Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: Of course ‘the beast’, to use your words, will resist this, as being happy and being harmless goes against ‘the beast’s’ very nature – but what to do? If you want to be free of the human condition this is the work to be done, no matter how daunting or how scary it may seem at first.
RESPONDENT: It seems daunting and scary from a normal state of mind, but I’ve noticed that in a PCE (and similar state), it all seems like much ado about nothing. In the complete absence of sorrow and aggression there is absolutely no need for conscientious remedies, yet no loss of ‘caring’ either. It’s great.
PETER: In a PCE there is neither malice nor sorrow present and this experiential observation is the key to the actualist method of self-immolation. Given that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’, then it is obvious that ‘I’ am both malicious and sorrowful at heart. Hence the way to work on ‘my’ demise is to work on eliminating all of ‘my’ feelings of malice and sorrow by dis-empowering them, and the way to do that is to bring them to the bright light of awareness – in short ‘I’ make a definitive decision to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless.
This is the up-front, in-your-face challenge of actualism.
To add an additional note, I notice that you have recently made reference to the philosophy of Thomas Metzinger to support your claim that an altered state of consciousness can have the same purity as a PCE. As you can see from the quote, he makes the point that such a state of being (‘being no one’) does not mean the ending of sorrow –
There have been a good many attempts to develop purely philosophical/ psychological theories about altered states of consciousness in an attempt to develop a secular mysticism as opposed to the more traditional spiritual mysticism. Whilst spiritual mysticism is rooted in the morality of love and compassion, secular mysticism sits more comfortably with Humanism and its humanitarian ethics. It is interesting to note that some Buddhist scholars seem keen to develop and promote a secular Buddhism in an effort to distance Buddhism from its spiritual roots, presumably to the point of claiming that Buddhism is non-spiritual.
None of this is what actualism is about of course. As I understand it, the first stage of Richard’s patient dismantling of his altered state of consciousness ‘being’ was to dismantle the more obvious spiritual aspects, namely those of love and compassion. The next stage involved dismantling the more secular aspects, namely the Humanistic ethics of pacifism, justice, fairness and the need to belong to humanity at large. To dare to abandon all that humanity holds dear is radical indeed.
RESPONDENT: While people are saving lives by the thousands ... life keeps getting better ... but this should not make us complacent. It takes on-going mindful action when required ... necessitating the need for, ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ methodology. It works because I have been using it since 1986.
PETER: Are you saving people by the thousands? Is your life getting better? Are you getting complacent? I am a bit confused as to what you are saying here. Personally, I see no lives getting better, despite the increasing level of physical comfort, safety, leisure and pleasure that is available for many human beings. For me, as my life got better in terms of comfort, safety, leisure and pleasure, I found the yearning for genuine freedom, peace and happiness became unbearably urgent. The contrast between the actual and what was going on inside me was too obvious to continue denying and I saw the spiritual solution was merely to stick one’s head in the clouds, or to go around wearing rose coloured glasses.
As for ‘on-going mindful action’, it is not a term that I can relate to as being relevant to running the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’
‘Mindful action’, to me, relates to the Buddhist ethic of acting with right mindfulness or right mind. The whole point of Actual Freedom is to be free of any need for moral or ethical restraint such that one can rely on oneself 100%, in each and every situation, to not act instinctually, to not give or take offence. It is obvious from one’s PCEs that this is only possible in a ‘self’-less state. No ‘self’ to be offended or to give offence. No malice, no sorrow. Mindful action is to maintain a strict control over one’s actions – the antithesis of freedom. One only needs to observe the rigid, self-disciplined and restrictive lifestyles of monks and nuns to see mindful action in operation.
PETER to Alan: Of all the Ancient God-men, Mr Buddha is the current the most fashionable (and not un-coincidentally, I suspect, the most mythical). Phrases such as ‘One’s Buddha nature’, ‘Buddha-like’, ‘Buddha Consciousness’, etc. all point to an almost universal un-questioning acceptance of his Kingship of the Divine realm in spiritual circles.
It is well worth re-posting an ancient Buddhist text that Richard sourced and posted recently to another list in order to see exactly what is on offer in Buddhism.
