Drawing the line between feeling and fact

I’m afraid we will have to simplify even further for me to understand your position because the fright that a horse experiences can involve a number of things.

What about this:
I will assume you agree with the following: If a surgeon were to cut open any given flesh and blood human body they will not find an entity within. Nothing physical at all. Still ‘I’ feel like ‘I’ am inside this body looking out.

Do you agree that feeling your self to be inside the body is not the same as physically being inside the body?

If so, you would then agree that ‘you’ then actually do not exist inside the body? In no way, shape or form, never has been never will be; having no existence whatsoever.

We all agree that brains, chemicals and nerve signals exists but how, or in what way does this feeling being exist in your opinion?

Yes, a horse’s fright, sexual arousal, appetite, aggression, vision, or sweat gland secretions can involve many things. However whether the fright that a horse experiences involves two things or two million things is beside our focus at the moment.

The matter to settle is this: does the fright that a horse experiences exist, or does it not exist?

Your assumption is correct. However the fact that a surgeon would be unable to locate anything that you experience does not prove its absence. When they open you up they wouldn’t find pain or thoughts or anything that you experience. This was touched on a little earlier:

Before proceeding, it would be helpful to the discussion if those two matters (addressed above) are settled.

Could you give your thoughts on this first? Because I think this could illuminate in what way you think something have existence or not. To me your reasoning sounds like “‘I’ feel ‘I’ exist therefore ‘I’ must exist”.

Hi Rick,

I was thinking about the movie analogy all night when i thought about this thread.

The key is in the notion of “time”. The movie exists in a certain format using technology and actual processes. But, the events depicted are not happening now.

This is the first point which makes the analogy work. The screen, projector, the light hitting the screen, the seats, etc etc are all actual.

However, the content of the movie, unless it is a live streaming type, is not actual as it doesn’t happen now. It may be a “one shot” unscripted documentary, yet, even then, it is not actual.

Content, which is what we are talking about when we consider the psyche, can be non actual.

It can be factually felt now, but in itself, it is not actual.

The difference between actual and real, is when it happens. The majority of the real, is not happening now. The feeling is felt now, but the content is very rarely anything about now.

I would agree that feeling one’s ‘self’ to be located at a specific place does not necessarily mean that one’s ‘self’ is physically located at that specific place. One may feel oneself to be located in one’s socks but that does not mean that one is physically located there. Out-of-body experiences or afflictions such as depersonalization disorder, which according to webmd.com is “marked by periods of feeling disconnected or detached from one’s body and thoughts (depersonalization) [and] is sometimes described as feeling like you are observing yourself from outside your body”, may cause feelings to be misaligned with the demonstrable fact that the instinctual passions (and the self formed thereby) physically generate – and therefore physically exist – within the body.

However, that the feeling misinforms or is misaligned with what is factually the case does not mean that the feeling itself is not factually – and therefore physically – occurring.

In that regard, I would say that feeling oneself to be inside the body is in alignment with, i.e., is the same as, the demonstrable fact that the instinctual passions physically generate – and therefore physically exist – within the body.

Conversely, feeling oneself to be outside or apart from the body, or anyplace not inside the body, would be in misalignment with, i.e., not the same as, the demonstrable fact that the instinctual passions physically generate – and therefore physically exist – within the body.

If ever you find yourself thinking or feeling that ‘you’ and your feelings are separate from the body, in other words, feeling that you are “disconnected or detached from [your] body and thoughts”, consider this: feeling in any way apart or separate or disconnected or detached from the physical body may indicate that some form of depersonalization and dissociation is at play.

Depersonalization disorder is one of a group of conditions called dissociative disorders. Dissociative disorders are mental illnesses that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, consciousness, awareness, identity, and/or perception. When one or more of these functions is disrupted, symptoms can result. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s general functioning, including social and work activities and relationships.
Mental Health: Depersonalization Disorder

Qualifier: in the same manner that it is conventionally admitted that kidneys exist inside the body without implication that they exist separate or in any way apart from the body, likewise the acknowledgement that feelings exist inside the body should not be construed as an implication that feelings exist in a separate dimension inside the body or in any way apart from the body; indeed, they are generated by the same calorific energy as all bodily activity, only that the precise location of their existence and activity can be narrowed down to some location within the skin barrier (and more specifically in the brain region) instead of in a location that protrudes outside the skin (like hair and lips).

