On The Actual Freedom Mailing List
with Correspondent No. 44
RESPONDENT: Dear friends, usually you are answering to emails by using dictionary and scientific definitions. Why shall then we must not accept the scientific definition that Richard is suffering from many mental deceases like unhidonia etc? When is convenient to you, you are using scientific definitions then why you are not accept the scientific definitions that Richard is seek?
RICHARD: I copy-pasted the word ‘unhidonia’ into a search engine and nowhere on the internet did it score a hit ... as you have entitled this e-mail ‘One Question From Greece’ (and have previously said you live on the Greek island of Corfu) it is reasonable to assume that Greek is your native language.
Therefore, if you could provide the ‘scientific definition’ of the word ‘unhidonia’ from the Greek medical texts then maybe the nature of your question will become clear.
RESPONDENT No. 41: ... so all my obsessing about what is just and fair for the world and also what is just and fair treatment from those beings close to me is just that, obsessing. How am I experiencing this moment? Obsessing over justice and fairness, based on a feeling of sorrow, disappointed once again by the activities of man in general and in particular, causing me feelings of pain rather than the preferred pleasure. And what separates me now in this moment from experiencing pleasure, the air streaming in my nostrils, the bitter-sweet taste of tea, the tingling energy from the tea, the brilliant purity of the light all around, the comfort and safety surrounding me in multiple layers, well, just that, my obsession with issues of justice and fairness giving form to my feelings of hurt, and malice, calling up the images of my favourite enemies of justice and fairness at home and abroad.
VINEETO: When you use the method of actualism then the question of ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ needs to be asked with the clear intent to become more happy and more harmless. Without that intent any observation, however specific, remains just that – an observation. It is the intent to pinpoint, understand and eliminate the cause of malice and sorrow in me that ensures that my observation will result in appropriate action or appropriate change of action.
RESPONDENT No. 28: I’ve found that this matter of intent is a deceptively subtle aspect of this process. I’ve spent considerable effort in the ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ mode, with the attendant ‘self’ observation. While this in itself has proven to be very valuable, I realize I’ve been giving short shrift to the ‘clear intent to become more happy and more harmless’. After all, that’s the whole point of this, isn’t it? Not just to unravel the accrued identity, but to be happy and harmless. The method is incredibly simple: I am not happy now; I was happy a minute/hour/year ago; Ascertain what caused me to stop being happy; Get back to being happy as quickly as possible. No wonder this is so radical - it has none of the trappings and dogma that humans seem to need to create around such an elemental concept. Of course, sometimes simple things are the hardest to understand. Further in your post (which I won’t quote here), you mention the difficulty of words and their meanings. That seems to be fairly common amongst the newbies (certainly myself included), and I suspect it arises from that same human need to create complexity in an attempt to understand these simple matters. I don’t understand why that happens (at least partly having to do with how the human brain assimilates and digests data, along with a big heaping helping of conditioning), but it does get in the way. For what it’s worth ...
RESPONDENT No. 41: Thanks Vineeto, and now No. 28, I seem to remember many posts, both addressed to myself and others, pointing out this same fact. Remember the intent to be happy and harmless. Each time I read it I think to myself, ‘Yes, exactly, this is what is needed.’ Yet to wrap my actions around this simple move is slippery for me. You are all correct to keep pushing me back to this. Thanks.
RESPONDENT: My grand father died in his 95 without ever had heard about enlightenment and all these nonsense. He was occupied with his garden and was professor of ancient Geek and Latin.
RICHARD: May I ask? Was your grandfather happy and harmless twenty four hours of the day three hundred and sixty five days of the year (no malice and sorrow whatsoever nor their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion)?
RESPONDENT: What are all these nonsense you are talking about?
RICHARD: When I read through the exchanges (further above) I see that ‘these nonsense’ could be summed up as ‘the human condition’ and how to eliminate it ... specifically being discussed are the subjects of ‘obsessing’, ‘justice’, ‘fairness’, ‘experiencing this moment’, ‘sorrow’, ‘disappointment’, ‘pain’, ‘pleasure’, ‘separation’, ‘smell’, ‘taste’, ‘tingling’, ‘brilliance’, ‘purity’, ‘comfort’, ‘safety’, ‘hurt’, ‘malice’, ‘images’, ‘enemies’, ‘the actualism method’, ‘clear intent’, ‘more happy’, ‘more harmless’, ‘observation’, ‘pinpointing, understanding, and eliminating’, ‘the cause of malice’, the cause of sorrow’, ‘appropriate action’, ‘appropriate change of action’, ‘deceptive subtleness’, ‘effort’, ‘‘self’-observation’, ‘value’, ‘clear intent’, ‘the whole point of the method’, ‘unravelling’, ‘accrued identity’, ‘simplicity’, ‘the cause of unhappiness’, ‘being happy’, ‘radical’, ‘trappings’, ‘dogma’, ‘an elemental concept’, ‘simple things are (sometimes) hard to understand’, ‘the difficulty of words’, ‘creating complexity’, ‘simple matters’, ‘assimilating data’, ‘digesting data’, ‘conditioning getting in the way’, ‘remembering the intent (to be happy and harmless)’, ‘a simple move’, and ‘being pushed back to intent’.
