Selected Correspondence Vineeto
VINEETO: 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: Probably. Another possibility is that people once ‘experienced’ God or gods as a daily ‘reality’. There was a character called Julian Jaynes who hypothesised that subjective consciousness is a relatively new phenomenon; that until about 3,000 – 1,500 years ago people experienced their own thoughts as (mainly auditory) hallucinations coming from outside them. (The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind). Not sure, but plausible I guess.
VINEETO: Jaynes’ theory accords with observations I made while recently watching a TV documentary called ‘The History of God’. It described the various stages and quality changes that the Jewish-Christian God has undergone since his very first appearance as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The early patriarchs had very personal communications with their God, an authority figure who apparently both protected and guided them in important daily affairs. In later generations God’s qualities became more and more vague, mysterious, distant and inexplicable – a necessary adjustive transformation of a hallucination that now needs to cater to the individual whims of billions of people. After all, a hallucination, however grand, is a product of the affective faculty and is therefore purely subjective.
RESPONDENT: Yeah, I think that’s the very factor that Jaynes proposed as the cause of the ‘breakdown’. So many different peoples and tribes came together in great numbers, and their conflicting and incompatible visions, which had previously been collectively (tribally) shared, now became untenable and thus fragmented into individual subjective consciousness.
VINEETO: Can you see a parallel between the ‘conflicting and incompatible visions’ of God arising from the visualizations of the ancient seers and the personal ‘‘pattern matching’ or ‘symbol-generating’’ visualizations of your psyche / ‘mind-medium’ which you find difficult to explain to others?
VINEETO: 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: Nevertheless that invention seems to me quite an accomplishment for a primitive brain. In an earlier post I mentioned that I find this ‘invention’ quite puzzling; i.e. someone must have got that notion of the need to explain ‘being’ by projecting an agency as creator/ cause for the first time.
VINEETO: The reason why I said that human beings invented a God by whatever name who then plays the role of someone who is omniscient and omnipotent is because this almost universally upheld belief fulfils a fundamental need common to all human beings inflicted with the instinctual survival passions – the need to believe that someone, or something is in control of this vast universe. To be a human being in the grip of one’s instinctual passions is often a frightening if not terrifying experience.
RESPONDENT: So… Contrary to what is, as I understand mostly taken for granted, I do not think that the early god-belief (as a creator) is merely based on the superstitious nature of human-animal life.
VINEETO: Early humans did not believe in one God, they worshipped many gods – their Gods were ‘spirits’, personifications of nature phenomena. The inhabitants of the Greek/Roman heaven or the old Egyptian Gods are a good example. Most primitive tribes I have heard of have mythical tales of creation, sometimes the marriage of Sun and Moon or the Thunder God mating with the Earth Goddess or the Fertility Goddess giving birth all by herself or some other fairy tale. Out of this conglomerate of spirits emerged a hierarchy in the Heavens and in some cultures one God won the battle and became the only God for a particular area.
RESPONDENT: Iow. the primary god-belief may well have been based on awe rather than that it is being based on fear.
VINEETO: The word ‘awe’ is generally used to express an overwhelming feeling and when you look at the dictionary definition, there is not much difference between awe and fear.
When you then take a closer look at religious scriptures of various old cultures such as the Old Testament or the Hindu Scriptures, you will find many references of ‘reverential fear’ towards their God backed up by tales of terror and dread if one fails to do so.
RESPONDENT No 60: Absolutely, a psyche was present, and if the presence of psyche makes it an ASC, then that’s what it was. But as I said to No 23, the psychic ‘entity’ seemed less like an ‘entity’ and more like a plastic medium in which events unfold. Not a personal thing at all, but also not a ‘divine’ thing either.
VINEETO: Yep, it only goes to show that people who don’t believe in God can have far-out Altered States of Consciousness as easily as a spiritualists can.
RESPONDENT: Do you still find it necessary to discriminate spiritualists?
VINEETO: My comment was in relation to No 60’s assertion that his experience was ‘pure’ without ‘a ‘divine’ thing’ and because ASCs are generally associated with spiritual experiences.
As for finding it ‘necessary to discriminate’ – If you mean discriminate as in –
– then yes, in my conversations with people I certainly discriminate between the various spiritual beliefs they hold, be it animism, geo-theism, pantheism, agnosticism, the different versions of monotheism or the numerous teachings of Eastern Mysticism because it always aids clarity in communication. I found that discriminating my own beliefs in detail helped was essential in the process of uncovering and dismantling my beliefs and superstitions.
