Jan Cox Talk 0035

Remembering Something Without Thinking About It


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REMEMBERING SOMETHING WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT

Document:  35,  August 12, 1982
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1982     

    If you looked among the various pieces of "self-improvement" literature available in the western world today, you could find traces of a certain idea along the lines of:  "As a man thinks, so he is".  On the surface, it sounds rather direct and simple, and it serves as a basis for much of what passes as self-improvement methods.  To translate a rather popular view, if you're a salesman and you think that you're not going to make the sale, if you're worried that your nose is too big, if you're convinced that people won't like you, then you're going to be a total failure.  But if you buy this book, and take this course, and say to yourself every morning, "I am the greatest salesman in the world, I have a certain animal magnetism, when the lights are just right, I am very attractive, no one can resist my sales pitch, etc....", then by thinking in such a way, you'll become a successful salesman.

     Such ideas sound as if they are the reality behind the idea of, "As a man thinks, then so he is", but that is for children.  Including salesmen.  In other words, it tells you no more about what's going on than you think you already know.  The reality behind, "As a man thinks, so he is", is so simplistic and so beyond the ability of the nervous system to comprehend, that even as I threaten to verbally point to it at this moment, you won't hear it.  But I'll go ahead and say it.  The reality behind it is, "As a man thinks, so he is."  That's how simple it is.  It doesn't matter what a man thinks, the reality is that he takes what he thinks as being him.

     Can you glimpse the fact that whatever you were before you met This Thing is of no consequence whatsoever?  The true conversion for which you hunger is not a lateral process; it is not built upon your existing system, it has nothing to do with your Life-produced system.  This Thing is not involved with converting a member of religious sect "X" to religious cult "Y"; it is not a process of taking someone who says "I am no good" and laterally moving that thought process to the area where he says "I am wonderful. You are wonderful.  The whole world is wonderful."

     What passes for being thought is what passes for being one's self.  What you must see for yourself is that what passes for thought is, in fact, a process.  And you can find a certain way internally to turn your attention upon that process.  You have never done it, because it cannot be mechanically done; it's not in Line-Level-consciousness' bag of tricks to do it, but you can commandeer a piece of your attention to look down into your own nervous system.

     Someone who caught a glimpse of this, who did, for an instant, see this process in operation, made a comment to the effect of "how little there was worthy of thinking about".  When you can look upon your nervous system in operation, you have the blinding opportunity to see that not only is there very little worth thinking about, but there is very little you have ever thought about.  Forget the quality of your thoughts. Quality is irrelevant.  Look at the quantity.  Can you see it's almost non-existent?

     And yet man believes -- though it is perforce an uninvestigated belief -- that the mind is almost limitless.  You have all heard expressions such as, "The limitless mind of man -- the infinite universe of man's imagination".  But it is not limitless.

     Your Line-Level system will argue otherwise, of course.  The mind knows of no limits.  But any of you who feel as though you belong here are back to the question:  Who are you going to listen to -- me or yourself?  You've had all of your life to listen to you, and if you had anything of value to say, you wouldn't be here listening to me.  All you have to do is turn your attention upon this thing which seems to be you; all you have to do is See for yourself what is going on in your own system.  Because I am telling you that until you do, you have no idea what is going on.

     I'm going to physically describe what is going on at the upper end of the Life-produced nervous system. And for your part, you should attempt to withhold any voices within you that want to cry out that this all fits in with whatever you already believe, no matter what you believe.  This Thing, what I say, doesn't mix with your imagination -- with anything you think you already know.  This is not to say that you don't have real interests in Life, whether it's a hobby or your profession.

     This Thing is never in conflict with a real interest, i.e., something that brings you pleasure and a degree of satisfaction.  On the contrary, you should pursue and develop any such interest.  I have, however, pointed out along the way that once you get outside of the limitations of the Line, you may be surprised at how many of these "interests" simply seem to vanish and you've forgotten where you left them.

     I have been drawing out for you, piece by piece, the most direct map available on this planet for people of your time and place.  No matter what you think, what you are dealing with is an absolute Line.  This big, fat, thick line exists, and I keep telling you that you diagram 5can feel it.  I have mentioned it in relationship to a certain unknown circulatory system in man, and you can physically feel it within the brain.  You can feel the culmination of your nervous system at the Line.  Ordinarily, that's where "you" stops; that's where humanity stops.  It is the current limit of humanity's development.

