Message Boards Message Boards

The Dharma Battleground (DhB)

Actual Freedom. Again.

Toggle
Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/6/10 4:13 PM
Apologies if I'm just rehashing the same questions on this subject....

I wasn't familiar with AF or PCE's as described on here although having done a bit of reading on the subject I can get the gist of it and have been there, albeit temporarily, at different times in my life, naturally and chemically. What made me post in this DhB section was the, in my opinion at least, biased and heavily weighted argument of the people who run the AF site, particularly this little nugget:

In actuality, enlightenment is a massive delusion wherein one is convinced one is God or ‘at one’ with God.


And the suggestion that those who seek or attain enlightenment are "narcissistic megalomaniacs"

I can see why PCE's and AF would be desireable and intend to test it out for myself since it sounds like an interesting experiment. Actually, some of what's said on there reminds me of some of the material in chaos magick, the work of Austin Osman Spare or in the less sociopathic and non-murderous elements of the Order of Nine Angles.

I'm not saying there isn't some practical use for AF, as I'm sure some of the more vocal and experienced supporters of this will testify, but I struggle to understand how it's possible to disparage the entire attainment of enlightenment based on this. I understand what the guy's trying to say and agree with his opinion on the nefarious side of spirituality, the abuse of power and wrongdoing in the name of religion but much of his argument seems to me to be based in general semantics (I'm sure I don't need to comment on the frankly awful design and navigation on the site! Ha!).

So what's the deal with all this? There's something about it I'm clearly not 'getting' but I think it's unfair to suggest that enlightenment is all piss and wind. I could find similarities in other practices so what makes AF qualified to make such claims?

I know there's a fair few people on here who're well-versed in this area so I'm expecting some decent responses here..... emoticon

Tommy

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/6/10 4:47 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Yeah stuff like that really put me off AF at first. It's like "clearly Richard doesn't understand what Enlightenment is about..." as if I did/do, hah. I really don't understand the huge negativity, especially as it seems vipassanna techniques can help one on the quest to AF. Also for one who has no emotional responses he writes very vehemently against such things. Further putting me off was, like you said, the terrible layout of the AF site, the strange style of writing, some cult-like aspects, general "strange"-ness from the site.

However, reading tarin's stuff, and especially Daniel Ingram's thread where he posts from within a PCE and without, showing how deeply his views were changed, even as an Arahat, which is the ultimate goal of the DhO and MCTB, made me really believe there's something to it (see here). I would ignore the disparagement of Enlightenment - after all, if they really offend you, then clearly your ego is getting in the way of whatever you're striving for (at least that's what I came to realize from my reactions) - and focus on the actual results and techniques of AF. Also I maybe now think that all the strange things are just natural when from an AF perspective, and the rest of us are the ones that are really strange. Why should the site layout and some writing style put me off something that might have true value, after all?

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/6/10 4:44 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Not offended in the sense that I would have been in the past although I know what you mean about the ego reaction there and saw it quite clearly but just laughed at it. Funnily enough, actualism fits pretty well with the shift in my perception which occured about two years ago so I'm going to see what happens and give the HAIETMOBA practice a go. It's actually reminiscent of some of Gurdjieff's excercises too.

Cheers for the linkage mate, I'll go check that out just now.....

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/6/10 5:20 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Shit, shit and shit again! In the best possible way. Ha!

That actually rings true with where I've been in the past in the experience of reality on a moment-by-moment basis. As for what you say about Richard's understanding of enlightenment compared to my own, that's a fair and valid point which was helpful in making me stop and reconsider my own objections to what he was saying. The negativity was based on my own preconceptions and that I've chosen to adopt this particular 'reality tunnel' so I know why I would have reacted that way although I don't actually experience the emotion which seems to come across in my words. If that makes any sense...emoticon

My comment on the design of the site was made jokingly though, I'm a freelance graphic designer and video producer so I can't abide shoddy design. emoticon

Thanks again!

