Selected Correspondence Vineeto
VINEETO: As for ‘there was no trace of emotion’ it is useful to understand that ‘I’, the alien entity within this flesh-and-blood body am not only lost and lonely but also very, very cunning. With this is mind your experience could well be interpreted in this light – if ‘I’ have to disguise myself as a non-emotional psyche in order to stay in existence, then ‘I’ will do just that.
RESPONDENT: I can see the potential for that happening too, but I have to trust my own judgement here. There was no trace of emotion that I could detect; I actually looked for it, it just wasn’t there.
VINEETO: Sometimes I found that missing something familiar could trigger ‘me’ stepping back in, in order to provide the ‘missing link’, so to speak. Vis:
At first I had only Richard’s report that he has no imagination whatsoever and that imagination is an affective faculty of the psyche – later in the actualism practice I could confirm this report by my own experience in that my imagination more and more disappeared and nowadays I have a hard time to activate it, for instance when I try to visualize objects others talk about that I have never seen. I don’t miss it though – it is one less distraction from sensually experiencing what is right here.
VINEETO: When I read your deliberations about the experience, two things come to mind. Firstly it is clear that you have no doubt that this ‘interesting experience’, as you called it, was an ASC and not a ‘self’-less PCE, so the difference is very obvious to you.
RESPONDENT: Yep. The PCE I had last summer had none of this ‘pattern matching’ or ‘symbol-generating’, or ‘plasticity’, and the psyche was not ‘visible’ at all. There was an underlying similarity though that I can’t quite put my finger on, except to say that both seemed to have had a pure and perfect basis.
VINEETO: Would it be right to say that the first was a pure, i.e. ‘self’-less, experience while the other was an image of a pure experience created by your psyche?
RESPONDENT: Not quite. The other was an experience in which psyche was present, but it was not created out of or by the psyche. In both cases there was an underlying purity and perfection; in the latter case it was manifest in mind as well as in world. And the presence of a mind-medium (unlike ordinary ‘imagination’) did not in any way diminish the perfection and purity of the actual world as experienced by the senses.
VINEETO: The purity of the actual world means that there is no ‘self’ or psyche present and it is the affective ‘self’ or psyche that distorts the clear perception of what is actual.
If you decide to reinterpret ‘the perfection and purity of the actual world’ as being an experience of the psyche ‘manifest in mind as well as in world’ then we are talking about two different things. It does make communication a little confusing though. (...)
VINEETO: Secondly, the perfection of the actual world is an innate quality to the infinitude of the physical universe, it is pure and magical but certainly not mathematically ordered as pure mathematicians would have it.
RESPONDENT: Would it surprise you to learn that I agree 100% here? I’ve chosen a bad way to express myself in terms of ‘mathematical purity’. First of all, I regard mathematics as a quantitative description of certain aspects of the actual universe, definitely not an inherent property of it. It’s a human invention, plain and simple. I don’t believe that mathematics is the foundation of the universe, or anything that happens within it. So why did I refer to ‘mathematical purity’? When you’re perceiving the universe in a way that makes you appreciate how wonderful it actually is, what’s the best language to use? I dunno. There’s poetic language, mythological/religious language, or there’s emotionally neutral language. I chose the words ‘mathematical purity’ because it conveys (to me) three things:
Firstly, the sense of being utterly beyond the Human Drama, in an intricately complex and marvellously orderly universe in which there are no Gods or any other mythological paraphernalia; things just unfold in their innate perfection.
Secondly, I tried to avoid one kind of potential misunderstanding in this mailing list, i.e. to differentiate the pure quality of experience from an experience with mythological/religious overtones, Paradise, Garden of Eden, etc. (But in doing that I inadvertently opened up the possibility of another kind of misunderstanding. My fault entirely)
Thirdly, in the depths of my previous ASCs I have been immersed in a kaleidoscopic world of geometrical and mythological imagery intervowen together in unimaginably intricate and fascinating ways. At that time, it seemed to me that I was looking at the very ‘DNA’ of the universe, the invisible ‘fractal forms’ that give everything its psychic and physical structure (and it didn’t matter whether I had my eyes open or closed; these self-similar fractal motifs were present throughout nature and psyche). I am still in two minds about the relevance of this perception. It may be that the universe (including the human psyche) actually is a kind of fractal generator, not set in motion by an intelligent designer, but simply as an innate property. Again, I agree with you that mathematics only describes phenomena in humanly quantifiable terms; it does not explain them, and I don’t believe it is the tool of some mysterious Creator. What interests me is not the mathematics per se, but the actualities that are quantified and described by mathematics, i.e. the splendour, the intricacy, the perfection. (A snowflake isn’t ‘designed’ to be mathematically wonderful, but it is!).
VINEETO: I have no previous experience of LSD so I can only go by what you write. I had some experiences of grand thoughts and apparent through-and-through understandings of the intricate patterns of the universe, the human mind, the secrets of everything, etc. whilst under the influence of THC, so we possibly may have had similar ‘seeings’.
Today, however, with the comparison to many PCEs I know that many of my THC-influenced ‘understandings’ then were affective and subjective and not actual and objective, they were fantasies produced by ‘my’ desire to understand everything. This infinite and eternal universe is far too big, far too complex, far too magnificent and far too wonderful to be comprehended, explained or understood by a human brain. Any attempt on my part to do so has only ended up in imagination. By the way, I think this is the very reason that human beings have invented a God by whatever name who then plays the role of someone who not only comprehends everything – is omniscient – but who is also capable of controlling it all – is omnipotent.
RESPONDENT: I’m not a mathematician or a scientist, by the way, so I have no idea why the universe chose to present itself to me this way on LSD ;-)
VINEETO: The universe doesn’t ‘chose to present itself’ to you this way – ‘you’ chose to take LSD and its effects led you to interpret the universe this way. And from what I have read of such experiences there is as much of a culture around such experiences as there is around spiritual experiences, which makes it difficult to ascertain whether what one is experiencing isn’t merely a culturally-influenced experience. It is telling that Christians ‘see’ Christ in their visions and not Mr. Buddha and that LSD imbibers ‘see’ psychedelic imagery whilst those who imbibe peyote ‘see’ ‘The Great Spirit’. Despite what human beings believe, the scope of human imagination is always limited by, and influenced by, cultural conditioning.
VINEETO: In an ASC, as the name suggests, the psyche is altered, as in expanded, aggrandized, embellished, infused, refined and particularly flavoured according to the image or concept ‘I’ have of the perfect world.
RESPONDENT: Yep, I have no doubt that this can and does happen, and may in fact have happened to me. Some people’s visions of gods and demons and angels are very convincing, apparently. These perceptions of a fractal universe are very convincing too. I have no trouble acknowledging that being stunned and amazed by one’s perceptions is not proof of their validity.
