Actual Freedom – Selected Correspondence by Topic

Richard’s Selected Correspondence

On The Meaning of Life


RESPONDENT: I have two questions: Firstly, Why is the universe here? Why do I exist? Is there a reason?

RICHARD: If what you are referring to is that which has been called ‘the meaning of life’ (or ‘the riddle of existence’ or ‘the purpose of the universe’ and so on) then, yes, there is indeed an actual meaning to life ... the latest exchange on this subject occurred only a few weeks ago:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘What you are in effect saying is that the Bible, Koran, Gita, Jesus, are all wrong and you are right and that this physical world is just an accident with no meaning.
• [Richard]: ‘Where have I ever said, in effect or otherwise, that this physical world is just an accident with no meaning? And before you respond I would suggest copy-pasting the following, as-is, into the search-engine box at Google:
meaning of life site:www.actualfreedom.com.au
Then left-click ‘search’ ... you should get about 4,310 hits’.

*

RESPONDENT: Right. Searched read a few of the above hits. Not sure if I understood exactly the meaning you ascribe to life as, in the statements I read, you referred only obliquely to this purpose. Am I right in saying that you state that the meaning of life is the glorious awareness of its wonder and beauty and the joy in actually being alive and transmitting this to others?

RICHARD: No, what one is, as a flesh and blood body only (sans the entire affective faculty/ identity in toto), is this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe experiencing itself as an apperceptive human being ... as such it is stunningly aware of its own infinitude.

And this is truly wonderful.


RESPONDENT: ... Just as an aside, I sometimes wonder at the vitality of your determination in finding a new solution to the human dilemma (life). It certainly meant ‘sacrificing’ everything for what? I suppose Love played a part in sweetening your angst on the way to nowhere or it was the memory of the PCE you had that proved vital ... like a fuel for inquiry. Did you know the destination before you arrived and if you knew it so well, how could you be satisfied for 11 years with the ASC?

RICHARD: Have you never had the intimation – a suspicion or an inkling as it were – that you are here on this planet for a reason ... a purpose so far unfulfilled, not yet carried out or brought to completion?

RESPONDENT: I had an inflated version of that after the ASC (me and someone else HAD to save the world) and, when a teenager, I wrote (it wrote itself, yes) something on the back of my girlfriend’s rucksack (on the line that in life we must aim for the best).

RICHARD: Okay ... and does that not go someway towards providing the vitality you are asking about?

*

RICHARD: Or, to put that another way, have you ever pondered upon the meaning of life, wondered at the riddle of existence, mused on the purpose of the universe (as expressed in phrases such as ‘where do we come from, what are we doing here, where are we going to’), and so on?

RESPONDENT: Yes and I had no answer, except for wonder.

RICHARD: Then I would suggest nourishing that wonder, putting aside each and every intellectual answer (no matter how correct) which may pop up, so that the actual answer can hove into view.

*

RICHARD: Are you familiar with the expressions ‘escape your fate’ and ‘meet your destiny’?

RESPONDENT: I thought they are one and the same, now I see them as separate.

RICHARD: Most people I have spoken to do see them as the same – and dictionaries tend to provide similar definitions for both ‘fate’ and ‘destiny’ – yet I find it a useful way of conveying what an actual freedom (one’s destiny) from the human condition (one’s fate) entails ... mainly because that is how the identity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago experienced it.

*

RICHARD: A recurring theme in my life after puberty, both as a youth and as an adult, was the contention that ‘there must be more to life than this’ (‘this’ being life as a normal human being) and it was not until I had a four-hour pure consciousness experience (PCE) at age thirty-three that it became startling apparent – and indubitably so – why one was here on this planet, what the meaning of life was, and where one’s destiny (destination) lay.

RESPONDENT: I had the negative version of that: there is something very wrong with my life, something I was not able to clearly define.

RICHARD: In view of the discussion regarding ‘being’ and life (further above) can you now clearly define what the something ‘very wrong’ is?

*

RICHARD: I also discovered the source of the recurring theme: in the days after the PCE I recalled many instances in my life of such moments of pristine perfection – mostly in early childhood where naiveté is commonplace – and an inevitability set in. There was no turning back.

RESPONDENT: I remember just prior to the ASC something like a burst that I will best equate it with your phrasing ‘no psychological distance’. I’ve looked at one of my neighbours and ... umm ... I was in his eyes, there was no distance/fear between me and him and a very pleasant atmosphere.

