GAPS, LAGS AND MISSING PIECES
10/28/88
 Document 411N
Copyright (c) Jan M. Cox, 1988
 
There will always be a City gap, a lag between what a man thinks and what he does. More specifically, there is always a difference between not only what a person thinks and does -- but also between what he thinks and feels -- and then between what he thinks and what he thinks he should think, feel and do.

 If this was a contest you would have the ever beautiful, the bon amis, walking down the runway for humanity's approval. They would walk out two by two before the judges; the audience looking, anticipating, applauding first for contestant Number 1: the difference between what a man thinks and does. Next, the second pair comes out: the difference between what a man thinks and what he feels. The voice over the loudspeaker says, "Let's hear it ladies and gentlemen, for contestant Number 2." The audience thinks about it, they applaud, the judges vote and then out comes the third pair. If the audience was hip enough, the smart money would go on this last batch: the difference between what a man thinks and what he thinks he SHOULD think, feel and do.

 Within this scenario can you see that the whole story of human existence could be called a story of G's, L's and MP's: Gaps, Lags and Missing Pieces. People ordinarily would never put it together in that way, but its an appropo picture. Gaps, Lags and Missing Pieces -- like three intriguing partners in a law firm, or the front-line on an unknown fifth-dimensional rugby team way off around the bend.

 I've talked about "gaps" as the difference between what a man thinks and does. There is a gap between a person's agreement to do something and his subsequent execution of the deed. Likewise, there is an unrecognized time lag between what a man thinks and does. All forms of so-called ignorance -- of "not knowing" -- can be seen simply as a lag, a time lag. So another definition of "dumbness" could be a time shift.

 Things would be static, actionless, if not for this gap or lag. If action and thinking were the same thing, the gap would be taken up, the lag would be gone. We'd all be hogs in glittery, fur-lined, velvet encrusted slop. If the gap or lag was taken up, then instantly, whatever you thought of doing would be done. This is so on both the human and Life level. There would be nothing to look forward to because there would be no forward. You wouldn't have time to do anything -- it would all happen now. The 3-D world would come to a standstill if not for the gap, if not for the lag.

 Then there is the matter of Missing Pieces. The story of human knowledge is a story of missing pieces. In the ordinary world, anything that is not a matter of missing pieces is of no consequence. Look around internally -- is there anything that you know enough about to satisfy you? Is there anything you know all you want to know about? If there is, the trick is that you can then no longer think about the thing that held your attention. To know everything you want to know about something closes the gap, closes the lag. Something you know everything about is like a vivus machina -- a living machine -- that cannot move because there is no tolerance, the fit is too perfect. You just forget about it.

 Is there anything that you know that is not subject to the scrutiny of Mr. Missing Pieces? Forget objective reality, how about 17th century poetry? What if you had rheumatic fever as a child and while you were home in bed you got interested in 17th century poetry. Maybe you joined clubs and read all the books you could get your hands on. You studied, filled up all these notebooks with your own ersatz poetry. You did all this until finally your reached the point where you couldn't look at another l7th century poem and suddenly you put all that stuff into a shoe box and stuck it under the bed never wanting to see it again. You suddenly lost all interest. What happened was a kind of freezing up. Your hunger -- in other words, all the missing pieces, the part of your nervous system that made you interested in 17th century poetry -- suddenly got filled in. It was just a missing piece in the energy conversion and once you took all the tolerance out of the machine, it froze up.

 So when I ask you if there's something you know about that has no missing pieces, even if there were an example in your life, you would never think of it. Anything that has no missing pieces can no longer be a part of your ordinary experience, your ordinary knowledge. At City level there have to be missing pieces to make everything just right for talking and arguing about. Everything you can think about has to have missing pieces or you wouldn't be able to be conscious of it.

