Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List

with Alan

Topics covered

Timothy Leary’s head, soul-brain, atavistic fear from the doing of it * N.D. Walsch Conversations with God, New Age Christian, dissociation, Maitreya Ishwara * 99% Virtual Freedom , spiritual freedom, ‘my’ turf of mailing list, not retreating from the world, working, relating to people, ‘I’ am just a rotten little feed-back loop, using ‘how am I...’ in spiritual terms * rock-solid world, ‘evils of materialism’, 180 degrees, being here, understand everything that prevents freedom to be here, PCE otherworldly at the start, enormous yes to being here * delightful Sunday lunch, chat to Poonja-follower, Ramana Maharshi’s ‘everything is an illusion’, self-ish escapist fantasy, mad by everyone’s standards * six good reasons for writing, contemplation, free discussion, sticking one’s neck out, altruism, investigating, support for others * book excerpt of ‘jealousy as necessary as love and sex’ * corrections in ‘map’ * ‘we ’ humans, ‘I’ investigate, realizations for actualist and spiritualist, enormous spiritual pride * spiritual beliefs in personal growth movement, reflective contemplation, virtual freedom, ‘I am no longer a practicing actualist’, ‘the greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’ * Nobody is in charge of the human species, the workings of the human condition, the raw animal ‘self’, the process of actualism is not effortless, one actively conspires in one’s own ‘self’-immolation, reflective contemplation is part of the work that ‘I’ do, the simplistic altruistic impulse of species-first survival, actualism and altruism go hand in glove, motivation to prove it is possible to live with another person in utter peace and harmony was altruistic, pure unselfish intent * flaws of the personal growth movement * more on ‘I am happy, but ...’, moralistic aphorism, the trap of thinking that what actualism is about is eliminating feelings, the path to freedom is on the firm footing of facts * the choice and the application of becoming happy and harmless



PETER: Hi Alan,

Just another rave to fill a hole in cyberspace.

I have just finished watching a TV documentary about Timothy Leary of ‘turn on, tune in ... and drop out fame’. In the late 1960’s he was at the forefront of experimenting with and publicizing the use of LSD and other chemicals that act to interrupt and temporarily alter the fixed, robotic electro-chemical circuitry in the brain.

A few aspects of the documentary were interesting and none more so than to see a historical documentary where so many of the characters were playing themselves. Many of the main figures of the 60’s psychedelic scene were interviewed for the film and these clips were spliced with old interviews and archival footage. Someone who was now 60 or 70 years old was interviewed, juxtaposed with film of them as 20 or 30 year olds. What was revealing to see was that the naiveté of youth and the well-meaning 60’s aims of peace, love and brown rice for all, had wilted and been replaced by a turning away, a foreboding cynicism, an introverted self-love and a lust for immortality. Two of the central characters who demonstrated this best were Timothy Leary himself and Richard Alpert who is now known as Ram Das.

Both said they had taken LSD hundreds of times and both had developed different interpretations of their experiences. Richard Alpert had a taste of the Divine, an altered state of consciousness, and became a mystic, a spiritual teacher, and a full-on devotee of an Eastern God-man. His experience when in an altered state of consciousness was that he was not the body and not the mind. He described stepping out of illusion of the real world into God-Consciousness. He then talked of Timothy Leary saying ‘he wasn’t into mysticism’.

Leary’s interest remained with the brain and thinking and he believed his ‘soul’ was located in his brain, to use his words. In his last years this thought became such an obsession that he arranged for his head to be cut off after his pre-arranged death and for it to be frozen in order that his ‘soul-brain’ could be revived at some future date. It’s such a bizarre tale and I still wonder if the film of his frozen head was genuine or a hoax. Certainly in his interviews he was convinced that his soul-brain was capable of mental immortality. Unlike his spiritual contemporaries, in his altered state of consciousness he didn’t identify with who he felt he was, his affective feelings, but he identified with who he thought he was, his nonsensical thoughts. What both Alpert and Leary shared in common with all other human beings was that they desperately maintained their true self to be a disembodied alien identity. One felt he was a soul-heart, while the other thought he was a soul-brain – anything other than a mortal flesh and blood body, a cellular arrangement of finite life span.

I was curious as to how Leary had managed to put such an eccentric twist to his altered state of consciousness experiences until he recalled a story from his childhood and his memory of his grandfather’s advice – ‘Don’t be like everybody else’. While he was alive, he was exactly like everyone else who has experienced the infinitude of the physical universe in that he instinctually seized the experience for himself and sought to contrive to become that experience – to be immortal, timeless, eternal and ... disembodied. And despite his frozen head being in a glass jar in a freezer somewhere he has ended up just like everyone else – dead. Same old story, just with yet another bizarre tale to add to the long, long history of human beings inane search for immortality.

The animal survival instincts, embellished into a psychological and psychic fear of death at the core of human beings, has produced a glut of fantastic fairy stories, fervent beliefs, grotesque rituals, weird altered states of consciousness – all of them passionately fuelled by a desperate and futile urge for immortality.

So, the essential question that arises from this post is ... ‘Is there life after death for Timothy Leary’s head or is he nothing but a dead head?’

Vineeto suggested that maybe he was simply a head of his times.

It’s so good to question and investigate the Human Condition – it’s such fun once you get past the point where fear holds you back. When nothing becomes too sacred to question or investigate.

Well, enough from me. I thought I’d keep it brief for No. 5.

It’s time to test the new wiz-bang coffee grinder ...


PETER: I have just started to write on another mailing list and a whiff of atavistic fear arose at daring to question the sacred. Interestingly, this fear only arises with the doing of it, by sticking my neck out, yet again. I realized that the action of challenging the sacred ceiling is something I do in order to investigate this fear at its roots – no action, no investigation, no change. Many people think of investigation as a passive mental exercise whereas in fact it is an active doing. So, I will take a deep breath and my next post after this will take me off on another fascinating journey of discovery.

I recently saw an interview with Neale Donald Walsch, the author of a book entitled ‘Conversations with God’. It has been a best-seller in USA for some time and has appeal to both Western and Eastern religious believers. He offered a syrupy message spoken to him from the real God whose message was He-is-All, We-are-All-One and love is all there is. The He-is-All scenario means that He is the God of all the religions, people and all the belief-systems. Walsch is now setting off on a mission to convince the world’s believers that he has been talking to their God lately and that He has recently updated and modified His story, just a wee bit. For the We-are-all-One scenario he uses the words Oneness and Source thus appealing to the Eastern religious pursuers of altered states of consciousness. It’s a cunning concoction that fails, like all the other fairy-tale beliefs, to address the perplexing on-going issue of human malice and suffering – the salient features of the human condition on earth.

According to Walsch’s clairvoyant message, violence exists in God’s world because human beings do not live by the golden rules of goodness, love and treating others as we would have them treat us. God also told him that He occasionally sends souls into the world as lessons for us humans in order that we may see the evil that is in each of us. According to Walsch, God said He deliberately sent Mr. Hitler down so that we would know and experience the lowest of lows, the most evil of evils, but that ‘no harm was really done because there is no such thing as death’. Methinks he will have a hard time convincing the Jews that the millions who died was a calculated put-up job by the He-is-All God, that no harm was really done, it was all just a lesson and there is no death. Some forty million humans died in WW2 and God glibly declares ‘I did it’. No wonder some prayers start with – ‘Have mercy on us Lord ...’

In this sick scenario, earthly suffering exists as God’s test for humans and therefore the more one suffers the more God is testing you personally and the more gratitude one should feel towards God. Indeed, so ingrained is this belief that many who suffer deeply pass through a profound ‘dark night of the soul’ whereby the depths of depression can be alleviated by an epiphany, Satori, awakening or re-birth. One’s soul or psychic entity makes an instinctual chemical-fuelled grasp at survival and hallucinatory states result. Thus one sees God, talks to God, sees His Grand Plan, realizes there is no death, etc. and one’s body is swamped with bliss-inducing chemicals. These visions invariably follow cultural, religious and tribal pre-conditioned trends – thus a Hindu sees Krishna, a Christian sees Christ, a Buddhist realizes the world is an illusion, etc. In Walsch’s case a New Age Christian talks to God and also feels Oneness – a New Age Christian message that incorporates the traditional white bearded God in heaven story and tacks on a dash of fashionable Eastern religion.

So we are lead to believe that God has changed His mind of late, as no doubt He is entitled to do, but it does seem to leave those who are faithfully following all of the other messages He sent to earth a little out on a limb. Perhaps this fashionable trendy New Age God watches Oprah and re-writes his script every month or so and sends yet another message down to earth.

In Eastern religions, earthly existence is seen as an endless cycle of rebirth, escaped by only .0001% of the population who manage to see God’s joke and realize that suffering, death and the physical universe is only an illusion. In psychiatric terms they induce, via torturous rituals and the assiduous practice of denial, a mental aberration known as dissociation.

Dissociation A process, or the resulting condition, in which certain concepts or mental processes are separated from the conscious personality; spec. the state of a person suffering from dissociated personality. Oxford Dictionary

Dissociation is exemplified in Eastern religion and philosophy by the core belief of ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind’ – and the constant repeating of this mantra leads to the inevitable conclusion that ‘I must be spirit-only’. If pursued to its extreme a feeling of Oneness with all other disembodied and non-physical spirits develops, leading to the narcissistic realization that ‘I am All, and All is me’. And for those sufficiently seduced by this delusion, bingo ... the ultimate dissociate state of ‘I am God’ is realized.

The eastern practice of inducing dissociative states or altered states of consciousness does nothing to elevate human suffering and malice. Only by actively rejecting the traditional turning away and squarely facing the issues is it possible to actually change the situation. If it is God’s plan that over 160 million human beings were killed by their fellow human beings and that over 40 million killed themselves in suicides then it’s time to tell God to butt out.

Intelligence, innovation, stubbornness, experimentation, ingenuity, perseverance, intent and altruism have bought an end to the naturally-occurring plagues and diseases that killed millions in past centuries. Human beings put an end to this death and suffering, not some mythical god. The same human intelligence, innovation, stubbornness, experimentation, ingenuity, perseverance, intent and altruism will eventually and inevitably rid this fair planet of the instinctual ‘natural’ sorrow and malice that causes the human species to laud and cherish suffering and indulge in senselessly killing and maiming each other.

Good Hey.

P.S. Just as a bit of an aside. One of the latest God-men to hit the circuit calls himself Maitreya Ishwara and he was a follower of Mohan Rajneesh for many years. He is putting out the story that the collapse of Rajneesh’s Utopian city Rajneeshpuram in Oregon, USA was God’s will and all the suffering, pain and recrimination was pre-ordained. Same old perverse fairy story – human suffering is all part of God’s plan.


PETER: Just a report from the far side of the planet.

Well, this path to Actual Freedom is proving continually fascinating and thrilling. Lately two events have proved particularly revealing as to the fact that no matter how much I clean myself up, or strip myself of the emotions that arise from the instinctual passions, they are still there lurking beneath the surface. Richard reported the same occasional bleed-throughs, even while in his enlightened phase, and this is the empirical evidence that only self-immolation can remove the impediments to living a pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs. a day, every day.

