalls side by side, lots of people, and some terrifying-looking entities, ringwraiths, death-eaters, chasing people, trying to drive them to the open area in the middle of the market. People were panicking, screaming and running. I knew I need to head the opposite way, away from the center. I kept in the back of the stalls, sneaking in the opposite direction, and noticed that the nasties did not even pay attention to me, only chasing those who were panicking. There was no need for me to panic. I knew I could get away.
Your definition of evil is compelling. Having our attention stolen is the one thing that destroys us – short of actual killing, which may or may not destroy attention….
I’ve been thinking of the way a practice, like Qi Gong, does just what you call for. We become better able to move our attention and have ways to return our focus and re-establish our center if it is disturbed.
In your dream, I would only add that what you were getting away from wasn’t whatever the “bad-guys” threatened everyone with. You were getting away from being dominated, from having your attention hi-jacked. This is not salvation. It is the precondition for living.
Thank you again for such an insightful comment!