Richard’s Selected Correspondence
On Real and Reality
RESPONDENT: Richard, I have been considering what you mean by the following statement – (located at listb37): [Richard] ‘I was normal for 34 years ... and it is the pits; and because (b) I was abnormal for 11 years ... and it sucks’. [endquote]. I have a lot of experience being normal – so I have a general idea of why you say being normal is ‘the pits’, but I’m perplexed why you say that your period of enlightenment ‘sucks’.
Taking a stab at it – being ‘normal’ is ‘the pits’ because of the human condition – bickering, arguing, fighting, unreasonableness, debilitating feelings and so forth. Yet it’s possible that humans find a reasonable amount of happiness even within the human condition – evidenced by the fact that people don’t walk around in ‘the pits’ (emotionally) all the time. Most people in the ‘real’ world that are ‘normal’ would not say their life is ‘the pits’. Why is there a discrepancy between how ‘normal’ people evaluate being ‘normal’ (mostly pretty good, but sometimes ‘the pits’) and how you evaluate being ‘normal?’ Thinking about this myself, I’m wondering if the discrepancy is due to the fact that ‘normal’ people feel out the meaning and value of their lives – that is, they get a sense of it’s value via feeling – which can feel wonderful at times – though certainly not unmixed with feelings of sorrow and malice, and that your statement about being ‘normal’ as ‘the pits’ is based upon factual evaluation – that much of human life consists in bickering, arguing, fighting, fear and aggression – and that peace on earth is nowhere to be found? So that when you say that being ‘normal’ is ‘the pits’ – you don’t mean that each ‘normal’ person feels their life to be ‘the pits’, but if they were only to look at it accurately and factually, they would see it as ‘the pits’ and look for something much better? In other words, it appears you are not using the term ‘the pits’ in an affective or emotional connotation, but as a factual evaluation (non-affective). Is this basically correct? I would appreciate if you would explain further.
Also, since you say that being enlightened ‘sucks’, precisely what do you mean by that? Are you referring specifically to the quality of enlightenment – which I understand is supposed to be quite wonderful, even glorious I think you’ve called it – or are you referring specifically to the ‘inflated’ and ‘vain-gloriousness’ of it? Precisely, what sucks about being enlightened?
My current investigation consists in unravelling many of my misconceptions I originally had about actualism. Hanging around for the last almost two years has given me ample opportunity to reflect on the kinds of conversations that happen on this mailing list and why there is such a ‘divide’ and often an inability to understand what is being written as a factual report – what is said is so often taken quite personally or different from the intention behind the words (the current discussion about the uniqueness of an actual freedom being a case in point). There were many things that I encountered that gave me trouble, personally. Most of those have been cleared up now, but one of those that has given me trouble is this evaluation of being ‘normal’ as ‘the pits’. My trouble has taken a few different forms:
1) I have two children and am concerned for their well-being – so I have to come to terms with both the importance of actualism for myself and them, as well as be ok with them doing whatever they want with it – which means that I have to willing raise my kids in a world where there is a good possibility that they will spend most or all their years in the ‘normal’ world which you call ‘the pits’. The best I can do is give them an opportunity to be free.
2) Living in the world with other ‘normal’ humans and seeing their lives as ‘the pits’ can be gut-wrenching at times.
3) The term ‘the pits’ can be taken as an affective term – meaning that every ‘normal’ person walks around basically miserable and depressed all the time – which conflicts with my own experience – so this can create a sort of cognitive dissonance. If the phrase ‘the pits’ is taken as evaluative only, it can be seen that being ‘normal’ can be ‘the pits’ – yet one can feel one’s life to be pretty good, in spite of it.
RICHARD: When I reviewed the exchange where the quote of mine comes from I see it was in response to a question about sanity/ insanity and why I was looking to go beyond being both a normal being and an abnormal being in the context of a discussion about the extent and range of other human beings’ experience and solutions (specifically psychology/ psychiatry and philosophy/ spirituality) and the failure of such fields of human endeavour to deliver an actual freedom from the human condition.
I generally use modern-day expressive colloquialisms, such as ‘the pits’ and ‘it sucks’, so as to emphasise that there is something far, far better right under everybody’s nose, as it were, by thus vividly drawing attention to the fact that the habituated settling for second-best – as in the ‘you can’t change human nature’ factoid for instance – has desensitised people to the suffering which epitomises the human condition ... to the extent that wisdom such as ‘suffering is good for you’ is oft-times sagely proffered (whereas in my experience the only good thing about suffering is when it comes to an end, permanently).
Now, being normal is the pits only in comparison with being actually free from the human condition (just as being abnormal sucks only in contrast to an actual freedom from the human condition) and when I was a normal being, for 34 years, I lived what I then called a great life – it was not the pits by any description back then as I lived such a life to the full (with quite an adventurous lifestyle) – and when I was an abnormal being, for 11 years, I lived what I then called a glorious life ... and neither did it suck at the time as I lived that life to the full as well (with an even more adventurous lifestyle).
Yet I could not deny that all the while there must be/ surely was something better, far better, than either the great life or the glorious life – thus I would not, could not, and did not, settle for second best – and that is precisely what I am conveying to my fellow human beings: whatever you do, do not ever settle for second best.
For the best is just here, right now, where it already has been, all along, and always will be.
P.S.: It is the pits to nurse malice and sorrow to one’s bosom, period, and it sucks to keep on nursing malice and sorrow to one’s bosom, so as to activate their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion, and pretend they are not still there whilst proclaiming the pacifistic antidotes to be the solution to all the ills of humankind.
RICHARD: ... being normal is the pits only in comparison with being actually free from the human condition (just as being abnormal sucks only in contrast to an actual freedom from the human condition) and when I was a normal being, for 34 years, I lived what I then called a great life – it was not the pits by any description back then as I lived such a life to the full (with quite an adventurous lifestyle) – and when I was an abnormal being, for 11 years, I lived what I then called a glorious life ... and neither did it suck at the time as I lived that life to the full as well (with an even more adventurous lifestyle).
RESPONDENT: I gather from this statement that it would be important when I encounter some of the negative words denoting life as ‘normal’ that they are normally to be taken in contrast to being actually free from the human condition?