Virtual freedom – the 99.9 % version – is not to be sneezed at, for it is a state that is far more salubrious, sensible and harmless than any dissociated state that the spiritual world offers. Only by freeing oneself of all spiritual belief and actively investigating and diminishing the instinctual passions that lie beneath is it possible to be 99.9% happy and harmless. Only then can one be almost actually happy and harmless and then the obsession focuses on the ‘almost’ bit. Almost means that one can never quite trust oneself that one’s happiness and harmlessness cannot be disturbed by someone else or some event. That a bleed-through of malice towards another, or sorrow for oneself, will not occur. However it is only by living in Virtual Freedom, the ‘almost’ stage, that enables me to clearly see ‘me’ at my core, free of the cloud of beliefs, emotions, feelings and neurosis that is normally ‘me’.

One of the events that triggered a bleed-through was my starting to write about Actual Freedom on another mailing list. As I have written, there was a whiff of fear at sticking my neck out, a why do I keep doing this, why not stay safe? This only came after the action and as I looked beneath the fear, the underlying reason was an insecure ‘me’ – unable by ‘my’ very nature to be 100% free of malice and sorrow, unable by my very nature to be sure that there would be no ‘bleed-throughs’. I remember reporting to No 5 about feeling frustration when I wrote to him last year, but it was only by sticking my neck out, actively exploring while remaining aware, that the issue was stirred, the discovery made, the observation noted and the next ensuing action taken.

This sequence initially requires stubborn effort but as success breeds success a momentum gathers, serendipity abounds and the process becomes not ‘my’ doing it and then all ‘I’ have to do is dare to take the foot off the brake.

As for the whiff of fear, and as Vineeto noted the other night, the real discovery, the real issue to investigate, usually lies beneath the fear. Take the action, feel the fear and then look at what lays beneath the fear. If you stay stuck with the fear, no action in the first place, no discovery, no adventure, no change.

Another feeling that arose from starting to write to this list was when Vineeto said she would write on the same list as well. A feeling of ‘it’s my turf, don’t butt in’ arose, a childlike possessiveness that was rationalized away by the quite sensible consideration that two of us writing would be too much and the list members would feel attacked. They will no-doubt feel personally attacked anyway, as it is par for the course whenever anyone is faced with facts that expose the failure and mendacity of one’s cherished beliefs. For me, if I simply rationalized away my feelings and emotions I would have missed the opportunity to experience them in action, as my ‘self’. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is not about an abrupt rationalization, denial or repression of feelings and emotions. Nor is it about interminable therapizing and never-ending superficial-only investigation. There is a third alternative – an active experiential investigation, both as an instantaneous observation and a thoughtful contemplation, solely aimed at evincing a radical empirical permanent change

Vineeto and I, as usual, came to a mutual sensible consensus that, for now, one of us writing on the list would be better than two. And I liked the fact that without taking action – in this case writing to a mailing list – ‘I’ would have remained safe, hidden, unveiled, unrevealed, forever lurking, however quietly.

The other event worthy of report relates to my now being fully involved in the world of people, things and events and not a spiritual hermit in some sheltered workshop for those shell-shocked by ‘real’ world, as I was for years. This probably relates to No 3’s work experience that he posted. I’ll include it in this post as the value of this list is in the mutual sharing of experience, information and discoveries in order to test their validity and effectiveness – to glean from others what works and what doesn’t, mainly so we don’t have to unknowingly and needlessly repeat what others have already found to have failed.

I have always found the idea of having to retreat from the world into an ashram or an insular community somehow a cop-out, albeit an attractive one compared to having to battle it out in the ‘real’ world. Many talk about bringing their meditation into the market place, withdrawn into their own inner world, protected by a self-made bubble or cocoon, isolating them from the ‘bad vibes’ of others, all the time claiming they are being ‘present’. This is what Richard means by being twice-removed from the actual world.

My experience is that one can become virtually free of malice and sorrow and can activate delight to such a level that one’s interactions with one’s fellow human beings are invariably harmonious and pleasurable – 99.9% of the time. This is in itself quite outstanding. I do not grumble, bitch, complain, blame, berate, beset or attack anyone, nor do I feel resentful, jealous, envious, belittled, hard done by, pissed-off, etc. However, on very rare occasions an emotion will be triggered for there is still a ‘me’ lurking around, instinctually programmed and thus ever-ready to rise to either defend or attack.

The particular occasion that raised a feeling response was of having to do something that made no sense – just a wee bit and such that I was easily able to observe the fact that ‘I’ was not needed to be in control, quite the opposite, in fact. This having to do something silly is a common occurrence in the market place where one sells one’s time in return for money and most decisions are made on the basis of right/wrong, good/bad, me vs. you, etc. and not on the basis of mutual consensus based on common sense.

On this occasion, all of my usual skills of persuasion, facilitating an open discussion of the pros and cons, etc. failed to elicit a consensual sensibility and I was left with that childlike feeling of being forced to do something that I saw as silly. T’was just a flash, an irrational and impulsive response, but again it was ‘me’ at my core. These little flashes, startlingly apparent when all the usual emotional clutter is removed, serve as a reminder to the fact that no matter how much one cleans oneself up, or strips oneself down of the emotions that arise from the instinctual passions, they are still there lurking beneath the surface. The whole point of the process that is undertaken on the path to Actual freedom is to actively whittle away at one’s social identity – all the beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms instilled and co-opted since birth – so that one is able to get down to investigating the raw instinctual passions – both the supposed good and bad. This investigation is the hairy part where any who have managed to get there have traditionally opted for safety and gone with the ‘good’ passions, adopted a new set of spiritual beliefs, morals ethics and psittacisms and away they went – with a new identity pasted over the old rotten ‘me’. This explains why the enlightened ones still have malice, albeit excused as Divine anger, and still have sorrow, albeit disguised as Divine Com-passion – feeling pity for others from their higher, holier and more exalted position.

To get back to my work-related issue. I do like it that I can function and operate in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are – without a protective cocoon – with an impunity and salubriousness that I would have deemed an impossibility a few years ago. This is directly attributable to abandoning the folly of accepting myself as I am, to not sitting in the corner with my eyes closed, but getting my head out of the clouds and coming down-to-earth – where meaning is abundantly and sensuously obvious each moment again. The key to the ultimate stage of self-immolation lies in experiencing and dispassionately observing these bleed-throughs. In knowing that perfection and purity, the total eradication of malice and sorrow is only possible with my extinction. Utterly fascinating and thrilling.

As I went back over what I wrote there is one sentence that is worth elaborating on. It is when I said ‘an event raised a feeling response – just a wee bit and such that I was easily able to observe the fact that ‘I’ was not needed to be in control, quite the opposite, in fact’. What I observed was that ‘I’ was the source of the feeling response – as a thought and as a chemical flush – and yet ‘I’ was redundant in taking appropriate sensible action and being considerate of the person I was talking to. Normally ‘I’ am the source of the trouble and ‘I’ proceed to stuff up the solution. ‘I’ am nothing but a chemically-fuelled rotten little feedback loop, an errant, stubbornly perverse virus in an otherwise perfect operating system.

Good Hey ..

Speaking of viruses, it’s now time to dabble into the functioning of Norton Internet Security as installing it has managed to sever my send/receive mail. If you get this you know I have succeeded and if you don’t ...

Ah, well my last post to the new list I have joined has elicited three replies, all trumpeting the virtue of believing in Gods and Goddesses, Spirits and Energies, other-worlds and other-lives. Anywhere but here and anytime but now ...

From the far side of the planet ...

Isn’t it cute that wherever we are it is always here and it is always now.


PETER: After our conversation the other day, I have been musing a bit about the word freedom and what it means to most people.

Freedom – 1 Exemption or release from slavery or imprisonment; personal liberty. 2 The quality of being free from the control of fate or necessity; the power of self-determination attributed to the will. 3 The quality of being free or noble; nobility, generosity, liberality. 4 The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint; liberty of action; the right of, to do.. 5 Exemption from a specific burden, charge, or service; an immunity. 6 Exemption from arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic control; independence; civil liberty. 7 Readiness or willingness to act. 8 The right of participating in the privileges attached to citizenship of a town or city (often given as an honour to distinguished people), or to membership of a company or trade. Also, the document or diploma conferring such freedom. b Foll. by of: unrestricted access to or use of. c The liberty or right to practise a trade; the fee paid for this. 9 Foll. by from. The state of not being affected by (a defect, disadvantage, etc.); exemption. 10 Orig., the overstepping of due customary bounds in speech or behaviour, undue familiarity. Now also, frankness, openness, familiarity; outspokenness. 11 Facility or ease in action or activity; absence of encumbrance. 12 Boldness or vigour of conception or execution. Oxford Dictionary

The dictionary provides a reasonably straightforward definition and for an actualist the pertinent section is freedom ‘from’, as in –

9 ‘Foll. by from. The state of not being affected by (a defect, disadvantage, etc.); exemption’.

Thus a freedom from the human condition is ‘The state of not being affected by (a defect, disavantage, etc.), exemption’ , from the human condition. Given that the salient attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow, a more pragmatic definition is an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.

Much confusion arises for the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness for the word freedom traditionally means something quite different. In spiritual terms, freedom means an escape from, or release from, something undesirable – life as-it-is, in the world as-it-is, right here and right now – and the discovery of, or realization of, a more desirable somewhere else – being ‘present’ in the spiritual world, anyplace but here and anytime but now. I am having a correspondence with an awakened spiritual teacher at the moment that well illustrates this difference –

[Respondent No 8]: I have no problem with all you say about this rock-solid world. I too feel the same way. Except there is more to it than the surface, and it is just as real.

[Peter]: Aye indeed, for you do not live in this rock-solid world for you see it as merely the surface. Where you spend most of your time is in the spiritual world that you, and many others, believe underlies this rock-solid world. By holding any spiritual belief you can never be actually here in this physical rock-solid world of sensual delight, purity and perfection. I always find it kind of cute that spiritualists insist that they are here – in the actual world where we flesh and blood human beings live – whereas they are desperately trying to be ‘there’ in the spiritual world.

It’s good that you have made the distinction between where you live and where I live so crystal clear. You see I have an enormous yes to being right here, right now in the rock-solid physical actual world, whereas you have an enormous yes to being somewhere else in the spiritual world.

We do indeed live in different worlds... Peter, List B, No 8, 19.5.2000

There seems to be a very deep-set misunderstanding that arises even from the running of the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ for the traditional approach would be – am ‘I’ feeling safe and comfortable ‘inside’ this body despite what is happening in the rock-solid world ‘out there’? This approach to the question merely perpetuates the self as an entity that is separate from the actual world, it does nothing to actively demolish and break down the barriers that prevents one as a mortal flesh and blood body being fully immersed in and engaged in the business of doing what is happening, right here and now in the physical, rock-solid actual world. This actual freedom is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual freedom which is the escape from being here, right now in this the only moment one can experience being alive.

An exchange I recently had with another correspondent illustrates a further aspect of spiritual belief about the actual physical world where we flesh and blood humans actually live –

[Respondent No 10]: Your view is very materialistic in many ways and we both know that we have far too much of that in our society. Isn’t it the materialistic/ mechanical outlook on life, humans, possessions etc. that in many ways creates our misery?

