Selected Correspondence Vineeto
RESPONDENT: The elemental facts, and the way to do something about them are really incredibly simple. I think that many who get an inkling of this fundamental premise can’t deal with the fact that the nature of the universe really is that simple, so they must contrive layers of myth in order to give it more ‘meaning’.
VINEETO: You are right in that ‘the nature of the universe really is that simple’ – when my identity in toto disappears the purity and perfection, inherent in the very nature of the universe, prevail. It only becomes complicated because our cunning identity is instinctually programmed solely for ‘self’-preservation and ‘self’-procreation.
As for ‘layers of myth’ – every child born is taught myths and legends, fairy tales and fantasies, long before they have the ability or the life experience to find out for themselves the facts of the matter regarding life, the universe and what it is to be a human being.
A current myth, for instance, is the ‘big bang’ theory that most physicists nowadays accept as ‘Truth’ and it is interesting to watch how they tie themselves in ever complicated knots in trying to reconcile this myth with the empirical laws of physics as they apply in the actual physical universe. It is fascinating to see the ever-widening gulf between belief and fact, so much so that physicists are now studying things that have no material existence outside of their own fertile imaginations and the virtual calculations of their computer programs. There simply was no ‘big bang’, the universe has always been here and it will always be here – eternal and infinite and peerless in its perfection.
VINEETO: A current myth, for instance, is the ‘big bang’ theory that most physicists nowadays accept as ‘Truth’ and it is interesting to watch how they tie themselves in ever complicated knots in trying to reconcile this myth with the empirical laws of physics as they apply in the actual physical universe. It is fascinating to see the ever-widening gulf between belief and fact, so much so that physicists are now studying things that have no material existence outside of their own fertile imaginations and the virtual calculations of their computer programs. There simply was no ‘big bang’, the universe has always been here and it will always be here – eternal and infinite, peerless in its perfection.
RESPONDENT: This ties into an area that I’ve occasionally considered delving in to, but it’s of secondary importance to this process. But, we’re here, so let’s give it a whirl. Note that this discussion refers only to the physical universe; there is no intimation of spirituality/magic/gods/etc. Your implication is that these scientists have an investment in self-fulfilling prophecy/myth. While that is likely true in many cases, it is also presumptuous on any of our parts that we know the absolute extent and content of the physical universe. We really only know what information we’ve gathered to date and can be proven empirically to some degree of confidence. From these data points, we may extrapolate other theories, some of which are provable and some more elusive. It’s likely though that there are a vast number of other data points that are far beyond our ability to even conceive, based on what we know right now. As a crude example, a nineteenth century coal miner (let alone Cro-Magnon man) couldn’t possibly conceive of the internet (‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’, Arthur C. Clarke)
VINEETO: I have always found it useful, based on my many years of experience with spiritual practices, to be particularly precise about words that can also mean something spiritual, i.e. non-material, and the word ‘magic’ in two of its three meanings listed in the Oxford Dictionary means something additional to or other than factuality –
Technology, however advanced, is by its very nature pragmatic and factual, i.e. it is based on cause and effect, it can be observed, experienced and reproduced by any number of people and it works. In short, it is neither trick nor supernatural and as such is easily distinguishable from magic as defined in definitions 1 & 2 above.
Most people make no distinction between magic as in ‘inexplicable’ and ‘surprising results’ and magic as in ‘invocation’ of either ‘good’ or ‘evil spirits’ and this lack of intellectual vigour helps explain why non-Newtonian Western theoretical physicists are now eagerly shaking hands with Eastern mystics and vice versa. Here are some blatant examples –
And another quote –
These examples might appear to be Rajneesh’s personal interpretation of modern physics but unfortunately that is not the case. Scientists themselves are as much inflicted with religious/ spiritual beliefs as everyone else – they are after all instinctually and socially programmed human beings first and scientists second.
Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer, observed about scientists – ‘I have always thought it curious that, while most scientists claim to eschew religion, it actually dominates their thoughts more than it does the clergy.’
Victor Stenger, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii, has pointed out the spiritual trend of theoretical physics in his book ‘The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology’ –
The belief that ‘human consciousness and the universe form an interconnected whole’ is otherwise known as anthropocentrism or simply ‘self’-centredness.
Peter has done an extensive exposé of the collection of theories, speculation, imagination and fantasies that run under the name of modern theoretical physics. You might find it valuable information about the metaphysical nature of modern theories in both the macroscopic and microscopic fields of physics.
RESPONDENT: By extrapolation, there must be many, many things we don’t know at this point. I think that this likely serves to explain much of the ‘inexplicable’, UFOs, haunted houses, ..., all that we label as spirits, gods, devils. So, how do you say with such sureness, ‘There simply was no ‘big bang’’? Why is it inconceivable that the universe has an end and/or beginning? Bear in mind that the concepts of beginning/ending, and time in general get rather distorted at this physical scale... eternal and infinite may not mean the same thing to the universe as they do to us mere mortals. I do remember trying to get my brain around these subjects in my college physics courses... fascinating stuff but it can give one a headache!
VINEETO: As an engineer you have some practical experience that the empirical laws of physics apply to all matter. For instance the law of gravity applies equally to a moon or a planet as well as to a stone or feather on earth. The same goes for the way chemicals react with each other – for instance Helium has the same chemical qualities on the sun as it has on earth. The physical universe, as vast as it is, has thus far proved to have remarkably consistent physical properties and qualities. As I understand it, the calculations that put men on the moon and sent a spacecraft to each of our solar system’s planets were all based on Newtonian laws of physics and not on Einstein-influenced theories about space and time.
For most people it is readily conceivable ‘that the universe has an end and/or beginning’, which is made evident by the popular acceptance of the big bang theory. Humans prefer either to believe in a mystical God who created the universe or believe in some highly illogical and physically implausible event when this vast universe all started out of nothing.
The last sentence I found particularly telling. Just think about it in a straightforward manner – if there was to be a Big Bang and the universe came suddenly into existence from some kind of super-condensed unknown material, then one needs to assume all kinds of strange circumstances outside of the empirical laws of physics in order to arrive at the current state of countless suns and galaxies. One needs theories about super-phenomena, doughnut-shaped universes, warp-space, black holes, anti-matter and so on in order to somehow explain the sudden development from nothing to something.
And yet many questions remain unanswered. For instance: what was there before the Big Bang? What was outside of the super-condensed universe? What is the universe expanding into? What is beyond the edge of the expanding universe? What happened before Planck time, the time before time began?
None of those hypothetical questions needs to be answered if you acknowledge that only that which can be sensately observed and empirically measured exists as an actuality. Then theory and imagination, postulation and hypothesis collapse and one can realize that the physical universe has always been here, an endless and eternally changing magical array of gas and matter in infinite space. And the most magical of all – on one known planet, life developed to a stage of present day human intelligence and increasingly I can experience this perfect peerless universe in utter wonder and amazement.
RESPONDENT: Again, this topic is really of academic interest only, and I’m not sure that it’s worth spending a lot of energy on. Personally, I am trying to focus a bit more on the experiential side of the coin lately, rather than the analytical.
VINEETO: For me, contemplating about the infinite and eternal universe was fundamental to experientially understanding the very core of what actualism is about. The longer I thought about the very physicality of this body and everybody and everything in the universe the more I began to grasp the nature of the actual world, the understanding and experience of which is obscured by human ‘self’-centredness, anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism. Contemplating that the universe has neither a middle nor an edge and neither a beginning nor an end brought on a pure consciousness experience on several occasions.
Once I began to understand that the theories about a beginning as well as an edge to the universe are meta-physical theories driven by mystical beliefs, I began to grasp that the theoretical physicists are searching for God. The no-thing and no-time before the Big Bang implies that there is or was something other than this physical universe from which the universe emerged, something meta-physical, something imaginary. And with this realization it became impossible for me to believe in something outside of this physical universe and it suddenly became very obvious that the universe has never been created, it has never begun – it has always been here.
RESPONDENT: I knew I shouldn’t have stepped into this ;-)
VINEETO: Why not step into this? I know for me it was only by discussing the sticky points and murky waters over and over that eventually something in my thinking pattern clicked and then I could see the topic in question in a new light.
RESPONDENT: I’ve digested your response and have snipped the bulk of it to get at my salient point. Pls forgive any glaring omissions. I understand what you’re driving at, don’t quite ‘get it’, but am inclined to let it lie for the mean time, with the exception of the question in my final comment.
VINEETO: What I am attempting to point out is the blatant reciprocity between modern theoretical physics and religious-spiritual belief, in this case apparent in the commonly accepted belief of the Big Bang. Unless one conducts a meticulous investigation into the instinctually driven beliefs that underpin commonly accepted postulations, theories and factoids, a clear seeing of what is factual is not possible. And nowhere is this investigation more vital than in being able to discern the difference between the beliefs and theories that are masqueraded as scientific facts on one side and the down-to-earth methodology and ingenuity of empirical science that have produced the remarkable technological advances in safety, comfort, leisure and pleasure on the other.
The more I read about modern theoretical physics, particularly cosmology and quantum physics, the more I see how observable empirical facts and common sense have been abandoned for something that intuitively fits with magical fairy-tales from childhood – an imaginary all-powerful Creator-God or a belief in Supernatural Forces and unexplainable and mysterious miracles.
VINEETO: A current myth, for instance, is the ‘big bang’ theory that most physicists nowadays accept as ‘Truth’ and it is interesting to watch how they tie themselves in ever complicated knots in trying to reconcile this myth with the empirical laws of physics as they apply in the actual physical universe.
RESPONDENT: [quote]: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. Arthur C. Clarke
VINEETO: Technology, however advanced, is by its very nature pragmatic and factual, i.e. it is based on cause and effect, it can be observed, experienced and reproduced by any number of people and it works. In short, it is neither trick nor supernatural and as such is easily distinguishable from magic as defined in definitions [Mr. Oxford’s] 1 & 2 above. Most people make no distinction between magic as in ‘inexplicable’ and ‘surprising results’ and magic as in ‘invocation’ of either ‘good’ or ‘evil spirits’ and this lack of intellectual vigour helps explain why non-Newtonian Western theoretical physicists are now eagerly shaking hands with Eastern mystics and vice versa. <snipped>
RESPONDENT: Sufficiently advanced technology cannot be ‘observed, experienced and reproduced’, at least by us, now. That’s what makes it advanced, otherwise it would be the norm.
