Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER to Alan: So, I had what I would describe as a normal week and went to bed one night and lay back after a romp with Vineeto, well contented with life. I didn’t go to sleep and lay for a long while, not thinking about anything in particular, when a tremendous rush of fear welled up. It was as though I was in great physical danger – which I was not at all. It was the kind of fear that overwhelms one in a life-threatening situation. It was not induced by ‘me’ thinking or feeling about death – quite the contrary. I remember thinking – ‘This is the fear when it comes and its here now.’
There was a ‘what to do now’, a touch of hesitancy, and the thought occurred that the only way I would go into that fear was as an act of self-sacrifice. I began to think of people who I knew and who I wished well of, and in that the fear subsided and I slipped off the intensity of the fear. But it left me with the confident surety that the key to the door is that it is ultimately an act of self-sacrifice in that moment. The decision to go forward, the impetus, can not be for ‘me’ as it is the ending of me. The only way I can see to over-ride the survival fear is to use another instinctual drive – the willingness to sacrifice myself for others.
Again this is not a passionate, put up affair. No heroism, no imagination – just a common sense ‘everybody wins’ situation. I get what I want and another human is free of the Human Condition. I say this because I know and have experienced the instinctual wiring to sacrifice myself for others. It was when I was told that my son had died, and in the initial few moments of intense grief the thought occurred ‘Why him and not me?’ I would have gladly and willingly given my life for his in that moment. If Mr. God have had boomed down from his white cloud – ‘Do you mean it?’ the answer would have been an unhesitating ‘Yes!’.
It was his death that got me into a passionate search for freedom in the first place, and I see that the self-sacrifice is the key to the door to freedom. Why else would you do it? The Enlightened Ones do it knowing full well that they are going to Bliss, Eternal Life and a good deal of Adulation. Theirs is not a ‘death’ but an Altered State of Consciousness – they die into the Glory to ‘become’ the Glory, surviving to wreak havoc with the hearts and minds of others. ‘Feet of clay’ is a good description.
I see this self-sacrifice as a down-to-earth practical use of one instinctual drive to overcome another. It’s simply a using of the tools available at the appropriate time. In the past year of living in Virtual Freedom, since I finished my Journal, I have become increasingly attuned not only with the operation of ‘me’ as a psychological and psychological entity, but also of the havoc and mayhem of the Human Condition in operation globally.
To finally realise that there is no solution to the Human Condition other than its eventual extinction and the superseding by a new species – actually freed from instinctually-sourced emotions and feelings.
The ending of ‘me’ will be another, not insignificant, step in that inevitable process.
To finally realise that there is no solution to the Human Condition other than its eventual extinction and the superseding by a new species – actually freed from instinctually-sourced emotions and feelings.
The ending of ‘me’ will be another, not insignificant, step in that inevitable process.
As a footnote, I would add that this clarity about the Human Condition has happened not by retreating or retiring from the world of people, things and events but by being fully involved and vitally interested in the fact of being a mortal, flesh and blood human being – here and now. Here – as in the actual world as perceived by the senses; and now – as in this very moment. In this way, one’s Virtual Freedom is ‘tested’ by full involvement, not falsely ‘sustained’ by avoidance or denial.
It is this very ‘boots and all’ involvement in the actual world that makes the act of self-sacrifice – as I see it and have experienced it – a sensible, obvious and necessary step.
I don’t say this lightly. I am usually very cautious about writing of ‘experiences’ as they can have an individual bent, vary in intensity or importance from one to another, but this issue of the ending of ‘me’ is useful to write of. I probably would have waited for more evidence but given that you have raised the issue, Alan, I was moved to write.
In talking to Richard, we kicked around the word ‘altruism’ for this self-sacrifice and, while I usually dislike ‘isms’, I think it fits. However, I know that Vineeto is not keen on its other emotional connotations and I would prefer to stick to self-sacrifice – as an instinctual program – to describe the ‘key to the door’.
Well, if I keep going the footnote will be bigger than the post itself. This is such a fascinating subject – and experience! I am sure we will write more about it. I know Mark is vitally interested in this very issue. So finish and get this away on the copper.
PETER: Hi Alan, hi Mark,
(...) Actualism is 180 degrees opposite to the spiritual escapism and, as such, I was delighted to read of your experiences, Alan. They accord with my own everyday experiences and are evidence of the success being reported by the handful involved at the moment.
Mark summed up the success he is having compared with his years in the spiritual world so well recently, and it is well worth repeating what he wrote –
This is written by someone with 20 years experience on the spiritual path – an experiential understanding of the significance of those three words, ‘fellow human beings’. Whomever you meet is simply a fellow human being – and one finds oneself increasingly regarding and treating others as such on the path to freedom from malice and sorrow.
Those three words – ‘fellow human beings’ – are the very key to peace on this planet and it will eventuate incrementally as more and more people have the experiential understanding that Mark has written of.
Other than spiritual and religious morality the ‘best’ that Humanity has come up with in order attempt to bring some semblance of ‘civilized’ behaviour to the planet is the ethical concept of Human Rights. Human Rights do naught but enshrine the differences and separateness in noble moral and ethical codes that are not only unliveable but actively perpetuate the continuation of division, conflict and war – an endless fight for one’s Rights, and the endless despair at having them ‘denied’ by others who are fighting for their Rights. One man’s God is but another man’s Devil. What is right for one is wrong for another. Justice for one means that someone else has to have revenge wrought upon him or her. Retaining one’s ‘heritage’ means retaining the prejudices, superstitions, ‘hurts’ and angers of one’s parents and tribe. The concept of Human Rights is a well-meaning, but futile, attempt to force human beings to try and stop the instinctual urge to kill each other. ‘Twill never bring peace and harmony.
So Mark, you have ‘hit the nail upon the head’ in your seeing through the failure of the ideals of Love and Compassion in the spiritual/religious world. It is, after all, no different to the love and compassion that continuously fails in the real world. All are but failed attempts to ‘keep the lid’ on the animal within us. The only way to peace and harmony is to get rid of the animal in us completely and Actual Freedom does just that.
Actual Freedom heralds the beginning of peace on earth for human beings, an end to the appalling suffering, violence, oppression, corruption and despair. An end to all the wars, ethnic cleansing, sectarian troubles, fights for Rights, revenges, genocides, repressions, rapes, murders and suicides. One at a time, we will step out of that real world and leave our ‘selves’ behind. Fear and aggression – the animal survival instincts of a dog-eat-dog world – are now redundant for modern human beings. They need to be eliminated in order that we can begin to treat each other as fellow human beings and not as ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ in a perpetual battle for succour, security and survival.
It’s such a buzz to get to the bottom of what it is that ails the Human Condition.
To see that it is naught but the ‘self’-centred survival instinct that is at the root of sorrow and malice and to set about eliminating it in oneself.
