Richard has beliefs

I want to start by saying that I like some of Richard’s work and I have learnt many things from him. But it’s not just fact like he claims. If you look carefully, you can see it for yourself.

For example, he said this:

“Becoming free of the human condition is a physiological occurrence, centred at the nape of the neck (the top of the brain-stem/ base of the brain), wherein the ‘lizard-brain’ mutates out of its primeval state … but if this mutation is not allowed its completion one becomes enlightened”

Then later when it happened to his associates he said this:

“More importantly, however, is the manner in which this irrevocable event occurs: it is all over in a matter of seconds, involving a seamless transition with no drama whatsoever – there is no fear at all let alone dread [nor anything weird happening in the nape of the neck] – and so remarkably simple/ easy that it is outstanding in its implications and ramifications in regards to global peace and harmony in our lifetimes.”

So that was not a fact, it was a belief. First he said with no sign of doubt that it “is a physiological occurrence, centred at the nape of the neck” but later they reported “nor anything weird happening in the nape of the neck”.

Another example is the visualisation story. Unfortunately, I can’t find the precise quotes, but you might be able to find them or have someone confirm. Richard had said that he is unable to visualise because of the dissolution of the rudimentary self. Turns out that was another belief, because Dona reported later that Peter was still able to visualise even after achieving the same condition as Richard. Also, the story is a bit worse because it’s revealed somewhere that Richard lost his visualisation ability during his enlightened period, not later, so he either forgot about it or lied to reinforce his beliefs.

These beliefs are based on his experience. I like it that he tries to understand things by himself and does not rely on blind belief, like most people. But he still
believes in Science, not everything they say, but he takes whatever he agrees with or suits him to prove his belief, or to disprove beliefs of other people.

One thing I learned over the years, is that a lot of people believe in Science, but many of those people will claim they have no beliefs. Originally, many years ago when I found Richard’s work, I took it at face value when he said he had no beliefs. He said to not merely believe him and I thought that was very reasonable. But I learned much later that that’s a very common thing to say. Lots of people say “I have no beliefs”, for example Jiddu Krishnamurti said it. This is especially common with scientific believers. For many people, it’s enough to say “Science says so” and they have proven what they believe is true/fact.

The irony is that when Richard says he has no beliefs, automatically some people will believe whatever he says, because supposedly he’s just describing facts/actuality.

I am not dismissing everything he says. What I am saying is that since he does not make a distinction between facts and his beliefs, everything he says becomes questionable. There’s basically two possibilities: he is aware that he has beliefs and is lying about it, or, he is not aware that he has beliefs so he believes he has no beliefs, which means he is not entirely free from delusion. I have not been able to find a single human who has no beliefs whatsoever.

I am not claiming to have the truth or the facts. Richard is, and I am questioning it. I don’t subscribe to a particular faith. I read different things from different sources and try to make sense of things by reason and experience. I do not simply accept or dismiss things on the basis of “scientific fact” or “religious belief”. I have come to understand that the supposed distinctions between science and religion are not so clear cut as most people believe. In fact, the concepts of religion and science as people understand them today are quite new. The terms actually originated in Christianity, where they were originally treated as virtues, and later they were reified into these two supposedly very different systems we have today. I learned about this from historians. If you examine their research, a lot of it makes sense. I thought that the lecture “Prof. Peter Harrison - The Territories of Science and Religion” was particularly helpful.

And there is no such thing as “the scientific method” either. You can look it up. What they have is basically various principles and different methods which they have bundled together under that misleading label that sounds so objective. And I also think it’s pretty silly that Richard says the actualism method fits the scientific method, because one of the things scientists like to claim is that Science is objective, and the actualism method is entirely subjective.

Hmm, @lunatic , seems like you are taking a very broad brush to the term “belief” in your first half, then a very very broad brush when you claim “no such thing as scientific method”.

Which is it?

Either you can be free of belief, by actually knowing a fact, or you can’t be free, in which case with what authority do you claim either stance?

Richard reported factually what had happened, his experience. It’s completely reasonable to extrapolate that experience to other members of the species.

Science has at it’s core, the method of repeatability which is called “the scientific method”.

That very method is the reason we can even communicate. It has exposed many false conclusions.

Conflation of colloquial use of “belief” with the actualist definition will lead to confusion.