     I have told you truly that the wiring within your nervous system is solidified.  Life has already developed you in every way that it will to develop you.  Life has done its duty by you, and nothing can change what it's done.  And I have told you that there is in those who are attracted to This, a loose wire, a piece of the nervous system which has not been absolutely caught by the Line.  I have told you that it is literally true, and then some.  And I'm going to tell you again.  The loose wire is literally true, and then some.

     But you are not the only people in the world with a loose wire.  There are people in Life who are not completely solidified, other people who, from an ordinary, mechanical viewpoint, are not socially, acceptably stable.  These people usually end up in direct conflict with the prevailing powers, be they the police or the mental health authorities.

     The difference between you and them is that in you, this loose wire is located right at the core of the nervous system.  It is fairly well centered, as opposed to springing off one of the lateral branches.  For the time being, just look at it as a gigantic and fortuitous accident, that within you there is a piece left untouched and it is right at the core of the nervous system.  And you might Neuralize why it has been so often remarked by those who did not understand it:  What a thin line there is between "idiots" and those "blessed by the gods", between "mystics" and those who seem to operate with just one oar in the water. All of this has to do with a certain required stability:  The vast majority, the overwhelming majority of humanity must believe, with no alternative, that "I am I, even with all my complaints, my suffering, with all of my objections to the way my life is run, at least I know one thing:  I am I".  The interests, the cries of each generation may change, but in every time and place, there is an overriding stability, and it is borne of this belief.  Someone seems to be in charge -- a somebody, an institution, the prevailing political party, the prevailing religious form -- and those people involved in those institutions have no loose ends.  They are Life's stabilizing mainstream.  The loose wire is your one opportunity.  All your possibilities are focused on the health of that one wire.  The fact that it has not been completely cauterized, it has not been completely cut by this Line, produces a certain physical possibility within you.  The Line cuts and defines the level of possibilities, the level of knowledge, development -- whatever word you care to use -- in the consciousness of humanity.  And there is a minute but very real space between the end of the loose wire and the cutting line of consciousness where you were supposed to have stopped, where you were supposed to have been once and for all.  There is a little area which can be likened to a vacuum, and in that area the reality of Neuralizing exists.

     There is one slim path of possibilities among an almost infinite number of previously solidified routes. Routes that are stabilized, educated, and activated.  Routes through which your energy habitually courses.  Routes which stop at Line-level, where you are stable.  All the small, little wires of the nervous system that travel up through the brain come to predictable ends.  They all know something, it seems.  But what they know is you.  As soon as the impulse, the information, the impression hits your system, your energy runs its habitual course.  And at the end of the course it comes out as a thought.  As "I think".

     Were it not for this piece of loose wiring, nothing extraordinary would be possible for you.  All that would be possible would be what I call illusionary change.  It is possible to produce a lateral expansion in the brain.  You can add new information, if, that is, the new information fits into your existing pattern of associations.  In other words, it must make sense.  And that's the extent of the change that is possible below the Line.  This Thing, on the extreme other hand, does not make sense laterally.  You just think it does sometimes.

     Once a person gets a glimpse of his nervous system in action, he understands why I told you "everything you know is wrong".  Now that may sound like the ultimate flip statement, but it is not.  It doesn't matter who you are, where you came from, the degree of your education, or your level of sophistication; everything implanted in your nervous system from the Line down is incorrect.  And any attempt to improve this system, to refine it, to re-educate it, to add to it laterally, to give it new information, makes for a good hobby.  But vis-a-vis your attempt to activate yourself above Line-level, it will do you no good at all.

     What ordinarily passes for thought is absolutely limited.  I've described the mind as being a fenced field.  The mind must be educated or it would be a blank entity.  But education is itself the putting up of fences.  The mind has to say "two and two is four", with four being the fence.  If you asked the mind, "what is two plus two", and there were no fence to say "four", the question could find no place to land.  It would float there in an infinite vacuum.  But when you ask the fence, read "mind", "Are you fenced in?", the fence will say "No".  The fence can't see the fence because it is the fence.  The fence would have to be able to get outside of itself to see itself.

