Others ~ Selected Correspondence
ALAN: I was reading a bit of Richard’s Journal today, which got me pondering. The following was particularly relevant:
Reading this and considering its meaning, I suddenly ‘got’ that beliefs and emotions ARE actually responsible for all the suffering on earth, excluding of course the effects of physical disasters, like earthquakes, avalanches, floods etc. But, everything else, every ounce of sorrow, every grain of malice, are all down to ‘me’. Seeing this for the fact that it is, was so staggering, of such enormity, as to be, almost literally, ‘mind blowing’ – or perhaps ‘self’ blowing would be a more apt expression.
Following on from this realization, I considered that, if all ‘I’ am is my feelings and beliefs, then ‘I’ must be responsible for all the sorrow and misery which exists. How many times have I seen Richard (and others – and I have even written it myself) write that it is ‘me’ who is responsible for all the wars and fights and rapes and child abuse and domestic violence and suicides. I understood this intellectually and agreed with it – as I have previously said there is a huge difference between understanding something and ‘getting’ it. And so the heart palpitations start, pain in the right temple and as I delve further, I see that, if ‘I’ am responsible for all of these things then ‘I’ actually am all that is standing in the way of peace on earth. The heart beating as though it is about to explode and a clammy skin are symptoms of the stark terror ‘I’ am starting to experience. Then the dread, not experienced for many months – ‘who am I? nothing is real; am I making all this up? I don’t want to die; this is all an illusion created by ‘me’ etc. etc.10.3.1999
ALAN: ‘I suddenly ‘got’ that beliefs and emotions ARE actually responsible for all the suffering on earth, excluding of course the effects of physical disasters, like earthquakes, avalanches, floods etc. But, everything else, every ounce of sorrow, every grain of malice, are all down to ‘me’.’
RESPONDENT No. 4: I think even your excluding effects of physical disasters is not necessary because suffering per se is not an actual phenomenon. Suffering happens to ‘me’, and anything which happens to ‘me’ is not actual.
ALAN: Let’s not get into a philosophical debate about this – I agree that ‘suffering’ is not actual.
RESPONDENT No. 4: This is my intellectual understanding. I have been pondering on this issue of what is fact and what is belief. I understand that ‘I’ is not a fact. I also understand that the moment just passed by is no more a fact.
The moment to come by is not yet fact. So the only fact is this very moment. I sometimes, for a second, come very close to ‘getting/experiencing’ these facts. But otherwise it remains an intellectual understanding. I use to think that once you ‘get’ these things, it can no more go back to plain intellectual understanding. But this seems to be happening with me. What is your experience on this ?
ALAN: Good question. Vineeto put it well when she said it was like the rungs of a ladder disappearing, as one climbs up. My own experience is that if one ‘gets’ a fact, there is no going back – the belief has disappeared, gone, finished, done with, ceased to exist, it is no more – it is an ex-belief (or was it dead as a parrot?)
Your understanding that ‘I’ am not a fact was something I commented on ‘getting’ in my last post. Like you, I agreed and ‘understood’ that ‘I’ am not a fact – ‘I’ am a belief – and ‘I’ fervently believe in ‘myself’. But, getting this fact is a bit like going straight for the 64,000 dollar question – maybe you have some ‘easier’ beliefs you could work on first? Not that I would wish to dissuade anyone from jumping straight in – the ‘boots and all’ approach, as Richard calls it. It is just that, from my recent experience, this is such a whammer, so earth shattering a realisation, that it is probably the equivalent of a novice climber deciding his first climb is to be Mount Everest!
You mentioned writing down what was happening. I found this of incredible benefit and it will be even more so if you decide to post it to this list – ‘I’ can get in quite a funk when ‘I’ realise ‘I’ will not get away with any of ‘my’ usual crap here.
Once you ‘get’ something, it is so blindingly obvious, so glaringly simple, so obviously so, that one feels almost foolish that one could have believed it up until now. And it then becomes just a vague recollection that one previously felt like this.
Take ‘my’ previous belief that there was a mummy or a daddy, or a Big Mummy or Big Daddy, who was watching over one, somehow going to put everything right in the end. I know I used to feel like that but I am no longer able to remember the feeling – I know that I am on my own in this, it is up to me and me alone to sort myself out. Because of this realisation, I also know that I can do nothing to change another – it is their life and entirely up to them how wisely or foolishly they live it. This frees me to live my life as I choose and allows the other to choose how to live their life. This does not mean I do not consider that I can have an effect on others – but there is no affective demands which I put on them. Writing this post may have an effect on No. 4 or another reading it – but I have no feelings about whether it does or not. There is no desire to convince the other – there is no hidden agenda.
All I, or anyone, can do is to share our experiences and, sometimes, another will recognise a belief that they hold and perhaps question its validity. But the beliefs which No. 4 encounters and how he deals with them will be different (though there will be similarities) from those encountered by me or anyone else. It is the discussion of these differences, and similarities, which make it all so fascinating. It is, however, Alan who must make the discoveries for Alan, No. 4 who must make the discoveries for No. 4 and Vineeto who must make the discoveries for Vineeto. And is not this delicious – relying on no other, be it guru, Richard, Big Mummy or Big Daddy – this is my life!
I have got a bit off the question, though it is a bit related. I can do no better than finish with a quote from Richard’s Journal:
MARK: Welcome to the actual freedom list.
My name is Mark, and I have been using the actual freedom ‘method’ for about 8 months and was prompted to comment by your question about a guide as to how to do it by people for whom the method is working, and I include myself in that category. I would like to comment on some other of your enquiries as your interest in becoming happy and harmless is plainly more than idle curiosity.
RESPONDENT No. 15 (P/V): What are the questions if you actively challenge your beliefs, feelings, emotions and instincts. How to deal with them. How can you ‘see’ through them all. If one has dismantled one belief than all the others can be too in the same way or no
MARK: When one actively challenges a belief one has, or feeling or emotion, it is not that there is an exact map or way to do it. One takes the subject and puts it under the microscope, so to speak. For me personally, love was one of the first things to collapse under serious scrutiny. I asked myself ‘what is this thing that I call love’? I thought that my definition of love (and we all – as selves have a different definition) was to be ‘giving’, ‘emotionally supportive’, ‘self sacrificing’, etc. Yet upon closer inspection of my own love life, there where times when my love was not so pure, and if I was a bit more honest I had to admit that my giving nature only extended to where I was receiving in return; and then if I looked a little deeper and was a bit more honest, I had to admit to the fact that ultimately I was really in it for the warm fuzzy feelings, because I wanted sex, because of the desperate loneliness that a human self ‘feels’, to feel important in someone else’s life and to be supported myself in every way. In short, I found that my every motivation for the hallowed, heroic and giving state of love was plainly self serving and cunningly disguised self gratification.
This is an example of actively challenging a belief, the facts of what was ‘actually’ going on made a lie of that which I ‘believed’ about myself and love; so – rather than continue to ‘believe’ a lie, love just disappeared along with the ‘part’ of my identity that was prone to believing that.
And so it goes for all beliefs, emotions, feelings, if one is willing to face the facts and uses facts as a benchmark, one sees that those emotions, feelings and beliefs are not actual but are concocted only in one’s imagination or are programmed via parents, peers, society and religion. 8.5.1999
MARK: It is great to see, in my opinion, that you are looking rigorously at religion as it has such a choke hold on human beings and is certainly one of our strongest bastions of belief.
RESPONDENT No. 15 (P/V): Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) = feeling guilty, taboos, struggle = loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in.
MARK: Letting go of the belief that there is someone or something outside of oneself ‘running the show’ as it were, is certainly a challenge to one’s belief system. I sometimes thought, as I started to question this belief in myself, that if I dropped all the so-called virtuous qualities that I had attained through ‘discipline’, ‘what would stop me from becoming a violent, lust filled sociopath?’ – (the instincts in action which my so-called spirituality was trying very hard to cover up!) With no god and no rules to guide my behaviour – what might I become!! Now, I found something that to me was wondrous indeed ... that, as I came to realise that there was, in fact, no god and that I am in charge of how I live my life, it gave me a great sense of getting back a part of my intelligence and will, that I had surrendered to spirituality, god, belief. For me there was also a huge ‘lifting of a burden’ from my being. I found just how much of an effort it had been to keep such a mish-mash of often-conflicting beliefs in ‘myself’ ... a big freedom. The physical universe appears to be happening just perfectly each unfolding moment, if I am not preoccupied, then this is apparent, actual, I can see it plainly and I have no belief in god, or that god or something is somehow ‘guiding’ all of this. During my investigations into god and spirituality ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ turned up all sorts of fear about leaving the human ‘herd’, fear of divine retribution for my ‘sins’, karma and so on. All of these fears ... all of them, turned out to be based on unfounded, unnecessary beliefs, that cluttered my mind and crippled my intelligence and free will.
