Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: I don’t want to pre-empt your own experiential observations about the sorrowful feelings but in my own investigations I discovered that feelings of malice is more readily discernible than feelings of sorrow. Speaking metaphorically – malice can be experienced as being peaks or flare-ups of emotion, sadness can be experienced as valleys or troughs of emotion, whereas in general the constant plain or milieu of human feelings is one of seriousness and sullenness. The other observation I have made is that sorrow in the form of the feeling of compassion – the compulsion to participate in another’s suffering – is the essential emotion that binds Humanity together, and hence binds ‘me’ to Humanity. Which is why I described sorrow as being a strongest emotional tether to break free of.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for your response. After some reflection, it appears that I am still participating in the feelings of compassion ... not as strongly as before ... but it is lingering around from time to time. I like your definition: ‘the compulsion to participate in another’s suffering’.
PETER: The deep feelings that come from being an instinctual being are not likely to disappear overnight as they are the very core of ‘me’. The reason I used the word compulsion was to emphasize the instinctual nature of grief, sorrow and compassion. Because these feelings are ‘me’ and ‘I’ am these feelings, the best ‘I’ can do is to be attentive of these feelings whenever and wherever they kick in, name them, observe them in action, feel what they feel like and, as soon as possible, get back to feeling good about being here. This way you disempower the sorrowful feelings before they set in and totally whisk you away from the sensual enjoyment of being here.
RESPONDENT: Now, if compassion were in some way genuinely useful ... if it actually worked in freeing one from insidious feelings that were either destructive to others or oneself, then at least compassion would have some positive purpose or value.
PETER: What really got me wanting to do something about my sadness and melancholy was a sincere consideration for other people – particularly those closest to me. When I started to become aware of my sad feelings, I also started to become aware of how my feelings affected other people – and feelings of sorrow have a way of spreading from person to person rather like a dark cloud of malaise. The curious thing is that when I started to be attentive to my own feelings of sorrow and thereby gradually stopped being a contributor to this cloud of malaise, I was also less and less affected by the sad feelings emanating from others.
RESPONDENT: I do conclude that when I moved into compassion from compassionless states ... I felt more connected with myself and others ... more in touch with feelings ... as opposed to not feeling or just feeling fear all of the time. Being compassionate, I felt myself to be coming from and living from my own heart. I was tapping into ‘love’ that I could finally experience for myself and share with others. I covertly set myself up as a ‘better’ person ... able to discern the difference between compassionate people and their actions and uncompassionate people and their actions.
PETER: Yes. The more you start to become attentive to how your own psyche operates, the more you allow yourself to feel the quality of feelings, the more you come to experientially understand the human condition – how feelings of sadness and grief have a bitter-sweet self-indulgent flavour, how feelings of compassion and pity have a cop-out element to them, how feelings of love and compassion for others are inextricably entwined with feelings of superiority and dependency, how the so-called bad feelings are debilitating and the so-called good feelings are aggrandizing, and so on. And the more you experientially understand the human condition the more you come to understand that there is no one to blame – the whole notion of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is but a human invention that has no existence outside of the heads and hearts of human beings.
RESPONDENT: I do not actively do this any longer. I take this back! I do from time to time. Now, with actualism, compassion is up for grabs and may be more closely examined. If I throw out compassion, will I revert to the carefully guarded, encapsulated person I used to be. Will I loose my warmth and become cold? I’m not sure how to proceed with this. Yet, I will examine it.
PETER: Only you can dare to question the tried and true ways of humanity, only you can dare to take the necessary practical steps that are necessary if you want to be actually free of the human condition of malice and sorrow. I always said I went a fair way in questioning the tried and true ways of humanity before I met Richard and was emboldened by his success in becoming free of the human condition to keep going all the way. Those of us who follow Richard’s precedent have it much easier because there is now a path to follow but the wonderful thing is that you get to walk the path by yourself, for yourself and in doing so you prove by your actions that you genuinely care about actually facilitating peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: The below conversation twigged me into serious re-evaluation.
As there were no notion given of AF in 1930’s, the question ‘What would be the appropriate action based on the country learning that Jews were being put to death by the millions in Germany?’ is purely speculative as well as ‘Invade to prevent further suffering or not get involved because fundamentally we can’t influence others?’ as in 1930’s AF not yet even had been discovered so, as to the degree of sensibility of these questions one might as well have asked, to stick to actuality. ‘If Mr. Bush would not have won the US-elections and the US as a whole had subscribed to the notion of AF, how would a different president have responded to the terrorist attack on the WTC provided that such an alike event would have occurred?’
PETER: Despite your objections to No 38’s question, your question is still hypothetical and not related to an actuality.
RESPONDENT: (No offence meant, the intent of the question is assumed to be serious) Are Jews and Germany an issue for the questioner?
PETER: I obviously can’t speak for No 38, but the question that No 38 asked is one that is often asked of pacifists and, as such, deserved a direct answer from an actualist. Despite the long-held idealism of pacifism, the fact is that what humans term ‘civilization’ is but a thin and tenuous veneer that is ultimately only maintained at the point of a gun – i.e. law and order is maintained by armed police and armies.
RESPONDENT: Thus the posing
I found not to be correct, as it reflects the viewpoint of an EVF (expert virtual freedom) rather then that of an AAF (authority actual freedom).
PETER: A fact is not dependant on who says it – a fact is something that stands by itself. While a fact is not necessarily apparent to all, for personal feelings, passions and beliefs often prevent their acknowledgement. However, if one aspires to actualism, the acknowledgement of facts is essential lest one remains a believer of commonly held viewpoints or in the authority of some person or persons.
RESPONDENT: Yet as the posed hypothetical situation ‘US as a whole subscribed to the notion of AF in the 1930’s’ has been transcribed into or suggested to be of appliance to a recent actual event ‘the same appropriate action that was recently taken by some of the world’s armies to put an end to the genocide that was happening in the Balkans’, it has been taken that:
is representing the viewpoint of an EVF as to his own opinion/ observation/ conclusion that it is sensible and not silly, that police and army are prepared to maintain law and order at the top of a gun.
