Richard’s Selected Correspondence
On Children and Parenting
RESPONDENT: After so much of what you write about the wonderfulness of living, etc., I inject ‘he obviously hasn’t had to deal with a teenager’. Don’t write me back that you are blissfully swimming in a house full of them.
RICHARD: No, I do not have a house full of children. I am a fifty year old father of four adult children and seven grandchildren from my first marriage. My current companion and I are, by choice, childless and will stay so ... enough is enough! I am also retired and on a pension, so I am able to thoroughly enjoy all the household tasks if only simply because this is made so much easier now that the children are grown up. However, I know full well what is involved in raising teenagers ... I raised teenagers myself. In fact, when my first marriage ended in 1983, I became a single parent, looking after three children (the oldest son having already left home and got work) and I raised a teenage son and two daughters on my own.
Actually, I had a wonderful time. I never sent any of my children to full-time school until aged eleven-twelve (so as to avoid the inevitable indoctrination cunningly disguised as socialisation) and taught them at home instead. With the freedom from authority that this brings the children and I were able to be ‘best friends’, in those latter years of parenthood, as I was thus able to experience them as fellow human beings living this life for the very first time. Consequently I had no need to be a disciplinarian, which is the invidious position parents usually place themselves in, as in my early years. Being radical as I am, we travelled all over the east coast of Australia for some years before heading west and, after some time there, going to India. By this time my second-eldest son had ‘left home’ and obtained work and my youngest daughter decided to live with her mother. Thus my nine year old daughter accompanied me on an exhilarating trip through Singapore, Madras, Delhi and up into the Himalayas where we rented a stone hut about one hundred kilometres from the Nepalese/ Tibetan border in Northern India. She thoroughly enjoyed everything.
CO-RESPONDENT: Actually I was blessed with two good parents. They gave me a reasonably quiet, secure, warm, and loving home and a lot of freedom to be myself.
RICHARD: Not all parents comprehend that what their function is, essentially, is to instead prepare their offspring well for adulthood.
CO-RESPONDENT: I’m grateful for the good, solid, well-balanced, foundation they gave me.
RICHARD: Giving a child a lot of licence (aka the freedom to be themself as they instinctually are) is hardly the stuff of a good, solid, well-balanced foundation.
CO-RESPONDENT: Seems here that so many people are not so fortunate. How about yourself Richard?
RICHARD: Oh, I was given very little (if any) licence as a child ... thus I was well-prepared for adulthood.
RESPONDENT: What is licence?
RICHARD: More or less the same as permissiveness/ laxness/ a laissez-faire attitude (non-interference or indifference) ... or even lack of restraint/ lack of control. For instance:
RESPONDENT: What are some common examples of licence?
RICHARD: Not knowing where one’s children are a night (such as roaming the streets in gangs); not setting boundaries/ parameters for them (as in giving in to temper tantrums); not providing guidelines/ not setting an example (letting them raise themselves in an ‘anything goes’ environment) ... in short: letting them be themselves as they instinctually are.
RESPONDENT: And how is not giving any of it – and thus preparing a child for adulthood – different from being a ‘bossy boots dad’?
RICHARD: Presumably you are referring to this:
There is a marked difference to being authoritarian (being an autocratic disciplinarian) and being authoritative – as in proceeding from competent authority (expertise/ experience) – and children generally appreciate guidance as the world at large can be, and often is, a bewildering/ frightful place for them ... especially in the playground (where the bully-boys and feisty-femmes act-out the law of the jungle on a daily basis).
RESPONDENT: Can you also elaborate on a statement you made earlier: ‘Giving a child a lot of licence (aka the freedom to be themself as they instinctually are) is hardly the stuff of a good, solid, well-balanced foundation’.
RICHARD: All children are born with instinctual passions, such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire, and a child given a lot of freedom to (thus impulsively) be as fearful/ aggressive/ nurturant/ desirous as they instinctually are falls more into the category of being a neglected child than anything else.
RESPONDENT: From actualfreedom.com.au/richard/listafcorrespondence/listaf68b.htm#06May05a. [Richard]: ‘For most of the 11 years I was more than loving with children, more than compassionate, as I was love, I was compassion ... or, better put, there was only love, there was only compassion. At least one of the children in my care, custody and control at the time (I was a single parent for a number of years) bears the legacy of that era to this very day due to the powerful influence of such intense affection’. [endquote]. Can you elaborate on this?
RICHARD: I have already elaborated (in the original e-mail exchange which that above quote was excerpted from). Vis.:
RESPONDENT: What was the influence/ effect of your parenting during that era on the child you mention?
RICHARD: As mentioned at the beginning of that e-mail you found the above quote in the relationship had changed, during that era, from one of parentage to one of friendship ... and (as also mentioned in that same e-mail) at age twenty two or thereabouts she said that she sometimes wished she had had a normal child/father relationship as, unlike her then girlfriends who were getting married and having children of their own, she had ‘inherited’ a quest to pursue and could not settle down.
RESPONDENT: Do you think this change benefited your children ...
RICHARD: No, I know that it did ... if nothing else it was much more fun.
Essentially, all what is required of any progenitor is to ensure that their off-spring are adequately equipped for adulthood (are able to effectively operate and function independently in the environment they are born into).
RESPONDENT: ... is it any better to be a friend to one’s child than a parent?
RICHARD: It certainly is ... just for starters: being much more fun it readily promotes open learning (children are congenitally curious).
