Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER to Gary: And finally, just a comment about the extent and influence of spiritual belief within the human condition. I have oft said that the real world and the spiritual world are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to separate them. Humanity literally drips with spirituality, be it the influence of recognized Eastern or Western religions, be it the Pantheism that drives the animal and earth worship of Environmentalism, be it the many and varied morals, ethics and spiritual values of differing tribal groups or be it the general overwhelming agreement that human beings are foremost feeling beings sharing a common spirit-ual linkage. Within the human condition there has been, up until now, only one alternative to being normal and that was to be a seeker on the spiritual path – which is why it is the dissatisfied-with-the-real-world, spiritual seekers who are the most likely be interested in actualism.
It is however important to understand that the newly discovered process of actualism is 180 degrees opposite to traditional spiritualism and that actualism requires a turning around and heading in the opposite direction from seeking a spiritual, ethereal freedom. Yet this does not mean that you head back into the real world and the debilitating cynicism of the Land of Lament – this turning around means you head straight for the actual world. And this is where the PCE becomes one’s goal or target – the desire to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day everyday becomes the total focus for an actualist. If you look at the diagram we made, it becomes clear that someone who has been heading towards Enlightenment has to turn around and travel directly towards Actual Freedom and does not have to go back into everyday reality or real-world misery. I think this may be a useful thing to keep in mind during the process, lest you ever feel like you are becoming real-world normal again.
GARY: I know that most of the people I work with are spiritually inclined if not outright religious believers. Talk of reading the Bible, or going to church, crop up in conversations from time to time. I’ve never had anyone ‘put me on the spot’ and question me about religion. I know that some of the children I work with as clients believe in God or pray or what-have-you. Other children are entirely turned off to the thought of there being any God whatsoever and they remind me of myself in my younger years. First there was the entire rejection of the whole edifice of religious belief and practice with a kind of nihilistic atheism, albeit with a deep resentment of the idea of God or anything associated with religion. In later years, as I approached my late 30s and 40s, there was the spiritual quest, perhaps brought on by the Zeitgeist of Eastern spirituality. Now there is a fascination and a wholesale obsession with experiencing the present moment apperceptively, without any intervening beliefs or feelings to clutter things up. I know what it is like to experience the very best possible and that is now my constant benchmark, you might say.
PETER: As for a Zeitgeist of Eastern spirituality, it is very fascinating to have witnessed first-hand the fashionable movements and cycles of religious and spiritual fervour. Animism and pantheism are clearly the current universally-accepted flavours of the day but it is also instructive to have witnessed first-hand the chameleon-like capacity of religious/spiritual groups to continually re-invent themselves in utter denial of their past misdeeds and failures.
The tendency to set off on a spiritual search is almost par for the course in mid-life, simply because at this stage of a life span death is closer than birth. This awareness of the inevitability of death is why the spiritual belief in an immortal soul is such a passionate affair because it is fuelled by the strongest of all instinctual passions – the fear of death. Not only are human animals mortal, but we are also aware of our own mortality and it is this impassioned awareness that is pivotal to creating and sustaining a psychological and psychic entity, a non-corporeal ‘self’, whose primary motivation is ‘self’-survival, at any cost.
RESPONDENT: While that experience implicitly involves my flesh-and-blood, hence can only be happening in this moment, I know also that the flesh-and-blood is subject to physical laws and will eventually become dust. Why would similar laws not apply to the universe too?
PETER: To propose that because flesh and blood human beings are mortal – ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ – it therefore follows that the universe is mortal – ‘will eventually become dust’ – is an anthropocentric viewpoint. Thus far in human history, all of humanity’s wisdoms and truths have been founded upon an anthropocentric viewpoint, be it that of the spiritualists’ much-vaunted search for immortality for the human spirit – the ‘Unborn’ state – or the scientists’ futile search for metaphysical spirit-like creationist forces.
RESPONDENT: You have applied the scientific method to my hypothesis and it has failed. My argument is flawed.
PETER: Flawed or not, you still seem to be arguing for the belief in creationist cosmology, albeit as half a belief. On one side you offer ‘granted that the present Big Bang theory has many holes’ and yet on the other you ask ‘can you offer a scientific argument as to why the universe should have no end?’
As I’ve said before, this is not an argument as to who is right or wrong, nor is it really even about the scientific explanations about the nature of the universe – this is a discussion between two fellow human beings, two actualists, about the origin, nature and tenacity of human beliefs. If you want an example of scientific method in action this is it – examining the origin, nature and tenacity of human beliefs, in this case using creationist cosmology as an example. We could conduct exactly the same scientific method examination of any other beliefs – the pantheistic beliefs that underpins much of environmental science is another example that comes to mind.
