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Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings

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Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 10/30/10 12:44 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 10/30/10 3:31 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jason Lissel 10/30/10 2:53 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 10/30/10 3:24 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 10/30/10 4:39 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 10/30/10 5:44 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 10/30/10 6:27 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings . . 10/30/10 11:04 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 10/30/10 4:24 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/14/11 11:57 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Andrew . 11/15/11 5:31 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Felipe C. 11/15/11 11:09 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Alex R 11/15/11 3:08 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings End in Sight 11/15/11 6:39 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings josh r s 11/15/11 7:03 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/15/11 7:27 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings josh r s 11/15/11 7:28 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Andrew . 11/15/11 10:48 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings aaron . 11/15/11 8:39 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/16/11 4:53 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/15/11 9:52 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings End in Sight 11/15/11 7:41 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings End in Sight 11/15/11 7:49 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/15/11 8:34 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings James Yen 11/15/11 9:21 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/16/11 4:54 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings End in Sight 11/15/11 9:57 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Nikolai . 11/16/11 3:01 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Bruno Loff 11/16/11 5:28 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/16/11 6:42 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Bruno Loff 11/16/11 11:34 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/16/11 3:59 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings mico mico 11/16/11 4:06 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Bruno Loff 11/17/11 6:24 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/17/11 11:25 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Nikolai . 11/17/11 12:42 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 11/17/11 12:57 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Bruno Loff 11/17/11 1:38 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/17/11 8:37 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Nad A. 10/30/10 7:44 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings tarin greco 10/30/10 4:12 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 10/30/10 11:13 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings tarin greco 10/31/10 5:59 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Kevin Andrew 10/31/10 1:38 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings tarin greco 10/31/10 3:09 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Kevin Andrew 10/31/10 3:44 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings tarin greco 10/31/10 3:51 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Kevin Andrew 10/31/10 4:53 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings tarin greco 10/31/10 5:55 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Kevin Andrew 10/31/10 9:39 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings tarin greco 11/1/10 7:07 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Kevin Andrew 11/1/10 8:50 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Nad A. 10/31/10 2:15 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 10/31/10 4:45 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jill Morana 11/1/10 2:28 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/1/10 7:57 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Seraphina Wise 11/1/10 10:19 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/2/10 2:47 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/2/10 2:54 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Seraphina Wise 11/2/10 5:17 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/3/10 4:28 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Seraphina Wise 11/3/10 8:16 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/3/10 9:07 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Seraphina Wise 11/3/10 4:50 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/4/10 1:04 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/4/10 1:10 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Seraphina Wise 11/4/10 1:56 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Seraphina Wise 11/4/10 1:55 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/4/10 6:01 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Daniel M. Ingram 11/3/10 2:21 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jill Morana 11/20/10 7:53 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jill Morana 11/2/10 11:16 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/2/10 6:25 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Nad A. 11/2/10 8:08 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jill Morana 11/2/10 8:25 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/2/10 4:09 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 11/2/10 5:48 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jill Morana 11/4/10 9:30 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jill Morana 11/2/10 2:04 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/2/10 2:48 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/3/10 9:40 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 11/3/10 10:33 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/3/10 11:36 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 11/4/10 12:46 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/4/10 2:18 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Jeff Grove 11/5/10 6:40 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/4/10 3:41 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings John Wilde 11/4/10 6:27 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Change A. 11/8/10 7:35 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/8/10 8:09 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/8/10 8:33 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings mico mico 11/9/10 3:42 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/9/10 6:55 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Daniel M. Ingram 11/9/10 12:34 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/9/10 8:24 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings pikko wright 11/9/10 10:56 PM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/10/10 5:21 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/10/10 7:51 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Daniel M. Ingram 11/10/10 11:29 AM
RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings Johannes Bugenhagen 11/10/10 10:46 PM
AF people,

You have no subjective experience of passions, drives, emotions or identity.

You have lost the faculty by which they could be experienced.

It is possible that:

a) there are no passions, drives, emotions, identity extant in you / operating upon you in any way whatsoever.

b) there are, but you are blind to them.

Objectively, how do you determine which is true?

What do other people say about you?

Do the people closest to you believe that you still have feelings / passions / drives operating?

Do they claim that you act as if you do?

If so, have you (and in what way have you) tried to objectively test the possibility that they might be right?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 3:31 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
AF people,

You have no subjective experience of passions, drives, emotions or identity.

You have lost the faculty by which they could be experienced.

It is possible that:

a) there are no passions, drives, emotions, identity extant in you / operating upon you in any way whatsoever.

b) there are, but you are blind to them.


Something happens that would be hard to guess prior as the self was always your experience. You only realize after how the self was the passions, drives, emotions and identity


What do other people say about you?


I haven't mentioned it apart from on DhO


Do the people closest to you believe that you still have feelings / passions / drives operating?


Most likely because unless a person is investigating their beliefs they tend to cling to them


Do they claim that you act as if you do?


No. By the way there is still sensation and perception there is no affective state of consciousness.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 2:53 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
You are actually free now Jeff?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 3:24 AM as a reply to Jason Lissel.
Jason L:
You are actually free now Jeff?


Hi Jason,

The jury is still out. There has been a change since September and as I mentioned above it would be hard to guess how (I cease to be and this is different than a PCE as there is no turning back once the self is gone) prior as the self was always your experience.

After this I had one dream and once you realize how the self was the totality of your experience you would know that dreams of this nature are a self experience. Since then occasionally sporadic images have occurred just upon waking.

cheers
Jeff

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 4:39 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
John Wilde:

It is possible that:

a) there are no passions, drives, emotions, identity extant in you / operating upon you in any way whatsoever.

b) there are, but you are blind to them.


Something happens that would be hard to guess prior as the self was always your experience. You only realize after how the self was the passions, drives, emotions and identity



In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 5:44 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:


In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.


What about a third option, the self is in abeyance as in PCE or the self is extinct as in AF?

Experiencing no self is a self experience. While you are conscious of the real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity there is a self. It is this same self experience that gets in the way of the actual world

To fail to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity could happen due to dis-identifying, and dispassion which has nothing to do with the practice of HAIETMOBA, AF or PCE.


cheers
Jeff

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 6:27 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
John Wilde:


In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.


What about a third option, the self is in abeyance as in PCE or the self is extinct as in AF?


That is the first option, no?

I understand your view that passions, drives and emotions comprise identity. I can rephrase the above without reference to identity as distinct from passions, drives, emotions to make that clear:

"In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives and emotions (which comprise the self), or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives and emotions (which comprise the self). These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true".

Do you see what I am getting at?

To simplify: Without light you would experience total darkness. Without eyeballs you would experience total darkness. Same subjective experience, different objective situation. My question to AF people is what steps (if any) have you taken to ascertain whether your condition is an objective absence of passion and drives or merely a subjective blindness to passions and drives?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 7:44 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Good questions.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 11:04 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
HI John -

You wrote intitially:
"In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.".


and wrote later for the purpose of rephrasing:
In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives and emotions (which comprise the self), or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives and emotions (which comprise the self). These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true


AF people claim no self (without 'claim' implying attachment as in having a 'stake' in no self), therefor, in logic, experiencing a real absence of something self-based is on par with failing to experience something self-based: neither experiencing and failed experiencing exist where there is no self on which to alight (in reference to your list: passions, drives and emotions).

Meanwhile experiencing your list may occur through an AFers sense perceptions: i.e., they may see/hear/feel the presentation of these in others.

An AFer is asked to confirm, correct or entirely disspell the above, however.



[EDIT: I bolded changed language, where removal of "identity" could not be bolded]

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 4:12 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
AF people,

You have no subjective experience of passions, drives, emotions or identity.

You have lost the faculty by which they could be experienced.

It is possible that:

a) there are no passions, drives, emotions, identity extant in you / operating upon you in any way whatsoever.

b) there are, but you are blind to them.

Objectively, how do you determine which is true?

an identity blind to its feelings is a callous one and is discernable by a dissociated sense of presence and (as is the case with feeling beings in general, callous or otherwise) a lack of sensitivity to what is actual. from this, the experience of what it is to be a living human being with no identity whatsoever has a markedly different flavour; being absent of this presence entirely, i am flush with sensitivity (colours and shapes are vibrantly striking, sounds are rich and crisp, the air on my skin - the largest sense organ - is both warm and cool and has an indubitably friendly character; changes are pronounced). it is safe here where i am.. there is nothing to be recalcitrant toward or callous about.

what i have 'lost', by being here, is 'being', which is not merely the faculty by which passions, drives, emotions, and identity can be experienced... rather, the faculty is itself those things (those things are themselves the faculty of their experience).


John Wilde:

What do other people say about you?

many things, but some of the ones which may be relevant here that i've heard are: that i'm seemingly happy/peaceful all the time; that i am like a stranger (a different person/a different kind of person); that i am refreshing to be around. also: that i'm a maniac; that i'm mean; that i'm evil; that i'm indifferent; that i don't care.

two feeling beings who had previously both spent a great deal of time with me have been with me at the same time and have reported completely different (and incongruent) takes on my character and the nature of my intentions. yet this oughtn't be surprising, as the feelings that feeling beings can feel 'about' even something so straight-forward and simple as an actually free person going about his day can vary greatly ... and can change on a dime.

feelings are blind - as instinctual passions, they are not ever 'about' anything ... and as emotions, they are only ever about 'me'.


John Wilde:

Do the people closest to you believe that you still have feelings / passions / drives operating?

Do they claim that you act as if you do?

when people operate on the basis of their feelings (whether 'bad' or 'good') or passions and drives (whether invidious or tender), they inevitably feel that i have both the 'bad' feelings and 'good' feelings operating (they project them for me) and react to those feelings accordingly (whether happily, or fearfully, or sadly, or angrily, or otherwise).

i have noticed that there is often a clear correspondence between the feelings another (a feeling being) feels i have and the feelings which they are feeling themselves. for example, i was called 'evil' by a person who at the time felt frightened.. and 'indifferent' by a person who at the time felt lonely.


John Wilde:

If so, have you (and in what way have you) tried to objectively test the possibility that they might be right?

let me put what your question here means into perspective by way of analogy: if you were to be told by people around you that you are, one and all, living in a dream, that you need only feel it for yourself to know that it is a dream, that there is no way to verify that you are not a dream (because any attempt at such verification would necessarily make use of dream-logic), and further, that because of the very fact that you are here you cannot have woken from the dream, would you (and in what way would you) try to objectively test the possibility that they might be right?

if i am told by people around me that i must have feelings because all humans have feelings, that i would know this if i could only feel those feelings for myself, that there can be no way for me to verify that i do not have feelings (because whatever attempt i make to verify this would itself be laced with and motivated by feelings), and further, that because of the very fact that i am not dead i must have feelings, i may respond by counter-question (and in doing so point out the errors in their premisses) ... or i may not respond at all (as this way of questioning is likely unquenchable, and in any case, indulging it is not practicably conducive to their achievement of freedom).


*


while it is obviously hypothetically possible that a person could be mistaken about being actually free, i cannot comment on it personally as i do not firsthand know what that would be like, having never before even considered that i might have been actually free when i wasn't. simply nothing had even remotely suggested that possibility to me (even in a pce, there was the knowing that the condition is temporary when i reflected on it).

practically speaking, the only way to ascertain for oneself whether another person is actually free or not is to be either actually free oneself (or, at the very least, currently having a pce). the best one can do otherwise is to believe or disbelieve or suspend belief.

tarin

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 4:24 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
Jeff Grove:
John Wilde:


In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.


What about a third option, the self is in abeyance as in PCE or the self is extinct as in AF?


That is the first option, no?


Hi John,

The first option is what is referred to as No Self or the Non Dual experience. AF is different, the best description would be the universe experiencing it self as a flesh and blood human being. It is hard to convey to someone who has never known anything other then the self experience. This is why a PCE is crucial to provide the insight into the possibility of achieving AF.


I understand your view that passions, drives and emotions comprise identity. I can rephrase the above without reference to identity as distinct from passions, drives, emotions to make that clear:


John the self is passions
the self is the drives (action, intent, will)
the self is emotions

At its very basic "I am feeling, feeling is me"
the very source is instinctive passions, drive fuels emotions and all this is the self and the self is each one of these.

"In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives and emotions (which comprise the self), or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives and emotions (which comprise the self). These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true".

Do you see what I am getting at?


I do as I fell for the same trap. you need to investigate HAMETMOBA and PCE for further insight


To simplify: Without light you would experience total darkness. Without eyeballs you would experience total darkness. Same subjective experience, different objective situation. My question to AF people is what steps (if any) have you taken to ascertain whether your condition is an objective absence of passion and drives or merely a subjective blindness to passions and drives?


There is a difference it can only be found via investigation I have dropped hints of how it is throughout my recent postings on AF. I could come out and point out exactly how it works but how is that going to help you in the long run. Attain a PCE experience the wonder of this moment this will give you immediate insight as to why its not a subjective experience, why its 180 degrees opposite to the non dual experience.

I have shown no mercy in my relentless investigation for the past couple of years, testing and retesting what investigation has dug up. The steps you need to take to get to the bottom of this is experiential investigation, reflective contemplation and discussing it with your fellow travelers. How is your practice going?

have a great weekend
Jeff

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/30/10 11:13 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
@Tarin: please note, I am not talking about dissociated identity or whether any particular person is actually free. I am inquiring about actual freedom itself, the real thing, and whether it is (actually) what it seems (experientially) to be.

tarin greco:

what i have 'lost', by being here, is 'being', which is not merely the faculty by which passions, drives, emotions, and identity can be experienced... rather, the faculty is itself those things (those things are themselves the faculty of their experience).


I don't think it is that simple. Passions have a subjective / experiential aspect but they also have an objective / behavioral aspect. The two don't always match up neatly. There are neurological and psychiatric conditions (like alexithymia) in which traits and deficits are clearly observable by third parties but not by the person affected (no matter how sincere they are). Much is known about the experiential aspect of AF but not much is known about the behavioral aspects.

That is why I am asking: what steps, if any, have you taken to ascertain whether actual freedom is a genuine objective absence of passions, not mere blindness to them? For example, have you even taken small steps like asking close acquaintances: "have you seen me behaving angrily, or jealously, or domineeringly, or competitively, or ( . . . ) since I became actually free?"

Your reply suggests that you have not, and would not, because your world view precludes the possibility. Any observation that would contradict your self-assessment would be proof of error, bias or projection on their part. This, ironically, fits your dream analogy better than anything I suggested. The better analogy for what I am asking is: does it appear dark because there is no light or because there is something wrong with my eyes? Both are possible. Relying only on direct experience is not the way to find out.

@Jeff: For the same reason, the PCE does not answer this question.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 5:59 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
@Tarin: please note, I am not talking about dissociated identity or whether any particular person is actually free. I am inquiring about actual freedom itself, the real thing, and whether it is (actually) what it seems (experientially) to be.

yes.. and as i understood that you were inquiring about that, i had answered about that in my previous post, viz:
tarin greco:

practically speaking, the only way to ascertain for oneself whether another person is actually free or not is to be either actually free oneself (or, at the very least, currently having a pce). the best one can do otherwise is to believe or disbelieve or suspend belief.


as what you are inquiring about is an actual freedom itself, the real thing, i have here answered about (an instance of) actual freedom itself, the real thing (as the condition of a flesh-and-blood body that is actually free). put simply, there is no such thing as an actual freedom without an actually free human to be experiencing it. as such, one cannot know what an actual freedom is unless one knows what an actually free human is. in order to know what an actually free human is, one has to know the actual human ... and this can only be known in such a way that is necessarily absent of all one's fantasies, illusions, and delusions about the actually free human; neither such fantasies, illusions, and delusions nor the hearsay fantasies, illusions, and delusions of others can ever satisfy this condition of knowledge (and one's propensity for such fantasies, illusions, and delusions will keep one susceptible to their insidious occurrences and so blind one to the conditions that actually obtain, just as others' propensities for same will keep them susceptible to same and blind them in like fashion). hence, what it is to know what an actual freedom itself is, the real thing, is to know firsthand what an actual freedom itself is, the real thing; only by knowing the condition for oneself can the condition of actual freedom itself be known[1].


John Wilde:

tarin greco:

what i have 'lost', by being here, is 'being', which is not merely the faculty by which passions, drives, emotions, and identity can be experienced... rather, the faculty is itself those things (those things are themselves the faculty of their experience).


I don't think it is that simple. Passions have a subjective / experiential aspect but they also have an objective / behavioral aspect. The two don't always match up neatly. There are neurological and psychiatric conditions (like alexithymia) in which traits and deficits are clearly observable by third parties but not by the person affected (no matter how sincere they are). Much is known about the experiential aspect of AF but not much is known about the behavioral aspects.

That is why I am asking: what steps, if any, have you taken to ascertain whether actual freedom is a genuine objective absence of passions, not mere blindness to them? For example, have you even taken small steps like asking close acquaintances: "have you seen me behaving angrily, or jealously, or domineeringly, or competitively, or ( . . . ) since I became actually free?"

yes, and i have already told you some of the things feeling beings have claimed to have 'seen' about me when i have asked (they did not always volunteer this information). for example:
tarin greco:

many things, but some of the ones which may be relevant here that i've heard are: that i'm seemingly happy/peaceful all the time; that i am like a stranger (a different person/a different kind of person); that i am refreshing to be around. also: that i'm a maniac; that i'm mean; that i'm evil; that i'm indifferent; that i don't care.

and
tarin greco:

i have noticed that there is often a clear correspondence between the feelings another (a feeling being) feels i have and the feelings which they are feeling themselves. for example, i was called 'evil' by a person who at the time felt frightened.. and 'indifferent' by a person who at the time felt lonely.

again, in case you overlooked it this second time (where it is written immediately above) as you likely overlooked it the first: i have been called, among other things, happy and peaceful all the time, a stranger, refreshing, a maniac, mean, evil, indifferent, and uncaring.

if list of red herrings isn't long enough to satisfy what seeks them here, i will note that i have also been deemed indifferent, aggressive, resentful, dismissive, aloof, pushy, arrogant, robotic, condescending, loving, callous, an asshole, mean-spirited, negligent, critical, irreverent, judgemental, selfish, cold, blissed out, delusional, sad, fake-sad, manipulative, bored ... and the list goes on.[2]

yet, there is also the case of feeling being x who, of all people, likely knows me best (and with whom i have, historically, interacted the most); upon hearing that i had been called some of those things owing to my behaviour at times when they (feeling being x) were also present, they responded: 'there was no question to me that your behaviour was indicative of an actually free person. i saw no evidence otherwise, and much evidence that you have no feelings.'

this person went on to say:

'i'd never been with someone for many days in a row and seen zero evidence of the movement of being... some people for whom it's heavy it's obvious, and others it comes and goes but i see it occasionally. you were the first. in activity and interaction all day long, both when we were alone and with other people, even when physically tired, there was no irritation, only enjoyment all day long, in situations involving chaotic environmental conditions, other people's frustrations, other people's moods. i also saw no indifference... i saw caring and attentiveness toward other people, and toward all things not-self. the only attention you paid to yourself was for physical maintenance like checking blisters on your feet or for the convenience of others like changing your shirt when you noticed it smelled. on a particularly long day full of walking and talking and interaction in a busy polluted hectic city, with physical pain, grumpy company, and several times handling phone calls from stressed out family members, you showed no signs of mood fluctuation or mental tiredness at all.. yet upon reaching the car at the end of the day you conked out asleep within minutes.'


John Wilde:

Your reply suggests that you have not [taken even small steps to ascertain whether actual freedom is a genuine objective absence of passions, not mere blindness to them], and would not [take those steps], because your world view precludes the possibility.

as you clearly did not read my reply with both eyes open (i have reprinted parts of it above), what you here say my reply suggested can only be what you have suggested to yourself that it did.


John Wilde:

Any observation that would contradict your self-assessment would be proof of error, bias or projection on their part.

whereas i have actually attended with curiosity and interest to the observations that have been made that have contradicted my self-assessment, i am able to tell you that the bases of those observations have been almost invariably accompanied by the observing feeling being's own feelings, and their feelings about how i am supposedly feeling. as i remember clearly life run by the capricious whims of an identity, i know for myself that an account concomitant with those factors is deeply unreliable... particularly when those factors are out in full force.


John Wilde:

This, ironically, fits your dream analogy better than anything I suggested. The better analogy for what I am asking is: does it appear dark because there is no light or because there is something wrong with my eyes? Both are possible.

hmm.. irrespective of whether or not i am affectless (and irrespective of whether or not i can tell what is actually the case there), you, as a feeling being, are in an impossible position to determine this. to borrow your analogy (and modify it a bit): if you already know that something is wrong with your eyes, by what means will you distinguish whether it appears dark because there is no light or because something is wrong with your eyes? further, if you already know that something is wrong with your eyes, how can you trust what appears might be wrong with mine or trust that you know how i could determine the conditions of their defect?[3]

look, if you really wish to know about what an actual freedom is, the only sensible thing to do, metaphorically-speaking, is to fix your eyes first, if it is possible. and while i am telling you that it is humanly possible to to never be distressed, sad, angry, or afraid ever again (and that i know this because i lack the conditions necessary to be distressed, sad, angry, or afraid ever again), you cannot know that this is possible (or that my claim is valid) until you verify it for yourself.

rather than either believe or disbelieve what i tell you, here is what i recommend: forget about this issue of belief, pay attention to what it is to be a human being, alive, figure out for yourself whether it is silly or sensible to ever be alive in a way that is distressed, sad, angry, or afraid (likely exploring your beliefs in the process), implement for yourself that answer, and come back to the subject only then.

if, having sincerely and wholeheartedly done the above experiment, you reach different conclusions (from the ones i reached), or find that your conclusions (about feeling bad) are the same as mine were (it is always silly) but that they (the conclusions) still cannot be implemented (such that you can never be free of being distressed, sad, angry, or afraid), i would be very interested to know about those results and how you came about them. but let's wait till then to correspond about this more.. i am not inclined to spend 10 years at the keyboard like richard did.

tarin

[1] tragicomically, it is possible here to argue that by this reasoning an actual freedom may make one blind not only to one's own affects but also to the affects of others who are actually free, and that this blindness to both does not constitute the absence of either. further, if this were the case, then if everyone in the world were to become actually free, no one would be able to see anyone else's affects (which may possibly still be operating and expressing through their behaviour in some undetected manner) ... and so no one would have any idea that anyone were still suffering (as everyone would be too busy enjoying themselves and getting along wonderfully).

[2] perhaps the only (general) thing no one has said yet of me is that i am afraid (though it's likely just a matter of time).

[3] and if you do not know that something is wrong with your eyes (because you don't see why it is a problem to be a feeling being), we are likely operating on premisses too disparate to effectively communicate on the topic.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 1:38 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

i have noticed that there is often a clear correspondence between the feelings another (a feeling being) feels i have and the feelings which they are feeling themselves. for example, i was called 'evil' by a person who at the time felt frightened.. and 'indifferent' by a person who at the time felt lonely.


Please explain how it is that you know the feelings of another being in this context. Do you explicitly ask them before their assessment of you or after they have assessed you?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 2:15 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
As far as I understand, there are physiological effects that accompany emotions. Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, pupil dilation, muscle tension etc. In theory, couldn't an objective test be formulated to ascertain whether AF is really absence of (the feelings which comprise) 'being' through the monitoring of physiology?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 3:09 PM as a reply to Kevin Andrew.
Kevin Andrew:
tarin greco:

i have noticed that there is often a clear correspondence between the feelings another (a feeling being) feels i have and the feelings which they are feeling themselves. for example, i was called 'evil' by a person who at the time felt frightened.. and 'indifferent' by a person who at the time felt lonely.