‘And thus it is written that a monk shall sit in the corner with his eyes closed, withdraw from the world of sensual, sensate pleasure, stick his head in the clouds and dream of nirvana – anywhere but here and anyplace but now’ – a simplified stripped down version of Buddhism for the intellectually challenged. Ah! Nothing like a bit of Guru-bashing, and none better to take on than the undisputed King of Denial and Withdrawal. Is there nothing sacred to an actualist? No. Both the good feelings that arise from the supposed good instincts and the spiritual search for immortality that arises from the core survival instinct have to be questioned, examined, dissected and scrutinized in order to weaken their insidious influence on our lives. It took Richard ten times as long to rid himself of these good feelings as it took him to eliminate the bad ones. It is essential to tackle the whole of the instinctual programming – no half measures will work.
Another musing I had the other day concerned the common view of the word freedom as used in spiritual circles. Freedom is seen as an event, usually termed Enlightenment, whereby one miraculously escapes from the illusion of the real world, its problems, concerns and worries and is magically re-united with one’s Source from whence one came from originally. Thus ‘I’ am no longer lost, lonely and frightened for I have come Home and am overwhelmed by feelings of Divine Love. Thus one leaves the ‘real’ world and emerges into the ‘divine’ world – an illusion based on an illusion. The process usually undertaken is to devote oneself to living the ‘divine’ life, in preparation for a final ‘crossing’ over whereby one becomes Divine. This is, of course, all played out in the fantasy world of passionate feelings and has not a fig to do with the actual. Enlightenment is but a shift of identity from normal, afraid of death to Divine and believing one’s Self to be immortal.
GARY: (...) It was interesting to read the article, a while back, on the Actual Freedom website about the relation between Zen Buddhism and the Japanese warrior cult and atrocities that were committed during WW2 by the Japanese. Also, the article about the atrocities in China. This is important information. Christianity, as one of the world’s major religions, is not the only religion that inclines its followers to violence. I can clearly remember believing that the religions of the East were much to be preferred because they had ushered in a reign of peace and harmony in the Eastern world. Clearly not so. This is another myth we have been fed.
PETER: I have posted links to that article (http://www.darkzen.com/) to several people, but have never received comment back. The revelations cut to the quick of what can happen if one takes the belief that ‘I am not the body’ to heart – complete and utter dissociation from what ‘the body’ is doing and what is actually happening. In the town where I live there are many people practicing martial arts, all of them seemingly in ignorance of the real significance of the philosophy that underpins the practice. What is most clear for me is that dissociating from and feeling that one has transcended the malice and sorrow in the world can only be achieved by dissociating from one’s personal malice and sorrow – or to put it into play ground language, ‘I am one of the good guys and the others are the baddies’.
As you said, there is indeed a great deal of myth about peace and harmony in the East, yet a little reading reveals an almost continuous history of warfare, conflict and brutality in the East exactly as there is in the West. Further, the combination of a fatalistic acceptance and dissociative religious beliefs has ensured the faithful believers, in India in particular, remain ensnared in appalling poverty and suffering. It is amazing to think I once believed that the religious philosophy that enshrines and perpetuates the poverty, repression and superstition in India was Wisdom or the Truth, but then again I was simply thoroughly investigating the only alternative to being normal that was available at the time.
It is an interesting exercise to be able to look back over my life experiences without any emotional memory clouding or colouring the events. What I see is ‘failure’ writ large and clear. I am definitely a failure in real world terms. I have failed at love – and eventually I gave it up. I have failed to find meaning and fulfillment in my career – eventually I worked in order to buy myself time to do nothing. I have failed at fatherhood – I eventually gave up when my son was able to take care of himself and I cut my emotional bonds. I failed to be a ‘good’ member of society for I saw no sense in fighting for causes while blaming others for the ills. In short, I failed to play the game of belonging, or not belonging, to the various groups that make up society and I failed to play the games I was supposed to play.
With the benefit of hindsight, whenever I found something that didn’t work, and by its very nature was unworkable, I eventually abandoned it and kept looking for a better way of doing something – to find something that actually worked. It was exactly the same thing when I was on the spiritual path when I eventually discovered and finally admitted religion/ spiritualism didn’t work and never could work to bring peace on earth.
