Selected Correspondence Peter
Freedom from the Human Condition
RESPONDENT: I must say though, that from the posts I have read from the members on this list, they too seem just as committed to finding an alternative to spirituality as you are Peter. I would not be here if I was not fully aware of those first bases you speak of above and the futility of continuing to play those games. I think it was extremely important that Richard created a space like this. As place where open, like minded friends can pour out and expose their programming for what it is and assist each other in wiping the drive and re-programming without fear of being ostracized or declared malicious and sorrowful for not being able to take on actualism lock stock and barrel and extirpating the psyche immediately, without considerable thought and investigation.
PETER: Firstly I am not finding an alternative to spirituality – I have found the alternative to spirituality which is why I can write with authority both about this new alternative and of the failings of the spiritual path. I know both very well indeed, from an experiential understanding, not an intellectual observation. I can only go by what you write to this list, and while you say you would not be here on this list if you were not fully aware of ‘the futility of continuing to play those (spiritual?) games’, you also post large chunks of wisdom from a channelled dis-embodied imaginary being who presumable resides in a mythical other-world. As such, I take what you post at face value and you appear to be at the stage of being in the spiritual camp, and testing the waters of actualism to see whether you are going to investigate further. You may well also be having glimpses, that to pursue actualism will be the end of No 8, as she is now. I could well be wrong, but this is what happened to me.
When I came across Richard I already had considerable motives for wanting to be free of the Human Condition, not the least of which was that I wanted to get rid of malice and sorrow from my life. One of the first steps towards doing this was to acknowledge that I did indeed harbour thoughts/ feelings of anger, irritation, blame, exasperation, frustration, resentment, impatience, antagonism, etc. on one hand and sadness, melancholy, loneliness, unhappiness, discontent, etc. on the other.
It’s a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous where the initial step in a cure for alcoholism is to admit you are an alcoholic. It is exactly the same with actualism. The initial step in eliminating the animal instinctual passions is to admit to their existence and to experience them in action in oneself. This is not as easy as it appears for we have been taught to deny them, repress them, control them or, in Eastern religious practice, transcend them. This is exactly the purpose of running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ – to become aware of the beliefs, morals, and ethics that prevent this experiential investigation, so that one is then able to get down to the core instinctual being that is the very source of the instinctual passions.
When you say you are feeling as though you are being ostracized or declared malicious or sorrowful – what I did was acknowledge, despite my years of feeling special on the spiritual path, that I was simply an average human being and therefore, deep down, a malicious and sorrowful one. I found this acknowledgement a great blow to my spiritual pride of course, but when combined with the tantalizing lure that I could do something about the situation, I found I could not help but jump in.
As for this list, it’s simply the best forum on the planet and an ideal adjunct to and testing ground for the process of eliminating the ‘me’ who is blindly programmed to fight or flee, feel offended or seek revenge, etc. It’s the best thing since sliced bread.
PETER: The natural (default) condition of all human beings in all societies down the ages has been, and still is, one of antagonism and anguish.
RESPONDENT: Default? Natural? I never really meant to convey that I think happiness and harmlessness are the default condition of human beings, rather that the process of attentiveness brings it about naturally without any volition on my part such as ‘getting back to being happy and harmless’.
Perhaps getting back to being happy and harmless simply means being attentive? But I have to question your previous statement that antagonism and anguish are the default condition. Certainly there is a lot of that around, but there are also people with exceptionally good dispositions which seem to be their natural demeanour. Felicitous feelings do arise for no good reason. Is there really only one default state, or even a default state at all? Just to be clear, I was speaking of the process of attentiveness leading naturally to a happy, harmless, sensuous state, not that state it self being natural or default.
PETER: Perhaps some practicals example of what I mean by the default position might be useful.
In 1999, I was visiting a former client who wanted some advice in order to retrofit his house with additional rainwater tanks, solar power and the like because he, like many others, was convinced that there would be a world-wide break down of services due to massive computer failures at the turn of the millennium – http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/cyberspace/jan-june98/y2000_6-11.html
He then proceeded to tell me of his other preparations – stock-piling food, cash, petrol, planting a vegetable garden and the like. When he came to the end of his list, I asked him had he bought a gun? He looked at me quizzically and then I explained that if the doomsday scenario was true and all essential services did fail and you were the only one with water, food and fuel then you may well need a gun in order to protect your stash. In other words, when what is often referred to as the thin veneer of civilization breaks down, the default human condition comes to the fore.
The reason I could so readily see the flaw in his planning was that I came to be aware of this default position in operation in myself – whenever ‘I’ didn’t get what I wanted or felt ‘I’ deserved then ‘I’ felt resentful, a subtle or not so subtle anger resulted and ‘I’ begin to plot a subtle, or not so subtle, revenge.
The other examples of this default position – and they are so widespread as to be universal – come from observation of species of animals other than we human animals. As you have recently noted on this mailing list, chimps are of particular interest, being our closet surviving genetic cousins, in that they too wage war, they too murder, rape, pillage, have family disputes, compete for status, resort to subterfuge, become depressed, waste away from grief and so on. I remember at one stage thinking that human beings are different in that we are not wild animals but domesticated animals but I soon realized I was looking for excuses rather than clearly looking at the facts of the instinctual passions in operation.
I recently read a book by a biologist on the subject of violence in which the author also took note of violence in other animals including chimps in the context of discussing the nurture-nature debate as to the causes of violence in humans, citing many observations of animals in the wild as well as laboratory studies on mice. In the very next chapter however she made the statement that human animal children ‘are born innocent’, a statement which made a mockery of her observations that malice is indeed instinctual in animals and blatantly contradicted her presentation of the evidence for malice being instinctual.
Upon refection, I could well understand her stance for to admit to, and fully take on board, the fact that malice was instinctual to the human animal flies in the face of the born-innocent belief that is core to the nurturist credo. Not only that but to acknowledge that the malice and sorrow within the human condition is deeply rooted in the instinctual animal passions would mean that the nurturists would be seen for the band-aid dispensers they are and the spiritualists would be seen for the snake oil sellers they are
It’s understandable that a way of becoming free of instinctual malice and sorrow will be fought tooth and nail, not only by those with a professional and personal interest in hawking the traditional solutions, but by each and every instinctual being … including ‘me’. But then again there is no one with a more vital and pressing interest in my being free of the human condition than ‘me’.
You may well think I am flogging a point here but what I am attempting to do is indicate that becoming happy and harmless does involve a good deal of work and stubborn persistence in that one is attempting to do something that is unnatural in that it runs counter to traditional human aspirations, both socially and instinctually.
RESPONDENT: I would like to ask Peter and Vineeto to write about some difficulties they found in this part when they practised this method initially.
PETER: Although I will answer your questions I suggest that it would be best to read what I have written previously when I was in the throws of making these investigations as what I wrote then was more pertinent in that it was written closer to the events.
RESPONDENT: What does one do when one feels bad?
PETER: Get back to feeling good as soon as possible as nothing good that can be said about feeling bad – and I say this despite the fact that many people laud the bitter-sweet feeling of sorrow.
RESPONDENT: How much of study is required?
PETER: None at all if one realizes that nothing good can be said about feeling bad.
Having said that, it is generally not that easy because not only is feeling good disparaged within the human condition – the ultimate Catch-22 put-down being that feeling good about being here means that one is uncaring or even callous because one is not feeling bad for those who are feeling bad – it is also the default instinctual condition given that the prime instinctual passions are those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, all of which contribute to ‘feeling bad’.
RESPONDENT: Just the right amount to get back into feeling happy and harmless once again?
PETER: Yes – with the proviso that if one finds oneself repeatedly feeling bad when a similar event happen or in similar circumstances then it obviously makes good sense to get to the bottom of why it keeps happening so as to not have feeling bad happen again when a similar event happens or in similar circumstances.
RESPONDENT: If one has 100% intent can one just look at the feeling and get back to being happy and harmless instantaneously?
PETER: Yes – with the proviso that this is often difficult to do initially as one discovers that one has had a life-long habit of being angry – of holding a grudge against someone, of feeling righteous about something or another, of blaming others for doing something or of not doing something that I believe they should be doing or not be doing and so on – or of feeling sad about my lot in life, of being envious of others, of feeling resentful of others, of feeling as though I don’t belong and so on.
RESPONDENT: Is the amount of work that is needed inversely proportional to the amount of pure intent to be happy and harmless?
PETER: Does it not make sense that unless one has a 100% intent to do something then one will never be successful in doing what it is that one wants to do?
RESPONDENT: And is it inversely proportional to one’s grip on the method?
PETER: As for ‘one’s grip one the method’, the main difficulty with the method is its simplicity and straightforwardness – denial and obscuration being the main tricks a social/instinctual identity employs in order to evade exposure. The good thing is that attentiveness combined with sincere intent allows you to understand and experience this aspect of the human condition in action and thus prevent it from getting in the way of your being happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: When I look into the feeling – there is the cause of the feeling and there is the effect of the feeling and there is no clear boundary in between ... at least in the beginning.
PETER: It’s good to keep in mind that many a person is in prison solely because of the effects of a feeling, be it anger, jealousy, envy, resentment, greed and so on. They are locked up away from mainstream society for many and varying reasons of course and the courts by and large take note of the varying causes in order to determine what are called mitigating circumstances but by-and-large they are there because of the effect of a feeling.
RESPONDENT: The effect (the expression and evolution) of the feeling dominates the cause. One may feel irritated because his boss said something about him and might discharge that irritation on his child’s undone homework thinking that it is the cause. I guess more attentiveness reveals the actual cause. But is there always a cause? How about when one deals with instincts? Is there a cause or trigger?
