Selected Correspondence Peter
GARY: I seem to fluctuate between a sense of alarm and anxiety at my ‘aloneness’ and the thrill of the realization that I am really getting somewhere by using the actualism method. And where I am getting is to be completely and totally free from being a member of the human club. When I set out upon learning about an Actual Freedom, I had many basic questions, some of which persist. For instance, I wondered: will I be able to work? Will I be able to provide for myself and my partner? Will I have a social life? What will that look like? and other questions such as these.
Regarding my ability to work, I have found that I am able to work, and that my capacity for work has, if anything, increased. I am better able to prioritize tasks, think things through and get done what needs to be done.
PETER: Your experience regarding working for money closely mirrors my own experiences. By becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow I am not only able to work more efficiently but I am also now able to do my work much better. By no longer resenting having to work, no longer being annoyed by other people, no longer being frustrated that I do not get ‘my’ way and so on, not only am I happier but I no longer create ripples for those around me by ‘my’ incessant demands. I am now equally interested that my clients are as satisfied with my work as I am and that they get as much value for their money as I do for my time committed.
The other issue with work is that I no longer seek meaning, kudos and identity from my work as I had been taught to both expect and/or demand. I am not special in what I do when I work for money – anyone can do my job and many do so, equally as well. My time spent working is what it is – selling my time and expertise to someone else in return for money to pay for food, shelter, clothes and the like. By eliminating all the beliefs and values around the issue of work a good deal of my social identity fell away – and those I work for, and with, are better off for it.
The ‘will I be able to work’ issue also occurred to me when I thought about the consequences of becoming free from Humanity. But I eventually came to realize that this was a belief I had, based on my observation of those who had ‘made it’ to the top in the spiritual world and who then become incapable of functioning and working in the world and end up having to rely on the financial and emotional support of their followers or disciples for their sustenance.
GARY: I don’t know if I had ever mentioned it or not, but at an earlier time I was interested in investigating why I so often had the ‘Monday morning blues’, you know, that feeling of let-down after the weekend is over and its’ time to get cracking again. I often found myself experiencing a kind of acute anxiety on Monday mornings, in particular, as I dreadfully hashed out in my mind how terrible the day was going to be and how much I would have to get done. I found my partner also doing this too and resentfully sighing that she did not want to go to work, wanted to stay home, and such like comments. This led me to investigate the combination of feelings and emotions that are involved in these Monday morning experiences. From what I could observe from listening in on and talking to other people, particularly co-workers, it seemed that these feelings were well nigh universal, just that some people were more vocal in their sighing and complaints than others. Rather than accept ‘the way it’s supposed to be for everyone’ on Monday mornings, I set about eliminating this constellation of feeling and belief from my life.
Now I find that Monday morning arrives and there is not this downcast, gloomy feeling nor is there the expectation of this in the day prior. I realize that I have virtually eliminated this experience, not entirely, but it is now greatly diminished from its’ former intensity. I am just using this as an example of the kind of thing that can happen with continued use of the questioning of one’s experiencing of the present moment.
PETER: Essentially, the resentment at having to work for money can be sheeted home to a resentment of having to be here on this planet. But overlaid over this fundamental resentment, there are also layers of resentment that result from the social conditioning all human beings are invariably subjected to. I can remember when I finally left school and entered the work force, I was shocked at the thought that this was ‘it’ – working 5 days a week with only weekends off and a few weeks break each year for the rest of my life. I also quickly saw that the workforce is not called the rat-race for nothing as it was fiercely competitive at the top, a bun-fight in the middle and a miserable business at the bottom.
The only two alternatives so far have been to stoically join in the battle or resent and rile against the necessity of having to work to survive. However, if one cares to investigate the nature of one’s resentments and frustrations it becomes apparent that almost all of it is due to a common-to-all social conditioning – in the form of morals, ethics, beliefs and psittacisms – about the actual nature of trading one’s time to someone in return for money.
As you start to notice, understand and strip away this social conditioning what also becomes apparent is that the unquenchable desire for more and more money and goods is but the desire to have one’s efforts rewarded for having to do battle in the workforce. The more passion, time and effort expended in this battlefield, the more reward in terms of money, goods, possessions, recognition, etc. is demanded, regardless of the cost to others.
There is a rich field of investigation to be had in becoming attentive to, and clearly understanding, the source and nature of not only one’s own feelings and passions about such issues as work, money, possessions, and the like. I only need to extrapolate my own experience with actualism to be assured that even a substantial outbreak of a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow would swiftly bring an end to avarice as well as resentment, corruption as well as despair, gluttony as well as famine, and self-indulgence as well as poverty.
The ending of the numbing excesses and tragic inequities produced by the compulsive ‘self’-ish desire for ever more may be seen as the stuff that pipe dreams are made of – however, it is no coincidence that nearly everyone has this dream because everyone has had glimpses of the utter senselessness of human beings instinctually-driven battles with each other for more possessions and more power. These glimpses are known as pure consciousness experiences – a glimpse of what it is like when one no longer identifies in any way with humanity, either as a socially-related identity or as an instinctually-bonded identity.
Even with a global dissemination of a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow there would be such a marked reduction in ‘self’s battling it out for survival that the world would be free of the passions, feuds and confrontations that plague any progress of common sense over myth and superstition. The human condition would not be marred by conflict, turmoil, vitriol and despair but by co-operation and consensus, peace and harmony as well as equity and fairness.
PETER to Gary: Speaking of which, someone asked me the other day what I would do about the war in Palestine. I replied that if I lived in the area, the first thing I would do was stop being a Jew or Muslim because it is obvious that religious fervour fuels much of the hatred on both sides. The second thing I would do was stop being an Israelii or a Palestinian, because nationalistic fervour and territorial instincts fuel much of the hatred on both sides. And finally, I would leave the area, vote with my feet, abandon ship, get out, be a traitor to the cause.
