What is this site all about?
Basically, I am continuing the work I started with Truth Strike and Ruthless Truth in making the insight of Antta available to everyone. I am not guiding people to this realisation any more, I am merely providing the tools of investigation for phenomenological enquiry.

What are Truth Strike & Ruthless Truth?
These were forums that helped people to conduct phenomenological investigations with the aim of realising the insight of Anatta. These forums were vicious battle grounds that developed a bad reputation on the internet. I was an active participant in both of these groups and was engaged in the task of guiding people through their investigations. The Ruthless Truth method was to smash peoples vanity to pieces, in order to provoke a reaction that showed their delusion. Truth Strike was slightly more mild mannered but there were some epic arguments on there also. I look back and see it was childish on my part but there was some good that came out of it in the end.

What is Antta?
You can look it up on Wikipedia but basically, Anatta is what the Buddhists call an arising and passing event. Anatta literally translates as 'not self' and the insight yields the universal truth that you do not actually exist in real life.

Say what?
There is no 'you', you do not exist and you never did. 'You' is a fiction weaved by the mind and what you conceive of as 'yourself' or 'you' is nothing more than a thought. You do not exist at all, you are an illusion.

'You' is a vague pronoun, what exactly do you mean by this?
I mean what you perceive as "you", "I", "your life", etc... it doesn't exist it is an illusion. Life actually lives itself, there is no 'experiencer' engaged in experiencing life, there is no separation between 'experiencer' and experience. The idea you have is that you are having thoughts and experience when in actual fact, there is no division between 'you' and these things. The common idea of dualism is that mind and body are separate things, and you are an entity calling the shots in experience. You actually have no control over your decisions and actions this is illusory. What I am saying is that it is possible to empirically demonstrate this using the scientific method.

Well “I” seem pretty real to me! I can move my body, I'm here reading this, how can you say this?
There is an appearance of the body, life, thought, and the physical world. It is a real appearance but what you perceive to be 'you' is not. 'You' do not exist in any way, shape or form. No matter how incomprehensible this sounds, it can be demonstrated and observed directly in real life. There is no you, there never was.

This is a load of rubbish, have you seen a shrink yet?
Have you actually checked to see if what I say has any truth to it?

Ask your self this question:
Is there a me?

If you answer yes or no straight away this is called dishonesty. This is because you have a belief and you have not put it to the test, you have just assumed you know the answer and have not tested it to see if it is true.
You have to be honest with yourself and admit it is a belief that you hold. Obviously you have a lot of evidence to support this belief i.e. your entire life’s experience and it is logical we think this way. Without actually testing this belief, you are only making a reasonable assumption, nothing more. We used to take the premise that the earth was flat, to be a truth. This was because there was a gap in our knowledge.
You have never questioned or even considered this possibility once, let alone weighed up any evidence. I will admit that this whole idea sounds completely counter intuitive but I do not expect you to believe a word I say, I do expect you to test what I say though.

I don't need to put it to the test, I already know it to be true, this is a ridiculous idea.
Why is that? Lets look honestly at this. What if I told you there was a god? There has to be evidence to support the claim. As our world view goes now, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the Christian world view, being about as real as the flying spaghetti monster creating reality.
The only evidence they have to support their claims are a series of deranged ramblings and wonderful insights in the bible. The new testament was written 25 years after the event (even this is being very favourable to Christians, estimates range up to 200 years) so it is not even a direct account. Christians have staked absolute faith (actually circular logic) in the bible but there is no way to prove if it is conclusively true or false. Add to that, their irrational lines of argument, the glaring contradictions, the intellectual surrender strategy, and then you have a compelling case where monotheism has been virtually debunked but we just don't have the actual hard evidence to present to them and snap them out of their delusion.

