Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: The results of trying to dissolve all of this have been mixed.
Occasionally it feels liberating. Occasionally there’s a sense of guilt associated with disloyalty (and all the rest of the psychological and emotional baggage that goes with it).
PETER: I remember trying to tip-toe my way through the minefield of morals and ethics until I found I had to take a good look at whether they were sensible or not, i.e. whether or not they worked in practice. For example, as children we are told by our parents and teachers not to get angry and not to hit other children. If we do then we are told it is wrong and that we are being bad, we are punished in some way and then told to say sorry to whomever we got angry with or whomever we hit. Not only are we made to feel guilty for not being ‘good’ children but the let-off of saying sorry means we then demand of others that they have to forgive us for being angry at them in the first place.
When I started to understand why morals and ethics have been developed, and how they operate in practice, it became clear to me that the only sensible way to become free of them was for me to become free of the instinctual passions that the morals and ethics are designed to stifle and repress in the first place. If I do not get angry when Betty says, or Tom doesn’t do, or when ‘they’ don’t, or when ‘they’ do, or when life is ‘unfair’ and so on, then the compulsion to feel guilty and the need to gratuitously say sorry doesn’t even need to come into play.
Whilst I couldn’t sort these things out as a child – long before I was even capable of making sense of what was happening I was unwittingly programmed to think and feel this way – as a grown-up I now able to do this.
And just another comment that is relevant to the issue of morals and ethics – there is a tendency for some people who have some appreciation of the inherent restrictions of their social conditioning to discard their original moral and ethical conditioning in favour of adopting moral behaviour and ethical stances that are seen by society at large as being immoral and antisocial – thereby fondly imagining that by swapping camps they have somehow freed themselves from their societal conditioning. Many then form affiliations with like-minded ‘outcasts’ in order to feel kinship with others who also feel they have ‘seen the light’ or who ‘know the truth’, or who justify their malice towards others as being ‘honest’, as being ‘real’, as being ‘authentic’, or as being ‘true’ to themselves.
To me it made sense that the only way to actually become free of the binds of morals and ethics is to pull the plug on what they are there to keep a lid on – the savage instinctual passions. If you are harmless towards your fellow human beings then feelings of guilt do not arise and when others try to make you feel guilty their barbs will find nothing to hook on.
And to round the conversation back to your case, in my experience the ‘sense of guilt associated with disloyalty’ was eventually experienced as a diminishing side-effect of increasingly whittling away at my social identity in order that I could become more happy and less harmful towards others.
RESPONDENT: But in spite of the feelings of guilt, I find that I’m not in any way less caring. Instead of feeling that I’m part of a network of people whose fates are intertwined, I’m looking at my ‘near and dear ones’ as ordinary fellow human beings, and I find that compassion and loyalty are being replaced by simple, good-natured playfulness. (There is definitely still affection here, but not of a possessive kind).
PETER: I can relate to what you are saying because I have had the same experience myself, most particularly in relation to my son. I came to notice that whenever I regarded him as ‘my’ son then a whole lot of feelings stood in the way of the intimacy of experiencing him as being a fellow human being. I became aware that whenever I felt him to be ‘my’ son then I found that I was needlessly protective, compulsively possessive, demanding, interfering, dismissive, expectant, and so on, which meant that I felt proud, hopeful, despairing, loyal, disappointed, annoyed, jealous, controlling, frustrated, and so on. I also noticed that whenever I had these feelings I could not help but impose them on him – no matter how hard I tried not to there was always a subtle, and sometimes a not so subtle, leakage.
The only reason I stopped being a player in this game was because I came to my senses in that I saw that it was ‘my’ feelings that stopped me from simply sitting down with him when the opportunity arose and having a down-to-earth intimate chat about things of mutual interest, exactly as I am wont to do with any of my fellow human beings when the opportunity arises.
PETER: In a PCE – provided you resists the atavistic temptation to start swooning in rapture at the beauty of it all or indulging in ‘self’-aggrandizing fantasies (or else it deteriorates into an ASC) – you can readily discern that the only reason you are experiencing the sensual delight and utter peacefulness of the actual world is because ‘you’ have temporarily left the stage.
From this experiential realization a pure intent can arise to devote one’s life to the task of becoming happy and harmless – to actively dismantle my ‘self’, to dare to question the veracity of ‘my’ precious beliefs, to want to really come to understand both the nature and the source of the peripheral feelings of ‘self’ and sense of ‘being’ and to not stop until the process is finished and the very source of ‘me’, ‘me’ as a feeling ‘being’, is permanently eliminated, expunged.
Then, when the PCE wanes and you return to being ‘normal’ again, back in normal everyday reality, ‘you’ find yourself with something to do. ‘You’ then have a reason for being, a life goal, a task, a job, and a fascinating one at that. And I can vouch that there is no more fascinating and rewarding thing you can do with your life than to devote your life to the task of becoming happy and harmless for this is the path to actual freedom.
RESPONDENT: I find that I spend a good deal of time wanting to sort of ‘jump’ into actual freedom. In other words, it does seem ‘daunting’ at times what’s between here and now and the goal of this process – which seems to bring a kind of ‘self’-loathing – but this must be some sort of cop-out – a refusal to put forth the required effort.
It’s possible that the ‘self’-loathing is related to the feeling of ‘not being here’ when I’m not feeling good – so that is probably a good area for investigation.
PETER: Yeah. Morals and ethics – the social programming that produces feelings of guilt and shame if you fail to repress or deny your feelings of malice – are part of what I came to experience as ‘the guardians at the gate’. Guardians in that they prevent you from opening the gate to investigating the brutish animal instinctual passions that each and every human being is genetically-encoded with.
I only made substantive progress towards becoming harmless when I dared to allow myself to acknowledge the full extent of my instinctual passions and then to dig deep enough to experience them – to feel them in action.
A few examples from this time might be useful in order to explain the down-to-earthness of this process – <snip>
I remember another investigation had a shattering effect on me, but as this post is already long, I’ll just post the link. The Milgram experiment is what I am talking about but the whole chapter is relevant to the necessity of digging deep into the human condition in order to bring an end to malice and sorrow.
To feel self-loathing, shame or guilt in the face of the fact that you – along with each and every other human being – is programmed with instinctual fear, aggression, nurture and desire – through no fault of your own or anyone else – is to remain bound within the straightjacket of societal morals, ethics, values and beliefs. Anyone interested in actualism will inevitably come across this social conditioning – the ‘guardians at the gate’ – and will become aware of, and experience, the feelings this conditioning is intended to provoke.
If I read you right, you seem to be discovering that these feelings are what initially prevents one from ‘jumping in’ to actualism and doing what is necessary in order to become happy and harmless. This business of actualism is the challenge of a lifetime and to be a pioneer in the business is utterly thrilling.
PETER: If I read you right, you seem to be discovering that these feelings are what initially prevents one from ‘jumping in’ to actualism and doing what is necessary in order to become happy and harmless. This business of actualism is the challenge of a lifetime and to be a pioneer in the business is utterly thrilling.
RESPONDENT: Hmm. I think your reading depends on thinking that I was talking about the ‘self-loathing’ relating to feeling guilt and shame – which is not as big of a problem for me – since I gave up belief in ‘free-will’ years ago.
PETER: Feelings of guilt and shame arise from the morals and ethics that every human being is invariably inculcated with during our childhood years. Maybe you could expand on your ‘belief in free-will’ as I don’t quite understand the connection with feeling guilt and shame.
RESPONDENT: I’m pretty much past that particular gate – and I’ve been benefiting from the amorality of actualism for quite a while.
PETER: As actualism is not a belief system, a teaching or a philosophy, actualism cannot of itself be moral, immoral or amoral.
Actualism is a process that only starts to operate when someone devotes his or her life to the task of becoming happy and harmless. In the process of becoming happy and harmless, it is par for the course that the societal morals and ethics will be exposed as being not only contradictory and hypocritical but also unliveable and unworkable. As one becomes more happy and more harmless, these ‘tried and failed’ morals and ethics fall by the wayside in favour of common sense and consideration for one’s fellow human beings regardless of who they think and feel themselves to be.