PETER: No, the reply I offered was not representing my viewpoint, opinion, conclusion, nor Richard’s. It was offered as a statement of fact. It is based on a clear-eyed observation of the history of humankind and the current situation of the human condition. The other evidence that it is fact is that there are no exceptions, nor have there ever been exceptions, to the situation of law and order being maintained at the point of a gun (or whatever other weapon was used at the time).
RESPONDENT: Thus it looks like he deflects his own responsibility (with regard to maintain law and order by imposing his influence) to those who are willing to participate in army and/or police activity.
PETER: If by he you mean me, I take it that you are suggesting that I should be responsible for my own protection. Being responsible for your own protection was how it was in primitive societies where everyone carried arms, be it a club, a spear, a bow and arrows or more lately a gun. A brief look at history will show that early humans very quickly gathered in groups and built walls around their compounds so as to be more safe from raids from other groups of human beings. As these groups became more organized they also developed an array of morals, ethics and laws as a code of behaviour so as to maintain a semblance of law and order within the group itself. These codes and laws were either imposed by the shamans under threat of damnation or by the chieftains and kings under threat of physical punishment. When these tribal groups grew sufficiently large and more organized over time, they developed police forces whose job it was to maintain internal law and order and maintained armies whose job it was to defend the group and its territory.
There is no doubt that in an ideal world – a world in which the human beings are no longer driven by instinctual fear and aggression – there would be no need for law and order to be maintained by armed police and armies. But we humans who live on the planet now have to start somewhere and somewhere is here – in the world as-it-is, with people as-they are. For those who are genuinely interested in peace on earth as an actuality, the question then becomes a personal one – ‘How can I become happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are?’
Having abandoned the unworkable idealism of pacifism in favour of the pragmatism of actualism, I have no objections to world as-it-is where law and order is maintained by armed police. As history shows, it is far, far preferable to a world where everybody is responsible for maintaining their own law and order by imposing his or her influence on others – that’s what is known as anarchy. (...)
RESPONDENT: So ... to update to (f)actuality nowadays:
1. There is – or /are group(s) of people sharing a vision as to how to resolve the questions: ‘How to create/maintain a space for this-these particular group-(s)?’, as such so that this group can/will be enabled to move into the direction that the members can continue to maintain/expand this vision on a solution to the question; ‘How can their members be enabled in doing their ‘business at large’ without getting disturbed while doing it?’ Now this vision nowadays most often goes by a flag of a nation or group of nations yet a religious symbol may also be play a significant part (ie Koran, Bible).
PETER: The history of humanity is a litany of inter-group and inner group conflict. Tribal leaders have often stirred the passions of their tribe so as to seize the territory of other tribes or to wreak a bloody revenge for some past wrong. And history is also littered with Saviours who declare ‘if you follow me and join my group, one day we will be so powerful that we will rule the world and then there will be peace on earth’. A little clear-eyed seeing will reveal there is scant difference between the vision and messages of real-world dictators and those of spiritual-world saviours.
RESPONDENT: 2. In his recent ‘state of the Union’ Mr. Bush, as one of the world leaders of nations, has more or less redefined war as: ‘doing justice’.
3. This way of ‘doing justice’ has been largely agreed upon by a great number of people to be considered as ‘taking appropriate action’. And to have head off objections at the pass before breaking loose: ‘I neither do agree nor disagree on that as to be appropriate action. I do not know.’ Yet I question whether to call this intelligent and/or sensible action. I do not find so, as it is very far from clear in whose interest this kind of actions are being performed and as for now it has not been agreed upon commonly what the word justice is to imply. As I understand there is still a bit of disagreement about that.
4. More over Mr. Bush set the tune that, those nations who disagree with USA-strategies, are assumed to be opponents hence losing the right to either be supported by USA and/or even may run the risk of facing the force of the US-army.
Not to mention the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, so far for an update to (f)actuality nowadays.
PETER: From the thrust of your conversation, I take it that you are more inclined to believe in pacifism and complain about the world as-it-is and people as-they are, rather than take unilateral action by proving you can rid yourself of malice and sorrow. Speaking personally, it took me a long time to rid myself of the seductive beliefs and idealisms promulgated by the ‘good’ people of the word. I found that time and again I would be drawn to take sides in the battle of good vs. evil, lured into believing that there might one day be a solution within the human condition that could magically bring peace on earth.
PETER: You wrote commenting on something I wrote to Gary –
RESPONDENT: If I may –
It seems to me that the question would read: Peter what would you do about the war in Palestine? From what I hear there is no request for the condition that you’d be living there.
PETER: And yet surely it is obvious that the only thing I can do something about is the things I can do something about. It therefore follows that, because I don’t live in Palestine, I had to preface my reply with ‘if I lived in the area’.
You may be familiar with the cliché ‘Think globally but act locally’. A sincere interpretation would mean that if one is concerned about wars in general, or the war in Palestine in particular, then one should act locally. And there is no place more local to act than to cease making war with the human beings one comes in direct contact with, be they family, friends, workmates or whatever. Need I say, this involves ceasing being angry, annoyed, peeved, resentful, blameful and so on.
It took me a long time to fully comprehend that getting emotionally involved in someone else’s problems and/or contriving imaginary solutions to others’ problems was merely a convenient way of avoiding the responsibility of looking at, and doing something about, my own malice and my own sorrow. A large part of the business of actualism involves breaking this ingrained habit.
RESPONDENT: As I know that you are not to keen at ‘taking a walk in someone else’s imagination/fantasy’. I’m actually surprised that you went that far, yet as you were seriously replying, vis:
I wonder could it be possible that you had missed the ‘point’ of his/her question?
PETER: No. I was well aware that the questioner was busy with being emotionally involved in someone else’s problems and then contriving imaginary solutions to these problems. I simply responded by offering a solution that I found worked for me – I stopped believing in all forms of religion, spiritualism and mysticism and became an atheist and I stopped believing I belonged to a patch of dirt or a group of people and became an autonomous citizen of the world.
By doing so, I found this took much of the wind out of my own malicious and sorrowful feelings – which is precisely why I related the anecdote to Gary in the first place.
