Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: It is a grey drizzly day but there is a warmth in the air. I enjoy these days for being inside able to gaze out the window while I do small tasks that I allow to build up. Writing to the freedom page is one of those things I have been thinking of doing. I infrequently read the pages but I often gain some good pieces of information when I do.
VINEETO: It’s good to hear from you again and that you are gaining some good information from the mailing list. If you find you have a particular issue, concern or worry running at some time you can always dip into The Actual Freedom Trust website itself where there is a wealth of information and correspondence, categorized by topic for ease of access.
RESPONDENT: Besides all that... I write because I am interested in other people’s thoughts on the understanding of how men traditionally think and how when learning about actual freedom it was best communicated. My partner has just finished reading Peter’s journal and has begun to search deeper within himself about his reactions to life, but as a female I seem to be unable to comprehend some of his views and attitudes as they arise.
VINEETO: For me, the path to Actual Freedom began with me conducting an extensive investigation into what exactly constitutes male and female conditioning simply because I figured that this gender conditioning was the main reason that man and woman cannot live together in peace and harmony. In the process of this investigation I have explored what exactly makes me tick as a woman – the program of beliefs and instincts with its resulting feelings and emotions. Along the path to freedom I have gradually evaluated and discarded all of the so-called female attributes and values, which women so proudly claim as their main territory – expressing emotions and feelings, feminine insight and intuition, love, nurture and nourishment. I found that my desperately holding on to these attributes and values caused me to fight a continuous battle within myself, and against others, as to which is right and which is wrong – the male version of demanding, desiring, rationalising and displaying reason or the female version of demanding, desiring, emotionalising and displaying emotions. I have found that both versions – both the male and the female – are silly, useless and redundant.
My main focus was to question and examine my own ‘views and attitudes’ as a female in order to arrive at sound, verifiable facts and refreshing non-affective common sense. It was only by relying on down-to-earth facts and common sense that I began to be able to communicate with Peter without emotionally reacting to what he was saying, neither trying to please him nor trying to fight him.
I was also interested in how the male half of the world thinks and feels as it had always been somewhat of a mystery to me what went on in ‘the other camp’. I found that as I began to question my own female programming, I naturally became curious as to how the other half were programmed. Whilst I had my very own ‘spy’, or ‘whistleblower’, from the other camp to fill me in, one can also glean the necessary information as to how the other gender is programmed by a process of curiosity, investigation and objective observation as to how men are programmed.
However, it is vital to put things in the right order – which is first things first. In order to become free from my female identity, I had to investigate my own restrictive ‘views and attitudes’ first. After all, it is these emotionally charged views and attitudes that stand in the way from my experiencing peace in the world-as-it-is … and with people-as-they-are.
The first major breakthrough in becoming free of my female identity was when I investigated my pining for a man’s love and support. This is what I wrote at the time –
With this realization I had unmasked the female dream in me and, by my determination to not let it stand in the way of my living with another person in peace and harmony, I rendered the dream impotent.
After this event there was a tangible crack in my perception of ‘who’ I thought and felt I was. And once I allowed the first big rift in my female identity, anything was possible. It was a great encouragement to explore further. If I had been on the wrong path with my Cinderella dream, then I could be down the wrong alley in anything that I thought and felt to be right! To examine the remaining aspects of my female identity was not always easy, sometimes even downright scary, but the adventure called me onwards – the adventure to discover actual people in an actual world outside of, and completely independent from, my affective dream world.
It is a grand adventure!
RESPONDENT: I admit to having been quite rigid about my own opinions but now I allow my self to hear and to allow that which he says to become something which becomes a practical part of my understanding. That is I put it to the test to see if it is real for me or I put it to the test to find the truth of it.
VINEETO: It is fascinating when, with increasing ‘self’-awareness, the world begins to look different. There are cracks in one’s ‘rigid … opinions’, the perception softens as one starts to see beyond the morals and ethics of black and white, right and wrong, good and bad. I remember how I was frequently amazed when I began to discover other people as they are, outside of my desires, dreams and fears. Increasingly I was able to perceive them as fellow human beings who went about their business of being alive. The trick was to question my own beliefs and ideas, opinions and principles and replace my morals and ethics with a discernment of what is silly and what is sensible.
It takes effort and persistence to nibble away at all of one’s feelings, beliefs and opinions that constitute the social identity but it is certainly an effort well worth making.
RESPONDENT: But all that aside I am still not achieving what I think I understand he would like me to, so what is it that I am missing in this communication between us??? So I thank you for sharing your understanding on this topic of communication.
VINEETO: The way I came to live in peace and harmony with a man was that I became free from being a woman.
First there is the social aspect of being a woman, the female role with its beliefs, sentiments and behaviour we have been trained to adopt since early childhood. It consists of all the shoulds and should nots, the right codes of conduct, the collective accepted behaviour of being a woman and the social taboos that are deemed unquestionable. You can clearly see what is social programming because it varies from culture to culture, depends upon religion and spiritual beliefs, is subject to generational and fashion swings and is imposed and maintained by peer pressure.
Then there is the instinctual aspect of being a woman, centred upon instinctual mating and procreation of the species. The program of sexual instinctual passion drove me to search for a man and get pregnant – and then the consequent need to secure the protection of the potential father kicked in. Curiously I found that my decision not to have any children and to be sterilised did not change this underlying instinctual urge at all – I still thought and felt myself to be a woman first and a human being second.
I found that as long as both the social and instinctual aspects of my identity had a strong grip on me, communication was impossible. Only when I examined and investigated my own programming was I able to see the other as a fellow human being and only then communication was really possible.
As for comprehending another’s ‘views and attitudes’, I have found that despite the fact that I have studied the human condition for several years now, I am still often baffled and bewildered at many of the attitudes and behaviours of human beings. In fact, the more I examined and thusly weakened my own identity, the more incomprehensible it is for me that most other people don’t seem to be interested in achieving the same quality of life for themselves. But I have come to see and begun to understand that this choice is their own cup of tea – it has nothing to do with my own happiness and harmlessness. If I find that I make myself dependant upon another’s happiness, or feel responsible for another’s happiness, then I have something to look at.
RESPONDENT: I am emailing you again to please you to not answer me. I know what you will tell me. You will brake down my email sentence by sentence and than here we are again.
V: Here in actual freedom does not... You said that… You better look in the following link... I have nothing to defend... Fear? There is no fear here to... You did not understood... I never said that... Oxford dictionary...
VINEETO: I can understand that you object to answers I have provided to your questions but your attempt to gag me by telling me not to respond to your allegations about me simply won’t wash. I have come across this situation several times before when writing about actualism – when people don’t like the content of what I am saying they start to accuse me of all sorts of things. This tactic does nothing to substantiate their statements, beliefs and opinions. It only signals that they have run out of sensible things to say.
RESPONDENT: How can somebody fight with a female energy especially when is passionate about something? I give up.
VINEETO: It appears that this is one of the typical strategies of any identity – psychologizing or criticizing the messenger instead of considering the content of the message. This strategy is used by men and women equally and is usually a sign that no further sensible discussion can be had about the topic at hand because the main issue is winning the argument and not in having a fruitful discussion in order to find out the facts. If the whole issue of having a discussion with me is to win a fight then facts are clearly not your concern.