If you ask if I discriminate against spiritualists – then no. I know that holding prejudices, grudges, biases, umbrages, annoyances, irritations or resentments is part and parcel of the human condition and only when one practices actualism with the aim to become happy and harmless can this crippling condition change.
RESPONDENT: Also as there are as many ‘gods’ as there are believers the term God seems to me to have become a too broad generalisation.
VINEETO: Generally people know quite well what I mean when I use the term God in a conversation. I can’t see the point of your comment in the context of my conversation with No 60 unless you are implying that I need to narrow my definition of God to suit your particular belief in order for you to understand what I am saying.
RESPONDENT: To explain in the end it is experience what counts, be that experience with, or without an experiencer if God by any name is present in that experience I respect it as part of human experience at large.
VINEETO: I wonder in what way you see your respect for an experience where ‘God by any name is present’ contributing to any clarity on a mailing list set up ‘to assist in elucidating just what is entailed in becoming free of the human condition’?
Personally I have neither respect for nor tolerance of ‘God by any name’ because I know beyond doubt that any experience where ‘God by any name is present’ is by its very nature an experience of delusion. I like people and I don’t want to confirm and strengthen their psittacotic condition by paying respect to it.
VINEETO to No 52: I remember, questioning my spiritual beliefs was shocking at first, then thrilling and then incredibly liberating. One day I realized that for God to rule over an infinite and eternal universe he would have to be outside of it, which is a physical impossibility, and with this realization my whole supernatural ‘universe’ came crashing down.
When my belief in a controlling, punishing and rewarding God disappeared and the notion of God’s power to grant ‘me’ an my afterlife, also disappeared, all my worries about my bank account in heaven and all my hopes for a better life somewhere-else vanished. With no ‘Scottie’ to ‘beam me up’ out of here I was free to abandon the waiting game for heaven and focus my attention from wanting to be ‘there’ to being interested in being here, from waiting for ‘then’ to being fascinated with what is happening now. Vineeto, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 52, 21.6.2003
RESPONDENT: Why if god exist must be outside the universe?
VINEETO: God is generally believed to be the One who created the universe. According to this belief God certainly had to exist prior to the universe’s creation and therefore was outside of the yet to be created universe. This deliberation combined with the determined questioning of all of my religious and spiritual beliefs made it obvious that there is no place outside of this infinite and eternal universe for any God to reside.
However, if you prefer to hold to a belief in God or a Divine Power by proposing the theory that God resides inside this physical universe, then that is your business. I found that it makes no sense to discuss the content of other’s beliefs unless they themselves are interested in questioning and investigating their own beliefs in order to become free from the grip of atavistic superstition.
However, one thing in your query leaves me puzzled. You had a long discussion with Richard over several e-mails, doubting the actuality of a tree, namely whether its colour exists independent of a human brain perceiving it, viz –
You even went as far postulating that each human being is creating his or her own universe, vis –
If you believe that a tree, which one can actually see, touch, hear and smell does not exist independently of human perception, then why according to your logic do you think that a God who can not be seen, heard, touched, smelt or perceived by any human sensory organ should exist as an actuality outside of human imagination?
Further you said to Richard –
If you regard the universe as being ‘colourless, inodorous, insipid and silent’ unless a human being is ‘creating’ the universe as their own self then by the same logic your God is ‘colourless, inodorous, insipid and silent’ unless a human being is ‘creating’ God as their own self.
Your philosophy that humans create the universe as their own selves is only a hop and a skip away from the solipsistic belief so dominant in Eastern mysticism where people suffer from the institutionalized delusion that they are God. I have had many meetings with people suffering from such calenturous delusion and I have had a few ASCs myself. I know the narcissistic, utterly ‘Self’-centred and nonsensical state as what it is – a voluntarily chosen psychological disorder.
People suffering from a permanent ASC are not only driven to spread their message, to gather followers and to ascend the spiritual hierarchy by creating yet another spiritual movement or quasi-religion but they are also forever cut off from experiencing the splendour and purity of this actual universe. In other words, if you choose to believe you are God you can never be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
For you to propose that ‘we are still primitive scientifically’ whilst championing beliefs and concepts first concocted in times when it was universally believed that the earth was flat, the sky was a world populated by Gods and underground was a hellish realm of fire does strike as a somewhat moot point. Western society is in danger of returning to the dark ages due to the growing influence of Ancient Wisdom that regards a state of ‘not-knowing’ more highly than empirical knowledge.
