Richard’s Selected Correspondence
RESPONDENT: Richard I read where you said you did not know if emotions were necessary for playing music as you are not a musician.
RICHARD: What I actually said was that, not having developed the talent for playing musical instruments, I cannot personally report on (affective) feelings being essential for [quote] ‘playing music *with pleasure*’ [emphasis added] as I was responding to an observation that feelings of affection, warmth, are so essential for that. Vis.:
RESPONDENT: What about listening to music?
RICHARD: Emotions and/or passions are essential for listening to music with affective pleasure (hedonic pleasure); emotions and/or passions are not essential for listening to music with sensate pleasure (anhedonic pleasure).
RESPONDENT: Do you still delight in such?
RICHARD: You will find the following informative:
RICHARD: ... [quote] ‘... but as music is designed to tug on the heart-strings I would easily agree with your observation [that feelings of affection, warmth, are essential for playing music with (affective/ hedonic) pleasure].
RESPONDENT: So you have a sensate enjoyment of something that was designed to ‘tug on the heart-strings’?
RICHARD: I will draw your attention to the following (from the quoted text in the e-mail you are responding to):
As there are no ‘heart-strings’ in actuality there is nothing to be tugged ... there is only purity.
RESPONDENT: Actually I don’t think you have said that you do listen to and delight in music only that sensate enjoyment of it is possible. My next question may make my point more clear. [Richard]: ‘... to feel pleasure affectively (hedonistically) is a far cry from the direct experiencing of the actual where the retinas revel in the profusion of colour, texture and form; the eardrums carouse with the cavalcade of sound ...’ [snip]. So music would just be another wonderful sound amongst other wonderful sounds but nothing special, correct?
RESPONDENT: In other words, you would not go out of your way to listen to music?
RICHARD: I rarely listen to music for the sake of listening to it ... the last occasion was maybe five-six months ago when, upon having just then purchased a set of 5.1 surround sound speakers, I watched ‘Apocalypse Now Redux’ (arguably one of the better examples of a masterly application of the surround sound effect) in order to more fully experience the beach attack scene and I wound up listening to the opening track (an outstanding rendition of ‘The End’ by ‘The Doors’) several times.
What I found interesting was it no longer conveyed the haunting quality it did all those years ago when first listened to (circa 1984-85) ... although I could comprehend why it did back then.
RESPONDENT: In your experience of the actual world is there ever any enhancing of your experience?
RICHARD: Well, the surround sound already mentioned certainly enhances the experience of movies but, apart from technological advances like that, no (the pristine purity of this actual world is already always perfect).
RESPONDENT: Like icing on the cake?
RESPONDENT: If I could move on to the question of being ‘Happy and Harmless’; I guess that the main difficulty I am having is in understanding that one can be happy without ‘feeling’ happy but I will persevere with the actual freedom web site, which I am finding fascinating, until this becomes clear to me.
RICHARD: Okay ... it may be worthwhile bearing in mind that it is impossible to be happy (be happy as in being carefree), as distinct from feeling happy, without being harmless (being harmless as in being innocuous), as distinct from feeling harmless, and to be happy *and* harmless is to be unable to induce suffering – etymologically the word ‘harmless’ (harm + less) comes from the Old Norse ‘harmr’ (meaning grief, sorrow) – either in oneself or another.
Thus the means of comprehending the distinction lies in understanding the nature of innocence – something entirely new to human experience – and the nearest one can come to being innocent whilst being an identity is to be naïve (not to be confused with being gullible).
And the key to naïveté (usually locked away in childhood) is sincerity.
RESPONDENT: What I will say is that I am more of a thinking person than a feeling person, and that feelings don’t seem to drive my actions in the same way that I observe in others. I seem to be mainly happy in the current moment but am finding the HAIETMOBA very useful when other feelings try to take control.
