Selected Correspondence Peter
Freedom from the Human Condition
ALAN: (...) We are currently having an extremely violent demonstration of the ‘sickness’ of the human condition, which you have probably seen in the media. Blacks, Asians and gays have so far been targeted – watch out, actualists could be next! Which, of course, could never happen – with no beliefs to defend, there is nothing to attack – and all that is required is to come to one’s senses!
PETER: Well ... It is pretty certain, given the Human Condition, that, as Actual freedom gains momentum, the ‘shit will hit the fan’ at some stage. Probably the most virulent and vitriolic of objectors will be those who protest at the elimination of feelings, despite the fact that these feelings are sorrow and malice. The cute thing about Actual Freedom is that one becomes anonymous – a nobody – and one does whatever one can to sensibly maintain this anonymity. The Net is ideal for this – we could pass each other on the street and not know that we both are actualist. The checkout girl at the local checkout hasn’t a clue that I am not a part of the ‘real’ world, exactly as my former spiritual friends have not a clue that I am no longer in the ‘spiritual’ world. The anonymity is delicious, and I will do my utmost to sensibly preserve it.
Still, I fully expect that the ‘shit will hit the fan’ one day ...
ALAN: ‘Political correctness’ is also rampant here – a leading judge made a joke at a dinner party last week, along the lines of ‘someone made great advances in the legal profession after having three transplant operations – he was given the breasts of a lesbian, the penis of a black man and the buttocks of a gay man’. I thought it quite amusing, but such is the power of the three lobbies he ‘insulted’ that he is likely to lose his job. The military are also engaged in peace keeping operations, which do not amount to ‘war’. If bombing the shit out of someone and firing dozens of cruise missiles (costing in excess of a million dollars each) is not ‘war’, I’d like to know what is.
PETER: I used to think that there was a solution for Humanity’s ills, that if only ... I would watch TV or participate in the typical male conversations about what was right or wrong with the world, what needed to be done. Now it is apparent that Humanity is terminally ill – finished, kaput, stuffed, going around in circles, revolution after revolution, cycle after cycle, old wound after old wound festering to the surface again. It’s time to abandon ship – to have the courage to stand on one’s own two feet as it were while being sensible enough to keep one’s hands in one’s pockets and one’s ‘opinions’ to oneself. Except if you find someone who is interested in freedom, and then it is hard to stop raving ...
ALAN: Yes, I did nothing to either ‘get into’ my feelings, nor to ‘get rid’ of them. An awareness of what I was feeling, an examination of what was occurring, an investigation into what caused the feeling (usually a belief) led to the particular emotion disappearing without, as you say, ‘me’ being aware of it happening. Do you think it is ridding oneself of beliefs that causes the emotions to vanish? Unlike emotions, I was usually aware of the disappearance of a belief – a ‘getting it’, which I have written of previously.
PETER: I just wrote to No 3 on this matter as to how I see belief, feeling and emotion. It might be useful and may address your question – let me know if it doesn’t. I would only add that one doesn’t eliminate feelings totally until the ‘lot’ goes – until the fat lady has sung, so to speak. But the ‘vanishing’ of emotions from one’s daily life such that one has a 99% perfect day, day after day, is the base camp for the final event to happen.
So, it’s back to the couch for me, after all, life was meant to be easy.
I always thought what a marvellous time it was to be right in the middle of the formation of a religion when in my spiritual days and now I get to see the beginnings (or continuation) of a war on TV. Such fascinating times to be alive – to see the cultural identities we have been imbibed with, to see the religious myths, to see the Human Condition as a totality.
Actual Freedom has never been possible before as it was physically impossible to obtain an overview of various social identities and tribal groupings, as well as an overview of the effects of instinctual-driven passions. There has been an explosion of knowledge and information that makes believing in Ancient Wisdom an insult to intelligence. In the past there was always a maybe, always a possibility that someone had a solution somewhere and it was just a matter of finding it. Nowadays you can just log-on or tune-in, and all of Humanity’s wisdom is available for perusal and scrutiny. For the first time in history one has sufficient information to sort out for oneself what is silly and sensible without having to believe what others say.
All that is needed is a willingness to find out for oneself what it is to be a human being.
PETER to Alan: I’ll wrap this up with something Richard found the other day that says a lot about the Human Condition. I remember writing once of the Human Condition – ‘Thus it is established that ‘we are the way we are, because this is the way we are’ and further – ‘this is the way we will always be, because this is the way we have always been’ – simply translated as ‘You can’t change Human Nature’.
But this little story illustrates it really well ...
PETER to Alan: Just another little curio I found recently. I think I mentioned that I had done a bit of a scoot around the Net to see what was current in brain research. I got sidetracked into what the psychologists were making of this research and the results were fascinating to say the least.
The current crop of psychologists have concocted academic studies with such titles as evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology but what they really study, and how they study it, is most revealing. They indulge in an extremely careful ethical tippy-toeing around the most salient aspects of human behaviour and are in outright denial of the mayhem and angst that results from human beings being hobbled by animal instinctual passions.
I’ll just post a brief section from a university psychology department research program which will give you a bit of a flavour of acade-mania in action –
[quote]: University of Liverpool Research Programme:
The broad aim is the study of the behavioural biology of humans and other mammals within the framework of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Our objective is to understand both the evolutionary function of reproductive and social behaviour and the proximate mechanisms that underpin them.
There are three main programmes:
The current fashionation is to study, glamourize and glorify the instinctual passion of nurture in operation in other mammals and one can see this in operation in much of society. Even tigers, wolves and poisonous snakes are seen as warm-hearted beings who are misunderstood. I guess if they make animals out to be as ‘good’ as humans, then we can all ‘accept’ that the Human Condition is ‘as good as it gets’. The fervently good even grant ‘rights’ to animals and then proceed to fight for these rights, but the good always love fighting for causes. The other advantage of granting ‘rights’ to animals is that one can then get angry, sad and depressed when these ‘rights’ are abused, like when some bad people hunt and kill animals for food or profit. If this isn’t enough of an emotive outlet, one can then become worried about ‘endangered species’ which offers endless opportunities to indulge in fear and despair, malice and anger, sorrow and sadness. I do mean endless, given that scientists estimate that there are between 2 and 4.5 million animal and plant species on the planet, all of which are seemingly endangered or whose ‘rights’ could be abused by ‘evil’ humans.
Evolutionary psychology, behavioural biology or behavioural ecology – call it what you will – is but the same old ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ game, except this time it is the good instincts vs. the bad instincts and not the good spirits vs. the bad spirits. But then again, given that these scientist and academics believe God (or Existence) gave us the good instincts to counter the bad ones ... it’s really just that same ♪♫ ‘old time religion, that old time religion, it’s good enough for me’ ♪♫
The other one they sing loudly is ♪♫ ‘all you need is love, ... love, ... love is all you need’ ♪♫ as if this is some magical and new solution that hasn’t yet been tried enough, by enough people, for enough time. I often wonder whether these people who trumpet this advice to others have perfect, harmonious, equitable and delightful companionship with their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. The wondering only lasts a few seconds and then I remember the Human Condition which is to gratefully accept the periods between fights with one’s companion as some sort of blissful truce, a peaceful if temporary cessation of hostilities. ‘As good as it gets’ in normal human relationships is a sad compromise of the delightful intimacy possible between human beings, even in a virtual freedom from the Human Condition.
If one really studies the Human Condition – ‘evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology’ – with open eyes, one may see what an actualist sees –
... Just a bit from the Introduction that I thought relevant.
Arche Aye ....the ‘real’ world is a bad, sad and very mad world.
Good thing there is a simple, down-to-earth alternative – a method to become free of all this madness.