PETER to Alan:
‘Nearly all our fears are learned fears’ is a telling point, for in-depth research into how much of the ‘bad’ passions of fear and associated aggression are genetically encoded, and therefore instinctual, and how much is ‘learned’ , will no doubt run into ethical and moral objections. Nurture and desire are always seen in a good light and humans love to see it in action and recognize these emotions in action in other animals. Fear we try and sooth over – alcohol, drugs, excitement or adrenalin rushes being good panaceas, and aggression we simply label as evil or bad and blatantly ignore it in our own lives.
I like the last sentence in particular – ‘If we could find a drug or genetic treatment that would stop the amygdala from signalling to the frontal cortex, then we could effectively treat anxiety disorders,’ he suggested.’
What Richard has discovered is a way that one can weaken this ‘signalling’ from the amygdala to the frontal cortex to such an extent that eventually the ‘signalling’ ceases altogether. With the cessation of this ‘signalling’ comes the extinction of the instinctual ‘self’ – one’s sense of ‘being’, the associated instinctual passions and chemical flows cease.
Richard’s on-going experience is that one can live without any identity whatsoever, be it societal or instinctual. His first step was societal – stepping out of society – one’s social identity is left behind, there is no illusionary person in the ‘executive suite’, no ‘little man inside the head pulling the levers’. The second step was instinctual, one’s instinctual being is left behind, the ‘signalling’ from the amygdala ceased completely.
The critical difference between the traditional approach and the actualist approach to freedom is that the spiritualists attempt to deny the bad instinctual passions and identify with the good instinctual passion and chemical flows, denying the ‘signalling’ – thus one feels oneself to be bliss, oneness, wholeness, love, etc. while transcending or rising above fear and aggression. As Mr. Lowe so rightly pointed out in the opening statement of his recently reviewed book one can ‘find a way of living where you can feel happy and joyful and free of fear’, but the full range of instinctual passions are still present in spiritual freedom for there is still ‘anger, greed and lust’ present, it’s just that he doesn’t ‘identify’ with them any more.
The trap for past seekers of freedom is that spiritual concepts are instinctive in that their roots are so ancient that they disappear into the mists of time. The idea of a human spirit or soul, the idea of other-worlds, the idea of life beyond death, are deeply entrenched in Humanity, so much so that they could be regarded as both instinctual and intuitive. Intuitive in that these ideas are implanted in the memory of the amygdala and the amygdala automatically responds to spiritual notions with appropriate chemical responses. Thus the beliefs and myths of a spirit ‘home’, a spirit world and a life after death ‘feel’ right and true at a gut level. The flow of chemicals from the amygdala in response to spiritual input are warming and comforting as the intrinsic human awareness of mortality and the fear of death are temporarily extinguished.
As such, the only actual and definitive freedom from the spiritual is to evince a complete cessation of the ‘signalling’ from the amygdala as Richard has done and as those following his method are doing. Neither repressing nor expressing, neither denying nor transcending, neither rejecting nor accepting, but actively observing and developing an understanding of these emotional signals and how they cause malice and sorrow in your life. (...)
PETER to Alan: Every discovery and insight into the Human Condition is useless unless one applies it with honesty and sincerity to how one is living one’s own life, for unless one is actually free of the Human Condition, one is not exempt. As we know, one can easily feel free but it is in the ‘push comes to shove’ moments that one is tested. It is in these moments that the instinctual passions will always over-ride the good, the well-meaning and the rational. It is when jealousy rages to violence that the sexual instinct and associated nurture – the emotion that humans fondly call love – is shown as nothing other than a powerful and blind animal instinctual passion. It is when one’s spiritual beliefs are questioned that the raw instinctual fear of death will arise and cause one to act in ways that are both desperate and insane. When one is threatened with ostracism or isolation from the security of whatever group or relationship one feels one belongs to, that one literally will do anything to avoid being an outsider or on one’s own.
The chemical surges that cause us to automatically feel and act fearful, nurturing, aggressive and desirous are primary, ‘quick and dirty’, thoughtless and instinctual-emotional and, as such, ultimately uncontrollable by moral and ethical training or by denial and imaginary transcendence. These chemical surges that arise from the instinctual passions are most definitely not an illusion that one can deny or pretend that one has overcome them – they are very real – readily measurable in response times, sourced from a particular location in the physical brain and empirically observable in action. It was only when this chemical flow ceased that Richard became actually free of the Human Condition. To quote Richard from the ‘Introduction to Actual Freedom’ –
An actualist will not skip over the ‘however’, for in that one word is the key to the difference between an actual freedom and an illusionary freedom from the Human Condition.
In the past, the feeling of freedom was the best on offer – feeling ‘above it all’ was better than feeling ‘part of the rest’ – but it did nothing to stop anyone from being driven by the instinctual passions. In fact, to follow the spiritual path was but to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. The religious wars, the spiritual perversions of celibacy and Tantric teachings, the teachings of suffering, doom, evil and fear, the battle of the religions and God-men for ever more numbers and ever more power, the ongoing humiliation of human beings prostrating themselves before mythical Gods and humbug God-men – all this attest to the institutionalized insanity of any and all spiritual belief-systems.
These ancient beliefs do nothing but cloud over, divert, deflect, distract, sidetrack, compound and ultimately cause one to turn away from the only sensible human freedom – a freedom for human beings to stop instinctually behaving like animals and treating each other like animals.
Well, all that came out of one little news report about a ‘peace’ negotiation to stop two groups of humans waging war against each other. Good to sheet it back home and see where one is ‘waging war’ oneself and to see what I can actually do about peace on earth.
Peter to Alan: The very, very cunning quality of the self ensures that many people will gleefully and gullibly accept the spiritual teachings, deny the existence of the physical world, deny that they are a mortal flesh and blood, believe in their own immortality and fully indulge in the fantasy delusion that they are indeed God-on-earth. This is an act of utter selfishness, cunningly disguised as a noble sacrifice to a ‘higher cause’, yet exposed for the fraud it is when the few who succeed become Gods-on-earth, Saints, Masters, revered teachers and the like – to be feted, worshipped, adored, flattered and fawned by one’s fellow human beings.
The very, very cunning nature of the self is evident in the real world as hypocrisy, corruption, deceit, lies and denial. In spite of the constant pleas and extolling to obey society’s moral and ethical standards, human beings, when push comes to shove, inevitably revert to natural behaviour. Natural behaviour is instinctual behaviour – genetically programmed to ensure the survival of the species. The human species has been endowed with a self-survival program that almost inevitably over-rides the consideration of the survival of the group. Each human is instilled with a distinct individual self which is embellished by the ability to think and reflect into a substantive entity, an identity of psychological and psychic substance – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. It is obvious over time bargains and deals were done between groups of humans, be they biological family groups and/or tribal groups, and these eventually became formalized into particular sets of moral and ethical rules. These rules, instilled to ensure the group’s survival, became paramount over the genetically encoded, essentially individually selfish, survival program. This explanation of the human instinctual program accounts for the ongoing failure of human beings to live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. An understanding of the instinctual passions in action also reveals the spiritual search for self-discovery and self-realization as nothing other than an instinctually-driven attempt at self-aggrandizement and a lust for personal psychic power over others.
