Actual Freedom – Selected Correspondence by Topic

Richard’s Selected Correspondence

On Innocence


RESPONDENT: I see how the ‘good side’ combats the ‘dark side’ in my relationship with my mother. Does the good side hold the dark side in place? In other words, if I eliminate the good side (love) will the hate for her also disappear or must the dark side be eliminated first and then the good side goes with it?

RICHARD: As both the ‘good side’ and the ‘dark side’ are the same (affective) energy, at root, it is not possible to eliminate the one without the other ... the entire package goes in one fell swoop. What can be done in the meanwhile, however, is to direct all of that energy into being the felicitous/innocuous feelings.

RESPONDENT: Ok, then the way I am understanding it is to investigate either the good or bad feelings, whichever might be present, in order to eliminate those and get back to being ‘felicitous/innocuous’.

RICHARD: What I mean by [quote] ‘in the meanwhile’ [endquote] refers to the opportunity, each moment again, for the already always existing actual world to become apparent for the very asking, as it were, not being taken full advantage of.

In other words, directing all of that affective energy (that is, ‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being, which is ‘being’ itself) into being the felicitous/innocuous feelings is what can be done so as to effect what the identity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years lived circa March-September 1981, as a deliberate imitation of the actual experienced in a pure consciousness experience (PCE), and which has become known as a virtual freedom ... to wit: being as happy and as harmless (free of malice and sorrow) as is humanly possible whilst remaining a ‘self’.

Such imitative felicity/ innocuity, in conjunction with sensuosity, readily evokes amazement, marvel, and delight ... a state of wide-eyed wonder best expressed by the word naiveté.

Naiveté, being the nearest a ‘self’ can come to innocence, allows the overarching benignity and benevolence inherent to the infinitude this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe actually is to operate more and more freely. This intrinsic benignity and benevolence, which has nothing to do with the imitative affective happiness and harmlessness, will do the rest.

All that was required was ‘my’ cheerful concurrence.


RESPONDENT: I do think our usages of ‘socially reprehensible’ diverge. I would reserve the word ‘reprehensible’ for the truly atrocious things that people do – rape, murder, abuse, etc. – but I wouldn’t exclude what are commonly referred to as ‘misdemeanours’ as socially reprehensible either.

RICHARD: Putting aside the ambivalence displayed in saying that you reserve usage of the word for major infractions of the social code of conduct whilst simultaneously not excluding usage of the word for minor infractions ... how is this substantially different from saying your usage of the word covers the entire range of antisocial conduct?

RESPONDENT: All I can say is that I don’t know exactly where the ‘line of demarcation’ is to be drawn between the ‘minor’ and the ‘major’. But these distinctions are drawn in common discourse, but I doubt they are drawn in any entirely clear manner. My comment regarding not excluding ‘misdemeanours’ was not to negate my prior statement – it was merely meant to indicate that the line between major and minor ‘antisocial’ behaviour is not always clearly demarcated. That is, some of what is considered ‘minor’ may very well be ‘reprehensible’, but not necessarily all.

RICHARD: Okay ... I took it that you were not excluding the minor infractions of the social code (it was your ‘I wouldn’t exclude what are commonly referred to as ‘misdemeanours’ as socially reprehensible either’ sentence which conveyed that impression) whereas you actually do exclude most of them.

As for your observation regarding ‘common discourse’ ... off-hand I could not say that the word is all that commonly used – I cannot recall having heard anybody using it at all in recent memory – so out of idle curiosity I typed it into the search function of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which is a 32 volume set with over 83,000 articles, and found it used only 11 times:

1. [Rudolf Dreikurs was an] American psychiatrist and educator who developed the Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler’s system of individual psychology into a pragmatic method for understanding the purposes of *reprehensible* behaviour in children and for stimulating cooperative behaviour without punishment or reward.
2. In 1055–66 Ibn Aqil received instruction in Islamic law according to the tenets of the Hanbali school. During these years, however, he also became interested in liberal theological ideas that were regarded as *reprehensible* by his orthodox Hanbali teachers.
3. Abd al-Wahhab’s teachings have been characterized as puritanical and traditional, representing the early era of the Islamic religion. He made a clear stand against all innovations (bid’ah) in Islamic faith because he believed them to be *reprehensible*, insisting that the original grandeur of Islam could be regained if the Islamic community would return to the principles enunciated by the Prophet Muhammad. Wahhabi doctrines, therefore, do not allow for an intermediary between the faithful and Allah and condemn any such practice as polytheism. The decoration of mosques, the cult of saints, and even the smoking of tobacco were condemned.
4. Having become a Catholic convert, [Johann Sebastian Bach] was appointed organist of Milan cathedral in 1760. His conversion was thought cynical and *reprehensible* by his strongly Lutheran family, from whom he became somewhat estranged.
5. Because it always involves the use of power, whether military force or some subtler form, imperialism has often been considered morally *reprehensible* and the term is frequently employed in international propaganda to denounce and discredit an opponent’s foreign policy.
6. It is possible that there was some conflict among the royal Achaemenids, who were followers of one form of Zoroastrianism, the supporters of a different version of Zoroastrianism as practiced by other Iranians, believers in older forms of Iranian religion, and foreign religions, which in the light of the Prophet’s teachings were *reprehensible*.
7. Emulating his social activism, Ibn Tumart was inspired to act on the familiar Muslim dictum, ‘Command the good and forbid the *reprehensible*’.
8. [Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky] treated the art of ballet as worthy of real musical imagination and told a colleague who adversely likened some of his Symphony No. 4 to ballet music: ‘I cannot understand why the term should be associated with something *reprehensible*. There is such a thing as good ballet music’.
9. Thus in March 1795, in an attempt to dissociate himself from his former colleagues, [Lazare Carnot] claimed that each of them was responsible only for the duty with which he was charged and that the signatures to decrees regarded as *reprehensible* were only a formality.
10. Others were mystics, like those called Ranters, who believed that they were infused with a holy spirit that removed sin from even their most *reprehensible* acts.
11. It has proved to be cumbersome, if not impossible, to describe the relationship between certain linguistic forms without deriving one from the other or both from some common underlying form, and most linguists no longer feel that this is in any way *reprehensible*. [emphasis added]. Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Furthermore, I do not see that the distinctions you talk of, between ‘the truly atrocious things that people do’ and ‘misdemeanours’, are being drawn at all ... not in the liberal theological ideas referred to in No. 2, not in the smoking of tobacco referred to in No. 3, not in the conversion to the Catholic Church referred to in No. 4, not in the subtler form of power referred to in No. 5, not in the following of Zoroastrianism rather than the Prophet’s teachings referred to in No. 6 and certainly not in the ballet music referred to in No. 8 nor in the relationship between certain linguistic forms referred to in No. 11.

In short I see that the word is widely used to cover the entire range, of what is considered to be socially unacceptable, without any line of demarcation whatsoever (and No’s 8 and 11 are so banal that by no stretch could they even be called misdemeanours).

*

RICHARD: As a matter of interest only: I have never taken the word as being reserved for the truly atrocious things that people do – I have always understood it as being applicable to anything which incurs criticism – so much so that when your e-mail came in I looked through the various dictionaries I have access to so as to see if I had been overlooking something all my life. The following definition best describes how I have always experienced its usage: [quote]: reprehensible: worthy of or deserving reprehension; reprehension: the act of reprehending; reprehend: to voice disapproval of. (©Merriam-Webster Dictionary). There is no qualification such as you propose ... and ‘to voice disapproval of’ can range all the way through reproval: from chiding, admonishing and rebuking through to reprimanding, censuring and condemning (according to the various thesauruses and other dictionaries I have access to).

RESPONDENT: I’m glad to better understand your usage of the word – that alone helps me understand what you are saying much better.

RICHARD: So as to pre-empt any false impression: the above definition/denotation is how I have always understood the word in everyday usage and does not mean that other peoples’ appraisal sets the standard in regard to what is required to live peacefully and harmoniously – communal tranquillity and congeniality will never happen if it is left up to human beings to decide what is fit and proper or not – as it is the already always existing peace-on-earth which sets the criteria each moment again.

As I have observed before: the pristine nature of peace-on-earth is impeccable ... nothing dirty can get in.

RESPONDENT: I would add though that ‘reprehensible’ does (or may) carry the connotation of severity. From the Cambridge International Dictionary: reprehensible: (of a person’s behaviour) extremely bad; not acceptable; deserving blame. From Wordnet 1.7 (from www.onelook.com): reprehensible: condemnable, criminal, deplorable; reprehensible – (bringing or deserving severe rebuke or censure).