RICHARD: Given that my words ‘an inevitability set in/there was no turning back’ are in response to your query, about the vitality which provides the impetus to go all the way into discovering the solution to the human dilemma, are you now any nearer to such vivification as a consequence of enquiring as to what it was for the identity inhabiting this body all those years ago?

Can you see the relationship between ‘there was no turning back’ and ‘escape your fate’ and between ‘an inevitability set in’ and ‘meet your destiny’?

I have oft-times used the simile of the very first time one ventures onto a slide in a children’s playground: one sees what the other kids are doing and, upon mustering up the pluck to climb the ladder, one finds that so long as one just sits there on the platform one is safe (inasmuch one can climb back down the ladder) and even upon inching forward from time-to time, albeit gripping the side-rails of the slide, one is still not committed – one can still turn back – until one has inched forward just that little too much ... and then gravity takes over, an inevitably sets in, and one is on launched on the ride, come what may.

It is in that instant when gravity takes over – at that very instant – where you will find actual commitment happens.

*

RESPONDENT: Richard, are you saying that the ultimate meaning of the universe is to experience itself as a sentient creature? ... and do that by purposely creating reproductive organisms and then sentient creatures out of hard stone and energy? Else why say that life is not a random, chance event in an otherwise empty and meaningless universe?

RICHARD: The reason why I said that is because it is what materialism, as a generalisation, typically holds – that life is a chance, random event in an otherwise empty (meaningless) universe – in contrast to spiritualism (which, as a generalisation, typically holds that life is a purposeful manifestation by or of a supreme being who created or creates the universe) ... and, furthermore, because the extreme version of the materialist position is nihilism where, as a generalisation, it is typically held that life is whatever one makes of it and, as it is all pointless anyway, the only true philosophical question is whether to commit suicide, or not, and if so, then whether now or later.

I am not saying that the ultimate meaning of the universe is to experience itself as a sentient creature by purposely creating reproductive organisms and then sentient creatures out of hard stone and energy – such a teleological matter is something for teleologists to muse over in lieu of actually doing something about the human condition – as I make it abundantly clear on many an occasion elsewhere that it is the answer to the ubiquitous human quest for the meaning of life which is already always out-in-the-open here in this actual world.

And what I mean by the ‘quest for the meaning of life’ might perhaps be best summarised by the title of a large painting (5’ x 12’) Mr. Paul Gauguin executed in Tahiti – after vowing he would commit suicide following its completion – on sized burlap in 1897-98 ... to wit: ‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?’ (D’où venons-nous ? Que sommes-nous ? Où allons-nous ?).

For what it is worth ... the blue idol in the centre-left background apparently represents what he described as ‘The Beyond’.

RESPONDENT: What are the differences between ‘universe’ and ‘life’?

RICHARD: Here is what a dictionary has to say about the word ‘life’:

• ‘life: the condition, quality, or fact of being a living organism; the condition that characterises animals and plants (when alive) and distinguishes them from inanimate matter, being marked by a capacity for growth and development and by continued functional activity; the activities and phenomena by which this is manifested’. (Oxford Dictionary).

The word ‘universe’, of course, refers to all time and all space and all matter (aka mass and energy).


RESPONDENT: ... are you saying that ‘I’ don’t experience the actual meaning of life?

RICHARD: Any meaning other than the actual meaning is meaningless.

RESPONDENT: Okay, but I don’t take it you think that it is ‘pointless’ for a person who is still ‘human’ to live?

RICHARD: No, not at all ... but what is indeed pointless is to search for the meaning of life in the ‘real world’.

RESPONDENT: It may be that the ‘meanings’ that we ‘humans’ experience is only an illusion of meaning – not the actual meaning – it seems a pretty desperate state of affairs to assign all ‘human’ life to being ‘meaningless’.

RICHARD: I see that I wrote in short: you asked a question about the ‘meaning of life’ and I inadvertently answered using only the word ‘meaning’ ... it would have been better if I had written in full. Vis:

• Any meaning of life other than the actual meaning of life is meaningless.

Thus the meaning of life that ‘humans’ experience (either a philosophical or a spiritual meaning of life) is only an illusory meaning of life and not the actual meaning of life.

RESPONDENT: I suppose you would say that ‘humans’ experience ‘meaning,’ but only in the ‘real’ world?

RICHARD: This time around I will answer in full: I would say that ‘humans’ experience a meaning of life but only a ‘real world’ meaning of life.