RESPONDENT: If so, in what ways? I have already read this part: [quote] ‘(and they all appreciated that immensely ... as exemplified by the youngest often saying how glad she was that the ‘bossy-boots dad’ was gone)’ [endquote].
RICHARD: By not being either authoritarian (as distinct from authoritative) or disciplinarian a child’s innate inquisitiveness is not stifled – and many such educators have bemoaned the lack of motivation in their subject students – inasmuch curiosity’s concomitant keenness for discovery provides more than enough incentive.
Apart from being innately curious children are also inherently imitative – as indicated by the term ‘role-model’ – and it should not take genius to suss out the advantages friendship has over parentship (or any other form of kinship for that matter).
RICHARD: ... and (as also mentioned in that same e-mail) at age twenty two or thereabouts she said that she sometimes wished she had had a normal child/ father relationship as, unlike her then girlfriends who were getting married and having children of their own, she had ‘inherited’ a quest to pursue and could not settle down.
RESPONDENT: Do you know what happened to the quest she inherited, presumably, from your enlightened years?
RICHARD: Having openly and frankly discussed the events of her formative years on both that occasion and another a year or two later – plus having given her a copy of ‘Richard’s Journal’ and the address of The Actual Freedom Trust web site – there is every possibility that it has been shaken off.
RESPONDENT: What has that drive led her to investigate?
RICHARD: I do not know – being now an adult for many years she lives her own life completely independent of her erstwhile father – but going by what I recall, from the age twenty two or thereabouts conversation, she had investigated what some spiritual/ mystical peoples have had to report ... specifically, and not surprisingly, where it pertained to love (in all its forms and variations).
RESPONDENT: There’s a lot said about ‘nurture’ on this website. I have a 3 year old son and a baby on the way. I’m curious, must I ‘nurture’ my children to take care of their ‘needs’?
RICHARD: Given that the ‘nurture’ described on The Actual Freedom Website is the genetically-inherited instinctual passion of nurture one will of course be driven by blind nature to take care of one’s children instinctually ... the elimination of this blind passion is one of the things that an actual freedom from the human condition is on about.
The recognition and the acknowledgement that one is thus driven (as is everyone) is the first step.
RESPONDENT: I don’t see it anywhere acknowledged that AF can seem to some to discourage us from caring for our children.
RICHARD: There is a vast difference betwixt being driven to care (the feeling of caring) and actually caring.
RESPONDENT: Enhance ‘relationship’ with a sexual partner – yes, I see that. But can it free us to care more effectively for our kids?
RICHARD: Of course ... and not only caring effectively for one’s children: one actually cares, for the first time in one’s life, for this body and that body and every body.
RESPONDENT: I get the sense sometimes that kids might just ‘get in the way’ for someone exploring AF.
RICHARD: On the contrary ... children provide a vital opportunity to find out for oneself just what is going on vis-à-vis the human condition. Speaking personally, I learnt so much from my intimate interactions with children that I doubt that I would be where I am today without that valuable experience.
RESPONDENT: My assumption is that ‘nurture’ can be replaced by benevolence.
RICHARD: Provided that it is understood the ‘benevolence’ referred to on The Actual Freedom Website is the root meaning of the word (‘well-wishing’).
RESPONDENT: That is, I take care of my kids simply because they are there and they are fellow human beings – so I don’t suffer along with them, but I take care of their needs when those needs arise.
RICHARD: Exactly ... and it is vital to realise that children are indeed ‘fellow human beings’ as it is the first step towards an actual intimacy.
RESPONDENT: In some sense, they are my ‘responsibility’. Probably in a very similar sense that if I am to hold a job – I have a ‘responsibility’ to my clients. I assume it’s very much like taking care of a pet or a plant.
RICHARD: Yes, it could be said that it is somewhat similar to a contract that you enter into until they can fend for themselves ... they then leave the nest and fly away to live their own lives free of your influence.
RESPONDENT: You can very well do without your kids, but it is in their best interest to stay with you and to be cared for.
RICHARD: It is the job, as it were, of a parent to prepare the child for adult life (to the best of one’s ability at the time).
RESPONDENT: I’d like to hear what others who have or who are raising kids experience. I know that Richard was a single father for a while and now has grandkids, and Peter has at least one child. Would one in actual freedom or virtual freedom still be able to care for their children effectively?
RICHARD: I will leave it to Peter to respond in regards to virtual freedom as he knows far more about it than I do ... as for being actually free: the last thing I would want to be encumbered by, if I were to be a parent again today, is the instinctual passion of nurture (along with fear and aggression and desire of course). Put simply: being happy and harmless – free of malice and sorrow – is the best thing that one can do for anyone (including oneself).
RESPONDENT: I experience the most primitive feelings towards my children. My teenage daughter goes out at night, and is later than she is supposed to be, and I panic. It is so chemical it is almost comical. I can laugh about it and I do, but the reaction is instantaneous. In my guts, I’m driven to keep both my kids alive.
RICHARD: This is undeniably the basic instinctual passion of nurture: to provide, protect, support, cultivate, nourish ... blind nature’s rough and ready survival package. Now that a thinking and reflective neo-cortex has developed over the instinctual lizard brain the instinctual passions can be deleted. With an unprecedented 6.0 billion chemically-driven malicious and sorrowful peoples (and 6.0 billion chemically-driven antidotally loving and compassionate peoples) populating the planet it is high time that we humans ceased looking to the past and reapplying failed solutions ... and got on with the business of living in deliciously sensible manner.