As for ‘female energy’ – I am obviously a female but, as I have described the process in ‘A Bit of Vineeto’ and in various correspondences, I have freed myself from my female identity. I have left the female camp behind and with it the weaponry often used by women, SNAGs and new-age therapists, namely emotional manipulation, psychologizing, undermining, speculative accusations, etc. Here is something I wrote about becoming free from being a woman –
RESPONDENT: From now on I will communicate only with Richard.
VINEETO: Richard is certainly the best correspondent you can choose if you want to understand what Actual Freedom is all about, whereas my expertise lies more in the field of the doing of actualism. The only question is – are you at all interested in either?
RESPONDENT: And just to create a little bit lighter atmosphere, one advice to Peter. Why you don’t send her here to the Greek islands for a couple of months, so when she comes back you will be free from the human condition and from her as well?
Laugh. Just a joke as defined in oxford dictionary. I embrace you both.
VINEETO: It is good that you said it was a joke ‘as defined in oxford dictionary’ because you have left out the funny part.
You apparently have not read Peter’s Journal otherwise you would know what Peter would say to your proposition –
Peter’s Journal, Living Together
I will refrain from quoting Peter from his next chapter (Sex) so as to not give you a hard time.
RESPONDENT: I am sending you a photo of mine so to make the virtual reality of the computer a little more actual. Be happy.
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: It therefore came as somewhat of a surprise when I recently found an emotional ‘hook’ in my living together with Peter. I was contemplating about what exactly is standing in the way of ‘self’-immolation and found a bit of an affective identity in action – the ‘me’ who cherished the cozy corner I had in living together peacefully and delightfully. ‘I’ as an identity feel noticed and understood with Peter, he knows the happy ‘me’, the quizzing ‘me’, the puzzled ‘me’, the impatient ‘me’, he knows about ‘my’ aims and fears, ‘my’ quirks and wonderings. And this cozy relationship will certainly cease to be when I become free because then ‘I’ who is doing the relating will cease to be.
GARY: I had discovered much the same thing a few months ago. I was acutely aware of ‘my’ need to create a cozy nest and cling to my relationship with my partner. My attention seemed to be particularly attracted to the aging process in both she and myself. And I found myself forming a sharp demarcation between being ‘in’ the relationship, and at home, and being ‘out’ there in the ‘Real World’. Connected to this, I discovered morbid fears of growing old and dying, along with anxieties of losing this cozy relationship I was clinging to. I don’t know what triggered all this but it may have been happening around the time that there was so much talk of war with Iraq in the air. I realized that human beings usually all create this comfortable and peaceful corner of reality in their homes as a means of warding off or keeping out the harshness and cruelty of the outside world. This seems to be an instinctive pattern of behaviour, harkening back to the time when our ancestors hunkered in deep caves for protection against predators and other perils of the night.
VINEETO: From my own explorations I know that a relationship with a partner has many layers that are worth examining. One of the first issues to be sorted out for me was my female identity – my belonging to the women’s camp as opposed to the men’s club. Part of this female identity was the continuous battle as to who is right and who is wrong – men or women. What I discovered was an unbridgeable gulf between the masculine and feminine version of interpreting the world and that the only way to ensure peace and harmony was to eliminate the gulf, whereas common wisdom has it that the gulf is a given and that one should bridge the gulf with the feeling of love or move closer to the other camp by becoming more feminine or more masculine. Needless to say eliminating the gulf meant eliminating my precious identity as a woman and all that entailed.
Once I had sorted out this aspect of my identity, the next obstacle to actualizing peace were my spiritual beliefs and my feelings of loyalty towards the guru and his followers. It soon became obvious to me that as long as I was busy defending my spiritual beliefs, I was again involved in yet another battle as to whose beliefs are right and whose beliefs are wrong. Only by questioning my own beliefs could I begin to find out the facts and thus establish a fact-based common ground for communication. In the same vein, I had to investigate my faith in my much-valued female intuition, for to continue to rely on it prevented me from distinguishing between the fact of the matter and my feelings about the matter.
Another issue that quickly emerged was my sexual social conditioning and its instinctual counterpart – the deeply entrenched instinctual patterns that have to do solely with the survival of the human species, the dissemination of the genes of the most successful fighters in the battle for survival. As I became more familiar with the process of investigating my beliefs and feelings, I noticed that each issue was successfully resolved only when I was able to trace my feelings and emotions back to their instinctual core – the primeval survival program that gives rise to all feelings, emotions, moods and vibes in the human animal. This instinctual programming was forged ‘when our ancestors hunkered in deep caves for protection’, but the roots of this programming stretch way back to when the first faunal creatures began to populate the earth. It is therefore essential to dig deep in one’s investigations into one’s own psyche in order to feel, experience and understand the instinctual core of one’s feelings and emotions in order to become free of their insidious grip.
VINEETO: One of the first issues to be sorted out for me was my female identity – my belonging to the women’s camp as opposed to the men’s club. Part of this female identity was the continuous battle as to who is right and who is wrong – men or women. What I discovered was an unbridgeable gulf between the masculine and feminine version of interpreting the world and that the only way to ensure peace and harmony was to eliminate the gulf, whereas common wisdom has it that the gulf is a given and that one should bridge the gulf with the feeling of love or move closer to the other camp by becoming more feminine or more masculine. Needless to say eliminating the gulf meant eliminating my precious identity as a woman and all that entailed.
GARY: Recently I was working with a small group at a professional training. I was the only male in the group, there being three female participants besides myself. The exercise we were working on required giving a potential emotional reaction to various scenarios involving sexuality. After I had disclosed my reactions to these scenarios the other participants remarked that, of course, I had reacted that way ‘because you are a man’. I was a bit surprised at their perception in this regard. It had crossed my mind that perhaps I was reacting from a gender bias. But their remarks too struck me as dismissive in the sense that they consigned my reactions to the ‘male camp’ and disregarded that they might have been made on some other basis than gender conditioning. Besides discovering that I dislike being pegged in this way as either ‘male’, ‘white’, etc (in itself an instinctual reaction), I realized too how seldom I make these kinds of judgements and comparisons of others. It seems to me that only a female identity would be capable of making a judgement that someone is reacting on a ‘male’ basis, or vice versa.
VINEETO: Oh yes, you have encountered one of the typical fighting strategies of any identity – attacking the messenger instead of considering the content of the message. This strategy is used by men and women equally and is usually a sign that no further sensible discussion can be had about the topic at hand because the main issue is winning the argument and not having a fruitful discussion in order to find out the facts.
As I see it, ‘being pegged in this way as either ‘male’, ‘white’’ is both a reaction of the social identity – being pegged as a member of a family, gender, race, nationality or profession – as well as an instinctual reaction to being classified as either friend or foe. Nowadays if someone accuses me of being ‘female’, ‘white’ or ‘German’, I just laugh because I know for sure that whatever it is they are accusing me of is their problem, not mine.
