Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Selected Correspondence Peter


PETER: A post came in from No 99 a while ago that I had earmarked to respond to but didn’t get around to. The relevant part of his question was this –

[Respondent No 99]: Where does it say that the universe is peaceful and perfect? Is there a mission statement for the universe to only experience being happy and harmless here on earth? If all is the universe, what is all the stuff that actualists are trying to be rid of?

When I sit and pause and look at what is now, I can see everything as what is and then any movement seems to be a subtle shift in view, discernment or preference, or, as I often do, make a stand, draw a line in the sand and attempt to enforce this stance. What I have read from the actualists seems to support the latter.

There seems to be much judgement and condemnation of people and the human condition on this site, which to me, is incongruent and very un-actual, according to your parameters, of what is ‘actual’.

Again, this isn’t to make you wrong, it’s just that it doesn’t make sense to me. What you claim and what you say are incongruent in some areas. No 99, Coffee with Richard 24/4/06

Recently a post came in from No 100 asking very similar questions so I thought to respond to both together –

[Respondent]: What is peace-on-earth is already always existing? What does peace on earth mean? What kind of peace? How is it equivalent to saying ‘it is already just here, right now, as it always has been and always will be’ No 100 Naiveté 10/5/06

Whilst I can understand the difficulty that some people have with the notion that peace on earth already exists and has always existed, let alone grasp that this is a fact – and particularly so if they cannot remember having had a pure consciousness experience themselves – this need not be so, particularly in the current times we live in.

One of the most telling examples of the already existing and always existing peace on earth for me was looking at photos and videos taking by human being beings from spacecraft whilst orbiting earth, journeying to and from the moon or even whilst standing on Earth’s moon. I have written of this before to another correspondent –

[Peter]: ‘Some of the human beings who have seen the globe of the earth from space have had a perspective of this planet that temporarily did not include borders between warring tribes, conflicts over varying beliefs and the ingrained despair that typifies human habitation on earth. From their perspective, outside of Humanity as it were, the pristine purity and the peerless perfection of this azure planet was startlingly evident, so much so that some even had life-changing religious realizations.

A practicing actualist can also have the similar perspective as did those astronauts of this astounding planet we flesh and blood humans actually live on, whilst also having a down-to-earth overarching perspective of the ‘closed-loop, ‘self’-perpetuating psychic and psychic nightmare’ that is the human condition. This clear-eyed perspective of the disparity between the abundant cornucopia this planet actually is and the grim passionate battle for survival still being waged by its human habitants provides the constant fuel for my drive for an actual freedom from the human condition’. Peter, Actual Freedom Mailing List, No 23, 7.5.2002

I was so taken by the blue and fluffy white actuality of this planet that for a long time I had a photo of an earthrise taken from the moon’s surface as a desktop image on my computer in order to remind me everyday again of the sheer magnificence of the peerless perfection and peacefulness of this planet.

Of course one does not have to leave the planet or see photos of the planet taken from afar to gain such a perspective or to have such insights – I had a similar experience in the desert one evening whilst watching the red ball of the sun setting over the western horizon only to happen to turn around and be confronted by an equal-in-size red ball of the moon rising over the eastern horizon, directly opposite. It was immediately apparent that this very earth itself was also a similar ball hanging in space and a little reflection revealed that the borders and boundaries, conflicts and chaos, emotional trials and self-centred tribulations on this ball are all human impassioned fabrications. The reason I mention this experience is that this experience in the desert was not a ‘self’-less pure consciousness experience (and nor was it an altered state of consciousness) – it was simply an opportune moment whereby the actuality of the perfection of this physical planet became apparent and obvious.

I have also written of similar experiences in my Journal–

[Peter]: ... ‘I would deliberately take the midnight-to-dawn watch, alone on deck at the helm, while the others slept below. The sky was velvet black, carelessly strewn with diamond stars, the moonlight dancing on the dark ocean. The sky was intense, endless in depth; the ocean fluid, also seemingly endless in depth, and I and the boat I was on, insignificant in size and location.

The nights were superb; it was a constant pleasure and delight just to be alive – just to be here! These were nights when I experienced the vast endlessness of the physical universe and there was no question of a god or an ‘energy’ or a ‘creator’ of any sort. It was all actually sensational – purely of the senses. The warm feel of the tropical air, the salty smell of the ocean, the movement of the boat, the sound of the water on the hull, the delightful feast to the eyes – the vast stillness and purity of it all. I was no-where in particular, a mere speck on the globe of the earth, hanging somewhere in an infinite black space. The days had no names, the hours no numbers, so time had no reference, I was simply here. Night after night of close to peak experiences – doing nothing but being thrilled at being a part of the physical universe. Not at ‘one’ with it, but the bit of it that was able to go ‘Wow – how amazing!’ To delight and contemplate on the wonder of the physical universe.’ Peter’s Journal, The Universe

Many people I have talked to have had comparable experiences or similar insights such as these at some stage in their life whilst sensately experiencing the magnificence of the physical universe but most have affectively interpreted – or misinterpreted – what they are experiencing in exactly the way human beings have always habitually done – by feeling awed (at the work of some mythical Creator), by feeling grateful (to some mythical Creator) or by becoming totally delusional (by feeling that they are at one with the Creator or indeed that they are the Creator himself, herself or itself). When the emotions take hold of the experience in this way what is totally obscured is the actuality of the physical experience itself – a taste of the already and always existing peace on earth.

What I am attempting to point out in this response is that one does not necessarily have to remember having had a PCE to twig to the fact that peace on earth already, always exists – there are a myriad of clues laying all round that allude to this fact – providing one is willing to let go of one’s accrued real-world cynicism or one’s imbibed spiritual-world fantasies that is. And the cute thing is once you start to become aware of these clues, one’s own innate naiveté will be not only rekindled but will begin to blossom … and this will in turn allow for the circumstances to be ripe for a PCE to occur, all by itself as it were.

PETER: Your post is an excellent example of why the revered wisdom of Eastern spirituality has had its day.

The clamouring for the moral high-ground has indeed become frenetic as each new pundit on the block not only routinely bites the tails of others but feigns to bite their own tail in some sort of ritual public display of male, or female, superiority. If you had cared to skim through the correspondence on the website you would have seen that we have had a good many such types who have regularly paraded through this list, offering nothing but vacuous objections. None have had anything original to say because all of them desperately cling to the narcissistic feelings that come from over-immersion in spiritual beliefs and none have stayed because in the end they have nothing at all to say about peace on earth.

As we say in Australia, come in spinner.

RESPONDENT: ‘Peace on earth’ is just about the one thing every asshole has an opinion about. Haven’t you noticed?

PETER: Yes, I have noticed that every one of my fellow human beings I have met has an opinion about peace on earth when the subject arises. And not only does everyone have an opinion about peace on earth but everyone I have met has an opinion as to whose fault it is that there is no peace on earth … and many are quite acrimonious towards those whose fault they think it is. Some mention that they pray to their God to bring peace on earth, many are quite despairing about the possibility of there ever being peace on earth, whilst still others tell me that they ‘accept’ that human beings are the way they are, because this is the way they have always been, which means that this is the way they always will be.

I for one couldn’t accept any of these opinions because I refused to believe the mother-of-all cynical beliefs, ‘You can’t change human nature’ – that’s why I became an actualist.

PETER: I noticed you made a comment on the following post to the list, and I thought I’d put my two bob in –

GARY to No 8: <snipped comment>

[Jane Roberts]: ‘Killing while protecting one’s own body from death at the hands of another is a violation. Whether or not any justification seems apparent, the violation exists. (Long pause.) Because you believe that physical self-defence is the only way to counter such a situation then you will say, ‘If I am attacked by another person, are you telling me that I cannot aggressively counter his obvious intent to destroy me?’ Not at all. You could counter such an attack in several ways that do not involve killing. You would not be in such a hypothetical situation to begin with unless violent thoughts of your own, faced or unfaced, had attracted it to you.’ ‘The Nature of Personal Reality’ Seth via J. Roberts

PETER: I find it curious that these words of wisdom about physical self-defence supposedly come from a disembodied entity. As such, I would say that an ethereal entity without a physical body would be the least qualified to offer gratuitous moral advice to we corporeal earthly humans.

