Selected Correspondence Peter
John Wren Lewis
RESPONDENT: Interesting person that No 58 mentioned a while back: John Wren-Lewis. Wren-Lewis has also been thinking about the effects of instinctual conditioning. Here’s a quote and reference:
However he does not come up with a system for dismantling the psychological survival-system, which is where Actualism is to be commended.
PETER: For a start, there is no such thing as ‘instinctual conditioning’, a point I made clear in the last post and one which you chose to ignore.
RESPONDENT: Ah yes. The actualist aversion to linguistic equivalence. Cut me some slack and tolerate some ‘thesaurus drift’, as it were. Substitute your preferred actualist cliché.
PETER: You can bluster all you want but you have again ignored the fact that there is no such thing as ‘instinctual conditioning’ – the instinctual passions are genetically encoded as one cohesive package, they are not a matter of conditioning because the word conditioning means something that happens over time.
Contrary to popular spiritual belief, words are not meaningless … and nor is thinking the root of all Evil, for that matter.
PETER: Secondly, Mr. Wren Lewis makes reference to what he terms a ‘psychological survival-system’, indicating that the survival-system is a mental process – and not a sequential process that is firstly physical, secondarily affective and only lastly cognitive.
RESPONDENT: Wren-Lewis doesn’t want to speculate on the origin of the psychological survival-system but you think you have it sussed.
PETER: Yep. And not only intellectually, but experientially as well. Unlike Mr. Wren-Lewis, I was interested enough to find out for myself the nuts and bolts of how the instinctual passions inevitably give rise to malice and sorrow and how they prevent the free operation of benign thinking and considerate action.
RESPONDENT: It’s only a mental process you say, always was, always will be, thus implicitly extending Wren-Lewis’s words into a domain that he doesn’t want to speculate in.
PETER: Your comment is a sure sign that you don’t read what I say. If you care to read again what I said you will see that I put mental (cognitive) last on the list and it’s a very poor last at that. The instinctual passions are passions and passions are affective in nature, they are not a mental process.
Have you ever heard the expression ‘I suddenly had a fit of rage’ or ‘I found myself in the grip of jealousy’ or ‘I instantly fell in love’ or ‘I fell into a pit of despair’ or ‘I was overwhelmed with grief’ or ‘I was immediately gripped by fear’, or ‘I wanted … with all my heart’. Contrary to what some men think – these are passionate reactions, not mental processes at work.
RESPONDENT: [It’s only a mental process you say, always was, always will be, thus implicitly extending Wren-Lewis’s words into a domain that he doesn’t want to speculate in.] Well if you can do that then so can I. The quote implies that the psychological survival-system is inherited somehow – perhaps it’s genetic and thus quite physical, affective and cognitive.
PETER: Your speculation only proves that you are as disinterested in finding out the facts as Mr. Wren-Lewis was.
PETER: Not only does he not understand how the survival-system operates, he has no idea how it is passed from one generation to the next and it has apparently never occurred to him that it originated in the human species because the survival-system is common to all sentient animals.
RESPONDENT: Yes. Very good. Perhaps you should contact John Wren-Lewis and further his thinking in this area. I’m sure he’d be sympathetic since you’re both thinking in the same direction, but you guys have gone further. No argument from me about that.
PETER: But that’s the whole thrust of your adversarial stance on this mailing list – it was the very reason you came to this list in the first place – you do argue with the fact that we have gone further than the spiritualists have gone.
You have done nothing but rile against the fact that someone has found something new in human history – something that takes the whole matter of the nature of human consciousness into a field that the revered ancient spiritualists had neither the wit, nor the interest, nor the daring to investigate.
PETER: So much for Mr. Wren Lewis’ thinking about the effects of instinctual survival passions – he is doing no more than trotting out the Eastern spiritual party line that thinking and conditioning ‘cuts off so-called normal human consciousness from its roots in that other, impersonal consciousness’, that which is also known as God by whatever name. I can only assume that this will be another of those quotes you offer in support of your stance but then don’t necessarily endorse?
RESPONDENT: Tut tut. You’ve falsely labelled me there. I printed this quote to show that others have been thinking up your tree. Same cat, different dogs barking.
PETER: Not the same cat at all. Mr. Wren-Lewis thinks that thought and human conditioning is the problem whereas actualism reveals that the problem is the genetically-encoded instinctual passions and the human condition itself. (...)
RESPONDENT: ‘Challenge’ and ‘question’ – in this context it’s the same thing for me. Inflated claims need to be challenged. You actualists have scientific pretensions so why should it bother you to be challenged vigorously?
PETER: Contrary to what you feel, I’m not bothered at all and rather than find your challenges to be vigorous they appear to be are getting weaker and weaker the closer you get to the exit door.
As for ‘inflated claims need to be challenged’ you have previously said in this post –
It seems that you do not object to the fact that actualism has ‘gone further’ than spiritualism but you do object that actualism has gone so far as to make all of the olde-time religions and all of the revered spiritual teachings completely and utterly redundant.
Why not throw out the old if the new is better? People do use electric lights and not oil lamps nowadays, people do use motor vehicles to get around and not horses and carts, people do use email and not snail mail when they can, people do use the alternative of modern medicine when ‘traditional’ healing methods fail to produce results, and so on. In the same vein, I figured if the old methods of becoming free didn’t produce results I would abandon the old and try the new. And the reason I write to others is to tell them that I found that the new method works.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.