on the Actual Freedom List
VINEETO: Hello Mark,
MARK: In answer to your query – yes you may use any of my correspondences any time you choose (including private ones).
VINEETO: Thank you for your permission to use your correspondence on the web-site.
MARK: Also, my thanks to you for your postings both on the freedom list and on the sannyas list and on your own website – you are very prolific. It is such an encouragement to read posts such as yours and Peter’s – your clarity and pure intent are a joy, and reaffirm my fascination with this business of being here and now.
VINEETO: You might have noted the new ‘library’-pages, as I call them, pages on topics like ‘fear’, ‘death’, ‘how to become free from the Human Condition’, etc. I have put some links to your’s and Alan’s correspondence as well.
MARK: So before I go ... some rather black humour...
VINEETO: For ‘death’ I found your black humour joke very apt. Typical German, it took me three days to get it, but then it was worth 30 minutes rolling on the couch laughing.
See, I finally understood that ‘I’ am one of these bell-ringer twins, I don’t know which one, but definitely standing there to be hit by the next ring of the bell – and ‘I’ won’t duck – what a hoot!
It has been very fascinating to put together the page on death – reading the respective writings and correspondence on death, afterlife, extinction, intent and demise from Richard, Peter and me. People would probably call me morbid, being obsessed with death, but I am more alive than ever, enjoying the thrill and enjoying everyday as if it was the first day – or the last – and further, being completely fascinated and absorbed in setting up the website.
The plan is to set it up so that anybody can find his or her way in and then get lost, if they want to, link upon link, topic after topic, definition and correspondence ... and when one comes out again one wonders what silly things everyone is still believing, after all, it is 1999! And then, the website can do the job of informing people and then they do what they want with it...
So Mark, thank you for your post. Great to hear from you and that you enjoy the writings.
PS. You are welcome for a cup of coffee any day.
VINEETO: Such good fun, your reports and ideas, your letter has been already integrated into the topic-pages of the web-site. And what a bold experiment to take your computer apart into bits and pieces. It’s ok to do that with the Human Condition, but I think I wouldn’t dare to do it with my favourite toy...
MARK to Alan: Now – on to some business –
The town where I and Peter, Vineeto, Richard and Grace live is full of cars with bumper stickers that say things like ‘The Goddess is Dancing’, ‘Truth Is’, ‘Thou Art That’ and so on. So I have this plan to make actual freedom bumper stickers that say things like ‘I am not’, and my favourite ‘I want to be reborn as worm’s poo’. With the funds raised from the sale of the bumper stickers we could open a plot shop where we sell second hand plots, recycled lost plots, plots handed in voluntarily by actualists. This could be the beginning of an empire!!! You-being head disciple and all, I thought I’d run it by you first and see what you thought.
VINEETO: Grace and I were busy thinking about more phrases for your bumper stickers but we haven’t come up with a sensible and sellable sentence – if there is one! How is ‘happy and harmless’ for a start? With the second line of ‘It’s as simple as falling off a log’. All pinched phrases, but I like them.
I like your plot-shop very much. It will really be a great business. When I thought about it I realised that we are already running a substantial plot shop here on the Actual Freedom list – people hand in all kinds of plots. It would probably need a shop-keeper to keep stock and sort them by subject and sizes and do the advertisement. What do you think?
From what I can remember from the last few mails there has been ‘imagination’ handed in twice, ‘lust’ once, someone lost the plot of a well-balanced house of cards of a triangle relationship, Peter wanted to shop for a plot, and I am sure there are others who just haven’t reported in about their own lost plots. It’s literally raining plots here.
Last night, I was struggling dense and hard to understand the utter madness of the human condition, particularly when observing the personal lives of people I meet, of Serbs talking on TV about their eternal conflict with their neighbours and of the craziness of Sir Roger Penrose, trying to find God with mathematical logic. This morning, I finally lost the plot – there is no sense within the Human Condition, I don’t have to understand it, I don’t have to find a solution within it – I failed because, by the very nature of the Human Condition, there is no solution within it. Yet, it is still very strange to me to wake up and notice that the whole time I have been living in a madhouse.