*

RESPONDENT: Can we have meaningful experiences as long as we are still ‘human’?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t a life lived in virtual freedom more ‘meaningful’ or beneficial than one that is not?

RICHARD: Indeed it is ... again this question/answer is a result of shortening the phrase ‘meaning of life’ to just the word ‘meaning’: I was answering as if your question had read ‘can we have meaningful experiences [of the meaning of life] as long as we are still ‘human’.

*

RESPONDENT: It almost seems to me that you are claiming that life cannot be ‘meaningful’ as long as there is an ‘I’ around – if ‘I’ stand in the way of meaning. Does the ‘I’ completely obliterate meaning?

RICHARD: Yes ... ‘I’ am forever locked-out of this actual world.

RESPONDENT: For one in virtual freedom – isn’t there more of the actual world ‘getting through?’

RICHARD: No ... the actual world is either apparent, in all its splendour and brilliance, or it is not (which is what I mean by saying that ‘I’ am forever locked out of this actual world).

Also, I answered ‘yes’ to your ‘completely obliterate’ query too quickly (of course ‘I’ am not capable of obliterating the meaning of life) ... it is better put if I were to say that ‘I’ completely block the meaning of life from being apparent.

*

RESPONDENT: The existence of virtual freedom would seem to mean that meaning is filtered through the body-’self’ somehow, since apparently according to you, meaning can be abundant even with a self?

RICHARD: From what I recall (which is going back twenty-plus years) the ‘reason for existence’ is not apparent in virtual freedom – although the memory of it from pure consciousness experience’s (PCE’s) can be piquant – as the answer is in the living of it.

RESPONDENT: How does that work, if the ‘I’ ‘stands in the way’ of meaning?

RICHARD: Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had written that ‘... ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning being apparent’ (...). The ‘meaning of life’ – or the ‘secret to life’ or the ‘riddle of existence’ or the ‘purpose of the universe’ or whatever the goal of one’s quest may be called – is already always just here right now in this actual world ... it is that identity (‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) is preventing that meaning from being open to view. (...) [What I recall is that] as every time a PCE occurred the ‘meaning of life’ became apparent it was increasingly obvious to ‘me’ that it was here all the time – that it already had been and always would be irregardless of ‘my’ presence or absence – and that all ‘I’ had to do for it to be apparent was to disappear. It is all rather magical.

RESPONDENT: It appears to me that you are using the term ‘meaning’ as basically interchangeable with ‘secret to life’ or the ‘riddle of existence’ or the ‘purpose of the universe’ or whatever the goal of one’s quest may be called’ ...

RICHARD: Yes ... that is what Article 17 of ‘Richard’s Journal’ was referring to. The paragraph which you quoted from in your initial e-mail reads as follows:

• [Richard]: ‘Life is intrinsically purposeful, the *reason for existence* lies openly all around. Being in this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it; I breathe it in and out; I see it, I hear it, I taste it, I smell it, I touch it, all of the time. It never goes away ... nor has it ever been away. ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning’. [emphasis added]. (page 116, ‘Richard’s Journal’).

Perhaps it would have been clearer still if I had written that ‘... ‘I’ was standing in the way of the meaning of life being apparent’.

RESPONDENT: ... but what about the meanings that we ‘humans’ experience on a daily basis? Like the ‘point’ of something – for example, the point of going to the grocery store is to get groceries to sustain oneself.

RICHARD: I can concur with what you say here ... sustaining oneself (and one’s family if there is one) is certainly not pointless. Furthermore there are many meaningful experiences in everyday life: providing shelter (building, buying or renting a home); being married (aka being in a relationship); raising a family (preparing children for adult life); having a career (job satisfaction); achieving something (successfully pursuing a hobby) and so on.

However, to rely upon transient experience to provide an enduring meaning to life is to invite disappointment.

RESPONDENT: I can see that the ‘meaning’ that ‘I’ experience would be only an illusion of ‘the secret to life’ – but when you say that any meaning other than the actual meaning is meaningless – does that mean our lives are ‘pointless’?

RICHARD: No ... but again what is certainly pointless is to expect to find the secret to life in the ‘real world’.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t there relative meaning (real)??

RICHARD: Such relative meaning as to be found in the everyday experiences (as discussed above) ... yes.

RESPONDENT: Why would you concern yourself or care about mere ‘humans’ living out their ‘meaningless’ lives??

