Richard’s Selected Correspondence
On Affective Experiences versus Pure Experiences
ALAN: Turning to the PCE, you wrote: [Vineeto]: ‘In the interest of having clear, definable terms, a pure consciousness experience is just that – an experience of pure consciousness, where the ‘self’ is temporarily absent, completely. This means that there is no affective experience in a PCE whatsoever, no ‘love, bliss, rapture’ or the imagination of being ‘the saviour of mankind’. Whenever there is any feeling or emotion experienced whatsoever, it is not a PCE. For most people, the experience may well start as a PCE, but invariably ‘I’ will step in and seize the experience as ‘mine’ and interpret and feel it to be a spiritual experience. One needs to understand and practice Actualism to be sufficiently aware of one’s beliefs, feelings and instinctual passions in order to avoid the trap of Enlightenment on the path to Actual Freedom’ [endquote]. This seems to contradict what Richard wrote to me: [Richard]: ‘A ‘difference in degree’ sounds like an apt description ... I cannot, of course, recall with 100% accuracy what happened twenty-odd years ago (plus there is too much other stuff that happened which blurs precise recall), so I would have to say there was an affective response which varied from experience to experience from virtually non-existent to full-blown grandiosity’ [endquote].
VINEETO: Yes, I think, Richard is in trouble here. Joking aside, I’m sure he’ll explain it to you.
RICHARD: Ha ... you sure know how to get me out of the innards of computers and back to writing, eh? However, it is this simple: back in 1981 I had umpteen number of peak experiences – sometimes two-three times a day varying from minutes to hours – and they were wild and woolly times. Somewhere along the line I had lost sight of the four hour pure consciousness experience that had triggered my whole incursion into becoming free of the human condition and there was certainly a ‘difference in degree’ of the affective element in each experience ... ranging from virtually non-existent to full-blown grandiosity for the ‘me’ that was inhabiting this body. The PCE stayed pristine in its own domain, however, and stood me in good stead some eleven years later ... as I have recorded in ‘A Brief Personal History’:
Alan, you and I have had discussions, over the past two years or so, regarding the PCE devolving into an ASC when ‘I’ and/or ‘me’ step in and possess the experience – the affective element in other words – and I would say that Vineeto has expressed it (above) and in other places such that I have little to add. I was, of course, responding to your observation: ‘I have said that perhaps then I have not had a PCE, if that is what a PCE involves. Well, in a way, that was correct. This is the first time that ‘I’ have experienced, as an actuality, the validity of the statement – and it’s a whammer! And, of course I can now see that I have had previous PCE’s – but perhaps they were all ‘tinged’ with an, however slight, affective element and I guess this one is too ... perhaps it is just a difference in degree’ .
If the experience is ‘perhaps tinged’ with an affective element then it is not, or is no longer, a pure experience. Indisputably the PCE has no ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul – no affective element whatsoever – as a PCE is a pure consciousness experience.
In view of all that has been explored and written about, in the twenty-odd years since the ‘I’ that was inhabiting this body first had a PCE, nobody has to follow my experience and blunder along in the dark. It is pertinent to point out that I am putting the story together ‘after the event’, as it were, endeavouring to present as coherent a picture as possible. If anyone were to sit down with me and hear all that transpired (which cannot happen as I do not remember a lot of it) they would go away totally confused ... it was a mish-mash of experiences; a jumbled, bumbled, delirious, chaotic, bizarre, freaky and peculiar trip I went on. Vineeto and Peter get regaled with bits and pieces of it every now and again ... snippets of anecdotes when some discussion jogs my memory and another crazy morsel is added to the weird smorgasbord already presented. But the main thing I stress through all these sagas is the only danger inherent on the wide and wondrous path: because of the affective faculty one may lose the plot and become seduced by the glamour and glory and glitz of enlightenment.
I kid you not ... ‘Article 36’ of ‘Richard’s Journal’ spells this out in no uncertain terms.
