Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: And if you were to raise a child, how were you to deal with the free operation of the child instinctual passions? Wouldn’t you instil in him some sort of values in order to curb these passions, some form of psychological control?
PETER: Probably not that much different than the way I did – I have been the biological care-taker to two children. The only difference, and it is a significant difference, would be that I would not have been plagued by feelings of doubt, anguish, guilt, possessiveness, jealousy, remorse and so on whilst doing the job of care taking for my children.
The most obvious of the instinctual passions that a parent or carer has to deal with in children is anger and there are several ways of dealing with it. In very young children one ways is to ignore it and let it run its course as it always does, but when the anger is expressed by hitting people or breaking things then the carrot and stick approach is next on the list. When my children got to the age that I was able to reason with them then I could point out that hitting others usually meant you were liable to get hit back or suffer some form of punishment and that breaking things meant that when you calmed down all you had left was a broken thing.
Generally I, along with my wife, established a few sensible rules so that the family unit could function as reasonably as it could – given that we were all of us subject to our moods, feelings and emotions. I also let them know that society at large had rules, be they laws or conventions, that it was sensible to obey or conform, otherwise they would find themselves in trouble of some sort. I didn’t put the fear of God in my children because that seemed a weird thing to do – I simply taught them the essential rules of the game as it were.
Now that I am virtually free of malice and sorrow, I still play the game by and large by the same rules I passed on to my children – except that playing the game and complying with the rules is effortless nowadays because I am no longer prone to be antagonistic or abusive and nor am I inclined to feel sad or to wallow in melancholia. There are a few rules and customs that I find non-sensical and weird but nowadays I rarely, if ever, find myself getting upset or angry about them.
PETER: Given that others have also written to you, I’ll cut to some questions you have asked about a topic I have had some particular experience with.
RESPONDENT: Now – on to ‘relationships.’ I think I can ask this one pretty simply.
If one is slowly whittling away at love, compassion, nurture, desire – then is there still room for rearing children and ‘sticking with’ your marriage partner come what may?
PETER: Being virtually free, my experience is that once you free yourself of the shackles of your social-spiritual conditioning and are free of being driven by your instinctual passions, you are then free to do whatever you deem appropriate in any situation. If the situation is that you have children to rear then you do the job much, much better by being virtually free of malice and sorrow. Similarly, if you decide to ‘stick with’ your marriage partner come what may, at least you free your partner from the imposition of your moods and emotional demands.
RESPONDENT: Is the actuality of benevolence enough to keep people together as long as it’s a sensible thing to do?
PETER: When you tap into the already existing benevolence that lies crippled by your instinctual passions everything – including whatever obligations remain – becomes easy and effortless.
RESPONDENT: Or is there still some cultural factor that makes it ‘sensible’ to ‘care’ for spouse and child?
PETER: In virtual freedom from the human condition, no cultural factors remain to restrict or impede sensible action. These include the social, cultural and spiritual mores that conspire to lock one into any of the traditional social identities of being a father, mother, son or daughter. Remaining ensnared by this socially imbibed role-playing acts to prevent the possibility of an unfettered intimacy between what are, in fact, fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: In other words, where does the ‘continuity’ required to care for a child come from in actual (or virtual) freedom (where ‘continuity’ doesn’t exist)?
PETER: ‘Continuity’, as you put it, ceases to exist only when there is no psychological or psychic identity to harbour past hurts, nor to conjure any future expectations. It follows that the very best thing that you can do in caring for a child is to free him or her from ‘your’ hopes and fears as well as ‘your’ resentment, anger, frustration, sadness and misery.
RESPONDENT: It’s easy to think that caring for your child is only based on the nurturing instinct. Does the ability to raise a child necessarily disappear along with the nurturing instinct – or is the benevolence of virtual or actual freedom enough to maintain ‘parenthood’?
PETER: Speaking personally and in hindsight, the only reason I married was because it was the only socially acceptable way to have sex when I was young and randy. Having children came with the package, so to speak. Then the instinctual drive and passion of nurture took over my life, causing me no end of pain and suffering and causing me to inflict no end of pain and suffering on my wife and children.
As I came to become aware of what was going on, I deliberately aimed to suppress these feelings, to concentrate on the more pragmatic, practical aspects of caring and to allow my children as much freedom as possible to live their own lives. When their school years came, I realized that a peer-driven socialization process had kicked in and that my influence as a parent declined dramatically.
By then, it was simply a matter of providing food, shelter and money for as long as was needed. In hindsight, this was the best I could have done in the circumstances, given ‘who’ I was then. It is impossible to save children from the inevitability of being socially conditioned, and it is impossible to free them from their genetic-endowment of the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
The only advice my father ever gave me, apart from practical matters, was to ‘be happy’, but he didn’t tell me how because he didn’t know. He had also fought in the Second World War and consequently abhorred violence, something he passed on to me. This influence was to emerge in my spiritual search as I threw myself headlong into a search for happiness and peace, so conceivably my own influence on my children was that life was a search for happiness and peace.
When I became an actualist and found out how to be happy and where peace really lay, I wrote my Journal and sent my son a copy. What he does with what I have found out is his business, which is as it should be – and is – in this perfect actual world we live in.
It is as much an imposition to bring up a child as an actualist as it is to deliberately impose any beliefs on a child – for the simple fact that a child lacks sufficient life experience and erudition to distinguish between belief and fact, to know what works and what doesn’t work. The best an actualist can do is to provide practical care, pass on practical survival skills and ... eliminate his or her own malice and sorrow so as not to impose either on the child.
This best far outstrips what passes for parenthood in either the normal or spiritual worlds.
RESPONDENT: Does the fact of raising a child necessarily indicate the continuing presence of ‘nurture’?