RICHARD: Yes ... this is essentially no different from what we discussed on July 14 2002 (relative meaning/ actual meaning), July 16 2002 (relative meaning/ meaning of life), July 16 2002 (follow-up), July 28 2002 (real world meaning/ meaning of life), August 17 2002 (real world/ actual world), September 06 2002 (relative/ ultimate), November 18 2002, December 06 2002, January 23 2003, January 24 2003, January 23 2003 (feeling caring/ actually caring), and April 05 2003 (relative meaning/ actual meaning).
This passage is particularly apt:
I might add, though, that I first took note of the modern-day ‘it’s the pits’ colloquialism one particularly fine day some years ago, when discussing life, the universe, and what it is to be a human being living in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are, with a psychologist about the same age as me, and a veteran of the same war I was engaged in when but a youth of 19, whose son had committed suicide at age 20 ... this is what the note he left for his parents to read when they found his dangling body said:
Incidentally, I recall reading somewhere that the highest rate of suicide is from about age 70-75 onwards.
RESPONDENT: I once stated that I thought that actualism had a ‘dark underbelly’. This was largely due to a host of negative adjectives applied to being ‘normal’. For example, ‘the pits’, ‘abysmal state of affairs’, ‘petty life’, ‘pathetic’, ‘miserable’, ‘bad situation’, and so on. It is obvious to me that most ‘normal’ people don’t see it that way – which is why I thought you to be displaying the ‘dark underbelly’ that I spoke of.
RICHARD: It is life in the real-world (being normal) which has the dark underbelly – and thus, albeit sublimated and transcended, so too has life in the unreal-world (being abnormal) – not life here in this actual world ... the pristine perfection of the peerless purity the infinitude this universe actually is ensures nothing dirty (‘being’ or ‘presence’) can get in.
RESPONDENT: It is helpful to take this all in context – and the context in this case is ‘compared to an actual freedom from the human condition’. My misunderstanding appears to have been based upon the fact that I didn’t notice the shifted standard.
RICHARD: There is only one standard (to use your terminology) here in this actual world: perfection.
RESPONDENT: That is, ‘normal’ people usually have quite a different standard of what constitutes a good life than an actualist does. Is this a correct assessment?
RICHARD: Indeed it is ... an actualist settles for nothing less than the perfection evidenced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE). Hence my report, in the previous e-mail, that I could not deny that all the while I was both normal and abnormal there must be/ surely was something better, far better, than either the ‘great life’ or the ‘glorious life’ – and thus I would not, could not, and did not, settle for second best – and that this is precisely what I am conveying to my fellow human beings: whatever you do, do not ever settle for second best.
For the best is just here, right now, where it already has been, all along, and always will be.
RESPONDENT: [follow-up] Being that you called your 34 years of being normal a ‘great life’, (at least then) would you say (then or now) that you ‘enjoyed’ your life back then?
RICHARD: I would say (then) I enjoyed my life the best I could given that the human condition was endemic – as expressed in real-world phrases such as ‘make the best of a bad situation’ and ‘look on the bright side’ and ‘life is what you make of it’ and so on – as I was mostly optimistic, occasionally pessimistic, mostly cheerful, occasionally melancholy and so on and so on through all the moods ... and I would say (now), as I do say now on many an occasion in prior e-mails, I have been having a ball all along.
I have never not been here ... ‘twas all an illusion/ delusion.
RESPONDENT: I ask you this to determine whether you, like Vineeto, limit the words ‘enjoy life’ to being only applicable to how an actualist ‘enjoys life’. If you recall, she recently made the claim that animals and people do not ‘enjoy’ their lives.
RICHARD: You would be better off asking Vineeto as I can only make a guess as to what she was referring to (presumably she meant it in the sense that an illusory enjoyment is not actual enjoyment as she has had enough PCE’s to be acutely aware that the real-world does not exist in actuality).
RESPONDENT: It seems to me that living a ‘great life’ would indicate enjoyment of life, wouldn’t you agree?
RICHARD: If you asking me whether I agree that a ‘great life’ in an illusory real-world is an enjoyment of that illusory life then I would say yes, it most definitely is ... just as a ‘glorious life’ in the delusory unreal-world most certainly is an enjoyment of that delusory life.
After all, as the real-world saying goes, ‘life is what you *make* of it’. [emphasis added].
RESPONDENT: If so, this would indicate either that Vineeto was wrong, or using the words ‘enjoy life’ in a stipulated manner that I personally don’t understand.
RICHARD: Perhaps a review of this exchange may throw some light upon the matter this time around:
In a pure consciousness experience (PCE) it is patently evident that there is no such thing as the real-world (‘tis but an illusion) – plus it is just as obvious that an altered state of consciousness (ASC) is an un-real world born out of dissociation from the real-world (‘tis but a delusion arising from the illusion) – and, also indubitably, that an illusory/ delusory enjoyment is but a pathetic imitation of the actual.
RESPONDENT: If you restrict the usage of ‘enjoy life’ to pertain to actualists, then do you also recognize the ‘normal usage’ of those words?
RICHARD: I do indeed ... which is why I suggest, that whatever you do, do not ever settle for second best because the best is just here, right now, where it already has been, all along, and always will be.
RESPONDENT: Since you have told me in the past that it is possible for a ‘normal’ person to be reasonably happy, to live a valuable life, and so forth – would you also say it’s possible for a ‘normal’ person to ‘enjoy life’? Just curious.
RICHARD: A curious thing I have noticed, ever since I started writing on the internet, is that my writing has become increasingly peppered with qualifiers, conditioners, caveats, codicils, and footnotes ... so much so that, as there are only a few paper-back versions of ‘Richard’s Journal’ left in stock, and it is about due to have another print-run, I am contemplating editing it before doing so (editing, not revising) as at the time of writing it never occurred to me that some, if not many, people would want/ need to have everything spelled-out in full each time it was written.
