Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

with Correspondent No. 42

February 16 2003

RESPONDENT: I wanted to say thanks to all you guys involved in this – I am enjoying life, very simply, whereas before I was not. These last few months I have dived into the processes of learning for myself what it means to be a human being. I started out doing this actualism work, and still do, because I am serious and want to do some real changing for once, but now I’m finding gradually that the whole thing is just too enjoyable, and funny. For example, I am an eighteen year old freshman at a catholic, conservative, liberal arts school (University of Dallas) near Dallas, Texas. Imagine the difference in understanding this universe between me and my fellow students. Being divested of those big-shot beliefs characteristic of the homogeneous crowd around me makes this process ironic and humorous. The school is accompanied by the phrase ‘the catholic college for independent thinkers’ and I find that I could possibly be the only one here living up to the second part – as for Catholic, I was raised so, but that conditioning has not been hard to shed strangely – I suppose I never made a good catholic. Finally thinking through things on my own, and resurfacing with facts as opposed to hand-me-down slippery beliefs, results in a confidence that my upbringing and even this hard-core liberal arts institution could never attempt to give me. I realize that I have never had an actual opinion that was my own, and see that when I finally now think through something the result is no longer an opinion on any matter, but a fact – opinions are no longer important to me when replaced with the confidence of a fact.

RICHARD: Welcome to The Actual Freedom Mailing List ... your phrasing ‘the confidence of a fact’ is well put: facts are liberating, not only of opinions, but of choice and decision: the marvellous thing about a fact is that one can not argue with it. One can argue about a belief, an opinion, a theory, an ideal and so on ... but a fact: never. One can deny a fact – pretend that it is not there – but once seen, a fact brings freedom from choice and decision. Most people feel, and thus think, that choice implies freedom – having the freedom to choose – but this is not the case. Freedom lies in seeing the obvious, and in seeing the obvious there is no choice, no deliberation, no agonising over the ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ judgement.

In the freedom of seeing the fact there is only action.

RESPONDENT: This is my first post, and if needed I will post any questions I have in my process of exploring my social conditioning – I have read from some of you guys, and agree, that feedback and a fresh perspective on some things is helpful.

RICHARD: Indeed ... this mailing list is set up to facilitate a sharing of experience and understanding and to assist in elucidating just what is entailed in becoming free of the human condition. The electronic copying and distribution capacity of a mailing list service – with it’s multiple feed-back capability – is second to none and is thus an excellent venue for discussing these matters as all those subscribed can benefit from any discussion ... all peoples interested can read and/or join in, thus ensuring maximum input and diverse approaches and/or experiences. This also has the effect of exposing any flaws or weakness in what is being presented – a peer-group review as it were – and can only serve to further the establishment of anything factual.

Also, an actual freedom from the human condition works in the market place – and not behind cloistered walls – and the relative anonymity of the internet medium allows for an uninhibited expression that is unequalled anywhere else.

RESPONDENT: One thing that puzzles me is when I do examine my conditioning, it is difficult to establish what exactly is social conditioning and what is not – for example I adopted our society’s view of what a hot and sexy female body ought to be, from the covers of Maxim magazine and the like. Upon exploring how meaningless this particular standard is by comparing to other societies’ standards, it seems that my sex instinct naturally selected another, now simply broader, group of women to be attracted too. It was funny to see how that altered desire just showed up, like a redirecting of the same old instinct, without ‘my’ consent. However, the social conditioning behind the idea of ‘human beauty’ is my big question. What does human beauty mean in the actual world?

RICHARD: Nothing whatsoever ... there is no ‘human beauty’ here in this actual world: beauty is the affective substitute for the purity of the perfection of the actual ... just as love is the affective surrogate for actual intimacy.

RESPONDENT: How many of my divisions between human body types are relevant, if any?

RICHARD: The short answer is no relevance at all ... although divisions can have a practical application (an off-the-cuff example is the ectomorphic/ endomorphic/ mesomorphic body-type classification).

RESPONDENT: Also, when there is no ‘sex’ in mind whatsoever to alter perception, both male and female bodies in all forms, along with differences and deformities, are equally fascinating, right?

RICHARD: Indeed ... as is everything equally fascinating (there is no boredom in this actual world).

RESPONDENT: And what about youth and aging? The concept of ‘youthful beauty’ that has nothing to do but decay until death, no aged beauty to look forward too, is that out the window?

RICHARD: Yes ... the purity of the perfection of this actual world brooks no favourites.

RESPONDENT: This is extremely difficult for me to realize as I do visual/graphic design work, and have that training in appreciating ‘fine’ forms, along with going to a school with a core-program that studies the West’s concepts of ‘beauty’ and ‘ideal forms’ and all that. I suppose those lose their significance completely?