The spiritual paradigm, when disassembled, does, however, leave one with the deeper instinctual layer (that which is the core of our being and certainly capable of being the above mentioned violent, lust filled sociopath) of this thing we call a self. And, this arena of our ‘humanity is investigated in the same rigorous fashion with same ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ Here at this level of the instincts is where the road to an actual freedom is most obviously travelling 180 degrees in the opposite direction to spirituality (and its goals to somehow tame ‘discipline’, gloss over, transcend the instinctual ‘self’), in that the actualist moves towards these basic instincts with the sincere intent to understand them and their key role in our human predicament. It is in the area of the instincts that the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ brings up for me more feeling states than thinking states, as the area of belief investigations seemed to initiate. Who I feel I am rather than who I think I am.
RESPONDENT No. 15 (P/V): But I wonder where a figure like Jesus does or doesn’t fit in. What is the message? How about the bible? Is there nothing true about it? Are there only fairytales in it? I mean, is there nothing practical to get from?
Or was it at that moment the best that one could get?
I hope you know what I mean.
MARK: If one is to truly question the very existence of god then of what use are the words of his messengers? Religion, to me, fails miserably in creating happy, harmless human beings and, in fact, is the very cause of much mayhem. All religions are based on a false premise, trying to work with and perfect the ‘self’, to become ‘Christ like’ or whatever name that is given according to one’s persuasion. None of the religions say that life is perfect here and now as this body in this physical universe. Seeking the invisible, waiting to go to heaven, striving to perfect a ‘self’ that is selfish at its very foundation, endlessly trying to imagine oneself and the world to be better (using this same faulty, selfish identity) – there is no arriving happening through spiritual seeking! Is this not just a treadmill on which one makes constant effort but gets nowhere?
I don’t know, what your view of the human ‘self’ may be, whether you think there are some salvageable parts, ‘good’ parts that are worth keeping – if this is the case, then religion will still appeal in some way. This is ‘self development’ is it not? Actualism, on the other hand, looks to de-construct the same ‘self’ that the religious are trying to discipline. I add that this process of de-construction is simply the result of seeing through the illusion of our beliefs and feelings as self-created imaginings. 20.6.1999
RESPONDENT No. 16: Back to beliefs... one of the main ideas I have felt certain of, is that there is a reason for my life here on earth. The new/ old age idea of the higher self planning the life ahead before entering an infant body appeals to me, though I could not say for certain I am convinced of it. But I have felt strongly that I met people when I needed to meet them – that I was ‘meant to’ meet them – and also that I was ‘meant to’ move on. I have had a great many experiences with ‘little coincidences’ occurring very conveniently – too conveniently, for me to ignore. I have come to believe that these coincidences occur in order to ‘wake us up’ ... from Maya, if you will.
GARY: I once felt as you do, that there was some sort of higher ‘meaning’ to my being here, even that some sort of Higher Intelligence, a God or Truth or Light, if you will, was actively planning and pulling the strings in order for me to have these experiences. I felt I could trust in Providence to provide exactly the experiences that I needed to have in order to complete my journey here on earth. I thus felt I was on some sort of Divine Mission, that I was a ‘spiritual being have a human experience’. When I got involved in actualism, I threw all these notions in the trash bin where they belong. I no longer search for the meaning of life, nor do I believe in any Higher Power or Powers, any Divine Intelligence, nor any Gods or Goddesses. I saw that I had been suckered in by all the spiritual talk, by the Holy Ones, like countless human beings down through the ages, to believe in Something Else, something Metaphysical and abstract. I saw that all these spiritual notions served as a sugar-coating, hiding my own malice and sorrow, and that if I ever were to eliminate my own malice and sorrow and find peace and happiness on earth, I was going to have to put on my hip-boots, roll up my shirt-sleeves, and start digging into ‘me’, investigating every belief and feeling that ever I had. I found that it is possible to be happy and harmless right here in this perfect and pristine physical universe living with people as-they-are without believing in all the spiritual claptrap that is out there and is very fashionable nowadays. Again, I would suggest that you read as much about actualism as you can put your hands on to find out for yourself what this radically new and iconoclastic approach is all about. As you say, you are teetering on the edge of giving actualism a go. You can find out for yourself exactly what is on offer and find out if it makes sense for you. Studying, reading, and discussion with others is an inestimable help.
RESPONDENT No. 16: I have also had some personal experiences which have led me to believe in ‘guardian angels’. I don’t know if there is an obvious question here, except to say that my spiritual beliefs are (to me) logical, and deep. I cannot discard them so easily as to tell myself they were just my imagination, a creation of my brain – which is my understanding of what it means to say ‘they are real but not actual’. Can anyone offer some explanation or understanding?
GARY: I don’t know if it is of any help to you or not, but I can say that examining my spiritual values was the first step to starting to demolish the social identity that had been programmed into me in life and that I had been programmed to believe. Speaking for myself, I found that it was not at all difficult to discard spiritual beliefs and ideas once I examined their having absolutely no basis in fact . Discarding spiritual beliefs, however, did occasion fear, as I felt ‘naked’ without them. But I gradually developed confidence and surety that I could live without any belief in a metaphysical realm, without following any Enlightened Figure, without believing in any Grand Scheme or following the teachings of God-men or God-women. I found that I was subject to no eternal damnation for straying from the teachings of the wise ones, that I did not immediately go off the rails, or suffer torment for giving up my cherished beliefs. But I found that I had to do this for myself, I had to take the plunge, urged on by the experiences of others. What is at stake is peace on earth in this lifetime. It is possible ... now.
RESPONDENT No. 16: Thank you all, I really appreciate this forum for discussion.
Thank you for asking. Keep asking questions, it is important. 5.12.2000
GARY: There is a matter I am a bit confused on. It is this: if one rejects all belief in spirituality and religion, rejects all belief in a metaphysical realm or an immortal soul, then that makes one an atheist, does it not? Richard has said that he is a dyed-in-the-wool (words mine) atheist. I feel that I am an atheist now too. Yet atheism is a belief, is it not?
PETER: In a God-steeped, superstition-ridden Humanity, atheism is universally regarded as denial or disbelief –
Thus by this definition, the existence of God or gods is held to be true, as in factual, and an atheist is someone who denies or disbelieves this truth. The waters get even murkier if we check out the definition of belief –
So according to Humanity’s definition, an atheist is someone who is in denial of a truth or someone who has no trust, confidence, faith or mental acceptance of a universally-accepted truth.
Yet the fact is there is no God, nor are there gods – the whole notion of a spiritual world is but a elaborate and fear-ridden escapist fairy tale, passed on from generation to generation to explain the evil they will encounter in the world and pre-prepare them with the tradition escapist fantasy.
To understand this fully takes an enormous amount of de-programming, and I remember only last year clearly realizing with a jolt that the belief in God and gods was not only nonsense but puerile nonsense, as in nothing other than a childish fairy tale of the ilk of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Goblins and the like.
GARY: I remember hearing once that the religious person believes in God, the agnostic is not sure (maybe God is up there, maybe he isn’t) , and the atheist can prove that God does not exist. Your statement ‘Yet the fact is there is no God...’ cuts to the chase of the matter. It is easy to see a fact. A fact is indisputable. There has never been nor will there ever be any facticity to the claim of religious and spiritual people that God exists. One does not need to set about proving the God-believers wrong. One only needs to see the fact of the matter. Trust, confidence, and faith are then not pertinent.
GARY: If belief, any belief, is the problem, then what good does it do to discard one system of belief and pick up another?
