Actual Freedom ~ Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Identity?
RESPONDENT: You claim that ‘this body called Richard hosts no identity whatsoever’. I would like to understand more deeply
what it is that the body called Richard does not host. What do you mean by ‘identity’?
RICHARD: I was born in Australia, of an English/Scottish Hong Kong-born father and
an English/English Australia-born mother. With this British background, I was enculturated into believing that I was, literally,
an Australian citizen ... but with British blood. Now, blood is blood ... there is no such ‘thing’ as an ‘Australian’, an
‘American’, a ‘German’, a ‘Japanese’ and so on. Thus the wars and the suicides – the blood shed and the tears shed
– are precipitated because of the absurdity of identification ... is not all this acculturation ridiculous! However, as an
infant, a child, a youth and then a man, I was so programmed as to be unable to discriminate fact from fiction. I had no terms of
reference that I could use as a standard to determine which was which, as every single human being on this planet was not simply a
flesh and blood body ... but similarly conditioned into being an ‘ethnic’ human being.
Thus I bought the whole package. Hook, line and sinker.
As I slowly started to unravel the mess that humankind was deeply mired in by
unravelling it in me, I discovered a second layer under ‘my’ acculturated ethnicity ... ‘I’ was brainwashed into being a
‘man’ and not simply a flesh and blood male body. Under the enculturated layers lies a further identity ... the
genetically-inherited animal ‘self’. It took me years and years of exploration and discovery to find out that ‘I’ was a
‘me’ – a ‘being’ – and not simply a flesh and blood body. By identification as ‘me’, a psychological/psychic
entity was able to ‘possess’ this body. It is not unlike those Christians who are said to be possessed by an evil entity and
require exorcism. Only this ‘possession’ was called being normal. Therefore, every human being is thus possessed by an ‘alien
entity’ ... I discovered that a ‘walk-in’ was in control of this body and that this ‘walk-in’ was ‘me’.
So, superficially there is a composite conditioned social identity that encompasses:
1. A vocational identity as ‘employee’/‘employer’, ‘worker’/‘pensioner’,
‘junior/‘senior’ and so on.
2. A national identity as ‘English’, ‘American’, ‘Australian’ and etcetera.
3. A racial identity as ‘white’, ‘black’, ‘brown’ or whatever.
4. A religious/spiritual identity as a ‘Hindu’, a ‘Muslim’, a ‘Christian’, a ‘Buddhist’ ad infinitum.
5. A ideological identity as a ‘Capitalist’, a ‘Communist’, a ‘Monarchist’, a ‘Fascist’ and etcetera.
6. A political identity as a ‘Democrat’, a ‘Tory’, a ‘Republican’, a ‘Liberal’ and all the rest.
7. A family identity as ‘son’/‘daughter’, ‘brother’/‘sister’, ‘father’/‘mother’ and the whole raft of
8. A gender identity as ‘boy’/‘girl’, ‘man’/‘woman’.
These are related to roles, rank, positions, station, status, class, age, gender ...
the whole organisation of hierarchical control. But behind all that – underlying all socialised classifications – is the
persistent feeling of being an identity inhabiting the body: an affective ‘entity’ as in a deep, abiding and profound feeling
of being an occupant, a tenant, a squatter or a phantom hiding behind a façade, a mask, a persona; as a subjective emotional
psychological ‘self’ and/or a passionate psychic ‘being’ (‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) inhabiting the psyche; a
deep feeling of being a ‘spirit’; a consciousness of the immanence of ‘presence’ (which exists immortally); an awareness
of being an autological ‘being’ ... the realisation of ‘Being’ itself. In other words: everything you think, feel and
instinctually know yourself to be.
Your feeling of being – the real ‘me’ – is evidenced when one says: ‘But what
about me, nobody loves me for me’. For a woman it may be: ‘You only want me for my body ... and not for me’. For a man it
may be: ‘You only want me for my money ... and not for me’. For a child it may be: ‘You only want to be my friend because of
my toys (or sweets or whatever)’. That deep feeling of ‘me’ – that ‘being’ itself – is at the core of identity. It
arises out of the basic instincts that blind nature endowed all human beings with as a rough and ready ‘soft-ware’ package to
make a start in life. These instincts – mainly fear and aggression and nurture and desire – appear as a rudimentary self
common to all sentient beings. This is why it is felt to be one’s ‘Original Face’ – to use the Zen terminology – when
one accesses it in religious/spiritual/mystical meditation practices and disciplines. This is the source of ‘we are all one’,
because ‘we’ are all the same-same blind instinctual self that stretches back beyond the dawn of human memory. It is a very,
very ancient genetic memory.
