Selected Correspondence Peter
Actualism and Actualists
PETER to No 16: The writings of actualists will no doubt be picked over, scrutinized and taken to pieces line by line over time, as they should be. The writings will be the fuel for many an academic debate as well as providing a rich source of plagiarism for spiritualists. However, those with a genuine interest in peace on earth will be sufficiently motivated by the radical nature of what is on offer and will want to find out if what is being said is fact or theory by the only way practically possible – giving it a go and road testing the method for themselves.
RESPONDENT: My intention in short is to assist in the cult-busting of actualism. That is because in my perception you, Peter of Byron, are immersed in a ‘mini-cult’ after managing to extricate yourself from a larger one. I surmise this from – amongst other indicators – the fact that you always react to what I write, with an indignant re-statement of your self-perceived authority to declare with finality what is actual and what is not.
PETER: Cult-busting hey. Well, this is encouraging news.
The objectors to actualism are progressing by leaps and bounds.
When I first came across Richard he had just finished writing his journal – the first-ever account of actualism and an actual freedom from the human condition. Some months later he started writing on a mailing list notching up all sorts of objections including ‘being a Guru without a following’. The next year I wrote the first-ever account of becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow and then Vineeto and I began writing on mailing lists only to be accused of being disciples of a Guru. A few years and a few million words later, we now have a well-catalogued website, and a flourishing mailing list.
In one of No. 8’s latest objections she has had to expand her list of actualists to include a few more people and suddenly we are a cult – albeit a mini-cult, as you rightly observed. Thus a one-man show has now grown to cult status in a only a few years. Given this exponential growth, the mini-cult will in due course become a full-blown cult and then we would have a whole lot of people being happy and harmless.
Eventually things could really get out of hand and equanimity, fellowship and co-operation would gradually replace suspicion, competition and conflict in many parts of the world. Over the years, lawyers, courts, police and armies would slowly but surely become a thing of the dark past of history. Religion and superstition would wilt and expire for want of customers as it became increasingly hopeless trying to sell the notion that peace on earth is unattainable as more and more humans began to directly experience the already existing peace on earth.
As the years tick by, the cult-busters will fight a recalcitrant rear-guard battle but their cause will be hopelessly hampered by suspicion, competition and conflict – the very characteristics of the same outmoded human condition they desperately desire to preserve.
Ultimately altruism will emerge triumphant and perfect peace and harmonial happiness will prevail but should it not, for whatever reason, we alliterative actualists will have unreservedly lived life to the full – free of malice and sorrow.
As you yourself observed, there is no malice and sorrow in the actual world – in clouds, rain, sunshine, trees, grass. The feeling of malice and the feeling of sorrow only exist in the heads and hearts of human beings and a way has now been discovered to eliminate it. If you are sincere in having absorbed and understood Richard’s insights, I am befuddled as to why you would want to devote your life to busting the cult of the happy and harmless. It is as futile an exercise as being angry at the rain or feeling sad while watching a sunset.
PETER to Alan: I always liked Richard’s description that people desperately put on rose-coloured glasses when looking at the real world, seeking relief in the feelings of gratitude, ‘higher consciousness’, beauty, goodness, love and compassion. In order to do this, they start with a view of the world as-it-is based on wearing grey-coloured glasses – the real world being a fearful place of resentment, ‘unconsciousness’, ugliness, evil, alienation and suffering. The solution is to dare to undertake a process that involves removing both the rose-coloured glasses and the grey-coloured glasses, and to see the actual world for what it is – perfect, pure, sensually abundant, benevolent and delightful. One then sees clearly that one’s social and spiritual / religious conditionings and beliefs actively conspire to paint and perpetuate a grim worldview. One then sets to, with gay abandon, on the path of exploring, investigating, scrutinizing, understanding, and eventually eliminating all that is not factual and actual. The act of doing so eliminates one’s social identity – one wipes one’s slate perfectly clean of all beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms. What one then discovers – hidden underneath – is one’s biological heritage – the primitive animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. (...)
An actualist needs to be discerning of all the spiritual / religious beliefs about the world as-it-is in order to become free of the Human Condition, for it is these very self-same beliefs that actively perpetuate sorrow and malice on the planet. To repeat the point I made earlier – if indeed one continues to believe the current fashionable fear-ridden theories then one would have a grim view of the world as-it-is and one would therefore seek an ‘escape’ from the world as-it-is and not a freedom from the Human Condition – two diametrically opposite seekings. Unless one is willing to tackle first things first – one’s social identity – then one is only ‘swapping coloured glasses’ and one will never experience the perfection and purity of the actual physical world that is perpetually here. Under our very noses, so to speak.
Actual Freedom is eminently liveable in the world as-it-is. The more one becomes free from the Human Condition the more one is able to have an open-eyed view of the world as-it-is. It then becomes apparent that what ‘I’ can do for peace on earth is stop being a participant in either the appalling instinctual ‘battle for survival’ or the spiritual game of denial and fantasy escape.
The only way to actually do this is for ‘me’ to cease being. And the way to do that is to get off my bum, stop sticking my head in the sand or in the clouds, roll up my sleeves and get on with the job.
Well Alan, it’s probably time to reign all this in. I could rave on about the world as-it-is for a lot longer. It’s such fun to debunk beliefs and uncover facts – a delightfully freeing pastime. The person whom I was talking to about real-world beliefs headed for the hills soon after meeting Peter and Vineeto, the ‘litmus’ twins. He was interested in meeting and talking with Richard-the-Guru, but when it came down to actually doing something and actually changing himself it was too much. Others seem to get to a stage where they realize that to take on Actual Freedom Trust would be the ending of ‘me’ and then zoot – off they go. For me, I knew very early on that what Richard was talking about was the ending of ‘me’, but it seemed a pittance of a price to pay for a personal freedom from malice and sorrow and an end to the grim battle for survival that Humanity engages in on this wondrous planet earth. The New Dark Age is indeed the Savage Age.
PETER to Alan: Good to hear from you again and that you are playing with your new domain and web-site. From what I see with Richard and Vineeto, it is quite a learning curve. I thought to send you a copy of an article I have sent to a local NDA magazine for their consideration. They have published two already – ‘Liberation from being men and women’ and ‘Folks and People’ – which avoided any hints of Guru-bashing but still carried some useful information. Seeing so many get offended and angry when their precious spiritual beliefs are threatened I thought it was useful to try writing to convey at least a smidgen of common sense while avoiding the ‘main event’. I have ‘upped the ante’ quite a bit in this article to being more ‘up front’ and I am intrigued as to whether they will publish it.
I got some good feedback from the other articles although most interpret what I wrote as simply making a moral or ethical statement about some ideal happiness and harmlessness that is unattainable for them or that I am saying the ‘same thing as the Gurus’. When I talk of practical down-to-earth, they think ‘nice idea, but ...’ or assume it is the usual moralistic, spiritual high-ground – anything but down-to-earth.
But I was encouraged enough to write more. Actual Freedom is not for everyone in that it requires a pioneering adventurous spirit to try a third alternative to the traditional, but there is a lot of beneficial results in people’s lives simply in being more sensible, being less driven, even in considering an new alternative way of living.
A ‘trickling down’ of anything new undertaken by pioneers, of any new discovery, takes years, decades or even centuries. When the new discovery is one so radical as to change human nature the resistance will be frantic and furtive. After all, the Human Condition has existed as long as humans have existed which may well be millions of years according to some research.
Those with ‘vested interests’ made Galileo recant but they couldn’t make the sun revolve around the earth. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people have tried to make Richard recant over the years by insisting that ‘you can’t change human nature’ or that a meta-physical realm complete with Gods and an afterlife does exist in fact. Mainstream society has declared that he is insane while the spiritualists insist he must be a God!
PETER to Alan: Just a little gossip from this side of the planet.
A most interesting development is that Richard’s reputation is beginning its inexorable spread in the spiritual world. He has started writing on another mailing list, the DeRuiter Mailing List. DeRuiter is the new kid on the block in the Guru business. In very-American style he manages to re-invent the mythical Mr. Jesus as a misunderstood, and obviously very misinterpreted and misreported, Enlightened One. The ‘spiritualization’ of Western One-God religions is fascinating to observe – the gall and the blatant two-faced denial of historical fact and record is quite breathtaking.
From the comments that are flying around on the DeRuiter and another associated list, Richard is becoming a figure of growing interest and controversy. The cat is amongst the pigeons and the feathers are flying. It’s good news for those willing to read and think and daring enough to investigate beyond the sacred ceiling that inhibits and limits the search for an actual freedom from the human condition. One hears a lot about a glass ceiling that inhibits women’s freedom to rise up the business ladder and the other day I heard the expression ‘concrete ceiling’ to describe a bureaucratic ceiling that inhibited a free investigation into corruption.
A similar ‘ceiling’ exists for anyone searching for freedom, peace and happiness. There is a sacred ceiling in operation, franticly maintained and policed by the Gurus, shamans and holy men and their followers. All sorts of tactics, threats, dimwitticisms and inanities are strutted out to enslave the spiritual searcher as a loyal suppliant and stop him or her from searching anywhere else.
As an example of this sacred ceiling in operation I came across one of the plethora of Mailing Lists devoted to spiritual enquiry and investigation the other day. They posted an introduction to the list that is atypical of the current state of the human search for freedom –
I joined another spiritual mailing list the other day that proudly trumpets ‘a spirit of open dialogue and inquiry’ and I was most interested to find that it was, in fact, a ‘moderated’ list. I waited a bit and read the usual spiritual ‘mutual admiration society’ in operation, complete with the usual humble pride and mindless parroting of the Master clearly evident in the posts. I was twigged to write when someone wrote in and very clearly and concisely described a Pure Consciousness Experience (or peak experience) that had seemingly followed the usual twist to become a full-on Altered State of Consciousness (or Satori). It proved a too-tempting opportunity for me to describe to a sincere seeker the difference between the two experiences and I will be curious to see the reaction from the List Moderator. There are two chances of it being posted – Buckley’s and none – but it is such good fun to poke another hole in the sacred ceiling. I already observe that Richard has put some whopping stress cracks in it and it won’t be long before some breaches are made by other intrepid pioneers.
A little reading of the experience of pioneers and first-timers in any field of human endeavour will reveal that one’s own instinctual fear and the fear of ostracization by one’s peers are among the major hurdles to overcome. All the pioneers who dared to break the shackles, who refused to kow-tow to ignorance and superstition, who broke from the herd, who found it impossible to compromise and live a second-rate life, who acted altruistically and not selfishly, had to overcome these hurdles. In our case the sacred ceiling has been breached by Richard but it is up to each of us to make our own journey to freedom. By doing nothing one remains a spectator, an interested by-stander or curious onlooker, but not a player in the game. To think one is free or to feel one is free is not an actual freedom. An actual freedom comes from action and change not thinking and feeling.
Many, many women were pioneers in women breaking free of the yoke of domesticity and their hard-won free access to education, business, government, law, professional work, sport, armed forces, etc. Each of those women did it by themselves, for themselves, yet many had altruistic motives as well. Each gained support from others doing it, each stood on the shoulders of those who went before, but each had to do it for themselves. What was an extraordinary upheaval and a hard slog has now largely succeeded in many parts of the world, and curiously it is religious dogma that is proving a final recalcitrant hurdle to progress in many countries. Even more curious is the female response of current stoking the fires of feminist religion as the Goddesses arise to do battle with the male Gods.
But I’m straying from the point, which is the role of pioneers in the search for an actual freedom, peace and happiness. The major force in resisting human change and progress has always been the shamans, priests and Popes, God-men and Gurus. Always they look backwards for the answers, desperately clinging to the musty trite and dogma of a long distant past. Always cleverly trying to be seen to move with the times, adapting their message, window dressing it to current fashion and demand. Thus we see the Western religions adopting trendy Eastern concepts and all religions adopting the Earth-as-God religion of the Environmentalists, the modern day worshippers of earth spirits. The foundation and driving force of all religious belief is fear – fear of death is transformed into a passionate belief in an after-life and fear of inevitable approaching death is transformed into a doomsday outlook and a desperate fear of the future and change. Consequently, any human progress in leisure, pleasure, comfort and safety have been fearfully resisted throughout history and any attempts at finding a genuine, actual freedom have been met by the sacred ceiling of spiritual and religious beliefs.
This sacred ceiling is as real as the ceiling facing women a century ago – they had to shed the shackles of their upbringing, they had to free themselves of the imposition of moral taboos and ethical rules and they had to run the gauntlet of the abuse and disapproval of others, thus breaking free of much of their instilled social identity. Secondly, they had to overcome their own instinctual fears and many risked much in their striving for freedom. Many did it as rebellion, many actively sought fame and notoriety, many riled merely for the sake of expressing their anger and frustration, but many just got on and did it anyway. When I was in England some 30 years ago, I remember meeting a woman who was in her 80’s who had been the first registered district nurse in Devon. She was a pioneer at a time when women were not in any of the professions and certainly not in an autonomous and responsible position in the community. Hearing her stories I was struck by both her integrity and her altruistic motives. She did it for herself and the fun and adventure of it, but she also did it to be of practical help to others and for the thrill of pioneering – being amongst the first, being at the forefront, the cutting edge. Hers was not a story that will be known, she was not famous, yet the women who have followed and emulated women like her were able to stand on her shoulders – follow in her footsteps.
