Actual Freedom – Selected Correspondence by Topic

Richard’s Selected Correspondence

On Sensation


Re: Actual sensations VERSUS Physical sensations

RESPONDENT: Hi Richard, Actual sensations VERSUS physical sensations.

Would you consider sharing an explanation of the difference?

RICHARD: G’day [No. 28], Sure ... for a person living in this actual world (using the word ‘actual’ as per the reports/ descriptions/ explanations on The Actual Freedom Trust website and not as per the many and various dictionaries which equate it with the word ‘real’) there is no difference betwixt the actual sensation of, say, these fingertips touching these keyboard keys and the physical sensation of same.

For a person living in the real world (using the word ‘real’ as per its usage on The Actual Freedom Trust website and not as per the many and various dictionaries which equate it with the word ‘actual’) there is no actual sensation of, say, that person’s fingertips touching their keyboard’s keys as the physical sensation of same is overlaid, and thus tempered affectively/ psychically, by an ‘outer world’ reality imposed auto-centrically by virtue of their ‘inner world’ reality.

*

For the sake of clarity in communication:

1. Please note there is no ‘inner world’/‘outer world’ in actuality (using the word ‘actuality’ as per the reports/ descriptions/ explanations on The Actual Freedom Trust website and not as per the many and various dictionaries which equate it with the word ‘reality’) – nor any such [quote] ‘sense doors’ [endquote] as you refer to further below, which serve as an interface through which sensation is experienced, either – even though what is popularly known as ‘consensus reality’ currently informs around 7.0 billion peoples otherwise.

2. Please note that the actual world (using the word ‘actual’ as per the reports/ descriptions/ explanations on The Actual Freedom Trust website and not as per the many and various dictionaries which equate it with the word ‘real’) is invisible to all those 7.0 billion or so peoples currently informed by that consensus reality ... and invisible, as in imperceptible/ indiscernible, not only ocularly but aurally, olfactorily, gustatorily, cutaneously and proprioceptively as well.

(Which means that only a handful of people alive today are capable of seeing me – the flesh-and-blood body typing these words – and/or hearing me, touching me, and so on, as a living actuality).

RESPONDENT: Here is my own interpretation of such descriptive ‘terms’ for experience. I would be interesting if you commented on it. If not, all good.

Physical sensations: There are the sense doors experienced as ‘objectified’ phenomena, given ‘form’ by the mind, give a ‘name’ by the mind. This then leads to a subjective reaction towards such ‘objectified’ phenomena. Ooh, those physical sensations! Sensations given ‘form’, segregated from all the rest of sense contact to become fabricated bases for the leaping off of a ‘feeling me’ or rather ‘sensations’ experienced through the warping mental overlay of a mind that ‘objectifies’ and segregates fabricated ‘parts’ of the whole field of experience, objectified phenomena. This same process gives rise to a subjective reaction to the fabricated ‘object’. That subjective reaction could be termed ‘the feeling me’ or ‘the feeling being’.

Actual sensations: Sensations which are simply not singled out, not given form nor name (like physical sensations), not objectified, not segregated from the whole field of experience. Sensations that arise at the same time as all other sense contact, all experienced simultaneously, mirroring each other as nothing is separated, given form, name, made into an ‘object’ to be differentiated from other sense contact, no ‘physical sensations’ for consciousness to land on continuously and provide the fertile base for the subjective reaction to establish a relationship with them.

A mind that does not ‘objectify’ and segregate ‘parts’ of the field of experience into fabricated ‘objects’ is a mind that does not experience the subjective reaction to said ‘objects’, and experiences the actuality of sense contact, unsegregated, pure, unwarped by conceptualizing and fabricating tendencies, where there is no lunging consciousness that co-arises with the creation of such ‘objects’. Actual sensations, actual seeing, actual hearing, actual cognising, all non-objectified, non- segregated, simultaneous 360 degree sense contact experience of being alive as this mind/body organism. Nothing segregating nor cutting up ‘the universe’ from experiencing itself. Different words for the same thing?

RICHARD: No, not different words for the same thing; rather, they are the same words for a different thing (for an entirely different thing, in fact, to the point of it being 180 degrees opposite to the reports/ descriptions/ explanations on The Actual Freedom Trust website).

RESPONDENT: Or something that does not match the ongoing experience of continuous apperceptive awareness?

RICHARD: Aye ... and, moreover, it is something that does not match the usage of the word ‘apperceptive’ as per the reports/ descriptions/ explanations on The Actual Freedom Trust website, either. For instance:

On the ‘Library’ page titled ‘Pure Consciousness Experience’ there is a quote from me explaining how I chose the phrase ‘pure consciousness experience’ (PCE), in 1997, in order to specify the ‘consciousness without a subject’ purity of the apperceptive awareness which is the hallmark of the PCE. Vis.:

[Richard]: ‘Mr. Robert Forman, on page 131 of the ‘Journal of Consciousness Studies’, Volume 5, Issue 2, 1998, (in a paper called ‘What Does Mysticism Have To Teach Us About Consciousness?’), described the introversive ASC [altered state of consciousness] as a pure consciousness event so as to emphasise the absence of any experienced object – it is pure subjectivity in other words – which is also why such terminology as ‘Consciousness Without An Object’ is used (...). When I first came onto the internet in 1997 I subscribed for a while to an academic consciousness studies mailing list associated with the ‘Journal of Consciousness Studies’ and it was there I first heard of the phrase ‘pure consciousness event’ – with the emphasis that there be no experiencing in such a state – and thus chose the phrase ‘pure consciousness experience’ so as to make the generic phrase ‘peak experience’ I had been using for eleven years more specific and to regain the actual purity of the unadulterated sensuous experience of *consciousness without a subject* (a body sans identity) from the adulterated mystical experience of consciousness without an object (an identity sans body)’. [emphasis & footnote added].

I have highlighted my ‘consciousness without a subject’ words simply because of what you wrote on another online forum, on the same day (June 02, 2012) as you wrote the above post, regarding what you consider ‘apperceptive’. Vis.:

[Respondent]: ‘This is what I consider ‘apperceptive’. (...) a conscious functioning *consciousness without ‘object’*... booya’. [emphasis added].

I have highlighted your ‘consciousness without ‘object’’ words so as to draw attention to the fact that what you consider ‘apperceptive’ is indeed 180 degrees opposite to what is reported/ described/ explained, in meticulous detail and with precise meaning given to terminology, on The Actual Freedom Trust website.

Ain’t life grand!


RESPONDENT: I regret not being able to read Richard because of the typographical characters which do not pass with my navigator and make the reading of its letters almost impossible.

RESPONDENT No. 33: Sorry to hear that. If Richard is reading this, he should do something to fix this problem.

RICHARD: I am only too happy to send a text-only copy of this post to (xxx.xxx@xxx.com) in this instance if that will be of assistance. This is the essence of what I am reporting:

In normal human beings sensate perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary. That is, when the finger tip touches the glass which is a few millimetres to the front of these pixels you are reading there is the immediate perception of the actuality of the physical (skin-on-glass/ glass-on-skin).

Mr. Joseph LeDoux has been able to demonstrate, again and again under strict laboratory conditions, that 12-14 milliseconds after the sensory impact/ contact there is the affective perception (he has specifically addressed fear) ... and that 12-14 milliseconds after that there is the cognitive perception. As the affective perception generates what is genetically programmed to be the appropriate response (initially the inherited as ‘freeze-flee-fight’ instinctual response) the brain is flooded with a veritable cocktail of chemicals ... which means that the cognitive perception is clouded by the affective perception’s automatic response (that is, it cannot think clearly).

Now comes the contentious part: by and large ‘K-Readers’ have no difficulty with and/or objection to thought stopping (no cognitive perception/ response) ... but, by and large, object strenuously to my report that the affective faculty can likewise cease (no affective perception/ response). I will re-post a paragraph I posted only a few days ago that may have been overlooked in all the furore about the ‘reality can never be known’ issue. Vis.