RICHARD: For sure the definitions ‘extremely bad’, ‘condemnable’, ‘criminal’ and ‘deserving severe rebuke or censure’ carry the connotations of severity ... but you seem to have overlooked the fact that ‘not acceptable’, ‘deserving blame’ and ‘deplorable’ do not. Furthermore, the examples of usage provided by Wordnet 1.7 include ‘a criminal waste of talent’ and the following sense in which it is used:

• ‘sense of reprehensible: wrong (vs. right) – (contrary to conscience or morality or law; ‘it is wrong for the rich to take advantage of the poor’; ‘cheating is wrong’; ‘it is wrong to lie’)’.

Unless, of course, you consider that wasting talent, taking advantage, cheating and lying are on a par with the rape, murder, abuse, etc., examples of severity you provided at the top of this page.

RESPONDENT: I also decided to question my wife to see if her usage of the word differed from mine – to see whether I was just being stubborn. I was careful not to divulge the reason for my questions, but simply asked for how she understood the word and the concept of severity quickly came tumbling out.

RICHARD: Just for the fun of it I asked a few people what the word meant to them ... one person recalled being told as a child that putting their elbows on the table at dinner was reprehensible.

The consensus was that it could be used as the user saw fit ... with no exceptions.

RESPONDENT: I don’t know if this is a difference between usage in Australia and America (I doubt it), but I certainly do find severity as an important part of being reprehensible.

RICHARD: Whereas I do not ... and the examples from Wordnet 1.7, which originates in Princeton University, show that there is essentially no difference in usage between Australia and the USA (and the examples in the Encyclopaedia Britannica show that there is essentially no difference in usage between Australia and the UK either).

May I ask why you find it important that severity be part of being reprehensible?

RESPONDENT: Now, it may be true that ‘reprehensible’ doesn’t necessarily carry the connotation of severity, so that is how I plan to interpret your usage of the word.

RICHARD: Perhaps it will have become apparent by now that the only area where my usage differs from the norm is to also apply it to that which is the cause of the antisocial conduct?

*

RICHARD: Where my usage of the word differs from the norm is to also apply it to that which is the cause of the antisocial conduct ... which strikes me as being an entirely sensible thing to do.

RESPONDENT: Yes, I agree that pointing to the cause of antisocial conduct is quite sensible.

RICHARD: And just what are you agreeing with? I propose that classifying the cause of the antisocial conduct (the instinctual passions) as being socially reprehensible is an entirely sensible thing to do ... and you respond by saying you agree that ‘pointing to the cause’ is quite sensible.

I am only highlighting the straw-man nature of your agreement because immediately below you make it quite clear that there are subtle vibes happening all the time, which are sorrowful or malicious, that you would not term socially reprehensible.

*

RESPONDENT: I also don’t doubt there are such things as ‘reprehensible’ vibes – when it is apparent that someone is hating or being aggressive even without overt expression – but there are more subtle vibes that happen all the time which are sorrowful or malicious that I would hardly term ‘socially reprehensible’.

RICHARD: Why not? A difference in degree is not a difference in kind ... are you sure you are not being unduly influenced by your preference to reserve the word for the major infractions (the apparent feelings in this instance) so much so that you inadvertently exclude the minor infractions (the more subtle feelings in this instance) despite saying further above that you would not exclude the misdemeanours?

RESPONDENT: I am absolutely being influenced by my preference to reserve the word for more severe infractions.

RICHARD: Okay ... it was my misunderstanding which occasioned me to respond as I did (when you said in your previous e-mail that you ‘wouldn’t exclude what are commonly referred to as ‘misdemeanours’ as socially reprehensible either’ I took it to mean that you were not excluding misdemeanours).

RESPONDENT: You are right that a difference in degree is not a difference in kind – yet don’t think I was being ‘unduly’ influenced, since I’m quite satisfied that severity plays a substantial role (even if not always necessary) in common usage of the word ‘reprehensible’.

RICHARD: May I ask? How has tolerance in regard misdemeanours helped you towards becoming the ‘stellar’ person you have always wanted to be? Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I don’t think I’ve done anything that would be considered ‘socially reprehensible’ by most people. Sure, I’ve stolen small amounts of money from my parents when I was a kid – not always told the whole truth – not always been the ‘stellar’ person I’ve wanted to be – but I have never hurt someone in a ‘reprehensible’ way. (...) I’m not out murdering, raping, abusing people and that sort of thing – as many people are not.

My usage of the word, when applied in the area where it has never been applied before (in the area where the cause of antisocial behaviour lies), stems from innocence ... and unless there is innocence there is no peace-on-earth.

Needless is it to say that peace-on-earth has zero tolerance?

*

RESPONDENT: ‘Insalubrious’ may be a better term [for the more subtle vibes that happen all the time which are sorrowful or malicious that I would hardly term ‘socially reprehensible’].

RICHARD: Why? If something is reprehensible, no matter whether it be major or minor, apparent or subtle, what purpose does it serve to relabel it into being something which it is not?

RESPONDENT: It would serve no purpose, but that would assume that I agree with your usage of the word ‘reprehensible’.

RICHARD: Again ... this response of mine was a result of me misunderstanding what you meant when you said that you ‘wouldn’t exclude what are commonly referred to as ‘misdemeanours’ as socially reprehensible either’ in your previous e-mail.

RESPONDENT: I am willing go along with your usage, but I find that I must change it slightly from the way I commonly understand the word to do so.

RICHARD: Hmm ... only slightly?

*

RICHARD: Please note that I am not telling you what you should or should not do in any of this ... I am, rather, suggesting that you question why your line of reasoning is following the path it is currently travelling along.

RESPONDENT: Understood.

RICHARD: Good ... and what did you discover when you questioned why your line of reasoning is following the path it is currently travelling along?

*

RESPONDENT: As an example, my son may try to hit me when he is extremely upset – but I don’t regard that as ‘reprehensible’ – rather it is ‘normal’, yet ‘insalubrious’ as well.

RICHARD: Unless one lives as an isolated hermit or recluse it is a fact that one lives amongst other people (aka society) and it is these other people who will disapprove of actions such as trying to hit someone when ‘extremely upset’ even if you do not. And if you do not bring it to your son’s attention that such emotion-backed behaviour is socially unacceptable – in the sense that society requires him to take responsibility for his feeling-fed actions – then other people surely will (and they will try to instil feelings of guilt and/or shame into him at the same time so as to have him control his aggressive feelings with countervailing feelings of remorse and/or contrition) ... for such is society’s way of dealing with antisocial feelings. To illustrate this I will take the liberty of altering your sentence so as to show what it looks like when the situation you describe is taken out of the family setting and other people are brought into the picture: [illustration]: my son may try to hit someone when he is extremely upset but society doesn’t regard that as reprehensible. [end illustration]. Of course I do not know what society you live in but the society I am familiar with certainly disapproves of someone trying to hit someone else when extremely upset.

RESPONDENT: Well, to change my wording is to change the context.

RICHARD: Indeed it is ... which is why I specifically said that I was taking the situation you describe out of the family setting – so as to have other people brought into the picture – to make the point that if you do not bring it to your son’s attention that such emotion-backed behaviour is socially unacceptable – in the sense that society requires him to take responsibility for his feeling-fed actions – then other people surely will (and they will try to instil feelings of guilt and/or shame into him at the same time so as to have him control his aggressive feelings with countervailing feelings of remorse and/or contrition) ... for such is society’s way of dealing with antisocial feelings.

I was the father of four children myself many years ago – so this is not something theoretical I am talking about – and I oft-times found that it was expected of me that I would act as a probity policeman towards them so as to bring them into line with what was considered socially acceptable ... it is called instilling values into one’s children.

In extreme cases, if the parent does not fulfil these social obligations, a wayward child can be removed from the negligent parent’s custody and made a ward of the state ... thus by and large, at approximately seven years of age, the child knows the basic difference between what each particular society regards as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and the parent’s attitude reflects this (as is evidenced in a parent taking the child to task with an oft-repeated ‘you should know better by now’).

I do not see how you can be unaware of all this.

RESPONDENT: As long as we still have the question of whether ‘reprehensible’ involves severity, then this is a moot point.

RICHARD: Am I to take it from this comment that you have not questioned why your line of reasoning is following the path it is currently travelling along?

RESPONDENT: Changing who his frustration is directed towards gives the implication of changing the severity of the offence.

RICHARD: Why? Are you not a fellow human being just as everybody else is and are to be treated with identical regard? Furthermore, why is it that you give your son two standards to operate by (in that it is not reprehensible to try to hit somebody when extremely upset, when that somebody is family, but that it is reprehensible to try to hit somebody when extremely upset when that somebody is not family)?

Does not confusion beget further confusion?

RESPONDENT: Obviously, my son is not encouraged in this sort of behaviour ...

