Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

With Correspondent No. 110


March 21 2006

RESPONDENT: Hi everyone. How does one ‘get back to feeling good’?

RICHARD: Welcome to The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list ... one gets back to feeling good (a general sense of well-being) by finding out what has happened between the last time one felt good and now: when did one feel good last? Five minutes ago? Five hours ago? What happened to end those felicitous/ innocuous feelings? Ahh ... yes: ‘He said that and I ...’. Or: ‘She didn’t do this and I ...’. Or: ‘What I wanted was ...’. Or: ‘I didn’t do ...’ and so on and so on. One does not have to trace back into one’s childhood ... usually no more than yesterday afternoon at the most. Once the specific moment of ceasing to feel good is pin-pointed, and the silliness of having such an incident as that (no matter what it is) take away one’s enjoyment and appreciation of this only moment of being alive is seen for what it is – usually some habitual reactive response – one is once more feeling good ... but with a pin-pointed cue to watch out for next time so as to not have that trigger off yet another bout of the same-old same-old. This is called nipping it in the bud before it gets out of hand ... with application and diligence and patience and perseverance one soon gets the knack of this and more and more time is spent enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive.

The wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom from the human condition is marked by enjoyment and appreciation – the sheer delight of being as happy and harmless as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’ – and the slightest diminishment of such felicity and innocuity is a warning signal (a flashing red light as it were) that one has inadvertently wandered off the way.

One is thus soon back on track ... and all because of everyday events.

RESPONDENT: Is the HAIETMOBA itself supposed to get you back to feeling good?

RICHARD: Aye, it takes some doing to start off with, but as success after success starts to multiply exponentially, it becomes automatic to have that question running as an on-going thing (as a non-verbal attitude towards life/a wordless approach each moment again) because it delivers the goods right here and now ... not off into some indeterminate future.

March 24 2006

RESPONDENT: I’ve recently had some success with the method, at times feeling happy and harmless at will. It’s like being able to activate the release of a pleasure drug in my own brain. I easily become aware of how I’m feeling, then watch as it quickly morphs into felicity and explosions of delight. At other times, however, nothing happens when I try haietmoba or to ‘come to my senses’. During the periods in which it works, I’m often thinking back at how I was ‘clearly’ doing the method wrong. I can never seem to leave myself an accurate reminder of how to do it right. So it seems like I keep ‘getting’ the method, then ‘losing’ it.

Right now I can attend to my senses and thoughts but feelings seem more elusive. I don’t know if I’m really less able to ‘access’ them or if it is just the lacklustre or flat feeling in effect. The question haietmoba has the same effect: the senses are clear, feelings aren’t.

Is any of this normal or are there any glaring issues to resolve?

RICHARD: If, as you say, right now you are feeling flat or lacklustre then that is how you are experiencing this moment of being alive (the only moment you are ever actually alive). Why are you frittering away this opportunity to enjoy and appreciate being alive ... what happened between the last time you felt good (a general sense of well-being) and now? When did you feel good last? Was it five minutes ago? Five hours ago? What happened to end those felicitous/innocuous feelings? Was it (for example) something someone said and you ...? Or was it (for instance) something someone did not do and you ...? Or was it (for another example) that you wanted something and ...? Or was it (or another instance) something you did not do and ...?

And so on and so on.

You do not need to trace back into your childhood ... most often no more than yesterday afternoon at the most. Once you pin-point that specific moment of ceasing to feel good, and the silliness of having such an incident as that (no matter what it is) take away your enjoyment and appreciation of this only moment of being alive is seen for what it is – usually some habitual reactive response – you can be once more feeling good ... but with a pin-pointed cue to watch out for next time so as to not have that trigger off yet another bout of the same-old same-old. This is called nipping it in the bud before it gets out of hand ... with application and diligence and patience and perseverance one soon gets the knack of this and more and more time is spent enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive.

It takes some doing to start off with, but as success after success starts to multiply exponentially, it becomes automatic to have that question running as an on-going thing (as a non-verbal attitude towards life/a wordless approach each moment again) because it delivers the goods right here and now ... not off into some indeterminate future.

The wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom from the human condition is marked by enjoyment and appreciation – the sheer delight of being as happy and harmless as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’ – and the slightest diminishment of such felicity and innocuity is a warning signal (a flashing red light as it were) that one has inadvertently wandered off the way.

One is thus soon back on track ... and all because of everyday events.

March 24 2006

RESPONDENT: I’ve recently had some success with the method, at times feeling happy and harmless at will. It’s like being able to activate the release of a pleasure drug in my own brain. I easily become aware of how I’m feeling, then watch as it quickly morphs into felicity and explosions of delight. At other times, however, nothing happens when I try haietmoba or to ‘come to my senses’. During the periods in which it works, I’m often thinking back at how I was ‘clearly’ doing the method wrong. I can never seem to leave myself an accurate reminder of how to do it right. So it seems like I keep ‘getting’ the method, then ‘losing’ it. Right now I can attend to my senses and thoughts but feelings seem more elusive. I don’t know if I’m really less able to ‘access’ them or if it is just the lacklustre or flat feeling in effect. The question haietmoba has the same effect: the senses are clear, feelings aren’t. Is any of this normal or are there any glaring issues to resolve?