PETER: None at all, for holding any belief is nonsensical. I remember even as a teenager in a Christian society the idea of a white-bearded God sitting on a cloud and overseeing all this was pretty silly to me. And as for sending his Son down so he could do a few miracles, start a Religion, be nailed to a cross, and after a few days go back up to sit alongside Dad and see how it works out ...! I remember thinking, if there was a God, how come he made the mess in the first place, and if he was responsible for this mess, why the hell didn’t he just come down and sort it out. Despite this early discarding of one belief some 25 years later I was shocked one night to discover I had merely taken another –
GARY: It is remarkable how firmly the Christian fairy-tale has gotten a hold of people down through the ages. But understanding something about one’s emotions, passions, and calentures helps one to see the enormous emotional appeal of religion to ‘me’ as a soulful entity. I like what you said about spiritual talk being ‘music to my soul’. It is indeed so. At one time, not so long ago in fact, I thought that the enormity of the bloodshed of the World Wars, Nazism, nationalism, etc, etc., all the tremendous turmoil of the last hundred years or so in the West, could be blamed all on Christianity. But I think that is a gross oversimplification. The problem really is the emotions, passions, and calentures. Religious figures whip up such passions in their followers. I remember clearly being in the grip of such powerful emotions and it is indeed potent stuff. At the time, I had little or no understanding of the destructiveness of these emotions.
It was interesting to read the article, a while back, on the Actual Freedom website about the relation between Zen Buddhism and the Japanese warrior cult and atrocities that were committed during WW2 by the Japanese. Also, the article about the atrocities in China. This is important information. Christianity, as one of the world’s major religions, is not the only religion that inclines its’ followers to violence. I can clearly remember believing that the religions of the East were much to be preferred because they had ushered in a reign of peace and harmony in the Eastern world. Clearly not so. This is another myth we have been fed.
GARY: It seems that by saying one is an atheist, one is adopting a sort of identity all over again, discarding one identity and taking up another.
PETER: Only if you are ‘someone who denies or disbelieves the existence of God or gods’ and then you are clearly taking an anti stance, involved in belief disputes, claiming you are right and others are wrong, etc. To stop being a believer, only to become a disbeliever, is still to be an identity, as you rightly point out. The only way to step out of this cycle is to discover what is factual and to discard what is merely belief. The eventual aim of this investigation is to cease the habitual and ingrained act of believing – of being a believer. This process does take time, effort, incessant enquiry and an unparalleled degree of integrity, patience and perseverance. To imbibe and learn something while young is an automatic process – the process of unlearning is another ball game entirely.
The last realization came when I fully understood and directly experienced that there is no God, or gods, in a PCE and that Richard experienced this as an ongoing permanent experience. Then atheism is neither a belief nor a disbelief, but an acknowledgement of fact.
GARY: OK, this is the answer to my question right here. Belief or disbelief is not the pertinent thing. Only acknowledgement of the fact is what counts. 7.12.2000
PETER: And finally, just a comment about the extent and influence of spiritual belief within the human condition. I have oft said that the real world and the spiritual world are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to separate them. Humanity literally drips with spirituality, be it the influence of recognized Eastern or Western religions, be it the Pantheism that drives the animal and earth worship of Environmentalism, be it the many and varied morals, ethics and spiritual values of differing tribal groups or be it the general overwhelming agreement that human beings are foremost feeling beings sharing a common spirit-ual linkage. Within the human condition there has been, up until now, only one alternative to being normal and that was to be a seeker on the spiritual path – which is why it is the dissatisfied-with-the-real-world, spiritual seekers who are the most likely be interested in actualism.
GARY: I used to believe that ‘we are spiritual beings having a human experience’. Now I see that we are human beings having very, very real human experiences. And it sucks. The only way out of this besides either getting permanently stoned out of your mind, committing suicide, or following the traditional path of spiritual Enlightenment, is to discover the actual. And as it has been said many times before, the actual is right here right under our noses 100% of the time. Given what you have said about the intertwinement of the normal Real world and the Spiritual World, it would seem that the Real world and the Spiritual World are synonymous, and that ‘normal’ people are ‘spiritual’ and do subscribe to ‘spiritual values’. I used to wonder what was meant by the phrase ‘spiritual values’, and now I see that what is meant is Faith, Trust, Hope, Belief. These are all spiritual beliefs and values and these are things that valued, from what I can tell, by every human being that I have encountered. I have yet to encounter a human being that would tell you to abandon Hope. 11.1.2001
GARY: What you wrote recently to No. 26 is spurring me again to write.
PETER: I find it hard to think how much worse human beings could treat their fellow human beings. For a start, the amount of bloodshed, torment, anguish and suffering that religious and spiritual belief has caused, and is still causing, in the world beggars description. Words like horror, repulsion and repugnance fail to convey the full extent of the carnage that has been wrought, and is still being wrought, in the name of the followers of some make-believe God against the followers of some other make-believe God. And what is the best the pious God-fearing priests and followers have to offer as a solution to ending this on-going savagery – religious tolerance. Not an end to the madness, but a rehash of the same old failed message of ‘be tolerant towards those who hold different religious or spiritual beliefs than you do’. Nowhere does one hear a clear and unambiguous voice declaring that it is archaic and inane religious and spiritual belief itself that is the very cause of so much human conflict, animosity, misery and suffering and that it is high time to abandon such beliefs to the scrap heap of history. Blame is always laid at the feet of the believers who are either too fervent in their belief or not fervent enough – but nobody is willing to question the efficacy of the sacred teachings themselves.
GARY: Yes. There is a cute commercial on the television admonishing us now to be ‘tolerant’ of others with differing religious beliefs. I find it interesting in the current world crisis that religious belief goes hand in hand with nationalism and patriotism. Particularly in the US at this time, one sees continually the juxtaposition of God-fearing sentiments along with exhortations to patriotic defence of the homeland against the evil of world terrorism. The presentation of these views, coupled as they are repeatedly, is by no means any coincidence, as in order to be willing to sacrifice oneself for one’s country one must be a passionate believer and feeler in a righteous cause, whatever that may be. One might think that since humanity appears to be going down the same old road it has been down so many, many times before it might give pause to think what is the insanity all about, but so many are willing to get right into the thick of it. In the US at the current time we are being told that we are at war.
But it seems like a phoney war to me. Since no invading army has come, and there is no general mobilization of martial forces taking place against the US, we have a situation akin to the Sitzkrieg of WWII, only that time there were two opposing armies on the to-be battle field waiting for the hostilities to start. I find there is an electric excitement in the air from here – when the animal instinctual passions are unleashed in their full fury, there is no telling what they will do. However, in order for the carnage to start, the defenders of the cause, whether it be religious, moral, or nationalistic, must first whip themselves up into a frenzy of righteous indignation. Fuelled by passionate belief in a Supreme Being that protects one and one’s comrades, whilst simultaneously aiding one in the destruction of one’s enemies, man’s inhumanity to man is simply unstoppable.
Actualism pulls the rug right out from under this whole rotten mess, as one begins to question the action of believing itself, whether it be belief in a religious or spiritual cause, or belief and allegiance to one’s country, race, group, or tribe. But again, one is entirely on one’s own in this enterprise, because to be fully autonomous and independent, one will never align themselves with a cause or a belief. Even non-alliance with a cause or belief could become a belief in itself if one is not vigilant to what is happening in one’s heart and mind. 23.9.2001
RESPONDENT No. 41: (My conservative stepfather always advises me not to vote since he figures that’s one more vote for his side.) Now there’s no denying that issues are muddied, propaganda is rampant, and some elections are even rigged, but does that mean we should keep our opinions to ourselves?
GARY: Opinions are beliefs in disguise. Beliefs are intensely held. Beliefs are not the basis of salubrious action. In most political discussions, the participants are driven by their beliefs. When beliefs clash, violence is often the result. I find it essential to separate what is factual from what is opinion and belief. This is nothing new – it has been said repeatedly by the actualists on this List. When I differentiate between what is factually known and what is speculation, common sense returns and one’s native intelligence can result in beneficial actions. Until that happens, ‘I’ will be drawn into the fray and must choose either one side of the battle line or the other.
