Actual Freedom – The Actual Freedom Mailing List Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence

On The Actual Freedom Mailing List

With Correspondent No. 97


September 08 2005

RESPONDENT: No. 98, keep up the concerns for the just causes; they might yet get you and/or the world somewhere ...

RICHARD: As [quote] ‘just causes’ [endquote] have not got anyone and/or the (human) world anywhere remotely looking like peace on earth (let alone to the meaning to life), despite at least 3,000-5,000 years of dutiful endeavour by myriads of well-meaning peoples doing their best, then what you are advising a fellow human being to do is yet more of the same ... in a word: Sisyphism.

RESPONDENT: – but don’t let them spoil your day, it’s the only one you have, and nobody will profit from your day spoilt. To the contrary. No 25, this (http://lists.topica.com/lists/actualfreedom/read/message.html?mid=911967383) gave me some doubt about the purity of your own snow. Well, keep on wu-weiying on, but don’t let yourself get caught by Richard.

RICHARD: Possible translation: do not let yourself get sucked into experientialism.

RESPONDENT: No. 68, may your patience last ten years (http://lists.topica.com/lists/actualfreedom/read/message.html?mid=911938135).

RICHARD: As you presumably missed the import of what is at the bottom of that page (else why bless your fellow human being with a decade of patience) I will re-quote it here:

• ‘It’s like Richard sez: each moment you have the choice of being happy or not, although most people would fail to recognize this point or appreciate it’. [endquote].

RESPONDENT: No. 74, No. 78, No. 90 and all other kind people around here who have still not lost patience and/or faith completely, be happy and may the answers you receive be useful to your life or may they at least entertain you, as long as there are still questions. Just keep diggin’!

RICHARD: Somehow I am reminded of the ‘do as I say; not what I do’ cliché.

RESPONDENT: I myself have nothing more to say (and I’m saying it).

RICHARD: And I am responding to it – with each and every word you wrote intact – so that an unexpurgated version of your concluding summary, of what you have made of actualism and actualists during your 25-day perusal, can be found in the correspondence archives of The Actual Freedom Trust web site (thus saving anyone having to look for it in the Topica archives).

RESPONDENT: Everything, it appears to me, has been written about more than twice on this list, every confession made, so many cards have been laid on so many tables to no avail, and although I agree with those who think that many answers from Richard are far from satisfactory, I doubt there will ever be better ones.

RICHARD: As vague generalisations are meaningless without substance your fellow human beings would have been better served had you actually provided those instances where you allege my answers are far from satisfactory ... even one example would have sufficed.

RESPONDENT: To HIM, everything is crystal-clear.

RICHARD: Indeed so ... it is a trifle strange, is it not, that you do not ask for some clarification from that crystal-clear clarity but choose instead to merely cast aspersions?

RESPONDENT: In my conversations with Richard, I was sometimes reminded of a Star Trek episode where some form of intelligence goes up in smoke when the emotional, crazy humans show it to have committed a logical error. I somehow, subconsciously, probably expected something similar to happen to Richard ...

RICHARD: Now here is a radical notion for you: why not provide the text wherein you imply Richard has committed what you classify as a [quote] ‘logical error’ [endquote] as a re-read of all of our correspondence, just now, has shown nothing of the kind coming from this keyboard.

RESPONDENT: – but it will never, ever. He will keep the copy & pasted arguments flowing as long as this mailing list exists.

RICHARD: No ... only for as long as corespondents continue to mount ill-informed critiques. For just one example:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I find myself at a time in my life when I am much more interested in my own writing than anyone else’s.
• [Richard]: ‘Okay ... this goes some way towards explaining why you have hobbled yourself before you even start.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘That is why I just scanned your millions of words.
• [Richard]: ‘Yet the computer counts 3,934 words on that page I provided a link to ... not millions.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I admit; I did not even read the bit where your correspondent refuted somewhat his previous claim.
• [Richard]: ‘Okay ... I have taken note of just how well researched your entire case against me is.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I am inclined to agree with your correspondent’s initial judgement about how you express your worldview in writing.
• [Richard]: ‘First, just so that there is no misunderstanding: are you saying that you are ‘inclined to agree’ that Richard presents a worldview that is beleaguered, spiteful, presumptuous, condescending, reductive, etc.? Second, I also ask because initially you ‘certainly would be inclined to agree’ that Richard presents a worldview that is beleaguered, spiteful, presumptuous, condescending, reductive, etc. Third, I am wondering if the dropping of the ‘certainly’ indicates that you are being faithful to your avowed stance that, although you hold that your viewpoint is correct and true, you also allow that it may not be?
Or is the dropping of your certainty, about what the words of Richard indicate, merely an oversight?
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘The important thing is that it is a judgment of the correspondent at a certain time and a judgment of mine.
• [Richard]: ‘Indeed it is. And the respondent gave a conditional retraction giving reasons why their ‘General Semantics’ judgement had been faulty (disbelief in freedom per se) ... and it also turns out that that respondent had not actually read any of my writings anyway before mounting their ‘General Semantics’ case against me. And this is an oversight that kind of crippled them from the start.
Would you say that it pays to be well-informed before commencing a critique?
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘There is no factuality in judgements.
• [Richard]: ‘Indeed not – there is factuality only in facts – this is very perspicacious of you.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I have read quite some of your words; but certainly not a majority. At the moment it does not interest me to read more.
• [Richard]: ‘May I ask? Why do you handicap yourself this way whilst conducting your case against me?’

