Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: One intellectual question still comes up even though I may be solving it in practice. Even though I know that feelings are the premature conclusion of fact, once it has been accepted by the body as truth how does the body undo those part truths? My answer would be to review those beliefs & feelings in detail without jumping to conclude at the first emotional impulse and see what happens.
PETER: Again, I’m having trouble following you. You say ‘I know that feelings are the premature conclusion of fact’. For me, it is clear that any feeling that arises is commonly expressed as an emotion-backed thought. This is evidenced when one identifies a feeling, say annoyance (mild anger), and traces it back to its source – say, something someone said an hour ago. One can clearly see that the feeling, those churning thoughts or worries, are due to an emotional response to what was said. These thoughts can linger on to produce a ‘feeling of annoyance’ that can last hours and days even – ruining any chance of being here. Often people relate feelings to a more dramatic outburst, such as a rush of anger, or a flush of love, while remaining in ignorance of the long term general background of feelings.
A fact has nothing to do with feelings. A fact is a fact, a tree is a tree, a coffee cup is a coffee cup. No doubt, when people discover or read a fact it could produce a feeling response in them – but that is a reaction to the fact. When we point out that, after 5,000 years, and with billions of people following the spiritual path, there is still no peace on earth that is a fact.
Now when one discovers a fact for oneself, acknowledges and realizes it, one can have a realization – a blindingly obvious flash of such intensity that a change is evidenced – one can no longer go back to believing what one believed before. What this will do is eliminate the associated feelings one has in relying on the belief and not the fact.
It is such a painful, confusing and bewildering life most people lead in relying on belief, as one is never confident, able to proceed in any activity or relating with the surety that a sensible reliance on facts can give.
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’.
PETER to No 38: Just thought I’d write to you about something I came across recently that I thought might be of interest to you. But before I start I would like to preface my remarks so that you might have an inkling as to why I found the particular piece of information so fascinating and also why it is relevant to the process of actualism.
When I first came across Richard, I very carefully listened to what he had to say about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. While some of what he said made sense – much of it jarred with what I had been taught to be the truth. Given that I had been so gullible in my spiritual years – my faith was indeed blind, as is all faith, in that it managed to completely blind me to the glaring gulf between ‘the talk’ and ‘the walk’ of spiritual belief, both in myself and in the revered teachers and Masters – I was determined not to go down that road again, ever.
Although it took a while, I soon came to take Richard’s observation that the human condition is epitomized by malice and sorrow as a given – the global-wide evidence is overwhelming, whilst the evidence of the predominance of feelings of malice and sorrow on a personal level is somewhat disconcerting when initially acknowledged and unmistakeably observed in operation in oneself, and as one’s ‘self’. I also had a strong flash of realization when I first met Richard and he said ‘everybody’s got it 180 degrees wrong’ – the realization that everybody, including me, had been trolling through the garbage bin of history’s tried-and-failed philosophies, beliefs and theories, dusting them off for recycling, denying their shortcomings and ignoring their failure to elicit anything remotely resembling peace on earth between human beings. This brief flash of realization was sufficient to embolden me to consider abandoning my life as-it-was and embarking on a course that no one else had trod but Richard.
The other thing I did in this initial period was to conduct my own investigation as to whether what Richard was saying about actualism being brand new in human history was a fact. I deliberately re-read many of the spiritual books I had in order to see if anywhere they were teaching the patently obvious path of doing all you can to become happy and harmless such that one can become free of the human condition of malice and sorrow. Needless to say, all I found were teachings aimed at ‘self’-aggrandizement – the exact opposite to ‘self’-immolation.
I then delved into reading up on philosophy, psychology, sociology and science in general in order to see what they were busy investigating and what solutions they were offering. I was astounded to discover that all of human knowledge and investigation is predicated upon, and therefore straight-jacketed by, the conviction that it is impossible to change human nature. As I read on, the reason for this became more and more obvious – the core spiritual/religious belief that earthly life is essentially suffering so pervades all of human thinking that it is inconceivable that this ain’t necessarily so.
As part of my investigation I also delved into theoretical physics and cosmology in order to ascertain whether any evidence had emerged that contradicted Richard’s experience that the physical universe is eternal and infinite. That it had no beginning, can only be actually experienced in this moment of time and has no end, that it has no centre, no ‘holes’ or edges to it other than imaginary ones – and therefore there is no ‘outside’ to it. Reading a few books and scouting around a bit was enough for me to ascertain that, while all sorts of fanciful theories and spurious evidence abounds in theoretical physics and speculative cosmology, no empirical evidence has been found to contradict what Richard says and what everyone has directly experienced in a PCE sometime in their life – that the universe is infinite and eternal and hence peerless both in its perfection and purity.
What did amaze me at the time was how much Eastern philosophy and spiritual belief had permeated into science. As a practicing actualist I have since come to understand that the human condition is inherently awash with spiritual belief and can clearly see that the current fashion for Eastern polytheistic belief is popular only in that it offers an apparent freedom from the constraints of monotheistic dogma. So much am I out of the spiritual world, that I am now amazed that I had been amazed about how much of scientific theory is awash with spiritualism and mysticism. But, then again, the process of actualism is about becoming free of belief – all belief.
In hindsight, these investigations I conducted not only confirmed the facticity of what Richard was saying but also confirmed the fallacy of many of my own beliefs and none more so than in my understanding of the universe. Contemplating the physical nature of the universe – as distinct from investigating and contemplating the nature of ‘my’ psyche – can not only trigger memories of past PCEs, but this type of ‘me’-out-of-the-way contemplation when combined with softly-focussed wonderment of the sensual nature of the universe provides a potentiality that can evoke the onset of a PCE.
Talking about contemplating the physical nature of the universe brings me to the point of my letter, which is to post a couple of links I thought you might be interested in. I don’t want to comment specifically on the subject matter of the links, as I would not want to pre-empt you from drawing your own conclusions as to whether the explanations offered make more sense than do the currently-fashionable theories and long-held beliefs about the physical nature of the universe – so I’ll leave it at that.
RESPONDENT: I was merely asking for facts in the form of your own personal observations / experiences in life from which you make many of the statements in your original post titled ‘Legacy of Gurus’.
PETER: You were not asking for facts at all. As you have said to me before – ‘I showed you once how your posts are meaningless for me’, and you were simply saying the same thing again in different words in your last post. Whenever I engage in a discussion with you, you attempt a summary dismissal. You have said to me in the past that ‘what I will not allow you to do is for you to shove your experiences and your interpretations down my throat’ – which doesn’t sound as if you are at all interested in my personal observations / experiences. The next ploy is to continually move the goal-posts of the discussion whenever it gets a little too close to actually discerning what is belief from what is fact – a ploy that is useless on a list devoted to actualizing peace on earth and exposing the ancient beliefs that have castrated human intelligence for millennia.
To quote the spiritual version of fact vs. truth from Rajneesh aka Osho –
Another quote –
Ooops – that’s a personal observation / experience – but you did ask for one! Any Guru who says that the factual actual experience of life, as evidenced in a PCE, is ‘utterly meaningless’ has most definitely got their head in the clouds. As for when ‘your eyes open to the real’ and you see ‘God green in a tree’, what does one see in war, murder, rape, torture, domestic violence, etc. – God anger?
But, then again, you must know this difference in perception – spiritual vs. actual – from your personal PCE, so I am curious as to why you have such a beef about defending the God-men and the belief in God, the truth, etc.
RESPONDENT: Once you wrote to Alan something of the kind that: Whenever you (Peter) ask people about the way Gurus behave towards women, you get blank faces. What did you observe in reference to Osho’s (or any other Guru’s) behavior towards women. Do you have some first hand information ? You want to write about them. Those personal observations/experiences would be facts. Your facts, but facts.
PETER: How on earth can you have a fact that is ‘your’ fact – that would mean that you have your own versions of facts. Methinks you are talking about truths which are definitely not facts, as Mr. Rajneesh has clearly pointed out above. As I wrote to Alan, Richard has written an excellent piece on facts, if you are interested.
Some ‘first hand information’ from a post to the Sannyas mailing list about the same question that you have asked –
I would only add an additional fact and that is that Guru is a Sanskrit word meaning elder or teacher and as such is one who propounds Eastern Religions. It is common in Eastern Religions to regard women as second-class citizens, needing to be re-born as a man in order to be worthy of even undertaking spiritual practice, being excluded from temples, being mere possessions of men, etc. This attitude is still very prevalent in the Eastern Religions and permeates into popular spiritualism. All of the male Gurus have women disciples who worship them and regard them as Gods, and this is actively encouraged by the Gurus – a pathetic and abysmal behaviour towards women.
PETER: Thanks for your reply. I’ll aim for a brief reply –
RESPONDENT: It is late at night so I am going to respond to a point which is important for me, it may not be important for you. I *think* you do not just cause ripples, you are capable of causing shock waves. I am sure you are not aware of that.
PETER: There is nothing more shocking to one’s ‘self’ than a discussion about facts vs. beliefs given that ‘who’ one is, as a social identity, is nothing other than the beliefs, morals ethics and psittacisms one has been instilled with since birth. There is nothing more shocking than seeing the fact that that ‘who’ one feels oneself to be deep inside is nothing but an instinctual animal ‘self’ – exactly the same ‘self’ as Mr. Ape and Mr. Chimpanzee have. The challenge is to discover what one is and the process is initially a shocking one. But soon shock turns to fascination and the thrill of discovery soon takes over.