To put it simply, the unliveable morals and unworkable ethics designed to curb human malice and sorrow become utterly redundant when replaced by the sincerity, naiveté and the genuine intent to become actually happy and actually harmless.
RESPONDENT: The biggie for me now is the down and dirty aggression, rage, fear – all those instincts we try to repress and cover over with good feelings. The other major investigation is catching the tender emotions in action just as they arise and to see how they ‘hurt’ – which is much more subtle.
PETER: Yes. This was the first major concern for me as well – and hence the first area of investigation as well. I do find it somewhat bewildering that so few people have been interested in taking up the challenge of becoming harmless. For me it was such an obvious thing – something I always put first because happiness follows from it. You can’t have one without the other, in fact. It seems that despite all the ‘stop making war’ noises, despite all the ‘good’ and ‘loving’ people in the world, only a small percentage of those who have come across actualism are interested enough in peace on earth to stop being angry, to stop making war with their partners, to stop hurting others, to stop blaming others, to stop beating themselves up, to stop riling against having to be here, and so on.
The way I see it, tackling aggression must be the first biggie for any actualist – it has to be numero uno. And the hardest thing for many who have trod the spiritual path is to firstly acknowledge that they do get angry, let alone allow themselves to fully feel the feelings.
It’s good to remember that actualism is not about not feeling. Actualism is specifically designed to get one in touch with the full range of one’s feelings for the first time in one’s life, and this is impossible if repression and denial are allowed to rule the roost.
RESPONDENT: I then began to activate the investigation phase ... ie anything that appeared as an obstacle, right then, that prevented me from being happy and harmless. This was and is to some extent now the difficult one. This great reluctance surfaced time and time again. This came as a surprise since I also thought myself to be open to self-exploration. Nothing could be further from the truth. I recounted to myself how ... even in my past spiritual pursuits ... I would gloss over or skim quickly through a teaching that pointed to personal exploration. I discovered also how I have always felt pursued, chased, caught, dominated and even haunted by negative feelings of guilt, fear, inadequacy. And ... how these feelings dominate my days ... colour and cloud my life. In the early stages of investigation of these mental-emotional states ... I noticed my habitual response ... ‘don’t even go there!’ Yet I persisted.
PETER: What you are experientially discovering are the morals and ethics that have been instilled into you by your parents and peers – ‘It is not good to feel angry’, ‘It is not right to feel jealous’, ‘Why can’t you be quite like your brother’, ‘If you don’t stop doing that I’ll …’ and so on. The imposition of morals and ethics is a necessary process in every child’s development given that every child is by nature a passionately driven being, which means that your awareness of when, how and why these morals and ethics operate is yet another experiential discovery of the universal nature of the human condition. Name them and feel them as they are happening but don’t judge them, for it is vital to remember that what you are starting to become aware of is the instinctual passions themselves and these passions are universal – in no way uniquely personal.
The awareness of one’s own morals and ethics is a big hurdle to negotiate as they form a goodly part of one’s social identity. If one allows oneself to get stuck here, there is no way to discover the further layers of one’s identity that lay lurking beneath – that which is often referred to as the dark side of human nature. You will have noticed the essential piece of advice that Richard has offered when you allow yourself to start to feel the dark and invidious feelings – keep your hands firmly in your pockets – meaning don’t act on these feelings, simply become aware of them as they are happening.
The brutish survival instincts were an essential component of the predacious phase of the evolution of animate life on this planet and you will come recognize that they are not only redundant but you will also experience that these very passions ultimately stand in the way of you being able to live with your fellow human beings in peace and harmony. (...)
PETER: One other piece of sensible piece of advice I gave myself came from my time of exploring the dark underbelly of piety and morality – and that was to ‘never goad a fanatic’. I do like the leisure and the pleasure of being able to report my successes and share my experiences in using the actualism method here on this list from the safety and comfort of my own lounge room.
PETER: According to this definition of intelligence human beings have been very intelligent in developing and making weapons. There were three great wars in the last 100 years on the planet, WW1. WW2 and the Cold War.
GARY: This is where the defensiveness set in. I thought I don’t need you to tell me about the appalling brutalities that have been committed in the past 100 years. But rather than persisting in a defensive reaction, and making some kind of defensive retort to your post, some kind of knee jerk reaction, I decided to really try to understand what I was feeling defensive about and why I was feeling that way. There is something about this whole issue that I just have not ‘gotten’, something that has not clicked with me. And it goes way beyond just dealing in the semantics of it – the meaning of words and their usage – and it goes to the heart of the matter. And I must admit – and this is very hard – that I have been mistaken in this: you see, I thought that making and using weapons was an intelligent reaction to a perceived danger from other human beings, but I am reconsidering this.
PETER: Yes. The important thing is not who is wrong and who is right in any search for the facts – for I certainly make no claim to infallibility. The important thing is to get to the root of the problem – the morals, ethics, values and beliefs that give substance to ‘me’ as a good and valued member of society, i.e. my social identity. If you can break through this outer crust then you get the chance to investigate the inner crust – ‘me’ as an instinctual animal replete with a full set of blind utterly ‘self’-ish instinctual survival passions.
Your description is also very clear as to what happens when you run the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ with sincere intent. The answer in your case was ‘I am being defensive’, as in ‘I am feeling fearful’. Having honestly acknowledged the how bit and given it a label, curiosity led you on to discover what it was that caused this feeling and why? The only way running this question will have any effect at all, is if it is used as a method of ‘self’-examination and discovery – it beats any spiritual mantra or traditional therapy by a country mile.
Most spiritual afflictionados arrogantly dismiss, avoid, misinterpret or deliberately distort the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ as though they have ‘been there and done that’, whereas most have not even begun to examine the workings of their own psyche. I know this well from personal experience – I had barely scraped the surface when I began the process of actualism. Spiritual ‘questioning’ is nothing more than pitifully questioning the supposed ignorance of others, while simultaneously hiding behind the conviction of one’s own self-importance and moral superiority.
As for making and using weapons I would concur with you that it is a necessary activity within the passionate human condition, but this expediency does not necessarily make it an intelligent activity. When silly and sensible replace right and wrong and instinctual passion is eliminated you are free to decide what is an appropriate reaction to the particular situation. Life is simple, only ‘I’ make it complicated.
PETER to No 14: You can see he has a problem here because he believes that God has made man ‘an organic whole’ so there is no chance of eliminating the instinctually programmed malice and sorrow. He has to propose transcending it, or rising above it. It’s the same old Ancient Wisdom from the Dark Ages. But it is the next bit that is interesting, and it’s from the very same discourse.
Remember above, he says –
and then he follows with –
What he is clearly proposing is repression, rejection, and denial of the facts of history. Is this not ‘right and wrong’, ‘good and bad’, Buddhas and Tyrants, Gods and Devils? Is this His solution? What a fairy tale, what a massive delusion. It almost sounds like Christian morality to me but when one digs a bit deeper the morality of the East and that of the West are little different.
So, I could go on but I have written much of my experiences as a grateful follower of Rajneesh. In the end I had to admit I had been ‘sucked in’ by his poetic idealism of a New Man and the utterly selfish attraction of me being one of those ‘specially chosen’ for the role. It proved a mortal blow to both my pride and humility, for I could no longer deny the facts of Rajneesh’s failure and my own desperate need to believe in fairy stories. The dream failed in Oregon, fizzled to a whimper by the time he died and is hardly even mentioned now.
RESPONDENT: Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion = (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) feeling guilty, taboos, = struggle and loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in. But I wonder where a figure like Jesus does or doesn’t fit in. What is the message? How about the bible? Is there nothing true about it? Are there only fairytales in it? I mean is there nothing practical to get from. Or was it at that moment the best that one could get. I hope you know what I mean.
