Selected Correspondence Peter
Love, Love Agapé and Intimacy
PETER to Alan: I will finish off this post with a few observations about the human condition that struck me recently as being particularly revealing.
The first was a saying that I heard recently – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’. For those who have felt the rage of jealousy or, as Vineeto recently reported, were willing to kill or be killed for their love of God or Master, this is surely sufficient evidence that the feeling of love is by no means benign and, by no means, the means to peace and harmony between human beings.
As I was typing this I just over-heard a comment on a new-age health program stating that the placebo effect proves the healing power of belief. Every now and then something leaps out at me that leaves me astounded as to what lengths people will go to in order to justify their beliefs – they stubbornly refuse to let facts stand in the way of a good belief.
To change subject, I was recently watching a National Geographic program about protecting deer in the US. If you have noticed, National Geographic appears to be the evangelical high church of environmental spiritualism. The program documented a group of park rangers who had built several radio controlled decoy deer complete with motorized turning heads. They would set them as lures in a forest clearing or by the roadside and then lay in wait. When a hunter came along they would promptly arrest the hunter and fine him on the spot.
I found it fascinating to see human beings now using decoy animals in order to hunt and trap other human beings whereas, as a child, it was common practice for human beings to use animals as decoys in order to trap other animals for food. The same instinctual pleasure in trapping and hunting – changing times have just brought about a change in the hunter’s target – from trapping and hunting for food to trapping and hunting humans for love of God’s creatures or to protect Mother Earth. As the dimwitticismgoes – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’.
The interesting thing is that sensible conservation has been around at least a half-century before passion and pantheism combined to produce the current religion of Environmentalism. From early on in the 20th Century, many governments and community groups were actively concerned about resource preservation and conservation, national parks were established, forestry and fishing controlled, pollution reduced, sewerage and water standards introduced. This process was begun as a pragmatic response to actual problems as they emerged, whereas nowadays what is mostly proselytised by institutions such as National Geographic and Green Peace is doom-and-gloom-backed irrational spiritual fervour.
Passion combined with belief not only stifles intelligence – it is ultimately a lethal cocktail that is directly responsible for all the deaths of over 160 million humans in wars in the last century, over 40 million suicides and so many murders, rapes and abused children that it is impossible to estimate. As if this is not horrific enough, there is no end to this slaughter and mayhem in sight because it is held to be inviolate that human beings are feeling beings.
GARY: Thank you Peter for your willingness to go into these things with me.
PETER: It’s just such good fun to swap stories and experiences. To be able to talk to someone about how they see things, what their experiences are, what sense they make of this business of being a human being. To be able to let one’s guard down with a fellow human being is what actual intimacy is about. To have no defensive guard up and no secrets to hide.
Most people think of intimacy as sharing one’s feelings, which is entity-to-entity relating with all its implications and limitations. When we talk of eliminating one’s social identity the most startling result is that everyone magically becomes a fellow human being – not a woman or man, not an Arab or an American, not a Christian or a Rajneeshee, not a Greenie or a capitalist, etc. Because one has eliminated one’s own social/ religious identity one simply does not automatically stigmatize others, for a social identity is clearly seen and experienced as a folly, a primitive ball and chain, imposed by other, usually well-meaning people on all helpless infants. One also sees the inevitableness having a social identity and understands the feeling of ‘freedom’ that arises from swapping this initial humdrum identity for a new spiritual identity, so all blame or fault is simultaneously expunged with the elimination of one’s own social/ religious identity.
In a similar vein, when we talk of eliminating one’s instinctual passions there is no psychological or psychic fear of, or aggression towards other human beings, no desperate discriminatory drive to nurture one’s own, no relentless unquenchable drive for power over others and, as such, everyone magically becomes a fellow human being. This change is not ‘me’ trying to be accepting or tolerant of others, or ‘me’ feeling ‘at one’ with others or feeling love towards all. It is something that happens by itself, as it were.
So, whenever ‘I’ am not here, which is most of the time lately, all my interactions with others are fair, magnanimous, considerate and delightful.
Some people do get defensive and offended by what I say about my investigations and understandings of the Human Condition but they are always free to exercise the ‘delete’ option on the computer at any time and not read what is offensive to them. Those who do read, and write to me with their objections to being happy and harmless, will simply be presented with more facts, which usually serves to make their further objections quite silly and finally they tire of the whole business. To plagiarize Richard, yet again, – it is only recalcitrant egos and contumacious souls that get offended – the flesh and blood humans miss out.
GARY: It is becoming of greater and greater importance to me to have people like yourself and the others here on the list to talk to and compare notes with. I have also noticed the ‘herding instinct’ operating, in the sense that I am aware of the desire to have friends and people to talk to.
So I am trying, in my own mind, to separate out the real work that goes on here on and off the list (maybe this is wrong way to put it) from those instinctual rumblings of wanting to belong to a rather exclusive club or group of people who often speak in the same terms.
PETER: The value of being able to talk to others who are also doing what you are doing is invaluable. Goodness knows how Richard did this by himself and no wonder he went through a period of ‘adjustment’ after he became actually free of the Human Condition. In comparison, those who follow have it cushy. It is such a sensible thing to do – to follow in the footsteps of those who know the path and the pitfalls and who are willing to describe them to others. You also get to know where you can take shortcuts with confidence, because someone else has tried that way and it produced no results, or it was simply a dead end diversion like the usefulness of trolling in the dustbin of past hurts.
As for exclusive club ... it is totally inclusive for anyone wishing to join. The primary qualifications are a sense of adventure, and a sense of humour so you don’t take your self, or anybody else’s, too seriously ...
GARY: I was trying to influence others, and when their opposition to what I was saying became even more determined (naturally so), I felt misunderstood and frustrated. I then commenced to ask myself why I was trying to influence others, questioned myself on my stake in the discussion, and investigated into my own deeper fears, conflicts, and doubts about love and compassion. Because I was deliberately questioning the emotion of love, and I was getting determined opposition from others, it really highlighted for me just how highly love is sought, coveted and valued by human beings. Love and compassion (and their allied emotions: pity, sympathy, empathy, etc) are really regarded to be the pinnacle, indeed the summit of all earthly dreams and hopes. To reject love is to be dead, according to what I heard these other people to be saying.
Since I have begun to investigate into these tender instincts, I have been able to see what a hold they have on Humanity, indeed what a hold they have on ‘me’. ‘I’ need love in order to confirm my existence. Without love, ‘I’ am nothing – I might as well be dead. Love, if I was following the thread of these conversations, is the do-all and end-all of earthly existence. Without it, life has no meaning, no reason. So, even though I was taking one side in the discussions, the discussions themselves were reflecting back to me the deep questions and doubts that I myself have on the topic in question.
PETER: In hindsight, in similar types of conversations I see I was simply presenting the fact that the much-vaunted feeling of love didn’t work because it has always failed to bring about peace between human beings. The same is evident with the revered spiritual feeling of unconditional love-for-all – it also has failed miserably in eventuating anything remotely resembling peace on earth. I was not presenting a viewpoint nor taking a side, I was simply stating a fact ... and offering an alternative.
But like you, these discussions did serve to make me look even deeper into ‘me’ than I would have had I not discussed these matters and been challenged. What I also found was that often people liked the discussions, provided they didn’t become too offended, because they rarely if ever talked about their feelings in such a way, rarely if ever sat back and reviewed how they lived their lives, what beliefs they held, in terms of what worked and what didn’t work and why not.
You may have noticed a peculiar twist in that if the person you are talking to takes a discussion about the human condition personally then they invariably become offended. If they don’t take it personally it is a sure sign they are dissociated in some way from their own complete range of feelings and beliefs that epitomize the human condition and the discussion usually trips along as a philosophical-type conversation with no depth at all. (...)
PETER: In this way fear can be a signal for what change I am avoiding – remembering I am talking about something to look at and change in myself and not seeking the thrill of physical danger or the thrill of confronting someone else, as is common in the nonsense of ‘standing up for one’s rights’.
GARY: Excellent point. In my ‘self’-investigations, more and more I find I am able to investigate into the tender passions. This is a fascinating area of investigation. I had been doing a lot of investigation into fear, anger, doubt, etc. I agree with you that investigations into the ‘negative’ invidious passions is a relatively easy matter compared to the investigation of the ‘positive’ tender passions. I am seeing more and more the truth of this statement. It was my experience recently, in the context of resigning my job and, given that I was feeling lonely, desperate and in turmoil, that I craved love and validation from my partner. It was interesting to note that feelings of despair were followed by attempts to cling and depend on my partner for her continued love and assurance. I seemed to be veering back and forth between experiencing the depths of despair followed by desperate clinging to her. Whereas in the past I would have probably tried to stifle or suppress this movement back and forth, or become condemnatory to myself for acting ‘childish’, I found it most interesting to observe myself in action. At times I found it almost impossible not to give vent to these feelings, so strong they were. But at other times I found that I could observe myself, neither repressing nor expressing the feelings. Also, if one observes oneself carefully, in the midst of these ‘love storms’, one can really see the genesis of ‘crimes of passion’, the violence that results from love spurned. It’s powerful stuff.
