Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

with Correspondent No. 27


June 02 2002

RESPONDENT: The following is Ann Faraday’s account of no-self. Her partner is John-Wren Lewis (who is in a similar no-self state) – and from what I’ve read both reside in Sydney, Australia. [quote]: ‘All my thoughts, hopes and fears about the future have changed radically since I fell asleep one night in October 1985 and woke next morning without a self. I don’t know what happened to it, but it never returned. This should have been an occasion for some regret, since I quite liked myself – a self born long ago when I first discovered that other people didn’t automatically share my private inner space and couldn’t intrude upon it without my permission. Since then I’d worked hard on myself to make it a good one, mainly by praying to God to remove the bad thoughts and feelings surrounding it. I soon came to think in terms of my Higher self and lower self – and hoped that God would always love me and forgive me so long as I at least aspired towards the Higher and abjured the lower. The Higher Self, I decided, was probably my soul which would eventually unite with God and live happily ever after. So it came as somewhat of a surprise in later life to learn that the Soul is not to be sought in the heavens but in the depths of the psyche, especially in the lower or shadow part which I’d tried to disown. Through psychotherapy and dream-work, I discovered that far from diminishing myself, all those buried fears, guilts and weaknesses brought a welcome softness and subtlety to life. In fact they led me on to even deeper archetypal encounters which expanded the boundaries of self in to the greater collective psyche of humankind. What had begun as a journey of purification had become one of completion or individuation, and I looked forward to attaining what Jung called Wholeness, the Self or God before too long; all I needed, or so I thought, were just a few finishing touches. In the meantime, in true Human Potential fashion, I was furthering all this growth by ‘taking care of’ and ‘looking after’ whichever self I happened to be into at the time. I no longer berated myself for making mistakes and was usually able to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty. All things considered, including many years of meditation practice, I rated myself at around 3.5 on the Transpersonal Ladder of Enlightenment. It was at this point in my imagined psycho-spiritual development that I lost myself. To compound the irony, before going to sleep that night in October 1985, I’d actually done a ‘self-remembering’ exercise for precisely the opposite purpose – to centre my energies in such a firm and clear sense of self that it would continue into the dreaming process instead of getting lost in it, thereby giving me a lucid dream in which I was aware of dreaming. I went off dutifully repeating the words ‘I am, I am, I am, ..’., a la Sri Ramana Maharshi, and was more than a little astonished to awaken some hours later, laughing because the pundits had got it wrong: the truth was much more like ‘I am not’. I was emerging from a state of consciousness without any I or self at all, a state that can only be described as pure consciousness. I can’t even say I experienced it, because there was no experiencer and nothing to experience. And far from being a matter of regret, this loss of self came as a distinct relief. In fact when bits and pieces of my old identity – hopes, fears, goals, memories, spiritual aspirations and all the rest – began to recollect as I awoke, I tried to fight them off, in much the same way, perhaps, as the reluctant survivors of Near-Death Experiences resist the return to life’s little boxes. But unlike those survivors, I brought back no blissful sense of divine presence or of a mission to accomplish, nor even intimations of immortality – just a total inner and outer Empty-ness which has remained ever since. This may not sound like a happy state of affairs to a psychotherapist, who would probably see in it evidence of a mid-life crisis or incipient psychosis. But it is far more interesting than that. I experience this Empty-ness as a boundless arena in which life continually manifests and plays, rising and falling, constantly changing, always changing and therefore ever new. Sometimes I feel I could sit forever, knowing myself as not only a fluid manifestation of life within the arena, but also as the Empty-ness which holds it. If this is psychosis, everyone should have one, and the world would be a far more serene place for it. After all this, I see no special significance in the approach of a new millennium, but as a psychologist, my hopes are something like this: I would challenge the ancient creed that developing a strong self-sense is essential in rearing children with adequate strength for living. Surely it is possible to encourage them to find a fluid identity within the constantly-changing play of life, not seeking permanence of any kind, particularly that of self. Perhaps we could even teach them to see and enjoy themselves as unique ‘nonentities’, instead of separate hidebound selves obsessed with survival. In psychotherapy, I would hope for a radically new approach to those who suffer from inner emptiness. Instead of working towards filling that void with new purpose, direction and meaning, I would aim to assist sufferers to go even deeper into Empty-ness and discover its true nature. I would actively discourage all ideas of inner-journeying towards wholeness or paths to enlightenment. These serve merely to postpone happiness here and now, and they build up the self-illusion. In the spiritual domain, I would fire all gurus and transpersonal psychologists who use stage-by-stage models of self-development (explaining experiences like mine as fifth level transient Nirvikalpa samadhi – or whatever). And I would like to see the term Self with a capital S: Self-actualisation, Self-realisation, Self-transcendence – expunged from psychological and spiritual literature, reserving the word strictly for the empirical self of everyday life. It is the whole obfuscating concept of self which needs to be transcended, for in my experience there has never really been any self to transform, actualise, realize or transcend.’ [endquote].

A question specifically for Richard. It’s interesting to me that many who have this ‘no-self’ experience say that it’s not an ‘experience’ at all – like for example, Bernadette Roberts and U.G. Krishnamurti – and here I see that Ann says virtually the same thing. That is, no experiencer – therefore no experience. Any clue whether this is just a difference in terminology?

