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..:: Deception ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                                                                                                         

              Deception may be defined as any circumstance or perception which fundamentally misrepresents the accurate and truthful nature of a phenomenon. Unfortunately, deception is the essence of experience on the Physical Plane of expression.  All of the perceptions shown to us by the physical senses are woefully inaccurate, and substantially misrepresent what they appear to portray.   

            The senses are belabored by that crippling condition of our physical perspective on the Physical Plane – the body of flesh.  The organs of perception that account for the impressions of the senses are themselves composed of protein and protoplasm as subcomponents of the body, and function not universally in perception but only partially, and in focused aspects that are subject to continuous transition and modification.  So it is that the nature of our experience on the Physical Plane is utterly subjective in character – right down to the personal ego, we can only know our personal lives, feelings, and impressions of what is undoubtedly a much more expansive realm of expression that is both external and internal.  Such is the burden of the body and its perspective on life, constrained to a linear temporal sequence of necessarily inaccurate assessments of its status and progress. 

            Given that we cannot even know the truth of our own experience, it is perhaps not surprising that we are so challenged in disclosing that truth to each other.  Even the mind of an Einstein or Gandhi was still embedded in the body of flesh, however far beyond that constraint these two may have seen.  And they were, to all apparent intents and purposes, fundamentally benevolent and well-intended observers of phenomena, both substantially devoid of excessive personal motivation and bias.  When the normal human condition fraught with fear, pain, suffering, confusion, and uncertainty – however illusory these may be – is considered, we find that a heightened level of personal bias and self-interest is almost invariably the order of the day.  That we are supremely challenged by our condition is an absolute understatement!  It is amazing that we can know anything at all, even the phantom impressions of the senses, and the tenuous conclusions of the ego about those impressions, as certain as they often appear to be. Life is the theater of the absurd, and we are all actors on that stage...  

            Given the subjective nature of knowledge and experience described in the previous paragraphs, what are our options for meaningful achievement as a race of partially sentient beings?  How can we at least attempt to transcend our circumstances as evidently imperfect observers?  What can we do as a species to bridge the gap of perspective that we are all burdened with, and successfully reach out to each other?

             One thing that both Einstein and Gandhi did was learn to recognize the subconscious assumptions that filter so much of human perception, and question them as utterly and completely as possible.  These assumptions are legion in character, and comprise a bewildering array of valences – that we must misrepresent for our own personal survival and advantage, that we only exist objectively in the guise of the body, that we can know God through mass religion, that the physical universe is composed of impersonal, mechanical interactions that are devoid of any intrinsic consciousness, that we ourselves are machines – all are examples of the many frequently wholly subconscious assumptions that delimit our perception.  If we are thus hamstrung by our physical circumstances, the least thing we can do is release our mental and spiritual perception to explore the world as freely as possible through open inquiry and, most importantly, open discourse about the truth.  It is not sufficient that we only question our assumptions – we must then share the results of this examination in the most revealing discussion and communication with each other that we can achieve. 

            Naturally, these two elements of free inquiry and interaction tend to threaten vested interests located in privileged sectors of society.  These privileged parties all too often have learned how important these are to human happiness and satisfaction, but have not learned the equally important lesson that they must be shared among all human beings, not controlled as the possessions of the few.  Through social hegemony, political repression, and media censorship, the power elite have all too often attempted to stifle freedom of inquiry and expression throughout human history.  In these attempts, we see the demonstration of yet another element of deception, the willful and intentional misrepresentation of factual experience. As if our condition was not difficult enough, we have the intrinsic capabilities of manipulation and distortion to further complicate matters! Again, it is miraculous that we have been able to determine anything under these circumstances, and not surprising that what we determine is so questionable. 

            The processes of open inquiry and discourse are mutually supportive in terms of reducing the deception inherent in our human condition.  Although they can exist apart from each other, such separation is a serious impairment to the efficiency of either element.  It is of the greatest usefulness to have access to the input and opinions of other observers regarding our personal observations, provided that these are given in constructive contexts.  The discussion of what constitutes constructive and destructive contexts forms the balance of this SYNERGY essay.  