The person who asked seemed to think I was somehow cheating by not offering a solution, not taking sides, not apportioning blame and so on, but he completely missed the point of my answer. He asked me what I would do and what I would do is make the only practical contribution I could – take unilateral action by stop being a believer, stop being a passionate combatant, stop looking for someone to blame and stop seeking retribution in the name of justice and fair play. It is quite extraordinary to see – as well as personally experience – the grip that the combination of ancient beliefs and instinctual passions has over Humanity, so much so that no-where is common sense to be seen. Common sense reveals that the only thing that can be done about peace on earth is personally doing whatever needs to be done to become actually free of malice and sorrow. Peter to Gary 7.6.2002
RESPONDENT: How terribly irresponsible of you! I’ve been wrestling with the ‘responsibility’ component of my identity, and it runs deep. However, it’s becoming ever clearer that your POV is the only one that isn’t mad.
PETER: Or, it could be said that the only responsible and practical contribution one can make towards bringing an end to the on-going wars between human beings is to rid oneself of every skerrick of malice and sorrow. In other words, if you feel responsible, be responsible and act responsibly. Use whatever passion and motivation you have – don’t stifle it because the process of actualism cannot be a dispassionate business.
RESPONDENT: The situation in the US now bears that out glaringly. I’ve always debated whether to vote (and vote you must if you’re a responsible citizen) for the democrat or the republican. It always comes down to a lesser of two evils, and I come away from the voting booth with a bad taste in my mouth, regardless of my action.
PETER: Democracy, for all its faults, has thus far proven a better way of organizing societies than the alternatives, be they monarchy, dictatorship, theocracy, communism or whatever. The major faults in democracy, apart from the inherent adversarial nature of party politics, can be sheeted home to the deceit, corruption, malice and sorrow inherent in human nature.
RESPONDENT: Lately though, the G.W. Bush and cronies have pushed deceit and lying to new depths. They manipulate the ‘security’ issue in order to scare the public into retreating to their comforting father-figures, while covertly bolstering their position and eroding civil liberties. The amazing thing is that nobody seems to notice, or care.
PETER: In war, the societal facades of decency, fairness, civil liberty, human rights and so on, rapidly fly out the window. War is never fair and never just. I remember being shocked when I started to take a clear-eyed look at the horrific wars that have been fought between human beings. I came to see that all wars are seen as moral or ethical crusades – as battles between good and evil – and yet, in every case, morals and ethics are the first casualties of war. Or to put it another way, I came to see that the good is a myth. I’ve written about war in the Peace chapter of my journal, which you might like to peruse and the bit about ‘the armies of the Gods’ in the God chapter is also relevant.
RESPONDENT: Coincidentally, I’m reading some Philip K. Dick (SF author specializing in paranoia, real or imagined), and there’s way too many parallels for comfort. It’s almost enough to make me want to move back to Canada, except it’s too cold. Post-tangent... It’s clear that the whole system is rotten to the core, and my cooperation (vote for, vote against, all the same) is not helping the situation.
PETER: As I said, I find the democratic system to be the best so far devised, mainly because the bulk of the administration and organization of a country’s services is in the hands of civil servants. I am amazed at the ingenuity of human beings and their ability to organize and nowhere is this more apparent than in modern democratic societies. They have organized the distribution of water, electricity supply, postal services, telecommunication and information networks, the transport of food, goods and people by road, rail, sea and air, the provision of health services, hospitals, fire fighting and emergency services, rubbish and sewerage disposal, police, law courts and jails and so on – all on a scale and with an efficiency that is breathtaking to contemplate upon.
Contrary to popular universal belief, and passionate conviction – it is not the systems that human beings have developed that are rotten to the core, it is human beings themselves. And contrary to popular universal belief, and passionate conviction – the rottenness that is evident in the human species is not due to an evil force or spirit that requires the ever-vigilance of a good force or spirit to keep evil from running amok. The ‘rottenness’ of human beings is, in fact, an inevitable result of the evolutionary development of the human species – from its roots in a grim, constant and brutally instinctive battle for survival where the passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire were a genetic necessity in order for the species to survive.
Richard’s discovery that these instinctual passions can now be safely deleted means that eventually the archaic, pathetic and utterly senseless battle betwixt good and evil will be confined to the dustbin of history and a genuine outbreak of peace and harmony will be spread like a chain-letter within the species.
PETER: This response has been delayed due to my dipping back into the dog-eat-dog world of business recently.
RESPONDENT: My condolences. I’ve had a fair share of it recently too.
PETER: No condolences necessary. I had great fun for 99.9% of the time – and this was made even more obvious by the fact that I was the only one who was having fun. The 0.1% not-fun time was another reminder that the business of actualism is not over whilst ‘I’ still lurk about in the shadows.
PETER: By choice I left this world many years ago to become self-employed whereupon I could do business on my terms – favouring harmony and consensus in preference to aggression and competition. By circumstance, I found myself temporarily back in the grim reality I left behind when I went tripping off into the spiritual world and it has been a good reminder that both worlds suck.
RESPONDENT: Just out of curiosity, would you mind sharing your recent experiences?
PETER: Not at all. By the time I was in my early thirties it was apparent to me that there was no happiness to be had in the pursuit of materialism and that those who rose to the top of the heap usually did so at the expense of others. This understanding was experiential in that I had given it a good bash but then circumstance led me give it up entirely and leap into the spiritual world. When that petered out I came across Richard and started to become interested in what he was saying. Pretty soon I began to see the folly of the spiritual world and I soon found myself abandoning that world as well.
Simultaneously I instigated some substantial changes in my life. Being no longer in the spiritual world meant that I lost my client base for my design-and-build business so I took the opportunity to stop building – by about age 45 the physical work of construction had become increasingly physically tiring – in order to do design work only. I also decided that I wanted to work less as I wanted to devote as much time to actualism as possible. Working less meant spending less so I reduced my overheads as much as possible. I sold my truck, which helped a good deal and not working full-time meant my expenses reduced dramatically.