RICHARD: The whole thrust of what I am reporting from my own experience is that the sooner the ‘human’ inhabiting the flesh and blood body ‘self’-immolates the better ... my concern or care in this instance is that the ‘human’ reading the actualism writings understands what such altruistic action means in regards to enabling the meaning of life into becoming apparent as an on-going experiencing.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t there a level where we can speak of meaning in our ‘human’ lives even though it is only ‘real?’

RICHARD: As far as I am concerned there is no ‘real’ meaning of life which is worth pursuing ... if there was the ‘I’ inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago would not have ‘self’-immolated.

I am immensely pleased that ‘he’ would not settle for second best.

*

RESPONDENT: Richard, just a few follow-up questions to the ‘Question for Richard’ post. First, it’s easy to interpret you as saying that since a ‘human’ only experiences an illusion of meaning that a ‘human’ life is not worth living. I know you don’t make this inference, but it’s not easy to resist – if a ‘human’ cannot experience anything ‘meaningful’ according to you.

RICHARD: As this post came before I had responded to your previous post the miscommunication about shortening the phrase ‘meaning of life’ to just the word ‘meaning’ had not been clarified. In view of the clarification in my response to your previous post I am presuming that this query is no longer relevant ... but on the off-chance my response to your previous post is still not clear I will put it this way:

Since a ‘human’ only experiences an illusory meaning of life then that ‘human’ meaning of life is not worth living ... a ‘human’ cannot experience any meaningful meaning of life.

RESPONDENT: Also, it seems that you are saying that even a life lived in virtual freedom would be ‘meaningless’. What’s the use, then?

RICHARD: A virtual freedom is not meaningless because, thanks to the pure consciousness experience (PCE), a person in virtual freedom knows where the meaning of life is located and is proceeding with all dispatch to enable that meaning of life into becoming apparent.

A person in virtual freedom is no longer searching for the meaning of life.

RESPONDENT: How could one begin to actually care and to have an actual intimacy with everyone and everything if there is no meaning seeping through somewhere??

RICHARD: By remembering the PCE one can then commence the journey upon what I call the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom (only in a PCE, and an actual freedom, is one able to be actually caring and to be living in an actual intimacy).

RESPONDENT: It seems as if there is no other possibility according to you than an illusion of actually caring or actual intimacy – even in virtual freedom.

RICHARD: Not an ‘illusion’, no ... a person in virtual freedom knows perfectly well that actually caring and an actual intimacy happens only in the PCE. They will listen to my reports of what an actual freedom is like to see if it tallies with what they experience in a PCE and thus they can have it affirmed that it is indeed possible to experience an actual caring and an actual intimacy twenty four hours of the day.

Such a person then consciously, and with knowledge aforethought, sets out to imitate the actual – all the while knowing that it is an imitation – until the actual happens ... if it does not happen immediately then they are way ahead of normal human expectations anyway as malice and sorrow – along with their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion – are minimised to the point of being virtually non-existent (hence the appellation ‘virtual’).

It is a win-win situation.

RESPONDENT: Now, this seems to go against much of what you have told me before, yet I can’t help but draw these conclusions from what you are currently telling me about the fact that ‘human’ existence is meaningless.

RICHARD: It should have become clear by now that I am not saying that ‘human’ existence is meaningless ... that rather I am saying that the meaning of life is not, never was and never will be, apparent to a ‘human’.

RESPONDENT: Now, Vineeto has just written a very nice response to an earlier post of mine – and says with respect to the journey toward virtual and actual freedom ... [quote] ‘Then a journey begins that is absolutely wondrous and sensuous, thrilling and scintillating. Then ‘my’ life has both purpose and meaning’. [endquote]. How does this fit with your statements that ‘my’ life cannot have either purpose or meaning – or at least only the illusion of meaning?

RICHARD: This is what she wrote immediately prior to the sentences you have quoted:

• [Vineeto]: ‘As an actualist you are utterly on your own … that’s why a pure consciousness experience is so important. The memory of a pure consciousness experience is your guiding light – it shows you what is possible when the ‘self’ disappears. A PCE makes it startlingly evident why normal every-day life within the human condition is not the be all and end all to living on this verdant planet. When one is haunted by the memory of the purity and perfection of this infinite and eternal physical universe, then settling for second best is impossible’. (Re: The Human Condition; 14 July 2002).

