Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
PETER: Hi Alan,
Just a note about something I have been wanting to write about for some time now – the world as it is.
A conversation I had with a woman the other day seemed to typify the New Dark Age spiritual view of the world, so I’ll start with that. She was a woman probably in her mid forties, had been educated and bought up in a wealthy, stable western country and was studying part time for an arts degree at university. She has a teenage daughter and lives in a nearby country town. The conversation got on to the wonders of computers, but she was critical of the difficulties in using them. Rebuffing my enthusiasm for the current information-technology revolution that is currently in full swing, she proclaimed that she didn’t like it that her daughter watched television and that everything was becoming ‘Americanized’. When I stated that I liked the fact that the global wide access to information made the world less insular and isolated she said she didn’t want it all to be the same, for people to be all the same – she thought it was good that we held on to our traditions and differences. When I pointed out that we fought over these differences, be they religious, moral, ethical or traditional territorial, she seemed a little stunned. Then I said I had found John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ inspirational in my youth – a world with no heaven or hell, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too, all the people living life in peace.
She said it was a nice idea, but ...
She is but typical of a generation that held high ideals, hopes and aspirations to change the world, but as life takes its toll and the disappointments of life set in, she now imbibes ‘traditional’ values in her daughter, exactly as her mother would have done to her. She sees Globalization as a threat to individuality, she sees the spread of one language throughout the world as a threat, she sees the spread of instant world-wide communication and the astounding access to information as a threat. The conversation petered out, but if we had gone on, she would have held all the common beliefs that the world-as-it-is is an awful place and getting worse by the year. She would have offered up the Global Warming Theory – the theory that human habitation, ‘progress’ and pollution will give rise to a dramatic climate change. She would have ignored the fact that it is but a theory that there could be a problem, based on what appears to be a new event – the hole in the ozone layer – based on what is assumed to have happened in the past – based on past suspected climate changes and in spite of any previous knowledge of the condition of ozone layer. The G.W. theorists then fervently propound worst-case scenarios as to what may happen in the future, and very quickly the whole theory has become a fact. There is a stifled debate in the scientific community as to the validity of this theory, seemingly only championed by those whose reputations or jobs are not intimately at stake, but it receives little media publicity.
We could have talked of the Scarcity of Natural Resources Theory, and I would have wondered about the fact that 30 years ago the world was definitely going to run out of oil and many other resources but none of the dire predictions had eventuated. One hears precious little of this theory now. It is a fear that seems to have diminished in popularity only to be replaced by the Bio-Diversity Theory, an altogether more cunning version. This theory runs that we should save every living thing, everywhere, as we don’t know what will happen in the face of any change in ‘natural’ circumstances or if any one particular species dies out. It’s the brick in the wall theory that regards the ‘whole’ as a delicate fragile wall that might be toppled if only one brick is removed. The more extreme version of this is the Fragilistic Interconnectedness Theory whereby the butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world influences events in another part of the world. These theories have spawned the current Endangered Species Theory whereby all animals are deemed to be ‘threatened’ by humans and any human intervention. Thus it is that wolves are being introduced back into grazing country in America, and the farmers are now being compensated for loss of stock due to wolf attacks. Some 100 years ago there was a bounty on wolves, now the bounty is for sheep taken by wolves, and a jail sentence for any farmer killing a wolf to protect his herd. In India the tiger is coming back and killing children in villages; in Australia man-eating crocodiles were hunted as a danger to humans but are now ‘protected’ such that they have re-infested all of rivers and coastline in the north, and now humans are hunted and punished if they kill crocodiles. It appears that our hard won and only recently gained position as the species at the top of the food chain is already ‘endangered’ by NDA beliefs.
I recently watched a TV show where a scientist was studying and trapping pythons in Africa and putting radio collars on them. Before leaving, after a few months of field work, he then set fire to the hut of some native hunters who trapped snakes for food and to sell their skins. He looked a bit unsure of himself and his ethical motives but justified his action on the basis that the ‘survival of the planet’ depends on the ‘survival of the python’ and thus was more important than the survival and livelihood of this particular group of humans. Another program followed a U.N. funded group studying monkeys in East Africa and the colony was declared ‘endangered’ by the encroachment of a local village that was growing in population. A local U.N. health official who was interviewed said that U.N. funding for birth control and community health programs had recently been drastically cut, but maybe they could divert some money from those studying and preserving wildlife ‘as their funding was substantial and growing’. Animals before people is now not only a New Age obsession, but official well-funded policy. I have no dispute at all with sensible environmental programs or polices, but there is a plethora of popularist dooms-day beliefs, and many dubious scientific theories are used to justify these paranoid fears. These grim world theories are all fuelled by the sensation-seeking media and lapped up by the gullible.
Earlier this year I was talking to someone who was interested in Actual Freedom Trust, and the subject got on to ‘real world’ beliefs. I offered up the Endangered Species Theory as one belief worthy of discussion and investigation. He looked at me bewildered as though – ‘what on earth has this to do with Actual Freedom’. I pointed out that, if indeed one blindly believed all current fashionable fear-ridden theories, then one would have a grim view of the world as it is and one would therefore seek an ‘escape’ from the world as-it-is and not a freedom from the Human Condition – two diametrically opposite seekings. I find it telling that those who strongly support and believe these grim doomsday beliefs are most usually those of strong spiritual beliefs. The usual environmental view is of a ‘Mother Earth’ or a spiritual ‘God = Life’ belief, and humans are seen as evil consumers or defilers of Nature, seemingly just by our very being here. All of the spiritual and religious belief-systems have as their core underlying belief the concept that the world as-it-is is a grim place where humans are meant to suffer, and this suffering is only finally relieved upon death. Any belief that the actual physical universe is a grim place has, at its very roots, the animal survival instincts of fear and aggression, but this is overlaid, reinforced and ‘set in stone’ by both Eastern and Western religious beliefs.