VINEETO: Just to establish whose opinion you are agreeing with – Arthur C Clarke is a renowned science-fiction writer and has, apart from his novels, become famous for collaborating with motion-picture director Stanley Kubrick in making the innovative and highly praised science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which was based on Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinel’. Therefore I would say that Mr. Clarke has a personal interest in keeping the distinction blurred between technology (applied science based on cause and effect) and imaginative magic (inexplicable phenomena). Contrary to popular belief, humans cannot think up or imagine ‘advanced technologies’ and simply make them happen if these ‘technologies’ turn out to not conform to the physical laws that govern the behaviour of the matter, phenomena and physical forces of the universe – i.e. if these technologies do not work in practice then they were, are and always will be, science fiction.
RESPONDENT: The internet could not have been ‘observed, experienced and reproduced’ by Newton, for instance. It would be like ‘magic’ to him, yet it is completely mundane to us.
VINEETO: If Newton was intelligent, and there is every indication that he had a keen intellect, the ‘magic’ of the internet could easily be explained to him if he were alive today. The magic of the internet is a working down-to-earth magic, conforming to the physical laws that govern the behaviour of the matter, phenomena and physical forces of the universe – not the super-natural ‘magic’ of science fiction.
RESPONDENT: By extension, oughtn’t there be science that makes no sense to us, but will to those of 500 years hence?
VINEETO: There is no doubt that the scientific knowledge of 500 years hence will produce technological advances that are inconceivable to us today but they will make sense to those who are alive then. This is because those future technologies will have to conform to the physical laws that govern the behaviour of the matter, phenomena and physical forces of the universe. If they don’t, they won’t make sense and they won’t work.
To get back to the topic of this discussion, the Big Bang theory, I can say with confidence that the theory is not only nonsensical, it is also wrong in fact. And as you can see from the following quote, I am not even alone in this perception. Paul Marmet, a senior researcher at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics of the National Research Council of in Ottawa, explains the Big Bang model –
This article is indeed fascinating to read because it refutes the evidence provided for the Big Bang theory and explains, in terms a layperson can understand, how blatant oversights and assumptions were made in favour of keeping the theory afloat.
RESPONDENT: This is really the only point I was trying to make – that it is presumptuous for us to suppose that we know everything about the physical universe at this juncture. It wasn’t that long ago that the world was flat.
VINEETO: As I understand it, the point you were originally making, and are still making, is that you would rather keep ‘not-knowing’ that the universe is in fact eternal and infinite – i.e. that it has no beginning and no end, no centre and no edge.
I am not supposing that I ‘know everything about the physical universe’, far, far from it. I am continuously learning more things about the universe that have put paid to previous wrong theories or have revealed what were simply unknown facts at the time I went to school. Whilst it is obvious that we humans do not know everything about the physical universe at this juncture, the ancient belief that ‘someone’ or ‘something’ created it still has legs, and strong ones at that.
The fairy tales of a Someone creating the universe has been proven to be nonsense by the geological and fossil evidence of evolutionary development of life on this planet. Rather than these facts eliminating the belief that the universe had a beginning, we now see that a whole ‘new’ creationist belief has been spawned – theoretical ‘scientists’ theorizing a creation event that relies on imaginary super-natural forces for its supposed happening. All of which only demonstrates the extraordinary lengths human beings will go in order to cling to their spirit-ual beliefs.
What I have learned since I started applying the actualism method is to distinguish between belief and fact, between faith and common sense, between hope and actuality. This ability to clearly discriminate can make me appear to be ‘presumptuous’ – or arrogant, conceited, insolent, big-headed, and haughty – to those who haven’t questioned their beliefs and their automatic habit of believing.
To give a personal example – after I had my first pure consciousness experience, I remember being in shock for the whole of the next day. I had not only seen the extent of my own spiritual beliefs but when I went to the local market I saw everyone hawking their own particular beliefs along with their merchandise. I could see that sensibleness or usefulness were not the criteria of value for the vendors – what was for sale was merchandise within a belief system. What was vitally important was being part of the ‘right’ crowd, following the ‘right’ or sacred prescriptions as to how to live life and obtaining the ‘right’ symbolic chattels that related to the ‘right’ lifestyle. These symbolic chattels consisted of food, alternative medicine and supplements, jewellery, particular style clothes, sacred objects, and other paraphernalia.
Because I had seen my own spiritual beliefs from the ‘self’-less perspective of a PCE, my perception of actuality was direct and clear. Yet not a single one of those vendors would have agreed with me – they were so totally immersed in their own particular world that they could not understand, let alone directly experience, what was actually happening. I kept my mouth shut at the time but I would have certainly been called arrogant, conceited and presumptuous if I had pointed out the nature of their beliefs.
The same is the case with the Big Bang theory. In a PCE, the universe is experienced and perceived from neither a ‘self’-centred nor an anthropocentric viewpoint. In such a clear-eyed perception, the idea that the universe started out of nothing – as if God snipped his fingers and suddenly there was light – is simply absurd. In a PCE I am able to see and experience things simply as they are because there is no ‘self’ to speculate, believe, feel or imagine otherwise. Things are as they are and I am sensately aware of how they are as well as being aware of that awareness.
I assume that you might be familiar with a kind of clear-eyed perception, – when something suddenly clicks and you know that, despite your earlier doubts or questions, that it can’t be otherwise, it has to be so. Then there is an element of ‘of course!’ in one’s perception, maybe an ‘aha!’-effect of suddenly getting it and everything falling into place.
VINEETO: Just think about it in a straightforward manner – if there was to be a Big Bang and the universe came suddenly into existence from some kind of super-condensed unknown material, then one needs to assume all kinds of strange circumstances outside of the empirical laws of physics in order to arrive at the current state of countless suns and galaxies. One needs theories about super-phenomena, doughnut-shaped universes, warp-space, black holes, anti-matter and so on in order to somehow explain the sudden development from nothing to something. And yet many questions remain unanswered. For instance: what was there before the Big Bang? What was outside of the super-condensed universe? What is the universe expanding into? What is beyond the edge of the expanding universe? What happened before Planck time, the time before time began?
RESPONDENT: ‘outside of the empirical laws of physics’ as we know them now! The rest is guesses, theories, fodder for the scientific method. But next week/year/millennium, we will know more, and look back at our present understanding as valid but inadequate. Assuming we don’t kill ourselves off, of course.
VINEETO: Are you saying you prefer to believe in an imagined event – the Big Bang – solely on the basis that someone in the future might find that the proposed new laws ‘outside of the empirical laws of physics’ – laws, which have been invented solely in order to substantiate the Big Bang theory – do exist as a fact? To me that is stretching credibility, relying on belief to justify belief – placing a bet on faith, hope and trust in lieu of sensate observation, sensible reflection and empirical evidence.
To quote Paul Marmet again on evidence against the Big-Bang model –
I find it quite simple and straightforward – if nobody created the universe, and it is here now, then it has always been here.
VINEETO: None of those hypothetical questions needs to be answered if you acknowledge that only that which can be sensately observed and empirically measured exists as an actuality. Then theory and imagination, postulation and hypothesis collapse and one can realize that the physical universe has always been here, an endless and eternally changing magical array of gas and matter in infinite space. And the most magical of all – on one known planet, life developed to a stage of present day human intelligence and increasingly I can experience this perfect peerless universe in utter wonder and amazement.
RESPONDENT: Is there then no such thing then as an actualist scientist? I ask in seriousness as that appears to be the preposition of your statement. Is sensately observing the universe, this moment only repeated forever, incompatible with curious probing at the underlying fabric?
VINEETO: On the contrary, the actualism method is inherently scientific because, as an actualist, I am experientially examining my beliefs, hopes, fears, taboos and instinctually driven programming in order to understand the facts of what it is to be a human being. This scientific investigation has brought some very tangible and scientifically provable facts about the human condition and how one can become free from malice and sorrow and it leaves me increasingly free to directly experience the universe as it is, unimpeded by ‘self’-centred postulations.
As an actualist I am aiming to remove both the rose-coloured glasses of hope and trust and the grey-coloured glasses of malice and sorrow in order to find out what is actual and factual and to sensately experience the magnificent purity and perfection of this universe. And exactly because I have been continuously ‘probing at the underlying fabric’ of my social conditioning and my instinctual programming am I able to recognize that the supposed ‘underlying fabric’ of the universe is an entirely man-made belief, that there is neither a God nor any mystical Intelligence that is running the show.
‘This moment only repeated forever’ is not my experience of being alive at all. For me each moment is fresh, new, never been here before and never to be repeated again, let alone ‘forever’. Each moment has the same quality of freshness in that it is happening now yet what ever is happening now is continuously changing.
When I contemplated about the fact that now is the only moment I can actually experience, at some point I began feeling trapped in time because I couldn’t escape from this moment. Yet this feeling was merely an emotional reaction to my beginning to experience the fact that it is always now, no matter what I am thinking, doing or feeling. . It is only the memory of past events and the imagination about future events that create the passionate conviction that this moment stretches over time. However, it is precisely the instinctive habit of dwelling in emotional memories or indulging in passionate imagination that keeps me from fully experiencing this moment of being alive in its exuberance and wonder.
GARY: When one is ‘temporarily free from one’s beliefs, feelings and passions’, bouts of the instincts can be extremely educative of the difference between raw emotions and the so-called ‘self’-less state of apperception as in the PCE. It becomes easier and easier to discern the difference between feelings, beliefs, passions and pure sensuousness. If anybody thinks, however, that Actual Freedom is a walk in the park, I think they are liable for a big surprise. ‘I’ will do literally anything to survive.
VINEETO: Yes, ‘‘I’ will do literally anything to survive’ and ‘I’ am at the same time determined and dedicated to do anything to free this actual flesh and blood body from the cunning entity that ‘I’ am. I do find it intriguing that ‘I’ am the disease and ‘I’ can also instigate the cure.
I am stunned to misty eyes by the thought that this universe not only produced life from the unique combination of chemicals and circumstances we find on this planet, but also sentient life and finally intelligent life. And not only intelligent life but an intelligent life that is able to become aware of itself such that we humans are now capable of changing the very animal survival program that used to be necessary for our continued existence. This animal survival program can now be replaced by the qualities of benevolence and sensibility that are inherent to a freed intelligence so that we can now facilitate peace on earth amongst human beings for the very first time.
