Let’s say an actually free person witnesses their child being brutally murdered, would he feel anything?
Glad to see you still participating here
To answer the question fully will require a bit of explanation…
Of course, the thrust of your question is that wouldn’t it be a horrible thing for somebody not to feel anything at the sight of their child being brutally murdered?
What is relevant to see is that becoming actually free entails actually doing something about the human condition.
The human condition, among other things, is vile, aggressive, and causes people to do all sorts of terrible things, such as murdering a child. This is the reason you ask the question in the first place – because there are people on this planet that actually commit such horrible acts as these.
Becoming actually free means that one eliminates the human condition in oneself – the very core of aggression and malice is actually eliminated completely. This means that, with an actually freed planet, never again will anybody murder a child, in cold blood or otherwise. It is literally the solution to such terrible things as these.
What becomes clear via the PCE, is that, without ‘me’ around, there is no malice and aggression in the first place. ‘I’ am what is vile and aggressive. And, with the absence of malice in the first place, it’s seen that sorrow and heartbreak, among other things, are simply redundant. That is, they are not needed in the first place, because there is no problem in the first place – and indeed with the absence of ‘me’ there is also the absence of sorrow, heartbreak, along with any other emotions. Instead there is pure consciousness that is experiencing the inherently enjoyable intrinsic benevolence and benignity of the universe.
A fairer way to phrase the question would be “Would an actually free person brutally murder a child?” And the answer is no, of course not.
The next, more pertinent question, is – what are you, personally, going to do about the fact that children are currently being murdered on this planet? Will you stand by and do nothing, or will you take action in your own life and actually do something about it? Will you really do nothing to solve the root problem that causes children to be murdered, not to mention kidnapped, abused, neglected, etc., on a regular basis?
As to the direct answer to your question of how an actually free person would experience such a scenario, it may be better for @Srinath or @geoffrey to reply, as they are actually free and may better address such a hypothetical.
In the meantime, you may want to read some of Richard’s answers to similar questions: Frequently Asked Questions Survive Without Instinctual Passions?
Is my child being brutally murdered again? It’s not the first time. It appears to be the default scenario that pops up every time there is talk about having no emotions. “But what if your child is being murdered?!” Maybe because it’s as close as it gets to a I WIN button, in this kind of discussion. Either one admits that of course, they’d feel something… and they’ve just shown they’re not actually free. Or they confess that no, they wouldn’t feel anything, and they’re immediately diagnosed/internalized/executed, lose all possibility of being heard even again, get thrown away from any admissible discourse and, let’s not shy away from for it, get thrown away from humanity at large.
What’s very interesting here, is that the question is not about what one would DO in such a situation, but only what one would FEEL. And if that was the criterium for belonging to humanity…
Various people’s behavior in such a situation, be it just before, during, or after the event, would vary widely… but surely, they’d all feel the same… at least all the normal people. That’s the important thing, right? How they’d feel.
Curiously the question is never asked why anybody cares about what these people would feel, since the decisive factor in any objective situation, the only important factor in dealing with it in the best possible way, is what they’d do.
What’s implied is that what people do - what anybody, surely, does under such a situation - is not predicated on the facts of the situation, in a sensible way, in order to do whatever can be done under the particular circumstances… BUT on the feelings one is having at the time, the justifiably overwhelming feelings one is having at the time.
Feeling anger, tremendous anger, to the point of jumping at the aggressor, and say, his four friends with guns, to quickly find oneself on the floor weakly clawing at the aggressor’s leg, bleeding out? Fine.
Feeling sorrow, to the point of despair, and getting to one’s knees begging the aggressor to also take one’s life, confident that if he does not, you’ll do it yourself as soon as you can? Fine.
Feeling fear for one’s life - surely, those child killers won’t stop there -, beg to be spared, and then live one’s life in insurmountable guilt, for who thinks about one’s life when one’s child is dead? Fine.
I could go on.
I could even mention, even if that wouldn’t really be considered normal: Feeling bliss, love and compassion, and smiling at the aggressor. For the aggressor is you and you are him, or it’s just a dream anyway, or it’s just the unveiling of universal consciousness, or it’s god’s plan, or there was never a child in the first place, or you’re so enlightened that you just feel bliss love and compassion whatever happens anyway, utterly detached.
