Selected Correspondence Peter
Who is Richard
PETER: Hi G. G.,
G. G.: I’ve been reading Richard’s site and to be honest it’s too much to plough thru. How did you manage with him?
PETER: Aye, Richard is indeed a prolific writer. Having devoted his life to the search for freedom, peace and happiness, having been afflicted with the condition of theomania aka enlightenment and managed to free himself of it and having become actually free of malice and sorrow, he has something to write about that is invaluable for any who are sufficiently interested. The writings on the Actual Freedom Trust website are probably total well over a million words and yet are but a drop in the ocean compared to the trillions and squillions of words parroting and trumpeting the ancient spiritual gooblygook. When I serendipitously came across Richard three years ago, his writing only consisted of his Journal and I avidly read it front to back many times and I would dip into it whenever I deliberately made the time available. It took me months and months, often contemplating sentence by sentence, to even begin to understand the mind-bending enormity of the fact that everyone has got it wrong – everybody is looking 180 degrees in the wrong direction.
As I managed to free myself of my spiritual beliefs and became virtually free of malice and sorrow, I swapped my car for a computer and sat down to write a journal that described the process that I went through. I wanted to record it fresh in order that the excitement, passion and adventure did not get lost as my memory faded. It is written with unabashed fervour for this new third alternative, so you may find it inspiring. I say ‘may’ deliberately for it has evoked zilch response from those people I gave it to read. It’s proved a popular failure in the spiritual world which I take as a sign that it must be good.
What became clear to me from the fact that no-one took up the challenge offered by my journal is that one needs to have a burning dissatisfaction with one’s life as-it-is coupled with a healthy skepticism about the traditional spiritual path. I say skepticism deliberately for if one has sunk to the level of cynicism one may not have sufficient naiveté to even consider that it is possible to become actually free of the human condition. One definitely needs a pioneering spirit in order to reject the tried and failed and set off following the words and experiences of a madman and a handful of others. Stubbornness, bloody-mindedness and perseverance are other qualities that come to mind but a burning dissatisfaction with your life as-it-is is the most essential. ‘Nothing left to lose’ rang in my head when I met Richard. I also would half-jokingly say he should hang a sign on his door that said ‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here’ for being a pioneer is not for the faint of heart.
So, to get back to the web-site – you will have noticed that there are three sub-sections to it, one of which contains only Richard’s writings. In the other sections there is a host of valuable information about the putting of the method into action, personal experiences and anecdotes on the path to actual freedom, etc. Vineeto has devoted an amazing amount of time organizing a cyber-library that classifies the writings of Actual Freedom by topic in order to facilitate and aid anyone who is sufficiently interested, in their personal investigation of the human condition. I have already mentioned my Journal – as a primer perhaps – and Vineeto’s writings are also equally excellent in this respect. It’s good to read of the putting into practice of a method lest you mistakenly think Actual Freedom is merely a philosophy.
The other section that may be useful is the Introduction to Actual Freedom – a very simple straightforward presentation accompanied by pictures and schematic diagrams that aims to summarize the human condition we find ourselves in, looks at the traditional ways we humans have used to keep malice and sorrow within acceptable limits and makes explicit the failure of the traditional efforts to become free of the human condition. The actual source of human malice and sorrow is identified and the method to become free of it is set out in a simple step-by-step process.
It’s hard to see that we can do more, be more upfront, be more sincere, be more transparent, but we delight in the challenge. It’s such good fun and such a delicious hobby.
As for ‘How did you manage with him?’ If you mean as a fellow human being – disarmingly easily, comfortably, harmoniously, affably, amicably, genially, friendly, candidly, straightforwardly, cordially. It took me a while to relate to him as he did to me, but once I managed to rid myself of my spiritual conditioning, my suspicion and doubt, I clearly see and experience him as a fellow human being, with one quite remarkable and totally unique faculty – there is not a skerrick of malice or sorrow in him. And I say that after three years of close observation of him in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are, and under many circumstances that were indeed genuine tests. After 17 years on the spiritual path, including being closely involved with three of the so-called ‘self-less beings’, I had a suspicious nose and a good eye for duplicity and deceit.