RICHARD: If, as you say, right now you are feeling flat or lacklustre then that is how you are experiencing this moment of being alive (the only moment you are ever actually alive). Why are you frittering away this opportunity to enjoy and appreciate being alive ... what happened between the last time you felt good (a general sense of well-being) and now? When did you feel good last? Was it five minutes ago? Five hours ago? What happened to end those felicitous/innocuous feelings? Was it (for example) something someone said and you ...? Or was it (for instance) something someone did not do and you ...? Or was it (for another example) that you wanted something and ...? Or was it (or another instance) something you did not do and ...? And so on and so on. You do not need to trace back into your childhood ... most often no more than yesterday afternoon at the most. Once you pin-point that specific moment of ceasing to feel good, and the silliness of having such an incident as that (no matter what it is) take away your enjoyment and appreciation of this only moment of being alive is seen for what it is – usually some habitual reactive response – you can be once more feeling good ... but with a pin-pointed cue to watch out for next time so as to not have that trigger off yet another bout of the same-old same-old. This is called nipping it in the bud before it gets out of hand ... with application and diligence and patience and perseverance one soon gets the knack of this and more and more time is spent enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive. It takes some doing to start off with, but as success after success starts to multiply exponentially, it becomes automatic to have that question running as an on-going thing (as a non-verbal attitude towards life/a wordless approach each moment again) because it delivers the goods right here and now ... not off into some indeterminate future. The wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom from the human condition is marked by enjoyment and appreciation – the sheer delight of being as happy and harmless as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’ – and the slightest diminishment of such felicity and innocuity is a warning signal (a flashing red light as it were) that one has inadvertently wandered off the way. One is thus soon back on track ... and all because of everyday events.

RESPONDENT: I have seen the silliness in letting those thoughts about work to do for tomorrow (and a stream of similar future worries) impair my experiencing of this moment.

RICHARD: If there be recurring thoughts about things needing to be done on the morrow – as in running through a mental check-list over and again – just take a few minutes to jot that list down on paper for future reference and ... !Hey Presto! ... get on with enjoying and appreciating being alive.

RESPONDENT: That was earlier, though. Since I last felt good (6/7 hours ago), I have been trying to re-commence feeling good with no success.

RICHARD: Okay, it is all as simple as this ... trace back by asking yourself such questions as: what happened 6/7 hours ago which occasioned me to cease feeling good? Where was I, back then? What was I doing/what was happening? Was I by myself/was I with company?

Once you start to recall where you were/what you were doing/ what was happening/ who was there, and so on, just prior to ceasing to feel good you will find it a lot easier to pin-point the precise moment when those felicitous/ innocuous feelings came to an end ... and, thus, just what it was which did that.

In short: go back (in memory) to when you were last feeling good and then come forward, step-by-step, until that moment.

March 28 2006

(...)

RESPONDENT: Right now I can attend to my senses and thoughts but feelings seem more elusive. I don’t know if I’m really less able to ‘access’ them or if it is just the lacklustre or flat feeling in effect. The question haietmoba has the same effect: the senses are clear, feelings aren’t.

(...)

[Addendum]: To add to this: It’s as if I can’t find any feelings. If I ask: ‘how do I feel?’ I can give no clear answer. I certainly don’t feel good, neither do I feel terrible. I can deduce that I feel malcontent but no feeling seems apparent. This is why ‘lacklustre’ and ‘flat’ come to mind first.

RICHARD: Just as a matter of interest: do you see how [quote] ‘the lacklustre or flat feeling’ [endquote] has now been stripped of its feeling-tone? If not, the following is how you described it less than twenty four hours ago (from further down this page):

• [Respondent]: ‘Meanwhile, here I am feeling ‘not-so-good’, lacklustre, flat, a little frustrated’. [endquote].

RESPONDENT: At this point I’m so confused I can hardly remember what a feeling is. Am ‘I’ always experiencing a feeling of some sort?

RICHARD: As an identity is, at root, an emotional/ passional being (‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’) then all experiencing is, essentially, affective in nature ... such as, for instance, feeling less than good.

RESPONDENT: There is also confusion as to what should be done as soon as I find myself feeling less than good.

RICHARD: The very first thing to do is to acknowledge that feeling less than good is an affective experience.

RESPONDENT: Sometimes I read that I should get back to feeling good quickly before investigating the feeling, other times I read that I should track back and investigate first in order to feel good.

RICHARD: The latter advice relates to consciously experiencing whatever it is which is preventing happiness and harmlessness (less it all be but a detached/ disassociated intellectual exercise) ... for example:

• [Richard]: ‘It is impossible for one to intelligently observe what is going on within if one does not at the same time acknowledge the occurrence of one’s various feeling-tones with attentiveness. This is especially true with the hostile and invidious emotions and passions (those that are hateful and fearful). In order to observe one’s own fear, for instance, one must admit to the fact that one is afraid. Nor can one examine one’s own depression, for another example, without acknowledging it fully. The same is true for irritation and agitation and frustration and all those other uncomfortable emotional and passionate moods. One cannot examine something fully if one is busy denying its existence’.

RESPONDENT: So far, tracking back and investigating has not made me feel any better.

RICHARD: In a nutshell: one cannot examine something fully if one is busy denying its existence.

(...)

RESPONDENT: Since I last felt good (6/7 hours ago), I have been trying to re-commence feeling good with no success.

RICHARD: Okay, it is all as simple as this ... trace back by asking yourself such questions as: what happened 6/7 hours ago which occasioned me to cease feeling good? Where was I, back then? What was I doing/what was happening? Was I by myself/ was I with company? Once you start to recall where you were/what you were doing/what was happening/ who was there, and so on, just prior to ceasing to feel good you will find it a lot easier to pin-point the precise moment when those felicitous/innocuous feelings came to an end ... and, thus, just what it was which did that. In short: go back (in memory) to when you were last feeling good and then come forward, step-by-step, until that moment.

