Actual Freedom ~ Frequently Flogged Misconceptions

Frequently Flogged Misconceptions

‘I’ Cannot Get Rid of ‘Me’

RESPONDENT: The ‘I’ and ‘me’, whatever they do they cannot get rid of themselves.

RICHARD: We have been down this path before (and only a couple of days ago at that):

• [Respondent]: ‘... who is the one that will eliminate them?
• [Richard]: ‘Ahh ... the word ‘altruism’, in the phrase ‘altruistic ‘self’-immolation’, means that a more powerful instinct than the selfism instinct is what ensures success (blind nature ensures that survival of the species takes precedence over survival of the individual by making the for-the-good-of-the-whole instinct the dominant survival instinct).

RESPONDENT: Wherever they arrive is another projection of themselves.

RICHARD: As the identity in toto (both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) becomes extinct there is no ‘wherever’ to arrive at.

RESPONDENT: Is as they want to be prime ministers, only now they wanted to get rid of themselves.

RICHARD: I am unable to make sense of this in its present form ... perhaps you could re-word it?

RESPONDENT: Only through comprehension they can get rid of themselves not through their will. Conclusion: actual freedom method, is a camouflaged mode of ‘I’ and ‘me’.

RICHARD: In what way is your ‘comprehension’ method not a ‘a camouflaged mode of ‘I’ and ‘me’’ then?

RESPONDENT: This may be the great flaw with AF ... the premise that the identity (often incorrectly called the Human Condition) can be eliminated. For instance, pain can’t be eliminated, but the attachment to pain (aka suffering) may be.

RICHARD: It is not a ‘premise’ ... it is an experiential report, written as it is happening, that no identity whatsoever has residence in this flesh and blood body (and this has been the case, ever since a seminal event at a particular time and place witnessed by another, for more than a decade now).

It is not ‘often incorrectly called the Human Condition’ ... simultaneous with ‘self’-immolation in toto, more than a decade ago now, the human condition likewise vanished and is nowhere to be found.

Your analogy to physical pain conveys that identity cannot be eliminated but the attachment to identity can ... which, apart from being yet more of the ‘Tried and True’ (attachment-detachment-dissociation-enlightenment), amounts to being a foregone conclusion and effectively shuts the door on that which is actual ever being apparent.

‘Tis not for nothing identity is described as being very, very cunning.

RICHARD: ‘I’, as an ‘identity’, as a ‘being’, must become extinct. One is then spontaneously happy and harmless; one is automatically blithe and benevolent; one is candidly carefree and considerate. Thus, for the one who dares to go all the way, individual peace on earth for the remainder of one’s life is immediate and actual.

RESPONDENT: One is this and one is that, and yet one’s being has been extinguished. What are you talking about?

RICHARD: There is a generally accepted convention around the world that, when referring to the psychological or psychic entity within the body, small quotes are used. To wit: ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’. When wishing to refer to this flesh and blood body bereft of this entity, it is convenient to revert to the first person pronoun: I, me, my ... or even more impersonally ... one. Otherwise the above paragraph would wind up looking like this:

‘‘I’, as an ‘identity’, as a ‘being’, must become extinct. This flesh-and-blood body is then spontaneously happy and harmless; this flesh-and-blood body is automatically blithe and benevolent; this flesh-and-blood body is candidly carefree and considerate. Thus, for this flesh-and-blood body, which dares to go all the way, individual peace on earth for the remainder of this flesh-and-blood body’s life is immediate and actual’.

One’s ‘being’ is that sense of ‘presence’ that all sentient beings are born with. ‘I’, as an ego, can dissolve ... but one’s feeling of ‘being’ remains intact. For a person in an altered state of consciousness – such as the eastern spiritual ‘Enlightened Being’ – that intuition of ‘being’ has become heightened to the point of grandiosity. ‘Being’ has become paramount, in fact, and capitalisation is used to lend weight to the solemnity of the achievement. They invariably speak of a sense of ‘Presence’ that is ‘All-Encompassing’ ... ‘Pure Being’ and ‘Eternal Being’ are other expressions that spring to mind. ‘Unborn and Undying’ ... ‘Birthless and Deathless’ ... and so on.

It is this ‘being’ that I was talking about. This capitalised ‘Being’ is the ‘spanner in the works’ ... and has been for century upon century. The reverence and respect accorded to these ‘Great Ones’ has only encouraged them to stop halfway in their search for the ultimate condition. Indeed, who would easily give up the fame and fortune and adulation that accrues to one in the Divine State? Who would readily relinquish the glamour and the glory and the glitz of that which is Sacred, Holy? Who would freely abandon the safety and security and protection of Love Agapé? Who would voluntarily forsake Rapturous Bliss, Ineffable Ecstasy and Exalted Euphoria?