RESPONDENT No. 41: Good point. I’ve spent some time since you pointed this out thinking about what it is that I actually know to be fact as opposed to what I believe to be true. Well, about the only thing I am sure about is that this universe exists, that it is beneficent and eternal, and that there is some sort of awareness of it residing at this place at this moment in this body that is also a piece of the universe. Residing in this body is knowledge about how to function in its given environment, obtaining food, clothing shelter etc. What the body does not have is the ability to gain all the facts concerning most situations. This inability stems from either lack of time, lack of mental capacity, or limited available information.
GARY: It is a delight to be able to differentiate what is factual from what is speculation, belief, opinion, or surmisal. I know personally from PCEs that I have had in the past that there is nothing affective or emotional running during the PCE at all. The PCE only occurs when ‘I’ am in abeyance, albeit temporarily. As ‘I’ as an affective entity am temporarily in abeyance during apperception, only the unmediated, direct experience of actuality is occurring at the time.
The only reason I mention this here is that what you refer to as ‘the ability to gain all the facts concerning most situations’ is usually not necessary at all. When one’s primitive animal instincts are temporarily in abeyance, as in the PCE, one is not concerned with one’s survival as an on-going entity. That is not to say that one takes heedless, foolhardy, or irresponsible actions, just that the instinctual fear that ‘rules the world’ is not calling the shots, so to speak. One is then free to enjoy and delight in the experience of actuality: the delightful and exquisite sensations as offered up by the senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting.
Not only do I not need to gain all the facts concerning most situations, but I make a pleasing discovery about something else: I am not really needed at all. I begin to be redundant for the first time in my life – not needed at all in order to function in the world, not to mention taking intelligent, considered action. With ‘me’ no longer needed, life is simple and easy – there is nothing complicated about it at all.
RESPONDENT No. 41: Even so, this body must make decisions based on the facts it is able to obtain. Since I know that I lack all the facts in most circumstances, I admit I’m forming opinions based upon the limited facts at hand. I make decisions based on these opinions and I keep and open mind in case the addition of more facts should indicate a change of opinion.
GARY: I think you may be mixing apples and oranges here. A fact is plain for everyone to see. There is no arguing with a fact, simply because it is a fact. To simply lack all the facts in a great number of circumstances does not necessarily lead to forming opinions, in my opinion. It is interesting to see the varied definitions of the word ‘opinion’. According to the dictionary in front of me (Merriam-Webster’s), the word ‘opinion’ has the following meanings:
Simply because one lacks all the facts in many circumstances does not necessarily lead to forming an opinion on an issue, because one might simply choose not to have an opinion on something that one does not have experiential knowledge of. Since opinion is a synonym for ‘belief’, however, I think with the formation of an opinion we are dealing with intensely emotionally felt issues. A person makes a decision to believe one way as opposed to another because of their sympathies and associated beliefs on not only that particular issue but also other associated issues, not to mention powerful instinctual passions that emanate from the evolutionarily older areas of the brain. And I think with the subject of beliefs and opinions, we are getting right down to a matter of one’s core identity, as one’s identity is the seat and origin of one’s affective feelings.
Political opinions are examples of opinions that are hotly debated and contested, as they have to do with the allocation and use of power. And this is something that people are mightily passionate about.
GARY: Actualism is a simple, hands-on method aimed at eliminating the root cause of war, disharmony, violence, conflict, fear, as well as the so-called positive feelings of love and compassion. Until one’s entire instinctual package is extirpated root and branch, one’s involvement in peace movements will have little practical result. Lives may be saved in the short term by such band-aid approaches, but war will continue as it has since time immemorial.
RESPONDENT No. 41: If that life saved happened to be one’s own child, or mother or father, or even oneself, would it be worth doing? And then to take a logical step, if the expression of my opinion – based on limited facts – could save anyone’s life, should I withhold it?
GARY: Here again your question seems somewhat leading. You are mainly referring to a hypothetical situation which does not have a definite answer, there being many variables to consider. I do not think matters are as black-and-white as you paint them. You may believe that by protesting the war, any particular war, lives are being saved in the long run. But you have to keep in mind that the people who are carrying out the war, those who are prosecuting the war, are also concerned with ‘saving lives’. In fact, they believe that lives must be lost in order to save other, more ‘innocent’ lives.
This is where things get a bit complicated. One could equally well make the argument that by protesting the war, the troops in the field and the military authorities are being deliberately undermined and that the war protests, feeding right into the hands of the ‘enemy’, are needlessly prolonging a military engagement, uselessly prolonging the war, and resulting in higher casualties, on both sides.
Have you ever looked into and investigated the belief ‘I am saving lives by protesting the war’? Is it accurate to say that this belief animates your protest of the war? 27.3.2003
RESPONDENT No. 27: Okay, this is for everyone one the list...
After contemplating why I’ve gotten off the ‘wide and wondrous’ path to Actual Freedom – I see that objecting to anything another has written or said is due to my investment in believing one way or another – treating a statement as a philosophy or belief. If I were not trying to believe or disbelieve – then I would merely state that something is incorrect or ask for clarification if it disagrees with my results. Then I can compare notes with what I’ve discovered. The activity of believing is painful and self-defeating. The very action of objecting (to anything) is motivated by the need to believe.
Without the need to believe what happens is merely discussion, comparing notes, mutual exploration, etc.
Actualism can never be refuted or effectively objected to – it’s something to do, not something to believe. The words can be used as a guide – an estimation, but no more. All that could be objected to is a formulation, yet that does nothing to damage actualism, since there’s no thesis, philosophy, system, or whatever to damage. The ‘philosophy of actualism’ only exists in the imagination.
Having said that, my intention is (and has been since my last post) to get back to the doing – which is neither daunting nor difficult. It’s only ‘me’ and my ‘objections’ that want to make it difficult. Rather, it’s the easiest thing in the world to know what to explore and discover as the human condition is constantly bubbling up in my consciousness if only ‘I’ allow myself to be attentive.
I realize the statement ‘actualism is not a philosophy’ is often repeated on this list – but if one doesn’t understand exactly what ‘a philosophy’ is – as in rooted in belief – then that statement alone isn’t enough for it to sink in.
Why am I writing this? Well, because I want to withdraw any and all objections I’ve ever made to actualism. There can be no objection to performing the task ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ – since it’s an activity – not a theory.
Why has it taken me so long to see this or for it to sink in? I’ve been seeing this fact written all over the AF website for more than a year – it must be that thinking about the believer and philosophizing about the believer and believing about the believer is not the same as seeing the believer in action. 20.4.2003
RESPONDENT No. 59 to No. 44: The agoraphobia I experienced was controlling my life about four years ago, and at that time I could not have cared as I do now for actualism. My mind was just too murky for me to even think about life, the universe, what it means to be a human being… The agoraphobia was reduced, in great part, because I adopted a belief system, which claimed to be a cure-all for mental illnesses. I started practicing Dianetics for a while. Such was my faith in this system that I started to feel so much better and virtually freed myself of agoraphobia. However, it did not take long for me to see how false the whole organization was and I soon parted my way…only to be back experiencing life as I had done so before this enthusiastic belief.
Freeing myself from this particular belief had a negative effect; the agoraphobia came back. So then I decided to adopt a different kind of belief; I took in eastern spiritualism, especially Krishnamurti, and the agoraphobia, as well as a bunch of other depressing stuff, again seemed to have magically disappeared (but of course they didn’t). Then two years later I serendipitously came across Alan, Gary, Peter, Richard, Vineeto…and they completely rocked my boat.
I had no idea the influence actualism would turn out to have on me, but I knew I would have to start from scrap, so what I read hit me like a ton of bricks. And so once again I was back with my fear of public places, although it had somehow lost intensity along the way (maybe because while practicing Dianetics, or being spiritual, I had interacted with a lot of people and in different places)… but this time most of my fears did not disappear as fast as when I had adopted different beliefs; instead of neglecting this time I was actually looking at/into and being fear (and not in the romantic Krishnamurtian way).
That’s why actualism was so hard for me to begin with, especially the first couple of months … I would even try to make it into a belief system, but this never lasted, and so it seemed that actualism was worsening my condition instead of making me free of it.
Most of the things I read sounded very true, however, this would not make me feel any better … I tried the first months applying as much of actualism as I could ... but it wouldn’t seem to work. I would then read more and more carefully, and try to apply it again, but still I could not make anything radically new happen.
