Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Aggression and Anger
RESPONDENT: 1. The individual is physically attacked. Does she monitor her feelings and responses and get beaten, or does she fight back, tooth and nail? I’d like to think that this training process would give us some facility in using the amygdala when appropriate.
VINEETO: About two years ago a situation occurred that I would have usually perceived as dangerous. I got into my car to drive away in the morning, when the neighbour next door, a rather hot-tempered and muscular young bloke, approached me and started yelling at me through the open car window. I had parked in front of his unused garage and he made it very clear both in words and body language that he was very upset about it.
Despite the fact that my fear sensors went on alarm, I was able to sensibly check out the situation and I could see that I was physically relatively safe – the only thing he could do was punch my face through the open window and he did not seem to have the intent at this moment. I listened to what he had to say and when he got to repeat it for the third time I quietly said I would remember his wish in future, closed the window and drove off. It took a while until the chemicals triggered by the amygdala subsided but I was pleased that I had not reacted angrily or defensively. Two days later I met the guy again, greeted him in a friendly way with no emotional charge whatsoever and was surprised when he began to apologize for his strong reaction. He said he had not known I was a neighbour and offered that I could park my car in front of his garage from now on.
This situation showed me that it is indeed possible to respond to an attack without instinctual aggression and malice but also without fearful submission. Therefore I can say that in the case of an occurring physical attack I would fend for myself as much as needed – or retreat if that is possible – but that I would not react with malice. This flesh and blood body is perfectly capable of fending for itself and can do so much more sensibly and effectively without the interference of instinctual paralysing fear or vengeful aggression.
GARY: For instance, I am particularly prone to deride myself for feelings of anger. It is not surprising that in earlier years this feeling/emotion dominated ‘my’ existence. It goes in the same way that I am aware of deriding other people, in my mind, for expressing anger. Sometimes I have found myself wondering ‘Why do people get so ugly?’ (here I am using the word ‘ugly’ as a synonym for peevish, annoyed, irritated, aggressive, angry and so forth). I don’t like it when people express anger in my presence. I sometimes am ‘cowed’ by other’s expression of anger, ‘cowed’ in the sense of adopting a submissive stance. I was curious about this reaction, saw it happening a lot, and undertook to investigate it when it came up. This has been happening a lot and I am still investigating.
VINEETO: Yes, I am rather astounded how people voluntarily and proudly air their smelly socks in public. It is one thing to feel angry and quite another to let one’s anger out on others. That’s why we actualists use the expression ‘keep your hands in your pockets’ while investigating the social identity and particularly while investigating the instinctual passions. Like you, I used to be ‘cowed’ by other people’s anger, and that is exactly the purpose of aggressive behaviour. Often others’ unexpressed anger had an even stronger effect on me, as aggressive vibes seem to intensify through denial and control. As feeling beings we are very susceptible to psychic emissions from others and this is part and parcel of our instinctual survival mechanism.
Apart from considerations for my physical safety when somebody gets angry, I found that my core fear in these situations was to be ‘found out’ for the fraud ‘I’ am – as Alan said it so succinctly in his recent letter to Richard. It’s been an ongoing process from realizing for the first time in a pure consciousness experience that ‘I’ am a fraud to translating this realization into daily discoveries as to how much this alien impostress has been running, and ruining, my life. As I am the one who on my own accord is investigating my own fraudulent existence, nobody else can expose me more than I am already doing so myself! And I am not only admitting that ‘I’ am a fraud, ‘I’ am also ready and willing to take the cure – ‘self’-immolation.