Atheism and theism are merely beliefs at the moment. No one can prove conclusively either way, with 100% certainty. There are strong cases for each, with some arguments being more reasonable than others. It is no less a belief to say there is no god, how do you know for sure if there is, if you have not conclusively seen for yourself?
If we look at the evidence, it seems more likely that no god is true. You can only believe what either side says, it is therefore nothing more than a belief either way. If we use honesty, the only thing we can confirm here is that there is evidence to support either side, we can not prove there is a god. You cannot prove there is a self either by the same virtue, you simply have a very strong belief that there is a self. This maybe difficult to swallow but if you strongly disagree with me, then I invite you to put it to the test.

But if you say there is no self, are you not committing the argument from ignorance fallacy?
This fallacy proceeds from the idea that we are trying to prove a negative. I think many an atheist has been guilty of making the following claim in the past. 'Christians cannot prove god exists, therefore he does not'. This is known as the appeal to ignorance fallacy and it runs in the following manner.

Absence of evidence for gods existence does not imply evidence of gods absence.

To illustrate, we could argue that because we have not seen a UFO, that is not sufficient grounds to refute the existence of UFOs. Just because we have not seen a UFO there is still the possibility that UFOs do exist. Were we to try to suggest that 'there is no proof of god or UFOs therefore god and UFOs do not exist', we would be committing this very logical error. If we follow this reasoning fully to its ends we finally come to rest on this maxim.

The non-existence of some 'thing', can never be demonstrated.

So when I say 'you' do not exist I mean the character you think you are is actually an illusion. What you are trying to see in this investigation is what the self actually is in real life. What you are trying to discover is the truth that the character you believe yourself to be is simply an illusion.

But “I” exist, its true.
You believe “you” exist. Answer honestly, it is a belief. There is evidence to support this belief i.e. your life experience but you have never tested the foundations of this statement in anyway.
You have lived your life with the assumption that you are the thinker behind your thoughts. This is all an assumption, although it made sense to all of us. Until you test this, you can not have anything more than a belief about this. Any statement of what it really is, either affirmative or negative; is a statement of dishonesty, because you have not tested it out in real life. Once you test out a belief and see if it stands in the light of reality, then you can say it is a statement of fact.

I believe in god, law of attraction, higher consciousness yada yada....
Cool, whatever your beliefs are that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. I'm not asking you to drop your beliefs. If these are truths in your eyes, then can more truth really hurt? Or will it enhance what you know to be true? Truth is indiscriminate. When truth is seen, it will burn through anything that is not true. If your convictions are so strong, then they will always stand up to the truth regardless of what they are.

This is what it actually means to have faith; to test your convictions in reality. This is a leap of faith with your current beliefs, do you have the faith to put your belief to the ultimate test, against REALITY?

So to put it plainly, if you already believe the idea of no self to be false, then you should have absolutely no fear about testing out my claim and trying to falsify it.
If you won't even test it then quite simply you are afraid, there is no other explanation. If you are in this camp now, notice how you are weaving a little story, where I must be crazy, you are above testing this claim, that you are right, I'm wrong and if you mentioned this to anyone else, they would think you were crazy. Likely you will be saying “It can't be true, its just not possible”, so my challenge to you, is to ask yourself could it be true? and take the test. If you are so certain of your convictions, then you should have nothing to fear, right?

I don't need this insight.
Ever since we were born, we have been constructing an intricate mental fortress. We build up barriers to other people and the world. We cling to notions of identity that allow us to conform, we create a changing persona in relation to other people, we are chasing after fleeting feelings of happiness, only to get there and wonder why we don't feel like we expected to. We believe we are good people, we believe our story is what makes us the person we are and we size up the measure of our own worth, in relation to other peoples standards.

We even believe that everything will be all right in the end and we cling hard to this notion and blindly hope everything will work out for us. This is a lie that we tell ourselves because our lives are vapid and empty. We believe that material things will bring us happiness but like the new car feeling, these things evaporate around us and then we fixate on the next big thing that will bring us happiness, whether it be a new job, holiday or whatever. You are being led through this world like a rat, stumbling from one reward to the next frantically trying to escape the maze but all the time running towards the next bright neon sign that tells you that once you have this thing, or achieve this goal, then you can be happy, like it is something you can just decide to be suddenly.

