Richard’s Selected Correspondence
RESPONDENT: Richard ... one aspect of your recent post to Respondent No. 42 caught my attention. It’s an item I’ve had on the back burner for a while, and one I was going to delve into in my recent dialog with Gary re imagination.
RICHARD: Okay ... I might just take the opportunity to point out that in this section of that e-mail I was responding to a query about graphic design, rather than fine art, hence my reply was more about how aesthetic appreciation, as in proportion (ratio) and relation (harmony) for example, has its place irregardless of beauty ... such as in posters, billboards, magazine spreads, and so on.
Since we are communicating via the internet a topical example is the design, or layout, of a web page.
RESPONDENT No. 42: ... I do visual/ graphic design work, and have that training in appreciating ‘fine’ forms, along with going to a school with a core-program that studies the West’s concepts of ‘beauty’ and ‘ideal forms’ and all that. I suppose those lose their significance completely?
RICHARD: Here you are talking more of an aesthetic appreciation – and aesthetics vary from culture to culture – an appreciation which has as much to do with proportion (ratio) as it has to do with beauty per se: the ‘golden mean’, for example, purports to embody the ‘ideal form’ and has more to do with the relation (harmony) of one part to another, and the various parts to the total, than what is nominally beautiful/ugly ... although the word ‘elegant’ can quite often be a non de guerre for beauty. Thus stripped of its cultural impositions – and of the feeling of beauty of course – aesthetic appreciation can have its place ... although personal predilections need to be taken into account (given that aesthetics are, fundamentally, based upon the human body and its relationship with everything else).
RESPONDENT: I’ll throw out my interpretation of your words for comment. Let’s say an actualist is looking at the Mona Lisa. Minimally, the actualist could appreciate the colour selection and textural brush work of da Vinci. Mona Lisa is famous for her enigmatic smile, and much has been read into or projected onto that smile. This sort of response would be absent for the actualist. Also generally appealing is the shape of her face, which would have been considered beautiful in her time. The actualist is not responsive to that ‘cultural imposition’ as beauty, but may appreciate it as a near-perfect example of the ‘ideal form’. A similar example might be music ... the actualist would not have a sad response to a minor key dirge, but might appreciate the harmonic structure and melodic development of the piece, perhaps as a mathematical exercise in form and structure. I am curious as to what ‘personal predilections’ means in this context. Would one actualist’s predilections consider the Mona Lisa’s face shape to be ideal, whereas another’s wouldn’t? How is that distinguishable from a personal definition of beauty?
RICHARD: Over the years since the feeling of beauty vanished forever I have, from time-to-time, looked with interest at photographs of what are generally considered beautiful women/handsome men, so as to better ascertain what is no longer extant, only to find that the more beautiful/handsome they are deemed to be the more bland and/or insipid they are ... one reason for this has to do with the symmetry of the face in what is considered ideal (whereas character comes from asymmetry).
The example you provide is an instance of the geometric ideal (apart from the contrived smile) and reflects more the era in which it was painted – the Renaissance Period – than any genius on the part of the artist ... the ancient Greeks favoured idealised form wherein asymmetry/irregularities were ironed-out so as to better represent the ideal universal form (an abstracted form).
One thing I learned very early in the piece when doing portraiture was that one side of the face differed from the other side – and that capturing a likeness (portraying character) depended upon being true to the model – especially in regards to the eyes ... if both eyes were drawn or painted as being identical the result was characterless (bland and/or insipid). Moreover, character likeness is mostly to be found in the area contained by the corners of the eyes to the tip of the nose – and to a lesser extent from the corners of the mouth to the tip of the chin – and the more this is slavishly stylised (as an equilateral triangle for example) the less integrity the representation has.
In regards taking into account, or making allowance for, ‘personal predilections’ (individual predisposition, idiosyncratic proclivity, or in-built propensity, and thus tendency and/or preference) I was making the point that aesthetics are, fundamentally, based upon the human body and its relationship with the environment and are not necessarily ‘a personal definition of beauty’ per se: this body, for instance, is of the male gender; has a heterosexual orientation; is of Caucasian stock; and is 6’ 2” high and weighs 12.5 stone ... change any one of those bodily characteristics and aesthetic appreciation alters accordingly.
Furthermore, there is the perceptive ability itself to consider as the word ‘aesthetics’ comes from the Greek ‘aisthetikos’, from ‘aistheta’ (meaning ‘things perceptible by the senses’), which comes from ‘aisthesthai’ (meaning ‘perceive’): the quality, quantity and disposition of photosensitive receptors called rods (about 130 million cells which detect size, shape, brightness and movement) and cones (about 7 million cells which detect fine detail and colour) in the retinas varies from body to body and affects visual appreciation ... colour blindness being the most obvious instance.
