Message Boards Message Boards

Practices Inspired by Actualism

Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"High

Toggle
I really think this is the same this as AF/PCE/EE, as well as what John C. Lilly called "+12". Though there is not as much focus on NOW, naivety, and curiosity, I suspect Wolff's High Satisfaction/High Indifference to involve the same neurological mechanism as PCE. The emphasis on nonduality and Wolff's dismissal of compassion after his discovery are particularly interesting.

From the first link:
"Whereas the Satisfaction was the acme of the affective and conative functions of Consciousness, the High Indifference was akin to affective-conative silence. Nevertheless, certain supernal values of this sort were involved, in particular, 'utter Fullness beyond the wildest reach of the imagination.'"

http://books.google.com/books?id=1Mnr68ESD_QC&pg=PA61&lpg=PA61&dq=high+indifference+wolff&source=bl&ots=t28NUObGAO&sig=KMqhseDtR-_Pibh7HBGN-LvRcaA&hl=en&ei=T6THTP2kOoWdlgfLo_jMAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCkQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=high%20indifference%20wolff&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=EIkGKq3S1zcC&pg=PA218&lpg=PA218&dq=high+indifference+wolff&source=bl&ots=_aDqm4jfbN&sig=iW8lG3Z3GRzn5B0HN2wa_8lH5sQ&hl=en&ei=T6THTP2kOoWdlgfLo_jMAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CCMQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=high%20indifference%20wolff&f=false

I'd be interested to hear what you guys think!

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 10:40 AM as a reply to Why What.
hi noah,

welcome to the dho.

on the front page of this website, it is written:


The Dharma Overground ... is a place where everything related to the support of practice may flourish (...)

(...) diligent practice over blind faith: this place is about doing it and understanding for yourself rather than believing someone else and not testing those beliefs out


and on the 'frequently asked questions' page:


What is appropriate here?

This depends on the community and situation, and we hope that this place can accommodate a wide range of needs and interests, as well as discussion cultures, interests and paradigms. However, in general, try to adhere to the rules and guidelines for behavior laid out at the front door of whatever community you enter, as this will avoid having the moderators having to remind you. When in doubt, be respectful, honest, kind and keep a focus of "what is useful and true as best I know" in the front of your mind and behave as if the people you are writing to are real people, with hearts, feelings, and life experiences that you likely know very little of, as this is the case.

In general, and to quote the front page:

pragmatism over dogmatism, diligent practice over blind faith, openness regarding what the techniques may lead to, a lack of taboos surrounding talking about attainments, and the spirit of mutual, supportive adventurers on the path rather than rigid student-teacher relationships.

Good guidelines are: keep it simple, practice-related, technical when in doubt.

and:


What is inappropriate?

Seeking attention in a personal manner, speculating about half-understood concepts, guessing instead of finding out, and being dogmatic and closed-minded.


and in the 'my vision of the dho itself' thread (in the 'the dho itself' forum category but also appended to the very top of the 'recent posts' page which most participants here use for reading), the founder/owner/principal arbiter of this website wrote:

Daniel M. Ingram:

(...)

7) I hope that all will ... try to keep their eye on whatever they see the prize as being rather than all the more superficial aspects, which, while of some importance, are not the key, and much is lost by people getting sidetracked by reflections on the ripples on surface of the water and so don't plunge deep.


as this is now the second thread you have started for the purpose of comparing two modes of experience wherein you have made no indication that you have had any personal or practical experience with either of those modes, it may be prudent to here ask: what are you aiming to gain from these comparisons? and further, what steps have you actually taken to procure those gains?

tarin

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 2:21 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
I have been actively reading this forum for some time. I had previously read the quoted text; it wasn't really necessary for you to quote it, nor was necessary it for you to italicize the bits you thought I particularly needed to read. Most of your posts seem incredibly helpful and friendly, Tarin, and your concerns are valid, but I really don't appreciate the slightly belittling tone of your response.

I've certainly experienced a few very clear PCEs (first in childhood, now through cultivation), but most of my (semi-frequent) attempts to cultivate PCE result in what I assume is EE, though EE seems like hardly anything compared to full-blown PCE, and I can only assume that AF is similarly more full and "perfect" than even PCE. My purpose in this thread was not to discuss my own practice with actualism or Vipassana (I believe I am in Equanimity, in case you're curious) or seek advice; I just happened upon this "High Satisfaction" rhetoric and was wondering what others thought of it.