It is exactly the same with becoming free of the human condition. There is a sacred ceiling that is being broken by pioneers and it will be broken only by people doing it, and the subsequent subversive spreading of the word that it is now possible. Those who firmly believe in the sacred believe the sacred ceiling to be actual, inviolate and impenetrable. For those who don’t believe it doesn’t exist – it is an illusion constructed by human beings themselves, given credence by ancient fear-ridden fairy stories and one’s own instinctual passions. How to break through? Make it your passion, your ambition, your goal, your work. Devote yourself fully to the task, ride upon the thrill of pioneering, take up the challenge and in my experience you will find altruism – right there with you, as an innate companion.
Ah, Alan. Another rave. I met someone the other day who had read my Journal. There is a copy that is limping around the local spiritual community and his comment was that my life ‘didn’t sound all that great’. I was curious until I discovered that he was one of the few spiritual seekers who were honest enough to say he wanted to become Enlightened. As such, a life free of the psychic power of being a Guru would have been most unappealing for him – no glamour, glory and glitz, ...‘no money for nothing and your chicks for free’. Just a life of carefree sensual pleasure, delightful companionship, ease and comfort. Vineeto and I sometimes look at each other in utter bewilderment that so many people raise so many trite objections to being happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow. We sit here knowing that the sacred ceiling is in fact an illusion, and are oft moved to the pleasure of trying to tease other people to at least dare to stick their head through the ceiling and experience the actual world of utter perfection.
PETER: The other suggestion you made is in regard to what I wrote about realizations –
I take it that you are suggesting to delete everything in brackets in this section.
In the first section about realizations being a serendipitous by-product of an actualist’s investigations, it is clear that it is ‘I’ who have realizations or startling insights into the Human Condition in general, and about ‘my’ feelings, emotions and behaviour in particular. These realizations, if combined with an uncorrupted objective in life, can lead to irrevocable change and it is actual change that an actualist seeks – not just imagining or feeling that one has changed.
On the spiritual path, realizations lead to a change in consciousness – i.e. a change in how ‘I’ think and feel about life as-it-is. These spiritually conditioned realizations, or insights, about the ‘real world’ invariably lead to affective experiences, which in turn can lead to temporary altered states of consciousness or, for those rare few who lose all grip on reality, a permanent ASC, aka Enlightenment.
This difference, yet again, points to the fact that the spiritual process is diametrically opposite to the process of becoming actually free of the Human Condition.
The reference to feeling a fool relates to the issue of pride, which is perhaps the most significant feeling that inhibits those who have trod the spiritual path. It is a shattering blow to one’s pride to admit that ‘I’ am neither happy nor harmless, to admit that ‘my’ relationships are not perfect and to admit that ‘my’ dearly-beloved spiritual beliefs are based on nothing more than puerile Bronze Age superstition and ignorance. At some point, this understanding must come as a shattering realization, a crushing blow to one’s pride, or else one is kidding oneself, indulging in ‘self’-deceptive cleverness or treating actualism as a clip on, a philosophy, a theory, a concept, an ideal, a belief.
It is at this point that one begins to turn around and to really begin to question one’s spiritual roots and programming. I would suggest that such is the strength of this realization that the whole spiritual world is a vast illusionary construct, and such is the turmoil created, that a break-through or glimpse of the actual world – a significant PCE – can occur at, or near, this time.
It is obvious from the recent posts on this list that, despite the fact that some people are initially attracted to Actual Freedom, at some point they find it impossible to admit that ‘I’ am wrong and Richard is right. This is pride in operation and then silliness sets in to point of blatant denial that they are on the spiritual path, that they ever have been on the spiritual path, or that there is such a thing as spirituality, even to the very extreme, by now common, inanity of calling actualism a religion. There are none so proud of their feelings of superiority than a ‘humble’ spiritual person, so much so, that this programming causes them to be very defensive, retreat into denial, become silly and even feel angry when they come across someone who is what he says is. There are literally scores of examples of this pattern in operation documented in the correspondence to date such that I may well have made light of the insidiousness of pride in my formulation of the ‘map’.
PETER: I take it that you are suggesting to delete everything in brackets in this section.
ALAN: No. As I said at the start of my mail to you, I put any changes I made in square brackets to enable ease of identification, so that by entering a square bracket in your word processor’s search function, you would easily see what changes I had made.
PETER: Yeah, I stuffed up. Vineeto had put the post into Alan’s correspondence and coloured the changes and I carelessly assumed they were suggested deletions. Woops.
Hence the essential use of the first person – as in one and only – on the path to Actual Freedom.
ALAN: I was simply referring to the style of writing. Part of it was written as a personal account and part in the third person. I suggested altering personal references and narrative, vis.: <Snipped>
PETER: I know I do tend to wander in and out of tenses and ‘persons’ in my writing. Sometimes I am writing of my past experiences, sometimes current experiences, sometimes about the Human Condition, sometimes about the process of actualism impersonally and sometimes personally ... and often in the same sentence!! It is just my peculiar writing style I guess – it is as it comes off the keyboard, a bit like a design comes off the drawing board (... soon to be the computer monitor). It also reflects the various inputs on the path, sometimes personal observations, realizations and experiences, sometimes observations or realizations about the Human Condition in general or sometimes the actions or words of others are vital inputs and I wanted the map to reflect this simple ‘do whatever it takes’ approach.
But I do take your point and I think it is well worth cleaning up, improving and refining the ‘map’, particularly as Vineeto has set it up as a page called ‘An actualist’s guide for the wide and wondrous path’.
ALAN: From the descriptions by you, Richard, Vineeto, Gary and others, extricating oneself from the beliefs of spiritualism is one of the most daunting tasks facing anyone starting on the road to an actual freedom. Sure, I had to investigate a few myself, but nothing like what you had to do. Of course the final discovery – that there is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe – is the same for all and I acknowledge the achievement that you and other ‘spiritualists’ make in realising this fact.
PETER: (...) As I began to become fascinated with the workings of the human condition, both in its animal-instinctual roots and in its tribal-social perpetuation via childhood reward and punishment, I simultaneously started to become fascinated with the workings of ‘me’. How had ‘I’, as a social identity, been created? What particular morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms had been implanted by others and what morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms had I adopted as ‘mine’ simply because they appealed to me at the time or because they were part and parcel of some social group I aligned myself with?
This fascination lead me to actively investigate ‘I’, the controller – the social identity, the ‘good boy’, whose job when he grew up was not only to be a fit member of society but whose life-long responsibility was to constantly monitor, check and control – lest the dark side of ‘me’ should run amok. When I started to peel back the layers of social conditioning, I did indeed start to discover an instinctual ‘me’ – the raw animal ‘me’, programmed by blind nature to be nothing more than a seed-implanting, propagator of the species.
This raw animal ‘self’ may well have both savage and tender passions but these passions, whether they be selfishly ‘self’-protective or unselfishly species-protective, are neither intelligent nor are they benign. It is these raw animal survival instinctual passions, genetically-encoded by blind nature in every member of the human species, that warrant that human existence will forever remain a grim and senseless, human vs. human, battle for survival. By simple experiential observation of these animal passions in action in myself and in other animal species it becomes clear and explicit that to remain a slave to these passions makes it is impossible for me, this corporeal-only body, to ever be a happy body, let alone a harmless body.
But, as you noted, the beginning of this process of active ‘self’-discovery is the observation that there ‘is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe’. If one really takes this observation fully on board, a wonder-full and utterly ‘self’-less experience can result whereby one directly experiences that there ‘is no-body or no-thing in charge of the universe .’ One then can unequivocally experience that the puerile ancient spirit-ridden beliefs about the universe – those that still pass for wisdom, even to this day – are nought but fear-filled fairy tales that should be confined to the dustbin of history. In such a pure consciousness experience of the infinitude of this physical-only universe and of its this-moment-only happening, it then becomes patently obvious what a folly it is to believe that all this magnificence was created by, or is controlled by, a some-body or a some-thing.
It is this temporary glimpse of ‘self’-less experience that then provides one’s life with substance, meaning, purpose, focus and direction and one then yearns to start the process of actively participating in the happening of this moment, for the first time in one’s life – and most definitely not as a dis-embodied observer, nor as a back-seat passenger. It becomes clear from such an experience that the way to do this is to ask oneself, each moment again, ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive? – for one will then focus one’s attention on how one is experiencing this very moment of being alive, the only moment one can experience.
The process of actualism itself then becomes rich in meaning, purpose and direction. The process of actualism can never be off in the future and there is never an opportunity lost in the past, for it is immediately happening the moment one asks oneself the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
What will inevitably come to light over time in this momentary investigation are all the morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms that constitute ‘me’ as a social identity and all of the instinctual passions that give substance to ‘me’ as an instinctual being. Thus by one’s own curiosity, one’s own attentiveness, one’s own investigations and one’s own experiences, one actively conspires in one’s own ‘self’-immolation.
But just to flag a warning –
This process of actualism is not effortless, for if it was the human condition would not still be exemplified by malice and sorrow. Millions of people have searched for a genuine freedom for thousands of years but the priests, shamans, wise men and Gurus have always taught, by carrot and stick, the effortless paths of devotion or surrender. It is because of this religious/spiritual conditioning that most of the people thus far who have been attracted to actualism, including those who have ‘seen the light’ and stopped their spiritual seeking, invariably cool themselves down when they realize that actualism is not an effortless path.
Effort is required in actualism and none more so than to begin the process. Once started, effort is still required to sustain it in the face of the occasional adversities as well as the persistent adversaries. The effort required is in no way super-human – it simply requires that you make becoming free of malice and sorrow the most important thing in your life and to not stop until the job is done.
To regard freedom from malice and sorrow as effortless is to demean the efforts of the countless human beings who have searched for, and are still searching for, a way to bring peace to this fair planet. That freedom should be effortless is one of the most insidious and deepest ingrained of all spiritual beliefs for one invariably imagines freedom to be one’s God-given right.
For an actualist it is essential to break free from the iron grip of ‘effortless’ belief, fully grasp the fact that there is ‘no-one or no-thing’ stopping one from being free, shout halleluiah, roll up one’s sleeves and become fully committed to making peace on earth a fact rather than a dream.
RESPONDENT: Just meandering through the archives and happened upon your Feb 05, 2000 book review of ‘In Each Moment – A new way to live’ by Paul Lowe. Looking Glass Press. 1998 (No15)
I’m not one for books of Revelation either, nor doom and gloom, but any child these days knows that the physical, material world in which we are living is collapsing because of mankind’s lack of consideration for the environment. Are you sure that you yourself are not imagining that Paul so definitely divides the human condition from the devastating state nature is now in? Sure, he gives our beliefs way too much credit, but could radical actualism go the same route and go into denial about the very real effects man’s imagining brain is capable of.
PETER: Children don’t ‘know’ this from some innate sense of wisdom or foresight born of innocence – they have it drilled and drummed into them by teachers, media, parents etc. In the last few decades environmental studies have formed an essential part of all school curricula for all ages. Not only is it often taught as a separate subject in many cases, environmental issues dominate economics, science, politics, engineering, social sciences, entertainment, media, etc. Every child who receives a modern Western education is taught from a very early age that the material, physical world in which they live is either collapsing or is in imminent danger of collapsing and that human beings are at fault. My school days were in the late 50’s and early 60’s and environmental theory hadn’t been invented then. The major fear at that time was the Cold War and the threat of nuclear devastation, but doom and gloom predictions weren’t taught as part of the school curriculum as is case with the teachings of environmental doom and gloom.
What children know is what children are taught. Thus what we think we know or take for granted is, almost without exception, what we have been taught by our parents, teachers and peers. We take this information to be true, as in factual, whereas an extraordinary amount of it is theory, fashion, belief, concept, current idea, old wives tales, psittacisms, prejudiced view, etc. One only needs to consider what the school curriculum would have been like a century ago and consider how much of it would be relevant today, how much our world view has changed and yet how much of the past we desperately cling to. However, what we have been taught as truisms forms the very substance of our social identity – ‘who’ we think we are. One’s social identity is the conglomerate of all the beliefs, morals, ethics, values, principles and psittacisms that each of us has been programmed with since birth.
Unless this programming in the brain is questioned and sorted into silly and sensible and old redundant neural connections severed and new ones formed, one remains a victim of one’s social identity – whereas an actualist’s avowed aim is freedom from being this identity that has been imposed upon this flesh and blood body. Therefore it is vital that all one’s beliefs, morals, ethics, principles and psittacisms be questioned and reviewed.
