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

Selected Correspondence Peter


RESPONDENT: Anyone know why animals don’t have an affective response to music but human babies do?

PETER: Broadly speaking, all animals who are capable of detecting sound have an instinctual response to sound whereas human animals have, in addition to this instinctual response, a culturally- induced affective response to the specific arrangement of sounds they refer to as ‘music’.

As to your specific question, I have heard of farmers who play soothing music to their cows whilst milking, presumably in order to keep them calm during milking. Similarly I have heard of mothers playing soothing music in order to calm their babies and I have even heard that unborn babies still in the womb exhibit what can only be an instinctive response to sound when music is directed at the womb. I don’t have more to add but I am sure you would find that there is a good deal of research done on the subject – as well as a wealth of lore, myth and misinformation of course – most of which is only a mouse click away.

I notice that this thread has now moved on to discussing the behaviour, instinctual reactions, emotions and/or feelings of cats and dogs – something I have no interest in at all. What I did however find fascinating in my early years of studying the human condition was the behaviour, the instinctual reactions, emotions and feelings of chimpanzees, given that that particular animal species is often referred to as ‘genetic cousins’ to we human animals. (Homo sapiens and chimps reportedly share some 98% of the same DNA.)

The fact that wild chimps exhibit a gamut of emotions that range from blind homicidal rage at one end of the spectrum to utter despair at the other, that their natural behaviour includes waging war either to defend or claim territory, that they commit murder, rape, infanticide, torture and cannibalism, as well as display sexism, nepotism and xenophobia was to me irrefutable evidence that human malice and sorrow is in fact instinctual.

Recently I came across a book authored by a primate researcher who had studied chimps in the wild for many years. In the book the author explored and documented the most salient aspects of human violence and in doing so detailed the parallels of violence within chimp communities. It turned out that one of his motivations in writing the book was his frustration at social anthropologists and the like who continue to unabashedly lay the blame for human violence on socialization whilst continuing to ignore and deny the evidence that such behaviour is in fact instinctual.

One paragraph in particular stood out as what he has to say mirrors the difficulty that most correspondents have on this mailing list in discussing human instinctual passions let alone dare to become self-aware of when and how they operate –

[Michael P. Ghiglieri]: Ironically, the biggest challenge in exploring the biology behind human behaviour is not the difficult scientific research it demands. Rather, it is the difficulty of overcoming the fear of the results of such research. Many academicians throw up their hands and insist that if natural selection has indeed equipped us with violent emotions, our destiny is hopeless, because we cannot resist surrendering to those inescapable puppet masters. Many add that it would be better if we did not even talk about biological theory in connection with human behaviour. (…)

Unfortunately, this head-in-the-sand attitude permeates a lot of American social science dedicated to the idea that by twisting the dials of society, we can tune out all its ills. Such denial, however, serves only to foster a new ‘dark age’. Biology tells us fairly that the human psyche, and its chemical programming of emotions, is a product of nature. p51, The Dark Side of Man, Michael P. Ghiglieri, Helix Books, 1999

This head-in-the-sand attitude that Ghiglieri talks of is in no way confined to the social sciences. The current ‘new dark age’ is fuelled by an increasingly mindless fervour for all things spiritual, mystical and metaphysical, a fervour that is exemplified by the ascendancy of pantheistic and animistic beliefs that are the very core of the new world-wide religion of Environmentalism.

Obviously breaking free of all head-in-the-sand belief is the necessary first step to take before one can be able to freely discuss the pivotal role that the genetically-encoded instinctual passions have in both generating and perpetuating human animosity and anguish.

Which, curiously enough, is what actualism is about.

PETER to No 7: Just as a bit of an aside, I recently read a newspaper article by a clinical psychologist decrying happiness as an aim in life and saying it was causing all sorts of problems. He said that what people should seek is fulfilment. He was totally vague about what this fulfilment was and threw in a few fashionable psittacisms about creativity, spirituality and a few demeaning comments about money and career pursuits. From the tone of his article I gathered that many of his clients were suffering from depression because of the futility of seeking happiness, and no wonder. They are trying to go against nature and are both ill equipped and ill advised in their pursuit by the likes of clinical psychologists and spiritual pundits. The Gurus’ ignorance is understandable in that scientific progress has outstripped Ancient Ignorance but the denial of instinctual programming in psychological studies and teachings is a bit more bewildering. The scientific study of instinctual behaviour broaches the areas of ethics, sails in the face of morals and runs aground on the old hoary one of ‘you can’t change human nature’. Those who dare to push the limits, such as the current researchers in genetics, are deemed to be ‘meddling in God’s work’. If there is a God then he / she / it is a very cruel sadistic bastard from what I see on TV, and it is clearly time to ‘meddle’ in order to put an end to human suffering on the planet.

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.


RESPONDENT: Also, I think that there is nobody in heavens stuffing our physical bodies with some recycled immortal souls.

PETER: The soul is the big one! For what is a human being without a soul. Ancient Wisdom has it that a body without a soul is but an animal. A body without a soul is inhuman and evil. I’ll let Mr. Oxford give the full story on the soul –

soul –– 1 The principle of life in humans or animals; animate existence. 2 The principle of thought and action in a person, regarded as an entity distinct from the body; a person’s spiritual as opp. to corporeal nature. 3 a The spiritual part of a human being considered in its moral aspect or in relation to God and his precepts, spec. regarded as immortal and as being capable of redemption or damnation in a future state. b The disembodied spirit of a dead person, regarded as invested with some degree of personality and form. 4 a The seat of the emotions or sentiments; the emotional part of human nature. b Intellectual or spiritual power; high development of the mental faculties. Also, deep feeling, sensitivity, esp. as an aesthetic quality; zest, spirit. 5 Philos. The vital, sensitive, or rational principle in plants, animals, or human beings. arch. 6 The essential or animating element or quality of something. Oxford Dictionary.

Seems pretty impressive for something that does not factually exist. The instinctual programming of the amygdala or primitive brain includes a primitive animal self that is most highly developed in the primates. This self in relationship to other members of the species is most evident in apes and chimps and leads us to see in them human behaviour at a less sophisticated level of operation. Fear, aggression, nurture and desire are seen operating unimpeded by developed intelligence, which simply translates to apes and chimps being less cunning and less efficient in killing than the human animal. We think them cute when they display instinctual nurture but are in denial of the mounting evidence of rape, murder, infanticide and war in chimps and apes that are the result of instinctual fear, aggression and desire.

This very-same primitive self, complete with its automatic survival program, operates in humans, but we manage to divide the instinctual passions into two groupings – the good passions and the evil ones. The self that is the good instincts we term ‘me at my core’, the ‘real me’, or my ‘very soul’. We simply deny the existence of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, as it is usually too shocking to contemplate these aspects within us. Thus we are usually ‘overcome’ or ‘overwhelmed’ by anger or violence or despair, for that is what appears to happen when instinctual passions surface. The amygdala automatically responds to a threat, real, perceived or imagined, and the hormones automatically flow – flooding the neo-cortex and away we go... Murder, rape, revenge, despair, torture, war, etc., all occur in a ‘blind’ rage – be it hot or cool.

As if this wasn’t enough of a heritage, we then have the universal fairy-tale of a life after death for this very-same soul, and the same instincts are then bought into play in defending this belief; for the soul – ‘me’ at my core – believes it is fighting for its very life (its life after death). Thus humans not only fight for real things like territory and food but we add fighting for causes, beliefs, ideals, rights and dreams to the list.

Fearing for survival is our main pre-occupation, and fighting for survival is our main occupation. Such is the Human Condition.

Good to be rid of a soul – and all that it represents – as far as I’m concerned. Everybody regards it as inconceivable to be without a soul but next time you have a peak experience have a good look around and see if you can feel one in operation. If you can, it’s not a Pure Consciousness Experience. In the PCE, as if by miracle, the soul and the ego, the self in total, disappear from consciousness, and if it can happen once, why not more times, and why not 24 hrs. a day every day?

