Personality and behavior and AF

End in Sight, modified 11 Years ago at 9/26/11 10:18 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/26/11 5:37 PM

Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Hi guys,

It occurs to me that I have recently not done a very good job of acting in a helpful way towards a number of the members of the DhO. As I would like to be a member of the community who makes a positive contribution, both overall and to the individual people I interact with here, I thought it might be good to take a moment to ask for some advice or feedback.

The problem that I appear to be having is related in part to the new mode of experience I'm grappling with, but is not in any straightforward sense "because" of that. Rather, it seems to be a complex interaction between that, some characteristic of written (vs. face-to-face) communication, and the fact that I had strong personality tendencies towards being dictatorial, exceptionally sure of myself, and somewhat paternalistic in certain contexts. (Perhaps there are other tendencies involved too.) In any case, a disposition towards those forms of behavior continues, even in the absence of the desire for or relishing of those forms of behavior, and so when all these things are mixed together, I end up writing in ways that seem to offend others, or in ways that may be unclear, or ways that are simply unhelpful for other reasons, without realizing it until I see the outcome.

This is especially difficult for me on a personal level, because the major goal I have in participating at the DhO is to benefit the other members I interact with, so (from my perspective) it's as if I'm thwarting my own goals without recognizing that it's happening until it's too late.

So, I want to solicit some advice from anyone who thinks they have input into this.

One thing I've considered is simply to take an extended posting break until I can work on whatever the residual personality tendencies are that may be playing a role in these issues.

Another thing I've considered is, instead of asking "how can this post I'm writing potentially be good?", I should ask "how can this post I'm writing potentially be bad?", and thus write in a very "wary" or "careful" way.

That's all I've thought about thus far, so any other ideas will be appreciated.

Apart from that...when anyone goes through a major life-change, often there is an "adjustment" period during which they have to adapt to the new way that things are for them. For example, a person who gets divorced after many years of marriage has a lot of re-learning to do, and until they do it, things may not work out so well for them or the people around them. It's not obligatory to cut someone in this situation a bit of slack, but it can be good on a human level to understand that they are working on adapting to something new and to give them a pass when they do something out of the ordinary or something unreasonable. I would submit that some of the changes that are possible via meditation (etc.) can be surprisingly similar to that, and humbly ask that you offer me the benefit of the doubt if I do something that appears to be out of the ordinary or unreasonable...again, not because it's obligatory to, but because it might be worth doing on a human level (one person recognizing that another is trying to work through some life issues, and, as humans are wont to do, doing it imperfectly).

I would also like to offer specific apologies to Simon L, Nad A, and Harry Potter, whose time at the DhO I may have made less valuable due to the issues I've mentioned.
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Masauwu , modified 11 Years ago at 9/26/11 7:06 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/26/11 7:06 PM

RE: Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 10 Join Date: 5/1/11 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Hi guys,
Another thing I've considered is, instead of asking "how can this post I'm writing potentially be good?", I should ask "how can this post I'm writing potentially be bad?", and thus write in a very "wary" or "careful" way.

Hi End in Sight,

A friend posted this a few hours ago in another forum:
Right Speech...
Beneficial Pleasant and True: Say it
Beneficial Unpleasant but True: Wait for appropriate time to say it.
Not beneficial but pleasant and true. Neednt say it.
Not beneficial Not Pleasant Not True: Dont say it....
Not benefical Pleasant Not True: Dont say it.
(source of inspiration)
, modified 11 Years ago at 9/26/11 8:35 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/26/11 8:35 PM

RE: Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 385 Join Date: 8/11/10 Recent Posts
I've definitely been here, EIS. More than I know.
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Andrew , modified 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 3:14 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 3:07 AM

RE: Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
Hi End in Sight,

It is refreshing to see someone who claims AF to actually admit that it hasn't made them harmless or somehow more helpful to others, unless of course one counts admitting the above things (dictatorial, overconfident, and paternalistic) as a positive outcome of AF. Personally, simple honesty has always worked for me (who has no claim to anything at all.)

Breaking ranks and admitting that AF hasn't truly made you any wiser, but perhaps a little more aware of your failings, is a credit to you, though credit from a total stranger is always a questionable thing to receive.

Then again, advice from strangers in general is a questionable thing to act on in the first place.

Why does it seem a good thing to you to otherwise support the AFT without actually (presumably) knowing the people involved? Your support for 'Actual Freedom' as a term and philosophy is playing into the hands of a complete stranger, one who has consistently relished the very thing you started this thread to apologise for; dictatorial overconfident paternalistic 'help'.

