Actual Freedom ~ Frequently Flogged Misconceptions

Frequently Flogged Misconceptions

Instinctual Passions are Conditioning

Children are Born Innocent

RICHARD: Fear and aggression and nurture and desire are built into the ‘Human Condition’ ... this is the ‘human nature’ that is said ‘cannot be changed’. These intrinsic urges and drives are known as the ‘instinct for survival’.

RESPONDENT: Fear and aggression aren’t intrinsic (if they were, you wouldn’t have been able to overcome them) – they are produced causally. Some of the causes predate an individual’s birth.

RICHARD: I beg to differ. All creatures are born with the instinct for survival, which manifests itself as fear and aggression ... which gives birth to a rudimentary self (which those people who study these things have reported observing in the animals they studied) and this is known, in humans, as ‘The Human Condition’. Thus nobody is born innocent – which means free from sin – and I use the word ‘sin’ because fear and aggression combine to form malice ... which is another word for ‘Evil’. Hence my usage of the expressive phrase ‘all humans are ‘guilty’ at conception’. And for as long as a person can become angry, hateful, jealous, envious, spiteful, vindictive and so on and so on, they are guilty.

And, yes, it is possible to not only ‘overcome them’ but to eliminate them entirely. Then one is free to act appropriately according to the circumstances ... and not out of an instinctual reaction. Instincts are not set in stone, they are simply ‘blind nature’s’ way of ensuing survival. With our thinking, reflective brain we can improve on nature in this respect, as we have done in so many other ways. Any instinctual drive can be eradicated.

Where you say ‘some of the causes predate an individual’s birth’, you are not hinting at those hoary myths of pre-determination or re-incarnation, surely?


RESPONDENT: Richard, dear. I was being sarcastic and/or ironic in regard to your concept of ‘already guilty at conception’. It struck me as an unhelpful kind of concept for one like you. Please explain what you mean.

RICHARD: I deliberately used the expressive phrase ‘‘guilty’ at conception’ (and elsewhere ‘Born in Sin’) because I am currently writing to a western audience. When I write to people raised in the eastern tradition I write ‘ignorant at conception’ and ‘Born in Maya’. I do this because I wish to prompt the reader into actually looking at the facts of the human condition. The human condition is characterised by malice and sorrow ... both of which are intrinsic to the self, which comes out of the instinct for survival that humans are born with. One can not become free of anger, hatred, jealousy, envy, spitefulness, vindictiveness and so on, without eliminating sorrow and malice. One eliminates sorrow and malice by extirpating the self ... which is only a psychological/psychic entity anyway. But as it has its roots in the instincts – which we are born with – its hold upon the body is tenacious, to say the least. Understanding the mechanics of humane and inhumane behaviour can only be efficacious if the source of all distress is located.

Hence: ‘‘guilty’ at birth’ (or ‘Born in Maya’)


RICHARD: The instinct for survival manifests itself as fear and aggression.

RESPONDENT: Wrong. Fear and aggression is a human interpretation of value free behaviour. A lion does his lion thing – we call it aggression.

RICHARD: Animal behaviour is not ‘value free’ . When ‘a lion does its lion thing’ we do not just call it aggression ... it is aggression. [Oxford Dictionary]: aggression: ‘the act of beginning a quarrel or war; behaviour intended to injure a person or an animal’. I am sure that you will find that numerous studies have been done that clearly demonstrate that animals are subject to both fear and aggression. I have watched many, many television nature documentaries for this very purpose and have always made sure that I was not being misled by anthropomorphism.

Incidentally, you wrote: ‘his’ in ‘a lion does his lion thing’. Lionesses are also aggressive. Sexism? Or merely a slip of the tongue?


RICHARD: It is possible to ... eliminate the instinctual drives entirely. Then one is free to act appropriately according to the circumstances and not out of an instinctual reaction. Instincts are not set in stone, they are simply ‘blind nature’s’ way of ensuing survival.

RESPONDENT: Show me how you eliminate your hair from growing. Some behaviours and emotions are hormonally driven. How do you regulate hormones? Can you tell me how you make your fingernails grow? How your heart pumps?

RICHARD: Where you write about hair and fingernails growing and the heart pumping you are dragging in a red-herring. I was talking of instinctual drives like fear and aggression, not genetic features such as chromosomes.

It is scientific research that demonstrates a connection between hormones and emotional behaviour ... and it is scientific research which has located emotions as being in what is popularly called the ‘Lizard Brain’. With a mutation in there – the Substantia Nigra is the organ I favour as being the seat of consciousness – hormones have no emotions to evoke. I, being male, presumably have testosterone circulating throughout this body ... yet I do not experience malice and vindictiveness, fear and aggression, hatred and anger, callousness and indifference and so on. Those emotions – and all others – have ceased to exist.