Why not indeed? (...)


RESPONDENT: So, the only time ‘I am alive’ is whenever a body is being alive, the body which produces the sensation of being.

So life is immortal because ‘I’ can exist only whenever a body exists, and one ‘I’ is not significantly different from another ‘I’.

PETER: It seems to me that your ‘life is immortal’ idea should be written as ‘Life is Immortal’, which is a common spiritual / religious belief. An actualist takes ‘life’ to be what it means factually. At present it is the 30th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, the first of a series of seven expeditions to the barren, life-less surface of the moon. So boring a desert, in fact, that by the sixth mission the astronauts were reduced to hitting golf balls to see how far they went and doing wheelies in a dune buggy they had taken with them. By the time a geologist went on the seventh mission he was able to confirm what was already known – there is no life on the moon. No carbon-based life forms of any description were evident.

It inevitably proved to be the last mission, but the images of the earth taken from space helped fire a passionate ‘save the earth’ program, as it was realized that there was no evidence, and bugger-all possibility, of life anywhere else in the universe. Human beings, being as perverse as they are, then proceeded to be concerned with ‘saving’ wild animals – the rarer, wilder and more bizarre the better – rather than ‘saving’ the human species. But that’s another story.

Just as there is no evidence of intelligence anywhere else in the universe there is no evidence, whatsoever, of life anywhere else in the universe. Some sixteen SETI (Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) programs are currently in operation in a search that began over 50 years ago. The current range of their search extends out some 50,000,000 light years from earth and still no messages received.

Meanwhile carbon-based life, on earth, is most definitely mortal, not immortal. Modern medicine, increased hygiene and better living conditions have stretched human life expectancy to some 74 years, particularly in countries that no longer rely on ‘traditional’ ancient healing such as divination, exorcism, ‘energy’ release, blood-letting, herbal infusions, prayer, etc. There is ever-mounting scientific evidence that humans are indeed mortal, that carbon-based cell decay is inevitable – but then again, a tippee toe through the local cemetery would readily confirm that fact anyway.

Life, Existence, Intelligence, Essence, Energy, etc., all are concepts that point to a belief in an over-arching ethereal force that lies behind, outside of, overlaid over, prior to, other than, or separate from, the physical universe. All are spiritual concepts, as in ...

spiritual – of, pertaining to, or affecting the spirit or soul, esp. from a religious aspect; pertaining to or consisting of spirit, immaterial; concerned with spirits or supernatural beings ...Oxford Dictionary.

The spiritual world is all pervasive, it could be described as programmed into one’s very cells, for the spirit, or soul, is nothing other than one’s primitive self. Nothing less than a mutation will free one from one’s soul, its instinctual program and the spiritual world. And what good news that is – there is nobody, or no-thing in charge, so there is nobody to blame nor anybody to bow down to. You can stand on your own two feet and get on with the business of sorting things out – cleaning your-‘self’ up ... to the point of disappearing.

GARY: Recently you wrote on intelligence in animals. A few points occurred to me, as well as some questions:

PETER: Just a little correction to start with. I noticed you put a link to the Glossary for No 21 the other day and as I accessed it I noticed a mistake in what I had written on imagination. I wrote –

[Peter]: ‘The human brain with its ability to cogitate, reflect and communicate is the peak of intelligence known to be currently manifest in the universe.’ [endquote].

It should read –

[Peter]: ‘The human brain with its ability to cogitate, reflect and communicate is the only intelligence known to be currently manifest in the universe.’ The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary, Imagination

The most strident claims for other animals being intelligent seem to relate to training animals to do something other than stalk and kill for their food, like push a button or do tricks for humans. ‘Dolphin intelligence’ gets the most press but no one has yet discovered a dolphin shelter let alone an underwater city or hospital. Chimps are another favourite, despite the fact that they live in trees and indulge in rape, infanticide and cannibalism and wage wars with neighbouring tribes. To call the basic rudimentary adaptive instinctual reactions exhibited in other animals intelligence is to mightily abuse both the word and the attribute.

GARY: While chimps certainly engage in brutal behaviour to other chimps, I am also aware that chimpanzees exhibit the use of crude tools, for instance, the use of small sticks and other objects to extract for example small insects from all-too-tight spots that the fingers and hands cannot reach. Also, I saw a segment on TV of a chimpanzee using a club to attack a mock tiger lying in its domain. Don’t you think that these examples might indicate a form of intelligence, albeit crude by human standards, but intelligence nonetheless?

PETER: I have seen chimps using sticks to dig insect out of holes, even stripping leaves off the stick before using it. However to call a stick a tool does seem to be a case of stretching one definition in order to prove another. In a similar vein, to call a tree branch a club or weapon is to ignore that the chimp does nothing to fashion or improve the stick or rock as a tool or a weapon. I have also seen chimps using rocks to break open food and they have to spend a great deal of time teaching their young to do even this simple task. Any intelligence present in chimps operates at a very basic level, inhibited by physical incapacity, not opportunity, education, desire or will.

GARY: A look at the definition of intelligence in my desktop computer dictionary yields the following definition:

Intelligence : 1. a. the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability, b. the ability to respond quickly and successfully to a new situation; use of the faculty of reason in solving problems, directing conduct, etc. effectively, c. Psychol. measured success in using these abilities to perform certain tasks, d. generally, any degree of keenness of mind, cleverness, shrewdness, etc. <snip> : 1. a. the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability, b. the ability to respond quickly and successfully to a new situation; use of the faculty of reason in solving problems, directing conduct, etc. effectively, c. Psychol. measured success in using these abilities to perform certain tasks, d. generally, any degree of keenness of mind, cleverness, shrewdness, etc. <snip> Webster’s New World Dictionary

I am leaving out the other definitions of intelligence, as they do not really seem relevant to the matter at hand. If intelligence is regarded solely as the ability to engage in abstract thinking, manipulation of symbols, ability to communicate by symbols, etc, that leaves the dolphins and chimps behind humans by a country mile, and in those terms they would not be considered ‘intelligent’. But by the dictionary definition of intelligence, I think we can regard these higher life forms as having a type of intelligence.

PETER: If you ignore the fact that intelligence includes the ability to engage in practical thinking, the ability to communicate and learn by words, the ability to reflect, review and plan, the ability to be aware of thinking itself, the ability to adapt and even radically change learned concepts and behaviour to suit changing situations, then you seem to be missing the most salient aspects of the definition of intelligence.

Intelligence has allowed humans to fashion from the materials of the earth extraordinary machines to transport people across the land, through the air, beneath the sea and even to the moon. The technological advances of this last one hundred years in medical procedures, communication systems, engineering, computing, agriculture, etc. are quite amazing. This has been directly and obviously the result of human intelligence only.

One definition of intelligence that I particularly like is that human beings are the only animal species capable of studying their own brain. The latest discovery about the human brain is that it is also intelligent enough to delete both its learned and its instinctual programming, a feat of daring audacity bordering on the reckless.

GARY: Now, it is true that dolphins can administer to and care for sick kiddies swimming in their pool, but I am not sure I would regard that behaviour as a form of intelligence as some people do. Rather, I personally would view it as instinctual behaviour.

PETER: By ‘administer to and care for’ do you mean rub up against and nuzzle, rather like our family cat used to do when it was feeding time or when it would sit in someone’s lap when it wanted a warm soft place to lay and maybe get stroked? I used to see this as the clever behaviour of a tame friendly animal but was also aghast when it would quickly turn into a little tiger when defending its territory or into a monster when torturing its prey for hours and hours. Later in life I came face to face with a feral cat in the desert and I saw for myself that the difference between tame and friendly and wild and ferocious was solely due to a change in circumstance.

