Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: In a PCE – provided you resists the atavistic temptation to start swooning in rapture at the beauty of it all or indulging in ‘self’-aggrandizing fantasies (or else it deteriorates into an ASC) – you can readily discern that the only reason you are experiencing the sensual delight and utter peacefulness of the actual world is because ‘you’ have temporarily left the stage. From this experiential realization a pure intent can arise to devote one’s life to the task of becoming happy and harmless – to actively dismantle my ‘self’, to dare to question the veracity of ‘my’ precious beliefs, to want to really come to understand both the nature and the source of the peripheral feelings of ‘self’ and sense of ‘being’ and to not stop until the process is finished and the very source of ‘me’, ‘me’ as a feeling ‘being’, is permanently eliminated, expunged.
Then, when the PCE wanes and you return to being ‘normal’ again, back in normal everyday reality, ‘you’ find yourself with something to do. ‘You’ then have a reason for being, a life goal, a task, a job, and a fascinating one at that. And I can vouch that there is no more fascinating and rewarding thing you can do with your life than to devote your life to the task of becoming happy and harmless for this is the path to actual freedom.
RESPONDENT: I find that I spend a good deal of time wanting to sort of ‘jump’ into actual freedom. In other words, it does seem ‘daunting’ at times what’s between here and now and the goal of this process – which seems to bring a kind of ‘self’-loathing – but this must be some sort of cop-out – a refusal to put forth the required effort. It’s possible that the ‘self’-loathing is related to the feeling of ‘not being here’ when I’m not feeling good – so that is probably a good area for investigation.
PETER: Yeah. Morals and ethics – the social programming that produces feelings of guilt and shame if you fail to repress or deny your feelings of malice – are part of what I came to experience as ‘the guardians at the gate’. Guardians in that they prevent you from opening the gate to investigating the brutish animal instinctual passions that each and every human being is genetically-encoded with. I only made substantive progress towards becoming harmless when I dared to allow myself to acknowledge the full extent of my instinctual passions and then to dig deep enough to experience them – to feel them in action. <snip> To feel self-loathing, shame or guilt in the face of the fact that you – along with each and every other human being – is programmed with instinctual fear, aggression, nurture and desire – through no fault of your own or anyone else – is to remain bound within the straightjacket of societal morals, ethics, values and beliefs. Anyone interested in actualism will inevitably come across this social conditioning – the ‘guardians at the gate’ – and will become aware of, and experience, the feelings this conditioning is intended to provoke.
RESPONDENT: Though the self-loathing that comes from shame and guilt is definitely present at times and something that requires detailed examination – I am actually referring to the feeling that ‘I’ don’t want to be ‘me’ anymore. In other words – a strong urge to self-immolate – being depressed at times about the human condition. I’m not really referring to ‘self-esteem’ issues here. Rather, the recognition that ‘I’ cause suffering can bring on the desire to get rid of ‘me’ –as quickly as possible. It could be compared to the resentment that can happen when a PCE is over and one is going back into the ‘real’ world. Maybe what I’m referring to would be better called ‘resenting the self’ as to distinguish it from the moral connotation of ‘self-loathing.’
PETER: I have noticed that a lot of people give themselves a hard time – they continuously berate themselves for not being good enough, etc. It’s not an infliction that I particular suffered from but Richard has noted that self-loathing is turning malice in on oneself. I don’t know if you can relate to that.
For me, one of the major hurdles I had to overcome at the start of actualism was pride and there is no greater blow to one’s feeling of pride – or pride’s alter ego, one’s spiritual humility – than to realize how gullible one has been in being a believer in fairy tales and nonsense. The other blow to my pride was that after all my years of searching I had not a clue about the human condition, let alone had I ever been really aware of, let alone understood, how ‘I’ had been programmed.
I’ve included a piece I wrote in my journal on the topic of pride as it may well be useful to any who have trod the spiritual path for a time and are now faced with having to abandon all their cherished spiritual wisdom.
RESPONDENT: I’ve established a what you call ‘prima facie case’ in regard to actualism and I’m very pleased to have found this new alternative.
PETER: I like the term ‘prima facie’. I notice that whilst the Oxford dictionary definition indicates ‘based on a first impression’ I use the term in the legalistic sense of a case having been made to warrant further investigation.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been pondering about what’s written here and it’s a very accurate radiography of the human condition, as it confirms and throws new light on some of my past experiences and observations about life.
PETER: Yes. Once I started to say, ‘Yes, I know that one’ or ‘Yep, I’ve been down that alley’ or ‘Yep, that’s me’ I stopped being objective about actualism and started to be subjective about it. This simple act of acknowledgement meant that my interest in actualism moved from being ‘interested’ to being ‘vitally interested’.
RESPONDENT: Now I understand life from a new perspective but there are many instances when it’s difficult to see a fact about something, e.g. love & relationship, as this was my most precious ‘objective’ for more then 10 years, the thing that kept me alive. Yet, this is theory and just a bit of practice till now. I’m at the stage where the power of my spiritual pride and cynicism weakened and allowed me to understand and assimilate many new things.
PETER: Yep, I can relate to that. It took a while for me to get off my spiritual high horse and start to really listen to what was being said and then to start to think about it instead of just emotionally reacting to it, but when I did I started to become aware that what Richard was saying about the human condition and how to become free of it applied to ‘me’ as well as to everyone else … and not just to everyone else.
PETER: I would just like to make a comment about the subject of ‘dumb’ questions before I reply to your post.
Asking questions is a sign of interest and curiosity and listening to and carefully weighing up the answers is a sign of sincerity and intelligence.
I remember watching a television documentary about the so-called intelligence of chimpanzees and much ado was made of the fact that some use twigs to pick ants out of a nest or use rocks to crack nuts open. And yet what struck me most was a segment which showed chimps sitting in the rain getting soaking wet – obviously their so-called intelligence didn’t extend to such a basic thing as finding shelter, let alone fashioning it out of branches and leaves.
Nowadays I make the same observation whenever I see human beings hiding from the world in meditation, praying to some mythical God or lapping up the Wisdom of some Godman or other in unquestioning reverence. Human beings have become so stuck in the ancient rut of believing the spiritual fairy tales of good and evil spirits, of a Creator God and of a life after death that they have collectively agreed to completely shut out the possibility that it is possible to leave the old behind and move on.