PETER: Given that I have written millions of words on this subject I am reluctant to track over it again … other than to say that if you are being attentive of the consequences your feeling irritated has on your own wellbeing and on the wellbeing of those upon whom you inflict your irritation and this is not enough of an incentive to stop feeling irritated, then no amount of musing about cause and effect will help.
I am reminded of those who argue about the possible link between violent videos and violence and whether or not one is the cause of the other, all the while blithely ignoring the fact that both are expressions of violence and that violence is and always has been endemic to human nature. The current popular argument is about the ‘causes’ of terrorism, a by and large diversionary argument that completely avoids the fact that such acts of senseless anarchical violence are part and parcel of the human condition and always have been part and parcel of the human condition.
I am in no way discouraging you from doing all you can about eliminating malice and sorrow from your life – it is the very best practical contribution that one can make towards ending all the wars, rapes, murders, child abuse, conflicts, despair and suicides that plague humanity – but when all is said, and all is done, an actual freedom is only to be had by stepping out of the real world and into the actual world.
RESPONDENT: I believe that Peter wrote the following:
I am interested in the evidence for the empirical discoveries from the scientific literature. If possible, can you please provide the literature that points to/or infers 1 & 2?
PETER: I gleaned the information regarding the first aspect from watching many television documentaries on the functioning of the brain, not from scientific literature. I have seen images of the functioning of the brain in response to various stimuli be they physical or imaginary, I have seen and heard reports of cases where, after an accident or illness affected certain areas of the brain other areas were activated and took over the disabled functioning, I have seen and heard reports of the functioning of the brain at a microscopic level via neural pathways known as synapses and have seen and heard reports that experimentation has revealed that these connections are electrochemical in nature and that repeated ‘firing’ of these connections causes the connection to strengthen and that neglect of these connections causes them to weaken.
All of this makes sense to me, in particular the effects that chemicals such as adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine have on the brain’s function as it directly accords with my own observation and experience as to how this brain operates – the effort it takes to get new connections up and running automatically, as well as the effort it takes to break a connection once it has become so strong as to be habitual, as well as the observation and experience that once a connection is no longer utilized for a period of time it eventually ceases to function.
With regard to the second aspect, the empirical evidence has been from the study of animals and the sole extent of reading that I did was LeDoux’s research on mice – as you would appreciate it is somewhat problematical to conduct such invasive investigations of the human brain in action. Despite this, LeDoux himself has no difficulty in translating the results to the workings of the human brain and recent research has revealed that the functioning of the human brain is substantially influenced by an array of chemicals that are triggered off by the amygdala in response to the limbic region of the brain.
As for the comment about genetic adaptations and alterations in the lifetime of the species, again this information was sourced from a documentary of a scientist moving same species frogs to varying altitudes and noting their adaptations to a markedly changed environment. I went looking for documentary evidence of his research some time ago but could not find it, so I have since amended the wording (it being part of the Introduction to Actual Freedom that I penned several years ago) to reflect a more cautious wording.
In my early days of writing I was much more cavalier in my approach but since then I have come to realize that many people focus on the details rather than the gist of what I was saying at the time. Upon reflection I did take their point on board – what I write should be subject to scrutiny and with a fine tooth comb if necessary – but I bulked at going over all of my writing and reviewing it for technical correctness, not to mention political correctness. My interest in actualism has always been, and always will be, experiential and I have little regard for intellectualism for intellectualisms sake – common sense is more my area of interest and to me what I have written above makes sense, both in relation to empirical scientific discoveries as well as my own experiential investigations as to how my brain operates and how it has progressively changed in it’s operation since first becoming an actualist.
PETER: … it was just that ‘I’ along with everyone else on the planet, and everyone else who has ever been on the planet, have got it 180 degrees wrong. What Richard’s discovery reveals is that there is no freedom to be had within the human condition – the answer lays in becoming free from the human condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: The latter is proving hard to come to terms with. Some days it seems self-evidently true. Other days it seems to be the work of a well-meaning madman, adopted by people with a proven track record of long-term devotion to causes that ultimately lead to disillusionment.
PETER: I guess the difference is that I understood what Richard meant when he said everyone has got it 180 degrees wrong – in that everyone has been searching for the meaning of life within the existing human condition, by way of either materialistic or spiritual pursuits – which then meant that I didn’t waste the opportunity that meeting Richard presented by indulging in knee-jerk reactions or wallowing around in doubt. Once my interest and my own enquiries established a prima facie case the next thing to do was obvious – give it a go.
As for Richard being ‘a well-meaning madman’, that was a definite attraction. And my ‘proven track record of long-term devotion to causes that ultimately lead to disillusionment’ apparently means that I have a far better experiential understanding of the inherent failures of spirituality than any of my peers.
RESPONDENT: Today’s ‘me’ says: I am not completely happy with life as I’m living it. There is nobody I would rather be than me, but it is still not good enough by a long shot. I’ve wracked my brains wondering whether there is some aspect of life within the ‘human condition’ that I have not tried yet, something I have not given a fair go. It seems there isn’t anything left. I’ve changed my attitudes, beliefs, social groups, relationships, countries, jobs, lifestyles, habits, self-images; and not just once. I think I’ve given life within the ‘human condition’ a fair go. The only way left is out. Whether actualism is the best way ‘out’, I’m still not completely sure.
PETER: Well, if you want to get ‘out’ of materialism, then there is mysticism, spiritualism or religion … and if you want to get ‘out’ of both then there is cynicism, nihilism and anarchism … or there is the radical solution, become actually free of the human condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: I waver between transcendence of the ‘human drama’ and elimination of the ‘human condition’. Sometimes transcendence of the ‘human drama’ seems like an ultimately ineffective mind game, which makes the complete elimination of the ‘human condition’ much more attractive. Then that, in turn, begins to seem unnecessarily drastic, like cutting off one’s own legs in order not to kick little old ladies.
PETER: It says a lot about the human condition that the idea of devoting one’s life to becoming happy and harmless is felt to be drastic. I remember the very idea of setting off down this path as being terrifying because I knew it was a path that only Richard had travelled before – that big psychic warning sign ‘Do not enter under any circumstance!’ was a dead give-away to me that actualism is something brand new in human history.
RESPONDENT: I took some time away from the list for a while in order to sort some things out regarding my current attempt at actualism. The main focus I want to operate with now is experiential. It became apparent that some of my ‘clashes’ with some of you have had their roots in my attempted analytical/emotional understanding – rather than tested out in experience – thus, I often treated much of what was said as having implications for me that they just don’t need to have.
PETER: Although most of the posts on this list are a one-to-one communication, the nature of what is being discussed should be of interest to all and applicable to all. This is because what is being discussed on this list is the human condition of malice and sorrow and how to become free of it.
Only by understanding and acknowledging that the human condition is universal to all human beings can one stop being a supporter of the status quo, stop defending the indefensible, stop denying one’s own feelings of malice, stop indulging in one’s own feelings of sorrow and take up the challenge of becoming actually happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: My understanding of the ‘human condition’ has changed quite dramatically the last year or so – as a result of encountering actualism. Whereas I used to understand the ‘human condition’ as a rather abstract term which referred to the fact that there is so much suffering in the world, I can see that actualism gives it quite a unique and more interesting meaning. As I see it now, for the actualist, the ‘human condition’ refers mainly to something concrete – that is the instinctual passions one is born with – and all that results from that basic fact.
I remember Vineeto once calling the human condition a ‘disease’ – which I didn’t like, since I saw many people who are generally relatively happy individuals, but now I agree it is a disease – since it refers to the instinctual passions one is born with – it couldn’t be anything but a disease. I see that now.
I had to understand it first though, before I could agree.
PETER: In my early days of actualism I remember asking Richard a ‘dumb’ question as to what was the source of the human condition. He replied that it was the genetically-encoded instinctual survival program – a program that is universal in its basic format in all sentient animals – and in the human species this program manifests itself as instinctual passions, mainly those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. As I thought more about it, it became obvious that I had each of these passions extant, and flourishing, in me.
Despite my good intentions, my moral forthrightness and my spiritual leanings it was obvious to me that I was, at heart, an instinctually driven being – utterly obsessed about my own survival and the survival of my genes. As I became aware of these passions in operation I came to more and more understand and experience that this programming acts not only to prevent my own happiness but also acts to prevent me from being harmless to my fellow human beings.
Although I usually like to base my understandings on my own experience, it is also useful to observe others, and by doing so I could see that everyone, without exception, is instinctually driven, which is why the best they can hope for is a relative happiness and a conditional harmlessness. Another observation that can be made is that what human beings proudly call ‘civilized behaviour’ is but a thin veneer that readily dissipates when a person, tribe or nation feels they have their backs to the wall or when they take offence at the words or actions of others. Then the human condition does indeed become ‘something concrete’ – manifested as murder, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, suicide, torture, ethnic cleansings, genocide, acts of terrorism and territorial and religious wars.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a great deal of thinking to see the link between your own personal feelings of anger and acts of terrorism and war and your own feelings of sadness and the universal feeling of despair that inflicts all of humankind.