Perhaps one of the major changes in this period came when something Richard said stuck in my mind – ‘learning to do nothing really well’. This struck a chord because I saw that everybody is driven to ‘do’ something and if they are not ‘doing’ something then feelings of boredom rapidly set in – the swing of human emotion goes from manic at one extreme to stressful through to listless to boredom and on to depression at the other extreme. This is typified by the question that people often ask – ‘are you busy?’, the implication being that it is good to be busy.
I took ‘doing nothing really well’ to be a challenge because I knew that the issue of boredom had to be tackled if I was ever to be unconditionally happy and it also suited me to work as least as possible – as I have a wonderful companion who is a delight to live with 24/7, I have no need to take my own space or escape by having a career.
So, my recent experiences were a reminder of the dog-eat dog business world that I had found so vicious all those years ago and that I have sensibly managed to circumvent almost entirely since becoming an actualist. I also found that I can be both happy and harmless in the dog-eat-dog business world should circumstances require, but it makes sense to me to seek out the most comfortable and harmonious way of earning my living expenses. For a long time I had the notion that actualism had to work ‘in the market place’ but I confused being a participant in the real-world battle for survival with doing whatever was sensible in order work to get money to pay for my living expenses – a world of difference.
RESPONDENT: It’s an element of the AF process that I’ve touched on in the past: how does a practicing (VF) actualist relate to the ‘real’ world?
PETER: Many of my former spiritual friends divide the world they live into two realms – the outer real world and their own inner world, and seemingly the current wisdom has it that it is good to be seen to be successful in both. I watched bemused as those who I saw as committed spiritualists started playing the stock market or the real estate market, became highly-paid therapists and pseudo-gurus, and franticly competed with each other for status, wealth and security. This idea of having a foot in each world – ‘trust in Allah but make sure you tether your camel’ as someone advised me at the time – seemed to me hypocritical to say the least. I, for one, couldn’t go back to pursuing happiness via materialism because I had seen that it didn’t work.
When I started pursuing happiness via actualism my remaining affective connections to both the grim real-world materialism and the fantasy-world of spiritualism increasingly dropped away, so much so that I am nowadays rarely affected by either world – either as feelings of repulsion or feelings of desire. Materialism and spiritualism is simply what other people believe in and feel passionately about – neither are my cup of tea because I have checked them both out thoroughly in my lifetime and both pursuits are decidedly weird.
So to answer your question, I do not relate to the ‘real’ world, meaning that I no longer have strong meaningful affective ties to the grim reality that both materialists and spiritualists feel – no grim reality, no need whatsoever to believe in a Greater Reality. The affective ties that do remain are now so weak that they rarely cause me to feel animosity towards, or pity for, others for what they think and feel, do or don’t do, or are supposed to have done or not done. I take this to be a sign of the very tangible freedoms gained on the path to an actual freedom.
I’d like also to pass on something that I personally found useful, nay essential, to contemplate upon.
There is a world of difference between the world as-it-is – the actual world of people, things and events – and the veneer or veil of grim reality that ‘I’ impose over the actual world. Every human being knows this by experience because every human being at some stage in their life – very often in childhood but often later in life – has experienced the perfection and purity of this actual world we live. It is vital to understand that actualism is not about leaving the spiritual world and going back to, and making the best of, the real world, grim reality, the normal world, everyday reality, or whatever other name one calls it. Actualism is about stepping out of both the real world, and the spiritual world, into the actual world and leaving your ‘self’ behind – and the actualism method is specifically designed to facilitate this.
RESPONDENT: Richard states that if he were locked in a prison with nought but bread and water, it would not affect his happiness and harmlessness one whit. I suspect that he is not blowing smoke, based on everything else he has written.
PETER: Not that he would choose to do so, or be so silly as to get himself into a situation where he had broken the law of the land. But yes, he is not blowing smoke. Both Vineeto and I have observed him very closely over a period of 6 years and he is what he says he is and he does what he says he does. You don’t need to believe me that this is so because everyone has had a glimpse of what Richard says he is – a flesh-and-blood body sans identity – and how he experiences being alive, because everyone has had at least one self’-less experience of the utter purity, the consummate stillness and the peerless perfection of the actual world. In other words, it is possible to verify what Richard is saying by your own experience – there is no need to rely on belief.
RESPONDENT: However, as one who lives in virtual freedom, did you find that the conditioned and/or instinctual passions re-emerged to some degree? Your statement perhaps hints at such. Did anger still rear its head?
PETER: I make no claims whatsoever that a virtual freedom from malice and sorrow is an actual freedom from malice and sorrow. The comment I made about ‘dipping back into the dog-eat-dog world of business recently’ was not meant to indicate that I went back to participating in the battles that inevitably go on, it was rather that I had an in-my-face reminder of why I exited the battleground all those years ago.
I was surprisingly unaffected by the emotional goings on that people went on with, but I was occasionally perplexed by the level of both covert and overt animosity that human beings feel towards each other. By deliberate choice, I have been living in effortless harmony with another human being for so long now, I am somewhat bewildered that other people not only find it impossible to do so, but that many aren’t even interested in making the effort to do so.
I always took consideration for one’s fellow human beings to be a given.
RESPONDENT: Yes I am interested in becoming free of human condition and I cannot help but do it ‘my’ way.
Once I realized ‘I’ was in no way unique and in no way an individual it was easy for me to give up ‘my’ pride, prejudices and preconditions and follow someone else who had become free of the human condition and do it his way. There was a slight variation to Richard’s way in that I avoided becoming Enlightened on the path – as I was well forewarned by Richard – but the way or method I used was identical to Richards.