Similarly for auditory appreciation the range of frequency (hertz), or pitch, and intensity of tone (decibels), or loudness, can vary from person-to-person ... the phrase ‘tone-deaf’ bespeaks of the most extreme example. Also gastronomic appreciation (flavour) depends not only upon the quality, quantity and disposition of the taste buds (papillae) on the tongue, palate and throat/larynx but upon the olfactory and tactile receptors as well – flavour is actually a combination of texture, temperature, taste and smell (the coolness of peppermint, the ‘bite’ of mustard or pepper, the warmth of cloves, and the astringency of spinach are all tactile, or touch, sensations of the lips, tongue and mouth in general) – and a surprisingly large number of people have some degree of ‘taste-blindness’.
Consequently I do not seek to impose my tastes (the aesthetic appreciation of this body) on anybody else ... I have oft-times said that I would be delighted to meet, hear about, or read of somebody else in actual freedom so as to compare notes, as it were, and tease out what is idiosyncratic (bodily specific) from what is generic (species specific).
RESPONDENT: Thanks for the explanation ... this clarifies the subject greatly, particularly the example of taste. It makes sense that if I can appreciate the various characteristics of mustard, I can also appreciate a particular face, with its unique assemblage of characteristics. It’s probably not worth asking why that is so, just that it is.
RICHARD: The fundamental reason why is that the quality, quantity and disposition of sensory receptors influences each body’s appreciative ability – which arrangement is genetically determined in the rapid shuffling of genes at conception – and many things, such as disease, wear and tear, ageing, and so on, can play a part in determining aesthetic capacity.
The secondary reasons why have more to do with what I wrote about in the initial post than in the quality, quantity and disposition of sensory receptors:
‘Tis not for nothing that aesthetic appreciation is commonly referred to as ‘taste’ ... it is an appetitive appreciation at root.
RESPONDENT: I had suspected that the appreciation of something like sharp mustard was a ‘learned’ behaviour, hence conditioned, but it’s merely a complex material for which the appreciation develops over time, as one’s experiential base broadens.
RICHARD: You seem to be now talking more of an acquired taste – and acquired taste can be culturally influenced of course – which need not be any more complex than diversifying ... coming to appreciate variety.
RESPONDENT: A face that might have scared me as a child now just draws my attention or curiosity.
RESPONDENT: One last question: You have a background in art, hence have an appreciation for visual aesthetics ... do you draw or paint now?
RICHARD: I have not drawn or painted much since I started writing – the last time was back in 1987-88 – as of all the arts I prefer literature ... the art of letters.
Incidentally, I mainly made a living working in ceramics, in particular hand-thrown pottery, as I had five other people to support.
RESPONDENT: I am a musician, and have wondered if pursuing this path would eliminate all desire to play music.
RICHARD: Yep ... all desire vanishes without a trace.
RESPONDENT: Creativity is a complex urge, with various fundamental and conditioned characteristics.
RICHARD: Yes, about 23-25 years ago, when the ‘I’ who was made a living as an artist, ‘my’ greatest work came when ‘I’ disappeared and the painting painted itself (in what is sometimes known as an ‘aesthetic experience’) or the pottery threw itself. This is the difference between art and craft – and ‘I’ was very good as a craftsman – but craft became art only when ‘I’ was not present.
All art is initially a representation and, as such, is a reflection funnelled by the artist so that he/she can express what they are experiencing in order to see for themselves – and show to others – what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ as it were. However, when one is fully engrossed in the act of creativity – wherein the painting paints itself for example – the art-form takes on a life of its own and ceases to be a representation during the event.
It is its own actuality: one can only stand in amazement and wonder – which is not to negate the very essential patiently acquired skills and expertise – and this marvelling is what was experienced back when I was a normal person. It was this magical way of creativity that led ‘me’ into this whole investigation of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. ‘I’ wanted to live life like these utter moments of artistic creation ... ‘I’ wanted life to live itself just like the paintings painted themselves.
And thus here I am today as this flesh and blood body only.
RESPONDENT: However, at its most elemental, if I could appreciate another’s music as one of my personal predilections, it would make sense that I could also appreciate that music I generate myself. Just as I could appreciate the mustard I prepared myself.
RICHARD: You have lost me here ... ‘personal predilections’ (individual predisposition, idiosyncratic proclivity, or inbuilt propensity, and thus tendency and/or preference) vary from person to person and not being able to fully appreciate another’s taste does not mean one cannot generate aesthetically pleasing works oneself.
Speaking personally I studied art for three years, copying various master artist’s works slavishly so as to acquire the necessary skills and expertise, and continued to practice daily thereafter for two more years (barely making a living): one fine day there was an abandonment of everything that had gone before – it was a gay abandon which came of its own accord – and unique work manifested itself for the very first time.
RESPONDENT: One thing that puzzles me is when I do examine my conditioning, it is difficult to establish what exactly is social conditioning and what is not – for example I adopted our society’s view of what a hot and sexy female body ought to be, from the covers of Maxim magazine and the like. Upon exploring how meaningless this particular standard is by comparing to other societies’ standards, it seems that my sex instinct naturally selected another, now simply broader, group of women to be attracted too. It was funny to see how that altered desire just showed up, like a redirecting of the same old instinct, without ‘my’ consent. However, the social conditioning behind the idea of ‘human beauty’ is my big question. What does human beauty mean in the actual world?