RESPONDENT: So, a question for you: How do you distinguish between feeling-caring and caring?
RICHARD: By being here, right now, as this flesh and blood body. A feeling is not a fact; it is an identity’s interpretation of the actual and to be standing back and expressing a feeling – to feel an emotion or be passionate about life – is nowhere near the same as being here now as an actuality. In actually being just here – right now – one is completely involved, utterly concerned; being here now is total inclusion. One demonstrates one’s appreciation of life by partaking fully in existence ... by letting this moment live one (rather than ‘living in the present’) so that one is the doing of what is happening. One dedicates oneself to the challenge of being here now as the universe’s experience of itself.
Initially one is deathly afraid to actually be here now, as it can feel rather rudely raw ... one feels more naked and exposed than taking off one’s clothing in the market place. However, feeling rudely raw about the prospect of being here now is not the same as actually being here now ... feelings are notoriously unreliable for ascertaining a fact. Being here now is to be at the place in infinite space and eternal time where all is pristine. This pristine place is this, the actual world ... and it is already always here. This actual world is original; unmarred, uncorrupted, unspoiled, spotless, fresh and perpetually new. It is alarming to feel this immaculateness – it is frightening in its immediate intimacy – which is why one backs off, initially denying its very existence. What happens though, if one takes the risk to actually be here now – instead of standing back and feeling it out in order to make up one’s mind – is that one discovers that oneself is also pristine.
Then one is actually benevolent (harmless), actually concerned (happy) for all peoples ... no one is special. There is a vast gulf betwixt feeling benevolent (with feelings such as pity, sympathy, empathy, compassion and so on) and actually being benevolent (free of malice). Similarly, the concern one feels for others (worry, distress, anxiety, grief, anguish, torment and all the rest) is far removed from the actual interest one has in one’s fellow human being’s welfare (free of sorrow).
RESPONDENT: Simply, here I am, without a whole cast of characters ‘inside’ of me.
RICHARD: Okay ... although thus far you have acknowledged a two-part character inside of you: ‘a way of seeing’ ... ‘ego I’ (or a ‘being aware’ ... ‘ego I’ ) which presumably is a mental or cognitive character and ‘a feeling ‘self’’ which is obviously an affective character. There are other, more superficial aspects to the identity but, going by what you describe in your next E-Mail that I am yet to respond to, you are already cognisant of these. However, given your previous description of your primal response to your children’s actions it would appear that being cognisant of the role of ‘mother’ does not necessarily free you from being a mother. Vis.:
Finding out about what makes one tick is such fun, is it not?
RESPONDENT: What do you say to your grandchildren when they are hurt, desolate, crying?
RICHARD: I say the same to my grandchildren when they are hurt, desolate or crying as I say to any body and every body – no body is special – which is: all mental-emotional-psychic suffering is an unnecessary and self-inflicted wound. Any mental-emotional-psychic viciousness on the part of another, first and foremost, lies in the heart of the ‘giver’ and inevitably turns in on itself as existential sorrow. Thus, in the final analysis, it is the ‘giver’ who suffers the most intimately. As for the ‘receiver’ of any nastiness, it is entirely up to them what they do with it ... apart from physical brutality, no-one can force their cruelty on another without the other’s acquiescence and compliance.
RESPONDENT: Yes, but at what age can you say that to a child? I saw some neat drawings on the companion web site re: amygdala and neocortex that were pretty age specific. What about infants? Toddlers?
RICHARD: At whatever age they are capable of being emotionally and psychically ‘hurt, desolate, crying’ they are also capable of having that said to them – in their lingo – which age generally includes ‘infants and toddlers’ (I was a parent of four children myself).
RICHARD: You are born with aggression – and fear – and that biological fact has zilch to do with it being ‘thought that is a danger here’. Which means: How on earth can I live happily and harmlessly in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are whilst I nurse malice and sorrow in my bosom?
RESPONDENT No. 31: Yes. This is a fundamental question. Our enquiry starts here. But there is a BELIEF that one is nursing malice and sorrow.
RICHARD: If I may point out? It is a fact. You were born with aggression and fear.
RESPONDENT No. 31: Why are we not looking beyond that? We first have to look into these beliefs.
RICHARD: May I ask? Why are you avoiding the fact? You were born with aggression and fear.
RESPONDENT No. 31: I would suggest to keep things simple and converse innocently like a small child.
RESPONDENT: Again here, Richard, you authoritatively make a statement that has no basis in fact. A child is NOT born with aggression and fear.
RICHARD: This borrowed ‘Tabula Rasa’ (‘clean slate’) philosophy of yours has had a long innings in human history ... and is currently making a come-back in NDA circles as: ‘We are all born Little Buddhas’. The continued belief in this theory – in the face of the empirical evidence of the past 30 odd years demonstrating genetic inheritance – requires avoiding the biological fact. Just by putting the word ‘NOT’ in capitals does not miraculously turn a creed into a fact.
RESPONDENT: You just don’t understand about conditioning, do you Richard? How long does it take an infant to be conditioned?? Maybe a minute? Maybe a year? Maybe a second?
RICHARD: Why are you asking me? It is your theory – you say that I am wrong and that you are right – yet you do not know what to say to back your statement. And as for ‘maybe a second’ ... ye gods, your theory becomes fantasy.