RESPONDENT: You are so much involved about how to live that you are missing life.
RICHARD: Which ‘life’ are you referring to (life in the human condition or life sans the human condition)?
RESPONDENT: If you were millionaire with your boat should you think how to live?
RICHARD: As there are quite a few millionaires (and billionaires for that matter) with boats it is fairly easy to answer your query by drawing from their experience ... any reports I have read of such people indicate that they are neither more, nor any less, happy and harmless than any non-millionaire with a boat.
RESPONDENT: These subject about living is only for people who are problematic and are trying to find one utopia.
RICHARD: The last time I checked-up on the topic approximately 6.0 billion people found life ‘problematic’ and were seeking ‘one utopia’ (if by those words you mean being generally dissatisfied with life as it currently is and wanting peace in some form or another).
Of course I have not done a door-to-door survey of all 6.0 billion people ... I am estimating this from talking with many and varied peoples from all walks of life (I have both travelled the country and overseas), from watching television, videos, films (whatever media is available), from reading about other people’s experiences in books, journals, magazines, newspapers (and latterly on the internet), for nigh on half a century, and extrapolating from that.
However, if you could provide web pages, books titles, magazine articles, newspaper reports, manuscripts, pamphlets, brochures or whatever that I can access – or other mailing lists that I can subscribe to – wherein people, who do not find life ‘problematic’ and who are not seeking ‘one utopia’ (if by those words you mean being generally dissatisfied with life as it currently is and wanting peace in some form or another), have written about the quality of their life and how that came about I would be most pleased.
I have yet to find someone – anyone – who is totally fulfilled, utterly content, and completely satisfied, each moment again ... I would be chuffed to be able to compare notes, as it were, with somebody else that is free from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: You will never know about your death as said Greek philosopher Epictetus, when I am death is not, when death exist I am not. So me and death will never meet.
RICHARD: Well now, Mr Epictetus was just plain wrong ... did you get this wisdom from your grandfather’s professorial studies of ancient Geek and Latin?
RESPONDENT: Enjoy your life and that’s all.
RICHARD: Ahh ... there is much, much more than ‘enjoy your life and that’s all’ to being a human being ... here in this actual world lies the ‘meaning of life’ (or ‘the purpose of existence’ or ‘the riddle of the universe’ or whatever the human quest may be called).
RESPONDENT: You are spending your life for the fear of life so you may die tomorrow and everything will be finish.
RICHARD: Or, alternatively, ‘you’ can cease waiting for tomorrow and die now and get it over and done with ... then the answer to the ‘who are we, where do we come from, where are we going to’ question which has plagued philosophers down through the centuries will be experientially self-evident for the remainder of one’s life.
RESPONDENT: Live and enjoy your life, everything else is nonsense.
RICHARD: I would not call the pristine purity, of the peerless perfection the infinitude this material universe actually is, ‘nonsense’ ... but, then again, I am biased in this regard.
Irredeemably biased, in fact.
RESPONDENT: Even this actual freedom is a way to escape from your dissatisfaction.
RICHARD: My word it is ‘a way to escape’ ... and not only from ‘dissatisfaction’ but the whole sorry mess.
RESPONDENT: One SSRI will make the trick.
RICHARD: Ha ... the pharmacological cure, eh? However, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram, lorazepam, imipramine, nortriptyline, to mention but a few of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can have side effects such as an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); an irregular heartbeat or pulse; low blood pressure (dizziness, weakness); high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision); chills or fever; unusual bleeding or bruising; a rash or hives; headache, tremor, nervousness, or anxiety; difficulty concentrating; nausea, diarrhoea, dry mouth, or changes in appetite or weight; weakness; increased sweating; sleepiness or insomnia and decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm, for example.
Plus malice and sorrow (and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion) can, and do, still rear their ugly heads ... needless is it to say that there are no such side effects in the purity of the perfection of this actual world?
