Peter’s Correspondence on the Actual Freedom List
PETER: Hi Gary,
GARY: Greetings from the frigid northland. Yesterday we had quite a dumping of snow and ice, and were sent home from work early. The usual 50 min. commute home took nearly an hour and a half, with cars off the road in some places, etc. I can’t say I look forward to the drive to work today, although looking out at an unbroken expanse of snow does have its charms.
PETER: I spent some 5 years living in Europe and experienced a climate that was very different to that of my childhood. I particularly remember wonderful long twilight summer evenings where the evening light ever-so-slowly dimmed until 10pm or so. Then the sight of the autumnal display of deciduous trees accompanied by a carpet of multi-coloured leaves strewn on the ground was always delightful, as was waking from a warm bed on a winter’s morning to see snow-covered fields and buildings. As the annual weather cycle inevitably ticked on, almost imperceptibly new spring growth came back to the trees and the days gradually lengthened to summer again.
I also became well aware of the extreme hardships of living in a climate like this for those who were alive only a few generations ago. I do laud and appreciate the technological advances that an increasing proportion of humans now enjoy and I unreservedly enjoy being alive in these times.
The time is patently ripe for an end to war, conflict, despair, endless cycles of abuse and retribution, corruption, murder and suicide as human beings instinctively fight it out with other human being in a grim and desperate ‘self’-centric senseless battle for survival.
PETER: I remember when I first read Richard’s Journal I had to read it very thoroughly and repeatedly in order to understand exactly what he was saying, and when I did, it was as if I was struck by thunderbolts of common sense, or realizations, or flashes of pure thinking unfettered by any beliefs, ethics, morals, values or passions.
GARY: I have been giving Richard’s Journal a second, more careful, read for a while lately. I read through it rather quickly when I first got it and now I read a chapter every now and then and mull over the contents in my mind. For those who do not know, much of Richard’s Journal is available in on-line format for free, although I chose to order one through the mail.
PETER: Yep, as I am wont to say – ‘If all else fails read the instructions’...
PETER: This was not the spiritual Truth I was reading, but the facts of how to become free of the Human Condition. My life-long longing for peace on earth meant I could not turn away – this was an opportunity to be seized with both hands. I needed to find out not only for myself, but for the many others I knew who longed for peace on earth, whether this worked or not.
GARY: If one person could become free from the Human Condition, maybe, just maybe, I can too. I have had to determine for myself if what Richard is talking about is indeed the genuine article, no small task for one living in the Human Condition. Not having met him, nor the rest of you, I can only determine this through the written words in the books, the writings, and on this list. In a recent post I expressed my doubts about it all, and also the fear that the words seemingly inspired. One other sense that I had, which I have from time to time, is that the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. At one time, I (early on, I think) I even imagined Richard laughing his ass off at me, a damn fool, buying his pitch.
This is, I think, an indication that one is approaching the Actual Freedom writings on the basis of trust and faith, rather than simply whether they make sense or not. At this later point, it is difficult for me to understand the state of mind of those who think that Richard is forcing them to adopt his ‘viewpoint’ (which it is not), because it has never been my experience that he is forcing anyone to do anything. If one wishes to remain miserable, sorrowful, and malicious, then that is the end of the matter.
But for those who are vitally interested in an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition, he, and the others on this list for that matter too, are more than accommodating in his/their writings. One cannot approach Actual Freedom on the basis of faith and trust, but that is probably exactly what spiritual seekers will do, imagining this to be some kind of cult or new religion. Since the spiritual search is all about faith and trust, with spiritual seekers eagerly lapping up the most absurd notions spoon fed to them by the God-men and God women, it is not surprising that spiritual seekers will impose their background of belief on Actual Freedom, turning it into some kind of religion, or turn Richard into some kind of Guru.
PETER: I was initially quite taken aback when none of my previous spiritual friends were interested in actualism. However, I came to see that many had run their race and gone back to being normal or had become comfortably spiritual, occasionally going to ‘church’ by sitting with the latest Guru to hit town, doing a group or going to a celebration or event when they wanted a top up on a bit of ‘feel-good’.
No Guru, no teachings, no group, no groupies – just a method specifically designed to develop autonomy and eliminate malice and sorrow – apparently holds no attraction at all for spiritual/ religious believers.
GARY: In terms of my own process, and this should be pretty clear from what I write here, I am going through the initial phase of ‘deliberate active dismantling’ of the identity. This is still a fairly stormy period for me, with many ups and downs along the road. In this respect, it seems like little has changed. I have periods, sometimes lasting part of the day or most of a day, of ‘self’-less experiences, but then it seems like the malicious, resentful entity comes back in spades, even stronger the next time. Yesterday I actually felt quite depressed and discouraged by the end of the day – my partner and I were both in a terrible state – I being quite miserable, and she feeling very sick and tired out. She ended up balling her eyes out – I ended up ‘nurturing’ her – and then we both had an enormous laugh at the ridiculous state both of us were in. After that, things lightened up a bit.
PETER: Being ruthlessly honest with yourself – integrity in practice – will stand you in good stead in this process.
Integrity is essential in order to begin the process of actualism, it is essential in order to maintain the process and to avoid the pitfalls of delusion and it is essential at the end of the process.
