Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

With Correspondent No. 74


September 02 2004

RESPONDENT: This is my first letter to you on actualism. More might follow as we engage in a dialogue.

Thank you for the extensive and extremely interesting website. I must say it contains probably the largest amount of common-sense discussions about the major topics concerning humanity (compared to all the web sites I have come across in my 10 years of internet experience). I have already given an introduction to my background in the email ‘Hello from a new member.’ I am anticipating comments on that, from you and others. After going through many SC sections, glossary sections, Peter’s Journal, and so on, I understand that (please correct me if I am wrong):

a) Spiritual enlightenment is identification of the mind with the psychical self and a dissociation with the body/mind/ego-self. The mind then also engages in an illusory decoration of this identification as ‘one-ness with God’ etc. This is a wishful dreamy ‘happy’ state, which is rather harmful and not harmless.

b) Actual freedom is freedom from both the social conditioning (which I think is also based on regulating the animal passions) and the instinctual animal passions themselves (those of fear, aggression, nurture and desire).

c) One is then just the infinite eternal universe (limitedly) self-aware of a body, mind and sensate experience. This awareness is bounded by the sensory horizons, that is why I call it limited. One is not aware of what is happening at the centre of the sun. In fact, I do not think that is possible for a human being or for any limited being. I am not postulating any unlimited being.

d) Then one lives according to simple principles of being happy and harmless. One is not following ideals, as well as not following instincts. In fact, there is no ‘one’ at all (it is just a linguistic construct for communication). The body/mind is making choices as to how to live happily and harmlessly.

Now I have a few assertions and related questions for actualists. First a set of assertions (based on my experience and inferential thought processes) (please feel free to contradict them with your experience):

a) The body/mind makes choices based on memory and conditioning.

b) This conditioning takes many forms: social imprinting, the primitive brain evolved over many millennia and one’s own experiences which one finds pleasant or painful, at the sensate or mental level (for various reasons). E.g., Richard enjoys meat, coffee, physical intimacy, and talking about actualism, exposing spiritualists etc.

c) As long as the body/mind is living, it has to make constant choices as to what to do, how to live, how to earn food/clothing/shelter, which relationships to engage in etc. The normal person makes these choices based on his conditioning, so as to safeguard his own body as well as his (imaginary) self.

Now the questions for actualists:

a) What are your choices based on? Is it not your own conditioning plus your intelligent appraisal of the situation?

b) Many things you find pleasant in the world, they are the things that a normal person also finds pleasant. I.e., many non-actualist people enjoy sex, good food, television, shopping etc. Maybe your enjoyment is of a different order, but I have not been able to find a distinction. Is it possible that the pleasure you obtain from the senses and the mind (shopping e.g. is not really a sensate pleasure, you are just handling pieces of paper and plastic bags, it is imagining how you are going to enjoy these things in the future which is pleasant (at least for most people), is also just a habit pattern, and so a self-inflicted conditioning?

c) If you are denied all these pleasures (say forced into jail) would you feel constrained, in pain? Since it is demonstrable that your present life is a pleasure-seeking life, how do you have any conviction in saying that you will be happy in any and every situation?

d) The pleasure of sex in particular, is a mostly mental pleasure. What is so different in licking the saliva/nipples of a (almost flat-chested) woman than in licking the saliva/nipples of a man (with shaved chests)? It is the consciousness that the other is a female which gives rise to pleasant feelings and erections in a (heterosexual) male. Why do you not question this basic form of conditioning as well? Why do you not question the hormonal/sexual level of one’s mental background? It has been asserted by many people in human history that this background can also be obliterated.

The delight the body/mind gets from smelling a nice feminine perfume which one’s mother wore. Is this not a conditioning? Basically, why not question the basis of delight?

e) In general, a purely sensate experience in neither delightful nor painful. It is the evaluation of sensations by the brain which makes one choose one sensation over the other. And since an actualist IS choosing sensations (given a description of your daily lives), it is basically a pleasure seeking life (albeit without any guilt or craving). I can well understand that you would not be too upset (or even a little upset) if you don’t have enough money for watching the latest movie that you want to watch. That you would move on to getting pleasure from something which is within your reach, so to speak.

But isn’t this a symptom of inner boredom? Why seek pleasure at all? Why is it not enough to just sit still? If you are happy sitting still, what makes you go out and have coffee? It is certainly not thirst, otherwise water would be as good. Why this certain delight in a certain taste? Why not be free of all one’s pleasure needs? Isn’t that freedom worthwhile?

f) Why do you spend so much of effort on convincing people that actualism is a good thing? What is the basis of this effort? What desire, or urge? Or is it a ‘causeless action’, just like swinging your legs while sitting on the porch, or just delighting in climbing a mountain?

Again, is there any basis of delight other than one’s conditioning? Please note that I am not at all antagonistic towards you. I sincerely wish to understand the basis of your actions and choices, since that is the issue I am grappling with (as regards myself) these days.

In my desire to understand you, I seek to understand myself.

RICHARD: First and foremost what I write is a report, a description, and an explanation, of what life is like in this actual world – the sensate world of this body and that body and every body; the world of the mountains and the streams; the world of the trees and the flowers; the world of the clouds in the sky by day and the stars in the firmament by night and so on and so on ad infinitum – which is the world which becomes apparent when identity in toto (both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) become extinct.

In other words, the affective faculty in its entirety (which includes its epiphenomenal psychic facility) has no existence whatsoever ... meaning that it is impossible to ever be hedonic (aka ‘a pleasure-seeker’) as the affective pleasure/pain centre in the brain is null and void.

The following passage is how I have described the anhedonic actualism experience:

• [Richard]: ‘To feel pleasure affectively (hedonistically) is a far cry from the direct experiencing of the actual where the retinas revel in the profusion of colour, texture and form; the eardrums carouse with the cavalcade of sound, resonance and timbre; the nostrils rejoice in the abundance of aromas, fragrances and scents; the tastebuds savour the plethora of tastes, flavours and zests; the epidermis delights to touch, caress and fondle ... a veritable cornucopia of luscious, sumptuous sensuosity. All the while is the apperceptive wonder that this marvellous paradise actually exists in all its vast array.

Coupled with the inability to affectively feel pleasure is, of course, the inability to affectively feel pain (as in the pleasure/pain principle which spiritualism makes quite an issue out of yet never does eliminate) even though most, if not all, definitions of anhedonia only say ‘the inability to feel pleasure’ ... actualism, being most definitely not hedonism, can never be sadistic, masochistic, or sadomasochistic.

Secondly, conditioning – be it familial conditioning, peer-group conditioning, or societal conditioning – is a well-meant endeavour to control the wayward self within ... where there is no identity whatsoever all conditioning has nothing to condition and falls by the wayside (hence choices made are freely made choices).

Thirdly, shopping (for example) is indeed a sensate experience ... for what is the very handling of pieces of paper and plastic bags (for instance), then, if not a sensate handling?

Fourth, being anhedonic it would be impossible to be in pain (to feel constrained) in a gaol ... nor anywhere else you may propose.

Fifth, knowing the difference between heterosexual activity and homosexual activity is a matter of gender orientation – determined, as I understand it, somewhere around the twelfth to sixteenth week of gestation – and not just a case of conditioning.

Sixth, the olfactory sense operates unimpeded here in this actual world – no smell is repulsive, repugnant, disgusting – thus there is no need for a perfume such as a mother may have worn (or may wear).