RESPONDENT: Infinite ‘benevolence’ forever.

RICHARD: As I have more than a few times delineated what I mean by the word ‘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’ – there is indeed an infinite benevolence irregardless how ill-informed a co-respondent’s critique may be ... but only for, at most, the remainder of my life (and not forever).

RESPONDENT: Maybe somebody will still look into his obsessive distinction between dirt and purity ...

RICHARD: As it is all-too-easy to say ‘obsessive’ – without any attempt to substantiate same – your baseless assertion will be treated with the ignore it deserves.

RESPONDENT: – some nasty things might turn up.

RICHARD: As your usage of the auxiliary verb ‘might’, in a context such as this, also includes its opposite then what you are saying there looks something like this:

• [example only]: ‘Maybe somebody will still look into Richard’s distinction between dirt and purity – some nasty things might, or might not, turn up’. [end example].

Just as a matter of interest ... what does the word ‘nasty’ mean to you, then, if not the same as what the colloquial usage of ‘dirty’ does?

RESPONDENT: I might be oversensitive here; but the fact that Vineeto, being of German origin, is so responsive to it, makes me suspect otherwise.

RICHARD: So as to have something on the table to look at here is how I have typically used the word ‘dirty’:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Richard, from your conversation with [name deleted] I noticed that you discussed three realities: [snip 1 and 2]. 3. Actuality. Where the sense of ‘I’ is gone and there is no witness, no centre in awareness.
• [Richard]: ‘There is no identity whatsoever here in this actual world ... *it is pristine here and nothing ‘dirty’ can get in. No ego or Soul (self or Self) will ever be able live in actuality* ... and a ‘centreless awareness’ in the spiritual jargon means an impersonal identity that has expanded like all get out until it has become ‘All That Is’ or ‘That’ or ‘Suchness’ or ‘Isness’ or whatever. Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti, for example, stopped saying ‘I am God’ by the late twenties and started to say ‘There is only That’. This may very well have been an attempt to counter the ‘I am That’ which Hinduism promotes so as to be more aligned to the Buddhist denial of both Self and No-Self. Exploring the shrewd twists and turns of arcane thought is a fascinating preparation for freedom from the human condition ... humble grandiosity is rife in the esoteric world and runs riot when unchecked. To have as one’s goal the exposure of the already always existing peace-on-earth through psychological and psychic self-immolation is essential to persuade the pious egoist from arrogating responsibility for bringing a metaphysical ‘Peace That Passeth All Understanding’ (Love and Truth) to earth’. [emphasis added].

For your information: at root an identity born and raised in Germany is essentially no different to an identity born and raised anywhere else.

RESPONDENT: To put is most neutrally: this distinction, which I took seriously in the beginning, appears to me closest to his ‘blind spot’ aka cognitive dissonance.

RICHARD: I am only too happy to couch the above in your terminology by way of illustrating something of import:

• [example only]: ‘There is no identity whatsoever here in this actual world ... *it is pristine here and nothing ‘nasty’ can get in. No ego or Soul (self or Self) will ever be able live in actuality* ... and a ‘centreless awareness’ in the spiritual jargon means an impersonal identity that has expanded like all get out until it has become ‘All That Is’ or ‘That’ or ‘Suchness’ or ‘Isness’ or whatever’. [end example].

What now of that ‘blind spot’ (aka cognitive dissonance) you doubt you are being oversensitive about, eh?

Speaking of which ... I will leave you with the following description (deliberately left un-attributed and un-referenced for reasons which may become obvious upon a search for the original):

• ‘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 [Richard] once wrote about the eyes ‘lightly caressing’, as if one is seeing from the front of the eyeball. I also remember you [Richard] 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’. (This is not an intellectual realisation but a direct perception of the fact)’. [endquote].

September 08 2005

RESPONDENT: Richard, as you would have it, I’m off to more gullible pastures.

RICHARD: Never mind how I would have it ... how do you have it?

RESPONDENT: Have fun at the keyboard.

RICHARD: I already am ... but thank you for your post-factum blessing, anyway.

RESPONDENT: However, if you feel the sudden urge to put my challenge regarding quantum physics on your website in its entirety – and not only your part, even if you choose not to respond – it would make the evaluation of AF easier for potential newcomers.

RICHARD: Ha ... if you want to have each and every thing, which each and every person chooses to write irregardless of its relevancy, on a website then how about you get your act together and spend the time, the application, and the money, in establishing, maintaining, and managing, a website of your own with its own associated mailing list?

RESPONDENT: I’m sure you agree with this ...

RICHARD: Your surety is entirely misplaced for I have no intention whatsoever of archiving irrelevant distractions away from what I have to say about mathematical models in general and quantum theory in particular ... that you chose to ignore my clear expression of what [quote] ‘Richard says about quantum mechanics’ [endquote] at the very top of my response is your business, not mine, and any attempt on your part to make it my business will fall on deaf ears.

Here it is again:

• [Respondent]: ‘Whenever you listen to a CD or your computer, think of old Max Planck ...
• [Richard]: ‘Or, and more usefully in regards reconsidering what Richard says about quantum mechanics, you could think of what Mr. Jules-Henri Poincaré has to say about mathematical models (google it yourself)’. (Tuesday 6/09/2005 8:00 AM AEST).