Once this commitment to eliminate my own aggression and my own taking offence is taken fully on board, then aggressive arrows of others simple fall flat on the ground. The aggression of others can only trigger fear and anger in me as long as I nourish malice in myself. When I start examining my own anger and maliciousness with the sincere intent to eradicate it source, ‘me’, then I can be confident that there is no glint of malice in what I say and write and therefore other people’s accusations simply look silly. Then whenever an accusation is made, I can use it for my own explorations, as I wrote to a rather belligerent correspondent, –
When I revisited this post that I had written four years ago, I could see my process of learning to think in action. I remember that each paragraph was the end product of mulling over topics, of sincere investigation into my emotions and of honest questioning of my beliefs. I remembered how I had enjoyed the process of discovery and the act of describing it to someone else. One thing, however, was always top priority in my writing – I needed to be 100% sure that I was in no way malicious, grumpy, resentful, spiteful, revengeful or aggressive in what I said. This means sticking to the facts and being aware of the slightest emotional reaction that I might have while making good use of it for investigative purposes each time it happens.
Nowadays, having lived in virtual freedom for a sustained period, it has become effortless to be non-malicious and non-sorrowful, and should any emotion be triggered then it is easily spotted and quickly traced. No ‘should’s or shouldn’ts’ prevent me from freely acknowledging when there is a twig of a feeling, being guided by pure intent replaces the need to control and when seen for what it is, the emotion disappears as quickly as it arose. However, most of the reasons to get upset have disappeared altogether as there is no ‘self’-image to uphold and no compulsive need to defend or to maintain my identity.
Writing with sincere intent and without malice and sorrow is such an excellent tool to examine one’s relation to other people, to aid one’s thinking, to oil one’s common sense, to set in motion one’s intelligence and to ride on the thrill of ‘living on the cutting edge of reality’ – as Richard termed it. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
VINEETO to Gary: Last week I sent a letter to a German correspondent commenting on two newspaper articles that he had sent me analysing the latest events in the US. As I thought the topic might be of interest to you or others, I am posting the English translation on the list. For you, here is the link for the German version.
GARY: I recall when I approached the AF list, that I had these questions about ‘self’-defence: whether one would be able to ‘defend themselves’ without having the instinctual passions running ... the familiar adrenalin-fuelled ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction. The persistence of the view that such primitive reactions are necessary in order to physically survive in the world is commonplace. I again found it recently stated in the synopsis of a book on Stress on the Internet, the view that not only is the ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction normal but definitely necessary for survival ... that without it one would not physically survive. I think this needs to be challenged, and the propagation of this view rarely takes into the account the other side of the coin: that the ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction poses a great risk to human survival itself due to the aggressiveness at its core.
VINEETO: Yes, history is littered with proof that the ‘fight-or-flight reaction poses a great risk to human survival itself’, particularly when it befalls not only an individual but whole tribes and nations. The enormity of human warfare is brought home to me each time I watch documentaries on the history of the last 50 years, a history I have lived through, which has been a continuous instinctually driven battle for dominance with horrendous and devastating effects.
Recently I saw a documentary on the life of the Libyan leader Gaddafi that I found interesting – there was a man with the philosophy and passion of a rebel and freedom fighter, who manoeuvred himself into a position that actually allowed him to turn his dreams into reality. Not only did he succeed in becoming the leader of his country, but he also had enormous financial resources to attempt to put into practice his ideology for changing the world. I recognized many of the political philosophies from my own student rebel days when I was riling against materialistic imperialism, the corruption of the establishment, the domination of the rich over the poor and the ruling class over the working class, and demanding freedom for the masses, redistribution of wealth, equal power to everyone, etc, etc.
Gaddafi has been in power long enough to demonstrate how these so - popular - with-the-angry socialistic ideals look like when put into practice. He actively supported various rebel and terrorist movements supplying them with training, money, arms and shelter and established a strictly government-controlled economy that very soon failed to deliver the promised goods. At the same time he promoted a political philosophy that, whilst purportedly encouraging democratic decision-making, was in fact a sure recipe for chaos and incompetence, which in turn kept the people dependant upon his leadership. His life’s work is a brilliant example of the chaos and senseless mayhem that a young rebel flogging an old cause will inflict if he or she imposes their ideas and ideals on others.