RICHARD: At first glance it may very well be rhetorical (expressed in terms to persuade or impress) ... you will notice that she more honestly describes it as being an experience in her seventh paragraph. Vis.:

• [quote]: ‘*I experience* this Empty-ness as a boundless arena in which life continually manifests and plays, rising and falling, constantly changing, always changing and therefore ever new’. [emphasis added].

And twice in her last paragraph:

• [quote]: ‘In the spiritual domain, I would fire all gurus and transpersonal psychologists who use stage-by-stage models of self-development (explaining *experiences like mine* as fifth level transient Nirvikalpa samadhi – or whatever)’ . [emphasis added].

And:

• [quote]: ‘It is the whole obfuscating concept of self which needs to be transcended, for in *my experience* there has never really been any self to transform, actualise, realize or transcend’. [emphasis added].

I would have to read more of her writings so as to ascertain whether it is indeed ‘just a difference in terminology’ or not.

RESPONDENT: Or rather whether there may be some actual, qualitative difference?

RICHARD: In the Buddhist tradition, which is where she apparently gained her understanding from going by her use of the capitalised word [quote] ‘Empty-ness’ [endquote] four times to describe the state of being she underwent, there is a qualitative difference ... I have already written before, on Jan 03 2001, about the state of being called ‘dhyana’ in Sanskrit (known as ‘jhana’ in Pali) so I will refer you to the following link:

Suffice is it to say here that this state of being, otherwise known as ‘entering into samadhi’, is a trance state – a state called catalepsy in the West – wherein ‘Form’ and ‘Feeling’ and ‘Perception’ and ‘Mental Fabrications’ and ‘Consciousness’ (all experiencing) cease to exist totally.

There is only Bliss.

RESPONDENT: Along the same lines, Bernadette Roberts and U.G. Krishnamurti say there is no such thing as ‘consciousness’, but they define consciousness as self-consciousness.

RICHARD: Hmm ... yet it is possible for consciousness itself to be absent (see the above link).

RESPONDENT: Ann uses the term ‘pure consciousness’ which aligns better with your expression of Actual Freedom.

RICHARD: What she is talking of is not the same as an actual freedom from the human condition – as evidenced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – as what she is describing is an altered state of consciousness (ASC) ... which is a spiritual or mystical state of being. In the ASC ‘pure consciousness’ is otherwise known as ‘God’ or ‘Truth’ or ‘That’.

RESPONDENT: Somehow, it seems that this choice that U.G. and Bernadette make – that is, saying that the self is a necessary ingredient for ‘consciousness’ must somehow be related to the stipulation that when there is no-self – there is no ‘experience’.

RICHARD: The term ‘no-self’ (not to be confused with the extinction of self in toto which I report) is a Buddhist term (translated from the word ‘anatta’) used to point to a state of being wherein the ‘I’ as ego dissolves and instantaneously expands to become everything and/or nothing ... otherwise known as ‘Sunyata’ or ‘Void’ (‘Emptiness’).

RESPONDENT: Then again, Ann says here that there is no experience, yet she calls her ‘state’ pure consciousness. I suppose everybody gets to make up their own descriptions – whatever makes sense to them without any completely developed vocabulary??

RICHARD: It is obvious that she has, of course, discussed this matter of vocabulary with Mr. John Wren-Lewis who has written the following:

• [quote]: ‘My second warning is to mind your language, for the words we use are often hooks that catch us into time entrapment. For example, when we use the term ‘self’ with a small ‘s’ to describe individual personhood, and ‘Self’ with a capital ‘S’ for the fullness of God consciousness, the notion of the one gradually expanding into the other becomes almost inescapable, again concentrating attention along the time line. Mystical liberation, by contrast, is the sudden discovery that even the meanest self is already a focus of the Infinite Aliveness that is beyond any kind of selfhood’. (‘The Dazzling Dark’; www.geocities.com/jiji_muge/dazzdark.html).

He had ‘God-consciousness’ thrust upon him in 1983 and the account you quoted at the top of this page was written by Ms Ann Faraday in 1993 (in an article entitled ‘Towards a No-Self Psychology’ in the June issue of the Australian magazine ‘Consciousness’) ... there is that piece of writing and another article she wrote in the same magazine three years later (in an article entitled ‘Ann Faraday’s Summer Book Selection’ in the summer issue of 1996) at the following URL:

www.globalideasbank.org/GIB/crespec/CS-175.HTML

What I found interesting in the second article is her recommendation to read the works of Ms. Antoinette Varner (popularly known as ‘Gangaji’) ... vis.:

• [quote]: ‘From her tapes and books, Gangaji comes over as a nice lady, her teaching intended to lead you to the space of absolute silence below all the comings and goings of life – a space where you do not find peace, but know yourself to be that peace in which everything arises. In her two volumes, entitled ‘You Are That!’ and ‘Satsang with Gangaji’, she urges us not to explore anything else – not thoughts, emotions, sensations or circumstances, which have already received too much attention – but only ‘That which is before, during and after all objects of awareness. THAT!’ Her tapes of satsang recorded live from boats on the Ganges, temple courtyards and gardens, along with all the natural sounds of surrounding life – birds, bells, chanting, children playing – communicate this sense of Samsara in Nirvana. I also recommend one of the most beautiful and appealing books I’ve come across for a long time ...’. [endquote].

I found it interesting inasmuch that three years after her first article she is finding that what ‘makes sense without any completely developed vocabulary’ to her is to be found in both the Buddhist tradition (‘Samsara in Nirvana’) and in the Advaita tradition (‘only ‘That which is before, during and after all objects of awareness. THAT!’’).

