Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Sanity, Insanity and the Third Alternative
GARY: When I got involved in actualism, I thought something like the following: ‘OK, I am dismantling the social identity, exposing and extinguishing the instincts. Eventually, if I go far enough along this course, I am going to self-immolate.
What do I have to look forward to? Being declared officially insane like Richard? Yeh, right. Losing my job, my home, my mate? Being a blithering blithe and carefree individual, walking the streets alone? What am I – crazy for pursuing this method?’
VINEETO: If people knew what you were doing they would certainly consider you crazy – it is utterly new in human history to attempt to diminish and eradicate one’s instinctual passions. Even exploring and acknowledging that we are instinctual beings is a very, very recent and tentative science.
What I found so convincing in Actual Freedom was that after years and years of dabbling in meditation and therapy, I had finally found something that has tangible, demonstrable and repeatable results right from the start. In actualism I have a method that lets me eradicate the problem instead of pasting it over with positive feelings and sweet fantasies, which need constant adaptation, reconstruction and renewal.
Also, if at any point you do decide to stop and go no further, your life will be better for having replaced at least some of your instilled morals and ethics with down-to-earth common sense and consideration for others. This is diametrically opposite to stopping on the spiritual path – one encumbers oneself with an additional, spiritual, set of morals and ethics and also feels guilty for having failed to fulfill the expectations and desires of one’s Master(s).
What do you have to look forward to? At some point in the journey I experienced a notable shift from pursuing Actual Freedom for my own peace and happiness to doing it because it is the best thing to do with my life and doing it because it is the only sensible contribution for peace on earth. My self-immolation is freeing my body and everybody from the ‘self’-centred burden of my identity and, as we are all fellow human beings, everybody will benefit from it – if they want to.
GARY: I have the sense not to advertise the extremely interesting field of Actual Freedom. I have put out tentative ‘feelers’ to one or two, but judging from the reactions I encountered, I decided not to proceed any further. I do not enjoy debating with or trying to influence other people. I have told my partner more about it than anyone else.
VINEETO: I found it necessary to have a firm basis of palpable and reliable success in my life, before I could even consider going public about a topic that is threatening and frightening to others by its very nature. It is an essential part of our survival instinct to fend against anything new, particularly when it involves dismantling one’s very ‘self’.
VINEETO: I too was hung up with the abandonment theme for many years and, following the fashion, made an early childhood experience responsible for all that later felt wrong in life, until I simply grew tired of continuously complaining that nobody loved me. At some point I had worn the abandonment theme to death and its ending was marked by a short PCE wherein I suddenly realized that I am already here and if nobody liked me, so what. But as I had yet to become aware of and thereby understand the mechanism of the social-instinctual programming in me, this experience remained but a pleasant yet exceptional memory and I fell back into creating bonds – and problems – with people in order not to feel so lost, lonely and to give my life meaning and purpose.
GARY: Interesting you should say ‘I fell back into creating bonds – and problems – with people...’ For quite some time, I have been deliberately not forming bonds, not seeking support or comfort from the herd in order not to feel so lost and lonely. This is one of the things that seems so dangerous, yet it is precisely the kind of action which leads to an expansive, penetrating sense of freedom, and a simple delight in being here. Perhaps the danger is only imaginary: ‘I’ imagine all kinds of dreadful, baleful results from my going it alone. I know that one of my fears has been a complete mental collapse with complete madness as the result. I wonder if that is a common fear that people have as they get involved in actualism. Perhaps it is stronger in me based on some early childhood experiences with madness and insanity. Again, the childhood memories that, in part, make up ‘me’ hit the alarm warning button when I get too far away from people and ‘creating bonds’.
VINEETO: The incident of the short PCE I was talking about happened years before I came across actualism. Socializing with others was then a strong need lest I would feel lost, lonely and very frightened. But I can relate very well to your fear of ‘mental collapse with complete madness’. Some fifteen years ago, a close friend of mine went through a 3-months period of schizoid madness which scared the hell out of me, but I think, apart from everyone’s individual experiences in that field, the fear of madness is part and parcel of dismantling one’s social identity. After all, you are dismantling all the rules and regulations that have been put in place in order to curb the madness of the instinctual animal passions.
I remember a period when I read all the personal accounts of Richard regarding his period of mental anguish after becoming free and asked a lot of probing questions in order to satisfy myself that leaving my ‘self’ behind was indeed safe in regards to my mental health. I have collected all the relevant quotes under ‘Sanity, Insanity and the Third Alternative’.