At this stage though, I’m kind of reluctant to dismiss what might actually be a glimpse of something that is actually there.
VINEETO: I do understand the seductiveness of grand schemes, glimpses of revealed mysteries, allusions to hidden secrets – I have chased them more in the religious-spiritual context as superhuman powers, other-worldly mysteries, ethereal realms and divine revelations for many years. Others have chased them as science fiction, alien beings, mathematical meaning, magic mushroom tales and superhuman powers. As a means of distinguishing ‘my’ reality from the actual it is useful to remember that any perception by the psyche is perceived as ‘actually there’ while in a PCE I as my senses perceive directly, without interpretation, what is actually here – and it is patently obvious in a PCE that this actual world has always, already been here, right under my nose as it were.
Actuality is magical not because there is a hidden meaning or mystery but because everything is palpable, tangible, actual, not passive and right here and this actuality is available to each and everyone in the same magical vibrant coruscating way – if and when the obstructing blinkers of the human psyche are removed.
RESPONDENT: In fact there is nothing in my experience that is inconsistent with any known facts or observations, as far as I’m aware. The only objection seems to be that there was a psyche present, but why should that necessarily be an objection?
(I mean, if the psyche – or shall I say ‘mindspace’? – is experienced not as an entity but as a pure and perfect medium – as morally and emotionally neutral as air or water – is there any legitimate objection to the presence of psyche per se?)
VINEETO: The only reason that I objected to and ultimately abandoned the quest for such experiences is that I wanted to live the genuine pure consciousness experience 24/7.
What I found was that as long as ‘I’ had ‘my’ own unique (dearly held and passionately defended) interpretation of the world – be it a spiritual, moral, ethical, emotional or ‘pure’ interpretation – I remained distant from and even adversarial towards others who did not hold to exactly the same view of the world as ‘I’ did. At some point in my life this simply wasn’t good enough for me because I realized that holding onto ‘my’ personal interpretations of the world, however ‘pure’ I felt them to be, actively stood in the way of peace on earth.
Experiencing actuality in its purity is the same actuality for everyone – flesh-and-blood bodies experience the actual world with remarkably similarity – both sensately and sensibly – and many descriptions of PCEs from people who have never read Richard’s reports give testimony to both the commonality and universality of PCEs. (see )
VINEETO: Or if one tries to induce a PCE as a deliberate repeat of a serendipitous event, ‘I’ want to remain on the stage in order to posses the experience as ‘my’ own.
RESPONDENT: This is true I guess, but what it felt like was not exactly a conscious desire to possess it as my own (though I do see the potential for that happening), but rather a desire to play around with it aesthetically, like a kid with a kaleidoscope. I suppose one can desire to ‘possess’ something for two different motives, either as a way of empowering and glorifying one’s ego, or as a way of entertaining oneself. I think the latter is probably what made this PCE into an ASC. (But I can accept that the self is very cunning indeed).
VINEETO: ‘A way of entertaining oneself’ implies that being here is experienced as needing some more entertainment, …
RESPONDENT: No, not exactly ‘needing’ entertainment, rather delighting in possibilities that were not there before.
VINEETO: Yes, exploration often starts as curiosity but ‘I’, i.e. my desires and my fears, determine both the direction of the exploration and the interpretation of its results. Over the years I have explored different aspects of life – various forms of relationships and ways of living together communally, attempting to understand emotions in therapy groups, practicing meditation techniques, diets, alternative medicine and other superstitions, and many of them I explored just for the sake of exploring and experiencing, for curiosity’s sake and because it gave me something to do. However, whenever I took stock after years of such idle exploration I found that I had gathered experiences of all sorts but in terms of benefits I came out with very little result – in short, I still didn’t know how to live in utter peace and harmony with a companion and with all of my fellow human beings.
When I came in contact with actualism I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to find out in my explorations, and the clearer I became about my intent the more focussed I became as to which alleys to explore and which ones to ignore because they were dead-end streets in terms of my aim. The task of becoming genuinely happy and harmless was challenging enough in itself to keep me ‘entertained’ for years and the journey is not only utterly thrilling, it also gives ‘my’ life a purpose and a meaning.
VINEETO: … which is an assessment that ‘I’ make because there is no role for ‘me’ to play in the stunning clarity and sensuous delight of being right here in this moment in time.
RESPONDENT: Well that really depends on what is meant by ‘I’ and ‘me’, doesn’t it? Being right here in this moment in time, can there be any sense of intention? In my experience, the answer is yes, for sure.
VINEETO: When I am right here in a ‘self’-less PCE there is no intent, I am already experiencing perfection. The intent comes in when the PCE ends and ‘I’ make an assessment what it is that ‘I’ need to do in order to live this experience 24/7.
RESPONDENT: In a PCE ‘who’ is it that dips his/her toes into a cool stream just for the joy of it? Dipping one’s toes in the stream doesn’t mean that ‘I’ and ‘me’ are there with all their status-seeking and emotional baggage, but the action happens. In a PCE there can be an ‘intent’, without there being an ‘intender’.
VINEETO: In a PCE there is no ‘who’ to ‘dipping one’s toes in the stream’ but ‘what’ – this body delights in the coolness of the stream on a hot day. ‘Who’ is the psychological and psychic entity who thinks and feels ‘he’ or ‘she’ is in control, whilst in a PCE this controller is temporarily absent. There is no intent in a PCE for I am simply the doing and experiencing of what is happening.
RESPONDENT: There can be thought without a thinker.
VINEETO: Yes. In a PCE thoughts happen or don’t happen depending on the situation.
RESPONDENT: And, in my experience at least, there can be visualisation without a visualiser, and no accompanying loss of the perfection and purity of the actual world.
VINEETO: This is how you described your experience with the visualisation –
The psyche, which you said was ‘definitely’ present, is the visualizer. Whereas in a PCE the ‘self’ /the psyche, which is not only the ‘Human Drama’ but the very motor for ‘images and symbols’ is absent. In a PCE I am this psyche-less flesh-and-blood body only, apperceptively aware of the sensual delights and reflective thoughts while they are happening on their own accord.
The reason why I am so persistent about keeping a clear distinction between the quality of a ‘self’-less experience as compared to the quality of an altered state with ‘a psyche present’ is because if anyone decides to want to become free from the Human Condition in toto then he or she needs to have an indubitable benchmark and therefore make a clear distinction between the two experiences. Otherwise one would waste one’s time chasing an Altered States of Consciousness instead of an actual freedom from the human condition.
VINEETO: This is how you described your experience with the visualisation –
The psyche, which you said was present, is the visualizer.