RESPONDENT: That sounds very difficult.

RICHARD: Here is a word-of-the-day for you:

• ‘defeatism: conduct or thinking encouraging the expectation or acceptance of defeat; disposition to accept defeat’. (Oxford Dictionary).

RESPONDENT: I can remember – just barely this time – that it was thoughts about tomorrow and decision-making that probably ended the felicitous feelings.

RICHARD: Presumably by [quote] ‘this time’ [endquote] you are referring to the following:

• [Respondent]: ‘I have seen the silliness in letting those thoughts about work to do for tomorrow (and a stream of similar future worries) impair my experiencing of this moment. That was earlier, though. Since I last felt good (6/7 hours ago), I have been trying to re-commence feeling good with no success’. [endquote]

Given that you have more recently reported that tracking back and investigating has not made you feel any better then on that earlier occasion, of seeing the silliness in letting thoughts about work to do for tomorrow (and a stream of similar future worries) impair your experiencing of this moment, did feeling good recommence?

RESPONDENT: It was indeed silly to allow that to happen.

RICHARD: Unless it really occurred – rather than it [quote] ‘probably’ [endquote] happened – that can only be an armchair assertion.

RESPONDENT: Meanwhile, here I am feeling ‘not-so-good’, lacklustre, flat, a little frustrated.

RICHARD: Hmm ... it could be said that such is the lot of defeatists who speculate about what most likely occurred (rather than actively finding out).

RESPONDENT: How do I get back to feeling good?

RICHARD: Quite simply ... by actively tracing back to when you last felt good (a general sense of well-being) through literally asking yourself such questions as: what happened 6/7 hours ago which occasioned me to cease feeling good? Where was I, back then? What was I doing/what was happening? Was I by myself/was I with company?

Once you actually start to recall where you were/what you were doing/what was happening/who was there, and so on, just prior to ceasing to feel good you will find it a lot easier to pin-point the precise moment when those felicitous/innocuous feelings came to an end ... and, thus, just what it was which really did that.

In short: consciously go back (in memory) to when you were last feeling good and then heuristically come forward (in memory), step-by-step, until that moment.

April 04 2006

(...)

RESPONDENT: Thank you Richard, that clears up what I have been doing wrong. I agree with all that you said and am now back to having some success feeling happy and harmless when I remember to. Though I was being defeatist, my memory does not seem strong enough to recall every detail of my life like playing a film back. I wonder how hard I have really pushed it in the past, though. Reading over the interpretations of other correspondents on the site has been very helpful in clarifying the method. Something else I have been doing wrong is trying to be attentive (haietmoba) but with an agenda to manipulate my feelings into good ones, rather than genuinely and objectively looking into how I’m experiencing this moment. Thanks again.

RICHARD: Just one point (for now): nowhere have I ever said, or even implied, that you need a memory strong enough to recall every detail of your life like playing a film back ... indeed I have been most explicit that it be only the events of 6/7 hours ago/ just prior to ceasing to feel good. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘Since I last felt good (6/7 hours ago), I have been trying to re-commence feeling good with no success.
• [Richard]: ‘Okay, it is all as simple as this ... trace back by asking yourself such questions as: *what happened 6/7 hours ago* which occasioned me to cease feeling good? Where was I, back then? What was I doing/ what was happening? Was I by myself/ was I with company?
Once you start to recall where you were/ what you were doing/ what was happening/ who was there, and so on, *just prior to ceasing to feel good* you will find it a lot easier to pin-point the precise moment when those felicitous/ innocuous feelings came to an end ... and, thus, just what it was which did that.
In short: go back (in memory) to when you were last feeling good and then come forward, step-by-step, until that moment’. [emphasis added].

And again four days later:

• [Respondent]: ‘How do I get back to feeling good?
• [Richard]: ‘Quite simply ... by actively tracing back to when you last felt good (a general sense of well-being) through literally asking yourself such questions as: *what happened 6/7 hours ago* which occasioned me to cease feeling good? Where was I, back then? What was I doing/ what was happening? Was I by myself/ was I with company?
Once you actually start to recall where you were/ what you were doing/ what was happening/ who was there, and so on, *just prior to ceasing to feel good* you will find it a lot easier to pin-point the precise moment when those felicitous/ innocuous feelings came to an end ... and, thus, just what it was which really did that.
In short: consciously go back (in memory) to when you were last feeling good and then heuristically come forward (in memory), step-by-step, until that moment’. [emphasis added].

Please, do watch out for any tendency to turn something simple into being something difficult (or even into something impossible).

April 05 2006

CO-RESPONDENT: Richard, please check out this link and tell me how this guy’s model relates to your actual experience. http://cns-alumni.bu.edu/~slehar/Lehar.html

RICHARD: As Mr. Steven Lehar’s model does not relate to a flesh and blood body sans the entire affective faculty/ identity in toto your request is a non sequitur.

CO-RESPONDENT: (...) if that guy I gave you his link is correct then couldn’t it be that you are being actual within a virtual reality?

