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The Designed World – Part 1

Whenever we enter the designed world, which is the presented world, the world we are supposed to see, then we straightaway cease to exist! If ever there was a ‘big secret’ – something we are not officially supposed to know – then this is it. What bigger secret could there possibly be than this? Saying something like this does not of course make very much sense to us. It makes zero sense, in fact. We can however elaborate further on the statement we have just made and hopefully make its relevance a bit clearer…

 

 

The essential point is that when we enter the designed world, the presented world, the world of images, then we immediately cease to exist but not only do we immediately cease to exist, we also have no way of knowing that we have ceased to exist. The reason why this should be so is quite easy to explain – the thing about the designed or constructed world is that there is nothing in it that is not designed or constructed and so because who we really are is not designed/constructed we cannot be in this world. There is no place for us there; there is no possibility of us existing there. The essence of who we are has been ‘lost in translation’. This is like saying that when we enter a world that has been completely ‘scripted’, completely ‘pre-programmed’, then there is no possibility of us being in that world. Of course there isn’t – there’s no space for us there! There’s no room in the inn!

 

 

We might wonder why there can’t be anything in the designed world other than those elements that have been specifically designed in a way that is ‘in keeping’ with that design. It doesn’t necessarily sound that obvious. One way to think of this is in terms of a tapestry or piece of embroidery – clearly, everything in the tapestry / embroidery has to be woven out of the same material. There can be lots of different types of patterns there, but they’re all woven out of the very same threads. In exactly the same way, everything seen on a TV screen has to be composed of the same finite set of pixels, just as everything that goes on in the processing core of a computer has to be made up of the same binary ON/OFF code. Only digital stuff can be in the digital world…

 

 

Yet another way of putting this is to say that the designed world is essentially a world in which everything has to be deliberately stated before it can be there. If it hasn’t been stated then it can’t be there. If our essential nature happened to be something that could be deliberately stated then we could be in this world, we could be part and parcel of it the same as all the other ‘stated things’, but it isn’t and we can’t. Our essential nature isn’t positive (i.e. capable of being described in a black and white way), it’s negative, it’s unstated and so we cannot exist – as we truly are – in the extrinsic or positive reality which is the designed world. As we have said, the only thing that can be allowed in the extrinsic reality – as a kind of ‘token’ of us – is the positive representation (or image) of us…

 

 

The second detail that we need to address has to do with the way that we have no way of knowing that we have ‘ceased to exist’ when we entered the designed world (which we didn’t know we had entered). This follows naturally from what we have just said about how it is only the ‘positive representation’ of us that is allowed to exist in the designed world – the ‘positive analogue’ of us has strictly limited (to put it mildly) capabilities of understanding and these capabilities do not include knowing that a positive representation is only positive representation! The analogue of who we are (necessarily) cannot understand that it is only an analogue (the analogue world being the ‘be and the end all’ to it). This is a very straightforward principle that we’re talking about here – if we live in a world that is composed entirely of a certain type of ‘fabric’ such that there is nothing in that world that is not made up of it, then there is no way that we can turn around and actually see that ‘all there is in this world is this one particular type of fabric’. We have no way of knowing that there could be anything else; we have absolutely no way of inferring that there could be any other possibility of existence other than the ‘fabricated’ one.

 

 

So – just to repeat this key point – if we (for example) live in a world that is made up of four basic type of pixel then it is simply never going to occur to us that our world is strangely limited in the way that it only ever contains ‘just the four basic pixels arranged in various different combinations’. It’s not just that we are unlikely to see this – we are constitutionally unable to. We’re just not built in the way that would allow us to do this; as ‘positive analogues’ we haven’t the necessary ‘functionality’ for it, so to speak. Logic is always like this; it is as if we are measuring the world with regard to twelve inch ruler – if it doesn’t correspond to the ruler in any way, then we have no way of knowing about it. We cannot question our own basis. We cannot question our own basis because it is this basis that we use to formulate questions in the first place. The judge cannot judge himself because in order to judge he has to take his right to judge absolutely for granted. Rules do not question themselves because if they (hypothetically) did then they would immediately cease to be rules. The ‘basis’ of any logical system always represents the ‘systematic error’ that the system itself cannot see therefore and it is this systematic error, this inbuilt blindness that allows the system to proceed with its operations…