Until it finally ‘clicked’ that I was not really applying actualism, to be happy and harmless, but rather applying what I felt, or wanted, actualism to be (what it seemed to be) and this had nothing to do with actualism.
I wanted a quick relief, like with my previous getaway beliefs, and I did not want to work for it nor did I want to be subjective about it … because it hurts. I know for a fact now that becoming free of the human condition does not occur by just reading what others have to say, then wishing for it to be true, and then feeding off this faith; or thinking that some energy will eventuate because of the knowledge I accumulate. It really has been, and sometimes still is, very hard work, and very personal … but it is paying off.
To use my experience with agoraphobia as an example, when I first started applying actualism I could not go to the supermarket without feeling anxious, nervously sweating, and so I always tried to convince someone to go with me (people would look funny when I asked them to accompany me as they did not know how hard it was for me to interact in public places). Then, just a few months ago, I would be very indecisive about going to the supermarket but I would reluctantly do it, and by myself; afterwards I would say ‘it wasn’t so bad after all’. Now it is a joy for me to go to the groceries (I even did a friends’ the other day). I still feel fear, sometimes more than others, but it does almost nothing to me. I get the same adrenaline rush as if I were on a roller coaster, except much more exciting, and challenging as well. 4.6.2003
RESPONDENT No. 59: I am enjoying this all so much!
RESPONDENT No. 46: Of course, if the Richard’s method does begin to produce, not just believers in actualism, but people who are effortlessly and without interruption residing in the PCE of actual freedom, we will have the confirming data that I assert is so needed at this point.
RESPONDENT No. 16: While of course I cannot know your intention with this comment, it occurs to me that a ‘need’ for ‘confirming data’ could also be a desire for something believable to have faith in.
RESPONDENT No. 28: There’s the rub. Without the direct experience, everything must be taken on ‘faith’. Since that’s a loaded term, let’s replace it with ‘something that sounds like it might make sense and is worth exploring further’. That resolves to common sense. And, don’t forget the repeated admonishment to prove this to yourself... that’s the bottom line. No faith required.
RESPONDENT No. 59: faith: NOUN: 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. The American Heritage® Dictionary
While reading your last post, at the University Computer Lab, a fervent believer sat down beside me and we talked for hours long about spiritualism. One of the things I asked was, what did ‘faith’ mean to him? He responded: To believe before seeing. He then continued admonishing those who expect to see in order to believe. Well, Actualism does away with both of these.
After I suspended my major beliefs in spiritualism I started believing in Actualism ... hence I started doubting Actualism. I had the ‘actualist calenture’ you speak of, which has absolutely nothing to do with actualism, and this was finally dispelled with by common sense, naivety and the remembrance of a PCE ... it’s so simple that it is darn nearly impossible to comprehend whilst being a believer. Can a believer know what it is like not to believe? You might argue that it was a necessary stage that helped me to understand more about an Actual Freedom, but I factually report to you that it digressed and stalled my understanding.
If you believe/doubt in actualism then you are not following the ‘Wide and Wondrous Path’ but your own conclusion of it. I write this without any defence whatsoever, a little intimidation perhaps, for you are far too smart and would definitely leave me at a loss if I were to try to intellectually compete with you ... but I talk out of the confidence of experience. An experience that, by what I have been reading, will not be too difficult for you to achieve. Anyhow, keep writing. I’m following your posts with avid interest. 1.8.2003
RESPONDENT No. 46: Let me give you some quotes, both from the site(s), and from this list, that will show you where I got that very idea.
First, from the Introduction to AF on the AF site:
GARY: I see nothing here which states that it is the intended aim of Actualism to alter world history. I find in interesting that you lead off your post by quoting the very pages I referred to in my original post. Quite clearly, we are looking at this differently.
You quote –
GARY: Again, my original point regarded any direct statements that it is intended aim or goal of Actualism to change world history. I see nothing in your proffered quotation to suggest that.
RESPONDENT No. 46: Here something is being announced of the utmost portent for changing the course of the entire world.
GARY: All along, I have focused on changing myself, not changing other people, not that that could be done anyway. I have little doubt that were everyone to become happy and harmless, it would change the course of the entire world. It remains but a tantalizing possibility. I for myself do not wish to wait until other people change to suit me.
RESPONDENT No. 46: Reading it with neither malice nor bias, I am reminded of the mythos concerning the coming of both Jesus and the Buddha (and probably Mohammed as well, though I’m pretty spotty on Islam). ‘A entirely new paradigm, alternative, way ... never before available’, etc.
GARY: The introduction, although grandiloquent, made me sit up and take notice as well.
However, I had to read further to see that what is on offer has nothing whatsoever to do with spirituality. It is interesting that you are reminded of the aforementioned messianic figures, when the paragraphs in quotation make no specific reference whatsoever to messiahs, gurus, or personal saviours.
RESPONDENT No. 46: Now, quoting from Vineeto’s recent letter to No. 23 –
Vineeto’s reification of Richard here is, for me as someone who is suspending both belief and disbelief in actualism, absurd on the face of it. I can assure you that there are a passle of atheists who would have a lot to say about her idea that Richard is the only atheist on the planet. One can’t even argue with such declamation, really. I simply note it as a particularly outlandish example of the kind of ‘specialism’ that I am sniffing out in some of the communication here.
GARY: Was ‘reification’ the word you meant to use here? If so, and because I had to do a look-up, the definition of the word I obtained was: ‘to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing’. So, I am wondering about your use of that word. As for Vineeto’s commentary about Richard being the ‘only genuine atheist on the planet’, I can only guess what she meant in that connection. It looks to me like she meant something specific when she stated the word ‘genuine’. Obviously Richard is not the only atheist in the world, but he may be the only one who has articulated his experience to the degree that he has.
As I regard myself as an atheist, I have not gathered the impression that there are genuine as opposed to ersatz atheists, but it may well be that there are degrees of atheism, with some types of atheism being more radical than others. Given that Richard has apparently self-immolated, and his brain has undergone some type of radical transformation, his atheism is rooted in his ongoing 24/7 experience of being happy and harmless. This would be far different from atheists who adopt atheism as a philosophical position, but continue to suffer from the Human Condition. But then, that is only my guess.
RESPONDENT No. 46: From the same letter, Vineeto quotes an earlier letter to Gary (could that be you, I wonder?):
GARY: One and the same.
RESPONDENT No. 46: Here we go! Spreading like a chain-letter in the centuries to come ... and next up are the outcomes we can expect from such a spreading, as Vineeto continues by quoting from Richard’s journal, to contextualize her remarks:
GARY: Well, you have pointed out a specific comment from Vineeto to me which went unnoticed until you brought my attention to it. Speaking personally, the chain-letter spread of Actualism in centuries to come is neither an ‘impending fact’ to me, nor would I hold my breath waiting for it. I would re-word that passage to say that Actualism may spread. From what I can see from the participation of people on this mailing list, there are only an exceedingly small handful of people that seem committed to being happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT No. 46: There’s the big picture vision (and it’s not a bad one ... btw.). I’m not JUDGING it, Gary ... simply pointing it out.
GARY: Well, it is still a big leap in my mind from you saying that there is a ‘big picture vision’ of might happen were Actual Freedom to one day spread like a chain-letter and saying, as you did earlier, that Actualism maintains that it will change the course of human history. While a vision is a tantalizing possibility, it is not a prediction nor a prognosis. I think No. 27 hit on this same point when he pointed out to you in a separate post that there is a big difference between saying that something might happen, and saying that something will happen.
And just a word about JUDGING, as you seem to be fairly shouting the word at me. I do not care one iota if you judge Actual Freedom or not. Judge all you wish. I know personally that the Actualism method works, and I think I have shared both my successes with the method and my difficulties on this mailing list. As Actual Freedom is not a belief system, even if you were condemnatory towards it and in the rudest of terms, I have no defensiveness of any sort.
RESPONDENT No. 46: Anyway, Vineeto continues by adding yet more explanation, incorporating both the specialism motif and the ‘affecting the planet as nothing before’ motif:
That surely speaks for itself, in explaining to any with ears to hear where I got the idea.