And sorry about the second thread. I felt the much more detailed description of Wolff's warranted its own, so I have deleted the original John Lilly thread.

The "gains" I seek are as follows:
1. Thorough skeptical yet open-minded investigation into Richard's claims that he is the first to elucidate this experience, though it seems like it may be nearly universally experienced in childhood.
2. To challenge AF's rhetoric. I think "Actual Freedom from the Human Condition" is a VERY fitting title, but "The Actual World" is nonsense. The actual world is that of attachment and duality AND arahats AND af people AND animals AND whatever extradimensional beings you put your faith in. What they ALL need is LOVE.

But now I'm beginning to preach, and all I intended to do was share information. I hope you understand that I am not attacking you or Richard or AF or anything. I am just curious.

If we as a community (everyone, not DhO) really want to understand this phenomenon, we need to investigate it fully and scientifically: experientially, neurologically, historically, and spiritually. Also, we really shouldn't blindly use Richard's terminology, but I don't really care. I just wanted to share the info I found. Has anyone read either text I linked?

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 4:31 PM as a reply to Why What.
Noah P Kndrvg:


The "gains" I seek are as follows:
1. Thorough skeptical yet open-minded investigation into Richard's claims that he is the first to elucidate this experience, though it seems like it may be nearly universally experienced in childhood.
2. To challenge AF's rhetoric. I think "Actual Freedom from the Human Condition" is a VERY fitting title, but "The Actual World" is nonsense.



Hi Noah,
I expect the intellectual enquiry into, and debate over, Actual Freedom will increase in years to come, but I am here for the practice of Actualism. My (internal) debate ended when I looked for and could not find any basic error in Richard's discovery as per the Actual Freedom Website, and I realised that AF is fundamental and true. And from my experience, I would encourage anyone to quietly and honestly compare the whole message of the Actual Freedom Website with their own internal, deepest, understanding of themselves.

A couple of years ago I was sceptical, wanting to find Richard’s error, but there was no error. I am now deeply excited by AF. It also helped me that the idea of the PCE was familiar, but strangely I only started to remember all my PCE’s some time after my AF scepticism was exhausted.

Noah P Kndrvg:


If we as a community (everyone, not DhO) really want to understand this phenomenon, we need to investigate it fully and scientifically: experientially, neurologically, historically, and spiritually. Also, we really shouldn't blindly use Richard's terminology,



My take on "Investigation": the danger is that it is really window shopping for the spirituality/excellence/metaphysical experience, and the risk is that we “buy” the shiniest, most colourful experience that we can find. What appeals to the intellect/emotions, is only what is most attractive/satisfying at that point in time. And therefore flawed, and neverending.

Cheers
John

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 4:37 PM as a reply to Why What.
If +12 is a PCE, then does this mean this person is worth listening to further, assuming one's goal is AF? Apparently it's very easy to get off track...

I don't know why people care whether Richard was the first to be AF. Why does that matter to one's practice of actualism?

I think it's ok to use Richard's terminolgy as that makes it easier to communicate when we are talking about AF.

'What they ALL need is LOVE'. Ok, not a practicing actualist I guess.

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 5:02 PM as a reply to John Mitchell.
John Mitchell:
My take on "Investigation": the danger is that it is really window shopping for the spirituality/excellence/metaphysical experience, and the risk is that we “buy” the shiniest, most colourful experience that we can find. What appeals to the intellect/emotions, is only what is most attractive/satisfying at that point in time. And therefore flawed, and neverending.

That is a very valid point. However, my eventual goal is to become a "general-purpose biocomputer", wherein all functions available to the computer are accessible by conscious control and no programs actively evade conscious control via Freudian "defense mechanisms" or any other mechanism. I believe that Vipassana is necessary (or at least ideal) for this goal, and I would certainly enjoy having unfettered access to PCE, but I'm a bit wary of AF as a permanent state at the moment.

But I ultimately believe your presence in and influence on the consciousness of others is infinitely more important than your mode of perceiving reality.