Yet if there is to be global peace-on-earth, there is no other course of action.

RESPONDENT: To know what is right means we must be subject to it, and it is this bone we choke on.

RICHARD: To seek freedom via puerile servitude to some fictitious deity is to blindly perpetuate all the horrors and sufferings that have plagued humankind since time immemorial. Eliminate the subject and all power battles are over and done with. There is no hierarchy here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: I think you are making a serious error here to eliminate the subject of a higher power than yourself. While it is true that if you can eliminate it, you can get rid of inner conflict, you will never get rid of suffering or the horrors of the world this way.

RICHARD: Actually, I did not eliminate the higher power myself ... when ‘I’ and ‘me’ became extinct, the higher power vanished. From this I can draw the only obvious conclusion. To wit: the higher power was but a psychic projection of ‘my’ own self.

The horrors and the suffering of the denizens of the real world continues unabated. It is only in this actual world that there is a total absence of animosity and anguish ... and it is already here for the living of it.

RESPONDENT: There is a hierarchy here in this world and it can be observed within to be so. It is of the utmost importance to see our relationship with this power.

RICHARD: I can agree that there is indeed ‘a hierarchy’ in the real world ... when ‘I’ was in charge of this body ‘I’ observed and it was so. The hierarchy existed ‘within’ also, just as you report. ‘I’ saw ‘my’ relationship with this power ... and self-immolated, psychologically and psychically. Exit ‘me’ in any way, shape or form and exit power in any way, shape and form. ‘I’ was the source of that power.

RESPONDENT: If you have convinced yourself that it does not exist, than it is you who will write your own script, but will it really mean anything in the long run?

RICHARD: Yes, in the long run – maybe in five thousand years – there will be global peace-on-earth. Also, I do not write my own script ... the situation to hand does that quite nicely. In the jargon it is called being the experience of the doing of what is happening.

RESPONDENT: As for ‘the identity within is oblivious to all things actual, it cannot be watched anyway’ (it = the actual universe), then how can an identity be sensible to what you’re saying? Is it not the identity who writes on this mailing list?

RICHARD: This is the way I usually put it:

• [Richard]: ‘What one can do is make a critical examination of all the words I advance so as to ascertain if they be intrinsically self-explanatory ... and only when they are seen to be inherently consistent with what is being spoken about, then the facts speak for themselves. Then one will have reason to remember a pure conscious experience (PCE), which all peoples I have spoken to at length have had, and thus verify by direct experience the facticity of what is written.
Then it is the PCE that is one’s lodestone or guiding light ... not me or my words. My words then offer confirmation ... and affirmation in that a fellow human being has safely walked this wide and wondrous path.

RESPONDENT: The great number of objections to what you convey is understandable, as for an identity to agree to what you’re saying it would have to contradict its very nature: survival at all costs and if it would be an experiential agreeing, it will disappear.

RICHARD: Ahh ... the word ‘altruism’, in the phrase ‘altruistic ‘self’-immolation’, refers to the more powerful survival instinct than the selfism survival instinct and is what ensures success (blind nature ensures that survival of the species takes precedence over survival of the individual by making the for-the-good-of-the-whole instinct the dominant survival instinct).

Thus it could be said I am appealing to what is sometimes called one’s ‘better nature’.

RESPONDENT: And how can anyone agree with you as there are so few PCE’s one experiences during life compared to the time spent busy being an identity?

RICHARD: As a pure consciousness experience (PCE) is a direct experience of the pristine perfection of the peerless purity this actual world is then even a momentary experience (quality) will stand out amongst years of normal experiencing (quantity).

RESPONDENT: Wherever else I may diverge with AF, I am 100% with the non-spiritual plank.

