Peter’s Correspondence on Mailing List B
Correspondent No 16
RESPONDENT: I’ve been reading your posts since May and have always kept admiring your beautiful use of the language as well as kept being shocked by the kind of a gross materialism you advocate.
PETER: No, I am offering an alternative to both crass grim real-world materialism and impassioned fantasy escapist spiritualism. It is something that delivers all the promises of spiritualism – a ‘self’-less perfection and purity, freedom from malice and sorrow, and peace on earth in this lifetime, without any of the downsides because it is an actual state and not an imaginary or affective state.
RESPONDENT: But I also feel you do suggest some very positive alternative to everything ‘spiritual’ that you so passionately and skillfully condemn, but I could never quite get what you mean in particular. Do you suggest as a real solution to the human malice and sorrow
– more scientific research into the mysteries of our flesh and blood in order to eliminate the cause of all suffering hidden in our bodies?
PETER: No. The process of eliminating malice and sorrow is purely a personal one for it involves undertaking a process of eliminating one’s own social identity and one’s own instinctual self. This is a process that only you can do, for although the program is common to all it is your program that is preventing you from being happy and harmless and only you can change this programming.
RESPONDENT: – helping those who desperately need practical help?
PETER: No. One of the most important things I picked up from my years on the spiritual path, and from dabbling in therapy, is the realization that the only person who I could change was myself and unless I stopped blaming others or stopped trying to help others I was missing the point. What really got me off my bum was the simple proposition that if I could not live with one other person in peace and harmony then life on earth was indeed a sick joke. Many people overlook the glaring common sense inherent in this proposition and become advocates for communal living, tolerance for others, etc. thereby avoiding responsibility for cleaning up their own act.
When I got off my spiritual high horse I found was it was me who desperately needed practical help and that I was the only one who could do anything about it. I stopped passing the buck.
RESPONDENT: – destroying roots of selfishness in us (‘elimination of the instinctual ‘being’ in this flesh and blood body, which would also eradicate the instinctual animal passions – fear, aggression, nurture and desire – that are the very cause of ‘my’ malice and sorrow’)?
PETER: Yes. With no ‘self’ extant one is ‘self’-less – neither instinctually selfish nor does one have to continuously endeavour to be unselfish.
RESPONDENT: As for the second one, I do believe this is the most valuable part of all, well, spiritual teachings, the only way to apply practically ethics, religion, Truth, Love.
PETER: I note you said ‘believe’. The Achilles Heel of all religious/ spiritual belief is that it requires trust, devotion, loyalty and hope to sustain the faith in the face of its lamentable record of success for it is nothing other than a blatant act of surrender to a mythical God or higher authority and an abdication of our potential to become both happy and harmless human beings and our destiny to become free of the lamentable Human Condition we find ourselves trapped in.
RESPONDENT: As for the last one, it doesn’t sound like Marxist materialism at all, but rather as the most extreme message of ... er ... Eastern mysticism. Indeed, why would a materialist, the one who believes there is no spirit, but only this material world perceived by us all, ever think of elimination of the instinctual ‘being’ in this flesh and blood body? That would be the last thing he would ever think of.
PETER: But I am not a materialist. I am an actualist and there is a world of difference. Up until now there has only been two alternatives, grim reality, or the traditional escape, spiritualism. When I found ‘real’-world materialist only viewpoint devoid of all meaning at age 32, I turned to Eastern spiritualism passionately believing that it offered freedom in this lifetime and peace on earth. After 17 years on the spiritual path I discovered by intimate association and close observation that the Enlightened Ones were not free of anger, were not above being sad, were very secretive, often blamed and denigrated others, did not get along with other Enlightened Ones, were driven to gather as many disciples as possible, claimed their teachings were unique teachings, were power hungry and treated their women lamentably.
Genuinely Enlightened Ones – those who had a permanent Altered State of Consciousness – indeed did transcend their ego or personal sense of self, but their soul or Impersonal Self or God image became so enormous that one could call it soul-mania. What is now obvious is that transcending the ego is insufficient to realize a genuine freedom and an ending to the instinctual passions. It is obvious that freedom, perfection and purity are only possible in a completely ‘self’-less state – and a pure consciousness experience confirms this.
RESPONDENT: Please explain what you really mean when you speak about the alternative to all this illusory spiritual stuff.
I do feel you say some very right things so boldly defying the consumerist, complacent, mechanistic ‘spirituality’ where there is no place for conscience and sincere help to our neighbour in need. But I also feel you somehow mysteriously don’t see the obvious fact that it’s that very gross materialism that you so boldly proclaim, denial of anything beyond matter and selfish interests of mortal individuals, personal and collective, that has actually committed all crimes, atrocities, injustice from time immemorial up to now. That’s not a belief, it’s what I see every day around me, on TV, in the newspapers, in history books: materialists, i.e. those who believe in and are moved by individual and collective selfishness repudiating God, doing the Satan’s work on this planet.
PETER: But you are missing the fact that I am not espousing gross materialism. It is not materialism per se that has committed all the crimes, atrocities and injustices – it is human beings who commit these acts because we are all genetically programmed with a very crude set of procreation and survival instincts – predominantly those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
It is, however, a fact that so much blood has been shed and so many acts of perversion and repression have been committed in the name of religion, mysticism and spirituality that it beggars description. Speaking personally, I thought Eastern spirituality was the best on offer some 20 years ago but now there is a far, far better alternative – one that offers an actual freedom from the human condition, not an imaginary spiritual freedom from an Evil material world.
As for doing Satan’s work – how come the good and God-fearing guys always blame the bad and evil guys and never dare to take a good long look inside themselves? What if all this fantasy about Gods and demons was simply an ancient puerile belief? What if there isn’t any life after death? When I asked myself these questions I came to the irrevocable conclusion that I had better clean up my act – get rid of the malice and sorrow in me and become free – in this lifetime, here on this paradisiacal planet.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for being so active on this list and bringing some real challenge and tension here, which are so important in the sincere inquiry into the most important questions of life.
PETER: I do know what you mean. When I was on the spiritual path it was impossible to question the teachings, let alone the teachers themselves. The whole business was shrouded in mystery, cloaked in secrecy, personal experiences were not openly talked of and the only questioning that was encouraged was to question one’s lack of commitment, loyalty, trust and faith.
What I did was take the act of questioning and demanded that I found experiential pragmatic answers such that bought tangible results for me, in this lifetime. To question merely for the sake of questioning is a form of intellectual ‘self’-gratification that never appealed to me for I was always too practical and down-to-earth to settle for a philosophical or feeling answer.
These are important questions to ask, for we are all here doing this business of being a human being for the first time and to unremittingly follow the Wisdom of those who were here 3.000 years ago on the basis that it is sacred simply makes no sense to me.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.