What I see that she is saying is that her life now has both purpose (to eventually live what is possible when the ‘self’ disappears) and meaning (to be being on a journey that is wondrous and sensuous, thrilling and scintillating).

RESPONDENT: Is Vineeto just wrong?

RICHARD: No ... I see that she is saying that it is a PCE which makes it startlingly evident why normal every-day life within the human condition is not the be all and end all to living on this verdant planet (and not the ‘some meaning seeping through somewhere’ making it evident as you were enquiring about).

RESPONDENT: Or is she perhaps speaking of some grand illusion of meaning?

RICHARD: I did not get that impression from what she wrote ... she specifically referred to the PCE as being her guiding light.

RESPONDENT: If it is the case that ‘I’ cannot experience meaning – then what’s the point in living at all?

RICHARD: Just because ‘I’ cannot experience the meaning of life it does not necessarily follow that there is no point in living at all ... on the contrary, the PCE experientially demonstrates that there is a point to life after all.

And a grand point to life at that!

RESPONDENT: Or pursuing a virtual or actual freedom?

RICHARD: The point of pursuing an actual freedom is to live the meaning of life each moment again (which is what Article 17 of ‘Richard’s Journal’, from whence you obtained the quote which started this thread, was all about) ... the point of pursuing a virtual freedom is to live in such a way as to expedite an actual freedom occurring (and if that does not immediately happen one is way ahead of normal human expectations anyway).

A valuable spin-off is peace on earth.

RESPONDENT: Or raising kids?

RICHARD: The point of raising children is, primarily, to perpetuate the species ... yet there are many advantages to being a parent: for just one example, children provide a vital opportunity to find out for oneself just what is going on vis-à-vis the human condition.

Speaking personally, I learnt so much from my intimate interactions with children that I doubt that I would be where I am today without that valuable experience

RESPONDENT: Or ... you get the picture.

RICHARD: Aye ... what I am also getting is that you may have overlooked, forgotten, or are not taking into account, what is evident in the PCE. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘The ‘strongest’ part of the experience probably lasted only about 15 seconds – it seemed like I had been taken into another world, though it was obviously the same world, but yet it was in sharp detail that I hadn’t completely noticed before. And it did have a benevolence about it. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed by the wonder of it all, which may be what brought the most intense part to an end – but the calm and ‘presentness’ lasted the rest of the evening and a bit into the morning. Right now, I’m somewhere in between, as there is obviously more self left to whittle away at. But it is so wonderful to finally get a taste of what a virtual freedom can be – it’s wonder, it’s ‘certainty’ which needs no prop of certainty. It’s obvious to me now that there is no other way for me to live. In the PCE – fulfilment is in every moment. Absolutely amazing’. (‘Getting The PCE’; 12 May 2002).

When I read the words ‘fulfilment is in every moment’ I can only take that as referring to meaning and/or purpose being consummated ... can you recall what you meant by it?

*

RICHARD: 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.

RESPONDENT: I think my confusion of your meaning here was a result of thinking you meant that the existence of a ‘self’ is ‘pathetic’ as in miserably inadequate, feeble, or useless – as in (my paraphrase) meaningless and pointless. Now you have clarified in a previous post regarding the ‘meaning of life’ that you are certainly not saying that a life as a ‘human’ is meaningless or pointless (which by the way I was having a predictably hard time reconciling with an ability to be ‘reasonably happy’). It is indeed quite easy for me to see that ‘my’ life is pathetic (as in emotional and passional and liable to suffer) – but it doesn’t seem to follow for me that it is then pointless or useless. (That sort of interpretation is what would be hard to see by a ‘human’.) Now your reference that you were seeing this inference only ‘dimly’ means to me that you must mean the conclusion was based on a dim glimpse of actual freedom and perfection. So you must be saying that ‘my’ existence is pathetic (as in miserably inadequate, feeble, or useless) merely because it is possible to be rid of the self and in fact ‘I’ am blocking the meaning of life from being apparent. So I take it that this second sense of pathetic would be virtually interchangeable with ‘superfluous, redundant, or unnecessary, or in the way’, and so forth. So you could say (spelled out) that ‘I’ am miserably inadequate for total fulfilment and peace-on-earth, a feeble excuse for perfection, and useless as in superfluous or ‘blocking’ the meaning of life. Is this fairly accurate?

RICHARD: Yes ... it is in regards to issues of an ultimate nature (such as total fulfilment, peace-on-earth, perfection, meaning of life) where it can be seen – if only dimly to start off with – that even ‘my’ best endeavours (via personal growth, social change, political reform and so on) are miserably inadequate or feeble or useless.

