Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: Today I finished reading the whole of Richard’s correspondence with No 12 and it cracks me up how No 12 gets all confused and tangled up in his own words. Although I did identify with No 12 in relation to his famous ‘points of view’, for example, what you said about vegetarianism and animals at first upset me, but it was ‘me’ that was reacting to what I thought was incorrect, which was my point of view in conflict with the one I regarded as your own … no wonder this ‘me’ thing is so dangerous. And it is true that my vegetarianism is a belief, a belief I am still not very eager to rub out yet; but in contrast to abruptly spitting out soup straight onto my girl friend’s face upon finding out it had pieces of chicken in it, she was/is testing me, I could now calmly walk over to the sink and ask myself before I spit it out what exactly tastes wrong, the chicken or the belief? It wasn’t the chicken.
VINEETO: As for your investigation into ‘what exactly tastes wrong, the chicken or the belief’ –
When you apply the method of actualism and inquire into the exact nature of why you are angry, grumpy, fearful or sad, then you will soon find out that it is never other people, evil things or adverse events that prevent you from being happy and harmless. You will find that it is always your own beliefs, points of view, opinions and principles together with their underlying emotions and instinctual passions that prevent you from being happy and harmless.
At first a particular belief you are looking at might seem too precious to abandon. However, if you continue to actively question what you have been taught to be true and right, you soon will come to experience the relief, freedom and sensual delight that is to be had once these adopted beliefs are investigated and up-rooted, one by one.
RESPONDENT: I remember Vineeto saying she is ‘100% certain’ that there is no God or afterlife. I remember thinking then (and still basically thinking the same thing) that 1) it is impossible to ‘100%’ prove a negative. Of course I don’t believe in Gnomes or trolls (internet trolls are a fact of course and as an actualist I don’t consciously engage in any kind of believing), but that does not ‘100% prove’ that they do not exist. It is of course very improbable that Trolls or a God exists. Don’t get me wrong, I find the notion of believing in God, and afterlife, or any spiritual belief to be unobjective, nonfactual, and a silly waste of one’s precious time. I understand that the notion of anything apart from this physical universe is unconceivable in a PCE, but that still does not seem to warrant Vineeto’s ‘100% certainty’ argument (which seems strangely fundamentalistic in the manner of fundamentalist Christianity to me).
VINEETO: I see that you have addressed your question to Richard but as you have mentioned me, I’ll respond as well.
In one of my early discussions with Richard I asked him: ‘How do you know for sure that there is no life after death?’ His answer was simple and straightforward. He said something along the lines of ‘there is nothing (no entity) inside this body that could survive physical death, because there is only this flesh-and-blood body’. In an instant I could see that what he said made sense.
As a then-spiritualist I had left the option open that ‘something’ could survive physical death but that ‘something’ that I imagined would survive was clearly some aspect of the entity inside and separate from the physical body – someone or something I called soul, Presence, spirit, ‘Being’, or whatever. I never had any doubt that my physical body is mortal and yet all spiritual teaching has it that ‘you are not the body’ because the body is only a temporary abode, they maintain that ‘who you really are is a consciousness separate from the body’, a consciousness that is part of, or ‘at one with’, the ‘Universal Consciousness’ and which can unite with the universal Consciousness either before or after death.
Consequently when Richard told me that there was no entity inside his body, I knew that this was the end of my hope for ‘life’ after death. If one can get rid of one’s entity in toto before death, it sure ain’t something that survives death.
Why did I take Richard’s report that there is no alien entity inside his body at face value?
It was obvious to me that he genuinely experiences what he reports. There is no contradiction in his body language, no obfuscation in his words, no evasion of delicate topics, and not a skerrick of resentment, anger, sadness or condescendence. Within a few meetings I could determine that what Richard said made a lot of sense, whatever topic he talked about, which cannot be said about any of the enlightened people I had met, and I had met quite a few in my time. The spiritual gurus rely on their magnetic energy of Love and Compassion, their authoritative Wisdom, their Ancient metaphysical knowledge while Richard had none of these affective properties. Instead of the affective power play I knew so well from the spiritual gurus, Richard encouraged me to utilize my own common sense and native intelligence in order to assess his reports.
The other thing that gave credence to his reports was that Richard said he had been enlightened himself and managed to get out of it, in other words he could give a personal-experience-insight into the whole realm of spiritual enlightenment. As such I could easily see that he knew far more about the ins and outs of enlightenment than any master or wannabe I had ever met or read for that matter.
As for my belief in God, it fell apart in bit and pieces and I have written about it on various occasions –
The insight that hit me like a thunderbolt catapulted me into a PCE and with the ‘self’ (and ‘my’ passions and beliefs) temporarily absent it became suddenly obvious that the belief in a God, by whatever name, is part of the passionate defensive armour of ‘me’. In a PCE neither agnosticism, Popperism or any other philosophical abstract thinking have any relevance because the facts of what it is to be a human being become immediately clear, sensately and sensibly. With no passionate entity present it is patently clear that God has no existence in actuality – that he/she/it is nothing other than a universally-sustained and collectively-endorsed belief that billions of lost, lonely and frightened ‘beings’ have a vested interest in keeping in existence.
In a pure consciousness experience a lot of things of what it is to be a human being become stunningly clear whenever I focussed my attention on these topics. Just as when a background noise suddenly stops and its very absence makes you aware of how much the noise had infiltrated your experience, when the ‘self’ and its incessant ‘noise’ is absent, it becomes obvious how ‘I’ constantly live in a fear-filled world of ‘my’ own making and as a consequence ‘I’ am wont to seek succour and solace in beliefs – no matter how inane they may be.
A PCE is not a matter of degree – it is a fundamentally different experience of the world – one directly experiences the actuality of the world as-it-is and of people as-they-are. Not only does the grim reality that ‘I’ normally experience disappear, but so too does the imagined panacea to grim reality – the belief in a Greater Reality (God by any other name). A PCE gives you an outsider’s view for the very first time, temporarily free from the very entity who shapes and distorts this body’s experience of the world. You could compare it to previously knowing only the village you live in and its surrounding hills and suddenly being in a position from where you see the planet from outer space.