PETER: Just as the elimination of the instinctual passion of aggression does not mean that one cannot defend oneself appropriately if physically attacked, the elimination of the instinctual passion of nurture does not stop one from rearing children. In both cases the job is done much better without the blind crude instinctual imperative operating. In a similar vein, the elimination of the instinctual passion of desire does not mean one ends up being a celibate monk – or a globe-trotting Guru – sponging off others for food, shelter and veneration.
Rather than suppressing or denying, a progressive elimination of all of the instinctual passions means one discovers that one is already living, and always has lived, in a sensual paradise, the earthy incomparable cornucopia of this planet we call Earth.
RESPONDENT: I have a series of questions that go out to all who are interested. I’ve been asking the actualist question now for several months with some success at times – occasional glimpses what it is to be free – but very temporary. What I find as an even more common theme is worries arising about what I might have to ‘give up’ if I continue further and the difficulty of ‘seeing what is on the other side of a ‘problem’’.
Here are a couple issues that are important to me right now. I’m interested currently in this idea of ‘family ties.’ I understand the whole issue of the need to belong to a certain degree – but the hardest thing for me with this whole belongingness need is ‘how to’ relate to my family of origin. I know that the actualist strives to treat everyone on an even playing field by seeing through the deceptions of belonging. Take a simple thing like for example, ‘Mother’s Day.’ If I send a card to my Mom in appreciation of her care for me – then am I necessarily ‘falling into the trap’ of belonging?
Also, seeing that ‘gratitude’ is binding, is there a way of appreciating someone without feelings of gratitude? Finally, being that I am married with 2 children – I notice the fear that if I pursue actualism to its end – then I might abandon them. Sometimes it feels like it’s ‘actualism vs. family.’ What is ‘family’ when one is virtually or actually free? Can one still drive 5 hours to visit your parents without doing it just to fulfill their expectations?
What about when they become ill and die? Am I to treat them like strangers? It seems to me that even though I am ‘severing emotional’ connections – isn’t there still a connection with my biological parents more than just biology? I mean they did raise me and provide food and shelter and all. Do I only feel a ‘debt’ toward them? Or can I still maintain relating with them just based on the fact that they are biological parents? Also, I read Richard say once that basically parents are just ‘human beings who happened to be your biological parents.’ (my paraphrase) I wonder though, isn’t there just a little more to it? For example, one of my sons is adopted. My wife and I ‘play the role’ of parents – but I am working at not ‘being’ the role. Aren’t we ‘parents’ in any other way than merely biology?
PETER: I thought to respond to this post, even though you have since reported that you have had some insights about these issues.
I like it that you are having your own insights about the issues that are relevant to you in your life, and that you have had your own experience that has apparently shed some light on what is on offer in actualism. Whilst the writings about actualism and actual freedom are already quite extensive, broad ranging and catalogued, this source is but information to guide and aid your own personal investigations, insights and experiences on your own path to becoming free of the human condition. In other words, actualism is a do-it-yourself process, not a blindly follow-the-leader belief system.
Having said that, however, you are not alone in the process of actualism and much information can be gained from the experience of fellow human beings who have managed to rid themselves of malice and sorrow. I have learnt a good deal from observing Richard’s common sense approach to the business of being a flesh and blood human body in the world as-it-is, so I’ll pass on my experience about the consanguineous issues you have raised since I have been both a son and a father in my life. I’ve also written on this topic in my journal, so I’ll try and keep this brief.
Perhaps the most significant event that gave me cause to think about the whole issue of family happened a few years after my father died. Both my sister and I were at the age where we had left home and were capable of looking after ourselves financially and we then agreed that it would be good for our mother if we released her of her obligations to continue to provide for us. We told her that she had done a good job in looking after us whilst we were growing up but that now her time and money was hers again, to do with as she wished.
I remember at the time thinking what a freeing thing this decision was, both for my mother and for myself. This realization meant that later on, when I became a father, I did exactly the same. Although one of my sons died at an early age, I released the other son of the burden of the expectation that I would continue to provide for him beyond the point where he left the nest and also of the burden that he would have to provide for me in my old age. This simple unilateral action – one that can be taken by either a parent or an offspring – means that one is well on the path to seeing, and treating, one’s parents and children for what they really are – fellow human beings.
The only reason I was willing to take this step as a father was that I had by then set my sights on becoming happy and harmless and this meant that I had to release my son of my continually interfering in his life – of wanting him to do things my way. By setting my sights on becoming happy and harmless, I became aware of the issues around family that made me unhappy and the times when I did something or said something that caused ripples in other family member’s lives. As a practicing actualist, I came to see how both my societal and instinctual programming pervaded every aspect of my interactions with my son and how the combination of both actively conspired to prevent peace and harmony between us.
The first thing I found I needed to do was to become aware of what was going on, to understand the nature of this programming. The second was to see and acknowledge my part in the emotional turmoil that this programming generates, and the third and most important was to have the courage to change. Such radical change inevitably means going against what society regards as ‘normal’, ‘right’ and ‘good’ – the eons-old code of conduct based on the moral codes and ethical standards that have been unquestioningly passed down from generation to generation. This act of ‘breaking free of the mould’ then enabled me to clearly see and experience the underlying instinctual animal programming in action – those very crude, ‘self’-centred genetically-encoded compulsive drives that act to sabotage even the best of intentions of human beings to live together in peace and harmony. By being attentive to this genetic programming in action, I then became progressively less susceptible to the consuming power of both the savage and tender instinctual passions.
My experience is that once you have gone through this process with the major issues that prevent you from being happy and harmless, you then find yourself virtually happy and harmless – happy and harmless 99% of the time. At this stage the changes ‘I’ can instigate tend to be more minimal as ‘I’ have done most of the substantive work that ‘I’ can do and the resultant feelings of redundancy eventually lead to the realization that the extinction of ‘me’ is the next step to be taken.
As you know, this is a report of work in progress on the path to actual freedom, but I have always written on the basis that my experience will be of interest, and may be of use, to those interested in becoming free of the human condition, in toto.