RICHARD: Nothing whatsoever ... there is no ‘human beauty’ here in this actual world: beauty is the affective substitute for the purity of the perfection of the actual ... just as love is the affective surrogate for actual intimacy.
RESPONDENT: How many of my divisions between human body types are relevant, if any?
RICHARD: The short answer is: no relevance at all ... although divisions can have a practical application (an off-the-cuff example is the ectomorphic/ endomorphic/ mesomorphic body-type classification).
RESPONDENT: Also, when there is no ‘sex’ in mind whatsoever to alter perception, both male and female bodies in all forms, along with differences and deformities, are equally fascinating, right?
RICHARD: Indeed ... as is everything equally fascinating (there is no boredom in this actual world).
RESPONDENT: And what about youth and aging? The concept of ‘youthful beauty’ that has nothing to do but decay until death, no aged beauty to look forward too, is that out the window?
RICHARD: Yes ... the purity of the perfection of this actual world brooks no favourites.
RESPONDENT: This is extremely difficult for me to realize as I do visual/graphic design work, and have that training in appreciating ‘fine’ forms, along with going to a school with a core-program that studies the West’s concepts of ‘beauty’ and ‘ideal forms’ and all that. I suppose those lose their significance completely?
RICHARD: Here you are talking more of an aesthetic appreciation – and aesthetics vary from culture to culture – an appreciation which has as much to do with proportion (ratio) as it has to do with beauty per se: the ‘golden mean’, for example, purports to embody the ‘ideal form’ and has more to do with the relation (harmony) of one part to another, and the various parts to the total, than what is nominally beautiful/ ugly ... although the word ‘elegant’ can quite often be a non de guerre for beauty.
Thus stripped of its cultural impositions – and of the feeling of beauty of course – aesthetic appreciation can have its place ... although personal predilections need to be taken into account (given that aesthetics are, fundamentally, based upon the human body and its relationship with everything else).
RESPONDENT: I am still thinking through it.
RICHARD: There is more to it than the above brief résumé: ugliness, for example, has as much to do with repulsion/ repugnance/ revulsion (disgust) as anything else and thus plays its part in determining what is considered beautiful (alluring/ enticing/ desirable) ... and taste/ distaste has its origins in the biological imperative (attraction/ aversion).
RESPONDENT: Richard, I recently joined the mailing list for Actual Freedom. I’m including a copy of my first post in this email. I have read much of what’s on offer at the AF website. I want to pose a specific question for your response – my first post is included merely to give you context. In the forefront of my investigations right now is ‘beauty’ versus what you are calling ‘sensate delight.’ At first, upon reading the material at the AF website, I was stricken with a fear of what my life would be like if I gave up my experience of beauty – thinking that to be inhuman.
RICHARD: Yes ... when I was first catapulted into an actual freedom from the human condition I was astonished to discover that beauty had disappeared (I had trained as an art teacher and had made a living as a practising artist). Howsoever I was to discover that beauty is but a pale imitation of the purity of the actual.
Even so, it was initially disconcerting (to say the least).
RESPONDENT: Then, I realized that you apparently have no problem in delighting in things I would have considered ‘beautiful.’ Sunsets, gardens, sexuality, etc. Indeed, the website itself uses delightful pictures of nature and music to enhance the reader’s experience. So it dawned on me that much of what we commonly call beauty can be experienced on two levels – mental/emotional and ‘sensate’. For you, the prior is gone. Now apparently you experience purely on the sensate level. I have never had much interest in painting, sculpture, or what is normally considered ‘art’ – so I have no problem stripping it of ‘beauty’ and replacing it with the sensate – just the delight of colour and pleasingness to the eye. Now music is a whole different story, since I’ve spent quite a bit of my life experiencing and developing my ability to experience ‘beauty’ in music. Is there something similar in the realm of music?
RICHARD: Yes ... 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 seems to me there must be a similar distinction – some sounds are more pleasing to the ear than others – and they don’t necessarily have to do with beauty. Is there ‘music’ without ‘beauty?’
RICHARD: Yes ... if by ‘music’ you mean a melody or a tune (some bird-sounds, for example, are melodious whilst others are not).
RESPONDENT: Is there room for music appreciation without the affective?
RICHARD: Yes ... although it must be born in mind that most musical appreciation is determined by a cultural aesthetic (Chinese opera, for example, does not sound like the music the typical Western ear is accustomed to).
RESPONDENT: If so, what’s it like?
RICHARD: In a word: pure.
RESPONDENT: U.G. Krishnamurti (I am aware there is only superficial similarity between you and he) says the eyes are interested in seeing, but not as beauty – and the ears are interested in hearing, but not as music. So I am really interested in knowing whether there is any appreciation for music in your actual freedom – and what it’s like.
RICHARD: Mr. Uppaluri Krishnamurti is in a rather odd position – I read all that is on offer by him and by others associated with him when I first came on the internet in 1997 – as he is still basically spiritual whilst denying/decrying much of what spirituality has to offer ... nevertheless he comes the closest to what I have to report (of all the peoples I have read or spoken with).