GARY: Yes, I can indeed see where you got the idea, but it is not consistent with your previous statement that Actualism advertises that it will change the course of human history. Do you see what I am saying here? There is a big difference between a possibility and a prediction. To give an example, I may drop dead tomorrow of a heart attack – not likely given that my cholesterol level is very good and I do not have any of the major risk factors associated with heart disease (ie. obese, family history, smoker, drinker, etc.) Now that is quite different from saying that I will drop dead from heart disease.
RESPONDENT No. 46: Finally, the quote I began with in my ‘Conversations Continuing’ email to No. 59:
Anything I happen to have said above keys off the basic position held and articulated by Richard himself. He knows darn well that he is making these TREMENDOUS claims about actualism, the third alternative, the new thing, the ‘solution to all the ills of mankind’.
GARY: When a person lives an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition, as apparently Richard does, then that is a solution to the ‘ills of humanity’, is it not? If other people choose to remain firmly embedded in the cares and woes of the Human Condition, then there is nothing to be done about that in a sense, is there? I have no doubt, from what Richard has written, that he does not hold any expectation that his writings on Actual Freedom will change anybody else. Actualism is not about changing other people. It is about changing yourself – fundamentally, radically, and unequivocally.
I would like to add a word about the question: ‘How can one know that Richard is Actually Free?’ In other words, how do I really know that Richard is the ‘genuine item’?
The answer to that question, for me, is: I don’t really know it. All I know is that from all the reading that I have done about this transformation called Actual Freedom, everything is consistent and makes sense to me. The only way I could only really know if Richard is what he says he is – in other words, a human being sans identity, is if I were to take up residence with him and observe him intimately for 24/7.
I mean, I think you can only really know another human being until you live with them for awhile. One frame of reference that I have for this is Richard’s book, his voluminous writings, and the testimonials of people who have been intimately acquainted with him. As I live continents apart, I have never met the man. I have neither the time nor the inclination to do so, but I took seriously his warning not to do so. Additionally however, what we are talking about on this mailing list is a verifiable experience – the Pure Consciousness Experience. I need not meet or talk to Richard personally to know exactly what he is talking about, because it is a verifiable experience. It is verifiable by one’s personal experience. One can readily confirm (verify) that an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition is not only possible but a living reality by one’s own PCEs.
RESPONDENT No. 46: I’m not misinformed, Gary ... not right here, at any rate. I am ACCURATELY informed about the ACTUAL FACTS of Richard’s communication, and the communication of two of his chief disciples/senior students about the claims and promises of actualism.
GARY: What does Actualism promise, No. 46? Can you tell me? Can you show me ‘the promises’? Because from where I sit, I do not see that anything is promised. Just in this one passage here, you reveal the axe that you have to grind when you dub Peter and Vineeto ‘chief disciples’ and ‘senior students’. Levelling your ‘chief disciples’ criticism is particularly revealing, as it is obvious from what you say that you No. 46 have an agenda, and your agenda is to expose Actualism as a cult. So, I do not think you are the fearless, intrepid deconstructor that you like to pose as. You have an agenda. And it is very obvious what that is.
RESPONDENT No. 46: Having said THAT, Gary, please hear me when I tell you that I have NO PROBLEM with Richard’s bold and sweeping claims. They are challenging, and are calling forth from me a seriously focused response, as well as my own doing of the work, asking the deconstructive question ‘How am I experiencing...’
GARY: What exactly do you mean by the phrase ‘my own doing of the work’? What ‘work’ are you doing? I have yet to hear of your experiences, if any, in applying what you so glibly describe as the ‘deconstructive question’. So I would be interested in hearing just what ‘work’ you are doing.
RESPONDENT No. 46: They are also leading me to kick the tires on this AF buggy ... HARD ... to separate the wheat from the chaff, the baby from the bathwater, the chicken from the bone (the burger from the bun? – only if you’re doing the low carb thing).
In particular, I am ruthlessly (albeit harmlessly, I’d say) deconstructing anything that smells to me of rotten meat: calenture, actualist or otherwise.
Vineeto’s reification of Richard as the only atheist on the planet seems to me a good example of such rotten meat ... actualist calenture, no different than the spiritualist calenture one finds in any one of a zillion venues.
And ... speaking honestly and directly to you ... your inability to connect the dots between my own summarization and Richard’s bold statements, and the statements of his disciples, calling me misinformed on the matter when some of that correspondence even involves you (or some other Gary, perhaps?) strikes me as yet more actualist calenture. Your judgements here strike me as those of a true believer ... and the paradox is that true believism needs to be ABANDONED in order to actually get back to a pure PCE.
And I don’t take a bit of it personally. It is to be expected, when dealing with people stuck in true believism. I’m having a discussion with you about it because I believe it is important enough to see deeply into it, and look at your irrationality in what you are defending here, and why. Ask yourself the deconstructive question as you contemplate what I am writing in response here. How ARE you experiencing this moment of being alive? Is there ego-defence mechanism in play? Is there territory, ideas, beliefs to defend that would require you to spin as you are spinning around what is patently my clear reading of what is being said?
Which leads me to what I am hearing, both on the list and in private unsolicited emails, about people who have been trying, without much success apparently, to point out this actualist calenture to those who have committed to the actualist path. These people are not ‘enemies’, with an agenda to tear down, from what I can see. They are (again my judgment) trying, as I am, to determine what is valuable, and what may not be valuable, in what is ‘on offer’.
How you, or others, frame that attempt, is not under my control ... or anyone else’s either. The best I personally can do is continue dialoguing, continue exploring, continue poking and prodding and deconstructing, in order to see what the value is of this particular value proposition ... and where the ‘gotcha’s’ might be, too. If you or anyone else has a problem with that, I’d be happy to discuss it further, on list, or off. Meanwhile, it is my true and honest intention to examine closely the PROCESS, the claims about the PRODUCT (actual freedom from the human condition), and the words of the PROMOTERS ... as I have mentioned already.
If that seems a misinformed hachet job to you, then we are framing my actions differently: it seems a thorough and NECESSARY deconstructive investigation to me ... one that Richard approves of (or at least anticipates ... or so he said, at least once) in inviting others to quiz away.
GARY: My goodness, you do go on, don’t you?
Now that you have lumped me in the category of ‘true believer’ it appears you can go on your merry way self-righteously proclaiming that only you, No. 46, the ruthless and fearless deconstructor is interested in exposing the lie of Actualism. This sounds to me like the cult-buster’s credo if ever I heard it. But really, what is this need of yours to deconstruct everything? Why present yourself in this way? Haven’t you taken on an identity – No. 46 the ruthless, No. 46 the fearless, No. 46 the tire-kicker, No. 46 the hatchet wielder?
If you have questions, why not simply ask them? If you have comments, why not simply make them? If you have criticisms, then go on and make them. 8.8. 2003
RESPONDENT No. 30: It is no armchair philosophy. A great deal of work is getting done. Only that is such a work, that the payoff is immediate. What was so confusing all these days is getting more and more light.
I should admit that it would have been impossible to have done this by myself. Firstly, I wasn’t even going in this direction. Secondly, the innumerable entanglements – it is so easy to give up and resort to the real world wisdom – you can’t change human nature – one must be insane to be going the way no one has gone – if not for the luck to have some great precedents here. Thirdly, the lure of enlightenment and the ASCs and the ‘Tried and True’ solutions abound – I would not have even had the slightest idea that all this could be wrong. It is a monumental discovery indeed.
In interacting with some friends recently, I could see how the various beliefs were such impediments to investigation (‘Advaita Shuffle’ being one) and learning and change. And I myself had been subscribing to them all these years – simply because they came from the masters, they were beautiful, their hoariness, peer-group-conditioning (Am I learning some wonderful words here?). And I said – I could have gone on, and would have never even imagined the actual freedom, because as it has been said here – common sense and naiveté are not fashionable in real or spiritual speaks.
Actualism is simply amazing. The goods that it delivers (which has been subject to inquiry by the fellow participants): common sense, intelligent thinking free of emotions, well-being, wonder, enjoyment of the moment, etc. are invaluable. Since there are so many goods there is no reason for blame and malice!
Let me borrow the phrase: Ain’t life grand! 29.10.2003
RESPONDENT No. 23: This is the reason I don’t practice Actualism per se because what I hear this saying is let’s keep the religion pure which is what other religions say.
