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

Peter’s Correspondence on Mailing List B

Correspondent No 9

Topics covered

‘Arguments lacking substance for spiritual inquiry’, religious tolerance, cynical, suffering ‘necessary’ for redemption, social identity, dissociation, truth, doing the right thing, celibate yoga fanatic, being here now, turning away, illusion, Dalai Lama’s hypocrisy, humility, malice and sorrow, pioneers, instincts in the Dharma * religions , seeing objectively, Buddhism, Ancient Wisdom, ‘reductionism’, New Age dilution of Eastern religion, belief in immortal soul, power in religion, instinctual passions, third alternative



RESPONDENT: I’ve been reading your posts to the list and I do find your arguments very well written and engaging. But with respect to a spiritual inquiry that has the potential for lasting transformation, I find them lacking substance.

PETER: Yep. They contain no substance that supports spiritual beliefs – quite the contrary. My central tenant is that all religious pursuits aka spiritual enquiry, has failed after 3500 years of intense effort to bring peace on earth – quite the contrary – and surely its time to try something new. In this post you fail to address this issue but raise all sorts of sorts of objections such as style, properness, but not my religion, ... etc.

RESPONDENT: I also find them increasingly troubling.

PETER: Does this mean that you were troubled by what was written? As in ‘disturbed, upset, worried, disquieted ...’ Oxford Thesaurus

RESPONDENT: The reason that I find them lacking substance is that your basic premises are consistently laden with straw men. A straw man argument is one in which the way that you define the argument, what information you include or exclude, enables you to conveniently arrive at a predetermined conclusion. What I consistently find is that your interpretation of various dimensions of the spiritual life allows you quite unfairly to reach troubling conclusions.

PETER: By crying ‘unfair’ I take it that you believe in the idea of playing fair when it comes to questioning the delicate fragile nature of religious belief. This ideal of ‘I will be tolerant of and not question your beliefs on the proviso that you don’t question mine’ is now firmly set in place as the universal principle of religious tolerance. Religious tolerance is absolutely essential in the real world so as to limit the amount of suspicion and keep a lid on the animosity that results from the many conflicting and competing religions in the world. Most people deem it fair to criticize other religions within the confines of their individual religious group either overtly or covertly by implication, whereas anyone who criticizes their own religious beliefs is deemed to be being unfair. The hypocrisy of the ideal of religious tolerance is legendary.

As I am a thorough-going atheist, I have no tolerance whatsoever of any religions or any religious/spiritual beliefs, so crying ‘unfair’ falls on deaf ears.

RESPONDENT: The reason that they are troubling is that they seem very cynical.

PETER: If you mean ‘disparaging, contemptuous, scornful, sceptical, scoffing, doubting, unbelieving, disbelieving, distrustful, suspicious, misanthropic, critical and sardonic’ Oxford Thesaurus then you are spot on.

The reason I write unfairly and, as you see it, cynically, is simple –

All spiritual belief is based on the concept that human existence on earth is a ‘necessary suffering’ and that ultimate peace and fulfillment lies ‘elsewhere’, after death. This ‘necessary suffering’ is the Human Condition of malice and sorrow and includes wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, despair and suicide. Therefore, this cynical belief that this appalling human suffering is ‘necessary’ is actively perpetuated by Eastern spiritual belief, by the God-men and shamans and their followers. With this belief firmly habituated on the planet, and particularly so in the Eastern religions, it is no wonder that human suffering and violence continue to flourish.

RESPONDENT: For example, you write:

[Peter]: ‘It is because of the complexity and difficulty involved that most mystics had to renounce the obvious pleasures and delights of the physical world and go off to caves, monasteries, ashrams, lone wanderings and indulge in often bizarre practices such as meditation, yoga, chanting, whirling, special diets, celibacy, etc. in order to strengthen their fantasies.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

Not only is this disrespectful towards individuals who actually did and do have a tremendous amount of true wisdom to offer in the name of the evolutionary potential of our species – i.e. how do I make the right decision as the right time for the right reasons – but it assumes that:

  1. the point of spiritual inquiry is to mystically dissociate oneself from the material world; and
  2. that the calling to rise up beyond our base instinctual motivations to survive is a fantasy.