Maybe you don't go for this consumerism thing, maybe your a vegan so you boldly declare to everyone, how you don't eat meat and you buy only natural and ethical products. The difference here is none, you are still clinging to the same notion of making an identity but because you are intelligent, you make up a more intricate fiction and think yourself different and unique from everyone else.
You will never escape your fortress because your mind made it all up. The fortress is nothing more than a fantasy that has been conditioned in to your thought patterns, you don't exist, it is all a complex and convincing illusion.

There is just life left after seeing this. Freedom to live a life encompassing the full range of human emotion without ever being consumed by them or any dramas that life throws at you. A life unfettered with the trappings of materialism and identity. There is life, there are thoughts, there are feelings but there is no you. 'I' is only a thought that does not actually refer to anything. There is a complex web of thought and because it is all intertwined, it actually gives the illusion of a thinker behind the thinking. When we directly observe this in reality, it is simply not there whatsoever, it never was. It is only a fictional character that the mind fantasised was there as the cause of its actions.

This sounds really freaky and weird.
It is actually not so freaky and weird as you might think on first glance. Numerous religions in the world have formalised this no self teaching and inserted metaphysical dogma and formalised rituals in to the process. Such religions as Buddhism, Advaita, Yoga, Zen, Cha'an, Tantra, The Upanishads all teach the essential self is an illusion in their doctrine.

Whilst this no self idea is not new at all and is thousands of years old, western philosophers are starting to jump on this bandwagon of thought finally, after David Hume realised that we cannot actually perceive this self in the 18th Century. Such modern philosophers go by the name of Derrick Parfit, Thomas Metzinger and Julian Baggini.
Two mainstream books on self as an illusion that you can check out are:
The Ego Trick by Julian Baggini
The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzinger
This idea of self as an illusion is actually becoming widely accepted in contemporary philosophy and science however, they have not actually seen this no self proposition in real life, although they have an intellectual understanding of it. Otherwise, I would like to think that they would be excitedly trying to tell the world about it.

Here is a video presentation by Julian Baggini, for RSA animate:
In this video he directly contradicts me by saying that there is a self but he concedes that it is not what we think it is. He has not experienced that there actually is no self, or he would be telling everyone to look and he would see that life lives itself! He is merely theorising about an illusory self but I will certainly concede that there is the psychological phenomena of a 'narrative self' or 'self model', which we all know too well. However, it is not a concrete 'thing' and seeing the true nature of this illusion, is the insight of Anatta. It is the same as seeing a mirage, it does not mean the water exists in real life, but the phenomenon of a mirage certainly exists.

This is reality, right now, “I” am here
Yes it is, are you observing reality or experiencing it? The metaphor that people like to draw is that you an observer that watches an interactive 3d film with stereo sound and feelings. You are the thinker behind all the thoughts feelings and emotions. You observe the input and then make a decision based on the input that cause an action. If there was a you involved in this equation, it would have to be outside of reality. To observe reality, you have to be separate from it by the nature of it. This means that no one is observing reality. There can only be the experiencing of it. As we cannot observe reality this creates a dichotomy. Where is the thinker? Is the thinker inside reality or by necessity would it have to be separate from reality?

What about the cogito: I think therefore I am?
The cogito presupposes a thinker and therefore the proposition is a question begging fallacy. An improved proposition is 'think therefore am'. This relates to thinking and being and removes the presupposition of a separate thinker.

I am me, its my life
There is no ownership of your life, this is an illusion. How can anyone own life itself? There is the perception of ownership and you may have a pet dog for instance. At what point do you actually have ownership of the life of the dog? You influence its life and take responsibility but you cannot actually take ownership of life. It is the same for 'your life'. The nature of the false self creates this idea of separation between the self and experience. In reality, it is merely an illusion.

I've experienced so much, are you telling me that when I went snowboarding last week, I did not do it?
There was the experience of snowboarding and anything else that has been experienced. Where does a "you" actually fit in to this for any of this to happen? There is snowboarding and the experience of snowboarding but no "experiencer" behind the experience and no "doer" behind the actions, there are just things that are experienced and actions that have been taken.