Seventh, the basis of delight is the sheer enjoyment and appreciation of being just here, right now, as a flesh and blood body only simply brimming with sense organs.

Eighth, a purely sensate experience is indeed either (physically) pleasurable or painful ... just sprinkle the contents of a packet of thumb-tacks in the middle of a carpeted room and walk bare-footed from one wall to the other and see what happens.

Ninth, there is no ‘inner’ (nor ‘outer’) here in this actual world ... let alone boredom: ‘tis impossible to be bored where all is novel, fresh, new.

Tenth, it is indeed enough to just sit still ... doing something is a bonus on top of the utter delight of simply being this flesh and blood body only.

Eleventh, the delight in a certain taste (coffee for instance) has to do with both the quantity and the distribution of the taste buds ... and thus varies from body to body.

Twelfth, one is indeed free of all (pleasure) needs here in this actual world ... an actual freedom from the human condition is most certainly worthwhile.

Lastly, no effort is required to inform my fellow human being of an actual freedom from the human condition – nor is it a causeless action (such as swinging the legs) – and you might as well take your pick among the following responses to similar questions:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I don’t really understand what motivates you to sit at the computer constructing the website and corresponding with people like me.
• [Richard]: ‘Put succinctly it is benevolence (a munificent well-wishing) ... the etymological root of the word benevolent is the Latin ‘benne velle’ (meaning ‘wish well’). And well-wishing stems from fellowship regard – like species recognise like species throughout the animal world – for we are all fellow human beings and have the capacity for what is called ‘theory of mind’.

And:

• [Richard]: ‘All I have ever wished for is for the words and writings of an actual freedom from the human condition to exist in the world so that they are available long after I am dead. This is so that a third alternative to being either ‘human’ or ‘divine’ is available for anyone who comes across it, in any indeterminate future, to draw confirmation and affirmation from ... for anyone to avail themselves of if it be in accord with their own experience and/or aspirations. That is, it is a confirmation that their experience is not only valid but an affirmation in that a fellow human being has traversed this territory in an eminently satisfactory way. For nineteen years I have scoured the books ... to no avail. Now the information exists – and has taken on a life of its own – and I am well content and having so much fun.

And:

• [Richard]: ‘What would you have me do? Keep my mouth shut? That is, I can discover something that no one else has found – as far as I have been able to ascertain – that eliminates the cause of all the wars and rapes and murders and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicide ... but I am not to pass this information on to my fellow human beings to do with as they will? Would it not be self-centred – selfish – to keep it to myself?
(...)
I like people ... and I care for my fellow human being. I am simply passing on my experience of life. What they do with this information is their business. There is no need in me to do this because I have no problems whatsoever. Why I do it is because other people tell me that they are suffering so I explain how I ended suffering in myself. One of the triggers that started me on this voyage into the psyche was the realisation that human beings are driven to kill their fellow human beings ... and I was one of them.
Now I am not ... and I share that what triggered me because it may trigger them.

And:

• [Richard]: ‘I am a fellow human being sans identity (which was ‘being’ itself). As such, this flesh and blood body is apperceptively aware ... and the already always existing peace-on-earth is apparent all about. It being so perfect I wish to notify my fellow human beings of its existence ... what they do with this information is their own business.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Why would you want to notify other people of its existence?
• [Richard]: ‘Because my fellow human beings tell me that they are (a) suffering ... and (b) wanting to know the meaning of life.

And:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Thank you for your time. May I know why you are on this list?
• [Richard]: ‘To participate in the facilitation of global peace-on-earth.

And:

• [Richard]: ‘What I do is sit at my computer, when the whim takes me, and share my discovery with my fellow human beings ... being retired, and on a pension, instead of pottering around in the garden I am pottering around the internet. It is a leisure-time activity, a retirement pastime-come-hobby, as it were, and a very pleasant thing to do indeed.

I am having a lot of fun here at this keyboard.

September 05 2004

RESPONDENT: Richard, thanks for your extensive, though terse replies.

RICHARD: There are two reasons why eleven out of my thirteen replies were ‘neatly concise; compact and pithy in style or language; to the point’ (Oxford Dictionary) ... (1) most, if not all, of your queries stemmed from you having [quote] ‘not been able to find a distinction’ [endquote] between enjoyment as a normal person and enjoyment sans identity in toto (both the thinker and the feeler) ... and (2) a detailed response to each and every one of your queries would make for a very long e-mail (there were twenty-two question marks in the ‘questions for actualists’ part of your e-mail).

If you were to re-read the ‘first and foremost’ part of my response it may become more clear ... here is the crux of it:

• [Richard]: ‘... [in this actual world/the sensate world] it is impossible to ever be hedonic (aka ‘a pleasure-seeker’) as the affective pleasure/pain centre in the brain (as in the pleasure/pain principle which spiritualism makes quite an issue out of yet never does eliminate) is null and void’.

To put that another way: the pristine perfection of the peerless purity of this actual world is impeccable (nothing ‘dirty’, so to speak, can get in) ... innocence is entirely new to human history.

RESPONDENT: Let me put my question in another way: Once I was travelling in a bus. I had my eyes closed but wasn’t asleep. A person came and sat next to me. The body had an explicit feminine perfume. (I think we can agree that there are feminine and masculine perfumes). So, with my eyes closed, I concluded that it was a woman. She was pressing against my body and I was enjoying the touch sexually, not just sensually. Whenever her sandal touched my feet, a shiver went down my spine.

This continued for half an hour. Then, suddenly the bus came to an abrupt halt (the road was blocked). I opened my eyes. It was a man who was sitting next to me. As soon as that perception happened (that it was a man), the whole texture of his body touching my body changed. It was no longer enjoyable in the same sense. In fact, I wanted him to sit a little away from me. :-)

Wouldn’t one say that the pleasure I got during that half hour was an illusion based on a certain evaluation of sensory data?

RICHARD: If (note ‘if’) all it were was a misappraisal of the situation based solely upon the olfactory sensing of an applied aroma usually associated with a feminine presence then ... yes; as you describe your fellow human being as both pressing against you and, more than once, touching feet with you there may very well have been more to it than just that.

Put succinctly: given that a male of the species is (1) wearing what you describe as an explicit feminine perfume ... and (2) pressing against another male ... and (3) touching feet with another male (which sent a shiver down your spine each time it happened) there could very well have been an affective/psychic ‘come-on’ operating as well.

‘Tis only a possibility, mind you.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t all sexual pleasure that?

RICHARD: No ... anhedonic (non-affective/ non-psychic) sexual pleasure is not that.

RESPONDENT: Let us say, one is licking the genitals of one’s partner. Let’s assume the eyes of both are closed. Now as far as the sensory input is concerned, the tongue is having some tangy/ pungent/ fishy taste. But one wouldn’t get that pleasure from merely licking a stale fish. Would you agree?

RICHARD: There is more to ‘as far as the sensory input is concerned’ than the absence of visual sensing and the occurrence of gustatorial sensing ... much more. For a rather simple example: a (blind-folded) person with pegged nostrils cannot ascertain just what a mouthful of powdered cinnamon is.

And I say ‘a rather simple example’ as, just like with the stale (thus dead) fish, with the cinnamon there is not the lively feed-back (the arousal, for instance, or the interest) of another living creature to enhance the enjoyment ... and, usually, increase the arousal/interest and thus invigorate the licking/tonguing.