PETER: Just as an aside – is your main objection what I say or how I say it? They are two different issues and it does seem to me that the most important thing to you is not what I am saying as you continually say it is ‘not of interest’ to you. But you do keep writing.
RESPONDENT: No, I do not object to what you write. Actually that is not completely correct. I sometimes do not like what you write but normally I find two things in this context:
PETER: Personally I find the wonderful thing about facts is that I am not forced to keep quiet about them – particularly in these days, in this medium and on this list. In the ‘good old days’ I would be forced to recant. Galileo was forced to recant his presenting of facts by fervent believers who felt threatened. A belief is a wobbly thing and needs continual emotional support or passionate defence and propping up. As a comedian said on television the other night if everyone stopped believing in God he wouldn’t exist. Same thing for any belief – once you stop believing it, it vanishes. Whereas a fact is a fact. The problem that everyone finds about stopping believing is that it is a painful business that causes upheaval, for one is actually changing oneself. As I’ve said before, the demolishing of my social identity meant that Peter the man, Peter the lover, Peter the Sannyasin, Peter the good, Peter the right, Peter the proud, they all had to die – bit by bit. But that is ‘who’ I am aiming to be free of, after all. You then eventually get rid of the parasitical entity that gets angry or sad and ruins this only moment that you can experience being alive.
RESPONDENT: Now I feel it’s the time to finish talking with you. And some of my impressions.
You want to prove I am on the wrong path as far as I am a disciple of him. But whatever you argued is felt off the mark by me. I have tried to tell you why I feel so. But your intention of talking is just for proving your position is right.
PETER: No, I was simply presenting the facts of the failure of religious and spiritual pursuits to bring an end to human suffering and maliciousness on the planet. This is not about right and wrong but what works and what doesn’t work. For me, the spiritual path didn’t make me happy and harmless, it only gave me the illusion and feeling of being on the ‘right’ path with the ‘Master of Masters’. When I acknowledged that the spiritual wasn’t working for me I was ready to start looking at the facts of why it didn’t work and why Rajneesh’s ‘dream’ had failed and why it never could work.
My intention of talking to you were to report what my experiences were on the spiritual path, and what happened when I stopped believing and started to look at the facts. The discussion has been about fact and belief, not about right and wrong. Right and wrong is a moral judgement, a judgement made on what one believes to be true or feels to be right. It’s the very stuff that religious, ethnic and ethical conflicts and wars are fought over.
RESPONDENT: My disciplehood is an individual matter.
PETER: If you mean it is a private, special matter between you and Rajneesh, then you are not alone in that feeling. At one time, there was more of a community feeling around Rajneesh but as the ‘dream’ faded that feeling has since dwindled and broken down into every man/woman for themselves – each with their ‘own connection’. The individual matter of disciplehood is much easier to imagine now that he is dead, for now everyone can ‘carry Him’ in his or her heart, he can ‘visit’ hundreds of places all over the planet simultaneously, and ‘answer’ thousands of prayers, and have a ‘personal’ relationship with tens of thousands. He is indeed much busier and active now that he is dead, but I guess the God-business is much easier to manage without the encumbrance of a physical body.
And you say you don’t believe in life after death? You are the disciple of a dead Master and you don’t believe in life after death? I think you are stretching credibility to its very limits.
RESPONDENT: Ummm, you already have your own answers to your questions. There is no space to me to answer.
PETER: No, you made a statement
immediately followed with
I was simply responding with some factual information on the subject. You are giving one of the typical responses of spiritual devotees when faced with the facts of what their teacher said, how the teachings have been put into practice and how their particular teacher is no different at all to the thousands of others who have failed to deliver on their promises. The whole point of facts is that they give ‘no space’ for imagination, flights of fantasy, denial, duplicity, or self-deceit. A fact is a fact, open for all to see, verifiable, obvious, evident and evidenced. ‘No space to answer’ really means ‘I can’t dispute the facts so I will go on the attack’. You claim to be trying to bridge a gap whereas objecting for the sake of objecting appears your motive and forte. Sort of a ‘modern cyber-Zen warrior’. So, none of this ‘no space to answer’ ploys ... lift your game a bit. But if you really would like to talk about anything I said in the above passage I have plenty of space, time and KB’s. I’ll kick my feet up and wait for an answer ...
PETER to Alan: Good to hear from you again and that you are playing with your new domain and web-site. From what I see with Richard and Vineeto, it is quite a learning curve. I thought to send you a copy of an article I have sent to a local NDA magazine for their consideration. They have published two already – ‘Liberation from being men and women’ and ‘Folks and People’ – which avoided any hints of Guru-bashing but still carried some useful information. Seeing so many get offended and angry when their precious spiritual beliefs are threatened I thought it was useful to try writing to convey at least a smidgen of common sense while avoiding the ‘main event’. I have ‘upped the ante’ quite a bit in this article to being more ‘up front’ and I am intrigued as to whether they will publish it.
I got some good feedback from the other articles although most interpret what I wrote as simply making a moral or ethical statement about some ideal happiness and harmlessness that is unattainable for them or that I am saying the ‘same thing as the Gurus’. When I talk of practical down-to-earth, they think ‘nice idea, but ...’ or assume it is the usual moralistic, spiritual high-ground – anything but down-to-earth.
But I was encouraged enough to write more. Actual Freedom is not for everyone in that it requires a pioneering adventurous spirit to try a third alternative to the traditional, but there is a lot of beneficial results in people’s lives simply in being more sensible, being less driven, even in considering an new alternative way of living.
A ‘trickling down’ of anything new undertaken by pioneers, of any new discovery, takes years, decades or even centuries. When the new discovery is one so radical as to change human nature the resistance will be frantic and furtive. After all, the Human Condition has existed as long as humans have existed which may well be millions of years according to some research.
Those with ‘vested interests’ made Galileo recant but they couldn’t make the sun revolve around the earth. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people have tried to make Richard recant over the years by insisting that ‘you can’t change human nature’ or that a meta-physical realm complete with Gods and an afterlife does exist in fact. Mainstream society has declared that he is insane while the spiritualists insist he must be a God!
PETER to Gary: The first thing is the business of finding out the facts of the human condition we find ourselves born in to, as opposed to what we have been told is the truth about the human condition. What we have come to believe and commonly accept as the truth is what has been passed on to each and every human being from their parents and peers ... who got it from their parents and peers ... who got it from their parents and peers ... stretching back into the dark mists of time. Our bondage to the human condition can be summed up as –
In order to become free of the human condition it is essential to laboriously crack through these shackles – the beliefs, morals, ethics, values, viewpoints and psittacisms that bond humans to a life of essential suffering and heart-wrenching misery. The easiest and most direct method to do this is to read the Actual Freedom Trust website and confirm what is written by your own life experiences and your own investigations. The method I used to confirm that what Richard was saying about the human condition was factual and sensible was to read, watch TV and browse the internet for further information. This process of finding the facts does involve a fair bit of work and investigation. One needs to check many sources, look for contradictions, be very wary of the source of the material and the bias of the authors or presenters, seek out the data behind the conclusions others are making, etc. Initially I ran a little game whereby I simply assumed that I, and everyone else, had got it wrong and looked for why and where – this way the investigation became exciting and thrilling – not daunting and fearful. Pretty soon I was able to confirm that I and everyone else had got it wrong – I had been searching for freedom and meaning 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
Re-wiring my brain was how I saw this process. A bit from the Introduction is relevant to this business –
GARY: I was trying to influence others, and when their opposition to what I was saying became even more determined (naturally so), I felt misunderstood and frustrated. I then commenced to ask myself why I was trying to influence others, questioned myself on my stake in the discussion, and investigated into my own deeper fears, conflicts, and doubts about love and compassion. Because I was deliberately questioning the emotion of love, and I was getting determined opposition from others, it really highlighted for me just how highly love is sought, coveted and valued by human beings. Love and compassion (and their allied emotions: pity, sympathy, empathy, etc) are really regarded to be the pinnacle, indeed the summit of all earthly dreams and hopes. To reject love is to be dead, according to what I heard these other people to be saying.
Since I have begun to investigate into these tender instincts, I have been able to see what a hold they have on Humanity, indeed what a hold they have on ‘me’. ‘I’ need love in order to confirm my existence. Without love, ‘I’ am nothing – I might as well be dead. Love, if I was following the thread of these conversations, is the do-all and end-all of earthly existence. Without it, life has no meaning, no reason. So, even though I was taking one side in the discussions, the discussions themselves were reflecting back to me the deep questions and doubts that I myself have on the topic in question.
PETER: In hindsight, in similar types of conversations I see I was simply presenting the fact that the much-vaunted feeling of love didn’t work because it has always failed to bring about peace between human beings. The same is evident with the revered spiritual feeling of unconditional love-for-all – it also has failed miserably in eventuating anything remotely resembling peace on earth. I was not presenting a viewpoint nor taking a side, I was simply stating a fact ... and offering an alternative.
But like you, these discussions did serve to make me look even deeper into ‘me’ than I would have had I not discussed these matters and been challenged. What I also found was that often people liked the discussions, provided they didn’t become too offended, because they rarely if ever talked about their feelings in such a way, rarely if ever sat back and reviewed how they lived their lives, what beliefs they held, in terms of what worked and what didn’t work and why not.
