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Regulated Consciousness Is Not Consciousness

It is possible to get subsumed within an extraordinarily thin film of consciousness and yet not even to know that this has happened. It’s more than just possible – it is overwhelmingly probable. It always happens. It happens to all of us. It is synonymous with life, even though (strictly speaking) it isn’t life.



It’s misleading – in a way – to talk of a thin ‘film of consciousness’ because there’s no real consciousness there. Our consciousness is so regulated, so restricted, so locked-up in its allotted channels, so ‘predetermined’ that ‘consciousness’ or ‘awareness’ is simply the wrong word to use. Regulated consciousness is not really consciousness.



When our consciousness is completely determined then what is there to be aware of other than the designated objects of our attention? All we know is ‘the Designed World’ and the Designed World is a mere artefact. How can we talk of awareness when all we are ‘aware’ of is what we have been told to be aware of, when everything has been ‘decided in advance’? When everything has been decided in advance then there is no leeway and so how can there be consciousness when consciousness is nothing other than this ‘leeway’? Consciousness is ‘who we are’ and if we are told who to be, or who we are, then we aren’t there – we have been somehow excluded from the picture.



To put this another way, consciousness is simply that state in which our attention is not fixed upon some designated or predetermined object. When our attention is fixated upon some determined or defined object then our attention is determined and defined – it doesn’t get to report back to us about anything other than what it has been told to report back about. It’s a mere mechanical slave, in other words. So what’s happening here is that we are conditioned by what we are attending to, because what we are attending to is a ‘conditioning’ type of a thing. It’s a kind of bully – it’s a bully because it doesn’t give us any leeway. The designed world that our attention is trapped within is defining all the parameters for us, it is defining our reality for us.



The ‘problem’ with this is that the predetermined reality is not reality because reality is never predetermined. Reality is never any sort of determined! Reality is not a structure that we can conform to (or a system we can adapt to), no matter what we might think. Reality is not based on rules and because it isn’t based on rules there are no rules for us to follow! If there are no rules for us to follow then there’s no question of conforming, no question of adapting. Thinking that reality is made up out of rules is getting it backwards because rules come out of reality rather than vice versa…



When our attention is contained within a continuous structure we are never aware of anything other than what we are made to be aware of and so we’re not aware at all. This is a simulation of awareness, not the real thing. We are under the impression that we are aware, we are under the impression that we are conscious, to be sure, but this is simply not the case! How can we possibly be said to be ‘aware’ when we’re not in touch with reality? What sort of ‘awareness’ is it when we’re completely disconnected from what’s real? To somehow abstract awareness away from reality and yet at the same time claim that we’re consciousness is an utterly ridiculous kind of thing – we simply can’t get away with coming out with nonsense such as this! Whatever we are (or might imagine we are) when we are in the conditioned state of being, we’re not conscious…



When we have no connection with reality – or rather, when we’re adapted to some structure that claims to be reality but which isn’t – then there can’t be said to be any consciousness in this situation. It’s no good trying to argue that we’re conscious no matter how well adapted to the determinate (pseudo-) reality we are – we’re only conscious or aware when we’re in touch with the indeterminate reality which enfolds and gives rise to all possible structures, all possible rules. Otherwise, we’ve simply been side-tracked or hoodwinked by a tautology that we can’t see to be a tautology. Otherwise we’ve just gotten ourselves trapped in an endlessly recycling loop of virtual information! Or as we could also say, when we’re adapted to some continuous structure that we mistakenly take to be the same thing as reality we’ve actually ceased to be in reality – we’ve ceased to exist in reality because we’re only ‘existing’ within the terms of a determinate system that – in itself (or of itself) – isn’t actually real. It can’t be real because it has no freedom in it and without freedom (the freedom to be this way or that way) there can be no reality.



When we conform to an unreal system then we ourselves become unreal. What else would we expect? We can’t serve two masters, after all. We can’t have it both ways – either we see what’s going on or we don’t see what’s going on. We can see this in terms of a theatrical performance – either we believe in the theatre, and are convinced by it, or we see through it, in which case there is no theatre. There’s no middle ground here – if we are to trick ourselves then we have to go the whole hog or not at all, we can’t go halfway. Immersion only works as immersion when there are no little details reminding us that what we are immersed in isn’t real; the whole point of immersion is that there are no such details, no such inconsistencies. When we start to spot inconsistencies then this throws everything – on some level or other we know longer believe what we’re supposed to be believing in. Everyone else might still believe in the story, but we can’t…