How on earth my quote of what Mr. Jules-Henri Poincaré has to say about mathematical models can possibly be misconstrued (such as for you to waste your time needlessly typing out both a pointless challenge and your codicil to same in this e-mail) has got me stumped. Here it is (in context):

• [Richard]: ‘I did make the comment, in an earlier e-mail, that we could post URL’s to each other until the cows came home and the matter would still not be settled and the point I am making by providing this particular link (just as I did with the Mr. Tom Van Flandern link) is that, being but a lay-person in all these matters, what I see is theoretical physicists, mathematicians, logicians, and so on, discussing amongst themselves the validity/invalidity of this theory and that theory and any other theory.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘And of course the crucial question is that how is [discussing amongst themselves the validity/invalidity of this theory and that theory and any other theory] going to make a contribution to world piece \?/peace on earth?
• [Richard]: ‘No, the crucial question is why a person, seeking to disallow the direct experience of infinitude – as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – by telling me that the universe is not infinite, eternal, and perpetual (such as in the 1997 e-mail exchange I quoted from in a previous post) because of this theory or that theory or any other theory, would even try flying that kite when it is patently obvious that mathematics do not describe the universe and that a mathematical equation has no existence outside of the ratiocinative process. For just one example:
• ‘Poincaré put forward important ideas on mathematical models of the real world. If one set of axioms is preferred over another to model a physical situation then, Poincaré claimed, this was nothing more than a convention. Conditions such as simplicity, easy of use, and usefulness in future research, help to determine which will be the convention, while it is meaningless to ask which is correct. The question of whether physical space is Euclidean is not a meaningful one to ask. The distinction, he argues, between mathematical theories and physical situations is that mathematics is a construction of the human mind, whereas nature is independent of the human mind. Here lies that problem; fitting a mathematical model to reality is to forcing a construct of the human mind onto nature which is ultimately independent of mind’.

RESPONDENT: ... although with 180 degrees different opinion about the potential effects on new readers. So be it.

RICHARD: It has nowt to do with opinion (and to be calling it a ‘180 degrees different’ opinion is to be but displaying your ignorance in public for the sake of a cheap shot).

RESPONDENT:: And if you do find the classical explanations for quantum phenomena, let the list now – and put it on your science part of the website, which to my mind it is one of the major AF PR catastrophes.

RICHARD: Maybe you will have gathered by now that whatever it is, which is to your mind catastrophic, it holds no interest for me whatsoever?

RESPONDENT: At least for people who have read more than just David Bohm (aka J. Krishnamurti-inspired interpretations) or Encyclopaedia Britannica articles on quantum physics (and relativity, by the way) ...

RICHARD: No amount of expertise in theoretical physics is ever going to make one iota of difference to the fact that mathematical models do not describe the universe/have no existence outside of the ratiocinative process.

RESPONDENT: ... and can tell that here is a particularly evident case of taking down a strawman you first put up yourself.

RICHARD: There is not, and there never was, a straw man (other than the one you put up that is).

RESPONDENT: Well, the experienced AFer will understand that I have it 180 degrees wrong here. So be it.

RICHARD: You do not have it 180 degrees wrong – you just have it plain old ordinarily wrong – and speaking of which ... have you noticed that none of the points you have raised, in your e-mails to me over these last 25 days, about me and/or my understanding/ experience have been correct?

Not a single one.

RESPONDENT: Peter, Vineeto, may you not find your lives completely wasted but profit in the best possible way from your ‘big leap’.

RICHARD: As there is no [quote] ‘big leap’ [endquote] in actualism – that is the stuff of religionists/ spiritualists/ mystics/ metaphysicians and their ilk (theoretical physicists for instance) – your condescensive blessing is entirely uncalled for.

RESPONDENT: I’m certain you will enjoy life with Richard.

RICHARD: As the three of us socialise only for a few hours on an, at most, weekly basis are you also certain they will enjoy life for the remaining 165 hours ... or is a virtual happiness and harmlessness (according to you) dependent upon being with me?

RESPONDENT: For taste’s sake, try not to be too hypocritical about honesty – and don’t, if possible to avoid, tell people you’re just being honest about honesty.

RICHARD: Hmm ... so taste is to be the determiner of what a virtually free person may or may not inform their fellow human being about, eh?

RESPONDENT: Well, I guess it’s impossible to avoid.

RICHARD: Your guess is, not all that surprisingly by now, grossly incorrect ... hypocrisy is remarkably easy to avoid (provided there be pure intent of course).

RESPONDENT: Caveat emptor.

RICHARD: As the honesty referred to on The Actual Freedom Trust web site is self-honesty (being scrupulously honest with oneself) perhaps ‘caveat venditor’ might have been a more applicable finale to your dismissive summary of what you have made of actualism and actualists during your 25-day perusal.

And I mention this because, in the final analysis, the only person one ever ends up fooling is oneself.

September 09 2005

RESPONDENT (to Vineeto and Peter): For taste’s sake, try not to be too hypocritical about honesty – and don’t, if possible to avoid, tell people you’re just being honest about honesty.

RICHARD: Hmm ... so taste is to be the determiner of what a virtually free person may or may not inform their fellow human being about, eh?

RESPONDENT: Well, I guess it’s impossible to avoid.

RICHARD: Your guess is, not all that surprisingly by now, grossly incorrect ... hypocrisy is remarkably easy to avoid (provided there be pure intent of course).

RESPONDENT: Caveat emptor.

RICHARD: As the honesty referred to on The Actual Freedom Trust web site is self-honesty (being scrupulously honest with oneself) perhaps ‘caveat venditor’ might have been a more applicable finale to your dismissive summary of what you have made of actualism and actualists during your 25-day perusal. And I mention this because, in the final analysis, the only person one ever ends up fooling is oneself.