Thus where I used to say ‘contrary to popular belief it is possible to be happy and harmless all the time’ (for example) nowadays it looks something like this (for instance):
My guess is that when Vineeto wrote the following it never occurred to her to add qualifiers and conditioners and caveats and codicils and footnotes:
RESPONDENT: Richard, I noticed someone played the K-card. I know and it assumed that you know too but, correct me if I’m mistaken, that if you wanna play that way you also need to have the O-card.
RICHARD: Would it not be easier to call it the spiritual-card (aka the mystical-card/metaphysical-card) and be done with it?
RESPONDENT: As it is now for me Reality means Actuality.
RICHARD: Am I to take it that you are wanting to ‘play that way’ too?
RESPONDENT: So if we were to share notes on our experience of the world today. To me that means how am I experiencing Reality in the year 2003. In a nutshell ‘this body has reasonably recovered from state of Shock and Awe’ and now I see there is no more else to do then to celebrate my survival, obviously I was ‘fit’ enough to survive all this.
RICHARD: Here is how you previously described shock and awe:
Do you see that ‘all this’ was self-induced (with some help from the many and varied doom and gloom prophesiers of course)?
RESPONDENT: It is some kind of a miracle to be here and I watch with avid interest this perfect universe unfolding; Life appears to be a cosmic joke after all.
RICHARD: There was no ‘miracle’ ... all that happened was that the doomsayers had their moment of fear mongering, milking the resultant media frenzy for every last drop of hysteria it was capable of, and rode the wave of panic until it petered out on the shores of everyday reality.
RESPONDENT: Then I found myself involved in the same discussions, only this time trying to bring people to the realization that God really exists and to demolish the Church God, without telling them I’ve experienced him myself, as it was quite a risky thing to do and I didn’t want to go public or to a public sanatory. Until I’ve realized that whether these people believed it or not it made no difference to them, He by his very nature doesn’t act ... and as a result of this reasoning I was interested more in finding the best (scientific) method to deliver the state.
RICHARD: Ahh ... I pick-up on the words ‘doesn’t act’ (of course) as this is central to all this ‘supreme intelligence’ nonsense which passes for wisdom in spirituality: has it ever occurred to you that a bodiless wisdom is of no use whatsoever to a flesh and blood body?
In other words, a body, sheerly by existing as form in space and time, both acts and is acted upon.
RESPONDENT: And now, if my grandmother would ask me if God exists, I would tell her that it does, He’s real but it’s not actual. Ha-ha-ha ! And then she’ll ask me what actual means, I suppose that’s where the <go> starts.
RICHARD: Back when I was a father, when my then children would ask me if Santa Claus was real, I would say yes but not actual like a table is, for instance, as their mother was full-on into the traditions and such diplomatic answers, rather than an outright no, made for relative domestic harmony ... and they had no difficulty whatsoever in grasping that concept (and applying it to witches riding broomsticks as well and fairies at the bottom of the garden and so on).
Curiously enough many years later (for I was a normal family man back then) that diplomatic response came in handy when endeavouring to come to terms with the existential dilemma I was living at the end of the enlightened period ... hence the term ‘actual’ in actual freedom.
If a child can grasp it anyone can (even though dictionaries draw no such distinction).
RESPONDENT: Of course my grandmother’s personality is as real as God, and I doubt she’ll ever understand this point.
RESPONDENT: Another thing that I should like to talk with you is the following. Few years ago dawn on me that the nature we see around us, is not really the way it is. Because if I look at a bird for example, I don’t see the actual bird. This thing that I call bird (even if it is not a thing), is sending photons in my retina.
RICHARD: Or, more correctly, the pigmentation of the bird’s feathers absorbs some of the spectrum of the sun’s radiation, or light waves, and deflects the remainder (which impinge upon the photosensitive receptors in the eye).
Interestingly enough most of the blue and green of bird feathers is due to an optical phenomenon called scattering (known as ‘Rayleigh Scattering’) and not pigmentation ... but that is another story.
RESPONDENT: Irrespectively of the process that follows (electrical signals etc) I see what the brain is decoding, if I can use this word decoding. And all these happens in a small area of the brain which is in the dark.
RICHARD: A part of the process you call decoding happens in the eye itself (there are upwards of 7 million cone-shaped receptors in the retina which detect fine detail and colour) ... and it is helpful for an understanding to comprehend that the eyes are the brain on stalks, as it were, and are not separate from the brain itself.
The same applies to all the senses: those medical textbooks which have transparent pages whereby layer after layer (first the skin then the muscles and so on) can be lifted off a diagrammatic body, as the pages are turned, until only the skeleton remains demonstrate this quite clearly.
RESPONDENT: That means that the tree is not green, the brain is giving the colour.
RICHARD: The green of a tree’s leaves is due to chlorophyll (a group of magnesium-containing green pigments) not absorbing a particular wavelength of light radiation: wavelength is a property of light and colour is the sensation caused by this property as it interacts with the eye ... which gives rise to the expression ‘what colour is a carrot in the ground’.
In other words quality (quale) is sourced in properties ... and not in the perceiver as more than a few peoples contend.
RESPONDENT: If something happens to my brain, I will see it like having a different colour of what you see for example. The same happens with all the senses.
RICHARD: However, if something does not happen to your brain the leaves of the tree will be seen as being green just as this brain does ... and the same happens with all the senses.
RESPONDENT: So if I close my eyes I can’t say that the tree is green.
RICHARD: Perhaps, upon reflection, you will find that you can ... just because the eyes are closed does not mean that the chlorophyll pigmentation in the leaves ceases deflecting a particular wavelength of the sun’s radiant energy and absorbing the rest.
Sometimes it is helpful to take a step sideways to ascertain what is going on: three-dimensional vision, for example, is also dependent upon the eyes being open ... yet ambulation shows that three-dimensionality does not all-of-a-sudden disappear upon closing the eyes (a blind person can determine that a tree-trunk is round by walking around it or running their hands over it).
RESPONDENT: Actually I can not say that what you call green is the same with what I call green. We assume it is, because we have the same brain.
RICHARD: Obviously the precise hue of the colour green varies from person-to-person (due, if nothing else, upon the number, quality, and arrangement of the cone-shaped receptors in the retina) yet the general colour green is the same for all normal human beings.