In short: sex and sexuality is a mutual experience.

RESPONDENT: In the sexual case, the mind knows that the tongue is in contact with the genitalia of another living human being ...

RICHARD: If I may interject? Just how does ‘the mind’ know that (if all there is is gustatorial sensing)?

RESPONDENT: ... [the mind knows that the tongue is in contact with the genitalia of another living human being] who fulfils the role of a sexual partner.

RICHARD: Hmm ... there is more to a fellow human being (of the gender one’s sexual orientation particularly appreciates) than merely fulfilling a role.

RESPONDENT: The pleasure is based on this subtle fact.

RICHARD: Again, there is nothing ‘subtle’ about viewing one’s sexual partner as a role-fulfiller ... it is quite blatant.

RESPONDENT: I think what I want to say must be clear at this stage. It is this: The pleasure of sex is based on the mental perception of a different entity.

RICHARD: Given that you wrote both the above and your previous words for the express purpose of sincerely wishing to understand the basis of the actions and choices of a person actually free from the human condition and really wishing to learn about same, I can assure you (for whatever that is worth) that the anhedonic pleasure of sex and sexuality, here in this actual world, is not based upon the mental perception of a different entity (especially given that you delineate mental perception as being ‘imagination’ and ‘mental imagery’ immediately below).

RESPONDENT: Even masturbation is quite impossible (or unfulfilling) without this imagination of a partner. If this is not a pleasure based on conditioning and mental imagery, what is?

RICHARD: It is impossible to either imagine/form images or be conditioned where there is no identity ... the affective faculty in its entirety (which includes its imaginative/intuitive facility) has no existence whatsoever in this flesh and blood body.

RESPONDENT: My comments about shopping also were in the same vein. The pleasure of shopping is not merely due to handling pieces of plastic and paper.

RICHARD: The *sensate* pleasure of shopping is ... here is what I previously wrote (only this time juxtaposed with your query/ comments):

• [Respondent]: ‘Is it possible that the pleasure you obtain from the senses and the mind (shopping e.g. *is not really a sensate pleasure*, you are just handling pieces of paper and plastic bags, it is imagining how you are going to enjoy these things in the future which is pleasant (at least for most people), is also just a habit pattern, and so a self-inflicted conditioning? [emphasis added].
• [Richard]: ‘... shopping (for example) is indeed a sensate experience ... for what is the very handling of pieces of paper and plastic bags (for instance), then, if not a sensate handling?

First of all, as I am incapable of imagining anything, let alone the future enjoyment of items purchased, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (hedonic pleasure) in any circumstance ... just as it is equally impossible to obtain its polar opposite (hedonic pain).

Secondly, where there is no identity whatsoever all conditioning – be it self-inflicted conditioning, familial conditioning, peer-group conditioning, or societal conditioning – has nothing to condition and falls by the wayside (hence choices made are freely made choices and not just habit-patterns).

Lastly, the pleasure of shopping here in this actual world is indeed due to handling pieces of plastic and paper (for instance) only there is more to such handling than just the tactile sensation ... much, much more. Here is how I have described the anhedonic actualism experience:

• [Richard]: ‘To feel pleasure affectively (hedonistically) is a far cry from the direct experiencing of the actual where the retinas revel in the profusion of colour, texture and form; the eardrums carouse with the cavalcade of sound, resonance and timbre; the nostrils rejoice in the abundance of aromas, fragrances and scents; the tastebuds savour the plethora of tastes, flavours and zests; the epidermis delights to touch, caress and fondle ... a veritable cornucopia of luscious, sumptuous sensuosity. All the while is the apperceptive wonder that this marvellous paradise actually exists in all its vast array.

RESPONDENT: It is more due to the mental process which assures one of a certain enjoyment of the things just bought.

RICHARD: No, not where identity is no more – as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE), where identity is in abeyance, or upon an actual freedom from the human condition (where identity is extinct) – as all pleasure is thus sensate-only ... the direct, immediate, experiencing which happens just here, right now, and nowhere and nowhen else.

RESPONDENT: Thanks for your comments, I really wish to learn.

RICHARD: You are very welcome ... and if all of the above is too much to grasp at once then, if nothing else, this is what is vital to comprehend:

• [Richard]: ‘... most, if not all, of your queries stemmed from you having ‘not been able to find a distinction’ between enjoyment as a normal person and enjoyment sans identity in toto (both the thinker and the feeler)’.

September 07 2004

RESPONDENT: Once I was travelling in a bus. I had my eyes closed but wasn’t asleep. A person came and sat next to me. The body had an explicit feminine perfume. (I think we can agree that there are feminine and masculine perfumes). So, with my eyes closed, I concluded that it was a woman. She was pressing against my body and I was enjoying the touch sexually, not just sensually. Whenever her sandal touched my feet, a shiver went down my spine. This continued for half an hour. Then, suddenly the bus came to an abrupt halt (the road was blocked). I opened my eyes. It was a man who was sitting next to me. As soon as that perception happened (that it was a man), the whole texture of his body touching my body changed. It was no longer enjoyable in the same sense. In fact, I wanted him to sit a little away from me. :-) Wouldn’t one say that the pleasure I got during that half hour was an illusion based on a certain evaluation of sensory data?

RICHARD: If (note ‘if’) all it were was a misappraisal of the situation based solely upon the olfactory sensing of an applied aroma usually associated with a feminine presence then ... yes; as you describe your fellow human being as both pressing against you and, more than once, touching feet with you there may very well have been more to it than just that. Put succinctly: given that a male of the species is (1) wearing what you describe as an explicit feminine perfume ... and (2) pressing against another male ... and (3) touching feet with another male (which sent a shiver down your spine each time it happened) there could very well have been an affective/psychic ‘come-on’ operating as well. ‘Tis only a possibility, mind you.

RESPONDENT: And you maintain, correct me if I am wrong, that this ‘affective come-on’, or rather, as I would put it, a sexual overlap on the sensory input, is absent in the actual world.

RICHARD: I notice that you use the word ‘overlap’ further below. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘In the sexual case, the mind knows that the tongue is in contact with the genitalia of another living human being ...
• [Richard]: ‘If I may interject? Just how does ‘the mind’ know that (if all there is is gustatorial sensing)?
• [Respondent]: ‘Because before you closed your eyes, you saw her. Right now, there is only gustatorial input, but it is now mixed with previous perceptions to give it the overlap which leads to sexual pleasure. [endquote].

As an affective/psychic ‘come-on’ operates simultaneous to sensations I do not see why you would rather put it as an overlap to the sensations numbered 1, 2, and 3 further above.

RESPONDENT: In the actual world, the sandal touching my feet would be just that, a sandal touching my feet. In the actual world, the shiver down my spine (a symptom of my current state in which I consider the sensory input sexually, as the touch of a female) would be absent EVEN IF I AM AWARE OR PERCEIVE OR CONSIDER BASED ON OLFACTORY INPUT that the touch is that of a gorgeous female. Such an affective overlap can not happen to an actualist.

Correct?

RICHARD: Not only can an affective/psychic ‘come-on’ not happen to a person actually free from the human condition – there is no pleasure/pain centre (as in the pleasure/pain principle which spiritualism makes quite an issue out of yet never does eliminate) in this flesh and blood body to be affected – there is no such ‘come-on’ in actuality anyway ... irregardless what any psychological/psychic identity, be it in a male or female body, may emanate in the real-world (the world of the psyche).