A belief in actualism is an “emotionally backed thought”.

Richard, without hesitation, reported that the previous conclusion (something in the brain stem turning over) was not repeated.

If it had been a belief, as you maintain, he would simply have told Peter that he is not actually free and to try again.

Hi @lunatic ,

Well, you can’t have it both ways. You say:

Ok, as you say you don’t have the facts, then when you say something like this:

What are we to think? You say you don’t have the facts, therefore it means that you yourself acknowledge that you don’t know that what you write here is true. As you don’t know that Richard doesn’t make a distinction between fact and belief, then whatever conclusion you draw from that not-knowing is irrelevant, and we can all ignore what you say.

Oooor is it that you do think this is a fact? Ah but in this case you would be claiming “to have […] the facts”. But by your logic [1], anyone who claims to have the facts is therefore not making a distinction between their facts and their beliefs, and therefore everything they say is questionable… so if you claim to have the facts then we can also ignore everything you say, lol.

Basically by your logic nobody can have any facts since either they know they don’t in which case they don’t have the facts, or if they say they do it’s really a belief and it’s questionable and therefore they don’t have the facts. It would mean everything anyone says is questionable and nobody can know anything.

In which case I say… great, have fun living a life like that! It will certainly make conversing about anything totally fruitless as it would mean nobody can know anything anyway. And certainly it will be impossible to make any progress with actualism, which has at its core, sticking to the facts, finding out what they are and not letting beliefs (as in emotion-backed thoughts) sway one from those, regardless what they may be.


  1. “it’s not just fact like [Richard] claims […] since he does not make a distinction between facts and his beliefs, everything he says becomes questionable” ↩︎

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The main point I was making was entirely missed. Which is: blind belief in authority.

I don’t know what I can say to Andrew, because he basically pre-empted the possibility that I could say anything valid by suggesting that I need authority to do that.

And to Claudiu, when I said “I am not claiming to have the truth or the facts.” look at the word “claiming”. I could come and say “here is the truth, here are the facts” but I’m not doing that. It is much easier to dismiss someone with “that’s a belief” than to actually show or explain to them why their belief is not true. Likewise, it is much easier to say “this is a fact” than to actually show or explain to someone that something is true.

Parroting Richard’s definition of belief does not prove much other than that you are acting like a parrot. Besides, words themselves are not facts. You don’t even need to use the word belief/believe to show that something is a belief. You could say “I think this is true” which means the same as “I believe this is true”.

It had previously been declared that you needed self/emotion to be able to visualise, and that turned out to be false. It would not be too far-fetched to consider the possibility that even though it had been declared that you needed self/emotion to be able to believe, that could be false too.

Also, belief is not always false. You can believe something is true before you are able to prove it. Presumably that’s what scientists do.

And when you want to learn something from someone else, usually you start by believing that they know what they are doing/talking about anyway. But, just because someone has been declared an authority by someone else or by themselves does not prove that whatever that authority says is true.

Finally, even if what the authority says is true, you still need to understand/see that for yourself. Otherwise that’s just belief again.

Ok, let me put it this way. You wrote that Richard “does not make a distinction between facts and his beliefs”.

Is it a fact that Richard “does not make a distinction between facts and his beliefs”? This is basically a yes or no question.

I await your considered reply.


I could say “Yes, that’s a fact” and you could say “No, that’s a belief”. That wouldn’t resolve anything.

I provided good evidence that he has beliefs.

Consider these:

Proposition 1: “Becoming free of the human condition is a physiological occurrence, centred at the nape of the neck”
Proposition 2: “Becoming free of the human condition is a not physiological occurrence, centred at the nape of the neck”

Can both propositions be a fact at the same time?

Consider these:

Proposition 3: “The earth is flat”
Proposition 4: “The earth is not flat”

I think you would probably say that proposition 3 is a belief and that proposition 4 is a fact. So why not apply the same standards to Richard?

But, I could also point out that if you go back in history, proposition 3 used to be a fact for people.

There are lots of scientific facts of the past that were later proved false.

And experience is not fact. Richard has dismissed lots of people’s experiences but then he uses his own experience as fact.

If I say “I ate cake and it made me sick” you could say that’s a fact. But then if I say “Eating cake makes you sick” that’s a belief.

I didn’t imply that, you did.