But… which behavior is it, that is the appropriate response to the situation? Those are quite different behaviors… And yet they’re all fine, as far as humanity goes (even though you’d have to get into special circles for the last one to be appropriate lol), they’re all fine because they are dictated by feelings. Whatever one does, as long as it’s dictated by feelings, is considered fundamentally fine. Even though it does nothing to deal with the actual situation at hand - or worsens it -, it’s fine because it’s human.
Now, what would an actually free person do?
This is where Claudiu’s use of the term « hypothetical » is appropriate. An actually free person does not deal in hypotheticals. This is not a sleight of hand, not an escape, not a refusal to answer the question. There is not actually such a thing as an hypothetical situation. So there is no way to answer that question. If I were to indulge nevertheless, I could only answer: I do not know what I would do. Not in the sense that this phrase is commonly used, which is “I don’t know what feeling reaction I’d get, and what behavior would ensue”, but in the sense that the particulars of the situation would be everything. The actual situation at hand. Which would include me. You may specify the situation with as many details as you want, draw the scenario to painful precision, you’d still be infinitely away from an actual situation.
All I know is that a decision would be made, and an action would take place, and that it would be the most sensible action that could take place under the circumstances of the situation. I am experientially 100% confident in this. Not that it would be the ‘best’ action in an abstract hypothetical scenario, nor that it would be the ‘best’ action anybody could take - for the reason that an integral part of the actual situation would be me, this actual body, in all its particularity. But that it would be the ‘best’ action possible that this body could take considering the actual situation in its integrality.
This confidence (that whatever happens, this body will do the best possible thing it can) is congruent with an absence of consideration for hypothetical scenarios in actually free human beings. Because why do people usually consider hypothetical scenarios? Why do they ask themselves “what would I do if…”… because they (rightfully) lack any confidence that when the moment comes, they’ll make the best decision possible according to the circumstances. So they draw hypothetical scenarios, and derive from abstract moral or ethical rules what the appropriate behavior in that scenario is, or they just directly copy what they’ve seen or heard the appropriate behavior to be, and convince themselves that this is what they would do, so that when that moment comes, there is a chance they might do this. But without even considering that when/if the moment ever comes, their feelings will be what dictates their behavior, one can see that this action they’ve decided on - on the basis of abstract principles or social propriety, in an hypothetical scenario miles away from the actual situation - is probably not be the best action they could have taken in the actual situation.
I remember that before ‘I’ had enough PCEs, and was trying to picture such an actually free person not feeling anything in such a situation (and ‘I’ was having trouble going over the moral condemnation, the scandal, the inhumanity of such), ‘I’ tended to picture them doing something alien, like just walking away, or making a joke, not caring at all. Because if they don’t feel, it’s that they don’t care, right?
Nothing could be more wrong. An actually free person utterly cares about one’s fellow human beings. That actual caring is in its scope without any comparison to the caring that stems from feelings such as love. Even paternal love.
In conclusion, what an actually free person would do, in such a situation - what an actually free person does in any situation -, is simply taking the most sensible action, the best action possible considering the facts available to them of the actual situation, which include themselves (and their actual caring for their fellow human beings).
@Griffin I suppose I must throw that usual caveat out there that I am not fully actually free - which means I have residual non-affective identifications.
Given this is a hypothetical, I’d have to go on other unpleasant stuff thats happened and extrapolate from there. Since AF, I have been nearly assaulted, lost a close friend to cancer and experienced other situations less intense than those e.g. balancing fatherhood with financial insecurity in midst of a pandemic for instance.
In each of those there were no emotions. But I was startled, perturbed and even disturbed a little, to varying extents. Cf. as a feeling being I would have had a strong emotional reaction and been reeling horribly for a long time. As Geoffrey said being actually free and without a feeling self does not mean one isn’t sensitive to situations or uncaring. This is probably close to impossible to get ones head around as a feeling being as care is inseparable from feeling prior to AF. The emotions don’t come back after AF. But one can still be perturbed by situations and experience them as unpleasant (more so if one isn’t fully free) - and this is likely what I would experience in above scenario.
Thank you everyone for answering my question. But my example was too loaded with moral implications, while what I really wanted to know is simply would an actually free person feel any kind of mental unpleasantness even in the worst possible scenario? I could have used a more straightforward example, being surrounded by tigers etc.
