Inception, Discrimination, and Freedom
On How Language Threatens Liberty O.G. Rose
To allude to Nolan’s masterpiece, all conversation is ‘inception’. It is because I brought up Inception that you are now thinking about the movie: I planted the idea in your mind. If you claim you are not being incepted, you are only saying that because I claimed that you were: you are making that claim because I put the idea of ‘being incepted’ into your mind. Now that I’ve spoken about inception, there’s ‘no exit’ from it – ‘l'enfer, c'est les bouches’. You are not free to choose not to be incepted. Your liberty ends along the borders of my words. I If I ask ‘are you worried?’, you must now be defined in terms of ‘worried’ or ‘not worried’. You are not free to avoid this dichotomy. Before you simply ‘were’, but now you are ‘not worried’. Before you were worriless without the word ‘worriless’: worriless-ness was a non-characteristic of your previous state (as was everything else you ‘weren’t’, such as ‘garden-less’, ‘griefless’, etc.). However, once I ask ‘are you worried?’, worriless-ness becomes an ‘active non-characteristic’, for now you are thinking about your ‘worriless-ness’ rather than simply being (worriless). You must now actively engage with that non-characteristic of yourself: you must now think of yourself as ‘being worriless’ as opposed to or in comparison with ‘being worried’. With this thought, you may think ‘maybe I should be worried’, ‘maybe I’m being carless’, or ‘is he worried?’ – with a thought comes a network of thoughts. To return to the (relative) state of (simple) existent or (pure) being, you must now actively capture all of these thoughts and address them. You are not free to return to simply being without mentally fighting to return to where you ‘were’. Ironically, the very thought of thinking of one’s self as ‘being worriless’ as opposed to ‘being worried’ may suddenly cause you to become worried. It will then seem to be the case that the right answer to the original question was ‘yes’, when that doesn’t describe your initial state at all. If to the question ‘are you worried?’ you answer ‘I’m not worried’, you are unintentionally lying, for before you were neither worried nor worriless: you simple ‘were’. However, humans cannot comprehend, speak about, or engage with (pure) being, for being can only be approached by humans within the confines of dichotomies. If a person says ‘I am poor’, the person, believing that the term ‘poor’ refers to his or her state, lies unintentionally, for the person isn’t ‘poor’: the person simply exists. The term ‘poor’ is a term that ‘points to’ that existence, but ‘poorness ≠ existence’. It would be truer if the person said ‘I am’ rather than ‘I am poor’, even better if he said ‘I’, and best if he smiled. To speak is always an act of inception that creates dichotomies. Whether it be between the word ‘cup’ and the object-cup, happiness and sadness, a person or someone else, the idea of 1 and the word ‘one’ – all language divides. Language leads to being insomuch as it puts the idea of being into a person’s head to orientate that individual ‘toward’ being (especially if it then immediately deconstructs itself). The act of inception that is language, which inherently dichotomizes, is nothing worth noting normally, and normally doesn’t destabilize being for any notable amount of time. However, when language is judgmental or charged with emotions like anxiety or hatred, the point must be noted and fully grasped to ultimately escape the dichotomizing prison – l'enfer. II
If I tell you after you finish making a point that ‘you won the debate’, you will suddenly think of our conversation in terms of ‘debate-ness’. You may then reply ‘I was just talking with you’, irritated. With my words, I planted the thought of our conversation being a debate via ‘inception’, and that has now made you irritated. The irritation arises because you have been thrust, without consent, into a dichotomy: I have split you without permission. Despite what seems right, you must not define the previous exchange in terms of ‘not being a debate’; rather, you must simply accept it for what it ‘was’. Rather than (re)define it, you must remain open to it.1 If you ask me to get your keys and ask ‘do you mind?’, I now think of myself as wanting to get your keys as opposed to not wanting to get them, versus simply doing it. This transforms how I see the act: I’m now thinking of it in dialectical terms of an ‘ ‘act I want to do’ versus an ‘act I don’t want to do’ ’, when before I would have simply done it without this added complexity (which brings with it an emotional dimension). It would have been better had you simply asked ‘will you get my keys?’, let me answer ‘yes’, and left it at that. If after I get your keys you say ‘sorry for asking you to do that’, I must then think of our exchange