These assumptions do serve your conclusions, but are they true?

PETER: Firstly ‘you’ can never trust yourself to make the right decision at the right time for the right reasons for one man’s right is another man’s wrong, or woman’s wrong. It becomes a matter of whose opinion you respect, who you feel is right, who you doubt and who you trust, what your ideals are, who speaks to your heart, etc. The whole effort of trying to live unliveable ethics and morals is the cause of so much angst and confusion that it is much better to ditch the lot and decide matters on the basis of what is silly and what is sensible, what works and what doesn’t. This is what I mean by eliminating one’s social identity.

Then what remains is the problem and effort of keeping the feelings and emotions that instinctually programmed to automatically arise under control and hidden from view. Better to ditch the lot for these ‘self’-imposed shackles are the very feelings and emotions we yearn to seek freedom from. This is what I mean by ‘self’-immolation.

By the way, just to correct your assumptions in the interest of clarity –

  1. the point of spiritual inquiry is to mentally dissociate oneself from the sufferings of the real world and in doing so one moves even further away from the actual world of sensual delight.
  2. the innate drive to break free from the insidious influences of our animal instinctual passions has been perverted into a calling to rise beyond them and escape into a man-made spiritual world of fantasy and delusion.

The question of whether something is true or false is one that fascinates spiritual seekers for they are obsessed with doing the right thing. I remember watching an interview with a medical researcher and he was questioned about the ethical and moral considerations of implementing the results of the research. He replied that we don’t necessarily do what is the best thing; we have to do what is right thing. Give me a fact any time – you can rely on a fact, there is no doubt, no right and wrong, no good and bad with a fact. A fact is a fact, whether we like it or not, whether we think it is good or bad does not change a fact nor make it magically go away.

RESPONDENT: I might add that, as a celibate yoga fanatic who meditates a lot, it seems that you might be missing what the point of these ‘bizarre practices’ are really all about.

PETER: What do you mean ‘seems that you might be missing the point.’ Do you doubt your celibacy, yoga, fanaticism or meditation? I know what they are really all about – being anywhere but here and anywhere but now, in the world as-it-is, with people as they are. They are about turning away and tuning in to what is REAL. Given that you believe in the REAL, I fail to see your objection – or are you merely objecting to my ‘unfair’ way of calling a spade a spade.


RESPONDENT: Another example, your write:

[Peter]: ‘By concentrating on repressing sensible thought, denying the actual world as evidenced by the physical senses, and letting one’s impassioned feelings and imagination run riot a new detached, superior and holy entity is realized.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

You seem to conclude that the true holy life, in all of its myriad forms, is ‘an act of repressing sensible thought’, based on the assumption that, in the holy life one must deny ‘the actual world as evidenced by the physical senses.’ Yes, there is some weird stuff going on out there that seems all too preoccupied with the task of denying the physical senses, but to therefore conclude that the whole matter of spiritual practice is a repression of sensible thought is rather a selective interpretation of the data.

PETER: Given that I would include the spiritual practices of meditation, calculated celibacy and meaningful yoga as a turning away from the sensuous delight of the actual world as evidenced by the senses I am at somewhat of a loss as to the point you are making. A common spiritual mantra is ‘you are not the body, you are not the mind’, which sums it all up pretty well I think. You seem to object to the fact that I am making a generalization about the holy life and thus drawing conclusions that you find disturbing. What would be fairer in your eyes would be if I didn’t include the ‘true holy life’ in my conclusions and confined my remarks to what you must consider the ‘false holy life’. You would prefer me to be selective and exclude your personal beliefs from my presentation of facts ... and then we could sit back and mutually agree that we are right and everyone else is following false beliefs that cause all the countless recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars that are ever ongoing ...

Personally, I found it a too troubling business being in the spiritual world. There were too many questions without answers.

RESPONDENT: If you only look at the weird stuff, the shallow, and the corrupt, all sorts of critical conclusions may be drawn. But this has nothing to do with inquiry, or objectivity, and your albeit well-written prose leaves me sensing that you have chosen first your conclusions, then decided to interpret only those spiritual expressions that serve that conclusion. That’s a straw man, Peter.

