Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
with Correspondent No 8
RESPONDENT: Well I’ve spent enough time reading the site to know that my letter will be blocked by Richard’s ego as No 4’s was or replied to ‘predictably’ with Richard’s usual over excited egotistical arrogance, feigned harmlessness, cut and paste laziness and of course those impressive ‘big words’ that make him look like an inconsiderate idiot. Then one of his parrots will come to their guru’s defence using his cloned vocabulary and corrupted aggro attitude. Yet after all this ridiculous ‘get out’ my question is; why do none of you have the intelligence to work out why the list only gets 2 letters a day! Why does it not dawn on your thick skulls how alienating your exaggerated attitudes are and why on earth is Richard trotting out a may listening-l post? To keep something already dead, alive and wanking???
PETER: Well, it does look as though the spiritualists are circling the wagons with the latest ‘observer’ waving that hoary old flag – ‘If only we would love each other ...’.
I am curious as to what brought you to this list – was it just for a bit of flaming? Vineeto and I went on to the Sannyas mailing list a few months ago, to see if there were perhaps others who may be dissatisfied with the spiritual path and eventually got cyber-executed for daring to question Rajneesh. As an ‘ex’ I was wanting to let others know there is now, for the first time, an alternative available to the spiritual ‘freedom’ offered by Eastern Religions. A few people did come across to the Actual Freedom List but apparently none are sufficiently interested to take the jump out of the spiritual world. In my experience, it does take a burning discontent with life as-it-is, and I wonder if that applies to you. This discontent can take different forms – for me, one of the discontents was the continual failure of my ‘love’ relationships and a desire to free myself from sexual inhibitions, instinctual compulsiveness and ignorance. Another factor was, having had children, there was nothing I knew that I could pass on to them – I was confused, bewildered, bedevilled ... and definitely not free! I had no answers.
A bit of ‘cut and paste’ to briefly tell you my story –
Maybe you have a story to tell, a reason why you’re on the list, an aspiration or goal in life, some discontents with life as-it-is? I would be interested to hear from you because I also liked what you wrote on the Listening-L list – such passion for investigation is rare in people these days, and most particularly on spiritual lists.
RESPONDENT: Just meandering through the archives and happened upon your Feb 05, 2000 book review of ‘In Each Moment – A new way to live’ by Paul Lowe. Looking Glass Press. 1998 (No15)
I’m not one for books of Revelation either, nor doom and gloom, but any child these days knows that the physical, material world in which we are living is collapsing because of mankind’s lack of consideration for the environment. Are you sure that you yourself are not imagining that Paul so definitely divides the human condition from the devastating state nature is now in? Sure, he gives our beliefs way too much credit, but could radical actualism go the same route and go into denial about the very real effects man’s imagining brain is capable of.
PETER: Children don’t ‘know’ this from some innate sense of wisdom or foresight born of innocence – they have it drilled and drummed into them by teachers, media, parents etc. In the last few decades environmental studies have formed an essential part of all school curricula for all ages. Not only is it often taught as a separate subject in many cases, environmental issues dominate economics, science, politics, engineering, social sciences, entertainment, media, etc. Every child who receives a modern Western education is taught from a very early age that the material, physical world in which they live is either collapsing or is in imminent danger of collapsing and that human beings are at fault. My school days were in the late 50’s and early 60’s and environmental theory hadn’t been invented then. The major fear at that time was the Cold War and the threat of nuclear devastation, but doom and gloom predictions weren’t taught as part of the school curriculum as is case with the teachings of environmental doom and gloom.
What children know is what children are taught. Thus what we think we know or take for granted is, almost without exception, what we have been taught by our parents, teachers and peers. We take this information to be true, as in factual, whereas an extraordinary amount of it is theory, fashion, belief, concept, current idea, old wives tales, psittacisms, prejudiced view, etc. One only needs to consider what the school curriculum would have been like a century ago and consider how much of it would be relevant today, how much our world view has changed and yet how much of the past we desperately cling to. However, what we have been taught as truisms forms the very substance of our social identity – ‘who’ we think we are. One’s social identity is the conglomerate of all the beliefs, morals, ethics, values, principles and psittacisms that each of us has been programmed with since birth.
Unless this programming in the brain is questioned and sorted into silly and sensible and old redundant neural connections severed and new ones formed, one remains a victim of one’s social identity – whereas an actualist’s avowed aim is freedom from being this identity that has been imposed upon this flesh and blood body. Therefore it is vital that all one’s beliefs, morals, ethics, principles and psittacisms be questioned and reviewed.
This is the practical business of an actualist, this is the very down-to-earth pragmatic work to be done. It is an uncomfortable, tedious, seemingly-pedantic, fear-provoking process that people are very reluctant to undertake for you are quite literally dismantling a very large part of your ‘self’. Most of this information is programmed into us at the early years but quite a lot of what we hold dearest is what we have adopted later in life as we ‘moved with the times’. Environmental belief and Eastern religious belief were two that I adopted later in my life, and as such, I found them relatively easier to question for they were a bit like the layers of clothing I had swapped during my adult life as fashions and times changed.
