The Light Which Deceives

Nick Williams
10 min readMay 1, 2024
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When we tune into the ongoing question of “What happens next?” then this is life — this is all there is to life (i.e., there’s nothing else outside of this). All there is is the ‘unfolding moment’. When — on the other hand — we tune into the question of “What happens next?” and we have already arranged for whatever it is that’s going to happen to happen (but don’t know that we have done so) then this is a game. In the first case we have raw (or unmanipulated) reality whilst in the second case what we have is a mere simulation.

This isn’t just a simulation (as in ‘a copy of something’) it’s The Simulation — it’s Maya itself. This isn’t just a game (as in, ‘one of many possible games’) it’s The Game! It’s the only game there is — it’s the Game of Polarity (which is the blueprint for all games). The Game of Polarity — we might say — is where we simplify down the universe to the very simplest form that we can get it to be, which is a ‘bi-stable situation’ or ‘flip/flop switch’. The universe is being represented in ‘an oversimplified way’ — it has been oversimplified down to this basic binary format, where reality being represented in terms of a choice that we make between one known outcome and another (or — as we could also say — ‘the choice between one face of the coin and the other’, ‘the choice between one end of the stick and the other’).

The thing about simplifying the universe down like this is that we have now converted what was previously unknown (and unknowable) into what is known, into what can be known — we have created the Positive World, in other words. It’s not sufficient just to say this, however. What we ought to say (if we want to be thorough) is this:

We have substituted what we already know (we know it because it’s our own thing, our own gimmick, our own construct) for what cannot ever be known (which is the ‘Uncreated’), without letting on to ourselves that this is what we have done. we’ve replaced the unknown with the known, where the (so-called) ‘known’ is actually a banal fiction…

The important (or rather crucial) thing here is therefore that we shouldn’t know that we have replaced what is fundamentally unknowable with ‘that which is wretchedly and tediously knowable in every way’. We must have no awareness whatsoever of what we have done (which is to make ourselves into the slaves of our own cruddy device.) When we wonder ‘what will happen next’ and have at the same time replaced open-ended reality with a set of standardised categories (so that — actually — we do know what’s going to happen next) then it’s crucial that we don’t see what we’ve done here — if we do see what we’ve done in order to create the Positive World then our lives become ‘radically unpredictable’ again, which is exactly what we don’t want. The whole point of what we’re doing is to close everything down; that’s what our games are for — games are how we shut down reality.

The very simplest version of such a game is where we are given the choice between two complementary opposites, which we can refer to as the Game of YES versus NO (which Alan Watts refers to as The Game of Black and White). To play the game of ‘YES versus NO’ (which is where we try our damnedest to WIN rather than LOSE) we are — in effect — tossing a coin over and over again whilst watching closely to see how this turns out. We’re ‘hanging on the outcome’ we’re so absorbed in this that we have no awareness of anything else (anything else other than the ‘Game of Heads and Tails’, that is). Our attention is completely captured by the spectacle and that’s why the game seems so very serious to us, that’s why we can’t see the game to be a game. If we could see that the situation that we’re in comes about because of the way in which we have — in effect — ‘replaced opened-ended reality with an ON/OFF gate’ then this wouldn’t be a game. The game is where we replace reality with a flip-flop switch but don’t know that we’ve done so.

There is a sort of ‘mechanism’ here that we can point to — if I can see the gimmick for what it is then — as we’ve just said — that’s the end of the matter. That’s the end of the matter right there — there’s no more glamour, no more glitter, no more seduction, just boring old wall-to-wall drabness, just a one-way ticket to ‘Dullsville Arizona’! When we’re not aware of the substitution that has taken place then it’s a different matter entirely because we’re now utterly oblivious of ‘the Whole’ we have ‘flipped over’ our relationship with it — we have ‘reversed the principle’, so to speak. M. Scott Peck tells us (in The Road Less Travelled) that if we don’t voluntarily attend to our emotional pain where it belongs then we will be compelled to experience it elsewhere, in a place where it doesn’t belong and in a form that we won’t be able to recognise. What we’re looking at here therefore could be seen as another version of this basic principle — i.e., if we don’t relate freely to the Whole (we might say) then we will be compelled to encounter it against our will in another, unrecognizable guise.