PETER: As you know we have been having a lot of correspondence about the animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire lately on the list, and the fact that scientists are making the first discoveries to plot the source of instinctual feelings and behaviour in the human brain. For a fair while now attempts have been made to study human behaviour and get to the roots of both fear and aggression, and a particular study that shook me up was done by Stanley Milgram – it’s in the Peace chapter of my journal. It’s presently not on our web-site, so I’ll post it here as it may be of use in your deliberations –
A year after writing this, the same issue is coming home to me again as I find that, after 2 years of ‘cleaning myself’ up – digging deep into my psyche and exploring the roots of fear and aggression, it is blatantly obvious that there is nothing that can be done, within the Human Condition, to eliminate malice and sorrow. No matter how good, moral, ethical or well intentioned the individual or group attempts to be, the instincts will always win out. There have been billions of people who have prayed for peace, attempted to live moral and good lives but peace on earth is still no closer to happening.
Peace on earth is an impossibility while human beings are instinctually driven to fight each other.
The clearly unworkable, unliveable and unsuccessful reliance on morals and ethics to bring peace on earth – let alone within tribal groups, families or couples – can surely now be abandoned as a failure. Of course, one would not want to venture off and begin to question the ‘good’ if one had no evidence that there was something better, and that evidence is the Pure Consciousness Experience. One of the prime qualities of the ‘self’-less state of the PCE is the fairy-tale like purity and perfection of the actual world, and the quality of a human being in a PCE is one of innocence – there is a total absence of instinctual fear and aggression. This is the innocence much sought after on the spiritual path but what one ends up with is feeling Good or becoming Divine – a perversion and human corruption of the actual state of innocence. A synthetic, fragile, supposed innocence that does nothing to tackle the inbuilt programming of fear and aggression in the amygdala – the ‘primitive brain’ within humans.
RESPONDENT: You are probably at such an advanced stage that one ‘bad’ thought from you could cause that. To some extent, I guess we all do that. Me too.
Again, this is all a speculation on my part but it is important for me so I thought I will say it.
PETER: I would not have used the term advanced as it can imply progress towards attaining something for oneself. As you know, the path to Actual Freedom is progression towards self-immolation – a process of investigation and discovery which results in diluting, diminishing, weakening, reducing, withering and eventual total elimination of both the psychological and psychological parasitical entity that dwells within this flesh and blood body.
As for my one ‘bad’ thought causing damage to others – as I’ve repeatedly said my aim is to be both happy and harmless which is why I went to the trouble of explaining what I did in my last post. And which is why I then went on to explain the way that it is possible to eliminate frustration, anger, violence, retribution, peevedness, annoyance, etc. by digging down inside oneself and discovering their roots.
Just as an aside – is your main objection what I say or how I say it? They are two different issues and it does seem to me that the most important thing to you is not what I am saying – as you continually say it is ‘not of interest’ to you. But you do keep writing.
RESPONDENT: I remember Osho once said that the reason people are trained to have good feelings is that so that they do not cause damage to other people. Or something like that.
PETER: Indeed. In ‘normal’ society we are socially trained to be good and have good feelings. As a back-up when the ‘good’ fails we have laws, lawyers, psychiatrists, police, fines, jails, armies, etc. to stop the ‘bad’ feelings from running amok. The spiritual solution is to pump up the good feelings to become divine feelings resulting in feelings of superiority, grandness, oneness and wholeness which, if practiced assiduously, leads to the feeling that one is indeed Divineness Itself.
By the way, Rajneesh aka Osho says ‘Unconsciousness is evil and consciousness is Divine’ which is nothing other than the Eastern version of Western morality of good and bad.
Good and bad (or conscious and unconscious) is as pathetic a division of instinctual passions as is right and wrong a pathetic division of social values. Human beings actually fight horrendous wars over these divisions. The initial stage of Actual Freedom involves investigating these socially and spiritually implanted morals and ethics in order to discover what lays beneath – the genetically implanted instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
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: Indeed, at first when I heard that investigation into ‘me’ would be a wonderful adventure I couldn’t really see how, as emotions are sometimes hard to deal with. With bare awareness in full swing though, everything becomes fuel for a curious mind.
PETER: I found an advertisement in the local spiritual magazine that states very clearly the distinction between the spiritual approach to dealing with the emotions arising from morals, ethics, beliefs and animal instinctual passions and that of an actualist. I know there is an enormous amount written on the Actual Freedom Trust website about this subject but every now and again something catches my eye that blatantly exposes the spiritual approach of actively creating a new identity who transcends or rises above the unwanted bad or savage passions.
The advertisement is for a 4-day workshop entitled ‘Dis-identification’ – Letting Go of Self Hatred.
He writes in his introductory section –
This description very well describes the spiritual practice of disidentifying from unwanted and undesirable emotions and identifying with the wanted and desirable emotions. The undesirable real-world identity is transcended and a new desirable spiritual identity is created. The newly formed spiritual identity dis-identifies with the old identity and becomes aware of and suppresses, pushes away or ignores the unwanted emotions. This is not a bare awareness operating but an identity splitting itself into two – one good half being aware of the other bad half. To call this action awareness is to misuse the term as the awareness is so selective it would be best termed as occultation or denial. It is this very labelling and judging of feelings and emotions as good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable that prevents an active and equal investigation of all emotions and their instinctual roots.
RESPONDENT: It is more than that. Emotions do feel physically bad, that is why most people can justify why they have to keep those bad things at bay.
PETER: With morals and ethics firmly in place we also get a double whammy – the physical sensations of chemical surges related to the passions and then the associated bad feelings due to our ethics and morals – anger comes with guilt and shame, love comes with duty, responsibility, resentment and possessiveness, fear comes with withdrawing, denial, false bravado or frustration, desire comes with competitiveness or guilt, etc. This observation is the very key to investigating both the tender and the savage emotions. It is only by making sense of one’s own psyche in action that freedom is at all possible.
RESPONDENT: Secondly, many awareness based systems know all about the nature of duality, (the self and the other). Investigation fails and imagination takes over due to an experience with the activation of strong emotion and the return to the small affective ‘me’.
PETER: Yes and they attempt to bridge this gap by feeling. Thus ‘I’ feel love, ‘I’ feel Oneness, ‘I’ feel sad for you and feel sad with you, etc. Thus ‘I’ stay in existence and the idea of ‘the other’ stays in existence. With the demise of ‘me’ and my feelings the experience that what I am is this flesh and blood body only dissolves this feeling of duality and an actual palpable intimacy becomes apparent with every person you meet and your immediate surrounding.
RESPONDENT: Emotions become the master to be avoided in order to stay happy or free.
PETER: The failing of this system is that one only feels happy and feels free while the savage instinctual passions lurk around unscathed and uninvestigated – ever able to re-emerge at any time.
RESPONDENT: What I am getting at is that, as I see it, the good/bad, right/wrong have a basis in the inability to question the emotions as something which can be dealt with fundamentally.
PETER: Yes, yes. The morals and ethics we have been instilled with since birth are designed to prevent us from taking a clear eyed look at the ‘dark’ side of our instinctual nature. They form the guardian at the gate that prevent one from making a clear-eyed investigation of one’s psyche in action.
RESPONDENT: Another important point or clarification. To not identify with anger is a denial of the fact that fundamentally ‘I’ am anger. Anger is not some outside stranger to be left alone and hopefully go away. No doubt this attitude renders the individual particularly impotent when it comes to arriving at any permanent solution.
PETER: Yes, we are taught at childhood to dis-identify with the feelings arising from the savage instinctual passions by regarding them as bad or evil or wrong or not-proper. The spiritual teachings just take this dis-identification to its fundamentalist extreme – thus the priest and the nun are the holiest exactly as the awakened or Enlightened ones are the holiest. To dig into one’s instinctual passions one needs to ‘get down and get dirty’ – not something the good, holy and righteous are at all inclined to do.
PETER: This is why it is essential to dismantle the morals and ethics we have been instilled with since birth that deem anger a bad thing and that it is wrong to be angry. In the spiritual world, these morals and ethics become even stronger, such that the writer of the passage above cannot even say he is being angry. He uses the term – ‘ feel anger arising’. Unless one is prepared to investigate the validity and sensibility of moral and ethical standards, any in-depth investigation into one’s own psyche is impossible. It does seem madness to abandon the very glue that appears to keep society safe and keeps a lid on rampant violence and that stops one from running amok.
RESPONDENT: These ethics have some bases in avoiding physical harm but are largely based in avoidance of bad emotions and the disabilitating effects.