So any questions you have of daring to leave the old behind and move on are hardly dumb questions, for to even consider the possibility of ditching the old is daring, not dumb. You may well feel foolish in asking your questions, as I remember I did in the early days, but I came to recognize this as pride standing in the way. I then realized that it was silly to let a feeling stand in the way of my becoming free of the human condition.
RESPONDENT: I had meant to respond earlier to this post, but our area was hit with a nasty ice storm, which knocked out power (and internet access) over a large area for most of a week. It did afford the opportunity to experience instinctual fear, as tree limbs came crashing down on the roof repeatedly... that elicited a response that could only be from the lizard section of the brain. It was followed then by the fabricated worry response, which anticipated with dread the next limb. Anyways, it was an interesting (as in the Chinese curse?) observation of the whole range of fear responses. In this case, I wasn’t attempting to separate them, it was merely interesting to notice that the total fear package had parts that originated in the genetic program, and parts in the conditioned response. I do have a tendency to ‘divide and conquer’, which happens to be one standard engineering practice ... I know it doesn’t work in these cases.
PETER: (...) Given that you began this post with the subject of fear this bit from my journal is also relevant to our discussion –
You might have also noticed that I mentioned the subject of pride in this chapter. Over the years of many people corresponding with Richard it has become apparent that the majority would rather hold to their feeling of pride rather than admit that they, along with everybody else, have got it 180 degrees wrong. Speaking personally, I got over this hurdle because I ranked integrity and sincerity above the ‘self’-centred and fickle feeling of pride.
PETER to No 12: Once I came to realize that the straightjacket I felt as though I was wearing and yearned to be free of was of ‘my’ making and was not the fault of anyone, else I simply stopped blaming others for keeping me from becoming free. Then I stopped believing that in order to become free I needed to feel grateful to some mythical God or Existence and after that it was a straightforward and easy decision to get on with the business of being an actualist.
There was also the blow to my pride in having to admit I was wrong, but that was no big deal when I realized that everyone I had met, or read about, also had it wrong. They had it wrong for the simple reason that whatever teaching or ideal they were following or preaching didn’t work in practice. None of them were happy, none of them were living in peace and in harmony with others, all of them complained about how tough it was to be here in the world-as-it-is with people as-they-are, and all of them blamed others for the ills of the world. When I came to understand that this also applied to all the revered spiritual teachers and God-men, the writing was on the wall that everyone has got it wrong.
I know you have always had an issue with right and wrong but I am not talking about right and wrong in an ethical sense. It is a practical matter that if someone is doing something that doesn’t work, or following a teaching that doesn’t work in practice, then what he or she is doing must, by definition, be wrong. By fully taking on board this fact one is immediately freed to make a decision based on what is sensible and what is silly rather than remaining hamstrung and hobbled by pride and principle.
RESPONDENT: Yes I am interested in becoming free of human condition and I cannot help but do it ‘my’ way.
Once I realized ‘I’ was in no way unique and in no way an individual it was easy for me to give up ‘my’ pride, prejudices and preconditions and follow someone else who had become free of the human condition and do it his way. There was a slight variation to Richard’s way in that I avoided becoming Enlightened on the path – as I was well forewarned by Richard – but the way or method I used was identical to Richards.
Everybody is socially conditioned and programmed and there is very little essential difference in this programming as there is little essential difference between the various human tribal cultures, their religions, beliefs, morals and ethics. The instinctual passions are also universal and common-to-all – there is no difference between German anger or Indian anger or Australian anger nor is there in any difference between French sadness, Chinese sadness or Lithuanian sadness.
Once I understood the fact that no one is unique or special in that everybody is entrapped within the same human condition, I was then able to gaily abandon doing things ‘my’ way and get on with being sensible. I gave up doing what didn’t work to make me happy or harmless and I started to become really curious about actualism and how to become free of the human condition in toto. Besides trying to ‘be’ an individual and ‘be’ unique is such an effort that it was a tangible relief to head off down the path to becoming an anonymous ‘nobody’ – a non-identity.
PETER to Alan: I have been musing yet again on the question of denial and what I wrote to you the other day –
So prolific is denial in the Human Condition that it deserves a bit more rooting around to find the real source of it. As you well know, the most prevalent self-defence mechanism evident in any correspondence we have had about the Human Condition, is one of breathtaking denial. This is the dominant response to any attempted slightly in-depth discussion or exchange, be it with Richard, Vineeto or myself. This denial is what moved me off my bum to dig in to Paul Lowe’s book, and further investigate the denial that is enshrined in the teachings of Eastern religion and philosophy. A useful exercise in itself, and great fun to do, but the response to such uncovering of the lies, trickery and deceptions of the spiritual path is inevitably one of even more denial. ‘So what’, ‘it’s got nothing to do with me’, ‘I’m not on the spiritual path’, ‘My Guru tells the Truth’, ‘it’s about the feeling around the Gurus not the facts’ are typical responses. There have been countless times when I have said to someone what a relief it is to have abandoned the spiritual world and the spiritual person I have been talking to say they agree and nod their head. Two recent examples was a woman who had just arrived in town after being in the Himalayas meditating for 3 years, the other who had just produced a magazine attacking the members of his sect for not being loyal to his spiritual master. And yet both denied they were spiritual in any way! Whenever religions are exposed for the puerile nonsense they are it’s always someone else’s religion, or the person is not part of a religion, or they simply slink away.
This denial is so common a response that I now regard it as par for the course. Ah, here comes the denial phase and anyone initially interested disappears over the hill with their tails between their legs. Richard has found a few hard-nosed spiritual teachers and spiritual intellectuals – those with the most investment – who have stuck around to defend their beliefs but their defence gets sillier and sillier as time goes on and more beliefs are debunked as more facts are presented.
