Prior acclaim for Jeremy Griffith’s treatise
‘Frankly, I am ‘blown away’ as the saying goes…
The ground-breaking significance of this work is tremendous.’
DR PATRICIA GLAZEBROOK, Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Dalhousie University
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘It might help bring about a paradigm shift in the self-image of humanity –
an outcome that in the past only the great world religions have achieved.’
DR MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI,
Professor of Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘I am simply overwhelmed…I find it astonishing and impressive.’
JOSEPH CHILTON PEARCE, American author of ‘Magical Child’
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘Could you please send me an extra copy of your book?
[Mine] is on loan because it was so appreciated.’
SIR LAURENS VAN DER POST, pre-eminent philosopher and author
(Response to ‘Free: The End of the Human Condition’, 1988)
‘a superb book…[that] brings out the truth of a new and
wider frontier for humankind, a forward view of a world of
humans no longer in naked competition amongst ourselves.’
DR JOHN MORTON, Professor of Zoology, University of Auckland
(Response to ‘A Species In Denial’, 2003)
‘The proposal is indeed impressive.’
DR ROGER LEWIN, prize-winning British science writer and author
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘I have never heard of anything comparable before.’
DR FRIEDEMANN SCHRENK, Professor of Paleobiology, Goethe University Frankfurt
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘This is a most amazing project. It is strongly
interdisciplinary, visionary and forward-looking.’
DR MARC BEKOFF, Professor of Organismic Biology, University of Colorado
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘[Professor Hawking] is most interested in your impressive proposal.’
DR STEPHEN HAWKING, world-leading physicist, University of Cambridge
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘I consider the book to be the work of a prophet
and I expect the author to become recognised as a saint.’
DR RONALD STRAHAN, former director of Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo
(Response to ‘Free: The End of the Human Condition’, 1988)
‘[Griffith] gives us a genuinely original and inspiring way
of understanding ourselves and our place in the universe.’
DR CHARLES BIRCH, Templeton Prize winner and Professor of Biology, University of Sydney
(Response to ‘Beyond The Human Condition’, 1991)
‘Was Jeremy Griffith struck by lightning on the road to Damascus. Such was my
cynicism. Then whack! Wham! I was increasingly impressed and then converted by
his erudite explanation for society’s competitive and self-destructive behaviour.’
MACUSHLA O’LOAN, ‘Executive Woman’s Report’ magazine, Australia
(Response to ‘Free: The End of the Human Condition’, 1988)
‘I believe you are on to getting answers to much that
has puzzled and bewildered humanity for a long time.’
DR IAN PLAYER, South African conservationist, naturalist and philosopher
(Response to ‘A Species In Denial’, 2003)
‘The insights and ideas are fascinating and pertinent
and must be developed and disseminated.’
DR GEORGE SCHALLER, American zoologist and author
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘A breakthrough in understanding the human condition.’
DR JOHN CHAMPNESS, Australian psychologist and educator
(Response to ‘A Species In Denial’, 2003)
‘very impressive. I particularly enjoyed the primatology section.’
DR STEPHEN OPPENHEIMER, Oxford University geneticist and author of ‘Out of Eden’
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
‘Questions of the size you raise tend to stagger me (as they do
most people) into silence…What you’re doing is admirable.’
IAN FRAZIER, bestselling American author of ‘Great Plains’ and ‘Travels in Siberia’
(Response to ‘The Human Condition Documentary Proposal’, 2004)
FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition by Jeremy Griffith
First Edition, published in 2016, by WTM Publishing and Communications Pty Ltd (ACN 103 136 778) (www.wtmpublishing.com)
Cover design by Luke Causby/Blue Cork.
Cover image by Genevieve Salter and Jeremy Griffith.
All enquiries to:
WORLD TRANSFORMATION MOVEMENT® (WTM®)
GPO Box 5095, Sydney NSW 2001, Australia
Phone: + 61 2 9486 3308 Fax: + 61 2 9486 3409
The WTM is a non-profit organisation which holds an Authority to Fundraise for
in NSW, Australia.
CIP – Biology
This book is protected by Australian copyright laws and international copyright treaty provisions. All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the copyright owner. The moral rights of the authors Jeremy Griffith and Harry Prosen are asserted.
FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition copyright © Fedmex Pty Ltd
(ACN 096 099 286) 2013-2016.
The drawings and charts by Jeremy Griffith, picture by Genevieve Salter, copyright © Fedmex Pty Ltd
(ACN 096 099 286) 1983-2016. Computer graphic at the beginning of chapter 1 by Jeremy Griffith,
Marcus Rowell and Genevieve Salter, copyright © Fedmex Pty Ltd (ACN 096 099 286) 2009.
Trade marks: WORLD TRANSFORMATION MOVEMENT, WTM, and the arms-raised man before the
rising sun logo, are registered trade marks of Fedmex Pty Ltd (ACN 096 099 286).
Edited by Fiona Cullen-Ward.
Typesetting: designed by Jeremy Griffith, set by Lee Jones & Polly Watson. Font: Times; main body
text: 12pt on 15pt leading; quote: 10pt bold; quote source: 9pt; comment within a quote: 11pt; digits and
all caps text: 1-2pts smaller than body text. For further details about the typesetting, styles and layout
used in this book please view the WTM Style Guide at <>.
Notes to the Reader
Unlike most publications, there is no bibliography at the conclusion of this book because the source is provided in small text at the end of each quote. While unconventional, it does mean you will always have the benefit of being able to immediately see when, where and by whom the quote was given, and experience has shown that it doesn’t take long to learn to skip past it if you wish. Also, rather than give the particular edition and/or publisher of the book that the quote comes from, the page number where the quote appears and the total number of pages of the particular edition used for the source is provided. This enables the reader to find the comparative place of the quote in any edition. In addition to the index at the back of the book, any word or phrase can be easily searched using the ‘Search FREEDOM’ facility in the top right-hand corner of this website. All paragraphs are numbered to allow easy referencing across any of the book’s formats. Please note that while this online edition of FREEDOM contains a number of coloured images, in the print edition that will soon be available through bookshops all the images appear in black and white. All biblical references are from the 1978 New International Version translation of the Bible.
Since this book contains the only thing that can save the human race from extinction, namely the dignifying and relieving understanding of our species’ psychologically troubled human condition, it must be made accessible to all people—which is why, alongside its (soon to be) availability for purchase through bookshops and Amazon, it is, and will always remain, freely available to be read, shared or printed (with binding instructions included) at .
The Special Edition, Produced For Scientists
This book has been presented in two versions and in two stages.
Since the book is about the biology of human behaviour, the publisher’s first responsibility was to promote it within the scientific community. This was done in 2014 by publishing the book with a title that emphasised the serious plight of humanity, which science is ultimately responsible for solving—that title being IS IT TO BE Terminal Alienation or Transformation For The Human Race? From July to September 2014 over 900 copies of IS IT TO BE were sent to leading scientific institutions, scientists and science commentators throughout the English-speaking world to introduce them to these world-saving understandings.
In 2016, this version, which is oriented to the general public, was published. Containing the same content as IS IT TO BE but with an additional first chapter and further insights, this version has the title FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition. FREEDOM therefore replaces and supersedes IS IT TO BE.
by Professor Harry Prosen
‘In the whole of written history there are only two or three people who
have been able to think on this scale about the human condition.’
Prof. Anthony Barnett, zoologist, author and broadcaster, 1983
The truth is I am inadequate to write this Introduction, but everyone is, so I will do my best.
Firstly, to immediately put into context the fabulous significance of what Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith has achieved with this book: it delivers the breakthrough biological explanation of the human condition, the holy grail of insight humans have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of our species. It brings the compassionate, redeeming, reconciling and transforming understanding of our lives that the human race has lived in eternal hope, faith and trust would one day be found and have so assiduously pursued since we first became conscious beings some 2 million years ago! So this is, in short, the most momentous event in human history!
I once read that the great philosophers each had an acute grasp of their own small piece of an unthinkably huge and interlocking puzzle, but nobody has ever put the pieces together into a single coherent system (Steve King, ‘Post-Structuralism or Nothing’, 1996; see <>). Well, that is no longer the case because Jeremy provides that great unifying, make-sense-of-everything synthesis—for not only does his treatise explain the human condition—our species’ capacity for what has been called ‘good’ and ‘evil’ (in chapters 1 and 3)—his ability to plumb the great depths of this most foreboding of all subjects has meant that he has also been able to provide the fully accountable explanation of the other great outstanding mysteries in science of the meaning of human existence (chapter 4), the origin of our unconditionally selfless moral instincts (chapters 5 and 6), and why humans became conscious when other animals haven’t (chapter 7). And in unlocking those insights, he has in turn been able to make sense of every other aspect of our troubled human condition, including the strained relationship between men and women, sex as humans practice it, the origin and nature of politics, religion, and so many other human phenomena (chapter 8). Indeed, preposterous as it must seem, what this book effectively does is take humanity from a state of bewilderment about the nature of human behavior and existence to a state of profound understanding of our lives. It truly is a case of having got all the truth up in one go. Understanding of our species’ troubled human condition has finally emerged to drain away all the pain, suffering, confusion and conflict from the world—and, given our plight, its arrival couldn’t be more timely or serious. If there was ever a case of cometh the hour, cometh the man, this is it! Grand statements and syntheses about human behavior certainly deserve cynicism; as a senior editor of biology at Nature journal, Henry Gee, has said, ‘Hardly a month goes by without my receiving, at my desk at Nature, an exegesis on the reasons how and why human beings evolved to be this way or that. They are always nonsense’ (The Guardian, 7 May 2013). But you only have to read a few paragraphs of this book to recognize its extraordinary profundity and authenticity, for in addressing the underlying, core issue in human life of our species’ conflicted human condition, and never departing from that course, it unravels the whole riddle of what it is to be human.
So, yes, it is with great trepidation that I attempt to write this Introduction, but I hope that my background as a professor of psychiatry with over 50 years’ experience working in the field, including chairing 2 departments of psychiatry and serving as president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association—and my 10 years of knowing the author—might allow me to provide the reader with a helpful insight into this greatest of all books. And by the greatest of all books I do include within that comparison the Bible, which, as it turns out, and as many believed, is also entrenched in truth, but, unlike this book, was written in pre-scientific times and thus unable to provide the scientific basis for all those profound truths. In fact, there is really only one book in the world now: this book. It is so all-explaining and all-solving that it is, in effect, the new science-based Bible for the human race! It is an extraordinary statement to make but one the Nobel laureate physicist Charles H. Townes was anticipating would one day be possible when he wrote that ‘they [science and religion] both represent man’s efforts to understand his universe and must ultimately be dealing with the same substance. As we understand more in each realm, the two must grow together…converge they must’ (‘The Convergence of Science and Religion’, Zygon, 1966, Vol.1, No.3). Yes, this is the book we have been waiting for—the book that saves the world.