Contrary to No 81’s firm belief and persistent repetition, my 100% certainty about a god-less universe and a non-existent afterlife has nothing to do with dogmatism but rather it is the result of deliberately and consistently cracking the firmament of my beliefs and prizing apart the stronghold of the ‘self’-centred worldview that is the inescapable result of the human condition. This process has allowed me to have many direct experiences that God has no existence whatsoever outside of human imagination. And once you know a fact as a fact, that’s the end of having an opinion or a belief or a degree of uncertainty about it.
I always liked a story told about Galileo’s, which, although unconfirmed, helps to make the distinction between fact and belief so very obvious. The story goes, when Galileo was forced to recant his radical discovery that the earth moves around the sun and as such is neither stationary nor at the centre of the universe, he whispered, ‘eppur si muove’ (‘and yet it moves’). His later books spirited out of Italy to the Netherlands confirm that despite overwhelming opposition Galileo was 100% certain of what he had seen and understood – repeatable empirical observation contradicted ubiquitous ancient belief. It is interesting to note that it took until 1992 before the Church formally acknowledged its error in condemning Galileo – that it took so long speaks volumes for the recalcitrant nature of spiritual/religious belief.
My certainty of the fact that matter is all there is and that there is no consciousness outside of matter is the result of sensible contemplations and discussions, cemented and verified by many ‘self’-less experiences. This combination has allowed me to whittle away at my former conditioning and persistently question my intuition, to recognize that what most people believe and preach is not based in fact and by doing so to understand beyond doubt, that the magic of this universe lies in the fact that matter, in this case the human brain, is capable of not only reflecting but also of reflecting on itself.
It is the inherent quality of matter itself that makes it capable of such wondrous magic, just as it is inherent to the stuff that is this planet that it continues to manifest itself as the gynormous variety of terrestrial and aquatic fauna and flora visible on its surface crust. Life is so incredibly miraculous in operation, whichever direction you look, and when you take your ‘self’ out of the centre, i.e. when ‘you’ are no longer the most important person in ‘your’ universe, then the vibrancy of the non-passivity of matter itself becomes vividly apparent and tangibly obvious. As if by magic, all conceptualizing of a duality of dull/dead matter one side and a Transcendental Consciousness on the other side fall in a heap and I am no longer separate from all that is happening. I am matter and as matter I am eminently capable of not only being apperceptively aware but also of reflecting upon the fact that consciousness is an inherent quality of matter at a certain stage of its evolution.
RESPONDENT: I don’t remember you saying exactly ‘I’m 100% certain there is no God.’ (as you may have guessed this does go into the Karl Popper view that 100% certainty is impossible for certain topics/questions). I remember you saying something to the affect of ‘As for myself, I am certain there is no God or afterlife.’ Now to me that is not exactly the same statement as Vineeto’s. It seems to me that you did not entirely dismiss the Popperian view that some things cannot be known with 100% certainty. To me what you were saying is that you are sensibly certain (not 100%/godlike/ absolutic certain) that there is no God or afterlife. Speaking of the God and afterlife debate, I can easily see the ridiculousness of the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving Being. As for an ‘afterlife’ I suppose their could be some small probability for a physical/ energetic ‘survival’ of some aspect of human consciousness. It would not be ‘spiritual’, but rather a different manifestation of this physical universe. Now, since I don’t engage in believing, I am not proposing that I believe this (not only do I not, I never will again), just saying I don’t see the possibility or even need for an actualist to say with ‘100%’ certainty that such a course of events is impossible. Of course, if my identity ever self-immolates, perhaps I would see things differently. Yet, I presently think I’d reject this ‘100% certain’ notion even after I had attained an actual freedom (or a virtual freedom for that matter). I’d simply say: ‘As for myself, I am sensibly certain that there is no God or afterlife, and that is that.’
VINEETO: As for ‘the Popperian view that some things cannot be known with 100% certainty’ – Karl Popper’s proposition was that, logically, nothing can ever be known exhaustively by the ordinary way of knowing, which in itself is absolute claim that according to his philosophy can never be known exhaustively. Apart from this logical impasse, his theories have, by and large, been refuted and discarded by more than a few people years ago and for a down-to-earth non-philosopher it is obvious that some things can definitely be known for sure – for instance the fact that everyone will die one day.
To distinguish fiction from fact I found the simple scientific principle useful, which demands that legitimate theories must be falsifiable. You might be familiar with the old debating trick where one side is asked to disprove the existence of something that doesn’t exist: ‘Prove to me there isn’t a green-eyed monster under this table. It is an invisible, odourless monster, and you can’t tangibly sense it – it has no mass. But it’s THERE! Now prove to me it isn’t there!’ To pose non-falsifiable hypotheses is the hallmark of a pseudo science.
The claim of the existence of God or an afterlife is equally pseudo science because it is a non-falsifiable hypothesis. Have you noticed that it is impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist? By God’s very nature He/She/It is beyond and above sensual perception. And life after death cannot be proven wrong because dead people don’t talk … and yet their ‘souls’ are reported to make people’s hair stand on end.
RESPONDENT: Addendum: I want it to be perfectly clear that I do not consider the workings of Vineeto’s mind to be similar to a ‘Christian fundamentalist.’ Rather, one particular statement of hers (i.e. being 100% certain of no God/no after life) seems to me to be similar to some from of dogmaticism – and Christian dogmaticism is one that I’m deeply familiar with personally.
Aside from Richard’s writing, Peter and Vineeto’s explication of becoming free from the human condition, is second to none (that is to me of course). I know all too well how list members can twist statements to fit there all too apparent agenda. Ultimately, one’s exploration of actualism involves rigorous self-honesty, integrity, and finding out for oneself. There is no excommunication in actualism for honest disagreement on our way to freedom. Perhaps, in freedom, all major disagreements will dissolve.
VINEETO: Yes, they do dissolve because, contrary to the affective/psychic world, which is intuitive and therefore an affective experience that is unique to everyone, the actual world is the same for everyone – it is actual and can be sensately and sensibly experienced as an actuality by everyone once the ‘self’ steps out of the way.
VINEETO: A remark on your recent post to No 81, because it’s on the same topic –
RESPONDENT to No 81: To believe in god, afterlife, or any sort of dualistic spiritual energy is a belief and therefore silly in my book. Nonetheless, I don’t claim 100% certainty on those issues because I remain skeptical that anyone can know whether or not there is a spiritual realm with 100% certainty. Quite frankly, I see no need for an actualist to be 100% certain. I’d take reasonably/sensibly certain as being quite enough. Which is what I am at this point.
