Actual Freedom – Selected Correspondence by Topic

Richard’s Selected Correspondence

On Relativism/ Subjectivism


RESPONDENT: How you know that you exist?

RICHARD: Sensately ... I have written about this to you before. Here is an excerpt:

• [Richard]: ‘... if one were to close the eyes one will find there is a sensing, or perception, of being oriented in space (of space all around including behind the body) ... and this has as much to do with balance, acceleration and/or rotation in space, orientation in a gravity field (if there be one) as it has to do with the proprioceptive senses proper in the muscles, tendons, and joints.
The proprioceptive senses are part of the somatic sensory system (somaesthesis/ somaesthesia) which is the faculty of bodily perception (sensory systems associated with the body) and includes skin senses (cutaneous receptors for hot/cold, pressure, physical pleasure/pain, for example) and the internal organs sensors (cardiovascular or circulatory receptors for blood pressure, heart rate, and carbon dioxide and digestive tract receptors for hunger and thirst, for instance) as well as the equilibrium sense, or sense of balance, already mentioned.
Thus proprioception is the ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body, and its parts, because of the proprioceptors in the muscles, tendons, and joint capsules (in combination with the sense of balance, acceleration and/or rotation in space, and orientation in a gravitational field, of the inner ear or vestibular organ).
In other words: the sense of being here, in space, as a body is not just because of sight (visual perception), sound (auditory perception), touch (cutaneous perception), smell (olfactory perception), and taste (gustatory perception). (Re: For Richard; May 31, 2003).

RESPONDENT: You must have a sense of existence.

RICHARD: You will see, upon re-reading my response (above) that I clearly say ‘the sense of being here, in space, as a body’ – which is another way of saying ‘the sense of existing, in space, as a body’ – which is most certainly not the same thing as the ‘feeling of existence’ you speak of in a recent e-mail. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘Existence is not mine or yours. Existence is one. We are experiencing the same feeling of existence, the identities made us think we are separate.’ (For every one; Jul 09, 2003).

The ‘sense of existence’ you are enquiring about is intuitive, or instinctive, and thus affective, not sensitive.

RESPONDENT: Or you must make a logical process, for example I am walking etc.

RICHARD: No, it is a sensible process to observe ambulation ... no logic is required.

RESPONDENT: Even in a PCE, how one knows that a PCE took place?

RICHARD: Apperceptively ... and I have written to you about this before also:

• [Respondent]: ‘How do you know it was a nice day if you had no feelings?
• [Richard]: ‘The direct experience of perfection informs of a perfect day: in the (above) context the ‘nice day’ is being sensately experienced ... and not affectively.
• [Respondent]: ‘If you don’t have I or being then who knows it?
• [Richard]: ‘Not ‘who’ knows it ... what knows it: this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware knows it. (Re: For Richard; June 10, 2003).

In short: apperception, or pure conscious experiencing, is unmediated perception.

RESPONDENT: Means that thought (even subconscious thought) was in operation and so recording was taking place.

RICHARD: No, apperception happens all the time irregardless whether thought is operating or not (and there is no subconscious thought at any time) ... thought, thoughts, and thinking happens spontaneously if and when required by the circumstances.

And ambulation does not require thought.


RESPONDENT: How do the qualities of ‘splendour and brilliance’ present themselves AS splendour and brilliance?

RICHARD: Directly ... as splendour and brilliance are intrinsic to the properties of this actual world they present themselves openly where apperception is operating: everything is literally bright, shining, vivid, intense, sparkling, luminous, lustrous, scintillating and coruscating in all its vitality here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: Thank you very much for taking the time for your thoughtful reply. If you don’t mind, I’d like to keep trying to get it more clear for me. I’d like to organize this around your answer to my last question: Earlier in your reply, you said: ‘Any object has native properties and intrinsic qualities are sourced in – not attributed to – these indigenous properties (and inherent values are derived from – not ascribed to – these congenital qualities)’. Using this approach in an example: If it is a *property* of water to be liquid and of a certain molecular activity at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and typical atmospheric pressures, then one might say the *quality* of coolness of such water is ‘sourced in’ this property.

Quite. Now, ‘sourced in’ also means a property does not simply *equal* a quality. The latter proceeds or is derived from the former (I think I have that right this time). So, in the case of coolness, one is not in direct contact with ‘coolness’, but rather with water at 50 degrees.