In short: nothing affective/psychic ever happens here in this actual world.

Incidentally, it is where you say you ‘consider the sensory input sexually’ that is the nub of the issue (as that sexual consideration itself *is* the pleasure/pain centre in operation).

RESPONDENT: If your answer is no, the shiver might still be there, then I must say that actualism does admit the possibility of pleasure based on an evaluation of the sensory data, not just the sensory data itself. If your answer is yes, such a shiver will not happen, then read on ...

RICHARD: Hmm ... it is not a case of what actualism does or does not ‘admit’ as actualism – the direct experience that matter is not merely passive – is not a person (what I write is a report, a description, and an explanation, of what life is like in this actual world).

*

RESPONDENT: Isn’t all sexual pleasure that [an illusion based on a certain evaluation of sensory data]?

RICHARD: No ... anhedonic (non-affective/non-psychic) sexual pleasure is not that.

RESPONDENT: Let us say, one is licking the genitals of one’s partner. Let’s assume the eyes of both are closed. Now as far as the sensory input is concerned, the tongue is having some tangy/pungent/fishy taste. But one wouldn’t get that pleasure from merely licking a stale fish. Would you agree?

RICHARD: There is more to ‘as far as the sensory input is concerned’ than the absence of visual sensing and the occurrence of gustatorial sensing ... much more. For a rather simple example: a (blind-folded) person with pegged nostrils cannot ascertain just what a mouthful of powdered cinnamon is. And I say ‘a rather simple example’ as, just like with the stale (thus dead) fish, with the cinnamon there is not the lively feed-back (the arousal, for instance, or the interest) of another living creature to enhance the enjoyment ... and, usually, increase the arousal/interest and thus invigorate the licking/ tonguing.

RESPONDENT: Exactly my point.

RICHARD: As your point is that the pleasure of sex is based on the mental perception of a different entity (see further below) and that all sexual pleasure is an illusion based on a certain evaluation of sensory data (see further above) – whereas I am speaking of sensory perception (just above) – it is anything but that.

Now, I have never licked a stale (thus dead) fish – either with eyes open or closed – and have no intention of ever doing so yet it does not take a genius to suss out that no matter how much one might do so there would never, ever, be any lively feed-back (the arousal, for instance, or the interest, of another living creature) ... there will be no erotic aromas, no thrusting movements, no appreciative sounds, no blood pulsing, no genital engorgement, no proximate warmth, no viscous secretions, no stimulating pheromones, and so on.

Also, there surely would be quite a distinction between the tactile sensation on the tongue of warm, soft and erogenous sexual-tissue and the tactile sensation of cold, hard and non-erogenous fish-scales ... as I have said before, there is more to ‘as far as the sensory input is concerned’ than the absence of visual sensing and the occurrence of gustatorial sensing.

Much more.

RESPONDENT: I claimed that this lively feedback, or rather, the PERCEPTION OF the presence of a live otherness is THE crux of the matter, which you deny as under: [Richard] ‘I can assure you (for whatever that is worth) that the anhedonic pleasure of sex and sexuality, here in this actual world, is not based upon the mental perception of a different entity (especially given that you delineate mental perception as being ‘imagination’ and ‘mental imagery’ immediately below)’ [endquote]. The reason why I call it a mental perception is because it may be an illusion (since it is an evaluation of sensory data), as was my incident in the bus.

RICHARD: And is where you say ‘the PERCEPTION OF the presence of a live otherness’ also a mental perception (according to you)? For example:

• [example only]: ‘I claimed that this lively feedback, or rather, the mental perception of the presence of a live otherness ....’. [end example].

Or is it sensory perception? Vis.:

• [example only]: ‘I claimed that this lively feedback, or rather, the sensory perception of the presence of a live otherness ....’. [end example].

Incidentally, here is the passage I was responding to with those words of mine you quoted:

• [Respondent]: ‘The pleasure of sex is based on the mental perception of a different entity. Even masturbation is quite impossible (or unfulfilling) without this imagination of a partner. If this is not a pleasure based on conditioning and mental imagery, what is? [endquote].

If you were to re-read my response you will see that what I am saying is that, here in this actual world, the *anhedonic* (non-affective/ non-psychic) pleasure of sex and sexuality is not based upon the mental perception (and especially not on imagination/ mental imagery) of a different entity ... it is, in fact, the direct, immediate, sensual experiencing (which happens just here, right now, and nowhere and nowhen else).

RESPONDENT: Suppose you are licking the lips of your girlfriend. Suppose she leaves and a robot takes her place. You still have your eyes closed. The robot’s lips feel just as warm wet and soft and it is wearing the perfume your girlfriend wears. Only the lips of the robot are touching your lips, no other body parts are touching. Suppose further that the robot actively kisses you for ten more minutes and then suddenly it makes a clanking noise and you open your eyes and see that it is a robot. Would you still be able to close your eyes, and enjoy the kiss?

RICHARD: As this is such an implausible scenario (somewhat akin to licking a dead fish in lieu of cunnilingus) I cannot provide a meaningful reply.

RESPONDENT: I would be very much interested in actualism if you say yes.

RICHARD: Why on earth would you be ‘very much interested in actualism’ if you were to be informed that the enjoyment of kissing a perfumed robot was one of the ... um ... the fringe-benefits of living in this actual world? One does not have to be actually free from the human condition to enjoy something of that nature ... there are many peoples all over the globe who already enjoy sexual activity with plastic/silicone devices/models.

*

RICHARD: In short: sex and sexuality is a mutual experience.

RESPONDENT: I am glad you accept it.

RICHARD: As I never did ‘accept’ what you are referring to – that the pleasure of sex is based on the mental perception of a different entity (and/or that all sexual pleasure is an illusion based on a certain evaluation of sensory data) – there is nothing to be glad about.

RESPONDENT: Now, let’s lay the matter threadbare. Can you explain what makes a purely sensory data transform into a MUTUAL experience?

RICHARD: The lively feed-back – the erotic aromas, the thrusting movements, the appreciative sounds, the blood pulsing, the genital engorgement, the proximate warmth, the viscous secretions, the stimulating pheromones, and so on (as a response to the tactile sensation of a nimble tongue/warm breath on soft, erogenous sexual-tissue) – not only enhances the enjoyment but, usually, increases the arousal/interest and thus invigorates the licking/tonguing (which, in turn, heightens the lively feed-back and further enhances the enjoyment and further increases the arousal/interest and, usually, thus further invigorates the licking/tonguing ... and so on and so on (back and forth).

Put succinctly: arousal/interest for both persons escalates because of the mutuality.

RESPONDENT: In what way do the sensations on your tongue change when you see a rapturous smile on the face of the woman?

RICHARD: If I may point out? The cunnilingus/licking-a-stale-fish comparison specifically required the eyes be closed.

RESPONDENT: Can you really claim that when you see the smile on her face, it is just a change in the visual field and you do not make a connection between the movements of your tongue and her smile? Now, when you make that connection: it is a thought process. You modify your tonguing in order to increase that smile etc. Why does that smile make you change your behaviour? I claim that if it is a robot, this mutual feedback loses its strength ...

RICHARD: As a robot is not a living creature there is no ‘mutual feedback’ to either lose or gain strength.

