Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: I don’t know if this is valid in relation only to the ‘social identity’ but I have observed that interesting reactions happen only in some circumstances and thus I am enabled to see parts of ‘me’ that are usually hidden from conscious awareness. I found it also useful to try and look at me through another person eyes. In the above circumstances ‘I’ am exposed but unlike others I make the effort to keep the lights on and fully experience it. This is ‘my’ pure intent at this moment.
PETER: Just the other day I had a visit from a man who I have known from my spiritual years. I always enjoy chatting with him, and particularly so because he is one of the few people I know from that time who is still actively searching. He even became interested in actualism for a while but he could be said to be a spiritual-experience junky because he had an altered state of consciousness experience and ardently wanted more of the same. As such the proposition that spiritualists are searching 180 degrees in the wrong direction had no appeal to him at all.
He started to talk about a TV documentary he had seen regarding the latest relativistic cosmological theory which proposes that the universe we humans sensately experience is but one of many universes, aka ‘quantum fluctuations’, that could have, or indeed have, arisen from the ‘background quantum vacuum’. Given that I had also seen the program and that this is currently a thread on this mailing list I was interested in chatting with him about the sense he made of relativistic cosmology. In short, I found that he baulked at any attempt to talk about the sense of the notion because he was enamoured with the whole theoretical construct in that it opened up the further possibility of all sorts of further imaginary scenarios.
One aspect of the TV program that I particularly remembered was the on-going discussion amongst the relativistic cosmologists as to why this universe ‘came into being’ and not one of the infinite number of other randomly possible universes that could have ‘come into being’ out of the background quantum gravity. The conclusion that seems to be prevalent is that ‘this universe’ has occurred solely in order that human consciousness could exist – in other words, the cosmologists’ imaginative ‘reasoning’ came to a conclusion that is utterly anthropocentric. At the end of the program one of the scientists related an anecdote where an audience member supposedly interrupted a cosmologist’s lecture and declared that she knew that the universe sat on top of a giant turtle’s back. The cosmologist responded by asking the woman ‘what was the turtle standing on?’, to which she replied ‘you can’t trick me – it’s turtles all the way down’. As the program ended the final image was of a stack of turtles, on top of which sat not the universe but the figure of a human being.
It occurred to me that the ending exemplified the ‘self’-generated obsession that human beings have that consciousness is primary and matter is secondary, so I pursued this line of conversation with my guest for a while. At first he had some difficulty in acknowledging that matter does exist separate from (his) consciousness, then he had difficulty in making a distinction between (his) consciousness and matter. As the conversation moved on it became clear as to why he was having such difficulty. He said he once had a spiritual experience of an ego-less state whereby his own consciousness merged with ‘everything’, as he put it. When I asked him if everything had a capital ‘E’ as in ‘Everything’ he sheepishly acknowledged that it sometimes did – I say ‘sheepishly’ because he knows I am an actualist. His liking for relativistic cosmology – or subjectivistic cosmology as it would be more accurate to call it – was immediately obvious because any metaphysical theorizing that gives credence to the ‘self’-aggrandizing fantasies of ‘self’-centred consciousness would be intuitively appealing.
Given that he had had an experience of an expanded ‘self’ consciousness and indeed was even teaching this to others, it became obvious that it was futile to pursue the topic further so I made us coffee, he bummed the makings of a cigarette from me and we put our feet up for a while. The conversation then turned to the subject of searching for the meaning of life and he made the comment that he had always been driven to make sense of life even as a young boy and that he thought that this was a prime motivation for human beings in general. I agreed with him and said that I had written a book about the sense I had made about the human condition because I thought it might be of interest to others.
As the conversation continued it emerged that what he was interested in was making sense of the possibility of a higher form of consciousness as in an overarching Consciousness that transcends the grim reality of everyday existence. I then said that I had also been attracted to this until a series of events that began with the death of my son and culminated with my meeting Richard led to me abandoning trying to make sense of this ‘self’-centred fantasy and completely reversed my focus to becoming vitally interested in making sense of why the human condition is typified by endless wars, conflicts, arguments, sadness, despair, escapist fantasies, failed hopes and impossible dreams.
Bringing the conversation closer to home I said I wanted to know why I couldn’t live with at least one other person in peace and harmony and that I had used this as the starting point of my investigations into the human condition. We both agreed that there is no more difficult a testing ground than this but he was wary of pursuing the subject further as the very subject appeared to be too close to the bone.
Afterwards I reflected on the vast gulf between his intent and my intent in wanting to make sense of life – his is a search for the True Meaning of consciousness, whereas mine is wanting to experientially understand the malice and sorrow that is inherent to the human condition such that I can become free of it. It seemed to me that while we both were driven by the same motivational impulse to make sense of things, our focus and our intent were indeed poles apart.
This chance meeting appeared to me to encapsulate the differences in intent between an actualist’s search for meaning and the traditional search for meaning, which is why I mentioned it in the context of our discussion as it may be of use to you given your years of being on the spiritual path and your own spiritual experiences.
GARY: I wonder if it is correct to speak of layers of consciousness? I think sorrow is on a deeper layer than fear and anxiety, at least in my experience. The anxiety and the fear seem to be more associated with the social identity – the ‘who’ I am that craves security, position, status, ‘respect’ from others, to do the ‘right’ thing, etc. The fragility of life, the evanescence of life – that is something that most wish to push away, or completely deny by wishful fantasies of everlasting life in a supernatural realm.
PETER: I have yet to come across anything that contradicts the premise that the basic animal instincts are those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire but I think it is fair to say that these instinctual reactions are most obviously, and disastrously, experienced in the human animal species as the deeply-felt emotions of malice and sorrow.
I remember when Richard read my journal he was interested in what I wrote about fear because he said it was not a major issue for him on his journey out of the human condition. I wrote that I experienced fear as often manifesting itself as doubt and hesitation but that I found the fear associated with radical change could be channelled into the thrill of discovery and the challenge of a pioneering adventure. Since then my experience is that sorrow is the predominant human emotion which an actualist needs to focus upon if he or she is to become free of humanity, simply because it is the passion of sorrow that ultimately binds humanity together.
Becoming free of sorrow is not a one-off event or realization – it requires moment-to-moment attentiveness, developed over time and with practice, to the point of obsessive attentiveness.
GARY: But getting back to the question I was posing: do you think that consciousness has levels? Or is consciousness a ‘whatever comes up’ affair – i.e. whatever is happening at the moment? There was a charge levelled by the actualism objectors a while ago that it is ‘Freudian’, and so passé. Perhaps this charge is made because of the observation that there is an outer social identity which, when demolished, gives one the opportunity to tip upon the instinctual passions. While there is nothing that I can find in actualism writings to suggest that there is an unconscious or a subconscious mind, the suggestion that there is an outer social identity with its’ accrued social values, morals, ethics, etc. and a deeper-down, more rudimentary animalistic ‘self’ consisting of genetically inherited instincts strikes one as a Freudian notion, although there are chief differences. I’d appreciate your thoughts about this matter.
