The following line of thought brings up a few avenues of inquiry: (1) Is the term ‘actual’ as defined by the AFT truly synonymous with the term ‘physical’? (2) Are feelings physical? If so, are they actual? (3) Do illusions, delusions, feelings, and beliefs exist beyond this physically infinite, boundless universe or within it? (4) If within, then must not they be physical as well else a boundary forms?
Richard has repeatedly stated that feelings (and the self) are not facts i.e. they don’t actually exist.
Richard (1997): ‘I’ , as an emotional ‘being’ am not a fact … ‘I’ am a belief. (…) A feeling is not a fact.
But what of us who still experience a self and feelings? Are these feelings not factually occurring? If I’m angry is it not a fact? Does not sadness actually exist?
Richard says a feeling has no substance, and is thus not actual.
Richard (1997): By actual I mean tangible, substantial. ‘I’ am not tangible: ‘I’ am a belief, not a fact.
But aren’t mental images intangible? Aren’t abstract concepts insubstantial? Yet imagination and abstract conceptualization exist in the actual world. How can one say that feelings are exempt from being categorized as physical? How could that which is non-physical be experienced in this physically boundless world?
I am imagining a unicorn. The image of the unicorn actually exists. It is a physical manifestation that required physical processes to take on its form. If I am deluded, I might mistake that internal image as not merely existing in my physical head but outside where it can be sensately perceived by others. I might say, look, there’s a unicorn, when there is no form for others to see. The assertion that unicorns exist outside my mind would more accurately be classified as perhaps an error of reasoning, or even a pathology that leads one to assert that they exist in a manner sensately observable to others. But in any case, if I imagine the unicorn then it must actually, physically exist, if only as an image produced by the physical processes of this brain.
Furthermore, if for whatever reason there is a fear of this imagined unicorn, then the fear must be physical, it must actually exist as well.
Richard (n.d.): This physical universe is infinite and eternal (boundless and limitless).
The fact that this physical universe is infinite and eternal means that it is a mistake to draw a line between the physical world and the imaginary world, between the sensate tangible realm and the affective emotional realm. There cannot be anything which is not physical. Therefore feelings must be physical. And if it is physical, then it is factual. If factual, then actual.
To drive the point: there is nothing, absolutely nothing that is not physical and thus actual. If I experience desire, then that desire is physical i.e. actual.
Of course, if one stops experiencing feelings, it would be correct to say that feelings are not actual, not physically existent. They are simply not there. But to say a feeling, despite experiencing it, is less a fact than the mental image of the ‘number 4’, strikes me as a misapprehension or an error of reasoning.