Jason L:
If +12 is a PCE, then does this mean this person is worth listening to further, assuming one's goal is AF? Apparently it's very easy to get off track...

Lilly was far from an actualist, but I would definitely suggest looking into Merrell-Wolff. He (unlike AF) seems tied up in mythology, and creating mythology is always dangerous, but his "High Satisfaction" really sounds like PCE.

However, I am far from an expert on Wolff. I would be very interested to hear others' (particularly actualists) thoughts on the subject, as that was the original intent of this thread.

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 10:11 PM as a reply to Why What.
Noah P Kndrvg:
But I ultimately believe your presence in and influence on the consciousness of others is infinitely more important than your mode of perceiving reality.


Hi Noah
This belief is the one I suggest you investigate first.

For instance, what is the nature of your presence in the consciousness of others? Do you miss some part of yourself when they are thinking of you? Are you even aware of it occurring?
Flip it around - take your consciousness of another person. What is the nature of such? They seem so real but what role does imagination and memory play?

Something that I have found useful is to compare my imagination of a person in this moment with memories of such interactions with people in the past and look for differences. Is there any difference? I have not found any.

I also recommend looking closely at the relationship between (a) projecting mental/emotional interactions in your consciousness onto other people and (b) taking full responsibility for our own actions/behaviour.

Noah P Kndrvg:
Lilly was far from an actualist, but I would definitely suggest looking into Merrell-Wolff. He (unlike AF) seems tied up in mythology, and creating mythology is always dangerous, but his "High Satisfaction" really sounds like PCE.

However, I am far from an expert on Wolff. I would be very interested to hear others' (particularly actualists) thoughts on the subject, as that was the original intent of this thread.


I am no expert but I am familiar with his experiential reports and own two of his books in one compilation that I've flipped through from time to time. I have to say I think it has nothing to do with actualism or the PCE. I don't think anyone would call the PCE a state of indifference, or high anything else for that matter.
Just my 10c

Craig

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 11:08 PM as a reply to Craig N.
1. Solipsism
2. We're in this together

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 11:44 PM as a reply to Why What.
Noah P Kndrvg:
1. Solipsism
2. We're in this together


Hah.

1 Casually dismiss with no substance to back up said dismissal all you like, the facts will be waiting when you're ready to own your eyes. Fwiw what I'm proposing has nothing to do with solipsism.

2. Yet I gave a carefully considered reply to your post and you gave me this.

Craig

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/27/10 11:58 PM as a reply to Why What.
Noah P Kndrvg:
I have been actively reading this forum for some time. I had previously read the quoted text; it wasn't really necessary for you to quote it, nor was necessary it for you to italicize the bits you thought I particularly needed to read.

yet, it could have been well necessary for me to quote the site guidelines, and point out (via italics, just to be clear) the bits of them i thought you should read; as nothing you had written (in those four posts and three new threads), at the time of my writing, was practice-related or showed any cognisance of those guidelines, how was i to know that you had read those guidelines (and remembered their purpose)?


Noah P Kndrvg:

Most of your posts seem incredibly helpful and friendly, Tarin, and your concerns are valid, but I really don't appreciate the slightly belittling tone of your response.

hmm.. perhaps you oughtn't imagine that slightly belittling tone then?

to be clear: nothing in my response was, or is, written to belittle you.


Noah P Kndrvg:

The "gains" I seek are as follows:
1. Thorough skeptical yet open-minded investigation into Richard's claims that he is the first to elucidate this experience, though it seems like it may be nearly universally experienced in childhood.
2. To challenge AF's rhetoric. I think "Actual Freedom from the Human Condition" is a VERY fitting title, but "The Actual World" is nonsense. The actual world is that of attachment and duality AND arahats AND af people AND animals AND whatever extradimensional beings you put your faith in. What they ALL need is LOVE.

1. what practical benefit will such an investigation bring you?
2. what practical benefit will such a challenge bring you?


Noah P Kndrvg:

But now I'm beginning to preach, and all I intended to do was share information. I hope you understand that I am not attacking you or Richard or AF or anything. I am just curious.