You may have noticed a peculiar twist in that if the person you are talking to takes a discussion about the human condition personally then they invariably become offended. If they don’t take it personally it is a sure sign they are dissociated in some way from their own complete range of feelings and beliefs that epitomize the human condition and the discussion usually trips along as a philosophical-type conversation with no depth at all.
GARY: It reminded me of the work situation that I was in and the allegation against me that I had ‘no compassion’. I found this somewhat disturbing, but probably only because I myself regard ‘compassion’ as essential to ‘me’, and that without it, I must be a total outcast. So I think the discussion with others about the quality of love and compassion was helpful to me in the following ways: it helped me to uncover some deeper feelings and beliefs that were lurking behind my outright denial of love and compassion; it further helped me to see that I was trying to use influence to persuade others of the ‘rightness’ of my arguments, which I would only do if they represented beliefs to me and not actualities.
PETER: It’s useful to remember that a fact is neither right nor wrong, good nor bad, fair or unfair, silly nor sensible – it is a fact.
A fact requires neither support nor defence and you don’t need to believe a fact for it to be so. The only thing you can do is ignore or deny a fact. I always figured that if someone else does so they are being silly, whereas if I ignore or deny a fact I am being a fool – and the last person I wanted to fool was me.
PETER: Eventually I saw that my physical survival depended upon the ATM machine continuing to spit out enough printed pieces of paper when I put a plastic card into it for me to be able to afford to pay for food, clothing and shelter. Anything in excess to this basic requirement was then available to buy toys for leisure and pleasure. Thus, my only job was to ensure that the numbers on my receipt remained within sensible limits given the ebb and flow of expenditure.
GARY: It’s amazing the degree to which one can simplify their life to cover the basic contingencies. Since I quit my job, austerity measures have gone into effect. I’ve been out of work for a month now, unable to collect unemployment compensation because I quit my job, but I’m in good financial shape. For spending cash, I’ve been rolling up some of the coins I kept stashed about the house (I’ve got about a ton of these in various locations), reserving my bank account for emergencies. I did manage to land a job in pretty short order but I don’t officially start work for another 2 weeks or so, so I’m still on ‘vacation’.
PETER: I was talking to a New Dark Age healer the other day who was extolling the virtues of ‘alternative’ medicine. In claiming he was alternative, he blithely ignored the fact that he was practicing traditional ancient medicine – herbal infusions and potions, spirit-energy readings, etc. – while the last century has seen a phenomenal growth in new scientific-based medicine that has been instrumental in almost doubling human life expectancy and reducing the debilitating effects of disease and accident. As I am wont to occasionally, I pointed this fact out to him but he dismissed my comments by then riling against ‘the pressures of modern living’ and the value of alternative medicine in addressing these ‘evils’. I said that what I had done was deliberately eliminate stress from my life, noting that some years ago I had assured my doctor that I would not die of stress.
It is such an obvious thing to do – to simplify one’s life so as to reduce stress. Not only does one become physically healthier but by reducing the franticness and busy-ness of continually complicating what is simple, it makes it easier to set aside the necessary time to investigate the real causes of your malice and sorrow. Again be wary of the usual alternatives – deliberately engaging in battle to prove your warrior-worth or deliberately withdrawing form battle to prove your good-ness.
RESPONDENT: Environmental conditioning may be the active factor that tips humans and animals into destructive behaviours later (or sooner!) in life. Some subsystems due to genetic coding may be present that are neutral until they encounter conditions which trigger destructive reactions. The instincts may well be hardwired. Richard may have dealt with the conditioning that triggers destructive reactions. He may well have dealt with the finger that pulls the trigger but the trigger may still be intact. Deal with the finger or the trigger and the effect would be the same – harmlessness. I fail to see how a subjective observation could deliver a definitive answer to the question though. Watching your kids and animals may be explainable by your theory but it could be explained by other theories too. Self observation cannot yield much in the way of internal physiological data. I cannot yet see the factors that make your theory necessarily true.
PETER: I see from other posts to this list that you hold it to be a fact that nothing can be known for a fact. Holding such a stance makes a nonsense of trying to conduct a sensible conversation, let alone come to a sensible conclusion, about anything at all … let alone a subject so close to the bone as to why malice and sorrow is intrinsic to the human condition and, as archaeological evidence reveals, always has been.
RESPONDENT: You are kidding me, right? You are shutting down conversation based on another discussion between me and Richard? You are also going to take what I said at the level of parody, as Richard did, and that’s the end of the discussion? I am amazed.
PETER: I don’t take what you have said at the level of parody, I assumed you meant to write what you wrote.
On more than a few occasions, I have spent hours in conversation with people about the human condition, only to have them bring an end to any sensible conversation by declaring that New Age theoretical scientists and mathematicians, having been seduced by Eastern Mysticism hypothesize that matter at the sub-microscopic level (as in beyond observation) doesn’t have a definitive existence and its very existence is so uncertain that we could well regard it as being illusory and that space and time are not constants but have an existence that is relative (as in relative to a human observer) thereby opening the door to all sorts of imaginative theorizing such as Big Bangs, parallel universes, black holes and so on.
Here are but two examples I have written about in the past where people have reverted to playing the no-such-thing-as-a-fact card in order to thwart the possibility of engaging in, or continuing on a sensible down-to-earth conversation about the lot we humans unwittingly have found ourselves born into.
RESPONDENT: Before you go can you answer one question?
PETER: I am not going anywhere as you put it – it’s you who are playing the cards, it’s you who are steering the conversation in the way you want to (as you are doing in this post).
I am simply pointing out that playing the card you are currently playing,
RESPONDENT: Before you go can you answer one question? Q: If an observation comes along that contradicts what you call a fact, what happens to your fact?
PETER: Given that this is your speculation, could you explain what other observation would possibly come along that would contradict the fact that human beings are instinctually-driven animals and that this instinctual program manifests itself in homo sapiens as instinctual passions mainly those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire – given that this is the topic we are talking about. An observation that we are not of-the-earth animals, but made in the likeness of some God, perhaps? An observation that we are indeed aliens seeded here by an alien not-of-earth civilization from a yet to be discovered planet perhaps? These are amongst the common ones – or did you have something else in mind?
RESPONDENT: This is what I said – some theories are so good that they might as well be called fact ... with the proviso that a single contrary observation can render your fact into falsehood at any time. What on earth is so reprehensible about that statement that you would abort a conversation in which you were happy to engage in before you read something ... what ... offensive? ... in another conversation? Or is this all just to avoid answering my previous point? I do wonder.
PETER: As far as I can see I have answered all your points, but just to make it clear, the topic of this conversation is nurture vs. nature, specifically the question as to whether the deep seated passions such as fear, aggression, nurture and desire are caused by imperfect nurturing/ environment or are biologically inherited?
Your stance is that one can never know which is a fact in this case because a single contrary observation can render the fact into falsehood at any time – thus it is that you bring an end to the discussion by evoking the mind-numbing over-arching, all-consuming principle that one can never know anything for certain.
RESPONDENT: I fail to see how a subjective observation could deliver a definitive answer to the question though. Watching your kids and animals may be explainable by your theory but it could be explained by other theories too. Self observation cannot yield much in the way of internal physiological data. I cannot yet see the factors that make your theory necessarily true.
PETER: My suggestion is that, provided you are old enough to have experienced puberty, you too have sufficient life experience to be able to make up your own mind on this issue based on your own experience of how ‘you’ yourself tick and your own observations of other animals, be they non-sentient or sentient, rather than having a subjective opinion one way or the other based solely on what others believe to be true or false.
RESPONDENT: Quite right.
PETER: I am left wondering what it is you are acknowledging as being ‘quite right’ … purely because your philosophical conviction that nothing can ever be know to be a fact would inevitable prevent you from seeing a fact, let alone acknowledge that a fact is a fact even if it was staring you in the face as it were. With this as a mindset, it would obviously be impossible for you to make up your mind about anything.
RESPONDENT: You are so wrong. This must be a joke. You really don’t seem to understand my position, do you? If I didn’t work with facts I would be dead by now (eg ‘the bus is bearing down on you’).
PETER: Look, if you are now changing your position then fine – I have spent years divesting myself of so many beliefs, opinions, platitudes, opinions, truths, psittacisms and the like which I unwittingly took to be fact. T’is par for the course in the becoming free of the human condition.
If a bus is indeed a fact to you, as in being a physical object that has an independent tangible existence in its own right, irregardless of whether a human being is observing it or not, then why should not the chair be a fact and that it is blue in the electromagnetic wavelengths ranging from approximately 780 nanometer (7.80 x 10-7 m) down to 390 nanometer (3.90 x 10-7 m10-7 m) be a fact, irregardless of whether a human being is observing it. If you regard these as facts, in that a hypothetical contrary observation does not turn the big metal box on wheels into a falsehood and nor can it turn a blue chair white let alone make it invisible, then why not apply similar down-to earth evidentiary observations in the matter of determining for yourself as to wether or not the deep-seated passions of fear aggression, nurture and desire are indeed genetically encoded.