So, the first thing to be aware of is that you are doing the very business of dismantling your social identity by questioning and challenging your dearly held beliefs. The second thing is that they don’t magically disappear by themselves. It requires stubborn effort to dig in and question and you will find much resistance, wariness, hesitancy and objection in yourself to devoting the necessary time and effort required. The third thing is that it is something you have to do yourself to the point that the ‘penny drops’ for you, otherwise you are back with simply swapping beliefs or adopting another belief – a useless enterprise that will do nothing to free you from the human condition.
Actualism is not a philosophy – it is a down-to-earth practical method that can enable you to become free from the human condition.
PETER: Excerpt from book review cont. –
But it’s gone beyond theory now and into actuality? The proof of our misuse of thought is collapsing this very environment and the physical actuality of that, confronts us everyday. Mankind’s erroneous theories have bolted and cannot be contained by merely shutting the gate afterwards, and haughtily looking down our actual nose at mankind’s silly imaginings. The imagination is a force to be reckoned with, it can manoeuvre arms and legs into all sorts of mischief. It has wrought life threatening havoc on this planet!
PETER: Okay, before I get into detail, it may be useful to look at how it is possible to ascertain what is fact and what is theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, psittacism, speculation, feeling, intuition, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true.
The first step would be to at least entertain the idea that the notion you have about something may not be factually correct. It would be good to put one’s real-world and spiritual-world cynicism aside and crank up a bit of naïve curiosity at this stage, even if you have to pretend an innocence, a not knowing when you ‘really do know’... To do so would be a blow to one’s pride and the way I dealt with that was to turn it on its head and say that I would be really silly to continue believing something that was not factual. The next obstacle is the moral and ethical stance I have – if I think it is ‘right’ or ‘good’ to believe this particular issue then I will not even bother to investigate it. Again, I refused to let arbitrary moral or ethical judgements stand in the way of wanting to know the facts for that would be silly and beneath my dignity as a supposedly intelligent, supposedly autonomous, supposedly free human being.
So, you crank up a bit of naïve curiosity, clear the decks of pride, morals and ethics and you are ready to take a clear-eyed look at the particular issue. I can offer a few clues as to ascertaining facts based on my experience which may be useful. This is bound to end up a long post but you seem to be a reader which is a very good thing for someone interested in an actualism. I am putting in words a process I have done so many times it has become automatic, so it is best to regard this as a schematic outline rather than a fixed approach. But I do see a few elements common to any investigation –
So, taking a deep breath, we plunge into Environmentalism, using the above outline as a touchstone. I’ll try and keep on track but, in fact, all these elements tend to overlap, as one makes an investigation into a particular issue that may run from hours to weeks to months, or even years in some cases.
So, a little history to start with and I am already off on a ramble, but what heck. I first became aware of, and actively involved in, the environmental movement in the 70’s when the forest south of where I lived was being clear-felled for woodchips and exported to make paper. Another part of the forest was being mined for bauxite and I saw both activities as a foolish abuse of a scarce resource. After some two years of being actively involved in a ‘save the forest’ organization I gave up for two reasons. Firstly, the people involved were more anti and angry than really concerned and the whole issue became a ‘them and us’, good and evil battle, and secondly I realized I was taking an extremist position based on quite small areas and severe cases relative to the whole picture. However, public opinion was swayed and both companies went to even greater lengths to pioneer innovative and successful rehabilitation projects that were to become the precedents for future work and other resource projects.
From these early days the environmental movement has spread to embrace all issues of resource and land usage, protection of plants and animals, health and lifestyle, pollution and economics, etc. Interestingly, the concern for ‘the environment’ is not a new phenomena – a sudden realization of light against darkness or a dawning of a higher consciousness riling against the ignorance of others. In the country where I live, the forestry departments have, for over a century, developed sustainable harvest methods for cutting timber from the forests that included rotation, culling, minimal disturbances, etc. London addressed its smog problem, many countries addressed issues of clean water and sewerage disposal, the Norwegians proposed quotas on whaling, etc – all done sensibly, quietly and pragmatically well before the current passion for Environmentalism.
What I gleaned from my experience in the environmental movement was a healthy suspicion of the motives of the protagonists and an appreciation of the extremist nature of the stance taken by many of those involved. In later years, as the movement grew into a fashionable ethic, I decided that the advice that we should each do our bit was worthy of implementing, particularly in the building and design work I was involved in – the putting into action of an idea or ideal to see if it works in practice. The first issue was energy-saving design. Given that orientation, ventilation, insulation, etc. were all regarded as a matter of common sense even before the rise of Environmentalism, the ideas addressed pushed into other more marginal areas of savings and return for effort and money expended. These ideals meant that the way to save precious resources was to spend more money and generally use more material resources in order to achieve long-term savings of un-renewable energy resources. Solar hot water was expensive, still required conventional energy input for a large part of the year and solar electricity was for the wealthy or the primitives who burnt one light at night time and had to drive to the Laundromat for most of the year. Thus resource saving became a matter for the wealthy and the financial savings were in the order of hundreds per year for tens of thousands of dollars expended. When push came to shove, very, very few people were willing to put their money where their ideals were.