It is common for people to see the instinctual passions in operation in other animals as a sign of intelligence as they often exhibit similar emotions and behaviour as humans. In this empathetic viewpoint, they focus on the tender animal passions and the savage animal passions are always ignored. The practice of highly selective over-emphasis, combined with highly selective denial, is a prime example of intelligence blinded by self-centred passion.

GARY: Returning for a moment to the chimps using tools and objects to obtain food in their natural environment – don’t you think that that would indicate an ability to reflect on the demands of the situation and also perchance to communicate those findings to other chimps, including the young?

PETER: I have no trouble at all if someone wants to assign a crude or rudimentary form of intelligence to some other animals. Personally I think the intelligence gulf is so vast that I prefer to make a very clear distinction. I have met many people who assign intelligence and a human-like persona or personality to all sorts of animals, plants, innate objects or even machines. In primitive humans this misinformation or lack of factual understanding gave rise to rampant anthropomorphism, which is the basis of the earliest recorded instance of religious/spiritual belief in humans.

These myths and beliefs still hold a stranglehold over Humanity and shackle intelligence to ignorance and superstition.

There is a great deal to be learnt about the Human Condition in the study of other animals for we are able to see the survival instincts in action, unfettered by intelligence and social conditioning. Animals exhibit exactly the same fear, aggression, nurture and desire as do humans. Chimp behaviour is particularly fascinating as both species evidently share some 95% similar genes. Both chimps and humans have a ‘self’ – in chimps it could be termed a rudimentary sense of self, whereas in humans it has developed in to a full-blown psychological and psychic entity. Thus fear, aggression, nurture and desire are evident in both species not only as simple automatic responses but are evidenced as willful self-centred passions played out with many devious and cunning variations.

The human species takes the crude instinctual passions displayed by the chimps a step further, for we are the only species who are capable of instilling in their young a complex and rigid social identity. These instilled social beliefs, morals, ethics and values cause humans to fight not only for territory and possessions but also to fight for their rights, principles and values to the point of not only justifying the killing of other humans but making it into an act of glory.

Chimps have been witnessed pining away at the death of a parent or even exhibiting remorse or sadness but the human species not only suffer from grief, sadness and sorrow, they have made suffering into a virtue and in their social and spiritual/religious beliefs they have enshrined the notion of human existence on earth as being one of perpetual suffering.

Much can be learned about the instinctual passions by studying other animals provided one does so with clear eyes, free of empathy and anthropomorphism, but personally I see nothing to be gained by studying the supposed intelligence of animals. Perhaps it is telling that the human species often turn to other animals for solace and comfort when they fail to get it from their fellow human beings but when they look for intelligence elsewhere in the universe they are looking for a different kind of intelligence, poles apart from using sticks and rocks as tools or weapons.

It’s such good fun to dissect beliefs and myths, investigate their source, find out how and why they started, examine why they persist, understand why they are passionately defended, and experientially explore one’s own belligerent and stubborn resistance to facts. The common fear is that if I abandon belief, imagination and ‘my’ instinctual passions that I will only end up defenceless within a grim stark reality. And yet, a single experience of self-lessness – a pure consciousness experience – combined with the practical experience that actualism works is sufficient to shatter the granddaddy of all myths ... that ‘you can’t change human nature’.

It would be deeply cynical, and darkly depressing, not to consider otherwise.


PETER: (...) Now to continue on with the thread of intelligence vs. instinctual behaviour...

GARY: In answer to my question regarding intelligence in animals, you wrote:

[Peter]: I have seen chimps using sticks to dig insect out of holes, even stripping leaves off the stick before using it. However to call a stick a tool does seem to be a case of stretching one definition in order to prove another. In a similar vein, to call a tree branch a club or weapon is to ignore that the chimp does nothing to fashion or improve the stick or rock as a tool or a weapon. I have also seen chimps using rocks to break open food and they have to spend a great deal of time teaching their young to do even this simple task. Any intelligence present in chimps operates at a very basic level, inhibited by physical incapacity, not opportunity, education, desire or will. [endquote].

It may seem like a minor point to debate, but I think that there is a very slight intelligence in animals.

PETER: I don’t see this as a minor point to discuss at all for we are discussing what is instinctual behaviour and what is intelligent behaviour. An inordinate amount of human effort has and still is devoted to controlling, repressing, avoiding, denying or attempting to disassociate from our genetically-encoded animal passions.

An understanding of how intelligence operates can lead to apperception – the mind becoming aware of itself or an awareness of pure ‘self’-less intelligence in operation.

Equally important, an understanding of how the instinctual animal passions operate can lead to the end of the social and psychological being that parasitically resides in this flesh and blood body.

We are doing actualism right here, right now, Gary. These communications and discussions about the actual world we live in, about the situation in which we find ourselves born into as human beings, and about how anyone can go about eliminating their malice and sorrow such that there will be peace on earth are the very means of becoming free of the Human Condition. These discussions are about putting my foot down, putting my hand up and saying enough is enough – ‘I’m getting out of this nightmare world of being a ‘self’ and coming to the utter peacefulness and sensual delight of this actual world that I already live in ... and always have.’

GARY: However, even our closest relatives, the apes, notably lack those important attributes of human intelligence that you remark on as ‘the ability to cogitate, reflect, and communicate’.

PETER: As a kid, we used to have a parrot in a wire cage at home and he would make a noise that sounded like ‘Pretty Polly’ and he would come out with this cry occasionally during the day or when he was prompted to perform. He had a few other noises, all of which only sounded like squawks and as such his ‘vocabulary’ was very limited indeed. Consequently I didn’t spend much time talking to it.

GARY: As far as the ability to communicate, I assume you mean communicate symbolically, through words and language.

PETER: What people normally take to be communication is a symbolic communication, as in ‘the sharing and use of common symbols, as language or gestures performing a linguistic function in human communication’ . This form of communication is but an expression of ‘my’ feelings, be they fearful, aggressive, pity-full, envious, lustful, resentful, dependant, submissive, dominant, devious, nurturing, loving, craving, longing, etc, and they are either expressed by words and psychic vibes, conveyed by moods and gestures, and interpreted, or misinterpreted, by intuition or gut feelings. This type of communication is never direct and can only rarely be taken literally.

To communicate through words and language, free of any affectation and guile is to communicate actually, literally, i.e. through words and language, exactly as we are now. This form of communication is intelligence in action.

Literal – Designating or pertaining to a sense or interpretation of a text obtained by taking words in their primary or customary meaning, and applying the ordinary rules of grammar, without mysticism, allegory, or metaphor. That is so in its literal sense, without metaphor, exaggeration, or inaccuracy; literally so called; colloq. so called with some exaggeration etc. Free from figures of speech, exaggeration, inaccuracy, distortion, or allusion. Oxford Dictionary


GARY: In an article by William H. Calvin, entitled ‘The Emergence of Intelligence’, in Scientific American (November 1998), the author expounds on a rather advanced aspect of human intelligence: the ability to engage in advance planning.

PETER: From observing documentaries on humans who, due to isolation, still live a primitive hunter-gathering lifestyle, they also engage in planning – they make shelters, they store food, they share workloads, they make tools and weapons, they plan attacks, they organize defences, etc. It is clear that it is human knowledge that has advanced and not human intelligence given that that modern humans still fight and kill each other – ‘excepting they fight with cruise missiles ’stead of spears’ ... to plagiarize Banjo Patterson.

GARY: He also commented on the lack of the advance planning ability in animals by saying: ‘Aside from hormonally triggered preparations for winter, animals exhibit surprisingly little evidence of advance planning. For instance, some chimpanzees use long twigs to pull termites from their nests. Yet as Jacob Bronowski observed, none of the termite-fishing chimps ‘spends the evening going round and tearing off a nice tidy supply of a dozen probes for tomorrow.’ So much for this facet of intelligence in chimps. It is obviously very rudimentary.