Oh well ... c’est la vie, I guess.

July 14 2002

RESPONDENT: Richard, would you please clarify for me something you say in your journal – Article 17 – ‘THE SEARCH FOR MEANING IS NOT THE POINT OF LIFE’? Here’s the quote ... (Richard) ‘... It never goes away ... nor has it ever been away. ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning’. [endquote]. I’m curious as to whether you are saying that ‘I’ never experience ‘meaning’ at all?

RICHARD: Never.

RESPONDENT: Or are you saying that ‘I’ don’t experience the actual meaning of life?

RICHARD: Any meaning other than the actual meaning is meaningless.

RESPONDENT: Can we have meaningful experiences as long as we are still ‘human’?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: You say meaning never goes away, and that it has never been away. Is it here now, if there is an ‘I’ present?

RICHARD: Yes (only ‘I’ am not aware of it).

RESPONDENT: Do ‘I’ only experience the illusion of meaning?

RICHARD: Yes.

RESPONDENT: Or is that meaning merely ‘filtered’ through the ‘self’?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: It almost seems to me that you are claiming that life cannot be ‘meaningful’ as long as there is an ‘I’ around – if ‘I’ stand in the way of meaning. Does the ‘I’ completely obliterate meaning?

RICHARD: Yes ... ‘I’ am forever locked-out of this actual world.

RESPONDENT: Or does it merely filter and distort like sunglasses filter the sun?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: The existence of virtual freedom would seem to mean that meaning is filtered through the body-‘self’ somehow, since apparently according to you, meaning can be abundant even with a self?

RICHARD: From what I recall (which is going back twenty-plus years) the ‘reason for existence’ is not apparent in virtual freedom – although the memory of it from pure consciousness experience’s (PCE’s) can be piquant – as the answer is in the living of it.

RESPONDENT: How does that work, if the ‘I’ ‘stands in the way’ of meaning?

RICHARD: Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had written that ‘... ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning being apparent’ (quite a lot of ‘Richard’s Journal’ was cobbled together from snippets and jottings going back several years and I would write it differently today, as a result of the feedback I have received by writing on the internet, if I were starting from scratch).

The ‘meaning of life’ – or the ‘secret to life’ or the ‘riddle of existence’ or the ‘purpose of the universe’ or whatever the goal of one’s quest may be called – is already always just here right now in this actual world ... it is that identity (‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) is preventing that meaning from being open to view.

What I also recall is that, as an identity, ‘I’ would oft-times say ‘there must be more to life than this’ (‘this’ being the everyday reality of the ‘real world’) and when a memorable PCE occurred the reason for making that assertion became obvious: there had been numerous PCE’s scattered throughout my earlier life which ‘I’ had not consciously remembered until then – although a vague memory was evidently seeping through – and that it was these experiences that prompted ‘the more to life’ contention.

And as every time a PCE occurred the ‘meaning of life’ became apparent it was increasingly obvious to ‘me’ that it was here all the time – that it already had been and always would be irregardless of ‘my’ presence or absence – and that all ‘I’ had to do for it to be apparent was to disappear.

It is all rather magical.

July 16 2002

RESPONDENT: ... are you saying that ‘I’ don’t experience the actual meaning of life?

RICHARD: Any meaning other than the actual meaning is meaningless.

RESPONDENT: Okay, but I don’t take it you think that it is ‘pointless’ for a person who is still ‘human’ to live?

RICHARD: No, not at all ... but what is indeed pointless is to search for the meaning of life in the ‘real world’.

RESPONDENT: It may be that the ‘meanings’ that we ‘humans’ experience is only an illusion of meaning – not the actual meaning – it seems a pretty desperate state of affairs to assign all ‘human’ life to being ‘meaningless’.

RICHARD: I see that I wrote in short: you asked a question about the ‘meaning of life’ and I inadvertently answered using only the word ‘meaning’ ... it would have been better if I had written in full. Vis:

• Any meaning of life other than the actual meaning of life is meaningless.

Thus the meaning of life that ‘humans’ experience (either a philosophical or a spiritual meaning of life) is only an illusory meaning of life and not the actual meaning of life.

RESPONDENT: I suppose you would say that ‘humans’ experience ‘meaning,’ but only in the ‘real’ world?

RICHARD: This time around I will answer in full: I would say that ‘humans’ experience a meaning of life but only a ‘real world’ meaning of life.

*

RESPONDENT: Can we have meaningful experiences as long as we are still ‘human’?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t a life lived in virtual freedom more ‘meaningful’ or beneficial than one that is not?

RICHARD: Indeed it is ... again this question/answer is a result of shortening the phrase ‘meaning of life’ to just the word ‘meaning’: I was answering as if your question had read ‘can we have meaningful experiences [of the meaning of life] as long as we are still ‘human’.

*

RESPONDENT: It almost seems to me that you are claiming that life cannot be ‘meaningful’ as long as there is an ‘I’ around – if ‘I’ stand in the way of meaning. Does the ‘I’ completely obliterate meaning?

RICHARD: Yes ... ‘I’ am forever locked-out of this actual world.

RESPONDENT: For one in virtual freedom – isn’t there more of the actual world ‘getting through?’

RICHARD: No ... the actual world is either apparent, in all its splendour and brilliance, or it is not (which is what I mean by saying that ‘I’ am forever locked out of this actual world).