I always liked Richard’s description that people desperately put on rose-coloured glasses when looking at the real world, seeking relief in the feelings of gratitude, ‘higher consciousness’, beauty, goodness, love and compassion. In order to do this, they start with a view of the world as-it-is based on wearing grey-coloured glasses – the real world being a fearful place of resentment, ‘unconsciousness’, ugliness, evil, alienation and suffering. The solution is to dare to undertake a process that involves removing both the rose-coloured glasses and the grey-coloured glasses, and to see the actual world for what it is – perfect, pure, sensually abundant, benevolent and delightful. One then sees clearly that one’s social and spiritual / religious conditionings and beliefs actively conspire to paint and perpetuate a grim worldview. One then sets to, with gay abandon, on the path of exploring, investigating, scrutinizing, understanding, and eventually eliminating all that is not factual and actual. The act of doing so eliminates one’s social identity – one wipes one’s slate perfectly clean of all beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms. What one then discovers – hidden underneath – is one’s biological heritage – the primitive animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
I recently watched a TV program on animal behaviour in which the instincts of the more primitive animals were described as ‘What can eat me? – what can I eat?’, and added to this was the instinctual program for reproduction. Hence the animal instincts are fear, aggression, nurture and desire. In the human animal, this instinctual program is translated into instinctual passions, emotions and feelings. We hold the feelings derived from our animal passions in high esteem and value them proudly as our greatest possessions – t’is even claimed that these very feelings are what separates us from being animals! Unless we humans are willing enough, daring enough and naïve enough to dig deep to this level beneath belief and eliminate this instinctual programming, we will be forever merely pissing into the wind or being reduced to humbly praying to some fictitious God to bring peace on earth.
An actualist needs to be discerning of all the spiritual / religious beliefs about the world as-it-is in order to become free of the Human Condition, for it is these very self-same beliefs that actively perpetuate sorrow and malice on the planet. To repeat the point I made earlier – if indeed one continues to believe the current fashionable fear-ridden theories then one would have a grim view of the world as-it-is and one would therefore seek an ‘escape’ from the world as-it-is and not a freedom from the Human Condition – two diametrically opposite seekings. Unless one is willing to tackle first things first – one’s social identity – then one is only ‘swapping coloured glasses’ and one will never experience the perfection and purity of the actual physical world that is perpetually here. Under our very noses, so to speak.
Actual Freedom is eminently liveable in the world as-it-is. The more one becomes free from the Human Condition the more one is able to have an open-eyed view of the world as-it-is. It then becomes apparent that what ‘I’ can do for peace on earth is stop being a participant in either the appalling instinctual ‘battle for survival’ or the spiritual game of denial and fantasy escape.
The only way to actually do this is for ‘me’ to cease being. And the way to do that is to get off my bum, stop sticking my head in the sand or in the clouds, roll up my sleeves and get on with the job.
Well Alan, it’s probably time to reign all this in. I could rave on about the world as-it-is for a lot longer. It’s such fun to debunk beliefs and uncover facts – a delightfully freeing pastime. The person whom I was talking to about real-world beliefs headed for the hills soon after meeting Peter and Vineeto, the ‘litmus’ twins. He was interested in meeting and talking with Richard-the-Guru, but when it came down to actually doing something and actually changing himself it was too much. Others seem to get to a stage where they realize that to take on Actual Freedom Trust would be the ending of ‘me’ and then zoot – off they go. For me, I knew very early on that what Richard was talking about was the ending of ‘me’, but it seemed a pittance of a price to pay for a personal freedom from malice and sorrow and an end to the grim battle for survival that Humanity engages in on this wondrous planet earth. The New Dark Age is indeed the Savage Age.
Now I get to play the peace on earth vs. God in Heaven game, and what a hoot.
PETER: Thought I’d drop you a line on your holidays. I don’t expect an answer; I’m just looking for an excuse to write. I simply want to record what is going on for me at the moment for two reasons. One is to keep writing and recording what is going on for myself – writing being a way of making sense of things that are happening and of pushing myself on – and the other is wanting to communicate my experience on the basis that it will be useful to others who wish to pursue Actual Freedom.
Since writing my last post – to Richard on ‘self and belonging’ – I have been having almost constant physical symptoms of headaches, neck aches, chest pains and kidney pains. These are not of ‘my’ doing in the sense that they are the result of any particular thoughts or in response to any particular situation. They have become a continuous background occurrence, not intolerable and not preventing me from working or functioning sensibly or enjoying sensately. But it is most uncomfortable, weird, pervasive, ever-present and unavoidable. There is no way out, no way back, no way of suppressing it or stopping it, even if I wanted to. This process is happening by itself and will be the death of ‘me’. I have indeed well and truly painted, and written, myself into a corner.
I can describe the process as the death throes of ‘me’, and a chemical death throe at that, but there is no doubt that, as this builds, the end of ‘me’ will be a weird and passionate affair. I have used the word dispassionate in my writing lately and thought I needed to clarify its use. The human mind, as I have discovered on this journey into my psyche, has the ability to investigate, explore and unravel its own workings. This ability is what the word apperception means – the mind becoming aware of itself.
Or as Richard-the-wordsmith says –
It is this apperceptive awareness that enables the brain to be aware of the process that is happening in the brain. In the early stages of developing apperception one is able to discern the difference between thoughts and feelings, and as one proceeds to see the influence of morals and ethics, to distinguish between belief and fact, to determine what is silly and what is sensible. As one dares to dig a little deeper one encounters the emotions that underlie the surface feelings and then one can dig deeper still to explore the instinctual passions. When one can finally investigate and explore the instinctual passions in operation dispassionately – i.e. being able to see them in operation without being affected by them – one is clearly able to see and experience them as an unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion.
To get to this stage involves a deliberate and persistent process of removing the impediments to this apperceptive awareness becoming possible. Then periods of pure consciousness are possible, as in the pure consciousness experience, and this is a potential for anyone willing to remove the impediments of a social identity and the passions of one’s instincts. As such, during this process of elimination, one has many dispassionate glimpses whereupon one’s sensate perception and awareness is free of the influence of instinctual passions – hence my use of the word ‘dispassionate’. After these glimpses, one returns to ‘normal’ and becomes again these passions, morals, ethics, beliefs, etc. and incapable of dispassionate thought – and this is where sincere intent comes in. One can then use those passions for one’s own sincere intent – towards actualizing the ending of ‘me’.