RESPONDENT: Krishnamurti talked 60 plus years about freeing oneself from the entanglement of conditioning. Krishnamurti said that he was never conditioned, and that he did not know why that was the case. His mind remained ‘vacant’.
RICHARD: And you believe him? Despite all the documentation to the contrary? Ah, well ... such is faith, I guess.
RESPONDENT: I have been observing my 10 month granddaughter closely since the day she was born. I have as yet to observe any fear, aggression, malice, and/or especially sorrow. It is just not there. Will she ever come to know hatred, anger, sorrow, fear, aggression, etc.? It will be a sad day to see conditioning take a hold on her. You talk about your simplicity, and that is a laugh. My granddaughter is simple; that is beauty, love, and a joy to behold. She will have to first become conditioned in order to ‘achieve a truly ‘clean’ slate’, for as of right now, she is a ‘truly clean slate’.
RICHARD: Am I reading this correctly? Are you really saying, that in order to become ‘clean’, one has to become ‘unclean’ first ... even though one is already born ‘clean’?
RESPONDENT: Those are learned traits.
RICHARD: I had a woman telling me a few weeks ago that boys are born with aggression and little girl babies are not ... and that girls learnt aggression from men (she had to explain ‘bitchiness’ somehow) and that it was men who had to change so that there would be peace on earth. Now you are telling me that fear and aggression are ‘learned traits’ and the question that immediately springs to mind is: learned from who? Because if fear and aggression are passed on non-genetically from generation to generation (parent to child) then what caused fear and aggression in the first sentient beings to emerge on this planet way back whenever.
RESPONDENT: Obviously, you were not a very observant parent or grandparent.
RICHARD: I not only ‘observed’ my biological children from birth onward, I actively participated in finding out about myself, life, the universe and what it is to be a human being through intimate interaction at the grass-roots level of association ... bonding, nurturing and protecting. Indeed, I was a single parent for a formative period of my biological daughters’ upbringing ... and one cannot get closer than that. Infants and children are not as happy and harmless and benevolent and carefree as is so often made out to be the case ... and have never been so. They have malice and sorrow firmly embedded in them, for one is born with instinctual fear and aggression. Just watch a one month old baby bellowing its distress at being alone; just watch a one year old pinching its sibling in spite for taking its toy; just watch a two year old stamping its foot in a temper tantrum; just watch a three year old child fighting with its peers for supremacy. In the interests of having a sincere dialogue, I must ask: where in all this is the fabulous ‘Tabula Rasa’? The imposition of social mores – moral virtues, ethical values, honourable principles, decent scruples and the like – are essential to curb the instinct-born spiteful anger and vicious hatred that are part and parcel of the essential traits of being ‘human’.
To achieve a truly ‘clean slate’, something entirely new must come into existence. All peoples must cease being ‘human’. To change ‘Human Nature’, they must give-up, voluntarily, their cherished identity ... the rudimentary animal self they were born with.
RESPONDENT: Humans are born with a central nervous system for responding to the environment. Fear and aggression are learned traits as a result of the environment.
RICHARD: By ‘environment’ you can only mean the world about ... the world of what you call ‘Mother Nature’. Thus you are saying that fear and aggression are leaned from a ‘kind and benevolent’ Mother Nature? That is, fear and aggression is learned from ‘she’ who is giving, protective, quiet, wild and beautiful’, eh?
But okay ... I will have it your way, then. You are right and Richard is wrong. The question that immediately springs to mind is: how are you going to unlearn these traits that are learned as a result of ‘responding to the environment’? Which means: what is your plan? What success have you had? Have you unlearned all these learned traits yet? Or is all this that you write merely theory?
You see, in my ignorance I naively thought that these traits were genetically inherited and so I deleted them like the software they were. Consequently I never get sad or lonely or sorrowful or grief-stricken; I never get angry or hateful or furious or filled with rage. Therefore I never have to become affectionate or compassionate or loving to compensate; I never have to gaze longingly at the stars ... yearning for a bodiless peace.
RESPONDENT: Also, what, if any, emotions pass through your heart when you see your children and grandchildren?
RESPONDENT: And [if you failed to] take charge of your family ...
RICHARD: There were four children from the first marriage (none from the second). At the end of the first marriage, the eldest had already left home and was self-providing; the remaining three elected to be with me (I became a single parent); then the second eldest eventually left home and became self-providing (I remained being a single parent); then the youngest eventually decided to live with mother (I remained being a single parent); finally the second youngest decided to live with mother and sibling (I thus finished being a single parent); they are all adults now and are living their own lives as they see fit ... which means that I never, ever give them any unsolicited advice (I have regard for my fellow human being’s integrity, it is theirs to do what they will with, and not mine). Thus I call that ‘taking charge of my family’ ... plus I learnt so much about how a child experiences life by being a single parent.
RESPONDENT: Have you never observed the spontaneous joy and intense awareness in the environment an infant displays in the early months of life before socialisation sets in and the self develops? Certainly fear and anger are there as protective instincts in the infant, but they are not crystallised into patterns of behaviour until the self begins to develop at about 14 months of age, due to the demands of culture which encourage acquisition and social power rather than the expression of bliss, curiosity, and creativity. So in a sense, we are getting back to this inner freedom within us but hopefully coupled with the wisdom that comes with adult awareness. I afraid your scenario paints the picture of humans born as monsters to be tamed.