RESPONDENT: Given that we could say that you were not fantazising or imagining but running a ‘what if?’ scenario the like we have done on previous occasions with the famous ‘No 38 query’ and I dare say that that definitely offered some food for thought. Also given that Richard’s initiative to make the *AF*-process available (as I recall more or less encouraged to do so by you and Vineeto) through the internet has enabled anyone who has access to the internet can ‘land upon ‘the AF-site. It comes to mind that ‘we’, the people on this list, (not to say that we are some collective/sect and so on) yet are in a rather special position, that is to say on this list we can discuss the ins and outs of Actualism. ^note imo. making AF available through the internet is in fact having skipped a step in the sequence of media with regard to their accessibility^
Although for most of us (on this list) it’s fairly clear that our shared features (i.e. being endowed with a similar genetically encoded survival program and in roughly basically similar programming i.e. in my case, programming via genetics, parents, school, peers, Christianity and Rajneeshism. In your case, programming via genetics, parents, school, peers, Christianity and Rajneeshism, as I understand.) Yet our lifestyles may considerably differ. In fact I dare say they do differ.
Given that some of us have a regular job, some don’t, some us are living with a partner, some of us don’t. On top of that our geographic locations are fairly different hence we all more or less have needed to adapt to the ‘dominating cultural and political’ system of our country. So… As to –
Have you considered what it would imply to be a Jew or a Muslim for that matter? Because as for Christianity might be considered an offspring or say modification of Christianity, the Muslim culture is entirely different hence the God Allah needs indeed to be viewed as completely different God then Jehovah. From that I conclude that your solution:
is bypassing the complexity of this enormous problem.
PETER: Yep. Remarkably effective, hey. It is such a simple thing to do – to totally bypass ‘the complexity of this enormous problem’ – to find, instigate and follow through with a do-it-yourself, by yourself, for yourself, solution. Of course, from a real-world point of view anyone who is not passionately supporting ‘good’ causes is seen to be a traitor, and from a spiritual point of view anyone who is not passionately supporting the ‘Creator’ is seen to be evil.
Only by stopping being a believer – and stopping being emotionally involved in someone else’s problems and then contriving imaginary solutions to these problems – are you able to become attentive to the fact that peace on earth already exists and always has.
RESPONDENT: So … If I may suggest a different ‘what if?’ scenario, perhaps a bit more realistic, though of course not much more then the imaginary situation that you’d be a Palestinian with the whole package of Muslim programming. Peter (as an actualist) what would you do about the war in Palestine? The imaginary condition is that you would have access to the world media ie. like the Dalai Lama has. So ... You can be on CNN for one hour and give your solution as to the Israeli /Palestinian conflict. Your words will be translated into Hebrew and Arabic or whatever is needed. Arafat and Sharon will be listening in and also Bush will hear you. Would you take the opportunity?
PETER: No. It is quite clear that people have to be vitally interested in peace on earth for them to even consider eliminating their own malice and sorrow. Peace on earth is a personal responsibility – to expect others to do it, or wait for others to do it, whilst doing nothing about your own malice and sorrow is but a cop-out.
RESPONDENT: Might I say this is a not even an unrealistic ‘what if?’ scenario as it would only take one person, ie. Wolf Blitzer from CNN, who would be willing to give it a shot, having become ‘interested’ in actualism as solution to this ongoing insanity of warfare. Consider it is an altruistic action.
PETER: I do understand ‘where you are coming from’, if I can use that phrase. When I first came across actualism I was enthused by its ramifications in bringing an end to the horrendous conflicts between human beings that plague this verdant planet. I wrote my Journal specifically to tell others that actualism worked, I subscribed to two spiritual mailing lists in order to tell others about actualism and even sent copies of my Journal to people I thought would be interested. I fully expected others to readily see the sense in actualism and be eager to try it for themselves.
In hindsight, part of this enthusiasm was to spread the message, part was to find security in numbers and part was a passion for peace on earth. The ensuing years have demonstrated that only a small percentage of those who thus far read anything of actualism are at all interested in peace on earth, so obsessed are most people with the spiritual promise of an other-worldly peace, after physical death.
This has meant that increasingly my focus changed from wanting, or waiting for, others to change and getting on with the business of changing myself. It does take a good deal of stubborn effort and constant awareness to come to the understanding that the only person that one can change, and indeed needs to change, is oneself.
RESPONDENT: (...) However much more was I shocked to discover that when running the ‘what if?’ scenario. If Iraq is indeed being attacked as a ‘quick fix’ to cope with assumed danger. No doubt it will take many innocent lives and be a hazard to the country. What shocked me was that my primary concern was not so much as to how many innocent people would become victim, I hardly had taken that into account, much more was I concerned of how this would have an impact on the global economic situation and hence on my own situation. I think it is fair to assume that the effect of a war would be far from beneficial hence I hope there will not be one.
PETER: Given that you have also said in this post – ‘I found it helpful to keep in mind that whichever ‘expert’ was presenting his opinion, likely he had accessed information that I had not …’ – I would take it that we both agree that neither of us is in a position to know the facts surrounding this latest threat of war on the planet.
However, a few facts from the last century of human conflict have helped me put the current situation into perspective.
Dictators have an abysmal record of reeking havoc on their own populations and that of other countries. The likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Hirohito, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and other sundry dictators, zealots, emperors and kings have been directly culpable in bringing about the majority of war deaths, genocides, enforced famines, ethnic cleansings and purges in the last century. Of the same ilk, Saddam Hussein has instigated wars against both Iran and Kuwait, has gassed the Kurds in his own country and ruthlessly purged all opposition to his rule.
Hitler ruled Germany at a time when it blatantly disregarded the terms of truce that limited its armaments after the First World War and he was not called to task for this breach because pacifism and appeasement was the flavour of the times in both Europe and the US after WW I. In the end, the only thing that bought an end to the violence of the Axis of Germany, Italy and Japan was even more violence.
This makes it clear that ultimately, when appeals to reason and sense fail, the only thing that will bring an end to violence is either the threat of more violence or the use of more violence. The ‘peace’ bought about by the use of violence in WW II is the only reason Gary and I do not now live in a Japanese military colony or Alan and you don’t live under the rule of the Nazis. Pacifism is an ideal – that police and armies maintain law and order is a fact. (See Encyclopaedia Britannica article on the non-illusionary effects of a dictator not taken to task before it was too late to avert war.)