RESPONDENT No. 30: Because you hear the above passage as saying ‘let’s keep the religion pure’ (which is worth going into) you probably feel revulsion and therefore feel the revulsion for yourself if you practised actualism. Am I correct?
If that is the case, it will be really, really worthwhile to go into this passage in detail and see if it is based on facts or based on some religiosity. If a scientist discovers a law and sees that the science-fiction writers distort the meaning of the discovery and thinks that it will be good to have the original preserved so as to separate the facts from fiction, will I say that it is a religion because of that? We can just take the paragraph in question and see if it is a religion because of that. Or maybe you would like to preserve your feeling because it rings true?
RESPONDENT No. 23: This one sentence is a good example of what I mean:
The key words here are ‘untainted source’ and ‘touchstone’. We have heard this same rhetoric from many religions. The source, the well, the centre. It goes by many names.
RESPONDENT No. 30: I see what you are getting at. Your point being somewhat like this – that religions have a holy book (like bible, for instance) and call it ‘untainted source’ and ‘touchstone’ and treat it unquestionable and holy and sacrosanct. The above passage gives a similar feeling. So you are suspicious.
How would you go about to find if that is the case? Or are you convinced that it is the case that ‘actualism’ is another religion? Because if it isn’t true, you have something to gain! If it is true, I think you can save your energy by once for all finishing with the case.
Because I don’t have this problem: reason being,
RESPONDENT No. 18: Hi No. 27 I’d appreciate your input on the following.
[a belief is an emotion-backed thought] Does this imply that if a thought is backed emotionally that this is a believe?
RESPONDENT No. 27: Provided that the thought is about some ‘truth’ – (not something like ‘I’m hungry’) – then yes – as long as we are sticking to the actualist definition of ‘belief.’
RESPONDENT No. 18: Perhaps it may be better to state that: [believing is emotion-backed thinking] Is all emotion-backed thinking believing?
RESPONDENT No. 27: Not in my experience, no. For example, the thought ‘I love you’ or ‘I have lots of friends’ or ‘I’m feeling lonely’ are not beliefs at all – they may be based on other beliefs – but in themselves they are not beliefs. Emotion backed thinking is believing only when the emotion is used to prop up something thought to be true – in other words, to fudge it. This is why there is much more to investigate for an actualist than just beliefs – i.e., the instinctual passions that underlie all beliefs.
RESPONDENT No. 18: As I think to understand that When I include myself as the believer a sentence like: If – I believe in (X) then this believe must be me being emotion-backed thinking. Is that a correct/accurate/legitimate inference?
RESPONDENT No. 27: Yes, but only if you use the word ‘belief’ in the same sense as an actualist does. The rest of the world also uses the word ‘believe’ as in ‘think that’ or ‘estimate,’ etc – i.e. not necessarily emotion-backed. 28.1.2004
RESPONDENT No. 30: I would like to call that which is termed as ‘real world’ by the actualists as ‘subjective reality’ and the ‘actual world’ as ‘objective reality’.
The subjective reality is affective. It is disconnected from the objective reality. It is difficult to differentiate the two – the subjective reality is taken to be objective. The subjective reality is not visible all at a glance... different parts show up at different times. It is contradictory. It is based on beliefs, feelings and intuition. The subjective reality is the internal life of the subject, the ‘me’.
To understand (and hence dissolve) the ‘me’, one needs direct perception. Believing in other’s words, even if the words point to the truth, does not do it. Believing something creates a reality of its own and overlays the actual. Also, how is one going to understand the ‘believer’ by believing? How is one going to uncover the nature of believing itself whilst believing? Also, believing in something one doesn’t have direct experience can lead to distorting the objective reality to fit into the belief. One has to be careful, skeptical, dedicated to soundness when dealing with the subjective reality – if one wants to get out of it that is. It is a risky adventure into the psyche – one is dealing with the faculty of imagination.
All one’s beliefs need to be put to test. Things like intuition need to be rigorously questioned. These form the basis of the subjective reality. With no beliefs and no intuition, the hold of the subjective reality becomes weaker. With the ‘me’ filling up the space, there is none left for the common sense or rational thought to function. Actually the ‘me’ is the internal space. Diluting the ‘me’ frees the attention to directly perceive the objective reality. Otherwise one is busy bamboozled by the inner world.
I am beginning to think that the ‘me’ instinctively knows that it is redundant and that this realization can lead to its end. And it keeps denying this possibility by doubt, disbelief and fear. The denial also takes the form of projecting the ‘stark reality’ as the result of being without ‘me’: an inhuman, cold, selfish, sociopathic, callous, joyless existence; the projection is far removed from the actual result. I also suspect that the ‘me’ instinctively knows other things: like accepting that actualism has worked for others and might work for me in ending of the ‘being’ if rigor be kept; so ‘me’ wants to pollute the method by keeping it vague and complicated. At least in my experience, the departure from the strict adherence to the method is the main culprit in not getting the results – ‘me’ has umpteen tricks to put one off the track. Doubts, objections, overwhelming feelings, marrying with other methods, disbelieving that it will work, jumping off to conceptualizing and theorizing, converting this to a belief, fear and resistance, dishonesty, and so on.
I would like to differentiate between ‘believing’ and ‘assuming’. When I hear a report in the news channel or a science magazine, I am ‘assuming’ that they are telling the truth. I have to assume this bit because a lot of the knowledge about external world comes from others, and I am not in a position of directly verifying everything. I make assumptions to avoid being trapped into my limited experience. I maintain healthy scepticism and take notice of the violations and ready to correct my assumptions. I don’t emotionally defend these assumptions. They are facts proviso contrary evidence. The lack of emotional bias allows one to see the reasonableness and the scope of the assumption. Whereas the belief and trust can fail to realize their scope because of the emotional investment; it is hard to step out of a belief or correct a belief (than it is to an assumption) – disillusionment is not a welcome phenomenon; pain and resentment and cognitive dissonance result before correcting when faced with contrary evidence or a dissent. 24.3.2005
RESPONDENT No. 81: While contemplating the other day on a drive in my car (and by golly, an awful lot of the awful sense of self gets itself into quite a fix when it has to attend to itself while driving!), I came across a great example of a ‘silly’ belief onto which I was holding- I wasn’t believing that consciousness is actual. MAN, oh, MAN, how crazy is that? Needless to say, the light bulb fired in my head, and so I’m free from that belief. Ultimately, it had to do with the materialistic foundations the actualist method uses to express itself; somehow, I had confused the ‘ghost in the machine’ perspective with consciousness not having any actuality. Weird.
Anyway, I’ve also noticed some more things. I think a great deal of my personal spiritual beliefs to which I cling have their foundations in having the desire to be free as a weightless, disembodied entity. Okay, great, but the fact of the matter is that when I have either an EE or a PCE, the tension I normally feel in my body (which most likely can be attributed to the affective system running on the backburner most of the time) abates, and I feel beyond peaceful. If such peace as I would imagine a disembodied entity to have is possible in the physical form, if indeed the body can experience such release, I say I’m all for it! No need to wait around and gamble on the hopes that my beliefs are right!
Well, in addition to all the reasons that have been thrown out there for seeking actual freedom and adopting this method, I plan to throw my own into the mix- I want to see if I can experience an absolute purpose and meaningfulness in every single moment of every single day. I can say that in the PCEs I’ve previously had, everything seemed to give great fulfillment, and nothing was left behind other than my ‘self.’ Woo!
Additionally, I’m going to see if its possible for two men to engage in a sexual relationship with one another and live in total peace and harmony all the time. 2.4.2005
RESPONDENT No. 71: On one hand, there is this woman who loves me very much and cannot imagine her life without me (as is typical in such emotive relationships (now that’s a sociopathic cynical statement)), on the other hand I am well on my way to dismantling my self with all its conditioning and emotions...
Life is richer when lived with another person but if the other person is dependant on you staying ‘human’ with all the emotions etc., and you can see that it would take a lot of convincing etc. to make the other even begin to question love and affection, do you folks think it is a risk worth taking?
I can see very clearly that her sorrow and depression puts pressure on me to decide in favour of marriage, and also that there is a fear if I would ever find a person willing to live with me again, etc. I see clearly that my self and her self are basically the same, struggling to preserve ourselves, me by trying to withdraw and she by holding on to her love and attachment.