VINEETO: Living in peace and harmony with a person of the other sex has been a life-long dream and when I was presented not only with the opportunity of a sincere commitment but also with the tools to make it work, this dream finally came true. I had watched people living together from an early age and already in my twenties I concluded from observation and experience that playing the traditional role as a wife and/or as a mother would not give me the satisfying relationship I was looking for. In my university days I then discovered that feminism as well as conventional therapy also failed to provide suitable answers to the ending of the battle of the sexes and I then turned to the dream of spiritual love. It took a bit longer to sort that one out. During my spiritual years a relationship with a man became secondary and my love for the Guru became primary until inevitably – and fortunately for me – the Guru died and the uselessness of such an ethereal relationship became glaringly obvious.
GARY: Interesting that you should have mentioned feminism. Feminist theory was all the rage when I attended graduate Social Work school, and I would be interested in your own discoveries of why it ‘failed to provide suitable answers to the ending of the battle of the sexes’. I know that there are various brands of feminism, but I am talking in an overarching way about the feminist movement.
VINEETO: The practical benefits I got from the feminism movement were that I learned to confidently take care of myself and to be as equally capable and intelligent as men. Feminism has opened the door to the world for women who were previously confined to the socially-defined roles of ‘cooking, children and church’, as the slogan went. The break up of the traditional confining roles has certainly improved many women’s lives in many ways, particularly in combination with the invention of the pill.
My first disappointment with the ideals of feminism happened in my student years when I discovered that women were as bitchy and conniving with each other as men were with women and as men were with each other. When I watched how women related to each other in the feminist movement, I could see that the notion of women ruling the world would not solve the problem of aggression, revenge, back-stabbing and lust for power. Also the idea of excluding half of the population from one’s life in order to avoid relationship problems didn’t appeal to me.
When I became a disciple of Rajneesh, feminism was in full swing and Rajneesh’s slogan was ‘to be spiritual is to become feminine’. In his commune in Oregon, he put women in charge and men in subordinate positions. The outcome of this experiment in female overt power is well documented. The top female leaders succumbed to the lust for power and many even indulged in criminal activities – they bugged many buildings, set up an election fraud, poisoned a whole town with salmonella, attempted to poison some disciples who were becoming suspicious and in the end packed up and left with a few million dollars of commune funds. When this was revealed, the shock was enormous, not only because they were spiritual, i.e. supposedly good, people but also because they were women. It proved to me beyond doubt that giving ‘the power to the women’ won’t solve any problems.
Although feminism has succeeded in questioning the sensibility of a patriarchal society, it only wants to replace it with a matriarchal system. Feminism’s main focus is on changing the power balance between the genders – it doesn’t question the conflicting social and instinctual identities that are the cause of the battle between the sexes. Men and women are still as much defined by their gender as they were before feminism and the latest fashionable catchphrase that ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ depicts the deep divide that basically entrenches the other gender as alien. Men are considered aggressive Martians while women are considered loving Venusians and nowadays it has become politically correct for women to tear down men whereas men making fun of women is considered offensive. In my student days and in my spiritual era I’ve experienced women’s aggression towards men when I attended women’s groups where women complained, bitched and plotted against their men, boyfriends or bosses and discussed the various strategies needed to ‘win the battle’. Any relationship with a man was seen as a constant battle to ‘make him do what I want’.
RESPONDENT to Gary: I’m starting to realize that AF presents a very radical shift, despite its apparent simplicity. I was talking with my wife, who is an intelligent person, about some of the genetic and cultural programs running in our brains and was surprised at how resistant she was to exploring their nature. While she admitted that they existed, she didn’t believe they could be modified, and more importantly, believed they were valuable, if not a key component of her very self. To lose them would be to lose her ‘self’. That’s scary.
VINEETO: In my explorations I found that my social conditioning as a woman was deeply connected to the instinctual female role of a child-bearer and nest-maker. Women are encouraged to be more emotional while men are expected to be successful hunters and providers in the world for which one needs to use brawns and brains more than feelings and emotions. Consequently, expressing feelings and knowing how to put them to use was my most valuable asset for yielding power over others in order to get what I wanted, particularly in my relationships with men. But apart from being a power-tool, feelings were also the main ingredient of my identity as a woman – ‘I’ am first and foremost my feelings and my feelings are ‘me’.
Only because I was deeply fed up with the havoc that my feelings created in my life and the life of others around me, was I able to see the sense in questioning all of my feelings – because examining my feelings is a tangible step to being able to be intimate with all of my fellow human beings regardless of their gender. It’s a lonely business being trapped on either side of the gender divide.
RESPONDENT: The constant state of tension brought by the animal hunger of the male for the female, and the female’s control of that situation, has long been a painful place for me.
VINEETO: I can tell you that ‘the female’s control of that situation’ is only perceived as such on the male’s end. For instance, the whole movement of women’s liberation was born of the idea that the men had control over the women’s lives. In other words, each side in the battle of the sexes sees the other side as being the controller, being more dominant, being more manipulative, being unable to understand the other, and so on. The idea that someone else is in control of my life is in itself part of the automatic instinctual battle for power between the sexes and the first step to become free of feeling controlled and being controlled was for me to admit that, and find out how, I was driven by my own instinctual passions and shackled by my own imbibed social identity of being a woman.
The more I discovered that the cards were distributed equally, i.e. equally restrictive for both genders, the more my defensiveness and my idea of being a victim dropped and I was then able to explore precisely what convictions and conventions, roles and rules I had taken on board about what it is supposed to mean to be a woman. The way I began to unravel the mystery of the eternal battle between the genders was easy – whenever I got upset about anything Peter or another man said to me or about me, I had something to look at. Whenever I found myself about to defend my convictions about what women are or what they should do or how they could be, I became aware that there was a piece of my identity as a woman in it as well. Whenever I dared to replace such a dearly held idea, passion or dream with facts a piece of my identity as a woman also went down the drain.
After a few initial fears and hesitations, and as those roles and rules were slowly uncovered and discarded, it became increasingly delightful to find out that the differences that I had imagined existed between genders were disappearing. A few months into our relationship and into my explorations about my conditioning I suddenly looked at Peter and saw him without perceiving him as a man and my lover and all that it entailed. It was such a shock at first because I had never been able to look at him without simultaneously overlaying an image of what I wanted or feared or dreamt of. Suddenly there was a human being sitting next to me – and I had never seen that human being before, because I had been so busy with what I felt and thought about him. It is a delicious magic when the curtain of instinctual ‘self’-centredness breaks, if only for a few moments at first, and gives way to experiencing an intimate meeting with another fellow human being.
RESPONDENT: I have spent a long time wading through my smorgasbord of feelings and can honestly say that that effort resulted in the dissipation of the vast majority of them. Your post has some interesting timing as just the other day my wife expressed a feeling of loss for the passion that infused the earlier days of our relationship. While that was a lot of fun, I wouldn’t for a second ask for it back, since it comes bundled with all those other miserable feelings. I woke up this morning thinking about what she had said, and felt an immense feeling of relief. This is not suppression ... the feelings are genuinely gone, for the most part. I see our relationship in a much clearer light, and I am no longer beholden to her.