VINEETO to Alan: While contemplating upon where I could possibly stand on the brakes, I noticed a slight shift in my determination. How long am I going to play in this safe ‘sandbox’ called Virtual Freedom, and when will I finally grow up and actually do what I have been thinking and talking about for two years – to be free, irreversibly, without leaving a backdoor open to revert to ‘normal’ or slip back into having an identity should being free become too scary? It was like straightening from a hunched position of playing in the sandbox, leaving the well-known safe area behind and standing upright. Virtual Freedom has become a nursery and it is becoming too small a playground. And it seemed immensely sensible to move on, just like leaving home when I have grown up. When leaving my parent’s home there was no regret, not much fear but an immense excitement to explore the big wide world. Now the situation seems similar. Just the next sensible thing to do. Just doing it. Stop imagining it, stop desiring it, stop thinking about it, and, for heaven’s sake, stop feeling about it. Just doing it. I don’t mean repressing any upcoming thoughts or feelings, but to stop feeding the ‘engine’, whenever I have a choice.
In my head the line of the American folksong was playing over and over again: ♪ ‘The night, they drove ol’ [Vini] down, and all the bells were ringing...’ ♫ I went to the couch to follow up on this hot trail of contemplation and there it was – the sudden recognition and experience that the universe was breathing me, I was part of the big rhythm of life in its infinite variety, just one of 6 billion people, one human being out of the vast and boundless immensity and magnificence of this infinite, eternal, alive, magical and perfect universe, being breathed, being lived, being here, moment by moment. And it is safe, utterly safe, because this experience also makes clear that the physical universe is benevolent. As much as there is no fear in a rock or a tree there is no malice in a rock or a tree. There may be volcanic eruptions or earthquakes as part of earthly events, but there is no malice in that the rock is directed at me to destroy me. The universe is not out to get me, on the contrary, it is supportive and benevolent; the idea of danger was simply part of my chemically-supported instinctual imaginary identity.
In this moment I understood that survival instincts are indeed redundant. With no identity there is no threat and no need to fight for survival. The instinctual survival program has done a great job to facilitate evolution, species by species, to this point in time. Now sensate and reflective human beings are the peak of this development so far – and the next opportunity for evolving has come into reach – life without the instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, life without identity, life without the feeling of separation from the rest of the universe.
RESPONDENT: I don’t understand how can anything be wrong in this universe. According to Richard (in fact, according to many Enlightened ones, but Richard never accepts it), the world is so perfect that nothing can be wrong here. Then where is the question of bringing peace to earth. I must mention here that I am not against Richard or pro Eastern thinkers. This argument is just to understand the so called new thinking.
VINEETO: There is nothing wrong with the universe. But there is something fatally wrong with humanity, with every human being, in fact. We are born with the core instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire, overlaid by our social and religious conditioning and then have built our own so-called identity on top of it. We call it the Human Condition. This condition is responsible for all the wars, murders, rapes etc. on this planet, it is the source of sorrow and malice in each of us.
And it is delete-able.
The Eastern thinking talks about stopping thought, removing ‘the little man in the head’, the ‘thinker’ – but the identity only shifts to ‘the little man in the heart’, the ‘feeler’. Emotions and instincts (the soul and the ‘core of our being’) remain untouched and are operating in every meditator, in every enlightened one, better than ever. As Richard says, the ‘I’, the ego dies, but the ‘me’, the soul, becomes even more rampant.
The ‘new thinking’ is not ‘so called’, it is that both, ‘I’ and ‘me’, ego and soul, ‘self’ and ‘Self’, have to die in order to experience the world-as-is, radiant, perfect, alive, pure and benevolent. This is peace-on-earth. It can only be achieved by each individual becoming free of their respective psychological and psychic entities.
RESPONDENT: Vineeto, I would like to know something more about the happiness, benevolence and magnificence of the actual world. I can understand that it would be harmless because without ‘I’ there would be no malice. But wherefrom the happiness comes? Is it just the absence of sorrow?
Once you see the actual physical universe without the grey glasses of malice and sorrow and without the rose-coloured glasses of love and compassion, the magnificence becomes apparent. Take a sunset. Someone in love will see the beauty of the particular scene and be full of gratitude, love and awe. Someone who just split up with his girlfriend will see the sorrow, the transitory nature of all things, the ending of a day, a life, a period. Someone about to go to war will see the power and beauty of his God, pray for protection and feel supported in his passionate mission by the display of the glorious colours.
An actualist might see this immense fireball of helium in the sky, giving warmth and light and life to its orbiting planet called earth, all seen through the layer of atmosphere, giving it the wonderful display of ever-changing colours, different each day. To lay any feelings or imagination or even a creator-God over this magnificent event is to miss the actual experience of it. To experience the world around me without the distorting filter of self-centred emotions, feelings and instincts enables me to perceive and appreciate this infinite magnificence, this purity and perfection and this magical actuality of each moment in paradise.
RESPONDENT: Or is there anything positive about it?
VINEETO: ‘Positive’ is too small a word, for it is only invented to counteract the original objection to being here. The Human Condition in each of us inevitably results in not wanting to be here but to be somewhere else, in imaginary heights or in a hope for a better future or life after death. When senses and awareness are freed from the shackles of emotions, feelings, beliefs and instincts one is – as Richard says – ‘the universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being’, nothing less. Then, one is as benevolent as the rest of the universe.
I understand where your question may come from. The absence of sorrow, when one is empty of tears, can be experienced as a starkness, grey, empty and dull reality. Because this seems unbearable, one then cranks up some positive thoughts and feelings to ‘believe’ that life is not so terrible after all. This so-called happiness has nothing to do with the gay and abundant experience when there are no feelings and emotions.
The wide and wondrous path to Actual Freedom is to investigate and remove whatever feeling, emotion, belief or instinct surfaces until slowly, slowly the actual world becomes apparent – and its magnificent and benevolent nature. And you are then the bit of the universe that says ‘WOW, isn’t the physical universe extraordinary and amazing, wonder-full and perfect!’
VINEETO: In the last week I have been lost in space, so to speak. We discovered a new screen-saver which presents photos of one’s own choice like a perpetual slide show presentation. On their website they also offer heaps of photos for downloading. If anyone wants to try it out, you can find it under http://www.webshots.com/. I took the opportunity of making a private slideshow of the universe and went on the NASA site for space-shots. The amount and quality of what is presented there is amazing and fantastic. Photos of nebulae and galaxies, exploding suns and planets, swirling clouds of gas in all possible colours comes with detailed information about the number or name, area, size and the changing formations of this ‘universal matter’ and all the human presumptions and hypothesis. But to see and learn so much of the magnificent infinitude of the universe leaves me continuously in amazement and wonder.
For instance, there is Betelgeuse, the top left star in the constellation called Orion, recognizable by the three bright stars in his ‘belt’ – the diameter of this single star is bigger than the orbit of Jupiter around the sun!! Unimaginable vastness, and that is only one star of a huge nebular galaxy, of billions that are known – and billions that are not known (yet). The infinite variety of matter leaves me gasping for breath, the magnificence and perfection are fascinating, to say the least – and I am the bit of the universe that says: ‘Wow, how phantasmagorical, how magical!’
Whoever wants to prove with silly mathematics that this universe is not infinite is just a fool. The instinctual need for a creator and the fervent belief in an immortal soul continuously mess up the clear-eyed perception of the obvious. And mathematicians and theoretical scientists are no exception.
And there is no difference when I get off the computer and come ‘back’ to earth. The sky in its endlessly changing colourful design is as brilliant as distant nebulae, the sounds are a delightful background, the smells of the summer flowers are deliciously sweet, the air is soft, moist and warm... the splendour is everywhere and life is an ongoing delight.
It was fun to spend most of New Year’s Day in front of the television, watching the world responding to the ‘important’ date change, and around the clock around the world we were watching a continual cascade of fireworks blowing up in one city after another. Every nation and town was displaying their exotic and exuberant celebration and the people were happy for a few hours a year – or a century? – before the misery of every-day life was catching up again. So many were disappointed that the prophesized doom and disasters did not occur, that nothing broke down and that they had to get on with their lives as usual.
While in the land of freedom everything is already always well, nothing can go wrong because everything is actual. Without emotions and instinctual passions I simply respond to what is happening, choose what is sensible and enjoy every moment as it lives me. It is all so easy once the ‘self’ is not in command and the instincts are but a faint rumble sometimes before they will finally wither away completely.
RESPONDENT: Makes ‘me’ seem very insignificant.
VINEETO: ‘Significant’ or insignificant are only words relative to our human values. Of course, the infinitude of the universe puts every ‘self’-centred vision into perspective and belies one’s imagination as to one’s self-importance. When the actual world becomes an everyday experience, there is neither significance nor insignificance, only facts and delight.
Yet, to become free from the Human Condition in order to experience the actual world has been the most significant thing in my life. Every bit that I cleaned up in myself was significant for it changed my life for the better and stopped creating ripples of malice and sorrow in other people’s lives. The only significant thing that ‘I’ can do is to get out of the road.
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. <snip>
RESPONDENT: Dear Vineeto thanks for your answering.
What you say about god that must exist prior to the universe creation, is applied also to the big bang. Where was the point prior the expansion? In what space?
VINEETO: Yep. You got it. Both beliefs are intertwined.
Many, many scientists hold to the belief that Someone or Something created the universe and this belief has been the starting point of many a scientific theory. In particular cosmologists have devised a myriad of theories and offered countless mathematical calculations to support their own pet theories as to the supposed beginning of the universe. In the meantime their empirical colleagues, the astronomers, have probed and explored and have yet to prove that the universe is not infinite in space and not eternal in time.
From the early beliefs that the earth was a flat disc with a balloon-like canopy over which sun, moon and stars travelled, empirical observation has lead to the discovery that the earth is round, that the moon circles the earth, that the earth and moon circle the sun, that the earth is but one of nine planets that orbit the sun and that the sun is but one of billions of suns in this galaxy. Less than a hundred years ago it was also thought that the universe was a one-galaxy universe, but we now know by observation that the amount of galaxies we can estimate in the universe increases in direct proportion to the magnification of the measuring instruments used.
And yet, despite the fact that observation has provided no empirical evidence to support the belief that the universe is finite in space (that it has a centre and an edge) and that it is finite in time (that it had a beginning and that it will have an end), these beliefs continue to malinger on, thousands of years after they were first concocted.
There was no Big Bang, nor will there be a Big Crunch. The universe has always been here and will always be here. This actual universe is infinite in space, eternal in time and perpetual in matter and this can be sensately observed and sensually experienced the moment belief, faith, imagination and affective feelings do not interfere with clear perception and common sense.