Please explain how it is that you know the feelings of another being in this context. Do you explicitly ask them before their assessment of you or after they have assessed you?


in those two cases, i explicitly asked the persons about their feelings; in the former case, after, and in the latter case, before, they voiced their assessments.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 3:44 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
So can we take this as evidence that you no longer have the ability to evaluate the emotional state of others except through direct questioning?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 3:51 PM as a reply to Kevin Andrew.
Kevin Andrew:
So can we take this as evidence that you no longer have the ability to evaluate the emotional state of others except through direct questioning?


you can take this as evidence that i am no longer beset by the illusion that i have an ability to evaluate (the) emotional states (of others).

it is now extraordinarily easy, on the other hand, to be attentive to the words, deeds, behaviours, and facial expressions of other people and to act accordingly (and, as is usually appropriate, courteously).

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 4:45 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:
John Wilde:
@Tarin: please note, I am not talking about dissociated identity or whether any particular person is actually free. I am inquiring about actual freedom itself, the real thing, and whether it is (actually) what it seems (experientially) to be.

yes.. and as i understood that you were inquiring about that, i had answered about that in my previous post, viz:
tarin greco:

practically speaking, the only way to ascertain for oneself whether another person is actually free or not is to be either actually free oneself (or, at the very least, currently having a pce). the best one can do otherwise is to believe or disbelieve or suspend belief.



Actually, this demonstrates that you didn't understand, and still don't.

I said "I am not talking about (. . .) whether any particular person is actually free", but you say you already answered this with "the only way to ascertain for oneself whether another person is actually free (. . .)"

The substance of my inquiry is not whether any person is actually free but whether the objective (behavioral) and subjective (experiential) aspects of actual freedom line up.

More to the point, my becoming actually free would not enable me to determine whether AF is actually an objective absence of passions (and passion driven behaviors) rather than an experiential blindness to their influence upon me. The reason is obvious: I too would be blind to their influence.

tarin greco:

[1] tragicomically, it is possible here to argue that by this reasoning an actual freedom may make one blind not only to one's own affects but also to the affects of others who are actually free, and that this blindness to both does not constitute the absence of either. further, if this were the case, then if everyone in the world were to become actually free, no one would be able to see anyone else's affects (which may possibly still be operating and expressing through their behaviour in some undetected manner) ... and so no one would have any idea that anyone were still suffering (as everyone would be too busy enjoying themselves and getting along wonderfully).


That would be tragicomic, but this one is less so and more relevant:

It is possible to argue that actual freedom may make one blind to one's own affects, although this blindness does not constitute the absence of self-serving passions and drives. If this were the case, many people would be unwittingly aspiring to a condition in which their passions are still operating and expressing through their behavior in some subjectively undetectable manner, but having a ball and promoting themselves as utterly innocent in the process.

The gist of my question was always what steps, if any, you have taken to rule out this possibility. I was hoping to see a response that included something like this:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1207288

and maybe more. But apart from the (interesting but second-hand) reports of "feeling-being x" there is only self-assessment.

Thank you for your time anyway.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 4:53 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
So given that empathy is an illusion, in these 2 given cases you could not, by observation, evaluate the emotional state of the people involved? You had to ask? What motivated you to ask how they were feeling?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 5:55 PM as a reply to Kevin Andrew.
Kevin Andrew:
So given that empathy is an illusion, in these 2 given cases you could not, by observation, evaluate the emotional state of the people involved?

as i could not then (as i cannot now) observe what does not actually exist, i could not then have, by observation, evaluated the emotional state of the people involved in those two given instances. oh i could have taken a guess based on the situational context, their facial expressions, and their behaviours (and in fact did so, and guessed accurately in both those cases), but ultimately it is for the feeling being in question (or the feeling beings around them) to confirm or deny what their particular feeling-experience(s) is/are like.


Kevin Andrew:

You had to ask?

as, in addition to not experiencing my emotions i do not experience anyone else's either, i can only go by the accounts other people put forth of their feelings. if you would like an analogy, it is similar to how i must go by the accounts people give of their experiences of, say, ghosts or the monsters in their closets/under their beds or a god/gods/God to make any sense of them at all, and how i do this without considering for a moment that these things actually exist (but understanding all the while how others, for whom those imaginary experiences are vivid and fervent, would).


Kevin Andrew:

What motivated you to ask how they were feeling?

interest in their experience and concern about their well-being. to borrow a term: fellowship regard[1]

tarin

[1] have a look at the last section of this particular correspondence (on the 24th of october, 2005).

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
10/31/10 9:39 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
It seems to me that taking a guess based on context, facial expression etc. is making an evaluation. You imply that you did this consciously ('...taken a guess...and in fact did so...') rather than having some internal mechanism do the processing for you, as would be the case for me where it is generally an automatic and unconscious process of identifying with the other. The tendency to try to identify with another (as in the mechanism or process) is part of that which you have rendered extinct, correct?

You were interested in their experience (for whatever reason; I've always considered curiosity to imply emotional involvement but I'll not assume that here) and concerned about their well-being (similar caveat as above...) so you attempted to confirm what I call their emotional state. Is it accurate to say you have traded an autonomous process of identification for a conscious process of evaluation of a state (say anger) that I would say I can experience but you say you cannot and which in fact doesn't exist?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/1/10 7:07 PM as a reply to Kevin Andrew.
Kevin Andrew:
It seems to me that taking a guess based on context, facial expression etc. is making an evaluation. You imply that you did this consciously ('...taken a guess...and in fact did so...') rather than having some internal mechanism do the processing for you, as would be the case for me where it is generally an automatic and unconscious process of identifying with the other. The tendency to try to identify with another (as in the mechanism or process) is part of that which you have rendered extinct, correct?

what i made an evaluation of was another person's behaviour and action in a particular context, and not any emotional state, and yet from their behaviour i could infer (with some probability of error) that the person would report experiencing some emotion or the other (and which behaviour they demonstrate and in what context will determine which emotion i would guess they would report feeling). it is similar to evaluating how a child likely believes in the tooth fairy if they hide a deciduous tooth under their pillow at night (and are not aware that it is a parent, or some other adult, who switches the tooth for money).[1]

with the apperceptive faculty[2] available, the urge to identify with others is no longer necessary for getting along with them, and is, in fact, past its sell-by date (when the returns for perpetuating such identification become outstripped by the cost of doing so).


Kevin Andrew:

You were interested in their experience (for whatever reason; I've always considered curiosity to imply emotional involvement but I'll not assume that here) and concerned about their well-being (similar caveat as above...) so you attempted to confirm what I call their emotional state.

i can confirm that neither interest nor curiosity, nor concern for the well-being of another person, necessarily involves an emotional involvement or identification of any kind. to borrow a phrase: feeling beings do not have a corner on caring[3].


Kevin Andrew:

Is it accurate to say you have traded an autonomous process of identification for a conscious process of evaluation of a state (say anger) that I would say I can experience but you say you cannot and which in fact doesn't exist?

almost; i have essentially traded that evolutionarily-endowed-passionally-driven (and socially-conditioned) process of identification (and relationship) for an ability to determine, whether consciously or otherwise, what my fellow human beings and i actually get up to here and now (and an on-going intimacy with them whatever we do get up to).

tarin

[1] this short selection on the topic of theory of mind may be useful reading.

[2] apperception, as i am using the term, refers not only to ‘the introspective or reflective apprehension by the mind of its own inner states’[4] but also necessarily includes an apprehension of the mind’s apprehension itself. a more fleshed-out description can be found here: attentiveness and sensuousness and apperceptiveness.

[3] another example, and a short explanation of the purpose, of actual caring can be found here.

[4] Runes, D.D. (1942), The Dictionary of Philosophy

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/1/10 2:28 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hello John,

I think I can understand what you’re trying to figure out, and it sounds like a healthy inquiry. I can look at it in different ways. From the point of view of someone who has never had a PCE and never seen the affective self or “feeling being” in suspension, quieted, or gradually diminishing over time, it makes perfect sense to ask the question “how do you know for sure?” while on the other hand, for a person who is AF or has had PCEs and is moving towards AF, the thought that an “AF” person could be mistaken sounds very far-fetched. There are many reasons for this.

But first, let's get the definition straight: from what I understand, the abbreviation A.F. stands for “Actually Free” from all emotional charges and their root cause (affective self/being), not “Apparently Free” or “Apparently Actually Free.” Given this definition of AF, confusion and misunderstanding can result from saying things like “I would like to know if the AF condition is really actually free from emotions or if AF people are failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity.” This question needs not be asked because the definition of AF already answers it: an AF person IS Actually Free, not just Apparently Free. So it sounds like what you’re really trying to ask is “If you claim to be AF, how do you know for sure that you are, and don’t just seem to be from your experience?” which is what Tarin has tried to answer. But then you say,

"I am not talking about (. . .) whether any particular person is actually free"

which leaves me confused.
I also find this interesting: John you said,

“The substance of my inquiry is not whether any person is actually free but whether the objective (behavioral) and subjective (experiential) aspects of actual freedom line up.”

Does that mean that you’re assuming that there exist behavioral actions that are indicative (in the absolute sense) of various emotions/moods? That there are certain actions that can only be caused by certain emotions? If so, could you give some examples? I don’t know the absolute answer to this, but what I know is that all my life I’ve tried to stay away from making assumptions/conclusions about what people are actually feeling from my perception of their behavior, because my “knowledge” about what’s what is most likely very flawed and limited and distorted by my own feelings.

Alright, back to the reasons why the question “could the AF condition actually be an Apparent Freedom condition mistaken to be an Actual Freedom?” sounds far-fetched to someone with PCE and progress-towards-AF experience:

--From my experience of making life more PCE-like over the years, together with vipassana meditation, and from hearing about the experiences of countless others who go the AF or vipassana route or both, it is obvious that these practices seem to help make meditators become much much much more in touch with their emotions, not less. And not just in the sense of “I know what I feel,” but in much greater depth—investigating the energy components of emotions, the inner triggers, the external triggers, the awareness of first arising of an emotion, the durations, the mental and physical effects of the emotions on the body in terms of health, tension, sensation, alertness, reactivity etc. etc. For some, this aspect of the practice of becoming more in tune with emotions results in the affective charges becoming weaker over time as one starts to see with increasing clarity the silliness of staging the same selfish and harmful dramas over and over in one’s head. This is only one reason why when Tarin told me he had finally become AF I had little reason to doubt it was only “apparently/subjectively true” and after hanging out with him for a few weeks I found it quite impossible to suspect that he wasn’t. In the fifteen years I’ve known him, I have seen him taking apart his emotions in ways that the average person would never do (like in ways mentioned above), as well as allowing his friends to prod and pry and analyze them to bits with him for hours and hours. He always had this rare determination to understand everything there was to be understood inside—a painstaking, humiliating and rewarding process totally opposite of avoidance or denial. To me it is obvious that in Tarin’s condition there is no mental illness glitch or miracle involved, no more than how a doctor becomes able to treat patients and deliver babies after ten years of med school.

--The process of development towards AF is experienced as a very logical and natural cause-effect change towards more insight, integration of insight, and greater well-being, and in my experience, part of the evidence of authentically greater mental health can be seen in its physical effects--the physical body also enjoys less short term and long term tension, illness or discomfort as a result. I can’t imagine that the physical body would be responding and healing in this way if I were actually going through a process of creating greater denial and avoidance of problems like building a stronger and stronger plug for a volcano.

--John said,
“More to the point, my becoming actually free would not enable me to determine whether AF is actually an objective absence of passions (and passion driven behaviors) rather than an experiential blindness to their influence upon me. The reason is obvious: I too would be blind to their influence.”
Moving towards AF, one becomes more and more able to see that their influence=me. The emotions/emotional influences themselves are what make up the me, the feeling entity. As this process unfolds, one’s blindness towards the emotions and what sorts of cunning tricks they are doing becomes more and more shattered, and one becomes more in touch and in tune with the arising of emotions. It is the opposite of going towards more blindness—more and more, the emotions are explored and seen for what they actually are (that is, me my feeling self) and what is also seen is that it is absurd to think “my emotions are (verb)-ing me.” The more this is seen, the less of that “victim drama” one generates inside, the weaker the emotional charges get, and automatically the less me there is to get influenced (dissolution of self illusion), because that me is nothing but the emotions themselves.

--Since we love analogies on this forum let me make another…let’s say feelings are like homemade fruit juice that gets produced somewhere in the house. The house is the person, the individual. The house knows that there is usually fruit juice sitting around, but doesn’t know how or where it is made. One AF house comes along and says, “I know for sure that there can never be any more juice in my house. I have gotten rid of its source. There is no juice to be seen right now and none to be produced ever again.” The inquiring house says, “But how do you know that your juice is really actually completely gone? Maybe you just don’t see it, it’s behind some stuff in the fridge, or you’ve just stopped drinking it and have learned to ignore it completely.” The problem is that the inquirer has not seen the juice machine and not seen how the juice is made from this juice maker. To him, the home made juice production is like a default characteristic of the house—“emotions are always there, they’re part of being human.” As a result, it is impossible for him to imagine how the source of the juice could possibly be thrown out, but that is exactly what the AF person has done—trace the emotions back to their source, come to understand exactly what they are and how they arise, and then throw out the emotion-producer altogether. It’s not that the AF person has just stopped seeing and drinking the juice. The AF person has dismantled the source of feeling, and in order to have done so, had to understand more about emotions than we people who feel them, live with them and react to them all day long.

In Tarin’s case, even before he got AF (but was approaching it) he was able to understand my emotions very insightfully, how they would arise and what chain reactions they caused, how to observe and accept them, etc. and his insight and support often helped me get through rough patches in my life, provided I was willing to put aside my pride and preoccupation with external events and face his brutal honesty. After he got AF, those insights were in no way diminished, only sharpened as a result of his selfish personal crap being gone.

hope this helps
-Jill

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/1/10 7:57 PM as a reply to Jill Morana.
Hello Jill,

You have understood my concerns very well, despite the confusing terminology, and I appreciate your thoughtful response.

I'll stick with the standard definition of Actual Freedom as an actual absence of any passions or drives whatsoever.

In this post I'll use EF and BF as shorthand for the Experiential and Behavioral aspects of freedom.

EF + BF = AF

AF entails both EF and BF.

But EF does not necessarily entail BF, and BF does not necessarily entail EF.

EF without BF is what you call "Apparent Freedom". And BF without EF is sainthood :-)

In these terms, I have been asking how people have tried to ascertain that they are AF and not merely EF.

I would still argue that the PCE (which I've experienced a few times, by the way) does not resolve this matter because it confirms EF but not BF. To assume that any EF state is also a BF state because it seems that way experientially is to beg the question (it assumes what we are trying to ascertain). Something more than direct personal experience is needed to evaluate BF, because experience can and does have blind spots.

This leads to your question "Does that mean that you’re assuming that there exist behavioral actions that are indicative (in the absolute sense) of various emotions/moods? That there are certain actions that can only be caused by certain emotions?"

I don't know, but I think so. For example, if somebody who sincerely believes they are actually free is observed to shout at people, or break down in tears, or hit or shake someone, or huff and puff and throw objects in apparent exasperation, or lash out at people verbally, or act as if extremely horny, or frequently engage in what seems like jealous or competitive behavior, without seeming to be aware of this or rationalizing it in unconvincing ways when challenged about it, it would be at least grounds for suspicion that their EF isn't BF and therefore not AF. To them it would seem like AF, and they would claim it with the utmost sincerity, but a first person perspective is just not enough, because the experiencer may have blind spots.

Your reasoning about the meticulous study of feelings involved in becoming AF (or at least EF) makes sense, though it is no certainty that this process of examination is what leads to AF. At the last gasp, 'self'-immolation may be a desperate act of repression and denial, leaving an EF person who is blind to any remaining passions operating upon them (them = organism as a whole). That's why I think objective corroboration is needed.

The fact that you have known Tarin for 15 years, have spent weeks in his company since he became AF, and have found his behavior entirely consistent with his self-assessment is very interesting and very relevant.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Jill, it is much appreciated.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/1/10 8:50 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
So I have the impression that because you do not subscribe to the reality of 'emotional experience' then it doesn't exist globally. Very well. However taking the tooth-fairy analogy, in the end the tooth becomes money and the child cannot argue with that experience. As an aside you may want to chose more neutral analogies, they could be misinterpreted by us feeling beings emoticon
tarin greco:
almost; i have essentially traded that evolutionarily-endowed-passionally-driven (and socially-conditioned) process of identification (and relationship) for an ability to determine, whether consciously or otherwise, what my fellow human beings and i actually get up to here and now (and an on-going intimacy with them whatever we do get up to).

If as you say the affective faculty and the illusory emotions that go with it are eliminated, if ‘that evolutionarily-endowed-passionally-driven (and socially-conditioned) process of identification (and relationship)’ no longer exists, then what is this ‘otherwise’ process that performs the determination, if what you are doing is not conscious? Here we return to the original intent of the thread. If there is an ‘otherwise’ then should it not be investigated to see if and/or how it is different from what I claim to experience? Or is this a mistake?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/1/10 10:19 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:


I don't know, but I think so. For example, if somebody who sincerely believes they are actually free is observed to shout at people, or break down in tears, or hit or shake someone, or huff and puff and throw objects in apparent exasperation, or lash out at people verbally, or act as if extremely horny, or frequently engage in what seems like jealous or competitive behavior, without seeming to be aware of this or rationalizing it in unconvincing ways when challenged about it, it would be at least grounds for suspicion that their EF isn't BF and therefore not AF. To them it would seem like AF, and they would claim it with the utmost sincerity, but a first person perspective is just not enough, because the experiencer may have blind spots.



Hi John,

I think I understand what you are getting at here. If I understand you correctly, you are essentially asking if there are observable behavioral changes in a person who is actually free, which would support the claim that one has no affective faculty? I will answer your question based on this understanding, and if my understanding is incorrect, please let me know.

In one sense, the answer to your question is, of course, yes: there are observable behavioral changes which occur in one who is actually free. Shouting at someone, out of malice or anger, would not occur. Breaking down in tears, from sorrow, would not occur. Hitting or shaking someone, out of malice, would not occur. Huffing and puffing and throwing objects in exasperation, out of malice or frustration, would no occur; lashing out at someone verbally, from malicious anger would not occur; acting out of horniness, out of libidinal desire, would not occur; engaging in jealous or competitive behavior, out of malicious possessiveness, would not occur. None of these actions, with the emotional component which usually produces them, would occur.

However, if my daughter (or anyone, for that matter) were about to step into the street into oncoming traffic, I would shout at her to get out of the street. I would not be shouting out of malice; I'd be shouting for one reason only: to get her out of the street so she was not hit by a car and perhaps lethally injured.

I cannot imagine a scenario where I would break down in tears, as doing so can serve no useful purpose.

If someone broke into my home and attempted to assault me, I would hit them or shake them or do whatever physical action was necessary to protect my flesh and blood body, without one iota of malice or sorrow. My actions as it relates to them at that moment would have one purpose only: to protect myself from harm. Richard elaborates on just such a scenario here. [1]

I cannot imagine a scenario where I would huff and puff and throw objects, nor would I "lash out" at someone verbally because I can simply talk to the other person and it would never occur to me to do so rudely.

While I an unable to "act out of horniness," I am able enjoy sexual activity with my companion.

Again, competitive or jealous behavior serves no use value, and as feelings, such does not exist for me.


Judging an actual freedom on the basis of observation of one's "behavior" means that an actually free person will also be beholden to the perception of other people's notions and beliefs about what constitutes being free from the human condition. So to a vegetarian (to use a salient example), an actually free person who eats meat is not actually free of a self. To a jain, an actually free person who eats vegetables with seeds, or who doesn't filter their water just so, or walk with a broom with which to sweep insects out of the way, cannot possibly be actually free. To a celibate, an actually free person cannot possibly be actually free if they have sex. To a monk who has taken a vow of a silence, an actually free person cannot be actually free if they speak. To a politically committed activist, an actually free person cannot be actually free if they do not care about certain issues. A person who abstains from drinking alcohol will think one is not actually free if they have a beer; a person who objects to smoking will think a person cannot be actually free and smoke, and so on and so on one could go.

The standard which feeling beings often apply in their attempt to understand an actual freedom does not work because they constitute a set of beliefs which ignore the situational context of the actual world, which is always new each moment again, and which cannot be predictive. A better standard to apply to understanding what an actual freedom is in the context of behavior would be to ask: would there ever be a useful or a legitimate reason to do X? (X being whatever behavior you are attempting to analyze.)

What often happens when one attempts to verify if a person has attained to a state they've claimed, is that the behavior is evaluated for evidence of such claim. But the examination of a person's behavior is already clouded by a pre-existing notion in the mind of the examiner about what constitutes the appropriate behavior, based on various belief systems which then get applied to the behavior of another and each and every person has a unique and different pre-existing notion of what constitutes appropriate, or "free," behavior.

By way of analogy: In the middle of the night, my daughter awakens and needs to go to the bathroom. She communicates this to me and I tell her to go ahead, down the hall, to the bathroom. She says she cannot, because it is somewhat dark, and there are monsters in the darkness. I explain to her there are absolutely no monsters in the darkness and that she is perfectly safe. She disputes this vehemently and in the meantime becomes more agitated, so that she calls me both stupid and mean, for suggesting that she go to the bathroom by herself. So, I accompany her to the bathroom, turning on the light to reveal the monster-less-ness of the hallway. This doesn't really work as she is convinced the monsters are hiding behind a doorway or somewhere because as monsters, she explains, they are quite cunning. She is still afraid, looking around for the monsters she is certain are there. She trips as a result of this frantic looking around and concludes that she was correct, there are monsters after all, because they made her fall, and that I was cruel to ever suggest she go to the bathroom alone. She decides that I am a mean and uncaring mother who wishes her harm.

Her assessment of this situation is clearly flawed as she is evaluating it from a myopic perspective which is myopic due to her lack of experience. Her ability to assess my behavior, or the sense of harm in general, is unreliable. In time, and with experience, (in fact, with the very experience of going down the hallway alone), she will learn there are no monsters and that there was no cruelty at all in my suggestion that she go to the bathroom alone. My concern, as her steward, is that she learn the uselessness of her fear so she can live her life with less suffering; she, however, understands my actions differently and will not understand them until she's had enough experiences herself to verify what I say is true.

Furthermore, simple behavioral changes address the problem of human suffering at the most superficial level. If one wants to behave a certain way, one certainly can, and one can address these behavior "problems" through a range of therapies and medications designed to alter habitual patterns. But altering one's behavior, which is often a worthy enterprise, does not get to the root cause of human suffering or mean that one will be harmless. The Buddha faced similar criticisms related to what was seen as possibly unbecoming behavior from the holy men of his day; he did not physically present himself as the others did, he paid no attention to caste, and he taught and admitted women to the sangha (at Ananda's urging). Furthermore, sometimes others assessed the Buddha as a lazy parasite, not as someone who was enlightened and laboring for the benefit of all sentient beings.[2]

In short, while there are certain ways of behaving that are highly unlikely to be performed by an actually free person, the observation of mere behavioral changes will get one nowhere fast for two reasons: the first being that the assessment of behavior depends on the capacity of the assessor, and the second being that patterns of behavior alone say little about an individual's suffering, and hence, their harmlessness.


s.