There is, however, an innate quality in human beings that provides the key to the door, so to speak, the way out, the means to freedom from the instinctual passions. This quality is well described as altruism – ‘regard for others as a principle of action; unselfishness’ ... Oxford Dictionary. This quality needs to put under the microscope, examined carefully and fully understood lest one confuses it with blind instinctual passions and senseless societal values.
The instinct to nurture relentlessly drives many people to sacrifice their lives for offspring or family, only to feel resentment at the sacrifice. This is understandable for this self-sacrifice is a driven, automatic reaction, not a freely undertaken action.
The moral and ethical rules of society demand of its flock, as a principle, that they make certain sacrifices for the common good and enforce these rules by carrot and stick. Praise, acclaim and even adulation are showered on the overt do-gooders while those who err towards what is deemed bad and unacceptable are controlled by condemnation, ostracism, laws, lawyers, police and jails.
Thus one is either blindly driven, or forced ‘as a principle’ to sacrifice one’s life, for the good of others. One is neither naturally, as in genetic/instinctually, free nor does one feel free within the applied restrictions of one’s tribal group.
There is, however, ample evidence within the human species of acts of altruism that are neither blindly driven nor self-seeking of an earthly or heavenly reward. Many are spontaneous acts, such as those who risk their lives to save another or undertake unsolicited and impromptu acts of consideration for others – benevolence in action.
On the path to Actual Freedom it is this quality of altruism, or benevolence in action, that readily becomes more and more evident in one’s thoughts, behaviour and actions. This quality is startlingly different from the spiritual love and compassion – ‘I am God acting for the good of others less fortunate’ – and from being a goody two shoes in normal society with its subsequent rewards. Benevolence in action is free and spontaneous – there is nothing in it for ‘me’ at all, in fact, it only happens when ‘I’ am absent. However one can be observant of it happening and, in seeing its ‘self’-less purity and perfection, energize this quality of altruism to initiate the process of self-immolation in oneself.
The path to Actual Freedom is not at all attractive for there is nothing in it for ‘me’ – no phoenix arises from the ashes to claim the glory, no acclaim of adoring disciples, no wonderful overwhelming feelings, no fame, no recognition, no power – neither overt nor covert. Extinction is extinction. It is for this very reason that one needs a goodly dose of altruism.
In my experience there is yet another quality which may well be as important, if not more important, than altruism in evincing self-immolation. This quality is integrity –
Having experienced this integrity of innocence, benevolence and undividedness in pure consciousness experiences it then becomes a prime motivation to experience it 24 hrs. a day, every day. The absence of conflict, confusion, deceit and duplicity – the absence of both the social and instinctual entity that are in constant battle has to be experienced to be understood. One cannot understand it unless one experiences it although it certainly helps if one is prepared to risk rocking one’s boat. By digging into one’s self one is certainly much, much more likely to induce a pure consciousness experience. By doing nothing, one gets nothing in return. Unless one investigates, one never finds out. Unless one changes, one stays the same. Unless one is motivated by integrity then one will remain a very, very cunning entity either fighting it out in the ‘real’ world or travelling on the spiritual path of self-discovery seeking self-satisfaction and self-aggrandizement.
Being guided by integrity or being guided by sincere intent ensures that I will not deceive myself, that I will be honest with myself, that I will not settle for second best – that I will not stop until I live the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs a day every day, until I am irrevocably free of the Human Condition.
Ah well. It was a bit of a rave again. I am trying to put into words my thoughts and experiences of the direct path to Actual freedom as opposed to Richard’s experience of travelling through the dementia of Enlightenment and out the other side. At the moment of self-immolation the instinctual and traditional urge to become a Saviour kicked in and it took him some 11 years to rid himself of the delusion. For ‘me’ there will be no fame, glory, glamour or glitz – simply extinction. T’is no wonder that denial is so endemic and integrity so scarce.
But for those willing to launch themselves on the path to Actual freedom the incremental rewards are such that one is driven on by success, integrity and naiveté. It does take a wee touch of courage to ditch the familiar old programming from the brain, to wipe the hard drive clean of all the old rotten corrupted programming but, as is evident in the pure consciousness experience, an actual freedom from the human condition in total is the inevitable result.
PETER: When you write of exploding in anger at your partner’s grandson, I remember a similar instance where I did the same to the son of my partner at the time. We had one son each from previous partners and I became aware of how much more ‘tolerant’ I was of ‘my’ son’s behaviour than ‘her’ son. Now I am clearly able to see that it was because I was instinctually programmed to favour, be biased, turn a blind eye to, defend and be sympathetic towards my ‘own’, i.e. the instinct to nurture my ‘own’ counteracts the usual instinctual reaction of aggression that I felt towards other human beings.
The other reaction I became aware of was a feeling of jealousy that I had of the special relationship she had with her son. It was an instinctual bond and therefore was stronger and overrode the relationship that I had with her. There is a good deal of statistical evidence that points to outbreaks of violence towards stepchildren caused either by jealousy or innate intolerance.
GARY: Yes, I am still investigating the jealousy angle to this. I did identify a feeling of jealousy towards their special relationship and she and I discussed it some. One thing that is even harder for me to own up to is that I am probably angry at her for having this kind of relationship, one that I do not feel I had growing up. So, in spite of my liking to tell myself that I have resolved my childhood hurts, they are apparently still there, rearing their ugly head again and again. I remember one of the things Richard said to me in my correspondence on the other list that hit me like a ton of bricks: he said ‘There are no childhood hurts extant in this flesh and blood body’. I still do not understand how this is possible.
I have often thought that this is one of those things one never gets over, if one has been traumatized by abuse or exploitation, or any number of things, one must carry this around for a lifetime, with the best one can expect to be a kind of gradual healing, like the healing of a physical scar, but with the scar nevertheless a visible reminder to oneself and others of a painful past. To hear that these hurts can be expunged completely and totally, to vanish without a trace, is, to put it mildly, a thrilling prospect.
PETER: The nature vs. nurture debate in psychology and sociology has raged for centuries, yet the curious thing is that it has always really been a one-sided debate. Moral and ethical considerations, combined with spiritual and religious beliefs, have always prevented a sensible and clear-eyed assessment of the primary and overarching role of genetically-encoded instinctual passions in human behaviour. That we were ‘born in sin’ is acknowledged in many religions as an excuse for the earthly behaviour of God’s creatures which only gives rise to primal feelings of guilt and shame in many Western societies. The current fashion for Eastern spiritual belief has given a shot in the arm for the Nurturists with the popularization of the Tabula Rasa theory, whereby we are supposedly born ‘innocent’ and corrupted by wrongly identifying with the physical world.