GARY: Yes, unless such a one was ‘God in human form’. That is essentially the Christian myth. So there is one (ie., Jesus, Seth, etc.) who knows all about being a human but at the same time is ‘beyond’ all that, having transcended it, and can supposedly guide us mere mortals. Now please note, I am not arguing from this position. I merely found the excerpted quotation interesting as I have struggled to understand how to deal with violence.

PETER: I found the business of delving back into Eastern spiritual teachings, meta-physical sciences, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc. and finding the loop holes, so top speak, a very freeing experience. Digging beneath what is seemingly being said and finding the core argument, theory, concept or belief that underpins and substantiates what has passed as the great, profound and Sacred truths of the Human Condition is very daunting but it is the only way to actually free oneself of the Human Condition. Facts must replace beliefs for facts are actual but beliefs shackle ‘me’ to the Human Condition and keep ‘me’, the believer, in existence. This process of investigation is exactly why we actualists do tend to be a wordy lot and interested in exploring all of the aspects of the Human Condition.


PETER: Personally, I enjoy being here and have no problem, should the need arise, in aggressively countering another’s obvious intent to destroy me. Obviously I would do all that was reasonable to avoid being in the situation in the first place, or get out of it with all the cunning I could muster, but if all else fails, to lay down and die for a moral principle is clearly silly.

GARY: I notice that you used the word ‘aggressively’ in talking about countering another’s obvious intent to destroy you. So it appears that this is the sticking point: one is still aggressive and falling prey to the instincts, is one not? I have variously tried to imagine what it must be like to be without fear, like Richard. It seems like a mostly futile enterprise, as the fact remains that I am fearful. But I should think that were one without fear, having extirpated the emotional faculty, one would not ‘aggresively’ respond to anything. There would be no need for aggression as intelligence and common sense would guide one as to what to do in any given situation.

PETER: Remember that we are talking of a hypothetical situation as I live in a reasonably ‘safe’ village in a ‘civilized’ country and do nothing that would provoke violence in a ‘reasonable’ person. And yet, if I were to be physically threatened I would firstly use whatever cunning I could to escape the situation but, if this failed, I would defend myself aggressively – as in forcefully, vigorously, robustly. If my life was being actually threatened and there was no avenue of escape, it would seem folly to defend myself in any other manner. And the extent and level of aggression would be appropriate to the situation. If it got to the stage of kill or be killed then there is no question as to who should live – the wanton attacker or the innocent victim – and this distinction is upheld in most legal systems.

I used the word aggressively quite deliberately for two reasons –

Firstly to highlight the fact that to be an actualist is to challenge all beliefs, morals, ethics, values, ideals, dreams and psittacisms. Many ‘good’ people hold to the ideal of pacifism – the fantasy that all we need for peace on earth to happen is for everyone to simply stop fighting all at once. These same well-meaning people generally live in countries with a reasonably effective system of armed police and punitive legal systems to maintain law and order and professional, sophisticated armies to defend their borders. In short, they can afford to pay for other human beings to defend them to the point of killing their attackers if necessary – their idealism of non-violence is ultimately based upon paying others to do their killing for them.

The arch-advocate of pacifism, the Dalai Lama, is the theocratic leader of Tibet but, when push came to shove and the Chinese invaded, he chose to take the gold and flee behind the protection of the Indian Army, leaving his people undefended and overrun. The history of human existence has been one of continuous attack and defence, vanquish and surrender, plunder and retribution, vengeance and revenge. In this senseless grim battle of survival the meek and mild are most often the first to suffer, for it is the ruthless and callous who invariably attempt to inherit the earth.

Pacifism is an ideal, a dream, a fantasy that makes no sense in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. I would recommend Richard’s writings on selected topics on the subject of peace as he has more thoroughly researched the subject than I have and has had the direct experience of being in a war. There is no substitute for first-hand direct experience. The Peace chapter in my Journal may also be of interest.

The second reason I used the word aggressive is to indicate that what we are talking of is the elimination of the automatic instinctual imperative that is constantly in operation, or lurking ever-ready to break through, in human beings. This relentless compulsion leads humans to feel fearful even if there is no apparent physical danger, to feel aggressive towards others even if it is not acted out, to be driven to cultivate nurture for those we consider ‘ours’ as a defence against ‘them’ and the evil of a hostile world, and to be blindly driven by avarice, greed and sexual desire even when we have more than sufficient.

In Virtual Freedom all of these instinctual drives are diminished to the point where they can be clearly seen and experienced as not only unnecessary but totally destructive to my peacefulness. Even more significantly, one also becomes aware of how destructive ‘my’ instinctual passions are to those around me and usually to the ones closest to me. This period of almost-elimination of the instinctual passions is quite disconcerting for one is literally letting one’s guard down, without the protective armour of the good or tender passions to shield oneself. One finds oneself actively doing what no one would advise doing – certainly not the spiritual people for they would see me as abandoning God and heading towards immorality and evil, and certainly not the psychiatrists would see me as heading towards irresponsibility and insanity. The guiding light through this period of almost-elimination of the instinctual passions, where ‘I’ increasingly let go of the controls, is always the PCE, where I know by direct experience that the actual world, this physical infinite eternal universe, is perfect and pure and it is only ‘I’ and ‘my’ tender and savage passions who invariably spoil the game of being alive as a flesh and blood body.

When one dares to temporarily let one’s guard down or, to be more accurate, ‘I’ contrive to allow the guard to slip by itself, one discovers that rather than feeling fear there is utter safety in being alive, firmly locked in this moment of time, rather than feeling aggression there is a direct intimacy with all of one’s fellow human beings, rather than being blindly driven to nurture there is a kindly disposition and well-wishing for all of one’s fellow human beings and rather than unremitting desire one discovers one already has whatever one needs. Of course, I am talking of both purity and perfection and for these qualities to be apparent ‘I’ can claim no credit, for these experiences only happen when ‘I’, as a psychological and psychic entity, have melted into the background sufficiently as to be almost non-existent – when ‘I’ have temporarily left the stage, so-to speak. It now only needs ‘my’ finale, ‘my’ swansong to happen for this to be permanent.

When the ‘game is over’, as you put it so well.

My experience with Virtual Freedom is that I will have had sufficient experiences of both purity and perfection such that when ‘my’ demise occurs ‘the fuses will not blow’, I will not have a period of angst such as Richard had when he popped out of his enlightenment delusion and discovered he was in the actual world, and ‘I’ will not re-emerge after the experience as a vainglorious saviour of mankind.

Not that the latter is an option for it would be an affront to both my dignity and intelligence and I could hardly front up to those who know me and say – ‘guess what, I was wrong. There is a God after all ... and I’m It.’

To get back to your point that

[Gary]: There would be no need for aggression as intelligence and common sense would guide one as to what to do in any given situation. [endquote].

In Virtual Freedom one gets to experientially understand the senselessness of instinctual aggression despite the fact there is still the shadow of ‘me’ lurking around who is ever-ready to re-claim the stage. However, what one increasingly experiences when ‘I’ am almost extinct, is that these blind instinctual reactions become chemical rushes only and more and more lack any emotional or feeling substance. In Virtual Freedom one is virtually harmless.

In a PCE or Actual Freedom there is no ‘me’ as the ever-ready usurper, and intelligence and commonsense operate totally without any restraint and uninhibited by the blind instinctual survival program – as such, innocence, purity and perfection become one’s very nature. Then if aggression is an appropriate response it will appropriately happen of itself, so to speak.

An example of this process of elimination of the instinctual imperative that also comes to mind is the most curious loss of sexual drive that progressively occurred during Virtual Freedom as I explored the true nature of my sexual passions. It was quite bewildering at first, and has taken a good deal of getting used to, but now my sexual play is even more lusty and sensual than when I was a normally inhibited male or a spiritually constrained male with imagination, jealousy and the need for control still operating. Similarly with exploring nurture and debunking love – I now find I am more considerate and caring of others than I ever was.

The commonly held belief is that the excitement and tension that results from instinctual fear is essential to feeling alive and many actively court danger in order to ride the rush of fear. Contrary to this belief, the experience of the near-elimination of instinctual fear allows the thrill of doing what is happening to become increasingly apparent – and this includes doing nothing really well. Again it is universally upheld as a truth that one needs the instinct of aggression, currently manifest in the phrase ‘standing up for my rights’, or else I will be trampled, done in, taken advantage of, etc. What is discovered is quite the opposite, for one increasingly discovers that the actual world is a safe place, brim full of serendipity, delight and wonder.