[Peter]: Who said that being comfortable, safe, warm, well fed, well clothed, well informed, well entertained, healthy, etc. creates our misery? How many people in the world haven’t got even a basic material level of shelter, food, water, education, medicine, etc – and is this not real misery?

This nonsense about the evils of materialism is put out by those miserable souls who have a vested interest in human beings believing that existence on earth is essentially a suffering existence – because it always has been, it always should be. All of spirituality, both Eastern and Western, teaches that human existence is essentially a suffering existence and also that ultimate peace is only possible after physical death – i.e. anywhere but here and anytime but now. Added to this, the modern day religion of Environmentalism preaches that there is far too much material comfort and its believers actively work to deny others in less developed countries the material comforts they themselves enjoy.

I started my search for freedom, peace and happiness on the understanding that despite the fact that I had been successful in ‘real’ world terms – 2 cars, wife, 2 kids, house, good career – I was neither free, nor peaceful nor happy. For me the question was ‘How come I have everything I could desire and yet I was neither happy nor harmless?’ I discovered that to blame materialism for human malice and sorrow is to believe the spiritual viewpoint that life on earth is ultimately unsatisfactory, and to see physical comfort and sensual enjoyment as a sign of indulgence and evil.

What I eventually discovered was that the answer lay in an area considered by all to be impossible to question – the very feelings, emotions and instinctual passions that humans beings hold so dear. Peter, List B, No 10, 17.5.2000

Again this exchange illustrates that actualism lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction to spiritualism. I don’t seek an escape from being here, now in the actual world – I seek to break free from all that prevents me from being here. In the case above, to do this means breaking free of the spiritual belief that material comfort is the cause of our misery – a deeply cynical and perverse view of life on earth that merely perpetuates human suffering.

We were chatting the other day about the marked difference between being here, doing what is happening and the feeling of not being here that can cause a frustration with life as-it-is. The frustration with life as-it-is, right here and now, most often causes a passionate desire to be somewhere else which serves only to prevent one from being here. For an actualist, any period of time spent not being here is clearly a waste of time. Any time spent being bored, angry, pissed off, feeling sad, lack luster, annoyed, etc. is time wasted time lost from fully living this the only moment one can experience being alive. All of these ‘time-offs’ have to be explored and investigated and understood so as to prevent the same old ‘time-outs’ occurring in the future. It takes a bit of practice and a lot of effort and attention as to ‘how’ am I experiencing this moment of being alive, but pretty soon one gets the hang of it.

Soon one finds that a switch has been made from being resentful at having to be here to resenting and wanting to eliminate whatever it is that prevents one from being here.

Being a bit lazy, I’ll post another bit from a recent correspondence that illustrates this point –

[Respondent No 8]: Sometimes the real test of a relationship isn’t so much being together but how does it end, if it does? And how free is it?

[Peter]: For me the main event is always here and now, which means if I am living with someone then I have no concern about when, how or if it will end. If I am not happy now, if I am annoyed, moody, discontent, out of it, lacklustre, sad or whatever then I am somewhere else but here and now, not doing what is happening in this moment of time. By fully taking on board the fact that this very moment is the only moment I can experience, means that I have abandoned the idea of postponement. For me there is no end of this relationship for, if it happens, it is not happening now. The exquisiteness and sensual delight of being here, doing what is happening, means the ending of the idea that I am coming from somewhere or that I am going somewhere. Freedom lies in being absolutely locked into, and fully committed to this very moment of time – to fully embrace being a flesh and blood human being on this paradisiacal material earth. Peter, List B, No 8, 27.4.2000

There is a world of difference from the spiritual freedom of feeling that one is here, and actually being here. It does take a bloody-mindedness to continually break from the habit of lazing back into commonly held beliefs and resentments about the impossibility of life being easy in this actual world. The only way to do this is to actively investigate and understand all of the beliefs, morals, ethics, psittacisms, feelings and passions that actively conspire to prevent one’s freedom. Of course, given that these dearly-held attributes are all that ‘I’ am made of, this process is actually a process of ‘self’-immolation which is why it lacks popular appeal and is stubbornly refuted and objected to by spiritual escapists.

Just a post-script to add some clarity about being here as it applies during the process to becoming actually free from the human condition. At the beginning of the process the difference between the pure consciousness experience and normal life is so extreme that the PCE clearly is experienced as being another world. Given that ‘who one is’ is a fully developed psychological and psychic entity living in a psychological and psychic construct of real-world and spiritual world beliefs, the self-less experience of the actual world has to appear other-worldly when one returns to normal. The marked similarity between the actual world and the real world is the physicality of both, whereas the vast difference between the actual world and the spiritual world is the physicality of the actual world and the ethereality of the spiritual world.

This difference gives one the clue to where purity and perfection really lie – in the self-less state, and not in the self-realized state. With this knowledge as one’s touchstone one then sets about the business of actively demolishing one’s self, and this process, if undertaken with sincere intent, means that each time one experiences a PCE the marked and startling difference between the experience and normal is reduced in proportion to the work done in the mean time. This can initially be quite disconcerting for what one sets out to do was to go ‘there’ – to the world experienced in the PCE whereas what one in fact is experiencing is the diminishing of one’s self to the point where one is coming here to the actual world and to this actual moment. It’s cute stuff and absolutely fascinating to experience. I experienced it as a half-way point – a sort of turning around 180 degrees from wanting to escape from here to there to wanting to be here. This is a literal tearing away from humanity, from both grim reality and escapist Reality. Then, as I said to No 8 –

[Peter to No 8]: I have an enormous yes to being right here, right now in the rock-solid physical actual world, whereas you have an enormous yes to being somewhere else in the spiritual world. Peter, List B, No 8, 19.5.2000

Good Hey


PETER: Just a little note from the far side of the planet. It is one of those particularly delicious Sunday mornings here, where after the first signs of winter and a particularly cold week, the day is warm and the air is clear and sparkling. There is something about winter sun that warms you to the bones unlike any heater seems able to do. We are heading off soon to sit on the back veranda of a near-by country pub to eat what promises to be a gourmet lunch and I thought I’d begin to relate to you a little story that happened yesterday.

Vineeto and I went to see some land that a friend had bought with the idea of building a house for herself. On the way back we stopped at a restaurant in a seaside village for coffee which, upon sighting of the menu, turned into a long lazy lunch. As lunch arrived – char-grilled king prawns and garden salad – another man I knew from my spiritual days strolled up and we asked him if he wanted to join us. Some 12 months ago Vineeto and I had, at his instigation after reading my book, a lively actualism vs. spiritualism discussion, but I had not seen him since then. He had swapped Gurus from Mohan Rajneesh to H.W.L. Poonja a few years after Rajneesh died and is a devotee-type spiritualist.

He and I chatted socially for a while, catching up on the last 12 months and he asked if I was still writing. I said I was, explaining that I was corresponding on two mailing lists at the moment, one of which was a spiritual list. He said he wasn’t into spiritual things lately but was reading a book about one of Ramana Maharshi’s devotees. He then proceeded to tell me a particular anecdote about Maharshi reported in the book that had appealed to him. A woman had evidently asked Maharshi a question about the ‘self’ and he had picked up a piece of fruit from a nearby bowl. Holding the fruit up in his hand he said

[Ramana Maharshi]: ‘Here is a piece of fruit, here is my hand, I see it and it is registered in my mind as a thought. Therefore I think I see my hand with a piece of fruit in it, but it is not real as it is only a product of the mind – only the self, who is watching this thought arising is real.’  [endquote].

I looked at him and tapped the wooden table we were sitting at and said ‘Are you telling me that this table is not real, not actual in that I can tap it, feel it, see it?’ He said he had no trouble with that, so I pointed to a tree across the road and said that if I died tomorrow that tree would still be there unless someone chopped it down in the meantime. He started to look like he was willing to engage in an intellectual argument about my statement. I realized I had once spent an evening with this same man going around his belief-system in ever-broadening and erratic circles and I saw no sense in continuing the conversation about what is illusionary and what is actual on such a delightful afternoon. As the sun was setting behind some buildings and it was a good time to go anyway, I abandoned him in mid-objections and we paid up and left.

Later that evening, while musing about my quick departure, I saw that it simply made no sense to continue a discussion with someone who was hooked on solipsism. Of course, he wasn’t fully convinced, nor fully deluded, but he liked the appeal of a way of looking at things that made him the centre of all that was happening. So, for a little solace and respite from the real world he would indulge in a little ‘self’-ish escapist fantasy by reading spiritual books and, no doubt, a bit of going-in-and-getting-lost meditation. A few years ago I would have stayed to try and convince him of the madness of solipsism but those days of needing to convince others are long passed. The conversation did, however, remind me as to how far I have come to being seen as mad from both a real-world and spiritual-world viewpoint. I see ever more clearly how no one wants to be here and everyone is frantically and desperately trying to be ‘there’. Those who fail on the spiritual path to get so far out there that they never come back spend their lives straddling both worlds, occasionally grateful for brief moments of being ‘Present’ there but generally resentful at having to be here at all.

I can’t really think of what the point of this post was – I think it was just a rave to tell you how good life is and how it is good to be mad by everyone else’s standards.

PETER: Just a note to confirm my rough and ready second-hand translation of what Mr. Maharshi is on about – from ‘The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi’. Edited by David Goldman. P. 187

Q. So the world is not really illusionary?

A. At the level of a spiritual seeker you have got to say the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets he is Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe that is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten his own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external, material universe is unreal. When once he realizes his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman. There is no universe without the Self. So long as a man does not see the Self, which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external universe is an illusion. <Snip>

Q. Is the world that is seen, felt and sensed by us in so many ways something like a dream, an illusion?

A. There is no alternative for you but to accept the world as unreal if you are seeking the truth and the truth alone. [endquote].


PETER: Good to have you back on line after your move. Sounds an excellent set up you have in your new house.

Just a comment on something you wrote in your post that caught my attention. It’s something that is quite close to me – as close as the 50 or so unsold copies of Richard’s and Peter’s Journals that sit beside my computer ...

[Vineeto]: A few months back I had stopped writing thinking I had nothing to contribute until I was free.

[Alan to Vineeto]: I discussed this a bit with Richard, some time back – and touched on it again recently.

What is the point in doing anything when one knows (from the PCE) that one can do it so much better? No. 8 and Richard have been discussing the painting painting itself and I am like that with my writing. When the words write themselves it is oh so easy. When they do not it is very, very, easy to sit back and ‘wait’.

[Vineeto]: A bit like – I’m not going to breathe anymore until I get what I want – which won’t get me closer to my goal. Or, to use another metaphor, one is standing on the brakes and wondering why the car doesn’t move.

Now I have recently discovered another hump to overcome – ‘I might as well stop writing because Peter and Richard can say it much better than I ever will be able to anyway.’

[Alan to Vineeto]: I also have encountered this obstacle, though I do not agree with ‘I ever will be able to anyway’. For me, it was tied in with ‘what is the point’, as above. I know I will write as well as Peter and Richard when I am free of the condition of being ‘human’. [endquote].

