Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Freedom from the Human Condition
VINEETO: There was a story on the news the other day about a plane taking up 10 skydivers. The first one to jump became accidentally entangled in the tail of the plane and it broke off. The pilot, seeing the seriousness of the situation, did the only sensible thing and told everybody to ‘Get out’ and then he jumped as well.
In the last four years I have dug into the Human Condition to make sense of it in order to understand how it works which has helped me a lot to become free of it. Now when I look at the Human Condition it does not make sense at all – it is simply madness. The only sensible thing for me left to say – and to do – is to ‘Get out’.
GARY: I have noticed in just about all psychological writings the concept of the ‘self’ is very important. Indeed, it is central to any description of human beings and what makes them tick. Although I have but a passing acquaintance with the work of Erich Fromm, I see that in his writings he talks of the importance of having an ‘integrated’ self: that psychological health is derived from integrating the various aspects of the self and achieving an optimal balance within oneself. To the various theorists who posit the importance of a healthy, integrated ‘self’, actualism would make no sense at all and indeed would be thought to be a dangerous and insane enterprise. Because actualism posits that what is known as the ‘self’ is actually the root cause of our troubles. Once I peeled through the layers of my social conditioning and social identity, I found that at the core ‘I’ am but a shivering, hunkered-down, frightened creature seeking biological survival at all costs. It almost seems in a way that when one gets to the bedrock human primitive instinctual passions, one runs right up against a wall which is unmoveable and impregnable.
Richard’s discovery, that it is actually possible to eradicate the animal instincts, is greeted with scepticism from every corner and, were it not for the Pure Consciousness Experience, impossible to believe.
VINEETO: Addiction is a fascinating issue in the sense that becoming aware of and getting tired of one’s addictions might give someone the necessary kick in the bum to do something about the underlying emotions that drive us to do really silly things over and over again. Yet I know so many people who delight in complaining about life in general and their own situation in particular and are very addicted to the cycle of suffering and need for sympathy to be followed by suffering more for more sympathy. As a bleeding heart liberal who has been moved to alleviate such emotional suffering I was inevitably confronted with the addiction to suffering itself. This strange addiction is only understandable when one takes into account, as you observed, that at the core ‘‘I’ am but a shivering, hunkered-down, frightened creature seeking biological survival at all costs’. Suffering keeps ‘me’ in existence and as such ‘I’ have a vital investment to keep suffering.
As such, actualism is only for those who, by their own volition, have enough of their own suffering and of their own malice and can see the silliness of this sorry-go-round both in themselves and in others. Only then do I stop trying to help, blame or change others instead of changing myself and only then do I stop imposing my malice and suffering on others instead of putting a permanent stop to that which causes me to be malicious and sorrowful.
GARY: Erich Fromm’s assertion that the addict seeks orgiastic states as a release from the feeling of separateness I would have to confirm from my own experience, from both experience with chemical substances and from relationships. Very early on in my use of various mood-altering chemicals, including certainly alcohol, I was most interested in getting completely obliterated – ‘out of my skull’ – whether perhaps due to genetic predisposition to addiction (in my case a definite factor as alcoholism runs in the family) or some combination of unfavourable conditions early in life, not the least of which was a drinking mother – I found that chemicals were the perfect release from crushing feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, and numbing emptiness and what seemed to be the meaninglessness of existence. Concurrent with my chemical addiction was addiction to various friends and family members, a disabling interpersonal dependency in which I clung to and manipulated others to prop up what felt to me to be a meaningless and empty life. But I also discovered, later as a teenager and young adult, through the use of psychedelic substances such as LSD and mescaline, that these chemicals opened a portal in the mind through which the physical world of the senses could be experienced more directly and more vibrantly than ever possible in the ‘normal’ state. Lest I sound like I am advocating the use of these substances, I am not. I have not used any since at – the latest – 1980. But one PCE I had reminded me strongly of being on a low dose of LSD – I had the sense again of a portal in the mind opening up and of a vibrancy and clarity of perception being possible strikingly in contrast to the ordinary, ‘normal’ state. The fact that this extraordinary state can be experienced without the use of chemical aids is tantalizing.
VINEETO: Human history and particularly religious history is littered with accounts where drugs have played a very important role in inducing extraordinary experiences, orgiastic states, religious experiences, revelations, epiphanies, and various altered states of consciousness, or even pure consciousness experiences like magical non-affective nature experiences.
It is not the drug itself that is addictive, although a physical craving can develop with the use of some drugs. The psychological addiction is due to the fact that deep down ‘I’ don’t want to change and I don’t want to disrupt the delicate balance of my precious ‘self’. Then, those experiences of ‘getting out of my skull’ are confined to the ‘safe’ environment of a temporary chemical i.e. drug-induced change – safe, because ‘I’ know that after a reasonable period of time ‘I’ will again resume being my familiar ‘self’. From the perspective of a suffering but thriving ‘self’ the chance of a temporary return to those obliterating ‘out of it’ spaces becomes the addiction. Today I can see why, 25 years ago, I could never convince my heroin addicted clients to permanently get rid of their debilitating habit – addiction was their very identity. Yet it still evades me why, for everyone, suffering is so much more desirable than a life without a sorrowful and malicious ‘self’, now that there is a third alternative available.