RESPONDENT: Here follows my original post. (snip) ... one of the fears I’ve had to confront is that of losing my lifetime ‘love’ of music. Confronting that fear has shown me how foolish it is to hold something like that so dear to my heart which could be lost with physical disability. I read some of Richard’s comments scattered through the website about music – mostly which seemed to suggest that enjoyment of music is affective – a passion. Then I began to question just what I thought ‘music’ is ... there is music designed to pull at the heartstrings – music to rally soldiers to war – music which is intended as sorrowful – music intended to be happy – music that is educational and fun – and music which doesn’t seem to have any purpose at all. Not that I can catalogue all the different types, but I soon realized that the word ‘music’ doesn’t really have anything in particular that it describes – rather a loose association of actualities. Now, it seems to me that most any actuality can be ‘experienced’ on 2 levels – what Richard calls ‘sensate’, then also the ‘mental/emotional’. So, remembering that the idea behind moving toward virtual or actual freedom is minimizing emotional highs and lows, what would music be like on a purely sensate level?
RICHARD: Basically, in this context, it is a blessed release from all the emotional ‘highs and lows’.
RESPONDENT: I remember Richard remarking that he is not interested in ‘beautiful music’ or even artistic ‘beauty’. Does that then eliminate any interest in ‘music’ or ‘art’ all together?
RICHARD: No ... but the interest is far removed from the pathetic interest one previously had.
RESPONDENT: It would seem to me that just as there is a level on which we can delight in what is ‘pleasing to the eye’ without involving beauty – that we can also delight in what is ‘pleasing to the ear’ – as in various musical forms – without involving the beautiful and the sorrowful.
RESPONDENT: Richard, would you mind commenting on your usage of the word ‘pathetic?’ In some contexts, it’s quite clear that you are using the word ‘pathetic’ as synonymous with ‘puny’, ‘tiny’, or even almost scornful. You remarked to me once how fantasy movies remind you of how ‘pathetic’ life is in the ‘real’ world. You also have described ‘real world’ interest in art and music as ‘pathetic’. I read you as saying they are ‘pathetic’ in the sense of ‘marked by sorrow’, or by ‘pathos’. Also there seems to be a comparison with life in the ‘real’ world compared to life in the actual world. Do you see that it could be difficult for one in the ‘real’ world to see their life as ‘pathetic’ from within? Or their interest in music or art? I take it you aren’t trying to ‘scorn’ life in the ‘real’ world, rather point out that it’s ohhh soo much better in the actual world.
RICHARD: Yes, life in the actual world is much, much better indeed ... and there is no way that I am being ‘almost scornful’ as the ability for derision/disdain/contempt is non-existent here in this actual world. As a rough estimate I would say that probably nine times out of ten I use the word ‘pathetic’ in the Oxford Dictionary meaning of ‘pertaining to the emotions’ (and passions) with its etymological ‘liable to suffer’ connotation ... for example:
What I am conveying by this usage looks like this when spelled out in full:
In keeping with my rough estimate, probably one time out of ten I use the word ‘pathetic’ in the Oxford Dictionary meaning of ‘miserably inadequate, feeble, useless (colloq.)’ ... for example:
What I am conveying by this usage could have been expressed this way:
As in regards to fantasy movies you must be referring to this exchange:
What I am conveying by this usage looks like this when spelled out in full:
As in regards to art and music you must be referring to this exchange:
What I am conveying by this usage looks like this when spelled out in full:
As for seeing that it could be difficult for one in the ‘real’ world to see their life as pathetic from within: from what I recall the entity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago could see – albeit dimly – that ‘his’ existence was indeed pathetic (as in emotional and passional and liable to suffer) and that, therefore, it was indeed pathetic (as in either miserably inadequate, feeble or useless) ... and my conversations with various peoples these days show that mostly they too can see it (even if also somewhat dimly to start off with) although there are those who decline to acknowledge it for whatever reason.
As for it being difficult for one in the ‘real’ world to see that their interest in music or art is pathetic: the people that I converse with in regards to this matter usually acknowledge fairly readily that most music tugs on the heart-strings, or in some way stirs the emotions and passions, so that one is liable to suffer – even if only a ‘sweet sorrow’ or a ‘gentle melancholy’ – or be liable to suffer from being filled with patriotism and pride, if it be martial music, and so on ... and that art in general (which includes not only the fine arts but the performing arts as well) can act upon them in similar ways.
There is such a thing as aesthetic appreciation, of course, yet even there I recall that the entity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago could see that there was an affective component which coloured ‘his’ otherwise pure appreciation (as in unadulterated sensate delight) such that it persuaded ‘him’ to seek the actual and no longer be liable to suffer.
As for your comment regarding comparison: whenever I discuss these matters with my fellow human beings there is indeed always a comparison with life in the ‘real’ world as contrasted to life in the actual world ... it is what I came onto the internet for.