VINEETO to No 7: I don’t see how this – Dell-Carnegie-style – method could work in long term. It suggests attempting mind control over emotions, it does absolutely nothing to get rid of the emotions themselves. It does not get to the root cause of the emotional reaction – the Human Condition, inherent in the psychological and psychic entity within the body.
RESPONDENT: From my experience, certain emotions like anger can be dealt with by plain common sense. Just by understanding (and I am talking of only intellectual understanding), that anger is not going to improve or help the situation and on the other hand, it is going to harm yours and others’ mental and physical peace, the anger vanishes. I have tried and tested it and it works. It is not repression so it doesn’t come back even in long run. Not that the anger does not arise, but as soon as it arises, you can see it vanishing in the light of your understanding.
VINEETO: What you are describing sounds like more than just intellectual understanding and more than the method of ‘positive thinking’ that [ Respondent No 1, List C] was proposing. You say you are using ‘common sense’ and ‘not repression’. And you say, anger about that issue does not come back? Not even in the long run? It does not hang around, maybe as being peeved or annoyed? Or an expectation for a reward, a righteousness, a better-than-you-feeling?
If that is so, then you have found the first ‘key’ to eliminating anger – seeing the actual situation, sensibly considering everyone involved and understanding that your particular feelings will do nothing to help the situation, on the contrary, they are harmful. You can apply the same understanding to any other emotion arising, be it love, gratitude, resentment, doubt, anguish, sadness, etc. None of our so-called precious feelings are useful for dealing with practical, every-day situations. Care, consideration, attention, intelligence and common sense can do the job much better. The trick is to question the ‘good’ feelings as well as the ‘bad’ feelings, and a great part of the social identity will disappear, issue by issue.
The second ‘key’ is to examine the underlying reason why anger (and any other feeling and emotion) arises in the first place. What is ‘my’ perception of the world, which of ‘my’ expectations are not met, what is it that ‘I’ am imposing on the world-as-it-is and the people-as-they-are that ‘I’ feel angry about? Persistent questioning of the root cause of my getting angry as well as applying common sense had immediate and drastic results – more and more the ‘self’ was seen for what it was in the light of this awareness; it was seen as an alien intruder that continuously spoiled the joy and ease of being ‘here’.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I also think that it is more than intellectual understanding. Till I find a more appropriate word for it, I would prefer to use ‘common sense’. It is not positive thinking and it is not in expectation of reward. But I guess this common sense is the result of good old Vipassana. The difference after getting introduced to actual freedom is that now I know that ‘I’ am not different from anger, whereas in Vipassana I am the witness watching the anger passing away.
VINEETO: I don’t see how it can be ‘the result of good old Vipassana’, where you were ‘the witness watching the anger passing away’, if you say that at the same time you ‘know that [’you’ are] not different from anger’. Either you know that ‘you’ are the anger, that ‘you’ are the emotion, which is not what is taught in Vipassana – or you practice Vipassana and merely witness the anger passing away until it arises next time. But that does not eliminate the emotion, as ‘you’ remain intact, and at the most ‘you’ only transcends it.
To really grasp the fact that ‘you’ are emotions and emotions are ‘you’ results in you being willing and eager to investigate into the deeper layers of ‘you’ to eliminate the very cause of anger arising in the first place. To really face the fact that ‘you’, and only ‘you’, are the cause and reason of anger arising – as well as all the other emotions – is the first and essential step to do something about this emotion rather than merely witness it. The acknowledgment of the fact that the Human Condition in you is preventing you from being happy and harmless creates the burning intent and necessary guts to investigate further into the very substance of who you think you are and who you feel you are. That’s when common sense starts to come to fruition.