There are three alternatives to dealing with one’s lot in life, i.e. being born with genetically encoded animal instinctual passions and being ensnared by one’s own social identity into forever remaining within the flock. Within Humanity there are only two alternatives – to remain normal and begrudgingly accept one’s lot, always feeling resentful, or to become spiritual and dwell in the world of fantasy, always in denial.
There is now a third alternative – step out of the real world and into the actual world and leave your ‘self’ behind.
By actively doing something about your lot in life you give up either denying or accepting what ‘you’ are really thinking and feeling. You cut to the very quick of the problem that prevents humans from living together in peace and harmony. By doing so, any lingering feelings of resentment and shame, or any loitering desires for transcendence – to go ‘somewhere’ else – eventually wither as you incrementally eliminate malice and sorrow from your life.
GARY: There has been an incremental improvement in that I experience less malice and sorrow since I have been at this. That may seem inconsistent with what I wrote above (‘In this respect, it seems like little has changed’), but overall there has been improvement. It is very difficult and arduous to dismantle the social identity, and if anyone is fooled into thinking that this is an easy task, let me be the first to tell you that you are liable to experience some extreme reactions. You are also liable to be actively discouraged in this by your family, peers, and friends. At times, it feels quite crazy what I am doing, and there are times when I just go ahead, pull out the stops and do it anyway.
PETER: Increasingly in the process you will find the only thing you have to hold on to is that which is actual, tangible and palpable, sensate and sensual, factual and sensible. All else will disappear in the search for Actual Freedom, as all else is non-actual. Thus the only thing you have to hang your hat on to garner the confidence to proceed is the experience of the pragmatic changes that occur from actualism – of becoming demonstratively more happy and more harmless.
From my experience, and verified by the experience of others, whenever I fell back into feeling lacklustre, melancholic, peeved or worried, it seemed as though I had been that way for the whole day, whereas an accurate assessment often revealed a far shorter period. It is important when running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ to not only come up with an honest answer such as ‘I am annoyed’ but to find out why you are annoyed, i.e. what triggered the annoyance, when did it happen, what is it that is preventing me from feeling happy and being harmless now? Having labelled the feeling, made the investigation and discovered the cause, you can then nip the sorrowful or acrimonious feeling in the bud and get back as quickly as possible to feeling good.
The work is in becoming aware of, labelling and the experientially discovering their instinctual-based origin, and the reward, as you said, is in the ‘incremental improvement in that I experience less malice and sorrow’.
PETER: In the period leading up to Virtual Freedom I had many realizations and many PCEs in what was a fairly tumultuous period. It was as though my familiar normal/ spiritual world was collapsing and any pure consciousness experiences literally felt as though I was entering another world, which the actual world is compared to ‘my’ reality. These PCE offer a glimpse of the human condition while standing outside of it, as it where, and the trick is to not only experience the delight of the actual world but also take a clear-eyed look at the appalling malice and debilitating sorrow of the human condition. Thus informed, I always had something to do when entering back into ‘my’ reality.
GARY: Yes, this is about where I am at right now. Yet, ‘my’ reality is getting to be more and more distasteful, futile, and absurd.
PETER: Perhaps by reference to your excellent description of putting emotions into a bind, a similar way of looking at this issue is to neither associate nor disassociate but to put ‘me’ in a bind by a process of continual awareness and thorough investigation – as in ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
This process also puts paid to the spiritual ‘watcher’ for if the answer to the ongoing question is ‘I am feeling aloof, indifferent, uninterested, unfeeling, removed or detached’ then that is something to be investigated, for being a detached watcher of one’s own life is a far cry from developing a resounding Yes to being here in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. Developing a resounding Yes to being here is certainly not the be all and end all of actualism but it is an essential part of the process of eliminating the fear-based spiritual indoctrination of perpetually wanting to retreat ‘inside’.
PETER: The next period of Virtual Freedom was largely concerned with removing any of these residual feelings that create the gulf and that stand in the way of a permanent pure experience of the actual world. In Virtual Freedom pure consciousness experiences are more like glimpses of normality, as in ‘I have always been here, it’s just that this ‘person’ keeps getting in the way’.
GARY: I can gather your meaning here. Yesterday I felt possessed by the resentful entity. It would be nice to get away from this chap’s clutches. Fortunately or unfortunately, this chap is ‘me’.
PETER: I admit to being a touch reluctant to expand on my experiences in my period of virtual freedom, lest you became a seeker of experiences rather than a diligent seeker of irrevocable tangible change. I like it that you seem to have your feet firmly planted on the ground, although at times you may well feel this is not so. The only way to get to Virtual Freedom is to persistently whittle away at the beliefs, morals, ethics and the extremes of the passions that give substance to ‘me’.
There are no shortcuts to this process – and who would have it any other way than to earn your own freedom by your own efforts.
PETER: In both these stages I always knew that the PCEs that crept up on me were temporary experiences and that eventually they would imperceptibly fade away and some neurosis or feeling would creep in, no matter how subtle or how fleeting.
However, twice during this period of Virtual Freedom, I have had experiences that were more explicit in nature. In these PCEs I clearly and startlingly realized that in order for me, this body, to permanently experience actuality, ‘me’, this identity, would have to die or disappear entirely.