 

 

What we have so far said explains why we cease to exist when we enter the designed world therefore, and it also explains – in the same go – why it is that we don’t know that we have ceased to exist (which, on the face of it, would seem like a rather strange thing). Essentially, we have been ‘downgraded’ into a token version of ourselves (which is the ‘positive representation’) and at the same time our capacity to know what is going on has also been downgraded, so that it becomes functionally impossible for us to have any understanding of the event. As positive representations of ourselves, living in a world which is ‘a positive or inverted representation of a negative reality’), how are we to have the capacity to understand what the true nature of either ourselves or the world actually is? Everything has been turned around – there is no such thing as ‘a negative reality’ any more, that is an incomprehensible notion, there is only ‘the inverted or positive representation of reality’ which by its very nature necessarily excludes any other mode of understanding. The system has transformed us, in a twinkling of an eye (or rather an un-twinkling of an eye), into its own version of us, and its own version of us actually has nothing to do with us! It has to do with the system, not us. As a result of this operation we therefore continue – in what seems like a perfectly seamless way – to be ‘existing as normal’, only we’re not; we only seem to be continuing as normal’ (or what we imagine to be normal) – actually we’re no longer there. Only an illusion is continuing – an illusion that we have identified with, an illusion that we think is us…

 

 

What we have just said has got to be the most astounding bit of information anyone could ever receive. It is the most astounding bit of information anyone could ever receive – there’s nothing that could be more radical than this, no matter how much you might stretch and strain your imagination! This clearly carries rather more significance than all the other bits of pseudo-information we keep getting on our newsfeeds, the only thing is that we aren’t really interested! We aren’t interested because it represents too big a jump, too big a mouthful – we want stuff that is ‘slightly-interesting-but-not-dramatically-challenging’ and for this reason we pass over it in silence and skip to some news story that isn’t going to challenge our basic preconceptions about life (or what we call ‘life’). The bottom line is that we just can’t entertain the suggestion that we have ceased to exist in real terms (which are the only terms that count!) and now only exist in terms of some kind of banal simulation. We can’t believe it because the experience we have of ‘being who we think we are’ (of ‘being the positive representation of ourselves’) is far too compelling. It is immensely compelling – compelling to the extent that any other possibilities are driven right out of our awareness. The hypnotically immersive reality of the simulation is immiscible with unconditioned consciousness just as water is immiscible with oil; even if we do have an experience of what used to be called ‘an altered state of consciousness’ we promptly forget all about it again just as soon as we re-enter the false version of reality. As far as almost all of us are concerned, there seems to be nothing to contradict the unspoken (unspoken because it is far too obvious for anyone to need to go on about) thesis that we really are who we take ourselves to be, that we really are who we seem to ourselves to be. So what we have here is a truly staggering piece of information that is also completely ‘useless’ in the sense that no one is ever going to take the slightest notice of it! This is ‘banned information’ – we won’t be put in prison if we insist on going around talking about it to all and sundry but we will severely damage our credibility!

 

 

 