I can remember snowboarding whenever I want to, its my memory, I can recall stuff whenever I want to. They are my memories you can not take them away from me. I was actually there "I" did it.
The reason for memory recall is due to a stimulus of some kind, sometimes they even appear to arise in our minds for no reason we perceive. Either case, there does not need to be a thinker behind the thinking, it just occurs anyway. There is no ownership of memories or experience, something was just experienced.
The memories cannot be taken away, we have already seen that they arise. This is just the false self twisting this in to a commodity that could be potentially lost. Nothing could be further from the truth, all the life experience is real, 'you' is a fiction.

They are my memories, my future, I own it all, it is mine
Wrong. There is only this present moment. Nothing exists outside of the present moment. The past no longer exists and the future doesn't exist yet. Anything outside the present moment, only exists in our memory or imagination. This gives the illusion that we are the same abiding self over time. The view that we have psychological continuity over time is an illusion. Really we are a complex bundle of thoughts and as a result of a feedback loop in the brain, we identify with it and believe it to be real. It is a fiction created by the mind, you don't exist this is an illusion.

What about free will?
Free will is an illusion. On one level as a human organism, you are free to take whatever action but you can't choose what action you feel like taking. Allow me to illustrate. If you look at the menu, you can choose between chicken and the fish but you cannot choose what you feel like eating. Don't worry, there is an in depth article about it here:

What about collective consciousness?
Insert a 'you' in to the equation at whatever point you like. Is there a collective consciousness? We cannot prove it either way but if there is it doesn't need a 'you' to work. If there was a collective consciousness, how could you be part of the collective, if you are separate?

What about semantics you use the word 'you' and 'I' a lot?
Language is inherently dualistic anyway it is easier to just say 'I' or 'you' than go through the hassle of trying to say:

'This being is not taking this argument seriously'
'There is the awareness of not taking this argument seriously'

Do the words "I" or "you" become any more real than the word 'unicorn' just because the word exists?
Because the word exists, does it make it a real entity? Semantics has no leg to stand on here. Pronouns are a structural requirement of purposeful communication, getting rid of them is nonsensical so there is no need to get rid of them. However, we should definitely start inspecting what pronouns refer to in real life. Perhaps you can try and look at what the concept 'I' points to in real life?

Could it just point to the body?
Check out the 'Ship of Theseus' case in this article and then consider the same case but replace the ship with a human being. There is no coherent argument for holding identity in changing physical matter over time.

Could it point to the brain?
The brain is physical matter see above.

Could it point to the soul?
We cannot find the soul in direct experience, take a look.

Could it point to consciousness that is tied together with memories?
See 'Thomas Reid's fallacy' in response to John Locke's argument for this.
Also there is the absurdity that if you forget anything you are not the same person as you were when you had that memory. So basically, if a Nazi concentration camp guard suffered with amnesia after the war, they would not be the same person as the one who committed the atrocities which is plainly absurd.

What is conscience then, describe conscience.
To have a conscience by the nature of the language presupposes there is someone to have a conscience. If we look at what is happening on a biological level, our brain is hard-wired to give feedback via the nervous system. Feelings such as fear, guilt, all arise due to a stimulus in the environment. Fear is important to survival, what about guilt, what use is that? Guilt usually involves a perceived loss of some kind. Our mind is hard wired to seek out advantages in work, social sphere etc..(If you don't understand this read up on evolutionary psychology). The body interpreting things as taking us closer to survival, gives us good feelings and things that take us away from survival, the body interprets and gives us "bad" feelings. From the organisms point of view, emotional feedback can not be judged as good or bad. Sure "bad" feelings are not desirable but labelling them bad is missing the bigger picture. Any emotional feedback is useful to the organism. Conscience is merely a convenient label given to this part of the emotional feedback system. The feelings that arise are specific to our sense of right and wrong, which is related to surviving within a social hierarchy, it is actually just mental programming.

