Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
with Correspondent No 47
RESPONDENT: First I want to let you know that Vineeto’s writings have been invaluable to me in understanding women, my relation towards them and their relation towards me. She has made sense of something I had thought to be genuinely senseless and put it into words that are so easily read.
PETER: Yes, I found it most useful to have a companion who was willing to reveal the inner-workings of the woman’s camp in what is tellingly known as the battle of the sexes. Of course, as a practicing actualist, this willingness to divulge secrets was part of her desire to do all she could to change herself so that she could live with at least one fellow human being in utter peace and harmony.
RESPONDENT: What a marvellous cooperation between the two of you.
PETER: It was definitely a fortuitous meeting in that we both came to have the same intent – to do all we could to rid ourselves of all traces of malice and sorrow – but it would be wrong to think of it as a co-operative effort. The whole point of actualism is that no-one can do it for me, or with me – it is solely a do-it-yourself business.
You might have read the sea-side café incident that I recently posted to the list and if you did, you might also have noticed that my awareness of my feelings of anger towards her prompted me to take the unilateral action necessary to change myself. Contrary to popular belief, stopping being angry or resentful or melancholic or sorrowful does not require the co-operation of others.
RESPONDENT: As for reading Peter’s writings, well, lets just say ‘Green Peace’ lost what could have been one of its most passionate members. The ‘boots and all’ approach I had planned for Environmentalism is now well directed towards Actualism.
PETER: Yeah. I live in a country, which is so wealthy that water quality, air quality, food quality and the like are of such a high standard that they present no health risk at all. When I realized a few years ago that Environmentalists in this country were getting angry about the ever-increasing minutiae of an ever-decreasing problem or were ever-eager to jump on the bandwagon of ever-new doomsday scenarios in order to satiate their morbid fascination with destruction and extinction, I knew it was time to leave the Environmentalists to their own feelings of anger and sorrow.
In short, I stopped holding pantheistic beliefs, which meant that I finally stopped taking sides in the mythological battle twixt the forces of Good and forces of Evil – which then left me free of the anger and sorrow inherent in ‘fighting the good cause’.
One of the realizations that really got me off my bum was that I live in a country that has a level of safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that was unthinkable a century ago and yet, despite this fact, I was not happy and I was far from harmless. It then struck me that it’s exactly people like me who live in similar situations to me – those who no longer need to fight it out with other human beings in a grim battle for survival – who need to stop being instinctually driven beings. With this realization haunting me, I soon understood that this realization meant that ‘people like me’ in fact meant me and the ‘boots and all’ approach soon followed.
As I like to say about actualism – ‘it’s the only game to play in town’. And it’s always a pleasure to hear of someone else who is interested in playing.
RESPONDENT: You have both been an incredibly strong influence in my life, and of course Richard, so I will thank the three of you once and for all.
PETER: Richard can speak for himself of course but I know he is well pleased that his writings are now freely available in the world. I am also pleased that I wrote my journal when I did as it is the first documentary of someone utilizing the actualism method in order to become virtually happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. And that Vineeto wrote her bit was an added bonus – one that you seem to have particularly appreciated.
RESPONDENT: Now, back to my query, I was going to ask you about ‘libido’. Lately I have been experiencing very strong emotions where beliefs and thoughts seem to be absent …heart pounding, corporal temperature change, and an inability to do anything but wait it out, leads me to believe they are the bare instincts or, at least, of a very close nature.
PETER: I recall in my early days of becoming interested in actualism, when I began to understand how radical it was and began to get a glimpse of the consequences of becoming a ‘boots and all’ actualist, I also had many head-spinning and heart-pounding experiences. I remember having many bouts of fear in the early days but I soon learnt to turn them into the thrill of the doing of actualism.
Actualism is no small thing to consider doing, let alone totally commit yourself to the doing of it.
RESPONDENT: One of these in particular is what I come to think as the ‘libido’; and I am in a sort of contradiction with this feeling. At first, I could not experience this without the need to masturbate…it was just to damn strong. I even ejaculated once just by looking at someone (I had a good view) and this is (I was going to say not in my nature) not ‘me’ at all, as I have always had the utmost respect for women; another hint that it could be the uncovered instinctual passions.