 Now try looking from another view. Can you see that to a neural Revolutionist, anything that can be known is not worth knowing? It simply is not. You might argue that, "Well, there is no way to experience the beauty of Rome without going to Rome, and even though the drive's not so great, perhaps we'll have a few laughs along the way." I've encouraged you to expand your horizontal interests, but to say that you know stuff that is worth knowing is wrong. (Remember though -- in the City and from an ordinary viewpoint, you are not wrong.)

 To a Revolutionist, anything that is known is not worth knowing, because that which is known is subject to the ever present influence of gaps, lags and missing pieces -- specifically missing pieces -- because that is the only way your nervous system can recall it. That's the only way you can have any knowledge. There have to be missing pieces or you can't know about it.

 What people normally call knowledge is always a process, a work in progress. At the ordinary level, whatever anyone knows is flawed because anything that is not missing some part, cannot be known. Trying to know something that was not missing some part would be like attempting to eat something larger than your mouth -- just one of Life's tricks of the trade, one of the tricks on the human nervous system.

 Recall my Look Around method, the open ended, very distinct method of just -- Look Around. You should be able to see that the Look Around method is not limited to looking around visually. You should be continually "casing the joint," not only physically -- you should be looking around and casing the joint continually inside your own head.

 Looking Around is a little piece of a trick that you could willfully attempt to practice day in and day out. Any time you walk from room to room, outside to inside, inside to outside, any possible excuse, just look around. Do anything other than staring or looking where you just naturally want to look. And then, to take this further, the Look Around method should be done at all costs inside your own brain, inside your own head.

 Consider this: Local genius ain't much genius. Being a local genius ain't being much. Sometimes you see in the headlines: "Local boy makes good," and it's not so. To be a genius, to be a prodigy, is to be staring. If you are a genius in one area, you are staring and you ain't much of a genius. In the City you're all right -- that's all you can expect. That'll get your name on a marquee and keep you off welfare. It may even keep you from having to get a decent job. But to be a local genius is -- well, just local. A genius is a genius -- not in Carnegie Hall, but in one area. And a genius in one area is not much of a genius from a more complex view. To do This Activity, you cannot be a specialist intellectually. You could be, from a City view, an absolute genius in mathematics or music, but that will not do.

 I'm not talking about some flaw in the way people are wired up or picking on the geniuses in the world. Many people, both in the City and the Bushes, can enjoy the work of City genius. But for This Activity -- for you, internally -- local genius will not do. Everyone is still wired up internally to try and be an operational genius. Anyone in this part of Life's body where the high end of the nervous system is a focal point, dreams of being a "local boy makes good." You believe that internally in you there is an area where you should excel. The area you dream about is really just another missing piece, though you don't see it that way. From the Revolutionary view, such is the unrecognized chasing of one's own folly.

 One day you could just meet someone in the library reading about UFO's. He tells you, "I know what you want, the secrets known by people on Planet X, and you're in luck because I'm in touch with them." If Planet X holds your interest, you have a new hobby, attempting to be local boy makes good. You then spend part of your life reading about UFO's (or talking to the dead, or whatever). You are pursuing your folly, becoming a local genius. It seems to be the missing piece, it feels and sounds right. You come to know things in the ordinary sense -- while not knowing that anything in the City that can be known is not worth knowing. Nobody sees the devilish cleverness of how this is arranged.

 To simplify: Built into everyone is an innate, genetic feeling that you should be excelling in some particular area. Everyone wants to pursue what modicum of talent and interests they have. And it doesn't have to be a weird interest like talking to the dead, any plain old City activity will do. You just feel that there is something you should be toiling at learning.

 There's nothing wrong with becoming a local genius, except it won't do. There is no real genius in being a local genius, a prodigy. If you're a local boy and made good and you're still in the City, you didn't actually make good. In the City you may have, but on a dark and cold night, if you were drunk and all alone, Sartre might slip up on you and you'd have to admit, "Big deal, so I made good, so what?" And those good old French philosophers would stand around your bed and moan, "We could have told you, we could have told you."