But, of course, there is something deeper beneath this façade of denial. One of the major barriers is pride. To admit one is merely following a fashionable belief, mouthing a psittacism, senselessly following the herd, being the marionette who one was taught to be, and robotically behaving exactly how one’s peers demand, is a crushing blow, particularly to the proudly humble spiritual devotee. The other factor that operates to reinforce denial, as you have noted, is the desperate need to belong to the group and the spiritual believers form a very large, safe and increasingly popular group in humanity.
So I see pride and fear operating and these were certainly issues that I had to tackle in acknowledging the failure of the spiritual path to deliver anything remotely resembling freedom, peace and happiness. Digging a little deeper is to get to the core of one’s being and to come across one’s essential nature – the instinctual self. Richard uses the phrase ‘lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning’ to describe the psychological and psychic entity that ‘I’ am. Lost, lonely and frightened are qualities that many will admit to, and it is indeed the tacit acknowledgement of this that brings many people to the spiritual path in the first place. These qualities also provide the fuel for many to give the spiritual path 100% effort.
The very, very cunning quality of the self ensures that many people will gleefully and gullibly accept the spiritual teachings, deny the existence of the physical world, deny that they are a mortal flesh and blood, believe in their own immortality and fully indulge in the fantasy delusion that they are indeed God-on-earth. This is an act of utter selfishness, cunningly disguised as a noble sacrifice to a ‘higher cause’, yet exposed for the fraud it is when the few who succeed become Gods-on-earth, Saints, Masters, revered teachers and the like – to be feted, worshipped, adored, flattered and fawned by one’s fellow human beings.
The very, very cunning nature of the self is evident in the real world as hypocrisy, corruption, deceit, lies and denial. In spite of the constant pleas and extolling to obey society’s moral and ethical standards, human beings, when push comes to shove, inevitably revert to natural behaviour. Natural behaviour is instinctual behaviour – genetically programmed to ensure the survival of the species. The human species has been endowed with a self-survival program that almost inevitably over-rides the consideration of the survival of the group. Each human is instilled with a distinct individual self which is embellished by the ability to think and reflect into a substantive entity, an identity of psychological and psychic substance – ‘who’ we think and feel we are. It is obvious over time bargains and deals were done between groups of humans, be they biological family groups and/or tribal groups, and these eventually became formalized into particular sets of moral and ethical rules. These rules, instilled to ensure the group’s survival, became paramount over the genetically encoded, essentially individually selfish, survival program. This explanation of the human instinctual program accounts for the ongoing failure of human beings to live together in anything remotely resembling peace and harmony. An understanding of the instinctual passions in action also reveals the spiritual search for self-discovery and self-realization as nothing other than an instinctually-driven attempt at self-aggrandizement and a lust for personal psychic power over others.
PETER: The other suggestion you made is in regard to what I wrote about realizations –
I take it that you are suggesting to delete everything in brackets in this section.
In the first section about realizations being a serendipitous by-product of an actualist’s investigations, it is clear that it is ‘I’ who have realizations or startling insights into the Human Condition in general, and about ‘my’ feelings, emotions and behaviour in particular. These realizations, if combined with an uncorrupted objective in life, can lead to irrevocable change and it is actual change that an actualist seeks – not just imagining or feeling that one has changed.
On the spiritual path, realizations lead to a change in consciousness – i.e. a change in how ‘I’ think and feel about life as-it-is. These spiritually conditioned realizations, or insights, about the ‘real world’ invariably lead to affective experiences, which in turn can lead to temporary altered states of consciousness or, for those rare few who lose all grip on reality, a permanent ASC, aka Enlightenment.
This difference, yet again, points to the fact that the spiritual process is diametrically opposite to the process of becoming actually free of the Human Condition.
The reference to feeling a fool relates to the issue of pride, which is perhaps the most significant feeling that inhibits those who have trod the spiritual path. It is a shattering blow to one’s pride to admit that ‘I’ am neither happy nor harmless, to admit that ‘my’ relationships are not perfect and to admit that ‘my’ dearly-beloved spiritual beliefs are based on nothing more than puerile Bronze Age superstition and ignorance. At some point, this understanding must come as a shattering realization, a crushing blow to one’s pride, or else one is kidding oneself, indulging in ‘self’-deceptive cleverness or treating actualism as a clip on, a philosophy, a theory, a concept, an ideal, a belief.
It is at this point that one begins to turn around and to really begin to question one’s spiritual roots and programming. I would suggest that such is the strength of this realization that the whole spiritual world is a vast illusionary construct, and such is the turmoil created, that a break-through or glimpse of the actual world – a significant PCE – can occur at, or near, this time.
It is obvious from the recent posts on this list that, despite the fact that some people are initially attracted to Actual Freedom, at some point they find it impossible to admit that ‘I’ am wrong and Richard is right. This is pride in operation and then silliness sets in to point of blatant denial that they are on the spiritual path, that they ever have been on the spiritual path, or that there is such a thing as spirituality, even to the very extreme, by now common, inanity of calling actualism a religion. There are none so proud of their feelings of superiority than a ‘humble’ spiritual person, so much so, that this programming causes them to be very defensive, retreat into denial, become silly and even feel angry when they come across someone who is what he says is. There are literally scores of examples of this pattern in operation documented in the correspondence to date such that I may well have made light of the insidiousness of pride in my formulation of the ‘map’.
PETER: I take it that you are suggesting to delete everything in brackets in this section.
ALAN: No. As I said at the start of my mail to you, I put any changes I made in square brackets to enable ease of identification, so that by entering a square bracket in your word processor’s search function, you would easily see what changes I had made.
PETER: Yeah, I stuffed up. Vineeto had put the post into Alan’s correspondence and coloured the changes and I carelessly assumed they were suggested deletions. Woops.
Hence the essential use of the first person – as in one and only – on the path to Actual Freedom.
ALAN: I was simply referring to the style of writing. Part of it was written as a personal account and part in the third person. I suggested altering personal references and narrative, vis.: <Snipped>
PETER: I know I do tend to wander in and out of tenses and ‘persons’ in my writing. Sometimes I am writing of my past experiences, sometimes current experiences, sometimes about the Human Condition, sometimes about the process of actualism impersonally and sometimes personally ... and often in the same sentence!! It is just my peculiar writing style I guess – it is as it comes off the keyboard, a bit like a design comes off the drawing board (... soon to be the computer monitor). It also reflects the various inputs on the path, sometimes personal observations, realizations and experiences, sometimes observations or realizations about the Human Condition in general or sometimes the actions or words of others are vital inputs and I wanted the map to reflect this simple ‘do whatever it takes’ approach.