RESPONDENT: I am saying all these things, because it seems to me that we are co-creators in the universe.
RICHARD: The universe was here long before you or I arrived on the scene – and will be here long after we are not here – replete with the property of light known as wavelength.
The eye does not create colour any more than placing an elbow into water creates hotness or coldness ... the eye determines what particular wavelength an object is deflecting (and, by default, what it is absorbing), just as an elbow detects the degree of molecular excitation of water, and that particular wavelength is called either red, or blue, or yellow, and so on, just as the molecular excitation of water is called cold, cool, warm, hot, or any other gradation.
RESPONDENT: Without our brains can not take place creation.
RICHARD: This is verging upon solipsism ... there are peoples who say that the tree itself does not exist until they look at it. And pointing out the fact that anyone looking at that particular bit of space on this planet ‘creates’ the self-same tree (a pine tree for instance) usually has no effect on dislodging them from their belief.
Is a dog lifting its leg upon a tree urinating into empty space ... and if so why do other dogs consistently pick that bit of vacant space to relieve themselves into?
Or, to put that another way, why do solipsists rush about the countryside ‘creating’ trees for the dogs?
RESPONDENT: We are the universe creating its own self and experiencing it’s self.
RICHARD: The planet earth not only grows vegetation it also grows people – and all other sentient beings – and, as such, the universe can experience itself as a sensate and reflective human being (just as it also experiences itself as a cat or a dog and so on).
RESPONDENT: Why the hell this is not enough so send to hell the ‘I’ and the me?
RICHARD: Generally speaking because the identity within feels that it knows better than the universe just what is going on ... it could be called hubris.
The extreme version of this arrogance shows up most clearly in spiritual enlightenment: ‘I am God; God creates (or created) the universe; therefore I create (or created) the universe’.
RESPONDENT: Thank you for answering. I should like to discuss a little bit more if you don’t mind about the subject that we don’t perceive reality the way it really is.
RICHARD: So as to clarify something before going too much further: do you comprehend what the word ‘derealisation’ means when I say it is an appropriate term for a flesh and blood body that is actually free from the human condition? Vis.:
The reason why I ask is because in the English language the prefix ‘de-’ means with privative sense – denoting the removal of or lack of some attribute normally present; generally characterised by the absence of a quality – and in this context it means that reality, as experienced by maybe 6.0 billion peoples, is no longer extant ... ‘twas but an illusion.
Thus by having a discussion with me about how ‘we don’t perceive reality the way it really is’ you are talking to somebody about something which has no existence here in this actual world ... never has and never will.
RESPONDENT: First I must state that when I use the word brain, I mean the whole organism. The organism, the body is inseparable. The different parts of the body are not joined between them, they are a whole. I can’t perceive a tree for example without eyes but I can’t perceive it without a heart as well.
RICHARD: As a body sans heart is a dead body it is but a truism that perception cannot occur without the heart ... yet perception can occur without a range of organs (a lung, a kidney, an eye, an ear, a tongue, a finger, a hand, an arm, a foot, a leg, and so on).
Moreover, a tree can indeed be perceived without the eyes – blind people do it all the time all around the world – it only cannot be *visually* perceived without eyes.
RESPONDENT: Around us, out there, there is one underlying reality.
RICHARD: First, there is no ‘out there’ in actuality – somehow you seem to have overlooked the main point of an actual freedom from the human condition (the absence of identity and its ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds) – and how do you know there is ‘one underlying reality’ anyway as you make it quite clear that ‘we can never know what is out there per se’ (further below)?
RESPONDENT: Something like the NOUMENON of Immanuel Kant.
RICHARD: Well now, Mr. Immanuel Kant was just plain wrong: there is no ‘NOUMENON’ (an object of purely intellectual intuition, devoid of all phenomenal attributes here in this actual world ... only phenomenon.
RESPONDENT: What I was trying to say to you and may be I didn’t express my self well, is that we can never know what is out there per se.
RICHARD: Indeed not ... the identity within creates an inner world and pastes its reality as a veneer over this actual world ... it then calls it an outer world and, feeling separate from its own creation, seeks union with it (little realising it is its own creation of course).
Yet even those who succeed in this narcissistic enterprise say it is unknowable ... being but a delusion born out of an illusion is it any wonder why?
RESPONDENT: Our perception does not identify the outside world as it really is, but the way we are allowed to recognize it, as a consequence of transformations performed by our senses.
RICHARD: Where you say ‘the outside world’ again you are speaking of the reality which the identity within creates ... in actuality one does not perceive the world ‘by our senses’ as one is the senses.
The whole point of actualism is the direct experience of actuality: as this flesh and blood body only what one is (what not ‘who’) is these eyes seeing, these ears hearing, this tongue tasting, this skin touching and this nose smelling – and no separative identity (no ‘I’/‘me’) means no separation – whereas ‘I’/‘me’, a psychological/psychic entity, am inside the body busily creating an inner world and an outer world and looking out through ‘my’ eyes upon ‘my’ outer world as if looking out through a window, listening to ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ tongue, touching ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ skin and smelling ‘my’ outer world through ‘my’ nose ... plus adding all kinds of emotional/psychological baggage to what is otherwise the bare sensory experience of the flesh and blood body.
This identity (‘I’/‘me’) is forever cut-off from the actual ... from the world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: Thus, we transform photons into images, vibrations into sounds and noises and chemical reactions into specific smells and tastes. Actually, the universe is colourless, inodorous, insipid and silent.
RICHARD: First of all, did you notice that you left out the sensation of touch (cutaneous perception)? Thus to be consistent you must also say that the universe (the physical world) is not hard or soft; is not smooth or rough; is not squishy or firm; is not vibrating or still; is not wet or dry; is not hot or cold; is not windy or windless ... and so on and so on through the entire range of what tactilely perceived.
Second, the universe is only experienced as being colourless by a totally colour-blind person; the universe is only experienced as being inodorous by a totally smell-blind person; the universe is only experienced as being insipid by totally taste-blind person (and a surprising large number of people have some degree of taste-blindness); the universe is only experienced as being silent by a totally deaf person.