• [Richard]: ‘I am speaking of the immediate perception, of this body and that body and every body and of the mountains and the streams and of the trees and the flowers and of the clouds in the sky by day and the stars in the firmament by night and so on and so on ad infinitum, without the affective faculty existent operating ... which reveals actuality in all its purity and perfection. This applies not only to ocular perception but also to cutaneous perception, to gustatory perception, to olfactory perception, to aural perception ... and even to proprioceptive perception, for that matter. There is no mystery where there is such direct perception of actuality as described ... all is laid open, as it already always has been open just here right now all along, because nothing is ever hidden. One walks through the world in wide-eyed wonder simply marvelling at being here doing this business called being alive on this verdant and azure paradise called planet earth. This is what innocence looks like’.

As immediate, direct perception (sensuous perception) does not involve either the affective faculty or the cognitive function the thinker (‘I’ as ego) and the feeler (‘me’ as soul) do not get a look-in ... hence I call this direct perception ‘apperception’ (perception unmediated by either ‘self’ or ‘Self’). Thus what I am is this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware (sans ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) ... which means that the actuality of the physical can indeed be known, each moment again, day after day.

I do not know if I can put it more briefly or succinctly than this.

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RESPONDENT: Thank you for your post. I think as you and Mr. Joseph LeDoux that the sensate perception is immediate then comes emotional faculty (an emotion like the fear for example) and then cognitive perception. You call apperception sensuous, immediate perception without the emotional faculty nor the cognitive function. But do you believe that one can dissociate the sensory vision (sight of the snake for example) of the emotional answer (fear) which seems ineluctable?

RICHARD: I do not have to ‘believe’ anything as apperception has been my on-going experiencing, night and day, since 1992 ... the challenge for me has been how to present this discovery to my fellow human beings (for whom the affective faculty is inviolable if not sacrosanct). Hence I need to refer to scientific (repeatable on demand) experiments so as to pre-empt responses that capriciously dismiss my experiential report as being an idea, a posit, an imagining, a belief, an opinion, a perspective, a standpoint, a view, a viewpoint, a point of view, a world-view, a concept, a theory, a conjecture, a speculation, an assumption, a presumption, a supposition, a surmise, a thought, an inference, a precept, a judgement, a position, a mind-set, a state-of-mind, a frame-of-mind, a stance, an image, an intellectualising, an intellectual understanding, an analysis, a doctrine, a policy, a canon, a dogma, a code, a tenet, a creed, a credo, a rule, a principle, an ideology, a faith, an act of faith, an article of faith, a philosophy, a religion, a metaphysics, a psychology, a cult ... the entire 101 stock-standard denials of the possibility of being happy and harmless, here on earth in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware.

There is no fear here in this actual world ... there is no fear in a flower, a rock or in this computer monitor, for example. Only sentient beings have fear (plus the other instinctual passions such as aggression and nurture and desire).

There is a way to ascertain the validity of my report for oneself: when one first becomes aware of something there is a fleeting instant of pure perception of sensum, just before one affectively identifies with all the feeling memories associated with its qualia (the qualities pertaining to the properties of the form) and also before one cognitively recognises the percept (the mental product or result of perception), and this ‘raw sense-datum’ stage of sensational perception is a direct experience of the actual.

Pure perception is at that instant where one converges one’s eyes or ears or nose or tongue or skin on the thing. It is that moment just before one focuses one’s feeling-memory on the object. It is the split-second just as one hedonically subjectifies it ... which is just prior to clamping down on it viscerally and segregating it from pure, conscious existence.

Pure perception takes place sensitively just before one starts feeling the percept – and thus thinking about it affectively – which takes place just before one’s feeling-fed mind says: ‘It’s a man’ or: ‘It’s a woman’ or: ‘It’s a steak-burger’ or: ‘It’s a tofu-burger’ ... with all that is implied in this identification and the ramifications that stem from that.

This fluid, soft-focused moment of bare awareness, which is not learned, has never been learned, and never will be learned, could be called an aesthetically sensual regardfulness or a consummate sensorial discernibleness or an exquisitely sensuous distinguishment ... in a word: apperceptiveness.

Then there is no need to ‘dissociate’ ... ‘I’/‘me’ has never existed (in this actual world).


RESPONDENT: I reflected on the nature of emotions, feelings, sensations, thoughts, and even consciousness attempting to clearly define what set of events or experiences were which. But as I did so, and continued to examine and analyse my definitions and experiences, it became clear that I could not, that such definitions are always fuzzy, the clear bright line moving and wavering upon examination. It seems that all such terms are convenient categories, but are not ‘actual’, while each experience is ‘actual’.

RICHARD: First of all, as you include your affective experiences (as per your ‘emotions, feelings’ phraseology) in amongst those experiences, upon which you are reflecting on the nature of, it is reasonable to assume that you are neither having a pure consciousness experience (PCE) nor actually free from the human condition ... therefore, it is further reasonable to assume that, by putting the word actual in scare quotes, you mean the same thing as what the word real means when it is used in a specific way on The Actual Freedom Trust web site, and its associated forum The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list, so as to draw a sharp distinction between the experiencing of 6.0+ billion peoples and the experiencing of persons either currently having a PCE or actually free from the human condition.

Thus what you are most likely wanting to convey is, in effect, that whilst each experience is real all such terms referring to them are not.

If so, then essentially what you are saying is that the word bread, for example, and any definition of that word is not real but that the very object which both the word and its definitions refer to is.

In other words, all the above is but a variation on that hoary adage ‘the word is not the thing’ (or ‘the map is not the territory’).

Having said that, one can now turn to the experiences themselves, bearing in mind that it is demonstrable both experientially and scientifically that, in the perceptive process, sensory perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary.

It is all quite simple: if you were to reach a finger forward and rest its tip against the glass/ plastic which is a scant millimetre or so in front of these pixels that you are reading the very first experience is (cutaneous) sensation ... pure and simple.

That sensation will probably be a sensation of smoothness (as contrasted to touching emery cloth for instance) ... even so it is still sensation.

Furthermore, it may be a warm sensation or it may be a cool one ... even so it is still sensation.

Now, as touching the screen of a computer monitor is not likely to noticeably stir the affections (aka the affective feelings) a more dramatic example, such as touching a hot-plate, would show that there is quite a range of emotional/ passional feelings to be evoked in the secondary part of the perceptive process ... and that, because of the dominance of those affective reactions to cutaneous pain, the primary experience (sensory perception) will probably not have been as dispassionately noticed as when touching the screen.

In either example (touching the screen/ touching a hot-plate) cognition may or may not occur ... there might be thought as recognition in the former (that it is glass/ plastic for instance) or there may be thought as remonstration in the latter (that it is silly thing to do for instance) and so on and so forth.

Lastly, regarding consciousness: the suffix ‘-ness’ forms a noun expressing a state or condition – as in the smoothness already mentioned above (where the sensation of the smooth glass/plastic is expressed as a state or condition) – and thus the word consciousness properly refers to the state or condition of a flesh and blood body being conscious ... as in alive, not dead; awake, not asleep; and sensible, not insensible (comatose).

Howsoever, there are more than a few peoples who use that word to refer to identity (the ego-self and/or the soul/ spirit-self) – as in the expression ‘consciousness has left the body’ at physical death – and that is possibly what is complicating the matter for you.

Otherwise, it is all quite simple.


RESPONDENT: Isn’t it strange that anything in this universe is aware?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: How does this awareness come into being?

RICHARD: In a word: sentience.

RESPONDENT: Is there a difference between sensation in a brain – of whichever size – and sensation in a machine?

RICHARD: I see that you are using the word ‘sensation’ rather loosely there ... the main difference between what occurs in regards an organismic sensorium and a mechanical sensor – ‘a device which detects or measures some condition or property and records, indicates, or otherwise responds to the information received’ (Oxford Dictionary) – being stimulated is that of agency, which of necessity involves self-reference, and to be self-referential is to be self-interested.

As briefly as possible: a self-referential/ self-interested organism is concerned about its existence, and by extension others’ existence, in that it is biased (it finds water appealing and acid unappealing for example) – and being biased is what being concerned means – whereas machines are indifferent, as it were, to both their existence and their functions (switched off or on makes no difference to a machine).

Furthermore, machines are built by humans to serve human agency (rather than to be an agency even if that be possible) and the first principle of serving an agency is being non-resistant (obedient to the agency) and thus not self-concerned.