 The nervous system is never satisfied with simply being a local boy who made good. Humanity already knows that famous, successful people are not that much happier than infamous people. As you might guess, though, the rich and famous are not happier in much nicer places -- in the summer on the Riviera and in the winter at ski resorts across the world.

 There is nothing to be said, in the Revolutionary sense, about being a local genius. You may have individually always believed that you could fairly well define what you are after, or you may have had some vague feeling that you were destined to be a genius. But, genius is localized -- specialized in one area -- and will not do for This.

 Outside the City a local genius is no genius. He may be able to play the violin so beautifully that a Revolutionist will sit down, take a break and get tears in his eyes. The trooper may applaud the man, but that's all. Trying to be a specialist in This won't do because there's nothing to specialize in. Everyone has to believe they are starting somewhere, or else no one would start. But if you think you know where to start, remember if its known it wasn't worth knowing. You were just lucky that what you knew didn't hurt you, wasn't enough baggage to trip you up. (I know this gets sticky but I can't help throwing two or three helpings of that kind of pudding onto your plate. If you still believe that what you knew helped you get here, give us a break.) There is nothing you can know in the ordinary sense that is of any benefit in regard to This.

 Here is something from the world of psychiatry. Do you know that if you put what you'd consider ordinary sane people in an insane asylum unjustifiably, they will soon become a proper ordinary inmate? If you think that's not true, you are in the running for dumb poster child of the year. If through some quirk they put you in an active full-blown insane asylum, you would very soon become a proper inmate. They wouldn't even have to give you drugs or do anything to you. You would simply become a properly functioning inmate of that institution.

 Now, compare that to life in the City. Not in a pejorative sense -- the City is not an insane asylum. But, many people in the City feel they don't really belong where they are in life. Just look how many people believe in god and religion. All those people feel like they are in the wrong place. Many people from all walks of life feel at least temporarily captive in a locale where they do not belong and find themselves thinking, "If this is the nature of life, I am in the wrong wing of the building, the wrong platoon." Or, "If this is indeed some sort of school I'm in the wrong grade, the wrong class. I do not belong where I am, my uniform does not fit exactly." Kids often feel this way about life until they reach a certain age -- like they were left on the doorstep by gypsies, or a band of corporate executives in a caravan of BMW's.

 In the same way, if you were indeed in an insane asylum, no matter how you felt about it, as far as the staff and the other inmates are concerned, you belong there. Someone turned you in, handed the doctors your chart, and for you to protest is absolutely futile. They have heard it all before. It's probably easier to get out of jail when unjustly convicted than to get out of an insane asylum. To get out of jail, all you have to do is produce evidence showing you are not guilty. But what kind of evidence can you show that you are not insane? There is almost none. That is how Life is arranged.

 The more you insist you are not insane, the more your voice gets hoarse. You'd get real mad and might eventually end up attacking someone. All that would be further proof you don't belong on the street. They might pack you in ice and lock you up until you calm down. If you kept insisting you didn't belong there, they'd keep administering the treatment. Maybe the third time they pack you in ice, you'd realize you were just causing more trouble for yourself and should stop saying you didn't belong there.

 Now back to the City. The process is a little less dramatic out in Life. Eventually, you have to quit saying you don't belong in the City. You may have been bugging people about the nature of Life, priests, rabbis, philosophers and teachers and they kept telling you to shut up. But I doubt if there was some moment of awakening like you'd come upon while packed in ice in the asylum. When you asked your priest about the meaning of life for the umpteenth time he never took his shoe and beat the crap out of you. Nevertheless, somewhere along the way you DID quit asking, you did quit bugging people with your questions.

 Think back to those unjustly locked up in an insane asylum who soon become proper ordinary inmates. Now think back to ordinary life. Compare. In the City, everyone soon becomes a proper ordinary Cityite. And yet from one view you did not belong there. You were unjustly put in the ward of the City -- in an insane asylum -- a location called "ordinary life" -- and you didn't really belong there. There's no one to talk to, there's nothing to say about your placement, and if you keep trying to ask questions or get out you are in for trouble. They are going to pack your ass in ice, medicate you and give you shock treatment, maybe even slap you around. And if that doesn't work they will eventually declare you an incurable case and never release you.