Third, I have come across this argument many times before ... the first time I heard it was some person saying that the universe was really black and white because it is the human eye which creates colour: to be consistent that person would have to say that the universe is not black and white either as it is rod-shaped receptors in the retina which detect brightness (there are upwards of 130 million of these photosensitive cells in an eye, which detect size, shape, and movement, as well as brightness, whilst it is the cone-shaped receptors which determine colour and fine detail).
Do you see where this line of argument leads to? No colour, no brightness (no light and dark/black and white), no size, no shape, no movement, no detail at all? This argument has similarities to that corny ‘brain in a vat’ idea so beloved of epistemologists ... no universe at all (other than the conveniently disregarded universe the ‘brain in a vat’ is residing in of course).
So much for intellectual intuition ... and, lastly, what this argument ignores is that the human animal cannot detect what some other animals can (infrared radiation for example): if the human animal could detect what some other animals can there would be people trying to make the case that the universe is really ... um ... infrared-less as well (not to mention radio-wave-less, x-ray-less, gamma-ray-less and so on).
‘Tis an anthropocentric philosophy and, as such, has no correlation with what is actually happening at all.
RESPONDENT: I copy and paste: [quote]: ‘To modern neuroscience, the real concept of perception started to develop when Weber and Fechner discovered that our sensory system draws out four basic attributes from a stimulus: modality, intensity, duration and location.
We do not accept, nowadays, as it happened in the past, that our perceptive world is just the plain result of an encounter between a ‘naive’ brain and the physical properties of a stimulus. Actually, perceptions differ, in quality, from those physical characteristics, because the brain extracts an information from the stimulus and interprets it, according to previous similar experiences.
We experiment electromagnetic waves, not as waves, but as images and colours. We experiment vibrating objects, not as vibrations, but as sounds. We experiment chemical compounds dissolved in air or water, not as chemicals, but as specific smells and tastes. Colours, sounds, smells and tastes are products of our minds, built from sensory experiences. They do not exist, as such, outside our brain. Actually, the universe is colourless, inodorous, insipid and silent. Therefore, we can now answer one of the questions of traditional philosophy: Does a sound exist when a tree falls in a forest, if nobody is present to hear it? No, the fall of the tree only creates vibrations. The sound occurs if vibrations are perceived by a living being.
Information from the environment or from the body itself, is picked up by the sensory systems and utilized by the brain for perception, regulating corporeal movements and maintaining arousal. A sensory system starts to work when a stimulus, usually from the outside world, is detected by a sensitive neuron, the first sensorial receptor. This receptor converts the physical expression of the stimulus (light, sound, heat, pressure, taste, smell) into action potentials , which transforms it into electric signs. From there, the signs are conducted to a nearby area of primary processing, where the initial characteristics of the information are elaborated, according to the nature of the original stimulus: colour, shape, distance, shade, etc. Then, the already modified information is transmitted to zones of secondary processing in the thalamus (if originated by olfactory stimuli, it is processed in the olfactory bulbs and then directly conducted to the medial area of the temporal lobe).
In the thalamic zones, older data, originated from both the cortex and the limbic system and containing similar experiences, link to the new information, in order to form a message, which is carried to its specific cortical centre. There, the meaning and importance of the new detected stimulus are determined by a conscious process of identification called perception.
But, what do we perceive?
We perceive the environment around us, by means of our sensory systems. Each system is nominated according to the type of the information it is related to: vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell and gravity. The last one is associated with the sense of balance. Sensitive receptors capture proprioceptive stimuli which indicate the position of the body as a whole and of its segments, while other fine receptors, called kinaesthetic, control our movements, helping us to walk, run and perform other kinetic activities, in a safe and co-ordinated way. Still more refined sensors get special information, like temperature, sexual arousal and blood volume. Each particular sensory system also distinguishes the qualities of the detected signal. This is why we perceive light in terms of colour and brightness and can tell the tone and highness of a sound. Taste indicates whether a food is suit, bitter or salty. Touch receptors allow us to distinguish how sensations act on our skin: by pressure or by vibration. And, finally, special receptors inform us about the intensity of each stimulus, while others tell us where the stimulus came from, when it started and for how long it will remain.
Although two human beings share the same genetic and biological architecture and function, perhaps what I perceive as a distinct colour and smell is not exactly equal to the colour and smell you perceive. We give the same name to this perception but we cannot know how they relate to the reality of the outside world. Perhaps we never will’. (Prof. Jorge Martins de Oliveira PhD).
RICHARD: I notice that Mr. Jorge Martins de Oliveira also refers to [quote] ‘the outside world’ [endquote] and not this actual world ... thus he too can never know the physical world as it actually is.
He also brings in the interpretation of sensory perception with [quote] ‘previous similar experiences’ [endquote] to make his point that [quote] ‘perceptions differ’ [endquote] ... yet sensate perception has nothing to do with previous experience as sensate perception is direct, immediate (sensate perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary).
In short: sensate perception is indeed [quote] ‘naive’ [endquote].
As for him now being able to answer one of the questions of traditional philosophy (‘does a sound exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to hear it? No, the fall of the tree only creates vibrations’): it could equally be said that the leaves of the falling tree are not green, either, unless there be somebody present to see them. Vis.:
The same could be said about, say, a maple tree:
What about the texture of the bark? Vis.:
I will leave that one for you to answer ... here is another one for you:
I will remind you of this, to take into account, as you consider the question:
You see, scientific investigation shows that upwards of 130 million rod-shaped receptors in the retina *detect* movement: however, under your philosophy the brain *creates* movement ... thus no tree can fall in a forest unless somebody be present to *create* the movement called ‘falling’.
Yet the tree does indeed fall (else trees lying uprooted on the ground and/or aged logs are miraculous events). Therefore, this is what the hoary philosophical question would look like to a person asking the question sensibly:
The same applies to length, breadth and width:
I could go on ... but maybe that will suffice for now to demonstrate that his observations, just like yours, do nothing to make your case valid.
RESPONDENT: I remember that the last paragraph, about if we see the same colour took one year of my life when I was 16 or 17 and I could not give one answer.