The main side-effect of an actual freedom from the human condition is peace-on-earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body only.
RESPONDENT: I should like to see you in the middle of Manhattan working till the night and then I should like to see you philosophising about life.
RICHARD: When I read through the discussion (as delineated further above) I do not see any ‘philosophising about life’ ... what I see is an exchange of practical information, reminders, tips, hints, suggestions, clues, and so on, regarding what works and what does not.
As for ‘the middle of Manhattan working till the night’ ... I could be in solitary confinement in some insalubrious penitentiary living on bread and water and still be happy and harmless (free from malice and sorrow and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion) as that is the target which the identity within all those years ago set as a criterion of success.
Of course I would have to be pretty silly to behave in such a manner as to occasion that life-style ... yet the validation-benchmark remains cogent to this very day.
It is all so simple here.
RESPONDENT: I have the impression or rather I noticed that if one is in the same moment using all his senses _IN THE SAME MOMENT_ including the following of thought, then there is not one ‘I’ in operation. Unless all the senses are working contemporarily there is one ‘I’. Have any body else noticed that?
RICHARD: All the sense organs, including the proprioceptive sensors , work contemporarily irregardless of whether there is an identity inhabiting the body ... perception can only operate at this moment anyway as no other moment is actual.
It could be that you are referring to attention (being attentive to what is already happening): you say ‘including the following of thought’ ... what about attentiveness to the feelings (as in ‘including the following of anxiety’ for instance) at this moment?
There is more to bringing about an abeyance of ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself) than the mere ‘following of thought’ ... much, much more.
Thought is but the tip of the iceberg ... the ‘presence’ within runs deep.
RESPONDENT: I have the impression or rather I noticed that if one is in the same moment using all his senses _IN THE SAME MOMENT_ including the following of thought, then there is not one ‘I’ in operation. Unless all the senses are working contemporarily there is one ‘I’. Have any body else noticed that?
RICHARD: All the sense organs, including the proprioceptive sensors, work contemporarily irregardless of whether there is an identity inhabiting the body ... perception can only operate at this moment anyway as no other moment is actual. It could be that you are referring to attention (being attentive to what is already happening): you say ‘including the following of thought’ ... what about attentiveness to the feelings (as in ‘including the following of anxiety’ for instance) at this moment? There is more to bringing about an abeyance of ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself) than the mere ‘following of thought’ ... much, much more. Thought is but the tip of the iceberg ... the ‘presence’ within runs deep.
RESPONDENT: Thank you very much for answering in detail. You are right I was referring to attention, being attentive to what is already happening, in other words being aware of all the senses, in the same moment (contemporaneously, synchronously), for example looking hearing all the sounds together like listening to one orchestra, feeling the body’s weight on the chair and at the same moment be aware of thought like another sound. This is easier saying it that done it. But when one is able to be aware of all the senses contemporaneously, then seems to me that the ‘I’ in the head the ego, that is the half self, disappears. You think I am right or wrong?
RICHARD: When the ego-self disappears it merges with the soul-self/spirit-self and undergoes a rapid expansion until it is all that is (often capitalised as All That Is): the resultant state is an altered state of consciousness (ASC) popularly known as spiritual enlightenment wherein one realises that one is God (or Self or Truth or Being or Presence by whatever name).
There is no mistaking this grandiose state ... if someone has to ask whether they have experienced enlightenment or not it is more than likely they have not. However, it is possible to experience being a quiescent ego-self and take this quiescence as being an ASC ... even though enlightenment itself is a delusion – a massive delusion – it is a vastly different delusion than the delusion of being enlightened when one is not.
Most of the spiritual teachers around the world today are not deluded enough to be enlightened (fully enlightened) – they tend to be called ‘illuminated’, or ‘self-realised’ or ‘awakened’ – and the current batch of Neo-Advaitist self-realisers are a good example of this.
RESPONDENT: Lets call what I am saying holistic perception with attention.
RICHARD: Okay ... whereas Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti (whom you say elsewhere you have read for ten years) calls the fully deluded state of being known as spiritual enlightenment ‘choiceless awareness’.
RESPONDENT: I have noticed also that if only one or two senses are in operation (I mean if someone is aware of one or two senses only, because the senses are in operation all of them, regardless if one is aware or not), then the ‘I’ is in operation judging, saying this is nice this is ugly I prefer this etc.