Everybody is socially conditioned and programmed and there is very little essential difference in this programming as there is little essential difference between the various human tribal cultures, their religions, beliefs, morals and ethics. The instinctual passions are also universal and common-to-all – there is no difference between German anger or Indian anger or Australian anger nor is there in any difference between French sadness, Chinese sadness or Lithuanian sadness.
Once I understood the fact that no one is unique or special in that everybody is entrapped within the same human condition, I was then able to gaily abandon doing things ‘my’ way and get on with being sensible. I gave up doing what didn’t work to make me happy or harmless and I started to become really curious about actualism and how to become free of the human condition in toto. Besides, trying to ‘be’ an individual and ‘be’ unique is such an effort that it was a tangible relief to head off down the path to becoming an anonymous ‘nobody’ – a non-identity.
RESPONDENT: This is a very useful insight Peter. I thought about it after reading your mail and found that I indeed believe that I am unique. As I contemplate further I can see that ‘my uniqueness’ is just a belief and I need to work on it. I would welcome if you have your experience to share on how you tackled it.
PETER: It took me a while to consider how to reply to your question, as my initial response was that I have already written enough about my personal experiences. The reason I wrote my journal was to relate to others my own experiences with the inherent failures of pursuing happiness via materialism and spiritualism and to document the intrinsic successes of being a practicing actualist. I have also fleshed out many of these experiences and expertise in my writings and responses to correspondents since then. Another reason for my reluctance is that I have no wish to dominate this list – contrary to the belief of some, this mailing list is not the Richard, Peter and Vineeto show. This list has been set up as an uncensored forum to discuss how to become free of the human condition and, as such, it is open to anyone and everyone to openly share their experiences with materialism, spiritualism and actualism.
I always assumed that anyone subscribing to this list would have been attracted by the fact that actualism offers an alternative to both materialism and spiritualism. However, we do seem to have attracted a few spiritual cyber-teachers looking for a flock or at least a soapbox and others who seem intent only on defending their spiritual beliefs. What I have found telling over the past four years of correspondence is the number of people who eagerly proffer and stubbornly defend their borrowed-from-others beliefs, concepts, viewpoints, theories and psittacisms but that none have been are able to offer factual evidence or lived experiences that in any way supports their stance.
Many, many people have written to Richard about altered state of consciousness experiences, blithely telling him their ideas and beliefs about something he lived as an ongoing experience for 11 years. Consequently Richard doesn’t believe Enlightenment is a massive delusion – he knows it by personal lived experience corroborated by the documented teachings of many other similarly afflicted humans believing themselves to be ‘supernatural beings’. Similarly, many people have corresponded with Vineeto and I about the merits of following the spiritual path whilst we both have lived it as an ongoing experience for 17 years. Consequently I don’t need to believe that spiritualism doesn’t work – I know it by personal lived experience corroborated by the documented evidence of a long and legendary historical record of abysmal failure.
I didn’t sit on the fence or paddle around the edges of the spiritual world – I turned my back on the real world, I renounced materialism and literally wore the orange robes of a sannyasin in the Eastern religious tradition. I have lived in spiritual communes and experienced their failures and I have met several of the God-men personally and have seen for myself their lust for power, reverence and adulation in action. I have been a paid-up passionate believer in several spiritual groups and know the feelings of exclusivity and superiority that inevitably breeds competitiveness and antagonism towards other believers in other religious groups. I know by experience that embracing any spiritual or religious belief does not bring peace and harmony – au contraire, it can only breed yet more conflict and resentment because all spiritual and religious seeking is in fact fuelled by the narcissistic drive that is inbuilt in the ‘self’-centred survival passions.
While this aspect of discussions about spiritual belief and imagination vs. fact and lived experience has been interesting, what fascinates me is that, to date, there has been little discussion about materialism per se. I recently watched one of those typical film documentaries made specifically to promote the Goodness and virtues of primitivism, animism, and spiritualism whilst blatantly blaming all the evils of the world on the vices of modernism, technological progress and materialism. The thrust of the program was breathtaking in both for its patent disregard for facts which resulted in a deliberate distortion of actuality and for the hypocrisy of the film-makers who obviously didn’t live what they preached else they would have been struggling to survive, wearing loin cloths, living in mud huts and telling their story by drawing lines in the dust.
In the TV program herbalism, shamanism, witchcraft and spirit-healing were praised and lauded whilst modern medicine was roundly condemned and vilified – despite the fact that the doubling of the average human lifespan in the last century has coincided with spectacular advances in pharmacology, immunology, obstetrics, surgery and systemized co-ordinated health care. Tribalism, isolationism, ethnicity and traditionalism were proposed as the New Way forward whilst globalisation, co-operation, harmonization and innovation were seen as crippling and restrictive – despite the fact of the spectacular advances in safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that are available to an increasing proportion of the world’s population most particularly in the last century.
I won’t go on but you will have got my gist by now. If one has only two choices – grim reality and mortality or the fantasy of a Greater Reality and immortality for one’s soul, then believers in a Greater Reality are loath to let a few facts get in the way of their dearly-held spiritual beliefs or their cherished heart-felt spiritual experiences. There is so much thoughtless blame, prejudice and disinformation propagandised by spiritualists that it is no wonder that spiritual believers don’t want to actually be here on this physical planet at all. Given the recent comments on isms on this list I am tempted to label the belief that ‘life’s is a bitch and then you die’ as Miserabilism and its proponents as miserabilists.
However, if you have had sufficient life experience and common sense to question the follies of the beliefs and passions that underpin this dualistic view of a grim reality or the fantasy of a Greater Reality that is imposed by one’s own social conditioning and instinctual programming on the actuality of the physical universe ... then it is never too late to start the business of becoming free of these beliefs and passions.