I looked up the word tantalizing and it is a very descriptive word for a drug-experience –
The ‘holiday from self’ that the drugs provide are but a tease, just as a PCE is but a tease. It is up to me to use this tease of what is possible as a stepping stone to actual permanent change instead of forever hankering for the next ‘holiday from self’ while remaining safely anchored within the Human Condition.
For a committed actualist, a PCE is not a tantalizing tease because I know that it is possible to become actually free and I am ready to do whatever is needed to evince the change needed to become actually free. In a pure consciousness experience this freedom is so very obvious already always here – it is only ‘me’ who is not capable, by ‘my’ very nature, of being here.
GARY: Actualism is the study, the investigation of this ‘me’ who is standing in the way of experiencing a totally incomparable quality of life, second to none, which is freely available to all and sundry, once ‘I’ willingly self-immolate. Trouble is, ‘I’ will do just about anything to stay in existence. Like the proverbial Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke, once I think I’ve got it under wraps, fresh new leaks of ‘me’ sprout up all over the place. Gary to Alan, 7.6.2001
VINEETO: I like your analogy because it describes very well how one can experience oneself when applying the method of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ for some time, as belief after belief gives way to the irrefutable obviousness of facts and one ‘self’-image after the other crumbles in the bright light of sharpening self-awareness.
In the first months of my investigation I was thrilled and excited when I saw my beliefs tumbling, my morals thrown overboard and my ethical values gone out the window because they no longer made any sense. The challenge was to eliminate my social identity bit by bit, to question and examine my cherished beliefs, my ideas about right and wrong, good and bad and to shed my identity of belonging to a gender, a nationality, a profession, a race, a religious or spiritual group – in short everything that would give me definition, value and position as a member of society. Having looked again and again under the hood of the nice and the good girl that I usually was, I was at times shocked at what I discovered, as in ‘is that really ‘me’, is that who ‘I’ really am?’
However, some several months into my explorations, I remember a stage when I thought that I had done enough and cleaned up my remaining ‘self’ enough. Consequently, every time I experienced an emotion creeping up, I berated myself, resented that I still had feelings and wondered if I had missed a signpost and gone off the ‘right’ track. I had long discussions with Peter and Richard and read and re-read about the method of Actual Freedom until I had to admit that I had fallen into the trap of attempting to live as a ‘reduced self’, as much as possible devoid of feelings, and that this was the reason why I was feeling so stuck.
When I examined this attitude a bit closer, I found it to be a remnant of my past spiritual teachings – despite my initial genuine investigations I had inadvertently transmogrified the method of actualism into the Buddhist-based teachings of transcending or sublimating my feelings instead of eliminating the ‘self’ that generates them. This ‘escape route’ will inevitably present itself as a ‘self’-preserving way of sweeping the remaining ‘self’ and its resultant emotions and feelings ‘under the carpet’ in order to remain ‘me’. At this point the challenge was to see myself coming closer and closer to the point that cleaning myself up was not the whole story – that I was in fact undeniably moving to a point of no return. In hindsight, I can say that attempting to be a rational, sensible but emotion-reduced ‘self’ via sublimated feelings was jamming my foot on the breaks in order ‘to stay in existence’.
It took me many deep breaths to fully acknowledge that ‘I’ consist of nothing but my emotions and instinctual passions and that there won’t be any of ‘me’ left when all of the Human Condition in me is ‘cleaned up’. Or, to put it the other way round, it is impossible to clean myself up without simultaneously instigating my extinction. In actualism I am not merely sorting out and eliminating the good or bad attributes of ‘me’ – all of ‘me’ has to go. Once I fully comprehended the implications I could also see that there were only two options now – to abandon ship and turn back to ‘normal’ or to go full steam ahead and incite ‘my’ ‘self’-immolation. As I had already passed the point of no return because becoming ‘normal’ again was plain silly, I thought what the heck. By the way ... according to an American comedian, heck is a place not quite as bad as hell.
Well, ‘what the heck’ soon turned into more and more delicious abandon, and ever since I have been busy discovering how absolutely safe the actual world is – whenever ‘I’ have stepped aside to be able to experience its sensual abundance and utter perfection. The instinctual passions of survival are deeply ingrained in us and this is why, in order to be able to investigate those passions, the ‘dyke’ of one’s social identity along with one’s fixations of good and bad, right and wrong, has to leak and eventually break. As long as one feels it is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ to feel fear, aggression, lust or dependency, there is no possibility of scientifically observing, factually examining, deeply understanding and successively diminishing one’s instinctual passions. Only when I know ‘me’ in all of my instinctual variations do I know all that I have to leave behind. As history has demonstrated very clearly, a blind jump from being ‘normal’ can only lead to ‘me’ changing identity by becoming ‘My Real Self’.
So, Gary, as you have discovered, actualism works successfully to ‘unwrap’, dismantle and eliminate what stands in the way of experiencing the actual – and as such the ‘Dutch boy’ may well be doomed to fail. I found, however, that I would never get more challenges than I could handle at one time, even if it sometimes initially felt that way. The trick is to remember not to take the discoveries of your emotions and beliefs as ‘leaks’ of an imperfect personality or as individual bad traits, but to understand them to be manifestations of our genetically inherited disease known as the Human Condition, i.e. common to all. The Human Condition by definition is common to all – however, each individual can instigate and facilitate their freedom only for himself and by himself.