It is actually possible to be perfect ... in this life-time.

RESPONDENT: The fact that we as a child (before the age of four) gave ourselves up and became robots rather than humans.

RICHARD: Why do all peoples (6.0 billion living and perhaps 4.0 billion that have lived) ‘give themselves up’ at such a young age? Is this the result of physical causes (genetic inheritance) or metaphysical causes (like the Christian ‘born in sin’ or the Buddhist ‘born of samsara’ and so on)? Such a mass result must have a mass cause (and not be each very young infant’s personal failing) surely?

RESPONDENT: No Richard, it is caused by each parent or whoever cares for the child at and after birth, they begin the process of ‘conditioning’ based on there own conditioning, we have never known what to do to actually join our children we just control them just as we are controlled, this has been going on since the first children only now it is FAR worse and so are the products.

RICHARD: An immediate question springs to mind (where you say ‘this has been going on since the first children’ ) which is: who conditioned ‘the first children’ ?

RESPONDENT: I don’t know – did not meet the first children’s parents.

RICHARD: You do not know what the cause of violence is? Please let me present this dialogue for your perusal:

• [Respondent]: ‘What causes our own personal violence towards ourselves?’
• [Richard]: ‘The instinctual passions of fear and aggression and nurture and desire ... which give rise to malice and sorrow and thence all the other cultivated feelings and emotions that are the result of socialisation’.
• [Respondent]: ‘No Richard, it is caused by each parent or whoever cares for the child at and after birth, they begin the process of ‘conditioning’ based on there own conditioning’ .

Now ... you can get away with saying ‘I don’t know’ when asked about the nature of Love and Compassion and Truth and Intelligence, but how on earth do you think that you can get away with saying that you do not know the cause of violence when it was you who asked me in the first place ... and then said ‘No, Richard’ to my sensible answer? Do you really expect to get away with telling me that I am incorrect (without giving a reason why not) and then on top of this telling me that you do not know?

Why did you ask?

RICHARD: To put it bluntly: ‘you’ in ‘your’ totality, who are but an illusion, must die an illusory death commensurate to ‘your’ pernicious existence. The drama must be played out to the end ... there are no short-cuts here. The doorway to an actual freedom has the word ‘extinction’ written on it. This extinction is an irrevocable event that eliminates the psyche itself. There will be no ‘being’.

RESPONDENT: It seems clearer to say that there is a dissolution of the conditioning that gives rise to the illusion of self.

RICHARD: All the different types of conditioning are well-meant endeavours by countless peoples over countless aeons to seek to curb the instinctual passions. Now, while most people paddle around on the surface and re-arrange the conditioning to ease their lot somewhat, some people – seeking to be free of all human conditioning – fondly imagine that by putting on a face-mask and snorkel that they have gone deep-sea diving with a scuba outfit ... deep into the human condition. They have not ... they have gone deep only into the human conditioning. When they tip upon the instincts – which are both savage (fear and aggression) and tender (nurture and desire) – they grab for the tender (the ‘good’ side) and blow them up all out of proportion. If they succeed in this self-aggrandising hallucination they start talking twaddle dressed up as sagacity such as: ‘There is a good that knows no evil’ or ‘There is a love that knows no opposite’ or ‘There is a compassion that sorrow has never touched’ and so on. This is because it takes nerves of steel to don such an aqua-lung and plunge deep in the stygian depths of the human psyche ... it is not for the faint of heart or the weak of knee. This is because past the conditioning is the Human Condition itself ... which caused the conditioning. To end this condition, the deletion of blind nature’s software package which gave rise to the rudimentary animal ‘self’ is required. This is the extinction of ‘me’ at the core of ‘being’. That is, ‘being’ itself expires.

RESPONDENT: That [dissolution of the conditioning] means there are actual chemical or neuro-physiological changes, not the ‘death’ of an imagined psyche although it may seem like ‘me’ dying.

RICHARD: One may call the ‘psyche’ imagined; one may call the ‘me’ imagined; one may call the ‘death’ imagined ... yet,whatever it is that dramatically ‘dies’ is but a playing-out of the tragedy of ‘being’ ... when the process that ‘I’ initiated with full intent wipes out all the instinctual passions one was born with. You see, there is this rudimentary animal ‘self’ of the survival instincts endowed by blind nature as evidenced in animals ... and there is the rub. The presence of this base ‘self’ – which is ‘being’ itself – has nothing to do with imagination – or with conditioning and programming or thought and memory – you were physically born this way.