I can relate to what you are saying about writing when you say ‘when the words write themselves it is oh so easy.’ But I can’t relate to ‘I know I will write as well as Peter and Richard when I am free of the condition of being ‘human’’ because I am not yet free of the Human Condition. Writing was an issue for me quite often whenever I read Richard’s writing and recognized the unequivocal authority of someone who is writing from the ongoing experience of being utterly ‘self’-less, i.e. totally free of malice and sorrow.

When I came across Richard, tried out his method and found that it worked, I was inexorably drawn to try to write about Actual Freedom. I naively expected that it would be good news for my friends still struggling on the spiritual path or for those who had become disillusioned. Vineeto desktop-published my journal, Richard did his own, and Vineeto funded the printing of a limited run of both books in paperback form. I ended up giving away half my copies and Richard has managed to sell about half of his, hence the remaining that gather dust by my computer. My approach to writing was simply that there would be another Peter or Vineeto out there somewhere and that has been my approach ever since, despite the evident unpopularity of the topic. The surprising realization I soon became aware of after beginning to write was that I was essentially compelling myself to make sense of the Human Condition and how discovering how it operated in me. This is why I always would encourage anyone to write – I know of no better way to facilitate contemplation and encourage clarity. It also has the advantage of counteracting the billions of words of Ancient Wisdom that is ensnaring people into a life of denial and delusion, it communicates to others the bountiful benefits of actualism and points to the newly available possibility of an Actual Freedom from malice and sorrow.

T’is a win-win situation.

There was also another, no less important, motive. I came from some 17 years on the spiritual path where one was either free as in Enlightened, an awakened wannabe as in a teacher, or Enlightened as in an indisputable God-man. Once I recognized that the path to Actual Freedom had nothing to do with the traditional spiritual freedom, it became clear that a new form of communication was possible that had nothing to do with the demeaning humbleness that passes for communication in the Master-disciple system. We now have the opportunity to move beyond the traditional bowing down before some Guru or devotedly parroting some God-man’s wisdom whereby we can now ask sensible questions from an expert, an authority on the subject of both spiritual freedom and Actual Freedom. There is also a chance for those who are interested in freedom, peace and happiness to share their successes and failures, to ask questions and get answers, to make up their own mind free of emotional pressures, to move at their own pace ... or to bail out if it is not for them. For this type of discussion to eventuate I realized I had to be both an initiator and a contributor for it to be of benefit to me and others.

Again a win-win situation.

Further, there is the obviousness of having the courage to stick one’s head above the parapet, so to speak. What struck me was the fact that Richard has been daring enough to not only to be the first to become free of the Human Condition but to then go public with his finding. For this he has had to run the gauntlet of cyber abuse and ridicule, but if it were not for that fact that he did it, neither you nor I would be as happy or harmless as we are today and this forum would not exist. If it were not for the fact that Vineeto and I stuck our heads above the parapet by writing to the Sannyas mailing list, some who are reading these words would not be doing so. What others make of these words is purely their business but that we can talk of how to become free of malice and sorrow is an astounding development that is only possible via the World Wide Web. The benefit of the Net is that abuse from others is limited to swear words in capital letters or cyber-execution from mailing lists but one is tested nevertheless as to whether one takes offence – for if there is an emotional response it is a sure sign that there is a ‘me’ who takes offence and then ‘I’ have something to look at. This communicating with others also has the advantage of letting others know that there is now available a third alternative to either remaining normal or becoming spiritual.

Again a win-win situation.

Another point that comes to mind is that becoming free of the Human Condition is not a dispassionate affair – it is not about stripping one’s ‘self’ of emotions or making sense of the Human Condition such that one becomes a stripped-down clever cool ‘self’. The motivation to get beyond this stage has to be a ‘self’-less concern and consideration for one’s fellow human beings, such as is experienced in a pure consciousness experience. The utter futility and sheer pointlessness of human beings being instinctually driven to battle it out with each other in a fear-driven struggle for survival on this verdant and bountiful planet becomes startlingly evident ... and one is inexorably drawn to do something about the situation. You realize in a pure consciousness experience that the only thing possible to do is to ‘self’-immolate – to rid this flesh and blood body of the entity that is, by its very nature, malicious and sorrowful, that ‘I’ can only be a contributor to violence and suffering on the planet. You realize that this act is the only sensible and practical contribution you can make to peace on earth.

Thus the essential fuel for ‘self’-immolation is altruism – the instinctual passion to sacrifice oneself for the others. This passion has to be activated and cultivated as a burning desire, for it is the only fuel that can get you through when the other passions begin to diminish in Virtual Freedom and comfortable ‘normal’ threatens to set in. Personally, this passion has always proved too strong to sit on for too long – soon I find myself back writing again, sticking my neck out, taking another risk, saying yes to being here and playing this game of being alive.

So many people seem to be put off by any passion for freedom after their failures on the spiritual path but I fail to see how one can become free of the Human Condition unless it is a burning ‘self’-consuming passion. For me, one of the ways to both activate and cultivate this passion has been to write, both as a way of going beyond my comfort zone and of my fuelling my altruism. Also, I know that what I write about actualism and Actual Freedom will be of benefit to other actualists.

Again a win-win situation.

I am not suggesting that everyone needs to write a journal or needs to write on a mailing list, but some form of ‘coming out of the closet’ is essential, for that is, in essence, what becoming free of the Human Condition involves. The sensible and easy way to do this is to follow someone who has already done it and also to share one’s experiences, knowledge, successes and failures with others who are actively doing it. Richard did it by himself, as everyone else has to, but we now have the benefit of being able to have the support of others and to give support to others ... altruism in action, if you like.

Again a win-win situation.

So Alan, when you write –

[Alan]: I know I will write as well as Peter and Richard when I am free of the condition of being ‘human’ ... [endquote].

Can’t I just tease you to write a bit while you’re waiting? I do enjoy your posts.


PETER: I came across another academic study of jealousy that may be of interest if only for the contorted efforts to justify the unjustifiable – human instinctual passions. Sort of like human beings as puppets tied to the strings of their own instinctual passions and saying ‘it’s alright really, I can cope’.

This excerpt is copied from Book Sales Web-site –

[quote]: The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is As Necessary As Love and Sex by David M. Buss. Psychology/Univ. of Texas

Copyright © 2000 All rights reserved.

‘Jealousy can be emotional acid that corrodes marriages, undermines self-esteem, triggers battering, and leads to the ultimate crime of murder. Despite its dangerous manifestations, jealousy helped to solve a critical reproductive quandary for ancestral men. Jealous men were more likely to preserve their valuable commitments for their own children rather than squandering them on the children of their rivals. As descendants of a long line of men who acted to ensure their paternity, modern men carry with them the dangerous passion that led to their forebears’ reproductive success.

A professional couple therapist I know related to me the following story. A young couple, Joan and Richard, came to her with a complaint of irrational jealousy. Without provocation, Richard would burst into jealous tirades and accuse Joan of sleeping with another man. His uncontrollable jealousy was destroying their marriage. Richard and Joan both agreed on this point. Could the therapist help cure Richard of irrational jealousy? A common practice in couple therapy is to have at least one session with each member of the couple individually. The first question the therapist posed to Joan during this individual interview was: Are you having an affair? She burst into tears and confessed that, indeed, she had been carrying on an affair for the past six months.

Richard’s jealousy, it turned out, had not been irrational after all. He had been picking up on subtle cues of his wife’s infidelity that triggered his jealousy. Since he trusted Joan and she had assured him of her fidelity, however, he believed that his jealousy had been irrational. In a sense, Richard had failed to listen to his internal emotional whisperings.

He came to the wrong conclusion because he overrode his feelings with ‘rationality’.

This episode gave me the first hint that jealousy represented a form of ancestral wisdom that can have useful as well as destructive consequences. Despite the possible hazards of conducting research on jealousy, its potency convinced me that it could not be ignored by science. In surveys we discovered that nearly all men and women have experienced at least one episode of intense jealousy. Thirty-one percent say that their personal jealousy has sometimes been difficult to control. And among those who admit to being jealous, 38 percent say that their jealousy has led them to want to hurt someone.

Extreme jealousy has been given many names – the Othello syndrome, morbid jealousy, psychotic jealousy, pathological jealousy, conjugal paranoia, and erotic jealousy syndrome. Jealousy, of course, can be pathological. It can destroy previously harmonious relationships, rendering them hellish nightmares of daily existence. Trust slowly built from years of mutual reliance can be torn asunder in a crashing moment. As we will explore in a later chapter, jealousy leads more women to flee in terror to shelters than any other cause. A full 13 percent of all homicides are spousal murders, and jealousy is overwhelmingly the leading cause.

But destruction does not necessarily equal pathology. The pathological aspect of extreme jealousy, according to the mainstream wisdom, is not the jealousy itself. It is the delusion that a loved one has committed an infidelity when none has occurred. The rage itself upon the actual discovery of an infidelity is something people everywhere intuitively understand. In Texas until 1974, a husband who killed a wife and her lover when he caught them in flagrante delicto was not judged a criminal. In fact, the law held that a ‘reasonable man’ would respond to such extreme provocation with acts of violence. Similar laws have been on the books worldwide. Extreme rage upon discovering a wife naked in the arms of another man is something that people everywhere find intuitively comprehensible. Criminal acts that would normally receive harsh prison sentences routinely get reduced when the victim’s infidelity is the extenuating circumstance.

The view of jealousy as pathological ignores a profound fact about an important defence designed to combat a real threat. Jealousy is not always a reaction to an infidelity that has already been discovered. It can be an anticipatory response, a pre-emptive strike to prevent an infidelity that might occur. Labelling jealousy as pathological simply because a spouse has not yet strayed ignores the fact that jealousy can head off an infidelity that might be lurking on the horizon of a relationship.

Excessive jealousy can be extraordinarily destructive. But moderate jealousy, not an excess or an absence, signals commitment. This book explores both sides of this double-edged defence mechanism.

To understand the power of this extraordinary emotion, we must trace it to its origin, long before capitalism, long before agriculture and cash economies, long before writing and recorded history, and long before humans fanned out and colonized every habitable continent. We must trace its roots to the evolution of one of the most unusual adaptations in primate history, yet one that we take so much for granted that its existence is hardly questioned: the emergence of long-term love.’ (

Doing the emotional-tango is such an exhausting life-long business.

I liked the anecdotal case quoted where the conclusion was that ‘Richard failed to listen to his internal emotional whisperings’ . He came to the wrong conclusion because ‘he overrode his feelings with ‘rationality’ .’ Presumably, if he had listened to his internal emotional whisperings and not overrode his feelings with ‘rationality’ he would have either strangled or shot his unfaithful wife, thus fulfilling his instinctual male role. T’is a tortured world, the world of trying to balance, justify, excuse, defend, stabilize, control, suppress or transcend the animal instinctual passions.

There is a bit more than this excerpt available on the Amazon site that may, or may not, be of interest.


PETER: Thanks for your comments and I will do a touch of editing soon. I have two comments to what you suggested and the first is in regard to your suggestion to write the ‘map’ in the third person.