PETER: When you realize and experience for yourself the full range of emotions we so fondly call love the tendency can be to withdraw or retreat. I know this tendency well, and I see it not only as a male thing but it is a common reaction to failure and emotional pain in all humans, no matter what gender. ‘Once bitten, twice shy’, sums up the common reaction that ultimately stalls and then stifles all human relationship. As I put it a touch poetically in the Glossary –
Actualism is not about avoiding, withdrawing, hiding or suppressing. Actualism is not about becoming a hermit or a monk or a nun. Unless one is fully engaged in the world, unless one is fully prepared to investigate all of the major issues that prevent an actual intimacy with one’s fellow human beings, fundamental change is impossible.
It looks as though this is exactly what you are in the process of doing. I can only say that any efforts in this direction will not only bring you tangible reward but, of even more benefit, it means that less of ‘you’ is imposed upon others.
PETER: In hindsight, in similar types of conversations I see I was simply presenting the fact that the much-vaunted feeling of love didn’t work because it has always failed to bring about peace between human beings. The same is evident with the revered spiritual feeling of unconditional love-for-all – it also has failed miserably in eventuating anything remotely resembling peace on earth. I was not presenting a viewpoint nor taking a side, I was simply stating a fact ... and offering an alternative.
GARY: Yes, to me it is fact that love has failed to bring about peace between human beings. It does, however, bring about a kind of ‘pseudo-peace’, which is actually no peace at all. I am reminded of Scott Peck’s work with group development, when the group goes into an initial phase of ‘pseudo-community’: the people in the group have a cozy, amiable feeling of being connected and liking one another’s company, a feeling which on the surface passes for community but is shattered further down the line when the inevitable conflicts and in-fighting occur in the group. This is a dynamic one can easily observe in spiritual groups, when the members bask in the cozy ‘We are all one’ feeling. Which makes it all the more painful when these groups develop the characteristic power struggles and malicious in-fighting that all groups of humans are prone to. I easily recall the depth of the pain that Quakers went through, coupled with the denial of their part in the problems, when the Quaker group was torn apart by conflicts between the members.
My own adaptation to the problems at the time was a kind of stunned denial and detachment from what was going on, as I was still very much a religious person. It marked, however, the start of my retreat and eventual abandonment of religion/spirituality.
PETER: I like it that your area of experience and expertise is therapy and social work. At one stage Richard was interested in writing about actualism in terms of becoming free from the passions and neuroses that typify the Human Condition without using any spiritual terms such as ego, soul etc. – a sort of real-world approach to actualism. Of course, once you become sufficiently free of the spiritual world and its seductive lure, what is left is a much more pragmatic approach to eliminating the instinctual passions and self-centred neuroses that give substance to who you think and feel you are, as distinct to what you actually are.
Actualism is anathema to vested interests of spiritualism as is evident by increasingly hysterical responses and blatant denials of so many of the correspondents to date in objecting to being happy and harmless – but no doubt some of actualism will be adopted and distorted as a clip on as a way for spiritualists to be ‘more present in the market place’. Actualism will also be anathema to the vested interests of psychiatry, psychology and sociology, but no doubt again some of it will be adopted and distorted as a clip on as a way of being able to better cope with being in the real world.
All of this, while not being ‘the full Monty’, can nevertheless only be beneficial to those involved.
Your expertise and experience in the therapy/social work field that comes through in your writing is serving not only to help dismiss the pathetic historic aberration of spiritual escapism but also fleshes out the process that leads to the progressive elimination of the psychosis and neurosis that is the Human Condition.
I can only talk about a virtual intimacy – an experience that far exceeds the ‘normal’ fickle feeling of love and so-called intimate relationships. In a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow, ‘I’ and ‘my’ thoughts and feelings are so weakened and emaciated that I am unable to impose, let alone sustain, any emotional demands or expectations on any fellow human being – let alone the one I have chosen to live with. By becoming virtually happy and harmless, I am more able to be what-I-am as opposed to ‘who’ I think and feel I am and this has resulted in an on-going, virtually constant, sense of well-being. This on-going sense of well-being in turn negates the need to constantly seek emotional succour or support from others in a vain attempt to assuage ‘my’ feelings of loneliness and alienation.
In virtual freedom, there is a palpable sense of autonomy based upon the factual evidence that I am perfectly capable of looking after myself and providing for all of my needs. The overarching and debilitating sense of needing to survive has been replaced by the simple need to ensure that, when I place a plastic card in a machine downtown and type in a few numbers, that sufficient bits of paper come out to meet my food and shelter requirements. Similarly, my need for a ‘relationship’ has been replaced by the fact that I do not live alone but that I live with a companion with whom I am able to share the delight of living on this verdant planet.
And not only do I get to do things together with a fellow human being that I would not have necessarily done had I been living alone, but I get to wallow in that most intimate of human one-to-one activities – the sensual mutual pleasure of sex.
PETER: Just a comment with regard to your recent post on the topic of relationship. You wrote in response to Gary –
GARY: On the subject of my ‘relationship’ with my partner, the matter gets a bit stickier. Since my need to affiliate with other human beings in groups has greatly lessened, to the point of almost being totally absent, I have wondered at times if I transferred these feelings on to my partner and whether I am clinging to her to get these self-same needs met. I do enjoy our being together, and I look forward to our weekends and holidays together, even our simple presence together in the evening when the day is done is very enjoyable. To be honest: I do find myself clinging to her at times with feelings of ‘love’ and affection. Yet I can say that for every moment in which there is this feeling of love and affection, there are counterpoised moments when the invidious passions are in evidence: resentment, peevishness, annoyance. In short, malice. It increases my feeling that you cannot have the positive, loving emotions without having the whole instinctual package. At least, that’s the way I think of it at this point. In other words, the entire package needs to be deleted.
So, I guess where this leaves me is to say that I think the closest thing I have to a ‘normal relationship’ is my relationship with my partner. It is here that the instinctual passions of nurture and desire occur most clearly and cleanly, compared to my other everyday ‘relationships’. To sum this all up: it seems to me that a ‘relationship’ is about sharing joy and sorrow, sharing the complete pathos and movement of human emotion and human feeling. If one is freeing oneself from the Human Condition, does one need or desire relationships then? In an actual intimacy, is there any ‘relationship’ with the other that one is relating to? Is there any ‘connection’ at all, or is this entirely absent? These are just a couple of the questions that occur. Gary to Peter, 8.2.2002
RESPONDENT: I too find that the partner relationship is where we really test the mettle. At this juncture, I don’t have the child-rearing compulsion to interfere with the simple facts of the nature of the relationship, and that has created (or exposed perhaps) some turmoil. Semi-amusing anecdote: I’ve been pondering the questions raised by my investigation into AF, particularly in the notion of ‘love’. My SO asks the loaded question ‘Do you love me?’, and I responded innocently enough ‘I’m not sure what love is’. Wrong answer. The ensuing ‘situation’ may however precipitate some earnest discussion. Without going into gory details, I did discover that some of my behaviour of late has definitely included an element of malice towards her, cloaked in an air of righteousness.
PETER: I particularly like what you have discovered because it is an experiential observation and understanding of your own feelings and not a mere intellectual understanding of someone else’s experience – and there is a world of difference between the two.
I particular remember how shocked I was when, despite years of spiritual practice, I became very angry over a trivial matter. It was as though a crack had suddenly opened up in my oh-so-righteous persona and, although it was an uncomfortable experience, it provided an invaluable insight into the hidden deep-seated passions that lay just under the surface.
If I can elaborate a bit on your observation – what normally prevents such clear observations from occurring is the human social conditioning and the feeling of righteousness is particularly common for those who have imbibed religious or spiritual conditioning. Because of these spiritual feelings, it is extremely rare to find anyone who is capable of, let alone willing to, admit that they have malicious feelings towards others. If they do admit to feeling malicious, it is almost always cloaked in some form of self-righteous justification, as in ‘it was the other’s fault’, ‘I was simply sharing my feelings’, or even ‘I was doing it for their own good’.
The other major factors that prevent such clear observations form occurring are the socially imposed feelings of guilt and shame. As children, all humans are trained to feel guilty and shameful if they think or feel wrong or evil thoughts and we subsequently learn the games of deceit and denial as a way of avoiding blame and/or punishment. Because of the tenacity of this childhood programming it is vital for an actualist to both understand and experientially observe that the feelings, emotions and passions that constantly arise are the human condition in action and not one’s personal fault.