RESPONDENT: But it’s gone beyond theory now and into actuality? The proof of our misuse of thought is collapsing this very environment and the physical actuality of that, confronts us everyday. Mankind’s erroneous theories have bolted and cannot be contained by merely shutting the gate afterwards, and haughtily looking down our actual nose at mankind’s silly imaginings. The imagination is a force to be reckoned with, it can manoeuvre arms and legs into all sorts of mischief. It has wrought life threatening havoc on this planet!
PETER: Okay, before I get into detail, it may be useful to look at how it is possible to ascertain what is fact and what is theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, psittacism, speculation, feeling, intuition, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true.
The first step would be to at least entertain the idea that the notion you have about something may not be factually correct. It would be good to put one’s real-world and spiritual-world cynicism aside and crank up a bit of naïve curiosity at this stage, even if you have to pretend an innocence, a not knowing when you ‘really do know’... To do so would be a blow to one’s pride and the way I dealt with that was to turn it on its head and say that I would be really silly to continue believing something that was not factual. The next obstacle is the moral and ethical stance I have – if I think it is ‘right’ or ‘good’ to believe this particular issue then I will not even bother to investigate it. Again, I refused to let arbitrary moral or ethical judgements stand in the way of wanting to know the facts for that would be silly and beneath my dignity as a supposedly intelligent, supposedly autonomous, supposedly free human being.
So, you crank up a bit of naïve curiosity, clear the decks of pride, morals and ethics and you are ready to take a clear-eyed look at the particular issue. I can offer a few clues as to ascertaining facts based on my experience which may be useful. This is bound to end up a long post but you seem to be a reader which is a very good thing for someone interested in an actualism. I am putting in words a process I have done so many times it has become automatic, so it is best to regard this as a schematic outline rather than a fixed approach. But I do see a few elements common to any investigation –
So, taking a deep breath, we plunge into Environmentalism, using the above outline as a touchstone. I’ll try and keep on track but, in fact, all these elements tend to overlap, as one makes an investigation into a particular issue that may run from hours to weeks to months, or even years in some cases.
PETER to Alan: Recently I heard a lunatic defined as someone who continues to do something again and again despite the fact that it doesn’t work.
So things are going extraordinarily well. The numbers of people interested is growing exponentially as a confidence gathers as many can see that the practical benefits to themselves of becoming happy and the relief of becoming harmless to others. It does seem that the essential first step is for people to be honest enough to admit that they are not happy, whereas to admit that they are harmful to others is seemingly impossible. It is always the others fault or the fault of ‘society’ or the ‘system’.
P.S. – Heard this recently – ‘Between grief and nothing, I chose grief ...’ – some French philosopher whose name I missed. Sums it up really, the stubborn insistence on maintaining grief and sorrow as Noble human traits.
RESPONDENT: I have clearly identified that I am both a lunatic and an unhappy producer of suffering, and so your statements have attracted my full attention. I would like to read the Journals you describe. Are the HTML documents on your web site the same in content as the Journals you refer to?
PETER: Good to hear from you. The lunatic definition I heard from the chief executive of Continental Airlines who joined the company when it was well on its way to its third bankruptcy crisis and he was trying to change the ‘mind-set’ of the employees.
PETER: Actualism is the process of weeding out allusion and belief and replacing them with facts. The process is not a subjective mind-game, there are not ‘my’ facts or ‘your’ facts, there are simply facts. But you know this, or at least you did before your current bout of resistance –
To merely have insights about others and their motives and behaviour without having the intellectual rigor and intestinal fortitude to shine the same light of awareness on one’s own ‘self’ can only lead to a ‘self’-centred feeling of comparative superiority and a supercilious feeling of pity for others who are ‘less aware’.
Spiritual seekers who lust for the sense of power that accompanies such insights about others and go on to make a business of this practice can eventually develop their feeling of superiority into a full-blown holier-than-thou demeanour which, if nourished and nurtured, can be further developed into full blown ‘self’-love. Their pretence of sympathy for those who are unaware can be cunningly presented as a holier-than-thou compassion and then off they trot on the Guru circuit, satsang-ing and sangha-ing, preaching and proselytising, competing and squabbling in order to attract as many followers as possible, simply in order to try to rise to the top of a very smelly heap.
When I started to acknowledge my own spiritual beliefs and acknowledge the facts of the situation in the spiritual world, I was able to stop separating ‘me’ out from others. I was able to clearly see that ‘I’ was not unique, not special and by no means superior. When I sat down and made an assessment of what I was doing with my life I finally realized that it was only pride that stood in the way of acting with integrity.
When I weighed ‘my’ pride and ‘my’ beliefs against integrity and the facts it then became very clear as to which direction I needed to move in life – I abandoned the falsehood of spiritual pride and became an actualist. In short, I opted for peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: Iow, how can you know the difference between what actually happened (emotional memory) and what your imaginary projections are?
PETER: In order to prise these three separate issues apart, – actual experience, emotional memory and future projections – a practical down-to-earth example may be useful. I will use an example that I have written about in my journal, a time when I was waiting to meet Vineeto – <story snipped> As I have described, at the time this event was happening, ‘I’ had feelings of jealousy raging, and these feelings prevented me from enjoying the sensual delight of what was actually happening at the time. If ‘I’ now had an emotional memory of what happened, ‘I’ would simply be reliving ‘my’ feelings of jealousy in this moment, thereby preventing me from enjoying the sensual delight of being here.
By evoking an emotional memory of having been jealous in the past, ‘I’ re-vive the emotion in this moment and thereby run the danger of imagining situations or events to justify ‘my’ feeling jealous now. Given that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’, ‘I’ therefore exist over time – in other words, ‘I’ exist as past emotional memories, current affective experience and future fearful or worrisome imaginations.
RESPONDENT: Good! So I am simply ‘knowing’ that [‘I’ exist as past emotional memories, current affective experience and future fearful or worrisome imaginations.] as a fact.
PETER: You don’t need to rely on ‘knowing’ this to be a fact, you can experience it to be a fact for yourself by being attentive to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive. Knowing is a only start, but knowing is not a word I would use because spiritualists have so abused the word that they claim they know God exists when what they mean is they think, feel and believe God exists.
RESPONDENT: [I’ exist as past emotional memories, current affective experience and future fearful or worrisome imaginations.] Ok <snip now is the only moment ‘I’ can experience any reference to future or past (ability to discriminate) can only be arrived upon as a factual instance by appliance of time as a concept (a measure tool) hence I say the discriminating mechanism is the ability to conceptualize time.
PETER: While you may well think and feel all sorts of things about time, it does not alter the fact that this moment is the only moment you can experience being alive. If you are wasting this moment of being alive by wallowing in past emotional memories or worrying about something that may or may not happen in the future, then it is impossible to be attentive to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive. (...)
PETER: The computer screen is an object made of the stuff of this planet we humans live on, it is not a concept.
RESPONDENT: As to [object made of the stuff of this planet we humans live on] Technically speaking you are now implying that [this planet we humans live on] is made of glass. It would however be a sign of extremely superstitiousness from me, if indeed I would take [stuff of this planet] as such that. You actually tried to make me believe that you meant glass in this context.
PETER: And yet I didn’t say or imply that this planet is made of glass. What I said is that the computer screen is made up of the very stuff that this planet is made of. Traditionally glass was made of soda, lime and silica, all sourced from the earth and nowadays all sorts of other minerals are utilized in the process, depending on the type and specific characteristics of the glass. There is nothing superstitious or supernatural about glass and yet I always find it magical that glass is made from the rock of this planet. It’s quite stunning what human ingenuity is capable of.
RESPONDENT: So ... I take this ‘stuff’ as what has been scientifically proven to be a movement of matter.
PETER: No. This stuff – the physical matter that this planet is – exists as a fact. It doesn’t matter whether this stuff exists in its raw state or whether it has been fashioned or formed by human ingenuity and effort into other stuff – it is all the stuff this planet is made of. This stuff doesn’t need to be scientifically proven to be so – it is so. Nor do any of the scientific theories, concepts, hypotheses and fantasies about the ‘movement of matter’ alter the fact that the matter of this physical world exists as a verifiable empirical tangible fact.
RESPONDENT: Assuming thereby that the formulae E= mc square is correctly representing the actual relationship of energy to matter, ie. matter becomes energy or energy is materialized thus the universe in motion.
PETER: It is commonly assumed that Einstein’s theory is a law that relates to the physical world we live in. I don’t make that assumption, for even a little investigation will reveal that this is not so.
Contrary to popular belief there is not one theory about matter, there are currently some eight main theories of matter, and a myriad of sub-theories. Nowadays there is a good deal of consternation in the world of quantum theory because the whole edifice of theoretical particles and assumed relationships has been thrown into question by the lack of any empirical evidence to support it. Some heavyweights in the quantum world are even proposing abandoning the whole thrust of the last century’s theories and beginning again with a new set of theories and concepts.
I always find it kind of cute that spiritualists make a big deal out of digging up meta-physical quantum theories of matter, time and space and desperately wave them as a flag in support of their own meta-physical beliefs. Ever aware of the fragility of their own belief-system, they seek comfort in a belief-system that is equally as fragile and spurious – one that is already threatening to collapse like a tower made of playing cards. (...)
PETER: This type of conceptual thinking, i.e. thinking abstracted from facts and actuality, is common in spiritual circles and can only lead to a ‘me’ who imagines ‘I’ am real and the past, the physical world and other human beings are but an illusion.
