Selected Correspondence Peter
Psyche, Psychology, Psychiatry
RESPONDENT: I thought No 59’s points were pretty much on the money in the post to which you are replying here. I never got the impression in his post that he was attempting to dissuade anyone from devoting their lives to happiness and harmlessness. In the past, I’ll agree he has done so. But in this case it appears a belief of yours about No 59’s intentions has got in the way of your reading his email. Obviously that’s something only you can know and investigate. I suggest you take another look.
PETER: Rather than telling me what you think and feel (as in ‘got the impression’) about No 59’s intentions, could you provide evidence (as in the written words) to back your claim that ‘it appears a belief of yours about No 59’s intentions has got in the way of your reading his email’.
I’ll then assess the evidence but until then I’ll go by the words No 59 has written in his latest post … taking into account the multitude of similar words written not only to myself but to others who have shown interest in becoming happy and harmless, his own stated intent in writing on this mailing list and his own stated philosophy about the non-possibility, but more to the point non-desirability, of becoming happy and harmless.
PETER: It’s a particularly delicious rainy winter day here, which presents a good opportunity to get back to the topic that was originally under discussion – psychic vibes. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have difficulty in understanding psychic vibes mainly because they attempt to intellectually understand how such vibes operate rather than *feel* how such vibes operate in action in their daily life.
As I write this it does seem somewhat too obvious to have to say it but much of human communication is done via affective feelings and this is so because human beings are at core feeling beings. To observe how human beings communicate via feelings is quite straightforward – if someone is feeling sad then that person conveys their feeling of sadness to other people in various ways, be it by the tone of voice, by appearance of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, by body posture and so on. The other person, tuned by experience to takes notice of these signs, then feels the same feelings as the other person and a mutual communication is established on the somewhat fickle basis that they both are apparently feeling the same thing. The same form of feeling-communication can also operate amongst a group of people – if everyone is apparently feeling the same feeling at the same time then a feeling of camaraderie based on mutually-shared feeling of sadness operates.
However, when one begins to become a bit more aware of one’s own feelings in such situations, it becomes obvious that when one meets someone who is feeling sad about a personal loss, one is automatically twigged to remember a similar loss of one’s own in order to have a similar feeling to the other person – to sympathize as in suffer-with. What is interesting to take note of is that whilst the feeling of sadness is similar for both, they are more often than not both feeling sad about quite different issues.
One can see that the very same thing operates with regard to feelings of anger and resentment – if someone is feeling angry and resentful then that person conveys their feeling of anger and resentment to other people in various ways be it by the tone of voice, by appearance of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, by body posture and so on. The other person, tuned by experience to takes notice of these signs then feels the same feelings as the other person and a mutual communication is established on the basis that they both feeling the same thing. The same thing operates amongst a group of people – if everyone feels the same feeling about the same issue at the same time then a feeling of camaraderie based on mutually-shared feelings of anger and resentment (most usually towards other human beings) operates.
When I first started to become aware of how these affective feelings operate (both mine and others) in my daily life I was astounded at how my interactions with fellow human beings were indeed feeling interactions. I also started to become aware of the fact that these feeling communications could be both transmitted and received without any verbal communication whatsoever. I became aware of the fact that I could detect the mood (the feeling that someone was feeling and transmitting) the moment they walked in the door, even before they opened their mouth and said anything. I then became aware of the fact that I also invariably transmitted my own feelings to others in exactly the same way – the experiential understanding that I along with the rest of humanity am a feeling being – which in turn led me to acknowledge that ‘I’ am my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’.
Once an ongoing awareness revealed how all human beings communicate by overtly transmitting and receiving feelings the next thing that I became aware of were the less obvious means of affective-feeling communications – communication via psychic vibes or psychic currents. Quite often the stronger the feelings are that the person is feeling and the more they want to keep their feelings hidden from others, the more likely it is that they will transmit their feelings via invisible psychic currents. I say invisible because in these cases there are quite often no obvious clues to be had in the tone of voice or appearance or body language and so on as to what the other is feeling – and in some cases the other may not even be aware of having the feeling themselves. But the feeling is there nevertheless and because the feeling is there as an undercurrent as it were, the feeling will most likely be received only as an undercurrent.
This undercurrent of psychic vibes is murky business indeed as it most often operates at an unconsciousness level, i.e. it operates underneath the ‘radar’ of normal awareness. It is also murky in that is one can never be sure what the other is feeling by reading the overt signs, which means that one has to revert to guesswork as to what the other is really feeling. Once I became aware of this I saw the utter futility of attempting to know with certainty what any other person was actually feeling at any time so I eventually gave up this ingrained, instinctual and automatic habit – the habit of having one’s psychic radar always ‘on’ as a method of ‘self’-defence against likely predators, in this case all of one’s fellow human beings. This in turn helped me focus my attentiveness exclusively on my own feelings – what I was feeling right now in this moment and what feelings I was either overtly or covertly transmitting to others.
I do acknowledge that it is somewhat difficult for people to really get in touch with their feelings in order to be able to see how feelings operate – how they are transmitted, how they are received, the pivotal role they play in human communication, the overt affective feelings, the covert psychic undercurrents, what triggers various feelings into operation and so on. I know that I had difficulty at first in getting in touch with my feelings, the primary reason being that we human beings are taught that expressing certain feelings is ‘bad’ and we are taught that it is best to repress such feelings by either keeping a lid on them and/or not paying attention to them. A little introspection however revealed that it was not that I didn’t have these feelings, it was simply that I had repressed them, tucked them away, very often so much so that I wasn’t even aware that I was indeed having the feelings at all. I also found that my years on the spiritual path reinforced my notion of being a good person in that I was given licence by the belief inherent in all spiritual teachings that ‘I’ was good and it was ‘others’ who were evil combined with the feeling-fed conviction that ‘I’ had a special insight of the truth and it was others who were ignorant.
I’ll leave it there as this is getting a trifle long, but the main point I am attempting to make is that the only way you can understand how psychic vibes operate is to firstly get in touch with your feelings and then observe how you invariably continuously transmit these feelings to others as well as to feel the feelings that you invariably pick up from others and then observe the manner in which you receive these feelings from others and how these feelings then trigger off feelings in you.
RESPONDENT to Richard: Thank you for your response. After reading No 59’s commentary and starting to pay attention to your exchanges with No 86, I had grown concerned that might be making a categorical statement on a topic which, as far as I understand, can only be theoretical. My concern is not so great having read your response to my previous email, eg from your unwillingness to be drawn into a theoretical discussion, and your statement of an entirely different gist to the one I was interpreting from your diary. But in the quote below, you have stated that it was an experiential determination, which I am interested in exploring if you are willing.
( Respondent to Richard 9.8.2005).
PETER: I thought to make a comment on what seems to be a reoccurring theme on this mailing list – the fourth word on the first page of the Actual Freedom website. Given that the first two words are ‘Actual Freedom’ followed by ‘A new and non-spiritual, down-to earth freedom’ the word that many people seem to object to is the word ‘new’.
When I first came across Richard I quite naturally associated what he was saying with what I had known before – after all the human condition has an inherent duality, either the meaning of life is to be found in material pursuits or the meaning of life is to be found in spiritual pursuits. After a few months of listening and reading however, I eventually twigged to the fact that what Richard was talking about was diametrically opposite to what all of the spiritual teachers were teaching and the world that Richard was living in was diametrically opposite to the imaginary world that all of the revered Enlightened Beings felt themselves to be living in.
RESPONDENT: For me it’s not about an objection to the word new. I understand though that for many newcomers it is.
PETER: And I understand that as well. It took me a good deal of time before I understood that an actual freedom from the human condition is new to human experience. The advantage that current newcomers have over me is that there has since been millions of words written on the topic and, most tellingly, thus far none of those who insist that actualism is not new have been able to substantiate their claims by offering any evidence whatsoever that an actual freedom (as opposed to a spiritual freedom) has been spoken of or written about before – which is no doubt why they rapidly revert to pseudo-intellectual arguments based on imaginary scenarios.
PETER: Previously to meeting Richard I had spent 17 years on the spiritual path and was no novice to the spiritual world. My experience wasn’t merely intellectual – my experience was lived experience – I had after all turned my back on the real world and had fully immersed myself in the spiritual world, even to the point of wearing the robes and living in spiritual communes. The experience of meeting and talking with Richard was 180 degrees opposite to the meetings and discussions I had with any of the spiritual teachers or revered masters I had met in my spiritual years – no psychic power plays, no pompous air of superiority and/or feigned humility, on the contrary, a genuine willingness and an ability to provide clear and consistent answers to any questions I raised and above all, an utter down-to-earthness that was refreshing to say the least.