By conducting your investigations with this understanding in mind you are conducting an investigation in a hands-on scientific down-to-earth manner, free of any moral or ethical judgements of good or bad, right or wrong. By investigating the human condition in action in you – and as ‘you’ – you also avoid the traditional spiritual trap of creating yet another identity, a superior ‘real you’ who then observes a supposedly ‘illusionary you’.
You will find this business of becoming aware of your social/spiritual persona is not a one-off understanding but an ongoing process. You will become continually aware of whenever you think you are right and the other is wrong, when you feel as though you are being good and the other is being bad. You will find that these feelings arise because of beliefs you have been taught to be universal truths and you will become fascinated as you unearth and acknowledge the facts of how ‘you’ have been socially and instinctually programmed to think and feel.
Of course, you have to be sure that this is what you want to do with your life, because once you launch yourself into this process you will never be the same again.
RESPONDENT: I’m starting to see that it is always ‘happy and harmless’, it’s a package deal.
PETER: Again, this is one of the most crucial understandings in actualism and one that clearly separates it from all of the past failed methods to find a way to become free of malice and sorrow. The pursuit of happiness has been a long and fruitless search thus far for human beings solely because everyone has put their own happiness first and being harmless second – if being harmless gets a look in at all, that is.
Once you begin to observe in yourself the malicious element of merely pursuing your own happiness you also begin to see that it is normal behaviour within the human condition, i.e. everybody blames someone else for being the cause of their unhappiness and blaming others can only be a malicious act. And then you begin to see that this ultimately ‘self’-centred focus on ‘my’ happiness is why human beings do not, and cannot, live together in peace and harmony.
Speaking personally, it was the desire to be harmless that attracted me to begin the process of actualism and it was the desire to be harmless that has provided all of the impetus to push on beyond the limits of the measly ‘self’-centred pursuit of happiness only.
RESPONDENT: In chewing through this recent lab experiment, I also came to understand something that Vineeto had stated a while back that has been puzzling me. She stated that true intimacy is unilateral. By our sociological definition, intimacy (or rather its alter ego – love) is bilateral, requiring two or more cooperating participants. True intimacy cannot require the involvement of another person for its fruition, as that immediately creates a ‘relationship’ with its attendant rules, roles, and expectations, rather than the simplicity/ clarity/ honesty of an individual bringing happiness and harmlessness to the table.
PETER: What I soon discovered in my first months of actualism was if there is going to be peace on earth between human beings then it was up to ‘me’ and it had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. This understanding can be a daunting challenge because once you let it in completely you put yourself on the spot, as it were. What ‘I’ did was take up the challenge and make becoming actually happy and harmless my primary aim in life and put everything else second. ‘I’ saw that it was the very best thing ‘I’ could do with my life. Every other challenge paled into insignificance – others could pursue security, wealth and fame if they wanted to, others could pursue immortality for their souls if they wanted to, but ‘my’ work became the real pioneering work inherent in the pursuit of an actual freedom from malice and sorrow.
I like what you have reported because it is your own observation of your own feelings, in other words it is an experiential understanding of what has been reported by Richard and the other actualists. As you would know from your own life experience, an experiential understanding based on hands-on experience is far superior to an intellectual understanding of the words of others. No amount of intellectual understanding can substitute for hands-on experience, and the only way to become free of malice and sorrow is to become aware of all of the nuances of malice and sorrow in action in your own psyche, and as your own psyche.
PETER: Hi Gary & No 38,
I’d just like to add my comment to your discussion about relationships.
GARY: I think I also experienced a momentary feeling of pity for my partner whose expressions of ‘love’ to me are usually not reciprocated, perhaps in they are in tender expressions of caring but certainly not in word, as I never speak the ‘love’ word anymore. I think there was an irrational belief operating in me at the time that went something like this: ‘What kind of partner are you after all – you should be telling your partner that you love her’.
One could easily substitute any number of words in the place of ‘partner’ such as ‘son’, ‘daughter’, ‘friend’, ‘coworker’, etc. The irrational belief that I ‘should’ be expressing love to these people caused me to feel momentary sadness, regret, and guilt. Gary to No 46, 4.10.2002
RESPONDENT: I had found myself in a very similar position a while back, and it provided plenty of (painful) opportunity for observation. I think I came out of it with increased clarity, but one question still remains:
Unlike Vineeto/Peter, I am not in a relationship with that level of shared determination and application. We do, however have a certain degree of caring for each other. It does give her pleasure to hear the word ‘love’ come out of my mouth towards her. Is it not reasonable to provide her that pleasure on occasion? Is it likely that we have been working through the whole concept of ‘love’, and as it slowly releases its iron grip, it is being reduced to merely a word? And in withholding this pleasure to others, we are hanging on to our concept of ‘love’?
PETER: I thought it might be useful to this particular discussion to explain my initial interest in actualism and how and why I came to be living with Vineeto. Although I have told the story in my Journal, most people who have read the story manage to misunderstand, misinterpret or re-interpret it.
When I first came across Richard I spent a good deal of time checking out the sensibility of his story, as well as checking out whether he lived what he talked. I eventually got to the stage where the story made sense and, unlike those I had followed on the spiritual path, it was clear to me that he lived what he talked. As I found myself becoming more and more interested in actualism I found myself faced with a dilemma. How best to road-test actualism in order to find out if the method worked in practice?
Previous to this time I had been full-on on the spiritual path, was not in a relationship, had lived in shared houses for several years and had spent the last year living alone. It was in this latter monk-like period that I gradually lost my grip on reality and had a substantial Satori experience – a glimpse of what enlightenment would be like. It occurred to me that if I continued to live alone then it would be very easy to treat actualism as a philosophy or a belief and the danger was that I would go tripping off into all sorts of fantasies as I had done in my spiritual period.
However, as I have said often before, what really challenged me was Richard’s comment in the Introduction to his Journal –
There was such a blindingly obvious sensibility to this statement that I decided that this too would be my starting point in actualism.
In making this decision, I knew I would be testing actualism not only in an utterly down-to-earth arena – one-on-one male-female relationship – but one that Eastern spiritualism failed to address. The appeal of this method of testing actualism was that, whilst I knew from experience I could very happily live by myself, I preferred to live with a companion. I had always wanted to understand the nature of the odious gender divide and I had always wanted to be free from sexual inhibitions as well as instinctive sexual predatoriness. Deep-down I knew that if I wanted to be happy and harmless in the world-as-it, with people as-they-are, then the big issues in life had to be tackled and understood – not dismissed, denied or avoided. And one of the really big issues was man and woman living together in utter peace and harmony.
So it could be said that my deliberately finding a companion with whom to road-test the actualism method only meant I was catching up to where you guys started – faced with the challenge of living with at least one other person in utter peace and harmony. From feedback over the years, it is clear that many people have misunderstood the nature of this challenge. It is not about waiting for, or demanding, that the other person changes – that they become happy and harmless in order that you can be. Nor is it about waiting for some like-minded person to come magically wandering into your life in order for you to change.
Everybody who comes across actualism starts from where they are now, in the life circumstances they find themselves in. If you are already with a companion, then that is where you start, if you are alone, that is where you start. No matter what age, culture, gender, life experience or life circumstances – if you want to become happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, then right now is always the time to start and right here is the place to start.
This is not to say that you may not want to change your life circumstances in order to make life easier – contrary to popular belief there is no virtue in suffering – or that you may want to take on an adventure or a challenge of some sort. But no matter what an actualist’s life circumstances are, his or her main priority in life will always be to be happy and harmless right now.
I do remember that I spent a lot of time comparing my life experience and life circumstances with Richard’s. Eventually I came to see that making such comparisons was a red herring because my life experiences and life circumstances are what has happened as a fact and what is happening now as a fact. The only salient thing that stood out in Richard’s stories of his time before he became actually free was his whole-hearted intent and stubborn persistence to explore every avenue of his psyche in his quest to become actually free from the human condition – to leave no stone unturned, as it were.
Just to add another thought to the discussion that might be relevant. The last century has seen a remarkable revolution in women redefining their traditional social/gender roles and this seems to have left many men bemused about their own social/gender role. Whilst many women are now refusing to play the role of slave in their relationships, men generally seem reluctant to dare to take the same step.
My own experience is that this social/gender programming, both the male and female, needed to be scrupulously examined in order that I could become free of the effects of both. These investigations were an oft-confronting business because there is a lot of darkness hidden beneath the generally well-meant goodness – however the tangible rewards far exceed the unfulfilled and fickle promise of love.
By putting becoming happy and harmless as a higher priority to hanging on to the mores, habits and hopes of a traditional man-woman relationship, I am now able to relate to women as fellow human beings and not members of the ‘opposite sex’ – not only the woman I choose to live with, but all women.