RICHARD: As this sort of behaviour is not reprehensible, according to you, then why do you not encourage him in it? Or, to put that another way, what is the criterion (to which a label can be applied for convenience) which persuades you not to encourage him in this sort of behaviour?

Methinks if you look more deeply into this you will find something operating anyway which may surprise you.

RESPONDENT: ... but it also does not mean that I regard it as reprehensible.

RICHARD: As a matter of interest: as you do not encourage your son in this kind of behaviour does this mean that you do not approve of it? Also, do you discourage this kind of behaviour ... and if so does this discouragement mean that you disapprove of it? I only ask because more than a few parents these days bend over backwards so as to not be considered as being judgemental.

But more to the point: do you only not encourage this kind of behaviour or do you not encourage this kind of feeling (feeling frustrated and extremely upset) as well?

There is a lot that a parent can do to influence the child to choose for the world of the felicitous feelings, by both example and precept, wherein they can experientially understand, each moment again, how being happy and harmless is the superior modus operandi. Then the well-meaning attempts of other peoples, such as grandparents for instance, to instil feelings of guilt and/or shame and remorse and/or contrition and so on will not have their usual effect (of nurturing a blame-ridden entity).

None of this negates the necessity of complying with the legal laws and observing the social protocols, of course.

RESPONDENT: If I am to agree with your usage of the word, then I have no problem regarding it as reprehensible, though I (and apparently many others) don’t use the word that way.

RICHARD: Do these ‘many others’ fit the bill in regards to being ‘stellar’ persons such as you have always wanted to be? In other words: is their understanding/advice worthwhile in the sense of being practically based upon empirical expertise?

*

RICHARD: Now whilst your son is not to blame for being born with the human condition hereditarily implanted – it is not his fault that he comes into the world with the basic survival passions genetically endowed – somewhere along the line he will be required to be amenable to society’s legal laws and social protocols just like any other human being. Hence reprehension ... it is society’s way of conveying/ reinforcing its conventions to each and every one of its citizens so that some semblance of what passes for peace can prevail. Incidentally, that you consider it ‘normal’ that your son may try to hit you when extremely upset speaks volumes about how ubiquitous the instinctual passions are ... and it is because of attitudes such as this that I take the term ‘socially reprehensible’ deeper into the human condition so as to bring the source of antisocial conduct into the arena of public awareness. This way the cause can be addressed rather than continuing to just treat the symptoms.

RESPONDENT: Addressing the cause of antisocial behaviour is certainly sensible. I should say at this point that for the purposes of this list, it’s neither here nor there for me how we use the word ‘reprehensible’.

RICHARD: Never mind about ‘the purposes of this list’ ... what about for the purposes of being free of the human condition?

RESPONDENT: I am fine agreeing to your usage of the word, but I will have to remember that it is used in a ‘special sense’.

RICHARD: It is only being used in a ‘special sense’ inasmuch it is being taken into an area where it has never been applied before – into where the cause of the aberrant behaviour lies – whereas you are somehow seeing it as being used in a ‘special sense’ in regards to misdemeanours (as contrasted to felonies). Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘When I think ‘reprehensible’, I think murder, rape, abuse – all the atrocities in the human world.
• [Respondent]: ‘I would reserve the word ‘reprehensible’ for the truly atrocious things that people do – rape, murder, abuse, etc.’.

Can you not see that you are using it in a ‘special sense’ by reserving it for felonies and excluding (at least some) misdemeanours and not me?

The problem in reserving it for felonies (and some ill-defined misdemeanours) is that this reservation applies when taking it into an area where it has never been applied before – into where the cause of the aberrant behaviour lies – thus perpetuating the tolerance which you apply to some antisocial behaviour.

I will say it again for emphasis: the pristine nature of peace-on-earth is impeccable ... nothing dirty can get in.

*

RESPONDENT: I would agree that being a ‘being’ is personally insalubrious.

RICHARD: Good ... I am pleased that this is obvious as it establishes a basis from which to see the communal ramifications of such a lack of well-being (which is where being personally insalubrious is to be socially reprehensible).

RESPONDENT: Also, I agree that a ‘being’ has the potential for socially reprehensible deeds.

RICHARD: Okay ... my intention, in discussions such as these, is to dig deeper so as to find out how and why the potential exists in the first place (rather than just acknowledging the potential for such deeds exists). Where there is no potential there is no need for checks and balances.

RESPONDENT: I suppose my preference is though to reserve the word ‘reprehensible’ for deeds of more severity than common forms of insalubrity.

RICHARD: Apart from repeating your ‘reserve for severity’ preference (as if you had never said you would not exclude misdemeanours) I notice that you have written ‘common forms of insalubrity’ rather than ‘common forms of reprehensibility’. If something is reprehensible it is reprehensible whether it be of a severe form or common form ... reprehensibility does not miraculously become insalubrity just because it is a minor infraction rather than a major infraction.

RESPONDENT: Unless ... you use the word the way I commonly use it :o). And I don’t think I’m alone.

RICHARD: You may have gathered at this stage that I am not particularly impressed by the quality of the understanding/advice conveyed by the peoples you are being not alone with ... but enough of that for now: did you see what I was getting at when I said (three paragraphs above) that being personally insalubrious is to be socially reprehensible? If you did not (because of the word) what if I were to say that being personally insalubrious is to be antisocial?

Or does your severity preference apply to the word ‘antisocial’ as well?

*

RESPONDENT: So ‘guilt’ for you is not to blame, but to point to the cause of socially reprehensible acts. I have to wonder whether it would be better to stick with ‘insalubrious’ or ‘silly’ – rather than ‘reprehensible’ or ‘guilty’ – which do (to me anyway) carry the implication of blame.

RICHARD: Yet neither ‘silly’ nor ‘insalubrious’ work to counteract the ‘children are innocent’ claim. Vis.: [Typical Statement]: ‘All children are born innocent. [Response No. 1]: ‘I beg to differ: all children are born silly (or are silly at conception). [Response No. 2]: ‘I beg to differ: all children are born insalubrious (or are insalubrious at conception). [end examples]. The only other antonym to the word ‘innocent’ that I have come across is the word ‘sinful’.

RESPONDENT: LOL! I’m not sure if ‘all children are born guilty’ is any better than ‘all children are born silly or insalubrious’ – or for that matter, ‘all children are born innocent’.

RICHARD: If different peoples did not claim innocence at birth I would have no reason to counteract it with anything at all ... I simply take the antonym of what they claim in order to refute their point (and neither ‘silly’ nor ‘insalubrious’ are antonyms).

‘Tis they that set the agenda by watering down what innocence is.

RESPONDENT: (I certainly wouldn’t like to see you adopt the term ‘sinful’. :o)

RICHARD: Interestingly enough I sometimes do when talking to a person of a certain religious persuasion (I usually adapt my language somewhat according to where the other is at). It works quite well, actually, as it is in accord with dictionary definitions of innocence:

• innocence: freedom from wrong, sin or guilt; the state of being untouched by evil; not injurious; not arising from or involving evil intent or motive; morally pure; producing no ill effect or result; not deserving punishment etc. [Etymology: from Latin ‘innocentia’ from ‘innocent-’ (in- + nocent-) pres. ppl stem of ‘nocere’ (hurt, injure) ... meaning unhurtful, harmless]. Synonyms: not guilty, guiltless, guileless, innocuous, not malignant, benign, blameless, clean, in the clear, unblameworthy, inculpable, unimpeachable, irreproachable, clean-handed, safe, non-injurious, unmalicious, unobjectionable, inoffensive, innoxious, virtuous, pure, sinless, upright, chaste, immaculate, impeccable, pristine, spotless, stainless, unblemished, unsullied, incorrupt, uncorrupted, free from guile, unsophisticated, artless, frank, open, benign, non-malignant, harmless.

Also one of the meanings ascribed to the word ‘irreprehensible’ is the word ‘innocent’:

• irreprehensible: not reprehensible; blameless; innocent. (©1996 Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary). Synonyms: blameless, faultless, flawless, immaculate, perfect, impeccable, impossible to fault, spotless. (MS Word Thesaurus).

Plus the MS Word Thesaurus has the word ‘innocent’ as the antonym for the word ‘reprehensible’.

This is all so much fun.

RESPONDENT: I can at least identify with the innocent claim, because children who are newly born haven’t ‘done’ anything yet!