RESPONDENT: Yes I agree those attributes are great, and while I would agree that his answers are always consistent, I would not say that his answers are always clear.
PETER: I was reminded the other day that I read Richard’s Journal (the only written information available at the time) from front to back seven times – not to mention numerous going-overs of particular passages each time – before what he was saying became clear to me. Only when I had a general grasp of what he was saying was I then able to ask specific questions about aspects of the human condition that were of particular interest to me and if the answer was not clear then I was able to ask further until the answer became clear to me.
It makes sense to me that if I am trying to understand anything new the best approach is to first get a broad understanding of the topic and then to hone my understanding by focussing in on the details.
PETER: So to sum up, at this stage I had the intellectual understanding that actualism was utterly non-spiritual – one only needs to read what Richard writes and take the words at face value to establish this as a prima face case – but I also had first hand experience that there was not a skerrick of spiritualism in Richard himself and I suspect that the video conversations will enable others to make their own judgement as to the latter point. The point I am making is that even before I recalled having had a pure consciousness experience I had satisfied myself that an actual freedom from the human condition was indeed non-spiritual, which in turn meant that it was brand new – there being no evidence whatsoever of it ever having being a lived experience in any of spiritual teachings, any of the ancient folklores or any of the secular consciousness studies.
RESPONDENT: With this kind of statement I have no issue – that you consider there to be no evidence of it ever having been lived before.
PETER: Again it is not a matter that I ‘consider’ there to be no evidence of it ever having been lived before – there is no evidence of it having been lived before. Can you provide any evidence of it having been lived before, let alone having been spoken about or written about before? Have the hundreds of correspondents, many of whom who experts in spiritual teachings, philosophical hypothesises and psychological theories, who claimed there was evidence that it has been lived before provided any evidence of it having been lived before?
PETER: One of the most telling experiences that actualism – the method by which Richard became actually free from the human condition – is brand new to human experience were the psychic ‘warning signs’ I had when deciding to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless. I have written about it before but it was as though I was entering a dark tunnel that had a big warning sign saying ‘DO NOT ENTER HERE’ written over it. I knew that entering this path would be the end of ‘me’ and I also knew this was a path that only Richard had trodden before – although by a somewhat circuitous route. This experience is diametrically opposite to the entry to the spiritual path with its welcoming sign, its feel good seductive lure, the welcoming arms of others, the feeling of belonging and of being specially chosen, not to mention the promise of the fame and the glory of Self-aggrandizement awaiting at the other end.
The other experiential evidence I had of the fact that actualism is diametrically opposite to spiritualism is that not only were there psychic warning signs about doing something so radical as devoting my life to becoming happy and harmless but that there were also actual and psychic (as in emotionally-transmitted) warnings from those who had a vested interest in spiritualism telling me not to go down this path under any circumstances. Not only did I have a few direct warnings from teachers and practitioners of spiritualism but I also had a few psychic visitations whilst sleeping warning me off my intended course of action. The other issue that I had to contend with at the time was the very real issue that spiritualists have a long and gory history of dealing with and disposing of heretics in most gruesome ways, in other words the psychic vibes I perceived had the backing of very real acts of retribution should I dare to openly turn my back on spiritualism and be so bold as to blithely head off in the opposite direction.
All of the events I am recalling happened fairly early on and my recollection of a substantial pure consciousness experience that I had some 10 years earlier combined with PCEs I had subsequent to taking up actualism meant that the psychic warning experiences soon became weaker and weaker – my experience is that once you set off on the actualism path with gusto, the fears that you first encounter are rapidly overcome by the thrill and excitement of the many discoveries that soon unfold.
One event that happened about 3 or 4 years ago again confronted me with the fact that nobody but Richard – ‘Richard’ the identity, not Richard the flesh and blood body sans identity – had ever become actually free of the human condition. I awoke one morning amazed to find myself in the fairy-tale like perfection that this actual world is and it being so early I headed off for a stroll down to the beach. In the early dawning light I sat down on a grassy bank overlooking the ocean and all of a sudden realized that if ‘I’ were to die it would literally be like disappearing over the horizon, never ever to be seen or heard of again – in short, ‘I’ would go into oblivion and not only that but no one would miss ‘me’. I then became aware that there were tentacles holding ‘me’ back from doing so and that these tentacles were the many psychic tentacles that bound ‘me’ to Humanity at large. This experience once again confirmed for me that actualism is brand new to human experience because such an oblivion is not only the end of ‘me’ as a ‘being’ but it also means the end of the eons-old world-wide fantasy of ‘me’ as a spiritual ‘Being’.
Well that’s about it. I just thought to pass on my experience that it is possible for an identity to experientially know that an actual freedom from the human condition is brand new to human experience. Any identity who explores the human psyche deeply enough can experience not only the psychic barriers and warning signs that have no doubt prevented others from treading this path before but ‘he’ or ‘she’ can also verify for themselves that, despite the fact that everybody has had glimpses of the perfection and purity of the actual world, there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone prior to Richard has managed to become actually free from the human condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: This relates precisely to my point from the email to Richard I sent yesterday. I am very interested in your thoughts on this. My thoughts are: Was the experience was new for your mind? Yes – I agree that is experiential.
PETER: Yes, the experience was new to me in that it was totally different to the altered state of consciousness experience I had in my spiritual years – the experience that ‘I’ was Love, and as such ‘the living embodiment of the very meaning of Existence and this ‘Self’-centred experience meant that the physical world seemed but a dream.
Put succinctly, the experience of self-aggrandizement is diametrically opposite to that of self-immolation, which is no doubt why the spiritual path is so seductive and the path to becoming actually happy and harmless is so daunting.
RESPONDENT: Was it was brand new to human experience? No –
PETER: Am I to take it that you are now rescinding what you previously said in this post –
RESPONDENT: [No] – I believe this to be interpretative thought piggybacking the experiential realisation.
PETER: I wonder what you base this belief on? Have you had any experiences of what is old to human experience, in other words have you had an ASC? It would seem to me that the first requisite needed to make a comparative assessment of one type of experience versus another is at least a thorough understanding of the differences between both, the next best being to having personally had one type of experience and the best of all to have had both types of experience.
PETER: The trick to being able to make such observations is to dare to go beyond the psychic warnings that attempt to deter you from doing so – after all, it stands to reason that you can’t study something that you are scared to look at.
RESPONDENT: No psychic warnings here (yet). I suppose there is a tether to my self which is like an ongoing emotional plea. There are also raw stabs of fear occasionally when I consider everything I hold dear.
PETER: Perhaps I can just round this off by saying that I never had a great interest in the psychic realm – as in why it exists and how it operates – prior to becoming an actualist and even now my interest and expertise lies in the discoveries I have made as to what lies at the core of the psychic world itself and how the psychic world underpins and sustains the human condition.
Thus far I have experienced both the Divine and the Diabolical – the Divine in an altered state of consciousness that invariably induces an identity-altering Messiah-like feeling of aggrandizement and the Diabolical in an utterly terrifying experience of dread, in my case of literally being ripped asunder as ‘I’ plunged headlong into an unimaginably hellish realm. What I gleaned from these experiences is that it is these psychic forces of ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ that constantly thwart any efforts to bring an end to all the wars, rapes, murders, domestic violence, child abuse, corruption and the like that plague the human species on this planet.
What I have discovered is that these dark psychic forces – and I include both the Divine and the Diabolical when I use the word dark – are in fact the brutish and brutal instinctual passions in operation, manifest overtly not only as ‘I’ as ego but even more insidiously, covertly as ‘me’ at my core – ‘me’ as an instinctual feeling ‘being’.
T’is no wonder human beings have always steered away from personally exploring the instinctual passions that are the root cause of human malice and sorrow ... the very exploration itself paints ‘me’ into a corner from whence there is no escape.
RESPONDENT: As long as ‘I’ live, Richard is a liar. ‘I’ cannot imagine how an identity can die! How can I take Richard’s words that ‘Richard’ died? I need an extraordinary proof. As long as ‘I’ live, I think there will be doubt. To totally admit that ‘Richard’ vanished will be the end of ‘me’ I think! ‘I’ think ‘Richard’ is very much around. ‘Richard’ is lying. Extraordinary Proof 1.7.2005
RESPONDENT: Or maybe Richard is not a liar but he is fooling himself. And fooling others as a side effect (but not No 58 – no, he can’t be fooled!). To summarize, these are the possibilities:
Which is actually true?/
This is a life or death question to ‘me’. I can’t go by trust or a general sense that I get by reading other writings of his that he maybe genuine. All these indirect inferences don’t have much value in deciding this final question./ Let me sleep over this stuff. The question of death 1.7.2005
PETER: I thought to write to you to let you know that I am currently working on a project that will put paid to your inference that Richard does not exist as a flesh and blood body. Whilst I am under no illusion that there are those who will dismiss a video image as being proof of existence (given that there are those who dismiss the beamed-to-earth images of men walking on the surface of the moon as being a hoax) I know that many will find it assuring that a fellow human being has written, and is still currently writing, of his experiential knowledge of the human condition and of his experience of how to become free from it.
