Actual Freedom – Mailing List ‘A’ Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On Mailing List ‘A’ with Respondent No. 21

Some Of The Topics Covered

sarcasm – death of ego – it is obvious that fear is transcended – and not eliminated – with the ‘death of the ego’ – instincts – the nature of a cow

| 01 | 02 | 03 |

No. 01

RESPONDENT: I think what Richard means is things falling is a fact. Gravity is only a concept that gives us insight into the behaviour of falling things. It may seem a trivial distinction to you, but it has profound implications on how you approach the subject of ‘reality’.

RICHARD: This one has become a trifle out of hand, for I was discussing how male and female parts so obviously fit together that it seems silly to deny oneself the delight and joy of doing so. I called this a ‘given’ (as they say in scientific circles) meaning that, as it is observably evident, it is an indisputable fact. As I am not a scientist, I am rather wishing I had not used the term, but as I have already done so – and it appears I am in for a keel-hauling on matters scientific – I may as well pursue the matter.

Yes, it does seem a trivial distinction to me. How can gravity, being ‘only a concept that gives us insight into the behaviour of falling things’, have ‘profound implications on how I approach the subject of ‘reality’?


RICHARD: Apart from that, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

RESPONDENT: You’ve obviously never watched ‘Beavis and Butt-head’.

RICHARD: No, I have never even heard of them. To be sarcastic is to obtain amusement at another’s expense ... it is a particularly cutting form of teasing, with malicious undertones, and thus qualifies for the lowest rating on the humour scale.

No. 02

RESPONDENT: What I meant was, understanding the difference between things falling (an observation) and gravity (a theory) has implications.

RICHARD: Okay. So would I be correct if I had said: ‘Things falling is a ‘given’, as they say in scientific circles?’

RESPONDENT: Yes, that would sound more correct to me. I’m sorry if you don’t appreciate my humour.

RICHARD: To be sarcastic is to obtain amusement at another’s expense ... it is a particularly cutting form of teasing, with malicious undertones, and thus qualifies for the lowest rating on the humour scale.

RESPONDENT: Oh, thank you so much for explaining that to me, Richard. I don’t know what poor ignorant me would do without your profound observations. By the way, where does irony fall on your wit-o-meter?

RICHARD: As I do not have any feelings your attempt at a put-down is totally wasted.

I do not have a wit-o-meter ... the ‘lowest form of wit’ phrase was simply an expression. Just as sarcasm is designed to make the recipient feel ridiculed, irony is designed to make the recipient feel rueful. They are thus both pathetic wit, by definition. As the word ‘pathetic’ is derived from the root ‘pathos’ – which indicates sorrow – then the giver of either sarcasm or irony wishes the recipient to feel the incipient sorrow that is endemic among humans. Sorrow is a sickness that can lead, in extreme cases, to depression and suicide ... which I would not wish upon anyone. Thus sarcasm and irony are not what I, for one, consider fun.

It is a subtle form of verbal abuse.

No. 03

RICHARD: Essentially, when a person becomes enlightened they say that their ego has dissolved – this is termed ‘Death of the ego’. I concur fully in this very valid description of what has happened. However, the ego is only one half of the self ... the other half being the soul. Then there is a sense of identity overlaid on top of the self. The enlightened person switches their sense of identity from the ego (which is now non-existent) to the soul and – in their own words – realise that they are ‘The Self’ existing beyond ‘Time and Space’ and that they are ‘Immortal and Eternal’ and that they are ‘Unborn and Undying’. In other words they identify as being ‘That’ by whatever name. (Also ‘The Void’, ‘Emptiness’, Beyond Form’ and so on and – if they are really astute – ‘Beyond Form and No-Form’). This is the second ‘I’ of Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer (aka Ramana) fame’. So where I wrote: [quote] ‘Psychologically, ‘I’ would cease to ‘be’ at all, I would have no ‘presence’. This was more than death of the ego, which is a major event by any definition; this was total annihilation. No ego, no soul – no ‘Self’ [unquote], this second ‘I’ is what I was referring to. I was very clearly not saying: ‘this experience revealed that you had even further to go, that you had to go on and ‘annihilate’ the ego completely’ as you attempt to make out that I was saying.

As for ‘fear and trembling’ ... I deliberately and accurately used the word ‘dread’ as it was an existential experience of the end of ‘being’ entirely – not just the fear and trembling produced by the contemplation of the death of the ego (wherein ‘I’ go on under a different disguise) – but a complete and utter annihilation of everything, including ‘The Absolute’ or ‘The Void’ or ‘The Whatever’. As a youth in 1966, I served my time in the military in a war-torn foreign country, so I knew the full gamut of nervousness, apprehension, anxiety, fear, terror, horror and dread ... and they go in that order of severity. This was a dread of the likes of which I had never experienced before ... perhaps it would be handy to call it ‘pure dread’, for emphasis. Pure dread is the worst nightmarish feeling one can possibly experience. And as I clearly explained that: ‘I was living in a state of Divine Bliss and Love Agapé‚ which protected me from all sorrow and malice, with its attendant fears and hates’, I consider that it is obvious that fear, for example, is transcended – not eliminated – with the ‘Death of the Ego’. Consequently, where you say: ‘If your ego had truly dissolved in 1981, then I’m afraid it would have been impossible for you to have ... experienced fear and dread towards anything at all’, you are simply airing your understandable ignorance of matters transcendent in public.

RESPONDENT No. 4: Recognising that one’s ‘self’ is not merely limited to the body or personality, but that it in fact encompasses the infinity of Nature is just the first step of a very long journey. It is still a long way short of enlightenment. It all depends on the quality of the realisation. There is a certain threshold one must cross before one can consider oneself enlightened. A person crossing this threshold suddenly realises the true nature of all things and recognises its immortality, but he also recognises the fundamental error of becoming attached to it. It is only those people who fail to cross this threshold who attach themselves to crude notions of a ‘Higher Self’ which is ‘Unborn, Undying, Immortal, Eternal’, etc. These people are still firmly bound by the ego. In truth, enlightenment cannot be described at all, not even to the slightest degree. This is because enlightenment is not anything in particular and so there is really nothing at all to describe. The best we can do is simply suggest to others what it is like – I sometimes describe it as utter freedom, for example; others call it the ‘Unborn’ and so on. But at bottom, all these descriptions are infinitely way off the mark. I’m confused about your supposed attainments, not about the real attainment of enlightenment. Again, if it were truly the case that you identified yourself with a self that was eternal and immortal, then there is no way you could have experienced fear or dread. Only an ego which perceives a threat to its well-being can experience these things, and only an ego which is limited and mortal could possibly perceive such a threat in the first place. The very fact that you experienced fear and dread is proof that your previous attainment was minor, just as your current belief that you are beyond all emotions is proof that your attainments since then have been equally insignificant. I do not believe you have experienced enlightenment in the first place, let alone ‘gone beyond it’. All you have merely done is descended into the animal realms. To be quite honest, I can barely distinguish you from a cow.

RESPONDENT: The question is: Does a cow have Buddha-nature? Sorry, time’s up. The answer I was looking for was ‘woof’. I would have given partial credit for ‘mu’.

RICHARD: The nature of a cow – because it is a sentient being – is one of fear and aggression and nurture and desire.




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