Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Selected Correspondence Peter


PETER: I would just like to make a comment about the subject of ‘dumb’ questions before I reply to your post.

[Respondent to No 38]: As I realize that my errors will never be realized or corrected unless I bring them into full light – asking ‘dumb’ questions has probably been the most sensible approach for me as well. And from that perspective, they are not ‘dumb’ at all. Respondent to No 38 15.11.2002

Asking questions is a sign of interest and curiosity and listening to and carefully weighing up the answers is a sign of sincerity and intelligence.

I remember watching a television documentary about the so-called intelligence of chimpanzees and much ado was made of the fact that some use twigs to pick ants out of a nest or use rocks to crack nuts open. And yet what struck me most was a segment which showed chimps sitting in the rain getting soaking wet – obviously their so-called intelligence didn’t extend to such a basic thing as finding shelter, let alone fashioning it out of branches and leaves.

Nowadays I make the same observation whenever I see human beings hiding from the world in meditation, praying to some mythical God or lapping up the Wisdom of some Godman or other in unquestioning reverence. Human beings have become so stuck in the ancient rut of believing the spiritual fairy tales of good and evil spirits, of a Creator God and of a life after death that they have collectively agreed to completely shut out the possibility that it is possible to leave the old behind and move on.

So any questions you have of daring to leave the old behind and move on are hardly dumb questions, for to even consider the possibility of ditching the old is daring, not dumb. You may well feel foolish in asking your questions, as I remember I did in the early days, but I came to recognize this as pride standing in the way. I then realized that it was silly to let a feeling stand in the way of my becoming free of the human condition.

PETER to No 4: A further thought about our correspondence the other day about sensate experiencing. I do like it when something on the list twigs me to muse and write about a particular aspect of the Human Condition. Writing has been an invaluable tool for me in becoming free of the Human Condition. I find the act of writing provokes a daring, evokes a discipline and produces a clarity that I find lacking in thought or speech alone. From the earliest days on this path I would jot notes in a book or a scrap of paper, particularly in times of a PCE – or even as a way of inducing a PCE. And it was always cute to go back to see what I had written and see if I was living what I had understood – was I putting my money where my mouth was?

It is also way of stretching oneself and exercising that wonderful organ – the brain. Sensible thought, intelligent observation and un-emotive reflection have been so suppressed and derided by the Gurus, priests, teachers, parents and one’s peers that it is astounding what has been achieved to date by the human species on the planet. This was driven home to me when I watched a TV program that investigated the extent of genetic research into eradicating genetically inherited diseases and weaknesses causing tendency towards disease. One scientist spoke enthusiastically of the possibility of screening and eradicating many genetically inherited diseases but when questioned about the ethics of conducting such research, let alone its implementation, he said ‘Of course, we have to do what is the right thing to do, not what is the best thing to do’. In other words we should be careful in interfering with nature, albeit blind nature, for that is God’s territory. In other words, we should continue the suffering, pain and disabilities on the planet because human suffering, pain and disabilities are part of the ‘Master Plan’. In other words, even although we are capable of stopping it we shouldn’t.

In other words, even if I am capable of stopping suffering and pain, I won’t? Well – not for me.

‘Of course, we have to do what is the right thing to do, not what is the best thing to do’.

I think that one sentence sums up the fact that it is clearly the perfect time for human beings to begin to put an end to needless human suffering. It will not happen collectively or by mutual agreement or by prayer or legislation or social or political movements or the pursuit of ‘higher consciousness’ or by Alien intervention. It will happen incrementally as each of us frees ourselves of the shackles of dearly-held beliefs and our socially and religiously instilled virtuous morals and righteous ethics, and then digs in deeper to acknowledge and work towards eliminating the instinctual passions in ourselves. And why not? Only because the Gurus, priests, teachers, parents and one’s peers all say you shouldn’t or you can’t?

We all know ‘shouldn’t’ from our childhood. It comes along with ‘who do you think you are?’, ‘don’t get smart with me’, don’t get too uppity’, ‘this is right’, ‘that is wrong’, ‘this is bad’, etc. etc. etc. Morals, ethics, values and psittacisms.

As for ‘you can’t’ – if one human can do it – then the door is clearly open for whoever else wants to. Evidence of genetic mutations, behavioural modifications, environmental adaptations and evolutionary change abound in carbon-based life forms. One of the most stunning recent discoveries involved growing plants from seed in the weightlessness of the space. Standard, un-modified seed grew into a plant that immediately adapted a different growth form – the cells that formed the outer casing of the stems had arranged themselves to form in a thinner layer because less strength was needed to support the leaves in zero gravity. This was no divine plan or master intelligence in operation that oversaw the change, nor was the change the result of a slow progression over eons of time. The change was immediate, the adaptation an appropriate response to the change of physical circumstance. The Japanese scientists who were monitoring the experiments were astounded at the results and were literally bubbling with excitement at the discovery and its implications for our views as to the speed of adaptability and extent of changeability of carbon-based life-forms.

So the point for me became – can I radically and irrevocably change to adapt to a new situation, here and now, that has SFA to do with Mr. Buddha’s times and bugger-all to do with my father’s time. Of course – it’s scientifically possible, one man has done it, a handful are actively doing it, a handful are intellectually interested and a further handful are cautiously curious – so who am ‘I’ to stand in the road! ‘I’ end up small, so mean, so utterly selfish and rotten, that to stand in the way is an impossible tenure.

RESPONDENT: But after we are gone there will be some other beings. The universe will experience itself in them, thus this ‘experiencing’ will go on and on. Right?

PETER: (...) As for ‘The universe will experience itself in them, thus this ‘experiencing’ will go on and on.’ – it seems that you are attributing to the physical universe anthropomorphic and/or anthropocentric values. There is a common belief that attributes to the physical universe the divine values that were once attributed to individual human-like Gods or the forces of nature type Gods. Thus the earth becomes Mother Earth and the universe becomes Intelligent. I recently saw some film footage of the Apollo moon program where the astronaut described the surface of the moon as like a barren desert made of grey beach sand. They looked back at earth awed by the magnificence of a planet obviously abundant with life. As stunning as the images produced of far distant nebulae, galaxies and the like, there is no evidence of carbon-based life anywhere else in the universe, let alone anything as intelligent as the human brain.

The only intelligence in the universe that is evident is that in the human brain, if one regards intelligence as in Oxford’s – ‘The faculty of understanding; intellect; quickness or superiority of understanding, sagacity; the action or fact of understanding.’ This intelligence is currently thwarted and inhibited by the presence and influence of the amygdala or primitive brain that consigns humans to think, feel and act in animal survival mode. It is only when this intelligence is freed of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow in an actual human being can intelligence be clear of fear and aggression – pure, perfect and innocent. The brain is then freed to receive the sensory input without the constant filtering and instinctual programmed reactions of the primitive brain and, as such, a plethora of sensate delight comes swooning in on all the sense stalks of the brain. Then it can be said, for it is one’s direct experience, that I am the universe experiencing itself as a human being.

RESPONDENT: One PCE in 1976 which lasted for a few hours was actually ‘only’ tantalizing Enlightenment... Divine Love. An extraordinary and powerful phantom that only fades to nothing but memories. I particularly liked the way Richard explained AF as being like a blind man who has his other senses heightened... as if our energy is concentrated when appropriately focused or perhaps when our inner conflicts are not allowed to detract from the purity of the moment...??? Now I only want 24 hour Actual Freedom.