The explanation of the human condition, which Jeremy has found, is THE key to a fully unifying understanding of our ‘universe’; it is, as I’ve mentioned, the insight from which all the other mysteries about human life unravel. What needs to be stressed, however, is that finding that explanation depended on overcoming a very great psychological hurdle—which Charles Darwin actually alluded to when, towards the end of The Origin of Species, he wrote that ‘In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation…Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history’ (1859, p.458 of 476). Yes, while Darwin shed illuminating light on the origin of the variety of life, there biology has been stalled—and for a very good reason—because the next step for biologists involved ‘far more important’ (in terms of difficulty) ‘research’. For ‘light’ to ‘be thrown on the origin of man and his history’, the issue of our species’ seemingly highly imperfect condition had to be explained, but the ‘psycholog[ical]’ difficulty was that the human condition has, in fact, been so unbearably self-confronting and depressing a subject that, as the Australian zoologist, author and broadcaster, Professor Anthony Barnett, admitted in the opening quote to this Introduction, only a rare few individuals in recorded history have been able to go anywhere near it. Indeed, as Jeremy explains in chapter 2:4, the fundamental reason science has been what is referred to as ‘reductionist’ and ‘mechanistic’ is because it has avoided the great overarching, all-important but unbearably confronting and depressing issue of the human condition and instead reduced its focus to only looking down at the details of the mechanisms of the working of our world—the great hope being that understanding of those mechanisms would eventually make it possible to explain, understand and thus at last be able to confront the human condition. Which is all very well, but the problem was that to assemble that liberating explanation from the hard-won insights into the mechanisms of the workings of our world, a biologist was going to have to emerge who could face our species’ psychosis! Mechanistic science had to do all the hard work of, as it were, finding the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, but unable to look at the whole picture its practitioners were in no position to put it together—that task required someone sound and secure enough in self to look at the whole picture, to confront the human condition, which, as emphasized, is no mean feat in itself, but one which Jeremy was able to accomplish.
In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970), science historian Thomas Kuhn noted that ‘revolutions are often initiated by an outsider—someone not locked into the current model, which hampers vision almost as much as blinders would’ (from Shirley Strum’s Almost Human, 1987, p.164 of 297). And when it comes to addressing the problem of the human condition this need to think independently of the existing details-only-focused, whole-view-of-the-human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic framework could not be more critical. For someone to be able to explain, and, through that explanation, bring reconciling, ameliorating understanding to our troubled human-condition-afflicted lives, they obviously had to be thinking from a position outside that conventional mechanistic paradigm. The situation certainly brings to mind Einstein’s famous comment that ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them’! I might say that I think we have always known that profound insight into human nature wasn’t going to emerge from the ivory towers of intellectualdom, rather it was going to come from the deepest of deep left field, somewhere where some extraordinary untainted clarity of thought might still exist, such as from the backwoods of Australia where these answers are actually from.
So what exactly is the human condition, and why has the human race, including the mechanistic scientific establishment, been so committed to avoiding it, to living in such complete denial of it—and what have been the consequences for Jeremy, the outsider who dared to break such an entrenched, fiercely held doctrine?
To draw on Jeremy’s own penetrating description, the human condition is our species’ extraordinary capacity for what has been called ‘good’ and ‘evil’. While it’s undeniable that humans are capable of great love and empathy, we also have an unspeakable history of greed, hatred, rape, torture, murder and war; a propensity for deeds so shocking and overwhelming that the eternal question of ‘Why?’ seems depressingly inexplicable. Even in our everyday behavior, why, when the ideals of life are to be cooperative, selfless and loving, are we so ruthlessly competitive, selfish and aggressive that human life has become all but unbearable and our planet near destroyed? How could humans possibly be considered good when all the evidence seems to unequivocally indicate that we are a deeply flawed, bad, even ‘evil’ species?
But as my profession has taught me only too well, for most people, trying to think about this ultimate of questions of whether humans are fundamentally good or not has been an unbearably self-confronting exercise. Indeed, while the term ‘human condition’ has become fashionable, its superficial use masks just how profoundly unsettling a subject it really is. Again, the truth is, the issue of the human condition has been so depressing for virtually all humans that only a rare few individuals in history have been sound and secure enough in self to go anywhere near what the human condition really is. So for Jeremy to so freely and accurately talk about it as he does in this book, he clearly must be one of those rare few. Nurtured by a sheltered upbringing in the Australian ‘bush’ (countryside), Jeremy’s soundness and resulting extraordinary integrity and thus clarity of thought, coupled with his training in biology, has enabled him to successfully grapple with this most foreboding of all subjects for the human mind of the human condition and produce the breakthrough, human-behavior-demystifying-and-ameliorating explanation of it.
This ability lies in stark contrast with the current paradigm of thought that exists within science, and across all aspects of human life, which has had no choice but to avoid—in truth, deny—the seemingly inexplicable and unbearably confronting and depressing question of the human condition, meaning other scientists have remained failure-trapped in trying to explain it. If you can’t confront the issue you’re in no position to solve it. In fact, the human condition has been such a fearful, unconfrontable subject that science as a whole has become the purveyor of extremely dishonest theories that seek to falsely account for, and thus dismiss, our paradoxical nature. As Jeremy explains in chapter 2, there can not be a more dangerous example of this than the theory that appears in biologist E.O. Wilson’s 2012 book, The Social Conquest of Earth—a theory that evasively trivializes the human condition as nothing more than selfless instincts at odds with selfish instincts within us.
Given we haven’t been able to acknowledge the immense role denial of the issue of the human condition has played in human life (because obviously we couldn’t be in denial and admit we were in denial), I am going to, with Jeremy’s permission, pre-emptively employ some frightfully accurate references and quotes (including Jeremy’s clarifications and interpretations within the square brackets in the quotes) that appear in this book to illustrate just how terrifying the human condition has been for virtually all humans, and thus why humanity, including its scientific fraternity, has had to live in almost complete denial of the subject. Yes, ours has been a culture of such pervasive dishonesty that it became nearly impossible for the real, human-race-liberating, biological explanation of the human condition to be unearthed.
The most famous account ever given of the human condition actually forms the centerpiece of Plato’s most acclaimed work, The Republic, in which humans are metaphorically depicted living as prisoners in a dark cave, deep underground, so fearful are they of the issue of the imperfection of their lives that the sun has the power to reveal. As Plato wrote, ‘I want you to go on to picture the enlightenment or ignorance of our human conditions somewhat as follows. Imagine an underground chamber, like a cave with an entrance open to the daylight and running a long way underground. In this chamber are men who have been prisoners there’ (c.360 BC; tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, 514). Plato described how the cave’s exit is blocked by a ‘fire’ that ‘corresponds to the power of the sun’, which the cave prisoners have to hide from because its searing, ‘painful’ light would make ‘visible’ the unbearably depressing issue of ‘the imperfections of human life’ (ibid. 516-517).
In terms of how unbearably confronting—in fact, suicidally depressing—grappling with the issue of the human condition has been, the great philosopher Søren Kierkegaard is said to have given the most honest description of that worse-than-death experience, writing in his aptly titled 1849 book, The Sickness Unto Death, that ‘the torment of despair is precisely the inability to die [and end the torture of our unexplained human condition]…that despair is the sickness unto death, this tormenting contradiction [of our ‘good-and-evil’-human-condition-conflicted lives], this sickness in the self; eternally to die, to die and yet not to die’ (tr. A. Hannay, 1989, p.48 of 179). The famous analytical psychologist Carl Jung provided an equally stark description of the terrifying nature of the human condition when he wrote: ‘When it [our shadow] appears…it is quite within the bounds of possibility for a man to recognize the relative evil of his nature, but it is a rare and shattering experience for him to gaze into the face of absolute evil’ (Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self, 1959; tr. R. Hull, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9/2, p.10). The ‘face of absolute evil’ is the ‘shattering’ possibility—if humans allow their minds to think about it—that they might indeed be a terrible mistake.
It follows then that to confront the human condition has been an impossible ask for most people—as another great philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev, acknowledged: ‘Knowledge requires great daring. It means victory over ancient, primeval terror…it must also be said of knowledge that it is bitter, and there is no escaping that bitterness…Particularly bitter is moral knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. But the bitterness is due to the fallen state of the world…There is a deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, pp.14-15 of 310). Trying to think about our corrupted, ‘fallen’, seemingly ‘evil’ and ‘worthless’ human-condition-afflicted state has been an ‘ancient, primeval terror’, a ‘deadly pain’, ‘the bitterest thing in the world’ for virtually all humans—‘knowledge of good and evil’, of the human condition, ‘requires great daring’. No wonder Professor Barnett said to Jeremy back in 1983 that ‘you are being very arrogant to think you can answer questions on this scale. In the whole of written history there are only two or three people who have been able to think on this scale about the human condition’ (from a recorded interview with Jeremy Griffith, 15 Jan. 1983).
It is perhaps not surprising then that the human-condition-avoiding, denial-based, mechanistic or reductionist scientific establishment, along with the human-condition-avoiding public at large, have found Jeremy’s human-condition-confronting work deeply heretical, an anathema to be dismissed and even persecuted. Indeed, the persecution of Jeremy and his work was of such ferocity that it led to the biggest defamation case in Australia’s history, a case that, after 15 long years, resulted in the vindication of Jeremy’s work. I know all this only too well because I was one of the international scientists who gave evidence in Jeremy’s defense during the trial, where I was able to vouch for the veracity of Jeremy’s biological thinking on the basis of the extensive studies and work I have carried out over many years on empathy within both humans and bonobos, as well as from all my experience in the field of intensive psychotherapy.
The extreme paradox of this situation should be apparent to the reader—as humanity’s designated vehicle for enquiry into our world and our place in it, science’s ultimate objective and responsibility has been to find understanding of the human condition, so to treat the eventual discovery of its explanation as an anathema, to the point of persecuting it, is ridiculously counter to the whole purpose of science. The fundamental goal of the whole human journey of conscious thought and enquiry has been to find the reconciling, redeeming and rehabilitating explanation of our species’ troubled condition, so to reject it when it arrives is madness of the highest order!