I won’t go on because you have probably got the gist of what I am saying but, as you have done, I make no claim to be in a position to know the facts surrounding this latest threat of war.
Just as an aside, I have recently heard it implied that the idea of suicidal sacrifice is unique to Islam. This notion does deny the fact that the Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka have used suicide bombing as a terrorist weapon for decades and the Shinto and Buddhist Japanese practiced aerial suicide bombing some 60 years ago in WW II. The Palestinians and Al Quaeda are merely following a practice long lauded in the ‘world-is-an-illusion’ Eastern religions.
I was discussing the issue of war the other day with someone and in the end the only comment I could make was that I was glad that I had stopped being at war with other people. It’s taken 5 years of intense effort to whittle away at my beliefs and passions such that I now no longer blame others for making war nor do I take the moral high ground of feigning to be a pacifist. This I did by devoting my life to becoming harmless and happy – no more is needed to become free of malice and sorrow but anything less than total commitment will not bring success.
That’s why I pricked up my ears when you said above –
For me, the change to becoming aware of, and interested in, investigating my own feelings, passions and beliefs was the most radical aspect of actualism – and I distinctly remember being shocked many a time as to how utterly self-centred I had been programmed to be.
PETER: But to get back to the topic, my comments in relation to peer review was initially prompted by your following comment –
I took this to imply that you either knew of something or had experienced something that is beyond Actual Freedom. It was this statement that led me to assume that you were claiming to be an expert on actualism conducting a peer review of those who were only at the beginning or on the first step.
Perhaps you could further explain what you meant by your statement so as to throw a little more light on the subject?
RESPONDENT: So ... I move into another direction now. I’m fed up blaming institutions for the resulted current state I’m in and this world at large is spinning ‘round an AXIS’ of evil thus it’s only fair that I make a few corrections as to the presentation of my request for signing a petition, of which I find in hindsight not even worth to describe more detailed, let alone that I would waste a single word to refer to that petition. As even Richard was bemused by the reception of my request I think that you have experienced a simular bemusement when seeing popping up this request.
Yet at this point I am the one who have issued the words regime and change. On a list like this it is fair to presume that no one sees war as an option we would support in any way.
PETER: You have certainly moved in another direction. As for ‘on a list like this it is fair to presume that no one sees war as an option we would support in any way’, you can exclude me from your ‘we’.
I live in little sea-side town where law and order is ultimately maintained by armed police. Usually the threat of the use of those arms is sufficient to deter criminal activity but it is understood by all that if the police need to use their guns to apprehend armed criminals then they will do so.
In the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, in the murky area of inter-tribal moral and territorial conflicts, when push comes to shove, law and order is ultimately maintained by armies. Given the human condition, this has always been so and will always be so, unless and until sufficient individuals take it upon themselves to lead by example by ridding themselves of their own instinctual malice and sorrow.
PETER: Nowadays it is not necessary for seekers to spend years on the spiritual path because so much of the spiritual teachings are available on the Net to be read at leisure without the need to become involved in a group or embroiled in a cult. It is also possible to join any one of many spiritual mailing lists in order to assess the effectiveness – or ineffectiveness – of the teachings in producing harmonious and peaceful communities.
There are ample opportunities for a present-day seeker to check out for themselves the followers of almost any spiritual teaching, to assess the quality, range and tone of discussions and by doing so make your own assessment as to whether or not the followers are living the teachings and if they are, what effect it has on their daily lives.
Given the doubts you have raised in this post about actualism being a cult and your, I can only suggest that you take a clear-eyed look at spiritualism as it works in practice in order that you can move on from doubt to making an assessment one way or the other. The important thing about asking questions and having doubts is to find definitive workable answers and nowadays the Net makes it much easier than having to troop off to the East as was needed in the old days. As I remember it, living in doubt and not-knowing is the pits.
There is such a joy to be had in devoting yourself to something one hundred percent.
RESPONDENT: I have no doubts about the ‘cult of AF’. There is absolutely no evidence to that suggestion. I’ve looked at spiritualism and I reject it categorically. Your point about the purpose of questioning/doubting is well taken. Also, I do recognize the importance of commitment and intent to any of this work. While I can browse my way through a world’s worth of information, at the end of the day, the plain old hard work still must be done.
PETER: My misconception appears to have come from reading your words and taking them at face value. You said, among other things –
RESPONDENT: However, they are leading a simulation of the originator’s way (that’s what the word ‘virtual’ means after all), so it is possible that they have suspended some measure of their common sense in order to ‘be like Richard’. I can’t really ascertain that, but if that were the case, then they are dancing around the edges of cult-ness.
PETER: When you say ‘however ... it is possible …’ and ‘I can’t really ascertain that, but if …’, that to me means you have doubt, i.e. you are not sure, not confident, or it is not your experience. In other words, to me, what you wrote expressed that you had doubts, which is why I responded as I did.
Perhaps this is an example that throws some light on the feedback I sometimes get – that I am putting words into the mouths of correspondents that they didn’t say or that I am misinterpreting what they say. I am not saying I always get things right but I can only respond to the words someone says.
The other example that comes to mind – although it has nothing to do with this current conversation – are correspondents who say things like ‘I agree, but …’ which to me means there is not a mutual agreement as to the facticity of what is being said but that very often the correspondent is objecting to the proposition being offered by saying ‘but’. In this case, what can often happen is that the correspondent will ‘dig their heals in’ and begin a standoff of principle as to ‘who’s right and who’s wrong’. Such reactions usually prevent any common sense discussion and further investigation as to what are the facts of the matter and the resulting feedback is that of me ‘being aggressive’ or ‘being confrontational’ or ‘always wanting to be right’.
You may have noticed this tendency is common to many discussions – I know it was one that plagued all of my conversations and interactions until I came to see it in action and worked to break the habit. What I realized was happening was that I was emotionally defending my beliefs and convictions, very often without thinking about what I was defending at all. When what ‘I’ said or felt to be right or true was questioned or contradicted ‘I’ immediately felt threatened, the defence and/or attack mode automatically kicked in, and any chance at sensible conversation flew out the window.