When you see that everyone is inflicted with the same instinctual animal passions, then ‘my’ shame, ‘my’ guilt and ‘my’ doubt begin to lose their grip in the face of this obvious observable fact. Then one’s investigation changes from ‘what is wrong with my belief?’ to ‘this is a belief and where in particular is it wrong?’ That’s when investigating the Human Condition, as it is manifest in everyone and in oneself, becomes such a thrilling and intriguing adventure, so much so that one becomes fascinated, rather than seriously concerned, about how ‘I’ tick. Actualism is about being sincere, not serious – after all, leaving the Human Condition behind is considered a mental disorder.
GARY: I am also interested in what happens when investigation of particular affective feeling leads to the disappearance of that feeling and what causes it to come back. In my experience, it seems that certain issues come up again and again at times. I keep thinking that because they come back, I must have missed something in my investigation into them.
VINEETO: When I thoroughly investigate a particular issue, i.e. when I trace it from a mood to a belief to a moral-ethical value to a deep feeling and then right down to the instinctual passions from where it hinges, then it does indeed disappear once I experience and understand it in its totality. As you described above, your ‘need to create a cozy nest and cling to my relationship with my partner’ could eventually be traced back to an instinctual fear ‘harkening back to the time when our ancestors hunkered in deep caves for protection’. When you experientially understand that your instinctual passions are driving you to mindlessly seek protection and fight off invaders, then that awareness of how ‘you’ tick stops you ‘ticking’ this way … and a bit of ‘self’ dies away.
In the case of the issue returning, I often find that it is a different aspect of the issue, a different triggering mechanism, or a deeper layer to it that then comes to the fore. For instance, my contemplations as to whether there is a God or not was only conclusively understood when I grasped the fact that in an eternal and infinite universe there is no outside to it where any God could reside and from where He, She or It could rule. As I have described in ‘A Bit of Vineeto’, this insight was so shocking that it ‘cracked’ the structure of my identity and momentarily brought on a PCE.
However, despite this breakthrough, I still had to examine other aspects of my beliefs in anything at all spiritual, supernatural or divine. At the time, this meant that, whilst my guru was not a divine being and there wasn’t an ‘other-world’, the issue on the table then became my spiritual loyalty and my belief in the truth of his teachings. Despite the fact that I had experienced in a PCE a completely non-spiritual material-only universe that was utterly majestic and magnificent, I still had to whittle away at a lot of aspects of my belief in something other than this physical actual world. In fact, I am still at it because ‘I’ am, by my very nature, non-physical, non-actual and therefore spiritual.
In the beginning I also often thought that I had missed something when a feeling or an issue returned but the longer I study the human condition in me, and the more I observe other people, the more I come to understand the perversity and the deeply ingrained structure of ‘me’, the psychological/psychic being that is a direct product of this ancient animal survival program. An estimated one million years of human history – dependent upon somewhat whimsical speculations as to the transition from animal-only to animal-human – is an enormous heritage to unravel.
In the light of the extent and density of this programming, when a bit of the million-year old social programming or the billions-of-years old animal instinctual programming resurfaces, I came to understand that I haven’t necessarily missed something, I simply can’t understand it all or take it all in, at once. You could also say that one inevitably misses something the first time round in an investigation because particular issues have many aspects and many layers that are not all apparent at the first examination.
GARY: This would seem to have a lot to do with sincerity. If one sincerely wants to get rid of something, then one will put the time and energy into doing just that, rather than settling complacently for something less than total elimination of the troubling issue.
VINEETO: Yes, I agree, it has all to do with sincerity. Only I know if it is a fact that I have wiped out a particular aspect of my social identity or if I only believe I have or if I am pretending I have – that’s why actualism is a do-it-myself job only, and that is why nobody can do it for me.
VINEETO to No 13: It is always a surprise to me to hear once in a while that someone is interested in pursuing Actual Freedom and is appreciating what we write about it. Almost everyone I have met and talked to about Actual Freedom seems stubbornly convinced that the traditional solutions of ethics and morals or spiritual transcendence must be the sure way to cope with life.
I see it that I have come into the world with the Human Condition of malice and sorrow like a car that comes out of the factory already with a faulty engine – and everyone tells me to polish the outside in order to fix it up and make it look all right on the surface. No one considers looking under the bonnet where the problem is, and instead of screwdrivers, spanners and mechanical instructions one gets offered different brands of paint and polish.
To translate the metaphor: no one acknowledges the core-problem, the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire and therefore the only ‘tools’ that are passed on from generation to generation are rules of moral, ethical and spiritual behaviour, varying from tribe to tribe, which is only a cosmetic fix of hypocritical ‘feel good and do good’. Why not, for a change, inquire into the root cause of the dilemma and fix up the problem itself?
That’s what Richard’s method has been for me – the tool to get under the bonnet and fix up my brain, re-wire the synapse, and change the course of brain-activity – from feeling to thinking, from intuiting to contemplating, from meditating to researching, from passionate imagination to clear-eyed observation and from ‘self’-centred myopia to 360 degrees vision. The question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ has been the spanner to fix the engine, so to speak, and I have used it to investigate and research how the brain works in order to incrementally eliminate its software.