As for your other list of doubts, I am reminded of a time when similar doubts would swirl around in my mind. The particular question that I remember that arose for me was ‘what would happen if Richard disappeared’ – packed up and left, disappeared over the horizon, as it were, never to be seen or heard of again. Upon reflection I realized that what he had written and said made sense to me – and far more sense than anything I had read, heard or experienced in the spiritual world – and that I actually begun to become more happy and more harmless by simply being attentive to whenever I was feeling unhappy or feeling resentful or feeling antagonistic towards any of my fellow human beings. It then struck me that both of these factors meant that I already had the confidence to not have to rely on Richard but that I was, in fact, already beginning to stand on my own two feet as it were.
Of course, I was no fool – I made sure I had a hard copy of Richard’s writings in the form of his journal as a guide for my own investigations into the human condition – but this particular time sticks in my mind as being significant in that it marked the end of my futile attempts of settling for being a faithful follower and the beginning of my journey to an actual autonomy, and all that that entails.
Whilst I am writing to you I’ll just mention another thing that might be helpful to you as it also relates to the issue of doubt. In my early days of actualism I was often taken aback by the attitude of others whenever I happened to mention that I had given up my spiritual search and had decided instead to devote my life to becoming happy and harmless. Not only were some of my spiritual friends affronted by my decision, even to the point of calling me ungrateful, but even those who had never trod the spiritual path would often cast doubts and make disparaging comments on my aspirations to become happy and to be harmless. As I investigated each of these objections to being happy and harmless – for that is indeed what these comments were in fact – what I found was that the objections invariably fell into predictable categories – moral and/or ethical objections based on various religious and/or sectarian dogmas, objections based on inculcated beliefs that suffering and fighting are necessary in order to ‘survive’, objections based on the fact that ‘the world’ (read ‘my’ world) is indeed a miserable place, objections rooted in the fear of change and of moving too far from the herd or, when all else failed, visceral reactions of either head-in-the-sand denial, head-in-the-clouds piousness and even on occasions outright hostility.
I remember many a time being astounded at the reactions of others to what seemed to me at the time – and still does, of course – an eminently sensible and completely do-able goal in life – to become actually free of malice and sorrow, in other words to become actually free from the human condition. However I never allowed either the objections or the objectors to get me down for long as it was just plain silly to take on board the words, or allow myself to be cowered by the vibes, of those who are in essence doing nothing but disparaging those who dare to pursue radical change whilst they at the same time offer nothing other than a defence of the human condition and/or a championing of the status quo.
Anyone who dares to set their sights on becoming happy and harmless, particularly in this early pioneering phase, is bound to experience the same reactions from their fellow human beings who have decided for whatever reason to stay ensnared within the human condition. It is after all no little thing to abandon humanity, to cease battling it out with one’s fellow human beings who remain instinctually driven to do battle with each other, often in the name of some spurious cause or other on the basis of a compulsive yet phoney ‘need to survive’.
I would like to finish by making a comment on something you wrote several weeks ago as it seems relevant to your current questions.
What occurred to me when I read of your experience is that such experiences are best left as one-off experiences, i.e. one such experience can be said to have been a learning experience, a repeat of such an experience can be said to be silly if one is at all cognizant that one is indeed slipping down the same slippery slope again. I remember having an experience of absolute dread in my early years of intimately exploring the human psyche in action and the experience left me literally bruised and battered for days. Whilst the experience was revealing in and of itself, to experience first-hand the horrors of the hellish realm that is the root of dread is not something that I recommend to anyone and it was certainly an experience that I never wanted to repeat for myself – if ever there is a dead end, then the feeling of dread is it.
The point I am making is that even if the opportunity presented itself for me to go down that path again, I would have declined and declined emphatically. As you have probably guessed by now I am suggesting to you that it may well make sense for you to do the same, given the nature of the experience you had last time and given that it appears to me that you could be at the start of the same slippery slope to the same experience. I do realize that I could well be wrong in my assumptions (which is why I very rarely offer personal advice to anyone) but I thought I would pass on my personal experience as it may well be of use to you – after all, the human condition is a condition that is common to all human beings.
PS: Vineeto has suggested that the following links might be of interest as they relate to the issue of doubt, as well as the issue of confidence –
RESPONDENT: Is it possible to exist an actualist group psyche, bearing in mind that we still are selves and enjoy plenty of feelings? I have seen some synchronicity around here...
PETER: If you mean, is there what could be called a group dynamic that operates on this mailing list, then the answer is yes. There is always a group psyche, to use your term, which operates whenever feeling-beings get together. One can see this in operation in any group – there can be dissent within the group, an instinctive taking sides and forming of sub-groups, a collective bowing to authority such as is seen in temples, churches, ashrams, synagogues and meditation groups, a mass sharing of excitement such as at sporting events, a mass sharing of resentment and anger as seen at protest rallies, a collective hysteria as seen when law and order breaks down, mass outbreaks of fear in the face of sudden frightening events and so on. Because of the overwhelming power of these collective psychic emotions and passions, an actualist needs not only to be attentive to the destructiveness of his or her own feelings but also to the destructiveness of collective human feelings because that’s when the destructiveness of the feelings that arise from the instinctual passions can become horrifically devastating.
As for ‘an actualist group psyche’, I can talk with authority about the only unabashed and unreserved actualists that I know directly – myself, Vineeto and Richard. There is no group psyche that operates between the three of us – we simply have something in common. Primarily this common interest is that we are fellow human beings but also we share an interest in being free from the human condition, which is why Vineeto and I tap into Richard’s expertise in the matter. We always enjoy each other’s company and we are able to do so because we harbour no feelings of malice towards each other whatsoever and nor do we experience sadness at having to be here.
With regard to seeing ‘some synchronicity around here’, I would put that in the same category as serendipity – the simple fact of being alive presents a smorgasbord of opportunities, situations, coincidences, events, meetings, settings, locations, and so on, such that serendipity abounds and synchronicity is possible. My down-to-earth experience is of the serendipitous events that lead to my meeting both Richard and Vineeto which in turn allowed the synchronicity that happens between us – and by synchronicity I mean being able to co-exist together both happily and harmlessly whenever we happen to meet or interact. This synchronicity is also apparent in our correspondence on this mailing list as we tend to use the same terminology for ease and accuracy of communication, we all rely on facts as being the arbiter in deciding sensible action and we have all have direct experiential knowledge of the human condition (or have had in Richard’s case).
RESPONDENT: In regards to being aloof from, separate from, outside of, or, as is erroneously speculated to be ‘my’ case, above and beyond, the get-down and get-dirty business of investigating one’s own psyche in action; respectfully, if a psyche in action and ‘one’ who ‘owns’ that psyche, and there by can be aloof from it, separate from it, outside of it, or above and beyond it, and thus able to ‘study’ it can be demonstrated, please do so. Until the time such a demonstration is made, I will prefer to remain as peace and not bother with what must be the immensely stressful, frustrating, and quite dirty business of digging out of a hole.
PETER: <Snip> As for ‘until the time such a demonstration is made’ – I am not here to demonstrate anything to you – what you make of what is on offer is entirely your business. Given we are still discussing the meaning of 17 words of the Introduction to Actual Freedom, I shan’t be holding my breath that anything could dent your Divine armour.
RESPONDENT: Very Good, thank you. The unwillingness, or inability, to fulfill the respectful request ‘if a psyche in action and ‘one’ who ‘owns’ that psyche, and thereby can be aloof from it, separate from it, outside of it, or above and beyond it, and thus able to ‘study’ it can be demonstrated, please do so’ is noted, and the request will not be pursued further. The response of unwillingness, or inability, to answer the request will be recorded as offered in the database component of the study.
PETER: Was there a genuine request for an answer hidden in amongst your aloofness? If so, I must have missed it. I was the thought that you were merely pontificating.
