Selected Correspondence Peter
PETER: Hi Alan,
(...) I have just finished watching a TV documentary about Timothy Leary of ‘turn on, tune in ... and drop out fame’. In the late 1960’s he was at the forefront of experimenting with and publicizing the use of LSD and other chemicals that act to interrupt and temporarily alter the fixed, robotic electro-chemical circuitry in the brain.
A few aspects of the documentary were interesting and none more so than to see a historical documentary where so many of the characters were playing themselves. Many of the main figures of the 60’s psychedelic scene were interviewed for the film and these clips were spliced with old interviews and archival footage. Someone who was now 60 or 70 years old was interviewed, juxtaposed with film of them as 20 or 30 year olds. What was revealing to see was that the naiveté of youth and the well-meaning 60’s aims of peace, love and brown rice for all, had wilted and been replaced by a turning away, a foreboding cynicism, an introverted self-love and a lust for immortality. Two of the central characters who demonstrated this best were Timothy Leary himself and Richard Alpert who is now known as Ram Das.
Both said they had taken LSD hundreds of times and both had developed different interpretations of their experiences. Richard Alpert had a taste of the Divine, an altered state of consciousness, and became a mystic, a spiritual teacher, and a full-on devotee of an Eastern God-man. His experience when in an altered state of consciousness was that he was not the body and not the mind. He described stepping out of illusion of the real world into God-Consciousness. He then talked of Timothy Leary saying ‘he wasn’t into mysticism’.
Leary’s interest remained with the brain and thinking and he believed his ‘soul’ was located in his brain, to use his words. In his last years this thought became such an obsession that he arranged for his head to be cut off after his pre-arranged death and for it to be frozen in order that his ‘soul-brain’ could be revived at some future date. It’s such a bizarre tale and I still wonder if the film of his frozen head was genuine or a hoax. Certainly in his interviews he was convinced that his soul-brain was capable of mental immortality. Unlike his spiritual contemporaries, in his altered state of consciousness he didn’t identify with who he felt he was, his affective feelings, but he identified with who he thought he was, his nonsensical thoughts. What both Alpert and Leary shared in common with all other human beings was that they desperately maintained their true self to be a disembodied alien identity. One felt he was a soul-heart, while the other thought he was a soul-brain – anything other than a mortal flesh and blood body, a cellular arrangement of finite life span.
I was curious as to how Leary had managed to put such an eccentric twist to his altered state of consciousness experiences until he recalled a story from his childhood and his memory of his grandfather’s advice – ‘Don’t be like everybody else’. While he was alive, he was exactly like everyone else who has experienced the infinitude of the physical universe in that he instinctually seized the experience for himself and sought to contrive to become that experience – to be immortal, timeless, eternal and ... disembodied. And despite his frozen head being in a glass jar in a freezer somewhere he has ended up just like everyone else – dead. Same old story, just with yet another bizarre tale to add to the long, long history of human beings inane search for immortality.
The animal survival instincts, embellished into a psychological and psychic fear of death at the core of human beings, has produced a glut of fantastic fairy stories, fervent beliefs, grotesque rituals, weird altered states of consciousness – all of them passionately fuelled by a desperate and futile urge for immortality.
So, the essential question that arises from this post is ... ‘Is there life after death for Timothy Leary’s head or is he nothing but a dead head?’
Vineeto suggested that maybe he was simply a head of his times.
PETER: Eastern spirituality dabbles in the superficial layer of the social identity, actualism tackles the fundamental issue of the instinctual identity,
RESPONDENT: Well I don’t take that at all from my readings from various sources. I take conditioning to mean all kinds of conditioning including that endowed by evolution.
PETER: I await the evidence from your various sources to substantiate your claim that the spiritual teachings tackle the fundamental issue of the instinctual identity and that they propose eliminating the instinctual passions that are part and parcel of the genetically-encoded survival program.
By the way, this survival program is not conditioning endowed by evolution over time – it is genetically encoded as an indivisible package in each and every human being born, i.e. it is not a progressive conditioning, it is an instantaneous condition. The instinctual program is the (human) condition and it is universal to every human being whereas social conditioning is individual in that it has slight cultural and gender variations.