RICHARD: Hmm ... even though being non-judgemental is a well-known spiritual teaching it is not a hall-mark of enlightenment as the enlightened ones are as judgemental as all get-out: take Mr. Gotama the Sakyan, for example, whose judgement was that not only being alive as a flesh and blood body sucks but that the entire universe was the pits (as in ‘all existence is dukkha’).
Generally speaking enlightened beings do not like being here on this verdant and azure planet ... either now or at any other time.
RESPONDENT: Another thing that I should like to talk with you is the following. Few years ago dawn on me that the nature we see around us, is not really the way it is. Because if I look at a bird for example, I don’t see the actual bird. This thing that I call bird (even if it is not a thing), is sending photons in my retina.
RICHARD: Or, more correctly, the pigmentation of the bird’s feathers absorbs some of the spectrum of the sun’s radiation, or light waves, and deflects the remainder (which impinge upon the photosensitive receptors in the eye).
Interestingly enough most of the blue and green of bird feathers is due to an optical phenomenon called scattering (known as ‘Rayleigh Scattering’) and not pigmentation ... but that is another story.
RESPONDENT: Irrespectively of the process that follows (electrical signals etc) I see what the brain is decoding, if I can use this word decoding. And all these happens in a small area of the brain which is in the dark.
RICHARD: A part of the process you call decoding happens in the eye itself (there are upwards of 7 million cone-shaped receptors in the retina which detect fine detail and colour) ... and it is helpful for an understanding to comprehend that the eyes are the brain on stalks, as it were, and are not separate from the brain itself.
The same applies to all the senses: those medical textbooks which have transparent pages whereby layer after layer (first the skin then the muscles and so on) can be lifted off a diagrammatic body, as the pages are turned, until only the skeleton remains demonstrate this quite clearly.
RESPONDENT: That means that 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.
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.
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).
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.
RESPONDENT: I am saying all these things, because it seems to me that we are co-creators in the universe.
RICHARD: The universe was here long before you or I arrived on the scene – and will be here long after we are not here – replete with the property of light known as wavelength.
The eye does not create colour any more than placing an elbow into water creates hotness or coldness ... the eye determines what particular wavelength an object is deflecting (and, by default, what it is absorbing), just as an elbow detects the degree of molecular excitation of water, and that particular wavelength is called either red, or blue, or yellow, and so on, just as the molecular excitation of water is called cold, cool, warm, hot, or any other gradation.
RESPONDENT: Without our brains can not take place creation.
RICHARD: This is verging upon solipsism ... there are peoples who say that the tree itself does not exist until they look at it. And pointing out the fact that anyone looking at that particular bit of space on this planet ‘creates’ the self-same tree (a pine tree for instance) usually has no effect on dislodging them from their belief.
Is a dog lifting its leg upon a tree urinating into empty space ... and if so why do other dogs consistently pick that bit of vacant space to relieve themselves into?
Or, to put that another way, why do solipsists rush about the countryside ‘creating’ trees for the dogs?
RESPONDENT: We are the universe creating its own self and experiencing it’s self.
RICHARD: The planet earth not only grows vegetation it also grows people – and all other sentient beings – and, as such, the universe can experience itself as a sensate and reflective human being (just as it also experiences itself as a cat or a dog and so on).
RESPONDENT: Why the hell this is not enough so send to hell the ‘I’ and the me?
RICHARD: Generally speaking because the identity within feels that it knows better than the universe just what is going on ... it could be called hubris.
The extreme version of this arrogance shows up most clearly in spiritual enlightenment: ‘I am God; God creates (or created) the universe; therefore I create (or created) the universe’.
RESPONDENT: When I was young (I am now 55) I suffered from paroxysmic tachycardia (I don’t know if I spell it right). When I was bending, or jumping not always but sometimes, my heart was rising up to 180 pulses. That create in me one insecurity and that insecurity create agoraphobia. Now for the last 25 years with a medicine (beta blockers) didn’t happened any more, but the agoraphobia is rooted, became a conditioned reflex.
RICHARD: A conditioned reflex can be un-conditioned (as can all conditioning) and the quickest and most efficacious way to cure any phobia is to just do it. For example, back when I was a father two of my then children, aged about two and three, had an intense aversion to water (they would play around at the water’s edge but not venture over their ankles). Eventually, after trying all manner of therapeutical techniques that their mother had faith in, one sunny afternoon I picked them up and, tucking them firmly under both arms, waded out until the water was above their heads and let them go (I was but 22 years of age at the time and knew nothing of psychologising).
Their mother was on the shore having hysterics, and calling all kinds of imprecations down upon my head, and the two children screamed and wailed, and spluttered and sputtered, and thrashed and flailed about with stark panic patently evident in their eyes ... but to no avail: I was relentless.