RESPONDENT: Believer, agnostic, atheist, whatever the label, genuine freedom is about abandoning the false conditioned self …
PETER: I remember when I first came across Eastern religion I felt like I had discovered ‘the Truth’, or the meaning of life, and that all I had been conditioned to believe, mainly materialism and monotheism, was nothing but false conditioning. Now I know that the Truth by whatever name is a fabrication based on the notion that there is a conditioned Non-Truth by whatever name. The Truth and its hand-in-glove Non-Truth are but products of impassioned human imagination – neither have any existence whatsoever in the actual world of the senses.
RESPONDENT: Being a living embodiment of truth is the goal. Putting aside all ideas and theories regarding truth.
PETER: Anyone entering the spiritual world is admonished to ‘leave your mind at the door, surrender your will and trust your feelings.’
RESPONDENT: … and becoming fully human-fully alive, and I’ll throw in here, for more complete measure, fully male.
PETER: Does your desire to become ‘fully male’ refer to a prior anatomical incompleteness?
RESPONDENT: A bit slippery here are we?
PETER: No I was just being frivolous.
RESPONDENT: What about becoming fully human-fully alive? If nothing else it has a better ring to it than ‘happy and harmless’, don’t you think? Not to mention that the rewards of doing so are mighty fine. Ah yes, to be fully human-fully alive! Should I add fully God?
PETER: You can add ‘fully-God’ if you like. The idea that one can be both a human and a God grew out of pantheism – I guess at some stage it occurred to some person if a monkey or a cow or a rat can be worshiped as a God, why not a human animal, in fact why not me?
When I first heard someone say ‘we are all Gods’, I remember thinking ‘what if everybody felt themselves to be God’ – who would be the disciples, who would fill the church pews, who would drive the buses, for that matter? It gets a bit Monty Python-esue as there would be 6 billion Gods on the planet all looking in vain for some non-Gods to save. There would be 6 billion Gods disagreeing amongst themselves, being sad, feeling lonely, getting annoyed at other Gods, all the while claiming ‘we are all one’ – and all trapped within what would have to be called the ‘God condition’ rather than the human condition.
RESPONDENT: Also as to: ‘one’: Having attained to meetings where Krishnamurti spoke and also having been listening to tapes of his talks for a long time, this use of ‘one’ rather then ‘I’ illustrated how I have been indoctrinated by him on some level. K’s way of speaking must have been an influence on me, as hardly ever or very rarely I have heard him refer to himself as ‘I’. Although the old chap is death since 1986 I almost felt that I had betrayed him by being not longer a faithful spiritual believer. From that my posing:
Can be merely taken as a sentimental attempt to give the man a last chance in taken myself responsible for the fact, that I’m being a failing student of his teachings, desperately hoping that after all his’ will be agreed upon as to be as ‘having to ‘be meant’ to be non spiritual’ and it solely was my own spiritual way of interpreting that made them spiritual. So I guess after all a sort of childish wishful thinking.
PETER: This type of wishful thinking is one that millions upon millions of other seekers have fallen for. I also remember feeling a fool when I started to realize that the famed Eastern Spirituality was nought but Ole Time Religion – with the only essential difference being that instead of a belief in a single God with subservient prophets, family members, messengers and saints the Eastern religions are pantheistic – allowing anything to be worshiped as a God or anyone to declare themselves to be a God.
PETER to Alan: I will finish off this post with a few observations about the human condition that struck me recently as being particularly revealing.
The first was a saying that I heard recently – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’. For those who have felt the rage of jealousy or, as Vineeto recently reported, were willing to kill or be killed for their love of God or Master, this is surely sufficient evidence that the feeling of love is by no means benign and, by no means, the means to peace and harmony between human beings.
As I was typing this I just over-heard a comment on a new-age health program stating that the placebo effect proves the healing power of belief. Every now and then something leaps out at me that leaves me astounded as to what lengths people will go to in order to justify their beliefs – they stubbornly refuse to let facts stand in the way of a good belief.
To change subject, I was recently watching a National Geographic program about protecting deer in the US. If you have noticed, National Geographic appears to be the evangelical high church of environmental spiritualism. The program documented a group of park rangers who had built several radio controlled decoy deer complete with motorized turning heads. They would set them as lures in a forest clearing or by the roadside and then lay in wait. When a hunter came along they would promptly arrest the hunter and fine him on the spot.
I found it fascinating to see human beings now using decoy animals in order to hunt and trap other human beings whereas, as a child, it was common practice for human beings to use animals as decoys in order to trap other animals for food. The same instinctual pleasure in trapping and hunting – changing times have just brought about a change in the hunter’s target – from trapping and hunting for food to trapping and hunting humans for love of God’s creatures or to protect Mother Earth. As the dimwitticismgoes – ‘The greatest test of love is how much you are willing to fight for it’.