What about morals, morality, you have those don't you?
Morality = the adoption of someone else’s belief system.
Morality is actually social conditioning (even brain washing in some cases) when the veil is removed. We claim to have morals but really, they are not our morals. They become ingrained on us from an early age and we don't have a choice about adopting them for the most part. They are just taken as a given and dictate how we need to behave in a social structure. We can't really say its a bad thing, as it keeps some semblance of a cohesive society together. If there was no moral code then we would have gang warfare, random attacks and lots of crime. Oh wait we do. These people aren't conditioned as strongly with a moral code as others to put it simply.

Other people such as psychopaths, it has been noted by recent research, have been shown to have defective neural networks and hence, they are unable to experience remorse or guilt. Others still, will hide behind the perception of a moral code and use it to judge others as "bad" people. They create the illusion of a higher moral standpoint, which they use to attack others and they identify with this position strongly more often than not. This is a projection of grandeur when you strip away the thin veneer of sincerity and you find it in misguided individuals and religious people, trying to prop up their notion of belief. People blame the breakdown of morals on the decline of the church, family values, or whatever. It is happening that’s all we need concern ourselves with and primarily, most of this crime is driven by greed, as a fundamental aspect of their dysfunction.

I've meditated before, I have watched the thoughts arise, since I am there to witness them can I be described as awareness?
This description brings in a lot of confusion. Essentially there is no being that is aware, there is simply awareness. If we consider that many peoples model of reality is that they are some essential spirit, soul, or thinking substance that is united with the body. This is an illusion of separation when there is no separation between awareness and thought. By describing 'I' as awareness you are implying that there is a being that is aware, which constitutes a self through the back door. You need to be careful with your definitions here and there are multiple definitions of the self to add to the confusion.

Is the realisation that there is no you part of Eastern religions?
Many spiritual teachings, especially Buddha's point to this state as part of the path towards enlightenment. “Anatta” or no self, is part of the journey. Through all the arguments that were caused with the spiritual crowd in the past, at no point did anyone who was genuinely enlightened disagree with the core teaching, there is no essential self.
However, enlightenment is the end of the journey. In Buddhism after seeing Anatta, the next stage is the destruction of the false self. In the Advaita tradition, the self is recognised as all that is i.e. universal consciousness, rather than an individual self.
So there is parity between no self and the main traditions, even though they appear to contradict each other.

How can you be so sure this is real?
Basically this no self insight dovetails perfectly with different descriptions. For instance in the 6th Patriach's Platform Sutra, Hui Neng talks about the void and Buddha dharma. Essentially, this is exactly what we see after no self has been seen. Zen koans make perfect sense, such as “produce a thought nowhere supported”. I'll spoil this one for you, when you see no self in your thoughts, it is actually the “narrative centre of gravity” that supports the idea of self. Quite simple really but to the layman it sounds mysterious and deep.

This insight is new to us, we were just some normal westerners who were living a life blissfully unaware but now we find that we are all exploring this uncharted territory. There are pitfalls and trappings abound but we see that the no self lynch pin, is the core mechanism of human dysfunction. I would not say I am entirely free from delusion but we I yet to clear out all my accumulated ignorance. The mind still holds certain judgements and ideas but these are being de-constructed over time.

Is this spiritual?
No, I want to take the process of scientific investigation and turn it to study mental phenomena. The problem with spirituality is that it just provides snippets of wisdom and doesn't give people the tools to do investigations. Take this from Buddha: "There’s nothing that will attain and nothing that won't attain". Compute = There is no you. Clarity is what is needed and that is what is lacking in Eastern philosophy. What Buddha said was true here but its all shrouded in riddles a lot of the time. My aim is to demystify this and break the process down in to a step by step methodology to challenge your belief structures.

Have you heard of Eckhart Tolle? Isn't some of what he says true?
Yes, Eckhart is enlightened and what he describes as presence is absolutely spot on. His insights are amazing and once you have gone through this liberation process, you can understand what he says with clarity. I read his stuff a while ago and thought wow, I would like to have what he has. Unfortunately Eckhart is providing you a glimpse of what it is like to be liberated, he's not freeing people although he is trying to. I don't think he knows the process he used himself, he just woke up enlightened, so he can't explain to people how to become liberated. I can experience presence very easily and if I ever get tied up with thought, I can simply slip in to the present moment.

