Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: Regardless, the next day it was completely obvious to me what had happened, which really sat me upright. And it was a relief to see it, and for a moment be free of it. Now I just have to get the time delay down to something less than 12 hours.
VINEETO: Once it began to filter through that my behaviour did not at all match my idealized picture of me – or as you put it ‘it wasn’t the way ‘I’ was telling myself’ – I was appalled by my often rude and uncaring behaviour towards others, which in turn fired my intent to do something radical about really changing myself. In spiritualism I had done nothing but change my ideals, in actualism I finally had the necessary tools to change my actions by eradicating their underlying causes. All I needed to provide was the passionate intent. The time delay of 12 hours will lessen as you gradually remove the moral and ethical safeguards that are instilled by the process of socialization. These safeguards are meant to curb the bare instinctual passions and consequently they act to shield one from discovering the instinctual passions in action.
RESPONDENT: Yes, I see. I’m amazed sometimes at the subtle complexities ... there are many layers to this onion. It’s a funny process this, at once abhorrent to stare into the muck, and yet exhilarating to root out and dissect the little beasties.
VINEETO: Yep, you described it well. Discovering ‘the little beasties’ becomes easier with two factors. One factor is obviously discovering and dismissing one’s pride at being different and better than others. The second factor is the clear understanding that what you are investigating is the human condition, i.e. the aspects of your identity are not your personal flaws or shortcomings but the default setting for every human being born on the planet. Then the ‘abhorrent … stare into the muck’ becomes the scientific enterprise of studying the human condition in action.
RESPONDENT: It’s somewhat scary to consider removing the ‘moral and ethical safeguards’, which presumably exposes the ‘bare instinctual passions’ in all their power. I can only presume that if/when I reach that point, I have adequate tools gained during the initial dismantlement. The contributors to this list don’t strike me as being particularly monstrous.
VINEETO: The only tools that you muster, polish and apply ‘during the initial dismantlement’ are pure intent coupled with attentiveness and reflection. An actualist’s values are far above normal societal morals and ethics – as an actualist I want to become perfectly happy and completely harmless 24 hours a day, whereas normal societal rules only aim to curb the instinctual passions, not to eliminate them.
I incrementally replaced all my judgements of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ with the keen assessment of what is silly and what is sensible. In the process of questioning these moral and ethical safeguards, I soon hit upon the very source of all moral and ethical codes – the belief in a God or Higher Power who enforces good and bad, rights and wrongs by a system of divine reward and punishment. Being good and right brings the reward of good karma, good fortune, respectability and a permanent berth in Parinirvana or Heaven, and being bad and wrong brings punishment of bad karma, bad luck and condemnation to suffer endless rebirths or to plunge into the abyss of Hell.
When I began to replace these fear-ridden spiritual beliefs with facts, most of my fears began to permanently disappear. My emotion-based and spiritual-based values were gradually replaced with intelligent judgement of facts and practicality, which was an excellent standpoint to observe the instinctual passions when and as they occurred, neither expressing them nor repressing them.
VINEETO: SF Gate columnist Mark Morford certainly uses catchy words when he urges everyone else to ‘really get down and dirty with the self’ – but he himself has not even rolled up his sleeves, let alone started to look at ‘the hatred and terrorism we have inside us’. How could he be looking within when he continues to point the finger at ‘our increasingly paranoid and secretive and invasive government’ – not only to blame but wanting to ‘infuriate’ this government and thus start the hatred all over again.
RESPONDENT: Because, like most of us, he’s merely dimly aware of the actual processes in play, and that the answers will only come from within. And that will take some hard and painful work. Until this all becomes self-obvious, we just follow our noses.
VINEETO: Whenever someone says the answers come from within, what they are eluding to is listening to, or connecting with, their soul, the voice of God, the Higher Self, the wisdom of their innermost being. These answers from within, however, are nothing other than one’s own, utterly ‘self’-centred, instinctual passions – manifesting as self-love, righteousness, hypocrisy, narcissism, omniscience, virtuous anger, universal sorrow or whatever.
In the process of actualism, however, the answers come from ‘without’ – questioning one’s (inner) beliefs juxtaposed to sensate experience and empirical (outer) facts and investigating one’s (inner) feelings juxtaposed to a sensuous awareness of the actual (outer) world and a sensible judgement as to what is silly and what is sensible. This process is 180 degrees opposite to the traditional spiritual approach of going within and hiding from the world as-it-is and people as-they-are. (...)
[PS: Mark Morford’s full article can be found on http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2002/06/26/notes062602.DTL]
RESPONDENT: So, are you suggesting that the Dalai Lama couldn’t have something useful to say, even though it may be flawed or incomplete? I suppose you are, as he’s ‘180 degrees wrong’, hence completely wrong.
VINEETO: In my life I have for a long period ‘accept[ed] the guidance’ of spiritual authorities and later, with the actualism tool, ‘observe[d] closely’ the spiritual teachings of many revered authorities. They say that the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is that nobody is free from malice and sorrow as a result of such teachings.
In various pure consciousness experiences it has become indubitable to me that the solution to mayhem and misery cannot be found by indulging in spiritual escapism – ‘the feeling that there is really nowhere to turn but inward’ . In a PCE the ‘inner world’ – one’s soul, one’s true self, the deepest core of one’s being – is clearly seen as the problem, whereas when one is devoid of ‘self’, one knows by moment to moment experience that the actual world is already perfect, pure and peaceful.
‘180 degrees wrong’ is not a moral or ethical judgement but literally points to the fact that everyone is, and has been since ancient times, searching 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Actualism offers an alternative to both materialism and spiritualism – both of which are not only ‘flawed or incomplete’ but have abysmally failed to deliver the oft-promised-but-never-delivered peace on earth in this lifetime.