RICHARD: It seems that you have a behaviour-only criterion regarding what innocence is ... I will re-post a section from a prior correspondence in case you missed its import the first time around:

• [Respondent]: ‘... I recently read where you (Richard) regard having an ‘I’ as socially reprehensible – as in blameworthy. I’m curious as to just what constitutes being ‘socially reprehensible’ for you ... a mere thought or ‘temptation’ – or more concrete action. You have even gone to the point of using the term ‘guilty at conception’. I wonder what guilt could possibly consist of if not in action ... .
• [Richard]: ‘First of all a normal person does not have an ‘I’ (or have a ‘me’) as they are an ‘I’ (or are a ‘me’) ... and ‘I’ exist inside the body only because all human beings are genetically endowed at conception with a package of instinctual survival passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire) which gives rise to emotions (such as malice and sorrow and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion) and this emotional and passional package is ‘me’ (‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’).
And irregardless of whether ‘I’, who am the emotional and passional impulses, persuade the body to physically act or not ‘I’ involuntarily transmit emotional and passional vibes (to use a 60’s term) into the human world in particular and the animal world in general: therefore ‘I’ am not harmless even when ‘I’ refrain from inducing the body into physical action ... which is why pacifism (non-violence) is not a viable solution.
Children also involuntarily transmit emotional and passional vibes (thus they are not born innocent as certain peoples maintain) ... and a foetus would too (albeit in a very rudimentary form).
There is nothing that can stop other sentient beings picking up these vibes and/or picking up what are sometimes called psychic currents. This is because there is an interconnectedness between all the emotional and passional entities – all emotional and passional entities are connected via a psychic web – a network of invisible vibes and currents. This interconnectedness in action is a powerful force – colloquially called ‘energy’ or ‘energies’ – wherein one entity can either seek power over another entity or seek communion with another entity by affective and/or psychic influence.
For example, these interconnecting ‘energies’ can be experienced in a group high, a community spirit, a mass hysteria, a communion meeting, a mob riot, a political rally and so on ... it is well known that charismatic leaders ride to power on such ‘energies’.

Put succinctly: innocence is something entirely new to human experience.

RESPONDENT: (I realize they don’t have the sort of innocence you refer to as actual freedom – but they ARE at least relatively more innocent than most adults).

RICHARD: Not only do they not have the innocence I refer to as an actual freedom from the human condition ... they are not even ‘at least relatively more innocent than most adults’ either ... naiveté is not innocence.

All people – which of course includes children – are guilty (as in not-innocent) at conception.

RESPONDENT: How about ‘all children are born with instinctual passions’, or ‘... with the cause of the human condition’, or ‘all children are born with a tendency for antisocial behaviour – therefore not as innocent as they may seem’.

RICHARD: I did try various terms before settling upon the antonym most people are familiar with ... my experience showed that anything else lacked the impact which a direct refutation has.

RESPONDENT: I’m sure there are other possibilities.

RICHARD: Do they have sufficient impact though?

*

RESPONDENT: ... Rather than leave my conclusion vague, let me summarize. I agree that being a ‘being’ is ‘personally insalubrious’ – as in being a much better decision for one’s own and other’s sake(s) to self-immolate. One is better off whittling away at the social identity and instinctual passions.

RICHARD: I do not see how you can draw the conclusion that it is a much better decision for ‘other’s sake(s)’ from the term ‘personally insalubrious’ only ... if there be no term referring to the communal benefit it would be (correctly) seen as being a selfish enterprise to ‘self’-immolate for personal reasons alone. Besides which the necessary ingredient for ‘self’-immolation – altruism – would be missing thus rendering any such endeavour powerless and doomed to failure from the start.

RESPONDENT: I’m not sure if ‘personally insalubrious’ necessarily precludes altruistic motive. I’ll have to think more about this particular point.

RICHARD: Just in case you did not get around to thinking more about it: as you consider that (at least some of) what I classify as being reprehensible are only insalubrious I cannot see how you can say that any action arising out of insalubrity can be altruistic (of communal benefit) unless you tacitly allow that, whilst you may say it is insalubrious only, it is actually reprehensible in practice.

Again I would say that if you were to look more deeply into this you will find something operating anyway which may surprise you.

*

RESPONDENT: For me, ‘guilty’ is merely a term pointing to a person who caused something (also it is a legal term) – but it has much room for confusion, since one must qualify how it is possible to be ‘guilty’ without ‘blame’.

RICHARD: I am at a loss to see how my qualification has ‘much room for confusion’ as I am quite specific about what I mean by the term ‘guilty at conception’ (meaning not innocent at conception let alone born innocent) ... and even without qualification surely it is obvious that one is not personally to blame for that which is determined at conception?

RESPONDENT: I understand your meaning – and much better now after this exchange, but I’m not sure that it’s obvious that one is not personally to blame for what is determined at conception.

RICHARD: Let me see if I understand you correctly: you are saying that you are not sure it is obvious that one is not personally to blame for what happens when the spermatozoa penetrates the ova (which is where there is a mixing of the chromosomes and a rapid shuffling of the genetic material wherein various characteristics such as skin colour and instinctual passions are determined by blind nature and not by any person or persons let alone you personally)?

Do you realise that you are talking about not being sure it is obvious that no personal blame is incurred by a single-cell embryo (just prior to the doubling of cells that goes on for eight weeks before it is called a foetus) at the precise moment it comes into existence via copulation?

What would it take to make you sure?

RESPONDENT: Pushing the ‘blame’ back on blind evolution does much at removing ‘personal blame’ ...

RICHARD: If I may interject? It does more than just doing ‘much’ at removing personal blame ... it removes it altogether.

Totally.

RESPONDENT: ... but it seems to me there can be confusion on just what one ‘should feel bad about’. Saying one is reprehensible (if interpreted as severe) and guilty, can give one the impression that one is a menace to the human race, and reinforce feelings of inadequacy and guilt.

RICHARD: But one is a ‘menace to the human race’ – there are no ifs and buts about it – and it was seeing this fact which impelled the entity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago into altruistic action (rather than sitting around feeling inadequate and guilty instead).

Now do you see why personal insalubrity is not sufficient motivation?

RESPONDENT: Not that it must, only that it seems to me that it can (and probably does). [Addendum]: After re-reading the last post, I realized there is one spot that is ripe for misunderstanding ... I’m not at all saying that ‘one should feel bad about’ anything. I mean this to apply only to the common conception of guilt as one that implies that one should feel guilty. I want to clarify this, since this could lead to a radical misunderstanding if you understand me to say in fact that ‘one should feel bad’.

RICHARD: Sure ... feeling bad about the human condition is counter-productive: further to the point about feeling inadequate this may be an apt moment to re-post something from another thread. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘I will take this opportunity to point out that there is, however, one area where ‘I’ am not useless (in the ultimate sense) for it is only ‘me’ who can enable both the meaning of life and the already always existing peace-on-earth into becoming apparent ... by either going into abeyance (as in a pure consciousness experience) or by altruistic ‘self’-immolation (as in an actual freedom from the human condition).
The (future) quality of human life is all in ‘my’ hands.

Simply replace the word ‘useless’ with the word ‘inadequate’ and an entirely different light will be thrown upon what seeing that one is a ‘menace to the human race’ can mean.

*

RESPONDENT: There are indeed atrocious and not so atrocious acts and vibes that might be termed ‘reprehensible’, but I don’t see the value in saying that we are ‘socially reprehensible’ at birth or ‘guilty at conception’.

RICHARD: Just for starters the value of it lies in setting the record straight in regards the erroneous claims that children are born innocent (and thus irreprehensible) ... which means it has value inasmuch one will cease reaching back into childhood – or back into some projected ‘Golden Age’ – for that which is simply not there ... innocence (and hence irreprehensibility) is entirely new to human history and exists only in the actual world. It has value in that the way is cleared to see what has been just here right now all along.

RESPONDENT: Clarifying the motive is certainly helpful. I’m just not entirely sure that one has to move from the incorrectly positive claim ‘innocence’ to it’s opposite of ‘guilty’ or ‘reprehensible’. One could simply say that ‘the cause of antisocial or reprehensible behaviour is present at conception’.

RICHARD: I do not see that your phrasing reaches deep enough: the instinctual passions are not only ‘the cause of antisocial or reprehensible behaviour’ (and thus antisocial or reprehensible by extension or potential) as they are antisocial or reprehensible of themselves – via vibes and psychic currents as already described – and this is what most peoples do not comprehend, let alone realise. For example, you yourself said (further above) that children who are newly born have not done anything yet and that they are at least relatively more innocent than most adults. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I can at least identify with the innocent claim, because children who are newly born haven’t ‘done’ anything yet! (I realize they don’t have the sort of innocence you refer to as actual freedom – but they ARE at least relatively more innocent than most adults).

I will put it this way this time around: as the pristine nature of peace-on-earth is impeccable – nothing dirty can get in – innocence is something entirely new to human experience.

RESPONDENT: I should say that now that I understand your meaning a bit better, this issue isn’t all that important.

RICHARD: I would suggest digging deeper and you may very well find why it was important enough for you to write several posts on the subject.