Being a complete stranger myself, I thought you would appreciate this advice and perhaps act on it blindly;

While you are in a reflective mood, consider how many will be hurt when it comes out that the Actual Freedom Trust and it's founders are not as squeaky clean as the support they receive here would suggest.

I won't even charge you for a copy of my plagiarized journal, this is advice is free.

Andrew
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland, modified 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 7:01 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 3:57 PM

RE: Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 296 Join Date: 9/5/10 Recent Posts
The above seems to me to be a very deluded post. If I claimed that I was free of suffering, yet at any time later on it became apparent that I was still suffering, would that invalidate the possibility of such a claimed state of non-suffering? As far as I can understand, that seems to be the implication of your post.

Of course it wouldn't. It would only suggest that I had yet to attain such a state.

You seem to be seeking validation for your own views. Why not test them instead?

Andrew Jones:
Why does it seem a good thing to you to otherwise support the AFT without actually (presumably) knowing the people involved?

Why the selectivity? Why does anyone seem to think it is good to follow any advice elicited e.g. on this forum, of which all might come from strangers?

Andrew Jones:
While you are in a reflective mood, consider how many will be hurt when it comes out that the Actual Freedom Trust and it's founders are not as squeaky clean as the support they receive here would suggest.

To what end and for what purpose should one consider this?

EDIT:

Hehe, I forgot to stay on topic. I'd also like to say that I find your posts informative and helpful, End in Sight.
L O, modified 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 5:16 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 5:16 PM

RE: Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 213 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
EIS, I think many of your posts have been exceedingly helpful, and I don't think a break from posting would help you or enrich the site. Your replies to my posts have been helpful and I've seen the straightforward desire to assist in them.

Let me add some conventional wisdom to the pot and say that communication is always a two-way thing: there's no such thing as inherently 'harsh speech', for instance, except in the interpretation. This doesn't mean one shouldn't keep attempting to be skilful in one's speech, and I think what you're doing is skilful, humble and honest self examination, but bear in mind that you can't ever be 100% harmless towards those who insist on taking things personally.

Similarly, I also think that 'dispositions' tend to be two-sided coins - if you're 'sure of yourself', that possibly implies a healthy amount of self-trust that might well have helped you in your practice as well as more 'paternalistic' behaviour, in your words. I'm not sure it's possible for someone to have a purely harmless 'disposition' (whatever that is!)

DhO posters can be very robust in their opinions. I've seen many posts that have hit home hard and made me go 'ouch'. They've often been the most useful ones, in terms of rooting out bollocks and denial. However, they've often been impersonally phrased or have been addressed to posters who asked for advice. I'm aware of the ego that goes into my own posts and that's one of the reasons I post relatively little.

There's a section in A Path With Heart in which Kornfield suggests you act as if everyone that you interact with, rude or polite, is there to teach you a lesson in enlightenment. I've used this approach to good effect long before I read the book.

TL;DR: Still only human, matey.
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josh r s, modified 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 6:30 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/7/11 6:30 PM

RE: Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
For me EiS, I found your posts very helpful. My guess is that ridding yourself of the "shadow being" and a healthy dose of time will improve those issues. But you probably already knew that.

Hi End in Sight,

It is refreshing to see someone who claims AF to actually admit that it hasn't made them harmless or somehow more helpful to others, unless of course one counts admitting the above things (dictatorial, overconfident, and paternalistic) as a positive outcome of AF. Personally, simple honesty has always worked for me (who has no claim to anything at all.)

Breaking ranks and admitting that AF hasn't truly made you any wiser, but perhaps a little more aware of your failings, is a credit to you, though credit from a total stranger is always a questionable thing to receive.

Then again, advice from strangers in general is a questionable thing to act on in the first place.

Why does it seem a good thing to you to otherwise support the AFT without actually (presumably) knowing the people involved? Your support for 'Actual Freedom' as a term and philosophy is playing into the hands of a complete stranger, one who has consistently relished the very thing you started this thread to apologise for; dictatorial overconfident paternalistic 'help'.

Being a complete stranger myself, I thought you would appreciate this advice and perhaps act on it blindly;

While you are in a reflective mood, consider how many will be hurt when it comes out that the Actual Freedom Trust and it's founders are not as squeaky clean as the support they receive here would suggest.

I won't even charge you for a copy of my plagiarized journal, this is advice is free.