PETER: Every tribal grouping has its own set of moral and ethical standards imposed by carrot and stick so as to keep the group together and ensure a reasonable standard of behaviour of members of the group towards each other. These ‘sort-of’ do a reasonable job within the group but other groups with different standards and values are often seen as wrong or bad which gives rise to much conflict. Even within any group the resulting restrictions do nothing but keep the lid on the worst of the covert malice and sorrow.
The ‘good’ No 3 and the ‘right’ No 3 have to step out of the way sufficiently in order that you can see what is really going on in your psyche.
PETER: But three facts clearly indicate a new approach is necessary –
It is interesting to look back on the process and the stages I went through in investigating feelings, emotions and instinctual passions. With each emotion I investigated it was always an essential first step to investigate the goods and bads, the rights and wrongs, and all the things I had been told and thus assumed to be true – my beliefs. I know we keep flogging this aspect but unless one undertakes this process any investigation will be superficial and offer only a temporary relief of the symptoms without ever tackling the underlying cause of the instinctual passions.
What I am suggesting is to be alert to the feelings that arise from one’s instilled morals, ethics, beliefs and values, for these are the first line of ‘self’ defence that needs to be tackled. This is where labelling and making sense of the feelings and emotions is vital for then you can make sense of the apparently arbitrary and chaotic jumble that arises. One begins to see patterns and traits that are common to all human beings and that give rise to the human condition in operation in yourself as well as others. My experience was that these feelings associated with my social identity were the easiest to tackle and the confidence gained from the success in tackling them was fuel for digging deeper – and the freedom gained was deliciously palpable.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I often find it difficult staying with an emotion. So I find I need to look at the broader details in order that I don’t miss any of ‘my’ objections.
PETER: I always say that I was happy to be a following pioneer in this enterprise for I was able to pick Richard’s brain, as it were, to discover what he had discovered. Thus I didn’t need to explore every alley, every nuance, every belief, every moral, every belief, and every psittacism. I was able to do this intensively over a period of 12 months, and together with reading his journal many times over, this was sufficient to become virtually free of malice and sorrow. I would suggest that your success will be purely dependant on the time and effort put in to the task. The good thing for you is that the amount of information available now has probably increased 20 fold and it is freely and readily available on the web-site. You still make your own investigations – and who would have it any other way – but a wealth of information is available to help you look at these broader details.
As you seem to be discovering, it is impossible to leap straight into investigating emotions without first looking at the broader details of one’s social identity. This is where The Actual Freedom Trust Library pages and particularly the selected correspondence related to topics are invaluable as you can focus your attention on understanding one particular issue and come to grips with it. Remember we are talking of a practical re-wiring of the human brain. Our social identity is a way of thinking that has formed synapse connections that mean we automatically think a certain way, exactly as our instinctual passions cause us to automatically feel a certain way.
This rewiring requires persistence, perseverance and repetitive effort – exactly like learning anything new does, except in this case one is unlearning something. Thus one’s success, or not, is exactly proportionate to the amount of time and effort afforded to the task.
I do like your report. Methinks there is a substantial dent in that outer layer happening and it is always good to hear of someone who is putting theory into practice – ‘giving it a go’ is the local vernacular term.
RESPONDENT: What I am getting at is that, as I see it, the good/bad, right/wrong have a basis in the inability to question the emotions as something which can be dealt with fundamentally.
PETER: Yes, yes. The morals and ethics we have been instilled with since birth are designed to prevent us from taking a clear eyed look at the ‘dark’ side of our instinctual nature. They form ‘the guardian at the gate’ that prevents one from making a clear-eyed investigation of one’s psyche in action.
RESPONDENT: I don’t quite see the ‘designed to prevent us’ part, it would seem more correct to say: ‘designed to free and protect us from the ‘dark’ side’’, as most would not acknowledge the possibility of a ‘clear eyed investigation’.
PETER: How is the imposition of morals and ethical codes of behaviour ‘designed to free’ us from the ‘dark’ side of our instinctual nature? Surely the effort of having to keep the lid on one’s ‘dark’ side or having to keep oneself under control is the very antithesis of freedom?
The way I investigated morals and ethics was firstly by looking at the personal experiences in my own life. When I remember my own childhood, it is quite clear that the ultimate authority was the threat of my father using his leather razor strop to hit me should I do something really bad. I can’t remember him using it, but I certainly remember it to be the last threat if I didn’t behave as I was told. Similarly at school, the headmaster would dish out a caning as a punishment should all else fail and I certainly had a few hits until I learned to be more cunning about my indiscretions. Expulsion from school was another threat used.
When I had children myself and saw the beginnings of aggressive behaviour emerge, I dutifully began the ritual teaching of what was right and wrong and what was good and bad behaviour. Right and good were rewarded with approval, endorsement, benefits, gifts, etc, while wrong and bad were discouraged by disapproval, reprimand, restriction, penalty and punishment. I remember seeing very clearly that what I was doing was what my parents had done to me. Same words, same actions and they were unavoidable, for I had to teach my children the rules of society in order that the family unit functioned, that they could relate to their peers and that they could get along in society at large. What I saw was that morals and ethics have their beginnings with parents passing on their values that they in turn had learned from their parents, that these values are then reinforced by their peers, and by the time the children go to school they are expected to comply with formal laws and regulations as well. All of this social conditioning has its roots in the inevitable emergence of genetically encoded instinctual behaviour at the age of about 2 years in every human being.
The other clear evidence of the restrictions and shackles that these same morals and ethics impose is the emergence of rebellious behaviour against rules and regulations – either overtly as frustration and anger, or covertly as cunning and deceit. This can be seen most obviously in teenage years and I experienced this urge for rebellion and freedom both in myself and in my children. It was often senselessly directed against any and all authority and is usually only curtailed with the threat of punishment or of further and harsher restriction on one’s freedom. This desire for freedom is a desire to be free from the bondage of having to live one’s life by unliveable morals and ethics. One knows well by early adulthood that no one fully lives by them, that the whole societal system is riddled with deceit, hypocrisy, corruption and lies, and this gives rise to an essentially cynical world-view.
This desire for ‘freedom from ...’ proved to be a constant drive in my life and caused me to be a rebel in all sorts of situations, riling against this or that, wanting to change this or that, and blaming this or that. When I gave up in resignation about changing the real-world, I discovered spiritual freedom – an escape from the world-as-it-is to a hopeful dream of how the world could be ‘if only we all ...’ What I missed in my blind loyalty, faith and hope was the ‘if only’. I eventually came to see that I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire, from real into fantasy, from down-to-earth to head in the clouds – all because I desperately sought freedom from the miserable bondage of my social identity.
When I first met Richard I saw Actual Freedom in the same light – as a way of escaping from the world as-it-is and people as-they-are such that I could feel free of the real-world. What I came to realize was that breaking free from normal moral and ethical behaviour inevitably led to licentiousness, tyranny, anarchy and despotism – or, in the case of spiritual seekers, delusions of holiness, grandeur and Divinity which, if fully played out, lead to licentiousness, tyranny, anarchy and despotism.
With this realization came the beginnings of a broad-ranging investigation of the nature and substance of my social identity, an uninhibited exploration of what uninvestigated passions lay hidden beneath. With a sincere intent gleaned from the pure consciousness experience I knew I would neither run amok nor become divinely deluded if I dared to lift the lid to expose the animal instinctual core of me, and thus I was able to investigate and experience my dark side with impunity. To experience, in my own psyche, the raw passions of hatred, the lust to kill and rape and the raw passion of fear, dread as well as the diabolical ‘dark’ desperate world that underpins the fantasy world of the divine.
This ‘soul’-searching exploration of the animal instinctual passions in operation in me gave me an experiential understanding as to why morals and ethics are needed to ‘civilize’ the human animal and also why they have failed, and always will fail, to eliminate malice and sorrow.
There is no solution to be found within the human condition to the ending of human malice and sorrow – the solution can only be found in eliminating them in one’s own psyche.