However, due to the human condition, the perception of the human brain is almost constantly impeded by instinctual survival passions, which is why throughout history the study of the cosmos has been undertaken with a mixture of fear, hope and awe – feelings that are fertile ground for sustaining religious beliefs, superstitious fairytales and imaginative science-fiction. The cosmos is a particularly rich field for imagination and fantasy. Dr. Sten Odenwald describes these feelings towards the cosmos very well –
Most cosmological theories would be better categorized as cosmythology and here are just a few examples of this cosmythology.
The Big Bang creation theory was evidently formulated by Abbé Georges LeMaître, a central figure in the Vatican’s Pontificia Academia de Scienza di Roma. In other words, the Big Bang theory was LeMaître’s attempt to turn the religious belief that his God created the world out of nothing – that the universe had a beginning, a creation event – into a scientific theory. Edwin Hubble’s observation of redshift and his conjecture that this is an indication that all of the distant stars are moving away from the earth was a welcome support for the idea that the universe must have had a big bang of a beginning.
The ‘scientific methodology’ of the big bang theory is to take a transparently creationist religious belief, generate mathematical formula to support the religious belief-come-scientific-theory, assess any empirical observations of the cosmos solely in the light of this theory and, when holes appear in the theory, persist with the theory by postulating ever-increasing variations to the original theory.
Due to the fact that almost every person, including theoretical scientists, grows up with the belief in an almighty and omniscient God, the Big Bang theory has been almost universally accepted as being credible despite the fact that it defies common sense in every aspect.
As for your question ‘Where was the point prior the expansion? In what space?’, I typed ‘before the Big Bang’ into my search engine and it came up with a remarkable number of fantastical explanations.
Prof. Steinhardt of Princeton University proposes that a ‘Big Splat’ preceded the Big Bang. He recently published a book in which he introduced the idea that there may be an unseen parallel universe to ours. He invokes the idea of more than one universe embedded within a higher-dimensional space. According to Prof. Steinhardt all of the action of the universe takes place within a five-dimensional space. He says that before the Big Bang occurred the universe consisted of two perfectly flat four-dimensional surfaces. One of these flat four-dimensional sheets is the universe as we know it; the other, a ‘hidden’ parallel universe. He theorizes that random fluctuations in this unseen companion universe caused it to distort and reach out towards our universe. This distorted floater then ‘splatted’ into the space of our universe and the energy resulting from this collision was transformed into the matter and energy of our universe in a Big Bang creation-like event. (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1270726.stm)
Another theory is described by Dr. Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York –
As you can see, in order to believe that the universe had a beginning there needs to be the corresponding belief that Someone or Something created the universe.
I am left wondering why theoretical physicists and cosmological mathematicians feel compelled to suppose ever more complicated theories that rely on invisible virtual particles of matter such as quantum spacetime foam, new non-sequential concepts of time such as Planck-time and new imaginary dimensions to three dimensional space. It does not make sense.
Even Darryl Reanney, an authority in microbiology and microchemistry, admits that you have to leave your common sense behind in order to follow the logic of quantum physics –
It is apparent that this theoretical description of the universe does not make sense as it theorizes about matter and energies that are so minute as to be imperceptible to detection by any known, or any conceivable, instrumentation – i.e. you have to believe, take in good faith, what theoretical science proposes.
The reason why these theories don’t make sense in view of our everyday experience of the physical laws of nature is because those theories are purely mathematical or merely conjectural. A now-classic mathematical invention is that of cosmic Spacetime and its quantum off-spring, spacetime foam.
I will give you an example how quickly commonsense disappears when you combine space and time into a space-time continuum in mathematical calculations –
Take the following situation –
If you believe in a space-time continuum then space-time mathematics could well have it that you would need to order three pizzas for three hungry-people. No doubt some could argue that two real pizzas and one virtual pizza would suffice whilst others could argue that any such philosophizing would only cause the delivery to be late, thereby necessitating the need for even more pizzas for even more hungry-people.
The more I delve into the theories of cosmologists, the more gaps and blatant nonsense I find. Once I recognized that the notion of a God is the mere product of my social and instinctual identity, and that He/She/It does not exist outside of my passionate imagination, I also stopped believing in any of theories that propose a meta-physical supra-natural world.
RESPONDENT: In a self-conscious state there is no time, we become aware that the constant stream of change happens here and now in the present moment. According to the General Theory of Relativity, change happens in 4-dimensional space-time, where time represents the fourth dimension. When the roundness of space-time is increased, the speed of change gets slower and stops at the centre of black holes. Einstein’s understanding of time indicates that with clocks we do not measure time, we only measure duration, speed and the numerical order of irreversible changes of reality that happen here and now in gravitational field. Experiencing change indirectly through the mind creates time. Mind experiences change 1 as past, change 2 as present and change 3 as future. Having direct experience we become aware that all change happens in the present moment, here and now. The whole past has happened in this present moment and so will the whole future.
By watching the mind we become aware that scientific experience is also indirect. Our experience is through the rational part of our mind, which has a limited understanding of the universe. A significant example can be seen in our understanding of universal space. In the beginning, universal space was considered to be infinite, Euclid space. After the discovery of Riemman spherical geometry, universal space was also considered to be finite.
Therefore, the question arises: Is universal space finite or infinite? By becoming aware that our understanding of universal space depends on which geometry we use to describe it, we can also suppose that universal space is neither finite nor infinite, but something else. Three-dimensional logic allows us this speculation.
By presenting universal space as infinite Euclid space, it’s possible that the distance between two material objects in the universe is infinite. The term ‘infinite distance’ only functions in mathematics, in cosmology we do not know exactly what it means, because an infinite distance plus 100 miles is still an infinite distance. In the universe, we can only observe finite distances, so we can conclude that the universe is finite. To say that it is infinite makes no sense.
Do you the above logical?
VINEETO: I notice that you have directly quoted from an article entitled ‘Direct Experience of the Universe’, originally published as ‘Science of Consciousness for Planetary Civilisation’, by Dr. Amrit Sorli of Osho Miasto, Italy, (http://unesco-cairo.org/_disc1/00000006.htm). Dr. Sorli is, by his address, apparently a follower of the dead Indian guru Mr. Rajneesh, and has also published other articles such as ‘Non-dualistic Psychology’, ‘Watching the Mind as an Individual Research Method’, ‘Inner Science’, ‘Dark Energy Associated with Life?’ and ‘Watching the Mind as an Individual Healing Method’, all of which give an insight into his spiritual approach to science. (http://www.musarium.com/commentpages/cmts_matteroflife.html).
One of his articles entitled ‘Prana Has a Measurable Weight’, published on a website called ‘Living on Light’, particularly caught my attention. In this article Dr. Sorli reports that he measured 70grams of Californian worms both when live and 15 minutes after their death and reported an overall weight loss of 93.6 micrograms postulating that this was evidence of Prana energy leaving the living organisms upon death. He has presented his findings to James Randi claiming the one million dollar prize offered to those who can provide scientific proof of the existence of supernatural forces or paranormal events.
James Randi commented that ‘essentially, this is the same claim that has been made many times in the past by spiritualists who have attempted to weigh souls. It appears that to determine the average weight of a worm’s soul, Dr. Sorli only needs to divide 90 micrograms by the number of worms he murdered…’ James Randi goes on to explain why several of Dr. Sorli’s ‘scientific’ conclusions are in fact very unscientific. (http://www.randi.org/jr/011802.html, second half down the page).
Now that Dr. Sorli’s credentials and inclinations are established I will take a look at what he has to say about the nature of physical universe.
RESPONDENT: [Dr. Sorli]: ‘In a self-conscious state there is no time’ <snip> ‘Having direct experience we become aware that all change happens in the present moment, here and now. The whole past has happened in this present moment and so will the whole future.’
VINEETO: Dr. Sorli seems to suggest that time is completely dependent upon human consciousness, and that time can be altered by human consciousness. However it is a sensately observable fact that time passes – be it measured by the progress of sun’s passage across the sky, the daily cycle of night and day, sunrise and sunset, the monthly cycle of the moon’s orbit of the earth and the growth and decline life-cycle of individual human beings. This inexorable passing of time happens regardless of whether a human being is conscious and awake or is unconscious and asleep – or whether he or she has gone ‘somewhere else’ (as in meditating) or if she or he is sensately aware of actually being here in this the only moment of time that can be sensually experienced.
I find it quite amazing that Dr. Sorli proposes that time is a creation of human consciousness – [Dr. Sorli]: ‘experiencing change indirectly through the mind creates time’ and that [Dr. Sorli]: ‘Mind experiences change 1 as past, change 2 as present and change 3 as future. Having direct experience we become aware that all change happens in the present moment, here and now. The whole past has happened in this present moment and so will the whole future.’ [endquote].
Is this your experience? Does your mind experience past changes or does your mind hold a memory of a change that happened in the past? Does your mind experience a future change or do you anticipate, or imagine, a change that may, or may not, happen in the future. Is it your own experience that the whole past has happened in this present moment and that the whole future will happen in this present moment or, as you sit and watch the hands of the clock moving, do you notice that the time when you got out of bed this morning is not happening now and the time when you will go to bed tonight is not happening now?
RESPONDENT: [Dr. Sorli]: ‘By watching the mind we become aware that scientific experience is also indirect. Our experience is through the rational part of our mind, which has a limited understanding of the universe. ’
VINEETO: Maybe this is a good opportunity to introduce the definition of awareness from The Actual Freedom Trust Library –
The way Dr. Sorli looks at the world is with spiritual awareness, typified by his statement ‘our experience is through the rational part of our mind, which has a limited understanding of the universe.’ If one so readily dismisses rationality, one also forfeits any chance of common sense operating, which then leaves the mind completely free to imagine all sorts of scenarios and invent all sorts of theories. For someone who has cultivated a spiritual awareness, an entity who is completely separate from both the flesh-and-blood-body and the outside world, is thus given licence to dwell in an inner imaginary, eternal, spirit-ual world and by doing so is given licence to imagine a host of nonsensical scenarios and theories about the nature of the physical universe.
RESPONDENT: [Dr. Sorli]: ‘By presenting universal space as infinite Euclid space, it’s possible that the distance between two material objects in the universe is infinite.’
VINEETO: How can ‘the distance between two material objects in the universe’ be infinite when, in the infinite space of the universe, there will always be objects that are further apart than those two objects. You ask if I find this to be logical and yet the author makes it clear that he believes that scientific experience is indirect, and that his understanding of the universe is limited by the rational part of his mind.
RESPONDENT: [Dr. Sorli]: ‘The term ‘infinite distance’ only functions in mathematics, in cosmology we do not know exactly what it means, because an infinite distance plus 100 miles is still an infinite distance. In the universe, we can only observe finite distances, so we can conclude that the universe is finite. To say that it is infinite makes no sense.’