Also, I answered ‘yes’ to your ‘completely obliterate’ query too quickly (of course ‘I’ am not capable of obliterating the meaning of life) ... it is better put if I were to say that ‘I’ completely block the meaning of life from being apparent.

*

RESPONDENT: The existence of virtual freedom would seem to mean that meaning is filtered through the body-’self’ somehow, since apparently according to you, meaning can be abundant even with a self?

RICHARD: From what I recall (which is going back twenty-plus years) the ‘reason for existence’ is not apparent in virtual freedom – although the memory of it from pure consciousness experience’s (PCE’s) can be piquant – as the answer is in the living of it.

RESPONDENT: How does that work, if the ‘I’ ‘stands in the way’ of meaning?

RICHARD: Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had written that ‘... ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning being apparent’ (...). The ‘meaning of life’ – or the ‘secret to life’ or the ‘riddle of existence’ or the ‘purpose of the universe’ or whatever the goal of one’s quest may be called – is already always just here right now in this actual world ... it is that identity (‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) is preventing that meaning from being open to view. (...) [What I recall is that] as every time a PCE occurred the ‘meaning of life’ became apparent it was increasingly obvious to ‘me’ that it was here all the time – that it already had been and always would be irregardless of ‘my’ presence or absence – and that all ‘I’ had to do for it to be apparent was to disappear. It is all rather magical.

RESPONDENT: It appears to me that you are using the term ‘meaning’ as basically interchangeable with ‘secret to life’ or the ‘riddle of existence’ or the ‘purpose of the universe’ or whatever the goal of one’s quest may be called’ ...

RICHARD: Yes ... that is what Article 17 of ‘Richard’s Journal’ was referring to. The paragraph which you quoted from in your initial e-mail reads as follows:

• [Richard]: ‘Life is intrinsically purposeful, the *reason for existence* lies openly all around. Being in this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it; I breathe it in and out; I see it, I hear it, I taste it, I smell it, I touch it, all of the time. It never goes away ... nor has it ever been away. ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning’. [emphasis added]. (page 116, ‘Richard’s Journal’).

Perhaps it would have been clearer still if I had written that ‘... ‘I’ was standing in the way of the meaning of life being apparent’.

RESPONDENT: ... but what about the meanings that we ‘humans’ experience on a daily basis? Like the ‘point’ of something – for example, the point of going to the grocery store is to get groceries to sustain oneself.

RICHARD: I can concur with what you say here ... sustaining oneself (and one’s family if there is one) is certainly not pointless. Furthermore there are many meaningful experiences in everyday life: providing shelter (building, buying or renting a home); being married (aka being in a relationship); raising a family (preparing children for adult life); having a career (job satisfaction); achieving something (successfully pursuing a hobby) and so on.

However, to rely upon transient experience to provide an enduring meaning to life is to invite disappointment.

RESPONDENT: I can see that the ‘meaning’ that ‘I’ experience would be only an illusion of ‘the secret to life’ – but when you say that any meaning other than the actual meaning is meaningless – does that mean our lives are ‘pointless’?

RICHARD: No ... but again what is certainly pointless is to expect to find the secret to life in the ‘real world’.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t there relative meaning (real)??

RICHARD: Such relative meaning as to be found in the everyday experiences (as discussed above) ... yes.

RESPONDENT: Why would you concern yourself or care about mere ‘humans’ living out their ‘meaningless’ lives??

RICHARD: The whole thrust of what I am reporting from my own experience is that the sooner the ‘human’ inhabiting the flesh and blood body ‘self’-immolates the better ... my concern or care in this instance is that the ‘human’ reading the actualism writings understands what such altruistic action means in regards to enabling the meaning of life into becoming apparent as an on-going experiencing.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t there a level where we can speak of meaning in our ‘human’ lives even though it is only ‘real?’

RICHARD: As far as I am concerned there is no ‘real’ meaning of life which is worth pursuing ... if there was the ‘I’ inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago would not have ‘self’-immolated.

I am immensely pleased that ‘he’ would not settle for second best.

July 16 2002

RESPONDENT: Richard, just a few follow-up questions to my previous post. First, it’s easy to interpret you as saying that since a ‘human’ only experiences an illusion of meaning that a ‘human’ life is not worth living. I know you don’t make this inference, but it’s not easy to resist – if a ‘human’ cannot experience anything ‘meaningful’ according to you.

RICHARD: As this post came before I had responded to your previous post the miscommunication about shortening the phrase ‘meaning of life’ to just the word ‘meaning’ had not been clarified. In view of the clarification in my response to your previous post I am presuming that this query is no longer relevant ... but on the off-chance my response to your previous post is still not clear I will put it this way:

Since a ‘human’ only experiences an illusory meaning of life then that ‘human’ meaning of life is not worth living ... a ‘human’ cannot experience any meaningful meaning of life.

RESPONDENT: Also, it seems that you are saying that even a life lived in virtual freedom would be ‘meaningless’. What’s the use, then?

RICHARD: A virtual freedom is not meaningless because, thanks to the pure consciousness experience (PCE), a person in virtual freedom knows where the meaning of life is located and is proceeding with all dispatch to enable that meaning of life into becoming apparent.

A person in virtual freedom is no longer searching for the meaning of life.

RESPONDENT: How could one begin to actually care and to have an actual intimacy with everyone and everything if there is no meaning seeping through somewhere??

RICHARD: By remembering the PCE one can then commence the journey upon what I call the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom (only in a PCE, and an actual freedom, is one able to be actually caring and to be living in an actual intimacy).