This is the practical business of an actualist, this is the very down-to-earth pragmatic work to be done. It is an uncomfortable, tedious, seemingly-pedantic, fear-provoking process that people are very reluctant to undertake for you are quite literally dismantling a very large part of your ‘self’. Most of this information is programmed into us at the early years but quite a lot of what we hold dearest is what we have adopted later in life as we ‘moved with the times’. Environmental belief and Eastern religious belief were two that I adopted later in my life, and as such, I found them relatively easier to question for they were a bit like the layers of clothing I had swapped during my adult life as fashions and times changed.
So, the first thing to be aware of is that you are doing the very business of dismantling your social identity by questioning and challenging your dearly held beliefs. The second thing is that they don’t magically disappear by themselves. It requires stubborn effort to dig in and question and you will find much resistance, wariness, hesitancy and objection in yourself to devoting the necessary time and effort required. The third thing is that it is something you have to do yourself to the point that the ‘penny drops’ for you, otherwise you are back with simply swapping beliefs or adopting another belief – a useless enterprise that will do nothing to free you from the human condition.
PETER: Hi all,
I was doing a bit of editing in the Glossary the other day and came across some definitions that I thought was particularly pertinent to the discussions on the list. Most of the people I have talked to about Actual Freedom seem to have no idea what constitutes a belief and what constitutes a fact. Often I would enter into a conversation and find that the person had absolutely no idea of the difference between a belief and a fact. They would insist that something was true, the Truth, ‘my’ truth, they ‘felt’ it to be so, it was their understanding, they heard it was so, etc. and that was good enough for them. When I pointed out that other people of different cultures, spiritual or religious leanings, political or social views held differing views and these differences were the source of confusion, confrontation, conflict, persecution and warfare, I was met with bewilderment. Nobody was willing to admit that their own particular cherished views and understandings were beliefs. It is always the same – I’m right and the others are wrong, my God or Guru is the only God or Guru and everyone else has beliefs – not me!
According to the Red Cross over 1 billion people have been directly affected by war or armed conflicts in the last 20 years. ‘Affected by’ includes death, being maimed, tortured, raped, imprisoned, displaced, losing family members, possessions, homes, etc. The vast majority of these wars and armed conflicts are fought over religious, spiritual, tribal, ethical, moral and political beliefs – dearly held and dearly fought over beliefs!
Those people who have been, or continue to be, on the spiritual path are those least likely to actively challenge their beliefs for they have been indoctrinated and taught to value belief over fact and they further hobble themselves with faith, trust, hope and loyalty as well. A potent, and very often, lethal mix.
So here’s a bit on belief –
that which is believed, an accepted opinion. Conviction of the truth or reality of a thing, based on insufficient grounds to afford positive knowledge. Confidence, faith, trust. A Religious tenet or tenets. Oxford Dictionary
Peter: To believe means ‘fervently wish to be true’. The action of believing is to emotionally imagine, or fervently wish, something to be real that is not actual – actual, as in tangible, corporeal, material, definitive, present, obvious, evident, current, substantial, physical and palpable. A belief is an assumption, a notion, a proposition, an idea that requires faith, trust or hope to sustain in the face of doubt, uncertainty and lack of factual evidence. Whereas a fact is a fact, demonstratively evident to all that it is actual and/or that it works.
Many beliefs are masqueraded as ‘truths’ or are merely accepted as facts in lieu of any serious scrutiny, or are protected by the blatant and stubborn refusal to question the facticity of that which is ‘dearly held’ to be true. Simply because everybody believes something to be true doesn’t make it a fact. At some stage in history everybody believed the sun went around the earth and that the earth was flat, but both notions, believed and accepted as ‘true’ at the time, have turned out to be mere beliefs.
Indeed, what is esteemed as ‘Ancient Wisdom’ is a literal plethora of beliefs, ‘truths’, superstitions, myths, opinions, assumptions, theories and misconceptions that require active scrutiny and intelligent investigation by anyone who sincerely wants to become free of the Human Condition. After all, the very charter of the Human Condition is firmly based on, and rooted in, this same ‘Ancient Wisdom’.
It does take immense courage to stand on one’s own two feet, to stop believing what others tell you are facts, ‘truths’ or the ‘Truth’ and start investigating for yourself – to ascertain and distinguish between fact and belief.
A belief is an emotion-backed thought – made to appear real or true only by ‘my’ emotional support for the belief, by ‘my’ passionate feelings, intuition and imagination. As such, ‘I’ fervently wish many beliefs to be true, none more so than the belief in a metaphysical world with its implied promise of an after-life for ‘me’.
It is no wonder that all sorts of meta-physical beliefs permeate every corner of human thinking and wisdom, and that these beliefs are so passionately defended. People actually kill each other and sacrifice their lives for their beliefs. People kill and die for their God and their Country. We are instinctually programmed to sacrifice ourselves for what we perceive to be the ‘good’ of the particular tribe we are in. One tribe’s God becomes another tribe’s Devil and, as such, horrendous religious wars, conflicts, persecutions, repressions and tortures are fought over the spreading or defending of particular beliefs.
Who ‘I’ think I am as a social being is nothing more than the opinions, values and beliefs of others – my parents and those of my parent’s generation, which in turn came from their parents, and so on and so-on, back into the dim dark ages of the cave-men and cave-women. These very beliefs are what ‘I’ am made of – they form the very substance of ‘my’ social identity. The reluctance, fear and stubborn refusal to question and investigate beliefs can be sheeted home to this crucial fact – to question one’s beliefs is to question one’s very ‘self’. To replace a belief with a fact is to eliminate a piece of one’s ‘self’.
The very act of believing supports and sustains ‘my’ very existence for ‘I’ have no existence in actuality. ‘I’ am an impostor, an alien, a usurper and an illusion. However, the effects of this psychological and psychic entity are very real in that it results in feelings of sadness, loneliness and despair, not to mention anger, resentment and hate. Only by challenging the very act of believing itself, can one actively dismantle and eliminate all of the beliefs that ‘I’ hold so dearly. It needs a full-blooded commitment to eliminate belief and acknowledge fact in order to free oneself from malice and sorrow.
The physical universe simply is perfect, pristine, pure, infinite, and happening this very moment – it requires no belief, faith, hope or trust that this is the case. Human beings have just been programmed into believing that this is not so. This programming consists of the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire that we are born with, overlaid with the beliefs we have been indoctrinated with since birth – in total called the Human Condition. Further the advice of parents, teachers, priests, gurus, philosophers – indeed all of the human Wisdom – is founded on the belief that you can’t change Human Nature. Not only is life on earth a sick joke, but there is no cure possible – the Mother of all beliefs!
If one is to become actually free of the Human Condition, in its entirety, then it is imperative to find out for oneself the facts, rather than merely perpetuate believing, to sort out what is silly and what is sensible rather than merely accept what others say is right or wrong, good or bad. Then, and only then, can one discover and sensately experience the fact of the delight, ease, magic and perfection of the actual world.
And now ‘fact’ from the glossary which is from a Richard post that I particularly liked. The comment on intimacy is so glaringly obvious as to shake to the very core anyone attempting to live in a ‘relationship’ with another human being. If 1 billion people affected by war and armed conflict is not enough to make us question beliefs, maybe the conflicts that occur in our very own homes will.
It will make it a long post ... but you do get quality with your quantity –
What has really happened or is the case; truth; reality: in fact rather than theory, the fact of the matter is; something known to have happened; a truth known by actual experience or observation: scientists work with facts. Oxford Dictionary
Richard: A discerning eye and ear is needed in order to ascertain what is fact and what is merely theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, speculation, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true. It is easy to see when one knows how to look. Without having to interpret through one’s own belief system – an otherwise intelligent person is thus blind to the obvious – all facts are self-evidently clear. Start with a fact – a verifiable, objective actuality – as the base. Use it as a touch-stone to test the actuality of whatever ‘truth’ one suspects to be a belief. Separate out facts from fiction; find out which part is demonstrably a fact. Anything else is fiction, an illusion.
Any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true. A fact has actual verity, whereas a belief requires synthetic credence. It is a fact that I, as this body, am mortal. I will die in due course ... this heart will stop beating, these lungs will cease breathing, this brain will quit thinking.
Herein lies the clue to ascertain why this fancy has persisted: a feeling is not a fact. Feelings have led humankind astray for millennia, without ever being questioned as to whether they are the correct tool for determining the truth of a matter. Feelings are held to be sacrosanct; they are given a credibility they do not deserve. They are seen to be the final arbiter in a contentious issue: ‘It’s a gut-feeling’, or ‘My intuition is never wrong’, or ‘It feels right’, and so on. Thought, shackled by emotion and passion, can not operate with the clarity it is capable of. Surely, to experience what is factual is of far greater import than any conclusion arrived at by thought or feeling – no matter how highly refined the thought or fanatically felt the feeling.
To experience the factuality of the ending of ‘being’ whilst this body is still breathing is of the utmost importance, if one is to penetrate into the ‘Mystery of Life’ and discover the ultimate fulfilment ... here on earth. To come upon a fact, all that is fiction must be stripped away. All Sacred Cows must be mercilessly exposed to the most extreme scrutiny, nothing or no-one being exempt from critical examination. Common usage has blurred the distinction betwixt fact and belief so much so that anyone using sufficient sophistry can get away with anything at all and still be considered wise these days.
Religious teaching brainwashes people into believing nonsense instead of observing facts and actuality. For most people seeing a fact means betraying their belief ... thus they are rendered incapable of seeing it. One of the ways of ascertaining whether a ‘truth’ is a belief or a fact is that a belief demands loyalty; you give allegiance to it and to the group that espouses it. If you have more than one belief it causes difficulty, as your loyalties can be torn apart. You can feel chaotic, not knowing which belief is ‘true’. It makes you very insecure ... at moments like that you wish that there were one person who could tell you what to do and what not to do ... what to believe and what not to believe. You desire some Big Daddy or Big Mummy to tell you what is ‘Right’ and what is ‘Wrong’.
Most people try to resolve their different beliefs through compromise. Two people, holding on to their own beliefs, will get into an argument, a fight. They are separate. One is always trying to get the other to believe in their own belief through manipulation and persuasion ... and by giving or withholding love. The one who is stronger, the most adept in this, wins the other over. As neither can stand separation, they will grab any means to come together – even if this means mutual concessions, or the swapping of one’s belief for the other’s. Seeing that both beliefs are irrelevant, by virtue of the fact that they are beliefs anyway, they can dissolve completely. Then there is nothing to resolve, the problem itself is eliminated. Hence a permanent lack of conflict. With the absence of belief there is no more power battles over whose belief is ‘Right’. Separation is no more ... equity prevails. The result is actual intimacy between autonomous individuals.
Just because something is an experience in common, it is not necessarily factual. If something is communally experienced it is said to be objective and it is automatically implied to be true. If one is said to be objective it is taken as an accolade; whereas by being subjective, one is said to be prone to bias, to error. If no-one was bold enough to say that the accepted ‘truth’ is a mistake, then the sun would still be revolving around the earth! In the face of public opinion, one needs to be bold to question the collective wisdom and find out for oneself the fact of the matter. One of the best ways of doing this is to see that something held to be true is not working. Instead of vainly trying to make it work through intellectual dishonesty, one takes stock and applies lateral thinking. One needs to be audacious to proceed where no-one has gone before – and trail-blazers are often castigated for their effrontery. Fancy being ridiculed or ostracized for ascertaining the facticity of something ... for establishing a fact.
The criterion of a fact is that it works, it produces results. An insight is seeing the fact. When one sees the fact there is action ... and this action is the actualizing of the insight so that one’s personality is changed, irrevocably. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary, Fact
As you can see, you can’t have beliefs and be harmless and you can’t have beliefs and regard and treat others as fellow human beings. It’s a simple choice and one that defines and identifies an actualist.
An actualist is a relentless pursuer of what is factual and what is actual.
So that’s it. Just another attempt to encourage, cajole, tickle, lure, entice, beguile and seduce others to stop believing and start looking at the facts of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being – in 1999.
RESPONDENT: Oh, well, the point I was making was that I can see sensate experiencing different from feeling.
PETER: And the point I was trying to make is that every spiritual practice ignores the scientifically proven fact that humans are emotional beings and that the primary source of those emotions are the instincts of fear and aggression. Merely to attempt to be good, while a noble ideal, will do nothing to alter this fact. Only a total, radical and complete change will do. As I said in the bit which you snipped – ‘These two facets – reducing the influence of feelings and emotions – both the supposed ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – and demolishing the social identity, the ‘guardian at the gate’ ultimately brings one’s bare awareness to focus on the Amygdala and its instinctual programming. The focus is then on the instincts in operation both in the body and in the brain – with minimal psychological and emotional effects.’
I encourage you to make the journey into your feelings rather than ‘focusing on them less and less’. Actualism is most definitely not a new theory about having no feelings, or that feelings are bad – men have played that game for centuries, whether it be hiding in caves, practicing celibacy, by intellectual wanking or indulging in rationalism. Denial, repression and controlling emotions has failed to work. Indulging, expressing and emotive therapizing has also failed to work.