RICHARD: The other aspect of the actualism method – other than felicity/ innocuity – is sensuosity: feeling felicitous/ innocuous, each moment again, brings one closer to one’s senses and the resultant wonder at the brilliance of the sensate world can enable apperception ... the direct experience of the world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: As you have probably gathered I am currently just fact finding and thoroughly enjoying the Actual Freedom web site without having the ‘pure intent’ or indeed the bravery to literally move down the path to actual freedom.
RICHARD: Ahh ... courage (and pusillanimity) is another topic: suffice to say for now that daring comes from caring.
RESPONDENT: On another note, I was talking over with a friend yesterday at lunch about music and its relation to emotions. We both agreed that music – whatever kind – does not necessarily evoke an affective response in, for example, alexithymic/anhedonic people, very young children or someone way into the path of Actual Freedom or Actually Free. However, my friend assured me that if a certain type of music (classical, violin, piano) is played then it has to have some type of an effect on the human brain. I know that the very act of listening has an effect on the brain but do you experience anything else besides?
RICHARD: No, not at all ... and I did have a few classical pieces in my record collection all those years ago (mainly rhapsodies, overtures, and suites). The following passage is how I have described the anhedonic actualism experience:
Coupled with the inability to affectively feel pleasure is, of course, the inability to affectively feel pain (as in the pleasure/pain principle which spiritualism makes quite an issue out of yet never does eliminate) even though most, if not all, definitions of anhedonia only say ‘the inability to feel pleasure’ ... actualism, being most definitely not hedonism, can never be sadistic, masochistic, or sadomasochistic.
RESPONDENT: Non-affective stimulation of some kind?
RICHARD: No stimulation (other than the physical delectation as described above) at all ... just the same as watching voluptuous movies (sexually-explicit x-rated videos), for example, or a succulent feast being prepared in living colour in a cooking programme on lifestyle television, for another.
RESPONDENT: ‘Is it possible to perceive without the enticements of the sensation of perception?’ This is not a question for which I’m seeking an answer, but rather, if you will and for the sake of words, a kind of ‘apperceptive’ prompt against the normally obscurant operation of ‘meeting’/representing one’s world ala self-consciousness via the senses.
Anyway, I’m putting that question to explain and ask another one: If one sees clearly the terminal mediacy of thought/feeling (its proxy or approximation for full consciousness, direct perception, the light-of-lights, saksin, apperception – whatever you want to call it), I am not clear what is the meaning then of ‘sensuousness’ as that term is employed by Richard and other ‘AFers.’
After reading website definitions and various uses of the term and its derivatives in-context from Richard’s writings, I am still unclear. I mean, it still seems odd to speak of sensuousness at all. It seems as though y’all are pointing to some immediate sensuality, which is striking me as contradictory.
Any help clarifying appreciated. Thank you.
RICHARD: Perhaps the most clarification is to be found in the very first words on the very first page of The Actual Freedom Web Site. Vis.:
For example, the word ‘apperception’, as it is extensively used on The Actual Freedom Web Site, is not synonymous with the word ‘saksin’ which is sometimes translated into English as ‘the watcher’ ... apperception occurs when identity, by whatever name, is temporarily absent – as in a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – or permanently extinguished – as in an actual freedom from the human condition – and is best explained as consciousness being aware of being conscious (rather than the normal ‘I’ being aware of ‘me’ being conscious). Vis.:
Put simply: apperception is direct perception (perception unmediated by any identity whatsoever) which is the same thing as saying direct sensation – be it ocular sensation, cutaneous sensation, gustatory sensation, olfactory sensation, aural sensation or even proprioceptive sensation – because in the PCE, and in an actual freedom, only the sensate world exists in all its splendour and brilliance.
Thought may or may not be operating as required by the circumstances.
Second, the word ‘sensuous’ was apparently introduced into the English language to avoid certain associations with the existing word ‘sensual’ – the sensual experience is typically appetitive whereas the sensuous experience is typically aesthetic – but as ‘the enticement of sensation’ (aka hedonism) is totally non-existent in the PCE, and in an actual freedom, the distinction between the two words is only necessary when discussing with a person in whom the instinctual passions are still extant.