RESPONDENT: A machine, that is, which perceives various kinds of radiation emitted by its environment and moves (advances or retreats) or does other things in reaction to these stimuli.

RICHARD: I see that you are using the word ‘perceives’ rather loosely there ... a machine mechanically detects various stimuli and responds according to how it has been programmed to do so (moving and/or otherwise functioning in accord to the interests of human agency).

For example: when a computer wins at chess it is actually the programmer – the agency – who designed the programme who wins (achieves an end) via their programme.

Which is what makes a computer a remarkable tool for human intelligence to amplify itself through.

RESPONDENT: I ask because personally I think there is a difference between these two kinds of ‘sensation’ and continue to be amazed by it.

RICHARD: The difference is such that the dual-usage of the word ‘sensation’ (just as with ‘perceives’) tends to imbue machines with something which is simply not there ... in a word: sentience.

RESPONDENT: The difference being that I machines don’t have conscious sensations.

RICHARD: Hmm ... machines are not sentient, period, and thus not aware (let alone intelligent).

RESPONDENT: My question could as well have been ‘isn’t it amazing that anything can be consciously sensed/perceived?’

RICHARD: Yet to find something amazing (astonishing, astounding, startling) is vastly different to finding it strange (odd, bizarre, weird).

RESPONDENT: It could be reformulated as ‘isn’t the difference between mechanical and biological algorithms amazing?’

RICHARD: As an algorithm, being but a mathematical device, is not at all biological I will pass without further comment.

RESPONDENT: If to you that difference is perfectly self-evident and no reason for wide-eyed wonder, I would be amazed, too.

RICHARD: What is really amazing is how you have adroitly shifted from asking if it is not strange, that anything in this universe is aware, to imputing a mathematical device into the biological sensory/ perceptive process of being aware of something/anything, so as to be able come up with that hypothetical example of something you would also be amazed about.

Just in case that is not clear enough: you first invented a difference to be amazed about and then fabricated a flight-of-fancy scenario out of that non-existent difference to be further amazed with.

RESPONDENT: [Addendum] In yet different words: I’m amazed that sentience arises from matter.

RICHARD: It is indeed amazing that matter be sentient in certain circumstances ... a quite marvellous state of affairs, in fact, and rather an occasion for true wonderment.

If I may ask? Why do you also find it strange that it be so?


RICHARD: ... for maybe 6.0 billion peoples the sensate experience (sensation) is primary, the affective experience (feelings) is secondary and the cerebral experience (thought) is tertiary. The primary experience is pristine.

RESPONDENT: I do not doubt that the primary experience is pristine.

RICHARD: Good ... for that (the sensate world) is where the already always existing peace-on-earth is.

RESPONDENT: I still say that feelings and thought are inextricably linked.

RICHARD: And such is the conventional wisdom.

RESPONDENT: I touch the stove and it is hot. I felt it. That is natural.

RICHARD: That is the sensate experience (sensation) ... yes.

RESPONDENT: To touch the stove and get angry because it is hot is to inextricably link ‘feelings’ and ‘thought’. That is the difference between sensate and psychological ‘feelings’ that I am talking about.

RICHARD: How? The sequence of experience is the sensate experience (sensation) first; the affective experience (feelings) second; the cerebral experience (thought) third. The routing of the nerve signal goes first to the thalamus, whereupon the signal is split into two, with one part going to the amygdala (12-14 milliseconds) which induces an immediate affective reaction and another going to the cortex (25 milliseconds) which induces a thought response. There is also a broadband connection direct from the amygdala to the cortex and a narrowband connection from the cortex back to the amygdala ... which is why it is difficult for thought to dampen the broadband signal (affective) when thought, upon reflection, finds the instinctual passionate reaction of the amygdala to be either inaccurate or too strong.

RESPONDENT: I see no need to know how many milliseconds it takes for anything to go through the cortex to the amygdala bringing about ‘instinctual passions’.

RICHARD: Yet it does not go through ‘the cortex to the amygdala’ – the nerve signal goes first to the amygdala (which is where the instinctual passions are triggered) and then to the cortex – if you are going to reject something as being unnecessary information you could at least make it look like you understand what you are dismissing.

RESPONDENT: Who cares?

RICHARD: Not you, apparently.

RESPONDENT: Having all of that scientific knowledge (even if it is so) does nothing to bring about ‘peace of Earth’ as you call it.

RICHARD: Speaking personally, I did not know of any research on this subject when I started to actively investigate the human condition in myself 20 or more years ago: as I intimately explored the depths of ‘being’ it became increasingly and transparently obvious that the instinctual passions – the source of ‘self’ – were the root cause of all the ills of humankind.

I came across the information I provided (further above) only three or so years ago.

RESPONDENT: Knowledge does not set us free.

RICHARD: Again, speaking personally, I found out for myself ... I only provide information (such as above) so that nobody has to take my word for it.


RESPONDENT: When asking myself ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ what should I observe? Thought – there is approximately one thought rising every second – 80,000 seconds in a day equals 80,000 thoughts a day. Therefore every time I ask ‘how am I experiencing this moment’ answer should 99% of time be ‘I am thinking something’.

RICHARD: Although ‘approximately one thought rising every second’ may sound like a lot when multiplied by 80,000 it pales into insignificance compared with sensation ... I recall reading an article many years ago that somewhere in the vicinity of 150,000 sensations happen every second.

But I will leave it to you to do the maths.

RESPONDENT: Feelings – There are countless sensations going on though out the body at any one time, some are more intense than others.

RICHARD: Do you find it illuminating that, although you acknowledged the preponderance of sensation, your ‘approximately one thought rising every second’ observation took precedence over your ‘countless sensations at any one time’ observation when coming to your ‘99% of time’ conclusion about thinking?

RESPONDENT: Emotion – what is emotion?

RICHARD: Basically it is an instinctual survival package (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire) genetically endowed at conception ... there are many cultivated derivations, of course, refined over the years by socialisation.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t it just a intense thought?

RICHARD: No ... infants feel long before they think.

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RESPONDENT: Also during sleep, the experience of falling just before you wake up (very common) – is that not the soul falling back into the body as you return from the astral (dream) to the physical body?

RICHARD: No ... the sensation of falling is physiological event called either an hypnic jerk or a myoclonic jerk.

RESPONDENT: However its explained it still feels like I’m falling backwards and then I wake up.

RICHARD: I am only too happy to re-phrase my response:

• No ... the sensation of falling backwards is physiological event called either an hypnic jerk or a myoclonic jerk.

And just in case one is lying face down when the sensation of falling occurs:

• No ... the sensation of falling forwards is physiological event called either an hypnic jerk or a myoclonic jerk.


RESPONDENT No. 00: ‘Mindfulness of Feeling’. (By Bhanthe Henepola Gunaratana). <ARTICLE SNIPPED FOR SPACE>

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RICHARD: Mr. Bhanthe Henepola Gunaratana talks of people ‘clinging to the pleasant feeling and rejecting the unpleasant’ in contrast to the more enlightened one ‘neither clinging to the pleasant nor rejecting the unpleasant’ ... do you consider this approach valid?

RESPONDENT: If there is no identification with thought or feeling or any function, there is no clinging or grasping. So it is a matter of being free to observe, i.e.: no identification.

RICHARD: What if there were no one to identify with ‘thought or feeling or any function’ in the first place? Would this not eliminate the on-going necessity to be ‘non-clinging’ and ‘non-grasping’? That sounds like hard work to me ... always having to be alert because clinging and grasping will always come sweeping back in when vigilance is inevitably relaxed. Besides, what does ‘flower and die away’ mean, anyway, if it comes back again?

You see, because Mr. Bhanthe Henepola Gunaratana does not differentiate between affective feelings and sensate feelings, he has to ‘neither cling to the pleasant nor reject the unpleasant’. Thus, with this grab-bag of sensate and affective feelings undifferentiated, one would have to allow the whole dang lot to ‘flower and die away’ ... and one would be simply numb. One would be able to sit upon a hot stove and not know that one’s bum was on fire until one saw the smoke rising!