[1] RESPONDENT: 5) Related to this (the link between ‘the inner’ and ‘the outer’), is it possible for someone who is actually free, happy and harmless, to freely, happily and harmlessly punch someone in the face?

RICHARD: First and foremost, as there is no ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ in actuality there is nothing here in this actual world to have any such linkage.

Second, to be actually free from the human condition is to be sans the affective faculty/ identity in toto.

Third, the happiness and harmlessness referred to on The Actual Freedom Trust web site is the total absence of malice and sorrow.

Fourth, to freely punch a fellow human being in the face is to utilise physical force non-prejudiciously.

Fifth, to happily punch a fellow human being in the face is to utilise physical force without sorrow.

Sixth, to harmlessly punch a fellow human being in the face is to utilise physical force without malice.

Thus your query can look something like this when spelled-out in full:

• [example only]: ‘With no ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ to have any linkage, is it possible for somebody sans the affective faculty/identity in toto, with no malice and sorrow extant whatsoever, to non-prejudiciously, non-maliciously and non-sorrowfully, use physical force on a fellow human being? [end example].

In a word ... yes.

RESPONDENT: I mean I’m talking ‘in context’ here – not just through malice, but to protect someone, or something like that.

RICHARD: Perhaps if I were to put it this way? One does not become actually free from the human condition in order to be beaten to a pulp by someone – anyone – who chooses to let themselves continue being run by blind nature’s instinctual survival passions.

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-harmless.htm



[2] http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha/2_8lbud.htm

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 2:47 AM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
Hi Stefanie,

Yes you do understand what I'm getting at. If I understand you correctly, you are pointing out that it can be difficult to ascertain whether someone is actually free based on actions alone, because the observer likely has faulty assumptions about how an affect-free person ought to behave, and also because there might be sensible non-affective reasons for acting in ways that might seem affect-driven (because they usually are, but needn't necessarily be). If so, all clear, all agreed.

As Nad pointed out in message # 1207288 , there are physiological 'signatures' associated with certain affects. If A thinks B is behaving angrily, but B says that's impossible because she has eliminated anger at the source and is only acting this way because it is sensible, some empirical data could help to determine who is right.

If the physiological signature of anger is registered in a typically anger-provoking situation, it would suggest that B is free from the experience of anger but not actually free from its influence. If there is no physiological signature of anger, it shows that B is not only free from the experience of anger but also actually free from its influence.

I would like to point out that I am not, in any way whatsoever, urging any actually free person to subject themselves to any kind of external scrutiny by any self-appointed judge (least of all me) or by some committee of experts with a rubber stamp marked "AF", or anything of the sort. I am only interested in whether you guys yourselves have taken, or would take, any steps to find out whether your behavior matches your assumptions about yourselves, particularly if and when the people around you frequently say that it doesn't.

@Daniel Ingram: I realize this line of questioning is inconsistent with the practical focus of the forum, and don't intend to keep it up much longer (if at all).

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 2:48 AM as a reply to Jill Morana.
TJ Broccoli:

Does that mean that you’re assuming that there exist behavioral actions that are indicative (in the absolute sense) of various emotions/moods? That there are certain actions that can only be caused by certain emotions?


Sorry Jill, my answer to this should have been "no, but . . ."

I overlooked / misunderstood "in the absolute sense".

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/20/10 7:53 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
I'll stick with the standard definition of Actual Freedom as an actual absence of any passions or drives whatsoever.
In this post I'll use EF and BF as shorthand for the Experiential and Behavioral aspects of freedom.
EF + BF = AF
AF entails both EF and BF.
But EF does not necessarily entail BF, and BF does not necessarily entail EF.
EF without BF is what you call "Apparent Freedom". And BF without EF is sainthood :-)

I would think that the observable behavioral aspects are even farther removed from what's really going on inside a person than the experiential aspects, BF being even less reliable "proof" of AF. I would say that EF+BF=possibly Virtual Freedom, possibly Alexithymia, possibly AF, possibly years of vipassana experience, and possibly something else. It is "less reliable proof" not because an AF person often acts in ways that seem emotionally charged, but because I think being observationally BF to oneself or to others is much easier than becoming AF. Unless you mean we need some sort of brain scanning device to confirm Actual Behavioral Freedom down to the slightest muscle twitch and blink--I'm all for that.
John Wilde:
In these terms, I have been asking how people have tried to ascertain that they are AF and not merely EF.
I would still argue that the PCE (which I've experienced a few times, by the way) does not resolve this matter because it confirms EF but not BF.

How did the PCE not confirm BF for you, for practical purposes? Were you able to behave in emotion-dictated ways in a PCE? The PCE for me seems to confirm BF most clearly, and change towards AF for me seems to confirm progress in the direction of BF as well.

John Wilde:
This leads to your question "Does that mean that you’re assuming that there exist behavioral actions that are indicative (in the absolute sense) of various emotions/moods? That there are certain actions that can only be caused by certain emotions?"
I don't know, but I think so. For example, if somebody who sincerely believes they are actually free is observed to shout at people, or break down in tears, or hit or shake someone, or huff and puff and throw objects in apparent exasperation, or lash out at people verbally, or act as if extremely horny, or frequently engage in what seems like jealous or competitive behavior, without seeming to be aware of this or rationalizing it in unconvincing ways when challenged about it, it would be at least grounds for suspicion that their EF isn't BF and therefore not AF.

In that case I and countless other meditators may be BF but not AF! It just seems to me that never acting through the emotions is or can be easier than attaining AF. One could arrive at BF, just by having had a PCE or a certain kind of realization, after which the resulting insight and awareness eventually naturally severs the link(which is a misunderstanding) between affective charges and environmental/situational/ physical circumstances and stimuli (which includes one's body, facial expressions, mouth, and vocal chord), while the charges have still not been eliminated completely. When I feel a feeling of irritation arising, a thought crosses my mind: "that is irritation arising there, interesting." and I carry on with the situational circumstance without the affective charge affecting my behavior. No one has seen evidence of my impatience in years. I don't even have the impulse to sigh quietly. Is that what you mean by behavior that is free from emotions? However, I may make a decision based on the irritation, like deciding to shift my eyes to something visually pleasing for a few seconds--does such a decision (movement of thought) count as emotionally-charged behavior?
John Wilde:
To assume that any EF state is also a BF state because it seems that way experientially is to beg the question (it assumes what we are trying to ascertain). Something more than direct personal experience is needed to evaluate BF, because experience can and does have blind spots.

John Wilde:
To them it would seem like AF, and they would claim it with the utmost sincerity, but a first person perspective is just not enough, because the experiencer may have blind spots.

The problem is that for this evaluation, a third-person perspective is generally much much more loaded with blind spots than the first-person account. To prove definite AF, we would need a total brain-body integrative ultra scanner or something. Maybe one day we will arrive at such development.

AF person: "So are we picking this restaurant or that one? Joe's Big Wok has a lot of mosquitoes."
friend: "Can you just be patient?!! Stop complaining and just let me drive!!!! %^&*&goddamn asshole driver, get out of my lane!!!" The friend thinks Mr. AF is dying of impatience and hunger. I'm exaggerating to make the point, but this is what happens all the time when a feeling person observes an AF person, except it happens in ways too subtle for the feeling being to realize.

From my observations of Tarin's behavior and how people react to him, as well as hearing his accounts of his interactions with people, it seems that one type of his most frequent so-called "emotional behavior" is when he makes an observation and states an honest fact about what he observes, such as "that shows that you desire abc but fear xyz" or a simple question like "why?" or "what is the connection?" and the person feels mad, offended, cornered, and claims that he is contemptuous, disrespectful, inciting, restless, provocative, or impatient. The truth sucks, and if you speak it fearlessly and calmly all the time there must be "something wrong" with you. Another common one is his inaction when someone is expecting him to act a certain way to fulfill their desire or expectation. This so-called emotion is interpreted as ill will, cruelty, coldness, or indifference. On the contrary, I constantly see evidence of his emotionless, selfless caring and concern for the well-being of others when during/after a period of his "inaction" he consults me or other friends about how to best help or talk to a person, as he has not acted due to the lack of information or convincing knowledge about which action or words would be most helpful and harmless.

I cannot make a definite conclusion and state that Tarin is certainly completely AF either, but for my purposes, it is definite and convincing enough (my purpose is to make my life healthier and find motivation to continue on that path). Just seeing zero evidence of an affective being and zero evidence of pathological issues in Tarin is inspiring enough for me. That in itself I find really awesome and I have not encountered it before. I don't need evidence to prove the 100%. If I were aiming to publish a scientific article about AF, then I would probably not be satisfied with the nature of the evidence.

If you have had a full PCE, you would know that having no affective feelings is only one aspect of AF out of many very striking characteristics of the freedom that differentiate it from a typical perfectly peaceful carefree stroll in the park. And you would know that many of those characteristics of experience/existence that the AF person describes matches your PCE dead-on. That is what shows me the evidence. Would it be likely for different AF claimants to describe the exact same mode of existence, in different words that mean the exact same thing, if they were each repressing a unique set of emotions that they have learned to ignore? That’s another reason why I feel that it's not likely that someone coming from PCE experience would ask those questions. But maybe there are different types and different degrees of PCE, I don't know. Maybe you could share your PCE experience a bit?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 11:16 AM as a reply to Jill Morana.
oh! just saw Stefanie's responses to the same points. The ghost analogy is neato.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 6:25 AM as a reply to Jill Morana.
TJ Broccoli:
Maybe you could share your PCE experience a bit?


Sure. I've had quite a few experiences that I recognize as full-blown PCE's. Most of them happened in the context of a drug experience (LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin), but some were without any drugs. Here's an abstract list of the features I remember best. If you'd prefer me to describe one in narrative form, let me know.



  • Brilliant clarity and vividness of sensate experience as if a veil or film has been removed. Colors, textures and patterns come alive, and everything (including sound) has more of an open 3D quality. There's a vibrancy and freshness in everything as if you've never seen it before.
  • More than just sensate clarity and vividness, there is an immediacy that can only happen when there is no separation, no center. This body is of the same stuff as everything else, and apperceptive consciousness does not create separateness. It is not 'subjectivity' of the normal kind.
  • There are no feelings at all, but the most notable aspect (for me, especially at first) is the total absence of anxiety.
  • A palpable peace everywhere, not of the mind but actually present in (or as) everything.
  • Time doesn't move. There is only a vast, open stillness in which things move around freely.
  • The stillness has nothing to do with movement or lack of, it's that in which movement occurs, and no movement can ruffle it. Moving objects actually express the stillness (or call it 'peace', 'purity', 'perfection' if you will) just as much as motionless objects do.
  • In exactly the same way, the peace isn't disturbed (or disturb-able) by any tumult.
  • The total lack of emotion isn't dullness or numbness, it's an exquisite sensitivity of a different order. (Great fun too).
  • Emotions and emotional problems belong to another experiential world. The 'place' where they seemed to exist is just gone.
  • There is an amazing clarity because there is no 'inner' movement to stir it or hide it.
  • Being kindly disposed toward other people (and all beings) is effortless; it's just the way I am.
  • Everything happens by itself, and it's all just fine. It never becomes stale because you're continually cresting the moment, and everything's happening afresh, continually.
  • "This is it".

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 8:08 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Pending any scientific tests done on AF people, it is worth noting the level of cognitive dissonance that would be required to ignore the body's physiological signs of anger, fear, etc. The 'blindness' to feelings would have to go hand-in-hand with serious self-deception to not notice that both one's behaviour and body are showing signs of emotion.

The proposition that AF people are blind to their feelings ends up being one that they're lying to themselves, that they're uncritical and inattentive. Seems that to just say they're lying about their experience would sound as credible. That said, I still think it would be very helpful to get a scientific study of an AF body and brain.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 8:25 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hi John,

Thanks for sharing the description. This makes your inquiry even more interesting because it seems to me that the PCE you described should be enough to resolve your original questions, but for some reason it didn't...

The wikipedia explanation of Alexithymia I looked at mentions a host of negative issues and relational problems that sound like the opposite of PCE experience and PCE-like living, although there's a similarity here and there concerning emotions.

What about your PCE experience (what aspect of it) makes you suspect that it's possible for the person to be misinterpreting such an experience? specifically that he or she may just be blind to emotions generated, as opposed to the emotion-generating source really being non-existent as perceived? and not only that, but to possibly exhibit emotion-based behavior without realizing it?

Also, what do you mean by "It is not 'subjectivity' of the normal kind."? Are you saying that there is a different type of subjectivity in the PCE?

Jill

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 2:04 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hi John,

I didn't want to get into a whole different topic but I think it can't be avoided: the issue of mind-altering substances. (Now I'm not so perplexed by the nature of your questions.) It's enough to start tons of new threads, and I haven't read or searched enough threads to see what's already been addressed or not. Maybe there will be some new ones.

I'm not qualified to say much on the matter, but I have used a few substances once each, sometime after my first naturally occurring full-blown PCE ten years ago. I'm afraid the words "blockage" and "disconnect" do seem to come into the picture in PCE experiences with substances involved. Even after having arrived at it naturally, having struggled through many months of joys and pains of the cause-effect processes leading up to the natural PCE and understanding the logic of its unfolding, when similar events happened under a substance I was not able to connect the experiences to my current growth processes in any logical way. The altered state would just be there and be experienced, appearing out of nowhere, like being thrown into a movie scene disconnected from everyday life.

My guess is that if one's first PCE happened on its own as a result of a life-long process of development, then one would have witnessed the life changes and mental struggles that led to it, and everything about development towards AF would be perfectly logical. The use of substances after that may serve as reminders for certain things, perhaps (in my case they didn't show me anything new). However, if the first PCE was drug-induced, then the logic of things would not be as simple, but I don't know enough about it to discuss the issues because I did not take that route. But having been under influence, I do have a strong sense that it wouldn't be the same process--for instance, the chronological order of issues, struggles, doubts, benefits, and life changes that result would be different. The main issue is the same though--basically, after having witnessed the PCE, how does one make best use of it?

Jill

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 2:54 PM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
Hi Stephanie

a few questions here, if you are inclined to respond:

In a reply to John you wrote :

"In one sense, the answer to your question is, of course, yes: there are observable behavioral changes which occur in one who is actually free. Shouting at someone, out of malice or anger, would not occur. Breaking down in tears, from sorrow, would not occur. Hitting or shaking someone, out of malice, would not occur. Huffing and puffing and throwing objects in exasperation, out of malice or frustration, would no occur; lashing out at someone verbally, from malicious anger would not occur; acting out of horniness, out of libidinal desire, would not occur; engaging in jealous or competitive behavior, out of malicious possessiveness, would not occur. None of these actions, with the emotional component which usually produces them, would occur."



Is the above answer based on your experiences of such situations , now, which produced such reactions as you quote above prior to your attaining AF? I am asking because the whole point of this enquiry ( as i understand) is about empirical evidence and not theoretical deductions ( such as, 'obviously').


"I cannot imagine a scenario where I would break down in tears, as doing so can serve no useful purpose."


Since you cannot imagine such a scenario, you cannot even, perhaps , answer for sure, in negative that such an event will not occur.

"If someone broke into my home and attempted to assault me, I would hit them or shake them or do whatever physical action was necessary to protect my flesh and blood body, without one iota of malice or sorrow. My actions as it relates to them at that moment would have one purpose only: to protect myself from harm. Richard elaborates on just such a scenario here."


Thank you for this elaboration. Many intelligent people may do the same as above, act in the best possible way without a trace of malice or sorrow and 'mechanically' try to save themselves. But are you responding from a premise/assumption ( based on your conviction that you are actually free) or have you checked it, again and again, to see if this condition that you are in, is actually the one where you are free of malice and sorrow.



"While I an unable to "act out of horniness," I am able enjoy sexual activity with my companion."


your candour is admirable. May i ask a direct question, if you are inclined to reply, otherwise you may ignore this.

Have you felt or experienced horniness *at all* after becoming actually free ( presuming that you experienced such states prior to that , so that you are able to compare)? You have stated in your Journal that prior to becoming actually free you had a dream about having sex with Richard. Have such dreams/fantasies stopped occurring altogether? You write you are unable to "act out of horniness" - does this mean that you still are horny, but just unable to act out of it?



'"Again, competitive or jealous behavior serves no use value, and as feelings, such does not exist for me."


Is this a remnant of non-AF practices that you place 'no value' on certain behaviour?


"Judging an actual freedom on the basis of observation of one's "behavior" means that an actually free person will also be beholden to the perception of other people's notions and beliefs about what constitutes being free from the human condition." (snip)


However, this does not precludes finding out if and what changes have occurred in one's behaviour. That is a major reason for this thread( as I understand) - to find out what really happens after AF as regards behaviour because that is how a person negotiates in the world.


"What often happens when one attempts to verify if a person has attained to a state they've claimed, is that the behavior is evaluated for evidence of such claim. But the examination of a person's behavior is already clouded by a pre-existing notion in the mind of the examiner about what constitutes the appropriate behavior, based on various belief systems which then get applied to the behavior of another and each and every person has a unique and different pre-existing notion of what constitutes appropriate, or "free," behavior. "


Not necessarily. A sincere person can very well approach an AF person with an open mind, even suspending his beliefs and notions and can evaluate it objectively without interference from pre-existing ideas about the appropriate behaviour. To think and maintain that such a personn is always and already
clouded in judgements is itself problematic because it creates a situation of AF people vs non-AF people , where the former always has a notion that the later has always and already some prejudices. To pot simply - an ACTUALLY FREE person has developed a belief system/notion as to how non-AF people will respond/evaluate them. So, AF person may end up creating his /her own belief system.

"<snip>She decides that I am a mean and uncaring mother who wishes her harm."


That is an analogy based on the premise that the child/people cannot be reformed/taught/convinced with empirical evidence that their are really no monsters. This analogy also assumes that non-AF people have certain beliefs that no logic or reasoning will change and only an AF person can see things correctly because non-AF people have a systematic, fossilized belief system where their intelligence is totally numbed by fear and emotions and they cannot make rational /objective judgements.


"In short, while there are certain ways of behaving that are highly unlikely to be performed by an actually free person, ..."


Is that based on a belief system generated by AF people, or confirmed knowledge based on empirical evidence and self assessment backed by feedback?


"...the observation of mere behavioral changes will get one nowhere fast for two reasons:..."


true. But the question here is not 'mere' Behavioral changes, but also behavioural changes.

".... the first being that the assessment of behavior depends on the capacity of the assessor, and the second being that patterns of behavior alone say little about an individual's suffering, and hence, their harmlessness."


Individual's suffering does gets translated in "patterns of behavior" (such in domestic violence, rapes, murders, wars at a large scale; aggression, moodiness, sarcasm, grumpiness at a smaller scale). That is a major reason why and how the altruistic tendencies work in motivating a person to 'self- immolate' in first place - to end his suffering and the one he causes to others. Which means it ought to also translate into behaviour , else the patterns keep on repeating. To say that one can kill someone without malice ( in self defense) is a good argument, but not a sincere answer to a set of vital questions.

I will appreciate your inputs on this or that of anyone else.

@ D. Ingram: Please let me know if this is not in keeping with this forum's purpose, i will desist from making such enquiries, any further, as my purpose is entirely sincere.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 4:09 PM as a reply to Jill Morana.
TJ Broccoli:

This makes your inquiry even more interesting because it seems to me that the PCE you described should be enough to resolve your original questions, but for some reason it didn't...


My first reaction to this is: how could it?

Considering that a possible experiential blindness cannot be discovered experientially (by its very nature), how could any experience of mine demonstrate that there is no experiential blindness in it? This seems so obvious to me that I suspect we must be misunderstanding each other somehow.

TJ Broccoli:

The wikipedia explanation of Alexithymia I looked at mentions a host of negative issues and relational problems that sound like the opposite of PCE experience and PCE-like living, although there's a similarity here and there concerning emotions.


Yes, I agree, but alexithymia is just one aspect of actual freedom. The rest of the package, when described in psychiatric terms, consists of depersonalization, derealization and anhedonia.

Aside from that, the relevance of alexithymia is that it is an experiential blindness that can be observed by other people but not by the person affected (and that is the crux of my concern). There are many other conditions of this nature. It is easy to find clinical reports of people who sincerely and strenuously deny and/or rationalize a deficit that is plainly obvious to observers without skipping a beat, and without having a clue that they are mistaken. If one were to rely only on the personal testimony of such a person, the picture would be very skewed indeed, through no fault of theirs.

You raised some interesting points about the examination of feelings and incremental development of happiness and harmlessness prior to AF in another message. I'll reply to those separately later (unless Daniel wants us to kill this now).

TJ Broccoli:

What about your PCE experience (what aspect of it) makes you suspect that it's possible for the person to be misinterpreting such an experience?


PCE's did not "make me suspect that it's possible".

The way I see it, it simply is possible.

The PCE's are only being discussed because you suggested that, if I'd had one, I wouldn't be asking this. And I'm saying that's not so, and giving you my reasons.

TJ Broccoli:

specifically that he or she may just be blind to emotions generated, as opposed to the emotion-generating source really being non-existent as perceived? and not only that, but to possibly exhibit emotion-based behavior without realizing it?


It is not that PCE's gave me reason to suspect this. I am saying that PCE's do not / cannot rule it out.

TJ Broccoli:

Also, what do you mean by "It is not 'subjectivity' of the normal kind."? Are you saying that there is a different type of subjectivity in the PCE?


Yes, in the sense that it's an inescapably limited viewpoint conditioned by and specific to the state of one human being.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 5:17 PM as a reply to pikko wright.
Hi Pikko,

I will answer your direct questions below. Where you have simply given your point of view, and not asked a direct question, I will not reply.

Pikko asks:

"Is the above answer based on your experiences of such situations , now, which produced such reactions as you quote above prior to your attaining AF? I am asking because the whole point of this enquiry ( as i understand) is about empirical evidence and not theoretical deductions ( such as, 'obviously')."


No, the above answer is based on the situations John listed in his post. I do not notice that I used the word "obviously" above so I am not sure what you are referring to there. If you read my use of the word "of course" to mean obviously, then you read incorrectly, as "of course" can be defined as "certainly" or "definitely" or, "in the natural order of things." 'Obviously' means something quite different: "easily seen," or "lacking in subtly." (I consulted Dictionary.com to be sure if you want to double check.)


Pikko asks:

"your candour is admirable. May i ask a direct question, if you are inclined to reply, otherwise you may ignore this.

Have you felt or experienced horniness *at all* after becoming actually free ( presuming that you experienced such states prior to that , so that you are able to compare)? You have stated in your Journal that prior to becoming actually free you had a dream about having sex with Richard. Have such dreams/fantasies stopped occurring altogether? You write you are unable to "act out of horniness" - does this mean that you still are horny, but just unable to act out of it?"



I am not "horny," as horny means "lustful." I do experience arousal; but only as a result of direct stimulation. I have no sex drive whatsoever. And no, I no longer have sex dreams.


Pikko asks:


"Is this a remnant of non-AF practices that you place 'no value' on certain behaviour?"



I didn't say "no value." I said, "no USE value." These are quite different things, though I would also maintain there is no value in behaving competitively or jealously. It is not a belief, it is simply a matter of rational observation. What use can you find in behaving competitively or jealously? I am assuming by "competitive" you don't mean, say for example, in the Olympics or some such? I took it to mean in regards to people or things? So--is there usefulness in behaving in such a way? Would there ever be a good reason to do so?



