Placebo works when you’re told by someone you trust or some label: this is going to do xyz. As proof? The fact it works for so many others.
But that is just confirmation bias set up by original conspirators – or group bullshitting group – setting in motion a belief like a virus to spread thru the population. Like there’s a difference between uppy sativa and downy indica. Truth is, though, there’s nothing wrong with this. If it works for most, why publicly expose a myth? After all it creates the anticipated response, which creates further evidence of the expectation.
Doesn’t work for me sadly. Not any more. Which is fine, I guess. Work harder, get real results, right? Don’t need your brain to make a story that’s false when you can make a reality that’s true. Blah blah.
But what if everything is story and it’s possible to expose so much, in life experience, the everything story falls away to reveal the felt compelling subjective narrative of life itself is a placebo; a story our brain weaves out of cherry picked reality and confirmation bias and subconscious cognitive dissonance – balanced good enough to serve purpose but by no means objective.
Is that what leads to bleak existential nihilism? Depression the precursor, to be treated with medication (lower the brain-thinking signal amplitude, make the existential matter less) or cognitive behavioral therapy (placebo positive reinforcement).
Psychologists have their position in society as well earned as anyone else. CBT doesn’t serve me. Medication isn’t necessary; self-reflection has connected the dots on lowering brain signal amplitude though I’m not sure it’s a creatively helpful equanimity.
The most Om of enlightened monks isn’t far from the most vegetative bliss: objective detachment from the samsara, the suffering, the wheel of life after life. Religion may hand a final useful story – the grand scheme of creation, reincarnation, progression and regression, the video game version of human life where to play is to stay unenlightened living bound to the wheel and to not play is to release from the wheel, to be freed from suffering attachment…
… where in the mind’s eye of meditation the egoless consciousness perceives the whole world dissolving into an evanescent GAME OVER and if the Mahayanasanabanana story goes deep enough or the individual’s brain factory settings tilt towards love or optimism, the void might come back to life with RIGHT ON, BODHISATTVA! and return the player to the material game plane in a permanent oxytocin freeflow, arms open to the fellowship of life on the wheel.
At worst this practitioner without a grand creation explanation myth or a brain with natural bliss-spectrum factory setting, the reuptake of material selfhood will be benign inhibition, equanimity even without bliss, tolerance of time and environment and relativity relations (personal or potential), habituated to be what will be without resentment, with an inertia towards objective being – periodic dissolution by meditation; permanent dispersal by end of life.
Benign equanimity but without bliss of placebo convictions or factory settings. Dissociation from time, relations, and the vissisitudes thereof.Across the aggregate of billions of human beings it is an above average formulation of contentment.But it’s a pale fire of earlier life motivations, interpersonal fascinations, creative aspirations.
The placebo trinity once exposed isn’t restored.
First, that time matters, not having enough time motivates, and since ambition satisfaction is a time critical activity, action is driven by dynamic organic harmonics of self. This is the essential fuel of bliss.
Second, that relations matter, in an objective granular moment to moment sense, i.e. get closer to love relationships, drive away from hate relationships, explore depth and distance potential relationships. It fuels the passion of ambition and paints the colours of action’s dynamic organic harmonics. This is the necessary light and heat of bliss.
Third, that creativity matters, in both the sense of bringing together new and original solutions – from the universe, into the world – and the profound communication of your personal creations of newness and originality to the world – to others you love, to strangers you could love. Creativity is the locus of time, passion and ambition. This is the intensity and durability of bliss.
Losing the trinity is to absent the fuel, light, heat, intensity and durability of bliss. And thus the flatline state. At best, duty, fortitude, acceptance of living out the time to come with good grace, charitable action and enough remembered empathy to judge your contribution to the rich vignette of material existence as sincerely positive.
If bliss is irrelevant, if emotion is nihilist, the simple logic of kindness is a reliable path through the existential circumstances between now and end of life disintegration.
Consider it lucky, after all, if the exposing of layer after layer of placebo story doesn’t lead to resentment in the wake of disillusionment, especially if the story of life as a whole falls away and the brain is forced through the paradigm shift of subjective narrative trust to objective existential nihilism.
I suspect the anger, resentment and reaction comes from not reconciling the loss of life story with the impersonal truth of conscious existence: the stories weren’t invented to make a fool of you but evolved by countless other human beings as natural coping mechanisms and shared experienced, steering the majority as best it could be managed, from cradle to grave.
It’s nobody’s fault you’ve thought your way through all the smokescreens, misdirections, confirmation biases, social cognitive dissonances, confusion narratives, utilitarian myths and spurious explanations proliferating the cultural imagination of your lineage. It’s also nobody’s fault there’s nothing beyond the vanity fair maelstrom but kindness, duty and a daily drift towards terminal irrelevance.
Dum dum. Dum dum. Dum dum. Dum dum.
Dum dum. Dum dum. Boooooooooooooooooop___________