Mania/ Enlightenment and Depression/Obsession are part of a single continuum—we’ll call it the negative-positive continuum. Freedom/Reality and Reality Shock/Nil are also a continuum—the positive-negative continuum. These will be abbreviated ME/DO and FR/RSN, and the NPC and the PNC.


The arrows signify a cyclical movement. The triangle “pointing” upward on the left side means the cycle moves upward at that point, and on the other side it means it moves down. Therefore the cycle begins BETWEEN FR and DO. Freely depressed, obsessed with reality, the ego begins its voyage. It is a little offput. Recognition of freedom à Depression. No one is making the rules and the world sucks. If the world had rules and sucked, we could be comforted more easily. No rules and sucky world means we are free, but this makes us more depressed. Recognition of depression à Freedom. We are brainwashed to be happy, and supposed to rule out bad feelings. No one likes someone who complains a lot. We want to be strong. We want to be intelligent and capable of responding to our brain and controlling our brain. But when we give that up and just, like, cry and shit, we feel more free because we can tell someone “I am sad,” or whatever it may be without feeling bad about it, like we should feel guilty for not being happy with human civilization or capable of controlling our minds. But this relationship cannot stay in one place. The ego is more than just a FR/DO mediation/tension. It has to keep moving. It first moves DIRECTLY into Freedom/Reality. Pure FR. Once depression is felt, it turns into obsession (the grey text turns into the black text in all quadrants over time). “How do I un-depress myself?” And no answer is found; it is simply that when a person feels FREE to be DEPRESSED, and later OBSESSED with REALITY (“finding” it, “being” it, etc.), that person will find a shift in them because they have identified the first nagging problems of human civilization that no one else has ever discovered—the big secret of the human species that few people ever look for and no one can help anyone else with in finding. But it is important to emphasize that the ego is not responsible for this shift into PURE Freedom and Reality.


All the same, the shift happens. A person exists in real life and is free to behave how they please. This is a simple place, with little drama. It is very fun. Life is very self-explanatory and OK. First the ego focuses on its own freedom, then it turns its attention to “reality,” which is a less loaded term (less self-centered, “freedom” is “my” freedom, reality is for everyone). The problem with this state is that the ego gets bored. It needs more than to freel y live its life in reality. There are no problems there and thus there is no conflict to be resolved, no dragon to slay, no princess to save, no mental monologue of adventure that can make the ego feel alive. Thus it translates its experience of being free and in reality (the BEST possible state, most would agree) into something that COULD be posed as a problem—how do I get REALLY far out? How do I become the BIGGEST and BEST? So instead of being a single, simple, free human being, the ego wants to be “Enlightened.” If the ego was enlightened, it tells itself, it would be even better than it is now. The cause of this is the OBSESSION which is now coming close to being a factor in the ME/DO continuum. The movement between two quadrants is always rather uncomfortable. Now the ego is one half Manic-Enlightened and one half Free and Real. It is unpleasant because the ego doesn’t know what it is grasping for. This is the PURE POSITIVE tension. It is positive because this is a happy time. The ego is still in a good place even when it begins reaching for more. It wants to be enlightened, so it is burdened by this desire. But the desire is an ATTRACTIVE desire (why it’s positive): it is OK with being itself, it just wants to be MORE of itself and BETTER of itself and GREATER than itself so it moves POSITIVELY toward enlightenment.


First it is manic. This is because without a mania one cannot take a good time and turn it into grasping. Mania is caused by the desire to forever resist any resurgence of DEPRESSION and OBSESSION (the continuum relationship begins in earnest) and thus become enlightened, eventually. Mania is caused by fear of depression, obsession with the AVOIDANCE of depression. Mania is the ATTACHMENT to a GOAL. DEPRESSION is ATTACHMENT to PRISON. They have circles because they are both the planes in which the ego PUSHES itself, they are the planes where the ego FINDS SOMETHING IT NEEDS TO GET TO (either away from a negative state or towards a more positive one).


Eventually mania causes the brain to have a great deal of energy charged up and then vanishes into a burst of great insight. Actual enlightenment is more likely to exist where it just came from—in the land of the free and real—but the manic mind seeks an enlightenment that can give it permanence—freedom from depression and obsession forever. It wants to always be the positive side of the ME/DO continuum. Always me, never do. The manic energy leads to a burst of insight. What this insight is we cannot say. Later the ego tells itself it may be enlightened. It is EXTREMELY THRILLED to “receive” this information.


Exhausted from its manic delusions and enlightened insanity, and also finally at peace with itself because it has seen this we-know-not-what that is “Enlightenment,” the ego enters a “Nil” state. Nil is not a state. Nil is not a state. Nil is not a state. Nil is not a mood. Nil is not a nothing and is not found through the negation of other things. Nil is simple. Nil is calm and serene. Nil is the kind of place you could commit suicide, or react spontaneously and intelligently to a very hectic situation like someone robbing you or the cops pulling you over when you have a lot of illegal things in the car. But it is because you feel hollowed out. You are hollow and you are calm. (Note that there is no intermediate step of Mania-Enlightenment mixed with Nil-Reality Shock. This is because both triangles that push the cycle have special properties. The upward-pointing triangle begins the entire movement. It is the SELF-STARTING TRIANGLE. The downward-pointing triangle is powered by mysterious forces of which we cannot discuss. It is the MYSTERY TRIANGLE, and a mystery refuses all ambiguity (precisely because mystery IS ambiguity and so tolerates no vacillation in the appreciation of itself. It is, unambiguously, a FUCKING MYSTERY so you have no time to feel mixed about it. This is the cool part of NIL.)