As to the attachment you sent to me about the ‘scientific proof of God’ by Edwin Hammond
I think the banner at the bottom of the page says it all. http://www.ordination.org/proof.htm –
Edwin Hammond’s God is apparently a God who resides in the sky. As proof of his God’s existence Mr. Hammond relies on various unproven ideas of theoretical scientists, adds a bit of psychological theory and a lot of faith – a combination that stretches the definition of a ‘scientific proof’ beyond sensibility.
RESPONDENT: Long time, no read. I’m wrestling with some questions about religion. I can understand the facts that are against any form of religion = (belief). I know God = religion = war, separation and all that comes with it. I know on a personal basis that religion (belief) feeling guilty, taboos, = struggle and loss of freedom. Intellectually I do understand that any kind of religion doesn’t work. That also means no religion, no god to believe in.
VINEETO: In my experience it is one thing to understand intellectually the personal facts and global consequences of believing in god and religion, and it is another step to actualize this understanding in my life. It is already a daring step to question the sensible-ness of all the religions, of the (imaginary) existence of God and the oh so holy belief in a ‘higher entity’ running the show and rewarding or punishing us for good or bad deeds. It is vital to gather your own information – facts and figures, so to speak – in order to make it blindingly obvious how much harm this belief in an absolute authority and an eternal soul has caused throughout human history. Once you have enough information for a ‘prima facie case’ then you can proceed with investigating what it is that still makes you want to believe in a Messiah, a Guru, Ancient Wisdom or Ancient Ethics.
In my own experience, a mere intellectual understanding was only the beginning of my investigation and it proved insufficient to get rid of guilt, fear, insecurity, taboos or the psychological need to rely on an ultimate authority. To eliminate the belief itself, in my case the belief in the superiority of an enlightened master, I had to dig deep into my psyche, examine the admiration, love and need to belong, investigate the source of the emotions and find the underlying passionate conviction. A great part of this conviction was made up of cultural conditioning (Christianity and Western ethics) as well as later acquired beliefs, such as the bundle of Eastern mystical beliefs. In questioning the validity and sensibility of all these morals and rules, beliefs and superstitions, I discovered an even deeper layer – my need to belong to a group, a religion, a tribe. I discovered the need to have a personal idol who I admired, worshipped, sought advice from (in books, Osho’s discourses or imagined conversations), who gave me reassurance and a feeling of ‘doing the right thing’. I knew ‘somehow’ that all this didn’t work very well – it produced neither personal happiness nor peace at large – but I was too scared not to have the guidance from those ‘authority’ figures.
RESPONDENT: But I wonder where a figure like Jesus does or doesn’t fit in. What is the message? How about the bible? Is there nothing true about it? Are there only fairytales in it? I mean is there nothing practical to get from?
VINEETO: This is ‘where a figure like Jesus does fit in’. He, exactly like all the other Gurus and Messiahs, provides us with a set of messy guidelines to live your life by. These guidelines, enforced by the greed for heaven and fear of hell, are meant to protect us from the consequences of our innate animal instincts. They do keep a lid on things, but when push comes to shove, those guidelines always fail. Covering up loneliness with love, sorrow with compassion and anger with worship is, when you take stock, a messy job. But once you apply ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ rather than ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ you will notice that it works, that you can rely on your observation and intelligence rather than on the atavistic belief system of ancient fools and Dead White Men. The trick is to get rid of the problem, the whole ‘self’, instead of attempting to repress or transcend the instinctual passions.
Jesus was, after all, just a Jewish carpenter with a mental aberration, thinking he was the only begotten Son of God. The collected myths around Jesus make so little sense that one should be surprised they have survived this long. A virgin birth and walking on water – how more non-actual can one get! If you like, you can look at an in-depth research that someone has undertaken to prove that all the mystical features attributed to Jesus are the same for Krishna and fourteen other major saviours of Mankind. It is a big document, but in skimming through you might get picture that Jesus was a mystical character and not an actual person, born at year zero. The myth about him is nothing but an expression of the collective need for a certified saviour, and one can find his type mirrored in every major religion of the world.