RICHARD: Mr. Steven Lehar has the following to say (from Chapter One of his book ‘The World In Your Head: A Gestalt View of the Mechanism of Conscious Experience’): [quote] ‘I propose that out beyond the farthest things you can perceive in all directions, i.e. above the dome of the sky, and below the solid earth under your feet, or beyond the walls, floor, and ceiling of the room you see around you, is located the inner surface of your true physical skull. And beyond that skull is an unimaginably immense external world of which the world you see around you is merely a miniature internal replica. In other words, the head you have come to know as your own is not your true physical head, but only a miniature perceptual copy of your head in a perceptual copy of the world, all of which is contained within your real head in the external objective world’. [endquote]. As there is no way he is proposing that flesh and blood bodies (aka ‘true physical skull/ true physical head/ real head’) have any physical existence in that miniature internal replica/ perceptual copy (of ‘an unimaginably immense external world/ the external objective world’) your query is a non sequitur.

RESPONDENT: Our senses are wrong some of the time, though.

RICHARD: As nowhere above is it either stated or implied that human senses are right all of the time that assertion is way out in left field.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t my personal world a representative reality, a reflection of the universe as it is?

RICHARD: If by ‘as it is’ you mean the actual universe then ... no (more on this further below).

RESPONDENT: The universe has no colours and no appearance, for example, it is the human organism that sees it with colour.

RICHARD: Presuming that you mean ‘appearance’ in a phenomenological sense then its intellectually-intuited ‘essence’ (aka ‘thing-in-itself’) has no existence in actuality either ... and in regards to colours/ colour the following may be of interest:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Around us, out there, there is one underlying reality.
• [Richard]: ‘First, there is no ‘out there’ in actuality – somehow you seem to have overlooked the main point of an actual freedom from the human condition (the absence of identity and its ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds) – and how do you know there is ‘one underlying reality’ anyway as you make it quite clear that ‘we can never know what is out there per se’ (further below)?
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Something like the NOUMENON of Immanuel Kant.
• [Richard]: ‘Well now, Mr. Immanuel Kant was just plain wrong: there is no ‘NOUMENON’ (an object of purely intellectual intuition, devoid of all phenomenal attributes, here in this actual world ... only phenomenon.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘What I was trying to say to you and may be I didn’t express my self well, is that we can never know what is out there per se.
• [Richard]: ‘Indeed not ... the identity within creates an inner world and pastes its reality as a veneer over this actual world ... it then calls it an outer world and, feeling separate from its own creation, seeks union with it (little realising it is its own creation of course). Yet even those who succeed in this narcissistic enterprise say it is unknowable ... being but a delusion born out of an illusion is it any wonder why?
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Our perception does not identify the outside world as it really is, but the way we are allowed to recognize it, as a consequence of transformations performed by our senses.
• [Richard]: ‘Where you say ‘the outside world’ again you are speaking of the reality which the identity within creates ... in actuality one does not perceive the world ‘by our senses’ as one is the senses.
The whole point of actualism is the direct experience of actuality: as this flesh and blood body only what one is (what not ‘who’) is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this tongue tasting, this skin touching and this nose smelling – and no separative identity (no ‘I’/ ‘me’) means no separation – whereas ‘I’/ ‘me’, a psychological/ psychic entity, am inside the body busily creating an inner world and an outer world and looking out through ‘my’ eyes upon ‘my’ outer world as if looking out through a window, listening to ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ tongue, touching ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ skin and smelling ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ nose ... plus adding all kinds of emotional/ psychological baggage to what is otherwise the bare sensory experience of the flesh and blood body.
That identity (‘I’/ ‘me’) is forever cut-off from the actual ... from the world as-it-is.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Thus, we transform photons into images, vibrations into sounds and noises and chemical reactions into specific smells and tastes. Actually, the universe is colourless, inodorous, insipid and silent.
• [Richard]: ‘First of all, did you notice that you left out the sensation of touch (cutaneous perception)? Thus to be consistent you must also say that the universe (the physical world) is not hard or soft; is not smooth or rough; is not squishy or firm; is not vibrating or still; is not wet or dry; is not hot or cold; is not windy or windless ... and so on and so on through the entire range of what tactilely perceived.
Second, the universe is only experienced as being colourless by a totally colour-blind person; the universe is only experienced as being inodorous by a totally smell-blind person; the universe is only experienced as being insipid by totally taste-blind person (and a surprising large number of people have some degree of taste-blindness); the universe is only experienced as being silent by a totally deaf person.
Third, I have come across this argument many times before ... the first time I heard it was some person saying that the universe was really black and white because it is the human eye which creates colour: to be consistent that person would have to say that the universe is not black and white either as it is rod-shaped receptors in the retina which detect brightness (there are upwards of 130 million of these photosensitive cells in an eye, which detect size, shape, and movement, as well as brightness, whilst it is the cone-shaped receptors which determine colour and fine detail).
Do you see where this line of argument leads to? No colour, no brightness (no light and dark/ black and white), no size, no shape, no movement, no detail at all? This argument has similarities to that corny ‘brain in a vat’ idea so beloved of epistemologists ... no universe at all (other than the conveniently disregarded universe the ‘brain in a vat’ is residing in of course).
So much for intellectual intuition ...’.

April 06 2006

(...)

RESPONDENT: The universe has no colours and no appearance, for example, it is the human organism that sees it with colour.