RICHARD: Yet one is in direct contact with cool water (if it be 50 degrees Fahrenheit) and not cold water or warm water or hot water ... otherwise the words ‘50 degrees Fahrenheit’ refer to nothing substantial.

If an elbow were to be placed in the water it will be directly experienced sensately whether the water is cold, cool, warm or hot (as a measurement of its temperature) ... one can then talk about the coldness, coolness, warmness or hotness of the water if one wishes to convey to another what one is experiencing.

Due to the invention of thermometers (which, along with microscopes and telescopes and the suchlike, is known as an extension of the senses) one can now place a thermometer in the water and more precisely, reliably, and universally measure whether the water is cold, cool, warm or hot – or any degree in between or beyond – and the 50 degrees Fahrenheit in your example is but another way than the age-old sensate way of determining by measurement that the water is cool (and not cold, warm or hot).

RESPONDENT: While coolness, indeed, is ‘sourced in’ the property of water as it is at that temperature, it does not follow that coolness is perceived directly.

RICHARD: Why not? In water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit the elbow is certainly not feeling coldness or warmness or hotness ... the elbow is feeling coolness as it is indeed cool water (and not cold water or warm water or hot water) that the elbow is feeling.

RESPONDENT: Coolness is the report of a subjective state of direct contact with water at 50 degrees.

RICHARD: I would rather say that coolness is the report of the elbow’s direct contact with cool water – or whatever part of the body – because in this instance saying ‘50 degrees Fahrenheit’ is but another way, albeit a more scientific way, of saying ‘cool’.

RESPONDENT: Now, ‘splendour and brilliance’ are not properties. They may be qualities ‘sourced in’ properties – what you call ‘intrinsic’ – but they are not the properties themselves.

RICHARD: I never meant to convey that splendour and brilliance were properties as I specifically wrote that they are [quote] intrinsic to the properties of this actual world [endquote] ... which is in keeping with my earlier observation that qualities are sourced in (or are intrinsic to) the properties.

RESPONDENT: There is nothing in liquid water of 50 degrees that it must *necessarily* present as ‘cool’.

RICHARD: I demur. There is something intrinsic to water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit (otherwise known as cool) which necessarily differentiates it from what is intrinsic to water at, say, 200 degrees Fahrenheit (otherwise known as hot) ... perhaps it is the ‘certain molecular activity’ you referred to, towards the beginning of this e-mail, when you were discussing the properties of water?

RESPONDENT: Similarly, there is nothing *necessary* in the presentation of ‘splendour and brilliance’.

RICHARD: As I understand it (I am not a scientist nor have any scientific training) a photometer can measure how bright or brilliant something is in a more precise, reliable and universal way than the eye can sensately determine ... and one can then talk about the brilliance of that something if one wishes to convey to another what one is experiencing (the word comes from the French ‘briller’ meaning ‘shine’).

• ‘brilliance: brilliant quality; intense or sparkling brightness, radiance, or splendour; an instance of this’. (© Oxford Dictionary).

As for the splendour of something (the word comes from the Latin ‘spendere’ meaning ‘be bright; shine’) ... it is related to a brilliant display:

• ‘splendour: 1. great or dazzling brightness, brilliance. 2. magnificence; sumptuous or ornate display; impressive or imposing character; a magnificent feature, object, etc. 3. distinction, eminence, glory’. (© Oxford Dictionary).

Therefore, when I wrote that ‘as [the qualities of] splendour and brilliance are intrinsic to the properties of this actual world’ and that ‘they present themselves openly where apperception is operating’ I am reporting that literally everything is ‘bright, shining, vivid, intense, sparkling, luminous, lustrous, scintillating and coruscating in all its vitality here in this actual world’ ... thus it is not the imposition of subjective attributes (which phrase may very well equate to what you called ‘internal percepts’ in the previous e-mail) that I am talking about.

Rather it is the absence of such subjectively imposed attributes – due to the absence of identity – which reveals the world as-it-is.

RESPONDENT: Hence, ‘splendour and brilliance’ refer to a qualitative state.

RICHARD: I can agree that they are qualities but I look askance at your ‘hence’ (which directly follows from your ‘there is nothing *necessary* in the presentation of ‘splendour and brilliance’ statement) because by so doing you seem to be indicating that qualities are an imposition onto properties and not sourced in those properties.