PETER: I remember doing a brief skip through the writings of Freud and others when I first came across actualism. For about a year I did a fair bit of wide ranging reading in order to check out the state of play with regards to both the historic and current understandings of the human condition. I checked out both the spiritual world and real world viewpoints and ended up having to acknowledge Richard’s incomparable expertise in the field – not only intellectually but of equal importance, experientially as well. In hindsight, it was this intellectual checking out for myself, combined with my own success in becoming incrementally more happy and harmless, that served to set my doubts and fears aside.
With regards to Freud and his theories about human consciousness, I find the whole notion of levels of consciousness to be both confusing and esoteric in nature. Rather than considering the human mind as having levels of consciousness, it is far more accurate and down-to-earth to understand that every human mind is inevitably subject to comprehensive social programming overlaying an intrinsic instinctual programming. The social programming can be likened to the operating software program of a computer and the instinctual programming can be likened to the bios program – a level deeper certainly, but still software.
As such, it is the programming of the mind that has deeper levels and not consciousness per se. At its deepest level this programming is species instinctual – every human being is psychologically and psychically bound to the notion of Humanity, which in itself is the psychological and psychic manifestation of the human species. The notion that consciousness itself has levels gives rise to the commonly-held belief that ‘I’ as consciousness have deeper levels which in turn gives rise to the feeling that there is a real ‘me’ lurking somewhere inside and if ‘I’ can only become this real ‘me’, ‘I’ will find freedom and fulfilment, not to mention power and immortality.
You will have no doubt noticed in your own investigations the various levels of programming that the human mind has been subjected to. You will have noticed that as you strip away an outer layer of belief you are more easily able to acknowledge the facts and make sense of a situation. Similarly as you remove the outer layers of social programming you are more able to understand and experience the deeper layers of instinctual programming that have been genetically encoded by blind nature. This basic survival programming of fear, aggression, nurture and desire forms the deeper layers that have been wrongly construed as being deeper layers of consciousness or unconscious layers in some jargon.
Because actualism is so radically different to anything else that has passed for knowledge and wisdom about human consciousness I eventually gave up looking for the similarities with past thinking so as to concentrate my focus on the differences. This is not to deny the contribution that many human beings have made to the study of human consciousness but actualists are in fact involved in a process that is a radical departure from all that is considered normal, natural, wise, profound, traditional or esoteric.
Because of this it is useful to always keep in mind the experience of pure consciousness when there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ being conscious, let alone so-called levels of consciousness operating. What is readily apparent in a pure consciousness experience is a singular remarkable experience of consciousness – consciousness being conscious of consciousness – a sensuous awareness of being aware, completely bare of any ‘I’ thinking or ‘me’ feeling whatsoever.
RESPONDENT: Is it the ego that is experiencing it self as having an ego? In other words is the watcher (not to use a spiritual term I just can’t think of better way to put) the ego or is the watcher consciousness that has an ego layered over it?
PETER: Have you ever done any meditation? The reason I ask is that if you have you might well be able to answer the question yourself from your own experience.
RESPONDENT: I have never done any serious meditating no, but in the little I did I always got confused about what the hell was going on. Hehehe. From what you are saying I gather that the ‘watcher’ is not consciousness, and that it disappears as the instinctual identity in an actual freedom. So when I feel like I am watching myself act, it is really myself that is watching myself? I am taking baby steps.
PETER: If I read you right, you have come across the common conundrum that many people have when mulling over actualism – how can ‘I’ become aware of ‘I’, or how can ‘I’ change ‘I’ or how can ‘I’ eliminate ‘I’?
Personally, I didn’t get too hung up about such questions. Maybe because I am a practical, down-to-earth person, I figured that if I wanted to change then it was up to me, if I wanted to be free it was up to me and if I wanted to become aware of ‘me’ and how ‘I’ operate then I have a brain whose function is not only to be aware of things but also to make sense of things.
In short, spiritualists regard thinking as the root of all evil and hence they abandon clear thinking and common sense in favour of refined feelings and imaginary scenarios. In contrast, actualists acknowledge the fact that the instinctual passions are the root of all human malice and sorrow and in doing so they are then free to engage clear thinking and common sense in order to come to their senses.
RESPONDENT: For my taste, explaining of physics and biology of mind is an important task in itself even if its importance may pale in comparison to the task of achieving Actual Freedom.
PETER: Yes indeed. The modern scientific empirical discoveries of neuro-biology and genetics, with regard to the human brain and how it functions, have revealed two very fascinating aspects –
RESPONDENT: On the other hand, achieving Actual Freedom being as important (since I can’t think of a better word right now, I will go with important) as it is, does not answer, I think, the questions about mechanisms involved in ‘one is this very actual universe experiencing itself in all its magnificence as a sensate and reflective human being.’ Or does it? Or does it become a moot question to ask?
PETER: What the practical, down-to-earth scientists are indicating is that the mechanism involved in achieving an Actual Freedom from the Human Condition is all of this very actual, earthly, physical universe, is located in the human brain and capable of being tampered with. What actualists are busy pursuing is an active ‘self’-immolation to the point of a mutation or a physical disconnection from the instinctual primitive brain areas. These are all factually scientifically substantiated activities – nothing esoteric or other-worldly – no intervention of a mythical Higher Force or Greater Intelligence required.
But what an extraordinary set-up, what a magical evolutionary device. This physical universe is indeed actual as in not merely passive, and evolutionary change is the most startling evidence of this fact. That consciousness and intelligence evolve from physical matter, and are ever evolving – albeit in 40,000 years or so jumps. And for a conscious, sensate, reflective human being, what an incredible voyage and adventure to be involved in! The cutting edge ...
As No 3 would say ‘Thank goodness not Godness for that’.
When the human flesh and blood body is free of the psychological and psychic entity then ‘one is this very actual universe experiencing itself in all its magnificence as a sensate and reflective human being.’ And what an extraordinary adventure.
How are these ‘modern scientific empirical discoveries of neuro-biology and genetics’ not theories/interpretations derived from empirical experiments.
We have the neuro-biologist’s brain’s initial interpretation of data collected by his senses [empirical discoveries] AND we have the neuro-biologist’s brain‘s reinterpretations of his brain‘s initial interpretations of data collected by his senses [empirical discoveries] which you quote above (1) that the brain is programmable in the same way a computer is programmable and (2) that the human brain is also programmed, via a genetic code, with a set of instinctual or base operating functions, ...