What I am saying needs not be believed – anyone who is willing to read his correspondence can make their own judgement on the basis of his responses. Making one’s own and sensible pragmatic appraisal is 180 degrees opposite to merely following the Gurus where you have to be ‘in their presence’ to feel their energy thus making a heart connection. As you well know, from your own experience when the feelings of love and lust kick in any sensible and sane judgement rapidly flies out the window. What I am saying is that there is nothing to be gained from personal meetings other than to affirm that there is a flesh and blood human called Richard. I make countless sensible judgements based on others’ experience and knowledge without having to meet them, feel them out, etc. In this world of 6 billion people, it happens all the time. Also making an assessment based on written words used to conveyed information and substantiated facts has the advantage of preventing the very-often unreliable affective feelings such as intuition, gut feelings, body language, cultural conditioning, etc. from distorting one’s own judgement and assessment.
Two events from my early meetings with Richard may be worth relating. I had come to the end of another dead end in my globe trotting spiritual search and was ready to admit to yet another defeat and failure, and lo and behold ... I ran into a man who claimed to be free and who happened to live in a suburban house just down the street. ‘Yet another Guru’, I thought and so close – they’re literally coming out of the woodwork. It took a few months to get to the stage where my spiritual conditioning was beginning to wane but I couldn’t quite break through. At the end of one particular afternoon of amicable chatting about life, the universe and what it is to a human being, I dared to pose a question that had nagged me for a while. ‘Okay... you have got me hooked, what’s behind it all, what’s the secret hidden agenda?’
Richard had been busy making coffee and he turned around a little bemused and said ‘There is none – this is about you being happy and harmless, in this lifetime’. It was then that I got it – he was the genuine article and Actual Freedom was the genuine product. Here was a man who had managed to free himself of the human condition and who was simply offering his expertise to others ... should they be interested.
I had been so long on the spiritual path that I had to rekindle my naiveté by months of persistent effort in order to see actual innocence personified. Again, what I am saying is amply evidenced should you want to peruse his writing with a naïve scrutiny. I am talking of naiveté and not gullibility as in believing others, and sensible scrutiny not a spiritual cynicism as in ‘you can’t change human nature’. It’s a tough trick to read with fresh eyes as it takes repetitious effort to break from ingrained habits and conditioning – both real-world and spiritual.
The other event was one that I had forgotten until Richard reminded me the other day. Evidently, at one stage I said to him ‘You aren’t going to do this for me, are you? I have to do it for myself, and by myself?’ Again you have to remember that I was coming from the spiritual path where merely being ‘in the presence of’ a God-man or God-woman and surrendering to their love or Love or God was sufficient to tip one into the dissociative state of enlightenment – to get out of being here, on this planet, where we human beings actually live. Having to do something about one’s lot in life, and having to work damn hard to be free, is 180 degrees different to the tradition spiritual path to a synthetic freedom and many who have come across Richard have turned away when they realized this fact. The path to the ultimate effortlessness and laziness – self-extinction – does require that one overcomes one’s innate inertia and fear, that one gets one’s head out of the clouds, gets off one’s bum and earns it. Pioneering is not, and has never been, an easy business.
For me, the very idea that I could do something about the malice and sorrow in me was a daring liberating challenge that made profound sense – if there is no God then it’s up to me and me alone. What a freedom.
Having forgotten this last event, I realize how good it was that I was moved to write my Journal. It is serendipitous that there are two Journals on the Web, as well as Vineeto’s writing and the Library. It helps to debunk the fashionable humiliating business of human beings worshipping other human beings as God-men, to make clear that Actual Freedom is most definitely not Richardism. He is a fellow human being who has managed to discover what is always here, has always existed, and will always exist – the perfect and pure actual world that is directly experienced when the ‘self’ is absent, either temporarily in a pure consciousness experience or permanently as in Richard’s on-going experience. His expertise is now freely offered to others on the Actual Freedom Trust website together with a host of valuable writing and a mailing list. The advantage of being in the following wave of pioneering is that there is a map to follow, a lot of written information, and a track that will be increasingly marked out and made easier, as each successive person makes the journey.
By the way, serendipity is what happens when you take the opportunity that comes along.
PETER: Hi G. G.,
G. G.: I’ve been reading Richard’s site and to be honest it’s too much to plough thru. How did you manage with him?
PETER: Aye, Richard is indeed a prolific writer. Having devoted his life to the search for freedom, peace and happiness, having been afflicted with the condition of theomania aka enlightenment and managed to free himself of it and having become actually free of malice and sorrow, he has something to write about that is invaluable for any who are sufficiently interested.
G. G.: Is he visibly different from others or just got a way to bend your ear?
PETER: No, the affliction of theomania aka soulism aka Enlightenment does not make anyone visibly different from anyone else. Being a mental affliction it all goes on in the head. Thus anyone meeting Richard before, during or after the theomania stage would have noticed no visible differences from others. If you passed in him in street you wouldn’t know he was different, you have to read his words to know.