This need is part and parcel of our instinctual heritage of fear and aggression, nurture and desire, and harks back to the time when early humans worshipped to appease the powerful forces of nature and the planet-gods in the sky. In order to dismantle this instinctual heritage we actualists investigate our beliefs, feelings, emotions and instincts. And none of the ‘saviours’ and ‘wise men’ has even mentioned the possibility of getting rid of this instinctual self. They all got stuck in the grand and glorious ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ of being one with god, one with everything and having love for all. That this love for all and feeling one with everything hasn’t produced the solution to eliminating malice and sorrow is blindingly obvious when one dares to acknowledge the facts of history and one’s personal fleeting and fickle happiness and harmlessness.
RESPONDENT: Or was it at that moment the best that one could get. I hope you know what I mean.
VINEETO: It has been considered the best, because one would feel better hanging out with enlightened people, god’s messengers or just with their ‘holy’ words. Religion, mysticism and spirituality are nothing but an escape from the ‘oh so terrible’ life on planet earth. One can escape from the hardships of life by contemplating divine love, by imagining a protective and loving god, by believing in a reward after death. But why not become happy and harmless – then you won’t need any synthetic consolation of god’s love or life after death. Again, there is a third alternative – getting rid of the problem instead of trying – and failing – to solve it by spiritual or moral means.
When, for the first time, I not only contemplated but also really understood that an actual physical infinite universe has no physical place for god who, by definition, resides outside of the universe, it blew my whole belief of a higher force to pieces. It then became all too obvious how many other beliefs were feeding from this one imaginary and passionate assumption that there is something ‘higher’ than human beings that is running the show. Bang, here I was, suddenly realizing that I was all by myself, alone and lonely, frightened and unprotected, but free of that imagined authority that had controlled my life. For an hour I experienced in a pure consciousness experience the delicious perfection of this purely physical, utterly un-spiritual universe. I delighted in my autonomous intelligence, the freedom to sort out my life all by myself and for myself and experienced the awareness of this marvellous, magnificent physical universe. I have written about it a year ago:
Now I am responsible for my life and for my life only – without a belief in any bodiless existence before birth or after death. I am neither beholden to any higher authority, nor to any man-made unliveable morals or ethics. And I am free from guilt and the fear of god’s wrath – a fear that became quite apparent when I struggled to ditch the belief in god, heaven and hell.
RESPONDENT: But I wonder were a figure like Jesus does or doesn’t fit in. What is the message? How about the bible? Is there nothing true about it? Are there only fairytales in it? I mean is there nothing practical to get from.
VINEETO: Is there anything practical that you get from the bible? Does it give you something that works in your life, something that makes you happy and harmless, reliably, all the time, in every situation? Are the stories and rules sensible or are they silly? Are they applicable? Have they brought peace for humankind, or at least for Christians?
For me, where it starts is that all these mystical tales require believing – an imaginary god-father, a miracle-working ancient prophet, an ascension to heaven, etc., etc. And then it begs the question why do I feel the need to believe something? What hinders me from acknowledging the facts and living my life accordingly? What makes me hold on to something that I consider silly? Then the investigation becomes really interesting...
GARY: Hi everyone...
I felt quite a bit of doubt this morning, after reading No 8’s posts and Richard’s responses. I wondered where the truth of the matter lay. I know that I have had doubts in the back of my mind about this actualism thing, and some of the things No 8 wrote triggered these things to resurface.
VINEETO: I know this kind of doubt that you describe very well and often had to wade through my own doubts of ‘am I doing the right thing’ when I entered into the totally new adventure of Actual Freedom, thus eventually leaving all of Humanity’s ineffective Wisdom behind. The other challenging factor of Actual Freedom is that, when one talks to others about the palpable success of this enterprise, it always triggers the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ in others and one can’t avoid running the gauntlet of – a usually scornful and revengeful – peer review.
GARY: Am I doing the right thing? Am I getting into some sort of cult, and how would I know if I was? Is there a ‘priesthood’?