VINEETO: You may reconsider when you think about how many things in life you already take with 100% certainty to be factual. The very process of actualism involves the incremental diminishing of the habit of believing what others tell you to be truth (or Truth) so as to enable to flourish uninhibitedly one’s innate curiosity and naiveté to discover for oneself the facts of the matter.
VINEETO: And once you know a fact as a fact, that’s the end of having an opinion or a belief or a degree of uncertainty about it.
RESPONDENT: So, you do consider their statement: there is no god – a fact? I can see someone saying to really have no opinion/belief would be to say: There is no evidence of a God and no possibility for experiencing/believing in one in a PCE. However to say that I know 100% that there is none, would be going farther than necessary.
VINEETO: I know for a fact that there is no God because I know for a fact that God is a construct of ‘my’ fear and hope, of ‘my’ passionate imagination. No imagination – no God, no passion – no God. It is essential to go this far in order to become free of the human condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: Ok, is it possible to become virtually free, without going that far? Whew, I can see/feel the grip that radical/universal skepticism has on me right now even though I’m skeptical of skepticism as well!
VINEETO: Even though I had considered myself an atheistic spiritualist – I had thought that not believing in the Big Daddy in the Sky type God qualified me as an atheist – I was surprised at the burden that fell off when I gained the experiential certainty that there is no such thing as a Divinity or Presence or Principle or Absolute let alone a Higher Intelligence in the actual world – such things only exists for those who choose to believe in them. When I finally and irrevocably abandoned my belief in all things spiritual and metaphysical I was astounded how enormously relieved I was to be freed from the ever-present underlying fear that this divine ‘Something’ is constantly passing judgement on me, freed from a nagging suspicion that ‘Somewhere’ ‘somewhen’ there will be a Time of Reckoning with reward and punishment, and freed from the comforting yet debilitating feeling that a higher Power is in control of this universe, tying me to the Divine Laws of right and wrong, good and bad.
I can whole-heartedly recommend getting rid of both belief and disbelief and to risk finding out with 100% certainty that all gods are a fiction of human imagination. The benefits are tangible and palpable in that one then becomes irrevocably free of all of the God-fearing feelings that have dominated, and continue to dominate, all human thinking and feeling.
VINEETO: The claim of the existence of God or an afterlife is equally pseudo science because it is a non-falsifiable hypothesis.
RESPONDENT: Ding Ding Ding. Yes, if someone wants to cop out and say ‘I just have faith’ or ‘I trust my ASC’ then they can swim in there non-objective, unscientific, and nonsensical beliefs/feelings. However, they have no basis whatsoever in considering the belief in ‘god/afterlife’ to be objective, sensible, testable hypothesises.
VINEETO: Have you noticed that it is impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist?
RESPONDENT: Actually, has not that been my whole point about the 100% certainty thing? That is what I’ve been getting at.
VINEETO: I don’t follow – first you agree that non-falsifiable theories ‘have no basis whatsoever in considering the belief in ‘god/afterlife’ to be objective, sensible, testable hypothesises’ and then you turn around and ask me why I am 100% certain that a non-falsifiable hypothesis is pure fiction?
RESPONDENT: Non-falsifiable theories are not factual or testable, but that does not make them 100% false, is my point.
VINEETO: Non-falsifiable theories are pseudo-scientific fantasy, and the very quality of them being non-falsifiable makes such theories mere products of imagination, i.e. ‘100% false’. Here is how Reginald Firehammer (from the autonomist website you considered excellent) defines Pseudo Science –
RESPONDENT: Of course, it would be silly to believe in them. Perhaps, it’s silly to consider them ‘possible’, that I’m uncertain of.
VINEETO: It may throw some light on your query if you pondered upon the difference between believing in a non-falsifiable theory and considering the very same non-falsifiable theory possible.
Doesn’t the very act of considering a non-falsifiable theory possible give credence to its very existence?
I remember when I first started to look at my beliefs and proceeded to then look at the very nature of beliefs – I was then led to investigate the reasons why ‘I’ was a believer of beliefs – what emotional investment ‘I’ have in being a believer of the beliefs I believe – which then led me on to thoroughly investigating the very act of believing itself.
GARY: One of the things that has come out of this is that I have chucked Krishnamurti – I finally unsubscribed from the Mailing List B. Conversations there were going around and around in endless circles, leading nowhere.
I can see now that I turned Krishnamurti into a guru and priest. He became my hero and I became a devoted follower. I have muddled around in so-called choiceless awareness for long enough. It is a morass in which nothing changes while one is waiting for the so-called Timeless moment, the moment beyond time, beyond thought.
So, what has come out of this experience for me is an appreciation of how deeply entrenched beliefs are and how usually unaware we are of their hold on us. I see this process over and over in my life – taking up with various sects, thinking that I have found The Way, becoming disillusioned, breaking away, finding new heroes to replace the old.
It is all so predictable. The problem is twofold: on the one hand believing itself is a problem (something you pointed out), as it is not the actual, and on the other hand, what is believed in, the ‘Tried and Failed’ teachings that lead one around like a dog chasing its tail. The need for belief itself appears to stem from the malicious and sorrowful self, the alien entity inhabiting this body, the lonely and frightened ‘me’ that is seeking immortality, an ego desiring to become an immortal soul.
It is thrilling to be chucking these spiritual beliefs and values and teachings. I am feeling free of so much that was weighing me down. I am being watchful for what ‘I’ am going to be up to next – realizing that I can get sucked into the trap of belief as easily as the next person. ...
VINEETO: When I discovered how gullible I had been and how much I was sucked into all that Eastern spiritual gobbledygook, it seemed to me that at some time in life I had had a choice and decided to be gullible in life. Eventually I came to understand that everybody is born into this world as a helpless and already instinctually programmed creature. As such, they have to choicelessly believe whatever those who are feeding and clothing them are propagating to be the truth. Our social conditioning is a history of believing what others are telling us. We learn to believe from the very first word spoken to us and beliefs and psittacisms are a big part of our social identity. There is no way to avoid having beliefs but once I tore a hole into the thick layer of beliefs that I considered the Truth, there were no holds barred. What a relief to discover that one is able to get rid of them, isn’t it?
