This Theory of Ego Transcendence is designed as a simple cybernetic device to trigger the experience of ego death, with emphasis on self-control breakdown, using the breakdown of self-control logic as the pivotal point. It is as simple and to-the-point as possible, while vividly portraying and conveying the main insights provided by the mystic altered state of cognition. This combination of ideas is the most concise and selective expression possible, of the essential insights involved in ego transcendence.
Virtual Ego and the Illusory Aspect of its Control Power
Block-Universe Determinism and Autonomous Control
The Instability of Self-Control Cybernetics, the Control Vortex, and Self-Cancelling Control
The Pre-set Stream of Injected Thoughts, Puppethood, and the Inability to Control Future Actions
Self-Distrust, Self-Violation of Personal Control, and Needing a Higher-Level Controller
Moral Agency, Theology, Levels of Control, and Delusion
Mental Construct Binding and the Mind-Revealing Dissociative State
Meta-perception and Solipsistic Perception
The Egoic and Transcendent Mental Models and Advanced Rationality
One real part of the ego system is the ego as representation, and another real part of the ego system is the ego as a referent (including one's actual body, thoughts, and history). Asking whether the ego exists is too simplistic. The real issue is "In what sense does the ego exist?" or "What is the real nature of the ego?"
The mind is designed to accept the mentally projected self-representation as literally identical to oneself. But the imagined, distorted concept of self arising from this conflation is not the whole of the ego, so it's not true that "the ego is only an illusion". The ego system includes an illusion, but is more than that.
The ego exists, but in a way that is more limited and complex than is usually felt. The Enlightenment conceived of the ego as an autonomous self-steering entity, rather than as a slave or puppet of gods or Fate. The cognitive structures of the semi-illusory ego must be preserved even while discovering that its thoughts and actions originate from the underlying plane, rather than originating from the ego. The ego exists virtually, or in certain limited aspects, the naive concept of ego is distorted, accepting the projected ego image as being as real as the egoic cognitive structures.
The ego-entity exists as a real set of patterns and dynamics, but the ego is not as solid, continuous, or powerful as it seems. The ego is both a set of real patterns, but also a projected, constructed image. In a way, the perceived ego exists, and in a way, it does not. The mind usually projects and constructs a fairly solid and simple image of oneself. Seeing the illusory aspects of this mental representation and feeling the absence of the accustomed sense of personal solidity can be experienced as death, as literal cessation of personal existence, because the naive mind strongly identifies with the projected image and the sense. Mental processing is structured with the conscious ego-representation as the center of control and experiencing. This representation of the ego is a dynamic set of mental constructs. This deceivingly tangible representation of the self or ego is only a part of the ego.
In a dissociative cognitive state, the usual cognitive structures constituting the ego cease, and the projection of the ego image also ceases. Oneself still exists in many ways, such as a body, a brain, a mind, possessions, and a personal past. One genuine aspect of oneself has temporarily ceased to firmly exist: the egoic cognitive processing, which is largely but not entirely suspended. The projection of the self-image is also partly suspended. Insofar as the mind confuses the projected self-image with that part of the self which is genuine, that projected self never existed, other than a perceptual illusion, and so could not cease to exist. If the ego is defined strictly as the natural assumption that the mentally projected self-representation is literally oneself, then it can be said that "the ego is only an illusion". But such a narrowed definition of "ego" raises the question of what to call the real cognitive structures that reliably project that illusion. The ego is more than just an illusion. It's a large, complex, and dynamic set of mental processes, of which the deceivingly tangible mental representation is only one part.
The will exerts control power, but this power is virtual rather than literal. There is some control-power, but the normal perception of this power is distorted. The sense of having control power is taken too literally and too simply. Ego structures are refined after enlightenment, not eliminated. Physics cannot provide a legitimate dwelling place for the ego entity, because the ego is largely illusory. Delusion or enlightenment are collective: first there is a uniform interegoic control field, deluded about control agency, then the rational, cybernetics explanation of enlightenment is discovered and communicated. There is a shocking feeling of helplessness upon realizing the insubstantiality of the cross-time ego.