PETER: Hi all, (...)
And now ‘fact’ from the glossary which is from a Richard post that I particularly liked. The comment on intimacy is so glaringly obvious as to shake to the very core anyone attempting to live in a ‘relationship’ with another human being. If 1 billion people affected by war and armed conflict is not enough to make us question beliefs, maybe the conflicts that occur in our very own homes will.
It will make it a long post ... but you do get quality with your quantity –
What has really happened or is the case; truth; reality: in fact rather than theory, the fact of the matter is; something known to have happened; a truth known by actual experience or observation: scientists work with facts. Oxford Dictionary
Richard: A discerning eye and ear is needed in order to ascertain what is fact and what is merely theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, speculation, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true. It is easy to see when one knows how to look. Without having to interpret through one’s own belief system – an otherwise intelligent person is thus blind to the obvious – all facts are self-evidently clear. Start with a fact – a verifiable, objective actuality – as the base. Use it as a touch-stone to test the actuality of whatever ‘truth’ one suspects to be a belief. Separate out facts from fiction; find out which part is demonstrably a fact. Anything else is fiction, an illusion.
Any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true. A fact has actual verity, whereas a belief requires synthetic credence. It is a fact that I, as this body, am mortal. I will die in due course ... this heart will stop beating, these lungs will cease breathing, this brain will quit thinking.
Herein lies the clue to ascertain why this fancy has persisted: a feeling is not a fact. Feelings have led humankind astray for millennia, without ever being questioned as to whether they are the correct tool for determining the truth of a matter. Feelings are held to be sacrosanct; they are given a credibility they do not deserve. They are seen to be the final arbiter in a contentious issue: ‘It’s a gut-feeling’, or ‘My intuition is never wrong’, or ‘It feels right’, and so on. Thought, shackled by emotion and passion, can not operate with the clarity it is capable of. Surely, to experience what is factual is of far greater import than any conclusion arrived at by thought or feeling – no matter how highly refined the thought or fanatically felt the feeling.
To experience the factuality of the ending of ‘being’ whilst this body is still breathing is of the utmost importance, if one is to penetrate into the ‘Mystery of Life’ and discover the ultimate fulfilment ... here on earth. To come upon a fact, all that is fiction must be stripped away. All Sacred Cows must be mercilessly exposed to the most extreme scrutiny, nothing or no-one being exempt from critical examination. Common usage has blurred the distinction betwixt fact and belief so much so that anyone using sufficient sophistry can get away with anything at all and still be considered wise these days.
Religious teaching brainwashes people into believing nonsense instead of observing facts and actuality. For most people seeing a fact means betraying their belief ... thus they are rendered incapable of seeing it. One of the ways of ascertaining whether a ‘truth’ is a belief or a fact is that a belief demands loyalty; you give allegiance to it and to the group that espouses it. If you have more than one belief it causes difficulty, as your loyalties can be torn apart. You can feel chaotic, not knowing which belief is ‘true’. It makes you very insecure ... at moments like that you wish that there were one person who could tell you what to do and what not to do ... what to believe and what not to believe. You desire some Big Daddy or Big Mummy to tell you what is ‘Right’ and what is ‘Wrong’.
Most people try to resolve their different beliefs through compromise. Two people, holding on to their own beliefs, will get into an argument, a fight. They are separate. One is always trying to get the other to believe in their own belief through manipulation and persuasion ... and by giving or withholding love. The one who is stronger, the most adept in this, wins the other over. As neither can stand separation, they will grab any means to come together – even if this means mutual concessions, or the swapping of one’s belief for the other’s. Seeing that both beliefs are irrelevant, by virtue of the fact that they are beliefs anyway, they can dissolve completely. Then there is nothing to resolve, the problem itself is eliminated. Hence a permanent lack of conflict. With the absence of belief there is no more power battles over whose belief is ‘Right’. Separation is no more ... equity prevails. The result is actual intimacy between autonomous individuals.
Just because something is an experience in common, it is not necessarily factual. If something is communally experienced it is said to be objective and it is automatically implied to be true. If one is said to be objective it is taken as an accolade; whereas by being subjective, one is said to be prone to bias, to error. If no-one was bold enough to say that the accepted ‘truth’ is a mistake, then the sun would still be revolving around the earth! In the face of public opinion, one needs to be bold to question the collective wisdom and find out for oneself the fact of the matter. One of the best ways of doing this is to see that something held to be true is not working. Instead of vainly trying to make it work through intellectual dishonesty, one takes stock and applies lateral thinking. One needs to be audacious to proceed where no-one has gone before – and trail-blazers are often castigated for their effrontery. Fancy being ridiculed or ostracized for ascertaining the facticity of something ... for establishing a fact.
The criterion of a fact is that it works, it produces results. An insight is seeing the fact. When one sees the fact there is action ... and this action is the actualizing of the insight so that one’s personality is changed, irrevocably. The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary
As you can see, you can’t have beliefs and be harmless and you can’t have beliefs and regard and treat others as fellow human beings. It’s a simple choice and one that defines and identifies an actualist.
IRENE: (...) The other alternative was the licence granted to men over women and girls by cultural and religious authorities, whereby women and girls are seen as just cattle, for the men to use as they please. It lies all in the mistake of man believing himself to be the authority over woman, as was decreed by their ancestors who were to be believed to be in direct contact with a creator-god.
If men and women will ever want to live in peace and harmony, the very root-cause must be addressed: a law can only be fair if both genders define that law, not only men. But men would not voluntarily choose to share all responsibilities and rights with women, because they are too proud of and too used to their supremacy, plus they would – quite understandably! – feel afraid that they might become redundant altogether, once women were given the chance to have equal say in the decision-making processes that are necessary for the organization of all men, women and children into a peaceful and fair living together.
PETER: (...) So maybe this will illustrate the point as to why I truck little with those who accuse men of having no feelings. Feelings rule and ruin the lives of both men and women equally; this is my experience. After a near fatal illness, my father deliberately went back to work with the avowed intention of at least leaving something to my mother – he died two years later and she got a house. One night I witnessed a car crash. Going to help I was confronted with a seriously injured teenager who muttered over and over through the blood ‘she left me, she left me’. I have suffered from the fear of getting a girl pregnant and of being forced to become a husband and provider in my teens and as such was a fearful bumbling virgin when married. I have suffered heartbreak, jealousy, dependency, loneliness – need I go on?
PETER to No 18:
RESPONDENT: Quite so. I have just heard about a fence go up between two properties. A fence built by human conditioning, between people who are not able to ‘actually be’ the loving people they want to be or ‘believe’ they are.
PETER: Yes indeed, this fence is an imaginary fence with good on one side and evil on the other, or right on one side and wrong on the other, or loving on one side and unloving on the other, and the whole fighting over the fence is fuelled by the animal instinctual passions that are still rampant in human beings. The whole point of actualism is to remove your own beliefs that you need to be on one side of the fence or the other, remove your own morals, ethics and values that causes you to be on one side, feeling superior and riling against others – and finally to quit the whole passion-fuelled grim game of survival. To become free of the Human Condition – and all it entails.
It is impossible to ‘actually be’ loving, for love is not actual. It is an instinct-fuelled emotion that only exists in the heads and hearts of human beings. There is no love or hate in a tree, a keyboard, a cloud, a coffee cup. There is instinctual fear, aggression, nurture and desire in animals for it is literally a dog-eat-dog world. There is instinctual fear, aggression, nurture and desire in the human animal but we have been socialized to mask our fear, be cunning with our aggression, be proud of our nurture and devious with our desire. The most amazing revelation of Actual Freedom is that when one dares to strip away all of these instinctual passions the senate-only experience of pristine purity and perfection of the actual world comes tumbling in to fill the vacuum left by ‘me’ and my passions. More and more, a ‘self’-less sensuous experience of the actual world replaces the overwhelming gloom and doom reality of the real world or the phoney rosy Reality of the spiritual world.
RESPONDENT: That’s one of the hard ones (for me), Peter. Throwing love away. That and two other aspects of human existence. The imagination of course, a concern I expressed in my first post to the List and the closing of the book on all other possibilities except actualism.
Love, still reveals its actual effects to me in everything that happens in my life, so *if* it is but a shallow insubstantial dual belief and instinctual passion, then I have much investigating left to do, so please be patient with me.
PETER: The only reason I dared to challenge the most sacred of all feelings was that I found it did not work, it always came hand-in-glove with its savage dark side and ... I wanted something better. I’ve found it.
RESPONDENT: Imagination, still reveals its actual effects to me in everything I do. It is how I make a living as a designer.
PETER: I came to realize how limited human imagination is when I began to look at the Human Condition from a wider perspective.
