The illusion of control

Posted on June 16, 2009. Filed under: Games, HowTo, Philosophy, Spirituality |

Just returned from a lecture, and then an impassioned discussion with a fellow attendee, about pragmatic philosophy. (Impassioned discussion is almost my favorite kind of passion.) πŸ˜‰

The lecture began by telling us that as infants, we were very connected to the larger life force; the expanded beingness from which we all (from the lecturer’s point of view) came. This connection enables us to live in utter bliss, if we wish to, and instantly to give and receive anything we wish. Little by little, sometimes quite quickly, we lose that ability to just tune into the greater cosmos and realize we are all one; always connected, always creating.

My first questions were: If that’s so; if we came from that, why do we bother manifesting as human persons, in our separate bodies? Why not just stay as part of the whole and create from there?

Apparently, becoming physical beings gives us the opportunity to look at life through linear time, for instance, and to experience “that which we do not want” in order to get more in touch with what we do. (want.) This is, supposedly, the greatest creative exercise there is, and all the Universe appreciates us for taking it on and allowing knowledge to expand. (You’re welcome!)

Most of the time, and more and more, I appreciate the life I live. I look around me at beauty, culture, lovely and amazing people, and animals, and mountains and trees—all things not available on the non-physical plane. One of the best things about being physical is getting to grow and prepare and eat food!!! Try that, you non-physical beings! πŸ™‚

So, I can see that working with material reality gives us new and interesting ways to express. I get the feeling that non-physical beings, wherever they may be, look at our world as a video game rental shop. They come in and choose which role-playing game they’d like to play, and pay their rental fee in cosmic currency. They have a variety of games to choose from: Adventure (Discover the lost secrets of the Celtic Babylons! Only you can re-assemble the seven fossilized power stones to form the magic bridge to the World of all Explanations!), or Strategy/Thriller: (Nine hours remain until the mass-disintelligence bomb will detonate in downtown Kripsoria! Can you find the clues left by the evil Ima Nutcase in time to disarm the bomb without becoming too nice in the process to want to bother?) Or, even a Shooter:Β  (You are General Stuffinsuch. Your mission: to deploy your troops and fight for control of Mental Island in the Battle of the Hunh?; the key conflict in the Norwegian/Canadian war!)

From our broader perspective, we react to “the game of life” in much the same way as our physical selves react to playing video games, or seeing a really good movie, or reading a fine novel. We can be VERY immersed in the story, emotionally involved, and profoundly moved and changed. But, in the end, although some parts of our brains react as if that Stephen King horror movie a was a “real” experience (but that’s another post), most of our brain knows that the game is “just” a game; the book “just” a book.

If one believes at all in the continuity of consciousness— i.e. that it doesn’t begin at birth and end at death—then seeing life as a cosmic video game does not seem at all outlandish. But, what if one has played through all the scenarios and wants something new and fresh? We can search for a new philosophy, or for a new way to interpret our religion. We can ask our friends about which games they’ve played that gave them a good experience. We can, as, for instance, my friends Deirdra and Rikard do, invent and produce our own games. The great news is that we don’t have to become programmers or designers in order to do that. We can create at the most basic, pre-cellular level; according to the latest theories of theoretical physics. (That’s yet another post.)

SO, after all that, the big question that came out in our discussion is: IF that is true; if we can create things just as we like, than how come, fer’evens sake, DON’T we? At least a lot of the time?

Control You and I will find a multitude of books, recordings and seminars giving us the tools to do just that. Do the tools work? Yes. But…it all goes back to Motivation, and Intent. Our discussion concluded (after a bit of argument, and bewilderedness) that, in our current view, that the major stumbling block is the illusion of control, and the desire for control. You’ve seen the books that promise: “Manifest a million dollars with__________ (affirmations, meditation, goal lists, laws of attraction—you fill in the blank). I probably own a dozen or more of these books. All great, fun reads. All adding to my store of knowledge and mind-tools. Some even ask me the question (and it’s the most relevant question to ask): “WHY do you want a million dollars?”

The answer to that, if we are honest with ourselves, is the key to the whole process. More on that in the next post! πŸ˜€


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17 Responses to “The illusion of control”

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Maybe what we learn from those magical motivation books is illusion of control.
Is this what you’re trying to say Muse? πŸ™‚

To answer the question about why people want the million dollars, it is this: they want to set themselves free from work to do what they want in their spare time. The problem is… many people wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they suddenly had all the free time in the world – that is, many people don’t know what they want. This, of course, reminds me of one of my favorite quotes ever, from The Fountainhead:

“If you want my advice, Peter,” he said at last, “you’ve made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don’t you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?”

Howard Roark, here, asks a great question: don’t you know what you want? Whatever gives someone the greatest satisfaction should be what they do in their spare time; what they want to do. For example, if I became rich, I’d spend all my free time reading, thinking, (mountain) biking, playing hockey, writing, and seeing the world. Those are the things that I like to do the most… And I’d also take the time to learn some skills. With most people, I’ve observed, people just kill time watching TV and the like, and it’s sad that it seems like they don’t enjoy themselves.

Though, I’ll be quick to contend that people should love their work too… Maybe the populace would be happier if they loved their jobs. I recognize that it’s a hard thing to do, but, I think your approach of thinking of life as a video game (or just a game) is right on. No one gets out of here alive; why not enjoy our stay here on Earth?

Ah, I’m rambling. Time to plug my newest blog project filled with my own writing, though I don’t care if you don’t look. It’s just to help myself (click my name and it should take you there. I don’t have any essays up yet, but my about page and my reading is on there).