I realized in writing to No. 5, that the numbing legacy of having been on the spiritual path is many-fold and that the path to Actual Freedom – ‘requires naiveté not cynicism, determination not fatalism, bloody-mindedness not defeatism, confidence not pessimism, a stubborn refusal to settle for second best not resignation, and a burning discontentment with the Human Condition of malice and sorrow not a self-centred complacency.’
After writing this I did a mental checklist of my ‘spiritual legacy’ and would say that this very legacy is the reason this process has taken so long for me. I went into the spiritual world with passion and gusto and ended in wimpism, resignation and acceptance. It is the inevitable result of having been in a system of thought and belief based on human beings needing to surrender their will to a higher ‘creative force’, ‘energy’, etc. As such, I have been wary of being impelled by passionate enthusiasm only and this is why I have carefully sought personal verification by experience of the ongoing and incremental success, observing success in others, the validation of scientific factual evidence and the confidence and surety of many pure consciousness experiences.
So now I find myself gaily losing my grip on reality – abandoning the glum real world-view that I had been instilled with since birth and entering into the pure, perfect and delightful actual world, the world as I experienced it in my pure consciousness experience, all those years ago. I do so not as an escape into another world but entering into the world-as-it-is stripped of both the bad and the good, the right and the wrong that has been taught to me and stripped of the influence of my instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. The last time I abandoned the ‘real’ world was when I was on the spiritual path and I ended up glimpsing the phantasmagorical world of Divine Love and turned away, somehow sensing the falseness of it – I knew that I was merely ‘escaping’ from the world as it is, and particularly from people as they are.
This time, as I again abandon the real world, I do so with impunity – with the utter confidence that my destiny is the actual physical world of purity and perfection, not the imaginary substitute I experienced before. The recent experiences of being able to glimpse the instinctual ‘me’ at my core and experiencing the survival instincts as nothing other than a chemical producing redundant program in my brain has literally been the last straw in the ending of ‘me’. It’s been a fascinating journey into my own psyche to investigate ‘who’ I am – to discover all the morals, ethics and values that is ‘me’ the social identity – all the gender conditioning, all the tribal or national conditioning, all the religious conditioning – both Western and then Eastern. And then to dig deeper to discover the instinctual passions that lay beneath one’s social conditioning – to be able to dispassionately investigate what people consider to be hellish realms of fear, dread, anger, hatred as well as blind nurture and desire.
It’s an investigation that ultimately strips one to the very core – leaving one freed from malice and sorrow.
Two further points I would make for emphasis –
The means of facilitating this investigation into one’s psyche is contemplation. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the question to run. Whatever is preventing one from being happy or harmless is the issue to contemplate upon and away you go on an inner journey into beliefs, morals, ethics, feelings and finally instinctual passions. When you have removed one impediment then the next one pops up. Just do them one at a time and then back to experiencing the world as it is. This is the diametric opposite to meditation where the journey ‘in’ is an escape into an inner world as a solace and succour from having to experience and live in the world as it is.
The other point is that the experience of Virtual Freedom is essential – the on-going experience of the world as it is, as being 99.9% perfect. Being able to go to bed at night honestly saying one has had an almost perfect day. One does not fool oneself and this is where sincere intent comes in – the refusal to settle for second-best, the best being the impeccable benchmark of the PCE. This period of Virtual Freedom gives one the confidence to abandon the real world and proceed with impunity to the actual world without being instinctually seduced into escaping from the world as it is, and adopting some God-like identity.
Well, that’s it from me. Summer is beginning to break through the delightful spring weather here – the rain is warm and the ‘atmospherics’ are vibrant with many electrical storms this time of year. Often the sky pulses with lightning over the ocean for hours at night and the days are an ever changing flip-flop of clear, cloudy, misty, rain, downpours, lightning, sunny, stormy, thunder, hot, moist, cool, still, etc. The days and nights are literally cram-packed with weather. What a paradise I live in on this fantastic planet, and what a time to be alive!
PETER: Good to hear from you again and that you are playing with your new domain and web-site. From what I see with Richard and Vineeto, it is quite a learning curve. I thought to send you a copy of an article I have sent to a local NDA magazine for their consideration. They have published two already – ‘Liberation from being men and women’ and ‘Folks and People’ – which avoided any hints of Guru-bashing but still carried some useful information. Seeing so many get offended and angry when their precious spiritual beliefs are threatened I thought it was useful to try writing to convey at least a smidgen of common sense while avoiding the ‘main event’. I have ‘upped the ante’ quite a bit in this article to being more ‘up front’ and I am intrigued as to whether they will publish it.
I got some good feedback from the other articles although most interpret what I wrote as simply making a moral or ethical statement about some ideal happiness and harmlessness that is unattainable for them or that I am saying the ‘same thing as the Gurus’. When I talk of practical down-to-earth, they think ‘nice idea, but ...’ or assume it is the usual moralistic, spiritual high-ground – anything but down-to-earth.
But I was encouraged enough to write more. Actual Freedom is not for everyone in that it requires a pioneering adventurous spirit to try a third alternative to the traditional, but there is a lot of beneficial results in people’s lives simply in being more sensible, being less driven, even in considering an new alternative way of living.
A ‘trickling down’ of anything new undertaken by pioneers, of any new discovery, takes years, decades or even centuries. When the new discovery is one so radical as to change human nature the resistance will be frantic and furtive. After all, the Human Condition has existed as long as humans have existed which may well be millions of years according to some research.
Those with ‘vested interests’ made Galileo recant but they couldn’t make the sun revolve around the earth. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people have tried to make Richard recant over the years by insisting that ‘you can’t change human nature’ or that a meta-physical realm complete with Gods and an afterlife does exist in fact. Mainstream society has declared that he is insane while the spiritualists insist he must be a God!
Aache Aye. (? my attempt at a bit of Scottish) It’s a strange world we find ourselves in ... but such fun, such a hoot.
[Peter]: The latter half of this century has seen some scientific discoveries that will have as profound an effect on the Eastern spiritual view of the world as did the discovery that the earth was not flat and was not the centre of the cosmos had on traditional Western religious views.