GARY: Even though I was rather depressed yesterday, underneath it all was the sense that, although the depression or whatever was very real, it was not actual. This is not to deny what I was going through, just to point to the fact that it is all an emotional experience, not based in actuality. Actuality is, like you said, squeaky clean. None of the dirt on ‘my’ hands can get in.
PETER: Given that you acknowledge the experience was very real at the time it was happening, this is the very time to label the emotion or feeling you are having and to investigate what triggered it – what incident caused you to fall from being happy into being sad or what caused you to change from feeling good to being annoyed or feeling peeved for example. This is the work to be done, these are the investigations to be made – this is what makes the awareness that an actualist practices 180 degrees different from the traditional spiritual awareness of merely being a disassociated watcher.
PETER: The experience I recently wrote about was of the same ilk, I simply walked through the sliding door one morning out on to our balcony and had a glimpse of how it would be if there was no way back to being normal.
I remember thinking – ‘this is how it must have been for Richard when his whole psychological and psychic identity collapsed and he had no way back’. I understood then the nature of his angst at being the first human on the planet to have no psychological and psychic identity whatsoever – to have no ‘self’ dwelling inside his body.
The latest experience on our balcony was very brief and the automatic fear and subsequent thrill took my breath away for a second or two before the realization of the nature of the experience kicked in. The fear quickly passed as I began to muse on the consequences of what I had experienced. From this experience I realized that what I needed to do was to slip out from control, now that I had sufficient practical experience of the utter safety, purity and perfection of being here, sans identity, in this actual physical tangible world.
GARY: I noticed that you said there was ‘automatic fear’. Is, then, fear a barrier, preventing you in some way from having more of these experiences, or perhaps deepening them?
PETER: No, fear is not the barrier, fear is ‘me’. Richard describes the instinctual passions as a defensive ring, defending nothing at the centre. This is not the spiritual Nothingness or Void but nothing, as in empty, vacant, clear, non-existent.
The spiritual question of ‘Who am I’ initially produces the same answer but as a feeling of Emptiness which can also produce fear that can even build to dread. To counter this fear and dread, spiritual practice teaches the practitioner to search for blissful feelings and feelings of Spaciousness and thus armed they then step into this Void, leaving their personal identity or ego behind and becoming an aggrandized identity who feels they are the very centre of all existence. As such, the outer physical world becomes an illusion, albeit a grandiose and perfect illusion, and their newly created identity becomes real, albeit a grandiose and deluded identity. Delusions of Grandeur, solipsism and Divine Dementia inevitably result.
In spiritual freedom a narcissistic phoenix arises from the ashes, in my glimpse of Actual Freedom nothing arises from the ashes for ‘I’ – a lost, lonely frightened and very cunning entity – have no place in the actual world. Contrary to spiritual belief and impassioned imagination, there is nothing ‘inside’ this physical flesh and blood body.
‘I’ am nothing but a passionate defender ... of nothing at all.
GARY: Also, from what you say, it appears that there is still a controller (‘you’) when the experience kicks in. Just how does one ‘slip out from control’? I seem to recall Richard writing about ‘letting go of the wheel’ at all costs. Can you do it?
PETER: I don’t see that I have any choice in the matter. To be a bit poetic, the door to Actual freedom has big red letters on the top flashing out ‘Do Not Enter’ and this warning sign is genetically encoded by the ‘self’-survival passions constantly reiterating ‘do not die, survive at all costs’. By a process of weakening these survival passions you get closer and closer to the door and there you find the word ‘Insanity’ written in the middle of it. By a process of understanding and experiencing the insanity of both the spiritual world and the real world, the door marked ‘Insanity’ becomes more inviting and more alluring by the moment. Then it only becomes a matter of abandoning control and stopping resisting this pull – the innate drive to betterment – and a thrilling inevitability sets in.
GARY: How long have you been experiencing what is called Virtual Freedom?
PETER: The writing of my Journal firmly set me in a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow. By the time I finished writing it I had a very good understanding of the human condition, both in general terms and, far more importantly, how it operated in me. This information I initially gleaned from Richard’s words and experiences and then I verified each understanding by my own investigations and directly by my own experience. At the end of some eighteen fairly tumultuous but utterly fascinating and fun-filled months, I was able to say with utter confidence and no bullshit that I was virtually free of malice and sorrow and that my social identity, in particular, was in shreds. The extremes of the debilitating passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire had disappeared and whenever unpropitious, overwhelming or debilitating feelings arose they were quickly and thoroughly investigated and I got back to at least feeling very good, and more often than not, feeling excellent.
The reason I was able to say I live in Virtual Freedom was that I had road-tested actualism in that most difficult of arenas, constantly living with another person. In my case I found I was now able to live with a woman in utter peace and harmony, with no disagreements, no power trips, no resentments, no secrets, no desire or need to change the other, no gender war, no feelings of dependency or need for independency – something I have not seen in any other relationship I know of, or have read of. Add to this I experienced an intimacy which, although not yet complete, was beyond my wildest dreams anyway and is vastly superior to what passes for relationship between men and women – the bondage of compromise or the initial feverish torture of love, its inevitable waning and the recriminations of failure. Add to this a sexual freedom which, although not yet complete, was beyond my wildest dreams and you probably get the picture as to why I not only live in Virtual Freedom but also why I am no slouch in extolling its delights and benefits.