But I do take your point and I think it is well worth cleaning up, improving and refining the ‘map’, particularly as Vineeto has set it up as a page called ‘An actualist’s guide for the wide and wondrous path’.
ALAN: I think the ‘map’ could be of great use to those who wish to further their pursuit of an actual freedom from the human condition and I would like to assist in further refining and expanding it.
PETER: Thanks, I welcome any input you make, particularly as I seem to have so many little projects on the go at the moment. Perhaps if we sort out a way of editing that makes your comments more fool-proof for my benefit. I suggest colour coding may be appropriate but if we find a clear way that avoids going back and forward between two documents for editing t’would be easier.
This is all good fun, hey.At least my stuff-up gave me an opportunity to have another rave about pride – for none have their sense of pride (or humility) battered more than an actualist ... for ‘I’ can never be right, let alone pure and perfect, no matter how hard ‘I’ try.
PETER: At least there is no chance of failing on the spiritual path – one simply becomes a devotee, it requires neither effort nor intelligence, neither independence nor autonomy, neither sincerity nor any degree of risk at all.
RESPONDENT: First, why are you telling me this. What is in this for me. Why is this relevant to what I had asked ?
PETER: It is only relevant to you if it means something to you. It meant something to me when I realised what lay at the core of the spiritual quest – surrender – which is, as per definition, an acknowledgment of defeat.
RESPONDENT: Second, what facts these statements are based on. Did you go through these stages, devotee without effort, with no intelligence, dependent, without sincerity and no courage to take risks. If you went through these stages, did you choose to go through it or somebody put a gun to your head? Or are you talking about others. If you are talking about others, how many people are you talking about? How are you sure each of them went through some or all of these stages? Did you interview them extensively? What are your methods to determine that you are correct in what you are saying? Or do you like to make such statements because Richard makes similar statements?
PETER: Again I’ve written extensively about my own experiences on the spiritual path in my journal so I won’t ‘waste your time’ in replying at length. If the spiritual path works for you – if you’re happy with devotion, love, trust, faith, hope, loyalty, gratitude, surrender – well and good. For me it didn’t work, and the simple acknowledgment of that fact was the beginning of the end of the insidious feeling of pride and its associated arrogance, so rampant in the spiritual world.
PETER: Good to get a note back from you. I am always both surprised and delighted to get a post back from anyone. This business of determining the facts of living as a human being rather than simply living a life believing what we have been taught and what every one else believes is the truth or the Truth is a challenging and confronting business. It is not for the faint of heart or the weak of knee. It takes guts, determination and sheer bloody mindedness to fly in the face of Ancient Wisdom. One will be admonished for madness, warned against being foolhardy, cut down to size and ostracised by friends and society at large. But once there is a crack in the door, once a belief is seen to be nothing other than a belief, once the facts become evident ... it is hard to continue to believe.
Pride was the big one for me – ‘How could I have been such a fool?’, ‘Surely I am not that stupid?’ or ‘How could I be that wrong?’ I turned it on its head and used my pride to say – ‘I’ll be a pioneer, one of the first in a new adventure’, ‘I’ll find out the facts for myself, come what may, and I’ll let nothing stop me’, ‘I simply refuse to live a second-rate life’, ‘It’s my life and I’ll do what I want to, rather than what I have been programmed to do’ ...
Then, no matter what the result, life becomes a genuine adventure, a sincere search, as distinct from the usual wandering around in the dust and mould of the ancient temples looking for a new version of Ancient Wisdom to hang one’s hat on. One can see it in the New Dark Ages quite clearly as the ‘latest discovery’ such as Tibetan Tantric Tarot, Summerian Shamanic Shiatsu, or my personal favourite – Heliotropic Holistic Healing. To call this trolling through the trash cans of Eastern Mysticism ‘discovering’ or ‘exploring’ is a blatant abuse of the words.
If one is sincere about searching, discovering and exploring it makes scant sense to recycle the flotsam of Ancient Wisdom, but if you do dare to be different, to really question, ... be realistic about the consequences. The lot of the trail blazer is not easy or comfortable, but it is such good fun.
RESPONDENT: Not knowing what will be next. So what is this having to know what comes next?
Hmm I don’t know at the moment because I don’t care what comes next. What about the concern about what I have written? The mind is busy in the background worrying about the next response which might be someway hurtful. So there is a constant fear of being hurt in relationship. What is being hurt? Nothing really, it is more the belief that any revealing of weakness will result in an attack of some sort. So what are the weaknesses that fear attack? It is this impression of a precious self, probably the spiritual one, plus all the associated feelings. No, there is more to it, it’s the worrying about being dumb, having said something and then the fear of being publicly humiliated. This brings to mind an instance at school when I was severely put down in front of the class. It seem that these instances can form the basis of self beliefs.
PETER: If your concern is about being hurt it may well be due to a sense of pride. I remember well the fool I felt when I realised I was firmly entrenched as a disciple of an Indian Guru and shouting ‘Ya-Hoo’ at the top of my voice to an empty chair on a podium while dressed in a long white robe with a few thousand others. ‘My god’, I thought ‘Is this what my life has come to? Here I am in a spiritual version of a Klu Klux Clan rally!’ And yet it still took me 5 more years to fully get out of the spiritual belief-system – polite words for Eastern Religion. Such were my feelings of pride, loyalty, wanting to belong to the group, etc. Of course there was no other alternative to the spiritual path in those days. All this is new, no one has discovered this before, no-one has dared to consider that it is possible to eliminate both one’s social identity and one’s instinctual self. And to discover that one can then live life to the optimum without the lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning entity that spoils and inhibits one’s sensate, sensual enjoyment of being a flesh and blood body in this actual paradisiacal world. But you can whittle away at the bugger, reduce the spoiling factor, actively reduce its influence, diminish its effect, stretch out the times of being happy and harmless, raise the bar a bit ...