Professor Barnett, who passed away in 2003, didn’t mention to Jeremy who he considered to be the ‘two or three people who have been able to think on this scale about the human condition’, but I think we can deduce that they would have been Moses, Plato and Christ. We have already seen the extraordinary soundness and integrity of Plato’s thinking in his ability to so clearly describe humans’ existence in a ‘cave’-‘like’ state of denial of ‘our human condition’. In fact, Plato’s honest, truthful, human-condition-confronting clarity of thought was such that he actually fully anticipated the rejection, indeed persecution, that would occur when someone eventually found the truthful, compassionate, all-liberating but at the same time all-revealing explanation of the human condition. To quote from a summary of Plato’s cave allegory from the Encarta Encyclopaedia: ‘Breaking free, one of the individuals escapes from the cave into the light of day. With the aid of the sun [living free of denial of our human condition], that person sees for the first time the real world and returns to the cave with the message that the only things they have seen heretofore are shadows and appearances and that the real world awaits them if they are willing to struggle free of their bonds. The shadowy environment of the cave symbolizes for Plato the physical world of [false] appearances. Escape into the sun-filled setting outside the cave symbolizes the transition to the real world…which is the proper object of knowledge’ (written by Prof. Robert M. Baird, ‘Plato’; see <>). For the description of what would happen when the ‘mess[enger]’ tries to ‘free’ the cave prisoners ‘into the sun-filled setting outside the cave’, Plato wrote that when ‘he [the cave prisoner] were made to look directly at the light of the fire [again the fire corresponds to the power of the sun which makes visible the imperfections of human life], it would hurt his eyes and he would turn back and take refuge in the things which he could see, which he would think really far clearer than the things being shown him [the mechanistic scientific establishment would prefer its human-condition-avoiding, dishonest theories]. And if he [the cave prisoner] were forcibly dragged up the steep and rocky ascent [out of the cave] and not let go till he had been dragged out into the sunlight, the process would be a painful one, to which he would much object, and when he emerged into the light his eyes would be so overwhelmed by the brightness of it that he wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things he was now told were real. Certainly not at first. Because he would need to grow accustomed to the light before he could see things in the world outside the cave [initially the cave prisoners would find it impossible reading about and absorbing the truthful descriptions of the human condition; they would suffer from a ‘deaf effect’]’ (The Republic, 515-516). Plato went on to say that ‘they would say that his [the person who tries to deliver understanding of our human condition] visit to the upper world had ruined his sight [they would treat him as if he was mad], and that the ascent [out of the cave] was not worth even attempting. And if anyone tried to release them and lead them up, they would kill him if they could lay hands on him’ (517). Yes, as any psychotherapist knows, denials do fight back with a vengeance when faced with annihilation.
Of course, in today’s civilized world more subtle means of eliminating threats to the mechanistic, human-condition-avoiding, denial-based ‘cave existence’ were employed in the campaign of persecution against Jeremy for being the person who ‘escapes from the cave into the light of day’ and then ‘dragged [humanity] out into the sunlight’. This persecution was the focal point of the aforementioned legal battle undertaken to defend Jeremy’s work, in which three judges in the New South Wales Court of Appeal unanimously found that an earlier ruling in a lower court did ‘not adequately consider’ ‘the nature and scale of its subject matter’, in particular ‘that the work was a grand narrative explanation from a holistic approach, involving teleological elements’, and other important submissions ‘were not adequately considered by the primary judge’ including that the work can make ‘those who take the trouble to grapple with it uncomfortable’ because it ‘involves reflections on subject-matter including the purpose of human existence which may, of its nature, cause an adverse reaction as it touches upon issues which some would regard as threatening to their ideals, values or even world views’! (For details of the persecution and court case, including this vindicating ruling, see ).
The journey that Jeremy and those advocating his work have been on to bring these human-race-saving understandings to the world, which has culminated in this absolutely astonishing book, has been a long and torturous one, but one that makes for fascinating and revealing reading, so I will now present for the reader a very brief summary of Jeremy’s early life, his writing and his unrelenting efforts to free our species from its incarceration in Plato’s terrible cave of human-condition-denying, alienated darkness.
Born on December 1, 1945, and raised on a sheep station (ranch) in rural New South Wales, Australia, Jeremy was educated at Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, a school whose visionary approach to education has produced such notable alumni as Rupert Murdoch and HRH The Prince of Wales. He gained first class honors in biology in the state matriculation exams and in 1965 began a science degree at the University of New England in northern New South Wales. While there, Jeremy played representative rugby union football, making the 1966 trials for the national team, the Wallabies.
Deferring his studies in 1967, Jeremy undertook the most thorough investigation ever into the plight of the Tasmanian Tiger (thylacine)—a search that was to last more than six years, before concluding the ‘Tiger’ was indeed extinct. His findings were internationally reported, with articles appearing in the American Museum of Natural History’s journal, Natural History (see ), and Australian Geographic (see ). His search also featured in an episode of the national television series A Big Country (see ).
In 1971 Jeremy completed his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology at the University of Sydney and the following year, in the same self-sufficient spirit with which he had undertaken the ‘Tiger’ search, he established a successful furniture manufacturing business based on his own simple and natural designs, which pioneered the use of bark-to-bark slabs of timber (see ). On the subject of creativity, I should mention that Jeremy is also an accomplished artist (see ).
An upbringing nurtured with real, unconditional love (it is to the nurturing from Jeremy’s mother, and to the good fortune of having a father who was not oppressively egocentric, that we really owe these world-saving insights) in the sheltered isolation of the Australian bush left Jeremy deeply troubled and perplexed by all the selfishness, aggression, dishonesty and indifference on the one hand, and all the suffering on the other, that he inevitably encountered in the innocence-destroyed, human-condition-embattled, psychotic wider world. In time, he realized that trying to save animals from extinction or trying to build ideal furniture wasn’t going to make a difference to the extraordinary imperfection in human life and that he would have to get to the bottom of the issue of this seeming complete wrongness of human behavior, which is the issue of the human condition. And so it was while building his furniture business that Jeremy first began to write down his ever developing thoughts about the problem of the human condition. Indeed, since the early 1970s Jeremy has spent the first, often pre-dawn, hours of each day thinking and writing about the human condition. After some 10 years of extraordinarily profound, honest, human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding, effective thinking during his late 20s and early 30s, Jeremy was ready to present to the world his fully accountable, but, for virtually everyone else, unbearably self-confronting insights into human behavior. It was an amazing decade of clear thinking, confirming Einstein’s belief that ‘a person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so’ (Selig Brodetsky, ‘Newton: Scientist and Man’, Nature, 1942, Vol.150).
However, since producing his all-explaining synthesis, the problem Jeremy has encountered has been how to present it in such a way that people could access its confronting truthfulness; it’s all very well to find the redeeming, reconciling full truth about humans, but when everyone has been living in determined denial of all the elements that comprise that compassionate full truth, how do you get them to overcome that denial and hear it? Recall that Plato said that when the ‘cave’ ‘prisoners’ are ‘free[d] of their bonds’ they ‘would be so overwhelmed by the brightness of’ the ‘light’ of understanding of ‘our human condition’ that ‘at first’ they ‘wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things’ revealed as ‘real’. It is Jeremy’s journey to find a way to overcome this ‘deaf effect’ difficulty that reading about the human condition initially causes that has led to this presentation of his synthesis in FREEDOM. As you will see, his strategy in this book is to encourage readers to watch introductory videos to FREEDOM at , and also be prepared to patiently re-read the text, so you can, as Plato said, ‘grow accustomed to the light’. Of course, this strategy was arrived at after much trial and error—over 30 years, in fact, of presenting his synthesis in slightly different ways in a series of articles and books, beginning in 1983 with submissions to Nature and New Scientist (which were rejected, with the then editor of Nature, John Maddox, telling Jeremy that his starting point teleological argument that there is an underlying order in nature ‘is wrong’—as I will mention again shortly, in chapter 4, Jeremy explains why the truth of the order in nature has been denied by human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic science); then, in 1988, Free: The End Of The Human Condition; Beyond The Human Condition (1991); A Species In Denial (2003), which was a bestseller in Australia and New Zealand but still failed to attract any real interest from the scientific establishment; The Human Condition Documentary Proposal (2004); The Great Exodus: From the horror and darkness of the human condition (2006); Freedom: Expanded (2009); The Book of Real Answers to Everything! (2011); and now, in 2016, FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition. (All the earlier works referred to here are freely available to be read or printed at .)
Despite the difficulty of presenting such a confronting treatise, Jeremy’s books have attracted the support of such accomplished thinkers as Australia’s Templeton Prize-winning biologist Professor Charles Birch, one of New Zealand’s foremost zoologists, Professor John Morton, and the pre-eminent philosopher Sir Laurens van der Post. The proposal to make a documentary about the human condition (The Human Condition Documentary Proposal), in which Jeremy outlined all the main biological explanations contained in his synthesis, also received over 100 endorsements from many of the world’s leading scientists and thinkers, including professors Stephen Hawking and the aforementioned Nobel Laureate Charles H. Townes (see ).
But while Jeremy’s work has drawn praise and garnered impressive commendations from some exceptional thinkers able to acknowledge his insights, he has, as mentioned, also had to withstand the enormous cynicism, indifference and even persecution that humans’ historical resistance to engaging the subject of the human condition produces. Indeed, it was soon after he began writing that Jeremy realized that not only was the scientific establishment failing its responsibility to address the issue of the human condition, but that, like the rest of humanity, it was treating the whole issue as an anathema. As a result, Jeremy established, in 1983, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and amelioration of the human condition, now called the World Transformation Movement (WTM) (). So fearful, however, has humanity been of the issue of the human condition that a vicious campaign was launched in 1995 to try to shut down Jeremy’s work and bring the WTM into disrepute, which Jeremy, along with fellow WTM Patron, renowned mountaineer and twice-honored Order of Australia recipient Tim Macartney-Snape and the other supporters of the WTM, determinedly resisted—the result of which was the biggest defamation case in Australia’s history, against the two biggest, left-wing (described by Jeremy as dogmatic, pseudo idealistic, ‘let’s pretend there’s no human condition that has to be solved and the world should just be ideal’, dishonest) media organizations in Australia, including its national public broadcaster. As mentioned, in 2010—after 15 long years—Jeremy and Tim were vindicated, enabling Jeremy to concentrate solely on producing new works such as Freedom: Expanded, and now this, its condensation and Jeremy’s summa masterpiece, FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition. (Note, this book was first published in 2014 under the title IS IT TO BE Terminal Alienation or Transformation For The Human Race? and with content that was specifically tailored to a scientific audience. In 2016 the book was recast for general release under its current title FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition.)