So does the fright that a horse experiences exist?

Hmm… you might like to direct your query to Richard instead:

Of course Richard wouldn’t… just as neither you nor I would. We would not stand by watching this happen, we would presumably do something to try to stop it.

Which is precisely why Richard initially evoked this provocative image to Respondent No. 42 on Mailing List ‘B’ . Here it is in context:

That is, No. 42 was not seeing any harm in imposing this faculty that humans value onto the universe itself. And Richard countered that of course there is harm in it. The feeling-beings inhabiting human flesh-and-blood bodies are busy causing their hapless host bodies to perpetuate wars and murders and rapes and tortures and suicides etc., causing them to inflict these horrendous things on themselves and others. And it is possible to do something to stop it - it is possible to eliminate the human condition in oneself, to set one’s body free of the burden of ‘me’ and to stop senselessly perpetuating these nightmares on others, be it implicitly (simply via ‘my’ very ‘being’) or explicitly (by actually committing these horrible things).

Yet eliminating the human condition in oneself requires a sincere approach, and a recognition of ‘my’ nature and the nature of the universe itself. So to continue perpetuating the myth or belief that the universe is intelligent is to be opposed to that which will end the human condition - an actual freedom via self-immolation. While No. 42 might not see the harm in that, Richard certainly does.

Now as eliminating the human condition in oneself also requires seeing that ‘I’ do not actually exist, never have actually existed, and never will actually exist, and you are currently diametrically opposed to this fact – which Richard, Peter, Vineeto, along with other respondents archived on the Actual Freedom Trust website, as well as various forum-goers here who are having success with actualism can readily comprehend – just who is it who should be asking whom this provocative question?

I was quite taken aback by this as it seems so plainly obvious, but maybe it isn’t.

Say you make an audio/video recording of a dog running around and barking. While taking the video, an actually-existing dog is actually running around and actually barking. This is actually happening - there is actually a dog there doing these things.

Now say you are back at home watching this audio/video recording on your smart phone. When you are watching the video of the dog running around and barking, you see a dog on the screen, running around and barking, and you hear the sounds of the dog barking. But there is no dog actually barking there. There isn’t actually a dog there doing these things. Rather what you are watching is an illusion of a dog running around and barking.

The illusion is created by the smart phone. The smart phone actually exists. The pixels on its screen actually exist - each pixel is actually a combination of three LCDs that modulate the light emitted going through them to change its wavelength. The electricity that is coursing through the system power everything actually exists. The software that is running the video player exists, encoded as 0s and 1s on whatever storage medium is on the phone.

But when you see the dog running on the screen, there isn’t actually a dog running on the screen. Rather, the programming is causing the electricity to flow such that the LCDs modulate the light on and off in a coordinated fashion such as the give the illusion (to your eyes) that there is a dog running on the screen. And of course, when you hear the dog barking coming out of the speakers, there is no dog actually barking. Rather, the phone’s speaker is causing the air to vibrate in a similar manner as a dog actually barking, such that it gives the illusion (to your ears) that there is a dog barking.

The entire thing is an audio/visual reproduction, carefully constructed by humans and tailored to the human sensory system, to give an illusion that the things on the screen are actually happening, when in fact they’re not. Of course, the illusion is happening, in the sense that it is being generated - but the things the illusion purports to be happening (a dog running and barking) are not happening.

So of course the existence of the actual dog running around and barking is fundamentally different from the existence of the “dog” that is running around on the screen and barking. The actual dog running around actually exists… while the ‘dog’ on the screen does not actually exist. Saying the dog on the screen is an illusion doesn’t mean saying the phone doesn’t exist, or the LCDs don’t exist, or there is no experience of watching a dog on the screen - rather it is saying that there is no actual dog there.

A dog might be fooled by the illusion and mistakenly think there is an actual dog there – by getting excited and barking back, for example – but this doesn’t mean there actually is a dog there. It means they are experiencing an illusion that there is a dog there. The “dog” they are experiencing doesn’t actually exist. They are having an experience of seeing/hearing a dog that actually exists - but that dog they think they are seeing/hearing does not actually exist.