PETER: Given that you are having trouble determining fact from theory and have commented on something I have written concerning the empirical discoveries of neurobiologists and the like about the brain functions, I would refer you to a post you wrote to this mailing list which seems to confirm experientially, in your own experience, that what Mr. LeDoux discovered in the laboratory can be experientially confirmed by the simple act of being attentive to your own instinctual reactions, the near instantaneous feelings that result and the thinking that happens a split second after the feeling has taken hold –
As a suggestion, rather than continue to attempt to dismiss and/or disparage all that is written on the Actual Freedom Trust website by means of intellectual sophistry, the simple down-to-earth every-moment act of being attentive to your feelings, when and as they are happening, (as you reported above) might well reveal that a good deal more of what you glibly dismiss as ‘superstition of facts’ may well turn out to not only make good sense but could well even set you free from the human condition one day … if you so wish, that is.
RESPONDENT: I believe that Peter wrote the following:
I am interested in the evidence for the empirical discoveries from the scientific literature. If possible, can you please provide the literature that points to/or infers 1 & 2?
PETER: I gleaned the information regarding the first aspect from watching many television documentaries on the functioning of the brain, not from scientific literature. I have seen images of the functioning of the brain in response to various stimuli be they physical or imaginary, I have seen and heard reports of cases where, after an accident or illness affected certain areas of the brain other areas were activated and took over the disabled functioning, I have seen and heard reports of the functioning of the brain at a microscopic level via neural pathways known as synapses and have seen and heard reports that experimentation has revealed that these connections are electrochemical in nature and that repeated ‘firing’ of these connections causes the connection to strengthen and that neglect of these connections causes them to weaken.
All of this makes sense to me, in particular the effects that chemicals such as adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine have on the brain’s function as it directly accords with my own observation and experience as to how this brain operates – the effort it takes to get new connections up and running automatically, as well as the effort it takes to break a connection once it has become so strong as to be habitual, as well as the observation and experience that once a connection is no longer utilized for a period of time it eventually ceases to function.
With regard to the second aspect, the empirical evidence has been from the study of animals and the sole extent of reading that I did was LeDoux’s research on mice – as you would appreciate it is somewhat problematical to conduct such invasive investigations of the human brain in action. Despite this, LeDoux himself has no difficulty in translating the results to the workings of the human brain and recent research has revealed that the functioning of the human brain is substantially influenced by an array of chemicals that are triggered off by the amygdala in response to the limbic region of the brain.
As for the comment about genetic adaptations and alterations in the lifetime of the species, again this information was sourced from a documentary of a scientist moving same species frogs to varying altitudes and noting their adaptations to a markedly changed environment. I went looking for documentary evidence of his research some time ago but could not find it, so I have since amended the wording (it being part of the Introduction to Actual Freedom that I penned several years ago) to reflect a more cautious wording.
In my early days of writing I was much more cavalier in my approach but since then I have come to realize that many people focus on the details rather than the gist of what I was saying at the time. Upon reflection I did take their point on board – what I write should be subject to scrutiny and with a fine tooth comb if necessary – but I bulked at going over all of my writing and reviewing it for technical correctness, not to mention political correctness. My interest in actualism has always been, and always will be, experiential and I have little regard for intellectualism for intellectualisms sake – common sense is more my area of interest and to me what I have written above makes sense, both in relation to empirical scientific discoveries as well as my own experiential investigations as to how my brain operates and how it has progressively changed in it’s operation since first becoming an actualist.
PETER: All of this makes sense to me, in particular the effects that chemicals such as adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine have on the brain’s function as it directly accords with my own observation and experience as to how this brain operates – the effort it takes to get new connections up and running automatically, as well as the effort it takes to break a connection once it has become so strong as to be habitual, as well as the observation and experience that once a connection is no longer utilized for a period of time it eventually ceases to function.
RESPONDENT: It is very useful to have what you have written there and it makes sense to me too. But it will be good to have the statements backed up with evidence in the form of scientific literature as it appeals to the ‘empirical discoveries’ so that the reader can judge for themselves.
PETER: I would suggest that another alternative would be that the reader do their own reading on any subjects that they find to be contentious in order that they do their own thinking on the subject so as to make up their own mind – if they want to break the habit of believing what others say.
The Net can be a good source of such information because at least it provides a forum for voices other than the fashionable/ popularist spiritual/ scientific theories that are currently held to be truths – for example actualism would not have a world-wide uncensored voice were it not for the Net. It is just a matter of keeping one’s wits about oneself and looking for what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense, after all what the brain does – if not impeded by emotions and passions – is make sense of the world of the senses.
RESPONDENT: Like you, Richard, Vineeto back up your statements about other’s mails using their own words from their own mails.
PETER: By and large, the reason for doing so, is to attempt to keep the conversation sensible and on track. The value of written conversations is that they can be concise and to the point whilst in verbal conversations a lot is said that is contradictory and/or vague and the tendency is generally to stay away from or steer away from uncomfortable or too close to the bone topics.
RESPONDENT: I am very interested in watching documentaries like this... so if you have any information regarding this (or any other documentaries you found useful), I would see if I can get it in the form of DVDs to watch.
PETER: There is very little I can recommend in the way of reading or watching, given that actualism draws a line through all of which humanity has regarded as being the truth with regards to the human condition (spiritual teachings, consciousness studies and the like) and the universe (Mother Earth beliefs, cosmological theories and the like).
However, I had a similar request from a local man who has become interested in actualism and I lent him two books that I found useful more for the well-researched information they contained rather than the conclusions they came to.
The first was a book entitled ‘The Myth of Male Power’ by Warren Farrell which I found interesting reading at the time I was investigating the social conditioning as well as the instinctual imperatives that caused ‘me’ as a male to feel separate from and fundamentally different to the ‘other half’ of the species. I can’t remember anything about the book, but the man who read it reported that he also found it thought-provoking so much so that he set about making some pragmatic changes in his life and particularly in his relationship to his companion.
The other book I have mentioned before on this list – ‘The Sceptical Environmentalist’ by Bjorn Lomberg – and again the man who I leant this book to found it thought-provoking, particularly in its exposé of the extent to which the eco-fanatics are prepared to use disinformation, misinformation and outright lies in order to justify their passionate causes.
Two other books that also gave me food for thought, as well as some empirical information about the human condition in action, were ‘Obedience to Authority’ from Stanley Milgram, which I mentioned in my Journal and ‘The Dark Side of Man’ from Michael Ghiglieri, which I have previously mentioned on this mailing list.