Pikko asks:

"Is that based on a belief system generated by AF people, or confirmed knowledge based on empirical evidence and self assessment backed by feedback?"


What is "empirical evidence?" Could you give me some examples of something that would be satisfactory in this regard?

Would it matter what "feedback" I reported to you I had received from other people? Would it matter what account I could give you of the other actually free people I know? Jill has provided feedback about her observations of Tarin and this seems insufficient. Aside from submitting myself to a scientist for study, which might also be disputable by others, what feedback would satisfy you? What sorts of data are you seeking, that I could possibly provide, that would sufficiently answer your questions?

Finally--I would like to know if you are interested in becoming actually free yourself?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/2/10 5:48 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:

it is an experiential blindness that can be observed by other people .....

is plainly obvious to observers without skipping a beat,



John what ever a person believes of your emotional state is a subjective experience and whatever conclusion is drawn is dependent on the person making the observation. This does no way mean that the person drawing the subjective conclusion is correct.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 2:21 AM as a reply to pikko wright.
Regarding the @Daniel Ingrams: I have no objections to this thread, and instead found it one of the more intelligent and sophisticated discussions of the topic I have seen. I have no problem with careful, thoughtful, respectful dialogue regarding the effects of various practices and attainments, and in fact encourage those things, as well as discussions of the criteria by which we can attempt to evaluate various attainments, as well as how those attainments might be attained, and for seasoned practitioners to answer the doubts, fears, skepticisms, and other areas of confusion regarding practice and its results, and I hope that I haven't given the impression somehow that I want to repress those sorts of discussions. I personally found it useful.

A few more points: Tarin, who I trained on solo retreat here at my house for about 3 months and have hung out with on 3 occasions since he got AF (for about 2 days shortly after he attained it, for about 3 weeks some months later, and for an evening in Chicago), is really, really different. When you are with someone who is undergoing an intensive retreat and get to see all that they go through, you get to know them really, really well, particularly when they are living with you. I can tell you that he has definitely been transformed in some remarkable way that impresses me, and I believe myself to not be easily impressed, though I could be wrong on this count. These are my subjective opinions, of course.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 4:28 AM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
hi Stefanie

SW
I will answer your direct questions below. Where you have simply given your point of view, and not asked a direct question, I will not reply.


Please feel free to answer what ever questions, queries and doubts you will like to. Although, for the clarity in the discussion , if all the points are addressed with be much more helpful, but it is your prerogative to answer/discuss what you may like to. Thank you for your time.



"Is the above answer based on your experiences of such situations , now, which produced such reactions as you quote above prior to your attaining AF? I am asking because the whole point of this enquiry ( as i understand) is about empirical evidence and not theoretical deductions ( such as, 'obviously')."

SW:
No, the above answer is based on the situations John listed in his post. I do not notice that I used the word "obviously" above so I am not sure what you are referring to there. If you read my use of the word "of course" to mean obviously, then you read incorrectly, as "of course" can be defined as "certainly" or "definitely" or, "in the natural order of things." 'Obviously' means something quite different: "easily seen," or "lacking in subtly." (I consulted Dictionary.com to be sure if you want to double check.)


Thank you for the clarification that you meant "of course" ( defined as "certainly" or "definitely" or, "in the natural order of things." ). For further clarification, is your response based on *your experiences * of such ( some or all) situations, or a response based on theoretical deductions of hypothetical situations? Let me explain this further, does the condition of Actual Freedom prefixes certain behaviour patterns that AF people will follow ( that is why "of course") or is it based on careful and sustained observations, feedback, responses ( which translate into a certain behaviour).




"your candour is admirable. May i ask a direct question, if you are inclined to reply, otherwise you may ignore this.

Have you felt or experienced horniness *at all* after becoming actually free ( presuming that you experienced such states prior to that , so that you are able to compare)? You have stated in your Journal that prior to becoming actually free you had a dream about having sex with Richard. Have such dreams/fantasies stopped occurring altogether? You write you are unable to "act out of horniness" - does this mean that you still are horny, but just unable to act out of it?"

I am not "horny," as horny means "lustful." I do experience arousal; but only as a result of direct stimulation. I have no sex drive whatsoever. And no, I no longer have sex dreams.



If you are willing to answer further questions of this nature:

If you do not have a sex drive and if your indeed not 'lustful' what is that motivates to engage in sexual activity. ( I am aware that Richard was asked a similar question and that entire dialogue is archived in the AFT website. Can you, without using/referring to any jargon/ or Richard's words explain why you like to engage in sexual activity , even when you are free ( as per your condition of being Actually Free) of instinctual drives, "lustful"ness?





"Is this a remnant of non-AF practices that you place 'no value' on certain behaviour?"


SW:
I didn't say "no value." I said, "no USE value." These are quite different things, though I would also maintain there is no value in behaving competitively or jealously. It is not a belief, it is simply a matter of rational observation. What use can you find in behaving competitively or jealously? I am assuming by "competitive" you don't mean, say for example, in the Olympics or some such? I took it to mean in regards to people or things? So--is there usefulness in behaving in such a way? Would there ever be a good reason to do so?



Competitive sport are also a culture/human endeavour which has been generated out of instinctual drives and in some ways perpetuate them. what i meant by competitive was the instinctual drive of survival which leads to fight and flight behaviour pattern. Phenomenon like Olympics are a legitimized and ritualized celebration of these tendencies. Of course, it is not useful, generally, but if an individual's investments ( material/ social) are at stake, than the parameters of 'useful' are likely to change, non? So , i meant Competitive in one and all senses.


"Is that based on a belief system generated by AF people, or confirmed knowledge based on empirical evidence and self assessment backed by feedback?"

SW:

What is "empirical evidence?" Could you give me some examples of something that would be satisfactory in this regard?

Would it matter what "feedback" I reported to you I had received from other people? Would it matter what account I could give you of the other actually free people I know? Jill has provided feedback about her observations of Tarin and this seems insufficient. Aside from submitting myself to a scientist for study, which might also be disputable by others, what feedback would satisfy you? What sorts of data are you seeking, that I could possibly provide, that would sufficiently answer your questions?


Empirical evidence: If you have evaluated your behaviour through feedback from people and if you have been able to detect that their are some patterns of behaviour that you need to look at, or have overlooked. If you still have some habits ( of behavioaral nature) persistence in you which may be a cause for sorrow to others around you?

No, I am not looking for you to report the 'feedback' you have received from other people? I am looking if you have tried to get any feedback and what sense have you been able to make of that feedback. I am further looking if certain feedback ( about certain behaviour) has been consistence from one and a few more people , who all suggest and say that you do behave in a detrimental way.

Whatever sort of data you are willing to share will be helpful in this discussion, and not once have I made any suggestion that you submit yourself to a scientific study, Stephanie. Since you are the only Actually free female who is actively writing of this forum ( or any other forum at all) whatever information you can provide or are willing to provide will be helpful. The purpose of my enquiry is not to upset you in any way, but bring clarity to certain vital questions that have been raised in this thread.



SW
Finally--I would like to know if you are interested in becoming actually free yourself?


I am surely interested in freeing myself of human condition.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 8:16 AM as a reply to pikko wright.
Hi Pikko,

In my last response to you I neglected to welcome you the DhO; so, welcome. I will respond very briefly to some of what you said below. If you have specific questions related to anything I do not answer in this thread, which you think will be helpful to you in your practice, I am more than happy to communicate with you via email.

To that end, permit me to ask you a few questions. You say you would like to be free of the human condition and your response indicates some familiarity with the AF Trust website. How is your practice going? What particular issues or concerns are you currently confronting and are they germane to this thread? Are you dealing with issues of sexuality and competitiveness? Are these ideological roadblocks you'd like to clear up so you can move ahead in your practice?

I ask these questions, Pikko, because my goal here is to help people who sincerely want to practice actualism. If that is what you are about, then I am happy to participate with you in whatever inquiry is required to secure your own freedom from the human condition.

Pikko writes:

"Thank you for the clarification that you meant "of course" ( defined as "certainly" or "definitely" or, "in the natural order of things." ). For further clarification, is your response based on *your experiences * of such ( some or all) situations, or a response based on theoretical deductions of hypothetical situations? Let me explain this further, does the condition of Actual Freedom prefixes certain behaviour patterns that AF people will follow ( that is why "of course") or is it based on careful and sustained observations, feedback, responses ( which translate into a certain behaviour)."

I have not seen an actually free person behave in the ways John listed and which I responded to. The second part of your question about prefixed behavior is unclear to me; in the context of the various emotional states John listed, there is a fairly simple answer to the question of if any actually free person would behave in any of those ways out of maliciousness or sorrow or desire or nurture and the answer is no.


Pikko asks:

"If you are willing to answer further questions of this nature:

If you do not have a sex drive and if your indeed not 'lustful' what is that motivates to engage in sexual activity. ( I am aware that Richard was asked a similar question and that entire dialogue is archived in the AFT website. Can you, without using/referring to any jargon/ or Richard's words explain why you like to engage in sexual activity , even when you are free ( as per your condition of being Actually Free) of instinctual drives, "lustful"ness?"

It is delightful to engage in sexual activity and to spend time with another human being; this does not mean it is less delightful to be alone or not engage in sexual activity. There is no drive to do so, but it is instead a freely chosen interaction with another human being. Aside from this, I have nothing significant to add to what Richard has said and what has been said here on this forum before. If you search the actualism threads you will find quite a few posts about "Actualism and Romance" and so on. Is sexuality a specific concern for you? If so, in what way?

I will direct you (and any others who may be interested) here if you'd like to see many more elaborations on the topic than I could offer.

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/sundry/frequentquestions/FAQ24.htm


Pikko writes:

"Empirical evidence: If you have evaluated your behaviour through feedback from people and if you have been able to detect that their are some patterns of behaviour that you need to look at, or have overlooked. If you still have some habits ( of behavioaral nature) persistence in you which may be a cause for sorrow to others around you?

No, I am not looking for you to report the 'feedback' you have received from other people? I am looking if you have tried to get any feedback and what sense have you been able to make of that feedback. I am further looking if certain feedback ( about certain behaviour) has been consistence from one and a few more people , who all suggest and say that you do behave in a detrimental way.

Whatever sort of data you are willing to share will be helpful in this discussion, and not once have I made any suggestion that you submit yourself to a scientific study, Stephanie. Since you are the only Actually free female who is actively writing of this forum ( or any other forum at all) whatever information you can provide or are willing to provide will be helpful. The purpose of my enquiry is not to upset you in any way, but bring clarity to certain vital questions that have been raised in this thread."

I have not tried to get feedback, but some people have certainly given me some. And since you aren't looking for those reports, I will refrain from describing that feedback. But no, no one who knows me has said that I behave in a detrimental way. Katy Steger, who sometimes posts on this forum, believes that I am cruel for eating meat produced through the slaughterhouse system, so if you would like to count someone's impression of me in an online forum about my eating habits, then yes, someone has suggested that my "behavior is harmful." But no, aside from this, I have not received any negative feedback about my behavior since becoming actually free.

In what way does my femaleness seem important to you and why? Is there anything specific about being both female and actually free that you think I could shed light on, and if so, please be clear about it so that I may do so if I see fit.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 9:07 AM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
Thank you for your willingness to help.

In my last response to you I neglected to welcome you the DhO; so, welcome. I will respond very briefly to some of what you said below. If you have specific questions related to anything I do not answer in this thread, which you think will be helpful to you in your practice, I am more than happy to communicate with you via email.


I will certainly write to you via email, if and when the need for such a correspondence arises. Thank you.
I am willing to answer all your queries and questions. However, i will like to stick to the topic of this thread, for now.


I ask these questions, Pikko, because my goal here is to help people who sincerely want to practice actualism. If that is what you are about, then I am happy to participate with you in whatever inquiry is required to secure your own freedom from the human condition.


I assure you that i have been reading from the AFT website from past three years plus and have keenly observed all the developments in the past year or so. That is why I am investing my time here and also appreciative of your time and information that you provide. This topic is so vital, and of great importance that i do not wish to undermine it by branching out in other directions. I have been able to ascertain similar difficulties as John has listed in my experiences and I am glad that this topic has been raised, finally. As to why this forum, the answer is simple : a. this forum is much more open ( minded) to discussions and clarifications; b. AF people are writing only on this forum, currently; c. And practitioners from this forum have achieved such a tremendous success that this seems to be the best place to raise such inquiries, at the moment.

"Thank you for the clarification that you meant "of course" ( defined as "certainly" or "definitely" or, "in the natural order of things." ). For further clarification, is your response based on *your experiences * of such ( some or all) situations, or a response based on theoretical deductions of hypothetical situations? Let me explain this further, does the condition of Actual Freedom prefixes certain behaviour patterns that AF people will follow ( that is why "of course") or is it based on careful and sustained observations, feedback, responses ( which translate into a certain behaviour)."

Stefanie :
I have not seen an actually free person behave in the ways John listed and which I responded to. The second part of your question about prefixed behavior is unclear to me; in the context of the various emotional states John listed, there is a fairly simple answer to the question of if any actually free person would behave in any of those ways out of maliciousness or sorrow or desire or nurture and the answer is no.


While i understand what you are implying but i find that behavioural patterns have then become a matter taken for granted, and not investigated enough. Let me put it like this: it has been assumed that an AF person will "in the natural order of things" behave in the most sensible and best possible way.




"If you do not have a sex drive and if your indeed not 'lustful' what is that motivates to engage in sexual activity. ( I am aware that Richard was asked a similar question and that entire dialogue is archived in the AFT website. Can you, without using/referring to any jargon/ or Richard's words explain why you like to engage in sexual activity , even when you are free ( as per your condition of being Actually Free) of instinctual drives, "lustful"ness?"

It is delightful to engage in sexual activity and to spend time with another human being; this does not mean it is less delightful to be alone or not engage in sexual activity. There is no drive to do so, but it is instead a freely chosen interaction with another human being. Aside from this, I have nothing significant to add to what Richard has said and what has been said here on this forum before. If you search the actualism threads you will find quite a few posts about "Actualism and Romance" and so on. Is sexuality a specific concern for you? If so, in what way?



As i has stated above, i had a specific enquiry : "Can you, without using/referring to any jargon/ or Richard's words explain why you like to engage in sexual activity , even when you are free ( as per your condition of being Actually Free) of instinctual drives, "lustful"ness?"

I have read almost everything that Richard has written on the website (articles) or in Richard's Journal, or in the yahoo group forum, on the topic. My question is to the other AF people, and to find out what their experiences are.



Whatever sort of data you are willing to share will be helpful in this discussion, and not once have I made any suggestion that you submit yourself to a scientific study, Stephanie. Since you are the only Actually free female who is actively writing of this forum ( or any other forum at all) whatever information you can provide or are willing to provide will be helpful. The purpose of my enquiry is not to upset you in any way, but bring clarity to certain vital questions that have been raised in this thread."

Stefanie:
I have not tried to get feedback, but some people have certainly given me some. And since you aren't looking for those reports, I will refrain from describing that feedback. But no, no one who knows me has said that I behave in a detrimental way. Katy Steger, who sometimes posts on this forum, believes that I am cruel for eating meat produced through the slaughterhouse system, so if you would like to count someone's impression of me in an online forum about my eating habits, then yes, someone has suggested that my "behavior is harmful." But no, aside from this, I have not received any negative feedback about my behavior since becoming actually free.


The purpose of this thread, in general, and my inquiries, in particular, is to find out if you have sought any feedback and what is that feedback, indeed. So, when you say, " I have not received any negative feedback about my behavior since becoming actually free", I presume that the feedback is from people who are honest enough to tell you if they observe an aberration in your behaviour. And no I am not looking for *online* naysayers ( or even soothsayers) who have limited know how of AF people actually behave in everyday life situation, to conclude about them, especially based on their belief ( however correct and genuine those beliefs may be). I am very genuine in my inquiry here, for this is much more vital than it may appear, on the surface.


In what way does my femaleness seem important to you and why? Is there anything specific about being both female and actually free that you think I could shed light on, and if so, please be clear about it so that I may do so if I see fit.


A female body has different chemicals and hormones operating within, and may have different responses to certain situations based on the unique experiences she has through her body. Otherwise, as a general inquiry, it makes no difference, perhaps.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 4:50 PM as a reply to pikko wright.
Hi Pikko,

Again, I reply to your direct questions:

Pikko writes:



"As i has stated above, i had a specific enquiry : "Can you, without using/referring to any jargon/ or Richard's words explain why you like to engage in sexual activity , even when you are free ( as per your condition of being Actually Free) of instinctual drives, "lustful"ness?'

I have read almost everything that Richard has written on the website (articles) or in Richard's Journal, or in the yahoo group forum, on the topic. My question is to the other AF people, and to find out what their experiences are."

I was unaware that the words "delight" were either jargon or belonged to Richard. Here are my own words, written in the previous reply, which I will repeat: "It is delightful to engage in sexual activity and to spend time with another human being; this does not mean it is less delightful to be alone or not engage in sexual activity. There is no drive to do so, but it is instead a freely chosen interaction with another human being." If this sounds like jargon to you, then that is for you to work out. For me they appear to be regular English words which most people understand. If this description sounds like what is described on the AF Trust website, that might be because there is a consistency of experience of sexual interaction among actually free peoples.

Aside from what I have already said, I am not willing to share my exact sexual experiences and unless it is due to some kind of voyeuristic urge I cannot see what more there is for me to say that could be helpful to readers here.


Pikko writes:

"The purpose of this thread, in general, and my inquiries, in particular, is to find out if you have sought any feedback and what is that feedback, indeed. So, when you say, " I have not received any negative feedback about my behavior since becoming actually free", I presume that the feedback is from people who are honest enough to tell you if they observe an aberration in your behaviour. "

Many people I know and come into contact with in my daily life do not know about actualism at all. So from them I would not solicit an opinion on the basis of my behavior. But some have offered an opinion upon noticing a difference in me, without prompting. I have been told I appear "psychologically dead," and I've had one friend also say, "I miss Stefanie." I have been told that my eyes look "empty." But no one has complained about my behavior; they are simply responding to lack of affect. Some friends have noted they feel more "peaceful" and happy after talking to me. It would never occur to me to then ask them if they are "honest enough" to tell me if they were not actually feeling peaceful and happy or if they were lying to me.



Pikko writes:

"A female body has different chemicals and hormones operating within, and may have different responses to certain situations based on the unique experiences she has through her body. Otherwise, as a general inquiry, it makes no difference, perhaps."


Given that I am, to my knowledge, the only actually free person who is female and of child-bearing age, I understand your inquiry now (especially after having it brought to my attention in a certain way by someone else). I cannot, however, shed much light on the matter. I am very newly free, being less than 3 months from the event, and I am not in a position to draw conclusions on the basis of hormones and sex (as in male and female) at this time. I am not even sure if my understanding of human biology is sufficient to make any kind of determination in this regard.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 9:40 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
AF people,

You have no subjective experience of passions, drives, emotions or identity.

You have lost the faculty by which they could be experienced.

It is possible that:

a) there are no passions, drives, emotions, identity extant in you / operating upon you in any way whatsoever.

b) there are, but you are blind to them.

Objectively, how do you determine which is true?

What do other people say about you?

Do the people closest to you believe that you still have feelings / passions / drives operating?

Do they claim that you act as if you do?

If so, have you (and in what way have you) tried to objectively test the possibility that they might be right?


That is an interesting question, John.

I would also like to say that some (possibly suboptimal) traits of the human condition are mental patterns which may not have a clear counterpart in passions and feelings. Some of them, as the psychiatrists may tell you, are remnants of deep emotional scars which are not felt as emotional scars anymore but which modify one's behavior patterns in a way that feels very natural and effortless.

For example: one-up-man-ship, arrogance, habitual lying, endless rationalization of something which others clearly perceive as silly, grandiosity, acting as a know-it-all, indecisiveness and flippancy, insensitivity, inconsiderateness, sternness, not being trustworthy, being on a mission to save the world, etc.

Simple affects and feelings are easy to "see" since they are blips in one's state, but general "attitudes" are invisible (to oneself, not to others) because they are long-standing and habituated.

Hence, to only ameliorate the blips while leaving the attitudes as-is is not to be the best humanity is capable of, by any stretch of the word. At best, it can lead to a self-gloating that I am perfect and nothing more needs to be done for me to be better. There is perhaps no more insidious attitude than to constantly tell others (whenever there is a suboptimal interaction) that they need to change, not me.

Human Condition is a very vast thing, not something which one can claim to be "free of" without a whole lot of confirmation. That confirmation has to come from both science (testing of physiological responses) and through others (validation of one's behavior as genuinely felicitous and caring). And even then, human condition being what it is, I think one would be rather naive to say that one has achieved it for ever and more. Psychiatrists know very well that a dormant pattern, or a suppressed feeling or hurt, can surface given the right circumstances.

The primary assertion that "I am my feelings" is clearly wrong, too, in my opinion, and rather simplistic. "I" am what makes me "me". And therefore, I am my patterns, is more like it. And these patterns encompass thought, feelings, values, principles, attitudes, cultural conditioning, preferences, etc.

To be free of an attitude which irritates others is obviously worthwhile, but it may or may not be related to a feeling inside oneself.

I think that this stark limitation of "actual freedom" has not achieved enough focus.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 10:33 PM as a reply to Johannes Bugenhagen.
Johannes Bugenhagen:

The primary assertion that "I am my feelings" is clearly wrong, too, in my opinion, and rather simplistic. "I" am what makes me "me". And therefore, I am my patterns, is more like it. And these patterns encompass thought, feelings, values, principles, attitudes, cultural conditioning, preferences, etc.


I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response. It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur

cheers
Jeff

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/3/10 11:36 PM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
Johannes Bugenhagen:

The primary assertion that "I am my feelings" is clearly wrong, too, in my opinion, and rather simplistic. "I" am what makes me "me". And therefore, I am my patterns, is more like it. And these patterns encompass thought, feelings, values, principles, attitudes, cultural conditioning, preferences, etc.


I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response. It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur

cheers
Jeff


That is contradictory to both actualism and in itself. You are in effect saying that thoughts, feelings and emotional responses can all exist even when there is no self (only that now they do not exist "as the self", whatever that means), whereas actualists clearly state that affective faculty is null and void in actual freedom.

And in itself, it is contradictory when you say that the self is the mechanism responsible for these things, but then you go on to say that these effects can still occur in the absence of this mechanism.

More glaringly, and on a digression, speaking only of feelings, when actualists state that feelings have no factual existence, that is clearly wrong as well. As an example, you may claim to be actually free, but others are having all of the following:

- Experiences of passions (e.g. anger or lust)
- Physiological effects of passions (e.g. anger or lust)
- Psychological effects of passions
- Acting out of passions

Are all of the above happening in some fantasy or "real" world (actualist terminology), or in the so-called "actual world"?

And therefore, when actualists say "peace on earth in this lifetime as this flesh and blood body", it is clearly a misleading statement. What it is really attempting to say is: "peace for me on earth in this lifetime as this flesh and blood body". (whether even that is true or not is a separate question)

"peace on earth" is generally considered, in common parlance, to be referring to a global peace (no wars, no domestic quarrels, etc.)

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 12:46 AM as a reply to Johannes Bugenhagen.
Jeff Grove:
Johannes Bugenhagen:

The primary assertion that "I am my feelings" is clearly wrong, too, in my opinion, and rather simplistic. "I" am what makes me "me". And therefore, I am my patterns, is more like it. And these patterns encompass thought, feelings, values, principles, attitudes, cultural conditioning, preferences, etc.