Seeing that the word ‘useless’ has joined the list of other ‘-less’ words this may be an opportune moment to re-visit an earlier e-mail:

• [Respondent]: ‘... I don’t take it you think that it is ‘pointless’ for a person who is still ‘human’ to live?
• [Richard]: ‘No, not at all ... but what is indeed pointless is to search for the meaning of life in the ‘real world’.

I could have as easily said that it is useless, worthless, meaningless, or any other word of that ilk, to try to find the meaning of life in the ‘real world’ ... just as I could have said that it is useless, worthless, meaningless, pointless, etcetera, to seek to establish peace on earth whilst remaining ‘human’.

In short: no ultimate solution to the human condition can be found in the ‘real world’.

*

RICHARD: 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.

RESPONDENT: Yes, I have no problem with comparison – it would be pointless not to compare the two. What would be pointless is render those in virtual and actual freedom as the only people on the planet who have a life worth living. And this is indeed what I was beginning to wonder if you were saying is the case. What is indeed difficult to swallow is that one’s life is useless – as in pointless or meaningless. It would hardly seem worthwhile to actualise an actual freedom amongst others whose lives are pointless or meaningless anyway. Writing this out makes this interpretation look pretty silly, but it also doesn’t seem so far-fetched when one’s life is called ‘pathetic’ or ‘useless’.

RICHARD: As an actual freedom is complete unto itself it would not matter that one was living ‘amongst others whose lives are pointless or meaningless’ (if that were to be the case which it is not) if only because an actual intimacy is not dependent upon either reciprocation or cooperation.

There is much that is meaningful or worthwhile in normal human life ... as I have already touched upon in an earlier e-mail:

• [Respondent]: ‘... what about the meanings that we ‘humans’ experience on a daily basis? Like the ‘point’ of something – for example, the point of going to the grocery store is to get groceries to sustain oneself.
• [Richard]: ‘I can concur with what you say here ... sustaining oneself (and one’s family if there is one) is certainly not pointless. Furthermore there are many meaningful experiences in everyday life: providing shelter (building, buying or renting a home); being married (aka being in a relationship); raising a family (preparing children for adult life); having a career (job satisfaction); achieving something (successfully pursuing a hobby) and so on. However, to rely upon transient experience to provide an enduring meaning to life is to invite disappointment.
• [Respondent]: ‘I can see that the ‘meaning’ that ‘I’ experience would be only an illusion of ‘the secret to life’ – but when you say that any meaning other than the actual meaning is meaningless – does that mean our lives are ‘pointless’?
• [Richard]: ‘No ... but again what is certainly pointless is to expect to find the secret to life in the ‘real world’.
• [Respondent]: ‘Isn’t there relative meaning (real)??
• [Richard]: ‘Such relative meaning as to be found in the everyday experiences (as discussed above) ... yes.

If this relative/ ultimate issue is now clarified satisfactorily I will take this opportunity to point out that there is, however, one area where ‘I’ am not useless (in the ultimate sense) for it is only ‘me’ who can enable both the meaning of life and the already always existing peace-on-earth into becoming apparent ... by either going into abeyance (as in a pure consciousness experience) or by altruistic ‘self’-immolation (as in an actual freedom from the human condition).

The (future) quality of human life is all in ‘my’ hands.


RESPONDENT No. 27: It almost seems to me that you are claiming that life cannot be ‘meaningful’ as long as there is an ‘I’ around – if ‘I’ stand in the way of meaning. Does the ‘I’ completely obliterate meaning?

RICHARD: Yes ... ‘I’ am forever locked-out of this actual world.

RESPONDENT: So Richard your answers are affirmative to the questions [life cannot be ‘meaningful’ as long as there is an ‘I’ around – if ‘I’ stand in the way of meaning?] [Does the ‘I’ completely obliterate meaning?].

RICHARD: I see that I answered in the affirmative to the above questions too quickly. A more accurate answer – and a clearer answer – is that the meaning of life cannot be evident as long as there is an ‘I’ around because the ‘I’ completely blocks the meaning of life from being apparent ... the ‘I’ cannot, of course, ‘obliterate’ (destroy, demolish, eliminate, eradicate, annihilate) the meaning of life.