RICHARD: The psyche is not memory at all ... it is born of the instinctual passions. When ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul become extinct the psyche vanishes ... then memory is understood as being the asset that it is and not a liability.

RESPONDENT: Whether it is psychological programming or biological programming or both, it stems from accumulated past impressions.

RICHARD: Not so ... biological programming, like the instinctive reactions, has its energy base in the instinctual passions of fear and aggression and nurture and desire that blind nature endows on all sentient beings. Unless you profess a belief in the incredulous Eastern mystical concept of re-incarnation, with its spurious karma, these cannot be ‘accumulated past impressions’. It is these instinctual passions that are the very energy source of the rudimentary animal self ... the base consciousness of ‘self’ and ‘other’ that all sentient beings have. The human animal – with its unique ability to think and reflect upon its own death – transforms this ‘reptilian brain’ rudimentary ‘self’ into being a feeling ‘me’ (as soul in the heart) and from this core of ‘being’ this ‘feeler’ then infiltrates into thought to become a thinking ‘I’ (as ego in the head). No other animal can do this. This process is aided and abetted by the human beings who were already on this planet when one was born ... which, as you have said, is conditioning and programming and thought and memory and imagining. It is part and parcel of the socialising process. Biological programming, however, is different to psychological programming ... you were physically born already biologically programmed. How can that programming come from ‘accumulated past impressions’? If you are referring to ‘genetic memory’, then be aware that this is a misnomer ... as it is a description of a biological process that has nothing to do with thoughts’ memory.

RICHARD: Small children are not innocent ... they are born with aggression and fear. Understanding human nature is as simple as understanding this fact. Life is not complicated.

RESPONDENT: Again here, Richard, you authoritatively make a statement that has no basis in fact. A child is NOT born with aggression and fear.

RICHARD: This borrowed ‘Tabula Rasa’ (‘clean slate’) philosophy of yours has had a long innings in human history ... and is currently making a come-back in NDA circles as: ‘We are all born Little Buddhas’. The continued belief in this theory – in the face of the empirical evidence of the past 30 odd years demonstrating genetic inheritance – requires avoiding the biological fact. Just by putting the word ‘NOT’ in capitals does not miraculously turn a creed into a fact.

RESPONDENT: Those are learned traits.

RICHARD: I had a woman telling me a few weeks ago that boys are born with aggression and little girl babies are not ... and that girls learnt aggression from men (she had to explain ‘bitchiness’ somehow) and that it was men who had to change so that there would be peace on earth. Now you are telling me that fear and aggression are ‘learned traits’ and the question that immediately springs to mind is: learned from who? Because if fear and aggression are passed on non-genetically from generation to generation (parent to child) then what caused fear and aggression in the first sentient beings to emerge on this planet way back whenever.

In other words: who started it all?

RESPONDENT: Obviously, you were not a very observant parent or grandparent.

RICHARD: I not only ‘observed’ my biological children from birth onward, I actively participated in finding out about myself, life, the universe and what it is to be a human being through intimate interaction at the grass-roots level of association ... bonding, nurturing and protecting. Indeed, I was a single parent for a formative period of my biological daughters’ upbringing ... and one cannot get closer than that. Infants and children are not as happy and harmless and benevolent and carefree as is so often made out to be the case ... and have never been so. They have malice and sorrow firmly embedded in them, for one is born with instinctual fear and aggression. Just watch a one month old baby bellowing its distress at being alone; just watch a one year old pinching its sibling in spite for taking its toy; just watch a two year old stamping its foot in a temper tantrum; just watch a three year old child fighting with its peers for supremacy. In the interests of having a sincere dialogue, I must ask: where in all this is the fabulous ‘Tabula Rasa’? The imposition of social mores – moral virtues, ethical values, honourable principles, decent scruples and the like – are essential to curb the instinct-born spiteful anger and vicious hatred that are part and parcel of the essential traits of being ‘human’.

To achieve a truly ‘clean slate’, something entirely new must come into existence. All peoples must cease being ‘human’. To change ‘Human Nature’, they must give-up, voluntarily, their cherished identity ... the rudimentary animal self they were born with.

RESPONDENT: Humans are born with a central nervous system for responding to the environment. Fear and aggression are learned traits as a result of the environment.

RICHARD: By ‘environment’ you can only mean the world about ... the world of what you call ‘Mother Nature’. Thus you are saying that fear and aggression are leaned from a ‘kind and benevolent’ Mother Nature? That is, fear and aggression is learned from ‘she’ who is giving, protective, quiet, wild and beautiful’, eh?