VINEETO: I will just stick my nose into your conversation with No 23 because you raised some interesting points –
RESPONDENT No 23: So if I tell somebody I love him/her or ‘nickname’ that person and that brings about pleasure, ie. I say honey sweetheart I love you and that person likes to hear that, why would I not say it? To purposely please a person is kind of different ballgame than to purposely upset or confuse a person. Now ie. my mother has a cat. I find it a cute animal so I say hello pookie when I visit her and I give him a few strokes. I find this a fun ritual and the cat enjoys it in its simple animal-like way. What’s the big deal?
RESPONDENT: This is approximately the point I was getting at. I had been musing on an (admittedly poor) analogy in tipping a waitperson in a restaurant. While using money as a medium for judgement is mildly abhorrent to me, it does make the server have a momentary good feeling. I do exist in a world of imperfect beings and I can choose to either follow my principles and piss off the waiter, or get off my high horse and do something that greases the skids for the immediate micro-culture. I guess that example constitutes a reasonable compromise.
VINEETO: I wonder why you say that ‘using money as a medium for judgement is mildly abhorrent to me’ when thinking about tipping a waiter or waitress? I have been working as a waitress myself and, although I enjoyed a good chit-chat with amicable guests, I much appreciated their tip because it helped paying for my bills. Today I am on the other side of the service contract and when I enjoy friendly service in a restaurant I am happy to contribute to the waiter-customer deal with a tip. I can’t see anything ‘abhorrent’ about this deal – after all, most of us sell our time, skills and services in exchange for money that pays for livelihood, toys and pleasures.
Whilst it is sensible to abide by the legal laws of the society you live in, whether or not you follow the social mores is a matter of choice. To make that choice a matter of principle on the basis of right or wrong, good or bad, can only lead to a surrender in the form of a begrudging acceptance or a victory in terms of a defiant belligerence. It’s my experience that ‘my’ principles stood in the way of me being happy and harmless which is why, whenever ‘my’ principles arose, I always binned them and looked for the sensible approach.
What you term ‘the immediate micro-culture’ I would call the fact that humans exchange goods and services with each other in order to earn a living. If I may say so, I would think your ‘high horse’ in this case is to consider yourself to be outside of this common-to-all necessity of earning a living, from which position you then ‘grease the skids for the immediate micro-culture’. In actuality I am part of the exchange game whenever I am in business with my fellow human beings and, given we humans all play the same game in order to earn a living I aim for a win-win situation for all involved in the situation.
It is not the fact that money is used in the exchange of goods and services that is ‘abhorrent’ but the fact that human beings are instinctually occupied in a ruthlessly-competitive impassioned battle for survival against each other. This is the basis of the deeply ingrained and instinctually-fuelled automatic reaction of judging the other as friend or foe, higher or lower in rank, useful or useless to my desires, and this is what I needed to address in me because this ‘self’-centred habit was continuously interfering with having a peaceful and equitable interaction with people.
VINEETO: Some time ago you commented to No 38 about something I wrote to him –
RESPONDENT: I for one get the impression that Vineeto is underestimating the (invisible) part that money plays in human interaction. … This sounds to me like a statement made in idealist modus. Yes, it is a fact that one could say we all are in the business of surviving in anyway at any cost, however to say that this is the name of the game, is to blur the line between business and privacy which is as far as I can observe rather sharply drawn by most people when doing business, that is when push comes to shove. To explain; business for making a livelihood, is strictly speaking for most of the ‘players’ far from a game, hence those who actually ‘play’ with and/or for money are very few most call this game working.
It is a fact that [money is used in the exchange of goods and services] is basically ‘an exchange’ with my fellow human beings. And also it is a fact that [human beings are instinctually occupied in a ruthlessly-competitive impassioned battle for survival against each other] hence whenever money plays a part one enters either the field of this [ruthlessly-competitive impassioned battle] while making deals. Or one is making compromises accepting money as a basically not fair and/or adequate (as it is now) belief-system based on reward and punishment accordingly to legal aspects and/ or ethical aspects of the local (national) situation.
I question that money is actual, in fact I think that it is a collective belief-system that apart from its being a collectively upon agreed tool, it also is a very personalized belief closely related to lifestyle and that’s where the friction part in human interaction is likely to occur as in essence money is a rather spiritual concept. I think that Vineeto may overlook, that though money cannot buy love, it seems to have become in many cases a more dearly held value then the belief in love thus a tougher to deal with aspect of the social identity at large.
VINEETO: When I began to examine the reasons why I was tense and serious whenever I was dealing with money and working for money, I quickly discovered that it was ‘me’, as a passionate identity, who was responsible for all of the ‘bad vibes’ around money. I discovered my anxiety of not being a success, my greed to acquire as much as possible combined with my resentment at having to work for it, my fear of being cheated, my competitiveness to get the best deal come what may and my general reluctance to relate to people in a straightforward manner and fair service-for-money contracts.
The issue of money is an excellent field for investigation for an actualist because it brings a whole range of morals and ethics to the surface for close inspection, not to mention the basic survival instincts that are activated when one is dependant upon money for sustenance and shelter. As you mention, one can also have a particular spiritual slant on one’s assessment of money such as – money is dirty, it’s the work of the devil, it’s lead weight for the soul, money corrupts, money stinks, etc, etc. But money itself is neither dirty nor evil – it is only made to be so by the fervent beliefs and passionate survival instincts of human beings.
Money – notes and coins – is unquestionably actual stuff and there is a common usage of money as an exchange medium for goods and services. When one begins to remove one’s rose-coloured and grey-coloured glasses – the good and evil spirits concerning money – one can experience that money is a simple straightforward tool. I also found I didn’t have to solve the problems that other people have with money in order to be able to use it sensibly rather than passionately – I only had to investigate my own emotions and beliefs in order to get rid of the aversion, tension and greed that money used to trigger.
Today my dealing with money is indeed a game – an utterly non-serious play, which in no way denies the necessity of having or earning sufficient for my shelter and sustenance. I delight in my paid work of putting order in people’s financial records – which is the adult version of ‘playing shop’ that I enjoyed as a girl. Peter recently pointed out that his work is playing the adult version of his favourite childhood game called ‘builder bricks’ – drawing houses and gardens for people in order to pay for his living and his toys. As for assessing how to spend my money, I found it useful to consider the time I need to work in order to pay for my necessities and then make a judgement as to how much more time I want to work in order to buy luxury items such as technical toys. This way common sense prevails over greed because time is my most valuable asset – time to do nothing really well.