It may well be that this is an opportune time to address what you phrased as being the difference between ‘PE’s, PCE’s and actual freedom (‘AF’)’ in another post: the term ‘peak experience’ is an all-encompassing phrase ... a ‘catch-all’ term for many and varied experiences. I have explained how I came about the term to this Mailing List before. Vis.:
I typed <peak experience> into the search function and sent it through my web page and came up with 157 entries. I see that I often mix and mingle the phrase with <pure consciousness experience> and this would lead to confusion only if one disregards the places where I clearly delineate what I mean. Vis.:
I have also asked Vineeto and Peter if they would include the phrases ‘nature experience’ and ‘jamais
vu’ in their ‘180 Degrees Opposite’ schematic so as to help clarify the matter as that is how I first described what I would
now call pure consciousness experiences back in 1980-1981. And I see that Vineeto has posted a paragraph (derived from page 226;
‘Richards Journal’ and an excerpt of which can be found on-line at:
The sense of knowing people or things or events – and knowing how to relate to them – simply vanishes. Details one has seen a thousand times suddenly become engaging; the background is as equally important as the figure that occupies centre-stage. Or, as someone wrote on a now-defunct mailing list some time ago: ‘jamais vu is a feeling that you have never seen anything around you; it seems like everything around you is new and you’ve never been there before – as opposed to déjà vu when everything seems like you’ve lived it before – and you feel that you’ve never done this particular thing before, even when you know you have’.
This odd, uncanny, surreal experience can happen to people who temporarily lose their memory or, more commonly, in an epileptic seizure (psychiatrically known as ‘temporal lobe epilepsy’ or TLE). For example, one such epilepsy sufferer wrote:
Incidentally, there are four types of déjà vu that clearly delineate between associated, but different, neurological experiences. These are déjà vecu (already experienced), déjà senti (already felt) and déjà visité (already visited) and déjà entendu (already heard). Déjà vecu is the most common déjà vu experience and involves the sensation of having done something or having been in an identical situation before and knowing what will happen next. These sensations are not only experienced as the outstanding sensations – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching – but can also include the proprioceptive sensations.
So ‘jamais vu’ was my original nomenclature ... and yet another way of describing the pure consciousness experience is with the psychiatric terms ‘depersonalisation’, ‘derealisation’, alexithymia’ and ‘anhedonia’ ... which descriptions I have scattered throughout my correspondence. The article ‘Attentiveness And Sensuousness And Apperceptiveness’ ... may be well worth a visit in this regard. The characteristics already detailed (‘depersonalisation’, ‘alexithymia’, ‘derealisation’, ‘anhedonia’) are the result of expressing actual freedom in the psychiatric models of the human condition – which reflects the ‘human’ struggle to understand this fundamentally simple process called consciousness – and are inherently arbitrary in that they do not exist as separate items. The extinction of identity in its totality with its ensuing loss of reality coupled with the inability to affectively feel pleasure along with the ending of the feeling faculty all takes place in the space of a few glorious moments. Peace-on-earth is the certain result ... because it is already always just here right now.
Then one is this universe experiencing itself as an apperceptive human being.
I see that this naming dialogue was re-opened when Peter suggested introducing the phrase ‘excellence experience’ to describe the penultimate virtual freedom experience ... and all this discussion is well worthwhile, eh? My companion, who is exacting when it comes to grading herself/her experiences, has classifications ranging from good, very good, very, very good, excellent ... and the perfection peak experience (PCE). She is most particular to not confuse an excellence experience with a perfection experience ... and the most outstanding distinction in the excellence experience is the marked absence of what I call the ‘magical’ element. What I describe as ‘magical’ she prefers to call ‘entering into the fourth dimension’ (not to be confused with the Hindu fourth state known as ‘Turiya’).
This magical ‘other dimension’ is where time has no duration as the normal ‘now’ and ‘then’ and space has no distance as the normal ‘here’ and ‘there’ and form has no distinction as the normal ‘was’ and ‘will be’ ... there is only this moment in eternal time at this place in infinite space as this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware (a three hundred and sixty degree awareness, as it were). Everything and everyone is transparently and sparklingly obvious, up-front and out-in-the open ... there is nowhere to hide and no reason to hide as there is no ‘me’ to hide. One is totally exposed and open to the universe: one is perennially just here right now ... actually in time and actually in space as actual form. This apperception (selfless awareness) is an unmediated perspicacity wherein one is this universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being; as such the universe is stunningly aware of its own infinitude.
