Gambling, Suicide and Doppelgängers

Gambling, Suicide and Doppelgängers

Gambling is very immediately a process of establishing an aspirational and a deficient self. The aspirational self of the gambler overlaps completely with the gambling-selves of the other parties. Only one party walks away having achieved the aspirational self. This refers back to the logic of the doppelgänger.

The gambler, by virtue or by vice of his aspirational self, demands perfect reflexivity with his gambling-self. Where the doppelgänger is a self, a master self encompassing the whole of the self without perfect self-reflexivity, the stakes are life and death.

The overlapping, mutual space of the gambling-self can be represented quite easily with a venn diagram. The overlapping is the stake of the gambling-self. Where the money gamble is a slight overlapping, the status gamble of “deep” play a significant overlapping – a “deep” overlapping, intrusion of one sphere into another – and the life gamble of war a total overlapping. The doppelgänger is, as we will see, a total overlapping.

In the end, the winning circle takes a bite out of the losing circles in the process of achieving its aspirational self. The waveform collapsed into pure lack – the bite – and pure being – the congealing, the consumption, the achievement.

Where the gambler risks a piece of himself – the gambling-self – in a process of collapsing the difference between his deficient self and his aspirational self – towards on or the other – the self and the self of the doppelgänger compete over total stakes – the whole of the self. Because neither is the ‘true’ self, and both aspire to be the ‘true’ self. The achievement of the aspirational self by the one – pure self, ‘true’ self – necessitates the annihilation of the other – pure void, pure lack, Death – “I am the untrue self. I don’t exist”.

This is the same cause as suicide, and doppelgänger stories are in a sense tales of a suicide, the murder of self by self. It’s just in doppelgänger stories you’ve got one to spare. With the suicide and the doppelgänger, the aspirational self has strayed too far from the deficient self – the deficient self is consumed entirely by lack, and is driven toward death – “I am the untrue self. I don’t deserve to exist.”

Thoreau’s Love and the Self

The aspirational self should only exist so long as it’s dragging us up, and so long as the gap between ourselves and the aspirational self – that is to say, the deficient self – is nonexistent. That is, that the aspirational self is fulfilled in the instant of its creation.

This then is the most perfect expression of Thoreau’s ‘Love’, as a means to the nondual. The aspirational self may exist so long as it is indistinguishable from the master self.

The Doppelgänger and Victor Turner’s ‘Social Drama’

I’ve remembered one circumstance in fiction in which both the ‘original’ and the doppelgänger are allowed to go on existing – when there is an irreparable schism between the two, when one is transformed beyond recognition with the other.

And of course we can draw parallels here with the final stage of Victor Turner’s ‘Social Drama’, the point at which one of the two outcomes will occur: Irreparable schism or reintegration into the whole.

Now given I’ve just covered the process of irreparable schism, the process of reintegration considered in the context of the doppelgänger and the two selves – aspirational and deficient – is especially interesting, and shines light on both processes.

Firstly, the reintegration into the whole is identical to the annihilation of the elements of the breach, and vice-versa. Killing the doppelgänger injects ‘realness’, ‘wholeness’, and ‘trueness’ into the survivor of the pair, as if the stolen half-essence resulting from the initial division between the two were poured back into one vessel.

Simultaneously, consider a process whereby the doppelgänger is absorbed by its other half. Absorption is murder, murder is absorption. What matters is that one half ceases to exist independent of the other. The outcome is the same.

This is also the logic of nondual processes – the realisation that there was only ever one of the pair, that only one was ever real. The nondual is not an essence, but a process. The nondual is not the indivisible, but the undivided. That is to say, it’s only “the Indivisible” until we decide to divide it. It’s not an essence which flits in and out of being, it’s a process – but it is fleeting. The indivisible is timeless until it’s not, but when it is, it is. More explicitly, timelessness is a process, and that something is timeless is no reason why it should never collapse into time, and vice versa.

Addendum to the Sections on Selves

Consider the venn-diagram-selves of the gambler and the doppelgänger. We can make another rule – no sphere may exist unless it is overlapping with another sphere. There is no difference between total overlap and zero overlap – both are nondual, total overlap is the reintegration and zero overlap is the schism. If there are two circles, one must be destroyed.
Consider a self in two parts – the divided self, aspirational and deficient. There is either a total overlap – the achievement of the aspirational self, the reconciliation of the aspirational with the deficient, reintegration – or there is a schism. In the case of a schism, there are two outcomes – the aspirational self is destroyed and the nondual is achieved, or the deficient self is destroyed and you cease to exist.
There are two more things – the first is that the process of the divided self may encompass any portion of the agglomerate selves of which we are composed. In the case of a schism destroying the deficient self, suicide would only occur in the case of an all-consuming cleavage of the self. Otherwise, it’s just a little death – embarrassment, self-harm, loss of assets. As I’ve mentioned, we don’t have, we are. When we no longer have, we no longer are. What we hold onto is the self, and the self is what we hold onto. I don’t have, I am.
Lastly, I notice that whenever I use the term “deficient self” I could just as easily use the term “current self”. They are the same. They are both what I amam not – the aspirational self is what I could be.


I remember when I had my HSC trial exams I hadn’t studied for English at all and I was overcome with a perfect sense of loving calm because I knew I didn’t have to expect anything of my self and I could experiment.

This is the theme I’m exploring in a short play I’ve written about a struggle between identical twins, occurring inside a womb. The struggle is over which twin will be absorbed by the other, as in Vanishing Twin Syndrome. The struggle is not only bodily but psychical, a matter of dominance and submission. This raises an interesting point in regards to the distance between deficient selves and aspirational selves – where some collapse themselves – the deficient – towards the aspirational, others collapse the aspirational toward the deficient, or render the deficient aspirational. There is an ecstasy in living down to your expectations, in degrading yourself.

There are only two actions possible:

Solve et Coagula

Schism and Integrate

Divide and Unite

0 = +1 -1 = 0 = -1 +1 = 0

Diagram of the Split Being

+1 – Aspirational Self

-1 – Deficient Self

0 – Nondual Self, unified self

Addendum 2 – 3 Pages

Addendum Page 1 JPG Addendum Page 2 JPG Addendum Page 3 JPG


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