VINEETO: Calling someone else being part of a cult or being a priest of a cult is the typical way of proceeding when attacking somebody who doesn’t agree with one’s own fervent religious beliefs. As I know from years of experience, it was Mr. Mohan Rajneesh’s favourite line of attack when attempting to discredit other religions and to ridicule his spiritual opponents. This scheme also served him well to distract his followers from the fact that he himself was busily creating his own religion, complete with the priesthood of an Inner Circle, a strict hierarchical structure, inane religious rules and useless spiritual rituals. Following their master’s example, several Sannyasins who corresponded with Peter and I have called us ‘Christians’ or ‘priests’, as No. 12 is now doing – these are obviously the worst swearwords a follower of Rajneesh can throw at a non-believer.
This name-calling is all part of the game of attacking the other in order to distract from the issue so that ‘I’ don’t have to look at ‘my’ own rotten core and change ‘myself’ – a brilliant example of automatic animal survival instincts in action.
RESPONDENT to Gary: Hi Gary, Long time no talk. In one of your recent posts you stated that you had looked into it and that this is not a cult. Everything you said above could have Richard’s, Peter’s, Vineeto’s or Alan’s name on it and I could not tell the difference.
VINEETO: Your comment is a timely reminder that anybody who has tasted the actual world most usually can report about it in the same unambiguous and factual way, so there is no need or reason for me to write – I can simply follow my whim, telling my story or playing elsewhere. I do find it amazing though that you could not tell the difference between the various writings as I experience quite a difference in style from Richard, Peter, Gary and Alan. However, that is perhaps more considering the details rather than the first raw impression. Similarly, black people or Chinese people look all alike to a white man until one has closer contact with some individuals and can determine the particular features and nuances in their faces.
RESPONDENT to Gary: This is a sure sign of a cult to me.
VINEETO: Your conclusion you draw from your initial observation seems rather curious to me. Are you saying that when five people state the same fact, they automatically belong to a cult?
Outside my window grows a lovely thick six-metre high palm tree, at least 100 years old. Now if a group of ten people gathered around that palm tree and nine of them would say ‘this is a palm tree’ and one of them would say, ‘this is a goddess’ – are the nine people then members of a palmism cult and the one who sees a goddess is the true individual?
Unfortunately this example is no mere invention. In fact, most people I have talked to believe in some kind of spirit or disembodied divinity that manifests in trees, rocks, mountains and in some special human beings. Curiously enough there are only very few people who are ready to investigate this notion of divinity as being a belief arising out of their own instinctual programming.
And even more curious – exactly those few daring individuals are then accused of belonging to a cult.
Not that I mind that you see me belonging to be cult – I have belonged to a notorious cult for 17 years – and now I am considered belonging to the cult of the happy and harmless. I am simply suggesting broadening your perspective so as to facilitate having a glimpse of how I am experiencing this marvellous universe. Isn’t listening seeing with another’s eyes?
Upon closer inspection you may be shocked to discover that an actualist is completely and utterly on his or her own – for the first time in one’s life.
RESPONDENT to Gary: Here is one example: ‘And the pioneering discovery of Actual Freedom is that the sense of being can be eliminated, extirpated in toto.’
VINEETO: Your example of Gary saying that ‘that the sense of being can be eliminated, extirpated in toto’ is simply him stating a fact, just as Richard or Peter do. Everyone who has had a self-less pure consciousness experience can verify by their own temporary experience the fact that it is indeed not only possible but utterly delicious to live without a self. I admit, it’s a scary fact that such self-less existence is a permanent possibility, but it nevertheless has been proven to be a fact.
RESPONDENT to Gary: I speak with personal experience because I have been in two cults in the past. One of them was very similar to this one which is why I think I initially identified with this one so well.
VINEETO: I wonder if you would like to share where you see the similarities and significant qualities of the two cults, and how they compare with actualism. And one more question, if I may – do you consider Krishnamurtiism to be a cult?
I am asking because I have been a very committed member of a cult myself and in that period I completely ignored and denied that I should belong to a cult. As a sannyasin I believed that only jealous old-time religious people considered us to be a cult and that I was part of a movement that was to change the world and bring about the New Man. After Rajneesh had died, I began more and more to blame the obvious flaws of Rajneeshism on my fellow followers and the organization for diluting and blemishing His Message until it finally dawned on me that it is the Message itself that was to blame for the failure and not the followers.
Actualism is not a message for me but a method, a recipe, if you will – and it works. By experiencing the success of my own effort in applying the simple recipe I am at the same time autonomous – not dependent upon the discoverer of the recipe but guided by my own pure consciousness experiences. My own experience of ongoing happiness and harmlessness confirms the fact that the recipe incrementally delivers what it promises – peace on earth.