In the 16th Century Copernicus proposed the concept that the world was not the centre of the cosmos, and this was later confirmed by Galileo empirical observations. This was to put yet another dent in the belief that the heavens above were another world populated by Gods and that below earth was a hellish world populated by Demons. This fact was to relegate the last of what was regarded as ancient wisdom to the realm of mere fairy-story beliefs. The idea of a white-bearded God sitting on a cloud and overseeing all this became silly to most. 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 all works out...!!
Fierce battles were fought by the churches to deny and repress Galileo’s findings, but by the 19th Century the Christian church was beginning to bow to a general acceptance that their sacred dogmas and texts were allegorical fables and not factual. Darwin and the evolutionists were to further dent religious creationist theories and the cosmologists have stretched time further back than when most of the Gods were deemed to have done their ‘creation thing’. The de-bunking and de-mystifying of Western religious superstitions has been an on-going process since the studies of biology, astronomy and earth sciences broke free from the bosom of the churches some 400 years ago.
With the breaking free from the shackles of strict church dogma and its doctrines of belief and faith came the beginning of Western intellectual interest in Eastern spiritualism in the late 19th Century which flourished into a popular movement by the 1970’s. The spiritual search was a search for happiness and peace on earth fuelled by the emergence of a youthful generation dedicated to the pursuit of both. Parallel to this burgeoning Western interest in spiritualism in the last 30 years, neuro-biological science has been making some discoveries about instinctual human behaviour that could well have as profound an affect on Eastern spiritualism as Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin have had on Western religion.
At the core of the Eastern spiritual view of the world is the concept that humans are born ‘innocent’ and have only been conditioned with ‘evil’ thoughts since birth, and that it is possible to retain this natural innocence in this lifetime, on earth – hence the search to find one’s original face or divine self. Human behavioural studies and the recent neuro-biological researches by Joseph LeDoux, Steven Hyman and others are revealing that the passions of fear and aggression – the cause of human suffering and ‘evil’ – are actually the result of a genetically inherited instinctual program instilled by blind nature in order to ensure the survival of the human species. Thus, there is explicit verifiable scientific evidence that we are not born ‘innocent’ but come with genetically-encoded instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire which are the direct cause of human sorrow and malice.
The other fundamental Eastern spiritual concept is that life on earth is ultimately ‘unsatisfactory’ with some even believing in a continuous cycle of re-birth into earthly suffering and that the true meaning of human existence lies ‘elsewhere’ – ultimately after physical death. Journeying ‘in’ to find one’s true spiritual self or soul is deemed to be the answer, resulting in Enlightenment as a release from ‘gross’ earthly suffering.
However, the studies of the genetically inherited instinctual program, located within the primitive section of the human brain, reveal that the survival instincts are centred upon an instinctual self, which we share in common with other animal primates, namely apes and chimpanzees. Studies of our closest animal cousins reveal startlingly similar instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire and very similar social behaviour patterns.
This instinctual sense of ‘self’ in humans is the very basis of the feeling of separateness and alienation that haunts human beings and fuels the spiritual search for oneness and unity. Undoubtedly the human brain is more complex than that of other animals but our prized ‘self’ is proving to be, at core, nothing other than our animal instinctual self. At present, 6 billion human beings are still ‘battling it out with each other’ in a grim primitive game of survival while those on the spiritual path seek to transcend it all, aiming to transform the animal self into a divine Self.
The scientific proof that humans are not born ‘innocent’ and the implication that the feeling of separateness that drives humans to seek solace in spiritual pursuits is but an instinctual ‘self’-ish program is as heretical to Eastern spirituality as Galileo’s proof was to Western religion. However, this genetically-encoded program, first evidenced by animal and human behavioural studies, is now able to be directly observed and empirically mapped in humans due to the extraordinary development of modern brain-scanning equipment and genetic research techniques. These scientific discoveries by LeDoux and others will prove as difficult to deny or repress as were those of Galileo and may well eventually prove to be fatally damaging to Eastern spiritual wisdom.
Which does beg the question – are the Gurus an endangered species?
LeDoux – <http://www.cns.nyu.edu/home/ledoux/overview.htm>
Well that’s it.
PETER: I thought I would pen a letter to you about one of those ethical values that is so instilled in human beings that it not only clouds any common sense operating but also acts to forever lock malice and sorrow into the human psyche.
I often wonder what people make of the simple statement that one has a social identity that consists of all the morals, ethics, values and psittacisms that have been instilled by one’s peers in order to keep one ‘under control’ and to make one a ‘good’ citizen. It seems such a straight forward statement yet there is no discussion or questioning whatsoever regarding morals and ethics and their failure to stop the barbarous human warfare that rages on the planet between various tribal, religious or ethical groups. Despite the fact that countless well-meaning people have been following these pious morals and unliveable ethics there is still no end in sight to the sadness sorrow, depression and suicides. Having to live one’s life bound – as in bondage – to a set of morals and ethics is to be shackled to Humanity.
What twigged me to write was a conversation I had with a man recently about tolerance. It was one of those convivial evenings as we settled back after dinner at his beach-side house. We had bought a whole coral trout and some baste for the sunset barbeque meal, his wife had concocted a wonderful salad and he had provided some delicious soft Merlot wine. Vineeto and I, he and his wife contentedly lazed back after the particularly tasty meal, and their newly born baby slept in the corner after her meal at the breast. We started swapping life stories as one tends to do in good company and his wife began chatting to Vineeto about her upbringing as a Japanese and how she had come to leave Japan and ended up in Australia. She evidently was of mixed Japanese-Korean parents and, as such, was very much regarded as a second-class citizen in Japan – something which she didn’t take too kindly to. I then proceeded to explain to her some of the religious and ethnic divides that are rife below the surface in the country I grew up in at all levels of society.
I soon trotted out one of my favourite stories about the insanity of Humanity – the fact that my father, like many other young Australians during the Second World War, was sent to Europe to help England fight Germany. He ended up in the Middle East fighting the Italians in the desert and then came back to fight the Japanese in the jungles of New Guinea. When I went to university to study architecture two of my best friends were an Italian and a Japanese – of the same tribes that my father had been busy trying to kill only 20 years earlier. What struck me as even stranger was here I was some 30 years on telling this story of muddled madness to a woman of Japanese stock, and a woman of German stock, both now residents in this country.