RESPONDENT: I’m sorry, but I’m not planning to raise my children to live ‘death-like’ lives – holding out some pathetic hope that maybe, just maybe they will eventually become virtually or actually free at maybe age 40 or 50 – after being knocked around by the ‘real world’ awhile. Lived from within the ‘real’ world – one’s attention gets focused on a smaller horizon than the universal point of view can afford – it’s only when one looks at it from the point of view of Perfection does one become disillusioned and want something more. I realize that I’ve extended the discussion into other areas at this point. I don’t mean to distract current issue of the use of the ‘death-like’ phrase. I just thought this might be a good time to add some thoughts that have ‘spun out’ from this.
PETER: I have commented on the matter of raising children in previous posts and received no reply so I had assumed you were not interested in pursuing the topic. If you want to pursue the subject further, just let me know. However, the main issue at hand on this list is not the raising of children but how adults can become first virtually, and then actually, free of the human condition. There is a belief amongst many that adults can learn a lot from the’ wisdom’ and ‘innocence’ of children – a belief that only points to the paucity of a sensible down-to-earth approach to the greatest challenge facing all human beings – actualizing peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: I took some time away from the list for a while in order to sort some things out regarding my current attempt at actualism. The main focus I want to operate with now is experiential. It became apparent that some of my ‘clashes’ with some of you have had their roots in my attempted analytical/emotional understanding – rather than tested out in experience – thus, I often treated much of what was said as having implications for me that they just don’t need to have.
PETER: Although most of the posts on this list are a one-to-one communication, the nature of what is being discussed should be of interest to all and applicable to all. This is because what is being discussed on this list is the human condition of malice and sorrow and how to become free of it.
Only by understanding and acknowledging that the human condition is universal to all human beings can one stop being a supporter of the status quo, stop defending the indefensible, stop denying one’s own feelings of malice, stop indulging in one’s own feelings of sorrow and take up the challenge of becoming actually happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: My understanding of the ‘human condition’ has changed quite dramatically the last year or so – as a result of encountering actualism. Whereas I used to understand the ‘human condition’ as a rather abstract term which referred to the fact that there is so much suffering in the world, I can see that actualism gives it quite a unique and more interesting meaning. As I see it now, for the actualist, the ‘human condition’ refers mainly to something concrete – that is the instinctual passions one is born with – and all that results from that basic fact.
I remember Vineeto once calling the human condition a ‘disease’ – which I didn’t like, since I saw many people who are generally relatively happy individuals, but now I agree it is a disease – since it refers to the instinctual passions one is born with – it couldn’t be anything but a disease. I see that now.
I had to understand it first though, before I could agree.
PETER: In my early days of actualism I remember asking Richard a ‘dumb’ question as to what was the source of the human condition. He replied that it was the genetically-encoded instinctual survival program – a program that is universal in its basic format in all sentient animals – and in the human species this program manifests itself as instinctual passions, mainly those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. As I thought more about it, it became obvious that I had each of these passions extant, and flourishing, in me.
Despite my good intentions, my moral forthrightness and my spiritual leanings it was obvious to me that I was, at heart, an instinctually driven being – utterly obsessed about my own survival and the survival of my genes. As I became aware of these passions in operation I came to more and more understand and experience that this programming acts not only to prevent my own happiness but also acts to prevent me from being harmless to my fellow human beings.
Although I usually like to base my understandings on my own experience, it is also useful to observe others, and by doing so I could see that everyone, without exception, is instinctually driven, which is why the best they can hope for is a relative happiness and a conditional harmlessness. Another observation that can be made is that what human beings proudly call ‘civilized behaviour’ is but a thin veneer that readily dissipates when a person, tribe or nation feels they have their backs to the wall or when they take offence at the words or actions of others. Then the human condition does indeed become ‘something concrete’ – manifested as murder, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, suicide, torture, ethnic cleansings, genocide, acts of terrorism and territorial and religious wars.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a great deal of thinking to see the link between your own personal feelings of anger and acts of terrorism and war and your own feelings of sadness and the universal feeling of despair that inflicts all of humankind.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the psychological and emotional structure of ‘me’. I’ve never been a community minded person, always regarded nationalism, racism, religious affiliations etc as glorified tribalism (at best a joke, at worst, the cause of unspeakable suffering in the world). I thought I was immune to all of that crap. But just lately I’ve realised (with some surprise) that another kind of tribe (the family) is deeply embedded in me. For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to dissolve these webs of entanglement in my mind and emotions. Not walking out on the family, not abandoning friends, but refusing to carry them around with me, refusing to define myself (or others) in terms of our special relationships based on kinship or shared experiences. I’ve never thought of myself as a possessive or clannish person by nature, but it’s all there. This psychic network of family relationships and friendships is a large part of ‘me’.
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.
RESPONDENT: Also, I think that there is nobody in heavens stuffing our physical bodies with some recycled immortal souls.
PETER: The soul is the big one! For what is a human being without a soul. Ancient Wisdom has it that a body without a soul is but an animal. A body without a soul is inhuman and evil. I’ll let Mr. Oxford give the full story on the soul –
The principle of life in humans or animals; animate existence. 2 The principle of thought and action in a person, regarded as an entity distinct from the body; a person’s spiritual as opp. to corporeal nature. 3 a The spiritual part of a human being considered in its moral aspect or in relation to God and his precepts, spec. regarded as immortal and as being capable of redemption or damnation in a future state. b The disembodied spirit of a dead person, regarded as invested with some degree of personality and form. 4 a The seat of the emotions or sentiments; the emotional part of human nature. b Intellectual or spiritual power; high development of the mental faculties. Also, deep feeling, sensitivity, esp. as an aesthetic quality; zest, spirit. 5 Philos. The vital, sensitive, or rational principle in plants, animals, or human beings. arch. 6 The essential or animating element or quality of something. Oxford Dictionary.