On one hand, we have Richard reporting what he experienced. At the time regarded certain things to be intrinsic to becoming actually free. When it became apparent they were not, he again reported on that (or others did) and went with the new information.

Yet without any experience of what he is talking about, by your own self appointed authority, Richard isn’t “free of beliefs”.

Ironically, this is you believing something in exactly the way defined by actualism. You have no evidence of Richard believing in the same manner you do, rather you are twisting the word “belief” around to suit your attack.

In the very same post, you also attack the scientific method.

So, with what authority do you do this? What place of “knowing” are you claiming that anyone should take any notice of you?

To make it really simple as I understand what you have written;

  1. Richard is wrong.
  2. Scientific Method doesn’t exist.
  3. You (self named lunatic) are right and should be listened to.

Point 3 is you asserting authority.

Hence, where does this come from?

This isn’t your main point though.

Your belief (in actualist terms) is that no one can be sure of something, and later find out that it wasn’t a fact.

My favourite example is Thomas Jefferson understanding that electricity had a flow, a direction. He was absolutely correct. Except, he got it backwards. To this day, domestic grade electrical appliances are designed and labelled in the opposite direction to the actual current.

What Jefferson called “positive” and “negative” , as a description of the flow, is the opposite of the current.

Commercial and Industrial grade electrical circuits are designed and labelled with the correct flow.

(Either design criteria works, as long as it remains consistent).

Richard maintains that a physiological change occurs. He discovered that it didn’t have to be accompanied by a “turning over in the nape of the neck”.

This is where you use the widely used, but loosely defined colloquial meaning of "belief ", and put it in a one to one equivalence with the actualist, carefully defined "belief ".

As far as we know, Richard’s assertion that a physiological change happens is a fact. He maintains the most reasonable position, which agrees with modern medical science; the brain is generating consciousness and everything in it.

However, to you; science doesn’t exist because to you, the process by which we test theories in repeatable experiments “doesn’t exist”.

So your main point is most definitely not “blind belief in authority” but rather you are an authority which we should listen to.

@lunatic How about we take it simply as appraisal of facts because of more data rather than attributing what Richard says to him having beliefs ?

For instance sun was moving across the sky as a fact for a long time until some legends came out with more data to prove it isn’t…one can simply appraise facts…there is no belief in all this

Likewise Richard’s findings on having nape of neck sensation can simply be appraised with more data points as more become free.

On the other hand a belief is something unyielding to new information because of the emotional investment…although this varies from person to person because some are able to abandon beliefs and some not.

For example, a belief in God or fairness has an emotional backing/ investment into it…that’s how the word belief is used in Actualism.

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I stand corrected.

  1. Richard is always right, everything he says is a fact
  2. The scientific method is a fact
  3. It is also a fact that you can disprove someone on the basis of their username

I am aware of all the facts now. Is this actual freedom?

Sarcasm aside, it has become clear as many have pointed out that “belief” has a specific meaning in actualism. So it’s not really about what a belief is, but rather what a belief is according to actualism. So I am not really interested in arguing further about what a belief is.

However, regardless of the words used to describe this, it is a fact that Richard has stated things that later turned out to be false. So there’s no obvious way to tell which things he is spreading are true or false.

Guys he’s a troll. Obviously. But why feed it.

That R has or doesn’t have beliefs doesn’t change the PCE. And it doesn’t change the personal experiences of him being far and away the most free, freer than I would have thought possible, as actually free as his reports.

I guess it’s pretty ironic that I’m replying since I wanted to discuss this same topic. And I still do actually. But there’s no reason to feed the trolls. And we’re already going down this road. The subject the group has collectively settled upon to discuss this matter is being tackled in the AGW thread. It’s technical at the moment but let that play out. If we want to distract ourselves then lets do so in the AGW thread. Son of Bob and Claudiu have put a lot of effort into their research. Srinath has even piped in over there and his input regarding biases should be more heavily weighted than all of ours combined. That’s the thread to contemplate and study if we want something to do other than tcb or eaaptmoba.

whateves. my two cents

Yes, terminology is crucially important. As Richard wrote, his writings are “meticulously conveyed communication (extensive writings with precise meaning given to terminology)” (source).

Note well this part in particular: “precise meaning given to terminology”.

So, to understand what Richard means when he says something, you have to understand the specific way he is using the word.