PETER: Every tribal grouping has its own set of moral and ethical standards imposed by carrot and stick so as to keep the group together and ensure a reasonable standard of behaviour of members of the group towards each other. These ‘sort-of’ do a reasonable job within the group but other groups with different standards and values are often seen as wrong or bad, which gives rise to so much conflict. Even within any group the resulting restrictions do nothing but keep the lid on the worst of the covert malice and sorrow. The ‘good’ No 3 and the ‘right’ No 3 have to step out of the way sufficiently in order that you can see what is really going on in your psyche.
RESPONDENT: Also any failure (or difficulty) investigating can become a progressively more difficult stumbling block, as it can become a matter for supporting the idea that ‘I am not worthy of achieving this’.
PETER: The ‘I’m not worthy’ idea bugged me on and off for about 6 months or so, and it eventually collapsed by itself like a limp balloon. It seems to have some of its substance in the spiritual idea that only the good and noble are ‘chosen’ – that there is a ‘Someone’ or ‘Something’ that decides who is worthy or not worthy, who is blessed or who is damned. The other issue is the constant drumming we have from our peers such as ‘who do you think you are’, ‘how come you think you know better than everyone else’, etc. It is called the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ in this country. The cute thing is that it is okay nowadays in some circles for someone to call themselves God-on-earth or God-realized and yet when an actualist dares to stick his or her head above the parapet, those same people heap scorn or can’t get beyond their spiritual conditioning to see the down-to-earth-ness of what is now on offer.
The ‘why me’ eventually wore itself out with a more pragmatic ‘why not?’ Was I going to continue being malicious and sorrowful when I could be considerate, sensible and magnanimous, when I could see that the excuse I was running was about ‘me’ objecting to me, this flesh and blood body, being here.
PETER: I can remember having the same sense of being selfish in the early stages of becoming obsessively ‘self’ aware. After a bit of sensible contemplation on the fact that my sole motive for becoming ‘self’-obsessed was to become happy and harmless I came to see that my motive, or intent, was altruistic and in no way selfish – after all, anybody who deliberately sets out on a process of ‘self’-elimination can hardly be selfish.
RESPONDENT: I don’t find myself driven by altruism. For me the basic driving instinct seems to be greed. When I ask myself why I am interested to experiment with actualism, the answer is because I want to be happy every moment I live. This to me looks selfish. But let me clarify that I don’t think there is anything wrong about being selfish if it means being happy and harmless.
PETER: Okay. But maybe if you give equal weight to the harmless part of ‘being happy and harmless’ you may well find yourself a wee bit less ‘self’-centred ... unless you fall into the traditional trap of becoming ‘Self’-centred, that is.
RESPONDENT: To me it does look ‘self’-centred, because what I am working on is ‘self’.
PETER: Perhaps another way of saying what I was trying to convey is that an actualist needs to become aware of the morals and ethics that one has been taught because it is these aspects that one first needs to question if one is to become genuinely harmless and therefore genuinely happy.
An example of this is as you yourself said – ‘I don’t think there is anything wrong about being selfish if it means being happy and harmless’. So if you throw away any moral guilt that ‘you’ as a social identity have been instilled with, and that others will try and laden you with, then you take another step forward towards becoming more harmless and happy.
This is exactly what is meant by dismantling one’s social identity so as one can at least become virtually free of malice and sorrow – an essential stepping-stone to becoming actually free of malice and sorrow. The outer layer of one’s ‘self’ needs to be peeled away first and this outer layer is made up of all the morals, ethics, beliefs, viewpoints, wisdoms, truths and psittacisms that every human being has inevitably absorbed since very early childhood. The moral of ‘thou shalt be unselfish’ by whatever cultural/religious terminology, has been implanted by one’s peers along with all the other morals as a way of trying to keep under control the brutal instinctual animal programming for self-survival, at whatever cost.
Given the fact that each and every human animal body is genetically programmed for self-survival, it is this programming that ultimately gives rise to what is known as the human condition – the ‘dog-eat dog world’ of 6 billion humans living on a planet of cornucopian abundance, all the while going ‘me’ first because ‘my’ survival is essential. Each and every human being is genetically programmed, through no fault of their own, to be utterly ‘self’-centred. When push really comes to shove, any moral teaching of ‘be unselfish’ flies out the window and humans instinctually revert to animal mode, hence all the malice in the world – all the wars, rapes, murders, tortures, child abuse, corruption, rage, anger, frustration, aggravation, resentment, etc. – and all the sorrow – all the suicides, desolation, despair, depression, sadness, empathy, etc.
The only way out of this mess is to get out of this mess – and the way to get out of the mess is to get rid of the social and animal ‘self’ that is the real cause of all human malice and sorrow.
To do this one first needs to be very sure that this is what you want to do with your life. If so, you make becoming happy and harmless the most important thing in your life. By making becoming happy and harmless the most important thing in your life, you then can’t help but become aware when you are not happy or when you are blaming someone else or something else for your unhappiness – in other words, you start to become more and more aware of how you are experiencing this moment of being alive.
You start to become aware of all of the little things that stand in the way of your being happy and harmless. You start to see that everybody believes that ‘life’s is a bitch’, that ‘suffering is good for you’ or that ‘life is fundamentally disappointment and suffering’. You start to become aware of the fact that all of the sacred religious and spiritual morals and ethics are in fact unliveable platitudes and you are then impelled to start to rely on your own common sense, to stand on your own two feet and to pull yourself out of the common ‘glue pot’ of the human condition by your own bootstraps.
And this do-it-yourself process of becoming free of the human condition starts with peeling away the outer layer of one’s social programming – in this case the issue we are talking about is the universal and unliveable moral teaching of unselfishness.
This conversation reminds me of one I had with Gary some time ago on the topic of intelligence where we nutted around the issue for a while so as to make sense of it. We questioned the commonly-accepted views, attitudes and beliefs that give rise to human beings lauding and cherishing the feelings that arise from the animal instinctual survival passions while simultaneously denigrating and scorning the very human-only intelligence that is the physical universe itself in action. For an actualist it is vital that all of the ancient ‘tried and failed’ morals, ethics, wisdoms and beliefs be questioned, exposed for what they are, and then be discarded if one is to become free of the human condition of malice and sorrow.
These type of conversations are the very stuff of actualism – becoming aware of, investigating and making sense of the failures of the past efforts of humanity to bring an end to malice and sorrow and becoming aware of, investigating and making sense of how one can become genuinely happy and harmless.
We are doing the process of actualism, right here and right now on this mailing list.
RESPONDENT: I fail to see any big impact on the world as a whole as I become happy and harmless.
PETER: An excellent observation in itself.
What is often overlooked is that the traditional search for freedom goes hand-in-glove with a desire to have an impact on the world, to change the world, to become a Guru, to become a world Teacher, etc. I went through exactly this stage on the way to becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow and I wrote about it in my journal. By going through this stage and having these deep-seated emotions, I came to understand experientially that the lust for power over others and one’s own narcissistic cravings are very powerful urges that arise from the self-survival instincts.
I found it interesting that I had to pass through this stage and leave it behind, as it were, despite the fact that I had thought I had given up spiritualism, but then again it was only by giving up my spiritual beliefs that I was able to clearly understand and experience the fundamental tender and savage instinctual passions that give rise to the ancient spiritual belief in good and evil spirits. On the traditional paths to spiritual freedom, the lust for power over others and one’s own narcissistic cravings can bring on altered states of consciousness whereby the ‘self’-centred victim becomes so deluded as to imagine themselves to be a Self, the Saviour of mankind, God-on-earth, the Maitreya, the Master of Masters, God’s chosen messenger, or whatever other name. I won’t elaborate on this subject here but there is more on this aspect in my Journal in the God chapter which you may well find useful.
Also, I found No 28’s comments to No 30 on the subject of Messiahs to be spot-on –
RESPONDENT: And no, I have nothing to do with becoming ‘Self’-centred. Two years of being with actualist list and actualism reading have taken away any traces of God (by whatever name) if there were any left.
PETER: Once you manage to pull the plug on God, by whatever name, you can start to do something about changing yourself. Then you can start to become aware of all of the religious/spiritual beliefs, morals and platitudes that pass for wisdom or truths and you will be able to sensibly question their veracity without upholding them as being too holy or sacrosanct to question. You are then free enough to question whether such morals as ‘thou shalt be unselfish’ are silly or sensible and whether they work or not.