RICHARD: Oh? How do you classify the following divergence, then? Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘When I departed [this list a while back because of frustration with the status quo], I suspected that there was something to this actualism business (or at least my interpretation), and that I needed to learn more. This effort led me to advaita-land, and I read much interesting material by both traditional and modern sages. I’m a logical kind of guy and when presented with the kinds of questions presented by this bunch [the traditional and modern sages], I have a hard time not coming to the same conclusions. I defy anyone to honestly answer ‘show me the doer’ and not realize that the doer is a mere construct or concept, fabricated by several forms of conditioning. I also recognize that words/dialog attempting to describe this are merely concepts themselves, and that we shouldn’t get too hung up on them. In fact, we have to be very careful not to think that the words are any more than that ... a common error in this list. It is after all a very jnana bunch, and I know I have made the mistake of thinking that intellectual reductionism can possibly result in real freedom of any sort.
So, if all this is true, and that the ‘seeker’ is the very thing interfering with the ‘sought’, what do we do (if we ‘choose’ to) in the meantime with all this psychological hoo-ha? Even if one does stumble into awareness, it’s not like the mental claptrap disappears. And, you really can’t do much about it anyways ... the ‘self’ trying to eliminate the ‘self’ ... yeah, right’.
(Mon 23.2.2004).

First and foremost, the ‘doer’ is not a ‘mere construct or concept, fabricated by several forms of conditioning’ that spiritualists and their ilk make it out to be as it is writ large all over The Actual Freedom Trust web site that conditioning is but the tip of the iceberg and that the rudimentary animal self the instinctual passions automatically form themselves into is the root cause of all the misery and mayhem ... which self is that which is realised upon self-realisation.

Second, words are not ‘merely concepts themselves’ ... they are referential (as in the words ‘computer monitor’, for example, referring to the actual glass and plastic object you are reading these words on).

Third, getting hung up on thinking words are more than merely concepts themselves is not ‘a common error in this list’ as words are certainly more than merely that ... indeed if it were not for the efficacy of words’ ability to convey information there would be no point in this mailing list existing.

Fourth, actualists are not ‘a jnana bunch’ ... actualism is experiential, not intellectual, and has nowt to do with reductionism whatsoever.

Fifth, ‘the ‘seeker’ is not the very thing interfering with the ‘sought’’ such as spiritualists maintain ... an actualist on the wide and wondrous path to an actual freedom from the human condition is a person no longer seeking – they experientially know where the already always existing peace-on-earth lies – and is actively involved in enabling that to be apparent.

Sixth, it is not just the ‘psychological’ which is attended to ... it is the focus on the psychical/instinctual as well which sets actualism apart from the ‘Tried and True’.

Seventh, one does not ‘stumble into awareness’ ... it is with knowledge aforethought – from a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – that apperceptive awareness is facilitated (and ‘mental clap-trap’ by any description is not a feature of apperception as thought may or may not be operating).

Lastly, as it is made abundantly clear on The Actual Freedom Trust web site that a ‘self’ cannot eliminate itself, but can set a process in motion that will do the trick, your ‘yeah, right’ comment is misplaced to say the least. For example:

• [Richard]: ‘... it is ‘me’ who is responsible for an action that results ‘my’ own demise – without really doing the expunging itself (and I am not being tricky here) – as it is ‘me’ who is the initiator of bringing about this sacrifice in that ‘I’ deliberately and consciously, and with knowledge aforethought from a pure consciousness experience (PCE), set in motion a ‘process’ that will ensure ‘my’ demise (‘I’ do not really end ‘myself’ in that ‘I’ do not do the deed itself for ‘I’ cannot end ‘myself’). What ‘I’ do, voluntarily and intentionally (cheerfully and blessedly), is press the button which precipitates a, oft-times alarming but always thrilling, momentum which will result in ‘my’ irrevocable ‘self’-immolation in toto. What one does is that one dedicates oneself to the challenge of being just here, right now, as the universe’s experience of itself ... peace-on-earth is the inevitable result because it is already always existing (‘I’ was merely standing in the way of it being apparent).
The act of initiating this ‘process’ is altruism, pure and simple. [emphasis added].

RICHARD: Psychological self-immolation is the only sensible sacrifice that ‘I’ could make in order to reveal whatever is actual. And what is actual is perfection. Life is bursting with meaning when ‘I’ am no longer present to mess things up. ‘I’ stand in the way of the purity of the perfection of the actual being apparent. ‘My’ presence prohibits this ever-present perfection being evident. ‘I’ prevent the very purity of life, that ‘I’ am searching for, from coming into plain view. With ‘my’ demise, this ever-fresh perfection is manifest.

RESPONDENT: How do you know this? Is this just an ‘I’-dea?

RICHARD: I ‘know all this’ because this is how I live ... I am not writing a theoretical treatise.

It all started when I was nineteen years of age. I was in a war-torn foreign country, dressed in a jungle-green uniform and carrying a loaded rifle in my hands. This was to be the turning point of my life, for up until then, I was a typical western youth, raised to believe in God, Queen and Country.