PETER to Alan: I have been musing yet again on the question of denial and what I wrote to you the other day –
So prolific is denial in the Human Condition that it deserves a bit more rooting around to find the real source of it. As you well know, the most prevalent self-defence mechanism evident in any correspondence we have had about the Human Condition, is one of breathtaking denial. This is the dominant response to any attempted slightly in-depth discussion or exchange, be it with Richard, Vineeto or myself. This denial is what moved me off my bum to dig in to Paul Lowe’s book, and further investigate the denial that is enshrined in the teachings of Eastern religion and philosophy. A useful exercise in itself, and great fun to do, but the response to such uncovering of the lies, trickery and deceptions of the spiritual path is inevitably one of even more denial. ‘So what’, ‘it’s got nothing to do with me’, ‘I’m not on the spiritual path’, ‘My Guru tells the Truth’, ‘it’s about the feeling around the Gurus not the facts’ are typical responses. There have been countless times when I have said to someone what a relief it is to have abandoned the spiritual world and the spiritual person I have been talking to say they agree and nod their head. Two recent examples was a woman who had just arrived in town after being in the Himalayas meditating for 3 years, the other who had just produced a magazine attacking the members of his sect for not being loyal to his spiritual master. And yet both denied they were spiritual in any way! Whenever religions are exposed for the puerile nonsense they are it’s always someone else’s religion, or the person is not part of a religion, or they simply slink away.
This denial is so common a response that I now regard it as par for the course. Ah, here comes the denial phase and anyone initially interested disappears over the hill with their tails between their legs. Richard has found a few hard-nosed spiritual teachers and spiritual intellectuals – those with the most investment – who have stuck around to defend their beliefs but their defence gets sillier and sillier as time goes on and more beliefs are debunked as more facts are presented.
But, of course, there is something deeper beneath this façade of denial. One of the major barriers is pride. To admit one is merely following a fashionable belief, mouthing a psittacism, senselessly following the herd, being the marionette who one was taught to be, and robotically behaving exactly how one’s peers demand, is a crushing blow, particularly to the proudly humble spiritual devotee. The other factor that operates to reinforce denial, as you have noted, is the desperate need to belong to the group and the spiritual believers form a very large, safe and increasingly popular group in humanity.
So I see pride and fear operating and these were certainly issues that I had to tackle in acknowledging the failure of the spiritual path to deliver anything remotely resembling freedom, peace and happiness. Digging a little deeper is to get to the core of one’s being and to come across one’s essential nature – the instinctual self. Richard uses the phrase ‘lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning’ to describe the psychological and psychic entity that ‘I’ am. Lost, lonely and frightened are qualities that many will admit to, and it is indeed the tacit acknowledgement of this that brings many people to the spiritual path in the first place. These qualities also provide the fuel for many to give the spiritual path 100% effort.
The very, very cunning quality of the self ensures that many people will gleefully and gullibly accept the spiritual teachings, deny the existence of the physical world, deny that they are a mortal flesh and blood, believe in their own immortality and fully indulge in the fantasy delusion that they are indeed God-on-earth. This is an act of utter selfishness, cunningly disguised as a noble sacrifice to a ‘higher cause’, yet exposed for the fraud it is when the few who succeed become Gods-on-earth, Saints, Masters, revered teachers and the like – to be feted, worshipped, adored, flattered and fawned by one’s fellow human beings.
The very, very cunning nature of the self is evident in the real world as hypocrisy, corruption, deceit, lies and denial. In spite of the constant pleas and extolling to obey society’s moral and ethical standards, human beings, when push comes to shove, inevitably revert to natural behaviour. Natural behaviour is instinctual behaviour – genetically programmed to ensure the survival of the species. The human species has been endowed with a self-survival program that almost inevitably over-rides the consideration of the survival of the group. Each human is instilled with a distinct individual self which is embellished by the ability to think and reflect into a substantive entity, an identity of psychological and psychic substance – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. It is obvious over time bargains and deals were done between groups of humans, be they biological family groups and/or tribal groups, and these eventually became formalized into particular sets of moral and ethical rules. These rules, instilled to ensure the group’s survival, became paramount over the genetically encoded, essentially individually selfish, survival program. This explanation of the human instinctual program accounts for the ongoing failure of human beings to live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. An understanding of the instinctual passions in action also reveals the spiritual search for self-discovery and self-realization as nothing other than an instinctually-driven attempt at self-aggrandizement and a lust for personal psychic power over others.
PETER to Alan: After our conversation the other day, I have been musing a bit about the word freedom and what it means to most people.
Exemption or release from slavery or imprisonment; personal liberty. 2 The quality of being free from the control of fate or necessity; the power of self-determination attributed to the will. 3 The quality of being free or noble; nobility, generosity, liberality. 4 The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint; liberty of action; the right of, to do.. 5 Exemption from a specific burden, charge, or service; an immunity. 6 Exemption from arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic control; independence; civil liberty. 7 Readiness or willingness to act. 8 The right of participating in the privileges attached to citizenship of a town or city (often given as an honour to distinguished people), or to membership of a company or trade. Also, the document or diploma conferring such freedom. b Foll. by of: unrestricted access to or use of. c The liberty or right to practise a trade; the fee paid for this. 9 Foll. by from. The state of not being affected by (a defect, disadvantage, etc.); exemption. 10 Orig., the overstepping of due customary bounds in speech or behaviour, undue familiarity. Now also, frankness, openness, familiarity; outspokenness. 11 Facility or ease in action or activity; absence of encumbrance. 12 Boldness or vigour of conception or execution. Oxford Dictionary
The dictionary provides a reasonably straightforward definition and for an actualist the pertinent section is freedom ‘from’, as in –
Thus a freedom from the human condition is ‘The state of not being affected by (a defect, disavantage, etc.), exemption’ , from the human condition. Given that the salient attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow, a more pragmatic definition is an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.
Much confusion arises for the seeker of freedom, peace and happiness for the word freedom traditionally means something quite different. In spiritual terms, freedom means an escape from, or release from, something undesirable – life as-it-is, in the world as-it-is, right here and right now – and the discovery of, or realization of, a more desirable somewhere else – being ‘present’ in the spiritual world, anyplace but here and anytime but now. I am having a correspondence with an awakened spiritual teacher at the moment that well illustrates this difference –
There seems to be a very deep-set misunderstanding that arises even from the running of the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ for the traditional approach would be – am ‘I’ feeling safe and comfortable ‘inside’ this body despite what is happening in the rock-solid world ‘out there’? This approach to the question merely perpetuates the self as an entity that is separate from the actual world, it does nothing to actively demolish and break down the barriers that prevents one as a mortal flesh and blood body being fully immersed in and engaged in the business of doing what is happening, right here and now in the physical, rock-solid actual world. This actual freedom is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual freedom which is the escape from being here, right now in this the only moment one can experience being alive.
PETER to Alan: I will finish off this post with a few observations about the human condition that struck me recently as being particularly revealing.
The first was a saying that I heard recently – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’. For those who have felt the rage of jealousy or, as Vineeto recently reported, were willing to kill or be killed for their love of God or Master, this is surely sufficient evidence that the feeling of love is by no means benign and, by no means, the means to peace and harmony between human beings.
As I was typing this I just over-heard a comment on a new-age health program stating that the placebo effect proves the healing power of belief. Every now and then something leaps out at me that leaves me astounded as to what lengths people will go to in order to justify their beliefs – they stubbornly refuse to let facts stand in the way of a good belief.
To change subject, I was recently watching a National Geographic program about protecting deer in the US. If you have noticed, National Geographic appears to be the evangelical high church of environmental spiritualism. The program documented a group of park rangers who had built several radio controlled decoy deer complete with motorized turning heads. They would set them as lures in a forest clearing or by the roadside and then lay in wait. When a hunter came along they would promptly arrest the hunter and fine him on the spot.
I found it fascinating to see human beings now using decoy animals in order to hunt and trap other human beings whereas, as a child, it was common practice for human beings to use animals as decoys in order to trap other animals for food. The same instinctual pleasure in trapping and hunting – changing times have just brought about a change in the hunter’s target – from trapping and hunting for food to trapping and hunting humans for love of God’s creatures or to protect Mother Earth. As the dimwitticismgoes – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’.
The interesting thing is that sensible conservation has been around at least a half-century before passion and pantheism combined to produce the current religion of Environmentalism. From early on in the 20th Century, many governments and community groups were actively concerned about resource preservation and conservation, national parks were established, forestry and fishing controlled, pollution reduced, sewerage and water standards introduced. This process was begun as a pragmatic response to actual problems as they emerged, whereas nowadays what is mostly proselytised by institutions such as National Geographic and Green Peace is doom-and-gloom-backed irrational spiritual fervour.