PETER: It is no little thing to question such ideals as pacifism – to not only understand that they fail but to also understand why they fail. It is only by thinking about why conflict is the norm within the human condition that you start to become aware of your own genetically-encoded contributions to the well-spring of malice and sorrow in the world.
This way you move from having an ideal about peace on earth to being interested in actually doing something about peace on earth – in other words, you resurrect your naiveté and take unilateral action.
RESPONDENT: Pacifism, like all belief systems, has an agenda and protocol. It’s really become clear to me that once one decides what’s good and what’s bad, that critical thinking goes out the window.
PETER: What I discovered was that the monotheistic religions tend to be more concerned with morality, with good and bad. The Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism, tend to be more concerned with ethics, with right and wrong thinking. Maybe that’s why spirituality has such a strong appeal to men and intellectuals. It has certainly dominated much of the 20th Century literature, philosophy, theoretical science and thinking to an extent that is amazingly wide-ranging.
RESPONDENT: That’s the appeal of religious groups ... they’ll quite willingly take over the responsibility for your thinking. There’s a long line of people who quite willingly give up that piece of hard work.
PETER: What I discovered was that the Eastern religions were even more insidious than the monotheist religions because their adherents are encouraged not to think about the human condition, not to think about the world as-it-is – not to be at all interested about what goes on ‘outside’, as it were. The followers of Eastern religions are encouraged to ‘accept’ that the physical world is a grim reality and that the only escape is to dissociate from the inherent evil of a grim reality and go ‘inside’, where peace, tranquillity and meaning is to be found.
Over the past few years I have had occasion to have some discussions with a Buddhist and I am continuously amazed at how quickly he can assimilate anything I may happen to say about actualism into his own religious beliefs. He does not even blink an eyelid, let alone stop to think or contemplate. These interactions continue to remind me of the overwhelming power that the sense-numbing combination of belief and passion has over human thinking – so much so that this disability has been recognized in psychiatry and given the label of cognitive dissonance. The other aspect that always stands out in these discussions is that he is so totally self-centred that he has no interest whatsoever in what is happening in the world, i.e. he is so much is he concerned with maintaining his own ‘inner peace’ he doesn’t give a fig about peace on earth.
But what is most fascinating is that I can recognize myself in him, he is exactly how I was when I was trapped within the spiritual world – so convinced I was right that I was completely closed to even considering that there could be a third alternative.
RESPONDENT: Similar to my experiences. I’ve been amazed at the chameleon like characteristics of Buddhism ... that’s the primary factor in its spread. It always struck me as odd that Tibetan and Zen flavours bear almost no resemblance.
PETER: There have been some examples of spiritualists who even manage to absorb some of actualism into their spiritual beliefs and some have even started to teach their own personal hodgepodge version of actualism to others. What they don’t realize is that they stand out like dog’s balls because they come across in the vein of spiritual teachers – seeking power and authority by questioning and probing the beliefs of others while blithely never daring to question their own beliefs. The reason they don’t dare question their own beliefs, as you put it so well, is that
RESPONDENT: The funny thing is that in my dealings with people who sign on with a religion, there’s an initial rapture as the burden of dealing with life’s issues is lifted, but it doesn’t last, and they tend to slide towards bitterness. Religion is the greatest obstacle to the human race really advancing.
PETER: I remember as a kid thinking that religion was silly, the very idea of a white-bearded God sitting on a cloud in heaven seemed really weird. What really shocked me one day was when I realized that the Eastern spiritual group I was in was nought but ‘olde time religion’ cunningly dressed up as something different. A classic example of cognitive dissonance on my part.
From that very first glimpse it took me years to painstakingly extract myself from the spiritual world and in doing so I eventually lost all my friends, all of my clients, and two relationships. To take the step from realizing to action does take both sincerity and effort and the subsequent changes always come at a cost. Needless to say, the tangible rewards for this effort – a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow in my case – far exceed whatever the ‘peace-parkers’ could imagine.
That ‘religion is the greatest obstacle’ is a spiritual-world psittacism often trotted out by spiritualists in order to separate their own spiritual-religious practices from that of the herd. And perhaps the most devious of all of the Eastern religions is Buddhism, despite the fact that Buddhists have been forced into adopting a pre-emptive defence by declaring that ‘Buddhism is not a religion’. Spiritual beliefs are a far greater obstacle than religion for those who are genuinely interested in peace on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body.