RESPONDENT: Actualism is a shock to the core and I keep wondering how I got here.
This weird one has never known boredom or loneliness and the rarest depression, swanning through life, free of family responsibilities and material wants. All I know is that when others have told me they wanted to become more spiritual, I just yearned to manifest more, to enter this incredible life more fully, to experience it absolutely.
So In 1976, fresh out of my teens, I found myself in Bombay, buying a train ticket to Poona, but something came over me and I couldn’t bring myself to go, so I gave the ticket away to a backpacker crossing the street. Suddenly all those orange people wandering the streets with a dreamy look on their faces and a picture of Rajneesh around their necks, seemed absurd to me, just like my girlfriends screaming for the Beatles had. Something about idolizing felt ridiculous to me, so I hung around the Bombay opium dens instead (not nearly as dangerous, LOL :) and danced away the New Year in pagan Goa. What a joy.
But the need to find out whether one can become ‘completely’ free from the human condition never left me.
VINEETO: (...) When I first began to dig into the idea of what being spiritual means, I was being tormented for a few weeks as to which was the right path and which was the wrong path and what I was to be believe and follow and what was heresy. Finally I popped my head outside of the world of beliefs and spiritual concepts – the first crack in the door. The psychic world, this intricate net woven in our heads and hearts from both personal and atavistic feelings and beliefs is so dense that it seems to be the only world there is. Here is a bit what I wrote at the time –
Therefore, from my own experience and from the many, many conversations I had in the last years, it is clear that merely by living within the Human Condition one is inevitably spiritual.
For some people spiritual values are more religious values, or Eastern religious values, for other people it is saving animals and the planet, for others it is the belief in fairies and earth-spirits or other parallel universes. As I see it, all beliefs and values we are fighting about – or being touchy about – are spiritual beliefs and values, there is no other belief or value than a spiritual belief or value. Our very identity is spiritual, simply by the fact that it is non-actual as in not tangible, palpable, tactile, material or verifiable. All believing is happening in the head and the heart, not as a physical actuality.
And once I found out that I was trapped by my beliefs, ideas, concepts and convictions, that I was producing and continuously reproducing my-‘self’, I also knew that they were part of the bondage and could never be part of the solution. Therefore it was not a question of which belief is the right belief and which spirituality is the right spirituality, but it was a matter of getting out of all beliefs solely because they are non-factual.
I don’t know if my tale makes sense to you because for me it took me months of reading and talking to come to an outsider’s understanding of what ‘spiritual’ really means. It is as if you have to see the planet from outer space in order to ascertain that it is not as flat as one believes it to be from down here. Similarly, it needed a lot of questioning and moving away from my own viewpoint and that of my peers and teachers, to come to a different and comprehensive understanding of what the spiritual psychic world really looks like.
RESPONDENT No 75: Have you encountered a situation where people want to test your ‘harmlessness’ by poking, trying to be mean etc. in real lives?
VINEETO to No 75: Whenever people ‘test my harmlessness’ they often do so in order that they can then judge my behaviour according to their idea of harmlessness – being meek (in religious terms) or being a pacifist (in secular terms).
(…) The real life that is this mailing list is an exception of course, but then again, if one dares to stick one’s head up above the parapet, there will invariably be those who delight in throwing brickbats – such is human nature.
You might also have observed that pointing out a fact that pulls the rug from under someone’s precious belief often raises their hackles and as such is considered to be an act of aggression in the believer’s eyes. Whilst I would not choose to take someone’s beliefs apart in ‘real life’, as you call it, this mailing list is up front about being a non-spiritual mailing list and has been specifically set up ‘to assist in elucidating just what is entailed in becoming free of the human condition’. As such this list is the very place to openly question and actively investigate all of the spiritual/philosophical beliefs, worldviews and psittacisms that pass for wisdoms and truths within the human condition so as to be able to make a clear-eyed investigation and assessment of the facts of the matter.
(…) In short – I learnt to keep my mouth shut about abandoning beliefs, about becoming happy and harmless and about ‘self’-immolation and consequently the people I meet nowadays rarely feel threatened by what I do or say and therefore rarely treat me differently to everyone else. Mostly they are far too concerned with their own lives to even want to know what I am doing, let alone ‘test’ my harmlessness. Vineeto, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 75, 23.4.2005
RESPONDENT: You dum dumb slut ... have you not learned a dum dumb thing in all your years on this verdant azure paradisaical 3rd stone from the sun of a planet yet? You have redefined the definition of pathetic!
You have conveniently parsed out a few beliefs you refer to as spiritual or religious meanwhile leaving belief intact, alive and well. Belief is belief is belief no matter what label you schtick on them. You cannot get rid of belief... you have only replaced some with others... and now these are the ones Dic has discarded on your doorstep and doorstop and you are stuck with them whether you like it or not. You cannot exist without belief. Your entire existence is dependent upon belief. And not only that but you haven’t even discarded your spiritual or religious beliefs despite your proclamations to the contrary. Belief is spiritual and religious in nature and in its origin as are you. You are not separate from your beliefs and you never shall be. Money is spiritual. Money is religious. Money is based on belief.
VINEETO: Ha, this reads like the Magna Carta à la No 58 –
There is only one thing that Your Grace has overlooked in His all-inclusive declaration which is that if this declaration is indeed the Truth, then it would reasonably follow that the declaration itself is also only a belief and therefore dependant on someone believing it.
In other words, just because you have swallowed this belief hook, line and sinker (‘you cannot get rid of belief... you cannot exist without belief’) does not mean that I do. I can get rid of my beliefs and I did, and so can everyone else.
In the same vein, your belief that I am a ‘dum dumb slut’ is a primitive macho conjecture apparently based on your personal feelings towards actualism in general and women in particular – there exists no proof whatsoever that I am indeed that and yet you are driven to endlessly repeat this unsubstantiated drivel.
RESPONDENT: Money is spiritual. Money is religious. Money is based on belief.
VINEETO: Given that you are on record as being an online gambler, does this mean that you are gambling not with money but with beliefs (or only believe you are gambling) and that when you lose you only lose beliefs (or only believe you lose) and when you win you only win more beliefs (or only believe you win), and does this mean that the whole exercise is a spiritual experience for you, a ‘meditation’ in the market place as it were?