But does it mean that the only way I can challenge my ‘withdrawal’ and self-preservation is by committing to marriage? What is the third alternative?
RESPONDENT No. 30: If one’s understanding of actualism (or anything?) is free of beliefs but based on actual facts, I think one can co-exist harmoniously with one’s fellow human beings as they are, no matter what the believe in (not tolerance, but absence of the disharmony and therefore no need for tolerance). Some days ago (as an effect of No. 53’s question ‘you can enter but you can never leave’) I wondered what will happen if the list ended and Richard’s claims were proved to be false. That exposed the ‘conceptual thinker’, the centre in (as?) me which divided the world into actualists and nons that forever separated me from the conceptual non-actualist. I experience a collapsing of the world in me. That somewhat ended this imaginary division and I felt the freedom from having to convince the whole world of those who have never heard about actualism about what I have understood/believed... I can co-exist with them as they are and if they are interested, I can share what I have experienced or learnt. And since then, I clearly see that I am able to enjoy other’s company fully without any agenda to change them.
It is not my suggestion that you marry her! You are free to do what you really want to do. I am somewhat in a similar position as you are (not so much pressure as you though!). 17.4.2005
RESPONDENT No. 30: If I take a hallucinogen, I cannot see the hallucinogen... I see only the hallucination and I take it for real if I don’t clearly remember the actual. And if the hallucinogen was injected slowly and without my conscious knowledge, I wouldn’t be able to easily realize that that it is a distorted reality. The beliefs are part of ‘me’ and ‘my’ world just as the hallucinogens are... you take it for granted. but attentiveness can dig all these hidden beliefs and once unearthed, the world-view becomes different and one’s behaviour/ actions become different. and emotions are the glues that bury these concepts/beliefs to produce the distorted reality. and when this distorted reality is shared by everybody, one doesn’t even suspect anything wrong about it.
The emotions using beliefs produce a uneven terrain that is real world – happy under such and such circumstances, unhappy under these conditions, malice (rightfully!!!?) under such conditions (unfair!!!!), benevolent under such conditions – such conditions under which such a emotional response is valid is the social programming which manifests in the forms of beliefs that can be seen in one’s communications and behaviour. Now take this concept or idea or possibility – one can be happy and harmless in all conditions ... i.e. one can act in any way that makes the most sense ... but one will not feel malicious towards others or unhappy with oneself in any condition. Does this seem to counter the whole social programming? What is the difference between attacking somebody without malice and with malice? When with malice, one feels angry and one’s objective is to attack the other person because one feels angry for a reason... the anger justifies itself and goes out of control and becomes dissociated from the situation and goes overboard (unless other processes kick in!) ... i.e. the situation is an excuse for the raw, animal malice in oneself that is only waiting for a rightful, respectable, acceptable occasion to leak. As opposed to attacking somebody without malice: you will do only the necessary to save yourself from the situation, no more blood than required, or no blood at all...
You might even consider giving what he wants and just minimize suffering for him and everybody... anger doesn’t choose. It acts!
Etc. etc. 1.8.2005
RESPONDENT No. 27: So, are you a Christian? Do you agree with what you have offered as the ‘Christian view?’
RESPONDENT No. 89: What I am and what I agree to is completely irrelevant for the fact that the actualist’s claims regards ‘the entity as soul’ are based on mis-information and are mis-information themselves.
RESPONDENT No. 27: Just so there is no room for misunderstanding – would you state clearly exactly what the ‘mis-information’ is that you are referring to?
Exactly what are the actualist claims regarding ‘the entity as soul?’ that you are saying are incorrect?
RESPONDENT No. 89: They might be talking about something when they talk about the ‘entity’, but they have incorrectly equated it with the notions ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’; the ‘entity’ correlates with ‘Satan’ [‘adversary’] as understood in orthodox theology and none other.
RESPONDENT No. 27: Here’s a definition from dictionary.com...
Certainly nothing there about Satan or ‘adversary.’
Do you think it would matter one bit what meanings that orthodox theology would correlate with the word ‘entity.’ In my experience, Richard pretty much sticks with dictionary usage.
My understanding of the word ‘entity’ is that it is basically a synonym for ‘being’ or ‘presence.’ It is the being or ‘essence’ of a person.
RESPONDENT No. 89: This all proves once again that R has no clue whatsoever about true religion and true metaphysics How does it do that? Also, notice that in order to claim there is such a thing as ‘true religion’ and ‘true metaphysics’ – that such things must exist in contrast to ‘false’ religion and ‘false’ metaphysics.
RESPONDENT No. 27: Since you are claiming there is ‘true religion’ and ‘true metaphysics’ – it is relevant what you believe, since what you believe determines your view of what is true or false.
RESPONDENT No. 89: ...and all his confused attributions about the ‘entity’ are strongly biased by his former mystical inclinations;
RESPONDENT No. 27: How so?
RESPONDENT No. 89: ...equally, their followers understanding about spirituality, religion and metaphysics is more than questionable, which shows in many unqualified comments; most likely due to their long-time exposure to Bhagwan’s maddening syncretism.
RESPONDENT No. 27: It might be helpful to name specific people rather than painting all ‘followers’ with the same brush. I can only guess here that you are really referring solely to Peter and Vineeto – otherwise, you are hoping to use this explanation as a sleight of hand to stand in for other ‘followers’ as well.
RESPONDENT No. 89: [copied from the URL]: ‘In the real world, the human psyche or entity that dwells within the physical body is defined as being permanent and real and, as such, deemed to be actual. This entity as soul, spirit or mind is a non-corporeal entity that is ‘inside’ the physical flesh and blood body, looking out through the eyes, hearing through the ears, smelling through the nose, etc.’
RESPONDENT No. 27: Here again to contrast these wrong attributions of the ‘entity’ as ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ [and also certainly not as ‘mind’]:
Again, would you state clearly why these attributions are wrong?
RESPONDENT No. 27: Or – do you side with the ‘perennialists’ – like Rene Guenon? or both?
I’m curious why you would quote both the ‘Christian view’ as well as from people like Guenon, Coomaraswamy, and Schuon at the same time, unless you see them as being in harmony.
Being that you are attempting to reduce actualism to a spiritual framework
RESPONDENT No. 89: I am not attempting anything here.
RESPONDENT No. 27: You most certainly are ‘attempting’ something here.
Regardless whether you succeed or fail – one must make an attempt in order to demonstrate something.
Perhaps you mean that you are not ‘merely’ attempting?
RESPONDENT No. 89: I demonstrated how actualism is neither metaphysics, philosophy, religion, science, but a body of dogmatic assertions about sense perceptions, immunised by an improper application of certain metaphysical principles; like for example the identity of subject (report) and object (reported), or the consubstantiality of body, perception apparatus, and universe, overlayed with attributions properly belonging to the Absolute.
RESPONDENT No. 27: Being that you are reading actualism as a belief system, it is no surprise that you think you have demonstrated that it is a ‘body of dogmatic assertions about sense perceptions...’
In brief: actualism is not a belief system. And since dogma requires belief – it cannot be a body of dogmatic assertions either.
RESPONDENT No. 27: – do you care to lay your cards on the table as to what you actually believe?
RESPONDENT No. 89: What I believe or not believe is totally irrelevant.
RESPONDENT No. 27: If only that were the case, huh? But you see – you are claiming that there is such a thing as ‘true religion’ and ‘true metaphysics’ – so you cannot get off the hook so easily. In order for you to claim there is ‘true religion’ and ‘true metaphysics’ – you would be required to fess up to what you actually believe – in order to support those claims. Otherwise your claims rest on ... zilch. 25.9.2005
RESPONDENT No. 89: I also showed that the only one who could uncover such an ‘Absolute in disguise’ is someone who is entity-free; but such a person [like BR for example] will not be acknowledged as an ‘authority’ by R for the very reason that s/he wouldn’t make the same dogmatic assertions about sense perceptions, hence, so prescribes the perverse logic [based on the immunising fallacy: report = reported], s/he cannot be entity-free and must be in ASC!
RESPONDENT No. 27: You say that you ‘showed that the only one who could uncover such an ‘Absolute in disguise’ is someone who is entity-free’ but you are claiming to have uncovered it yourself. So, either you are contradicting yourself, or you are ‘entity-free.’
Which is it? 25.9.2005a