RESPONDENT: I’m not invested in changing your vocabulary – my reason for saying my preferences in word choice is not to change yours, but rather to allow you to see where my confusion in understanding you lies, so that I can understand you better.

RICHARD: More importantly ... do you understand yourself better now?

RESPONDENT: I am invested in understanding what you are saying, since this is a chance of a lifetime for me to be free from the human condition.

RICHARD: Good ... if nothing else please bear in mind that it is peace-on-earth which sets the standard and not me. For an example of this someone once said to me, some years ago, that an actual freedom from the human condition would be much better if only I would let love in – which is a classic example of what I mean when I say that communal tranquillity and congeniality will never happen if it is left up to human beings to decide what is fit and proper or not – as if I were the guardian at the gate, as it were, and could decide what was permissible and what was not.

Similarly it is not up to me on the issue of tolerancy ... it is innocence which establishes the criteria.


RICHARD: Both imprinting and conditioning need substance to latch onto, sink into, and be ... it all washes off a clean slate like water off a duck’s back. Innocence is something entirely new to human experience.

RESPONDENT: Why not ‘a quality we, as species lost, as the self displaced it’?

RICHARD: Are you suggesting there was an era when the human species had no instinctual survival passions?

RESPONDENT: I don’t define innocence as the absence of an instinctual survival mechanism.

RICHARD: As I specifically asked about the instinctual survival passions – and not an instinctual survival ‘mechanism’ – I am none too sure if you see innocence as being inclusive of passions, such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire, or exclusive of them. I would appreciate your clarification of what innocence means to you in this respect.

RESPONDENT: My answer (above) seems to already cover this question. Yes, innocence would include those passions, with the proviso that they yield to the directive of attention, or sanity.

RICHARD: So your scenario for an optimum state, a state of innocence the species lost you say, for human life on this verdant and azure paradise called planet earth would be to have 6.0 billion peoples feeling fleetingly fearful, feeling fleetingly aggressive, feeling fleetingly nurturing, and feeling fleetingly desirous, for example, whenever these feelings are triggered ... provided these fleeting feelings yield to an attention which draws its energy from these fleeting feelings?

Am I understanding you correctly?


RESPONDENT: ... we are what Einstein called the ‘pathological species’. It’s no more than the working out of our pathology, as long as we glorify our history, instead of seeing it with James Joyce as ‘the nightmare from which we need to awaken’ ... <snip> ... as long as we do nothing to cure our pathology, there is no sense. I’m raising the question of our pathology because I think we need to address it. Everyone for himself, not as a whole. As a whole we always wait for the other to go first. As a whole we’re stuck in the stench of our history. And we deserve it ... <snip> ... we deserve it because we do nothing about it ... <snip> ... can I address that, and do you care to address that ... <snip> ... does the possibility exist of working together? Not for reasons of comforting the self, but from an understanding of the necessity of doing so?

RICHARD: I have taken the liberty of snipping out all the to-ing and fro-ing, through the many posts on this topic, which tend to obscure, move away from or circle around your central point ... because your central point, which you have doggedly stuck to no matter the responses, strikes me as being perhaps the most pertinent insight I have read on this Mailing List all year. For indeed it is so where each and every person continues to do nothing about their ‘pathology’, other than glorifying the ‘nightmare’ and the ‘stench of our history’, does one merit the full fruits of one’s culpability. And with reference to this accountability I take particular note of the following sentence:

• [Respondent]: ‘I’m well aware that the process grinds up a lot of innocent people ... one could, of course, ask God why he has arranged things in this blatantly unfair way ... furthermore, hasn’t he hidden the miracle of love in the deepest sorrow?’

... for herein lies the key to understanding both the origin of the glorification of sorrow (‘comforting the self’) and the perpetuation of suffering.

Incidentally, the ‘innocent’ do not suffer ... innocence is something totally new to human experience.

*

RESPONDENT: Thanks Richard, for stitching together such a coherent thread from my earlier posts. I must admit that I’m somewhat shocked by hearing my voice reflected in your summation in a way that sounds so much more cogent than when I speak on my own behalf. I’m a bit blown away by it, really.

RICHARD: Excellent ... for it is your own cognisance being reflected back to you which you are being ‘blown away’ by. In the jargon it is called ‘being a light to oneself’.

Ain’t life grand!

RESPONDENT: When you say: ‘Incidentally, the ‘innocent’ do not suffer ... innocence is something totally new to human experience’, I wonder.

RICHARD: I am, of course, using ‘innocence’ in its ‘free from sin or guilt; untouched by evil’ dictionary meaning ... as in a complete absence of malice and sorrow . Being void of malice and sorrow means no suffering is possible ... ‘the innocent’ cannot and do not suffer, ever.

To be incapable of suffering is a blessing.

RESPONDENT: Would it be because the innocent do not resist death or anything else they may meet in the course of life? Does lack of resistance mean no suffering?

RICHARD: A person nursing malice and sorrow to their bosom may very well ‘not resist death or anything else’ until they are blue in the face and never, ever come across innocence.

Quite the obverse, in fact: their ‘lack of resistance’ actively perpetuates suffering.

RESPONDENT: Perhaps the acceptance of death is the key for the true appreciation of life. Without including (enclosing) death we miss the essence of life.

RICHARD: All peoples I have spoken with at length deep down resent being here (‘I didn’t ask to be born’) and one cannot embrace death until one first appreciates the marvel of being alive. I would be particularly inclined to examine your sentence ‘... one could, of course, ask God why he has arranged things in this blatantly unfair way’ in this respect (with a view to locating the basic resentment).

Indignation (a feeling associated with unfairness) is usually an indication of resentment, for example.

RESPONDENT: One other point. I hadn’t equated ‘the glorification of sorrow’ (your term) with ‘comforting the self’. But in a new book by Sunanda Patwarden about her life with the k factor, she stresses how insistent he was on the subject of psychological hurt as the centre of the self. And thus ‘the perpetuation of suffering’ that you point to above.

RICHARD: Yes, this is what I mean by the term ‘nursing malice and sorrow to one’s bosom’ ... which brings me back to your central point where each and every person, who continues to do nothing about their ‘pathology’, thus rightfully earns the full fruits of their culpability. I am specifically interested in exploring: ‘furthermore, hasn’t he [God] hidden the miracle of love in the deepest sorrow?’ for therein lies the key to understanding both the origin of the glorification of sorrow and the perpetuation of suffering.

*

RICHARD: I am specifically interested in exploring: ‘furthermore, hasn’t he [God] hidden the miracle of love in the deepest sorrow?’ for therein lies the key to understanding both the origin of the glorification of sorrow and the perpetuation of suffering.

RESPONDENT: ‘God’ is here seen as a kind of stooge who messed up in allowing the innocent to suffer (as No. 20 seems to think), so in order to balance the negative with the positive, I wanted to credit him with having ‘hidden the miracle of love in the deepest sorrow’. But if we dismiss the fantasy of God, we may have to sacrifice the fanciful sentimentalism of the ‘suffering innocent’.

RICHARD: Okay ... shall we then ‘dismiss the fantasy of God’ and ‘sacrifice the fanciful sentimentalism of the ‘suffering innocent’’ with the utmost dispatch? Now what? Has ‘the miracle of love [hidden] in the deepest sorrow’ vanished as a result of so doing? Has the ‘the deepest sorrow’ ceased?

Or, at the very least, has ‘the glorification of sorrow’ ceased?

RESPONDENT: Life must not be turned into a sentimental proposition of justice and fairness. These are good principles of correct human conduct, but we mustn’t project them unto nature.

RICHARD: Indeed ... life is neither fair nor unfair, just or unjust. May I ask? How do you square this with your previous stance: ‘... one could, of course, ask God why he has arranged things in this blatantly unfair way’? When you ‘dismiss the fantasy of God’ and no longer ‘project them [justice and fairness] unto nature’ does ‘this blatantly unfair way’ that things are disappear as a result of so doing?

Or, at the very least, has indignation/resentment ceased?

RESPONDENT: Or even demand that others obey these principles. Principles can be obeyed only by those who accept them.

RICHARD: Is it possible to live without the need for ‘principles’; without the need to ‘obey these principles’; without the need to ‘accept them’ (so that one may obey them)?

For is this not what ‘innocence’ means?


RESPONDENT: In that trap perhaps we ‘invent’ and ‘glorify sorrow and perpetuate suffering’. We are proud to exhibit our hurt rather than ashamed about our failure to end it.

RICHARD: As in ‘you have hurt my feelings’ (rather than ‘why do I nurse feelings to my bosom such that I actively invite being hurt all the time’)?

RESPONDENT: Not just ‘you have hurt my feelings’, also ‘society hurt my feelings in the past. Now I’m an innocent wreck’.