So when we talk about ‘being subsumed within an extraordinarily thin film of consciousness’ this is what we mean – we mean being unconscious whilst totally believing that we are conscious! And this extraordinarily thin film of consciousness isn’t just ‘thin’, it’s infinitely thin. It’s two-dimensional, which means that it’s not part of the real world at all. It only possesses ‘virtual depth’, which is a kind of a ‘trick of the light’, like a 3-D poster which isn’t really 3-D but just creates that illusion. And the truly incredible thing is that we can spend our entire adult lives living within its remit without ever feeling that there is something seriously amiss with this. We’re so very matter-of-fact about our virtual reality, so unshakably concrete about it. We take it as totally read that this is the way things are supposed to be, the only way things could ever be…



The situation is therefore that there are these two ‘realities’ that are somehow existing side-by-side with each other, even though they both contradict each other, so to speak. One is the everyday reality that we know so well whilst the other is the incomparably vaster reality (which is actually the only reality) which completely and utterly falsifies the taken-for-granted reality which is the only reality we know. The taken-for-granted reality seems so obviously ‘right’, so obviously ‘true’ that we could very easily get angry (or at the very least annoyed) with someone who is silly enough to go around saying that it isn’t. We will have precisely zero time for such people! Such is the power of our immersion in the ‘thin film of consciousness’; as anyone can readily observe, the power of this ‘immersion’ (or ‘immersiveness’) is – as far as we can tell – 100%! What would it take to shake us out of it, after all?



Our impatient and intolerant self-assurance is based on nothing at all however – it has therefore an absurd sort of a quality, a ludicrous sort of quality that we just cannot see. It’s like a man who is ridiculously self-confident and sure of everything he says when everyone else can plainly see that he is a complete laughable idiot, and has no basis at all for his overweening confidence. So in exactly the same way it can be said that our unshakeable conviction that our view of reality is right and true is absurd and ridiculous. If you didn’t happen to be a victim of the same delusion you would fall over laughing at me, just as if I were some sort of clown-figure whose crowd-pulling act essentially involves not seeing how grotesquely foolish I am! If we could see our own two-dimensional nature however the chances are very much that we wouldn’t fall about laughing. Instead of seeing the humour of it all we will be gripped by an unspeakable terror. There would be no humour anywhere in sight because – for the cartoon self which doesn’t know itself to be a cartoon – reality is fear. For the preposterous two-dimensional self perceiving reality is synonymous with terror and the reason for this is precisely because we are identified with the two-dimensional reality; we are very much invested in the 2-D reality not being a 2-D reality! We are very much (which is an understatement) invested in it being the one and only true reality and so – this being the case – how can genuine fully spacious reality not be a terror to us?



This then is what is called ‘unconscious living’ – it is the situation in which we are at all times maximally averse to ever seeing the truth. It is the situation in which our relationship with reality is always on of fear (fear meaning that we don’t want to have any relationship). This doesn’t mean that we go around being afraid all the time, or knowing that we are constantly ‘living in fear of seeing the truth’. On the contrary, we are very often completely confident, or even arrogant, as in the case of the self-deluding man we talked of earlier. We are arrogant precisely because we are in denial of reality – we don’t know that there is such a thing as ‘reality’ and that is why we are so very sure of ourselves! Arrogance (or ‘hubris’) and fear are the two sides of the same thing. We totally believe that our two-dimensional slice of reality is the whole cake and this laughable delusion is where we get our confidence from.



There is a ‘clear and present danger’ and it isn’t international terrorism or the military-industrial complex or immoral blood-sucking profit-seeking multinational corporations or right-wing politicians or even global warming. It’s the danger of getting entirely subsumed within an infinitely thin film of consciousness without ever knowing that anything of the sort has happened to us. It’s the danger of falling – as we all do fall – into the state of profound psychological unconsciousness. It is this ‘unconsciousness’ that gives rise to all of the afore-mentioned evils – unconsciousness is the root cause behind all of this. When we have been subsumed within the 2-D film of consciousness (which isn’t really consciousness because it has no depth) then everything we do and say seems to make perfect sense to us, seems to be perfectly justified to us. But it only seems to make so much sense to us, only seems to be eminently justified to us because we coming out of this infinitely thin film of consciousness, which isn’t really consciousness at all because it’s predetermined, because it’s entirely regulated. Out there – in the real world – our activity is causing utter havoc. We’re generating misery on a global scale. Actually, in reality, we’re completely insane…




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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