RESPONDENT: No, I’ve tried to make this clear: it is not the ‘doer’, it is not an ‘entity’. The brain is the visualiser,
VINEETO: This seems to be the crucial point of disagreement, which I think can only be settled as an experiential answer achieved by meticulous and ongoing observation.
From my own experiences of ASCs I can understand why the psyche does not appear to be the ‘doer’. In an altered state of consciousness ‘I’, the doer, makes way for ‘me’, ‘being’ itself, and the feeling of this expansion is so grand, so vast and so impressive that the ‘being’ itself does not even appear to be an entity because one does not see or feel the edge of it. It is not for nothing that before Richard’s discovery of an actual freedom from the human condition, a permanent Altered State of Consciousness, be it spiritual or secular, was considered the summum bonum of human experience.
RESPONDENT: … just as the brain (not the ‘self’) is the ‘thinker’.
VINEETO: Only in a pure consciousness experience does the ‘self’ not interfere with the brain thinking.
RESPONDENT: The brain can produce images of its own accord without ‘me’ painstakingly constructing them in ‘my’ mind.
VINEETO: It is the affective faculty born of the instinctual passions that generates ‘images of its own accord’. Imagination is so immediate, automatic and effortless, it is my experience that it takes some practice in observing one’s psyche in action in order to discover that imagination is a function of the affective faculty.
RESPONDENT: I guess it comes down to this: I don’t understand the actualist’s distinction between visual thought and non-visual thought.
VINEETO: This recent conversation might clarify the issue –
I know from my own observations that visual images connected to words are often so immediate that it appears as if ‘I’ have no part in conjuring the image, that the image appears of its own accord. It took practice in being attentive to all of my feelings before I began to become aware of the myriad of thought processes that ‘I’ can cause to happen in the brain including the capacity for imagination and visualization.
RESPONDENT: I understand that, when Richard broke through into ‘actual freedom’, his capacity to imagine or visually recollect disappeared at the same time as his affections. Whether this is cause or correlate is unclear.
VINEETO: No, Richard made clear that they correlate –
RESPONDENT: Suppose I have a toaster and a radio plugged into the same power point with a double adapter. I flick off the power switch, and both radio and toaster cease to work. Would I now be justified in saying that the music I heard a few minutes ago was an epiphenomenon of the toaster?
For all I know, Richard may be exactly right – but I would like to know once and for all, what basis is there for saying that the brain’s capacity to generate images is an epiphenomenon of an affective ‘self’?
VINEETO: The basis is apperception.
RESPONDENT: Is it just that the two disappeared simultaneously, or is there a more solid factual basis for claiming that one is caused by the other?
VINEETO: If one takes notice of the reports of others and relates the data from the PCEs (no imagination, no ‘self’) to one’s normal day experiences (imagination, ‘self’) and to an ASC (extra-ordinary imagination, ‘Self’) there is a strong indication that ‘self’ and imagination are correlated. These contrasting experiences are indication for a prima facie case to be made such that can eventually be verified by your own experience.
Then there is your own pure consciousness experience – you yourself reported no imaginative activity happening in an experience in which the ‘self’ is temporarily absent. This is experiential, empirical evidence.
VINEETO: Whereas in a PCE the ‘self’ /the psyche, which is not only the ‘Human Drama’ but the very motor for ‘images and symbols’ is absent.
RESPONDENT: Is the ‘self’ is the very motor for ‘thoughts’? Your experience (and mine too) confirms: no. But try explaining that to someone who hasn’t experienced the temporary abeyance of ‘self’. They’d assume the self is still there, you’re just unconscious of it, or something of the sort.
VINEETO: The ‘self’ – the psychological and psychic entity arising from the instinctual passions – is the ‘very motor’ for emotional thoughts, also known as feelings. However, many people don’t bother to make a distinction between their feelings and their thoughts and this includes all the spiritual authorities that have been so influential in Western society in the last half-century. (...)
RESPONDENT: I am not knocking you in any way for putting this in the ‘too hard basket’, but the sensible response to that would be to maintain a provisional opinion pending further information.
VINEETO: But it is not in the ‘too hard basket’ for me any more. I know by observation and experience that ‘images are a manifestation of a ‘self’’. This is what I said –
I also said in another post –
RESPONDENT: However, you are arguing as if this has already been established as a fact. Is it?
VINEETO: Yes, for me it has because I have spent a good deal of time being attentive as to how and why the human psyche (my psyche) operates as it does. To try to make sense of contrasting experiences is impossible unless one begins to understand how one’s own psyche has been conditioned to operate and is genetically-encoded to react – anything less than this hands-on experience can in the end only lead to assumptions and opinions.
RESPONDENT No 23: From my own experience I have so far come to the conclusion that this is no longer possible. This kind of imagination is a feature of the neocortex and not a result of overexcitement in the reptilian brain.
RESPONDENT: That’s what I thought too. I’d hard to conceive of the imaginative faculty as a phenomenon of the reptilian brain. I don’t buy that. On the other hand, maybe those features of the neocortex depend on crude ‘triggers’ from ‘below’ in order to be stimulated into action.
VINEETO: You don’t need to ‘buy that’ at all. The imaginative faculty is not ‘a phenomenon of the reptilian brain’ but a faculty of the instinctual survival passions and as such imagination is an epiphenomenon of the survival passions. That the instinctual survival passions are possibly triggered in the reptilian brain, possibly in the area called substantia nigra in the brain-stem, does not mean that the imaginative faculty is also located in the same area of the brain.
RESPONDENT: That’s why I added: on the other hand, maybe those features of the neocortex depend on crude ‘triggers’ from ‘below’ in order to be stimulated into action. It is very much a ‘maybe’ as far as I am concerned.
VINEETO: Because your first statement seemed to me more definite (‘I don’t buy that’) than the second one (‘maybe’) I chose to respond by giving you some information about the imaginative faculty and in what way it is related to the instinctual passions.
RESPONDENT: Who knows?
VINEETO: To give you the description from someone ‘who knows’ because he has lived entirely free from the affective faculty for more than a decade –
RESPONDENT: Richard knows that he has no affective faculty. He knows that he has no imagination. He does not ‘know’, and neither do we, that the imaginative faculty is necessarily dependent on the affective faculty.
VINEETO: But Richard does know that ‘the imaginative faculty is … dependent on the affective faculty’ as he made clear in the above quote and has reported repeatedly in other correspondences. Similarly both Peter and I know experientially that imagination and passions are interlinked and both of us have reported how and why imagination is part and parcel of the human condition and also that it arises from the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
The topics page ‘Imagination’ in The Actual Freedom Trust Library has links to all the selected correspondence from actualists about imagination, in case you want to confirm what I am saying here for yourself.