What does separate spiritual people from materialists is that at least some of those from the West took up Eastern religious belief because they questioned the veracity and sensibility of their first religious conditioning – monotheistic religions. Having done so they have unwittingly landed themselves in an even more insidious belief system, one that scorns the worship of One God and yet encourages the followers to feel themselves to be God. However, if a spiritualist has been able to question at least some of their own childhood beliefs, then he or she may be better equipped to question his or her own new beliefs than someone who has yet bothered to question any of their beliefs.
RESPONDENT: It seems I’ve been labelled an agnostic. In Peter’s definition...
I dug up this definition from Webster’s:
Note that I’m ignoring all common theistic inferences in this term and focusing on the root... a-gnostic.
PETER: Just to keep things clear, the root of the word agnostic is – gnoses (Gk gnosis) investigation, knowledge Oxford Dictionary and it appears that the prefix ‘a-’ then makes the word mean the opposite – agnosia (Gk agnosia) ignorance Oxford Dictionary.
It appears you do not object to the label agnostic, just to the definition that I had provided –
The reason I chose that particular definition was, given your interest in the writings of actualism, I assumed you were being an agnostic with regard to actualism – that someday you may want to abandon your agnostic stance in favour of becoming certain and being committed.
I note however, from what you say in this post, that your agnosticism runs deeper than that – it is the doctrine of ignorance and the principle of neither-nor, rather than merely being uncertain and non-committal. That’s a far bigger hole to dig yourself out of. Not that it makes it any more difficult, of course. I had to write off 17 years of spiritual indoctrination in order to become a practicing actualist and in retrospect it was easy – beliefs are after all only beliefs. (...)
RESPONDENT: First, I don’t think this jibes with your usage of the term as being open to belief, rather it rejects all beliefs.
PETER: If you re-read your preferred definition you will find that it defines an agnostic as someone who maintains ‘that doctrine which, professing ignorance, neither asserts nor denies’. Webster Dictionary
Now whilst I may be somewhat of a layman in the finer points of English grammar, when I look up synonyms for the word ‘deny’, I find the words refute, negate and reject. As such, the doctrine could be reasonably paraphrased as ‘professing ignorance, neither asserting, nor rejecting’.
Given that we are talking about beliefs, it follows that an agnostic is someone who, while ‘professing ignorance, neither asserts nor rejects beliefs’ – in other words, an agnostic does not assert belief and does not reject belief.
In case you think that my use of the synonym reject for the word deny is a slight of hand, the definition could also be accurately restated as ‘that doctrine which, professing ignorance’, does not assert belief and does not deny belief.
Whilst you may think that agnosticism rejects all beliefs, the opposite is clearly the case.
RESPONDENT: Second, this definition is exactly what I’ve been talking about, so I guess you can call me a dictionary agnostic.
PETER: It appears to me that you are somewhat more than a dictionary agnostic (whatever that is) because you seem to hold to the doctrine of not denying or not rejecting belief as a practice, not only as a philosophy.
I notice that you said ‘I’m ignoring all common theistic inferences in this term’ but the philosophy of agnosticism, ‘the doctrine which, professing ignorance, neither asserts nor denies’ is not only rooted in theism, its continued existence as a philosophy sustains theistic belief, and its current popularity in some circles is, bizarrely enough, sustained by Eastern spiritual belief.
From my brief reading on the subject, the term agnostic was publicly coined by T.H Huxley, a biologist, philosopher and champion of Darwin’s evolutionary theories, at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in London in 1869.
Hence agnosticism, as a philosophy of professing ignorance, was rooted in opposition to those who claimed they had a special knowledge of spiritual mysteries, hence what some refer to as secular agnosticism owes its existence to theism – or to put it plainly, if you hold no theistic beliefs whatsoever there is no need to be agnostic to those beliefs.
The reason I say that the philosophy of agnosticism sustains theistic belief can be summarized by the following quote –
In other words, by maintaining he or she ‘does not know’ an agnostic leaves the door open to theistic belief.
Of course an actualist, whilst being an atheist, is not constrained to asserting that there is no God, he or she has, by the experiential evidence of a PCE, the direct knowledge that there is no God, by whatever name or gender – that any and all religious and spiritual belief is but impassioned fantasy.