This puts me/us in an interesting spot, which we’ve touched on a bit: when the biological/hormonal imperative is removed, what form does the male/female relationship take? I would hope there could grow some genuine intimacy, but I guess we’ll see how that evolves.
VINEETO: The process of actualism is to investigate the feelings that prevent you from being happy and harmless. In order to investigate those feelings it is vital that you not only think about them but that you experience those particular feelings as they occur – otherwise you won’t be able to experientially understand how ‘you’ tick and discover what underlies those feelings. In order to do that, I first had to backtrack from the conditioning that I picked up in my spiritual years of being detached and dis-identified as in ‘I am not my body, I am not my feelings’. An actualist does the opposite to spiritual transcendence – when I discover a feeling, I completely identify with it because ‘I’ am my feelings and each feeling is yet another aspect of ‘me’ in action – the very identity that I want to examine and explore, uncover and investigate.
As for ‘when the biological/hormonal imperative is removed’ – my experience was that while my hormonal imperative may have waned over the years that only meant that I searched for other ways to express my identity. In the East it is common practice that when a man’s sexual drive disappears with old age, he turns to spirituality, becomes a monk or a sannyasin and seeks immortality. In a similar vein, women in the West desperately search for a new meaningful identity when menopause sets in, depriving them of their identity as a sexually attractive person and a mother. The need to ‘be’ does not automatically disappear with old age, as some religions have us believe, but it often shifts the focus of one’s passion from achievements in this world to achievements in the other ethereal world. When I came across actualism I began to understand that actual freedom is not about replacing one ‘me’ with another ‘higher’ or purer ‘me’ but that it is indeed a method that aims for eliminating any ‘self’ whatsoever.
In order to totally remove ‘the biological/hormonal imperative’ I found it necessary to explore the full extent of my sexual conditioning that I had imbibed from both my Christian upbringing and my Eastern spiritual conditioning. After all, both my conditioning and my instinctual drive stood in the way of a free enjoyment of sex, the most sensual and sensuous interaction two human beings can share. This is what I wrote about my discoveries at the time –
As I see it, nothing ‘evolves’ unless you have the passion to find out why you are not intimate, why you are not happy and harmless 24 hrs a day. The intimacy that I experience in relating to others is not dependant on how intimate they are with me but is solely based on the fact that neither any conditioning nor any feeling interferes with me being intimately present, giving 100% attention to the other. Again, achieving intimacy is a unilateral action – I remove every obstacle that prevents me meeting the other as a fellow flesh-and-blood human being.
The intimacy that has emerged after exploring all the impediments – my female role-play, my sexual repression and conditioning, my dream of love and my spiritual beliefs – is far beyond my wildest dreams. Not only do I enjoy an ongoing peaceful and harmonious living together but also a sensuous sexual play that far exceeds anything I ever experienced when I was still driven by sexual passions.
RESPONDENT: From my own experience with spirituality I know that it needs painful honesty to admit that one has not really managed to become free from their elementary social conditioning (not condition) let alone be free of the much more deeper ingrained conditioning.
Ie. Gender conditioning seems to be so much deeper ingrained that many if not all seekers finally will come to the conclusion that there is a fundamental difference between the male and female psyche and that male/female interaction is basically nothing more then a variation on the theme man tries to catch female and female plays ‘hard’ to get but in the end there is some sort of ritual during which man can play is ‘natural’ dominating role and female can submit to that in order to fulfill her ‘natural’ part. This gender conditioning will therefore always either subtly or obviously be intertwining into any relationship be it male</>male, female</>male, or female</>female. Keen readers may conclude that / means the wall that is basically there in any kind of relationship, in other words there always be a sense of separation from the other.
VINEETO: The male and female conditioning was the first issue Peter and I investigated when we started living together. To live in peace and harmony was at the top of my laundry list and consequently I was all set to investigate every skerrick of my own conditioning that prevented peace and harmony between us. After years of failed relationships here was a man who offered to investigate with me peace between man and woman and agreed with eager anticipation for the new adventure. The way we conducted our discoveries in each upcoming issue was to weigh what we felt and believed against what we found out to be the facts. It soon became obvious that it was the facts we could both agree on while feelings and beliefs always were prone to discrepancies.
In this way I questioned one bit of my female conditioning after the other and I found more and more that the ‘fundamental difference between the male and female psyche’ was comprised of mere beliefs and my social training. I found that all this female identity I had been so proud of consisted of nothing but hot air – everything that my mother and my peers had taught me as to how I should think, feel and act as a woman and all it entailed – my need to be different, my lust for power, my fear of being controlled, my collection of hopes and disappointments and my social role in the ‘women’s club’. What also complicates the investigation is that men are taught what women are like and women are taught what men are like and these images have nothing to do with the facts. As such, one needs to investigate and understand both side of the gender equation, male and female conditioning. Then and only then one can safely observe and understand the animal instinctual gender programming in oneself.
When you say ‘man tries to catch female and female plays ‘hard’ to get’, you are exactly pointing to the instinctual role between man and woman – the instinctual drive to procreate that underpins all social conditioning and behaviour, which is indeed different for man and woman. Woman as the child-bearer instinctually looks for security and permanence whereas the man is instinctually driven to spread his semen as far and wide as possible. These gender differences are inherent in everybody – this is the default programming of our instinctual animal software implanted to ensure the procreation, propagation and survival of the species.
In order to get to the bottom of this instinctual programming I first needed to observe, then investigate and finally eliminate all of my moral, ethical and spiritual conditioning as to what I had been taught it means to be a woman. When stripped of those attributes of my identity I discovered that I was simply a human being, exactly as Peter was simply a human being, and our only difference is in the plumbing and not the wiring.
One of the earliest and utterly delightful rewards of my diligent in-depth investigation into the gender programming was the enjoyment of free and pure sensuous sexual pleasure – unrestricted of guilt and freed from the instinctual animal drive. For that outcome alone it is be well worth practicing the method of actualism.
RESPONDENT: So... at this point I’d rather acknowledged you and Peter as experts in the field of gender conditioning for starters. As I find this issue all over the place wherever I move my ass so to speak. So with this I give a hint into the direction that I have some understanding of the urge that the so-called social female and male identity become dismantled. Being a man I have taken full responsibility to take the male part as far as it concerns this flesh-blood-body named No 23/ No 23(Sannyas name). Talking about that in previous posts you have explained the reason why you have kept your name Vineeto for practical purpose.
VINEETO: Yes, gender conditioning is indeed one of the outstanding features of everyone’s identity. Broadly speaking, a woman considers herself first as a woman and then as a human being. Similarly, a man considers himself first as a man and then as a human being. So, to see and treat others as one’s fellow human beings, one needs to investigate all the beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions that form one’s gender conditioning.
But what a delight it is to be free from being a woman and to be free from having to play all the silly games of the male-female role-play!
You wrote some more on this topic in your letter to No 38 –
You have described very well the common belief of the post-women’s-lib-era – the belief that women are the ‘better’ gender and that ‘sensitive’ men should accommodate women by becoming SNAGs (sensitive new-age guys) in order to fit into this new world order. Quite a few men have adopted the female-generated belief that women are naturally more caring whilst men are instinctually more aggressive and that if women ran the world everything would be hunky-dory.