Most of what humans treasure as great literature, art, poetry, sacred texts, music, fables and legends has as their basis either malice or sorrow. Most of what we regard as entertainment is based on violence or sadness. The test of greatness of human imaginative stories is the extent that we are stirred to feel vengeful for the aggrieved, pity for the underdog, saddened at loss, moved by hardship, outraged by the offensive, angered at the hard done by, stimulated by violence, distressed by suffering, etc.
I also came to see that impassioned human imagination was so meagre and paltry when compared to inventiveness, resourcefulness and ingenuity of the electro-chemical brain that is the human body. One only needs to look out at the stars at night to know that what is actual far, far exceeds human impassioned imagination. And yet when cosmologists contemplate the universe they imagine black holes and dark matter – an escape portal to other worlds or some ‘other-universe’ within this universe. This planet is estimated to have between 2,000,000 and 4,500,00 plant and animal species, offering such a variety as to be mind-boggling when compared with the fantasy alien life-forms from outer space created by human imagination. The insect world has such a plethora of species that it may well be an impossible task to ever categorize them. The oceans provide such an amazing multiplicity of life forms that defy any limits of human imagination. Each day brings a new, fresh and unique combination of weather conditions, each moment animate life is arranging and rearranging itself into a myriad of new forms, and this occurs on a paradisiacal planet that is so huge that it is impossible for a single human being to see all of it in a lifetime. The fact that the astounding actuality of this infinite physical universe is beyond the comprehension of a ‘self’-centred human mind has lead to wonder and amazement which has traditionally lead to feelings of awe and reverence and humility – the seeds of the spiritual ‘Universe and I are One’ delusion.
Actuality is far, far bigger than mere feelings or impassioned imagination for it is actual, patently palpable, infinitely varied, observably tangible, manifestly obvious, always apparent, clearly evident, eternally existing and it is happening right here and right now, under our very noses as it were.
RESPONDENT: But to me peace on earth and actually being happy and harmless must take precedence in a human life if we are to live life fully and survive successfully as a species.
PETER: Yep. 160 million died in wars in the last century, an estimated 40 million committed suicide, not to mention all the murders, rapes, torture, corruption, despair, loneliness, domestic violence, child abuse ... and there is no end in sight. It’s clearly time for intelligence to be freed of its burden of the animal survival instincts so we humans can live in utter peace and harmony, perfection and purity.
RESPONDENT: So if extirpation of the whole kit and caboodle, psyche, imagination and instinctual passions, is the only way to bring it about, then so must it be and I have my work cut out for me. But these are early days for this fully programmed necktop computer, so reflecting on the human beings use of imagination, love and whether this tiny mind is really open, occupies every moment of the day at the moment.
Each time I consciously experience any of them, I ask myself, are they real expressions of happiness and harmlessness? Can I, can the human race really live a fuller direct experience of life without them?
There is a lethargy in the human mind, from what I have observed in my own psyche and those I discuss these things with. A reluctant to concentrate at length and look deeply and ruthlessly at ones mental and emotional behaviour. Perhaps something to do with not wanting to expose the flaws in what Richard calls ‘what we hold most dear’ the self.
Open mindedness, standing in an opening of possibilities is also very dear to me. I love the space of it, as I love the vastness of Australia. To accept nothing other than the material facts of actualism is very difficult for this human mind. We are so much our love of stories and dramas and new possibilities.
PETER: I used anything I could as a motivation to get off my bum and do something about miserable, confused, second-rate ‘me’. I was charged by the possibility of being able to live as I had experienced in a PCE 24 hrs. a day, every day. To walk upright, free, beholden to no-one and to be pure and perfect in that no instinct-driven entity lay in wait in this body, ever-ready to spoil my happiness and of those around me. This is a possibility that is beyond human imagination, yet is now available for those who are willing to devote their life to the effort.
PETER: It is an instinct-fuelled emotion that only exists in the heads and hearts of human beings. There is no love or hate in a tree, a keyboard, a cloud, a coffee cup.
RESPONDENT: And of course when presenting this analogy to any human being, not only those relentlessly inquiring into the human condition, their first response is, but for heaven’s sake! A human being is not a tree, a keyboard, a cloud, a coffee cup! Most of us consider mental activity and emotions as a whole new dimension on earth that we have barely explored. There is so much to investigate, to reflect on, before the human psyche can come to the conclusion that there is no alternative, that its death and extinction is the only way to bring happiness and harmlessness to humanity.
PETER: Yep. Human mental activity and emotion has resulted in an estimated 160 million deaths in wars in the last century, over 40 million suicides, not to mention all the murders, rapes, torture, corruption, despair, loneliness, domestic violence, child abuse ... and there is no end in sight. It’s clearly time for intelligence to be freed of its burden of the animal survival instincts so we humans who want to can live in utter peace and harmony, perfection and purity. Only if you want to, of course, for there is no imperative in Actual Freedom. The universe, being infinite and eternal, has all the time in the world. It was only by abandoning any notion of a life after death, or there being a ‘somewhere else’, could I muster sufficient impatience and urgency to overcome my lethargy.
When I still had spiritual beliefs, I separated myself out from my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions for I was a goody-two-shoes spiritual seeker. When I met Richard, I stopped pretending that my behaviour, actions, feelings and emotions were not mine. Then I discovered that I was, underneath the sugar-coating, both malicious and sorrowful.
RESPONDENT: Well for me there is not a sense of denying the emotions, but more like a trying to experience what is not possible. As I pondered (on my walk in this glorious Australian winter sunshine) about the possibility of having no me claiming possession of anything, Richard’s comment about Susan Segal came to mind. I too read her book with interest, but not having Richard’s experience I did not see the contradiction in having no self and yet still experiencing the emotion of fear. Now if the extinction of the psyche brings about the annihilation of the emotions in the Amygdala then of course what heck am I doing. It is this sensate body which is not mine, but emotions are me in action.
PETER: Just to reiterate –
What more noble deed can one do in life?
PETER: It was only by stopping this act of denial of splitting myself in two that I could accept the responsibility of cleaning myself up, so to speak. This splitting oneself in two, or creating a new identity, is what is known as dissociation, epitomized in spiritual belief by such phrases as ‘I am not my body’, ‘I am not my mind’, ‘I am not my feelings’, etc.
RESPONDENT: For me there is not a sinister sense of not wanting to accept responsibility for cleaning myself up, disowning emotions or splitting myself in two, but rather honest misunderstandings (and no doubt there will be more) about how to go about not doing those things.
PETER: I was not implying anything sinister. What we are discussing is a radical and diametrically opposite approach to freedom – an actual freedom as opposed to a feeling of freedom, and confusion and misunderstand are bound to be par for the course. I have nothing but admiration for anyone considering taking on actualism or attempting to free themselves of the Human Condition – it is no little task, but one is not alone, for the time is ripe and ‘the wheels are in motion’, so to speak.
RESPONDENT: I have been lumping the emotions and instinctual passions together with the actual sensate body as that which does not belong to a me but is this vast and infinite universe experiencing itself as an emotive and mentally visual human being. Whereas, upon reflection, I now remember Richard saying that without the me the instinctual passions, the emotions and mental imagery no longer arise at all.
RESPONDENT: I personally have found some of the arguments to become too involved for edification. Oft-times, there is also the sense in your words that ‘Admit first that you are wrong, only then we’ll proceed further.’ And in the effort to make the other admit that he is wrong, there is no stone that you’ll leave unturned.
PETER: Have you not noticed that there is a seemingly endless queue of people who come onto this mailing list seemingly with the sole intent of proving Richard to be wrong by insisting that they are right? Have you ever considered why this is so – why it is so vitally important for people to find fault with Richard’s report that it is possible to radically and irrevocable change human nature, to finally bring an end to human malice and to human sorrow?
Personally I never adopted this confrontational head-butting ‘I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong’ attitude to Richard’s report about what he has discovered, let alone indulge in ‘let’s-take-him-down-a-peg-or-two’ ad hominem attacks. What I did was sit down, listen and read and if necessary ask a few questions pertinent to me in order to ascertain whether or not what he was saying about the human condition made sense or not. When I had satisfied myself that it did make sense – the explanation that it is the genetically-encoded instinctual passions that give rise to human malice and sorrow and not some mythical Evil force was a significant factor in deciding this for me – I then set out to experientially discover how the human condition operated in me as ‘me’.
What followed was a flurry of admissions that I had got it wrong and through no fault of mine, I should add. The list of ‘I got it wrong’ was enormous to say the least.
I won’t go on as I think you have got my drift by now – I got it wrong in so many ways.