RICHARD: I am the father of four children and have seven grandchildren and I have had ample time to observe ‘the spontaneous joy and intense awareness in the environment an infant displays in the early months of life’. Then again, I have also been able to observe the instinctual fear and aggression that blind nature endows all creatures with at birth in those self-same infants ... and children. The fabled innocence of children is just that – a fable.
It is a popular misconception that ‘we are getting back to this inner freedom within us’ as there never was an ‘inner freedom’ to start off with. Something entirely new can emerge that has nothing to do with the so-called ‘freedom’ of infants and young children. To search back into one’s past for a ‘lost freedom’ or a ‘golden age’ or an ‘age of innocence’ is to look in the wrong direction. One never had it to start with.
It is unfortunate that a matter-of-fact description of actuality is received only as a ‘picture of humans born as monsters to be tamed’. The seeing of a fact is actual wisdom, and out of that direct experience of the actuality of the Human Condition there is action. This action is the beginning of the ending of the ‘self’ one was born with. ‘I’ cannot stand exposure to the bright light of awareness for too long without crumpling like a leaky balloon. ‘I’ survive only by being able to lurk around in the shadows of inattention ... obfuscation and adumbration is ‘my’ game-plan. After all, ‘I’ was born with the instinct to survive, and ‘I’ will do anything to stay in existence, for it is in ‘my’ nature to do so.
RESPONDENT: This is the magic of youth which many adults lose and then we counterproductively ‘seek’.
RICHARD: There never was – or is – any youth that is experiencing the magic of being here now in infinite space and eternal time as the universe’s experience of its infinitude as a sensate and reflective human being as an on-going experiencing ... other than scattered PCE’s every now and then, youth is epitomised by a pseudo-innocence that comes from ignorance (lack of experience).
RESPONDENT: Just how is it that you speak with such certainty about the nature of youth?
RESPONDENT: Which act is sillier, to risk limb by driving against the tradition or putting that child on a bike around the next blind corner at risk by driving at all?
RICHARD: Being alive is a risk ... that is what makes it thrilling. As for cycling ... knowing that there are some drivers who hate cyclists, and consider that they should not even be on ‘their’ road, I look out on blind corners. I passed this kind of information onto my children – and anyone else who wants to listen – so I would recommend that this child that you refer to be advised likewise. Somewhere along the line, each person takes amenability for their own life and actions.
RESPONDENT: How is this determined?
RICHARD: By commonsense.
RESPONDENT: What is the risk?
RICHARD: The risk of life and limb ... as you very well know from your ‘child on a bike’ example. Is this all an intellectual exercise for you? I am talking about actually living this ... there does not seem to be any point in writing if you are but mimicking the academics. I have far better things to do with my time ... like sitting with my feet up watching television.
RESPONDENT: Wouldn’t this thrill be based on some conception of a certain loss that can only be the outcome of active imagination?
RICHARD: You see ... what if I had indulged in this intellectual type of bovine faecal matter verbiage when answering your ‘child on a bike’ question. What if I had said: ‘Oh there is no danger when whizzing around a blind corner ... your concern is all ‘based on some conception of a certain loss that can only be the outcome of active imagination?’ This is what wanking looks like in print.
RESPONDENT: From here, I find no risk in being alive, nor in not being alive. One does as they do, what is there to loose?
RESPONDENT: If there is just living there cannot be good and bad.
RICHARD: Does your phrase ‘just living’ represent amorality for you (neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’)? If so, what are the qualities that epitomise ‘just living’? <SNIP> Where you say ‘a child just lives’ you are clearly stating that a child meets your criterion for ‘just living’ ... and that this is because what a child does is not ‘evil’. As the definition of innocence is the absence of evil, then you have to be indicating that a child is inherently guiltless (born innocent) ... which they are not.
RESPONDENT: Are you saying that a child is NOT born Innocent? Are you saying a child has evilness built in? I maintain that a child is born innocent. Please explain what you mean here.
RICHARD: The hoary belief that all children are born innocent (the ‘Tabula Rasa’ theory) is dying a lingering death ... but dying it is. The genetic mapping project and brain imaging studies of recent times have conclusively shown empirically that instinctual passions (the survival instincts) are physically encoded in the DNA and/or RNA of every foetus at conception. These genetically-inherited passions include fear and aggression and nurture and desire ... and all sentient beings, to some degree or another, come biologically equipped with this rudimentary ‘software package’ of basic animal passions per favour blind nature as a rough and ready start to life. And the potential for malice with all of its derivations (including evil) lies latent in that ‘software package’.
RESPONDENT: So this shows that children have the POTENTIAL to be evil.
RICHARD: Yes ... and more: it shows the source of both ‘good’ and ‘evil’ (fear and aggression are ‘savage’ passions and nurture and desire are ‘tender’ passions).
RESPONDENT: Well – that does not take away from their innocence. I am not saying that children do not have the potential, they clearly do. I am merely saying that they do not have any ‘evil’ intentions when they are born.
RICHARD: Yet it is intrinsic to the human condition ... this is the genesis, as it were, of malice.
RESPONDENT: In other words they do not harbour hatred or ideas of revenge. They simply act in a way they deem appropriate to get what they need. There is nothing ‘evil’ in this. Their selfishness is necessary for their survival. There is nothing ‘evil’ in their selfishness. They have no concept of ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’.