It may or may not be a useful phrase to others ... which is what Peter was asking. I cannot definitively say one way or the other as I am not an expert on virtual freedom ... virtual freedom is derived from what the ‘I’ that was lived from March to September in 1981 and was first put into practice by my previous companion. When she dropped the baton, so as to pursue other avenues, Peter and Vineeto had already taken up the challenge to pioneer the wide and wondrous path. They are the first couple to live together in peace and harmony – by being as happy and harmless as is humanly possible for twenty three hours and fifty nine minutes a day – and both they and Grace intimately know far, far more about the intricacies of the daily living of it than I do.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been reading your web page and mail group for about 8 months. When I was 18 I had an experience on LSD that seems to match your descriptions of PCE’s and also ASC’s. That day I swung from one to the other. After that day I could never stop desiring to return to that space of unspeakable peace and miraculousness (PCE as I understand it) or messianic immortality (ASC as I understand it).
RICHARD: Welcome to The Actual Freedom Mailing List ... here is an example, from a self-healing personal growth book published only recently, which maybe shows how a pure consciousness experience (PCE) can readily turn into being an altered state of consciousness (ASC) when feelings enter the picture:
The intense feeling of beauty, in such instances, is what reveals truth (or god/goddess): beauty is the affective substitute for the purity of the perfection of this actual world ... just as love is the affective surrogate for actual intimacy.
RICHARD: When I first started writing on the internet I tended towards saying things like ‘I find your description to be an accurate portrayal of what I have been calling a peak experience’ and ‘going by what you have written I have no doubt that your experience is a PCE’ and so on, as it was important to both establish a common basis for discussion and to build up a data-base of differing people’s descriptions for others to read and draw affirmation and confirmation from. Yet herein lay a catch-22 that became increasingly obvious as more and more people reported their experience ... I was, by default, setting myself up to be to arbiter of another’s experience by (a) my words of corroboration or negation ... or (b) by the inclusion of their description in or the exclusion of their description from the data-base!
GARY: Yes, particularly since on my part there has been some confusion on account of the terminology, some lack of clarity about the difference between the so-called peak experience and the PCE and, now, what is described as an excellence experience ...
RICHARD: Writing on mailing lists has been beneficial for me in that feedback made me aware that I had to get my act together over precise terminology ... I was straddling two eras, as it were, and had never realised that the term ‘peak experience’, as made popular by Mr. Abraham Maslow, was so loaded with the metaphysical content it has (I had mixed and mingled the phrases). As for this term ‘excellence experience’, it is being suggested to represent the penultimate ... the best of what can be experienced, in what is termed ‘virtual freedom’, wherein ‘I’ am so thinly in existence ‘I’ am virtually not there.
I use the word ‘virtual’ deliberately (it has nothing to do with the virtual reality of cyber-space) as ‘virtual’ means ‘almost as good as’ or ‘nearly the same as’ or ‘in effect comparable to’ and so on. This is because it is humanly possible to thoroughly improve one’s lot in life, before the ultimate happens, wherein one lives in a well-earned happy and harmless way 99% of the time ... and which is streets ahead of normal human expectations.
GARY: ... it is good that you are not lending affirmance in order to establish the validity of these conditions. One needs to ‘see for themselves’ what is up by comparing the experience with what is written and by talking to others.
RICHARD: These words are music to my ears.
RICHARD: The most outstanding distinction in the excellence experience is the marked absence of what I call the ‘magical’ element ... in a PCE one is fully immersed in the infinitude of this fairy-tale-like actual world with its sensuous quality of magical perfection and purity where everything and everyone has a lustre, a brilliance, a vividness, an intensity and a marvellous, wondrous, scintillating vitality that makes everything alive and sparkling ... even the very earth beneath one’s feet. The rocks, the concrete buildings, a piece of paper ... literally everything is as if it were alive (a rock is not, of course, alive as humans are, or as animals are, or as trees are). This ‘aliveness’ is the very actuality of all existence – the actualness of everything and everyone – for one is not living in an inert universe.