PETER: And yet, murder, rape, warfare, domestic violence, retribution, despair and suicide are endemic in our closest genetic cousins in their ‘natural’ condition. All this despite their supposed innocence, lack of worldly worries and no-mind rudimentary intelligence.

Cute they may be provided you ignore their savagery, clever they may be provided you ignore their dumbness.

GARY: I suppose that I was, in part, reacting to the statement: ‘The human brain with its ability to cogitate, reflect and communicate is the only intelligence known to be currently manifest in the universe.’ My reaction was to the words ‘only intelligence’. The human brain, with its’ ability to cogitate, reflect, and communicate, is the only intelligence of its type known to be currently manifest in the universe. I have no trouble at all agreeing with this statement.

PETER: The question I ran with for a while was why did I empathize with animals suffering or displaying nurturing behaviour and yet I turned away from or was repelled by their savagery? Why did I think the mother chimp suckling her baby as being so human-like and yet see the sight of a chimp mother tucking in with others to eat her own baby when it was murdered by another member of the group, as being so brutally animal-like. Why was my instinct blindness so selective? Why was my instinct blindness so selective in recognizing, labelling and acknowledging my own tender and savage instinctual animal passions?


PETER: I have no trouble at all if someone wants to assign a crude or rudimentary form of intelligence to some other animals.

GARY: Good. I think that was my point entirely. After I did some looking around on the Internet regarding intelligence in animals, humans included, I think I revised my opinion of the intelligence of our primate cousins downward somewhat. I think there is a rudimentary form of intelligence in animals, including family pets. But a lot of animal behaviour is instinctual.

PETER: All animal behaviour is instinctual, but some of this behaviour can be tamed, controlled or restricted by training based on reward and punishment, by providing a constant reliable supply of food, by keeping them isolated from predators and competitors, etc. Spaying or castration is sometimes also used to curtail the instinctual sexual predatory behaviour in animals – a necessary surgical celibacy to stop them running amok.

Just as an aside, this same animal sexual instinct is also acknowledged in many religions as being primary, rampant and brutish in humans and consequently celibacy has also been used to stop many amonk running amok.

GARY: Prior to my involvement in The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, I think I greatly underestimated or ignored the instinctual basis for much of human behaviour. This is an example of what the ethnologists call ‘instinct blindness’.

PETER: As you would have noticed, I have already picked up on the term ‘instinct blindness’. It is also fascinating to observe that the tender instincts are only instilled in animals in order to ensure the propagation of the species and consequently it is the tender instinctual passions that are the most difficult to see clearly as being equally debilitating as are the savage passions. This blindness – reinforced by the social teaching of good and evil, right and wrong – is why the tender passions have always got off scot free in anyone’s previous search for peace on earth. And there is none more blind to, or in denial of, their senseless instinctual passions than a ‘self’ that feels and imagines he or she is already perfect or feels and imagines her or she is no longer a ‘self’ but has become a ‘Self’, a God on earth, or feels and imagines themselves to be specially ‘chosen’, having a personal relationship or connection with a particular God-man or Goddess.

To finish with a relevant quote –

Lets hope there’s intelligent life somewhere out there in the universe ... ’cos there’s bugger all ... down here... on earth. ‘The Meaning of Life’, M. Python. Cambridge University

PETER to Gary: You also wrote the following –

[Gary]: I feel it is basically incorrect to say that violence is learned, as this South Bronx-bred author does state unequivocally. One need only look at the world-wide incidence of violence to see something much deeper and more resistant to change at work. While there may be one or two isolated, extremely rare cases of tribes way off in the jungle somewhere who are essentially peaceful (come to think of it, I can’t think of a one), human violence and warfare has a world-wide incidence endemic to the human species. Gary to Vineeto 13.11.01

There is a widely held belief that the human species has had a Golden Age at some time in the past or that a natural state of innocence existed way back in the mists of time and that this all the ills of mankind are due to the loss of this supposed innocence and peacefulness. This supposed loss is generally attributed to technological and scientific progress and an accompanying retreat from spiritual and primitive values.

The factual evidence from anthropological and archaeological research directly contradict these beliefs as there is ample evidence that every tribal group fought amongst each other as well as with their neighbours. These fights were either defensive or opportunistic attacks with the victims most often either eaten or offered up as sacrifice to the Spirits or Gods. Cannibalism was still practiced in some primitive tribes until mid last century whilst human sacrifice to some God or other has yet to cease.

And yet despite all the evidence of the human species’ predilection for anger and violence the belief that its causes are other than blind nature’s instinctual animal survival programming are still not only prevalent but held to be credible. There is even a notion that some animals are innocent and peace loving creatures. Dolphins are often lauded as such despite evidence of what can only be described as warfare, rape and mob violence. Our closest genetic cousins, the chimps, are similarly touted as gentle, peaceful creatures whereas warfare, rape, murder, infanticide and cannibalism have all been observed and documented as occurring as intrinsic to their natural state.

The factual evidence of the instinctual nature of animal and human animal violence is ignored, resisted, denied or dismissed. Many researches have bowed to public pressure and either willingly or reluctantly recanted their findings. As an example, Jane Goodall now makes no mention of the errant and malicious side of chimp’s natural behaviour that she documented early in her career, whilst anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon is still being subjected to malicious personal attacks because his studies of the primitive Yanomamo tribe in Venezuela. The Yanomamo were one of those ‘extremely rare cases of tribes way off in the jungle somewhere’ who were imagined to be ‘essentially peaceful’ and yet Changnon’s studies proved that they were anything but peaceful and innocent in their natural state.

The following is an excerpt from an article about Chagnon’s findings and I will post it here only because the link I had to it is no longer active –

[Michael D’Antonio]: In his book, Chagnon insists that among the Yanomamo he studied, warfare is a chronic condition that existed before he arrived and continued after he departed. Warfare, he says, is prominently reflected in the tribe’s mythology, politics, marriage practices and ceremonial life. In 15 months at one village, he says, he counted 25 attacks by other villages. Chagnon also confronts Harris’ food theory. In a discussion with a group of Yanomamo men, he asks if they fight over meat and then offers their reply both in their native language (‘Yahi yamako buhii makuwi, suw kb yamako buhii barowo!’) and in translation: ‘Even though we do like meat, we like women a whole lot more!’ Chagnon’s case against the food theory doesn’t end with a flippant anecdote from the jungle. His study of the tribe’s diet shows no evidence of protein shortages and no connection between the scarcity of game and outbreaks of violent conflict. Like many other criticisms of his work, he says, the food theory is wrong because it sprang from a desire to maintain a romantic view of ancient man as a ‘noble savage’.

‘It’s a fantasy about primitive man that says that we were all noble savages until society or capitalism or some other force corrupted our good nature’, he says. Chagnon’s work depicts a more complex ‘savage’ capable of both cruelty and kindness. By Michael D’Antonio. Time Magazine (?)

Also, if you are interested in the treatment still being dished out to N. Chagnon by some of his opponents, you could start with the following link –

There is nothing as thrilling as the process of actively discarding one’s social beliefs and experientially understanding one’s instinctual animal nature by the simple act of seeing and acknowledging facts. This process does put one’s social and instinctual ‘self’ on the spot, as it were. I likened the process to painting my ‘self’ into a corner from whence there was no escape possible.

Good, hey.

PETER to Gary: I recently watched a National Geographic television program which I found most interesting in that it presented some facts about the animal instinctual program that were new to me. I thought I would pass on the information, as you may well be interested.

National Geographic programs are commonly heavily slanted towards showing the tender passions of animals, emphasizing the cute and cuddly aspects of nurture and desire whilst paying far less attention to the raw and crude ‘what can I eat, what can eat me?’ nature of instinctual aggression and fear. At one stage I was very interested in the studies of instinctual behaviour in chimps – animals with the closest genetic make-up to the human species – and I found much useful information by digging beneath the myths and prejudices. Perhaps the most pertinent similarities between chimps and humans are that the instinctual program in both species is not only species-centred but also self-centred.