RESPONDENT to Gary: I have extreme reservations about sending this to this list because I am sure it will be denied and I will be called silly. I am interested in observing my instincts in action so this looks like a good way to do it. I feel as if I am entering the beast’s lair (cult) by posting this but what the hell. One never knows what the outcome might be.
VINEETO: Good on you. You stick your head in what you consider the ‘beast’s lair’. Certainly not an easy thing to do. But, as you say ‘what the hell’, one cannot feel safe and discover new territory at the same time.
Your description reminds me of the time when I wrote on Mailing List B because for me that was certainly sticking my head into the lion’s den. I had spontaneously responded to a question and suddenly appeared to be the centre of reproachful attention. But I was determined not to let fear get the better of me and I continued the adventure that I had inadvertently started. It proved to be a great exploration for me into then unexplored areas of the Human Condition and my own instinctual passions in particular.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, I woke up this morning and there is something here I can’t get off my mind so I thought I would write a follow-up. In your last post to me you said: ‘Now I belong to no group.’ I don’t know how you could possibly expect me to somehow believe that actualism is not a group. You can’t even show me one of your dictionary definitions that this is not a group. I have serious doubts about anything you say if you could be this blind.
VINEETO: And to Richard you said – If there is nothing to belong to here then why do I feel like I don’t belong? Vineeto is even saying this is not a group and I am for sure not buying that one.
You had said ‘I am not sure if belonging is my issue’ but now your issue has become that ‘I feel like I don’t belong’ and Vineeto must be blind saying that ‘I belong to no group and to no one’.
Isn’t it you who insists that actualism is a cult and a group because the word has ‘-ism’ at the end of it and because a handful of people want to be free of the human condition? Isn’t it you who is then saying that you don’t want to belong to this cult and claim that actualists somehow insist that you should, despite clear statements to the contrary?
If you consider the people writing on this mailing list to be a group that somehow belong together, then maybe you could take the time to look at some facts. Everyone very obviously does his and her own thing with Richard’s discovery and with the method of actualism – some apply the actualism method, some chose to feel offended, some blow with the wind, some create their own path to actual reality or mystic Reality and some desperately want to stay as they are. The thirty odd people who are subscribed to this list are living all over the planet, most have never met each other and supporters may turn into objectors any day of the week.
How can you somehow believe that actualism is a group, even a cult? What is this cultic thing that people of this supposed group do here? Why do you invent a cult that you then declare you don’t want to belong to?
This thread started with the issue of belonging, and belonging is about feeling part of a group for emotional support, for security of one’s beliefs and for company in loneliness and misery. I have experienced and examined my beliefs, emotions, instinctual passions, urges, needs and fears around this issue in me and they no longer have any impact on me.
I don’t belong to any group and I have dared to acknowledge the fact that I am on my own – in fact, I as this flesh-and-blood body have been on my own all my life despite my feelings of belonging or not belonging. For the path to an actual freedom I rely on my own pure consciousness experiences to know what I want to achieve and I found that the method of actualism works to make me happy and harmless. There is neither belief nor devotion nor gratitude nor security nor following an authority figure – none of these emotional needs and bondages exist anymore.
The issue here is not if you believe me or if you don’t believe me but if you are interested to use a method that is designed for exploring exactly the topics you say you are interested in. You are perfectly free to do this in any way you like, quietly by yourself or sharing with others who are also exploring their own issues of the Human Condition. As my experience of being autonomous and standing on my own two feet is seemingly inconceivable to you, you will simply need to experience this autonomy for yourself in order to find out if what I say is factual or not.
RESPONDENT: Joko Beck recommends to drop sticking to your ‘self’, your hope, fear, being furious, jealousy by right going into these emotions and finally get through. At the same time you will realise the growth of freedom and joy.
VINEETO: I know quite a lot about Zen from the Sannyas years and from reading, and therefore understand the background from where Joko Beck is writing. Zen, like Buddhism – its origin, bases its whole teaching on diminishing the ‘bad’ emotions like anger, fear, jealousy, hurt, despair etc and enhancing the ‘good’ emotions like love, compassion and heartfelt joy. It is a shift from one end of emotions to the other, like a see-saw. The proposed method doesn’t offer a permanent solution, and temporary it only works if one applies a lot of uphill struggle, because it means continuously fighting and being on guard against the basic human instincts. Also, at the same time, one has to apply the Zen understanding that who you really are is your ‘consciousness’, distinct from the body and senses and from the bad emotions and thoughts, which then are merely ‘seen’ or ‘observed’ as something rather foreign to one’s ‘true self’. All Eastern religious thinking is firmly based on the belief that ‘we are not the body’, ‘the physical existence is only a passing phase’, ‘consciousness is pure, and the body and the senses, the ‘self’ and the emotions are impure’.