RESPONDENT: ... [I claim that if it is a robot, this mutual feedback loses its strength] and you would not want to give ‘it’ pleasure since it is incapable of feeling pleasure in a subjective way.

RICHARD: As a robot is not a living creature it is incapable of pleasure, period ... let alone feeling ‘subjective’ pleasure (a robot has no identity within).

RESPONDENT: You would want to give pleasure only to an alive entity which is likewise capable of perceiving you as different from itself. Once again, I posit: the pleasure of sex is based on the mental perception/evaluation of a different other live entity. If this perception is absent, the pleasure of sex is reduced to pure sensory data and then it is a sensate experience, not a sexual pleasure.

RICHARD: As one has only to alternate between fondling one’s nose (for instance), with thumb and forefinger (for example), and fondling one’s genitals, in the exact same manner, to experience the distinction between the two sensate experiences it would appear that what you posit is not empirically-grounded.

RESPONDENT: This perception is not a sensate experience. It is a thought process which infers the presence of life and appropriate gender in the other entity based on certain inputs. E.g. a warm body, presence of sweat, a certain smell and so on. The entity with which one is having sex MUST BE subjectively alive for one to have a sense of pleasure. Isn’t it so even for an actualist?

RICHARD: Not ‘subjectively’ alive ... no.

RESPONDENT: If yes, can you explain WHY? And I claim that this pleasure is based on ego.

RICHARD: All subjective pleasure is identity-based (both ego and soul) ... and not just ‘based on ego’.

RESPONDENT: The other entity must have an ego, be capable of this mutual-ness of pleasure and of subjective perception.

RICHARD: As there is no identity whatsoever in this flesh and blood body (thus no ego), and as this flesh and blood body is indeed capable of mutuality in sex and sexuality (as in the arousal/interest description much further above), the subjectivity you speak of is not at all essential (‘essential’ as in your ‘MUST BE’ phrasing further above).

I will say it again for emphasis: what I write is a report, a description, and an explanation, of what life is like in this actual world (the world of the senses).

RESPONDENT: That is the difference between a robot and your girlfriend.

RICHARD: Not so ... a robot is not a living creature.

*

RESPONDENT: In the sexual case, the mind knows that the tongue is in contact with the genitalia of another living human being ...

RICHARD: If I may interject? Just how does ‘the mind’ know that (if all there is is gustatorial sensing)?

RESPONDENT: Because before you closed your eyes, you saw her. Right now, there is only gustatorial input ...

RICHARD: Oh? Is there no tactile sensation of soft, erogenous tissue on the tongue, no erotic aromas, no thrusting movements, no appreciative sounds, no genital engorgement, no blood pulsing, no proximate warmth, no viscous secretions, no stimulating pheromones, and so on, then?

RESPONDENT: ...[Right now, there is only gustatorial input], but it is now mixed with previous perceptions to give it the overlap which leads to sexual pleasure.

RICHARD: As you have already explained that the previous perceptions were visual am I to take it that the totality of your at-the-moment sexual experiencing amounts to the current gustatorial sensing – ‘the tongue is having some tangy/pungent/fishy taste’ – and a remembered visual sensing?

If so, it is no wonder you liken it to licking a stale fish, then.

*

RESPONDENT: My comments about shopping also were in the same vein. The pleasure of shopping is not merely due to handling pieces of plastic and paper.

RICHARD: The *sensate* pleasure of shopping is ... here is what I previously wrote (only this time juxtaposed with your query/comments):

[Respondent]: ‘Is it possible that the pleasure you obtain from the senses and the mind (shopping e.g. *is not really a sensate pleasure*, you are just handling pieces of paper and plastic bags, it is imagining how you are going to enjoy these things in the future which is pleasant (at least for most people), is also just a habit pattern, and so a self-inflicted conditioning? [emphasis added].
[Richard]: ‘... shopping (for example) is indeed a sensate experience ... for what is the very handling of pieces of paper and plastic bags (for instance), then, if not a sensate handling? [endquote].

First of all, as I am incapable of imagining anything, let alone the future enjoyment of items purchased, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (hedonic pleasure) in any circumstance ... just as it is equally impossible to obtain its polar opposite (hedonic pain).

RESPONDENT: Imagination in this case meant anticipation.

RICHARD: Okay ... given that you (now) use the word ‘anticipation’ in a sentence stating that shopping (for example) is not really a sensate pleasure and that it is the anticipation, of how the purchases are going to be enjoyed at some other place than just here and at some other time than right now, which is what is pleasant at that very moment of handling pieces of paper and plastic bags (for instance), it would appear that what the following dictionaries have to say regarding that word could very well be appropriate. Vis.:

• ‘anticipation: expectant waiting: the feeling of looking forward, usually excitedly or eagerly, to something that is going to happen’. (Encarta Dictionary).
• ‘anticipation: contemplation or consideration in advance; the action of looking forward to something; (esp. eager or pleasurable) expectation. (Oxford Dictionary).
• ‘anticipation: the act of looking forward; especially pleasurable expectation (...) visualisation of a future event or state’. (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).
• ‘anticipation: the act of anticipating [to look forward to, especially with pleasure; expect]; an expectation’. (American Heritage® Dictionary).
• ‘anticipation: expectancy; pleasurable expectation’. (WordNet 2.0).

As I am incapable of having the feeling of excitedly or eagerly looking forward to and/or having an eager or pleasurable expectation of and/or looking forward with pleasure to anything, let alone the future enjoyment of items purchased, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (affective pleasure) in any circumstance ... just as it is equally impossible to obtain its polar opposite (affective pain).

RESPONDENT: If you say you are incapable of anticipation, it would be altogether remarkable.

RICHARD: Not only am I incapable of (affective) anticipation I am also incapable of (affective) expectation – or any other word of that ilk you may substitute the next time around – and this is indeed altogether remarkable for it means that one is free to enjoy and appreciate the sensate pleasure that shopping actually is ... the direct, immediate, sensuous experiencing (which happens just here, right now, and nowhere and nowhen else).

*

RICHARD: Secondly, where there is no identity whatsoever all conditioning – be it self-inflicted conditioning, familial conditioning, peer-group conditioning, or societal conditioning – has nothing to condition and falls by the wayside (hence choices made are freely made choices and not just habit-patterns).

RESPONDENT: This is similar to the Buddhist position.

RICHARD: Not so ... I specifically said [quote] ‘no identity whatsoever’ [endquote] whereas Mr. Gotama the Sakyan only extinguished the shallower part of the identity (the thinker) which allowed the deeper part (the feeler) to expand unchecked into the fullness of its being.

RESPONDENT: That conditioning leads to the feeling of a separated identity (dependant origination).

RICHARD: As I nowhere say that ‘conditioning leads to the feeling of a separated identity’ (for that feeling is what one is born with) there are now two reasons why it is not similar to the Buddhist position.

RESPONDENT: If conditioning is absent/transcended there is no identity.

RICHARD: As I specifically said where there is no identity all conditioning has nothing to condition (and falls by the wayside), and not the other way around (as you have it), there are now three reasons why it is not similar to the Buddhist position.

RESPONDENT: But let’s discuss this interrelationship of identity and conditioning in another thread.

RICHARD: Why? Mr. Gotama the Sakyan knew naught of these matters that I report, describe, explain.

*

RICHARD: Lastly, the pleasure of shopping here in this actual world is indeed due to handling pieces of plastic and paper (for instance) only there is more to such handling than just the tactile sensation ... much, much more.