One controls one's hand, but this control is driven by the pre-set path of control-events injected by the block universe. The control stream manifests in individual control-acts permanently, eternally located at each time-slice.
The time axis combines with the 3 dimensions of space to form a 4-dimensional block universe, or crystalline ground of being. Even if the time axis is warped, relative, or branching, and there are more than 3 dimensions of space, one can coherently and usefully frame the experienced world as an ultimately unchanging, 4-dimensional spacetime block. Conceiving of the world as a fixed spacetime block leads to the astonishing potential of experiencing ego death, because the logic of ego's control power is coherently disrupted. If one consistently adopts the mental model of the block universe, the usual sense of exerting the power of choice disappears, and the logic of personal self-determination cancels itself out.
Conventional determinism overemphasizes predictability in principle and perfect seamlessness of the chain of cause and effect, and cannot tolerate the slightest bit of true randomness or disjoint in the chain of cause and effect. More relevant to discovering ego-transcendence is that each point on any timeline is predetermined, and the future permanently exists, elsewhere in the spacetime block. The hypothesis about the eternally unbroken causal chain, in which the past eventually controls the future, is excessive, delicate, and irrelevant to higher experience. Even if there is some true randomness in the world, the future remains predetermined, because of the illusory nature of the flow of time, and the inability to the ego-entity to be an ultimate origin of its own thoughts and choices.
Proper Fatalism emphasizes the fixity of the personal future actions, without committing to an unbroken chain of causality. Fatalism overemphasizes final outcomes. All the intermediate personal actions are fated, not just the outcome.
The mind is virtually free: it is free on the practical, visible level, while predetermined on the underlying, hidden level. The underlying block universe is at a higher level in the hierarchy of control than the practically free actions that take place within the stream of personal actions within the block universe. The universe forcefully controls the stream of personal control-actions, then the stream of control actions exerts its secondary power. One can postulate a god -- a creator and controller -- at an even higher level in the control hierarchy, one would then hope that it's a compassionate god pulling the puppet-strings of the world and its creatures.
The choice of thoughts and actions is practically free, but thoughts are forced into the mind from the underlying plane, the mind is a slave to the free acts of will injected by the underlying block universe. Time, change, flexibility, variability, and movement are all fixed at all points along the time axis or branching axes. The stream of personal control-actions such as decision-making is frozen and predetermined at each point in time. The stream of consciousness and control can be seen as a set of distinct time-slices, with the events at each particular time-slice permanently fixed.
The world casts forth the entire set of time-slices of an object or stream of actions all at once, actions at two adjacent time-slices are isolated, and slightly different. The later action is not predetermined simply because it is caused by the first, but because both actions have always been permanently pre-set, the entire set of actions came into existence all at once. . The similarity of each time-slice of a stream of actions produces the sense of continuity of the ego-entity across time and the sense of smooth motion through time. Self-control is unable to forcefully reach across time to control one's thoughts, will, and actions in the future.
The ego is a nexus of cybernetic control in the apparent form on an inner entity, but the entity cannot control the cybercontrol system of which it is merely a helplessly produced component; the system produces the ego, in the system; the control-system projects the illusion of an ego-agent that appears to stand outside the system and control the control-system.
Personal self-control forms a cybernetic control loop. The ego-entity is an essentially illusory homunculus, a self-steering helmsman dwelling inside the mind's self-control loop. Self-control controls itself indirectly. Alcoholism and compulsions demonstrate the inability of self-control to reach across time. Metaprogramming one's mental biocomputer promises power, but leads to the problem of controlling the source of one's thoughts and will.
Control agents are embodied as self-control tunnels or streams, floating in locked, stationary spacetime. Schizophrenia and mystic rapture both present the sense of being remotely monitored and controlled by a dominant observer-and-controller entity who is in a position of power, one becomes a cybernetic puppet and the perceived locus of control shifts up to a separate control agent who resides on a higher level in the control hierarchy.