As for bending my ear, I would describe it more as affirming to me that it was possible to get rid of my social identity – real and spiritual – and venture on to tackle my instinctual being – ‘me’ at my core. By example he gave me the inspiration to go all the way to freedom.
RESPONDENT: Well, ... just who is this Richard anyway?
PETER: In response to your question – from what I wrote 2 years ago...
RESPONDENT: Do I have reasons to doubt Richard as such an extension?
PETER: For what it is worth, I can assure you that Richard does in fact exist and he does in fact type all of his words – with two fingers. Richard is not extending himself through his words with some psychic energy if that is what you mean by ‘such an extension’. The words mean what the words mean, i.e. they convey information ... for anyone who is interested. There is no mystical message behind the words or coming through the words or hidden in the words.
There is only a message from some fellow human beings to say you can stop fighting now, the struggle is over. It’s time to step out of the real world, and the spiritual world, and leave your ‘self’ behind where it belongs. It’s time to bail out, desert the ship if you will. We are not saying go back to grim reality, we are saying come here to the actual world.
Every body has had a glimpse of the actual world at sometime in their life. It might just have been a sudden sensation of déja vu – a heightening of the senses when you suddenly become aware of the sensation of the wind on your skin or suddenly become are of the sounds all around you as though the volume was suddenly turned up. During such heightened awareness every thing is perceived as being crystal clear and crisp, as if a veil has been removed.
There is a freshness to everything and everyone, as if you are here for the first time. There is also a friendly familiarity and an immediacy that is a recognition that I, this flesh and blood body, belong in this actual world – whereas ‘he’ or ‘she’ – ‘who’ I thought and felt I was only moments before – can only ever be alien to this actual, physical world. This temporary ‘self’-less sensual experience of perfection and purity is what is known as a pure consciousness experience.
In a ‘self’-less experience there is a comfortable ease and an intimate sensuousness to being here. The experience is sensate-only, sensational in fact – the feel of the air on your skin, the flamboyant colours, the sounds all around you. There is a bare awareness of being here. There is an intimacy with one’s fellow human beings for they are precisely that – fellow human beings. Life in all its forms on this planet becomes fascinating, an inexplicable wonder.
There is a crystal clear clarity, a vibrant physicality to things. Objects are seen to be not passive, dead or dull, for they are all fashioned from the material of the universe and fashioned by the only intelligent life forms in the universe – human beings – and one marvels at the ingenuity of that intelligence. Not only do things become things to wonder at, but everyday events have an unrehearsed spontaneity that is fascinating to be a part of.
It is as though you are suddenly seeing and experiencing the world as it actually is, when there is no ‘me’ to prevent this sensual experiencing from happening. ‘He’ and his worries and moods are left behind as it were, it is as though a burden has been lifted from one’s shoulders, as if one has woken up from a bad dream or nightmare and as though you have entered another dimension – the actual sensate-luxurious world that this world really is.
The ongoing richness of sensate experiencing, be it touching, hearing, seeing, tasting or smelling, confirms the actuality of this world. This universe is perfect, it is incomparable in its majesty, being infinite it is unsurpassable, being eternal it is peerless. Being benign it is faultless, without malice. Being fascinating it is enchanting, without sorrow. It is the ongoing 24 hrs a day, every day, experiencing of the actual world that is on offer on this list, complete with a method to make this possible.
If this is of interest to you, then it pays to read what is written carefully, to make the effort to understand in order that you can take the necessary action such that you can become virtually free of malice and sorrow ... because it is obvious that it is impossible to become actually free from the human condition whilst nursing malice and sorrow in one’s bosom. If one is unwilling to make this level of ‘self’-sacrifice, then forget the whole business.
The process of actualism is pragmatic and down-to-earth and in no way theoretical, imaginary or spirit-ual. Actualism is about becoming happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are.
RESPONDENT: At 03:21 AM 24.06.2001, you wrote:
LOL Peter; this has to be the most clear account of your reason for being an actualist you have as yet provided. Read your own words again – at face value – and enjoy to laugh at yourself for being suckered in once again.
PETER: What you snipped out from this post was the context in which I made this comment, the very substance of the post –
To which you replied –
Rather making any comment on the main issue I was raising– ‘how is spirituality ever going to bring peace on earth?’ you again leapt into your cult-busting role. (...)