As I have said, Jeremy’s journey in bringing understanding to the human condition and protecting the integrity of that explanation—a 40 year saga—has certainly been a protracted and torturous one (indeed, the persecution was so terrible it left Jeremy seriously debilitated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from 1999 to 2009), but bringing understanding to the human condition is the only rational path forward for the human race! Indeed, as a reflection of the looming psychological crisis for the human race that is the end result of having to live ever deeper ‘underground’ in Plato’s horrible ‘cave’ of ‘human condition’-avoiding, dishonest, alienated darkness, and the now desperate need for the reconciling, redeeming and psychologically transforming light of understanding of the human condition, the following initiatives have all taken place in the last 18 months (as at February 2014 when this book was first published under the title IS IT TO BE)! (The sources of the following quotes are provided when Jeremy refers to them in par. 603.)
in December 2012 an American billionaire pledged $200 million to Columbia University’s ‘accomplished scholars whose collective mission is both greater understanding of the human condition and the discovery of new cures for human suffering’; and,
in January 2013 the European Commission announced the launch of the ‘Human Brain Project with a 2013 budget of €54 million (US$69 million)’ with a ‘projected billion-euro funding over the next ten years’ with the goal of providing ‘a new understanding of the human brain and its diseases’ to ‘offer solutions to tackling conditions such as depression’; and,
in April 2013 the President of the United States, Barack Obama, announced a ‘Brain Initiative’, giving ‘$100 million initial funding’ to mechanistic science to also find ‘the underlying causes of…neurological and psychiatric conditions’ afflicting humans; and,
in April 2013 BBC News Business reported that ‘Lord Rees, the Astronomer Royal and former president of the Royal Society, is backing plans for [Cambridge University to open] a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk [meaning risk to our existence]. “This is the first century in the world’s history when the biggest threat is from humanity,” says Lord Rees’. The article then referred to Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute that was established in 2005, which is ‘looking at big-picture questions for human civilization…[and] change…[that] might transform the human condition’, quoting its Director and advisor to the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, Nick Bostrom: ‘There is a bottleneck in human history. The human condition is going to change. It could be that we end in a catastrophe or that we are transformed by taking much greater control over our biology’!
There are two points I would make about these very recent initiatives. Firstly, establishing a center to study the human condition is precisely the initiative Jeremy took 30 years ago when he created the self-funded WTM, an act of prescience that evidences his clarity and integrity of thought—the WTM even has the now much sought-after domain name ‘’. Secondly, while the fastest growing realization in the world has to be that humanity can’t go on the way it is going—indeed, as Bostrom said, the great fear is that we are rapidly approaching an endgame situation, a ‘bottleneck in human history’, where the human species is either ‘transformed’ or ‘we end in a catastrophe’—and so these initiatives are admirable in their goal to address the underlying, real problem afflicting the human race of the human condition, they are still attempting to do so from the same old reductionist, mechanistic position, which, as Jeremy explains in chapter 2, is an approach committed to avoiding the real psychological nature of the human condition, and as such is self-defeating; it is doomed to fail. An opinion piece by Benjamin Y. Fong of the University of Chicago that was published in The New York Times in 2013 made this very point: ‘The real trouble with the Brain Initiative is…the instrumental approach…[such biological reduction is] intent on uncovering the organic “cause”…of mental problems…rather than looking into psychosocial factors…By humbly claiming ignorance about the “causes” of mental problems…neuroscientists unconsciously repress all that we know about the alienating, unequal, and dissatisfying world in which we live and the harmful effects it has on the psyche, thus unwittingly foreclosing’ the ability to ‘alleviate mental disorder’ (‘Bursting the Neuro-Utopian Bubble’, 11 Aug. 2013; see <>). To summarize what Fong has said here and elsewhere in his article, mechanistic, ‘reduction[ist]’ science’s ‘synthetic’ focus on the ‘organic’ rather than the ‘psychological’ nature of our problems can only end in denying humans ‘the possibility of self-transformation’. It is only Jeremy’s approach of confronting the real, psychological nature of the human condition that could hope to find, and now has found, the reconciling and human-race-‘transform[ing]’ understanding of the human condition—and yet it is his approach that has been treated as heretical, an anathema and a threat by the mechanistic scientific establishment!! My sincere hope, however, is that with our species’ predicament now so dire, the scientific establishment will finally acknowledge and support Jeremy’s human-race-saving insight into the human condition—and the other critically important insights made possible by his power to unravel our species’ psychosis.
I want to emphasize what I have just said: the desperation to solve the human condition that is apparent in the sudden emergence of all these admirable yet ultimately futile multi-multi-million dollar-supported Brain Initiatives evidences just how dire our situation is—just how close humanity is to the ‘end in catastrophe’, cornered, ‘bottleneck’, end play situation of terminal alienation. And since Jeremy’s psychosis confronting, solving and ‘transform[ing]’ insights into ‘the human condition’ are all that can save humanity from this fate, this book is all that the human race has standing between it and extinction! That is how important this book is, and why science must now recognize the substance and truth it contains.
And I should point out that not only has Jeremy’s work been treated as heretical by mechanistic science because he dares to look at the real ‘psychological’ nature of the human condition, it has also been resisted because of the two reasons referred to in the ruling by the aforementioned three judges of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. Firstly, rather than being a more mechanistic and less thinking dependent, deduction-derived theory, Jeremy, like Darwin did with his theory of natural selection, puts forward a wide-ranging, induction-derived synthesis, a ‘grand narrative explanation’ for, in this case, human behavior—an approach, incidentally, that led to both Darwin’s and Jeremy’s work being very wrongly criticized by some for not presenting ‘new data’ and a ‘testable hypothesis’, and even as ‘not being science at all’! Secondly, Jeremy’s enormously knowledge-advancing (and ‘science’ literally means ‘knowledge’, derived as it is from the Latin word scientia, which means ‘knowledge’) thinking is based on ‘a holistic approach involving teleological elements’. As Jeremy beautifully explains in chapter 4, the reason that the fundamental truth of the teleological, holistic purpose or meaning of existence of developing the order or integration of matter into ever larger and more stable wholes (atoms into compounds, into virus-like organisms, into single-celled organisms, into multicelled organisms, etc) has been denied by human-condition-avoiding mechanistic science is because it implies humans should behave in an ordered, integrative, cooperative, selfless, loving way. The fundamental truth of holism, which literally means ‘the tendency in nature to form wholes’ (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edn, 1964), confronts humans with the unbearable issue of the human condition, the issue of why don’t we behave in an integrative, cooperative, considerate-of-others, loving way. As Jeremy explains in chapter 4, this order-of-matter developing, integrative process, direction and meaning of existence is a truth we have been so fearful of we have personified it as ‘God’.
Jeremy once sent me a feature article that was syndicated in the weekend magazine of two of Australia’s leading newspapers about the extraordinarily enlightened Australian biologist Charles Birch, who was the head of the biology faculty at Sydney University when Jeremy was a student there, which I will quote because it describes the treatment that has been given to any scientist who dared to recognize the teleological, holistic purpose or meaning of existence. Titled ‘Science Friction’, the article referred to an emerging group of scientists who are bringing about a ‘scientific revolution’ and ‘monumental paradigm shift’ in science because they have ‘dared to take a holistic approach’ and are thus being seen by the scientific orthodoxy as committing ‘scientific heresy’. The article said that these scientists, such as the ‘physicist Paul Davies and biologist Charles Birch’, who are ‘not afraid of terms such as “purpose” and “meaning”’, are trying ‘to cross the great divide between science and religion’, adding that ‘Quite a number of biologists got upset [about this new development] because they don’t want to open the gates to teleology—the idea that there is goal-directed change is an anathema to biologists who believe that change is random’. The article summarized that ‘The emerging clash of scientific thought has forced many of the new scientists on to the fringe. Some of the pioneers no longer have university positions, many publish their theories in popular books rather than journals, others have their work sponsored by independent organisations…universities are not catering for the new paradigm’ (Deidre Macken, The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age, 16 Nov. 1991; see <>). While Jeremy gained a BSc degree at a conventional university, he didn’t continue his studies there to gain a PhD and he has ‘publish[ed his]…theories in popular books rather than journals’—but as this article points out, the very good reason for pursuing that autonomous path is that ‘Universities are not catering for the new paradigm’. In fact, as I mentioned, Jeremy had to create an ‘independent organisation’ to study the human condition from a truthful, non-mechanistic, teleology-recognizing base—and, as I mentioned, his prescience in ‘pioneer[ing]’ this now recognized all-important frontier for science reveals what an extraordinarily capable and eminent scientist Jeremy is; a professor of science in the truest sense. Thomas Kuhn was certainly right when, as I mentioned earlier, he said that ‘revolutions are often initiated by an outsider—someone not locked into the current model, which hampers vision almost as much as blinders would’. Kuhn also recognized that ‘When a field is pre-paradigmatic [introduces a new paradigm, as Jeremy’s work does]…progress is made with books, not with journal papers’ (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1970; from ‘Phillip Greenspun’s Weblog’; see <>). And I might point out that just as Jeremy has had to do to create a revolution in science, Charles Darwin was ‘a lone genius, working from his country home without any official academic position’ (Geoffrey Miller, The Mating Mind, 2000, p.33 of 538).
In conclusion—and given Jeremy was so vilified he was made a pariah—I would like to emphasize the height of my regard for him. He is the most impressive person and courageous thinker I have ever met and no doubt ever will. Normally people disappoint you at some point, or on some occasions, but Jeremy never does. Basically he is not egocentric. Being exceptionally well nurtured with unconditional love as a child he is sound and secure in himself and as a result is not preoccupied having to prove his worth all the time like most people are. Free of such selfish self-preoccupation he is selflessly concerned only with finding a way to end all the suffering in others, which has resulted in him focusing on finding the solution to the human condition. And being sound and secure in self has meant that in tackling that issue he has been able to think in an unafraid, truthful and thus effective way about it; as Berdyaev foresaw, it was going to ‘require…great daring’ to find ‘knowledge of good and evil’, understanding of the human condition.
It is quite amazing, in all my years of meeting people and practicing psychiatry, I haven’t encountered a soul like him. He is one of those incredibly rare individuals, a person of intellectual rigor and personal nobility who has the capacity to be completely honest without a personal bent; when you are with him you can feel his passion for the truth, which he embodies. Indeed, meeting Jeremy as I did after reading so much of his work, I realized that he lives 100 percent in the world that he writes about—an immensely inspired, child-like-zest-full, enthralled-with-all-of-life, truthful world where the human condition is at all times being addressed and understood. Unlike everyone I have ever come across, for whom discussion of the human condition is so extremely difficult (almost impossible, one might say), when you talk to Jeremy about the human condition and the biology surrounding it, the world changes, everything seems possible, biology makes sense. Logic—simple and obvious truth—replaces over-complicated intellectual scientific downright rubbish—the vast majority of it. Indeed, science—and biology in particular—is so saturated with evasive, dishonest denial that the denial-free world of understanding that Jeremy introduces us to is so new it is akin to having to start your education all over again! Jeremy’s capacity for unerring and unrelenting honesty is literally staggering, but, as you will see, it is always accompanied by understanding; his is no ‘feel good’, guru-like, false prophet form of totally dubious and ephemeral ‘help’ for humans’ troubled lives, but a get-to-the-bottom-of-all-the-problems, truthful, real, insightful, ameliorating love that the world has been so in need of. And, thankfully, right through all the vehement resistance that he has faced and overcome in the last 30 years of his life, which took him near to death, Jeremy never gave up his responsibility that he saw right from the early years of his completely-nurtured-with-love upbringing to deliver the understanding of human nature that would end all the suffering in the world.