I can highly recommend looking into all one’s beliefs and passions concerning money because, when they are uprooted and exposed, then dealing with money is but a trading game, utterly easy and delightful.
VINEETO: Here is your eagerly awaited answer, ready for consumption. Enjoy.
RESPONDENT: You could win any contest in matters of ‘enlightenment’!
VINEETO: As I said to you ‘I have found something far superior to spiritual enlightenment’ – it seems strange you could come up with this response. Has it ever occurred to you that you and I are talking about two different things? You talk about spiritual enlightenment, an illusionary freedom from an illusionary reality, and I talk about an actual freedom from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: The amount of experiences you have had over the years are impressive.
VINEETO: Well, it was never my thing to sit on the fence and watch or criticize what others are doing. When I was a spiritualist I jumped in boots and all and thus gained a lot of valuable experience – mainly insights about what doesn’t work.
RESPONDENT: You are superior; you deserve a Phd.
VINEETO: If you think that I am superior, that is between you and yourself but I am curious as to why you think I ‘deserve a PhD’ in matters of ‘enlightenment’? Are you a dean of the university of Mysticism or the honorary professor in the College of Enlightenment staging ‘contests in matters of ‘enlightenment’’? Besides, as far as I know, a Philosophy Degree is not given for practical hands-on experience but only, as the name indicates, for philosophical and theoretical elaborations.
RESPONDENT: You have been everywhere!
VINEETO: No, not everywhere but I have gained enough experience both in real world enterprises and in the spiritual world to know that the answer to the meaning of life is not to be found there.
RESPONDENT: What a burden you are carrying!
VINEETO: I wonder where you got that idea? My life-experiences have taught me what doesn’t work, i.e. each time I discovered that a line of pursuit didn’t work I dropped it – a sensibly lived life is a process of diminishing burden, not accumulating it.
RESPONDENT: However, you have to sweep all that load from your brain –
VINEETO: So much for winning any contest and deserving a PhD, hey.
RESPONDENT: – be an innocent child again –
VINEETO: This advice is strangely at odds with something you wrote earlier to Richard –
RESPONDENT: – if you want to enter ‘the kingdom of the heavens’.
VINEETO: You too quickly dismissed something that I wrote in my first letter to you –
To spell it out more clearly – ‘the kingdom of the heavens’ has no existence outside of people’s passionate minds.
RESPONDENT: You must stop putting labels in everything you see.
VINEETO: As I don’t ‘want to enter ‘the kingdom of the heavens’’ I have no use for Jiddu Krishnamurti’s method of denial and dissociation. Besides, it is such a liberation in being able to call a spade a spade and a not man-made, manually-operated, leverage-principled digging machine.
RESPONDENT: You’ll never be able to distinguish the ‘actual’ from falsehood while your eyes have a screen of images.
VINEETO: I wonder why you insist on giving me advice as to how to become enlightened when I have clearly said (twice) that I have moved on. Vis:
Is your oversight maybe due to the fact that you have difficulty in listening to what others are saying because you practice, as you say, ‘me listening to myself; like a mirror’? Re: About Permanency, 29.9.2003
RESPONDENT: Richard is your ‘actual’ hope.
VINEETO: The expression of an actual hope is an oxymoron, evidence that your ‘actual’ clearly means something different than ‘existing in fact as evidenced by the physical senses, in action or existence at this time, existing in act and not merely potentially or apparently.’ Oxford Dictionary. As for hope – I have abandoned hope, faith, belief and trust a long time ago, along with doubt, disbelief, distrust and despair.
This is what actually happened – I was intrigued by Richard’s discovery because I had lost hope in ever finding peace and happiness via spiritual methods. When I applied the actualism method it produced immediate tangible results and repeated success and now I am way past the point of return and the ending of ‘me’ is a sure-fire inevitability. An over-weening confidence based on tangible results and repeated success beats hoping for some future release from the dreary continuum of earthly life hands down.
RESPONDENT: As for me, I’ve managed to break-free from the spiritual dreams and schemes and now they are of zero interest.
VINEETO: I remember I was immensely relieved when the full implications sank in that there is no omnipotent omniscient God, no Divine Judge, no mysterious Power running the show and consequently no Life after Death to plan for. It was as if I got my life back, I could finally live now instead of worrying about my mythical non-physical life and the ‘health’ and virtue of my spirit and my soul. A huge burden fell off me and with it my fear of divine punishment disappeared which in turn freed me from my fear of human authorities – everyone became just like me, a fellow human being, living their life for the first and only time just like me. It’s not that I abandoned the belief in a Greater reality and fell back into grim reality because I had set my course on becoming unconditionally happy and harmless – the best possible thing I could do for my fellow human beings.
RESPONDENT: I’m now thinking a bit differently about the ‘human condition’. You are absolutely right that to put a gloss over the ‘human condition’ is not going to get anyone anywhere. What I see now is that talking about the ‘human condition’ is already to talk about the diseased parts of it otherwise it wouldn’t be a ‘condition’.
VINEETO: The longer I investigated my beliefs, feelings and emotions, the more I came to realize that all of the human condition is a disease – not only ‘diseased parts’, but all of it. To be genetically programmed with a complimentary and conflicting set of instinctual survival passions that then need to be controlled and/or suppressed via the imposition of social conditioning is a diseased state, however way I looked at it. I also found that the ‘good’ parts and the ‘bad’ parts of the instinctual programming were inseparably bound together in the one package and that the age-long ambition to have the ‘good’ without the ‘bad’ parts is therefore doomed to fail.