RICHARD: Presuming that you mean ‘appearance’ in a phenomenological sense then its intellectually-intuited ‘essence’ (aka ‘thing-in-itself’) has no existence in actuality either ... and in regards to colours/ colour the following may be of interest: [Richard]: ‘(...) I have come across this argument many times before ... the first time I heard it was some person saying that the universe was really black and white because it is the human eye which creates colour: to be consistent that person would have to say that the universe is not black and white either as it is rod-shaped receptors in the retina which detect brightness (there are upwards of 130 million of these photosensitive cells in an eye, which detect size, shape, and movement, as well as brightness, whilst it is the cone-shaped receptors which determine colour and fine detail). Do you see where this line of argument leads to? No colour, no brightness (no light and dark/ black and white), no size, no shape, no movement, no detail at all ...

RESPONDENT: I’m not exactly sure what you mean by ‘detail’ there.

RICHARD: I mean the particulars, the finer features of something, usually noticed only upon closer inspection (such as a visually blind person running their fingertips all over and all around something after having first ascertained its basic nature, shape, size, and so on, with a few quick touches).

RESPONDENT: That line of argument does indeed lead to a ‘noumenon’ universe with no colour, no brightness, no size, no shape and no movement.

RICHARD: Put succinctly: that line of argument leads to no universe at all.

RESPONDENT: What is wrong with that model, just that it is not experienced directly?

RICHARD: No, what is wrong with that model is that there is nothing to experience, period (nor any body to be experiencing).

RESPONDENT: If we find the corresponding faculties in the brain and senses, then couldn’t the source of the sense data be without those things?

RICHARD: Hmm ... there is no ‘brain and senses’ in that model to find anything in (the word universe is, of course, inclusive of all brains and all sense organs).

RESPONDENT: As for the colour example, my obvious question is: How can you be experiencing actuality if your eyes see something as red while other humans see it as green?

RICHARD: First and foremost, it makes no sense to say [quote] ‘your eyes see something ...’ [endquote] as I am these eyes seeing something. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘The whole point of actualism is the direct experience of actuality: as this flesh and blood body only what one is (what not ‘who’) is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this tongue tasting, this skin touching and this nose smelling – and no separative identity (no ‘I’/ ‘me’) means no separation – whereas ‘I’/ ‘me’, a psychological/ psychic entity, am inside the body busily creating an inner world and an outer world and looking out through ‘my’ eyes upon ‘my’ outer world as if looking out through a window, listening to ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ tongue, touching ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ skin and smelling ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ nose ... plus adding all kinds of emotional/ psychological baggage to what is otherwise the bare sensory experience of the flesh and blood body’.

Second, no identity ever experiences actuality ... all psychological/ psychic entities, by their very nature, are oblivious to this actual world. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘That identity (‘I’/ ‘me’) is forever cut-off from the actual ... from the world as-it-is’.

Third, as I am not colour-blind I see something green as being just that (green) and not red ... besides which invoking defective sense organs, in order to make a case, is tantamount to throwing in one’s hand.

You may find the following to be of interest:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... the tree is not green, the brain is giving the colour.
• [Richard]: ‘The green of a tree’s leaves is due to chlorophyll (a group of magnesium-containing green pigments) not absorbing a particular wavelength of light radiation: wavelength is a property of light and colour is the sensation caused by this property as it interacts with the eye ... which gives rise to the expression ‘what colour is a carrot in the ground’.
In other words quality (quale) is sourced in properties ... and not in the perceiver as more than a few peoples contend.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘If something happens to my brain, I will see it like having a different colour of what you see for example. The same happens with all the senses.
• [Richard]: ‘However, if something does not happen to your brain the leaves of the tree will be seen as being green just as this brain does ... and the same happens with all the senses.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘So if I close my eyes I can’t say that the tree is green.
• [Richard]: ‘Perhaps, upon reflection, you will find that you can ... just because the eyes are closed does not mean that the chlorophyll pigmentation in the leaves ceases deflecting a particular wavelength of the sun’s radiant energy and absorbing the rest.
Sometimes it is helpful to take a step sideways to ascertain what is going on: three-dimensional vision, for example, is also dependent upon the eyes being open ... yet ambulation shows that three-dimensionality does not all-of-a-sudden disappear upon closing the eyes (a blind person can determine that a tree-trunk is round by walking around it or running their hands over it).
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Actually I can not say that what you call green is the same with what I call green. We assume it is, because we have the same brain.
• [Richard]: ‘Obviously the precise hue of the colour green varies from person-to-person (due, if nothing else, upon the number, quality, and arrangement of the cone-shaped receptors in the retina) yet the general colour green is the same for all normal human beings’.

April 06 2006

(...)

RESPONDENT: That line of argument does indeed lead to a ‘noumenon’ universe with no colour, no brightness, no size, no shape and no movement.

RICHARD: Put succinctly: that line of argument leads to no universe at all.

RESPONDENT: Couldn’t it lead to a universe made up of something we can’t and don’t perceive ... such as ‘particles’, ‘energy’ and other such things?

RICHARD: What is often overlooked, in regards to theoretical physics, is that mathematics do not describe the universe (a mathematical model has no existence outside of the ratiocinative process).

What Mr. Jules-Henri Poincaré (a mathematician and physicist of some note) has to say about mathematical models is quite illuminating:

• ‘Poincaré put forward important ideas on mathematical models of the real world. If one set of axioms is preferred over another to model a physical situation then, Poincaré claimed, this was nothing more than a convention. Conditions such as simplicity, easy of use, and usefulness in future research, help to determine which will be the convention, while it is meaningless to ask which is correct. The question of whether physical space is Euclidean is not a meaningful one to ask. The distinction, he argues, between mathematical theories and physical situations is that mathematics is a construction of the human mind, whereas nature is independent of the human mind. Here lies that problem; fitting a mathematical model to reality is to forcing a construct of the human mind onto nature which is ultimately independent of mind’. (www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/World.html#s54).

