Our senses are also hostile and averse to the new; and generally, even in the "simplest" processes of sensation, the emotions DOMINATE—such as fear, love, hatred, and the passive emotion of indolence.— As little as a reader nowadays reads all the single words (not to speak of syllables) of a page— he rather takes about five out of every twenty words at random, and "guesses" the probably appropriate sense to them—just as little do we see a tree correctly and completely in respect to its leaves, branches, colour, and shape; we find it so much easier to fancy the chance of a tree. Even in the midst of the most remarkable experiences, we still do just the same; we fabricate the greater part of the experience, and can hardly be made to contemplate any event, EXCEPT as "inventors" thereof. All this goes to prove that from our fundamental nature and from remote ages we have been—ACCUSTOMED TO LYING. Or, to express it more politely and hypocritically, in short, more pleasantly—one is much more of an artist than one is aware of.—In an animated conversation, I often see the face of the person with whom I am speaking so clearly and sharply defined before me, according to the thought he expresses, or which I believe to be evoked in his mind, that the degree of distinctness far exceeds the STRENGTH of my visual faculty—the delicacy of the play of the muscles and of the expression of the eyes MUST therefore be imagined by me. Probably the person put on quite a different expression, or none at all. Nietzsche - (Beyond good and evil p38)
How much of our environment are we actually automatically filling in? How much of this filling in has been conditioned since we have been growing up?
Nietzsche raises a good point here. As is in Nietzsche's nature he directly attacks a problem that a lot of spiritual thought tries to help us escape from. But sometimes having this presentation is more useful.
Recently I have been discussing about the hero’s journey, how one is meant to go on their journey of individuation and break free from societal rules and expectations on their way to realising their true selves.
This idea of integrating in a Jungian sense. Isn’t much different from Buddhists talking about the emptiness of all things. It is realizing how much of the world is just auto filled in by ‘us’ Buddhist thought gives the distinction that ones self is akin to a spectator and that this autofill that is happening in the world is being presented to us as this spectator. If it is true that this autofill of the world around us just comes from that which society positively reinforces (as would seem most likely), that would give us reason to believe that it then goes from a presentation to the spectator to then reinforce the ego. Creating that hellish gnostic loop of reinforcement in a world that we cannot escape from. Perhaps why the gnostics say we are in hell already.
Buddhism is the idea of realising the falsity of your attachments (a likely parallel to this Nietzschean idea of us being “accustomed to lying”)
The Jungian idea of individuation is also quite parallel to escaping from these attachments or accustomization to lying. By hypothesizing a universal unconsciousness, this idea of the world being autofilled and reinforced by the ego happens on a societal level, ergo increasing the reinforcement and dragging us down into a deeper layer of gnostic hell. Nietzsche talks about the reading of micromovements in one persons face and likely getting it wrong. I find small disagreement here. If we carry on with this thinking of societal conditioning it is quite likely that one can read another person quite well. As Jung established the societal reinforcement of this ‘hellish’ nature leaves no room for the individual and this only reinforces the conditioning. One would read another persons facial expressions quite well as one has been conditioned in the same way. Not only are you conditioned to autofill the world around you but the conditioning would also carry out to your expression into the world. Or as jung would propose you would be outing repressions. Is it that much of a leap to believe we are sharing similar societal repressions and thus our shadow selves express us in the same way when we are wearing our personas?
How long do we wear our personas for? For sure we wear them when at work, or out shopping. Anywhere in general public, perhaps just around close friends or family do we share more honest expression not bogged down by societal repression. But in the same fashion are those things we are more ashamed off do we not try harder to hide from those closest to us? In attempt not to ruin those bonds we treasure.
This is why the journey of individuation is often a solitary one, a lonely one. Breaking away from society, finding the emptiness in things or becoming an ubermensch all are attempting to invoke a lot of presence in us. Presence to escape the autofilling of the day that we ‘need’ because we are kept so busy. No time to truly appreciate the tao in all things, or just sit and watch the processes unfold. The only thing we have time for is action.
Artists are what are required to reverse this damage to the individual. Artists of all kinds must seek out that which is repressed in society and throw it up in front of everyone's face. With no regard for how it makes people feel, the only regard is for honest expression. Artists, poets, sculptors, architects and the like must find the gaps in society that are being filled in and expose them to reality. This must be done in a way that brings divinity back into the world, for only something that we find divine, or in the least awe inspiring, can make us pause for long enough to take in the complete moment rather than glance over it and ‘fill in’ the rest.
So if you are an artist it seems you must look to the ancients to find inspiration to cure this modern sickness. Seek out the most mystic of traditions, those who dedicated their lives to nothing but the divine and the awe inspiring, that is the cure that must be brought back into the world.