Whilst you can fiddle with conditioning, and if you become a practicing actualist you can eliminate practically all of it – the only way to end the condition itself – as in, become free of the human condition – is to cease being an instinctually-driven ‘being’. (...)
RESPONDENT: So if Satori is realized in the heart of a ‘pseudo-entity whose superficial aspects are personal and finite, the essence of its inspiration, of its very reality, is drawn from the infinite and impersonal source in the depths.’
PETER: And thus a delusion is born out of an illusion, for according to the Zen Masters Satori ‘is realized in the heart of a pseudo-identity’ and ‘its very reality is drawn from infinite and impersonal source in the depths’ – in other words ‘me’ at my core.
RESPONDENT: How do you get ‘me’ at my core out of that? The quote says that the very reality is drawn from impersonal sources but realised in the heart of a pseudo-identity.
PETER: Okay. I’ll rephrase my comment –
heart – ‘(The seat of) one’s inmost thoughts and secret feelings; the soul. (The seat of) spirit.’ Oxford Dictionary
In an effort to make it more clear, what I am saying is that both the soul and the ego are illusionary. The soul however is significantly more substantive in that it is an instinctual program – it is species-specific which means that it is impersonal (at heart ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’) whereas the ego is individualistic (‘I’ as persona or social identity exist only in relationship to other ‘beings’).
RESPONDENT: Recently, I have not read spiritual books (maybe just one in half a year). I would over indulge, ‘feed’ on them in the past. They made me feel good. I was on a path to the goal of enlightenment and most importantly, immortality. I don’t try to meditate nor I follow any gurus any more.
PETER: Yes, I understand the ‘feel good’ aspect of reading spiritual books. The spiritual message is literally music to one’s ears, a sop to one’s very soul, to be told that there is a life after physical death for ‘me’, the psychic and psychological alien entity within this flesh and blood body. One is told what one always thought was the Truth – that life on earth is about suffering, that it is an illusion because one feels cut off and isolated from people, things and events. One is forever condemned to be an outsider, a watcher, an alien on the planet, and then to have Wise men to tell you that this is the Truth and that one is only visiting the planet and there is a ‘somewhere else’ after physical death, certainly does give one a hell of a good feeling. If pursued with vigilance this good feeling can be blown up into an extraordinary narcissism, whereby one becomes the Universe experiencing itself as a Divine and immortal being. This Timeless and Spaceless feeling of Oneness is but the result of shift of identity of the alien entity – the self becomes the Self, a purely feeling state, an Altered State of Consciousness. Unfortunately the Enlightened One is still trapped within a flesh and blood body but ‘when the body dies’ a final liberation or Moksha is fantasized.
RESPONDENT: To me, it seems that still there is something that could be called ‘immortality’ in a certain sense of this word.
PETER: Well, the Oxford dictionary defines immortality as 1 Endless life or existence; exemption from death; perpetuity. 2 Enduring fame or remembrance.
When I went to school I was taught that there are three elements of the physical universe – animal, vegetable and mineral. It was common before the NDA to give the term life to the carbon based life forms, i.e. animal and vegetable and to reserve the term mortal for something which has a definite life span, i.e. animal or vegetable. This life span for the human animal was some 40 years at the turn of the century and has now, largely due to modern alternative medicine replacing ancient traditional medicine, been stretched to some 75 years in affluent western societies. Modern genetic research has confirmed what our eyes have told us – that the collection of cells that constitute the human body collectively have an inbuilt, pre-programmed mortality. This limited life-span has been known to stretch to a bit more than 100 years in a few rare cases but then death comes. This fact of mortality is clearly obvious once one passes the age of about 40 years as the effects of the ageing and non-renewal of cells becomes clearly and undeniably evident.
So, as far as you and I are concerned, being human animals, mortality is a fact and immortality is a dream.
RESPONDENT: But this is not immortality of a person, an ego or a spirit. I have been born and will die. As you called it, we are the material universe experiencing itself as human beings.