The bugger in the engine is the ‘self’, this entity in each of us which is not only lost, lonely and frightened but is also very, very cunning. The challenge and the fun has been to find the many tricky ways the ‘self’ disguises and deceits, hides and pretends, delays and objects to exposure – because ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul will do anything to avoid death.
VINEETO: Good to hear from you. I always like it when there is discussion or debate because that is an excellent opportunity to discuss the nitty-gritty of the Human Condition and the method of Actual Freedom. In this way everybody on the list can enhance their understanding and make a choice for themselves.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, I shall have to write in more detail, (when I have time), but when you wrote; ‘I would like to take the offer and investigate the presented points for what ‘they are worth’ for an actualist and in what way they can be used as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’
Your response was excellent but don’t under-estimate what others have come to understand and what others may or may not believe.
VINEETO: I read through my last letter to you very carefully and I could not find anything that indicates that I ‘under-estimate what others’ – in this case you – had to say in your seven points to No 16. Neither did I say anything about what you ‘may or may not believe’. Since the points were very short, I found it appropriate and useful to explore your statements on a deeper level in order to have a clearer understanding of the Human Condition. Actual Freedom is not about what ‘others may or may not believe’ but about ascertaining the facts of the situation. This is, after all, the very purpose of this Mailing List.
Knowing my own process, and therefore having studied the Human Condition in detail, I indeed know a lot about ‘what others may or may not believe’ and what may therefore be useful hints or clarifications in order to free oneself from one’s social identity and one’s instinctual passions. After all, the Human Condition is common to all and does not vary very much in each person. Aggression is aggression in man or woman, young or old, East or West, as are the other instinctual passions. The social identity has a few more possible variations according to the particular culture that one was raised in, but the basic moral and spiritual beliefs are very much alike. Everyone believes that an immortal spirit or soul inhabits this flesh-and-blood body and that for the sake of one’s ‘eternal future’ one should aspire to follow the ‘good’ and ‘right’. Underpinning the ‘good’ and the ‘right’ there is also instilled the common fear of retribution, punishment, ostracism and ridicule should one dare to stray from the well-worn path.
RESPONDENT: In doing this you isolate yourself from all humanity, (including those who may know even as much as yourself), without really needing to.
VINEETO: Yes, you are right in a way about isolating ‘from all humanity’. By assessing the Human Condition as common to all of humanity including myself, it is clear that in the process of freeing myself from this very Human Condition I will ‘isolate [my]self from all humanity’. Personally, I would not call it ‘isolating’, although it might feel like isolation at the start of the process. Once you come here into the actual world you realize that you have been isolated all your life by being bound by the Human Condition and therefore become less and less isolated from people, things and events by freeing yourself from it. The aim is to ‘step out of humanity and leave one’s self behind and come into the actual world where one belongs’ – (one of my favourite Richard-quotes). Stepping out of humanity is not only needed in order to reach freedom – it is the very act that distinguishes Actual Freedom from all spiritual beliefs. Everybody else is looking for the solution within the Human Condition, accepting the mother of all beliefs that ‘you can’t change Human Nature’.
Richard, as the pioneer, is the first who has stepped out ‘from all humanity’ and has thus proven that not only is it possible to survive without beliefs, affective feelings and instinctual passions, but it is the only sensible solution to all the murders, wars, suicides, violence and suicides in the world. Peace on earth is only possible when one dares to question all of humanity. As Peter said,
Richard described it in his journal page 58, Article 21: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO COMBAT THE WISDOM OF THE REAL WORLD. (...)
RESPONDENT: Labels are not needed except as you say, ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition.’... and it is good fun.
VINEETO: I have never talked about ‘labels’ ‘as a starting point for further inquiries into the Human Condition’. I said – as you have quoted at the very top of the letter:
Label according to the dictionary means: ‘...to put in a certain class, to describe by a certain label’. Macquarie
When you say ‘labels are not needed ...’, I take it that you don’t mean words or descriptions, but use ‘label’ as in making a moral judgement. Personally, I find that both precise descriptive words and accurate judgments based on facts are essential for the inquiry process. How else is it possible to distinguish silly from sensible, malicious from harmless and sorrowful from happy? The important thing is what one’s judgement is based upon – and most people use their feelings and intuition to judge a situation, a person, a statement or an event. But to base one’s judgement on facts, common sense, pure intent and the memory of a pure consciousness experience is the only way to find one’s direction in the maze of old wisdom and NDA beliefs, ancient psittacisms and self-centred emotion.
So, labels are very much needed, for fruitful communication, for clarity and for in-depth investigation into the substance and content of the Human Condition. Once one gets rid of the moral and ethical judgements (usually the self-recriminations are the hardest) of good and bad, right and wrong, then the clarity that comes with sound judgement is all good fun.
ALAN: So, to get back to the subject, what causes the ‘zombie period’? For me, it is not living this moment of being alive. As I said above, it is ‘me’ desperately trying to regain control, the fear of ‘my’ extinction. But, these are intellectual answers. At the time of ‘stuckness’, there is no obvious way forward (suggestions welcome) and it is a bit a case of waiting. What helped was recalling my PCEs and concentrating on this moment of being alive. But, it is a bit of a ‘Catch 22’ situation. When ‘here’, it is the easiest and most effortless thing to do, to enjoy this moment – as you know, it is impossible to do otherwise, and the question becomes meaningless. When ‘stuck’, one has no idea how to get out of it – except reading what Richard, you and Peter write, and have written, maybe eventually gets through and one realizes that it is the simplest and most obvious thing to do. Maybe it is a sort of tricking ‘me’ into not being here?