RESPONDENT: Let me start by explaining my understanding of a few concepts that I mentioned in my mail a little further.
Humility: My view is that there actually is something that could be called true humility, not meaning that we should bow to higher powers or to some authority. Not some kind of pretence that we’re trying to portrait in a suitable manner. True humility can be expressed as openness, spontaneity, non-rigidity and lack of self-consciousness, at least to some degree.
PETER: Well, openness means ‘absence of secrecy, or reserve; frankness, candour, sincerity’, according to the Oxford Dictionary. I think you might agree that these qualities fall into the ‘ideal’ basket as far as human beings are concerned. The lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity that dwells within the flesh and blood body of every human has a dark side of instinctual passions that needs to be hidden from others. It is only when this entity is absent, as in the ‘self’-less state of a pure consciousness experience, that the ideal of openness is seen as but one of the many unachievable human ideals that attempts to mimic actual innocence and perfection.
The spiritual version of openness is being vulnerable, which means
Many spiritual seekers distort the word vulnerability to be a sign of being ‘sensitive’ to others or being psychically ‘tuned in’ to others. However, human beings are sometimes open, sometimes closed, sometimes defensive, sometimes attacking but always wary and on-guard, for this is our instinctual programming in operation. Whilst one remains a ‘self’ one cannot help but have one’s guard up, both psychologically and psychically, for the body is programmed for self-defence, which the entity inside automatically interprets as ‘self’-defence.
The other qualities you mention are also ideals that humans struggle to maintain in a constant battle to control their instinctual emotions. Most do reasonably well, except when push comes to shove, and all ideals, morals and ethics are off in times of threat, conflict and war.
Actual innocence lies beyond ‘self’-immolation. Given that the very nature of the actual universe is both pure and perfect, these same qualities are then automatically and spontaneously the qualities of one who lives in Actual Freedom. (...)
RESPONDENT: Don’t you think that these qualities actually could help in experiencing the PCE? If one is going to be able to perceive life directly as it really is instead of trying to force reality upon us (ASC) I think that we have tremendous use of humility and openness.
PETER: If one begins by feeling humble and then goes searching for an experience of something other than grim reality, I suspect one will end up finding a Greater Reality to feel humble to and feelings of gratitude will come sweeping in. By being ‘open for the unthinkable possibility’ any form of impassioned imagination is possible.
However, if your search is for purity and perfection and you keep whittling away at your beliefs, then one day while wistfully contemplating and softly relaxing, you might notice a sensuous delight, a vibrancy in things around you, a perfection and purity, a silence and infinitude beyond imagination. But be careful not to seize the experience as yours or you will feel the chest swell and the head swoon and in will flood passionate imagination to replace actual delight. (...)
RESPONDENT: I think there is great subtlety to these matters and therefore I think it is very essential to be open and not try to control life in anyway. I mean, doesn’t self-immolation imply that we’re able to give up ALL our limiting ideas about life and ourselves in a sense so that we can live the actuality of life. You said that a PCE can often be drug related and that also implies that we need to let go of ourselves and let life really show itself.
PETER: I see nothing subtle about the animal instinctual passions in humans when our normal methods of controlling them break down. Unless this fundamental genetic programming is addressed in our search for freedom, peace and happiness, any attempts to let go of control will end up as in the traditional delusions generated by the ‘good’ instinctual passions running amok.
One needs to dismantle one’s social identity – all the beliefs, morals and ethics that have been instilled in us since birth, and then take a clear-eyed look at the instinctual passions in operation in ourselves – both the tender passions and the fierce passions – in order to become actually free of the human condition. (...)
RESPONDENT: The reason I bring this up is that I’m interested in seeing everything clearly and as untainted as humanly possible, if there is going to be any hope for mankind we have to be able to rid ourselves of every false notion and face the stark reality of life as it is and to be able to see what we’re actually doing. Delusion has endlessly many faces and it’s a constant challenge to avoid getting caught in a limited view, most people aren’t really interested in the facts of life but prefer to stick to obvious misconceptions, obvious even to themselves. Not many dare to live a life of integrity. So that’s why it’s important that you and I and everybody else really look into our motives for the way we act in the world and how we relate to every aspect of human existence.
PETER: I would hazard a guess that your emphasis on integrity is why you have dared question the spiritual life where any integrity is forsaken for surrender, loyalty, faith, discipline, trust, humbleness, conformity. Integrity demands that we humans find a way to walk upright in the world as-it-is, free, beholden to no-one, happy and harmless – actually free of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Certainly we are driven by our instincts to a degree but that doesn’t mean that we need to surrender to our instincts. I think that that is what you are implying in a way.
PETER: Quite the opposite, in fact. The grand experiment of suppressing the savage instinctual passions by the carrot of instilling ‘good’ morals and ‘right’ ethics and the stick of imposing and enforcing regulations and laws has clearly failed, and will continue to fail, to actualize peace on earth. The current fashionable notion of transcending the savage instinctual passions while giving full reign to, and indulging in, the tender passions, has clearly failed as it has done for millennia in the East.
What is now available, for anyone sufficiently interested and motivated, is a method whereby they can eliminate these redundant instinctual survival passions, thereby actualizing peace on earth for themselves and freeing one’s fellow human beings of the burden these passions impose on others. (...)
RESPONDENT: Questions: Does this mean that there are no good or bad actions!?
PETER: Until one is actually free of one’s animal instinctual passions, all actions, no matter how well intentioned, are liable to cause harm to others, no matter how minor.
RESPONDENT: Aren’t we supposed to judge each other?
PETER: I leave that to the police and judges if other people’s actions step beyond the limits of what the particular society I happen to live in deems appropriate – which is not to say I don’t see a lot of people doing a lot of silly things. It would all be amusing but for the fact that human beings actually torture and kill each other. It was only by seeing this fact with clear eyes, and acknowledging that I too was capable of such actions when push comes to shove, that forced me to want to radically and irrevocably change – to step out of Humanity.
RESPONDENT: Is this the end of morals as we know it? I sincerely hope that you’re not suggesting that anything goes ...
PETER: Again, we are not talking about others but an individual change. It is possible to dispense with the needs for morals and ethics only if one finds something better to replace them with and that something better is to have no wayward ‘self’ who needs to be kept under control. The key to knowing this is possible is the pure consciousness experience whereby the already-existing innate purity and perfection that becomes stunningly apparent instantly renders redundant the need for any morals, ethics or any kind of ‘self’-control. When returning to ‘normal’ again you take this information and begin the task of ‘self’-immolation with confidence that you will not run amok as you progressively loosens the stranglehold of morals and ethics.
RESPONDENT: How would things be different if we were motivated by truth?
PETER: The problem with being motivated by the ‘truth’ is that everyone has their own version of the truth, as in ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’, and that each Religion has their own particular version of the Truth according to the Teachings of their particular Master, Messenger or Guru being followed. Further, some people believe that there is but One Truth, an obvious fantasy as it is such a nebulous thing as to be ‘beyond words’. When it is put into words the fighting begins in earnest as to which version is the Real Truth. This nonsense has gone on for millennia and is a mere excuse to have a mythical God to bow down to or look up to. Just because everybody believes something to be true doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. It just means that everybody believes to be it to be true. To believe means ‘fervently wish to be true’ as per dictionary definition. Whereas a fact is a fact.
RESPONDENT: What about if we were motivated by a common sense evaluation of facts rather than imaginary concepts?
PETER: What about if we considered that there was no life after death? What about if we were motivated to become happy and harmless, rather than the frantic desire to visualize an after-life? What if we stopped believing in mythical Truths and looked at the facts for a change?
RESPONDENT: How would things change here on Earth if we all worked to help one another instead of just ourselves?
PETER: One of the significant problems with the tribal system of clinging together for support is that we are socialized, cajoled and forced into ‘helping’ others. This means that we constantly focus our awareness on the behaviour and conduct of others and completely neglect our own emotions, feelings, words and actions. This results in a scenario where the other is always wrong or at fault and results in those insidious ‘if only’ ... scenarios. ‘If only we all loved one another...’ ‘If only I found the right partner...’ ‘If only it had lasted...’ etc.