RESPONDENT: What is money other than a piece of paper or metal or now plastic or a bit that flows through wires/cables and now money is even light travelling through optical fibers. Money works because of belief, because of faith that it is worth something when in actuality it is a piece of worthless inert matter.
VINEETO: This argument is so trite it beggars description. When you give the checkout girl in the supermarket a fifty-dollar note she knows exactly what it is worth and so do you. Money and its value has nothing to do with belief and faith – it has all to do with the agreed upon buying power of the currency.
RESPONDENT: The world and your existence is dependent upon belief and faith.
VINEETO: Not so. The world existed and did just fine before I was born and will continue to exist and do just fine after I die. Equally my existence has nothing to do with either mine or anyone else’s belief but with the fact that my father’s sperm fertilized my mother’s egg about 19,277 days ago.
RESPONDENT: Your proclamations that you have no spiritual or religious beliefs are bullshit.
VINEETO: According to the Magna Carta à la No 58 that is – I experience life differently. No spiritual or religious beliefs interfere with my enjoyment of being alive.
RESPONDENT: You have been conned, duped by your latest guru and you have eaten up his faecal matter like there is no tomorrow and you are a missionary proselytising his faecal matter for all the desperate, deluded and gullible.
VINEETO: Ha, I have verified Richard’s reports with my own experience, not just once but many times and I found my experience consistent with everything he reports. Have you verified the facticity of the meta-physical teachings of your champion U.G. Krishnamurti with your own experience?
RESPONDENT: You work all day for money... you spend your most precious commodity, all your time, working for money, which is based on spirit and belief ... and then you have the stupidity to say you have ridded yourself of such beliefs.
VINEETO: I am not working all day every day but I do work some of my time to earn the means to pay for the necessities of life, as most people do. This exchange of services for goods – money being the agreed means for each and every barter – has nothing at all to do with beliefs and all to do with trade and mutual agreements.
But there is certainly a range of beliefs and feelings people have around money and I had to investigated many of them myself on my way to becoming free from the human condition. This is how I have described it elsewhere –
RESPONDENT: Give it up... you should disappear into a cabin in the woods like your boss … as far away from people as they are, as possible.
VINEETO: Face it No 58, despite your dire warnings and persistent discouragements actualism is here to stay.
RESPONDENT: Wake up ... before your time is up.
VINEETO: When I stopped supporting both my own feelings of sorrow and those of others I became increasingly aware of the extent to which my relationships were built upon mutual support for common grievances and loyal allegiances against what we perceived as difficult to deal with people, upsetting things and worrying events – in other words, when I sorted my own feelings out for myself I lost interest in other people’s sad stories and subsequently we had less in common to share. Friendships in the real world are by and large emotional allegiances against an adversarial world –
RESPONDENT: Yeah, ‘you and ‘me’ against the world. Deep down ‘I’ have always known that ‘I’ am special ... ‘I’ am blessed or accursed or both at once. ‘I’ present a face to the world but it’s not the real ‘me’. Only a handful of people know a piece of the real ‘me’, and ‘you’ are one of them. And ‘I’ know a piece of the real ‘you’, and the real ‘you’ is special too. (Just not quite as special as ‘me’, ok? ;-)). ‘We’ do not fit. ‘We’ play the game, ‘we’ present a face to the world, but ‘they’ will never know the real ‘us’. Only ‘we’ know who ‘we’ really are, and your secret is safe with ‘me’, just as ‘mine’ is safe with ‘you’.
And every poor sucker in the crowd is the same ... feeling special, feeling isolated by a unique blessing/curse, feeling that everyone else fits in except ‘me’ ... ‘I’ must be so much better/worse/both than they are. A ‘close friend’ knows the extent of ‘my’ superiority / inferiority / uniqueness, and allows ‘me’ to know of theirs. That is what ‘we’ are made of.
VINEETO: Yes, and this genetically imprinted feeling that ‘I’ am special is multiplied and reinforced by others whenever one feels as though one belongs to a group, a club, a tribe, a nation, a race, or shares a set of convictions and/or creed, either religious or secular, with others. As I began to unravel the feelings that are ‘me’, it became obvious that I had to actualize what I had understood in my daily interactions with people – and that’s where application and diligence comes in. I became aware of how others automatically reinforced ‘me’ in my various social roles and I noticed how I didn’t want to upset their feelings by changing.
I also began to become aware of the extent to which all of my day-to-day interactions were based on countless assumptions of what is right and true or, more accurately, what feels right and true. As I became more experienced in paying attention not only to my feelings and values but also to the content of all the information I had unquestioningly taken on board, I discovered that many, many of those silent assumptions were more often than not conjectures, opinions, viewpoints, factoids, myths, feelings and false information.
VINEETO: … where there is neither sorrow nor enemies, there is also no need for loyal and emotionally supportive friends.
RESPONDENT: I once thought that even if I chose to be an actualist, it would be unfair to leave certain other people (whose identities need ‘me’ for support/reassurance) in the lurch. Now that I can see what is entailed in this mutual support, it seems there is a much better option: to get rid of this fucking burden, show the other that it can be done, and let them make of it what they will.
VINEETO: Some people will no doubt feel, and say, that you will unfairly leave them ‘in the lurch’. As you know actualism is something you can only do for yourself and by yourself, which means that you don’t need the agreement of others in order to becoming a practicing actualist.
Indeed some might even stop in their tracks and reconsider when they see tangible results but going by my experience I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen. Metathesiophobia is an extremely common affliction.
VINEETO: As No 37 recently reported, life is indeed much more simple and easy once the commitment to begin the process of cleaning oneself up has been made.
RESPONDENT: Something else he said hit home too. When he said (in response to my ‘art of the mindfuck’ message): ‘another objection to being happy and harmless bites the dust’, I was initially stung ... and felt myself ready to protest, no, no that isn’t the point at all ... it’s not an objection to being happy and harmless, it’s ... ... but on further reflection I realised that’s exactly what it was.
VINEETO: Have you noticed that very often when one feels stung it may well be because someone has intentionally or unintentionally pointed out a fact that is contrary to what one believes to be a truth, whereas if what another says is a clear fabrication, one can, if one cares to, easily and calmly set the facts straight?
RESPONDENT: Hmmm ... not really, mainly because I’m not a person who is easily capable of believing, or of maintaining beliefs for long periods. If I believe something that’s bullshit I generally want to know about it, and even though it hurts for a while I will not stubbornly resist it.