RESPONDENT: It seems as if there is no other possibility according to you than an illusion of actually caring or actual intimacy – even in virtual freedom.

RICHARD: Not an ‘illusion’ , no ... a person in virtual freedom knows perfectly well that actually caring and an actual intimacy happens only in the PCE. They will listen to my reports of what an actual freedom is like to see if it tallies with what they experience in a PCE and thus they can have it affirmed that it is indeed possible to experience an actual caring and an actual intimacy twenty four hours of the day.

Such a person then consciously, and with knowledge aforethought, sets out to imitate the actual – all the while knowing that it is an imitation – until the actual happens ... if it does not happen immediately then they are way ahead of normal human expectations anyway as malice and sorrow – along with their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion – are minimised to the point of being virtually non-existent (hence the appellation ‘virtual’).

It is a win-win situation.

RESPONDENT: Now, this seems to go against much of what you have told me before, yet I can’t help but draw these conclusions from what you are currently telling me about the fact that ‘human’ existence is meaningless.

RICHARD: It should have become clear by now that I am not saying that ‘human’ existence is meaningless ... that rather I am saying that the meaning of life is not, never was and never will be, apparent to a ‘human’.

RESPONDENT: Now, Vineeto has just written a very nice response to an earlier post of mine – and says with respect to the journey toward virtual and actual freedom ... [quote] ‘Then a journey begins that is absolutely wondrous and sensuous, thrilling and scintillating. Then ‘my’ life has both purpose and meaning’. [endquote]. How does this fit with your statements that ‘my’ life cannot have either purpose or meaning – or at least only the illusion of meaning?

RICHARD: This is what she wrote immediately prior to the sentences you have quoted:

• [Vineeto]: ‘As an actualist you are utterly on your own … that’s why a pure consciousness experience is so important. The memory of a pure consciousness experience is your guiding light – it shows you what is possible when the ‘self’ disappears. A PCE makes it startlingly evident why normal every-day life within the human condition is not the be all and end all to living on this verdant planet. When one is haunted by the memory of the purity and perfection of this infinite and eternal physical universe, then settling for second best is impossible’. (Re: The Human Condition; 14 July 2002).

What I see that she is saying is that her life now has both purpose (to eventually live what is possible when the ‘self’ disappears) and meaning (to be being on a journey that is wondrous and sensuous, thrilling and scintillating).

RESPONDENT: Is Vineeto just wrong?

RICHARD: No ... I see that she is saying that it is a PCE which makes it startlingly evident why normal every-day life within the human condition is not the be all and end all to living on this verdant planet (and not the ‘some meaning seeping through somewhere’ making it evident as you were enquiring about).

RESPONDENT: Or is she perhaps speaking of some grand illusion of meaning?

RICHARD: I did not get that impression from what she wrote ... she specifically referred to the PCE as being her guiding light.

RESPONDENT: If it is the case that ‘I’ cannot experience meaning – then what’s the point in living at all?

RICHARD: Just because ‘I’ cannot experience the meaning of life it does not necessarily follow that there is no point in living at all ... on the contrary, the PCE experientially demonstrates that there is a point to life after all.

And a grand point to life at that!

RESPONDENT: Or pursuing a virtual or actual freedom?

RICHARD: The point of pursuing an actual freedom is to live the meaning of life each moment again (which is what Article 17 of ‘Richard’s Journal’, from whence you obtained the quote which started this thread, was all about) ... the point of pursuing a virtual freedom is to live in such a way as to expedite an actual freedom occurring (and if that does not immediately happen one is way ahead of normal human expectations anyway).

A valuable spin-off is peace on earth.

RESPONDENT: Or raising kids?

RICHARD: The point of raising children is, primarily, to perpetuate the species ... yet there are many advantages to being a parent: for just one example, children provide a vital opportunity to find out for oneself just what is going on vis-à-vis the human condition.

Speaking personally, I learnt so much from my intimate interactions with children that I doubt that I would be where I am today without that valuable experience

RESPONDENT: Or ... you get the picture.

RICHARD: Aye ... what I am also getting is that you may have overlooked, forgotten, or are not taking into account, what is evident in the PCE. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘The ‘strongest’ part of the experience probably lasted only about 15 seconds – it seemed like I had been taken into another world, though it was obviously the same world, but yet it was in sharp detail that I hadn’t completely noticed before. And it did have a benevolence about it. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the wonder of it all, which may be what brought the most intense part to an end – but the calm and ‘presentness’ lasted the rest of the evening and a bit into the morning. Right now, I’m somewhere in between, as there is obviously more self left to whittle away at. But it is so wonderful to finally get a taste of what a virtual freedom can be – it’s wonder, it’s ‘certainty’ which needs no prop of certainty. It’s obvious to me now that there is no other way for me to live. In the PCE – fulfilment is in every moment. Absolutely amazing’. (‘Getting The PCE’; 12 May 2002).

When I read the words ‘fulfilment is in every moment’ I can only take that as referring to meaning and/or purpose being consummated ... can you recall what you meant by it?