I am presently revisiting the early writings on the Actual Freedom mailing list and in several correspondences Richard and Peter have discussed these issues with Irene. I could recognize many of my own former gender beliefs in her points of view. Archives 10-1998
RESPONDENT: I enjoy the conversations that I have read on this list. I’ve especially enjoyed your writings on gender issues on the website. One of my big gripes with spiritualities is the prevailing belief that existence is divided into masculine and feminine, or any other duality for that matter – and then there is all the ensuing gobbledygook, which I was taken in by as much as anyone, I suppose.
VINEETO: I am curious as to what you have found out so far concerning gender issues. For me, actualism started with the investigations into the supposed differences of gender because they were the most obvious issues that prevented our living together in peace and harmony. At the start of our relationship, Peter and I had plenty of vigorous discussions about the subject of male and female and we wouldn’t rest until we were both satisfied with the facts that we discovered underneath our beliefs, conditionings and ensuing feelings. Soon I was to find out that ‘gender’ was only the prelude to my questioning all that I had held true and right and good – love, intuition, beauty, music, sexual taboos and conditioning, compassion, gratitude, faith, trust, honesty, loyalty, authority, spiritual beliefs, etc. It’s good that I have written about most of this adventure in the last chapter of Peter’s Journal because by now almost everything is wiped from my memory. This enterprise leaves no emotional scars whatsoever.
It’s a marvellous journey and it delivers instant incremental success. My relationship with Peter is based on parity, equity, harmony and actual intimacy and there is no bickering or resentment, complaint or withdrawal, compromise or manipulation. In short, the power battles, so obvious and prevalent in all human interactions, has disappeared without a trace.
Of course, I am a female and Peter is a male body, and what a delicious difference that is! But I know exactly what he means when we talk, and so does he, because we both have the same human sense organs and the same human intelligence. After we removed the programming of the male and female social identity and the instinctual conflicts of the male and female reproductive program, we are simply two human beings, immensely enjoying each other’s company.
RESPONDENT: Re: gender issues. I am a human first, secondarily a woman. I enjoy being female and have no problem with the idea that there are some real bio/chemical distinctions between males and females, but I differ strongly with the idea that there is a masculine and feminine side to existence, a cosmic tantric dance of masculine & feminine forces that is the key to the meaning of existence. From a scientific point of view, sexual reproduction of any type is a pretty recent development in the history of the cosmos as we know it, and the presence of humans in the sexual scheme of things is the briefest of all. So, to think that the universe is founded on a masculine/feminine principle is, well, very primitive, to say the least.
VINEETO: A good point, I never looked at it that way. In my investigation into my social identity I was not so much concerned about the alleged masculine/ feminine principle of the universe but I was much more interested in the differences of conditioning, beliefs, behavioural and emotional patterns and the continuous power battle between man and women, no matter how subtle or covert. New age therapy blurred the distinctions of the roles a bit on the surface but underneath one’s ‘flirtation’ with the so-called inner male or female is hidden an instinctual desperate battle for power which has up to now prevented couples from peacefully living together in equity, parity and intimacy. I had to dig into my identity of what I felt and instinctually knew I was as a woman, and investigate and eradicate each single idea, notion, belief and feeling of ‘woman-ness’ in order to experience the actual intimacy with a member from ‘the other camp’ that we now enjoy. After an initial rocky time, Peter and I were able to put a permanent halt to the battle of the sexes and had immense fun in comparing notes, having ‘a spy in the other camp’, so to speak, and digging deeper and deeper into the so-called mystery of gender and the supposed mystique of sex.
RESPONDENT: Last night I was out with the visiting relatives in a country setting. The sky was brilliant with stars, much clearer than what I can see at home with city lights, etc. I wondered what I would make of the stars if I hadn’t learned that they were similar to our sun, burning masses of unbelievably hot gases, that warmed the solar systems around them, etc. What if I had no knowledge about those heavenly bodies, what would I make of them? Probably something akin to what ‘ancient wisdom’ came up with.
Similarly with the masculine/ feminine principle. Not knowing better, it would be easy to think that there was some heavenly design related to being male or female, that certain activities related to gender were prescribed and others proscribed. Where real knowledge and technology are absent for whatever reason, superstition, imagination, and intuition will prevail. Man will use his brainpower to increase his chances not only to survive but to better himself and will fantasize as readily as reason to get a handle on the situation he finds himself in. And, obviously, he will choose fantasy and intuition over cold, hard facts if fantasy affords a better possibility for him than fact, e.g. the immortality offered by spirituality.
VINEETO: As a second stage, underneath the obvious socially and religiously / spiritually learnt differences between the sexes, I discovered the workings of male and female instincts. It was utterly fascinating to observe the sexual instincts in me in action, after the sexual taboos, the moral limitations and feelings of love and authority had been stripped away. It was daunting and bewildering at first, perceiving myself as nothing but a female animal wanting to become pregnant, to be filled with the male’s sperm to fulfill my instinctual destiny – the fact that I had been sterilized fifteen years earlier did not change that urge at all. Exploring these instinctual passions to their full extent, and comparing notes with Peter, I finally understood the dilemma of male-female instinctual behaviour that spoils every relationship. While males, besides fatherly care, are instinctually driven to spread their semen as far and prolific as possible for the benefit of the species, females are programmed to search for and then hold on to one reliable protector to care for them and their offspring. It is one thing to have read about those instinctual differences, amongst other theoretical, psychological and spiritual deliberations, it is quite something else to experientially explore one’s instinctual sexual core – there is nothing refined or intelligent about our core passions. Blind nature does not care a bit about anybody’s well-being, natural forces are merely concerned about the survival of the species, and this happens by the traditional recipe which has worked for other mammals for millions of years. Possessiveness, jealousy and rape are all part and parcel of this instinctual animal drive for reproduction.
Love is merely a human invention to cover the embarrassment of being animal at one’s very core.
RESPONDENT: Now, to move from the broader picture to the more personal picture: I was about 40 years old before it ever occurred to me that sex could simply be for sex. I don’t want to give the impression that I was dysfunctional, everything worked fine, but there was always a more primary purpose for sex than just enjoyment. As a young Catholic girl, you were told to hold out on sex for marriage. As a member of the 60’s generation, there was lots of sex, but the payoff was love, sex for love. As a married person, sex was to improve the relationship. As a person involved in spiritual discovery, sex was a tool towards enlightenment. Every cultural/spiritual influence of my life has said sex is for something else, besides yummy, delicious enjoyment. Just like life itself is the journey to heaven, or bliss, or freedom from the wheel of birth and death, etc.
VINEETO: I was raised a Catholic and I know the implications. Sex was always dimmed by the dark shadow of guilt, sometimes enhancing the thrill but always keeping me within the boundaries of society’s values. In my twenties I explored emotions via primal therapy but sex was strictly excluded from the explorations. The early years in Poona in Rajneesh’s ashram were a wide field of sexual experiments for me, but as you say, I always wanted more than sexual pleasure – attention, affection, love, recognition, being part of a group, etc., etc. Only when I came across Actual Freedom, I came to understand that one has to remove one’s identity completely in order to enjoy sex for the pure sensuousness of it – ‘I’ will always feel abused and neglected when ‘I’ am not recognized with affection, love and gratitude.