RICHARD: Here you are talking more of an aesthetic appreciation – and aesthetics vary from culture to culture – an appreciation which has as much to do with proportion (ratio) as it has to do with beauty per se: the ‘golden mean’, for example, purports to embody the ‘ideal form’ and has more to do with the relation (harmony) of one part to another, and the various parts to the total, than what is nominally beautiful/ugly ... although the word ‘elegant’ can quite often be a non de guerre for beauty.

Thus stripped of its cultural impositions – and of the feeling of beauty of course – aesthetic appreciation can have its place ... although personal predilections need to be taken into account (given that aesthetics are, fundamentally, based upon the human body and its relationship with everything else).

RESPONDENT: I am still thinking through it.

RICHARD: There is more to it than the above brief résumé: ugliness, for example, has as much to do with repulsion/repugnance/revulsion (disgust) as anything else and thus plays its part in determining what is considered beautiful (alluring/ enticing/ desirable) ... and taste/distaste has its origins in the biological imperative (attraction/aversion).

RESPONDENT: But to end with, once again I appreciate all the information on the group’s web page, helps me make sense of much of the learning I’m going through in and out of classes right now.

RICHARD: As I was educated in a state-run school I cannot know by personal experience what it is to be receiving an education in a religion-based school ... although as all secular schools are embedded in a society’s religious milieu anyway I can make a fairly good guess that it is but a more extreme version.

It is surprising just how deep a disguised religiosity/spiritually runs.

April 29 2003

RESPONDENT: I just wrote this entry into a journal I keep of working through all these issues. This one issue I hit on this afternoon is very relevant to me, and I encounter it all the time. I discovered that I have a starving need for acceptance, love, belonging and since I do not get it I put up a rationalized defence of ‘I am better than these people anyways, so I do not need their acceptance’ and thus create malice towards almost every individual I encounter to cover up the lack of acceptance they give me. It is very widespread in all my human interactions. But every time I want to actually stand up for myself, or explore my sense of rights and wrongs experientially, my contrived system fails me and I feel immediate surges of fear of not belonging despite my facade of contempt towards anyone who would try to criticize me. My question is how can I best deal with this?

RICHARD: First and foremost, by getting back to feeling good (a general sense of well-being) as soon as possible ... if not sooner.

The actualism method is all about enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive: this is your only moment of being alive; the past, which was actual when it was happening, is not longer actual; the future, which will be actual when it does happen, is not yet actual; only this moment is ever actual. Why waste this only moment of being alive feeling ‘a starving need for acceptance, love, belonging’ which necessitates a rationalised defence that creates malice towards your fellow human beings only to subsequently dissolve into fear?

The main point of asking oneself, each moment again, how one is experiencing this moment of being alive is to be happy and harmless just here right now ... and if one is not happy and harmless then one has something to look at to find out why. The situation you describe is the particular ‘something to look at to find out why’ this time around ... the generalised example I provide goes something like this: what has happened, between the last time I felt good and now? When did I feel good last? Five minutes ago? Five hours ago? What happened to end those felicitous 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 more one enjoys and appreciates being just here right now – to the point of excellence being the norm – the greater the likelihood of a pure consciousness experience (PCE) happening ... a grim and/or glum person has no chance whatsoever of allowing the magical event, which indubitably shows where everyone has being going awry, to occur.

Plus any analysing and/or psychologising and/or philosophising whilst one is in the grip of debilitating feelings usually does not achieve much (other than spiralling around and around in varying degrees of despair and despondency or whatever) anyway.

To be happy and harmless is a win-win situation irregardless of whatever happens.

RESPONDENT: It is hard to lay the facts straight every time it pops up, because this is so complex. I am going to try to just explore the ‘needing to belong’ part of it and feel that out completely and acknowledge it, and see it as a instinctual feeling that is unnecessary, and it should go away. My problem is that I have been struggling with it for so long, I don’t want to approach it wrong, because it has not yet gone away in any degree of intensity. After that I will look at my malice towards everyone, that I use to cover up the need to belong, and explore the malice as an instinctual defence mechanism. I’m going to keep working on it, but if anyone has particularly applicable experiences with what will work here, please explain. Thanks.

RICHARD: It is more than likely that ‘the need to belong’ arises from the herd instinct – gregariousness runs deep – with layer upon layer of socialisation compounding this primal urge. The very first thing to do is separate out needs from urges (desires): unless one is living as a hermit off nuts and berries deep in a remote forest one needs one’s fellow human beings for a whole raft of things (I need a shopkeeper to sell me goods as much as a shopkeeper needs me to sell goods to for example) and the most fundamental needs amount to five survival essentials ... air, water, food, shelter (if protection be necessary), and clothing (if the weather be inclement).

Thus a starving need for ‘acceptance, love, belonging’ would be better described as a starving desire for ‘acceptance, love, belonging’ as it does not take long to work out that one does not need the shopkeeper (for example) to dish out ‘acceptance, love, belonging’ along with the small change ... indeed a modern-day super-mart employee more often than not is obliged to chant the ubiquitous ‘thank you for shopping at x-mart’ dirge rather than it being a pleasantry arising out mutual regard.