Since coming across Jeremy’s work 10 years ago and realizing its enormous world-saving significance, I have kept one of his pieces of writing with me at all times. Having these insights into what it means to be human brings such clarity and change to everything, that staying in close contact with them in a world that is so distressed and psychologically crippled brings me relief, security and optimism for the future like nothing else I have ever encountered. Jeremy is the ultimate psychotherapist, the psychotherapist for psychotherapists—in fact, all the great theories I have encountered in my lifetime of studies of psychiatry can be accounted for under his explanation of human origins and behavior. I want to emphasize that Jeremy does describe the world exactly as it is with all its imperfections, but just as he describes all the horror of the world he also provides the insight into our condition that makes possible the only real hope, optimism and downright, out-of-your-skin excitement for the future of the human race and our planet—a transformational experience Jeremy introduces us to in chapter 9. Indeed, while the overall significance of this book is its ability to transform the reader—and thus the human race—by presenting the most relieving, uplifting and positive story ever told about humans, the explanation of the human condition in chapter 3 (which is summarized in chapter 1) is so amazingly accountable, insightful and relieving that it alone will transform you.
Yet be warned. While ever hopeful, humans are also great skeptics when it comes to the prospect that anyone could ever actually get in behind what the human condition really is and from there explain and expose everything about us, which means that what typically occurs when someone begins reading this book is that they are expecting it to be like any other—that at best it will only allude to the human condition, rather than going right into and down to its depths! The result of this skepticism and under-estimation is that when someone starts reading this book they usually progress further and further into a state of shock until they are, as author Ian Frazier acknowledged in his comment at the very beginning of the book, ‘staggered into silence’, even, as Plato warned, finding the book ‘so overwhelm[ing]’ they aren’t ‘able to see a single one of the things’ they are ‘now told’ are ‘real’. Importantly, however, this stunned, ‘deaf effect’ situation can, as I mentioned earlier, be overcome by patient re-reading of the text, and, most helpfully of all, by having Jeremy reassuringly escort you through this historically forbidden realm in his introductory videos to FREEDOM at . Both actions will allow you to, as Plato said, ‘grow accustomed to the light’. This is a fabulous but naturally initially difficult paradigm shift you will be making to a transformed, human-condition-free world.
The importance of the ideas in this book is immeasurable. The depths they enable us to reach in understanding ourselves and our world is bottomless. The great impasse to a full understanding of our existence has finally been breached. This truly is it, the day of days, the coming of our species’ moment of liberation, the implications and context of which Jeremy fully deals with in pars 1278 and 1279.
I am so very, very fortunate to have spent time with Jeremy and to have spoken with him almost fortnightly for 10 years—however, it is not who Jeremy is, but what he has done that is so important and in this regard I commend this book to you with all my mind, heart and soul. You are in for an absolute feast of knowledge, insight and ultimately love like you could never have imagined.
(I am very grateful to Fiona Cullen-Ward and Tony Gowing at the WTM for their assistance in preparing this Introduction.)
Harry Prosen, Wisconsin, USA, 2014
Summary of the contents of FREEDOM
Chapter 1:1 Freedom from the human condition
39This book liberates you, the reader, and all other humans from an underlying insecurity and resulting psychosis that all humans have suffered from since we became a fully conscious species some two million years ago.
40This underlying insecurity and psychosis that exists within every human is the product of a very deep anxiety, an uncertainty, of not knowing why, when the ideals of life are so obviously to be cooperative, loving and selfless, are humans so competitive, aggressive and selfish. Certainly, we have relied heavily on the excuse that our behaviour is no different to that seen in the animal kingdom—that we humans are competitive, aggressive and selfish because of our animal heritage. We have argued that we are, as Lord Alfred Tennyson put it, ‘red in tooth and claw’—a victim of savage animal instincts that compel us to fight and compete for food, shelter, territory and a mate; that we are at the mercy of a biological need to reproduce our genes. But this reason that biologists, including the most celebrated living biologist, the Harvard-based Edward (E.) O. Wilson, have been perpetuating cannot be the real cause of our competitive, divisive behaviour because descriptions of human behaviour, such as egocentric, arrogant, inspired, depressed, deluded, pessimistic, optimistic, artificial, hateful, mean, immoral, guilt-ridden, evil, psychotic, neurotic, alienated, all recognise the involvement of our species’ unique fully conscious thinking mind—that there is a psychological dimension to our behaviour. Humans have suffered not from the genetic-opportunism-based, non-psychological animal condition, but the conscious-mind-based, PSYCHOLOGICALLY troubled HUMAN CONDITION.
41Of course, in the absence of understanding, we had no choice but to come up with some excuse for why we are the way we are in order to cope with the negative implications of being divisively instead of cooperatively behaved, but we do all in truth know that the old ‘animals are competitive and aggressive and that’s why we are’ defence simply doesn’t hold water—it doesn’t explain our psychologically distressed human condition and so cannot end the pain, suffering, conflict and confusion that plagues this planet. And that is where the human race has been stalled, waiting in an increasingly distressed state for the real explanation for our psychologically troubled human condition that will finally make sense of the riddle of human life. That is, until now—because it is precisely that human-mind-liberating, psychosis-relieving REAL explanation that this book at last delivers.
42While the full description of this psychosis-addressing-and-solving, real explanation of the human condition is presented in chapter 3, a summary of it is provided here in chapter 1 to demonstrate to the reader that this is the understanding and insight that is able to end the underlying insecurity and resulting psychosis of everyone’s condition and, through doing so, transform every human into a new, human-condition-free person! Yes, this book brings about the liberation of humanity from its incarceration in the horrifically debilitating darkness of Plato’s ‘cave’ of alienating psychological denial that I have depicted in the above image and will explain later in this chapter.
43But before diving into the heart of the explanation, it needs to be emphasised that while the human condition is essentially the riddle of why humans are competitive and aggressive when the ideals are to be cooperative and loving, the deeper meaning of the human condition is more elusive. Indeed, as will be made clear in chapter 2, the human condition has been such a difficult issue for humans to think about and confront that many people now have very little idea of what the human condition actually is, thinking it refers not to the reality of our species’ immensely troubled psychology, but to the state of widespread poverty and physical hardship in human life, or to problems such as human inequality. But these problems are only superficial manifestations and aspects of the human condition. The truth is, the human condition is a much more profound and serious issue that goes to the very heart of who we are. So before I present the brief explanation of the human condition I first need to describe what the human condition really is.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 1 Summary of the contents of FREEDOM
Chapter 1:2 What exactly is the human condition?
Here on Earth some of the most complex arrangements of matter in the known universe have come into existence. Life, in all its incredible diversity and richness, developed. And, by virtue of our mind, the human species must surely represent the culmination of this grand experiment of nature we call life—for, as far as we can detect, we are the first organism to have developed the fully conscious ability to sufficiently understand and thus manage the relationship between cause and effect to wrest management of our lives from our instincts, and to even reflect upon our existence. It is easy to lose sight of the utter magnificence of what we are, but the human mind must surely be nature’s most astonishing creation. Indeed, it must be one of the wonders of the universe! Consider, for example, the intellectual brilliance involved in sending three of our kind to the Moon and back.
AND YET, despite our species’ magnificent mental capabilities, and undeniable capacity for immense sensitivity and love, behind every wondrous scientific achievement, sensitive artistic expression and compassionate act lies the shadow of humanity’s darker side—an unspeakable history of greed, hatred, rape, torture, murder and war; a propensity for deeds of shocking violence, depravity, indifference and cruelty. As the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote, ‘man is the only animal which causes pain to others with no other object than causing pain…No animal ever torments another for the sake of tormenting: but man does so, and it is this which constitutes the diabolical nature which is far worse than the merely bestial’ (Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1970, p.139 of 237). Yes, undermining all our marvellous accomplishments and sensibilities is the fact that we humans have also been the most ferocious and malicious creatures to have ever lived on Earth!
And it is precisely this dual capacity for what has historically been referred to as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ that has troubled the human mind since we first became fully conscious, thinking beings: are we essentially ‘good’ and, if so, what is the cause of our destructive, insensitive and cruel, so-called ‘evil’ side? Why do we thinking, reasoning, rational, immensely clever, supposedly sensible beings behave so abominably and cause so much suffering and devastation? Yes, the eternal question has been why ‘evil’? What is the origin of the dark, volcanic forces that undeniably exist within us humans? What is it deep within us humans that troubles us so terribly? What is it that makes us such a combative, ruthless, hateful, retaliatory, violent, in-truth-psychologically-disturbed creature? In metaphysical religious terms, what is ‘the origin of sin’? More generally, if the universally accepted ideals of life are to be cooperative, loving and selfless—ideals that have been accepted by modern civilisations as the foundations for constitutions and laws and by the founders of all the great religions as the basis of their teachings—why are humans competitive, aggressive and selfish? Indeed, so ruthlessly competitive, selfish and brutal that life has become all but unbearable and we have nearly destroyed our own planet? Does our inconsistency with the ideals mean we are essentially bad, a flawed species, an evolutionary mistake, a blight on Earth, a cancer in the universe—or could we possibly be divine beings? And, more to the point, is the human race faced with having to live forever in this tormented state of uncertainty and insecurity about the fundamental worth and meaning of our lives? Is it our species’ destiny to have to live in a state of permanent damnation?!
The agony of being unable to truthfully answer the fundamental question of why we are the way we are—divisively instead of cooperatively behaved—has been the particular burden of human life. It has been our species’ particular affliction or condition—our ‘human condition’. Good or bad, loving or hateful, angels or devils, constructive or destructive, sensitive or insensitive: WHAT ARE WE? Throughout history we have struggled to find meaning in the awesome contradiction of our human condition. Our endeavours in philosophy, psychology and biology have failed, until now, to provide a truthful, real, psychosis-addressing-and-solving, not-the-patently-false-animals-are-competitive-and-aggressive-and-that’s-why-we-are, fully accountable, genuinely clarifying explanation. And for their part, while religious assurances such as ‘God loves you’ may have provided temporary comfort, they too failed to explain WHY we are lovable. So, yes, WHY are we lovable? How could we be good when all the evidence seems to unequivocally indicate that we are a deeply flawed, bad, even evil species? What is the answer to this question of questions, this problem of ‘good and evil’ in the human make-up, this greatest of all paradoxes and dilemmas of the human condition? What caused humans to become divisively behaved and, more importantly, how is this divisive behaviour ever going to be brought to an end? THIS, the issue of the human condition, is the REAL question facing the human race.
