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Blank Slate

January 28, 2012

In philosophy and psychology, the “blank slate” (tabula rasa) refers to the concept that everything that we know, do, and are– is the product of conditioning that comes from perception and experience; there is no truly “built-in” knowledge, only conditioning. the term “blank slate” comes from the analogy of a tablet that has not yet been written or imprinted on; when we are born, the theory holds, we are devoid of knowledge, discrimination, opinions, values, habits, behaviors, and lifestyle choices– all of these things are accumulated over time, mostly through conditioning.

If this theory of the accumulation of knowledge and conditioning is accurate (as I believe it to be, for the most part), then the concept of freewill is being undermined; or more accurately, our “freedom” of choice is being undermined by the “will” that makes choice a legitimate concern to begin with to begin with. This is what I call ‘The Paradox of Freewill”.

Basically, if we are conditioned to want what we do, so even though we might have a “will” per se, that will is not truly free, as it is the product of the conditioning forced upon us by an environment that, being a “blank slate” we lacked the knowledge or will to have any control over, or even the identity to care. By the time you develop individuality, you will have already become a product of your conditioning, making all sense of freedom a petty illusion, a construct of a reality created by your environment. As to what “will” you are conditioned to possess, that ends up being more of a geographical, cultural, social, political, and religious “luck of the draw” more than anything.

So how do we escape this conditioning– how do we become truly “free”? In the prologue to the draft of my novel “Essence of the Soul”, I wrote the following:

By what method can one determine reality? We have guides all around us, things like the senses, logic, and the perceptions of those around us, but does it not vary from person to person, even if only the slightest? In addition, with all honesty we can only accept that this reality we are bound by is wholly attributed to the past. What if reality was something to be discovered, is something to be explored?

Most choose to leave those questions unanswered, and accept the reality created by the past. Some indulge in determining their own fate, but “in reality” are still bound by the same legacy; many of these would not realize this even if they were told, because the vast majority of the rules bestowed upon us are painfully unsaid.

It would seem that this would sum up all those that are governed by this antiquity in one way or another, But let us not forget the select few that make the choice to abandon these limitations and create their own reality- although some do not yet know they have made the choice…

At first, I thought that the only way to becoming free of one’s conditioning was to find out all those things that had been conditioned, and change them as I saw fit. But now I realize there are two problems with this:

(1) To “change as I saw fit” would only be a continuation of the conditioning, abeit biased with a more reactionary tone. In effect, I wouldn’t actually be changing anything, only changing the form in which the conditioning was presented.

(2) It’s impossible to find all of the things that are conditioned, and for good reason: everything is conditioned. You might not be aware of it, but even those things that you consider to be trademarked parts of your identity, were conditioned by external influences. If you think of certain aspects of yourself to be original or self-initiated, that’s even worse, because it means that you are being strongly influenced by forces who’s power over your will you are not even aware of.

Realizing the seeming impossibility of my ambitions, I became depressed for a while, until in the course of my research discovered that true freewill could be accomplished through Ego Death, which is the experience of realizing that the Ego is an illusory construct of the mind. But of course, this is only the first step– Ego Death allows you to change your mindset to accommodate not just real change in your perception, behavior and values, but the complete overthrow of the existing government of your mind.

Ego Death is a lot like being able to see all of the corruption and propaganda of  your government and society, free of the lies and deceit of mainstream media. Suppose you realize that something is very wrong with the world, and that it is not just corrupt at the surface, but rotten to the core. If everyone realized this, of course that existing society and government would be overthrown– the mass media exists to help thwart this.

Similarly, after realizing your “self” isn’t real, you can becoming free of all your conditioning, effectively reduced to a childlike state, knowing only to eat, breath, live. Basically, your mind goes into a state of anarchy, until you establish a new set of rules, values, and foundational knowledge to build a new reality on. The purpose of Ego Engineering (which is a work in progress, and there is still a lot of work to be done!) is to provide a framework for this stage of things– so that when I actually undergo suicide of my Ego, I will already know where to begin.

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