This Tabula Rasa revival has given rise to many psycho/spiritual therapies that offer to dredge up memories of past childhood hurts, on the basis that a healing, resolution or ‘completion’, with a subsequent wiping the slate clean feeling of regaining lost innocence. This practice has been the subject of much controversy as to the validity and accuracy of many memories recalled, the motives and competency of the practitioners, and the effectiveness of either emotional release or hidden memory recall in bringing about any healing, resolution or change.
Personally in my investigations into my psyche, I found it unnecessary to go back into childhood memories or past hurts. ‘How am I experiencing this moment of time’ has always served to keep me busy with the immediate and I found that the most I ever had to skip back was a few days to discover what was causing me to be either unhappy or malicious. Then, when I recognized the incident, reaction, onset of a mood, etc. and I could label it as jealousy, resentment, feeling inferior etc. I was then able to recall similar events and times when exactly the same event had arisen to make me sad or make me angry at someone. Then it simply became a matter of – ‘how long am I going to go on doing this same thing, how many times is this going to go on before I stop’. Once one dares to acknowledge, recognize, and catalogue the debilitating role that feelings play in one’s life it then becomes impossible to be the way you were – one has begun the process of radical and irrevocable change.
One of the more curious aspects of the human brain, if I have understood it properly and if it is indeed factual, is that the primitive brain seems to have its own separate memory which is an emotional-only memory of past events. There is also evidence that any long-term memory recall is very short on factual detail and further, that we only recall the last time we remembered the event rather than being able to trace back to the original event. Thus it is that these past memories are primarily psychological and psychic in nature, i.e. they are ‘my’ often irrational and largely emotional memories. When a present event triggers an automatic kick-in of an instinctual reaction it activates an emotion-backed thought in the neo-cortex, and this often opens a floodgate, as it were, and we get past emotional memories flooding in as well. Many people also access these emotional memories deliberately as they like the bitter-sweet feelings of sorrow or grief, or lusty feelings of anger and revenge.
But generally what happens with a triggering event is that we get a first hit of feeling reinforced by feelings from the past which serves to create and affirm a very-real chemical-backed ‘me’ stretching out over a time period we fondly, or despairingly, call ‘my’ life.
To actively dredge up past memories does nothing but keep ‘me’ in existence as a psychological and psychic entity. They are best nipped in the bud as quickly as possible so that one can focus one’s attention and awareness on the main event – one’s happiness and harmlessness now.
GARY: One has certain emotional reactions and others, picking up the vibes due to the psychic web that connects all human beings, often respond with their own emotional reactions. All of this play of emotions is a chemical process, taking place in a fervent imagination and it is not actual. Thus, reminding myself that it is not actual kind of pulls the rug out right from under the emotions, with the result that they can be examined and understood by a thorough-going process of investigation. One can step back and see one’s emotional life for what it is: a gross disabling condition that one is better without.
PETER: As I have said before, the comments I make may not necessarily apply to you in your process, but I tend to use these conversations to pass on any experiences, observations, discoveries and facts that I think may be of use to others who are reading. In my experience your description is spot on. The only thing I would add is that this process is most usually applied to the undesirable savage passions initially and this is essentially the easiest and most obvious work. You are in essence going with the flow of good vs. bad and society gives kudos and acclaim to such efforts. The more difficult work involves investigating and eliminating the tender passions for this is very much going against society’s morals, ethics and values and any efforts to eliminate what is regarded as the good and sacred elicits scorn, ridicule condemnation and anger.
I would again recommend the ‘180 degrees’ diagram because it schematically represents much of what I have been talking about recently. It makes clear the apparent initial similarities of the spiritual path and the actualist path and identifies the point of radical divergence where the two paths split in diametrically opposite directions.
GARY: The only other thing I would mention is that there is another easy way of understanding the nature of the animal instinctual programming that I have run across and that is to observe children. Granted that the children that I work with as a social worker have, in many cases, been horribly abused by their parents and caretakers, but they seem not to have developed the internal controls that are inculcated by society as morals, ethics, and values, and the underlying instinctual package is plain for all to see. The malice and sorrow of these little people, their fights with one another, their pain and suffering, is readily apparent. The children are very obviously in a primitive survival mode almost all the time. The destructiveness of these self-centred passions is something I wrestle with everyday in my work.
PETER: Having had children myself and watched others, it is readily apparent that fear, aggression, nurture and desire are instinctual passions and not something that is taught or picked up from others or one’s environment. Chinese anger is the same as African anger and Australian anger. As for the nature vs. nurture debate – the instinctual passions are ‘natural’ in that they are genetically encoded and ‘nurture’ plays a minor role in the degree and manner of suppression or expression of these passions. Even then, the role of ‘nurture’ in the suppression and control of the instinctual passions is by no means certain as innate differences can be readily observed in very young children even with identical upbringing.
GARY: There is another thing about nurture, aside from the ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate. There seems to be a feeling among those who I am going to dub ‘nurturists’ that if only enough nurture is supplied to each and every human being, the problems of humanity will be solved and there will no wars, no violence, etc. It’s the old ‘what the world needs now is Love Sweet Love’ syndrome, and it is strong among those who are positive, nurturing types. Obviously children need a great deal of nurturing, and I am not suggesting to stop nurturing them. But nurture does not eliminate the genetically encoded instinctual passions of aggression and fear.
PETER: That love fails, and always has failed, can be seen in the bitter-sweet sadness of love songs and the tragedies and melodramas that pass for great love stories. Only in the fairy stories do people live happily ever after and only in mythology do loving societies exist.
My experience is when the instinctual passion of nurture kicks in with regard to caring for children, it invariably triggers off the full range of associated instinctual passions. Fear abounds in protecting and providing, aggression kicks in the form of jealousy and possessiveness and desire simply changes focus from sexual hunting to nest-building security, both of which are pursued relentlessly. Exactly as love always fails, the instinctual passion of nurture also fails to deliver the goods for the simple reason that it is impossible to separate the good from the bad in the intertwined package of instinctual passions.
PETER: When I read of your recent job change, I was wondering how you would go working with young children.
GARY: I was wondering the same thing. I feel a bit hypocritical at times as I find myself falling back on what I learned and was taught in dealing with situations, and I think what I learned and was taught was based on the same values, morals, ethics, etc., that constitute the ‘Tried and Failed’. So there is this hypocritical feeling often. But I seemingly do not react to emotionally charged situations and I am not intimidated by people whose aim is to push other people’s buttons. That doesn’t mean I stick around to become their punching bag, it just means that I can be level-headed in a situation.
PETER: Once I began to get some understanding as to the nature of the human condition I remember passing through some difficult phases in my work and with people I met. Firstly I had to overcome the hurdle of wanting to tell others about my discoveries about how the human condition operates but I soon saw I was falling for that perennial trap of wanting to change others. When this urge subsided, I found myself feeling like an outsider because I no longer believed what everyone else believed and I was increasingly more happy and harmless, in a world awash with sadness, blame, resentment, competition and affront. In hindsight it was really a matter of riding out the storm, keeping my own counsel as to what was going on and accept the fact that actualism means change, that this change requires effort and that change is at times an uncomfortable and disconcerting business.