It was at this point that the man came out with the statement that ‘we are all different’ and that all children need to be taught ‘tolerance’ from the beginning. He said the trouble was that ‘some people’ weren’t tolerant. When I asked him who were these people he looked a bit befuddled as he sensed he would have to trot out his prejudices by coming up with an example. To let him off the hook a bit, I stated that it was only in recent years I had come to see the extent of my own ‘limits of tolerance’ having being born into a largely Christian society. As such I was imbibed with the view that say Muslims, in particular, were ‘evil and intolerant’ people, and I could tell that it was this particular religious group that he had in mind when he talked of those whose children needed to be ‘taught tolerance’.
I backtracked the conversation a bit for his plea for tolerance was based on his preceding psittacism that ‘we are all different’. I looked around at the four of us sitting there and could obviously see that two were males and two were females, so I stated that beyond that physical fact, we were no different in that we were all flesh and blood human beings. We had no differences apart from some physical differences – plus a good deal of social conditioning but I was trying to isolate that fact out for a bit. At core we were all the same passionate beings – German anger is the same as Japanese anger, Australian sorrow the same as English sorrow – yet this man insisted that we are all somehow different and therefore we should be tolerant of each other’s differences.
I was going to pursue the point that we are all the same animal species and that it is a fact that we are only taught to think we are different and unique via our social conditioning – to not only be loyal and good tribal members but to cherish and be proud of our being ‘different from’ and ‘better than’ other tribes and to be ready to fight for and defend our ‘being different’. Oh yes, and then we are further taught that it is good to be ‘tolerant’ of others who happen to be ‘different’ than us.
One needs to be taught that we are different and be prejudiced and intolerant of others first in order to then feel the need to be tolerant. These ethical values are but societal conditioning that sits like a sugared, feel-good layer to cover over our instinctual love of aggression – we love a good fight and the tribe next door, that ‘different’ mob, was always the best target as there was always some old score to settle – some pay-back for a past deed. It has the added advantage of giving us someone to hate and fight that isn’t our own kin or our own tribe.
But I didn’t pursue the point as he was already confused enough, and it was senseless to spoil the evening.
Perhaps the failure of the principle of tolerance is most clearly seen in Europe where, after two horrendous wars fought in the first half of the century that decimated whole generations and lay ruin to the continent, some enterprising politicians decided enough was enough. The idea of a European Union was born, whereby national barriers would be gradually demolished to form a more unified, less tribal and more peaceful European community. Just on the brink of implementing this policy it seems as though the threat of ‘loss of national identity’ is becoming too much for many to contemplate. In fact, it appears, from reports, that there is a ground swell for increased regionalism with even smaller, more nationalistic groupings clamouring for power, independence and autonomy. Identical fears are heard in the raging and anger against ‘globalization’ – people desperately wanting to cling to the past and to their tribal and ethnic groupings – to remain the same and part of a traditional warring group.
This behavioural evidence is in direct contradiction to the spurious argument that ‘we are all different’ for everyone fervently wishes to remain part of the traditional group into which they were born, to hold the same values, morals, ethics, truths and psittacisms – to be the same as everybody else and not different.
An identical scenario also operates with our spiritual/religious beliefs that have been passed on to us as a social conditioning. Later on in the evening, the husband made a comment about religions at one point and when I asked him his views he said he was not religious but found much to his liking in Buddhism. When I pointed out that Buddhism was an Eastern religion he looked at me as though the thought had not occurred to him. Goodness knows what all those statues are about, what all those temples, all those monks and nuns, all that prayer, worship, devotion, sacred texts and objects are about if not to denote a religion. And yet those on the ‘Eastern spiritual path’ somehow manage to think themselves unique and ‘different’, on the cutting edge of ‘consciousness raising’, whereas in fact they are (as I was for 17 years) merely dedicated followers of fashion. A New Dark Age fashion that unabashedly aims to turn the clock back to belief in ancient mythical, mystical mumbo-jumbo. Of course, whatever brand of religion one follows, believes in, trusts, and regards as the One and Only, one is then bound to vociferously support it and faithfully fight to defend it. This superstition, prejudice, bias and intolerance then necessitates that one espouses and practices ‘tolerance’ for other religions purely because of one’s imbibed hatred and suspicion of other creeds. My former spiritual group, the Rajneeshees, are notorious Christian haters – as was Rajneesh himself. The Christians are notorious Muslim haters – a feud that dates back thousands of years and that no amount of ‘tolerance’ has managed to quell. Protestant and Catholic feuds are notorious and the list goes on and on ...
Tolerance is pretty thin on the ground and when push comes to shove it simply disappears into thin air. As does ‘civilized behaviour’ when war breaks out, as does being good when rage wells up in one’s bosom, as does love disappear when jealousy rages, and the list goes on and on ...
Yet despite the abysmal failure of ethics and morals to curb our instinctual passions people desperately cling to rights and wrongs, good and bad, rather than look at the third alternative – a common sense judgement of what is silly and what is sensible, based firmly on facts.
For me, the first and most freeing of these common sense, silly/sensible judgments was to ditch any tolerance of religions whatsoever. Too much blood has been shed, too many have humbly prostrated themselves to the God-men’s Super-Inflated Egos to be tolerant of this errant puerile nonsense. And yet, whenever I care to point out the facts of the failure of religious belief to bring peace to earth and an end to human suffering, I am accused by some of having some sort of personal vendetta or grudge running. Most curious.
Yet another current development I find interesting in these days of ‘human rights’ is the reported move of some Balkanites to sue the UN peacekeepers for failing to stop a massacre of one ethnic group by another ethnic group. Does this mean if there is a murder in one’s neighbourhood the victim’s relatives can now sue the police for failing to stop it? Does this mean that we now put the police in jail and let the criminals go free – it’s an interesting approach that should provide a novel ethical dilemma for some time to come.
It is fascinating to see the convoluted and twisted moral and ethical arguments that rage on the planet, combined with the convoluted and twisted forms of denial of the existence of instinctual animal passions in humans.
And to see, so clearly, that there are no moral or ethical solutions to the Human Condition but that they are, in fact, part of the problem.