Because of this similarity in instinctual programming chimps display a range of behaviours almost identical to that of humans – utter self-centredness combined with a species-centred compulsion to propagate and proliferate the species. The very real danger of being attacked and eaten by other animals necessitates safety in numbers with a subsequent need to co-operate with other members of the family/tribe in order to defend territory and attack the territory of other families or tribes. This necessity does not sit well with a constant need to have to compete with other members of the family/tribal structure for food, sexual conquests and power over others. Thus in chimps – as well as humans – sibling rivalry, jealousy, conflict, retribution and anger as well as petulance, remorse, sorrow and dejection are common behaviours, as are habitual outbreaks of war, murder, rape, torture, cannibalism and infanticide.

The recent program I watched was about another animal species with social behaviour very similar to chimps and that many uphold to be loving, intelligent, even spiritual beings – dolphins. The program detailed research on what it termed the wild side of dolphins and drew on evidence of an eighteen year long study conducted on dolphins in Western Australia as well as other studies in various locations around the world.

Contrary to popular belief the dolphin world is one of almost constant conflict and competition between rival groups or pods, all competing with each other for food, territory and sexual conquest. Changing allegiances are commonplace, either forced or voluntary, for the bigger the pod, the more food can be harvested and the more females can be captured from other pods. Whilst being part of a particular group is necessary for survival, almost constant inter-group rivalry and fights are an on-going consequence.

Inter-group behaviour is typified by the constant hassling of females and aggressive fights between males. Commonly two or more males form an alliance in order to capture a female and then take turns guarding the female while the other feeds. The research also indicated a strong suspicion that males kill and eat female dolphin’s young in order to claim her to mate with. Vicious fights, even to the death, between males of the same pod have been also been observed. Dolphins also display unprovoked malicious behaviour, often toying with and torturing their prey before the final kill. They are also one the few species known to kill for sport only – they have been observed torturing and maiming seals, porpoises and other dolphins, eventually leaving their prey crippled or dying but uneaten.

Apart from the glaring gulf that exists between popular myth and scientific evidence as to the full range of instinctual animal behaviour, I was particularly struck by several aspects of animal behaviour that are of particular relevance to the human species. Both dolphins and chimps are vulnerable to attacks by other species as well as by members of their own species and are therefore forced to hunt in numbers as well as rely on numbers for their own protection. The offspring of both species require feeding, protection and teaching of survival skills for a period of about 6 years and a family/tribal structure offers the best chance for survival, for both nurtured and nurturer in this period.

This safety by numbers strategy by no means fosters harmonious interactions – au contraire, inter-group conflict is often as malicious as group-to-group conflicts. What could be seen initially as a herding or socializing instinct could well be no more than a reluctant fear-driven imperative arising from the necessity to successfully propagate the species. The resulting alliances are more like expedient strategic pacts formed solely to increase the odds of survival. There appears to be no instinctual bonding per se within the group at large, other than a crude necessity to huddle in groups so as to increase the chances of propagating and rearing offspring as well as increase the odds when waging warfare against other members of the species.

Observing the instinctual programming of animals is a fascinating business, particularly when this observing is clear-eyed. One starts to see clearly that this instinctual programming in each and every animal species has one purpose and one purpose only – to proliferate that particular species. Observing animal behaviour in other species has the advantage that one can study the instinctual survival program devoid of the layer of socialization that humans have been instilled with.

It is not a pleasant business to acknowledge that at core one is but a crude animal – passionately driven by fear, aggression, nurture and desire such that one can never be neither happy nor harmless. But the reward for daring to look with clear eyes at the animal instinctual passions that underpins the human condition is an incremental freedom from malice and sorrow.

Good, hey.


GARY: Thank you for the lengthy post on animal instincts.

PETER: I wrote the post because I wanted to note down the research into dolphin behaviour before I forgot the details and I thought you would also be interested. It’s essential for an actualist to understand exactly the nature of the animal instinctual programming and one of the easiest ways of doing this is to observe how it operates in other animals. While chimpanzees offer the best observation and information – having a reported 96% similar genetic makeup – dolphins are also interesting to observe given that their individual and their group behaviour oft resembles those of the human instinctual animal.

GARY: You wrote, in part, and I’m snipping most of the post to zero in on one particular part:

[Peter]: This safety by numbers strategy by no means fosters harmonious interactions – au contraire, inter-group conflict is often as malicious as group-to-group conflicts. What could be seen initially as a herding or socializing instinct could well be no more than a reluctant fear-driven imperative arising from the necessity to successfully propagate the species.

The resulting alliances are more like expedient strategic pacts formed solely to increase the odds of survival. There appears to be no instinctual bonding per se within the group at large, other than a crude necessity to huddle in groups so as to increase the chances of propagating and rearing offspring as well as increase the odds when waging warfare against other members of the species. Peter to Gary, 1.1.2002

This part here got me to thinking about the whole process of identification. As I have been focusing my awareness on how I am experiencing the present moment of being alive, I am sometimes aware of the movement of my thoughts and feelings in the direction of forming some sort of identification with other human beings. I think a very rudimentary form of instinctual programming is going on when this occurs. The lost, lonely, frightened entity that is ‘me’ – the self that is ‘Gary’ – seeks this safety in numbers and attaches himself to all manner of groups, movements, ‘friendships’, and identifications with others. There are many, many layers to this identification process (ethnic identity, tribal identity, family identities, etc.) but I think what you have eloquently pointed out in your post is the biological imperative at work – the evolutionary advantage, perhaps, to identification – the propagation of the genetic material and the survival of the species.

PETER: The whole purpose of the actualism method is to track down and find the identity who has been taught to be a social identity, and all that implies, and who has been programmed by blind nature to be an instinctual being, and all that implies. The way to discover the nature of this identity is to become aware of the implications of thinking and feeling oneself to be a social-instinctual being and, needless to say, the most pertinent implications are manifest as malice and sorrow. Thus the quickest and most effective way of eliminating this thinking and feeling parasitical entity is to starve it of ‘his’ or ‘her’ nourishment – the feelings of malice and sorrow.

GARY: I was sitting in a staff meeting yesterday afternoon, one of the rare times when the entire staff in the whole building gets together for a training, and I was sitting there looking at the other people and in my mind I was thinking about the whole issue of ‘fitting in’, where, if anyplace, I fit in. Or, don’t fit in, as the case may be. And I found myself looking at another man and thinking ‘Yes, I like him. I’m a lot like him’. And there was this process of identification with that other individual going on and it occurred to me that the whole thing was a bit absurd, you know. Why does one identify to begin with? This is an extremely important question that I encountered in the actualism writings, a question originally posed by Richard, but one that I have often asked myself.

And I have not encountered this question anywhere else, because seemingly no one wants to examine it at depth.

PETER: No. Because if one examines this process of identification at depth one comes across a deep need that is instinctive by nature and if one digs deeper into the full range of instinctual animal passions, the experience can be shattering, to say the least. Those who have dared to take even a brief look at fear have often been so traumatized that they then practice dis-identification or dissociation, à la Eastern spiritualism, fearfully declaring ‘I am not the body but ‘who’ I really am is a disembodied spirit-like being’.

The only way to eliminate identification is not via dis-identification and dissociation as is commonly practiced but to eliminate the social/instinctual identity altogether – which is brand new territory. Welcome to brand new territory.

GARY: So I think there is this bonding or forming alliances process going on all the time with human beings and, like the animals you cite, these alliances shift and change with the shifting winds. And there is this importance that people place on ‘relationships’ with others. Whereas, the longer I am at this actualism thing the more my experience is one of freeing myself from this process of identification, freeing myself from this whole absurd business of identifying with others, and really for the first time in my life looking into what is actually going on in this business of identification. It is interesting to see how the socialization process unfolds and how society is constructed, but from a very early age we are taught that we are social creatures and that we ‘need’ other people, and that ‘no man is an island’.

