Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: I don’t consider that some of my queries in the past have been answered ‘satisfactorily’, as the questions and answers were formulated in two different languages as it were, but I do have confidence that they will be eventually, if I continue to apply myself diligently. For instance, I am starting to see that the great and mysterious issue of man and woman living in harmony is actually achievable, but to describe that in words was and is difficult. Once again, it’s the process... learning music doesn’t make sense until you’ve learnt music.
VINEETO: I am pleased to hear that you are unravelling the mystery of ‘man and woman living in harmony’. For me this was the area where I drew my confidence that actualism worked. The first thing was to stop fighting for ‘my’ rights and battling and blaming the other. One of the astounding discoveries for me was that for every conflict of interest there is in fact a win-win solution, and finding that solution replaced the instinctual battle for survival that only has winners and losers. It was important that situations were resolved as a win for everyone and not as compromises because compromising would only call for more compromises so as to not disturb the delicate power balance.
The key, I found, was my commitment for peace and harmony being at the top of my laundry list – right after becoming free from the human condition. This does not mean that I give in or give up nor does it mean that I fight for my rights – it means that I always consider the situation of both parties, mine and the other’s and then put my effort into finding a solution that suits all.
The other vital ingredient for a harmonious living together was to dig into my beliefs of male and female conditioning and find out the facts of the situation. The beliefs that form my gender identity needed to be unravelled and investigated and in the course of that investigation I incrementally stopped being a woman and discovered that I am a human being just like any other, be they man or woman.
Some scientists have observed that parts of the brain are differently active in men and women, thereby claiming that gender differences are hard wired, but I am rather sceptical of their theories given that social gender conditioning begins the moment any newborn infant is declared to be either a boy or a girl. Furthermore, those scientists themselves are strongly biased in their interpretations of data by their own gender identity.
The more you dig into and remove your social identity as a man and your instinctual identity as a male, the more you will find how similar the different genders of human beings really are. I found that, apart from the delicious difference of in-bits and out-bits, there is hardly any actual disparity between male and female human beings – our senses as well as our practical intelligence function in pretty much the same way.
VINEETO: There was one passage in your post about relationships from a few days ago that I’d like to respond to –
RESPONDENT: Over the past year on this list, the subject of relationships resurfaces periodically, and there has been a flurry of postings on that subject lately, so clearly it is presently in the forefront of other’s processing. There has been a great deal of churn in my primary relationship lately, not due in small part to my pursuing this actualism business. For me, the man/woman relationship is one of the hardest areas to understand, hence a cornucopia of opportunities for investigation of the subtle emotions.
In some ways, it’s the most difficult of relationships as there is the element of choice... we have some measure of responsibility for our children that is not negotiable (IMO), but life with our partners damn well better be pleasurable as there is no biological necessity. Without going into gory details, recently we arrived at a place that seemed to me to be an irreconcilable impasse. In the past, I’ve been able to wriggle out of these types of situations by ‘logicking’ my way out. I could patch things up crudely by coming up with a plan: If I do this or that, or say this or that, I can escape the painful situation and come out only limping, with my beliefs still held relatively intact.
VINEETO: I like how you describe the traditional male role in the man-woman relationship – ‘‘logicking’ my way out’. Usually when I wanted to talk about ‘the relationship’ with my partner, it meant I wanted to talk about my feelings, the unhappy, unsatisfied feelings and expectations that were not being met by the man. Generally, the conflicts were not about particular practical situations that needed solutions but they were about a range of diffuse disgruntled feelings I had that I thought were his responsibility to fix. Apart from the proverbial exceptions to the rule, it is usually the women who play the role of indulging in their feelings in a man-woman relationship, while the men tend to repress their feelings and look for a rational approach to the unpredictable and confusing world of emotions.
When I started to practice actualism I broke with that tradition. One after the other I acknowledged my responsibility both for the outspoken charges and, equally important, for my silent accusations. Every wish to find fault with the other was a red flag indicating that I automatically considered my partner responsible for my happiness and my sadness, which in turn meant that I either consciously or unconsciously blamed him for my aggressive vibes and fearful moods. As an actualist I came to realize that it is solely up to me to be happy and harmless and that blaming anyone else for causing my own unhappiness is me being anything but harmless. The one-to-one relationship has been the largest field of inquiry into my beliefs and my passions in order to become free from their miserable grip.