RESPONDENT: [Vineeto]: ‘The retribution from the ‘good’ guys that took place at the end of World War II was as cruel, uncontrolled and devastatingly disastrous as the actions of the ‘bad’ guys before.’ Vineeto, Selected Correspondence, Feelings
I have watched various TV programs since the one that Peter described that have confirmed his report in the journal. Unfortunately the atrocities of Germans before and during WW II were by no means a unique incident in history and nor have people stopped committing similar atrocities to others since Hitler’s death.
Are you really of the opinion that in the Second World War only one nation has committed atrocities while the other nations in the war were all humane and gentile and reasonable? Maybe you are familiar with what goes on in the world today? Because if you are, you might for instance recognize an eerie similarity of what is happening between the Jews and the Palestinians today and what happened between the Germans and the Jews sixty years ago. The human condition is common to all and nationalistic aggressive and retributive behaviour is not confined to some particular tribes, nations or races – like all instinctual passions, the territorial instincts lie dormant in every human being and can surface whenever the circumstances are fertile.
It is all so easy to find a culprit, a scapegoat and the one and only responsible person to blame for the ills and evils of humanity and then one does not have to look any further for the causes of all the wars, murders, tortures, rapes and genocides.
I am vitally interested in irrevocably ending in me the instinctual and social programming that is cause of all the wars, murders, tortures, rapes and genocides. I set out to find, and eradicate, the cause, ‘me’ – the alien entity inside this flesh and blood body, my feelings, emotions and instinctual passions, my very ‘being’. Despite everyone’s firm belief that you can’t change human nature it is now possible to investigate and subsequently eliminate one’s social conditioning and examine and observe one’s instinctual passions to such a degree that they no longer have any power and eventually atrophy.
However, this investigation is not undertaken by joining a popular mass-movement or a fashionable spiritual belief system – it is a journey that everyone does for himself, by himself. Once you decide to do it, it’s a grand adventure, unrivalled by anything I have done so far in my life.
RESPONDENT: A side thought: Non-emotional but deeply intimate life in a sensuous relationship is a great way to live as a couple. But what would you do if your partner was both sensuous and very emotional?
VINEETO: For me, No. 7, ‘a deeply intimate life in a sensuous relationship’ had been a life-long yearning – to live with a man in peace and harmony, equity and intimacy. It took a great number of years to be able to question the ‘truth’ that love was the answer to a fulfilling relationship.
I do like your question and I had to chuckle because in one short sentence you encompass what is both the attraction and the problem for men regarding women while at the same time the ‘sensuous and very emotional’ qualities are the very substance of the covert power that women hold over men. On the path to becoming happy and harmless it can be of great benefit for your investigation into the Human Condition and your discovery of the actual world to have someone around who can trigger both your sensuousness and your emotions.
One can be aware of one’s sensuality on one’s own – the sounds around, the breeze on the skin, the delight of colours or forms, the joy of walking, etc. And it is even more fun to explore sensuousness with your partner. Sexual play with Peter often initiated a switch in me from philosophizing and worrying to refocusing my attention to being sensately alive here in this moment in time. Reflective contemplation, sensuality and sensuousness are the doors to experiencing the actual world, being alive as this flesh-and-blood body only, while the emotions are usually what stops you from being here in this moment.
As Richard describes in his article ‘Attentiveness, sensuousness, apperceptiveness’, the cultivation of attentiveness towards sensuousness is an essential step towards apperceptiveness.
That brings me to the second issue – emotions, and there is only one solution – apperceptiveness.
The way men and women are raised in our society is that women are allowed and encouraged to have and express emotions and instinctual passions, particularly the tender ones like nurture and desire but also the fierce emotions like fear and aggression. Men on the other hand are taught to be tough and rational, stay level-headed and in control. This is where the method of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ is really effective in both bringing men fully into their feelings, maybe for the first time in their life and getting women to examine their feelings one by one instead of being run by a basketful of them all at once.
