Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Aggression and Anger
RESPONDENT: When in a relationship with a non actualist, what are you supposed to do when they are angry at you? Restore the perceived imbalance, say sorry, accept punishment, say it won’t happen again, and that you got nothing from it, or whatever the ‘best’ strategy is? Or Say you just did what needed to be done? Or If you did something ‘wrong’, say why you did it, end of story?
VINEETO: When I interact with a non-actualist, which is pretty much everyone, and they get angry at me, the first thing I do is stop adding fuel to the fire. Very often this is as simple as making it clear to the other person that I have no intention of upsetting them. I find this works on most occasions but sometimes the only solution is to bow out of the situation as gracefully as possible. Of course actualism is not about adopting a new set of social mores so how you handle each of the interactions you have with other people will be dependant upon your own success in eliminating the impediments you have to being as happy and harmless as possible. The more successful you are in this endeavour the more you will find that you are spontaneously happy and effortlessly harmless, in which case you will inevitably find that more and more of your interactions with other people will be harmonious.
Once the adversarial situation is ended and I am on my own I then explore whether there was anything in my behaviour that was in any way harmful or sorrowful, in other words, did I have expectations of the other person or did I feel disappointed by their behaviour, was I demanding or angry, smug or sad, arrogant or blaming, hypocritical or critical, and so on. If the other person’s behaviour evoked an emotional response in me then I explore the reasons why so as to be able to prevent having such a reaction the next time round.
The fact that one might live with someone in an intimate relationship does not change this basic intent to be harmless, in fact it requires even more attentiveness so as to be able to recognize the other as a person in their own right with their own aspirations and ideals, feelings and thoughts, behaviour and idiosyncrasies in order that one doesn’t fall into the habitual trap of wanting to change them.
My intent in every interaction is that I am, as much I can possibly be, without malice or sorrow and without expectation or hidden agendas whilst still being an identity. Whenever I find a malicious or sorrowful feeling in me, then I’ve got something to look at. Whether or not other people have malicious or sorrowful feelings is simply their business.
RESPONDENT: I notice something in the conversation between Vineeto and No 66. There is a camaraderie as in between I am already there but you are trying to be me, good.
VINEETO: This is what camaraderie can mean –
The only synonym for camaraderie that comes close to what is actually happening is ‘fellowship’, or better still ‘fellowship regard’.
All I did in my post to No 66 was share my experiences with a fellow human being about becoming virtually free from malice and sorrow, just as I have shared my experiences with you only two days ago about investigating the feelings that prevent one from being happy and harmless. The only difference is that No 66 appreciates this sharing due to his interest in the topic whereas you seem intent on putting your own ‘spin’ on things based solely upon your own feelings.
RESPONDENT: Oh, so his appreciation is due to his ‘interest in the topic’ whereas my criticism is ‘due to my feelings’?
VINEETO: Whether or not No 66 appreciated my comments is beside the point – all I did was share my experiences. No 66’s reaction is his business and all I did was notice that he was appreciative. In exactly the same way, your reaction is your business – unless you, as you did, choose to make your reaction public, and then it is only reasonable that the nature of your reaction be open to scrutiny. Here are some examples of what I meant by ‘putting your own ‘spin’ on things based solely upon your own feelings’ –
All of the above comments indicate an affective reaction as to the motives and intentions of others, based not on the actual words said but on impressions gained from reading their words. Whereas a practical interest in actualism implies that one has understood that the only person I can change, and need to change, is ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: Could it be the other way, that his appreciation is due to his feelings and my criticism is due to my interest in the topic?
VINEETO: As I said, No 66’s reaction to my sharing my experience is his business and only you can answer as to whether or not your recent criticisms of No 66, myself and Richard have anything to do with the topic, the topic being actualizing peace on earth, and that means doing all you can do to eliminate both malice and sorrow in all of your interactions with your fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: If one is interested, must one always clap and appreciate?
VINEETO: This is what I mean when I said ‘No 66 appreciates this sharing due to his interest in the topic’ (note that ‘clapping’ is not part of the definition) –
RESPONDENT: Can’t criticism be another expression of interest?
VINEETO: There is a world of difference in criticism expressed by unsolicitedly putting other people down based on reading between the lines of actually written or spoken words as opposed to an interest in how to become free from malice and sorrow oneself for the benefit of this body and every body.
Maybe this is an apt moment to point out that actualism is neither a (therapeutic) group-dynamical process nor a purely subjective process as to what people gathered here want to keep or change, or throw out about the process nor is it a demographic exercise about how many people within the human condition feel about the style of the reports.
When I met Richard and realized after weeks of establishing a prima facie case that what Richard was talking about was a new paradigm – an actual freedom from the human condition, something no spiritual teacher had ever talked about, let alone had any experience of – I wanted to learn from him as much as I could. As such I knew and acknowledged that I was not at all equal to him in that I was an apprentice who wanted to learn something that Richard knew by his lived experience day by day. I was ignorant of the topic and was attentive to what Richard had to say because he knew what ‘he’ as an identity had done in order to become free from the human condition.
