The Invisible Lines that Define our World

—Of real significance or just a necessity of the mind to sustain the self?
Maria Dimitrova—02/2011
When we assign a symbol to any aspect of experience, we create an invisible line or division in reality between that aspect of experience and the rest of experience. In this way, reality is fragmented by conceptulaization.

"This lie that separates the 'haves' from the 'have-nots' is as old as humanity itself, and it keeps most of us in bondage."

WHICH ARE THE LINES that separate different categories of people? There may be many answers to this question, but one certain thing is they all originate from a symbol, which presence or absence defines appurtenance to a category. The symbols of money separate rich from poor, the symbols of power — rulers and authorities from citizens, symbols of moral values — good people from bad people and experiencing an own mind separates the I, that can experience it, from the others — who cannot. So every symbol draws a line with its existence. There shouldn't be any problem with that unless that symbol is granted a 'special' or 'essential' value and in most cases such value is illusionary. But if disregarded, this illusiveness makes the line appear very real and important and is essential to sustaining the separation. For example, this is why many rich people enjoy feeding their image with grandiose donation campaigns. They are not actually trying to remove the line between them and poor people, but to sustain and concrete it — those who have give to those who have not. This doesn't make the line less visible, but does exactly the opposite, and the illusion becomes clear when we realize that 'deleting' the line presupposes the disappearance of 'the others' — the 'have-nots' in this case, but it works the same in the reverse situation (communism is a good example), and this is not feasible simply because the very category, which initiates such disappearance, cannot exist without its opposite on the other side of the line.

It seems separation is a basic practice of human mind in order to preserve and sustain itself. Fundamental to human existence is the division of life from death — it's a basic instinct for survival. In order to do that the mind needs to describe death through ideas and images. Scientists have proven that the very idea of death causes the human mind to do more work, stimulate it to accomplish things concerned with life. This is why we use every opportunity to create symbols of death from everything which is somehow concerned with it. An example are the images of people who have passed away and studies have shown that we surround ourselves with them not just because of good memory and respect to our beloved, but it is related with this basic instinct of the human mind. The results of the following experiment work in favor of this theory:

Two groups of students have been shown the same selection of images from our everyday life. Only for one of these groups however the word 'death' appeared for a part of the second, not allowing the mind to read it on a conscious level, but as a subliminal message. Afterwards both groups were shown pictures of famous people, who have died, and were allowed to look at each image for a desired amount of time. The scientists measured that time and it turned out that the group, which was 'infested' with the idea of death, was observing the images significantly longer than the other. Psychologists claim that the symbols of death get our mind concerned with the idea that we are mortal and every single one of us is and this engages the mind with what I would call 'fear of inexistence' or simply 'preoccupation'. So it seems the mind is initially programmed to sustain the image of death in order to have a stimulus to work.

The same principle goes with spirituality. Most spiritual people need to feed the image of the 'spiritual ignorant' so they can feel spiritually concerned. Many of them become teachers after some years of practice, believing that symbols of spirituality that they have used or achieved have made them better from other people, not only in this aspect, but also in life as a whole. One example of such symbol is the opening of chakras. The usual spiritual student believes that it will make them a successful individual, no matter if they really understand the concept or not. But both terms 'successful' and 'individual' in fact contradict the very essence of Enlightenment , that which is not only conceptual, and only create more division. So a teacher who is really selfless in their desire to help others should avoid separation based on the lack of some symbol. They really are only symbols — all ideas and concepts regarding the respective aspect of life. They carry their meaning, which differentiates them from other concepts, but it is not essential to life itself and should not divide in a way which makes people 'lesser' by any means and bring suffering.

However, conceptual division is a necessity of our mind in order to perceive the world. But it should only serve cognitive purposes and should not be used to determine people's fates. Despite this we seem to show a constant tendency to exclude people and things, which we believe do not belong to our side. We want to fight them, destroy them, make them disappear or simply ignore them. This leads to constant struggle, because subconsciously we support them, so they sustain the system of categorization we have created. This controversy is a basic brick in human dissatisfaction with life, which in its turn becomes defined by the categorization and the scenario based on it, instead of life itself. OK — one may say — we drop the fiction, but what happens when there still are plenty of people around us pleading and demanding with their own scenarios? The truth is this simple — you do not have to take part in their stories. That doesn't mean you should ignore them — you must be conscious of them in order not to allow being involved. But when you disagree with them — you sustain them, when you fight them — you sustain them. And even worse — you create different stories, opposite stories, which only create more lines. These lines really are significant, but only in a way to show us how rigid have we become in our beliefs.