For an actualist it is not ‘odd to speak of sensuousness at all’ – and neither is ‘immediate sensuality’ contradictory – because one is referring to the unmediated sensate experiencing in this actual world (the world of this body and that body and every body; the world of the mountains and the streams; the world of the trees and the flowers; the world of the clouds in the sky by day and the stars in the firmament by night and so on and so on ad infinitum).
But it probably would be odd and/or contradictory for a person in whom perception is mediated by the ‘saksin’ or the ‘light-of-lights’ and any other similar spiritual entity inside the flesh and blood body.
RESPONDENT: I have the impression or rather I noticed that if one is in the same moment using all his senses _IN THE SAME MOMENT_ including the following of thought, then there is not one ‘I’ in operation. Unless all the senses are working contemporarily there is one ‘I’. Have any body else noticed that?
RICHARD: All the sense organs, including the proprioceptive sensors, work contemporarily irregardless of whether there is an identity inhabiting the body ... perception can only operate at this moment anyway as no other moment is actual.
It could be that you are referring to attention (being attentive to what is already happening): you say ‘including the following of thought’ ... what about attentiveness to the feelings (as in ‘including the following of anxiety’ for instance) at this moment?
There is more to bringing about an abeyance of ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself) than the mere ‘following of thought’ ... much, much more.
RESPONDENT: This insight has certainly increased my awareness. Is the key to actual freedom then living as the senses which is distinct from having them?
RICHARD: Yes, sensuousness is the wondrous awareness of the marvel of being here now at this moment in time and this place in space – which awareness is combined with the fascination of contemplating that this moment is one’s only moment of being alive – and one is never alive at any other time than now. And, wherever one is ... now ... one is always here ... now ... even if one starts walking over to ‘there’ ... now ... along the way to ‘there’ ... now ... one is always here ... now ... and when one arrives ‘there’ ... now ... it too is here ... now. Thus awareness is an attraction to the fact that one is always here – and it is already now – and as one is already here and it is always now then one has arrived before one starts. Such delicious wonder fosters the innate condition of naiveté (which is the closest ‘I’ can get to innocence) the nourishing of which is essential if the charm of it all is to occur. The potent combination of awareness – fascinated reflective contemplation – and sensuousness produces apperception, which happens when the mind becomes aware of itself (‘I’ disappear). One is intimately aware that the physical space of this universe is infinite and its time is eternal ... thus the infinitude of this very material universe has no beginning and no ending and therefore no middle. There are no edges to this universe, which means that there is no centre, either. We are all coming from nowhere and are not going anywhere for there is nowhere to come from nor anywhere to go to. We are nowhere in particular ... which means we are anywhere at all. In the infinitude of the universe one finds oneself to be already here, and as it is always now, one can not get away from this place in space and this moment in time. By being here as-this-body one finds that this moment in time has no duration as in ‘now’ and ‘then’ – because the immediate is the ultimate – and that this place in space has no distance as in ‘here’ and ‘there’ – for the relative is the absolute.
RESPONDENT: I am still curious. Are these sensual experiences ‘hallucinations’ or the creation of a transmogrified ‘I’?
RICHARD: This sensual experience is actual. By actual, I do not mean the real-world of normal human experience. Actuality is only seen by people in glimpses ... it is as if everyday reality is a grim and glum veneer pasted over the top of this actual world of the senses. When ‘I’ vanish in ‘my’ entirety – both the ego and the soul – the normal everyday reality disappears and the underlying actuality becomes apparent. It was here all along. To experience the metaphysical Reality – usually with capitalisation – is to go further into the illusion of normal everyday reality, created by ‘I’, and further create a supernatural ‘True Reality’ ... which one could call an abnormal reality.