PETER: And this socialization process – the equivalent of an adult chimp training a young chimp to obey the rules and not run off – was very essential in the early hunting-gathering days of early humans. But given that an increasing numbers of human beings now do their hunting and gathering in the local supermarket, the species has moved on somewhat from ‘what can I eat, what can eat me’ crude survival mode. It’s just time to stop believing the old fairy tales, get our thinking up to date and get rid of being driven by crude survival mode passions.

PETER: Hi Alan,

Just a note about something I have been wanting to write about for some time now – the world as it is.

A conversation I had with a woman the other day seemed to typify the New Dark Age spiritual view of the world, so I’ll start with that. She was a woman probably in her mid forties, had been educated and bought up in a wealthy, stable western country and was studying part time for an arts degree at university. She has a teenage daughter and lives in a nearby country town. The conversation got on to the wonders of computers, but she was critical of the difficulties in using them. Rebuffing my enthusiasm for the current information-technology revolution that is currently in full swing, she proclaimed that she didn’t like it that her daughter watched television and that everything was becoming ‘Americanized’. When I stated that I liked the fact that the global wide access to information made the world less insular and isolated she said she didn’t want it all to be the same, for people to be all the same – she thought it was good that we held on to our traditions and differences. When I pointed out that we fought over these differences, be they religious, moral, ethical or traditional territorial, she seemed a little stunned. Then I said I had found John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ inspirational in my youth – a world with no heaven or hell, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too, all the people living life in peace.

She said it was a nice idea, but ...

She is but typical of a generation that held high ideals, hopes and aspirations to change the world, but as life takes its toll and the disappointments of life set in, she now imbibes ‘traditional’ values in her daughter, exactly as her mother would have done to her. She sees Globalization as a threat to individuality, she sees the spread of one language throughout the world as a threat, she sees the spread of instant world-wide communication and the astounding access to information as a threat. The conversation petered out, but if we had gone on, she would have held all the common beliefs that the world-as-it-is is an awful place and getting worse by the year. She would have offered up the Global Warming Theory – the theory that human habitation, ‘progress’ and pollution will give rise to a dramatic climate change. She would have ignored the fact that it is but a theory that there could be a problem, based on what appears to be a new event – the hole in the ozone layer – based on what is assumed to have happened in the past – based on past suspected climate changes and in spite of any previous knowledge of the condition of ozone layer. The G.W. theorists then fervently propound worst-case scenarios as to what may happen in the future, and very quickly the whole theory has become a fact. There is a stifled debate in the scientific community as to the validity of this theory, seemingly only championed by those whose reputations or jobs are not intimately at stake, but it receives little media publicity.

We could have talked of the Scarcity of Natural Resources Theory, and I would have wondered about the fact that 30 years ago the world was definitely going to run out of oil and many other resources but none of the dire predictions had eventuated. One hears precious little of this theory now. It is a fear that seems to have diminished in popularity only to be replaced by the Bio-Diversity Theory, an altogether more cunning version. This theory runs that we should save every living thing, everywhere, as we don’t know what will happen in the face of any change in ‘natural’ circumstances or if any one particular species dies out. It’s the brick in the wall theory that regards the ‘whole’ as a delicate fragile wall that might be toppled if only one brick is removed. The more extreme version of this is the Fragilistic Interconnectedness Theory whereby the butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world influences events in another part of the world. These theories have spawned the current Endangered Species Theory whereby all animals are deemed to be ‘threatened’ by humans and any human intervention. Thus it is that wolves are being introduced back into grazing country in America, and the farmers are now being compensated for loss of stock due to wolf attacks. Some 100 years ago there was a bounty on wolves, now the bounty is for sheep taken by wolves, and a jail sentence for any farmer killing a wolf to protect his herd. In India the tiger is coming back and killing children in villages; in Australia man-eating crocodiles were hunted as a danger to humans but are now ‘protected’ such that they have re-infested all of rivers and coastline in the north, and now humans are hunted and punished if they kill crocodiles. It appears that our hard won and only recently gained position as the species at the top of the food chain is already ‘endangered’ by NDA beliefs.

I recently watched a TV show where a scientist was studying and trapping pythons in Africa and putting radio collars on them. Before leaving, after a few months of field work, he then set fire to the hut of some native hunters who trapped snakes for food and to sell their skins. He looked a bit unsure of himself and his ethical motives but justified his action on the basis that the ‘survival of the planet’ depends on the ‘survival of the python’ and thus was more important than the survival and livelihood of this particular group of humans. Another program followed a U.N. funded group studying monkeys in East Africa and the colony was declared ‘endangered’ by the encroachment of a local village that was growing in population. A local U.N. health official who was interviewed said that U.N. funding for birth control and community health programs had recently been drastically cut, but maybe they could divert some money from those studying and preserving wildlife ‘as their funding was substantial and growing’. Animals before people is now not only a New Age obsession, but official well-funded policy. I have no dispute at all with sensible environmental programs or polices, but there is a plethora of popularist dooms-day beliefs, and many dubious scientific theories are used to justify these paranoid fears. These grim world theories are all fuelled by the sensation-seeking media and lapped up by the gullible.

Earlier this year I was talking to someone who was interested in Actual Freedom Trust, and the subject got on to ‘real world’ beliefs. I offered up the Endangered Species Theory as one belief worthy of discussion and investigation. He looked at me bewildered as though – ‘what on earth has this to do with Actual Freedom’. I pointed out that, if indeed one blindly believed all 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. I find it telling that those who strongly support and believe these grim doomsday beliefs are most usually those of strong spiritual beliefs. The usual environmental view is of a ‘Mother Earth’ or a spiritual ‘God = Life’ belief, and humans are seen as evil consumers or defilers of Nature, seemingly just by our very being here. All of the spiritual and religious belief-systems have as their core underlying belief the concept that the world as-it-is is a grim place where humans are meant to suffer, and this suffering is only finally relieved upon death. Any belief that the actual physical universe is a grim place has, at its very roots, the animal survival instincts of fear and aggression, but this is overlaid, reinforced and ‘set in stone’ by both Eastern and Western religious beliefs.

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.

I recently watched a TV program on animal behaviour in which the instincts of the more primitive animals were described as ‘What can eat me? – what can I eat?’, and added to this was the instinctual program for reproduction. Hence the animal instincts are fear, aggression, nurture and desire. In the human animal, this instinctual program is translated into instinctual passions, emotions and feelings. We hold the feelings derived from our animal passions in high esteem and value them proudly as our greatest possessions – t’is even claimed that these very feelings are what separates us from being animals! Unless we humans are willing enough, daring enough and naïve enough to dig deep to this level beneath belief and eliminate this instinctual programming, we will be forever merely pissing into the wind or being reduced to humbly praying to some fictitious God to bring peace on earth.

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.

PETER to Alan: I’ll wrap this up with something Richard found the other day that says a lot about the Human Condition. I remember writing once of the Human Condition – ‘Thus it is established that ‘we are the way we are, because this is the way we are’ and further – ‘this is the way we will always be, because this is the way we have always been’ – simply translated as ‘You can’t change Human Nature’.

But this little story illustrates it really well ...

[quote]: ‘Consider a cage containing five apes: in the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as it touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water.

After a while, another ape makes an attempt with the same result: all the apes are sprayed with cold water. This continues through several more attempts. Pretty soon, when another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes all try to prevent it.

Now turn off the cold water. Remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To its horror, all the other apes attack it. After another attempt, it knows that if it tries to climb the stairs it will be assaulted.

Remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part with enthusiasm.

Replace a third original ape. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes that do the attacking have no idea why they’re not permitted to climb the stairs or why they’re participating in the beating of the newest ape.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes that have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced.

Nonetheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs.

Why not?

Because that’s the way they’ve always done it and that’s the way it’s always been around here.’ [endquote].

Cute Hey ...


PETER to Alan: Just another little curio I found recently. I think I mentioned that I had done a bit of a scoot around the Net to see what was current in brain research. I got sidetracked into what the psychologists were making of this research and the results were fascinating to say the least.

The current crop of psychologists have concocted academic studies with such titles as evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology but what they really study, and how they study it, is most revealing. They indulge in an extremely careful ethical tippy-toeing around the most salient aspects of human behaviour and are in outright denial of the mayhem and angst that results from human beings being hobbled by animal instinctual passions.

I’ll just post a brief section from a university psychology department research program which will give you a bit of a flavour of acade-mania in action –

[quote]: University of Liverpool Research Programme:

The broad aim is the study of the behavioural biology of humans and other mammals within the framework of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Our objective is to understand both the evolutionary function of reproductive and social behaviour and the proximate mechanisms that underpin them.

There are three main programmes:

  • Behavioural Ecology of Primates and other Mammals
    Field Work in Asia, Africa and South America
    Mathematical Modelling of the Behaviour of Living and Extinct Populations
  • Behavioural Ecology of Humans
    Mating and Parenting Strategies in Contemporary and Historical Populations
    The Structure and Function of Networks in Human Groups
  • Cognitive Psychology and Brain Mechanisms
    Comparative Studies of Brain Size, Composition and Function in Primates
    Cognitive Adaptations in the Human Mind
    Modelling Cultural Evolutionary Processes

Recent PhD Projects

  • Behavioural ecology of oribi in South-Africa
  • The evolution of reconciliation within the primate order
  • Impact of tourists on chimpanzees in Uganda
  • Communication and group behaviour in captive mouse lemurs
  • Maternal time budgets of baboons in Kenya
  • Reconciliation in Japanese macaques
  • Evolution and function of language
  • Theory of mind in chimpanzees
  • Coalitions, alliances, and social networks in captive spider monkeys
  • Plant animal interactions in a neo-tropical forest ungulate community
  • Behavioural ecology of the black spider monkey in Bolivia
  • Systems models of early hominid behavioural ecology

Current PhD Projects

  • Management of conflict in Barbary macaques
  • Grandmaternal investment strategies in humans
  • Behavioural ecology and conservation of gibbons in China
  • Social and behavioural development in juvenile baboons in South-Africa
  • Personality in chimpanzees
  • Fertility & resource availability according to socio-economic group
  • Social cognition and conflict resolution in chimpanzees
  • The ecological basis of baboon time budgets in South-Africa
  • The behavioural ecology of gelada baboons in Ethiopia
  • Seasonal time budgets of baboons in Tanzania
  • Mating strategies of male feral goats on the Isle of Rum
  • Foraging ecology of feral goats on the Isle of Rum
  • The communication network of gelada baboons [endquote].

I think my favourites are ‘baboon time budgets’ and the ‘theory of mind in chimpanzees’. No wonder it’s the ‘theory’ of mind in chimpanzees because it would be impossible to gain any factual evidence beyond a few grunts and squeals from his study subjects. Does the human researcher have to present a written thesis or can he just grunt what he has learnt from the chimps directly to his assessors? After reading this list I had to double back to see that it wasn’t the zoology department that I had stumbled across.

The current fashionation is to study, glamourize and glorify the instinctual passion of nurture in operation in other mammals and one can see this in operation in much of society. Even tigers, wolves and poisonous snakes are seen as warm-hearted beings who are misunderstood. I guess if they make animals out to be as ‘good’ as humans, then we can all ‘accept’ that the Human Condition is ‘as good as it gets’. The fervently good even grant ‘rights’ to animals and then proceed to fight for these rights, but the good always love fighting for causes. The other advantage of granting ‘rights’ to animals is that one can then get angry, sad and depressed when these ‘rights’ are abused, like when some bad people hunt and kill animals for food or profit. If this isn’t enough of an emotive outlet, one can then become worried about ‘endangered species’ which offers endless opportunities to indulge in fear and despair, malice and anger, sorrow and sadness. I do mean endless, given that scientists estimate that there are between 2 and 4.5 million animal and plant species on the planet, all of which are seemingly endangered or whose ‘rights’ could be abused by ‘evil’ humans.

Evolutionary psychology, behavioural biology or behavioural ecology – call it what you will – is but the same old ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ game, except this time it is the good instincts vs. the bad instincts and not the good spirits vs. the bad spirits. But then again, given that these scientist and academics believe God (or Existence) gave us the good instincts to counter the bad ones ... it’s really just that same ♪♫ ‘old time religion, that old time religion, it’s good enough for me’ ♪♫

The other one they sing loudly is ♪♫ ‘all you need is love, ... love, ... love is all you need’ ♪♫ as if this is some magical and new solution that hasn’t yet been tried enough, by enough people, for enough time. I often wonder whether these people who trumpet this advice to others have perfect, harmonious, equitable and delightful companionship with their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. The wondering only lasts a few seconds and then I remember the Human Condition which is to gratefully accept the periods between fights with one’s companion as some sort of blissful truce, a peaceful if temporary cessation of hostilities. ‘As good as it gets’ in normal human relationships is a sad compromise of the delightful intimacy possible between human beings, even in a virtual freedom from the Human Condition.

If one really studies the Human Condition – ‘evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology’ – with open eyes, one may see what an actualist sees –

[Peter]: Malice ...

The history of Humanity, both past and present, is essentially a history of continuous warfare between various tribal groups on the basis of territorial disputes, religious and ethical differences or acts of retribution.

Human malice is much more vindictive and vicious than the innate aggression obvious in other animal species due to human inventiveness, cunning and memory. In human beings much hatred, bigotry and spite is also passed down from generation to generation as a social conditioning that is layered on top of our instinctual animal passion for aggression.

There is no evidence that human malice is abating – quite the contrary. This last century has been the bloodiest and most savage to date. To call the brief periods of ceasefire that occur between human wars and conflicts ‘peace’ is to completely misuse the word.

These are indeed the Savage Times.

Sorrow ...

The other major feature of the Human Condition is the underlying feelings of sorrow and despair that continually threatens to overwhelm human beings. As humans, we are all subject to physical dangers, ill-health, accidents, earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. which can cause loss and pain. But to have to , and to actively indulge in, emotional suffering additional to these hardships is to compound the situation to such an extent that the resulting feelings are usually far worse than dealing with the facts of the situation.

To be conscious beings, aware of our emotional suffering is held as the distinction between us and the rest of the animal world. As such, sorrow, sadness and despair are accepted as an integral unchangeable part of the Human Condition. Indeed emotional suffering is even lauded as a noble trait. To suffer rightly or deeply is held in high esteem and often evokes a bitter-sweet feeling. Compassion and empathy – our compulsion to emotional suffer others’ emotional sorrow – are also universally held in high esteem for the solace and bitter-sweet feelings evoked.

Human sorrow is based on the feelings of separation, loneliness, fear, helplessness, despair and dread and many people know only too well the sorrowful spiral downwards from melancholy to sadness, depression, despair and eventually to suicidal feelings.

These are indeed the Sad Times. Introduction to Actual Freedom, ‘The Human Condition’

... Just a bit from the Introduction that I thought relevant.

Arche Aye ....the ‘real’ world is a bad, sad and very mad world.

Good thing there is a simple, down-to-earth alternative – a method to become free of all this madness.

Good Hey

RESPONDENT: But it’s gone beyond theory now and into actuality? The proof of our misuse of thought is collapsing this very environment and the physical actuality of that, confronts us everyday. Mankind’s erroneous theories have bolted and cannot be contained by merely shutting the gate afterwards, and haughtily looking down our actual nose at mankind’s silly imaginings. The imagination is a force to be reckoned with, it can manoeuvre arms and legs into all sorts of mischief. It has wrought life threatening havoc on this planet!