Also, one misses out on the sheer delight of the eyes resting upon colour and shape; one misses out on the joy of the nose inhaling aromas; one misses out on the lusciousness of the tongue tasting food; one misses out on pleasure of the ears hearing sound; one misses out on the delight of the skin touching and being touched. All this is because people like Mr. Bhanthe Henepola Gunaratana (presumably of the Buddhist Tradition) cannot be bothered differentiating between the affective feelings and the sensate feelings. What manner of wisdom is this?


RESPONDENT: As to your quote: ‘conceptualisation’: the noun form of the verb conceptualise – to form concepts, theories, or ideas. ‘Touch is immediate and direct’ is correct, however, this does not affirm ‘form’ without conceptualisation, Richard. All that is immediate in sensation (a perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ or with a specific bodily condition) is sensation, nothing further can be attested to without forming an idea, or concept of what sensation arises from.

RICHARD: Not so. What you are doing here – if one strips away much verbiage – is saying that ‘sensation is sensation’ ... which is as useful a statement as that supposed profundity ‘a rose is a rose is a rose’. You need to do better than that if we are to have a conversation. When this finger-tip touches something it comes into contact with form ... this is felt directly and without conceptualisation. Recognition of what form it is requires thought and memory, yes ... but awareness of form existing, no.

RESPONDENT: Sensation neither affirms or denies the reality of either the finger, nor the glass in your instance, sensation in and of itself is whatever is present in the instance that it is present.

RICHARD: But this is just more of the same kind of gobbledegook that you have been spouting for ages: [this is not a quote]: ‘what is happening is whatever what is, is doing at this present moment’ ... or some such thing. Now I know – and you know that I know this – that you know that ‘what is’ is a nom de guerre for god ... but I am not supposed to say that on this list.

RESPONDENT: One may, as in the definition of sensation, associate (to connect in the mind or imagination) sensation with the conceptualisation of form but this is a further act of conceptualisation and not ‘an actuality’ as you wish to demonstrate by making conceptualisation and actuality opposing terms in your statement ‘require no recognition – or conceptualisation – to verify that form exists as an actuality’.

RICHARD: Yet I am not making that association, I am very clear and distinct. I said: ‘touch is immediate and direct’. Where is the recognition and/or conceptualisation in the action of touch? Form must exist for touch to happen ... otherwise one’s finger is poking at empty space. The very word ‘touch’ means that form exists ... without form, the word ‘touch’ would not be in our lexicon.


RESPONDENT: What does it mean to ‘be’ these sensations? Do you ‘be’ a toothache?

RICHARD: Yes, it is a way of describing to those who wish to move from normal everyday reality to the actuality that underlies all apparent phenomenon. Sensations are inherent, and instead of ‘I’ having the sensations, one is the experience of these sensations. Awareness, in other words.

RESPONDENT: If I say I have a toothache, my use of the word ‘have’ is just folk jargon.

RICHARD: If you say so, but I sincerely doubt it. Intellectually you may see the nonsense of there being someone inside the body to ‘have’ these sensations, but such a seeing does nothing to actually dislodge this remarkably persistent identity. That is because it is not just a cognitive entity (psychological) but it basically has an affective (psychic) ontology ... born out of the instinctual passions of fear and aggression and nurture and desire that blind nature endows all sentient beings with at birth.

RESPONDENT: Of course, the ‘pain’, the perception of pain, is in the brain. There is no actual pain in the tooth, only the inflammatory physiological processes that lead to the neural process that generates electrical impulses in my brain, which manifest in a mental process that we, in English, label as pain. So, leaving trivial semantics aside, what do you mean when you say ‘to be’ these sensations.

RICHARD: When one is asleep – in deep sleep anyway – one is virtually unconscious and there is no awareness of sensation ... which is why there is relief from the pain of an illness by sleeping. So, literally, what one is, is waking consciousness; that is, being conscious of the world of people, things and events. When one is the experience of being conscious – bereft of any identity whatsoever – then this is apperceptive awareness.

RESPONDENT: Most normal people do have an awareness of their own body ... this is a natural consequence of our natural physiology (proprioception and such). But ... this is getting to be to much.

RICHARD: Internal bodily impulses stream from all parts of the body to the brain in something to the order of 160,000 nerve pulses per second. Added to all the sensory data, there is a lot going on in being alive. One can examine all this stuff under a microscope until the cows come home ... yet still the ‘I’ persists. ‘My’ source lies in the brain-stem.

RESPONDENT: OK ... so you got rid of your little inner dialoguing ‘I’. What does that mean?

RICHARD: Peace and harmony due to the absence of animosity and anguish; happiness and harmlessness due to the absence of malice and sorrow; benevolence and benignity due to the absence of fear and aggression; blitheness and gaiety due to the absence of love and compassion ... and so on. It means quite a lot ... in a phrase: peace-on-earth.

RESPONDENT: What does it mean, then, to be aware without the ‘I’? Are you aware of your body?

RICHARD: No, I am this flesh and blood body ... there is no ‘me’ to have an awareness of ‘my’ body. There is no ownership because the owner is dead ... extinct.

RESPONDENT: Are you aware of your physical separation from the chair you’re sitting on?

RICHARD: This body has a physical distinction from this chair just as this body is distinct from that body ... but there is no psychological distance betwixt an ‘I’ inside this body and the chair – or the ‘I’ inside that body – to cause separation. Here is a direct experience of the actuality of people, things and events.

RESPONDENT: You speak of ‘the most astonishing sense of freedom and release’. That sounds like consciousness. You clearly perceive the ‘sense of freedom’. This is certainly awareness. It is not just generic awareness, it is your awareness.

RICHARD: Actually it is the vast and utterly immeasurable awareness of this very material universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being. It is the most amazing and wondrous experience possible. I tend to use words like ‘ambrosial’ and ‘magical’ to convey the flavour of it. It is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and fantasies ... it is impossible to conceive, believe or imagine.

RESPONDENT: Furthermore, it is your awareness of your own sensations (emotions?).

RICHARD: There are no emotions – or passions – extant in this body anywhere. Sensations are purely physical and are intrinsically delightful in all there pleasurable sensuality. This is awareness in itself ... not ‘my’ awareness.


RICHARD: To say that ‘all this is but illusion’ demonstrates a blatant lack of engagement in being here on this verdant and azure planet now ...

RESPONDENT: Most humbly, the ‘azure’ of the planet itself is an illusion.

RICHARD: Have the photographs of planet earth taken from satellites been colourised then? Vis.: (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/BlueMarble/). I only ask because the sub-heading on that web page reads ‘true-colour global imagery’.

RESPONDENT: Dr. C. V. Raman, Nobel Laureate in Physics, explained the azure of planet earth as being due to scattering of light by particles in earth’s atmosphere. When light is scattered by particles suspended in earth’s atmosphere, the blue, being at the extreme of the spectrum gets scattered more than red. Hence, the sky – and for similar reason – oceans, appear blue. Check out any reference for the famous ‘Raman Effect’. ‘True-colour’ in the above picture refers to trueness of colour captured by the camera not to an inherent true colour of planet earth. Ref: www.uky.edu/~holler/raman.html (Many more are available on the Web – search for The Raman Effect).

RICHARD: But what is illusory about the blue light radiated back into space by the oceans? If you are going to base your claim, that the azure of the oceans is an illusion, upon the fact that blue is not an ‘inherent’ colour of the oceans then you will also have to claim that the verdancy of the vegetation is an illusion as well ... because green is not an ‘inherent’ colour of vegetation (vegetation deflects green light and absorbs the rest of the spectrum). Furthermore, no object has an ‘inherent’ colour because colour is a property of light ... or, more properly, colour is the sensation caused by wavelength as it interacts with the eye (because it is actually wavelength which is a property of light).

Incidentally the scattering of light by the gases of the earth’s atmosphere which you refer to, resulting in the blueness of the sky, is due to an effect called ‘Rayleigh Scattering’ (named after Mr. John Rayleigh who published a paper describing this phenomenon in 1871) which is a different process to the ‘Raman Effect’ (named after Mr. Venkata Raman who announced his discovery of this phenomenon in 1928). Although I had long known of Rayleigh Scattering I had never heard of the Raman Effect until you brought it to my attention ... consequently I have had a browse around as you advised and one web page, entitled ‘Raman Spectroscopy’, describes Rayleigh Scattering as being [quote] ‘responsible for blue sky and red sunsets as well as blue colour of the sea’ [endquote]. (www.cofc.edu/~deavorj/521/raman.html) .