Note well that this physical universe is perfectly capable of generating this illusion. It is readily able to generate the illusion of there being a dog running and barking when no such thing is happening. And it’s capable of doing this without creating and destroying any matter – but rather just by reconfiguring matter. So yes, the universe can generate something that “doesn’t exist”. Of course nothing is actually being created - no actual dog is being generated spontaneously, to then run across the screen, only to die once the video ends. It is all an illusion. So even though only what is physical exists, this dog running on the screen, which the universe is physically manifesting, does not actually exist… and there’s no contradiction here.

Now that that is presumably settled, and it’s clear what it means that something is an illusion, we can go back to talking about whether ‘me’ and ‘my’ feelings exist.

This flesh and blood body actually exists. The brain inside the skull actually exists. The neurons of the brain actually exist. The neurons are actually firing in this and that pattern. The chemicals flowing through the body actually exist. The consciousness the body is generating actually exists (although it is not being directly experienced). The thoughts occurring in the body actually exist (though they are not directly experienced either). Yet ‘me’ the ‘entity’ that ‘I’ feel ‘myself’ to be is an illusion - ‘I’ do not actually exist.

This doesn’t mean that there is no experience of ‘me’ actually existing. ‘I’ certainly experience ‘myself’ to actually exist, and this is a very persistent and convincing experience… but just like the dog mistaking the video of the dog to be an actual dog doesn’t mean that the dog on the screen exists, so too ‘me’ experiencing ‘myself’ to actually exist does not mean that ‘I’ actually exist.

Note that the material/immaterial divide is a red herring. Thoughts do actually exist. Consciousness does actually exist. These things are not ‘material’ per se - in that they don’t have mass - but the universe is certainly reconfiguring itself to generate these. These things actually exist and are actually happening. Of course, how matter re-arranges itself to produce consciousness and thought, is not well understood, but for our purposes it’s sufficient simply to observe that it does happen.

Likewise, pure consciousness is the state of a flesh and blood body being conscious sans identity. And this consciousness doesn’t have ‘mass’ in the way that a dog or a tree does. It is something that is generated by the brain. But this consciousness actually exists. There is an actual entity that is this flesh and blood body being conscious, that exists in precisely the same way the dog running around exists. This is me, what I actually am. This is the thing that actually exists. This is what can be clearly apprehended during a PCE - that I actually exist and always have actually existed (ever since I was born and the body matured enough to generate this consciousness) and will always actually exist up until the moment the universe ends me… barring moments of sleep or anesthesia for example wherein there is no consciousness happening.

And by contrast, ‘I’ the feeling-being do not actually exist. ‘I’ feel ‘myself’ to exist – this is the experience during regular feeling-being ‘consciousness’ - but ‘I’ do not actually exist. ‘I’ mistake myself to be that actually-existing entity that does actually exist… yet ‘I’ do not actually exist. ‘I’ am an illusion.

Now it might be tempting to say that, as ‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’, and “the instinctual passions form themselves into a ‘presence’, a ‘spirit’, a ‘being’” [link] – isn’t it the case that feelings are actual / i.e. actually exist, just like the LCD pixels on the screen do, and it is just ‘me’ existing as an ‘entity’ that is the illusion?

This is the position of the respondent here. I would say this is more on the right track than believing ‘myself’ to exist as an entity in my own right, as opposed to understanding ‘I’ am an illusion, but it isn’t quite there yet.

The analogy with the screen breaks down as there is no such thing as a ‘static’ feeling like there would be if the screen froze (where we would see a photo of a dog instead of a video of same). Maybe it can be said that a feeling is more like an apparent motion on a particular part of the screen. The dog running on the screen is the apparent motion, but the motion itself is illusory too - nothing is actually moving, rather it’s just lights changing wavelengths.

So you experience the motion which is the dog moving, but there is neither motion nor dog actually occurring. Similarly, the only feelings that happen, happen as a motion of affective ‘energy’. The feeling is the movement of the swirling passions, and this constant movement is what ‘I’ am. ‘I’ do not “exist” as anything other than this movement, and this “existence”, if it can be called that, is only an illusion – ‘I’ exist only in the same way that the dog running on the screen exists, i.e. not actually.

