Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

with Correspondent No. 60

September 11 2004

RICHARD: ... and the warm summer sun on the back of the neck is bathing everything in this wondrous playground we all live in with its friendly embrace. Ain’t life grand!

RESPONDENT: Ah, to be sure!

This description has the ambience of that day, nearly two summers ago now. I remember now that even the passing cars seemed to be pleased with themselves, as if they were amused and delighted by their own brilliant colours and curves. (Every street was Easy Street that day! How unreal* it was).

I think for now I’ll just put this issue of imagination aside. It sure wasn’t important that day, and it was a magical day – so I guess that ought to tell me something.

*) Unreal. To an Australian kid in the 70s, the word ‘unreal’ meant excellent, marvellous, great, fantastic, wonderful.

RICHARD: I am pleased you not only recognise the ambience from the description but also recall that, it being a magical day, imagination was not important ... and indeed that (your own experience) ought to tell you something.

Before you do put the issue of imagination aside, however, I would draw your attention to the following (for reasons which will become apparent):

• [Respondent]: ‘In some ways the brain cannot even tell the difference between events in ‘mindspace’ and events in physical space. Eg. (this was relayed to me second hand, so I’m not 100% sure of the details but I’m sure of the conclusion): in a recent experiment, some people were taught to play certain melodies on a flute, while another group were told to simply imagine themselves playing these melodies (visualising the fingerings precisely as they ought to be). At the conclusion of the experiment, the actual neural hardware of both groups had changed in the same way (i.e. new neurons and connections between them had formed in the same areas of the brain). (Monday 6/09/2004 AEST).

As you specifically refer to ‘melodies on a flute’ then what was relayed to you second-hand probably came from a TV programme aired only 10 days before you posted your e-mail (on the weekly Australian TV programme ‘Catalyst’) entitled ‘Baroness and the Brain’.

However, the experiment mentioned in that programme was not about flute-playing but piano-playing – and a simple one-handed five-finger exercise at that (for two hours a day over a five-day period) – designed to study, via trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the role of plastic changes in the human motor system in the acquisition of new fine-motor skills ... specifically the modulation of the cortical motor areas targeting the contralateral long finger flexor and extensor muscles.

The reason I am cognisant of all this is because I watched that programme and, because the scenario presented was so implausible (and because ‘Catalyst’ has presented many such quasi-scientific shows before), I did a little research. The baroness referred to in the title is Ms. Susan Greenfield, a professor of physiology awarded a life-peerage in 2001 and a (current) government-sponsored ‘Thinker In Residence’ at the University Of South Australia, who has attracted both praise and criticism over the years for being a populist speaker-educator on neuroscience. Here is an example of the criticism (from ‘The Observer’):

• ‘With fame, she [Ms. Susan Greenfield] has become detached from all the processes of scrutiny and quality control that scientists use when they communicate with each other through papers or whatever’, says one of her scientific contemporaries, who insists on anonymity. ‘A lot of what she says does not pass muster academically. Britain is very strong on neuroscience and compared to the leaders in the field, she is simply not in the same league. She is never cited in research papers’. (Sean O’Hagan; Sunday September 7, 2003;,3858,4748159-108966,00.html).

And here is the relevant portion of the ‘Baroness and the Brain’ programme:

• [Narration]: Susan Greenfield is one of the world’s most eminent brain scientists. Thanks to her gift for making neuroscience understandable she’s been made a Baroness. She’s also a professor at Oxford University, in Britain (...).
• [Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield]: There’s a really interesting study looking a brain scans of people who unlike these girls [several girls are pictured playing the flute on the TV screen] have never played a musical instrument before.
• [Narration]: If the experiment was done on these girls they’d be divided into three groups. The first would be shown an instrument but not taught to play – they’re the control group. The second group would be taught simple 5 finger exercises and told to practise them daily. The third group would be taught the five finger exercises but simply told to imagine practising. In the original study, after 5 days their brains were scanned to see if there’d been any change. The control group showed no change in their brain connections.
• [Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield]: However the group that were shown the five finger piano exercises// over five days their brains show a different pattern. The area of the brain that relates to the fingers gets bigger.
• [Narration]: So by practising they could physically change their brain connections, making them bigger and better.
• [Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield]: But more remarkable than that the group that just had to imagine they were doing it also show a similar change in their brain scans.
• [Narration]: So in theory this means we all have the power to improve brain connections just by thinking about it.
• [Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield]: I think people have always known that your mindset is the most important thing ... uh ... it’s like I said to a kid once in England ‘Why don’t you just pretend you’re clever?’ ... so we know that the way you see yourself can effect both your physical and mental performance. What is reassuring I think for people though who are not used to the neuroscience’s is to see that there are physical ways that we know this is done and to show that it’s not just hand waving, it’s not just airy fairy stuff. (

The [quote] ‘really interesting study’ [endquote] she referred to can be found both at PubMed and in the Journal of Neurophysiology:

The study has been cited many times ... here is but one instance:

• ‘Using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), Pascual-Leone et al. [4] demonstrated how plastic changes in the cerebral cortex during the acquisition of new fine motor skills occur within only five days. Subjects who learned the one-handed, five-finger exercise through daily 2-hour piano practice sessions, enlarged their cortical motor areas targeting the long finger flexor and extensor muscles, and decreased their activation threshold. Furthermore, the study provided evidence that the changes were specifically limited to the cortical representation of the hand used in the exercise, and that the changes take place regardless whether the training had been performed physically, or mentally only. [4]Pascual-Leone, A, Dang, N, Cohen, LG, Brasil-Neto, JP, Cammarota, A, & Hallett, M: Modulation of muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation during the acquisition of new fine motor skills J Neurophysiol 1995, 74(3):10371045’. (