There is a third alternative for the sincerely curious adventurer.
A bit from Richard about feelings, that I always liked, may be of use to you –
For men (and women) this investigation of feelings and emotions is brand-new territory, particularly so for the spiritually- conditioned male who has been trained to suppress the bad feelings and indulge the good feelings – the traditional failed religious approach of both the East and the West.
RESPONDENT: Now about Richard’s method, he calls it ‘tried and tested’. If nobody objects, I would say, at least you, Vineeto and Alan have tried it sincerely. If success is to be defined by achieving Actual Freedom, then you have not succeeded by your own admission. I guess then it is Richard and maybe Vineeto and Alan. I do not know anybody else in the running. So, by my count, it is one definite success (Richard), two may-be-successes (Vineeto and Alan) one not succeeded yet (Peter).
PETER: If nobody objects? You’re free to indulge in whatever fantasies you want. Have you ‘placed’ yourself in the Freedom ranks yet, or are you happy to remain on the sidelines as a resident critic and ‘keeper of the score’? You could consider a move from ‘scorekeeper’ and ‘critic’ to participant, or would that be too radical a move? Is there a saying that goes something like ‘There are those who do and those who merely criticise?’
Given that you have been on the list for a while now I’ll let you in to some inner-circle secrets. Actual Freedom, as you already know is completely non-spiritual and is in fact a front for the I.H.S. (International Hedonists Society). The I.H.S. grew out of the N.H.S. which was established by M. Python, H. Wilson, T. Beatle and L.S.D in England in the 60’s. The Indian mystics M.A.Rijuana and M.E.D.Tation attracted many of the followers away but it is currently enjoying a clandestine revival using the A.F.T. as a front. The original N.H.S. charter extolling the virtues of H.H (Happiness and Harmlessness) was derailed by esoteric and meta-physical influences but is now firmly back on the rails, sailing full steam ahead, has a full tank of petrol, is soon to turn the corner and then you won’t see it for the dust of the mixed metaphors left in its wake. So, your interest could not have come at a better time for both the organization and yourself, as the revival is in full swing. You are definitely right about Richard – he is the genuine article. He has demonstrated an unswerving ability to remain totally happy and harmless despite the severe provocation of Web mailing lists and the abounding cynicism of ex. N.H.S. members. I did, however, manage to draw level with him for several hours at our last competition where, despite the extreme provocation of no less than 6 eager spiritual-ist volunteers, I managed to remain both happy and harmless. I almost had to apply some effort in the last 10 minutes but I managed it right to the end un-assisted. A deep breathe and I leaped up on the top step of the dais, arm in arm with Richard, claiming my share of the trophy. It’s definitely a tough business, this being happy and harmless – the training is gruelling, the opposition relentless and uncompromising, the social ostracising palpable – but the delicious slide into an anonymous, selfless happiness and harmlessness is delectably delightful.
PETER to No 7: Just a note to follow on from my recent post. I realized that I had posted two consecutive quotes from Mohan Rajneesh to the List and thought I would include a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti just to indicate that the ‘I do not know – therefore I am Wise and Holy’ syndrome is endemic in all spiritual teachings –
The other reason to include this quote is to indicate that I have no particular axe to grind in relation to Rajneesh – he was merely yet another in a long, long, long line of failed Gurus who promised lotus flowers and left nothing but mud, bewilderment, ignorance, unliveable teachings and shattered dreams in their wake. Krishnamurti exited quietly leaving behind stories of clandestine love affairs, intrigues and malicious legal battles. Rajneesh had the temerity to declare ‘I leave you my dream’ on his death bed. ‘His Dream’ had collapsed in tatters around him in Oregon ten years earlier while he sat in his room in Splendid Isolation, above the mundane activities of the building and running of a ‘City to Challenge God’. His dream failed, a ‘million lights’ didn’t light up the world, and peace is yet to miraculously descend on the planet, let alone in the Pune Ashram. And yet another religion is born, yet another group following their own particular dead God-man who for them was the master of masters, the only God, the beloved, the Sacred One. So ‘in love’ with their God-man, so trusting, so unquestioning loyal and devoted, that they will figuratively and literally surrender their life for Him.
The only reason I write about Mohan Rajneesh is that I know the whole Rajneesh Religion ‘inside-out’, so to speak. I participated fully in a contemporary formation of a religion – a microcosm of the founding of the thousands of religions that have been formed before and are still forming around God-men and God-women.
Yesterday someone asked me if I had had any feedback from friends to whom I had given a copy of my Journal. I said the silence had been deafening and one had even told me ‘it was good that I had got what Rajneesh had been teaching’ and wondered why I was not grateful to him. Thinking about it again, I realized that many who read the writings of Actual Freedom and its uncompromising non-spiritual stance, conveniently see it merely as Guru-bashing and miss the main point.
It is obvious that gurus have been gleefully indulging in bashing their fellow-Gurus for millennia as a ‘device’ to collect and gather more disciples who are willing and eager to believe that they, and only they, are peddling something new and special. This is nothing more than the power battles of the God men, a Divine and psychic version of the secular, instinct-fuelled battles that rage between various groups of humans animals on the planet. The bigger slice of the market the more power for the Guru and it matters not a fig whether he or she is still alive. More often than not it is better if the Guru is dead as imagination, myth and surrender are better sustained if one’s God is ‘on the other shore’, waiting for you after death.
But to see Actual Freedom in spiritual terms and to see it as mere Guru-bashing is to miss the point entirely of what is being offered here on this List and in the writings. What is required of an actualist is to undertake a complete, thorough and clear-eyed examination of what it is that is being taught by these God-men and exactly why it has been, and still is, so seductively attractive. This process, if undertaken with scrupulous sincerity, will bring one to the realization that the whole of Ancient Wisdom is based upon various myths and imaginary fairy tale beliefs of life after death. This spirit-ual belief in an after-life is constantly fuelled and fired by the survival instincts and, as such, is a passionately held belief given credence by hormonally-charged hallucinations and delusionary states. ‘I’, the parasitic entity that dwells in the flesh and blood body, will do anything to survive, will actively and passionately do anything to stay in existence – anything to deny the fact of physical death. So passionate is this belief that millions, upon millions, upon millions of human beings have killed for, and died for, their own particular version of this spiritual belief. The very survival instinct within human beings is directly responsible for the continuous carnage of warfare on this planet – all pursuit of a fairy-tale of life after death for ‘me’ who lives inside this flesh and blood, physical, mortal body.
This is why one needs to read the words of the God-men and see for oneself exactly what is on offer, and exactly what has been delivered.
I got to musing a bit more about the reaction to my Journal, and to Richard’s Journal, and wondered at the lack of reaction evident in most. I remembered back to my first reading of Richard’s Journal and what my reactions were at the time.
Firstly, what he was saying made sense – it was obvious to me that everyone has got it wrong; everyone knows that because fear and aggression in the form of sorrow and malice are endemic on the planet. It took a bit of digging into both Richard’s writings and those of the Gurus to understand that what he was saying was brand spanking new and a quantum leap in the opposite direction to the spiritual. When a Guru says ‘everyone has got it wrong’, what he means is ‘everyone else has got it wrong and only I have got it Right, for I am the messenger of the Divine’. This shallow Guru-bashing then is passed off as ‘the real Truth, the only Path’, whereas what can initially appear as the Wisdom of the God-man is no more than his particular condemnation of the religions of other God-men. Merely to claim that others have got it wrong while blindly ignoring their own role in the on-going tragedy is both ignorance and denial, but then again, if one feels oneself to be God, one is undeniably deluded and absolutely blinded to any common sense.
Actual Freedom is a freedom from the insidious fairy-tales told by all the Gurus – no exceptions, no maybes, no ‘it’s only the same thing that everybody else is saying’. For me, this meant that I would have to desert my Master, not only being ungrateful but disloyal as well. It soon became obvious that this meant I would also have to desert Humanity – be a traitor to Humanity – to be ‘a rat deserting a sinking ship’, as Richard put it recently.
And the only way ‘out’ – to actually become free – was to do it, despite these values, ethics and morals that bound me to Humanity’s perpetual suffering and fighting. Once one begins to break these bonds and ties, to actualize one’s own freedom, one discovers that one has been instinctually programmed to be a member of the species, and to break with Humanity – the emotional-backed concept that binds the species together – necessitates an extinction of the these instincts in operation in this flesh and blood body. The ending of ‘my’ connection to Humanity is the ending of ‘me’.
So, even in the first weeks after reading Richard’s Journal, I knew what the consequences of my actions would be if I gave the path to Actual Freedom a ‘go’. But I had had enough experience to not get into the trap of believing what others said merely because it sounded ‘right’ – so I wanted some practical proof that Actual Freedom worked. In the beginning of the Richard’s Journal are the chapters on living together in peace and harmony, ending the battle of the sexes and unravelling the mystique of sex, and this is what I decided I would ‘cut my teeth on’ – to see if this would work. I simply acknowledged that what I, and every body else, had been doing didn’t work and would never work, and decided to actually try something new. Not just read, study and understand, but put it into practice and see if it worked. To see if I could live with one other person in peace and harmony and get to the bottom of the mess of human sexuality. Actualism is not a cerebral pastime nor a feeling-based escape from ‘reality’ – it is a full blooded commitment to expunging the alien entity within this flesh and blood body that prevents one being the universe experiencing itself as a human being. Anything less is chicken shit.
The spiritual path eternally promises, dreams and offers hope but it never has, and never can, deliver peace on earth. Actualism delivers the dream of peace that many humans sincerely seek and puts it into practice, but only for those willing to head in the opposite direction to the ‘Tried and Failed’. My friend who said I was living what Rajneesh taught was half-right in that I am living beyond the wildest dreams of Humanity. But I only do that because I abandoned the hackneyed spiritual Wisdom based on denial and ignorance, ‘back-tracked’ all the way out of the spiritual world and set off down the path of intrepid investigation in pursuit of common sense. The path that is 180 degrees in the opposite direction to that which every one else follows. The path that everyone says don’t go on or you will end up irresponsible, evil, insane, and a traitor to Humanity to boot! That is the meaning of everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong.
But the first thing one needs to do is find out whether you have been ‘sold a dummy’, or not. That was my first reaction to the idea that there is a third alternative to staying ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ – ‘Does that mean I have been sold a dummy?’ But the only way to know that was to find out for myself. And to undertake that investigation is to go against one’s instinctual programming that binds one to being a member of the herd called Humanity.
The return for the effort is peace, on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body. Peace is a simple, unambiguous term meaning actually free of malice and sorrow.
So, maybe this has been of use to you. I personally always find it useful to dig in and find out what the common objections to being happy and harmless are – in other words, what ‘my’ objections are – and then dare to look at the facts of what it is to be a human animal.
To explore, within one’s own psyche, the emotional passions of malice and sorrow and to investigate the commonly held beliefs that perpetuate their existence.
To discover the illusions, ‘within’ and ‘without’, will bring one – inevitably and inexorably – to one’s senses.
And then you get to find out the meaning of life.
And it’s the journey of a ‘life’-time.
PETER to No 7: As a human on the planet, at this time, we clearly see that much of the essential explorations have been undertaken in order to provide comfort, shelter, food and safety from wild animals and that the next major exploration and effort will be to end ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. Many people are still seeking excitement, fame, meaning and a sense of purpose by physical exploring and adventure pursuits but it has got a bit ridiculous such that it comes as no surprise to hear of someone being the first to hop all the way to the north pole or being the first woman to circumnavigate the globe the wrong way in a bath tub. Many people are now devoting there lives to helping wild animals survive, having abandoned the post-WW2 hope of peace on earth for humans. The focus has shifted to the fashionable ‘saving the earth’ rather than saving the human species.
An actualist is one who devotes his or her life to actualizing peace on earth in the only way possible and gets to have the adventure of a lifetime on the way. It is the most significant thing one can do with one’s life – one’s ‘three score and ten’ of existence as a human being.
Then whatever goes ‘on and on’ is not of my concern, for I will have done my bit for peace on earth.
This whole business of becoming free of the Human Condition is to do with the doing of it. At present it still remains but a nice theory, proposed by someone who can still be rightly labelled as a freak of nature as in – ‘an abnormal or irregular occurrence, an abnormally developed person or thing’. It is now up to others to prove – for themselves – that it is possible for them to be free from the Human Condition.
T’is about quality not quantity, the individual not the group, facts not belief, actualization not theory.
Of course the process works, but it only works for those doing it. Even a Virtual Freedom is to live beyond normal human expectations and would be sufficient to bring peace to this fair planet. But to go all the way is always the only way – stopping at ‘base camp’ is not for the true adventurer.
Well, thanks again for your note. I do appreciate your interest in these matters and in taking the effort to write. For me, it is good opportunity to write more about the practical application of Actual Freedom and to put my experience and knowledge down in writing.