PETER: With regard to the second aspect, the empirical evidence has been from the study of animals and the sole extent of reading that I did was LeDoux’s research on mice – as you would appreciate it is somewhat problematical to conduct such invasive investigations of the human brain in action.
Despite this, LeDoux himself has no difficulty in translating the results to the workings of the human brain and recent research has revealed that the functioning of the human brain is substantially influenced by an array of chemicals that are triggered off by the amygdala in response to the limbic region of the brain.
RESPONDENT: But he says that his results apply only to ‘fear system’ not the other emotions. In his book ‘the emotional brain’.
PETER: The inherent problem with scientists’ interpretations of empirical data is that scientists are, like everyone else, passionate human beings and as such their interpretations are biased and impaired by the beliefs and passions of the human condition.
As a question to someone who has some hands-on experience, not to mention some awareness, of the human psyche and the human condition in action – is it your experience that fear is the basic root instinctual passion and if so, don’t you find LeDoux’s conclusion somewhat dubious?
The reason I asked is that it is important to check, compare and verify what others are saying by your own experience, which is why it is so vitally important to make your own investigations of the human condition in action in the only person you can do this – ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: In the understanding you are of the world view being called actualism, would the tenets of that world view include the following posits: (...)
PETER: ‘Simple to more complex’ is not a description I would use to describe the manifestation of both consciousness and intelligence in the human animal. It is only humans who see these attributes as increased complexity, for humans have a predisposition to always make what is simple into something complex. You do seem to be fixated on randomness as being the only alternative to being premeditated, as in deliberately created, controlled or ordered by Someone or Something.
PETER: When you refer to consciousness being separate from matter you are referring to ‘I’, as a disembodied consciousness, looking out through the eyes at the physical world and feeling separate from it? A pure consciousness experience is an experience where this separation simply does not exist for it is evident that ‘I’ am an illusion and my consciousness is a none other than this physical body’s consciousness. Or, to put it succinctly for you, this flesh and blood body is conscious animate life.
However if you really go with this feeling of ‘you’ being a separate disembodied entity and practice dissociation from the physical world, ‘you’ can feel as though you are Real and the outer world can appear unreal or illusionary. I have had a few of these experiences myself but when a God-man confirmed I was ‘on the right track’ I started to seriously doubt the sensibility of my glorious, ‘I am the centre of all existence’, experience. I began to see that becoming a God-man was a poor career choice because I had seen enough of the God-men up close to know that I did not like how they were with their women, I didn’t like their lifestyle, and I didn’t like how they were with their disciples and with each other.
PETER: Has this got something to do with that solipsistic nonsense that goes something like ‘if nobody sees a tree falling in the forest, does it really fall?’ I remember walking around the house once and turning around very quickly to see if I could catch some object that was a little slow in appearing to my senses. I gave up pretty quickly as I realized how foolish I was and how totally ‘self’-centred my neurosis was.
PETER: As I said, humans have a predisposition to always make what is simple into something complex. In a normal person consciousness is what is happening when one is alive and awake. Unconsciousness is what is happening when alive and in deep sleep, concussed or anaesthetized and is epitomized by oblivion.
But I do understand your particular problem. The common interpretation of consciousness is self-consciousness or self-awareness and is epitomized by three faculties – the sensate awareness of what appears to be a separate ‘outer’ world and the cerebral awareness and affective awareness of one’s inner ‘self’. Thus in a normal person, consciousness usually refers to the consciousness of the psychological and psychic entity only. Thus ‘I’ am conscious of ‘me’ only – the normal ‘self’-centredness of normal people.
It is only in a Pure Consciousness Experience when the psychological and psychic entity’s affective and cerebral dominance is temporarily absent that the extraordinary perfection and purity of the actual is directly and sensately experienced.
Whereas, as you well know, in an Altered State of Consciousness the psychological and psychic entity’s affective and cerebral dominance becomes total and ‘I’ think and feel ‘I’ am absolutely Real and totally disembodied, and what is actual as in physical, tangible and palpable is experienced by ‘me’ as being unreal, dreamlike or illusionary.
RESPONDENT: The sharing of explanations you believe would add clarification to either actualism’s agreement or disagreement with the above posits is greatly appreciated. Also, I am deep appreciation of the attention you have offered to provide. In truth, there are several more preliminary enquiries I would like to share with you, but being the awareness of the complexity that may arise from what has been asked here above, will wait until these basic matters are addressed and distilled before adding to them.
PETER: I can assure you the complexity is all yours. There are approximately 10,000 words in the Introduction to Actualism and thus far you are busy studying the meaning of 17 of them. You are certainly not joking when you talk about ‘preliminary enquiries’.
But given that both the words on this screen and the screen itself are but illusionary matter to ‘you’, as a disembodied Consciousness only, answering any of your posits is as useful as ringing the doorbell of a deaf man’s house.
PETER: This makes about as much sense as asking ‘can you find the characteristics of breathing in the material substratum of the lungs’. The function of the lungs is to breathe air in and out. Similarly, the function of the heart is to pump blood around the body. Similarly, the function of the brain is to be the receptor for the sensory system of the body – in fact the senses are stalks or tentacles of the brain – and one of the brain’s functions is to make sense of this sensory input.
This function of making sense is called thinking and the body’s awareness of itself being alive and wake is called consciousness. I know these facts may be inconceivable to you but they are facts, all of which can be confirmed experimentally and by direct observation.
The process of actualism is aimed at stripping this bodily consciousness free of all of ‘my’ self-centred neuroses and instinctual passions – to eradicate the real but non-actual parasitical alien entity that has taken up residence inside this body, ‘I’ as the thinker and ‘me’ as the feeler. This entity usurps the bodily function of consciousness and claims consciousness for itself – giving rise to the unavoidable and commonly-accepted ‘self’-centred view that ‘I’ am consciousness and ‘I’ am not the body. Actualism is about breaking this stranglehold by undertaking a process aimed at actively diminishing this social and instinctual identity to the point where ‘self’-immolation is the inevitable result.
The only way to make sense of what I am saying is to remember a pure consciousness experience where the ‘self’-less functioning of consciousness is made startlingly clear simply because there is no psychological or psychic identity whatsoever to be found.
RESPONDENT: Look at all this beauty, the perfect symmetry of nature, that fact that when you go for the next breath, it is there ... you need not even think about it. Was this all just an ‘accident’? A lightning bolt in a puddle?
PETER: The fact that both intelligence and consciousness arise from matter is far, far more of a miracle than the common fairy tale that ‘it’s all the work of some Higher Power’ or the delusion that this infinite, eternal, pure and perfect universe is ‘my’ personal Reality or ‘My’ personal creation.
RESPONDENT: Even the most materialist scientists can’t hang there anymore. Science and religion are going to collide any minute now.