Yes, if you continue on with these investigations you will be a fool, an idiot, a nutter, a raving maniac, a lunatic, etc. , but what to do? For me it was eventually obvious that I was being even more of a fool, more dumb, and would suffer more hurt and humiliation by staying with doing something that I knew was false, that I knew didn’t work, and that I knew would never work. I always liked the saying which I came across a few months ago – ‘the definition of a lunatic is someone who keeps doing something he/she knows doesn’t work.’ I just figured, whatever I did someone, somewhere, sometime, was going to think I was a fool anyway, or, as you said, try to put me down ... so I might as well be a happy and harmless fool.
As for writing on this list, it is always a delight to hear of someone’s investigations, fears, doubts, feelings, experiences, etc. We are all in this business of being a human being for the first – and only – time, and this list is for those intrepid few who have at least some doubts about the life within the Human Condition. This is an experiment, so it is good that we report to each other what is going on in order that we can each make intelligent and informed decisions about becoming free of the Human Condition. This is not only a personal thing and this is not a small thing we do, we are all in this business together, and your writing and contribution is valuable. To have one person actually free of malice and sorrow can be put down to a freak of nature, but to have a handful, all following a mapped-out, well defined and documented method and path, is irrefutable proof that peace on earth is possible. And then what about a dozen, two dozen, a hundred...
But to keep one’s feet on the ground – even an easily obtainable Virtual Freedom is to live beyond normal human expectations anyway, and Virtual Freedom far exceeds the old well-worn, flogged to death, delusionary state of Enlightenment. A ‘win-win’ situation as Richard puts it. As for your comment on relationship, I’ll flog my new version of Living Together again. I have written it specifically about what we have been talking about – putting actualism in practice in one’s daily life and, as such it may be of interest. Vineeto has been busy collecting together writing and correspondence about the Pure Consciousness Experience which she is about to upload, so I am also announcing that for those interested.
RESPONDENT: You are absolutely right.
Pride is evidenced by the psychological and psychic entity inanely claiming kudos and acclaim for something the body and mind did very well by itself.
I would see it clearly in action in my architectural work. I would sit down to design a building, armed with the necessary drawing equipment, my previous experience and training and the client’s requirements and a few hours later – Bingo, a drawing. Six months later a building stood on a bit of land and I would marvel at the process that produced it. The human brain, with its extraordinary ability to think, process information, reflect, remember and conceptualize delights in such activity just as the body delights in walking, the eyes in seeing, the fingers in touching. As such, when praise came for my work ‘I’ could never claim the praise, for it was not of ‘my’ doing – it was as if the drawing drew itself, so magical is the process. Pride and its partner humility are irrelevant feelings in this case – I was then able to make a clear and sensible assessment of the building, usually good but also aware of any areas for improvement.
The other wonderful thing when pride and humility no longer run one’s life is that one is free of being dependant on the opinion of others, usually fickle, most often incorrect, unreliable, biased, malicious, ingratiating, etc. In the end I became my own judge – the judgment and assessment could be much more honest and reliable that way.
RESPONDENT: I find in myself a habitual compulsion to have an upper hand, to be ‘right’, better than my partner, friend, etc. This mental competition goes on and on. Yesterday I noticed that when I was jogging in a park I was speeding up when I was passing another jogger while... walking to rest while nobody was around. Pretty funny, isn’t it. Oh, and I was running really fast past these high school girl soccer team... Sense of pride is the driving force... No 7 in the writing mood (maybe it’s this beautiful spring in NUJ)
PETER: Pride was definitely one of the feelings that I used to ‘spurt’ myself along towards becoming free of the Human Condition. When I started to become aware of the fact that the famed Spiritual Path that I had proudly trod for 17 years was nothing more than Eastern Religion I could feel myself balking and resisting looking at the facts. Then an excitement of discovery began to creep in and my pride shifted to seeing I would be foolish to even consider continuing doing something that plainly didn’t work.
After all, the definition of a lunatic is someone who continues to do something, over and over again, despite the fact that it doesn’t work. No pride to be had in that, but pride to be had in stopping doing it – and being ‘one of the few’ who did. Beats being one of the ‘chosen ones’
There is always a third alternative and that is to be the best and to do the best one can. It is an innate drive in humans and is corrupted by the alien entity inside into feelings of pride and humility. This drive is what keeps me writing, what keeps you on the mailing list and writing, no doubt, and when aligned to the PCE, it is what Richard calls pure intent. This drive has been responsible for the amazing advances in the civilizing of human beings and can now result in freeing us from our social and instinctual programming that is so obviously redundant.
RESPONDENT: But it’s gone beyond theory now and into actuality? The proof of our misuse of thought is collapsing this very environment and the physical actuality of that, confronts us everyday. Mankind’s erroneous theories have bolted and cannot be contained by merely shutting the gate afterwards, and haughtily looking down our actual nose at mankind’s silly imaginings. The imagination is a force to be reckoned with, it can manoeuvre arms and legs into all sorts of mischief. It has wrought life threatening havoc on this planet!
PETER: Okay, before I get into detail, it may be useful to look at how it is possible to ascertain what is fact and what is theory, postulation, concept, commonly agreed, belief, assumption, psittacism, speculation, feeling, intuition, imagination, myth, wisdom, real or true.
The first step would be to at least entertain the idea that the notion you have about something may not be factually correct. It would be good to put one’s real-world and spiritual-world cynicism aside and crank up a bit of naïve curiosity at this stage, even if you have to pretend an innocence, a not knowing when you ‘really do know’... To do so would be a blow to one’s pride and the way I dealt with that was to turn it on its head and say that I would be really silly to continue believing something that was not factual. The next obstacle is the moral and ethical stance I have – if I think it is ‘right’ or ‘good’ to believe this particular issue then I will not even bother to investigate it. Again, I refused to let arbitrary moral or ethical judgements stand in the way of wanting to know the facts for that would be silly and beneath my dignity as a supposedly intelligent, supposedly autonomous, supposedly free human being.