The Human Condition – the program in the brain that says this is how it is to be a human being – does take a lot of stubborn questioning, and a lot of deleting, in order to get one’s common sense or innate intelligence operating for the first time. But once it is fired up and begins to function the fun begins – it proves unstoppable, and then the sparks start flying and the fun begins as one becomes incrementally free of belief, superstition, morals, ethics, values and psittacisms. This incremental freedom from sorrow and malice results in increasing experiences of delight and peace, and one soon finds oneself willing raising the bar ...again ... and again.
RESPONDENT: What is it that makes one want to conform to an ideal way of life, what is it that makes one want to imitate someone whom one considers as wise or more experienced?
PETER: Speaking personally of my early years of adulthood, on those once rare occasions when I could sit back and contemplate on the state of my life, I often thought that I would like to be free of the lot of it. I had no idea that is was possible at the time so the best I could do was to be on the look-out for better ways of living in order that I could at least be less resentful of my lot in life and more able to be happy. Part of this being on the look-out was to assess how other people lived their lives. One of these checking out exercises that comes to mind was that I came across an architect who also was a builder and I liked his lifestyle as well as the way he did business and I liked how he was with the people he dealt with in his business. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, I unabashedly ‘imitated’ his way of working simply because it made good sense to me.
In my spiritual years, I found no one who I would have liked to ‘imitate’ or emulate – I eventually came to see that Mohan Rajneesh was nought but an Indian God-man, a self-aggrandized snake-oil seller and this was made even clearer after his death when I realized that I had been suckered into yet another ‘olde time religion’ albeit of the Eastern variety. A few other gurus followed before I finally came to understand that there was nothing in any of the revered gurus, God-men or Pundits that I wanted to emulate – I didn’t like how they treated their followers, I didn’t like how they treated their women and I didn’t like their lifestyle.
When I came across Richard, I quite naturally assumed he was of the same ilk as the spiritual gurus – it takes a while to come to fully understand that actualism is diametrically opposite to spiritualism – so I was particularly interested in how he was with other people, how his lifestyle was and how he was with his companion. Once I had established that he was totally free of both malice and sorrow, I knew that he was indeed the genuine article and I soon found myself compelled to emulate the freedom he lived as an ongoing 24/7 experience.
RESPONDENT: Isn’t it an attempt to exalt oneself?
PETER: I discovered that to want to imitate those who have risen to the top in the spiritual world is certainly an attempt to exalt oneself – or more precisely to seek the exaltation of others – after all spiritualism is, at root, all about self-aggrandizement. Actualism on the other hand is all about becoming happy and harmless and provided one fully commits oneself to the process one inevitable discovers that ‘I’ am rotten at core through no fault of mine – hardly the stuff worth exalting.
RESPONDENT: These days, whenever I write or think something, Richard’s observations seem to be the controlling factor. I hesitate to use the words ‘love’ and ‘feelings’ in a positive way and I am all for ‘benevolence’ and ‘caring’ and ‘investigation’ ...
PETER: Yeah. I found myself doing the same thing, simply because it made sense to no longer follow the herd of my fellow human beings who were all busy complaining about being here, blaming others for the universally-perceived ills of humanity, cherishing their capacity for feeling sad and being proud of their righteous anger.
RESPONDENT: And I can see this same trait exists to a massive extent in Vineeto, and No 66, for example.
PETER: I remember at one stage having to tackle the perversity of my feeling guilty about feeling happy when all those about me obviously liked to wallow in the bitter-sweet feeling of sorrow, who thought they were actually doing something for others by feeling sad for them, who saw it as their right to feel angry and who liked to share their feeling of anger and resentment with other like-feeling people.
RESPONDENT: There must be something sinister in human psyche which repeatedly leads to such states of affairs.
PETER: I do understand that many people will feel it sinister that some people will want to devote their lives to becoming both happy and harmless … but then again, those same people are very often those who make a virtue of feeling sad and of being angry.
RESPONDENT: As I look at my own past, it has been a succession of buying into a thought-system and then leaving it for something else.
PETER: Yep. Many people I know never ever left the thought-system they were born into and yet others fondly look backwards to ancient thought-systems somehow imagining that archaic thinking has an intrinsic value simply because it is ancient.
The important thing I found was whenever I discovered something didn’t make sense or that something didn’t work was not to stick with it but to leave it behind and move on until I found something that makes sense and that does work. It sounds as though you have done well in this regard.
RESPONDENT: Non-violence, then J Krishnamurti, then Vipassana, then Vedanta, then Actualism (which is continuing at the moment). Each of them felt just right at the time. Each of them felt as if it was not a thought system, but the real way to live life happily.
PETER: Yep. Life is indeed an adventure. There is a lot of chaff to sort through, a mountain of it. The human condition is such a vast construct that it takes a good deal of persistence and a good dose of daring to get to the bottom of it all. It has often felt to me that I am pulling myself out of treacle, so sticky and glue-like are the revered wisdoms of the real world.
RESPONDENT: And I see many of my friends who are caught in a circle which I have long escaped from, but who knows, this actualism might also be another trap, another attempt at self-glorification.
PETER: Perhaps what I wrote to No 60 might be worth repeating at this juncture –
RESPONDENT: What a nature humans are endowed with!
PETER: And yet … the seeing of it – and acting on that seeing – is both the way and the means of becoming free of ‘human nature’.
PETER: I would like to add a note to this post about the very real difficulties of being a pioneer in this business of actualism. I have written that at the start I saw that the path to becoming free of the human condition in toto had a big sign hanging over it saying ‘Go Back! Do Not Enter Here!’ As I looked at it I could see that the sign had two facets to its meaning.
One was that this was what everybody else says in that humanity has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo – the very notion of ‘humanity’ itself is given credence by the fact that human beings are essentially feeling beings, no matter that the most salient of these feelings are sorrow and malice. It stands to reason that to deliberately set one’s sights on eliminating these hallowed feelings of malice and sorrow – the very core feelings of humanity, of what it is to feel oneself to be human – is to be literally a traitor to one’s fellow human beings.
In seeing this perversity clearly – and I can only call it a perversity – I also saw that this is no-one’s fault but that it is the inevitable result of an ongoing process that has seen matter become animate, aware of being animate and finally aware of being aware of being animate and that the present stage in this process is the eradication of the brutish survival passions in order that the next stage – a self-less sensuous apperception – can flourish. This clear seeing of the ‘big picture’ as it were helped me to assuage the gut-instinctual fear that I felt at the beginning of the path because I knew that a decision to fully commit my life to becoming actually happy and harmless would be the end of ‘me’.
As I umm-ed and ahh-ed for a while, I realized that all ‘I’ could do was procrastinate because having come across the path and despite having read the warning sign, I had nowhere else to go. Turning back was not an option because I had well and truly walked the traditional paths and had found both materialism and spiritualism wanting, to say the least. So I went ahead … there was simply no way I could go back.
I don’t know whether you can relate to my experience or whether it is even relevant to what you were saying about looking back on where you have travelled and wondering about what you have now discovered, but I thought to ‘put my two bob in’ as the saying goes in this part of the planet.
RESPONDENT: So, I’m not the only one who is not impressed with the human general state of affairs?
Granted, the race is still incredibly young ... we’re measuring the age of ‘civilization’ in the thousands of years. It’s just so painfully obvious what we’re doing wrong, and how easy it would be to do it right.
PETER: I might suggest that if it were so easy then there would be peace on earth by now. The problem up until now is the instinctual notion of ‘we’ – the passionate bond that ties human beings together ensures that ‘we’ either sink together or tread water together. As such, ‘we’ will always get it wrong and the only way out of the mess is for individual members of the species to take unilateral action – to lead by practical example, to prove that it is possible to become actually free of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Easy is clearly not the right word. Obvious would probably be more suitable. I do have to watch my word selection in this list. ‘We’ cling to our instincts with an iron grip.
PETER: I had similar problems with words when I first came across actualism. I started to become aware how loose I was in the meaning of words but that this was generally the case in any discussions about freedom. I realized that it suited me not to question too deeply what was being said because the freedom I was seeking was a feeling-only, other-worldly experience and not a sensate-only down-to-earth experience. After writing my journal, I set about writing a glossary of common terms used in actualism, giving their dictionary definitions and an explanation of the difference between the word’s actual meaning and its varied and confusing spiritual meanings.
RESPONDENT: Widespread change is always precipitated by individuals who dare to question the status quo, not always to their physical well-being.
PETER: Yep. Those who challenged the status quo of beliefs with the empirical discovery of the actuality of the situation – in other words the facts – often had a hard time of it and Galileo’s treatment stands out as a classic example. Richard’s discovery that it is possible to become free of instinctual malice and sorrow, be it virtually or actually, is still in its infancy but there will come a stage when it becomes more widely known and the opposition will possibly become organized and institutionalized. However, the internet offers a wonderfully subversive means of dissipating this discovery and it is hard to see that censorship will thwart this.
I also remember passing through a phase where I imagined all sorts of retribution would be heaped upon me for being a heretic but the fears eventually wore themselves out in the face of the long-sought-after realization of peace on earth. Simultaneously I also realized that as the process took hold my whole drive to teach others started to collapse and I began to realize that rather than becoming rich and famous, I was also becoming increasingly autonomous and anonymous.
There is an inherent safety in focussing all of one’s attention on changing oneself and not others. (...)
RESPONDENT: Stories can provide a non-linear mechanism of information conveyance in those cases where purely intellectual discourse fails (re Gary and I faith/belief). Despite our efforts to break free of our ingrained programs, we still have a socio-cultural-language basis. The stories can often carry a lot of information in a very small package.
PETER: I don’t know what you mean by a ‘non-linear mechanism of information’.
RESPONDENT: Just that a handful of words can convey a meaning greater than the sum of its parts. This predisposes a commonality of ‘socio-cultural-language’ between the sender and recipient. Analogous to the old saw – ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’. Even if I may have eliminated all my programming, any statement I might make to my neighbour will likely carry more implied content than to a Zulu tribesman, for instance.
PETER: My experience was that it took a great deal of conscious effort to take my social-cultural-spiritual bias out of language such that I was able to understand the written words that are used to convey the process of becoming free of the human condition. It is common to all spiritual teachings to disparage the written word as a means of communication and to encourage affective feeling-only communications such as satsang, communal prayers and meditations and the like. To describe a room full of people sitting silently with their eyes closed as communicating with each other is clearly nonsense. What in fact they are doing is retreating from the trials and tribulations of communicating with their fellow human beings and imagining a world where ‘we are all one’. Seventeen years on the spiritual path was sufficient experience for me to notice that spiritual beings were just as lost, lonely, frightened and cunning as real-world beings. The myth of peace and harmony between spiritual beings is just that – a myth.
Personally, when I met Richard’s discovery, I found it refreshing to come across a clear no-nonsense description of the human condition together with a coherent description of how to become free of it – and all of it written in dictionary definition words that said what it meant and meant what it said. It was a refreshing and radical change from the spiritual teachings I had followed for all those years.
But again, breaking free of my spiritual conditioning did take a while. I remember, after many months of listening to Richard, I was so fascinated by actualism that I wanted to know what was the hidden secret behind it all. If it meant Richard had come from another planet and a spacecraft was going to land and take us away, then I was in to it. It seems so silly now but I was so spiritually indoctrinated that the word was not the thing and that there was a secret message behind the words that I could not conceive that someone would have the audacity to not only say what he means but to mean what he says.
There is no secret message behind the words of actualism for it unabashedly points to an experience that everybody has had in there lives – a pure consciousness experience – and it explains the very simple, but at first difficult to put into operation, method of achieving that same tangible pure consciousness experience of freedom from the human condition, 24 hrs. a day, every day.
I might just end with a tip for beginners and that is to start the method of becoming attentive by focussing on obvious things and good examples are being grumpy about the weather, being upset about the traffic or being annoyed by what someone else says or does. This way you become used to becoming aware of how you are experiencing this moment of being alive and begin to notice what it is that is preventing you from being happy and harmless right now.
PETER: It sounds as though you have got the gist of what is on offer in the process of actualism.
RESPONDENT: Radical shifts in perception are usually a one-way street. That’s one of the reasons they’re radical.
PETER: Actualism involves much more than a ‘shift in perception’, it involves the deliberate dismantling of one’s social and instinctual identity, a process which will not only bring about a change in your thoughts and feelings but also your actions. Whilst questioning and challenging the beliefs of others is by no means a safe and sensible thing to do, questioning your own beliefs is safe in that the only thing you are doing is diminishing your own miserable and malicious ‘self’. This process is utterly safe because ‘you’ are in control of the extent and pace of the process of your own ‘self’-investigation – only ‘you’ can challenge your own beliefs, no one else can.
You can escape your fate and become the master of your own destiny – the experience of actualism is that no one is standing in the way of you becoming free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: Gotcha. This is starting to sink in. It’s really quite a simple premise, but I’ve been amazed at the fight the ‘I’ puts up. I’ve wrestled with some issues, how to ‘fit’ this into my life, but I’m finding that that’s putting the cart before the horse. The ‘I’ insists on doing this in a controlled or deterministic fashion but it can’t be a ‘managed’ process methinks, it’s a matter of pure resolve/intent.