VINEETO: When I started my investigations into what ‘I’ am made of I decided, for simplicity’s sake, to call all my ideas about the world, i.e. people, things and events, beliefs. After all, a belief is an emotion-backed thought and most of my thoughts about people, things and events were emotion-backed.
In the course of my exploration into how ‘I’ tick I uncovered not only my adult spiritual and early-childhood religious beliefs but a whole series of emotion-backed thoughts in the form of political, economical, dietary and environmental ideals, work-ethics and health-issues, sexual mores and gender roles and differences. I also became aware that I had a plethora of emotion-backed thoughts regarding what is right and wrong, fair and unfair, good and bad, true and false – in short, I eventually had to admit that my whole worldview was almost entirely based on emotion-backed thoughts … rather than solid facts and common sense.
RESPONDENT: Personally, I find (or let me say with confidence now: ‘have found’) it more frustrating to deal with arguments that I perceive to be fabrications and/or simply illogical constructions. I don’t think it will be as much of a problem in future though.
VINEETO: As a rule of thumb, what I learnt from practicing actualism is that whenever I became passionate about an issue, a situation, something someone said or did, some piece of information on TV or such like, I knew for certain that one of my dearly-held emotion-backed thoughts was being touched … I guess that could be the root of the expression ‘being touchy’.
RESPONDENT: Since then, ‘What is ‘my’ objection to being happy and harmless?’ has become a seminal question for me.
VINEETO: Ah, a very potent question, if I may say so.
RESPONDENT: It is indeed ... and it’s proving very interesting. I am finding all kinds of reasons why I have not found much sustained success with actualism so far, in spite of some good insights and experiences along the way.
VINEETO: Personally I had lots of factual insights and even a few pure consciousness experiences in my years before actualism – what I learnt from Richard was that one can and needs to put those insights into action in daily life in order for them to work their magic.
RESPONDENT: It’s pretty interesting to see myself twist and turn any which way in order to justify not being happy and harmless. But I haven’t found a valid reason yet.
VINEETO: There are 47 objections that have so far been collected on the website but the most persistent one I found is that the human animal finds it extremely challenging (as in threatening to one’s very survival) to do something that sets one apart from the fold.
RESPONDENT: May I suggest a 48th? ‘You are throwing the baby out with the bathwater’.
People have different interpretations of what they consider to be the ‘baby’ that should not be thrown out with the bathwater. Some suggest to throw out the corrupt gurus but to keep the ‘good’ ones, some are happy to throw out God but want to keep the belief in an overarching Energy or Superior Intelligence, some want to keep the ‘baby’ of love, others yet want to keep imagination, creativity, beauty, compassion and so on.
VINEETO: Whilst you may not find a ‘valid reason’ for not being happy and harmless, you will certainly find a basket full of emotions disguised as rational arguments for not being so.
RESPONDENT: Yep, shiploads of ‘em.
VINEETO: Personally I found reasoning necessary in order to establish a prima facie case for actualism but I soon became aware that I had to recognize and address the emotional objections I had to committing myself to becoming happy and harmless. When I examined the emotional objections I found that the most predominant one was fear.
RESPONDENT: Same here. So much of my thinking is motivated and fed by a mildly unpleasant underlying feeling state, dominated by a fear so persistent as to be almost imperceptible (until it unexpectedly departs, and then I find out just what a heavy burden I’ve been carrying).
VINEETO: The way to lighten this burden for me is to put a name to the fear whenever I can because a fear that has a name is far less powerful and non-mysterious.
First I got rid of fears that had to do with my pride, my status in society, my role-playing as a social identity and then I looked at my fears arising from the morals and ethics I had taken on board since childhood and those added later in my spiritual years.
VINEETO: What greatly helped me jump the hurdle of self-preservation was my burning desire to make peace-on-earth possible for everyone and given that I had both the means and the opportunity I had no choice but to take the jump and make a start.
RESPONDENT: Lately I’ve got very sick of poncing about with this ... shall I, shan’t I, what if ...?, what about ...?, business. It was necessary of course, but now it’s merely a hindrance.
VINEETO: It’s great, isn’t it, when being sick of one’s doubts, whatever the doubts, is winning over the fear of change. That was always the moment when I initiated my next change in life.
VINEETO: When I started my investigations into what ‘I’ am made of I decided, for simplicity’s sake, to call all my ideas about the world, i.e. people, things and events, beliefs.
RESPONDENT: That’s a very good idea. If I look at beliefs as the feeling-based building blocks of reality (rather than as simply logical propositions about the world which may or may not be true), then I can see why you and Peter place so much emphasis on beliefs. They are the very fabric of reality.
VINEETO: Oh yes, beliefs are ‘the very fabric of reality’ and every apparently ‘logical proposition about the world’ is championed by a group of passionate defenders of this proposition and this is what holds sustains them over centuries despite their blatant silliness and well and truly after their use by date. I’ve more than once heard a person say that they wouldn’t want the facts to stand in the way of their belief or that they wouldn’t want facts to divert them from their truth.
I found that these ‘feeling-based building blocks of reality’ – whether they be in the form of beliefs, ideas, concepts, morals, principles, ideals, opinions, or convictions – have played a major part not only in my underlying objection to being here but also to my ability to recognize and acknowledge a feeling when it was happening.
The second part is the more tricky aspect in that it needs to be understood and taken on board if one aspires to understand the workings of one’s own psyche. To put it succinctly, I found it impossible to investigate the feeling-based building blocks of reality unless I took a clear-eyed look at the beliefs, ideas, concepts, morals, principles, ideals, dreams, opinions and convictions that prevented me from clearly seeing that ‘who I am’ is an instinctually driven being – ‘as mad, as bad and as sad as everyone else’ as Peter put it in his journal.
I discovered various objections to acknowledging that I was an instinctually driven being were due to the moral and ethical values that I had absorbed in my early years at home and in school, administered by parents, teachers, priests and peers. And then I noticed the stumbling blocks of my idealistic dreams – how I wanted to be, how I thought I ought to be, how I dreamed I could be – and they often stood in the way of clearly seeing, feeling and understanding what was emotionally going on.