Once you understood that it is the emotions and feelings and the underlying instinctual passions that prevent you from experiencing the actual world, then every situation and everybody that triggers an emotion gives you another opportunity to contemplate, examine and explore this emotion in order to be able to get rid of it. Once the emotion is eliminated in yourself, nobody can trigger that emotion in you again, however emotional that person may be himself or herself. Here is what I wrote at the time of my first year of exploration into the gender battle and into the nature of my emotions and feelings. You might be able to ‘translate’ the issues as to how they apply to the male gender conditioning and the male biological instincts.
I just found another piece that might be useful – it had been a ‘very emotional’ situation for me back then:
What a delight it is now that I am no longer driven to automatically react to the other person’s emotions, be they fearful or sorrowful, lovingly manipulative or outright threatening. Now intimacy is possible because it is always only my own emotions that prevent me from being intimate with others – their emotions are their problem and I neither have to worry about them nor change them. I only have to change myself for actual intimacy to be possible.
Without aggression and malice operating there is no necessity to keep anything under control as there is neither aggression nor need for defence.
IRENE: Sorry to disappoint you but in my own experience with you there is plenty of both, your imagined images are not very objective obviously (and I am not the only one apparently who thinks so).
Now, you need to specify this. Where did I actually attack you. My not agreeing with your opinion does not mean I am attacking you. And telling you that my experience is different to what you say is not being defensive. I have never done anything other than talking to you about my experience. If you feel attacked because I don’t agree with you, that is another matter. I, for my case, enjoy a lively discussion about life.
IRENE: A basically malicious person is intensely interested in self-gain, appearance and power, usually at any cost to save his/her own skin and only appreciating of another person if it results in strengthening his/her personal image of being the very best, since sliced bread.
I take it that you mean me. Otherwise why would you write it to me? Self-gain: my very aim is to totally demolish the ‘self’ in me as in ‘self’-ish or ‘self’-centred. So the ‘self’ can only lose in that situation, not gain. Only the ‘self’ is interested in appearance and image, and that is the very thing that I am in the process of eliminating. As for power, I don’t have any power at all, no position, nothing anybody would want, nothing to manipulate somebody with. So if I did seek power I have utterly failed. ‘The very best since sliced bread’ – yes, absolutely, that’s my conviction. For me, getting rid of my ‘self’ without becoming enlightened is the very best discovery since sliced bread! (...)
IRENE: I’d like to ask you if you could be scientific as well and at least give me the benefit of the doubt and wonder if I could be right?
VINEETO: I checked out the benefit of a doubt and it does not apply. I enjoy my life right now and I don’t want to swap it for what I have left behind – love and sorrow, compassion and feeling helpless in the face of human suffering. I decided to do something about the suffering and aggression in me, that’s the only person I can change. If you see it different, then you see it different. Why do you need me to agree with you?
IRENE: If you want to send this e-mail to Richard as well or even to Konrad or the mailing list, I don’t mind.
VINEETO: I have sent the e-mail to Richard. Since Richard put his response to you on the mailing list, I will put our conversation (your letters and my responses) on the mailing list as well as on our web-site. I will leave it to you to send it to Konrad, he may welcome your comments.
No other person than you has been able to make me so livid and repulsed, for a long, long time, Vineeto. Congratulations, and I don’t mean this facetiously at all; you unblocked me in my own personal ‘keeping up appearances’, where I was, strangely, still holding on to Richard’s ‘proof of being free’, namely his inability to recognise and express any feelings at all. As you know this is a well-known neurological or psychiatric disorder, called alexithymia. Richard himself has been quite open about this to whomever wants to listen to him and who is nevertheless drawn to emulate this for their own ‘peace’ of mind, calling him even ‘the most sane man ever lived...’
To expect an authentic and honest interaction with such a person – and you may very well be afflicted by the same deficiency yourself – is more stupid on behalf of me than anything else. It’s called bashing my head against the brick wall of my own misunderstanding, my stubborn persistence in seeing the beautiful potential in others and with that my reluctance in acknowledging their anti-natural tendencies because of their own fear and hubris, which show themselves anyway no matter how well covered over with flowery words and proud performance ...