As for ‘if a psyche in action ... can be demonstrated’ – every word you write, No 22, clearly demonstrates your God-man psyche in action, but if you cannot see it, let alone acknowledge it, then no wonder you keep missing the point of what actualism is really about.
GARY: I would think that anyone who seriously takes up actualism would have to be a bit of a risk-taker, or gravitate towards new and novel experiences. Yet, with the people who are seriously following this method, there does not seem to be a common denominator, does there? Perhaps the only ‘common denominator’, and the only one that I can see, for these people, is a burning discontent with their life as it is presently.
Also, discontent and disillusionment with the religious/ spiritual world would seem to be the case for you, Vineeto, and Richard.
I would be curious to know if there was anything in your background which impelled you to be a daring adventurer, you know, something you could point to, perhaps in your childhood or early adult years which, in a formative sense, led you to where you are now?
PETER: Not really. In behavioural study fields there seems to be, at last, the beginnings of a shift away from the traditional belief that the early years of parental care are the primary influence in the development of a social identity and a move towards recognizing the far greater influence of peers. This is perhaps the beginning of a move away from the mystical/ spiritual roots of psychology and sociology, à la Freud and Jung, towards a more pragmatic empirical approach.
GARY: At first, I puzzled over why you would see Freud as having mystical/ spiritual roots. While the case is clear with Jung, Freud always struck me as decidedly non-spiritual. But as I mused over this matter and looked into it a little, I see you may be right. Freud was the originator of Drive Theory. What was new and radical about Freud’s theories was primarily the importance they gave to the unconscious and instincts, primarily the sex and aggressive drives and instincts. While I am no Freudian, I thought I detected in some of the actualism writings some slight Freudian influence, particularly the explanation of how ethics, morals, and socially inculcated and programmed values are designed to keep the savage instincts at bay, and thus place the instinct-driven individual at some opposition to society. Apparently, in his later years, Freud revised and refined his drive theory with the addition of some spiritual sounding stuff.
PETER: When I first came across actualism and was confronted with the proposition that it was brand new and seemingly never been discovered before, I went off finding out for myself what was being offered in the spiritual world and what had been discovered in psychology, sociology, neurobiology, anthropology, etc. What I discovered was that the spiritual world has forever promised but can never ever deliver, and that all empirical research into the human condition is hampered and restricted by these very same spiritual/ religious ethics, morality and beliefs.
There are occasional references in spiritual teachings to a ‘state beyond enlightenment’ but no reports of anyone, apart from Richard, having broken free of the illusion of freedom and become actually free.
Similarly, in psychology, psychiatry and behavioural studies, there have been many brave attempts to lift the veil of belief and superstition and the current drive for biological/ genetic cures and fixes provides ample evidence of this. Yet common sense is rarely found – and even rarely used – for the researchers and practitioners remain firmly hobbled by spiritualism.
And yet, the writings of actualism – the presentation of the facts of what it is to be a human being – is unabashedly based on the efforts, explorations and discoveries of many people, or as Richard puts it, he has stood on the shoulders of many who have gone before. An actual freedom from the human condition – an end to malice and sorrow – has been sought by many human beings for millennia, and many invaluable practical discoveries and contributions have been made. It has always been the case that this search has been hijacked by spiritual/ religious belief and superstition, and has always been hobbled by the atavistic fear of hell and damnation – up until now, that is.
GARY: A psychology which regards human instinctual life as fixed and invariant, impossible to eliminate, can only be more of the same old Tried and Failed. Psychoanalysis, quite evidently, is a failed approach to solving human problems. An age that so enthusiastically embraced Freudianism was also an age that spawned new horrors of total warfare and genocide. If, as Freud apparently believed, the instincts cannot be eliminated, the only hope for humanity is to learn to live with these instincts and seek ‘integration’ of these conflicting drives and drive representations. That human beings have so evidently failed to learn to live with these instincts is clear. Freud, like so many others approaching their own death and demise, apparently became rather spiritual and mystical himself, by positing a Nirvana ‘principle’ and Thanatos.
PETER: Yep. Once anyone accepts that that ‘you can’t change human nature’ there are only two alternatives – stay normal and instinctually battle it out for survival in grim reality or turn away from reality and enter into an inner imaginary greater Reality of one’s own making.
GARY: Freud may have been a psychological and psychic adventurer (he regarded himself as such), but he stopped short, like so many before him. ‘Integration’ and cure ala Freud is a complacent resignation to living within the Human Condition, a kind of fiddling with the controls.
PETER: The more pragmatic practitioners of psychology and psychiatry freely admit that the aim of any analysis and treatment is to return their patients to normally neurotic, such that they can reasonably function within the range of limits set by society’s laws and regulations. Thus the aim is to reduce paranoia to ‘normal’ fear, to return violent behavior to ‘normal’ aggression and to return manic depression to ‘normal’ sadness. In extreme cases, the previous practice of incarceration in straight jackets has been replaced by incarceration in chemical straightjackets. Curiously, the therapy that seems to be the most effective is what is known as cognitive therapy – a very pragmatic approach to reducing fears and phobias in particular.
The Freudian approach to therapy is summarized in the quote from your last post –
This approach to therapy was widely used in some spiritual groups, most notably the Rajneeshees, and has proved a spectacular failure, as it has in the real world. Many disciples and followers are still undergoing therapy after 20 years or more and the only ones who seemingly benefit are the therapists themselves. Most of the Rajneesh therapies now blatantly aim to do nothing other than whip up the emotions via discharge, venting or tension-release, giving the ventor a chemical rush that can induce temporary feelings of gratitude, euphoria or unconditional love. Many spiritual people believe that this emotional game-playing has meant they have studied the human psyche in operation and received some cure or healing, whereas they have but scratched the surface of their psyche – if at all.
GARY: Our age, and particularly our parent’s generation, was enormously influenced by psychoanalytic theory and psychoanalysis. I myself received costly and long-term analytic therapy when younger. Psychoanalysis, and its successors like Object Relations and Ego Psychology, maintained the view that the very first few years of life are of enormous impact in determining what occurs subsequently in later life. Lately, I have been questioning this view. I find that remembrances and understandings that I have of what happened in my childhood years have gone into and, in some way, been incorporated into an image of myself that I have being a certain way. In this way, I think sometimes that my understandings of childhood events have contributed to a mythology and identity that I have of myself, that they have gone into ‘who’ I think I am, not what I am - a flesh-and-blood body sensately and apperceptively aware.
Thus, they are part and parcel of ‘my’ memories, why I think ‘I’ behave the way I do, etc, etc. We have long stressed here on this list that one need not go so far back in time to uncover that which is impeding being happy and harmless in the present moment. The goal is being happy and harmless, not endlessly rehashing doubtful analyses of childhood happenings.
PETER: From what I understand about the current research into memories, it appears we are only capable of remembering the last time we remembered an event and we do not necessarily have an accurate recall of the event itself. It is a bit like accessing the last current updated file on your computer and the older ones fade away or get lost or deleted in the mists of time. Many studies have been done which throw doubt on the accuracy of memory recall in criminal cases and point to the susceptibility of memory recall to influence by the interrogators. Similarly, some doubts are beginning to be expressed about the accuracy of many childhood memories and their susceptibility to influence by therapists, guides, psychiatrists etc.
An extraordinary freedom comes when any memory recall begins to be free of ‘my’ psychological and psychic interpretations, when past memories become free of any emotional pains or colourings, whatsoever. This lack of emotional memories is a clear sign of ‘my’ demise, a practical example of the fact that ‘I’ have no past existence other than as psychological and psychic memories. It is experiential down to earth evidence that ‘I’ am an illusion – whose days are numbered.
PETER: Hi Gary,
To continue on with our other conversation that arose out of my last rave post ...
PETER: Most often when I write directly to someone about instinctual animal behaviour they get mightily offended or defensive and lapse into patterns we learn from our peers – feeling guilt and shame, unremitting denial or blaming of others or, as a last resort, blindly lashing out seeking revenge. For me, writing on mailing lists has always been an invaluable way of sticking my neck out, beyond ‘my’ normal safe comfort zone, in order to see what reactions and feelings are stirred in me.
GARY: I can’t say I’m very much interested in writing on other mailing lists. I have, however, monitored the various conversations that are going on between you, Vineeto, and Richard to others on various other lists. In day-to-day life, I find I have plenty of opportunity to ‘stick my neck out’ if I so desire and observe the reaction, mine and the other’s. For instance, there was some conversation among co-workers yesterday about belief in psychic events, immortality, and being reached ‘beyond the grave’. I clearly remember believing in all this rubbish. At one point, I even believed a man was contacting me beyond the grave. I believed I had special abilities and powers to discern these ‘messages’ from lost souls. What balderdash! It is fascinating to observe the grip such beliefs have on some people. It was refreshing to contribute my two cents on the matter.