VINEETO: Dr. Sorli simply states that because infinity does not fit in the finite mathematical equations that cosmologists use to justify their theories the universe must be finite and because human beings have no tools to measure infinity the universe must therefore be finite.
It is apparent that whilst the author declares that ‘our experience is through the rational part of our mind, which has a limited understanding of the universe’ he himself insists upon limiting the size of the universe to a finite dimension in order that the universe accords with the demands of mathematical computations, the whims of cosmology and the limitations of the current measuring instruments. Does this not strike you as a limited awareness of the physical universe, based on a completely anthropocentric view of the universe – in other words, an utterly ‘self’-centred view of the universe?
RESPONDENT: I should like to add a few words to my prior email. In Greek language we have two words. Symban for universe and cosmos for the planets, earth etc.
So I can think that right now the most distant star from earth must have a finite distance. Even if the universe expands the distance of this star will tend to infinity but will remain always finite. I can see that the space is infinite in the sense that this star living and moving in this space might reach a distance bigger than any given number in light’s years and will continue forever to his distance to be bigger and bigger indefinitely (until the star collapse). If you mean that by infinity (space) o.k., I agree with you.
VINEETO: The sensate experience of the infinitude of the universe only happens when ‘I’ step out of the way and thus remove the boundaries and limitations of ‘self’-induced narrow-mindedness. When this happens, all ideas, beliefs and theories that propose a creation event, an expansion or contraction and a doomsday ending of the physical universe are seen as what they are – beliefs and theories. Being here now as this flesh and blood body only – without any identity whatsoever – enables the infinitude of the universe to be apparent and this infinitude is wondrous, unparalleled, without an edge, without a centre, having no outside to it, having had no beginning nor will it have an ending.
As long as your contemplations are based on the currently-fashionable scientific theories of an expanding universe – with a Big Bang beginning, replete with all sorts of unseen, unseeable and unmeasurable phenomena and a Diabolical End – then you will remain locked into a ‘self’-centred view and you cut yourself off from experiencing directly and sensately the splendour and magnificence of the peerless and perfect physical universe.
Let me sum up what you have presented as ‘scientific facts’ so far –
These ‘scientific facts’ are all examples of spiritual belief, the belief that proposes that the physical world is merely a by-product of ‘my’ consciousness, the belief that ‘I’ am the creator of all that ‘I’ see.
If you aspire to become free from the emotional and instinctual bondage created by the psychological and psychic entity it is necessary to rigorously and sincerely question the way ‘you’ perceive the world. That means questioning your spiritual awareness and your spiritual beliefs and in that process of questioning it is vital to include the spiritual belief that ‘we must always be in the state of not-knowing’, as you said to No 21 the other day.
The way to discover a belief is to check out whether the theory or belief you hold needs you to actively believe in it in order for it to exist. A fact can stand by itself, whereas a belief always needs faith. To quote from The Actual Freedom Trust Library –
It does take courage to question the view that the universe is solely a product of one’s own consciousness, particularly as so many others hold to the same view that the universe is a product of their own consciousness.
But hey, the actual universe exists even after ‘I’ as the creator cease to create ‘my’ universe. Not having to be the creator of all that you see and feel is an enormous burden to be freed from and it is an exquisite and delicious freedom to be gained.
VINEETO: As for your questions on the issue of the universe being infinite and eternal, it is quite clear that you are approaching the topic intellectually and philosophically while I am talking from common sense and experiential understanding.
For example you wrote to No 38 the other day –
How do you know with certainty that infinity is ‘just a symbol’ and not an actuality?
Of course thinking intellectually about infinity ‘brings confusion’, particularly so for someone trained in mathematics. There are many things in this universe that defy mere intellectual comprehension because they are magical in their actuality. Take the simple fact that a giant tree grows out of a tiny seed or that the whole blueprint for a human being is contained in the DNA of tiny fertilised cell.
VINEETO: I won’t give a detailed response to your objections in your latest post because I can’t say things any clearer than I already said it before. As such I will limit my reply to one of your statements that I found particularly striking –
RESPONDENT: Lets begin again. What I see out there, is a soup of energy.
VINEETO: If I may interject. What one sees with one’s eyes is not ‘a soup of energy’, but forms, colours and movement of physical objects. To call the specific qualities of the matter of the physical universe ‘a soup of energy’ is an affective interpretation. This is readily evidenced by the fact that the ‘energy’ experienced varies according to a person’s particular belief system – some feel Jesus, some feel Love, some feel Existence, some feel Mother, some feel Consciousness, some feel Intelligence, some feel the Devil, and so on.
RESPONDENT: Sorry, what exist out there is a soup of energy, until I see it. Until it reaches my brain.
VINEETO: How can we have a sensible discussion about the nature of the universe when you presume to already ‘know’ what exists ‘out there’ before you even see it, before it even reaches your senses? If you are talking about the energy produced by, or associated with, the matter of the universe then this energy exists as an actuality independent of whether it is detected by the sensory receptors of the human brain.
If you are talking about unknowable energies that cannot be detected by the human brain or by any physical measuring device then you are talking of some form of meta-physical energy. The existence of meta-physical energies or supernatural forces are the very stuff of belief and fervent imagination and I have learnt from experience that when belief and imagination are the arbiter of a discussion, common sense is nowhere to be found.
You have made it clear in writing to this mailing list that your interest does not lay in questioning your own beliefs or in changing your present situation in order to become more happy and more harmless. Instead you seem to find entertainment in presenting the spiritual and philosophical theories of others (such as http://www.humantruth.org/holog19.htm) as proof of your own beliefs, whereas all this does is provide proof that spiritual belief is endemic within the human condition.
Of course, human beings have argued the case for their spiritual beliefs for thousands of years, sometimes with horrific results, but being a pragmatist I thought it be useful to examine in what way your views of the world are shaping your life in a practical, everyday way and how my understanding of the world is reflecting on the way I live my life. I translate insights into action – if that is not possible an insight is not worth its name.
For the sake of clarity and brevity I have taken only very few of the statements you made to possibly capture the gist of what you consider to be true, since repeating all of what you said would take too much space.
This is how I describe what is actual –
And this is how I experience life after I applied the actualism method for a couple of years –
When I met Richard and learnt about his discovery the choice was clear for me – I was drawn to what works, what actually makes me more happy and more harmonious with people.
What you choose to do with your life is entirely your business but it really escapes me why you put in such effort to convince me that I should change from practicing actualism in order to live by your philosophy – what would I have to gain?
Given that you keep re-presenting your stated position regardless of what I say, I don’t see any point in continuing to reply to your objections to actualism. By your own description of your life, your philosophies show no evidence of being effective in diminishing fear and malice, sorrow and resignation, let alone in producing a method to become entirely free from the instinctual passions that constitute the Human Condition.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for answering. When I met the AF site, and I read enough in its sites, I said to my self, that I don’t like to begin, by believing what other people are saying. I wanted to try and find out if what they say is actual. They may be wrong or they may be right.
VINEETO: If you want to benefit at all from what The Actual Freedom Trust website is offering, then the first question to ask yourself is if you are vitally interested in becoming free from the human condition of malice and sorrow. Unless you are utterly fed up with your life as it is now, there is no point in even investigating the third alternative to being normal or being spiritual. Without such an overarching desire one inevitably will keep trying to prove that the materialistic and spiritual beliefs that uphold the human condition are right and object to actualism as being wrong.
RESPONDENT: The first thing that attracted my attention, was the statement of the infinity of the universe. As sometime passed through you brain some questions, like if the universe is infinite, then there is no place for god, in the same way passed through my mind certain questions, like: The universe, either is created, or exist since ever. There is no other alternative.
This is very important for me, because if the universe is finite, then the whole AF collapses. Because if in AF is a false statement, then must inevitably AF being based on a wrong statement must be wrong. So please understand my doubt, about the whole thing of this infinity.
VINEETO: If your interest does not lay in becoming happy and harmless, you will remain a defender of the status quo, in this case the belief that someone or something created the universe. Actualism is only of use for those intrepid pioneers who passionately want to become free from the Human Condition in toto.
RESPONDENT: I might gave the impression that I am a person full of believes, but on the contrary I don’t want to begin with believes.
VINEETO: Living within the Human Condition you are bound to be full of beliefs, everyone is. Like everyone else, you have imbibed beliefs with mother’s milk. The vital question for someone coming across actualism is – do you want to examine the beliefs you have taken on board in the course of your life. Your insistence that you ‘don’t want to begin with’ beliefs only prevents a sincere investigation.
RESPONDENT: So I said to my self, if the equation E=mc squared, is right, then the universe must be finite, because the above equation can be transformed to: c=square root of E/m. Now the c (speed of light) is a constant and very accurately measured. And the transformation of energy to mass is established. That means that that the square root of energy/mass and thus, E/m is a finite number, which means that the universe must be finite, because its mass and energy are finite.
VINEETO: In making the statement that ‘energy/mass is a finite number which means the universe must be finite’ you are ignoring the fact that in an infinite and eternal universe both the energy and the mass of the universe are also infinite.
RESPONDENT: Then I had to reject the 2nd law of thermodynamics (law) not theory, who says that in any working system, as the energy becomes less the entropy (disorder) tends to become bigger. And the universe is not in a state of entropy. Logically if it is always existing, means existing for infinite time, supposed to be in a state of entropy. And so we are contradicting a physical and scientific law.
VINEETO: In an infinite universe energy does not ‘become less’, therefore it appears that the 2nd law of thermodynamics works to describe local events and does not apply to the universe as a whole.
Editorial note: I was informed that it is more accurate to say that the 2nd law of thermodynamics works to describe a closed system – which means that it cannot apply to the universe as a whole given that an infinite system is, per definition, not a closed (as in finite) system.
RESPONDENT: Then I thought more naive questions, like if the universe is existing from ever, then is existing for an infinite time. And how we arrived to the present moment, in the case that we had to pass from infinite present moments?
VINEETO: I presume you were born from a father and mother like the rest of us humans? If so, it is obvious how you ‘arrived to the present moment’ and that you have thus far only existed for a finite time and that you will only exist for a finite time.
RESPONDENT: To give one explanation to that I had to reject time all together and say that the present moment of (let’s call it minus infinite) is the same present moment of now and any now. So exist only the present moment and everything will always be a present moment, so time is loosing its meaning altogether.