RESPONDENT: Of course, tactile sensation is just one form of sensation. My point was that the PRESENT sensations (in all their glory) are not sufficient for the pleasure one gets from shopping/sex. There is a thought process anticipating/remembering future/past sensations which makes shopping/sex so pleasurable (in the normal realm).

I wanted to make a correlation with the sexual pleasure. I can well understand someone not enjoying shopping in the form of anticipating future pleasure. I myself do shopping in the present moment without thinking how I am going to use a certain product (though certainly I choose the product based on my conditioning/tastes).

RICHARD: Where I wrote ‘the pleasure of shopping here in this actual world’ (further above) I was not referring to an identity doing the shopping ‘in the present moment’ (be it either with or without thinking).

RESPONDENT: Thanks for your time and effort. In short, once again: If you get pleasure from sex which is based on mutualness, it is not merely sensate. It involves thought processes.

RICHARD: Perhaps this may help: in the perceptive process sensory perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary.

September 14 2004

RESPONDENT: Isn’t all sexual pleasure that [an illusion based on a certain evaluation of sensory data]?

RICHARD: No ... anhedonic (non-affective/non-psychic) sexual pleasure is not that.

RESPONDENT: My whole issue is my inability to conceive of pleasure as anhedonic/non-affective/non-psychic. In effect you are saying that anhedonic pleasure can happen to an actualist in whom the pleasure/pain centre in the brain is absent.

RICHARD: Yes ... or, to put that another way, where there is no pleasure/pain centre it is impossible to ever be hedonistic (aka a pleasure-seeker).

It is all so simple here.

RESPONDENT: For me, pleasure is based on conditioning. Conditioning co-exists with a feeling of identity/self. Whereas you say that even though your identity has been dismantled and conditionings removed, pleasure remains.

RICHARD: I do not say that (1) identity has been ‘dismantled’ (it is, rather, that identity ‘self’-immolates in toto) ... nor do I say that (2) conditionings have been ‘removed’ (all conditioning, having nothing to condition, falls redundant by the wayside) ... and neither do I say that (3) pleasure ‘remains’ (anhedonic pleasure becomes apparent, and not before, where hedonic pleasure is no more).

RESPONDENT: Isn’t it a conditioning that you like a certain taste of coffee?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t it a conditioning that you like a certain engorging of the genital organs ...

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: [Isn’t it a conditioning that you like] a certain warmth/smell of an alive vagina ...

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: [Isn’t it a conditioning that you like] the ‘mutualness’ of the sexual process rather than the one-way activity of licking a cold stale fish?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t preference for a certain taste/sensation equivalent to conditioning?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: You do prefer certain sensations over the others, right?

RICHARD: Yes ... yet to prefer something over something other is just that (a preference) and nothing more than that.

RESPONDENT: If someone says to you, ‘Richard, would you have tea or coffee’, isn’t your decision/choice based on your conditioning/liking?

RICHARD: No ... it is a preference.

RESPONDENT: [If someone says to you] ‘Richard, would you like a stale fish or my vagina?’ [isn’t your decision/choice based on your conditioning/liking?]

RICHARD: No ... it is a preference.

RESPONDENT: In both cases, I presume you would make a firm choice.

RICHARD: No ... in both cases it is a preference (a freely-made choice).

*

RESPONDENT: On another note, since your affective centre is non-existent and your pleasure is based solely on the sensory input ...

RICHARD: Here in this actual world – the world of the senses – pleasure is sensate (and not ‘based on’ sensation be it either solely or not).

RESPONDENT: ... is it true that you can have intensely joyful sex with any willing, healthy and ‘otherwise suitable’ (full figured, not too thin, fat etc.) female partner.

RICHARD: No, sexual pleasure could – note ‘could’ – be with any living creature (no conditions at all).

RESPONDENT: That you would feel as much joy/delight in having sex with a stranger as with a person with whom you have had sex with a hundred times.

RICHARD: No (nor do I ever ‘feel’ joy/delight in any other situation you may propose).

RESPONDENT: A normal person desires novelty in his experiences. He soon gets bored with repetition.

RICHARD: As all is novel, fresh, new, here in this world of the senses (the actual world), it is impossible to ever be bored.

RESPONDENT: Is experiencing a variety of sensory inputs important to you?

RICHARD: I draw your attention to the following exchange:

• [Respondent]: ‘Why is it not enough to just sit still? If you are happy sitting still, what makes you go out and have coffee?
• [Richard]: ‘... it is indeed enough to just sit still ... *doing something is a bonus* on top of the utter delight of simply being this flesh and blood body only. [emphasis added].

RESPONDENT: Or can you exist joyfully in a monotonous sensate world (as in a black solitary sound-proof hole, your body firmly tied to a cot).

RICHARD: I draw your attention to the following exchange:

• [Respondent]: ‘If you are denied all these pleasures (say forced into jail) would you feel constrained, in pain? (...) how do you have any conviction in saying that you will be happy in any and every situation?
• [Richard]: ‘... being anhedonic it would be impossible to be in pain (to feel constrained) in a gaol ... *nor anywhere else you may propose*. [emphasis added].

RESPONDENT: Would you get bored?

RICHARD: I draw your attention to the following exchange:

• [Respondent]: ‘I can well understand that you would not be too upset (or even a little upset) if you don’t have enough money for watching the latest movie that you want to watch. That you would move on to getting pleasure from something which is within your reach, so to speak. But isn’t this a symptom of inner boredom?
• [Richard]: ‘... there is no ‘inner’ (nor ‘outer’) here in this actual world ... let alone boredom: *’tis impossible to be bored where all is novel, fresh, new*. [emphasis added].

RESPONDENT: Have you tried testing yourself as regards a prolonged monotonous input?

RICHARD: What is it about the words ‘all is novel, fresh, new’ that you do not comprehend ... such as to occasion you to write ‘monotonous’ twice (synonyms: wearisome, dull, boring, tiresome, insipid, vapid)?

*

RESPONDENT: Suppose you are licking the lips of your girlfriend. Suppose she leaves and a robot takes her place. You still have your eyes closed. The robot’s lips feel just as warm wet and soft and it is wearing the perfume your girlfriend wears. Only the lips of the robot are touching your lips, no other body parts are touching. Suppose further that the robot actively kisses you for ten more minutes and then suddenly it makes a clanking noise and you open your eyes and see that it is a robot. Would you still be able to close your eyes, and enjoy the kiss?

RICHARD: As this is such an implausible scenario (somewhat akin to licking a dead fish in lieu of cunnilingus) I cannot provide a meaningful reply.

RESPONDENT: I devised this thought experiment so that I could see if the presence of ‘life’ in the physical entity you are having sex with is important to you.

RICHARD: Where you say the presence of life *in* the physical entity are you referring to what you further below call a ‘subjective entity’ (otherwise why not simply say another living creature)? Vis.:

• [example only]: ‘I devised this thought experiment so that I could see if the presence of another living creature is important to you while you are having sex’. [end example].

RESPONDENT: But if you find it impossible to answer meaningfully, that’s alright.

RICHARD: Why is it ‘alright’ to have devised such an implausible scenario that it cannot be answered meaningfully by your co-respondent?

Just curious.

*

RESPONDENT: I would be very much interested in actualism if you say yes.