PETER: The old ‘straw man’ argument is an oft-used debating method employed in desperation to divert attention from what is being said by objecting to how it is being said. Objective enquiry is a method of avoiding coming to any conclusions and when taken to extremes, as in spiritual enquiry, it leads to the ridiculous business of those who claim to REALLY not know being deemed to have great wisdom. I went in the other direction of subjective investigation – I wanted to explore, investigate, uncover and eliminate everything that prevented me from being happy and harmless. I wanted answers such that would cause an irrevocable change – the ending of malice and sorrow in this flesh and blood body.


[Peter]: ‘The simple test as to what is actual is to place a peg on the nose, place some Gaffer tape firmly across the mouth and wait 10 minutes. As you rip the tape from your mouth and gasp for breath you will have an experiential understanding of what is actual and what is illusionary.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

You seem to completely miss the point about what these traditions, ancient and in your view antiquated, have to say about illusion. I would offer another definition: Illusion refers to our seemingly endless struggle to want for ourselves, and in so doing not see things clearly as our perception is distorted by this wanting. To state that illusion means that the world materially does not exist is simplistic, though a simplification that is necessary to support your conclusions.

That straw man again.

PETER: You say that ‘Illusion refers to our seemingly endless struggle to want for ourselves, and in so doing not see things clearly as our perception is distorted by this wanting’. I take it therefore that you do not want to become Enlightened, Awakened, Free or whatever other name the goal of the spiritual search is, or that you do see ‘a spiritual inquiry’ only as a ‘potential for lasting transformation’ for you. In my experience, unless you really want something you will never get it, unless, of course you, believe it is granted by the grace of God.

I have never said ‘illusion means that the world materially does not exist’. You are putting words in my mouth. This material physical universe, being eternal and infinite, is always ever-existing. Eastern spiritual philosophy has it that the material physical world is illusionary, resulting in a condition known as solipsism. Are you not familiar with words such as Maya or Samsara? The test I proposed was for those who suffer from solipsism.


PETER to No 7: As for your comment that ‘the greatest challenge is ... to remain humble’, we need to be clear about spiritual humbleness. Humbleness is just pride stood on its head. There are none so proud of their humbleness as the spiritual seekers. Humbleness is highly valued and prized as a virtue in all spiritual traditions for the follower is proud of being a humble follower and the God-man is humbled before his or her God. The Dalai Lama continuously claims to be a humble monk and is revered and admired for saying it. If he is sincere, why doesn’t he get down off his throne, throw of his Kingly and Godly mantles and be a humble monk. Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

RESPONDENT: This seems to me to be a completely disrespectful and flippant dig at His Holiness the Dalai Lama and it really does nothing to serve your point.

PETER: Well, if you could get beyond your moral indignation and continually crying ‘unfair’ you might be able to see that the Dalai Lama’s hypocrisy in not being what he says he is, well illustrates my point. Show me an ex-God-man who got off his throne or podium, has forsaken his Holiness and happily settled down with his wife and kids in suburbia – then you would be making a valid point. I don’t have to bow down to God-men in humble respect for the whole idea of Gods and Goddesses is a myth.

Being an atheist and an actualist is wonderfully extraordinarily freeing.

RESPONDENT: But more troubling still is your argument that humility can be equated with pride. That the individual often corrupts that which is revealed in spiritual experience by making it their own is a valid point, one that you might discover is given tremendous focus by all the world’s traditions. I also appreciate your discovery of this movement within yourself as I have seen the same movement in my own experience. It is one of the biggest traps for the seeker. But that in absolutely no way means that it is forgone conclusion that pride is the true face of humility. To argue this is simply illogical and deeply cynical. It basically says humility is not possible. Where’s the common sense in this?

PETER: Of course feeling humble is possible. Billions of people on the planet practice and feel deep humility as they pray to or prostrate themselves before their imaginary Gods. Are not all seekers, followers and believers, encouraged, coerced and extolled to be more humble, more surrendered, more devoted? The more humble and the more surrendered the better, and the more proud one is of one’s humility – which is exactly my point. Given that feeling humble means

1 Having or showing a low estimate of one’s own importance; (of an action, thought, etc.) offered with or affected by such an estimate; lacking assertion, deferential. 2 Of lowly rank or condition; modest Oxford Dictionary

I eventually came to see it as a silly feeling to indulge in.