Just as a matter of interest ... here is the etymological root of the word:
RESPONDENT: I am growing weary of the research involved to continue U.G. discussion – so I would just like to summarize my conclusions. I don’t think U.G. can be easily assumed to be ‘spiritual.’ On the issue of the existence of a ‘thought sphere’ and ‘space,’ ‘time,’ and ‘matter,’ he is either contradictory, ambiguous, nonsensical, or plain wrong. Richard’s experience seems to contradict U.G.’s central thesis that ‘direct sense experience’ is impossible. This stipulation by U.G. that all ‘experience’ involves thought and knowledge seems untenable. There are many other indicators that other than the disappearance of the psyche, Richard’s and U.G.’s state may be worlds apart.
RICHARD: Yes, 180 degrees in the opposite direction in fact ... Mr. Uppaluri Krishnamurti has it that nothing exists outside of his mind (consciousness gives rise to the universe) whereas the on-going experiencing for this flesh and blood body is that the mind does not exist outside of time and space and matter (the universe gives rise to consciousness).
The actualism method (‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’) is a method specifically designed to bring about a direct experience of the actual ... the question is asked, each moment again, until it becomes an automatic approach to life or a wordless attitude to living. Initially it will be seen that how one is experiencing this moment is usually via a feeling or a belief (sometimes cunningly disguised as a ‘truth’) – and a belief is an emotion-backed thought anyway – thus effectively blocking the ‘direct sense experience’. And for as long as one is experiencing this moment through a feeling – no matter how deep or profound the feeling may be – one is cutting oneself off from the splendour of the actual.
There is an unimaginable and inconceivable purity right here at this place in infinite space just now at this moment in eternal time which far exceeds the most deepest, the most profound feeling of beauty (or love) – the actual is magnificent beyond ‘my’ wildest dreams and schemes – and this moment and this place is an ever-present ‘jumping-in’ point, as it were ... however it does mean the end of ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself).
RESPONDENT: When mind is in this situation observing a sunrise, without the thinker operating, there’s only the sense of beauty without the sense of a feeler feeling it.
RICHARD: Rather, without the sense of a personal feeler feeling it: impersonal feeling. That is, pure feeling or pure being (sans the personal identity) is impersonal identity or impersonal ‘being’.
RESPONDENT: It seems that the sense of observer and feeler does not exist then, only exists apperceptive awareness as what is observed (the sunrise) and the feeling (‘beauty’) without a sense of a feeler feeling it.
RICHARD: I can easily agree that when the observer is the observed there is only observation as that ‘what is observed (the sunrise)’ ... except where there is ‘the feeling (‘beauty’) without a sense of a feeler feeling it’ (impersonal feeling) there is impersonal awareness ‘as what is observed (the sunrise)’ ... and not apperceptive awareness. Although I do not have the corner on the phrase ‘apperceptive awareness’, this impersonal awareness is best called ‘choiceless awareness’ here so as to avoid confusion of terms.
RESPONDENT: In this way, the thinker and the feeler seem to be the same again. Do you consider this observation correct?
RICHARD: If the observer is the observed (and there is only observation as that ‘what is observed (the sunrise)’ ) then, yes, this observation is correct. However, apperceptive awareness, in the way I am using the term, is when ‘the feeling (‘beauty’) without a sense of a feeler feeling it’ (impersonal feeling) is not. It is bodily awareness ... as the senses (and not through the senses).
RESPONDENT: I see, ‘personal’ and ‘impersonal’ feelings, I think I grasp what you are conveying here: when there’s not thinker remains yet a feeler (a being who can feel), and these feelings are impersonal (without an ego-thinker feeling it), and in this state there’s also impersonal (choiceless) awareness. Right until here, but you are going beyond and pointing that there’s an state where this impersonal feeler also fades away, and in this state there’s ‘apperceptive’ awareness, [‘bodily awareness ... as the senses (and not through the senses)’]. I cannot understand this because it seems to me that an ‘impersonal feeler’ is inherent to be alive, how can exist a being if there’s not an impersonal feeler?
RICHARD: It is the ontological ‘being’ which cannot exist if there is not an impersonal feeler ... not the flesh and blood body (a human being).
RESPONDENT: Without grasping the last, I can not understand what do you mean by ‘apperceptive awareness’ and why is it different of impersonal (choiceless awareness). Can you elaborate further on it?
RICHARD: Yes, ‘choiceless awareness’ is where the fragment (the ontological ‘being’) is the whole (an autological ‘being’ usually capitalised as ‘Being’) ... whereas ‘apperceptive awareness’ is where the fragment – and therefore the whole – has ceased to be (‘being’ and/or ‘Being’ itself is not).
RESPONDENT: ‘Utmost and utter seriousness’ does not refer to the one who is pointing out.
RICHARD: I beg to differ ... Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti made such a big thing about being serious.
RESPONDENT: It refers to the human being who has discovered the nature of the mind, and which discovery – shock that it is – has begun the process of real observation. When the mind has seen the danger of its state of total confusion, it becomes serious about that state. It begins to observe its thoughts more closely.