PETER: Human history has been a constant struggle for intelligence and common sense to break free of the grip of fear, superstition, mysticism and the wrath of spiritualists. The human condition is still firmly in the grip of ancient wisdom and religious belief and the anguish, despair, conflict and bloodshed this causes beggars description. (...)
RESPONDENT: What I see at work here is the ego. The ego always denies Anything that could possibly disrupt its comfy little seat of ‘normalcy’. The ego can’t Stand anything it can’t control. Even when confronted by what it believes to be ‘impossible’, the ego will find a way to ‘disallow’ the information. ‘Oh, that was Just my imagination.’
PETER: Everyone believes it is impossible for intelligence and consciousness to have evolved from matter for to acknowledge this would be the ending of any spiritual/ religious belief. This fact also means that both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as spirit/soul are but illusionary fabrications and the real me is this flesh and blood body only. Faced with this information which ‘I’ take to be an appalling threat to ‘my’ very existence, ‘I’ frantically seek to deny it and desperately imagine a way out of being here in the material world.
There is an alternative to this fantasy of denial and escapism that is fuelled by ‘my’ fear of exposure and ‘my’ fear of death and that is to deliberately embark upon a process that will eventuate in ‘self’-immolation – to experience a psychological and psychic death of my ‘self’ before physical death and thus become what I am – this flesh and blood body only.
RESPONDENT: With the way consciousness operates in this century, if someone were to outright poof into view, in front of a bunch of people, the first reaction would be fear. Christians have the whole idea of ‘poofing’ or any other ‘miracle type stuff’ consigned to one person, they hope to God, returns. They certainly aren’t prepared for ‘just anybody’ doing miracles, in this day and time.
PETER: Are you perhaps hinting this as a justification for failing to ‘materialize’ on my front porch? Billions of people have waited, or are still waiting, for the Second Coming, the reappearance of their God, the promised miracle that will bring either Armageddon or magically turn the earth into a Garden Paradise.
RESPONDENT: Again, this ideology protects the ego and keeps it comfortable in the status quo ... it also keeps the idea of being powerless, alive and well.
PETER: Humans always think in terms of being powerful or powerless, such is the grip of the instinctual passions. Instinctual human life is a grim relentless battle for power, right and might, and this is reflected in their mythical God’s and God-men.
This is why peace on earth is impossible unless one breaks free from the status quo, the human condition, and rids oneself of the instinctual passions – both the so-called savage passions of fear and aggression and the so-called tender ones of nurture and desire.
PETER: Just a comment on your teachings of the spiritual superstitious version on the functioning of the human body that you posted to No 30 –
RESPONDENT: I am reminded of something I needed to ‘connect’ many years ago. Something that represents a common ‘mis-location’ in understanding the functionings of the ‘body consciousness’. I am going to ‘split hairs’ here to make a point.
PETER: An understanding of exactly what is consciousness is essential for anyone seeking a genuine freedom from malice and sorrow.
Thus consciousness has three meanings –
In a normal person consciousness is what is happening when one is alive and awake. Unconsciousness is what is happening when alive and in deep sleep, concussed or anaesthetized and is epitomized by oblivion.
The second meaning is the one that is commonly used to describe the awareness of oneself and is epitomized by three faculties ... the sensate, the cerebral and the affective. Thus in a normal person consciousness refers to the consciousness of the psychological and psychological entity only, who we ‘think’ and ‘feel’ we are, as opposed to what we are. It is only in a Pure Consciousness Experience that the psychological and psychic entity’s affective and cerebral dominance is temporarily absent that the extraordinary perfection and purity of the actual is sensately evidenced.
This collective sense of consciousness forms such a strong illusion as to appear real.
Unfortunately the actual evidence of this collective ‘consciousness’ is that it varies from culture to culture and religion to religion and, as such, is merely a socially imbibed and adopted belief system. The collective sense of consciousness is the direct result of the automatic instilling of a culturally appropriate conscience in each group member with its associated values, ethics and morals. This collective consciousness is epitomized by a feeling of belonging to a group and gives rise to such feelings as ‘we are all one’, ‘we are all God’s children’, ‘we are all That’ or other similar platitudes. As is evidenced by the facts of ethnic, territorial, religious and ethical wars these feelings are utterly fanciful and nonsensical.
The over-riding selfishness inevitably proves stronger for those willing to grab for power, and in the spiritual world the most powerful leaders inevitably declare narcissistically that ‘I am the One’, I am God’ or ‘I am That’. For the mere followers, the collective consciousness operates such that one will inevitably surrender one’s will for the supposed ‘good of the whole’, and if ‘push comes to shove’ to willingly and passionately kill and die for the group and its leader. It is this instinctive feeling of a collective consciousness that lies at the very heart of one’s social identity and forever enslaves the individual to a particular group and all human kind to the Human Condition of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: The Brain is a computer; it processes information and relays it to the proper centres. The information is brought in thru attraction by attention of the mind.
PETER: What about the sensate input from the eyes, ears, mouth, nose and skin? Or is this purely illusionary for you? Are you so self-obsessed that you run on a closed mind-loop of only ‘I’ exist and everything else and everyone else is ‘Me’? Are you still being the sole creator of your own existence again? To remind you of a previous correspondence that you failed to reply to –
If you insist on creating your own reality, I guess it doesn’t matter a fig how your mind operates or what you think and feel because it has nothing to do with anyone else who exists in your reality. No wonder you desperately need to feel ‘We are all one’ and need to connect with others because it must be very, very lonely living in a reality of your own making and of which you are the ultimate authority.
RESPONDENT: The ‘hardware’ that attracts the mindal energy is intelligence, the software that governs how that energy/info is used is intellect.
PETER: The hardware is a two brain system – an ancient instinctual brain that is primary and thoughtless emotional and a newer neo-cortex that is the seat of human intelligence. The software consists of two facets – a social programming that forms one’s social identity and an instinctual survival program that forms one’s instinctual self. Being software, both these programs can be deleted – i.e. although they are felt to be real, cause immense pain and suffering both in oneself and to others one comes in contact with, they can be changed and ultimately deleted.
This deletion of the instilled social and genetically-encoded instinctual programming results in a beneficent clarity of intelligence freed from the insidious influence of the animal passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
RESPONDENT: Of course the more refined the intelligence, the more refined the information being processed.
PETER: The more conditioned the programming, and the more passionate one is about this conditioning, the less intelligence is free to operate.
RESPONDENT: The real discovery here is that the ‘seat of intelligence’ and also the governing software, are located in the same place ... the Heart.
PETER: There was an enormous outcry by the church when heart transplants were first proposed. The reason the ancients believed the heart was the centre is that the ancient reptilian brain – the seat of the instinctual passions – pumps chemicals to the heart as a response to fear, aggression, nurture and desire, thus these responses are sensately experienced in the heart region.