Passion combined with belief not only stifles intelligence – it is ultimately a lethal cocktail that is directly responsible for all the deaths of over 160 million humans in wars in the last century, over 40 million suicides and so many murders, rapes and abused children that it is impossible to estimate. As if this is not horrific enough, there is no end to this slaughter and mayhem in sight because it is held to be inviolate that human beings are feeling beings.
For an actualist feeling good is a start, being virtually free of malice and sorrow is a not-to-be-sneezed-at achievement but it is only a stepping-stone on the path to the final extinction of malice and sorrow.
How else is the slaughter and mayhem of the human condition finally going to come to an end unless we pioneers have the fortitude to do it?
One needs a sense of adventure to be a pioneer ... and to be a pioneering actualist is the greatest adventure. In an age when a blind man has now climbed Mt. Everest and tourists now go into space, the greatest challenge still to be conquered is for human beings to stop doing what doesn’t work, stop beating around the bush and learn how to live together in peace and harmony.
IRENE: The human conditioning can be studied and understood, so that it does not affect us any more in living our natural potential. It is not something we can deny away or just hate and throw out. Once we have understood it empirically then we loose our emotional reaction to it and although the conditioning is still active in the world, it doesn’t disturb us any more in a personal way. Then we are free from the conditioning.
PETER: This leaves me a little lost for words if this is an example of your ‘new’ philosophy. Are you seriously proposing that all is okay with the human condition ‘as long as it doesn’t disturb us any more in a personal way’. That war, rape, torture, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. etc. which is the present human condition on the planet (easily witnessed through your TV) is okay as long as you can ‘lose your emotional attachment to it’. Are you talking about practicing a detachment from it or merely witnessing it because it is all an illusion any way. Either way it is a turning away that does nothing but perpetuate the misery and violence. But I guess at least you won’t be disturbed and can lead a pleasant life – albeit a selfish one. And I have heard you accuse Richard of being selfish!
IRENE: Only a person who is deeply troubled by emotions will turn against them in anger and try to rid themselves of the whole plethora of emotional experiences. To me they are the palette that I use to paint my every moment on to the canvas of my immediate environment, except that this is 3-dimensional and it depicts more my atmosphere than colours or figures.
PETER: This agrees with my experience as well and I see it in others. It is only because I have been ‘deeply troubled’ by grief, anger, jealousy, despair, violence, greed, rape, suicide, love, empathy, sorrow, compassion, loneliness, etc. etc. that I wanted to be rid of them in myself for personal peace as well as to stop inflicting my sorrow and anger on others. (...)
IRENE: Even when they do play an attacking or defending role with me, I find that I am not disturbed by this at all and therefore emotional reactions simply do not come up any more, so I there is nothing at all that I have to get rid of, exterminate or otherwise repress or suppress. These days I can virtually instantly discern the understandable reaction of the other as a natural human defence of themselves.
PETER: Above you had said that you accepted emotions and feelings as good and now you say you don’t have any anyway. Exactly what is your teaching – you seem to have a bet in each way. Are you advocating a middle road – an actual freedom with a bit of belief and femaleness thrown in or is it just a freedom for women only?
As you can see you get no support from me for the philosophy of retaining human conditioning or instincts. I remember being astounded when you said you would seek love again even though you acknowledged it could bring great suffering in the event of your partner dying or leaving. You said you would welcome the suffering. Well, not for me – my chest is still bruised from feeling and suffering the universal dread!
IRENE: Wow, some fire has erupted, I read in your e-mail! Despite your vitriolic confusion about me and my new(?), old(?), woman only(?) anti-man(?) philosophy, I couldn’t help chuckling about you here and there and saying ‘fair enough, Peter’.
PETER: So I guess if you regard my last letter as vitriolic we are coming to an end of our correspondence. We seem to ground on the major rock of feelings and emotions and we have wide philosophical differences on the matter. (...)
I have no wish to interfere with your happiness. I just want to make it clear why I am continuing with the findings of the ‘other 50% of the experimenters’ and that I have neither doubt nor fear of the consequences.
At the risk of again being seen as vitriolic, I will give you a quote from my journal that I wrote after an incident I witnessed where a group of people confronted Richard and accused him of being cold, uncaring and deceitful.
I know it’s strong and leaves no room for compromises but that’s how I see the Human Condition. You may see it as vindictive but for some reason it seems appropriate again right now. I guess it is that I watched the black-humour film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on TV last night with its running score sheet of ‘losses’ in the ‘games’ that the generals played in the War to end all Wars. The losses after 2 years of playing one game at the Somme were 607,000 dead on the English side alone for a nil gain of ground.
I guess it is that I yet again understood Richard’s desire to find a way to actually end wars and his radical understanding that, for this to be possible, both the good and bad feelings and emotions and instincts have to be eliminated.
Those men, after all, died for love of god, country and family. Their pride eventually disintegrated to the point where they simply shivered in their mud filled trenches, ridden with lice and listening to the rats feeding on the dead and wounded, singing endless choruses of ‘we’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here ... we’re here because we’re here...’
IRENE: Although aggression and fear are indeed instincts which do come to the fore in an extremely threatening situation on a physical life-death level, your aggression and fear are linked to your personal unresolved dilemmas and painful disappointments around women and love that you have learnt to condemn as not worth looking at because you believe that you can deal with them by ‘eliminating’ and ‘getting rid’ of ‘all those feelings that have been a nuisance and a pain for all my life’. You have learnt to concentrate on the delightful, tasty aspects of your daily life – which by the way is incredibly important on this wide and wondrous path! – and because everything feels and appears so perfect, you mistakenly believe that all your deep grudges have been eliminated. But because they haven’t seen the light of day for a while by you ignoring them, it doesn’t mean that they have left gracefully...
It’s not your human condition that harbours your accumulated fear and aggression but your conditioning, by others and yourself.
And indeed, as long as you keep looking away, this disease, this madness as you call it will prevent you from ever being able to rely on yourself, because now you can only act out of this suppression of old feelings and the mistaken interpretations you have made in order to keep your appearance, your act together.
PETER: The argument that we are born innocent and pure and we are corrupted by some ‘evil’ force defies the countless well meaning efforts by millions of people to break the stranglehold that violence and suffering have over human beings. But for all our efforts to be good, and live a moral life relying on our own ‘inner’ senses, we still need to maintain ‘peace’ in the world at the point of a gun.
PETER to No 2: I’m just butting in on your conversation with Vineeto as I see you are having difficulty with watching your feelings, moods, emotions, sadness, etc. and on the other hand wanting to do something about them. This is how I see it and it may be of use to you.
I see, you are a doctor, so imagine you are on safari and come across a tribe who have a disease that causes them to have fits of madness where for no apparent reason they fall in to rages of anger or fits of depression. They see it as normal as they have had this disease in the tribe for as long as they can remember. Everybody rallies around and looks after the tribe member until he recovers enough to resume his tribal role or in bad cases they have a special area for those who are too seriously afflicted. Strict control backed up by severe punishment is meted out to the others to keep them from at least not hurting other members of the tribe. The witchdoctor offered the advice that the disease was only ‘bad spirits’ that had overcome them and that they shouldn’t be too concerned about it, just keep an eye on it. Although the witchdoctor also had the disease he managed to cover it up by a trance like state he induced in himself with various methods. The healer offered some herbal or energy potions and they all prayed to their particular Gods in the hope the disease would just go away.
Seeing all this, you got out your lap-top and scooted around the Net for information and only came up with some treatments that all offered temporary and spasmodic relief for the symptoms but none offered a cure for the disease itself. Then you found someone who was claiming success in completely curing the condition. Would you tell them to keep doing what they were doing, just watching or praying, or would you tell them about this new cure. It always would seem to me in that situation they would have nothing left to lose – as everything else merely was coping with the symptoms. As an architect I would often come across problems in old buildings like leaky roofs, structural cracks etc. I always knew the best job was not just patch it up but to get in and eliminate the cause of the problem. Otherwise the symptoms just keep coming back again.