PETER: I was writing to someone the other day who is involved in research into schizophrenia, so I had to do a touch of investigation. Schizophrenics display a wide range of symptoms but the common ones are hallucinations, delusions, blunted emotions, disordered thinking and a withdrawal from reality. Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness, an aberration from what is taken to be normal, but many of the symptoms are common to all humans to varying degrees. The paranoid type of schizophrenia, which usually arises later in life than the other types, is characterized primarily by delusions of persecution and grandeur combined with unrealistic, illogical thinking, often accompanied by hallucinations. It does seem that this later definition fits well with the symptoms exhibited by many fervent spiritual/ religious followers. When I was a spiritual believer I was completely blinded to the fact that in my father’s generation in the West, anyone claiming to be God-on-earth or God-realized would most probably be interred in a mental institution – and yet nowadays, with Eastern religion in fashion, such people are regarded as the wise ones and worshipped as such.
The actualism writings are generally framed in terms of being a search for freedom, peace and happiness and the reason for this are two-fold. Richard’s discovery of the ‘self’-less pure consciousness state was a two stage process, an elimination of his social/ psychological self, or ego, and the final elimination of his instinctual/ psychic self, or soul. Having been Enlightened and then gone beyond it to actuality, his expertise and experience of the delusions of the spiritual world are second to none and his writings reflect that expertise, knowledge and approach. Similarly, Vineeto and I have had extensive insider experience of the world of the spiritual/ religious believer and our writings tend to be slanted towards our expertise. The other even more important aspect of this slant is that it is reasonable to assume that anyone interested in freedom, peace and happiness would be on, or interested in, the spiritual path – the only alternative thus far to remaining ‘normal’.
The actualism writings have broadened in scope somewhat to now include the recent scientific discoveries about the instinctual passions and we have even presented these schematically to make the neurobiological processes even clearer. However there is no reason why the whole approach could not be slanted in terms of freeing oneself from the normal neurotic and psychotic conditions that result from being an instinctually-driven socially- subjugated ‘self’. This is, of course, what is meant by ‘self’-immolation and the resulting elimination of instinctual malice and sorrow.
I liked what I have heard about the success of cognitive therapy, but I have little knowledge in psychology/ psychiatry/ sociology fields. At some stage, no doubt, more will be investigated and written about this particular area of study of the Human Condition. Gradually the emphasis in investigation and dealing with neurosis and psychosis will have to turn from coping and ‘normalizing’ – as in reducing the more extreme symptoms – to finding fixes and cures and thus eventually to seeking elimination – and actualism provides the method to completely eradicate one’s own malice and sorrow.
The next 30 years are going to be fascinating indeed ...
PETER: The underlying instinctual behaviour is identical in all humans of all races and cultures. The only difference in the so-called civilized communities – those with efficient police and legal systems – is that innate human aggression is usually more covert and expressed as constant psychological and psychic warfare, rather than the physical warfare of more primitive hunter-gatherers.
GARY: What you have said here seems right to me. That aggression is natural is rather simple to observe behaviorally and has been proven by Mr. LeDoux and others by producing rage and aggression through the electrical stimulation of the deep brain centers located in the amygdala.
PETER: I had understood Le Doux’ research involved proactive stimulation in mice but only an observation of the circuitry involved in response to stimulus in humans. I may be wrong about this as I have not followed the experiments in medical detail. It is, however, apparent that any experimentation that begins to uncover our genetically-encoded passions will be met with considerable ethical and moral objections – but you are beginning to discover this experientially in your investigations into how ‘you’, as a social identity and instinctual being, are programmed.
GARY: The instinctual basis of much human behaviour, including aggression, is much overlooked. I remember reading about ‘instinct blindness’: that a instinctual behaviour is not recognized as being instinctual because it is so ‘natural’, occurs so readily that it is taken for granted.
PETER: I do like what the scientists are discovering for it accords with my own experience as to how ‘my’ psyche operates and how ‘my’ instinctual passions operate. The only way to discover how your own psyche operates is by observation, awareness and contemplation which is where running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ until it becomes a constant undercurrent, is essential. You get to understand the indoctrination program and associated feelings that give substance to ‘you’ as a social identity and then you get to feel the instinctual passions that are ‘you’ as an instinctual being. By undertaking this process of investigation into your own psyche your understanding then becomes experiential – understanding is verified empirical observation.
What I look for in neurobiological research is empirical, verifiable evidence – facts – and what I look for in studies of the human psyche is common-to-all experiences and methods that work – that produce verifiable permanent results. These facts, as opposed to what are theories, postulations or ideals, can then be used to verify my experience and research. The diagrams of the brain’s operation in the instinct section of the web-site came from the input of Richard, Vineeto and myself, based mainly on Le Doux’s work. These diagrams still stand the test of time almost two years after.
GARY: Your observation about the control and suppression of intra-group aggression and its refocusing or projection on to others outside the group or tribe is important and I would say this is accurate.
PETER: In order to fight we need an enemy to fight and if there isn’t an enemy who physically endangers us we make one up in terms of a psychological or psychic enemy. There ain’t no good without bad, there ain’t no right without wrong, there ain’t no sacred without the profane, there ain’t no God without the Devil, there ain’t no heavenly after-life without a hellish earthly life, their ain’t no inner peace without an outer war, there ain’t no spiritual escapist world without a grim real world. It is extraordinary what goes on in one’s own head and the heart that actively prevents the already ever-present peace on earth from being actualized.
There is neither good nor evil in the actual world.
GARY: On a personal note, since I have been doing the demolition work on the social identity, I feel observing the underlying instinctual passions is much easier and clearer. One can clearly see the rise of not only aggression in oneself, but the ‘tender’ passions as well. One can see what these instincts are getting up to while sitting on one’s hands and not feeding into them. One is apt to be in for a shock when tipping upon the savage instincts.
PETER: Exactly as medical researchers have to abandon traditional beliefs and concepts and fly in the face of moral and ethical taboos in order to search for workable permanent cures, so does an actualist. If it were not for this approach, we would be still going to witchdoctors and praying to the Gods to fix our broken bones, stop our infections, and cure our diseases. Many, many people still do go to witchdoctors and healers in so-called modern societies, but when things get serious they usually end up calling for an ambulance. (...)
PETER: Courage and intelligence has a way of eventually winning out over brute fear and superstition – a brief view of the facts of history attests to this. We don’t live in caves and hunt like animals anymore, we just instinctually act as if we do because that is the way we have been programmed to act. It is if of no use at all to feel guilt or shame about this genetic programming, or feel resentful or be cynically embittered about one’s lot in life – the situation we find ourselves in calls for an unfettered investigation and the instigation of sensible action such that we can become free of this condition we are all inevitably born into.
GARY: One who has freed him or herself from these instincts is branded a madman (woman).
PETER: I always regarded this classification, based on what society takes to be normal human behaviour, as yet another verification that Richard was indeed free of instinctual malice and sorrow. I did, however, read his words very attentively until I really understood what he was saying and closely observe his behaviour in order to gain the confidence to ascertain for myself the practicalities of living without malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Just something I wanted to clarify.
PETER: A pleasure to hear from you again. (...)
Given the failure of the gung-ho traditional approaches of avoiding, challenging, denying or sublimating fear, the question remains – what to do about fear? How to eliminate it?
The process of actualism offers a third alternative and it takes its clue from the practical successes of cognitive therapy in reducing or eliminating specific fears. Put very simply, cognitive therapy involves cautiously repeating a situation that usually evokes a fearful feeling and repeatedly observing that, despite the feeling and hormonal rushes, no actual danger ensues. Eventually the event, circumstance or situation can be experienced without the normally associated feeling of fear. Three aspects are relevant to the success of this method – to stop avoiding, to observe and be aware of the feeling as it arises, and to both understand and experience the distinction between the feeling and the actuality of the situation.
Now although cognitive therapy has proved the most effective method of reducing or eliminating specific fears, it is vital to remember that the primary aim of actualism is not to eliminate fear but is to become actually free of malice and sorrow. The elimination of fear is therefore a by-product of this process and not the central focus.
If one’s sole aim in life is to reduce or eliminate fear then cognitive therapy seems to offer the best solution and then you can spend a lifetime slowly ticking off one particular fear after the other. The other way is to take the traditional spiritual path of feeling God-like, God-aligned or God-protected which does not eliminate fear but only produces the delusion of fearlessness in order to suppress or sublimate the underlying feelings of fear.