To talk of the Human Condition – the ‘common lot’ of human beings – to use ‘we’ is appropriate for ‘we’ humans are all inevitably born into it. ‘We’ humans are, without exception, all taught to always think of ourselves as an ‘I’, as social identity within the greater ‘we’ of Humanity. ‘We’ are also all genetically-encoded to instinctually feel ourselves to be a ‘me’ deep down inside and to feel an impassioned bond with the rest of the biological species (animal-instinctual human beings) such that breaking free of this psychic-biological bond is to literally go against all that is considered natural.

However, on the path to Actual Freedom, there is no ‘we’, as in a collective, who is doing it – there can only be ‘I’ fading into the background and ultimately ‘me’ becoming extinct.

Hence the essential use of the first person – as in one and only – on the path to Actual Freedom.

The other suggestion you made is in regard to what I wrote about realizations –

[Alan]: For a spiritualist, realizations are the be all and end all, the knowledge gained remains intellectual, usually translated into feelings, any experiences are [savoured], and ‘I’ claim the credit, becoming even more strengthened and aggrandized. For an actualist, [realizations are simply a serendipitous by-product of their investigations into their ‘self’.

These discoveries will usually be accompanied by a feeling of ‘how could have I been so stupid not to have seen this before? How could I possibly have believed that for all those years? There is an acknowledgement of success firmly based on the tangible evidence of becoming more happy and more harmless. No longer are one’s reactions to others motivated by instilled passions of anger, fear, love, jealousy, greed etc. And so one’s progress is confirmed by the increasing ease of interactions with one’s fellow human beings.] [endquote].

I take it that you are suggesting to delete everything in brackets in this section.

In the first section about realizations being a serendipitous by-product of an actualist’s investigations, it is clear that it is ‘I’ who have realizations or startling insights into the Human Condition in general, and about ‘my’ feelings, emotions and behaviour in particular. These realizations, if combined with an uncorrupted objective in life, can lead to irrevocable change and it is actual change that an actualist seeks – not just imagining or feeling that one has changed.

On the spiritual path, realizations lead to a change in consciousness – i.e. a change in how ‘I’ think and feel about life as-it-is. These spiritually conditioned realizations, or insights, about the ‘real world’ invariably lead to affective experiences, which in turn can lead to temporary altered states of consciousness or, for those rare few who lose all grip on reality, a permanent ASC, aka Enlightenment.

This difference, yet again, points to the fact that the spiritual process is diametrically opposite to the process of becoming actually free of the Human Condition.

The reference to feeling a fool relates to the issue of pride, which is perhaps the most significant feeling that inhibits those who have trod the spiritual path. It is a shattering blow to one’s pride to admit that ‘I’ am neither happy nor harmless, to admit that ‘my’ relationships are not perfect and to admit that ‘my’ dearly-beloved spiritual beliefs are based on nothing more than puerile Bronze Age superstition and ignorance. At some point, this understanding must come as a shattering realization, a crushing blow to one’s pride, or else one is kidding oneself, indulging in ‘self’-deceptive cleverness or treating actualism as a clip on, a philosophy, a theory, a concept, an ideal, a belief.

It is at this point that one begins to turn around and to really begin to question one’s spiritual roots and programming. I would suggest that such is the strength of this realization that the whole spiritual world is a vast illusionary construct, and such is the turmoil created, that a break-through or glimpse of the actual world – a significant PCE – can occur at, or near, this time.

It is obvious from the recent posts on this list that, despite the fact that some people are initially attracted to Actual Freedom, at some point they find it impossible to admit that ‘I’ am wrong and Richard is right. This is pride in operation and then silliness sets in to point of blatant denial that they are on the spiritual path, that they ever have been on the spiritual path, or that there is such a thing as spirituality, even to the very extreme, by now common, inanity of calling actualism a religion. There are none so proud of their feelings of superiority than a ‘humble’ spiritual person, so much so, that this programming causes them to be very defensive, retreat into denial, become silly and even feel angry when they come across someone who is what he says is. There are literally scores of examples of this pattern in operation documented in the correspondence to date such that I may well have made light of the insidiousness of pride in my formulation of the ‘map’.


PETER: I take it that you are suggesting to delete everything in brackets in this section.

ALAN: No. As I said at the start of my mail to you, I put any changes I made in square brackets to enable ease of identification, so that by entering a square bracket in your word processor’s search function, you would easily see what changes I had made.

PETER: Yeah, I stuffed up. Vineeto had put the post into Alan’s correspondence and coloured the changes and I carelessly assumed they were suggested deletions. Woops.

Hence the essential use of the first person – as in one and only – on the path to Actual Freedom.

ALAN: I was simply referring to the style of writing. Part of it was written as a personal account and part in the third person. I suggested altering personal references and narrative, vis.: <Snipped>

PETER: I know I do tend to wander in and out of tenses and ‘persons’ in my writing. Sometimes I am writing of my past experiences, sometimes current experiences, sometimes about the Human Condition, sometimes about the process of actualism impersonally and sometimes personally ... and often in the same sentence!! It is just my peculiar writing style I guess – it is as it comes off the keyboard, a bit like a design comes off the drawing board (... soon to be the computer monitor). It also reflects the various inputs on the path, sometimes personal observations, realizations and experiences, sometimes observations or realizations about the Human Condition in general or sometimes the actions or words of others are vital inputs and I wanted the map to reflect this simple ‘do whatever it takes’ approach.

But I do take your point and I think it is well worth cleaning up, improving and refining the ‘map’, particularly as Vineeto has set it up as a page called ‘An actualist’s guide for the wide and wondrous path’.

ALAN: I think the ‘map’ could be of great use to those who wish to further their pursuit of an actual freedom from the human condition and I would like to assist in further refining and expanding it.

PETER: Thanks, I welcome any input you make, particularly as I seem to have so many little projects on the go at the moment. Perhaps if we sort out a way of editing that makes your comments more fool-proof for my benefit. I suggest colour coding may be appropriate but if we find a clear way that avoids going back and forward between two documents for editing t’would be easier.

This is all good fun, hey. At least my stuff-up gave me an opportunity to have another rave about pride – for none have their sense of pride (or humility) battered more than an actualist ... for ‘I’ can never be right, let alone pure and perfect, no matter how hard ‘I’ try.

It’s so, so much easier to let facts speak for themselves for then ‘I’ can retire.


PETER: Hi Alan,

It’s good to hear from you again from the bowels of the ‘olde country’. I don’t have anything specifically to say but a few things caught my attention recently so I thought I might just make mention of them.

But firstly, in re-reading your last post a couple of comments you made tweaked my curiosity –

ALAN: Unlike many on this list I was never part of any spiritual group or movement, although I had always been interested in discovering what life was about and was involved in ‘personal growth’ in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

PETER: I have scant knowledge about the personal growth movement but it would seem to me that Eastern spirituality would have underpinned much of its philosophy, as it did most of psychiatry, psychology and therapy in the last 100 years. Carl Gustav Jung and Wilhelm Reich, two of the prime movers of 20th Century psychology and psychiatry, were both deeply interested and moved by Eastern spirituality. As a suggestion, and it is only that, it may be interesting to go back and re-read some of what you were ‘in to’ before, just to look at it with fresh eyes – both to see what your initial attraction was and what sense you make of it now. I know, for me, it was very revealing to very deliberately re-visit the spiritual teachings I had been so ‘in to’ before I took on actualism – I learnt so much vital information about myself, the human condition and the supposed wisdom of humanity.


ALAN: And the last 9 months. I have posted little to this mailing list and have spent little time in reflective contemplation. Whether this is because all the discoveries have been made and, as I said to Vineeto, ‘I certainly have had a sense of, there is nothing new to write or report – and maybe that, in itself, is worth reporting’.

PETER: Personally, I find spending little time in reflective contemplation difficult to relate to because it is not my experience. Perhaps your meaning is different than mine so I will define what reflective contemplation means to me.

The ability to reflect is innate in all human beings. In animals, a primitive instinctual memory of past events is evident – a dog nuzzling up for food, a lion returning to a favourite hunting spot, a cat being wary in a place where it was attacked before. Humans have not only this primitive instinctual memory but also a reasonably detailed factual memory which, when combined with thinking, forms intelligence. The action of thinking without the ability to reflect would leave us unable to gain the practical benefit of life-experience – one would be not only immature but one would be unable to learn from one’s life experiences. Given that the aim of actualism is to be here in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are, reflective contemplation is an essential activity for an actualist.

When running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and coming up with the answer annoyed for example invariably requires reflective contemplation in order to discover when the onset of the current feeling occurred and what event caused it. In the tumultuous period of ‘self’-discovery that lead up to becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow I was almost constantly busy either being aware of what was going on now or reflecting upon my life experiences so as to discover the degree and extent of the programming that formed my habitual robotic-like social and instinctual identity.

I am not advising dwelling in the past or dredging up old memories but it is one’s own life experience that provides the bulk of the information and experience needed to fully understand that peace on earth can never be found within the human condition. As with any learning, it is the experience of what doesn’t work that enables one to move on to try something new, i.e. for learning and progress to happen, reflection is essential.

Reflective contemplation is part and parcel of intelligence – to abandon it is to deny the opportunity to learn from one’s own life experiences and to ignore what is really going on in the world-as-it-is, leaving one incapable of fully understanding the human condition. Unless one combines reflective contemplation with a forthright observation and thoroughgoing investigation into one’s own ‘self’ in action and the human condition in action, it can degenerate into abstract reflection as in daydreaming or meditation. The very act of being a student of the human condition, as I described actualism recently, requires reflective contemplation – what is the human condition, how does it function and why does it inevitably manifest in malice and sorrow, conflict and war, depression and suicide ... despite the good intentions of billions of people for thousands of years?

Running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is a very effective way of becoming aware of and reducing the debilitating effects of one’s own social conditioning and the excesses of the instinctual passions, but it is altruism – the innate unselfishness programmed into human beings – that will move one on beyond the safe zone of feeling comfortable or safe. It is altruism that fuels one’s concern and caring about the fate of one’s fellow human beings. It is altruism that pushes one to plumb the depths of one’s own psyche in search to free this very flesh and blood body of every skerrick of malice and sorrow including the antidotal passions of love and compassion.

Virtual freedom allows one sufficient freedom from one’s own social conditioning and crippling emotions to move beyond ‘self’ investigation into awareness of, and reflective contemplation about, the human condition in toto. This broadening of one’s awareness – still triggered by asking ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is a win-win situation, for without it all of one’s gains in virtual freedom can be lost as one slips back into self-centredness and self-indulgence.

Virtual freedom is by no means a permanent state, it is only a stepping stone on the path. To stop at any stage on the path is to risk losing all that one has gained from one’s hard work, but to push on requires a passionate dedication and obsession that can only be fuelled by altruism – the innate unselfishness that is programmed into all human beings as part of the survival instincts. When one takes the blind senselessness out of altruism then one’s ‘self’-sacrifice is made for peace on earth, not God or country.

Actualism is about peace on earth – bringing an end to war, murder, rape, torture, domestic violence, corruption and child abuse.

ALAN to Vineeto: Or, perhaps it is another of ‘my’ tricks – an apathetic way of attempting to continue ‘my’ existence? Perhaps it is a necessary next step in the process – as Peter wrote to Gary –

[Peter to Gary]: ‘It seems that even my passion for actualism is now fading as it is finally dawning on me that I am running out of words to say and experiences to relate. It is as though I am no longer interested in actualism but I would say it is more accurate to say that I am no longer a practicing actualist for whenever I run the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ I can no longer muster a self-centred emotional or neurotic response.