Be that as it may: being a lay-person in these matters I cannot comprehend how the blue light radiated back into space by the oceans could be called an illusion just because its radiation is the result of scattering (whereas presumably the green light radiated back into space by the vegetation is not an illusion because its radiation is the result of deflection). And, last but not least, is the white light radiated back into space by the clouds, as seen in that NASA photograph, also an illusion because its radiation is the result of scattering (in this case a complex scattering called ‘Mie Scattering’ named after Mr. Gustav Mie who discovered this phenomenon in 1906)?

Maybe you could throw some light upon this matter (no pun intended).

*

RICHARD: ... if you are going to base your claim, that the azure of the oceans is an illusion, upon the fact that blue is not an ‘inherent’ colour of the oceans then you will also have to claim that the verdancy of the vegetation is an illusion as well ... because green is not an ‘inherent’ colour of vegetation (vegetation deflects green light and absorbs the rest of the spectrum). Furthermore, no object has an ‘inherent’ colour because colour is a property of light ... or, more properly, colour is the sensation caused by wavelength as it interacts with the eye (because it is actually wavelength which is a property of light).

RESPONDENT: Well, the subtle difference here is the presence of light absorbing chemicals in vegetation (and other ‘inherently colourful’ objects).

RICHARD: Yet the oceans absorb light too ... vis.:

• ‘This is why the oceans are blue; *they absorb red light* so that only the blue part gets out. [emphasis added]. (www.badastronomy.com/mad/1996/traffic.html).
• ‘Why is the ocean blue? (...) The shorter blue wavelengths scatter more effectively and are *absorbed less quickly than the longer red and orange wavelengths*. [emphasis added]. (http://pao.cnmoc.navy.mil/educate/neptune/quest/seawater/blue.htm).
• ‘As sunlight enters the ocean, it starts to *be absorbed*. [emphasis added]. (www.onr.navy.mil/focus/ocean/water/optics1.htm).
• ‘When sunlight hits seawater, *part of the white light is absorbed* and part is reflected. White light is composed of various shades (all the colours in the rainbow). Seawater does not absorb blue light, so the blue light is reflected outwards. [emphasis added]. (http://mbgnet.mobot.org/salt/oceans/faq.htm).

RESPONDENT: The sky, on the other hand, has nothing ‘inherently colourful’, it merely ‘appears’ blue.

RICHARD: As the subject under discussion is the azure of the oceans – the blue light radiated back into space by the oceans and captured as true-colour imagery by the NASA photograph – the blue of the sky is actually an irrelevancy ... so suffice is it to say for now that the gases, which are the atmosphere (commonly called the sky), do absorb light. The blue frequencies are absorbed more often than the red, orange and yellow frequencies – most of which pass straight through – and the absorbed blue light gets radiated in all directions ... it gets scattered all around the sky.

*

RESPONDENT: There has always been a bias in the West against non-West science and scientists. That’s why, probably, Rayleigh is better known that Raman.

RICHARD: Ahh ... is that why you attributed the scattering of light by the earth’s atmosphere to the Raman Effect then? Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘ Dr. C. V. Raman, Nobel Laureate in Physics, explained the azure of planet earth as being due to scattering of light by particles in earth’s atmosphere. (...) Check out any reference for the famous ‘Raman Effect’.

Whereas, of course, it was Mr. John Rayleigh who explained the scattering of light by the earth’s atmosphere – and 17 years before Mr. Venkata Raman was born even – and this effect became known as Rayleigh Scattering. You may recall that I provided a quote from a Raman Spectroscopy web page in the previous e-mail which states this unambiguously:

• [Richard]: ‘... one web page, entitled ‘Raman Spectroscopy’, describes Rayleigh Scattering as being [quote] ‘responsible for blue sky and red sunsets as well as blue colour of the sea’ [endquote]. (www.cofc.edu/~deavorj/521/raman.html).

As far as I have been able to ascertain the Raman Effect would fall under the category of quantum mechanics – whereas Rayleigh Scattering is clearly classical mechanics – and as I understand it the Raman Effect, being a feeble effect, has little, if any, noticeable effect in the world at large. This is what the Encyclopaedia Britannica has to say in part:

• ‘Raman Effect: change in the wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules. (...) When a beam of light traverses a dust-free, transparent sample of a chemical compound, a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than that of the incident (incoming) beam. Most of this scattered light is of unchanged wavelength. *A small part*, however, has wavelengths different from that of the incident light; its presence is a result of the Raman effect. (...) *The Raman effect is feeble*; for a liquid compound the intensity of the affected light may be only 1/100,000 of that incident beam. (...) Thus, Raman spectra are used in qualitative and quantitative analysis.(...) Gases have low molecular concentration at ordinary pressures and therefore produce *very faint Raman effects*. [emphasis added]. (Copyright © 1994-2002 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.).

Thus, at a guess, I would say that the reason why ‘Rayleigh is better known that Raman’ is because the Raman Effect has most, if not all, of its relevance in the world of laboratories.

*

RESPONDENT: Other examples abound: not many know about the mathematical genius Ramanujam but Hardy is well known. It is also alleged that the latter even published some of the former’s work under his own name. Like wise, the West is credited to have invented printing although printing existed in China long before the invention of Guttenberg. There was a lot of science and scientific discoveries in ancient India. For example, Indian scientists reportedly calculated the velocity of light a few hundred years ahead of the West. ‘In particular, I am amazed, as a layman, by the evidence that Sayana, circa 1300 CE, who was prime minister at the court of the Vijayanagar Emperor Bukka I, calculated the speed of light to be 2,202 yojanas in half a nimesha, which does come to 186,536 miles per second. Truly mind-boggling! The speed of light was first measured in the West only in the late 17th century’. For a fascinating account of the scientific achievements of ancient India read: www.rediff.com/news/1999/nov/18inter.htm.

RICHARD: Your biased concern about western scientific bias may very well be worth discussing – in another thread – but it would be more useful if you could stay with the topic at hand for now.

There is a distinction between optical phenomena and optical illusions – a mirage in a desert or on hot tarmac is an optical illusion whereas a rainbow, for an example, is an optical phenomenon (just as the aurora polaris are for another example) – and the blue of the oceans falls under the category of optical phenomena. Vis.:

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_phenomenon
www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_illusion

Some examples of optical phenomena due to scattering, other than the blue of the sky and the blue of the oceans, are the yellow of the sun, the white of the clouds, the white of mist, the white of fog, the white of salt, the white of sugar, the blue of blue eyes, most of the blue and green of bird feathers and many animal and some vegetable blues. Scattering also causes the blue moon (of the ‘once in a blue moon’ phrase) which is seen when forest fires produce clouds composed of small droplets of organic compounds.

I became particularly interested in the subject of optical phenomena/ optical illusions in my youth when, as a sailor on watch on a cargo ship out at sea late one night, I first saw what is known as St. Elmo’s Fire dancing along the rigging.

‘Tis an amazing world we live in!


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: 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: When asking myself ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’ what should I observe? Thought – there is approximately one thought rising every second – 80,000 seconds in a day equals 80,000 thoughts a day. Therefore every time I ask ‘how am I experiencing this moment’ answer should 99% of time be ‘I am thinking something’.

RICHARD: Although ‘approximately one thought rising every second’ may sound like a lot when multiplied by 80,000 it pales into insignificance compared with sensation ... I recall reading an article many years ago that somewhere in the vicinity of 150,000 sensations happen every second.

But I will leave it to you to do the maths.


RESPONDENT: Richard, I find the below quote of interest (the different world as experienced by ‘Me’ and I). [quote] ‘The vital difference between that [‘I am That’] and the sensory experiencing here in this actual world – as evidenced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – is that, as this flesh and blood body only (sans identity in toto), one is not what is being sensorially experienced ... one is the experiencing of what is happening’. [endquote]. How is the world experienced by the ‘ego’ then, does it take a different ‘process’/route for the sensory data then that of the ‘soul’?

RICHARD: In the perceptive process sensory perception is primary; affective perception is secondary; cognitive perception is tertiary.