PETER: Only you can know what it is that you are feeling at any time – this being the whole point of the actualism method after all. The only comment I would offer is a general one – that often the feeling of fear can be accompanied by a heightened sexual excitement. I don’t know much about the specific chemicals involved at all but it would seem that the hormonal rush that follows from being in fearful situations or undertaking dangerous activities is almost identical to the hormonal rush that produce the oft-uncontrollable feelings of sexual excitement. In other words, one instinctual reaction can be accompanied by another instinctual reaction or can precipitate another instinctual reaction.
This accords with my own experience that the instinctual passions are an inseparable package – good is but flipside of evil – which is why it makes sense to pay equal attention to the so-called good feelings as it is to the more obvious bad feelings.
RESPONDENT: Although it is no longer a problem and the last week especially I have had very curious experiences with this. I am no longer driven by this sexual drive in that I don’t even get an erection if I don’t want to, even if the feeling is strong and persists.
PETER: In my experience in observing the feelings that result from being an instinctually driven sexual predator, the whole mating compulsion with its accompanying social rituals is akin to being on an emotional roller coaster ride – most especially in the early post-pubescent years. One of the things I wanted to do in actualism was to free myself from being an unwitting victim of the blind procreation-compulsive passions – not only for myself but also to free others from the ungracious emotional demands and gratuitous mood swings that inevitable result from being an instinctually driven sexual predator.
RESPONDENT: In fact, I have found this feeling to be a natural stimulant, which helps me stay awake, and the friend I am living with is rather surprised by my present active life at night. Quite a handy tool for studying, or walking at night, and it fuels my corporal energy if I am feeling tired or lazy.
PETER: As I said before only you can know what you are feeling at any time and only you are able to make sense of what you are feeling at any moment in time. However getting to this stage of attentiveness does take persistence, as it is not something that is in any way natural.
RESPONDENT: Until recently I had not comprehended what Richard meant when saying he has no ‘libido’ but has an active sexual life, and I still don’t understand it completely, but I suspect it implies having an erection without this feeling I am now experiencing … after all, this feeling is ‘me’. That’s why it also has to be eliminated right? Please correct me if I have misunderstood.
PETER: Speaking personally, the reason I wanted to eliminate the blind instinctual drive to procreate was that I understood – and then experienced – that it prevented me from enjoying the pure sensual delight of sexual play with a willing partner and that its elimination would also free my partner from my ungracious emotional demands and gratuitous mood swings.
Because my intent had two parts to it – being happy and being harmless – I was sufficiently motivated to make the effort to pay scrupulous attention to the invidious nature of my instinctual sexual passions such that they have now almost completely disappeared out of my life.
RESPONDENT: But here is where the contradiction lies: the only way to feel this ‘sexual energy’ is if I am with a woman or if I ‘imagine’ being with a woman. I know that Richard has advised against using imagination … so would it be sensible to let this ‘libido’ come of its own accord? Or can I keep provoking it? It’s quite fun really, I will confess, and it has its uses. But even if I do provoke it, once it’s set in motion, I can stop imagining and it will remain for a while. I am really interested in your comments about all this and any suggestion will be well received.
PETER: I can remember in my teenage years that I would often get rushes of sexual energy that were neither an actual reaction nor an imagined reaction – often erections would simply happen of their own accord in the most inappropriate places. I soon learnt that the way to bring on the rush of sexual energy was to indulge in imagination and the habit continued on through my life even when I was having sex with a willing flesh and blood woman. I’ve come to learn by experience that not only is imagination a very poor substitute for the actual sensual delight of sexual play – continuing to indulge in imagination is one of the prime factors that prevents the possibility of experiencing the actual sensual delight of sexual play.