The only effective way of eliminating instinctual fear is to eliminate the source of psychological and psychic fear – the ‘he’ or ‘she’ who is feeling fear – and that process is actualism. This process can be seen to be similar to cognitive therapy in that it first involves stopping denying or avoiding and then encourages observing and becoming aware of feelings as they arise, and understanding and experiencing the distinction between the feeling and the actuality of the situation. The essential difference between the two processes is scope and depth. In actualism all feelings, both savage and tender, good and bad, desirable and undesirable, are up for scrutiny and one is aiming to dig deep into one’s own psyche so as to eliminate the very source of malice and sorrow – ‘me’ at my core.
So, for an actualist, cultivating an ongoing awareness is the key and the idea of challenging fear, as in tackling it or confronting it by seeking out physically dangerous or emotionally confrontational situations is unnecessary and can well be a diversion from the main issue. For an actualist, being an actualist in a world of materialists and/or spiritualists is already enough of a challenge and the everyday living in the world of people, things and events already always provides sufficient circumstances to investigate all of the range of feelings, emotions and passions that arise. As Gary pointed out, it is the issues that we are avoiding that are critical and therefore actively seeking out new challenges does seem a little pointless.
Just to give you a personal example that may help to illustrate the distinction I am trying to make. When I first came across actualism I had been living by myself for some two years after the ending of a relationship with a woman. When I was confronted by the proposition that ‘if I couldn’t live with one other person in utter peace and harmony, then life on earth was indeed a sick joke’ I was moved to action – I was moved to challenge myself or to put myself in a challenging situation.
To do this I had to act despite the feeling of fear that arose and it took me some weeks to act to rise to the challenge despite the fear and doubt. The initial serendipitous event was coming across actualism, the specific challenge then required that I put myself in a challenging situation and the next serendipitous event was Vineeto saying ‘Yes’ to my proposition. However, for many of my other investigations I was already in challenging situations such as in my work where serendipitous events, meetings and circumstances abounded and thus it required no action on my part to be challenged and tested.
Whether challenging yourself to radically and irrevocably change – to become actually free – requires a change in circumstances at any stage only you will know, for only you know what you are avoiding.
PETER to Alan: Just another little curio I found recently. I think I mentioned that I had done a bit of a scoot around the Net to see what was current in brain research. I got sidetracked into what the psychologists were making of this research and the results were fascinating to say the least.
The current crop of psychologists have concocted academic studies with such titles as evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology but what they really study, and how they study it, is most revealing. They indulge in an extremely careful ethical tippy-toeing around the most salient aspects of human behaviour and are in outright denial of the mayhem and angst that results from human beings being hobbled by animal instinctual passions.
I’ll just post a brief section from a university psychology department research program which will give you a bit of a flavour of acade-mania in action –
[quote]: University of Liverpool Research Programme:
The broad aim is the study of the behavioural biology of humans and other mammals within the framework of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Our objective is to understand both the evolutionary function of reproductive and social behaviour and the proximate mechanisms that underpin them.
There are three main programmes:
The current fashionation is to study, glamourize and glorify the instinctual passion of nurture in operation in other mammals and one can see this in operation in much of society. Even tigers, wolves and poisonous snakes are seen as warm-hearted beings who are misunderstood. I guess if they make animals out to be as ‘good’ as humans, then we can all ‘accept’ that the Human Condition is ‘as good as it gets’. The fervently good even grant ‘rights’ to animals and then proceed to fight for these rights, but the good always love fighting for causes. The other advantage of granting ‘rights’ to animals is that one can then get angry, sad and depressed when these ‘rights’ are abused, like when some bad people hunt and kill animals for food or profit. If this isn’t enough of an emotive outlet, one can then become worried about ‘endangered species’ which offers endless opportunities to indulge in fear and despair, malice and anger, sorrow and sadness. I do mean endless, given that scientists estimate that there are between 2 and 4.5 million animal and plant species on the planet, all of which are seemingly endangered or whose ‘rights’ could be abused by ‘evil’ humans.
Evolutionary psychology, behavioural biology or behavioural ecology – call it what you will – is but the same old ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ game, except this time it is the good instincts vs. the bad instincts and not the good spirits vs. the bad spirits. But then again, given that these scientist and academics believe God (or Existence) gave us the good instincts to counter the bad ones ... it’s really just that same ♪♫ ‘old time religion, that old time religion, it’s good enough for me’ ♪♫
The other one they sing loudly is ♪♫ ‘all you need is love, ... love, ... love is all you need’ ♪♫ as if this is some magical and new solution that hasn’t yet been tried enough, by enough people, for enough time. I often wonder whether these people who trumpet this advice to others have perfect, harmonious, equitable and delightful companionship with their wives, husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends. The wondering only lasts a few seconds and then I remember the Human Condition which is to gratefully accept the periods between fights with one’s companion as some sort of blissful truce, a peaceful if temporary cessation of hostilities. ‘As good as it gets’ in normal human relationships is a sad compromise of the delightful intimacy possible between human beings, even in a virtual freedom from the Human Condition.
If one really studies the Human Condition – ‘evolutionary psychology and behavioural biology’ – with open eyes, one may see what an actualist sees –
... Just a bit from the Introduction that I thought relevant.
Arche Aye ....the ‘real’ world is a bad, sad and very mad world.
Good thing there is a simple, down-to-earth alternative – a method to become free of all this madness.
ALAN: ‘But’ is an extremely useful tool for discovering some home truths and something I used a lot in my ‘personal growth’ days. It is also useful, as you pointed out, for seeing what others are up to. Either the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie – nearly always works. For example, your statement:
Which was the lie:
An amusing example but a serious point.
PETER: No wonder you moved on from the personal growth movement if this is an example of what they were on about. If part of their philosophy is that ‘the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie’ and it is applied to a simple qualifying statement such as mine it makes no sense because neither statement was a lie.
However, if you apply the same personal growth movement rule to statements such as ‘I am happy, but I am a bit annoyed with ...’, or ‘I am happy, but I’m feeling a bit bored right now’ then the effect can be quite significant. Given that one’s intention in applying the rule is personal growth, as in ‘my’ growth, the statement ‘I am happy’ would naturally be regarded as true and ‘I am pissed off’ or ‘I am feeling a bit bored’ would then be regarded as a lie, as in not true.
By applying this ‘nearly always’ rule it follows that whatever ‘I’ think would nearly always be true and the feelings of anger, boredom, and the like would nearly always be a lie or an untruth. Momentary personal ‘growth’ would nearly always result, as in temporarily inflating one’s ego and repressing one’s unwanted feelings.
Under the same rule, ‘I’ would nearly always be right and whenever another person said ‘but ...’ they would nearly always be wrong. One would conceivably be ‘right’ more of the time and therefore more able to stand up for one’s ‘rights’ or ‘truths’, one could ‘grow’ stronger and be more able to cope, one would feel more ‘self’-confident and more ‘self’-enhanced, be more able to trust one’s feelings as true and generally be more in love with one’s ‘self’.
No doubt such a philosophy could offer some temporary boost to a flagging ego every now and again and it could also be useful as a quick fix to temporarily get out of a bout of depression or low ‘self’-esteem but it falls into the usual therapy category of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If this is a typical example of the teachings of the ‘personal growth’ movement, it is easy to see that it was a natural transition for many to move on to the self’-inflating teachings of Eastern philosophy/religion – because there can be no more inflated a ‘self’ than a ‘Self’. To think and feel oneself to be a God or Goddess is as good as narcissism gets – unless one totally loses all grip on reality and believes oneself to be the Only-God.
I can see why you went searching for something that works to permanently eliminate the ‘but’ from ‘I am happy, but ...’ rather than stay with a teaching whose rules only serve to dismiss the unwanted and undesirable feelings by either suppression or transcendence.
ALAN: As stated, it was intended as an amusing example (or was it a serious point?). I leave it to you to decide whether you ‘left it at that’ and did not ‘get long winded’? It was not any part of anyone’s ‘philosophy’ (whoever ‘they’ were) so far as I am aware.
PETER: Perhaps I am losing the plot. The reason I replied was because you had said it was a serious point, so I didn’t just leave it at that but made the most of the opportunity to say something of substance about it, in what most people seem to regard as a long winded way. I wasn’t being serious but sincere, because surely this is what this list is about. What else are we on this mailing list for, if not to mutually explore these psittacisms, tools, sayings, adages and the like that pass for wisdom in the real-world and the spiritual world?