At the risk of making this post a marathon, there is another story that is relevant to the subject of work as well as the topic of beauty that No 37 was interested in. As an architect I was trained to consider architecture to be a fine art and consequently great emphasis was placed on aesthetics in my education. The look and feel of a building was considered paramount and its functionality, workability and build-ability were considered secondary.
As a consequence of this teaching, beauty and style became personal issues to be honed, cherished, defended and fought for over the course of one’s career. Because of this many of my interactions with clients became subtle battles of will as I attempted to impose my style and sense of beauty on their building. Despite the fact that I could see that beauty was a subjective value and by no means an absolute and that it was influenced by fashion, location, culture and personality, it took a long time to rid myself of the aesthetic values I had been taught in architecture school.
Last year I found myself designing a house that was completely foreign to what I would normally consider my style and yet I did the job I was paid to do without a glimmer of resentment or frustration? I did the best I could to give the client what she wanted in the way of style and used my experience and knowledge to ensure that she got best practical value for her money. It was a liberating exercise for me, for not only had I broken free of the values imposed by my vocational training but also of the belief that there is an intrinsic and absolute beauty. As there was no conflict at all between the client and myself, everyone won out of the situation.
GARY: In a way, it almost seems that it is exceedingly difficult for a human being to recognize the immediate and actual as exactly what it is, rather than what it is not. I wonder if it would be possible to raise children with an immediate appreciation and delight in what is actually present, something they have innately anyway, with no imaginative fabrication of what is not there.
PETER: Also innately present in children are the instinctual passions and these passions will always take precedent over any potential for an ‘immediate appreciation and delight in what is actually present’ – in fact, the crude animal survival passions exist to do precisely this. Which is not to say that it makes good sense not to indulge a child’s natural tendency for fantasy and imagination – a tendency that will anyway be fostered by interaction with their peers, despite the wishes and actions of any parent.
GARY: Yes, of course. In hindsight, I see I made a rather big speculative leap in considering the raising of children who are devoid of the instinctual passions. While such speculation is interesting, it is just a sidetrack from the main event: freeing oneself from malice and sorrow. In my work with children, it is amazing to me to see the degree to which malice and sorrow are inveterate to the human condition. I have also seen a large degree of denial about the presence of malice in children – people are wont to believe in the innocence of children and cannot seem to see that sometimes their actions are most malicious. I was at a training recently and the trainer was describing a child lashing out in anger and hurting someone else’s feelings, and added the proviso: ‘But it wasn’t really a malicious action’ or something of that sort. There seems to be a deep-seated human need to believe that childhood is a time of innocence which malice and sorrow cannot intrude into. But this is obviously not the case.
PETER: Whenever an adult observes a child there can be a degree of envy at what seems to be a carefree state. This is due to the fact that the instinctual animal ‘self’ is not substantially formed until about age 2 in children, i.e. the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are not yet fully functioning. The other relevant aspect is that the child’s social identity – the befuddled mishmash of an individualistic persona and a collective social conscience – is not yet fully formed until the age of about 7 years, which means much of the childhood years are spent in ignorance of the grim everyday reality that every adult experiences. Whilst very early childhood is an ignorance of the grim instinctual battle for survival in the real-world – as well as the repercussions of the socialization process – this psychological and psychic battle will inevitably be experienced first-hand by every child in family interactions, playground exchanges and, after puberty, in the world-at-large.
The deep-seated belief that the ignorance of the formative, preoperational years of childhood is an innate innocence is what fuels the whole fanciful notion that nurture is the panacea for instinctual malice and sorrow, and that ‘proper’ nurture can even prevent their onset. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the faith that nurture can assuage or overcome malice and sorrow is seen as inviolate within the human condition. Like all belief and faith, it only has legs for want of a new and effective workable alternative.
PETER: Hi Gary,
Whenever an adult observes a child there can be a degree of envy at what seems to be a carefree state. This is due to the fact that the instinctual animal ‘self’ is not substantially formed until about age 2 in children, i.e. the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are not yet fully functioning. The other relevant aspect is that the child’s social identity – the befuddled mishmash of an individualistic persona and a collective social conscience – is not yet fully formed until the age of about 7 years, which means much of the childhood years are spent in ignorance of the grim everyday reality that every adult experiences. <snip>
GARY: The envy can be for the child’s spontaneity and energy – they seem to have an inexhaustible supply of spontaneity, wonder, and excitement. And children can say things that are remarkably perceptive and ‘off the cuff’. This contrasts with the adult mode of functioning which seems to be ever-vigilant lest one defies some social convention or one of one’s imbibed and socially inculcated ‘must’, ‘should’, ‘ought to’ irrational beliefs. The spontaneity of childhood is soon enough trained out of one by one’s teachers, parents, etc. and the social identity becomes calcified and rigid. Then people try, through various means, to regain that ‘lost innocence’ but never seem to succeed.
PETER: It has been a good many years since my days of being a father, but I have recently had occasion to observe a 2½ year old, which rekindled my memory of my own children. What I observed is that there is a ‘natural’ – as in instinctually programmed – emergence of a very distinct ‘self’-awareness at about this age. There is a growing realization in all children that others think and feel differently to them – that other children, parents and adults, are separate and alien beings who had thoughts and feelings that were not only different but very often at odds with the child’s own thoughts and feelings. This stage of growing up sees the emergence of a natural cunning in the child, whereby the child learns by trial and error to be controlling and manipulative – to seek reward and avoid punishment by whatever means.
Whilst this ‘loss of innocence’ is to some extent socially learned by the child’s observation of parents, siblings and other children’s behaviour, the underlying and primary impetus is instinctual – the result of a natural development of rudimentary survival skills as opposed to imbibing social skills. Observation of other animal species confirms that both cunning and forcefulness are essential qualities needed to enhance the chances of any newborn animal’s survival and an observation of human infants reveals this same basic animal functioning at work.
I remember seeing in my own children the emergence of what could be described as an independent will at about age 2 – an independence that was definitely not taught, as it was very often displayed in behaviour and moods that were contrary to the children’s social training and the best intentions and efforts of both parents. This observation, combined with the fact that my two children had such distinct and divergent personalities, first led me to be suspicious of the nurture-can-cure-all belief.
After my younger son died, I found that I really had to question and examine this belief deeply or else I would have spent the rest of my life wallowing in guilt and sorrow because I had not been ‘loving’ enough as a parent. The belief that nurture can counter, cure or overcome the instinctual passions of malice and sorrow serves to cripple all parents and child carers with guilt, as well as being an all-to-convenient excuse for the human need to lay the blame at someone’s door rather than look deeply within themselves.
Having previously experienced that nurture fails to shelter children from the ills of humanity, the death of my son convinced me that I needed to devote my life to seeking a way to open the possibility for future children to escape from suffering the inevitable trails and traumas of being a human being within the human condition. My father’s advice to me, post Second World War, was ‘be happy’ but he wasn’t able to tell me ‘how to’. Standing beside my son’s coffin, I was suddenly faced with a task in life – I passionately wanted to be able to pass on to the next generation the missing ‘how to’.