The next issue was materials used and again scarce resources meant a confusing decision between raw and manufactured, renewable and finite-scarce, recycled and new, natural and unnatural. At the time I was enjoying doing the carpentry work on my jobs so I preferred to use a lot of timber in my houses – a low-tech, natural, renewable resource – but its use did involve cutting down trees. The other common alternative, brick houses, didn’t involve cutting down trees but involved mining and used a lot of energy in their manufacture. Some paints were ‘natural’, being plant-based, but others weren’t because they were mineral-based. The natural paints grew mould, were impossible to keep clean, were more expensive and required frequent maintenance and recoating thus using more resources. Nowadays the issues are so complex and so wrought with confusion that academics are producing mathematical models and computer programs so as to ascertain which is ‘best’ and what is the ‘right’ thing to do to save the environment. In the end, I used to tell people that ‘wood grows on trees’, but timber is now becoming so scarce and so expensive that I am simply moving with the fashion and the economic tide. Most of the timber is now harvested from timber farms that were once cleared grazing and farming land which has now become redundant due to increasing efficiency in the agriculture industry. And thus I came to see that things go on sorting themselves out without the need for, and in spite of, the teachings of unliveable Environmental ethical and moral standards that everybody so passionately champions ... and nobody follows anyway.
The ‘natural-only’ high principles of Environmentalism would have us all in loin cloths, huddled around wood fires in caves and eating nothing but fruit. Generally unwilling and unable to live up to their own higher principles, or convince others to go to this extreme in developed countries, the Environmentalists primarily concentrate their efforts and vitriol on ensuring that those in developing countries live by these standards. Thus they push so-called ‘alternative’ lifestyles such as subsistence organic farming, well-water, solar electric panels, straw or mud buildings, primitive alternative medicine, etc. – all in the name of being natural and not harming the environment or using ‘precious’ resources. In fact, what this does is maintain poverty, disease, and a lack of modern amenities and services in these countries.
Despite the rhetoric there is, in fact, nothing ‘un-natural’ on the planet, as all of the materials we use, all of the things we make and use and everything we eat come from the earth. No spacecraft brings in alien materials, nothing on the planet is alien – human hands and human intelligence has crafted amazing materials from the elements, minerals, gases and vegetable matter of this planet but somehow this processing is deemed to produce ‘unnatural’ products that are seen as intrinsically bad or evil in the minds of Environmentalists.
Environmentalism has a few basic tenets that form the backbone of the whole structure of the movement. One of the earliest founding principles was that the planet’s resources were in imminent danger of being depleted and the oil crisis of the 80’s was offered as proof of this fact. Scenarios were presented that predicted that many essential resources would be dangerously depleted by the millennium. Well, the oil crisis came and went and the concept of resource scarcity is more of an esoteric principle rather a pragmatic teaching. Historically, energy resources have gone from wood to coal to oil and modern conservation theory seems to be reverting backwards or ‘back to nature’, and where I live with Environmentalists in the hills around here coveting their wood stoves – bio-energy is the latest jargon.
The theory that the planet is running out of material and energy resources is used to justify the Environmentalists actively campaigning to prevent over half the world’s human beings from enjoying the comforts and benefits enjoyed by the other half. Energy, electricity and irrigation projects, dams and mining, land clearing and infrastructure projects are all seen as bad and evil in underdeveloped countries and actively thwarting them causes untold suffering, hardship, illness and hunger – all inflicted in the name of Environmentalism.
The next principle was that we humans are poisoning the planet – that all life will ultimately be extinguished by man’s polluting existence on the planet. Sensible adjustments are being continuously made, and still need to be undertaken in some undeveloped areas where over-population or lack of wealth prevent the necessary expenditure, but the standards and goals have been increasingly raised to limits that often exceed levels that exist naturally – i.e. in areas where no human habitation has ever existed or back to some mythical standard in ‘the good old days’. In fact, in the ‘good old days’, people suffered and died from wood and coal smoke at home or at work, suffered and died in mines and factories from toxic fumes, suffered and died when disease wiped out their crops or swept through the human population. Human life expectancy has doubled in the last century of amazing technological progress and yet Environmentalists would have it that we are now suffering more and our health is getting worse. The paranoia of even microscopic levels of elements that seemingly could be one of the factors that may cause illness or damage .... is the justification for denying the use of any insecticides in developing countries to combat malarial mosquitoes, rodent control, insect control for crops, etc., thereby causing untold suffering, hardship, illness and hunger – all inflicted in the name of Environmentalism.
What I came to see was a fervent extremism in ideals advocated, standards applied and a completely non-sensical rewriting of history. A few anecdotes stick in my mind and one was a TV interview with an environmental scientist who was testing for any insecticides leaching into waterways from adjacent cotton fields. While standing up to his knees in water with a test kit, he was asked what he was finding. He looked a little sheepish and said ‘you have to realize we are checking for extremely minute variations in water composition which may indicate the possibility that any change could have come from chemical use next door’. His emphasis on the words ‘extremely minute’ was due to the fact that the measurements are in the order of parts per million, i.e. not percentages but thousands of a percent. The interview was a glitch in the normal media reporting for this was not a spokesman interviewed, no party line was pushed but this was the view of someone really involved in doing the job. Other anecdotes relate to so-called planet-threatening environmental disasters that fade to nothing with the passage of time. A single volcano caused more atmospheric pollution than did the burning of the Kuwait oilfields, recent reports indicate astounding recoveries after the Exon Valdez disaster and the Mt. St. Helena volcanic eruption.