What attracted me to actualism in the first place was that I had an experiential understanding – garnered over many years of living in different places on the planet in different cultures – that something was wrong as well as an experiential understanding that no-one had or ever has had a workable solution. When I first met Richard the one thing that that stuck in mind was that he had said ‘Everone’s got it 180 degrees wrong’ – and the reason it struck a chord was that it explained why despite humankind’s best efforts to date wars and torture and rapes and murders and child abuse and corruption and the like still plague humankind … and why there is no end in sight in that nobody had yet come up with a pragmatic solution to ending the suffering that human beings inflict upon each other and upon themselves.
For whatever reason I wasn’t so arrogant as to see myself as being superior to, or different to, or separate from, the rest of humanity which is seemingly why I had few problems in admitting that I had got it wrong – that I had been sold a dummy, as Vineeto recently put it. And not only did I discover that I had got it wrong in so many ways but I was well pleased to discover that I had got it wrong. because each discovery meant that I became free of a particular belief I dearly held to be true and each of these freedoms moved me inexorably closer to being able to become free of the whole of the human condition.
Why other people have such difficulty in admitting that they have got it wrong, when they are obviously not content with their life as-it-is – else why be on this mailing list in the first place – is quite frankly beyond me.
RESPONDENT: I believe and know one must one give up both physically and psychically the things one ‘loves’ to be free of ‘love’s’ neediness? ‘I’ love the security of my ego, wife, home and family and ‘I’ also hate the cost of security which is to live in a lone, beautiful, wonderful and great gilded cage ... which is a kind of lone, beautiful, wonderful and great existence. Can perfection get even better?
PETER: One of the major aspects of the path to Actual Freedom is that one’s relationship to other people undergoes a radical and fundamental change. For me, the key to having the courage to change and break free of the emotional bonds, ties, demands and restrictions was in the seeing that I was doing exactly the same to the other person(s) involved. All 6 billion people are living their lives through other people, trying to change others to suit themselves, blaming others for causing their unhappiness, doing deals and favours, placing physical and emotional demands on others rather than live their own lives as autonomous human beings. The remarkable discovery, as one ceases this nonsense, is that one then is able to regard and treat all as fellow human beings without placing demands on the other. It was the freeing of others of the burden of ‘me’ that was the clue for me – which gets back to the harmless bit of happy and harmless. Once deciding that this is one’s priority then one sensibly, methodically and patiently does whatever is appropriate to realize one’s goal in life.
RESPONDENT: I have just read Richards book ‘Actual Freedom’ and now realize that I have been deluded for many years ... while trying to avoid guru-worship, it now seems I have been chasing an enlightened state of bliss or Love ... akin to being filled by a Holy Spirit...
PETER: Yes, for me a significant turning point was the understanding that Eastern Spiritualism is nothing other than Eastern Religion. The core of spiritual/ religious belief is of a Divine Entity, or Spirit or Energy or Love, which is the Source, or Creator, or Sustainer of all that is Good, or True or Right and one only needs to ‘tap’ into this by prayer, devotion, surrender and one’s soul, or spirit, or ‘true self’ will be guaranteed a ticket to a blissful after-life. As I wrote recently – ‘The current New Dark Age fashion for Eastern religious belief as opposed to Western religious belief has all but run its course. The more strict and inane of the practices and ancient wisdom has been watered down into ethical and moral values that are but a mirror of Western morals and ethics. The practice of meditation – sitting silently and hiding from the world as-it-is – is but an escape from the ‘real’ world into an ‘inner’ world where imagination and fantasy can run riot. One is extolled to abandon sensible thought, surrender one’s will to a Divine energy or entity, and trust one’s feelings. Giving full reign to one’s ‘good’ instinctual passions while ignoring and denying the ‘bad’ has led to nothing other than an endless stream of human beings who believe themselves to be God-realized or God on earth. These primitive beliefs must be abandoned if one is to move on to tackle the elimination of instinctual passions.’
One of the major by-products of religious or spiritual belief is the instilling and adopting of moral and ethical values. Then, every person, every event and every thing is judged as being good or bad or right or wrong. One needs to abandon these values and foolish, self-ish judgments in order to see the world as-it-is, and you as-you-are, with clear eyes. One is then able to judge or discern or assess on the basis of silly or sensible – a far more valuable and freeing criteria than accepting the morals and ethics of other, usually long dead, people.
As a bit of an aside, I watched a program on instincts the other night and it was reporting on some of the current research of the chemical nature of instinctual passions and their source in the amygdala. However, the whole of the program was slanted in moral and ethical psittacisms – we had the ‘good’ instincts and the ‘bad’ instincts, the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour. Science was confirming ‘evil’ so we had to be ‘good’ and not lose ‘control’. I still remember watching a scientists say ‘we can’t do what is best, we have to do what is ‘good’’ when talking of the opportunity to eradicate genetically-inherited diseases and deformities.
The astounding opportunity offered by Actual Freedom is that one can be the best and not settle for being ‘good’ by eliminating the instinctual passions that give rise to malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: ‘My’ delusion was thinking ‘my’ intelligence to be real love... which has resulted in ‘my’ sense of Aloneness for many years...
PETER: My experience of this sense of Aloneness that I had in my spiritual years was that is was accompanied by a smug, self-centred feeling of superiority that cut me off and isolated me even further from the ‘real’ world – which is the point of being spiritual, now that I look back on it. It was only when I had an Altered State of Consciousness or Satori that I realized how removed I would be in Enlightenment – and how Alone. No wonder the Enlightened Ones desperately need Love and people to worship them.
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.
PETER: For an actualist is it essential, vital and critical to make the distinction between an ASC and a PCE. If you had an experience that was ‘tantalizing Enlightenment’, it was an ASC – an Altered State of Consciousness – whereby one’s consciousness or identity shifts to becoming the feeling experience of the universe, thus one feels Love, Divinity, Wholeness, Unity – one feels oneself to be Godly. This is most definitely not a PCE – a Pure Consciousness Experience. The only similarity is that one gets a glimpse of something other than the real world – in an ASC one gets to see a golden, glowing, self-fulfilling and self-aggrandizing dream world with you at the centre of it all. All seems an illusion including one’s body, as the heart literally bulges from the chest and poetic and loving thoughts surge through one’s brain. Yea, I’ve been there and done that, and it sucks. What alarmed me most was that I would end up yet another God-man which is the inevitable result of becoming Enlightened.
RESPONDENT: Just an additional point to this perfection. It is apparent in the absence of a judgmental emotional self. So I am more interested in the assertion that this world is not perfect or that I am not perfect that is more butter for the bread.
PETER: I wrote a bit in my journal that may be relevant to what you are talking of. It was at a time when I was busy with investigating love – its promise and its failure.
What I ‘saw’ is that the actual world is perfect, pure, infinite and eternal – it is just that we humans are inflicted with a soft-ware program called the Human Condition. It is made up of nothing more than beliefs and instinctual emotions, and, being software, we can delete them if we really want to. This deletion allows an incremental emergence of what is factual, what is actual, as evidenced by the senses and one’s own apperceptive awareness. The experiencing of the perfection and purity of the actual world as experienced in the PCE is essential as this provides the ‘pure’ in the pure intent. Having experienced the actual one then will be better prepared to avoid the power-crazed state of Enlightenment.
PETER to No 62: Given that you have resorted to attempting to play the role of guru on this list rather than on your own mailing list, it occurred to me to offer you a bit of advice with regard to your self-appointed status of would-be Guru. I very rarely offer unsolicited advice to anyone these days but it does seem that your business is slow over there on the Ranch, else why would you bother hawking your ‘wisdom’ on a non-spiritual mailing list. I do realize that you are probably the last person who would be open to taking advice from anyone but I do have good credentials in being able to advise Gurus as I was an avid follower of many in my spiritual years. It is also an opportunity to pass on some information about the nature of the guru-disciple business for those who may have come to this mailing list thinking that this is a spiritual mailing list replete with a resident Guru.
The first important aspect that one needs to realize is that the reason that people are attracted to Gurus is that they are essentially looking for a Big Daddy or Big Mummy who will tell them what to think, what to feel, what to do and how to do it. In order to be successful in the business it is important for a Guru to never lose sight of this central role you are playing in other people’s lives and this essential need you are fulfilling, and I say this from direct experience of following several Gurus, and a good deal of reading about others. I am not saying that a Guru can’t have an individual style, but the important thing is to have and sustain an air of authority about you such as a child would feel for a parent.
A dependant child will take a deal of tough love from a parent provided there is a balance of soft love, or to put it another way, a child will take a bit of stick as long as there is carrot on offer to balance it out (else t’is what is commonly known as child abuse). In exactly the same way, a Guru needs to offer a mix of carrot in the form of soft love if he or she is to wield the stick on occasions. What the successful Gurus do is offer the carrot of unconditional love in the form of vibes and to do this they need to sustain an aura of love combined with a certain degree of personal charisma. Whilst this tends to come naturally to those who are Enlightened (as in they have ‘become’ Love, That, It, or whatever), for those who are not yet fully deluded these attributes do need working on.