Whenever the blind animal passions are near-eliminated, or magically fall by the wayside, one always has tantalizing glimpses of what lays beneath – actuality is so much more superior to feelings and imagination for it is actual and effortless as it requires no ‘me’ to be continually maintaining the tender feelings and passions in the face of the savage feelings and passions.

In order to become virtually free, ‘I’ very deliberately get off the stage, and the relief of not having to put on an act is palpable. A leisurely game of delight is increasingly played out before my eyes. In Actual Freedom ‘I’ expire, immolate, die, to let the play be what it actually is – utterly unscripted, uncontrolled, unrehearsed, adlibbed, perfect and pure, moment to moment, right here where I have always been, and as events, people and things are ... right now.

Isn’t that the freedom we all want – to stop having to be a ‘me’, and all it entails?

GARY: In a recent post, No 8 wrote –

[Jane Roberts]: But the information is fascinating. Seth is no advocate of irresponsibility; he declares you are absolutely responsible for every minuscule event that ever happens to you. The archives of every word he spoke have been stored at Yale University and physicists are studying his probability theory which you can read about in a book titled Bridging Science and Spirituality. ‘The Nature of Personal Reality’ Seth via J.Roberts

In reply, you wrote –

[Peter]: ‘I’ll pass No 8, although I did put my foot in my mouth in a post to Gary entitled ‘disembodied morals’.’ Peter to No 8, 24.7.2000

It’s a rather big foot, Peter, and I was wondering if you might like to reply. I called it the ‘sticking point’, because I feel there is a point that most of us get to when we are severely challenged and up against something that refuses to budge. Faced with an adversary who is intent on putting an end to your life at the point of a gun or some other equally potent weapon, it is interesting to speculate as to whether one would respond instinctually with a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality or whether something else would happen, something more akin to intelligence and common sense. Of course, I may be neglecting to recognize that common sense might dictate speedily dispatching the onerous adversary with a well placed shot. A kind of ‘putting him out of his misery’, as it were.

Pardon the gallows humour.

I am really quite surprised that you replied to me that you would not hesitate to respond ‘aggressively’. I can only conclude that since you told No 8 you put your foot in your mouth you feel you made a faux pas. Well, if it is a mistake, I don’t want to make too much of it. Perhaps the scenario I described of being faced with imminent loss of life by a violent opponent is where the rubber meets the road for an actualist. If one has thoroughly self-immolated, and as I am aware of no one who has achieved this feat save for Richard, I should think there would be no aggression involved at all. In other words, there would be no adrenalin rush, no fight-or-flight response, no desperate pleading for your life to be saved, no hair trigger ‘shoot first’ reaction, like in all the cowboy pictures we were raised on. With no fear on board the physiological organism, a fervent imagination leads me to two possible conclusions: 1.) one would be as ‘calm as a cucumber’ and able to defuse the most violent of confrontations, skilfully using the wastage of energy generated by the opponents’ wrath, or 2.) one would most likely perish and be quite unconcerned with it, as one is devoid of a sense of being a personal ‘I’ that needs defending. Rhetorical questions and speculations aside, few of us are actually faced with anything like this. Not to say that we might not be at some relatively near point in the future, if war breaks out, which, considering the history of world, is certainly possible. It is a wonderful distraction to consider these questions, but I don’t want to belabour the point. It is far more interesting and vital work to consider how to deal with the situations that are actually facing me than concoct a hypothetical situation to speculate about.

If you would care to respond, you might comment on whether or not you were caught unawares when you responded in that way by saying ‘aggressively’. It was a rather revealing remark, as I think we are all in that boat, unless of course we are in Actual Freedom.

PETER: It looks as though we have a crossed-post situation where I have answered most of the points you raised by answering your first post on the subject. At the moment I am quite busy working so I tend to be slow in my responses if the inbox gets full. I also like to respond in reasonable detail to questions raised which was another reason that I was attempting to pass on the longish piece of Sethism that No 8 posted, but it looks as though my attempt failed. You quoted No 8 –

[Jane Roberts]: ‘Seth is no advocate of irresponsibility; he declares you are absolutely responsible for every minuscule event that ever happens to you.’ ‘The Nature of Personal Reality’ Seth via J.Roberts

Common to most spiritual/ religious teachings is the moral principle that everyone is responsible for their actions, whereas one only has to take a clear-eyed look at the sacred teachings to discover that this is not so in fact.

In monotheist religions the issue is very clear. There is one God only, usually a creator God, and everyone is ultimately judged by this Big Daddy who offers the carrot of a heavenly after-life, or the stick of a hellish after-life.

This threat of Divine punishment and the promise of Divine reward ultimately means that everyone is responsible only to God for his or her actions and to no-one else. Thus a mythical God becomes one’s ultimate authority and the beleaguered believers dance to the tune of their God as well as His or Her earthly representatives – the Popes, Bishops, priests, Gurus and God-men, pundits, teachers, etc. When my God is ‘The one and only God’ it means that all other Gods are impostors, fakes and competitors, and those who follow other Gods are therefore non-believers, heathens or barbarians.

This battle of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods has meant that millions upon millions upon millions of impassioned believers have attacked, slaughtered, maimed, killed and tortured other human beings in thousands upon thousands of pogroms, missions, retributions cleansings, wars and crusades, that have gone on for at least 3,500 years of recorded history. This senseless violence, spawned of religious belief, is still on-going with no sign of abating as all the prayers for peace on earth to these self-same mythical Gods have curiously gone unanswered.

In the monotheist system violence and killing is not only condoned as in ‘I’m fighting for God’ or ‘I lay down my life for God’ but it is Glorified in that the very action of killing, or being killed, ‘for God’s sake’ is a guarantee of a glorious redemption and salvation for one’s immortal soul.

This action of deliberately surrendering one’s responsibility is predicated on believing in the ancient ignorant beliefs and superstitions of good and evil spirits, Forces or Beings as the underlying cause of the animal-instinctual savage and tender passions in operation in human beings. As such, to hold any skerrick of belief in any of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods – by whatever name – is to renounce responsibility for one’s actions and ignore the fact that every flesh and blood human is automatically driven by instinctual animal passions. These passions arise from a genetically-encoded very crude program instilled by ‘blind’ nature purely in order to ensure the survival of the strongest (i.e. most brutish) of the species. Animal ‘evolution’ in action is not a pretty business ...

Last century, when the last world war after the ‘War to end all Wars’ finished and yet another (Cold) War developed with each side playing a game called MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – many people who were desperate for peace on earth turned their backs on Western Religion and adopted Eastern ‘spirituality’ with open-hearts and lofty expectations. Given that any belief demands faith, trust, hope and unquestioning agreement, none bothered to stop and investigate the basic tenets of this ‘spiritual movement’ – Eastern religion and philosophy. The core belief that underpins Eastern religion and philosophy is that ‘who-one-truly-is’ is spirit only and one is most definitely not the body. To sustain this belief one needs to deny the body and its functions, as in ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind’, etc. This belief, if fully indulged, can lead to a state of solipsism:

‘the view or theory that only the self really exists or can be known’ Oxford dictionary

which is the most extreme form of denial, pathological dissociation. This denial represents an abdication of any and all actions that ‘the body’ and ‘the mind’ happen to do for they are not ‘me’, they are but vessels for ‘my’ earthly journey or even ethereal manifestations of the real, substantive ‘Me’. This core belief in the East is most graphically seen in the teachings of Ramesh Balsekar and the wisdom and culture of Zen Buddhism.

A bit from Ramesh Balsekar which you may think of as extreme, but it is nothing other than a ‘tell it like it is’, unambiguous description of the deep-seated belief that ultimately prevents a spiritual believer for taking full responsibility for their malicious and sorrowful words, thoughts, feelings and behaviour –

[WIE]: Do you mean to say that if an individual acts in a way that ends up hurting another, then the person who did it, or, as you say, the ‘body/mind organism’ who did it, is not responsible?

[Balsekar]: What I’m saying here is that you know that ‘I’ didn’t do it. I’m not saying I’m not sorry that it hurt someone. The fact that someone was hurt will bring about a feeling of compassion and the feeling of compassion will result in my trying to do whatever I can to assuage the hurt. But there will be no feeling of guilt: I didn’t do it!

The other side of this is that an action happens which the society lauds and gives me a reward for. I’m not saying that happiness will not arise because of the reward. Just as compassion arose because of the hurt, a feeling of satisfaction or happiness may arise because of a reward. But there’ll be no pride.