As a result of this probing I took another look at what is generally regarded as sane and insane and it was sometimes quite shocking to realize that there is only a quantitative difference between the two – ‘insane’ people are often those who are less able to control their instinctual passions or who have developed particularly peculiar and socially-unacceptable ways of dealing with them. I began to establish my own definition of what I regard as salubrious and sensible for my life, i.e. what I consider as mental health, and that is nothing short of being completely free of the madness of the instinctual survival passions.
RESPONDENT: Let me assure you that the word Crazy in this context is a very serious state of being and the loony bin is not the place you want to go. This ‘being the first free of the human condition’ is something that a brain particularly a brain that has been exposed to mind altering substances could well have some difficulties to process appropriately.
VINEETO: Am I understanding you right that you say that you are attracted to actualism but find it presently too risky (too crazy) to take on board? If so, I can understand your concerns very well as I had a short period where I was genuinely afraid of going mad myself. The only thing that helped me to overcome my fear was to have straightforward to-the-point discussions with the two only actualists at the time, Peter and Richard, about the nature of the human condition, about the all-pervasiveness of the instinctual survival passions, about the cunning of my ‘self’ and about the delusion of spiritualism. It then dawned on me that what they were saying made sense – in other words that what they were saying was simple, sensible, straight-forward, matter of fact and down-to-earth. There is nothing intrinsically ‘crazy’ about actualism at all. And yet to the rest of humanity – those who are considered sane – what actualists are saying seems crazy, megalomaniacal, outrageous, heretical, iconoclastic, and even insane.
To put it in a nutshell, I realized that those who proposed that the only way to bring an actual end to human malice and sorrow was to become happy and harmless were considered to be insane by those ‘sane’ people who were content to remain malicious and sorrowful. This realization was an intellectual understanding only and I still wavered between either side about the issue of what it is to be sane – to be hundred percent certain I needed an experiential understanding.
This determination to get to the bottom of the matter finally resolved the issue of sanity and insanity when my ‘self’ temporarily disappeared and I had a pure consciousness experience. In fact it was my burning desire to know for sure who was right and who was crazy that brought my inquiry to a peak and caused the bubble of ‘me’ to temporarily burst. This particular pure consciousness experience confirmed without doubt that an actual freedom from the human condition (the extinction of both ego and soul) is the only salubrious solution to bringing an end to my malice and my sorrow.
As for ‘a brain that has been exposed to mind altering substances could well have some difficulties to process appropriately’ it may be appropriate to carefully read the disclaimer on the Actual Freedom Homepage and first take whatever action and care needed to cure yourself from any remnant side-effects of these mind-altering substances before you try to unravel the mess that is the Human Condition.
VINEETO: It is truly a path to a remarkable freedom.
RESPONDENT: It is a path all right and freedom is the path. I have had many of the actualist essentials running in the background as it were for most of my life especially when facing silly/ sensible life situations/decisions, unwilling or not daring enough to bring these questions and especially their uncomfortable answers into conscious awareness and most importantly, action. It would have been a blow to the system of lies (aka the social status quo), and when you have a system that works, albeit non-satisfactorily, you’re very suss about changing it, for you have no working alternative really, not to mention stirring a hornets nest. You do have the option to strike on your own, yet with a great chance for going actually insane in the process, the task being simply too grand to break the code as Richard put it.
My lifestyle choice, what I really wanted all my life, was that of being on my own (beholden to no one), with understanding (reading, experimenting, creativity) and sensuousness (sensuality, openness) as the essential ingredients for a happy and yes, harmless life. The dry and high intellectualizations or the celibate life never appealed to me and neither did the typical sweets of family or normal relationship life. The fact is that I never dared, yet I’ve dreamt about it even when I was in the midst of love relationships (most happy), to go for it. I’m not accountable to anyone but myself, freedom is the call and this is my destiny. The fact of this universe is that everything has its price, you can’t get something in return for nothing (as an inspired writer put it), when you gain something you lose something and vice-versa.
VINEETO: You seem to be saying that an actual freedom from the human condition requires one to give up the human condition, in which case this is not a ‘fact of this universe’ but merely a human truism. My experience with becoming gradually free from aspects of my identity is that as those aspects fall away I gradually forget that they ever existed. As such I not only not miss those aspects that I left behind but I often wonder what all the fuss is/was about.
On the way to an actual freedom the apparent ‘price’ I pay is in fact a gradual unburdening of unnecessary emotional baggage and silly worries – i.e. nothing at all valuable is lost on the way while a valuable and delicious freedom is gained.