RESPONDENT: Automorphism?

RICHARD: Here is what that word can mean:

• ‘automorphism: the ascription of one’s own characteristics to another’. (Oxford Dictionary).

It is entirely up to you to determine whether or not your ascription of hypocrisy – plus the impossibility of its avoidance – to Vineeto and Peter is but an assignation of your own onto them (plus your own inability to avoid same) as I cannot know your every thought, your every feeling, your every instinctual impulse ... nor ever know all the nuances of your ethnic background, all the intimate details of your familial upbringing, all the subtleties of your peer-group aspirations and so on, and so forth.

RESPONDENT: Happy & harmless, I’d rather say, uh?

RICHARD: You can rather say [quote] ‘uh?’ [endquote] all you will yet it will not alter the fact one iota that such felicity and innocuity as referred to on The Actual Freedom Trust web site is already always here in this actual world for anyone to enable into being apparent at this very moment ... nor the fact that no-one but that person themself is standing in the way.

In short: your freedom, or lack thereof, is in your hands ... and your hands alone.

RESPONDENT: Woof, woof!

RICHARD: Again, it is entirely up to you to determine whether you rather saying [quote] ‘uh?’ [endquote] is a conditioned response or not.

September 16 2005

RESPONDENT: I just discovered No. 89’s messages. I agree with him in what he writes about eastern mysticism – having done more or less the same reading circuit – but not on his scientific opinions on evolution apparently close to ‘intelligent design’ should I not have misunderstood something there, which is quite possible. I didn’t look into it closely. No. 89 gives a short résumé of the essentials at: http://lists.topica.com/lists/actualfreedom/read/message.html?mid=911984875

RICHARD: Did you notice that the e-mail at that URL has, towards the beginning, the question about what is so different between Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s mindfulness method and the actualism method – after stating that an actual freedom from the human condition is not at all beyond what the different traditions teach – yet finishes with references to [quote] ‘the Principle or Self. Itself is undying and never born but it brings everything into existence’ [endquote] by any chance?

RESPONDENT No. 89: There is no contradiction here; the words ‘Self’ resp. ‘Principle’ are not identical with your usage of the word ‘Self’ (passionate instincts etc.); they denote that (‘noumenon’) from which everything (‘phenomenon’) arises.

RICHARD: Here the text at that URL which I was referring to by pointing out (further above) that there is ‘the question about what is so different between Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s mindfulness method and the actualism method’ in that e-mail:

• [Respondent]: ‘Buddha taught a technique called ‘mindfulness’ (and most likely the technique was very different 2500 years ago than today) which had as an aim to stop instinctive and affective *behaviour* whether for good or bad. What is so different here to Richard?’ [emphasis added].

There is an enormous difference between merely stopping instinctive and affective behaviour and eliminating the [quote] ‘passionate instincts etc.’ [endquote] themselves ... for the extinction of the latter is the end of the noumenon from which everything (supposedly) arises.

RESPONDENT: I don’t agree with that.

RICHARD: As you explicitly stated (at the top of this page) that you agree with what my co-respondent writes about eastern mysticism – having done [quote] ‘more or less the same reading circuit’ [endquote] yourself – it is not at all surprising your book-learnt understanding is at variance with my experiential report/ description/ explanation that the extinction of the entire affective faculty/ identity in toto is the simultaneous ending of the Self or Principle (noumenon) from which everything (phenomenon) supposedly arises.

RESPONDENT: I say: the noumenon is the universe experiencing itself as this flesh and blood body.

RICHARD: Or, more accurately, having done more or less the same reading circuit around eastern mysticism as my co-respondent, your book-lore knowledge persuades you to say that. For instance:

• [Respondent]: ‘The universe experiencing itself, as in good old Spinoza or Hegel, in a body. Philosophically, we can discount their pantheism because something which is equal in everything that exists makes no difference. Which is the reason why Spinoza was so unpopular with the church of his times and so popular with the following generations of philosophers: his God came without a devil, it was simply everything-there-is. So he was accused of atheism: because atheism and pantheism are, in the form, identical (forgive the allusion to poor muddled Spencer-Brown). (...) As I understood Advaita teachings, the ‘Self’ and the ‘Universe’ are identical; why should the ‘universe’ have a ‘self’ separate from itself? (Sunday 14/08/2005 8:46 PM AEST).

RESPONDENT: It is the condition for any ‘experience’, not different from matter.

RICHARD: Just because a transcendental experience, as in the altered state of consciousness (ASC) popularly known as Self-Realisation (aka spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment), is of dedifferentiated spirit/ matter being the thing on whose existence the very experience of spirit/ matter being undifferentiated depends does not mean it is actual ... that suprasensible and thus suprarelational reality (a world without distinctions and multiplicity), otherwise known as Emptiness, Nothingness, Void, and so on, has no existence in actuality.

RESPONDENT: This condition will not disappear together with the passionate instincts.

RICHARD: As there is no spirit outside of the human psyche there is no such thing, upon whose existence the very experience of spirit/matter being undifferentiated depends, here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: Glad to have put our disagreement in a nutshell.

RICHARD: It is not [quote] ‘our’ [endquote] disagreement ... all what is happening is that your bookwork is at odds with actuality.

September 17 2005

(...)

