The Fourth Wall (FREEPOM)

Cultural, FREEPOM

By JC Collins

Where is the warmness of that lost innocence?

Mother, why did you leave me here amongst the smoking ruins of this place?

This place.

Place.

Space in-between.

Gasp.

The emptiness.

After four days of aptitude testing I was walked into a room with a large desk.  Behind the desk sat a military psychologist who politely greeted me and told me to take a seat.  He reeked of Aqua Velva and cigarettes.

“Thank you for spending the week with us,” he said.

“Your welcome.  It was nice to breathe the fresh mountain air.”

Social Emptiness.

Flicking through a thick document he looked up at me.  After a few seconds I flinched and looked down into my lap while I fiddled my thumbs.

The man coughed and cleared his throat.  “Usually at the end of this process we sit down with the individual and go through their personal analysis.  We explain who they are and what makes them tick.  Then we send them back to whatever organization sent them here and hope that this new self-realization will make them a better employee and more efficient and effective contributor.”

“Okay,” I said.

“But with you I’m going to do something different.  Instead of talking to you I want you to talk to me,” he stated.

“Why?”

Not so empty now.

“Well you see, your brain is unique.”  He sat up straight.  “Most people fall within a very definable average score on these tests.  Most brains function the same way, and patterns repeat and become predictable.  Your brain, or how your brain functions I should say, is extremely rare.  You mind is what we call philosophically abstract.  Less than 0.01% of the population has such a brain.”

“Cool,” I said.

“Very cool indeed.  Outside of IQ, which doesn’t measure full capacity and functionality, having a brain which is philosophically abstract means that you see the world in a completely different way than almost everybody else.  As such, instead of having you listen to me for the next hour, I want you to talk to me.”

“About what?”

“Anything you want,” he said, while crossing his arms and leaning back in the chair.

And I did.

For the next hour I talked and rambled while he sat there listening quietly, never once interrupting me or frowning at something I said.  The non-judgmental attention which he projected was refreshing and made me feel open and expressive.

What I talked about all those years ago has long been forgotten.  But the experience itself has stayed with me. It was the first time in my life I witnessed the collapse of the fourth wall between two individuals.

The fourth wall in film and theatre is the imaginary and transparent wall between the actors and the audience.  On television, sitcoms such as comedies like The Big Bang Theory, never show the fourth wall of Sheldon’s apartment.  We can only ever see three walls, with the fourth wall remaining hidden.  Though its existence is suggested.

The audience observes the action, or simulation of life, through the fourth wall.  This would suggest that the fourth wall could very well be an extension of the audience, or the camera lens which is recording and documenting the simulacra.

Scaling this down even further, the fourth wall serves the purpose of an abstract exchange point between those presenting information and those receiving the information.

The fourth wall can be broken if an actor stares directly into the camera, or addresses the audience through question or song.  Breaking the fourth wall shatters the illusion or simulacra.  This should be avoided unless the purpose of the information exchange is to transition the viewer from a world of make believe to a place of realism.  This can be done for dramatic purposes.

Filling the space in-between.

Outside of film and theatre the fourth wall can also be used to describe social interaction.  Under such an abstract consideration, we become the fourth wall.  The realism of reality devolves into the simulacra.  The fourth wall takes on the responsibility of defining what social norms are and what information is valuable.

We become the audience of one which observes the simulacra. As such, the fourth wall becomes the exchange point between the world and our own presentation.  The bi-directional nature of the wall ensures that the simulacra can be maintained on both ends.

Like all things, there are multiple levels and dynamics.  The fourth wall acts as an illusionary line between a presentation and an audience, an illusionary line between our own personal presentation and the real world, but also acts as a line of division, or protection, between our true inner selves, the observer, and our false outer selves, the presentation or simulacra.

Here amongst the smoking ruins of this place.

Considering we hide the true observer self behind our own fourth wall, it is no wonder we only project our presentation of self through the outer fourth wall and into the simulacra which is collectively created.

Under such a concept, the abstract fourth wall encourages a lack of accountability in our personal interaction with others and the real world. This offers some social flexibility which can be used to redefine positions and evolve information to fit selfish purposes.

Breaking the fourth wall in our social interactions means being accountable and responsible for the real world.  The oxymoron of reality television is the projection of this lack of personal accountability.  Social media is serving as a method by which all can act in the simulacra of their own personal reality show.

The emptiness and space in-between.

It is important to understand that breaking the fourth wall in our personal and social interactions make others extremely uncomfortable.  Everyone wants to interact with the simulacra, or presentation, of others.

Very few of us desire authentic realism.

Those who do break the fourth wall in their personal and social interactions are considered strange and many appear irrational to those who have convinced themselves that the simulacra is real.  These breakers of the fourth wall cannot be understood.

There are multiple fourth walls around us at all times.  Some are obvious and straight forward, such as television shows and news media.  Interestingly enough, the news media on television uses a reverse method of the fourth wall to make symbolic eye contact with the audience for the purpose of manufacturing a sense of realism.

Gasp.

The internet has offered a different and more covert method of utilizing the fourth wall concept.  The abstract nature of information means the internet can create multiple fourth walls which shift and transform as a simulacra response to realism.

The comparison between reality television and internet based social media would strongly suggest this to be the case.

Alternative media sources, most internet based, along with conspiracy based socioeconomic and geopolitical theories on realism, also fall under this abstract concept and dynamic.

We see what we want to see.

Lately some of you have been asking why the thesis and analysis presented here on POM has not received a wider readership amongst the larger sites.  Especially considering how accurate it has proven to be.

To date at least.

This post on the fourth wall would suggest that the alternative media is also serving as a method of the fourth wall concept.  Realism is shunned and the simulacra survives to fight another day.  The disorganized masses continue to drink from the cup of the unreal.

The fourth wall serves the purpose of an abstract exchange point between those presenting information and those receiving the information.

The truth is unpopular and realism makes the matrix uncomfortable.

The transparency of my own fourth wall is apparent.  Letting others observe my inner observer is something which has come relatively easy for me.  Even though it may make some uncomfortable.  Honesty and the openness of self is the only way I see the world progressing from childhood into the great unknowns of tomorrow.

Where is the warmness of that lost innocence?

Mother, why did you leave me here amongst the smoking ruins of this place?

This place.

Place.

Space in-between.

Gasp.

The emptiness.

– JC

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