And with every day bringing with it more alarming evidence of the turmoil of the human situation, the issue of the human condition is the ONLY question confronting the human race, because its solution has become a matter of critical urgency. Conflict between individuals, ‘races’, cultures, religions and countries abounds (and by ‘races’ I mean groups of people whose members have mostly been together a long time and are thus relatively closely related genetically—people who have a shared history). There is genocide, terrorism, mass displacement of peoples, starvation, runaway diseases, environmental devastation, gross inequality, ‘racial’ and gender oppression, polarised politics, rampant corruption and other crimes, drug abuse, family breakdown, and epidemic levels of obesity, chronic anxiety, depression, unhappiness and loneliness—all of which are being rapidly exacerbated by the exploding world population and exponential rise everywhere in anger, egocentricity and alienation (what I refer to as ‘upset’). Improved forms of management, such as better laws, better politics and better economics—and better self-management, such as new ways of disciplining, suppressing, organising, motivating or even transcending our troubled natures—have all failed to end the march towards ever greater levels of alienation, devastation and unhappiness. In short, the situation is now so grim the human race IS, in fact, entering end play or end game, where the Earth cannot absorb any further devastation from the effects of our upset behaviour, nor the human body cope with any more debilitating stress, or, most particularly, our mind endure any more psychological distress, any more alienated psychosis and neurosis. The journalist Richard Neville was frighteningly accurate when, in summarising the desperate state of our species’ situation, he wrote that ‘the world is hurtling to catastrophe: from nuclear horrors, a wrecked eco-system, 20 million dead each year from malnutrition, 600 million chronically hungry…All these crises are man made, their causes are psychological. The cures must come from this same source; which means the planet needs psychological maturity fast. We are locked in a race between self destruction and self discovery’ (Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Oct. 1986; see <>). Yes, our species has come to the critical juncture where ONLY ‘self discovery’—reconciling, ameliorating, ‘psychological[ly]’ healing understanding of ourselves—could save us from ‘self destruction’.
The Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig has been contributing cartoons and articles to Australian newspapers since 1965 and in that time has produced innumerable brilliantly insightful, revealing and therapeutically honest cartoons about all aspects of our species’ troubled condition—five more of which appear later in this book. This cartoon, in which he truthfully depicts all the horrors of the human condition, is, in my view, one of his best. It is certainly not a picture of a lovely ordered city park where people peacefully and happily enjoy themselves, as we all too easily prefer to delude ourselves that the world we have created is like. Rather, it shows a mother and child approaching the ‘Gardens of the Human Condition’ with an expression of bewildered dread on the face of the mother, and in the case of the child, wide-eyed shock. Yes, as Leunig cleverly intimates, our world is no longer an innocent Garden of Eden, but a devastated realm of human-condition-stricken, psychologically distressed humans where ‘inhumanity’ reigns. With this masterpiece, Leunig has boldly revealed the truth that we humans are a brutally angry, hateful, destructive, arrogant, egocentric, selfish, mad, lonely, unhappy and psychologically depressed species. He has people fighting, beating and strangling each other, drunk out of their minds, depressed, lonely, crying, hiding and suiciding, going mad, and egocentrically holding forth—reflecting, in effect, every aspect of the human condition. Yes, as the main character in the 2005 film The White Countess noted, ‘What we see out there [in the world] is chaos; mistrust, deception, hatred, viciousness—chaos—there’s no broader canvas out there, nothing that man can go and compose a pretty picture on.’ The polymath Blaise Pascal was even more damning in his depiction of the human condition, when, centuries earlier, he spelled out the full horror of our contradictory nature, writing, ‘What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth, repository of truth, a sewer of uncertainty and error, the glory and the scum of the universe!’ (Pensées, 1669). William Shakespeare was equally revealing of the paradoxical true nature of the human condition when he wrote, ‘What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty!…in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me’ (Hamlet, 1603)!!
So the 17 goals of ‘The [United Nations’] Global Goals’ ‘Movement’ that each ‘global citizen’ and ‘every school’ is currently being told to ‘tell everyone about’ and ‘make famous’ (namely to address ‘poverty, hunger, well-being, education, gender equality, clean water, clean energy, decent work, infrastructure, inequality, sustainability, responsible consumption, climate action, life in water, life on land, peace and justice, partnerships for the goals’) hugely trivialise our species’ plight—because all these goals focus only on the symptoms of the human condition. To stop the destruction of our world and the disintegration of society that is happening everywhere we look we have to fix the cause of the problems at its source, which is us humans, our psychosis. WE are the problem; our out-of-control egocentric, selfish, competitive and ferociously vicious, mean and aggressive behaviour. The cartoonist Walt Kelly spoke the truth when he had Pogo, his comic strip hero, say, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us’ (1971). Yes, the underlying, REAL question that had to be answered if we were ever to find relieving, redeeming, psychologically healing understanding of ourselves was WHY ARE WE HUMANS the most brilliantly clever of creatures, the ones who are ‘god’-‘like’ in our ‘infinite’ ‘faculty’ of ‘reason’ and ‘apprehension’, a ‘glor[ious]’, ‘angel’-‘like’ ‘prodigy’ capable of being a ‘judge of all things’ and a ‘repository of truth’, also the meanest, most vicious, most capable of inflicting pain, cruelty, suffering and degradation? Why are humans so choked full of volcanic frustration, anger and hatred—the species that behaves so appallingly that we seem to be ‘monster[s]’, ‘imbecile[s]’, ‘a sewer of uncertainty and error’ and ‘chaos’, the ‘essence’ of ‘dust’, ‘the scum of the universe’? That is what the issue of the human condition really is: ‘WHY ARE WE THE WAY WE ARE, COMPETITIVE AND AGGRESSIVE, RATHER THAN COOPERATIVE AND LOVING’—AND BENEATH THAT, THE DEEPER QUESTION OF, WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF ALL THIS PSYCHOLOGICAL FRUSTRATION AND PAIN INSIDE OF US HUMANS?’
Clearly, it is of incalculable importance to finally be able to answer this question of questions of the origin of the human condition. In fact, the great hope, faith and trust of the human race has been that one day the redeeming and psychologically rehabilitating understanding of our ‘good and evil’-afflicted human condition would be found. And since this all-important issue of the human condition—the underlying issue in all human affairs—is biological in nature, its resolution has been the most important task assigned to biologists; indeed, it has been described as the ‘holy grail’ of biology. AND, as incredible as it may seem, it is this breakthrough of breakthroughs—this all-important, world-saving, psychosis-addressing-and-relieving, real biological explanation of the human condition—that is presented in this book! As stated earlier, the effect of finally knowing and understanding and living with this explanation is that it transforms humans from their psychologically insecure, human-condition-afflicted existence to a psychologically secure and mature, human-condition-free state. This is the explanation that lifts the so-called burden of guilt from the shoulders of the human race. This is the explanation that ends the condemnation that we humans have had to endure for so long. And the reason you will know this is the real, true explanation is because, unlike earlier excuses, it will prove so accountable it will make all of our egocentric, arrogant, inspired, depressed, deluded, etc, psychologically distressed behaviour transparent. Understanding and absorbing this explanation will end all the bewilderment, confusion and uncertainty—all the insecurity—about human behaviour. It will unravel the whole mess we humans have been living in; as the leading Australian journalist, broadcaster and commentator, Brian Carlton, said in one of the introductory videos I will shortly be recommending you view, ‘It’s an intellectual epiphany…It’s a revelation…the clarity of it is euphoric…when you get it, it is an event. You remember the day, you remember the section of the book, you remember when it happened, it stays with you…Don’t underestimate the extent to which your work has impacted me in terms of how I think about what I’m seeing, how I interpret behaviour. I worked up this ability to be able to work out what a person was like in the first five or six seconds of a conversation [as the host of a talkback radio program].’
So, in a world fast going crazy from the effects of the human condition, this is the now desperately needed reconciling understanding that brings about a new world for humans FREE of the agony of the human condition. In short, this is the understanding that ends human suffering and unites the human race.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 1 Summary of the contents of FREEDOM
Chapter 1:3 A brief description of the human-race-transforming explanation of the human condition that is presented in FREEDOM
So, what is this psychosis-addressing-and-solving, fully accountable, real explanation of our human condition that makes the world of humanity so understandable that it becomes transparent?
(Again, what follows is a very brief description of the explanation that will be provided in more comprehensive form in chapter 3—after which chapter upon chapter will dismantle the whole universe of dishonest excuses that humans have had to invent for all aspects of our behaviour while we awaited this real explanation of our divisive-instead-of-cooperative condition.)
Our human condition is directly related to the emergence of our conscious thinking mind—it is a result of our species having become fully conscious—and once we accept this foundation truth, then the explanation is actually fairly obvious. Clearly, before our species became fully conscious our lives must have been controlled by instincts, as the lives of all other animals continue to be. So the essential question is, what would happen to a species if it became capable of consciously understanding and thus managing its world? If we think about this scenario, what would obviously happen is that the conscious mind would start to take over management from the instincts. And if we think further about that development, we can appreciate that a conflict would have arisen between the already established instinctive management system and the new conscious, understanding-based management system.
To help visualise this development, consider the situation of a migrating bird that had just acquired a fully conscious mind.
Many bird species are perfectly orientated to instinctive migratory flight paths. Each winter, without ever ‘learning’ where to go and without knowing why, they quit their established breeding grounds and migrate to warmer feeding grounds. They then return each summer and so the cycle continues. Over the course of thousands of generations and migratory movements, only those birds that happened to have a genetic make-up that inclined them to follow the right route survived. Thus, through natural selection, they acquired their instinctive orientation.
So, imagine a flock of migrating storks returning to their summer breeding nests on the rooftops of Europe from their winter feeding grounds in southern Africa. Suppose in the instinct-controlled brain of one of them we place a fully conscious mind (we will call the stork Adam because we will soon see that, up to a point, this analogy parallels the old, pre-scientific Biblical account of Adam and Eve taking the ‘fruit’ (Gen. 3:3) ‘from the tree of…knowledge’ (2:9, 17); that is, becoming conscious). As Adam Stork flies north he spots an island off to the left with a tree laden with apples. Using his newly acquired conscious mind, Adam thinks, ‘I should fly down and eat some apples.’ It seems a reasonable thought but he can’t know if it is a good decision or not until he acts on it. For Adam’s new thinking mind to make sense of the world he has to learn by trial and error and so he decides to carry out his first grand experiment in self-management by flying down to the island and sampling the apples.