Whereas I am saying that there is indeed something necessary (such as the ‘certain molecular activity’ already referred to).

RESPONDENT: After all, what is any descriptor when applied, but evidence of qualitative evidencing going on?

RICHARD: If by ‘qualitative evidencing’ you mean the experiencing of the intrinsic qualities, which are sourced in the properties, then I can agree ... and this also applies to anything experienced via extensions to the senses.

RESPONDENT: This is what I meant in my question ‘present themselves AS splendour and brilliance?’

RICHARD: Okay ... incidentally, I do not go about seeing things in terms of their properties, qualities or values (such classifications never occur to me other than when having a discussion such as this) ... I simply delight in the wonder of it all and marvel in the amazing display.

Once experienced apperceptively – as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – one will never again settle for second-best.


RESPONDENT: It appears that we are going to get nowhere in our original discussion of the distinction between qualities and properties (latest post being mine of 7/17), as we have become bogged down in the point of first and third person distinctions, which was raised chiefly to clarify the distinction of qualities and properties.

RICHARD: A suggestion only: if, as you now say, you raised the point of first and third person distinctions chiefly to clarify the distinction of qualities and properties then it would have been helpful to have said so instead of saying [quote] ‘why is all this important?’ [endquote] and then proceeding to discuss standards of validity ... to the point of stating that you are not really interested in others’ expositions of their states because the truth or falsity of their claims were simply a non-issue to living inquiry and that it was barking up the wrong tree (with further comments about such discussions being ‘outright speculations’ or unable to be settled ‘in the third-person sense’).

In other words: you set the agenda of the discussion (standards of validity) and I responded accordingly.

RESPONDENT: The sub points about first vs. third party settleability, in, for example, someone’s claims of personal insight, etc., were only definitionally supporting and peripheral, and were not intended to go off on the tangent of standards of validity. Alas, this sideshow, so to speak, has become flypaper. Again, the main point, which you will not return to, was to clarify the distinction between qualities and properties ...

RICHARD: So as to set the record straight I would like to point out that I made it quite clear what I would not ‘return to’ – discussing the apperceptive experience with a person who was not interested in such an exposition unless it could be settled by the ‘third person’ way – and not, as you say here, clarification of the distinction between qualities and properties ... as the following exchange shows:

• [Respondent]: ‘I think there is much subtly to what you are addressing by ‘apperception’, and I hope we can continue getting at it beginning by way of the rest of my last email.
• [Richard]: ‘Not by way of your last e-mail, no ... I read it through three times before I responded as I did and in it you made it patently obvious that unless a matter was able to be settled in the ‘third-person’ way then it was a matter of [quote] ‘outright speculations’ [endquote] to discuss it ... in fact you observed that otherwise [quote] ‘usually, fine and entertaining disputes develop’ [endquote].

As you have now made clarification of the distinction between qualities and properties the main point of that e-mail I can attend to that topic straight away: as I understand it qualities are the anthropocentric experiences of objects and are sourced in the properties; properties are the inherent characteristics of objects and exist irregardless of humans being present (palaeontology evidences that this planet existed long before humans appeared on the scene).

Incidentally, I am using the word anthropocentric in its ‘regarding the world in terms of human experience’ meaning.

RESPONDENT: ... which are, to me so far, simply conflated in your descriptions of apperception, in a way which simply dismisses by definition, without elucidating probative reasons, the qualitativeness of apperception, as if it were some kind of incompatibility, throwing us back into duality. This, I believe, may be only an artifact of your implicit assumption regarding or prior definition of qualitativeness qua qualitativeness. With clarification of what qualitativeness means (or better, how it is caused), it is not incompatible.

RICHARD: Perhaps what gives you the impression that qualities and properties are conflated in my descriptions of apperception is because, as I said in an earlier e-mail, I do not go about seeing things in terms of their properties, qualities or values as such classifications never occur to me – I simply delight in the wonder of it all and marvel in the amazing display – and my descriptions reflect this experience.

This is how I have explained such descriptions before to other respondents:

• [Richard]: ‘It may be useful for me to explain that what I write is expressive prose – it is not a thesis – as I am conveying the lavish exhilaration of life itself. My writing is not intended to stand literary scrutiny for scholarly style and form and content and so on – the academics would have a field-day with it – for it is an active catalyst which will catapult the reader, who reads with all their being, into this magical wonder-land that this verdant planet is’.