in terms of an apology versus ‘task complete’. Words are a power over others that they can overpower, but never overturn. (Pure) freedom is (pure) being: ‘freedom = being’. Freedom within dialectics is free in some regards and not in others. When someone asks ‘are you worried?’, you are free to capture your thoughts and return to a state of (simple) existence, but you aren’t free to return to that state without doing anything. You are free to choose to embrace the dichotomy and accept worriless-ness as opposed to (simply) existing, but you are not free to choose whether or not that dichotomy is incepted into you in the first place. The very fact that to speak always risks the freedom of being is one reason why wisdom is heavily associated with knowing when and how to talk. Of course, the one who asks ‘are you worried?’ would only do so if the person believed that the question was worth asking at the time. Yet, recognizing the gravity of words (and how they inherently divide beings from purity/freedom whenever they are uttered) will help one think twice before asking such a question. Whether or not it is indeed worth asking will ultimately be up to the person. Since all speech creates dichotomies, listening is very hard. It is hard to think about what a person is saying beyond the dichotomies those words fashion, for words, and even thoughts, are inherently dichotomizing. Irritations, misunderstandings, losses of freedom, etc. that are the result of dichotomizes are magnified if dichotomizes are embraced. If, for example, a person accepts the dichotomy of ‘right and wrong’ rather than simply ‘the truth’, the person will either think of themselves as ‘right’, which may give rise to arrogance, or ‘wrong’, which may give rise to selfdegradation. Also, an embraced dichotomy preserves the loss of liberty and separation from being. If there is always a right and wrong, there can never be a ‘truth’ (of being): if at no point ‘right’ stands alone, ‘right’ never converges with existence (into ‘truth’), and ‘right’ is rendered arbitrary. Lastly, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are words that carry lots of emotional weight, and whenever the dichotomy of ‘right and wrong’ is thrust down upon a conversation, it becomes more difficult to listen and for the conversation to deconstruct itself back into being. Though the construction of a wall down the middle of a country doesn’t necessitate its division, it makes unity harder. However, without walls and borders, it can be hard to tell who is who and who is unified. Fear is the prime reason humans stray from being: words just happen to be the vehicle through which worries are made tangible. Words are also through which the world, you, and I are made tangible; without words, ‘thing-ness’ would be indefinable. Words, like free will, are a blessing and a burden. Without the necessary ‘fall’ brought on by words, being would be indefinable from nothingness. Yet, with words, humans are able to press upon the world emotions like fear and anxiety which, unto the world, lack reality. There is nothing to fear about a snake insomuch as it is a snake: the fear emerges when a person thinks or says ‘it’s a snake!’, for such an act triggers an individual’s consciousness to associate ‘snake’ with ‘poison, danger, etc.’. Fear, worry, and
discrimination arise within people, not the world – they are ‘non-being(s)’. Because of words, humans can orientate themselves toward non-being, but because of words, there is a difference between non-being and being, which makes the embracing of being good. The more a person can control his or her tongue to resist the urge to voice fears, worries, and various discriminations, the more humans shall exist in (simple) existence, transcendent of dichotomies. True thought deconstructs itself as it is thought. True conversation deconstructs itself as it is said. III Though all dichotomy-based thinking ruins freedom, the worst is discrimination. Often resulting from insecurity, worry, or fear, discrimination is a dichotomy based on variables outside an agent’s control. If I think I am better than you because my great grandfather was a President, I am discriminating. If I am at a disadvantage to you in my mind because I am Chinese, I am also discriminating. Whether or not this discrimination has any bearing on reality or not isn’t the interest of this paper, though it should be noted that all dialogue on race, genes, bloodlines, etc. is valuable only to the degree that it returns humanity to (simple) existence, in which dichotomies like white as opposed to black, Chinese as opposed to Japanese, etc. are transcended into childlike being. The opposite of freedom isn’t slavery, but discrimination. To define one’s self or another by what is outside the agent’s control is to belittle the freedom of the agent. If I am told, ‘your