RESPONDENT: One of the problems people experience is mistaking the Heart for the centre of emotions. That centre is in the pit of the abdomen. When the emotions are allowed out of their ‘pit’, they are brought up into Heart for purification, and ‘intelligently’ dispensed with.
PETER: The more savage emotions of fear, dread and despair are sensately experienced as chemical flows in the gut or abdomen whereas the tender emotions of nurture and desire tend to be sensately experienced as chemical flows in the heart region. The source of these emotions has been empirically demonstrated to be the ancient reptilian brain and we that humans share these instinctual passions – both the tender and the savage – with other sentient animals. These genetically-encoded instinctual passions are blind nature’s rather clumsy software package designed to ensure the survival of the species – to endow each and every human with fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Being only software, this programming can be consciously and deliberately deleted if one is daring enough.
RESPONDENT: The mind is just a big sea of information, nothing to be ‘glorified’, as has been done on this planet.
PETER: And yet it is the process of thinking that has brought the amazing technological advances in safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that an increasing number of we modern human beings are beginning to enjoy. And yet the church, the priests and their faithful followers would have us condemn and demean intelligence in favour of believing some mythical God or Higher intelligence is going to actualize peace on earth – an end to the grim instinctual psychological and psychic battle for survival still fought between all human beings on the planet.
It’s time to get real and stop mouthing ‘self’-gratifying psittacisms from the past.
RESPONDENT: The brain can only ‘process’ the feeling/emotion, that’s where one finds themselves ‘looping’ on some issue and staying awake all night.
PETER: So why blame the brain for this self-centred neurosis – why not turn one’s attention on the real issue that is inhibiting peacefulness – one’s precious feelings and emotions – both the savage and the tender? Why not look somewhere different than the traditional, fashionable hackneyed solution that has failed again and again?
RESPONDENT: If that information is taken out of the realm of the mental/mind and embraced/accepted by the Heart, the ‘looping’ ceases.
PETER: Indeed, one can dissociate from these churning emotions by going inside and imagining oneself to be above it all to connect with the Light, to feel God, to become an Impersonal Higher Self, or whatever other feeling state one gets into. One gets out of grim reality and escapes into a Greater Reality, by whatever name or whatever God, but it is all a fantasy, an illusion based on an illusion. The pioneering challenge is now for those willing to abandon both reality and Reality in search of the ‘self’-less experience of actuality.
RESPONDENT: The ‘intelligent’ manner to handle ‘the problem’ is then sent into the mental, if a physical action is needed ... or an ‘understanding’ appears in processing centres that puts the mental to ‘bed’. The ‘ah hah’ thing.
PETER: The ‘‘ah hah’ thing’ is the enormous relief that one doesn’t have to do anything except realize that the world of people, things and events is all an illusion and ‘who’ you really are is a spirit in transit – a grandiose ‘me’ of Godly power and immortality.
RESPONDENT: The goal of science is not to eradicate the body but to dissect it to its base components.
PETER: If you are talking of medical science – I am constantly astounded by the inventiveness and technological advances in understanding, observing, monitoring, diagnosing and repairing the human body. Medical science has contributed mightily to the almost doubling of the average lifespan of human beings in the last century and the dramatic reduction in infant mortalities.
RESPONDENT: But we are not our heart/legs/central nervous system.
PETER: This boundless, infinite, eternal, perfect and pure physical universe has materially manifested and evolved luxuriant and abundant carbon-based life on this planet. The human species, the most sophisticated of life forms, capable of thinking, planning and reflecting, represents the pinnacle of the emergence and development of life, as we know it, in the universe. The human body is a marvellous organism whose chief characteristic, apart from intelligence is an ability to be conscious of itself in operation. Given that each human being is born with an instinctual ‘self’ overlaid since birth with a further layer of social identity this consciousness is a ‘self’-consciousness. Thus a consciousness of ‘who’ I think and ‘who’ I feel I am is constantly predominant and the bare consciousness of the flesh-and-blood-body only gets a peek in during a pure consciousness experience when the ‘self’ is temporarily absent.
RESPONDENT: When we die, we are not here, and no amount of dissection will find were the soul used to be.
PETER: I remember as a child my mother would have me say a prayer at night time that ended – ‘... if I should die before I wake, pray the Lord my soul do take’. I remember wondering at the time where this soul was, but as I found out more about religion I thought the whole idea to be very weird. The idea of a white-bearded God sitting on a cloud and overseeing all this was pretty silly to me. And as for sending his Son down so he could do a few miracles, start a Religion, be nailed to a cross, and after a few days go back up to sit alongside Dad and see how it works out...!! I remember clearly thinking, if there was a God, how come he created the mess in the first place, and if he was responsible for this mess, why the hell didn’t he just come down and sort it out. I eventually teetered off on my own into the real-world and when this collapsed found myself embroiled on the spiritual path believing this offered the chance for peace on earth – an end to the insanity of wars, fighting and feuding. What I eventually found on the spiritual path was nothing other than Eastern religion which combined the traditional universal belief in an immortal soul with the chance for one’s soul to realize it is immortal, and therefore Divine, while still ‘in the body’.
The path to the extinction of one’s soul begins with gaily abandoning the belief in God and an eternal life, and setting about the process of total ‘self’-immolation, such that one gets to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day, every day.
RESPONDENT: So. No Spirit, no Self, no Ego, and interestingly, no instinct.
PETER: Every human being born into this world has a pre-programmed instinctual ‘self’ that is fully developed by about age two. This instinctual ‘self’ is epitomized by the instinctual passions of fear, aggression nurture and desire, an automatic operating program instilled to ensure the propagation and survival of the species. The rudimentary animal instinctual ‘self’ or instinctual identity we are born with is then overlaid with a social identity, instilled since birth by our peers. This social identity consists of the morals and ethics that have been drilled into us from the time when we were first rewarded for ‘good’ and ‘right’ behaviour and punished for ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour. We are thus taught to emphasize and highly value the ‘tender’ instinctual passions and repress and control the ‘savage’ passions. Our social identity is also made of our beliefs, prime among them being an atavistic belief in Gods, spirits, other-worlds and an on-going life after death for ‘me’, as spirit.
Spiritual freedom is not a ‘self’-less state, as is sometimes claimed, but a shift in identity from self to Self or personal self to Impersonal Self or from mortal spirit to Divine Spirit.
A freedom from the instinctual passions requires the elimination of all identity – both the overlaid social identity implanted as a ‘controller’ of the rampant passions and the instinctual identity, which is the very source of the instinctual animal passions.