As to whether I dismiss the ‘qualitativeness of apperception’ or not depends upon what you mean by the word ‘qualitativeness’ as I have been unable to find it in either the Oxford or the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (nor in the Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Oxford Dictionary describes ‘qualitative’ as meaning ‘relating to or concerned with quality or qualities’ and that is all it has to say ... it elsewhere says that the addition of the suffix ‘-ness’ indicates that a word is now ‘an instance of a state or a condition’.

Until then I can say this much: I certainly do not dismiss the qualitative nature of apperception as apperception is quite obviously a human experience (apperception cannot exist irregardless of a human being present) ... I have already given two examples of this (splendour and brilliance) in an earlier e-mail.

RESPONDENT: Since we are not moving in this subject, I agree it is time to start afresh, and I will follow your suggestion to look again at your website material.

RICHARD: Okay ... but as you had already re-started the subject in this e-mail I took the opportunity to respond rather than leave it all dangling.


RESPONDENT: Regarding my Point 4: Here is where Richard’s so clearly adds irrationality, and perhaps inveiglement, to his confusion and self-delusion.

RICHARD: Ahh ... maybe this is the part where you will finally get around to demonstrating that I have ‘become irrational’ .

RESPONDENT: I think he puts so much, albeit confused, energy here because he knows that if he cannot do away with the qualitativeness of conscious sensation, as I illustrate it, he must admit some kind of feeling into sensation.

RICHARD: No, it was a simple, straightforward explication of the effect of inadvertently introducing a ‘third person’ variable – the ambient temperature – into your argument (that it acts upon some of the samplings as a modifier). No great energy was required (let alone confused energy) as I had immediately noticed it when you first proposed your theory several e-mails ago ... and I had a lot of fun putting it all into some semblance of scientific-type terminology.

Having said that: do you see that you are insisting, albeit in an oblique way, that the qualitative nature of consciousness must have ‘some kind of feeling’ in its sensate experiencing as if it is set in concrete that it does? If so, this is the type of feedback I am getting from you (just as in your three sentences I quoted further above) which persuades me to suggest that ‘it could very well be the case that your agenda is to preserve the highest aspects of feeling’.

RESPONDENT: I think this because you can see how he must have his supposed refutation of the water example to be able to just set aside everything in the remainder of my Point 4.

RICHARD: Of course you can think that if you like ... it seems that nothing I can say is going to alter your view of me.

RESPONDENT: Richard thinks he has done away with my distinction between the first-person, qualitativeness of ‘coolness’ and the third-person temperature of water of 50 degrees.

RICHARD: No, I do not think that at all ... but do go on because this is fascinating.

RESPONDENT: He thinks he has done this by changing our example to water of 200 degrees, a level where most conscious human beings, regardless of clime, would report ‘Hot’. He says it’s really just a matter of the ambient temperature:

[Richard]: ‘The answer is simple: the ambient temperature in the torrid zone is hotter than the ambient temperature of the arctic zone (or the ambient temperature in the arctic zone is colder than the ambient temperature of the torrid zone) ... and just as the water temperature can be settled in the ‘third person’ way so too can the ambient temperature be similarly settled. If the person living in a torrid zone moves to the arctic zone and stays there long enough to acclimatise themselves they too will then begin to experience water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit as being warm ... and the same applies in reverse (if the person living in an arctic zone moves to a torrid zone and stays there long enough to acclimatise themselves they too will then begin to experience water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit as being cool)’. [endquote].

Look: The ambient temperature and the temperature of water are third-party settleable facts. We can also describe the difference between these two measures in a third-party settleable fashion, say, by mathematically subtracting the value of one measurement from the other. However, there is nothing qualitative in this difference *per se*. There is nothing in it that necessarily *means* ‘hot’. All we have are three qualitatively meaningless statements of fact: For example, Temp(water)=200F, Temp(environment)=90F, Temp(w) minus Temp(e)=110F. Period. Only when the third-party settleable difference is consciously experienced by a living human (or many animals) do we have the possibility of saying ‘This temperature difference is hot’, or rather ‘The water is hot’.