The definition of what constitutes pollution has now been popularly widened so as to include any ‘unnatural’ materials, energy sources or esoteric energies to such an extent that anything at all ‘modern’ is seen as harmful to humans and life on the planet. This planet is so immense, the degree of any possible human pollution so miniscule in proportion and degree, the recovery ability so rapid, robust and virulent, that any talk of total-system failure is paranoid in the extreme.
Another core belief of Environmentalism is the endangered species theory based on the idea that ‘life’ on the planet is a very fragile interconnected web that will totally break down should a hypothetical and unknown number of species become extinct. The number, type and location of these species that are believed to be critical to preventing the total life system collapsing have never been even guessed at as the number and variety of plants and animals in the food chain is so vast and so diverse as to make the concept implausible. Literally thousands of species are being discovered every year and according to Encyclopaedia Britannica –
To further put the endangered species theory into perspective, a bit more information from Encyclopaedia Britannica is useful to consider –
Firstly, the definition of endangered is so wide ranging and loose as to lack credibility and secondly the numbers of endangered species as a percentage of total species and as a percentage of estimated natural attrition is so miniscule as to be mind-boggling. As such, the theory is based upon a seemingly un-provable hypothesis and defies any statistical basis and yet it forms a central plank in the Environmentalist movement. There are a significant number of scientists who either dispute the basis of the theory or voice skepticism but their voice is either ignored or suppressed. Yet, solely on the basis of this rickety theory, Environmentalists are avidly advocating that human-eating animals such as tigers, bears and crocodiles be protected from humans who hunt them for food, for trade or to protect their kin or property – to the extent that primitive hunting and gathering human beings are now themselves being actively hunted and killed by other human beings in the name of ‘conservation’. In India, tigers attack villages, carrying off children as food, yet the villagers are forbidden to retaliate in order to eradicate the threat. In Africa, indigenous human beings who hunt animals for food and trade are hunted and shot on sight should they kill certain animals. Increasing areas of land are being set aside exclusively for animal use while indigenous human beings are being forcibly exiled.
In Environmental belief, animals are seen as innocent and in need of protection, whereas human beings are seen as evil and in need of control and penance. In many developing countries vital energy, electricity, and irrigation projects, mining, dams, land clearing and infrastructure projects are actively inhibited in order that wild animals have preference over humans and this policy causes untold human suffering, hardship, illness and hunger, all inflicted in the name of Environmentalism. Environmentalists care far more for animals and plants than they do for the welfare of their fellow human beings.
As if this tally of senseless vitriol were not enough, the Environmentalists have recently seized upon yet another pseudo-scientific theory to add to their arsenal of gloom and doom predictions. The global warming theory has steadily gained airplay to the point of hysteria. When one digs into the theory a wee bit, it is obvious that making any sensible evaluation of the miniscule amount of data, the lack of accurate historical record, and the impossible scale and range of prediction can only result in predisposed guesswork. A little bit that is relevant to the scale of the topic –
Thus the estimates arrived at by these models are entirely dependant on the guesstimates of data fed into the models and the guesstimated mathematical equations involved. Neither the data is reliable, nor are the equations that form the model reliable, and the models are purely mathematical and not physical. The direst of these predictions are then seized upon by the Environmentalists to justify their actions in preventing many energy-, electricity-, and irrigation projects, mining, dams, land clearing and infrastructure projects in developing countries and this policy causes untold human suffering, hardship, illness and hunger, all inflicted in the name of Environmentalism. A little reading beyond the biased output of the popular press, the Environmental press and the government funded researchers, reveals a not-insignificant questioning by many scientists of the very foundations of global warming theory, but the theory has gained such popular acclaim that only the foolhardy – and the un-funded – scientists dare speak up.
Environmentalists also champion other theories in support of their cause including the supposedly dire consequences of genetically modifying plants and animals even though similar genetic modifications have happened randomly, rampantly and totally uncontrolled on this planet for billions of years – and also with human forethought and deliberate interference, for thousands of years. Another Environmentalist cause is the loosely labelled, all-embracing concept of sustainable development which is by definition indefinable and, as such, is a useful pseudo-scientific term that Environmentalists use to justify their angry protests at whatever development it is that they don’t happen to like.
The freeing up of restrictions on the world-wide trade of materials, food and goods is being actively resisted by Environmentalists, justified by many spurious arguments, and this action is essentially aimed at preventing human beings in developing countries from getting their share of the material benefits enjoyed by those in the developed counties. Another of the umbrella causes championed is the concept of animal rights which, put simply, states that ‘the tiger that hunts humans has more rights than the human who hunts tigers’. As such, it is human beings who hunt wild animals for safety, food or trade who are shot on sight whereas the animals now have environmentally-funded armed guards as protectors and the only suffering the animal is likely to have is in the fitting of the ubiquitous radio collar. Environmentalists care far more for animals and plants than they do for the welfare of their fellow human beings.