RICHARD: Aye ... and ignores the affective. Such is the pre-occupation with blaming thought. But, then again, as it was compassion – which is affective – that did the pointing out ... it would hardly point the finger at its own basis now would it?
RESPONDENT: Then the human brain has a chance to perceive the totality of its primordial involvement with illusion, and may be free of it .
RICHARD: Aye ... it is a powerful energy, this compassion, eh? That is because it is affective.
RESPONDENT: Must everything be ‘affective’?
RICHARD: Why not explore these queries instead of throwing things at me and ‘noting’ my response? Vis.:
RESPONDENT: Yes it is and must be thought first then exclaimed.
RICHARD: Okay ... what do you make of this statement:
The reason that I ask is that he seems to be saying ‘it is essential to have that deep feeling for life’ and that it ‘is essential to appreciate beauty’ because beauty ‘is the very first requirement for a man who would seek truth’. Furthermore, it is because ‘we do not have that feeling for beauty’ that ‘there is no love’ because ‘love is really the very essence of beauty’. In fact, he says again, ‘it is essential to have this sense of beauty, for the feeling of beauty is the feeling of love’ and that you must have a ‘sensitive mind’, which is a ‘defenceless mind’, because it is such a ‘vulnerable mind’ that can allow ‘truth to enter’. Yet you say that beauty is solely the product of thought ... and you ought to know because you have oft-times explained how you are an ‘empty vessel’ for Love and/or Truth to come through. Now, as you also say that ‘love has no feelings’ , because ‘feelings are not real, they are like knowledge, a lie’, and that ‘truth cannot be found in beauty nor thought for both are thought’ I therefore take it that you are thoughtless when this ‘empty vessel’ business is happening?
If so, what is the difference between your thoughtless mind and Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s defenceless mind? He obviously has deep feelings (of love and beauty) and you do not ... yet you are both channelling love and truth through to a benighted humanity.
RICHARD: Does beauty not have an affective component (as in ‘it was so beautiful it took my breath away’)?
RESPONDENT: NO, the claim ‘it took my breath away’ is from thought.
RICHARD: Okay ... what do you make of this statement:
The reason that I ask is that he seems to be saying that if you do not ‘have a sense of beauty in your life’, which is not ‘sensual, nor sexual’ , then your life is ‘mediocre, meaningless, an everlasting struggle from morning until night’. In fact, he says, ‘without beauty in your heart, you cannot flower in goodness’. Having pointed that out, he goes on to explain how to do it by seeing the ‘extraordinary beauty of the earth’ which will ‘make you forget yourself’ (which is what I meant by the ‘it took my breath away’ phrase) and ‘only that grandeur exists’ ... which means that ‘you are not’. And when ‘you’ are not ‘truth is, beauty is, love is’ ... and yet you say that this process of accessing truth via beauty ‘is from thought’ .
I am really curious.
RICHARD: And where is Truth to be found if not in beauty? Is Truth a product of thought?’
RESPONDENT: Truth cannot be found in beauty, nor thought for both are thought.
RICHARD: Okay ... what do you make of this statement:
The reason that I ask is that he is definitely saying that ‘truth or reality or bliss or God or beauty or love’ are all one and the same thing ... with no ifs, buts or maybes.
Can all this (truth and/or god) be nothing a product of thought (love and/or beauty) for Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti then? Do you see why I wish to put love and compassion and beauty and truth and so on under the same scrutiny that this Mailing List gives to thought? There is quite some cloudiness around this issue which needs clarifying and, seeing that you are channelling this miraculous cure-all through to a benighted humanity, to remain ignorant of the constitution, disposition or nature of Love and Truth would indicate that you actually do not care about your fellow human.
RESPONDENT: It’s just the way human sensation is organised. I know many people who have experienced beauty, but only very few people can make a distinction between the object that seems to generate the beauty and the actual completeness which defines the true origin of the particular happenstance of beauty manifestations in the body.
RICHARD: The true origin of beauty is the affective response. Beauty is a feeling – as in an emotional or passionate feeling – and not a sensate feeling ... as in a physical sensation. Any ‘completeness’ feeling of beauty can only happen when the ‘I’ as ego dies ... which is what I lived for eleven years. When ‘me’ as soul (‘Me’ at the core of ‘Being’) also dies ... beauty dies with it. It was all affective ... and then you are living in the actual world of the senses.
KONRAD: And since the essential nature of existence is a movement from indeterminateness to determinateness, or, to say it in other words, the emergence of information, this causes a mind who goes into that to absorb every form of information that exists.
RICHARD: If you say so, Konrad ... but that is not my experience. Existence is already always perfect as-it-is and is not moving from ‘indeterminateness to determinateness’ at all. Also, I only gather enough information to suit my requirements ... like writing to a logician, for example. I have no intention of spending years studying logic ... male logic is as useless as female intuition when it comes to uncovering the ‘mystery of life’. The only understanding worthy of the name is an experiential understanding ... which means actually living what is being spoken each moment again.