RESPONDENT: What I think was happening is that I was interpreting the ‘human condition’ as ‘what it’s like for every human being’. The ‘human condition’ is already a generalized term which is designed to focus on the essentially negative aspects of being ‘human’. I do realize that misery is essential to being ‘human’ – but I think I was objecting to that characterization because it seemed to be ‘out of balance’ with the facts. Humans don’t walk around constantly feeling miserable. There is an essential misery that humans carry around with them, but it doesn’t have to engulf one with despair. Even in the ‘human’ state of affairs – there is a buoyancy that keeps arising – even in the darkest moments of one’s life. So – while I can agree that the ‘human condition’ is essentially a miserable one, and thus extremely desirable to ‘get out of’. It doesn’t have to generate despairing histrionics in everyone.
VINEETO: The tried and failed solution to the human condition is to fight or balance the bad feelings with good feelings, i.e. balance depression with hope and resilience, anxiety with optimism, fear with bravado, sorrow with compassion, aggression with love, despair with bliss and loneliness with belonging.
In actualism I learnt to investigate my feelings and their underlying beliefs, morals and ethics with the aim to examine and understand ‘me’, the passionate identity that produces and maintains my feelings and beliefs in the first place. Because this process of investigation is scientific in nature and non-judgemental as to rights or wrongs, goods or bads, I have no need to counteract, cover up or neutralize any bad feelings with good feelings but can give full reign to the felicitous/ innocuous feelings of happiness, delight, bonhomie, friendliness, amiablity and the pure enjoyment to be alive.
RESPONDENT: I have been spiritual in my life but I am not spiritual now. Truth to me is what I am actually doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment. I’m sorry if I have wasted your time. I will continue to look and see if I have any spirituality.
VINEETO: Personally, I was never attracted to J. Krishnamurti or his teachings as I considered them too dry and theoretical at the time of my spiritual involvement. Instead, I got sucked into the emotional indulgence and the escalating esoteric extravagance of Mr. Mohan Rajneesh. Yet the relationship that I had to him as my master differs not from the relationship that other followers have to their particular master – is it invariably epitomized by unquestioning adoration, deep felt loyalty, a love that excuses and defends the master’s every word or deed and the pride of being a disciple of such rare outstanding and powerful personality. Krishnamurti’s claim that he did not want to be a master nor want his followers to be devotees only created an apparent intellectual coolness but it never altered the fervent emotional ties that each of his followers had, and still has, with him. If you take the time and read through some of Richard’s correspondence with mailing list B you will quickly understand what I mean.
Before I could learn, explore or even consider that there was any new approach to life I had to question this highly emotional relationship to the one teacher that I had considered to be the only authority and fountain of wisdom. My worldview was coloured and measured against the authority of his words and teachings. If others stated similar views and ‘wisdoms’, I considered them right, if not, they were wrong. My judgements had nothing to do with my personal investigation of facts at all; it was solely a ‘feeling right’ decision according to my preconceived convictions solely derived from the master’s viewpoint – and the fact that he had been dead for 10 years did not change my emotional dependency on his authority at all.
An honest and in-depth investigation of the facts of the situation was only possible after I ‘tore Rajneesh out of my heart’, became a traitor to his message and his ‘sangha’ and thus became independent of his imagined approval or condemnation. Only then was I able to listen to his discourses and judge with my newly freed intelligence instead of ‘my heart’ and to discover his mindless twaddle and ‘compassionate lies’, his manipulation and deceit, his outright distortions and underlying ancient rotten Indian belief-system. Now I could start the long and fascinating journey of unravelling the intricate web of the psychic world – the Eastern spiritual fears of endless karma, the hope for transcendence, the reverence for intuition, love, compassion, bliss and enlightenment. Once one starts to see the psychic world and how it functions, the word ‘spiritual’ is revealed in its fuller and more comprehensive meaning.
You felt moved to defend your teacher the moment I quoted him in order to prove that he is concerned only with the spiritual and the divine and not with the actual. This reaction indicates where to look when you want to ‘see if [you] have any spirituality’. So in order to ‘continue to look and see if [you] have any spirituality’, you will first and foremost have to consider and investigate your affective relationship to your ‘previous’ teacher and teachings. Otherwise any factual discussion about what Krishnamurti said or meant will be distorted by the emotions that are instigating automatic instinctual (or, as LeDoux calls them, ‘quick and dirty’) reactions rather than considered intelligent responses.
RESPONDENT: I don’t need your endorsement or approval, but honestly, it does mean something to me, approval from others. I know I have plenty to learn in many areas.
VINEETO: In my investigation I have made a difference between ‘needing approval’ and scrutiny. Since I embarked on my journey to freedom, every single person’s input has been of value to me for scrutinising myself, be it criticism or approval, because I would measure my reaction to their input on what I wanted to achieve ie be free from any emotional reaction and check if I was not kidding myself. Given that I, like everyone else, have this ‘very very cunning entity’ inside myself, I will use every help possible to dismantle the ‘self’s’ tricks to stay in existence.
The ‘needing approval’ I know very well and I can say that it disappears as the need to maintain an identity vanishes. It is the identity that needs approval, given it is made up of other people’s opinion about me, as well as the instincts that everyone is born with.
RESPONDENT: Why does my saying I see we have things in common make you seem to pull back, retreating into a ‘You don’t understand Richard’ position?
VINEETO: I said: ‘It is not merely ‘definition differences’ we are talking about.’ And I still maintain that it is not only definition differences. Every difference in definition usually means a difference in belief, as I know from my own process of digging into my beliefs, emotions and instincts, and they need to be investigated before we know that we have things in common. As I have told you, it is good fun for me to be doing this and helps me to become clearer. Any communication about my favourite subject – and actual freedom from the Human Condition – is very welcome.
RESPONDENT: Because it would be scary to be like me? As ignorant and clumsy and stupid? As inconsistent and confused?
VINEETO: The journey so far has been also scary, yes, but incredible rewarding. I see it as no bad thing to be inconsistent and confused. After all, you are on a discovery journey. Ignorance, stupidity, inconsistency and confusion are part of the Human Condition that is being investigated. A bummer of a birthmark for each of us, that is true. The way to overcome the ignorance and confusion, created by the many beliefs, was to investigate the facts of each situation, and facts are simply facts. Further, it has taken many leaps to overcome pride and fear again and again, but the fascination and thrill of investigating and eliminating my own shackles has given me the necessary fuel.