April 07 2006

(...)

RESPONDENT: That line of argument does indeed lead to a ‘noumenon’ universe with no colour, no brightness, no size, no shape and no movement.

RICHARD: Put succinctly: that line of argument leads to no universe at all.

RESPONDENT: Couldn’t it lead to a universe made up of something we can’t and don’t perceive ... such as ‘particles’, ‘energy’ and other such things?

RICHARD: What is often overlooked, in regards to theoretical physics, is that mathematics do not describe the universe (a mathematical model has no existence outside of the ratiocinative process).

RESPONDENT: We use microscopes to see that everything is made of parts smaller than are directly detectable by the senses.

RICHARD: Just by way of example, then, if you could describe what parts can be seen when the most abundant element in the universe (hydrogen) is viewed through a microscope it would be most appreciated ... as would a description of what parts can be seen when one of the most plentiful and essential compounds, which covers nearly seventy one percent of the earth’s surface, is similarly viewed.

I am, of course, referring to water.

RESPONDENT: In principle, couldn’t a noumenon universe be made up of tiny undetectable constituents ...

RICHARD: Presuming that by ‘in principle’ you mean ‘in theory, theoretically’ (Oxford Dictionary), and that by ‘noumenon’ you mean ‘an object of purely intellectual intuition, devoid of all phenomenal attributes’ (Oxford Dictionary), and that by universe you mean ‘(figuratively) a domain or sphere characterised by a particular (specified) quality or activity’ (Oxford Dictionary) then such an abstract/ metaphysical realm as that could be made up of tiny undetectable constituents ... or could even be made up of one-eyed one-horned flying purple people-eaters, for that matter.

RESPONDENT: ... while our nervous systems give it its macro-level appearance, colour, size, shape, etc?

RICHARD: Not the nervous systems ... no, never at all; the identities’ imaginative/ intuitive facilities ... yes, only too often.

RESPONDENT: It does not have to lead to no universe at all.

RICHARD: Let me see if I comprehend: what you are positing is an abstract/ metaphysical realm of purely intellectual intuition, devoid of all phenomenal attributes yet to which your (macro-level) nervous system somehow gives it its macro-level appearance, colour, size, shape, and etcetera, but then say that the line of argument which does indeed lead to an abstract/ metaphysical realm with no colour, no brightness, no size, no shape, and no movement does not have to lead to no universe at all.

Am I understanding you correctly?

April 14 2006

(...)

RICHARD: (...) Am I understanding you correctly?

RESPONDENT: Perhaps more than I am.

RICHARD: Being bereft of any subjective/ objective dichotomy has its distinct advantages.

RESPONDENT: Reading over some of your previous correspondence (regarding UV Light, quantum physics and subjective realities), I seem to have no reason to believe in private representative realities or a noumenon objective reality anymore. Stunning stuff. Thanks again Richard.

RICHARD: You are very welcome ... it is indeed stunning to discover that more than a little of the wisdom of the real world is not worth the parchment/ papyrus/ palm leaves/ rice paper/ clay panels/ stone tablets it is inscribed upon.

What I have found, more often than not, in any area of research I have ever looked into is that not only are facts rather few and far between but it is mainly the proposition which gets most of the attention ... so much so that I have oft-times figuratively likened such theses to an inverted pyramid (one standing on its apex) where a judicious pulling-out of its intuited/ imagined capstone results in the teetering edifice painstakingly constructed thereupon ignominiously tumbling down .

It is all so glaringly obvious when one twigs to what to look for – the factual basis of the hypothesis or theory/the basic premise of the argument or proposition – and it saves wading through a lot of quite often well-written but fatally-flawed articles trying to make sense of something which can never make sense.

May 11 2006

(...)

CO-RESPONDENT: Can you give me some good pointers and questions and help/ assist me with your expertise on human condition to uncover any such pure experience I had?

RICHARD: Have you ever thought that there must be more to life than currently experienced (the everyday norm in which maybe 6.0 billion peoples live)?

RESPONDENT: Let’s see if someone can exorcise the materialist in me then. Why ‘must’ there be more to life than the miserable reality people live in?

RICHARD: I did not say there must be ... I only asked whether my co-respondent had ever thought that, as a lead-in to uncovering a pure consciousness experience (PCE), and this is why I did:

• [Richard]: ‘I do recollect that when I was a normal human being I would oft-times repeat the phrase ‘there must be more to life than this’ and when I had a four-hour pure consciousness experience (PCE) in 1980 I finally understood the origin of that optimism: throughout my life I had had numerous PCE’s (more so in childhood) that I had not consciously remembered ... and everybody that I have spoken to at length eventually recalls moments of such perfection throughout their life.
It is the amorphous memory of perfection lying somewhere or somewhen that keeps one going’.

RESPONDENT: The universe is not predisposed to good or bad ...

RICHARD: Indeed not ... what the universe is predisposed to (to use your phraseology) is perfection.

RESPONDENT: ... there’s no reason to expect life to be happy.

RICHARD: Happiness is not a product of good or bad ... it is inherent to perfection.

RESPONDENT: Also, ‘meaning’ is of human invention ...