They were cured of their phobia within 30-60 seconds and have thoroughly enjoyed swimming, diving, surfing, boating, and all water sports, ever since ... a couple of years ago the eldest of the siblings (now a 36 year old adult with children) reminded me of the event saying that it was the best thing ever to happen and that pandering to symptoms only reinforced and consolidated the disease.
I have since read of people being cured, permanently, of all manner of phobias in a like manner.
RESPONDENT: Also that created for me one anxiety, because I lost my career (I have studied economics in the university of Palermo in Italy). For this reason I am taking 10 mg of Seroxat, is a medicine belonging in the SSRI family, like Prozac, I am sure you know them.
RICHARD: Nope ... I simply looked the topic up, for my last e-mail to you, and copy-pasted the names and side-effects into a paragraph of my own making.
I have had to learn about all manner of things since going public with my discovery.
RESPONDENT: They give more serotonin in the brain. So is actualism for me?
RICHARD: First cure yourself of agoraphobia ... I have clearly stated, in the left-click disclaimer on The Actual Freedom Trust home page, that actualism is for a normal person, a sensible human being who understands what a word means, who has learned to function in society with all its the legal laws and the social protocols, and is a reasonably ‘well-adjusted’ personality seeking to find ultimate fulfilment and complete satisfaction.
Actualism is of no use to one who is harbouring a neurotic or psychotic condition ... or who is an uneducated social misfit with a chip on their shoulder. Such a person is well-advised to see a counsellor, a therapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist or an educator ... or attend classes on citizenship and cultural etiquette before even bothering to try to unravel the mess that is the human condition.
I say this because when a normal person becomes neurotic or psychotic it is because they have found the pressures of life too much to handle and have chosen for neurosis or psychosis as their way out. As strange as it may sound, to normal people, they are comfortable with their modus operandi and have no interest in budging one iota from their position ... despite their pleas for help (a part of their strategy).
It may initially sound like ‘hard nails’ on my account ... but counsellors and therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists are the best people for the job of managing their condition.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for answering. I should like to discuss a little bit more if you don’t mind about the subject that we don’t perceive reality the way it really is.
RICHARD: So as to clarify something before going too much further: do you comprehend what the word ‘derealisation’ means when I say it is an appropriate term for a flesh and blood body that is actually free from the human condition? Vis.:
The reason why I ask is because in the English language the prefix ‘de-’ means with privative sense – denoting the removal of or lack of some attribute normally present; generally characterised by the absence of a quality – and in this context it means that reality, as experienced by maybe 6.0 billion peoples, is no longer extant ... ‘twas but an illusion.
Thus by having a discussion with me about how ‘we don’t perceive reality the way it really is’ you are talking to somebody about something which has no existence here in this actual world ... never has and never will.
RESPONDENT: First I must state that when I use the word brain, I mean the whole organism. The organism, the body is inseparable. The different parts of the body are not joined between them, they are a whole. I can’t perceive a tree for example without eyes but I can’t perceive it without a heart as well.
RICHARD: As a body sans heart is a dead body it is but a truism that perception cannot occur without the heart ... yet perception can occur without a range of organs (a lung, a kidney, an eye, an ear, a tongue, a finger, a hand, an arm, a foot, a leg, and so on).
Moreover, a tree can indeed be perceived without the eyes – blind people do it all the time all around the world – it only cannot be *visually* perceived without eyes.
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)?
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.
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?
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.
This identity (‘I’/‘me’) is forever cut-off from the actual ... from the world as-it-is.
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 ... and, lastly, what this argument ignores is that the human animal cannot detect what some other animals can (infrared radiation for example): if the human animal could detect what some other animals can there would be people trying to make the case that the universe is really ... um ... infrared-less as well (not to mention radio-wave-less, x-ray-less, gamma-ray-less and so on).
‘Tis an anthropocentric philosophy and, as such, has no correlation with what is actually happening at all.
RESPONDENT: I copy and paste: [quote]: ‘To modern neuroscience, the real concept of perception started to develop when Weber and Fechner discovered that our sensory system draws out four basic attributes from a stimulus: modality, intensity, duration and location.
We do not accept, nowadays, as it happened in the past, that our perceptive world is just the plain result of an encounter between a ‘naive’ brain and the physical properties of a stimulus. Actually, perceptions differ, in quality, from those physical characteristics, because the brain extracts an information from the stimulus and interprets it, according to previous similar experiences.