Jung — (Par 303. Alchemical Studies) talks about this Principle of Reversal in relation to the spirit Mercurius who can manifest himself in two ways, either as the lumen naturae (the light of nature) or as the ignis fatuus (literally, ‘the foolish fire’) –

Mercurius, that two-faced god, comes as the lumen naturae, the Servator and Salvator, only to those whose reason strives towards the highest light ever received by man, and who do not trust exclusively to the cognitio vespertina. For those who are unmindful of this light, the lumen naturae turns into a perilous ignis fatuus, and the psychopomp into a diabolical seducer. Lucifer, who could have brought light, becomes the father of lies whose voice in our time, supported by press and radio, revels in orgies of propaganda and leads untold millions to ruin.

When we freely relate to the Whole (we might say) then the light of nature will shine forth and guide us; when however — out of fear — we turn our backs on it however then all we will know is the deceptive light of the ignis fatuus, which is the ‘ghostly light’, the Jack-O’Lantern, ‘the light which deceives’. If there’s no awareness of the Whole — which is reality itself, which is the only thing that is (or ever could be) real — then the Principle of Light becomes inverted and turns into the Principle of Shadow (or Darkness), which — as Jung says in the quote given above — will lead us inevitably to our doom. The ‘lower analogue’ of the light of nature can also be seen as thought (or rationality), which is currently leading us astray in a big way. Never was the human race more enslaved to the principle of shadow than it is now — propaganda of one sort or another is all that we know. As P.D. Ouspensky tells us, Lying is all we know…

To remain aware of the Big Picture — even as we engage with the small picture (which is the Rational or Positive World)- is to live freely or spontaneously, and this is of course the only way to live. Life can’t To be oblivious to the Big Picture (which is reality) is therefore to live in an unfree (or mechanically driven) way. As we’ve just said, this isn’t living at all really but merely the external appearance of it — a clever simulation of the real thing. There’s no difference on the outside as far as the cash casual observer is concerned anyway but on the inside things couldn’t be more different life the genuine thing, that is it’s a ‘fully spontaneous phenomenon’, whilst the mechanical version — needless to say — is ‘prefigured,’ or ‘scripted’ (which is to say, it runs on rules).

‘Rules’ and ‘spontaneity’ don’t belong on the same page — they run on antithetical principles — and so although a person who is operating in ‘full rational-purposeful mode’ may look the same as someone who is in ‘spontaneous mode’ (if we may be excused for using such a clumsy term) but we’re looking at two very different things here — whatever else comes out of obeying rules, life doesn’t! When we turn our backs on the Big Picture (so that — for us — it doesn’t exist) then as if we are immediately hypnotised by ‘the reversed manifestation of the lumen naturae’ and the reversed manifestation of the lumen naturae is ‘the rule’ or ‘compulsion’ is compulsion or the rule. Compulsion is the inverted analogue of freedom, in other words, and when our default mode of existing is ‘to be operated by these rules without ever realizing that this is what’s going on’ then we perceive our actions and feelings to be spontaneous despite the fact that they’re scripted. This — we might say — is the phenomenon of ‘false spontaneity’.

Wholeness is the only thing that’s real — everything else is our imagination! Freedom is the only thing that’s real — anything else is just ‘the game that we’re playing’. When we forget all about Wholeness (i.e., when Cosmic Amnesia comes into play) then we forget that there ever was such a thing as ‘freedom’ — when we ‘adapt to Plato’s cave’ then we forget all about the ‘wide open spaces’. Instead of unconditional freedom we now have ‘the freedom to do what we’re told’, we now have ‘the freedom not to be free’, and this is another way of talking about ‘the freedom to play Finite Games’. There’s no freedom at all in a game however, not even an atom of it. If we say — by way of poetic metaphor — that freedom is ‘the light of the sun’ then it follows that when we’re playing a Finite Game we’re in ‘total darkness’. We don’t perceive it to be the case that we’re in total darkness however; when we forget that there is such a thing as freedom then we don’t miss it when it isn’t there.