RICHARD: Why on earth would you be ‘very much interested in actualism’ if you were to be informed that the enjoyment of kissing a perfumed robot was one of the ... um ... the fringe-benefits of living in this actual world? One does not have to be actually free from the human condition to enjoy something of that nature ... there are many peoples all over the globe who already enjoy sexual activity with plastic/silicone devices/models.

RESPONDENT: If you said Yes, I would be interested in actualism because then for me there would be a possibility in transcending this particular pattern of pleasure (which I at present think is based primarily on the mental perception of an other live entity) which is at the centre of my quest.

RICHARD: If transcendence is your aim you are at the wrong address.

RESPONDENT: For me, sexual desire is the prime desire with which I suffer. My viewpoint was as under:

Sexual pleasure depends on the presence of a suitable (gender, body figure etc) subjective alive other entity. If sexual pleasure does not so depend on that, then it is merely another preferred pattern of sensate pleasure (i.e., just another conditioning) like a preference for a certain coffee and thus freedom from it is possible (see the next to next paragraph).

If it does depend on that, then it is a rather special kind of pleasure which I would consider is dependant on one’s sense of being a separate alive entity which seeks union with another such entity in a psychic way (not just in a sensate way, as would be with a sufficiently hi-tech robot). Then, freedom from it would require a rather different approach which would annihilate the very sense of separation. (the professed goal of eastern mysticism).

Isn’t it true that one can (relatively) easily give up coffee or smoking but it is immensely rare to find someone who inwardly as well as outwardly does not seek sexual pleasure?

RICHARD: For as far as I have been able to ascertain nobody else has become actually free from the human condition (a sublimated and/or transcended pleasure/pain centre is still a pleasure/pain centre).

RESPONDENT: I was enquiring if there is a category difference between sexual and other ‘normal’ pleasures.

RICHARD: There is indeed a category difference between fondling one’s nose (for instance), with thumb and forefinger (for example), and fondling one’s genitals (in the exact same manner): whilst both are sensate pleasures only one is, generally speaking, a sexually-sensate pleasure.

*

RICHARD: In short: sex and sexuality is a mutual experience.

(...)

RESPONDENT: I claim that if it is a robot, this mutual feedback loses its strength ...

RICHARD: As a robot is not a living creature there is no ‘mutual feedback’ to either lose or gain strength.

RESPONDENT: Oh come on. You underestimate (the future of) robot technology. A robot can presumably give you feedback by changing its behaviour based on your inputs (as in current video game characters).

RICHARD: As the topic under discussion is [quote] ‘mutual experience’ [endquote] – which you first changed to ‘mutual feedback’ and have now trimmed to ‘feedback’ alone – I will take this opportunity to re-phrase your latest observation according to what the topic actually is. Vis.:

• [example only]: ‘Oh come on. You underestimate (the future of) robot technology. A robot can presumably give you mutual experience by changing its behaviour based on your inputs (as in current video game characters)’. [end example].

Or:

• [example only]: ‘Oh come on. You underestimate (the future of) robot technology. A robot can presumably give you mutual feedback by changing its behaviour based on your inputs (as in current video game characters)’. [end example].

RESPONDENT: Being alive is not synonymous with being able to provide feedback.

RICHARD: Whereas being alive is synonymous with mutual experience/mutual feedback.

RESPONDENT: A computer or your digital watch gives you feedback based on what you do to it, yet we don’t call them alive as we call a human being alive.

RICHARD: Exactly ... there is no mutual experience/mutual feedback, eh?

*

RESPONDENT: ... [I claim that if it is a robot, this mutual feedback loses its strength] and you would not want to give ‘it’ pleasure since it is incapable of feeling pleasure in a subjective way.

RICHARD: As a robot is not a living creature it is incapable of pleasure, period ... let alone feeling ‘subjective’ pleasure (a robot has no identity within).

RESPONDENT: We agree on this. A robot, not being alive, is not capable of any subjective experience (which includes pain/pleasure).

RICHARD: As a robot is not a living creature it is incapable of experience, period.

RESPONDENT: But it can provide feedback, that is not inconceivable.

RICHARD: Yet it cannot provide mutual experience/mutual feedback.

*

RESPONDENT: Once again, I posit: the pleasure of sex is based on the mental perception/evaluation of a different other live entity. If this perception is absent, the pleasure of sex is reduced to pure sensory data and then it is a sensate experience, not a sexual pleasure.

RICHARD: As one has only to alternate between fondling one’s nose (for instance), with thumb and forefinger (for example), and fondling one’s genitals, in the exact same manner, to experience the distinction between the two sensate experiences it would appear that what you posit is not empirically-grounded.

RESPONDENT: The difference one feels is because the density/quality of nerve endings in the nose region are different from that in the genital region.

RICHARD: Different in ‘quality’ in what way, though?

RESPONDENT: The sensations the body gets when a finger touches the nose is very different from the sensations it gets when it fondles the penis/clitoris. Where did I posit something contradicting this fact?

RICHARD: Immediately above my response ... I will copy-paste it down here for convenience:

• [Respondent]: ‘If this perception [the mental perception/evaluation of a different other live entity] is absent, the pleasure of sex is reduced to pure sensory data and *then it is a sensate experience, not a sexual pleasure*’. [emphasis added].

If one were to fondle the nose of another living creature, while simultaneously fondling one’s genitals (in the exact same manner), one could fondle away until the cows came home and there still would be no mutual experience/mutual feedback ... and why?

Is it not because the difference in quality of the nerve endings in the genital region (vis-ŕ-vis the nerve endings in the nose region) is of the sexually-arousing/ sexual-interest variety?

RESPONDENT: Would you agree that merely fondling one’s penis/clitoris without indulging in mental imagery produces a kind of response which is vastly different from the response produced when accompanied with mental imagery?

RICHARD: As the ‘mental imagery’ you speak of stems from the pleasure/pain centre it is quite different (such an indulgence is to be twice-removed from actuality).

RESPONDENT: After all, that’s why people spend so much money on pornographic media. One wants to imagine doing something to another subjectively alive entity. I would find it quite pathological if a person imagined having sex with a dead body/robot.

RICHARD: As you said you would be ‘very much interested in actualism’ if you were to be informed that the enjoyment of kissing a perfumed robot was one of the ... um ... the fringe-benefits of living in this actual world am I to take it that, while imagining having sex with a robot would be quite pathological (according to you), physically having sex with a robot would not be? And, furthermore, are you suggesting that all those millions of people, both male and female, who use plastic/silicone models/devices are quite pathological?

Or are you saying that imagining there to be another subjectively alive entity in the plastic/silicone model/device is what is pathological?

And I ask the last query because, as I understand it (and my understanding is decidedly minimal in this regard), the very reason why necrophiliacs do have sex with dead bodies is because there is no subjectively alive entity in them.

RESPONDENT: Even when people use rubber dolls etc., it is just a rather sophisticated form of masturbation while they imagine their favourite partner. They are not enjoying the doll per se.

RICHARD: I am not cognisant of what all the millions of men and women who use plastic/silicone models/devices do or do not enjoy ‘per se’ ... so I will pass without further comment.

*

RICHARD: All subjective pleasure is identity-based (both ego and soul) ... and not just ‘based on ego’.

RESPONDENT: I understand. What you are saying is that there can exist pleasure (which you categorize as anhedonic) in spite of there being no subjective entity.