Hoariness does not make it automatically wise, however, despite desperate belief to the
RESPONDENT: You also claim that there is ‘a flesh and
blood body being apperceptively aware’. Is not that bodily apperceptive awareness, your identity?
RICHARD: No. This brain is these sense organs being conscious: these eyes seeing is
this brain ‘on stalks’, as it were, being aware. Thus these ears hearing, this tongue tasting, this skin touching, this nose
smelling and these thoughts thinking are all the brain being directly aware of being alive and being awake and being here ... now.
Whereas ‘I’, the entity, am inside the body: looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening
through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling
through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain. Of course ‘I’ must feel isolated, alienated, alone and lonely, for
‘I’ am cut off from the magnificence of the actual world ... the world as-it-is.
RESPONDENT: Identity is ‘the state or fact of remaining
the same one, as under varying aspects or conditions’, ‘the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another’
(Macquarie, 2nd. ed.). Are you claiming that there is nothing that remains the same (in you) as (your) sense and reflective
RICHARD: Indeed, I am stating that unequivocally ... there is no subjective
psychological ‘entity’ existing in this flesh and blood body to either remain the same or change. There are many words to
describe ‘I’ and/or ‘me’ ... shall I just present them here for clarity? I do not have the Macquarie Dictionary but I
presume it is somewhat similar as I have the Webster’s Merriam Dictionary to check the Oxford Dictionary against. I also use the
Britannica Encyclopaedia as being a generally recognised and acceptable academic standard. Vis.:
• Identity: ‘The condition or fact of a person or thing being that specified unique
person or thing, especially as a continuous unchanging property throughout existence; individuality, personality’.
• Personality: ‘The quality or fact of being a person as distinct from a thing or animal; the quality which makes a being a
• Person: ‘The self or being of an individual’.
• Individual: ‘Existing as a separate indivisible identity; one’s individual person, self.
• Individuality: ‘An individual thing or personality’.
• Self: ‘True or intrinsic identity; personal identity, ego; a person as the object of introspection or reflexive action’.
• Ego: ‘Oneself, the conscious thinking subject. That part of the mind which has a sense of individuality and is most
conscious of self’.
• Soul: ‘The principle of thought and action in a person, regarded as an entity distinct from the body; a person’s spiritual
as opposed to corporeal nature regarded as immortal and as being capable of redemption or damnation in a future state. The
disembodied spirit of a dead person, regarded as invested with some degree of personality and form. The seat of the emotions or
sentiments; the emotional part of human nature. Intellectual or spiritual power; high development of the mental faculties. Also,
deep feeling, sensitivity, zest, spirit. The vital, sensitive, or rational principle in plants, animals, or human beings. A
person, an individual’.
• Entity: ‘Existence, being, as opposed to non-existence; the existence of a thing as opposed to its qualities or relations.
Essence, essential nature’.
• Identity Crisis: ‘A period of emotional disturbance in which a person has difficulty in determining his or her identity and
role in relation to society’. (All definitions from Oxford Dictionary).
And it is so good to be rid of that lot!
RESPONDENT: G’day Richard, How do I
learn and discover the essence of who ‘I’ am? Thank you.
RICHARD: G’day No. 11, In a word: intuitively (aka feeling yourself out
Also, much use can be made of what is known as hypnagogic (pre-dormient) and
hypnopompic (post-dormient) states which occur, respectively, in the drowsiness stage of intermediate consciousness preceding
sleep or in the semiconscious state of transitional consciousness preceding waking ... of the two the identity inhabiting this
flesh and blood body all those years ago found the pre-dormient state the easier to manifest.
However, as it was the hypnopompic state which revealed the essence of who ‘I’ am
– the precise nature of ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself) – an anecdote from that period
may throw some light on the matter.