I also knew myself well enough to realize that I was handicapped, stymied and bound by the human condition and driven by the instinctual passions whereas Richard clearly wasn’t. As such I knew that I was easily prone to misunderstandings in my conversations with Richard, prone to emotional misinterpretations, to instinctual knee-jerk reactions, cognitive dissonance, blind spots, cunningness, and that ultimately I was fearful to be exposed as ‘me’.
But I was determined to nevertheless become free from these handicaps and from the human condition in total and therefore I knew that all these expressions of ‘me’ resisting and fighting ‘my’ diminishment and ‘my’ demise needed to be neither expressed nor repressed but clearly looked at if I were to become free of them – I also knew that any notions of wanting Richard to change in order to suit ‘my’ whims, or any notions of criticizing his style, his facial expression, his choice of words, his body-posture, his preferences and predilections was really only a distraction and a diversion from ‘me’ doing what was necessary – changing the only person I can change and needed to change – ‘me’.
Given that I was frustrated with the results of 17 years of spiritual search and eager to become free from being driven by malice and sorrow, it was not at all hard to do.
In short, after I satisfied myself that Richard is indeed free from the instinctual passions and their resultant feelings/ imaginations I stopped wasting my time and this opportunity in defending the human condition which is ‘me’, and got on with the business of learning from him as much as I could about the practical business of how to become free myself. And I still do.
RESPONDENT: Indeed, his defensive stance added to my suspicion.
RESPONDENT: From www.dictionary.com
So I’m defending myself from knowledge of Richard’s uniqueness? How then am I to be illuminated? Shall I rub bullshit in my eyes? Will the scales on my eyes fall off on the Road to Byron Bay?
VINEETO: No. Automorphism suggests that when you engage in a conversation in an adversarial, suspicious, aggressive and sarcastic frame of mind then you automatically conceive the other to have the same attitude. The ability to recognize that the other is entirely sincere only eventuates when you yourself cease being adversarial. Then you can really begin to benefit from what actualism has to offer.
RESPONDENT: Yeah, I’m a contrary guy at times. Thankfully, reading this list and investigating more fruitful avenues is not a binary either/or opposition for me. Besides, I wanted to issue a ‘big up’ to my mate No 58.
VINEETO: I noticed that the ‘big up’ to your ‘mate’ consisted of little other than adversarial statements about other members of this mailing list. When I became aware of the implications of exclusive friendship and loyalty I realized that as long as I nourished those ideals I would not be able to be harmless and I would not be able to live with people in peace and harmony. Exclusive friendship and loyalty are anathema to peace and harmlessness because those feelings always demand that one takes sides and supports one’s friends, family, tribe or nation in their animosity, regardless of the facts of the situation.
RESPONDENT: My statements are only adversarial to those who feel threatened. Feeling provoked? That’s your problem. Perhaps you need to investigate the issue for yourself.
VINEETO: Contrary to your conjecture, I used the word ‘adversarial’ not because I was ‘feeling provoked’ or ‘threatened’ but because it is an accurate description of your statements – adversarial as in ‘opposed to’, ‘in opposition of’ actualism and actualists. At first you found Richard’s statement that actualism is non-spiritual and unique to human history as being ‘off-putting’ and despotic and Richard to be a charlatan who writes bullshit, then you said all you want to do is inspire doubt about Richard in others on this list, and from then on you have refused to even consider any explanation and/or evidence from Richard or others that elucidates why actualism is not what you make it out to be, namely a spiritual teaching.
In other words, you want actual freedom to be just another version of spiritualism à la Robert Linssen, Byron Katie and John Wren Lewis and you make no secret about being adversarial to Richard and others for stating the fact that actualism isn’t spiritualism.
VINEETO: If you find her [Byron Katie’s] method to be excellent then I can only presume that if you ‘look inside rather than outside’ as far as your allegations are concerned you might find inside a ‘fanatical ‘debating’ style and rigorous adherence to doctrine’, a non-tolerance to ‘dissident or doubt’, an application of your ‘methods … in quite a mechanical way’. <snip>
RESPONDENT: Excellent opportunity, indeed. Of course I’m sure you already realise that since I am reasonably intelligent and perceptive this has already occurred to me. I have indeed made such investigations for myself. However, I do realise that you are making a point for your readers.
VINEETO: No, the point I was making was in response to your outburst of unsubstantiated allegations. You had said that you endorsed Byron Katie’s teachings to ‘look inside rather than outside’ and I assumed, apparently wrongly, that if you applied her teachings with sincerity you would no longer have the need to make emotionally-charged unsubstantiated allegations against your fellow mailing list members.