Humanity’s inhumanity to humanity – society’s treatment of its subject citizens – was driven home to me, there and then, in a way that left me appalled, horrified, terrified and repulsed to the core of my being with a sick revulsion. I saw that no one knew what was going on and – most importantly – that no one was ‘in charge’ of the world. There was nobody to ‘save’ the human race ... all gods were but a figment of a feverish imagination. Out of a despairing desperation, that was collectively shared by my fellow humans, I saw and understood that I was as ‘guilty’ as any one else. For in me – as is in everyone – was both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ... it was that some people were better at controlling their ‘dark side’. However, in a war, there is no way anyone can control any longer ... ‘evil’ ran rampant. I saw that fear and aggression ruled the world ... and that these were instincts one was born with. Thus started my search for freedom from the Human Condition.

My attitude, all those years ago was this: ‘I’ was only interested in changing ‘myself’ fundamentally, radically, completely and utterly.

This entailed finding the source of ‘myself’ ... and I discovered that ‘I’ was born out of the instincts that blind nature endows all sentient beings with at birth. This rudimentary self is the root cause of all the malice and sorrow that besets humankind, and to eliminate malice and sorrow ‘I’ had to eliminate the fear and aggression that this self is made up of ... the instincts. But as this self was the instincts – there is no differentiation betwixt the two – then the elimination of one was the elimination of the other. One is the other and the other is one. In fact, with the elimination of the instincts, ‘I’ ceased to exist, period.

Psychological self-immolation was the only sensible sacrifice that ‘I’ could make in order to reveal whatever is actual. And what is actual is perfection. Life is bursting with meaning as ‘I’ am no longer present to mess things up. ‘I’ stood in the way of the purity of the perfection of the actual being apparent. ‘My’ presence prohibited this ever-present perfection being evident. ‘I’ prevented the very purity of life, that ‘I’ was searching for, from coming into plain view. With ‘my’ demise, this ever-fresh perfection became manifest.

Thus I find myself here, in the world as-it-is. A vast stillness lies all around, a perfection that is abounding with purity. Beneficence, an active kindness, overflows in all directions, imbuing everything with unimaginable fairytale-like quality. For me to be able to be here at all is a blessing that only ‘I’ could grant, because nobody else could do it for me. I am full of admiration for the ‘me’ that dared to do such a thing. I owe all that I experience now to ‘me’. I salute ‘my’ audacity. And what an adventure it was ... and still is. These are the wondrous workings of the exquisite quality of life – who would have it any other way?

I am this infinite and perfect physical universe experiencing itself as a sensate, reflective human being.

RICHARD: Who is the person that is ‘without attachment to the feelings’ ?

RESPONDENT: And who would be the one to dispense with them?

RICHARD: You are not Jewish, by any chance, are you ... answering a question with a counter-question? Yet I find it easy to answer, nevertheless: The ego ‘I’ can self-immolate psychologically. The soul ‘me’ can self-immolate psychically. Psychological and psychic self-immolation is the only sensible sacrifice that ‘I’ and ‘me’ can make in order to reveal perfection. Life is bursting with meaning when ‘I’ and ‘me’ are no longer present to mess things up. ‘I’ and ‘me’ stand in the way of that purity being apparent. ‘My’ presence prohibits perfection being evident. ‘I’ and ‘me’ prevent the very meaning to life, which ‘I’ and ‘me’ are searching for, from coming into plain view. The main trouble is that ‘I’ and ‘me’ wish to remain in existence to savour the meaning; ‘I’ and ‘me’ mistakenly think that meaning is the product of the mind and the heart. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Apperceptive awareness makes self-immolation possible.

Then the search for meaning amidst the debris of the much-vaunted human hopes and dreams and schemes has come to its timely end. With the end of ‘I’ and ‘me’, the distance or separation between ‘I’ and ‘me’ and ‘my’ senses – and thus the external world – disappears. To be the senses as a bare awareness is apperception, a pure consciousness experience (PCE) of the world as-it-is. Because there is no ‘I’ as an observer – a little person inside one’s head – or ‘me’ as a feeler – a little person inside one’s heart – to have sensations, I am the sensations. There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not to ‘I’ or ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment ... one after another. To be these sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release. Consequently, I am living in peace and tranquillity; a meaningful peace and tranquillity. Life is intrinsically purposeful, the reason for existence lies openly all around. Being this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it as I breathe it in and out; I see it, I hear it, I taste it, I smell it, I touch it, all of the time. It never goes away ... nor has it ever been away. ‘I’ and ‘me’ were standing in the way of meaning.