RICHARD: I have no interest in getting into a teleological discussion ... suffice is it to say I only use the term ‘the meaning of life’ (or ‘the purpose of universe’ or ‘the riddle of existence’ or whatever other way one’s quest may be worded) to refer to the d’où venons-nous/ que sommes-nous/ où allons-nous (‘where do we come from/ what are we/ where are we going’) type of query which is endemic to most, if not all, thinking, reflective beings.

RESPONDENT: ... life and the universe can’t have a purpose or meaning.

RICHARD: Even so, the answer to those types of queries/ quests mentioned above lies open all about in this actual world ... complete with an utter security or an absolute safety the likes of which is inconceivable/ incomprehensible and unimaginable/ unbelievable to any identity whatsoever.

There is a vast stillness here.

May 12 2006

(...)

RESPONDENT: The universe is not predisposed to good or bad ...

RICHARD: Indeed not ... what the universe is predisposed to (to use your phraseology) is perfection.

RESPONDENT: ... there’s no reason to expect life to be happy.

RICHARD: Happiness is not a product of good or bad ... it is inherent to perfection.

RESPONDENT: If by perfection you mean ‘lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind’ ...

RICHARD: The following exchange perhaps best encapsulates what I mean by perfection in this context:

• [Rick]: ‘Richard, could you list as many characteristics as possible that you would ascribe to the universe, please. Such as benign, infinite, wonderful, marvellous, eternal, a veritable perpetuus mobilis etc. As many as possible would be neat to look see. I’m just curious to read what the universe is and therefore what it isn’t from a pure consciousness experiencer.
• [Richard]: ‘The fundamental characteristic, or nature, of the universe is its infinitude – specifically having the properties of being spatially infinite and temporally eternal and materially perdurable – or, to put that another way, its absoluteness ... as such it is a veritable perpetuus mobilis (as in being self-existent/ non-dependent and/ or self-reliant/ non-contingent and/ or self-sufficient/ unconditional and/or self-generating/ unsupported).
Having no other/ no opposite this infinitude and/or absoluteness has the property of being without compare/ incomparable, as in peerless/ matchless, and is thus perfect (complete-in-itself, consummate, ultimate).
And this is truly wonderful to behold.
Being perfect this infinitude and/or absoluteness has the qualities (qualia are intrinsic to properties) of being flawless/ faultless, as in impeccable/ immaculate, and is thus pure/ pristine.
And which is indubitably a marvellous state of affairs.
Inherent to such perfection, such purity, are the values (properties plus qualities equals values) of benignity – ‘of a thing: favourable, propitious, salutary’ (Oxford Dictionary) – and benevolence (as in being well-disposed, beneficent, bounteous, and so on) ... and which are values in the sense of ‘the quality of a thing considered in respect of its ability to serve a specified purpose or cause an effect’ (Oxford Dictionary).
And that, to say the least, is quite amazing.

RESPONDENT: ... why is happiness inherent to perfection?

RICHARD: Simply because both the qualities (being pure and pristine) intrinsic to the properties (being complete-in-itself, consummate, ultimate) of that perfection and the values (being benign and benevolent) inherent to those properties and qualities can only have a felicitous (and innocuous) effect ... here in this actual world lies complete felicity (and innocuity).

*

RESPONDENT: From the FAQ: [Richard]: ‘... All this [an actual perfection and excellence as in standing unadorned on one’s own and thus being free, clean and fresh; owing nothing to no one and thus being incorruptible and without perversity; being unpolluted by any alien identity and thus automatically graceful, kindly/ amical, gentle and peaceful] comes as no surprise for it is what humans have all long suspected to be the case. This universe, this physical world humans all live in, is too big in its grandeur, too neatly complex in its arrangement, and too perfectly organised in its structure for humans to be eternally doomed to perpetual misery. (...)’. [actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ01a.htm#2]. This is indeed what humans have suspected, in my opinion foolishly.

RICHARD: Why do you opine that it is foolish of humans to have suspected they are actually perfect/ actually excellent as delineated in that quote?

RESPONDENT: Why is the physical world ‘too big’, ‘too neatly complex’, and ‘too perfectly organised’ for miserable lives?

RICHARD: That succinct sentence came out of a realisation the identity in residence had in 1980 when ‘he’ looked – really looked for the first time – at the natural world and just knew that it, and the universe itself, was not set up (a manner of speaking) for humans to be forever forlorn in, with only scant moments of reprieve, as it was such a truly enormous construct (another manner of speaking), inasmuch that humans with all their massive earth-moving equipment could beaver away industriously forever and a day and not even begin to come near to making a facsimile thereof, that it was not, never had been and never could be, some sick cosmic joke (yet another manner of speaking) which humans all had to endure and make the best of. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘In 1980, ‘I’, the persona that I was, looked at the natural world and just knew that this enormous construct called the world – and the universe itself – was not ‘set up’ for us humans to be forever forlorn in with only scant moments of reprieve. ‘I’ realised there and then that it was not and could not ever be some ‘sick cosmic joke’ that humans all had to endure and ‘make the best of’. ‘I’ felt foolish that ‘I’ had believed for thirty two years that the ‘wisdom’ of the world ‘I’ had inherited – the real world that ‘I’ was born into – was set in stone. This foolish feeling allowed ‘me’ to get in touch with ‘my’ dormant naiveté, which is the closest thing one has that resembles actual innocence, and activate it with a naive enthusiasm to undo all the conditioning and brainwashing that ‘I’ had been subject to. Then when ‘I’ looked into myself and at all the people around and saw the sorrow of humankind ‘I’ could not stop. ‘I’ knew that ‘I’ had just devoted myself to the task of setting ‘myself’ and ‘humanity’ free ... ‘I’ willingly dedicated my life to this most worthy cause. It is so exquisite to devote oneself to something whole-heartedly ... the ‘boots and all’ approach ‘I’ called it then!’ (from page 261 in ‘Richard’s Journal’, Second Edition; ©2004 The Actual Freedom Trust).