Sex as a ‘tool towards enlightenment’ was a theory and/or practice so full of contradictions, hypocrisy and loopholes that in the end I could not make any sense of it anymore. As I said to No 8, investigating and enjoying sex as integral part of a journey towards purity and perfection was for me one of the first attractions of Actual Freedom.
RESPONDENT: However, into my 40’s I started looking at this ‘gift’ and realized that my feeling into a person was a way to protect myself, to know ahead of time how a person would most likely act and react, so that there would be no unpleasant surprises. I found I had a strong need to ‘know ahead of time’ so that I wouldn’t find myself in situations where I would feel vulnerable and not know what to do to keep the situation under control, to keep myself intact, unharmed, safe. I pretty much stopped my deliberate reading of people when I began to see it not as a gift, or power, but as a strategy for protecting a very demanding and voracious self.
VINEETO: The most I learnt about using and misusing power was in my longstanding relationship with my former boyfriend, as in a man-woman relationship there are usually no holds barred and our extensive power battles were rather overt than covert. By using every psychic weapon to win a battle I came to know about my female psychic weaponry, consisting of my instinctive intuition to create emotional confusion, to blackmail with guilt, to make unsubstantiated accusations and to use my seduction. Needless to say moments of intimacy were very rare.
It was painful to see myself over and over again trapped in the same instinctual reactions of jealousy, fear, hate, comparison, resentment, etc. and, despite years of spiritual group-therapy and meditation, there was no sign of resolving my re-occurring instinctual reactions. When we finally, after 11 years, we both gave up trying and separated, I vowed to never ever have this kind of power battle again with a man. This determination to find a peaceful way of living with a man gave me the necessary backpressure to question love itself and to leave the old familiar spiritual environment. (...)
RESPONDENT: I’m finding that so much of my interactions with people is based on maintaining a comfortable feeling state for myself. For instance, I can readily sense when my husband is upset with me, even if it is out of the blue, with no obvious situation to explain it. I feel very comfortable when he is angry or upset with me, and I immediately begin to manipulate the situation to make him feel better, so that I feel better. Does this me that is upset really care how he is feeling? I think what I primarily care about is how I feel, and what I really care about is how he feels makes me feel. In fact, that exact situation came up just yesterday, and I told him exactly what I was doing and why. It was almost like giving up a secret weapon. But, maybe I’m getting to where I’d rather deal with my discomfort straight on, than to keep playing games.
VINEETO: Did you mean to say you ‘feel very comfortable when he is angry’ or ‘very uncomfortable’?
I found giving up my secret weapons was the first step and good fun, too. Once I became aware what I was doing, each of my secret weapons became useless, because I couldn’t use it anymore without blushing for being so silly.
Consequently I had to find an alternative to be comfortable with people as they are – and the challenge became to find out what is needed to not feel uncomfortable when someone is angry or sad. I eventually wanted to become emotionally un-affected by others, not just trying to ‘accept’ them, which is only putting a feeling of acceptance on top of the feeling of aversion. Well, I found that it was always my own anger, my own sorrow and my own fear that others stirred up in me. The good news is that as I dealt with my own anger, sorrow and fear I ended up not needing any psychic power over others or psychic defences – which makes life a great lot easier and enables me to have peace and harmony with the other person.
VINEETO to Alan: Today is Monday and I am finishing one of the delightful 3-day weekends, where I can devote every hour of the day to delight and to finding out more about freedom and the human or typical female obstacles to it. This weekend, for instance, I discovered that I was safely hiding behind Peter, him having written the journal and being more of an authority about freedom, because he met Richard first. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had decided to wait for Peter to be completely free first before I would dare to consider it for myself – not the virtual freedom that I am enjoying most of the time, but the actual irreversible freedom that Richard is experiencing 24 hours a day. So armed with this understanding about the typical female role of staying in the shadow of the man – like I have seen most women do with Rajneesh and others, I went to Peter and told him, ‘we are on a race now, watch out, I might be first!’ Funny, hey. Of course it is not a race in the usual sense, but I have come out behind the oven, so to speak!
This understanding changed gear in my life in terms of intensity, it put me more into this moment than before, it broke a restricting veil and gave me the courage to write something in Peter’s journal. I’ll put it on the website, as soon as it is finished, if you are interested. So the printing press is been put on hold until I finished my chapter. Will be a bummer for all the former friends of the sannyas ‘club med’ who are still hanging out with the Rajneesh religion, but what can I do, I have moved away from them already.
VINEETO to Alan: Last night I watched another movie, 1960’s, a red-neck American Western. A woman trying to survive with her son after her husband had died, without becoming a prostitute or just marrying for protection’s sake. She wanted to have a cattle-farm, an unheard-of outrage in those days for a woman to do. Every single man in town tried to put her off, some were quite fiercely threatening her. The pain of having been born as a woman hit me with full force. The obstructions, the arrogance, the insults, the suffering, but also the violence, the fights, the fears, seeking protection and emotional support, dependency and resentment – the whole drama of female identity.
It is so damn good to leave all that behind, to dare and stop being a woman, to peel off that skin of conditioning, both personal and collective, and to be free just to be a human being, enjoying other human beings, be they male or female. Life is definitely delightful beyond my wildest dreams, and the remains of the ‘self’ are wilting like a plucked flower. Absolutely perfect!
ALAN: The emotion I had most difficulty with was guilt. Guilt at ‘leaving’ my wife behind, guilt at being happy and guilt for making her unhappy.
VINEETO: Yes, guilt is a bummer! Not only did I find it rooted in my social or cultural conditioning, but also in the religious upbringing (catholic and even deeper, Jewish as the basis belief of Christianity). And underneath I found the instinct: Peter and I talked a lot about the male and female versions of the instinct of nurture and how they express. The man instinctually has to take care of his woman and child, secure their survival and work his whole life for it. Further he has to be strong and go out and fight should the family – or country – be in real or assumed danger. So guilt could also be rooted in not acting according to that instinct. We wrote a good definition on male and female instincts in Peter’s glossary.
ALAN: It still astonishes me how people can so easily turn their backs on Actual Freedom, as epitomized in Peter’s mail to No 3 – most are simply not interested in discovering how magnificent life can be. I was discussing this with my wife last night and it got back to the familiar sticking point – giving up emotions and becoming a ‘zombie’, as she puts it. Is this an objection you have come across? So far, as what starts one on the exploration, I think you are correct that some disillusionment et. is necessary, but then all who live within the Human Condition suffer disappointment, longing and desperation. Speaking personally, it was my memory of a PCE which started me on the search for ‘answers’ – I wanted to again experience that purity and perfection. It was a decision which took years to make. How did you get started on the spiritual path?
VINEETO: ‘Giving up emotions and becoming a zombie’ – this is almost a standard expression, as if a zombie has no emotions. When I compare my life now with two years ago, then I had been living a zombie-life all my life, with a few exceptions. I had been dull and predictable, a biological mechanism programmed with different roles, beliefs emotions and instinctual passions, just like everyone else around me. Being programmed with emotions is like being out at sea – any moment the weather can change into a raging storm, rain or sunshine, for no apparent reason. ‘Zombie’ means being full of emotions, but keeping them so utterly repressed and distorted that one is 90% shut down.