And here is a paragraph from an on-line article which refers to a media report on the study:

• ‘Recently Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a scientist at the National Institute of Health, studying the brain, found that we acquire new skills in surprising ways. Using five finger piano exercises, he found that the brain’s motor maps of the hand more than tripled for those who did goal oriented practice on the piano. Those who spent the same time just hitting keys showed little or no brain effects. The most surprising effect came from a third group who simply practiced by imagination. ‘They ... were only allowed to rehearse mentally – not manually – while looking at the key board. After five days the brains of these people were identical to those who had manually practiced ... The same cell networks involved in executing a task are also involved in imagining it’ [from Chase, Marilyn. ‘Inner Music, Imagination May Play Role in How the Brain Learns Muscle Control,’ The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 1993, pages 1 and A13]’. (

The abstract of the study itself can be found here:

Here is the relevant portion of that abstract (straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were, and not what others have made of it):

• ‘Over the course of 5 days, mental practice alone led to significant improvement in the performance of the five-finger exercise, but the improvement was significantly less than that produced by physical practice alone. However, mental practice alone led to the same plastic changes in the motor system as those occurring with the acquisition of the skill by repeated physical practice (...) Mental practice alone seems to be sufficient to promote the modulation of neural circuits involved in the early stages of motor skill learning. This modulation not only results in marked performance improvement, but also seems to place the subjects at an advantage for further skill learning with minimal physical practice. (‘Modulation of Muscle Responses Evoked by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation During the Acquisition of New Fine Motor Skills’. Pascual-Leone, Alvaro, Nguyet Dang, Leonardo G. Cohen, Joaquim P. Brasil-Neto, Angel Cammarota, and Mark Hallett).

‘Nuff said?

November 03 2004

RESPONDENT: (...) I am still at a loss to understand how or why a relativistic universe and a universe in which space and time are absolute would present themselves any differently to the human senses. Regardless of whether one is having a PCE or not, if there is no discernible difference between the ways in which a relativistic and non-relativistic universe would present themselves to the senses under ordinary circumstances here on Earth (and indeed that is what relativity would predict), precisely what faculty is it that allows an actualist to say with certainty: space and time are absolute?

RICHARD: First of all, in physics to say that ‘space and time are absolute’ (aka universal) is to say that length, time, and mass are independent of the relative motion of the observer (as determined in the Galilean/Newtonian transformation equations) whereas to say that ‘space and time are not absolute’ (not universal) is to say that length, time, and mass depend upon the relative motion of the observer (as determined in the Lorentz transformation equations) and the observed.

Thus to answer your question as-is: the faculty which allows an actualist to say with certainty that space and time are absolute/universal is the faculty of reason ... ‘the ability to think out, think through, consider, deliberate, analyse, come to a conclusion about’ (Oxford Dictionary).

Howsoever, presuming that you might have been enquiring as to precisely what faculty it is that allows an actualist to say with certainty that space is infinite and time is eternal then the answer is: apperception.

And apperception – ‘the mind’s perception of itself’ (Oxford Dictionary) – occurs when identity in toto is absent and thus, by not being a centre to consciousness, is no longer creating a boundary to awareness.

November 03 2004

RESPONDENT: This is how things look from my piece of the real world: ‘Time’ and ‘temporal duration’ are one and the same thing.

RICHARD: Time as a convention – as in past/present/future – is one and the same thing as temporal duration: time as an actuality (as in time itself) is one and the same thing as temporal eternity.

RESPONDENT: It is no more conceivable to me that time could exist without temporal duration than that space could exist without volume.

RICHARD: Space as a convention – as in length/breadth/width – is one and the same thing as spatial volume: space as an actuality (as in space itself) is one and the same thing as spatial infinity.

RESPONDENT: One defines the other.

RICHARD: The measurement of one defines the other (as a convention).

RESPONDENT: One is the other!

RICHARD: The measure of one is only the other in the real world.

RESPONDENT: If time doesn’t have duration, why call it time?

RICHARD: For the same reason that space, whilst having no volume in actuality, is called space.

RESPONDENT: Why grant it [time] any existence at all?

RICHARD: For the same reason that space has existence: just as space itself (aka infinity) is the dimension, or arena/ area/ sphere/ realm/ domain or any other word of that ilk, in which matter – either as mass or energy – be extant so too is time itself (aka eternity) the dimension in which matter permutates.

RESPONDENT: How could it [time] be distinguished from space only?

RICHARD: Even though time and space (and matter) are seamless time can be distinguished from ‘space only’ inasmuch it is the dimension of periodicity and/or sequentiality.

[Editorial note: the word permutates refers to matter altering or changing its state, nature, properties, form, appearance, sequence, etcetera, in the dimension of eternal time ... as exemplified in the birth-growth-senescence-death sequence of events]

RESPONDENT: Richard, do you think it is even possible to understand this when one is not in a PCE?

RICHARD: As I recall the identity who used to inhabit this flesh and blood body would worry away at/puzzle over just what the actual nature of time and space (and matter) was after a pure consciousness experience (PCE) to no avail ... yet there was one thing ‘he’ did know: as ‘he’ was forever locked out of time and space as an actuality (aka eternity and infinity) there was only one thing to do.

To wit: get out of the way.

Hence what has now become known as the actualism method – asking oneself, each moment again, how one is experiencing this moment of being alive (the only moment one is ever alive) until it becomes a non-verbal attitude/a wordless approach to life – being first put into practice in January 1981.