KONRAD: This causes our mind to generate all of the integrations that it can possibly form, without any bias, and thus to generate as much sensate beauty as it can possibly generate. Or, to say it simple, since this metaphysics puts NO barrier to ANY information that can possibly reach our mind, it generates as much sensate beauty as possible.
RICHARD: Maybe your mind does ... but that is not what happens here. I have no interest in beauty whatsoever ... and you already know this as you and I have communicated before. Look through the archives if you will ... you will see that I toss beauty out along with love and compassion and truth and any god whatsoever.
RESPONDENT: That is the ‘philosophical side’ of my comment. But there is as well the aesthetic side of what a person expresses. I wonder whether this aesthetic aspect is at all felt or appreciated by you.
RICHARD: As I am not at all ruled by any feelings – emotions and passions – whatsoever, I am able to ascertain aesthetical quality easily and cleanly. Also, as I made a living as a full-time artist for many years before my retirement – and being a qualified art teacher as well – I can certainly appreciate that which is pleasing in appearance ... pleasurable to the senses, as in being a delight to the eyes, for example.
But love and beauty ... no thank you. Too much suffering has ensued from emotion and passion over centuries of human existence to even contemplate – for a moment – that the affective faculties be given any appreciation whatever. The only good thing about suffering is when it ends ... and permanently.
RESPONDENT: It can easily be dismissed as window washing. I was once told that Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel was not any different than any painting job of a ceiling. It is rather incredible and shocking how insensitive people can be to beauty .
RICHARD: It is rather startling how people can be insensitive to the plight of humanity at large. Whilst being enraptured by beauty no one notices its obligatory counterpart ... its compulsory cohort ... its ‘Siamese Twin’.
RESPONDENT: In the quote that No. 19 brought there is a beauty in the expression. It has an energy that we can feel.
RICHARD: Yes, indeed there is an energy that you can feel. That ‘energy’ is generally called ‘The Truth’. Philosophers down through the ages have clearly maintained that the way to ‘The Truth’ is via ‘Beauty’. (‘Genuine’ philosophers must be mathematicians so as to be able to discern the ‘Rightness’ of a philosophy by its ‘Elegance’ ... which is the philosophical term for ‘Beauty’)
As ‘The Truth’ is a philosophical nom de guerre for ‘God’ one discovers that one is still trapped in the truth/ false; beauty/ ugly; divine/ diabolical; love/hate dichotomy that has been spoiling this paradise earth since time immemorial.
RESPONDENT: Mind you, there is a certain beauty to the image itself.
RICHARD: If I may interject? Beauty is an affective feeling – even if a deep feeling – and is evidence of a self lurking about in the heart. If you get caught up in the beauty of the image – swooning over imaginative detail – instead of actually eliminating the malice and sorrow you nurse to your bosom (which nursing and nurturing is so as to be able to experience beauty, love, compassion and so on), then such romanticising will act as an acceptable substitute for an actual peace ... and ‘I’ will survive to wreak ‘my’ mischief another day.
In fact, ‘I’ will probably accuse ‘my’ fellow human of being ‘divided from their source’ and tell them that not dumbly submitting to their fate is an indication of being ‘trained to see death as losing’ and so all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and suicides will go on for ever and a day.
RESPONDENT: But doesn’t it [an image of peace on earth] serve as an escape away from the very things which are preventing peace from being born?
RESPONDENT: Seems to me that beauty is order. A sunset can be so beautiful that thought ends (briefly), as we perceive the order.
RICHARD: Yes, this is what I meant by the ‘it took my breath away’ phrase. Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti says it well in ‘Unconditionally Free; Part One’ where he points out:
Is this not what you mean by ‘seems to me beauty is order’ ?
RICHARD: And the order revealed by beauty is the order of truth, is it not (which is not an imposed order through discipline)?
RESPONDENT: Everywhere we look in nature, this order exists.
RICHARD: Okay, would you say that the beauty of nature, when it is really seen, dissolves the petty ‘I’, as it were, and there is only that order in which the observer is the observed?
RESPONDENT: Yes, this state of the ‘observer is the observed’ is easy for us to obtain among nature. It’s our nature to love Mother Nature.
RICHARD: So love and beauty are inextricably entwined, would you say? And it is a natural and nurturing ‘deep feeling’ (as suggested by your use of ‘Mother Nature’ ) to come upon truth through love and beauty ... and thence compassion? (Given that ‘nurture’ and ‘compassion’ are virtually synonymous as deep feelings of caring)?
RESPONDENT: It becomes more difficult to create this state in a relationship with beings. But, quite possible.
RICHARD: Why is that, would you say?
RESPONDENT: It is only in our relationships to order that we are confused by the disorder.
RICHARD: Why is that, would you say?
RESPONDENT: Order is my framework, being the only reliable frame that can never collapse.
RICHARD: By ‘order’ you mean the truth (as accessed through love and compassion and beauty)? Thus, is ‘truth’ your non-collapsible framework?
RESPONDENT: If we want to find order, then we must see the disorder. As the disorder is revealed the order remains.
RICHARD: What is the disorder that must be seen so that when disorder is revealed the order remains?