So, you crank up a bit of naïve curiosity, clear the decks of pride, morals and ethics and you are ready to take a clear-eyed look at the particular issue. I can offer a few clues as to ascertaining facts based on my experience which may be useful. This is bound to end up a long post but you seem to be a reader which is a very good thing for someone interested in an actualism. I am putting in words a process I have done so many times it has become automatic, so it is best to regard this as a schematic outline rather than a fixed approach. But I do see a few elements common to any investigation –
So, taking a deep breath, we plunge into Environmentalism, using the above outline as a touchstone. I’ll try and keep on track but, in fact, all these elements tend to overlap, as one makes an investigation into a particular issue that may run from hours to weeks to months, or even years in some cases.
PETER: Just a comment on something that you replied to Richard –
RICHARD to Respondent: What I discovered, when the ‘painting painted itself’, was that actuality ruled the roost, as it were, and magically manifested perfection ... such as to leave me, as I remarked (further above) standing in amazement and wonder, marvelling at this magical creativity.
RESPONDENT: This is most interesting, I have always told anyone who asks me ‘how did I do that’ that I am not doing it, it is as much a mystery to me as them. In fact, pride or modesty only hinders free flowing creativity. [endquote].
PETER: I had a particularly startling realization of this some 10 years ago in watching the design of a building emerge from the drawing board and realizing ‘I’ was not doing it. I then claimed that the design ‘just happened’, that it had ‘nothing to do with me’. Then some two years ago I was again doing a drawing and became aware of the fascinating process of my brain in action as it sorted information, assessed options, tried and rejected solutions and finally settled on the best course of action, all things considered. A bare awareness of ‘me’ not doing it, but of the process happening by itself.
Soon after, when I presented the design to the client, I could not help but notice that when parts of the design where rejected or modified I felt defensive and started to be upset about their rejection of what I regarded as a perfect design. I realized it was far easier to dismiss praise than to dismiss criticism and that, however subtly, ‘I’ was claiming the extraordinary creative functioning of this body’s brain for ‘me’.
Being full-on into actualism, it became yet more evidence of the cunningness of ‘me’ and how ‘I’ inevitably claim even the experiences as ‘mine’. Of course, I was also on the alert for what things made me annoyed and why. Once I got rid of the instilled morals that made me ignore the signs of unwanted feelings and emotions, a whole other side of ‘me’ became evident. Malice tops the list, with being sad second. ‘Don’t do that, stop it’ drilled in as a child, runs very deep. ‘Don’t mope around looking miserable’ is another.
Simply by breaking free of these moral and ethical barriers one is then able to have a clear-eyed look at one’s very psyche ‘in operation’ and that very investigation, if conducted with gusto and sincere intent, is the ending of ‘me’.
PETER to No 14: You can see he has a problem here because he believes that God has made man ‘an organic whole’ so there is no chance of eliminating the instinctually programmed malice and sorrow. He has to propose transcending it, or rising above it. It’s the same old Ancient Wisdom from the Dark Ages. But it is the next bit that is interesting, and it’s from the very same discourse.
Remember above, he says –
and then he follows with –
What he is clearly proposing is repression, rejection, and denial of the facts of history. Is this not ‘right and wrong’, ‘good and bad’, Buddhas and Tyrants, Gods and Devils? Is this His solution? What a fairy tale, what a massive delusion. It almost sounds like Christian morality to me but when one digs a bit deeper the morality of the East and that of the West are little different.
So, I could go on but I have written much of my experiences as a grateful follower of Rajneesh. In the end I had to admit I had been ‘sucked in’ by his poetic idealism of a New Man and the utterly selfish attraction of me being one of those ‘specially chosen’ for the role. It proved a mortal blow to both my pride and humility, for I could no longer deny the facts of Rajneesh’s failure and my own desperate need to believe in fairy stories. The dream failed in Oregon, fizzled to a whimper by the time he died and is hardly even mentioned now.
PETER to No 15: I remember when I first met Richard I joked to him that he should have a sign above the door that says – ‘Abandon hope – all who enter here’. I was fortunately ready to abandon hope (and trust) that following the traditional methods could ever make me happy and harmless. I had seen too much of the hypocrisy, power-plays, corruption, deception and duplicity in all religious and spiritual worlds. The utterly ‘self’-ish search for immortality that has forever plagued human beings must be clearly seen for what it is – narcissism in the extreme.
But it is not something that one person convinces another of – it is for each to make their own discoveries, make their own decisions as to what they want to do with their lives. It takes a bold decision to admit to failing to find peace and happiness, to admit that one is not being the best one can be, to admit that one is neither happy nor harmless. And then to decide to set out in completely the opposite direction to what everyone else is doing, one needs to be both desperate and daring.
For me, I always enjoy writing of the third alternative to remaining ‘normal’ or becoming ‘spiritual’ and participating in – and documenting – its success. To not only point out what doesn’t work but also to report on what does. This physical actual universe is too grand, too magnificent, too amazing for human beings to be forever trapped in primitive survival mode – endlessly battling it out for survival, endlessly living in fear. And we have all had glimpses of that – now there is a chance to put an end to malice and sorrow for those who want to.
RESPONDENT: Instead of them inquiring into our experiences, they go on and on exclaiming themselves to have got it right and the rest of us to be wrong. That doesn’t set the ground for talk between equals.
PETER: Nowhere have either Vineeto or I exclaimed ‘to have got it right and the rest of (you) to be wrong’. A fact is a fact – it stands on its own as it were – it is neither right or wrong. To me it is far better to live one’s life based on facts rather than beliefs – then one is free to judge things as ‘silly’ or ‘sensible’ firmly based on facts.
Simple things like – if you want to live with a woman (or man) it would be good to do so in peace, harmony and equity. In the case of Vineeto and I, we had a contract to look at everything (in ourselves only – not the other) that was in the way of that being possible. And within 12 months we succeeded – and one of the first things I had to throw out was ‘right and wrong’.
Also, it was a trap for me when I would put what Richard was saying into the ‘right and wrong’ basket. It was a recipe for conflict, and a vain attempt by ‘me’ to justify ‘my’ knowledge, ‘my’ experience – in short, ‘my’ very existence. And beneath it all, ever-lurking, lay pride.