The reason I pricked up my ears and listened to what Richard was saying was that he was the first Guru I discovered who was ordinary and not super-ordinary, who was down-to-earth and not other-worldly, who was approachable and not living in an ivory tower, who was straightforward and not devious, who was upfront and not evasive and who lived what he talked.
It was such a breath of fresh air compared to the Gurus I had been sussing out before that I found myself intrigued. Initially, of course, I regarded him as a Guru and what he said as spiritual-talk, but the genuineness of what was on offer and its innate sensibleness meant that I was able to question not only the spiritual teachers I had followed but the revered spiritual teachings themselves. It was soon evident that I had simply been suckered into believing in God, albeit the fashionable Eastern God-man variety.
Although I was on the spiritual path when I met him, it was Richard’s sincerity, and the very down-to-earthness of what he offered, that was instrumental in me continuing on regardless of the initial fear of going down a path never travelled before.
I wasn’t suckered into actualism as you say – I walked into it with both eyes open. One of the first things I did was try it out to see if the method Richard used to become free of the human condition worked. I chose to start living with a woman in peace and harmony as my experiment because it made sense that if I couldn’t live with one other person without being moody, being resentful, getting angry, feeling sad, blaming the other, wanting to change the other, feeling trapped, etc., then not only was peace on earth impossible for me but human life on earth was a sick joke.
The other issue that ran parallel with this was a longing to find an answer to my continual failure to freely enjoy the pleasures of sex. The results of this experiment of putting the actualism method into action are way beyond normal human expectations and actualism has allowed me to investigate issues and find solutions to down-to-earth matters – those that Eastern spirituality dismisses as totally irrelevant. The quality that most stood me in good stead, apart from a sense of adventure, was that I was still naive enough to believe that down-to-earth life was not a sick joke – the cynical viewpoint reinforced by all of the spiritual other-worldly beliefs.
That’s about it. I plan to address your other comments before the list closes down. But I do await a considered and specific answer as to ‘How is No 12’s viewpoint, [Respondent]: ‘... I see (enlightenment) as the pinnacle of possibility of human volition creativity and creativity’, [endquote] going to bring peace on earth?’
RESPONDENT: I’m beginning to read Joseph LeDoux’s books to better understand the relevance of his work on emotion to Actual Freedom.
PETER: The only relevance that I can ascertain is his experimental confirmation that feeling precedes thought.
RESPONDENT: Besides that – I’m looking at a book by Antonio Damasio – titled ‘Descartes’ Error’. Now I have no well-formed views on what he is saying, but what I’m gathering so far is that Damasio’s work (he looks specifically at the case of Phineas Gage and others with frontal lobe damage) is a confirmation of LeDoux’s work, and in that sense may be of use to actualists.
PETER: It pays to remember that neither LeDoux nor Damasio are interested in becoming free of the human condition and, as such, they are interested in explaining what is, rather than what is possible.
RESPONDENT: Interestingly enough, Damasio seems to be saying that emotion and feeling is integral to experience as a self (both social and instinctual) – but since he dealt with people with frontal lobe damage, he seems to be saying that loss of self is dangerous and maladaptive.
PETER: Which is but confirmation of the status quo.
RESPONDENT: So he is trying to correct the ‘Cartesian Error’ that reasoning and cognition is without feeling or emotion – so he is afraid of the idea of a ‘selfless cognition.’
PETER: ‘Not at all interested in ‘the idea of a ‘selfless cognition’’ may be a better way of describing it.
RESPONDENT: So, on the one hand he seems to support the actualist affirmation of the instinctual self, yet he also claims that loss of self is disorienting and disturbing.
PETER: It is useful to consider that an actual freedom from the human condition is not considered normal by the psychological and psychiatric standards applicable to the human condition. But then again, that is to be expected, is it not.
The other relevant point to consider is that Richard is not someone who has suffered brain damage but is someone who has managed by his own efforts to rid himself of malice and sorrow – an event that coincided with the extinction of all traces of either a psychological or psychic ‘self’.
RESPONDENT: My hunch is that may be due to the fact that he has studied what he calls ‘secondary emotion’ – that is the processing of the frontal lobe with the functioning of the amygdala still intact. Anyway, this is mostly a pre-formed opinion since I haven’t had sufficient time to mull over the ideas, but I’m wondering if others have read Damasio’s work and what thoughts you might have.