RESPONDENT: Are you more happy, harmless and feel delightful during your daily activities, in your day to day life?
VINEETO: Definitely, that’s the whole idea. Contrary to what some may imagine, the process of actualism is not an all-or-nothing, life-will-be-miserable-unless/until-I-am-free approach – it is a day-to-day increase in attentiveness, the very tool to progressively dismantle ‘me’, the spoiler who stands in the way of the sensate experiencing of being fully alive in the actual world.
RESPONDENT: Also has it has had any effect on the body, I mean more energetic etc…?
VINEETO: Particularly in the first year of practicing actualism I noticed a significant change in my physical well-being as my psychosomatic symptoms disappeared one after the other. As I incrementally abandoned my fears and beliefs about all sorts of quackery, pseudo-medicine and fashionable health-scares, and even more importantly as stress disappeared out of my life, I am definitely a healthier person with a vital interest in life and the universe.
RESPONDENT: … and in light of a post today (R: Case <name deleted>) does this method throw up such risks?
VINEETO: The disclaimer on The Actual Freedom Trust homepage clearly states, that actualism is for normal people, sensible human beings who understand what a word means, who have learned to function prudently in society with all its legal laws and social protocols, and who are a reasonably ‘well-adjusted’ personality who have a deep-seated interest in finding ultimate fulfilment and complete satisfaction.
As for risks – there are, of course, risks that one might loose courage on the way to becoming free and choose to remain trapped in one or the other mental-emotional states that pass for being ‘normal’ or ‘spiritual’ but by far the greatest risk in practicing actualism is what Peter has called ‘grounding on the Rock of Enlightenment’. To be seduced off the path to an actual freedom into the institutionalized delusion of a permanent altered state of consciousness is a real risk and a warning that I did not discard lightly. Whilst practicing actualism and investigating the root of the so-called ‘good’ emotions I experienced a few altered states of consciousness, some of which lasted for several hours and one for more than a day. After these experiences I made it a point to become acutely aware of the ‘self’-aggrandizing symptoms of this passionate trap in order to be able to recognize the warning signs and nip any onsets in the bud.
Be that as it may, the risk that most people I have spoken to or written to seem to fear most is to commit themselves wholeheartedly to something, particularly if this something will result in irrevocable change.
RESPONDENT: Yeah I can see the need to be vigilant. And that’s why I asked the query about risks of mental health, just as you have no intention or wish to go enlightened way! I have no intention or wish to go crazy. Some stuff pertaining to this issue (and my worries) can be read at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/lecture5.shtml
VINEETO: The link you provided gives a general overview about many possible types of mental disorders. Some people have queried Richard about what is described as ‘Capgras delusion’, which is a result of the non-functioning of the amygdala, whereas Richard describes the change that made him actually free from the instinctual passions happening in the brain-stem. If you read more of Richard’s writings you can recognize for yourself that an actual freedom has nothing at all to do with this particular illness. However, you may be interested to know that an actual freedom has been classified by psychiatrists as being afflicted with a chronic and incurable psychotic mental disorder – not only depersonalisation and derealisation but anhedonia and alexithymia as well. In Richard’s selected correspondence on ‘Sanity, Insanity and the Third Alternative’ you will find the explanation for this and some further clues regrading your query.
Personally, I can understand your concerns very well as I had a short period where I was genuinely afraid of going mad myself. The only thing that helped me to overcome my fear was to have straightforward to-the-point discussions with the two only actualists at the time, Peter and Richard, about the nature of the human condition, about the all-pervasiveness of the instinctual survival passions, about the cunning of my ‘self’ and about the delusion of spiritualism. It then dawned on me that what they were saying made sense – in other words, that what they were saying was simple, sensible, straight-forward, matter of fact and down-to-earth. My determination to get to the bottom of the matter finally resolved the issue of sanity and insanity when my ‘self’ temporarily disappeared and I had a pure consciousness experience. In fact, it was my burning desire to know for sure who was right and who was crazy that brought my inquiry to a peak and caused the bubble of ‘me’ to temporarily burst. This particular pure consciousness experience confirmed, without doubt, that an actual freedom from the human condition (the extinction of both ego and soul) is the only salubrious solution to bringing an end to my malice and my sorrow. If society, in its wisdom, classifies someone who is free of malice and free of sorrow as having a chronic and incurable psychotic mental disorder, then what to do – stay ‘sane’?