But it’s not that simple. As soon as Adam’s conscious thinking self deviates from his established migratory path, his innocent instinctive self (innocent in the sense of being unaware or ignorant of the need to search for knowledge) tries to pull him back on course. In following the flight path past the island, Adam’s instinct-obedient self is, in effect, criticising his conscious mind’s decision to veer off course; it is condemning his search for understanding. All of a sudden Adam is in a dilemma: if he obeys his instinctive self and flies back on course, his instincts will be happy but he’ll never learn if his deviation was the right decision or not. All the messages he’s receiving from within inform him that obeying his instincts is good, is right, but there’s also a new inclination to disobey, a defiance of instinct. Diverting from his course will result in apples and understanding, yet he already sees that doing so will make him feel bad.
Uncomfortable with the criticism his newly conscious mind or intellect is receiving from his instinctive self, Adam’s first response is to ignore the temptation the apples present and fly back on course. As he does so, however, Adam realises he can’t deny his intellect—sooner or later he must find the courage to master his conscious mind by carrying out experiments in understanding. So, continuing to think, he next asks himself, ‘Why not fly down to an island and rest?’ Again, not knowing any reason why he shouldn’t, he proceeds with his experiment. And again, his decision is met with the same criticism from his instinctive self—but this time Adam defies the criticism and perseveres with his experimentation in self-management. His decision, however, means he must now live with the criticism and immediately he is condemned to a state of upset. A battle has broken out between his instinctive self, which is perfectly orientated to the flight path, and his emerging conscious mind, which needs to understand why that flight path is the correct course to follow. His instinctive self is perfectly orientated, but Adam doesn’t understand that orientation.
In short, when the fully conscious mind emerged it wasn’t enough for it to be orientated by instincts, it had to find understanding to operate effectively and fulfil its great potential to manage life. But, tragically, the instinctive self didn’t ‘appreciate’ that need and ‘tried to stop’ the mind’s necessary search for knowledge, as represented by the latter’s experiments in self-management—hence the ensuing battle between instinct and intellect. To refute the criticism from his instinctive self, Adam needed the discoveries that science has given us of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information; in particular, he needed to be able to explain that the gene-based learning system can orientate species to situations but is incapable of insight into the nature of change. Genetic selection of one reproducing individual over another reproducing individual (the selection, in effect, of one idea over another idea, or one piece of information over another piece of information) gives species adaptations or orientations—instinctive programming—for managing life, but those genetic orientations, those instincts, are not understandings. The nerve-based learning system on the other hand, can, if sufficiently developed, understand change. Nerves were originally developed for the coordination of movement in animals, but, once developed, their ability to store impressions—what we refer to as ‘memory’—gave rise to the potential to develop understanding of cause and effect. If you can remember past events, you can compare them with current events and identify regularly occurring experiences. This knowledge of, or insight into, what has commonly occurred in the past enables you to predict what is likely to happen in the future and to adjust your behaviour accordingly. Once insights into the nature of change are put into effect, the self-modified behaviour starts to provide feedback, refining the insights further. Predictions are compared with outcomes and so on. Much developed, nerves can sufficiently associate information to reason how experiences are related, learn to understand and become conscious of, or aware of, or intelligent about, the relationship between events that occur through time. Thus consciousness means being sufficiently aware of how experiences are related to attempt to manage change from a basis of understanding. What this means is that when the nerve-based learning system became sufficiently developed for consciousness to emerge and with it the ability to understand the world, it wasn’t enough to be instinctively orientated to the world—conscious understanding of the world had to be found. The problem, of course, was that Adam had only just taken his first, tentative steps in the search for knowledge, and so had no ability to explain anything. It was a catch-22 situation for the fledgling thinker, because in order to explain himself he needed the very knowledge he was setting out to accumulate. He had to search for understanding, ultimately self-understanding, understanding of why he had to ‘fly off course’, without the ability to first explain why he needed to ‘fly off course’. And without that defence, he had to live with the criticism from his instinctive self and was INSECURE in its presence.
To resist the tirade of unjust criticism he was having to endure and mitigate that insecurity, Adam had to do something. But what could he do? If he abandoned the search and flew back on course, he’d gain some momentary relief, but the search would, nevertheless, remain to be undertaken. So all Adam could do was retaliate against and ATTACK the instincts’ unjust criticism, attempt to PROVE the instincts’ unjust criticism wrong, and try to DENY or block from his mind the instincts’ unjust criticism—and he did all those things. He became angry towards the criticism. In every way he could he tried to demonstrate his self worth, prove that he is good and not bad—he shook his fist at the heavens in a gesture of defiance of the implication that he is bad. And he tried to block out the criticism—this block-out or denial including having to invent contrived excuses for his instinct-defying behaviour. In short, his ANGRY, EGOCENTRIC and ALIENATED state appeared. Adam’s intellect or ‘ego’ (which is just another word for the intellect since the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘ego’ as ‘the conscious thinking self’ (5th edn, 1964)) became ‘centred’ or focused on the need to justify itself—selfishly preoccupied aggressively competing for opportunities to prove he is good and not bad, to validate his worth, to get a ‘win’; to essentially eke out any positive reinforcement that would bring him some relief from criticism and sense of worth. He unavoidably became SELFISH, AGGRESSIVE and COMPETITIVE.
Overall, it was a terrible predicament in which Adam became PSYCHOLOGICALLY UPSET—a sufferer of PSYCHOSIS and NEUROSIS. Yes, since, according to , ‘osis’ means ‘abnormal state or condition’, and the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology’s entry for ‘psyche’ reads ‘The oldest and most general use of this term is by the early Greeks, who envisioned the psyche as the soul or the very essence of life’ (1985 edn), Adam developed a ‘psychosis’ or ‘soul-illness’, and a ‘neurosis’ or neuron or nerve or ‘intellect-illness’. His original gene-based, instinctive ‘essence of life’ soul or PSYCHE became repressed by his intellect for its unjust condemnation of his intellect, and, for its part, his nerve or NEURON-based intellect became preoccupied denying any implication that it is bad. Adam became psychotic and neurotic.
But, again, without the knowledge he was seeking, without self-understanding (specifically the understanding of the difference between the gene and nerve-based learning systems that science has given us), Adam Stork had no choice but to resign himself to living a psychologically upset life of anger, egocentricity and alienation as the only three responses available to him to cope with the horror of his situation. It was an extremely unfair and difficult, indeed tragic, position for Adam to find himself in, for we can see that while he was good he appeared to be bad and had to endure the horror of his psychologically distressed, upset condition until he found the real—as opposed to the invented or contrived not-psychosis-recognising—defence or reason for his ‘mistakes’. Basically, suffering psychological upset was the price of his heroic search for understanding. Indeed, it is the tragic yet inevitable situation any animal would have to endure if it transitioned from an instinct-controlled state to an intellect-controlled state—its instincts would resist the conscious mind’s search for knowledge. Adam’s uncooperative and divisive competitive aggression—and his selfish, egocentric, self-preoccupied efforts to prove his worth; and his need to deny and evade criticism, essentially embrace a dishonest state—all became an unavoidable part of his personality. Such was Adam Stork’s predicament, and such has been the human condition, for it was within our species that the fully conscious mind emerged.
We can now see how the story of Adam Stork—which describes the primary issue involved in our human condition of the psychologically upsetting battle that emerged between our instincts and our conscious intellect’s search for knowledge—has parallels with the pre-scientific Biblical account in the Book of Genesis of Adam and Eve’s experiences in the Garden of Eden, except in that presentation when Adam and Eve took the ‘fruit’ (3:3) ‘from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (2:9, 17)—went in search of understanding—they were ‘banished…from the Garden’ (3:23) for being ‘disobedient’ (the term widely used in descriptions of Gen. 3) and becoming ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ or ‘sinful’. In this presentation, however, Adam and Eve are revealed to be the HEROES, NOT THE VILLAINS they have so long been portrayed as. So while humans ARE immensely upset—that is, immensely angry, egocentric and alienated—WE ARE GOOD AND NOT BAD AFTER ALL!!!! And ‘upset’ is the right word for our condition because while we are not ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ we are definitely psychologically upset from having to participate in humanity’s heroic search for knowledge. ‘Corrupted’ and ‘fallen’ have sometimes been used to describe our condition, but they have negative connotations that we can now appreciate are undeserved.
For our species, it really has been a case of ‘Give me liberty or give me death’, ‘No retreat, no surrender’, ‘Death before dishonour’, ‘Never back down’, as the sayings go. Our conscious thinking self was never going to give in to our instinctive self or soul. Even though we had developed into angry, egocentric and alienated people, we were never going to accept that we were fundamentally bad, evil, worthless, awful beings; we weren’t going to wear that criticism—for if we did, we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed each morning and face the world. If we truly believed we were fundamentally evil beings, we would shoot ourselves. There had to be a greater truth that explained our behaviour and until we found it we couldn’t rest. And so every day as we got out of bed we took on the world of ignorance that was condemning us. We defied the implication that we are bad. We shook our fist at the heavens. In essence, we said, ‘One day, one day, we are going to prove our worth, explain that we are not bad after all, and until that day arrives we are not going to ‘back down’, we are not going to take the ignorant, naive, stupid, unjustified criticism from our instincts. No, we are going to fight back with all our might.’ And that is what we have done; that is what every conscious human that has ever lived has done—and because we did, because we persevered against all that criticism, we have now finally broken through and found the full truth that explains that humans are wonderful beings after all. In fact, not just wonderful but the heroes of the whole story of life on Earth. This is because our fully conscious mind is surely—given its phenomenal ability to understand the world—nature’s greatest invention, so for us humans who were given this greatest of all inventions to develop, to be made to endure the torture of being unjustly condemned as bad or evil for doing just that, and to have had to endure that torture for so long, some 2 million years (the time we have likely been fully conscious), has to make us the absolute heroes of the story of life on Earth. We were given the hardest, toughest of tasks, and against all the odds we completed it. Humans are the champions of the story of life on Earth. We are so, so wonderful! Yes, we can at last understand the absolutely extraordinary paradox that neither Pascal nor Shakespeare could at all understand, of how on earth could we humans be ‘god’-‘like’ in our ‘infinite’ ‘faculty’ of ‘reason’ and ‘apprehension’, a ‘glor[ious]’, ‘angel’-‘like’ ‘prodigy’ capable of being a ‘judge of all things’ and a ‘repository of truth’, and yet seemingly behave so appallingly that we appear to be ‘monster[s]’, ‘imbecile[s]’, ‘a sewer of uncertainty and error’ and ‘chaos’, the ‘essence’ of ‘dust’, ‘the scum of the universe’. We have made sense of the seemingly nonsensical!!!