To translate the impact of ideals, morals and ethics into a real life example – if you threaten a child with punishment, shame and guilt, it will, rather than come clean, most probably lie and hide what it’s been doing, thinking and feeling.
RESPONDENT: Looking at beliefs this way will be excellent complement to something else I’ve been doing lately. I’ve been reminding myself regularly that reality is an affective construct, and that one affective construct is ultimately as (in)valid as another. Understanding this intellectually is one thing; experiencing it is another; putting it to practical use is another thing again. It’s working in two ways: firstly, it enables me to loosen ‘my’ grip on reality, or reality’s grip on ‘me’ as the case may be; and secondly it gives me the freedom to create a more felicitous reality in which to live on the way to my final destination.
VINEETO: For me the penny dropped when I realized that whatever I do, think, feel or imagine, ‘I’ can never escape ‘me’ – in other words, whatever reality ‘I’ am trying to create, ‘I’ remain always in situ. This insight also wiped off imagination as an option for improving my life in any way.
The ‘more felicitous reality’ that I experience in Virtual Freedom is not created by ‘me’ but it is the inevitable result of painstakingly removing the building blocks of ‘my’ beliefs, ideas, concepts, morals, principles, ideals, etc., thereby diminishing the grip of my instinctual passions. The ensuing vacuity of emotion-backed thoughts allows the felicitous (and innocuous) feelings to come more and more to the fore – an essential precursor to ensuring that one’s sensuous awareness is fact-based and not imagination-based.
ALAN: Since that time, with the realisation that none of what was occurring was ‘actual’, though very, very ‘real’ and simply a product of ‘my’ imagination, I have not again experienced such dread. This is not to say ‘I’ may not be a ‘prima donna’ again and I shall certainly recount any similar experiences.
VINEETO: One never knows how many actors are still waiting behind stage until they had their appearance. It is fascinating, when I think about it. The moment I discovered the ‘drama queen’, it lost its conviction. The moment I discovered ‘me’, the Truth-producing faculty of Enlightenment, it became impossible to believe in the ‘truth’ that I had just produced. The moment I discovered the ‘believer’, the mechanism of believing I could not believe anymore – the mechanism was switched off and disappeared. I had to investigate the facts. One piece after the other fell off ‘me’, while at the same time taking the veil off my physical senses. The colours are now more vivid, the sounds multi-layered, the skin awakes to sense the air in temperature and consistency, the little hair on my forearm being touched by the soft breeze when I walk into town.
RESPONDENT: Here are some questions that I have:
VINEETO: The main question, that works for all of the Human Condition is ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ We composed a whole page, called ‘How to Become Free of the Human Condition’ on the topic with many links of writing and correspondence of how to apply this ongoing question in your daily life.
I started with the understanding that it is only me who I can change, and that very understanding applies to everybody I meet, live with, work with and to the world at large. So, if anything in the day evoked an emotional reaction, I would start digging around and look for the cause in me, what belief, feeling and instinctual passion caused me to feel annoyed, fearful, angry, righteous, insecure, disgusted, loving, elusive, tired, etc.
The first beliefs that I had to investigate were about male and female conditioning, my female identity, the belief in the ‘right to be emotional’, the ‘truth’ of intuition etc. Along with gender-issues came the problem of believing or fighting a supposed authority, which had been an emotionally charged topic since my early years.
Usually under every emotional reaction I would find a firmly held belief in some ‘truth’ which I then, in due course, questioned and replaced with actual facts, investigated through reading, contemplating or talking with Peter and Richard, instead of simply taking on what others had told me to believe. It can sometimes be a fascinating and sometimes be a frightening adventure, after all, it is your very identity that you are taking apart, who you believe and feel yourself to be.
When one belief was seen in its complexity with all its implications on various areas in my life, when I understood it to be merely a passionate thought and not factual, this belief disappeared. It’s like the fairy story of Sinterclaas (or Father Christmas) – once you know that he is only the neighbour with a false beard, the whole myth falls to pieces and you are never able to believe it again. But each belief has to be investigated on its own ... there is not a mathematical magic formula that deletes them all at once. Eventually you see through the whole lot – and what a relief and liberation that is!
RESPONDENT: I wrote to you seeking to further investigate between us the elimination of belief, so as to enable the direct perception of the actual – and in this particular case the belief under scrutiny for possible subsequent elimination is the incredibly devious, odious, and ‘transparent’ worm of a belief in one, that one’s choosing of the belief that his or her mind is definitive when it comes to identifying when the other is ‘feeling insulted or annoyed about facts’ – corresponds to the facts – namely the existence of such state of emotionality in the being of the other.
Would you agree that that is the topic under discussion? Or could be? Or was? I detect from your email, that you perhaps are no longer one who needs much assistance in eliminating that particular class of belief from the ‘unexamined fortresses within your mind’. Is that so?
VINEETO: Actualism is not therapy where you give me ‘assistance in eliminating that particular class of belief’ that I have or you imagine I have. In actualism, I assess my own emotional situation, and mine only, by asking the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ and then proceed to explore the beliefs, feelings, emotions and instinctual passions that keep me from enjoying this moment in its purity and perfection. If I feel insulted by someone else, I take the opportunity to investigate what deeper reason there is for me to feel insulted by someone else, no matter who they are. I do this for two reasons – firstly so as not to waste this moment of potential happiness by being lost in imagination or by wallowing in feelings and, even more importantly, so I will not get angry with or be malicious towards any of my fellow human beings.
It is always ‘me’, the identity, the alien entity, inside this actual flesh-and-blood body that takes umbrage, feels offended, grows resentful, becomes angry, seeks revenge, etc., and by understanding and becoming fully aware of this identity in action it gradually weakens and eventually dissolves. Nowadays, whatever anyone says I am not insulted because, after four years of intensive self-investigation, there is scarcely any identity remaining to take offence.