That the current philosophy of agnosticism is sustained by Eastern spiritual belief can be seen from the following reference –
Nature and Kinds of Agnosticism. Encyclopaedia Britannica
If one believes the hand-me-down legends, Mr. Buddha remained agnostic about many issues that were of vital interest to his followers and this legend has served to imbed the principle of agnosticism within Buddhist philosophy – and therefore within much of Western philosophy of the last few centuries. In Buddhism agnosticism is exalted as a sign of great wisdom so much so that whenever a Buddhist professes ‘ignorance’ he or she is actually maintaining their feeling of superiority over others.
PETER to No 5: And it is not only Rajneesh that has left a ‘notable’ legacy. Krishnamurti has proved to be yet another of the Gurus with accounts of a vitriolic and deceitful ‘private’ life emerging after his death. And to see that all he has left behind is a residue of heady spiritualectuals willing to endlessly discuss anything, as long as it is not their feelings. Ramana Maharshi and his self-appointed disciple H.W.L Poonja has left as a legacy the unbelievably childish message of ‘You are already God – all you have to do is realize it’ that is gratefully soaked up by the laziest of the lazy – or the meekest of the mild. And the list goes on and on ...
None of them have managed to live their unliveable teachings, all of them left behind an unrealizable dream and all of them went ‘somewhere else’ after death. All in all, a deplorable legacy.
Interestingly, I have a number of friends who turned to Buddhism after the Rajneesh thing petered out. If you have to have a religion, which everyone does, Buddhism is such a ‘safe’ religion to be in – particularly the New Age version. Modern Buddhism is baby-boomer bumf.
Surely, just surely, it’s time to admit that the tried and true is but the ‘tried and failed’.
PETER to No 14:
There are currently about one million Buddhists on the planet, and many, many self-declared ‘Buddhas’ and yet this has been the bloodiest century yet. I think you have recently read of the Buddhist-inspired atrocities in Nanking (http://www.darkzen.com/) only some 60 years ago. Surely it is time to question why there is such a gap between the idealistic and ethereal teachings of the God-men and Gurus and the actual result of their teachings in practice. There have been billions of Buddhists and only about a thousand of them managed the state of Enlightenment and after 2,500 years surely it is time to call a halt to believing that if we all become Buddhas then ‘our garden will be full of flowers’. What fantasy in the face of facts.
PETER: There is, in fact, nothing good at all that can be said about spiritualism.
RESPONDENT: From an AF perspective it is obvious that these monks are merely a result of a mixture of their religious/social condition and do not come to the point of questioning the issues that are touched at AF.
PETER: No, it is not ‘an AF perspective’ but a fact that someone who is brought up to be a Buddhist believes that Gautama Siddhartha actually existed as a person and that his supposed teachings are infallible. Likewise someone who is bought up to be a Christian believes that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed as a person and that his supposed teachings are infallible. Similarly, a Hindu will believe in the actual existence of all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and their fairy-tale stories and accept them as being Wisdom.
Even as a child I thought the notion that there were so many competing Gods on the planet to be patently silly. I just got suckered into spirituality for want of being able to follow something better ... simply because the process of actualism hadn’t been discovered at the time.
RESPONDENT: Nevertheless, if one seeks enlightenment one might try to come in touch with the Dalai Lama as this spiritual source has not been corrupted unlike the present Neo or new age movement where all kinds of so called spiritual mumbo jumbo is being displayed, advertised or sold.
PETER: If you are saying the older the belief the better you are treading on very thin ice.
Tibetan Buddhism is steeped in primitivism, animism, evil, ignorance and fear. The Dalai Lama was both God and King to the Tibetan people and he lorded it over a superstition-ridden populace who mostly lived in abject poverty whilst the lamas lived a life of consummate luxury. All of the wealth of the country was drained into the coffers of the monasteries, so much so that the bodies of the dead head lamas were coated in gold.
The Lama-rama not only sucked the country dry, they left it utterly defenceless. When push came to shove, the God-King and his entourage took the money and fled, leaving his people to suffer their own fate. Tibetan Buddhism is arguably the most despotic of all the religions and the Dalai Lama is arguably the most hypocritical of the God-Kings.