As I said, a great deal has been written on this mailing list and documented on The Actual Freedom Trust website about the puerile myths and fairy tales that form the basis of all spirit-ual belief and ancient flat-earth wisdom but less has been written so far about the beliefs, morals and ethics which advocate that the pursuit of materialism can bring one peace and happiness.
I remember when Mohan Rajneesh died and many of his followers began to drift away, I was surprised at how many then abandoned their search for freedom and simply drifted back into materialism. It soon became apparent that many were merely ‘dedicated followers of fashion’ and not sincere searchers for freedom and that many had not really experienced or thought about the failings of materialism before leaping on the mindless Eastern spiritual bandwagon. Nowadays many so-called spiritual seekers have a-foot-in-each-world approach – they have become once-a-week spiritualists and six-day-a week materialists.
Somehow they still think that more money means more happiness, having more possessions provides security and power, cultivating family, relationships and friendships offers sanctuary and succour, having children imparts meaning, fulfilment and a sense of immortality, and that being ‘me’ and doing things ‘my’ way will satiate their instinctual urge for narcissism and power over others.
When I began to experience the failures and duplicity of Eastern spiritualism from the inside, I came to understand that it is nothing other than Eastern religion, albeit cleverly packaged and presented by a few savvy Indian God-men to a gullible western audience eager for an alternative to materialism. I then understood I was not at all unique – I was simply one of a gullible many and there have been billions of followers of Eastern religion over the millennia. However, there was no question of my turning back to materialism because I had had sufficient life experience to know it offered neither peace nor happiness and this was one of the reasons I was willing and eager to try something new – actualism. This life experience of the failures of materialism was also why I wrote my journal as I did – as a total life experience which says as much about materialism as it does about spiritualism ... for the keen and observant reader, that is.
So maybe you can understand my hesitancy in tracking over territory I may have already tracked over before in my journal but I will just add a bit on the topic of being unique. It was pretty obvious to me by the age of about 30 that the measures of uniqueness in the real world were fame, power and narcissism and it was a shock to later discover that the measures of Uniqueness in the spiritual world were exactly identical – Fame, Power and Narcissism. Since becoming a practicing actualist I have now come to both understand and experience the uniqueness of being happy and harmless – of being free of the human condition of malice and sorrow.
It is utterly unique to be amongst the first to be free of the illusion of a run-of-the-mill grim reality as well as to be free from the common and garden delusion that there is a Greater Reality.
If you want to be genuinely unique, as in free and autonomous, it behoves one to discover ‘what’ one is by doing all one can to dispose of the social and instinctive identity that one’s peers and blind nature have superimposed upon you as a distinctive flesh and blood body.
Well, it was quite a rave again but I wanted to write a bit about these topics as it may be useful in broadening the scope of discussion on the list from a defence of spiritualism to a more comprehensive and wide-ranging discussion about the human condition we all find ourselves born into – for no fault of ours or anyone else for that matter. Or to put it plainly, maybe its time to look at the beliefs that contribute to the generally agreed view that ‘life’s a bitch and then you die’.
PETER to No 7: As a human on the planet, at this time, we clearly see that much of the essential explorations have been undertaken in order to provide comfort, shelter, food and safety from wild animals and that the next major exploration and effort will be to end ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. Many people are still seeking excitement, fame, meaning and a sense of purpose by physical exploring and adventure pursuits but it has got a bit ridiculous such that it comes as no surprise to hear of someone being the first to hop all the way to the north pole or being the first woman to circumnavigate the globe the wrong way in a bath tub. Many people are now devoting there lives to helping wild animals survive, having abandoned the post-WW2 hope of peace on earth for humans. The focus has shifted to the fashionable ‘saving the earth’ rather than saving the human species.
An actualist is one who devotes his or her life to actualizing peace on earth in the only way possible and gets to have the adventure of a lifetime on the way. It is the most significant thing one can do with one’s life – one’s ‘three score and ten’ of existence as a human being.
RESPONDENT: I remember someone explaining that to save an endangered species one needed to exploit the species commercially, to ensure its survival. An unconvincing argument for anyone interested in the species’ quality of life, but it had a pragmatic kind of logic.
PETER: I think there is no doubt that the human species is an endangered species but not from external threat, nor from any ‘environmental’ disaster or earth resources’ depletion, but from the simple fact that human beings cannot live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. As a practicalist, when I came across Richard, I chose to disprove the logic of Ancient Wisdom that you can’t change Human Nature. Otherwise a human existence of perpetual malice and sorrow is indeed a sick joke. I saw in a PCE that the universe is too magnificent, too grand, too perfect and too pure for me to continue to be sorrowful and malicious. So I set out to change the only thing that was wrong – as in silly and senseless – and that was a ‘me’ inside this flesh and blood body.
As for ‘endangered species’, I realized I was not alone in this exercise of seeking peace on earth. It is an almost universal hope and wish, but everyone looks to others to bring it about, to actualize it. Peace on earth is already here, of course, and only you can find it for yourself.
PETER to Alan: I have been watching a bit of afternoon TV lately and have been particularly fascinated by the nature programs. In my childhood the word ‘environment’ was not even known. 40 years ago human beings on the planet simply used and often abused the land, water and air. Resources needed for human survival were seen as endless, and it was only with world-wide communications that more people are aware of the fact that we are very much a planet bound species – we are earthlings. This global view allowed the majority of humans to think about pollution and overpopulation. We are moving from a position of being hunters and gatherers on the planet into one of sensible custodianship. I use the word custodianship in the sense that humans are the predominant and intelligent species. This whole set-up is, after all, for our enjoyment, our delight as free humans. The tough business of early human beings – the very real struggle to survival involved fighting for territory, struggling for food, struggling against disease and sickness, etc. Despite the romantic ideal that ‘things were better in the old days’ or ‘in Ancient Times’ the facts point to millennia of warfare, plagues and famines – a constant battle to survive.