I know I am at risk of labouring the point about nurture as the cure-all, but I do so with good reason. Understanding and acknowledging the fact that the genetically-encoded instinctual passions were the root cause of human malice and sorrow – the root cause of every war, of every murder, of every child molestation, of every rape, of every suicide, of every act of violence, of every bout of despair – was crucial to my turning away from being a believer in the tried and failed truisms and beginning to looking deep within myself in order to root out these instinctual passions.
GARY: I seem to recall, as a child, having times when I had the most intense fascination with what I was doing at the time, whether I was playing with something or studying something, or just experiencing something. Later, these experiences I tried to re-create through drug use. The ordinary cares and woes fell away and there was this intense fascination and absorption in the moment and what I was experiencing. Later, and more recently, I found in the Pure Consciousness Experience what I was looking for: this incredible vibrancy, aliveness, scintillating, coruscating (all those Richard-words and more to describe the experience) quality. It is the most amazing thing when one shifts into apperception, and one experiences naiveté.
It is not for nothing that Richard describes naiveté as ‘the closest approximation to innocence one can have whilst being a ‘self’’. In this state of naiveté, there is such an experience of wonder and one is in touch immediately with the purity and pristine-ness of the physical actuality of the world around one. When this happens, one has connected with the long-sought Meaning of Life. The search is over – there is nowhere else to go.
PETER: One thing about the spiritual path that did not sit well with me, apart from feeling increasingly isolated and dissociated from the world of people, things and events, was the fundamental cynicism that underpins all spiritual belief – that the human experience is one of essential suffering. Because of this spiritual cynicism about life on earth meeting Richard, hearing of his experiences and reading his words was quite literally a breath of fresh air.
By taking on board what he had to say, and being able to relate to what he was saying by my own experience in a PCE, I was very soon able set off on the path to actual freedom. In doing so, I was able to forgo my cynicism and reconnect with my naiveté, I was able to cease practicing dissociation and begin being fascinated with being here, and I was able to begin the enthralling business of investigating all of ‘my’ beliefs and passions that make ‘me’ an inseparable constituent of the human condition of malice and sorrow.
Cynicism is the pits. It’s so delicious to have abandoned cynicism, to get in touch with my naiveté and devote myself fully to the business of becoming free from malice and sorrow.
GARY: You went on to say:
At the present time, since the ‘real world’ is such a grim, dangerous place, there is no alternative but to shelter the child from the ‘grim instinctual battle for survival’ as long as possible. This only makes sense from a real world perspective.
PETER: Speaking personally, I very quickly came to understand that sheltering my children from the world as-it-is was not only impossible but not even a good idea. Even in those days I had the acumen to know that learning happens only by the trial and error process of lived experience, and the wider the experience and the more completely involved in the experience the better chance of learning.
GARY: Since humans are for the most part all engaged in this grim instinctual battle, too many children unfortunately fall prey to the predatory nature of human beings. Compared to spiritualism, Actualism has its eyes wide open to the widespread phenomenon of child abuse. This is one of the things that attracted me to Actualism – we are concerned with finding a solution to problems which concern everyone and which are universal – although the ultimate solution of these problems is most radical indeed ... only when humans cease ‘being’ will there be an end to all the child abuse, war, rape, murder, torture, etc.
PETER: Yep. Actualism is as hands-on and as down-to-earth as you can get.
PETER: The deep-seated belief that the ignorance of the formative, preoperational years of childhood is an innate innocence is what fuels the whole fanciful notion that nurture is the panacea for instinctual malice and sorrow, and that ‘proper’ nurture can even prevent their onset. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the faith that nurture can assuage or overcome malice and sorrow is seen as inviolate within the human condition. Like all belief and faith, it only has legs for want of a new and effective workable alternative’.
GARY: You have again hit the nail on the head, so to speak, with this observation, and I must say that it is a remarkably persistent notion. I find myself falling into it too – that if these children only had enough love, everything would be all right. It is the old ‘What the world needs now is Love Sweet Love’ idea, sung once as a pop music, expressing the hopes of a Generation, but repeated yet again and again.
PETER: As I understand it, you have been trained as a social worker and core to this training would be the belief that nurture is the panacea for malice and sorrow. As such, it is no wonder you find it a remarkably persistent notion. I know that it has taken me a long time to prise apart the beliefs and passions that were instilled in me as part of my training in architecture.
I was taught that there was a higher spiritual good in architecture – that ‘good’ architecture could nourish the soul, raise the spirits and make the world a better place. The instilling of these beliefs and passions formed the backbone of my identity as an architect and gave ‘my’ work a higher, nobler meaning. This meant that not only did I bring ‘my’ demands and expectations, worries and anxieties to my work and to all interactions with others through my work, but also a good deal of self-righteousness. Not only did ‘I’ always come first, but ‘I’ always knew better and ‘I’ was always right – whereas everyone else came second, never understood and were always wrong. It was a recipe that invariably led to conflict at worst or begrudging compromises at best.
As I began to realize how much these instilled beliefs and passions prevented me from being happy while working and caused me to be in conflict with others while working, I began the procedure of investigating the nature of them every time that I became aware of these beliefs and passions in action. This being aware of the tell-tale signs of holding a belief dear to your bosom reveals reactions ranging from feeling personally affronted or defensive if your belief is questioned, to denying, dissociating from or obscuring any facts that contradict or make your precious deary-held belief a non-sense.
When I finally traced the passions evoked by my work back to my training, I could see that all vocational training is spiked with beliefs that would have us fighting for the good in the battle over evil – be they a social worker combating the evils of society, an architect combating the evils of bad design or a doctor fighting the evils of death and disease. A PCE finally revealed the fact that my identity as an architect was made up of a mishmash of ‘my’ instilled beliefs and ‘my’ personal passions and to be able to do my work when free of this identity is to be unconditionally happy and effortlessly harmless.
So I wouldn’t be at all concerned that you find yourself falling back to the notion ‘that if these children only had enough love, everything would be all right’. Because of your vocational training you have had the belief that nurture is the cure-all for the ills of humanity doubly reinforced, as it were. You have had an extra layer of belief laid on top of what everyone else believes, in a similar way that I had another layer of beliefs about beauty instilled into me. I found that after a good deal of investigation I was able to identify ‘my’ belief as being nothing else but a belief in that it had no basis in fact … and then I ‘had the bugger by the throat’ as it were. Then it was only a matter of being attentive as to when and how the belief manifested itself. Each instant of awareness threw more light on the belief and its associated passions, enabling me to dig a little deeper into my psyche and discover its workings.
GARY: As another form of ‘nurturance’, apart from what is commonly called Love, is ‘understanding’.