I was on a coastal sea voyage, making a northerly passage under sail in a trimaran I
then owned, off the north-eastern seaboard of Australia when a storm came up from the south late in the day.
Rather than make a run for the port I was heading for under a storm jib alone (with all
that entails) I chose to anchor overnight in the lee of a nearby island until the storm blew itself out. A perusal of the
appropriate chart showed a narrow bay, between two jagged coral reefs, with a tiny beach at its head and the notation ‘fair-weather
anchorage’. I figured, were the worst to come about, I could beach my yacht (an advantage multihull yachts have over monohull
yachts) and weather the storm out thataway.
I negotiated the two jagged coral reefs, dropped anchor several boat-lengths short of
what was actually a miniscule beach, and retired below for the evening. I slept soundly, despite the storm howling all about and
the yacht pitching and tossing at anchor, only to emerge from deep sleep into a crystal-clear fully-lucid hypnopompic state just
(Please note that it was, of course, the ‘I’ who was hypnopompic).
In that crystal-clear fully-lucid hypnopompic state ‘I’ was able to penetrate
deeply into ‘myself’ at the core of ‘my’ being (which is ‘being’ itself) – or, rather, the penetration took place
via ‘my’ full acquiescence – and there, in the centre of all the feelings swirling around, the essence of who ‘I’ am lay
gorgeously exposed ... not all that unlike a beautiful rosy pearl, nestled coyly amidst the delicate fleshy tissue of its host, in
its shimmering nacreous shell.
Except that the essence of who ‘I’ am was a void (and not a ‘thing’ like a
pearl is) so the analogy of the void at the centre of whirlpool of water – which is the whirling water in motion – is more apt
(albeit not conveying the ethereal radiant beauty of the rosy pearl analogy). Or, in other words, the essence of who ‘I’ am is
akin to the calm, still centre of a swirling cyclone/ hurricane/ typhoon.
The swirling air/ whirling water is, of course, all the feelings – all of the
emotions/ passions – which ‘I’ am comprised of (as in ‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’).
At that point, as the storm howled even louder and the yacht lurched sluggishly at
anchor, I was fully awake in an instant; sitting up and swinging my legs to the edge of the bunk I stood up ... knee-deep in
Now, when something like that happens in a house one can quickly discern that one’s
home is being flooded; on a ship at sea, however, it can mean only one thing ... to wit: one’s home is sinking.
But, all the while I was starting the auxiliary engine (mostly underwater) and hauling
in the anchor (getting thoroughly soaked) and somehow driving the water-logged trimaran up onto the miniscule beach (unseeable in
the pitch black night) without dashing to pieces on the enclosing jagged reefs, that penetration into the essence of who ‘I’
am became indelibly etched into the memory banks.
And, as ‘I’ knew exactly who ‘I’ was, that very knowledge was in itself
empowering (to use the jargon) and thus contributed enormously to ‘my’ eventual demise.
Ain’t life grand!
RESPONDENT: I have yet to get an answer
for how to detect ‘I’ ...
RICHARD: As you got an answer for your multiple queries on how can ‘you’ get
rid of the ‘I’, how can ‘you’ walk away from ‘your’ pleasures and needs, how can ‘you’ destroy ‘yourself’ and
how can ‘you’ reject ‘yourself’ then surely you can figure that one out for yourself?
No? Simple answer: as no ‘I’ can detect ‘itself’ then
‘you’ can not, either.
Nor can ‘you’ get rid of ‘yourself’.
Neither can ‘you’ walk away from ‘your’ pleasures and needs.
And ‘you’ cannot destroy ‘yourself’, either.
Plus, of course, ‘you’ cannot reject ‘yourself’.
Nevertheless, what ‘you’ can do is become exquisitely aware, each moment again, of
the way in which ‘you’ experience ‘yourself’ in regards to ‘your’ situation and circumstances.
However, as that requires you actually putting the actualism method into practice –
something you are yet to do – rather than asking me all those endless ‘What if ...’, ‘How can I ...’ and ‘Suppose I
...’ type of questions I will be refraining from reposting my most succinct précis of it for the umpteenth time around.
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