Whenever we elect a goal to be important — which is to say, whenever we decide that something shall be a goal — then we automatically create a private (or ‘self-centred’) world. This is such an utterly ubiquitous thing, and yet we never see it. This is something every one of us does all the time, and yet no one has ever heard of it. If someone said this to us it wouldn’t make any sense at all.
When we nominate a particular situation — as we see it — to be ‘a goal’ then we exclude, by doing this, anything that is lacking in relevance to that all-important aim. Furthermore, everything that hasn’t been excluded becomes precisely defined in terms of its relevance. There are no great unknowables, no profound mysteries, only ‘facts and figure’, only ‘the relevant details’, only ‘the stepping stones to where we want to be’.
The width of our vision within this private world begins and ends with a goal, therefore. The goal is the Alpha and Omega and anything that happens must happen somewhere in between the two poles of ‘attaining the goal’ and ‘not attaining it’. The first is All-Good, whilst the second is All-Bad. There’s nothing better than the one and nothing worse than the other.
Since everything that happens has to happen between the two poles of Yes and No, success and failure, hit and miss, and is defined accordingly, the world that is being created in this way is a compulsive world. There is nothing in the Mundo Privado that is not compulsive, nothing that is free from the coercive moral taint of what you must do, and what you mustn’t.
If one pole is ‘absolutely good’ and the other ‘absolutely bad’, then there can be no such thing as freedom in this situation. Any activity that isn’t geared towards moving in the direction of the All-Good is morally reprehensible. There’s no excuse for it, there’s no justification whatsoever in being interested in anything else apart from what has been nominated as the Supreme Value.
We might naively think that having the ‘good thing’ clearly defined for us in this way is helpful, but the exact reverse of this is true; having a good thing clearly defined for us creates a totalitarian state, a ‘prison for the mind’. This is well illustrated by the contradiction inherent in dogmatic-absolutist religions — it is invariably said that man is created with free will (what would be the point in anything otherwise?) but how can there possibly be any such thing as ‘free will’ in a Polar World, in a World of Absolutes? There is never any freedom in a polarity.
When we orientate ourselves towards the defined goal (and there is of course no such thing as non-defined goal!) then everything gets defined and what isn’t defined doesn’t matter. Not only does it not matter it doesn’t exist either (at least as far as we’re concerned). We live in a totally defined world and — although we don’t see it — a totally defined world is a prison. The defined objects in this world are the bricks making up our prison cell, and there is no space between these bricks. There is no way for us to catch even the briefest glimpse of the outside world therefore, and so we no longer know that there is such a thing.
At the same time that we fixate upon the goal (whatever that might be) so as to make that ‘the most important thing’, we also create the self. The self is the other end of the stick. At the same time that the goal becomes ‘the most important thing’ so too does the self which is orientated towards that goal. The self and the goal aren’t two different things when it comes down to it — we just perceive them to be. My goal is as important to me as it is because I am important to me. The goal is a projection of my own latent or potential reality, so to speak, and thus the glorious attainment of the goal is also my attainment of myself. It’s how I ‘actually become somebody’ (in some kind of way).
Success in obtaining was I want to obtain symbolises the validation of my sense of who I am — it’s all a closed circuit, it’s all a tautological loop. We can look at this is in terms of what Krishnamurti calls psychological time — Krishnamurti defines psychological time by saying that it is the gap between the desire for something and the fulfilment of this desire; our wanting of something and our getting it. The key thing about this is that psychological time is not a real thing. The gap between the self and its goal is not a real thing — how can it be when the goal which is supposedly going to make all the difference is a projection of that self?
The private world that is created by fixating upon a goal (which is to say, via attachment to some kind of designated outcome) is private simply because it excludes reality, therefore (which is ‘common to us all’, as Heraclitus says). All the action takes place between the two poles of ‘attaining the goal’ and ‘not attaining it’ and these poles aren’t two different things. The life we lead in this world takes place in psychological time, and psychological time is an imaginary projection of the unreal self. The life that takes place on the basis of this self is all an imaginary projection! And yet, this so-called ‘life’ is the only one we know…