RESPONDENT: I don’t seem able to.

RICHARD: There are some peoples who do ... the identity who used to inhabit this flesh and blood body did not have the words and writings on The Actual Freedom Trust web site and The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list to refer to/obtain affirmation and/or confirmation from.

Also (and to put in an opportune plug for one of the many benefits of a virtual freedom) it is a lot more comprehensible when identity has become decidedly thin around the edges.

December 23 2004

RESPONDENT: Richard, does the kind of non-affective liking you have for your fellow humans extend to other animals?

RICHARD: Yes ... all sentient beings.

RESPONDENT: Can you enjoy playing with a dog, for instance?

RICHARD: Yes, although I rarely do (more on this below). Besides which, by virtue of them being far, far, more mutually responsive, I prefer playing with my fellow human being ... and the same applies in regards a clear preference for adult interactions (rather than interacting with juveniles).

The latter is no big deal ... it mainly has to do with reciprocal interests (like recognises like).

RESPONDENT: Also, do animals react differently to you now that you’re actually free?

RICHARD: Yes ... by and large they stay away in droves; dogs, for example, hardly ever come out barking, chasing and snapping at the wheels of the bicycle, as I ride by their (owner’s) territory and I have not had a cat, for another instance, come unbidden and sit in my lap (whereas that was quite common ... common enough, in fact, for some persons to have remarked about it).

RESPONDENT: Are they puzzled by the absence of psychic ‘vibes’?

RICHARD: I do not know about ‘puzzled’ ... more like unresponsive; unmoved, indifferent.

January 28 2005

RESPONDENT: I remember Respondent No. 53 reporting a 4-hour PCE-like state, together with physical symptoms similar to Richard’s ‘process’.

RICHARD: Just to refresh your memory then:

• [Respondent No. 53]: ‘Richard, I was sleeping last night and having some dream and I got the sense that something was gonna happen and something was happening and I got this tightening feeling in the back of my head and at the top of my neck. Its still there almost 5 hours later. Right about where the back of the head curves down to the neck. This happened at about 3:20am. I woke up instantly and it was like my friend, who I was, was gone. But I am still very much here but perhaps in a different way. So far it feels like something has changed but nothing has changed. Make sense? Maybe not. I could elaborate but I will let some time pass. Anyways, since you are an expert in these affairs, perhaps you could tell me what you make of it, if anything’. (‘A question for the expert’; Sunday 16/11/2003 11:50 PM AEDST).

RESPONDENT: He asked Richard what its significance might be, and Richard’s response was ... less than friendly or helpful.

RICHARD: My response was written on Monday 22 November – in deference to the ‘I will let some time pass’ comment – and, of course, took into account what was written by my co-respondent in those eight days which followed ... here are but a few examples of that which was written in the period immediately after what you remember as being a ‘PCE-like state’ (and to which event you obviously consider my response could have been more friendly or helpful):

• [Respondent No. 53]: ‘Whether that particular freedom [being ‘free of the human condition’] is any different than the ‘freedoms’ lived by the countless other searchers since the beginning of time, *I don’t know*’. [emphasis added]. (Tuesday 18/11/2003 5:47 AM AEDST).
• [Respondent No. 53]: ‘I am not sold on his instinctual passion theory. It may be fact for him and others but *I haven’t seen this for myself yet*. [emphasis added]. (Tuesday 18/11/2003 5:47 AM AEDST).
• [Respondent No. 53]: ‘Harmlessness; what is the actualist *definition* of harmlessness? [emphasis added]. (Friday 21/11/2003 6:37 AM AEDST).

Some of the outstanding characteristics of a pure consciousness experience (PCE) are that it is ... (a) patently obvious it be different than the freedoms lived by the countless other searchers since the beginning of time ... and (b) it is seen for oneself that the instinctual passions are indeed the root cause of all the ills of humankind ... and (c) having had direct experience of uncaused happiness and harmlessness there is no need to ask what it is (a truly marvellous freedom from sorrow and malice).

Just in case you might still prefer to consider it a ‘PCE-like state’ (and to which event you obviously consider my response could have been more friendly or helpful) you may care to consider the following:

• [Respondent No. 53]: ‘Richard, in *all his self-aggrandizing glory*, states that today was a perfect day and tomorrow will be as well’. [emphasis added]. (Friday 21/11/2003 6:37 AM AEDST).

And this:

• [Respondent No. 53]: ‘It boggles the mind to think that *one could possibly know* [whether what Richard has to report is true or not]. Really, it doesn’t matter to me whether he is the first or not or *what condition he is or isn’t in*’. [emphasises added]. (Friday 21/11/2003 6:37 AM AEDST).

This one is a doozie:

• [Respondent No. 53]: ‘As to why one would make such a statement [that today was a perfect day and tomorrow will be as well], *I wouldn’t know* ...’. [emphasis added]. (Friday 21/11/2003 6:37 AM AEDST).

There is more of similar ilk ... but maybe you will have got the drift by now (and thus have a better understanding of why I responded as I did)?

RESPONDENT: As far as I can see, that was the turning point for both Respondent No. 53 and Respondent No. 56.

RICHARD: You have to be kidding, right?

February 01 2005

RESPONDENT: For my own sanity, I’m beginning to compile an informal catalogue of techniques, tactics and antics that I find most detrimental to mutual understanding.