It is often thought that if only we ‘understand’ and acknowledge the grievance or sorrow of a person or people, then the solution can be found, or at least the ‘understanding’ will ameliorate the person’s sorrow. From this arises the old adage, sometimes used to quell another’s disturbance: ‘I understand your pain’. Internationally, warring nations and other parties sit down at the conference table to hash out and ultimately accommodate to each other’s grievances in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance and ‘understanding’. Such an approach does not address the ultimate cause of war in the first place and only produces yet the need for more conferences, more negotiation, and more accommodation. Accommodation seems to be one of the outstanding characteristics of the Human Condition, as we are using the term here. One makes countless accommodations in order to continue on ‘being’.
PETER: And a little reading of history reveals that these international accommodations produce at best a temporary lull in hostilities and a provisional cessation of suspicions and grievances, whilst many only serve to become the basis for future resentments. Inter-tribal suspicions and grievances run far too deep to be ever eliminated via accommodation, conciliation, compromise, pact or the like. The first and only step towards a practical workable solution is for sufficiently motivated individuals to take unilateral action by ceasing to be tribal members – to be a pioneer global citizen rather than continue to be a paid-up passionate member of one or other of the warring tribes.
The very same thing applies to being a paid-up passionate member of one or other of the warring sexes – the only way to begin to end the cycle of hostilities, grievances, suspicions and resentments is to firstly stop being a part of the male tribe or stop being a part of the female tribe. Having done so, one rids oneself of most of one’s social masculine or feminine identity such that the deeper instinctual levels are more readily available for scrutiny. This is the only practical way to bring an end to the battle of the sexes that invariably prevents an unconditional and actual intimacy between the male and female genders.
PETER: Not at all. Following one’s intuition is to act the way you know, or feel, is right. I have been reviewing a book by a spiritual Guru who teaches following one’s intuition, listening to one’s inner dialogue, etc. and what this means is acting from one’s instinctual passions. Following one’s intuition simply is what everyone does and it means that everyone is instinctually driven to act aggressively and fearfully, blindly seeking a futile fulfillment and solace in nurture and desire.
As for pure intent, there is a glossary of terms on the Actual Freedom web-site that I compiled and Vineeto has collated relevant writings and correspondence – in order to avoid confusion, encourage contemplation and aid thinking about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. It was my next project after writing my journal, as it was apparent to me that my spiritual training had stifled enquiry and muddled words and thinking to such an extent that nothing made sense anymore. It is essential to first make sense of the Human Condition we find ourselves in as human beings in order to become actually free of it. Hence The Actual Freedom Trust Glossary – a common language or words firmly based on dictionary meanings in order to clearly communicate and share our experiences.
But one does have to read, and read, and read – it is a prerequisite for an actualist. When I first met Richard I took everything he was saying in spiritual terms for I knew nothing else and it was only by reading his journal over and over again that the penny started to drop and the sparks started to fly.
As it says on the Cabot’s paint tins – ‘If all else fails – read the instructions’.
RESPONDENT: Watching one’s self in action, then, is insightful, leading to permanent change.
PETER: No. It does bugger all. Denial plus acceptance equals no change. To be a watcher is to be a wanker.
IRENE: Living with Richard made it eventually clear to me that it is not nature that is to blame but the overlaid male interpretation of human life; how it should be instead! In other words knowing better than nature the universe itself. I don’t have to explain to you how every culture and religion (all invented by male minds, based on their interpretation of how life should be organised and regulated for women as well) denigrates particular aspects of our natural faculties and have tried to suppress them, repress them, to forbid them and demand that they must be changed into unnatural behaviour and beliefs, in order to keep the male supremacy intact.
In most cultures and religions we can observe, for instance, that sex was the culprit – it had to be either repressed completely (like the catholic priests) or limited to the wishes of the man only. In both scenarios a shocking amount of victims were created: repressed sexuality reveals itself in perversity, as is more and more exposed in the use of young children by grown men for their own benefit only and to the detriment of many, many children, as they were made helpless and guilty by intimidation and threats.
The other alternative was the licence granted to men over women and girls by cultural and religious authorities, whereby women and girls are seen as just cattle, for the men to use as they please. It lies all in the mistake of man believing himself to be the authority over woman, as was decreed by their ancestors who were to be believed to be in direct contact with a creator-god.
If men and women will ever want to live in peace and harmony, the very root-cause must be addressed: a law can only be fair if both genders define that law, not only men. But men would not voluntarily choose to share all responsibilities and rights with women, because they are too proud of and too used to their supremacy, plus they would – quite understandably! – feel afraid that they might become redundant altogether, once women were given the chance to have equal say in the decision-making processes that are necessary for the organization of all men, women and children into a peaceful and fair living together.
PETER: I find myself bewildered in the face of the depth of resentment women have towards men. As a man said to me the other day: ‘Do they want us to wear skirts?’ As you say above ‘they feel afraid that they might become redundant altogether, once women were given the chance to have an equal say in decision making processes’. This seems a statement not about equity at all but about justice which is but a nice word for revenge. Your Matrilineal dreams are of a Golden Age when women ruled over men and there was supposedly peace on earth.
There seems to be a lack of understanding among women of the suffering and sorrow that men experience. This is understandable, as the instinctual male role is one of provider and protector. As such he displays courage, bravado and strength to impress the female. In her selection of a mate this is what she demands, albeit sub-consciously, in many cases. This instinctual behaviour has resulted in the typical male displays of toughness, competitiveness and aggression, essential for the hunter and protector in the past and still played out in sport, business, politics and unfortunately in war. It is simply the male role – as it is the role of the female to procreate, mother and nurture and be protected.
This leads directly to the assumption that all violence is the fault of the male and women are but innocent victims. And yet it is the men who are still expected to die for family or country.
The other common belief is that men are not emotional or feeling ‘beings’. I had thought I had experienced the full gamut of human emotions and wrote a lot about them in my journal, smugly thinking I had not repressed anything. But recently when I stuck my head into fear to see if I was maybe avoiding something I found more. Beyond fear I discovered stark terror, angst and a dread the like of which I have never experienced before or want to experience again. I had previously, at the death of my son, experienced a form of dread that I would describe as personal, but this dread was as though I was experiencing the dread of humanity – every tortured soul, every rape, every horror, every fear. It literally tore my heart out as I realised what lay at the very core of my ‘being’ and every other being – I had tapped the very source of human psychic fear – the psychic opposite of the Divine Love and Bliss of Enlightenment.
So maybe this will illustrate the point as to why I truck little with those who accuse men of having no feelings. Feelings rule and ruin the lives of both men and women equally; this is my experience. After a near fatal illness, my father deliberately went back to work with the avowed intention of at least leaving something to my mother – he died two years later and she got a house. One night I witnessed a car crash. Going to help I was confronted with a seriously injured teenager who muttered over and over through the blood ‘she left me, she left me’. I have suffered from the fear of getting a girl pregnant and of being forced to become a husband and provider in my teens and as such was a fearful bumbling virgin when married. I have suffered heartbreak, jealousy, dependency, loneliness – need I go on?