RESPONDENT: As ‘full of malice and sorrow’, to use your all’s rather religious terminology?
...after all, it was Peter’s ‘advertisement’ for freedom from malice and sorrow that caught my attention.
VINEETO: Strange that you should judge the expression that caught your attention a religious terminology. If it is something you want to achieve, why put it down as a mere belief? Don’t you want to be free from malice and sorrow?
RESPONDENT: As ‘full of malice and sorrow’, to use your all’s rather religious terminology? After all, it was Peter’s ‘advertisement’ for freedom from malice and sorrow that caught my attention.
VINEETO: Strange that you should judge the expression that caught your attention a religious terminology. If it is something you want to achieve, why put it down as a mere belief? Don’t you want to be free from malice and sorrow?
RESPONDENT: Passionately. The judgement and fear you have correctly identified comes from my sense of self perceiving you and Richard and Peter to be claiming to be special and different and better than I am. Yes, my sense of self wants to be free. And I have seen that I am an actual self that grows towards freedom, without the help of my identity self. My identity self, in fact, is the obstacle. Yet I don’t put it down as a belief, I correctly identify it as a belief. I am not free of malice and sorrow, and when I take action to attempt to bring about freedom from malice and sorrow, then I am either insane and do not know what I am doing, or I believe that my actions will bring about the desired result, one that I ‘fervently wish were true,’ but is not.
Clearly a belief. It appears to be the core belief of your religion. <Smiling.> One you are allowing while condemning others. But it is OK to be religious. That is just a statement of having an ego, of being who we are.
VINEETO: It may be a belief to you, for me it has been a working theory first and then, with more and more success of eliminating emotions, beliefs and instincts, it has become my experience that it is actually possible to free myself from malice and sorrow. If it intrigues you, you can try it out for yourself. As a mere belief it is of no use whatsoever.
GARY: As I am not Actually Free, I can only imagine such a result. However, most definite steps have been taken in terms of demolishing the social identity, a large part of which consists of membership in certain self-protective groupings of one sort or another, and identifying with others based on certain compatible attributes.
VINEETO: One of the most important aspects of ‘membership in certain self-protective groupings’ is the social insistence and instinctual craving to belong to a particular group, tribe or nation. The other day I watched a made-for-TV documentary about the siege of Stalingrad by the Germans in WW II, when the Germans almost conquered the city and then got knocked back and enclosed in a surprising counterattack. Both Russian and German survivors of the siege were interviewed and they gave first-hand accounts of tremendous hardship and destitution, of fighting in freezing conditions with meagre supplies, of human beings desperately fighting other human beings in the bombed out rubble of the city. What was new to me from the previous times when I had watched similar reports was that this time I was neither taking sides for ‘my countrymen’ against the enemy nor did I form moral judgements for the poor Russians fighting against the bad Nazis. I was also neither upset nor sad about the enormous suffering inflicted by senseless fighting. I simply listened to this report of the human condition in action and followed with interest the sense that some of the men, fellow human beings, had made of the experiences they went through.
I was neither dissociated from the violence as I had tried to be in my spiritual days nor did I associate with the suffering of the people stuck in the desolation and cruelty of war as I had done so many times before. I could watch the report and know for a fact that it is possible to stop being a member of a squabbling and fighting humanity – I can escape my programmed fate, for moments at first and soon forever.
VINEETO: One of the first issues to be sorted out for me was my female identity – my belonging to the women’s camp as opposed to the men’s club. Part of this female identity was the continuous battle as to who is right and who is wrong – men or women. What I discovered was an unbridgeable gulf between the masculine and feminine version of interpreting the world and that the only way to ensure peace and harmony was to eliminate the gulf, whereas common wisdom has it that the gulf is a given and that one should bridge the gulf with the feeling of love or move closer to the other camp by becoming more feminine or more masculine. Needless to say eliminating the gulf meant eliminating my precious identity as a woman and all that entailed.
GARY: Recently I was working with a small group at a professional training. I was the only male in the group, there being three female participants besides myself. The exercise we were working on required giving a potential emotional reaction to various scenarios involving sexuality. After I had disclosed my reactions to these scenarios the other participants remarked that, of course, I had reacted that way ‘because you are a man’. I was a bit surprised at their perception in this regard. It had crossed my mind that perhaps I was reacting from a gender bias. But their remarks too struck me as dismissive in the sense that they consigned my reactions to the ‘male camp’ and disregarded that they might have been made on some other basis than gender conditioning. Besides discovering that I dislike being pegged in this way as either ‘male’, ‘white’, etc (in itself an instinctual reaction), I realized too how seldom I make these kinds of judgements and comparisons of others. It seems to me that only a female identity would be capable of making a judgement that someone is reacting on a ‘male’ basis, or vice versa.
VINEETO: Oh yes, you have encountered one of the typical fighting strategies of any identity – attacking the messenger instead of considering the content of the message. This strategy is used by men and women equally and is usually a sign that no further sensible discussion can be had about the topic at hand because the main issue is winning the argument and not having a fruitful discussion in order to find out the facts.
As I see it, ‘being pegged in this way as either ‘male’, ‘white’’ is both a reaction of the social identity – being pegged as a member of a family, gender, race, nationality or profession – as well as an instinctual reaction to being classified as either friend or foe. Nowadays if someone accuses me of being ‘female’, ‘white’ or ‘German’, I just laugh because I know for sure that whatever it is they are accusing me of is their problem, not mine.
RESPONDENT to No 37: Perhaps Richard is saying that so long as we have the illusion that our existence, our ‘I’ is separate from the whole we cannot be objective. For the mystic good or bad are not separate possibilities. While we make judgements we do not penetrate to any real meaning.
VINEETO: To consider Richard a mystic can only mean that you must have read the website meditatively, i.e. with both eyes closed. For a precise understanding the differences between mysticism and actualism I refer to the Actual Freedom Trust Library.