father is a great man’ and I think I am great consequently, I am belittling my agency. I should be proud of my father, but I must be careful to keep that emotion from defining my identity. If someone says ‘you’re black’, you must now think of yourself as black opposed to white, Asian, etc.; before, you simply ‘were’. This is the reason why it is so difficult to answer a question like ‘what is blackness?’: the answer must be inclusive yet there is an inherent dichotomy at the question’s center (and any answer to the question must divide a being from being). Of course, acknowledging blackness or any race is valuable and even necessary if to determine how and why a given people has been mistreated, but this practice will only be of use if the dialogue ultimately deconstructs itself.2 If the endeavor never does and if the dichotomy is preserved, it may have been better if the question was never raised. Children are not colorblind but do not think of color as a signification of anything until enlightened by society to think of color as a handicap or a throne.3 All dialogue that preserves such associational complexes must end, regardless its intent. This isn’t to say the solution is colorblindness or blindness of any kind; rather, it’s to say the solution is to encourage people to actually see reality, past all their associational filters. Of all the tasks humans are responsible, seeing what is in front of them is one of the hardest. IV Joy and fulfillment in life are tied to what one can control. I will not achieve joy and fulfillment by relishing in the accomplishments of those who share blood with me, nor will I ultimately lose joy and fulfillment because of the failures of loved ones. How I feel I have lived my life will be relative to whether or not I embrace liberty and to what degree. Avoiding dichotomies and especially discrimination is of the utmost importance in achieving liberty, as is speaking only when it orientates me toward being. This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t think or speak, only that I should do so aware that I am ‘fallen’ (or divided from being), which will keep me from embracing dichotomies. Recognizing my ‘fallen’ and split situation, I can know how, when, and why to speak, and in doing so, work to simplify life down to its un-alienating and joyful essence.
Of course, I cannot avoid inception, as I cannot avoid ‘falling’ into dichotomies. To speak is to be human, but to speak is to deviate from being. Man is an irony: all are ‘fallen’. However, dichotomies I could not avoid, such as those incepted into me, are not the ones that will ultimately be difficult to overcome or those by which I will judge the quality of my life. Rather, it is the dichotomies I could avoid (which are self-imposed or that I impose on others) that I will regret and that will be difficult to live with. All can be forgiven, of course, but only if a person realizes his or her ‘fallenness’. In closing – yes, I planted the idea of being incepted into your mind, along with ‘the dichotomy of words’: you would have never known about them had it not been for me bringing them up. Once, you lived apart from this realization, yet this very realization that is intended to free you into being has actually brought about further inception and dichotomization. I have seized the opportunity to be ironic afforded to me by realizing the inceptive nature of language, and through it, caught you in a bind. But this is a bind you were always caught in: I simply pointed it out to you. I have taken your liberty so you may live free. So now, aware, blissful ignorance lost, it is up to you to decide what you will do. Remember, it is better not to know the way of being than to know it and turn your back on it.4 Will what is ahead be better than what lied behind? See for yourself.
thought inspired by Gadamer and his Truth and Method.
isn’t to say that racial identities should be deconstructed: modern efforts to be ‘colorblind’ have followed this strategy with terrible results. To deconstruct a conversation isn’t to deconstruct a people, though conversation builds a people up. Differences must be acknowledged. The problems come when hierarchies are created between differences. To be ‘colorblind’ is to react against the human nature to fashion hierarchies, which, because it is reactionary, results in failure. Success initiates. Success can only come when humans acknowledge their tendency to create hierarchies between differences and change their nature to rather be ‘open’ to difference on its terms, rather than attempt to organize differences by a given organizer’s subjective standard of value. For more, see Homo Hierarchicus by Louis Dumont and the works of Gadamer.
more information, see The Economic and Politics of Race: An International Perspective by Thomas Sowell. Allusion to Romans 7 and 2 Peter 2:21.
