‘Adapted’ versus ‘Unadapted’

Nick Williams
5 min readDec 8, 2023

There are two ways that we can be in the world, ‘adapted’ or ‘unadapted’. ‘Unadapted’ is when we don’t know what’s going on or how anything works; it’s when we’re total newbies, in other words. It’s all a big mystery and we’re completely at a loss. ‘Adapted’ — on the other hand — is when we aren’t in the least bit mystified and we just ‘get on with it’ (whatever ‘it’ is) without giving the matter a second thought. We are entirely blase about it, we are so blase about the whole business that we don’t even know that we’re being blase. We’re in Unconscious Mode — we’re doing stuff by habit and because the habit, in the course of time, has become ‘the Unquestionable Authority which guides us in all things’ we can no longer see that the structures which habit has created aren’t actually real.

The curious thing about this is that we have no business going around being supremely blase about things in the way we do. We have no business going around being totally and utterly blase the whole time because what we are adapted to isn’t reality but only our own arbitrary way representing it to ourselves. We perfectly adapted to our own symbolic representation of things, and why wouldn’t we? The system we’re adapted to can never ‘turn around and surprise us’ for the simple reason that it was us who created it in the first place…

Being adapted to a manufactured reality necessarily means being ‘closed down’ to the reality we didn’t make, the reality that we had absolutely no hand in creating. We can’t do the two things at the same time — we can’t be blase and yet mystified simultaneously. We can’t be open to the Big Picture which is the unconstructed world and yet be comfortably adapted to the system of representations (or interpretations) that we have been familiar with since birth, the reason for this being that being open to the Big Picture throws a new light on the small picture, such that there’s nothing there to be comfortable about anymore. All the comfort is now gone — every last little bit of it!

When we’re aware of the greater reality which we ourselves haven’t created then the sense of comfort or security we were experiencing in relation to the little picture (which we invented ourselves) will be lost because if we can see the Big Picture then this means that there’s no comfort to be had out of the little picture anymore! The reason we were feeling secure is precisely because we thought that the reality we were adapted to was ‘all that there is’; the set-up that we are adapted to contains no ‘ontological challenge’, after all — it is perfectly understandable, perfectly straightforward, perfectly as we would expect it to be, and so not in the least bit mysterious.

This business of ‘going around the place feeling ‘ontologically secure’ purely because of our adaptation to some manufactured reality (or because we’ve jumped to the conclusion that ‘the way we have of representing the world to ourselves is the same thing as what’s been represented’) is a thoroughly bizarre kind of situation. We’re all going around in this very ‘matter of fact’ way with the sort of attitude that essentially indicates that we are deeply familiar with this phenomenon called ‘existence’, which means that in our lives we are merely ‘going through the motions,’ so to speak — we’re simply ‘following the instructions’ . We’re following the guidance that we find in the map, but it’s a ‘map’ that doesn’t actually relate to anything. There is absolutely no justification for us being so ridiculously casual in this way (in a universe we know nothing about), and yet this is an absurdity we are guaranteed never to spot. We couldn’t be blasé if we saw that our ‘being blasé’ was actually the height of absurdity!

It’s not as if we’re culpable for being so oblivious to this Great Absurdity, of course, that’s simply ‘the way it goes’. That’s perfectly normal — that’s the default setting, that’s just the thing that always happens to us when we’re adapted to the Designed World (which is ‘the world that has been created by our thoughts’). It’s not as if there’s some supreme moral imperative either, an imperative saying that we should focus on our own unconsciousness, and quickly spot it for what it is. That would be like saying that when someone tells a joke we are under a moral obligation to ‘get it’; that would be ridiculous — it’s a joke and if we get it we get it, and if we don’t we don’t. We can’t be under pressure to get the joke (or see the funny side of things) because that insight doesn’t happen as a result of pressure. We don’t get the joke because that is the ‘right’ or ‘correct’ thing to do, or because ‘this is what is expected of us’, because this isn’t in the least bit funny! When we try to ‘get the joke’ because we think we ought to then this is an entirely humourless thing — it’s ‘an absurd act that we can’t see to be absurd’…

When we try to get the joke what we’re really doing is ‘perpetuating our serious frame of mind’ (because trying is always serious); we’re preserving our serious frame of mind for all the world as if this seriousness is worth being preserved, as if it were too precious or too useful to let go of, and in the same way were we to try to ‘notice our own unconsciousness’, then we would simply be ‘reinforcing our unconscious state of mind’. There is this Invisible Machine that we call ‘the Thinking Mind’, and trying (of whatever sort, or with regard to whatever goal) equals ‘utilizing that invisible machine’; what is incongruous here therefore is that we are proceeding on the basis that we can spot our unconsciousness (which is ‘the state of being that comes about as a result of letting the machine run our lives’) by utilising that very same machine (only we’re flooring the accelerator pedal this time). No one sees a joke for a reason, no one becomes aware for a reason, because anything that happens as a result of ‘a reason’ is always trivial, is always ‘merely mechanical’. It’s ‘the same old ding-dong’ only it’s going by a different name.

‘Trying harder’ isn’t the thing here — although we are told in all sides that it is — the interesting thing is not what happens when we try harder but what happens when we let go. Just as long as we remain in Machine Mode (which is to say, just as long as we only do stuff when we have a reason for doing it) then we will never see the Big Picture, we will never see Reality. Instead, we will be endlessly and continuously wrapped up in our own futile ‘doings’. If we can’t let go of our thought and ideas about life, then we will remain entirely immersed in the small picture, which — if only we could see it — has absolutely nothing to do with ‘life’ or ‘reality’ (or with anything else either)…

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