I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response. It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur

cheers
Jeff


you are in effect saying that thoughts, feelings and emotional responses can all exist even when there is no self (only that now they do not exist "as the self", whatever that means


I am sure that I wrote the self is "I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response"

and while instinctive passions exist so does the conscious experience of the self.

You wrote "but then you go on to say that these effects can still occur in the absence of this mechanism." can you show me where I said this?

I am sure I wrote " It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur"

You wrote "More glaringly, and on a digression, speaking only of feelings, when actualists state that feelings have no factual existence, that is clearly wrong as well."

I am unsure were this come from as I was responding to your statement "The primary assertion that "I am my feelings" is clearly wrong, too, in my opinion, and rather simplistic. "I" am what makes me "me". And therefore, I am my patterns, is more like it. And these patterns encompass thought, feelings, values, principles, attitudes, cultural conditioning, preferences, etc."

appreciated
Jeff

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 2:18 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
Jeff Grove:
Johannes Bugenhagen:

The primary assertion that "I am my feelings" is clearly wrong, too, in my opinion, and rather simplistic. "I" am what makes me "me". And therefore, I am my patterns, is more like it. And these patterns encompass thought, feelings, values, principles, attitudes, cultural conditioning, preferences, etc.


I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response. It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur

cheers
Jeff


you are in effect saying that thoughts, feelings and emotional responses can all exist even when there is no self (only that now they do not exist "as the self", whatever that means


I am sure that I wrote the self is "I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response"

and while instinctive passions exist so does the conscious experience of the self.

You wrote "but then you go on to say that these effects can still occur in the absence of this mechanism." can you show me where I said this?

appreciated
Jeff


Let us clarify the situation, then.

This is what you wrote:

I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response. It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur.


So, are you saying:

a) That thoughts, feelings and emotional responses do not exist when the "switch" is the no-self position?

OR, are you saying:

b) That thoughts, feelings and emotional responses DO exist (but not "as self") when the "switch" is in the no-self position?

None of these is what is claimed by actualists, hence my question.

However, do note that this is more of digression, and not strictly related to my original query in response to John Wilde's excellent question.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/5/10 6:40 AM as a reply to Johannes Bugenhagen.
Johannes Bugenhagen:
Jeff Grove:
Jeff Grove:
Johannes Bugenhagen:

The primary assertion that "I am my feelings" is clearly wrong, too, in my opinion, and rather simplistic. "I" am what makes me "me". And therefore, I am my patterns, is more like it. And these patterns encompass thought, feelings, values, principles, attitudes, cultural conditioning, preferences, etc.


I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response. It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur

cheers
Jeff


you are in effect saying that thoughts, feelings and emotional responses can all exist even when there is no self (only that now they do not exist "as the self", whatever that means


I am sure that I wrote the self is "I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response"

and while instinctive passions exist so does the conscious experience of the self.

You wrote "but then you go on to say that these effects can still occur in the absence of this mechanism." can you show me where I said this?

appreciated
Jeff


Let us clarify the situation, then.

This is what you wrote:

I am all these. I am the very mechanism responsible for thoughts, feelings and emotional response. It is like a switch and when it is one way all these exist as the self. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur.


So, are you saying:

a) That thoughts, feelings and emotional responses do not exist when the "switch" is the no-self position?

OR, are you saying:

b) That thoughts, feelings and emotional responses DO exist (but not "as self") when the "switch" is in the no-self position?

None of these is what is claimed by actualists, hence my question.

However, do note that this is more of digression, and not strictly related to my original query in response to John Wilde's excellent question.


I am sure I never mentioned a no-self position. I said it was like a switch, I used a metaphor (which may have been a poor choice) to describe self consciousness. While there is feeling of being (instinctual passions) the focus is consciousness, this is the mechanism, it is all these thoughts, feelings and emotional response. As the self goes into abeyance so does your interior world that was consciousness. There is no more interior view only the actual world i.e. When it is the other it is the immediate experience of this actual world. There is no space for the self to occur.

Edit: To clarify the term consciousness.
http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-consciousness.htm

RICHARD: My definition of consciousness is: ‘I am these sense organs: this seeing is me, this hearing is me, this tasting is me, this touching is me, this smelling is me, and this thinking is me. 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’.

RICHARD: The nature of the non-material consciousness does not ‘need’ to be ascertained at all – it has been successful in ‘standing out’ maliciously and sorrowfully for a least 3,000 to 5,000 years of recorded history (and perhaps 50,000 years of pre-history) and may very well continue to do so off into an indeterminate future – unless the human beings it is ‘standing out’ as want to live happily and harmlessly.

It is only human beings who can care enough to have it cease ‘standing out’ maliciously and sorrowfully and have it start ‘standing out’ happily and harmlessly instead. But in order to do so the nature of non-material consciousness needs to be ascertained so as to see how come it is ‘standing out’ maliciously and sorrowfully, rather than ‘standing out’ happily and harmlessly, in the first place.

http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/peter/selected-correspondence/corr-consciousness.htm

The common interpretation of consciousness is self-consciousness or self-awareness and is epitomized by three faculties – the sensate awareness of what appears to be a separate ‘outer’ world and the cerebral awareness and affective awareness of one’s inner ‘self’. Thus in a normal person, consciousness usually refers to the consciousness of the psychological and psychic entity only. Thus ‘I’ am conscious of ‘me’ only – the normal ‘self’-centeredness of normal people.

#http://actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/consciousness.htm

The second meaning is the one that is commonly used to describe the awareness of oneself and is epitomized by three faculties … the sensate, the cerebral and the affective. Thus in a normal person consciousness refers to the consciousness of the psychological and psychic entity only, who we ‘think’ and ‘feel’ we are, as opposed to what we are. It is only in a Pure Consciousness Experience that the psychological and psychic entity’s affective and cerebral dominance is temporarily absent that the extraordinary perfection and purity of the actual is sensately evidenced.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 3:41 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
As the self goes into abeyance so does your interior world that was consciousness.


I am sorry, I don't think we can have a useful discussion given these bizarre statements.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 9:30 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hello John
John:
Considering that a possible experiential blindness cannot be discovered experientially (by its very nature), how could any experience of mine demonstrate that there is no experiential blindness in it? This seems so obvious to me that I suspect we must be misunderstanding each other somehow.

It could be because I’m only concerned with one type of experiential blindness—the one caused by the biases, distortions, and beliefs of the feeling being, which ceases to function in the PCE experience, or is reduced in PCE-like living. Other than that, I would really not mind living with another type of experiential blindness and subjectivity, such as color blindness or myopia or any similar deficit that makes me perceive the same sense stimuli differently from another human being.

Or it could be because you’re looking at it in terms of objectivity vs subjectivity, yes vs no, while I’m looking at it in terms of comparative reliability for the practical purpose of progressing towards AF. I feel that if a person has seen within oneself different degrees of subjectivity (I assume a PCE would demonstrate the how, when, and why these come about, as it did to me), then one’s perspective gets altered in a very significant way. Then one no longer has one constant “my subjective experience,” but one becomes aware of the differences in the times when one is prone to more blind subjectivity vs less blind subjectivity. To me what matters most is the direction of growth, not the end of becoming THE absolute objective being free from all possible definitions of the word “subjective”(including in evaluation by others.) After all, an AF person is not an all-knowing god, and the human brain can make mistakes. I’ve been assuming all along that it’s a given that if we want to objectively verify for super certain that a flesh and blood body is absolutely, technically, objectively, molecularly free of any affect, we would have to wait for the ultra brain&body AF scanner. My response to you is not that the shared PCE experience should be the ultimate definite absolute evidence, but more like: why is the degree of non-subjectivity seen in the PCE not enough?

In general, I think I understand what you’re asking and explaining (but I could be wrong), but I don’t understand the motivation behind your investigation. What purpose would less subjectivity (in the sense not satisfiable through PCE understanding) serve for you personally? Are you having doubts in your practical application of the PCE, is it that you foresee a risk of being misguided and want to be cautious? Are you just checking to make sure that people who come out claiming AF are proceeding cautiously enough? Can PCE experience affect people that differently?--which was the last thing to occur to me, but it sounds likely here, etc. etc.

John:
TJ Broccoli:
This makes your inquiry even more interesting because it seems to me that the PCE you described should be enough to resolve your original questions, but for some reason it didn't...

My first reaction to this is: how could it?


through shared awareness.
I’ll try different words… if one understands the PCE, hearing the AF claimant’s account of his mode of existence would serve as evidence to whether his experience is indeed stripped down to the actual and sensate and not distorted by the subjectivity of the feeling being. The evidence is not conclusive in the mere report of the absence of emotions, but in all the telltale aspects of the purely sensate experience, which is not possible with the slightest activity of a feeling entity, with or without one’s awareness of it—the two simply cannot coexist, for reasons which need to be understood experientially. If the feeling entity and emotions were active without one’s awareness of them(Alexithymia), those other telltale aspects of the purely sensate experience simply would not happen. For me, PCE understanding reveals how and why this is so. However, I’m having trouble trying to remember if it was the first PCE itself that revealed it right away, or the whole process of integrating it in life over the years.

John Wilde:
TJ Broccoli:
What about your PCE experience (what aspect of it) makes you suspect that it's possible for the person to be misinterpreting such an experience?

PCE's did not "make me suspect that it's possible".
The way I see it, it simply is possible.

Am I reading this right-- it sounds like according to your PCE experience it is possible that emotions could be operating (but unfelt) while the PCE characteristics are happening--characteristics that require the absence of the personal identity and emotions. There seems to be some sort of link missing here. In your daily living, what sorts of things have you been able to note about the relationship between PCE-like existence and the feeling being?

John Wilde:
TJ Broccoli:
Also, what do you mean by "It is not 'subjectivity' of the normal kind."? Are you saying that there is a different type of subjectivity in the PCE?

Yes, in the sense that it's an inescapably limited viewpoint conditioned by and specific to the state of one human being.

I would more or less disagree with that. I think that the PCE is an inescapably infinite viewpoint completely unconditioned by the affective subjectivity of the personal identity; therefore it is the only mode of experience which can be shared by many human beings.

Jill

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 1:04 PM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
SW:
If this description sounds like what is described on the AF Trust website, that might be because there is a consistency of experience of sexual interaction among actually free peoples.


If you mean that there is consistency of sexual interaction in actually free people, you are essentially saying that there is no difference, essentially, how you ,or let’s say, Richard experiences sexual interaction? Just to clarify this.


SW:
Aside from what I have already said, I am not willing to share my exact sexual experiences and unless it is due to some kind of voyeuristic urge I cannot see what more there is for me to say that could be helpful to readers here.


Let me clarify here, since you seem to jumping to some kind of a (in)conclusive judgment here:
a. the inquiry is entirely consistence with the topic of the thread because although your subjective experience of sexual activity may have changed, the stimuli may ( or may not have) which is the clue as to whether it is EF or BF as well.

b. the question was specifically directed towards you because you have written about having certain sexual dreams prior to your becoming free ( the very mention of such dreams indicates the importance they have played in your becoming free)

c. since you assume that there may be a “voyeuristic urge” in such inquiries, let me further explain that *this* very nature of AF is being questioned here, where an AF person may have become free of emotions/passions to the extent that they have stopped recognizing it in him/her self but immediately recognizes or even mis-recognizes it in others – just like any other person - hence the behavioural patterns remain intact without the person being aware of it.

Some of the patterns of behaviour do change, but when push comes to shove, deep patterns ( might) kick in.


SW:
I have been told I appear "psychologically dead," ,snip>


Thank you for this invaluable input. I invite you to elaborate a bit more on this, also what did you make of this statement.


SW:
Given that I am, to my knowledge, the only actually free person who is female and of child-bearing age, I understand your inquiry now (especially after having it brought to my attention in a certain way by someone else).



Will you please elaborate upon, “brought to my attention in a certain way by someone else”? I do not understand the full implications of this and will like to know more.


SW:
I cannot, however, shed much light on the matter. I am very newly free, being less than 3 months from the event, and I am not in a position to draw conclusions on the basis of hormones and sex (as in male and female) at this time. I am not even sure if my understanding of human biology is sufficient to make any kind of determination in this regard.


My questions have nothing to do with human biology , but behavioural patterns. I explained why your being a female was an invaluable input in terms of sexual drives etc.
I could not help notice as how you have written “very newly free” , does this imply that your experience is any different from some one who is free for, let’s say six months, a year or more, just curious?

I appreciate your time and candid replies.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 1:10 PM as a reply to pikko wright.
To Stefanie:

I am sorry that my last reply to you went without edits, i mistakenly hit the save button.

I will like to clarify that i have no doubts about your claim of becoming actually free and my questions are more directed towards this condition of being actually free/ how are you experiencing yourself and how are others experiencing you/responding to you. And this inquiry is directed to any other AF person, you may like to respond , as well. ( nothing personal, no doubts about the claim, or your condition, at all).

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 1:55 PM as a reply to pikko wright.
Hi Pikko,

I'll try to answer your questions in a way differently than I think I already have. It may simply be the case that you, and perhaps others in this thread, cannot be satisfied with the answers that have been given. To that end, I am unlikely to reply further after this post.

Pikko asks:

"If you mean that there is consistency of sexual interaction in actually free people, you are essentially saying that there is no difference, essentially, how you ,or let’s say, Richard experiences sexual interaction? Just to clarify this."

No, I'm not suggesting we all have the same kinds of sexual interactions. I am suggesting that the perspective on sexual activity may overlap significantly.


Pikko writes:


"Let me clarify here, since you seem to jumping to some kind of a (in)conclusive judgment here:
a. the inquiry is entirely consistence with the topic of the thread because although your subjective experience of sexual activity may have changed, the stimuli may ( or may not have) which is the clue as to whether it is EF or BF as well."

I am not willing to elaborate on "the stimuli."

"b. the question was specifically directed towards you because you have written about having certain sexual dreams prior to your becoming free ( the very mention of such dreams indicates the importance they have played in your becoming free)"

And I've been quite candid about sexuality in general, to the extent that I think it can be helpful; and will yield to no further demands here. I simply reproduced my journal unedited; it would have been silly to edit just that one aspect of the experiences out of that pivotal week.

"c. since you assume that there may be a “voyeuristic urge” in such inquiries, let me further explain that *this* very nature of AF is being questioned here, where an AF person may have become free of emotions/passions to the extent that they have stopped recognizing it in him/her self but immediately recognizes or even mis-recognizes it in others – just like any other person - hence the behavioural patterns remain intact without the person being aware of it.

Some of the patterns of behaviour do change, but when push comes to shove, deep patterns ( might) kick in."

That is your opinion, Pikko, and you are welcome to it.



Pikko asks:

"Thank you for this invaluable input. I invite you to elaborate a bit more on this, also what did you make of this statement. "

I make nothing of it per se; it is what the person said. You asked for feedback post AF, and I am telling you what someone said to me after I became actually free.



Pikko asks:

"Will you please elaborate upon, “brought to my attention in a certain way by someone else”? I do not understand the full implications of this and will like to know more."

Someone simply pointed out to me that the hormonal differences between men and women had been raised before re: actualism.


Pikko says:


"My questions have nothing to do with human biology , but behavioural patterns. I explained why your being a female was an invaluable input in terms of sexual drives etc.
I could not help notice as how you have written “very newly free” , does this imply that your experience is any different from some one who is free for, let’s say six months, a year or more, just curious?"


You referenced hormones and chemicals; I took that be biological, as in physiological, as in the mechanism of the body outside of behavior. Given that I have hormones regardless of how I behave, as a biological mechanism of being a human being, I attributed the issue of hormones to biology.

By saying that I am newly free, I am saying that my actual freedom is new to me and I am not in a position to draw conclusions about the hormonal aspects of my condition, as a female, yet.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 1:56 PM as a reply to pikko wright.
pikko wright:
To Stefanie:

I am sorry that my last reply to you went without edits, i mistakenly hit the save button.

I will like to clarify that i have no doubts about your claim of becoming actually free and my questions are more directed towards this condition of being actually free/ how are you experiencing yourself and how are others experiencing you/responding to you. And this inquiry is directed to any other AF person, you may like to respond , as well. ( nothing personal, no doubts about the claim, or your condition, at all).


It is okay Pikko. No need to apologize.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 6:27 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
The responses I find most pertinent to date are:

Both Jill and Daniel knew Tarin well before AF. They have spent time in his company post-AF, and found his behavior did not seem to controvert a claim that his lack of experience of passions is equivalent to an actual absence of passions and passion-driven behavior. That is valuable information.

Other than that, the resounding message is:

Q: How can one be sure that a certain experiential condition is not a form of blindness?
A: Be in that condition.

I appreciate the former, and agree to disagree on the value of the latter.

I thank everyone for their time and energy.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/4/10 6:01 PM as a reply to Seraphina Wise.
SW:
"I'll try to answer your questions in a way differently than I think I already have. It may simply be the case that you, and perhaps others in this thread, cannot be satisfied with the answers that have been given. To that end, I am unlikely to reply further after this post. "


# Thank you for your consideration. The subject of the inquiry is vital and the information so scant, that little data does not seem to bring any conclusive understanding.



"If you mean that there is consistency of sexual interaction in actually free people, you are essentially saying that there is no difference, essentially, how you ,or let’s say, Richard experiences sexual interaction? Just to clarify this."

SW:
No, I'm not suggesting we all have the same kinds of sexual interactions. I am suggesting that the perspective on sexual activity may overlap significantly.

# I asked specifically about *experience*, not perspective ( or opinion).



"b. the question was specifically directed towards you because you have written about having certain sexual dreams prior to your becoming free ( the very mention of such dreams indicates the importance they have played in your becoming free)"

SW:
And I've been quite candid about sexuality in general, to the extent that I think it can be helpful; and will yield to no further demands here. I simply reproduced my journal unedited; it would have been silly to edit just that one aspect of the experiences out of that pivotal week.


# No one is making any demands, you are under no duress to respond to any queries at all.
I have specifically written that " you have written about having certain sexual dreams prior to your becoming free ( the very mention of such dreams indicates the importance they have played in your becoming free)".
However, you are free to not take this discussion any further and it is understandable because it is a matter of privacy. While i never asked you to share any details or any particular examples, the questions were regarding experiences, not details.



"c. since you assume that there may be a “voyeuristic urge” in such inquiries, let me further explain that *this* very nature of AF is being questioned here, where an AF person may have become free of emotions/passions to the extent that they have stopped recognizing it in him/her self but immediately recognizes or even mis-recognizes it in others – just like any other person - hence the behavioural patterns remain intact without the person being aware of it."

Some of the patterns of behaviour do change, but when push comes to shove, deep patterns ( might) kick in."

SW:
That is your opinion, and you are welcome to it. "


# That is not a mere opinion, but a considered evaluation and close observation. However, I wanted clarification from the AF people to draw conclusions and inferences.


"Thank you for this invaluable input. I invite you to elaborate a bit more on this, also what did you make of this statement. "


SW:
I make nothing of it per se; it is what the person said. You asked for feedback post AF, and I am telling you what someone said to me after I became actually free. "

# Thank you for your input.

"My questions have nothing to do with human biology , but behavioural patterns. I explained why your being a female was an invaluable input in terms of sexual drives etc.

SW:
You referenced hormones and chemicals; I took that be biological, as in physiological, as in the mechanism of the body outside of behavior. Given that I have hormones regardless of how I behave, as a biological mechanism of being a human being, I attributed the issue of hormones to biology. "

# I referenced Hormones and chemicals , in response to your query as to why I specifically mentioned a female. Hormones and chemicals in body do produce affects, emotions and behavioural patterns. However, since you are not aware of such connections and how hormones affect a body and generates a pattern of behaviour, I do not expect you to either understand the nature of the inquiry nor expect you to answer.

Thank you.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/8/10 7:35 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
The responses I find most pertinent to date are:

Both Jill and Daniel knew Tarin well before AF. They have spent time in his company post-AF, and found his behavior did not seem to controvert a claim that his lack of experience of passions is equivalent to an actual absence of passions and passion-driven behavior. That is valuable information.


People who claim to be actually free have very different way of relating to those who are following Actualism and those who are not.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/8/10 8:09 AM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
John Wilde:
The responses I find most pertinent to date are:

Both Jill and Daniel knew Tarin well before AF. They have spent time in his company post-AF, and found his behavior did not seem to controvert a claim that his lack of experience of passions is equivalent to an actual absence of passions and passion-driven behavior. That is valuable information.


People who claim to be actually free have very different way of relating to those who are following Actualism and those who are not.


This is a very valuable information. Could you please elaborate on this ( you may maintain privacy), by giving some examples?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/8/10 8:33 PM as a reply to pikko wright.
pikko wright:
Aman A.:
John Wilde:
The responses I find most pertinent to date are:

Both Jill and Daniel knew Tarin well before AF. They have spent time in his company post-AF, and found his behavior did not seem to controvert a claim that his lack of experience of passions is equivalent to an actual absence of passions and passion-driven behavior. That is valuable information.


People who claim to be actually free have very different way of relating to those who are following Actualism and those who are not.


This is a very valuable information. Could you please elaborate on this ( you may maintain privacy), by giving some examples?


There are far too many on the AFT website, but the shining example of over-the-top ad-hominem response just dripping with actual care (sic) and felicity (sic) to one who clearly had grown out of actualism is here: http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/gardolcorrespondence/00index.htm

(This is in response to Gardol Yack's post "How I Achieved Actual Freedom" (available here: https://docs.google.com/View?id=dc35b3gv_70hpjsdzvt )

Another example by Peter is at the end of this page (a dig at the corespondent asking him not to come back, ever):

http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/peter/list-af/corr60e.htm

--
I’ve seen enough. Over and out.

Peter: Maybe this time around – if you have actually ‘seen’ enough and said enough, that is – you could at least have the courtesy of closing the door behind you as you leave – it saves all that banging in the breeze.
--

Richard was frequently fond of having the last put-down to his credit when a corespondent was finished.

http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/jayahncorrespondence/pageten.htm
--
JAYAHN: So I may begin to phase away from entertaining you with my examination of your selfless self and move onto for example cyberhum.org for awhile until my natural actual process (N.A.P.) brings me back to this ongoing and learningful and revealing examination (OaLaRE) of Richard {surname not for publication; but free in all other respect (irony)} of Byron Bay. There is a beautiful lightning storm beginning here in Bundeena and I will turn my PC off now and perhaps lie on my bed with the blinds open and the french door open and stare into the night; thru the trees outside my bedroom window and think about my life for awhile. Think about my life was a term a partner of mine used as her description of contemplative meditation. She was actually free more or less or the same degree as you are, Richard. Although you are pretty free yourself. Just you deny your self. And that is a big denial. Incredibly significant for you. I enjoyed your company immensely in Byron Bay; pity you are such an arrogant Actually Free B****** (it is a term of endearment in Australia and you might take it that way).