Now the ‘tough battle’ for human beings is to accept the challenge of being happy and harmless – to put an end to the battle to survive and rid ourselves of malice and sorrow. It is now possible for us to send people to Mars on a space ship but the major difficulty is that the voyage would be 18 months long and it’s impossible for the crew to live together without fighting for so long a time. The main problem is the human inability to relate to each other, let alone live together, in peace and harmony. The elimination of the very source of malice and sorrow is the next and vital stage in human evolution. This is the very cutting edge – an actual freedom from the Human Condition – the ending of a species.
It’s cute, isn’t it. We first have to stop believing the fairy tales of the God’s and God-men that we are meant to suffer on earth and that there is a ‘some-where’ else, and then we can get on with the job of ‘cleaning’ ourselves up.
And what a great adventure, what an extraordinary thrill to find it is possible, and what sensate, sensual pleasures and delights become increasingly obvious on the way. I was commenting to Richard the other day that the path to Actual Freedom is like a journey out of sorrow, and I would add, a journey out of fear. The amazing thing one becomes aware of is that sorrow is so endemic in Humanity that the only way is to make a complete break – nothing less will do. To rid oneself of malice and sorrow one has to step outside Humanity, or to quote Richard – to step out of the real world into the actual world and leave yourself behind.
I remember a period where I would look for a solution to the human dilemma within Humanity – the ‘If only everyone would stop fighting’ or ‘Look, if only everyone would ...’ or ‘Why can’t we just get along with each other?’ T’was just another way of blaming someone else or expecting someone to sort it out. Well, if you count out God, you will see that there is no one in charge of human beings on the planet – we are still fighting it out – then it’s up to me to abandon ship – to free myself of Humanity’s insidious grip.
To devote one’s life to being happy and harmless is no little thing we do.
Just to get back to the environmental issues – bit of a jump – but I told you this was a rave.
I was struck by the effort and care to prevent pollution happening from the accident – something almost unheard of 40 years ago.
The yacht moved on, midst more talk of ‘threats’, so I watched on. They visited an island in an inlet that was a significant breeding ground, not only for penguins but for many bird species as well. It was this island that was threatened and they then revealed the nature of the ‘threat’. It appears that the scientists of a nearby research station were interested in putting a hut on this island in order to study the island and its inhabitants more closely. The yacht people felt that this represented a threat to the penguins and birds – the ‘threat’ was in being studied by humans, not hunted, not polluted nor driven off their territory.
Now that wasn’t the case 40 years ago – we hunted, polluted and conquered of necessity for our own survival.
I watched another program where a turtle had been rescued from a fishing net in the Mediterranean and taken to a Turtle study facility. It was placed on an operating table – X-rayed, given a video lapo-something-or-other – video tube down the gullet – and operated on by 2 veterinarians and 2 nurses to remove a fish hook. He was then put into a hypo-aerobic chamber to get a super-oxygenated environment to aid his healing and then they heated his tank with special heaters to aid his recovery. 40 years ago it would have made a delicious meal for someone – now it got better medical attention than half the humans on the planet could expect.
A good deal of environmental extremism is tainted with theories lacking any factual evidence, a rampant belief that the physical planet is somehow Divine, Godly or Maternal, and a debilitating fascination with Doomsday-ism – but then again this global awareness is indicative of the enormous changes that are occurring in our lifetimes.
PETER to Alan: Just a little gossip from this side of the planet.
A most interesting development is that Richard’s reputation is beginning its inexorable spread in the spiritual world. He has started writing on another mailing list, the DeRuiter Mailing List. DeRuiter is the new kid on the block in the Guru business. In very-American style he manages to re-invent the mythical Mr. Jesus as a misunderstood, and obviously very misinterpreted and misreported, Enlightened One. The ‘spiritualization’ of Western One-God religions is fascinating to observe – the gall and the blatant two-faced denial of historical fact and record is quite breathtaking.
From the comments that are flying around on the DeRuiter and another associated list, Richard is becoming a figure of growing interest and controversy. The cat is amongst the pigeons and the feathers are flying. It’s good news for those willing to read and think and daring enough to investigate beyond the sacred ceiling that inhibits and limits the search for an actual freedom from the human condition. One hears a lot about a glass ceiling that inhibits women’s freedom to rise up the business ladder and the other day I heard the expression ‘concrete ceiling’ to describe a bureaucratic ceiling that inhibited a free investigation into corruption.
A similar ‘ceiling’ exists for anyone searching for freedom, peace and happiness. There is a sacred ceiling in operation, franticly maintained and policed by the Gurus, shamans and holy men and their followers. All sorts of tactics, threats, dimwitticisms and inanities are strutted out to enslave the spiritual searcher as a loyal suppliant and stop him or her from searching anywhere else.
As an example of this sacred ceiling in operation I came across one of the plethora of Mailing Lists devoted to spiritual enquiry and investigation the other day. They posted an introduction to the list that is atypical of the current state of the human search for freedom –
I joined another spiritual mailing list the other day that proudly trumpets ‘a spirit of open dialogue and inquiry’ and I was most interested to find that it was, in fact, a ‘moderated’ list. I waited a bit and read the usual spiritual ‘mutual admiration society’ in operation, complete with the usual humble pride and mindless parroting of the Master clearly evident in the posts. I was twigged to write when someone wrote in and very clearly and concisely described a Pure Consciousness Experience (or peak experience) that had seemingly followed the usual twist to become a full-on Altered State of Consciousness (or Satori). It proved a too-tempting opportunity for me to describe to a sincere seeker the difference between the two experiences and I will be curious to see the reaction from the List Moderator. There are two chances of it being posted – Buckley’s and none – but it is such good fun to poke another hole in the sacred ceiling. I already observe that Richard has put some whopping stress cracks in it and it won’t be long before some breaches are made by other intrepid pioneers.