Seems pretty impressive for something that does not factually exist. The instinctual programming of the amygdala or primitive brain includes a primitive animal self that is most highly developed in the primates. This self in relationship to other members of the species is most evident in apes and chimps and leads us to see in them human behaviour at a less sophisticated level of operation. Fear, aggression, nurture and desire are seen operating unimpeded by developed intelligence, which simply translates to apes and chimps being less cunning and less efficient in killing than the human animal. We think them cute when they display instinctual nurture but are in denial of the mounting evidence of rape, murder, infanticide and war in chimps and apes that are the result of instinctual fear, aggression and desire.
This very-same primitive self, complete with its automatic survival program, operates in humans, but we manage to divide the instinctual passions into two groupings – the good passions and the evil ones. The self that is the good instincts we term ‘me at my core’, the ‘real me’, or my ‘very soul’. We simply deny the existence of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, as it is usually too shocking to contemplate these aspects within us. Thus we are usually ‘overcome’ or ‘overwhelmed’ by anger or violence or despair, for that is what appears to happen when instinctual passions surface. The amygdala automatically responds to a threat, real, perceived or imagined, and the hormones automatically flow – flooding the neo-cortex and away we go... Murder, rape, revenge, despair, torture, war, etc., all occur in a ‘blind’ rage – be it hot or cool.
As if this wasn’t enough of a heritage, we then have the universal fairy-tale of a life after death for this very-same soul, and the same instincts are then bought into play in defending this belief; for the soul – ‘me’ at my core – believes it is fighting for its very life (its life after death). Thus humans not only fight for real things like territory and food but we add fighting for causes, beliefs, ideals, rights and dreams to the list.
Fearing for survival is our main pre-occupation, and fighting for survival is our main occupation. Such is the Human Condition.
Good to be rid of a soul – and all that it represents – as far as I’m concerned. Everybody regards it as inconceivable to be without a soul but next time you have a peak experience have a good look around and see if you can feel one in operation. If you can, it’s not a Pure Consciousness Experience. In the PCE, as if by miracle, the soul and the ego, the self in total, disappear from consciousness, and if it can happen once, why not more times, and why not 24 hrs. a day every day?
Why not indeed?
RESPONDENT: Therefore my brain or this personal entity manufactured by the brain based on the social blueprint has arisen at random, by chance only, depending on which sperm participated in the beginning of the life. My personality was determined by the physical features of this brain.
PETER: Well, this sounds a bit like the little man inside the sperm theory, i.e. who I am depends on which sperm of the millions got to fertilize the egg. Certainly genetic information was passed that determined my physical characteristics but my social identity was purely the result of information inputted into the brain after birth.
‘Who I feel I am’ is essentially instinctual, fated by blind nature; ‘who I think I am’ is essentially social, fettered by nurture.
It’s just serendipitous that I came across Richard who had managed to escape his fate and realise his destiny – to be free of the Human Condition. Millions upon millions of humans have devoted their lives to escaping the Human Condition but were ultimately diverted by the alluring promise of immortality and instinctual desire to save their own souls. Richard is the first to actually escape from the Human Condition and he has laid a trail of over a million words for those interested in emulating his feat.
RESPONDENT: Yesterday when I was contemplating on ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’, I realized that I am not really understanding the word ‘experiencing’. What I was asking myself was, in fact, ‘How am I feeling in this moment of being alive’. This is so because I was always coming out with answers like ‘happy’ or ‘not happy’ or ‘gloomy’ etc. Which are all feelings.
PETER: Aye, indeed. And until ‘you’ leave the stage your experience of life will be an emotional, feeling interpretation of the actual. It can not be any other way – human beings are wired that way. The amygdala – the primitive lizard brain – is an organ that is designed as an early warning system to quickly scan the sensorial input for any real or perceived danger and react with fear and aggression. This constant ‘on-guardness’ can be seen in any of the animal species, and in the human animal it produces feelings of fear and aggression. The amygdala is also the source of instinctual nurture and desire producing feelings that again actively conspire to ruin our happiness. So it sounds as if you are starting to realize the primary role that feelings play in the Human Condition. ‘You’ as an entity, existing inside the flesh and blood body can only think or feel about the actual world, and the only direct experience possible is when you cease to exist – either temporarily in a PCE, virtually in Virtual Freedom or permanently in Actual Freedom.
PETER to Richard: Given that the human animal is the most advanced of the primates, it does beg the question as to how much pre-memory is genetically programmed in the human amygdala and therefore ‘set in the flesh’, as it were. Two of these pre-codings are vital in understanding the human psyche –‘who’ one thinks and feels one is.
Firstly, there is most obviously an instinctual sense of self-recognition, a faculty we share with our closet genetic cousins – apes and chimps both recognize ‘themselves’ in a mirror. This instinctual primal ‘self’ is made more sophisticated in humans, for the cognitive neo-cortex (the ‘conscious’ to use LeDoux’s term) is only capable of detecting the chemical flows of the amygdala (non-cognitive and ‘unconscious’), and these are ‘felt’ as basic passions or emotions and interpreted as feelings – ‘my’ feelings. Thus, we ‘feel’ this genetic instinctual programming to be ‘me’ at my core. This program thus gives every human being an instinctual self which is translated into a ‘real’ self that is both psychic – LeDoux’s ‘unconscious’ made obvious and real by the ensuing flow of chemicals from the amygdala – and psychological – interpreted as thoughts by the modern cognitive brain. (The modern brain is also taught much after birth – one’s social identity – but I’m interested in the deeper level at this stage.)