RICHARD: Do you not find this to be a trifle pedantic? No new-born baby has any ideas or concepts of anything at all ... let alone a ‘concept of ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’. I am not talking of ideas or concepts ... but the inchoate wordless feelings, the embryonic affective reality, the primal passionate ‘being’ of being human.
RESPONDENT: They act from their basic survival instincts. I still maintain they are born innocent.
RICHARD: Shall I put it this way? The basic survival instincts (the instinctual passions) are the source of ‘good feelings’ and ‘evil feelings’.
RICHARD: Where you correctly observe that the child ‘doesn’t care’, it shows that a child is inherently inconsiderate towards others ... which means that the (supposed) innocence of the child has inconsiderateness as one of its qualities.
RESPONDENT: You miss the point here. The point is that the child is not aware of the qualities called ‘considerate’ or ‘inconsiderate’.
RICHARD: Indeed not ... yet the child is inconsiderate (what you call ‘selfish’).
RESPONDENT: Yes, but not intentionally so, the child simply acts from needs – he does not stop to consider others because he has no concept of ‘consideration’. This is different from Someone who deliberately and knowingly is inconsiderate – and chooses to hurt others.
RICHARD: Yet that very ‘simply acting from needs’ has the full force of the rudimentary instinctual passions (as is evidenced in an infant’s ‘temper tantrums’, for example) for their demanding emotional power or for their insistent affective energy.
RESPONDENT: The child is selfish – but there is nothing wrong with that – because the child is not yet aware that there are others to consider. So the child’s quality of ‘being selfish’ is not ‘evil’ or ‘bad’. It is innocent. There is no evil intent.
RICHARD: I am not talking of the legal definition for culpability here (wherein the offender has to know that they are doing wrong in order to be guilty). This is not a court of law ... this is biology.
RESPONDENT: I am talking about intent. Intent is what matters. If I ACCIDENTALLY kill someone in my car – that is not ‘evil’. If I do it on PURPOSE it would be considered ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’. The INTENT is what matters.
RICHARD: Are you really saying that any parent protecting their helpless progeny from a predator with all their might and main is ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ simply because of their ‘intent’ to kill. And does the same apply to the military ... who protect you and your kin from invaders? The police ... who protect you and your kin from banditry? Are they ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ simply because of their ‘intent’ to kill? Do you propose nihilistic anarchism? Pacifism in principle translates as anarchy in action; the bully-boys and feisty-femmes get to rule the world because of gullible peoples ‘just accepting’ aggression in others through obeying unliveable edicts handed down on high from bodiless entities. Tibet is a particular case in point ... is this the world you would pass on to your children and children’s children and so on?
RESPONDENT: Actually LEGALLY it is different because the law says ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’.
RICHARD: Aye ... but if you have ever been a parent yourself you will know by direct experience that society requires that you instil values and principles in your children through reward and punishment. Usually, by about the age of seven, your child knows ‘right’ from ‘wrong’ (as is evidenced in an exasperated parent taking the child to task with an oft-repeated ‘you should know better by now’). This implies, under your definition of culpability, that you make your children guilty for doing what comes natural.
RESPONDENT: So ‘Inconsiderateness’ is NOT a quality of the child. The child is beyond all concepts of ‘considerate or inconsiderate’.
RICHARD: Of course, no child has the slightest notion of any concepts at all ... let alone ‘concepts of considerate or inconsiderate’. It is their instinctively driven action (behaviour) that I am referring to as ‘inconsiderateness’. Apart from many, many painstaking studies done by biologists in this area, I have personally seen children less than 12 months old spitefully pinching their sibling, for example. I am not suggesting for a moment that this child knows that they are being spiteful, yet spite (which is malice in action) is what is driving them at that moment ... and impelling them into anti-social behaviour (which behaviour, of course, they do not know is socially reprehensible).
RESPONDENT: The point here is that INTENTION is what matters. And the example of children pinching is probably learned behaviour. How can one be called ‘inconsiderate’ when they don’t know the standards that define the word? This is the same problem we have when dealing across cultures. What one culture considers ‘rude’ another considers quite acceptable. For example in India people generally ‘slurp’ their tea – it is quite normal. In English society that is considered rude. In parts of India giving bribes is a normal part of doing business – especially with government officials. The same behaviour in English society will get the person arrested. My point is that INTENTION is what matters. Does the person doing the act INTEND to hurt or harm the other person. This is what I am referring to. neither legal definitions nor biological instincts. This is what I mean by innocence.
RICHARD: The studies by biologists and sociologists (and what I have personally seen) clearly indicates the intent to hurt and/or harm. The first time I witnessed it (25 years ago) was with my then 11 month old daughter who, whilst playing with dolls with her 22 month old sister who took one of her dolls from her, pinched her hard enough (with malicious intent) for her to cry. Conversely, when they would be playing blissfully together she would hug her (with affectionate intent) enough for giggles to ensue. It was through observing the children interacting that prompted me to find out about the many and various studies being made in this area ... it is well-researched.
It is feelings that I am talking of ... not intellectualising.
RICHARD: You observe that as the child grows older it realises the inconvenience caused to others by its unawareness of inconsiderateness ... thus what looks like innocence in a child is actually ignorance (not knowing). This awakening of awareness of others being the same as oneself is what is called ‘theory of mind’ ... and is what sets the human animal apart from other animals.