PETER: To continue on the topic of intelligence vs. instinctual behaviour ...
GARY: In an article by William H. Calvin, entitled ‘The Emergence of Intelligence’, in Scientific American (November 1998), the author expounds on a rather advanced aspect of human intelligence: the ability to engage in advance planning.
PETER: From observing documentaries on humans who, due to isolation, still live a primitive hunter-gathering lifestyle, they also engage in planning – they make shelters, they store food, they share workloads, they make tools and weapons, they plan attacks, they organize defences, etc. It is clear that it is human knowledge that has advanced and not human intelligence given that that modern humans still fight and kill each other – ‘excepting they fight with cruise missiles ‘stead of spears’ ... to plagiarize Banjo Patterson.
GARY: But the advancement of human knowledge is intelligence, is it not? Again, the first definition of intelligence in my dictionary is:
You seem to be making a somewhat arbitrary distinction between the advancement of knowledge and intelligence. Whereas I see them as the same thing. Using the example that you outline above – humans engaging in extensive defensive preparations, making tools and weapons, etc. – I see that as a definite sign of intelligence, according to the definition of intelligence I have provided.
PETER: According to this definition of intelligence human beings have been very intelligent in developing and making weapons. There were three great wars in the last 100 years on the planet, WW1. WW2 and the Cold War. The First World War saw the development and use of poison gas, a way of killing and maiming others, very effectively and at a safe distance. The Second World War saw the development of aerial bombardments, culminating in the fire bombing of cities, Dresden being amongst the first with 800 aircraft used to kill over 35,000 people. This practice culminated in even greater efficiency with 300 planes used to incinerate 120,000 civilians in the Tokyo firestorm raid. Soon after a further refinement in weapon development saw only single planes used, each dropping 27 kilotron atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 105,000 people.
Insatiated by these advancements, weapon development took yet another exponential leap with the development of the Hydrogen bomb, initially some 15 megatons each – 700 times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.
During the Cold War that soon followed WW2, more than 8,000 ICB missiles, mostly armed with multiple hydrogen bomb warheads, were aimed, ready to fire, in an almost-instant preparedness for war. Neither side had any effective defence from such overwhelming destruction and consequently the Americans used the acronym MAD for this war-footing – Mutually Assured Destruction. Far from being dismantled, this weapon system still exists and is still held at minute readiness by both sides.
In only 50 years, the human ‘ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge’ resulted in a phenomenal development in devising better and more efficient ways to kill other human beings. However, I see no signs of intelligence in any of this appalling suffering. A fiendish cunning, as in malicious intent, is evident in a development from hand to hand, one-on-one combat to the obliteration of whole countries with the press of a button from armchair air-conditioned comfort, but to call this intelligence is to make nonsense of the word.
I am not making a moral or ethical stance in this – it was common sense that Germany and Japan had to be resisted. Armies prepared to fight are as necessary as policeman prepared to shoot to keep the worst excesses of the instinctual passions in check – what humans fondly regard as Civilization is only maintained and sustained at the point of a gun. But a species that gets to the stage of MAD is not intelligent, it is a species driven by senseless passion. To bring a permanent end to this MAD-ness would undoubtedly be a triumph of intelligence over blind passion.
I fail to see that I am making a ‘somewhat arbitrary distinction between the advancement of knowledge and intelligence’. If the advancement of knowledge includes ever efficient and cunning ways to kill and maim other human beings then this is not intelligence in operation but this is simply the cunning exhibited by any animal that stalks and toys with its prey.
If however human beings can ‘learn or understand from experience’ as to what doesn’t work in bringing peace and harmony amongst human beings then maybe, just maybe, they would be willing to try something different which would surely be the intelligent thing to do. I don’t see this as arbitrary, this is surely common sense – the same practical, pragmatic application of intelligent thinking that has resulted in every other advance in human knowledge and betterment of everyday living conditions should be finally be applied to bringing peace to a beleaguered Humanity.
GARY: Given that humans still fight and kill each other, we are looking at the instinctual passions in operation, chiefly the savage passions of fear and aggression. The use of tools and weapons is intelligence – the savage passions blindly impel us to engage in aggressive, warlike actions that ultimately destroy us and others. This is what is killing people throughout the world, not intelligence. In a war, nobody really wins.
PETER: The use of weapons is essential within the human condition – without armed police and armies; anarchy and barbarism would quickly break out. I am well pleased to live in a country with an effective police force, legal system and punishment system and to live in a country that happens to be on the same side as the current big boys in the battle of the nations for global supremacy. As such I have the luxury of not having to carry weapons myself – I contribute via taxes to pay for others to do my weapon carrying.
GARY: But to get back to the main point I am trying to make – why separate the advancement of human knowledge from intelligence?
PETER: I am on record as lauding the advancement of human knowledge that has allowed an increasing proportion of the human population to enjoy unprecedented levels of safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure. I simply make a very clear distinction between these practical advancements and the advancements that abet an instinctual MAD-ness on a global scale. In seeing this I was then able to tackle my personal instinctual madness that prevented me from being anything but happy and anything but harmless.
GARY: Going back to the making of tools and weapons – these things allowed humans to advance in their societal and cultural development beyond the point of huddling in dark caves, starving for the most part. They have allowed a level of material comfort and ease of living, and I myself am not prepared to hurl all the tools and weapons on the bonfire just because they are also put to destructive uses.