RICHARD: And thus do you go spiralling off into the night – as myopic as you came – trailing your debris behind you.
--

and

http://web.archive.org/web/20070903125930/http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listafcorrespondence/listaf48c.htm
--
RON: Step on in everyone, its a circus in here, bring your popcorn. Good to see ya Bance. crunch crunch.
Richard: And thus do you go spiralling off into the night – as myopic as you came – trailing your detritus behind you.
--

BANCE: Richard, ......... I got this tightening feeling in the back of my head and at the top of my neck....., since you are an expert in these affairs, perhaps you could tell me what you make of it, if anything. Thanks, (Nov 16, 2003 04:49 PST )

Richard: What I would suggest, at this stage, is to ask the American Indian, Mayan, Incan, Aboriginal, or any other from such an uprooted, extinct or rubbed-out indigenous culture and peoples you referred to in another e-mail, as that person, having already become actually free from the human condition long before I did will have far more expertise than I do as I have only been apparent for a little over a decade now.(Nov 21, 2003 10:34 PST )

--

RESPONDENT: You see, ‘I have my own world to live through and I ain’t gonna copy you’. jimi hendrix

RICHARD: As not all the hippies did cut their hair (and as six never will turn out to be nine) you are obviously yet to ‘dig’ that there is more to life – much, much more – than choking on your own vomit, eh?

--

This is what his ex-wife said about Richard:
--
Believing Richard’s words to be true and repeating them as teaching does not make Richard factually free from malice and sorrow

It [being factually free from malice and sorrow] is what he himself believes.

Richard is certainly not ‘a normal human being’ but this doesn’t mean that he is free from malice and sorrow.
--

This is how Richard characterized Noam Chomsky, a famous intellectual and linguist:
(culled from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/actualfreedom/message/9329 )

--
RESPONDENT: (...) Richard needs to get out more and read more widely. He
could read a little Noam Chomsky to rip his complacent blinkers off for a
start.

RICHARD: Ha ... Mr. Noam Chomsky's contribution to global peace and
harmony is such as to easily earn him, in some quarters at least, the
soubriquet `wankasaurus of the century'.

As is his contribution to the field of linguistics for that matter ... but
that is another subject.

RESPONDENT: Just what I would expect from you, Richard. Name calling
without substance.

RICHARD: The name-calling without substance came from (for example) the
editorial departments of The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The
Guardian and not this keyboard ... do you really think I would write
something, on a mailing list specifically set-up to discuss peace and
harmony, I was unable to support?
--
(in the above exchange, notice the following things:

- Richard uses an entirely needless sexual epithet against a fellow human
being <snip>

- Richard defends his behavior of calling Chomsky a
"wankasaurus of the century" by saying that the NYT, the guardian also
indulge in name-calling (that is actually meant to say, when you read the
footnote, that they praise him highly). Now any sane person knows that
name-calling is to use *abusive* words against another. I am amazed the
correspondent didn't realize the trickery that he had been subjected to.

- Having defended his name-calling via this trick, he then starts having
the argument in right derisive earnest, given his skills. ("if I may
interject", "it is your call", "the entire article will elude you",
"simply defies comprehension", "try reading what is actually written")
--

Enough for now, I guess.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/9/10 3:42 AM as a reply to Johannes Bugenhagen.
RESPONDENT: You see, ‘I have my own world to live through and I ain’t gonna copy you’. jimi hendrix

RICHARD: As not all the hippies did cut their hair (and as six never will turn out to be nine) you are obviously yet to ‘dig’ that there is more to life – much, much more – than choking on your own vomit, eh?

I think if AF has a future it wont be because of Richard. He will be AFs dirty little secret. An embarrassment in perpetuity.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/9/10 6:55 AM as a reply to mico mico.
Mic Hoe:
RESPONDENT: You see, ‘I have my own world to live through and I ain’t gonna copy you’. jimi hendrix

RICHARD: As not all the hippies did cut their hair (and as six never will turn out to be nine) you are obviously yet to ‘dig’ that there is more to life – much, much more – than choking on your own vomit, eh?

I think if AF has a future it wont be because of Richard. He will be AFs dirty little secret. An embarrassment in perpetuity.


What if his behavior is the result of the actual freedom (as it is called), and not a one-off aberration which others will not hopefully emulate? Doesn't the claim that one is "actually free of the human condition" and not even capable of hurt, or being irritated, or of feeling an emotion, sound a bit (to put it mildly) far-fetched?

Isn't it possible that this very self-gloating that one is not a feeling being anymore but is perfect, having achieved one's "destiny", and infinitely superior to others, and can NEVER be a flawed human again (otherwise it being a temporary "PCE" and not "actual freedom) results in aggressive and inconsiderate, condescending behavior?

And moreover, the claim that if you don't like an actually free person's behavior or way of communication, it is your fault, your imagination, your projection, because a-priori he is free and unable to be aggressive or malicious, a sure-fire recipe to repulse well-meaning inquisitive people?

Want to see how Richard constantly drills down into his correspondents the fact that he can't believe, he can't feel, he is free (when everybody, especially his ex-wife, sees it for what it really is: a CLAIM of being free, not a FACT of being free):

--------------------
Believing Richard’s words to be true and repeating them as teaching does not make Richard factually free from malice and sorrow

It [being factually free from malice and sorrow] is what he himself believes.

Richard is certainly not ‘a normal human being’ but this doesn’t mean that he is free from malice and sorrow.
----------------------



--
It is impossible for me to begin to bicker, let alone start a quarrel, an argument, a fight or a war. None of this is to be construed as ‘turning the other cheek’, however, for I do not suffer fools gladly. Anyone who enters into a discussion with me meets their match ... I acknowledge nobody as being superior to me. It is the most estimable condition to be in’.
--

--
I have no desire to argue for my experience has shown me that argumentation and disputation lead nowhere constructive ... as this current spate of correspondence betwixt you and me is amply demonstrating. But ‘having no desire to do so’ does not mean that I will not. It just means that I would prefer not to.
--

--
First of all, as I am incapable of imagining anything, let alone the future enjoyment of items purchased, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (hedonic pleasure) in any circumstance ... just as it is equally impossible to obtain its polar opposite (hedonic pain).
--

--
As I am incapable of having the feeling of excitedly or eagerly looking forward to and/or having an eager or pleasurable expectation of and/or looking forward with pleasure to anything, let alone the future enjoyment of items purchased, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (affective pleasure) in any circumstance ... just as it is equally impossible to obtain its polar opposite (affective pain).
--

--
I am incapable of the activity of believing ... let alone believing in something.
--

--
I am incapable of manifesting the requisite rage and wretchedness. I have achieved my personal peace-on-earth and I am unable to generate ill will any longer.
--

--
I am incapable of having the feeling of excitedly or eagerly looking forward to the future enjoyment of items purchased, for example, it is impossible for me to obtain that kind of pleasure (affective pleasure)?

(and just a scant sentence or two later) ... looking forward to the future enjoyment, of the items purchased whilst shopping, sans the feeling of excitedly or eagerly doing so is non-affective anticipation. (which he is capable of)
--

I am incapable of feeling happy.

--

RESPONDENT: I can’t substantiate that [my impression that you’re a neurotic, semi-insane fake], and certainly have no proofs or bibliography to back it up – it’s just a feeling I have. Apologies if I’m wrong.

RICHARD: There is no need to apologise as I am incapable of taking offence ... ‘twould be far better to invest such regretful energy into examining what necessitated the need for an apology in the first place, non?

RESPONDENT: There wasn’t an apology, Richard. There was an apology IF I was wrong. I have no way of telling whether I’m right or wrong and therefore have no need to invest any energy in anything. Oui?

RICHARD: It is ‘Oui’ only if you wish to render your (seemingly) sincere ‘apologies if I’m wrong’ expression totally meaningless, reducing it into being nothing other than a paying of lip-service to correct socialised manners ... and indicating a lack of intellectual rigour.

It is your call.

--
It is impossible for me to have friends ... every body is equally special in an actual intimacy.
--

I wonder how people just accept these claims on face value. What gullibility. Naivete indeed!

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/9/10 12:34 PM as a reply to Johannes Bugenhagen.
Dear Johannes,

For better or worse, Richard does at times and perhaps frequently make it easy to bust on him or at least makes it so that his writings can easily be seen in a way that invites this sort of criticism.

In fact, when reading Richard's Journal and the ATF website, I had similar reactions quite often, and what this says about me could be interpreted various ways, and I believe that such reactions are actually somewhat common among the very small group of people who care about such things and read such things. That said, I also have appreciated when he has, without the customary polite restraint, called a spade a spade.

To find things in his writings that make for easy sport takes strangely little skill, diligence, bravery, intelligence or time, and even a brief perusal of the AFT site can yield gems for this sort of thing.

So, you also have managed to do something that many others have done also and that is relatively easy and provides a sense of a job well done, a seemingly valid set of points made, a sense of satisfaction that apparent or possibly real inconsistencies and what you perceive to be and may truly be shadow sides have been brought to light again, as they have before on multiple occasions in various settings. As the one autographed copy of Richard's Journal known to exist sits on my shelf right behind me, I could easily pull it down, open to a page, and likely find more that would function quite adequately for this sort of target practice and scorn. As this sort of thing has an appeal to me as well, in general terms, and I like being right as much or more than the next guy, it might even be fun. I don't have a problem with that sort of thing, per se, as these reactions are common as has been seen here at the DhO and elsewhere, and are probably worthy of addressing as an aside.

All that aside, the actual practice of AF is not that easy, and I have found it subtle, complex, many faceted, and, I believe, profound and transformative, though obviously not necessarily in a direction you find appealing, or at least not in that one case. While the issue of personalities continues to arise, and Richard does make this one more predominant than it might be, this, at least for me, has never been the point at all.

I have had many influences over the years, most of whose personalities and habits I wouldn't care to adopt, Trungpa being a prime example, but there have been many others who, if one picked apart their behavior and sliced their words for possible inconsistencies between the promises of the spiritual life they purported and how I saw them from the outside, most would have been easy targets. I am very lucky I was able to ignore most of that and get to the gold that lay beneath the often concerning veneer.

As I sometimes find myself in a similar role, I guarantee that similar things could be easily said of me, as has been demonstrated by the fact that they already have in abundance as my occasional ego-surfing the web reveals, and if you asked my wife if there was anything special about me beyond my unique personality, I am sure she would rapidly say "no" despite my claims to attainments. While many aspiring seekers hold very specific and seemingly high ideals of behavior and speech for those who claim certain things, time and experience reveals that these ideals themselves are rarely if ever met in practice on close inspection.

Luckily, there are those who have somehow ignored these aspects of their own various influences, appropriately compartmentalized and discerned the difference between message and messenger, style and essence, inconsequential fluff and useful wisdom, and sought for themselves what is possible for themselves in this lifetime in terms of their own experience of reality and their own practice. This is a skill truly worth learning.

It is worth noting that various people claim AF here and all write in their own style, though certain common elements may possibly be found throughout their writings. This is also true in person and over the phone. This fundamental concept, namely dissociating core results from variations in personality, is of true value.

That Richard and AF doesn't do it for you is clear. Your point has been made and made and made again. However, I wonder who does do it for you, and if you have, for any tradition or teacher or practice, teased apart message and messenger, style and essence, and what is just their own unique way of conversing and expressing themselves and what might actually make a difference for you if you put it into practice. I wonder what experiments you yourself have tried, what they lead to, and what you find useful and appealing and interesting now and why.

As that work is also the goal of the DhO, I would ask you, now that you have amply demonstrated your ability to do something easy, to try something that requires something more: find something that does work for you, that does transform your way of perceiving the world in beneficial ways that you find in alignment with your dreams and ideals for your own practice and life, and master that. If, having done that, you are satisfied, so much the better. If, having done that, you are not, the skills you learned along the way will likely be of great benefit for your next personal practice project.

In case this all seemed rhetorical:

What, specifically, does work for you that you know due to your own practice, or at least appeals to you at this moment, and what are you doing to master that or share what you have mastered, as that is the primary business of the DhO?

What are your own specific ideals of how beings of whatever level of attainment should and must write, speak and act and have you carefully categorized and analyzed how these ideals fit with what happens in real life?

Daniel

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/9/10 8:24 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Dear Johannes,

For better or worse, Richard does at times and perhaps frequently make it easy to bust on him or at least makes it so that his writings can easily be seen in a way that invites this sort of criticism.


I think it cannot be for the better, it is certainly a red flag, since all we have about his claims is his words. If, given the obvious fact that he writes so carefully and meticulously, he still ends up engaging in endless put-downs, then it must be a compulsive trait of him, and by no stretch of the phrase can he be called "free of the human condition".

All that aside, the actual practice of AF is not that easy, and I have found it subtle, complex, many faceted, and, I believe, profound and transformative, though obviously not necessarily in a direction you find appealing, or at least not in that one case. While the issue of personalities continues to arise, and Richard does make this one more predominant than it might be, this, at least for me, has never been the point at all.


Whereas, for me, I look at the results, and not the claims and words and messages. Claims and messages about "peace on earth" only have an academic significance if the messenger is seen to be anything but an illustration of "peace on earth".

While many aspiring seekers hold very specific and seemingly high ideals of behavior and speech for those who claim certain things, time and experience reveals that these ideals themselves are rarely if ever met in practice on close inspection.


I think seekers are to be commended for scrutinizing people who claim to be "free of suffering", "free of human condition", "superior than anybody else" and point out that the behavior traits of these exalted personalities are no different than (and in many cases much worse) than normal human beings. Richard never failed to score points against spiritual people (and in many cases, rightly so) because they could not live up to their own teachings and. If he cannot as well, then I guess, as they say, the chickens have come home to roost.

Luckily, there are those who have somehow ignored these aspects of their own various influences, appropriately compartmentalized and discerned the difference between message and messenger, style and essence, inconsequential fluff and useful wisdom, and sought for themselves what is possible for themselves in this lifetime in terms of their own experience of reality and their own practice. This is a skill truly worth learning.


I think in normal human interaction, it is useful to disregard/forgive certain aspects of another person in order to have a harmonious relationship, but when somebody takes the unambiguous stance of being better than everybody else, to do such a selective evaluation cannot be called anything but very dangerous. Richard and AFT are promulgating a rather radical view of what a human being should aspire to be, and if that view and the promulgators are not subjected to the closest inspection, and held to the very highest standards by the practitioners, we could be deluding ourselves big time.

One can learn from a thief or a murderer as well, and I agree with you that this learning attitude from everything is a great skill to have. But that learning is no recommendation for emulation of the thief or the murderer, which emulation is being advocated full-on by Richard. And just as humility to be able to learn from anything and anyone is a great attitude to have, so is close inspection and skepticism a great attitude to have in the face of extraordinary claims.

It is worth noting that various people claim AF here and all write in their own style, though certain common elements may possibly be found throughout their writings. This is also true in person and over the phone. This fundamental concept, namely dissociating core results from variations in personality, is of true value.


I beg to disagree. If the issue is academic or scientific, then you would be right. To read a book by Tolstoy or de Sade and enjoy its literary qualities is possible while ignoring the author's personal life. But this is not true of self-help or spirituality or actualism. If somebody is offering a solution to be the best human being, and saying that he has successfully applied that solution to himself, then to ignore his personality is a capital error and of course, extremely dangerous and ill-advised.

What, specifically, does work for you that you know due to your own practice, or at least appeals to you at this moment, and what are you doing to master that or share what you have mastered, as that is the primary business of the DhO?


I am not a full-time seeker of exalted states, I am mostly happy the way I am. I am not perfect, neither do I consider it a worthwhile goal to nit pick with myself and my inner states (e.g. when I am mildly irritated over something) when I realize (after having seen enough seekers and masters) that seeking of perfection etc. can worsen the inherent kindness, considerateness and niceness that humans have for each other.

And I wish more people who are kind and intelligent were content with themselves rather than seek more labels and psychic states, and in the process start considering their inner ambitions as more important than anything else.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/9/10 10:56 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
A very nice post, Daniel.

Although you have written to another poster, but I will like to reply to some of your points:

Daniel M. Ingram:

For better or worse, Richard does at times and perhaps frequently make it easy to bust on him or at least makes it so that his writings can easily be seen in a way that invites this sort of criticism.


If you were to write this on a forum where Richard responded to, you would have been busted by him for even suggesting this.


In fact, when reading Richard's Journal and the ATF website, I had similar reactions quite often, and what this says about me could be interpreted various ways, and I believe that such reactions are actually somewhat common among the very small group of people who care about such things and read such things. That said, I also have appreciated when he has, without the customary polite restraint, called a spade a spade.



yes, and most actualists, have done( and continue to do it). They become an arbiter against their own judgements and evaluations, because they assume that they are caught in human condition while Richard is not. In my humble opinion, it will be also very pertinent to examine this self-training by seekers.

To find things in his writings that make for easy sport takes strangely little skill, diligence, bravery, intelligence or time, and even a brief perusal of the AFT site can yield gems for this sort of thing.


Yet, they have gone unexamined, unchallenged by most of the posters and the ones who have challenged them have let their own intelligence argue against their evaluations.
The point is a man who claims perfection, beyond and above everything, says his method is radical and 180 degree opposite to what is best known till now in seeking ( spirituality) has to be examined and not believed. It is easy to say that 'to each his own' but forums , such as yours are meant to clarify these evaluations itself.


All that aside, the actual practice of AF is not that easy, and I have found it subtle, complex, many faceted, and, I believe, profound and transformative, though obviously not necessarily in a direction you find appealing, or at least not in that one case. While the issue of personalities continues to arise, and Richard does make this one more predominant than it might be, this, at least for me, has never been the point at all.


These notes are pertinent. The actual practice of AF is indeed multifaceted and trans-formative. Just as de-programming practices have been, to decondition oneself, to find out about the roots of one's sorrow and malice and do something about them is greatly rewarding, Indeed. However, Richard's style and behaviour online does give one a pause to think if this condition of AF is really as rewarding as one might like to.


As I sometimes find myself in a similar role, I guarantee that similar things could be easily said of me, as has been demonstrated by the fact that they already have in abundance as my occasional ego-surfing the web reveals, and if you asked my wife if there was anything special about me beyond my unique personality, I am sure she would rapidly say "no" despite my claims to attainments. While many aspiring seekers hold very specific and seemingly high ideals of behavior and speech for those who claim certain things, time and experience reveals that these ideals themselves are rarely if ever met in practice on close inspection.


Correct. But have you claimed perfection in your life and behaviour, as Richard does? Have you written somewhere that you are the first person on this planet, in human history to have achieved a feat that has never been done before and that you are impeccable, immaculate perfection that this universe is, your behaviour is the best, you are always correct and knows the best, you are infallible as far as your understanding of human condition and being free from it is concerned. And you do not stop at claiming it, you invite others to emulate it and even scrutinize you in any way possible, because yo are confident that you are infallible in AF related matters. And that you can also give a talk or two about the sham spirituality is, collected human wisdom of thousands of years is. In such a scenario, your online correspondence ( which is the only way you interact with people) will be subjected to scrutiny. And if the people who have met him personally can reveal ( in all honesty) what he is like then we will be able to find more. Till then, naturally, his writings ( which are contradictory , will naturally , come under severe scrutiny).



It is worth noting that various people claim AF here and all write in their own style, though certain common elements may possibly be found throughout their writings. This is also true in person and over the phone. This fundamental concept, namely dissociating core results from variations in personality, is of true value.


Are these common elements due to the fact or their being AF or due to their quoting, imitating ( even if unknowingly) Richard's style? Some one on this forum has commented that how AF people interact with people who follow/practice AF is different from how they interact with non-AF people. I can only guess that the poster means family and friends. In that case, does it not raises even more questions whether AF is really the genuine article? This is not casting aspersions on people who have achieved it , in this forum because it is possible that even they are not aware of : a) what exactly has happened to them - what kind of mutation , what kind of transformation; b) their experiences matched somewhat with what has been suggested by Richard and they think they are in the same condition as Richard is; c) they may have achieved somthing, somewhat different from what Richard has done (may be even better- who knows). But unless, it is examined well, along with practice of it, certain outstanding questions will be posed again and again. Surely you will not endorse anything blindly, yourself.


All this is practice, seeking. To me, understanding human condition and doing something about it has been and continues to be a life long goal. I have done a great deal to do that, my very unique personal experiences have, both enriched me and also taught me much more. What I do in my daily life ( for me it is important what I do is applicable in my day- to- day life) is to be myself - carefree ( not free of responsibilities), happy ( not only for myself, but also for others by not thrusting my emotional states on them); to understand what is happening inside me and around me , as regards what is it to be a human being in this universe. Life is indeed and great gift and I try to savour it fully ( and when I am not able to , I carefullly find out , why?)


Pikko

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/10/10 5:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Look at these two exchanges:

http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listbcorrespondence/listb21.htm


RESPONDENT: Do you drink, smoke, overeat, escape into fantasy, or have elicit affairs?

RICHARD: The word is ‘illicit’ not ‘elicit’ ... if you are going to castigate people whose sexual predilections are not in accord with your adopted scriptural injunctions then you could at least learn the terminology, do you not think?

RESPONDENT: Thanks for the spelling correction. I will take note of it.

RICHARD: It was not a spelling correction ... it was a word correction. ‘Elicit’ means ‘extract, draw out, educe’ ... whereas ‘illicit’ means ‘improper’ as in ‘not allowed’ ... it basically means ‘narrow-minded’.

RESPONDENT: You spelled succor wrong in one of your recent messages, by the way. You spelled it ‘succour’.

RICHARD: Oh, I do not wish to get into that ‘American English’ versus ‘Australian English’ debate ... I will let the academics argue that one out. Suffice is it to say that the ‘Oxford Dictionary’ spells it < succour > ... as does the spell-checker on my computer. Try again.


This is how a man who is perfection personified corresponds with another human being. Especially notice the gratuitous "Try again." at the end.

For another example:


RESPONDENT: As I know nobody has become actual free by using this method?

RICHARD: The reason why this flesh and blood body is actually free from the human condition is because of the identity in residence all those years ago (1981-1992) utilising the approach ‘he’ devised – a course of action which has become known as the actualism method – to full effect.

RESPONDENT: Not even the inventor used the method of examining and questioning.

RICHARD: I would suggest obtaining your information from a reputable source – www.actualfreedom.com.au – and not from what some malcontent daubed on a lavatory wall.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/10/10 7:51 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Richard, both directly (through the following quotes), and indirectly (by categorizing everything except AF as "tried and failed" because everything else lead to acrimony, depression, delusion, war, suicides, etc.) invites the closest scrutiny of his conduct (and not just his "teachings"):

It is a freedom well worth living indeed, for in actual freedom lies not only an actual peace but an actual innocence. One is pure innocence personified, for one is literally free from sin and guilt. One is untouched by evil; no malice or sorrow exists anywhere in this body. One is utterly innocent ... innocence, that much abused word, can come to its full flowering and one is easily able to be freely ingenuous – noble in character – without any effort at all. The integrity of an actual freedom is so unlike the strictures of morality – whereupon the psychological and psychic identity within the body struggles in vain to resemble the purity of the actual – inasmuch as probity is bestowed gratuitously. One can live unequivocally, endowed with an actual gracefulness and dignity, in a magical wonderland. To thus live candidly, in arrant innocence, is a remarkable condition of excellence. This alternate freedom has never before been discovered anywhere in the history of humankind ...


It is all so simple, here in this actual world; no effort is needed to meet the requisite morality of society. I have no ‘dark nature’, no unconscious impulses to curb, to control, to restrain. It is all so easy, here in this actual world; I can take no credit for my apparently virtuous behaviour because actual freedom automatically provides beneficial thoughts and deeds.


This material universe – being infinite and eternal – is already always perfect (infinitude has no opposite). One can realise – and then actualise – that one is this universe experiencing itself as a sensate and reflective human being. As such, one is perfection personified – it is this simple – which means that one is automatically happy and harmless; one is easily benign and benevolent; one is involuntarily carefree and considerate; one is effortlessly blithe and beneficent ... in a word: innocent.