July 28 2002

RICHARD: ... what I am also getting is that you may have overlooked, forgotten, or are not taking into account, what is evident in the PCE. Vis.: [Respondent]: ‘The ‘strongest’ part of the experience probably lasted only about 15 seconds – it seemed like I had been taken into another world, though it was obviously the same world, but yet it was in sharp detail that I hadn’t completely noticed before. And it did have a benevolence about it. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the wonder of it all, which may be what brought the most intense part to an end – but the calm and ‘presentness’ lasted the rest of the evening and a bit into the morning. Right now, I’m somewhere in between, as there is obviously more self left to whittle away at. But it is so wonderful to finally get a taste of what a virtual freedom can be – it’s wonder, it’s ‘certainty’ which needs no prop of certainty. It’s obvious to me now that there is no other way for me to live. In the PCE – fulfilment is in every moment. Absolutely amazing’. (‘Getting The PCE’; 12 May 2002). When I read the words ‘fulfilment is in every moment’ I can only take that as referring to meaning and/or purpose being consummated ... can you recall what you meant by it?

RESPONDENT: As best I can put it is that there was ‘nothing missing’. No need for another moment, another experience – each moment was not deficient or lacking.

RICHARD: Ahh ... that is well put. I often say if I were to drop dead right now that would not be a problem ... there is nothing missing or missed as each moment is utter fulfilment and total satisfaction.

RESPONDENT: But I would also say that there was something of a depression when it’s gone. Initially a sense that I may never have to deal with my pet ‘issues’ ever again – then a reluctance to admit that there is much more uncovering of the ‘self’ to be done.

RICHARD: I do recall that often there was a reluctance to acknowledge that a PCE was wearing off – the reality of the ‘real world’ soon brought about that acknowledgement however – but what stands out in your words is that there was a sense that you may never have to deal with your ‘pet issues’ again ... which is an important point to remember, if ever you are more than somewhat lost in such issues, as it helps to bring one back to one’s senses to remember where the ultimate solution to those issues lies.

RESPONDENT: The questions about meaning came from possibly too literal of an interpretation of what you say about meaning both in your journal and your original response with the confusion of ‘meaning’ with ‘meaning of life’, and less reliance on my own experience. I appreciate your pointer back to my own experience.

RICHARD: You are welcome ... after all it is your own experience which is of vital importance, and not my descriptions and explanations (which can be either inadequate or misconstrued), as you then intimately know for yourself where to go and what to do.

Ain’t life grand!

August 17 2002

RESPONDENT: Richard, would you mind commenting on your usage of the word ‘pathetic?’ In some contexts, it’s quite clear that you are using the word ‘pathetic’ as synonymous with ‘puny’, ‘tiny’, or even almost scornful. You remarked to me once how fantasy movies remind you of how ‘pathetic’ life is in the ‘real’ world. You also have described ‘real world’ interest in art and music as ‘pathetic’. I read you as saying they are ‘pathetic’ in the sense of ‘marked by sorrow’, or by ‘pathos’. Also there seems to be a comparison with life in the ‘real’ world compared to life in the actual world. Do you see that it could be difficult for one in the ‘real’ world to see their life as ‘pathetic’ from within? Or their interest in music or art? I take it you aren’t trying to ‘scorn’ life in the ‘real’ world, rather point out that it’s ohhh soo much better in the actual world.

RICHARD: Yes, life in the actual world is much, much better indeed ... and there is no way that I am being ‘almost scornful’ as the ability for derision/ disdain/ contempt is non-existent here in this actual world. As a rough estimate I would say that probably nine times out of ten I use the word ‘pathetic’ in the Oxford Dictionary meaning of ‘pertaining to the emotions’ (and passions) with its etymological ‘liable to suffer’ connotation ... for example:

• [Richard]: ‘Love is actually a pathetic substitute for the perfection of actual intimacy’.

What I am conveying by this usage looks like this when spelled out in full:

• Love is actually an emotional or passional (liable to suffer) substitute for the perfection of actual intimacy.

In keeping with my rough estimate, probably one time out of ten I use the word ‘pathetic’ in the Oxford Dictionary meaning of ‘miserably inadequate, feeble, useless (colloq.)’ ... for example:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘We don’t have a ‘Tooth Fairy’ or ‘Santa Claus’ in The Netherlands so your example is not valid.
• [Richard]: ‘Seeing as The Netherlands have Sinterklaas, it is a rather pathetic response from you, isn’t it?
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Ahh, you know about Sinterklaas. (listb17b).

What I am conveying by this usage could have been expressed this way:

• Seeing as The Netherlands have Sinterklaas, it is a miserably inadequate and/or feeble and/or useless response from you, isn’t it?

As in regards to fantasy movies you must be referring to this exchange:

• [Respondent]: ‘I’m wondering how you experience that sort of thing [a fantasy movie].
• [Richard]: ‘Usually it reminds me of how pathetic life in the real world is such that it requires fantasy to make life bearable.

What I am conveying by this usage looks like this when spelled out in full:

• Usually it reminds me of how emotional or passional (liable to suffer) life in the real world is such that it requires fantasy to make life bearable.

As in regards to art and music you must be referring to this exchange:

• [Respondent]: ‘I remember Richard remarking that he is not interested in ‘beautiful music’ or even artistic ‘beauty’. Does that then eliminate any interest in ‘music’ or ‘art’ all together?
• [Richard]: ‘No ... but the interest is far removed from the pathetic interest one previously had.

What I am conveying by this usage looks like this when spelled out in full:

• No ... but the interest is far removed from the emotional or passional (liable to suffer) interest one previously had.