As for your second point, surely a saying such as this must be part of someone’s philosophy, if not the personal growth movement? You yourself said you have found it an extremely useful tool in the past, which in itself makes it worthy of investigation on this list, does it not?
However, if you apply the same personal growth movement rule to statements such as ‘I am happy, but I am a bit annoyed with ...’, or ‘I am happy, but I’m feeling a bit bored right now’ then the effect can be quite significant. Given that one’s intention in applying the rule is personal growth, as in ‘my’ growth, the statement ‘I am happy’ would naturally be regarded as true and ‘I am pissed off’ or ‘I am feeling a bit bored’ would then be regarded as a lie, as in not true.
ALAN: No. The lie would be ‘I am happy’ given that one was either annoyed or bored. And I did not state it was a ‘rule’, merely a ‘tool’.
PETER: Okay. What I was getting at in what I said above was the intention of using the tool for one’s own ‘personal growth’, as in making a stronger ‘me’. I would suggest that any investigation of either ‘the lie’ or ‘the truth’ with such an intent in mind could only lead to a superficial investigation at best – with the aim of growing or strengthening ‘me’, not diminishing or weakening ‘me’. Does this make sense? If personal growth aflicionados used such a tool, or anyone else for that matter, and it worked, then surely the world would be brimming with happy and harmless ‘self’-less people by now?
I would also throw in that ‘a tool’ is another word for ‘a rule’ that is not necessarily applied religiously so as not to appear to be a moral.
PETER: By applying this ‘nearly always’ rule it follows that whatever ‘I’ think would nearly always be true and the feelings of anger, boredom, and the like would nearly always be a lie or an untruth. Momentary personal ‘growth’ would nearly always result, as in temporarily inflating one’s ego and repressing one’s unwanted feelings.
ALAN: No. The feelings of ‘anger, boredom and the like’ would be ‘true’ and ‘I’ would not be happy. If the ‘tool’ were applied to the statement ‘I am happy, but angry (or bored)’ then the feelings would be explored, not repressed, and one’s ego would be deflated a bit more.
PETER: Given that I was talking about the tool, or rule, being used in the context of the personal growth movement, you seem to be arguing that intention of the personal growth movement was not personal growth but personal reduction. This does seem to be stretching a point somewhat.
What would happen if one used the tool ‘either the statement before or, the statement following a ‘but’ is a lie’ and applied it to an observation such as ‘I am annoyed, but it’s because of what someone said to me’. Which part would be true and which part would be a lie and would the result be explored feelings and a deflated ‘self’? Or if one applied the tool to an observation such as ‘I am feeling sad, but the reason is I just watched a sad movie?’ Which part would be true and which part would be a lie and would the result be explored feelings and a deflated ‘self’?
PETER: I can see why you went searching for something that works to permanently eliminate the ‘but’ from ‘I am happy, but ...’ rather than stay with a teaching whose rules only serve to dismiss the unwanted and undesirable feelings by either suppression or transcendence.
ALAN: I certainly did wish to eliminate the ‘but’ – so as to make the first statement ‘I am happy’ true (where it had been a lie) and the second statement ‘annoyed or bored’ a lie (where it had been a true). There was no suppression or transcendence of undesirable feelings involved – by realising that ‘I am happy’ is the lie, one has an opportunity to examine the statement following the ‘but’ as being true, i.e. ‘I am annoyed’ or ‘I am bored’ – which is what I thought you were pointing out in your post to No 3, viz:
PETER: And I was simply pointing out the fundamental flaws in the tool you said ‘is extremely useful for discovering some home truths’.
You also said that it ‘is also useful, as you pointed out, for seeing what others are up to’ whereas I have said nothing at all about the usefulness of the tool you are talking about, au contraire.
The tool you are talking of is a sieve with holes big enough to drive a London bus through. It is a moralistic aphorism used to arbitrarily separate likes and dislikes, rights and wrongs, goods and bads, truths and lies to ‘my’ satisfaction and for ‘my’ growth. As such, its use can only be ‘self’-sustaining and ‘self’-serving and definitely not ‘self’ eradicating.
What I was talking to Gary about was the devastating simplicity of running the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ If used assiduously there is no way ‘I’ can get off the hook with ‘my’ buts which is why ‘I’ have such a reluctance to use it.
RESPONDENT: I’ve had a look at the site as requested, and find the content typical of a certain movement known as ‘alternative’.
PETER: Indeed, it is a healthy preoccupation of the human species to continually strive for betterment. The problem up until now is that there have only been two alternatives. Either stay normal – a socially and genetically programmed participant in a grim instinctual battle for survival – or become religious/ spiritual by surrendering one’s will to a mythical God or becoming a God-man – a psychotic state of ‘self’-aggrandizement.
What is now available is a third alternative.
RESPONDENT: I find them rather self-absorbed and essentially complacent.
PETER: The New Dark Age spiritual ‘alternative’ – those who follow Eastern pantheist religions – is to indulge in a completely self-absorbed belief-system because the total aim is self-realization, as in realizing I am Self or God by whatever name. To do so one needs not only to be complacent about the world of people, things and events where we humans actually live, but to turn away from it completely. ‘To be in the world but not of it’ is a classic description of dissociation and utterly selfish self-obsession. In the real world it is called egomania, in the spiritual world it could well be described as soul-mania.
RESPONDENT: Like so many other ‘solutions’, they rest upon the promise of achieving a permanent inner state, which will enable subscribers to rise above the real and ordinary challenges of life.
PETER: Yep. Transcendence literally means to rise above. What I found cute was I spent 17 years on the spiritual path before I eventually could not deny the fact that it was nothing other than olde time religion.
RESPONDENT: In my view such a state is only obtainable via psychosis – be it mild, or severe.
PETER: Yep. From what I have read schizophrenics, for example, display a wide range of symptoms but the common ones are hallucinations, delusions, blunted emotions, disordered thinking and a withdrawal from reality. Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness, an aberration from what is taken to be normal, but many of the symptoms are common to all humans to varying degrees. The paranoid type of schizophrenia, which usually arises later in life than the other types, is characterized primarily by delusions of persecution and grandeur combined with unrealistic, illogical thinking, often accompanied by hallucinations. It does seem that these definitions fit well with the symptoms exhibited by many fervent spiritual/ religious followers. When I was a spiritual believer I was completely blinded to the fact that in my father’s generation in the West, anyone claiming to be God-on-earth or God-realized would most probably be interred in a mental institution – and yet nowadays, with Eastern religion in fashion, such people are regarded as the wise ones and worshipped as such.
RESPONDENT: In short, what is being marketed as actual freedom is really actual dissociation – a symptom of mental disorder.
PETER: Nothing is being marketed. I just thought you might be interested in a practical method whereby anyone can diminish his or her own instinctual malice and sorrow to the point of complete eradication. You probably read the web-site as being spiritual in nature because that has been the only alternative on offer so far. It took me months of reading and following the discussions before I overcame my cognitive dissonance.
RESPONDENT: These ‘solutions’ are easily recognizable because none of them address any other issue but the individual’s state of mind, and all of them assert or imply that the rest of humanity are ‘asleep’, ‘conditioned’ or, in this case, ‘controlled by the primitive reptilian brain’.
PETER: It is clear to me that the next major issue facing humanity is actualizing peace on earth – to bring to an end the horrendous violence and appalling suffering that typifies the human condition. Over 160,000,000 people were killed in wars in the last century, over one billion affected by warfare and an estimated 40,000,000 people killed themselves in suicides. For religious/ spiritual believers this carnage is the work of the Devil, for others it is all but an illusion or Maya.
More and more, humans are beginning to debunk these puerile beliefs – the Net is an invaluable tool for this – and we now even discovering that malice and sorrow are genetically-encoded animal survival passions. Actualism is a newly developed method specifically targeted to eliminating these redundant brutish primitive passions and is available to everyone and anyone who is interested in being free of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: Such elitist claims are the well-tried mechanisms of induced dissociation as practiced by all cults – and are about a retreat from reality, not a deeper understanding of it.
PETER: Whereas actualism is brand-new, non-spiritual, down-to-earth and firmly rooted in empirical scientific method. Reality sucks badly – peace on earth is an impossibility while humans stubbornly insist on remaining instinctually driven beings – and religion/ spirituality is mere escapist fairy tale nonsense. Actualism is about being happy and harmless which means actively ridding oneself of the animal instinctual passions that are the very source of human malice and sorrow.
Actualism is about peace on earth, not an inner peace or a peace after death, as in R.I.P.