RESPONDENT: Ok. I don’t mean to ‘nitpick’ here but to experientially know that imagination and passions are ‘interlinked’ isn’t exactly the same as knowing that one is caused by the other. To go back to an example I gave a few weeks ago: if a toaster and a radio are plugged into the same power board, the power switch is turned off, and both the toaster and radio cease to work, it isn’t justifiable to say that the music was caused by the toaster.
VINEETO: Well, this is the difference between your approach and my approach – I go by my own experience that when the affective faculty temporarily ceases to operate then imagination also ceases to operate and by the sense I make of Richard’s report about his ongoing experience that this is also case when one is permanently free of being encumbered by the affective faculty. Whereas you go by your approach which is to raise a hypothetical objection based on a theoretical similarity you imagine exists between a single linkage – instinctual passions / imagination – and a single power switch connecting two different items, a radio and a toaster. Two entirely different approaches.
VINEETO: Additionally you can gain experiential evidence from your own PCEs about there being no imaginative faculty present whenever the ‘self’ is absent.
RESPONDENT: Indeed, I can experience the lack of ‘self’ and lack of imagination simultaneously, but that doesn’t tell me that the imagination is caused by affect.
VINEETO: If you were to become more attentive to how your affective faculty is expressed in your feelings, thoughts and actions, you would come to discover experientially the direct cause and effect connection between affection and imagination. As your very first inquiry to this mailing list expressed and your latest posts reiterate, your interest lies in retaining the imaginative faculty and as such your inquiry may well be biased or even hampered in that direction –
RESPONDENT: I won’t be persuaded to just accept this until there is solid neurological evidence, simply because there is always a danger of mistaking correlation for causation. (This is not the same as refusing to accept the honesty of Richard’s testimony w.r.t. his personal experience). Just to avoid any possible confusion: I accept that the imaginative faculty is absent in a PCE.
VINEETO: Nobody asks you to ‘accept’ any of the information, the reason we provide it is that you may want to use it in order to establish a working hypothesis as a basis to do your own experiential research.
RESPONDENT: Oh, I do accept the information. I just don’t necessarily draw the same conclusions from the same information.
VINEETO: I did not draw any rational or theoretical conclusions – I made sense from Richard’s information and then set out to find out if I come to similar experiential results – and I did.
VINEETO: As for solid neurological evidence there has been a host of experiments that all record the fact that imaginative scenarios produce emotional reactions (and associated behaviours) that are identical to those produced in similar real-life situations, i.e. imagining a dangerous situation or watching a fictional film about a dangerous situation induces an instinctual reaction of fear exactly as if the situation was real. Is this not solid neurological evidence that the imaginative facility is intimately interlinked with the affective faculty?
RESPONDENT: Interlinked, yes. But look at the cause -> consequence in this example. The affect is caused by the imagination, imagination is not caused by affect. This only highlights the uncertainty of cause and correlation.
VINEETO: When you begin to observe the onset, the cause and purpose of your own imaginative activities each time they happen you will be able to observe what I observed – that the imaginative facility is intimately interlinked with the affective faculty. Interlinked means the ‘traffic’ between the two happens both ways, i.e. an actual happening instinctively causes an affective reaction to occur which always instigates the onset of imaginative thinking, and the onset of imaginative thinking about an actual happening (or an imagined happening) always provokes an affective reaction. It is my experience that theoretical reasoning can never provide satisfactory and indubitable answers to questions such as these – it was my own observations of my own psyche in action in everyday life that ultimately provided me with the answers.
VINEETO: As for the question as to whether imagination still operates when the affective faculty is either voluntarily expunged or temporarily in abeyance, I have found that neurological science has very little interest or expertise in this question. The only productive reports you will find describing such a condition is in the reports of Richard and other actualists on this list … bearing in mind that psychiatrists have diagnosed Richard as having a chronic and incurable psychotic mental disorder, namely Depersonalisation (no identity), Derealisation (reality has disappeared), Alexithymia (absence of affective feelings) and Anhedonia (unable to affectively feel pleasure/pain). Richard, Selected Correspondence, Sanity 2
RESPONDENT: Same here. I’ve read a bit about alexithymia, and I see that lack of awareness of feelings often correlates with impoverished imagination. But this doesn’t seem to say much about Richard’s state or the PCE. Actually, the diagnosis of alexithymia sounds a little suss to me. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I thought alexithymia is not the absence of emotion but the inability to recognise it as emotion. I note that the psychiatrist who interviewed Richard confirmed that he also showed no physical symptoms of emotion – which, as I understand it, is not usually the case with alexithymia.
VINEETO: Yes, the psychiatrists had to choose the nearest term in order to describe Richard’s condition of having no affective faculty whatsoever – an indication that a freedom from the human condition is entirely new to human history, so much so that there are no psychiatric terms that accurately describe its ‘symptoms’. From any psychiatrist’s and psychologist’s viewpoint the human condition is considered both normal and sane and from this viewpoint a freedom from the human condition can only be regarded as a severe psychotic disorder. This may explain why there is so much avid objection to the experiential reports of how a freedom from the human condition is experienced, both as an actual freedom and a virtual freedom.
I see from your latest posts that you unequivocally agree with the psychiatrist’s real-world viewpoint and that you have chosen this as the reason why you don’t want to practice actualism –
VINEETO: As for the usefulness of imagination – based on my experience with the process of actualism over the past six or seven years I have come to know that the less imagination is going on the closer I am to experiencing actuality. In fact the way I perceive it is that emotions and imagination are the only two things that prevent me from experiencing the stunning luminosity of the world as it is.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been experimenting with this lately too. A very simple exercise: for a few hours, pay no heed to what is not actual. Anything that is ‘all in the mind’, just drop it, pay no attention to it, stop feeding imaginary scenarios. First thing I noticed: I spend an awful lot of time ‘in the mind’. Second thing I noticed: sensual awareness increases dramatically! I’ve noticed that for most of the time I am virtually ‘skin-blind’, I’m hardly aware of any tactile sensations at all – except in special circumstances ;-). I think sensuousness is an aspect of actualism that I haven’t paid enough attention to. I spend a lot more time thinking, feeling and imagining than I do perceiving.
VINEETO: I don’t know if you have yet made the cause-effect connection but I discovered that it is feelings and neurotic thoughts (and the consequential imagination) that prevent me from paying attention to sensate experience. Once I began to sort out what triggered and maintained my feelings and neurotic thoughts, sensate perception is happening more and more by itself. As an example, when I started actualism a few years ago I never took notice of the weather, except when it annoyed me. Nowadays every day’s weather is a great delight for all the senses.