Indeed, yet a person is amoral only when they can totally and reliably be capable of spontaneously interacting in the world of people, things and events, in a way that is neither personally insalubrious nor socially reprehensible, at all times and under any circumstance without exception. The $64,000 question then appears to be this: does the altered state of consciousness known as ‘Spiritual Enlightenment’ (an embodiment of ‘The Truth’ by whatever name) bestow such a remarkable freedom that amorality indubitably is?


The question now is: knowing that ‘Spiritual Enlightenment’ does not make one perfect ... what will?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/10/10 11:29 AM as a reply to Johannes Bugenhagen.
Dear Johannes,

Again, finding the stuff that seems or perhaps is contradictory, or at least contradictory given your view of how things should be and how those terms should be applied, given whatever ideals and projections we bring to words like noble and perfection, is quite easy. You have demonstrated this yet again. I suspect that very many more pages could be filled with the same stuff, and I think the basic point that you feel these apparently obvious inconsistencies are worth highlighting again and again has been made clearly to any and all reading this.

In summary, and just to make it clear that you have been understood: you believe that Richard's words and claims do not align as you feel they should and this is some mix of hypocrisy, blindness, and outright outrageous contradiction, given his particularly high claims and assertions.

Again, I ask: as the DhO is not about bashing on anyone in particular, or about cults of personality or cults of anti-personality, and instead is about practice and exploration for one's self, to see how various claims and practices perform when tested for on one's own, in one's own life, and you have asserted along the lines that it is better to just be happy as one is, rather than engage in what we engage in here, that being: hardcore practices of various sorts to transform consciousness in various ways, posting here that we should essentially stop doing this, as you have found a way you consider superior, namely not doing what we do here, as you stated:

"I am not a full-time seeker of exalted states, I am mostly happy the way I am. I am not perfect, neither do I consider it a worthwhile goal to nit pick with myself and my inner states (e.g. when I am mildly irritated over something) when I realize (after having seen enough seekers and masters) that seeking of perfection etc. can worsen the inherent kindness, considerateness and niceness that humans have for each other.

And I wish more people who are kind and intelligent were content with themselves rather than seek more labels and psychic states, and in the process start considering their inner ambitions as more important than anything else."

It would be a little like you joining an auto-mechanics forum and ranting about how they should all just walk and live close to things and give up their cars, or a forum by evolutionary biologists and rant about Creationism and how they should stop their research, or a Baptist forum and tell everyone they should stop going to church as it is bad for them, or walking in to a Buddhist monastery and yelling at the monks to all get jobs, or staging a loud protest outside an isolation-tank store based on the idea that they were wasting precious resources, or tearing up beautiful gardens as you felt they should be used for farmland, or some other such activity in which you feel you know best what is good for others and feel that you should try to evangelize your particularly point of view, which, in this case, is basically explicitly contradictory to something like the dominant paradigm here.

In case you somehow missed this: many here are explicitly seekers of exalted states and much more, as that is part of what this place and community does, and I would say does unusually well. Are you sure you are in the right place, or did you just notice that this place had some members whose practice is AF or has been influenced by AF, had a particular beef with Richard, and then let it rip without noticing that the DhO membership generally fails to agree with your essential practice paradigm: that being that they should stop practicing as it is inherently narcissistic (I get this from the line, "and in the process start considering their inner ambitions as more important than anything else")?

Just curious, why Richard, and not the countless other persons who have made various claims that would seem on cursory inspection and without having followed a similar path to lead to similar contradictions? This is actually a rhetorical question and doesn't need an answer unless it relates to something to do with actual practice.

More to the point: as this forum is about practice, personal experimentation, and seeking things you clearly feel deeply that people should not seek, would you mind finding another place to post your critiques of Richard and his writings and on-line personality? There is already plenty of this sort of stuff on various other forums more dedicated to this sort of thing, and I don't think you need fear that somehow if you don't post here that no one will be able to find that information, as if they look, they definitely will, and there is already plenty of it here.

Specifically, as your basic paradigm is, as I see it, 180 degrees opposite to the stated goals of this website: would you be so kind as to move to a forum more aligned with those who delight in guru-bashing and do not delight in and in fact revile personal practice and exploration of for one's self, or, even more in keeping with the spirit of this place, consider reading about what happens here, what people have achieved with the support of this and similar places (such as KFD, OE, etc.), and consider revising your view that there is nothing worth seeking other than the notion that seeking itself is inherently narcissistic, as, I will assert, it is very limiting and would go so far as to say dangerously out of touch with what is possible, beneficial and available for those who wish to achieve something far beyond the narrow confines of that ignorant and limited notion.

Daniel Ingram
Founder and Owner of the DhO

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/10/10 10:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Dear Daniel

I respectfully agree with your essential thrust.

The fact that this forum has a certain mandate, and people here are exercising their choice to seek various states (including actual freedom) by practicing various methods (including the actualist method).

I had (mistakenly) thought that people would welcome a personal understanding and a critical analysis of Richard's state, but given your message, I understand that while Richard's state can be criticized (and perhaps validly too, if I hear you right), that is not the focus of DhO and it is about one's own practice and attainments that one can talk most fruitfully here.

I wish you, and them, all the best.

Johannes M Bugenhagen,
Glasgow, UK.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Dear Johannes,

Again, finding the stuff that seems or perhaps is contradictory, or at least contradictory given your view of how things should be and how those terms should be applied, given whatever ideals and projections we bring to words like noble and perfection, is quite easy. You have demonstrated this yet again. I suspect that very many more pages could be filled with the same stuff, and I think the basic point that you feel these apparently obvious inconsistencies are worth highlighting again and again has been made clearly to any and all reading this.

In summary, and just to make it clear that you have been understood: you believe that Richard's words and claims do not align as you feel they should and this is some mix of hypocrisy, blindness, and outright outrageous contradiction, given his particularly high claims and assertions.

Again, I ask: as the DhO is not about bashing on anyone in particular, or about cults of personality or cults of anti-personality, and instead is about practice and exploration for one's self, to see how various claims and practices perform when tested for on one's own, in one's own life, and you have asserted along the lines that it is better to just be happy as one is, rather than engage in what we engage in here, that being: hardcore practices of various sorts to transform consciousness in various ways, posting here that we should essentially stop doing this, as you have found a way you consider superior, namely not doing what we do here, as you stated:

"I am not a full-time seeker of exalted states, I am mostly happy the way I am. I am not perfect, neither do I consider it a worthwhile goal to nit pick with myself and my inner states (e.g. when I am mildly irritated over something) when I realize (after having seen enough seekers and masters) that seeking of perfection etc. can worsen the inherent kindness, considerateness and niceness that humans have for each other.

And I wish more people who are kind and intelligent were content with themselves rather than seek more labels and psychic states, and in the process start considering their inner ambitions as more important than anything else."

It would be a little like you joining an auto-mechanics forum and ranting about how they should all just walk and live close to things and give up their cars, or a forum by evolutionary biologists and rant about Creationism and how they should stop their research, or a Baptist forum and tell everyone they should stop going to church as it is bad for them, or walking in to a Buddhist monastery and yelling at the monks to all get jobs, or staging a loud protest outside an isolation-tank store based on the idea that they were wasting precious resources, or tearing up beautiful gardens as you felt they should be used for farmland, or some other such activity in which you feel you know best what is good for others and feel that you should try to evangelize your particularly point of view, which, in this case, is basically explicitly contradictory to something like the dominant paradigm here.

In case you somehow missed this: many here are explicitly seekers of exalted states and much more, as that is part of what this place and community does, and I would say does unusually well. Are you sure you are in the right place, or did you just notice that this place had some members whose practice is AF or has been influenced by AF, had a particular beef with Richard, and then let it rip without noticing that the DhO membership generally fails to agree with your essential practice paradigm: that being that they should stop practicing as it is inherently narcissistic (I get this from the line, "and in the process start considering their inner ambitions as more important than anything else")?

Just curious, why Richard, and not the countless other persons who have made various claims that would seem on cursory inspection and without having followed a similar path to lead to similar contradictions? This is actually a rhetorical question and doesn't need an answer unless it relates to something to do with actual practice.

More to the point: as this forum is about practice, personal experimentation, and seeking things you clearly feel deeply that people should not seek, would you mind finding another place to post your critiques of Richard and his writings and on-line personality? There is already plenty of this sort of stuff on various other forums more dedicated to this sort of thing, and I don't think you need fear that somehow if you don't post here that no one will be able to find that information, as if they look, they definitely will, and there is already plenty of it here.

Specifically, as your basic paradigm is, as I see it, 180 degrees opposite to the stated goals of this website: would you be so kind as to move to a forum more aligned with those who delight in guru-bashing and do not delight in and in fact revile personal practice and exploration of for one's self, or, even more in keeping with the spirit of this place, consider reading about what happens here, what people have achieved with the support of this and similar places (such as KFD, OE, etc.), and consider revising your view that there is nothing worth seeking other than the notion that seeking itself is inherently narcissistic, as, I will assert, it is very limiting and would go so far as to say dangerously out of touch with what is possible, beneficial and available for those who wish to achieve something far beyond the narrow confines of that ignorant and limited notion.

Daniel Ingram
Founder and Owner of the DhO

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/14/11 11:57 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:

In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.


An answer, sooner than I could have expected. Thanks to those who participated.

"Now when we measure their body, we do measure sort of the same type of physiological responses that you would measure in people that had emotion. So it’s interesting because there does appear to be sort of what you would think of measurable emotional response in the body but there’s no experience of it."

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/07/bg-225-the-end-of-self-referencing/

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 5:31 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Thanks for the link John.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 11:09 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Now when we measure their body, we do measure sort of the same type of physiological responses that you would measure in people that had emotion. So it’s interesting because there does appear to be sort of what you would think of measurable emotional response in the body but there’s no experience of it.


This means the feelings keep operating in a subconscious level? What if someone has a psychosomatic illness like nervous colitis? The body keeps experiencing these symptoms but the conscious mind doesn't? Works like that in AF too?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 3:08 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Yeah, that podcast and Martin's work is gold IMO. Hooray for the beginnings of a scientific study of the enlightened population!


John Wilde:
John Wilde:

In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.


An answer, sooner than I could have expected. Thanks to those who participated.

"Now when we measure their body, we do measure sort of the same type of physiological responses that you would measure in people that had emotion. So it’s interesting because there does appear to be sort of what you would think of measurable emotional response in the body but there’s no experience of it."

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/07/bg-225-the-end-of-self-referencing/

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 6:39 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
John Wilde:

In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.


An answer, sooner than I could have expected. Thanks to those who participated.

"Now when we measure their body, we do measure sort of the same type of physiological responses that you would measure in people that had emotion. So it’s interesting because there does appear to be sort of what you would think of measurable emotional response in the body but there’s no experience of it."

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/07/bg-225-the-end-of-self-referencing/


The suttas suggest strongly that there are no physiological responses to stimuli (of the sort that you're looking for) that would previously have engendered fear / anxiety / etc. in an arahant.

Believe it or disbelieve it as you like.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 7:03 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
by the way, in context he wasn't necessarily implying that the results were the same for all of them. perhaps the people he mentioned were not arahants. it seems very hard to believe that in a practice part of which is being able to perceive more and more, one is actually becoming more and more blind, as would be the case of the physiology was constant but emotions seemed to decrease.

in this thread Jill mentions an ability to notice slight changes in blood pressure

i became used to noticing slight changes to bodily phenomenon such as a change in heart rate, pressure, or sensations of increased blood flow.


even i, a measly noob, can notice blood pressure, i really doubt the physiology stays the same. in that same podcast he also mentions people who had self-referential thoughts only at certain times, maybe this was attributed to them. i don't think this is quite that conclusive, it was really just a passing comment.

also, he says the "same type" which isn't exactly definitive. i think we should wait until there is a clear set of results.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 7:27 PM as a reply to josh r s.
josh r s:
by the way, in context he wasn't necessarily implying that the results were the same for all of them.


That's right, but at one point in the interview he was specifically referring to people who claim to experience no feelings, so I assume he's talking about one or more AF people -- partly because they're the only ones who make such a claim, and partly because he quoted an AFer's remark "you get what you optimize for".

josh r s:
perhaps the people he mentioned were not arahants.


I'm assuming at least one of them was an AFer, but time will tell.

josh r s:
it seems very hard to believe that in a practice part of which is being able to perceive more and more, one is actually becoming more and more blind, as would be the case of the physiology was constant but emotions seemed to decrease.


I can see why you'd say that, but to me it isn't very surprising that somebody who regards any affective content whatsoever as a form of suffering would end up in a state in which they cannot feel any more... and not necessarily because there is nothing there to feel but because they have -- through voluntary, systematic, persistent intent -- opted out of that mode of experience entirely.

josh r s:

i don't think this is quite that conclusive,


I agree, but it is at least suggestive of what the conclusion will be.

The full results should be interesting either way.

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 7:28 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
The full results should be interesting either way


agreed

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 7:41 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
to me it isn't very surprising that somebody who regards any affective content whatsoever as a form of suffering would end up in a state in which they cannot feel any more... and not necessarily because there is nothing there to feel but because they have -- through voluntary, systematic, persistent intent -- opted out of that mode of experience entirely.


Antero (on KFD) currently reports similar things to what I and Nick report, and yet he was never interested in our worldview with respect to eliminating affect and seemed to explicitly reject it during public conversations that occurred right before his mode of experience shifted.

If you are interested in further refining your theory, you may want to chat with him, as that may provide you with some useful data.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 7:49 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
John Wilde:
to me it isn't very surprising that somebody who regards any affective content whatsoever as a form of suffering would end up in a state in which they cannot feel any more... and not necessarily because there is nothing there to feel but because they have -- through voluntary, systematic, persistent intent -- opted out of that mode of experience entirely.


Antero (on KFD) currently reports similar things to what I and Nick report, and yet he was never interested in our worldview with respect to eliminating affect and seemed to explicitly reject it during public conversations that occurred right before his mode of experience shifted.

If you are interested in further refining your theory, you may want to chat with him, as that may provide you with some useful data.


Also, I have heard through the grape-vine about people in other traditions who report the same sorts of things (though I do not believe that I am at liberty to state any details). If this issue was of deep importance to you, you could go around to some Zen masters, etc. and see what they might be willing to tell you.

From my vantage point it seems that the contemplative journey is pretty similar, no matter what one's tradition is...but the tradition does color the sorts of things one is likely to highlight or find significant.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 10:48 PM as a reply to josh r s.
I would temper that enthusiasm John / Josh. Full results are not what science is about anymore than any other system of belief, there is always a pocket to line.

How about his comment in the first part that interview when he said the book (the fourth awakening?) was written to entice research participants, and when it sold really well, that was 'kind of cool'.

My BS meter jumped a couple of notches. Kind of cool? hmmm..


The question that this thread points to is perhaps also stated, is functional harmlessness the same as the subjective experience of harmlessness?

Very easy to answer that one. My kids could do that without so much as graduating 1st grade. (Of course I would have to define the words for them! Perhaps is being bad, the same as feeling bad?)

A lie is still a lie. Propagating subjective points of view as absolute truth has always been, and always will be wrong. Plain old garden variety wrong. As in lying. Functionally the same.

The idea of morality being based on feelings in the first place is flawed. Morality, which is basically what this is all about , does not stop at AF or any other state.


Still, I would prefer not to 'feel' in the confusing way that i have to this point in life, so i practice. I think the mystery of the whole thing is exactly what you quoted an AFer saying "you get what you optimise for"

It is the single most scary thing, and liberating thing at the same time. How people use it and what it means to them has always been the issue.

Edit: Propagating not proagating. Though a quick google seems to turn up plenty of the later for some reason. People don't like using the pinky on their right hand maybe...emoticon

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 8:34 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

From my vantage point it seems that the contemplative journey is pretty similar, no matter what one's tradition is...but the tradition does color the sorts of things one is likely to highlight or find significant.


I'm sure you're right about the second part, but I'm still not sure it's all one elephant. Am open to that possibility though.

Thanks for the tip re Antero (and thanks for your helpful, open attitude in general).

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 8:39 PM as a reply to Andrew ..
I'm not sure exactly how to put it, but I'm surprised no one has attempted to make the following point(in some way that is):

Just because certain physiological reactions are occurring does not mean that emotions are arising. As far as I can tell a emotion is neither "real" nor a "thing". It is a experiential product of a physiological reaction just like an image is an experiential product of a physiological happening(neuronal firing, ect). That doesn't make the image in one's head real or a "thing", it is after all *imaginary* yet it is an experience. I think to equate the physiological reaction with the imaginary-like feeling is simply a confusion to begin with.

It also begs the question of whether or not our current highly intelligent apes-in-lab-suits science is up to the task of even sorting this out anytime soon(I'd be deeply surprised if it is, especially currently).

Also, as the specific practice of actualism is all about being *attentive* in a bare-awareness sort of way to feelings/emotions *all the time* it does seem pretty weird to think that being aware of one's feelings all the time would lead to losing the ability to feel one's feelings(and just to make it more clear, the attentiveness to feelings in actualism is precisely *feeling one's feelings* with bare-awareness).

Another interesting point is how long the person may have been actually free as Richard described 'neuronal agitation" going on for 30 months after getting "actually free". Peter had certain sensations at the chest(ie physiological reaction) that were related to what would happen when feeling an emotion without an emotion arising. Perhaps that sort of thing goes on for awhile and eventually stops.

To equate what actually free people experience(no affect/emotions) with alexithymia also seems very problematic. I've worked in mental health for about 14 years and people with alexithymia clearly and obviously have feelings and can even describe sensations that are clearly feelings if prompted to do so(they sometimes still don't recognize these sensations as feelings initially though). Severe alexithymia is also extremely rare too, so it's not like I'm speaking of hundreds of cases here. The actually free people at some point don't seem to even have sensations that could even be read as emotions, so this angle seems unlikely to say the least. Though, ultimately I think that the experiential ending of suffering is the key here and not the speculation based on still very primitive scientific forays into these matters. I think making and taking a strong stand(either positive or negative) on whether or not emotions are inferred from certain physiological reactions as measured by current science is more likely to be either hubris or ignorance(or both) than wisdom or objectivity as things currently stand. It certainly would be evidence of a unfounded faith-based approach to scientific research at the very least.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 4:53 AM as a reply to aaron ..
aaron .:
I'm not sure exactly how to put it, but I'm surprised no one has attempted to make the following point(in some way that is):

Just because certain physiological reactions are occurring does not mean that emotions are arising. As far as I can tell a emotion is neither "real" nor a "thing". It is a experiential product of a physiological reaction just like an image is an experiential product of a physiological happening(neuronal firing, ect).


I understand where you're coming from. So, given that instinctual passions usually have both physiological (neurons firing, hormonal secretions, etc) and experiential aspects (feelings, emotions), what does it mean to be "free" of these? It can easily become a question of semantics because how we define the existence of a passion determines how we understand freedom from it.

Of course, if there were no characteristic physiological reactions, there'd be no controversy...

aaron .:

That doesn't make the image in one's head real or a "thing", it is after all *imaginary* yet it is an experience. I think to equate the physiological reaction with the imaginary-like feeling is simply a confusion to begin with.


That's true. To say a physiological event is identical with an experience would be a category error. But this doesn't mean that they aren't intimately related, or that one isn't the cause of the other, or that both proceed from a common cause, or ...

It would be interesting if people ever reported feeling an emotion without there being an accompanying physiological reaction. The fact that this doesn't happen says something about their relatedness, surely. (Even though, as you pointed out, it doesn't say they're the same thing, or the same category of thing).


aaron .:

It also begs the question of whether or not our current highly intelligent apes-in-lab-suits science is up to the task of even sorting this out anytime soon(I'd be deeply surprised if it is, especially currently).


Of course, but at least it will give us some raw data to supplement the personal testimonies.

aaron .:

Also, as the specific practice of actualism is all about being *attentive* in a bare-awareness sort of way to feelings/emotions *all the time* it does seem pretty weird to think that being aware of one's feelings all the time would lead to losing the ability to feel one's feelings(and just to make it more clear, the attentiveness to feelings in actualism is precisely *feeling one's feelings* with bare-awareness).

Another interesting point is how long the person may have been actually free as Richard described 'neuronal agitation" going on for 30 months after getting "actually free". Peter had certain sensations at the chest(ie physiological reaction) that were related to what would happen when feeling an emotion without an emotion arising. Perhaps that sort of thing goes on for awhile and eventually stops.


That's possible.

aaron .:

To equate what actually free people experience(no affect/emotions) with alexithymia also seems very problematic.


To equate it with alexithymia (by itself) would be problematic, I'd be the first to admit.

But there is still the question of whether not experiencing something means that it isn't happening.

To avoid this becoming a matter of useless semantics, what do you say to this?

Is affect / instinctual passion solely an experiential thing, or is the experience of it just the tip of the iceberg?

What's your view?

[Edit: On reflection it looks like you've already expressed an agnostic view on the current topic:
"I think making and taking a strong stand(either positive or negative) on whether or not emotions are inferred from certain physiological reactions as measured by current science is more likely to be either hubris or ignorance(or both) than wisdom or objectivity as things currently stand".
. But if you have any more to say on this, I'm interested].

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 9:21 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
John Wilde:
John Wilde:

In AF (or temporarily in a PCE) one is either experiencing a real absence of passions, drives, emotions and identity, or one is failing to experience the presence of passions, drives, emotions and identity. These are objectively different but would be subjectively the same. I am trying to find out which is true.


An answer, sooner than I could have expected. Thanks to those who participated.

"Now when we measure their body, we do measure sort of the same type of physiological responses that you would measure in people that had emotion. So it’s interesting because there does appear to be sort of what you would think of measurable emotional response in the body but there’s no experience of it."

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/07/bg-225-the-end-of-self-referencing/


The suttas suggest strongly that there are no physiological responses to stimuli (of the sort that you're looking for) that would previously have engendered fear / anxiety / etc. in an arahant.

Believe it or disbelieve it as you like.




The suttas say no such thing. =p

Come on now.

They merely state that arahats do not experience certain emotions (or at least the Abhidhamma says that), furthermore the Pali Canon does not mesh well with what the practitioners here are doing, so you can't use it for support.

Furthermore, in reply to this topic in general:

There is no perturbation whatsoever (no wide-eyed staring, no increase in heart-beat, no rapid breathing, no adrenaline-tensed muscle tone, no sweaty palms, no blood draining from the face, no dry mouth, no cortisol-induced heightened awareness, and so on) as with the complete absence of the rudimentary animal ‘self’ in the primordial brain the limbic system in general, and the amygdala in particular, have been free to do their job – the oh-so-vital startle response – both efficaciously and cleanly.


http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-goleman.htm

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 4:54 AM as a reply to James Yen.
James Yen:

Furthermore, in reply to this topic in general:

There is no perturbation whatsoever (no wide-eyed staring, no increase in heart-beat, no rapid breathing, no adrenaline-tensed muscle tone, no sweaty palms, no blood draining from the face, no dry mouth, no cortisol-induced heightened awareness, and so on) as with the complete absence of the rudimentary animal ‘self’ in the primordial brain the limbic system in general, and the amygdala in particular, have been free to do their job – the oh-so-vital startle response – both efficaciously and cleanly.



Yes, there's no doubting how Richard conceives of this: Actual absence of physiological responses, not just the absence of the experience of them.

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 9:52 PM as a reply to Andrew ..
Andrew Jones:
I would temper that enthusiasm John / Josh. Full results are not what science is about anymore than any other system of belief, there is always a pocket to line.