A little reading of the experience of pioneers and first-timers in any field of human endeavour will reveal that one’s own instinctual fear and the fear of ostracization by one’s peers are among the major hurdles to overcome. All the pioneers who dared to break the shackles, who refused to kow-tow to ignorance and superstition, who broke from the herd, who found it impossible to compromise and live a second-rate life, who acted altruistically and not selfishly, had to overcome these hurdles. In our case the sacred ceiling has been breached by Richard but it is up to each of us to make our own journey to freedom. By doing nothing one remains a spectator, an interested by-stander or curious onlooker, but not a player in the game. To think one is free or to feel one is free is not an actual freedom. An actual freedom comes from action and change not thinking and feeling.
Many, many women were pioneers in women breaking free of the yoke of domesticity and their hard-won free access to education, business, government, law, professional work, sport, armed forces, etc. Each of those women did it by themselves, for themselves, yet many had altruistic motives as well. Each gained support from others doing it, each stood on the shoulders of those who went before, but each had to do it for themselves. What was an extraordinary upheaval and a hard slog has now largely succeeded in many parts of the world, and curiously it is religious dogma that is proving a final recalcitrant hurdle to progress in many countries. Even more curious is the female response of current stoking the fires of feminist religion as the Goddesses arise to do battle with the male Gods.
But I’m straying from the point, which is the role of pioneers in the search for an actual freedom, peace and happiness. The major force in resisting human change and progress has always been the shamans, priests and Popes, God-men and Gurus. Always they look backwards for the answers, desperately clinging to the musty trite and dogma of a long distant past. Always cleverly trying to be seen to move with the times, adapting their message, window dressing it to current fashion and demand. Thus we see the Western religions adopting trendy Eastern concepts and all religions adopting the Earth-as-God religion of the Environmentalists, the modern day worshippers of earth spirits. The foundation and driving force of all religious belief is fear – fear of death is transformed into a passionate belief in an after-life and fear of inevitable approaching death is transformed into a doomsday outlook and a desperate fear of the future and change. Consequently, any human progress in leisure, pleasure, comfort and safety have been fearfully resisted throughout history and any attempts at finding a genuine, actual freedom have been met by the sacred ceiling of spiritual and religious beliefs.
This sacred ceiling is as real as the ceiling facing women a century ago – they had to shed the shackles of their upbringing, they had to free themselves of the imposition of moral taboos and ethical rules and they had to run the gauntlet of the abuse and disapproval of others, thus breaking free of much of their instilled social identity. Secondly, they had to overcome their own instinctual fears and many risked much in their striving for freedom. Many did it as rebellion, many actively sought fame and notoriety, many riled merely for the sake of expressing their anger and frustration, but many just got on and did it anyway. When I was in England some 30 years ago, I remember meeting a woman who was in her 80’s who had been the first registered district nurse in Devon. She was a pioneer at a time when women were not in any of the professions and certainly not in an autonomous and responsible position in the community. Hearing her stories I was struck by both her integrity and her altruistic motives. She did it for herself and the fun and adventure of it, but she also did it to be of practical help to others and for the thrill of pioneering – being amongst the first, being at the forefront, the cutting edge. Hers was not a story that will be known, she was not famous, yet the women who have followed and emulated women like her were able to stand on her shoulders – follow in her footsteps.
It is exactly the same with becoming free of the human condition. There is a sacred ceiling that is being broken by pioneers and it will be broken only by people doing it, and the subsequent subversive spreading of the word that it is now possible. Those who firmly believe in the sacred believe the sacred ceiling to be actual, inviolate and impenetrable. For those who don’t believe it doesn’t exist – it is an illusion constructed by human beings themselves, given credence by ancient fear-ridden fairy stories and one’s own instinctual passions. How to break through? Make it your passion, your ambition, your goal, your work. Devote yourself fully to the task, ride upon the thrill of pioneering, take up the challenge and in my experience you will find altruism – right there with you, as an innate companion.
Ah, Alan. Another rave. I met someone the other day who had read my Journal. There is a copy that is limping around the local spiritual community and his comment was that my life ‘didn’t sound all that great’. I was curious until I discovered that he was one of the few spiritual seekers who were honest enough to say he wanted to become Enlightened. As such, a life free of the psychic power of being a Guru would have been most unappealing for him – no glamour, glory and glitz, ...‘no money for nothing and your chicks for free’. Just a life of carefree sensual pleasure, delightful companionship, ease and comfort. Vineeto and I sometimes look at each other in utter bewilderment that so many people raise so many trite objections to being happy and harmless, free of malice and sorrow. We sit here knowing that the sacred ceiling is in fact an illusion, and are oft moved to the pleasure of trying to tease other people to at least dare to stick their head through the ceiling and experience the actual world of utter perfection.
PETER to No 3: It has only now become possible to become free of the Human Condition because of the extraordinary change that has occurred in the last 40 or so years, as a significant proportion of the population does not now have to fight for survival – be it territory, food, defence, battling rampant diseases or the like.
The actual world is a safe and benign world – we have won the fight over marauding wild animals, we have tamed most deadly plagues, we produce enough food, we enjoy good living standards, but still humans suffer from sorrow and inflict malice on others. The only ‘solution to date for temporary relief from instinctual fear and aggression has been to conjure up ‘good’ feelings of compassion – feeling sad for others – and love – desperately trying to feel good about, and be ‘kind’ to, at least one other person on the planet.
RESPONDENT: It is this territorial instinct that is being superimposed on my environment, thus allowing for generating the belief that: my possessions (money, clothes, living space and so on) are actually mine, thus this mine is experienced as an extension of me so in fact it is me, yet cleverly disguised as my legal rights maintained at the point of a gun. This mine-ness does not exist otherwise then as an agreement, as to what I am legally (as determined by nations law) entitled to claim to be ‘mine’. From that it becomes clear that my social identity ticks with, and can only keep going on ticking, so long as it is fairly primed with hypocrisy.