PETER: T’will be a long time before the human species hurl their weapons on the bonfire. I simply decided to stop waiting in hope for this impossible fairy tale to come true and decided to take on the realistic proposition of eliminating my own malice and sorrow.
GARY: On the other hand, tools and weapons are a ‘double edged sword’ because the human being is still fettered to a Bronze Age mentality when it comes to the operation of the instinctual passions.
PETER: I would rephrase this as human beings are still fettered by Bronze Age instinctual passions when it comes to the operation of intelligence. It is essential to put the cart before the horse and the horse of the instinctual passions pulls the cart of Humanity, and as we well know, this horse is regularly prone to bolt.
This primacy of the brutish passions has been empirically measured – according to the research of LeDoux and others the passions kick in 12 milliseconds before intelligent thought even has a chance to operate. As such intelligence can never win this battle – it never has a chance. Intelligence, per se, will never be sufficient to bring peace on earth unless, and until, the instinctual passions cease to operate. This experience of the cessation of instinctual passions operating is known as a pure consciousness experience.
Just a note for any spiritualists who may be reading – ‘right’ thinking is not intelligent thinking, far, far from it. Practicing right thinking is to practice self-deception – an active denial of one’s own savage nature, which can only lead to feelings of moral superiority and the cultivation of a sanctimonious soul who subsequently believes him or herself to be immortal. The experience of the sublimation of the savage passions and wallowing in and identifying with the tender passions is known as an altered state of consciousness – the very antithesis of a pure consciousness experience.
GARY: When a human being becomes freed from the Human Condition, the instinctual passions no longer drive behaviour blindly and intelligence is freed from the domination by emotions and passions.
PETER: Yes, and only when someone is eager and willing to rid him or herself of the total package of their social and instinctual conditioning does intelligent thinking really begin to take the drivers seat. When this switchover happens one is virtually free of malice and sorrow. Not totally, for one can never trust oneself that, when push comes to shove, the passions will not come swirling in again. However, if this process is allowed to continue, eventually there are definitive signs that the flow of chemicals that produce the debilitating passions and overwhelming emotions do in fact dry up.
I have just skimmed through the Intelligence chapter of my journal and see that I have addressed some of the issues we have been talking about and a few others to boot. Given that I wrote it when I was having similar experiences to what you are having now and I was running similar sorts of questions to those you are running now it may be useful for you to read again. Again this is just a suggestion but anything that aids in the discovery of what is fact and the discarding of what is belief is grist for the mill in developing common sense.
GARY: Recently you wrote on the differences between intelligence and instincts. I am going to continue with my practice of snipping relevant passages and sentences from your post and then responding to those, rather than try to reproduce the entire large post and reply to each and every point. I find that it is bit more manageable for me that way. However, I must say before I do that your recent post was exceptionally well written and powerful. I think you expressed your points with particular clarity and forthrightness. All in all, I found your points have persuaded me to take a long, hard look at just what I think and feel about the whole matter of intelligence as it relates to the instincts.
PETER: Yes. This taking ‘a long, hard look at just what I think and feel about the whole matter of ...’ is an integral part of the business of actualism.
What we have been taught to be true needs to be re-visited and thought about, what we have been seduced into believing needs to be taken apart and replaced by facts – in short, every belief, truth and psittacism needs to be placed on the table for examination. Then we can get beyond who is right and who is wrong, what is good and what is bad and we can examine what are the facts of the situation. This form of investigation bypasses ‘me’ as a social identity – ‘my’ morals, ‘my’ ethics, ‘my’ values, ‘my’ viewpoint, etc.
This continual action of bypassing or undermining ‘me’ as a social identity eventually weakens and diminishes this identity, allowing even more of my psyche to be investigated, even more deeply. As I wrote to you recently we are doing the business of actualism right here, right now. Exactly as you examine your reactions and feelings as to what is on the table for examination, so do I. If nothing is twigged, well and good. If something is twigged, then I have something to look at, something to investigate. It’s all good stuff, very enjoyable and most enthralling as it is happening right now.
GARY: At first, reading your post aroused a kind of defensive response in me and I was inclined to respond in a defensive kind of manner, but I decided to wait, think it over more, and really consider what you are saying, ‘chew’ on it a bit more before putting anything down in writing. I also decided, as you suggested, to re-read that portion of your Journal on Intelligence. I recognized immediately that I had read it before, but this time the words took on a different meaning, fuelled in part by my desire to unravel, understand and get to the bottom of this whole thing.
PETER: Yep. I remember well the feelings that welled up in me when I first read Richard’s writings but the excitement of discovery eventually overcame ‘my’ reluctance at being exposed and ‘my’ defensiveness. Soon I twigged to the fact that actualism is a voyage of discovery and freedom and the only person who stands in the way of beginning, continuing and completing this journey is ‘me’.
PETER: According to this definition of intelligence human beings have been very intelligent in developing and making weapons. There were three great wars in the last 100 years on the planet, WW1. WW2 and the Cold War.