RESPONDENT: Well Vineeto this is where the wonderful variety of human experience defeats you again. Amazingly, not everyone investigates the same way or arrives at the same conclusions you do. Does it gall you to realise that even sincere seekers arrive at conclusions that differ from your mono take on life? There’s a whole ecology of ideas out there. Many paradoxes abound. I’m not of the school that says investigation must emasculate a vigorous response to the world around me, hence my vigorous response to actualists and their ‘entity hunting’ debating style.
VINEETO: Since I started talking to and writing to people about actualism I have experienced that others have a different agenda to their search than I do. Contrary to your allegation this doesn’t ‘gall’ me at all because it is your life you are living but I am certainly amazed how few people are sincerely interested in doing something about their own feelings of malice and sorrow while ever proclaiming that it is the fault of others that there is no peace amongst human beings. And I certainly wonder why you even write on this mailing list – except perhaps for the gratification of being adversarial – as you made it yet again clear that learning how to become less antagonistic towards others is not on your agenda –
But then again, being a woman I never had the problem of feeling emasculated when I began to get rid of my malice. I certainly felt insecure, threatened, powerless and scared at times when I began to take apart the various aspects of my social identity that caused me to feel aggressive towards and resentful about others but because living in harmony with people was more important I stubbornly proceeded despite my initial apprehensions.
RESPONDENT: Incidentally, after posting my impressions of Richard vs No 59, I chanced upon one of your own accounts of Richard in person. You described him (from memory) as always cheerful, courteous, helpful. I was struck by the disparity between your real-life impressions and my plain-text impressions (not to mention No 59’s and No 58’s).
VINEETO: I presume you are talking about this correspondence –
The difference you see is not between ‘real-life impressions’ and ‘plain-text impressions’, the difference is in our different approach to the possibility of an actual freedom from malice and sorrow. I was keen to learn as much as possible from Richard about how to become free myself whereas you seem to object to the information that is presented while trying to negotiate a compromise that would keep your identity intact. Vis:
It never even occurred to me to accuse Richard of being an idiot, not knowing what he is talking about, of being arrogant, ignorant, full of shit, bone-headed or doing ‘obfuscation for devious and/or malicious purposes’ (One last shot at this, 4.2.2004) – for me it was clear from the start that ‘I’ am the problem and that it is my job and my job only to do something about it.
As for ‘not to mention No 59’s and No 58’s [impressions]’ – both No 58 and No 59 wrote to Richard not because they were interested in an actual freedom from the human condition but because they objected to Richard’s claim that he had found something entirely new to human history and their ‘impressions’ are guided by this intention. Vis –
I found that to justify my own impressions and feelings on the basis that other people feel the same as I do only served to thwart any possibility of conducting a clear-eyed investigation of my own passions in action. I simply got tired of endlessly running with the herd, which is why I started to engage brain and began to think for myself.
VINEETO: Inevitably every sincere discussion on this list will uncover many beliefs, viewpoints and truths one holds, will question ethics and values one might have, will disperse images one might have of oneself or trigger feelings one doesn’t like or didn’t know one had. The reason is because what is being discussed is the human psyche, how it is programmed to operate and what is the result of that programming, and therefore ‘I’ will feel inevitably exposed because ‘I’ am the human psyche. For this very reason I always stress that it is important to establish one’s intent first – which essentially is ‘my’ agreement to ‘my’ demise – before attempting to start with the nitty-gritty of dismantling one’s identity, otherwise one ends up going round in circles and blaming others for one’s own feelings of frustration and despair.
RESPONDENT: Well ... I’m not at all sure that I’ve agreed to ‘my’ demise. I can’t agree to that until I have satisfied myself that Richard is what he thinks he is, and what you and Peter think he is. As I’ve mentioned, I find his diagnosis of the human condition very lucid, penetrating and convincing. But I need to be more satisfied that he has the solution he thinks he does before I can commit to such a radical thing. Experiencing a certain lack of trust and fellowship makes it all the more difficult, but that is not Richard’s fault. He is what he is, and I’ll make of it what I make of it. Undecided so far.
VINEETO: You say you ‘find his diagnosis of the human condition very lucid, penetrating and convincing’ – but you don’t find his solution to the human condition ‘lucid, penetrating and convincing’. Have you ever wondered if this is so because you don’t want to agree ‘to ‘my’ demise’ and you therefore prefer to question Richard’s solution rather than conduct your own hands-on investigation of the instinctual passions that are the very cause of the human condition?
Personally, when I met Richard I had exhaustively explored the traditional ways on offer to deal with or dissociate from the human condition both in the normal world and in the spiritual world and I knew that despite sincere efforts and the efforts of billions of my fellow human beings before me none of the traditional eons-old methods had worked to free human beings from malice and sorrow. I had satisfied myself that the solutions on offer were at best half-baked and misguided, plus I was utterly fed up being ‘me’ – in short, I was ready to do whatever it takes to become free from ‘me’. Richard’s experience that both ego and soul are the culprit made imminent sense to me and his cheerful and considerate manner made it clear that he lived what he said. Once I had worked this out for myself I knew that all of ‘my’ objections were part of the problem and not part of the solution.