     Anything you can think about at Line-level must hit a wall; it must come to a conclusion.  If you can listen quickly enough, it's self-evident -- if your mind came to no conclusions, it would not be operative, even at the ordinary level.  And the conclusions it reaches aren't limited to the academic world of "two times two equals four".  You come to immediate conclusions about everything.  Someone walks up to you and says, "Hello", and instantly you conclude, "Their nose is too big, and they have some funny look in their eyes.  They're going to try and get something from me".  This thing that passes for the mind must immediately come to a continuing, nonstop, series of conclusions.  Otherwise no thought would end and you'd be left wondering what to think because you never could think what you'd thought before.  It would be like firing a pistol into the dark and the bullet lost all relationship to gravity and just went on forever, never falling to earth.

     There is a place wherein you can escape the hold of the Line, where you can discover the reality hidden behind the word Neuralize.  I've given you a working definition of Neuralizing -- it's being able to remember something without thinking about it.  Which, of course, makes no sense to Line-Level-consciousness.  The words may seem to make sense, but they're meaning doesn't fit into your already-activated neural pathways.  Line-level consciousness can't remember something without thinking about it. From the line down you've got to think about it to remember it.

     The physical reality behind 'Neuralizing' lies in your one loose wire.  This one piece is outnumbered, not just by your activated wiring but by the weight of the entire universe -- but it can periodically be activated, and when it is, you experience a variation of my description of shooting off a thought that never lands and never comes back.  But it's a better description to say that you can remember something, you can be aware of something, and not think about it.

     There is a vacuum between the Line, between the end of your ordinary activation and this one piece of loose wiring.  I've given you descriptions of people who momentarily and accidentally experienced an extraordinary state.  What happens to them physically is that this dead space, this vacuum, got a little charge.  That is, they accidentally slipped outside the confining hold of their wiring system.  But I have also pointed out that you, the few involved in This Thing, are not the only people with a loose, uncauterized wire.  Except that everyone else's loose wire is somewhere in the midst of the entanglements forming all the factual, social and general education of Life itself.  Whereas, so far as Life is concerned, you are sane.  But you're crazy right there at the core.  Even though these people can have moments of being above themselves, of being conscious beyond the Life-produced level, it does them no good.  In an objective sense, all that happens is that they go crazier.

     In the attempt not to think about something or someone, that is, to remember it without thinking about it -- you can observe that the past can be affected, if you act fast enough.  You're conscious of a particular person, though you're not thinking about him; and you're conscious of the fact that your nervous system is thinking about him.  I have described it as the tiger behind the door, as the noise in the other room.  When you can find that space wherein everything does not come to an immediate conclusion, you can turn around and see your own nervous system begin to process it's ordained kinds of energy.  You see someone coming and your system gears itself up; you immediately begin to talk about him.  "Here comes another red-haired intellectual.  He reminds me of my dentist, he reminds me of that attorney who cheated me...."  Whatever the internal conversation might be, you're strangling the person.  You're processing the kind of energy that you're normally supposed to process under that particular condition.  It passes unnoticed in ordinary life, but what you're doing is killing that person.  And to someone involved in This Thing, it's the same as stabbing yourself.  But when you cannot think about him, when you begin to affect the immediate past, you see it happening and let it go.  You don't become engaged with your own nervous system prattle.  And you learn how to forgive yourself; you learn what real forgiveness is:  It's changing those previous few seconds.  The mechanical voices within you already hate this person; they've started to talk about him, but you can distance yourself from the words.  You can switch your Hearing; and those voices become nothing more than background noise.

     It's a radio playing in the other room; it's the tiger behind the door.  You hear him scratching, panting; and you know that all you have to do is open the door a little bit and he'll be at your throat.  In a certain sense, he's always there.  But when you create a kind of internal distance, no tiger can get you.  He becomes irrelevant.  Whatever your condition below the Line, it is irrelevant.

     You must create an internal distance from your Life-produced "self", or nothing is possible.  Rather, the only possibility, without this distance, would be some form of lateral, illusionary change.  Which is no change at all.  You must find for yourself that it is possible to distance yourself from all that is below; it is possible to focus your energy and attention toward your loose wire.  And then you must do it, for only one reason:  It is your one possibility of expansion above Line-level.