Of course a spiritualist reading these words will immediately jump to the conclusion that the way to increase sensual awareness is to suppress or deny feeling and thinking and he/she will concentrate solely on his or her sensate perception – thereby avoiding tackling the root cause of the obstruction to pure sensate experiencing – ‘me’ and ‘my’ genetically-encoded instinctual passions. It’s pertinent to remember that countless spiritualists have diligently practiced this method of denial and suppression for more than one millennium with zilch results, apart from producing yet more teachers and saviours who do nothing but seduce yet more practitioners into following the same tried and failed method.
VINEETO: As well as Richard’s experiential report there is also the option of inquiring into why you are now doubting the sincerity of the information supplied to you to the point of suggesting that Richard might still have an ‘ego/soul/affect’ and is possibly ‘simply unconscious of same’. (Being verballed by Richard, 29.1.2004)
Whereas you had said in a post to me only 2 days previous to this –
RESPONDENT: There is no ‘whereas’, Vineeto. I meant that, and I still do. I am trying to be more careful in differentiating and separating my personal impressions from what is actual/factual, in growing awareness that my own reactions are not necessarily reliable.
VINEETO: As for ‘whereas’ – personally, if I felt that someone was unconscious of ‘his ego/soul/affect’, and for a period of 11-12 years at that, I wouldn’t simultaneous think he was someone who truly knows what he is talking about. To me that would be contradictory.
RESPONDENT: Uhhh ... I was speaking to you, about you. Your words in that particular message seemed to be rather nice, they hit a spot that seemed to imply that you understood my frustrations without directly saying it. I appreciated it.
VINEETO: When you said (in plural) that you are ‘among people who truly know what they’re talking about’ I misunderstood this to mean the actualists on the list because in the post you referred to I was describing my experience with the actualism method. Vineeto, re infinity, 26.1.2004. It seems nowadays that the words of the objectionists on this list hit the spot for you far more than those of the actualists.
RESPONDENT: I never get that impression from Richard, which is not surprising considering it is more than a decade since he experienced himself as having a ‘soul’, and more than two decades since he experienced himself as having a social identity.
VINEETO: Not only does Richard not experience himself as not ‘having a ‘soul’’, he also does not affectively experience other people’s identity or ‘soul’, and the only way one can experience someone’s identity is via affection aka intuition, which is an instinctive-based gut reaction.
Because I understood that an actual freedom has to be a freedom from ‘me’ as an identity I wanted to learn from, and understand, how a ‘self’-less person experiences the actual world of people, things and events. I was not interested in complaining that he did not understand ‘my’ feelings or had no sympathy for my ‘self’-created problems.
Haven’t you noticed that sympathy only feeds and prolongs sorrow? (...)
RESPONDENT: When I first started reading the Actual Freedom web site, I thought the core ideas sounded really interesting. Then when I started to look into the correspondence, I saw that Richard seems to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the minutiae, quibbling and quarrelling over trivialities, and seeming to be more interested in defending himself than helping the other. It almost deterred me from the start. I thought, how the hell can this guy have the goods he claims to have when all he does is bicker like the million and one pedantic geezers that hang out in newsgroups and mailing lists. It didn’t fit my impression of what a person who is actually free, beyond enlightenment, living a life of such quality that is unparalleled in human history, ought to be.
VINEETO: Of course, the ‘core idea’ can sound ‘really interesting’ in theory. People only begin to quibble and quarrel when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of actually doing the work of looking at their own beliefs and preconceptions, their feelings and passions. A little clear-eyed look at the website will reveal that the journals and articles are forthright, down-to-earth and to the point, whereas the majority of correspondence consists of answers to correspondents who raised objections to what was said. In short it is the correspondents themselves who set the agenda by the content and intent of their criticism.
I wonder why you feel Richard is ‘defending himself’ – aren’t his correspondents attacking him, often ad hominem? Do you think it is ‘not exactly consistent with someone who is ‘actually free from the human condition’’ to take the time and make the effort to put the facts straight and explain his experience in detail, over and over again? Do you think Richard should instead be a ‘lie-down-and-let-people- trample-all-over-him-pacifist? Do you think Richard should recant his discovery as Galileo was forced to do simply because the majority of correspondents think and feel he should not be challenging the status quo?
Is your idea that Richard should be ‘helping people’ by agreeing with them or pampering to everyone’s individual worldview and personal beliefs or that he should not respond to their concerns and attacks? By ‘helping people’ do you mean refraining from ‘discussing the minutiae, quibbling and quarrelling over trivialities’ that many people find important enough to raise as an issue?
GARY: While we are on the theme of this ‘industry of feelings and imaginations’, I should say that I have been intensely interested with the observation of children and their fantasy life. I am not conducting some type of scientific study. But I have been interested in observing the fascination that some children have for ghosts, goblins, monsters, and such. This fascination takes complete hold of the child’s imagination and becomes an obsession. I have wondered if this kind of intense fantasy activity might not be an accompaniment of severe trauma, such as child abuse. It also seems, from my informal, naturalistic observations of children that the fascination with ghosts and hobgoblins and monsters of various sorts seems to occur co-incident with an emerging consciousness of God and the Spirit world. Such imaginings might of course be accelerated if the children are being taught spiritual or religious teachings at home. I find myself wondering if what is happening is that this fertile imagination is one manifestation of the primitive survival program running in the human child, a program which literally impels one to take on board all types of fantastical notions such as life after death basically because ‘I’ desire immortality and cannot countenance even the thought of death. So in the children I have observed, there is this preoccupation sometimes with morbid themes (death, the grave, dead bodies, etc) and simultaneously a thrill with anything that suggests people can be brought back from the grave, that there is life beyond the grave. One child was completely obsessed with the story of the Frankenstein monster, Mary Shelley’s creation, and sought pictures of the monster and Dr. Frankenstein, who brought his creation back to life. I don’t know if Piaget, for instance, or any of the other psychologists that have studied children’s cognitive or intellectual development have noted these things, and perhaps my observations are somewhat spurious because I am dealing with an abused population, but I just thought I would mention it here. I remember when I myself was 7 years of age, and struggling with the painful loss of a beloved Grandfather, how comforting it was to think of him as a ghost inhabiting my closet at night. Although frightening, at least he was still there, hovering in the background, watching out for me.
VINEETO: The fact that the video-game industry is the fastest growing entertainment industry – one that now even exceeds the movie business – is ample evidence that escaping into a fantasy world of one’s own making is highly popular. Indulging in a virtual reality seems to be the easy way out, even more so when one feels powerless to change one’s circumstances in any way. Maybe most of the children you observe feel that way.