PETER: Well, roll up your sleeves – there’s plenty to do! You are talking about ‘changing Human Nature’, but the best thing is – you only have to change yourself and nobody else. Changing everyone else is what most people aim for – a physical impossibility.

Changing only you is eminently achievable – and scientifically verified as possible. It is possible to re-program one’s own brain from all the social programming and it is possible to evince a mutational adaptation to eliminate the instinctual passions. A bit I wrote recently explains this very point –

[Peter]: ‘The modern scientific empirical discoveries of neuro-biology and genetics, with regard to the human brain and how it functions, have revealed two very fascinating aspects –

  1. That the brain is programmable in the same way a computer is programmable. The program is formed by physical connections or pathways between neurons, and this program is mostly formed after birth. These pathways (synapse) are also capable of being changed at any time. The old connection simply ‘dies’ for lack of use and a new one is formed.
  2. That the human brain is also pre-programmed, via a genetic code, with a set of base or instinctual operating functions, located in the primitive brain system which causes automatic thoughtless passionate reactions, primarily those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, to be transmitted via chemical messages to various parts of the body including the neo-cortex. Physiological alterations that could eliminate this crude programming, as a biological adaptation to changed circumstances, are well documented within the animal species.

  • The first discovery accords with the practical experience of being able to radically change one’s social identity – the program instilled since birth that consists of the morals, ethics, values and psittacisms that make up our social identity. It stands to reason that a psychological identity that is malleable to radical change is also susceptible to total elimination.

  • The second discovery accords with the practical possibility of eliminating one’s very ‘being’ – the emotive source of the instinctual survival passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. This blind and senseless survival program is now well and truly redundant for many human beings and can now be safely deleted, for the human species has not only survived … it is now beginning to flourish. Introduction to Actual Freedom, ‘Actual Freedom’

RESPONDENT: Keep up the great work.

PETER: I do like writing, which is all I do – it’s simply common sense to tell others what is now available. It’s more of a hobby than work and most of my writing has been my sorting out and reporting on experiences, understandings and facts discovered. Whenever I read any spiritual twaddle nowadays I am astounded as to its duplicity, confusion and blatant self-centredness, so it’s a joy to write of something as down to earth and non-spiritual as Actual Freedom. Writing also is great exercise for the brain given that independent and clear thinking is stifled in childhood and school years by countless putdowns and strict regimentation and is even further strangled, admonished and literally demonized on the spiritual path. The other point is that I am not working to change anyone else – as I said, that is an impossibility and it is also a ‘self’-serving exercise. It’s good to be free of that one.

GARY: Recently you wrote on intelligence in animals. A few points occurred to me, as well as some questions:

PETER: Just a little correction to start with. I noticed you put a link to the Glossary for No 21 the other day and as I accessed it I noticed a mistake in what I had written on imagination. I wrote –

[Peter]: ‘The human brain with its ability to cogitate, reflect and communicate is the peak of intelligence known to be currently manifest in the universe.’ [endquote].

It should read –

[Peter]: ‘The human brain with its ability to cogitate, reflect and communicate is the only intelligence known to be currently manifest in the universe.’ The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary, Imagination

The most strident claims for other animals being intelligent seem to relate to training animals to do something other than stalk and kill for their food, like push a button or do tricks for humans. ‘Dolphin intelligence’ gets the most press but no one has yet discovered a dolphin shelter let alone an underwater city or hospital. Chimps are another favourite, despite the fact that they live in trees and indulge in rape, infanticide and cannibalism and wage wars with neighbouring tribes. To call the basic rudimentary adaptive instinctual reactions exhibited in other animals intelligence is to mightily abuse both the word and the attribute.

GARY: While chimps certainly engage in brutal behaviour to other chimps, I am also aware that chimpanzees exhibit the use of crude tools, for instance, the use of small sticks and other objects to extract for example small insects from all-too-tight spots that the fingers and hands cannot reach. Also, I saw a segment on TV of a chimpanzee using a club to attack a mock tiger lying in its domain. Don’t you think that these examples might indicate a form of intelligence, albeit crude by human standards, but intelligence nonetheless?

PETER: I have seen chimps using sticks to dig insect out of holes, even stripping leaves off the stick before using it. However to call a stick a tool does seem to be a case of stretching one definition in order to prove another. In a similar vein, to call a tree branch a club or weapon is to ignore that the chimp does nothing to fashion or improve the stick or rock as a tool or a weapon. I have also seen chimps using rocks to break open food and they have to spend a great deal of time teaching their young to do even this simple task. Any intelligence present in chimps operates at a very basic level, inhibited by physical incapacity, not opportunity, education, desire or will.

GARY: A look at the definition of intelligence in my desktop computer dictionary yields the following definition:

Intelligence : 1. a. the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability, b. the ability to respond quickly and successfully to a new situation; use of the faculty of reason in solving problems, directing conduct, etc. effectively, c. Psychol. measured success in using these abilities to perform certain tasks, d. generally, any degree of keenness of mind, cleverness, shrewdness, etc. <snip> : 1. a. the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability, b. the ability to respond quickly and successfully to a new situation; use of the faculty of reason in solving problems, directing conduct, etc. effectively, c. Psychol. measured success in using these abilities to perform certain tasks, d. generally, any degree of keenness of mind, cleverness, shrewdness, etc. <snip> Webster’s New World Dictionary

I am leaving out the other definitions of intelligence, as they do not really seem relevant to the matter at hand. If intelligence is regarded solely as the ability to engage in abstract thinking, manipulation of symbols, ability to communicate by symbols, etc, that leaves the dolphins and chimps behind humans by a country mile, and in those terms they would not be considered ‘intelligent’. But by the dictionary definition of intelligence, I think we can regard these higher life forms as having a type of intelligence.

PETER: If you ignore the fact that intelligence includes the ability to engage in practical thinking, the ability to communicate and learn by words, the ability to reflect, review and plan, the ability to be aware of thinking itself, the ability to adapt and even radically change learned concepts and behaviour to suit changing situations, then you seem to be missing the most salient aspects of the definition of intelligence.

Intelligence has allowed humans to fashion from the materials of the earth extraordinary machines to transport people across the land, through the air, beneath the sea and even to the moon. The technological advances of this last one hundred years in medical procedures, communication systems, engineering, computing, agriculture, etc. are quite amazing. This has been directly and obviously the result of human intelligence only.

One definition of intelligence that I particularly like is that human beings are the only animal species capable of studying their own brain. The latest discovery about the human brain is that it is also intelligent enough to delete both its learned and its instinctual programming, a feat of daring audacity bordering on the reckless.

GARY: Now, it is true that dolphins can administer to and care for sick kiddies swimming in their pool, but I am not sure I would regard that behaviour as a form of intelligence as some people do. Rather, I personally would view it as instinctual behaviour.

PETER: By ‘administer to and care for’ do you mean rub up against and nuzzle, rather like our family cat used to do when it was feeding time or when it would sit in someone’s lap when it wanted a warm soft place to lay and maybe get stroked? I used to see this as the clever behaviour of a tame friendly animal but was also aghast when it would quickly turn into a little tiger when defending its territory or into a monster when torturing its prey for hours and hours. Later in life I came face to face with a feral cat in the desert and I saw for myself that the difference between tame and friendly and wild and ferocious was solely due to a change in circumstance.