So, the evening’s conversation backed away from a more in-depth exploration of any of these issues for the man was a good, well-meaning man, convinced that the values he held were right and good and if only everyone held the same values as he then everything would be okay. It is always kind of cute in those situations as no-one knows the full extent of my treason and iconoclasm – that I have gleefully abandoned fighting the good fight of Humanity. It was equally delightful to small-talk the early evening away with some fellow human beings for while it is possible for anyone to become free of the Human Condition it will only be for those desperate and daring enough to question the psittacisms that traditionally passed on as wisdom from those who have been here before us. Although the life he lives could be vastly easier, more safe, more comfortable and more leisurely than his father’s was he still does what his father did – battle against others for survival, and then blame others for being intolerant.
We all moved out to sit and watch the ocean for a while as there are few prettier sights than the light of a full moon glistening on the ocean. The innate peacefulness of the physical actual world is particularly palpable at moments like these and it was obvious why he had recently purchased this house. To him it offered the chance to grab some brief moments like this as a haven from the battle to exist that he fought in the real world. I didn’t spoil his moment by offering that I knew a way to get to the root cause of his battling and thus constantly access the already existing peacefulness that exists on this planet.
Ah, well ... The ‘Introduction to Actual Freedom’ is doing really well. It is in the sound studio at the moment – Richard’s living room actually – for a voice over and a bit of effects. The next thing to work out is a format for the planned CD that is compatible for many differing programs and browsers, not an easy or quick task by any means. We have a preliminary cover design and the planned CD contents will be the Introduction, the Web-site in total, both Journals and a bit about The Actual Freedom Trust. It looks as though the first version of the ‘Introduction’ available will be Vineeto’s on-line Web-site version which may make it out before THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM.
Good hey ...
Well that’s it for tonight – it got to be a bit of a rave again.
Life is such good fun ...
PETER: Just a note about a bit you posted a while ago.
PETER: What is so appallingly evident global-wide is potentially in each of us, should we submit to, or be overwhelmed by, the instinctual animal passions. From the introduction –
Fear hobbles us with a desperate need to belong to a group, to cling to the past, to hang on to whatever we hold ‘dear’ to ourselves, to resist change, to fear death and consequently to desperately seek immortality. Fear drives us to seek power over others or to support the powerful in return for their protection.
Aggression causes us to fight for our territory, our possessions, our ‘rights’, our family and our treasured beliefs – seeking power over others. At core, we love to fight or see others fighting.
ALAN: I am still amazed at how blindingly obvious all of this is. And yet the evidence is there shouting at us every time one picks up a newspaper, or turns on the TV. Only yesterday, there was a (yet another) demonstration here. Supposedly peaceful, with participants singing ‘peace songs’, while marching, it took only a handful to change most of the participants from beings exuding ‘love’ to instinctual animals attacking police and property, with hatred and malice. It still overwhelms me when I contemplate that all of the wars, murders, suicides, rapes, child abuse etc. are absolutely unnecessary and solely caused by the human condition.
PETER: What has twigged me to write was the fact that you posted back the ‘bad’ or ‘savage’ instinctual passions, while making no comment on the ‘good’ or ‘tender’ passions. Something nagged me a bit and, as I thought about it, I realized two things.
In the Introduction I have just put together a good deal of it dealt with the failure of human being’s well-meaning attempts to end violence and stop warfare. The traditional solutions of instilling social morals, ethics and values and maintaining law and order and the traditional spiritual solution of denial and transcendence have both failed to bring peace to the world. Thus both the good and God have failed to bring an end to human malice and sorrow – always have and always will.
The traditional way we are taught to deal with instinctual passions is to emphasize and highly value the ‘good’ instinctual passions while repressing and controlling the ‘bad’ ones. The spiritual way is to enhance the ‘good’ emotions via imagination while denying the ‘bad’ emotions via sublimation. The third alternative is to neither express nor repress and see what happens. Pretty soon some little feeling will creep in and bingo! .... one has something to do, something to investigate, something to name, something to discover.
The thing that I have found over the course of my investigations, in writing and talking and lately with the Introduction that it is the notion of good and bad, right and wrong, belief and fact that have to be tackled first if humans are to get a grip on the core of the instinctual passions. Already the Evolutionary Psychologists are trumpeting the good instinctual passions as the solution to tackle the bad instinctual passions – so much for any sense coming out of academia.
The other fact I find telling is that it took Richard months to tackle the bad and evil, yet years to tackle the good and Divine.
Personally I found that my social conditioning as to what it was to be a man, to be a good member of Society, to do the ‘right’ thing, to play my expected role as husband and father was to be as though I had ‘shackles’ on – I yearned to be break free of these shackles. One can see this in youthful rebellion in operation in each generation, yet when marriage or parenthood sets in it’s a quick revert to type. One then does one’s expected duty and then one merely parrots to the next generation what was parroted to us. When my ‘normal’ world view collapsed it was off to the ‘spiritual’ world – out of the frying pan into the fire.
So, just another plug for that other set of instinctual passions that are so glamourized and glorified, that Humanity puts such trust, faith and hope in ...
Of course, on the path to Actual Freedom one cannot ditch feelings by simply deciding to do so. As such, until one is actually free from the instinctual passions, one will have feelings so one aims at the felicitous feelings. However, given one’s intention to become both happy and harmless one will inevitably be confronted with investigating human beings’ ancient attraction and fascinating fixation with the ‘good’ as well as the devious deceptiveness of the ‘good’ in operation as part of one’s ‘self’.
I’ll wrap this up with something Richard found the other day that says a lot about the Human Condition. I remember writing once of the Human Condition – ‘Thus it is established that ‘we are the way we are, because this is the way we are’ and further – ‘this is the way we will always be, because this is the way we have always been’ – simply translated as ‘You can’t change Human Nature’.
But this little story illustrates it really well ...
Cute Hey ...
PETER: I came across this little snippet of news that particularly struck me as a telling indictment of New Dark Age therapies. It particularly reminds me of the frantic attempts to induce an Altered State of Consciousness involved in ‘breath’ therapies, re-birthings, the Rajneeshees’ dynamic meditation, Trance dancing, the ‘radical highs’ of bungee jumping and the like.