We experiment electromagnetic waves, not as waves, but as images and colours. We experiment vibrating objects, not as vibrations, but as sounds. We experiment chemical compounds dissolved in air or water, not as chemicals, but as specific smells and tastes. Colours, sounds, smells and tastes are products of our minds, built from sensory experiences. They do not exist, as such, outside our brain. Actually, the universe is colourless, inodorous, insipid and silent. Therefore, we can now answer one of the questions of traditional philosophy: Does a sound exist when a tree falls in a forest, if nobody is present to hear it? No, the fall of the tree only creates vibrations. The sound occurs if vibrations are perceived by a living being.
Information from the environment or from the body itself, is picked up by the sensory systems and utilized by the brain for perception, regulating corporeal movements and maintaining arousal. A sensory system starts to work when a stimulus, usually from the outside world, is detected by a sensitive neuron, the first sensorial receptor. This receptor converts the physical expression of the stimulus (light, sound, heat, pressure, taste, smell) into action potentials , which transforms it into electric signs. From there, the signs are conducted to a nearby area of primary processing, where the initial characteristics of the information are elaborated, according to the nature of the original stimulus: colour, shape, distance, shade, etc. Then, the already modified information is transmitted to zones of secondary processing in the thalamus (if originated by olfactory stimuli, it is processed in the olfactory bulbs and then directly conducted to the medial area of the temporal lobe).
In the thalamic zones, older data, originated from both the cortex and the limbic system and containing similar experiences, link to the new information, in order to form a message, which is carried to its specific cortical centre. There, the meaning and importance of the new detected stimulus are determined by a conscious process of identification called perception.
But, what do we perceive?
We perceive the environment around us, by means of our sensory systems. Each system is nominated according to the type of the information it is related to: vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell and gravity. The last one is associated with the sense of balance. Sensitive receptors capture proprioceptive stimuli which indicate the position of the body as a whole and of its segments, while other fine receptors, called kinaesthetic, control our movements, helping us to walk, run and perform other kinetic activities, in a safe and co-ordinated way. Still more refined sensors get special information, like temperature, sexual arousal and blood volume. Each particular sensory system also distinguishes the qualities of the detected signal. This is why we perceive light in terms of colour and brightness and can tell the tone and highness of a sound. Taste indicates whether a food is suit, bitter or salty. Touch receptors allow us to distinguish how sensations act on our skin: by pressure or by vibration. And, finally, special receptors inform us about the intensity of each stimulus, while others tell us where the stimulus came from, when it started and for how long it will remain.
Although two human beings share the same genetic and biological architecture and function, perhaps what I perceive as a distinct colour and smell is not exactly equal to the colour and smell you perceive. We give the same name to this perception but we cannot know how they relate to the reality of the outside world. Perhaps we never will’. (Prof. Jorge Martins de Oliveira PhD).
RICHARD: I notice that Mr. Jorge Martins de Oliveira also refers to [quote] ‘the outside world’ [endquote] and not this actual world ... thus he too can never know the physical world as it actually is.
He also brings in the interpretation of sensory perception with [quote] ‘previous similar experiences’ [endquote] to make his point that [quote] ‘perceptions differ’ [endquote] ... yet sensate perception has nothing to do with previous experience as sensate perception is direct, immediate (sensate perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary).
In short: sensate perception is indeed [quote] ‘naive’ [endquote].
As for him now being able to answer one of the questions of traditional philosophy (‘does a sound exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to hear it? No, the fall of the tree only creates vibrations’): it could equally be said that the leaves of the falling tree are not green, either, unless there be somebody present to see them. Vis.:
The same could be said about, say, a maple tree:
What about the texture of the bark? Vis.:
I will leave that one for you to answer ... here is another one for you:
I will remind you of this, to take into account, as you consider the question:
You see, scientific investigation shows that upwards of 130 million rod-shaped receptors in the retina *detect* movement: however, under your philosophy the brain *creates* movement ... thus no tree can fall in a forest unless somebody be present to *create* the movement called ‘falling’.
Yet the tree does indeed fall (else trees lying uprooted on the ground and/or aged logs are miraculous events). Therefore, this is what the hoary philosophical question would look like to a person asking the question sensibly:
The same applies to length, breadth and width:
I could go on ... but maybe that will suffice for now to demonstrate that his observations, just like yours, do nothing to make your case valid.
RESPONDENT: I remember that the last paragraph, about if we see the same colour took one year of my life when I was 16 or 17 and I could not give one answer.