GARY: This is where the defensiveness set in. I thought I don’t need you to tell me about the appalling brutalities that have been committed in the past 100 years. But rather than persisting in a defensive reaction, and making some kind of defensive retort to your post, some kind of knee jerk reaction, I decided to really try to understand what I was feeling defensive about and why I was feeling that way. There is something about this whole issue that I just have not ‘gotten’, something that has not clicked with me. And it goes way beyond just dealing in the semantics of it – the meaning of words and their usage – and it goes to the heart of the matter. And I must admit – and this is very hard – that I have been mistaken in this: you see, I thought that making and using weapons was an intelligent reaction to a perceived danger from other human beings, but I am reconsidering this.
PETER: Yes. The important thing is not who is wrong and who is right in any search for the facts – for I certainly make no claim to infallibility. The important thing is to get to the root of the problem – the morals, ethics, values and beliefs that give substance to ‘me’ as a good and valued member of society, i.e. my social identity. If you can break through this outer crust then you get the chance to investigate the inner crust – ‘me’ as an instinctual animal replete with a full set of blind utterly ‘self’-ish instinctual survival passions.
Your description is also very clear as to what happens when you run the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ with sincere intent. The answer in your case was ‘I am being defensive’, as in ‘I am feeling fearful’. Having honestly acknowledged the how bit and given it a label, curiosity led you on to discover what it was that caused this feeling and why? The only way running this question will have any effect at all, is if it is used as a method of ‘self’-examination and discovery – it beats any spiritual mantra or traditional therapy by a country mile.
Most spiritual afflictionados arrogantly dismiss, avoid, misinterpret or deliberately distort the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ as though they have ‘been there and done that’, whereas most have not even begun to examine the workings of their own psyche. I know this well from personal experience – I had barely scraped the surface when I began the process of actualism. Spiritual ‘questioning’ is nothing more than pitifully questioning the supposed ignorance of others, while simultaneously hiding behind the conviction of one’s own self-importance and moral superiority.
As for making and using weapons I would concur with you that it is a necessary activity within the passionate human condition, but this expediency does not necessarily make it an intelligent activity. When silly and sensible replace right and wrong and instinctual passion is eliminated you are free to decide what is an appropriate reaction to the particular situation. Life is simple, only ‘I’ make it complicated.
GARY: I found that in thinking about what has happened in the last 100 years, indeed in all of recorded human history, it has been impossible for me to separate what has happened historically from what goes on at an individual, ‘personal’ level, what takes place inside of this critter named ‘Gary’. I am just another sane, normal human being – and it has been these same sane, normal human beings that have, for the most part, been responsible for the appalling bloodshed that has happened and is still happening.
PETER: Yes. And the traditional solution has been to ignore what is going on, blame others for it or vainly rile against it and attempt to change others in accordance with my beliefs . I came to see that to think I could change the human condition in others was an act of futile egomania, particularly when millions have tried and billions have fought it out with each other as to which is the right way.
Actualism is about freedom from the human condition – not changing the human condition in others.
PETER: I am not making a moral or ethical stance in this – it was common sense for Great Britain that Germany and Japan had to be resisted.
GARY: That is the commonly accepted view. I am reminded in this connection, however, that in school we were taught the same thing about the Kaiser and German militarism in the First World War. I recently was browsing a book in the book store about WW1 wherein the author developed the interesting thesis that the English were actually responsible for the start of the war in that they consistently provoked the Germans and their allies and deliberately and with malicious intent engaged in the kind of sabre-rattling and expansionist policies that goaded on the war, with the resultant bloodshed. This is quite the opposite from the usual view. Actually, I would say that since every human being inherited the blind instincts that nature genetically endowed all sentient creatures with as a rough and ready software package for survival, that all the human beings that lived at that time were responsible for the war and what happened in the war, that would include the pacifists, the isolationists, the politicians, the priests and ministers, rabbis, gurus, and every sane, normal human being living on the globe at the time. Maybe that seems to be going a bit too far? What do you think?
PETER: I just brought the whole issue of who is responsible for all the wars conflicts, acrimony, suffering and pious high-mindedness back to me and my feelings. If I got angry how could I blame others for getting angry? If I could be overcome by a murderous rage, as in wishing another obliterated, feeling jealousy, wanting revenge or wishing retribution or justice, how could I blame others for having the same feelings or even acting on them? If I was feeling sanctimoniously superior, how could I blame others who hypocritically took the moral high-ground while preaching that others were to blame for the ills of humanity. How could I remain a follower of a spiritual Guru while condemning others for belonging to spiritual/ religious groups who fought each other over which sanctimonious viewpoint or self-righteous group was right and which was wrong? And the one that really challenged me personally was – if I couldn’t live with other human beings in peace and harmony, how could I blame others for not being able to do so? In other words, the only way there is going to be peace on earth is for me to prove it is possible.
As I wrote in my journal –
Integrity is key to sheeting home the ills of humanity to ‘me’, for ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’.
GARY: I have noticed at times in the past while driving that when a careless driver swerves into my path, there is the first instantaneous burst of movement to avoid the danger and then, sometimes, this is followed a bit later by an angry reaction (‘You f...ing jerk, watch where you’re going’). So the anger seems to come a bit later. Sometimes too the fear comes a little later. I don’t know if that makes any sense – maybe it is just my labelling of the fear or anger that comes later and not the emotion itself, but at least what I explained above seems like what happens. Often though, there is the instantaneous reaction to avoid the danger and no anger, no fear. I much prefer it that way.