VINEETO: Be that as it may, the risk that most people I have spoken to or written to seem to fear most is to commit themselves wholeheartedly to something, particularly if this something will result in irrevocable change.
RESPONDENT: I will tell you what my fear is. I am quite a happy and cheerful guy, I mostly feel its stupid to be sad, mostly sorrow seems to self generated, imagined ones and by accepting the society norms and then unable to live up to it, the divide between the ‘goal, the ideal’ and where I am now, brings sorrow. Take ‘success’ for e.g. or any of the other norms that exist in values or material field. That much is clear.
VINEETO: There is much more to being unconditionally happy than being disillusioned with society’s goals and ideals, much, much more.
RESPONDENT: Am I harmless, definitely not, not always. Am I always happy, no. Why not? DO I have the clarity of the ways of what and how to live, No.
VINEETO: The question at this point would be if your realization that you are not always happy and ‘definitely not’ always harmless is motivation enough for you to want to change and change radically.
RESPONDENT: So for clarity one looks into various avenues. I want to do the right thing; In my teens I rmbr keeping a diary for sometime, and I rmbr writing what if I was first man on earth, then concept of God goes, (of course I would have imagined and created one soon enough!) the so called values materialistic and religious, of the society goes, that gave me a huge release, in a sense that even now nothing has changed, I don’t have to follow all the aims and ambitions that culture places before me and feel disappointed or sad when I don’t meet them. Richard writes ‘An Unexamined Life Is Second-Rate Living (../richard/audiotapeddialogues/anunexaminedlifeissecondrateliving.htm) and I see the point. My worry as it was in earlier attempts at this examination through other avenues (JK, Vipassana or Ramana) is what if it’s just a hallucination or wrong on part of respective teachers and in this case Richard. That’s my great worry.
I have been pondering over this recently, there doesn’t seem to be anything, any power that guides one through the journey of life, there are few individuals who seem to have got somewhere and say this is the way, this is the right thing to do, or alternatively there is nothing to do, this is your destiny, etc. I have tried moving away but I keep coming back to it again and again, An unexamined life is second rate living. But what if tomorrow somebody else comes and says with certainty that what Richard says is all wrong, it’s just a brain damage or altered state! I see the predicament of living on borrowed word, borrowed ideas, it has to be a self lived, certainty can come from that only. Why do I believe in what Richard says or anybody else of those gurus for that matter. Then of course the thought aimed at oneself pops up, that’s fine sunshine! But he is saying ‘you’ are just a idea, a bundle of beliefs, just a biochemical discharge even! And now shouldn’t you be questioning, investigating and finding out, isn’t that what you wanted to do while you were young and looking at the stars lying down on the beach and wondering what’s all this about?
VINEETO: Okay, it strikes you that an unexamined life is second rate living and you have a certain amount of suspicion and doubt about the traditional spiritual ‘freedom’ based on your personal experience with some of the spiritual ways. You read some of what is written on the Actual Freedom Trust website and it makes sense to you. The next step is to find out, for yourself, if what Richard and Peter and Vineeto are saying is factual and it is my experience that the only way to find out the facts for yourself is to dare to set in motion your very own process of ‘self’-investigation, a process which will inevitably result in you remembering having had a PCE or evoking one afresh.
RESPONDENT: Here in AF the starting point is a nice one, happy and harmless, what’s preventing me from that at this moment. I shall end my rambling here. Thanks for the mail
VINEETO: I will take the opportunity to respond to another issue you have raised –
RESPONDENT: I was thinking about the silly/sensible construct and I thought it was something similar I discovered – i.e. the healthy/unhealthy construct. I have for some time rejected morality as a primitive way to say what is healthy or not. It not silly also unhealthy and sensible healthy? I was wondering if Peter, Richard or Vineeto could consider the pros and cons of using sensible or healthy? Is what I’m thinking a sensible additional way to think or another diversion?
VINEETO: I looked up the Oxford Thesaurus in order to determine if the words sensible and healthy are interchangeable and this is what I found – <definition snipped> While the definition #2 is somewhat interchangeable with being sensible, it seems that in the definitions 1 and 3 healthy means physical soundness while sensible describes more accurately the general quality of applying practicality, common sense and intelligence –
RESPONDENT: I work in the mental health field and it has coloured my take on the meaning of healthy. Your response was helpful and has opened my eyes to the meaning of sensible.