Sometimes, in a vain effort to keep the peace, I would feign to agree with the other outwardly whilst covertly holding on to the conviction of my rightness, thereby ensuring the truce so gained was nothing but a temporary lull in my ongoing battle with others. The only thing I found that worked to end this cycle of conflict and ceasefire was to make the effort to establish what were the facts of the matter so that my common sense was able to operate in lieu of ‘my’ automatic emotional reactions of defending ‘my’ beliefs and convictions.
This process is what is meant by questioning beliefs and replacing them with facts – this is the actualism method in a nutshell and the resulting common sense discussions on this list illustrates why and how it works in practice. Peace and harmony between human beings is possible.
PETER: I thought I would pen a comment to something you posted to No 13 recently as I found the topic pertinent to current events in the world we live in.
I did find it somewhat presumptuous of you to come on this list and tell actualists what actual freedom is, based on a superficial skimming of the web-site which was lately more aimed at picking fault rather than trying to understand what is on offer. The root of your misunderstanding of actualism is patently obvious when one looks at a few of your other comments to this list –
This unambiguous statement indicates that you believe actualism to be identical to Sufism, i.e. you imagine actualism is another form of spiritual belief. This misconception explains your comment to No 13 because no-where in any of the ancient spiritual or religious texts is there any mention of being happy and harmless in the market place. No wonder there is no peace between human beings and never has been when spiritualists scorn being happy and harmless in the market place as somehow being beneath their lofty and noble other-worldly aspirations.
From this comment it is clear that you see actualism as a sit-back-and-soak-up-the-words poetic philosophy in the same league as the countless spiritual teachings that masquerade as Truths. In order to make such a comment you have had to either ignore or deny the fact that writ large all through the actualism writings is the constant advertising of a practical do it yourself method – a method specifically designed to enable anyone with sufficient motivation to become free of the human condition.
That few are so far willing to allow themselves to become ‘sucked in’ to using this method is indicative of the stranglehold that passionate other-worldly beliefs have over down-to-earth common sense. Few are as yet are willing to acknowledge what is patently clear in the world as-it-is – that it is high time human beings stopped believing in Gods and devils, good and evil spirits and such like, and get on with business of becoming happy and harmless. If you read the objections of correspondents on The Actual Freedom Trust website, you will be aware of the fact that you are safely ensconced amongst the many.
How do you know someone is a spiritualist? Spiritualists are not at all interested in being here in the first place – let alone in being happy and harmless
Personally, I find it hard to think how much worse human beings could treat their fellow human beings. For a start, the amount of bloodshed, torment, anguish and suffering that religious and spiritual belief has caused, and is still causing, in the world beggars description. Words like horror, repulsion and repugnance fail to convey the full extent of the carnage that has been wrought, and is still being wrought, in the name of the followers of some make-believe God against the followers of some other make-believe God.
And what is the best the pious God-fearing priests and followers have to offer as a solution to ending this on-going savagery – religious tolerance. Not an end to the madness, but a rehash of the same old failed message of ‘be tolerant towards those who hold different religious or spiritual beliefs than you do’. Nowhere does one hear a clear and unambiguous voice declaring that it is archaic and inane religious and spiritual belief itself that is the very cause of so much human conflict, animosity, misery and suffering and that it is high time to abandon such beliefs to the scrap heap of history. Blame is always laid at the feet of the believers who are either too fervent in their belief or not fervent enough – but nobody is willing to question the efficacy of the sacred teachings themselves.
I have been fascinated to observe and contemplate upon the machinations that are occurring in the most recent flair-up of a religious conflict that has been ongoing for some two thousand years. There is a wealth of information to be had about the human condition simply by observing and thinking clearly about what is happening. There is also a salient opportunity to check on one’s own emotional reactions so as to ascertain where one is hooked, by one’s own social programming. in to feeling anger, sorrow, despair, fear, piousness, aloofness, or whatever
Whilst it has been convenient to lay the blame for the latest outbreak on religious extremism or fanaticism, it is pertinent to note that no one is daring to question the immediate cause – human beings desperately hanging on to and defending ancient puerile religious and spiritual beliefs. The conflict has raised a welter of conflicting moral and ethical issues and opinions which, with the benefit of modern worldwide communications, we are clearly able to see and hear, as it is happening, as the war unfolds.
A bewildering amount of opinion is being offered as to who is right and who is wrong, who is good and who is bad, who has God on their side, who is to blame, etc – and all of it is nothing other than points of view or emotional reactions that differ depending on upon the proponent’s personal religious or spiritual beliefs, which country or ethnic group they belong to, which side they favour, who they think is right, their degree of patriotism, their political predilections, etc.
Thus not only is the cause of the current flair up obvious – religious and spiritual beliefs – but the moral and ethical conflicts and quandaries that are also stirred up can be clearly seen as insolvable. In the face of what is obviously a fearful situation for many, the pat solution is to pray to one’s God, which does nought but add the fuel of passionate belief to the fire. The followers of Eastern religions, given that none of their particular Gods or God-men is currently involved in the conflict, generally adopt a pious and cynical fence-sitting role, all the while frantically denying the very religiosity of their own dearly held spiritual beliefs.
I have pondered for a few days now about the conflict, trying to follow the moral and ethical debates and found I have no opinion one way or another. There is no right or wrong, there are no good guys or bad guys per se – it is simply a battle of mythical ethereal Gods being fought out, not in some fairy tale other-world, but here on this verdant planet amongst fellow human beings. One can clearly see the stranglehold that spiritual and religious belief holds over human beings when one sees that people are willing to kill and maim other people in the name of their beliefs and yet no-one dares to questions the need to hold spiritual and religious beliefs in the first place. And given how passionately people hold their religious and spiritual beliefs and to what lengths they are willing to go to defend them, this conflict, and those other conflicts like it, will go on for as long as human beings believe in Gods.
