One would not bother unless one had a direct experience of the actual world and then one would never settle for the imaginary, the ethereal, the second-rate. One would never settle for ‘right-suffering’, or being ‘grateful’ to some-one or some-thing for ‘life’, when one could eliminate the instinctual source of fear and sorrow that is the very cause of suffering and resentment in the first place. One would never bother with being Here and Now with one’s head stuck in the clouds, searching for True meaning, when one could be here and now in the actual world with one’s feet firmly on the earth, with meaning abundantly and extravagantly apparent everywhere.
The animate existence of an individual in respect of its duration; the period from birth to death, from birth to a particular time, or from a particular time to death.
A being’s, esp. a person’s, animate existence viewed as a possession of which one is deprived by death.
a The series of actions and occurrences constituting the history of an individual from birth to death; the course of (human) existence from birth to death. Also (Theol.), either of the two states of human existence separated by death. b A particular manner or course of living. c The active part of human existence; the business and active pleasures of the world. Also, the position of participating in the affairs of the world, of being a recognized member of society.Oxford Dictionary
Which brings us to the definition of a person’s life as in ‘my’ life. I find ‘a person’s animate existence viewed as a possession of which one is deprived by death’ the most telling definition. As human beings, we have no memory of how we got here, we resent being here, we try to make the best of it, we seek an escape from life in the form of redemption or salvation, we desperately fear death and, as old age sets in, passionately hope for life after death. And this little lot of sad, sorry and fearful continuum of emotional memories and reactions, we call having a ‘life’. A person’s life is, in fact, no more than the bundle of emotional memories of the past and emotional-backed anticipations of the future and the whole lot is typified by see-saw swings of fear, aggression, nurture and desire. ‘I’ – as the thinker – desperately seek to keep the instinctual ‘me’ – as the feeler – under control and in check by being good, being loving, being caring, etc. As one’s life progresses this leads to the development of a cunning cynicism that obliterates any naiveté and fosters a continual need for ‘self’-control that actively inhibits one from breaking free from the shackles of one’s social identity. Thus one is fated by nature at conception to be an instinctually-driven being and is then fettered by nurture from birth onwards to be a social identity bound by morals, ethics, values, traditions, and psittacisms and – as Frank Sinatra sang, so bitter sweetly – ‘That’s life’.
But actualism provides the solution to the Human Condition and ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is the path to the door marked Freedom from the Human Condition. By continuously asking oneself this question, and doing whatever is necessary to substantiate happiness and harmlessness in this moment, one begins to disrupt the continuity of one’s emotional life and weakens its stranglehold and dominance. The exclusive attention paid to this moment of being alive actually reduces the tendency to dwell on past emotional memories or be emotionally occupied with future events. This has the effect of shrinking one’s life to this moment only – which is the only moment I can experience being alive. Thus one gradually eases out from having an emotional life and begins to live this moment, and this moment, and ... The aim is to string more and more of those moments together, and one day you get to lay in bed at night time and say ‘What a perfect day I had!’. And then the aim becomes to string more and more of those days together and you find that you are on a path that frees you from malice and sorrow. And then you find yourself living a Virtual Freedom – ‘virtual’ as in ‘that is so in essence or effect, although not recognized formally, actually’. And then you know that your ‘life’, as you knew it, will never be the same again – in fact, it is soon to end completely and not a trace of the old ‘me’ will be able to surface ... ever again. Virtual Freedom is the first step – ‘self’-extinction the next.
A condition of power, activity, or happiness; esp. (chiefly in biblical and religious use) the condition of a person freed from the state of sin equated with spiritual death; salvation; regenerate condition. Oxford Dictionary
The final relevant definition points to attaining a new life, as in being Born Again or becoming Enlightened or Self-Realized, whereby one realizes a new identity – a new imaginary life in a new imaginary world – thus becoming ‘freed’ from the state of sin (or life in the real world). This new state is commonly known in psychiatric terms as an Altered State of Consciousness. For those not so dedicated to the pursuit of a spiritual New Life there is the more secular version offered by some therapists whereby the aim is to strengthen, en-richen or empower one’s existing ‘life’ such that one wins more than loses, one overcomes adversity, one fights for one’s rights, one becomes better, stronger, more powerful, more self-fulfilled, more self-centred, etc. Both approaches – denial or making the best of it – fail to address the fact that human beings are innately programmed with an instinct to survive that makes fear, aggression, nurture and desire an integral part of the Human Condition. Actual Freedom is the only approach to the human dilemma that addresses this fact – every other approach avoids this fundamental fact.
Actual Freedom is the third alternative to the spiritual avoidance or the traditional acceptance of one’s ‘lot in life’.
What an excellent thing to discover – the chance to actually do something about one’s lot in life – to become happy and harmless.
Freedom from the Human Condition – Happy and Harmless
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.