PETER: I have just written to No 39 on this very subject –
We have recently had a History channel added to our satellite Pay-TV channels. As I have tuned into it over the past few days, I am reminded yet again as to what a tragedy the human condition really is. Apart from some programs that document the amazing history of the advances wrought by human ingenuity and common sense in the face of ancient ignorance and superstition, human history has been a on-going litany of cunning savagery and horrific acts of cruelty and torture, the likes of which is seen in no other animal species.
And if this isn’t enough, this pathos-ridden tragedy is fondly imagined to be a noble struggle between copious cosmic forces of good and evil and it is never acknowledged for what it is – an impassioned instinctual battle for survival that has now well and truly reached its use-by date. Rather than some clear thinking and clear-eyed seeing of the current human situation as-it-is, what is proffered as ‘solutions’ is yet more passion, yet more confrontation, yet more self-pity and more self-love … and yet more re-runs of eons-old beliefs and concepts that have not only failed to bring an end to human malice and sorrow but have only added fuel to the tragic saga.
And if this isn’t enough to fill one with despair, to top it all off, overarching all of this is that daddy of all beliefs – that ‘you can’t change human nature’. This belief not only ensures that human beings will remain forever entrapped within the human condition, but it also serves to perpetuate the fictitious battle between good and evil thus enshrining the ultimate power and moral authority of the goody-two shoes spirit-ual believers. And history shows that they have often wielded this power with ruthless efficiency to quell any who would dare to question their Divine authority.
From this perspective, the human condition can clearly be seen – and on occasions be actually experienced – to be a closed-loop, ‘self’-perpetuating psychic and psychic nightmare.
However, it is never too late to start on the adventure of becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow and the way out is both simple and direct – you devote your life to becoming both happy and harmless, because nothing less than a 100% commitment will do in order to break free of the nightmare. Nothing less than a 100% commitment will suffice to propel an actualist to step out of the impassioned illusionary real world and to leave his or her impassioned illusionary ‘self’ behind, where it belongs.
PETER to Gary: The other program I watched with interest was a speech given by the Environmental Guru, David Suzuki to a gathering of journalists. He was publicizing his recent book, which evidently points out that all is not doom and gloom but that there have been signs of some environmental successes in the past decades. As the questions and answers drew to an end he was asked if he had a message for the young to which he replied, ‘keep fighting’ and he then praised those who ‘put their lives on the line’. I wondered if he realized the consequences of what he was saying for he was, in fact, condoning youthful violent protests to the point of ‘putting lives on the line’. Ah well, I suppose by his reckoning there is nothing like a good stir or a good stoush – a cause, by whatever name, does gives the kids something to fight about.
Speaking of which, someone asked me the other day what I would do about the war in Palestine. I replied that if I lived in the area, the first thing I would do was stop being a Jew or Muslim because it is obvious that religious fervour fuels much of the hatred on both sides. The second thing I would do was stop being an Israelii or a Palestinian, because nationalistic fervour and territorial instincts fuel much of the hatred on both sides. And finally, I would leave the area, vote with my feet, abandon ship, get out, be a traitor to the cause.
The person who asked seemed to think I was somehow cheating by not offering a solution, not taking sides, not apportioning blame and so on, but he completely missed the point of my answer. He asked me what I would do and what I would do is make the only practical contribution I could – take unilateral action by stop being a believer, stop being a passionate combatant, stop looking for someone to blame and stop seeking retribution in the name of justice and fair play.
It is quite extraordinary to see – as well as personally experience – the grip that the combination of ancient beliefs and instinctual passions has over Humanity, so much so that no-where is common sense to be seen. Common sense reveals that the only thing that can be done about peace on earth is personally doing whatever needs to be done to become actually free of malice and sorrow. Peter to Gary 7.6.2002
RESPONDENT: How terribly irresponsible of you! I’ve been wrestling with the ‘responsibility’ component of my identity, and it runs deep. However, it’s becoming ever clearer that your POV is the only one that isn’t mad.
PETER: Or, it could be said that the only responsible and practical contribution one can make towards bringing an end to the on-going wars between human beings is to rid oneself of every skerrick of malice and sorrow. In other words, if you feel responsible, be responsible and act responsibly. Use whatever passion and motivation you have – don’t stifle it because the process of actualism cannot be a dispassionate business.
RESPONDENT: What I do get from this group at times is a tendency to formulate fairly broad responses in quite black and white terms, at times sounding like a party line. Yes, the basic AF tenet is black and white, but I am suspicious of any system that attempts to fit the entire universe into one of two bins. Elemental particles may be black/white, but when you mix a lot of them together, it sure starts to look grey. YMMV.
PETER: So, the basic actualism tenet is black and white but ‘this group’ tends to formulate fairly broad responses in quite black and white terms. As part of this group, I have no trouble at all with making things black and white, bringing issues and beliefs out of the shadows into the light, understanding what were formerly grey areas, calling a spade a spade when appropriate. This is the whole point of actualism – to clearly understand the human condition and how it operates in black and white terms in order to be free of it. If you want murkiness and greyness, not-knowingness and uncertainty, obscuration and ambiguity, then there are a multitude of other forums on the Net whose discussions would better meet your criteria.
RESPONDENT: I didn’t state that I was pursuing grey-ness. I have no personal interest in ambiguity, that’s why I’m here. I was simply investigating some remaining sticking points, some ‘real’ world scenarios that I’ve been using as litmus tests. Vineeto in her last post to me actually answered most of them to my satisfaction, so my black/white/grey thread is concluded satisfactorily.
PETER: I apologize for the presumption on my part. What you said was that you were suspicious of a system that attempts to ‘fit the entire universe into one of two bins.’ I unwittingly leapt to the conclusion that, as you were suspicious of the ‘black and white’ proposition inherent in actualism, you may have still held some lingering fondness for the greyness typified by traditional spiritual teachings of ‘not-knowing’ and ‘not wanting to know’. I was also unaware at the time of writing my response that you had meanwhile concluded this thread to your satisfaction. Sounds good to me.
I do like the written-word communication of mailing lists. Putting things down in black and white presents a way of making things clear, whereas the spoken word always leaves room for greyness and ambiguities, not to mention the usual ‘but you just said … ‘no, I didn’t’, ‘yes, you did’, no, I didn’t’ disputes that commonly arise. By being able to refer back on what was actually said, the process of checking beliefs or convictions against facts becomes simple and straightforward.
RESPONDENT: I went back to the question after my digression and realized how cunning and smart this ‘identity’ is. It actually believes it is here for my protection and well-being. Certainly the most prudent action taken was to not by any means treat it as an enemy, or something to be gotten rid of. Richard’s seemed to have atrophied naturally, rather than intentionally wanting its destruction which causes conflict and friction, which is the very antithesis of this work.
PETER: Devoting your life to becoming happy and harmless cannot be seen from a real-world point of view as ‘prudent action’, as it is commonly-held wisdom that life on earth is essentially a suffering business – in other words, that one needs to fight to survive and that one learns and grows through suffering.
Devoting your life to becoming happy and harmless is by no means an easy business because it goes against all of your social programming and it goes against all of your own survival instincts – which is exactly why ‘self’-immolation is the only way to become actually free of malice and sorrow.
GARY: It is strange that I write in this way. I had started to compose a similar reply and then deleted it all, it seemed too personal to send out over cyber space. It helps to have read portions of your book, particularly the chapter on sex, and I related too much that you spoke of. I am afraid I have not broken through yet to the sheer sensual enjoyment of sex and I blush like a schoolboy to say so.
PETER: A couple of things come to mind. One is how excellent it is to have someone else who has taken on actualism as a practical down-to-earth method rather than play safe by regarding it as a philosophy to be intellectually discussed and argued about. This was the very reason I wrote my journal and the reason it came out the way it did – as a personal account of a very ordinary, common and garden type human being becoming free of the Human Condition. I wrote it for another Peter or another Vineeto, to describe how to apply the actualism method and I am well pleased that it has been of use to you. I also see that although it was written as a personal account, it refers to situations, events, feelings, emotions and passions that are common to everybody.
When you say you started to write a reply that seemed too personal, I wondered why? It would seem to me that the value of this list is in sharing and talking about these common-to-all experiences rather than too-personal accounts that may well involve others who are, for whatever reason, best left out of the discussions. Does this make sense to you?
I remember when I did a number of emotional sharing type groups in my spiritual years, what I eventually found most fascinating was the remarkable similarity in the emotional problems and life predicament expressed. I was eventually able to relate to all the issues that emerged – a sort of ‘Oh yeah, I know that one ... yep, and that one too’. What this did was make me realize that ‘I’ was not special or unique at all – for I was as equally socially conditioned as everyone else, I was as equally affected by emotional issues and I was equally blindly driven as everyone else.
I would suspect you have had similar experiences with traditional therapy type approaches and that this has served you well to give you the incentive to dig below the more personal surface layers and get into the common-to-all deeper layers. My experience is that if one makes the investigation into one’s own psyche purely personal it can too soon run aground on pride, guilt and shame, rights and wrongs, goods and bads of one’s social identity. One way to move through this minefield is by widening one’s viewpoint from being purely self-centred and this is where an overview of the common-to-all affections that constitute the Human Condition is an essential perspective. The other trap is to make the investigation too impersonal and the end result of this would be an intellectual-only approach, which would elicit no change.
What I am proposing is neither a too impersonal nor a too personal investigation and this is where genuine intent, altruism, a good sense of humour and this list will stand you in good stead.
I am back involved in my business a bit more lately and I am having fun writing on another mailing list, both of which keep me fairly occupied. As such, I don’t seem to be writing on the Actual Freedom Mailing List much lately but it is great to see it bopping along extremely well.
PETER: Getting back to your question about a common denominator amongst the people seriously following actualism, I see the quality of stubbornness or bloody-mindedness as vital. So far, some people have taken an interest in actualism to a certain point where some change has happened in their lives and then backed away from further pursuits. For some, their spiritual beliefs are too strong to abandon, for some the prospect of leaving a comfortable hope, ideal, relationship or group is too daunting and some have even suffered from what could be called stage fright – the fear of the consequences of being actually free is too much. There is an initial flushed enthusiasm of discovery, understanding and change in the early stages and this is typified by my writings in my journal. What follows, after this initial stage, can be intimidating as the putting into practice of what one understands is the real test, and the real work, on the path to an actual freedom.
PETER: The spiritual path is the pursuit of emotional events and altered states, whereas the path to Actual Freedom is the pursuit of irrevocable actual change. For an actualist, the real work is in having the courage to maintain an ongoing awareness of how you are experiencing being alive, of cultivating a naïve fascination with being alive and developing a resounding YES to being here.
GARY: It seems that people on a religious and/or (these words are interchangeable) spiritual path are always caught up in their feeling of uniqueness or differentness from ordinary ‘wordly’ people. When I was into the spiritual lifestyle, I always had a sense of mission or a feeling of being special compared to the average heathens around me. Take most Christian people, for instance, with their ingrained persecution complex – it seems to me that they are always looking to be persecuted by others, and are rarely cognizant of their self-righteous, pious attitude towards ‘non-believers’ and their downright persecutory attitude towards others who are not members of their little coterie.
PETER: The eventual aim in actualism is not to feel different, but to be different – to be free of instinctual malice and sorrow and thus to be a flesh and blood body only, free of any psychological or psychic entity whatsoever. To get to this stage, my experience was that I passed through all of the ‘normal’ stages of feeling an outsider and all the ‘spiritual’ stages of feeling driven to be a messenger, or Messiah, for others who needed freeing. It was such good fun to personally experience and therefore understand the instinctual lust for psychic power that fires the priests, teachers, Gurus, God-men and Goddesses.
I found people and events always challenged me in the process such that feelings and emotions automatically arose and all I had to do was observe them to become familiar with how I had been programmed to operate, both socially and spiritually. Observation led to awareness, awareness led to knowledge and knowledge led to experience, practical change and confidence. As you progress further on the path, confidence leads to surety, which, in turn, overcomes doubt and fear.
GARY: It seems that by saying one is an atheist, one is adopting a sort of identity all over again, discarding one identity and taking up another.
PETER: Only if you are ‘someone who denies or disbelieves the existence of God or gods’ and then you are clearly taking an anti stance, involved in belief disputes, claiming you are right and others are wrong, etc. To stop being a believer, only to become a disbeliever, is still to be an identity, as you rightly point out. The only way to step out of this cycle is to discover what is factual and to discard what is merely belief. The eventual aim of this investigation is to cease the habitual and ingrained act of believing – of being a believer. This process does take time, effort, incessant enquiry and an unparalleled degree of integrity, patience and perseverance. To imbibe and learn something while young is an automatic process – the process of unlearning is another ball game entirely.