VINEETO: I have always liked Peter’s story about the science-fiction story in his journal:
I see the path to freedom as a double approach. One is to have as many peak-experiences as possible to get all the information about the actual world I can get. The other is to remove the shackles and lead-weights, whenever they occur, made up of various beliefs and their ensuing emotional reactions until underneath I find the bare instincts.
So when in a peak-experience, or at least in a clear, unemotional state I would deliberately go towards the issue that had troubled me last and search for the underlying belief that still had a grip on me. In the PCE I could much easier examine it in its complete structure, understand it and compare emotions and beliefs with the facts of the present situation. To generally call it ‘me’ or ‘fear’ usually was not enough to do the trick. I look at it like a detailed scientific investigation into the Human Condition, wanting to find out not only how I am operating, but how all human beings function, more or less similarly, with their ‘me’ intact. Pride was the first thing to be thrown out, feeling offended the next. Seeing it operating in everybody makes it easier to put the particular issue on the table and not consider it some private disability that only I was struck with.
And with each issue examined and thus eliminated, the lead weights became lighter, the access to being here easier and longer lasting.
A word about stuckness: the emotion that usually kept me from looking at the issue was mainly fear, sometimes disguised as confusion, mental laziness or simply avoidance. But after a few days, or a few hours, I would simply see the silliness of avoiding the issue and thus wasting my time by not being ‘here’ and then start off the examination. It often would go like this: OK, damn, what is it this time? What has happened just before I turned numb, or grumpy or zombie? Ah, that person said something. No, can’t be it, I’m over with this. Oh, well, maybe still a little trace? Wow, big fear now. What belief made me react? Where is the hook? And then, like a dog, I would pick up the scent and follow the trail until I had the bugger by the throat. The first resistance was the most difficult to overcome – once I had started to investigate, thrill would keep me going, and curiosity, of course.
Sometimes I would find a childhood issue, like in my early mail with Konrad, some attachment to a cozy feeling or simply the instinctual fear of stepping outside of all of humanity’s concepts and beliefs. The wish to get out of the emotion (fear or whatever) into ‘here’ before I had checked it out thoroughly and understood it in its complexity was often a hindrance and would only prolong the process. One can’t go in two directions at the same time. Once I reached the bottom of the ‘pit’ and saw what the particular issue consisted of, being here was the natural by-product.
Yes, being here is the simplest thing to do – once I am here; but cleaning oneself up entirely so as to not to be pulled back by anything is also the most courageous thing to do. When an emotion gets you into its grip it is quite a bit of work to find out all its implications, and rarely someone dares to do it. Like, when you thoroughly investigated sorrow...
ALAN: Do you still experience PCEs?
VINEETO: I noticed that PCEs are different to the stunning delightful surprises in the beginning, which were full of tumbling realization, psychedelic-like experiences of my surroundings. They lately seem to be more rare and short minute-long flashes, just long enough to recognize the sparkle and the absence of ‘me’, before ‘I’ appear back on the scene. I put it down to the fear of the ‘real’ thing that might just ‘accidentally happen’ while ‘I’ am temporarily in abeyance, and also to the fact that my continuous persistent obsession with the final event is keeping fear close at hand and thus prevents the ‘extra sparkle’. Since you brought up the question I thought about it and figured that this fear is actually part of me keeping death at bay, as much as I may be convinced that I don’t do it – ‘I’ am verily lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning through and through.
But we have lots of very ordinary moments of living together, Peter doing his thing – being an architect or watching cricket or whatever else he takes pleasure in – and I do my thing – playing with pictures or on the website – and then we share lots of delightful pleasures of cooking, eating, a walk into town, a talk on the couch or a rompacious romp. These times seem so normal and ordinary that only in hindsight I recognize their innocence and particular taste of well-being. And then there are these moments, often hours of being excellent, but not quite experiencing a PCE, obsessed with the conundrum in my head of what is in the road of me disappearing. And while I am searching for and finding more and more blinding evidence that there is really, really no solution whatsoever within the boundaries of the ‘self’, there is this deliciously sweet and thrilling ‘taste or smell’ of the approaching inevitability, what Richard calls one’s destiny and I call ‘the proof of the pudding’. And, admittedly, that’s what I am more fascinated with than inducing a PCE.
In my exploration of what I can identify as ‘me’ I was wondering what made me feel guilty, impatient, frustrated and annoyed at not yet being able to prove that actual freedom is possible as the non-spiritual, down-to-earth route that Richard mapped out after his extraordinary journey. What I found, surprise, surprise, was that I was hanging on to a feeling of integrity of ‘me’, which was causing these feelings to erupt. When I examined what that word ‘integrity’ really means, I discovered that this highly valued humanitarian value had been a great support for my investigation of feelings, emotions, beliefs and instincts. It appears in the same basket as sincerity, honesty towards myself and the stubborn resistance to settle for second best. But nevertheless, integrity is nothing but a nice man-made value, developed presumable in the Middle Ages, with the legends of heroic knights and fair maiden, to keep the raw instincts at bay. And what’s integrity worth as it is only covering the underneath lurking instincts, old and rotten like ancient dinosaur bones. And I noticed that it is particularly the ‘good’ bits of the self that I am still defending.