Need I go on. I am not attempting an all-encompassing academic dissertation but rather I am taking a common sense look at the ideas and concepts championed by Environmentalists and the effects of these ideas when put into practice. My knowledge of science and engineering is practical and broad rather than scholarly and deep which I find to be an advantage rather than a hindrance in ascertaining what is fact, what works and what is common sense as opposed to what is theory or concept, ideal or ethic and what is merely impassioned nonsense.
Each of the concepts that make up Environmentalism when separated can be seen to be based on scientific theory which is unproven and in many cases un-provable, often simply by the sheer scope and very nature of the theory proposed. Many concepts rely on computer modelling to produce a range of scenarios which the scientists involved often candidly admit is their only way of providing seemingly empirical scenarios to give some credence to their theories. Given that these combined theories are actively maintaining and proliferating human suffering, I wondered why it is that Environmentalism has gained such mainstream popular support, regulatory implementation and profound influence at all levels of educational curricula.
What I found was that such a fervour of belief and such a degree of passions induced, all lacking any factual empirical basis, points clearly to the underlying spiritual basis of Environmentalism.
Natural, spiritual and romantic viewpoints all have a history of fearing and battling the rising influence and success of materialism, science and technological progress. In the last half century the increasing fascination with Eastern Mysticism has been combined with the earth-as-spirit belief that underpins Environmentalism, and it has gradually grown in strength and status to having now taken on the power and influence of a fully-fledged and popularly-supported religion. Environmentalists were able to co-opt the fashionable Eastern religious belief that life on earth is essentially a suffering existence in order to give weight to their blindly riling against any progress likely to increase human safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure. As I said to two other correspondents recently –
Environmentalism, like all religions, can be seen superficially by the gullible believers as ‘doing good’, but when one digs deeper than the seemingly noble ideals we see fervent belief and when it becomes dogma, policy and practice, it causes untold human suffering, hardship, illness and hunger for hundreds of millions of humans. Environmentalists care more for the spirits of animals and plants and Mother Earth than they do for the welfare of their fellow human beings. So entrenched is the religion of Environmentalism that it is now taught to children in schools to an extent that few other religions have managed, and as such, its ubiquitous and debilitating effects are both widespread and deep-set. It could well be seen as the Next Age religion to emerge, now that Western influence is beginning to investigate, water-down or reject the more fundamental Eastern religious beliefs.
For an actualist, any spiritual belief, no matter how it is disguised or formulated, must be investigated and seen for what it is – metaphysical belief and not empirical fact.
This has been a fairly long investigation yet it is by no means comprehensive. Environmental belief is so strong, so prevalent and so insidious it takes considerable effort and time to weed out the beliefs, morals and ethics peculiar to the religion, and it is a process that every actualist does for himself or herself. Your question deserved a detailed answer and the detail offered is mainly intended to point to some of the methods of discerning belief from fact rather than being a comprehensive debunking of Environmental belief per se.
PETER: Excerpt from book review cont. –
But it goes way past spiritual belief when the imagination snaps the synapses, commands the body, which then physically stomps on the environment? To me, it is just as much a leap of the imagination to believe that mankind’s malice and sorrow, war and suicide, doom and gloom, is the culprit. I know myself that this flesh and blood body has also damaged this eco system by wanting, going out and getting, too much of a good thing.
PETER: What I came to see was that any resources I used or possessions I owned I had to pay for which meant I had to work for – i.e. sell my time to someone else in return for money. This realization was a slow dawning but I did have the sense to have a vasectomy after having two children, and soon adopted the quality-not-quantity approach to possessions. After meeting Richard I pushed the envelope a bit more, eventually trading my car for a new-age typewriter and reducing my work hours to a minimum in order to devote myself to the business of actualism as much as possible. Nowadays I find myself living a life of indulgent consumption that borders on hedonism yet at a level that would be easily be possible, sustainable and feasible for all human beings on the planet. To be an actualist is to become an ideal and model citizen of the world.
And so too, must we be vigilant that actualism doesn’t go into actual denial also.
PETER: Actualism heralds the ending of the need for personal vigilance. But an actualist always welcomes vigilant scrutiny from others – it gives us a chance to debunk belief and write of the facts of human existence on the planet.
I agree, identities are shifty things, but we need to tread sensibly now, these fanciful identities are actually capable of destroying the very environment that sustains bodily existence. The detrimental imagination needs to be exposed calmly and objectively, not just spat on and poopooed as total nonsense. It’s a snake in the grass and a deadly one at that. It will take actual skills to expose it.
PETER: Okay, well, I gave Environmentalism a good shot. Short of writing a scientific thesis I have attempted to calmly and objectively expose the shifty Environmentalist identity. But given that the belief causes untold human suffering, hardship, illness and hunger for hundreds of millions of humans I personally refused to be subjective about it. Once I began to see the malice and sorrow inherent in maintaining this belief I dropped it like a hot brick.
Actualism is not an objective philosophy nor a dispassionate business – the ending of instinctual passion requires verve, courage, audacity, panache, stubbornness and altruistic vigour.
Peter, if one believes something strongly enough it can catapult one into physical activity. Not all our imaginings are impotent thoughts. I hope you don’t mind my clumsy comments Peter, I really don’t know what I’m on about anymore. I am experimenting intensely at the moment with actualism and am quite awed by its simplicity. Thank you for so many interesting springboards.