RICHARD: Perhaps you could expand upon what you mean by ‘innocent’ in ‘innocent wreck’? I find it an odd juxtaposition of words given the meaning of the word ‘innocent’.

RESPONDENT: I would be happy with pseudo-innocent.

RICHARD: Oh, I did not realise that ... I understood you to be wanting to go all the way.

RESPONDENT: My quotation marks intend to signal that this is the voice of hurt speaking.

RICHARD: Yes, I see that now.

*

RICHARD: Which is why innocence is something totally new to human experience.

RESPONDENT: Your last sentence also gives me pause. I could let it go as another way of saying innocence is the end of hurt (experience). But it seems that you have something else in mind.

RICHARD: No one who I have spoken to; no one who I have read about; no one who anyone has ever told me about; no one I have seen on film, video or television has ever been innocent: all the saints, sages and seers – who are held to be innocent – have displayed malice and sorrow in one form or another (usually anger and anguish disguised/ designated as being ‘Divine Anger’ and ‘Divine Sorrow’ by themselves and their devotees/followers/readers). Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene, for just one example, purported to comprehend this salient point: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law ... it was said to the people long ago: ‘do not murder, anyone who murders will be subject to judgment’ ... but I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment ... be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’. (Matthew 5:17, 21-22, 48) . However, the Christian scriptures show that he could not live-up to his own ‘Teachings’ on at least two occasions in three years ... but, then again, his god (presumably whom you referred to as ‘God’ in this and prior posts) is an angry (yet antidotally loving) god; a vengeful (yet antidotally just) god; and a jealous (yet antidotally forgiving) god. If this is what innocence is then we may as well chuck in the towel now, eh? As I remarked before: the problem lies in the affective feelings (malice and sorrow) ... yet the solution (love and compassion) proposed by the saints and the sages and the seers for 3,000-5,000 years of recorded history also lies in the affective feelings. The evidence of history shows that the saints and the sages and the seers have been unable to extricate or isolate either love out from malice or compassion out from sorrow or vice versa ... the affective feelings are inextricably linked. This is why I picked-up on your statement about ‘the miracle of love’ being ‘hidden in the deepest sorrow’. For therein lies the key to understanding both the origin of the glorification of sorrow and the perpetuation of suffering.

RESPONDENT: I’m not sure what to say here. My feeling is that I’ve already said it. So I’ll wait and see what you’ll do with it. Even if we should end our exchange here, I owe you for coming to my rescue in a number of hopeless encounters on this list, also for clarifying and helping me clarify my own thinking, and not least for the clarity of your dissection.

RICHARD: Okay.

*

RESPONDENT: Richard, thanks for your last post. Also for the entire thread. I’m wondering, with the amount of agreement that your last answer seemed to contain, where we differ in the end.

RICHARD: Ahh ... my use of ‘okay’ was too ambiguous and misleading, I see in hindsight, as I was intending to indicate that I had no further queries in those areas as you had explained yourself fully (indeed you said that ‘I’m not sure what to say here ... my feeling is that I’ve already said it’). I would have been better-off writing ‘Okay, I have the picture now’.

For example, if I arrange some of your sentences sequentially it reads (to me) like this:

• self-knowledge is the precondition of innocence; the failure to understand the nature of love may give it the appearance of a shameful quality; people are proud to exhibit their hurt rather than ashamed about their failure to end it; in that trap they invent and glorify sorrow and perpetuate suffering; unresolved hurt will beget problems; innocence is the end of hurt; the psychological principle of hurt begets all the problems of the ego; if hurt is seen as the father of the psyche then the ending of hurt by exposure would end all affective accumulation; the psyche is a complex defence mechanism; people have buried love underneath their worries; the solution lies in the resolution of those unresolved feelings which makes room for love and compassion; love is when sorrow is understood; love is set free when the sentimentalism of sorrow is exposed; love is not dependent on sorrow, but buried by sorrow; affective feelings live in the psyche, love is when there is no psyche; love is when the self is not; the miracle of love is the ground of reality itself.

If I were coming from the point of view that love, as the ground of reality, is the miracle solution to all the ills of humankind I would be in broad agreement with what you write ... and would wish to pursue it further with you so as to have it manifest in my daily life. However, I lived that manifestation, night and day, for eleven years and thus have major reservations as to love’s miraculous qualities vis-à-vis peace on earth ... so this is where I consider we differ:

• [Richard]: ‘the evidence of history shows that the saints and sages and seers have been unable to extricate or isolate love and compassion out from malice and sorrow and vice versa ... innocence is totally new to human experience’.
• [Respondent]: ‘I can see that ‘the problem lies in the affective feelings’, the unresolved feelings I would say ... the solution lies in the resolution of those feelings which makes room for love and compassion’.

In brief: I am suggesting that love’s innocence, as the ground of reality revealed when the self is not, does not meet the ‘free from sin or guilt; untouched by evil’ requirements for innocence (I cannot see how a person still subject to anger and anguish can be called innocent) ... which is why I propose that innocence is something totally new to human experience.

RESPONDENT: When there is no self, how could there be anger and anguish?

RICHARD: Yes ... that was my very question all those years ago. The saints and sages and seers, who said there was no self, all displayed varying degrees of those emotions grouped under the ‘catch-all’ words malice and sorrow. Most commonly they were subject to anger and anguish (disguised/ designated as being ‘Divine Anger’ and ‘Divine Sorrow’ by themselves and their devotees/ followers/ readers). The question I asked was:

Just what is it that is going on in regards the supposed innocence of the saints and sages and seers?

*

RESPONDENT: Your discussion of innocence leaves me stumped for its radical position. Since it excludes all humanity, as it has walked the earth to date, I don’t know what it would actually entail.

RICHARD: It entails a total end to both malice and sorrow plus their antidotal love and compassion: innocence means peace-on-earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body ... not an after-death ‘Peace That Passeth All Understanding’, as The Self (by whatever name), in a timeless and spaceless and formless realm.

RESPONDENT: I assume there have been people who were free from malice and sorrow.

RICHARD: Yes, so did I, all those years ago ... only I did not realise it was an assumption of mine at the time. I was soon to find out, to my astonishment, that it was but an assumption when I first started my investigation. It was a stunning discovery ... and the question I asked was:

Just what is it that is going on in regards the supposed innocence of the saints and sages and seers?

RESPONDENT: I’m also still wondering about your use of ‘affective feelings’, especially your inclusion of love in that category.

RICHARD: Sure ... it is a radical proposition, I realise. However, this is because I have only ever been interested in bringing to an end all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides ... here on earth.

*

RESPONDENT: In case you feel like picking up on any of these topics, or – perhaps better – some other non-solicited items, I’d greatly appreciate it.

RICHARD: Basically, I have only one topic: peace-on-earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body.

RESPONDENT: I wonder if you would be prepared to outline briefly how you arrived at your present position, especially why it requires some of the steps that I have been questioning.

RICHARD: Put briefly: I have only ever been interested in peace-on-earth ... and the ‘I’ that was saw that it was as culpable as the next person (or as you put it so well ‘as long as we do nothing to cure our pathology there is no sense’). It made no sense whatsoever that a supposedly innocent person would be subject to anger and anguish from time-to-time. The question I asked was:

Just what is it that is going on in regards the supposed innocence of the saints and sages and seers?

RESPONDENT: I read your post, but am not clear of its focus.

RICHARD: Basically, I have only one focus: peace-on-earth, in this lifetime, as this flesh and blood body.

RESPONDENT: Also I get a bit confused about earlier and later comments.

RICHARD: Okay ... this one pretty well sums it all up:

• [Richard]: ‘the evidence of history shows that the saints and sages and seers have been unable to extricate or isolate love and compassion out from malice and sorrow and vice versa ... innocence is totally new to human experience’.

No one who I have spoken to; no one who I have read about; no one who anyone has ever told me about; no one I have seen on film, video or television has ever been innocent. All the saints, sages and seers – who are held to be innocent – have displayed malice and sorrow in one form or another (disguised/designated as being ‘Divine Anger’ and ‘Divine Sorrow’ by themselves and their devotees/followers/readers) despite preaching peace and harmony. To take just one example from the multifarious scriptures (the collected works of many and varied saints and sages and seers) one only has to look to the example of Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene ... who purported to comprehend this salient point. Vis.:

• ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law ... it was said to the people long ago: ‘do not murder, anyone who murders will be subject to judgment’ ... but I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment ... be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’. (Matthew 5:17, 21-22, 48).