            Not wanting to make any assumptions if I can possibly avoid doing so, I will not assume that the reader shares my opinion that willful deception is almost always undesirable, and an impediment to the productive investigation of most phenomena.  There may be cases when this is not so, but they are far and few between in my experience – open investigation is almost always the most effective investigation.  Thus, calculated misrepresentation is, in my opinion, to be discouraged in here, and the underlying assumptions that support this practice dredged up and exposed to open inquiry. United we stand, and divided we fall, in life, and in discourse.  

            The discovery of underlying assumptions is something that cannot be overemphasized in human affairs – as egos, we tend to live and die in our assumptions, expectations, and habits.  We die there because this is where we frequently stop questioning, investigating, and learning, and these are the processes necessary for the ongoing existence of a healthy consciousness.  In many ways, identifying and releasing or modifying assumptions in the light of free inquiry is the process of learning and knowing.  To question everything in life, even life itself, is to discover the hidden truth present everywhere

            Knowledge of the common pitfalls of open inquiry is also most useful.  Again, these may be conscious or unconscious in nature. A good example of the conscious variety is the tenets of epistemology – the rules by which sound conclusions may be reached.  Foremost among these is the scientific method of investigation, with the use of experimental and control groups referenced for data comparison regarding an experimental variable.  Philosophically, there are known methods of examination that have survived the test of time across the millennia of existence, including appointing a “Devil’s Advocate” to challenge any or all aspects of theories, subjecting theories to additional outside verification by presumably disinterested investigators, encouraging the development of opposing theories and viewpoints, and stressing the use of the simplest possible theory as the most preferable.  

            On the unconscious side, one of the best possible lists of epistemological stumbling blocks is the synopsis of Freudian defense mechanisms.  These are the more or less well known subconscious means by which we, as egos, will attempt to deny or distort our real interests in social interactions. They include such notorious examples as projection, in which we ascribe what is, in fact, our personal agenda to various others around us, denial, wherein we simply refuse to acknowledge the implications of a condition to our personal existence, and sublimation, the symbolic expression of one motive in another, apparently unrelated context.  There are many more as well, and a complete listing and discussion of them is well beyond the scope of this essay, but these few give one the flavor of what is often present beneath the surface of personal and social interaction.  Such complete listings and discussions of them are commonly available in most bookstores today, should the reader wish to make further inquiries in this area, as are the general tenets of epistemology and scientific investigation. 

            In terms of social interaction, some form of orderly presentation of information and conclusions in group contexts is absolutely necessary.  Feelings can become quite heated when assumptions and defenses are being challenged, and impartial governance is most desirable at these times.  The use of an empowered moderator to organize discussion on topics of interest is known to be effective, as is the use of a talking rule – the recognition of only one speaker at a time during discourse.  At the extreme – one  which I personally feel uncomfortable about, but nevertheless admit the usefulness of – is  the imposition of Robert’s Rules of Order, particularly in larger public assemblies where sensitive issues must be openly examined.  

            Since the ego is the arbiter of self-interest on the Physical Plane, and this plane absorbs so much of our time and attention, techniques of ego regulation and negation are also helpful in the practice of free inquiry and discourse.  Foremost among these, again in my opinion, is meditation.  I have had so much to say about this process in these essays that any more said here would be redundant – anyone wishing to read what I have said in this area is encouraged to visit my website, The Searchlight, at http://www.searchlightforyou.com, and take a look through the copious amount of material present there on this, and many other topics of my personal investigation.  Suffice it to mention here that the trance condition characteristic of meditation practice affords one the opportunity to step outside the boundaries of the ego and waking mind and experience expanded states of perception largely unattainable through any other means of observation.  As one continues this practice, thereby attaining successively higher levels of perception beyond the Physical Plane and ego, more and more subtle expressions of the truth become attainable for conscious experience and subsequent discourse.  

            At the most extreme perceptual distance from the Physical Plane and the ego is the Logoic Plane, nominally the Seventh, and final, Plane of Ascension. At this perceptual level, only the Divine Love, Light, and Presence are experienced by the observer, as observation itself reaches the peak of expression possible.  Paradoxically, this state of being is both the most and the least self-interested – the most because it is focused to the greatest possible extent in what is absolutely present at the foundation of all consciousness and all knowing, the Jungian Primal Self, the core of all being – and the least because no vestige of the ego, the little self of Freudian psychodynamics, is present at this level.  Thus, the ultimate expression of knowledge, and the least deceptive condition of experience, may well be universal Love, expressed as Light, in the Presence of God as the Logos. 

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                         (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)

 

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