It is common for people to see the instinctual passions in operation in other animals as a sign of intelligence as they often exhibit similar emotions and behaviour as humans. In this empathetic viewpoint, they focus on the tender animal passions and the savage animal passions are always ignored. The practice of highly selective over-emphasis, combined with highly selective denial, is a prime example of intelligence blinded by self-centred passion.

GARY: Returning for a moment to the chimps using tools and objects to obtain food in their natural environment – don’t you think that that would indicate an ability to reflect on the demands of the situation and also perchance to communicate those findings to other chimps, including the young?

PETER: I have no trouble at all if someone wants to assign a crude or rudimentary form of intelligence to some other animals. Personally I think the intelligence gulf is so vast that I prefer to make a very clear distinction. I have met many people who assign intelligence and a human-like persona or personality to all sorts of animals, plants, innate objects or even machines. In primitive humans this misinformation or lack of factual understanding gave rise to rampant anthropomorphism, which is the basis of the earliest recorded instance of religious/spiritual belief in humans.

These myths and beliefs still hold a stranglehold over Humanity and shackle intelligence to ignorance and superstition.

There is a great deal to be learnt about the Human Condition in the study of other animals for we are able to see the survival instincts in action, unfettered by intelligence and social conditioning. Animals exhibit exactly the same fear, aggression, nurture and desire as do humans. Chimp behaviour is particularly fascinating as both species evidently share some 95% similar genes. Both chimps and humans have a ‘self’ – in chimps it could be termed a rudimentary sense of self, whereas in humans it has developed in to a full-blown psychological and psychic entity. Thus fear, aggression, nurture and desire are evident in both species not only as simple automatic responses but are evidenced as willful self-centred passions played out with many devious and cunning variations.

The human species takes the crude instinctual passions displayed by the chimps a step further, for we are the only species who are capable of instilling in their young a complex and rigid social identity. These instilled social beliefs, morals, ethics and values cause humans to fight not only for territory and possessions but also to fight for their rights, principles and values to the point of not only justifying the killing of other humans but making it into an act of glory.

Chimps have been witnessed pining away at the death of a parent or even exhibiting remorse or sadness but the human species not only suffer from grief, sadness and sorrow, they have made suffering into a virtue and in their social and spiritual/religious beliefs they have enshrined the notion of human existence on earth as being one of perpetual suffering.

Much can be learned about the instinctual passions by studying other animals provided one does so with clear eyes, free of empathy and anthropomorphism, but personally I see nothing to be gained by studying the supposed intelligence of animals. Perhaps it is telling that the human species often turn to other animals for solace and comfort when they fail to get it from their fellow human beings but when they look for intelligence elsewhere in the universe they are looking for a different kind of intelligence, poles apart from using sticks and rocks as tools or weapons.

It’s such good fun to dissect beliefs and myths, investigate their source, find out how and why they started, examine why they persist, understand why they are passionately defended, and experientially explore one’s own belligerent and stubborn resistance to facts. The common fear is that if I abandon belief, imagination and ‘my’ instinctual passions that I will only end up defenceless within a grim stark reality. And yet, a single experience of self-lessness – a pure consciousness experience – combined with the practical experience that actualism works is sufficient to shatter the granddaddy of all myths ... that ‘you can’t change human nature’.

It would be deeply cynical, and darkly depressing, not to consider otherwise.


PETER: (...) Now to continue on with the thread of intelligence vs. instinctual behaviour...

GARY: In answer to my question regarding intelligence in animals, you wrote:

[Peter]: I have seen chimps using sticks to dig insect out of holes, even stripping leaves off the stick before using it. However to call a stick a tool does seem to be a case of stretching one definition in order to prove another. In a similar vein, to call a tree branch a club or weapon is to ignore that the chimp does nothing to fashion or improve the stick or rock as a tool or a weapon. I have also seen chimps using rocks to break open food and they have to spend a great deal of time teaching their young to do even this simple task. Any intelligence present in chimps operates at a very basic level, inhibited by physical incapacity, not opportunity, education, desire or will. [endquote].

It may seem like a minor point to debate, but I think that there is a very slight intelligence in animals.

PETER: I don’t see this as a minor point to discuss at all for we are discussing what is instinctual behaviour and what is intelligent behaviour. An inordinate amount of human effort has and still is devoted to controlling, repressing, avoiding, denying or attempting to disassociate from our genetically-encoded animal passions.

An understanding of how intelligence operates can lead to apperception – the mind becoming aware of itself or an awareness of pure ‘self’-less intelligence in operation.

Equally important, an understanding of how the instinctual animal passions operate can lead to the end of the social and psychological being that parasitically resides in this flesh and blood body.

We are doing actualism right here, right now, Gary. These communications and discussions about the actual world we live in, about the situation in which we find ourselves born into as human beings, and about how anyone can go about eliminating their malice and sorrow such that there will be peace on earth are the very means of becoming free of the Human Condition. These discussions are about putting my foot down, putting my hand up and saying enough is enough – ‘I’m getting out of this nightmare world of being a ‘self’ and coming to the utter peacefulness and sensual delight of this actual world that I already live in ... and always have.’

GARY: However, even our closest relatives, the apes, notably lack those important attributes of human intelligence that you remark on as ‘the ability to cogitate, reflect, and communicate’.

PETER: As a kid, we used to have a parrot in a wire cage at home and he would make a noise that sounded like ‘Pretty Polly’ and he would come out with this cry occasionally during the day or when he was prompted to perform. He had a few other noises, all of which only sounded like squawks and as such his ‘vocabulary’ was very limited indeed. Consequently I didn’t spend much time talking to it.

GARY: As far as the ability to communicate, I assume you mean communicate symbolically, through words and language.

PETER: What people normally take to be communication is a symbolic communication, as in ‘the sharing and use of common symbols, as language or gestures performing a linguistic function in human communication’ . This form of communication is but an expression of ‘my’ feelings, be they fearful, aggressive, pity-full, envious, lustful, resentful, dependant, submissive, dominant, devious, nurturing, loving, craving, longing, etc, and they are either expressed by words and psychic vibes, conveyed by moods and gestures, and interpreted, or misinterpreted, by intuition or gut feelings. This type of communication is never direct and can only rarely be taken literally.

To communicate through words and language, free of any affectation and guile is to communicate actually, literally, i.e. through words and language, exactly as we are now. This form of communication is intelligence in action.

Literal – Designating or pertaining to a sense or interpretation of a text obtained by taking words in their primary or customary meaning, and applying the ordinary rules of grammar, without mysticism, allegory, or metaphor. That is so in its literal sense, without metaphor, exaggeration, or inaccuracy; literally so called; colloq. so called with some exaggeration etc. Free from figures of speech, exaggeration, inaccuracy, distortion, or allusion. Oxford Dictionary


GARY: In an article by William H. Calvin, entitled ‘The Emergence of Intelligence’, in Scientific American (November 1998), the author expounds on a rather advanced aspect of human intelligence: the ability to engage in advance planning.

PETER: From observing documentaries on humans who, due to isolation, still live a primitive hunter-gathering lifestyle, they also engage in planning – they make shelters, they store food, they share workloads, they make tools and weapons, they plan attacks, they organize defences, etc. It is clear that it is human knowledge that has advanced and not human intelligence given that that modern humans still fight and kill each other – ‘excepting they fight with cruise missiles ’stead of spears’ ... to plagiarize Banjo Patterson.