RICHARD: As you have entitled this e-mail ‘The Art of the Mind-Fuck’ then pride of place, in your list of techniques, tactics and antics most detrimental to mutual understanding, would go to the technique/tactic/antic which could, perhaps, be described as a ‘reductio ad falsum’ argumentum, surely?

Here is the only definition of the (hyphenated) word ‘mind-fuck’ a search of all the dictionaries at my disposal could find:

• ‘mind-fuck: noun (offensive) a brainwashing’. (Macquarie Book of Slang).

To reify what is generally known as logical fallacies – such as the ‘strawman’ and the ‘ad hominen’ fallacies you refer to further on in your e-mail – into being a masterly virtuosity (the art) in a brainwashing (the mind-fuck) of one’s fellow human being cannot possibly be conducive to mutual understanding.

RESPONDENT: (...) The likelihood that new mindfucks will be discovered here is small.

RICHARD: Here is the only definition of the (non-hyphenated) word ‘mindfuck’ a search of all the dictionaries at my disposal could find:

• ‘mindfuck: (noun) a situation or person who gives one a mentally overwhelming and disorientating experience; (verb) to mentally confuse and overwhelm’. (‘A Dictionary of Slang’ by Ted Duckworth).

To reify what is generally known as logical fallacies (such as the ‘strawman’ and the ‘ad hominen’ fallacies you refer to further on in your e-mail) into being a masterly virtuosity in the giving of a mentally overwhelming and disorientating experience to one’s fellow human being cannot possibly be conducive to mutual understanding.

RESPONDENT: Most of them are ancient, but there may be a few that are specific to actualism.

RICHARD: How on earth can actualism – the direct experience that matter is not merely passive – have a few logical fallacies that are specific to it?

RESPONDENT: If you repeatedly encounter a technique that drives you up the wall, let me know.

RICHARD: As no repeatedly encountered technique ever drives me up the wall I am unable to let you know of such ... and maybe, just maybe, therein lies a clue as to why the technique/tactic/antic you employed both in and by this e-mail escaped your attention prior to clicking ‘send’.

February 06 2005

RESPONDENT: Richard, you wrote: [quote] ‘I see that extracting myself from the Altered State Of Consciousness and finding out an alternative way of living, outside of any psychic consciousness at all, is the optimal choice, a freely selected way to live no matter how macabre and gruesome this transition phase is proceeding.’ (

I am intrigued by the words macabre and gruesome ...

RICHARD: The word ‘macabre’ comes from the Old French ‘macabré’

• ‘macabre: grim, gruesome; orig. in ‘dance macabre’ cf. ‘danse macabre’ [dance of macabre = danse macabre]. (Oxford Dictionary).

The following probably best describes its morbid connotation:

• ‘danse macabre: a medieval dance in which a skeleton representing death leads a procession of others to the grave; synonym: dance of death. (UltraLingua English Dictionary).

My use of the word ‘gruesome’ is to convey the sense of a grisly/ ghastly morbidness or a macabre preoccupation with death:

• ‘morbid thoughts/ details: gruesome, grisly, macabre, hideous, dreadful, horrible, unwholesome.
• ‘a morbid person: death-orientated, death-obsessed, death-fixated’. (Oxford Dictionary).

RESPONDENT: .... [I am intrigued by the words macabre and gruesome] and I’m curious as to which aspect of your new condition made you choose words that are usually (AFAIK) associated with fear, revulsion or horror, even though fear could not have been present.

RICHARD: Yes ... and I have elsewhere used the words ‘mental anguish’ to depict the cranial agitation which went on for 30+ months after the identity who used to inhabit this flesh and blood body expired. Here is an explanation of why:

• [Richard]: ‘... in 1992, when the break-through into this actual world occurred, the following thirty months or so were a time of intense brain agitation – neuronal excitation – which I have described before as being ‘mental anguish’ (not to be confused with emotional anguish) so as to convey the intensity of the cognisance that no body in human history had ever lived this up until now. That this disconcerting perplexity was only cerebral was evidenced by no sweaty palms, no increased heartbeat, no rapid breathing, no palpations in the solar plexus ... none of those things connected with ‘being’. If I were to look in a mirror during that period and ask ‘who am I’ there was no answer – not even ‘the silence that speaks louder than words’ that I had been experiencing for eleven years – yet the answer to ‘what am I’ was patently obvious and undeniable ... I am this body.
The cognitive agitation was in determining the validity of uncharted territory – 5,000 years of recorded history and perhaps 50,000 years of oral tradition made no mention of this dimension of human experience – for I was irreversibly plunked fair-square in the midst of either ‘insanity’ (the psychiatric model) or ‘the unknowable’ (the metaphysical model). In the context of metaphysical human experience this condition is only achievable after physical death: the Buddhists call it ‘Parinirvana’ and the Hindus call it ‘Mahasamadhi’.
This was no ‘dark night of the soul’ – which I knew from 1981 when enlightenment happened – this was something else ... beyond either psychiatric or mystic human experience. It was pretty freaky stuff for a mere boy from the farm – who was he to set himself up to be the final arbiter of human experience – and what was I doing in this territory anyway? What had I become? No self or Self (Depersonalisation)? No reality or Reality (Derealisation)? No feeling or Being (Alexithymia)? No beauty or Truth (Anhedonia)? In the context of physical human experience this was a severe mental disorder ... a psychotic condition according to the DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders – fourth edition – the diagnostic criteria used by all Psychiatrists and Psychologists around the world for diagnosing mental disorders). On top of that was the obvious fact that everybody else other than me – especially the revered and respected ‘Great Teachers’ of antiquity – were insane ... which is held to be a classic indication of insanity in itself.
I do consider it so cute that freedom from the human condition is considered a mental disorder’.