As for desiring immortality, I cannot remember it being an issue when I was young. Death was not the real problem, life was. But I was certainly fascinated with fairytales and goblins, elves and dragons, the invisible world where luck and power, witchcraft and wizardry changed a miserable world into a magical place and vice versa. And you are right that the human capacity for imaginative thinking that is observable in children is the very breeding ground for religion. The spiritual world I joined in my late twenties was but a slight alteration of my childhood fantasies, the only difference being that I exchanged goblins for demons, fairies for gurus and secret treasures for the prize of enlightenment.
The principle stayed the same – hope. I hoped for a magic intervention from some invisible power that would fulfil my wishes if only I did the right things – i.e. ultimately my fate was in someone else’s hands. To hope for a magic intervention is an archaic attitude, coupled with the resentment for having to be here. This attitude is so deep-rooted that most people never become aware of it, but it’s bloody good to be rid of it. As you said in a recent post, becoming free of the human condition ‘involves hard work and ‘effort’’, but at least by my own effort I get to become the master of my own destiny.
VINEETO: To whittle away at the cause of separation makes such imminent sense that I am still surprised sometimes how I could have been so gullible for so long and search for the solutions in the old well-worn directions.
GARY: Yes, I can relate to your chagrin at being so gullible. I myself catch myself cringing sometimes (and just recently in fact) at the thought of the ridiculous extremes that I went to in believing in a Spirit world and all manner of spiritual phenomenon.
VINEETO: I watched a TV program about alien abduction the other night and it seems to have become quite fashionable in many parts of the Western world. Some researchers reckon that for many people the belief in aliens has replaced the belief in monsters or fairies and consequently many unusual psychic experiences are now being associated with aliens from outer space. It also became obvious in this report that it is an automatic human reaction that any fearful feelings must have an outer cause, i.e. someone or something else must be have caused them. The alternative – that it is only happening in one’s own head – is too unthinkable.
RESPONDENT: That’s one of the hard ones (for me), Peter. Throwing love away. That and two other aspects of human existence. The imagination of course, a concern I expressed in my first post to the List and the closing of the book on all other possibilities except actualism.
Love, still reveals its actual effects to me in everything that happens in my life, so if it is but a shallow insubstantial dual belief and instinctual passion, then I have much investigating left to do, so please be patient with me.
Imagination, still reveals its actual effects to me in everything I do. It is how I make a living as a designer. But to me peace on earth and actually being happy and harmless must take precedence in a human life if we are to live life fully and survive successfully as a species. So if extirpation of the whole kit and caboodle, psyche, imagination and instinctual passions, is the only way to bring it about, then so must it be and I have my work cut out for me. But these are early days for this fully programmed necktop computer, so reflecting on the human beings use of imagination, love and whether this tiny mind is really open, occupies every moment of the day at the moment.
Each time I consciously experience any of them, I ask myself, are they real expressions of happiness and harmlessness? Can I, can the human race really live a fuller direct experience of life without them?
There is a lethargy in the human mind, from what I have observed in my own psyche and those I discuss these things with. A reluctance to concentrate at length and look deeply and ruthlessly at one’s mental and emotional behaviour. Perhaps something to do with not wanting to expose the flaws in what Richard calls ‘what we hold most dear’ the sense of self.
Open mindedness, standing in an opening of possibilities is also very dear to me. I love the space of it, as I love the vastness of Australia. To accept nothing other than the material facts of actualism is very difficult for this human mind. We are so much our love of stories and dramas and new possibilities.
VINEETO: You really seem to be digging into many different areas of the Human Condition. I am reminded of the first few months after I came across actualism and was attracted by the enjoyment of life-on-earth and the common sense approach that I could immediately perceive in Richard’s discovery, which stood in stark contrast to all that I had encountered on the spiritual path. In spiritualism one feels rather guilty for enjoying oneself and for occasionally applying common sense – they were considered a no-no for spiritual growth!
However, the more I learnt, read and understood about actualism and Actual Freedom, the more I realized how much of my beliefs, feelings and emotions felt as though they were ‘under attack’ by the very understanding that relying on facts made more sense than relying on faith, hope, trust, intuition, feeling and belief. After a few months of painful doubts, fierce defence of my former life-style including my spiritual beliefs, and intense questioning of what I wanted to do with my life, my ‘necktop computer’ crashed, resulting in a significant pure consciousness experience. After this experience, I realized there was no way I could simultaneously insist on keeping my beliefs and familiar feelings and at the same time investigate my identity with sincerity and common sense. I realized everything had to be ‘put on the table’ – not all at once of course, for that is impossible, but as issues to be investigated the moment they arose in my daily life. I was hooked, more than I realized at first, by three things that made actualism that very attractive to me –
What I’m trying to convey is that the first weeks of hitting upon something that is 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual beliefs, to all that one thinks and feels oneself to be, can at times be compared to an earthquake – it is bound to be confusing, frightening and ... ... thrilling. The curious thing about Actual Freedom is that it is utterly safe because actuality is what remains after all the false layers are peeled away.
Whenever I dared to investigate a particular belief and emotion to its very core, this piece of my familiar identity fell apart and underlying the identity I discovered actuality – that what is actual, palpable, tangible, sensate, direct and corporeal. At first there seems to be a yawning abyss of fear and nothingness at the start of the investigation, but with enough courage and bloody-mindedness, one eventually discovers the utter safety of the actual world – that which becomes increasingly apparent when the psychic and psychological construct is being dismantled.
Once one fully commits to being hooked to the bait of common sense, the process of dismantling one’s ideas, beliefs, feelings and emotions becomes fun instead of a fight against one’s own intelligence.
RESPONDENT: To me there is more of an element of uncertainty rather than attack. I am not yet convinced that it is sensible or necessary to exterminate the imagination. I mean just what are facts? It seems to me, that if man depends solely on the senses, the mind would never have imagined the possibility of electricity or flying which are now facts. Many of our finest inventors contemplate graphically before making their inventions actual facts. Were it not for their imaginations we would not be communicating via an Internet. What am I missing that perhaps Richard or yourself can explain.
VINEETO: If imagination works for you, if it makes you utterly happy and harmless then why investigate further? To me, imagination is in the same category as belief, it prevents me from experiencing the actual world in its magic and magnificence because there is always ‘me’, the believer, the imaginer, the feeler, that spoils the purity and perfection that is already here.
As for imagination being necessary for sensible inventions – this is one of the clichés voiced by those who want to defend their passionate world of fantasy. You said yourself, ‘inventors contemplate graphically ...’ – well, contemplation is not imagination. Flying machines were invented by studying the flight patterns of birds – if you watch the reports on early attempts of humans to fly you can see an amazing similarity between those machines and birds. Even today’s aeroplanes are built and refined according to the aerodynamic principles originating from details studied in many different species of birds. No-one got to fly by imagination – it required an enormous amount of trial and error, often fatal, by many, many people over centuries of time.