It is as though Peter the actualist has run his course, written his words, and is more than ready for retirement.

It is as though my work is done both as an active actualist and as a documenter of the process of actualism. This stage has been going on for some months now and shows no sign of abating. At first I attributed it to laziness but I suspect it is more than that. I suspect it is the end of an era, the end of one extraordinary adventure and the beginning of another.’ Peter to Gary, 9.4.2001

PETER: What I wrote to Gary may appear to be contradictory to what I have just said above but I will attempt to throw a bit more light on what I think is going on. The path to virtual freedom is clearly high adventure – the decision to start at all is daunting, the on-going discoveries intimidating, tumultuous and disconcerting, to say the least. Oft times it feels as if one is losing all bearings, all sense and all direction, which is exactly what is happening, as most of one’s cherished beliefs and values are shattered and most of one’s past familiar persona is deliberately demolished. One often feels as though one is being torn apart as everything safe and familiar is thrown into question – by one’s very own questioning.

Eventually the more crass and obvious aspects of one’s social identity and the more strident and gross expressions of one’s instinctual passions are eliminated such that one is virtually happy and harmless. Feeling good is an almost constant state – no more does melancholy and sadness have a lasting grip, nor does irritation or anger have any staying power. One is then free from the more insidious passions and thus more ready and able to investigate the underlying stygian nature of the human condition.

In my case this included my Christian conditioning that lay un-investigated beneath my later-in-life Eastern religious conditioning, the precise nature of the tender passions that we humans hold so dearly and the last remnants of my social identity that I held most dear. Feeling excellent eventually became ‘my’ normal experiencing and I was able to go to bed at night knowing the next day would be perfect – as perfect as possible while remaining a ‘self’. This stage is typified by clarity of thinking and a continual state of almost-bare awareness. Increasingly I was able to see that it is only the human condition in general, and experience that it is ‘me’ in particular, that stands in the way of peace on earth.

Then one finds oneself left with no choice – to mark time is to waste time, to turn back is impossible if one has done one’s homework with sufficient thoroughness – so one gaily abandons all that is considered reasonable, safe and sane and ploughs on regardless. One raises the bar from feeling excellent and one begins to marvel in wonder and amazement and unquestioningly sets off towards one’s destiny, realizing that ‘I’ can never prepare myself for what lays ahead, for what lays ahead will not be of ‘my’ doing.

As such, the reference in my post to Gary that ‘I am no longer a practicing actualist’ referred to ‘me’ having nothing left of significance to investigate – the process of ‘self’ investigation must come to an end at some stage. This was made clear to me when Gary was more able to freshly describe the atavistic fears that inevitably arise in questioning one’s own spiritual/religious beliefs, simply because he is at that stage of his own ‘self’-investigation. Which is why I also said for me – ‘it is the end of an era, the end of one extraordinary adventure and the beginning of another’.

I hope that makes what I was saying a bit clearer. It is easier to report happenings and events in hindsight, a bit riskier to try and assess what is happening while it is happening, but all that can happen by taking the risk is that I stuff up. Which I obviously did to some extent ...because here I am writing again. But hey ... as they say, ‘who’ is perfect? Certainly not ‘me’.


I will finish off this post with a few observations about the human condition that struck me recently as being particularly revealing.

The first was a saying that I heard recently – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’. For those who have felt the rage of jealousy or, as Vineeto recently reported, were willing to kill or be killed for their love of God or Master, this is surely sufficient evidence that the feeling of love is by no means benign and, by no means, the means to peace and harmony between human beings.

As I was typing this I just over-heard a comment on a new-age health program stating that the placebo effect proves the healing power of belief. Every now and then something leaps out at me that leaves me astounded as to what lengths people will go to in order to justify their beliefs – they stubbornly refuse to let facts stand in the way of a good belief.

To change subject, I was recently watching a National Geographic program about protecting deer in the US. If you have noticed, National Geographic appears to be the evangelical high church of environmental spiritualism. The program documented a group of park rangers who had built several radio controlled decoy deer complete with motorized turning heads. They would set them as lures in a forest clearing or by the roadside and then lay in wait. When a hunter came along they would promptly arrest the hunter and fine him on the spot.

I found it fascinating to see human beings now using decoy animals in order to hunt and trap other human beings whereas, as a child, it was common practice for human beings to use animals as decoys in order to trap other animals for food. The same instinctual pleasure in trapping and hunting – changing times have just brought about a change in the hunter’s target – from trapping and hunting for food to trapping and hunting humans for love of God’s creatures or to protect Mother Earth. As the dimwitticismgoes – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’.

The interesting thing is that sensible conservation has been around at least a half-century before passion and pantheism combined to produce the current religion of Environmentalism. From early on in the 20th Century, many governments and community groups were actively concerned about resource preservation and conservation, national parks were established, forestry and fishing controlled, pollution reduced, sewerage and water standards introduced. This process was begun as a pragmatic response to actual problems as they emerged, whereas nowadays what is mostly proselytised by institutions such as National Geographic and Green Peace is doom-and-gloom-backed irrational spiritual fervour.

Passion combined with belief not only stifles intelligence – it is ultimately a lethal cocktail that is directly responsible for all the deaths of over 160 million humans in wars in the last century, over 40 million suicides and so many murders, rapes and abused children that it is impossible to estimate. As if this is not horrific enough, there is no end to this slaughter and mayhem in sight because it is held to be inviolate that human beings are feeling beings.

For an actualist feeling good is a start, being virtually free of malice and sorrow is a not-to-be-sneezed-at achievement but it is only a stepping-stone on the path to the final extinction of malice and sorrow.

How else is the slaughter and mayhem of the human condition finally going to come to an end unless we pioneers have the fortitude to do it?

One needs a sense of adventure to be a pioneer ... and to be a pioneering actualist is the greatest adventure. In an age when a blind man has now climbed Mt. Everest and tourists now go into space, the greatest challenge still to be conquered is for human beings to stop doing what doesn’t work, stop beating around the bush and learn how to live together in peace and harmony.

There is no greater challenge, there is no greater need.


PETER: Hi Alan,

Again just a few random comments re you last post –

ALAN: From the descriptions by you, Richard, Vineeto, Gary and others, extricating oneself from the beliefs of spiritualism is one of the most daunting tasks facing anyone starting on the road to an actual freedom. Sure, I had to investigate a few myself, but nothing like what you had to do. Of course the final discovery – that there is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe – is the same for all and I acknowledge the achievement that you and other ‘spiritualists’ make in realising this fact.

PETER: A finding from a recent study investigating the causes of human depression might be relevant. One of the major reasons given for feeling depressed by participants in the study was that they felt that nobody was in charge of the human species – no leader or group of leaders, no faceless men, no secret cartel. This feeling of ‘it’s all out of control and there is nothing that can be done about it’ evidently plunged many people into helplessness, depression and despair. The study dealt with one end of the spectrum of the human condition – the hopeless despair of grim reality when stripped of the hopeful fantasy of a greater reality – but what I found most revealing was the reason offered by many for their depression.

What fascinated me for long time in my own investigations was the human instinctual need for a controlling or nurturing being – a daddy or a mummy figure of some description – be it terrestrial or extraterrestrial, corporeal or fantasy, physical or psychic. This need for a mummy or daddy is obviously very real in childhood but adult humans have never quite managed to unshackle themselves from the both the physical and emotional dependency ingrained at childhood.

Adolescence heralds the commencement of one’s instinctual reproductive compulsion and the associated responsibilities and is a time of either unquestioning acquiescence to, or blind against, one’s societal conditioning. Whilst some manage to keep up the rebellion, anger and frustration for most of their adult lives – unless they waft into Acceptance – they in fact do nothing than overtly or covertly spread the seeds of resentment at, and despair of, ‘society’ to the next generation.

And so the cycle goes on and on and on ... as the human condition is actively perpetuated by yet another sad and sorry generation.

As I began to become fascinated with the workings of the human condition, both in its animal-instinctual roots and in its tribal-social perpetuation via childhood reward and punishment, I simultaneously started to become fascinated with the workings of ‘me’. How had ‘I’, as a social identity, been created? What particular morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms had been implanted by others and what morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms had I adopted as ‘mine’ simply because they appealed to me at the time or because they were part and parcel of some social group I aligned myself with?

This fascination lead me to actively investigate ‘I’, the controller – the social identity, the ‘good boy’, whose job when he grew up was not only to be a fit member of society but whose life-long responsibility was to constantly monitor, check and control – lest the dark side of ‘me’ should run amok. When I started to peel back the layers of social conditioning, I did indeed start to discover an instinctual ‘me’ – the raw animal ‘me’, programmed by blind nature to be nothing more than a seed-implanting, propagator of the species.

This raw animal ‘self’ may well have both savage and tender passions but these passions, whether they be selfishly ‘self’-protective or unselfishly species-protective, are neither intelligent nor are they benign. It is these raw animal survival instinctual passions, genetically-encoded by blind nature in every member of the human species, that warrant that human existence will forever remain a grim and senseless, human vs. human, battle for survival. By simple experiential observation of these animal passions in action in myself and in other animal species it becomes clear and explicit that to remain a slave to these passions makes it is impossible for me, this corporeal-only body, to ever be a happy body, let alone a harmless body.

But, as you noted, the beginning of this process of active ‘self’-discovery is the observation that there ‘is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe’. If one really takes this observation fully on board, a wonder-full and utterly ‘self’-less experience can result whereby one directly experiences that there ‘is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe .’ One then can unequivocally experience that the puerile ancient spirit-ridden beliefs about the universe – those that still pass for wisdom, even to this day – are nought but fear-filled fairy tales that should be confined to the dustbin of history. In such a pure consciousness experience of the infinitude of this physical-only universe and of its this-moment-only happening, it then becomes patently obvious what a folly it is to believe that all this magnificence was created by, or is controlled by, a some-body or a some-thing.

It is this temporary glimpse of ‘self’-less experience that then provides one’s life with substance, meaning, purpose, focus and direction and one then yearns to start the process of actively participating in the happening of this moment, for the first time in one’s life – and most definitely not as a dis-embodied observer, nor as a back-seat passenger. It becomes clear from such an experience that the way to do this is to ask oneself, each moment again, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? – for one will then focus one’s attention on how one is experiencing this very moment of being alive, the only moment one can experience.

The process of actualism itself then becomes rich in meaning, purpose and direction. The process of actualism can never be off in the future and there is never an opportunity lost in the past, for it is immediately happening the moment one asks oneself the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’

What will inevitably come to light over time in this momentary investigation are all the morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms that constitute ‘me’ as a social identity and all of the instinctual passions that give substance to ‘me’ as an instinctual being. Thus by one’s own curiosity, one’s own attentiveness, one’s own investigations and one’s own experiences, one actively conspires in one’s own ‘self’-immolation.