Given that the ego-self is ‘the thinker’ and the soul-self is ‘the feeler’ then the ego thinks it is doing the experience of what is happening (as an operant) whilst the soul feels that it is being the experience of what is happening (as in ‘I am That’) ... whereas the body is the experiencing of what is happening.

RESPONDENT: I ask this as you and I experience the same world of the senses, but in my case ‘someone’ is hijacking that experience. Sensory information is received by the bodily senses and then ...what happens?

RICHARD: Then it is affectively assessed by ‘the feeler’ micro-seconds (12-14 milliseconds) before being cognitively appraised, if it gets through, by ‘the thinker’ (another 12-14 milliseconds) ... and even then it is coloured by the affections.

RESPONDENT: What is the difference in the gustatory sensation of ice-cream coated in Suisse chocolate as experienced by you now and 23 years ago?

RICHARD: As there is neither ego-self nor soul-self to either do or be the gustatory experience there is the direct (aka immediate) experiencing of gustation.

RESPONDENT: In what way is the experience of watching TV different then mine?

RICHARD: Put simply: as there is no (subjective) experiencer there is no separation ... no ‘inner world’/‘outer world’.

RESPONDENT: If the images (presumably) are identical in quality, do you see them differently (e.g. in terms of clarity)?

RICHARD: Yes ... and just as the moving picture is visually brilliant, vivid, sparkling, so too is the sound track aurally rich, vibrant, resonant.

RESPONDENT: Is the image of a tridimensional object you see on TV as ‘clear & pristine’ as the tri-dimensional object experienced in your living-room?

RICHARD: Given that it is a representation and not the object itself ... yes.

*

RESPONDENT: I ask this [does the ‘ego’ take a different ‘process’/ route for the sensory data then that of the ‘soul’] as you and I experience the same world of the senses, but in my case ‘someone’ is hijacking that experience. Sensory information is received by the bodily senses and then ...what happens?

RICHARD: Then it is affectively assessed by ‘the feeler’ micro-seconds (12-14 milliseconds) before being cognitively appraised, if it gets through, by ‘the thinker’ (another 12-14 milliseconds) ... and even then it is coloured by the affections.

RESPONDENT: So, if it gets through ‘the feeler’ without being contaminated with affective contents and gets to ‘the thinker’ ... is it still coloured by the affections?

RICHARD: What I meant by ‘if it gets through’ is that a vast amount of sensation never makes it to conscious attention ... it is all dealt with at a subconscious level.

RESPONDENT: Can it escape ‘clean’ and further be processed by ‘the thinker’?

RICHARD: No ... and as the thinker arises out of the feeler anyway ‘I’ cannot process it cleanly even if it did get through cleanly.

*

RESPONDENT: In what way is the experience of watching TV different then mine?

RICHARD: Put simply: as there is no (subjective) experiencer there is no separation ... no ‘inner world’/ ‘outer world’.

RESPONDENT: This might sound silly but when younger I wondered why is it that the image captured by a video camera is identical to that captured by the senses (sight)? And I also wondered if all the people see the world the same way I do. By watching TV I answered was yes, as there it was: an independent and objective confirmation. I didn’t imagined at the time that even the image on the TV screen can be seen differently.

RICHARD: I am reminded of when I joined the military, at age seventeen, and met a person who was colour-blind (to the colour red) for the first time in my life: I was fascinated and asked all manner of questions – such as knowing how to stop at traffic lights – and soon found that it made no fundamental difference (he brought his car to a stop when the top light turned a brighter grey than it otherwise was for example).

RESPONDENT: I’m most fascinated with photographs, they seem to capture the moment, when I look at them there is both a sense of wonder and a sense of loss accompanied by sadness. That moment is gone for ever ... what a pity for not fully living it!

RICHARD: This regret, at not having fully experienced, is one of the most common things people report at the loss of a loved one.

Incidentally it is the event which is captured, and not the moment, thus it is the event which is gone forever.

Have you never noticed it is never not this moment?

RESPONDENT: Even the most ordinary circumstances seem transformed in a photograph.

RICHARD: Maybe it is having the leisure, as it were, to take it in more fully?

*

RESPONDENT: If the [television] images (presumably) are identical in quality, do you see them differently [than me] e.g. in terms of clarity?

RICHARD: Yes ... and just as the moving picture is visually brilliant, vivid, sparkling, so too is the sound track aurally rich, vibrant, resonant.

RESPONDENT: That’s interesting for an experiment ... it seems that by waking up (unaware of the experiment) and living in a (supposedly) artificial 3d perfectly IMAX v3000 simulated medium of your surroundings you could experience the same ‘visually brilliant, vivid, sparkling’ world. But the actual world would be hidden from your senses and you won’t realise that the world you’re in is only a representation, is that right?

RICHARD: Hmm ... the representation itself is actual.

To explain: a painting of something, for instance, is not the thing itself which is being represented (thus non-actual) but the paint itself is actual.

*

RESPONDENT: Is the image of a tridimensional object you see on TV as ‘clear & pristine’ as the tri-dimensional object experienced in your living-room?

RICHARD: Given that it is a representation and not the object itself ... yes.

RESPONDENT: I don’t understand. If it’s the same object, a vase, (experienced as a still image on TV and next to your TV the vase itself) what are the differences in the quality of the image?

RICHARD: The degree of similitude is dependent upon the degree of precision-grinding the camera lens has, of course, but the quality of the photographic image itself (a photographic image exists in its own right) is of the same quality as the object itself.

RESPONDENT: Is the vase on TV as clear & pristine as the vase itself?

RICHARD: Given that it is a representation of the vase and not the vase itself ... yes.

*

RICHARD: Then it [sensation] is affectively assessed by ‘the feeler’ micro-seconds (12-14 milliseconds) before being cognitively appraised, if it gets through, by ‘the thinker’ (another 12-14 milliseconds) ... and even then it is coloured by the affections.

RESPONDENT: So, if it gets through ‘the feeler’ without being contaminated with affective contents and gets to ‘the thinker’ ... is it still coloured by the affections?

RICHARD: What I meant by ‘if it gets through’ is that a vast amount of sensation never makes it to conscious attention ... it is all dealt with at a subconscious level.

RESPONDENT: Why is it dealt with only at a subconscious level?

RICHARD: There are simply too many sensations happening at once for them all to gain conscious attention ... I read somewhere, many years ago, that there are something like 150,000 sensory impulses every second.

RESPONDENT: Is the ‘sub-conscious level’ another name for the soul?

RICHARD: No ... it is where the organism runs on auto-pilot, as it were.

RESPONDENT: Do you perceive everything now at a conscious level?

RICHARD: Ha ... I am very pleased to be running mostly on auto-pilot.


RESPONDENT: Isn’t it a conditioning that you like a certain taste of coffee?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t it a conditioning that you like a certain engorging of the genital organs ...

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: [Isn’t it a conditioning that you like] a certain warmth/ smell of an alive vagina ...

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: [Isn’t it a conditioning that you like] the ‘mutualness’ of the sexual process rather than the one-way activity of licking a cold stale fish?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: Isn’t preference for a certain taste/ sensation equivalent to conditioning?

RICHARD: No.

RESPONDENT: You do prefer certain sensations over the others, right?

RICHARD: Yes ... yet to prefer something over something other is just that (a preference) and nothing more than that.

RESPONDENT: If someone says to you, ‘Richard, would you have tea or coffee’, isn’t your decision/choice based on your conditioning/liking?

RICHARD: No ... it is a preference.

RESPONDENT: [If someone says to you] ‘Richard, would you like a stale fish or my vagina?’ [isn’t your decision/choice based on your conditioning/liking?]

RICHARD: No ... it is a preference.

RESPONDENT: In both cases, I presume you would make a firm choice.

RICHARD: No ... in both cases it is a preference (a freely-made choice).

RESPONDENT: Okay, so a conditioning FORCES one into a choice while a preference ALLOWS a certain choice.

RICHARD: No ... as all conditioning has fallen redundant by the wayside then any and all of my preferences are freely-made choices.

RESPONDENT: Am I missing something?