It’s critical to remember that only the feeling/intuitive/affective aspect of an emotion - ‘me’ in motion - is that which is illusory/doesn’t exist. This is that “extra-sensory” portion which I invited you to see for yourself experientially earlier in the thread. The physical sensations accompanying it, the bodily changes as a result of the hormones released into the bloodstream, these things all do exist and are actually happening. But the feeling proper – which is ‘me’ experiencing ‘myself’ as that feeling – does not actually exist. It is very real, and felt to be happening, but it is not actual.

What I can say with confidence at this point is that this is simply what is the case. I know this to be factually accurate from my PCEs, just like Richard knows it to be true from his PCEs and his experience of being actually free, Srinath knows it from his fascinated and reflective contemplation shortly prior to becoming actually free and his experience of being actually free, etc. I am not conveying my impression or belief or creating a dichotomy of actual and ‘real’ or using a concept that someone else created to explain things… I’m simply conveying what is factually the case. The ‘how’ or the ‘why’ or what best analogy to use, is not something I have a ready answer for. You are free to say that all of us including Richard are wrong, but that won’t change the fact of the matter, and it won’t serve you particularly well. Of course just believing we are right will not serve you much better, either – you have got to see it for yourself.

And as such it doesn’t matter that I don’t have the ready explanation yet, either, although it would be nicer if I did. But even with a perfect analogy, the experiential understanding wouldn’t transfer into your brain. Experiential understanding is derived from experience, after all. And ultimately the only answer that matters is the experiential one. You have enough to go on, with all the words written here and on the Actual Freedom Trust website, to investigate it and see for yourself. What I’ve written here was already enough for @Kub933 to have a PCE where ‘he’ saw that ‘he’ does not genuinely exist in the first place… will it be enough for you?



Hi Andrew - thanks for giving this topic considerable thought. Your response here prompted me to consider this matter more deeply, not knowing in advance where it would go (nor where it will go from here).

This is true.

This is also true. The events depicted through technological processes have passed and are no longer. What remains is the depiction; fossils of what occurred. So while the events depicted have passed, the depiction of those events, via the display of its remains, have not.

Yes, so far so good.

I submit that the content of a movie – the ‘motion picture’ – are those moving pictures themselves (with sound accompaniment now’days). Pictures are nothing more and nothing less than man-made ‘preservations’ of past events as opposed to natural ‘preservations’. Fossilized remains, as it were, that are captured, stored, and put on display. Nothing non-actual about that.

For as long as the fossil is intact (the oldest surviving video reel is from the 1800’s) then regardless of its category (whether documentary or drama) it depicts what occurred in the past in the same way an exhibit of remains from the Pompeii disaster depict the activities the Pompeiians were engaged in at the time they were killed. Pompeii is a natural form of preservation, film is man-made. No fundamental difference at all.

Likewise the brain has the capacity to form and store impressions of events. As such it is capable of performing a natural (organic) method of preservation. Suitably intact remains can be observed in real-time (what we call ‘recollection’). Exactly like fossils, some past events are ‘preserved’ better than others, some events are not ‘preserved’ at all, or they degrade considerably over time. Naturally, the remains of past events are not those past events themselves, yet that which remains isn’t any less actual than anything else in this universe. In fact, the entire world around us right now is just the remains of past events anyway. And all of it is factually happening.

What is factual must be actual, no? So if a feeling is factually occurring now, couldn’t it be said to be actually occurring now? (Note we are using the term ‘actual’ here in its conventional usage which refers to that which is factual; existing in fact, undeniably so).

Back to the movies, i.e., the contents on display – the depiction itself – can only exist right now at this moment. Only this moment exists, so everything that happens, whether it’s a movie, or a brain’s recollection, or an ancient Egyptian exhibit, happens right now.