RICHARD: Here are the two answers you provided in your previous e-mail:
Did you notice, 38-39 years ago, that Mr. Jorge Martins de Oliveira qualifies his statements with ‘perhaps’? Vis.:
Also, just as I said ‘the precise hue’ varies from person-to-person so too does he say ‘not exactly equal’ ... which is quite different from what you make of it (as in ‘like having a different colour’ further above).
A ‘different colour’ would be blue, for example.
RESPONDENT: The above imply that if a dog is eating something smelly to us, perhaps this smelly thing is interpreted from dog’s brain like something beautiful.
RICHARD: Something ‘tasty’ would be a better expression ... plus you are straying from your argument here – of not being able to perceive the physical world as it actually is – as there is quite a difference between perception and the utilisation of perception (whether something perceived be tasty or not).
RESPONDENT: Or a flower which does not smell for us, is smelling for some insects.
RICHARD: And a dog hears a higher pitch than humans (and so on through all the animals) yet all that is happening is that different sentient beings are detecting some properties of the universe which the human animal cannot detect without instrumentation.
RESPONDENT: So if I close my eyes the tree will not be green.
RICHARD: The leaves of the tree are not green even with your eyes open ... no object has an inherent colour, as it were, as colour (wavelength) is a property of light. I pointed this out in the previous e-mail:
RESPONDENT: Please pay attention because I am making one effort to explain my self and especially in one foreign language.
RICHARD: If I may point out? I have been paying attention all along – I responded to each and every one of the points you raised (as re-presented just above for an example) – the question is: have you?
RESPONDENT: So the tree will not be green for me.
RICHARD: Yet the leaves of the tree never were green for you – or anybody else – as the greenness of leaves is due to chlorophyll deflecting a particular wavelength of the sun’s radiant energy.
Put simply: it is the particular wavelength which is green.
RESPONDENT: Will be for you if you look at it, but if I touch it, it will be colourless for me ...
RICHARD: Since when has touch (aka cutaneous perception) detected colour?
RESPONDENT: ... or rather I can say nothing about it’s colour.
RICHARD: Not directly – and neither can a blind person – yet, even so, a particular wavelength of the sun’s radiant energy continues to be deflected by the chlorophyll pigmentation irregardless whether there be a perceiver or not ... which wavelength, both when a blind person has their sight surgically restored and when you open your eyes again, will be detected as being green.
RESPONDENT: It will continue to transmit photons and a certain light wavelength ...
RICHARD: Aye, ‘tis remarkably consistent process and, more pertinently, a process that is not dependent upon you at all.
RESPONDENT: ... but the universe (tree) will not experience any more it’s self in this form (colour) through this human been (me) this moment (now).
RICHARD: So what? Tens of thousands human beings are blind all around the world ... yet you close your eyes for a moment and think that the universe is ‘dying with you for you’ (as you propose further below) because of that action?
RESPONDENT: I can’t explain it better.
RICHARD: First of all the universe does not experience itself ‘through’ a human being: it experiences itself *as* a human being (and as cats and dogs and so on) ... only the identity within the flesh and blood body experiences itself, and its reality, ‘through’ a human being.
What I am reminded of, with all this you are proposing, is children before the age of four to four-and-a-half years of age playing peek-a-boo: when they close their eyes they earnestly believe that the other person really disappears (ceases to be there). Now, obviously, and just like for a blind person, when your eyes are shut the deflected wavelength of light known as green cannot be seen (just as for a deaf person the sound of a tree falling cannot be heard) yet even so, just as something can be said about lots of things in absentia, something can be indeed said about its colour.
To wit: (provided it be an evergreen) its colour is green.
If the tree be deciduous, and if it be autumn, then because the days have become shorter and the nights have grown longer, and the temperature has slowly dropped, the tree has responded to the decreasing amount of sunlight and warmth by producing less and less chlorophyll: eventually the tree stops producing chlorophyll completely ... and when that happens the carotenoid (which deflects the yellow and orange wavelengths) already in the leaves, and the anthocyanins (which deflect the red wavelength) produced as autumn progresses, can finally show their colours. In other words: with the green mask of chlorophyll gone, the leaves deflect bright glowing yellows, deep reds, sparkling oranges and warm browns.
Ain’t life grand!
RESPONDENT: The funny thing is that we will never be able to know this underlying reality, because even if we look though telescopes or microscopes, always we are obliged to translate signals, always everything will be translate from the brain.
RICHARD: Presumably by ‘this underlying reality’ you are referring to Mr. Immanuel Kant’s noumenon (an object of purely intellectual intuition, devoid of all phenomenal attributes? If so, the reason why it can never be known is because it just does not exist outside of his philosophising.
RESPONDENT: So now we arrive to the absurd question when I die will the universe continue to exist?
RICHARD: Yes, it will indeed continue to exist: having been on this planet well over half a century I have known of many people dying ... and the universe has gone right on continuing to exist.
There is no reason to suppose that when you die it will be any different ... perhaps you could put it in your will that someone who knows you is to write to The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list, upon your demise, to inform of the event and the peoples subscribed can confer with each other so as to ascertain whether the universe still exists without you?
RESPONDENT: Seems a silly question, but if you answer yes, this is a thought ...
RICHARD: Yet it is reasoned thought, sensible thought, practical thought, judicious thought, matter-of-fact thought, down-to-earth thought ... in short: it is intelligence in action.
RESPONDENT: ... and one answer that you give now that you are alive.
RICHARD: Indeed ... anybody alive can ascertain that the universe has been here for as long as they have been alive: before that, one can refer to the reports given by one’s parents (for example) preceding one’s birth ... and, unless one is paranoid – thinking that there is a conspiracy by one’s parents to deceive one – then it is obvious that this universe has been here for all those years.
And, unless one wishes to be solipsistic and believe that this universe came into being when one was born (complete with 6.0 billion people whose sole aim in life is to convince you that it was here before you were born when it was not) then it is equally obvious that this universe has been here all throughout human history.
As for before human history: palaeontology evidences that this universe has been here all throughout human pre-history. Before that? Unless one is a religious cosmogonist (believing in a ‘Creation’) or a scientific cosmogonist (believing in a ‘Big Bang’) then it is obvious that this universe has always been here. As it has always been here ... it always will be here.