Successful Gurus – those who have both aura and charisma and those who utilize both soft and tough love – literally have their followers on a string, and the shorter and stronger the string becomes, the more they personally can get away with, for the followers literally become blinded by love and devotion – not to mention being literally hobbled by dependency for the Guru’s love. Successful Gurus can literally toy with their followers and their feelings, sometimes casting pearls and sometimes not, sometimes praising, sometimes rebuking, thereby always ensuring they remain on the hook.
From what you have said, it appears that you may have modelled your business on Mr. Gurdjieff – the tough, hard approach, all stick and no carrot. I would suggest that Mr. Gurdjieff may well have had an aura, a certain (exotic/eccentric?) charisma and offered carrots as well as wielded the stick because he at least had gathered a few disciples by the time he died. Whilst I do understand that some people are attracted by the brutally honest (as in brutal), tough love (as in odious) approach, as in ‘She’s really being Real’, I do think it somewhat restricts your market both in numbers and in dollars.
Well that’s about it. The town I live in has two significant businesses, one being tourist, the other being Gurus and wannabe gurus of various sorts and at one stage I thought of offering a guru-grooming service, offering advice about style, technique and presentation – I think there could well be a buck in it for a smarter operator than me.
BTW. Just to correct yet another piece of your disinformation, nowhere have I ever said what you purport that I have said –
PETER: Maybe becoming free of depression, sadness, loneliness, boredom, resentment, anger, animosity, annoyance, etc. is not of interest to you.
RESPONDENT: No, Peter, your speculation about me is way off the mark. At present I am learning where my anger is coming from. I think my need for love is bringing that and lately I am trying to find where the need for love is coming from. I am also looking as to where do the random feelings of unconditional love I get, come from.
PETER: No, it is neither speculation nor ‘way off the mark’. Up until now the only way to become ‘free’ of malice and sorrow has been to indulge the imagination and affective faculties (feelings) such that one achieves a ‘spiritual’ freedom – usually referred to as Self-realization, or in its full-blown delusion, as Enlightenment. This is done by negating or denying the ‘bad’ feelings of malice and sorrow and giving full reign to the ‘good’ feelings of love and compassion. To call this figment of the imagination ‘freedom’ is to abuse the meaning of the word which is why Richard used the word Actual Freedom for his discovery. Given that you are firmly on the spiritual path, as is evidenced by your objections and refusal to want to even begin to understand what Actual Freedom is really about, you are obviously only interested in an imaginary freedom. The traditional ‘beam me up, Scottie’ solution, or the ‘beam me up, Bhagwan’ version.
This is not a criticism of you personally – these spiritual fantasy ‘escapes’ have, after all, been the only thing available up until now. But you are writing on The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List and any efforts to convince us, deride us, condemn us, or put us down will fall on deaf ears. We actualists stubbornly refuse to settle for a second-best freedom – a synthetic freedom that leads to the Master-disciple system which perpetuates the fantasy world of good and evil spirits, after-life, God, Religions and all sorts of meta-physical mumbo-jumbo. An actualist rapidly moves from learning, thinking, trying, and looking to investigating, pursuing, discovering, uncovering, finding, implementing, activating, challenging and dismantling feelings, emotions, beliefs and instincts. From a mere snorkelling around on the surface to a bit of sincere deep sea diving into one’s own psyche.
RESPONDENT: As for why I got offended, I am looking into it and if I find something new and interesting I will let you know. I am also looking into the origin of my need-for-love and its implications.
PETER: Aye, ‘tis a fascinating journey into one’s very own psyche. I’m going back through my journal editing it at the moment, in the light of conversations I’ve had with people since first writing it and I have just finished re-writing the ‘Living Together’ chapter. It now contains a bit more nitty gritty, nuts and bolts information on the process of awareness, ‘looking’, investigation, discovery, realization and eventual actualization and elimination of such issues as being offended and giving offence and needing love and giving love.
‘Living Together’ is essentially about the gender divide between men and women that ultimately dooms any attempt to live together in peace and harmony. I’m well pleased with the re-write, I think it will be more helpful and useful to others who will follow.
‘Love’ is the next chapter which may be of interest to you as well and I’ll let you know about that one as well when it is edited. So that’s it – a bit of a rave and a plug for the journal. I do like it that you are looking at feelings and emotions, so few people bother to make the effort. Most take the easy way out and go for transcendence and ‘rising above’ them, or the even lazier simply opt for doing nothing and loving one’s self – the ‘You are already That’ school of modern mysticism. To go the other way and look into feelings and emotions is new territory completely. It is the same with beliefs – most people are comfortable with, even proud of, their beliefs but to look into them, and to dare to ascertain the facts, is new territory completely.
RESPONDENT: So I have now modified the question to ‘Am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ This has been quite useful in reminding me to experience rather than feel this moment.
PETER: Well, I did it the opposite way. I became vitally interested in ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ And if that meant I was feeling angry, sad, melancholy, lacklustre, depressed, then I would track back to find out what it was that bought on that feeling. What was said, what happened, when did it happen? I wanted to understand feelings, their source, how they worked, what caused them to kick in, etc. Only by understanding them, could I begin to get free of their insidious grip. I also knew that until I was rid of the source of feelings entirely – ‘me’ – I would have to live with them. So best to understand them and best to aim for the felicitous and innocuous ones – and feeling happy and feeling harmless are surely the best one can aim for of the feelings.
RESPONDENT: In fact, for some time, I was also trying to do the same as you described. The problem was that I was already feeling happy most of the time. This happiness was generated by ‘winning’ over most bad feelings, by simple spiritual techniques like Vipassana and deep breathing. Indeed, compared to most people around me, I was much happier. But I was finding myself stuck with this and somehow I had a feeling that there was nothing positive about it. It was just an absence of ‘bad’ feelings. Especially when I realized the trap of love and gratitude. But now with this the direct experience in my fold, I decided not to worry about ‘me’ being happy or not. Instead, let me enjoy whatever moments I am able to, of sensate experiencing. Perhaps it is too early. It may be just be a childish enthusiasm on my part. Let me see how long it lasts.
PETER: For me the clue was in my aim to be happy and harmless. Even in my spiritual days I wouldn’t have described myself as unhappy. Probably that I was reasonably happy, particularly when things were going well. But what I had to admit, almost force myself to admit, was that I was not harmless. Well-meaning, yes, but when push came to shove, or when things weren’t going my way – certainly not harmless. My inability to live with a woman in peace and harmony was ample testimony to this fact. When I read Richard’s journal for the first time it was the first chapters on ‘living together’, ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ that pricked up my ears. It was to prove to be my test of fire.
I asked myself a simple question. ‘Could I live with a woman in peace and harmony?’ The honest answer was ‘no’. The next question was – ‘Why not?’ The answer to that question took me off on a 12 month investigation into the beliefs, emotions, passions instinctual programming, morals and ethics of gender, sex and living together. As a man, I was fascinated to discover the extent that my social and biological programming actively conspired to prevent anything remotely resembling intimacy – hence the need for the feeling of love to bridge the chasm. As a practical example – the feelings of male superiority, again the result both of social and instinctual programming, was a shocking thing to discover in myself – but it is universally a part of the Human Condition. It is a belief, covertly reinforced by men, and it is a feeling but not a fact, and therefore possible to eliminate. It proved, for me, to be a large and necessary step to live with a woman in peace, harmony and equity. This step towards intimacy was the direct result of being in touch with my feelings.
Actualism is the practical implementation of scientifically and historically proven facts – a radical departure from the myth of spiritual celibacy, transcendence and ‘watching’. It is implementation, not avoidance. It is involvement, not detachment. It is change and action, not acceptance and procrastination. It is sensible, not silly.
So, to be reasonably happy is relatively easy. To be totally harmless – to have no instinctual fear or aggression – to be actually free of malice and sorrow is an evolutionary leap. The stakes are high in this game ... but so are the rewards.
I am not at all discouraging you from ‘enjoy(ing) whatever moments I am able to, of sensate experiencing’ – quite the contrary. What I am pointing to is a way of having more of those moments and then stringing more of them together and one day being able to live that way 24 hrs. a day every day – in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
RESPONDENT: P.S. The night before last I had a wonderful dream that is still yanking my chains. I was travelling in a mini van type of bus with a group of people and Osho. We were going to meet up with a large group of people and we were asking Osho if he was willing to speak to the people... He turned around and looked deep into my eyes and said: ‘I’m amazed that after all these years you are still attached to my words!’ and I responded, ‘oh, no, it’s not for me... It’s just that so many people there have never heard you speak’... and he just smiles and turns back around in his seat...