RICHARD: Here are the two answers you provided in your previous e-mail:
Did you notice, 38-39 years ago, that Mr. Jorge Martins de Oliveira qualifies his statements with ‘perhaps’? Vis.:
Also, just as I said ‘the precise hue’ varies from person-to-person so too does he say ‘not exactly equal’ ... which is quite different from what you make of it (as in ‘like having a different colour’ further above).
A ‘different colour’ would be blue, for example.
RESPONDENT: The above imply that if a dog is eating something smelly to us, perhaps this smelly thing is interpreted from dog’s brain like something beautiful.
RICHARD: Something ‘tasty’ would be a better expression ... plus you are straying from your argument here – of not being able to perceive the physical world as it actually is – as there is quite a difference between perception and the utilisation of perception (whether something perceived be tasty or not).
RESPONDENT: Or a flower which does not smell for us, is smelling for some insects.
RICHARD: And a dog hears a higher pitch than humans (and so on through all the animals) yet all that is happening is that different sentient beings are detecting some properties of the universe which the human animal cannot detect without instrumentation.
RESPONDENT: So if I close my eyes the tree will not be green.
RICHARD: The leaves of the tree are not green even with your eyes open ... no object has an inherent colour, as it were, as colour (wavelength) is a property of light. I pointed this out in the previous e-mail:
RESPONDENT: Please pay attention because I am making one effort to explain my self and especially in one foreign language.
RICHARD: If I may point out? I have been paying attention all along – I responded to each and every one of the points you raised (as re-presented just above for an example) – the question is: have you?
RESPONDENT: So the tree will not be green for me.
RICHARD: Yet the leaves of the tree never were green for you – or anybody else – as the greenness of leaves is due to chlorophyll deflecting a particular wavelength of the sun’s radiant energy.
Put simply: it is the particular wavelength which is green.
RESPONDENT: Will be for you if you look at it, but if I touch it, it will be colourless for me ...
RICHARD: Since when has touch (aka cutaneous perception) detected colour?
RESPONDENT: ... or rather I can say nothing about it’s colour.
RICHARD: Not directly – and neither can a blind person – yet, even so, a particular wavelength of the sun’s radiant energy continues to be deflected by the chlorophyll pigmentation irregardless whether there be a perceiver or not ... which wavelength, both when a blind person has their sight surgically restored and when you open your eyes again, will be detected as being green.
RESPONDENT: It will continue to transmit photons and a certain light wavelength ...
RICHARD: Aye, ‘tis remarkably consistent process and, more pertinently, a process that is not dependent upon you at all.
RESPONDENT: ... but the universe (tree) will not experience any more it’s self in this form (colour) through this human been (me) this moment (now).
RICHARD: So what? Tens of thousands human beings are blind all around the world ... yet you close your eyes for a moment and think that the universe is ‘dying with you for you’ (as you propose further below) because of that action?
RESPONDENT: I can’t explain it better.
RICHARD: First of all the universe does not experience itself ‘through’ a human being: it experiences itself *as* a human being (and as cats and dogs and so on) ... only the identity within the flesh and blood body experiences itself, and its reality, ‘through’ a human being.
What I am reminded of, with all this you are proposing, is children before the age of four to four-and-a-half years of age playing peek-a-boo: when they close their eyes they earnestly believe that the other person really disappears (ceases to be there). Now, obviously, and just like for a blind person, when your eyes are shut the deflected wavelength of light known as green cannot be seen (just as for a deaf person the sound of a tree falling cannot be heard) yet even so, just as something can be said about lots of things in absentia, something can be indeed said about its colour.
To wit: (provided it be an evergreen) its colour is green.
If the tree be deciduous, and if it be autumn, then because the days have become shorter and the nights have grown longer, and the temperature has slowly dropped, the tree has responded to the decreasing amount of sunlight and warmth by producing less and less chlorophyll: eventually the tree stops producing chlorophyll completely ... and when that happens the carotenoid (which deflects the yellow and orange wavelengths) already in the leaves, and the anthocyanins (which deflect the red wavelength) produced as autumn progresses, can finally show their colours. In other words: with the green mask of chlorophyll gone, the leaves deflect bright glowing yellows, deep reds, sparkling oranges and warm browns.
Ain’t life grand!
RESPONDENT: The funny thing is that we will never be able to know this underlying reality, because even if we look though telescopes or microscopes, always we are obliged to translate signals, always everything will be translate from the brain.
RICHARD: Presumably by ‘this underlying reality’ you are referring to Mr. Immanuel Kant’s noumenon (an object of purely intellectual intuition, devoid of all phenomenal attributes ? If so, the reason why it can never be known is because it just does not exist outside of his philosophising.