As for missing ‘a certain lack of trust and fellowship’ – you are bound to be disappointed when you expect trust, empathy, emotional understanding, condolences and belonging on a non-spiritual mailing list but if you want practical help how to minimize your antagonistic, sorrowful and anxious feelings and how to maximize the felicitous/ innocuous feelings, there is a smorgasbord of hints on the Actual Freedom Trust website, all of which is freely and frankly offered by a few of your fellow human beings. Fellowship with fellow human beings is yours for the choosing.
RESPONDENT: So I guess when I say I am practising actualism precisely as prescribed, it’s a bit of an overstatement. I’m been giving it a run by trying to awaken the felicitous feelings and minimise the emotions, but I don’t have enough confidence in actualism to go all the way yet. In fact, instead of gaining confidence in this, I’m becoming more disillusioned.
VINEETO: You need to put the horse before the cart. When you are fed up enough being ‘me’ and know with confidence that none of the other solutions work then you will be well equipped to use the actualism method to inquire into what your expectations and hopes are – because they are what prevent you from clearly understanding what an actual freedom is all about.
I have talked to many people in the past years who wanted to take on a bit of actualism in order to ‘awaken the felicitous feelings’ but who didn’t want to bother about inquiring into, let alone were prepared to give up, their precious hopes and expectations, their dearly-held beliefs and cherished feelings and many ended up accusing Richard and actualism for not catering to their particular foibles.
Actual freedom is not a business deal where you haggle for a compromise – actual freedom only happens when ‘I’ and all ‘my’ selfish demands disappear in toto.
VINEETO: The trick is to remember that the human condition applies to everyone and that nobody is to blame for it. And, as Richard emphasises again and again, it is important to be one’s own best friend in the enterprise of taking the identity apart –
RESPONDENT: (And not just me, evidently).
VINEETO: Oh, the human condition – as the name suggests – is common to all. It’s a majority – an estimated 6 billion people.
RESPONDENT: All fundamentally driven by the same basic genetic code – fear, aggression, desire and nurture. That is the one aspect of actualism that I am absolutely sure about. The evidence is everywhere, within and without.
VINEETO: If you know that for sure then all it takes is to make a decision to become free from being driven – whatever it takes. Then it is only a matter of developing a persistent and dedicated practice of attentiveness to find out how these instinctual passions express themselves in your every neurotic or frantic thought, in your every feeling, in your every action.
RESPONDENT: Actualism has a ready-made explanation for why that might be the case – everything Richard writes is a potentially fatal poison to the identities that lurk inside us all. I know that Richard does not pander to identities, and so be it – I was writing about ‘my’ reaction to ‘my’ perception of him, and part of that reaction was the idea that ‘he’ is alive and well, albeit unconscious of himself. (Notice that I said: it makes me wonder ... And please notice that it isn’t the same as saying: I’m convinced that Richard is ... this or that.)
VINEETO: I wonder in what way publishing what you wondering about but are not convinced about can add to a sensible discussion about the topics at hand. As you would know by experience, expressing your feelings to others only adds fuel to the fire and to other people’s fire – investigating your own feelings by yourself in your own time is quite a different matter.
RESPONDENT: Simple answer: In addition to my own feelings / impressions there was the actual / factual issue of whether No 59 was being fobbed off and ‘verballed’ by Richard. The way I saw it, he was.
VINEETO: In German we have an expression that goes something like – ‘the way you call into the forest, the way it will shout back at you’. No 59 made his agenda very clear – he wants to ‘expose’ Richard as a fraud and has no interest at all in having an amicable discussion about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being.
When I began to inquire into my feelings and emotions I found it to be a waste of time to take sides with another because they felt the same as I did. I found taking sides only served to justify my own animosity or my own unhappiness and it did not lead me to look at the source of my feelings, which is ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: More complete answer: Cognitive dissonance works two ways. There is a possibility that some of you see Richard as something he is not, and will desperately resist ‘seeing’ aspects of his behaviour that are not exactly consistent with someone who is ‘actually free from the human condition’. If No 59 sees something, No 58 sees something, I see something, no-one speaks about it – it’s all too easily swept under the carpet, because there is a vested interest in not seeing it. Everyone knows what kind of scenarios that can lead to.
VINEETO: First, cognitive dissonance is a mechanism that ‘I’, the entity, use in order to keep things as they are, to maintain ‘my’ status quo as it were, whereas ‘being open’ to understanding actualism requires a 180 degree turnabout in how one has been unwittingly taught to viscerally think about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being.