RICHARD: Several e-mails ago I said that qualities are what humans experience (as distinct from properties which exist irregardless of humans being present). Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘As I understand it qualities are *the anthropocentric experiences of objects* and are sourced in the properties; properties are the inherent characteristics of objects and exist irregardless of humans being present (palaeontology evidences that this planet existed long before humans appeared on the scene). Incidentally, I am using the word anthropocentric in its ‘regarding the world in terms of human experience’ meaning. [emphasis added].

How is what I said back then (‘the anthropocentric experiences of objects’) so radically different from what you have just written (‘consciously experienced by a living human’) that it could generate all this confusion you say is in my words?

RESPONDENT: It is only within consciousness that the objective difference in temperature has quality – that is, it is only in subjective, qualitative consciousness that the contrast between my body temperature (in ambience) and the water temperature becomes qualitatively ‘hot’. Readers will note, interestingly, that in Richard’s above quote he refers to subjects who ‘acclimatise themselves’ and ‘experience’. Linguistically, through the nuances of these words Richard can 1) surreptitiously supply the whiff of subjectivity and qualitativeness, while elsewhere 2) reduce everything to the physics of two contacting bodies, and then 3) deny he’s done so.

RICHARD: Nowhere am I denying what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ in normal human beings going about their normal day-to-day activities ... it is only when you see what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ in my descriptions of apperception, and try to get me to agree with your seeing, that I demur. If you could strip what you call ‘subjectivity and qualitativeness’ of their inner world/outer world and affective connotations then there would not be this impasse in regards to apperception. Perhaps if I put it this way:

What I am (‘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/passional 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 magical world as-it-is.

RESPONDENT: Astute readers will not be fooled.

RICHARD: And would I be correct in guessing that an ‘astute reader’ is someone who is not a ‘duped minion’ by any chance?

RESPONDENT: It is in only in this vagueness over the qualitativeness of consciousness that Richard can maintain his radically mistaken view of apperception. That is, he can continue his absurdly knotted responses like:

[Respondent]: ‘In what sense then ‘qualitative’?
[Richard]: ‘In the apperceptive sense (an unmediated sensory experiencing).

Can consciousness be qualitative? Richard says Yes.

In what way qualitative? Richard says Apperceptively, as unmediated sensory experiencing.

Is it sensory? Richard says Yes, but unmediated.

In what way sensory? Richard says Apperceptively.

RICHARD: In what manner are these responses ‘absurdly knotted’ responses? I clearly see the word ‘unmediated’ (consciousness sans identity in toto) appearing three times ... did you take any notice at all of that word when you wrote it?

RESPONDENT: For his own reasons, which I have speculated upon already, Richard insists on maintaining a hazardously unnuanced view of feelings, and hence, vitiates the qualitativeness of consciousness.

RICHARD: I will put it this way this time around: it is both the affective feelings and the identity (they are inextricably entwined) which vitiates the quality of the qualitative nature of consciousness.

RESPONDENT: He tosses the baby out with the bath water.

RICHARD: Oh, I am always chuffed whenever someone says that ... it means that they are starting to get the drift of what I am saying. Which, in a nutshell, is this: spiritual enlightenment is when ‘I’ as ego (‘the bathwater’) dies; actual freedom is when ‘me’ as soul (‘the baby’) dies as well.

Or, as I prefer to put it, identity in toto becomes extinct.

RESPONDENT: In knee-jerk, he’d probably say that he has no feelings to toss out, and plunge us back into his vague, irrelevant and apodictic statements.

RICHARD: Nope ... it is more relevant at this stage to point out that nowhere did you demonstrate that I have ‘become irrational’.


RESPONDENT: I have the impression or rather I noticed that if one is in the same moment using all his senses _IN THE SAME MOMENT_ including the following of thought, then there is not one ‘I’ in operation. Unless all the senses are working contemporarily there is one ‘I’. Have any body else noticed that?

RICHARD: All the sense organs, including the proprioceptive sensors, work contemporarily irregardless of whether there is an identity inhabiting the body ... perception can only operate at this moment anyway as no other moment is actual.

It could be that you are referring to attention (being attentive to what is already happening): you say ‘including the following of thought’ ... what about attentiveness to the feelings (as in ‘including the following of anxiety’ for instance) at this moment?

There is more to bringing about an abeyance of ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself) than the mere ‘following of thought’ ... much, much more.

Thought is but the tip of the iceberg ... the ‘presence’ within runs deep.