RESPONDENT: Was it mainly the shock of being unable to locate any ‘self’ whatsoever?

RICHARD: No (that was expected): it was mainly two things: not having any feelings whatsoever – with the apparent, if erroneous, interpretation of being sociopathic (popularly known as psychopathic) – and having been insane, night and day, for eleven years (along with the intimate comprehension that all the revered wisdom of humankind was lunatic) ... with the corresponding, if erroneous, implication that the current condition might possibly be an even deeper insanity.

There is, of course, a third alternative to either sanity or insanity (insanity is but an extreme form of sanity) ... but that was only determined in hindsight.

RESPONDENT: (Having no answer whatsoever to ‘who am I?’ must be pretty freaky, no matter how much preparation and/or anticipation is involved).

RICHARD: No (that was quite matter-of-fact): it was the stark realisation that nobody – absolutely no person anywhere alive or dead – could possibly help me (as in providing confirmation/affirmation or elucidation/explanation, and so on, through precedent) ... I was truly on my own in this.

For just one example ... in lieu of any other option I booked myself into a local hospital (a small-town hospital) on the weekend when the neuronal excitation first started occurring and the nursing sister on duty – who, incidentally, gave me the expression ‘mental anguish’ – took it upon herself to give me a 10 mg injection of diazepam (which sent me into deep sleep) until a doctor could be located: upon coming to, at 2.00AM, with no change whatsoever in the intensity of the cerebral agitation I (groggily) found the duty doctor, a learned man of Indian heritage, leaning over me and earnestly informing me that it was all to do with kundalini arising and that self-realisation could be imminent ... and gave me a cassette-player with meditative (atonal) music on it and (borrowed) words of wisdom.

Needless is it to say that I booked myself out of the hospital forthwith (at 8.00AM that very morning)?

RESPONDENT: Or was it perhaps the shock of the intense physicality of post-psychic existence?

RICHARD: Actually, an incident occurred much later on which threw a lot of light onto the neuronal excitation itself (and thus to all the useless introspection detailed further above and elsewhere) ... I have described it this way:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... what ‘process’ was going on for (...) thirty months in 1993-4 when you were ‘unstable as all get out’?
• [Richard]: ‘The medical diagnosis was that there was an excess of dopamine in the post-synaptic receptors ... an excitation of the brain cells, which was happening of its own accord irregardless of events, and thus not under voluntary control.
These days I am in agreement with that determination as some considerable light was thrown upon it all a few years ago when I drank three cups of strong coffee (I only drink decaffeinated coffee nowadays) in a two-hour period and it set-off a psychotropic episode lasting 5-6 hours ... an episode indistinguishable from what was occurring in (...) 1993-1994.
I have since found out that caffeine is a chemical cousin to cocaine (chemical not biological) ... and, as a similar episode occurred a couple of years ago as a result of having a dental injection to anaesthetise the jaw, I now make sure the dentist uses a procaine mixture which does not contain adrenaline, which most such mixtures do, because its effect is also psychotropic.
I am also hypersensitive to alcohol ... even a liqueur chocolate has a deleterious effect’.

I go into in far greater detail here:

RESPONDENT: Does the sheer immediacy of the flesh and blood and eyeballs and tongues and sex organs etc seem ‘gruesome’ in its intense physicality after all those years of thinking of oneself as a person and/or a spirit?

RICHARD: No, not at all ... the sheer immediacy of the flesh and blood and eyeballs and tongues and sex organs, etcetera, was a delight (that was the strange part about it all as obviously nothing was actually amiss).

RESPONDENT: Or was it something else?

RICHARD: Yes, put expressively, it was akin to having what is colloquially known as a bad trip on acid (all physical) ... primarily the main symptom were a saturated sensuosity of such brilliance and vividity (as in psychedelic), which satiation can be likened to a television set receiving 4 or 5 channels all at once (inasmuch thought, and thus speech, was unable to keep up with the resultant cacophonic ‘white noise’), that the brain cells themselves were undergoing a non-volitional (chemical) excitation of such a magnitude as to be almost impossible for awareness to sustain itself (as in too much to bear).

It was altogether unpleasant, to say the least.

RESPONDENT: Also, do you think the macabre and gruesome nature of the transition phase is an inevitable consequence of going through psychic disintegration ...

RICHARD: No, not at all ... it was mostly idiosyncratic (pertaining to this flesh and blood body’s physical make-up).

RESPONDENT: ... or did the fact that you had been in an altered state for the preceding 11 years make it more macabre and gruesome than it would be for a ‘normal’ person?

RICHARD: Definitely ... which is why I advise that nobody should attempt to follow ‘my’ footsteps – to go through enlightenment/ awakening and beyond – but to be a pioneer instead:

• [Richard]: ‘... all the Gurus and the God-Men, the Masters and the Messiahs, the Avatars and the Saviours, and the Saints and the Sages and the Seers did not have peace-on-earth on their agenda. Obviously someone had to be the first ... and this fact was thrilling to the nth degree. It meant that an actual freedom from the human condition, here on earth in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body had been discovered and could be demonstrated and described ... no one else need ever take that route again (and I would not wish upon anyone to have to follow in my footsteps and run that full gamut of existential angst to break through to what lay beyond). I always liken it to the physical adventure that Mr. James Cook undertook to journey to Australia two hundred plus years ago. It took him over a year in a leaky wooden boat with hard tack for food and immense dangers along the way. Nowadays, one can fly to Australia in twenty-seven hours in air-conditioned comfort, eating hygienically prepared food and watching an in-flight movie into the bargain.
No one has to go the path of the trail-blazer and forge along in another leaky wooden boat’.