In each of those there were no emotions. But I was startled, perturbed and even disturbed a little, to varying extents. (…) The emotions don’t come back after AF. But one can still be perturbed by situations and experience them as unpleasant
@Srinath Now this is the most interesting point, from my perspective. I would say those are also emotions (being startled, disturbed, perturbed), although they may be shallow or pass quickly. What is the rationale for not calling them emotions?
My simple answer would be yes, it is possible - in extreme scenarios. But caveat re: my not being fully free and not been tested to my limit in terms of extreme scenarios applies.
Being startled is a reflex that I would say it is essential for survival. In the example above, I would not have been able to duck the punch and then run for the exit had I not been startled. As for being mentally perturbed, disturbed - I think this gets to the meat of your question. Is vague mental unpleasantness an emotion? I can’t say that I experience it like that. Emotions, along with a sense of self were experienced in a very definite and unmistakeable bodily way when I was a feeling being. They are not there anymore in that way. Also I had trained myself to be aware of highly subtle emotions and states of unease as a feeling being prior to AF so this isn’t a matter of being insufficiently emotionally aware.
I had a very similar question for another actually free person once and was similarly puzzled by his answer. I didn’t really get it until I myself became free and I now I know exactly what he meant.
I’ve corrected the previous statement I wrote. That should have read … I suppose I must throw that usual caveat out there that I am not fully actually free
I don’t have that doubt at all, not even one bit. I can relate to caring without feeling.
To what extent would you care takes care of this question and many related questions in future. Because “to what extent” shows the contrast between caring of a feeling being and an actually free being. To explain, feeling beings risk their life to a massive degree in order to protect their child. That’s what parental care for feeling beings means.
In the event of someone trying to stab your child, will you risk sacrificing your life by throwing yourself on the assaulter to protect your child? A feeling being for sure does. Or won’t you risk your life, because that is the most sensible thing to do for your body?
RESPONDENT: Altruism has to be a genuine impulse coming from being, not a theoretical construct or a charade (sounds like a good idea to a momentarily bored person). And my hint is that it’s activated in life situations where being gets involved, like rescuing a child from a fire.
RICHARD: The example I like to give is that of a bumble bee: when it stings, to protect the hive, it dies … and that is altruism, in its biological/zoological sense, pure and simple.
RESPONDENT: By the way, how would you react in a situation like that …
RICHARD: In a word: intelligently.
RESPONDENT: … [how would you react in a situation like that] even when definitely knowing that it will cost your life to save the child’s life?
RICHARD: To lose a life to save a life is not intelligent.
RESPONDENT: In my view, altruism is (more often than not) selfism in disguise, becoming ‘a self-defeating argument’.
RICHARD: I am aware that, to more than a few, the word altruism has come to mean unselfish/selfless … thus I stress that the word is being used in its biological/zoological sense.
RESPONDENT: Can you provide an example of a pure conscious altruistic action without any loss/gain for the one involved?
RICHARD: As there is no altruism here in this actual world there is no such thing as a ‘pure conscious altruistic action’ … any action which has the appearance of being altruistic, in its unselfish/selfless (virtuous) sense, stems from fellowship regard – like species recognise like species – and is actually selfless in the literal meaning of the word (as in ‘self’-less), as a matter of course, and not virtuously.
A virtuous ‘self’ – an unselfish ‘self’ – is still a ‘self’ nevertheless.
“A feeling being for sure does”
This isn’t a factual statement at all. A factual statement would be “some people would sacrifice themselves to try and save one’s child”
Because some people, a bigger percentage than you obviously can imagine, would definitely not sacrifice themselves to save their child.
Some, at least 4% of the adult male population, and 2% of the females are sociopaths, with another percentage being “sub-clinical” of the same. Another disturbingly large percentage of people are actively sexually, physically and mentally abusing their own children, so it’s likely they won’t be sacrificing themselves for their children.
Then there are the run of the mill people, who also may not sacrifice themselves because the freeze up with paralysing fear in such situations.
Then of course, there are those who suffer from all the other mental illnesses clinically, and those not clinical, but still on the spectrum.
And lastly, and perhaps most importantly; the assumption that sacrificing oneself will save the child in this situation, is itself flawed. The near infinite possibilities that could be playing out in the actual situation cannot be addressed with the blanket assessment that sacrifice is always the way to save another.
Your statement “a feeling being sure does” sounds moralistic and self righteous based on the premise that sacrifice always works and regardless of that it is the right thing to do. It also has a solidarity about it, as if us feeling beings will always do what is “right” when our children are in danger.