[WIE]: But do you literally mean that if I go and hit someone, it’s not me doing it? I just want to get clear about this.

[Balsekar]: The original fact, the original concept still remains: you hit somebody. The additional concept arises that whatever happens is God’s will, and God’s will with respect to each body/mind organism is the destiny of that body/mind organism.

[WIE]: So I could just say, ‘Well, it was God’s will that I did that; it’s not my fault.’

[Balsekar]: Sure. An act happens because it is the destiny of this body/mind organism, and because it is God’s will. And the consequences of that action are also the destiny of that body/ mind organism.’ Interview with Ramesh Balsekar from ‘What is Enlightenment’ magazine, Moksha press.

The most telling expose of Zen Buddhism I have come across can be found at and, in the interests of brevity and non-repetition, I’ll let you follow it up if you are interested.

As a rough rule of thumb it is useful to bear in mind that when Western religions talk of peace they talk of ‘Rest in Peace’ as in peace after death. Peace on earth is usually only referred to when a day of reckoning happens and whichever of the ‘I-am-the-one-and-only’ type Gods returns to earth and saves His people and wipes out rest, usually in some horrific cataclysmic slaughter. When Eastern religions talk of peace they talk of ‘inner’ peace only – retreating ‘in’ to find one’s true self as a way to escape from the suffering of the material physical world. In this scenario earthly existence is seen as suffering, i.e. as earthly suffering is essential and end to it is neither desirable nor possible in this belief -system therefore peace on earth is not on the spiritual agenda. As such, to hold any skerrick of Eastern spiritual belief is to renounce the possibility of peace on earth for the utterly self’-ish feeling of ‘inner’ peace (Nirvana) and the promise of an eternal peace after death (Parinirvana).

Some interesting recent correspondence I had on a spiritual mailing list about spiritual teachings and peace can be found here.

I know that some people regard actualism as an endless repetitive denunciation of religion and spirituality but they miss the point entirely for one cannot begin to come to grips with instinctual aggression, let alone sorrow, while at the same time holding on to any religious/spiritual belief, whether it be Western or Eastern, Earth-bound or inter-Galactic.

Becoming aware of anger in oneself is a great start – acknowledgement is an essential first step in any cure. For those who have trod the Eastern spiritual path this step seems almost an impossibility for they have been so immersed in the practice of denial that the program has become both automatic and overwhelming. Not only did I have to take this step of abandoning the spiritual path, but then I came across the suppressed underlying Western-spiritual feelings of guilt and shame that shrouded, inhibited and crippled my common sense investigations of aggression and anger.

These investigations are not for the faint of heart, but the reward of an actual peace on earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body, is now, for the very first time, alluringly available ... and the tantalizing prospect that this could spread like a chain letter around the world over time is breathtaking in its implications.

PETER to Gary: I watched a program about a big naval training exercise involving over a hundred ships from a dozen countries held off Hawaii recently. They were involved in war games – a game of cat and mouse where electronic ‘lock-ons’ of targeting systems to a target was regarded as a kill. The men waging war – mounting defences and firing weapons all sat at comfortable chairs at computer monitors deep within the middle of the ships and the whole scenario was one of grown men playing video games exactly as their sons probably do. The warfare is conducted electronically with weapons launched against an enemy never even seen – the aim being to kill other men stealthily at long distance. He who has the better technology, the better program and the better sensors wins. It was fascinating to see men playing video war games and to see its direct correlation to the computer games that are so popular around the world.

The next item was about the simulators that are used to train pilots, helmsmen, and the like. This cutting edge technology makes war games even more realistic, as sound, 360 degree vision, movement and orchestrated chaos all combine to give the trainee the thrill of combat. It struck me that it is not only a pragmatic necessity that each country has a defence force, but modern technology seems to satisfy the lust for violence in many by providing an outlet where to ‘lock-on’ to the enemy does not result in the death or injury of other human beings. The competition between the various navies operating in the war-games was as fierce as any inter-country sporting event – another outlet for violence that most often does not result in death although injury is common. I find it curious that people can play these lock-on and kill games or be emotionally stirred and excited by sporting competitions and not see the direct connection with real war and violence.


Many, many spiritual people, despite their years on the spiritual path, have never ever bothered to investigate their social/spiritual conditioning as many simply swapped their Western beliefs for Eastern beliefs. The main reason for this blindness is the practice of denial and transcendence – they don’t want to be here anyway and have no interest at all in being a happy and harmless citizen of the world. ‘Be in the world but not of it’ is the best they can muster – a pathetic statement of non-committal non-participation, if ever there was one. They never connect their own feelings of nationalistic pride with war and conflict between nations, they never connect their own spiritual beliefs with war and conflict between religions, they never connect their own inability to live with others in peace and harmony as being at all related to the violent events on the evening news. Their armour of denial, their myopic ‘self’-centred selective awareness and their comfortable cocoon of moral superiority and associated spiritual pride serves to isolate them in an inner world totally of their own making.

I found that after my spiritual years I was totally ignorant of the inherent workings and functional aberrations of the Human Condition and I deliberately embarked on a journey of exploration, comfortably undertaken lazing in front of the TV or sitting in front of the computer. This investigation of grim reality and the imagined Greater Reality is essential if one is to break the stranglehold that the utterly selfish Eastern spiritual teachings have had in all aspects of one’s thinking about the Human Condition, the universe and what it is to be a human being. It is such an exciting exploration to discover the facts of what it is to be a human being as opposed to being a mere mouther of everyone else’s Truths and psittacisms.

Actual Freedom and autonomy has to be earned by stubborn and persistent effort – it is not granted by grace to the meek and mild.

GARY: (...) It was interesting to read the article, a while back, on the Actual Freedom website about the relation between Zen Buddhism and the Japanese warrior cult and atrocities that were committed during WW2 by the Japanese. Also, the article about the atrocities in China. This is important information. Christianity, as one of the world’s major religions, is not the only religion that inclines its followers to violence. I can clearly remember believing that the religions of the East were much to be preferred because they had ushered in a reign of peace and harmony in the Eastern world. Clearly not so. This is another myth we have been fed.

PETER: I have posted links to that article to several people (, but have never received comment back. The revelations cut to the quick of what can happen if one takes the belief that ‘I am not the body’ to heart – complete and utter dissociation from what ‘the body’ is doing and what is actually happening. In the town where I live there are many people practicing martial arts, all of them seemingly in ignorance of the real significance of the philosophy that underpins the practice. What is most clear for me is that dissociating from and feeling that one has transcended the malice and sorrow in the world can only be achieved by dissociating from one’s personal malice and sorrow – or to put it into play ground language, ‘I am one of the good guys and the others are the baddies’.

As you said, there is indeed a great deal of myth about peace and harmony in the East, yet a little reading reveals an almost continuous history of warfare, conflict and brutality in the East exactly as there is in the West. Further, the combination of a fatalistic acceptance and dissociative religious beliefs has ensured the faithful believers, in India in particular, remain ensnared in appalling poverty and suffering. It is amazing to think I once believed that the religious philosophy that enshrines and perpetuates the poverty, repression and superstition in India was Wisdom or the Truth, but then again I was simply thoroughly investigating the only alternative to being normal that was available at the time.

It is an interesting exercise to be able to look back over my life experiences without any emotional memory clouding or colouring the events. What I see is ‘failure’ writ large and clear. I am definitely a failure in real world terms. I have failed at love – and eventually I gave it up. I have failed to find meaning and fulfillment in my career – eventually I worked in order to buy myself time to do nothing. I have failed at fatherhood – I eventually gave up when my son was able to take care of himself and I cut my emotional bonds. I failed to be a ‘good’ member of society for I saw no sense in fighting for causes while blaming others for the ills. In short, I failed to play the game of belonging, or not belonging, to the various groups that make up society and I failed to play the games I was supposed to play.

With the benefit of hindsight, whenever I found something that didn’t work, and by its very nature was unworkable, I eventually abandoned it and kept looking for a better way of doing something – to find something that actually worked. It was exactly the same thing when I was on the spiritual path when I eventually discovered and finally admitted religion/ spiritualism didn’t work and never could work to bring peace on earth.

Again in hindsight, it is clear to me that the most important attribute that kept me from settling for second best was integrity, combined with a naïve and deep-seated desire for peace on earth.