My own cognitive dissonance stopped when I had my first major pure consciousness experience. I had desperately wanted to know if actual freedom was indeed actual, as in universally applicable to all human experience, independent of anyone’s personal viewpoint and the PCE undeniably proved that it is – when ‘I’ temporarily disappeared the actual world of the senses became apparent. Then I also knew that the actual world Richard describes is the very same actuality that I briefly experienced in my own PCE.
Second, when you say ‘not exactly consistent with someone who is ‘actually free from the human condition’’ – you do not actually know what is consistent with someone who is free from the human condition because you have yet to meet anyone who is actually free from the human condition. All you can do is project your idea of being actually free onto Richard and then demand he should behave according to your imaginary scenario.
Third, No 59 and No 58 have both clearly stated that they are not interested if Richard is actually free from malice and sorrow and they both repeatedly state their belief that it is useless to deliberately want to change human nature. Whatever they ‘see’ is a pre-conditioned ‘seeing’, in other words a feeling. Far from ‘no-one speaks about it – it’s all too easily swept under the carpet’, by far the majority of correspondents on this list passionately object to actualism and dispute the accounts of actualists – albeit for an assortment of reasons. As an example, the 65 posts that were posted to the list yesterday were almost all from objectors – rather than ‘all too easily swept under the carpet’ this is all upfront for everyone to see and for everyone to evaluate ‘what kind of scenarios that can lead to’.
The instinctual pull to remain within the fold is enormous – I have always compared it to gravity because of its automatic and permanent pull – and to even begin to recognize this instinctual pull requires the sincere intent to become free from it, whatever the cost. Without this intent you cannot help but side with the majority.
RESPONDENT: When I first started reading the Actual Freedom web site, I thought the core ideas sounded really interesting. Then when I started to look into the correspondence, I saw that Richard seems to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the minutiae, quibbling and quarrelling over trivialities, and seeming to be more interested in defending himself than helping the other. It almost deterred me from the start. I thought, how the hell can this guy have the goods he claims to have when all he does is bicker like the million and one pedantic geezers that hang out in newsgroups and mailing lists. It didn’t fit my impression of what a person who is actually free, beyond enlightenment, living a life of such quality that is unparalleled in human history, ought to be.
VINEETO: Of course, the ‘core idea’ can sound ‘really interesting’ in theory. People only begin to quibble and quarrel when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of actually doing the work of looking at their own beliefs and preconceptions, their feelings and passions. A little clear-eyed look at the website will reveal that the journals and articles are forthright, down-to-earth and to the point, whereas the majority of correspondence consists of answers to correspondents who raised objections to what was said. In short it is the correspondents themselves who set the agenda by the content and intent of their criticism.
I wonder why you feel Richard is ‘defending himself’ – aren’t his correspondents attacking him, often ad hominem? Do you think it is ‘not exactly consistent with someone who is ‘actually free from the human condition’’ to take the time and make the effort to put the facts straight and explain his experience in detail, over and over again? Do you think Richard should instead be a ‘lie-down-and-let-people- trample-all-over-him-pacifist? Do you think Richard should recant his discovery as Galileo was forced to do simply because the majority of correspondents think and feel he should not be challenging the status quo?
Is your idea that Richard should be ‘helping people’ by agreeing with them or pampering to everyone’s individual worldview and personal beliefs or that he should not respond to their concerns and attacks? By ‘helping people’ do you mean refraining from ‘discussing the minutiae, quibbling and quarrelling over trivialities’ that many people find important enough to raise as an issue?
VINEETO: I always found that I first had to sort out my feelings for myself before I could read with both eyes open, ask sensible questions of Richard or have a fruitful discussion that was helpful to me in furthering my inquiry into the human condition.
RESPONDENT: May I ask: does the kind of bickering I’ve witnessed here happen a lot in ‘real life’ too, or is it a text-only thing?
VINEETO: Ha! Never. I never talk to people about their personal beliefs let alone about the possibility of becoming free from all emotions and passions that constitute the human condition unless they invite me to do so, and even then the conversation soon turns to less threatening topics. If the ‘text-only’ comments on this mailing list were face-to-face group encounters then we actualists may well have been taken out and shot in front of the grateful mob who would have no doubt been glad to see justice done, such is human nature. T’is not for nothing that we choose to discuss these matters with our fellow human beings via the internet.
As a hint in case you are interested in less ‘bickering’ conversations – whenever I was in any way emotionally effected by what my correspondents wrote it has always helped me to look at my own feelings in the issue and then sleep over my response before I sent it so as to have some time to have a clear-eyed look at what was being said.
PETER: And as you can see, they will literally stop at nothing in their efforts to intimidate anyone who shows any interest whatsoever in actualism. [Emphasis No 60’s]
RESPONDENT No 66: … This is of course exactly what is going on.