However, the Christian scriptures show that he could not live-up to his own ‘Teachings’ on at least two occasions in three years ... but, then again, the source of his teachings – his god – is an angry (yet antidotally loving) god; a vengeful (yet antidotally just) god; and a jealous (yet antidotally forgiving) god. None of which meets the ‘free from sin or guilt; untouched by evil’ requirements for innocence (I cannot see how a person still subject to anger and anguish can be called innocent). As for peace-on-earth, Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene said things such as: ‘my kingdom is not of this world (...) you are from below; I am from above; you are of this world; I am not (...) don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth ... no, I came to bring a sword (...) in my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you ... and if I go and prepare a place for you ... that where I am, there ye may be also ... and whither I go ye know, and the way ye know’?

I also give this example as it is particularly pertinent at this time of the year for about 1.0 billion peoples living in the English-speaking western democracies ... whose morals and ethics are biblically-based (including the humanistic UN Declaration of Human Rights). All over the western world the majority of the peoples are looking forward to taking time off work and worries; looking forward to celebrating a cultural festival that is based on a religious event that supposedly occurred long ago in the past in another country. Familiar tunes – that are heard only at this time of the year – are being played on every radio station, in every television studio and in every large store one enters into. It is impossible to remain ignorant of the holiday-like atmosphere – it permeates every nook and cranny of this society that I live in – and I find that the revelry temporarily invigorates the population, whether they devoutly observe the religious anniversary or merely celebrate an annual secular carnival. People everywhere are expressing feelings of good-will, kindliness and merriment ... and thinking wistfully and hopefully of an imagined peace on earth.

Around this time last year, and the year before that, and the years before that, some members of the local populace gathered communally on the village green, as evening fell, to sing together some evocative songs celebrating the arrival of their god-on-earth. It was a pretty sight; hundreds of flickering candles held by each person illuminated the scene as the resonance of many throats rose into the mellow air. The atmosphere was charged with an intensity of purpose that was rather sweet to witness ... the swelling voices harmonising, as in one accord they sung of peace on earth and good-will to all. And they seemed to mean it too, their passion of purpose was marred only by their lack of remembrance of the factual nature of all of the religious wars that have beset this fair planet for century upon century. Yet in the newspaper the following day it was remarked what a success the event had been, as the citizenry had gathered together in the eventide song to celebrate the ideal of peace. Little did the writer realise the utter irony of these words, for an ideal is not a fact. It is one thing to celebrate a visionary dream ... and another to demonstrate its actuality.

No one, it seems, asks themselves how come, after 3,000 to 5,000 years of a recorded history, of many and varied saints and sages and seers preaching their ‘Sacred Solution’ to all and sundry, there is still as much misery and mayhem as back then. Because when one sincerely questions the ‘Teachers’, the ‘Teachings’ and the ‘Source’ of the ‘Teachings’ one will indubitably unearth this salient point:

Despite all their rhetoric, peace-on-earth is not actually on their agenda.


RICHARD: There are three ‘worlds’ altogether ... but only one is actual. The ‘everyday reality’ of the ‘real world’ is an illusion. The ‘Greater Reality’ of the ‘Mystical World’ is a delusion. There is an actual world that lies under one’s very nose ... I interact with the same kind of people, things and events that you do, yet it is as if I am in another dimension. To put it bluntly: ‘you’ who are but an illusion, must die an illusory death commensurate to ‘your’ pernicious existence. The drama must be played out to the end ... there are no short-cuts here. The doorway to an actual freedom has the word ‘extinction’ written on it. Thought does not have to stop for this actual world – which is what this initially ‘other’ dimension is – to be apparent. It is the ‘thinker’ that dies ... and the ‘feeler’ along with its feelings. Then thought – which is necessary to operate and function in this world of people, things and events – can think clearly and cleanly when appropriate ... uncorrupted by feelings. Such thought – apperceptive thought – is always pure ... this is innocence in action.


RESPONDENT: When there is the confidence of innocence, there is no one to acquire or move past anything.

RICHARD: Aye ... innocence is when ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul am not. However, when ‘I’ as ego dissolves and thus ceases ‘becoming’ and starts being ‘me’ as soul (by whatever name) ... innocence is nowhere to be found. That is why they prattle on so much about humility ... ‘I’ as ego has disappeared in a quantum leap into the heart and is busily being as humble as all get-out in the hope that no one will notice that ‘I’ am still in existence as ‘me’ as soul (by whatever name).

Mostly they are successful ... nobody does notice and thus the Gurus and the God-Men can – and do – get up to all manner of antics and yet still be revered and worshipped or otherwise respected as being the font of wisdom.


RESPONDENT: If one is free from the standard whereby innocence would be defined or understood, the freedom would just be ignorance, wouldn’t it?

RICHARD: No, no, no ... to be free from sin and guilt one has free from the ‘sinner’ who has a pernicious existence within this body. That is, ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul is a ‘walk-in’ (if I may use some current jargon) and is corrupting the thoughts and actions of this flesh and blood body. Then there is no need for a standard ‘whereby innocence would be defined’ because one would be innocence personified.

RESPONDENT: It is not the ‘me’ that is creating these thoughts.

RICHARD: Methinks that you will find that it is ... if you dig deep enough into your psyche.

RESPONDENT: They are coming in from the pipeline to hell, and you cannot eliminate the connection, nor the pipeline.

RICHARD: There is no ‘hell’ outside of your fevered imagination ... derived from those passionate instincts. This is all a nightmare in the human psyche ... there is no ‘hell’ here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: The evil just takes a more subtle shape to fool you unless you are sorry for the attitude that brings it in.

RICHARD: There is no ‘evil’ outside of your fevered imagination ... derived from those passionate instincts This is all a nightmare in the human psyche ... there is no ‘evil’ here in this actual world.

RESPONDENT: Freedom from guilt does not necessarily mean compliance with or union with the principles of innocence.

RICHARD: Once again, I am not talking about principles ... I am talking about freedom from the state of being wherein principles are a necessity to stop one from carrying out actions that are either personally insalubrious or socially reprehensible. I am not talking about ‘compliance with principles’ ... I am talking about being free of the instinctual urges, impulses and drives that necessitate ‘compliance with principles’. I am talking about a truly remarkable freedom.

RESPONDENT: I am talking about principles.

RICHARD: I know you are ... but a principle of innocence is not innocence itself, now, is it? Actually living innocently is infinitely better than living according to the ‘principles of innocence’.

RESPONDENT: I love principles.

RICHARD: Okay ... but loving something does not indicate that this something is salubrious. Some people love ... um ... heroin, for example.

RESPONDENT: Being free from these urges required understanding.

RICHARD: Aye ... simply obeying absolute dictates from high without question does not leave much room for understanding, does it? Whoops ... I just noticed you said ‘required’ and not ‘requires’ as I had assumed. Okay ... can you explain what urges you are free from? These ones that ‘required understanding’, I mean?

RESPONDENT: It is not just a blind state of mind.

RICHARD: What is not ‘just a blind state of mind’? I am having difficulty in following your train of thought.


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?

RICHARD: Because:

1. I was youth myself once (personal experience).
2. I have raised four children (personal interactive experience).
3. I have met with and meet with today’s youth (current personal interrelated experience).
4. I talked with and talk with other parents (personally comparing notes).
5. I read (personal study) and watch all available media reports (including methodological examinations) of anything that is reasonably acceptable information accumulated from around the world (cross-cultural) and down through the ages (historical).
6. If there were any youth – any youth whatsoever – that is currently 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) then why are they keeping quiet about it? Do they not care about their fellow human being?


RICHARD: 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 purported ‘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.

RESPONDENT: Richard, I doubt that there is a popular misconception of getting back to this ‘inner freedom within us’. Few people seem to even have the intuition that it is there. I am referring to what is here right now. Not as lost freedom, a golden age, or an age of lost innocence to which we seek to return. I am referencing a human’s innate capacity to experience love, joy, and enthusiasm for exploring what is in life. This capacity is clearly observed in infants during their first months of life as I indicated above. You have elsewhere spoken similarly of the individual as being able to be ... ‘benevolent and carefree ... happy and harmless’.

RICHARD: Oh yes, indeed I did write that ‘the individual is able to be ... benevolent and carefree ... happy and harmless’, but 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 ‘inner freedom within us’ ... a freedom which must have peace and harmony and tranquillity in it for there to be peace-on-earth? 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 repeat: a ‘Golden Past’ has never existed at any period, or at any stage, of development.

To achieve a truly golden age, 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 self they were born with.

RESPONDENT: However, this capacity also exists along side the innate defence capacity to develop self severing, security oriented views of oneself and life that result in the operation of strategies for self aggrandisement, aggression, destruction, materialistic acquisition, longing, fearful avoidance, and squelching joy and loving. For reasons we do not understand, perhaps for factors related to the survival of the species, humans seem to be overly endowed with the latter defensive capacity which is seen to begin crystallising into definite patterns of behaviour as the child reaches the so called age of self awareness at 14 months or so and is influenced by social influences which further stimulate this defensive nature.