The discovery of electricity has also nothing to do with imagination but with the meticulous observation and study of physics and experimentation by failure and success. Thomas A. Edison did not imagine a light bulb and then build it according to his imagination. He researched and experimented for years and years to invent something practical, tangible and repeatable, a light-globe that works every time you screw it in and switch it on.
The same goes for the invention of the world wide web.
The process of developing the WWW began when Tim Berners-Lee wrote a computer program to network the various computers in the company he worked for in order to access the different softwares on all the computers in the company. His invention was a practical response to the obvious needs of his job and had nothing to do with imagining a world wide web which serendipitously developed later from the original program. The result that we are enjoying today was beyond anybody’s imagination, including that of Tim Berners-Lee.
The scientific process of discovering, understanding and applying the laws of nature is not that (one) of passionate imagination, but an inquisitive study of the empirical laws of physics, fuelled by curiosity and the desire for comfort, progress and development, using the method of trial and error, logical conclusions and practical sensibility. It is called intelligence and the application of common sense.
Poets, painters and saints use passionate imagination, they describe reality or Reality, not actuality. They create a world of their own, full of the feelings of sorrow and hope, love and depression, beauty and prayer. I don’t need imagination to go ‘somewhere else’, away from the tangible, sensately experience-able actual world, because I have an utter YES to being here in the world of people, things and events.
RESPONDENT: Perhaps imagination works for me precisely because I investigate it further.
Ah, and this is what I have yet to discover, that imagination is bound to the emotions and beliefs of a ‘me’. I would have thought the brain’s visual imagery would be emancipated upon realizing the illusory nature of the ‘me’ and its entourage.
VINEETO: Your thought that ‘the brain’s visual imagery would be emancipated upon realizing the illusory nature of the ‘me’ and its entourage’ is imagination. Realizing and bringing to an end the ‘illusory nature of the ‘me’’ eliminates imagination because ‘me’ can only exist in imagination.
VINEETO: Given that you talk about ‘unexamined fortresses within [my] mind’’, I noticed when reading your posts to No. 22 about examining the minds of actualists, there is a great deal of imagination and belief used to conjure a picture of what may be going on in the mind of another. Just a few examples (bold by me) –
Personally, I have found it far more effective and certainly more factual to investigate my own ‘state of mind’ in order to become happy and harmless instead of remaining trapped in the never-ending cycle of wildly imagining what others may be thinking, feeling, or believing about me. After this imagining, the natural reaction is to then either confront others in a belligerent and futile attempt to try and change the thoughts, feelings and beliefs you imagine they are having, or remain quiet and become sullenly resentful, getting ‘my’ own back later in more subtly devious ways. Whatever the outcome, a ‘score’ is kept, and next time the emotional memory of past imaginations is added to the current bout of metaphysical clairvoyance and the cycle starts over yet again. Imagining what another is thinking, feeling or believing and then attempting to change their thinking, feeling or belief is not only a complicated equation with 90% unknown factors, it is also an arduous Sisyphean task. There are potentially 6 billion people to change and relying on intuition, guestimation and imagination will bring you no closer to gathering an understanding of others’ thoughts, feelings or beliefs. Imagination is simply non-actual.
In therapeutic terms, imagining another’s emotions and attempting to change him or her according to one’s, usually passionate, imagination is called projecting – an utterly useless enterprise.
To be an actualist is to literally become a student of the human condition. Not as a gullible inexperienced child lapping up the knowledge of others but as a mature-age student in that one can study what it is to be a human being – one’s social programming and one’s biological programming – with the very necessary benefit of considerable life experience. This study of the human condition is general and archetypal as well as specific and personal – becoming aware of how it operates in oneself and as one’s ‘self’. Despite tribal lores that produce slight variations in morals, ethics, values and religious-spiritual beliefs, the human condition is typical to all. The knowledge so gained from this study enables one to know, intellectually and experientially, how human beings are both socially and instinctually programmed to operate – as in how they are programmed to think, feel and believe. By being equipped with this knowledge, an actualist is thus more able to extricate himself or herself from the instinctual psychic game of friends and enemies, allies and foes that prevents peace and harmony between human beings on the planet.
RESPONDENT: I wrote to you seeking to further investigate between us the elimination of belief, so as to enable the direct perception of the actual – and in this particular case the belief under scrutiny for possible subsequent elimination is the incredibly devious, odious, and ‘transparent’ worm of a belief in one, that one’s choosing of the belief that his or her mind is definitive when it comes to identifying when the other is ‘feeling insulted or annoyed about facts’ – corresponds to the facts – namely the existence of such state of emotionality in the being of the other.
Would you agree that that is the topic under discussion? Or could be? Or was? I detect from your email, that you perhaps are no longer one who needs much assistance in eliminating that particular class of belief from the ‘unexamined fortresses within you mind’. Is that so?
VINEETO: If you want to eliminate ‘the belief that his or her mind is definitive when it comes to identifying when the other is ‘feeling insulted or annoyed about facts’’ then that is entirely your business.
For me the ‘topic under discussion’ has always been my own process of becoming free from the Human Condition, investigating and eliminating my own beliefs and feelings whenever they became apparent in interactions with people, things and events. In my experience, it is impossible to eliminate someone else’s belief or change someone else’s feelings, and what a good thing that is! This way it is blindingly obvious that everyone is responsible for their own beliefs and feelings only and it gives everyone the freedom to do something about it in themselves ... or not.
For instance, investigating and eradicating my spiritual beliefs, my emotional bonds to the guru and the spiritual community I had belonged to, was a task that took the better part of nine months to complete. The other night a television report about a different fanatical spiritual community in the US made me shockingly aware of the kind of danger I had put myself in when following Rajneesh to the Ranch in Oregon.
The television program reported and closely examined events at Waco County, Texas, US in 1993, where a spiritual community of about 100 people was fighting a serious and deadly battle with the FBI. The community had gathered around a leader who believed himself to have a direct connection to God and the members were devoted to doing God’s will as perceived by their master, whatever that would turn out to be. The community had come under suspicion for owning illegal weapons and upon federal investigation refused them entry and in an ensuing gun battle four federal agents were killed. The government’s reaction was swift and effective – the FBI arrived, heavily armed, with army tanks and the latest warring equipment for a siege. After the peace-negotiations failed and the larger part of the community refused to leave because God via their master had told them to wait, the FBI smashed holes into the buildings with their tanks and poured concentrated teargas into the rooms for several hours. In the course of events the buildings caught fire and almost everybody in the building died in the flames. A later court investigation returned a verdict of suicide.