Wait a minute, get caught up in thought? You said there was no you though?
There is awareness of thought, thinking does not stop! Just because there is no self, it does not mean there is no thought. Just because you see an illusion, doesn't mean the illusion is not there any more! You see that there is an illusion there and once it is seen as an illusion, it loses its power.
Instead of the mind feeding back in to itself through an illusion of self and believed as real, it is seen for what it is: a complex web of thoughts, projection, labels and memories that refer to nothing. The word 'you', does not refer to anything when we are talking in terms of a self, a thinker or a doer. There is nothing there. 

To put it simply, whatever appears in the present moment is real and all through your life you appear to have had so many years of experience. If there is no self now, then there never was a self and life still had this appearance to you. There is not some drastic change where anything disappears, there is simply knowing of the what the self truly is, which is an illusion. 

But I have a big ego, there is no way I can drop my ego.
It depends on what your definition of ego is. My view is that the ego is the myriad of beliefs, judgements and memories stored in the minds pattern matching faculty multiplied by the basic human drive for power. Rather the ego is not an entity that exists but there are thoughts that are "egoic" in nature. There is just awareness of egoic thoughts but no ego. A stand alone ego is a concept conceived by Signum Freud. I will stand here and tell you there is no entity called "the ego". What Freud did was attribute thought patterns to a false sense of self and categorised them. His work was well intentioned although he used a presupposition of a self being there.

What is no self like? It sounds like your a nihilist and it sounds like "no you" means there is no point to life.
I would describe it as a subtle change in the way reality is viewed, yet there is no real change. Your perception changes slightly in the same way that as you see a mirage and know it is not water you are seeing. It is just a realisation of the truth yet it has a profound effect. It is not overwhelming bliss or anything, serenity would be a better word. However, this is an arising and passing so naturally this fades over time but then you are well on your journey.

 The emotional surges we sometimes experience do not consume you in the same way, but everything seems to works the same way as it did before. I still desire to do things but there is not the same attachment to the outcome any more, although it has not disappeared. I have grand plans like we all do, but nothing much hinges on whether they come to fruition or not any more and there is an acceptance that life folds in the way it is supposed to. 

After my realisation of Anatta, I had some big trouble in my life. I had just split up with my girlfriend, lost a friend in a motorbike accident and nearly lost my job in the same week. Yes there was a lot of pain. Something like that could have triggered a depressive episode but I saw it for what it was, raw emotional pain. It did not make it any more pleasant to experience but I was certainly not consumed by it in the same way and it lacked the destructive power it would have had previously. I clearly saw that the belief in the false self is responsible for much of the needless suffering in the world and this is one of the reasons why I am still involved in trying to wake up humanity. I still experience suffering so there is further to go for me, so in this sense I am not trying to push this on anyone as a cure all as I used to. I see this insight as a stepping stone and there is still the rest of the stream to cross.

If you are afraid of spiders, you will still be afraid of them after this insight. If you were a shit person, you still will be afterwards. This ain't a magical cure for everything, however, there is a degree of freedom from the conventional existence so to speak, even though human experience is intrinsically bound within it.

Why are you trying to push this on people, were you a member of ruthless truth?
Yes, I was a member of ruthless truth. At the time, we were blown away by the fact that we were apparently freed from suffering. We actually had a vision of freeing the world and tried our best to execute it. We were very militant about it and in all fairness because of the way we went about it, we made a lot of enemies, got branded a cult and we were vile to a lot of people. We were being compassionate in the same way that you push a kid out of the way of an oncoming bus. People did not appreciate this approach and because you cannot keep up this intensity of rage and fire, it burned out. Truth Strike was a similar experience but with less teeth and I was nasty to a lot of people, although I managed to help quite a few.
So now this stuff is not going to be pushed down your throat any more, and it is here if you want to investigate the false self. All I am doing is making the tools available that were used in TS and RT to the layman.


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