I have found it incredibly helpful to have been so ‘woken up’ by you, so thank you for having been who you are, Vineeto. It leaves us now free to pursue our own respective ways. I wish you all the self-awareness you can muster ... Irene
VINEETO: I am glad to hear that what I was – whatever that was – has been the trigger for your ‘waking up to more vividness’ if I understand you rightly. I can relate to your description when I remember the great liberating experiences when a held-back or not noticed emotion in me finally broke through and was acknowledged.
And then there is this issue of alexithymia that I would like to talk about and explore with you. You said,
IRENE: ... Richard’s ‘proof of being free’ [is] namely his inability to recognise and express any feelings at all. As you know this is a well-known neurological or psychiatric disorder, called alexithymia.
VINEETO: Nevertheless, it seems to me that what psychiatrists call alexithymia is an incapability of someone to cope with certain or all his/her emotions and therefore he/she has a neurological reaction in the nervous system that shuts up the feeling faculty altogether. I would put that into the category of extreme repression, beyond the reach of consciousness. While Richard says about his condition:
Actual freedom for me means that I investigate and in this way eliminate the cause and the source of emotions – be they personal, self-centred or universal – and after removing the cause they simply don’t occur any more. For instance insult: it was one of the first things I learned when meeting you and Richard, that one can choose to become un-insult-able. This possibility appealed very much to me from the very beginning. What an awful hindrance for communications it has always been for me when I would get insulted by what someone said, and then I could not continue talking to that person. Then I was the one who was suffering because of feeling insulted, resentful and lonely on top of it.
Irene, there is no hidden agenda in my story. I simply want to explain why I began to consider it a good idea to get rid of emotional reactions. Feeling insulted is only one example of all the disturbing emotions that not only made a peaceful life with men and women difficult and in the long run impossible. First, of course, I only considered to get rid of the bad emotions, later I saw that they all hang together in one piece. ‘Getting rid of’ for me means that whenever I came across a hiccup – in the beginning it was mostly triggered by Peter – I would try and find out the hidden agenda of this particular emotion. Maybe this is all old chocolate for you, but this ‘getting rid of’ has so often been misunderstood as repression. I am definitely not a proposer of repressing any emotions, I have done that long enough and achieved no peace whatsoever by it. All the feelings pop up one day anyway.
In sannyas I have experimented with expressing emotions. Lots of therapy-groups, seven times I was a helper in the ‘Anti-Fischer-Hoffman-Process’, an intense de-conditioning for childhood issues. I went into the group again and again, fascinated by the tantamount and variety of emotion that each participant was capable of producing. Therapy works for a while, it produces great highs, you certainly know similar highs from groups you have done. But observing over a longer period of time I could see that one trigger for emotions was thrown out but soon, on that seemingly empty ground, there grew some other emotions, maybe they got dressed up with a different story because the root cause had not been removed.
Especially after the first AFH-group (Anti-Fisher-Hoffman, a very intense primal group) this was very obvious for me. After a process of ten days expressing first hate and fear, then love and forgivingness, I was left rather confusingly empty of applicable behaviour how to relate. But that changed quickly within a week or two. I had not questioned or removed the beliefs of who I thought and felt I was. I had only changed some fears related to my parents. But, for instance, all other authority-issues had remained. It never occurred to me then that I could question the very act of believing itself!
I know what you mean when you talk about the vividness of a strong emotion, high voltage and an intense feeling of being more alive than ever. But I also remember experiencing the painful clamp of being possessed when in raging anger, the gnawing tortured need in jealousy, and desperation and hopelessness in deep grief. I prefer to be fully alive without this kind of intensity. How is it for you?
VINEETO: For me, a vital drive has been the – instinctually driven – searching for the ultimate achievement...