Life can indeed be ‘meaningful’ (significant, important, worthwhile, valuable, noteworthy) whilst there is an ‘I’ around ... on the off-chance you may have missed it I will repeat here what I wrote recently in another post: sustaining oneself (and one’s family if there is one) is certainly not pointless. Furthermore there are many meaningful experiences in everyday life: providing shelter (building, buying or renting a home); being married (aka being in a relationship); raising a family (preparing children for adult life); having a career (job satisfaction); achieving something (successfully pursuing a hobby) and so on.

However, to rely upon transient experience to provide an enduring meaning to life is to invite disappointment.

*

RICHARD: Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had written that ‘... ‘I’ was standing in the way of meaning being apparent’ (quite a lot of ‘Richard’s Journal’ was cobbled together from snippets and jottings going back several years and I would write it differently today, as a result of the feedback I have received by writing on the internet, if I were starting from scratch).

RESPONDENT: So one might say, Richard, that during one PCE happening you saw that regardless of what you had experienced before, any suspected pointlessness in your presence here on this verdant Planet could be rendered void hence there was only left a meaningful presence of an apperceptive flesh and blood body.

RICHARD: Because of the miscommunication I made by shortening the phrase ‘meaning of life’ to the word ‘meaning’ this discussion would be better served if I rephrased your words as follows:

• ‘One might say, Richard, that during one PCE happening you saw that, regardless of what ‘you’ had experienced before, any suspected meaning of life induced by ‘your’ presence here on this verdant planet could be rendered void hence there was only left the actual meaning of life which is apparent to an apperceptive flesh and blood body’.

I had not anticipated the ‘meaningless’ and ‘pointless’ implications which stem from using only the word ‘meaning’.

RESPONDENT: As being elaborately been pointed out (this being done in i.e. your expose on the AF-site) this ‘I’ that is in the way of meaning ‘being apparent’ is neither a me as a soul nor an I as an ego.

RICHARD: I will respond in full: identity in toto (both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) stands in the way of the meaning of life being apparent.

RESPONDENT: ^note also has been mentioned that I as a soul is generally experienced in the heart whereas me as an ego is more experienced on a gut level.^

RICHARD: From what I recall – and from what I read about and hear from other people – the ego is generally experienced as being in the head ... the ‘gut level’ phrase, at least in English-speaking countries, is usually used to indicate some deeper instinctual/ intuitive feeling of ‘being’ and/or ‘presence’ or a prescient knowing.


RICHARD: As both the word random – ‘that which is haphazard [occurring, put together, etc., casually or without design] or without definite aim or purpose’ (Oxford Dictionary) – and the word chance – ‘the absence of design or discoverable cause; an event that is without apparent cause or unexpected; a casual circumstance; an accident’ (Oxford Dictionary) – more or less revolve around meaninglessness and purposelessness it is well-nigh impossible to forget that evaluation as what you are asking, in effect, is why life is not a meaningless/ purposeless event.

Be that as it may ... life is not a haphazard/ casual and causeless/ accidental event because, given the situation and circumstances conducive to same, it is inevitable that otherwise inanimate matter be animate.

RESPONDENT: True.

RICHARD: Speaking of the situation and circumstances conducive to life: the discovery late last century of microbes known as archaea, in and around out-gassing deep-ocean vents where no photosynthesis whatsoever can take place, has thrown considerable light upon questions as to the possible origin of life itself inasmuch it might indeed be that both the microfauna/ microflora and the macrofauna/ macroflora living on this planet’s surface, and thus drawing their nourishment primarily from the sun’s radiant energy, originally stem from the subsurface life which sustains itself with the chemical energy resulting from an out-flowing of hydrocarbons (principally methane) formed deep within the planet under great pressure and heat reacting chemically with metal sulphides and thus dissociating carbon.

And, as hydrocarbons have been identified on various other bodies in the solar system, there could also be (microbial) life under the surface in those places as well.

RESPONDENT: I suppose the point of saying ‘random’ and ‘chance’ is to separate it from a designer god who had a purpose in mind.

RICHARD: As the entire meaningful/ meaningless and/or purposeful/ purposeless debate betwixt materialists and spiritualists revolves around spiritualists contending that their god/ goddess (an immaterial creative being, force, or energy, by whatever name) provides meaning/ purpose, whereas life absent same means that everything is meaningless/ purposeless, then the entering into such a discussion, about a dichotomy which has no existence in actuality, is but an exercise in futility.