Today we saw ‘Lord Nelson’s Affair’, a brilliant performance about Lord Nelson and his affair with the daring, ‘immoral’ mistress before his last battle at Trafalgar. He was trapped between enjoying his life with her and fighting for his country for duty, honour and glory, while she was trapped in her particular role. Musing about the moral standards then and today, the rules and punishments of society then and now, I cannot find any difference in terms of their success in tackling the all so obvious instincts in action. Nobody was happy then and nobody lived in peace then, and that fact is still the same. Everywhere I can see human beings attempting the impossible in thousands of different ways and always failing – nobody is happy and living in peace – there is no solution within the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. When everything else is said and ‘un-done’, when all the covering social and cultural conditioning of beliefs and emotions is removed, I am as much an instinctual being as were Mr. and Mrs. Cro-Magnon thousands of years ago. As long as these basic instincts are alive as ‘me’, I am just one of the 5.8 billion people in the world battling it out for survival – until I disappear, proving it possible for everyone to live in peace in his or her lifetime.
VINEETO: For me nothing justifies ‘a cessation of investigation’, until the fat lady has sung. That is my aim in life and it does not matter how long it takes because for me there is no other game to play that is worth playing. I left the real world behind when I found that it sucks and I left the spiritual world behind when I found it to be a shallow fantasy and a hypocritical delusion.
ALAN: And, for ‘me’, ceasing the investigation is what ‘I’ most want.
VINEETO: The other day I heard a woman say in a TV drama discussing her emotional state: ‘I like being messy because that’s who I am’. I find her statement a good description of normal existence because to be a social-instinctual identity is to be emotionally messy. In that context, my sincere intent is that I don’t ‘like being messy’, both for my own sake and for that of others, no matter what consequences it has to ‘who I am’. Speaking personally, rather than wanting to ‘cease the investigation’, I have found the process of self-investigation both thrilling and fascinating – it gives ‘my’ life both meaning and purpose.
The way you formulated your reply it appears that there is a ‘me’ who wants to be actually free and a ‘me’ who doesn’t. Yet in fact there are not two ‘me’s’, there is only one entity, who may sometimes want to be free and other times not want to be free.
With the memory of the PCE ‘I’ could clearly see that ‘I’ am standing in the way of perfection and therefore ‘I’ agreed to take ‘myself’ apart. The impetus to examine, investigate and change comes from ‘me’ – ‘I’ am willing to die because ‘I’ have unmistakably understood it to be the best and only solution to the human condition. Once ‘I’ made the full-hearted decision to actively stage my own disappearance, the journey became easier and I could make use of my instinctual passions to help ‘my’ mission. Now desire helps me to achieve the best possible, aggression to stubbornly stick to my goal, nurture to altruistically sacrifice my ‘self’ for the benefit of this body and every body, and fear, well, fear gives me the impetus to end fear forever.
But it is ‘me’, and only ‘me’, who is willingly doing all the work of becoming free. For comparison –
ALAN: Perhaps this is where there is an advantage in living with like-minded people – it is more difficult to ignore?
VINEETO: Other like-minded people, i.e. practicing actualists, are of no benefit whatsoever as long as ‘what ‘I’ most want’ is ‘ceasing the investigation’. Unless an actualist is eager to roll up his or her sleeves and do something in order to become free from the human condition, other people who talk about their experiences with the method and demonstrate its success by being increasingly happy and harmless can even be perceived as nosy intruders.
Personally, I cannot ‘ignore’ the lure of actual freedom, not because I live with Peter or occasionally chat with Richard, but because I am haunted by the memory of the perfection that already always exists and that only becomes apparent when ‘I’ am absent. My backpressure to become free doesn’t come from ‘like-minded people’ asking probing questions but from having tried the normal-world and spiritual-world solutions and found that they failed.
IRENE: (...) It does not mean though, that I could ever go back to seeing all people who are not following Richard’s way as basically malicious and sorrowful. They are not, at least not all the people I have contact with, on the contrary! (...)
VINEETO: As I said above, looking within myself I found the Human Condition applies to everyone, it being the disease we come into the world with. I don’t see it as the personal ‘fault’ of anybody in particular and therefore don’t make the mistake of blaming others for my misery and anger. But as I have found that it is possible to eliminate the Human Condition within myself, to become happy and harmless, I consider everybody capable of doing something about their malice and sorrow, if they so desire. And to state that most people are happy and benign is plainly denying facts and not looking below the surface. To get rid of a disease firstly one has to acknowledge that one is sick. Most people don’t want to do this. Fair enough. But that does not stop me from expecting a possible outbreak of malice or fear or sorrow from anybody, having seen how ingrained it has been within me. You yourself said that in order to keep love in your life you would welcome the sorrow that comes in its wake.
IRENE: ...there is a huge part of human enjoyment that is deemed invaluable and therefore to be rid of, exterminated, extirpated etc. In other words these aspects of human life, decreed by Richard as worthless (have nothing to do with it), perverse (malicious) and needlessly painful (sorrow) are all wrong. He blames the actual human organism, that what is naturally manifested by the universe (and specifically by the earth), an absolutely magical phenomenon that can not only have sensual and sexual experiences (like all animals and even plants to a certain degree of intensity) but comes also with an exquisite capacity for thinking, feeling, sensing, and communicating all these capacities. To Richard this natural humanness is the cause of all problems in the world, and especially the feelings and instincts, as you well know. He is therefore anti-nature: preposterous.