RESPONDENT: Indeed: one safely can assume that this ‘but’ in [other human beings are but an illusion] can be considered as the great danger that lures in this way of conceptualizing.
PETER: In the normal world, the concept that we should all get on with each other is always sabotaged by ‘self’-centeredness and in the spiritual world the feeling that ‘we are all one’ is always sabotaged by the ‘Self’-centred feeling of ‘I am God’. Both concepts are well-proven failures.
RESPONDENT: This ‘I’ is capable of any type of imagination as long as it can keep playing a part as in such a way that it can discriminate itself as being ‘separate’ from its own imagination. Thus from that separateness comes either self-aggrandisement as in ‘I’ playing an exclusive/ important as Godman or God himself or the other side a self-degrading ‘I’ as ie. the one at mercy of the divine blessing/ will, aso. Either case in fact is distortion of actual experience because of an ‘unbalanced/ unrestricted functioning of the above discriminating mechanism. Iow, a case of more or less ‘insanity’.
PETER: And yet it is not only spiritualists who fail to discriminate fact from imagination. Theoretical scientists also seek glory and fame by searching for the Meaning of Life by developing all sorts of meta-physical concepts about space, time and matter. They do so by imagining all sorts of things that cannot and never can be seen, touched, smelt, heard or tasted and by imagining all sorts of events that have never, can never and never will be actually experienced by them.
I thoroughly recommend the active challenging of all of humanity’s cherished beliefs – not only spiritual beliefs but real-world beliefs, theories, concepts and psittacisms as well. How do you expect to experience the perfection and purity of the actual world if you fervently believe in a Greater Reality, gullibly fall for the stories that make the world as-it-is into a grim reality or unquestioningly accept the theories that make the world as-it-is into a world of science fiction.
PETER: One of the major difficulties for newcomers to actualism is that they think there is something new to learn in actualism – something they can add on to what they have already learnt. This is quite understandable because all that human beings think and feel to be true or ‘the truth’ has been learnt from someone else. The tendency therefore is to see actualism as something new to learn, a new form of wisdom to be clipped-on or melded in to their existing belief, a new and superior philosophy than the one they had before, a new set of rules and regulations as to how to live one’s life, a convenient excuse for continuing to suppress emotions and feelings, a clever mask for sublimating undesirable emotions and feelings, a catchy concept to strut around and teach others, and so on.
RESPONDENT: I say now so far: To stubbornly hold on to the hypothesis that: given that time is a fact [to have a concept of time is neither sensible nor practical] is a not sensible statement from an actualist point of view] is to miss the boat completely. Hence the question: Can for the flesh-body time only be a concept? Must be answered with no. Only to ‘I’ be it spiritual or social ‘I’, time can be a concept. Thus as already has been mentioned in [This type of conceptual thinking, i.e. thinking abstracted from facts and actuality, is common in spiritual circles and can only lead to a ‘me’ who imagines ‘I’ am real and the past, the physical world and other human beings are but an illusion.] the statement [to have a concept of time is neither sensible nor practical] I wholeheartedly agree with and even more say ‘to stubbornly hold on to ones ‘self-fabricated’ concept of time is stubborn insanity and an utterly redundant activity’. PS. Really, Peter a brilliant move this moment a fact.
PETER: The amazing thing about a fact is that it doesn’t need anyone’s agreement or anyone’s passionate support for it to be a fact. You can disagree with a fact, deny a fact, distort a fact or try and make a concept out of a fact, but none of these tricks or objections change a fact, make it go away or change it in any way. I like facts because facticity and actuality are intrinsic to the actual world.
RESPONDENT: As the one question still open for me is: [does the table only exist as something situated/ placed/ located/ happening between the future and the past?] yet is rendered unacceptable as you say [I have learnt by experience to bale out when conversations get to this point] though it was not me who asked that question. I say no ... this table you are referring to can only be virtual thus right in this moment you read these words it’s here.
PETER: And yet the reason I mentioned the table was the following exchange –
My point was that objecting to the fact that this is the only moment you can experience being alive is of the same ilk as objecting to the fact that material objects exists as a fact. As such, I’ll pass on your offer to continue this line of conversation. You will find that Richard has written a good deal on both these topics if you want to pursue this line of investigation for yourself.
PETER: Most people live their lives on the basis of feelings, imagination, hope and belief and stubbornly ignore facts and sensibility. My exchanges on the Sannyas Mailing List offer ample evidence of the stubborn hold that fervent belief and impassioned feelings have on human beings. Hiding behind, and wallowing in, spiritual belief makes any sensible consideration and discussion of facts an impossibility, and forestalls any consideration of the third alternative that is now available to remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’.
PUBLISHER No 1: Are you doing the same again? What’s the difference between a ‘spiritual belief’ and a ‘factual belief’?
PETER: Are you for real? A ‘factual belief’ is a contradiction in terms – a gross distortion of words, an insane inanity.
– What has really happened or is the case; truth; reality: in fact rather than theory, the fact of the matter is; something known to have happened; a truth known by actual experience or observation: scientists work with facts. Oxford Dictionary
Richard: A discerning eye and ear is needed in order to ascertain what is fact and what is merely theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, speculation, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true. It is easy to see when one knows how to look. Without having to interpret through one’s own belief system – an otherwise intelligent person is thus blind to the obvious – all facts are self-evidently clear. Start with a fact – a verifiable, objective actuality – as the base. Use it as a touch-stone to test the actuality of whatever ‘truth’ one suspects to be a belief. Separate out facts from fiction; find out which part is demonstrably a fact. Anything else is fiction, an illusion.
Any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true. A fact has actual verity, whereas a belief requires synthetic credence. It is a fact that I, as this body, am mortal. I will die in due course ... this heart will stop beating, these lungs will cease breathing, this brain will quit thinking.
Herein lies the clue to ascertain why this fancy has persisted: a feeling is not a fact. Feelings have led humankind astray for millennia, without ever being questioned as to whether they are the correct tool for determining the truth of a matter. Feelings are held to be sacrosanct; they are given a credibility they do not deserve. They are seen to be the final arbiter in a contentious issue: ‘It’s a gut-feeling’, or ‘My intuition is never wrong’, or ‘It feels right’, and so on. Thought, shackled by emotion and passion, can not operate with the clarity it is capable of. Surely, to experience what is factual is of far greater import than any conclusion arrived at by thought or feeling – no matter how highly refined the thought or fanatically felt the feeling.
To experience the factuality of the ending of ‘being’ whilst this body is still breathing is of the utmost importance, if one is to penetrate into the ‘Mystery of Life’ and discover the ultimate fulfilment ... here on earth. To come upon a fact, all that is fiction must be stripped away. All Sacred Cows must be mercilessly exposed to the most extreme scrutiny, nothing or no-one being exempt from critical examination. Common usage has blurred the distinction betwixt fact and belief so much so that anyone using sufficient sophistry can get away with anything at all and still be considered wise these days.
Religious teaching brainwashes people into believing nonsense instead of observing facts and actuality. For most people seeing a fact means betraying their belief ... thus they are rendered incapable of seeing it. One of the ways of ascertaining whether a ‘truth’ is a belief or a fact is that a belief demands loyalty; you give allegiance to it and to the group that espouses it. If you have more than one belief it causes difficulty, as your loyalties can be torn apart. You can feel chaotic, not knowing which belief is ‘true’. It makes you very insecure ... at moments like that you wish that there were one person who could tell you what to do and what not to do ... what to believe and what not to believe. You desire some Big Daddy or Big Mummy to tell you what is ‘Right’ and what is ‘Wrong’.
Most people try to resolve their different beliefs through compromise. Two people, holding on to their own beliefs, will get into an argument, a fight. They are separate. One is always trying to get the other to believe in their own belief through manipulation and persuasion ... and by giving or withholding love. The one who is stronger, the most adept in this, wins the other over. As neither can stand separation, they will grab any means to come together – even if this means mutual concessions, or the swapping of one’s belief for the other’s. Seeing that both beliefs are irrelevant, by virtue of the fact that they are beliefs anyway, they can dissolve completely. Then there is nothing to resolve, the problem itself is eliminated. Hence a permanent lack of conflict. With the absence of belief there is no more power battles over whose belief is ‘Right’. Separation is no more ... equity prevails. The result is actual intimacy between autonomous individuals.
Just because something is an experience in common, it is not necessarily factual. If something is communally experienced it is said to be objective and it is automatically implied to be true. If one is said to be objective it is taken as an accolade; whereas by being subjective, one is said to be prone to bias, to error. If no-one was bold enough to say that the accepted ‘truth’ is a mistake, then the sun would still be revolving around the earth! In the face of public opinion, one needs to be bold to question the collective wisdom and find out for oneself the fact of the matter. One of the best ways of doing this is to see that something held to be true is not working. Instead of vainly trying to make it work through intellectual dishonesty, one takes stock and applies lateral thinking. One needs to be audacious to proceed where no-one has gone before – and trail-blazers are often castigated for their effrontery. Fancy being ridiculed or ostracized for ascertaining the facticity of something ... for establishing a fact.