RESPONDENT: The mind’s desire for meaning may be satisfied by experiencing actuality, but I think this is far from saying there is a ‘meaning of life’.

RICHARD: What the phrase ‘the meaning of life’ more generally refers to, in asking whether there is any, is significance (as in whether life has any significance or whether it of no consequence) ... needless is it to add that, here in this actual world, life is bursting with significance?

RESPONDENT: The closest thing I can think of to a ‘meaning of life’ is nature’s imperative to reproduce.

RICHARD: In which case the following exchange will surely be of interest:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Mother nature has figured out that more complex beings are more likely to breed and bring to viability the young. Which, of course, is the only purpose/ meaning of life. If any find that last statement disturbing, prove to me otherwise pls.
• [Richard]: ‘It may very well be the only purpose, if that is the right word, of what you call ‘mother nature’ yet there is more to life than bringing to viability the young (for the young in turn similarly bring to viability another generation of young who in turn do likewise and so on and so on) ... much, much more.
Incidentally, the ‘being’ who possessed this flesh and blood body all those years ago found it quite disturbing when ‘he’ realised, one fine afternoon after the birth of ‘his’ fourth and last child, that to be born, to learn to walk, talk, and so on, to go to school, to get a job/ obtain a career, to get married/ be in a relationship, to acquire a home, to have children, to teach them to walk, talk, and so on, to send them to school, to have them get a job/ obtain a career, to ensure they get married/ have a relationship, to have them acquire a home, to encourage them have children, to see them teach their children to walk, talk, and so on – and so on and so on almost ad infinitum – was nothing other than an instinctual treadmill, an inborn/ inherent conveyor belt which carried generation after generation inexorably from birth to death, stretching all the way back from an indeterminate inception and heading towards an open-ended conclusion ... and all for what?
If it were not for that ‘being’ having that realisation then the actual purpose/ meaning of life may quite possibly not be apparent today’.

*

RESPONDENT: The mind’s desire for meaning may be satisfied by experiencing actuality, but I think this is far from saying there is a ‘meaning of life’.

RICHARD: What the phrase ‘the meaning of life’ more generally refers to, in asking whether there is any, is significance (as in whether life has any significance or whether it of no consequence) ... needless is it to add that, here in this actual world, life is bursting with significance?

RESPONDENT: The closest thing I can think of to a ‘meaning of life’ is nature’s imperative to reproduce.

RICHARD: In which case the following exchange will surely be of interest:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Mother nature has figured out that more complex beings are more likely to breed and bring to viability the young. Which, of course, is the only purpose/ meaning of life. If any find that last statement disturbing, prove to me otherwise pls.
• [Richard]: ‘It may very well be the only purpose, if that is the right word, of what you call ‘mother nature’ yet there is more to life than bringing to viability the young (for the young in turn similarly bring to viability another generation of young who in turn do likewise and so on and so on) ... much, much more.
Incidentally, the ‘being’ who possessed this flesh and blood body all those years ago found it quite disturbing when ‘he’ realised, one fine afternoon after the birth of ‘his’ fourth and last child, that to be born, to learn to walk, talk, and so on, to go to school, to get a job/ obtain a career, to get married/ be in a relationship, to acquire a home, to have children, to teach them to walk, talk, and so on, to send them to school, to have them get a job/ obtain a career, to ensure they get married/ have a relationship, to have them acquire a home, to encourage them have children, to see them teach their children to walk, talk, and so on – and so on and so on almost ad infinitum – was nothing other than an instinctual treadmill, an inborn/ inherent conveyor belt which carried generation after generation inexorably from birth to death, stretching all the way back from an indeterminate inception and heading towards an open-ended conclusion ... and all for what?
If it were not for that ‘being’ having that realisation then the actual purpose/ meaning of life may quite possibly not be apparent today’.

RESPONDENT: What is the ‘actual purpose/ meaning of life’ that can become apparent, in clear terms?

RICHARD: What is it about the information (a little further above) that life is bursting with significance, here in this actual world, that is not clear terminology?

RESPONDENT: What is your chosen definition of the word ‘purpose’?

RICHARD: Presuming you are referring to me saying [quote] ‘if that is the right word’ [endquote] in response to my co-respondent having both anthropomorphised and intelligenced nature (as in their ‘mother nature has figured out’ phrasing) the following is as good a definition as any:

• ‘purpose: the reason for which something is done or made, or for which it exists; the result or effect intended; an instance of this’. (Oxford Dictionary).

 


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