As for seeing that it could be difficult for one in the ‘real’ world to see their life as pathetic from within: from what I recall the entity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago could see – albeit dimly – that ‘his’ existence was indeed pathetic (as in emotional and passional and liable to suffer) and that, therefore, it was indeed pathetic (as in either miserably inadequate, feeble or useless) ... and my conversations with various peoples these days show that mostly they too can see it (even if also somewhat dimly to start off with) although there are those who decline to acknowledge it for whatever reason.

As for it being difficult for one in the ‘real’ world to see that their interest in music or art is pathetic: the people that I converse with in regards to this matter usually acknowledge fairly readily that most music tugs on the heart-strings, or in some way stirs the emotions and passions, so that one is liable to suffer – even if only a ‘sweet sorrow’ or a ‘gentle melancholy’ – or be liable to suffer from being filled with patriotism and pride, if it be martial music, and so on ... and that art in general (which includes not only the fine arts but the performing arts as well) can act upon them in similar ways.

There is such a thing as aesthetic appreciation, of course, yet even there I recall that the entity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago could see that there was an affective component which coloured ‘his’ otherwise pure appreciation (as in unadulterated sensate delight) such that it persuaded ‘him’ to seek the actual and no longer be liable to suffer.

As for your comment regarding comparison: whenever I discuss these matters with my fellow human beings there is indeed always a comparison with life in the ‘real’ world as contrasted to life in the actual world ... it is what I came onto the internet for.

Just as a matter of interest ... here is the etymological root of the word:

*

RESPONDENT: While we’re on this topic – I recently read where you (Richard) regard having an ‘I’ as socially reprehensible – as in blameworthy. I’m curious as to just what constitutes being ‘socially reprehensible’ for you ... a mere thought or ‘temptation’ – or more concrete action. You have even gone to the point of using the term ‘guilty at conception’. I wonder what guilt could possibly consist of if not in action? To take this to the extreme – would an aborted foetus be ‘guilty’? Or possibly ‘socially reprehensible’? Is one guilty just because they have the potential to do harm?

RICHARD: First of all a normal person does not have an ‘I’ (or have a ‘me’) as they are an ‘I’ (or are a ‘me’) ... and ‘I’ exist inside the body only because all human beings are genetically endowed at conception with a package of instinctual survival passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire) which gives rise to emotions (such as malice and sorrow and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion) and this emotional and passional package is ‘me’ (‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’).

And irregardless of whether ‘I’, who am the emotional and passional impulses, persuade the body to physically act or not ‘I’ involuntarily transmit emotional and passional vibes (to use a 60’s term) into the human world in particular and the animal world in general: therefore ‘I’ am not harmless even when ‘I’ refrain from inducing the body into physical action ... which is why pacifism (non-violence) is not a viable solution.

Children also involuntarily transmit emotional and passional vibes (thus they are not born innocent as certain peoples maintain) ... and a foetus would too (albeit in a very rudimentary form).

There is nothing that can stop other sentient beings picking up these vibes and/or picking up what are sometimes called psychic currents. This is because there is an interconnectedness between all the emotional and passional entities – all emotional and passional entities are connected via a psychic web – a network of invisible vibes and currents. This interconnectedness in action is a powerful force – colloquially called ‘energy’ or ‘energies’ – wherein one entity can either seek power over another entity or seek communion with another entity by affective and/or psychic influence.

For example, these interconnecting ‘energies’ can be experienced in a group high, a community spirit, a mass hysteria, a communion meeting, a mob riot, a political rally and so on ... it is well known that charismatic leaders ride to power on such ‘energies’.

Put simply: it is not violence per se (as in physical force/restraint) or the potential for violence which is the problem: it is ‘me’ as the emotions and passions fuelling the violence, or fuelling the potential for violence, who begets all the misery and mayhem. Violence itself (as in physical force/restraint) is essential lest the bully-boys and feisty-femmes would rule the world. And if all 6.0 billion peoples were to become happy and harmless overnight (via altruistic ‘self’-immolation) it would still be essential lest the predator animals should have the human animal for its next meal. Yet even if all the predator animals were to cease being predatory (à la the ‘lion shall lay down with child’ ancient wisdom) it would still be essential if the crops in the field be not stripped bare by the insect world. And so on and so on: taking medication – even traditional medicine – does violence to the whole host of bacterial life; so too does drinking water as one drop contains at least 1,000-10,000 tiny shrimp-like and crab-like creatures; even breathing does violence as a breath of air contains untold numbers of microscopic life-forms.

RESPONDENT: For example, I don’t think I’ve done anything that would be considered ‘socially reprehensible’ by most people. Sure, I’ve stolen small amounts of money from my parents when I was a kid – not always told the whole truth – not always been the ‘stellar’ person I’ve wanted to be – but I have never hurt someone in a ‘reprehensible’ way. When I think ‘reprehensible’, I think murder, rape, abuse – all the atrocities in the human world. Now it’s possible that I’ve done something in my past that is ‘reprehensible’ and that it’s not currently coming to mind, but I’m curious just how you intend your usage of ‘socially reprehensible’?

RICHARD: I do not necessarily mean it only in the way you describe – there are already enough people censuring behaviour without me joining in the chorus as well – as I am more interested in pointing the finger at the root cause of all the misery and mayhem: the identity parasitically inhabiting the flesh and blood body (‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) ... and this entity is not only socially reprehensible by its very existence but individually insalubrious as well.