It would be like somebody saying they have a “mauve” jacket – and you think by “mauve” they mean this color:


Then when you go to see them wearing it you see that they’re wearing something of this color instead:


Then you get upset that they lied to you or misrepresented what color they’re wearing!

But they didn’t lie or misrepresent anything – they meant the color they had in mind all along, and plus they had previously told you in other communication specifically what they mean by “mauve”.

It’s not about “arguing”. It is an agreeing on terms, so that we can enable communication. If the word “belief” is used a particular way in actualism, and you use it a different way, then there’s no possibility to have clear communication – as this thread has shown.

And how is belief used in actualism? Just look at the topic page, created specifically for this purpose – Topics – Belief – plus all the related discussions and links on the left sidebar.

Peter’s first paragraph defines it quite well:

To believe means ‘fervently wish to be true’. The action of believing is to emotionally imagine, or fervently wish, something to be real that is not actual – actual, as in tangible, corporeal, material, definitive, present, obvious, evident, current, substantial, physical and palpable. A belief is an assumption, a notion, a proposition, an idea that requires faith, trust or hope to sustain in the face of doubt, uncertainty and lack of factual evidence. Whereas a fact is a fact, demonstratively evident to all that it is actual and/or that it works.

Be advised that from now on when I use the word belief – and when in general the word comes up in actualism – this is what the word refers to.

So what happened here? You were using belief in the sense of, for example, when someone is asked “Where is your wife?” and they say “Ah I believe she’s at the supermarket.” As in, to consider to be the case based on current information. Richard never said that he doesn’t do this. That is an invention of your mind, which you came up with by not paying attention to specifically what the word “belief” refers to in actualism.

Firstly, he never said that he doesn’t make mistakes:

RICHARD: Incidentally, I have never said that I am infallible – and I do make mistakes from time-to-time – and I have pointed this out numerous times in print. (source)

Secondly, the examples you gave aren’t even examples of mistakes. He stated what was factual at the time, namely that as far as human history was concerned, to become actually free meant to experience a physiological occurrence at the nape of the neck. This was a fact at the time, as far as anybody could possibly ascertain, because nobody else had done it before or after.

And, as Andrew pointed out already, as soon as it was evident it is not a fact, Richard changed his understanding of the world to encompass this new information – i.e. that to become actually free does not entail “anything weird happening in the nape of the neck”.

i.e. Richard did not “fervently wish [it] to be true” that actual freedom meant a physiological change at the nape of the neck. If he fervently wished it to be true then he would continue believing it even despite the new evidence. But, he never believed it in the first place.

And, same, too, with the visualization.

As the only two examples you gave are things that were true as far as any human could possibly ascertain when they were said, then you are gonna have to do a lot better than that to make your case here.

As you didn’t supply anything factual yet to back up your statements here, it does appear to not be something factual but rather something that you “fervently wish to be true”, or, in other words… … yep, a belief.

So what will happen now, will you take in this new information and dismantle your belief, or will you continue to believe it that Richard doesn’t distinguish between fact and belief? :slight_smile:


“A fact is apparent, there can be no confusion or argumentation about a fact. By its very nature a belief is not factually true … otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious, freely available for all to see as being correct. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust … a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact has actual verity, whereas a belief requires synthetic credence.”

How can you possibly say that those two non-mistakes he said before were fact/true? “A fact is obvious, freely available for all to see as being correct.” Those “facts” were never “freely available for all” and there was no way to see them “as being correct” as they never were. And people did precisely this “To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so.” He said those things and people believed them to be true, accepted them on trust. And you are still doing that by saying those things were true/fact.

Also, as I said the visualisation story was worse. He said he lost his visualisation ability during his enlightened period. And still he went around saying that he couldn’t visualise because of actual freedom. He already knew it was not because of actual freedom, so why did he do that?

Looks interesting, thanks for sharing, I’ll be watching it later.

“Facts” - what they are and how we can know them, has been one of my pet reflections.

By the way, welcome to the forum. Can you tell us some facts about yourself?

And what does fact mean for you?

(Curious as to why you selected such a pejorative tag name? Do you feel the term “lunatic” describes you? Or are you using that tag to refer to perhaps someone else?)