We Humans, it seems to me, all suffer from a disease called the Human Condition and a few of us claim a cure is now available. That people seem to want to stick with the tried and failed methods (accepting the disease and coping or watching the symptoms), without even considering this alternative, I find most curious. For me, I like the medicine – it sure works for me.
That’s what I liked about Richard when I met him – ‘you mean I can actually do something myself to cure myself of malice and sorrow? Well it’s not what everyone else says but what everyone else says doesn’t work’.
Well enough for now. Just thought I’d give you a practical example of the difference between watching a problem or doing something about it. I know I get confused when I get too much into the theory of it all – too many ‘I’s’ ‘me’s, souls, ego’s, consciousnesses, to make sense of some times.
PETER: I met a friend of ours lately who has had some inklings that Vineeto and I were ‘doing something different’ with our lives. We got chatting and I said that it was about being happy and harmless. She seemed interested but when I said this meant being free of malice and sorrow she seemed doubtful. When I asked her wouldn’t you want to be free of sorrow she said she really liked to feel sad occasionally. Unperturbed, I asked her about being free of malice and she said that she liked to get angry, to defend herself, to make her point. She said she wouldn’t have survived in her life without her anger.
RESPONDENT: I agree that some of these emotions have their attractiveness but if that is weighed up against all the times one missed out on opportunities because of the negative effects of certain emotions then a strong argument can be made for sacrificing the ones that are found to be somehow enjoyable.
PETER: Yep. Tis writ large in the sacred texts of the ‘Human Condition’, sub-section ‘Human Attributes’ – ‘The faculty that distinguishes the human species from other animal species is our ability to feel. In short we are ‘feeling’ beings – take away our feelings and we are but animals or robots’. Of course, this sacred tenet was written in ancient times when the only chance of keeping fear and aggression in reasonable control was to emphasise nurture and desire. Thus it was that ‘good’ and ‘bad’, together with ‘right and wrong’, was chiselled in stone and written on rice paper as the morals and ethics of tribal groups. This was further reinforced by fairy-tales of Gods and Demons, good and bad spirits, and the power and influence of the shamans was set in concrete. To dare to question the Gods and the good was to tempt the Devil, invite the bad to run riot and invoke the wrath of the shamans.
All of this is based on primitive ignorance of modern human biological knowledge only evident this century. Human and animal behavioural studies combined with stunning genetic and neuro-biological knowledge has made the futility of sticking with Ancient and spirit-ual solutions patently obvious.
What we now know is that human beings have an instinctual program of fear, aggression, nurture and desire and that this is located in the hypothalamus primitive lizard brain. Its task is largely the regulation of stereotyped, or instinctive behaviour patterns and responses. In lower animals this response, sometimes known as ‘fight and flight’ is a simple response to sensorial input – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. In humans with our more complex brain, thought, memory, reflection and self-awareness this simple response becomes an emotional response – an emotion according to Mr. Oxford – Any of the natural instinctive affections of the mind.
Our treasured and dearly-held feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts, firmly rooted in the ‘fight and flight’ instinct of fear and aggression. Hence we are ‘feeling’ beings – we live constantly with the feelings of fear and aggression implanted in us by ‘blind’ nature.
Fear hobbles us with a desperate need to belong to a group, to cling to the past, to hang on to whatever we hold dear to ourselves, to resist change and desperately seek immortality. Aggression causes us to fight for our territory, our possessions, our ‘rights’, our family and our treasured beliefs – seeking power over others.
We seek solace in the so-called ‘good’ feelings, or ‘trip off’ into unbounded imagination and delusionary feelings of the spiritual. Nurture causes us to care, comfort and protect but also leads to dependency, clinging, empathy, sacrifice and needless heroism. Desire drives us to sexual reproduction, avarice, greed, corruption and power over others.
If you think ‘a strong argument can be made for sacrificing the ones that are found to be somehow enjoyable’, do you realise that thinking like that, if actualized, could eventually lead to an end of religions and of religious wars – an end to malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: It is amazing how this human trap can be desirable, even after great suffering.
PETER: We do indeed love to suffer and to inflict suffering on others – our ‘entertainment’ is either sad ‘love’ stories and tales of suffering or ‘action’ and violence. We have turned suffering into a virtue and pleasure into a vice. All of the religious and spiritual texts point to the essential and unending human suffering on earth. It is understandable for they knew nought of instinctual programming, and life on earth was a ‘fight and flight’ business – a man eat man business – to put it in its brutal perspective. But it is 1999 after all, and the ‘sacred’ words of Jesus, Buddha and the likes can be seen for what they are – ancient spirit-ridden drivel of no relevance at all to the situation we – you and I, and the others on this list – now find ourselves in.
RESPONDENT: Or is it that the trap is accepted because the possibility of freedom requires opening a big heavy door and that is too much effort.
PETER: Well, up until now only one person has done it, and he did it via Enlightenment. To give up the power, glory and blissful feelings of being Divine and Immortal is indeed a big heavy door and it is extremely doubtful if any of the present lot will repeat the effort. They have ‘feet of clay’ as Richard puts it. But by utilizing the method Richard has devised – to eliminate one’s social identity, who you ‘think’ you are, the ‘ego’ if you like, and then eliminate one’s instinctual self, who you ‘feel’ you are, the ‘soul’ if you like – when you finally get to the door it’s a ‘step through’ job only.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your post. Just one point, I notice that there is a lot of repetition in your post. Is there a reason for that?
PETER: No. I was responding to your post and in writing to you I was sorting it out for myself and most often that ‘sorting it out’ is a repetitive business. I know I have spent countless hours studying, considering and contemplating upon the Human Condition and it certainly seemed to me to be endlessly repetitive at times. What I see now is that the ‘real’ world view and ‘spiritual ‘world view are so invasive, so persuasive and so ingrained that they are almost indelibly wired into my brain and a constant repetition of fact rather than belief is a vital necessity for freedom. Again and again I seemed to go over the same point to get the new brain-pattern working so the realization was not merely intellectual but became a cellular change, a synapse re-routing, or whatever the physical process is. The habits and archaic thinking of a life-time have to be deleted from the brain’s programming, and this takes time and repetition, for me at least.
The other point is that this whole question is a new realisation for me – that one needs to substantially dismantle the social identity in order to be able to get a clear-eyed, unemotional look at the instincts in operation in their rawest and crudest terms. I had never seen the point so clearly before. In writing to you I have had a few shocking glimpses of the insanity, horror and hopelessness of the Human Condition in operation. These glimpses would not have been possible for the old moralistic, ethical and ‘good’ Peter. It is only with the elimination of the social ‘me’ that I can abandon the concept that there is a solution within the Human Condition and gaily consider ‘my’ demise, for ‘I’ am Humanity and Humanity is ‘me’. The other issue is that only when ‘my’ personal feelings are sufficiently diminished can I ‘get at’ the almost palpable psychic net that binds me to the Human Condition. Freedom is then firmly in sight.
PETER: Good to see you hanging in there with Actual Freedom. These investigations and discussions into the myths of Religions and the theories of science can literally shake the very ground you – and Humanity – stand on. For aeons the Sacred has been held as inviolate and the ‘upper’ echelons of philosophical and scientific theory as meaningful explorations. When one begins to understand that it is all a search for a somewhere else, a someplace else or a something else apart from the physical universe, then one understands that the ‘scientific’ beliefs, concepts and theories are all nothing more or less than a search for God. ‘Anywhere but here and any place but now’ is how Richard puts it.
RESPONDENT: Obviously you have read and thought over this subject lot more than I have. I have not finished reading the book. So I can’t say much about it. However, I did not say, suggest or imply that Roger Penrose was giving a prescription to eliminate Human Condition and/or obtain Freedom.
PETER: I have really only done a ‘skim’ over science and philosophy in order to see where it is they are coming from. In terms of the Human Condition there is a set-in-concrete belief that ‘you can’t change Human Nature’, and that is understandable from their point of view. The Human Condition is, after all, ‘the way it is and the way it has always been’ for human beings and no-one up until now has found an actual freedom from its instinctual clutches. As such, any investigations to date have been a study of what exists, a re-vamp of old ancient ‘solutions’ that have failed or an ‘escape’ into denial or fantasy.