PETER: The approach I adopted when I first came across Richard and was intrigued by Actual Freedom was that in no way was I going to fall for yet another belief. Once I had established a prima face case for investigating further, I decided to test it in a practical way. I have described my process to becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow in my journal and also the turmoil I went through as all that I believed to be true slowly collapsed like a leaky balloon.
I remember lying in bed one night and it seemed as though I was at the bottom of a huge mountain of belief. It was overwhelming but I simply got up the next morning and resumed the business of investigating and demolishing them, one by one. As for being ‘awed by its simplicity’ – I came to be awed by the ruthless efficiency and devastating simplicity of running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
Thanks for your mail. I had great fun, and it sure got me off the couch ...
RESPONDENT: That’s certainly gives me much to investigate. Would you mind my sending your post off to a few Greenpeace representatives and anyone else I can find working towards sustaining a healthy environment on the earth?
PETER: May I ask why?
PETER: Just a comment on something that you replied to Richard –
RICHARD to Respondent: What I discovered, when the ‘painting painted itself’, was that actuality ruled the roost, as it were, and magically manifested perfection ... such as to leave me, as I remarked (further above) standing in amazement and wonder, marvelling at this magical creativity.
RESPONDENT: This is most interesting, I have always told anyone who asks me ‘how did I do that’ that I am not doing it, it is as much a mystery to me as them. In fact, pride or modesty only hinders free flowing creativity. [endquote].
PETER: I had a particularly startling realization of this some 10 years ago in watching the design of a building emerge from the drawing board and realizing ‘I’ was not doing it. I then claimed that the design ‘just happened’, that it had ‘nothing to do with me’. Then some two years ago I was again doing a drawing and became aware of the fascinating process of my brain in action as it sorted information, assessed options, tried and rejected solutions and finally settled on the best course of action, all things considered. A bare awareness of ‘me’ not doing it, but of the process happening by itself.
Soon after, when I presented the design to the client, I could not help but notice that when parts of the design where rejected or modified I felt defensive and started to be upset about their rejection of what I regarded as a perfect design. I realized it was far easier to dismiss praise than to dismiss criticism and that, however subtly, ‘I’ was claiming the extraordinary creative functioning of this body’s brain for ‘me’.
Being full-on into actualism, it became yet more evidence of the cunningness of ‘me’ and how ‘I’ inevitably claim even the experiences as ‘mine’. Of course, I was also on the alert for what things made me annoyed and why. Once I got rid of the instilled morals that made me ignore the signs of unwanted feelings and emotions, a whole other side of ‘me’ became evident. Malice tops the list, with being sad second. ‘Don’t do that, stop it’ drilled in as a child, runs very deep. ‘Don’t mope around looking miserable’ is another.
Simply by breaking free of these moral and ethical barriers one is then able to have a clear-eyed look at one’s very psyche ‘in operation’ and that very investigation, if conducted with gusto and sincere intent, is the ending of ‘me’.
PETER: Just a comment on something that you replied to Richard – <snip>
RESPONDENT: Yes it’s so sneaky, isn’t it. At the moment when I watch the ‘I’ do its anthropocentric thing I want to laugh out loud, it’s so outrageously arrogant! It can only be a joke. What I’m finding even more hilarious is that I’m getting slammed left right and centre for daring to come down to earth about this usurper. Thanks for this kind sharing Peter, it will help me a lot.
PETER: Do you mean being slammed by others? One of the most difficult things I found when I came across Richard was in talking to others about Actual Freedom and wanting to ‘share’ with others about the fact that it existed and about my discoveries on the way. Within a very short time, I recognized that everybody thought I was talking of another spiritual path and sort of yawned at my naive enthusiasm or were offended at having their fond beliefs questioned. Then I came to realize that the process was about changing me and not others, so I learnt to keep my mouth shut and my hands in my pockets. What I did do though, was write a journal documenting my path to Virtual Freedom, but those who read it remained unmoved. There is an awful lot of deep-seated cynicism about human nature in the world and it is understandable for, up until now, it has been deemed impossible to change human nature.
RESPONDENT: There was a time when I found Richard to be arrogant now I realize it was my ‘I’s’ way of avoiding actuality and fighting for dear life, because now as I dare to question everything I am causing that same repugnance! Most amusing. I’m discovering that the ‘I’ is profoundly blind about what is theory and what is fact! And worse, in order to keep existing, it wants to stay that way.
PETER: Yes. When I first came across Richard I had to almost force myself to set up a regular pattern of meeting him and setting aside time for reading and investigating, for I knew if I didn’t devote the time and energy needed I would get nowhere or I would make too long a break that going back would be even more difficult. I had to make it the most important time and make everything else secondary. After all, it was my happiness and my chance to become harmless, that I was talking about – no small thing.
RESPONDENT: And yes, its response to criticism is fascinating, really exposes its tricks, doesn’t it. But the joy of not being offended is far more exciting. Others too, help me see what I have been imagining and I am most grateful. Some sort of seriousness is falling away and I have to be careful not to insult just about everyone I meet, as they are so seriously immersed in their sense of ‘being’ their theories of life, their beliefs and morals, whilst I am to play without all those vanities. So now I have to be careful, because being sensible seems to offend them. There is so much investigating to do, but there is a cavalier sense of adventure, more exhilarating than any eastern theory I ever came across.