This explains that the spiritual journey ‘in’ is thus a journey to find one’s instinctual self – one’s roots, one’s original face, the Source, etc. If, on this inner journey, one ignores or denies the passions of aggression and fear and concentrates one’s attention on the passions of nurture and desire, one can shift one’s identity from the psychological thinking neo cortex – the ‘ego’ to use their term – and ‘become’, or associate with, or identify with, the good feelings of nurture and desire. This is a seductive and self-gratifying journey, for one is actively promoting the flow of chemicals that give rise to the good, pleasant, warm, light-headed, heart-full and ultimately ecstatic feelings. These flow of chemicals overwhelm the neo-cortex to such an extent that they become one’s primary experience, and the input of the physical world as perceived by the senses and the clear-thinking ability of the cognitive modern brain are both subjugated – or ‘transcended’ to use their term. One then ‘feels’ one has found one’s original ‘self’, which one has of course, though t’is all but a fantasy of one’s imagination.
I particularly remember when I first came across spiritual teachings, the mythology and poetry that alluded to this ‘inner’ world seemed to strike a deep cord with me – the tales of Ancient Wisdom ‘connected’ with this deep (unconscious) level which was a connection with the instinctual memory in the amygdala. I had ‘found’ someone who had the answers, was in touch with the Source, knew the meaning of life, the truth – I had come Home. I began a journey into the inner world of good feelings, made real by the ability to enhance the chemical flow of nurture and desire and dampen, suppress or ignore the feelings of aggression and fear. I was literally leaving the real world behind and seeking solace and succour in the spiritual world. I was thus forfeiting any chance of breaking free of my instinctual passions, in total, for a selfish bid for personal bliss and a permanent place in an imaginary ‘other world’ composed solely of chemically-supported blissful feelings.
Secondly, the other faculty I see as essentially pre-coded is an instinctual need to ‘belong’ to the herd – the herding instinct, as Vineeto puts it. It might seem banal and obvious given that humans, as a species, have perennially needed to maintain, at very least, a family grouping in order to ensure the survival of the species. Given that the human infant is helpless for such a long time compared with most other species, the immediate family group was the basic minimum need, and the chance of survival was considerably increased with larger and stronger groupings. This is an instinctual program that over-rides the individual’s own survival instincts for one is ultimately programmed to ensure survival of the species – not one’s own, as in self-preservation. Given that these involve more sophisticated programming than mere instantaneous ‘fight and flight’ reactions they must be encoded in the genetic memory of the amygdala, passed on from ‘way back there’, in the mists of time.
This instinct, implanted by blind nature to ensure the survival of the species, pumps the body with chemicals that induce the feeling of fear whenever one is straying too far away from the herd, abandoning other members of the family or group or being on one’s own. I remember particularly, in my early twenties, travelling across Europe and the Middle East on my way home from London and arriving at the border with Iran. I was turned away at an isolated border post as I didn’t have a visa and I was struck with a deep sense of panic, a feeling of utter loneliness. Looking back, it was as though I had gone too far striking off on my own and had hit the limit. This feeling of loneliness was to haunt me for many years – the image of becoming a lonely old man on a park bench, outcast and abandoned. It coincidentally was to prove one of the images that made me leap into the spiritual world with such gusto. I was to lose this fear later in life but living alone was always accompanied by a bitter-sweet feeling of loneliness. My major period of living alone was also the period when I began to have spiritual experiences, Satoris and an experience of Altered States of Consciousness aka Enlightenment.
From my investigations and experiences it is obvious that ‘who’ I think and feel I am – ‘me’ at the core – encompasses both a deep-set feeling of separateness from others and the world as perceived by the senses as well as a deep-set feeling of needing to ‘belong’.
This over-arching feeling of separateness – of being a ‘separate self’, who is forever yearning to ‘belong’ – is the root cause of sorrow in me and the all encompassing ‘ocean’ of human sorrow in the world.
The tradition approaches to these conflicting feelings has been either –
Thankfully I’m pursuing a third alternative, which is the total elimination of my ‘self’ in total – the whole of the amygdala’s instinctual programming that gives rise to the animal passions. The startle quick-scan function of the amygdala still operates but the chemical surges that give rise to the emotions of fear, anger, nurture and desire have almost ceased to be of influence. I am left with a lot of shifting sensations in the head, neck, heart and belly that tell me something chemically is still happening but these very rarely translate into emotions or reactions.
PAUL LOWE: We have a possibility now to disconnect from the past. The past is doomed to repeat itself because it is only capable of projecting itself on to an old familiar future. All thought that is based on the past and can only restrict future possibility. <Snip> The greatest intimacy lies in not knowing. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A new Way to Live
PETER: Classic New Dark Age double-speak. And this pearl of wisdom comes from someone who is presenting a fresh and unique re-interpretation of religious and philosophical ideas that are over 2,500 years old. To project these ancient ideas, thoughts, fantasies and fairytales into the current situation in which we now find ourselves is an act of appalling ignorance and desperation. The greatest delusion lies in actively promoting ignorance as a Virtue.
Of course, Mr. Lowe is talking of an intimacy with God – the greatest delusion. His recipe for human intimacy is to share one’s ‘inner dialogue’ – the emotive outpourings that are so common in spiritual groups and communities typify this therapeutic approach to sharing and togetherness.
To promote disconnecting from the facts and allowing ourselves to be ‘who we are, as we are’, i.e. an alien identity residing within the flesh and blood body, is to prevent intimacy and continue alienation, separateness, fear and suspicion. ‘Not knowing’ what the other entity is thinking or feeling promotes the continuation of intuition – the use of a form of ‘psychic radar’ to sense out the other person. To overcome this alienation the common cure is to promote the feelings of love, nurture and duty – a method of relating taught to every human being since birth. This obviously fails to ‘bridge the gap’ on a personal human level, so one is then encouraged to feel a universal or unconditional love – an unfocused love which leads to an even greater distance being formed between flesh and blood human beings as ‘holier than thou’ feelings always set in with fantasy.