Did you ever see the film ‘King of Hearts’ – a very old movie.
During WW II villagers have abandoned their little French town and only the inmates of the insane asylum stay. They come out of their safe home and take over the village, playing barber, prostitute, pub-owner and guests. When the German and French army marches in to fight over the village, the inmates excitedly watch their deadly ‘play’ and clap at the good performance. But they can’t understand why those soldiers have actually killed each other instead of simply ‘playing war’. The world becomes too serious and they voluntarily lock themselves into their asylum again. One of the soldiers, the ‘King of Hearts’, understands the difference and joins them.
Good that nobody knows...
Or, as Richard said it:
VINEETO: Was great fun to read your rave the other day. It demonstrates wonderfully how the brain moves from one subject to the other, opening questions, answering some, leaving some for later enquiry and research, and so on. I followed your trains of thought and kept thinking for a bit after your letter was finished and just want to tell you about the delightful understanding I have come up with so far.
MARK: And how does one delete a part of one’s DNA (personally speaking my gene splicing skills leave a lot to be desired). I still don’t understand how one is to undo the deepest layers of instinct – but I do feel instinct and its grip weakening as my personal reality is exposed for the mirage that it is.
This adds a little to the notion that the whole thing (the self) is an integrated package and a reduction in one area is a reduction across the board. Hence, as we chip away at our belief system (the seemingly ‘most visible’ layer of the ‘being’, the outer most layer, so to speak) then there are repercussions in our emotional and instinctual arenas as well. With all belief systems abandoned, no way to imagine new ones, no trigger for emotions and incumbent feelings, the last days, hours, moments, of the self, (and this is obviously a conjecture on my part) must be extreme in the poignancy of their primal and purely instinctual nature. As to the question of the instincts (and indeed the selfs) only toehold on the body (that seemingly undeletable interface between the body and instincts that I spoke of earlier, that possible DNA connection) – is it not possible that the ‘physical turning over of something in the base of the brain’ that Richard speaks of in his last moments as a being, is the final unlocking of some physically encoded something in the ... somewhere!
VINEETO: The serendipitous thing in the process is that the brain – more and more cleaned up from the debris of emotions, beliefs and instincts – seems to know exactly what it is doing in terms of gene-splitting, altering the DNA, building synopses and cutting other false connections. The physical part is as much happening by itself as are digestion, heartbeat and breathing. The ‘only’ thing I have to do is make sure that beliefs, emotions and instincts don’t interfere in this perfect functioning mechanism, and then I can enjoy its workings to the max. The senses are heightened, the emotional-caused malfunctioning like tense stomach, indigestion and other imaginary ailments are diminished and disappear, and clear thinking is easily available and not restricted by boundaries, no-no’s, morals and fears.
So, it’s perfectly appropriate to enjoy the expertise of our brain and ‘get my head out of the metaphysical and psychological and pay attention to the actual for a while ... mmmm ... coffee!’ I’m going to have croissants with ham and cheese and a fresh-ground, freshly brewed cup of Caddie’s coffee!
VINEETO: I am enjoying your reports. Your reflections about fear and the ‘instinctual ponies’ reminded me of my musings about the subject of extinction, which seems to be my only and favourite one. By the way, did you miss one pony? You describe ‘riding’ all the troublesome chemicals, but what about pleasure, sex or sensate delight? Right, the ‘cuppatino’...
MARK: Instincts now seem to be the territory in which ‘I’ dwell. Prancing on instinctual ponies called fear and aggression and nurture and desire. Now on fear – fear for ‘my’ very survival, now riding on aggression – to face the fear, now riding on desire – desire for harmless happiness, now on nurture – self sacrifice for the good of all. So, ‘who’ am ‘I’ now – what is it that is left to ride these ponies and what is it that holds ‘me’ here prowling in the rarefied atmosphere of the ‘world’ of the instincts? In terms of the instincts as allies as said somewhat figuratively above, fear is the poignant one – seems to be the foundation stone. I have the thought that in the end one stands in the face of this the strongest of the instincts (and in the only place left to stand) until what ... the cows come home ... is one simply ‘scared to death’ ... ‘til the amygdala circuitry blows a fuse.
