The Spectre At the Feast

When we’re living in the unreal world pretending that its real this is always going to make us anxious. We’re anxious that we’ll be found out! That would of course be the ultimate disaster because then we’d know – the cat would be out of the bag. The cat would be out of the bag and no mistake and so then we’d have to admit that there’s no cat! We’d have to admit that there’s no bag either…

 

So this is of course the prefect recipe for anxiety. There’s none better, in fact. What could be better than this? We’ve hit upon the thing, the very thing we need to do in order to create the spectre of anxiety – the spectre which is going to haunt us for just as long as we keep up the pretence. This is ‘the spectre at the feast’, the ghostly presence that we can never confront. This, naturally enough, is what gives anxiety its power over us! We can never allow ourselves to find out what we are anxious about because finding that out will take us in the one direction we don’t want to go down – we’ll happily go down any road but not this one…

 

We can never allow ourselves to find out what the actual reason for our anxiety is – that is after all the very thing that we are never supposed to find out. If the game we are playing is the game of pretending that the game is real (and not a game) then we can find out anything we want just so long as we don’t find out this one thing, this one thing that changes everything. We have the freedom to discover anything at all just as long as we don’t discover that it’s all a big charade. We’re free to discover anything at all just so long as we don’t discover that we don’t actually have any freedom!

 

If we were to find out that we’re living in an unreal world pretending to be real then this wouldn’t be bad in relation to any of the terms of reference that we have available to us in the game. No terms of reference exist to explain why finding out that ‘everything is just a charade’ would be so very bad! And yet we know that it would be bad – we know that it would be bad in a way that we can’t even allow ourselves to understand and straightaway therefore this makes it really, really bad. Engaging in this particular sneaky manouevre makes the unwanted outcome superbad. It potentiates it to the nth degree.

 

Knowing that the unwanted outcome is bad in a way that we can’t even allow ourselves to know about (because it is so very bad) is the worst and most frightening category of ‘bad’ that there could ever be. This is the ‘perfect recipe for anxiety’ – this is anxiety in a nutshell. This is what makes anxiety be anxiety – the fact that we can’t allow ourselves to know what it’s all about. This the fear that swallows everything up – we’re afraid of the fear and so we’re caught up on the vicious circle that Alan Watts talks about – running away from fear is fear. The fear feeds voraciously on itself and the outcome is anxiety…

 

We don’t need to know anything about the unwanted outcome other than the fact that it is bad. That’s enough – the unwanted outcome is bad and so we’re not allowed to let it happen. There are no other levels of meaning, no other possible interpretations. Everything is black and white – we just have to make sure that the bad thing never gets to happen and that is that. Getting interested in why the bad thing is so bad is not allowed and so that makes it a bad thing too. It’s actually the same bad thing – knowing about the bad thing is the same as the bad thing. Knowing that knowing about the bad thing is also the bad thing is also a bad thing. It’s all the same bad thing…

 

Certain tasks are impossible and one such task in never letting ourselves know about the bad thing. The very fact that we have made a rule about the bad thing saying that we should never let ourselves know about it draws our attention to it. By denying it in the way that we have done we’ve actually made it the most important thing in the whole world. Everything we do is done for the covert reason of not thinking about the bad thing and that means that we have to make sure to live our lives only on the overt level of meaning, the theatrical level of meaning. This doesn’t leave us much space for living, however. It doesn’t actually leave us with any space and this lack of space is in itself anxiety-provoking because it tells us that something dodgy is going on in the background.

 

We have to keep on pretending that the lack of space that we are so painfully suffering from (the lack of space that is unrelentingly oppressing us) isn’t there.  We have to keep on pretending that the lack of space that we’re living in actually is space. We have to keep on pretending that the theatre is real. We have to keep on living in the unreal world whilst pretending that it’s real, and this is why the spectre of anxiety is always with us. Even when we manage to temporarily forget about him by immersing ourselves as much as we possibly can in the superficial theatrical world (so that we can at least make a good pretence at enjoying the feast) he’s never very far away. He’s watching over our shoulder…

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

One comment

  1. Julie · March 25

    “theatrical level of meaning”
    Love how you put that.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.