It eventually became beneath my dignity as an autonomous human being to feign humbleness by belittling myself to a mythical God or to a fellow human being who humbly declared he or she was God-realized or God-intoxicated.

God’s demand that we humans be humble is a trick to ensure He/She/It retains supreme control over us.

RESPONDENT: You continue:

[Peter]: ‘As for our ‘essential non-dual nature’, I take it you are talking of the idea that we were born innocent, the ancient Tabula Rasa theory. The spiritual aim is then to return to our natural state of innocence – our true selves as we came into the world and before we were corrupted by evil. This is old-fashioned and out-of-date thinking that requires a blatant denial of modern empirical scientific research on the subject of human genetically encoded instinctual behaviour.’ Peter, List B, No 7, 24.5.2000

I’m not sure that this is what the term non-dual is getting at. The fact that we are animals driven by instinctual behaviour (and I agree with you on this) in no way means that it is a forgone conclusion that another human possibility, one that enables us to care rather than compete, create rather than destroy, give rather than take – because we are not separate from a greater whole – does not exist.

PETER: Western spiritual seekers have only discovered Eastern spirituality in the last 50 years, yet they arrogantly think that it is some new discovery or new possibility. I know I felt that way when I ‘discovered’ it and was full of enthusiasm. The possibility to feel ‘not separate from a greater whole’ has existed and has been thoroughly investigated by billions of people both in the East and the West for millennia with no perceivable reduction in human malice and sorrow. ‘We are all God’s children’ is a common feeling in monotheist religions as well, and yet despite all these good intentions and good feelings ... the last hundred years are well documented as being the bloodiest century to date.

My point is that despite all the well-meaning efforts and heart-felt feelings the human condition is still one of malice and sorrow. Which is why I pose the question, for anyone daring enough to investigate further –

Surely it’s time to consider a third alternative?

RESPONDENT: Why insist that we are limited simply because we have been making a mess of the entire planet?

PETER: I see the planet doing quite well, except for all the wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, corruption, loneliness, despair and suicides that are ever on-going. The endangered species theory, the global warming theory, the ailing mother earth theory, etc are but fashionable furphies that distract angry and idle idealists from focusing on the main issue – the endemic human malice and sorrow on the planet ... and from realizing these passions in action in themselves.

RESPONDENT: What has come before is fixed, but what lies ahead still can be determined through choice, and the imperative to give a damn and want to make things better is a real impulse, and not at all out of date or old fashioned.

PETER: Indeed, the human drive to betterment is innate and now that a way has been pioneered to disentangle and sever it from the crude and primitive animal instinctual passions, paradise on earth is now an individual choice for each of us.


PETER to No. 7: How long will we continue this denial of the central role that genetically-encoded instinctual passions have in causing human malice and sorrow? And how long will people keep turning away from the facts and proudly indulging in utterly ‘self’-ish theories and beliefs? Peter to No 7, 25.4.2000

RESPONDENT: My reading of the dharma – and my experience as a seeker – suggest that the whole point of the spiritual journey is to face these instinctual passions, take responsibility for them because they do cause malice and sorrow, and care for others more than for one’s own self.

PETER: From your description of ‘the spiritual journey’ – what do you mean by the term ‘take responsibility for them’? How do you put it into action?

By the phrase ‘reading of the dharma’ I take it you are referring to the teachings of Mr. Siddhartha Gautama. I have come across no mention of instinctual passions in any of his teachings, nor any other spiritual teachings, be they ancient or the more modern derivatives. Could you please supply evidence of your statement, as I would not want to state anything that was not factual?

According to –

[quote]: The essence of the Buddha’s preaching was said to be the Four Noble Truths:

  1. Life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering;
  2. suffering is a result of one’s desires for pleasure, power, and continued existence;
  3. in order to stop disappointment and suffering one must stop desiring; and
  4. the way to stop desiring and thus suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path – right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness, and right concentration. Encyclopaedia Britannica

No mention of instinctual passions, eliminating malice and sorrow, no mention of peace on earth. Like all beliefs one needs only look at the fundamental principle upon which it is founded. In Buddha’s case his core belief on which all his teachings are founded is that ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’.