GARY: He also commented on the lack of the advance planning ability in animals by saying: ‘Aside from hormonally triggered preparations for winter, animals exhibit surprisingly little evidence of advance planning. For instance, some chimpanzees use long twigs to pull termites from their nests. Yet as Jacob Bronowski observed, none of the termite-fishing chimps ‘spends the evening going round and tearing off a nice tidy supply of a dozen probes for tomorrow.’ So much for this facet of intelligence in chimps. It is obviously very rudimentary.

PETER: And yet, murder, rape, warfare, domestic violence, retribution, despair and suicide are endemic in our closest genetic cousins in their ‘natural’ condition. All this despite their supposed innocence, lack of worldly worries and no-mind rudimentary intelligence.

Cute they may be provided you ignore their savagery, clever they may be provided you ignore their dumbness.

GARY: I suppose that I was, in part, reacting to the statement: ‘The human brain with its ability to cogitate, reflect and communicate is the only intelligence known to be currently manifest in the universe.’ My reaction was to the words ‘only intelligence’. The human brain, with its’ ability to cogitate, reflect, and communicate, is the only intelligence of its type known to be currently manifest in the universe. I have no trouble at all agreeing with this statement.

PETER: The question I ran with for a while was why did I empathize with animals suffering or displaying nurturing behaviour and yet I turned away from or was repelled by their savagery? Why did I think the mother chimp suckling her baby as being so human-like and yet see the sight of a chimp mother tucking in with others to eat her own baby when it was murdered by another member of the group, as being so brutally animal-like. Why was my instinct blindness so selective? Why was my instinct blindness so selective in recognizing, labelling and acknowledging my own tender and savage instinctual animal passions?


PETER: I have no trouble at all if someone wants to assign a crude or rudimentary form of intelligence to some other animals.

GARY: Good. I think that was my point entirely. After I did some looking around on the Internet regarding intelligence in animals, humans included, I think I revised my opinion of the intelligence of our primate cousins downward somewhat. I think there is a rudimentary form of intelligence in animals, including family pets. But a lot of animal behaviour is instinctual.

PETER: All animal behaviour is instinctual, but some of this behaviour can be tamed, controlled or restricted by training based on reward and punishment, by providing a constant reliable supply of food, by keeping them isolated from predators and competitors, etc. Spaying or castration is sometimes also used to curtail the instinctual sexual predatory behaviour in animals – a necessary surgical celibacy to stop them running amok.

Just as an aside, this same animal sexual instinct is also acknowledged in many religions as being primary, rampant and brutish in humans and consequently celibacy has also been used to stop many amonk running amok.

GARY: Prior to my involvement in The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, I think I greatly underestimated or ignored the instinctual basis for much of human behaviour. This is an example of what the ethnologists call ‘instinct blindness’.

PETER: As you would have noticed, I have already picked up on the term ‘instinct blindness’. It is also fascinating to observe that the tender instincts are only instilled in animals in order to ensure the propagation of the species and consequently it is the tender instinctual passions that are the most difficult to see clearly as being equally debilitating as are the savage passions. This blindness – reinforced by the social teaching of good and evil, right and wrong – is why the tender passions have always got off scot free in anyone’s previous search for peace on earth. And there is none more blind to, or in denial of, their senseless instinctual passions than a ‘self’ that feels and imagines he or she is already perfect or feels and imagines her or she is no longer a ‘self’ but has become a ‘Self’, a God on earth, or feels and imagines themselves to be specially ‘chosen’, having a personal relationship or connection with a particular God-man or Goddess.

To finish with a relevant quote –

Lets hope there’s intelligent life somewhere out there in the universe ... ’cos there’s bugger all ... down here... on earth. ‘The Meaning of Life’, M. Python. Cambridge University

PETER: To continue on the topic of intelligence vs. instinctual behaviour ...

GARY: In an article by William H. Calvin, entitled ‘The Emergence of Intelligence’, in Scientific American (November 1998), the author expounds on a rather advanced aspect of human intelligence: the ability to engage in advance planning.

PETER: From observing documentaries on humans who, due to isolation, still live a primitive hunter-gathering lifestyle, they also engage in planning – they make shelters, they store food, they share workloads, they make tools and weapons, they plan attacks, they organize defences, etc. It is clear that it is human knowledge that has advanced and not human intelligence given that that modern humans still fight and kill each other – ‘excepting they fight with cruise missiles ‘stead of spears’ ... to plagiarize Banjo Patterson.

GARY: But the advancement of human knowledge is intelligence, is it not? Again, the first definition of intelligence in my dictionary is:

a) the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1999)

You seem to be making a somewhat arbitrary distinction between the advancement of knowledge and intelligence. Whereas I see them as the same thing. Using the example that you outline above – humans engaging in extensive defensive preparations, making tools and weapons, etc. – I see that as a definite sign of intelligence, according to the definition of intelligence I have provided.

PETER: According to this definition of intelligence human beings have been very intelligent in developing and making weapons. There were three great wars in the last 100 years on the planet, WW1. WW2 and the Cold War. The First World War saw the development and use of poison gas, a way of killing and maiming others, very effectively and at a safe distance. The Second World War saw the development of aerial bombardments, culminating in the fire bombing of cities, Dresden being amongst the first with 800 aircraft used to kill over 35,000 people. This practice culminated in even greater efficiency with 300 planes used to incinerate 120,000 civilians in the Tokyo firestorm raid. Soon after a further refinement in weapon development saw only single planes used, each dropping 27 kilotron atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 105,000 people.

Insatiated by these advancements, weapon development took yet another exponential leap with the development of the Hydrogen bomb, initially some 15 megatons each – 700 times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.

During the Cold War that soon followed WW2, more than 8,000 ICB missiles, mostly armed with multiple hydrogen bomb warheads, were aimed, ready to fire, in an almost-instant preparedness for war. Neither side had any effective defence from such overwhelming destruction and consequently the Americans used the acronym MAD for this war-footing – Mutually Assured Destruction. Far from being dismantled, this weapon system still exists and is still held at minute readiness by both sides.

In only 50 years, the human ‘ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge’ resulted in a phenomenal development in devising better and more efficient ways to kill other human beings. However, I see no signs of intelligence in any of this appalling suffering. A fiendish cunning, as in malicious intent, is evident in a development from hand to hand, one-on-one combat to the obliteration of whole countries with the press of a button from armchair air-conditioned comfort, but to call this intelligence is to make nonsense of the word.

I am not making a moral or ethical stance in this – it was common sense that Germany and Japan had to be resisted. Armies prepared to fight are as necessary as policeman prepared to shoot to keep the worst excesses of the instinctual passions in check – what humans fondly regard as Civilization is only maintained and sustained at the point of a gun. But a species that gets to the stage of MAD is not intelligent, it is a species driven by senseless passion. To bring a permanent end to this MAD-ness would undoubtedly be a triumph of intelligence over blind passion.

I fail to see that I am making a ‘somewhat arbitrary distinction between the advancement of knowledge and intelligence’. If the advancement of knowledge includes ever efficient and cunning ways to kill and maim other human beings then this is not intelligence in operation but this is simply the cunning exhibited by any animal that stalks and toys with its prey.

If however human beings can ‘learn or understand from experience’ as to what doesn’t work in bringing peace and harmony amongst human beings then maybe, just maybe, they would be willing to try something different which would surely be the intelligent thing to do. I don’t see this as arbitrary, this is surely common sense – the same practical, pragmatic application of intelligent thinking that has resulted in every other advance in human knowledge and betterment of everyday living conditions should be finally be applied to bringing peace to a beleaguered Humanity.