And underneath all the superficial feuding over religious/spiritual beliefs can be felt a bloodlust for violence and revenge that is both animal and instinctual in its roots. What is clear from the deep-seated passions that are being stirred up in the current outbreak of anarchy and mayhem is not only a reflex instinctive fervour for violence and revenge but also a morbid fixation with sorrow, grief, despair and fear. When push comes to shove, the raw instinctual passions in humans invariably come to the surface and currently the world is awash with them.
For an actualist these regular flare-ups present a potent opportunity to study the human condition ... with the ‘lid off’, as it were. One only needs to turn on the television, soak up as much information as possible, and observe beliefs, morals, ethics, values, attitudes, feelings, emotions and passions in action ... as well as be able to feel these reactions as they arise in oneself. As you become aware of your own beliefs, morals, ethics, values, feelings and passions, as and when they arise, you begin to understand the nature and extent – the very nitty gritty, if you like – of your own social and instinctual programming. You start to both understand, and directly experience, the role that one’s own social conditioning plays in fostering and maintaining human animosity and suffering as well as be able to understand, and directly experience, the underlying passions that are the very root of human malice and sorrow.
Being an actualist means one is pragmatic about people as-they-are and the world as-it-is. An actualist does not waste time or opportunity by looking for band-aid solutions within the mayhem of the human condition ... for it is clear there are none to be found. The human condition is a self-sustaining closed loop in that it is perpetuated by clinging to and lauding archaic beliefs, come-what-may, and it is continually ennobled by clinging to and lauding the animal instinctual passions, no matter how horrific the outcome.
PETER: But to get back to your own spiritual belief about those LDG’s (Long Dead Gurus) who promulgate the archaic beliefs and ancient wisdoms that humanity so unquestioningly reveres –
I would be interested as to your comments about how much worse you think religious wars and spiritual conflicts should be before human beings come to their senses and start to question the veracity of spiritual beliefs and ancient wisdoms?
RESPONDENT: Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion = (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) feeling guilty, taboos, = struggle and loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in. But I wonder where a figure like Jesus does or doesn’t fit in. What is the message? How about the bible? Is there nothing true about it? Are there only fairytales in it? I mean is there nothing practical to get from. Or was it at that moment the best that one could get. I hope you know what I mean.
PETER: As you know we have been having a lot of correspondence about the animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire lately on the list, and the fact that scientists are making the first discoveries to plot the source of instinctual feelings and behaviour in the human brain. For a fair while now attempts have been made to study human behaviour and get to the roots of both fear and aggression, and a particular study that shook me up was done by Stanley Milgram – it’s in the Peace chapter of my journal. It’s presently not on our web-site, so I’ll post it here as it may be of use in your deliberations –
A year after writing this, the same issue is coming home to me again as I find that, after 2 years of ‘cleaning myself’ up – digging deep into my psyche and exploring the roots of fear and aggression, it is blatantly obvious that there is nothing that can be done, within the Human Condition, to eliminate malice and sorrow. No matter how good, moral, ethical or well intentioned the individual or group attempts to be, the instincts will always win out. There have been billions of people who have prayed for peace, attempted to live moral and good lives but peace on earth is still no closer to happening.
Peace on earth is an impossibility while human beings are instinctually driven to fight each other.
The clearly unworkable, unliveable and unsuccessful reliance on morals and ethics to bring peace on earth – let alone within tribal groups, families or couples – can surely now be abandoned as a failure. Of course, one would not want to venture off and begin to question the ‘good’ if one had no evidence that there was something better, and that evidence is the Pure Consciousness Experience. One of the prime qualities of the ‘self’-less state of the PCE is the fairy-tale like purity and perfection of the actual world, and the quality of a human being in a PCE is one of innocence – there is a total absence of instinctual fear and aggression. This is the innocence much sought after on the spiritual path but what one ends up with is feeling Good or becoming Divine – a perversion and human corruption of the actual state of innocence. A synthetic, fragile, supposed innocence that does nothing to tackle the inbuilt programming of fear and aggression in the amygdala – the ‘primitive brain’ within humans.
PETER: The reason spirituality has failed to bring peace on earth is because peace on earth is simply not part of spiritual belief – …
RESPONDENT: Have you managed to bring peace on earth, now that it is simply part of actualist belief?
PETER: I would hazard a guess that almost everyone who is subscribed to this mailing list ‘knows’, as in has experienced, the utter peacefulness and stillness of this verdant planet literally hanging in the boundless vastness of space, no matter how briefly and no matter whether they can specifically remember having had the experience. Is not the nascent promise of this experience the inherent attraction to what is on offer on the Actual Freedom Trust website? Peace on earth? The peace that many people know is already here … if only …?
The traditional ‘if only’ response is ‘if only everyone else would stop fighting and feuding’, and yet a little introspection reveals that the ‘if only’ applies only to ‘me’. A little introspection reveals that ‘if only’ ‘I’ stopped feeling resentful about being here ‘I’ could start to feel good about being here and eventually even start to appreciate being here and eventually even start to marvel at the wonder that not only this planet is but at the fact that the universe exists in its peerless infinite and is happening right now.
‘Peace on earth’ does not mean that actualism proposes that everyone has to become peaceful, far from it. Peace on earth means being able to experience the peace that is already here when ‘I’ am not here – the peace that everyone has experienced at some stage in their life, no matter how briefly, no matter whether they have a conscious memory of it or not.
Very often people think that actualism is only about bringing an end to the suffering that human beings continue to inflict upon themselves and upon each other and yet whilst this appalling situation would come to an end if everyone on the planet were at least virtually free of malice and sorrow, it is the end goal of actualism which attracts people to actualism in the first place – the lure of the direct experience of the already existing peace on earth. Not as a nearly experience, not as an intellectual understanding, not as occasional experiences, not as temporary experiences but as a permanent 24/7 until physical death experience.
Actualism is not an all or nothing business – by doing all you can to eliminate your own resentment, antagonism and sadness you are demonstrating by example the utter senselessness of being an instinctually driven being and by doing so you are concurrently taking the necessary steps towards becoming actually free of the human condition in toto. A win-win situation, a win for you personally and a win for your fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: You guys are pathetic. The amount of time and verbage you waste protecting your ‘precious’ self on a list like this is beyond stupid.