RESPONDENT: Your conclusion that spiritual inquiry – what may be ultimately the expression of an evolutionary impulse to go beyond the chimpanzee in us – is in fact selfish, proudly indulgent and motivated by the desire to deny the reality of the human condition seems, again, limited in the interest of keeping your conclusions intact in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. I get the sense that you think that the teachings of liberation are antiquated beliefs of grubby old men who lived thousands of years ago that have been deluding generation upon generation ever since. This simply is not the case, Peter.

PETER: Well, we can sink to the level of t’is/tisn’t, right/ wrong which is but a futile exercise. I simply write presenting the facts of the human obsession with the spiritual beliefs, be they Western or Eastern, primitive or sophisticated, monotheist, pantheist, scientific, theomorphism, anthropomorphism or whatever other form. If you believe a particular version of these teachings of liberation will bring an end to human conflict and suffering then fair enough. It probably means we have to wait for your favourite to win the battle of the God’s and emerge triumphant for peace on earth. I took the easy route and stepped out of the spiritual world – a quick and effective direct route to accessing the already, ever-existing peace on earth. I have left the Gods fighting it out where they belong – in the spiritual world.

Maybe you can see why I don’t root for your team, let alone any other team.


PETER to No 7: A marvellous opportunity is now available for any who are willing to face facts. No longer do we humans have to feel guilt or shame, pray to God for redemption or salvation, seek to escape from evil into an ‘inner’ world of isolation and feeling-only existence, no longer do we have to humble ourselves before God-men. Simply acknowledging the fact that our malice and sorrow results from an instinctual program instilled by blind nature in order to ensure the survival of the species is the first step towards becoming actually free of malice and sorrow. To continue to deny factual empirical evidence is to indulge in denial and this denial actively prevents your chance at experiencing peace on earth in this lifetime. Peter to No 7, 25.4.2000

RESPONDENT: Beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. But ultimately only through seeing the empirical evidence objectively will this statement serve the manifestation of peace and sanity.

PETER: Methinks seeing things ‘objectively’ is at the root of Buddhist philosophy. Objectively means –

‘with objectivity, without bias, without prejudice, impartially, disinterestedly, with detachment, dispassionately, equitably, even-handedly, fairly, justly, open-mindedly, with an open mind, without fear or favour’. Oxford Dictionary

On the face of it, being objective can sound reasonable until you note the words –

‘disinterestedly, with detachment, dispassionately’. Oxford Dictionary

To see things objectively means one has to become an outside observer and not involved which fairly describes the Buddhist philosophy. By cool objective observation, practicing ‘right concentration and right action’, one lives one’s life in objective detachment and thus transcends desire and suffering. Where I come from, this is dissociation.

Give me subjective investigation any day. It does mean facing the facts of the human condition, both of the real world and the spiritual world, but the rewards are palpable, tangible and actual.

It was only by getting my head out of the clouds and ‘getting down and getting dirty’, getting stuck into the roots of animal passion that I was able to eliminate them from my life.


RESPONDENT: Your recent post to No 12 left me with a couple of questions. To be honest, I found it somewhat troubling. You dismiss, or outright condemn, the wisdom traditions as being the folly of ignorant beings.

PETER: These great and holy wise men were people who believed the earth was flat and was the centre of the cosmos, who had no understanding of processes of the formation and reproduction of animate life forms, who lived in isolated communities in constant fear of wild animals and other human beings and who believed in ‘other worlds’, both above and below, that were populated by mythical ‘spirits’ or Gods.

All this led to a meta-physical, spirit-ual viewpoint, an imagined understanding of conscious animate life upon this material earth in the infinitude of the physical universe. Further, the excesses of the human instinctual passions of fear and aggression were believed to be due to being ‘possessed’ by bad or evil spirits and succour and relief was sought by praying to the good spirits or God(s) for favours, forgiveness, redemption and salvation in a future life-after-death. At the core of the Eastern religious/spiritual view of the world is the concept that all humans are born ‘innocent’ and have only been conditioned with ‘evil thoughts’ since birth and it is further believed that it is possible for a chosen few to regain this mythical ‘natural’ innocence, in this lifetime on earth, hence the search to find one’s ‘original face’ or Divine Self.