RESPONDENT: But this is not immortality of a person, an ego or a spirit. I have been born and will die. As you called it, we are the material universe experiencing itself as human beings.
PETER: A minor correction here, if I can. So far as we know, Richard is the only human being living on the planet who does not have an instinctually programmed and psychologically reinforced self. Everybody else, you, me, and about 6 billion others, all think and feel themselves to be something other than a flesh and blood human being, and a few human beings believe themselves to be a God and therefore immortal, i.e. something other than a flesh and blood human being. Many people have had glimpses of being a flesh and blood human being only, sans self, in a PCE and a handful have taken Richard’s lead and are attempting to emulate his condition of living continuously and permanently in this state. In the meantime, 6 billion humans fight it out in a grim battle for survival in a grim world – this state of fear and aggression, manifest as malice and sorrow, is commonly known as the Human Condition.
What we are as human beings is the most highly developed of the animals on the planet in that we are able to think and reflect. However this very capability is enmeshed with the primitive instinctual self to an extent that we think and feel ourselves to be separate and alien from the physical universe. Who we think and feel we are is a ‘someone’ who inside this body looking out through the eyes, hearing through the ears, smelling through the nose, etc. Thus we are isolated human beings who are indirectly experiencing the universe and that experience is of being lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. This is 180 degrees different from being the universe experiencing itself as a human being. This state is evident only in a Pure Consciousness Experience. The only reason I can talk with any authority about being the universe experiencing itself as a human being is from the direct experience of the PCE and from living a life of Virtual Freedom whereby one is as close as possible to this state permanently, yet one remains ‘human’ – an emotional and cerebral entity. It is from this ‘base camp’ that the final step can be taken with confidence and surety.
RESPONDENT: For personal peace and world peace.
PETER: Now hang on. How can you be ‘for personal peace’, when you are on the spiritual path and aspire to Enlightenment? You do know that the Enlightened Ones are driven in their Divine mission to spread their message, that they are desperately trying to attract followers, that they often have weird bodily experiences, that they can’t have a normal down-to-earth companionship with anyone, that they are constantly adored, worshipped, coddled and feted, that they ‘suffer’ for Humanity and their disciples, and that they have a mentally-diagnosable massive delusion of self-aggrandizement whereby they are convinced that they are God and that they are Immortal. Doesn’t sound at all peaceful to me.
And as for ‘world peace’, you are a self-confessed, certified, name-carrying Sannyasin of a dead Master. That makes you a man of Religion, and a true and faithful man of Religion will always kill or die for his particular God. It is ‘par for the course’. As you yourself said on this list – ‘I am completely surrendered to him with my whole being’. People are always ready and willing to kill and die for their Faith, as hundreds and hundreds of millions have done already and are still doing so.
I noticed that you said to Alan that Japanese people are atheists, yet millions fought and died for their Emperor who, unless I am wrong, they regarded as a living God. These are facts that I am writing, this is not some belief of mine. This is all well documented, proudly trumpeted, written in books, recorded on film, video and tape. Historical archives, libraries all over the world, the Net, the Holy scriptures, the discourses, all attest to these facts. Given that you are a Sannyasin, and that you are for world peace, you obviously believe in Rajneesh’s ideal that world peace will come when everyone in the world becomes one of ‘his people’. Not Christians, not Buddhists, not Hindus, not Jains, but Sannyasins. This means that all the other religions will have to magically disappear somehow. To quote Rajneesh – ‘My Sannyasins, my people, are the first rays of that new man, of that homo novus. And it all depends on you. ... The new man will not be of the East or of the West; the new man will claim the whole earth as his home’.
So, I suggest you start recruiting and converting, if you really are for the Rajneesh version of world peace.
But should you want to be pragmatic, realistic, down-to-earth, astute, sensible, reasonable, informed and discerning instead of being spiritual then there is another alternative ...
I see that you are interested in the idea of peace and being happy and harmless yet you are not at all interested in Actual Freedom, the practical way to achieve both. I’ll try to explain again what we are on about, although it appears that I am ‘flogging a dead horse, as they say –
Maybe another way of looking at it is that all we humans are engaged in a big play called ‘being human beings on earth’. It’s our first time in the play, so we look to the others who are already playing to learn the rules and regulations.
Now when we enter the game we find the whole scenario of the play is already written and the name of the game is ‘It’s a dog eat dog world, life’s a bitch and then you die’. Given that it is a tough and miserable game, our main interest and constant obsession is self-preservation, survival, come what may. As such our underlying traits are that we are fearful and suspicious of all the other characters in the play and that we will fight for our rights and our life, come what may. We also find that we have to be members of a tribe to survive and, as such, we are taught the remainder of our script – the particular character role that we play within our tribe. We are further told that it is impossible to leave the protection of the tribe or you will die, and unless you constantly keep fighting for your survival you will die – no letting up, or letting your guard down. In a game like this ... no wonder we feel lost, lonely frightened and very, very cunning.
But what if you found some players who told you – you can play the game without having to be a tribe member, and without the constant fear of survival? What if you could re-write your particular script in the play? And it is not a dream, it is now possible for those who want to, to play the game of being a human being with a new script. All you have to do is to leave your old character behind. Or as Richard puts it ‘step out of the real world into the actual world and leave your ‘self’ behind’. It is a brand new script and most will object and still play the game of malice and sorrow, but soon the other game will become more and more played. Seeing it as an obviously more sensible game people will eventually join in with hardly a thought as to the old ‘survival’ script that they were wired to play. The game of survival is, at core, a grim game as we know it – 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone, not to mention all the murders, rapes, ethnic cleansing, sectarian violence, tortures, domestic violence and suicides. The new play eventually would see humans playing in a world without wars, without domestic violence, rape and torture. With men and women living together in peace, harmony and equity. With sexual pleasure freed of guilt, shame, aggression and perversion. With no religious or territorial wars fought over right or might. With no police, no legal battles, no need for justice or retribution. Where everyone treats each other as fellow human beings and wishes well of each other. Where equanimity, co-operation, consensus and helpfulness are readily apparent in all interactions. Where the current money and effort used to fight wars and keep the ‘peace’ are used to bring the benefits, comforts and pleasures now possible for the few to all humans on the planet. Where care and consideration replace greed and avarice, ending pollution forever...
We actualists are simply saying – stop believing what the other players tell you is your fated script and stop believing that the rules of the game can never be changed. That it is possible for individual players to delete the old, ancient and decrepit, survival program in its entirety and to now run on the sensible and sensate, stripped-down version, free of malice and sorrow. One can now become free of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow, if you want to make the effort.
RESPONDENT: Sorry but I mistook. I am not different from the Eastern religious followers as you defined. It’s a mistake. It maybe confuse you like Zen ;-) ‘I am different’ is a right version. Sorry for my poor English.
PETER: I suspect you may have a mild case of ‘definiendum dementia’. As for me, I am even more Zen-fused and be-mystified.
But I liked what you wrote to Vineeto in your third post to this list –
What you and I have been doing in our correspondence is digging a bit deeper than the usual superficial and the mere pretence and getting down to the facts of the situation. It is uncomfortable stuff, confronting and bewildering and threatening to No 14 the dreamer, or No 14 the disciple, or No 14 the ... But these No 14’s are the ones that have to go for the genuine No 14, the flesh and blood body, free of an alien psychological and psychic entity to roam free and upright in this actual world of sensual delight where peace, harmony, benevolence and a pristine purity are rampantly and intrinsically abundant.
It’s a tough call, looking self-extinction in the face, but it sure beats a life of pretence and being hung in the superficial.
I have no other interest in the discussion other than looking at and discussing the facts of the Human Condition that we humans find ourselves trapped in. We humans have endlessly sought solutions ‘within’ the Human Condition – never daring to question the Human Condition itself. We have all looked in the same old places and at the same old solutions that have obviously failed to deliver anything remotely resembling peace on earth. We have forever believed and trusted that Ancient Wisdom would provide a solution to the horrendous mayhem and suffering that we humans inflict upon each other. We have huddled together in fear and trepidation around the temples and God-men, unwilling to strike off on our own to question, discover, uncover, investigate and find out for ourselves exactly what it is to be a human being.