The interesting thing is that sensible conservation has been around at least a half-century before passion and pantheism combined to produce the current religion of Environmentalism. From early on in the 20th Century, many governments and community groups were actively concerned about resource preservation and conservation, national parks were established, forestry and fishing controlled, pollution reduced, sewerage and water standards introduced. This process was begun as a pragmatic response to actual problems as they emerged, whereas nowadays what is mostly proselytised by institutions such as National Geographic and Green Peace is doom-and-gloom-backed irrational spiritual fervour.
Passion combined with belief not only stifles intelligence – it is ultimately a lethal cocktail that is directly responsible for all the deaths of over 160 million humans in wars in the last century, over 40 million suicides and so many murders, rapes and abused children that it is impossible to estimate. As if this is not horrific enough, there is no end to this slaughter and mayhem in sight because it is held to be inviolate that human beings are feeling beings.
For an actualist feeling good is a start, being virtually free of malice and sorrow is a not-to-be-sneezed-at achievement but it is only a stepping-stone on the path to the final extinction of malice and sorrow.
How else is the slaughter and mayhem of the human condition finally going to come to an end unless we pioneers have the fortitude to do it?
One needs a sense of adventure to be a pioneer ... and to be a pioneering actualist is the greatest adventure. In an age when a blind man has now climbed Mt. Everest and tourists now go into space, the greatest challenge still to be conquered is for human beings to stop doing what doesn’t work, stop beating around the bush and learn how to live together in peace and harmony.
RESPONDENT: As for reading Peter’s writings, well, lets just say ‘Green Peace’ lost what could have been one of its most passionate members. The ‘boots and all’ approach I had planned for Environmentalism is now well directed towards Actualism.
PETER: Yeah. I live in a country, which is so wealthy that water quality, air quality, food quality and the like are of such a high standard that they present no health risk at all. When I realized a few years ago that Environmentalists in this country were getting angry about the ever-increasing minutiae of an ever-decreasing problem or were ever-eager to jump on the bandwagon of ever-new doomsday scenarios in order to satiate their morbid fascination with destruction and extinction, I knew it was time to leave the Environmentalists to their own feelings of anger and sorrow.
In short, I stopped holding pantheistic beliefs, which meant that I finally stopped taking sides in the mythological battle twixt the forces of Good and forces of Evil – which then left me free of the anger and sorrow inherent in ‘fighting the good cause’.
One of the realizations that really got me off my bum was that I live in a country that has a level of safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure that was unthinkable a century ago and yet, despite this fact, I was not happy and I was far from harmless. It then struck me that it’s exactly people like me who live in similar situations to me – those who no longer need to fight it out with other human beings in a grim battle for survival – who need to stop being instinctually driven beings. With this realization haunting me, I soon understood that this realization meant that ‘people like me’ in fact meant me and the ‘boots and all’ approach soon followed.
PETER to No 8: Each of the concepts that make up Environmentalism when separated can be seen to be based on scientific theory which is unproven and in many cases un-provable, often simply by the sheer scope and very nature of the theory proposed. Many concepts rely on computer modelling to produce a range of scenarios which the scientists involved often candidly admit is their only way of providing seemingly empirical scenarios to give some credence to their theories. Given that these combined theories are actively maintaining and proliferating human suffering, I wondered why it is that Environmentalism has gained such mainstream popular support, regulatory implementation and profound influence at all levels of educational curricula.
What I found was that such a fervour of belief and such a degree of passions induced, all lacking any factual empirical basis, points clearly to the underlying spiritual basis of Environmentalism.
Natural, spiritual and romantic viewpoints all have a history of fearing and battling the rising influence and success of materialism, science and technological progress. In the last half century the increasing fascination with Eastern Mysticism has been combined with the earth-as-spirit belief that underpins Environmentalism, and it has gradually grown in strength and status to having now taken on the power and influence of a fully-fledged and popularly-supported religion. Environmentalists were able to co-opt the fashionable Eastern religious belief that life on earth is essentially a suffering existence in order to give weight to their blindly riling against any progress likely to increase human safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure. As I said to two other correspondents recently –
Environmentalism, like all religions, can be seen superficially by the gullible believers as ‘doing good’, but when one digs deeper than the seemingly noble ideals we see fervent belief and when it becomes dogma, policy and practice, it causes untold human suffering, hardship, illness and hunger for hundreds of millions of humans. Environmentalists care more for the spirits of animals and plants and Mother Earth than they do for the welfare of their fellow human beings. So entrenched is the religion of Environmentalism that it is now taught to children in schools to an extent that few other religions have managed, and as such, its ubiquitous and debilitating effects are both widespread and deep-set. It could well be seen as the Next Age religion to emerge, now that Western influence is beginning to investigate, water-down or reject the more fundamental Eastern religious beliefs.