RESPONDENT: With this recent episode however, my tools let me down – the situation was so dire that I knew that I was just fooling myself (and her) with this chicanery. So, apparently there was this vast gap between her and I, and no way to bridge it. I spend about a week in this excruciating place, trying to figure out how to engineer my way out, always to come up against the same wall. While my guts were churning away, I couldn’t help but think that somewhere in this impossible struggle lay a very important bit of information, and I was determined to fish it out. Eventually, the clouds parted, and the veils of that third entity, the ‘relationship’ and all its attendant accrued characteristics, dropped away, leaving simply two discrete beings, completely separate. Everything stood out clearly, all the emotional interactions, the unmet needs, the resentment, the control issues. Particularly, I saw in myself an element that Peter captured nicely.
I had been ‘holding back’ in an effort to maintain some sort of sanity in this chaotic relationship. It is obvious that it takes as much of an iron grip to hold someone at arm’s length as it does to clutch them tightly to one’s breast. Each is rigid and controlling.
VINEETO: Personally, I found ‘holding someone at arm’s length’ particularly tedious as I not only had to fend against the other’s attempts to come closer but also against my own yearning to have a more intimate relationship. I knew that by trying to hold back I was impairing myself as much as the other, depriving myself of the opportunity to find out and to learn something new about how to live in peace with a fellow human being. So when I met Peter and he introduced me to actualism, I jumped in with both feet – I wanted to get to the bottom of why I had never been able to achieve the peace and harmony in a relationship I so yearned for. This meant not only experiencing all the feelings that the relationship brought up but also tracing them deep to their instinctual core – the good feelings as well as the bad feelings, the desired feelings as well as the one’s I used to deny – the whole lot.
RESPONDENT: Let me give you an example that I could really use help with. I saw that I have a great deal of hostility toward woman. I thought, ‘gee it must be great to think that you are such a prize, that a guy ought to thank his lucky stars that he can get the opportunity to support you. To be a woman is to have the ‘divine right of Queens simply because you have tits and a vagina.’ I wasn’t thrilled that I have this belief but it is true for me. I would be lying to say I have vanquished it or am neutral. I know it doesn’t serve me and is unfair yet it is still the truth. So what is the best course of action in terms of dissolution of beliefs?
VINEETO: You say ‘this belief […] is true for me’ which is another way of saying that this is how you feel towards women. In contrast to the spiritual search for the ‘Truth’, i.e. what feels true for you, in actualism what feels true is not the end of the search but rather the beginning of your investigation.
While experiencing these feelings towards women – neither expressing or repressing them – you can at the same time observe them and probe deeper into the structure of your identity. As you experientially observe those feelings and accompanying thoughts, incrementally you are likely to uncover their underlying causes – first the various aspects of your social conditioning as a man and beneath that your instinctual passions as a male.
It is utterly exciting and rewarding to get to the root of the gender-battle in oneself because for the first time in your life it opens up the possibility of seeing, and relating to, all women as fellow human beings – an essential prerequisite for living in peace and harmony with the other gender.
ALAN: All of these boiled down to an examination of me being ‘responsible’ for others (which is, of course, nonsense) and underlying that, the fear of being on my own and of being different. As Richard has often said, it takes nerves of steel to break free from the safety of the herd and I was often accused of being obsessed, having a ‘one track mind’ and ‘twisting her words’. Another favourite was being ‘clever-clever’. As more emotional ties were severed and these taunts began to more and more miss their mark, so their frequency diminished – with nothing to hook into, there is little point in ‘casting’, as mentioned above.
VINEETO: Yes, the other ‘bummer’ for me was moving away from the herd, being on my own, moving away from the group of Sannyasin I knew and the women’s circle. It is another instinct, and it was accompanied with lots of fear – hence the nerves of steel.
The longer I am writing on the sannyas list, the more I understand the meaning of ‘twist’. I am looking at the world in a different way than they are (180 degrees, in fact) and they see it as me twisting reality, while I know that the Human Condition is twisting everyone’s perception. I have ‘untwisted’ myself.
‘Clever-clever’ is one of the typical male-female issues, I know it well from my past relationships. And women are often right in their accusation, when men go off into their cerebral world of logic and theoretical conclusions. But then, when the ‘hooks don’t catch’, you know that you experience the world neither cerebrally (more male territory) nor emotionally (more female territory), but sensually. And that’s where the male-female battle ends. Utterly fascinating!