RICHARD: Not ‘in spite of’ ... no; because of ... yes (anhedonic pleasure is only experienceable where there is no subjective entity) or, to be precise, anhedonic pleasure already exists for every living creature and it is just that identity is incapable, by its very nature, of ever experiencing it.

RESPONDENT: I find it hard to believe, but that is another matter.

RICHARD: Indeed so ... and I do not want any one to merely believe me anyway. I stress to people how vital it is that they see for themselves. If they were so foolish as to believe me then the most they would end up in is living in a dream state and thus miss out on the actual. I do not wish this fate upon anyone ... I like my fellow human beings. What one can do is make a critical examination of all the words I advance so as to ascertain if they be intrinsically self-explanatory … and only when they are seen to be inherently consistent with what is being spoken about, then the facts speak for themselves. Then one will have reason to remember a pure conscious experience (PCE), which all peoples I have spoken to at length have had, and thus verify by direct experience the facticity of what is written.

The PCE occurs globally … across cultures and down through the ages irregardless of gender, race or age.

However, it is usually interpreted according to cultural beliefs – created and reinforced by the persistence of identity – and devolves into an altered state of consciousness (ASC). Then ‘I’ as ego – sublimated and transcended as ‘me’ as soul – manifest as ‘pure being’ (a god or a goddess or that which is ‘timeless and spaceless and formless’) which is ‘unborn and undying’ or ‘deathless’ and so on.

I am mortal.

*

RICHARD: (...) As I am incapable of having the feeling of excitedly or eagerly looking forward to and/or having an eager or pleasurable expectation of and/or looking forward with pleasure to anything, let alone the future enjoyment of items purchased, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (affective pleasure) in any circumstance ... just as it is equally impossible to obtain its polar opposite (affective pain).

RESPONDENT: If you say you are incapable of anticipation, it would be altogether remarkable.

RICHARD: Not only am I incapable of (affective) anticipation I am also incapable of (affective) expectation – or any other word of that ilk you may substitute the next time around – and this is indeed altogether remarkable for it means that one is free to enjoy and appreciate the sensate pleasure that shopping actually is ... the direct, immediate, sensuous experiencing (which happens just here, right now, and nowhere and nowhen else).

RESPONDENT: I find the whole distinction between ‘affective anticipation’ and ‘non-affective anticipation’, ‘affective pleasure’ and ‘non-affective pleasure’ quite perplexing.

RICHARD: What is ‘perplexing’ (synonyms: confusing, confounding, mystifying, puzzling, bewildering, baffling, impenetrable) about my report that, as I am incapable of having the feeling of excitedly or eagerly looking forward to the future enjoyment of items purchased, for example, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (affective pleasure)?

RESPONDENT: Let’s hope it gets clarified with investigation/dialogue.

RICHARD: It can be clarified at this very moment (and quite simply at that): the feeling of excitedly or eagerly looking forward to future enjoyment is an affective feeling ... all such pleasure-seeking is affective.

*

RICHARD: Secondly, where there is no identity whatsoever all conditioning – be it self-inflicted conditioning, familial conditioning, peer-group conditioning, or societal conditioning – has nothing to condition and falls by the wayside (hence choices made are freely made choices and not just habit-patterns).

RESPONDENT: This is similar to the Buddhist position.

RICHARD: Not so ... I specifically said [quote] ‘no identity whatsoever’ [endquote] whereas Mr. Gotama the Sakyan only extinguished the shallower part of the identity (the thinker) which allowed the deeper part (the feeler) to expand unchecked into the fullness of its being.

RESPONDENT: Are you sure that Buddha only meant extinguishing of the ego and not of the soul as well?

RICHARD: I am indeed sure that Mr. Gotama the Sakyan only extinguished the shallower part of the identity (the thinker) which allowed the deeper part (the feeler) to expand unchecked into the fullness of its being.

RESPONDENT: What makes you certain?

RICHARD: I lived that/was that (popularly known as spiritual enlightenment/mystical awakenment), night and day, for eleven years.

For those that have not been in the same state of being I only need to point to the following ... where Mr. Gotama the Sakyan speaks of scarpering off to the place where the sun don’t shine (‘amata’):

• [Mr. Gotama the Sakyan]: ‘There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; (...) neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support. This, just this, is the end of dukkha’. (Udana 8.1; PTS: viii.1; Nibbana Sutta).

Put succinctly: it is an after-death realm that has nothing to do with the physical whatsoever: ‘neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind’ (no physical world); ‘neither this world nor the next world’ (no more rebirth); ‘neither earth, nor moon, nor sun’ (no solar system).

*

RESPONDENT: ... once again: If you get pleasure from sex which is based on mutualness, it is not merely sensate. It involves thought processes.

RICHARD: Perhaps this may help: in the perceptive process sensory perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary.

RESPONDENT: Can you elaborate?

RICHARD: I already have on many an occasion ... as you expressly said [quote] ‘it involves thought processes’ [endquote] the following instance may be particularly apt:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘The self is nothing other than conditioning, the thinker/feeler/doer is thought.
• [Richard]: ‘As feelings demonstrably come before thought in the perceptive process this is but a shallow understanding.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Why divide the process up?
• [Richard]: ‘I am not dividing the process up ... that is how it operates naturally (as is borne out by laboratory testing): sensate perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary.
The sensate signal, a loud sound for example, takes 12-14 milliseconds to reach the affective faculty and 24-25 milliseconds to reach the cognitive faculty: thus by the time reasoned cognition can take place the instinctual passions are pumping freeze-fight-flee chemicals throughout the body thus agitating cognitive appraisal ... and whilst there is a narrowband circuit from the cognitive centre to the affective centre (through which reason can dampen-down and stop the reactive response) the circuitry from the affective faculty to the cognitive faculty is broadband (which is why it takes some time to calm down after an emotional reaction).
Not that I knew anything of these laboratory tests all those years ago ... but it is always pleasing when science proves what one has already sussed out for oneself.
(...)
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘By dividing the process up, I mean, why bring in the aspect of time or chronology?
• [Richard]: ‘Again, I am not bringing in sequence (the chronology of time) as that is what happens of its own accord ... and it is so easy to find out for oneself this is so that science is not required at all: there is a loud noise; there is an alarming feeling-freeze-fight-flee [reaction]; there is thought seeking to evaluate.
Ergo: sensate perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary.
As animals other than the human animal display this ‘fright-freeze-fight-flee’ instinctually passionate reaction it is patently obvious that the feeling self is primal and the thinking self derivative ... and that the thinking self is, fundamentally, affective in substance. Moreover, there is some evidence that awareness of being this primordial ‘self’ – as in ‘self’-consciousness – has arisen in other animals: the chimpanzee, for example, can recognise its image in a mirror as being itself and not another of its species (such as the canary does for instance) and there are preliminary reports that the same may be happening for the dolphin.
Further to the point, as the essential affective feelings are in situ before thought first arises in infancy – a baby is born already feeling – it becomes even more obvious that the feeler, as an embryonic feeling being, is innate in sentient beings ... that the already existing basic set of survival passions form themselves into being the intuitive presence which, at root, is what any ‘me’ ultimately is long before the thinker comes into being.
Any and all conditioning, be it familial, societal, peer-group, or environmental imprinting, needs substance to latch onto, sink into, and be ... it all washes off a clean slate like water off a duck’s back.

Innocence is something entirely new to human experience.


CORRESPONDENT No. 74 (Part Two)

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