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/7/10 1:51 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
"It is not that I am so much against enlightenment ... although I can understand a person thinking that if they only half listen to me."
- Richard
from: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/audiotapeddialogues/perfectionispossiblewithinthislifetime.htm

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/7/10 2:23 PM as a reply to Daniel Johnson.
Daniel Johnson:
"It is not that I am so much against enlightenment ... although I can understand a person thinking that if they only half listen to me."
- Richard
from: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/audiotapeddialogues/perfectionispossiblewithinthislifetime.htm


Interesting, cause if he had just said this on the page Ident quoted:

Okay, it is radical, but it is in the ... in the what ... it is in the ‘line’ of the enlightenment process. This is the perfection of the ‘Paradise’ – which is often talked about by the enlightened people after physical death – but what is radical is that it is possible here on earth. It is entirely new in the human experience. That is what is not talked about. It is not that I am so much against enlightenment ... although I can understand a person thinking that if they only half listen to me. This is the next step in the human evolution.
That is all it is – and anyone who comes out with anything new has always been castigated in the beginning – but years later, the new paradigm is up there with the rest of them. So why shouldn’t Richard be decried for coming out with something so radically new? Give it time and everybody will be talking about ‘beyond enlightenment’ ... about perfection here on earth. It is just a case of ... although the Masters have talked about ‘going beyond enlightenment’ they have not been able to describe it, for no-one has been here yet. That’s all. This is simply the next step.
I sit here ... and I can describe what it is like.


instead of "the suggestion that those who seek or attain enlightenment are 'narcissistic megalomaniacs' ", that would have been much more reasonable =). The quote I put here also goes in line with what tarin, Daniel et. al have experienced, that even after Arahatship there is more. Interesting that you don't have to go through Arahatship to get there, and that no one has tried this before Richard.

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/7/10 8:08 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
I've been mulling over the whole AF thing which has led to this lengthy post......

True, I did base what I said on a brief skimming ("half listening", hands up to that one...emoticon ) of the site and it was incorrect for me to have drawn any conclusions from that. I didn't actually 'think' anything at all about it and certainly didn't dismiss the system offhand although his approach and apparent attitude towards enlightenment appeared so contrary to this particular paradigm I've chosen to explore that I figured it would interesting to explore how it sits with the DhO regulars. I know the whole thing's been discussed repeatedly but I hadn't really explored the boards and read what's been said till Beoman provided that excellent link.

As for Richards claims of originality, being a pioneer or whatever, I don't care. Someone on Daniel's posting about PCE/Cycles made a good point about how there's always controversy and denial of any new spiritual technology and every new thing that humanity can discover will be decried by the majority who are subject to their pre-programmed refusal of any new paradigm. I read somewhere, Robert Anton Wilson I think, about there being a saying regarding the idea that it takes a whole generation to pass by before a scientific theory is accepted so the same will likely apply to spiritual technology. I'll leave it for fools to debate the authenticity and effectiveness rather than actually do it for themselves. From where I am, it looks like another interesting avenue of exploration and experience regardless of it's origins so I hold no opinion until I've had more experience with it and verified it for myself. Or whoever this guy typing is. emoticon

That the people who've attained Arahatship on the site confirm that PCE is qualitatively (or however you want to express it) different to the states attained through vipasanna, having either explored it or begun to do so in detail from their level of understanding, is enough to cause me to drop the blind skepticism that's so common in my reaction to claims of newly discovered levels of consciousness.

Which brings me to the following display of my being intoxicated by my own verbosity. And yes, I hope you did get the joke there.....

I'm entertained by the synchronicities in coming across AF via DhO via BH (Gotta love abbreviatin') and that reading more about this has brought me back to the place I was before finding any of them. To explain that statement a bit more, pre-DhO/MCTB period I'd gone through a Dark Night phase which lasted about three years. I'd explored it while it happened (I had no knowledge of noting in the Mahasi style or any Theravadan practice) but came to see it for what it was in terms which I can now understand and express clearer (stages of insight etc.) through reading MCTB and studying the Dharma. I appear to have hit High Equanimity in February of this year and attained Path, and/or at least an experience and subsequent shift in perception which seem to fit the terms presented on this site, and/or I'm full of shit and/or whatever, in mid-April.

If it seems I've gone off on an apparently ego-based digression then please bear with me, I'm getting to the point....

Prior to attaining whichever Path I've attained, and by this I mean that I no longer have any desire to figure out where I am on the Theravada model (if you're really that interested then you're free to message me) and am content to just practice and explore it, my studies and practice involved selecting one system of attainment and pursuing it's goal relentlessly for a pre-determined period of time. The Chaos magick paradigm refers to it as 'paradigm shifting' and Bob Wilson would call it 'changing reality tunnels', either way it brought me insights into the nature of reality, the illusion of self, apparently similar states to those described in MCTB and too many other things to list without making you more bored than you already are by this point.