KONRAD: How far does this lack of training go? Have you ever been on a high school or some equivalent? Do you, for example, know what the abc formula is in elementary algebra? Or are you ignorant about that one? Or does it even extend further? Are you able to solve simple puzzles like: ‘If the weight of something is one kilo more than half its weight, how much does it weigh?’ (2, of course) with the aid of simple algebra? For if you are not able to do this, you are not even able to really understand what I am talking about. You are then definitely completely and totally blind to the connection that exists between household appliances and the understanding of physics and logic. And then it is definitely the case that if you assert that all of these things are just the result of the application of common sense, you do not know what you are talking about, and are therefore hardly in the position to refute my statements.
VINEETO: Well done, this time you hit the target: I was annoyed and I think that is what you wanted to achieve! First I tell my story and then I will have a look at your side of that game:
In order to get to the root of my annoyance I had to look at the ghost that you had revived. It was connected to an experience that the little girl I was 35 and 40 years ago had when the boys said: ‘We do not want to play with you because you can’t climb trees as well or because you are wearing a skirt’ ... basically because I was not a boy! I am sure they believed their reasoning to be as serious and valid as you believe yours to be!
Then, feeling excluded from the pleasures they seemed to have, I competed with boys on intellectual terms to be part of their club. I topped high school with best grades in the male subjects like maths and physics, but I still did not belong. I did not understand about male and female battling, about sex, or why humans are so quick to attack and hurt each other – so just being good in math did not work. Nor did later in life any of these subjects help me to be a better or happier human being. Mathematics still can’t explain how egg and sperm turn into the girl I was then or the woman I am now. Life consists of very much more than equations and puzzle-solving! Those algebraic puzzles were a favourite pastime in my teens, but since then I have moved on to more life-related questions like: How to become completely happy and harmless!
If the above mentioned training is what you request from women to accept her as a partner in communication about vital questions of human behaviour, without arrogantly snorting on her, then I pass and have no further interest in any exchange. This is the typical male world, consisting of competition, arrogance, throwing about knowledge which is irrelevant to the subject talked about. If you insist to stay in that world of equations then good luck!
VINEETO: And there we come to your part of the story. You answered in an earlier letter to my writing:
Women, on the other hand, generally use emotional outbreaks to distract and divert from an issue or subject that scares them. They are conditioned to swim in emotionality rather than sort things out, ie. eliminate the cause, with a strait-forward intelligence. Accordingly, I had used sulking, guilt, stubbornness, being paranoid or angry to not give up my dearly held familiar beliefs and behaviours (often unconscious); even if those beliefs had failed for years. In order to live in peace and harmony, instead of using my well-practiced defence mechanisms, I had to put exactly those female ‘weapons’ under scrutiny and cast them aside.
KONRAD: Well, let me tell you that I have been married to a woman using just those techniques you described. The marriage only lasted for 4 years. So I can go along with you here.
VINEETO: Now, I have told you I have cleaned myself up from the female parts of the disease called ‘Human Condition’ and you very happily agreed to this being a good idea. But it does not mean that I took on the male parts of that very same disease. This has often been the typical male reaction to Peter’s and my writing: The men would fold their arms, lean back and pass the book on to their girlfriends, saying, ‘look, he has confirmed that you are wrong. Go and change so I can be happy.’ They completely missed the point of the matter!
Leaving the ‘female’ and ‘male’ world behind, means that I entered the world of common sense, practical down-to-earth thinking and communication on the basis of facts perceived through the senses and applying my intelligence without the burden of either emotions or rationality. This is the third alternative to ‘male’ or ‘female’ thinking, using common sense to evaluate facts and solutions as either sensible or silly. Mind you, common sense has nothing to do with common knowledge or physicist’s equations. It is the free operation of the intelligence based on the perception of all the senses and unaffected by emotions, feelings or otherwise preconceived ideas. Mind you, the important thing is to take the situation in account with ALL your senses – which gives common sense the down to earth quality that the abstract thinking you are using is lacking so much!
The male version of the disease called the Human Condition includes arrogance, superiority, theorising, display of knowledge just to impress or attack, competition, aggression, malice, repression of feelings and emotions and such more. How can one gender be right and the other wrong? Now you did not even consider that men as well have their share of cleaning up to do. Your response quoted above displays very well those male weapons and they were meant to harm, to put me off and to score points. I call this outright malice. How can you claim to be advanced in your ‘process’ when you have not even eliminated the instinct to hurt and attack? And why did most great thinkers, logician, scientists and spiritual gurus need wives or caretakers to look after their physical needs, while they were retreating into a construct of thought, based on either logic or spiritual belief to escape this so terrible world? I take it that you are no different to those escapists, Konrad.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.