     Until a man is totally familiar with a place, he cannot leave it.  I've mentioned this before, and I've also made a few comments along these same lines regarding the fact that you cannot study the stars with a microscope.  You can't study biology with a telescope.  And all this relates to the fact that this system cannot conceive of itself.  Consciousness cannot be conscious of itself.  All you have to do is try it. Attempt to study the mind with the mind, and you will see that it comes to naught.  You attempt to look at it and it disappears; when you stop looking it comes back, but by then you have forgotten what you were doing and if someone reminds you to look and you look again, it stops.

     One way to begin to Neuralize this is to consider the workings of a radio.  You have no idea of the splendid and pertinent parallel between a radio and the operation of your nervous system.  A radio can't conceive of itself; it can only hear what issues from its speaker.  And it has no choice but to accept what it hears as being a statement of itself -- what it is, what it thinks, what it does.  It has no conception of the fact that it is not the source of its own statements.  If you tried to question the radio, you would have to question it on the basis of something that has already come through it's speaker.  (Remember the fence.) And if you're so dastardly as to ask, "Why do you contradict yourself; why did you just say something that sounds like it's opposed to what you said yesterday?"   You'll never get a satisfying response.  The best response you'd ever get from Line-Level consciousness would be no better:  "I changed my mind," or "I didn't actually contradict myself, those do fit together....."  The radio cannot conceive of the fact that it is plugged into an outlet; that it is not its own source.  Of course, you can't prove this to the radio by unplugging it, because that would be it's death.  If you unplugged it and said, "Alright, now do you see what I've done?" then you plugged it back in and said, "See?", it would say, "What?".  A radio can only be aware of it's own observable behavior, that is, it can attempt only to watch it's own shadow.  The radio has no knowledge of the fact that what comes out of its speaker comes through an electrical line.  So much for the radio.  Now for you: If you cannot distance yourself from your own speaker, from that which calls your name, thinks your thoughts, feels your feelings, at Line-Level, you will never see the process that is you. Until you make the effort to distance yourself, you'll never know that all your thoughts, all your passions, all your voices can simply be unplugged.

     And everyone thinks that everyone else knows something.  The whole world is in search of a hero -- "There is someone who knows, by golly, but the shame is, he's dead.  Maybe the politicians know, maybe the rabbi, the priest knows...."  The whole world assumes that someone else knows.  Only a few people have no heroes.  Because only a few people can see that no one knows anything.

     Only a few people can see that nobody is nobody.  If you attempt not to think about the person you are dealing with at the moment, if you can get above this system that does the thinking for you, if you can get above the network that holds everything together, you see that this other body is no-body.  And you're in for the surprise of your life.  It's an absolute fact, neither good nor bad nor theoretical.  From this vantage point outside the system you realize that everyone in Life, operates on the basis that there is "a someone in this nervous system", but there is nobody.

     At Line-level, you operate on the basis of absolute and total ignorance of what you are.  Once you see that there is nobody down in the wiring system, you develop a particular form of X-ray vision.  You look upon a person, apparently in the throes of great passion or engaged in deep, deep thought, and you see that there is nobody there.  It's not him doing it.  You see it because you've already seen it in yourself.  It's as if you've been watching a movie all your life and you thought it was real.  But it's a gigantic hoax.  A very necessary and proper hoax, but a hoax nonetheless, because there is no "person" in your nervous system.

     This sounds absolutely unreasonable to Line-Level consciousness.  It can't be true and unreasonable to the system at that level, because it fits with no available knowledge.  Other than the fact that the system can say, "I've heard crackpot ideas before and this is about as crackpot as they come."  At Line-level, it isn't true, and your system has the ultimate proof:  "I know somebody is in here, because somebody is in here right now telling me this can't be true."

     You can stop what appears to be ordinary thought and still operate, to say the very least.  You find that there is a place, a vacuum spot, right close to the center of the nervous system, where you can physically feel yourself pushing against the Line.  You are physically holding and enforcing the electrical energy that keeps awareness alive and focused right at that Line.  That is what you are doing when you attempt, for instance, to be conscious of someone, to deal with him on the basis of his behavior, to watch him, talk to him, carry on business with him, all without thinking about him.  Focusing your energy into that one little area requires your continual, physical attention.  Without such willful effort you will fall back into the grasp of your thoughts; you will be your thoughts while bemoaning your sorry state of affairs.  To do otherwise is both unnatural and unnecessary to support Life at Line-Level.