GARY: In hindsight, the description of the PCE fits the bill, with the magical, fairy-tale like quality. The excellence experience may be more common to me lately that I hitherto thought. In the excellence experience, there is a commonness to it not found in the PCE.
RICHARD: Ahh ... good, I am pleased to have feedback that shows this to be a facet of experiencing that more than just a few people have so far reported. It all helps to clarify and aided communication.
GARY: In the PCE, there is a clear sense that something of momentous importance is happening, at least it seemed that way for me.
RICHARD: Excellent ... words conveying what ‘momentous importance’ conveys are words such as what I look for in a description, for it is no little thing what one does/what we are doing. What is conveyed is what impelled ‘me’, all those years ago, into proceeding with the utmost dispatch so as to enable peace-on-earth sooner rather than later ... so much so that when the going got rocky, from time to time, when ‘I’ put ‘my’ foot on the brake pedal in order to slow the process down the pedal went straight to the floor.
‘I’ was on the ride of a life-time.
GARY: The excellence experience, if not labelled such, might seem to be an experience of exceptional clarity and lucidity. With the PCE, words like bounteousness, bursting, pouring forth, vibrant, clear, alive, animate, come to mind.
RICHARD: The words ‘exceptional clarity and lucidity’ strikes me as being a very good description of the distinction when compared with ‘bounteousness, bursting, pouring forth’ and so on as I am swimming in largesse.
GARY: One of the things that was most striking about it was how uncommon everything appeared, how rich and variegated everything was.
RICHARD: Yes, I took particular note of your depiction of the stone in the gravel pit: sometimes peoples have looked at me in shock when I wax eloquent about actual intimacy with a stone, a brick, a glass ashtray, a polystyrene cup and so on, but I just tell them that I am officially mad and/or that I am a war veteran and they, presumably, go away content that all has been thus satisfactorily explained.
RESPONDENT: (...) I’d like to hear anything you might say about what this is.
RICHARD: It would appear that ‘this’ – which is where and how you want to be; where you feel great instead of feeling as in a vice; where you no longer think or feel there is any limitations or can be (and where any of those are not really that); where you do not know how it works (other than any limitations being not really that but are, maybe, the structure of experiencing it) or what to do; where not knowing the hows and whys thereof is not a problem (because you can explore and learn in any way you want); where you kind of feel like the body feels the sensations (rather than you feeling the body); where you feel calm and even and open – which is where you can still feel fear/have sweating hands/have physical tension is an altered state of consciousness (ASC) of some kind ... especially so if it is the same place where you previously reported that [quote] ‘it seems that there’s only a little bit waiting to be done’ [endquote].
RESPONDENT: I really appreciated receiving your comments. I’ve been working everyday solid since then, writing and rewriting follow-ups (trying to find a clear understanding and a way to write it), working with new things I’m seeing, and working on applying the ‘method’. I haven’t anything else that is ready to post yet, but before any more time went by, I thought I’d post this. I didn’t want to leave the description the way it was. If you have any comments, I’m very interested.
RICHARD: The only comment I can make at this stage is that there is insufficient information to provide a meaningful comment ... besides which I am somewhat reluctant to appraise another’s description unless it be strikingly obvious just what it is as experience has shown that when another tells me they do not know whether such-and-such an experience was an ASC, or something else, it is, as a generalisation, not a pure consciousness experience (PCE) … in a PCE it is startlingly apparent to the experient that is indeed a PCE. For just one example:
RESPONDENT: I don’t know if the above was an ASC, or something else. Whatever it was, the way that I wrote about it was vague, and further, if I apply what I know of your approach to word usage, my wording choices there (such as ‘feel’s and ‘feeling’s) communicate almost the opposite of what I intended. I didn’t want to use words in a new way that wasn’t integrated ‘in me’ – and I knew the meaning would be clear, at least to me, later.