PETER: Yes, once you begin to break free, Actualism can be heady stuff indeed. Many people who have come across Richard in the past settled for a quick zoom out of the spiritual world and back to being comfortable in the real world again, as really getting stuck into Actualism seemed to scare the pants off them.
Do you have a goal – have you had a PCE that is your guide and sense of purpose for your investigations? Freedom ‘from’ is one thing – where you want to end up is another.
RESPONDENT: I have so many questions; I don’t know where to start. I have been much influenced by the Seth Material, which cherishes the individual ‘I’, so actualism really is 180 degrees in the opposite, but so appealing to my love of sensate existence.
I am most looking forward to exploring it in great depth with everyone.
PETER: I just dropped a note to Alan and when I got to the end of it I sort of wondered what the point of it was. I realized afterwards that I am maybe loosing interest in writing about the spiritual path – after all, most of the million or so words on The Actual Freedom Trust correspondence pages are in response to people frantically defending the idea of a spiritual world as an escape from the real world. It would be wonderful to have some more correspondence on this list about the issues that arise from daring to attempt to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. It is the most thrilling adventure one can undertake on the planet right now. It leaves being the first person to walk up Everest backwards or the first person to circumnavigate the world in a bathtub for dead.
To be a pioneer in the ending of fear and aggression in human beings is mind-tingling, pioneering thrilling stuff.
Just as some food for thought about imagination, here is a the sense I made of imagination at the time I was investigating it –
I recently watched a TV program documenting the Voyager spacecraft’s flyby of the planets in our solar system and watched the scientists being continually amazed at what they were finding as the images and data streamed back to earth from the cameras and instruments onboard. What they discovered was indeed beyond their imagination for it was actual, existing as matter in time and space. The sheer scale, variety, complexity, intricacy, arrangement, scope, movement and changeability of the arrangements of matter in this infinite and eternal universe is such that it will always be beyond the scope of the human mind to intellectually comprehend. As such, any trifling fanciful imagination always pales into insignificance compared to what is actual.
RESPONDENT: Would you mind my sending your post off to a few Green Peace representatives and anyone else I can find working towards sustaining a healthy environment on the earth?
PETER: May I ask why?
RESPONDENT: Sure Peter, to save time that’s all. You’re are so well informed about environmental propaganda, the only way I can get confirmation that you know what you’re talking about quickly is to ask a broad range of so called experts. That was a mine of information there, and verification of it point by point is something I, alas, do not have time to educate myself about, also the responses we get from a variety of sources might be of interest to others actualists on the list, providing perfect examples of how we are believing unsubstantiated theories.
PETER: The belief that this planet is a living entity populated by earth spirits is seemingly far older than any of the theist beliefs, so I would expect nothing but passionate denial and defence as a response to what I wrote rather than any form of verification. But any method you want to use to go about your investigations is your business entirely and it makes no sense at all for you to simply believe what I am saying about Environmentalism.
Personally, I went off reading and observing everything I came across in a new light – simply regarding everything I thought to be fact or true as now open to question. That singular action meant I would listen as words came out of my mouth, which I eventually recognized to be ‘me’ parroting something I had heard, something I was told, or something I simply assumed to be so.
The other point I would make is that to simply challenge another’s beliefs is a meaningless exercise unless you are offering an alternative. The alternative in this case would be for people to put their time and passion into eliminating malice and sorrow first and then whatever environmental or other societal problems could be easily tackled in peace, harmony, consensus and co-operation. Unless you somehow offer an alternative you may well get an offended response.
However, an actualist welcomes and encourages scrutiny and, as the Spiritualists have failed miserably to defend the indefensible, we might as well have the Geotheists next.
PETER to No 18: The whole emphasis is on ‘how am I experiencing myself NOW?’ This has the effect of eliminating the future as something to worry about, and the inevitable postponement that it brings.
RESPONDENT: Quite so. I have just heard about a fence go up between two properties. A fence built by human conditioning, between people who are not able to ‘actually be’ the loving people they want to be or ‘believe’ they are.
PETER: Yes indeed, this fence is an imaginary fence with good on one side and evil on the other, or right on one side and wrong on the other, or loving on one side and unloving on the other, and the whole fighting over the fence is fuelled by the animal instinctual passions that are still rampant in human beings. The whole point of actualism is to remove your own beliefs that you need to be on one side of the fence or the other, remove your own morals, ethics and values that causes you to be on one side, feeling superior and riling against others – and finally to quit the whole passion-fuelled grim game of survival. To become free of the Human Condition – and all it entails.
It is impossible to ‘actually be’ loving, for love is not actual. It is an instinct-fuelled emotion that only exists in the heads and hearts of human beings. There is no love or hate in a tree, a keyboard, a cloud, a coffee cup. There is instinctual fear, aggression, nurture and desire in animals for it is literally a dog-eat-dog world. There is instinctual fear, aggression, nurture and desire in the human animal but we have been socialized to mask our fear, be cunning with our aggression, be proud of our nurture and devious with our desire. The most amazing revelation of Actual Freedom is that when one dares to strip away all of these instinctual passions the senate-only experience of pristine purity and perfection of the actual world comes tumbling in to fill the vacuum left by ‘me’ and my passions. More and more, a ‘self’-less sensuous experience of the actual world replaces the overwhelming gloom and doom reality of the real world or the phoney rosy Reality of the spiritual world.