RESPONDENT: Rhetorically speaking, in the following ‘actual experiment’ of Richard’s there is a variant of the ‘argumentum ad lapidem’ aka ‘argumentum ad alapam’, mostly used in education when answers run out because a child has entered a loop of infinite regress (and why x? Because y, my child. And why y? Because z, my child. And why z? Because – slap). Richard models this into an actual experiment to be performed on yourself: [quote] ‘1. Place a large spring-clip upon your nose. 2. Place a large piece of sticking plaster over your mouth. 3. Wait five minutes. Now, as you rip the plaster from your mouth and gulp in that oh-so-sweet and actual air, I ask you: Do you still believe in Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s revered wisdom? Exit: spirituality and religiosity. Enter: facts and actuality. Seeing the fact will set you free to live in actuality’. [endquote].

RICHARD: That simple experiment was not provided as a variant of the ‘appeal to the stone’/‘it just is’ argumentation: it was provided to demonstrate that no thought at all is required to demonstrate objective reality’s self-evident factuality ... let alone thought needing to [quote] ‘take a leap of faith to impute the objective world’ [endquote]. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘The view you express about all we have of the world being mental sensations can lead in several directions. Buddhism seems to be fixed to the ‘conceptualist’ path, by which I mean that they assume that this negates existence of the world. The long tradition in the West which is called Empiricism, also starts at this same point, but does not assume this. Based on what is available to us, it makes far more sense to look at things as existent, then things as not existent.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Buddhism starts from awareness of undivided, unchanging Absolute. Empiricism starts from the premise that the objects of the world have a self-existing objective reality. If the empirical method actually started from the factual observation that all we have ever had of the ‘world’ is sensations within mind, it could go nowhere. Thought must take a leap of faith to impute the objective world. This necessary first step of the empirical method violates the empirical method.
• [Richard]: ‘This word ‘impute’ is almost ubiquitous on this Mailing List. When used by ‘I’ as an intellectual refuge to avoid facing matter-of-fact actuality, its efficacy in obfuscation and dissimulation is unrivalled and unique. But is its usage contagious or what?
Empiricism does not ‘start from a premise’ at all; it starts from an obvious facticity. There is no need for thought to ‘take a leap of faith to impute an objective world’. No imputing at all is required to determine objective reality’s self-evident factuality. There is a simple experiment that will demonstrate the actuality of the objective world in a way that a thousand words would not:
1. Place a large spring-clip upon your nose.
2. Place a large piece of sticking plaster over your mouth.
3. Wait five minutes.
Now, as you rip the plaster from your mouth and gulp in that oh-so-sweet and actual air, I ask you: Do you still believe in Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s revered wisdom?
• Exit: spirituality and religiosity.
• Enter: facts and actuality.
Seeing the fact will set you free to live in actuality’.

RESPONDENT: Richard’s dismissal of all of ‘Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s revered wisdom’ ...

RICHARD: Except that Richard did not dismiss [quote] ‘all’ [endquote] of Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s revered wisdom in the above exchange which you abstracted that quote from ... my ‘do you still believe in Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s revered wisdom’ query was specifically targeting the arrant absurdity of saying, on the one hand, that Buddhism starts from an awareness of un-divided, unchanging absolute and yet, in the very next breath, implying that Empiricism does not start from an awareness of self-existing, objective reality but, rather, requires (a) thought ... and (b) a leap of faith.

‘Tis no wonder you started off with [quote] ‘rhetorically speaking’ [endquote], eh? Vis.:

• ‘rhetorically: in a rhetorical manner [of, pertaining to, or concerned with the art of rhetoric (the art of using language so as to persuade or influence others)]’. (Oxford Dictionary).

September 20 2005

RESPONDENT: Correspondent No. 30 is a wonderful example of brainwashing.

RICHARD: Just so there is no misunderstanding of what you are referring to I will provide the following examples of what that word can mean:

1. ‘brainwashing: intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person’s basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs’. (American Heritage® Dictionary).
2. ‘brainwashing: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas’. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
3. ‘brainwash: systematically and often forcibly replace established ideas in the mind of (a person) by new (usu. political) ideas’. (Oxford Dictionary).
4. ‘brainwash: to make (someone) believe only what you want them to believe by continually telling them that it is true and preventing any other information from reaching them’. (Cambridge Dictionary).
5. ‘brainwash: to impose a set of usually political or religious beliefs on somebody by the use of various coercive methods of indoctrination, including destruction of the victim’s prior beliefs’. (Encarta Dictionary).

RESPONDENT: I wonder how he did it. While on the first page he asks some very sensible questions about AF and science – knowing the usual popularized canon ...

RICHARD: For an example, from that page, of the first definition (enumerated, for convenience, as No. 1 above):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘If the theory that universe is finite is found to be true (backed up with evidences, predictions etc. using scientific method), and a spaceship that leaves in one direction comes back from the other direction after some time, won’t we be in a position but to accept it?
• [Richard]: ‘You seem to be talking about Mr. Albert Einstein’s curved space here ... whatever you do, do not hold your breath waiting for that to be demonstrated (24 to 28 billions years of travelling at the speed of light is too long a journey for any human being to make and come back alive so as to provide a factual report)’. (Wednesday, February 13 2002 AEDST).

As an example of an intensive and forcible indoctrination aimed at destroying my co-respondent’s basic convictions and attitudes, and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs, my technique does appear to need a lot of polishing, non?

For an example of definition No. 2 (also from that first page):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Deductive logic works like a chain; if you agree that each ring of the chain to be valid, you reach the last piece of the chain which is not apparent if you did not follow the process. (...)’.
• [Richard]: ‘The validity of each link in a deductive chain is dependent upon the initial premise being correct’. (Wednesday, February 27 2002 AEDST).

