Everything Suffers By Comparison
March 27, 1989
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EVERYTHING SUFFERS BY COMPARISON
Copyright (c) Jan M. Cox, 1989
Document: 474, March 27, 1989
I have once or twice pointed out that things move in a spiral, like a merry-go-round on a screw which gets higher with each revolution. Things that seem to be repeated by me, whether from several days or several years ago, are not simply “repeated.” I do not engage in “reruns.” (In case any of you have ever wondered, running out of fresh material is not a problem.) And by now, you have had thoughts which to you were meaningful, and at some time later they seemed to unfold and you understood even more.
Try and sharpen your intellectual sight and see what I am about to say in a much more subtle way. You can miss it otherwise. I am going to go back and talk about resistance. “Resistance” is not simply a word; there is a reality going on. It is a very subtle adversarial arrangement in Life. What I’m talking about is not resistance based upon human personality, although on the kindergarten level it can be described as such. Resistance permeates everything, and is not necessarily at all obvious.
Let me give an example with several potholes in it. A man decides to buy some property on which he wants to build a shopping center. The obvious potholes are these: he has to buy the property; he has to obtain permits and zoning changes; he has to have construction plans drawn up; he must get financing at the bank. Now think. At all four of those junctures you would think there are ready, if not eager, participants. The seller certainly wants to sell. The bureaucrats are paid to issue permits. Architects are eager for business, and loan officers want to make loans. It seems that all parties involved stand to profit from the action of the buyer.
But here is the subtle part. Anything in human affairs which has a discernible life span includes a never-noticed adversarial relationship. The buyer calls the owner of the land for sale and the seller says, “Come right over. I’m asking $75,000 an acre.” Maybe the buyer was ready to pay even more. So you would think that the sale would proceed without a hitch, right? But will it? No. Nobody knows why, but even where there are two willing participants in a dance, it never moves in a straight line from beginning to completion.
Just at the point where a handshake would seem to seal the deal, the resistance will start. In this example, discussion of the terms of payment will arise. Even if the buyer has cash in hand, there will be complications; both parties will have to consult their accountants. Something will come up. I don’t mean that resistance will stop the transaction, but it will not be “wham, bam, thank-you ma’am.”
The architect will have complications, even after he has eagerly taken the job. The same applies to the bank and the permit office. I can keep making up examples, but surely you get the gist. Something always “comes up.” Again, I do not mean that the developer will not get the loan or the permits. But at no point in the life of his building venture will things go without a hitch, be it minor or major. “Resistance” is not the correct word to describe this. The only word, in fact, is “Life.” It has to do with a movement of energy, and you can learn from it. You can observe this in your own life. Unless a line of energy movement is doomed to quickly come to an end, this adversarial arrangement will arise. It is subtle; it arises even when all parties concerned apparently agree on all the major issues.
Try and look more keenly, beyond the word “resistance.” It has to do with the physical movements of energy. When this movement IS seen in the City, it is diagnosed as “avoidable conflict,” “unnecessary infighting,” or “wrangling over details.” City consciousness sees it as a thing which can be overcome. Can it? Not here in the 3-D world. There is nothing wrong with such ordinary resistance, unless you are seeking something beyond the ordinary. Unless you can see it and get beyond it, everything you do will be limited to being ordinary. That is, you will never do exactly what you dream of doing. Or, if you CAN apparently do it, it gets to be so much trouble that you wish you’d started something else. Or you fall into this old trap: “This is a hell of a mess, but at least I learned something.”
Everything that happens is affected by resistance. Let’s talk about a first-class dose of lust. You walk into a convenience store and there she or he is. You think, “This is it.” And the other person is as eager as you are. Almost the first words you say are, “Your place or mine?” Do you understand that even if you both want to jump into bed immediately, the affair will not proceed without resistance of some kind popping up? Everything can appear to be going swimmingly well, and no problem — but there WILL be a problem. An unsuspected adversarial arrangement will arise, even if it does not seem to greatly interfere at the time. Maybe before you both go to bed the other person has to let their dog out, or the phone rings and they talk for l5 minutes. Between the plan and its success, some form of irritating resistance will arise. Things do not go directly from beginning to completion.