Wholeness can’t be divided or subdivided. This — we might argue — is the esoteric meaning behind Saying 77 in The Gospel of Thomas

Jesus said: I am the light that is above them all. I am the all; the all came forth from me, and the all attained to me. Cleave a (piece of) wood; I am there. Raise up a stone, and you will find me there.

The Unitary State can’t be divided, yet that’s exactly what polarity is — a ‘division’. Polarity is of course totally upfront about being a division — it’s not quiet or shy about being a division, in fact, it has no issue about this at all. The whole point of polarity is that there is this fundamental ‘split’ going on — the split between positive on the one hand, and negative from the other. But if Wholeness can’t be divided then this split can’t be real (no matter how apparent it might be on superficial level of description). We could be naive here and ask how a phenomenon can be both unreal and apparent at the same time, but — as we know — life is full of this sort of thing we call it ‘illusion’, we call it Maya. ‘Nature loves to hide’, Heraclitus observes, but we don’t realize this about it. We’re convinced that ‘things are what they seem to be’ and — for the most part — we simply can’t be told anything different.

When we’re ‘under the spell of Maya’ then we’re ‘taking seriously what was never meant to taken seriously’. When we’re ‘under the spell’ then it seems that the Unity can be split asunder, can be fragmented. Symmetry can be broken, we say; there’s no problem in doing this. ‘Breaking Symmetry’ corresponds to the Great Fall, it corresponds to the well-known story in Genesis relating how Adam and Eve got expelled from paradise and how they (and their descendants) have had to crawl about on their bellies ever since. As far as we’re concerned there really is such a thing as ‘more of and less of’, gaining and losing, ‘getting it right’ and ‘getting it wrong’. ‘Polarity rules’, in other words — polarity is the trap that we can’t ever see beyond.

In terms of the trick that’s being played on us (or that we are playing on ourselves) polarity isn’t a closed (and therefore self-negating) virtual reality construct — it’s the whole story, it’s the real deal. It’s the ‘alpha and omega’ — the ‘entirety of what’s possible’. When we attend to ‘what’s happen next’ then as far as we can tell this is for real, therefore — it’s not just ‘empty theatre’, it’s not just ‘us chasing our own tail like an over-excited puppy’. If we are paying attention to ‘what happens next’ within the context of the game (within the context of polarity) then we’re not ‘being conscious’ at all, however; as we keep saying there can’t be any such thing as ‘consciousness within an artificial-or-contrived context’ — that’s only a mockery of consciousness, a dreadfully pale and anaemic version of it. There’s no such thing as ‘awareness within a polarity’ — polarity is a whirlpool that spins us around and around in an endless circle of self-negation.

Consciousness doesn’t (and can’t) exist within the context of a game — consciousness can’t exist in a game because nothing new ever happens in a game — the game is our protection against anything new happening and if nothing new ever happens then clearly there can’t be anything new to attend to and if there isn’t anything new to attend to then there can’t be any consciousness. There’s only the tokenized form of consciousness, the derisory simulation of consciousness, which is where we attend to the old as if it was the old, as if it were brand ‘new and unexpected’, as if it isn’t some kind of prerecorded show. We’re only able to avail of this ‘surrogate form of consciousness’ when we can’t see the bigger picture, when our perspective on ‘what’s going on’ is at an all-time low. When our perspective on things is zero then we automatically get trapped in our own thoughts, our own descriptions, our own statements about the world; we automatically get trapped by our own thoughts or descriptions because we don’t have the perspective that our thoughts are only ‘thoughts’, that our descriptions are only ‘descriptions’. We create a seamless world with our ‘runaway thinking’ and because we have zero perspective on this runaway thinking of ours the ‘world’ that is thus created seems fresh and new and full of potential, which is absolutely not the case (which couldn’t be further from being the case)…

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