RESPONDENT: It seems to me that living, surviving depends on my being able to have good and bad emotions. Without those judgements I would soon be dead. Don’t tell me that you don’t pass many moments without making a decision.
VINEETO: The judgements and the decisions I make nowadays are based on facts instead of feelings or beliefs and on what is silly and what is sensible rather than blindly following the herd’s moral and ethical evaluations of what is good or bad, right or wrong. Facts are actual, tangible, discernable, provable, practical, and by knowing the facts and making decisions based on facts one can consider what will be the best in the situation for everybody involved.
RESPONDENT: I have the feeling that we are never going to be able to dissolve out differences. The semantics seem too difficult.
VINEETO: I can understand that after 40 years of following spiritual teachers you may well be firmly entrenched in the teachings of ‘follow your feelings and leave your mind at the door’ – one of Rajneesh’s favourite admonitions to his followers when they came to his discourses.
The differences between spiritualism and actualism are not ‘semantics’ at all – the two approaches to the human condition of malice and sorrow are in fact diametrically opposite. In spiritualism one enhances one’s ‘self’ by fully identifying with one’s good feelings and emotions while dissociating from one’s bad feelings and emotions, indulging one’s imagination and unquestioningly following one’s beliefs. In actualism, the opposite is the case – I dismantle my ‘self’ by questioning my feelings and emotions, forsaking my imagination and replacing my beliefs with verifiable facts.
As long as you choose to make judgments via feelings and beliefs, instead of actually reading what is on offer on the actual freedom website, you will never be able to grasp that actualism is a radically different alternative to spiritualism.
VINEETO to No 26: The third requirement of learning something new becomes apparent in your response when I described the nature of this list –
Before you have even begun to find out and investigate what actualism is all about, you propound the borrowed wisdom of Eastern spiritualism, already absolutely convinced that we actualists have got it all wrong. If you want to insist that ‘the self is not an actor’, then that is entirely your business. But if you already know, why do you make-believe that you are ‘trying to understand’?
Obviously, in order to learn something new you will have put aside the insistence that you already know and that you are right and maybe consider the possibility that you have been on the wrong track all along. This is, of course, a devastating blow to one’s pride but, then again, the question is ... would you let pride stand in the way of learning something new about the human condition? In order to understand actualism it is vital that you are open to the possibility that all of humanity has got it 180 degrees wrong.
It is vital to understand that the word ‘wrong’ has nothing to do with a moral or ethical judgement as in ‘you have been a bad person’ but that it is a simple statement of fact that none of the traditional real-world methods or spiritual beliefs and teachings has brought peace on earth, i.e. they are wrong in that they don’t work. Despite their perpetual promises, none of the religious and spiritual movements, none of the self-help-therapies and none of the revered philosophies has come up with a practical down-to-earth, workable solution to eliminate malice and sorrow in human existence. Their solutions do not work, pas du tout.
As for your statement ‘the self can’t generate anything’ – if you don’t even want to consider that you, i.e. your ‘self’, is responsible for your words and actions, then you certainly are on the wrong mailing list, as you have firmly shut the door to taking your life into your own hands. I am not going to discuss with you the borrowed beliefs about what the self is or not – beliefs that originated in a time when Wisdom had it that the earth was flat and the sky above was a dome populated by Gods and Demons. To believe this ancient wisdom to be the irrefutable Truth is to remain Neanderthaloid in one’s thinking and to be in blatant denial of modern scientifically proven facts.
Have you never experienced a rush of anger and wondered where it came from, have you never been overwhelmed by sadness and wondered where it came from, have you never felt a shiver of fear literally running up your spine and wondered where it came from, have you never felt a gut-wrenching despair and wondered where it came from. Have you ever wondered what enrages human beings so much that they would kill, rape, maim and torture other human beings or wondered why people become so despairing that they would kill themselves. Have you ever wondered ‘who’ or ‘what’ generates these passions that directly cause all this mayhem and suffering? Have you ever wondered why in all Eastern philosophy suffering is considered intrinsic to being human and the only escape is to become a divine Self? I just wondered if you had ever wondered about these things before you accepted the Wisdom of the East as being the inviolable and unquestionable Truth?
I have examined all my beliefs and thrown them all overboard. I have stopped believing long ago. No belief can hold water when confronted with facts. I rely solely on facts and on my own thorough examination of myself. I have numerous times experienced how ‘me’, the alien entity inside this flesh and blood body, generates my emotions and feelings and therefore I do know exactly what I am talking about.
In various ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiences I have also experienced that this sensate and reflective body can live very well without a ‘self’ and as such, my confidence is based on facts and experience. So, if you genuinely consider what I write to be sincere, as you indicated, then this might help you overcome this particular legendary obstacle to learning about the Human Condition.
VINEETO: You mentioned two topics in your last letters that I would like to make comment on. The first is the topic of fairness and justice that you described in your recent letter to Gary –
RESPONDENT to Gary: Yes, so all my obsessing about what is just and fair for the world and also what is just and fair treatment from those beings close to me is just that, obsessing. How am I experiencing this moment?
Obsessing over justice and fairness, based on a feeling of sorrow, disappointed once again by the activities of man in general and in particular, causing me feelings of pain rather than the preferred pleasure. And what separates me now in this moment from experiencing pleasure, the air streaming in my nostrils, the bitter-sweet taste of tea, the tingling energy from the tea, the brilliant purity of the light all around, the comfort and safety surrounding me in multiple layers, well, just that, my obsession with issues of justice and fairness giving form to my feelings of hurt, and malice, calling up the images of my favorite enemies of justice and fairness at home and abroad. Respondent to Gary 24.4.2003
VINEETO: When you use the method of actualism then the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ needs to be asked with the clear intent to become more happy and more harmless. Without that intent any observation, however specific, remains just that – an observation. It is the intent to pinpoint, understand and eliminate the cause of malice and sorrow in me that ensures that my observation will result in appropriate action or appropriate change of action.