Once we have entered the designed world and ‘ceased to exist without realizing that we have ceased to exist’ then the confirmation that we are who we take ourselves to be (that we are ‘who we think we are’) is overwhelmingly persuasive. We no longer have the actual capacity to see otherwise, as we have just said. The ‘positive representation’ of who we are now constitutes our unexamined basis for experiencing everything – whatever doesn’t ‘match up to’ this basis simply doesn’t exist as far as we are concerned. Having said this though it also has to be said that the deception isn’t perfect – it’s just that we have a habit of turning a blind eye to any anomalous information that comes our way, anything that doesn’t implicitly confirm the ‘correctness’ of the artificial standpoint which is the positive representation of ourselves. We are very much inclined to ‘tune out’ any anomalies, any contradictions, and what is more, there is tremendous social pressure not to mention anything that might make us seem odd or eccentric in our viewpoint. This is true if we happen to be high-powered scientists trying to get work published, and it is equally true if we are just regular folk chatting casually about this, that and the other around a coffee table. The ‘group mind’ – which we are all ‘paid-up members’ of – has zero tolerance with regard to any revisions of the accepted ‘reality-concept’. The rule here (which is a rule none of us will ever address, even though we all scrupulously adhere to it) is that one should never go against the social consensus as to ‘what constitutes reality’, no matter what that consensus might be. This is actually pretty funny – if there ever was an astonishingly, staggeringly, spectacularly dumb-ass rule, then this is surely it!

 

 

Information that contradicts the rather lame thesis that ‘things are what they seem to be’ is always going to be coming our way because they’re not; the truth is always going to come out in one way or another – this being the implicit nature of truth! Consciousness always exists outside of the boxes that have been allocated for it, the boxes which it is supposed to exist in; it’s just that we are not in touch with that consciousness. Rather than being ‘in touch with it’ we are alienated from it! We’re disconnected from what Aldous Huxley calls ‘mind at large’; the only type of mind we know about it ‘the local mind’, which is consciousness when it is kept firmly in the box that rationality has fashioned for it. We’re disconnected from ‘mind at large’ and yet at the same time we’re not since this ‘non-local consciousness’ is who we really are and nothing can change that. We might have been trained to spend our waking lives in stuffed into mental boxes that aren’t actually real but this doesn’t mean that anomalies won’t occur and when they do occur they unfailingly contradict the (unspoken) thesis that the designed world is the only world that there is. The totalitarian state is never 100% ‘total’ in other words; there will always be ‘rumours’ of reality, so to speak, and it is up to us whether we will take any interest in them or not. Either the anomalies will be welcome or unwelcome, depending upon our disposition.

 

 

There are – we could say – two sorts of anomaly, two sorts of evidence that argue against the super-persuasive illusion or ‘normality’ that we are all subject to. One anomaly is where we spontaneously experience a degree of freedom from the tedious yoke of the thinking mind that leaves us looking around whatever situation it is that we find ourselves in and wondering just what we are doing. This could be called ‘a philosophical moment’. And this isn’t really an ‘experience’ either because all our experiences belong to the ‘experiencer’ which is the self that has been created by thought, the ‘experiencer’ which is the positively defined ‘idea of who we are’. When we perceive a reality which is not part of (or ‘consistent with’) the regular old designed world then this also means that the observer (or experiencer) of the positive reality (which is itself a manifestation of the positive reality) isn’t there to have the experience. As Krishnamurti says, there is no one there to have the experience. This type of break from the defined or regulated reality of the designed world usually appears to be strangely (or frighteningly) ‘unreal’, which is why we almost always ‘edit it out’. What we don’t tend to see, therefore, is that it is the designed world – i.e. the ‘positive reality broadcast – which is unreal, not the ‘gap in the broadcast’. The frightening gap (or discontinuity) in the official twenty-four hour news channel is actually reality itself!

 

 

This type of anomaly, this type of breakdown in ‘normal reality’ is a rare occurrence and when it does happen it is, as we have said, edited out (or re-interpreted) and for this reason it can hardly be said to count as ‘evidence that things are not they are widely said to be’; if anything, they count as evidence of the unreliability of the witness’! There is however another type of anomaly which is – in one way, at least – not so easy to ignore and which, for this reason, may be said to constitute a more visible form of evidence that there is some sort of ‘self-contradiction’ hidden at the heart of our normal everyday reality, a self-contradictoriness that we never spot at all in the usual run of things. This second type of anomaly shows itself in terms of a failure of the illusion of ‘who we think we are’ to remain consistent with how it usually presents itself. Our ‘self-image’ shows itself to have another side, another aspect, in other words, and this ‘other side’ is not at all pleasant in its manifestations. One way of explaining what we are talking about here (which might at this stage tend to sound rather mysterious) is to say that it has to do with us reaching the point at which our normal ‘coping mechanisms’ fail us. It has to do with the point at which we ‘lose it’! This – needless to say – is a fairly frequent occurrence!