VINEETO: Richard does not blame the human organism, but the Human Condition. The human organism is the body complete with senses and brain and the innate intelligence to be ‘sensible’. The Human Condition, the collection of beliefs and underlaying instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, is exactly what spoils the unimpeded use of our innate intelligence. I admit, nobody before Richard has ever considered the possibility to separate the two, but they are definitely two different things. I can vouch for that with my own ongoing experience.
RESPONDENT: I don’t understand how can anything be wrong in this universe. According to Richard (in fact, according to many Enlightened ones, but Richard never accepts it), the world is so perfect that nothing can be wrong here. Then where is the question of bringing peace to earth. I must mention here that I am not against Richard or pro Eastern thinkers. This argument is just to understand the so called new thinking.
VINEETO: There is nothing wrong with the universe. But there is something fatally wrong with humanity, with every human being, in fact. We are born with the core instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, overlaid by our social and religious conditioning and then have built our own so-called identity on top of it. We call it the Human Condition. This condition is responsible for all the wars, murders, rapes etc. on this planet, it is the source of sorrow and malice in each of us.
And it is deleteable.
The Eastern thinking talks about stopping thought, removing ‘the little man in the head’, the ‘thinker’ – but the identity only shifts to ‘the little man in the heart’, the ‘feeler’. Emotions and instincts (the soul and the ‘core of our being’) remain untouched and are operating in every meditator, in every enlightened one, better than ever. As Richard says, the ‘I’, the ego dies, but the ‘me’, the soul, becomes even more rampant.
The ‘new thinking’ is not ‘so called’, it is that both, ‘I’ and ‘me’, ego and soul, ‘self’ and ‘Self’, have to die in order to experience the world-as-is, radiant, perfect, alive, pure and benevolent. This is peace-on-earth. It can only be achieved by each individual becoming free of their respective psychological and psychic entities.
VINEETO: With a switched on brain, TV can become a useful tool to study the Human Condition, not only in me, but in its workings in everybody.
RESPONDENT: Yes, TV is an important medium for education about the Human Condition. I have always been fascinated in documentaries especially about the human body.
VINEETO: I discovered that I could also use all kinds of films to study different issues of the Human Condition – love-dramas and soap operas, historic films, war films, comedies, etc, etc. They all depict what is common to all people – the Human Condition. This way you also become aware what everybody believes, what everybody feels and is instinctually driven to do. An utterly fascinating and enjoyable tool. Right now there is a series on superstructures in the world on Discovery Channel (Satellite) which shows what technical progress and perfection humans are capable of. It also shows that most technology, science and engineering has been developed and used for war, to kill more efficiently. Such utter perversity.
RESPONDENT: I am sharing it also with the community, I work as a massage therapist in an upper class health spa and in my own place. Working with the human conditioning in the physical manifestations is one good possibility to support another to become free.
First supporting the temporary release of the manifestations, then seeing the underlying mental conditioning, understanding and with the magic of intent to let go of the conditioning itself.
VINEETO: I am curious about your understanding of the word ‘conditioning’. I have come to see conditioning as the first layer to be removed, including all the personal, social and collective input that is fed into all of us since birth. But conditioning is not everything. We are all born with a set of survival instincts that make us susceptible to and heavily dependant on the moral conditioning we receive. When the restricting shield of society’s ethics and morals breaks down, the survival instincts of fear and aggression, nurture and desire are as raw as you can observe them in animals. CNN with their daily News gives ample testimony of the various manifestations of those instincts in action. Unless we discover those instinctual passions in ourselves and start to eliminate them, the ‘self’ will continue to exist and create havoc in one cunning way or another. The difference between the path to actual freedom from the Human Condition and any spiritual or psychological ‘solutions’ is that Actual Freedom gives you a method to get rid of the root cause of the problem – ‘me’ in whatever form.
VINEETO: I think what you describe about your search and your life are very valuable ingredients for you to be vitally interested in Actual Freedom. Otherwise how could you be attracted by or understand the sentence ‘Everybody has got it 180 degrees wrong’? One has to have personal experience about the peddlers of snake oil, the gurus, to suspect that they are only peddlers of snake oil. And one has to have enough confidence to doubt that it is, in fact, enlightenment and the spiritual teachings that are wrong and that it is not the fault of the individual seeker. This insidious belief that the seeker is always wrong has kept the gurus in power over millennia.
It is a great moment when one turns around for the first time and questions the revered wisdom of the ages; the wisdom one has chased all one’s life.
... there are many more questions and the spiritual world fails to provide any satisfying and successful answers. Taking this into consideration, then it starts to make sense – as Richard has discovered by questioning his own state of enlightenment – that getting rid of the ego is only half the job and, in fact, creates more havoc than benefit. The real culprit is the ‘soul’, all our feelings, emotions, passionate beliefs and instinctual driven behaviour that is inherent in all human beings. We call it the Human Condition.
RESPONDENT: For the brain works the same in all human beings. Is it not the question: How does the brain work at this very moment?