Therefore whenever my fervent belief in ‘justice and fairness’ causes feelings of pain and sorrow, then it is apparent that holding to the belief is obstructing me from being happy and harmless. Have you ever observed that all ethics, including the principles of fairness and justice, are always relative to the eye of the beholder? Ethical judgements as to what is right and wrong, just and unjust, fair and unfair have been established by human beings solely in order to curb the ‘self’-centred instinctual survival passions of fear and aggression, nurture and desire and because of this they vary according to different cultures. This means that justice and fairness mean different things to different people in different situations at different times. To fight for your version of what you see as justice and fairness in the world is simply blaming and controlling others in a futile attempt to impose your favourite world-order on others.
When I had my first major pure consciousness experience, in a single moment of clear understanding, I popped out of my own ‘self’-created world of affective thoughts and imaginations and saw and experienced the actual world for the first time in my life. In that clarity of ‘self’-less seeing, I also understood that all of my life I had lived in my own ‘self’-created private world, a world formed by ‘my’ beliefs, governed by ‘my’ ethics, ruled by ‘my’ morals and encapsulated as my world-view – all of which only serves as fodder for ‘my’ feeling of ‘self’-righteousness that is inherent to the instinctual survival passions. This clear understanding of a ‘self’-less experience was significant in that it meant I could never again believe with the same conviction in the rightness of ‘my’ beliefs, morals, ethics and spiritual views. There was a substantial crack in the walls and floor of ‘my’ private world – and from then on I took every opportunity and made every effort to widen those cracks.
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.
RESPONDENT: (...) I was playing with you a bit when I called you Ms Vineeto. Perhaps you did not pick it up.
Because you called my friend Veeresh Mr Veeresh. I sort of chose to assume that you are into formal politeness,
and I chose to sort of categorize you in the same way that you categorize people. That tendency towards categorization is a characteristic of the virtual freedom stage.
VINEETO: I think there is some confusion when you say that I am ‘categorizing people’ and this being ‘a characteristic of the virtual freedom stage’. Maybe you do not understand as yet about virtual freedom.
Categorizing people is something that everyone does – it is an activity that arises from the Human Condition. As a lost, lonely, frightened and very cunning entity we think and instinctually feel it to be necessary to categorize people, things and events not only in terms of dangerous or friendly but also according to our cultural moral and ethical conditioning, according to our spiritual beliefs and psittacisms and according to our individually acquired personal prejudices.
Just a side-note for No 7 – psittacism is derived from ‘psittacosis’ which literally means ‘parrot fever’ and it is a perfect description for the way people passionately hang on to and repeat the opinions and convictions they have picked up from others without ever bothering if they are factual at all. The dictionary defines psittacism as
In actualism, virtual freedom is defined as the state that you live in when you have rid yourself of most of your social identity, which consists exactly those morals and ethics, beliefs and psittacisms and the individually acquired personal prejudices. What one encounters after removing the cover of the social identity are the raw instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire that come to the surface – but by then one is well equipped for this next adventure on the road to freedom. Because the outer layer of the social identity is removed, one is able to see and meet people as they actually are without the need of categorizing them in moral and ethical terms. Now, with my guard down, with no identity to defend, I can meet and talk to people as they are, relate to what they are actually saying instead of feeling, intuiting, assuming or imagining what they might mean. It is an intimate, refreshing, satisfying, utterly simple and enjoyable enterprise, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Of course, sensible judgement, common sense and clarity function better than ever, now that the fearful feeling part of relating to people has all but disappeared. I can sensibly assess what someone says by his or her very words. I don’t have to revert to prehistoric means like feeling, guessing, intuiting, assuming, inventing, imagining and assessing them by their star-sign, appearance or gender. There are also certain facts due to the Human Condition that apply to every single human being – the instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, overlaid by the social identity of their particular tribal, religious and cultural upbringing. Having explored the Human Condition extensively and exhaustively in myself, I know about it intimately in everyone else as well, because ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’. On the way to an actual freedom from the Human Condition you firstly explore this humanity and then leave humanity behind. What thrill.
U.G. ADMINISTRATOR: Have you ever watched a child dying of starvation? Its weak cries and vacant eyes, as it lies awaiting death? Have you ever walked past derelicts lying on the sidewalks, the stench of their rotting bodies wafting through the air as pedestrians step over them? Have you ever been raped by a stranger with a knife at your throat? Or had your toenails torn out one by one by some mad religious fanatic?
And all this without a thought of beauty, horror, fear, terror, judgment???
VINEETO: I am glad you are concerned about the suffering of other people. 160,000,000 killed in wars this century alone is sufficient evidence that something is terribly wrong with human beings. If you have a closer look, most of those wars were and are religious wars, people killing each other for their particular religious conviction and noble ideals. I know about the suffering both from experience of universal sorrow and from daily TV reports. Just the other day I saw ‘Oh, What a Lovely War’, a musical on World War I. 600,000 soldiers died on the English side alone, and at the end of the war they had gained no ground. The suffering of these soldiers was gut-wrenching, as they were living in trenches for no apparent reason but the questionable honour to die for the queen and country, in their sleepless nights listening to the cries of the wounded mates out in the fields. The survivors would even spare their wives and mothers about the horror-tales of war they had experienced.
But to have feelings of ‘beauty, horror, fear, terror’ about these facts doesn’t help anybody. ‘Horror, fear and terror’ is only an instinctual response that this might happen to me tomorrow. It won’t help me find and eliminate the cause of the violence and suffering. That you add ‘beauty’ to the list suggests the bittersweet feeling of compassion, which is just another word for ‘suffering together’ (common pathos). Compassion has been proclaimed the merciful solution to suffering but has only perpetuated it.