RICHARD: Yes ... you seem to have missed the following:

• [Respondent]: ‘What are your choices based on? Is it not your own conditioning plus your intelligent appraisal of the situation?
• [Richard]: ‘[All] conditioning – be it familial conditioning, peer-group conditioning, or societal conditioning – is a well-meant endeavour to control the wayward self within ... where there is no identity whatsoever all conditioning has nothing to condition and falls by the wayside (hence choices made are freely made choices).

That was in my first response to you ... here is what is in my second:

• [Respondent]: ‘Is it possible that the pleasure you obtain from the senses (...) is also just a habit pattern, and so a self-inflicted conditioning?
• [Richard]: ‘... where there is no identity whatsoever all conditioning – be it self-inflicted conditioning, familial conditioning, peer-group conditioning, or societal conditioning – has nothing to condition and falls by the wayside (hence choices made are freely made choices and not just habit-patterns).

And in my third:

• [Respondent]: ‘This is similar to the Buddhist position (...) If conditioning is absent/transcended there is no identity.
• [Richard]: ‘... I specifically said where there is no identity all conditioning has nothing to condition (and falls by the wayside), and not the other way around (as you have it) ...’.

And in my fourth:

• [Respondent]: ‘For me, pleasure is based on conditioning (...) Whereas you say that even though your identity has been dismantled and conditionings removed ...’.
• [Richard]: ‘I do not say that (1) identity has been ‘dismantled’ (it is, rather, that identity ‘self’-immolates in toto) ... nor do I say that (2) conditionings have been ‘removed’ (all conditioning, having nothing to condition, falls redundant by the wayside) ...’.

RESPONDENT: Can you elaborate more on the difference between preference/ liking/ taste/ conditioning?

RICHARD: Any elaboration will be counter-productive until you can grasp that, where there is no identity whatsoever, it is impossible to ever be hedonic (aka ‘a pleasure-seeker’) as the affective pleasure/pain centre in the brain – as in the pleasure/pain principle which spiritualism makes quite an issue out of yet never does eliminate – has no existence here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: Is it that the presence/ absence of an identity is the real issue?

RICHARD: It is indeed.

RESPONDENT: But isn’t our instincts/ conditionings are what makes up the identity?

RICHARD: Not the ‘instincts’ per se ... rather the instinctual passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire).


RESPONDENT: Haven’t you guys figured it out yet? You are Richard’s fall guys. He’s having a ball batting you around with his convoluted replies. He doesn’t give a brass razoo how befuddled you get trying to work them out, just as long as you keep at it, ‘cause without you he’s literally dead. You’re being used as fodder to show off his literal [sic] prowess and snare you into the web he weaves to cement his cyber immortality. Don’t waste your time feeding this wolf. He’s a word junky, let him starve.

RICHARD: By my count there are at least ten porkies in those six sentences.

RESPONDENT: Upon reflection I should have said ‘I thank actuality for this’.

RICHARD: Ha ... would that be Mr. or Ms. Actuality you are thanking?

RESPONDENT: Because the marvel of life has nothing to do with AF or actualism, they are just more concepts.

RICHARD: How on earth can either an actual freedom from the human condition (aka ‘AF’) or the direct experience that matter is not merely passive (aka ‘actualism’) be concepts?

RESPONDENT: There is no alternative, there is only actuality. Go live it.

RICHARD: Now here is a truly remarkable thing: nowhere in any of the 211 e-mails you have written to this mailing list have you ever mentioned having recalled/ having had a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – on the contrary you expressly deny such total purity is possible and air your ignorance of what pure sensation really entails in public – and yet you speak as if intimately knowledgeable about actuality ... the world of the senses.

In short: that actuality you advocate living is a conceptual actuality.


RESPONDENT: The universe has no colours and no appearance, for example, it is the human organism that sees it with colour.

RICHARD: Presuming that you mean ‘appearance’ in a phenomenological sense then its intellectually-intuited ‘essence’ (aka ‘thing-in-itself’) has no existence in actuality either ... and in regards to colours/ colour the following may be of interest: [Richard]: ‘(...) 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 ...

RESPONDENT: I’m not exactly sure what you mean by ‘detail’ there.

RICHARD: I mean the particulars, the finer features of something, usually noticed only upon closer inspection (such as a visually blind person running their fingertips all over and all around something after having first ascertained its basic nature, shape, size, and so on, with a few quick touches).

RESPONDENT: That line of argument does indeed lead to a ‘noumenon’ universe with no colour, no brightness, no size, no shape and no movement.

RICHARD: Put succinctly: that line of argument leads to no universe at all.

RESPONDENT: What is wrong with that model, just that it is not experienced directly?

RICHARD: No, what is wrong with that model is that there is nothing to experience, period (nor any body to be experiencing).

RESPONDENT: If we find the corresponding faculties in the brain and senses, then couldn’t the source of the sense data be without those things?

RICHARD: Hmm ... there is no ‘brain and senses’ in that model to find anything in (the word universe is, of course, inclusive of all brains and all sense organs).

RESPONDENT: As for the colour example, my obvious question is: How can you be experiencing actuality if your eyes see something as red while other humans see it as green?

RICHARD: First and foremost, it makes no sense to say [quote] ‘your eyes see something ...’ [endquote] as I am these eyes seeing something. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘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’.

Second, no identity ever experiences actuality ... all psychological/ psychic entities, by their very nature, are oblivious to this actual world. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘That identity (‘I’/ ‘me’) is forever cut-off from the actual ... from the world as-it-is’.

Third, as I am not colour-blind I see something green as being just that (green) and not red ... besides which invoking defective sense organs, in order to make a case, is tantamount to throwing in one’s hand.

You may find the following to be of interest:

• [Co-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.
• [Co-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.
• [Co-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).
• [Co-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: Are you simply saying that the make-up of the universe is such that if experienced by a human sans identity, that human experiences felicity?

RICHARD: That is one way of putting it ... I would rather say that, by virtue of the very perfection (and thus pristine purity) of the infinitude/ absoluteness this universe is, a human sans the entire affective faculty/ identity in toto (an apperceptive human) can only experience felicity.

Or, put another way, as an apperceptive human this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe is experiencing itself the only way such pristine purity can ever be experienced (felicitously/innocuously).

RESPONDENT: If the human brain’s pleasure faculties were damaged, the sensual pleasure wouldn’t be there and the pristine purity would be experienced in what way?

RICHARD: In a word: anhedonically.

*

RESPONDENT: Happiness is what results – as sensual pleasure – when there is no emotion, no identity.

RICHARD: Where there are no affections/ no identity this actual world is experienced directly: what one is, as a flesh and blood body only, is this physical universe experiencing itself apperceptively ... as such it is stunningly aware of its own infinitude/ absoluteness.

And this is truly wonderful.

RESPONDENT: This happiness is sourced in the brain since without the brain’s pleasure faculties, the universe would be experienced anhedonically.

RICHARD: This universe can only be experienced anhedonically when the hedonic identity parasitically inhabiting the flesh and blood body is either abeyant (in a PCE) or extinct (upon an actual freedom from the human condition).

RESPONDENT: I’m talking about sensual pleasure not the affective faculties.

RICHARD: In which case your earlier question (about which I assumed that, as a matter of course, you meant the hedonic pleasure/pain centre) makes no sense. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘If the human brain’s pleasure faculties were damaged, the sensual pleasure wouldn’t be there and the pristine purity would be experienced in what way? [endquote].

If (note ‘if’) there were no sensation at all – no cutaneal, olfactory, aural, ocular, gustatory, or proprioceptive sensing whatsoever – how on earth can any experiencing happen?

RESPONDENT: Sensual pleasure results from the brain’s pleasure faculties.

RICHARD: Are you referring to what is known as the sensorium? Vis.:

• ‘sensorium: the seat of sensation in the brain of humans and animals; the percipient centre to which sensory impulses are transmitted by the nerves; the whole sensory apparatus (including the sensory nerves); formerly also, the brain regarded as centre of consciousness and nervous energy’. (Oxford Dictionary).

RESPONDENT: If that part of the brain was damaged there would be no pleasure in the actual world – regardless of its perfection or infinitude.

RICHARD: If (note ‘if’) the sensorium completely ceased to function there would be no experiencing, period (just as when in a coma, anaesthetised, knocked unconscious, or in any other way rendered comatose) ... yet the universe would keep on keeping on all the while.