VINEETO: The brain is a strange thing: Everybody comes into the world with the brain already wired with the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, which are overlaid by a social identity, imposed on us in the childhood years. Here is a definition of the Human Condition from the Library:
Each single emotion, feeling, belief or instinct influences the way you think. When you say ‘the brain works the same in all human beings’ then it is the Human Condition in the brain that works the same in all human beings. But sincere inquiry, intent and contemplation can set a process in motion of un-wiring the brain so that one’s native intelligence can start functioning for the very first time. So the question that worked for me was to thoroughly and scientifically investigate into my feelings, emotions and beliefs that were hindering the free-flowing intelligent functioning of the brain like dams, rocks and mud are hindering the flow of a river. One has to remove the dams and the big rocks one by one – once the brain is freed to a certain degree, the removal becomes easier and turns into a delightful and thrilling adventure.
RESPONDENT: From your and also Peters general responses I have a fair impression that when you refer to the Big picture of the human condition that in comparison with for instance Richard’s understanding of it, your’s and his are perhaps only different when it comes down to scale.
One experimental viewpoint when using a computer program analogy merely has a different ‘zoomfactor than another’s. So applied that to the human condition the closer one watches the more detailed the picture becomes observable.
VINEETO: Judging by the responses Richard gives on this mailing list to correspondents regarding numerous areas of the human condition, less detail is not the distinguishing factor between his description of the human condition and mine. He writes from outside of the human condition because he is free of it whereas I cannot 100% rely on the accuracy of my understanding because I am not yet totally free of it. But when it comes to describing in detail the process of how to become free from the human condition my description about my experiences can be more detailed and more relevant that Richard’s descriptions because they happened more recently.
In that respect descriptions from other practicing actualists of their pure consciousness experiences are even more recent and possibly of use for those who are contemplating beginning to practice the method of actualism.
RESPONDENT: Or to use a space analogy you may have an observer located on Venus Peter has one on Mars and Richard is looking from Pluto at Planet earth. Incidentally when I refer to the human condition I refer as it is now and hence is experienced by me as to be living on that condition as it is now.
VINEETO: I understand what you are trying to say but ‘having an observer’ is a dissociated, spiritual worldview and as such the analogy is not applicable to actualism – I never sat on the fence and ‘observed’ the human condition in others as the spiritual teachings would have us do – I learnt what I leant first-hand by the ongoing process of being attentive as to how ‘I’ functioned and operated. Secondly I am deliciously aware that I am living on planet Earth, and far more so than in the days when I practiced dissociation by trying not to be here and when I believed that the more significant part of my life would start after I became fully dissociated from being here or after I had died.
It would be more accurate to say that the more I understand the numerous aspects of the human condition as they operate in me as ‘me’ the easier I can recognize them as being universal to all human beings because the human condition – as the name suggests – applies to every human being. And the more I recognize the human condition in me – and each time opt for being less obsessed with ‘my’ ‘self’-preserving feelings – the more the bigger picture, i.e. the interests of my fellow human beings, comes into view and this then allows me to be considerate of others and as a consequence I become more happy and in peace.
As for Richard – because he has lived entirely free from the human condition for more than a decade and has far more experience in talking to people than I do, he has the added advantage of more easily and precisely recognizing and more clearly exposing the human condition.
As you become more and more observant as to how you are experiencing this moment of being alive and you find that are not happy then you can become aware of the human condition in action in you. In this process you may for instance discover that it is part and parcel of the human condition
and so on – in short, one discovers that the human condition is inherently ‘self’-preserving, comparable to an invincible fully armoured castle with only small peepholes to look out from.
That’s why nobody else can weaken or eliminate the human condition for you. The only way this ‘self’-preserving stronghold can be broken is via one’s own intent to become harmless and happy combined with the stubborn determination to do whatever is necessary to reach this goal.
RESPONDENT: You were correct in your perception that I did not use the actual freedom method as is suggested by Richard being asking the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive<H?A(I)ETMOBA>. ‘(a sequence of 9 words). Rather I was running a variation on that namely: ‘How am I living my life this moment’ <H?A(I)LMLTM> (a sequence of 8 words). For a while I found myself indulging in linguistic nitpicking (what the fuck can the difference be here?) also there was a sense of ‘she thinks she knows better huh’. Clearly I must accredit myself for having been correct in applying the first part of the sequence H?A(I). But then I realized that merely you had corrected my false sense of being in agreement with the actualist point of view as to the suggestion to apply a method to create peace. After having overcome my initial resistance to experiment in order to check out whether I could take benefit of the mentioned difference I initially decided to experiment with both alternatively. Indeed the effect was stunningly more effective if I run the 9-word-sequence. <...>
VINEETO: It looks like that you are quite enamoured with playing with the letters of the sequence of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ As an actualist, I am more interested in which way applying the method has so far brought any changes in your life, how ‘indeed the effect was stunningly more effective if I run the 9-word-sequenc’ and what insights into ‘the Stygian depth of [your] own psyche’ you have gained. Actualism is, after all, about actual change in one’s life, a change that results from slowly, slowly becoming aware of one’s social and spiritual conditioning, be it Dutch or English, male or female, Baptist or Sannyasin, Krishnamurtiite or geotheistic. I am curious as to what you have discovered about yourself and what tricks of the psychological entity called No 23 you have come to know in yourself.