[quote]: Neurological Disorder Inspired European Dancing Tradition ST. PAUL, MN –
An annual European dancing procession that blends legend and tradition may have roots in a neurological disorder causing dance-like movements, according to a historical review in the December 10 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
‘As a child growing up in Luxembourg, I danced in the Dancing Procession of Echternach,’ said neurologist and study author Paul Krack, MD, of the University of Kiel in Germany. ‘It wasn’t until later when I studied neurology that I learned of its significance to modern day movement disorders.’ According to legend, the Dancing Procession of Echternach originated in the late eighth century after patients with tremor and paralysis were miraculously healed at the grave of the missionary Willibrord. News of the miracles spread and people began to dance at Willibrord’s grave seeking protection from and cures for neurological disorders, and Willibrord soon became the patron saint of patients with neurological disorders.
During the 14th century plague epidemic in central Europe, Christians and pagans danced to seek protection from illness. These dances, based on religious fervour, pagan tradition or superstition, may have led to epidemics of mass hysteria. Neurologists later surmised that these epidemics were outbreaks of a disorder known as hysteric chorea, which caused involuntary dance-like movements. These movements became known as the dancing disease or Saint Vitus’ chorea. A chorea is an abnormal involuntary movement that occurs without purpose. The word stems from the Greek word chorea, which means dance. Saint Vitus’ dance later became a term synonymous with Sydenham’s chorea, a childhood condition associated with rheumatic fever.
Today the most common disease causing chorea is hereditary Huntington’s disease. Neurologists most frequently see choreic-like movements as a side effect of levodopa treatment in Parkinson’s patients.
Neurologists have sought to determine the significance of these dancing traditions. In the 1900s, neurologist Henri Meige studied the Dancing Procession of Echternach to look for chorea in the dancers. Throughout the procession he found no signs of chorea. He attributed the lack of chorea to two things. First, police took away people having epileptic or hysteric attacks during the dance. Second, patients could send a relative or hire a professional dancer to take their place.
Meige also examined epidemics of dancing disease of the medieval era. He believed that singing, dancing and laughing that occurred during these epidemics influenced brain functioning, and this may have led to the dancing disease of medieval times. He suggests that some people are more suggestible than others. Krack agrees with Meige’s conclusions of the medieval dancing disease. ‘Emotion, behaviour and the movement systems are tightly linked in the brain,’ said Krack. ‘You’ll see this in Parkinson’s patients. On a smaller scale, think of the elation that a person feels while dancing, singing and laughing at a party.’
Today, the Dancing Procession of Echternach occurs on the Tuesday following Pentecost. Dancers, in groups of four or five, take three steps forward, then two back; five steps are needed to advance one pace. The procession is a religious ceremony where people dance to folk music. ‘People join in the procession for fun or to pray for a disabled relative,’ said Krack. ‘Though the people involved in the dancing procession today are not choreics and are not likely to be hysterics, the event shows the close interface between society and early medicine and between Christian and pagan traditions in Europe,’ said neurologist Christopher Goetz, MD, of Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL. ‘It represents an early glimpse at self-help therapies.’ http://www.aan.com/public/newsreleases/Dance2.htm Copyright (C) 1999 Science Daily
I find the last sentence particularly telling and would only add my personal observation of ‘the close interface between NDA society and alternative medicine and between ancient animalist, religious and meditation practices in the East’ to his observations.
It’s a mad, mad, mad world.
PETER: Just another little curio I found recently. I think I mentioned that I had done a bit of a scoot around the Net to see what was current in brain research. I got sidetracked into what the psychologists were making of this research and the results were fascinating to say the least.
The current crop of psychologists have concocted academic studies with such titles as evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology but what they really study, and how they study it, is most revealing. They indulge in an extremely careful ethical tippy-toeing around the most salient aspects of human behaviour and are in outright denial of the mayhem and angst that results from human beings being hobbled by animal instinctual passions.
I’ll just post a brief section from a university psychology department research program which will give you a bit of a flavour of acade-mania in action –
[quote]: University of Liverpool Research Programme:
The broad aim is the study of the behavioural biology of humans and other mammals within the framework of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Our objective is to understand both the evolutionary function of reproductive and social behaviour and the proximate mechanisms that underpin them.
There are three main programmes:
Recent PhD Projects
Current PhD Projects
I think my favourites are ‘baboon time budgets’ and the ‘theory of mind in chimpanzees’. No wonder it’s the ‘theory’ of mind in chimpanzees because it would be impossible to gain any factual evidence beyond a few grunts and squeals from his study subjects. Does the human researcher have to present a written thesis or can he just grunt what he has learnt from the chimps directly to his assessors? After reading this list I had to double back to see that it wasn’t the zoology department that I had stumbled across.
The current fashionation is to study, glamourize and glorify the instinctual passion of nurture in operation in other mammals and one can see this in operation in much of society. Even tigers, wolves and poisonous snakes are seen as warm-hearted beings who are misunderstood. I guess if they make animals out to be as ‘good’ as humans, then we can all ‘accept’ that the Human Condition is ‘as good as it gets’. The fervently good even grant ‘rights’ to animals and then proceed to fight for these rights, but the good always love fighting for causes. The other advantage of granting ‘rights’ to animals is that one can then get angry, sad and depressed when these ‘rights’ are abused, like when some bad people hunt and kill animals for food or profit. If this isn’t enough of an emotive outlet, one can then become worried about ‘endangered species’ which offers endless opportunities to indulge in fear and despair, malice and anger, sorrow and sadness. I do mean endless, given that scientists estimate that there are between 2 and 4.5 million animal and plant species on the planet, all of which are seemingly endangered or whose ‘rights’ could be abused by ‘evil’ humans.
Evolutionary psychology, behavioural biology or behavioural ecology – call it what you will – is but the same old ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ game, except this time it is the good instincts vs. the bad instincts and not the good spirits vs. the bad spirits. But then again, given that these scientist and academics believe God (or Existence) gave us the good instincts to counter the bad ones ... it’s really just that same ♪♫ ‘old time religion, that old time religion, it’s good enough for me’ ♪♫
The other one they sing loudly is ♪♫ ‘all you need is love, ... love, ... love is all you need’ ♪♫ as if this is some magical and new solution that hasn’t yet been tried enough, by enough people, for enough time. I often wonder whether these people who trumpet this advice to others have perfect, harmonious, equitable and delightful companionship with their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. The wondering only lasts a few seconds and then I remember the Human Condition which is to gratefully accept the periods between fights with one’s companion as some sort of blissful truce, a peaceful if temporary cessation of hostilities. ‘As good as it gets’ in normal human relationships is a sad compromise of the delightful intimacy possible between human beings, even in a virtual freedom from the Human Condition.