For an actualist, any spiritual belief, no matter how it is disguised or formulated, must be investigated and seen for what it is – metaphysical belief and not empirical fact.
This has been a fairly long investigation yet it is by no means comprehensive. Environmental belief is so strong, so prevalent and so insidious it takes considerable effort and time to weed out the beliefs, morals and ethics peculiar to the religion, and it is a process that every actualist does for himself or herself. Your question deserved a detailed answer and the detail offered is mainly intended to point to some of the methods of discerning belief from fact rather than being a comprehensive debunking of Environmental belief per se.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for your letter, in which you said, ‘The pure consciousness experience clearly indicates that peace on earth, an actual end to malice and sorrow, lies in total self-extinction, both ego and soul, not an ego death only, as in an altered state of consciousness’. I agree with you that swapping an identification with ego for an identification with soul is only to exchange one prison for another.
PETER: Yes indeed, but I am talking about the extinction of any psychological or psychic identity whatsoever – ‘who’ one thinks and feels one is – not shifting what one identifies with as in identification. To use a simple, easily understood and experienced definition, I define ego as ‘who we think’ we are, which can be visualized as a little man or woman located in the forehead who is pulling the levers and controlling the flesh and blood body. On the other hand, the soul, ‘who we feel’ we are is felt as located in the heart and gut and, as such, is regarded as closer to the centre of our being, ‘me’ at my core, if you like. Spiritual practice is aimed at shifting one’s identity from the head to heart – thus one feels closer to the true, real ‘me’ at my core. Spiritual believers are continuously admonished to ‘leave your mind at the door, surrender your will and trust your feelings’ i.e. shift your identity from head to heart, from sensible thought and sensate experience to an inner feeling-only world of impassioned imagination. It is this newly created identity that regards the physical world that is evidenced by the senses as illusionary, Samsara, a dream or nightmare – and should this new identity lose all touch with sensible thought and sensate experience they can even become so deluded as to believe they are God-on-earth. When I was a kid, being bought up in a Western monotheist culture anyone who claimed they are God-on-earth would have been locked up whereas some 40 years later, given the current fashion for Eastern pantheism, human beings are envied, revered and worshipped as God-men or God-women in the West.
It’s a wonderful time to be a human being for we are each able to conduct our own thorough investigation into religious belief and the ancient wisdom that form the parameters of the Human Condition to date. To make our own assessment if it works and is it sensible.
RESPONDENT: I’ve had a look at the site as requested, and find the content typical of a certain movement known as ‘alternative’.
PETER: Indeed, it is a healthy preoccupation of the human species to continually strive for betterment. The problem up until now is that there have only been two alternatives. Either stay normal – a socially and genetically programmed participant in a grim instinctual battle for survival – or become religious/ spiritual by surrendering one’s will to a mythical God or becoming a God-man – a psychotic state of ‘self’-aggrandizement.
What is now available is a third alternative.
RESPONDENT: I find them rather self-absorbed and essentially complacent.
PETER: The New Dark Age spiritual ‘alternative’ – those who follow Eastern pantheist religions – is to indulge in a completely self-absorbed belief-system because the total aim is self-realization, as in realizing I am Self or God by whatever name. To do so one needs not only to be complacent about the world of people, things and events where we humans actually live, but to turn away from it completely. ‘To be in the world but not of it’ is a classic description of dissociation and utterly selfish self-obsession. In the real world it is called egomania, in the spiritual world it could well be described as soul-mania.
RESPONDENT: Like so many other ‘solutions’, they rest upon the promise of achieving a permanent inner state, which will enable subscribers to rise above the real and ordinary challenges of life.
PETER: Yep. Transcendence literally means to rise above. What I found cute was I spent 17 years on the spiritual path before I eventually could not deny the fact that it was nothing other than olde time religion.
RESPONDENT: In my view such a state is only obtainable via psychosis – be it mild, or severe.
PETER: Yep. From what I have read schizophrenics, for example, display a wide range of symptoms but the common ones are hallucinations, delusions, blunted emotions, disordered thinking and a withdrawal from reality. Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness, an aberration from what is taken to be normal, but many of the symptoms are common to all humans to varying degrees. The paranoid type of schizophrenia, which usually arises later in life than the other types, is characterized primarily by delusions of persecution and grandeur combined with unrealistic, illogical thinking, often accompanied by hallucinations. It does seem that these definitions fit well with the symptoms exhibited by many fervent spiritual/ religious followers. When I was a spiritual believer I was completely blinded to the fact that in my father’s generation in the West, anyone claiming to be God-on-earth or God-realized would most probably be interred in a mental institution – and yet nowadays, with Eastern religion in fashion, such people are regarded as the wise ones and worshipped as such.
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