PETER to No 23: A bit more about the subject of politics that has come to mind in the last week –
I have recently been watching the television coverage of the first anniversary of the bombing of the World Trade Centre towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. I was particularly struck by how well documented these acts of carnage were whereas our knowledge and understanding of most other such acts of violence throughout history are based on written accounts, bland official records, sketches and paintings, black and white photographs and official war films or, more recently, brief film clips on TV news reports. This has meant that while everybody is familiar with the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews, there is no similar close familiarity with, for example, the Japanese ritual slaughter of Chinese at Nanking, the Stalinist and Maoist systematic murder of tens of millions, or with the Communist genocide in Cambodia. Few deliberate acts of bombing of civilians have been recorded as they happened – the obliteration of whole cities in Europe and Asia in the Second World War was often only recorded from a distance or as piles of rubble, after the act.
I have a somewhat hazy but vivid memory of the very first time I became aware of the sheer horror of what human beings do to each other. I was about 10 years old at the time and my parents had just purchased their first television. I snuck out of bed late at night in order to watch and came across a film showing piles of skeletal corpses in a concentration camp. Whilst I vaguely remember being stunned at seeing this appalling and inexplicable act of evil, I can only assume that I thought that it was an aberration from the past and had nothing to do with me, i.e. the only way I could cope with what I saw was to dissociate from what I saw.
This memory surfaced again when I watched the two planes crashing into the World Trade Centre towers and then seeing both towers collapsing. Nowadays, as an actualist, I know that such acts of mass murder are in fact not an aberration and that dissociating or turning away from such acts means that I am only avoiding the opportunity of investigating my own social conditioning that makes me liable to be complicit to such acts as well becoming aware of my own instinctual passions that are the root cause of such actions.
As I watched the anniversary reports, the Mayor of New York commented in the aftermath of the attacks that he now knew what Londoners had endured for months in the Second World War and he could well have added the names of many other European and Asian cities. In a similar vein, I now know that the Holocaust, although horrific in itself, was not in itself an aberration because the persecution and murder of religious groups and tribal factions has a long history stretching back thousands of years. I also know that persecution and bigotry is inherent to all faiths, be they Western or Eastern. This is so because, by the very nature of all religious and spiritual belief, each faith believes that their particular morality, belief, God, Prophet, Guru or Godman is the only true, right, good and therefore, either implicitly or explicitly, that all other faiths are false, wrong, evil.
But I also know – thanks to Richard’s pioneering discoveries and my own experiential investigations – that tribal and religious conflicts are but the symptoms and the real cause of all human conflict lies where no-one dares to acknowledge, let alone investigate. I know by personal experience that the root cause of the violence, misery and mayhem that human beings continue to inflict upon each other is not the result of some metaphysical Evil force that continually needs to be opposed by the forces of Good but is solely due to the maladroit instinctual survival programming genetically-encoded by blind nature into each and every human being. And I know by experience that this programming can be changed – if one so desires.
There is another event that happened this week that I would also like to relate to you as it relates to the topic at hand and it helped me to throw some light on some of the feelings that have surfaced around the bombing of the WTC towers. I happened to have a chance conversation with a teenager who had been given a school assignment to comment on the rights and wrongs of the US attacking Iraq. As he read out some of the questions he was supposed to address, it became clear to me that whoever had posed the questions had an anti-US bias. What also became clear was that the teenager had very little knowledge of the facts of the situation. He didn’t know anything about the recent history of the Gulf war, of the Iranian-Iraq war, of the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein and the gassing of the Kurds, let alone the long history of conflicts in the region.
It struck me that he, like each and every other child born on the planet, had been inculcated with a particular point of view and opinion about other people, in ignorance of the current and historical facts of the situation. In common with every other child he was being taught – whether by his parents, peers or teachers – not only that there are good and evil people and tribes in the world but specifically who these people and tribes are. In this way, these beliefs then becomes set in concrete for a lifetime, only ever changed in order to remain compliant to the mood swings of society in general or one’s peer group in particular.
All of this I know from my own observations of my own social identity in action – of becoming aware as to how I was gullibly sucked into believing that what I was told and taught to be true by others was fact. Whilst it is obvious that I knew no better as a child, this is not the case nowadays. Nowadays if I catch myself feeling anti-anything feelings, I want to know why. I want to investigate the facts of the situation. I remember at the time of the bombing of the World Trade Centre towers being particularly curious about the amount of anti-US feeling that the event aroused. Many people of all nationalities were expressing the opinion that the US was at fault and that it had ‘got what it deserved’. Often I would hear that ‘it was terrible, but …’
I was reminded of school ground taunts and fights when there was general gloating when someone paid-back someone else for some wrong, and it often made no difference at all whether the wrong was actual or perceived. What I see in the human condition, and have discovered operating in ‘me’ and as ‘me’, is a basic feeling of resentment intrinsic to being a human being. This base-line feeling is what fuels much of the resentment against other individuals, groups, tribes or countries who are seen to be, or who are, more powerful, more wealthy, more fortunate, and so on. Many seek to counteract their feelings of resentment with the antidotal feeling of self-righteousness whereby they aspire to feeling ‘above’ the ‘ignorant’ behaviour of others, whilst many others seek solace in feeling grateful to their own personal protector-God.
I came to understand by scrupulous ‘self’-observation that many of the so-called ‘good’ feelings and opinions I held were based on a socially-inculcated and instinctually-natural feeling of self-righteousness and that this feeling is always predicated on the ‘wrongness’ of others. In my case for example, I believed being a spiritualist was ‘good’ because religion was inherently evil, I believed being a socialist was good because capitalism was inherently evil and I believed being an Environmentalist was good because consumerism was inherently evil. It was only when I became an actualist that I was emboldened to question and set aside these beliefs so that I was able to find out by myself, for myself, the facts of the situation.
I’ve come to understand – by carefully observing my own beliefs, feelings and passions and, most importantly, thinking about them – that the root cause of this intrinsic feeling of resentment is that ‘I’, by my very non-physical nature, am forever cut off from the perfection and purity of the actual physical world. However this very act of observation also means that increasingly I am able to rid myself of the social and instinctual programming that gives substance to ‘me’ as a social and instinctual identity. This deliberate act of elimination in turn means that I am more able to be unconditionally happy and effortlessly harmless, which is also why I am able to report from my own experience that actualism can never be a belief because it only works in practice.
It’s so good to be able to do something about one’s lot in life, to incrementally eradicate one’s own self-centred programming and start to marvel at this astonishing, utterly peerless, universe in action.
PETER: Most people are taught to love themselves, to stand up and fight for their rights, to be proud of their human-ness. In other words, every human being is taught to make the best of their programming and is taught that it is not possible to question the fundamentals of this programming. By dutifully following this ‘self’-centred and socially-condoned path everyone is oblivious to his or her own programming because ‘I’ am this programming and this programming is ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: Absolutely true. Even more insidious to some of us in the US is the rabid patriotism at play ... it’s not just the individual who is programmed to ‘to stand up and fight for their rights’, but the group.
PETER: There aren’t any individuals within the human condition, there are just team players or those who think and feel they are individuals. Amongst the latter, the common groupings are those who adopt an intellectual superiority via detachment from their feelings and spiritualists who adopt a moral or ethical superiority via dissociation from their feelings.
I remember No 4 some time ago realizing that it is impossible to be unique, as in ‘individual’, while remaining trapped within the human condition, i.e. despite what we may think and feel, all human beings are socially and instinctually programmed to believe the same beliefs.
RESPONDENT: Interesting reading, and a subtle point indeed. To maintain oneself as an ‘individual’ is to identify oneself in terms of the group, and its processes. It doesn’t matter what side of the line one falls on, one is still defined in relation to the group, hence is a part of it in some fashion.
PETER: Even the famed rebels and revolutionaries of history, be they real-world or spiritual, remained trapped within the human condition. As a social identity the only options available are to comply, shift alliances, swap sides, rebel against the current fashionable beliefs or opt for following spiritual beliefs but all of this is but huff and puff within the confines of what can be seen and felt as a cage of beliefs. While you may find this to be a subtle point, it is not one that the famed spiritual teachers can even conceive of because they remain firmly trapped within the human condition.
What I didn’t find at all subtle, and what really got me off my bum, is the fact that each and every human being is not only socially programmed to remain faithful to Humanity but that each and every human being is genetically encoded with the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Understanding this was of such significance to me that I put it this way on the very first page of my journal –
RESPONDENT: And woe be to you who dares question that belief.
PETER: Indeed. History is littered with the bodies of those who were foolish enough to question the belief of others.
Whereas actualism is utterly safe, because the only beliefs you need to question to become free of the human condition are your own.
RESPONDENT: Well, safe is a stretch. Once one questions beliefs to this sort of extent, it’s a one way street.
PETER: It sounds as though you have got the gist of what is on offer in the process of actualism.
RESPONDENT: And if one finds oneself in a situation where one doesn’t quite go along with rabid flag-waving jingoism (for example), one can easily find oneself on shaky ground in the group. (Not that that ever disturbed me before).
RESPONDENT: I’ve been shocked at times at the knee-jerk reactions of previously cognitive individuals.
PETER: Speaking from experience, I was hardly capable of any sustained clear thinking before I learnt to distinguish and separate thinking from my feelings and beliefs. It took an enormous amount of effort to get rid of the programming that prevents clear thinking from happening.
The first hurdle is the problem of cognitive dissonance – the total inability of a pre-programmed brain to even consider, let alone understand, that there might be an experience of freedom that is actual and sensual and not spiritual and affective. It was only because I remembered that I had had such an experience, that I knew that actual freedom lay completely outside of my spiritual beliefs and preconceptions.
RESPONDENT: I’ve had several experiences where I’ve gone through some long torturous internal analytical process, to find at the end that in my thinking I had clearly had my head far up my butt. It’s almost dizzying to look back on some of my processes and wonder ‘what was I thinking?’