ALAN: Can you expand on ‘instinctually driven’. Do you mean that having experienced what is possible, there ain’t no other high – where do the ‘instincts’ come in?
VINEETO: With pleasure. I have spent wonderful hours on the balcony the other night, watching the sky and listening to the different sounds of the night while contemplating about all the different instincts that I have encountered and learnt to understand on the path to freedom. So this is what I have come up with:
Fear – We all know it at nauseam; it includes trickery, cunningness, numbness, confusion, escape, denial, excuses, guilt and beliefs in all kinds of good (helpful) and bad (harming) spirits. And, of course, there are panic, terror and good old dread and the escape into enlightenment. But fear is also the doorway to courage, thrill and excitement to reach closer and closer to one’s destiny.
Aggression – Besides physical attack, aggression has many more subtle nuances: blaming, resentment, verbal abuse, nagging, boredom, being the victim, arrogance, clever-clever, competition, self-destruction and depression. I made use of this instinct for becoming free as a bloody-mindedness, persistence, not to ‘let the buggers get me down’, smugness and refusal to run with the crowd.
Nurture – It took me a while to wade through the ‘good’ feelings and emotions down to the basic instinct of nurture instilled to preserve the species. All the romantic movies thrive on nurture to tug at one’s heart strings, both with the heroic man and the loving but helpless woman. The willingness to kill and die for love for country, justice and religion is continuously adding to the 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone. Further you find this instincts thriving on all kinds of NDA beliefs and action by attempting to ‘save endangered species’, ‘care for Mother Nature’. When leaving the fold of humanity, I found that I am moving away from this instinct of nurture – the collective belief in the ‘good’.
It is useful for freedom as the sincere intent to have peace-on-earth not only for me but for humanity as well and to sacrifice my ‘self’ for that goal.
Desire – With desire we collect things and strive for power and improvement for ‘survival’ – ceaselessly and endlessly on the go. In the spiritual world this desire is turned into the search for enlightenment, the ticket to immortality and power in the ‘other-world’.
Now I come to the point that I was making: ‘For me, a vital drive has been the – instinctually driven – searching for the ultimate achievement...’ I experienced it as the instinct of desire that has driven me to search for freedom, to clean myself up, to be the best ‘I’ can be.
RESPONDENT: I’m increasingly perplexed by what some people on the list are pointing out is your ‘aggressive’ style. I have experienced this ‘aggressive’ style over the past 7 months in your posts for me and for others on the list. Let me say I detect your overriding care and genuine concern for your interlocuter, but I wonder just what are you accomplishing with the aggression? Multiple occasions I have had the impression you are looking merely for catch phrases that can be attacked or overturned. Numerous instances, I’ve been astonished by your interpretations of what I’ve said that launch in a direction completely unintended by me – merely constructing a strawman. I’m convinced of your genuine concern for others, yet I can’t understand your intentions when you use what is interpreted as an aggressive style. Do you intend to challenge the other by prodding them into becoming upset – thus dealing with their ‘self’ that appears in the transaction? If so, this seems to be a basic guru trick... ‘oh that hurt? well, that’s your problem, now isn’t it?’ approach. Where does the line between ‘triggering’ beneficial harm in another stop and actually being harmful? Maybe you see yourself as just stating the facts? And who cares if the other doesn’t see the ‘facts’ as you do? Isn’t there a less aggressive more benevolent – way of communicating?
The recent comment to No 23 about Richard as ‘mystic’ was factually correct – but the quip about both eyes being closed (reading meditatively) was over the top – unnecessary. The ‘full-stop’ shock you appear to intend only alienates the other person.