RESPONDENT: Thank you very much for answering in detail. You are right I was referring to attention, being attentive to what is already happening, in other words being aware of all the senses, in the same moment (contemporaneously, synchronously), for example looking hearing all the sounds together like listening to one orchestra, feeling the body’s weight on the chair and at the same moment be aware of thought like another sound. This is easier saying it that done it. But when one is able to be aware of all the senses contemporaneously, then seems to me that the ‘I’ in the head the ego, that is the half self, disappears. You think I am right or wrong?

RICHARD: When the ego-self disappears it merges with the soul-self/ spirit-self and undergoes a rapid expansion until it is all that is (often capitalised as All That Is): the resultant state is an altered state of consciousness (ASC) popularly known as spiritual enlightenment wherein one realises that one is God (or Self or Truth or Being or Presence by whatever name).

There is no mistaking this grandiose state ... if someone has to ask whether they have experienced enlightenment or not it is more than likely they have not. However, it is possible to experience being a quiescent ego-self and take this quiescence as being an ASC ... even though enlightenment itself is a delusion – a massive delusion – it is a vastly different delusion than the delusion of being enlightened when one is not.

Most of the spiritual teachers around the world today are not deluded enough to be enlightened (fully enlightened) – they tend to be called ‘illuminated’, or ‘self-realised’ or ‘awakened’ – and the current batch of Neo-Advaitist self-realisers are a good example of this.

RESPONDENT: Lets call what I am saying holistic perception with attention.

RICHARD: Okay ... whereas Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti (whom you say elsewhere you have read for ten years) calls the fully deluded state of being known as spiritual enlightenment ‘choiceless awareness’.

RESPONDENT: I have noticed also that if only one or two senses are in operation (I mean if someone is aware of one or two senses only, because the senses are in operation all of them, regardless if one is aware or not), then the ‘I’ is in operation judging, saying this is nice this is ugly I prefer this etc.

RICHARD: Hmm ... even though being non-judgemental is a well-known spiritual teaching it is not a hall-mark of enlightenment as the enlightened ones are as judgemental as all get-out: take Mr. Gotama the Sakyan, for example, whose judgement was that not only being alive as a flesh and blood body sucks but that the entire universe was the pits (as in ‘all existence is ‘dukkha’’).

Generally speaking enlightened beings do not like being here on this verdant and azure planet ... either now or at any other time.

*

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.:

• [Richard]: ‘Derealisation is an appropriate term for the grim and glum ‘normal’ and mundane reality, of the everyday real world as experienced by 6.0 billion people, has vanished forever ... along with the loving and compassionate ‘abnormal’ and heavenly Greater Reality of the metaphysical Mystical World as experienced by .000001 of the population’.

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.:

• ‘Does the colour of leaves exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to see them? No, the leaves of the tree only deflect particular light waves’.

The same could be said about, say, a maple tree:

• ‘Does the sweetness of sap exist when a (maple) tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to taste it? No, the sap of the tree only produces chemical compounds’.

What about the texture of the bark? Vis.:

• ‘Does the roughness or smoothness of bark exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to touch it?

I will leave that one for you to answer ... here is another one for you:

• ‘Does a tree fall in a forest if nobody is present to see it fall?’

I will remind you of this, to take into account, as you consider the question:

• [Respondent]: ‘... the tree is not green, the brain is giving the colour. (...) we are co-creators in the universe. Without our brains can not take place creation.

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:

• ‘Do soundwaves (vibrating waves of air) exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to hear them vibrate? Yes, and through the technological marvel of audio tape a recording of a tree falling without anybody being present can be provided to demonstrate this. Click HERE to hear what a tree falling in a forest, when there was nobody around to hear it, sounds like when the vibrating waves of air impinge upon a microphone’s diaphragm.

The same applies to length, breadth and width:

• ‘Does the three-dimensionality of a tree exist when it falls in a forest if nobody is present to see it with stereoscopic vision? Yes, because 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)’.

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:

• [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.
(snip)
• [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, to 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.

Did you notice, 38-39 years ago, that Mr. Jorge Martins de Oliveira qualifies his statements with ‘perhaps’? Vis.:

• [quote]: ‘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. [emphasises added].

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]: ‘... 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: 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.

RICHARD: This is verging upon solipsism ... at the very least it is at the stage of being incredibly self-centred.

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]: ‘... and you are looking at the same tree’.

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).