GARY: Given that humans still fight and kill each other, we are looking at the instinctual passions in operation, chiefly the savage passions of fear and aggression. The use of tools and weapons is intelligence – the savage passions blindly impel us to engage in aggressive, warlike actions that ultimately destroy us and others. This is what is killing people throughout the world, not intelligence. In a war, nobody really wins.

PETER: The use of weapons is essential within the human condition – without armed police and armies; anarchy and barbarism would quickly break out. I am well pleased to live in a country with an effective police force, legal system and punishment system and to live in a country that happens to be on the same side as the current big boys in the battle of the nations for global supremacy. As such I have the luxury of not having to carry weapons myself – I contribute via taxes to pay for others to do my weapon carrying.

GARY: But to get back to the main point I am trying to make – why separate the advancement of human knowledge from intelligence?

PETER: I am on record as lauding the advancement of human knowledge that has allowed an increasing proportion of the human population to enjoy unprecedented levels of safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure. I simply make a very clear distinction between these practical advancements and the advancements that abet an instinctual MAD-ness on a global scale. In seeing this I was then able to tackle my personal instinctual madness that prevented me from being anything but happy and anything but harmless.

GARY: Going back to the making of tools and weapons – these things allowed humans to advance in their societal and cultural development beyond the point of huddling in dark caves, starving for the most part. They have allowed a level of material comfort and ease of living, and I myself am not prepared to hurl all the tools and weapons on the bonfire just because they are also put to destructive uses.

PETER: T’will be a long time before the human species hurl their weapons on the bonfire. I simply decided to stop waiting in hope for this impossible fairy tale to come true and decided to take on the realistic proposition of eliminating my own malice and sorrow.

GARY: On the other hand, tools and weapons are a ‘double edged sword’ because the human being is still fettered to a Bronze Age mentality when it comes to the operation of the instinctual passions.

PETER: I would rephrase this as human beings are still fettered by Bronze Age instinctual passions when it comes to the operation of intelligence. It is essential to put the cart before the horse and the horse of the instinctual passions pulls the cart of Humanity, and as we well know, this horse is regularly prone to bolt.

This primacy of the brutish passions has been empirically measured – according to the research of LeDoux and others the passions kick in 12 milliseconds before intelligent thought even has a chance to operate. As such intelligence can never win this battle – it never has a chance. Intelligence, per se, will never be sufficient to bring peace on earth unless, and until, the instinctual passions cease to operate. This experience of the cessation of instinctual passions operating is known as a pure consciousness experience.

Just a note for any spiritualists who may be reading – ‘right’ thinking is not intelligent thinking, far, far from it. Practicing right thinking is to practice self-deception – an active denial of one’s own savage nature, which can only lead to feelings of moral superiority and the cultivation of a sanctimonious soul who subsequently believes him or herself to be immortal. The experience of the sublimation of the savage passions and wallowing in and identifying with the tender passions is known as an altered state of consciousness – the very antithesis of a pure consciousness experience.

GARY: When a human being becomes freed from the Human Condition, the instinctual passions no longer drive behaviour blindly and intelligence is freed from the domination by emotions and passions.

PETER: Yes, and only when someone is eager and willing to rid him or herself of the total package of their social and instinctual conditioning does intelligent thinking really begin to take the drivers seat. When this switchover happens one is virtually free of malice and sorrow. Not totally, for one can never trust oneself that, when push comes to shove, the passions will not come swirling in again. However, if this process is allowed to continue, eventually there are definitive signs that the flow of chemicals that produce the debilitating passions and overwhelming emotions do in fact dry up.

I have just skimmed through the Intelligence chapter of my journal and see that I have addressed some of the issues we have been talking about and a few others to boot. Given that I wrote it when I was having similar experiences to what you are having now and I was running similar sorts of questions to those you are running now it may be useful for you to read again. Again this is just a suggestion but anything that aids in the discovery of what is fact and the discarding of what is belief is grist for the mill in developing common sense.

PETER: There is as far as we know only one location in this infinite universe where intelligence – the ability to think, plan, reflect and communicate – is manifest and that is in the brain of the human species on this planet. The last century in particular has seen a blossoming of this intelligence such that most of the fear-ridden fairy stories that have been passed down as Wisdom can now be understood as being pure fiction and not fact.

That this intelligence will be freed from the burden of the crude animal survival instincts is an inevitable progression of the development of animate matter. In other words you are not alone in this business of being an actualist – with the discovery of a way to bring an end to malice and sorrow in the human species the universe itself is manifesting yet another amazing development in the ever on-going process of refinement and betterment. It’s great fun to be at the very front end of this process – to be serendipitously in the emergence of this inevitability, as it were.

This is no small thing we do.

GARY: Yes, there is a tremendously expansive sense of freedom when at first the bonds of instinct appear to be loosening and then one realizes that they are really disappearing from one’s life ... perhaps forever. I say ‘perhaps’ because, as you, I have not experienced anything like ‘self-immolation’. There is nothing ‘mystical’ about this process – it all seems incredibly straight forward, at least at this point.

PETER: The way I investigated the business of ‘perhaps’ was to ask myself if I could ever turn back to being how I was, or ‘who’ I was, before I started this process. When the answer came ‘no way’, the ‘perhaps’ disappeared and I knew there was only one way to go – forward. There is nothing ‘mystical’ about the process of actualism and yet it is magical – for to experience and be aware that the human brain can not only think, plan reflect and communicate but can also delete its obsolete social programming and its redundant instinctual program is breathtakingly magical ... and yet so ordinary and incredibly straight forward, as you said.

PETER to Alan: So, to continue our discussion about ‘the wide and wondrous path to Actual freedom’. I keep thinking of the appropriateness of Richard’s phrase as we enter this stage of looking at, and experiencing, the rudimentary animal self ‘at work’ so to speak. What an amazing thing to be able to dig so deep into one’s own psyche that one can get to the core of the programming in the brain – beyond the programming in the ‘Modern Brain’ and into the primitive brain and the genetically implanted instinctual self. No doubt, you read of the work of LeDoux in investigating the pivotal role of the Primitive Brain – the Amygdala – in inducing fear, and we have put together a schematic diagram showing the central role of the Amygdala in producing instinctually-sourced emotional responses. It is the first of the posts – it’s a bit big at the moment to send in this post but it’s worthwhile clicking it open as it forms the scientific neuro-biological basis of what it is we are doing ‘live’ at the moment.

It is indeed serendipitous that LeDoux is mapping the effects of the Amygdala at this very time and that it coincides both with Richard’s experiences and writings and our discoveries as well. I do like the factual and actual – the path to freedom from the Human Condition gets wider and wider, more blatantly obvious, easier and better mapped with every passing day.

If you will indulge me a bit, Alan, I want to write about the schematic diagram for a bit.

LeDoux’ studies concern the relationship between the thalamus (relay centre), the Amygdala (primitive brain) and the neo-cortex (modern brain). The most significant of LeDoux’ experimentation is that the sensory input to the brain is split at the thalamus into two streams – one to the Amygdala and one to the neo-cortex. The input stream to the Amygdala is quicker – 12 m-sec. as opposed to 25 m-sec. to the neo-cortex. Less information goes to the Amygdala – it operates as a quick scan to check for danger. Indeed LeDoux regards the Amygdala as the alarm system, although its function is perhaps better described as being concerned with bodily safety – hence a quick scan. This has been described as the ‘quick and dirty processing pathway’ and results not only in a direct automatic bodily response, but the Amygdala has a direct connection to the neo-cortex – causing us to emotionally experience the danger – i.e. we feel the fear a split-second later than the bodily reaction.