RESPONDENT: Yes – the child is innocent – but the innocence is from ignorance. This does not take the innocence away – it simply means it is a different type of innocence. The child is still innocent.
RICHARD: I notice that you used the word ‘innocent/ innocence’ five times in this short response ... just repeating a hoary belief again and again like a mantra does not miraculously turn it into a fact. The fabled ‘innocence’ of child-hood (the ‘Tabula Rasa’ theory) turns out to be nothing more than a lack of knowledge, regarding the function that the instinctual passions play, on the part of those who invented that theory. Modern empirical scientific research has shone more than a little light on factors that the ancients simply did not yet know (satellite photographs and astronaut’s/ cosmonaut’s reports, for example, finally set the ‘flat earth’ theory conclusively to rest once and for all). A child is instinctively driven just as adults are ... only on a more rudimentary scale.
RESPONDENT: I am not trying to overwhelm you with the magical chanting of the word ‘innocent’. Although come to think of it – that might not be a bad idea. So here goes ... innocent ... innocent ... innocent ... INNOCENT ... INNOCENT ... INNOCENT ... INNOCENT ... There. We are using the word ‘innocent’ in different ways. I am saying that innocence depends on ‘intention’. This is why we have disagreement on this point.
RESPONDENT: Richard, another question thread from same friend: 1) How old were your children when you became enlightened and how did that event affect them and their/your relationship?
RICHARD: The eldest was around fourteen years old, the second eldest thirteen, the second youngest six years old, and the youngest five; at the time they were all affected differently, and to varying degrees, ranging from incomprehension to indifference; my relationship changed from one of parentage to one of friendship (and they all appreciated that immensely ... as exemplified by the youngest often saying how glad she was that the ‘bossy-boots dad’ was gone).
RESPONDENT: 2) How old were your children when you became actually free and how did that event affect them and their/your relationship?
RICHARD: They would have been, respectively, about twenty five years of age, twenty four, eighteen and seventeen; at the time none of them were affected as they were not around to notice anything (they were all scattered far and wide living their own lives); my association – there is no relationship in actuality – with them is no different than with any other fellow human being ... and which fellowship regard they all have, to varying degrees, had some perplexity in accommodating themselves to (as exemplified by the second-youngest saying, at age twenty two or thereabouts, that she sometimes wished she had had a normal father as, unlike her then girlfriends who were getting married and having children of their own, she had ‘inherited’ a quest to pursue and could not settle down).
RESPONDENT: 3) What is your current involvement with your offspring?
RICHARD: The same as with any other of my fellow human beings.
To explain: when a person – any person – no longer has familial ties or kinship bonds to pull or be pulled by then any interaction, if there be any, is a freely made choice arising out of common interests ... indeed, even though my own progenitors are both still alive I never have reason to call them by telephone nor ever go to visit.
There is nothing mysterious about it ... it is more or less the same as not interacting with that elderly couple Mr./Ms. Smith, of High Street, Any-Town, with whom I also have no interests in common with.
RESPONDENT: 4) If someone were to ask your offspring about you, what might they say?
RICHARD: I really do not know ... plus it would depend upon which one them it was who was asked (and, quite possibly, on how they were feeling about me at the time).
RESPONDENT: How do they view you and an actual freedom from the human condition?
RICHARD: I have neither asked how they (any of them) view me nor how they (any of them) view an actual freedom from the human condition.
RESPONDENT: I remember a correspondence where you said something like: ‘it took 5 years to unravel the legacy of Richard the identity in relation to ‘his’ family’.
RICHARD: I found two references to my then-children which include the word ‘legacy’ ... here is the one you are referring to:
And here is the other one ... perhaps more relevant to what your female friend is enquiring about:
RESPONDENT: And I got to laugh, a few years back I was over this house with about a dozen or so folks all standing around in the living room. And this lamp across the room started to fall off this table, and I hurled myself across the room and caught the damn thing in mid-air. And everyone’s going whooaaaa, how’d you do that? :-) And I joked and said, I’m trained for this kind of stuff, I raised 4 kids. :-)
RICHARD: Ha ... as I also raised four children, back when I was a parent, I can certainly relate to that.
Speaking of which, not until the eldest was about ten years of age did it dawn upon me that children train their parents – they being so utterly helpless and totally dependent at birth – almost as much parents their children ... so much so that re-training is sometimes necessary to undo it all when they eventually leave the nest.
The very last example of having been thus thoroughly disciplined occurred for me, with unexpected clarity, a year or so after the last child passed out of my ‘care, custody, and control’ – as bureaucracy so eloquently puts it – even though I was seven years out from my first marriage and two years into my second (and childless) marriage, whilst shopping in a supermarket where an urgent cry of ‘Daddy!’, in a young and plaintively feminine voice, had me already part-way swinging around before the awareness of no longer being a father automatically aborted that well-trained reflex response.
RICHARD: The ‘theory of mind’ is a term which basically denotes that human communal interaction, as contrasted to animals’ communal interaction, depends primarily upon one’s knowledge about other people’s consciousness (the recognition of a mind in other people similar to one’s own). There is more to it than just this, though: normal adult humans have a ‘theory of mind’ in that they understand that (a) other humans have wants, ideas and intentions that may differ from one’s own; (b) that desires and ideals are different from plans and actions; (c) that concepts may or may not correspond with what is actually occurring in the world. To put it simply, for an example, because one has a ‘theory of mind’ one understands that one can simultaneously (1) know that Santa Claus does not exist and (2) know that for a child the child knows that Santa Claus exists and (3) know that the child’s ‘knowing’ is actually believing.
