The Necessity of Self-Deception

Oh, hollow there, again…

We are always and already primed, cultivated and prepared by those cultural information systems we inhabit to possess some primitive – but essential – form of self-deception. There is a necessary blind-spot in self-identity that very much forms the core around which that aspirational bundle of ambiguities, uncertainties and insecurities we identify as Self is sedimented.

This is not quite so nonsensical or difficult to comprehend as it first appears. We can easily construct a system of natural numbers from nothing at all; starting with the empty set as 0, we construct a set that contains this one empty set and call it 1. From there we progressively encapsulate each prior layer and use this to define the next number in the sequence; the set containing the set that contains the empty set is the number 2 – and so on.

As the system of psychological (or would we better to depersonalise this as “cognitive”?) depth acquires layers of self-gravitation, sediments structure and pattern around this empty core, the hyper-inflating web of reference and interdependence acquires more and more reality. The more real we become, the less we are aware of the insubstantial emptiness and non-entoty at the core.

In this way we borrow the energy and reality of an aggregate illusion through which to acquire the belief in a concrete, persistent self. Why does this happen? Information systems autonomously self-propagate and the primary causal factor of intrinsic incompleteness is a key property of those systems. We are, at base, information and energy-processing systems no less than the world we inhabit.

Do we build ourselves in some way around this central kernel of emptiness or are we co pulled to do so by the distributed cultural information system we inhabit and that, similarly incomplete, self-propagates through the transmission medium of all these foundationally broken, hollow selves? This is a false dichotomy and unanswerable question: the totality and aggregate sum of self (or selves) and culture (or world) is also irredeemably incomplete and indefinitely extensible.

Some things are their own opposites and, similarly, some questions are their own answers

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