Observation renders belief redundant.
RESPONDENT: When you die you will not be able even to ask the question.
RICHARD: True ... if one does not find out now, whilst one is alive, one never will as death is the end, finish.
RESPONDENT: Can you say that something exist if you are not able to perceive it?
RICHARD: Yes ... for example I am not perceiving the Greek island of Corfu at this moment yet I can readily say that it exists (else there is a giant conspiracy going on wherein many, many peoples are out to deceive me).
To be more specific: over the years I had heard about and read about and had seen film about a place called Madras (and saw it marked on maps): one fine day I entered into a large alloy tube and watched an in-flight movie whilst it was hurtling through the air ... when the large alloy tube stopped moving I stepped out and found myself in a place that was amazingly similar to all that I had heard about and read about and had seen film about.
In a like manner I have heard about and read about and seen film about the Greek island of Corfu ... I do not have to go there, let alone be there, to say that it exists.
RESPONDENT: I think the answer is that the universe is dying with you for you.
RESPONDENT: I think there are so many universes as many people there are.
RICHARD: There is only one actual universe ... what could be said, at a pinch, is that there are as many realities plastered over this actual world as there are people. Even so those realities are quite similar ... just try driving on the incorrect side of the road in your ‘universe’ and see what happens.
It would be a fair bet to say you will smash into a car from another person’s ‘universe’.
RESPONDENT: If I am looking at a tree and you are looking at the same tree, we have the impression that we are looking at the same tree.
RICHARD: That would be because it is the same tree.... you even said so yourself. Vis.:
RESPONDENT: But what I see from my position, is different from what you see from your position. We occupy different space. We see it from different angles. The same happens with a chair.
RICHARD: No matter where this person, or that person, is looking at an object from it is still the same object.
RESPONDENT: But we think we are seeing the same thing because of the name.
RICHARD: No, this person and that person know they are seeing the same thing because it *is* the same thing ... the name of the thing is merely a convenient and mutually agreed-upon way to refer to it without having to launch into long descriptions of the object in question each time around.
RESPONDENT: If I look at a chair from front or from back is always the same chair for me ...
RICHARD: If I may interject? Where this person is looking at an object from the front, and that person is looking at the object from the back, it is the same object.
RESPONDENT: ... because I have given the name chair which does not change (the name).
RESPONDENT: Richard, thanks for answering. You gave me the following question: ‘Does the roughness or smoothness of bark exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to touch it?’ I answer you no. Because these qualities need a brain and senses.
RICHARD: Ahh ... here is the follow-up query: does the bark itself exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to touch it? If so, are the properties of the bark of, say, a falling pine tree different from the the properties of the bark of, say, a falling gumbo-limbo tree ... and in what way?
RESPONDENT: And you gave me also the following question ‘Yes because does not depend from your senses and brain.
RICHARD: I did no such thing – I said [quote] ‘I will leave that one for you to answer’ [endquote] – and, even though I make it patently clear all throughout the previous e-mail that the properties of the physical world exist irregardless of a perceiver, it is quite another thing to quote me as saying a sentence I never said (what I did write was in regards to your affirmation that even when your eyes are closed the chlorophyll in leaves continues to deflect a particular light wave ... whereupon I commented that it was a remarkably consistent process and, more pertinently, a process that is not dependent upon you at all).
And as palaeontology evidences that trees existed long before human beings arrived on the scene – and fossilised bark shows what texture it had all those millions of years ago – I am somewhat curious as to how you are going to substantiate your claim that the texture of the bark of trees has no existence sans humans.
RESPONDENT: I wonder if you ever was enlightened. ‘This is not one insult’. Because when I asked you if we see the same tree, because we see it from different angles, you answered we are seeing the same tree.
RICHARD: Here is the exchange in question:
First you tell me I am seeing the same tree as you – and I even pointed out that you said it was the same tree – and now you reinforce this by saying ‘we see it from different angles’ [emphasis added] ... and no matter from what position or space or angle two sentient beings are seeing ‘it’ (which is merely a way of referring to ‘the same tree’ by using an abstract pronoun) the tree in question does not all-of-a-sudden cease being the same tree.
Just try chopping down a tree in a state forest and see what happens: it is a fair bet to say that a court magistrate will be most emphatic it be the exact same tree as the protected tree according to the government gazette ... just before fining you and/or confining you to the prescribed detention.
Or would your defence be that it is your tree in your ‘universe’ and not the magistrate’s tree in the magistrate’s ‘universe’?
Furthermore you are mixing the tenses as your initial words ‘if I am looking at a tree and you are looking at the same tree’ are present tense yet your response – ‘I wonder if you ever was enlightened’ – is past tense ... if you wish to know how things were experienced whilst spiritually enlightened then please say so.
RESPONDENT: That means you are seeing things and not the reality as is.
RICHARD: Indeed – I am not an enlightened being – thus I see things (as-they-are) and not intuited fantasies (underlying realities) ... to make this comment you had to totally disregard what I have to say about ‘the reality as is’ (only you called it ‘reality the way it really is’ and ‘the underlying reality’ in your previous e-mail).
If you take no notice of what I have to say what is the point of continuing?
RESPONDENT: From my place the light on the tree is different than from yours.
RICHARD: Hmm ... from what I can gather your ‘place’ is inside the flesh and blood body, looking out through the eyes as if looking out through a window, which means that just about any fantasy will do in lieu of acknowledging the fact.
Yet for two normal human beings the colour green is not markedly different (the light which is being deflected by the chlorophyll in the leaves is still within the green range of the spectrum no matter what place each person views it from) ... and even in the dark – or for a blind person – it is still the same tree.
RESPONDENT: You are good in words I doubt if you can see a thing without naming it.
RESPONDENT: I could not resist to send you one article that I found yesterday to internet. Is explaining what I tried to explain some months ago about the outer world and the way we perceive it.
RICHARD: There is no ‘outer world’ here in this actual world (there is no inner world here). You may find the following to be of interest:
There are other references but maybe these will do for now.