PETER: A minor correction here, if I can. So far as we know, Richard is the only human being living on the planet who does not have an instinctually programmed and psychologically reinforced self. Everybody else, you, me, and about 6 billion others, all think and feel themselves to be something other than a flesh and blood human being, and a few human beings believe themselves to be a God and therefore immortal, i.e. something other than a flesh and blood human being. Many people have had glimpses of being a flesh and blood human being only, sans self, in a PCE and a handful have taken Richard’s lead and are attempting to emulate his condition of living continuously and permanently in this state. In the meantime, 6 billion humans fight it out in a grim battle for survival in a grim world – this state of fear and aggression, manifest as malice and sorrow, is commonly known as the Human Condition.
What we are as human beings is the most highly developed of the animals on the planet in that we are able to think and reflect. However this very capability is enmeshed with the primitive instinctual self to an extent that we think and feel ourselves to be separate and alien from the physical universe. Who we think and feel we are is a ‘someone’ who inside this body looking out through the eyes, hearing through the ears, smelling through the nose, etc. Thus we are isolated human beings who are indirectly experiencing the universe and that experience is of being lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning. This is 180 degrees different from being the universe experiencing itself as a human being. This state is evident only in a Pure Consciousness Experience. The only reason I can talk with any authority about being the universe experiencing itself as a human being is from the direct experience of the PCE and from living a life of Virtual Freedom whereby one is as close as possible to this state permanently, yet one remains ‘human’ – an emotional and cerebral entity. It is from this ‘base camp’ that the final step can be taken with confidence and surety.
RESPONDENT: But after we are gone there will be some other beings. The universe will experience itself in them, thus this ‘experiencing’ will go on and on. Right?
PETER: Well, as I said, so far only one human being has rid himself of the psychic and psychological entity that is the very cause of human beings to regard themselves as something other than what they are in fact. Everybody else is busy being themselves, an emotional and cerebral entity, fearful and aggressive, trying desperately to connect via the feelings of love and compassion with other similarly isolated entities or seeking a fantasy escape into a spiritual dream world.
But the one human, who has managed to achieve a pure selfless state and rid himself of his animal heritage, has lived to tell his tale, to write of his experience, so that you and I have the chance to do something about the situation we have found ourselves in. Personally, I couldn’t give a fig about what happens after I am dead.
When I came across Richard I could see that I had a chance to do something about the situation I found myself in. Aged 49, maybe 20 years left, still not happy and certainly not harmless. When offered a method to become happy and harmless, developed by someone who was obviously happy and harmless, I took up the challenge. In doing so I became ‘self’ obsessed – I wanted to find out as much as I could about the Human Condition and how it operated in me as ‘me’– who I think and felt I was. 2 years later I am now living a happiness and harmlessness that is beyond normal human expectations and far exceeds the imaginary spiritual dreams. I am only concerned with my life as a human on the planet, what I can do to permanently and constantly live as I did in the PCE. In my first PCE, lasting some 4 hours or so, I was in a self-less state. The experience was purely sensate – no thoughts or feelings of separation and no thoughts or feelings of a ‘me’ who felt connected or ‘at one with’ everything. Simply an overload of sensate input such that the fairy tale splendour of the physical universe was abundantly apparent and overwhelming obvious, and an awareness of the brain thinking and reflecting with pristine clarity. It is in these moments that one knows that what is missing – the self – is precisely what prevents this from being an on-going experience.
RESPONDENT: Also, I think that there is nobody in heavens stuffing our physical bodies with some recycled immortal souls.
PETER: The soul is the big one! For what is a human being without a soul. Ancient Wisdom has it that a body without a soul is but an animal. A body without a soul is inhuman and evil. I’ll let Mr. Oxford give the full story on the soul –
The principle of life in humans or animals; animate existence. 2 The principle of thought and action in a person, regarded as an entity distinct from the body; a person’s spiritual as opp. to corporeal nature. 3 a The spiritual part of a human being considered in its moral aspect or in relation to God and his precepts, spec. regarded as immortal and as being capable of redemption or damnation in a future state. b The disembodied spirit of a dead person, regarded as invested with some degree of personality and form. 4 a The seat of the emotions or sentiments; the emotional part of human nature. b Intellectual or spiritual power; high development of the mental faculties. Also, deep feeling, sensitivity, esp. as an aesthetic quality; zest, spirit. 5 Philos. The vital, sensitive, or rational principle in plants, animals, or human beings. arch. 6 The essential or animating element or quality of something. Oxford Dictionary.