But just to flag a warning –

This process of actualism is not effortless, for if it was the human condition would not still be exemplified by malice and sorrow. Millions of people have searched for a genuine freedom for thousands of years but the priests, shamans, wise men and Gurus have always taught, by carrot and stick, the effortless paths of devotion or surrender. It is because of this religious/spiritual conditioning that most of the people thus far who have been attracted to actualism, including those who have ‘seen the light’ and stopped their spiritual seeking, invariably cool themselves down when they realize that actualism is not an effortless path.

Effort is required in actualism and none more so than to begin the process. Once started, effort is still required to sustain it in the face of the occasional adversities as well as the persistent adversaries. The effort required is in no way super-human – it simply requires that you make becoming free of malice and sorrow the most important thing in your life and to not stop until the job is done.

To regard freedom from malice and sorrow as effortless is to demean the efforts of the countless human beings who have searched for, and are still searching for, a way to bring peace to this fair planet. That freedom should be effortless is one of the most insidious and deepest ingrained of all spiritual beliefs for one invariably imagines freedom to be one’s God-given right.

For an actualist it is essential to break free from the iron grip of ‘effortless’ belief, fully grasp the fact that there is ‘no-one or no-thing’ stopping one from being free, shout halleluiah, roll up one’s sleeves and become fully committed to making peace on earth a fact rather than a dream.


ALAN: And the last 9 months. I have posted little to this mailing list and have spent little time in reflective contemplation. Whether this is because all the discoveries have been made and, as I said to Vineeto, ‘I certainly have had a sense of, there is nothing new to write or report – and maybe that, in itself, is worth reporting’.

PETER: Personally, I find spending little time in reflective contemplation difficult to relate to because it is not my experience. Perhaps your meaning is different to mine so I will define what reflective contemplation means to me.

The ability to reflect is innate in all human beings. In animals, a primitive instinctual memory of past events is evident – a dog nuzzling up for food, a lion returning to a favourite hunting spot, a cat being wary in a place where it was attacked before. Humans have not only this primitive instinctual memory but also a reasonably detailed factual memory which, when combined with thinking, forms intelligence. The action of thinking without the ability to reflect would leave us unable to gain the practical benefit of life-experience – one would be not only immature but one would be unable to learn from one’s life experiences. Given that the aim of actualism is to be here in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are, reflective contemplation is an essential activity for an actualist.

ALAN: I think we mean the same thing by ‘reflective contemplation’. Perhaps I should have said ‘pure contemplation’, viz: –

Richard: Pure contemplation is absolutely free from any pre-conceived concepts ... it lies beyond ‘human’ beliefs and ideals. Richard’s Journal Article 14

PETER: Perhaps another way of putting it is that reflective contemplation is part of the work that ‘I’ do in order to investigate and eliminate the ‘human’ beliefs and ideals that actively conspire to prevent pure contemplation from happening.


PETER: Virtual freedom is by no means a permanent state, it is only a stepping stone on the path. To stop at any stage on the path is to risk losing all that one has gained from one’s hard work, but to push on requires a passionate dedication and obsession that can only be fuelled by altruism – the innate unselfishness that is programmed into all human beings as part of the survival instincts. When one takes the blind senselessness out of altruism then one’s ‘self’-sacrifice is made for peace on earth, not God or country. Actualism is about peace on earth – bringing an end to war, murder, rape, torture, domestic violence, corruption and child abuse.

ALAN: Interesting what you say about altruism in view of my last post to Vineeto. I disagree that it is unselfish, however. Surely most, if not all, altruistic acts are done to obtain recognition, praise and glory for being unselfish – LOL.

PETER: We may well be talking of different things for I was talking about the blind passion of altruism – an intrinsic aspect of the pre-programmed survival instinct in humans that is ultimately configured to ensure the survival of the species and not any particular individual. I can remember two distinct experiences of the overwhelming power of altruism and neither had anything to do with recognition, praise or glory.

The first occasion was clear-cut and concerned the death of my son. As soon as the first wave of grief subsided I was struck with an urge to sacrifice my own life if it would bring him back. This urge was so powerful that I have no doubt that I would have thrown the switch to make this happen if it were possible. He was the future and I was the past – he was the species’ future and I was merely its past – for ‘I’, as an instinctual animal, am genetically programmed to be northing other than a progenerator of the species. Thus my biological imperative to reproduce was completed and the blind urge to sacrifice my life in order that my offspring survived kicked in.

The second experience is somewhat less clear for the blind altruistic drive was clouded and complicated by my tribal-social conditioning. This relates to the life-threatening situation at the end of Rajneeshpuram in Oregon where I felt distinct urges to sacrifice my life in order that my God would survive. Given that I was living in one of his communes at the time and not at Rajneeshpuram and that the crisis passed without conflict, the experience was not as strong and as immediate as the first one. When taken to extremes, the simplistic altruistic impulse of species-first survival is so perverted by social conditioning that some humans will willingly even commit suicide for a cause, belief, ideal, principle, conviction or faith.

Altruism is evident in many forms and expressed in many ways in the human species. As you say, many acts that appear to be altruistic at first glance are very often done for totally self-serving reasons – to gain recognition, fame, praise and glory. But for each of these acts there are countless others that are unrecognised, unsung and mundane. We in the West would not be enjoying the current level of safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure were it not for altruism. Many people deliberately choose to devote their life’s work for the betterment of others, be they scientists, doctors, nurses, carers, engineers, inventors or the like, and the result of their efforts is literally breathtaking. One can debate the usefulness or ulterior motives of some people and some work but the fact remains that altruism is a powerful motivating force for betterment within the human species.

Given that actualism is about bringing an end to malice and sorrow in the human species, I fail to see how anyone would be prepared to devote their life to making it work without being motivated by altruism. Actualism and altruism go hand in glove – for unless one taps into the unselfish motivation of altruism one’s search for freedom is bound to remain self-motivated, as in spiritual freedom.

Speaking personally, two events stand out in my life that may well throw some light on the motivating power of altruism. I have written about both in my journal but they may well be worth repeating here.

The first was when I initially became attracted to Eastern spiritualism and I clearly remember that one of the major attractions for me was the notion of communal living – the proposition that a spiritual commune based on love and devotion would mean people living together in peace and harmony. And further that these communes would become working models to demonstrate what was possible, and that these communes would spread around the world and everybody would end up living in peace and harmony. Therefore my initial prime motivation in taking up Eastern spiritualism was altruistic – even though I was eventually to discover that my ulterior motive was completely selfish.

The other event was when my son died and I clearly remember standing beside his coffin and an urge welled up in me to find the answer to the mystery of why human life was so angst-ridden, so conflict-ridden and so unfulfilling that people needed to court danger for thrills or patiently wait until death before they are finally free of suffering. This urge to devote my life to finding a way to end human suffering was altruistic because I had the urge to do it for all the teenagers who suffer the angst of leaving the relative shelter of childhood and who are then confronted with a dog-eat-dog world that is bereft of answers to bring an end to the madness and horrors of the human condition. Immediately after this urge came a burning desire for freedom that was to herald the real beginning of my search for freedom but what is relevant is that the unselfishness of altruism kicked in before the selfishness of personal freedom.

As I am writing this other examples come to mind. When I first came across actualism I was particularly moved by the challenge – ‘If I can’t live with one other person in utter peace and harmony, then how can I ever expect there to be peace on earth’. It was altruism that made me stand up and be counted, to prove that it was possible for others because not only were my own relationships less than perfect, ridden with sad compromise, sullen withdrawal and testy conflicts but I knew by experience and observation that this was the norm. Nowhere did I see people living together in peace and harmony, quite the contrary, I saw compromise and conflict, so I decided to accept the challenge and prove that it was possible – come what may. The motivation to prove it is possible to live with another person in utter peace and harmony was altruistic because billions of people live in dysfunctional relationships, domestic violence, be it covert or overt, is rampant and child abuse is all too common.

And finally, it is altruism that serves one whilst on the path to freedom for if you take the blind senselessness out of altruism you are left with a pure unselfish intent. How this is evident in actualism is, as I wrote recently, that one invariably keeps becoming harmless slightly ahead of becoming happy in one’s priorities. Altruism, combined with integrity, also serves one to get over the instinctual narcissistic urge to become the next world teacher and it is altruism that then pushes one on to finally prove that actualism does work – that it is a fact that I can live in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, totally bereft of any malice and sorrow whatsoever.

I do like exploring these issues because I have never so completely comprehended the extent to which the passion of altruism is interlinked with actualism – they do indeed go hand in glove. With the benefit of hindsight the connection is very clear, but I do note that it was not something I mentioned in my journal, so it was obviously not so apparent at the beginning of my explorations. I have mentioned effort many times in my journal but I may well make specific mention of altruism in a postscript given that it is what steers one in the completely opposite direction to the narcissism inherent in the spiritual path.

Nice to chat with you again.


PETER: Hi Alan –

ALAN: ‘But’ is an extremely useful tool for discovering some home truths and something I used a lot in my ‘personal growth’ days. It is also useful, as you pointed out, for seeing what others are up to. Either the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie – nearly always works. For example, your statement:

[Peter]: ‘I was going to leave it at that so as not to get too long winded but yet another meeting comes to mind that twigged me recently’ Peter, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 3, 9.6.2001

Which was the lie:

[Peter]: ‘I was going to leave it at that so as not to get too long winded’ [endquote]

or [Peter]: ‘yet another meeting comes to mind that twigged me recently’ [endquote]

An amusing example but a serious point.

Ahh well.

PETER: No wonder you moved on from the personal growth movement if this is an example of what they were on about. If part of their philosophy is that ‘the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie’ and it is applied to a simple qualifying statement such as mine it makes no sense because neither statement was a lie.

However, if you apply the same personal growth movement rule to statements such as ‘I am happy, but I am a bit annoyed with ...’, or ‘I am happy, but I’m feeling a bit bored right now’ then the effect can be quite significant. Given that one’s intention in applying the rule is personal growth, as in ‘my’ growth, the statement ‘I am happy’ would naturally be regarded as true and ‘I am pissed off’ or ‘I am feeling a bit bored’ would then be regarded as a lie, as in not true.

By applying this ‘nearly always’ rule it follows that whatever ‘I’ think would nearly always be true and the feelings of anger, boredom, and the like would nearly always be a lie or an untruth. Momentary personal ‘growth’ would nearly always result, as in temporarily inflating one’s ego and repressing one’s unwanted feelings.

Under the same rule, ‘I’ would nearly always be right and whenever another person said ‘but ...’ they would nearly always be wrong. One would conceivably be ‘right’ more of the time and therefore more able to stand up for one’s ‘rights’ or ‘truths’, one could ‘grow’ stronger and be more able to cope, one would feel more ‘self’-confident and more ‘self’-enhanced, be more able to trust one’s feelings as true and generally be more in love with one’s ‘self’.

No doubt such a philosophy could offer some temporary boost to a flagging ego every now and again and it could also be useful as a quick fix to temporarily get out of a bout of depression or low ‘self’-esteem but it falls into the usual therapy category of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If this is a typical example of the teachings of the ‘personal growth’ movement, it is easy to see that it was a natural transition for many to move on to the self’-inflating teachings of Eastern philosophy/religion – because there can be no more inflated a ‘self’ than a ‘Self’. To think and feel oneself to be a God or Goddess is as good as narcissism gets – unless one totally loses all grip on reality and believes oneself to be the Only-God.