PETER: To continue on the topic of intelligence vs. instinctual behaviour ...

GARY: In an article by William H. Calvin, entitled ‘The Emergence of Intelligence’, in Scientific American (November 1998), the author expounds on a rather advanced aspect of human intelligence: the ability to engage in advance planning.

PETER: From observing documentaries on humans who, due to isolation, still live a primitive hunter-gathering lifestyle, they also engage in planning – they make shelters, they store food, they share workloads, they make tools and weapons, they plan attacks, they organize defences, etc. It is clear that it is human knowledge that has advanced and not human intelligence given that that modern humans still fight and kill each other – ‘excepting they fight with cruise missiles ‘stead of spears’ ... to plagiarize Banjo Patterson.

GARY: But the advancement of human knowledge is intelligence, is it not? Again, the first definition of intelligence in my dictionary is:

a) the ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge; mental ability (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1999)

You seem to be making a somewhat arbitrary distinction between the advancement of knowledge and intelligence. Whereas I see them as the same thing. Using the example that you outline above – humans engaging in extensive defensive preparations, making tools and weapons, etc. – I see that as a definite sign of intelligence, according to the definition of intelligence I have provided.

PETER: According to this definition of intelligence human beings have been very intelligent in developing and making weapons. There were three great wars in the last 100 years on the planet, WW1. WW2 and the Cold War. The First World War saw the development and use of poison gas, a way of killing and maiming others, very effectively and at a safe distance. The Second World War saw the development of aerial bombardments, culminating in the fire bombing of cities, Dresden being amongst the first with 800 aircraft used to kill over 35,000 people. This practice culminated in even greater efficiency with 300 planes used to incinerate 120,000 civilians in the Tokyo firestorm raid. Soon after a further refinement in weapon development saw only single planes used, each dropping 27 kilotron atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 105,000 people.

Insatiated by these advancements, weapon development took yet another exponential leap with the development of the Hydrogen bomb, initially some 15 megatons each – 700 times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.

During the Cold War that soon followed WW2, more than 8,000 ICB missiles, mostly armed with multiple hydrogen bomb warheads, were aimed, ready to fire, in an almost-instant preparedness for war. Neither side had any effective defence from such overwhelming destruction and consequently the Americans used the acronym MAD for this war-footing – Mutually Assured Destruction. Far from being dismantled, this weapon system still exists and is still held at minute readiness by both sides.

In only 50 years, the human ‘ability to learn or understand from experience; ability to acquire and retain knowledge’ resulted in a phenomenal development in devising better and more efficient ways to kill other human beings. However, I see no signs of intelligence in any of this appalling suffering. A fiendish cunning, as in malicious intent, is evident in a development from hand to hand, one-on-one combat to the obliteration of whole countries with the press of a button from armchair air-conditioned comfort, but to call this intelligence is to make nonsense of the word.

I am not making a moral or ethical stance in this – it was common sense that Germany and Japan had to be resisted. Armies prepared to fight are as necessary as policeman prepared to shoot to keep the worst excesses of the instinctual passions in check – what humans fondly regard as Civilization is only maintained and sustained at the point of a gun. But a species that gets to the stage of MAD is not intelligent, it is a species driven by senseless passion. To bring a permanent end to this MAD-ness would undoubtedly be a triumph of intelligence over blind passion.

I fail to see that I am making a ‘somewhat arbitrary distinction between the advancement of knowledge and intelligence’. If the advancement of knowledge includes ever efficient and cunning ways to kill and maim other human beings then this is not intelligence in operation but this is simply the cunning exhibited by any animal that stalks and toys with its prey.

If however human beings can ‘learn or understand from experience’ as to what doesn’t work in bringing peace and harmony amongst human beings then maybe, just maybe, they would be willing to try something different which would surely be the intelligent thing to do. I don’t see this as arbitrary, this is surely common sense – the same practical, pragmatic application of intelligent thinking that has resulted in every other advance in human knowledge and betterment of everyday living conditions should be finally be applied to bringing peace to a beleaguered Humanity.

GARY: Given that humans still fight and kill each other, we are looking at the instinctual passions in operation, chiefly the savage passions of fear and aggression. The use of tools and weapons is intelligence – the savage passions blindly impel us to engage in aggressive, warlike actions that ultimately destroy us and others. This is what is killing people throughout the world, not intelligence. In a war, nobody really wins.

PETER: The use of weapons is essential within the human condition – without armed police and armies; anarchy and barbarism would quickly break out. I am well pleased to live in a country with an effective police force, legal system and punishment system and to live in a country that happens to be on the same side as the current big boys in the battle of the nations for global supremacy. As such I have the luxury of not having to carry weapons myself – I contribute via taxes to pay for others to do my weapon carrying.

GARY: But to get back to the main point I am trying to make – why separate the advancement of human knowledge from intelligence?

PETER: I am on record as lauding the advancement of human knowledge that has allowed an increasing proportion of the human population to enjoy unprecedented levels of safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure. I simply make a very clear distinction between these practical advancements and the advancements that abet an instinctual MAD-ness on a global scale. In seeing this I was then able to tackle my personal instinctual madness that prevented me from being anything but happy and anything but harmless.

GARY: Going back to the making of tools and weapons – these things allowed humans to advance in their societal and cultural development beyond the point of huddling in dark caves, starving for the most part. They have allowed a level of material comfort and ease of living, and I myself am not prepared to hurl all the tools and weapons on the bonfire just because they are also put to destructive uses.

PETER: T’will be a long time before the human species hurl their weapons on the bonfire. I simply decided to stop waiting in hope for this impossible fairy tale to come true and decided to take on the realistic proposition of eliminating my own malice and sorrow.

GARY: On the other hand, tools and weapons are a ‘double edged sword’ because the human being is still fettered to a Bronze Age mentality when it comes to the operation of the instinctual passions.

PETER: I would rephrase this as human beings are still fettered by Bronze Age instinctual passions when it comes to the operation of intelligence. It is essential to put the cart before the horse and the horse of the instinctual passions pulls the cart of Humanity, and as we well know, this horse is regularly prone to bolt.

This primacy of the brutish passions has been empirically measured – according to the research of LeDoux and others the passions kick in 12 milliseconds before intelligent thought even has a chance to operate. As such intelligence can never win this battle – it never has a chance. Intelligence, per se, will never be sufficient to bring peace on earth unless, and until, the instinctual passions cease to operate. This experience of the cessation of instinctual passions operating is known as a pure consciousness experience.

Just a note for any spiritualists who may be reading – ‘right’ thinking is not intelligent thinking, far, far from it. Practicing right thinking is to practice self-deception – an active denial of one’s own savage nature, which can only lead to feelings of moral superiority and the cultivation of a sanctimonious soul who subsequently believes him or herself to be immortal. The experience of the sublimation of the savage passions and wallowing in and identifying with the tender passions is known as an altered state of consciousness – the very antithesis of a pure consciousness experience.

GARY: When a human being becomes freed from the Human Condition, the instinctual passions no longer drive behaviour blindly and intelligence is freed from the domination by emotions and passions.

PETER: Yes, and only when someone is eager and willing to rid him or herself of the total package of their social and instinctual conditioning does intelligent thinking really begin to take the drivers seat. When this switchover happens one is virtually free of malice and sorrow. Not totally, for one can never trust oneself that, when push comes to shove, the passions will not come swirling in again. However, if this process is allowed to continue, eventually there are definitive signs that the flow of chemicals that produce the debilitating passions and overwhelming emotions do in fact dry up.

I have just skimmed through the Intelligence chapter of my journal and see that I have addressed some of the issues we have been talking about and a few others to boot. Given that I wrote it when I was having similar experiences to what you are having now and I was running similar sorts of questions to those you are running now it may be useful for you to read again. Again this is just a suggestion but anything that aids in the discovery of what is fact and the discarding of what is belief is grist for the mill in developing common sense.

PETER: You are on your own in this business of actualism, but you are not alone. Countless people have and are seeking peace on earth – an end to the appalling violence and senseless suffering that human beings continuously inflict on themselves and others.

Many have even sheeted home the cause of violence and suffering to the animal instinctual passions while others have addressed the issue of the ‘self’-centredness, but all these efforts have failed to date simply because of the human obsession with the past. For some inexplicable reason humanity reveres the wisdom of shamans, witchdoctors and mystics and doggedly refuses to let go of the ancient fairy stories of good and evil spirits, Gods and demons and an ongoing life after death for the human spirit.