 

 

This turns out to be a pretty neat way of pointing ‘a failure in the system’ – even though hardly anyone ever spots it. When everything is going well it is perfectly easy for the self-image (which is as we keep saying, our idea of ourselves) to maintain itself as ‘being what it is supposed to be’. The two-dimensional self-image gets to look exactly like a genuine human being, in other words! This is all very well, but what happens when we ‘stress the situation’; how does the self-image get on with its act when we ‘turn up the heat’? The answer is of course – “Not so well…” The mental image of ourselves, the idea of ourselves, has no capacity to tolerate difficulty; it has no capacity to keep itself ‘looking good’ when it is being stressed. We all know this very well of course – we just don’t put two and two together and see what it adds up to. The reason ‘the idea of who we are’ can’t tolerate difficulty is precisely because it is only an idea, only an image. The self image has no strength, no ability for ‘weight-bearing’ – it is after all not actually real!

 

 

There are two elements to this business of what goes on when the idea (or positive representation) of who we are is subjected to stress – one element is that we no longer manage to look ‘human’ any more, and the other is that we no longer actually behave human. The first point – the ‘loss of apparent humanity’ – is very easy to spot. When I am in a situation which pushes me beyond what I can comfortably cope with it becomes obvious to anyone looking at me that I ‘no longer have any sense of humour’. I am actually totally devoid of any sense of humour, any sense of perspective on the situation; ‘humour’ or ‘perspective’ is actually alien to me at this point – I’ve gone totally flat and as a result I look pretty much like a cardboard cut-out of myself. Not to beat about the bush too much, I actually look quite funny, quite ridiculous! I’ve totally ‘lost it’, as we say. The point that we’re making here is that to lose one’s sense of humour and perspective is to lose what essentially makes us human and so whatever else I might be at this point I’m not really my true self. I’m taking whatever issue it is I’m caught up in far too seriously and as a result I have been reduced in stature. As Robert Anton Wilson says, ‘You are precisely as big as what you live and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you.’ We are as petty as the trivial issues we allow ourselves to get caught up in and if we’re petty (or humourless) then that means that we have forgotten who we really are; we have become ‘less than ourselves’…

 

 

All the above may not sound like the type of ‘anomaly’ that we have been talking about, but it is. When we lose our sense of humour / perspective (as we so very often due during the course of the day, unless we’re saints) what is happening here is that we are – unbeknownst to our selves – ‘handing over responsibility to a mechanical reflex’, and a mechanical reflex is not by any stretch of the imagination the same as a human being! A mechanical reflex is only just that, so of course it doesn’t have any sense of humour. Even to say that we are ‘handing over responsibility’ to the reflex, or that we are ‘identifying’ with it tends to give a rather misleading impression – we are actually being possessed by the mechanical reflex. It is the hand and we are the puppet. Talk of ‘possession’ doesn’t go down very well in this enlightened era of ours but that is by far the best word for it. That is what it actually feels like, if we become aware enough (and curious enough) to notice what is going on with us in our day-to-day lives. Mechanical programmes are running us and we somehow fail to pay attention to the fact. So the reason we can say that when we ‘lose our sense of humour’ – as we do ever so often during the course of the day – this is an anomaly that shows (or would show, if we were taking an interest) that we are not our true selves is because at these times we are not in any way ‘ourselves’, we are ‘a mechanically simulated reflex of ourselves’ that has – if only we could bring ourselves to see it – no redeeming human qualities at all!