I can see why you went searching for something that works to permanently eliminate the ‘but’ from ‘I am happy, but ...’ rather than stay with a teaching whose rules only serve to dismiss the unwanted and undesirable feelings by either suppression or transcendence.


PETER: Hi Alan,

ALAN: I was a bit surprised by your last post to me. It seems you may have lost your sense of humour? As in my closing two lines: An amusing example but a serious point. Ahh well.

PETER: ‘Ahh wells’ never did sit well with me, so let’s have a look at my last post together, shall we?


ALAN: ‘But’ is an extremely useful tool for discovering some home truths and something I used a lot in my ‘personal growth’ days. It is also useful, as you pointed out, for seeing what others are up to. Either the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie – nearly always works. For example, your statement:

[Peter]: ‘I was going to leave it at that so as not to get too long winded but yet another meeting comes to mind that twigged me recently’ Peter, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 3, 9.6.2001

Which was the lie:

[Peter]: ‘I was going to leave it at that so as not to get too long winded’ [endquote]

or [Peter]: ‘yet another meeting comes to mind that twigged me recently’ [endquote]

An amusing example but a serious point.

PETER: No wonder you moved on from the personal growth movement if this is an example of what they were on about. If part of their philosophy is that ‘the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie’ and it is applied to a simple qualifying statement such as mine it makes no sense because neither statement was a lie.

ALAN: As stated, it was intended as an amusing example (or was it a serious point?). I leave it to you to decide whether you ‘left it at that’ and did not ‘get long winded’? It was not any part of anyone’s ‘philosophy’ (whoever ‘they’ were) so far as I am aware.

PETER: Perhaps I am losing the plot. The reason I replied was because you had said it was a serious point, so I didn’t just leave it at that but made the most of the opportunity to say something of substance about it, in what most people seem to regard as a long winded way. I wasn’t being serious but sincere, because surely this is what this list is about. What else are we on this mailing list for, if not to mutually explore these psittacisms, tools, sayings, adages and the like that pass for wisdom in the real-world and the spiritual world?

As for your second point, surely a saying such as this must be part of someone’s philosophy, if not the personal growth movement? You yourself said you have found it an extremely useful tool in the past, which in itself makes it worthy of investigation on this list, does it not?


However, if you apply the same personal growth movement rule to statements such as ‘I am happy, but I am a bit annoyed with ...’, or ‘I am happy, but I’m feeling a bit bored right now’ then the effect can be quite significant. Given that one’s intention in applying the rule is personal growth, as in ‘my’ growth, the statement ‘I am happy’ would naturally be regarded as true and ‘I am pissed off’ or ‘I am feeling a bit bored’ would then be regarded as a lie, as in not true.

ALAN: No. The lie would be ‘I am happy’ given that one was either annoyed or bored. And I did not state it was a ‘rule’, merely a ‘tool’.

PETER: Okay. What I was getting at in what I said above was the intention of using the tool for one’s own ‘personal growth’, as in making a stronger ‘me’. I would suggest that any investigation of either ‘the lie’ or ‘the truth’ with such an intent in mind could only lead to a superficial investigation at best – with the aim of growing or strengthening ‘me’, not diminishing or weakening ‘me’. Does this make sense? If personal growth aflicionados used such a tool, or anyone else for that matter, and it worked, then surely the world would be brimming with happy and harmless ‘self’-less people by now?

I would also throw in that ‘a tool’ is another word for ‘a rule’ that is not necessarily applied religiously so as not to appear to be a moral.


PETER: By applying this ‘nearly always’ rule it follows that whatever ‘I’ think would nearly always be true and the feelings of anger, boredom, and the like would nearly always be a lie or an untruth. Momentary personal ‘growth’ would nearly always result, as in temporarily inflating one’s ego and repressing one’s unwanted feelings.

ALAN: No. The feelings of ‘anger, boredom and the like’ would be ‘true’ and ‘I’ would not be happy. If the ‘tool’ were applied to the statement ‘I am happy, but angry (or bored)’ then the feelings would be explored, not repressed, and one’s ego would be deflated a bit more.

PETER: Given that I was talking about the tool, or rule, being used in the context of the personal growth movement, you seem to be arguing that intention of the personal growth movement was not personal growth but personal reduction. This does seem to be stretching a point somewhat.

What would happen if one used the tool ‘either the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie’ and applied it to an observation such as ‘I am annoyed, but it’s because of what someone said to me’. Which part would be true and which part would be a lie and would the result be explored feelings and a deflated ‘self’? Or if one applied the tool to an observation such as ‘I am feeling sad, but the reason is I just watched a sad movie?’ Which part would be true and which part would be a lie and would the result be explored feelings and a deflated ‘self’?


PETER: I can see why you went searching for something that works to permanently eliminate the ‘but’ from ‘I am happy, but ...’ rather than stay with a teaching whose rules only serve to dismiss the unwanted and undesirable feelings by either suppression or transcendence.

ALAN: I certainly did wish to eliminate the ‘but’ – so as to make the first statement ‘I am happy’ true (where it had been a lie) and the second statement ‘annoyed or bored’ a lie (where it had been a true). There was no suppression or transcendence of undesirable feelings involved – by realising that ‘I am happy’ is the lie, one has an opportunity to examine the statement following the ‘but’ as being true, i.e. ‘I am annoyed’ or ‘I am bored’ – which is what I thought you were pointing out in your post to No 3, viz:

[Peter]: ‘When one asks oneself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and the answer is ‘I am happy, but ...’, it is the ‘but’ that needs investigating and eliminating. You then just tick them off the list until there are no ‘buts’ left.’ I thought I was agreeing with you. Peter, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 3, 9.6.2001

PETER: And I was simply pointing out the fundamental flaws in the tool you said ‘is extremely useful for discovering some home truths’.

You also said that it ‘is also useful, as you pointed out, for seeing what others are up to’ whereas I have said nothing at all about the usefulness of the tool you are talking about, au contraire.

The tool you are talking of is a sieve with holes big enough to drive a London bus through. It is a moralistic aphorism used to arbitrarily separate likes and dislikes, rights and wrongs, goods and bads, truths and lies to ‘my’ satisfaction and for ‘my’ growth. As such, its use can only be ‘self’-sustaining and ‘self’-serving and definitely not ‘self’ eradicating.

What I was talking to Gary about was the devastating simplicity of running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ If used assiduously there is no way ‘I’ can get off the hook with ‘my’ buts which is why ‘I’ have such a reluctance to use it.

ALAN: I would give another example, but my sense of humour might be misinterpreted. Ahh well.

PETER: Another example would be welcome if it serves to throw more light on what you called a serious point. It is sometimes difficult to keep a thread going but it is the only way to investigate exactly why all these other methods, movements, beliefs, therapies, tools, aphorisms, morals, ethics, psittacisms and the like have failed to produce the goods – human beings who can live together in utter peace and harmony. Billions have trod these paths before looking for answers and for things that work and peace on earth still remains a forlorn dream.

Once you firmly grasp this fact that there is no solution to be had within the human condition you cease the fruitless task of racking over the flotsam of history’s failed methods and beliefs looking for the answer and, even more significantly, you stop defending the indefensible. This Ah Ha means you can then begin the thrilling business of looking for why it has all been going horribly wrong and still is. This investigation, if undertaken with gusto, will inevitable lead to one becoming free of the human condition, or to put it another way, to one’s own self’-immolation which is exactly what you have said you are so ardently seeking.

Once an actualist fully takes these facts on board, then he or she can begin the business of actively questioning all those methods, movements, beliefs, therapies, tools, aphorisms, morals, ethics, psittacisms that have failed to elicit peace on earth and begin understanding why they have failed. This process of questioning, investigating and understanding is not a comfortable business for ‘I’, as a social identity, is made up of nothing other than the beliefs ‘I’ was taught or that ‘I’ hold to my bosom as ‘mine’ – hence it is simultaneously a process of ‘self’-immolation.

Many an actualist has fallen for the trap of thinking that what actualism is about is eliminating feelings – a misconstruing that can only lead to some form of catatonic introversion – while blithely ignoring the fact that the real work to be done initially is to become aware of the extent and nature of one’s own beliefs, and then begin the uncomfortable and oft alarming process of replacing belief with fact.

The only way to walk the path to freedom is on the firm footing of facts – they are quite literally the stepping-stones to the actual world.

Once you get the knack of this process of investigating beliefs, the path to freedom becomes indeed wide and indeed wondrous.


ALAN: I chose happy and harmless.

PETER: And, if I may say so, an excellent choice. When I came across Richard, I too made the same choice – to become happy and harmless.

In choosing to become actually happy and harmless, I was also aware that it would be committing myself to eliminating ‘me’ and ‘my’ malice and sorrow, i.e. that I was committing myself to a path that would lead to irrevocable change. It did mean turning my back on the dreams and promises of the metaphysical world, avoiding the temptation to simply return to normal reality and daring to come down to earth where we human beings actually live.

The first stage of this journey, as you know, involves beginning the process of divesting oneself of the beliefs, morals, ethics, values, principles and psittacisms that bind one to both the spiritual and real worlds. At some point one will most likely come across a seminal individualistic issue, a particular emotional tie, a personal matter of principle or the like that will present one with a momentous decision – whether one is going to devote one’s life to becoming free the human condition ... or not.

It is as though one is hanging on to the past while wanting to move on to freedom and this period of ambivalence can be one of considerable angst unless one then makes a 100% commitment to actualism or turns back to being normal again. This act of leaving the past behind is the real beginning of the journey for one soon finds oneself beyond the shallows and familiar territory and into deeper waters and unfamiliar territory. Having cast off, as it were, there is then no turning back and the only guide one has, apart from the accounts of others who have travelled the same path, is one’s own experience of one’s goal – one’s own pure consciousness experience of the perfection and purity of this actual physical world we flesh and blood humans all live in.

Ultimately it is one’s own pure consciousness experience of the physical world that is benign and delightful, utterly bereft of malice and sorrow, that provides both the vitality and motivation to fully devote oneself to the process of eliminating one’s own malice and sorrow – to ‘self’-immolate.

Those who imagine the process of becoming happy and harmless – eliminating one’s own malice and sorrow – is effortless are those who see actualism from a spiritual viewpoint. Choosing to do anything of substance in life is but the start of an intensive process of learning and in a similar vein choosing to become happy and harmless is but the start of an intensive process of removing all the impediments that societal conditioning and blind nature have implanted so as to prevent one from achieving one’s aim. To merely think or feel oneself to be free of malice and sorrow is a far cry from actually being free of malice and sorrow, in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are.

This process of becoming free of malice and sorrow took the first person some 12 years of intense effort and for those following some 3½ years to date. There is little doubt that the path will get progressively easier for those others who follow as there is now a veritable library of information and personal accounts available that will serve as an invaluable aid in the difficult, oft alarming but always thrilling adventure.

It’s no little thing to devote one’s life to becoming free of malice and sorrow, for one will be continuously challenged by people, things and events to demonstrate the purity of one’s intent and the mettle of one’s integrity.

And who would have it any other way ...



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