GARY: The longer I am at this, the more I realize that the past is irrelevant to living in peace and harmony with other human beings. There is always this going back to the past – one’s past history, one’s tribe with their mores and traditions, the ‘lessons’ of the past, etc. The past has taught us nothing about living in peace and harmony and reliance on the past is reliance on the ‘Tried and Failed’. Something completely, totally new is needed. ‘I’ am the result of all these past influences. ‘I’ am what is preventing peace and harmony on earth from being realized.

PETER: It is such a simple fact, is it not? Human beings have lived in so-called civilized communities for over 5,000 years from the physical evidence available and these communities all operated under varying moral and ethical codes, all worshipped various Gods, all practiced spiritual practices. And yet this same physical evidence points to the fact that human beings have been in a constant state of warfare with each other during this entire period and continue to do so. There is ample myth about a golden age, a time of innocence and peace but absolutely no evidence to support it. I don ’t need to be a historian or archaeologist to know this – I only have to look back at my own lifetime. Things were never better in the past – my father’s life was much tougher than mine, less comforts, less technology, less leisure time, less pleasures, less entertainment, less information and educational opportunities, etc.

To dwell in the past makes ever-freshness an impossibility – or to put it another way, you are certainly not the same Gary who started this process, so why be worried about ‘him’ and whatever ‘he’ thought or felt in the past.


PETER: There are intrinsic fears to overcome in completely breaking free of spiritual belief, for the priests and God-men ultimately rule by peddling fear and superstition. But the stranglehold has now been conclusively broken and you and I and others are reaping the benefit not only from Richard’s discovery, but also from the cumulative efforts of many before who sought peace on earth.

You are on your own in this business of actualism, but you are certainly not alone.

GARY: Breaking free from the past is indeed frightening, but the rewards are legion. There is no contentment within the Human Condition. The search for peace whilst living in the Human Condition is like a dog chasing its’ tail. One tries and tries but never gets there.

‘There’ is ‘here’, right under our noses, when ‘I’ with my cares and woes, loves and hates, dreams and hopes, ideals and schemes, plans and goals, is not. There is nothing else to compare with being here now in this present moment of being alive. It is so simple, in a way quite ordinary, but definitely an incomparable experience.

PETER: One of the invaluable aspects of this mailing list is to be able to confirm these far-better than normal, and far-superior than spiritual, experiences with others. To know from other’s experiences that it is possible to raise the bar of human experience that everyone has mutually agreed should be set on the most miserable of lows – just getting by, as in ‘life’s a bitch and then you die’ or practicing getting out of it, as in ‘I’m just a spirit, passing through’. To confirm that it is possible to feel good, or even feel excellent in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are. It is impossible for a grumpy, resentful, melancholy or angry person to activate sufficient naiveté and delight to trigger a pure consciousness experience, let alone experience a sustained period of feeling good or feeling excellent. As I’ve said before, if a person ain’t willing to make the effort to be virtually happy and virtually harmless then their interest in actualism will remain intellectual only.

I like it that you have read sufficient of the instructions to now know what you need to do and how to do it. I do relate to this stage of pushing off from the edge and plunging in, regardless. For me, this stage coincided with realizing that my becoming free of the human condition was totally my business and totally my journey ... and that any rewards would only come by my efforts. I also had sufficient confidence by this stage to know that I could rely on the combination of my own integrity and the sincere intent gleaned from my own pure consciousness experiences. Once understood, it is a necessary stage to then put the instruction book aside and get on with the experiment. You can always pick it up when you need it or even put a note in some margin or other if you think it may be of use to others.

PETER: I do appreciate the conversations we have had about the process of actualism, even more so because they have been in the form of posts to this mailing list. Vineeto and I have had many conversations with Richard, and Richard has had many conversations with people that have not been recorded in any way – the spoken words have all disappeared. Up until recently most of the correspondence on The Actual Freedom Trust website has been from objectors, very few of whom were willing to acknowledge that there might well be something new under the sun in the way of human experiencing. While this correspondence served as an excellent peer review process and has drawn a prolific amount of writing from Richard, it seems as though there could be a new phase beginning to happen where there will be increasing discussion about the doing of becoming happy and harmless rather than objections to becoming happy and harmless.

GARY: Yes, I think a slight shift is discernable in the tenor of the discussions on this list. The virulence of the objections to being happy and harmless seems to have diminished somewhat lately. And there are a couple of new people coming on to the list. I enjoy it when someone new turns up here as there is a freshness and vitality injected into the discussions. But, getting back to a possible new phase in the list, I wonder to what extent world events are spurring, for some at least, a desire to find a way to live in peace and harmony with others. News coverage in the past few weeks has included the grim news that a major clash is possible between Pakistan and India, two powers with nuclear capabilities. Too, there has been speculation as to whether humanity once again finds itself in the ‘deep muddy’ of world war – there have been enough indications of late of an increasingly violent and pernicious process at work in world events. All this goes to show that in spite of the spectacular progress made in scientific and technological realms, human beings are still fettered to a stone-age mentality in their dealings with one another. So, I find myself wondering if, on the whole, these world-wide events might be contributing to an increased interest in becoming happy and harmless.

PETER: Two things occur to me in response.

I recently watched a CNN programme where some 30 Nobel Peace Prize winners were part of a televised forum set up to discuss world peace. It seems that some of the panel had compiled a report declaring that talking and negotiation were the only way to end conflict and they were proposing themselves as a roving peace force for the world. However, not all of the peace prize-winners agreed and some were dissenters from the report. Amongst these were resistance leaders from Bosnia and East Timor, both of whom said that the only way suppression, torture and murder had been ended in their countries was by intervention of armed peacekeeping forces and that there was no way possible for the unarmed and suppressed to negotiate peace and freedom with armed and determined repressors.

There was polite applause from the audience at this point but the discussion quickly turned away from the pragmatic freedoms gained by meeting force with even more force and moved back to idealism and morality. Apart from re-running the old tried and failed notion that discussion and negotiation can resolve and end conflict, there were the usual noises made about religious tolerance as a way to resolve and end religious conflict, the fashionable railing against globalisation and pleas for a return to tribalism and a strengthening of cultural differences. What was blatantly obvious from watching the show was the marked aversion that human beings have towards facts and pragmatism and the fondness they have for beliefs and ideals.

I was reminded yet again that Humanity plays its game by a fixed set of rules – the inviolate morals and ethics that ensures that ‘this is the way it is, because this is the way it has always been, and this is the way it will always be’. At one time I used to waver between optimism and pessimism for Humanity until I realized that Humanity is unchangeable by its very nature. Humanity is locked into a perpetual cycle of conflict between those who willingly submit to the social morals and mores and the angry and frustrated who rile against them.

The little town I live in is a cesspool of conflict between family members, neighbours, rival community groups, competing spiritual groups, opposing political organizations, and the like – all of whom are endlessly blaming others for not seeing or respecting, let alone agreeing with their particular point of view. Consensus, consideration, care and co-operation are nowhere to be seen.

The traditional ways for Humanity to seek to end conflict have always been, and always will be, bound to morals and ethics and this compulsive fixation does nothing but ensure that Humanity will always be exemplified by a battle betwixt good and evil – by whatever name good is called and by whatever name evil is called. Within this perverse game, those who claim to be peacemakers are those who claim the moral and ethical high ground – notably the pacifists who live in counties where law and order is well maintained by efficient armed police and disciplinarian legal systems, and the priests and God-men who advocate egalitarianism and tolerance whilst simultaneously preaching that their own God is the greatest.

As you might have gathered by now, I have abandoned any hope for Humanity as it simply keeps going around in circles, endlessly re-running the tried and failed methods, ideals and beliefs. The next generation frantically digs through the trash bin of history, looks for something that feels good or seems right, dusts it off, blindly ignores all of the evidence of the past failures, forms a group around a charismatic leader and starts to passionately fight the good fight. Enough is enough.

PETER to Gary: The other program I watched with interest was a speech given by the Environmental Guru, David Suzuki to a gathering of journalists. He was publicizing his recent book, which evidently points out that all is not doom and gloom but that there have been signs of some environmental successes in the past decades. As the questions and answers drew to an end he was asked if he had a message for the young to which he replied, ‘keep fighting’ and he then praised those who ‘put their lives on the line’. I wondered if he realized the consequences of what he was saying for he was, in fact, condoning youthful violent protests to the point of ‘putting lives on the line’. Ah well, I suppose by his reckoning there is nothing like a good stir or a good stoush – a cause, by whatever name, does gives the kids something to fight about.