This is why both this list and the writings are unabashedly iconoclastical. There is no solution to be had in spiritual or religious pursuits, in fact any belief or faith actively supports, ‘nourishes’, enhances and embellishes the very problem – the psychological and psychic entity, the ego and the soul.
It is obvious that the solution has to lie outside of the Human Condition – it is the whole of the Human Condition itself that we have to become free of in, order to find an actual personal peace and facilitate an actual global peace.
RESPONDENT: In short, you have said I am on the tried and failed path as far as I am a disciple of Rajneesh because master-disciple relation prevents a person from questioning every blind belief.
PETER: Not only you. This is nothing personal.
It is writ large in the Human Condition, sub-section, ‘Religious and spiritual pursuits’, sub-section ‘Peace on Earth’...
‘Each Religion, God-man or Guru offers the promise of peace on earth in return for the follower or disciple’s love, gratitude, faith, loyalty, trust and surrender. Peace on earth will then occur when everyone (all 6 billion, at the moment) similarly ‘sees the light’ and becomes a disciple or follower of that particular religion, thus finally ending religious wars and conflicts on the planet. Until that magical event occurs, there will still be ‘pockets of resistance’ (wars) caused by the ‘others’ who dearly and stubbornly want to hold on to their religious beliefs – but one day, hopefully, one of the religions will win out and conquer the world – and peace will reign. The other common theme is one of Armageddon or the End of the World, in which case the true believers of one of the particular religions will be the sole survivors and, as such, peace on earth will ensue. The keys to maintaining this system in existence are firm belief, love, gratitude, faith, loyalty, trust and surrender of disciples and followers.’
PETER: 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.
GARY: I would say it takes considerable work and investigation to uncover the facts of a situation, but the rewards are immediate, tangible, and lasting. In this investigative work, everything is up for scrutiny and one cannot rely on the ‘time-honoured’ truisms and psittacisms that one usually falls back on to explain what is happening in life.
PETER: As I re-read what I wrote to you I was reminded of something you wrote recently –
I don’t want to leave the impression that dispelling belief and unearthing facts is an intellectual exercise based upon reading and discerning what others have discovered. The quickest, most direct and most effective way of determining what is fact, i.e. what works and what doesn’t work, is by your own life experiences. By the time mid-life comes around, most people have had sufficient life experiences to already know what doesn’t work and only if there is still some doubt about a particularly sticky issue do you need to investigate further. As an example, I needed only to draw on my own life experiences and my observations of others around me to know that love does not work, and never can work, to negate malice or sorrow. This is why I wrote my journal in the style I did, including many examples of my life experiences and my inevitable failures to find peace and happiness, both in the real world and the spiritual world.
The other kind of investigation is by deliberately setting out to make sense of a vexing issue, as we did in our recent conversation about intelligence vs. instinctual passion. In this type of investigation you root around and dig up all the information, data and observations you can and balance those against the currently accepted viewpoints and beliefs that others have about the subject, and then you eventually come to find an answer – to come to an understanding of the facts of the situation. Vineeto and I have spent many, many hours mulling over issues relevant to the human condition with no disagreement or disharmony simply because we were searching for the facts – something that is clearly evident, obvious and indisputable.
PETER: It soon became obvious that only by leaving behind what didn’t work, or what was a compromise, or what was a bondage, was I able to allow something better to become apparent. Or to put it bluntly – no change means no change.
The other thing I would like to say is that I have only a working knowledge of the human condition and the instinctual passions – it is by no means exhaustive and it is thin on scholarly substance. I tend to operate on the ‘I only need to know what I need to know to get the job at hand done’, so my investigations most usually only applied to what was relevant to me. I have no idea at all as wether what I am saying has any direct relevance to the person I am writing to. I have no insight ability as to how someone else’s psyche operates, what they are particularly thinking or feeling. As such, what I write is more generic – thus far the cumulative result of a handful of actualists’ self-inquiries and experiences – but it stands the test of scrutiny if one observes the broad operation of the human condition.
GARY: The study of one’s instinctual reactions is something totally new and unlike anything else I have encountered before. The instinctual basis of human behaviour is a much-neglected area of investigation, virtually untouched by modern psychology and other disciplines. But then, we are approaching it in ourselves, not as an academic matter but as a practical area of investigation, as the instincts underlie so much of human functioning that there is no possibility of realizing peace on earth without digging into them. I appreciate what you are saying in this passage because you are only sharing what you have learned for yourself, with no attempt to say it has direct relevance to anyone else. Then, the question remains: does one’s own investigation into their psyche have any relevance at all to other human beings?
If ‘I’ am humanity, and humanity is ‘me’, how generalizable are the insights and realizations that I have gotten from my own ‘self’-investigations? A little? A lot? If, for instance, I think I have gained some insights into how the instinct of fear operates in my own psyche, can I then generalize to any degree about how fear operates in other human beings? Perhaps one can only be an expert about their own life, and if needs be tell others what their own experience is, but leave it to the other to decide whether this observation or input is valid for them (?)
PETER: The basic underlying operating system of all human beings is identical, we all come with an identical genetically-encoded survival program, we all run on the same BIOS, as it were. The only minor variations that occur are in the overlaying operating system – the culturally variable program that constitutes our social identity. Once you begin to eliminate the overlaying operating system program the underlying instinctual program is very basic, very crude and common to all human beings.
My comments on my limited knowledge related more to the variations and foibles of various social programming, whereas my knowledge and understanding of the instinctual operating program is, at present, second to one.
PETER: The main reason I wrote was to try and stir some conversation on the list about the events of the past fortnight as the full gamut of the human condition is played out in forte. Thanks to modern communications we get to see all sides, hear all opinions and experience all the passions in a way that was impossible for previous generations. Speaking personally, I have always found television to be an invaluable tool for studying the human condition and no more so than in times like these. This ‘wanting to find out’ contrasts with the attitudes of my former spiritual friends who either shun television and haughtily dismiss what their fellow human beings are doing to each other as something happening ‘out there’ or avidly watch in morbid anticipation of a spiritually-promised doomsday.
PETER: I find it hard to think how much worse human beings could treat their fellow human beings. For a start, the amount of bloodshed, torment, anguish and suffering that religious and spiritual belief has caused, and is still causing, in the world beggars description. Words like horror, repulsion and repugnance fail to convey the full extent of the carnage that has been wrought, and is still being wrought, in the name of the followers of some make-believe God against the followers of some other make-believe God. And what is the best the pious God-fearing priests and followers have to offer as a solution to ending this on-going savagery – religious tolerance. Not an end to the madness, but a rehash of the same old failed message of ‘be tolerant towards those who hold different religious or spiritual beliefs than you do’. Nowhere does one hear a clear and unambiguous voice declaring that it is archaic and inane religious and spiritual belief itself that is the very cause of so much human conflict, animosity, misery and suffering and that it is high time to abandon such beliefs to the scrap heap of history.
Blame is always laid at the feet of the believers who are either too fervent in their belief or not fervent enough – but nobody is willing to question the efficacy of the sacred teachings themselves.
GARY: Yes. There is a cute commercial on the tele admonishing us now to be ‘tolerant’ of others with differing religious beliefs. I find it interesting in the current world crisis that religious belief goes hand in hand with nationalism and patriotism. Particularly in the US at this time, one sees continually the juxtaposition of God-fearing sentiments along with exhortations to patriotic defence of the homeland against the evil of world terrorism.
PETER: It is interesting to see how collective, and interconnected, the human passions of malice and sorrow are. Fuelled by fear, there is a collective reaction to rally together in defence, lash out in revenge or recoil into sorrow and pity. One can clearly see that the compassion merchants, those with vested interests, come into their forte spreading fear of God and sadness with every prayer, song, speech or discourse. It is not a little thing to do to break free of – to dare to step outside of – Humanity, to actively rid oneself of both sorrow and malice.