Now if you are feeling offended by what I write, you may well ask would you have been offended if I had said the same thing about the Church of Rome and the Holy Father, the Pope. If not, then you may consider that passionately holding such a selective and subjective viewpoint is what fuels all of the religious wars that have ever been and are still being fought on this fair planet. The only sensible way to cease being culpable is to cease being prejudiced and the only way to do this is to stop believing in a God, in whatever form and by whatever name.
PETER: Hi G. G.,
G. G.: You wrote – Thanks for the article. I’ll read it in the next 24 hrs. Where did you see my email?
PETER: A friend found your site and forwarded me the article on Andrew Cohen. I had been on the spiritual path for years but now have found a down-to-earth, non-spiritual freedom. As my spiritual search dwindled into disillusion and disbelief of the Gurus, I came across a man who had been Enlightened but had managed to break free from the delusion that he was a God-man. He saw all religion, spirituality and the Master-disciple system as nothing other than institutionalized insanity.
If your interested I’ve posted a bit that I wrote about my spiritual search –
Of course, the East is equally appalling when one takes off the rose-coloured glasses and really looks. I only have to remember that I would have been willing to kill or be killed for Rajneesh on the Ranch to know this is so. Hinduism is too silly to even be taken seriously – a little reading will show that – but then again it forms the basis of much of modern spirituality! The brutality of the clashes between Hindus and Muslims in India rivals any of the atrocities man has inflicted on man.
It was possible, through intensive effort and surrender, to still the mind, but from what I had experienced and seen in others, this involved a ‘getting out of it’, into some ‘other’ world. I came to see meditation as no more than sitting in the corner with my eyes shut, pretending the world didn’t exist. When they say the world is an illusion, they do indeed experience it that way. The inner, imaginary world becomes real and the actual physical world becomes an illusion!
I myself have experienced this when, after six months of withdrawal from the world, intensive spiritual reading and meditating, while walking along a beach I had an experience of being ‘pure love’. I was Love, and love for everything poured out of me. ‘Existence’ and I were one, and all was love. I, as I normally was, was definitely not there – I had become pure love. Or, put another way, I had an experience of the ‘self’ becoming the ‘Self’. It eventually wore off after about two hours but, on reflection, if I had continued on the spiritual path for longer with the same intensity, I could well have been typing very different words now – no doubt proclaiming myself as the latest saviour of mankind!
PETER to No. 7: How long will we continue this denial of the central role that genetically-encoded instinctual passions have in causing human malice and sorrow? And how long will people keep turning away from the facts and proudly indulging in utterly ‘self’-ish theories and beliefs? Peter to No 7, 25.4.2000
RESPONDENT: My reading of the dharma – and my experience as a seeker – suggest that the whole point of the spiritual journey is to face these instinctual passions, take responsibility for them because they do cause malice and sorrow, and care for others more than for one’s own self.
PETER: From your description of ‘the spiritual journey’ – what do you mean by the term ‘take responsibility for them’? How do you put it into action?
By the phrase ‘reading of the dharma’ I take it you are referring to the teachings of Mr. Siddhartha Gautama. I have come across no mention of instinctual passions in any of his teachings, nor any other spiritual teachings, be they ancient or the more modern derivatives. Could you please supply evidence of your statement, as I would not want to state anything that was not factual?
According to Britannica.com –
No mention of instinctual passions, eliminating malice and sorrow, no mention of peace on earth. Like all beliefs one needs only look at the fundamental principle upon which it is founded. In Buddha’s case his core belief on which all his teachings are founded is that ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’.
RESPONDENT: Your conclusion that spiritual inquiry – what may be ultimately the expression of an evolutionary impulse to go beyond the chimpanzee in us – is in fact selfish, proudly indulgent and motivated by the desire to deny the reality of the human condition seems, again, limited in the interest of keeping your conclusions intact in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. I get the sense that you think that the teachings of liberation are antiquated beliefs of grubby old men who lived thousands of years ago that have been deluding generation upon generation ever since. This simply is not the case, Peter.