Additions 1. Inspired by the Maverick Philosopher’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”: If you worry about a dreaded thing and it happens, you suffer twice. If you don’t worry and it happens, you suffer once. If you worry and it doesn’t happen, you suffer once. If you don’t worry and the dreaded thing doesn’t happen, you don’t suffer at all. Therefore, it is never rational to worry. Even if it were the case that a thing could be avoided by worrying, you still suffer once by worrying to prevent the second suffering. To worry is to guarantee suffering; to not worry is to have a chance to avoid it. Perhaps the magnitude of the suffering caused by worrying is less than the magnitude of the suffering caused by the dreaded thing? Perhaps the smaller suffering of worry results in a person avoiding the larger suffering of the dreaded thing? Well perhaps the worry causes a dreaded thing? In one sense, it does: worry is dreadful. If one worries to avoid the dreaded, the person, ironically, causes something dreadful. Worry is a hopeless act. To worry is to guarantee suffering; whether or not that worry prevents a worse suffering or even causes a worse suffering depends on the situation and requires discernment to determine. However, since worry is fundamentally irrational, it is unlikely that there are many situations in which the benefits of worry outweigh the negatives. To worry is to gamble. 1.1 Worry tends to fashion self-preserving dichotomies, for the one who voices a worry usually cannot be alleviated of his or her concerns until told that their worry is justified (even if it isn’t). The worrier is, just by worrying, in a sense, automatically right. There is a hidden pride in worry. Worry tends to breed worry, and when a worry is eventually fashioned that lacks truth, for a person to alleviate the worry, he or she must lie, for the individual must tell the worrier ‘your worry is justified’. This is the poin t when the dichotomy tends to be preserved, for either a person won’t lie, which keeps the worry from being alleviated, or the person will lie, fashioning a false sense of reality. False realities are always split from being, and hence alienating. 2. The inability of a running back to explain to you how he runs so well doesn’t mean he can’t run, as the inability of a musician to explain how he makes music doesn’t mean he is a fake. Often, failure of a person to explain something is conflated with not knowing what one is talking about, when in fact the ‘lack of explanation’ could signify a deep connection with being. What is unexplainable is often genius, though it seems impossible that a person who can’t explain what he or she is doing could be doing something incredible. It seems more likely that the person simply doesn’t want to admit their ignorance. If you ask one to explain why what they’re doing is unexplainable, you’ll figure out quickly what side of the fence they’re on. 2.1 In regard to writing, Austin Farrer said the ‘genius is in [the] fingertips’, and it ‘knows not what it does’; ‘when the will is in full gear’, it has no technique, only the next phase of the work. In our modern positivistic, bureaucratic-heavy world, anyone whose ‘genius is in [the] fingertips’ faces a dilemma, for their genius cannot be verified ‘in process’. If Tolstoy were alive today, bombarded by friends and family who couldn’t understand what he was doing with his life, he may never have written War and Peace; if Nikola Telsa would have needed to submit a report to a manager every time he wanted to invent, there is no telling how many of his works would have never seen the light of day. Also, it can be the case that such men and women of genius have difficulty ‘closing loops’ in their minds, so when asked ‘what are you doing with your life?’ and the asker shows
displeasure at the lack of a clear answer, it can be incredibly difficult for such geniuses to regain focus. Management and verification, like the embracing of dichotomies, may preserve separation from being. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. The problems of emotionally-charged language are especially detrimental in a situation involving (an) EJ(s) (as described in “Emotional Judgment”). It is perhaps easier to believe in ‘right and wrong’ then in ‘right and right’ or ‘wrong and wrong’. Dialogue isn’t innately virtuous. The word ‘dream’ is often used in regard to a phenomenon that cannot be understood independent of experience. This phenomenon is an encounter, to some degree, with being. Don’t say ‘I am’ – be. Avoid the temptation to typecast yourself (as an INTP, an engineer, etc.); once you do so, in line with “Sociological-Awareness”, how you live and think will change. This is similar to how what someone says to you transforms how you engage with the world, having been thrust into a dichotomy. To recognize what one doesn’t have control over is an act of self -control.