Another significant discovery, to quote from LeDoux’ web-site, is that [quote] ‘the pathways that connect the emotional processing system of fear, the Amygdala, with the thinking brain, the neo-cortex, are not symmetrical – the connections from the cortex to the Amygdala are considerably weaker than those from the Amygdala to the cortex. This may explain why, once an emotion is aroused, it is so hard for us to turn it off at will.’ [endquote].

So not only is the primitive brain quick and dirty – it’s hard to keep in control. Now, these are things we know from experience and observation but it is fascinating that scientific investigation of the ‘hardware’ of the human brain is now providing the factual evidence. That the Amygdala is quicker than cognitive awareness is easily experienced in driving a car and very suddenly encountering a dangerous situation.

The foot is on the brake before we are consciously aware there has been any danger. With the awareness of danger comes an emotional response induced by the Amygdala along the stronger pathway to the brain. Even when the danger has ceased it can take a while to calm down – the pathway back to the Amygdala being ‘considerably weaker’.

These investigations also substantiate the fact that no matter what degree of control is exercised by the neo-cortex in terms of morals, ethics, good intentions, etc., when ‘push comes to shove’ we revert to type – and reverting to type means animal-instinctual.

This is clearly verified by the being ‘overcome’ by rage, fear or sadness and being unable to stop it.

The other discovery of LeDoux is that the Amygdala has its own separate memory system – an unconscious, emotional memory of traumatic events. To quote from the web-site –

[J. LeDoux]: ‘For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the Amygdala and its neural connections. They are memories in the sense that they cause your body to respond in a particular way as a result of past experiences. The conscious memory of the past experience and the physiological responses elicited thus reflect the operation of two separate memory systems that operate in parallel. Only by taking these systems apart in the brain have neuroscientists been able to figure out that these are different kinds of memory, rather than one memory with multiple forms of expression.’ [endquote].

On reading this, I am reminded of the Steve Martin movie – ‘The Man with two Brains’ – if I have got the title right. Again the example of being overcome by rage, fear or sadness is a good one, for often the source of these emotional reactions is seemingly unconscious to the thinking brain – the neo-cortex. No doubt the childhood trauma therapists will use this as a justification for their work but, as we know, the problem lies not with the emotional memory but with the dominant position and influence that the instinctually-sourced emotions have in our lives. The quick, dirty and hard to control Amygdala, or primitive brain, forever condemns humans to animal behaviour. That the most significant human activity over the millennia has been – and still is – the waging of war is testament to the dominance of the primitive instinctual brain.

Back to the diagram and we will see that our area of concern is the psychological self in the neo-cortex and the instinctual self in the Amygdala. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ causes the neo-cortex to focus its attention on the activities of the psychological self that has been instilled since birth. This focussing allows us to see the over-arching role that emotions have in causing us to be malicious and sorrowful, and we find that we can reduce their influence in our lives with sincere intent.

The other area this awareness operates on is demolishing the social identity – the morals, ethics, values, beliefs and psittacisms instilled to keep the instincts ‘under control’. This is a crucial step on the path to Actual Freedom as it is both a radical and iconoclastic step. This step can only be undertaken with a memory of a Pure Consciousness Experience – an experience of self-lessness that gives one the confidence to venture beyond what is considered safe, sensible and sane. This memory of the PCE can give one access to pure intent to ‘venture into the unknown’, or to be more prosaic, become aware of the raw instinctual emotions of the Amygdala – to look at one’s animal heritage.

These two facets – reducing the influence of feelings and emotions – both the supposed ‘good’ and ‘bad – and demolishing the social identity, the ‘guardian at the gate’ ultimately brings one’s bare awareness to focus on the Amygdala and its instinctual programming. The focus is then on the instincts in operation both in the body and in the brain – with minimal psychological and emotional effects. This would explain your current experiences – ‘The sensations I am experiencing have no affective element – as I said in my last mail, it is ‘fear’, without being frightening.’

I can’t emphasise enough the fact that this deep sea diving into the depths of one’s instinctual being can only be undertaken with the removal of the social identity and this can only be done with the pure intent borne out of the PCE – i.e. one needs to know where one is going and have the confidence that it is safe to do so. The only thing that could go wrong is that one will instinctually grab for safety – the good emotions – and Enlightenment will result. It’s interesting to note how the survival mechanism kicks in, and one’s identity does a life-saving grab. I actually experienced this as an instinctual grab in one of my ‘death experiences’.

ALAN: And the last 9 months. I have posted little to this mailing list and have spent little time in reflective contemplation. Whether this is because all the discoveries have been made and, as I said to Vineeto, ‘I certainly have had a sense of, there is nothing new to write or report – and maybe that, in itself, is worth reporting’.

PETER: Personally, I find spending little time in reflective contemplation difficult to relate to because it is not my experience. Perhaps your meaning is different than mine so I will define what reflective contemplation means to me.

The ability to reflect is innate in all human beings. In animals, a primitive instinctual memory of past events is evident – a dog nuzzling up for food, a lion returning to a favourite hunting spot, a cat being wary in a place where it was attacked before. Humans have not only this primitive instinctual memory but also a reasonably detailed factual memory which, when combined with thinking, forms intelligence. The action of thinking without the ability to reflect would leave us unable to gain the practical benefit of life-experience – one would be not only immature but one would be unable to learn from one’s life experiences. Given that the aim of actualism is to be here in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are, reflective contemplation is an essential activity for an actualist.

When running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and coming up with the answer annoyed for example invariably requires reflective contemplation in order to discover when the onset of the current feeling occurred and what event caused it. In the tumultuous period of ‘self’-discovery that lead up to becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow I was almost constantly busy either being aware of what was going on now or reflecting upon my life experiences so as to discover the degree and extent of the programming that formed my habitual robotic-like social and instinctual identity.

I am not advising dwelling in the past or dredging up old memories but it is one’s own life experience that provides the bulk of the information and experience needed to fully understand that peace on earth can never be found within the human condition. As with any learning, it is the experience of what doesn’t work that enables one to move on to try something new, i.e. for learning and progress to happen, reflection is essential.

Reflective contemplation is part and parcel of intelligence – to abandon it is to deny the opportunity to learn from one’s own life experiences and to ignore what is really going on in the world-as-it-is, leaving one incapable of fully understanding the human condition. Unless one combines reflective contemplation with a forthright observation and thoroughgoing investigation into one’s own ‘self’ in action and the human condition in action, it can degenerate into abstract reflection as in daydreaming or meditation. The very act of being a student of the human condition, as I described actualism recently, requires reflective contemplation – what is the human condition, how does it function and why does it inevitably manifest in malice and sorrow, conflict and war, depression and suicide ... despite the good intentions of billions of people for thousands of years?

Running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is a very effective way of becoming aware of and reducing the debilitating effects of one’s own social conditioning and the excesses of the instinctual passions, but it is altruism – the innate unselfishness programmed into human beings – that will move one on beyond the safe zone of feeling comfortable or safe. It is altruism that fuels one’s concern and caring about the fate of one’s fellow human beings. It is altruism that pushes one to plumb the depths of one’s own psyche in search to free this very flesh and blood body of every skerrick of malice and sorrow including the antidotal passions of love and compassion.