This vain attempt at intimacy by promoting the feelings that arise from the chemical surges of the instinctual passions of nurture and desire has always offered fickle and fleeting success at best. Feelings of love and hate, giving and selfishness, forgiveness and retribution, etc. come inseparable in pairs and the constant seesawing of emotions in human relating makes actual intimacy an impossibility. At best, a mutual compromise is reached, a set of peace-agreements is established as to ‘safe’ grounds, ‘space’, ‘separate lives’, secrets and deals. This way of living and relating is but a sad and sorry second best as to what is actually possible when the feelings arising from the instinctual animal passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire are absent. With no emotional or psychic ‘radar’, no intuition or suspicion, no ‘emotive sharing’ or fights to pump up excitement, no ‘late night bargains struck’, no wars and no ceasefires, no fear or aggression operating, a direct sensate intimacy is deliciously and palpably evident.
PAUL LOWE: Let your side of it go. Feel your heart. Take a few minutes. As you look, you might find an intense feeling inside because in that incident you felt pain. You felt your aloneness, your unworthiness, your indignation. <Snip> Take a look at letting it all go now. Experiment with not holding on to it any longer and see how you feel. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A new Way to Live
PETER: One would have felt aloneness for the simple reason that humans are angry and resentful at those they are supposed to love. The instinctual passions of fear and aggression very often override the feelings of nurture and desire, most particularly when the initial chemical rushes decline with time and familiarity. By unworthiness, I take it, he means guilt for exhibiting such base feelings as anger and resentment despite our societal training to be good and repress these passions. By indignation, I take it, he means taking offence from what was done, said or thought by another human being to you.
Feelings are the bane of Humanity and it is time to be rid of the whole rotten lot, rather than practice these games that do nothing but indulge and gratify one’s ‘self’ as a transcendental being – who feels ‘above it all’.
It’s a bit like wading through a cesspool, ignoring the really bad and claiming the better pieces for oneself.
PAUL LOWE: One stage you may move through is forgiveness. Another stage is gratefulness. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A new Way to Live
PETER: By practicing forgiveness one then expands the feeling of compassion for those still concerned about and ‘attached to’ their anger and resentment – one then feels sorry for, and pity towards, those ‘less conscious’ than you.
From practicing gratitude comes the feeling that there is a something or someone that one needs to bow down and prostrate oneself before. Gratitude is a way of turning away from the ‘real’ world and pumping up feelings of unconditional love directed at an imaginary ‘source’. This love is unrequited for there is no chance of it being returned, and unconditional for there is no-one or no-thing to put conditions upon it. No wonder it is so popular – you get to feel good about loving nothing. Pity about the loyalty, jealousy, resentment, dependency, etc., that inevitably come with this love and gratitude ... and that cause the religious persecutions, discriminations, fanaticism, wars, etc.
PAUL LOWE: Somewhere inside ourselves we are all looking to let go, to finish with the unpleasant past. Then we can start again. Right now, you can start your life anew. Paul Lowe, In Each Moment – A new Way to Live
PETER: The spiritual Gurus preach that human anger, violence and aggression are the result of the inevitable conditioning of one’s pure soul since birth, that anger, violence and aggression are an unchangeable part of the ‘design of this dimension’, and that one can transcend these bad feelings simply by letting them go. Put even more bluntly – ‘acceptance and the expansion produce the good feelings.’ Good feelings can then be expanded into Grand feelings and Grand feelings can expand into ... ‘Oh God, I am feeling Good’ then ‘Oh good, I am feeling God’, and for the chosen few – ‘Oh God, I am God ... oh .. Very Good!’
Of course, this is the world of institutionalized insanity – the spiritual world – and, as such, it’s so easy to poke fun of. It would all be a joke except for the fact of the appalling human suffering and misery that is enshrined and perpetuated by the God-men and their followers.
Up until now the only escape from the real world has been into a world of fantasy – the spiritual world. There is, however, a third world, this actual world of purity and perfection that is inaccessible to the alien entity that dwells within the human flesh and blood body – ‘who’ you think and feel you are. The usurper, the impostor, the spoiler, the fake, the sham, the phoney, the charlatan, the fraud.
RESPONDENT: And you’re absolutely right, No 6, ‘Your heart can tell you everything you want to know, EVERYTHING!’
PETER: Unfortunately the heart-felt passions always include both the tender and savage passions, which is why perfection and purity is not evident in the spiritual world.
RESPONDENT: You may have noticed that in Peter’s Sacred Tetrad of Founding Instincts (‘fear, aggression, nurture, and desire’) the one instinct he carefully avoided describing was the one that finally undid him – nurture.
PETER: When I started on the spiritual path my strongest motivation was nurture. I, like many others was attracted by the promise of peace on earth – the idea of living in communes in peace and harmony with others and proving by example that peace on earth was possible. After living in two failed communes, I was headed into yet another one when I found myself having to acknowledge that the spiritual movement was not about peace on earth. I saw that the search for Enlightenment is really driven by desire, and an utterly self-ish desire at that – to become ‘who’ I really feel myself to be, some form of eternal Being. The essential instinctual drive in eastern religion is desire for power and the desire for immortality – no matter how much it is dressed in a sugar coating of feelings of love for God and love for all. This realization that the Eastern spiritual path to Enlightenment is only about ‘me’ and ‘my’ glory, was shocking to my very core.
What I then did was crank up my naiveté once more and re-set my sights on my initial goals of peace on earth and being able to live with my fellow human beings in utter peace and harmony. This decision certainly ‘undid’ me from spiritual belief and the spirit-ual world. I highly recommend abandoning desire, stoking up one’s naiveté and cranking up some altruism for it is the path to purity and perfection.
RESPONDENT: I would like to hear more about the dynamics of your alternative. How does it ‘work’?
PETER: As I have indicated, the first step is to fully take on board the modern discoveries that ‘who’ we think we are and ‘who’ we feel we are is nothing other than a social identity overlaying an instinctual identity – and that both are nothing more than operating programs in our brain.