Nil is a wonderful place but the ego cannot stay there long. The subconscious is always churning and bringing about new pieces of luggage to churn inside the dream world and to manage the productions of thoughts. There can be no TRUE hollowing; only hollowing inside a temporary cycle. The ego will begin to generate new mental content in earnest when some mundane piece of reality occurs that triggers the habitual responses this particular ego is used to—the kinds of things it is conditioned to do “unfreely” and “brainwashed-ly” by society. The ego finds ITS OWN SELF behaving in an UNREAL way, and UNFREE way, and is EXTREMELY ASHAMED of this. The mundane thing is so SHOCKING the ego cannot leave this piece without slow and goopy syrupy deliberation, like molasses. It takes time. Everything seems to slow down. It was once a hollowed nothingness with no attachment or feeling, like a rock. It misses this  place. It is still in this place slightly. It can FEEL itself slipping into Depression/Obsession and somehow THIS FEELING of ONCOMING depression and obsession is MUCH WORSE than actually BEING depressed (being depressed will, when it is in the halfway space between DO and FR, be a source of happiness when it is recognized). No, now the ego has something to LOSE by feeling depressed—it was just recently completely enlightened! It had withdrawn and escaped from all depression and obsession! Thus in the midway zone of PURE NEGATIVITY the ego prepares itself to push itself through depression and obsession as soon as possible (thereby guaranteeing this quadrant often lasts the longest, temporally). This PURE NEGATIVITY leads to a halfway ACCEPTANCE of depression (it is now related to manic-enlightenment in this respect; enlightenment brings acceptance as well). And at this point the ego has entered FULL depression-obsession.


                FIRST it is obsessed (remember: black text happens first, grey text happens next). It is obsessed with the MUNDANE thing that caused REALITY SHOCK. This could be anything in the conditioned, brainwashed universe of daily human interaction. A girl, a fart that someone heard, a time the ego made a fool of itself, a mean word another human told the ego. The ego realizes it is once more vulnerable. It FIXATES on the thing that made it vulnerable in an attempt to ISOLATE this mundane and reality-shocking thing. It MUST ISOLATE it. If it can isolate it, it can convince itself that it is NOT ALWAYS vulnerable and can eventually once more gain enlightenment if it can delete this ONE SINGLE ISOLATED ABBERATION from its usual NIL-state that feeds the ENLIGHTENED state and guarantees constant and unending happiness. This fixation exhausts the ego into losing the obsession but having no happiness leftover as a result. It is then depressed and in prison.


What draws the ego into the SELF-STARTING TRIANGLE after staying in a depressed prison? It is the continuum of FR/RSN. When what is NOT depressed (calmer, more simple, not interested in ENLIGHTENMENT or GREAT STRONG EMOTIONS or GREATNESS or GREAT ADULATION, ie the PNC) is seen as a TOTAL CONTINUUM of both NIL, REALITY SHOCK, FREEDOM and REALITY, the picture is nuanced enough to persuade the ego to begin to feel alive again and enjoy itself. Because its ideals have been shattered due to depression, it does not need to frame this “aliveness” and/or “enjoyment” (scare quotes as big as the sun here) in terms that eventually lead to ENLIGHTENMENT. It will simply take a walk, or watch a good movie, or feel happy for some unknown reason, or do something “productive.”


It realizes it can only escape the cycle of depression by accepting this depression and refusing to believe that it must eliminate the REALITY SHOCK mundanity. It accepts that the mundane reality shock was not an isolated incident but an everyday feature of its existence. It accepts that it is depressed and depression is an everyday (or almost constant) feature of its existence.


Soon it begins to feel  FREE to be depressed. It CAN ACT depressed if it feels it WANTS to be depressed.  Existing in this halfway world, watching the snow fall in the winter and the leaves come in the spring, reading books and drinking coffees, dancing and listening to music, making friends, never fully satisfied but partially immune to the vagaries of self-torture, it continues its existence. But the change, the shift, the movement into PURE FREEDOM/REALITY can never be predicted or forestalled. Soon the ego will again feel itself in the calm and TOTAL HAPPINESS of being free to be real and real to be free, and this “ALL TREBLE, NO BASS” feeling will begin the cycle again.


There is no escape ever until we die or maybe if a railroad shaft goes through our head but we survive and our cycle changes. The black text is GOAL because GOAL-ATTACHMENT happens first in the cycle, and PRISON-ESCAPE happens later.



About vurinstitute

Horatio Somersault is the Director and Regent Chancellor of the VUR Institute, a think tank involving some as-yet-unknown and slightly spooky manipulations of time and interdimensionality. In his spare time Somersault enjoys writing poems and fables. You can read his writings, as well as those of other VUR inhabitants, at Though he lives a wanderer's life, his hometown is a domed biome inside the water core of the moon Europa. You can follow his experiences adapting to the customs of the early 21st century on his Twitter @VURdirector and can email him at vurinstitute at gmail dot com.
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