     Some of you have wondered whether there was anything you could do to increase the amount of energy available for your efforts in This.  It all becomes a question of whether you allow the flow of energy running through your system to proceed unchecked along it's normal course.  There is a certain amount of Life's energy available to everyone, and This is not an attempt to increase your allotment.  Granted, when you are doing something involved with This, such as when for a moment you are able to deal with someone and not think about them, you may suddenly feel as if you've gotten more than your share.  But it is not a matter of producing new energy.  It is a matter of not allowing your energy to proceed along it's ordinary unchecked route.

     When you attempt to withhold judgement, when you attempt not to be hostile in any manner, you are pushing against the Line of consciousness.  But unless you find that vacuum, unless you already have that one piece of loose wiring, then nothing will happen.  Not in the sense of This Thing, anyway.

     The more ordinary a person is, the more stable he is.  Those who are the most captured by Life at Line-Level, those who are running a good race, trying to get somewhere, always planning, always busy, no time to think, no time to worry -- they are the foot soldiers of Life.  They are the ones who seem to have the least problems with Life itself.  And they are outlets for a particular stabilizing energy.  If you consider these people to be one end of the spectrum, then the further you travel along the spectrum of Life you come to those who have these "loose ends".  First you come to those whose loose wires pop out at the sides: The people who end up in the care of the state.  Then a little further along, at the extreme end, you have those whose potential, whose loose wire, sits right at the core.  This is Life's spectrum of stability, from the most stable, i.e., the most ordinary, to the most unstable, i.e., those who are least able to take the prevailing dreams and hobbies of Life as a final statement of reality.

     But there is another level of stability, an internal stability produced by your unnatural efforts here.  Rather than the stability provided by your Life-produced role, it is a stability that comes of the attempt to focus your attention right against the Line and to continually push at it.  You can feel yourself pushing. Anything less than that is no effort.  Anything less than that is your system doing "you".  You can feel the Line that I have drawn running right up through the middle of the spine, right through the middle of the brain.  It is only there, right at the top of that Line, that you can take your attention away from all that would mechanically hold it, and begin to properly Neuralize.  It is only there that you can be conscious of something without thinking about it.  It is only there -- with the exception of actually being above Line-level -- that you begin to approach that which humanity calls love and compassion.  Just holding your energy at this point requires that you step above your Life-fed role.  And when you can stop that energy from being dissipated in a continual judgement and opinion, then you have the extra energy to push above the Line.

     When you begin to See the enormity of this task, you'll realize why I've told you to forget about loving your fellow man.  Just get yourself to the point where you can withhold judgement; where you can be aware of him, can be conscious of him, where you can deal with him and not think about him.  This is not some kind of harsh, unfeeling statement.  It's not that you're dealing with your fellow man as if he were a bug or an insect.  On the contrary:  You allow him the right and freedom to be anything.  It doesn't really help him, because he doesn't know what to do with it.  It may give him a slight breath of air, he may fleetingly feel that for the first time in his life he's not being force fed.  He's not being locked into his position.  There he stands and you're not thinking about him.  You could be a stranger, someone he's never seen before.  But in that instant when you looked upon him and withheld all thought, you showed him the reality of Love and Compassion.

     As long as you continue to live at Line-level, if that is the only part of you listening to me, then all of this is a waste of time.  You will continue to believe in fairy tales, to attempt to do the impossible, to think the impertinent, to feel the unprobable, to dream impossible dreams and fight unbeatable foes.  But I can also point out that if you understood the waste, the unprofitability of dreaming the impossible and fighting the unbeatable, then you could dream impossible dreams and fight unbeatable foes.  They would no longer be impossible or unbeatable; they would simply be irrelevant.

     Someone asked a question about man's ordinary conception of memory, how it seemed to be connected specifically to the past, and whether a man would have a memory without the ordinary sensation of time.  The answer is yes, but his memory would not be him.  Under ordinary conditions, there could be no sensation of, "I am I and I know who I am," without memory.  Memory reminds you of you who are.  This is even known to some extent in the ordinary world.  People who suffer from amnesia have no memory of who they are.  You also see a variation of this when someone suffers a great shock, such as the loss of a loved one.  Such a shock seems to temporarily eradicate personality.  It's as if the person is a blank.  He doesn't recognize his relatives; he may not even remember what happened.  It's as if he's watching a movie that means nothing to him.  If it were possible to take away a man's ordinary memory, his recollection of the past, the man himself -- his sense of himself -- would be erased.  This seems self-evident, but it is not.