This alien identity, or ‘self’, stands in the way of the already existing purity and perfection of the actual world becoming apparent and this is made startlingly clear in the ‘self’-less pure consciousness experience or peak experience.
From this experience one is clearly able to identify this alien entity as the source of one’s malice and sorrow, and one merrily sets in motion the process that will lead to living the pure consciousness experience, 24 hrs. a day, every day.
The first step is to actively demolish the first layer, one’s social identity – all the beliefs, morals, ethics and psittacisms that each of us have been programmed with since birth. In my case it was Peter the son, Peter the man, Peter the father, Peter the spiritual believer, Peter the good, Peter the bad, Peter the builder, etc, etc. It is only when I had substantially eliminated or deleted this program that I could clearly look at, and sensibly investigate, the core instinctual being that is ‘me’.
This second stage is where all seekers, up to now, have been seduced into denial of the ‘bad’ instinctual passions of fear and aggression and attempted to transcend them in order to develop a new spiritual identity based on the ‘good’ passions. It takes sincere intent to avoid this atavistic seduction and instinctual grasp for survival (nurture) and self-aggrandizement (desire) and to dig deep to actively eliminate the insidious robotic influence that the instinctual passions have on one’s actions and thinking.
Finally the day comes when the whole program becomes so shaky and so nebulous that it crashes as one sees and experiences the fact that ‘who’ I am is nothing other than an illusion, given substance and credence by the chemical surges from the ancient instinctual brain.
This de-programming works exactly like the delete button on your computer. As you see something being redundant, preventing you from being happy now, or causing you to make someone else unhappy – delete! If it comes back again, see what it is, name the feeling, root around, see if you can function without it, delete it and empty the recycle bin this time. And get back as quick as you can to the sensate, sensual enjoyment of this moment of being alive. Each deletion and subsequent tangible freedom from malice and sorrow gives you the confidence to delete a bit more and soon you find yourself actively searching through each experience to see what is preventing you from being happy and harmless here, now, in this only moment you can be alive.
‘Self’-immolation is such an adventure ... and such fun.
RESPONDENT: I’ve just been pointing out that the ego is a phantom and has no reality in itself. I have found that as the phantom is seen through the instinctual processes change.
PETER: But you will not question whether the other half of your self is equally illusionary. If the ego is illusionary, why can you not entertain the idea that the soul may well be illusionary as well?
As for the ‘instinctual processes change’, all evidence of the Enlightened state is that fear and aggression are sublimated but not eliminated – as you would know – and nurture and desire are given full, uninhibited reign such that people feel Divine Love and even God-realized.
RESPONDENT: But, there is a path or way to become more than mere human and yet not reject one’s humanity.
PETER: In Eastern religion, the path to ‘become more than mere human’ means the path to feeling Divine and Immortal – nothing more and nothing less. The spiritual path has traditionally seduced those seeking genuine peace, freedom and happiness into an imaginary psychic spirit-ual world – even further removed from actuality. Each new spiritual/ religious group that emerges on the scene does nothing but reinforce and contribute to the plethora of competing religions which has caused unimaginable suffering, conflicts, recriminations, persecutions, vitriolic conflicts and religious wars that are ever ongoing.
As for not rejecting ‘one’s humanity’ – the most treasured attribute of ‘humanity’ is that we are proud of being feeling beings. These same cherished feelings we share in common with our closest genetic cousins, the chimps. Thus human affective feelings are firmly based upon the instinctual animal passions, the main ones being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. Despite our trumpeting and championing the tender qualities of love and compassion, the most striking, persistent and enduring attributes of the human condition are malice and sorrow – both at a personal level and a global level.
In order to be free of malice and sorrow we need to reject this perverse view as to what it is to be human – this overwhelming concept of a forever-suffering Humanity, instinctually and blindly driven to battle it out in grim and senseless and battle for survival, no matter how safe, comfortable, leisurable or pleasurable our lives become.
To do so, we need a radical new approach that goes far further than the mere transcendence of the ‘bad’ savage instinctual passions and selfishly pumping up the ‘good’ tender ones for this does not do the job. We each need to conduct a personal on-going investigation of the instinctual passions as they manifest moment to moment such that we are able to actuate a permanent irrevocable change in our behaviour towards our fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: We can see in our modern world many signs that humans are becoming more and more conscious of the need to reform human characters and solve our problems with dialogue, not violence.
PETER: Usually we divide our instinctual passions into groupings of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and try either to repress or deny the ‘bad’ ones – fear and aggression – while giving full vent and validity to the ‘good’ ones – nurture and desire. Unfortunately the well-meaning attempt to curb fear and aggression by moulding ‘good’ and ‘loving’ citizens has had precious little success as is evidenced by all the wars, murders, rapes, tortures, domestic violence, corruption, loneliness, despair and suicides that are still endemic on the planet. The passions of love and hate, forgiveness and retribution, compassion and selfishness, etc. come inseparably in pairs, as is testified by the continual failure of humans to live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. We still rely on lawyers and laws, courts and jails, police, armies and guns to enforce law and order – a poor substitute for actual peace and harmony. The failure of morals, ethics, values and ideals to bring anything remotely resembling peace to this fair planet is legendary. The currently fashionable ideal of Human Rights serves only to reinforce the rights of various ethnic, religious and territorial groups to firstly, hold conflicting beliefs and then, to fight for those beliefs. Retribution is also highly valued as the right to ‘justice’ and, as such, resentments and grievances between rival groups of humans or individuals are passed down from generation to generation.