As for ‘equals’, on meeting Richard, I quickly had to abandon the principle. Here was a man who was happy and harmless, had a knowledge of the Human Condition that is unprecedented in human history and who knew the delusion of Enlightenment from the inside. I settled into his lounge-room and lapped up all I could – to find out ‘a new way of walking’ – as someone posted the other day – upright, free, independent, beholden to no-one. Happy and harmless.
I freely acknowledged I had a lot to learn and that he was a far superior human being. He is, after all, free of malice and sorrow, and I unabashedly set out to learn all that I could in order to emulate his freedom.
I can’t give you more than the sense I make of the Human Condition – that bummer of a birthmark – that all we humans are embroiled in.
PETER to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now: Then came Pune 2, and delicious years of worship in the Ashram, architect/builder for the Samadhi, meditation and groups, and then He died. I continued on devotionally for some 2 years, but found myself following a dead Master – something that was at odds with my understanding that when a Master dies the formation of a Religion is the inevitable result. Sure enough, one night in White Robe it hit me like a ton of bricks as I was shouting ‘YA–HOO’ to an empty chair. Is this what it had all come to? This was undoubtedly religious practice, church if you like, the organization with its own rules, ethics and morals was a Religion, the Ashram was Mecca, the Samadhi a holy shrine, and Sannyas a world wide religious-social club.
Such was my pride and loyalty that it took another year or two before I finally began to look for something fresh and new in the spiritual world and tried out a few other scenes. None was satisfactory, but I did begin to gain a broader vision of the spiritual world. Finally, I realized that the Spiritual is nothing more than Eastern Religion, that in fact I had only traded believing in Western Religion for believing in an Eastern Religion. And all of it merely ‘that Old-time Religion’, to quote from the song. Peter to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now
RESPONDENT: ???? pride? what has pride to do with that? and loyalty to whom? your girlfriend? Somebody ever asked you to be loyal, who was it?
PETER: At the very core of religion is the belief in the meta-physical i.e. another world other than the physical. This world is the world of spirits and Gods, energies and auras, good and bad. Given that these are all things that can only be experienced affectively (by feeling), it takes a good deal of faith, trust and hope to maintain the belief in something which is not physical. Many people who did not believe in Rajneesh saw him as just another Indian Guru and others (like the American Christians) saw him as evil. Belief in someone or something demands loyalty and gratitude, usually demanded unquestioningly.
Along with loyalty and gratitude comes pride, it’s all part of the same package. The man who is loyal to his country is proud of his country, and will die for his country (... or Religion, as at the Ranch).
PETER to No 15: You said you had read my Journal and said I am saying what the Guru are saying. Well how about this bit on sex. Do the Gurus write like this?
Actual freedom or actualism is, of course, not merely a theory or philosophy but a new, down-to-earth non-spiritual path to freedom – an actual freedom from the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. (...)
The Gurus have failed to deliver, they have had their day. The old ancient, long dead ones have eschewed morals and ethical precepts for their followers who have fought horrendous wars as to the Rightness of their masters or own particular God’s vision. And as for the modern Gurus, I know them well to be pretenders. I have seen the despair that ravages their private lives and those around them. The chaos and duplicity of their personal lives, their sexuality, their treatment of women, the psychic powers and the entrapment, surrender and eventual total emotional dependency and enslavement of their disciples is but a sad useless re-run of all that has gone before. No wonder the spiritual or religious pursuits require bucket-loads of faith, trust and hope – it is needed in the face of its continual failure to produce the goods – peace on earth.
What I am saying to you is that Enlightenment is finished, now that Richard has exposed it from the ‘inside’. Discipleship and the Spiritual Path are also finished and Vineeto and I have exposed the fraud that it is nothing other than Eastern Religion masquerading in sheep’s clothing. So maybe, just maybe, it is worth while considering that everybody (including yourself) has got it 180 degrees wrong. Not just a bit wrong, but all wrong.
It can be an enormous blow to pride, particularly male pride – I know it was for me – but I am immensely pleased I let go of the ‘tried and failed’. I did however have to acknowledge I was neither happy nor harmless in order to even begin to become free of the crippling Wisdom of the Past. And then I got to be a pioneer on the path to actual freedom and I always liked to do a bit of pioneering occasionally, to dare to be authentic and original is such a hoot.
PETER to Konrad: So, of course actual freedom will have no gurus, no pretenders as the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. The Americans say: ‘can you walk the talk?’ Australians say: ‘Can you put your money where your mouth is?’ And its success will be that it is actual, it does work, it does bring change that is tangible. So I will watch with amusements your attempts at hobbling a bit of actual freedom talk into your philosophy – you are doomed to failure, but what the heck! What I am saying to you is that Enlightenment is finished, now that Richard has exposed it from the ‘inside’. Discipleship and the Spiritual Path are also finished and Vineeto and I have exposed the fraud that it is anything other than Eastern Religion masquerading in sheep’s clothing.
So maybe, just maybe, it is worth while considering that everybody (including yourself) has got it 180 degrees wrong. Not just a bit wrong but all wrong.
It can be an enormous blow to pride, particularly male pride – I know it was for me – but I am immensely pleased I let go of the ‘tried and failed’. I did however have to acknowledge I was neither happy nor harmless in order to even begin to become free of the crippling Wisdom of the Past. And then I got to be a pioneer on the path to actual freedom and I always liked to do a bit of pioneering occasionally, to dare to be authentic and original is such a hoot.
RESPONDENT: This world’s ideas about existence did not start with the bronze age ... the ideas at work here are much deeper into mankind’s past. How would supposed ignorant natives know about other planetary systems, if planet earth be IT. How could the Dogon of Africa know how many stars are in the Sirius system and Pleiades if they hadn’t have had some sort of encounter. THEY say it is their home.
PETER: Are you trying to say there was once a golden age of scientific knowledge, or that the planet was once ‘seeded’ from other planetary systems and somehow, for some strange reason, humans have since lost the plot? These common beliefs of the Paradise-Lost type have no at all evidence to support them – quite the opposite. Recent studies have revealed the sheer brutality of ancient spiritual belief with physical evidence of ritual human sacrifices to heavenly Gods and earthly spirits in almost every religion on every continent going right back to the Bronze Age.