Andrew


Andrew, you seem to have made five distinct errors in your post.
1. that the actual freedom claim of "harmlessness" relates to the actual effects of actions. the claim of harmlessness simply is a claim that malice no longer arises.
2. that EiS said that AF didn't make him any wiser
3. that following a practice necessarily implies total support for everything related to the founder of said practice
4. that discrediting the founder would discredit the practice
5. that Actual Freedom as a condition would only be valuable if it meant that the actually free person would never again cause harm, when it has value in ending suffering and malice for the actually free person (which is all it has ever claimed to do.)
End in Sight, modified 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 9:32 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/10/11 9:32 AM

RE: Personality and behavior and AF

Posts: 1251 Join Date: 7/6/11 Recent Posts
Hi Andrew,

Andrew Jones:
It is refreshing to see someone who claims AF to actually admit that it hasn't made them harmless or somehow more helpful to others, unless of course one counts admitting the above things (dictatorial, overconfident, and paternalistic) as a positive outcome of AF.


To be clear, these traits were previously present in my personality, not new additions as a result of my practice.

I would say that being able to see them and being able to ask "are these good behavior patterns?" and to be willing and (to some extent) able to discard them dispassionately if the answer is "no", is most certainly a positive outcome, in a very extreme sense of "positive".

Andrew Jones:

Breaking ranks and admitting that AF hasn't truly made you any wiser, but perhaps a little more aware of your failings, is a credit to you, though credit from a total stranger is always a questionable thing to receive.


I'm not sure if you realize it, but (from your metaphor of "breaking ranks") there is no AF cabal, no shadowy organization that meets behind-the-scenes to discuss policy and generate consensus positions. Would you be surprised to learn that I have never had a substantive conversation with anyone who has claimed this attainment (= no feelings, but perhaps "shadow-being" residue of feelings) other than Nick?

I will say that I think this attainment has made me much wiser, both in a conventional sense (being able and willing to confront and adjust aspects of my personality that have worn out their welcome) and in a fundamental sense (being freed from some of the delusion that causes the existential misery of human life). However, it has not made me perfect in either sense. And, while I hope that perfection of the latter kind of wisdom is possible, I doubt that any attainment whatsoever can ever make anyone perfectly skillful in terms of their own behavior. I fully expect to make mistakes and errors in judgment from now until eternity. (This is part of the "human condition" which cannot in my opinion be abandoned, and so I find Richard's terminology with respect to this issue to be highly misleading.)

Andrew Jones:

Why does it seem a good thing to you to otherwise support the AFT without actually (presumably) knowing the people involved? Your support for 'Actual Freedom' as a term and philosophy is playing into the hands of a complete stranger, one who has consistently relished the very thing you started this thread to apologise for; dictatorial overconfident paternalistic 'help'.


This is a good question, and I spent some time thinking about it.

It occurs to me that the reason is simply that I'm interesting in communicating about this subject, because I hope it benefits others to hear about it, just as it benefited me to hear about it in the past. I do not get to choose the terminology that others use. Many people on the DhO are interested in actualism and AF, and to the extent that they want to talk about things in those terms (and to the extent that they recognize claims couched in actualist terms rather than claims couched in e.g. Buddhist terms), those are the terms I will use. If that changes, my terminology will change.

To the extent that I control the terms of the discourse, I would be quite happy to shy away from AFT terminology, but I hold no delusion that I actually have this power. (I merely have a little bit of influence, as do all the members of the DhO.)

In the end, I am a contemplative, I am interested in contemplative goals, I am interested in others' contemplative goals, and anything that makes communication about these things go smoothly is fine by me. The end of suffering is what I find important, not political issues concerning the AFT, nor Richard's personality and behavior.

Andrew Jones:

While you are in a reflective mood, consider how many will be hurt when it comes out that the Actual Freedom Trust and it's founders are not as squeaky clean as the support they receive here would suggest.


As I approach this (and approached this) using the practices of Buddhism, I see no real importance to anything that goes on concerning the AFT, except that Richard's writings were a great inspiration to me with respect to making me willing to consider what kinds of transformations of experience were truly possible (which got me to take the traditional Buddhist claims seriously), and except that Richard's practice suggestions may be helpful to myself or to others.

I'm not really sure what the concern here is. Perhaps you could say explicitly what you are worried about. From my perspective...one does the practices, one judges whether their life has improved by virtue of them, and one makes a decision about whether to continue. Experience speaks for itself. The significance of the back-story of the AFT creators pales in light of that.

May I ask what your interest in this subject stems from? (I don't know you or anything about your background, so I wonder what motivates you with respect to this issue.) Do you / did you practice actualism or practice in some other tradition? What are your personal goals with respect to spirituality?

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