But of course I do have attachments to his words. And I watch them all the time, the attachments and the words floating around in my brain. But two days later from that dream, I still feel that love stuff from him and from me for him swelling my chest...how can I let go of an attachment like that? It feels the same as it did many years ago...
It’s weird too...I’ve never owned a white robe and no plans of getting one.
PETER: The whole Eastern spiritual world is based on ‘feeling’ devotion and love, either for a god or a Master. This feeling good, when practiced assiduously, leads to bliss, Divine Love, Universal Compassion, and Timelessness, Oneness with the Whole, Truth, That, God or whatever. If successful one becomes One, self becomes Self, separation becomes Unity, and away we go again as yet another Divine Saviour is born, to eventually ‘leave the body’, leaving yet another Religion on earth. It is all a passionate dream which most people can see clearly played out in other Religious beliefs but love, loyalty, devotion and gratitude prevent from seeing let alone acknowledging it in themselves. It is an insidious trap, one at which the Enlightened Ones are indeed Masters at playing.
PETER: If by Agapé you mean DIVINE LOVE ... it is wasted on me. I am one of a only a handful of atheists on the planet.
RESPONDENT: When one is truly free ... there is no need for such nonsense as believing there is no Divine Love, then one is a Gnostic, one who knows, one who has no belief.
PETER: So, one who is truly free is one who is not merely pretending, I take it from the first bit. There are about 6,000 religions who all believe that they have the ‘true’ version of Truth, or Liberation, or Freedom. The truth is such a woolly concept it seems to me.
You then say ‘there is no need for such nonsense as believing there is no Divine Love’. I take it then that you believe there is Divine Love, or are you saying that The Divine (God) is a fact. I take it that you are saying you believe in God.
A Gnostic is one who claims to have ‘superior knowledge’ of spirit-ual things (Godly matters) and therefore believes in Gods and spirits.
PETER: I take it then that you believe there is Divine Love, or are you saying that The Divine (God) is a fact. I take it that you are saying you believe in God.
RESPONDENT: No. Agapé is the essence of all there is. It is a word fraught with other meanings to other people, but it is shorter than Unconditional-Love which is what is meant.
PETER: So, as I understand, you see Unconditional-Love (Agapé) as the ‘essence of all there is’. I guess, when you say the mystical experience is a ‘realization of what is’, it is a realization of Unconditional Love, and definitely not the human love that mere mortals struggle with and fail to live in there every-day lives. Do you live in this state of Unconditional-Love permanently and is that why you use it as a blessing/ signature to others, or is it a fond wish of yours to one day realize this state?
PETER: Everybody has what they fondly declare to be their ‘own’ truth and passionately defend it – even declaring their ‘right’ to do so.
RESPONDENT: Every body? You know this or the dictionary?
PETER: So why do you stubbornly insist that you are uniquely different from everybody else? It seems to be a constant theme of yours.
I see that the evidence what I said is quite clear. There are about 6,000 religions on the planet and the country I am in, and many others, have laws that enshrine the principle of Religious Tolerance. Indeed, it is part of what are deemed the basic Human Rights. These laws and rights are aimed at preventing individuals or groups from attacking, defaming, discriminating against or persecuting another on the basis of differing religious beliefs.
In other words, we need laws and ethical codes to prevent humans from fighting, killing and persecuting others because they each believe their God or Truth is the best. Imposing and policing these laws do manage to ‘keep the lid on things’ a bit ... except for Northern Ireland, Israel, the Balkans, India, Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia ... Sannyasins had direct experience of this at the Ranch when both sides armed-up.
That’s where it really hit home for me – that I would have been willing to kill for, or die for ‘my’ Master.
It’s just par for the Human Condition – the more you love someone – the more you are willing to kill others to protect him/her and to sacrifice your life in order that they can live.
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.
RESPONDENT to Vineeto: I have perceived your care, which with pure love is compassion by the way, in most of your posts. So my next question is, How did you get stuck with a head-fucker like Peter? ;-) Love ...
PETER: Simple. Within weeks of meeting Richard I was challenged by the obvious fact that unless I could live with a woman in peace and harmony 24 hrs a day, every day, then life was indeed a sick joke. If I couldn’t live with one other person in peace and harmony, how could I expect there ever to be peace on earth. So I propositioned Vineeto and asked her if she was interested – which she was. I have posted the story before, but in case you were practicing the Sw. Deleeto ‘no-mind’ deletion-meditation at the time, the story is told in Introduction, Living Together, Love, Sex and a bit of Vineeto in my journal.
I assume from the above that you are also saying that you find my posts lacking in compassion. Given that compassion is ‘Participation in another’s suffering; fellow-feeling, sympathy. Pity, inclining one to show mercy or give aid. Sorrowful emotion, grief’ you are right. When one has eliminated sorrow in oneself it is then an impossibility to share it with others. To uphold compassion – an agreement that we all must suffer together – as a Noble ‘set-in-concrete’ feeling is to forever condemn Humanity to suffering.
I simply stepped out of the whole mutually-agreed scenario that says ‘life wasn’t meant to be easy, you only grow through suffering, no pain – no gain, you can’t change Human Nature, etc.’ I could only manage this by fully experiencing the range and depths of human feelings and emotions, by not ‘turning away’, by neither repressing nor expressing, but looking with open eyes at the Human Condition and acknowledging the facts. This then evinced an action such that the only option open was to do what I could about the appalling situation we humans find ourselves in on the planet.
That action was to do all that was possible to actually eliminate malice and sorrow in me.
With the elimination of malice, the need for love is extinguished to reveal what is intrinsic in the actual world – benevolence.
PETER: You didn’t comment on what was the main point of the story – a disciple’s willingness to kill and be killed for the love of his Master. How do you stand on this? What were you willing to do if the National Guard came over the hill?
I guess it is relevant to your ideals of pure-love and trust.
RESPONDENT: Putting words in others mouths to make your points is malicious, shame on you, Peter, your mind will stop at nothing to prove yourself right. You are ridiculous! hahahahaha
PETER: I did put the question quite bluntly, but haven’t you ever wondered what it is that causes us human beings to fight and kill each other for love of Country or love of God? I don’t see at all that I ‘put words in your mouth’. It is your stated position, as it was mine at the time of the Ranch. If you are one of those who would not have killed or been killed then fair enough.
RESPONDENT: First of all, I had no ‘stated position’. Where do you get this stuff? Pure love and trust has got to do with killing for the master? How you try and confuse everything.
PETER: This gets a bit silly here. Are you saying you have not written about your valuing pure love and trust?
The reason that I probably would have killed or died for Rajneesh was out of ‘love’ for him and because I put my ‘trust’ in him. We are usually willing to kill in order to protect those we love – be they kin, kind or leader, and further, would often sacrifice our own life in order that they may live. This is a common reaction – a direct product of our instinctual programming. This is all very straightforward and basic stuff.
RESPONDENT: Where was I, oh yes, would I kill for the master? Well I didn’t have a weapon (that’s what we army guys called pistols and rifles), but if I did and they came shooting to kill all of us, which I’m sure they would have done if Osho hadn’t found a safe way to get us all out safely, you can bet your sweet bippy I would have loved to shoot it out. Why not? What’s wrong with it?
PETER: I just watched a TV program on war and it highlighted the main causes of warfare as territorial, religious and ideological. Territorial conflicts are perhaps understandable, but religious wars over whose God is the only God defy sanity. And ideological wars are equally inane as both sides always believe they are right and the other is wrong.
RESPONDENT: But Petertje (as we say in Holland) People are still weeping with gratitude when they read Kabir, or Rumi, or Osho, or Basho, or Meister Eckhart, and on and on ... What else is there to say?
PETER: You raise a good point here, when you mention ‘weeping with gratitude’. Have you ever noticed the connection between sadness and love, the bitter-sweetness of sorrow, the tug on the heart strings of a particularly sad love song? How we humans turn to believing in God in the face of depression, or death? Have you ever thought that humans need to feel gratitude because we resent being here, having to ‘fight for survival’ in the ‘real’ world. Have you ever considered that is why we seek solace in, and are grateful to, the Masters who promise us there is a better world awaiting us ‘somewhere else’?
It was becoming aware of these emotions and feelings in me and questions like these that I would contemplate upon obsessively until I got an experiential answer. In other words, an answer that provided me with freedom from sad and sorrowful feelings and, even more difficult to acknowledge, my feelings of malice and aggression.
Initially, I got thoroughly sick and tired of being sad and suffering from love, and further I saw that I was inflicting my suffering and need for love on others.
That was the starting point – to make becoming happy and harmless the unrelenting, unabashed ambition in my life.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.