And (further on in the same e-mail) the modified version/addendum:

• [Richard]: ‘... put succinctly the replication of my condition presently calls for pioneers, people with the necessary derring-do to pilot a one-seater aeroplane by the seat of their pants to this pristine wonderland, and not for those who will follow in their wake in air-conditioned comfort, eating hygienically prepared food and watching an in-flight movie into the bargain.
And nobody knows who that pioneer aviator is until that person actually lands here ... not even me’.

May 18 2005

RESPONDENT No. 68: As for myself, I already know actualism ‘works’ in making me happier and more harmless ...

RESPONDENT: As for myself, I know that it doesn’t. My experience, observation and reasoning tells me that unless it’s accompanied by an actual pathological process that causes damage to the brain (maybe even be random damage at that), the actualism process is naught but wishful thinking and (at best) a powerful placebo effect. It causes changes, sure ... but those can (best, IMO) be attributed to: (a) finding a meaningful purpose to pursue; (b) being fully committed to a single goal; (c) doing it with a like-minded individual; (d) practising a happy/harmless morality (because that’s all it is unless/until ‘self’-immolation occurs).

RICHARD: May I ask? Where you intending to write IMBO ... and inadvertently wrote IMO instead?

For instance:

• [Respondent]: ‘It [the actualism process] causes changes, sure ... but those can (best, IMO) be attributed to: (a) finding a meaningful purpose to pursue’.
• [Respondent’s brother]: ‘People who dedicate themselves unreservedly to a cause or a course of action, sometimes out of sheer necessity but usually because they regard it as the most meaningful thing to do with their lives, often find themselves much happier for it, or at least greatly energised by it.’. (Tuesday 5/10/2004 10:22 PM AEDST).

For another instance:

• [Respondent]: ‘(...) those [changes] can (best, IMO) be attributed to: (b) being fully committed to a single goal’.
• [Respondent’s brother]: ‘(...) people benefit from actualism because (a) they’re committed, and commitment in itself brings benefits’. (Tuesday 5/10/2004 10:22 PM AEDST).

And again (twice):

• [Respondent]: ‘(...) those [changes] can (best, IMO) be attributed to: (d) practising a happy/harmless morality (because that’s all it is unless/until ‘self’-immolation occurs)’.
• [Respondent’s brother]: ‘Even if no neurological changes occur, actualism ‘works’ just as well as other religions. And why wouldn’t it? It’s simply a moral injunction to avoid ‘malice’ and ‘sorrow’ at all costs, and to arrange your life accordingly’. (Saturday 2/10/2004 8:25 AM AEDST).
• [Respondent’s brother]: ‘[people benefit from actualism because] (b) they have made a very simple moral principle out of emulating some of the features of your condition (‘happy and harmless’). And that’s religion old boy, albeit devoid of metaphysical dogma and *overt* moral trappings’. (Tuesday 5/10/2004 10:22 PM AEDST).


• [Respondent]: ‘My experience, observation and reasoning tells me that unless it’s accompanied by an actual pathological process that causes damage to the brain (maybe even be random damage at that) ...’.
• [Respondent’s brother]: ‘Certain features of your pre-AF experiences (...) all suggest that you [Richard] were in the grip of a pathological process which eventually brought about ‘your’ demise’. (Tuesday 5/10/2004 10:22 PM AEDST).
• [Respondent’s brother]: ‘Let’s look at some facts: Richard is insane. He has a severe and incurable psychotic disorder of unknown aetiology’. (Saturday 2/10/2004 10:24 PM AEDST).

Just for the record, here is what a dictionary has to say:

• ‘pathological: involving, caused by, or of the nature of disease or illness’.
• ‘aetiology: the causation of disease (usu., of a specified disease), esp. as a subject for investigation’. (Oxford Dictionary).

May 21 2005

VINEETO: ... only when I experienced in a PCE that ‘I’ as ‘being’ do not exist in actuality – and therefore this ‘being’ is nothing at all that would survive the death of this body as an actuality – did I know with 100% certainty that any investment in a life after death is definitely a waste of time and energy.

RESPONDENT No. 68: Yes, it is an extraordinary waste of time and energy. I think what’s happening in my mind is like: ‘sure you seem to disappear in a PCE, but is that really a fact, maybe a certain part of your brain is shut off that lets you experience your soul, but your soul is still alive to live on when you die’. This is of course abstract ‘what-ifing’ and I don’t believe that.

RESPONDENT: I don’t believe it either (i.e. a soul that survives death), but in the general case this reasoning is sound.

RICHARD: In what way is that reasoning sound? What your co-respondent is replying to is clearly delineated as ‘I’ *as* ‘being’ (aka ‘soul’) ... which means that what you are responding to looks something like this when written in accord with what is being replied to:

• [example only]: ‘... sure ‘you’ (as ‘being’) seem to disappear in a pure consciousness experience (PCE), but is that really a fact, maybe a certain part of the brain is shut off that lets ‘you’ experience ‘your’ very ‘being’, but ‘you’ (as ‘being’) are still alive to live on when the body dies’. [end example].

In short: when written without the dissociative shift it does not make sense.

RESPONDENT: If a certain perceptual/cognitive faculty is switched off it will not perceive what it usually perceives, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there to perceive.

RICHARD: As what is switched-off in a PCE is the entire affective faculty, and not a certain perceptual/ cognitive faculty, it makes no sense to propose that ‘me’ as ‘being’ (which is what the affective faculty intuitively feels itself to be) is not necessarily no longer there to be perceived but has, instead, become imperceptible.