The comparison of ‘no emotion’ and ‘zombie’ also reminds me of the latest science fiction films, where the robots and computers are very human-like in that they have been programmed with rudimentary emotions. Kryton in ‘Red Dwarf’ is a cute example, Hal in ‘2010’ another. The scientist working with the supercomputer Hal in ‘2010’ (a follow-up film of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001) said to his team: ‘Whether carbon- or silicon-based life forms, both species need to be treated with the same respect.’ What a hoot. In the same anthropo-centric manner that we would like computers to have human-like qualities we are searching in animals for ‘human-like’ behaviour – while completely overlooking the fact that we are observing our own animal-heritage, our core instincts and rudimentary self.
While now, having eliminated the fog of emotions which were cluttering every perception, restricting and distorting intelligence and apperception, life is easy, comfortable, peaceful, happy and imminently delightful. I am more alive than ever, the senses sharper and enjoying whatever is happening, the brain functioning perfectly to sort the sensible from the silly – and sometimes I am silly just for the fun of it.
So, the expression ‘zombie’ for ‘no emotion’ is a misnomer. For the ‘self’, our lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity, it is a reality that ‘I’ am my emotions and without them ‘I’ will only be a robot. For me, maybe particularly with a conditioning and instinctual programming as a woman, emotions were all and everything I thought and felt myself to be. To question emotions is to question one’s very ‘self’. It needs lots of courage, sincere intent and, if possible, the remembrance of a peak experience, to dare to look for something beyond this safe and familiar world of up-and-down emotions.
Meeting Richard was another help for me, for he was not at all the man one could call a ‘zombie’ – yet he is without emotions. Here is a man as normal and ordinary as Mr. Smith but at the same time radiantly alive, friendly, peaceful, gay, humorous, carefree, considerate and perfect as only legendary heroes would have been described – and this day after day, whenever I met him, without any flaw. Here I could compare the facts with my fears, the day to day actuality with my dark and confused fantasies.
But the main reason for taking up the third alternative was because I dared to acknowledge that ‘being normal’ had no attraction for me nor had all the spiritual practice borne any solutions for a happy life. The highly prized emotions had only caused trouble, fight, jealousy, disappointment, hope and desperation in my life.
ALAN: I was discussing this with my wife last night and it got back to the familiar sticking point – giving up emotions and becoming a zombie, as she puts it. Is this an objection you have come across?
VINEETO: I have come across that objection many, many times. Women hold emotions, particularly their own, in high esteem; it is the familiar territory of the power she yields and the most important part of a female identity besides being a mother. Men may have developed other identities, many manage to avoid feeling their emotions like all get out, which, of course, does not help to become free of them.
To me, it was obvious from day one, that if I wanted to live in peace and harmony with Peter, then an exploration and a questioning of all my emotions was inevitable. In the end, this exploration proved to be the dissolution of the male and female camp and resulted in a delicious actual and ongoing intimacy between us, something which, apart from a few glimpses, I had never experienced before.
The other aspect of emotions lies in a broader context, and I am encountering this lately as it is becoming more obvious. Feelings, emotions and instinctual passions are the only connection between ‘me’ and ‘Humanity’. Empathy, sorrow and compassion make us feel connected to the greater ‘community’ of humankind, thus perpetuating sorrow without any solution. Severing the ties to this suffering ‘Humanity’ and standing on my own two feet without even the option of ‘feeling’ the other if I wanted to, is a bold step, and has been a process that took me a few months.
The turning point was the experience that, one evening before sex, I had a flash of wanting to kill Peter. I perceived him as being a deadly threat to ‘my’ identity, and my instinctual reaction resulted in the wish to kill him. The surfacing of this raw instinct in me, directed against my best and most intimate playmate, was a severe shock – it became blindingly obvious and self-evident that ‘I’ am rotten to the very core. To guarantee peace-on-earth, ‘I’ will have to become extinct.
IRENE: ... feelings of affection, warmth, so essential for humour, playing music with pleasure and delightful human interactions is to me as valuable as sexual pleasure and orgasms, why do you see feelings in such a negative way only? To me it sounds like nothing more than another ‘religiously’ followed tenet, like all other masters see sex as something to transcend or get rid of ...
VINEETO: I understood from the conversations with you that you consider emotions including love and sorrow necessary and valuable, and that you want to give women more power because they have the better solution for the world’s problems. How can one gender be right and the other be wrong? How illogical! To me it looks just the reverse of what the Christians and other male oriented religions have been preaching. The problem remains: dominance and slavery of one gender over the other! If men are wrong, so are women. Men have to rid themselves of their male conditioning and women have to rid themselves of their female conditioning. I can only repeat what I already wrote to Konrad:
It is a daring and it requires courage to step out of the identity that I have been born with and to leave the safe place of the ‘women’s camp’. But I have found it the only way to live in peace and harmony with a man and to be free of the petty fights between the two genders. And out of that understanding I am ready to go all the way, taking occasional fear-attacks as par for the course. Women’s liberation – yes, liberation from being woman. Liberation from woman’s conditioning, from woman’s beliefs in authority, woman’s ideas of being a victim and therefore fighting for dominance, from the notion of being a second class citizen, from the need to compare, from the nurturing instinct and subsequent bondage, suffering and self-sacrifice, from the drive to have babies as the meaning of life...
IRENE: ...like all other masters see sex as something to transcend or get rid of ...
VINEETO: That shot missed the target by 180 degrees. If anyone is all for sex then it is me. Where did I ever say I see sex as something to transcend or to get rid of? It is the finest and most delicious pleasure man and woman can have, once all beliefs, instincts and emotions are eliminated. Sex is definitely not the place for fear, aggression, shame and guilt nor is it the place for love, bondage, emotional bank-balance or pleasing. The delight resulting in having eliminated the hindering emotions around sex is my every day experience, and it is beyond my wildest dreams.
IRENE: Living with Richard. made it eventually clear to me that it is not nature that is to blame but the overlaid male interpretation of human life; how it should be instead! In other words knowing better than nature, the universe itself. I don’t have to explain to you how every culture and religion (all invented by male minds, based on their interpretation of how life should be organised and regulated for women as well) denigrates particular aspects of our natural faculties and have tried to suppress them, repress them, to forbid them and demand that they must be changed into unnatural behaviour and beliefs, in order to keep the male supremacy intact.
In most cultures and religions we can observe, for instance, that sex was the culprit – it had to be either repressed completely (like the catholic priests) or limited to the wishes of the man only. In both scenarios a shocking amount of victims were created: repressed sexuality reveals itself in perversity, as is more and more exposed in the use of young children by grown men for their own benefit only and to the detriment of many, many children, as they were made helpless and guilty by intimidation and threats. The other alternative was the licence granted to men over women and girls by cultural and religious authorities, whereby women and girls are seen as just cattle, for the men to use as they please.