I simply adopted the sensible approach that the only person I could change (or help) was me. To consider the possibility of changing the other 5.8 billion people to suit my version of how things could be better is ridiculous in the extreme. And waiting for God to do it with a wave of some magic wand is but a fairy-tale with diabolical consequences. Since He/She/It is nothing but a figment of our imaginations we wait in vain (not to mention despair, anguish, hope, trust and faith).
RESPONDENT: How would people live if we made decisions to support the All rather than each as individuals?
PETER: As humans are now, because we have a set of well-meaning morals and concepts practiced by almost every religion and culture, that concept alludes to a common good, to mutual support and compassion for those less well-off, rights of minorities, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, love for neighbour, etc. And it does a reasonable sort of job of keeping the lid on our instinctual malice and sorrow. We have managed to stamp out cannibalism at least, but have a long way to go to make a dent on war, rape, domestic violence, suicide, corruption, etc. I suggest it is time to sort out ourselves rather than others, firmly based on the fact that the only one you can change is you.
RESPONDENT: How would our decisions change if we understood that whatever we do to our neighbour we do to ourselves?
PETER: The concept falls down badly on the first point which is that when ‘push comes to shove’ nobody cares what they do to their neighbour, everybody reverts to ‘survival’ mode. Each human comes into the world wired with a set of instincts (fear, aggression, nurture and desire) and a primitive self. This is overlaid with a set of social conditioning and we then adopt a social identity in order to fulfill the role expected of us. Thus there are 5.8 billion humans, each with a ‘self’ that is basically lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. No wonder, we still need to keep up law and order with the point of a gun. Adopting moralistic or idealistic concepts is to treat the symptoms and not the disease. It is merely sticking one’s head in the sand.
To go ‘in’ to some imaginary world of bliss, God, Oneness, Love, Truth, etc. is merely to put one’s head in the clouds – to go off into an imaginary la-la land. The only reason this imagination maintains any credibility is that it appeals to the psychological and psychic entity within each of us which desperately fears death and seeks immortality in some ethereal metaphysical realm. The soul going to heaven, the spirit going home, the essence rejoining the Source, or however else it is imagined according to the belief held.
Personally, I found a thorough investigation and understanding of all the social conditioning and instinctual drives with their resulting feelings, emotions and passions led to the stage that I am free of them. Being free of malice and sorrow is a state so superior to moral rightness or spiritual bliss; and it is actual and factual, not imaginary and fickle.
RESPONDENT: How would things differ if we each did just what we wished for a living, and loved it!?
PETER: I always mistrusted ‘if only-s’, particularly as I got older and saw all the dreams fail and eventually fade, only to be replaced by some ‘new’ version of the old dream. The chance to try something radically different that had never been tried before is what attracted me to try out Richard’s method to become actually free of the Human Condition. The problem with this ‘if only’ is our self and the associated survival instincts programmed in us. My experience is you can get rid of the lot.
RESPONDENT: How would the world look if we All realized that We Are All One?
PETER: The other day I was watching TV and yet another set of leaders and diplomats trying to settle another outbreak of some ancient religious or tribal war or some revolutionary ‘protest’ and I saw nothing but band-aid being applied yet again. 160,000,000 killed in wars alone this century and we have had several failed attempts to have a world government (League of Nations and United Nations) – and we are no closer to having peace on the planet.
I then mused on the possibility of having a United Religions set up and what would happen – all the Religions of the world would have to agree that there is only one God. Thus the Christians have to admit that Jesus was not Son of God since there is only One World God. So Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Osho, etc. would all be declared Non-Gods and all Religions would become One Religion. The trouble is it is a fantasy as people actually kill each other and sacrifice their lives for their beliefs. People kill and die for their God and their Country. We are instinctually programmed to sacrifice ourselves for what we perceive to be the ‘good’ of the particular tribe we are in. We need to free ourselves of this instinctual drive, and the way to do this is free ourselves from our beliefs. For individuals to stop believing in God and anything meta-physical is an essential step to bringing peace to this paradisiacal planet.
RESPONDENT: What is our collective will? Do we even have one?
PETER: The collective will of the species is a will to survive as a species. Blind nature wires each species with an instinctual response mechanism in order to perpetuate the particular species. It is a very clumsy package and in many species it actually conspires, making survival difficult. The migratory patterns of many birds and animals are such as to cause the futile death of many. For humans these instinctual responses are fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
Fear and aggression are necessary to attack and defend against other animals that would kill or eat us. In the human species this includes to attack and defend against other humans in competition for territory, food, mating partners, etc.
Nurture is essentially the instinct to procreate, provide for, protect and pass on any knowledge, customs, morals, ethics and beliefs to the next generation.
Desire is the drive to survive – it translates into sexual conquest, power over others, and attaining the necessities of survival such as territory, food, offspring, and the protection of others. Played out by 5.8 billion humans these instinctual patterns combined with tribal conditioning results in the Human Condition as we see it in operation on the planet. This is what we humans agree we are, and we further believe that you can’t change human nature. So we all agree that we can’t change ourselves, so no one dares to try.
It is now possible to become free of the collective will. But it does take the courage to stand on one’s own two feet, to stop believing what others tell you as truths and start looking at facts. Then one discovers and sensately experiences the delight, ease, magic and perfection of the physical universe.
RESPONDENT: Well, at this point, we are facing the results of all of our past and present actions taken, actions to help each of us as individuals/small groups rather than the whole. The results we are creating are not punishments. Rather, we are about to face the results of our actions because these are the natural laws within which we live. We are getting what we’ve created.
PETER: This seems to be a concept that humans have consciously or unconsciously created something together. The idea that there is some thing that binds us to act together or that there is someone in control is not supported by the fact that each human has a self and is automatically driven by self-preserving instinctual passions. To perpetuate this belief in a solution to your dilemma which involves everyone miraculously changing together or acting together is to miss the point entirely. The cause of all the sorrow and malice is in you. It is the psychological and psychic ‘self’. Who you think and feel you are as distinct from the physical body you are. Unless this issue is tackled individually, unless people are willing and courageous enough to want to change themselves, nothing will change for them. The rewards of this change are indeed extraordinary.
RESPONDENT: But what have we created? It is not a pretty picture from my perspective. The results are not what we would call ‘best.’ It is not a beautiful thing in my estimation to watch our cities destroyed by floods caused by extreme weather and higher oceans due to global warming through the destruction of our atmosphere. It is not a pretty thing to watch people starve because plants burn up and the rains don’t come.
PETER: I see you are a believer in the theory of global warming and subsequent disruptions in weather patterns. It was a debate that I followed with interest for a while to see if I could discern the facts as opposed to the media hype, the vested interests and ‘Doomsday’ beat ups. There certainly seems a great deal of disagreement in the scientific community (not an uncommon thing) with the usual competitiveness, brinkmanship, and blarney abounding. What does seem a constant thread is that it is still a theory searching for hard evidence and actual proof. The problem of such a limited time span of precise meteorological and atmospheric data – only about 100 years – has lead to nothing more than theoretical extrapolations. Still, it does suit the agenda of the extremists and ‘Doomsdayers’ to promote the worst case theories as ‘truths’ in order to promote their particular ‘truth’ as the only solution. They are also people who simply do not want to be here, they hunger for an escape from living life, here, now, on earth.
I have developed a discerning eye and ear in order to ascertain what is fact and what is merely theory, postulation, concept, truth, common agreement, belief, assumption, speculation, imagination, myth or wisdom. At the start it does take intent to dig around and it does take a bit of an effort, (like reading what I am writing, for a start). It can result in a few blows to one’s pride, but otherwise one would simply believe what everybody else tells as the Truth.
RESPONDENT: It is not an awesome thing to see some hoard that which they’ve extracted by leverage, holding it when they have that which the rest of the us need to survive because they fear the worst. It is not a pretty thing to watch weather and natural disasters blow down and burn our towns and cities due to changes in our jet-stream and tectonic changes due to general abuses of our planet.