Mother Theresa is considered a great example of compassion, but all she did was feed and raise orphans to become a saint and be rewarded in heaven – while the pope is creating an unlimited supply of poor children with his prohibition of birth-control. I can see her compassion only as an extremely selfish behaviour. Or would you prefer the compassion of the Dalai Lama – his very title means ‘the Lord who looks down with compassion on the world of sentient beings’. In his ‘holy’ country the peasants starve while they work their butts off to pay for the dead Lamas to be replicated in gold – that is compassion! In Thailand and Vietnam, Buddhist monks have set themselves on fire for a compassionate cause, thus merely adding to the terror that was already happening.
No, ‘judgement’ is the only faculty I consider worth applying. Without the soothing veil of emotions I am experiencing the full impact of the horrendous amount of suffering that people create for each other every day. This very impact gives me the fuel and intent to stop being a contributor to both malice and sorrow, to become completely happy and harmless. And the only person I can change is myself. This means, not just applying the usual ethics from this or that religious conviction and be as good as one can repress oneself, or transcend oneself, but to extinguish the very entity inside that is the seat of our innate animalistic instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. To extinguish not only the ‘one I think I am’, the ego, but also the ‘one I feel I am’, the soul, the Self.
It takes courage to step outside of all of humanity’s values and the ‘tried and failed’ solutions. Your particular solution suggests I should be feeling guilty for being happy, because other people are suffering. That would add yet another person to the already vast number of suffering people. Having spent 15 years on the spiritual path I have experienced the enormous impact those ‘solutions’ have on the continuation of suffering and confusion people are living in.
The reason for the confusion is that none of the spiritual teachers and enlightened beings have ever dared to question the soul or ‘being’. They all are content with exchanging the little ego with the grand ‘feeling one with the Universe’, exuding compassion for thousands of years, while every one of them teaches a different version of their particular way to bliss, redemption, paradise or enlightenment. The outcome has been poverty, religious wars and the generally accepted notion that the solution to the world’s suffering could only be found in afterlife or by turning away into the imaginary world of bliss beyond ego. To see the poverty, discrimination, disease, sexual repression and degradation of women in India alone tells enough about the impact and effect Eastern religions have on people’s lives.
That we are ‘feeling beings’ is held as the distinction between us and the rest of the animal world. This proud distinction unfortunately is founded on the instinctually produced feelings of malice and sorrow, for which we have invented antidotes of love and compassion. Our sorrow is based on a feeling of dread at its very core, and many people know only too well the spiral down from sorrow to despair to horror and finally dread. Suffering is accepted as an integral unchangeable part of the Human Condition and is even lauded as a noble trait. To suffer rightly or deeply is held in high esteem and often evokes a bitter-sweet feeling. Compassion or empathy is also held in high esteem. As humans we are subject to physical dangers, losses, ill-health, accidents, floods, fires, etc. which can cause pain. But to have and indulge in emotional suffering additional to the hardship is to compound the situation to such an extent that the feelings are usually far worse than dealing with the facts would be. Further, the feeling of sorrow usually leads to feelings of resentment, retribution, revenge or anger and this backlash is then maliciously directed at others who will then have to suffer, and they in turn feel ... and on, and on, and on, it has gone for centuries.
What I am talking about is the complete opposite, not feeling compassionate but eliminating the cause of suffering completely, not by trying to apply ‘no-thought’, but by ridding myself of the Human Condition, the emotions, beliefs and instincts. At last I can be without sorrow and malice, without authority and fear, without beliefs and imagination. This is not only tackling ‘the nature of thought’, as you say, but the nature of the animalistic instincts that every human being is born with. Now it is proven that it is possible to completely demolish the whole animal heritage, to rid oneself not only of ego but also of soul and instincts and become a happy and harmless human being for the first time in history.
Up until now everybody has tried in one way or another to wear the rose-coloured glasses of love, good and compassion over the grey-coloured glasses of hate, fear and sorrow. It has not worked. Fear, hate and sorrow are as much evident in the world and in everybody’s psyche as ever after three thousand years of spiritual practice. Why not, for a change, dare and remove both pairs of glasses and experience the physical world as the magical, fairy-tale and safe place it actually is. It is possible to rid oneself of the human qualities of ‘beauty, horror, fear, terror’, etc. and, without ego or soul, be completely innocent and harmless – one of 6 billion people on the planet, but not contributing to suffering and violence.
VINEETO: I just leave you with a definition of perfection (people might call it superiority...)
RESPONDENT: Whose definition is this?
VINEETO: The Oxford dictionary.
RESPONDENT: Mine is that even a fault can be perfect, a perfect fault. There is nothing unperfect, only our mind judging. And as such, the judging mind is also perfect.
VINEETO: Your interpretation of perfect is derived from the spiritual interpretation that the world is illusory and has to be transcended. Of course, Eastern religion preaches that you have to transcend body and mind and disappear completely into the grand state of imagination and delusion. In its affective experience this is seen as very real, seductive and engulfing, but nevertheless a product of the ‘universal’ imaginative psyche, not based on facts. As I said before, intelligence is a very good tool to judge silly and sensible. You, however, seem to use the word ‘judging’ as in ‘rejecting’, not as in ‘discriminating’. Rejecting is ineffective, useless and silly, discriminating a necessary quality to make down-to-earth decisions about one’s life.
RESPONDENT: To end, my advice to you (if you are open to it) is ... don’t get so hung up on words, theories ... relax a little and take things a little more lightly and ... oh yes ... it might not hurt to be just a little less judgmental.
VINEETO: If it was only words – but, you know, Actual Freedom works. I would not bother wasting my time writing about something that does not work. But eliminating beliefs and emotions and living here in the actual world makes my life happy, peaceful, lively, fun, satisfactory and terminates the eternal search for the elusive meaning of life. I just don’t want to be miserly about this discovery, that’s all.
As for ‘judgemental’ – I am definitely making judgments about what is sensible and what is silly for me. Also I don’t subscribe to the New-Dark-Age moral of ‘not being judgmental’ – there are too many people killed for instinctual passions and beliefs. I am simply stating my point; I am not condemning you or anybody, that’s none of my business, thank you. In spiritual jargon, however, there is rarely a distinction made between the two, thinking and judging are in general considered something ‘bad’ and therefore condemned.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.