Seems pretty impressive for something that does not factually exist. The instinctual programming of the amygdala or primitive brain includes a primitive animal self that is most highly developed in the primates. This self in relationship to other members of the species is most evident in apes and chimps and leads us to see in them human behaviour at a less sophisticated level of operation. Fear, aggression, nurture and desire are seen operating unimpeded by developed intelligence, which simply translates to apes and chimps being less cunning and less efficient in killing than the human animal. We think them cute when they display instinctual nurture but are in denial of the mounting evidence of rape, murder, infanticide and war in chimps and apes that are the result of instinctual fear, aggression and desire.
This very-same primitive self, complete with its automatic survival program, operates in humans, but we manage to divide the instinctual passions into two groupings – the good passions and the evil ones. The self that is the good instincts we term ‘me at my core’, the ‘real me’, or my ‘very soul’. We simply deny the existence of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, as it is usually too shocking to contemplate these aspects within us. Thus we are usually ‘overcome’ or ‘overwhelmed’ by anger or violence or despair, for that is what appears to happen when instinctual passions surface. The amygdala automatically responds to a threat, real, perceived or imagined, and the hormones automatically flow – flooding the neo-cortex and away we go... Murder, rape, revenge, despair, torture, war, etc., all occur in a ‘blind’ rage – be it hot or cool.
As if this wasn’t enough of a heritage, we then have the universal fairy-tale of a life after death for this very-same soul, and the same instincts are then bought into play in defending this belief; for the soul – ‘me’ at my core – believes it is fighting for its very life (its life after death). Thus humans not only fight for real things like territory and food but we add fighting for causes, beliefs, ideals, rights and dreams to the list.
Fearing for survival is our main pre-occupation, and fighting for survival is our main occupation. Such is the Human Condition.
Good to be rid of a soul – and all that it represents – as far as I’m concerned. Everybody regards it as inconceivable to be without a soul but next time you have a peak experience have a good look around and see if you can feel one in operation. If you can, it’s not a Pure Consciousness Experience. In the PCE, as if by miracle, the soul and the ego, the self in total, disappear from consciousness, and if it can happen once, why not more times, and why not 24 hrs. a day every day?
RESPONDENT: It is not clear to me that according to you whether –
PETER: I thought it might be pertinent to discussions, given the fact that there are a number of Sannyasins on the list, to rephrase your questions regarding the legacy of the mythical Mr. Buddha.
Hence instead of the way you phrased it, your question would now become –
I always find it’s good to deal with Gurus that we know a bit about rather than Mythical Long-Dead Ones who we can but only fantasize about. There is nothing quite so pertinent and relevant to an actualist as a dearly-held, close to home, belief.
So, as for Rajneesh’s legacy, he is on record as saying ‘I leave you my dream’ upon his death bed and dictated that on his tomb in his mausoleum should be the words ‘Never Born, Never Died, Only Visited This Planet...’ The legacy he left his community was a dream that he had failed to materialize in his lifetime, hence he left it to his followers. This is a common theme with all Gurus – each and everyone has left their followers an unfinished dream. Rajneesh’s dream was that eventually the world would be full of His sannyasins bringing the ‘light’ into the world and, of course, exactly the same dream underpins each and every religion in the world. Hence the relentless drive to proselytize and spread the message – the more the numbers, the stronger the religion, the more famous and powerful the Master. What a legacy!
RESPONDENT: Now about: ‘Never born never died...’ I have read so many times explanations of this statement on this list, from Richard, from you. But I still can’t make head or tail of this statement. All my thoughts are borrowed thoughts from you and Richard, I have no original thinking of my own on this statement. And that is not good. I do not want to end up in believing in what you and Richard say about this.