RESPONDENT: Firstly, if anyone on Earth spent more time discussing actualism in 2004 than me, they could surely be counted on one hand, probably even one finger, and maybe no fingers at all. It would be most Stalinesque if, in order to keep Peter’s statement correct, I were to be refused classification as ‘anyone who shows any interest whatsoever in actualism’? [Emphasis mine] Secondly, during this time I was not once ‘intimidated’ in any way, by anyone at all, whether critic or naysayer or anyone else. Now, Peter’s statement is either true or false. If I ask, in light of the above facts, ‘which is it?’, and if someone who calls him/ herself an actualist gives me a straight acknowledgement, sans qualifications or excuses, that another actualist’s statement is false, it will be a first, in my experience. OK, here goes: Is Peter’s statement a fact or is it not? Step up, someone. One syllable will do it.
To offer yourself as proof that the statement was wrong – ‘I was not once ‘intimidated’ in any way’ – does seem a little odd, as whilst you have shown interest in being free of the human condition, you have shown little, if any interest, in actualism (the hands-on do-it-yourself process of becoming free of the human condition), in fact you have many times expressed your aversion to actualism.
When I looked through last year’s correspondences I noticed quite a few posts where the same naysayers jumped on the bandwagon and highlighted and emphasized your disagreements with actualists and your objections to actualism. Given that the naysayers use both carrot and stick in their attempt to deter people from thinking for themselves on this mailing list, I am not surprised that you have not felt intimated by them.
RESPONDENT to No 66: I don’t think so, and I think the claim is a bit silly, quite frankly. Actualism is often attacked, some of the attacks are vigorous and heated, (often more heat than light, in fact), but if actualism has the goods it can easily stand up to these criticisms, and everyone learns something.
VINEETO: Whilst you state that ‘actualism is often attacked’, what was being discussed were personal attacks on actualists and those who show any interest in actualism.
RESPONDENT: Fair enough.
VINEETO: I’m glad we agree on the difference between ‘ad hominem’ attacks and discussions about the content of what is on offer on the Actual Freedom website.
VINEETO: It is pertinent to point out that the most strident of the nay-sayers rarely, if ever, discuss the core issues of actualism and indeed many of them have consistently refused to do so.
RESPONDENT: I can’t think of anyone who refused from the start to discuss the core issues, but I’ll take your word for it.
VINEETO: You don’t need to take my word for it. The Cult-Busters, Guru-Busters, Disciple-Busters, Clone-Busters, Method-Busters, Verbiage-Busters and Myth-destroyers are all assembled in the Anti-Peace Hall of Fame at the express suggestion of a spiritualist writing to this list, and some of them were objectors from the start.
RESPONDENT to No 66: Of course, there is some personal hostility from time to time too, and actualists do cop plenty of flak. (Some of the attacks on Vineeto are quite beyond the common protocols of decency, but she can obviously handle herself).
VINEETO: Are you really suggesting that it is ok to off-load ‘flak’ – ridicule, fabrications, lies, mendacity, sexual innuendo and verbal abuse – on people if they ‘can handle [it]’?
RESPONDENT: Depends what you mean by ‘ok’. I thought the relevant categories for an actualist were silly and sensible, not ‘ok’ or ‘not ok’, but I’ll answer in the old fashioned way.
VINEETO: Oh, to offload ‘flak’ as a means of discussing facts is silly all right, but my question specifically related to your apparent condoning of attacks (‘personal hostility’) on the basis of ‘she can obviously handle it’.
RESPONDENT: Do I approve of these things? For the most part, no. Would I do them myself? Ridicule, yes.
VINEETO: Personally, when I committed myself to become as happy and harmless as humanly possible and consequently became more aware of my feelings of being hurt by others and my thoughts and actions of wanting to pay-back those who I felt hurt me, I discovered that indulging in malicious gossip and ridicule are ill-intended means of pay-back and cutting people down to size.
RESPONDENT: Fabrications, no – not unless they served a rhetorical purpose, in which case I’d acknowledge them as fabrications. Lies, no. Mendacity means pretty much the same thing, so no. Sexual innuendo, not unless I knew the correspondent well and there was no likelihood of offence.
VINEETO: And yet the question I asked was – ‘Are you really suggesting that it is ok to off-load ‘flak’ – in this case, sexual innuendo – on people if they ‘can handle [it]’? As the question obviously relates to this mailing list – given that that is what you were referring to – I still can’t make out if you are saying yes or no?
RESPONDENT: Verbal abuse, ... depends where you draw the line.
VINEETO: Personally I draw the line at abuse – whether it be verbal, acted out or feeling abusive is simply a matter of degree.
RESPONDENT: Personally I find the malicious and/or ignorant abuse of (il)logically contorted arguments far, FAR more damaging and more reprehensible than harsh or vulgar words, so if I were to be guilty of either one (and sometimes I am, as you know), I’d rather it be a tongue-lashing than a quietly and politely delivered mind-fuck. (Neither would be preferable).