Feeling oneself to be inside the body (or anywhere) is not in alignment with anything because it is an illusion; the feeling being does not have a physical location. You are saying that feeling oneself to be outside the body or in one’s socks is misaligned and inside the body is aligned, but what part of the body are the feelings aligned with? The whole body minus the socks? The brain? How does it feel to be inside the brain? Is it warm and moist?

I was beginning to think your position was similar to the respondent @claudiu linked to:

RESPONDENT: So the feelings are innative to the human being, that means they are actual. Instead the feeler is a real entity, but not actual.

but it seems you view all affective realities, beliefs and illusions to be physically occurring? Be it gods, angels or santa claus?

I’m sorry for ignoring much of what you write but to me the interesting part is trying to hone in on what and where specifically your views diverge for others. It will be interesting to read your reply to @claudiu’s latest post and explain what parts you agree with and what parts you don’t agree with.

PS: I must say this thread has really reminded me on how effective contemplation can be in bringing one closer to the actual world :slight_smile:

:smiley: yes I thoroughly enjoyed the contemplation that went into writing my last post. There is the thought-out portion, but then this hits a wall where the only way to proceed is to see it experientially – particularly where it got to the part about feelings themselves not being actual and how that “works”. The questions and matters at hand burned in my head for hours and this led to many wondrous experiences of being close to actuality and of slipping into and out of it.

I appreciate much more thoroughly now just what it means that ‘I’ am an illusion. It’s really amazing how fundamentally ‘I’ can be felt to exist and how nothing can be further from the truth… and of course as ‘I’ am an illusion in the first place then nothing will die when ‘I’ self-immolate. Just like the dog doesn’t die when the video stops playing, because that dog was never actual in the first place – so too nothing will die as ‘I’ never existed in the first place.

I for one am not content to remain “happening” as an illusion, whatever the nature of this illusion may be… not when so much is at stake with regards to peace-on-earth, and not when the actual world is so amazingly wondrous that it still amazes me each time I get closer to it, it still gives that impression of “Wow I again forgot just how amazing and wondrous this is”. From what I have read of others’ reports who have succeeded in becoming free, it seems that wonder never stops :smiley: .


What is factual and actual are not synonymous.

It is a fact i experience life as a feeling being. However, the point of actualism isn’t classical actualism (pointing out facts), but the experience itself.

One is, as you say, able to experience the movie as a fossil. The movie itself, its screen, the photons hitting it, the actors depicted (as ‘time fossils’) are all happening now. The event, whether a fiction, or a historical documentary, is not, itself, happening.

This is the point of the analogy. When feeling is examined, much if it is triggered or anticipated by events (based on past hurts, fears, imagination of acquiring desires, and any number of the thousands of shades of emotional life).

It is an emotional fossil of the past, or a phantom of tje future. Very little, if anything, is a direct experience of what is actually happening.

The movie has other metaphorical use. We are always in some sort of self narrative. Self conscious. Actors in a world we imagine is a certain way, with other actors imagining their own world, whilst interacting in a shared reality which is interpreted sometimes similar, sometimes very differently.

The story, especially in a fictitious movie, is complete make believe. Even a documentary is not free from bias, or at the very best, an incomplete reconstruction of the events.

Richard doesn’t propose “factualism” as freedom from rhe human condition, but a fundamentally different experience of the world. One in which facts are more obvious, yet it is the experience itself, rather than facts, that is the point.

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I am encoded with instinctual passions in the DNA. ‘I’ emanates from that encoded programming.
The dynamics of the world is modelled into emotional reality for us by nature, just like how a compiler translates source code to machine language.
But it’s perceived in a PCE that the translation of reality by emotions is detrimental to this body (and arguably every body). AF practise is attempting to reach a state where actuality is 24x7.

“Reality” doesn’t exist in the actual world. It’s a phantom because it’s translated. The translation is factual and all its concomitant consequences are factual too. It doesn’t exist because it’s created by “I”. The translation has nothing to do with the actual but prevents us from living in the actual world.

@rick, if you agree with the above, I don’t see you have any disagreement with previous commenters.
It’s been a while since I read this thread last time. If it seems to you that I forgot any point(s) that you made that I didn’t take into account, or you were saying something different that my remark was a non sequitur, please link to them.

@claudiu Am I off the mark by any measure? Please correct if I do.