VINEETO: I find it curious that by living with Richard you have observed all those described atrocities about male repressive interpretation of life, because I have come to know him as the most peaceful and benign man ever. Nevertheless, what you say is partly true. Men have caused a lot of suffering for everybody, including women – but so have women. Both genders are victim of those insidious instincts that you seem to defend as natural. Every sensible and honest woman knows she has caused as much suffering to boys and men and her own ‘sisters’ as she claims to have received. Out of this stock-take and understanding I decided to stop malice and sorrow completely at least from my side. Waiting for a paradise when everyone will be de-conditioned from the ‘male minds’ conditioning’ equates to me waiting for Santa Claus.
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!
KONRAD: You know what? I stop here reading you. Probably the rest you write is just one huge attack on what I represent, and probably there is nothing good you can find in me, now that your mind is set. So I do not want to waste any more energy on you. Not again such a stupid exchange of misunderstanding upon misunderstanding. The basic problem with our communication is that you have drawn far-reaching conclusions from some honest mistakes. How could I know whether you were a man or a woman, when your e-mails begin with ‘Peter’? And then again, how could I know that Vineeto is a woman’s name? I just thought it to be some name Osho Rajneesh has cooked up.
VINEETO: I took some time to let your letter sink in and to mull about the response. I usually like to let some clarity emerge before I answer, especially when the letter is as emotional as yours has been.
I did not mean to attack you when I said: ‘Logic is the male weapon to tackle life, but it has utterly failed.’ It is simply my experience. For instance, I have seen you discuss with Richard for pages and pages as to whether there is anything worthwhile in his approach to freedom. Now, if someone offers me a key to a prison door, like he does, I don’t think up reasons why it should not work, compare it to other keys with a different colour or form – I try it in the lock. Only then I can decide with the confidence of the experience, that the key opened the lock or not. His key to the prison door of the Human Condition is the simple question, asked with intent and honesty over and over again: ‘How do I experience this moment of being alive?’ and then examine the upcoming emotions, feelings, beliefs and passions.
Now, this is what I call using common sense instead of logic: logic in this case is used to defend an old pattern and not look at its mis-functioning, common sense is trying something new. And in my life I have mainly come across men who were very good in finding excuses with abstract logic not to try something new, neither to examine nor feel their emotions, let alone get rid of them. It could be scary but it may well be successful. I have seen logic being used to wander from the subject, to build castles in the clouds, to create theories that don’t hold any water when it comes to actual situations of daily life.
Women, on the other hand, generally use emotional outbreaks to distract and divert from an issue or subject that scares them. They are conditioned to swim in emotionality rather than sort things out, i.e. eliminate the cause, with a strait-forward intelligence. Accordingly, I had used sulking, guilt, stubbornness, being paranoid or angry to not give up my dearly held familiar beliefs and behaviours – often unconscious – even if those beliefs had failed for years. In order to live in peace and harmony, instead of using my well-practiced defence mechanisms, I had to put exactly those female ‘weapons’ under scrutiny and cast them aside.
Only without the clouding of rationalizing, emotions and instincts can COMMON SENSE – our innate intelligence – start functioning to solve our practical problems. It has been this very common sense that brought us all the comfort, technology and communication that we are enjoying today.
KONRAD: Well, let me tell you that I have been married to a woman using just those techniques you described. The marriage only lasted for 4 years. So I can go along with you here.
VINEETO: Now, I have told you I have cleaned myself up from the female parts of the disease called ‘Human Condition’ and you very happily agreed to this being a good idea. But it does not mean that I took on the male parts of that very same disease. This has often been the typical male reaction to Peter’s and my writing: The men would fold their arms, lean back and pass the book on to their girlfriends, saying, ‘look, he has confirmed that you are wrong. Go and change so I can be happy.’ They completely missed the point of the matter!
Leaving the ‘female’ and ‘male’ world behind, means that I entered the world of common sense, practical down-to-earth thinking and communication on the basis of facts perceived through the senses and applying my intelligence without the burden of either emotions or rationality. This is the third alternative to ‘male’ or ‘female’ thinking, using common sense to evaluate facts and solutions as either sensible or silly. Mind you, common sense has nothing to do with common knowledge or physicist’s equations. It is the free operation of the intelligence based on the perception of all the senses and unaffected by emotions, feelings or otherwise preconceived ideas. Mind you, the important thing is to take the situation in account with ALL your senses – which gives common sense the down to earth quality that the abstract thinking you are using is lacking so much!
The male version of the disease called the Human Condition includes arrogance, superiority, theorising, display of knowledge just to impress or attack, competition, aggression, malice, repression of feelings and emotions and such more. How can one gender be right and the other wrong? Now you did not even consider that men as well have their share of cleaning up to do. Your response quoted above displays very well those male weapons and they were meant to harm, to put me off and to score points. I call this outright malice. How can you claim to be advanced in your ‘process’ when you have not even eliminated the instinct to hurt and attack? And why did most great thinkers, logician, scientists and spiritual gurus need wives or caretakers to look after their physical needs, while they were retreating into a construct of thought, based on either logic or spiritual belief to escape this so terrible world? I take it that you are no different to those escapists, Konrad. (...)
KONRAD: How far does this lack of training go? Have you ever been on a high school or some equivalent? Do you, for example, know what the abc formula is in elementary algebra? Or are you ignorant about that one? Or does it even extend further? Are you able to solve simple puzzles like: ‘If the weight of something is one kilo more than half its weight, how much does it weigh?’ (2, of course) with the aid of simple algebra? For if you are not able to do this, you are not even able to really understand what I am talking about. You are then definitely completely and totally blind to the connection that exists between household appliances and the understanding of physics and logic. And then it is definitely the case that if you assert that all of these things are just the result of the application of common sense, you do not know what you are talking about, and are therefore hardly in the position to refute my statements.
VINEETO: Well done, this time you hit the target: I was annoyed and I think that is what you wanted to achieve! First I tell my story and then I will have a look at your side of that game:
In order to get to the root of my annoyance I had to look at the ghost that you had revived. It was connected to an experience that the little girl I was 35 and 40 years ago had when the boys said: ‘We do not want to play with you because you can’t climb trees as well or because you are wearing a skirt’ ... basically because I was not a boy! I am sure they believed their reasoning to be as serious and valid as you believe yours to be!
Then, feeling excluded from the pleasures they seemed to have, I competed with boys on intellectual terms to be part of their club. I topped high school with best grades in the male subjects like maths and physics, but I still did not belong. I did not understand about male and female battling, about sex, or why humans are so quick to attack and hurt each other – so just being good in math did not work. Nor did later in life any of these subjects help me to be a better or happier human being. Mathematics still can’t explain how egg and sperm turn into the girl I was then or the woman I am now. Life consists of very much more than equations and puzzle-solving! Those algebraic puzzles were a favourite pastime in my teens, but since then I have moved on to more life-related questions like: How to become completely happy and harmless!
If the above mentioned training is what you request from women to accept her as a partner in communication about vital questions of human behaviour, without arrogantly snorting on her, then I pass and have no further interest in any exchange. This is the typical male world, consisting of competition, arrogance, throwing about knowledge which is irrelevant to the subject talked about. If you insist to stay in that world of equations then good luck!
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.