To cut to the chase (too late), after having a number of 'peak' experiences within different traditions ranging from Crowley's yoga practices to Gurdjieff's awareness exercises and a reasonable amount of experience in most known Western magickal systems, I have come to consider the idea that AF is not simply a stage 'beyond' enlightenment but exists alongside it, if you know what I mean. Being able to choose to experience that through the techniques of that system, even after attaining Arahatship, suggests to me, in whichever stage I'm 'at', that there is no final enlightenment in the ultimate sense but that there are infinite possible 'enlightenments', with the understanding that I use this word purely to label the apex of a systems map of attainment and not specific to Buddhism, on infinite planes of experience to be had by this consciousness we called self. The idea that not all paths lead to enlightenment in the Buddhist sense, and I mean no offence by reducing thousands of years to a 'reality paradigm' here, is absolutely true if we choose to believe that. Perhaps each path, while sharing similar insights, nuances and subtleties at some levels which can be experienced by this consciousness, leads to another meta-experience of this thing we call reality?

Richard and the AF community claim that the permanent state of AF is the ultimate aim of their techniques, could Tarin or any of the AF'ers on here tell me more about how they view their attainment of AF and if you would choose to sacrifice it's permanence to explore other states?

I understand the state described as being free from any emotional affect and the absence of the thinker due to there being no thought to be thunk since there's nothing there other than consciousness. Would this be correct? If so, does this state contain within it, once attained on a permanent basis, an exit or some sort of route to other possible experiences of reality? I doubt that you'd be concerned about since it sounds like the perfect state but someone's going to push this state further or explore it in more detail in the years to come just like Daniel and Ken exploring 'No Dog' and subdivisions of jhanas etc. I'm just asking out of curiosity and to understand it more until I start working with this system so don't think (Ha!) that I'm trying to question or criticise what you're doing or anything.

I'm approaching this with openness and have no pre-conceived expectation since I know it would be false so your advice is appreciated. Excuse the length of my posting back on this but writing this has helped me order my thoughts on the subject and get some things in perspective with my own understanding of things. I know I could be full of crap so you're free to disect and criticise what I've said as I'd like to hear others take on it.

All the best!

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/9/10 10:18 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Oo nice big post Ident, will reply in a bit. But first I wanted to point out that I do indeed think Richard et. al think about something else when they mean Enlightenment. For example, look at their schematic of AF vs. Enlightenment.

Does this sound like stuff we do?
  • Adoption of ancient spiritual beliefs, morals, ethics, and psittacisms.
  • Enhancement of 'good' emotions, denial of 'bad' emotions via sublimation.
  • Delusionary freedom from everyday reality. Glorification of 'being'. Transcendence of non-spiritual 'lower' emotions.


Sounds more like Asceticism. Going on to his points about Spiritual vs. Actual Freedom he seems to go into Christianity or other religions and stuff like that. So we can be free to not be offended knowing he is talking about something completely different than what we do here =).

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/9/10 5:24 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Interesting and quite sad actually, sounds like a fairly basic misunderstanding which would indicate to me that the guy is full of shite particularly if you read his interpretation of what attaining enlightenment actually involves. Or another view may be that it's a biased presentation, deliberately manipulating the information to suggest that enlightenment is somehow dependent on some divine being a'la Christianity, and not on all phenomena being impermanent, the root of suffering and empty of self. Then again perhaps I'm just being cynical....

Someone on Daniel's posting said something along the lines of "Find the man and you'll find the fault" which works quite nicely here 'cause when it all comes down to blood and bone, he's just another 'human' like the rest of us. If we ignore what Richard says about his own interpretation of enlightenment, for the simple reason that it is not in line with our own understanding and/or expectation of what enlightenment is, and read what he's actually getting at then we can extract the following:

1. He appears to have discovered a new state of conscious experience which he and his friends have decided to call Actual Freedom. That's fair enough.

There's no requirement for any sort of lineage and no historical example which can be related to descriptions of AF has been located yet. Every new technology will be subject to criticism, denial and hostility according to the predominant paradigm of that moment in whichever point in space-time so it's obvious that AF is not exempt from that.

2. He's presenting techniques which can be tested by anyone interested in experiencing a new state of consciousness which is free from 'human' emotions. I only highlight the word 'human' as it's used in a specific way on their site.

I see no issue with that. There's no secrecy, heirarchy or dogma (yet) and the techniques seem simple but are apparently effective as have been shown by practitioners at high levels of attainment on this site such as Tarin and Daniel.

Basically I think he's come across another interesting state of consciousness but it's too new to have been subjected to extensive study or given the same workout that other techniques such as vipasanna have. To judge the techniques based on the person who espouses them would be to disregard any possible merit they may have without properly investigating them which would be unfair and unscientific.