RESPONDENT: Do we deny them, tell them they are fools? ... even though they had the information long before it was ‘proven’.
PETER: There is no need to tell anyone else they are fools for desperately holding on to their spiritual beliefs – acknowledging that I was a fool to have been sucked into spiritual belief was sufficient for me to start becoming actually free of the Human Condition in toto. Of course, it was a massive blow to my spiritual pride, but it proved just as easy to drop a belief as it was to adopt one and then I got to stop feeling a fool in continually trying to justify my precious beliefs in the face of facts and common sense. It is the first step to becoming an autonomous human being, walking upright and free.
RESPONDENT: What I see at work here is the ego. The ego always denies Anything that could possibly disrupt its comfy little seat of ‘normalcy’. The ego can’t Stand anything it can’t control. Even when confronted by what it believes to be ‘impossible’, the ego will find a way to ‘disallow’ the information. ‘Oh, that was Just my imagination.’
PETER: Everyone believes it is impossible for intelligence and consciousness to have evolved from matter for to acknowledge this would be the ending of any spiritual/ religious belief. This fact also means that both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as spirit/soul are but illusionary fabrications and the real me is this flesh and blood body only. Faced with this information which ‘I’ take to be an appalling threat to ‘my’ very existence, ‘I’ frantically seek to deny it and desperately imagine a way out of being here in the material world.
There is an alternative to this fantasy of denial and escapism that is fuelled by ‘my’ fear of exposure and ‘my’ fear of death and that is to deliberately embark upon a process that will eventuate in ‘self’-immolation – to experience a psychological and psychic death of my ‘self’ before physical death and thus become what I am – this flesh and blood body only.
RESPONDENT: What is the relationship between ego and willpower?
PETER: The instinctual ‘self’ every human being is born with is pre-programmed with a set of defence and propagation instincts, namely fear, aggression, nurture and desire, which form a primary and automatic impulse and in most cases deep-seated emotions override the supposed free will of ‘who’ we think and feel we are. In spiritual practice one surrenders one’s will to a higher force, placing one’s life in gloried service to God – thus ‘it is not my will but Thy will’. For someone like Ramesh Balsekar this means that if he kills another human being it is perfectly okay ... for it is ‘God’s will’. By surrendering their will to God many people literally get away with murder.
Surrendering one’s will to God is a cop-out that instantly allows one off-the-hook from even acknowledging that one has instinctual passions – let alone begin investigating them, let alone consider eliminating them.
RESPONDENT: Between willpower and pride?
PETER: Any entity, either normal or spiritual, is instinctually and socially imbued with both willpower and pride. On the spiritual path one is encouraged to surrender one’s will to God and to cultivate one’s humility. There are none so proud than those who have humbly surrendered their will to God for they stand on the side of Good, Truth, Right and the Almighty, by whatever name.
RESPONDENT: Is developing one’s willpower an ego trip or a valid spiritual practice (or is there no contradiction at all)?
PETER: Those who achieve Enlightenment do so by stubborn will for it is no easy thing to subjugate or transcend one’s ego, or personal self, and develop a new dissociative God-realized identity, or impersonal Self. It involves denying the existence of evil in oneself in order to become only the Good, who then gets to feel pure and perfect – and above it all.
RESPONDENT: I think that this can be very tricky to talk about. In the ‘Ego’ issue of WIE it was pointed out that there are at least two ways to think about the ego. If we are talking about the ‘self-organizing’ principle. That sense of self that allows us to act in the world, to walk, to talk, etc.
Well, then an argument can be made for that being natural.
PETER: It is very clear from observing the rest of the animate world that a self, or more correctly, a social and instinctual self, is not at all necessary to ‘act in the world’. All animals are automatically programmed to act and do whatever tasks are necessary to survive and flourish. Animals hunt, eat, sleep, fight, mate and reproduce without any ego, or self, at all. The only exception being chimpanzees, our closest genetic cousins, who share 99% of human genes and who have an instinctual self corresponding with the human instinctual self.
RESPONDENT: But if we are speaking about pride, self-infatuation or that image of self-importance that allows human beings to literally destroy other people, other forms of life and the very world in which we live and then to rationalize these actions.
PETER: Of all the animals, chimpanzees exhibit emotional-instinctual behaviour closest to humans but have none of the human capabilities and advantages of being able to think, plan, reflect and communicate. Rape, murder, warfare, cannibalism, infanticide, jealousy, grief, sorrow, anger, possessiveness and selfish cunning have all been documented in chimpanzee behaviour. Of course, chimps don’t have the ability to rationalize these emotions and actions, it is entirely normal for them.
Only human beings are capable of rationalizing these actions and instinctual passion as being the result of Evil or ‘wrong’ thinking and thus stubbornly ignore the fact that their behaviour and emotions are the result of exactly the same genetically-encoded instinctual passions as is evident in chimpanzees.
RESPONDENT: If that is part of the natural order of all things ... then maybe we would all be better off being a little more unnatural.
PETER: Exactly my point.
It is time for human beings to stop being ‘natural’, or frantically trying to be Super Natural, and get stuck into doing something completely unnatural – ridding themselves of their social identity and instinctual self such that they become totally free of malice and sorrow.
The first essential step in this process is to stop blindly following the socially-instilled, and universally believed, escapist fantasy of praying to mythical Gods, or trying to become Gods.
RESPONDENT: Regardless of what we define as natural or unnatural, it seems to me that it is of crucial importance how we are living in the world. I don’t see any reason that a human being would ever want to participate in destructive actions even if they are natural.
PETER: Nobody ‘wants’ to participate in destructive actions – we are all programmed with an instinctual survival and propagation program that is primary, automatic and ruthless efficient in nature. Human beings with their ability to think about and be aware of their own mortality, have turned this program into psychological and psychological ‘self’-centred will to survive. Thus, not only are we programmed with instinctual passions, we will do anything to hold on to them for they are an integral part of ‘me’, the psychological and psychic entity that is ‘who’ I think I am and ‘who’ I instinctively feel myself to be.
Peter’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.