PETER: What I was talking about was a pure consciousness experience, but I can well relate to what you are saying. It’s essential for an actualist to be able to feel a fool and freely admit it. When I first came across actualism I had to admit that I knew nothing about the human condition and that I had to throw out everything I learnt and start over again. Whilst I realized I really knew nothing – the spiritual ‘not knowing’ is a fact, not a virtue – I did have a lot of life experience of what didn’t work and this was definitely a plus.
It is so refreshing to be able to be naive without being gullible – it’s one of the many benefits of lived experience not squandered by giving up in acceptance, or giving in to cynicism.
RESPONDENT: The most important lesson out of that was that any time I was ‘sure’ about something, I had better take another long look at it.
PETER: You can never be sure about a belief, simply because a belief requires that you have to believe it to be true or factual. But once you have ascertained the facticity and actuality of something for your self, then you have the certainty to proceed. You may find the bit of writing about fact in the glossary to be good food for thought.
RESPONDENT: It has been quite revealing, thinking about my belief in my uniqueness. Once I recognize and acknowledge that I am not unique, large part of me becomes weak to defend. It also makes me more ruthless in dealing with my feelings and emotions. I remember now the following correspondence with Richard three years ago. At that time I did not realise his last sentence was so meaningful:
It is indeed a good news. Once I realise that ‘It is the human condition that is to blame ... not the flesh and blood body called No 4’, it makes life much simpler and it is much easier to investigate and remove other beliefs. It looks like that ‘being unique’ is the mother of all beliefs. It has been helpful discussing these things with you.
PETER: I have been able to spend many hours discussing such things with both Richard and Vineeto and it is wonderful that this mailing list now allows the opportunity to broaden such discussions into an open to anyone forum. Much of what is being discussed is very difficult to take on board at first reading and it may need several readings and a lot of contemplating before the penny drops – the ‘uh hu, that’s what he or she meant’ bit. First comes the understanding of the fact and then comes the acknowledgement and experiential understanding of the fact and then action ensues.
When I read your exchange with Richard, I thought to myself that he had described the fact of the matter so succinctly – ‘It is the human condition that is to blame ... not the flesh and blood body called No 4’. Recognizing and acknowledging this fact means you are instantly able to throw guilt, blame, denial, objection and avoidance out of the window and get on with the job that is always at hand – being happy and being harmless.
I also noted with amusement that I had recently used almost identical terms to describe the universal, common to everyone, nature of affective feelings. Richard’s description – ‘There is no difference between English anger ...’ – was so straightforward that it has stuck in my head as it were. No wonder people accuse me of being a clone – I use similar words and very often the same words to describe the same facts.
Then, out of interest, I went searching for the past conversations I have had with you on the list and found the following. I thought it interesting because the topic relates to the three possible ways of experiencing the world that is a currently being discussed on the list.
And here you are now saying –
Once it sinks in that you are not unique you start to see that you just been infected with the human condition via social conditioning and genetic propensity. Then you start to become a student of the human condition – you make an experiential study of feelings and emotions as they come up, you take a good look at all of Humanity’s ancient beliefs and wisdoms, you also look at Humanity’s ideals, values, morals and ethics in terms of ‘are they silly or sensible and do they work in practical terms’.
You start off by being interested in the human condition, then you find yourself becoming curious, then a fascination grows which can eventually become an obsession. Soon you find this curiosity about the human condition runs almost constantly in the background as a sensual attentiveness and an investigative awareness – a wordless ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?
RESPONDENT: He [Bohm] considers the effect that evolution has had as well.
PETER: Simply repeating a claim over and over does not make it a fact. Could you perchance provide some evidence where he David Bohm indicates that the genetically-encoded instinctual passions are the root cause of human malice and sorrow and not that thought is the root cause?
RESPONDENT: I see that you are looking for something that I’m not asking of Dr Bohm. You are demanding that Dr Bohm use your terminology before you will recognise any equivalence. I’ve not claimed that there would be a one-to-one relationship to actualism. I’ve suggested that other people have been thinking along similar lines.
PETER: Okay. You have again posted a quote in this post that supposedly demonstrate equivalence –
And yet it is clear that the instinctual passions are genetically-encoded in every normal healthy brain, i.e. people with undamaged brain cells feel fear, aggression, nurture and desire. There is no equivalence here – one is a myth, the other is a fact, a fact that has been the subject of historical denial but one that is gradually being confirmed by more and more empirical evidence.
RESPONDENT: I’ve agreed that Actualism does a good job in asserting the importance of inherited instinctual conditioning but that the notion is not original to actualism. Here’s another quote:
PETER: I assume the reason you have posted this quote is because the author mentions the words ‘physical heredity’ – even though he doesn’t make plain what he means by the term. Nevertheless, as I read the relevant part of this quote the author says ‘our physical heredity ... bear(s) the stamp of false values’. If I go along with your assumption that ‘physical heredity’ means genetically-encoded instinctual passions then what you assume he is saying is ‘the genetically-encoded instinctual passions bear the stamp of false values’.
So if fear, aggression, nurture and desire are ‘false values’ then ‘fundamental transformation’ would presumably occur when those false values were replaced by authentic or true values – which in the spiritual traditions means fear is replaced by the feeling of omnipotence, aggression is replaced by the ideal of pacifism, nurture is aggrandized into a feeling of Divine or unconditional love and desire is disguised as Divine gratitude or humility.
All you have posted is yet another recipe for self-righteousness and this bears no equivalence at all with what is on offer hereabouts.
RESPONDENT: Here’s a source that DOES use your preferred terminology. You won’t like their conclusions (nor do I) and you will dismiss then as ‘spiritual’ but it shows that others are thinking along actualist lines:
Wow. Look at that. They talk about the human condition AND instinctive self!
PETER: No equivalence at all. When the author says ‘the intellect evolved to the level where it could take control from the instincts’ he has got it completely wrong. How does he explain the fact that the ‘evolutionary development’ that produced homo sapiens (literally ‘man the wise’) occurred at least 100,000 years ago and possibly even 400,000 years ago and yet war, murder, rape, torture, child abuse, domestic violence, suicide, depression, corruption, superstition and the likes are still endemic within the human condition – so much for the intellect taking ‘control from the instincts’.
A lot of people write a lot of things about the instincts – but none say that it is possible, let alone even desirable, to eliminate the instinctual passions … in fact human beings are mightily proud of being ‘passionate beings’. (...)
PETER: By the way, this survival program is not conditioning endowed by evolution over time – it is genetically encoded as an indivisible package in each and every human being born, i.e. it is not a progressive conditioning, it is an instantaneous condition. The instinctual program is the (human) condition and it is universal to every human being whereas social conditioning is individual in that it has slight cultural and gender variations.
RESPONDENT: I was talking about evolutionary conditioning of a species, not an individual.
PETER: Yes but the instinctual survival mechanism that gives rise to the instinctual passions (fear, aggression, nurture and desire) is universal to the human species – each and every human being is born with them. The instinctual survival mechanism is not conditioning – ‘evolutionary conditioning’ is something you have made up, it is not a fact.
RESPONDENT: So none of your books endorse the term ‘evolutionary conditioning’? So what if I ‘made it up’? You make up whole sentences.
PETER: I don’t ‘endorse the term ‘evolutionary conditioning’ for the simple reason that ‘evolutionary conditioning’ is a not a fact
RESPONDENT: Let me define the meaning for you – ‘naturally selected patterns imprinted across entire species, that guide the behaviour and appearance of individuals’.
PETER: Nice try, but you have again ignored the fact that there is no such thing as ‘evolutionary conditioning’ – the instinctual passions are genetically encoded as one cohesive package and they are not a matter of conditioning because the word conditioning means something that happens over time.
RESPONDENT: It’s true to say that the genetic coding is supplied complete to each individual.
PETER: Oh, good. Can we agree then that the instinctual survival mechanism – that which gives rise to the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire in human beings – ‘is supplied complete’ to each and every member of the human species?
RESPONDENT: Hey, I never disagreed with that!
PETER: Then why do you insist on using the word ‘conditioning’ which means something that happens over time. And not only that, you continue to post quotes from spiritualists who also believe that conditioning is the problem and not the ‘supplied complete’ condition itself.
PETER: Do realize that this is no little thing to agree to because it is completely at odds with all of the spiritual teachings that have it that we are born innocent beings and only corrupted by conditioning or that we are all blank slate souls who have to suffer the trails of being trapped in a corporeal body in an alien physical world?
RESPONDENT: Well it’s not hard for a person whose early exposure to spirituality taught them that they bear the stain of original sin.
PETER: But that’s a fairy tale and a grim onerous one at that. To compare the idea of a Creator God who condemns human beings to be born malicious and sorrowful with the fact that it is the genetically-encoded instinctual passions that cause human malice and sorrow is nonsense. How you can reconcile agreeing to both is beyond me.
RESPONDENT: The conditioning, however, takes huge amounts of time and works on species.
PETER: Well if you can see the sense – and accept the scientific evidence – that the instinctual survival passions are genetically-encoded and as such are ‘supplied complete’ to each and every member of the human species – then can also probably see that conditioning – be it ethnic, racial, social, cultural, religious or whatever – is what happens to each and every human being after birth? Let me put it another way. The instinctual passions are universal to all human beings – there is no difference between the fear a Greek woman feels or the fear a Liberian man feels, there is no difference to the anger a Roman centurion felt to that which a Stone Age girl felt. In other words, whilst there are undoubtedly ethnic, racial, social, cultural and religious differences between these people, the feelings they feel and the passions they are driven by are universal to all human beings.
RESPONDENT: Yes. Well put.
