“Since we all create our habitual reality-tunnels, either consciously and intelligently or unconsciously and mechanically, I prefer to create for each hour the happiest, funniest, and most romantic reality-tunnel consistent with the signals my brain apprehends. I feel sorry for people who persistently organize experience into sad, dreary and hopeless reality-tunnels, and try to show them how to break the bad habit, but I don’t feel any masochistic duty to share their misery.”
— Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger I
1/ It is profoundly difficult to live in a reality-tunnel that is significantly different from the reality-tunnels of those with whom you spend most of your time. People, seeking comfort/validation, will always unconsciously try to draw you into their reality-tunnels.
2/ This is why it’s utterly difficult to break out of one’s inherited cultural operating system: It’s being enacted by everyone around you, all the time, creating enormous gravity drawing you into its consensus reality-tunnel. This is the original indoctrination.
3/ This is why the most important thing to do, if you wish to transcend your inherited operating system, is get far away from everyone and everything you were born into, for a substantial period of time. Ideally move to a foreign country, though isolation can also work. Key reasons you may want to do this:
- Every inherited cultural operating system has many blindspots and is limiting and dysfunctional in myriad ways.
- Becoming aware of, questioning, and rewriting the fundamental (unconscious) programming of your inherited operating system will open up vastly more possibilities for your life, allowing you to tap into dormant capacities within yourself and do things you wouldn’t have dreamt were possible.
4/ Even if you break out of your inherited operating system, though, this principle will forever operate: The people with whom you surround yourself will almost invariably try to pull you into their reality-tunnels.
In deep solitude you can discover/forge/cultivate your own foundational frame/reality-tunnel/energy—that from which you wish to operate.
But beware: As soon as you re-enter the social realm, virtually every person will (unconsciously) attempt to divert/alter this foundation.
5/ This is why it is tremendously valuable to ‘find the others‘ and befriend veritable magicians, philosophers, sages, Jedis—individuals with reality-tunnels worth taste-testing. There’s wisdom in the idea that you become the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.
No matter how marvelous your constellation of friends becomes, though, periods of deep solitude are still indispensable for ensuring a real connection with your own pure inner vision—the reality-tunnel only you can bring into the world.
6/ Rilke wrote, “… I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”
On one hand, everyone knows secret things, if you ask the right questions and listen closely. On the other, you might think of ‘those who know secret things’ as signifying those people who consciously assist you in blossoming further. After a certain point this latter category will comprise a small minority of earthlings; most people will unconsciously try to stifle you to reinforce their illusions.
7/ At the same time, with awareness every interaction and every person can be a chance to learn and practice. Paradoxically, when you begin to see that every situation is a mirror, all of life becomes your teacher.
It’s forever grand to maintain deep bonds with one’s family / old friends / long-term loved ones, connecting via memories and universal human things even while your world is expanding massively. This passage from Rilke’s timeless Letters to a Young Poet comes to mind:
“… but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance…” … Gah, I love you, Rilke.
To supplement Rilke’s perspective, it can also be beautiful to observe how your own internal transformation may occasion similar transformations in your close loved ones. It’s also worth mentioning that the people we’ve known the longest are often the most clarifying mirrors: “If you think you’re enlightened go spend a week with your family,” as Ram Dass put it. My families—both the one I inherited and the one I choose for myself—will always be the most important thing in the world to me, and it is of primary importance to me to spend substantial time with them.
8/ As time goes on, though, if you want to keep peeling back the layers and progressing along the upward-spiraling track to ever more wondrous realities, it becomes crucial to spend plenty of time alone and/or with others who ‘know secret things,’ else you’ll begin to stagnate.
9/ This, at least, has been my experience. And these realizations are all connected to what has been one the most important realizations of the last year for me: I must exercise razor-sharp intentionality in determining where I live / my living space / who I spend time with / what (media) I pay attention to / the awareness I carry into social contexts. We design our environments, then our environments design us back. Optimize your (social) environment for the values you wish to embody, spend a lot of time alone, “find the others,” view every person and situation as a mirror, love generously, and you’ll be well on your way to cultivating an increasingly glorious and liberating reality-tunnel.
10/ Addendum: I first wrote this article as a series of tweets ~3.5 months ago. In this version I’ve expanded on the original thought-stream to add more on the importance spending time with family and friends, regardless of whether they ‘know secret things’ and consciously assist in your process of personal evolution. Sharing precious time with those you love most is simply invaluable, and it’s possible to learn and practice with anyone when you begin to view all people as mirrors. Alone time, conscious environment design, and befriending those who ‘know secret things’ are, however, perennially worthwhile for expanding/clarifying your fundamental vision and cultivating a more enchanted, original, and freeing reality-tunnel.
“The only sensible goal, then is to try to build a reality-tunnel for next week that is bigger, funnier, sexier, more optimistic and generally less boring than any previous reality-tunnel. And once you have built that bigger, funnier, happier universe of thought, build a bigger and better one, for next month.”
— Robert Anton Wilson, Prometheus Rising