RICHARD: No, because it is the same object which does not change ... whereas there are possibly as many names for the object, called ‘chair’ in English, as there are languages.


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 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 wander 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:

• [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]: ‘... and you are looking at the same tree’.

• [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.

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 wander 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 got in words I doubt if you can see a thing without naming it.

RICHARD: Ha ... nice try, nice try indeed.

*

RESPONDENT: If you go for a walk, from where is coming this desire to go for a walk?

RICHARD: This is a loaded question and, as such, impossible to answer in its present form (there is life after desire).

RESPONDENT: And if you are making sex where come these erections, out of the blue?

RICHARD: No, engorgement of the genitals comes from tactile stimulation.

RESPONDENT: I again ask you to excuse me for the questions, but I try to understand.

RICHARD: Sure ... it would help your understanding considerably, however, if you were to take note of what I have to report (for example I notice that you have persisted in your ‘the perceiver and the perceived are one thing’ borrowed wisdom in another e-mail recently whilst regurgitating what you told me about the tree’s leaves being green).

There is no ‘observer’ to be the ‘observed’ here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: It seems to me more logical, that if something like freedom of the instincts ...

RICHARD: If I may interject? An actual freedom from the human condition is a freedom from the instinctual passions – not the instincts per se – plus, of course, the feeling of ‘being’ (usually designated as a ‘state of being’) or ‘presence’ they automatically form themselves into.

RESPONDENT: ... must happen to humankind, then nature knows when and something will take place.

RICHARD: The identity who used to parasitically inhabit this flesh and blood body acted on the observation that an individual life was too short to hang about waiting for blind nature to get its act together (plus the human condition was already in place by being born replete with instinctual passions anyway).

RESPONDENT: Why must depend on you to change your nature?

RICHARD: Because at the current stage of evolution it is ‘you’ – and only ‘you’ – who can determine the fate of one flesh and blood body in particular and humankind in general.

*

RESPONDENT: I can not see this sense of existence is possible to disappear, because does not exist non existence.

RICHARD: Here is how you started this line of thought:

• [Respondent]: ‘Richard you define the being as soul. I don’t know nothing about soul. For me being is to exist.

Now, while I say it is possible for ‘the being’ I variously call the ‘soul’, ‘spirit’, or ‘presence’, to cease to exist (and this is experiential and not theoretical), you have not only removed what those words refer to (the parasitical entity within the body) through a misunderstanding of what Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti had to say but have substituted the word ‘existence’ as well ... only to then declare that existence cannot cease to exist.

It smacks of being what is academically known as ‘word-magic’.

RESPONDENT: Non existence is a concept born out from opposition to existence.

RICHARD: Whereas altruistic ‘self-immolation’, for the benefit of this body and that body and every body, is born out of the desire for the already always existing peace-on-earth to become apparent sooner rather than later.

To imply that ceasing to exist as a parasitical entity is a concept born from opposition to existence is not all that much different to saying that an actual freedom from the human condition is an escape from dissatisfaction. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘... this actual freedom is a way to escape from your dissatisfaction. One SSRI will make the trick. (Re: justice and fairness; May 07, 2003).

All around you are wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and suicides and so on ... yet you would rather advise taking medication in combination with presenting flawed philosophical arguments (plus pseudo-scientific proofs of a god for that matter) and waiting for blind nature to take its course.

Anything but actually doing something substantial, eh?

RESPONDENT: So after death this sense of existence will continue in another baby (NO REINCARNATION AND THESE NONSENSE) I am born in every baby and then the different identities are separating its other.

RICHARD: The feeling of ‘being’ (‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being is ‘being’ itself) is what the instinctual passions automatically form themselves into: as the instinctual passions, being biologically inherited, are passed on in the germ cells (the spermatozoa and the ova) it could be said that what you describe as ‘the same feeling of existence’ in another e-mail will continue in another baby ... in all babies, in fact.

RESPONDENT: Think about it.

RICHARD: I have far better things to do with my time – such as sitting with my feet up on the coffee table watching comedies on TV – than thinking about theoretical rehashes of the totally self-centred spiritual/mystical wisdom of yore.

I lived that twaddle dressed-up as sagacity for eleven years ... any and all intellectualising about it will not make it into something else.


SELECTED CORRESPONDENCE ON RELATIVISM (Part Two)

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The Third Alternative

(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)

Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.

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