Why then the desire for ‘acceptance, love, belonging’ (and thus the collapsing defence mechanisms)?

There is more to it than the hereditarily programmed gregarian urge, of course, as the basic instinctual passions in general, such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire, automatically form themselves into a feeling ‘being’ ... which is who ‘I’ am at root (‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being is ‘being’ itself). And any ‘me’ (a genetically encoded passionate inchoate ‘presence’ or rudimentary survival ‘self’ as it were) is an alien identity forever locked-out of paradise (the source of sorrow, by the way, but that is another story) desiring validation from all the other alien identities.

Put simply: ‘acceptance, love, belonging’ verifies, endorses, and consolidates ‘me’ ... and not only am ‘I’ thus authenticated, sanctioned, and substantiated but ‘my’ presence has meaning as well.

RESPONDENT: And here is my journal entry of when I discovered this complex, I was going to a site with pictures of beautiful, nude women in a place where people walking behind me would see what I was doing. It was a sort of intentional action, just to really explore my instinctual reactions right there and then. I just I just sat down at this computer and went to a site ‘Domai’ with nude photographs of women. I immediately left the site, and felt fear thinking, what else, ‘what will people think of me?’ The scenario I set up in my mind of someone (this time it was a guy named Charlie, the last person I emotionally connected with) coming up and saying something or thinking something of me. Of course the whole scene was acted out in my mind, with the accompanying fear, and the impulse to hit the ‘x’ and close. My problem is of course believing that the scene I imagined, or any scene that could happen would be ‘bad’ in any way. It would actually be exciting, or interesting, and of course in the end it would be defendable – even if I was a staunch orthodox Christian I could defend my visiting the site. Although I can defend myself and see how the situation I compose is unreal, there is something more there. A hesitancy to just drop it all and jump in. It is a doubt that I am right perhaps. A doubt that ‘how could there be nothing wrong if that happens’ I do not look at the facts of the situation. I cannot be autonomous in this action.

How about this: who is worried about being caught? The who the ‘me’ is all fear, so there is no chance to do it, as ‘me’ is still trying to do the action, but me is still all fear. Who is held accountable? Who receives the punishment the castigation? Who is ostracized? This is the fight or flight response ... it is amazing to experience this. Feels ancient. The fear is accompanied by a reinforcement of ‘me’ as a feeler, like I can establish that no one is there, no one to take blame, but when I move to go to the page again I suddenly reappear in full force. It’s like I am a child, wanting everyone to love me, and appreciate me ... very childlike. It’s like I’m reaching out to everyone to just ‘feed me’ emotional food, accept me, love me, appreciate me. It seems I want it all very badly.

I, like a child, refuse to stand up for myself, but would rather have people love me and accept me and thus be a slave to them and what they find acceptable, submission for protection is what this boils down to, submission in return for acceptance. Thus I am in a living contradiction in that I want people to fully accept me, and thus be what they see as acceptable, while at the same time being someone who is utterly opposed to what these people would accept. I stand for nothing. Standing up for myself is standing up for facts. This desire for love and acceptance is very primordial that I am feeling. I wonder if it is specific to me, as in my specifics being raised in the way I was, or if everyone has this feeling just toward different issues. This is nurture all the way, and fear. I feel like a damned baby. I have to battle facts with emotion, facts with powerful beliefs. Can these people really actually give me anything but sex, hugs and handshakes dammit? What emotional satisfaction do I suck out of thin air from around these people that I cannot live without?

This act of fear and isolation and submission and silence is my only defence mechanism ... I think I learned this in high school. I want every girl to be my mother or my lover. I want every guy to my dad or my buddy. If I could live without acceptance ... of course I can, but if I could get used to it, and experientially show myself so that I would have nothing to be scared of losing. Maybe I will step down from my highchair and just admit that all I really want is for everyone to love and accept and nurture me, hand me their tit. Stop trying to deny it. It is very possible that I am in the process of denying that I basically want acceptance from everyone, and that my whole facade of contempt and condescension is my denial of that. I counter my lack of receiving the nurture I get with my malicious attitude towards others a sort of ‘how could I need them? they are stupid and I am better than them’ approach that is a denial of the whole nurture thing. I must sit with nurture, look at it, learn it, be it, stop countering it. look at my condescension look at my malice, my contempt, learn about it, see why it is there. And that takes the layers of this fear process – I am better than everyone else because I think I have better views, but I want their acceptance so bad that I will not let them know I think they are lesser. I just need to admit, feel, and see how on the basic level I feel I want everyone to accept me.

RICHARD: Here is a notion to ponder upon: when one is happy and harmless one does not desire (aka need) acceptance or love or nurture or whatever ... quite the reverse, in fact, as happiness and harmlessness enables a benevolence and benignity which is not of ‘my’ doing.

In other words: an effortless and on-going munificence or generosity of character ensues.

Continued on Direct Route: No. 20




The Third Alternative

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