Resistance is always there. That’s the nature of the triaxial flow of forces at this level. Nothing can move in a straight line in the 3-D world, not because of evil, inertia, bad luck, or the fragility of humanity, but because of Life. There is no escape. Ordinary consciousness nowadays is so used to this that it goes unnoticed; it’s like being so accustomed to ant stings that it takes a two and a half pound bee to get anyone’s attention. And yet the thought process has continual complaints, questions, and beliefs about how things should be otherwise. The feeling is always there: “A little black cloud is about to cry on me.” The tacit part is, “This should go away.” It CAN’T go away.
The first act is always the best. From a Revolutionary view, that is worse than true; it is correct. Because immediately after the first act, the rewrites start. Resistance arises. The maximum time allowed for anything to withstand resistance/criticism/rewriting is the first act. There is a span during which resistance does not make itself three-dimensionally known. From all ordinary views, however, almost nothing has happened in that first act. To wit: our would-be developer rushes enthusiastically into the seller’s office. “Are you the owner of that property for sale?” And the owner says: “Who wants to know?” Right there is the end of the first act. Or, the owner says, “Yes! Do you want to buy it?” If the developer replies, “Oh, I don’t know, I might…” That’s the end of Act One. Do I have to continue making up examples? In Life, the reviews and attempted rewrites start before the play is over.
The first act is always the best. Further: if you begin to see it, the first act is the ONLY act. The Real Revolutionist can leave almost anything after the first act. Once you know what you’re doing, the first act is all it takes. Do you know how much time you could save with that? You can read a whole book sometimes by reading the cover. “Modern-day version of Moby Dick” — I’ve seen all I need to know. How about hearing your own Dialogue? You might as well leave after Act One, because the first act is over as soon as you begin to resist it. The play is then over — you’ve become a critic.
Consider something else, a question: Is all speech for comparison? Second version: Is all speech, beyond basic statements such as, “I am cold,” for comparison? Third variation: Is all speech, beyond or even including basic statements, for comparison?
Consider the existence of the great “buts,” “ands,” “ors,” “rathers,” “therefores,” and “becauses.” Consider my three variations of the question. What else do people talk about: How many sentences, either overt or in your own brain, do not contain one of the words I just listed? How many? How many basic statements are made? (I hate to point it out, but “I am cold” is still a comparison. It doesn’t contain an “and,” or a “but.” Not an “or” in sight; but wait a minute. Whoever says it, is comparing the present state of being cold to a desired state of being warmer.)
Think about it. Is anything ever said that is not for comparison? ANYTHING? If ordinary intelligence did not compare, how could it think? How could people compare were it not for the Dialogue? You could be cold, but you could never say, “I’m cold,” except for the sake of comparison.
Do you want to get double subtle? Why not. Everything looks worse by comparison. That’s it; there is no more. Somebody in the City would say, “That almost makes sense, but compared to what?” No. Everything looks worse by comparison, period.
You couldn’t think were it not for comparison. So anything you think about, you will compare. And everything looks worse by comparison. If you begin to glimpse that, all the possible two-eyed sane questions about, “Compared to what,” get swallowed. When the resistance starts at the end of Act One, do you realize it is what I have just said? Things seem to be going along quite well until one party makes a comparison, and then the whole affair looks worse to that party than it did during the first act. No one sees this, ordinarily, and damn few can even stand to listen to it described. The first act can be a split-second. You look at something: an idea, a person, anything. As soon as you think about it (in the ordinary sense) you have compared it with something, and it immediately looks worse to some degree.
Now, lest you think that anything is amiss, the normal line of progress is fed by all this. There is nothing whatsoever untoward going on. All apparent progress moves along this line: a person thinks about something, they resist it, they criticize it. If it is to go any further, they begin to expand upon their criticism, and then they do what? They begin to improve the original object. Unless it is going to become a dead end, the process goes around a spiral and moves up a notch.