So, again: ‘Who is the person that is ‘without attachment to the feelings’?

RESPONDENT: How can one be friendly with oneself if the identity is seen as a parasite inside the body?

RICHARD: Where it is no longer a case of ‘if’ it is dead easy.

RESPONDENT: Given that ‘I’ am not actual, how can ‘I’ do anything that wasn’t going to happen anyway? In other words, how can an illusion have any executive power whatsoever?

If ‘I’, as the agent of ‘my’ thoughts, feelings and actions, am an erroneous ex post facto claim of responsibility for the actions of the meat puppet who generates ‘me’, in what sense is ‘my’ freedom in ‘my’ hands? If the neural activity that generates ‘me’ has already happened before ‘I’ become aware of it, how can ‘I’ actually do anything?

VINEETO: This question has been asked many times and it could well be that reading the responses (see above) to similar objections may shed some light on what is often made out to be a profound conundrum.

While such questions may well appear to be ‘logical’, at closer inspection it is obvious that such logic can only exist when kept separate from the reality of the myriad of daily activities, momentary affective reactions and mundane choices involved in everyday normal life. ‘I’ make hundreds of ‘executive’ decisions per day. And yet in those instances questions such as ‘how can an illusion have any executive power whatsoever?’ do not arise for ‘I’ am busy doing whatever ‘I’ choose to do.

My experience is that if one starts down the path of refuting what is obvious – that I can decide to take charge of my life such that I actually make life-changing decisions – I would in effect be ‘shutting up shop’ by begrudgingly accepting my fate. In other words, a little investigation revealed to me that fatalism in whatever form was nothing other than me categorically negating the possibility of ever changing my life for the better. This simply made no sense to me at all because it was clear to me that I had in fact made many choices in my life that resulted in change … and very often for the better.

To approach the issue of fatalism from a different angle –

At present I am reading a book by a primate biologist entitled ‘The Dark Side of Man’ (Michael P. Ghiglieri, Helix Books 1999), a well-written account on the instinctual passions of both great apes and humans. The book reminded me that, as I look at ‘me’ at the instinctual level and leave aside the superficial variations that make up one’s social conditioning, the core urges and compulsions that make up the human condition are very simple and obvious.

For great apes, with whom we share 98% of genetic DNA, the core programming for males is to impregnate a female by display of or use of strength, power and/or cunning, and for females, if she has a choice, it is to find a male that is best capable of protecting her young, the strongest, most powerful and/or most cunning. By and large this blind instinctual imperative to reproduce is the same for humans. You could say that instinctually the sole meaning of life is to procreate – to fulfill one’s instinctual obligation to ensure the survival of the species by passing on my genes.

Further, great apes have a rudimentary sense of self, i.e. they are self-conscious, which manifests as an individual self-survival instinct. Humans have developed a more complex self-consciousness, a feeling of self, so much so that this ‘self’ is felt to be ‘me’, a substantive entity in its own right. Thus it is that human beings are not only compelled to ensure the survival of the species via procreation but the individual survival instinct is now manifest as a ‘self’-survival instinct. Consequently human beings indulge in all sorts of imaginary scenarios of ‘self’-survival – imaginary spirit worlds, a fantasy afterlife, the search for immortality for the soul, and so on, imagining these pursuits to be the true meaning of life.

Many people pursue both these meanings of life hand in hand – physical procreation to ensure the survival of the species by passing on my genes and the imaginary survival of ‘me’ as a ‘self’. While they are busy bringing up their young they are also busy purifying their soul and bettering their status for an afterlife.

As such, one is driven by one’s instinctual programming and subsequently pursues the instinctually imprinted ‘meanings of life’ and such an immersion renders one incapable of paying attention to the instinctual programming itself.

The interesting part of the adventure of life begins when I begin to apply attentiveness and become apperceptively aware of how ‘I’ function, socially and instinctually, because then I can make sensible choices based on both my intent (my goal) and the depth of my insight into the human condition itself. In other words when I clearly see the pattern of the outer layer of ‘my’ social programming, I can stop this pattern and replace it with sensible choices. When I am able to clearly understand the pattern of the innermost layer of ‘my’ instinctual programming, which is buried deep in the basement of my psyche, I have the opportunity to stop the pattern and make sensible choices.

This continuous action of becoming aware of and successively stopping the automatic patterns eventually weakens both the social identity and the instinctual ‘me’ to the point where stepping out of one’s ‘self’ into the actual world won’t be a giant leap that appears impossible, but a small step that is simply the next sensible thing to do.

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