But okay ... I will have it your way, then. You are right and Richard is wrong. The question that immediately springs to mind is: how are you going to unlearn these traits that are learned as a result of ‘responding to the environment’ ? Which means: what is your plan? What success have you had? Have you unlearned all these learned traits yet? Or is all this that you write merely theory?

You see, in my ignorance I naively thought that these traits were genetically inherited and so I deleted them like the software they were. Consequently I never get sad or lonely or sorrowful or grief-stricken; I never get angry or hateful or furious or filled with rage. Therefore I never have to become affectionate or compassionate or loving to compensate; I never have to gaze longingly at the stars ... yearning for a bodiless peace.

I discovered the already always existing peace-on-earth ... how naïve of me.

RESPONDENT: Are you saying that a child is NOT born Innocent? Are you saying a child has evilness built in? I maintain that a child is born innocent. Please explain what you mean here.

RICHARD: The hoary belief that all children are born innocent (the ‘Tabula Rasa’ theory) is dying a lingering death ... but dying it is. The genetic mapping project and brain imaging studies of recent times have conclusively shown empirically that instinctual passions (the survival instincts) are physically encoded in the DNA and/or RNA of every foetus at conception. These genetically-inherited passions include fear and aggression and nurture and desire ... and all sentient beings, to some degree or another, come biologically equipped with this rudimentary ‘software package’ of basic animal passions per favour blind nature as a rough and ready start to life.

And the potential for malice with all of its derivations (including evil) lie latent in that ‘software package’.


RICHARD: You observe that as the child grows older it realises the inconvenience caused to others by its unawareness of inconsiderateness ... thus what looks like innocence in a child is actually ignorance (not knowing). This awakening of awareness of others being the same as oneself is what is called ‘theory of mind’ ... and is what sets the human animal apart from other animals.

RESPONDENT: Yes – the child is innocent – but the innocence is from ignorance. This does not take the innocence away – it simply means it is a different type of innocence. The child is still innocent.

RICHARD: I notice that you used the word ‘innocent/innocence’ five times in this short response ... just repeating a hoary belief again and again like a mantra does not miraculously turn it into a fact. The fabled ‘innocence’ of child-hood (the ‘Tabula Rasa’ theory) turns out to be nothing more than a lack of knowledge, regarding the function that the instinctual passions play, on the part of those who invented that theory. Modern empirical scientific research has shone more than a little light on factors that the ancients simply did not yet know (satellite photographs and astronaut’s/ cosmonaut’s reports, for example, finally set the ‘flat earth’ theory conclusively to rest once and for all).

A child is instinctively driven just as adults are ... only on a more rudimentary scale.


RESPONDENT: The child is selfish – but there is nothing wrong with that – because the child is not yet aware that there are others to consider. So the child’s quality of ‘being selfish’ is not ‘evil’ or ‘bad’. It is innocent. There is no evil intent.

RICHARD: I am not talking of the legal definition for culpability here (wherein the offender has to know that they are doing wrong in order to be guilty). This is not a court of law ... this is biology.

RESPONDENT: I am talking about intent. Intent is what matters. If I ACCIDENTALLY kill someone in my car – that is not ‘evil’. If I do it on PURPOSE it would be considered ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’. The INTENT is what matters.

RICHARD: Are you really saying that any parent protecting their helpless progeny from a predator with all their might and main is ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ simply because of their ‘intent’ to kill. And does the same apply to the military ... who protect you and your kin from invaders? The police ... who protect you and your kin from banditry? Are they ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ simply because of their ‘intent’ to kill? Do you propose nihilistic anarchism? Pacifism in principle translates as anarchy in action; the bully-boys and feisty-femmes get to rule the world because of gullible peoples ‘just accepting’ aggression in others through obeying unliveable edicts handed down on high from bodiless entities. Tibet is a particular case in point ... is this the world you would pass on to your children and children’s children and so on?

RESPONDENT: Actually LEGALLY it is different because the law says ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’.

RICHARD: Aye ... but if you have ever been a parent yourself you will know by direct experience that society requires that you instil values and principles in your children through reward and punishment. Usually, by about the age of seven, your child knows ‘right’ from ‘wrong’ (as is evidenced in an exasperated parent taking the child to task with an oft-repeated ‘you should know better by now’). This implies, under your definition of culpability, that you make your children guilty for doing what comes natural.

Commonly Raised Objections – Index

Frequently Flogged Misconceptions – Index

Frequently Asked Questions – Index

Design, Richard's Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer and Use Restrictions and Guarantee of Authenticity