PETER: Yes. Merely believing what others say is a bummer of a way to live one’s life – although that is exactly what everyone does.
But to stop believing and to acknowledge the facts is to demolish No 5 the man, No 5 the lover, No 5 the Sannyasin, No 5 the good, No 5 the right, No 5 the proud, etc. – and what would eventually remain is what you are, not ‘who’ you are. For me the challenge of discovering that was too thrilling to let a few wobbles or reactions stop me.
Of course, I know ‘what’ I am – the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood human mortal being, so startlingly obvious in a Pure Consciousness Experience.
What Mr. Rajneesh felt himself to be was an immortal God – hence his statement chiselled in marble, on his tomb, in his mausoleum – ‘Never born, never died’. Would not you agree that a human flesh and blood body is the product of a sperm fertilizing an egg and that when the heart stops beating and the brain ceases working that the body dies – to rot away, if it is not burnt? Is this fact so difficult to acknowledge as a fact? It is of course shocking for it does acknowledge that who you think and feel you are is a walk-in, a parasitical entity that has taken possession of you, the flesh and blood body known as No 5. But it does explain why the Guru’s message of immortality for the soul is so appealing to the ‘self’. No better offer can be made to an imaginary, ethereal soul than an imaginary ethereal immortality. No wonder people fall in love with Gurus – a Saviour at last!
I’ve done it again – I’ve strung together a few shocking statements aka facts. It’s just that spiritual belief perpetuates human misery and suffering on earth and it is time to expose this nonsense for what it is – puerile nonsense.
PETER to No 22: Given that you keep posting the meta-physical writings of others to the list every now and again, I thought I would post my story as to how I was shocked out of believing in a life after death for ‘me’, as soul or spirit. To share with you what set me off really searching for the meaning of life in the physical world we mortal flesh and blood human beings actually live in. It’s a fairly long but it does tell a complete story in itself –
RESPONDENT: I am amazed to actually see ‘in print’, that the Soul could be eliminated.
PETER: Yes indeed, ‘who’ we think we are and ‘who’ we feel we are both phantoms, to use No 7’s words. The spiritual search has traditionally stopped half way by only addressing the savage instinctual passions (aka ego) while dearly and desperately identifying with the tender passions (aka soul).
RESPONDENT: The physical form was created by the Soul, how can the creator be removed? The Soul is Eternal, it is an ‘individuation’ of the One Soul, that is the Source of All. To propound the dissipation of the Soul infers that that which is All, can be eliminated by some technique developed by ‘external consciousness’.
PETER: My stance is that God is a human invention and, as such, can be dispensed with as easily as the notion of Evil. Once this is done one’s own awareness – the brain’s ability to be aware of it’s own functioning, a bare awareness known as apperception – is perfectly capable of eliminating all illusion, all of one’s self and its associated instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: When you get thru with all of these methodologies of consciousness, you are still left with ‘the witness’... ie, the Soul. The Soul is innocent; it is the ‘experiencer’ of the All That Is. It does not judge, it experiences. So it does not get into the idea of good and bad, there is pleasant experiences and unpleasant experiences, when the Soul decides it has had enough, it withdraws its focus from an area of experience and focuses ‘somewhere’ else to expand its experience of All That Is.
PETER: This process is called dissociation – an active withdrawal from unpleasant earthly experiences and a total focusing on pleasant ‘other-worldly’ experiences. As I said to No 8, all one is doing is splitting the ‘self’ in two, creating and reinforcing the idea of an earthly, mortal ego-self and a spirit-ual, immortal Soul-self.
RESPONDENT: In a reality that believes in beginnings and endings, that could look like a ‘death’ of a physical form, or in the case of a ‘master’, the ‘disappearance’ of the form. Note the scripture which refers to the taking on of incorruptibility. When one accepts one’s own ‘immortality’, and acts accordingly, your physical form goes thru a physical chemical process, which changes the form from carbon base to a crystalline base. All fear is ‘leached’ from the form, as well as, the ‘little me’. The Soul then stands forth, uncompromised by limitations of any kind. Flesh and blood is not what we Truly are. That, my friend, is what we have come to this limitation to show, the Truth of the ONE. Incidentally, I am a Master of Light and Love, I have already ascended this plane and returned. I Know of what I speak.