PETER: Okay, before I get into detail, it may be useful to look at how it is possible to ascertain what is fact and what is theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, psittacism, speculation, feeling, intuition, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true.

The first step would be to at least entertain the idea that the notion you have about something may not be factually correct. It would be good to put one’s real-world and spiritual-world cynicism aside and crank up a bit of naïve curiosity at this stage, even if you have to pretend an innocence, a not knowing when you ‘really do know’... To do so would be a blow to one’s pride and the way I dealt with that was to turn it on its head and say that I would be really silly to continue believing something that was not factual. The next obstacle is the moral and ethical stance I have – if I think it is ‘right’ or ‘good’ to believe this particular issue then I will not even bother to investigate it. Again, I refused to let arbitrary moral or ethical judgements stand in the way of wanting to know the facts for that would be silly and beneath my dignity as a supposedly intelligent, supposedly autonomous, supposedly free human being.

So, you crank up a bit of naïve curiosity, clear the decks of pride, morals and ethics and you are ready to take a clear-eyed look at the particular issue. I can offer a few clues as to ascertaining facts based on my experience which may be useful. This is bound to end up a long post but you seem to be a reader which is a very good thing for someone interested in an actualism. I am putting in words a process I have done so many times it has become automatic, so it is best to regard this as a schematic outline rather than a fixed approach. But I do see a few elements common to any investigation –

  • What are my personal observations and experiences, as opposed to my feelings, intuition, wishes, instinctual reaction, etc.
  • What is the nature of the idea or concept being presented? (I’ll tuck the word belief away for a while, so as to remain clear-eyed.)
  • What other information is available and how much ‘airplay’ does it get?
  • Who is proposing and promulgating the idea or concept?
  • What are the motives of the people proposing and promulgating the idea or concept?
  • What is the core notion that this idea or concept is founded upon?

So, taking a deep breath, we plunge into Environmentalism, using the above outline as a touchstone. I’ll try and keep on track but, in fact, all these elements tend to overlap, as one makes an investigation into a particular issue that may run from hours to weeks to months, or even years in some cases. (...)


Another core belief of Environmentalism is the endangered species theory based on the idea that ‘life’ on the planet is a very fragile interconnected web that will totally break down should a hypothetical and unknown number of species become extinct. The number, type and location of these species that are believed to be critical to preventing the total life system collapsing have never been even guessed at as the number and variety of plants and animals in the food chain is so vast and so diverse as to make the concept implausible. Literally thousands of species are being discovered every year and according to Encyclopaedia Britannica

[quote]: The total number of animal and plant species is estimated at between 2,000,000 and 4,500,000; authoritative estimates of the number of extinct species range from 15,000,000 up to 16,000,000,000. Encyclopaedia Britannica

To further put the endangered species theory into perspective, a bit more information from Encyclopaedia Britannica is useful to consider –

[quote]: In the US the Endangered Species Act of 1973 obligates the government to protect all animal and plant life threatened with extinction, including in this category ‘threatened’ species, defined as any species ‘which is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.’ It also provides for the drawing up of lists of such species and promotes the protection of critical habitats (areas designated as critical to the survival of a species). By 1990 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had compiled a list of almost 1,000 species of endangered or threatened animals and plants (of which more than 500 are found only in foreign countries), and some 200 recovery programs were in effect. Encyclopaedia Britannica

Firstly, the definition of endangered is so wide ranging and loose as to lack credibility and secondly the numbers of endangered species as a percentage of total species and as a percentage of estimated natural attrition is so miniscule as to be mind-boggling. As such, the theory is based upon a seemingly un-provable hypothesis and defies any statistical basis and yet it forms a central plank in the Environmentalist movement. There are a significant number of scientists who either dispute the basis of the theory or voice skepticism but their voice is either ignored or suppressed. Yet, solely on the basis of this rickety theory, Environmentalists are avidly advocating that human-eating animals such as tigers, bears and crocodiles be protected from humans who hunt them for food, for trade or to protect their kin or property – to the extent that primitive hunting and gathering human beings are now themselves being actively hunted and killed by other human beings in the name of ‘conservation’. In India, tigers attack villages, carrying off children as food, yet the villagers are forbidden to retaliate in order to eradicate the threat. In Africa, indigenous human beings who hunt animals for food and trade are hunted and shot on sight should they kill certain animals. Increasing areas of land are being set aside exclusively for animal use while indigenous human beings are being forcibly exiled.

In Environmental belief, animals are seen as innocent and in need of protection, whereas human beings are seen as evil and in need of control and penance. In many developing countries vital energy, electricity, and irrigation projects, mining, dams, land clearing and infrastructure projects are actively inhibited in order that wild animals have preference over humans and this policy causes untold human suffering, hardship, illness and hunger, all inflicted in the name of Environmentalism. Environmentalists care far more for animals and plants than they do for the welfare of their fellow human beings. (...)


I am not attempting an all-encompassing academic dissertation but rather I am taking a common sense look at the ideas and concepts championed by Environmentalists and the effects of these ideas when put into practice. My knowledge of science and engineering is practical and broad rather than scholarly and deep which I find to be an advantage rather than a hindrance in ascertaining what is fact, what works and what is common sense as opposed to what is theory or concept, ideal or ethic and what is merely impassioned nonsense.

Each of the concepts that make up Environmentalism when separated can be seen to be based on scientific theory which is unproven and in many cases un-provable, often simply by the sheer scope and very nature of the theory proposed. Many concepts rely on computer modelling to produce a range of scenarios which the scientists involved often candidly admit is their only way of providing seemingly empirical scenarios to give some credence to their theories. Given that these combined theories are actively maintaining and proliferating human suffering, I wondered why it is that Environmentalism has gained such mainstream popular support, regulatory implementation and profound influence at all levels of educational curricula.

What I found was that such a fervour of belief and such a degree of passions induced, all lacking any factual empirical basis, points clearly to the underlying spiritual basis of Environmentalism.

Natural, spiritual and romantic viewpoints all have a history of fearing and battling the rising influence and success of materialism, science and technological progress. In the last half century the increasing fascination with Eastern Mysticism has been combined with the earth-as-spirit belief that underpins Environmentalism, and it has gradually grown in strength and status to having now taken on the power and influence of a fully-fledged and popularly-supported religion. Environmentalists were able to co-opt the fashionable Eastern religious belief that life on earth is essentially a suffering existence in order to give weight to their blindly riling against any progress likely to increase human safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure.

Environmentalism, like all religions, can be seen superficially by the gullible believers as ‘doing good’, but when one digs deeper than the seemingly noble ideals we see fervent belief and when it becomes dogma, policy and practice, it causes untold human suffering, hardship, illness and hunger for hundreds of millions of humans. Environmentalists care more for the spirits of animals and plants and Mother Earth than they do for the welfare of their fellow human beings. So entrenched is the religion of Environmentalism that it is now taught to children in schools to an extent that few other religions have managed, and as such, its ubiquitous and debilitating effects are both widespread and deep-set. It could well be seen as the Next Age religion to emerge, now that Western influence is beginning to investigate, water-down or reject the more fundamental Eastern religious beliefs.

For an actualist, any spiritual belief, no matter how it is disguised or formulated, must be investigated and seen for what it is – metaphysical belief and not empirical fact.

This has been a fairly long investigation yet it is by no means comprehensive. Environmental belief is so strong, so prevalent and so insidious it takes considerable effort and time to weed out the beliefs, morals and ethics peculiar to the religion, and it is a process that every actualist does for himself or herself. Your question deserved a detailed answer and the detail offered is mainly intended to point to some of the methods of discerning belief from fact rather than being a comprehensive debunking of Environmental belief per se.

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