RESPONDENT: When you see the disorder, the order remains. Beauty, love, compassion, order ...
RICHARD: Okay. And to take it further, would you say that it goes ‘beauty, love, compassion, order ... truth’?
RESPONDENT: Of course.
RICHARD: And as for ‘The Truth’ ... it is but a delusion born out of an illusion. There are two ways to approach The Truth: through Love or via Beauty. Enough has already been said, for now, about Love’s shortcomings to regard any Truth arrived at via Love to immediately come under a cloud of outright suspicion. As to The Truth of Beauty: Western philosophers have long been of the opinion that in order to ‘do’ philosophy correctly, one must study and master the higher realms of mathematics. The reason for this is that to feel assured that a particular philosophical hypothesis is sound it must have an ‘elegance’ – identical to the ‘elegance’ of a mathematical equation. ‘Elegance’ is the mathematician’s and philosopher’s favoured word for Beauty. Many a time have I read in a philosophical treatise the author extolling the virtues of the ‘elegance’ of the particular theory. Beauty, they all state, contains The Truth ... it is intrinsic to the nature of Beauty that it points to The Truth, just as it is intrinsic in the nature of Love to promise Eternity. Or the same as is intrinsic in Suffering that it is Good for one – it implies that it ‘makes one stronger’. These are all feelings ... and just because a feeling makes it seem Right, it is not necessarily correct. A feeling – an emotion or a passion – is a feeling, not a fact. Feelings, whilst being very ‘real’, are not actual.
Eastern philosophers opt for what Westerners consider to be the more esoteric approach to The Truth ... which amounts to a spiritual search for meaning. Although Western philosophy is also – at root – spiritual, it is considered to be more exoteric – and therefore more likely to be true. ‘No-Mind’, ‘The Void’, ‘Emptiness’ and so on are the Eastern philosopher’s discovery of their version of The Truth as revealed to them in their super-charged imagination. The word ‘super-charged’ is used because their meditation practices are designed specifically to ‘still the mind’ and ‘stop thought’. If conducted successfully, imagination has a field day and conjures up all kinds of visions ... it is pertinent to this subject to realise that a pious religious person will have visions of their god, not visions of another religion’s god. The same applies to a fervent spiritual aspirant: a devout meditator will experience the delusory mirages of the Teachings of No-Mind: The Void with its Nothingness and Emptiness. All these versions of The Truth are culturally determined and therefore not factual. A person living in actual freedom has no way of being side-tracked into this mine-field of illusion and delusion as it is the identity and self that generates imagination. I lost the faculty to imagine when I dissolved the Self ... I simply cannot visualise anything in my ‘mind’s eye’ for I do not have one. I have no imagination whatsoever.
Actualism is for anybody and everybody. Richard’s Journal, 1997, Article Thirty-five
KONRAD: I think that the only way to eat an elephant, to cite Kevin Trudeau, to take it one bite at a time. There is no other way. The same applies to the problems Man has. They can only be solved one at a time, and not all together in one swoop. I even dare to go so far to assert, that anybody who pretends this to be possible is automatically a Guru. This includes Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti, and, if you think this possible, consider yourself to be included, too. For my definition of Guru is: ‘anybody who asserts that there is a single solution to all of the problems of Man’. It does not matter what this person considers this solution to be, whenever he asserts that there is such a solution, and he has found it, he is a Guru.
RICHARD: Konrad ... just completely ignore what I write and you will be able to keep your picture of me intact. However, in the interests of verity, consider the following dialogue. Vis.:
Consequently, even according to your definition, I am not a Guru ... but then I have stated all along that I have not fallen for that state of narcissistic self-aggrandisement.
KONRAD: But if it [sensate beauty] IS a part of it, then you have something completely new to say.
RICHARD: Not so ... beauty has been extolled as the way to ‘The Truth’ for aeons. It is intrinsic to the human condition and is revered and defended at all costs.
KONRAD: Does this include sensate beauty?
RICHARD: Once again ... you simply ignore whatever I write. However, try reading this dialogue. Vis.:
And if that is not enough to convince you that you have already asked me this question, then try this. Vis.:
And if that is not enough for you to digest, this is an exchange you and I had four or five months ago. Vis.:
KONRAD: What is wrong with listening to a piece of music and feeling the tintlings along your spine?
RICHARD: This is amazing ... and maybe we have discovered a new way to write to each other. I only have to copy and paste what I have already said to you before and you just rearrange your question and ask it again. Try this exchange. Vis.:
And just in case you still do not understand, what I am saying is that music can evoke sorrow and malice by tugging on the heart strings.
KONRAD: So which of the two is it with you? Is happiness only the end of all suffering, and therefore only the ending of a negative, or is happiness an addition to life, that makes you forget all of suffering? It cannot be both.
RICHARD: Neither ... it is a third alternative, and it not only means the ending of suffering ... but the ending of malice too. And not only being supremely happy ... but being totally harmless into the bargain.
KONRAD: A total solution to everything?
RICHARD: No. A solution to suffering ... remember? Try this sentence. Vis.:
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.