A bit I wrote at the time I was pondering similar issues may be relevant to this discussion –
The last realization came when I fully understood and directly experienced that there is no God, or gods, in a PCE and that Richard experienced this as an ongoing permanent experience. Then atheism is neither a belief nor a disbelief, but an acknowledgement of fact.
GARY: This is sort of the same conundrum that I have with actualism. If one takes it up as a sort of banner or identity to hide behind, then one is not eliminating the identity and discovering the actual, one is adopting it as a ‘clip-on’ to one’s belief system, as you have said.
PETER: I noticed that I started to bring the terms actualism and actualist to the forefront of my writings recently and this coincided with realizing that actualism is now firmly launched in the world as a third alternative and is spread by word of mouth, it has already developed a life of its own as interest, controversy and debate is growing exponentially.
There have already been many objections of the petty put-down of ‘isms’ type usually based on the chronic human obsession with either blindly following authority or angrily rebelling against authority.
So from this definition, actualism is a form of practice having a distinctive character – as in being neither materialism nor spiritualism but something new in human experience. It is neither doctrine nor theory but a practice, as in utilizing a method or undertaking a process.
I find it most useful to use the label actualist as a reminder that what I am practicing has a distinctive character – it is unusual, not common, different, extraordinary, rare. This is not a chest-puffing, identity-bloating exercise but a simple statement of fact. I am not a materialist, I am not a spiritualist, I am neither a believer nor am I a disbeliever – I am an actualist, should I ever be asked for a label, which is not very often.
PETER: Yep. Once anyone accepts that that ‘you can’t change human nature’ there are only two alternatives – stay normal and instinctually battle it out for survival in grim reality or turn away from reality and enter into an inner imaginary greater Reality of one’s own making.
GARY: If one is living in the actual, if one has a continuous and direct experience of the actual, then one is accused of being deluded, being insane. Sometimes such a person is regarded as being extremely dangerous, extremely subversive. For some reason, one who is gay and blithesome is a great threat to people who live in Reality. Such a one either becomes the but of jokes, scorned by so-called normal people, or dismissed as a lunatic. One of the basic reasons for this is that one who is actually free cannot be controlled by the herd.
PETER: It is serendipitous that the discovery of actualism as a tried and tested process for becoming free of the human condition has coincided with the development of the World Wide Web. The words describing this process can be read by anyone, anywhere, anytime and they are freely available for anyone to make of them what they will. In a free-wheeling uncensored forum such as this mailing list any objections, doubts, questions, fears, concerns, discoveries, benefits and successes are freely available for anyone to make of them what they will. The other, not insignificant, advantage is that any derision, scorn or anger can only be expressed in words and not in actions.
GARY: It occurs to me in this context to comment on the similarity between standard medical questioning and psychiatric interviewing for diagnosis and the techniques developed by Inquisitors during the Spanish Inquisition. Both are a narrow search for deviancy from the norm. The discovery of this deviancy by the questioner or interviewer lends credence or reality to the diagnosis which then becomes a static way of describing a living, breathing human being. People carry these diagnoses throughout their life. The diagnoses are assumed to have an independent reality and verifiability that often they do not, as revealed by research that shows an amazing lack of concordance between the diagnoses arrived at by independent interviewers.
PETER: The best way to discover which particular issues, beliefs, events or circumstances trigger you to be angry at others or cause you to be resentful or despairing is to make your own investigations rather than rely on the varying diagnosis, fashionable theories or downright guesses of others who are similarly afflicted by instinctual passions. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is a method of ‘self’-investigation – ‘a psychic search and destroy mission’ as I once termed it.
PETER: The more pragmatic practitioners of psychology and psychiatry freely admit that the aim of any analysis and treatment is to return their patients to normally neurotic, such that they can reasonably function within the range of limits set by society’s laws and regulations. Thus the aim is to reduce paranoia to ‘normal’ fear, to return violent behaviour to ‘normal’ aggression and to return manic depression to ‘normal’ sadness. In extreme cases, the previous practice of incarceration in straight jackets has been replaced by incarceration in chemical straightjackets.
GARY: Much of psychiatry, psychology, and social work are really very conservative activities, concerned with dealing with extreme aberrations and returning the patient or client to ‘normality’ as soon as possible. As most social work students soon find out, much of their practice as social workers is going to be concerned with social control issues. As a social worker, you become a representative of so-called ‘normal’ society to your clients. You embody the time-honored ethics, values, and mores of the greater society, the society that subsidizes you by giving you employment. Were you not to represent these mores and values, you would not long find yourself employed in the field. Mental health work, I find, is extremely controlling and paternalistic. I have often been amazed at how condescending mental health workers, including myself, are towards their clients. While I can think of worse ways to make a living, there is a great deal about it that I am dissatisfied with. In the paragraph you wrote above, I think you have hit on why these activities do not work – they attempt to return the suffering client or patient to the pattern of normality valued by the society, the same pattern of normality that has produced the casualties in the first place. It is like treating war neuroses behind the lines in a tidy field hospital and then immediately returning your cured charges to the front lines. Changing the pattern of society, as the social engineers and politicians would have us do, would not work because we are that pattern. We are violent. We are aggressive. We are fearful and acquisitive, etc, etc.
PETER: Many professions or occupations have an idealistic impassioned undercurrent. I was trained as an architect and was imbued with the notion that good and pure architecture can ennoble the human spirit and thus change the world. I recently saw a comment in an architectural magazine that said ‘architecture challenges the belief that things were better in the old days’. The amazing thing is that now that I have stripped away all the emotion, passion and belief that surrounds my work it becomes the pragmatic, practical business that it is. I still do the best I can to design a building that suits the locality, the particular site, the owners needs, that is value for money and that looks good. I now do the same job, but it is totally different because there is no ‘me’ to stuff up the enjoyment of doing it or to battle others to do it ‘my’ way, as though ‘my creativity’ was of paramount importance.
But that is just how it is for me. There are no rules, or rights and wrongs in actualism – others may find they want to change jobs or do something different. It is the same with my decision to find a companion to prove that I could live with at least one other person in peace and harmony as a starting point to test out whether the process worked or not. Others may prefer to live by themselves, others will be happy to not change their existing circumstances; others may even change partners, or whatever.
PETER: It does seem that you have understood, and are experiencing, that actualism is about becoming autonomous. Understanding is the first step, experiencing it is the next. Autonomy is an inevitable essential part of the process, which is why I always chuckle when someone says I am a disciple of a Guru. Actual Freedom is squeaky clean.
GARY: I suppose given the propensity of humans to form groups based on hierarchical principles it is natural for people to think that the same thing occurs in Actual Freedom or with the Actual Freedom Trust. I remember imagining such things myself, for instance, that you, Richard, and Vineeto were plotting or planning to do such and such, or so and so, that you had some type of steering committee or planning meetings. In hindsight, that appears ridiculous of course. There was also the tendency on my part to view Actual Freedom as some sort of Heaven or cultic activity with Richard being the Sun, and Peter and Vineeto revolving around the Sun in some sort of Actual Freedom firmament. Given that hierarchy occurs in any group, it is not surprising that one would have such thoughts or even wonder where one fits into such imagined hierarchy oneself. Becoming autonomous is becoming free from all such outlandish hierarchical notions as well as any tendency to subvert oneself to the authority (as in power) of another.
PETER: I went through exactly the same thing with Richard. I remember at one stage saying – ‘Okay, I’m hooked. You can let me in on the secret now’. I figured that if he was a super intelligent being seeded from outer space and seeking recruits, I was ready for the spacecraft to land. It’s all a hoot when I look back but given the human condition and our predilection to blindly follow or senselessly rebel, it is all par for the course, grist for the mill or fuel for the imagination – or the spacecraft in this case.
It is an extraordinary thing to take the words of actualism at face value. I found I had to abandon all my cynicism, crank up my naiveté yet be wary of being gullible as I had been in the past. This is only something that you can do for no one can take you by the hand and lead you down the path. It’s your own journey to being free and autonomous, but then again, that’s obvious isn’t it.
PETER to Gary: 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. 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.
I certainly knew what was possible from my pure consciousness experiences – glimpses of the vibrant sensuous purity and peacefulness of the actual world we live in. I eventually came to realize from these experiences that it was ‘I’ who stood in the way of the 24 hrs. a day, every day living of peace on earth.
The process of actualism happens in two consecutive stages – firstly a period of deliberate active dismantling of one’s social and instinctual identity such that you diminish this identity to the point where you are virtually free of malice and sorrow. This reasonable stable plateau is known as Virtual Freedom, whereby one is happy and harmless for 99.9% of the time. Virtual Freedom, with the bulk of the active work having largely been done, is a period of becoming accustomed to living in increasingly long periods of near self’-lessness. In this stage, apart from a few remaining issues and investigations, one’s social and instinctual identity, or ‘self’ – who I think and feel I am – has increasingly nothing left to do but to get out of the road. Eventually the ‘self’ becomes so thin and ethereal as to be understood, recognized and eventually unequivocally experienced as being non-substantial, i.e. non-actual.
PETER: This business of becoming free of the human condition already feels tough enough at times but to beat yourself up for not succeeding simply means yet another moment of potential happiness and harmlessness has been squandered in ‘self’-indulgence. And again, this is not denial, because the next real thing to investigate, the next real issue to investigate, will come swanning in by itself.
In the market place, unlike the Monastery, Sangha or ‘inner’ cave, there is an ample supply of normal events and normal people to test one’s happiness and harmlessness.
GARY: Indeed. And this is one of the chief differences between actualism and spirituality’s ‘How to be in the world but not of it’, because in actualism there is no need for any allegiance to an exclusive group or clique, no identification of oneself being a member of any particular identifying belief system. One is free to be with people as-they-are, whatever their particular beliefs or religiosity or lack of religiosity. It seemed that when I was involved with a spiritual lifestyle, I was always looking for people who were friendly to my particular belief system, and I would befriend people based on whether or not their beliefs conformed to mine. In actualism, there is none of that, and one is free to have an actual intimacy with all people, regardless of where they are coming from. This is, as I think about it just now, one of the fundamental differences between actualism and so-called spiritual belief. As a spiritual believer, ‘I’ am dependent on the spiritual or the religious group for a continual reinforcement of my identity as a spiritual being or as a member of a spiritual community, and I seek this affiliation constantly as this reaffirms and supports ‘my’ existence. In actualism, one has to go it completely and totally alone, alone in the sense of depending on nothing else but one’s own common sense and intelligence as well as one’s own pure consciousness experiences as one’s guide.
Naturally, one can talk to others through the medium of this list, as well as read the readings, but there is no allegiance nor membership with a defining body of actualism ‘believers’. This further contributes to the dismantlement of the social identity because ‘I’ thrive on being a member of a group with certain defining beliefs. Without them, I experience first-hand that ‘I’ am nothing but a wayward social identity, an illusion, careering around in fear and confusion.
PETER: I always find it fascinating to think that I will never meet many of the people who write on this list face to face and that it is unnecessary. What needs to be conveyed about actualism and Actual Freedom can be conveyed by words alone. This fact in itself demolishes any Guru/disciple nonsense and the cosy insular-group syndrome. That way anyone who wants to gets to stand on his or her own two feet, any success is your own, earned by your efforts, and this fact then gives you the assuredness and confidence to proceed even further on the path to freedom. (...)
PETER: In comparison with learning to use a computer, becoming free of malice and sorrow is a much more difficult task requiring much more patience and perseverance, which is why it makes no sense to allow any glitches or misses that occur to blossom into something bigger than they are.
GARY: Yes indeed. Having access to these discussions is an invaluable help because without the encouragement and ability to compare notes with others one might easily despair and give up. Few people that I come into contact with in my day-to-day life seem to be interested in ‘becoming free from malice and sorrow’. Having an infusion of the energy and enthusiasm of others from time to time for the process of actualism is an invaluable aid, and it is what this mailing list was set up for.
PETER: You are on your own in this business of actualism, but you are not alone. Countless people have and are seeking peace on earth – an end to the appalling violence and senseless suffering that human beings continuously inflict on themselves and others. Many have even sheeted home the cause of violence and suffering to the animal instinctual passions while others have addressed the issue of the ‘self’-centredness, but all these efforts have failed to date simply because of the human obsession with the past. For some inexplicable reason humanity reveres the wisdom of shamans, witchdoctors and mystics and doggedly refuses to let go of the ancient fairy stories of good and evil spirits, Gods and demons and an ongoing life after death for the human spirit.
There are intrinsic fears to overcome in completely breaking free of spiritual belief , for the priests and God-men ultimately rule by peddling fear and superstition. But the stranglehold has now been conclusively broken and you and I and others are reaping the benefit not only from Richard’s discovery, but also from the cumulative efforts of many before who sought peace on earth.