 You keep saying, "I don't belong here!" They keep packing you in ice and giving you shock treatment, trying to make you better. Then they run out of cures and they won't turn you loose because they have had no success -- which is total success because they get to keep you. And psychiatry rolls along.

 The situation is the same in ordinary life. As soon as you attain adult-style consciousness you quit asking if you were unjustly left on someone's doorstep in the City. As soon as you shook the bars and realized they were not blown sugar and that the door was locked, you also realized there is no one to talk to. You find out you are surrounded by philistines, some with MD degrees. Then you find out those who don't have degrees have big biceps and thighs and they have the keys to the shock machine. Notice you soon become an upstanding, rule-abiding, proper inmate in the insane asylum of the City. You have no choice.

 In case you catch a not-too-metaphorical drift to this, I could say that anyone who is born to This Activity has no choice, nothing to talk about. In the desert, does it matter how much you charge for water? If you are here, involved in This, attempting to move outside the City, you fit into the story I just told. In a sense you were unjustly born into the City, into an insane asylum. Other than you people, truly born in the wrong place on the planet -- left on a doorstep in the wrong locale -- how about everyone else? Is that true for them? The rest of humanity is dissatisfied; everyone to varying degrees feels like the wrong person, estranged from their native home and family. Consider: Is that the same as what you are experiencing?

 What can you do with all this information, though? I suggest it might prove very simply and very directly beneficial to you, individually. Whenever possible, try not to find your fate -- much less your fat -- in the hands of philistines who have keys to doors. Don't be insane in the City, don't be nuts around those people with big thighs and arms, the head hog-holder, the one who shakes the acorns off the trees. Someone may mistake you for a loose bag of acorns -- and if they ever do you'll have a time getting out of that tree, out of that asylum. Once the hog holder has hold of you, you can tell him, "You can put me down now, you got the wrong person. I don't belong here." And he firms up his grip and says just as calm as can be, "Yeah, gotcha."

 In a related area, how about all the times I've tried to tell you that a Revolutionist has no business being in debt? Not only monetary debt, you should not be in debt at all. I've told you: Anyone that wants you to listen to them, don't. Anything that you can have in the City is not worth having. If none of this begins to make permeating sense -- if none of this becomes like water, or at times like fish and you become the water -- then I'm not sure you are listening.

 Neuralize this: What would a person (or a Revolutionist) actually possess besides what they know? Take this question first at the ordinary level -- nothing mystical, just in terms of what gets you through the day and night, e.g., apparently having to work, pay taxes and keep your appointments. In the context of City life, that part of you that is locked up in the same ward if not the same hospital as everyone else, from the ordinary, Line level of consciousness down -- even at that level, what is it you possess other than what you know, other than your own intelligence?

 Then expand the potential of the question -- take it outside the City limits. What would be the extraordinary possibilities behind the words "Revolutionist" and "New Intelligence?" Outside the City, outside your ordinary fields of interest, there is still the question: What do you possess besides what you know?

 This is not some flimflam ersatz spiritual question of saying, "Yes, you may own a Maserati, but do you actually own it?" Hell, if you own it, you own it. If the car's paid for, or if you moved out of state and the bank can't find you and you still have it, you've got it. The question is not metaphysical. What do you actually possess, what can you possess besides what you know? Do you possess what you do? Your health? What you feel?

 The question itself should be a dead giveaway. What do you personally -- not you collectively, not you as a part of a tribe, as a part of a community, a religion, even a family, but you -- what do you possess other than your intelligence? What is yours? What belongs to the bundle of cells, those talking molecules that seem to be you -- what do you possess other than your intelligence?

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