VINEETO: Given that you talk about ‘unexamined fortresses within [my] mind’’, I noticed when reading your posts to No. 22 about examining the minds of actualists, there is a great deal of imagination and belief used to conjure a picture of what may be going on in the mind of another. Just a few examples (bold by me) –
Personally, I have found it far more effective and certainly more factual to investigate my own ‘state of mind’ in order to become happy and harmless instead of remaining trapped in the never-ending cycle of wildly imagining what others may be thinking, feeling, or believing about me. After this imagining, the natural reaction is to then either confront others in a belligerent and futile attempt to try and change the thoughts, feelings and beliefs you imagine they are having, or remain quiet and become sullenly resentful, getting ‘my’ own back later in more subtly devious ways. Whatever the outcome, a ‘score’ is kept, and next time the emotional memory of past imaginations is added to the current bout of metaphysical clairvoyance and the cycle starts over yet again. Imagining what another is thinking, feeling or believing and then attempting to change their thinking, feeling or belief is not only a complicated equation with 90% unknown factors, it is also an arduous Sisyphean task. There are potentially 6 billion people to change and relying on intuition, guestimation and imagination will bring you no closer to gathering an understanding of others’ thoughts, feelings or beliefs. Imagination is simply non-actual.
In therapeutic terms, imagining another’s emotions and attempting to change him or her according to one’s, usually passionate, imagination is called projecting – an utterly useless enterprise.
To be an actualist is to literally become a student of the human condition. Not as a gullible inexperienced child lapping up the knowledge of others but as a mature-age student in that one can study what it is to be a human being – one’s social programming and one’s biological programming – with the very necessary benefit of considerable life experience. This study of the human condition is general and archetypal as well as specific and personal – becoming aware of how it operates in oneself and as one’s ‘self’. Despite tribal lores that produce slight variations in morals, ethics, values and religious-spiritual beliefs, the human condition is typical to all. The knowledge so gained from this study enables one to know, intellectually and experientially, how human beings are both socially and instinctually programmed to operate – as in how they are programmed to think, feel and believe. By being equipped with this knowledge, an actualist is thus more able to extricate himself or herself from the instinctual psychic game of friends and enemies, allies and foes that prevents peace and harmony between human beings on the planet.
RESPONDENT: I wrote to you seeking to further investigate between us the elimination of belief, so as to enable the direct perception of the actual – and in this particular case the belief under scrutiny for possible subsequent elimination is the incredibly devious, odious, and ‘transparent’ worm of a belief in one, that one’s choosing of the belief that his or her mind is definitive when it comes to identifying when the other is ‘feeling insulted or annoyed about facts’ – corresponds to the facts – namely the existence of such state of emotionality in the being of the other.
Would you agree that that is the topic under discussion? Or could be? Or was? I detect from your email, that you perhaps are no longer one who needs much assistance in eliminating that particular class of belief from the ‘unexamined fortresses within you mind’. Is that so?
VINEETO: If you want to eliminate ‘the belief that his or her mind is definitive when it comes to identifying when the other is ‘feeling insulted or annoyed about facts’’ then that is entirely your business.
For me the ‘topic under discussion’ has always been my own process of becoming free from the Human Condition, investigating and eliminating my own beliefs and feelings whenever they became apparent in interactions with people, things and events. In my experience, it is impossible to eliminate someone else’s belief or change someone else’s feelings, and what a good thing that is! This way it is blindingly obvious that everyone is responsible for their own beliefs and feelings only and it gives everyone the freedom to do something about it in themselves ... or not.
For instance, investigating and eradicating my spiritual beliefs, my emotional bonds to the guru and the spiritual community I had belonged to, was a task that took the better part of nine months to complete. The other night a television report about a different fanatical spiritual community in the US made me shockingly aware of the kind of danger I had put myself in when following Rajneesh to the Ranch in Oregon.
The television program reported and closely examined events at Waco County, Texas, US in 1993, where a spiritual community of about 100 people was fighting a serious and deadly battle with the FBI. The community had gathered around a leader who believed himself to have a direct connection to God and the members were devoted to doing God’s will as perceived by their master, whatever that would turn out to be. The community had come under suspicion for owning illegal weapons and upon federal investigation refused them entry and in an ensuing gun battle four federal agents were killed. The government’s reaction was swift and effective – the FBI arrived, heavily armed, with army tanks and the latest warring equipment for a siege. After the peace-negotiations failed and the larger part of the community refused to leave because God via their master had told them to wait, the FBI smashed holes into the buildings with their tanks and poured concentrated teargas into the rooms for several hours. In the course of events the buildings caught fire and almost everybody in the building died in the flames. A later court investigation returned a verdict of suicide.
Once one decides to leave all the decisions to God and his messenger in order to secure one’s place in heaven after death, there is no free will left to act sensibly. In cases like these, the blind passion of devotional surrender overrules even the basic survival instincts.
The report shocked me for several reasons, the main reason being that only eight years prior to this incident I had been in a very similar situation in the Rajneesh community on the Ranch in Oregon. Both Rajneesh and his secretary Sheela made every effort in their public announcements to rile the Christians, the attorney general of Oregon, the American President and the people of Oregon in particular. In the years of 1984/85, Rajneesh had a heavily armed security force surrounding him both in his house and whenever he showed himself in public. A department of 200 or more people was frantically busy collecting legal evidence for the defence of various lawsuits that had been brought against both Rajneesh and the city of Rajneeshpuram.
And he is not the only one who puts his followers carelessly in precarious situations – the ‘Self’-centred narcissism, disguised as ‘I am the only Truth there is’, is common to all Godmen, gurus and saints all over the Eastern and Western world.
It is so good to be free from spiritual belief – eradicated, eliminated, wiped out, never ever to return again. There is no God and there are no God-men, only calenturous souls infatuated by the image of their own grand ‘Self’, desperately seeking followers who are willing to surrender and become eager foot soldiers to their imaginary delusion. This is the kind of belief I am talking about when using the expression ‘elimination of belief’ – it is my own beliefs that are under scrutiny, not someone else’s beliefs.
RESPONDENT No 107: If you wish I can stop asking you questions and sharing my understandings or you can ignore them.
VINEETO: Nowhere did I say that you should stop asking questions. What I am saying is that it makes no sense to me to answer your questions when all you do with it is invalidating my understandings regarding my experiences as mere beliefs. Vis –
Can you raise the bar a bit?
RESPONDENT: Do you believe that Richard is actually free from human condition?
VINEETO: In a pure consciousness experience where my own ‘self’ is temporarily absent it is blatantly obvious that Richard’s ‘self’ is also absent and that the report he gives about his experiences of the actual world is consistent with my own experiences of the actual world. As I had more PCEs over a period of time I was able to confirm that Richard was always already in the actual world whenever I happen to step into it which is consistent with his report that he always lives in the actual world.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.