VINEETO: I cannot comment on your general impression – you will need to give me specific examples where I have used an ‘aggressive style’. However, I can comment on your example of my post to No 42 – where I commented ‘about Richard as mystic’. Vis –
You may interpret my response as ‘over the top’ ‘alienating’ and an example of my ‘aggressive style’ but I did use the words ‘meditatively’ and ‘eyes closed’ deliberately and for good reason. No 42 has not only reported that he spent 40 years on the spiritual path following first G. Gurdjieff and then M. Rajneesh, but he also clearly stated his predilection for the spiritual virtue of ‘not-knowing’ in lieu of a genuine freedom from malice and sorrow –
Given that No 42 has been subscribed to the Actual Freedom mailing list for a while now and is still presenting Richard as a mystic, at best that means that he read the ongoing posts about actualism with both eyes closed. If he has read with open eyes, then his reading was certainly meditative – in the spirit of ‘not-knowing’ and not wanting to know.
I can well understand when people do not want to know about becoming free from the human condition, because I know from experience that the process of investigating the human condition can sometimes be a daunting enterprise. What I cannot understand, however, is why someone is still misinterpreting actualism as spiritualism when it has been clearly stated many times that actualism is about questioning all beliefs.
RESPONDENT: I can think of numerous cases where list members have requested no longer to engage you in conversation. I can’t think of any cases where this has happened with Richard (though there may be some that I’m unaware of – especially outside my time here). What do you make of their feedback? Normally, I would keep the following to myself, but I mention only for your consideration. I find Richard mostly understanding and quite concerned about putting the interlocuter in the best of lights – giving their question or statement the best possible rendering and response. In some cases he will use a similar prodding method to jar someone – but normally only once they have demonstrated an obstinacy in looking into something for themselves or possibly after stating some absurdity (he is in a sense, ‘playing their game’). It seems to me the prodding approach is entirely appropriate in such cases – but I find your ready, gleeful use of the prodding, aggressive style distasteful – and mildly harmful.
VINEETO: A few days ago I wrote to you –
– an observation that was based on personal experience of my own process of investigation.
It would appear that your finding my writing ‘aggressive’ and ‘distasteful’ signals the end of sensible discussion. By the way, there are many cases where correspondents have ceased engaging Richard in conversation – over a hundred in fact – and many incidents where he has been accused of being aggressive. There are also cases where correspondents exhibit a fawning reverence towards Richard, which serves only to degrade his reports about becoming free of the human condition into the normal guru-type Wisdom. This action of revering Richard as a Guru is a perfect means for the correspondents concerned to avoid following Richard’s example in a practical down-to-earth way – becoming actually free from the human condition themselves.
RESPONDENT: You may now show me where I have gone wrong if you wish.
VINEETO: As it is your life you are living, it is entirely your business to investigate where you are going ‘wrong’ or not. I only ever intend to share my experience in using a method that works to evince a genuine and complete freedom from the human condition with those who are interested, for as long as they maintain their interest.
RESPONDENT: What I don’t understand is why noticing an ‘aggressive’ style (whether it’s a correct or incorrect impression) would necessarily lead to an end of ‘sensible’ discussion. Unfortunately, the written word seems to have much more room for misunderstanding than person-to-person contact. If you interpret what I said about an ‘aggressive’ style as an accusation or demand for change – then it would seem to be the end of sensible discussion. I don’t wish to ‘drive a wedge’ that stops ‘sensible discussion.’ Is it not possible to disagree about what can easily be interpreted as an ‘aggressive’ style and maintain sensible discussion?
VINEETO: When you first raised the subject you said –
I understood this to a statement that you felt offended about what I was saying ‘over the past 7 months … for me and for others on the list’. I know that I am not writing aggressively but I have learnt to bail out of conversations at this point as I have no interest in offending people. As I see it, there is no necessity to engage in conversation on this list unless both parties enjoy the discussion and obviously you don’t.
As to your query –
VINEETO: Starting the journey to an actual freedom meant taking my life back into my own hands, abandoning the idea of surrender and devotion and the hope that someone else is going to fix me up, be it God, Guru or ‘Existence’. I re-defined my goals and set them higher than ever, seeing in Richard that being happy and harmless is indeed possible.