Given that these beliefs in God, spirits and ‘other-worlds’, formulated and formalized over centuries into various conflicting and competing dogmas – either carved in stone or written on animal skins, papyrus or rice paper – are upheld as mankind’s Supreme Wisdom, it is somewhat troubling to dismiss it all in a flash. One would only dare to do so if one found something far better.

RESPONDENT: I haven’t totally figured it out, but it seems that you consider spiritual teachings a folly that you have had the benefit of transcending through simply negating the existence of anything that you can’t touch or see. (Don’t you find such reductionism boring?)

PETER: The Eastern spiritual philosophy’s dismissal of ‘all that you can touch and see’ as being purely ‘a dream’ is an act of the utmost denial, and the claim that what is Real is that which you can’t touch or see is ‘self’-gratifying, or should I say, soul-gratifying fantasy.

This ‘anything that you can’t touch or see’ is called the spirit-ual world and includes a plethora of competing, conflicting and confusing entities, spirits, Gods, beliefs, concepts, faiths, convictions, etc.

My point is that what No 12 has done is to transcend – as in rise above – the ‘real’-world or the grim reality into a personally-created Greater Reality. Given that ‘I’, as a psychological and psychic entity, create this grim-world reality in the first place it, is only ‘me’ as a God-realized entity who creates a Greater Reality – both realities are a figment of ‘my’ impassioned imagination. There are in fact three worlds – the real world and the spiritual world, both a creation of a ‘self’, and the actual world, experienced only in a completely ‘self’-less state.

The actual world is anything but boring for perfection and purity is happening right here in this place in space and right now in this moment of time – not there and now as in the ethereal spiritual dimension that we can’t touch and see. To experience the perfection of the actual world one needs to eliminate both facets of one’s identity – both one’s parochial ego and one’s precious soul.

RESPONDENT: You write ‘Eastern path sputtering to an inglorious end...’ Really. I had not noticed.

PETER: The other day I heard of a person who is a New-Age-Zen-Buddhist-Roman-Catholic which is a clear indication that the Eastern religions are rapidly diluting to be nothing other than an ethical and moral code that is now blending into Western traditions. As for the fervent fringe, all of the Gurus and God-men that have emerged from the Eastern traditions have been found to be anything but pure and perfect, as have their Western counterparts, the Popes, saints and priests. Type the word ‘spiritual’ into your search engine and you will find ample evidence of a rapid demise by duplicity, dilution, deceit, contradiction, factionalism, confusion and conflict.

RESPONDENT: Again, I do find agreement with your points that many spiritual seekers are lost in a narcissistic dream, and that religion has, as a cultural artifact, some serious problems (as the song goes, ‘too many people have died in the name of Christ for anyone to heed the call...’).

PETER: Or, as another song goes ...

‘Imagine there’s no countries ... it isn’t hard to do ...
Nothing to kill or die for ... and no religion too ...
Imagine all the people ... living life in peace ...’
John Lennon

Personally I joined the western wave into Eastern spirituality because I thought it promised the chance for peace on earth but eventually I came to discover this wasn’t really on the agenda at all, but that personal God-realization was the sole aspiration of the spiritual seeker.

RESPONDENT: But to conclude therefore that the ideal of peace and mysterious and burning care for the welfare of all life that is revealed in the spiritual experience, and that can become the perfect and unbroken expression of the human being, is all some deep delusion, is deeply disconcerting.

PETER: It is only deeply concerting to ‘you’ as a soul who yearns to believe ‘he’ is immortal and craves the ideal of an eternal peace in a spiritual world – a liberation of the spirit from the body. Whereas you, as a flesh and blood body, craves to be free of this insidious psychological and emotional entity and desperately seeks to live in peace, right here and right now in this actual physical world. The ancient ones got it 180 degrees wrong, which is why there is still no peace on earth, some 3,500 years later.

RESPONDENT: Granted, the religious traditions have some serious limitations – it seems to me that they are saddled with the same old power structures and corruption common to all dimensions of the human experience.