The criterion of a fact is that it works, it produces results. An insight is seeing the fact. When one sees the fact there is action ... and this action is the actualizing of the insight so that one’s personality is changed, irrevocably. The Actual Freedom Trust Library, Fact
PUBLISHER No 1: Our paradigm of reality allows us to ‘believe’ something is ‘fact’ How do I ‘know’? I don’t. I believe that I’m typing this on my computer and any number of people will support this belief. For all I know this could be the projection of some alien thought form directly into my brain – I don’t ‘believe’ for one minute this is so but it COULD be possible.
PETER: Your comment in a post entitled ‘Reality’ –
– is nothing other than Eastern philosophy whereby what is physical, tangible, palpable and actual is seen as illusionary. Another example of this philosophy is –
Your statements –
– represents pure Buddhist philosophy.
These are all puerile psittacisms that have been bandied around the East for millennia, in one form or another. It is stretching the language a bit to call it philosophy for the highest accolade in the East is to ‘really know that you do not know’, or to ‘truly know the Truth which cannot be spoken’.
PETER to Publisher No 1: 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.
RESPONDENT: My perspective is somewhat different from what I have been reading here. I, too, have had many awakening experiences over a span of 35 years. I, too, have seen the madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that. It is very clear that religion has failed to bring about anything close to peace, and in fact has caused far more suffering than any other system in the world. I saw this many years ago and knew that if I was to find the truth it would have to be just seeing the facts as clearly as possible.
PETER: Sounds a sensible approach to me but what I came to see was that I didn’t have to see a fact, a fact is something that already exists and I simply had to acknowledge it. I am not being pedantic here but many people ‘see’ fairies, goblins, ghosts, Santa Claus, flying saucers and all sorts of apparitions but that doesn’t necessarily make them factual. All of these seeings are culturally, religiously or historically influenced. A follower of Eastern religion and philosophy doesn’t hear the Voice of God, a Christian doesn’t feel Buddha in his heart and 19th Century people saw horse and carts in the sky and not flying saucers.
A fact, on the other hand, stands by itself whereas any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true. A fact has actual verity, whereas a belief requires synthetic credence.
Something I am curious about is that you stated that –
and yet you continued on following Eastern religion and philosophy. Did you not see the madness in Eastern religion or was your seeing based on a rejection of the Western religious world-view and the adoption of the Eastern religious world-view? Many spiritual seekers tend to wear rose coloured glasses when looking at the East and fail to see the appalling ignorance, arrogance, oppression, poverty, class structure and religious persecutions that is the result of thousands of years of intense devotion and practice of Eastern religions and philosophy. It is only now that some brave scholars are beginning to question, investigate and document the Eastern religious ‘madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that’. Two of the studies that I found particularly revealing about the Zen tradition is ‘Zen at War’ by Brian Victoria Weatherhill, 1997 and ‘The Rape Of Nanking’ (The Forgotten Holocaust of World War I) – Iris Chang, Basic Books, 1997, http://www.darkzen.com/.
PETER: I do find your change of tack a bit abrupt, for you were speaking somewhat in actualist terms in your last post when you said –
Something in our recent conversation does seem to have changed your mind a bit from your previous stance.
RESPONDENT: Since I am very interested in looking into what is actually happening I tried to do just that. I know that I was being a little sluggish in my approach but my goal is always the same thing; to see clearly. For me that means questioning everything, not only the facts but also where one is coming from in stating different opinions and views. It means that I’m equally interested in reading in between the lines as I am in the cold hard facts.
PETER: Reading between the lines means you are then free to disregards the facts, reinterpret them, dismiss them as belief or opinion, etc. This philosophical approach to life means that one can never be fully committed to living life for one always maintains a safe, cautionary distance. Likewise the psychic checking out of another’s position means that one is always on-guard and wary. I do understand, for this approach to living is what we have been taught, which is why I eventually abandoned the approach and began to listen to the facts speaking for themselves as it were.
RESPONDENT: After all we don’t want to create new ideals but instead come to terms with the malice and sorrow in our lives, and life is happening right here and right now in this communication we have with each other, we don’t want to continue fooling ourselves.
PETER: I’m not fooling myself – I am simply responding to your questions.
RESPONDENT: That’s part of the reason I was a little provocative in my mail even though I didn’t plan it that way. I just tried to respond to the parts of your mail that I was questioning in some way. I could have pointed out other passages that was inspiring and helpful in my investigation but since your writings are very extensive I chose to concentrate on the parts that I didn’t agree with totally or wanted to question a little bit.
PETER: I always take what is written at face value, without tying to second-guess or interpret the motives that may lie behind the question, statement or objection. Thus when you say one thing and then the opposite or agree and then disagree, I take it that you have changed your position. It is now clear that you quite literally and deliberately take no position about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. I cannot see any value at all in this style of intellectual ‘questioning’ for you but I do enjoy writing about my favourite subject and will continue to take your comments at face value.
RESPONDENT: When I’d written the mail I thought that it might be too rough around the edges but I was convinced that you wouldn’t take it the wrong way. But I actually detect a lot of defensiveness in your reply. I also see limitations in the way we communicate, breaking everything down to small parts. Sometimes the details obscure the bigger picture.
PETER: Being a pragmatic, down-to-earth builder by profession I know that a house is built stick by stick, bit by bit, day by day and eventually one has a finished house. The human psyche is constructed exactly the same way. From a base operation program of an instinctual animal ‘self’, a psychological and psychic self is layered over bit by bit, day by day, until by the time one is an adult the big picture of who we think and feel we are is complete. If one is interested in radical change this instinctual, psychological and psychic package has to be taken to pieces bit by bit, detail by detail, in order to discover what you are. Anyone interested in bigger picture solutions is usually talking of meta-physical viewpoints or philosophical approaches to living life.
RESPONDENT: So how am I to respond to this mail? I don’t want to continue quoting your quote of my previous quote etc in absurdity ... ... I’ll try to make some short comments and then we might be able to move on.
I would also like to clarify one thing; when I respond to your writings, it isn’t always ‘my’ view that I present, directly anyway. I see it as my prerogative (and everybody else’s) to step out of myself and question from a hopefully objective viewpoint. For instance I might question something that I quite agree with but still want to investigate further, that’s the approach I’ve been using anyway. So when I respond to you from a seemingly ‘spiritual’ viewpoint it can be that I try to see things with their eyes.
PETER: Personally, I find maintaining an objective viewpoint to living life an abysmal approach compared to undertaking an active subjective exploration of one’s own psyche in order to be able to fully indulge in this business of being alive as a flesh and blood, thoughtful, reflective human being. An exchange with another correspondence may illustrate my position about remaining objective
RESPONDENT: As I’ve mentioned a few times I’m not sure it’s very constructive to be too ‘one-sided’ and that’s of course the reason I continue to plague you with ‘defending’ the spiritual camp in some ways. I guess I’m not quite as radical as you are ... ... not yet anyway. But I am very interested in an alternative way of looking at (and living) life and this ‘third way’ is certainly of great interest. I can also understand that you are totally fed up with the ‘spiritual bunch’ after battling with them through the years and that it can be extremely frustrating to deal with all the fixed ideas ‘they’ have ... ... there’s that ‘us and them’ again, how can we move away from that ... I wonder.
PETER: The ‘spiritual bunch’ doesn’t have fixed ideas at all. They vacillate, fluctuate, oscillate, equivocate, pontificate, tergiversate, fudge the issue, pussyfoot around and waffle profoundly, all in order to defend their beliefs. A bit like squeezing a balloon – the hot air simply oozes in another direction. As I have said before, we have over a million words on our web-site from correspondent’s objections to being happy and harmless and all of them fall in to the category of people being unable or unwilling to take a position about life based on facts and their pure consciousness experiences, and all insisting on living life according to their beliefs and their altered state of consciousness experiences.
I do like it that you are interested in this third alternative to staying normal or becoming spiritual, so I will continue to respond in detail to your points and will continue to take what you write at face value. We may well break records for the length and ‘weight’ for e-mail correspondence but it is a delicious day to sit at the keyboard and I do like to write to a fellow human being who is interested in this new discovery.
RESPONDENT: You of course would argue that your point of view is evidently more sane since you have the empirical proof to back it up. But I can’t see the use of dismissing the theoretical side of science and everything else that isn’t possible to verify directly by empirical methods.
PETER: The problem I found with believing others’ theories and ideals was that they are changeable over time as more factual evidence became available, or as fashions changed. Further theories and ideals are culturally and spiritually influenced and the many variations only open up rich avenues of conflict, confusion, fantasy and fear, hope and hopelessness. Believing theories merely added more fuel to the fire of my instinctual passions, imaginations, dreams and nightmares – which is why I eventually abandoned the very act of believing.
Give me a fact any day.
RESPONDENT: Facts are great but I also think that we need to be our own ‘philosopher’ to be able to evaluate and make use of the facts. As I understand, practical philosophy is also about learning to communicate one’s views in an understandable way and we all need that to make any sense to others.
PETER: I find ‘practical philosophy’ a contradiction in terms. Philosophy means thinking about life.
RESPONDENT: Maybe this is where I’m still questioning your doctrine; can we be ABSOLUTELY convinced that we can rely on the so called facts ... I mean psychology, biology and other sciences investigating the human body and mind haven’t been known to be that exact this far. I agree that these findings are MORE likely to qualify as a ‘truth’ or ‘facts’.