As claudiu explained really well, there is no consideration as to why there even is an attacker in the hypothetical situation. Hopefully i am pointing out that often the most danger that children actually face is from their own family and friends.
That’s easy. I am talking about a different thing: Degree of willingness to take the risk.
Do you risk your life to save a 1000 chairs from burning? Most assuredly not. Nevertheless, you take care of your chair because value your chair.
Do you risk your life to save 100 dogs? Your answer depends on the value you accord to dogs. I won’t. You won’t either. But we take care of our dogs well.
Do you risk your life to save a fellow human being? You would take risk, the degree varies depending on how much you value that person.
Do you risk your life to save your child?
Most would say, yes. And most would actually risk as evidenced by many recorded cases.
Do you see how what taking care means varies across different subjects depending on the subject?
I equate “Fellowship regard” to “value” in the manner I explained above. So how deep the fellowship regard is the question. Is it like how we value a chair or a dog or a stranger or a neighbour or a family member or a child?
Well, there is also another perspective you could ask on the subject ; how about sacrificing oneself to save everyone from you?
We as feeling beings are the dangerous ones.
Granted, we could die physically and save people. Only for those people to go back to whatever life rhey had before.
Statistically, 6 of the 100 people are clinical sociopaths. So, they will go back to their lives of various anti social schemes. Another percentage will be everyday abusers. Most will be run of the mill people who do whatever they are told.
Even if you said “one hundred children”, the statistics don’t look great either. There is evidence that most of what a person does in life comes down to the early conditions of life and genetics. So, whilst you “saved” them, they will go on to perpetrate malice and sorrow anyway. Just as i do, in my own way.
this really cuts to the meat of the matter
Yes! It actually really hit home to me. I was dealing with a lot of feelings about my kids over the last few days, and had some very notable psychic events pointing to my own anger and sadness affecting those around me profoundly.
No details, but i was definitely always the problem. I didn’t invent the human condition, but i have been perpetuating it.
And the catch is that one then has to actually do something now as opposed to hiding behind hypotheticals.
You say it’s one person with a knife. Ok. What person? Are we talking crack addict, vengeful ex-girlfriend, mafia goon, terrorist, pissed-off neighbor, anti-actualist radical activist? Are we talking somewhat reasonable person or psych ward? Are we talking ex-spetsnaz or soccer mom? Can the situation be defused without a fight? How would a fight likely go? I could go on for pages… What’s the room configuration, how far am I, how sharp is that knife, is it double bladed or can I somehow grab it if necessary, is the floor slippery, are there objects around that might help… I could go on for pages and the hypothetical scenario would not even remotely approach the actual situation.
But that’s not the answer you want. You want, out of this pretty barebones hypothetical scenario of yours, an answer on principle. Something like: this is what I’d do in this situation and every situation related to it. Which is precisely what I described in that post above, what feeling-beings do when they make hypotheticals. And then… they actually do whatever. Because I can picture many scenarios in which a random feeling-being, in the situation above, and despite having made the firm and constant decision in their hypothetical scenario that “I’d jump on the aggressor without any consideration for anything, to give my life away for my child, because that’s the right thing to do”, would actually freeze, or collapse on the floor, or be terrified for their own life, or start making grim scenarios about what will happen after the whole thing is over, or prioritize saying goodbye to their kid, or do some crazy thing like putting a knife to their own throat in some weird threat, etc. All behaviors that presumably would not resolve the situation because they’re actually not taking the facts of it into consideration, only the overwhelming feelings that are being had at the time.
What actual freedom does in that regards, is free up native intelligence, and allow it to come to most sensible decision possible according to the available facts of the situation at hand, in the moment, and as such provide the best probabibility of seeing the said situation resolve for the best.
Thx to @Andrew for his good post on that one. Nothing to add.
Andrew didn’t. I will answer him why and the problem with your previous reply later. But you missed the elephant in the room:
(Consider all the 100 people strangers. Don’t bring in “are they offenders, criminals, abusers, are there other ways to resolve the situation without losing any life?” etc., please )
If I’m right about that, my view was this (to avoid to repeating it here): Self-immolation - #57 by Miguel
But is my assumption correct about your motivations (essentially, that you see “I” as a detriment to this body but not necessarily for “that body and every body”)?