RESPONDENT: If I gouge out my eyeballs, light disappears.

RICHARD: If the entire affective faculty gouges itself out, ‘me’ as ‘being’ disappears.

RESPONDENT: Could I conclude that light never actually existed?

RICHARD: Could I conclude that ‘me’ as ‘being’ never actually existed?

RESPONDENT: I could, but I’d be a loony.

RICHARD: I can ... but then again I am a loony.

May 23 2005

RESPONDENT: (...) My experience, observation and reasoning tells me that unless it’s accompanied by an actual pathological process that causes damage to the brain (maybe even be random damage at that), the actualism process is naught but wishful thinking and (at best) a powerful placebo effect. It causes changes, sure ... but those can (best, IMO) be attributed to: (a) finding a meaningful purpose to pursue; (b) being fully committed to a single goal; (c) doing it with a like-minded individual; (d) practising a happy/harmless morality (because that’s all it is unless/until ‘self’-immolation occurs).

RICHARD: May I ask? Where you intending to write IMBO ... and inadvertently wrote IMO instead?

RESPONDENT: Am I my brother’s speaker?

RICHARD: As your older sibling is now around 43 years of age, and as you have said elsewhere you have had 30-odd years of experience of him, it follows that he was already a teenager during your formative years.

RESPONDENT: The possibility that a rare neurological condition was the driving force behind the remarkable events of your post-1980 life, and that your ‘followers’ were having themselves on, occurred to me right from the start.

RICHARD: Presuming that by ‘a rare neurological condition’ you are meaning something similar to what terms such as ‘a freak of nature’/‘a sport of nature’ refer to – and that, therefore, nobody else need even begin trying to emulate – when did it occur to you that ‘a rare neurological condition’ = ‘an actual pathological process’ (involving, caused by, or of the nature of disease or illness)?

RESPONDENT: As far back as December 2003 I was asking questions in an online neurology-related forum trying to find out what kind of conditions could result in the complete loss of imagination and affect.

RICHARD: It did not occur to you to ask (for instance) what kind of conditions could result in a totally peaceful and harmonious life ... as in a veritable peace on earth, in this lifetime, as a flesh and blood body?

RESPONDENT: (None of the information I received was fully consistent with what you report though).

RICHARD: Could that be, perchance, because the very nature of the questions you asked is what produced the answers you received?

RESPONDENT: As those inquiries predate <Respondent’s brother’s> awareness of your existence, he could not have planted the idea in my mind.

RICHARD: Which idea are you referring to ... the ‘rare neurological condition’ idea or the ‘actual pathological process’ idea?

RESPONDENT: Moreover, I would be surprised if anybody had not considered the possibility that your enlightenment and ‘self’-immolation had a pathological cause. And if they have considered that possibility, all the rest (i.e. the idea that actualism is a ‘religion’ based on ‘faith’ ... though it tries hard not to be) follows naturally from this.

RICHARD: Speaking of all the rest ... did the idea that any changes the actualism process causes can best be attributed to finding a meaningful purpose to pursue also occur to you, for example, as far back as December 2003 (and thus predating your older brother’s awareness of Richard’s existence)?

Furthermore, did the idea that any changes the actualism process causes can best be attributed to being fully committed to a single goal also occur to you, for example, as far back as December 2003 (and thus predating your older brother’s awareness of Richard’s existence)?

Moreover, did the idea that any changes the actualism process causes can best be attributed to practising a happy/harmless morality also occur to you, for example, as far back as December 2003 (and thus predating your older brother’s awareness of Richard’s existence)?


RESPONDENT: Before we close the subject of pathology, do you remember when you discussed TLE (Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) with No. 25 recently?

RICHARD: Aye, that was the discussion which elucidated how mystical experiences are not the inevitable and/or only outcome of TLE auras ... according to the source my co-respondent initially quoted they are rarer than four percent of the cases. Vis.:

• [Mr. Peter Fenwick]: ‘Feelings of ecstasy [during a temporal lobe type of attack] are uncommon but they do occur, in fact about 4% of all temporal lobe auras which have an emotional content are positive in quality. Some auras have the quality of a mystical experience *but these are much rarer*. [emphasis added]. (

More to the point, however, is nowhere was it ever explicated that actual experiences have anything to do with the temporal lobe.

RESPONDENT: In wrapping up the discussion, you mentioned that the issue had been tabled with your psychiatrist ...

RICHARD: I canvassed numerous issues, of course, yet the only issue professionally diagnosed by two specialists in the field as having a demonstrable causative effect was my war-time experiences ... a diagnosis – ‘the process of determining the nature of a disease etc.; the identification of a disease from a patient’s symptoms etc.; a formal statement of this’ (Oxford Dictionary) – which clearly illustrates, by the way, that your older sibling’s assertion that Richard has [quote] ‘a severe and incurable psychotic disorder of *unknown aetiology*’ [emphasis added] is nothing but rhetoric (the art of using language so as to persuade or influence others).

RESPONDENT: ... and, I can’t quite remember how you put it, but I was left with the impression that you were somehow familiar with TLE at the time.

RICHARD: Just as I was familiar with a momentary other-worldly crystalline-like clarity which can immediately precede an acute migraine attack (for example) via extensive discussions with a next-door neighbour of my first wife’s parents ... or just as I was familiar with a similar uncanny acuity which can occur in persistent malarial attacks (for another instance) from numerous ad hoc discussions with quite a few peoples over many years.