RESPONDENT: What is left? Surely not just flesh and blood body. Who’s at the helm? Pure awareness?
PETER: Everybody has experienced a totally ‘self’-less state sometime in their life and these experiences are known as Pure Consciousness Experiences, nature experiences or Jamais Vu experiences. These are all pure experiences, where for a brief period of time, there is no ‘I’ as thinker or ‘me’ as feeler present, but there is a direct sensate-only experience of the actual world in which we live. This actual world is experienced as vibrantly alive, pure, perfect and effervescent in its immediacy. So encompassing is this direct experience, it is as though one has entered another dimension, or as though a veil has been lifted on all that one usually sees, hears, touches and smells, and one is experiencing the familiar in a new and astounding way. It is as though one has been previously living in a ‘self’-created dream and one experiences, as a flesh and blood body brimming with sense organs, the vivacious physicality and infinitude of this infinite and eternal universe. One’s senses are heightened, one’s thinking clear and one’s consciousness is unpolluted by any affective feelings whatsoever, be they ‘savage’ as in fear and aggression or ‘tender’ as in love, gratitude or compassion.
In these ‘self’-less pure experiences, one is the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being.
Often people who have these experiences claim them as ‘my’ experience and then the experience is transformed and distorted into an affective experience, generally known as an Altered State of Consciousness. In affective experiences, depending upon one’s religious/ spiritual inclinations or practices, ‘I’ feel humbled or grateful to God for being able to experience His creation and His love, or in Eastern terms, ‘I’ feel at one with all that is experienced, ‘I’ feel I am not separate from all that is experienced or, in a full-blown delusion of grandeur, ‘I’ feel I am God and all this is ‘My’ creation.
Affective experiences are so seductive and ‘self’-gratifying and so treasured and glorified in the spiritual world, that scant attention has been paid to the pure experiences that hold the clue to the ending of human malice and sorrow. Pure Consciousness Experiences are the proof that it is possible for the flesh and blood body to become actually free from the social and instinctual identity – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. PCEs are the proof that perfection, purity and peace already exist on this paradisiacal planet – and it is only ‘me’ who stands in the way of it becoming actualized as this body.
RESPONDENT: How is this accomplished? I have a reasonable idea of what you’re opposed to, but I’m unclear about what you are recommending, in real terms, in this world, in this moment.
PETER: To answer your second point first – what I am proposing is peace on earth, as this flesh and blood body only, in this lifetime. Unless one is vitally interested in this proposition then it will obviously be impossible to accomplish the ending of ‘me’, as an identity dwelling in this flesh and blood body.
The ending of one’s instinctual ‘self’, and the associated animal passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, firstly requires a vital interest and passionate yearning to make sense of and be fully involved in this business of being a human being on this planet. The second requirement that is vital for success, is to fully take on board the fact that this moment is the only moment that you can experience being alive and, as such, ... if you’re not happy now and if you’re not harmless now, then you are wasting this moment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: Now to your discovery, here’s a few questions for you:
PETER: My own major experience of a pure consciousness experience occurred some ten years ago and lasted some 4 hrs. It was something that I soon dismissed from my memory at the time as normal life resumed again, and it was only by meeting someone who had been Enlightened for eleven years and managed to free himself from the delusion that I was twigged to remember it again. He had been searching for a way to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day, every day, when instead of that he found himself ensnared in an altered state of consciousness. It was both hearing this man’s story and being able to recall a PCE myself that pointed me firmly in the direction of what the human potential actually is – sensuous purity and perfection as a flesh and blood body only and not imaginary Divinity and Immortality as a disembodied entity as the ancient ones have seduced us into believing.
PETER: The major reason was that I had experienced both a PCE and a Satori, and both of equal length. The only similarity between them is that they are both experienced as ‘other’ worldly – i.e. outside of one’s ‘normal’ experiencing of normally grim reality.
The Satori experience is of another world where ‘I’ feel love, oneness, wholeness, spaceless and timeless. The experience is ‘of the heart’, a feeling-only experience where normal ‘I’ am replaced with a new grander version who is at-one-with the universe. This experience is termed an altered state of consciousness whereby ‘my’ consciousness or perception is altered from fearful mortal to fearless immortal. All of this merely goes on in the head but is felt in the heart due to the increased chemical flows triggered by the primitive brain. Many altered states of consciousness experiences happen during a dark night of the soul when thoughts of hopelessness, depression, futility and even suicide are running. The very desperate near death thoughts can induce a near death experience that triggers a chemical flow to the body and brain that produces euphoric feelings. These feelings are usually accompanied by imaginary visions of a religious nature, dependant solely upon the person’s culture or current inclination. Thus it is that Christians can ‘hear’, ‘see’ or ‘feel’ the Lord or the white light leading to Heaven while Eastern religious followers feel Oneness, Wholeness, Godliness, God intoxicated or whatever. The tell-tale clue of an altered state of consciousness experience is that the ‘new perception’ is always cultural or religious specific and it is always accompanied by powerful emotions triggered by chemical flows from the instinctual primitive brain.
A pure consciousness experience, on the other hand, has neither an imaginary (cerebral) nor an affective (emotional) component.
PETER: Given that a PCE, or peak experience as it sometimes referred to, can often be induced by drugs or traumatic experiences that alter the brain’s chemical balance it would indicate that the onset of a PCE is neuro-biological phenomena. This is confirmed by the fact that modern neuro-biological research by Joseph LeDoux and others are beginning to trace emotions such as fear to the automatic reaction of the primitive brain. The amygdala in particular is being identified as the source that activates a flow of chemicals in the body as an automatic fight or flight response in the face of danger. This instinctual chemical flow reaches the neo-cortex or modern cognitive brain a split second later and is interpreted by the alien entity as psychological and/or psychic fear. In the PCE, it would seem that this pathway from the ancient instinctual brain to the modern cognitive brain no longer functions, i.e. it is temporarily blocked. The modern brain, thus freed from its instinctual ‘self’-centred passion-producing companion, the primitive brain (amygdala), is able to operate freely with a pure consciousness.
The physical senses – the stalks of the brain – are similarly freed of the ever-fearful guard duty that is imposed on the modern brain by the instinctual primitive brain. This freedom from chemical assault results in a startling sensate-only experience of the actual world that is best described as sensuous delight. It is as though colours are far more vibrant, sounds far louder, tastes more flavoursome, touch more sensual, smells more fragrant and everything is experienced as vibrant and not merely passive.
In the PCE, the experience of ‘self’-lessness, the lack of any instinctual passion, the clarity of thought and reflection and the heightened physical senses all accord with the neo-cortex being freed from the insidious influence of the animal instinctual reptilian brain. How this happens physically in a PCE is, to my knowledge, yet to be mapped by empirical science but there is clear evidence that a permanent disconnection has been deliberately induced by at least one person and is being deliberately induced by a handful of others.
