I could explain in detail how I know what you are about to contemplate, but that would not be useful. The essence of what follows either ‘sounds true’ to you, or it does not. If this sounds true to you, stay with me, listen to what I discovered, how you can discover the same thing for yourself, and free yourself from the agony and anguish that you feel but cannot explain. On the other hand, if you cannot quite identify with what you have heard so far, no amount of explanation and justification would suffice, and no attempt should be made, to convince you of anything.
My name is not important, and frankly neither is yours, not because you don’t matter — quite the opposite, you and I matter a lot — but because you are not who you think you are. In fact, you don’t even think at all. What you think you are does not think originally either, for thought itself is circular and generic.
The circularity of thought has caused you to chase one illusion after another, each time thinking that the attainment of the next illusion, which you mistook for reality, would improve the quality of your life. Something within you tells you that your life is no better today than it ever was. When you take it all into account you know it is all the same as it has always been… but that conclusion has always frightened you, so you have alternated between total oblivion and the race towards another illusion.
In fact you are already an expert on oblivion; you call that ‘relaxation’. Do drugs or alcohol ring a bell? How about mindless eating, mindlessly watching television, or a well-deserved pornography session? A heated argument, with no clear purpose, with someone you see as weak? Does that make you feel awake and meaningful… at least until the next ‘relaxation’ event? You know that those blocks of time were not even wasted, as in having zero effect upon your growth and development as a human being. The truth is they set you back, away from your supposed objectives. In some cases the way you ‘relaxed’ yourself compromised your health, denigrated you, and contributed to more pain and suffering to others.
When you engage in oblivion you tell yourself you deserve to relax because after all, you work hard, and your life is not easy. But after each event you feel guilty, sometimes unconsciously, so you attempt to redeem yourself by a form of self-punishment that you call ‘hard work’.
People have asked you why you work so hard. The truth is you have no idea why you do it, but you have always answered the same thing, not knowing what any of it means. Sometimes you claim to be pursuing financial stability and security — risible because you never felt so unstable and insecure as you do now — other times you claim to want to provide for your loved ones — risible because you have no idea what love is. “But who knows?” you mindlessly tell yourself, and continue alternating between oblivion and the self-punishment of hard work, believing it to be necessary in order to obtain your next goal, another illusion, which you tell yourself ‘really matters’.
In addition to being circular, thought is also generic, for thought can be hacked. Because the mind functions at two levels simultaneously, conscious and unconscious, it is possible to implant ideas into a mind at an unconscious level in such a way that the person will have the conscious experience of original thought. This experience, however, is not original; it is generic mind hacking, since the same exact thing is happening to many people all at once. Consider three examples of this phenomenon: subliminal advertising, political speech, and fashion.
The classical description of subliminal advertising involves flashes of a product displayed within a movie. The flashes were so rapid that the conscious mind was not aware of their presence, yet sales of that product increased at a theater where the experiment was carried out. This description is overly simplistic and not entirely correct factually, but it does serve to illustrate the concept of subliminal transmission of information. The key point here is that, in this example, people consuming the product thus advertised were not telling themselves “I must consume this product because I have been instructed to do so” no, they simply felt like having that particular product; they just thought they had a great original idea, when in reality the idea was implanted in their minds.
Here is the second example. Have you ever asked yourself what a politician actually said when they speak? If you did, you will conclude that very little content was actually delivered in typical political speech; the same goes for some forms of sales speech, romantic speech, and most generic human talking. What is particular about high level political speech is that it is not designed to transfer information; it is intentionally designed, carefully engineered, to elicit an emotional, a-rational, passionate response from the public that has nothing to do with reason or facts. Political passion resembles religious fervor for a good reason: they both make their way into the unconscious portion of the mind, creating a response from the person that seems to that person to be original thought but it is not.