GARY: The presentation of these views, coupled as they are repeatedly, is by no means any coincidence, as in order to be willing to sacrifice oneself for one’s country one must be a passionate believer and feeler in a righteous cause, whatever that may be. One might think that since humanity appears to be going down the same old road it has been down so many, many times before, it might give pause to think what is the insanity all about, but so many are willing to get right into the thick of it. In the US at the current time we are being told that we are at war. But it seems like a phoney war to me. Since no invading army has come, and there is no general mobilization of martial forces taking place against the US, we have a situation akin to the Sitzkrieg of WWII, only that time there were two opposing armies on the to-be battle field waiting for the hostilities to start.
PETER: As I see it, anyone who strikes at the financial, military and governmental heart of a country is declaring war against that country. It is akin to criminals bombing the police station or students bombing their school – it is an act that cannot go unpunished in the world as-it-is, lest anarchy rules. In school playground terms, it’s time for the teacher to step in and break things up, before things get really out of hand.
GARY: I find there is an electric excitement in the air from here – when the animal instinctual passions are unleashed in their full fury, there is no telling what they will do. However, in order for the carnage to start, the defenders of the cause, whether it be religious, moral, or nationalistic, must first whip themselves up into a frenzy of righteous indignation. Fuelled by passionate belief in a Supreme Being that protects one and one’s comrades, whilst simultaneously aiding one in the destruction of one’s enemies, man’s inhumanity to man is simply unstoppable.
PETER: One of the aspects that has most interested me in the current situation are the comments of the pacifists and their totally unrealistic head-in-the-cloud attitudes. Many of the so-called pacifists even hold the opinion that ‘America deserved what it got’, which is either supporting one side in the fight against the other or a blind lashing out against authority by people who refuse to let go of their adolescent riling against the world as-it-is.
GARY: Actualism pulls the rug right out from under this whole rotten mess, as one begins to question the action of believing itself, whether it be belief in a religious or spiritual cause, or belief and allegiance to one’s country, race, group, or tribe. But again, one is entirely on one’s own in this enterprise, because to be fully autonomous and independent, one will never align themselves with a cause or a belief. Even non-alliance with a cause or belief could become a belief in itself if one is not vigilant to what is happening in one’s heart and mind.
PETER: Yes. It is no good to merely believe that there is no solution within the human condition – least of all the puerile nonsense of praying to non-existent Gods – one has to both understand and experience that the only solution lies in stepping out of the human condition in toto. Perhaps this is what you mean by vigilance.
What I did was deliberately not turn away from what was happening in the world as-it-is, but I literally ‘tuned in’. In this way, firstly I stopped avoiding or ‘turning away’. Secondly, I was able to make sense of what was going on, i.e. I came to understand the human condition in all its facets and thirdly I was able to understand and experience ‘my’ emotional bondage to Humanity and the human condition.
This way you progressively become free of the human condition itself – and you have a fascinating time doing it. Win-win – and how else could it be in perfection and purity.
PETER: I have been fascinated to observe and contemplate upon the machinations that are occurring in the most recent flair-up of a religious conflict that has been ongoing for some two thousand years. There is a wealth of information to be had about the human condition simply by observing and thinking clearly about what is happening. There is also a salient opportunity to check on one’s own emotional reactions so as to ascertain where one is hooked, by one’s own social programming. in to feeling anger, sorrow, despair, fear, piousness, aloofness, or whatever.
GARY: The current world crisis is tremendously fertile ground for one’s own ‘self’-investigations, I agree. One sees the Human Condition is action in the most extravagant ways possible. One sees full-fledged savagery in action and one can, unless one is completely self-immolated, feel the tug of these emotions and feelings in one’s own heart. Yet whilst practicing actualism, I have found that my emotional life is curiously attenuated. The only discernible emotional reaction, and I am not even sure that it was an emotional reaction, to the news of the WTC collapse was that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up for a few seconds. I have felt none of the horror, shock, resentment, desire for revenge and retaliation. Surprise yes. There has been a recognition of the fear too that is sweeping humanity at present time as the hostilities are about to commence. It is fear that binds ‘me’ to humanity, indeed, that makes ‘me’ a human being, and it is fear, along with the other savage passions and tender passions that is making life on this otherwise fair planet a living hell.
PETER: I too got a whiff of fear when I first saw the World Trade Centre towers collapse. But since that initial instinctual reaction, I have had no emotional response at all to what is happening. In the process of actualism, I have already experientially explored deeply all of the instinctual passions, be they fear, aggression, nurture or desire and these explorations have enabled me to become free of their instinctual grip. I did very carefully check myself out for I am aware that many spiritual people also have no apparent emotional reaction in that they have disassociated themselves from what is actually happening in the physical world. They, of course, believe they are pure spirit beings and therefore have no association at all with what is happening in the physical world – which is definitely not so in my case.
I was searching for a word that describes my response to the suffering that human beings wantonly, or inadvertently, cause to other human beings and the best word I could come up with was that I am appalled, but without the emotion usually associated with the word. When you know by your own experience that it is possible to incrementally remove malice and sorrow from your life, then what human beings do to each other, and to themselves, all seems so utterly needless and wasteful.
Just as an aside. I hear a lot of people categorize fear as the major factor in their life but it is my experience that sorrow is the predominant and hallowed emotion and it is sorrow that begets malice.
GARY: But it seems that everybody else has gone off in the wrong direction looking for a completely wrong reason for the mess that humanity is in. Meanwhile, life from here has not changed in any significant respect. There is no fear in the lovely fall foliage, nor in the lovely sun-dappled and dew-dropped grass on the lawn. There is no fear in the hills that surround us, nor in the cool breeze that gently caresses my cheeks as I make my way yet again to the car for the ride to get breakfast this morning. The hills will still be here after ‘I’ am gone. As ‘I’ am doomed to extinction anyway, why not make the best of it right now?
PETER: Indeed. If I could encapsulate Richard’s method in a few words – why waste time being miserable and malicious when it is such a sensual delight being here in the perfection and purity of the actual world we flesh and blood humans live in?
PETER to Gary: Just thought I’d write a note about some aspects of the human condition that have particularly struck me in the last few weeks. Most relate to items I have seen on television – a marvellous way to observe and experience the full gamut of the human condition from the comfort and safety of one’s own house.
I recently watched a documentary called ‘Reason for Hope’ about Jane Goodall, anthropologist, environmentalist and renowned chimp researcher. After her early years of studying chimp behaviour, she went through a difficult period in her life when her husband died and she came to observe what she described as the ‘dark side’ of chimp behaviour – sadness, depression, anger, warfare, murder and cannibalism. After initially being shocked that chimps were not ‘innocent beings’, she came to regard the fact that chimps have a dark side to their nature as evidence that chimps were ‘even closer to being human’ than she first thought.
Jane Goodall then described a seminal event in her life, an experience of what is sometimes called a nature experience. From her description, her experience seemed to be a pure consciousness experience – a sensate-only experience of the purity and perfection of the actual world. Thinking about it afterwards, she felt the experience must have been a mystical experience or a spiritual revelation – simply because there was no other explanation available to her. This experience proved to be a turning point in her life – she changed from sceptic to spiritualist, from scientist to saviour, from feeling lonely to being loved, from feeling hopelessness to having a ‘reason for hope’. She saw human evolution as the eventual triumph of Good over Evil and began to cement her place as a champion of the good in the battle against evil – a Saviour, not only of Mother Earth and ‘her’ creatures, but also of Humankind.
It was a classic story, common to many. A period of loneliness and depression, an experience of personal loss or grief, a life-changing experience and a life born again as a Saviour – by whatever name, for whatever cause. What was of most interest to me in Goodall’s case was her description of what appeared to be a pure consciousness experience, her after-the-fact interpretation of the experience as a mystical experience and that she then went on to claim the experience as ‘her’ own – as being a personal revelation from God.
I find it always useful to remember why spiritual belief and superstition have thus far cornered the market in the human search for freedom, peace and happiness. Once someone has had ‘the Truth’ personally revealed to them in an altered state of consciousness – or as appears to have happened in Goodall’s case, misinterpreted a PCE as an altered state of consciousness – they are bound by a combination of gratitude and their own inflated sense of self-worth to spread the word that, while earthly life is a bitch, there is really truly a God who loves you.