RESPONDENT: These realizations are everywhere at the moment, this stark difference between what we theorize about, but are not actually being.
PETER: The best thing that has happened in the last half century is that the Eastern spiritual world has been opened up so much that we are clearly able to see it for what it is – religious superstition and humbug.
The ideal of Enlightenment has been exposed to be a feeling-only state and many are beginning to realize the stark differences between what they say and what they do – i.e. how they are as Divine Beings and how they are as human beings.
An actualist realizes that Being is a delusion, and comes to realize that his or her own ‘being’ is but a passionate illusion.
PETER to No 18: Being free of the belief in an after-life, I am now free to actually be here, fully acknowledging the fact. <Snip> Having no belief in a past or future life enabled me to tackle the issue of my behaviour, my actions, my feelings and emotions, my experiences and, of course, my happiness, right now. Peter to No 18, 5.7.2000
RESPONDENT: Yes. Of the many uncoveries Richard made, one that has been of tremendous import to me has been that nothing is mine. That this sensate body I had considered as mine, is in fact the universe experiencing itself as a human being, and it brings about many interesting perspectives. Without the claim of my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions, experiences and, of course, happiness, one is free to tackle them NOW without referring to the past ‘me’. Now I’m beginning to see how my this, my that, has been feeding the beast, the idea of a separate selfish identity.
PETER: What I wrote is the opposite of what you are agreeing with – 180 degrees opposite. When I still had spiritual beliefs, I separated myself out from my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions for I was a goody-two-shoes spiritual seeker. When I met Richard, I stopped pretending that my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions were not mine. Then I discovered that I was, underneath the sugar-coating, both malicious and sorrowful. It was only by stopping this act of denial of splitting myself in two that I could accept the responsibility of cleaning myself up, so to speak. This splitting oneself in two, or creating a new identity, is what is known as dissociation, epitomized in spiritual belief by such phrases as ‘I am not my body’, ‘I am not my mind’, ‘I am not my feelings’, etc.
An actualist does not fall for the trap of merely pretending he or she is a flesh and blood body – adopting yet another identity or belief and thus ignoring or denying his or her unwanted or covered-up behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions. One doesn’t wave a magic wand by changing the name of things or learning a new language – the extinguishing of the instinctual passions that are ‘me’ at my core is the commitment of a life time.
As you said above, there are realizations everywhere at the moment about the stark differences between what spiritual people theorize about and how they actually are.
What I did was take my ‘self’ on – lock, stock and barrel, the lot, everything – and I will not stop until all of ‘me’ is extinguished, for only then will what is actual become apparent.
Just as an observation, to avoid confusion about what is being said and what is on offer on this list – I found that when I first read Richard’s writings I had to read a sentence two or three times in order to understand that what he was saying was not what I had assumed in my first reading. Then the next time I read the same section or sentence, it would well only take two readings to get the gist of what he was saying. The third time through sometimes heralded the beginning of an understanding of how radically different it was to what I had been taught or what I had believed to be true. But what kept pulling me back, despite my fears, to reading more and wanting to understand more was that actualism made sense – and I desperately wanted to be free of the Human Condition.
This business of becoming free of beliefs and instinctual passions means that the brain needs to be re-wired, re-programmed, and this is a purely physical process of breaking old synapses based on myths and beliefs and forging new one’s based on facts and actuality. This re-programming does take effort, time, attention, perseverance, intent, stubbornness, willingness, interest, vigour and ... a passionate desire to be free of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Which reminds me, it was when Jane Roberts began her intense contemplation of the universe as idea construction that Seth, the so called personality energy essence, made its entrance, from his discarnate multidimensional view point, (don’t laugh :-)) and began explaining (in the distorted terms that our linear and limited minds could understand) how beliefs create what Richard would call the ‘real world’ of the human condition and conditioning. Beliefs which Seth says are dispensed with when a human being makes certain realizations. But he also says ...<Snipped>
PETER: I do like to write to people who are interested in how to become actually free of malice and sorrow for this is the only way we human beings can stop fighting and feuding with each other – the only way we can put an end to all the rapes and murders, tortures and bloodshed, child abuse and persecution, conflict and wars. Given that this empirical approach to bringing an end to human malice and sorrow is so radically new, this writing often involves a lot of demolishing of Bronze Age spirit-ual perceptions and beliefs of good and evil spirits, loving beings and hateful beings, after-lives and other-worlds, etc. which people still espouse as being the ‘Truth’ about human existence on earth. Thus I inevitably find myself writing to passionate believers, the firmly convinced and even the fully deluded. Often, in order to justify or defend their beliefs, the stout defenders of the status quo will quote the supposedly truth-full teachings of long dead holy men, despite the fact that there is considerable doubt as to whether these holy men really existed as flesh and blood human beings. However, I do draw the line, particularly on this list, as to making any comment on the so-called ‘Wisdom’ of a disembodied entity who has no existence other than in the fertile and passionate imagination of ‘his’ earthly channeller ... and of those who believe her story.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.