If we as a community (everyone, not DhO) really want to understand this phenomenon, we need to investigate it fully and scientifically: experientially, neurologically, historically, and spiritually. Also, we really shouldn't blindly use Richard's terminology, but I don't really care. I just wanted to share the info I found. Has anyone read either text I linked?

yes. i read through the first link, starting on page 61. when i reached page 62, i found the following:

"A new consciousness walked into my consciousnes . . . just took me over." From the relative standpoint, the episode lasted several hours, during which time, according to Sherifa, the room was filled with a golden light. Wolff was able to trace its progressive deepening through four distinct stages, although these were not distinguished by sharp discontinuities. He describes them as

  1. a state of Universal Satisfaction,
  2. a state of Indifference
  3. a state in which the Subject and Object vanished, and only Consciousness remained, and
  4. a movement into darkness [that relative consciousness could no longer cognize] ... from which I wake in the morning with a sense of a still vaster Beyond.


and then on page 64:

also became aware of a strange sense of authority, which again occasionally manifested spontaneously during later periods of writing. "As an intimate part of that supernal consciousness, there is a sense of power and authority literally cosmic proportions. All worldly achievements, no matter how impressive, 'inhere in a field of consciousness that in its very roots is subject to that Higher Power and Authority."


for starters, as beyond the 'state of indifference', wolff held that there is 'a state in which the subject and object vanished, and only consciousness remained', then the 'state of indifference' is not the pce, as beyond the pce there is only utter oblivion (in the same way that beyond abeyance there is only utter extinction). further, in a pce (or an actual freedom) there is no sense of authority whatsoever, whether strange or otherwise, or of cosmic, or any other, proportions. there is simply no Higher Power or Authority here... such was only ever an imaginative fantasy, the potential for which ended with the extinction of the identity in toto.

extinction is one-way.

tarin

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/28/10 10:37 AM as a reply to Craig N.
Craig N:
Noah P Kndrvg:
1. Solipsism
2. We're in this together


Hah.

1 Casually dismiss with no substance to back up said dismissal all you like, the facts will be waiting when you're ready to own your eyes. Fwiw what I'm proposing has nothing to do with solipsism.

2. Yet I gave a carefully considered reply to your post and you gave me this.

Craig

You misunderstand. I am dismissing nothing. Regardless of my abeyance of the question, the problem of other minds still exists: "Do other beings have their own conscious experiences apart from my experience of these beings?"

I think it is important to be able to work with both belief systems, as well as to not concern oneself too intensely with this sort of thing. However, at the end of the day, I place faith in the existence of the consciousness of others. If their experiences really are similar to mine, then I logically conclude that anything I could do to aid another being would be just as beneficial to the sum total of sentient beings as if I were aiding myself. Of course, one's relationship with "self" does much to determine how one acts among others.

I found your response quite helpful and will investigate your suggestions further. Just pointing out a philosophical problem.
But this all quite off topic. I am still quite the novice with regards to actualism. I know Merell-Wolff's reports are tinged with bits of the "divine", but I'm not particularly interested in that. What I really want to know is if there is some basic neurological phenomena underlying both of these. But if you guys really don't think so, then okay.

It just seems like if every moment is the best moment of your life, there is indifference.

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/28/10 2:09 PM as a reply to Why What.
Noah P Kndrvg:


It just seems like if every moment is the best moment of your life, there is indifference.


Have you ever noticed that now is the only moment there is? That now is the only moment for you to be alive in? Therefore there is no comparison to be made. Again we need to be clear here. It is not that everything goes the way that 'you'(your identity or sense of permanent self) want it to go. No, it is that you experience what is currently happening in the best way possible, namely, without 'you'.

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
10/28/10 3:06 PM as a reply to Why What.
Noah P Kndrvg:
Regardless of my abeyance of the question, the problem of other minds still exists: "Do other beings have their own conscious experiences apart from my experience of these beings?"

I think it is important to be able to work with both belief systems, as well as to not concern oneself too intensely with this sort of thing. However, at the end of the day, I place faith in the existence of the consciousness of others. If their experiences really are similar to mine, then I logically conclude that anything I could do to aid another being would be just as beneficial to the sum total of sentient beings as if I were aiding myself. Of course, one's relationship with "self" does much to determine how one acts among others.