Lastly, you are versed enough in what Richard has written to know that the term “belief” is used, in the context of actualism, to refer to “emotion-backed thought.” By saying that Richard still has beliefs you would be suggesting that he still has emotion, and not merely that he cannot distinguish between fact/falsity, is this what you are suggesting?

Thank you for being kind. Sorry, I am not ready right now.

It depends on the context. It might mean something that can be proven. Or it might mean something people agree on.

rick: “(Curious as to why you selected such a pejorative tag name? Do you feel the term “lunatic” describes you? Or are you using that tag to refer to perhaps someone else?)”

This is a term that Richard has used to describe me before.

rick: “Lastly, you are versed enough in what Richard has written to know that the term “belief” is used, in the context of actualism, to refer to “emotion-backed thought.” By saying that Richard still has beliefs you would be suggesting that he still has emotion, and not merely that he cannot distinguish between fact/falsity, is this what you are suggesting?”

I wrote this before: “It had previously been declared that you needed self/emotion to be able to visualise, and that turned out to be false. It would not be too far-fetched to consider the possibility that even though it had been declared that you needed self/emotion to be able to believe, that could be false too.”
I was not suggesting that “he cannot distinguish between fact/falsity” I was suggesting that “he cannot distinguish between fact and his beliefs”.

Here is a good example of Richard’s fact appraisal/ having new opinion based on more information:

Richard: What happened was that, whilst browsing the internet in 1998-99 I came across a web-page proposing that the sun was plasma-only (as contrasted to the mainstream science proposition it had a nuclear-fusion interior which generated the surface plasma), and it dawned upon me that I had accepted – as a fact – what I had been taught in high-school last century … just as earlier generations had accepted as fact the then prevailing wisdom that it was a giant ball of fire (spectral analysis has shown the sun to have no oxygen so it is not that).Nor is it a god/goddess, of course, but had I been born millennia ago I would (presumably) have accepted that to be fact.

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Here is what you quoted Richard as saying:

When Richard wrote this, there was one (1) person who had become free of the human condition - Richard.

When it was written, 100% of the people that became actually free experienced “a physiological occurrence, centred at the nape of the neck”. In 100% of the cases, the mutation was “not allowed its completion” and, as a result, 100% of the people became enlightened instead. 100% of the people became actually free later by allowing the “mutation” to be completed.

Can you specify precisely how any of the above could be said to never have been correct?

As your qualm is that Richard himself has beliefs, it doesn’t matter for this qualm whatsoever what anyone else has done with what he has written.

Can you specify how it is accepting something on trust to be pointing out that a fact is indeed a fact?

This is what you wrote about the “visualisation story”:

How about you actually do the legwork and find the “precise quotes” so that we can have a meaningful discussion about it? The fact that you are willing to make a point based on something you remember and can’t be bothered to do the work to present is in and of itself an indication that it is something you “fervently wish to be true” that you are talking about, rather than a fact.

Because in wishing it to be true, it doesn’t matter the specifics of the topic, it’s actually far easier to work based on memory which has a fascinating way of being distorted to favor that which one wishes to be true in the first place, as opposed to reflecting the actual facts of the matter.

Not saying this is happening now, but… just find the quotes! Lol.


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I can’t find the relevant text. I have tried hard, but the website is massive. But definitely other people have seen the text, because there was a conversation on the actualfreedom Yahoo mailing list about visualisation where a link to the text was posted, in fact that’s the way I found it. But I don’t have a copy of the messages of that mailing list and the service was shut down. If anyone has a backup of the mailing list and is willing to look for the link in that particular conversation that could be helpful. But even then, I don’t think it would be enough proof for you.


It doesn’t actually interest me as to why your psychology exist. That particular interest is wrapped up in a search I just don’t care about anymore.

It was a very long time ago when it mattered so deeply to me “why?”.

I am otherwise happy though that you are still alive. Being alive is taken for granted way too often, especially in my own life.

I am tempted to resort to cliches about how “sad” it is that decades later you are so hung up. However, it’s par for the course.

All of the psychic reality I experience is something “hung up”.

I see the same patterns play out in myself and others.

I won’t pretend that your case is something interesting, because I see the same things happen every day; lost, angry, resentful, sorrowful, scared and desperate selfs trying to be something they can never actually be; actual.

You once thought you had my number when you talked about “types attracted to actualism”; yet here you are … again.

What type is that now?