VINEETO: If neither are really preferable, why do you express a preference for one over the other?
Again, I personally draw the line at the intent to hurt, and the actualism method is an excellent tool to become aware of such intent (as well as of all of one’s other emotions) before they are acted out.
VINEETO: [Are you really suggesting that it is ok to off-load ‘flak’ – ridicule, fabrications, lies, mendacity, sexual innuendo and verbal abuse – on people if they ‘can handle [it]’?] By your standards does it then follow that those who break down and beg for mercy should then be spared?
RESPONDENT: The only way this would ‘follow’ (by my standards) is if I’d said it’s OK to abuse Vineeto because she can handle it. I didn’t say that, or mean that. What I meant was that I find some of the hostility directed at you quite over the top, and you seem to get more unprovoked shit than most. And no, your being able to look after yourself does not make that ‘OK’, in the old-fashioned way.
VINEETO: Your use of the phrase ‘OK, in the old fashioned way’ reminds me of what is often deemed to be OK in the new-fashioned way, as in New Age spiritual way, whereby people fondly imagine themselves to be ‘free’ by rejecting the conventional morality and ethics of society and letting their resentments and hostility out on other people. To imagine that this petty act of rebellion is freedom is a nonsense as all one is doing is blindly following yet another social convention.
RESPONDENT: I added the ‘but she can obviously handle herself’ for a rather pathetic reason: I did not want it to seem as if I was making out that you were weak and in need of special treatment on account of being female.
VINEETO: The irony is that I in fact do receive the ‘special treatment on account of being female’ by those old-fashioned (or New Age) misogynists on this list for whom actualists, especially when female, are considered ‘fair prey’. This may well be the reason that I am still the only female actualist who choses to write on this list – the others I have talked to regard much of the behaviour of the naysayers on this list to be male-troglodytic.
VINEETO: There is a big difference between the two [the critics and the nay-sayers]. Of course the way to tell whether or not your opinion is correct is to dare to stick your head above the parapet and declare yourself to be a committed actualist (as distinct to being a materialist or a spiritualist) … and then see how your friends react.
RESPONDENT: I’ve never kept my head down or declined to show my hand for fear of persecution, and I don’t intend to. I’ve never been big on wearing the tribal colours either.
VINEETO: It’s not ‘wearing the tribal colours’ I was talking about because actualism is not a group or a tribe one can belong to. What I suggested was to see how your friends react when and if you *commit* to dedicating yourself to peace on earth.
VINEETO: On the path to actual freedom I did not bother to try to solve the moral or ethical problems of what is ‘good’ or ‘right’ but focussed my attention instead on discovering my own ethical and moral values – my social identity in action. ‘Ah, I’m trying to find out what is right? I’m upset that someone did the ‘wrong’ thing? I’m aiming again to be a ‘good’ person?’ These were indications that my moral identity was in action and I used my awareness to examine this very identity and learned to step out of it. What is now left is a simple sensible solution – and mostly my worries were seen to be an S.E.P.-situation, Someone Else’s Problem. Once I understood that it is only me who can set myself free I also understood that everyone has to do it for themselves as well. What perfect arrangement. It for sure saves one saving people.
RESPONDENT: It is clear that the only one I can change is me.
VINEETO: What I was trying to clarify is that the first thing to change was my perception of what had to change. All my life I had tried to change for the better, first according to the Christian standards of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ –heaven and hell – and later according to the spiritual standards of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – nirvana and bad karma. What I needed to understand was that both are only slightly different standards of morals and ethics, and to shift one’s inbuilt instinctual passions from aggression to compassion, from sorrow to devotion, from fear to hope and from bondage to dis-identification is nothing other than rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. The structure of one’s being is not changed – the ‘feeling being’ itself needs to be questioned and investigated, uncovered and eliminated.
VINEETO: But if you prefer to stay ‘with the ‘feeling being’ and quit trying to change it’, at least you are not alone – six billion people prefer to stay with the Tried and Failed. Being a ‘feeling being’ usually means feeling ‘miserable’, ‘bogged down and stuck’, ‘helpless and hopeless’, not to mention anger, hate, malice, resentment, jealousy, insecurity, fear, neediness, greed, loneliness and sorrow.
RESPONDENT: I did experience a lot of anger. This was not a pleasant thing.
VINEETO: The only two options up till now to deal with anger have been to either express or to repress it. Neither way do you get rid of anger, it will surely come up at the next opportunity.
Now there is a third alternative – one neither expresses, nor represses, but experiences it, observes it, investigates it and keeps one’s hands in one’s pocket. Such strong emotion like anger is always an excellent opportunity for an actualist to dig deeper into one’s psyche and discover and uproot another bit of the ‘self’. Some of Peter’s writing might be useful –
RESPONDENT: I would say that I am doing ok which is a relative term. I wouldn’t call it good but I would call it ok. When I look at my total situation it seems that I ‘have it made’ except for the problem with my mother. I realize that the real issue is the instincts because if this problem didn’t exist then I am sure that other issues would most likely arise.