Speaking of which, someone asked me the other day what I would do about the war in Palestine. I replied that if I lived in the area, the first thing I would do was stop being a Jew or Muslim because it is obvious that religious fervour fuels much of the hatred on both sides. The second thing I would do was stop being an Israelii or a Palestinian, because nationalistic fervour and territorial instincts fuel much of the hatred on both sides. And finally, I would leave the area, vote with my feet, abandon ship, get out, be a traitor to the cause.

The person who asked seemed to think I was somehow cheating by not offering a solution, not taking sides, not apportioning blame and so on, but he completely missed the point of my answer. He asked me what I would do and what I would do is make the only practical contribution I could – take unilateral action by stop being a believer, stop being a passionate combatant, stop looking for someone to blame and stop seeking retribution in the name of justice and fair play.

It is quite extraordinary to see – as well as personally experience – the grip that the combination of ancient beliefs and instinctual passions has over Humanity, so much so that no-where is common sense to be seen. Common sense reveals that the only thing that can be done about peace on earth is personally doing whatever needs to be done to become actually free of malice and sorrow.

I realize that the things I write about that strike me about the human condition may not have the same impact on you, but I relate these stories so as to encourage a clear-eyed seeing of the human condition. It is my experience that every time I have an insight into the workings of the human condition, it aids me in understanding the nature of the programming that makes ‘me’ tick, that gives ‘me’ substance, as it were. Then it becomes a matter of persistently and stubbornly refusing to blindly follow the herd so enthralled with doomsday visions and so hell-bent on revenge and retribution.

RESPONDENT: How would the world look if we All realized that We Are All One?

PETER: The other day I was watching TV and yet another set of leaders and diplomats trying to settle another outbreak of some ancient religious or tribal war or some revolutionary ‘protest’ and I saw nothing but band-aid being applied yet again. 160,000,000 killed in wars alone this century and we have had several failed attempts to have a world government (League of Nations and United Nations) – and we are no closer to having peace on the planet.

I then mused on the possibility of having a United Religions set up and what would happen – all the Religions of the world would have to agree that there is only one God. Thus the Christians have to admit that Jesus was not Son of God since there is only One World God. So Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Osho, etc. would all be declared Non-Gods and all Religions would become One Religion. The trouble is it is a fantasy as people actually kill each other and sacrifice their lives for their beliefs. People kill and die for their God and their Country. We are instinctually programmed to sacrifice ourselves for what we perceive to be the ‘good’ of the particular tribe we are in. We need to free ourselves of this instinctual drive, and the way to do this is free ourselves from our beliefs. For individuals to stop believing in God and anything meta-physical is an essential step to bringing peace to this paradisiacal planet.

PETER: Well for me it ‘hit me like a ton of bricks’ one day when I realised that the spiritual path is not a new thing – millions if not billions of Easterners have painstakingly and diligently practiced meditation, witnessing, watching, retreating from the real world, etc. for thousands of years with so few ‘reaching’ and no tangible, actual change in the Human Condition for the rest – humans are still firmly in the grip of malice and sorrow. The problem with the world AS IT IS is that humans still fight horrendous wars 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone and the proffered hallowed solutions are a mere fantasy escape from this reality.

RESPONDENT: The last 20 years has seen a drastic change of the number of people killed in wars. Actually since shortly after WW II there was a sharp drop-off of deaths. Now the mortality rate of a soldier in the world is the same as that of a nurse. It always is helpful to have additional facts when one is writing about the ‘world AS IT IS..’

PETER: There have been two major wars fought this century – the first, a horrendous war as the leaders of both sides fought a war of attrition sacrificing millions for a few kilometres of ground gained. The second world war saw the innovation of aerial bombing such that all sides slaughtered not only soldiers but women and children living in cities far behind the ‘front lines’. The culmination of this new phase saw the development of REALLY BIG BOMBS called atomic bombs. It is no exaggeration to say that for the first time Humanity ‘scared even itself’ as to it’s collective insanity.

Further we had the ‘Mexican stand off’ with tens of thousands of nuclear armed missiles held by two sides in a scenario termed MAD – mutually assured destruction. And further still, modern communications and TV coverage (Vietnam, Iraq, Israel, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan etc.) has increased our awareness of the horror of war. Less and less is it a thing that men go off with honour and dignity to do for ‘a clear and just cause’. Further innovation has led to the development of smart stand-off weapons which radically decrease the likelihood of soldiers on the more wealthy side being killed.

So, the reduction in deaths has been wrought by the advances in technology and communications that have occurred this century – the cruise missile has replaced the bayonet charge, and I for one welcome it. It has meant that I have lived my life, to date, without having to be ‘cannon fodder’ in some imperialistic or religious war.

It is not for a some mythical ‘change in consciousness’ that deaths have been reduced given that the ‘friends’ of Jesus still battle it out with the ‘friends’ of Mohamed in the Middle East, the ‘friends’ of Krishna battle it out with the ‘friends’ of Nanak in India, etc. etc. The most telling issue is that any ‘peace’ or ‘truce’ in the world is still maintained at the point of the gun and at the present time in history we have ‘one big policeman’ for the world at large – with lots of guns, or missiles. Hence, we have a ‘relatively’ peaceful period in history at present.

All this has done little or nothing to reduce the murders, rapes, terrorism, domestic violence, repression, depression, suicides, etc that are still endemic in the world, but it is a definite and decisive change – as you have noted.

The thing I really like is that these same technological advances and marvels of communication, such as this very one we are now using, allows for the first time in history, a free and open conversation and discussion to happen about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. Uncensored and unfettered, freewheeling and as instant as mouse click to send anywhere in the world. It is only now with this freedom and access to information that an actual freedom from the Ancient, Holy and Sacred is possible, and available, for those who wish to take it on. For those willing to do something about ridding themselves of the instinctual fear and aggression that is the cause of the continual ‘battles’ that the human species still wage with each other on this paradisiacal planet.

RESPONDENT: ‘It is always helpful to have some additional facts when one is writing about the world as it is’ – as you so well pointed out.

PETER: It is so very essential, as it is the only way to make sense of it all in this place, and this time, that we find ourselves living in.

RESPONDENT: Where was I, oh yes, would I kill for the master? Well I didn’t have a weapon (that’s what we army guys called pistols and rifles), but if I did and they came shooting to kill all of us, which I’m sure they would have done if Osho hadn’t found a safe way to get us all out safely, you can bet your sweet bippy I would have loved to shoot it out. Why not? What’s wrong with it?

PETER: I just watched a TV program on war and it highlighted the main causes of warfare as territorial, religious and ideological. Territorial conflicts are perhaps understandable, but religious wars over whose God is the only God defy sanity. And ideological wars are equally inane as both sides always believe they are right and the other is wrong.

Whatever the reason, it is always one group against another group.

RESPONDENT: Do you get that everyone must leave this body?

PETER: No, when I die, I die, for I am this body. There is nothing to ‘leave this body’.

RESPONDENT: Now if you have a preference I can understand it. BTW, what is your preferred way of dying?

PETER: I think painlessly, and before I am too decrepit to click a remote control or a mouse.

RESPONDENT: You have something against war, I know.

PETER: It does seem an appalling waste of life, a gross suffering, that within a so-called intelligent species continuous and horrendous wars are fought over imaginary Gods and silly principles. Being ‘against war’ was such a motivation for me in the 70’s when I marched for Peace, and later when I took Sannyas with its ideal of a New Man.

RESPONDENT: Anyway, I do understand what causes people to kill each other. It is called identification or ego, and I’m afraid Gurdjieff said it way before you Peter. Sorry to tell you this, old boy.

PETER: I take it that you deleted the post on the Zen Wars where the dis-identification of the spiritual path is discussed at reasonable length. A reading of history will reveal that many wars have been fought at the selfish whim of political, religious and tribal leaders, often against any handy enemy, as a means of enhancing the leaders’ own power, authority and greatness. Those who follow these leaders do so as a means of enhancing their own power, authority and greatness as a member of a stronger group. And on, and on, and on it goes. One group against another group.