When appeals to moral and ethical values fail to end human conflicts, temporary ceasefires are maintained at the point of a gun. Whenever conflict erupts again a truce is then renegotiated and a ceasefire reinforced and the whole cycle of suppression, justice and retribution is set in motion yet again. Given the human genetic-heritage of animal instinctual passions, it is a tribute to human perseverance and stubborn will that the species has survived and flourished as well as it has. It is obvious that a new solution needs to be found, for the traditional solution of instilling unliveable ethics, preaching pious morals and maintaining law and order at the point of a gun has clearly failed in the past, is still failing, and always will fail to bring actual peace on earth. The next great challenge for human beings in this time of increasing safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure is to eradicate and eliminate human malice and sorrow. To do this means to actively challenge and confront the ‘mother of all beliefs’ – that ‘you can’t change human nature’.
MODERATOR: Perhaps the greatest challenge for anyone who discovers the utter simplicity of the ‘PCE’ is to remain humble, to realize that, for all the ‘malice and sorrow’ that has been waged in the name of religion, at the heart of each tradition is a vast body of REAL wisdom about not only the ultimate fact of our essential non-dual nature, but about how a human being can come to realize and ultimately express that nature as themselves – an area about which all but those few perfected beings among us still have much to learn.
PETER: Anyone who has experienced a pure consciousness experience will know that there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ to be either proud or humble. There is nothing but an overwhelming sensuousness, an astounding clarity of thought, a glaring obviousness and a sheer delight at being the physical universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human being. Pride and humility, good and evil, right and wrong, illusion or delusion, spirits and other worlds and spiritual searches are all seen as human inventions of ‘me’, the alien entity.. What is clearly seen is that human beings are still involved in a grim and desperate battle for survival fought out either covertly or overtly. The spiritual search, spiritual wisdom and all meta-physical ideas are clearly seen as escapist nonsense. With the knowledge gleaned from this ‘self’-less clarity, when one returns to normal one merrily sets about the task of ‘self’-immolation in order to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs’ a day, every day.
The actual becomes the seduction, not the synthetic.
As for your comment that ‘the greatest challenge is ... to remain humble’, we need to be clear about spiritual humbleness. Humbleness is just pride stood on its head. There are none so proud of their humbleness as the spiritual seekers. Humbleness is highly valued and prized as a virtue in all spiritual traditions for the follower is proud of being a humble follower and the God-man is humbled before his or her God. The Dalai Lama continuously claims to be a humble monk and is revered and admired for saying it. If he is sincere, why doesn’t he get down off his throne, throw of his Kingly and Godly mantles and be a humble monk. When I became aware of how proud I was to be a chosen one, how special it made me feel, how being humble was but a front for rampant pride, it was extraordinary revealing. What I was able to clearly see was that it was my pride that ensnared me in the spiritual world and this awareness made getting out so much easier.
As for our ‘essential non-dual nature’, I take it you are talking of the idea that we were born innocent, the ancient Tabula Rasa theory. The spiritual aim is then to return to our natural state of innocence – our true selves as we came into the world and before we were corrupted by evil. This is old-fashioned and out-of-date thinking that requires a blatant denial of modern empirical scientific research on the subject of human genetically encoded instinctual behaviour by Josef LeDoux and others. A sensible clear-eyed observation of the startlingly obvious similarities between human beings behaviour and that of other animals is further evidence of human instinctual behaviour. Most animal studies focus on the similarities of the passions of nurture and desire, but murder, rape, infanticide, warfare, cannibalism, sorrow, despair and suicide have all been documented in our closest genetic cousins, the chimps. Jane Goodall was shocked when discovering and documenting this behaviour and she has since backed away from further research. Other research on human behaviour that I personally found profoundly revealing were the studies by Stanley Morgan that clearly indicate ordinary human beings’ willingness to inflict pain on their fellow human beings. The results were so disturbing in their revelation of our human nature that any similar studies have been banned as being ‘unethical’.
As for our ‘non-dual’, ancient spiritual belief has it that we are a spirit trapped in a physical corporeal body in a physical material world and the only way to transcend this duality was to becomes spirit only, or pure being. This duality is most often expressed as material / spiritual or evil / divine for in ancient times the material world was imagined as evil and the spirit-ual world was felt to be divine. Anyone who has plumbed the depths of their ‘essential non-dual nature’ sees the terror, dread and the diabolical and goes for the divine feelings which does nothing but confirm, sustain and make very REAL the human invention of good and evil.
RESPONDENT: In what way may caring about other people be ego-transcending or ego-supporting affair (or is there no contradiction at all)?
PETER: A psychological and psychic entity, the ‘self’, is imbued with tender and savage passions and is taught to be fixated by morals of good and bad and ethics of right and wrong and therefore all acts of caring, no matter how well-meaning, will ultimately be ‘self’-centred and selfish.
RESPONDENT: Sacrificing for others probably does little to erase the ego. Think of the mother who sets aside her own needs for those of her child.
PETER: Again two aspects operate – one’s social identity of morals, ethics and beliefs and the instinctual drives. Many parental acts of sacrifice for their children are accompanied by a feeling of resentment that often bubble to the surface in times of stress, or in later life when one has done one’s social and instinctual duty.
There is, however, a predisposition towards altruism in human beings that is at the core of many of these acts of sacrifice. It is this propensity that one can tap into if one wants to make the only sensible sacrifice possible in order to facilitate peace on earth – self’-sacrifice or ‘self’-immolation, as opposed to the religious/spiritual senseless and selfish action of killing their own bodies or the bodies of other spirits.
RESPONDENT: Any ‘good’ act can be ego-supporting and not necessarily ego-transcending. Living for others is an outcome of liberation, not necessarily a route to it.
PETER: All of the successful Gurus demand a lot from others rather than give to others. They demand love, loyalty, surrender and devotion. I used to think they gave a lot until I realized that without their followers giving continuously they would be mere mortals like the rest of us.
It takes enormous courage to question the tender passions and the Good, for we have been taught by our peers to believe that without these facets of ourselves we would run amok or become evil. But for those daring enough this very investigation is the key to the door that keeps us trapped within the human condition of malice and sorrow and the duality of Good and Evil.
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.