When the mind models the ego-entity and its control coherently and vividly, the ego dies as a helmsman, the sense of being a self-governing entity profoundly changes. The mind has a latent potential to discover the self-control vortex, the strange-attractor vortex of self-control violation. There is a sudden homeostatic state shift out of the egoic mental mode. This vortex is the control singularity, at which point self-control perfectly cancels itself out. One discovers the possibility of the self in the near future deliberately violating one's long-term intentions and wreaking the worst havoc against oneself.
Such a demonstration would be intellectually and morally satisfying in several ways, though disastrous by definition. A demonstration of absolute self-violation could disprove the ability for self-control or self-restraint to forcefully reach across time, prove the impotence of moral self-restraint, and demonstrate the independence and isolation of each time-slice in the stream of self-control Responsible moral agency is manifestly invalid upon perceiving the predetermined character of the thinking that is injected into the mind by the spacetime block at each time-slice. A demonstration of self-control violation would also be of interest because it would concord with understanding that the ego entity who exerts control power is largely an illusory projection of the mind.
When the mind grasps its potential for control instability, the thinker trembles from the cybernetic instability and is shakingly disrupted and thrown off balance. The ego's accustomed virtual power is cancelled by overly vivid awareness of how one's thoughts and actions could very well be pre-set by the underlying block universe. Virtual moral agency collapses when the illusory aspect of the ego's power is vividly understood. In pursuit of truth and self-understanding, it is tempting to make a serious sacrifice of one's deepest values in order to reflect one's consciousness of one's true nature. Given the inherent insecurity of self-control over time, due to the inability to reach across time and due to the fact that one's future actions are already defined at all future points in time, one might begin to urgently wish to secure self-determination to forcefully extend self-control over one's near-future actions.
It feels like a trap, when fully confronting that there is logically no way, no possible move, that would forcefully extend self-control to restrain one's near-future actions. Stable self-control inherently requires distorted thinking, which obscures one's nature as a product of the completely predetermined block universe. Self-control can be stabilized by looking away from the radical potentials of one's near-future actions in the stream of control, by stopping the apprehension of them. One inherently cannot trust one's own near-future actions, which are beyond one's present control. Dissociative cognition combined with advanced rationality leads to the conscious experience of one's permanent situation of being a puppet of fate, a complete slave of the block universe.
Upon discovering the perfectly coherent model of self-control extending along a frozen stream in the block universe, one finds oneself in a submissive position, and it's effective action to pray, to turn one's attention away from the emptiness of the power at one's core, and regain the deluded but stable sense of controlling one's thoughts and actions.
In the midst of the self-control singularity, self-control cancels itself out and one is tempted to perform a sacrificial self-violation to prove this astonishing potential and disprove the moral agency upon which life depends. It would be ecstatic horror to make a high self-sacrifice of one's integrity as a moral agent, and perfectly violate one's personal wishes, to disprove moral culpability and reflect one's grasp of the astonishing truth about the nature of moral agency, self-control, and self-determination.
At the peak of grasping transcendent knowledge and fully confronting one's inability to restrain one's actions in the near future, one can completely lose trust in oneself, but it's a cybernetically effective move to project a trustworthy entity to a higher level in the control hierarchy and place faith in that entity instead of in oneself, that is, let the entity take one's cybernetic helm of self-control. The stability-producing prayer (a committed assumption and transmitted communication) for this purpose is that the creator of the block universe created it such that one's future stream of thoughts and actions are not disastrous to one's integrity of selfhood as a cross-time controller with values and investments. This assumes a personal god, because the universe itself is not easily conceived of as a controlling agent able to hear and respond.
There is a level of control beyond the ego that gives rise to the ego's control actions, which are not self-originating. Personal self-control is secondary-level control. The ego effectively and apparently is the only origin of its actions, but this isolated autonomy of the ego's power is illusory. The ego's power is an epiphenomenon, a mere appearance that arises as a result of the more ultimate driving factor beyond or outside the ego. The primary level of control is the underlying ground of being, or block universe, which gives rise to the ego's entire stream of thoughts and control actions.