PETER: I didn’t regard my response as a waste of time at all. By and large I tend to let a good deal of the falsehoods and beat ups that pass for criticism on this list pass me by, but the reason I chose to respond to this comment was that I could succinctly point out that it was false in a single sentence. The rest of the ‘verbage’ was to do with the nature of the cycles of fashions as to what is currently believed to be right and wrong or good and bad.
By the way, if you think I am ‘protecting’, it stands to reason you must feel I am being attacked – the question then would be why correspondents choose to do so on a list specifically set up to discuss the means of actualizing peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: The thing to remember when humans open their mouths and squawk like plucked chooks – as we inevitable do – is that each of us is responsible for the way in which our correspondent responds back to us.
PETER: Whoever told you that this is so? This simply makes no sense at all. Methinks you are taking on a burden if you feel responsible if someone who is having a ‘bad hair day’ chooses to take it out on you, or if you feel responsible when someone who is angry at someone else for some reason takes the opportunity to dump their load on you instead.
I remember particularly becoming aware of this on a building site one day when one of the men was angry at everyone and every thing. It turned out that his anger had nothing to do with anyone or anything on the building site, he was in fact angry at his girlfriend and had come to work pre-primed to be angry.
RESPONDENT: If we ignore the issues (or questions) brought up for discussion and focus instead on the emotional content in which they are inevitably couched (as the instinctually driven animals we are) and use every opportunity to send out our war cry ‘attack!’ or ‘you are attacking me!’ (as we have done for centuries) we simply reinforce and inflate the very ad hominem attacks one is accusing the other of.
PETER: If I can just remind you, this was the comment you made to which I responded –
The reason I replied was to correct the falsehood that I had grown a beard after meeting Richard in order to copy cat him. Not that it would matter one iota if I did, of course – there is much about Richard that I have chosen to emulate given that he is actually free of the human condition.
Growing a beard happens to be not one of the things I copied – provided one is free of thoughtlessly following current fads or fashions, such things are then a matter of personal predilection.
RESPONDENT: Each is equally responsible for slamming the door on sensible discussion and no lessons learned here are being applied at all.
PETER: Again this makes no sense at all as a generalization. By this logic, one should make no distinction between an antagonist and his or her target and by extension no distinction between a perpetrator of violence and his or her victim.
I remember at one stage thinking that I was equally responsible for the ending of my marriage – that I was equally moody, that I was equally withdrawn, that I was often resentful and so on. But I soon came to see that by thinking this I was simply avoiding taking a good hard look at myself such that I made sure that I wasn’t being a contributor to any animosity or angst this time around with my current companion.
In short, the only way ‘I’ can evince change is to take sole responsibility for *my* malice and *my* sorrow.
I am not saying that this is an easy thing to do because putting theory into practice initially proved to be a traumatic event for me, one that I have written about in my journal –
RESPONDENT: No 66 and Peter, if your claim is genuine – that actualism is working for you and making you more happy and harmless – then show it by example and correspond accordingly, to your passionate fellow human beings.
PETER: The problem with this bit of advice is that you would have me sit back and not respond at all to any falsehoods, untruths, verbal abuse and presumable even physical attacks in order to meet your particular (pacifist?) belief as to what it means to be happy and harmless in practice.
RESPONDENT: If the majority of your replies are focussed on taking them to task for being ‘who they feel they are’ as though it were a personal fault, you are not only contributing to the ad hominem attacks fully, but you are lying to yourselves and peace on earth is NOT on your agendas.
PETER: If the majority of my replies were in this category, you might have a case …. but by far the majority of my posts to this mailing list have been in response to correspondents who have expresses an interested in actualism. In my replies I endeavour to pass on my personal experience of my success in becoming virtually free of malice and sorrow and to correct the usual misconceptions and common misunderstandings that I know by experience inevitably occur in trying to understand and put into practice what actualism is on about. On the occasions I do respond to ad hominem attacks, I also very often take the opportunity to include some information that may be of use to readers ... which is after all the reason I write.
RESPONDENT No 71 to Richard: No mad man would agree that he is mad, non?
RICHARD: I will first draw your attention to the following (so as to refresh your memory as to just what particular type of crazy person my co-respondent, in all their sincerity, has chosen to pick on):
That term (popularly known as ‘psychopath’) properly refers to a person with an ‘Antisocial Personality Disorder’ who, according to the DSM-IV, is someone who has a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others – as indicated by three, or more, of seven specific criteria – and for whom there is evidence of ‘Conduct Disorder’ (a repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviour, in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three, or more, of fifteen particular criteria).
Now, whilst copyright regulations preclude me from publicly listing those twenty-two criteria, it would not have taken anyone with access to the internet very long at all to determine for themself that, as it is patently obvious that what [quote] ‘seems’ [endquote] to my co-respondent to be happening most certainly has no existence outside of their intuitive/imaginative facility, their sincerity is indeed entirely misplaced ... yet it would not be at all surprising if it turns out that you did not do such an elementary thing as that before reaching for your keyboard to type out your latest load of hogwash.
It is truly fascinating to sit here, at this computer, and watch the human condition parade itself daily across this screen.Richard, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List to No 71, 18.2.2006
RESPONDENT No 71 to Richard: Do you talk like this in live interactions as well?
RESPONDENT: Most probably does, which would explain why no one from his life (other than his two doting sycophants) ever contributes here to confirm their physical witness of his actual caring in the flesh. Not a one? None of his four children or their children, none of his siblings, parents or past companions (even Irene saw thru him) no one? Not one confirmation – after all these years – of his actual intimacy from any of them. Now why do you think that is?
PETER: Unlike you, I have no need to resource to speculating and fantasizing as to why this is so.
Firstly, I know by personal experience that none of my children, parents or past companions have any interest in actualism whatsoever ... and why should they be simply because they either knew me in the past or still know of me nowadays?
Secondly, regardless of whether or not they were interested in actualism, why should they bother to write to this mailing list to attest to the degree of my caring, one way or the other, particularly given that anyone who did so would be dismissed by those with an axe to grind as being either ‘doting sycophants’ or lauded as being another person who ‘saw thru him’.