As an example of a forcible indoctrination to induce my co-respondent to give up their basic beliefs and attitudes, and to accept contrasting regimented ideas, my methodology does seem to leave a lot to be desired, eh?

For an example of definition No. 3 (again from that first page):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘They [Quantum cosmogony/Einsteinian relativity] are not commonsensical at all, agreed. But experimentation (please refer to: Michelson Morley kind of experiments for relativity, double hole experiments for quantum mechanics) has shown that the common sense understandings do not carry well in very high speeds as well as very small scales, and one is forced to theorize with the set of facts, and predict from the theory, and verify, and verify and verify, till the theory is found to be useful (like nuclear reactors, space ships, cosmic rays).
• [Richard]: ‘History shows that a model can be found to be useful without it necessarily being correct ... and such a model is later discarded when another model can be found to correspond more accurately to the facts.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Then the philosophical or metaphysical question arises: this is the theory that is arrived through scientific method to explain certain idiosyncrasies of nature, and works quite well, what does it mean?
• [Richard]: ‘It means what you just said ... it ‘works quite well’. (Wednesday, February 27 2002 AEDST).

As an example of systematically and forcibly replacing established ideas in the mind of my co-respondent by new ideas my performance does look to be severely lacking in efficacity, does it not?

For an example of definition No. 4 (yet again from that first page):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘A question for you: what subset of modern science you are willing to admit?
• [Richard]: ‘That which is sensible, practical and in accord with the facts ... I am also willing to be wrong in the many areas which lie beyond my expertise. I am a lay-person when it comes to physics as I am a high-school drop-out. I started working for a living at age fifteen and have never pursued these matters beyond what is available in the popular press ... if you are looking for an advanced discussion you are talking to the wrong person.
My expertise lies in the area of human consciousness only (via self-observation)’. (Wednesday, February 27 2002 AEDST).

As an example of making my co-respondent believe only what I want them to believe, by continually telling them that it is true and preventing any other information from reaching them, would it be fair to say that my modus operandi does give the impression of being far from perfect?

For an example of definition No. 5 (still from that first page):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... [what subset of modern science you are willing to admit]. Darwinian theory if not big bang?
• [Richard]: ‘The science of evolution fits well with the facts ... the ‘big bang’ theory is shot full of holes.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Expanding universe?
• [Richard]: ‘No.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Black holes?
• [Richard]: ‘No.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Atomic theory (Bohr’s atomic model with nucleus and protons and electrons)?
• [Richard]: ‘The jury is still out on this issue ... as a model it works well enough for now’. (Wednesday, February 27 2002 AEDST).

As an example of imposing a set of beliefs on my co-respondent by the use of various coercive methods of indoctrination, including destruction of their prior beliefs, it could be said that my tactics could do with a major overhaul, could it not?

RESPONDENT: ... he then goes on, after 4 years, to write: [Co-Respondent]: ‘Just thought I should express my appreciation for these discussions on modern science ... Richard’s answers and Respondent No. 60 & Respondent No. 27’s questions throw a lot of light on these matters. Very stimulating. What I understood (from Richard’s mails mainly) so far is that: a direct experience is the final arbiter and while logic/mathematics can sharpen the directly experienced, they are subservient to the direct experience. This is in contrast to the theoretical physicist/mathematician’s viewpoint which is: logic/mathematics is the final arbiter – direct experience is prone to error. Please correct this appraisal if necessary’. [Richard]: ‘No correction necessary ... you have hit the nail right on the head’. [endquote].

RICHARD: As you seem to have overlooked the inclusion of my clarifying postscript I will re-post it here for reasons of integrity in communication:

• [Richard]: ‘... the empiricism/ rationalism debate has a long history. (Saturday, January 24 2004 AEDST).

RESPONDENT: Correction is indeed necessary.

RICHARD: Perhaps it might be handy to first ascertain just what my co-respondent made of my full response? Here are the relevant portions of what they wrote 26 days later (they wrote the above on Friday, January 23 2004 AEDST) to another:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I had realized long ago [two years previously] when I corresponded to Richard that I was defending science based on my strong belief in scientists (no other discipline relies on objectivity and explicitly stated goals and experiment as the final arbiter) and decided to step out of my defence till I understand them myself to a great detail (I have good mathematical and scientific training and I have the toolkit to expand my knowledge if I find it necessary).
(...)
One can divide one’s experience into everyday stuff where one uses common sense and when it comes to subatomic world one says: oh I can’t use my common sense, it is beyond my understanding, here is some mathematical model explaining and predicting stuff that goes as far as creating an atomic bomb, sending space crafts: so I give up my common sense and use logic and mathematics here.
And then comes a stage where one says: Logic and Mathematics have succeeded where a common sense approach have not (in explaining subatomic stuff and fast moving stuff). Therefore I will buy the consequences of Logic and Mathematics even if it means that I have to lay down my common sense. I will use the same principles that helped me to get beyond in the subatomic and fast moving universe and extrapolate and apply to this everyday world (and probably justify my spiritual fantasies).
This is where Richard says (I think): Direct experience of the everyday world [sic] if you are willing to lay down in favour of your success in micro-worlds, you land up in imaginary world justified by mathematics and logic. The current models may be great in predictions but they are useful models ... that’s all ... do not justify one to jump to imagination sacrificing the common sense. Moreover these models that are based on logic and mathematics themselves use common sense at some level and nothing is just a standalone ‘logic and mathematics’ (as in there is no God that is running the world according to ‘logic and mathematics’)’. (Wednesday, February 18 2004 AEDST).