VINEETO: The fact that the universe has no beginning and no end does not ‘reject time all together’. Here is a quote from Richard that explains the difference between eternal and timeless –
RESPONDENT: From the other hand we have the phenomenon of expansion of universe, and recently they found that this expansion is also accelerated. That means the space between two galaxies let’s say in a billion of light years will be doubled. How can one infinite thing become doubled?
VINEETO: ‘The phenomenon of expansion of universe’ is a theory that is solely based on a particular interpretation of positive redshift values and this interpretation has remained sacrosanct because it appears to prove a beginning and as such a creation of the universe. There are many, many refutations of the ‘Big Bang’ theory as well as alternative explanations to the ‘Red Shift’ theory available both in print and on the internet – you have simply chosen to selectively present only those theories that agree with your already existing belief about a finite universe and a creator.
In other words, you would need to be interested in questioning your pre-existing beliefs in order to be able to even consider that the universe might in fact be infinite and eternal. So far all you have done is present your pre-existing beliefs in order to prove that you are right and actualists are wrong.
RESPONDENT: Then I thought that may be there are other dimensions and here as we see the space, might be like someone living in 2D and sees the shadow of a man tries to understand how a man looks. After I thought that the universe might be something like a 2D earth (to give one absurd example) who is limited but without boundaries. That means if a rocket goes up (does not exist up and down) but we need language to speak, will come back from the other side.
VINEETO: Human imagination of what the universe ‘may be’ is inexhaustible. Imagining what the universe ‘may be’ only produces yet more science fiction.
RESPONDENT: And finally I can not understand how sensorially somebody can understand the nature of finite or infinite universe. I thought that may AF uses the word infinity not literally but metaphorically. May be it uses it to show that we are not in a spot in particular, but then what difference makes if the universe is finite or infinite?
VINEETO: The human elaboration of the instinctual animal ‘self’ into a sophisticated and cunning psychological and psychic identity makes it almost impossible to conceive or consider how this flesh and blood body would experience the universe without this parasitical identity … unless one remembers a pure consciousness experience. In such a ‘self’-less pure experience the usual ‘self’-centred restrictions on one’s normal perception and understanding are temporarily out of order. Only in a ‘self’-less state can the universe be perceived as it is – infinite and eternal.
As long as ‘I’ am governing this body’s sensual perception, my ‘self’-dominated and ‘self’-oriented perception will always inflict its own limits on what I perceive and as such will impose its ‘self’-centred nature onto the physical universe. Similarly, the thinking process is contaminated by ‘self’-dominated and ‘self’-oriented thoughts and feelings – the identity is running the show all the time – and therefore a clear understanding of the actual world is impossible whilst ‘I’ insist on ruling the roost.
That’s why I said that in order to understand the nature of the universe, the first unavoidable step is to rigorously question one’s own beliefs and feelings in order to incrementally diminish the dominating role of one’s ‘self’-centred thoughts and feelings so as to slowly enable a more clear-eyed perception to come about – there is no other way.
RESPONDENT: Not many people of the list are interested on the subject, so if you think that the subject does not need to be discussed don’t be bothered please.
VINEETO: I had great fun talking about the infinite nature of the universe as it always gives me an incentive to experience the infinity I am writing about.
However, a theoretical, i.e. non-experiential, discussion about infinitude can never produce satisfactory results because unless you question and investigate your pre-existing beliefs first, you are actively preventing the possibility of an intellectual understanding that the physical universe is infinite and eternal, which is the prerequisite for an experiential understanding of the infinitude of the actual world.
RESPONDENT: Could you explain what the actualists mean when they write that,’ Matter gives rise to consciousness’ and what the spiritualists mean when they say that,’ Consciousness gives rise to matter’.
VINEETO: Spiritualists believe that God by whatever name (including some Divine Energy or disembodied Intelligence roaming the universe) has created the world and with it human beings.
Whereas when you have a pure self-less consciousness experience it is patently obvious that there is no God, no divine energy, no metaphysical realm and that the universe has always been here all along, arranging and rearranging itself in myriad forms from inanimate matter to the simplest carbon-feeding microbe below the earth to intelligent human beings. In a PCE one can experience that matter is not merely passive, that life in this infinite universe is so wondrous, so inherently benevolent and constantly evolving – bringing itself to fuller development – that at some stage the time was ripe for matter to become sentient (conscious) and then for sentient beings to develop intelligence.
VINEETO: It is truly a path to a remarkable freedom.
RESPONDENT: (...) 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.
RESPONDENT: Hmm... but the exchange or economic principle is certainly alive and well in the universe I live in. What I want to say is that when I moved into a big city I lost something (the wonder of the night sky, clean air, nature, space, etc) but I also gained something (higher wages, more opportunities, independence, access to internet etc.).
VINEETO: The ‘exchange or economic principle’ is a human principle, rooted in the fear of survival, resulting in the aggressive pursuit of certain desires and the equally aggressive rejection of others, whereas the quality of the universe, being infinite and eternal, is abundance and perfection. The universe was peerless in its perfection before human beings existed and will be so after the species is extinct and yet human beings invariably take it upon themselves to not only turn a blind eye to this fact but have collectively concocted a myriad of ways and means of denigrating the physical universe.
VINEETO: Secondly, the perfection of the actual world is an innate quality to the infinitude of the physical universe, it is pure and magical but certainly not mathematically ordered as pure mathematicians would have it.
RESPONDENT: Would it surprise you to learn that I agree 100% here? I’ve chosen a bad way to express myself in terms of ‘mathematical purity’. First of all, I regard mathematics as a quantitative description of certain aspects of the actual universe, definitely not an inherent property of it. It’s a human invention, plain and simple. I don’t believe that mathematics is the foundation of the universe, or anything that happens within it. So why did I refer to ‘mathematical purity’? When you’re perceiving the universe in a way that makes you appreciate how wonderful it actually is, what’s the best language to use? I dunno. There’s poetic language, mythological/religious language, or there’s emotionally neutral language. I chose the words ‘mathematical purity’ because it conveys (to me) three things:
Firstly, the sense of being utterly beyond the Human Drama, in an intricately complex and marvellously orderly universe in which there are no Gods or any other mythological paraphernalia; things just unfold in their innate perfection.
Secondly, I tried to avoid one kind of potential misunderstanding in this mailing list, i.e. to differentiate the pure quality of experience from an experience with mythological/religious overtones, Paradise, Garden of Eden, etc. (But in doing that I inadvertently opened up the possibility of another kind of misunderstanding. My fault entirely)
Thirdly, in the depths of my previous ASCs I have been immersed in a kaleidoscopic world of geometrical and mythological imagery intervowen together in unimaginably intricate and fascinating ways. At that time, it seemed to me that I was looking at the very ‘DNA’ of the universe, the invisible ‘fractal forms’ that give everything its psychic and physical structure (and it didn’t matter whether I had my eyes open or closed; these self-similar fractal motifs were present throughout nature and psyche). I am still in two minds about the relevance of this perception. It may be that the universe (including the human psyche) actually is a kind of fractal generator, not set in motion by an intelligent designer, but simply as an innate property. Again, I agree with you that mathematics only describes phenomena in humanly quantifiable terms; it does not explain them, and I don’t believe it is the tool of some mysterious Creator. What interests me is not the mathematics per se, but the actualities that are quantified and described by mathematics, i.e. the splendour, the intricacy, the perfection. (A snowflake isn’t ‘designed’ to be mathematically wonderful, but it is!).
VINEETO: I have no previous experience of LSD so I can only go by what you write. I had some experiences of grand thoughts and apparent through-and-through understandings of the intricate patterns of the universe, the human mind, the secrets of everything, etc. whilst under the influence of THC, so we possibly may have had similar ‘seeings’.
Today, however, with the comparison to many PCEs I know that many of my THC-influenced ‘understandings’ then were affective and subjective and not actual and objective, they were fantasies produced by ‘my’ desire to understand everything. This infinite and eternal universe is far too big, far too complex, far too magnificent and far too wonderful to be comprehended, explained or understood by a human brain. Any attempt on my part to do so has only ended up in imagination. By the way, I think this is the very reason that human beings have invented a God by whatever name who then plays the role of someone who not only comprehends everything – is omniscient – but who is also capable of controlling it all – is omnipotent.
RESPONDENT: I’m not a mathematician or a scientist, by the way, so I have no idea why the universe chose to present itself to me this way on LSD ;-)
VINEETO: The universe doesn’t ‘chose to present itself’ to you this way – ‘you’ chose to take LSD and its effects led you to interpret the universe this way. And from what I have read of such experiences there is as much of a culture around such experiences as there is around spiritual experiences, which makes it difficult to ascertain whether what one is experiencing isn’t merely a culturally-influenced experience. It is telling that Christians ‘see’ Christ in their visions and not Mr. Buddha and that LSD imbibers ‘see’ psychedelic imagery whilst those who imbibe peyote ‘see’ ‘The Great Spirit’. Despite what human beings believe, the scope of human imagination is always limited by, and influenced by, cultural conditioning.
RESPONDENT No 33: What I understood (from Richard’s mails mainly) so far is that: a direct experience is the final arbiter and while logic/ mathematics can sharpen the directly experienced, they are subservient to the direct experience. This is in contrast to the theoretical physicist/ mathematician’s viewpoint which is: logic/ mathematics is the final arbiter – direct experience is prone to error. Please correct this appraisal if necessary.
RESPONDENT: I think your appraisal is fair enough.
However, the question that interests me at this stage is not so much whether empiricists or rationalists should have the final say. The question that concerns me is: where is the ‘empirical’ evidence?
VINEETO: No 60, there is no empirical evidence that the universe is infinite and eternal, nor can there ever be – although it is paradoxical that those cosmologists who also acknowledge this simultaneously claim that they have found empirical evidence of a supposed creationist event that took place some 12 billions years ago, thereby claiming they have proof that the universe is neither eternal nor infinite. Infinitude is by its very nature beyond the reach of empirical data because we can never build a telescope powerful enough to look into infinity. There is only one evidence for infinitude and that is the unadulterated sensate apperceptive experience.
RESPONDENT: How can precise details concerning the origin, extent and duration of the universe be directly experienced? In the so-called ‘Big Bang’, we are talking about an event (or non-event) that happened (or didn’t happen) billions of years ago. How can one claim to have direct experience (thus empirical evidence) of what did or didn’t happen billions of years ago, on the basis of what one experiences in a lifespan of 50-odd years as a flesh and blood body with limited sense organs and limited intellect?