In other words, it is nonsense to believe in some form of malism – ‘the doctrine that this world is an evil one’ (Oxford Dictionary) – as there is no way that something so big in its grandeur, so neatly complex in its arrangement, and so perfectly organised in its structure, could possibly be but a venue for humans to be eternally doomed to perpetual misery in.

RESPONDENT: If misery helped survival, having miserable humans would be blind nature’s perfection.

RICHARD: If I may ask? Are you of the school of thought which holds that suffering is good for one?

RESPONDENT: From the FAQ: [Richard]: ‘Surely, no one can believe for a moment that it is all fated to be forever wrong. (...)’. [actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ01a.htm#2]. Why not?

RICHARD: For the very reason which immediately followed on from that sentence you have quoted. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘This universe, this physical world humans all live in, is too big in its grandeur, too neatly complex in its arrangement, and too perfectly organised in its structure for humans to be eternally doomed to perpetual misery. Surely, no one can believe for a moment that it is all fated to be forever wrong. This is a tremendous universe in all its workings – this physical world humans live in is magnificent, to say the least’.

Have you never seen the magnificence, to say the least, of this tremendous universe (such that you would be of the opinion it is foolish to have suspected perfection and excellence)?

*

RESPONDENT: From the FAQ: [Richard]: ‘The reason why I said that [that life is not a random, chance event in an otherwise empty and meaningless universe] is because it is what materialism, as a generalisation, typically holds – that life is a chance, random event in an otherwise empty (meaningless) universe (...)’. [actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ01a.htm#3]. I have yet to see anything that shows that life is anything but a chance, random event in an otherwise meaningless universe, including my short mini-PCE’s.

RICHARD: As I do not know what [quote] ‘mini-PCE’s’ [endquote] are, be they short or otherwise, I am unable to comment upon your experience of being yet to see – as is readily seen in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – that life is not a chance, random event in an otherwise meaningless universe.

RESPONDENT: Can you point me to something?

RICHARD: Yes ... but it will require reading the full paragraph which you part-quoted from:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... why say that life is not a random, chance event in an otherwise empty and meaningless universe?
• [Richard]: ‘The reason why I said that is because it is what materialism, as a generalisation, typically holds – that life is a chance, random event in an otherwise empty (meaningless) universe – in contrast to spiritualism (which, as a generalisation, typically holds that life is a purposeful manifestation by or of a supreme being who created or creates the universe) ... and, furthermore, because the extreme version of the materialist position is nihilism where, as a generalisation, it is typically held that life is whatever one makes of it and, as it is all pointless anyway, the only true philosophical question is whether to commit suicide, or not, and if so, then whether now or later’.

You will see that the entire meaningful/ meaningless and/or purposeful/ purposeless debate revolves around spiritualists contending that their god/ goddess (an immaterial creative being, force, or energy, by whatever name) provides meaning/ purpose and that, because materialists contend there is no such supernatural entity, life then (as a chance, random event in an otherwise empty universe) is a life devoid of meaning/ purpose ... so much so that life without such a god/ goddess is whatever one makes of it.

Yet when pressed as to just what meaning/ purpose their god/ goddess provides the spiritualists become remarkably coy (they say that only their supernatural entity really knows and use words like inscrutable, enigmatic, recondite, paradoxical, and so on and so forth, plus further contending that all will be revealed after physical death in some timeless and spaceless and formless realm where all is bright and beautiful) ... so much so that life with such a god/ goddess is, in effect, whatever one makes of it.

RESPONDENT: Am I restricting the options when I say that either the universe is meaningless or there was a designer ‘God’ with a meaning in mind?

RICHARD: You are not so much restricting yourself (with those meaningful/ purposeful or meaningless/ purposeless options) but are, rather, being sucked into a teleological discussion about a dichotomy which has no existence in actuality ... as is made clear further on in that exchange you part-quoted from:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Richard, are you saying that the ultimate meaning of the universe is to experience itself as a sentient creature? ... and do that by purposely creating reproductive organisms and then sentient creatures out of hard stone and energy? (...).
• [Richard]: ‘(...) I am not saying that the ultimate meaning of the universe is to experience itself as a sentient creature by purposely creating reproductive organisms and then sentient creatures out of hard stone and energy – such a teleological matter is something for teleologists to muse over in lieu of actually doing something about the human condition – as I make it abundantly clear on many an occasion elsewhere that it is the answer to the ubiquitous human quest for the meaning of life which is already always out-in-the-open here in this actual world’.

Which is why I said to you yesterday that I have no interest in getting into a teleological discussion – and that suffice is it to say I only use the term ‘the meaning of life’ (or ‘the purpose of universe’ or ‘the riddle of existence’ or whatever other way one’s quest may be worded) to refer to the where-do-we-come-from/ what-are-we-here-for/ where-are-we-going type of query which is endemic to most, if not all, thinking, reflective beings – as the answer to those types of queries/ quests lies open all about here in this actual world.

Needless is it to add that it is an experiential answer (which personal experiencing is the only answer worthy of the name)?


CORRESPONDENT No. 110 (Part Two)

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