PETER: This is an astute observation and one that is confirmed by many people in their daily lives and also by many scientific experiments. It makes nonsense of the insistence that ‘I’ and ‘my’ feeling of fear are necessary in order for me, this body, to appropriately react to physical danger. The feeling or emotion always kicks in a split second later – triggering ‘me’ to instinctively seek someone or something to blame in order that ‘I’ can lash out and seek revenge or retribution.
As you know from your own pure consciousness experience, the only way to be harmless is to be ‘self’-less – to have no ‘i’ or ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘Me’ who feels angry, sad, superior, inferior, right, wrong, good, bad, guilty, etc. With no ‘me’ on board to take offence, the idea or passionate need to attack others simply does not exist.
GARY: I have decided for myself that I am not going to live my life a hostage to fear, come what may. This means that I am going to examine each fearful and/or angry reaction that comes up in me, as well as all my ‘good’ emotions, as the necessary first step to eliminating my own malice and sorrow. The way is now open to completely eliminate what has been bringing the human species to grief throughout the long history of its presence on this planet. This is not a belief or a hope. This is a desire born of sheer desperation and a stubborn refusal to follow the same Tried and Failed path of those who preceded me. This desperation that I talk about comes out of my life experience. Everyone I know has been affected by war and violence. Nobody has escaped the carnage, at least nobody I know. I myself have been both victimized by violence and prone to violence myself in the past. <snip> It is a hard thing to admit that you have been wrong about something all along, but it is also the only way to really throw off the past and free yourself from it.
PETER: I pricked up my ears when you wrote – ‘This desperation that I talk about comes out of my life experience.’ This accords with something I wrote recently –
And also –
To me this is as obvious as the nose on my face. Why else would you be interested in taking on something as radical as actualism – a process specifically designed to facilitate your freedom from the human condition in total?
PETER: Before reply to your last post, a few things have occurred to me to write to you about, so I’ll lead off with these.
The first thing is the business of finding out the facts of the human condition we find ourselves born in to, as opposed to what we have been told is the truth about the human condition. What we have come to believe and commonly accept as the truth is what has been passed on to each and every human being from their parents and peers ... who got it from their parents and peers ... who got it from their parents and peers ... stretching back into the dark mists of time. Our bondage to the human condition can be summed up as –
In order to become free of the human condition it is essential to laboriously crack through these shackles – the beliefs, morals, ethics, values, viewpoints and psittacisms that bond humans to a life of essential suffering and heart-wrenching misery. The easiest and most direct method to do this is to read the Actual Freedom Trust website and confirm what is written by your own life experiences and your own investigations. The method I used to confirm that what Richard was saying about the human condition was factual and sensible was to read, watch TV and browse the internet for further information. This process of finding the facts does involve a fair bit of work and investigation. One needs to check many sources, look for contradictions, be very wary of the source of the material and the bias of the authors or presenters, seek out the data behind the conclusions others are making, etc. Initially I ran a little game whereby I simply assumed that I, and everyone else, had got it wrong and looked for why and where – this way the investigation became exciting and thrilling – not daunting and fearful. Pretty soon I was able to confirm that I and everyone else had got it wrong – I had been searching for freedom and meaning 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
Re-wiring my brain was how I saw this process. A bit from the Introduction is relevant to this business –
The next issue is something that is also relevant to others on this list and it involves the role of the four people who are the nominal directors of the Actual Freedom Trust. The Trust is a legal entity that was set up to publish the writings of actualism and Actual Freedom so as to make them freely available for whomever is interested – and this endeavour has now been accomplished. There is nothing that needs to be added to the web-site – there is already more than sufficient information for anyone to become free from the human condition, should they so desire. More writing and more correspondence is a bonus and certainly not a necessity – the job the Trust was established to do has been completed.
I remember soon after I met Richard thinking what would happen if he disappeared and went off to live on the proverbial desert island. I then realized that I already had sufficient information by way of his journal, and his physical presence was a bonus and certainly not a necessity. This realization finally cracked the last of my seeing and treating Richard as a Guru or an authority figure I was dependant upon – from then on he was a source of information and the best and most concise form of this information is definitely his written words.
The same thing applies to my writing – the one thing I wanted to do was write a personal journal documenting how to apply the actualism method and describing a virtual freedom from the human condition. Anything else I write falls into the bonus category. I do enjoy talking to others who are interested in actualism, passing on my expertise, comparing notes and sometimes coming up with a new way of saying something that may help to twig someone’s curiosity or interest. As I see this mailing list, it is a free-wheeling forum where those who are interested in actualism, or who have taken on actualism, can swap notes and relate experiences. What topics are talked about is secondary to the value of knowing that there are others doing the business of seeking freedom and peace on earth.
My next topic is a general observation about malice. Many people who get angry at others do manage to control their anger at the time – i.e. they do not get verbally or physically abusive – but then they most often take their bottled-up anger out on other people later. As an example, I would often notice a moodiness and irritability in someone at work, only to discover later that he had a disagreement with his wife the previous night. Even if anger is not directly expressed toward others, there is a definite resentful or irritated mood that is passed on to others unfortunate victims – a sort of seeping out of pent-up emotions that are crippling for both the person suffering from anger and for those he or she comes in contact with. A similar scenario happens if someone is feeling sad or depressed – these feelings are always spread out on to others in a unending cycle of mutual suffering. This continuous leaking of emotions is why it is vital to become virtually free of malice and sorrow as soon as possible – for even to become virtually harmless is an extraordinary freeing experience and a significant benefit for those we come in contact with.