Virtual freedom allows one sufficient freedom from one’s own social conditioning and crippling emotions to move beyond ‘self’ investigation into awareness of, and reflective contemplation about, the human condition in toto. This broadening of one’s awareness – still triggered by asking ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is a win-win situation, for without it all of one’s gains in virtual freedom can be lost as one slips back into self-centredness and self-indulgence.

Virtual freedom is by no means a permanent state, it is only a stepping stone on the path. To stop at any stage on the path is to risk losing all that one has gained from one’s hard work, but to push on requires a passionate dedication and obsession that can only be fuelled by altruism – the innate unselfishness that is programmed into all human beings as part of the survival instincts. When one takes the blind senselessness out of altruism then one’s ‘self’-sacrifice is made for peace on earth, not God or country.

Actualism is about peace on earth – bringing an end to war, murder, rape, torture, domestic violence, corruption and child abuse.

PETER: Just a comment on your teaching post entitled intelligence –

RESPONDENT: Intelligence... An aspect of mind that accesses memory and reason, and looks for patterns based on past experiences and programmed expectations to formulate a plan of action within the moment.

PETER: Human beings are remarkable among the animal species in that we have a large ‘modern’ brain or neo-cortex, capable of thinking, planning and reflecting, that envelops the primitive ‘lizard’ brain, the source of our animal instincts. Intelligence – the ability to think, plan, reflect and communicate – has resulted in the astounding development of the human species, from a grim and deadly fight for the survival of the species, to one of increasing safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure. This last century, in particular, has seen astounding advances made in agriculture, manufacturing, health, life expectancy, wealth, transport, information processing, instant and world-wide communications, social services and education. An increasing proportion of the human population is enjoying comfort, safety, leisure and pleasure the likes of which has never, ever, existed before.

Yet, despite the amazing technological advancements and organizational development of the human species on this planet, the Human Condition is still epitomized by two major factors – malice and sorrow. It is clearly time to tackle the problem of human malice and sorrow in the same intelligent manner that has bought so many other advances in the species. The ages old method of seeking spiritual ‘freedom’ and an end to malice and sorrow by praying to mythical Gods or inducing an Altered State of Consciousness whereby one feels oneself to be God, must now to be abandoned in favour of seeking an actual freedom from our genetic endowment of animal instinctual passions. Anything less is simply to repeat the abysmal failures of the past to bring an end to human violence and suffering.

RESPONDENT: Given this understanding we can see that the limitation of intelligence is that it requires accurate information and/or experiences that are not prejudiced by inhibitive expectations, or emotional agendas like avoidance or clinging.

PETER: Your initial understanding about intelligence is a demeaning put-down of human intelligence – the only intelligence known in the universe. This intelligence has an innate disposition towards beneficence, consideration and magnanimity whereas religiosity is a passionate belief system founded on the divisive concepts of Good and Evil, right and wrong, us and them. The only problem with intelligence is that it is hobbled by ‘self’-centred obsession and continually blighted by instinctual animal survival passions.

Peter: All humans are instilled with an instinctual animal ‘self’ that is the very core of the self-survival program. Although this instinctual survival program is genetically-encoded in animals so as to ensure the survival of the species and not the individual, in humans the survival program is also ‘self’-centred.

Our instinctual-rudimentary ‘self’ is both palpable and potent due to the surge of chemicals arising from the primitive brain (feelings). This ‘self’ is our instinctual ‘being’ at our very animal core – instinctual, thoughtless and emotional. Further, this primitive ‘self’ is made more complex in human beings by our ability to think and reflect and, as such, we have a more elaborated ‘self’ consisting of ‘who’ we think ourselves to be as well as ‘who’ we feel ourselves to be. ‘Who’ we think and feel ourselves to be is both a psychological ‘self’ and an instinctual ‘self’ – both mental and emotional – manifest as a discordant and alien identity that appears to be located as a thinker in the head and as a feeler in the heart and gut.

Given that the instinctual animal ‘self’ in humans has morphed into a sophisticated and cunning psychological and psychic identity that appears to live within the flesh and blood body, it is obvious that the instinctual animal passions can only be eradicated by eliminating both the psychological ‘self’ and the instinctual ‘self’.

The elimination of one’s ‘self’ needs to be total – both ‘who’ you think you are as a social identity and ‘who’ blind nature has programmed you to instinctively feel you are … in spiritual terms, both the ‘ego’ and the ‘soul’. The good news is that with the extinction of who you think and feel you are what you are will emerge – a flesh and blood human being, free of malice and sorrow and free of any metaphysical delusions whatsoever. Introduction to Actual Freedom, Actual Freedom 1

RESPONDENT: As to the question of the value of intelligence to the path of enlightenment it looks like we are back to ego and expectations as limiting factors to our effectiveness within the relative field of existence.

PETER: Well, you have said above that ‘intelligence ... requires accurate information and/or experiences that are not prejudiced by inhibitive expectations, or emotional agendas’.

Accurate information is sensate information – that which you can see, touch, smell, taste and hear – and factual information.

A discerning eye and ear is needed in order to ascertain what is fact and what is merely theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, speculation, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true. It is easy to see when one knows how to look.

Without having to interpret through one’s own belief system – an otherwise intelligent person is thus blind to the obvious – all facts are self-evidently clear. Start with a fact – a verifiable, objective actuality – as the base. Use it as a touchstone to test the actuality of whatever ‘truth’ one suspects to be a belief. Separate out facts from fiction; find out which part is demonstrably a fact. Anything else is fiction, an illusion.

Any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true.

A good working definition of intelligence is common sense – sense that can be verified by all. It was when I found myself increasingly having to abandon, or actively deny, my common sense in order to maintain my spiritual beliefs that my doubts began mounting to the point where I could deny them no longer. It was the beginning of the end of ‘me’ the believer.

RESPONDENT: The way we generally are conditioned to approach things in western society is to use intellectual methodology.

PETER: Whereas the way those in eastern society are conditioned to approach things is to use mindless dis-ingenuity? This platitude that divides the human experience into cold evil thoughts and warm other-wordly feelings does nothing but maintain and perpetuate the passionate battle twixt good and evil – it does nothing at all to eliminate it. The other version is to divide the world into the evil of materialism and the Goodness of spirituality, but this list seems to favour the traditional Eastern put-down of autonomous thinking, intelligence and common sense.

RESPONDENT: We do not seem to pay attention to the way things make us feel in a general overall type of assessment.

PETER: All human beings, be they conditioned by Eastern, or Western, philosophies and religions, are taught to deny their bad feelings and savage emotions and glorify their good feelings and tender emotions. This teaching, imbibed in the form of beliefs, morals and ethics prevents us from paying attention to the full range of our feelings and make an intelligent assessment as to how they prevent us from being happy and harmless.

A poster recently posted something that caught my eye because it typifies the fashionable Eastern approach to practicing a selective dissociating from one’s feelings –

[quote]: One of Andrew Cohen’s tenets relative to attention confirms this: ‘Attention is a metaphor for having no relationship with the arising of thought or the presence of feelings.’ [endquote].

This is called disassociating – having no relationship with one’s feelings, as in they are not mine – not my anger, not my boredom, not my frustration, not my fear, not my loneliness. Of course it is my bliss, my feeling of Light, my experience of Love, my gratitude, my empowerment, etc.