     One who has activated his system above the Horizontal Line of consciousness has no past.  But think about it:  How could you have no past?  If you had no past, what would you think about?  How could you suffer, what would you worry about?  Of course, you could say that you would worry about the future.  But you can't, because if you don't have a past in the ordinary sense, then you have no conception of the future.

 Diagram # 005 illustration

Diagram # 005 illustration

     Let me say something about ordinary humor.  There are certain types of nervous systems who are in charge of distributing hostility in the form of apparent humor.  At Line-level, humor is hostility.  An ordinary person cannot engage in hostility free humor.  There's no such thing at the ordinary level.  Real, objective humor requires that a person be freed from the situation, and by that I mean everything involved in the situation.  It requires that the person have no mechanical connection whatsoever with those who are the subject of the humor, or with the situation itself.  In other words, Real humor would be an objective detailing of the difference between man's induced dreams and his real behavior.  Only if you are freed from it all can you engage in humor with no hostility.

     There is something else I want to make clear.  Very simply, there are no such things as "spirits".  There are no angels or dead bodies floating around somewhere.  There are no gods sitting up in the clouds playing with their long white beards.  From the viewpoint of This Thing, such beliefs are total insanity.  Not for any reason you've ever heard, not because I disapprove of it socially, and not because it conflicts with any kind of religion.  But because it's imagination.  It's ordinary.  People who claim that they can talk to dead spirits do not talk to dead spirits. They're talking to themselves, to their own imagination.  They don't know anything, and if you engage yourself with them, you might as well be at home worshipping the picture of a rhinoceros.  I tell you as absolute fact:  There are no spirits.  There is no person inside the nervous systems that surround you every day.  How then do you expect a dead body to suddenly sprout a person -- a spirit?

     The shock of your life awaits you when you are finally struck by the reality of what I've been telling you all this time:  There is no such thing as people.  There is no Fred or Mary inside your body.  But at Line-Level, all of Life tells you otherwise.  And it has become an accepted part of your reality that Fred has a little Fred inside who thinks, plots, and plans.  All you have to do is take a glance down your own system to See otherwise.

     You are doubly deluded to believe in spirits.  People aren't even people when they're alive.  And if you believe in spirits, you're saying that when someone dies, they become a real person.  They become intelligent.  They have wise statements to make.  I want to be sure you understand me clearly: there are no spirits.

     Man's belief in a god vs. a devil, in goodness vs. evil is simply a non-understood reflection of the Three Forces.  The stories are fairy tales.  There is no satan, there are no spirits, none of the gods you imagine exist.  It becomes a question of whether you will continue to play out your ordinary role, whether you will continue to transfer the kinds of ordinary energy that you have always transferred, even while imagining that you're sincerely involved in something extraordinary, or whether you are making the efforts necessary to do the extraordinary.  "Thinking unthinkable thoughts", or "dreaming impossible dreams" will not get you above the Line.  You do not serve This Thing by suffering; follow imaginary pursuits and you will go to your grave no more conscious than the day you were born.  And I'm telling you, you cannot activate your higher circuitry from the grave.

 Diagram # 006 illustration

Diagram # 006 illustration

     The real fun is in the Future/Now, in a crack just to the right of what seems to be now, where the Vertical Line intersects  the Horizontal Line.  The vertical Line interrupts the flow of Life and time along the Horizontal Line; the Vertical Line is right now, and right now, and..... But by the time you are conscious of "now", by the time you react to horizontal life, it is already the past.  It may seem as if someone is talking to you right now, but they're not.  In the time it takes for you to be conscious of them, they've moved just a little bit over in time.  You can't stay where Now is.  If you stay where Now is, it's too late.  If you stay where Now is, time will get you.  But if you can slip into that crack, just ahead of Now, then no one can get to you.  No one can curse you, or scream at you, because it's already the past.  What they say is already over, before they can say it.  It's already dead.  You can't be had.  You can't be found.  But as soon as you fall back into now, then everything will get you.  Every possible attack, every possible emotional seduction, every push and pull of Life itself will always get you, as it should.  And you can't stop to untangle it.  You can't stop to set up camp and defend yourself.  As soon as you set up barricades at the point of now, you're finished.  Which is why, if you're real astute, This Thing is nothing like what you think it should be.