The Fourth Wall

There has never been anything behind your field of awareness. In other words, your point of view(POV) is always looking forward. Philosophers and movie makers deem this POV as the ‘fourth wall’. Imagine that you were making a movie or a TV show. The set would have three walls to enclose the boundary of the scene, and the camera, along with boom and mic, would be the proverbial fourth wall. We have all seen poorly produced movies where the camera or mic are in the shot. Once the guts of the production are noticed, the suspension of disbelief is ruined. The best dramas are the ones where you are so fully engrossed that your consciousness is unaware of the fiction.

Our every day consciousness is also vested in the fiction of our own personal drama. Sages of antiquity gave this investment a name: Ego. Ego is an interesting thing in that it is part of the fiction that it is so attached to. It’s the inertia of being attached to the drama, in a way. These same sages were considered such because they lived effortlessly from the fourth wall. They were the camera man and boom operator who was never attached to that which was being filmed.

This very eastern point of view can be experimented with. Try to ‘Witness’ behind yourself. Spatially, you can see behind your body with a mirror. You can record what’s behind your body with many types of devices but you can never get behind your POV. This raises a very interesting question that was mirrored by the first quantum physicists. Can we be separate from what we observe?

Who knew that observation and perception could be such philosophical questions. The way this was first proposed to me was in the question: Does the fish know they’re wet? Of course they don’t, because if they were not wet they would cease to exist. Their lives depend on this wetness and it’s constant. I would argue that Human beings are excellent at pointing out what changes but are terrible at recognizing that which doesn’t change. We are conditioned to engage with the polarities of physicality, paying very little attention to the neutral backdrop: the fourth wall of our being. It is our being that is analogous to the little fishies water. Without it, we perish.

What’s remarkable about our being-ness is that it’s independent from our perception. Being is constant, while perception and observation are transitory. Sleep is our body and consciousness’ way of releasing from the identification with the drama. Perception goes on hiatus until our subconscious mind gets it’s turn to purge in the form of dreams. Our awareness gets captivated again until it doesn’t, then the waking state emerges and the whole cycle repeats itself.

This entire perspective hinges on the belief in primacy of consciousness as opposed to the primacy of matter. For a good long while, cultural institutions have been espousing that this material universe began close to 15 Billion years ago out of, You Guessed It, Nothing!!!!!! Wait, all matter came from Nothing? I personally don’t think the Big Bang happened that long ago. Exploring the being-state and its transition into observation is akin to a big bang. Every day, your awareness explodes from being, then recedes back into it if there is too much identification with what is being experienced. If one can remain clean from a lack of identification with experience, the continuity of being becomes ever-present and the non-doership aspect of life is revealed.

Where I live in Costa Rica, my friends say, “Si Dios Quire,” which translates into, “if God wants.” Since their Catholic faith has determined that God is all-powerful, this puts them into a complacent philosophical space of non-doership. This state of being is decidedly more relaxed than my atheistic and agnostic brethren, who are always under an existential dark cloud. Because they feel alone and wholly responsible for their experience, their guilt level funnels them into discontentment. My Daoist and Buddhist friends mirror my neighbors, albeit from different angles, in their absolute relinquishment of responsibility to a Higher Power.

This is when the materialist screams bloody murder in the hopes that the body is given the respect it deserves. Your Body is the culmination of everything the environment has given it. Your thoughts, behaviors, tendencies, and addictions are all greatly influenced by the where and when (the setting) of your consciousness. Location is determined by frequency. On a lesser level, this is seen in one’s musical preferences. You will painfully convulse if you are exposed to music that you hate because your frequencies are discordant. The same could be said for cultural frequencies. If you are an Israeli Jew communing with ISIS, it’s probably going to be a painful encounter.

Quantum computing and epigenetics are two scientific disciplines that get to the crux of this fourth wall proposition. Both validate what makes humans so unique. I look at quantum computing as the mechanical attempt at Being. We humans are naturally endowed with being, and it frequently reveals itself in the form of spontaneous genius. As far as trying to get a computer to be spontaneous, meaning free from it’s programming, well that will be one hell of an accomplishment.

Epigenetics shows that at least 50% of our gene expression is from our environment. We are much more than the template out parents gave us. Both our physicality and mentality are formed by exposure. We are big, highly adaptive copy-cats that take many of our cues from a past that we couldn’t control. Many of our personalities’ sub routines were formed prior to our conscious memory. This is a real kick in the pants to the Free-will argument. If your environment only gives you four options to choose from, are you really free?

The last question, when first posed to me in my idealistic 20’s, infuriated me beyond belief because the answer was apparent and the opposite of what I had believed to that point. Recollecting all those times of being when spontaneous genius would express the illusion of Doership dawned on me. All those athlete’s, soldiers, surgeons, etc who speak of “the zone” are ultimately talking about their egoless excellence. Their Objective Being, their Fourth Wall took over. That’s how they outperformed their ego’s expectation.

What an absolute irony it is that we are rewarded in consciousness for our level of objectivity (fourthwallness). If I was going to try and pigeon hole the experience with a description, it would be akin to ultimate trust. This is when my awareness rests in being, and the play of life is seen for what it is.