PETER: We certainly see a lot more natural disasters and results of fierce weather now that we have such an excellent TV coverage, and I often hear that something was the worst ... in 50 years or 100 years. But I have yet to see the scientific communities agree on a link to global warming. The environmental lobby has grown to such a powerful force it is hard to discern facts from hysteria. It seems to me that it is an unproven theory and a bit of a furphy, considering that the main news items I see on TV are yet another war, another bombing, another shootout, another massacre, another famine... The murders, rapes, suicides, and domestic violence are usually too numerous and common place to even get a mention. And yet when I point out that the Human Condition is malice and sorrow and that it can be eliminated by whoever cares, no-one is interested. They would rather blame someone else and peddle another version of the old ‘tried and failed’ methods.
The other curious thing is that most of the religions have a Doomsday scenario, or a Day of Judgement. This is an essential part of any belief-system that espouses a Way or a Truth in order to ‘escape’ from evil and damnation. It has been going on for centuries and it is amazing to see the Doomsday slip back decade after decade, despite the wishes and convictions to bring it on.
RESPONDENT: It is not a beautiful thing to watch thousands starving in the streets, as they already are and will more so in the future if things continue on the path we’ve collectively chosen.
PETER: To say that we have collectively chosen assumes firstly that human beings are a collective. We are obviously the same species but are in fact there are 5.8 billion humans each with a separate sense of ‘self’. Each is born with primitive sense of self, reinforced by a set of survival instincts. We then are imbued with a social identity from birth onwards so as to fit in one of literally thousands of tribal and/or religious groups. Further, from our peers we ‘round out the package’ with a personal selection of beliefs in order to form what we then consider to be a ‘unique’ identity. It is from our social conditioning that the belief comes that we are a ‘collective’.
We are instilled with a set of morals and ethics such as to make us ‘fit in’ and to curb our instinctual aggression. The major problem is that each person within the particular group, tribe or religion then depends on the group for survival. This dependency is both instinctual and imbibed with the mother’s milk and is so strong that group members will kill and die for the group’s survival in the face of both actual and perceived dangers. To imagine that we choose to act this way is to defy factual evidence to the contrary.
RESPONDENT: It is not a lovely thing to see world financial collapse due to ignoring that which is obvious, driven by short-term profit motivations and the idea that this is an ‘us vs. them’ game we are playing here on Earth.
These results, however, are what we will ‘enjoy’ if we continue to make choices that ignore this basic truth – the truth that We All Are One.
PETER: I see you use the word ‘truth’ rather than fact. That ‘We All Are One’ is a belief, and belief means ‘to fervently wish to be true’. The fact is that 5.8 billion of us fight it out for survival against each other.
RESPONDENT: This is what we get if we decide that ‘survival of the fittest’ is the name of the game, though very few will survive.
PETER: We don’t casually decide that ‘survival of the fittest’ is the name of the game, we are instinctually driven. It is wired in us in what is commonly known as the Lizard brain, the seat of our instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Unless one faced this fact one either spends one’s life trying to be good or chasing some Altered State of Consciousness wherein one became ‘not the body’. Head in the sand or heart in the clouds?
RESPONDENT: And it will not necessarily be those surviving who now call themselves ‘fittest’ today, but rather those who listen to their inner voices – the ‘chosen ones’ as some would call them. The choosing for the ‘chosen ones’ is not done by some outside entity, but through our own personal decisions to wake up, remember who we really are, and love again – working to help others, knowing that there is enough for everyone. If we do not, this Earth will soon be unable to support us given our collective irresponsible actions.
PETER: Ah. So here is the rub. After the Doomsday, only the ‘chosen ones’ will survive. I have often wondered which of the chosen ones it will be – the Rajneeshees, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus. Who chooses which of the chosen ones survive, or go to some other planet or ethereal realm. Maybe it depends on who causes the End to happen, whether it is Jehovah, the Christian God, Technology, etc. And how to sort out the various claimants as to who’s God caused the End, and which disciples therefore deserve the right to a ticket ‘out’.
RESPONDENT: Now, I’ve stated before that we must each do what is best for ourselves. That is true. It is a truth that if one does not do what is best for one’s self, then one can do nothing truly good and long-lasting for others. But the trick here is to determine what is truly best for one’s self.
PETER: Yep, you’ve got a problem here. Everyone has their own version and that constantly varies on top it, given that the ‘self’ is ‘any of various conflicting personalities conceived of as coexisting within a single person’ – as per Oxford Dictionary.
RESPONDENT: What is good for all is good for each of us, because We All are One. In considering each action you take, just think to yourself ‘if everyone took this action, would it benefit Us as One, or would it not?’ Choose accordingly. That’s how we can choose a different path – a path of love that benefits Us All.
PETER: This concept has been tried by every religion for centuries and does a reasonable job (aided by armies and police forces) to keep our violence and aggression to reasonable limits. Only 160,000,000 killed in wars this century.
RESPONDENT: Your actions will serve as a seed in fertile ground – others will understand through your actions. Others will catch the spirit of the truth in that way.
PETER: Religions, philosophies, revolutions, popular movements, Gurus and the like have been planting seeds for millennia and we get no end to malice and sorrow. A little discerning reading of history will attest to this fact. Or you could just watch the television news – we humans inflict far more violence on each other than we do to anything else. In fact we enjoy it. One of the best selling computer games involves killing pedestrians while driving a car. Most jokes are based on putting somebody down. All of our ‘entertainment’ involves either violence or sorrow (usually termed ‘love’ stories).
RESPONDENT: If there is something different you would do given the truth that We Are All One, simply change what you do. Change your actions to those that are helpful for All. Show others by your example what works better. Together in this way, we can make a difference today for tomorrow. It is the natural way of things – to choose again.
PETER: The ‘natural’ way is sorrow and malice – it is programmed into us by blind nature. It is time to be un-natural.
The way is now open to for anyone, given sufficient intent, to rid themselves of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. To re-run another version of Ancient Wisdom is to follow the well-worn track leading no-where new. If becoming happy and harmless seems a worthy aim in life, there is an alternative.
If you wish to remain with another group of ‘chosen ones’ then, of course, you will wait for a Doomsday for your ‘rewards’. It is good we are all free to make choices in our lives.
I simply made an assessment of the Old Ways and found that they hadn’t worked. When I dug further I found out why. Someone read my Journal the other day and said he liked it and that it was a modern version of what all the mystics are saying. He missed the point completely – still it’s early days.
I do enjoy living in these times of comfort, technology and communication, when I can type a few words, a few clicks and off it goes, and then I waddle over to the couch for an afternoon nap.
RESPONDENT: OK, one more time with feeling. Perhaps we can get somewhere here. (Progress on the road to nowhere.)
PETER: If you are trying to ‘change my mind’, get me to ‘see the light’, show me where I have got it wrong, then – it is indeed the road to no-where.
As Galileo is reported to have said to the Pope when hauled before him for contradicting the Bible – ‘Okay Mr. Pope, but even if I do say that I am wrong and the sun does go around the earth it won’t change the fact that the earth goes around the sun.’
The facts are that in Ancient times primitive humans believed the sky was another world inhabited by strange objects – the Sun, Moon, Planets and Stars. They gave them names and worshipped them as Gods, prayed to them and offered them gifts. Soon particular tribe members took over the roles of shamans, the representatives of the God’s on earth. The God’s were split into Good and Evil and anyone in a fit of rage or depression was said to be possessed by Evil and the power of the Good spirits was evoked.
Of course, now in 1999, we know that the source of sorrow and malice in humans is but the instinctual program of fear and aggression. In a valiant but ultimately doomed attempt we have called on the instincts of nurture and desire as a balancing act. The Good to do battle with the Bad.
Indeed, all does pretty well, as we now have a sophisticated system of moral and ethical rules, backed up by police, prisons and armies to keep the violence to ‘acceptable’ levels. This still leaves the feelings of fear and sorrow rampant, and as a succour to this we still turn to the spiritual world of Gods and good spirits – we get to feel Good and appease the Gods on the side and with the promise of a better life after death thrown in for good measure.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.