RICHARD: By and large it is quite obvious that the words ‘feel/feels’ and ‘feeling/ feelings’ can refer to either a sensate experience (as in ‘the sun’s rays feel warming’ and ‘I am feeling the wind’s cooling caress’ for instance) or to an affective experience (as in ‘love/hate feels good/bad’ and ‘I have feelings of sorrow/compassion’ for example) ... what is a little less obvious, generally speaking, is that they can also refer to an intuitive, and therefore affective, sensing (as in ‘it feels right/true’ and ‘I have feelings of rightness/trueness’).
Put succinctly: an intuitive sensing (an affective feeling) of limitlessness is a difference in kind, and not of degree, to the fact of being without limitation (being sans the psychological/psychic identity) and thus directly experiencing the infinitude that this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe actually is.
RESPONDENT: Perhaps I shouldn’t have posted it the way it was. Here’s some clarification: I decided to put together the best attempt to move forward that I could, and try it. What I could see in-advance was that I wanted to step out of ‘When is this here-and-now going to be infinitely-great like I wish it would be?’ and into ‘This here and now is fully unsurpassable – right here, right now.’ (That’s what the ‘where’ in ‘where and how I want to be’ from the posting refers to). I also wanted to step out of ‘Why aren’t I experiencing this fully, now?’ and into – actually fully and actively experiencing this unsurpassibility here and now. (And that’s what the ‘how’ in ‘where and how I want to be’ refers to).
RICHARD: Harking back to your first words in your initial e-mail – [quote] ‘for as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to live fully in what was experienced in what seem to be what you call PCE’s’ [endquote] – your intent was, presumably, to step-out of the one and step-into the other once-and-for-all (as in never-to-return)?
And I am asking as it is the intent which is the key factor ... preferably pure intent.
RESPONDENT: So: As completely as I could, I left the one and went into the other. Then it seemed that I was just experiencing. Nothing had changed about the circumstance (‘there’s no evidence that anything is different’) yet it was all entirely different because the experiencing was entirely different. It seemed so obvious that limited experiencing could never give anything but limited experience.
RICHARD: Bearing in mind that a limited ‘self’ (an identity by another name) can experience itself as being limitless (and a limitless ‘Self’ is still an identity nevertheless) what factors were there about the key words in that description – your ‘then it seemed that I was just experiencing’ sentence – that would indicate it was experiencing sans a limitless identity?
RESPONDENT: The next part, about ‘limitations’, was that I didn’t have any sense of being limited whatsoever.
RICHARD: Again, was it a direct (unmediated) sensing or an intuitive (affective) sensing?
RESPONDENT: It’s not that I had transcended the physical laws and become special; it was that the physical laws weren’t limiting in any way, because I’m the same stuff that everything else is, so there’s nothing about this that could be in opposition to anything else. The sentence: ‘Any ‘limitations’ here don’t seem like they’ll really be limitations – just the way it all works – the structure of experiencing it (?)’ – was more of how physical laws and characteristics weren’t confining (which they sometimes seem to be from a spiritual or metaphysical standpoint) and that rather, they seem to be liberating because they seem to be the very thing that is experienceable.
RICHARD: I will say this much: this flesh and blood body is subject to ‘the physical laws’ (such as, for an obvious instance, gravity and, for another example, cause and effect) and these material parameters are most appreciable – and thus most appreciated – else nothing would make sense.
RESPONDENT: I don’t remember a place for feelings to be there – (in the beginning when I noticed that I felt great – it seemed like something different than a typical feeling), until when I started to feel fear. To the degree that fear came in – I lost the sense of being there. When I went back to paying attention to here and now, the fear got left behind. So, it doesn’t seem as if feelings could be a part of it, from what I remember.
RICHARD: In an ASC feelings cease being the affections one has as they have become an (affective) state of being ... else it be not an ASC.
RESPONDENT: Soon I stopped actively doing it so that I could reflect on what it all was – and I drifted back nearer to what I usually do, and that’s where I am still.
Everything seemed – here, clear, and maybe a bit extraordinary – but not very vivid or magical.
RICHARD: It would appear then, that whatever it was, it was neither an ASC (of the nature popularly know as spiritual enlightenment/mystical awakenment) nor a full-blown PCE ... howsoever the key words – in your ‘then it seemed that I was just experiencing’ sentence – do stand out as being significant ... and very much so.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
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