PETER: And how you can reconcile agreeing that the instinctual survival passions are genetically-encoded and as such are ‘supplied complete’ to each and every member of the human species with your continued use of the word ‘conditioning’ and your continued posting of quotes that insist that thinking is the problem is also beyond me.
RESPONDENT: I think it’s quite right that Actualism stress the role of genetic inheritance. You have no argument with me on that.
PETER: Are you clear that what you are agreeing to … because what actualism stresses (that the genetically-encoded instinctual passions are the root cause of human malice and sorrow) is diametrically opposite to all of what all of spiritualism teaches (that human beings are born innocent and only corrupted by conditioning or that we are all born as blank-slate souls who then have to suffer the trails of being trapped in a corporeal body in an alien physical world before a final release ‘when the body dies’).
RESPONDENT: I’ll cut you some slack here – you don’t mean ALL spiritualism. Think ‘original sin’.
PETER: No 49 has picked me up on this point as well. At one time I understood that it was common-usage to use the term spiritual when referring to Eastern spiritualism and the word religion when referring to monotheist religions but nowadays religion now has also laid firm claim to the word spirituality. Even as a kid I found the idea of a Creator God sitting on a white cloud to be nonsense, which is one of the reasons I tend to ignore the fairy tales of monotheism when I use the word spiritualism
By the way, one of the reasons I came to see Buddhism as being as silly as Christianity was the fact that there is no evidence that a Mr. Buddha existed as a flesh-and-blood-body person other than in the stories in the Buddhist religious texts, exactly as there is no evidence that a Mr. Jesus existed as a flesh-and-blood-body person other than in the stories in the Christian religious texts. I then came to dismiss them both as being nothing but the mythical creations of an impassioned human imagination.
PETER to No 1: Surely it’s time to consider a new non-spiritual, down-to earth, approach to becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow?
RESPONDENT: Could you simplify your question? I cannot tell whether you are seriously interested in ‘becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow’ or whether you are already convinced it is impossible.
PETER: My question was not a rhetorical one but a sincere question asked in a forum that promotes open dialogue and discussion. From my teenage years, as I gradually emerged from the sheltered existence of school and family, I was shocked to discover a world where people fought and killed each other with ruthless efficiency. One of my earliest shocking memories was seeing films of the aftermath of the WW2 concentration camps. This seemed like some dark evil history as I was living in a country largely free of overt violence. Later, my university days were gradually to fill with a wonderful optimism and naiveté as the sixties’ youth revolution gathered momentum. We were going to change the world! Socialism, peace on earth, love, sexual freedom, environmentalism – anything was possible to have or to change. From these heady days I developed a burgeoning interest in finding freedom, peace and happiness.
I marched to stop the Vietnam war, I poster-pasted to save the forests, I grooved to the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in London, I hung around in Amsterdam, I travelled to the East, I became politically and socially concerned and involved. Remember John Lennon singing ‘Imagine’ or ‘Give Peace a Chance’, or watching Woodstock? We were going to change the world! And then it all started to fade a bit – and I gradually got lost in the ‘real world’, the daily business of wife, two kids and two cars. And then, when that comfortably-numb world crashed, I went through my ‘dark night of the soul’, and I was off to the East with thousands of others on the spiritual path, seduced and fired up by the promise of a New Man, Peace, Love, Utopia and an end to my personal suffering. I’ve thought about those times recently – what happened to the passion, the enthusiasm of those times?
In fact, the whole of the peace revolution of the sixties was simply sucked into the mystery, confusion and ‘mindlessness’ of the Eastern religions. The famed ‘spiritual path’, the Western pursuit and belief in Eastern religion and philosophy, has failed to deliver anything remotely resembling freedom, peace and happiness to humanity. Now that I look back it has failed because there was nothing new, different or original in it at all.
How could the solution lie in the well-tried so-called wisdom of the past? There would have been peace and happiness in the world by now if it worked – it has had at least 3,500 years to prove itself. As Ken Wilber wrote in an issue of ‘What Is Enlightenment’ of the success of Eastern religion –
(For those with a calculator it is 0.0000001 of the total population). This is a stunning figure to contemplate upon.
When I realized that I had simply moved from rejecting Western religious belief as meaningless fairy tale in my youth only to have landed myself in an Eastern religion in my middle years I was shocked. When I realized that millions upon millions upon millions of believers, meditators, devotees, monks and nuns had assiduously trod the spiritual path for thousands upon thousands of years in the East with so little result I was devastated. Eastern religious practice succeeds only in producing an elitist lineage of transcended God-men who then perpetuate their ancient stories, myths and fables to the next generation of gullible believers. I know the system well for I was a gullible believer for some 17 years and was dangerously close to becoming a God-man myself before the warning bells rang and my common sense reasserted itself. As I dug deeper in to spiritual belief I discovered that peace on earth is not even on the agenda of Eastern religions – life on earth is meant to be a suffering existence and it is an endless cycle of misery – it is deemed to be a necessary, essential and unchangeable part of some greater cosmic plan. This ‘necessary suffering’ is the human condition of malice and sorrow and includes all the wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, despair and suicide.
Being vitally interested in peace on earth, I decided to question spirituality, the belief in God and the idea of life after death – to dare to question the sacred teachings.
As for – ‘or whether you are already convinced it is impossible (to become free of the human condition of malice and sorrow)’.
It is impossible to bring an end to human malice and sorrow whilst remaining trapped within the human condition and this includes being trapped within any of the multitudinous spiritual belief-systems or mind-sets. Surely 3,500 years of belief, trust faith and hope in Gods, Goddesses, Spirits, Sources, Higher Selfs, Essences, Creators, Doomsdays, Good and Evil, is long enough to declare that the experiment has failed.
Currently some 6 billion human beings are involved in a grim and desperate instinct-driven battle for survival on this planet. The human condition is typified by malice and sorrow and the man-made idyllic antidotes of love and compassion have failed to stem the carnage. It is well-documented that the last century was the bloodiest to date – over 160 million human beings died at the hands of their fellow human beings and over 40 million people killed themselves in suicides – and there is no end in sight. Religion, be it Eastern or Western, actively contributes to this carnage as is evidenced by the countless religious wars, persecutions, recriminations, repressions, ostracizations, denials, retributions, perversions and conflicts that are ever ongoing ... Eastern religion is particularly insidious for it deliberately promotes the practice of turning away and withdrawing from the physical world of people, things and events where we human beings actually live to a spirit-ual, meta-physical world, to an ‘inner’ private isolated world of furtive imagination and impassioned feelings.
So, I am vitally interested in ‘becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow’. Becoming free of the human condition of malice and sorrow is to actualize peace on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body. It is impossible to become free of instinctual malice and sorrow whilst remaining trapped within the human condition, either battling it out in a grim world ‘normal’ reality or by escaping into an imaginary delusionary Greater Reality by practicing disassociation via denial and transcendence. In the spiritual world, any chance of an actual peace on earth is readily and eagerly forfeited for an imaginary peace after physical death ... or, for the rare few, the chance to become God-on-earth.
Which is why I asked the question for anybody who is interested in peace on earth, in this lifetime –
To do this, sincere seekers of freedom, peace and happiness would have to break through the sacred ceiling that traps them within the human condition. This daring to question the sacred and taking action to break free of ancient beliefs in Gods, God-men and Spirits is analogous to the pioneering women who have had to break through the glass ceiling of religious, social, moral and ethical restraints that bound them to the woodstove and the washing line.
Does that make the question ‘Surely it’s time to consider...’ clearer to you and do you understand why I was moved to ask it of myself? I did say to No. 1 that this was a radical proposition, but spirituality (a belief in God, by whatever name) has had 3,5000 years to deliver the goods and has lamentably failed. There must be something that works and the evidence that peace on earth is possible is startlingly obvious in a pure consciousness experience when the ‘self’ – both as ego and as soul, both as thinker and feeler – is temporarily absent. The pure consciousness experience clearly indicates that peace on earth, an actual end to malice and sorrow, lies in total self-extinction, both ego and soul, not an ego death only, as in an altered state of consciousness.
RESPONDENT: You say every human being born into this world has a pre-programmed instinctual ‘self’ that is fully developed by about age two.
PETER: I don’t know if you have ever had children or had the opportunity to closely observe a baby’s development from birth to toddler. If so, you would have seen the gradual emergence of what could best be described as an independent will. The infant changes from being a pliant demander of food and comfort to showing signs of aggressive behaviour, fear of people, likes and dislikes, moodiness, stubbornness and the classic temper tantrums. All this is the sign of an emergence of an instinctual ‘self’ and this stage marks the beginning of the parent’s carrot and stick approach to teaching the infant what is right and good, and what is wrong and bad, behaviour. The infant is taught an appropriate social code of ethics and morals by a combination of reward and punishment in order that the infant can eventually learn appropriate behaviour to make him or her a fit, able and good member of society. Thus it is that the instinctual ‘self’ we are born with is overlaid with a social identity consisting of the morals, ethics, values, psittacisms and beliefs of our peers. I know this genetic programming and social programming very well for I have parented two children and have observed identical behaviour in all children and parents I have come across.
This programming is common to each and every infant born into the world. No-one escapes this genetic and social programming that eventually makes up ‘who’ we think and feel we are – an instinctual ‘self’ overlaid with a social identity.
The instinctual ‘self’ is located in the primitive brain, commonly known as the reptilian brain, and the associated instinctual are animal in nature and very crude and brutish in operation – and when push comes to shove, readily able to override any common sense or moral and ethical considerations.