VINEETO: In a PCE – in absence of a scheming alien entity – one can clearly recognize that all theories about a beginning and an edge of the universe are mere anthropocentric fantasies (part and parcel of the human drama as you called it) and that questions about ‘the origin, extent and duration of the universe’ are utterly redundant. In a PCE I directly experience that matter is not passive, I directly experience that matter is in a continuous cycle of birth and death, generation and decay, composition and decomposition and that the belief that all this should not have been happening at some imaginary other point in time is plain silly. An intelligence freed of ‘self’-centredness can easily comprehend that there is neither ‘origin’ nor ‘extent’ nor ‘duration of the universe’ – those are man-made anthropocentric metaphysical inventions in order to get a grip on something that is, by its very nature, incomprehensible to both logic and rational thought. Infinitude cannot be thought through or reasoned out – it can only be experienced in delight.
The question is what is it that makes this so hard to understand?
RESPONDENT: It seems to me that what is being portrayed as empirical evidence is actually circular and self-validating logic:
VINEETO: No, what is being portrayed is neither empirical evidence nor logic – that is what you make of it. What is being portrayed are the results of apperception – ‘self’-less pure perception.
RESPONDENT: The universe is infinite and eternal because one (supposedly) experiences it that way in a PCE. A PCE reveals the actual facts of the cosmos. A PCE happens if (and only if) the universe is infinite and eternal. PCEs do happen. Therefore the universe is infinite and eternal. If this type of logic is allowed, one might say: the universe is imperfect because one experiences it that way in depression. Depression happens if (and only if) the universe is imperfect. Depression does happen. Therefore the universe is imperfect. This is not ‘empirical evidence’ of anything. It is circular reasoning based on one absolute experiential standard and several tenuous premises.
No 33, since you’ve been following the discussions closely, I’d appreciate it if you (or anyone else) let me know if you think my reasoning is off track. I am not asking you to ‘take sides’, just to drop me a note (by email if you wish) if you think I’m not making sense, or not understanding something that is clear to you.
VINEETO: When I started to look into actualism as an alternative to the spiritualism that I had practiced so long with unsatisfying results, the mind-boggling radicality of the 180 degrees opposite statements often caused my mind to gridlock. From whatever angle I looked at certain issues, I simply could not understand what Richard was saying. However, I had the burning desire to find out all there is to know about this third alternative because I had already experienced for myself that something was greatly amiss in the venerated teachings and practice of spiritualism.
In those situations when I couldn’t think my way out of my mental block, a condition which I later discovered to be cognitive dissonance, I used to ask myself what it was that was preventing me from understanding. Rather than accusing Richard of being bone-headed, stubborn, silly or wrong, I instead chose to question why I was so bone-headed that I could not understand what he had discovered and what emotional investment ‘I’ had in maintaining ‘my’ status quo by not understanding what he presented as his ongoing delectable experience of the actual world.
These were some of the questions I used to ask myself –
To ask these questions was to sharpen my attentiveness as to how I felt, what I felt and why I felt it when I contemplated the issues that caused a mental block and this attentiveness also showed me how to move past those affective feelings that prevented a clearer understanding of those issues. In other words, attentiveness counteracts the instinctive ‘self’-centredness that is more or less happening all the time unless I become aware of it. Attentiveness combined with contemplation does wonders when one wants to penetrate ‘my’ automatically ongoing affective reactive-ness to emotionally charged topics.
Eventually my burning desire and my persistence not to settle for anything less than indisputable facts won over my fears of questioning what I believed to be absolutely right and true and, to make a long story short, one day something had to give – ‘my’ worldview collapsed in one fell swoop and I had my first pure consciousness experience which lasted for a night and the better half of the next day. I was with Peter at the time and experienced for the first time what it is to be with a fellow human being without having ‘self’-oriented expectations, fears and preconceptions. In fact I only noticed that those ‘self’-centred expectations, fears and preconceptions towards others were a constant feature of ‘me’ when they temporarily ceased.
The next day Peter and I went to the local market and I experienced first hand how everyone was not only selling their goods but with those goods their beliefs and convictions, their worldviews and ethics and everyone was absolutely convinced that he or she had the right truth. In the following days the memory of this direct experience made a big dent into all of my beliefs and truths but it took many more such break-throughs to question one ‘truth’ after the other and with each crumbled belief my understanding of the human condition expanded and the nature of actuality became more and more clear.
One of those break-throughs happened when I mused about the nature of the universe and my beliefs in a mystical, metaphysical or super-natural energy permeating it. The longer I contemplated the more it became clear that both a beginning to and an edge of the universe do not make sense because this theory raises far more questions than it solves, whereas an infinite and eternal universe does away with any and all the theorizing about the how, when and by whom or by what mysterious force the universe was created and what it is that it supposedly expands into. At this point it also dawned on me that in a universe without boundaries there is no physical space for any mystical Force to be ruling the world and the very meaning of actuality – matter devoid of spirit but in constant change – became stunningly clear, not just intellectually but experientially. The very simplicity of my intellectual understanding and the resultant immediate experiencing of this very understanding made the nature of the universe self-evidently obvious.
I acknowledge that it requires great daring, intent and stubborn determination to leave one’s safe haven of being an agnostic about the nature of the universe in order to recognize and experientially discover the facts about the nature of the universe as opposed to remaining ‘open’ to any and all theories about the universe. To leave the non-committal position of not-knowing behind and commit oneself to finding out the facts, whatever the cost, is a truly life-changing process as one’s whole personal worldview will fall apart and disappear. Naturally in the face of this threat, the survival instincts kick in, causing ‘me’ to opt for the safety of the status quo.
The first thing to counteract this automatic instinctual reaction is to become aware of it so that one can then make an informed decision in which direction one wants to proceed. But then again, you have apparently experienced the strength of theses passions –
VINEETO to No 37: To further clarify what you so aptly called ‘their precious agnosticism’ I would like to add the Oxford Dictionary definition of an agnostic –
As such an agnostic not only doesn’t know what to believe but many who consider themselves agnostics passionately defend their stance that ‘one can never know’ or even that the answers to the mysteries of life can not be known. Thus maintaining an agnostic viewpoint is used as an excuse to shield the ‘Unknowable’ from being explored. I have seen many discussions by both Buddhists and the followers of Jiddu Krishnamurti in which they passionately defended the Unknowable as sacred threshold that should not be questioned, let alone be actively explored.
To me an agnostic is someone, as you say, who does ‘not know what to believe’ but who also, as per his doctrine, does not want to find out the facts … and I am definitely not an agnostic. Vineeto, The Actual Freedom Trust Mailing List, No 37, 24.10.2004
RESPONDENT No 37: Yes, I’m glad you pointed out that agnostics normally maintain that it is ‘impossible to know’ – so that not only are they (normally) saying they just don’t know, but also that one cannot know – so that one had better not claim that they do know.
RESPONDENT: Yeah, but it’s hardly sensible to apply the same terminology and adopt the same attitude toward (a) people who recognises their lack of omniscience; and (b) people who avoid seeking out the facts ON PRINCIPLE!
VINEETO: I fail to see the point you are making.
RESPONDENT: OK. I don’t think we’ll need to go into much detail here ... please correct me if I’m wrong.
In the correspondence so far we’ve identified two types of agnostic:
VINEETO: Whenever I have talked about agnostics on this list is was always about
It is you who persists in giving a meaning to the word agnosticism it does not have as in ‘they’re not omniscient’.
RESPONDENT: The first kind isn’t seeking out the facts because ‘unknowability’ is their creed.
The second kind may or may not be seeking out the facts, but their (current) ‘agnosticism’ is based on the fact that they currently do not know enough to be certain one way or the other.
VINEETO: Does the fact that you yourself put agnosticism in inverted commas indicate that it is not a commonly used meaning of the word? And as for your use of the term ‘(current) ‘agnosticism’’ – it is my experience that by and large agnostics tend to hold to their agnosticism as an attitude or even a conviction such that it becomes an impediment to wanting to find out the facts of the matter for themselves.
RESPONDENT: Example of type (1): Somebody who believes that reality is unknowable. Example of type (2): No 37 in relation to Einstein’s relativity.
VINEETO: I cannot make a sensible comment as I have no idea whether or not No 37 fits to your type (1) category or not?
RESPONDENT: My outburst of peevishness last week was motivated by what I saw as your indifference to this distinction.
VINEETO: As there is no distinction because only type (1) classifies as an agnostic I wonder what all the fuss was about. In all of the dictionary definitions that I could find, agnosticism does not refer to ‘non-omniscience’ as in your ‘a person can be ‘agnostic’ because they realise they are not in full possession of the facts (they’re not omniscient…)’.
RESPONDENT: Does this clarify what I meant, and what I mean now?
VINEETO: Neither No 37 or I made reference to agnosticism as ‘people who recognises their lack of omniscience’ in our conversation. It was you who introduced this second definition.
VINEETO: The point I was making to No 37 was that those who wave the ‘I am an agnostic flag’ as an objection to actualism mostly do so based on the principle that nothing can be known of the existence of God (one way or the other) and thus go on to claim that the essential facts of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being can never be known, let alone directly experienced.
As for someone waving the ‘I am not omniscient’ flag as an objection to actualism in the name of agnosticism – this is what is known in Australia as a furphy. To come to understand the essential facts of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being such that one can directly experience the perfection of this actual world does not mean that one is omniscient.
RESPONDENT: Whoa there ... how did ‘I am not omniscient’ become a flag-waving objection to actualism? I intended nothing of the sort.
I was only trying to emphasise a distinction between people who are agnostic on principle, and people who are agnostic on a particular issue because they’re not in full possession of the facts. There is no challenge to actualism in that.
VINEETO: Well, perhaps if I can put it this way – would you agree that someone who is convinced that it is impossible to know for certain that the physical universe is infinite and eternal would therefore be disinclined to remain open to the possibility that it could well be so? And not only that but that they would tend to regard anyone, who claimed that he or she had direct unfettered experience of the infinitude of physical universe, either temporarily or permanently, as being someone who was claiming to be omniscient? Would not such a person be seen to be ‘waving the ‘I am not omniscient’ flag as an objection to actualism in the name of agnosticism’? (...)
VINEETO: I found I needed a passionate inquisitiveness, an urge to get to the bottom of matters and an imperative to know if there was a God or not, if there was afterlife or not, if the universe was infinite or not, and so on. At first it was not always easy to overcome my fears of leaving the well-trodden path of my comfortable beliefs, my convenient agnosticism and my lethargic indifference to finding out for myself the answers to the mysteries of life the universe and what it is to be a human being.