Once one decides to leave all the decisions to God and his messenger in order to secure one’s place in heaven after death, there is no free will left to act sensibly. In cases like these, the blind passion of devotional surrender overrules even the basic survival instincts.
The report shocked me for several reasons, the main reason being that only eight years prior to this incident I had been in a very similar situation in the Rajneesh community on the Ranch in Oregon. Both Rajneesh and his secretary Sheela made every effort in their public announcements to rile the Christians, the attorney general of Oregon, the American President and the people of Oregon in particular. In the years of 1984/85, Rajneesh had a heavily armed security force surrounding him both in his house and whenever he showed himself in public. A department of 200 or more people was frantically busy collecting legal evidence for the defence of various lawsuits that had been brought against both Rajneesh and the city of Rajneeshpuram.
And he is not the only one who puts his followers carelessly in precarious situations – the ‘Self’-centred narcissism, disguised as ‘I am the only Truth there is’, is common to all Godmen, gurus and saints all over the Eastern and Western world.
It is so good to be free from spiritual belief – eradicated, eliminated, wiped out, never ever to return again. There is no God and there are no God-men, only calenturous souls infatuated by the image of their own grand ‘Self’, desperately seeking followers who are willing to surrender and become eager foot soldiers to their imaginary delusion. This is the kind of belief I am talking about when using the expression ‘elimination of belief’ – it is my own beliefs that are under scrutiny, not someone else’s beliefs.
ALAN: I quoted wrong – it was Richard who used ‘drama queen’ – I called it ‘prima donna’ – not that it matters as they both mean the same thing. From what I have read of your experiences, it appears ‘you’ had a much more vivid imagination than ‘me’.
VINEETO: I guess you are right. Last night the drama queen appeared again with another drama:
Based on the above explained understandings I felt like the door of my ‘death-cell’ opened where I had been sitting for month waiting for the execution. The door was open to the next step, closer to extinction. The little man in the head, the ‘feeler’ had been discovered and in the light of apperception could not maintain its existence. ‘Feeling’ and empathy are now no more options.
ALAN: Since that time, with the realisation that none of what was occurring was ‘actual’, though very, very ‘real’ and simply a product of ‘my’ imagination, I have not again experienced such dread. This is not to say ‘I’ may not be a ‘prima donna’ again and I shall certainly recount any similar experiences.
VINEETO: One never knows how many actors are still waiting behind stage until they had their appearance. It is fascinating, when I think about it. The moment I discovered the ‘drama queen’, it lost its conviction. The moment I discovered ‘me’, the Truth-producing faculty of Enlightenment, it became impossible to believe in the ‘truth’ that I had just produced. The moment I discovered the ‘believer’, the mechanism of believing I could not believe anymore – the mechanism was switched off and disappeared. I had to investigate the facts. One piece after the other fell off ‘me’, while at the same time taking the veil off my physical senses. The colours are now more vivid, the sounds multi-layered, the skin awakes to sense the air in temperature and consistency, the little hair on my forearm being touched by the soft breeze when I walk into town.
ALAN: Yes, I invariably discover something else about myself when I write. I have also found it very useful for getting out of ‘stuckness’. The Sannyas list looks a good place to discover whether there is anything remaining in one, which can still be ‘insulted’ or ‘hurt’, as you have been finding out.
VINEETO: When writing, I discover sometimes an impatience with myself to describe actual freedom as exactly as possible and then – in that impatience – I lose the experience of it, which consequently makes it impossible to describe it... So, back to the start, Vineeto, be at ease, come back here into your senses and don’t get entangled in their spiritual world. Once in a while I get really lost in confusion in this labyrinth of psychic fantasies – until, bingo, I have had enough and here I am back in the world of colours and tastes, sounds and this lovely soft breeze on my skin.
It reminds me of the story of the philosopher’s cave (I think it was Kant) – everyone is huddled in a cave, living in imagination and considering the outside world as very, very dangerous. One person has gone outside the cave and reports that it is delightfully safe out here. Kant then suggests that this one person should go back into the cave to convince others that it is safe to leave.
I sometimes think that I have to ‘feel’ where the other is coming from, in order to communicate – and whooshsh, I am back in the muddle of emotions, beliefs and collective fantasies. Well, slowly, slowly, after a hundred failures I start to grasp that there is no point in going back into Mr. Kant’s cave...
(Note from the editor: It was in fact Plato’s story from The Republic)
ALAN: And yet it is not a joke, for this is what I have been struggling with the last few days – ‘who is it who is knowing?’ – ‘who is it who is puzzling?’
VINEETO: I have always found the question ‘who’ would confuse me, distract me, re-create psychic dramas and keep imagination and feeling alive. While asking ‘what am I’ always brings me to my senses because ‘what’ I am can only be experienced by the senses. The actual world can only be experienced by the senses. Neither belief nor imagination nor feeling can answer ‘what I am’, but they can easily make up a lot of ‘who’s’.
I have found that by living in virtual freedom I have shifted my whole focus and emphasis from solving emotional problems and debunking beliefs to sensually and sensately enjoying ‘wee-things’ (as Billy Connolly said), the everyday things that life consists of – breakfast, rain, typing, coffee, walking, shopping, talking, sex, shower, watching TV and going to bed at night-time. And maybe half an hour of the day was spent pondering about ‘fear, death and deep matters’ of ‘me’. And thus the perspective changes, the focus changes from the imaginary to the actual, from the dramatic to the ordinary, from serious introspection to delightful hedonism – gay abandon, as Peter calls it. So it has been literally a turning away from giving importance to the ‘metaphysical’ to focussing on the actuality of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. And what a delight that is, each moment again, just to be alive, breathing and listening, tasting and seeing, smelling and touching. And then you get to do things on top of it – sheer delight.
RESPONDENT: As a side note, according to Richard’s understanding of the egoless state of being, there is no imagination possible in an egoless state because one is totally busy living the life as it is happening moment by moment. As a consequence, there might be no concern about the future. If there is a total dis-concern for the future and one is living – as the body – in the world inhabited by other people, will not the physical safety be in danger? Or is the very idea of ‘danger’ emotionally driven and even when a dangerous situation occurs, the body will be busy living it and hence there will be no hard feelings against the situation.
VINEETO: (...) Richard lives in Actual Freedom, which is being here without any identity whatsoever. With the death of his identity the faculty of imagination disappeared along with his instinctual passions. Therefore, whatever Richard writes is not a mere ‘understanding of the ego-less state’ but an accurate description of what he is living 24hrs a day, every day. Imagination for him is simply not possible because imagination cannot exist outside the feeling entity inside this flesh and blood body – it dies with the entity. And because there is no imagination interfering, he is ‘living the life as it is happening moment by moment’.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.