Thus, despite the myth of ancient wisdom, we humans are not born ‘innocent’ and then corrupted by our peers and evils of the material world. Nor are we eternal spirits who forget ‘who’ we really are when loaded into a foetus and born into a material world with the task of remembering ‘who’ we really are – an immortal spirit – and when we do become ‘who we really are’, we seek to tell others that they should remember that they too are eternal spirits who ...
The facts about ‘who’ we think we are, and ‘who we feel we are deep down inside, is deeply abhorrent to spiritual seekers, for it reveals that freedom, peace and happiness can only be found by abandoning all of the notions of ancient wisdom, tuning one’s backs on one’s precious spiritual achievements and dismantling one’s prized spiritual identity – something few will dare to do for the lot of a pioneer is a daunting one to say the least.
From this modern, clear-eyed, empirical understanding of the source of human malice and sorrow it is readily apparent that freedom, peace and happiness is only possible when both one’s social identity and one’s instinctual ‘self’ – both ego and soul – are eradicated from the flesh and blood body.
RESPONDENT: My question: Who or what did the pre-programming?
PETER: Well, on the planet at the moment there are evidently over 2,000 active religions, each with a different story about ‘Who’ did it, and the current New Dark Age has seen a fashionable revival of many ancient beliefs and theories and the creation of quite a few new ones. The spiritual world offers a potpourri of Gods, Goddesses, spirits, Demons, Energies, aliens, Forces, stories, reasons, explanations, theories and beliefs as to the existence of Good and Evil on the planet. It is curious to note that all the explanations put the praise or blame on a ‘Who’, a Higher Power, with the exception of the Eastern Religions who tend to blame a ‘what’, as in Mr. Buddha’s first Noble Truth – ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’.
The ineludible answer to your question is far more extraordinary and amazing than any of the fairy stories that humans have concocted over millennia.
In at least one solar system, this astonishing universe has manifested an event of no little significance, by providing a fresh opportunity for carbon-based life-forms to emerge out of itself ... and thus matter became animate matter. This shimmeringly blue verdant planet exudes a humid and nutrient-rich atmosphere that is the primordial womb of the only life that is so far known to exist in the universe. The circumstances on earth were ripe for the chemical processes that gave rise to the cellular structures of a prolific vegetate life and for amoeba to form, grow, combine and recombine to develop into extraordinary and bizarre variations of animate life and to begin the inevitable progression towards conscious animate life. So abundant and luxuriant is carbon-based life on the planet that it is estimated that there are currently between 2 and 4.5 million individual animal and plant species on the planet.
The multiplicity of organisms that has developed and redeveloped has done so through the biological feed-back mechanism of the primal creature’s involuntary response to environmental dictates. Their ‘life-successful’ reactions are genetically encoded as automated survival instincts. The human species, the most sophisticated of life forms, the only intelligent animal species on Earth, capable of thinking, planning and reflecting, and of being conscious of their own thoughts and actions, represents the pinnacle of the emergence and development of carbon-based life forms known in the universe.
... Isn’t the actual so much more remarkable, breathtaking and vital than the imaginary grim fairy tales we have been taught?
There is no ‘Who’ running this universe and no helpless despairing ‘what’ that makes human malice and sorrow an unalterable fate. As is clearly evidenced in a Pure Consciousness Experience, this physical universe is perfect and pure for it is infinite and eternal – there is no outside to this universe and it is always happening now. In a PCE it is abundantly clear that it is ‘me’ and ‘my’ feelings and passions that stand in the way of this purity and perfection being actualized in this flesh and blood body.
The ending of one’s own malice and sorrow is thus in one’s own hands ... and not in the hands of some imaginary ‘Who’.
RESPONDENT: So. No Spirit, no Self, no Ego, and interestingly, no instinct.
PETER: Every human being born into this world has a pre-programmed instinctual ‘self’ that is fully developed by about age two. This instinctual ‘self’ is epitomized by the instinctual passions of fear, aggression nurture and desire, an automatic operating program instilled to ensure the propagation and survival of the species. The rudimentary animal instinctual ‘self’ or instinctual identity we are born with is then overlaid with a social identity, instilled since birth by our peers. This social identity consists of the morals and ethics that have been drilled into us from the time when we were first rewarded for ‘good’ and ‘right’ behaviour and punished for ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour. We are thus taught to emphasize and highly value the ‘tender’ instinctual passions and repress and control the ‘savage’ passions. Our social identity is also made of our beliefs, prime among them being an atavistic belief in Gods, spirits, other-worlds and an on-going life after death for ‘me’, as spirit.
Spiritual freedom is not a ‘self’-less state, as is sometimes claimed, but a shift in identity from self to Self or personal self to Impersonal Self or from mortal spirit to Divine Spirit.
A freedom from the instinctual passions requires the elimination of all identity – both the overlaid social identity implanted as a ‘controller’ of the rampant passions and the instinctual identity, which is the very source of the instinctual animal passions.
PETER: When I reply to someone on the mailing list I always assume I am writing not only to one person but to all on the list – after all, sharing of experiences, discoveries and information is the point of enquiring mailing lists. Mere Guru-bashing is a waste of time and is most usually undertaken by cynical spiritualites or real-world cynics.
My motivation in writing is peace on earth and my main point on this list was to point out that it was not even on the spiritual agenda. So, I do take care in writing and attempt not only to point out what doesn’t work and why, but also to clearly offer a method of discovering an actual down-to-earth freedom rather than the synthetic ‘other’-worldly spiritual freedom that has been the only thing on offer to date.
RESPONDENT: I really appreciate your approach of questioning EVERYTHING, even the sacred spiritual traditions, gurus and all. I think it’s absolutely ESSENTIAL for everybody to be very adventurous and bold in their investigation of life to avoid getting trapped in conformity and dependence etc.
PETER: Yes, indeed. Anyone sufficiently adventurous and bold enough in their investigations as to how to become free from the human condition of malice and sorrow would naturally want to investigate and become free of every aspect of the human condition and not remain trapped in any illusion, belief, imagination or impassioned feeling, no matter how seductive.
The Human Condition is that set of beliefs, conditionings and instincts that forms the habitual and neuro-biological program by which human beings currently operate and have done so, with few significant changes, ever since the first recorded civilizations. It can be likened to the ‘rules of the game’, defining the parameters and limits of what it is to be a human being that have been established and embellished, over tens of thousands of years. These rules ‘set in concrete’ both our instinct-based behaviour and the overlaying beliefs that form our gender, tribal, spirit-ual and world concepts.
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’. Bitter experience of continuous failure to curb instinctual animal fear and aggression, combined with the continual failure of morals, ethics and ideals has beget either cynical acceptance or fanciful spiritual belief as the prime mechanisms of coping with the Human Condition.
The very base of the ‘rules of the game’ that encodes and enshrines the Human Condition is what is known as Ancient Wisdom – that set of beliefs, myths, morals, ethics and psittacisms that has been passed on from generation to generation and venerated as the inviolate essence of what it is to be human. In the days of the ancients, the manifestations of instinctual fear and aggression were seen as being caused by evil spirits possessing the body and were appeased or exorcised by reverence, worship or sacrifice to the good spirits or Gods. There was no knowledge or understanding of the role that instincts play in human behaviour, as there is today.
The childhood imposition, by enticement or discipline, of a tribal role or social identity was a survival necessity both for the group and individual. Nowadays this same social conditioning can clearly be seen as creating and perpetuating the separate, distinct war-mongering groups of the past, be they ethnic, territorial or religious based. Thus, the Human Condition is built upon an archaic and inane set of ethics, morals, beliefs and false assumptions that have no relevance at all in this modern world. No wonder there is no solution to the human dilemma of malice and sorrow, given that we fervently insist on looking for a solution within the Human Condition – and then base our search for solutions on the wisdom and knowledge of our primordial ancestors.
The only way to become free from the Human Condition is to facilitate and actualize an end to both one’s social identity and one’s instinctual based primordial ‘self’. The elimination of the ‘identity’ in its entirety is simultaneously the demise of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ within oneself. Then ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ vanish forever along with the dissolution of the psyche itself ... that is the only place where they can live in. Because there is neither good nor evil in the actual world of sensual delight – where I live as this flesh and blood body – one lives freely in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are, actually free of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow.
PETER: Just a brief note to your comment on the Otto Kernberg article –
RESPONDENT: Later on in his interview he describes ego as something that develops from birth. At birth an individual comes with a bag of core functions that are native to the ‘central nervous system’. From this point on, the individual baby’s significant associations, lead to two way relationships (dyad symmetries), and a function of how they relate to each other, in the brain-memory. All these come together to form the individual/ego.
PETER: The more easily understood description for this would be one’s social identity. ‘Who’ you are programmed to think you are by your parents, peers and the tribal group you grow up in.
RESPONDENT: This is a persuasive theoretical framework. All possible observations are accounted for, in this theory. However when one asks, what is the core function that an individual comes with, in the first place? – the answer lies in biology (?).
PETER: The core function is a set of survival instincts, the main one’s being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. These are blind nature’s somewhat clumsy software program, genetically encoded in every human being so as to ensure the survival of the species. This core function is our instinctual self – ‘who’ we feel we are, deep down inside. This is the other half of our identity.
The modern challenge is to free ourselves of both of these programs – both social and instinctual. To do this we have to push beyond the traditions of the past, for they have failed to address the elimination of the instinctual passions. Traditionally the ancients ones regarded the instinctual passions as bad spirits and Evil, hence the spirit-ual search is to transcend or rise above these spirits and become one with the good spirits and God.