VINEETO: Becoming free from the instinctual survival passions goes far, far beyond being mentally healthy. To be a mentally healthy, i.e. sane, member of society one needs to have a coherent and socially acceptable social identity and be able to keep one’s instinctual passions under control within socially acceptable limits. And yet sane people kill other sane people in wars and homicides, sane people are sometimes so desperate that they commit suicide and sane people cannot live with other sane people in peace and harmony. On the topic of being mentally healthy vs. being sensible you may also find Richard’s selected correspondence on the topic of sanity, insanity and salubriousness of interest.
RESPONDENT No 28 to No 45: Do you mean ‘anhedonia’?
RESPONDENT: Thanks for answering and sorry for my English.
Yes I was meaning anhedonia, is a Greek word. Edoni means pleasure and with the un in the beginning means incapability of pleasure. I should like to have a dialog with Richard, how is this possible?
VINEETO: I do wonder why you say that ‘I should like to have a dialog with Richard, how is this possible?’ Richard has answered two of your posts, including the only one in which you have indirectly mentioned him. Vis:
Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if you want to continue your conversation with Richard, to actually do so instead of telling No 28 that you want to talk to Richard? As to ‘I should like to have a dialog with Richard, how is this possible?’ I would suggest you could try directing your query directly to him – putting his name on the header of your posts is the customary manner – sit back and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised as to how willing he is to answer queries from correspondents who are genuinely interested in actualism.
The topic of what is classified as insane by society in contrast to the sanity of the human condition – the sanity which includes wars and murders and rapes and child abuse, to name but a few, is indeed a rich field for exploration. Richard had already various correspondences on this subject over the years, which I have collected on the The Actual Freedom Trust website.
Personally I was very intrigued when Richard told me about his psychiatric assessment of de-realisation, de-personalisation, alexithymia and anhedonia because I had never in my life met anyone who I experienced as salubrious and cheerful, as friendly and considerate, as intelligent and sensible as Richard, day after day. For me, meeting Richard was meeting the living proof that not only is it possible to become free from the human condition of malice and sorrow but also that an actual freedom is the only possible solution to the sad and sullen sanity of the human condition.
RESPONDENT No 56: Delirium n : a state of excitement and mental confusion often accompanied by hallucinations. Hallucination n : illusory perception; a common symptom of severe mental disorder. Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
VINEETO to No 56: Ah… actualism is not about silly academic word games, it is a hands-on enterprise. I’m playing for keeps, the real McCoy. Beware, the wide and wondrous path is a one-way street, ‘I’ am instigating my own disappearance for the benefit of this body and that body and everybody. No wonder, you perceive this as ‘delirium’ and ‘hallucination’. From the perspective of those within the human condition the door to an actual freedom has a warning sign on it which says ‘insanity, do not enter here’.
But once I had seen through and through, over and over, the madness of what is called sanity, this warning no longer holds sway. Funny, today I perceive the instinctual battle between human beings as ‘delirium’ and the search for a spiritual Higher Self as a particularly mesmerising ‘hallucination … a common symptom of severe mental disorder’.
RESPONDENT: The way you put things, means that Richard was under a severe mental disorder for 11 years …
VINEETO: Not only Richard, but Jiddu Krishnamurti, Mohan Rajneesh and all the other enlightened beings as well. The difference between Richard and all the other people who have suffered from the delusion of enlightenment was that Richard was suspicious of the narcissistic feelings that accompanied the delusion, so much so that he continued to question and investigate the very state of enlightenment itself. If you read Richard’s story you will see that he had inadvertently fallen into the delusion of enlightenment on his search for the perfection experienced in pure consciousness experiences and because of this the delusion of self-realization did not sit well with him.
RESPONDENT: … plus the years he was in the process of becoming enlightened.
VINEETO: In ‘the years he was in the process of becoming enlightened’ he was immersed and enmeshed in the madness that is the human condition just like you and me and every other human being on the planet. Just because you don’t perceive the wars and ethnic cleansings and murders and suicides and depression and domestic violence and child abuse as being madness doesn’t mean that it isn’t madness. It is a madness that countries need armies to deter other countries from invading, that communities need an armed police force to maintain law and order amongst its citizens and that many people need medication to help them cope with their anger and depression and in some cases prevent them from committing suicide.
RESPONDENT: Are you sure that this mental disorder can be reversed?
VINEETO: Not ‘reversed’ but ended. Given that Richard managed to free himself from the hallucination of enlightenment, there is no doubt that any enlightened one could do the same provided they are ready to pay the price – their precious immortal ‘Me’.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.