PETER: Well, we can sink to the level of t’is/tisn’t, right/ wrong which is but a futile exercise. I simply write presenting the facts of the human obsession with the spiritual beliefs, be they Western or Eastern, primitive or sophisticated, monotheist, pantheist, scientific, theomorphism, anthropomorphism or whatever other form. If you believe a particular version of these teachings of liberation will bring an end to human conflict and suffering then fair enough. It probably means we have to wait for your favourite to win the battle of the God’s and emerge triumphant for peace on earth. I took the easy route and stepped out of the spiritual world – a quick and effective direct route to accessing the already, ever-existing peace on earth. I have left the Gods fighting it out where they belong – in the spiritual world.
Maybe you can see why I don’t root for your team, let alone any other team.
PETER to No. 7: A marvellous opportunity is now available for any who are willing to face facts. No longer do we humans have to feel guilt or shame, pray to God for redemption or salvation, seek to escape from evil into an ‘inner’ world of isolation and feeling-only existence, no longer do we have to humble ourselves before God-men. Simply acknowledging the fact that our malice and sorrow results from an instinctual program instilled by blind nature in order to ensure the survival of the species is the first step towards becoming actually free of malice and sorrow. To continue to deny factual empirical evidence is to indulge in denial and this denial actively prevents your chance at experiencing peace on earth in this lifetime. Peter to No 7, 25.4.2000
RESPONDENT: Beautiful. I couldn’t agree more. But ultimately only through seeing the empirical evidence objectively will this statement serve the manifestation of peace and sanity.
PETER: Methinks seeing things ‘objectively’ is at the root of Buddhist philosophy. Objectively means –
On the face of it, being objective can sound reasonable until you note the words –
To see things objectively means one has to become an outside observer and not involved which fairly describes the Buddhist philosophy. By cool objective observation, practicing ‘right concentration and right action’, one lives one’s life in objective detachment and thus transcends desire and suffering. Where I come from, this is dissociation.
Give me subjective investigation any day. It does mean facing the facts of the human condition, both of the real world and the spiritual world, but the rewards are palpable, tangible and actual.
RESPONDENT: The separation feeds the ego by making the ‘I’ into what is important instead of the choice of how we act as to whether suffering is increased or decreased.
PETER: The whole approach of Eastern religion, and Buddhism in particular, is that being here on the planet is essential suffering and the quicker you can get out of being here the better. Thus the shamans and God-men have always isolated themselves from the suffering of the world and closeted themselves away in monasteries, ashrams, sanghas and the like. They then practiced turning inwards and separating from their own feelings of sorrow and solely identified with their good feelings and feelings of Godliness and Holiness. These beliefs and practices have never, and will never, eliminate suffering in the world, but those higher beings who have separated and detached themselves get to feel a lot better than those in the market place.
This act of separation was particularly evident in theocratic Buddhist Tibet where every family sent a son to the monastery to become a monk. The lamas and monks lived in splendid palaces surrounded by gold, silver and the finest of artworks, practiced their teachings, meditated and said their prayers, all supported and paid for by the rest of the ‘suffering’ population. The country had no army – one quarter of the population were busy praying for salvation and peace – so when the Chinese walked over the border, the Lamas fled, taking the gold with them and leaving the defenceless common folk who had suffered in supporting the Lamas to now suffer at the hands of their new masters.
The men of God have always been ‘above’ suffering, the priests have always bludged off others, the moral spiritual high ground has always been the safest ground because one can always blame someone else or something else for one’s own malice and sorrow rather than look at it in oneself.
The churches have forever blamed human suffering on bad spirits, evil, the Devil, money, materialism, empirical science, technological progress, the unaware, the unawake, the non-believers, the heathens, etc – anything but dare to admit that humans are blindly driven by self-survival instincts and passions.
These instinctual passions, humanity’s precious feelings, are the empirical source of malice and sorrow in human beings, and a way has now been pioneered to eliminate them. The churches, Gurus, shamans and God-men will all rile against this discovery for centuries to come, but the end result is inevitable – the ancient fantasies of good and evil, the Devil and God will eventually fade and die out to be replaced by a new non-instinctive-animal species of humans who no longer battle, feud and kill each other in a grim, senseless instinctual battle of survival, or pompously declare they are ‘above it all’ and are too busy praying for ‘inner peace’ to be at all bothered about what is going on ‘outside’.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.