Look at Aleister Crowley, the man's work was groundbreaking and I have a great deal of respect for him but as a person he seems to have been a complete and total douchebag. Daniel said something in his book about "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" which is a phrase I think fits nicely here.

Anyway. I'm rambling.

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/9/10 5:33 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Ident Silence:

2. He's presenting techniques which can be tested by anyone interested in experiencing a new state of consciousness which is free from 'human' emotions. I only highlight the word 'human' as it's used in a specific way on their site.

no, what richard is presenting are techniques which can be tested by anyone interested in experience a new state of consciousness which is free from emotion. no descriptor human is here required, with or without highlighting/scare quotes.


Ident Silence:

Anyway. I'm rambling.

indeed, you may well be. would the stillness of investigation not better address these matters?

tarin

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/10/10 4:38 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
Tarin, it certainly wasn't my intention to use the word 'human' in any biased or emotionally loaded way i.e. a "scare quote". Perhaps "free from the human condition" would have been more accurate? I also tend to emphasise words which I'm using in a particular way or with a particular meaning when I write, in this case by 'human' I was referring to the entire spectrum of emotion which a human being can experience so I accept that I could have clarified that more.

As for the rambling, it was an offhand remark ending an impromptu reply to Beoman but your point about the stillness of investigation is well made and precisely why I hold no 'ideas' (by which I mean any preconceived notions/expectations/thoughts or however someone could choose to define the word) about what AF is. I suspect you're going to say something here about the use of the word 'is' so I'll save you some time by saying that I have no idea what anything 'is' beyond what it appears to be at the moment 'I' experience it.

Your input on this would certainly help my understanding of AF and PCE so I appreciate you looking at this thread and taking the time to comment. Hopefully I've clarified my position on this issue.

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/10/10 1:54 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Ident Silence:
tarin greco:
Ident Silence:

2. He's presenting techniques which can be tested by anyone interested in experiencing a new state of consciousness which is free from 'human' emotions. I only highlight the word 'human' as it's used in a specific way on their site.

no, what richard is presenting are techniques which can be tested by anyone interested in experience a new state of consciousness which is free from emotion. no descriptor human is here required, with or without highlighting/scare quotes.

Tarin, it certainly wasn't my intention to use the word 'human' in any biased or emotionally loaded way i.e. a "scare quote".

whether or not your intention was to use the word human in any biased or emotionally loaded way and whether or not its usage was highlighted or contained in scare quotes[1] are here irrelevant, as my point was that the descriptor human was entirely unnecessary in your statement; an actual freedom from the human condition is a freedom from, among other things, all emotions of any kind (and not merely whichever ones you consider to be human).


Ident Silence:

Perhaps "free from the human condition" would have been more accurate? I also tend to emphasise words which I'm using in a particular way or with a particular meaning when I write, in this case by 'human' I was referring to the entire spectrum of emotion which a human being can experience so I accept that I could have clarified that more.

hmm.. is there a spectrum of emotion which a human being cannot experience (from which the state of consciousness arrived to by the practice of the techniques which richard presents is not free)?


Ident Silence:

As for the rambling, it was an offhand remark ending an impromptu reply to Beoman but your point about the stillness of investigation is well made and precisely why I hold no 'ideas' (by which I mean any preconceived notions/expectations/thoughts or however someone could choose to define the word) about what AF is. I suspect you're going to say something here about the use of the word 'is' so I'll save you some time by saying that I have no idea what anything 'is' beyond what it appears to be at the moment 'I' experience it.

Your input on this would certainly help my understanding of AF and PCE so I appreciate you looking at this thread and taking the time to comment. Hopefully I've clarified my position on this issue.

ok; start a practice thread and i'll have a look and see if there's anything i can comment on meaningfully.

tarin

[1] 'Scare quotes are quotation marks placed around a single word or phrase to indicate that the word or phrase does not signify its literal or conventional meaning. In contrast to the nominal typographic purpose of quotation marks, the enclosed word(s) are not necessarily quoted from another source.' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes)

RE: Actual Freedom. Again.
Answer
12/10/10 3:35 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
Point taken and thank you for the clarification. Clearly I totally misunderstood your usage of the phrase "scare quotes" and for that I apologise.

Your advice nicely ties in with the very reason I came on to DhO tonight actually! I realised today that I've done a lot of talking on here but not much else so it's time to start showing my records of practice as regularly as I have time to post them.

Thanks again.