Lastly consider fashion. When asked why they consume certain products or dress a certain way a fashionable person will say that they are thus expressing their unique individuality, forgetting that a few other million people are doing the exact same thing. See the “magic” here? The person feels entirely unique and original while actually imitating everybody else. The same “bug” infects many people who all do and say the same thing, all while feeling unique and different.
The above examples illustrate how people come to conclusions that they label as rational and original, when indeed ideas have been hacked into their minds. It feels like original thinking to each person, but it was put there by outside influences.
By now you may be feeling uncomfortable, perhaps insulted. The uncomfortable and insulted one is not you; it is something you think is you. Who you are is always comfortable and simply cannot be insulted.
Indeed your name is not important because you are not who you think you are. This is not about mistaken identity or switching of babies at birth — it is about ‘duality’. Look at it: YOU ARE not who YOU THINK YOU ARE. Do you see it? There are two of you, there is one who you actually are, and there is one who you think you are. What separates the two? You guessed it: thought… or thinking.
You have always been told to “think about it”, “think carefully”, and “think it over”. The thought process has been elevated to the altar of unquestioned infallibility, where it does not belong. But it is worse than that: by being carefully urged to ‘think’ you have come to accept and understand yourself to be your thoughts, or the conclusions your thoughts generate. Clearly you cannot be your thoughts, for thought is circular and generic, while you are purposeful and unique.
You have not only come to identify yourself with your thoughts or your mind, it is worse than that. As thinking develops, encouraged by the outside world of grownups, it eventually feels so real to the person that it drowns out their inner voices, their true selves. In time a duality develops: in addition to the true inner self, a fictitious identity carefully sown into the mind from the outer world competes for your attention, and eventually wins. Now, you think you are who you think you are, not who you are.
From your perspective, you were originally one, your true self. Over time outside ideas find their way into the mind crafting the rudiments of a new identity; some call that the “person”, as in the Latin persona. Initially you were aware of who you are. As this persona developed you made more and more use of it, a duality thus ensued, and now there were two instead of one of you. That duality was unbearable to the point of generating turmoil in your life. But you figured it all out in time; you hid the true self deep within and convinced yourself that you are the persona. Something curious happened then: because the duality was resolved back into unity, initially you felt better, so you concluded that you must be on to something, that you must be on the right path, and invested even more energy into convincing yourself that you are the thought-based persona.
That sense of unity created enthusiasm for a while; you felt a great deal of energy which you applied into chasing goals that ultimately don’t matter to you and relaxing away the nagging sensation that something was missing from your life.
You are now embarking on a discovery journey. You have consciously suspected this for a long time, only now you are willing to investigate this idea further. It seems that everywhere you look nowadays the same idea shows up. You are sure that finding this article right now must not be a coincidence; there must be a purpose for it in your life right now. What has been missing is the part of you long ago hidden away. Resurrecting that part of you brings back duality, and with it some turmoil is common.
The road ahead has a few bumps so you need a guide, someone who has done this before you. The bumps are like screams from the persona begging to have its reign over your life restored, but there is no going back, for now you are aware of this duality: there are two of you, the real self and the persona, who you thought you are.
Here is how the bumps on the road manifest: at times you will be genuinely confused as to which is which, who the real self is and who the persona is. The sensations created by the persona can be so intense and heartfelt that you will literally think of it as coming from your true self. This confusion will lead you down erroneous paths that generate more and more pain as you advance on the path towards unification. Other times you will be quite clear about what each part of you wants to do, but you will be unable to act according to the dictates of your soul, your real self; you will discover that you are addicted to the sensations produced by the persona. These two types of bumps will delay your progress somewhat, but there is no cause for alarm because ultimately time itself does not exist.
Eventually one will emerge victorious: the real you. The persona will still be around, now serving simply as an interface with other personas in this world of illusions. There will be peace and purpose in your life. You will never feel alone, empty or desperate again. The relationship between effort and reward will be restored, and you will be able to create your own destiny. You will use your life and talents to discover ever more precisely what you are really like, and to help others achieve the same.
Dr. Flavio Ballerini
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