PETER: Given that a simple definition of a fact is that it is something that can be verified by seeing, touching, hearing, smelling or tasting and that it demonstratively so to anyone. For instance, the computer monitor you are watching and these words on the monitor are facts. This may seem simplistic but many meta-physically inclined people have trouble with even this level of sensibility. The other definition of a fact is that it should work, and this should be able to be demonstrated, replicated and substantiated by repeatable experiments. This eliminates belief, trust, faith, hope, conviction, intuition and doubt from any investigation for one always has fact as a reliable touchstone.
In a PCE it is startlingly evident that the human condition we are born into doesn’t work – it begets either cynical acceptance or fanciful denial as the prime mechanisms of coping with malice and sorrow. It then becomes an imperative to question all the morals, ethics, ideals, theories, ideas, concepts, truths, doctrines and dogmas that have been passed on to us by those who were here before us. Once begun in earnest, this process does not result in endless questioning loops for as one replaces fact with belief one’s confidence grows to the point where one no longer needs to believe others – the very action of believing stops. This is not a meta-physical ‘knowing’ or feeling, but a sensible down-to-earth discovery and acknowledgement of the facts of human existence on earth. From this feet-on-the-ground state of increasing confidence and heightened sensuousness one is then able to step out of the human condition with gay abandon and impunity.
RESPONDENT: And Peter, I’m sure that even you have beliefs. Even if you base your approach on the ‘facts’ there’s belief involved without a doubt, you have to believe in your interpretation of the facts. This is pioneering work that you do so therefore it is also likely that you have to change your position somewhat in the future.
PETER: This is where the personal knowledge of a pure consciousness experience is vital – one knows for a fact what is possible and then one sets out to live the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs. a day, every day. Then the only position that changes is that one becomes actually free – thus making the fact of the experience constant, permanent and irrevocable.
RESPONDENT: Isn’t the third way a theory amongst others until it’s really proven on a larger scale? Don’t we have to wait and see if it’s going to make a difference at all? This, of course, doesn’t prevent you, me or anybody else to live life the way we decide to right now, we shouldn’t wait around for anybody else, I mean.
PETER: One man has proven it is possible and a handful of others are proving that the method to become free works. If you want to wait ‘until it’s really proven on a larger scale’ – that is a different matter completely.
However, there is no imperative, no urgency – hundreds of people have rejected the possibility of becoming actually free of malice and sorrow in favour of remaining normal or continuing on the traditional spiritual path.
RESPONDENT: But what have we created? It is not a pretty picture from my perspective. The results are not what we would call ‘best.’ It is not a beautiful thing in my estimation to watch our cities destroyed by floods caused by extreme weather and higher oceans due to global warming through the destruction of our atmosphere. It is not a pretty thing to watch people starve because plants burn up and the rains don’t come.
PETER: I see you are a believer in the theory of global warming and subsequent disruptions in weather patterns. It was a debate that I followed with interest for a while to see if I could discern the facts as opposed to the media hype, the vested interests and ‘Doomsday’ beat ups. There certainly seems a great deal of disagreement in the scientific community (not an uncommon thing) with the usual competitiveness, brinkmanship, and blarney abounding. What does seem a constant thread is that it is still a theory searching for hard evidence and actual proof. The problem of such a limited time span of precise meteorological and atmospheric data – only about 100 years – has lead to nothing more than theoretical extrapolations. Still, it does suit the agenda of the extremists and ‘Doomsdayers’ to promote the worst case theories as ‘truths’ in order to promote their particular ‘truth’ as the only solution. They are also people who simply do not want to be here, they hunger for an escape from living life, here, now, on earth.
I have developed a discerning eye and ear in order to ascertain what is fact and what is merely theory, postulation, concept, truth, common agreement, belief, assumption, speculation, imagination, myth or wisdom. At the start it does take intent to dig around and it does take a bit of an effort, (like reading what I am writing, for a start). It can result in a few blows to one’s pride, but otherwise one would simply believe what everybody else tells as the Truth.
PETER: Great thing about a mailing list is that it is open for all to see, so I’ll take the opportunity to respond to your post to No 23 concerning me.
So, to respond to your post –
RESPONDENT No 23: Why do you allow yourself to be in any way affected by this person’s poison, this person is quite obviously a mind dweller and mind dwellers love to mind fuck, it is their expertise, just watch these experts disappear up their own arises if you just give them enough rope.
RESPONDENT: You know, it is unbelievable that minds can be so thick. I haven’t given up hope that there must be a gap, a small slice of openness for communication to peep through, but it seems not so. I’ve never before in my life come across someone so totally brainwashed and it makes me a bit curious – how is it possible? But you’re right, it is poison and it doesn’t do good.
PETER: Great that you haven’t given up hope of finding any small slice of openness. When I met Richard I was intrepid in both my questioning and scrutiny of what he was saying – there was no way I was just going to take on another set of beliefs. What he was saying that he had found out about the Human Condition was both incomprehensible and frightening to ‘me’. I would often recoil in bewilderment but I was determined to ascertain for myself whether or not what he was saying was factual. To go away, read, contemplate, question, investigate, recall, ponder, ruminate ... and then come back and ask again. I would pursue this process with each of my dearly-held beliefs until the clear facts emerged. I have written more of it in the Intelligence chapter of my journal, if you are interested.
As for never coming across someone so brainwashed before, it is not that I am sprouting Wisdom or a new belief system. I am simply stating facts. When talking to Richard, I always tried to avoid getting into a ‘tis’ – tisn’t’, ‘right and wrong’ type of discussion. Much better to look at the facts of the situation – and they were always 180 degrees different to what I had been taught.
The certainty and surety comes from facts and common sense, whereas doubt and confusion are the direct result of belief and feelings.
And what I talk of is the actual world of purity and delight that we have all experienced in a pure consciousness experience – that world that is right under our noses when ‘I’ temporarily abdicate the throne. It is not a philosophy or something Richard has invented. This actual world is ever-present, but it is not a world that ‘I’ can experience, therefore ‘my’ demise is essential. (...)
RESPONDENT: Instead of responding to other Sannyasins’ experiences and insights, they keep on hammering and repeating into boredom their own hard-found truth.
PETER: Very few people on the list have talked of their personal experiences and insights and those that did I responded to. They may not have liked the response, but I did respond and tried to point to the possibility that there could be another experience that is possible as a human on this planet in these marvellous times we live in.
Boring has been a word that has been used a lot about our writing. I would get very bored and resistant to reading Richard’s writings. I would often nod off to sleep, day-dreaming, etc. Then I began to realize ‘my’ investment in being bored. ‘I’ would sort of close down as it all became too much or my mind would go into a sort of grid lock. I would get headaches from trying to understand, from trying to ‘kick-start’ my intelligence, from trying to untangle what was fact from what was belief.
But that was just for me – maybe for you they are just plain boring.
RESPONDENT: Instead of them inquiring into our experiences, they go on and on exclaiming themselves to have got it right and the rest of us to be wrong. That doesn’t set the ground for talk between equals.
PETER: Nowhere have either Vineeto or I exclaimed ‘to have got it right and the rest of (you) to be wrong’. A fact is a fact – it stands on its own as it were – it is neither right or wrong. To me it is far better to live one’s life based on facts rather than beliefs – then one is free to judge things as ‘silly’ or ‘sensible’ firmly based on facts.
Simple things like – if you want to live with a woman (or man) it would be good to do so in peace, harmony and equity. In the case of Vineeto and I, we had a contract to look at everything (in ourselves only – not the other) that was in the way of that being possible. And within 12 months we succeeded – and one of the first things I had to throw out was ‘right and wrong’.
Also, it was a trap for me when I would put what Richard was saying into the ‘right and wrong’ basket. It was a recipe for conflict, and a vain attempt by ‘me’ to justify ‘my’ knowledge, ‘my’ experience – in short, ‘my’ very existence. And beneath it all, ever-lurking, lay pride.
As for ‘equals’, on meeting Richard, I quickly had to abandon the principle. Here was a man who was happy and harmless, had a knowledge of the Human Condition that is unprecedented in human history and who knew the delusion of Enlightenment from the inside. I settled into his lounge-room and lapped up all I could – to find out ‘a new way of walking’ – as someone posted the other day – upright, free, independent, beholden to no-one. Happy and harmless.
I freely acknowledged I had a lot to learn and that he was a far superior human being. He is, after all, free of malice and sorrow, and I unabashedly set out to learn all that I could in order to emulate his freedom.
I can’t give you more than the sense I make of the Human Condition – that bummer of a birthmark – that all we humans are embroiled in.
RESPONDENT: What is your need to point out another possibility for another experience to us?
RESPONDENT: There exists nothing such as facts.
PETER: I think you are in real trouble if you say that your computer screen is not a fact and these very words you are reading are not a fact. Next you will be telling me that I am not a fact and I am but a figment of your imagination. Not even in your wildest imagination could you anticipate my response to your words. No, these words are actual given that you can see them on the screen
On my screen, they are flowing – as if by magic – from my fingers on the keyboard, right now, right here.
PETER: I can’t give you more than the sense I make of the Human Condition.
RESPONDENT: Of course you cannot, not even this. Because you can know the human condition as your condition, nothing more.