PETER: There is no need to beat yourself up for being a hypocrite because everybody is passionate about ‘their’ possessions, be it land, house, objects, kith or kin. This passion is more than a belief, it is in fact instinctual as can be readily seen in the behaviour of other animals.
Most societies have put in place a set of morals, ethics and laws that specifically deal with the issue of possessions so as to suppress and prevent the worst excesses of fighting and feuding over possessions, such as prevailed in the supposed good old days of humanity. Generally this carrot and stick approach works reasonably well, but locking one’s doors and windows is still a prudent action in all societies.
Yet however careful one is, things can still be stolen, lost or damaged which can cause inconvenience or even hardship, but to then suffer emotionally on top of this is but to compound the situation. As such, it is useful to become aware of any feelings associated with your possessions, as they occur, because it is feelings and passions such as these that prevent you from being happy and prevent you from being harmless.
RESPONDENT: The moment I drop a coin in a candy bar machine, I become part of a system where this coin is being part of. This system is a malicious system of corruption and violence, there is no arguing about it.
PETER: The modern system of manufacturing goods, trading goods and exchanging money for goods is an amazing advance on the do-it-all-yourself business of battling it out for survival in the supposed good old days. Contrary to popular belief in some circles, the fact that corruption and violence exist within the human condition is not the fault of materialism, technology, industrialization or the globalisation of trade and culture but they are solely due to the instinctual survival passions. To blame a system, by whatever name, is to relegate responsibility for bringing an end to instinctual malice and sorrow on to someone else, by whatever name.
RESPONDENT: If someone comes along and robs me from my money, do I call the police on my cell phone? I, the social identity, am my country, I am the police and the army of my nation, as these are an extension of ‘me’ saying this is ‘mine’.
PETER: Speaking personally, I concentrated on investigating my own feelings and emotions about possessions, when and as they occurred. This way I was able to look at issues such as jealousy, envy, desire, greed, resentment, hypocrisy, deceit, pride, etc. as they occurred, and by doing so I was able to work my way through my social programming and down into the very survival passions themselves. This type of investigation is not something you can only think about because it then becomes a philosophy and philosophy is about the pursuit of knowledge and ‘truth’, not about experience and hands-on doing.
RESPONDENT: The moment I agree to have tasks assigned to a second party with regard to ensuring, either my own security at large or my properties and/or possessions, I must allow for hypocrisy. That’s how my social identity ticks. Demolishment of that ... ... is it possible at all?
PETER: The other alternative to having others do things for you is to do everything yourself, for example making your own candy bars, building your own computer, catching the thief should someone steal these things and so on. This is the ideal of self-sufficiency that is proposed as an alternative to the mutual trading of food, goods and information between fellow human beings. The hills around here are alive with the sounds of people building their mud brick homes and chopping wood for their log fires, in a desperate attempt to be self-sufficient. None succeed completely for the ideal is unliveable – when the going gets tough they tend to rely on neighbours for help, revert to modern technology for survival and comfort and, of course, call on the police for protection.
What you have discovered is that you feel yourself to be a hypocrite because you fail to live up to an unliveable ideal. You may identify with this ideal as being ‘mine’, an integral part of your social identity, but by holding on to this ideal you are holding on to feelings such as guilt, shame, blame, self-righteousness, self-flagellation, perplexity and so on.
It might be useful to consider that actualism has nothing to do with the failed pie-in-the-sky idealisms that are preached by the self-righteous – actualism offers a radical alternative to the fantasy and hypocrisy of ‘if only everyone would ...’ The process of actualism is pragmatic in that it is solely – and I do mean solely – about changing yourself, the only person it is possible for you to change.
RESPONDENT: Living identified with a spiritual ego largely means assuming that I no longer have the ‘bad’ qualities that can be ascribed to my instinctual nature, thus disowning those qualities, calling it being unattached. In order to create the illusion of being without any social identity, I have to suppress my hypocrisy which is indeed a very difficult task, as self-observation readily is to bring it to light.
PETER: Why would you want to create the illusion of being without a social identity, when this only creates the feeling of hypocrisy? Having discovered that your feelings of hypocrisy are due to ideals that are an integral component of your social identity you now have a plain and simple choice.
RESPONDENT: Thus the brain has two options – either to disown it completely (suppress to the degree that it becomes invisible) or embrace it as a tool to maintain the integrity of the system of the flesh-body and ‘cloaking’ hypocrisy with honesty, which is probably the most sensible thing to do.
PETER: Or you could just keep it simple and set your sights on becoming happy and harmless. This way you will find you will willingly give up anything that stands in the way of your becoming happy and harmless. This is something ‘you’ decide to do, not your brain, for only ‘you’ can demolish your social identity. And only the sincere intent to become happy and harmless will kick-start you into the enterprise and keep you on the path ... lest you get waylaid by the nonsense that passes for wisdom within the human condition.
RESPONDENT: So ... whereas the domain of the spiritual identity is a Magical Spiritual Lala-land. The domain of the social identity is simply a Lala-land without any magic, but it is Lala anyway. So ... in order to come to self-observation free from any delusion and thus to cure my brain from the disease that this dilemma is causing it to suffer from, two questions seem to be needed to be answered: HOW am I experiencing this moment of being alive? and WHERE am I experiencing this moment of being alive?
PETER: The first question cannot be answered by thinking about it theoretically or hypothetically – it can only be asked, and answered, in the moment it is asked. Once you have an experiential answer to the question then you have something to think about that is directly relevant to ‘you’ and the social and instinctual programming that makes up ‘you’. By asking ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ you avoid the pitfalls and dilemmas of theorizing by focusing your attentiveness on what is happening right now, wherever you happen to be, whatever you happen to be doing.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.