RESPONDENT: Speaking personally now, I can understand what you mean by the ‘convenient agnosticism’ comment – agnosticism can be a way of avoiding putting one’s money where one’s mouth is, or sitting on the fence forever.
VINEETO: Speaking personally, whenever I became aware that I was avoiding finding out the facts that related to the human condition and the nature of the universe, I knew I had to abandon my convenient agnosticism and find out for sure.
RESPONDENT: Personally I can’t relate to the ‘comfortable beliefs’ though, because even though I have sought out something to believe in I’ve never been able to settle down with a set of beliefs (for better or worse).
VINEETO: And yet didn’t you just say, a few lines above, that ‘I managed to imbibe that belief in my late teens’ in relation to my comment that ‘prime amongst these beliefs is the insistence that life, the universe and what it is to be a human being is a mystery that can never be known’? The reason I point this out is that it is the nature of the beliefs that one doesn’t recognize them as beliefs unless one personally has the intent to question what one takes to be the truth and dares to scrutinize its efficacy by oneself, for oneself. Unless one is prepared to do this, one is fated to remain trapped in the endless game of passionately defending or mindlessly espousing beliefs – the pathetic game that masquerades as discussion within the human condition.
RESPONDENT: To remain agnostic on the big issues (eg. existence of God or gods, meaning/ purpose of life, etc) is to miss an opportunity to throw out all the crap that has kept humanity locked in the human condition for millennia.
VINEETO: Exactly. It stands to reason that it is impossible to become free of the human condition whilst passionately holding on to the beliefs, values, ethics, principles, feelings and passions that make up the human condition. When one comes to understand what one is then one can feel more than a little foolish – a feeling that can be fostered as a naïve curiosity as to what else one can sensibly ‘throw out’, as in become free of.
RESPONDENT: I remember when I first heard actualists speaking about the infinite and eternal nature of the universe, my position was ‘agnostic’ in the sense that I thought such things could not be determined (with absolute certainty) by direct experience. That was a knee-jerk agnostic’s response (which probably deserves the ‘precious agnosticism’ tag).
VINEETO: Would you say a ‘knee-jerk response’ as in following ‘the quick and dirty processing pathway’ that LeDoux has observed in his laboratory experiments? If so, then you might well see that a knee-jerk response is the default response of every human being unless they begin to apply attentiveness to the way of how they are being programmed both by nature and by nurture. I say this because attentiveness reveals that every belief – and every principle, ideology, moral and ethic – is an emotional backed thought.
There is a schematic diagram in The Actual Freedom Trust Library that made this automatic programming quite clear to me. The fact that the instinctual survival programming is wired as a neurological imperative also explains why the process of becoming free from this programming does not happen overnight – it makes sense that it has to be a gradual process that only ‘I’ can decide to deliberately set into motion and that this process will require ongoing application and diligence if it is to come to fruition.
When I came to understand that ‘my’ instinctual programming is manifest as habitual firing of neurons along already well-trodden pathways it gave me a fact-based understanding of how ‘I’ am programmed to operate. Then it was but a short step to beginning to apply the actualism method in order to become aware of this programming in action, to understand when and how it operates and then to interrupt any knee-jerk reactions and establish new, more considered, more considerate and less ‘self’-centred responses to sensory input.
VINEETO: As it is my life and there is no God to reward or punish me before or after death, I can do with it what I like. And I chose to go for the best – an actual peace on earth in this lifetime.
RESPONDENT: Why do you keep insisting that everyone has a belief in God (except you actualists)? Me thinks you protesteth too much. The ‘unknown’ is creation – the leading edge of the universe. You’re either on the cutting edge or you’re dead.
VINEETO: You say that I insist that you believe in God and then respond that ‘the ‘unknown’ is creation’. This does beg the question what is the unknown and what is it creating. I can only conclude, since you put universe in the same sentence that ‘the ‘unknown’ is creation’ is nothing other than your God by another name. Further, the physical universe has no ‘leading edge’ – it is infinite and eternal.
RESPONDENT: I do think that scientist have determined that the universe is in a constant state of expansion – not that has anything to do with what I’m saying.
VINEETO: Scientists are also only human and as such instilled with the Human Condition. They too have the human hope and fervent belief in something that is beyond the physical reality of matter and space. Without such belief they might have been able to ask simple commonsense questions like ‘How can the universe expand? What does it expand into if not into more universe?’ With the desire to find Meaning, Reason or God somewhere ‘out there’, the mystical cosmologists overlook the very obvious – that this universe has always been here and has always been infinite, as big as it ever gets.
You, however, are talking about the metaphysical universe – a spirit-world that has no boundaries as it is imaginary – whereas to acknowledge an infinite and eternal physical universe with no boundaries and no other-worlds is to abandon hope in a life after death, a fact which scares the bejikeys out of all spiritual believers.
RESPONDENT: The ‘leading edge’ of the universe is that which is original – having never occurred before. How does one discover that which is original, the leading edge? ‘One’ cannot discover it at all.
VINEETO: ‘The ‘‘leading edge’ of the universe’ is an imaginary, forever unknown, mystical space that has nothing to do with the physical universe at all. In order to ‘discover’ that mystical ‘leading edge’ one then applies the spiritual teachings of searching for one’s ‘original face’, ‘before your mother and father were born’ and before society could instil evil thoughts into supposed innocent children. But as children are not born innocent but are genetically-encoded with a set of instinctual passions, this pursuit of one’s ‘original face’ will only uncover the ‘original’ instinctual passions underneath the societal conditioning.
RESPONDENT: So we can assume that anything physically limited in space such as a rock, a door, a car, the moon, the sun is not benevolent. But, according to you, as soon as we take it all together, as the physical universe, suddenly there’s benevolence. How can that be? This is a mystery isn’t it? Can this magical and sudden appearance be explained or understood by your common-sense?
VINEETO: There is no malice and sorrow in the physical universe. There is no such thing as right or wrong, good or bad, sadness, grief, compassion, love, or any other feeling in the physical universe. These are feelings that are in human beings only (and in a rudimentary form in some animals). Feelings and instincts are both the product and the very substance of the psychological and psychic entity within the human body. So when you rid yourself from this alien entity within the human body, when there is no malice and sorrow in this human body, the perfection and benevolence become apparent. It is the Human Condition that prevents human beings from being as pure and perfect as the physical universe and thus from experiencing the purity, perfection and benevolence of this infinite magnificence of the actual world. (...)
RESPONDENT: So why is it that when all physical objects are taken together as a physical universe, suddenly benevolence appears. This is beyond my common sense. Moreover, benevolence isn’t physical, is it.
VINEETO: To understand that benevolence is physical you first have to understand the term ‘actual’. Actual means ‘not merely passive’. It describes the experience that nothing in this physical universe is dead, things are continuously evolving and changing. A seed grows into a carrot, when I eat them they turn into my skin, flesh, bones and brain. A timber table has its own life from seed to tree to timber to crafted furniture to aged wood and then it is deteriorating into soil. The continuous movement is a physical one – there is nothing meta-physical in it. It never stops, never ends.
Benevolence is the intrinsic movement of the physical universe to be its best. A tree grows the best way it can, using whatever resources are available. Animals have an instinctual capacity to ensure the survival of the fittest, the strongest, the most adaptable. Vegetation and animals on this planet have evolved from the simplest to the most complex. Human beings with our incredibly refined ability to think and make sense of the world are the only intelligent species of the physical universe.
This very computer is a visible outcome of the human brain, with colour-screen, background, sound, storage capacity and all its gimmicks. But this human brain is still restricted and distorted by our animal instincts in the primitive brain. The benevolence with its urge to be the best it can be has now evolved to a stage where it is possible to break free of the animal instincts, of the Human Condition. Fed by our intent to be the best we can be the brain can fix itself up, it can re-wire itself and eliminate the redundant instincts altogether. There is no divine, mystical or ethereal energy doing it, the urge to be its best is a physical quality of the universe. To put the idea of God into this obvious perfection and purity is to completely miss the point of the very magnificence happening around us all the time. Should you want to read a bit more on this issue, Peter’s chapter ‘Universe’ and ‘Evolution’ explain these fact a bit deeper, and Richard has written about it at length in his journal and correspondence. (...)
VINEETO: I am virtually free from both personal sorrow and Universal Sorrow and am able to be considerate without the emotional and passionate involvement that comes automatically with being an identity. And it is simply common sense. Why should I not want everybody to share the same paradise? Why not have peace on earth, for everybody? We are fellow human beings. Anybody, who wants to, can do the same thing that I did and live in the same benevolent paradise that I live in. Doesn’t that make sense to you?
RESPONDENT: No it doesn’t. As an actualist, you are a body, nothing more, and are therefore limited in space. Benevolence is the quality of the physical universe which is infinite. Hence you couldn’t possibly be benevolent or considerate yourself.
VINEETO: The feeling of being limited and separate comes from the alien psychological and psychic entity inside each human being. To overcome this feeling of separation and limitedness Eastern spirituality teaches to ‘stop thought’ and to identify solely as the ‘feeler’ in the heart. The resultant oceanic feeling of ‘Oneness’, ‘Unity’ and ‘Wholeness’ gives rise to the misconception that the separate self has been eliminated. As a matter of fact, the separation has only been bridged by a ‘connection’ to the other through the feeling of Love and Compassion. But the very problem, the separate (limited) psychic entity of the ‘feeler’ is still very much alive. It is the psychological ‘I’ and the psychic ‘me’, the alien entity ‘possessing’ this body that make me feel separate and limited in the first place. Without the ‘self’ there is nobody to be separate, and I experience the actuality, benignity and benevolence that is already present in the physical universe.
You know, when I first realised that this universe is actually unlimited, vast, endless, without borders, I also knew that there is no place where gods could be – there is nothing outside this physical universe, there cannot be, by the very meaning of infinite. Have you ever gone to the NASA-site and looked at the horse-nebula, the neutron-stars, the cluster-galaxies, the earthrise seen from Apollo circling the moon? http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/
We are all made from the same stuff, physically, the stuff of the universe! Or have you ever looked at the actuality of a simple china coffee-cup? The texture, the colour, the design, and then considered the raw materials for it – they have developed on this planet for millions of years until they were discovered and manufactured into this simple coffee cup. The machines involved, the tools, the transport, ... This cup was manufactured somewhere on this planet, shipped to this country, driven to the shop where I bought it from, handled by many people... The universe is all one big happening, everything linked to something else, all happening at this very moment – nothing is merely passive. Whichever direction you look, there are physical wonders upon wonders, once the ego-centric and ‘soul-centric’ shackles are taken off one’s senses and brain.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.