Hi Kiman - no, not directly. How the story goes is that the self arises or forms from the ‘encoded’ instinctual passions.

Again, according to Richard (and perhaps others), not directly.

The story is that the instinctual passions form out from the genetic expressions encoded in our DNA. The instinctual passions are an innate trait and function as one of many life-preserving mechanisms that have evolved over time. An instinctual self forms out of those instinctual passions (presumably in conjunction with the ability to be reflective and self aware).

Basically. Although I’d phrase it closer to something like this: the dynamics of the natural world assemble an emotional reality for us. The specifics of these dynamics is something for scientific and technological advancement to reveal.

Can’t say if that analogy applies as I’m computer illiterate. I’m also genetics illiterate, and those turns of phrases seem to also be applicable when describing DNA sequencing so maybe you’re on to something, but I really can’t say.

Again, I can’t cosign the ‘translation’ bit but it is the case that a PCE can reveal that emotions are detrimental personally and interpersonallly.

As the ‘actual world’ is defined in actualism terminology to mean a world sans emotions, then that emotion-infused world, or ‘reality’, would not exist in that domain.

My position is that neither emotions nor an emotion-infused world are phantoms.

My position is that the emotions do exist. Having substantial existence then whatever else that arises from those emotions has substantial existence as well.

My position is that the emotions that exist here in this body are part of the only universe there is.

The other commentors’ positions hold that emotions do not exist in any of the 7 billion humans walking on this planet. They don’t exist in the bodies of Kiman nor in Rick.

Nor presumably do they exist in horses either.

There is as you may now gather a sharp, impenetrable line of disagreement between myself and previous commenters. But all is well. What we share in common is that we are orienting ourselves towards a life free of malice and sorrow; and free of self and its encumbrances.

Hi Kiman,

Hmm… the apt analogy is that the instinctual passions are software that’s running “on the brain” (the brain would be the hardware). This programming gives rise to the instinctual passions, which automatically swirl and form themselves into, in this order:

  1. an inchoate ‘presence’
  2. arising out of this, emotions that swirl up and establish themselves as ‘centered’ in the center of the chest
  3. arising out of this, a thinking ‘me’ that establishes itself somewhere in the center of the head

And I know that it comes about in this order from experience because this was my experience coming out of a particularly informative PCE a few years ago.

Everything that is perceived also runs through these same filters, so by the time you are thinking about something, you’ve already established your relation to it as a ‘presence’ and have already felt something about it. Thinking about it comes dead last. And this is easy to see – simply observe next time you have a strong emotional reaction, that the emotional reaction happens first and you only start being able to think about what triggered it after this initial reaction.

Thus all of experience is first experienced via these filters. This is what forms the “emotional reality”.

Not only that, but it’s also perceived in a PCE that the ‘entity’ that ‘you’ feel ‘yourself’ to be doesn’t actually exist. It is just an illusion, it is not substantial (despite Rick insisting it is - but that is a matter for Rick to ponder on). It is perceived that what you actually are is the hardware - the experience of the brain itself being conscious - and this ‘software’ is just some bug-ridden extraneous code that is only gunking up the works. But then once coming out of the PCE, ‘you’ are once again experiencing ‘yourself’ as this software.

A key thing is to establish a connection to the PCE - often called pure intent - which allows you to remember (via rememoration) that you are just software, despite feelings and beliefs to the contrary.

Actualism is ultimately about self-immolating - deleting the software program - so that all that is left is the hardware.

It’s a phantom because that is the fact of the matter - that’s simply the way it works. Why is water ‘wet’? Well, because it is, that is the nature of water - it is a fact, indisputable, capable of being plainly perceived by anybody.

I’m not sure what you mean by this. Can you phrase it differently?

Roughly speaking, yeah. ‘I’ am an illusion and ‘I’ automatically form this ‘outer reality’ which also doesn’t exist.

Yes, basically. Being this ‘illusion’ is the only thing that prevents the actual world from being experienced. But the trick is that ‘I’ never can experience the actual world. ‘I’ must go into abeyance for the experience to happen - and then it is the actual Kiman that is experiencing being alive, without the phantom ‘Kiman’ in the way.