And again 4 days later (also to somebody else):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... all the mathematical models I was positing exists only in the mind not in actuality ... if human beings don’t think about them, they don’t exist’. (Sunday, February 22 2004 AEDST).

Bearing in mind that English is not my co-respondent’s first language is it nevertheless clear enough that they grasped what was conveyed (that mathematical models have no existence in actuality) by the comparison of empiricism with rationalism ... as exemplified by their usage of the word ‘standalone’?

Furthermore, as the topics being specifically referred to – the subjects which the co-respondents numbered as 60 and 27 were querying – were, respectively, the origin of the Einsteinian relativity theory (and, thus, the ‘Big Bang’ ex nihilo/ ‘Big Crunch’ ad nihil’ theory) and the situation that, facts being rather thin on the ground, it is mainly the hypothesis/theory which gets most of the attention, are you so sure a correction regarding what was plainly categorised for convenience as the rationalist position, that reason is the foundation of certainty in knowledge (rather than concepts and statements having meaning only in relation to sense-experience), is indeed necessary?

RESPONDENT: While theoretical physicists aim for elegance and simplicity and let themselves guide by intuition, these are by no way the final arbiters.

RICHARD: Here is what those questions and answers being referred to – the subjects which the co-respondents numbered as 60 and 27 were querying – more or less revolve around:

• [Richard]: ‘Mr. Albert Einstein (well-known for his ‘imagination is more important than knowledge’ quote) had this to say, in 1920, when reminiscing about the birth of his relativity theory in 1907: [quote] ‘There occurred to me the ‘glücklichste Gedanke meines Leben’, the happiest thought of my life ... for an observer falling freely from the roof of a house there exists – at least in his immediate surroundings – no gravitational field. Indeed, if the observer drops some bodies then those remain relative to him in a state of rest or uniform motion, independent of their particular chemical or physical nature (in this consideration the air resistance is, of course, ignored). The observer therefore has the right to interpret his state as ‘at rest’. [italics by Mr. Albert Einstein]. (page 178, ‘Subtle Is The Lord’, by Abraham Pais; ©1982 Oxford University Press).
The observer (irregardless of the ... um ... the ‘right’ to subjectively interpret what is actually occurring as being a state of rest) is, of course, objectively falling at a rate of thirty two feet per second per second because of the very gravitational field Mr. Albert Einstein somewhat solipsistically intuited/ imagined did not exist for such a person’.

RESPONDENT: Every theory strives to make a prediction which can be empirically measured.

RICHARD: Whereas what I was pointing out, in those questions and answers being referred to, is epitomised by a particular query and response (re-posted further above):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Deductive logic works like a chain; if you agree that each ring of the chain to be valid, you reach the last piece of the chain which is not apparent if you did not follow the process. (...)’.
• [Richard]: ‘The validity of each link in a deductive chain is dependent upon the initial premise being correct’. [endquote].

The initial premise in question is, of course, that happiest thought which Mr. Albert Einstein ever had in his life ... because an edifice erected on quicksand, no matter how ornately adorned, is bound to eventually sink without a trace.

RESPONDENT: The science game involves the promise that when the prediction is not in accord with reality, the theory will be regarded as ‘refuted’ and dismissed.

RICHARD: I will draw your attention to something else re-posted further above (from that first page on which, you claim, some very sensible questions were asked):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘They [Quantum cosmogony/ Einsteinian relativity] are not commonsensical at all, agreed. But experimentation (please refer to: Michelson Morley kind of experiments for relativity, double hole experiments for quantum mechanics) has shown that the common sense understandings do not carry well in very high speeds as well as very small scales, and one is forced to theorize with the set of facts, and predict from the theory, and verify, and verify and verify, till the theory is found to be useful (like nuclear reactors, space ships, cosmic rays).
• [Richard]: ‘History shows that a model can be found to be useful without it necessarily being correct ... and such a model is later discarded when another model can be found to correspond more accurately to the facts’. [endquote].

And the reason why I draw your attention to it (if it be not already blatantly obvious that there is a vast difference between a theory being useful and being in accord with the facts) is also because of what you go on to say immediately below.

RESPONDENT: To use No. 60’s story of the poor dogs, metaphorically: At the beginning, in 2001, correspondent No. 30 still could distinguish a circle from an ellipse. In 2005, he can’t anymore. Woof, woof!

RICHARD: Presumably you are referring to this article:

• [Mr. Duen Hsi Yen]: ‘Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) also had dog troubles of his own, as described by one group of researchers working in his lab: [quote] ‘In a famous experiment by Shenger-Krestovnika, published in 1921, a dog was trained to salivate to a circle but not to an ellipse. The ellipse was then made progressively more like a circle. When the ratio of the axes of the ellipse was reduced to 9:8, the dog could discriminate it from a circle only with great difficulty. It showed some signs of success on this problem for about three weeks, but then its behaviour was disrupted. It was unable to respond correctly not only on this difficult task, but also when presented with obvious ellipses and circles that had given it no trouble in the earlier part of the experiment. What is more, instead of coming to stand quietly in the apparatus of the past, the animal now showed extreme excitement, struggling and howling’. [pp.119-120, ‘Ivan Pavlov’ by Jeffrey Gray; ©1979 NY: Viking]. This work was brought to my attention by a University professor/psychotherapist, who also informed me that this dog eventually had to be put to sleep! It never was able to recover from the ‘experimental neurosis’, induced by Pavlov. This result is even more amazing because the conditioning did not involve punishment! The dog was merely trained to perform a discrimination. When it couldn’t do it, it went crazy! Later, he and his co-workers discovered lots of other ways to create neurotic dogs. These results were so remarkable, that at the age of eighty, Pavlov launched himself into an entirely new career in a different field, to understand psychopathology. He soon was visiting psychiatric wards several times a week, discussing the various cases with the psychiatrists! What is even more insidious, is that our entire educational system, as it exists today, is based on this type of learning! Children daily are asked by teachers to make discriminations that they cannot make, and when they make a mistake, they are punished! (The process is often referred to as ‘operant conditioning’ or instrumental learning)’. (www.noogenesis.com/malama/punishment.html).