Thirdly, all of those who do know Richard personally and are interested in actualism have reported to me that they have no interest in writing to the mailing list … and why should they, given the handful of flamers who eagerly lurk, ready to pounce on anyone who has anything at all positive to say about actualism, its practitioners or its founder.
RESPONDENT: My guess is his speech is exactly like his writing, chock full of derision, disparagement, scorn, mockery, disdain, belittlement, vilification, denigration, contempt, castigation, disapprobation, denunciation, condemnation and discrimination (as evidenced by bad-mouthing, backbiting and a whole range of slurs, smears, censures, admonishments, reproaches, reprovals, and so on)’.
PETER: Which only goes to show how wrong one can be when one has to resort to guessing what goes on when one hasn’t a clue as to what actually goes on.
RESPONDENT: And then he plays the martyr, they avoid me because they don’t want to be free of wars, rapes, murders, tortures, domestic violence, child abuse, sadness, loneliness, grief, depression, suicide, like I do? Sickest reasoning I ever heard.
PETER: That’s quite a spin you have put on what actually goes on this mailing list – has it escaped your attention that far from avoiding Richard, the vocal minority apparently cannot stop themselves from tapping away at their keyboards so as to pour scorn on those with any interest whatsoever in becoming both happy and harmless? Apparently the status quo reasoning for those staunch defenders of the human condition who take the time to write to this mailing list is that anyone who aims at being happy and harmless is seen as fair game for their cheap pot-shots, derision and scorn.
RESPONDENT: I have heard it happens to many soldiers after returning from war. They come home with a lopsided view of the human condition as being predominately subject to wars, rapes, murders, tortures, domestic violence, child abuse, sadness, loneliness, grief, depression and suicide, so much so some of even DO commit suicide.
PETER: And I have personally witnessed that many of those who have never been to war, or have never been directly affected by war, remain so utterly self-centred and selfish that they have no interest whatsoever in doing anything at all about actualizing the already peace existing peace on earth. Even the few who are interested in doing something about the perpetual conflicts that epitomize the human condition on a global, national, tribal, neighbourhood and family level, do nothing other than spend their time and expend their energy blaming others as being responsible and culpable, all the while ignoring their own feelings, their own impulses and inclinations that provide the evidence that deep down they are as mad, as bad and as sad as every other feeling being on the planet … the only difference being one of degree and not of kind.
RESPONDENT: In Richard’s case he’s working on committing psychological suicide which didn’t work so he ran for the hills.
PETER: Yet another example of No 65’s spin on things, yet another spin which has nothing at all to do with the facts of the matter. As you well know by what you read here, Richard did not stop at the traditional death of the ego pulp that has resulted in the folly of men and women swanning around declaring themselves to be the latest saviour of humankind – Richard went all the way and eliminated not only ‘I’ as ego but ‘me’ as soul as well … and far from running for the hills he spends a good deal of time at the computer debunking the falsehoods and fabrications that you and others similarly inclined seem so compelled to keep trotting out.
RESPONDENT: Yes it truly is fascinating to sit here, and watch human benevolence parade across the screen time and time again only to be countered by His Malcontent dressed up with the glitz of fancy words.
PETER: And yet another example that your derogatory repertoire is so uninspired that it rarely rises above the level of the puerile repetitive taunts that can be readily heard in any schoolyard anywhere in the world.
PETER: About half way through this post I had a phone call from a woman I had never met but had been given my phone number by someone who knew me. She wanted to know if I could help her with some queries she had about a video editing program that I use and I was only too happy to pass on my own knowledge about editing and my own experience in using the program. When I had finished the call and returned to this post I was struck as to how odd it was that I was replying to someone who spends their time sitting at their computer typing out derogatory comments and then sending them to a mailing list specifically set up by some fellow human beings in order to freely pass on their expertise and discuss with others the way and the means of becoming personally free of the human condition of malice and sorrow. The contrast in attitude and motivation between the two communications, being so close together, was and is palpable.
I don’t know what motivates you to do what you do but it obviously involves a good deal of persistent cerebral activity combined with a passionate emotional-intuitive drive in order to come up with all the guesswork, speculation and imaginative scenarios about people, things and events you clearly know nothing about and that are, as a consequence, so far from the facts as to be risible.
Have you not noticed that all the ‘wars, rapes, murders, tortures, domestic violence, child abuse, sadness, loneliness, grief, depression and suicide’ in the world are perpetrated by human beings who value their intuition and gut feelings to such an extent that any consideration, let alone an actual caring, for their fellow human beings is nowhere to be seen? Again I don’t know whether you have also noticed but actualism is all about having the intent, each moment again, to not only stop but to become free from this natural predilection of trusting one’s own feelings, thereby giving such credence to them that senselessness prevails. Actualism is about becoming attentive to the full gamut of one’s own feelings, both the so-called good feelings as well as the so-called dark feelings, and this very act of being attentiveness disempowers their invidious influence such that sense and sensuousness can prevail which then frees one to become increasingly able to be more and more harmless and more and more happy each moment again.
And speaking of war, I don’t know whether you are concerned about the current worldwide war but I heard that someone has labelled it ‘The Long War’. I thought it an apt label, for this war will indeed be very, very, very long as it is being fought not so much by armies and not so much by nations but by a plethora of disparate and divergent groups and/or individuals from all cultures and all creeds, all of whom who all have an axe to grind of some sort – in short, any disgruntled youth, no matter what gender, who wants to express their anger can take up any one of a multitude of grievances, causes and/or ideologies, arm themselves with a gun or a bomb, a banner or a keyboard and join in waging war against whomever they currently choose to take a dislike to.
Indeed a little look at history of humankind reveals that the current ‘Long War’ is only the latest episode of what has been and continues to be the ‘Never-Ending War’. In other words, whenever feelings rule the roost, sense flies out the window and human beings continue to find ways to wage war against their fellow human beings in all sorts of ways, both covert and overt, subtle and not so subtle … and not only that, to top it all off, they also passionately feel their antagonism and anger towards their fellow human beings to be righteously justified!
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.