Experiments have been done in order to determine when the ‘theory of mind’ develops in children (which research is important to take personally because all adults were children before they were adults); typically, by age four to four and a half, children can basically (a) distinguish between physical and mental objects (an orange is different from the thought of an orange), (b) reason about ideas, (c) ascribe false knowing (beliefs) in others, (d) engage in pretence (deceive and cheat).
Interestingly enough, it is this last point (deceit) which most of all signals the ‘theory of mind’ as having become established. Primatologists have determined that while monkeys do not have a ‘theory of mind’, chimpanzees may very well have a rudimentary ‘theory of mind’ in that they can deliberately deceive other chimpanzees (pretence) by hiding food so as to be able eat it all on their own. The term ‘theory of mind’ was coined by Mr. David Premack and Mr. Guy Woodruff (1978) in a paper investigating a chimpanzee’s ability to predict the behaviour of another by means of mental state attribution. In short, they sought to show that their chimp, Sarah, inferred the ‘intentions’ and ‘motivations’ of a man to predict his actions. Primatologists and other investigators of animal behaviour use a variety of substitutes for the term ‘theory of mind’ including ‘metarepresentation’, ‘metacognition’, ‘mind reading’, ‘mental state attribution’ and ‘pan- or pongo-morphism’.
To comprehend the importance of ‘theory of mind’, one only has to consider the task the ‘artificial intelligence’ theorists face in building a computerised model that would communicate like a human: they have to consider what kind of thoughts such a machine would have to be capable of to interact meaningfully with humans and how these kinds of thoughts could be modelled ... let alone inputting feelings.
RICHARD: Also, are you in accord with the dictionary definition of the word ‘value’? (Oxford Dictionary): ‘value’ (Latin: ‘valere’; be strong, be worth): a thing regarded as worth having; the worth, usefulness, or importance of a thing; relative merit or status according to the estimated desirability or utility of a thing; estimate or opinion of, regard or liking for, a person or thing; the principles or moral standards of a person or social group; the judgement of what is valuable and important in life; the quality of a thing considered in respect of its ability to serve a specified purpose or cause an effect’. I only ask what the word ‘value’ signifies to you because you do seem to be saying that it be of some kind of important value that those people with a ‘true character’ get to be killed by the bully-boys of the world on a predictably regular basis. Given that those people with ‘a fundamental character flaw’ in themselves thus get to propagate the species, and set the character of future generations, my question is: How do you see this as being a worthwhile thing?
RESPONDENT: If I lived in the two-dimensional world that you describe I would not see ‘this’ as being worthwhile.
RICHARD: If I may point out? I was asking how you see it from your world ... do you have some difficulty with answering a straight question with a straight answer?
RESPONDENT: Once again, you have put a Richardian spin on my words.
RICHARD: Where is the spin that you say I have put on your words? You say that people of ‘true character’ will not kill a killer who is about to kill them ... thus under your system, people of ‘true character’ would rapidly go onto the endangered species list ... and the people with ‘a fundamental character flaw’ thus get to perpetuate the human species. Via your process of ‘unnatural selection’ the human race will steadily deteriorate into more and more ‘fundamental character flaws’. My question is this: why do you wish it upon the children of the future that they be born of parents with ‘a fundamental character flaw’?
RESPONDENT: In some respects, to extinguish the in-born, genetically programmed survival responses of the organism to danger seems insane and incredible.
RICHARD: Yes, I have not been sane for years. From the ‘real world’ perspective I am indeed insane ... officially I have a ‘severe psychotic disorder’. It is pertinent to note that 160,000,000 sane human beings have been killed in wars alone this century by their sane fellow human beings. Even so, statistically, the most dangerous place is in a person’s own home ... the ‘stranger-danger’ rule impressed into children is based upon an (approximately) 10% incidence. And law-enforcement agencies dislike a ‘serial-killer’ case because otherwise the vast bulk of their cases are relatively easy to solve: sane relatives and/or sane associates and/or sane colleagues are the immediate suspects.
RICHARD: I owe a lot to my companion at the time for her persistence in endeavouring to ‘unmask the guru’ (this is her verbatim – and very apt – terminology at the time).
ALAN: So perhaps this was a large contributing factor, without which you would have continued to swan along, ignoring the evidence of your senses?
RICHARD: Without a doubt ... I could not be where I am today without her invaluable assistance. I could not have done it on my own ... the task was too great to ‘crack the code’ alone and unaided. For far too long has a benighted ‘humanity’ imposed its values and beliefs upon its children – the newest recruits to the human race – to easily shake them off single-handed. It required an enterprising partnership to break free of the centuries of conditioning that overlaid the Human Condition ... and her tenacity of purpose left no room for further deception and continued procrastination.
RESPONDENT: There may never be ‘peace on earth’.
RICHARD: Hmm ... not at the rate you are going.
RESPONDENT: There may, however, be peace that is not on this earth.
RICHARD: And what use is a bodiless peace? How is that going to help, for example, the 40,000 children that die each year from preventable diseases whose deaths may very well be caused, not only by people whose egos are bigger that Texas ... but through romanticists gazing yearningly at the heavens instead of the issue at hand? To wit: the malice and sorrow you nurse to your bosom?
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.