One hypothetical example of a control hierarchy is God, fate, the lower gods, the block universe, creatures, and finally puppets, fictional characters, virtual agents, and cybernetic devices. The same logic that implies that creatures are predetermined seems to implies that the hypothetical God would be predetermined as well, unless God were unfathomably different. Christianity is largely about maintaining the delusion of our freedom, to make us individual moral agents that we cannot logically be. Even the deterministic variants of Christianity insist on moral agency and moral freedom.
If a god is at the higher level of control, outside of time, he is in a position to prophecy. Prophecy is the revealing of what fate or a creator has already created at a relatively "future" point in time.
The Creator, like a programmer, can disclaim direct responsibility for the control-actions of his creatures, but he remains indirectly and ultimately responsible. When a computer artist creates a fractal image, the artist does not directly define every bit of the fractal, but defines general equations and thus indirectly creates every detail. So has the hypothetical Creator caused our every action, while denying direct responsibility. Insofar as the Creator avoids direct manipulation of the details of our lives, he can give Satan freedom, the freedom which is sin and delusion. The Creator's omnipotence permits only a practical, virtual type of moral freedom.
The coil of a snake represents the cybernetic self-control loop inside the mind. Sin is our sense of self-origination of our thoughts and actions, and our experience of ourselves as autonomous agents who are potential moral subjects. The egoic mind is arranged with the ego-entity at the center of personal experiencing and action, and assumes that the ego is the primary origin of its actions. This ego-entity at the center includes the deceiving, projected representation of the ego-entity. The transcendent mind is not so firmly self-centered, but acknowledges the priority of the underlying block universe, which controls or gives rise to the ego's stream of control actions. Moral freedom is legitimate as an experience but not as a logical proposition. Enlightenment was artificially delayed and withheld, buying some time for humanity to live as seemingly autonomous agents.
Mental constructs are highly dynamic association matrixes, held together by some degree of binding intensity. Deep re-indexing of mental construct groups (such as concepts of "time" and "change" together) enables a wholesale mental model shift or inversion to another mode. Normally, for convenience, the mind uses linguistic and conceptual associations in a rigid, rutted, and repetitive way, debates are permanent standoffs, because the same cliched assumptions are carelessly adhered to every time words are used. Mastery of semantics enables one to release one's assumptions about every single word in an argument, not just a key term in isolation.
The dissociative cognitive state enables deep-level symbolic re-indexing of mental constructs. There are multiple triggers for the dissociative cognitive state, including psychedelics, meditation, schizophrenia, sensory deprivation, hyperventilation, temporal-lobe epilepsy, UFO abduction, and near-death experiences. The most powerful trigger for long sessions of cognitive dissociation is lysergic acid, a key technology. Psychoactive substances should be of great interest to theorists in many fields. The absence of such psychoactive keys preserves delusion, to preserve the sense of freedom and autonomous agency. The New Testament morally permits ingesting anything (Mark 7:6, Matthew 15:7). Acid-rock mysticism vividly alludes to and resonates with ego death and the dissociative cognition that leads up to it.
Pattern-perception becomes highly flexible and innovative in the dissociative cognitive state. Blatant perceptual distortion in the dissociative state directly presents questions of epistemology and the philosophy of perception. All that is presented to awareness is mental constructs, which point to alleged referent objects which might or might not exist, or might exist in a way other than the mental constructs representing them, which might be distorted.
Meta-perception is the perception of the layer of mental constructs presented to awareness. In the dissociative state, the world blatantly appears as mental representations which are themselves frozen into the block universe, extension of objects and the controlling ego-entity across time appears to be distributed along a fixed and pre-set stream of time-slices. The vantage point of awareness can be raised, or stepped back a level, to observe mental construct processing and perception itself. Time is no longer perceived as a flow, but as a frozen expanse.