RESPONDENT: I don’t remember if I used the expression soup of energy, or soup of atoms, because I don’t keep records.
RICHARD: You will find all the e-mails you have posted to The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list in the public archives at the following URL: http://www.topica.com/lists/actualfreedom/read
And you will find this exchange in those archives:
May I ask why you take such little notice of what your co-respondents write to you?
RESPONDENT: Is this collective subconscious? [quote]: ‘1. Introduction to Consciousness: Abstract: Experiences are physical properties of certain brain states. These brain states are given forms representing the external world by information processing in our brains. The model of the world thus created is the conscious world of our experience. It is a Map used to compute navigation for our organisms. The contextual relationships within the model give meaning to its various images. It is the intent of this paper to make it clear that experiences (qualia and sensorial consciousness) are properties of physical brain states and to show how things are given appearance and meaning. Statistics: 10 pages, 3639 words, 40kb. Published: March 29, 2000. [snipped remainder for reasons of space and copyright restrictions]. There are six more articles.
RICHARD: As the abstract for the article you posted also refers to [quote] ‘the external world’ [endquote] what it has to say has little, if any, relevance to what I report ... however this exchange does:
Here is a suggestion: try taking more notice of what your co-respondents have to say ... it would not only save a lot of repetition but provide (a) a focussed reading ... and thus (b) an engaged response.
RESPONDENT: So we have reality and actuality. Reality comes from the Latin word ‘res’, which means thing. A thing is manmade.
RICHARD: Not necessarily ... the word ‘thing’ is a generic word and can refer to any object/ entity whether geological/ biological or manufactured/ fabricated ... whatever has a discrete, independent existence (whether it be material or immaterial as in concrete or abstract/ physical or metaphysical) and is not a relation or a function, and so on, is a thing.
It is a very wide-ranging word.
RESPONDENT: And man can not do anything without thought and feelings. Right?
RICHARD: No, I have been doing everything for over a decade now sans feelings ... and, just like anybody else, do many things without thought (scratching an itch, for instance, or walking).
A case could probably be made that the majority of things one does are done on auto-pilot.
RESPONDENT: A tree is not man made, so is a tree a thing or a no-thing?
RICHARD: A tree is a thing ... all objects/entities are things.
RESPONDENT: To make a thing we use ingredients from nature, like wood, iron, etc., but we put them together with factual thought. So a table, a chair, a car are things. Trees, mountains, animals, are not. Right?
RICHARD: No, trees, mountains, animals are things ... just as pieces of wood, lumps of iron, and so on, are.
RESPONDENT: In the moment the thinker as you say arises out of the feeler, then also the thinker as a by-product of a real but not actual entity, must have also the same characteristics. So feeler and thinker exist both in the reality field, but not in the actuality field.
RICHARD: Yes, and the reality field, to use your terminology, is primarily an affective field ... where the affective faculty (and thus its epiphenomenal psychic facility) are non-existent there is only actuality.
RESPONDENT: Now in Greek language actuality means something that take place now. I can see the same is valid also for the English language, because I suppose it must come from act, acting and somebody can act only now in the present moment.
RESPONDENT: I can not act yesterday or tomorrow.
RICHARD: Indeed not ... only this moment is actual (the past was actual while it was happening and the future will be actual when it happens but neither of them are actual now).
RESPONDENT: So when we speak about actual freedom, must implies one freedom that must take place now, not tomorrow, not through time.
RICHARD: But everything which happens takes place now ... there is nothing unusual about the break-through into an actual freedom from the human condition having to take place ‘now, not tomorrow, not through time’.
RESPONDENT: Because if must take place through time, then in this time thought operates and we are felling to the reality realm. And then is not any more actuality.
RICHARD: It has nothing to do with thought operating through time – anymore than it has anything to do with feeling operating through time for that matter – because it is only when the reality realm, to use your terminology, ceases to exist that actuality becomes apparent ... and that only happens when ‘I’/‘me’ cease to exist.
This actual world – actuality – is here already (always has been and always will be) and all that has been going wrong, as it were, is that ‘I’ have been pasting ‘my’ affective inner world over the top of actuality as a veneer ... what ‘I’ call the outer world is nothing other than ‘my’ affective reality.
Put succinctly: that outer world exists only in the human psyche.
RESPONDENT: In reality exist dualism, because reality is under thought’s government.
RICHARD: No, ‘reality’ is primarily an affective reality, and as the affections have polar opposites (the love/hate dichotomy for instance), any dualism which exists only exists because ‘reality’ is affective at root ... feeling-fed thought merely aids and abets by putting it all into word-pictures.
RESPONDENT: In actuality where everything is facts duality can not exist, because a fact has not opposite. Right?
RICHARD: Correct. A fact is neither right nor wrong ... a fact is so.
RESPONDENT: In actuality the bad is not opposite of the good, because what is, is.
RICHARD: There is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ here in this actual world ... actuality is a sensate world, not an affective world.
RESPONDENT: That means if the one exist and is a fact the other does not exist.
RICHARD: If you are speaking of something like, for example, ‘it is raining’ then the opposite – ‘it is not raining’ – obviously does not exist.
RESPONDENT: The opposites exist in thought.
RICHARD: Only in feeling-fed thought (the affections imbue and colour the thought with its polar opposites).
RESPONDENT: In actuality if is dark, is dark, where is place for light. Dark is the absolute fact and the same is valid for light. When there is light, where is the dark, light is the absolute fact.
RICHARD: Yes, this is the equivalent to the ‘it is raining’/‘it is not raining’ example I provided (above) ... but that everyday type of phenomenon is not what is under scrutiny here ... we are talking of the real-world (the world of the human psyche) which is a feeling-reality.
RESPONDENT: So one immediate, sudden mutation must take place now to jump from reality to actuality. Is logical. I can see it around me. A child for example who crawls out of the blue walks. He can not crawls and walk in the same moment.
RICHARD: Again it is that reality ceases to exist, when identity becomes extinct, and actuality becomes apparent ... whereas in your example, even though the crawling has ceased and the walking is what is happening, the child which crawled is the child which walks (as in the child still exists).
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.