RESPONDENT: But, there is a path or way to become more than mere human and yet not reject one’s humanity.
PETER: In Eastern religion, the path to ‘become more than mere human’ means the path to feeling Divine and Immortal – nothing more and nothing less. The spiritual path has traditionally seduced those seeking genuine peace, freedom and happiness into an imaginary psychic spirit-ual world – even further removed from actuality. Each new spiritual/ religious group that emerges on the scene does nothing but reinforce and contribute to the plethora of competing religions which has caused unimaginable suffering, conflicts, recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars that are ever ongoing.
As for not rejecting ‘one’s humanity’ – the most treasured attribute of ‘humanity’ is that we are proud of being feeling beings. These same cherished feelings we share in common with our closest genetic cousins, the chimps. Thus human affective feelings are firmly based upon the instinctual animal passions, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Despite our trumpeting and championing the tender qualities of love and compassion, the most striking, persistent and enduring attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow – both at a personal level and a global level.
In order to be free of malice and sorrow we need to reject this perverse view as to what it is to be human – this overwhelming concept of a forever-suffering Humanity, instinctually and blindly driven to battle it out in grim and senseless and battle for survival, no matter how safe, comfortable, leisurable or pleasurable our lives become.
To do so, we need a radical new approach that goes far further than the mere transcendence of the ‘bad’ savage instinctual passions and selfishly pumping up the ‘good’ tender ones for this does not do the job. We each need to conduct a personal on-going investigation of the instinctual passions as they manifest moment to moment such that we are able to actuate a permanent irrevocable change in our behaviour towards our fellow human beings.
Few spiritual believers are prepared to make a deep investigation of their feelings, emotions and instinctual passions for they see that if they dare to question the spiritual ‘good’ feelings they will simply end up back in the ‘real’ world from which they have been desperately trying to escape. Some see that to question spiritual beliefs is to go towards the devil or evil while others see it as ending up in a sort of robotic catatonic state of non-feeling. What belies these fears is the PCE where the purity, perfection and benevolence of the actual world becomes magically apparent as having been here all the time ... if only ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul were not present to act as spoiler.
The incremental transition from being an emotional, feeling self to the free functioning of apperception and sensuous delight requires a sincere intent firmly based on the peak experience. Ridding oneself of the emotions arising from the instinctual passions is a shocking concept to human beings, an anathema to what we regard as our very human-ness. But therein lies the secret to becoming actually free from the human condition for those courageous enough to face the illusionary demons and dragons, and the objections of others, on the way.
Peace on earth does not lie beyond ego-death – the shift of identity from a personal self to the delusion of an impersonal self – as we now well know from examining the lives of the Enlightened Ones. Peace on earth lies beyond both psychological and psychic death – the extinction of both ego and soul, to use the common spiritual terms. It is something that many spiritual people know, including the Enlightened Ones, but few are willing to broach the topic for fear of losing their psychic power over others.
Thanks for your post, No 11. It is vital to examine these matters and, as you can see from the mailing list, few people are even willing to discuss these matters at any depth for fear of raising doubts about their faith and for fear of other’s reaction within the group.
RESPONDENT: How would things be different if we were motivated by truth?
PETER: The problem with being motivated by the ‘truth’ is that everyone has their own version of the truth, as in ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’, and that each Religion has their own particular version of the Truth according to the Teachings of their particular Master, Messenger or Guru being followed. Further, some people believe that there is but One Truth, an obvious fantasy as it is such a nebulous thing as to be ‘beyond words’. When it is put into words the fighting begins in earnest as to which version is the Real Truth. This nonsense has gone on for millennia and is a mere excuse to have a mythical God to bow down to or look up to. Just because everybody believes something to be true doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. It just means that everybody believes to be it to be true. To believe means ‘fervently wish to be true’ as per dictionary definition. Whereas a fact is a fact.
RESPONDENT: What about if we were motivated by a common sense evaluation of facts rather than imaginary concepts?
PETER: What about if we considered that there was no life after death? What about if we were motivated to become happy and harmless, rather than the frantic desire to visualize an after-life? What if we stopped believing in mythical Truths and looked at the facts for a change?
RESPONDENT: How would things change here on Earth if we all worked to help one another instead of just ourselves?
PETER: One of the significant problems with the tribal system of clinging together for support is that we are socialized, cajoled and forced into ‘helping’ others. This means that we constantly focus our awareness on the behaviour and conduct of others and completely neglect our own emotions, feelings, words and actions. This results in a scenario where the other is always wrong or at fault and results in those insidious ‘if only’ ... scenarios. ‘If only we all loved one another...’ ‘If only I found the right partner...’ ‘If only it had lasted...’ etc.
I simply adopted the sensible approach that the only person I could change (or help) was me. To consider the possibility of changing the other 5.8 billion people to suit my version of how things could be better is ridiculous in the extreme. And waiting for God to do it with a wave of some magic wand is but a fairy-tale with diabolical consequences. Since He/She/It is nothing but a figment of our imaginations we wait in vain (not to mention despair, anguish, hope, trust and faith).
RESPONDENT: How would people live if we made decisions to support the All rather than each as individuals?
PETER: As humans are now, because we have a set of well-meaning morals and concepts practiced by almost every religion and culture, that concept alludes to a common good, to mutual support and compassion for those less well-off, rights of minorities, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, love for neighbour, etc. And it does a reasonable sort of job of keeping the lid on our instinctual malice and sorrow. We have managed to stamp out cannibalism at least, but have a long way to go to make a dent on war, rape, domestic violence, suicide, corruption, etc. I suggest it is time to sort out ourselves rather than others, firmly based on the fact that the only one you can change is you.
RESPONDENT: How would our decisions change if we understood that whatever we do to our neighbour we do to ourselves?
PETER: The concept falls down badly on the first point which is that when ‘push comes to shove’ nobody cares what they do to their neighbour, everybody reverts to ‘survival’ mode. Each human comes into the world wired with a set of instincts (fear, aggression, nurture and desire) and a primitive self. This is overlaid with a set of social conditioning and we then adopt a social identity in order to fulfill the role expected of us. Thus there are 5.8 billion humans, each with a ‘self’ that is basically lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. No wonder, we still need to keep up law and order with the point of a gun. Adopting moralistic or idealistic concepts is to treat the symptoms and not the disease. It is merely sticking one’s head in the sand. (...)
RESPONDENT: It is not a beautiful thing to watch thousands starving in the streets, as they already are and will more so in the future if things continue on the path we’ve collectively chosen.
PETER: To say that we have collectively chosen assumes firstly that human beings are a collective. We are obviously the same species but are in fact there are 5.8 billion humans each with a separate sense of ‘self’. Each is born with primitive sense of self, reinforced by a set of survival instincts. We then are imbued with a social identity from birth onwards so as to fit in one of literally thousands of tribal and/or religious groups. Further, from our peers we ‘round out the package’ with a personal selection of beliefs in order to form what we then consider to be a ‘unique’ identity. It is from our social conditioning that the belief comes that we are a ‘collective’.
We are instilled with a set of morals and ethics such as to make us ‘fit in’ and to curb our instinctual aggression. The major problem is that each person within the particular group, tribe or religion then depends on the group for survival. This dependency is both instinctual and imbibed with the mother’s milk and is so strong that group members will kill and die for the group’s survival in the face of both actual and perceived dangers. To imagine that we choose to act this way is to defy factual evidence to the contrary.
PETER: Just a brief note to your comments on the Human Condition of malice and sorrow –
RESPONDENT: These are the real causes of the ‘Human Condition’
PETER: Tell that to the woman who has just been seized, held at knife point and raped by a group of soldiers in the Balkans while on an ethnic cleansing patrol.
PETER: Tell that to the African child who for the second time in three years faces starvation because ‘tribal conflicts’ in his country mean there is no food to be had.
PETER: Tell that to the 16 year old prostitute and heroin addict, who has just been beaten up by her pimp for ‘answering back’.
PETER: Tell that to yourself, over and over, over and over, ... to avoid being brainwashed. Then again there is always the ‘avoid brainwashing’ button.
PETER: Tell that to the man who, in a fit of jealous rage, has shot the man he found in bed with his wife.
PETER: Tell that to the Buddhist monk who entered an isolated monastery at the age of 13 and, after 40 years, is still ‘seeking’ Enlightenment.
PETER: And I’ve got many, many more as well ...
There’s the one about the man who stood by the coffin of his 13 year old son, and ...
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: And you too, Peter, I would like to give a good send-off.
PETER: If you are happy with what is, for you in the world as it is, then excellent!
Actual Freedom is clearly not your thing, and fair enough.
To even consider a journey into yourself to free yourself of the Human Condition requires a burning discontent with life as it is – both for yourself and for your fellow human beings.
It also requires a pioneering spirit to challenge Ancient Wisdom and the set-in-concrete mother of all beliefs – that ‘you can’t change Human Nature’.
Not to mention a good dose of bloody-mindedness, a touch of rebel, a sprinkle of panache and a dash of daring.
So, it’s bye from me, I’ve enjoyed our posts.
RESPONDENT: You decide what is/has been insanity, what people have done, their results, how everything and everyone has failed... and then you offer solutions to what never was more than projections and speculations. Only in your delusion do your speculations become facts.
PETER: I decide nothing of the sort. We humans, with our programmed separate sense of ‘self,’ imagine that we are individuals operating with a free will, but a quick study of history, behavioural studies, sociology, psychology, religious texts reveal that we are all instinctually programmed with fear, aggression, nurture and desire. This programming is further overlaid with social conditioning – Western, American, Christian, etc., and we then adopt our role that we act out in society. Despite the imposition of ethics and morals, and adherence to spiritual and religious teachings we still have nothing resembling peace on this planet either individually or collectively. I fail to see this as a delusion. Don’t you occasionally watch the news on television?