 

 

Now the point that we are making here is not we sometimes get taken over by mechanical reflexes of behaviour and thinking (which we all know anyway), it is that our actual nature as a mind-operated mechanical reflex is revealed under stress but remains otherwise cleverly disguised under some kind of superficial ‘veneer’ of humanity. To say that we sometimes operate in the manner of reflexes, with no actual consciousness, is not particularly challenging to the psychologically sophisticated reader, but to say that this is the usual state of affairs, and that our ‘humanness’ is to a large extent no more than a convenient illusion, is. We all like to think that we are decent caring human beings with a sense of humour and perspective about things – this goes without saying! But the proof is in the pudding and what sort of a pudding is it that we have on display all around us? What does the actual pudding say about us, never mind our cosy, self-flattering view on ourselves? Everyone you meet will claim to have a good sense of humour, but how many of us actually do?  The world we see around is most emphatically NOT a world that has been created by decent caring human beings who have a good sense of humour; the world we see around us is a world that has been created and is run by selfish machines with pretty much ZERO sense of humour! There is no way anyone who is not seriously deluded could deny this even for a second – the proof of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ is all around us…

 

 

G.I. Gurdjieff was emphatic on this point – we are not ourselves at all, but rather we play unwitting hosts to all sorts of inhuman reflex-personalities. As James Moore (1999) writes –

 

All men and women, he warns, play host to scores if not hundreds of different parasitic identities, each with its blinkered repertoire of behaviour. A snub, a flattering letter, a no-smoking sign, a slow queue, a come-hither look – and we are strangely altered. We have one personality with subordinates, another with superiors, one with our mother, another with the tax man – each is Caliph for an hour.  One scatters promissory notes which others must redeem: ‘certainly. See you in the morning. Only too delighted.’ One despairing humourless personality may even take an overdose or jump off a cliff – crazily destroying the habitat of all the others. To sum up, our professed citadel of individuality is common as a barber’s chair. Very few men are strong enough to confront this impression emotionally and to work within the compass of its appalling implications.

 

 

There is a sense (it might be said) in which we do partake in our essential humanity – we are allowed to play at being human just as long as it never upsets the apple-cart. We can have the name of being human beings, the name of being ‘truly alive’, just so long as we never put it to the test, just so long as we stay safely within the realm of the theatrical. But the way to see what is really going on (what the real story is) is to scratch a little beneath the surface. We can only claim to be human (or claim to be truly ourselves, as genuinely free agents and not mere puppets) when we are tested. That’s what counts – not how we might appear to ourselves and other when there is no pressure, when we are not under any stress. So all we have to do is take notice when this is the case – when things are getting difficult, when we find ourselves being pushed beyond what our normal coping mechanisms can deal with. What happens then? How do we fare under adverse circumstances, when we are no longer safely ensconced within our ‘comfort zones’? The answer to this question is of course abundantly obvious to anyone who is prepared to be honest about it – when the pressure is on then a different side to us is revealed, our ‘true colours’ are revealed, so to speak. If I was to retain my sense of humour and sense of perspective even when I have been pushed way out of my comfort zone, then this would mean that I ‘genuinely am who I am’, it would mean that I am not just a simulation being run by the system which is allowed to have to illusion of autonomy (just so long as it doesn’t rock any boats). But in order for this to be true – in order for me to have ‘recovered’ myself – something would need to have happened! Something very big would need to have happened – something truly extraordinary. We don’t escape the designed world that easily – just by a whim, so to speak! We don’t ‘regain our lost Being’ just by scratching our bums! We don’t fall out of bed one day and discover that we have ‘come back to ourselves’ – it just doesn’t work that way! We can enter the designed world very easily indeed – nothing could be simpler, in fact – but once we have been translated into the fictional realm of mind-created structures in this way we discover that nothing could be harder than actually finding our way out again…

 

 

 

 

Author: Nick Williams

Nick Williams works and writes in the field of mental health and is particularly interested in non-equilibrium states of consciousness, which are states of mind that cannot be validated by standardized experiments or by reference to any formal theoretical perspective.

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