RESPONDENT: The way we tend to utilize emotion is in a very specific indulgent matter.

PETER: Indeed. It is how we are trained to deal with our feelings and emotions that arise from our instinctual animal passions. Ignore and sublimate the savage and pump up and identify with the tender. It generally does pretty well to by and large keep a lid on the worst indulgences of malice and sorrow although the Eastern idea of becoming God-on-earth does rather take indulging in desirable emotions to the extreme indulgence of Self-delusion.

RESPONDENT: Emotion is generally not considered to be sound ‘reasoning’ so it is devalued as an inspirational source except where it is deemed permissible by this intellectual society like when women relate or when artists engage their art.

PETER: Most of what human beings regard as entertainment is either violence or sorrowfulness. Most of our music tugs on the bitter-sweet heartstrings of sorrow, as do the so-called love songs. Most of the non-realistic art is driven by anger, frustration, rebellion and protest. Much of what passes for human relationship is a mutual sharing of sorrow, problems, despair and loneliness. Much of human ‘highs’ are temporary rapture and euphoria induced by shared mutual passions of religious, national or tribal nature and are underpinned by a basic ‘them and us’ dichotomy born of our instinctual passions.

That we are passionate feeling beings is upheld as our highest attribute whereas intelligence is mercilessly scorned and by none more fiercely than the vested Self-interest of the followers of Eastern churches.

RESPONDENT: One of the interesting things I am seeing regularly is the positive response by both women and men to sincere deep emotional connection on a day to day basis. People seem fed up with emotional disconnection and seem very ready to accept sincere emotional connection whenever it is offered to them in a non-threatening manner. What an exciting time to be alive!

PETER: I have lived for years in spiritual communes where this deep emotional connection was the very substance of an overwhelming feeling of connectedness. But of the thousands of such communes that have existed over the centuries, both in the East and the West, none have flourished, few have survived and those that have, eventually stagnated and fossilized. This type of intense psychic connection is only felt if there is a Higher focus or Greater purpose, most usually some charismatic leader. But when the leader dies – as they all do – the grand feelings quickly wither only to be kept alive by dogmatic fanatical purists or the emergence of yet more charismatic leaders.

I don’t mean to dampen your enthusiasm for seeking freedom peace and happiness, it’s just that you are looking for the solution where billions have looked – and nothing, absolutely nothing has changed. It is time to abandon fear-fuelled fantasies and self-aggrandizing affective experiences and tackle the real problem – ‘me’ and my instinctual ‘self’-centred passions.

RESPONDENT: We are on the cusp of great things for people and it is happening now. Look at this forum. Thirty years ago this would have been written off as a waste of time.

PETER: Thirty years ago the Net did not exist and it only exists because of the very intelligence you belittle and scorn as intellectualism. Thirty years ago the current fashion for Eastern spiritualism was almost unheard of in the city I lived in – now it is mainstream ideology vying only with the earth-spirit religion of environmentalism in popular appeal. What I find most exciting is the wealth of spiritual/religious information, experiences, teachings and teachers that are now accessible on the Net, such that anyone can now make an intelligent assessment as to what is being said, what is on offer, what is going on behind the facades, what doesn’t work and why not.

RESPONDENT: Now we have people, serious people, who are engaging themselves meaningfully in these discussions and it is acceptable to many people even if they do not participate as a valid endeavour.

PETER: Yes, I enjoy writing on a list that dares to question not only what is ego, but to question exactly what is the revered state of Enlightenment. It is a pleasure to dust of the musty old teachings, wisdoms and psittacisms of the past and apply a bit of non-affective intelligence, and practice a bit of non-selective attentiveness.

RESPONDENT: You may be interested in the following scientific thing:

I saw today on NBC Today a short interview with Dr. Daniel Amen who wrote a book ‘Change your brain change your life’. Dr. Amen showed how activity of human brain is correlated with different mental states. He actually refers to the brain as hardware vs. personality as software. Both affecting each other (he claims you can reprogram, rewire your brain by restructuring your thoughts). He showed different blood flow (related to the brain activity) patterns observed by a NMR scan, I think, in a brain as related to depression, hyperactivity, obsession, etc. More is supposedly available on (if I recall the address correctly). He, for example, praised positive thinking. Would be interesting to see influence of a prolonged meditation or your ‘mantra’-investigation system on these blood flow patterns as brain is being ‘rewired’, wouldn’t it?

In a scientific mood today.

PETER: Yes indeed, we are starting to begin to understand a bit about the brain’s hardware. I always find it interesting that, in terms of mapping feelings, emotions and instinctual reactions, they can only watch and map the situation ‘as is’. The next major challenge facing the human species is to eliminate the animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire that are located in the reptilian or ‘lizard’ brain located at the top of the nerve system of the spinal chord .

It could well be that in the future it may be possible to cause this elimination genetically, but that is a mere speculation.

In the meantime, there is a tried and tested way of doing it yourself. It is possible by your own effort, guided by your own native intelligence when freed of the psittacisms of the past, to cause the elimination of these instincts in yourself.

To cause their elimination to such an extent that the final demise is inevitable. To finally become human, freer than a bird on the wing, pure and innocent, perfect and delightful.

As for positive thinking, the problem for me always was the effort needed. The need to be on vigilant guard or in ‘positive mode’ was a constant effort on ‘my’ part. I found it an exhausting thing to maintain and I saw that I often used it to cover up something I didn’t want to look at, dig in to and investigate.

Some aspect of the Human Condition, that was in me, that was causing me to be unhappy (sorrow) or causing me to make others around me unhappy (malice).

The very commitment to become happy and harmless meant that I was compelled to eliminate all the feelings associated with malice and sorrow.

At the core of who you ‘feel’ yourself to be is your very instinctual ‘self’ – the core instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire – the very animal survival instincts that still entrap the human species in animal behaviour.

It is now possible to evoke that change in yourself, should you so desire.

I do like the human brain and the marvels it has wrought. It’s time to do something about the lizard brain.

That’s the next challenge for individual members of the human species – and the time is ripe.


[quote]: Thought encloses itself in its own word’ What then is this activity from which one ought to abstain? It is the disordered activity of the mind which, unceasingly, devotes itself to the work of a builder erecting ideas, creating an imaginary world in which it shuts itself like a chrysalis in its cocoon.’ – The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects

PETER: Eastern philosophy and religion deny and negate the innate intelligence and common sense operation of thought while giving full and unbridled reign to the affective and imaginary faculties. ‘Get out of your head and into your heart’ can be translated into ‘give up common sense and you can imagine and ‘feel’ anything you want to’. Feelings of Love, Oneness, God, etc. abound – varying only by the particular belief system one is influenced by at the time.

Hence Christians ‘see’ and feel Christ, Buddhist ‘see’ and feel Buddha, scientists ‘see’ parallel universes, etc. etc.

RESPONDENT: The Mind is an awesome resource.

PETER: Whereas human intelligence, freed of all of the social conditioning (particularly the belief in God or some form of afterlife and immortality) and the animal instinctual reactions is capable of such clarity and common sense that it has to be experienced to be appreciated. Such is the functioning that I am capable of understanding the whole of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow as I am immediately outside of it and no longer dwell in the normal world or in the spiritual world. It is the actual physical universe, not some ‘inner’ world of imagination.

Peter’s Selected Correspondence Index

Library – Intelligence

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