PETER: The Human Condition is common to all, as per definition. The ‘spiritual’ world is firmly within the Human Condition. Since time immemorial humans have worshipped Gods, believed in good and evil spirits.
The only difference between you and I is that I acknowledged the Human Condition in me and actively pursued its total elimination in me.
RESPONDENT: I am surprised that you do not find it a fact that people react against the truth. You say it is a myth. This seems strange to me.
As I read your correspondence on the sannyas list one of the most outstanding things is the extent to which people react against facts. This is exemplified by the resistance or refusal of some people to have their words fed back to them. Most people want to tread lightly, sticking in the arena of beliefs and spiritual ‘experiences’. You tend to bring in facts, and people just don’t like it. I can see much evidence of an allergy to truth.
What does the word truth mean? It means that which is in accordance to the actual state of things; conforming to fact. Truth is not about beliefs. Certainly, as you rightfully point out over and over again, the proponents of each belief system or religion or spiritual path take it that they have found the truth and that the others have not and many are prepared to fight bloody wars to support that.
You say ‘True courage and intelligence is to investigate and discover the facts for oneself’. Yes. That is so. True courage and intelligence is to investigate and discover truth for oneself. Have you not discovered facts? Have you not presented those facts to people on the sannyas list. Have you not presented truth? And do you not find a gross allergic reaction to the truth – the facts – that you are presenting?
I agree with Doris Lessing. It is my observation also. The more one presents the facts, the more reaction is generated.
PETER: This is nonsense. Doris Lessing was talking of meta-physical truth not facts. They have as much similarity as Santa Claus and his ‘flying reindeer’ do to Neil Armstrong and the Apollo moon mission. One is a fairy tale belief and the other is factual – as evidenced by sufficient witnesses, written, audio and film evidence, as well as physical objects, such as capsule, rocket, etc. such as to very reliably taken as a fact.
No wonder people ‘assume wrongly’ what you say. As you yourself said –
It does seems a deliberate policy in that it enables you to attempt to assimilate what is obviously new and factually based, into what is obviously the same old fairy tale of truths.
The spiritual world is literally twice removed from the actual world, in that common sense is completely absent in the spiritual scriptures and in those who follow them.
To equate a ‘truth’ and a fact is nonsense.
RESPONDENT: Yes Peter, [Peter]: ‘There is indeed a perfect and pure actual world right under our noses, right now, right here.’ [endquote]. And most people are allergic to being told anything about it.
PETER: As you yourself said – ‘I can report what I like, to myself or to you. It does not necessarily make it true.’
And just because everybody believes something to be the true, doesn’t necessarily make it a fact. A brief, open eyed, look at history will affirm this as a factual statement. At one point everyone believed the earth was flat. At one point everyone believed the sun went around the earth. At one point everyone believed that there was a physical bit in the body called the soul. At one point everyone believed malice was the result of evil spirits possessing the body. At one point people believed that we humans were meant to forever suffer on earth as some sort of cosmic penal colony – woops ... I’ve jumped ahead a bit there ...
PETER: It does seems a deliberate policy in that it enables you to attempt to assimilate what is obviously new and factually based, into what is obviously the same old fairy tale of truths. The spiritual world is literally twice removed from the actual world, in that common sense is completely absent in the spiritual scriptures and in those who follow them. To equate a ‘truth’ and a fact is nonsense.
RESPONDENT: I think before we talk further about this you might consult a good dictionary. You might add a definition of ‘truth’ to the Glossary on your web-site. I like the definition in Macquarie, which reads, in part [quote]: ‘the true or actual facts of a case’, ‘conformity with fact or reality’, ‘a verified or indisputable fact...’ [endquote].
PETER: We have been corresponding with the Sannyas list for about three months and have made it a constant point, in many, many posts, to distinguish between the spiritual truth and facts. The spiritual pundits have made the word truth meaningless to give credence to their particular philosophy or mythical tale. Many, many times in the spiritual world one will see the word truth used, often with capitalisation to denote a Divine Truth. Given that there are about 6,000 religions on the planet, there are at least that many versions of truth or Truth (as in God’s Word). My local new-age bookshop has thousands of books all proclaiming a truth about human existence – and most, if not all, offer contradictory versions, and wildly so. Even within one religion, such as Rajneeshism, there are so many versions of the truth, as he spoke on so many religions and philosophies offering a broad church of Eastern Mysticism to his followers. It is in this context that the word truth, both in the spiritual world and the real world, has lost any meaning, any sense, any credibility as to what may have been a useful dictionary definition.
It is for this reason that the words actual and fact are used in our correspondence and deliberately so. We leave the word truth to the duplicity and deviousness of the spiritual world.
RESPONDENT: You will surely find that the word truth refers to facts not beliefs. Once you understand that I use the word truth to refer to facts rather than ‘one’s own truth’ you will see that what I say is very close to what you are saying.
I cannot speak for Doris. You seem to know a lot more than me about her. I take her words at face value. Whatever she meant from it, I mean that the world is allergic to truth, as in facts. I am not talking about meta-physical truth, I am talking about facts.
PETER: This is a good illustration of the dangers of interchanging the words truth and fact. Doris Lessing clearly points to a meta-physical truth, not a fact.
No 12 first quoted Doris Lessing, ‘This planet is allergic to the truth’ in the context of a post about war.
I responded –
She is without doubt, for sure, absolutely, undeniably, talking of a spiritual, ethereal, other-worldly, mystical, meta-physical truth.
So when you say that you agree with Doris Lessing and indicate that she is talking of the same thing as we are, I do get a little confused.
RESPONDENT: I am interested in finding out what spiritual beliefs I still hold on to, and examining them, finding out if any facts are associated with them and getting rid of the garbage. Keeping the facts.
I am learning to state things more clearly and to drop the allusions.
But in the end one can be as clear as glass and people will still come to what one writes with their rose coloured glasses. Surely you experience that through your conversations on the Sannyas list. Did you not find that no matter how you precisely formulated your posts, most of the responses came from people who twisted what you were saying? I find your writing pretty clear, but still it does not get through. Perhaps slowly some begin to understand what you are talking about, through repetition and through your tenacity. Good on ya.
PETER: When I first came across Richard’s writing it was totally bewildering to me. It would give me headaches trying to read it, it was as though the world was upside down. I would try and fit it into my concepts by changing the meanings of words or missing out a few words here and there to make a sentence more readable. It is as though one is reading a different language, although the words are in English so it seems we should be able to easily understand. It takes patience, effort, contemplation, perseverance, sincerity, interest, curiosity, and a desire like you have never had before, to dig in to the job of demolishing one’s very self.
I like your tenacity – maybe we can move on from the more pedantic issues and get to discuss the differences between the spiritual world and the actual world.
For therein lies the chance of a meaningful discussion and exploration – the interesting, the new, the vital, the alive, the challenging, the confrontational, the life changing, the adventure, the fun.
PETER: So, it’s one more time again for you –
RESPONDENT: OK, one more time with feeling. Perhaps we can get somewhere here. (Progress on the road to nowhere.)
PETER: If you are trying to ‘change my mind’, get me to ‘see the light’, show me where I have got it wrong, then – it is indeed the road to no-where.
As Galileo is reported to have said to the Pope when hauled before him for contradicting the Bible – ‘Okay Mr. Pope, but even if I do say that I am wrong and the sun does go around the earth it won’t change the fact that the earth goes around the sun.’
The facts are that in Ancient times primitive humans believed the sky was another world inhabited by strange objects – the Sun, Moon, Planets and Stars. They gave them names and worshipped them as Gods, prayed to them and offered them gifts. Soon particular tribe members took over the roles of shamans, the representatives of the God’s on earth. The God’s were split into Good and Evil and anyone in a fit of rage or depression was said to be possessed by Evil and the power of the Good spirits was evoked.
Of course, now in 1999, we know that the source of sorrow and malice in humans is but the instinctual program of fear and aggression. In a valiant but ultimately doomed attempt we have called on the instincts of nurture and desire as a balancing act. The Good to do battle with the Bad.
RESPONDENT: So Peter and Vineeto are remembering us of a good thing, but at the same time they are proof of the saying that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. Their judging the failure or success of a master, guru or teacher by the lack of improvement in the condition of humanity as a whole is questionable. Questionable because it is not a fact.
RESPONDENT: Yes, but what’s not a fact is that a teaching is a failure because carnage has not been stopped. Understanding of a teaching can’t be pushed down peoples throats. They have to do it themselves. A master or teacher can’t force himself on people. He offers an opportunity to understand, but many people unable to console themselves with third rate concepts, after all it’s easier, with all trouble you mentioned as a result, yes.
PETER: Okay, here is another idea you can deny or object to. I’ve got an endless supply, by the way. So let’s say there have been about 10 billion human beings who have walked the planet since cave-man times. Let’s say there have been about 1,000 masters or ‘good-quality teachers’ who have known and not merely pretended. My guess is that there have been at least 1 billion who have given the teachings a ‘fair go’ in their lives. They may not have realized the Truth but they have sincerely tried their best to live by the teachings. And yet, we humans still fight and kill each other. There is not even a semblance of hope that peace and harmony is possible on the planet.
So what you are saying is that the 1,000 teachers are right and the 1 billion followers are wrong.
This is only a suggestion, but maybe, just maybe, you might consider, if only for a second or two, that the ... teachings could be wrong?
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.