I don’t really know what Joko Beck means by ‘going into and finally get through’? Is it some kind of combination of religion with modern therapy, a marriage of Zen and Wilhelm Reich? She seems to take a bit of Eastern and a bit of Western culture and cooks up a recipe of her own. The trouble with therapy – and I had plenty of personal experience of it – is that one gets rid of the unwanted emotion momentarily but never permanently.
Do you experience that the method Joko Beck subscribes results in a permanent disappearance of fear, anger, jealousy, hope and frustration or sadness for you?
Now for the Christian faith – you say:
RESPONDENT: ...But there are also different rails today which aim at social service, ie bridges between the poor and the rich. Of course, transcendence plays its part in religion, but more in the sense to fulfil God’s will than leering at reward in heaven.
VINEETO: Methinks, that’s the very trouble – God. Every religion has a different God to obey and appease, a different moral system, and Yugoslavia is at present a perfect example of several ideas of God clashing violently. And it is not something very rare on this planet, either. I have come to see the idea of God as a composition of collective human imagination, a reaction to our ‘natural’ instincts of fear and awe.
Life on earth for early humans had been quite terrible and dangerous, and the forces of nature, like fire, lightning, floods, cold, heat, wild animals etc. were real and life-threatening. That’s when people made up an imaginary ‘Greater Force’, who had supposedly put them in this situation in the first place. After all, ‘WHY’ has always been a very intriguing question for every human being. ‘Why am I here’?, ‘why does this universe exists’?, ‘why are things as they are’?, ‘what happens after death?’ Particularly when one doesn’t like one’s situation – which hardly anybody ever does – those questions seem to be of vital importance. Possible answers are then: ‘It’s all God’s will’, ‘it’s the punishment for Adam’s and Eve’s sin’, ‘you have to suffer now and get rewarded after death’ and so on. The moment I enjoy being here, any ‘why’ is of no relevance.
The fact is that none of these so-called explanations have ever brought a solution, they have only perpetuated the problem. People are still suffering, still fighting each other and many countries are still poor. The progress that happened was only against the will of the religion, against the iron grip of superstition, morals, commandments and God’s ancient holy words.
RESPONDENT: Dorothee Sölle, [representing the so-called liberation-theology] sees in the ‘Third World’ the better starting-point for an effective and convincing Christianity than in our Western welfare-society. Those people have fundamental claims that their lives get changed, but they have to be the operators. They trust in God and in themselves.
VINEETO: I agree that everyone has to be the operator of one’s life, and the more one wants to accomplish, the more one needs confidence. But that confidence is then jeopardised by their belief and trust in God, because ‘He’ should help them and ‘He’ doesn’t exist. So where they could do something themselves, they trust that God will do it. God’s protection has never worked, not for all the peoples who have put their faith and hope in God. In war, every nation prays to God, and in the end one party is the winner and one party is the loser – this is usually the fact of a conflict: one wins and one loses. Evidently God then answers the prayers of some and not of the others.
Well, you can see I am not one to discuss subtleties of faith with, I am throwing the baby out with the bath-water. But then, I am in a position to confidently do so, because I have eliminated the very program that facilitates the invention of god and religion in the first place – the instinctual passions of fear and aggression, nurture and desire. Without these instincts operating as the basic software, one has no need to play the game of enhancing the ‘good’ emotions to balance the ‘bad’ emotions, nor a belief in God’s moral rules of right and wrong via reward and punishment. Then the universe is seen as perfect, as it has always been. It is only the software-program in human beings that is desperately out of date. It had been necessary to bring about evolution from the stone-age to now, but now we have enough awareness and intelligence to live without those basic survival instincts. And this basic programming causes us to still ‘battle it out for survival’ and as such is responsible for war and suffering, fear, hope, jealousy and anger, as well as for the fairy-stories of gods and demons, souls and life-after-death.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.