Who is the thief? What does he rob? Who does he rob it from? These are all questions that we fail to see any significance in. These are all questions we don’t ask. We fail to see the significance of these questions because we have already been robbed. We have been robbed of the wits we would have needed to see that we have been robbed.
We have been robbed blind. We have been robbed witless. We neither saw the thief coming, nor did we see him get away! We no longer have the wits to see that any crime has been committed. We have been robbed of something we do not miss, something we are no longer capable of missing. We carry on regardless; we carry on just as if nothing had happened.
This is no ordinary thief we are talking about here. He uses a particular manoeuvre in order to cover his tracks. The way that he works is that he replaces what he has stolen with a dud copy, and not only does he replace what he has stolen with a dud, he also places his victim under a spell so that they cannot tell that they have been duped. Or perhaps it could be said that the dud copy, the worthless duplicate possesses some sort of a dark power of enchantment that acts on us so that it appears to be what it is not. We fall into a dream and in the dream it seems to us that we are awake…
What the thief robs, then, is our awareness. We lose our awareness but we don’t know it because we have something else instead. We have something in place of it. What we have instead is ‘a mechanical version of awareness’ – a version of awareness that is governed entirely by rules. What we’re talking about here is of course the thinking mind, which proceeds in an entirely mechanical fashion. Or as we could also say, ‘which proceeds in an entirely logical fashion’.
Such is our outlook that we take this to be a good thing. To be logical is to be accurate and precise whilst illogical thinking is of course thinking that is defective and unreliable. What we fail to see however – in our unreserved adulation of all things logical – is that the world we live in is not at all logical. Reality itself is not logical – reality is not based on rules.
If reality was based on rules then there could be no such thing as reality. Reality simply wouldn’t exist, in this case! Nothing new, nothing surprising can ever occur as a result of following rules. Nothing can happen as a result of a following a rule other than whatever was in the rule in the first place. So if reality was in the rule then reality could come about as a result of the rule, as an output of the rule, but the thing about this is that there is no reality in the rule in the first place. Rules come of reality and not vice versa. We can’t put the cart in front of the horse…
Reality is far too broad to be contained within a rule, which is by its very nature always very narrow. There’s nothing narrower than a rule and there’s nothing broader then reality! A rule is after all exclusive – it operates (as everyone knows) on the principle of exclusion (i.e. on the principle of either / or) whereas reality (which we can relate to the Universal Set in set theory) is all-inclusive. It doesn’t exclude anything. There’s nothing that reality excludes, whilst the only thing the rule includes is itself.
If we think about this in terms of the Universal Set versus all the various defined sets that might be abstracted from it we can say – without any fear at all of any meaningful contradiction – that whilst we can produce as many defined sets as we please from the Universal Set, this is very clearly not going to work the other way around. This is important to see because it means that whilst we can use logic to describe a world that is made of logic, we cannot use logic (or rules) to describe or explain a world that is in its essence a-logical.
This brings us back to the question of the thief. We are now in a position to talk about the thief and his manoeuvre and make it rather more understandable to us. The substitute for awareness is as we have said the rule-based mind and the reason we cannot see that anything has happened is because the thinking mind can never see beyond itself. The rational mind can never acknowledge or register anything that does not correspond to its categories and the actual nature of reality (it not having any defined character) doesn’t correspond to any possible category that we could come up with. Reality is qualitative rather than quantitative and this means that it can’t be caught in a net of logic.
Another way of thinking about the ‘invisible substitution’ that has taken place is to say that reality (which is in its nature unconditioned or unformatted) has been replaced by a rule-based model of reality, a simulation of reality. As Jean Baudrillard says, the signifier replaces the signified, the map replaces the territory. When the model replaces the reality, and does not admit that it is doing so, then this constitutes a perfect trap. When the mind simulates the world in terms of its own categories (in terms of its own cognitive pixels) in such a way that the simulation contains no hint, no sign, no indication of the fact that it is a simulation then this is a perfect trap. Information has been discarded or dumped, and no mention is ever made of this. No records have been kept regarding the dumping of the information and so there is no way for us to know that this has happened. When information is irreversibly lost therefore, then this constitutes a perfect trap.
When we operate on the basis of the rational mind then we cannot see beyond the simulation, we cannot see beyond the constructs of that same mind. Rules are a substitute for consciousness, they don’t lead us to it!The thinking mind sees everything in terms of itself, so of course it cannot ever see beyond itself! The corollary of this is that we cannot see that the simulation is a simulation, we cannot see that the construct of the thinking mind are only constructs. Here lies the trap, as we keep saying. There is a further consequence to this however – when we look out at the world via the tool of the rational-conceptual mind and related to the mind’s simulation of the world (its model of the world) as if it were not a simulation, as if it were not a mind-created model, then we have entered into a closed loop of logic. We have entered into a tautological loop that we cannot see to be a tautological loop. Tautologies seem to be really saying something, but they aren’t. In the same way, when we’re caught up in a world that is made up of a closed loop of logic, this world seems to be real, but it isn’t. It’s a phantom – it’s the mere appearance of reality without the substance. This is why we can say that the substitute is a ‘dud copy’ – it’s a dud copy because it isn’t real. Its ‘worthless’ because it isn’t real.
Another way of getting at this is to say that awareness can only exist in relation to reality. The two are inseparable! They are part of the very same deal. If our awareness exists in relation to a false reality, a simulation rather than the original article, then it is a ‘surrogate’ for awareness, an ‘analogue’ of awareness. But the thing about this is that there are no surrogates for awareness! There is no analogue of consciousness! There can’t be an ‘analogue for awareness’ anymore than there can be ‘an analogue for reality‘! No such thing exists. Neither the mind-created self which exists in the simulation nor the simulation which this self mistakenly imagines to be reality exists. It’s all just a closed loop of illusion…
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.