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Rick’s contention is that, as I understand, you had a fatty liver and you suffered from its effects. When you exercise, eat healthy and get a healthy liver, you can’t really say that the fatty liver was a phantom just because it was an anomaly.
Likewise, the manifestations of “self” has a physical basis–genetic programming.
So someone who discovered that there is “no self”(in other words, who could manage to blow up whatever mechanism that’s causing “self” to manifest, or the “self” itself) can’t say what they suffered from was a phantom just because they no longer suffer from it.
Isn’t that it in short, @rick ?

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You summed it up exactly, Kiman.

Just to be clear - indeed it is correct that they cannot say it was a phantom just because they no longer suffer from it.

But that is not why it is a phantom :slight_smile: It is a phantom because it is a phantom. Once you see it is a phantom then of course you see it had been a phantom the entire time. It’s not that there is something substantial that you eliminate and you retroactively call it a phantom because you are misinformed. Rather it’s that there is a phantom the entire time, and once you see that it is a phantom then you realize you were being fooled all your life and it had been a phantom all along. Of course, seeing ‘I’ am a phantom in the first place, can take some doing…

Hi Claudiu - these discussions have prompted a lot of thought about the nature of illusions.

Here’s some preliminary findings:

  • Illusions exist in the actual world.

View the following image:

Here’s is some background regarding the illusion produced by that image (an illusion existing in time, and space, and form):

An illusion materializes due to an interplay of several variables. And all those variables are physical. The illusion that materializes is likewise physical.

The feeling-being exists in this physical universe, and can never be separate from it (for as long as it persists, that is). See the following:

Richard (2001): I am speaking of a physical absolute … all suffering happens in time and space as form …
Mailing List 'B' Respondent No. 33

Unmistakable. “All suffering” exists in time and space and form. As ‘I’ am suffering and suffering is ‘me’, then ‘I’ exist in time and space and form.

Illusory or otherwise, ‘I’ can never separate from the universe that forms ‘me’.

Hallucination has physical basis. But can it be called real?
A mirage has a physical basis. But can it be called real?
Likewise our feelings have physical basis, but the feeler that emerges with feelings need not be real or actual.
(“Real” refers to its meaning in colloquial sense, not in AF parlance)
(Four more messages to reach our first century. Come on, guys).

Hmm… rather than taking Richard’s word for it, wouldn’t it be more fun to find out for yourself?

That being said, how do you reconcile your understanding of what Richard said here, with what Richard says at the following? Emphases mine.


And before you say that it’s because “actual” was re-defined to mean “without emotion”, I have to back-track on my earlier agreement on that point as it’s not actually the case… the special meaning ascribed to the term “actual” is none other than what the word “real” is supposed to mean in the first place (as in factual, true), to wit:

Now, the actual world is indeed the world of the senses (ie the world without a feeler / without feelings), but that isn’t because this is definitionally the case. It is rather because the feeler/feelings aren’t actual / don’t actually exist (or in standard-use terms they aren’t real / don’t really exist), ie they are illusory, and once the illusion dissipates the world that is experienced is the actually-existing one (ie the one not experienced as an illusion/via an illusion).

That is to say, it’s not a definition that the actual word is the one without a feeler/feelings, but rather a fact, a consequence of the way things are.

With that in mind the above quotes might be worth a re-read (ie replace all instances of actual/actually/actuality with real/really/reality, in the standard usage sense, and read it again).

Does this mean you are considering the notion that ‘you’ are indeed illusory? If so that is a promising step!

A Google search informed me that “hallucinations are perceptions in the absence of an external stimulus.” This means that actual perceptions are occurring. And it doesn’t even mean that there is no stimulus responsible for the perception; it just means that the perception occurs absent an external stimulus. The perceptions are synthesized internally. Whether one perceives a tree where no external tree exists does not mean the perception is not happening in time and space and form; it does not mean the perception, and its contents, are not occurring in this physical absolute.

What is ‘real’ has a connotation with those perceptions that arise from external stimuli. But the universe makes no distinction whether the perception arises in attendance with external stimuli or not. There is no ‘external’ or ‘internal’ in a boundless, borderless, limitless universe.