RESPONDENT: You claim happiness is inherent to perfection ...

RICHARD: I do not [quote] ‘claim’ [endquote] happiness is inherent to perfection ... it is a report of my direct experiencing (which can be verified in a PCE), night and day, for the last 13+ years.

RESPONDENT: ... though you haven’t said why.

RICHARD: Au contraire ... I have provided an explanation many times over.

RESPONDENT: Do perfection and infinitude lead to sensual pleasure?

RICHARD: I am none too sure just what to make of that query ... if anything leads to sensual pleasure it is, of course, sentience.

*

RESPONDENT: I’m afraid that No. 87 had my position and question correct ...

RICHARD: For the sake of clarity in communication here it is (stripped of its compulsive curlicues):

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘... [No. 110’s key issue] is essentially, how can ‘sensual pleasure’ be experienced anhedonically. It’s obvious the query is not about ‘the sensorium’ ...’. (Sunday, 28/05/2006 3:02 PM AEST).

RESPONDENT: ... so I don’t know where I lead you to believe it was otherwise.

RICHARD: I have re-inserted the entire exchange (further above) which pertains to the ‘sensual pleasure’ issue you introduced ... if you could demonstrate how your position and question is, essentially, about how can sensual pleasure be experienced anhedonically, and that it is not about the sensorium, it would be most appreciated as anhedonic (sensate only) pleasure, just the same as anhedonic (sensate only) pain, can only ever be experienced sensorially.

*

RESPONDENT: ‘Sensual pleasure’ doesn’t start or stop ...

RICHARD: It does when there is sensual pain.

RESPONDENT: ... it is only taken away from by emotion.

RICHARD: Or added to (just as with sensual pain).

RESPONDENT: The pleasure isn’t separate, it is just the senses doing what they do.

RICHARD: If you could drop the notion that unconditional happiness is the result of (and thus dependant upon) sensual pleasure then what I have to report/ describe/ explain may very well become apparent.

RESPONDENT: Sensation is inherently happy, due to the perfection.

RICHARD: As sensation is, according to the circumstances, alternatively pleasurable or painful it is patently obvious you are barking up the wrong tree.

RESPONDENT: I see now how this also accords with my memories of my tiny PCE. It was only about 3 seconds long but it was very distinct and perfectly matches descriptions I’ve read. The silly words that came to mind at that time last year were: ‘reality alone is’, and the sense that my head was ‘hollowed-out’ of me, leaving only sensations.

Wish I had more than 3 seconds to draw information from though.

RICHARD: Or that you had stubbed a toe (for instance) ... or had been walking barefoot across a shag-pile carpet liberally strewn with drawing pins (for another).

RESPONDENT: As to the meaning of life: No purpose, but all the significance of something doing what is perfect for it to do. Right?

RICHARD: Wrong ... life is neither purposeful nor purposeless (that is a spiritualist/ materialist dichotomy which has no existence in actuality) and its significance is as follows:

• [Richard to Respondent]: ‘Where there are no affections/ no identity this actual world is experienced directly: what one is, as a flesh and blood body only, is this physical universe experiencing itself apperceptively ... as such it is stunningly aware of its own infinitude/ absoluteness.
And this is truly wonderful’.

RESPONDENT: Thanks once again Richard for your time. If this isn’t it then, I can’t see what could be. ;-)

RICHARD: If you were to see that unconditional happiness cannot possibly be conditional – as in dependent upon sensual pleasure – there is a distinct possibility you may very well start to see just what it actually is.


GARY: Yesterday I had the first really clear and unequivocal PCE since starting with this ... previously, I had had what I call ‘mini-PCE’s’. They lasted only very brief periods of time, say an hour or so, and I wasn’t really sure it was a PCE. Yesterday, however, I had no doubt at all about the experience, as it accorded in all details with what I have read about PCE’s ... I had some trouble at work ... some old fears of mine concerning work, authority, success, etc. came up for me. I found myself in some turmoil about these issues and, investigating deeper into it, I once again saw the futility of a feeling-based life, a so-called ‘normal’ life of sorrow, malice, nurture, and desire ... I wrote in my journal to myself what I would do to bring about peace-on-earth, for myself and others. A little later, I sat in my chair and was still for quite awhile. The PCE experience started there and continued for the rest of the day, at times most vividly, at other times diminishing somewhat, but always lustrous, vibrant, and rich. One of the things I noticed most strongly was the intensity of sensation – the clearness and brilliance of colours, and the ability to hear every little sound around me ... at a gravel pit ... I saw a stone popping out of the ground that had some interesting features to it. I ran my hand along the exposed top of it and it felt to be alive. Similarly, the texture and surface of the stone appeared to be actually a living thing. It reminded me of psychedelic drug experiences I had when I was younger, except that it was natural and uncontaminated by any emotions of fright, fear, doubt, etc. Later on we went to the supermarket to do the week’s shopping. Another thing I noticed about the experience was how any object, even the most ordinary and mundane, instantly had become amazingly interesting and wonderful to look at. Everything I looked at had a life of its own. Everything appeared fresh and new. Everywhere I looked there were sensual delights to behold. Another thing was that there was some kind of very pleasurable sensation located near the solar plexus region. I find this difficult to convey but it was a very satisfying visceral sensation. I shall have to, in future, see what I can notice about it ... I found that I could refresh the experience by running the ‘How am I ...’. question and by increased attentiveness to the feelings that contaminated the experience. A couple of times, the experience would come back in full bloom in all its’ lustrousness. The PCE stands out in such dramatic contrast to ordinary, every-day perception and sensation ... another key feature of the experience – no affective element, no feelings, no disturbance whatsoever – there was nothing that could disturb the experience, take anything away from it, or detract from it. In other words, there was no feeling ‘me’ to spoil the experience. How amazing.

RICHARD: Yes ... ‘how amazing’ indeed, eh? I am particularly pleased to see you say that you had a ‘clear and unequivocal PCE’ as, of course, I have no way of ascertaining the intrinsic quality of what any body experiences other than what they describe – and I have no intention of setting myself up to be to arbiter of another’s experience anyway – so I cannot adjudge the exact nature of what you experienced. The rule of thumb is to ask oneself: is this it; is this the ultimate; is this the utter fulfilment and total contentment; is this my destiny; is this how I would want to live for the remainder of my life ... and so on. It is up to each and every person to decide for themselves what it is that they want ... as I oft-times say: it is your life you are living and only you get to reap the rewards and pay the consequences for any action or inaction you may or may not do. [...]

Having said that, and I am not inferring anything either way by what I am writing here, it may or may not be relevant to report that one must be most particular to not confuse an excellence experience with a perfection experience ... and the most outstanding distinction in the excellence experience is the marked absence of what I call the ‘magical’ element. This is where time has no duration as the normal ‘now’ and ‘then’ and space has no distance as the normal ‘here’ and ‘there’ and form has no distinction as the normal ‘was’ and ‘will be’ ... there is only this moment in eternal time at this place in infinite space as this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware (a three hundred and sixty degree awareness, as it were). Everything and everyone is transparently and sparklingly obvious, up-front and out-in-the open ... there is nowhere to hide and no reason to hide as there is no ‘me’ to hide. One is totally exposed and open to the universe: already always just here right now ... actually in time and actually in space as actual form. This apperception (selfless awareness) is an unmediated perspicacity wherein one is this universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being; as such the universe is stunningly aware of its own infinitude.

In a PCE one is fully immersed in the infinitude of this fairy-tale-like actual world with its sensuous quality of magical perfection and purity where everything and everyone has a lustre, a brilliance, a vividness, an intensity and a marvellous, wondrous, scintillating vitality that makes everything alive and sparkling ... even the very earth beneath one’s feet. The rocks, the concrete buildings, a piece of paper ... literally everything is as if it were alive (a rock is not, of course, alive as humans are, or as animals are, or as trees are). This ‘aliveness’ is the very actuality of all existence – the actualness of everything and everyone – for one is not living in an inert universe.

It is one’s destiny to be living the utter peace of the perfection of the purity welling endlessly as the infinitude this eternal, infinite and perpetual universe actually is.


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