PETER: ... And thus darkness, evil and suffering are regarded as intrinsic to the human condition on earth where we human flesh and blood humans actually live. Personally I find this a deeply cynical view of human life on earth. Who, or what, God was so perverse to set this system up? Why do we insist on believing this scenario?
RESPONDENT: But we are not our heart/legs/central nervous system.
PETER: This boundless, infinite, eternal, perfect and pure physical universe has materially manifested and evolved luxuriant and abundant carbon-based life on this planet. The human species, the most sophisticated of life forms, capable of thinking, planning and reflecting, represents the pinnacle of the emergence and development of life, as we know it, in the universe. The human body is a marvellous organism whose chief characteristic, apart from intelligence is an ability to be conscious of itself in operation. Given that each human being is born with an instinctual ‘self’ overlaid since birth with a further layer of social identity this consciousness is a ‘self’-consciousness. Thus a consciousness of ‘who’ I think and ‘who’ I feel I am is constantly predominant and the bare consciousness of the flesh-and-blood-body only gets a peek in during a pure consciousness experience when the ‘self’ is temporarily absent.
RESPONDENT: When we die, we are not here, and no amount of dissection will find were the soul used to be.
PETER: I remember as a child my mother would have me say a prayer at night time that ended – ‘... if I should die before I wake, pray the Lord my soul do take’. I remember wondering at the time where this soul was, but as I found out more about religion I thought the whole idea to be very weird. The idea of a white-bearded God sitting on a cloud and overseeing all this was pretty silly to me. And as for sending his Son down so he could do a few miracles, start a Religion, be nailed to a cross, and after a few days go back up to sit alongside Dad and see how it works out...!! I remember clearly thinking, if there was a God, how come he created the mess in the first place, and if he was responsible for this mess, why the hell didn’t he just come down and sort it out. I eventually teetered off on my own into the real-world and when this collapsed found myself embroiled on the spiritual path believing this offered the chance for peace on earth – an end to the insanity of wars, fighting and feuding. What I eventually found on the spiritual path was nothing other than Eastern religion which combined the traditional universal belief in an immortal soul with the chance for one’s soul to realize it is immortal, and therefore Divine, while still ‘in the body’.
The path to the extinction of one’s soul begins with gaily abandoning the belief in God and an eternal life, and setting about the process of total ‘self’-immolation, such that one gets to live the pure consciousness experience 24 hrs. a day, every day.
RESPONDENT: Each human has a soul or psychic entity? So you too then? If not aren’t you human then? It’s no use speaking in general terms is it?
PETER: The soul or psychic entity is an illusion, but very real in its affective presence in the human body. The primitive self combined with the instinctual programming of fear, aggression, nurture and desire is overlaid with the beliefs that have been instilled as our social identity and forms a feeling of ‘me’ trapped inside this body, looking out on the world. The feeling of not quite fitting in, lost, lonely and frightened – an alien. In the past two years since meeting Richard, this illusionary alien entity within me has been reduced by sincere and honest effort and serendipitous events to the point of non-existence. I say ‘to the point of’ deliberately, as I have yet to experience what Richard experienced as an affective psychological death. Given that my affective capacities are virtually nil, it may well be a whimper rather than a bang. So yes, I am not ‘human’ in your terms in that I am virtually free of the Human Condition of malice and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: I for one don’t desperately believe in an after-life but don’t deny it either, it’s a no-issue.
PETER: So you don’t care one way or the other. You are also on record as saying –
RESPONDENT: ‘To care whether a soul exists or not is to be worried about this life on earth’.
PETER: Methinks that if you are not worried about this life on earth and you are an active follower of a spiritual Master who taught the doctrine of another world, another dimension, another life after death, you do indeed have both feet in the spiritual world.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.