RESPONDENT: Are you able to say whether you have a close blood relative with TLE? Or a close blood relative with some other significant neurological abnormality?

RICHARD: For obvious reasons I will not be responding, either in the negative or the affirmative, to any such queries about any living person having a genealogical linkage ... what I will say, though, is this: I do find it cute that both you and your elder sibling are saying, in effect, that peace-on-earth is a disease, an illness, with an unidentified cause.

RESPONDENT: As for my ‘near certainty’ that your condition is pathological, I am of course talking through my hat.

RICHARD: I see ... and were you also talking ‘foolishly, wildly, or ignorantly; bluffly, exaggeratedly’ (Oxford Dictionary) when you wrote the following? Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I think there is every possibility (for me it is almost a certainty now) that Richard’s ‘pure intent’ was itself pathological, a part of the same pathology that eventually did ‘him’ in. (Sunday 15/05/2005 5:22 PM AEST).

The reason I ask is that, otherwise, not only is peace-on-earth a disease, an illness, with an unidentified cause but even the very intent itself to actually be peaceful and harmonious is just as much a sickness.

RESPONDENT: Instead of saying I am ‘nearly certain’ that your condition is/was pathological, I should say that I simply have not ruled it out ...

RICHARD: I see ... so you have not ruled out that neither the intent itself, to actually be peaceful and harmonious, nor the outcome of that intention involves, is caused by, or is of the nature of disease or illness, then?

RESPONDENT: ... and its degree of likelihood mysteriously increases when I am throwing a tantrum.

RICHARD: Okay ... what happened, then, between Saturday 5/03/2005 10:38 AM AEST and Friday 13/05/2005 12:47 PM AEST such as to set-off this latest tantrum?


RESPONDENT: [Addendum] BTW, although I didn’t mention it in my first reply, the general idea of the influence of ‘borrowed wisdom’ and of having one’s innate naiveté driven away by cynicism has not been lost on me.

RICHARD: Okay ... having been the second-youngest of four siblings myself, plus having also been a parent of more than one progeny, I am well aware how the eldest child is the only one to get total parental care-giving, role-modelling, and training (simply by virtue of being the first-born) and, furthermore, has the status of being a proxy care-giver/role-model/trainer imposed upon them by the parents in regards any later-born siblings.

If I might suggest? Whether you discard actualism or not it would surely be in your best interests (and your older brother’s) to make sure you have thoroughly rid yourself of the demigod-like status an elder sibling can have.

‘Tis only during a younger sibling’s formative years that the eldest is more knowledgeable.

May 25 2005

RESPONDENT No. 66: Something I read made me think: virtual freedom saves one from ‘all or nothing’ (also called black and white thinking in cognitive therapy) type thinking that is in spiritualism; I asked myself if I can settle for virtual freedom – and I found some resistance; if one is really interested in being happy and harmless, virtual freedom is a great solution. So why resistance? I think the answer is that I may not be really interested in peace ... I just shoot for the impossible to block myself from progressing that is typical of all or nothing thinking; actual freedom has a curious requirement; but virtual freedom is in one’s hands I realize.


RESPONDENT: ... IMO, it is *only* the magical quality of a PCE/AF that makes an emotion-free life worth contemplating. To be caught half way, unable to participate fully and feelingly in the human drama, yet unable to go forth into the clear open spaces beyond ‘humanity’ ... that is not something to aspire to, as I see it.

RICHARD: Perhaps you might consider re-titling your next e-mail ‘Re: Virtual Cynicism’ ... for the following includes your description of being [quote] ‘caught half way’ [endquote] a scant twelve months ago:

• [Respondent]: ‘Lately I have been practising the actualist method much more effectively; that is, I can see the potential for genuine results to follow rather quickly, *if* I have the guts to press on. It would be exaggerating a bit (but not very much) to say that the ‘excellence experience’ referred to a while back is almost a matter of choice now.
• [Richard]: ‘Ahh ... then you would be understanding why I oft-times say that a virtual freedom is not to be sneezed at (and that it is way beyond normal human expectations), then? Because this is how you described it: [Respondent]: ‘There is an increase in sensory clarity, especially visual acuity. Along with this increase in clarity there is a ‘purity’ in everything one perceives. The words ‘immaculate’, ‘perfect’, ‘pure’ capture it quite well; everything is wonderful. Strangely, though, the word ‘beautiful’ does not apply. There is no (felt) affect whatsoever. The purity of perception (and the marvellousness of what is perceived) goes beyond affect, leaving only pure, calm wonder. It’s sensory delight without any emotional resonance at all. The sensory delight I’m talking about is not the usual kind of sensuousness/sensuality that one enjoys in an ordinary state. Rather than being ‘pleasurable’, it is appreciation of the perfection that seems to be inherent in what one is perceiving, which leads to enjoyment of a very different kind. This is quite extraordinary. There is a sensation of softness in the air, which has a pellucid, jelly-like quality (metaphorically speaking). I’m reminded of something you once wrote about the eyes ‘lightly caressing’, as if one is seeing from the front of the eyeball. I also remember you saying ‘nothing dirty can get in’, and that’s exactly the way it is. Objects that would seem drab, dirty, sullied, soiled in ‘reality’ are immaculate in themselves; any ‘dirtiness’ is overlaid by ‘me’. [endquote]. (Thursday 15/07/2004 10:33 AM AEST).

For what it is worth: the impression conveyed by your e-mails is that the worm began turning somewhere between 1:28 and 8:54 PM (AEST) on Wednesday 04/05/2005.





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.

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