VINEETO: People’s automatic response is always to see their own fear, aggression, sadness or misery as being caused by the other person or the particular circumstances. I considered it a great step in my exploration when I could see that, whatever the ‘problem’, it had to do with me. And you are absolutely spot on – ‘that other issues would most likely arise’ – so best to examine the one that is so readily presenting itself...
Whenever I had an issue that bothered me and that I wanted to get rid of, I would dig into the cause of the disturbance layer by layer with the question of ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ The first response was usually a superficial one like: ‘I don’t want to do what the other wants me to do’ or ‘I don’t like what the other just said’ or a similar resentment. Prodding further I’d come across stronger emotions such as anger, guilt, duty, shame, authority, pride or fear – or a mix of several ones. Each such emotion was worth a deeper inquiry as to the underlying rules, beliefs, morals and ethics that triggered and constituted those emotions and distorted my relationship to the particular person. It was often scary but always a great adventure to question my fixed perception and behaviour and explore a solution 180 degrees in the other direction to my familiar reactions. By being suspicious about my automatic belief of what is ‘true’, ‘good’ and ‘right’, I was then able to start assessing the facts of the situation rather than indulging in, or fighting against, my emotional reactions to what was happening.
Facts are what is actual, tangible, discernable, provable, practical, and by knowing the facts one can consider what will be the best for everybody involved. Emotions, by their very nature, are always ‘self’-centred and always non-factual – however, the physical symptoms that often accompany the appearance of the emotions make them very real, and it needs great attentiveness and persistent observation to disentangle oneself from their convincing instinctual grip.
In your investigations you might come across ancient scary tales, collective superstitions, nonsense disguised as ancient wisdom, hoary psittacisms, moralistic no-no’s, ethical taboos, fear of ostracism, weird inner psychic horror movies ... With all those possible ‘ghosts’ emerging from the depth of one’s psyche it is important to clearly distinguish between fact and feeling. Facts are tangible, constant, reliable, whereas feelings will invariable fade if one stops feeding them.
By tracing each of the upcoming emotions to their very roots I was then able to determine that they had nothing to do with the practical facts of the situation, but were the chemically induced and socially established reactions of the instinctual survival system. It was, however, essential that I gained this insight experientially in order to replace the emotion with contemplation and sensibility rather than merely suppressing it. Suppressing emotion is sheer postponement and a sure way to accumulate problems until they become unbearable. Once I had extracted every bit of necessary information by experiencing the emotions I could then make sensible judgements and appropriate changes in my behaviour such that I could resume being happy and harmless again.
In the glossary of The Actual Freedom Trust Library you can find annotations and related correspondence on affection, aggression, desire, doubt, fear, feeling, emotion, instinct, nurture, pride, sorrow as well as their antidotes – actual, apperception, contemplation, fact, happy, harmless, sensuousness, judgement and common sense. Reading and re-reading I found to be an excellent tool to make myself familiar with, and accustomed to, the radical and iconoclastic way of actualism and to rewire my brain into the new way of thinking and acting.
RESPONDENT: There is so much misunderstanding at this point that I don’t know if I want to try and continue with the discussion.
I have lived in the world of Eastern teachings and I have disentangled myself from the intricate web of all spiritual belief systems – and therefore I know spiritual practice very well. I was not only a committed participant and faithful devotee in the spiritual world but I have now broken through the ‘sacred ceiling’ and left behind ‘that which is sacred, holy’.
Because I have encountered them myself I also know the objections, doubts and the various pitfalls when questioning the spiritual world-view – a necessary and unavoidable prerequisite to start on the path to Actual Freedom.
That’s why I think that this is not a matter of misunderstanding. But there is certainly disagreement, which is inevitable because Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual beliefs. As I see it, getting to the bottom of a matter is the very point of having a discussion. If one encounters disagreement, then a discussion facilitates an investigation of all the facts involved and accord is reached on the basis of facts. Then it is not a matter of personal opinion or a matter of right and wrong or merely an acceptance or rejection of some authority figure, but the facts can then speak for themselves.
KONRAD: Take anger. If you never feel anger, you cannot feel revolted by the fact that Nazi Germany has slaughtered 5 million Jews. So the elimination of this emotion can make you stop investigating the causes of this, and thus make it possible that it will happen again. Therefore the question is not how to eliminate anger, but to investigate when anger is at its place, and when not.
VINEETO: Anger is in its very nature destructive. How can anger about Nazis in Germany eliminate suffering. 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. To investigate the causes of violence and eliminate them, I don’t need to be angry, I only need to apply understanding and intelligence. Anger will always be blind.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.