If one really studies the Human Condition – ‘evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology’ – with open eyes, one may see what an actualist sees –
... Just a bit from the Introduction that I thought relevant.
Arche Aye ....the ‘real’ world is a bad, sad and very mad world.
Good thing there is a simple, down-to-earth alternative – a method to become free of all this madness.
PETER: Just a news item that I came across on the Net, which further confirms the findings of LeDoux that the amygdala is the source of instinctual fear. This experimentation focused on the memories of fear that can be instilled into an animal during its lifetime. What I find interesting is that the research indicates that these emotional memories are stored in the amygdala, in particular, and not elsewhere in the brain where other memories are stored.
This would seem to give credence to the fact that the primitive brain has its own separate complete set of functioning – its own first access to sensory input, as LeDoux indicates, its own processing ability and its own output causing chemicals to flow directly to the modern brain and to other organs in the body. I have understood that the primitive brain would be the seat of our pre-coded instinctual memories but that it builds an on-going lifelong memory base makes it a powerful and relentless source of fear in particular.
‘Nearly all our fears are learned fears’ is a telling point, for in-depth research into how much of the ‘bad’ passions of fear and associated aggression are genetically encoded, and therefore instinctual, and how much is ‘learned’ , will no doubt run into ethical and moral objections. Nurture and desire are always seen in a good light and humans love to see it in action and recognize these emotions in action in other animals. Fear we try and sooth over – alcohol, drugs, excitement or adrenalin rushes being good panaceas, and aggression we simply label as evil or bad and blatantly ignore it in our own lives.
I like the last sentence in particular – ‘If we could find a drug or genetic treatment that would stop the amygdala from signalling to the frontal cortex, then we could effectively treat anxiety disorders,’ he suggested.’
What Richard has discovered is a way that one can weaken this ‘signalling’ from the amygdala to the frontal cortex to such an extent that eventually the ‘signalling’ ceases altogether. With the cessation of this ‘signalling’ comes the extinction of the instinctual ‘self’ – one’s sense of ‘being’, the associated instinctual passions and chemical flows cease.
Richard’s on-going experience is that one can live without any identity whatsoever, be it societal or instinctual. His first step was societal – stepping out of society – one’s social identity is left behind, there is no illusionary person in the ‘executive suite’, no ‘little man inside the head pulling the levers’. The second step was instinctual, one’s instinctual being is left behind, the ‘signalling’ from the amygdala ceased completely.
The critical difference between the traditional approach and the actualist approach to freedom is that the spiritualists attempt to deny the bad instinctual passions and identify with the good instinctual passion and chemical flows, denying the ‘signalling’ – thus one feels oneself to be bliss, oneness, wholeness, love, etc. while transcending or rising above fear and aggression. As Mr. Lowe so rightly pointed out in the opening statement of his recently reviewed book one can ‘find a way of living where you can feel happy and joyful and free of fear’, but the full range of instinctual passions are still present in spiritual freedom for there is still ‘anger, greed and lust’ present, it’s just that he doesn’t ‘identify’ with them any more.
The trap for past seekers of freedom is that spiritual concepts are instinctive in that their roots are so ancient that they disappear into the mists of time. The idea of a human spirit or soul, the idea of other-worlds, the idea of life beyond death, are deeply entrenched in Humanity, so much so that they could be regarded as both instinctual and intuitive. Intuitive in that these ideas are implanted in the memory of the amygdala and the amygdala automatically responds to spiritual notions with appropriate chemical responses. Thus the beliefs and myths of a spirit ‘home’, a spirit world and a life after death ‘feel’ right and true at a gut level. The flow of chemicals from the amygdala in response to spiritual input are warming and comforting as the intrinsic human awareness of mortality and the fear of death are temporarily extinguished.
As such, the only actual and definitive freedom from the spiritual is to evince a complete cessation of the ‘signalling’ from the amygdala as Richard has done and as those following his method are doing. Neither repressing nor expressing, neither denying nor transcending, neither rejecting nor accepting, but actively observing and developing an understanding of these emotional signals and how they cause malice and sorrow in your life.
‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the method to eventually lead to an awareness and investigation of this instinctive ‘signalling’ from the amygdala such that one can plainly see, and experience, ‘who’ one thinks and feels one is ‘in action’. With this awareness and investigation comes a bare awareness such that one can distinguish between ‘what’ one is – clear thinking, a bare consciousness and sensate experiencing – and ‘who’ one has been taught to think one is and ‘who’ one has been programmed by blind nature to feel oneself to be.
My experience is that sufficient time is needed living and experiencing a state of virtual freedom such that the fuses don’t blow when the whole ‘signalling’ system collapses or atrophies. In practical terms, this is a period of virtually no ‘signalling’ from the amygdala and virtually no personal ‘self’-centred thoughts. When one checks out by asking ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and there is no ‘signalling’, no sadness, no being peeved, no boredom, etc. and no mental worries or anxieties and no desire to go looking for them, then one simply ‘cruises and grooves’. Just a note that I am talking here of the latter stages of the process – in the early days one’s life is so full of discoveries, investigations and insights into the Human Condition and how one functions that one can barely catch breath with the often tumultuous excitement and pace of events.
This latter period of ‘nothingness’ can be daunting at first but gradually an existence devoid of any ‘real’ world and ‘spiritual’ world meanings and values becomes delightfully delicious and sensually rich, not as a feeling but as a magnificent and overwhelming actuality. This ‘nothingness’ can be seen as a milder version of Richard’s angst or mental anguish period when all ‘signalling’ had ceased.
It’s so good to follow and copy something that works, to follow someone who’s been through it and done it, and to find that modern empirical scientific research is confirming our experiences. And it’s good to be able to describe the process in dictionary definable words and post scientific empirical neurological and genetic research that both confirms actualism and buckets the spiritual belief in an immortal Godly soul.
Ah, serendipity abounds ...
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.