I'm glad you brought this up, because this is the perfect counterpoint to what I raised earlier, and this is why it can be seen not to be solipsism. Others do exist in actuality. Note that harmlessness is no less than 50% of the equation "happy and harmless" that describes both the goal and the resultant permanent condition of actual freedom. It's really a key point right here.

Whether I am harmful or harmless has nothing to do with what others imagine about me on their own time, when I'm off the clock so to speak. It also has nothing to do with anyone else's beliefs projections about me that will cause everything I do to be (mis)interpreted according to them.

My harmfulness or harmlessness has everything to do with my actions right now in this moment. This is the only moment I have to be harmless. When I'm acting. Picture a game of tennis. Each ball I lob across the court counts, and it's only the precise moment the ball strikes the racket that I have influence over the direction of the ball, so that's when the angle and power with which I strike the ball really counts. Afterwards... all I can do is lob another ball over. Even if I stuff up and really regret my last shot (game, set, match, season, career - regret as far back as I like), my only remedy is to successfully send another ball the place I intended it last time.

Now here's where actualism stands apart from meditative practices. How I act in this very moment - that most crucial part of my influence over others - depends upon my own freedom to act. If I'm under the influence of an instinctual passion of fear or aggression or nurture or desire then I am not free to act, I am compelled to react. Similarly when I am acting out my feelings towards another person because of subconsciously held beliefs about myself, them or the world, I am not free to act, I am reacting, and as long as that belief goes on unchallenged I will be compelled by it. If I watch for a while I can see that these unconscious drives and reactions are always what cause me to be harmful. When I take them out of the equation in a PCE, harmlessness presents itself. With enough experience with harmlessness the choice is obvious and one sets out to make this condition of harmlessness a permanent one.

Craig

RE: Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "High Satisfaction"/"
Answer
11/14/10 11:54 AM as a reply to Why What.
Hi Noah -

It's ok, first of all. To be the silk that snags on any responses may keep you up at night and blind at day. Instead know what is your strand that is snagging (uncomfortable/upsetting feeling to responses?). Maybe journal all of your feelings on the experience of this thread; see if you carry those feelings into other parts of your day (so-called projection). People have suggested that I be gentle with myself (and, frankly, i am understanding what that means in regards to others as a result)

If this Merrell-wolff is compelling to you, find those deeply versed in it. Find some exercise that they recommend on that path and really try it over time. If you have time and ability, try exercises that you've read here that you also may find compelling (because you're here!).

It's rather a matter of course that starting any thread in a specific forum (i.e., AF) with "I really think this is the same this as AF/PCE/EE, as well as what John C. Lilly called "+12" is going to result in some testing of that equivalence. When people make claims on the site, they have even been known to get a call from Mr. Daniel Ingram for a some Q&A, to see if a claimant is probably what they say they are (no one knows for sure, even that person can waiver regarding themselves over time).

In the end, queries are going to come down to your practice and your ability to observe its effects of your life and report on it. If you did such a practice thread (and probably in another realm of the DhO) that might fly. People here bring a lot of cross-pollination.

Regardless, if you are really compelled by Merrell-Wolff (of whom I know nothing and which links I did not read -- too pressed for time, too old! to dedicate myself to more than one real effort!) than there is something (and maybe only one some thing) there. What one thing stood out to me in your thread was:
What they ALL need is LOVE.


If you don't know where to start, then for the second time tonight I am going to make the very safe and clear recommendation to go to MCTB http://www.interactivebuddha.com/Mastering%20Adobe%20Version.pdf and run a search on the word "love". You will at least be receptive to Aliens if they arrive at Thanksgiving...

And, yes, i mostly agree with your statement:
If we as a community (everyone, not DhO) really want to understand this phenomenon, we need to investigate it fully and scientifically: experientially, neurologically, historically, and spiritually
and would add to your blind word-use reference that it is not a wise idea to blindly believe anyone/thing. Build a reasonable conviction upon which to actually practice (is my way of thinking).

Good luck!


{Edit: it would not be my post if I didn't edit for the 1-2 minutes after posting...}
{Edit: make that 1-4 minutes GDDMMT!}
{Edit: about a full hour later for accuracy of blind belief reference...}
{edit: initial post 10/28/10; edit post 11/14/10 to add quotes around excerpted statement of LOVE}