I agree Andrew, but it'll give us the first raw data on this. It'll be tough to interpret, but it's something at least.

Andrew Jones:

How about his comment in the first part that interview when he said the book (the fourth awakening?) was written to entice research participants, and when it sold really well, that was 'kind of cool'.

My BS meter jumped a couple of notches. Kind of cool? hmmm..


Same here ;-)

Andrew Jones:

The question that this thread points to is perhaps also stated, is functional harmlessness the same as the subjective experience of harmlessness?


That's one part of it, yes. I think that was mainly Johannes Bugenhagen's line of inquiry. I was more interested in whether not experiencing the passions means we can conclude that they aren't operating at all.


Andrew Jones:

Very easy to answer that one. My kids could do that without so much as graduating 1st grade. (Of course I would have to define the words for them! Perhaps is being bad, the same as feeling bad?)

A lie is still a lie. Proagating subjective points of view as absolute truth has always been, and always will be wrong. Plain old garden variety wrong. As in lying. Functionally the same.

The idea of morality being based on feelings in the first place is flawed. Morality, which is basically what this is all about , does not stop at AF or any other state.


If I understand you correctly, I agree. The AF [edit: AFT] party line is that eliminating the instinctual passions eliminates the source of harmful intent, which in turn obviates the need for any morality. Both of these are doubtful, in my opinion.

Andrew Jones:

Still, I would prefer not to 'feel' in the confusing way that i have to this point in life, so i practice.


You've got plenty of company ;-)

Andrew Jones:

I think the mystery of the whole thing is exactly what you quoted an AFer saying "you get what you optimise for"

It is the single most scary thing, and liberating thing at the same time. How people use it and what it means to them has always been the issue.


Scary and liberating at the same time, yeah. Hence the old Gypsy curse: may you get what you want!

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/15/11 9:57 PM as a reply to James Yen.
James Yen:
The suttas say no such thing. =p

Come on now.

They merely state that arahats do not experience certain emotions (or at least the Abhidhamma says that),


I said "suggest strongly" for a reason.

There is at least one sutta that highlights the lack of a physiological reaction in the case that a physiological reaction would be expected. There may be more.

I don't have a reference at my fingertips at the moment.

James Yen:
furthermore the Pali Canon does not mesh well with what the practitioners here are doing, so you can't use it for support.


Feel free to begin another thread stating the ways in which you believe practitioners are doing something other than what the suttas suggest, if you are interested in pursuing the topic.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 3:01 AM as a reply to James Yen.
James Yen:

furthermore the Pali Canon does not mesh well with what the practitioners here are doing, so you can't use it for support.



It think I did with what I did. Ditto to what End said. Start the thread James.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 5:28 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
"Now when we measure their body, we do measure sort of the same type of physiological responses that you would measure in people that had emotion. So it’s interesting because there does appear to be sort of what you would think of measurable emotional response in the body but there’s no experience of it."


I agree with the widely agreed view that this is not conclusive. We don't know to which test subjects he is referring to, or what physiological responses he is referring to exactly, or what he means by the highly ambiguous "there does appear to be sort of what you would think", etc.

That John Wilde would consider this to be an "answer" means he's jumping to conclusions, and "jumping to conclusions" is a good indicator of one's own biases.

---

To make it even more puzzling, I add the following: it is apparent from my practice that whatever the feeling process might be, it happens in the same circuitry as regular cognition. There doesn't seem to be a specific place in the body where feeling happens or doesn't happen (though it might be more pronounced at specific points, e.g. chest, or forehead), instead, whether feeling is present or not is more about "what" or "how" it happens than "where" it happens.

I.e., to emphasize, the presence or absence of feeling is seen due to the qualities of what is being experienced and not its location.

However, to my knowledge, modern neuro-imaging technology is only able to say whether a specific area is being "more" activated or "less" activated (and not "how" it is being activated).

I wouldn't be surprised to discover that I am using about the same areas of the brain as I was three years ago, although the quality of my experience has changed a lot... I wouldn't be surprised to find it otherwise, either.

---

Even if it was to be discovered that upon becoming AF, one still produces, for instance, normal amounts of adrenaline, one should be careful to draw any conclusion from that (hypothetical) fact. Specifically, John Wilde's tentative conclusion that the feelings still exist, but actually free people are just ignoring/repressing/unaware of/etc would not be sufficiently well-founded.

For instance take the anecdotal report of the effects of caffeine. It is clear that AF people can still get some effect from caffeine, just like non-AF people, but that due to some property of their condition, the effect is quite different. Same could happen for the effect of (the hypothetical release of) adrenaline.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 6:42 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

Even if it was to be discovered that upon becoming AF, one still produces, for instance, normal amounts of adrenaline, one should be careful to draw any conclusion from that (hypothetical) fact. Specifically, John Wilde's tentative conclusion that the feelings still exist, but actually free people are just ignoring/repressing/unaware of/etc would not be sufficiently well-founded.

For instance take the anecdotal report of the effects of caffeine. It is clear that AF people can still get some effect from caffeine, just like non-AF people, but that due to some property of their condition, the effect is quite different. Same could happen for the effect of (the hypothetical release of) adrenaline.


John Wilde finds this a bit of a red herring, because he does not dispute that AF people experience their physiological states differently from ordinary people (even if those physiological states are the same).

Bruno goes nowhere near the question of whether an "actually free" person is indeed devoid of and therefore entirely uninfluenced by instinctual passions, or whether they are simply unable to experience them in the usual way.

Indeed, what can he say about that? We agree that the results are inconclusive... but John still finds them interesting and suggestive that all may not be as it seems from a first-person perspective.

(For some reason, Bruno Loff is talking through John Wilde, instead of to him).

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 11:34 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
(For some reason, Bruno Loff is talking through John Wilde, instead of to him).


Hi hi emoticon, sorry if that was an odd use of language, but I wasn't directing the post specifically at you John Wilde.

Bruno Loff:

John Wilde finds this a bit of a red herring, because he does not dispute that AF people experience their physiological states differently from ordinary people (even if those physiological states are the same).

Bruno goes nowhere near the question of whether an "actually free" person is indeed devoid of and therefore entirely uninfluenced by instinctual passions, or whether they are simply unable to experience them in the usual way.

Indeed, what can he say about that? We agree that the results are inconclusive... but John still finds them interesting and suggestive that all may not be as it seems from a first-person perspective.


So, to be clear, are you hypothesizing a scenario where people who have extensively trained their attention to be acutely aware of their experience, are actually subject to, and influenced by instinctual passions (such as love, hate, boredom, etc), but are yet unable to experience them?

There would have to be some massive delusion going on there, no? As far as I have ascertained from my life experience, the effects of love, hate and boredom (and the other passions) are easily recognized, if one pays sufficient attention.

So either there are some effects of passions that are not easily recognized (please elucidate me), or I am not paying sufficient attention to the actions of those who are actually free. Since, thus far, people have failed to give me even a single compelling example of an action, made by an actually free person, that was (obviously or subtly) motivated by passions, such a hypothetical scenario doesn't quite convince me.

You make a valid and extremely important point --- "all may not be as it seems from a first-person perspective" --- but a bit too general to be put into good use. It does show that you are alert to this possibility.

Have you ever wondered "why" is it that first-person perspective is so often distorted?

Have you noticed that it is more distorted in some people than in others, or sometimes more or less distorted for you at different points in time?

Have you traced out, by whatever means, the source(s) of this distortion, the root cause(s)?

Have you found a way of removing these causes?

Having found such a way, have you applied it to its most extreme consequences? Taken it as far as it can go?

---

For whomever it may concern:

I have been subject to anti-AF reactivity myself in the past, and have had doubts similar to many of those who were posted here and elsewhere. I have two questions for people suffering from a similar bout of anti-AF feelings:

(1) Have you noticed that your own passions sometimes overcloud the events happening around you, or the things which you hear and read, and distort them into versions that suit your own preconceived narrative? The supposedly gratuitous "Try again" quoted above is an example (how do you know it was malicious instead of sincere or playful, unless you felt it to be so?). Now try to read the AFT website without pasting any emotion whatsoever on top of it, focusing exclusively on the meaning, the content, of what is there written, rather than your own emotional rendition of it. What does it actually say?

(2) Have you tried out the practice? What was that like?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 3:59 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
John Wilde:
(For some reason, Bruno Loff is talking through John Wilde, instead of to him).


Hi hi emoticon, sorry if that was an odd use of language, but I wasn't directing the post specifically at you John Wilde.


Thanks. John Wilde feels less depersonalized now. emoticon

Bruno Loff:

So, to be clear, are you hypothesizing a scenario where people who have extensively trained their attention to be acutely aware of their experience, are actually subject to, and influenced by instinctual passions (such as love, hate, boredom, etc), but are yet unable to experience them?


Yes, that's close to what I'm hypothesizing. Of course it's not quite that simple, because a lot of affective states are based on feedback from other affective states, ie. responses to feelings which evoke more feelings and so on. So if the initial affective impulses weren't 'felt' in the usual way, this process would be distinctly different. But for simplicity's sake, yes, I'm talking blindness to the root passions rather than complete absence of their existence/influence.

Bruno Loff:

There would have to be some massive delusion going on there, no?


Especially if it's assumed to be the ultimate (or even the only) delusion-free condition!


Bruno Loff:

As far as I have ascertained from my life experience, the effects of love, hate and boredom (and the other passions) are easily recognized, if one pays sufficient attention.

So either there are some effects of passions that are not easily recognized (please elucidate me), or I am not paying sufficient attention to the actions of those who are actually free. Since, thus far, people have failed to give me even a single compelling example of an action, made by an actually free person, that was (obviously or subtly) motivated by passions, such a hypothetical scenario doesn't quite convince me.


Your skepticism is quite understandable. If I were in your shoes I'd probably be responding exactly the same way at this stage.

(Oblique hint: a few weeks ago in a different thread, you (understandably) rejected some information on grounds of its dubious origin. It's content was just the tip of of a very real iceberg).

Bruno Loff:

You make a valid and extremely important point --- "all may not be as it seems from a first-person perspective" --- but a bit too general to be put into good use. It does show that you are alert to this possibility.

Have you ever wondered "why" is it that first-person perspective is so often distorted?

Have you noticed that it is more distorted in some people than in others, or sometimes more or less distorted for you at different points in time?

Have you traced out, by whatever means, the source(s) of this distortion, the root cause(s)?

Have you found a way of removing these causes?

Having found such a way, have you applied it to its most extreme consequences? Taken it as far as it can go?


I once subscribed to the view that the 'self' -- comprised at root of the instinctual passions, overlaid by beliefs and social conditioning -- was the single source of distortion, and that it could be deleted in toto by the process of 'self'-immolation. I have had numerous PCEs, and am familiar with both the theory and the practice of AF. Suffice it to say, I no longer subscribe to that view.

Bruno Loff:

I have been subject to anti-AF reactivity myself in the past, and have had doubts similar to many of those who were posted here and elsewhere. I have two questions for people suffering from a similar bout of anti-AF feelings:


For my part, this is not about anti-AF reactivity. I did experience anti-AF reactivity many years ago (as everyone does if they take a sincere enough interest); but I overcame it, partly by doing what you suggested.

-

I wish you all the best in your pursuits; can only reiterate what I've said before.

John Wilde
(Retired)

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/16/11 4:06 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
So either there are some effects of passions that are not easily recognized (please elucidate me), or I am not paying sufficient attention to the actions of those who are actually free. Since, thus far, people have failed to give me even a single compelling example of an action, made by an actually free person, that was (obviously or subtly) motivated by passions, such a hypothetical scenario doesn't quite convince me.

Bruno & John, I thought for a moment that you do at least seem to be in agreement that the only real obstacle to harmlessness, or indeed to peace on earth, is the instinctual passions. But I see now that this isn't the case from John's latest post.

If presumption, pretension, projection or arrogance, to mention a few, are not a product of instinctual passions, then I guess that would at least let richard of the hook, with respect to his claim, but certainly not to his teaching.

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/17/11 6:24 AM as a reply to mico mico.
John Wilde:
I once subscribed to the view that the 'self' -- comprised at root of the instinctual passions, overlaid by beliefs and social conditioning -- was the single source of distortion, and that it could be deleted in toto by the process of 'self'-immolation. I have had numerous PCEs, and am familiar with both the theory and the practice of AF. Suffice it to say, I no longer subscribe to that view.


Perhaps you have done more introspection and figured out sources of distortion other than affect, I personally haven't. If this is indeed the case, would you care to say what you have discovered?

In reference to the letter supposedly written by Irene, would you care to say why you found the information therein worthy of consideration? I have not read the full letter, as its link was deleted when I came upon that thread, but having read the previous emails of Irene to Vineto, assuming they are represented ipsis verbum in the AFT website, I found her to be resentful, and hence subject to the distortion of the first kind mentioned above. Not to mention she is dead, and hence unable to personally confirm the authorship. This was my reasoning to dismiss the "information" as yet another instance of Richard-bashing, whether perpetrated by Irene or not.

Of course, I also considered the possibility that she wasn't dead, and that the whole of the AFT website was a sophisticated million-and-some-words fabrication, but tracing such thoughts down to its root, I found fear and paranoia. Fear that I was doing something wrong by practicing AF. Paranoia because the AFT "scheme" would have to be so intricately fabricated that nothing less than a world-wide conspiracy theory would explain the contents of such letter (if they were true).

mico mico:

Bruno & John, I thought for a moment that you do at least seem to be in agreement that the only real obstacle to harmlessness, or indeed to peace on earth, is the instinctual passions. But I see now that this isn't the case from John's latest post.


Oh, well, give me one example of a behavior leading to harm that isn't rooted in one of the passions. I have looked extensively, but maybe John Wilde has looked deeper. This would seem like important information. Why he somehow fails to give a concrete example, and limits himself to oblique hints, I know not.

Whenever someone can't explain themselves in a straightforward manner, I usually think that they are confused or incited to do so due to some (gross or subtle) passion, or, at the very least, I am inclined to think it's all just air and fluff. Since John Wilde seems to be in possession of his reason (unlike other 7th-dimentional Richard bashers of the past), maybe he will think this is understandable?

If one day it turns out that John Wilde has a full fledged explanation, rather than misty suspicions that he can't quite back up, maybe he will let us know.

---

Coincidentally:

I have had the following happen to me during the course of my AF practice: an idea came to mind "what if the whole AF thing is just a delusion, a view, that the universe isn't perfect but one somehow fools oneself to think it is so." The specifics of how one might fool-oneself were plenty and varied, depending on when that idea came up. One of the possibilities is similar to what you are hinting at: stress chemicals are still produced and the person is still harmful, but he or she simply can't "see" it due to some powerful yet subtle delusion having taken hold.

What I found: This idea was supported by fear-fueled imaginations, mystical-relativistic considerations, and other grand machinations of the internal chatter-box. Later on, my AF practice had elevated my well being enough that I dismissed such a story as unjustified and/or unimportant. Unjustified because I had no data to back it up, and unimportant because, well, if everyone was free from sorrow and malice, as far as I could predict, the world would indeed be a better place.

John: I see no reason (for quite simply you have presented none) to think that your own suspicions are any different. Are you sure they are not backed up by fear? Fear that AF is after all wrong/deluded, and so you would also be wrong/deluded if you were to proceed with your AF practice? (by the way, do you still practice actualism or meditation?)

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/17/11 11:25 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

Oh, well, give me one example of a behavior leading to harm that isn't rooted in one of the passions. I have looked extensively, but maybe John Wilde has looked deeper. This would seem like important information. Why he somehow fails to give a concrete example, and limits himself to oblique hints, I know not.


Ethics and (potentially) law. Trying to balance public interest with ethical considerations re privacy and legal obligations sometimes results in a compromise that is unsatisfactory to all, but perhaps better than nothing.

I'm no savior of humankind, and neither am I a sensationalistic journalist preparing a scandalous exposé on a crazy cult, nor some vindictive bastard who wants to spitefully destroy someone's reputation and/or maliciously plant doubts in the minds of well-meaning practitioners of a method. I'm just someone who knows a lot more about certain issues than most of you, and whose best contribution to the whole affair is to say: I have very good reason to believe that you cannot trust first-person data (alone) on this subject, no matter how sincere the person may be... so be very, very careful in how you treat these claims and what you do with them.

In due course, a more open appraisal of "actual freedom" (in its original form) will be possible... but I'm not the one to initiate it, and it's probably unlikely to happen during Richard's lifetime.

Bruno Loff:

Whenever someone can't explain themselves in a straightforward manner, I usually think that they are confused or incited to do so due to some (gross or subtle) passion, or, at the very least, I am inclined to think it's all just air and fluff. Since John Wilde seems to be in possession of his reason (unlike other 7th-dimentional Richard bashers of the past), maybe he will think this is understandable?


Yes, of course.

Bruno Loff:

If one day it turns out that John Wilde has a full fledged explanation, rather than misty suspicions that he can't quite back up, maybe he will let us know.


---
Bruno Loff:

Coincidentally:

I have had the following happen to me during the course of my AF practice: an idea came to mind "what if the whole AF thing is just a delusion, a view, that the universe isn't perfect but one somehow fools oneself to think it is so." The specifics of how one might fool-oneself were plenty and varied, depending on when that idea came up. One of the possibilities is similar to what you are hinting at: stress chemicals are still produced and the person is still harmful, but he or she simply can't "see" it due to some powerful yet subtle delusion having taken hold.

What I found: This idea was supported by fear-fueled imaginations, mystical-relativistic considerations, and other grand machinations of the internal chatter-box. Later on, my AF practice had elevated my well being enough that I dismissed such a story as unjustified and/or unimportant. Unjustified because I had no data to back it up, and unimportant because, well, if everyone was free from sorrow and malice, as far as I could predict, the world would indeed be a better place.

John: I see no reason (for quite simply you have presented none) to think that your own suspicions are any different. Are you sure they are not backed up by fear?


Yes, unfortunately, I'm sure. This is not personal for me.

Bruno Loff:

Fear that AF is after all wrong/deluded, and so you would also be wrong/deluded if you were to proceed with your AF practice? (by the way, do you still practice actualism or meditation?)


Despite having great respect and admiration for some of the people who have achieved it, there is just no way I could pursue AF, knowing what I know about it.

Bruno Loff:

(by the way, do you still practice actualism or meditation?)


Yes, I still 'practice' in a sense. Although 'seeking' is over, I like Willoughby Britton's message that we're always practising something, whether intentionally or not. This also ties in with "you get what you optimize for". Like actualists, my interest is in this world, this lifetime, and by temperament I'm drawn to contemplation. I just don't (any longer) see AF as the apex of the path.

That's about all I can say, and any more would be repetition, so I'll bow out now.

John

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/17/11 12:42 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:


Despite having great respect and admiration for some of the people who have achieved it, there is just no way I could pursue AF, knowing what I know about it.


Hi John,

Can you elaborate on what 'you know'? If you have already talked about what exactly you know in another thread can you link me to it? I'm curious to know what you know.

Thanks.

Nick

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/17/11 12:57 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
Bruno Loff:

Oh, well, give me one example of a behavior leading to harm that isn't rooted in one of the passions. I have looked extensively, but maybe John Wilde has looked deeper. This would seem like important information. Why he somehow fails to give a concrete example, and limits himself to oblique hints, I know not.


Ethics and (potentially) law. Trying to balance public interest with ethical considerations re privacy and legal obligations sometimes results in a compromise that is unsatisfactory to all, but perhaps better than nothing.

I'm no savior of humankind, and neither am I a sensationalistic journalist preparing a scandalous exposé on a crazy cult, nor some vindictive bastard who wants to spitefully destroy someone's reputation and/or maliciously plant doubts in the minds of well-meaning practitioners of a method. I'm just someone who knows a lot more about certain issues than most of you, and whose best contribution to the whole affair is to say: I have very good reason to believe that you cannot trust first-person data (alone) on this subject, no matter how sincere the person may be... so be very, very careful in how you treat these claims and what you do with them.


In an attempt to clarify: are you saying essentially that you know private, personal information about certain persons claiming AF, which indicates to you that they are not free from acting with malicious intent, but which would violate certain people's personal privacy if you described in detail? Thus you can't go into it, but are just warning us to not take the word of those AF-persons at face value?

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/17/11 1:38 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
After carefully reviewing all your posts in this and the previous semi-related thread (Richard and PTSD), I have come to understand your point of view and exactly what you are trying to say.

Essentially, you are suggesting the following: (1) due to a condition of morbid over-sensitivity, a buddhist/actualist feels compeled to eradicate what he perceives to be suffering: the energetic/affective ability of the mind; (2) while this might at first glance seem beneficial (as one has eradicated psychological pain), in fact it could actually lead, on the long term, to a condition of dementia, that (1) manifests as a certainty or self-grandeur of sorts (you are not very clear on this), and (2) is impervious to self-correction (as the mechanisms for that very correction have been eliminated in the process).

Well, I find that a plausible hypothesis, in that, in itself, it is not entirely non-sensical. Although you don't go into specifics about what (1) entails, and I would be quite surprised to find (2) to be an implication of any condition (because intelligence would really have to partially, but severely, shut down).

Furthermore, you have exposed it very clearly, and heck, I agree that objective behavioral neurological whatever studies would really help there. (But more people have to become AF in order to do those studies)

However, one things intrigue me: You speak as if you had evidence of this, but you do not divulge it. "More will come out in the wash" you say, but what wash is that, exactly?

(i.e.: see Nick & Claudiu's questions above)

RE: Alexithymia: Absence of Feelings or Blindness to Feelings
Answer
11/17/11 8:37 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
After carefully reviewing all your posts in this and the previous semi-related thread (Richard and PTSD), I have come to understand your point of view and exactly what you are trying to say.


Thanks for taking the trouble to do this.

Bruno Loff:

Essentially, you are suggesting the following: (1) due to a condition of morbid over-sensitivity, a buddhist/actualist feels compeled to eradicate what he perceives to be suffering: the energetic/affective ability of the mind; (2) while this might at first glance seem beneficial (as one has eradicated psychological pain), in fact it could actually lead, on the long term, to a condition of dementia, that (1) manifests as a certainty or self-grandeur of sorts (you are not very clear on this), and (2) is impervious to self-correction (as the mechanisms for that very correction have been eliminated in the process).

Well, I find that a plausible hypothesis, in that, in itself, it is not entirely non-sensical. Although you don't go into specifics about what (1) entails, and I would be quite surprised to find (2) to be an implication of any condition (because intelligence would really have to partially, but severely, shut down).

Furthermore, you have exposed it very clearly, and heck, I agree that objective behavioral neurological whatever studies would really help there. (But more people have to become AF in order to do those studies)

However, one things intrigue me: You speak as if you had evidence of this, but you do not divulge it.


Yes. (Claudiu's summation is close enough).

While the specific details aren't up for public discussion (sorry Nick), the abstract questions arising from them are. They're fair game. It can't harm anybody to ask these questions[1], and it might help someone in the long run.

Bruno Loff:

"More will come out in the wash" you say, but what wash is that, exactly?


I just meant that, sooner or later, a lot of the stuff I've alluded to will enter the public domain, but probably not any time soon, and I won't be the one to divulge it.

Meanwhile, everyone is free to disregard these oblique references to unsupported facts. But hopefully they won't also dismiss the abstract questions raised in relation to them. I believe they're worth bearing in mind in the appraisal of AF as new information comes to light.

Until then, I really am done here.

Thanks for reading.

John

[1] discussed in these threads:
http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1201014
http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/2302459