PETER: ‘Millions, if not billions’ is a reference to all the devotees of Eastern spirituality (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, Zen, etc.) in all the thousands of years, many, many of whom spent their lives secluded in monasteries or ashrams (in Tibet, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, India etc.) or devoting hours of their days in meditation, ‘watching’, praying, or the like. The recent influx and western interest in spirituality is but a ‘blimp’ on the vast sweep of history. The point of my statement was that once this became evident to me I was able to put my position in perspective. The failure rate of producing profound individual awakenings (Enlightenment) of the Eastern religions became startlingly evident, as did my arrogance in assuming that I could do any better. The other issue was that despite (or because of) the numbers, sincerity and effort of all these people the countries had appalling levels of poverty, disease, corruption, repression of women, and often downright theocracies. I fail to see this as speculation and projection. A study of history and an open-eyed visit to the East will still confirm this to be the case in many countries.
RESPONDENT: This response is a example of the twist I said you put on the topics... This is what I said; ‘Millions?Billions? give their lives? for nil?? just speculation and projection. As far as I am concerned... these people devoted what they wished, learned what they learned, and went on to live long productive peaceful loving ordinary lives... maybe some didn’t. So what!
PETER: On re-reading my response I see that I clearly made the point of what it meant for me – that in the light of these facts I was able to clearly put my position in perspective rather than merely following what everyone else was and had been doing for millennia. If this is of no concern to you, so be it. It does nothing to alter the facts.
RESPONDENT: The issue I have with your speculations and projections does not have to do with history but with the judgement that you recolor and edit the history in order to create support for your opinions – that you like to call facts. How you choose to view, edit and interpret history has no bearing on the reality of the history itself.
PETER: No, you yourself said ... ‘as far as I am concerned’ which, as it turned out, meant that you are ‘not concerned’ – as evidenced by ‘So what!’
I, on the other hand was vitally concerned as to what I was doing with my life and what other human beings had done with their lives. Had it bought them the promised peace of mind and had this whole spiritual pursuit contributed to bringing forth a state of peace on the planet?
My own open-eyed direct observation of Eastern Counties, a common sensical reading of the Ancient texts, and 17 years of intensive search on the spiritual path forced me to the pride-shattering conclusion that I had been sold a dummy and that I had fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
RESPONDENT: You are unable to know the experiences of others.
PETER: There is nothing unique in the Human Condition. One is either normal or spiritual. I have had the experience of 32 years of ‘normal life and 17 years of spiritual life so I see myself as well qualified. I am also well qualified in the ‘new business’ of actualism, although by no means as well qualified as Richard.
He was Enlightened for 11 years until he saw through the sham.
RESPONDENT: Do you believe you have these answers? It’s simple... love is the answer, and don’t hurt each other anymore... duh.
PETER: If love is the answer, how come it hasn’t worked, and if it hasn’t worked why do we still advertise it as ‘the’ solution. If it was on sale as a product the makers would have been sued for misrepresentation centuries ago. All parents, teachers, priests, gurus, pacifists, moralists, ethicists, humanitarians say, ‘let’s don’t hurt each other’ but we still do. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to try something else. Maybe the problem lies within each of us and that is also where the solution lies. This would mean that the only person who can fix me up is me. It is radical I know, but maybe, just maybe, it is worthwhile a moment or two of reflection.
RESPONDENT: Do you think you’re the best guru ever?
PETER: No. If you had read anything of what I have written, you would have realised I regard Guru-ship as a demeaning profession, both for the disciple and He/She who swans around demanding trust, surrender and worship by others. The whole rotten set up has had its day. It was so good to get out of it and regain my will that I had surrendered.
P.S. What I found with Richard was a mentor, a guide, an expert on the Human Condition – and a fellow human being.
RESPONDENT: Osho is alive in me, I’m no longer searching for outside assistance, and frankly ... if you’re looking for followers I wouldn’t think this list is where you’d find them.
PETER: No. I am most definitely not looking for followers. It would be both an imposition on the other and on me which does us both no good.
However, having escaped from the Human Condition, I am able to write of my experience, and this will be of use to others who wish to travel this way. This is exactly why I wrote my journal, and why I am replying to you. It is such good fun, and I am experimenting with a new e-mail format. I think it might be easier to follow.
RESPONDENT: Unless you are in competition with Osho ... perhaps your ego was wounded by something he said, and this is your attempt to prove your worth to yourself.
PETER: No. I set my sights higher than merely being Enlightened when I met Richard. Nothing Osho said has been of any use to me – like most others it was the Energy at the time that was the attraction. He could have been talking about anything (as he did anyway – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism, etc...) and I wouldn’t have cared.
As for worth – I have none, also no use, purpose, value, reason, mission, meaning, significance, importance ...
Nor am I humble, for another human being to be free of the Human Condition is an event of profound evolutionary significance, and I applaud the fellow who started all this business almost 2 years ago. But he certainly is not me as I am now.
RESPONDENT: Peter, your statement that you made that you became absolutely sure that you were right and everybody else in the world (excluding Richard) has been wrong is very strange.
PETER: I am sure it is very strange to most people and it only makes sense when experienced from ‘outside’ the real world and the spiritual world. When seen from the actual world, as experienced in the peak experience, the full extent of the Human Condition becomes obvious. You might have had an experience where you have seen everything as perfect as it is ... if only we humans stopped fighting it out with each other. And then, for me, afterwards I would find myself doing the same old things, back into the same old neurosis and emotions.
A bit from the time this really hit me might be useful to describe the realization that hit me during one of these experiences –
RESPONDENT: Do you know everybody from the inside out to make such strong statement? Why not just say that YOUR perception about everyone and the world was wrong or different – this much you can say – if this is what you were saying. You sound as if you can tell what other people are like just by looking at them and this I really doubt. I am not attacking you, just wondering why you have made these strange, strong statements about people and the world? Why did you assume that everyone lives in some unreal world of expectations / hope / imaginations?
So a guy at work meditated for 10 minutes – so what? You might have had a coffee or a cigarette instead – same thing – so what? What does it tell you about the other guy? Is he trying to escape reality because he happens to meditate, etc? Maybe he is just doing his thing as you are doing yours enjoying your sex. Why sex is more ‘natural’ than meditation or a cup of tea? Maybe to someone else these are ‘peak experiences’. Sex may seem like sneezing to someone else – so what does it mean to you? My point: what works for you may be or may not seem applicable / true to others.
PETER: There is a common misconception that all human beings are ‘unique’ and different, whereas we, as a species, are all the product of the a fertilized egg, wired with a set of survival instincts, nurtured through the first few years when our physical and mental functioning develops, and then socially conditioned to fit in to the tribe. We do develop a few individual quirks, we come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, etc. but we are all human. If you look at a forest, no two trees are the same but they are all trees. So all humans have the same instincts wired and all humans have the same social conditioning that varies only according to the social group you are born into. This basic programming is what is known as the Human Condition.
A study and knowledge of the Human Condition results in a knowledge and understanding of this basic program such that one is able, given sufficient intent, to become free of it. The clue to eliminating it is not to regard it as ‘preciously’ yours only and defend it like ‘all get out’, but to acknowledge it as a common ‘disease’ we are all inflicted with. I call it a disease because this programming is the cause of malice and sorrow within each of us. Further if one is prepared to abandon the belief in a God or a someone or something else to fix you up, then you accept that the only one who can fix you up is you.
And then you can decide what you want to do with your life. At last there is a chance to avoid your fate. I liked the way Richard put it – ‘Blind nature cares not a fig about your happiness’ – in fact it has conspired to prevent it.
RESPONDENT: how can you possibly know from your own experience that there are no others who are happy and harmless? Have you in fact encountered every other single human being alive on this planet in order to be able to judge the absolute state of humanity? I think not...
PETER: A lot of people on the list seem to have this objection. I wrote in the introduction to my journal that ‘... as I gradually forced myself to admit, I was as mad and as bad, as everyone else.’ It was difficult as I had a good dose of spiritual arrogance running such that I was on the path, I was seeking, I wasn’t one of them who was fighting and killing and arguing. A sincere and honest self-appraisal soon revealed sorrow – sadness, melancholy, compassion, sharing, etc. and malice – resentment, withdrawing, ‘subtle’ revenges, sarcasm, gossiping, etc. But the thing that really got me going and up off my smug complacent bum was reading of the Milgram experiment – it’s in my journal in the Peace chapter.
And then to contemplate what I would have done at the end of the Ranch when an armed conflict looked a distinct possibility.
The level of honest introspection required in becoming free of emotions and feelings is frightening to most. And rightly so as it would be the end of you as you know yourself now. You readily and willingly ‘self’-immolate.
As for my ability to judge the absolute state of humanity, it is universally (albeit a little reluctantly) acknowledged, that we are born with the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. It is denied by those who believe we are born ‘innocent’, but not only do we have the evidence of behavioural studies, direct personal observation but specific genes are beginning to be discovered that relate specifically to this instinctual programming.
No doubt some freaks and genetic mutants do exist who may have escaped a bit of this genetic programming but it essentially tars us all with the same brush. Most people do a bloody good job on keeping a lid on these instinctual urges in themselves, but this very need to control oneself is the cause of most of our sense of ‘not being free’ or having shackles on as I experienced. Only when these instincts are tackled and eliminated is the individual capable of becoming actually free from malice and sorrow.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.