The other aspect of the instinctual sexual drive – or ‘sexual energy’ – is that its physical manifestation is electro-chemical in nature. The onset of the sexual drive is always accompanied by an influx of chemicals throughout the body creating a physical as well as an emotional craving to penetrate and impregnate or to be penetrated and impregnated. Because the instinctive drive to procreation is vital to the survival of animal species, the chemical flows that accompany this drive are amongst the strongest – and in the human species no more so at the precise moment of sperm release and sperm acceptance. Because these chemical flows are also infused throughout the brain, human beings experience these flows as sexual feelings and emotions culminating with a bonus ‘hit’ if the sexual act is successfully concluded.
Many of these chemical flows are so euphoric in their nature that they are both compulsive and addictive – one wants more because the euphoric feeling is never completely satisfactory and one is driven to keep coming back for more because the feeling is so fleeting. This fleetingness of satisfaction is part and parcel of blind nature’s programming designed to ensure that the procreation of the species is as abundant and as random as possible so as to best ensure the species’ survival and evolution. To paraphrase Richard – ‘Blind nature cares not a fig about my happiness, or my companion’s happiness, or any human being’s happiness for that matter’.
So the question is – would one be willing to forgo the addictive feelings sourced in the instinctual sexual passions, either from flesh-on-flesh contact or from fanciful thinking in order to be happy and harmless in one’s sensuous sexual play with a fellow human being? Personally I found the whole exploration into the instinctual sexual passions to be one of the closest-to-the-bone investigations I made in actualism simply because it involves one of the most intimate actions one shares with a fellow human being – flesh-on-flesh is after all as intimate as one get.
Should you not have a sexual partner with whom to investigate the societal taboos and experience the invidious nature of the sexual passions in practice then no need to worry – the full range of instinctual passions are available to explore in practice, when and as they occur, in your daily life. Each of the instinctual reactions – fear, aggression, nurture and desire – cause a flush of chemicals throughout the body and, with due diligence, one can eventually become aware of the resulting feelings and emotions when and as they occur. Again these chemical flows are not only automatically produced but they are thoroughly addictive by nature, which explains why human beings are addicted to doing physically dangerous activities, to feeling angry at someone or something, to watching violent movies or listening to sad music, to having power over others, to craving the plaudits of others and so on.
So as you can see, there is ample to do if you want to be a practicing actualist – daily everyday life is rich with opportunities for exploration into one’s psyche – without any need whatsoever to indulge in imaginary scenarios in order to provoke desirable feelings. Actualism is not at all about exploring the world of make-believe – rather one needs to intentionally abandon the world of make-believe if one at all aspires to live in the pristine purity of the actual world of the senses.
All that is needed to put actualism into practice in one’s daily everyday life is the sincere intent to be happy and to be harmless. This unwavering intent will then give you the impetus to make the stubborn effort required to become aware of how you are experiencing this moment, the only moment you can actually experience being alive.
PETER: Hi No 52 & No 47,
RESPONDENT No 52: Four years ago my daughter died. She was 26 yo. She died from suicide, having stood bravely in front of a speeding Amtrack train in a suburb of Fresno, CA. She was identified by a single rose tattoo on her hip ... which she acquired in Georgia only a few months before. This event was preceded by a year or so of increasing depression and two unsuccessful overdoses. She was a beautiful young lady ... and before this year so filled with talent, ambition ... and an outward zest for life. Deep down inside, all of us knew it was coming ... all of us: her mother (my ex wife), her brothers, sisters, other relatives and some few friends. But in the end, we were all helpless to stop this train. The shock of her passing was so strong ... I could barely hold on.
RESPONDENT No 47: I decided to comment on your post because I saw many similarities between your daughter and myself some years back. Although I was fortunately unsuccessful in my attempt to take my own life away, I still remember what I went through and so do my parents. However, as I never finished, or was never finished by, the last step … my parents never knew the likes of your grief. But I have seen enough to wish it upon no one.
I also sincerely wish your daughter had not had to go through with it, and I also wish you had never felt the resulting pain because of it, and that is why I commit myself entirely to the purpose of doing something about it.