PETER: Why do you make a distinction between ‘ideal of peace and mysterious and burning care for the welfare of all life that is revealed in the spiritual experience, and that can become the perfect and unbroken expression of the human being’ and religious traditions. What you are saying could well be Buddhism and – the first and underlying principle of Mr. Siddhartha Gautama’s ‘Four Noble Truths’ is that ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’ which sounds a very serious limitation to me. Doesn’t at all sound like someone who had a big Yes to being here on earth. No wonder he sought a state of Nirvana, as a prelude to the bodiless state of Parinirvana – after physical death.

And are you saying new religious movements or groups based on old religious traditions somehow magically manage to disconnect or dissociate themselves from ‘the same old power structures and corruption common to all dimensions of the human experience?’ There is no evidence that this is so ... quite the contrary in fact.

RESPONDENT: But bad apples in the barrel don’t mean that it’s all bad.

PETER: The Eastern religions have done no better in bringing an end to human conflict, misery and suffering than have the Western religions and both have had thousands of years road-testing by billions of humans. Even if you dismiss the ‘bad apples’, adherence to spiritual/ religious morals and ethics at best keeps the lid on the worst excesses of malice and sorrow but peace on earth is still maintained with the point of a gun ... both in the East and the West.

RESPONDENT: To conclude otherwise is troubling because it leaves us with the impression that it is better to be cynical. More troubling still, it seems to ignore what is most beautiful about human life.

PETER: What is most troubling about human life is that 6 billion people are involved in a grim and bitter, instinctual struggle for survival. This battle is not only a physical battle but it is psychological and psychic in nature. In fact, it is more accurate to say that 6 billion ‘I’s are fighting it out on earth and this is what prevents human beings living in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. All of those human beings have also been imbibed with a belief that there is an ‘other-world’ where ‘me’, as soul, goes after the physical death of ‘my’ body, thus many pray for redemption and salvation to their particular mythical Creator God. In the Eastern religious traditions it is deemed possible to escape earthly suffering by transcendence or liberation of one’s soul while still being ‘in the body’ and for those who are passionate enough, this belief can give rise to a permanent Altered State of Consciousness whereby one believes oneself to be God or God-realized. These beliefs do give rise to wonderful and beautiful feelings but they are pure escapist fantasies that do nothing to address the root cause of human suffering and violence – the genetically-encoded instinctual passions.

This viewpoint is only cynical if you believe that it is impossible to rid oneself of all of ‘me’ – the entity that is driven to battle it out with others. Both one’s ego and one’s soul – all identity – need to be eliminated if one is to experience the ever-present purity and perfection of this actual paradisiacal planet as this flesh and blood body only.

RESPONDENT: So come on, Peter, do you really think that there is no Love, no unfathomable and incomprehensible goodness that only opens our hearts and demands that we do only good in this troubled world? Beyond the Argus of spiritual life, beyond the debate about the possibility of enlightenment or not, or even the objective existence of a transcendent state or not, is there not something fundamentally awesome, timeless, heart-breaking about being alive – to which one can only feel obligation to serve for the sake of life itself?

PETER: Indeed. One would only turn one’s back on the seductive lure of indulging in heartbreaking feelings of awe and timelessness, of feeling one is doing good in the world, of wanting to serve the Divine life-force that is behind all this, or of wanting to feel as if One is that very Life-force itself ... only if there were something better, something much more altruistic – something that actually produced an end to human sorrow and animosity on this paradisiacal planet.

The search for a ‘spiritual’ freedom, peace and happiness, based on ancient superstition and metaphysical ‘other-worldly’ beliefs, has been on-going for thousands of years and has now had its day. It’s time for a modern scientific, practical approach to finding a genuine and actual freedom from the Human Condition in total. A freedom from ancient belief and spiritual superstition. A freedom from being a social identity attempting to obey pious spiritual/ religious morals and follow unliveable social ethics in order to keep one’s instinctual passions under control. And, finally, the elimination of the instinctual ‘being’ in this flesh and blood body, which also eradicates the instinctual animal passions – fear, aggression, nurture and desire – that are the very cause of ‘my’ malice and sorrow.



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