Speaking of earthly life’s a bitch, this brings me to the Dalai Lama, who recently visited this country. He did the usual celebrity tour, at one stage addressed a gathering of some 6,000 school children. His message to the young was that suffering was a necessary aspect of human earthly life, that it was the working through of karma accumulated from past lives and that materialism is the root cause of evil in the world. A national newspaper ran an article about the meeting entitled ‘The platitudes of the Dalai Lama’ pointing out the banality of his message of love and compassion and his total inability to make any sensible or pertinent comment on down-to-earth questions raised by the audience.
In taking all this in, I was struck by the fact that only some 30 years ago Eastern spiritualism was relatively new to the West, so much so that most who were interested needed to leave the West and travel to the East. Nowadays Eastern spiritualism is mainstream in the West, Western religions are reviving their mystical roots and absorbing Eastern spiritual concepts and Buddhism is reportedly the fastest growing religion in the West. It only goes to show the staying power of olde-time religions.
And speaking of 30 years ago, I also watched a concert given to celebrate the Queen of England’s fiftieth year of reign and was taken by the fact that many of the performers were the rebellious young of 30 years ago. They had now become totally absorbed by the establishment that they now were the establishment, as the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John, amongst others, performed for their beloved Queen. So much for youthful rebellion, ‘love is all you need’ and ‘give peace a chance’ as a way to evince change.
The other program I watched with interest was a speech given by the Environmental Guru, David Suzuki to a gathering of journalists. He was publicizing his recent book, which evidently points out that all is not doom and gloom but that there have been signs of some environmental successes in the past decades. As the questions and answers drew to an end he was asked if he had a message for the young to which he replied, ‘keep fighting’ and he then praised those who ‘put their lives on the line’. I wondered if he realized the consequences of what he was saying for he was, in fact, condoning youthful violent protests to the point of ‘putting lives on the line’. Ah well, I suppose by his reckoning there is nothing like a good stir or a good stoush – a cause, by whatever name, does gives the kids something to fight about.
Speaking of which, someone asked me the other day what I would do about the war in Palestine. I replied that if I lived in the area, the first thing I would do was stop being a Jew or Muslim because it is obvious that religious fervour fuels much of the hatred on both sides. The second thing I would do was stop being an Israelii or a Palestinian, because nationalistic fervour and territorial instincts fuel much of the hatred on both sides. And finally, I would leave the area, vote with my feet, abandon ship, get out, be a traitor to the cause.
The person who asked seemed to think I was somehow cheating by not offering a solution, not taking sides, not apportioning blame and so on, but he completely missed the point of my answer. He asked me what I would do and what I would do is make the only practical contribution I could – take unilateral action by stop being a believer, stop being a passionate combatant, stop looking for someone to blame and stop seeking retribution in the name of justice and fair play.
It is quite extraordinary to see – as well as personally experience – the grip that the combination of ancient beliefs and instinctual passions has over Humanity, so much so that no-where is common sense to be seen. Common sense reveals that the only thing that can be done about peace on earth is personally doing whatever needs to be done to become actually free of malice and sorrow.
I realize that the things I write about that strike me about the human condition may not have the same impact on you, but I relate these stories so as to encourage a clear-eyed seeing of the human condition. It is my experience that every time I have an insight into the workings of the human condition, it aids me in understanding the nature of the programming that makes ‘me’ tick, that gives ‘me’ substance, as it were. Then it becomes a matter of persistently and stubbornly refusing to blindly follow the herd so enthralled with doomsday visions and so hell-bent on revenge and retribution.
PS to the Jane Goodall story –
One of her colleagues commented that the research into chimp behaviour was clear evidence that ‘the dark side of human nature was inherited from ancient primate life’. What would have made this observation more even-handed would have been an acknowledgement that the so-called good side of human nature was also inherited from ancient primate life. So far, it appears that only actualists dare to make such a clear-eyed assessment of the human condition – and, as yet, we are few on the ground.
PETER to Richard: But it is obvious from a study of animals that certain actions and behaviour patterns are not taught after birth but must be genetically pre-programmed in the instinctual memory. The reaching for, finding and suckling the nipple in mammals, the waddle to the ocean of baby turtles, the unlearned migration patterns of birds, etc. There are multitudinous examples of non-cognitive animals who exhibit quite sophisticated behaviour and ‘knowledge’ that is not learnt but must solely be due to a pre-coded memory that is genetically inherited.
Given that the human animal is the most advanced of the primates, it does beg the question as to how much pre-memory is genetically programmed in the human amygdala and therefore ‘set in the flesh’, as it were. Two of these pre-codings are vital in understanding the human psyche –‘who’ one thinks and feels one is.
Firstly, there is most obviously an instinctual sense of self-recognition, a faculty we share with our closet genetic cousins – apes and chimps both recognize ‘themselves’ in a mirror. This instinctual primal ‘self’ is made more sophisticated in humans, for the cognitive neo-cortex (the ‘conscious’ to use LeDoux’s term) is only capable of detecting the chemical flows of the amygdala (non-cognitive and ‘unconscious’), and these are ‘felt’ as basic passions or emotions and interpreted as feelings – ‘my’ feelings. Thus, we ‘feel’ this genetic instinctual programming to be ‘me’ at my core. This program thus gives every human being an instinctual self which is translated into a ‘real’ self that is both psychic – LeDoux’s ‘unconscious’ made obvious and real by the ensuing flow of chemicals from the amygdala – and psychological – interpreted as thoughts by the modern cognitive brain. (The modern brain is also taught much after birth – one’s social identity – but I’m interested in the deeper level at this stage.)
This explains that the spiritual journey ‘in’ is thus a journey to find one’s instinctual self – one’s roots, one’s original face, the Source, etc. If, on this inner journey, one ignores or denies the passions of aggression and fear and concentrates one’s attention on the passions of nurture and desire, one can shift one’s identity from the psychological thinking neo cortex – the ‘ego’ to use their term – and ‘become’, or associate with, or identify with, the good feelings of nurture and desire. This is a seductive and self-gratifying journey, for one is actively promoting the flow of chemicals that give rise to the good, pleasant, warm, light-headed, heart-full and ultimately ecstatic feelings. These flow of chemicals overwhelm the neo-cortex to such an extent that they become one’s primary experience, and the input of the physical world as perceived by the senses and the clear-thinking ability of the cognitive modern brain are both subjugated – or ‘transcended’ to use their term. One then ‘feels’ one has found one’s original ‘self’, which one has of course, though t’is all but a fantasy of one’s imagination.
RESPONDENT No 23: Dimlogicism
Nah, you’re not gonna find that word in the dictionary.
In fact it is a variation on dimwitticism (coined by Peter if I recall that word correctly) so... what is the art of dimlogicism, basically an exercise in linguistic mathematical naivety and/or naive linguistic mathematics or/and mathematical naive linguistics.
Mentalism is a particularly chronic form of self-indulgence and one that mostly afflicts the males of the species. I have an actualist friend who finds a good deal of the conversation on this mailing list to be bewildering and lacking in common sense. I point out to her that this is how men think, by and large, and have done for thousands of years – they persist in trying to make a philosophy out of the utterly simple and entirely down-to-earth business of being alive. Peter to No 23, 13.7.2004
RESPONDENT: You close your eyes to complexity and call it simplicity. Fun game isn’t it? It has all kinds of other applications too!
PETER: My investigations into my own psyche – the human condition in action as ‘me’ – led me to understand that I was merely inculcated into believing that life is full of complexities. As such it took a good deal of effort to get in touch with my naiveté such that I could firstly intellectually understand and then experience the utter simplicity of doing the business of being alive.
Here is a bit from my journal that is relevant to your comment. One of the particular events that twigged me to the utter simplicity of being what I am was making breakfast one morning and realizing that I had done this about 17,000 times in my lifetime and would continue to do so until I died – that, after all, the doing of everyday events such as this are what being alive is actually about.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.