PETER: In hindsight, in similar types of conversations I see I was simply presenting the fact that the much-vaunted feeling of love didn’t work because it has always failed to bring about peace between human beings. The same is evident with the revered spiritual feeling of unconditional love-for-all – it also has failed miserably in eventuating anything remotely resembling peace on earth. I was not presenting a viewpoint nor taking a side, I was simply stating a fact ... and offering an alternative.
GARY: Yes, to me it is fact that love has failed to bring about peace between human beings. It does, however, bring about a kind of ‘pseudo-peace’, which is actually no peace at all. I am reminded of Scott Peck’s work with group development, when the group goes into an initial phase of ‘pseudo-community’: the people in the group have a cozy, amiable feeling of being connected and liking one another’s company, a feeling which on the surface passes for community but is shattered further down the line when the inevitable conflicts and in-fighting occur in the group. This is a dynamic one can easily observe in spiritual groups, when the members bask in the cozy ‘We are all one’ feeling. Which makes it all the more painful when these groups develop the characteristic power struggles and malicious in-fighting that all groups of humans are prone to. I easily recall the depth of the pain that Quakers went through, coupled with the denial of their part in the problems, when the Quaker group was torn apart by conflicts between the members.
My own adaptation to the problems at the time was a kind of stunned denial and detachment from what was going on, as I was still very much a religious person. It marked, however, the start of my retreat and eventual abandonment of religion/spirituality.
PETER: I like it that your area of experience and expertise is therapy and social work. At one stage Richard was interested in writing about actualism in terms of becoming free from the passions and neuroses that typify the Human Condition without using any spiritual terms such as ego, soul etc. – a sort of real-world approach to actualism. Of course, once you become sufficiently free of the spiritual world and its seductive lure, what is left is a much more pragmatic approach to eliminating the instinctual passions and self-centred neuroses that give substance to who you think and feel you are, as distinct to what you actually are.
Actualism is anathema to vested interests of spiritualism as is evident by increasingly hysterical responses and blatant denials of so many of the correspondents to date in objecting to being happy and harmless – but no doubt some of actualism will be adopted and distorted as a clip on as a way for spiritualists to be ‘more present in the market place’. Actualism will also be anathema to the vested interests of psychiatry, psychology and sociology, but no doubt again some of it will be adopted and distorted as a clip on as a way of being able to better cope with being in the real world.
All of this, while not being ‘the full Monty’, can nevertheless only be beneficial to those involved.
Your expertise and experience in the therapy/social work field that comes through in your writing is serving not only to help dismiss the pathetic historic aberration of spiritual escapism but also fleshes out the process that leads to the progressive elimination of the psychosis and neurosis that is the Human Condition.
PETER: The whole point of actualism is to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is – i.e. not to rant and rave about how bad the world is and not to fluctuate between being angry or sad at one’s lot in life. If you want to change your lot then you change it. Similarly the whole point of actualism is to be happy and harmless with people as-they-are – i.e. not to rant and rave about how bad people are and not to fluctuate between being angry or sad at the human condition. If you want to become free of the human condition then you set about irrevocably changing yourself.
Once you get the gist that actualism is about going down the road never travelled before in human history you start to realize the full implications of the fact that everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong. One then starts to see the folly of the human condition in toto and the envy, umbrage and criticism of others still ensnared by the old ways can be easily and clearly seen for what it is.
GARY: Yes, I think it has never been done before but now it is and I want to be in on it in a front seat. It means the end of ‘me’ and nothing but experiencing the 24hour a day perfection and purity of this physical universe, all while doing what one usually does, whether it be working, driving, tending a garden, going to meetings, whatever.
The virtually free state or the PCE is at once an extraordinary and ordinary experience ... I don’t know if you know what I mean about ‘ordinary’. I don’t mean ordinary in the sense of dull or mundane, it is certainly not that. But I mean ordinary in comparison to the ecstatic Altered States of Consciousness. As it is a purely sensory experience, completely devoid of emotional content, it can be part and parcel of one’s ordinary sensory experiencing of life in general. It is something that everyone has experienced before and may be potentially experiencing as soon as they focus their awareness on attention and sensuousness. It is indeed something that is right here and right now.
One needn’t go off to some monastery or trooping off to Byron Bay to make a pilgrimage to visit Richard to begin to experience this pure sensuous quality of life. It is right here right now. One becomes progressively more and more practiced in identifying what it is that is standing in the way of experiencing this perfection all the time, 24 hours a day.
PETER: Yes. Actualism is about getting in to being fully alive for the first time in one’s life. It isn’t about getting out of it, as in escaping from this physical world into an imaginary spiritual world. It isn’t about having instantaneous access to some Cosmic Wisdom, being Chosen to be a Saviour of mankind, acquiring Divine Protection as an antidote to one’s primordial fears or having Existence miraculously provide for one’s basic needs.
Actualism is firstly about freeing this body’s intelligence from any belief that there is any form of Higher Intelligence whatsoever in the universe, then progressively becoming free from the piffle that passes for Wisdom in the human species and then becoming free from the instinctual passions that give rise to the deep-seated emotions of malice and sorrow and their antidotal pacifiers, love and compassion. From my experience the order is important – you start with the outer layers of nonsense and work your way deeper.
And as you diligently go about this process you increasingly become aware of the extraordinariness of what is usually dismissed by realists as ordinary and prosaic or by spiritualists as illusionary and secondary. One’s first PCE is a very startling experience, as if a curtain has suddenly been ripped away to reveal a previously hidden paradise, the utter purity and peacefulness of the actual physical world. But as one proceeds to deconstruct this ‘curtain’, these pure consciousness experiences become less starling and seemingly other-worldly and become more ordinary, down-to-earth and familiar – hence what was once humdrum grim and grey reality becomes increasingly a sensuously extraordinary actuality. (...)
GARY: So, with the actualism method, one is actually doing the process of change, not merely talking about it. One can talk about irrevocable change until the cows come home but unless and until one actually changes, it is all theoretical. How do you know you have changed – ask yourself the question honestly and with the utmost sincerity – ‘How am I experiencing this present moment of being alive?’ The answer will astound you sometimes.
PETER: The spiritual solution to becoming free is to think one is free or feel one is free – to become ‘Who’ you really think and feel you are.
The actualism solution is to irrevocably change oneself – to become what you are and not to remain ‘who’ you think and feel you are, whoever that may be. As you are experiencing, this process of incremental change brings palpable and tangible results, changes that can be talked about, shared with others, made sense of, and even passed on to others if anyone else is willing to listen.
GARY: This seems to be the real value of this list to me ... talking about and identifying ‘changes that can be talked about, shared with others, made sense of, and even passed on to others if anyone else is willing to listen’ . Since I have started in actualism, I have quit a number of things that were simply not working anymore. I quit AA, I quit Krishnanmurtiism, and I think have quit the exclusive club called Humanity. I am no longer a card-carrying member of the Human Condition, whilst still subject to the conundrums that characterize and typify that condition, I am able to look very clearly and very comprehensively at just what is happening at the time when it happens. I do not think it is hypocritical to say that I do not want to belong anymore, nor do I want to identify.
PETER: The majority of people who have corresponded with Richard over the years have chosen to enter into an intellectual debate with him, defending their spiritual beliefs and attacking what is actual. Eventually they wimp away, or get sillier and sillier in trying to defend the indefensible, but what is noticeable is that their interest is theoretical and abstracted and not down-to-earth and personal.
When I came across Richard I first checked out whether what he was saying made sense, i.e. that it could withstand a thorough intellectual scrutiny. Once I established this and came to understand that what was on offer was a do-it-yourself method, it then became a case of give it a go to see if it works.
This divide between those who are interested in intellectual theorizing and those who are interested in practical change can be seen in the response of many who correspond with either Vineeto or I. We are usually dismissed as clones or disciples of the Guru whereas what we are is the proof that actualism works to rid oneself of malice and sorrow. At one stage we jokingly referred to ourselves as the litmus test – corresponding with us was the measure by which to ascertain whether someone was merely intellectually theorizing or was genuinely interested in practical change.
GARY: Your post, as usual always thoughtfully presented, contained the following statement –
I cannot honestly say that I have always been interested in living in peace and harmony with other human beings – probably only for the latter part of my life.
I nearly perished in a sea of alcohol, anger, depression and sadness which, at the age of 34, made me see the complete untenability of my way of life – the only way of life that I had known up until then. I suppose extremely crude survival instincts kicked in and kicked me in the butt to do something to stop killing myself. Besides, the pain was unbearable. Presented on a silver platter, through the vehicle of AA, spiritual ideals seemed the only way out of the morass that I was in – in fact, at the time, it was the only thing on offer. I went from the personal madness and delusion of the alcoholically insane to the institutionalized madness of religious and spiritual belief. Even after becoming involved with a religious pacificist group I still had my reservations about living in peace and harmony with other human beings. I remember thinking that I could never be a pacifist because I could not vow not to kill another human being. I would kill if I had to. It seemed insane to allow someone to have their way with me or those near to me, without lifting a finger to do anything to stop it.
Over a long period of time, the ridiculousness of living one’s life according to an ideal has hit home. I chuckle to myself during this holiday season when so many wishes and hopes are offered for peace in our world. Wishes and hopes are about as worn-out as all the other useless ideals that humanity has dreamed up. Only the most determined efforts to rid oneself of malice and sorrow are up to snuff. Ideals are a waste of time.
One can wish and hope until the cows come home for peace and harmony, pray, sing, troop around singing Xmas carols, but all these collective, feel-good activities pale in comparison with getting down to brass tacks and doing something about it. You are really on your own in doing this work- that doesn’t mean that talking to others, like on this list, is not helpful or advisable, but when it comes right down to it, nobody can do it for you, you have to do it for yourself. If you pay heed to what most other people are doing, you might as well forget it, because most people are running off in the wrong direction.
PETER: Your post clearly points out an essential prerequisite for anyone to be interested in becoming an actualist – a thorough disillusionment with both real-world materialism and other-worldly spiritualism. This disillusionment has to be more than intellectual – it has to be firmly rooted in life experience. It is not enough to think that materialism and spiritualism fail to bring happiness and contentment, one has to experience for oneself that the tried and true values and dreams of humanity have all been well and truly tried and that all have well and truly failed.
The early stages of an actualist’s investigations into the human condition are marked by a curiosity as to exactly why the tried and true values and dreams of humanity fail, and this stage can be quite dramatic because what one is also doing is questioning all of one’s own values and dreams. By being more and more aware of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ one starts to see clearly that people in the real world are too involved in their own ‘self’-centred battle for survival to savour the delights of being here, doing nothing in particular. It also becomes apparent that the spiritually inclined have totally abandoned all thoughts of being here and have opted to withdraw ‘inside’ in to a fantasy world of their own creation.
As this investigation proceeds there comes a stage when it becomes so obvious that everyone has got it wrong, and always has got it wrong, that one begins to lose interest in, and emotional contact with, where one has come from and starts to more and more wonder and delight at the perfect peacefulness and peerless purity of this paradisiacal planet we humans live on. The habitual feelings of malice and sorrow together with their panaceas, love and compassion, eventually loose their tenacious grip in the face of a fascinated awareness of being here. As one’s awareness of this awareness becomes increasingly ‘self’-less, there is less experience of ‘me’ being aware, and more and more a bare and pure sensuous discernment of the universe happening at this very moment.
In hindsight, this stage represents a point of no return on the path to freedom as the emotional ties that bind you to humanity – the feelings of malice and sorrow together with their antidotal feelings of love and compassion – are so weakened as to be ineffectual. I once experienced these ties as long tentacles stretching way into the distance behind me – tentacles that stopped me from being free. I also realized that if these tentacles were broken then ‘I’ would be no more. And not only would ‘I’ cease to exist – but even more shocking – nobody would miss ‘me’.
Nobody would grieve ‘my’ passing, for no one really can know ‘me’ because ‘I’ am non-physical and non-substantive. They may think and feel they know ‘me’, as ‘I’ think and feel ‘I’ know other ‘me’s’, but because ‘I’ have no substance in actuality, then it would be impossible for others to even notice ‘my’ demise. If these emotional ties or tentacles were to be broken, ‘my’ final demise would be a very private and solitary experience – followed by oblivion.
What became apparent from this experience was that if these tentacles no longer existed I, this flesh and blood body, would be irrevocably alone in the world. While a feeling of fear arose, there was also an acknowledgement of the fact that I have always been alone in the world in terms of being autonomous and free. Because of my numerous pure consciousness experiences combined with a substantial period of living virtually ‘self’-less, I knew that after ‘my’ demise what I am, this flesh and blood body, would continue on doing what I have always done ... get up in the morning, have breakfast, do whatever I do in the day, and go to bed at night.
Since this experience these tentacles have become even weaker, as is evidenced by an almost total disappearance of the normal emotional ties that bind ‘me’ to the other ‘me’s’ and the lack of any emotional memories that give substance to a ‘me’ having a past or a future.
But the experience did remind me of the fact that ‘I’ have to die, as in experience death, if these bonds are to be completely broken ... and that these bonds have to be completely broken if ‘I’ am to die.
Peter’s and Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.