My point here is that I don’t really know what it is like to face the final boogie man with a full willingness to ‘be with it’ for long enough. ‘I’ still ultimately look for an escape from the fear rather than stand toe to toe – so to speak – and for the full duration of whatever must occur for ‘my’ final dissolution to take place. But ... not to worry because there seems to be opportunities galore to practice.
I just reread Richard’s account of a glimpse of actual freedom and ‘his’ final disappearance into the permanent state of actual freedom and the accompanying states of fear. Is it that I must ultimately accept so fully in the end that who ‘I’ am is fear – must ‘I’, in the end ‘identify?!’ with this fear so fully that ‘I’ as an observer or controller in any way ‘exit’ the ‘real’ world, finally through fear, the primal ‘stuff’ of which the self is made? Because any ‘me’ that is left now to manage these intense states of instinctual fear, any ‘me’ who desires to watch, escape, manipulate, alleviate this essential fear is that pesky little self again, doing tricks to keep saving its ectoplasmic butt. Ah well, next stop on this train of thought may be the twilight zone – so I think I’ll leave it at that.
VINEETO: In his chapter on Death Peter has reported of the work of some researchers, and that they found five significant stages that everyone seems to go through when dying. They are denial, anger, bargain, depression and acceptance (although the last is better called resignation). I looked back on my process of the last 12 months investigating and approaching the death of ‘me’ and wondered if there are similar stages when the ‘self’ dies.
Denial is obvious. The first task was to admit that something was fundamentally wrong with human beings and with me in particular before I could proceed in investigating any solution.
The anger was less obvious since I was culturally and spiritually trained to hide the ‘bad’ emotions but every squiggle and squirming, every blame I cast on somebody else – or the weather – could go into the account of anger.
Bargain is the most familiar. The whole path to actual freedom, the whole process of dismantling the ‘self’ I could call one bargain after the other. Although it was clear right from the beginning that the end-prize for freedom would be all of ‘me’, all along I have been bargaining – a little belief here for more time, an emotion there for another bit of time. Once I ran out of beliefs and emotions to trade, I had to take from the stock of instincts. I’m almost running out of things to bargain – uaaaah – now what?
At this point in making up the story I thought about the metaphor of the cinema again, which I used when writing to Alan:
It occurs to me that not only do I become aware of me-as-this-body ‘going on a ride’, as you say, but I am also the movie-maker. I am writing the script, when and how this movie is going to end. And as nobody has ever gone to actual freedom without going into and out of enlightenment I have all the freedom in the world to write a perfect-measured script, as I would like it best. And you see, Mark, with this insight I am now throwing the whole bargaining out of the window. Enough is enough, enough of the haggling.
Depression is also not in my script anymore.
This leaves resignation, I prefer the word resigning. O.K., what’s a nice, worthwhile way of resigning? Since I am playing the whole drama on stage – or in the movie – I take my visualisation from there: ‘a deep bow to the audience, thundering applause, another bow, and I walk off stage. The curtain falls and the applause slowly subsides.’
How do you like that, hey? In the meantime, until I figure out how to actualise the script, I have walks to town, steaming, tasty cups of coffee, lazy television, fascinating playing with the web-site or writing letters to the list, delightful chats with Peter, rompacious sex and delicious food. I am pleased with the discovery that I am my own scriptwriter, the only thing fixed is the ending of ‘me’ – the ‘how’ is entirely up to me. And equally up to each of us, each to their own temperament. Bloody fantastic freedom on the wide and wondrous path! After all, life was meant to be easy. Why should not death be easy as well?
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.