Comparison and criticism turns into a form of expansion, and finally into a form of improvement. You didn’t expect me to point that out, did you? You didn’t expect this either: A man that don’t complain ain’t got nothing constructive to say. Think about it. (Think also about what I have said in regard to a Real Revolutionist not being critical. Think about that on your own time.) Throughout history, men have made statements such as, “Crude criticism accomplishes nothing.” Religions all over the planet have their own variations: “A real wise man does not criticize others.” But I just told you something you didn’t expect to hear. That is, a man (small “m” for men and women) who don’t complain, ain’t got nothing worthwhile to say. Unless the man is critical, his speech will not lead to anything constructive. I don’t care WHO’s talking.
Look at Christianity constantly stating, “Don’t judge your neighbor. Be like Jesus, who loved all the common people and never found fault.” The same is true of Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism and all “isms.” They say that, and hold up their founders for example. But what do most of the remembered stories about Jesus, for example, actually say? He was raising mortal hell with Life. If the stories were all you had to go on, you would not want to be locked up in a closet with someone like him. It was bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch. If you don’t want to think about that, think about Mohammed. With him it was almost non-stop bitching. Of course every now and then he’d say, “You people shouldn’t bitch.” (And he’d go on, “That’s one of the things I hate about humanity — you bitch all the time.”)
The human nervous system can’t see that. To play triple subtle: I have to do the same thing verbally. Except I know what’s going on. I’m pointing all this out, and I have to compare it with something in order to get you to see it. Jesus was probably a decent sort until I started comparing him with something. Everything suffers by comparison. Have you already forgotten that? It doesn’t matter what you say; you can appear to be complementing something and it will still suffer as soon as you compare it.
Let me give you an expansion on what I have said about primary purposes and secondary sub-purposes. Question: When/how does the primary purpose of eating become “a dining experience”? Answer: When the intellect takes any primary-purpose activity to the secondary level. That’s when and how. When does procreation become “love”? When does the need for shelter become “fashion-consciousness”? The primary purpose of clothing is to protect oneself from freezing to death.
Within a secondary activity such as “gourmet dining,” the primary purpose is still served — enough food is taken in to keep the body alive for another day. But the primary purpose has been taken, intellectually, to the secondary level. Do you want more? Remember what I just said about comparison? “Gourmet dining” is based on comparisons of one food to another, one restaurant or chef to another. And comparison makes anything look worse.
The cycle of criticism, resistance, and actual improvement does not ordinarily take place in the life of a single individual. It takes place over a longer span in the overall life of humanity. For your benefit, as a theoretical discussion of how things might be in the City IF they were different, one person might be able to complete the cycle IF things continued long enough. That is, they might actually fulfill what the nervous system has been driven to say all these thousands of years: “live and learn.” (Some smart-aleck might add the punch line, “Yeah, we could live and learn if we lived to be twelve hundred years old.”) It could also happen if the general tempo of Life’s nervous system increased. It was apparently in one lifetime that the use of electricity came to be widespread, but it was not in THE lifetime of a person. One person does not live out the full spiral from criticism to actual improvement. And if that accidentally happens, the person involved is not a willful, knowing participant.
The ordinary workings of the old intellect EQUALS secondary purposes. The intellect itself equates to hobbies. The intellect sustains those activities which keep most people sane and sober enough to stay in the slaughter queue. If you cannot think about something, you can’t make it a hobby. If you could not think about sex, there would be no pornography. No thoughts about food — no restaurants. No thoughts about clothing — no fashion industry.
If you couldn’t think about it, would there be a “you”?
(I started to do one of my dramatic finishes and stop right there.)
Without any extremely rococo thinking, you ought to be able to see that you would not be “you” if you could not THINK about you. (To get a little more rococo: “If you could not think, period.”) Since any thought equates to hobbies, does this give you any sort of chilling hint as to what so-called human individuality amounts to? It’s a secondary use of some primary purpose. Also remember, everything suffers by comparison. Any time you think about you, you suffer from it. Every time people think about themselves, they feel worse about themselves. That’s just a cruder way of putting it. They suffer by comparison.
But, a man that don’t complain ain’t got nothing worthwhile to say. Do you think I should have stopped while we were ahead? Or rather, do you think I should have stopped while you thought YOU were ahead?
Sure, why not.