RICHARD: For something like twenty five years I was an agnostic … and it is an apparently satisfying position to be in as it makes one feel both intellectually comfortable and intellectually superior at the same time (whilst appearing humble) until one day I realised just what I was doing to myself … and to others. I was cleverly shuffling all the ‘hard questions’ about consciousness under the rug and going around deftly cutting other people down to size (which is all so easy to do simply by saying ‘well that is your belief/truth/idea/philosophy/whatever’). But I had nothing to offer in its place – other than the smug ‘nobody knows’ agnosticism – and I puzzled as to why this was so. Finally, I ceased procrastinating and equivocating. I wanted to know. I wanted to find out – for myself – about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being living in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. I now know. In short: there is a third alternative to either agnosticism or fideism.
RESPONDENT: As a proponent in actual freedom, can you hazard any guess why the final event has not happened for Peter/Vineeto in spite of their understanding/ sincerity?
RICHARD: For the same reason why it is not happened for anybody else … in the end all ‘I’ can do is procrastinate.
VINEETO: [..] Whilst it is understandable to look for allies on the way, particularly when one takes on the task of questioning *all* of the so-called wisdom of humanity, actualism remains a do-it-yourself-by-yourself business and the desire for allies, friends, collaborators and such like is yet another of the ‘self’-perpetuating instinctual passion to be recognized, understood and disempowered.
Personally, I have found the need to belong to some group, any group, one of the most persistent instinctual forces that time and again caused me to procrastinate from stepping out of humanity.
RESPONDENT: For me, while it is easy (comparatively) to label and handle obvious feelings like anger, malice, compassion, hope, I find it more difficult to label not-so-apparent feelings. These feelings create a neither-happy-nor-sad kind of state. I remember you talked of dullness in one of your mails. But I find that this dullness or boredom is not the same every time it happens and it happens very frequently.
VINEETO: Yes, I can remember times of a ‘neither-happy-nor-sad kind of state’ and I recall talking to Alan about dullness and stuckness Ref (and the two following letters). Although my dullness had varying qualities at different times, I could mostly sheet it home to a feeling of not wanting to be here, i.e. resentment for having to be here.
I found dullness and boredom one of the most common reactions to being alive when things weren’t going ‘my’ way – and they rarely ever did or that life wasn’t exciting, which it rarely was. In the process of actualism I recognized, however, that my habitual resentment towards the various facts of life, for instance having to work for a living, bad weather, getting sick, etc, clearly prevented me from becoming happy and harmless. I discovered I could either indulge in ‘my’ resentment or pull myself up by my boot strings and break this insidious habit. As No 3 pointed out, it was indeed a matter of priority – and I chose sensuous attentiveness over ‘self’-indulgent apathy, happiness over resentment.
The other kind of dullness or stuckness I would describe as an ostrich-behaviour – the result of my fear to investigate the particular belief or behaviour pattern that was under scrutiny at the time. Eventually such periods of procrastination grew shorter as I more and more stubbornly refused to spoil this unique present moment of being alive by not investigating the issue at hand.
And indeed each issue investigated, each belief discarded resulted in lifting an emotional weight off my shoulders and as a direct consequence, life has become easy and enjoyable. You could also say that ‘I’, the complainer, the controller, the moaner and groaner has all but left the stage.