PETER: A comment that Richard made recently when asked about his use of the words malice and sorrow in describing the human condition seems pertinent to the discussion –
Malice readily comes to most people’s minds as being a salient aspect of the human condition – in the last one hundred years an estimated 160,000,000 human beings were killed by other human beings in wars alone – but we tend not to be so attentive of the central role that sorrow plays. Maybe this is because we are not so cognizant that an estimated 40,000,000 human beings also killed themselves in suicides last century.
And all of this mayhem and misery is the direct result of the blind and brutal instinctual passions that human beings insist are essential if human beings are to remain being human beings. T’is enough to make you want to abandon ship but in order to do so you may well find that the strongest emotional tether to break is that of sorrow.
I don’t want to pre-empt your own experiential observations about the sorrowful feelings but in my own investigations I discovered that feelings of malice is more readily discernible than feelings of sorrow. Speaking metaphorically – malice can be experienced as being peaks or flare-ups of emotion, sadness can be experienced as valleys or troughs of emotion, whereas in general the constant plain or milieu of human feelings is one of seriousness and sullenness. The other observation I have made is that sorrow in the form of the feeling of compassion – the compulsion to participate in another’s suffering – is the essential emotion that binds Humanity together, and hence binds ‘me’ to Humanity. Which is why I described sorrow as being a strongest emotional tether to break free of.
PETER: I don’t want to pre-empt your own experiential observations about the sorrowful feelings but in my own investigations I discovered that feelings of malice is more readily discernible than feelings of sorrow. Speaking metaphorically – malice can be experienced as being peaks or flare-ups of emotion, sadness can be experienced as valleys or troughs of emotion, whereas in general the constant plain or milieu of human feelings is one of seriousness and sullenness. The other observation I have made is that sorrow in the form of the feeling of compassion – the compulsion to participate in another’s suffering – is the essential emotion that binds Humanity together, and hence binds ‘me’ to Humanity. Which is why I described sorrow as being a strongest emotional tether to break free of.
RESPONDENT: What I just wrote to Vineeto fits well with what you wrote:
I have had people tell me that they hope my ‘childish view’ on life lasts (insinuating that I should grow up) and one even wished me ill when I did not agree with his sorrowful view on life. Tall Poppy Syndrome is it called? I think I see what you mean Peter.
PETER: I remember one of the things I found telling in my early days of being an actualist was the realization that so much of what human beings regard as entertainment is rooted in malice and sorrow. Be it sad music, love songs or angry music, novels that are historical rehashes of old grievances, romantic novels, action films, video games, soap operas, news reports, competitive sports, and so on. I remember going through my CD collection and being astounded at the bitter-sweet feelings that most of the music engendered – so much so that I soon hustled most of them out the door.
As I said to No 52 in my most recent post to him, it is important to feel the quality of any feelings of malice and sorrow that surface before you nip them in the bud in order that you have an experiential understanding as to how and why the feelings and emotions that arise from the instinctual passions operate. By conducting your investigations in this scientific way, you feel the feelings as and when they are happening which means you neither repress nor dissociate from your feelings, and then get back to feeling good as soon as possible, which means you neither indulge in nor become overwhelmed by your malicious and sorrowful feelings.
An intellectual understanding of the human condition is one thing – at best you know in theory what to look out for. But if you really want to become free of the human condition there is no other way but fully committing to a hands-on moment-to-moment attentiveness as to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive – which means fully committing to being here as a mortal flesh and body in this world of the senses, with all that this involves.
As for the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, you only need to observe the revolving door of spiritualists who come to this list and head straight for Richard in order to cut him down a peg or two. And it is fascinating to observe how they are so convinced that they, and their ilk, are right – that the meaning of life is somewhere hidden in the ancient mumbo-jumbo of Eastern spirituality – and that we actualists are wrong, so much so that they have not the slightest interest in what is being talked about on this mailing list. They provide a wonderful opportunity to observe first-hand how holding on to any religious or spiritual belief or philosophy actively stifles any possibility of even considering the idea that something new has now been discovered – that it is now possible for any human being, so inclined, to become free of malice and sorrow.
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