RESPONDENT: The danger of such dissociative thinking is that it enables you to discard responsibility for undesirable events or personal confrontations, which arise due to your actions. It enables you to say to yourself, ‘Oh well, he/she/they are still controlled by the reptilian brain, so how can he/she/they understand me?’
PETER: I can see your point of view but it is based on the common assumption that ‘you can’t change human nature’, which means there will never be peace on earth. When I discovered just how deeply cynical this viewpoint or belief was I started to run the question ‘why not’. The frightening answer was that if I wanted peace on earth, then it was up to me to irrevocably and permanently change in order to become completely happy and utterly harmless. How could I go on blaming others when I still nursed malice and sorrow in my bosom particularly now that a method of eliminating it was available. It is called taking responsibility for one’s own malice and sorrow – not denying it or avoiding it by practicing transcendence.
RESPONDENT: This is dangerous because it leads to social isolation of the individual or the group – and eventually to a psychologically and socially degenerative condition from which the ‘alternative idea’ cannot rescue you.
PETER: Yep. My original attraction to the spiritual world was the promise of freedom peace and happiness and that included peace on earth – not after death in an imaginary ‘other world’. After 17 years I discovered that not only did I have my head stuck in the clouds, but that I was getting to the stage where I didn’t give a fig about what was happening here on earth where we humans actually live. In my spiritual pursuits I had done nothing other than drop my real-world identity and cunningly adopted a new, holier than thou, spiritual identity. I was, however, so indoctrinated and consumed by this new identity that it took me months and months to even begin to entertain, let alone understand, that there might be another freedom other than the spurious spirit-ual freedom, which is an imagined freedom for one’s imaginary spirit or soul.
RESPONDENT: I find all this rather unhealthy, and advocate engagement with the world rather than attempted separation from it.
PETER: Yep. The spiritual pundits, teachers and Gurus have had at least 3,500 years to prove their case and we are still no closer to peace on earth.
RESPONDENT: I suggest that people who are attracted to the easy and selfish solution advertised on this site would be better off in the long term if they found a focus of interest outside themselves.
PETER: You missed the whole thrust of what is on offer on the site which is perfectly understandable given the overwhelming grip that religion/ spiritual thinking has on the human mind. This programming is not only social imbibed and peer reinforced but it is at core genetically encoded.
RESPONDENT: By this, I mean the ordinary endeavour of getting better at doing a job; having relationships, and doing what you can to further your worthy cause of choice.
PETER: I spent 35 years involved in these pursuits and when the first two proved unfulfilling I set my course, like many others in my generation, on peace on earth – bringing an end to all wars and living together in peace and harmony. By the end of my spiritual years I finally realized that peace on earth is not even on the religious/ spiritual agenda and no religious/ spiritual people live in peace and harmony either as a group, let alone with one other person. The challenge I took up was that if I could not live with at least one other person in utter peace and harmony, then life on earth was indeed a sick joke. You can’t get more down-to-earth than that.
RESPONDENT: When you think about it clearly, the belief that you have personally found the final solution to all troubles of the human condition is outrageously vain, isn’t it?
PETER: Only if you believe you can’t change human nature or that the troubles of the human condition are God’s work that we mere mortals shouldn’t interfere with. Your scientists are about to try to eliminate schizophrenia – or at least bring it to normal levels – and many religious/ spiritual fundamentalists who vainly believe themselves to be the Chosen Ones will no doubt resist any practical betterment as they have always done and always will.
An increasing proportion of the human population is enjoying comfort, safety, leisure and pleasure the likes of which has never, ever, existed before and these advancements have been achieved by human beings – not mythical Gods or vain, deluded God-men. If peace on earth is to be actualized on earth it is human beings who will do it – the ‘you’s’ and ‘me’s’ of the world – flesh and blood human beings.
I can see from a spiritual point of view that daring to eliminate our cherished instinctual passions will be seen as vanity, or megalomaniacal or even Evil. The Actual Freedom Trust website already contains correspondence documenting hundreds of similar objections and all are answered in full.
RESPONDENT: There’s so much more to do in this world than focus obsessively upon yourself. Look outward.
PETER: What I came to discover was that ‘who’ I think and feel I am is in fact a psychological and psychic entity who is an alien entity, a parasite who dwells within the flesh and blood body thinking and feeling it is running the show. ‘I’ am lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning and ‘I’ am forever cut off from and isolated from the perfection and purity of the actual physical world. To seek an imaginary connection and feeling of unity via spiritual practices is but to cop-out and move even further inward. (...)
RESPONDENT: I looked up LeDoux’s work on the net, and am consumed with curiosity about how you propose to use this research to effect a disconnection or amendment of the amygdala’s emotional input from brain function – as you described.
PETER: The ‘how’ is described extensively on The Actual Freedom Trust website but it will take effort not to see it in spiritual terms and summarily lob it in with the tried and failed traditional approaches. Perhaps an easier way to satisfy your curiosity would be to listen in on the mailing list for a while and see if what is being discussed interests you. I think your curiosity about the ‘troubles of the human condition’ is wasted on the WIE list where any attempt to have a sensible conversation that follows a thread, or sticks to a topic, always wilts. A vital interest in, and concern about, the human condition is diametrically opposite to an interest in spiritual/religious attempts to transcend the material world. They are two different worlds – one physical, the other meta-physical.
RESPONDENT: Incidentally, my scientists here at the Institute are about to embark on the biggest Australian amygdala research project – but aiming to discover its role in schizophrenia.
PETER: No doubt if your scientists provide more evidence that confirms the amygdala’s function as a quick-scan, automatic-instinctual trigger that releases chemical flows into the body and neo-cortex, the research will be invaluable. Given that the amygdala appears to be the trigger for the chemicals that give rise to psychological and psychic fear, aggression, nurture and desire, the research should contribute to better ways to keep people within the range of what is considered normal – as in normally aggressive or resentful and normally sad or depressed.
But no doubt, exactly as is happening in other fields of medical research, the emphasis in investigation and treatment of neurosis and psychosis will gradually turn from coping and ‘normalizing’ – as in reducing the more extreme symptoms – to finding better fixes and cures and thus eventually towards seeking elimination.
Actualism provides the non-medically intrusive, do-it-yourself, method to completely eradicate one’s own instinctual malice and sorrow.
Good hey ...
As John Lennon sang –
The next 30 years are going to be fascinating indeed ...
RESPONDENT: In regards to ASC you wrote ‘what is missing is any evidence that what is being experienced does in fact exist.’ The proof of existence is when the ASC is actively communicated to another individual. In Buddhist terms, Transmission. Spirit consciousness in relationship. I have experienced this event from both sides of the coin. No illusion. And if the experience is Real then to deny it is an expression of fear.
PETER: What you are pointing to is the fact that the psychological and psychic entity that dwells within each human flesh and blood body has three ways to experience the world – cerebrally, affectively and sensately. In the spiritual world, primary emphasis is placed on affective experience – feelings, emotions and the tender instinctual passions – while common sense thinking and actual sensate experience are actively denigrated. By solely identifying with one’s feelings and passions, a potpourri of psychological imaginations and psychic experiences are available to the spiritual seeker, the nature of which will be dependent upon the culture and religious tradition one is immersed in. These traditional psychic experiences, visions, transmissions and the like, are atavistic in nature – so ancient and so deeply ingrained as to be overwhelmingly convincing
Someone else wrote to me from the mailing list talking of psychic experiences, and I will post my reply as it relevant to your experience –
The psychic world of communication between people is a fascinating, bizarre and bewildering phenomenon that acts to bind human beings into fearful groups, forever in competition with other groups on the basis of imaginary morality of good and evil and arbitrary values of right and wrong. This form of psychic radar, communication, intuition, transmission, or whatever other name, while appearing very real to those indulging in it, is not actual.
As for ‘and if the experience is Real then to deny it is an expression of fear’ – all these experiences are indeed very real, and sometimes very Real, but they are not actual. The only thing that traps people in this psychic spiritual world is fear of their deep-seated fears. Rather than dare to explore these psychic fears and our dark side, the traditional path has been one of transcendence into the psychic world of good, God and Light.
Given that the animal survival instinct is genetically-encoded in our brain, our underlying primal emotion in any situation is fear, both psychological and psychic. The only way to eliminate fear is to investigate it experientially in order to trace its roots and understand it’s functioning. As Joseph LeDoux, a leading scientist currently mapping the instinctual functions in the human brain, says –
As can be seen, it is only by being afraid of fear that we fail to deeply investigate fear at its instinctual roots, which is why we remained trapped in our inner psychological and psychic worlds, unable to be here in the actual physical world of sensual delight.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.