I agree with you. I want to add that being true to yourself needs to be coupled with feeling. You can say you’re are true to yourself, but if you don’t feel it in your heart, your subconsicous will send that message out to the universe. If you are looking to enhance your practice of LOA, and you need to learn to use it towards your financial prosperity journey, check out this program I just joined last week. It’s really great!

aaaahhhh, yes, The illusion of control. Your title says it all.
Om shant.

And they even say that life is an elaborate dream and make it as real as we want it to be. I’ll pass the cash offer to someone else then.

SO, after all that, the big question that came out in our discussion is: IF that is true; if we can create things just as we like, than how come, fer’evens sake, DON’T we?

That is a matter of looking at liner time in general – we don’t because we can’t because we haven’t invented the tools to do so.

Literally – we haven’t evolved enough to do that – once we have then we will.

It’s like some say that it will always be impossible to go faster than the speed of light – setting an ultimate is the easiest way to fail. We cannot, as yet, travel that fast – but there is more to that cosmic strain than the limitation of human thought.


I think leapsecond nailed the million dollar question. I think people connect the $1M amount with a combination of freedom and happiness. Sure it would give you freedom, assuming you could manage, but you’d have to have a plan for your time. It’d be a waste just to sit around and watch TV all the time. We’ve all heard “money doesn’t buy happiness,” which I’d like to test and see first hand btw πŸ˜† j/k I admit to having a goal like that as well, but I don’t believe it would bring instant happiness. So why do I want it? I think I’m just someone that needs goals to shoot for.

That about sums it up, poch!

Hmmm, I think you’re right that many people don’t know what they want, leap. Is that OK, though? πŸ˜• I like your list of the things you like doing. You bring up a good point in observing that many, even if given all the time, money, etc. they could need to cover basic survival issues would not budge from the sofa. Without the motivation of “having” to go to work, a lot of people would become depressed and listless. How did we get to such a state? I feel that breaking up life into sections such as work:leisure:family, for instance is artificial and part of the problem. Maybe because I grew up in an area of small family businesses where the owner’s kids were running in and out of their stores, work always seemed more village-y and organic to me. πŸ™‚

Hi, Edward. While I don’t usually publish comments from people linking to business enterprises, you actually had some comment content beyond “nice blog” which I found refreshing! I liked what you said about needing to feel inner truth in ones heart. Thanks!

yogini, I appreciate it. Peace Om.

VS: Me, me, me! πŸ˜‰ “Who’s the dreamer, and wherefore the dream?” I do believe you have defined reality.

That’s a fascinating concept, Will, The Cynic! “We haven’t invented the tools to do so.” Hah! And of course you’re referring to mental as well as physical tools. Your “speed of light” illustration is so apt, here. Physics has “proved” this is impossible; therefore it is—until it’s not. We used to think that the four-minute mile was impossible too. Light speed, Mile speed; Kilometer speed; —all relative, yes? πŸ˜€

You need goals to shoot for, Shane? Well, that’s a great reason to do anything! You’ve found something that motivates you and gives you meaning. Indeed. As for money, sure, go ahead and do that research to see if it actually buys happiness, would you? Then report back here, if you would. I’d really like to know. πŸ™‚ Wasn’t it Mae West who said “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor…Believe me, rich is better!”? πŸ˜€

β€”all relative, yes?

Indeed! We are, of course, now looking toward CERN, if there is any doubt at all that we have but a mere pinhead of knowledge – that will show it.

In tools, you are correct, I did mean those, too. πŸ™‚

CERN is just the most exciting thing, Will! πŸ™‚

Muse: Ah, that’s it! I think that you’re dead on, because our lives are so split along artificial lines – lines that split our personalities as well. That is, notice how we act differently based on we are with at a given time – our coworkers, our friends, our family.

I’m glad – you’ve given me something to meditate on. I guess the real answer to these questions will come in a full-fledged post…

Well, actually I want $3 million, considering inflation and how expensive New York City is…but I think I may be missing your point. πŸ˜‰

GREAT post, Muse. Such a fun ride. I’d like to add that when we’ve tried all else, there is one thing we can control that no one can take from us. To quote Victor Frankl “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” For those who don’t know him, he survived a concentration camp by finding ways to find meaning through his mental life, a power he said we all have. Might we call it a control over illusion rather than illusion of control, perhaps?

Oh, and if anyone is curious to learn more about Viktor Frankl (I spelled it wrong in my other comment), here’s a Wikipedia article:

Coolness, leap! I get the biggest kick out of blogging when something someone says gets me to think along a different path, or vice versa. Therefore, I am pleased by your comment. What you say about artificial divisions reaches me. It reminds me I don’t “have” to be or act a certain way; I choose to. Thanks!

OK, RA, you have my official permission to want $3 mil instead of $1. This offer only available to residents of New York, and certain parts of California and Hawaii. Thanks for the Frankl mention, I have read his work, and he offers a compelling story to back up his philosophy. Indeed, attitude may be not only all that we can control, but the only reality there is! As for controlling the illusion…oh, my…gee…wow. I’ll have to give that some thought! You’ve turned things around, and now I’m standing on my head! Maybe getting some blood to rush up there will do me a world of good. πŸ˜› And thanks for the wikipedia link. I read there that there is to be a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast next year, originally suggested by Frankl. I’ll have to follow that story.

SO FUN!!! I love this – well, I love all of it and need to go read it again… but this really caught my eye: working with material reality. Can I use this an answer when someone asks me ‘so, what do YOU do?’ “Well, I like to create. Usually with source material reality but sometimes some other stuff, too. But most of the time, I just be. I’m really not much of a doer.” hee hee.

Everyone wants what they don’t have.

I want a million dollars. And a capybara.

You have permission, my IdeaJumping friend! Thanks for the encouragement! I do relate. “Being” is a fine thing. πŸ™‚

Hi, Bunk Struts! So, would you advise us to want what we DO have then? I had a guinea pig once… πŸ˜‰

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