PETER: I remember several times being hooked in by the experimental work and theories of neuro-scientists and the like, until I remembered that all they are studying is the functioning of the human brain – the hardware if you like – within the current functioning of the human psyche – the software programming if you like. And that, unlike actualists, they have no interest whatsoever in changing the social and instinctual programming that is the very cause of all the misery and mayhem among human beings on the planet.
RESPONDENT: It remains to be seen how far I will go with actualism and I am happy to contribute as a statistic in any studies you do on people and their application of actualism.
PETER: When I said ‘it will be interesting to see whether this lack of interest impedes your exploration of actualism’, I meant that I will be interested. I see no reason at all why someone who has not trod the spiritual path should not be interested in becoming an actualist. If actualism had been discovered when I became a spiritualist, then I would have had the opportunity of choosing between one alternative or the other – being a practical person I would have chosen actualism rather than spiritualism. One of the reasons I wrote the Introduction to Actual Freedom was to attempt to give an overarching explanation of actualism – one that would make sense to those who, unlike me, had not trod the spiritual path for years.
The other point is that I don’t gather statistics about those who are interested in actualism – I have an interest in what my fellow human beings make of it because they are fellow human beings and I wish them the best.
RESPONDENT: That’s the impression I get here. If it wasn’t, I would have been long gone.
PETER: When I first came across Richard he was living an anonymous life in a small rented house in a small country town. He had had a few people who were interested in what he was saying in his Enlightened years but since he became actually free no-one was at all interested in what he was saying. When I met him he was in the midst of finishing his journal because he said he wanted his words to be available in the world. I suggested that a good way of doing this was to have a web-site because then his Journal would be available world wide to anyone who spoke English and had access to a computer.
Since then I have written my journal, Richard joined a Jiddu Krishnamurti mailing list, Vineeto set up a website which was later amalgamated with Richard’s and we now have a very active on-line discussion forum. So Richard’s initial aim of making his words available to others has taken on a life of its own. And yet despite this, Richard still leads an anonymous and autonomous life, as do Vineeto and I. No glamour, glory nor glitz to be found hereabouts.
And as Richard said recently, should the fickle spotlight of fame ever look like shining this way Richard will be out of here in a flash … as will Vineeto and I. For what it is worth, I don’t see this happening because the business of becoming happy and harmless has thus far not proved to be a popular enterprise.
PETER: When I first came across Richard he was living an anonymous life in a small rented house in a small country town. He had had a few people who were interested in what he was saying in his Enlightened years but since he became actually free no-one was at all interested in what he was saying.
RESPONDENT: Why was no one interested?
PETER: I don’t know whether it has yet occurred to you but the proposition of becoming happy and harmless in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are is not a very appealing one to most people. As to why, it appears that people are reasonably content with being occasionally happy and that they have no compunction at all in blaming others for the antagonism that plagues humanity.
PETER: When I met him he was in the midst of finishing his journal because he said he wanted his words to be available in the world. I suggested that a good way of doing this was to have a web-site because then his Journal would be available world wide to anyone who spoke English and had access to a computer.
Since then I have written my journal, Richard joined a Jiddu Krishnamurti mailing list, Vineeto set up a website which was later amalgamated with Richard’s and we now have a very active on-line discussion forum. So Richard ‘s initial aim of making his words available to others has taken on a life of its own. And yet despite this, Richard still leads an anonymous and autonomous life, as do Vineeto and I. No glamour, glory nor glitz to be found hereabouts.
RESPONDENT: Is not the glamour, glory and glitz to be found quietly in the day-to-day ordinary life?
PETER: No, glamour, glory and glitz are only to be found by strutting the stages of public life – something all spiritual teachers aspire to do. The more fame one has, the more power one has over others, and the lust for power over others is the drive that underpins the competitive materialist world, exactly as it does in the spiritual world.
PETER: And as Richard said recently, should the fickle spotlight of fame ever look like shining this way Richard will be out of here in a flash … as will Vineeto and I. For what it is worth, I don’t see this happening because the business of becoming happy and harmless has thus far not proved to be a popular enterprise.
RESPONDENT: What would qualify as the ‘fickle spotlight of fame’?
PETER: Anything that interferes with the enjoyment that is always to be found in ‘the day-to-day ordinary life’.
The Internet is a marvellous way of being able to talk to one’s fellow human beings, particularly those who are belligerent in their objections, whilst still being able to enjoy the mundane pleasures of the domestic activities of an anonymous suburban lifestyle. As I said – no glamour, glory nor glitz to be found hereabouts.
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