RESPONDENT: So now we arrive to the absurd question when I die will the universe continue to exist?
RICHARD: Yes, it will indeed continue to exist: having been on this planet well over half a century I have known of many people dying ... and the universe has gone right on continuing to exist.
There is no reason to suppose that when you die it will be any different ... perhaps you could put it in your will that someone who knows you is to write to The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list, upon your demise, to inform of the event and the peoples subscribed can confer with each other so as to ascertain whether the universe still exists without you?
RESPONDENT: Seems a silly question, but if you answer yes, this is a thought ...
RICHARD: Yet it is reasoned thought, sensible thought, practical thought, judicious thought, matter-of-fact thought, down-to-earth thought ... in short: it is intelligence in action.
RESPONDENT: ... and one answer that you give now that you are alive.
RICHARD: Indeed ... anybody alive can ascertain that the universe has been here for as long as they have been alive: before that, one can refer to the reports given by one’s parents (for example) preceding one’s birth ... and, unless one is paranoid – thinking that there is a conspiracy by one’s parents to deceive one – then it is obvious that this universe has been here for all those years.
And, unless one wishes to be solipsistic and believe that this universe came into being when one was born (complete with 6.0 billion people whose sole aim in life is to convince you that it was here before you were born when it was not) then it is equally obvious that this universe has been here all throughout human history.
As for before human history: palaeontology evidences that this universe has been here all throughout human pre-history. Before that? Unless one is a religious cosmogonist (believing in a ‘Creation’) or a scientific cosmogonist (believing in a ‘Big Bang’) then it is obvious that this universe has always been here. As it has always been here ... it always will be here.
Observation renders belief redundant.
RESPONDENT: When you die you will not be able even to ask the question.
RICHARD: True ... if one does not find out now, whilst one is alive, one never will as death is the end, finish.
RESPONDENT: Can you say that something exist if you are not able to perceive it?
RICHARD: Yes ... for example I am not perceiving the Greek island of Corfu at this moment yet I can readily say that it exists (else there is a giant conspiracy going on wherein many, many peoples are out to deceive me).
To be more specific: over the years I had heard about and read about and had seen film about a place called Madras (and saw it marked on maps): one fine day I entered into a large alloy tube and watched an in-flight movie whilst it was hurtling through the air ... when the large alloy tube stopped moving I stepped out and found myself in a place that was amazingly similar to all that I had heard about and read about and had seen film about.
In a like manner I have heard about and read about and seen film about the Greek island of Corfu ... I do not have to go there, let alone be there, to say that it exists.
RESPONDENT: I think the answer is that the universe is dying with you for you.
RESPONDENT: I think there are so many universes as many people there are.
RICHARD: There is only one actual universe ... what could be said, at a pinch, is that there are as many realities plastered over this actual world as there are people. Even so those realities are quite similar ... just try driving on the incorrect side of the road in your ‘universe’ and see what happens.
It would be a fair bet to say you will smash into a car from another person’s ‘universe’.
RESPONDENT: If I am looking at a tree and you are looking at the same tree, we have the impression that we are looking at the same tree.
RICHARD: That would be because it is the same tree.... you even said so yourself. Vis.:
RESPONDENT: But what I see from my position, is different from what you see from your position. We occupy different space. We see it from different angles. The same happens with a chair.
RICHARD: No matter where this person, or that person, is looking at an object from it is still the same object.
RESPONDENT: But we think we are seeing the same thing because of the name.
RICHARD: No, this person and that person know they are seeing the same thing because it *is* the same thing ... the name of the thing is merely a convenient and mutually agreed-upon way to refer to it without having to launch into long descriptions of the object in question each time around.
RESPONDENT: If I look at a chair from front or from back is always the same chair for me ...
RICHARD: If I may interject? Where this person is looking at an object from the front, and that person is looking at the object from the back, it is the same object.
RESPONDENT: ... because I have given the name chair which does not change (the name).
RICHARD: No, because it is the same object which does not change ... whereas there are possibly as many names for the object, called ‘chair’ in English, as there are languages.
RESPONDENT: Sorry for tiring you one last question. Can you tell me please and give me one example, when we ask the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ and the answer is for example I am angry, then what?
RICHARD: Then one has something to look at to find out why one is wasting this moment of being alive – the only moment one is ever actually alive – being angry.
RESPONDENT: I know the reason and I know that I am angry so then how we proceed?
RICHARD: 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: Please be a little detailed about it.
RICHARD: Sure ... 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.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard's Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.