How that example of operant conditioning/instrumental learning even remotely relates to my co-respondent comprehending that mathematical models do not describe the universe/ have no existence outside of the ratiocinative process simply defies sensibility.

Perhaps a personal anecdote may be of assistance: when I was but a lad in high school (at 12-15 years of age), when learning about atomic theory, it was expressly explained that the model then being taught – a nucleus made up of protons and neutrons surrounded by electrons – was just that (a model) and was not, repeat not, to be taken as really being the case.

And then came, thick and fast, in the ensuing years a bewildering array of sub-atomic postulates with peculiar names and properties wherein they were sometimes matter and sometimes energy – which otherwise causeless state apparently depended upon the human observer – only to be followed by the ‘String Theory’ ... a ‘string’ of energy so tiny that if it were to be compared with the magnitude of the known universe it would be but the size of a tree (if it had form). Predictably, it was being posited as being the smallest ... um ... ‘thingamajig’ beyond which there is no smaller and it, too, was to be the ultimate source of all things (if only it were real).

Your commentitious allegation regarding ‘a wonderful example of brainwashing’ (not to forget your distinctly pointed operant conditioning/ instrumental learning allusion) rather begs the question as to who it is indeed that is thus brainwashed/ conditioned – and by whom and how and when – rather than anything else.

October 22 2005

(...)

RESPONDENT: How does the extinction of that survival package [blind nature’s rough and ready survival package] translate at the level of brain architecture?

RICHARD: Presuming that by [quote] ‘brain architecture’ [endquote] you mean the brain’s neurones (nerve cells) ... it does not translate.

RESPONDENT: What changes?

RICHARD: Again presuming that by [quote] ‘brain architecture’ [endquote] you mean the brain’s neurones (nerve cells) ... there are no changes.

RESPONDENT: And where’s the evidence?

RICHARD: Perhaps if I were to put it this way: when a software programme in a computer is deleted, not only does that deletion not translate at the level of a computer’s hardware/not make any changes to a computer’s hardware, there is no evidence – were there no ‘Recycle Bin’ to retrieve it from – that it was ever installed in the first place.

Put simply: ‘my’ demise was as fictitious as ‘my’ apparent presence.

October 22 2005

(...)

RESPONDENT: How does the extinction of that survival package [blind nature’s rough and ready survival package] translate at the level of brain architecture?

RICHARD: Presuming that by [quote] ‘brain architecture’ [endquote] you mean the brain’s neurones (nerve cells) ... it does not translate.

RESPONDENT: What changes?

RICHARD: Again presuming that by [quote] ‘brain architecture’ [endquote] you mean the brain’s neurones (nerve cells) ... there are no changes.

RESPONDENT: And where’s the evidence?

RICHARD: Perhaps if I were to put it this way: when a software programme in a computer is deleted, not only does that deletion not translate at the level of a computer’s hardware/not make any changes to a computer’s hardware, there is no evidence – were there no ‘Recycle Bin’ to retrieve it from – that it was ever installed in the first place.

RESPONDENT: So nothing changed at the level of brain architecture?

RICHARD: Presuming that by [quote] ‘at the level of brain architecture’ [endquote] you mean the brain’s neurones (nerve cells) ... nothing changed.

RESPONDENT: Not only no major re-wiring, but no re-wiring at all took place, nothing changed in the way your neurons function – nothing observable from the outside. Did I get that correctly?

RICHARD: Presuming that by [quote] ‘re-wiring’ [endquote] you mean the way the brain’s dendrites receive information from its axons ... nothing either privately or publicly observable changed.

Put simply: ‘my’ demise was as fictitious as ‘my’ apparent presence.

RESPONDENT: So, to stay in the computer analogy, nature’s rough and ready survival package is not like a bios chip ...

RICHARD: No ... if anything it would be akin to the ROM (software) programme of a bios chip.

RESPONDENT: ... which, when it has been taken out and replaced, you can recognize from the outside as changed, but rather a software on a hard-disk which can be erased in a way so as to leave no trace at all and leave the hard disk exactly as before?

RICHARD: Have you never flashed a (EEPROM) bios chip?

October 24 2005

RESPONDENT: How does the extinction of that survival package [blind nature’s rough and ready survival package] translate at the level of brain architecture?

RICHARD: Presuming that by [quote] ‘brain architecture’ [endquote] you mean the brain’s neurones (nerve cells) ... it does not translate.

RESPONDENT: What changes?

RICHARD: Again presuming that by [quote] ‘brain architecture’ [endquote] you mean the brain’s neurones (nerve cells) ... there are no changes.

(...)

RESPONDENT: Is the demise of ‘me’ a simple (un-)learning process involving the neural network in its structure (...)

RICHARD: No ... put simply: ‘my’ demise was as fictitious as ‘my’ apparent presence.


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