To get rid of the ‘ego’ only, is to let the feelings and passions run rampant, such that one will readily and willingly kill for ‘love’ of country, God or leader and one will readily sacrifice or surrender one’s life for country, God or leader.

Almost all killing is a passionate affair, unless one practices dis-association that is, and then it simply becomes a mindless affair.

If one is willing to die as a self-sacrifice, hoping for some mythical after-life paradise, it makes eminent sense to sacrifice one’s ‘self’ for peace in this paradise, on earth, here, now.


RESPONDENT: You have something against war, I know.

PETER: It does seem an appalling waste of life, a gross suffering, that within a so-called intelligent species, continuous and horrendous wars are fought over imaginary Gods and silly principles. Being ‘against war’ was a motivation for me in the 70’s when I marched for peace, and later when I took Sannyas with its ideal of a New Man.

RESPONDENT: The ideal thing is your projection as far as the new man is concerned. The ideal is a mind trip that is responsible for most suffering.

PETER: I agree, following and believing in ideals has always ended in suffering. One’s hopes are inevitably crushed. Far better to go with something practical that works.

RESPONDENT: And war is not a waste, it is only suffering that awakens anybody, so from this heightened perspective, it serves. And it’s not like they aren’t going to die anyway ;-)

PETER: I’m speechless as to this wisdom ... I know it entrenched in both Eastern and Western Religions but when it is wheeled out as the final definitive defence as to the ‘need’ to continue the wars, rapes, murders, tortures, suicides, despair and human suffering, it still astounds me. ‘It is meant to be because it is God’s will’.

Given that God doesn’t exist, it is but an insidious belief – that there is such a thing as Evil, and that suffering exists solely in order that those with a ‘higher consciousness’ can look ‘down’ on the rest with compassion.

RESPONDENT: Anyway, I do understand what causes people to kill each other. It is called identification or ego, and I’m afraid Gurdjieff said it way before you Peter. Sorry to tell you this, old boy.

PETER: I take it that you deleted the post on the Zen Wars where the dis-identification of the spiritual path is discussed at reasonable length. A reading of history will reveal that many wars have been fought at the selfish whim of political, religious and tribal leaders, often against any handy enemy, as a means of enhancing the leaders’ own power, authority and greatness. Those who follow these leaders do so as a means of enhancing their own power, authority and greatness as a member of a stronger group. And on, and on, and on it goes. One group against another group.

RESPONDENT: Of course. Power crazed leaders create the wars. And their asleep followers follow.

PETER: So the Zen Enlightened masters who supported the Nanking massacre were power crazed leaders and their asleep followers merely following? But Sannyasins who were willing to kill for their master are somehow different? Because it was to establish a ‘Mecca of higher consciousness’ against ‘3rd rate mentalities’?

Sounds not very different to the ‘Zen at War’ review I posted –

[Josh Baran]: ... ‘And since the Buddha’s main purpose was to subjugate evil, and since the enemy of Japan was inherently evil, war against evil was the essence of Buddhism. ‘In the present hostilities,’ Soen wrote, ‘into which Japan has entered with great reluctance, she pursues no egotistic purpose, but seeks the subjugation of evils hostile to civilisation, peace and enlightenment.’ ... Josh Baran, Book Review on ‘Zen at War’,

RESPONDENT: To just be, wherever you go – there you are, is a motto of Zen, as I understand it. Why don’t you read a book entitled ‘Zen mind, beginners mind’ by Shunryu Suzuki (forgive my probable misspelling of his name). I think Zen is an art of experiencing life as it is. One is life, where ‘is’ means to be moment by moment wherever you are... To experience with no experience – means to be one’s senses, what else?

PETER: There has been a fair amount written that has exposed the corruption, perversions, avarice, intrigue and violent history of Western Religions. The wars, tortures, persecutions, ‘crusades’ and cleansings. But on matters of the Eastern Religions and philosophies there is a dearth of similar scrutiny and investigation.

If you start to dig in you can see why – it is such a labyrinth of fanciful stories with such an inter-twining of secular influences – exactly as the West.

To keep it simple and brief – I will pick one example. Have you ever pondered on the martial art emphasis in Japanese Religious traditions? That in the Zen warrior training one is trained to kill in a way that it becomes an art, a meditation. The act of killing is the ‘pure’ act when ‘the one’ drawing the bow or delivering the blow is ‘absent’. The one who is killed is, however, dead. The Zen tradition in fact develops the ‘watcher’ to the extent of the dis-associated killer.

Indeed, most armies in the world have adopted the same mind-training methods in teaching soldiers how to kill unemotionally. And many in the town I live in spend hours a week practicing the art of dis-association in martial arts and call it meditation and sacred or holy!

It is a most curious world we find ourselves in.

This absence of a doer is essential in Buddhism of which Zen is but one of may sub-sects. This absence is a total dis-association with the physical flesh and blood body. The ‘doer’ is simply replaced by another entity, the ‘watcher’, who is most definitely not the one who is doing the killing. This practice is at the core of the Eastern warrior sects and is what turns them into such superb killing machines – they practice total dis-association as a spiritual practice.

I came across this passage recently while skimming a bit on Buddhism and it made me prick up my ears.

‘During the period of ultra-nationalism (c. 1930-45), Buddhist thinkers called for uniting the East in one great ‘Buddhaland’ under the tutelage of Japan. After the war, however, Buddhist groups, new and old alike, began to emphasize Buddhism as a religion of peace and brotherhood.’ Encyclopaedia Britannica

Curious, hey.

Me thinks that this points to the fact that all is not as honky-dory in the lands of the Eastern mystics as is presented in ‘popular versions’. As spiritual seekers all wear rose-coloured glasses they can’t even begin to see what is actually going on, or even begin... to dare... to start... to even begin... to consider ...that all might not be as lovely as it appears.

One dares not question because the whole lot may come crashing down like a pack of cards, taking one’s spiritual identity with it.

So, if you use the word ‘sense life’ as in ‘feel life’ – it is the same thing – there is still a ‘you’ inside, sensing or feeling what is outside, remote, foreign and alien.

The actual world cannot be ‘sensed’ or ‘felt’ from within you, but is directly experienced by the physical senses of you, the flesh and blood body.

There is a world of difference.

RESPONDENT: You also said... ‘I had actually experienced what it is that makes people kill others, to die for their belief or to protect their leader.’

And maybe to protect a loved one? Or am I not being cynical enough?

PETER: The reason I asked myself this question this question 2 years ago was that I was exploring what aspects of the Human Condition that I saw (and condemned) in others was present in me. I always liked that line from John Lennon’s song –

♪♫ ‘Imagine there’s no countries ... it isn’t hard to do,

Nothing to kill or die for ... and no religion too,

Imagine all the people ... living life in peace ... ‘ ♪♫

As a child it was always so strange that if there was such a thing as a God-creator, how come there were so many different versions and how come people fought wars over which one was right. I could never quite get enthusiastic about Christianity – the idea of a white-bearded God sitting on a cloud and overseeing all this was pretty silly to me. And as for sending his Son down so he could do a few miracles, start a Religion, be nailed to a cross, and after a few days go back up to sit alongside Dad and see how it works out...!! If there was a God, how come he made the mess in the first place, and if he was responsible for this mess, why the hell didn’t he just come down and sort it out!

But I have digressed off on to another of my ‘raves’. The point is that I was concerned about what was it that caused the Religious wars on the planet. When I contemplated on my Sannyas years I had to admit that I probably would have killed to protect my Master – exactly as the followers of any other Master, Guru, Prophet, God would do. The killing is done to ‘protect a loved one’ as you rightly pointed out, but it is killing, whatever the motive.

What I was interested in was the willingness to kill – the instinct of aggression. This instinct is often triggered by fear, but has been implanted in humans to ensure that the offspring are protected sufficiently to ensure the survival of the species. Having had 2 children, one of whom died at an early age, I know the powerful urge to give my life as a sacrifice to ensure my offspring’s survival. It is this ‘blind’ instinct in me that I was interested in investigating, understanding and eliminating. Such that I would never again blindly kill, or be killed, for ‘love’ of country or ‘love’ of God. To free myself of malice.

As I said recently on the list –

‘To even consider a journey into yourself to free yourself of the Human Condition requires a burning discontent with life as it is – both for yourself and for your fellow human beings’.

Or am I being too naïve ...?

This Topic Continued

Peter’s Selected Correspondence Index

Library – Peace

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