No matter how well-behaved and well-adjusted a normal person is – urbane, polite, civilised, educated – they cannot help but generate malicious and sorrowful feelings from time-to-time ... and neither malicious feelings towards another nor sorrowful feelings towards oneself, or vice versa, are conducive to a happy and harmless life (be it the communal life or an individual life). And to then become loving and compassionate, either towards another or towards oneself, is to but gild over the negative with the positive ... with less than satisfactory results.

And such has been the case for at least 3,000 to 5,000 years of recorded history ... the ‘tried and true’ is demonstrably the tried and failed.

RESPONDENT: I’m not out murdering, raping, abusing people and that sort of thing – as many people are not. Is one ‘guilty’ just by having a ‘human nature’?

RICHARD: Not by having a human nature ... by being human nature (‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’): ‘I’ am guilty by virtue of ‘my’ very presence: it is ‘me’ as a psychological/psychic ‘being’ (at root an instinctual ‘being’) who is guilty of being harmful just by existing ... but it is not ‘my’ fault as ‘I’ am not to blame for ‘my’ existence (if anything it is blind nature which is at fault or to blame).

In the normal human world one is considered guilty where one does nothing about one’s human nature. Traditionally people try to avoid this ‘doing nothing’ guilt by living in accord with culturally-determined morals and ethics and values and principles and mores and so on. However, when push comes to shove, this thin veneer of civilised life can vanish in an instant and the instinctual survival passions can come surging out in full force (such as in peoples being trampled to death in the stampede for the exit in a theatre or cinema when there is a fire).

I have had personal experience of the veneer of civilised life vanishing: I happened to be in New Delhi in October 1984 when Sikh bodyguards assassinated India’s Hindu Prime Minister Ms. Indira Gandhi after the assault by the Indian army on the Harimandir of Amritsar, the Sikhs’ holiest shrine. This set off a rampage of terror and violence that closed down the city for three days ... the normally ubiquitous police were nowhere to be seen for the entire period. I was there – with a nine year old daughter – and saw with my own eyes what happened: it was out-and-out internecine conflict ... after three days of unrestricted rioting the military came in with helicopters, planes, tanks, armoured vehicles, machine guns and so on and eventually law and order was restored by sheer brute force. The atmosphere – and the destructiveness I personally witnessed – was identical to my experience in a war-torn foreign country in 1966 when I was a serving soldier in a declared war-zone.

The solution to all this is to be found in the actual world: in a pure consciousness experience (PCE), where ‘I’ as ‘my’ feelings am temporarily absent, it will be experienced that one is innocent for the very first time ... in a PCE there is not the slightest trace of guilt whatsoever to be found.

‘Tis a remarkably easy way to live.

RESPONDENT: If the reason is that one is guilty by one’s ‘potential’ – wouldn’t it be smart to throw people in jail who fit the demographic for criminal behaviour – regardless their actions?

RICHARD: Ha ... if people were to be gaoled for their potential then all 6.0 billion peoples on this planet would find themselves behind bars: anyone and everyone who nurses malice and sorrow, and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion, to their bosom has the potential to act, not only in socially reprehensible ways, but in ways which are personally insalubrious as well.

RESPONDENT: Guilt by ‘potential’ is a strange concept – and I’m not sure it would fit any common usage of the word ‘guilt’ or ‘reprehensible’.

RICHARD: Well ... as I said, the potential to act in socially reprehensible (and individually insalubrious) ways is traditionally held in check by morals and ethics and values and principles and mores and so on – all backed-up either by public censure and/or ostracism or by legal laws enforceable at the point of a gun – so it would appear that there is at least a tacit agreement that ‘guilt by potential’ is in common usage ... if only by implication.

RESPONDENT: I realize this must be balanced with your view that nobody is to blame for having a self – though I’d like to read just how you balance the two, if you don’t mind.

RICHARD: Perhaps this e-mail will show that there is nothing to balance after all as nobody is at fault or to blame for the human condition (and it is pointless to fault or blame blind nature for continuing to provide the instinctual survival passions which were necessary all those thousands of years ago).

Now that intelligence, which is the ability to think, reflect, compare, evaluate and implement considered action for beneficial reasons, has developed in the human animal those blind survival passions are no longer necessary – in fact they have become a hindrance in today’s world – and it is only by virtue of this intelligence that blind nature’s default software package can be safely deleted (altruistic ‘self’-immolation).

No other animal can do this.

RESPONDENT: I also don’t intend these comments as an attempt to pin you down under self-contradiction – I know there are ‘ways out’ of these quandaries – I’m just curious about your view of these issues. Thanks.

RICHARD: Sure ... I have always sought for that which is non-contradictory and would always look askance at any attempt to gloss over something contradictory by someone saying that it was a paradox one just had to live with.

I have been unable to find anything paradoxical here in this actual world.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

P.S.: I am aware that words like guilty, reprehensible and culpable carry the implication that some person or persons (or peoples collectively) decide or have decided what is right and what is wrong or what is good and what is bad or what is correct and what is incorrect and so on ... a standard to be judged by, in other words. The following exchange should be helpful in this regards (especially so as you say in this e-mail that you have wanted to be a ‘stellar’ person):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Who decides what is ‘personally insalubrious’ and ‘socially reprehensible’?
• [Richard]: ‘Not ‘who’ ... peace-on-earth decides, each moment again, and relentlessly brings the wayward ego and compliant soul face-to-face with its own culpability, each moment again, for being the progenitor of all the ills of humankind. (...) The pristine nature of peace-on-earth is impeccable ... nothing dirty can get in.

Ain’t life grand!


CORRESPONDENT No. 27 (Part Four)

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