Thus normal everyday reality is an illusion and the abnormal metaphysical Reality is a delusion born out of the illusion ... a chimera, as it were. This is why only about .000001 of the population ever become enlightened ... it is extremely difficult to live in a hallucination permanently. Speaking personally, I was so deluded, that for eleven years I lived in humanity’s greatest fantasy, before the dissolution of ‘me’ as soul finally brought salubrity through release from the human condition itself.
RESPONDENT No. 42: When there is no self, how could there be anger and anguish?
RICHARD: Yes ... that was my very question all those years ago. The saints and sages and seers, who said there was no self, all displayed varying degrees of those emotions grouped under the ‘catch-all’ words malice and sorrow. Most commonly they were subject to anger and anguish (disguised/designated as being ‘Divine Anger’ and ‘Divine Sorrow’ by themselves and their devotees/followers/readers). The question I asked was: Just what is it that is going on in regards the supposed innocence of the saints and sages and seers?
RESPONDENT: Richard, in reading your recent contributions to this list, such as the example above, I am beginning to question whether you and I use certain words, such as ‘emotions’ in the same way. For it seems that perhaps I use that word in a more inclusive sense of which your use is a subset. Perhaps your use is more restrictive / precise. For example when you express that communicating via the internet is great ‘fun’ – I equate fun to have an emotional component. If joy and fun are non-emotional, they also are not machine like nor dead. What do you call that vivifying facet of each breathtaking moment if not emotional?
RICHARD: I appreciate that what you want to discuss is the ‘vivifying facet’ ... for it cuts straight to the nub of the issue. Put simply: sensuousness and its in-built apperceptive awareness is the vivifying facet (the sensate and cognitive faculties). It is the ability to fully enjoy and appreciate being just here – right now – at this moment in eternal time and at this place in infinite space as this flesh and blood body. In this full enjoyment and appreciation is an amazement that all this wondrous event called life is actually happening ... and a marvelling at the perfection of it all.
It is such fun and a delight to actually be here doing this business called being alive.
As for the words I use to describe the qualities of experiencing life, as this flesh and blood body only, it is sobering to come to understand that all of the 650,000 words in the English language were coined by peoples nursing malice and sorrow to their bosom ... hence most of the expressive words have an affective component. When I first began describing my on-going experience to my fellow human beings I chose words that had the least affective connotations ... coining too many new words would have been counter-productive.
Consequently, the etymology of words can be of assistance in most cases to locate a near-enough to being a non-affective base ... the word ‘enjoy’ for example, is linked with ‘rejoice’ which means ‘gladden’ (from ‘glad’ meaning ‘shining’, ‘bright’, ‘cheerful’, ‘merry’). Of course the word ‘joy’ (from ‘enjoy’, from ‘rejoice’, from ‘gladden’, from ‘shining’) is loaded with the affective feeling for most people ... hence I tend to use it in conjunction with ‘delight’ (as in ‘it is such a joy and a delight to be here’). The word ‘delight’, incidentally, comes from the Latin ‘delectare’ (hence ‘delectation’, ‘delectable’) meaning ‘charm’, allure’ ... and so on through all sub-sets of nuance.
It is pertinent to comprehend that dictionaries are descriptive (and not prescriptive as are scriptures) and reflect more about how words came about, how they have changed, and how they have expanded into other words, rather than what they should mean. I tend to provide dictionary definitions only so as to establish a starting-point for communication ... from this mutually agreed-upon base each co-respondent can apply their own specific nuance of meaning to words as are readily explainable and mutually understandable (such as I do with ‘real’ and ‘actual’ and with ‘truth’ and ‘fact’, for example). Generally I can suss out what the other means by a word via its context and both where they are coming from and what they are wanting to establish ... if not I ask what they are meaning to convey.
As for it being ‘great fun’ communicating via the internet ... it is simply marvellous that I can sit here in my lounge-room in a seaside village and have my words be available, and potentially accessible by all 6.0 billion peoples on this planet (‘potentially’ meaning, of course, being given access to computers – such as in internet cafes – and the ability to read and comprehend English), totally free of charge ... and with nary a tree being chopped down in order to do so.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.