And finally, just a comment about the extent and influence of spiritual belief within the human condition. I have oft said that the real world and the spiritual world are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to separate them. Humanity literally drips with spirituality, be it the influence of recognized Eastern or Western religions, be it the Pantheism that drives the animal and earth worship of Environmentalism, be it the many and varied morals, ethics and spiritual values of differing tribal groups or be it the general overwhelming agreement that human beings are foremost feeling beings sharing a common spirit-ual linkage. Within the human condition there has been, up until now, only one alternative to being normal and that was to be a seeker on the spiritual path – which is why it is the dissatisfied-with-the-real-world, spiritual seekers who are the most likely be interested in actualism.
It is however important to understand that the newly discovered process of actualism is 180 degrees opposite to traditional spiritualism and that actualism requires a turning around and heading in the opposite direction from seeking a spiritual, ethereal freedom. Yet this does not mean that you head back into the real world and the debilitating cynicism of the Land of Lament – this turning around means you head straight for the actual world. And this is where the PCE becomes one’s goal or target – the desire to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day everyday becomes the total focus for an actualist. If you look at the diagram we made, it becomes clear that someone who has been heading towards Enlightenment has to turn around and travel directly towards Actual Freedom and does not have to go back into everyday reality or real-world misery. I think this may be a useful thing to keep in mind during the process, lest you ever feel like you are becoming real-world normal again.
Well, enough for now. On to your latest post –
GARY: I was stimulated to write because of an experience I had yesterday.
Yesterday I felt extremely disconnected from the people around me. It was a curious experience, and I have experienced it before. I just wasn’t ‘open for business’. I had, going back a month or two, been experiencing a lot of fears and some malice and aggression. My feelings of ‘compassion’ and ‘love’ have been kicking in too during this time. I have been investigating these feelings in an ongoing way, and now they seem to have subsided a great deal. I have been having some pretty excellent days and I have been extremely engaged with my life.
But yesterday I think I was experiencing this thing that the psychiatrists call ‘derealization’ and I thought of what you said about ‘the door marked ‘Insanity’ becomes more inviting and more alluring by the moment’. I really had the sense, for just a short time, that ‘I’ do not exist – that there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’. Ordinarily, this experience would be quite disturbing and I would rush to do something to stop it and return to ‘reality’ but I have learned from actualism that this experience is really like hitting pay dirt. I had been thinking about that old Rolling Stone’s tune where they sing ‘You’re a hundred light years from home...’ I remember taking LSD at the time this song was a hit, completely blowing my mind and getting very freaked out when I would have this kind of experience, which was an extremely lonely feeling. It was similar to that ... only I didn’t feel lonely.
The big difference is that I felt ‘at home’. I felt like this is really where I belong. I noted something else too – when the experience of ‘derealization’ came on board was when it was like a film was removed from my eyes and I could see the actual world. You write about this in your Journal. I experience this most strongly with my visual sense – I had a PCE one day and wrote about it while it was happening – what was most prominent was the deep, pulsating, vibrant colours – for instance, I really was grooving on the colours of my blue jeans, but the feel of them too – the texture and the feel of the fabric was most exquisite. Also the sense of touch – I could feel my heart beating, my breath rhythmically pulling in and out, just happening, with no ‘me’ to control it – all of these fantastic things are happening of their own accord in this perfect physical world with no ‘me’ pulling the strings, controlling what is happening. When there is no ‘I’ as soul or ‘me’ as ego, the actual world rises to my sight, but then this is ‘Insane’, isn’t it?
PETER: Every PCE has a slightly different flavour and is revealing in different ways, depending on the situation and the circumstances. All PCEs are exemplified by a sensuous sensate-rich 360 degrees awareness of this astounding universe and a total absence of any persona – either a neurotic ‘I’ or an impassioned ‘me’. However, each PCE can bring different realizations as you become more comfortable in the experience and more note-full of the differences between these pure ‘self’-less experiences and one’s normal ‘self’-centred chaotic existence. As such, each and every PCE is a fresh opportunity to glean even more information about these differences by direct experience and when the PCE passes, it is this information that often provides the issue that next needs to be worked on.
Everyone has these ‘self’-less experiences, often very briefly in a moment of utter peacefulness when you suddenly realize the absurdity and futility of the passions and neurosis of the person ‘you’ were, only moments before. It is as though all your worries and passions suddenly fall away and the startling immediacy of the infinitude of the actual paradisiacal world is suddenly right here, right under your nose.
Yep, it is insane to consider that the peace and meaning we humans desperately seek is not in some non-material imaginary spiritual world ‘somewhere else’ but that it exists, and always has existed, right here, under our very noses.
And to round this post up, the PCE confirms the purity and perfection of the actual world is not something Richard has invented or concocted – he was simply the first to discover that one can permanently experience the peace and meaning that is always here, has always been here and always will be here in the actual world. As such, an Actual Freedom from the human condition is available to everyone, as is the method and map of actualism that describes how to get here.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.