10. What is referred to as ‘fallenness’ in this paper can be tied with what Heidegger calls ‘throwness’. It should also be noted that this paper’s use of the Christian and Jewish idea of ‘The Fall’ is appropriate, considering Jesus as ‘The Word’, Kabbalic understandings of Adam’s responsibility to name the animals, God Speaking to Create, and the Tower of Babel. 11. Helping a person in need is much easier than the thought of helping another lets on. The moment people think about helping someone rather than just doing it, they place themselves within the dichotomy of ‘ ‘doing it’ versus ‘not doing it’ ’, where thoughts like ‘I’m so busy’ and ‘what if I’m being taken advantage of?’ are associated into. This isn’t to say that a person shouldn’t think before acting, only that an individual should recognize the difference between thinking in order to determine how to best go about doing something and associational thinking trigged by anxiety. Ideas are more daunting than reality: the world of the mind is often scarier than the world itself. 12. Thinking of life in terms of ‘moving to the next phase’ places a person in a dichotomy that makes moving on in life harder. It’s easier then to think ‘I don’t want to adapt’, when the person has no choice. No one wants cars to wreck, but they do. When a person gets stuck in a machine, it doesn’t stop, not because the machine is cruel, but because the machine is a machine. Life is the same: you have to change when you have to change, and thinking about changing can make it harder to do (especially when thinking is done out of anxiety and not in order to determine how best to change). This isn’t a cold or heartless point: it’s neither considerate nor inconsiderate. It’s simply the way of things. 13. If a person is reaching for an ice cream cone and I ask them ‘do you want ice cream?’, now that individual must think ‘do I?’, when before he or she would have just eaten it. It is because of my words that I have placed that person, who was on the verge of enjoying summer, into a place of potential anxiety. Words have power. 14. Wisdom is telling someone ‘you should wear a nice outfit when you go to work’, while instruction is ‘if you don’t wear a nice outfit when you go to work, I’ll be disappointed in you’. Instruction is enforced wisdom. Wisdom contributes to a transcendence of dichotomies, while instruction tends to breed them. Whenever force infringes upon freedom, dichotomies are likely. 15. As there is a universe of difference between ‘not’ and ‘probably not’, there is a wide gap between thinking about doing and doing. 16. There is a difference between will and want. A person can will something without wanting to do it, as one can do without thought or words. Will can transcend dichotomies into being if it doesn’t cross, like an intersecting river, with wants, words, thoughts, etc.
17. If someone asks ‘do you want to go out to eat?’ and you say ‘either way is fine with me’, this doesn’t mean you ‘don’t care’ whether or not you go out to eat. You neither care nor don’t care. Because thinking inherently dichotomizes, this is very hard to understand. It is easy to confuse being with apathy, but the person isn’t apathetic: the person simply exists. 17.1 The brain is associational, and this makes dichotomized thinking more troublesome. If to the question ‘do you want to go out?’ you answer ‘either way is fine with me’, and if this is interpreted as a polite way of saying ‘I don’t want to go out’, and the person associates ‘going out’ with ‘having fun’, the person who asked the question may wonder ‘why don’t you want to have fun?’. Since ‘fun’ is always good, if a person doesn’t want to have fun, there must be something wrong with that individual. This is when concern and anxiety sets in. 17.2 Introverts often face this sort of problem. 18. You engage with (pure) being when your thinking and perception arise into (pure) perception, as will be expounded upon in “On Thinking and Perceiving”. 19. To the degree a person is split from being is to the degree he or she is alienated and ‘homesick’. 20. The strange manner that this paper is written in reflects the difficulty of discussing something inherently ineffable (being). 21. It takes a lot of thinking to engage with the real world. It takes a lot of speaking to be fulfilled in silence. 22. Do not speak unless necessary unless you add unnecessary complexities and dichotomies to life, abstracting and splitting it up more than what is unavoidable. 23. In reference to a distinction drawn in “On Thinking and Perceiving”, thinking is dichotomization, while perception leaves the singularity of reality over-flowing. 24. Actions speak louder than words, and like words, actions fashion dichotomies. If a person starts playing a board game around you, you can now start thinking of yourself as ‘not playing’. This describes your state before the other began playing the game, but now you are engaging with this characteristic as an active noncharacteristic. Consequently, you can then begin thinking of yourself as ‘unsociable’, ‘boring’, etc., and start wondering ‘why won’t I play the game?’, which can make you feel obligated to play even if you’re busy (especially if you’re an EJ). In this sense, the choices and actions of those around you place you within dichotomies (as do their words). However, if you don’t become self-aware, the fact a person is playing a board game nearby won’t affect you. To remain in a state of perception (rather than thinking) can help you avoid selfabstraction. 24.1 This point sheds light on some of the dangers of scheduling and voicing preferences. 25. Discrimination only occurs to minorities. Prejudice and stereotyping can be thrust upon majorities, but not discrimination. This is because discrimination occurs when individuals treat others as if certain understandings of the world, terms, etc. are better than others unconsciously, and this can only occur if individually rarely encounter alternative understandings and frameworks. For example, if the minority believes that it is ‘sensitive’ to give people space while the majority believes it is ‘sensitive’ to give people hugs, the majority will come to believe the minority is ‘insensitive’. Since the majority has lots of people confirming that their understanding of sensitive is right, they will discriminate against the minority’s understanding unconsciously. To the majority , the minority is simply wrong: it has nothing to do with discrimination at all (though it has everything to do with it). 26. The very act of speaking is what language must overcome to achieve actuality.