RICHARD: Okay, so we can now see that an actual freedom from fear and aggression has never existed, then. What you have just described above does not jell with what you wrote before: ‘I afraid your scenario paints the picture of humans born as monsters to be tamed’. It is not my ‘scenario’, it is a fact that all sentient beings are born with fear and aggression ... this is blind nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the species. This is commonly called the ‘Human Condition’ and most people will sagely tell one that ‘you can’t change human nature’. To say that, or to pretend that humans are not ‘born monsters’ is to shut the door on investigation. The inhumanity of humankind is legendary, by now, and to not be able to see it in infants and children is but a denial of the actuality.

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.

RESPONDENT: Apparently it is only with a great deal of pain, fear, and diligent attention to our inner attitudes, opinions, predispositions, feelings, and overt behaviour that we can begin to be aware of the magnitude of this inner defensive structure. For some it is a lengthy journey. For others it is a rather rapidly developing ‘dark night of the soul’ whereby this structure is experienced in depth, abandoned and the world experienced through the eyes of bliss, beauty, love, and carefree enthusiasm where everything appears beautiful just as it is.

RICHARD: One’s ‘pain, fear ... inner attitudes, opinions, predispositions, feelings, and overt behaviour’ are humanity’s ‘pain, fear, inner attitudes, opinions, predispositions, feelings and overt behaviour’. For ‘I’ am ‘humanity’ and ‘humanity’ is ‘me’. It is a fact that ‘I’ am not as unique as ‘I’ would like to think and feel that ‘I’ am. ‘I’ am but a carbon copy of ‘everybody else’ and ‘everybody else’ is but a carbon copy of ‘me’. Seeing this is the beginning of the end of ‘me’ ... and the ending of ‘me’ is the ending of ‘humanity’.

The ‘dark night of the soul’ is only experienced by religious and spiritual seekers, who wish to perpetuate themselves for all eternity. I suggest that this is a very selfish and self-centred approach to life on earth – something that all religiosity and spirituality is guilty of. The quest to secure one’s place in ‘Eternity’ is unambiguously selfish ... peace-on-earth is readily sacrificed for the supposed continuation of the imagined soul after physical death. So much for the humanitarian ideals of peace, goodness, altruism, philanthropy and humaneness. All Religious and Spiritual Quests amount to nothing more than a self-centred urge to exist for ever and a day. All Religious and Spiritual Leaders fall foul of this existential dilemma. They pay lip-service to the notion of self-sacrifice – weeping crocodile tears at noble martyrdom – whilst selfishly pursuing Immortality. The root cause of all the ills of humankind can be sheeted home to this single, basic fact: the overriding importance of the survival of self as a soul.

All this gets played out in the human psyche – and not in this actual world. For those rare few who succeed, their reward for enduring the ‘dark night of the soul’ is bliss, ecstasy, euphoria, love, compassion, beauty, truth and a few other glittering baubles ... which also only have an existence in the human psyche.

But they do not get a ‘carefree enthusiasm’, for they are driven to ‘save the world’ and to ‘set mankind free’. Nor do they get an actual freedom from the Human Condition ... and certainly not peace-on-earth.


RESPONDENT: You sound like a remarkable man and I would like to ask a question. I have been reading your posts with considerable interest, most of it I had already seen and I was trying to do somewhat the same but I found this gap. The gap between knowing that all sense of identity is a construct, knowing that all joy/pain and happy/sad is ego driven and knowing the internal-I can and should be rid from and actual dissolve-ment. I know that information is having effect but surely not as drastically as described by you so let me ask if something can be done, is it a question of time or simply more reasoning or more information. Also, could you affirm that all this is one happening in the now and that it is possible to experience it like that.

RICHARD: Where you say ‘you sound like a remarkable man’, if you mean it sincerely I would like to congratulate you for your perspicacity, because I must emphasise that it is vital that you aspire to being a remarkable person yourself ... or else you will not succeed in ridding yourself of your sense of identity. This is very important, because people can put themselves down only too easily as being not good enough, not intelligent enough or not capable enough. I am not gifted or special ... I was born of ordinary parents, was sent to an ordinary state school – receiving an average education until I was fifteen years of age – took an ordinary job and worked for a living. I eventually got married and had four children and bought a house and ... in short, I was relatively normal and did all the expected things. Thus did I live my life for thirty two years according to the ‘tried and true’ methods as laid down by the countless millions of other humans that had lived before me. I tried my best to make their system work to produce the optimum result ... but to no avail. Only then did I make the first and most important movement of my own volition ... I discarded the ‘tried and true’ as being the ‘tried and failed’. (I did say ‘I was relatively normal’ because one thing, and one thing alone, stood out that distinguished me from whomsoever else I met: I wanted to know – as an actuality – just what it was to be a human being here on this planet, as this body, in this life-time.)

Eighteen years ago I looked – actually looked for the first time – at the trees and the mountains and the rivers and the oceans and the sky and the clouds ... and the stars at night ... and just knew that this enormous construct called the universe was not ‘set up’ for us humans to be forever forlorn in with only scant moments of reprieve. It was all too big, too enormous, too magnificent and too marvellous to be forever a ‘vale of tears’. I realised there and then that it was not and could not ever be some ‘sick cosmic joke’ that we all had to endure and ‘make the best of’. I felt foolish that I had believed for thirty two years that the wisdom of the world I had inherited – the human world that I was born into – was set in stone. This foolish feeling allowed me to get in touch with my dormant naiveté, which is the closest thing one has that resembles actual innocence, and activate it with a naive enthusiasm to undo all the conditioning and brainwashing that I had been subject to. Then when I looked into myself and at all the people around and saw the sorrow and malice of humankind I could not stop. I knew that I had just devoted myself to the task of setting myself and thus humankind free of impurity and imperfection ... I willingly dedicated my life to this most exemplary cause. It is so delicious to devote oneself whole-heartedly – the ‘boots and all’ approach I called it then – to something so eminently worthwhile as invoking and actualising purity and perfection here on earth.

Purity is an actual condition, intrinsic to the perfection of the infinitude of this universe ... the only one we have. A human being can tap into this purity by pure intent. Pure intent can be activated with sincere attention paid to the state of naiveté. To be naive is to be virginal, unaffected, unselfconsciously artless – in short: ingenuous. Naiveté is a much-maligned word, having the common assumption that it implies gullibility. Nevertheless, to be naive means to be simple and unsophisticated. Pride is derived from an intellect inured to naive innocence; to such an intellect, to be guileless appears to be gullible, stupid. In actuality, one has to be gullible to be sophisticated, to be wise in the ways of the real world. The ‘worldly-wise’ realists are not in touch with the purity of innocence; they readily obey the peremptory decrees of the cultured sophisticates. A sample of such decrees are: ‘I didn’t come down in the last shower’, or ‘I wasn’t born yesterday’, or ‘You’ve got to be tough to survive in the real world’, or ‘It’s dog eat dog out there’ ... and so on. Such people are said to have ‘lost their innocence’. Human beings have not ‘lost their innocence’ – they never had it in the first place.

Innocence is something entirely new; it has never existed in human beings before. It is an evolutionary break-through to come upon innocence. It is a mutation of the human mind. Naiveté is a necessary precursor to invoke the condition of innocence. One surely has to be naive to contemplate the profound notion that this universe is benign, friendly. One needs to be naive to think that this universe has an inherent imperative for well-being to flourish; that it has a built-in benevolence available to one who is artless, without guile. To the realist – the ‘worldly-wise’ – this appears like utter foolishness. After all, life is a ‘vale of tears’ and one must ‘make the best of a bad situation’ because one ‘can’t change human nature’; and therefore ‘you have to fight for your rights’. This derogatory advice is endlessly forthcoming; the put-down of the universe goes on ad nauseam, wherever one travels throughout the world. This universe is so enormous in size – infinity being as enormous as it can get – and so magnificent in its scope, how on earth could anyone believe for a minute that it is all here for humans to be forever miserable in? It is foolishness of the highest order to believe it to be so. Surely, one can have confidence in a universe so grandly complex, so marvellously intricate, so wonderfully excellent. How could all this be some ‘ghastly mistake’? To believe it all to be some ‘sick joke’ is preposterous, for such an attitude cuts one off from the perfection of this pure moment of being alive here in this fantastic and actual universe.


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

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) lie latent in that ‘software package’.

*

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: 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: 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).

*

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.


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

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.

RICHARD: I am describing the instinctual workings of the affective faculty (primary in an infant) ... not the mental workings of the cognitive faculty (secondary in an infant).


RETURN TO RICHARD’S SELECTED CORRESPONDENCE INDEX

RICHARD’S HOME PAGE

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.

Disclaimer and Use Restrictions and Guarantee of Authenticity