PETER: I met a friend of ours lately who has had some inklings that Vineeto and I were ‘doing something different’ with our lives. We got chatting and I said that it was about being happy and harmless. She seemed interested but when I said this meant being free of malice and sorrow she seemed doubtful. When I asked her wouldn’t you want to be free of sorrow she said she really liked to feel sad occasionally. Unperturbed, I asked her about being free of malice and she said that she liked to get angry, to defend herself, to make her point. She said she wouldn’t have survived in her life without her anger.
RESPONDENT: I agree that some of these emotions have their attractiveness but if that is weighed up against all the times one missed out on opportunities because of the negative effects of certain emotions then a strong argument can be made for sacrificing the ones that are found to be somehow enjoyable.
PETER: Yep. Tis writ large in the sacred texts of the ‘Human Condition’, sub-section ‘Human Attributes’ – ‘The faculty that distinguishes the human species from other animal species is our ability to feel. In short we are ‘feeling’ beings – take away our feelings and we are but animals or robots’. Of course, this sacred tenet was written in ancient times when the only chance of keeping fear and aggression in reasonable control was to emphasise nurture and desire. Thus it was that ‘good’ and ‘bad’, together with ‘right and wrong’, was chiselled in stone and written on rice paper as the morals and ethics of tribal groups. This was further reinforced by fairy-tales of Gods and Demons, good and bad spirits, and the power and influence of the shamans was set in concrete. To dare to question the Gods and the good was to tempt the Devil, invite the bad to run riot and invoke the wrath of the shamans.
All of this is based on primitive ignorance of modern human biological knowledge only evident this century. Human and animal behavioural studies combined with stunning genetic and neuro-biological knowledge has made the futility of sticking with Ancient and spirit-ual solutions patently obvious.
What we now know is that human beings have an instinctual program of fear, aggression, nurture and desire and that this is located in the hypothalamus primitive lizard brain. Its task is largely the regulation of stereotyped, or instinctive behaviour patterns and responses. In lower animals this response, sometimes known as ‘fight and flight’ is a simple response to sensorial input – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. In humans with our more complex brain, thought, memory, reflection and self-awareness this simple response becomes an emotional response – an emotion according to Mr. Oxford – Any of the natural instinctive affections of the mind.
Our treasured and dearly-held feelings are most commonly expressed as emotion-backed thoughts, firmly rooted in the ‘fight and flight’ instinct of fear and aggression. Hence we are ‘feeling’ beings – we live constantly with the feelings of fear and aggression implanted in us by ‘blind’ nature.
Fear hobbles us with a desperate need to belong to a group, to cling to the past, to hang on to whatever we hold dear to ourselves, to resist change and desperately seek immortality.
Aggression causes us to fight for our territory, our possessions, our ‘rights’, our family and our treasured beliefs – seeking power over others. We seek solace in the so-called ‘good’ feelings, or ‘trip off’ into unbounded imagination and delusionary feelings of the spiritual.
Nurture causes us to care, comfort and protect but also leads to dependency, clinging, empathy, sacrifice and needless heroism.
Desire drives us to sexual reproduction, avarice, greed, corruption and power over others.
We seek solace in the so-called ‘good’ feelings, or ‘trip off’ into unbounded imagination and delusionary feelings of the spiritual. Nurture causes us to care, comfort and protect but also leads to dependency, clinging, empathy, sacrifice and needless heroism. Desire drives us to sexual reproduction, avarice, greed, corruption and power over others.
If you think ‘a strong argument can be made for sacrificing the ones that are found to be somehow enjoyable’, do you realise that thinking like that, if actualized, could eventually lead to an end of religions and of religious wars – an end to malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: It is amazing how this human trap can be desirable, even after great suffering.
PETER: We do indeed love to suffer and to inflict suffering on others – our ‘entertainment’ is either sad ‘love’ stories and tales of suffering or ‘action’ and violence. We have turned suffering into a virtue and pleasure into a vice. All of the religious and spiritual texts point to the essential and unending human suffering on earth. It is understandable for they knew nought of instinctual programming, and life on earth was a ‘fight and flight’ business – a man eat man business – to put it in its brutal perspective. But it is 1999 after all, and the ‘sacred’ words of Jesus, Buddha and the likes can be seen for what they are – ancient spirit-ridden drivel of no relevance at all to the situation we – you and I, and the others on this list – now find ourselves in.
RESPONDENT: Or is it that the trap is accepted because the possibility of freedom requires opening a big heavy door and that is too much effort.
PETER: Well, up until now only one person has done it, and he did it via Enlightenment. To give up the power, glory and blissful feelings of being Divine and Immortal is indeed a big heavy door and it is extremely doubtful if any of the present lot will repeat the effort. They have ‘feet of clay’ as Richard puts it. But by utilizing the method Richard has devised – to eliminate one’s social identity, who you ‘think’ you are, the ‘ego’ if you like, and then eliminate one’s instinctual self, who you ‘feel’ you are, the ‘soul’ if you like – when you finally get to the door it’s a ‘step through’ job only.
Is it that you are worried about the end of the journey before you even begin?
PETER: I wrote a chapter about fear and doubt in my journal. It was not a major item for me, once I had decided to start. Then the intent was such that fear was simply a feeling associated with the next discovery, and the feeling of fear was what made the journey thrilling. It is a journey of discovery, after all. Many, many humans have made journeys of discovery over the millennia to facilitate humankind’s emergence from the caves. Those who make this new journey into their psyche in order to free themselves of the Human Condition will facilitate not only a personal peace for themselves but the ending of malice and sorrow in humankind.
RESPONDENT: Just an additional thought. I have found at times that there is a strong resistance to the ‘How am I...’ and the question starts off in a more personal way.
Other times the ease is simply surprising. After reading that sometimes the attention can increase depth of sensation I would surmise that I am at times avoiding the strong almost pain-like sensation.
PETER: There is a lot of denial, ignorance and deliberate misinformation regarding emotions and feelings in spiritual teachings. One God-man, describing himself as a Western Master, even declares that love is not a feeling but it is a sensation, in a desperate attempt to validate what he teaches as ‘true’ love. He is merely reinforcing the common belief that the good feelings are ‘natural’, i.e. a sign from God, and the bad feelings are evil – he preaches that sex is the Devil. Feelings are indeed natural – instilled by ‘blind’ nature – but that does not mean that we have to forever suffer their consequences. A local therapist proudly trumpets on her poster offering a group on Anger, that ‘anger is natural’ – her ‘solution’ is to somehow ‘transform’ anger into love and compassion. The proof that feelings are ‘natural’ is that they are felt in the body as sensations and, no matter what you do you can’t get rid of them. Denying, transforming, transcending and expressing have all been tried and all have failed.
It is essential to differentiate between the sensate experience (sensations) produced by feelings – the bodily response, and the source of feelings – the instinctual emotions.
For clarity, let’s look at how Mr. Oxford defines sensation –
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.