This is, of course, a clinical scientific description only and the process cannot be separated from its psychological and psychic ramifications and, as such, the term ‘self’-immolation is a more evocatively accurate term to describe this process.
The inducing of a permanent state of pure consciousness experiencing is pioneering stuff at this stage, brand new and never been tried before in human history ... but the time is right and the experiment is well under way.
RESPONDENT: I have noticed that often I have the experience of feeling upset when I read your posts. Looking into my experience I see it is because you are attacking something that is the pinnacle of human consciousness and the most precious discovery anyone can realize.
PETER: Yes, No 6 wrote that I was trying hard to make people upset and angry and I mentioned that I had exactly the same feelings when I was immersed in the spiritual world and started to question my own beliefs. I also explained that these feelings and passions are instinctually sourced.
It is exactly because we humans have the ability to think and reflect that the instinctual passions can infiltrate our thinking and be experienced as feelings. In fact, a feeling is an emotional-backed thought. As such, we humans are automatically programmed for self-defence that we turn into a passion of ‘self’-defence. Thus we feel attacked when our beliefs are questioned for these beliefs form an integral part of ‘who’ we think and feel we are. We feel personally attacked for our social identity as a spiritual person is being questioned – thus the automatic ‘self’-survival instincts kick in.
Humans beings are unique among the animal species in that we instinctually react not only to physical danger but when ‘we’ feel either psychologically or psychically threatened, which is nearly all the time. The only psychological and psychic security we find is feeling secure within a group of like-minded people. The planet is full of these groups of humans all huddling together, defending themselves or attacking others, either overtly or covertly – currently some 6 billion people are involved in a grim and desperate battle for survival.
But this instinctual and habitual fearful behaviour is redundant in these modern times and those who are daring enough and willing enough to rid themselves of the instinctual passions will find themselves able to walk upright with impunity on this paradisiacal planet.
As for your second point –
Do you mean Eastern Enlightenment or spirituality in general? Either way, are you saying that all human beings should still believe in, and follow the wisdom of, those on the planet thousands of years ago who claim to have discovered the Truth about human existence on the planet? That what they discovered we should still hold to be sacred and inviolate? That despite the fact that human beings still slaughter each other in horrendous wars over which Truth is the only, true, real or right Truth, we should accept that the current human condition of malice and sorrow represents the pinnacle of human consciousness? That peace on earth is not possible?
I do understand the wonderful feelings and deep emotions that well up when one hears the Truth spoken by some God-man or woman, the blissful states that can be experienced and the altered states of consciousness that can be induced for I have experienced the full gamut over a period of 17 years. But the central message of the Truth – there is life after death and we are just ‘passing through’ before we go to a better place ‘somewhere else’ – is a fairy tale. When I was on the spiritual path it was the best on offer for it pointed to being able to achieve release or freedom for one’s self or soul while on earth, not in heaven. At least it offered succour and a chance to feel good.
But things have moved on, particularly in the last century, and a momentous breakthrough has been made in this last decade that makes the ancient search for a freedom for one’s spirit utterly second-rate. Many, many humans have attempted to break the stranglehold that ancient belief and mysticism has always held over the human search for freedom, peace and happiness and, the time being right, it has finally happened.
I was struck with the same reaction as you when I first came across this third alternative but, as I had some doubts about the spiritual path anyway, I was prepared to investigate further to see if what was proposed made sense.
PUBLISHER No 1: Apropos the experiment you talk about: there were many others that demonstrated this as well and from memory I thought it was done in the early seventies not the swinging sixties. It didn’t shock me at all when I read about it, (and no I haven’t been desensitized to violence) it has always seemed as if most people are happy to comply.
PETER: The original experiments were done from 1960–63 at Yale University and the source of the posted descriptions was from ‘Obedience to Authority’ by Stanley Morgan, Harpers. 1974 . I see you use the words ‘most people’ without making any comment about yourself, and seem to not be interested as to why people are so ‘happy to comply’.
When I read of this study I was not in the slightest concerned with what most people would do, I was concerned about me and what inner compulsion drives me to violence. Authority then became only one factor and explained my willingness to kill to defend my beliefs – and the beloved God-man – in Rajneeshpuram. This was a ‘what-if’ situation for I was not there at the end of the Ranch and Rajneesh fled before any blood was shed, but I did ask myself the question and was shocked at my honest answer. But merely obeying others or defending beliefs, does not account for the willingness, indeed eagerness, of human beings to be malicious.
Since the 1960’s there has been an emergence – albeit tentatively – of an empirical understanding of the genetically-encoded animal instinctual passions in human beings. These scientific studies, firmly based on empirical observations, make nonsense of the traditional denial that instinctual animal passions exist in humans and of the ancient belief that we are born ‘innocent’.
There is a dare in Actual Freedom that sends most people scurrying for cover, for very few are interested in radical and permanent change.
I am very interested in your comment that ‘ there were many others that demonstrated this as well’, for I haven’t come across any other experiments. If you can remember any specific studies, can you let me know? Although this particular experiment was repeated many times, in the end it was declared unethical and any similar research was frowned upon. This restriction on human behavioural research represents denial of facts in action, but given the Galileo precedent, this denial usually only lasts for a few hundred years before common sense eventually prevails as the empirical evidence becomes widely accepted. It was left to this current Pope to begrudgingly give the earth the right to orbit around the sun. And one doesn’t hear much of the Flat Earth Society after the stunning photos of earth were taken by the Apollo astronauts.
A similar begrudging process of on-going denial will happen with the empirical evidence that human beings are genetically-encoded with the animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
It is this hundreds-of-years time span from initial publication to begrudging acceptance that I find most interesting. In fact, I understand that the theory that the earth may revolve around the sun had been around about 2000 years ago, was mathematically calculated by Copernicus in 1543, and then empirically confirmed by Galileo’s observations in 1613. If one takes this process from initial thought to empirical proof to final Papal approval of the earth’s behaviour, then the time span is in millennia, not centuries. In the case of acknowledging animal instinctual passions in human beings, we are looking at a time span of maybe one hundred years from theory to the current emergence of empirical neuro-biological evidence – given, of course, that everybody conveniently ignores the blatantly obvious behavioural evidence of all the wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, corruption, loneliness, despair and suicides that are endemic on the planet.
What is apparent to me is that peace on earth will be a long time coming and many, many human beings will miss the bus. And that the spiritually-inclined will do everything in their power to deny the existence of instinctual animal passions in human beings for without the mythical belief in ‘bad’ and Evil, there is no need for the mythical belief in ‘good’ and God.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.