As we will see throughout this book, now that we can finally explain the seemingly-impossible-to-explain paradox of how we humans could be good when all the evidence appeared to unequivocally indicate we were bad, all our mythology can at last be made sense of. For example, why was Miguel de Cervantes’ 1605 novel Don Quixote voted ‘The Greatest Book of All Time’ by the world’s most acclaimed writers in a poll arranged by the Nobel Institute? Well, Don Quixote is the story of an elderly man who gets out of bed, re-names himself ‘Don Quixote of la Mancha’, dons an old suit of armour, takes up an ancient shield and lance, mounts his skinny old horse, and calls on his loyal but world-weary companion Sancho to join him on the most spectacular of adventures. As I have depicted below, coming across a field of large windmills, the noble knight says, ‘Look yonder, friend Sancho, there are…outrageous giants whom I intend to…deprive…of life…and the expiration of that cursed brood will be an acceptable service to Heaven’. And so the crazed and hopeless adventure goes on, gloriously doomed battle after gloriously doomed battle. But that has been the lot of every human for some 2 million years; hopeless battle after hopeless battle, feeble beings charging at and trying to vanquish the ‘outrageous giant’ ignorance-of-the-fact-of-our-species’-fundamental-goodness! Wave after wave of quixotic humans have thrown themselves at that ‘outrageous giant’ of ignorance for eons and eons, as bit by tiny bit they accumulated the knowledge that finally made the redeeming explanation of our human condition possible!
Joe Darion’s fabulous lyrics of the song The Impossible Dream, which featured in the 1965 musical about Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha, perfectly describes the unbelievably courageous and heroic participation in humanity’s corrupting search for knowledge by every human who has ever lived during the last 2 million years, which Don Quixote’s story personifies: ‘To dream the impossible dream [of one day, in the far future (which has now arrived), finding the redeeming understanding of the human condition], to fight the unbeatable foe [of our ignorant instincts], to bear the unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go. To right the unrightable wrong [of being unjustly criticised], to love pure and chaste from afar, to try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star. This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far. To fight for the right without question or pause, to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause. And I know if I will only be true, to this glorious quest, that my heart will lie peaceful and calm, when I’m laid to my rest. And the world will be better for this, that one man scorned and covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable star.’
Again, it has to be emphasised that this has been a very brief outline of the explanation of the human condition that is provided in chapter 3. There is so much more to explain—in particular, humans aren’t migrating birds, so what was the particular instinctive orientation that our species was defying when we went in search of knowledge? In chapter 2 it will be pointed out that humans have unconditionally selfless, moral instincts, the ‘voice’ or expression of which within us is our conscience, while chapter 5 will provide the biological explanation for how we acquired these extraordinary altruistic, moral instincts. So it follows that when we humans became fully conscious and went in search of knowledge and became angry, egocentric and alienated, that behaviour only served to further exacerbate the condemnation we already felt from defying our particular instinctive orientation. Yes, our necessary search for knowledge has been an extremely guilt-inducing enterprise—it required us to defy our instincts, a necessary defiance that made us angry, egocentric and alienated, which was an outcome that further offended our particular instincts that expect us to behave in an unconditionally selfless, cooperative and loving way. So, if Adam Stork felt guilty for merely veering off his flight path, but was still a hero for doing so, just how much more heroic are humans to have endured and surmounted the horrendous degree of guilt we encountered!
Consider then the fact that humans have been living in this extremely unfair and torn state where we couldn’t explain the good reason for our species’ psychologically upset condition for over 2 million years! With this in mind, we can start to register just how much hurt, frustration and anger must now exist within humans. After all, imagine living just one day with the injustice of being condemned as evil, bad and worthless when you intuitively knew—but were unable to explain—that you were actually the complete opposite, namely truly wonderful, good and meaningful. How tormented and furious—how upset—would you be by the end of that one day? You would be immensely upset. So extrapolate that experience over 2 million years and you will begin to get some appreciation of just how much volcanic anger must now exist within us humans today! While we have learnt to significantly restrain and conceal—‘civilise’—our phenomenal amount of upset, it nevertheless follows that, under the surface, our species must be boiling with rage, and that sometimes, when our restraint can no longer find a way to contain it, that anger must express itself. Yes, we can finally understand humans’ capacity for astounding acts of aggression, hate, brutality and atrocity.
While all of this will be explained more thoroughly in chapter 3, this brief Adam Stork analogy does serve to convey the main upsetting clash that occurs when a conscious mind develops in the presence of pre-established instincts. And even from this simplified analogy, we can see how absolutely wonderfully exonerating and psychologically transforming this psychosis-addressing-and-solving explanation of the human condition is, because after 2 million years of uncertainty it allows all humans to finally understand that there has been a very good reason for our angry, alienated and egocentric lives. Indeed, this fact of the utter magnificence of the human race—that we are, in truth, the heroes of the story of life on Earth—brings such intense relief to our angst-ridden cells, limbs and torsos that it will seem as though we have thrown off a shroud of heavy weights. The great, heavy burden of guilt has finally been lifted from the shoulders of humans. Yes, doesn’t the core feeling exist in all humans that far from being meaningless, ‘banish[ment]’-deserving ‘evil’ blights on this planet we are all immense heroes? Doesn’t this explanation at last make sense of the immensely courageous and defiant attitude of all humans? And won’t this explanation bring deep, bone-draining relief to the whole of each person’s being?
Our ability now to explain and understand that we are actually all good and not bad enables all the upset that resulted from being unable to explain the source of our divisive condition to subside and disappear. Finding understanding of the human condition is what rehabilitates and transforms the human race from its psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated condition. In fact, the word ‘psychiatry’ literally means ‘soul-healing’ (derived as it is from psyche meaning ‘soul’ and iatreia, which according to The Encyclopedic World Dictionary means ‘healing’)—but we have never before been able to ‘heal our soul’, explain to our original instinctive self or soul that our fully conscious, thinking self is good and not bad and, by so doing, reconcile and heal our split selves. As Professor Harry Prosen, the former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association to whom I am eternally grateful for writing his deeply appreciative Introduction to this book, has said about the psychological effect of this all-loving, all-compassionate understanding of ourselves: ‘I have no doubt this biological explanation of the human condition is the holy grail of insight we have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of the human race.’ Yes, our ability now to understand the dark side of ourselves means we can finally achieve the ‘wholeness for humans’ that the analytical psychologist Carl Jung was forever pointing out ‘depends on the ability to own our own shadow’. As the following picture powerfully intimates, we have needed, and now have, the key that liberates the human mind from the underlying deep, dark, psychological trauma of the human condition!
As for the veracity of this explanation, it is precisely this explanation’s ability to at last make relieving sense of human life, of all our behaviour in fact, that let’s us know that we have finally found the true explanation of the human condition. The great physicist Albert Einstein once wrote that ‘Truth is what stands the test of experience’ (Out of My Later Years, 1950, p.115 of 286), and since this study and explanation is all about us, our behaviour, we are each in a position to personally ‘experience’ its validity, to know if it’s true or not. As the subject of this study, we can each know if the ideas being put forward work or not. We can each know if these explanations do make sense of our deepest feelings—of all our competitive anger and egocentricity, of our lonely estranged souls, of our insecure state yet core belief that we are wonderful beings, etc, etc—as, in fact, they do.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, these explanations are so powerfully insightful, accountable and revealing (so true) that they render our lives transparent—a transparency, a sudden exposure, that can initially be overwhelmingly confronting and depressing. But there is a way, indeed an absolutely wonderful, joyous way, to deal with the arrival of exposure day, or transparency day, or revelation day, or truth day, or honesty day—in fact, what has been described as the long-feared ‘judgment day’, which is not, as has just been described, a time of condemning ‘judgment’ but one of compassionate understanding. And that wonderful way of managing the arrival of the all-liberating, all-rehabilitating but at the same time all-exposing truth about us humans is the subject of the concluding chapter (9) in this book. But the point being made here is that the transparency of our lives that these explanations bring, which the aforementioned interview with Brian Carlton reveals, confirms just how effective, how penetrating, and, therefore, how truthful these understandings actually are.
Yes, while searching for the real explanation of the human condition humans had no choice but to develop all manner of behaviour to protect ourselves from exposure to criticism of our divisive-instead-of-cooperative condition—with the result being that we humans have been hiding behind very large, carefully constructed facades of evasion, pretence and delusion. And, as we will see in the next chapter, as our vehicle for enquiry into the nature and workings of our world, science and its human-condition-afflicted practitioners invented and contrived all sorts of false excuses for our divisive behaviour to support this denial. But when the truth arrives about the human condition, all these facades and false excuses are suddenly exposed for the lies they are. The truth reveals the lies, as it must, and there has been an immense amount of lying going on, so all this sudden exposure of the extent of our fraudulent existence will come as a sudden shock—it does represent a kind of exposure or revelation or judgment ‘day’—but as will be explained in chapter 9 when the great transformation of the human race is described, that exposure is easily managed through not overly confronting the truth that has now arrived and instead focusing on redeeming the whole human race and to repairing the immensely damaged world that has come about as a result of all our upset behaviour.
Again, this chapter contains only a very brief outline of what this book presents. The long-awaited arrival of the truth about our psychologically distressed human condition was always going to produce a huge paradigm shift in our thinking—a great deal of sweeping change—which means there is much to explain, describe and have to digest. As mentioned earlier, chapter after chapter that follows dismantles the whole universe of dishonest excuses that we humans have had to invent to try to account for all aspects of our behaviour while we waited for the real explanation of our divisive-instead-of-cooperative condition. And not only will all the dishonest biological excuses for our behaviour be exposed for the lies they are, the truthful explanations for all our behaviour will be provided in their place. This is because, as will be described and explained and become evident in chapter 2, trying to investigate human behaviour while you’re living in denial of the human condition—as reductionist, mechanistic scientists have been doing—was never going to produce the truthful insights into human behaviour. Only a human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding approach—the holistic approach taken in this book—could find the answers to all the great outstanding questions in science, namely of the real and true explanation of the human condition (which has been outlined here and is fully described in chapter 3); of the real and true explanation of the meaning of our existence (which is presented in chapter 4); of the real and true explanation for the origins on humans’ unconditionally selfless, moral instincts (which is presented in chapters 5 and 6); of the real and true explanation for how and why humans became conscious when other species haven’t (which is presented in chapter 7); of the real and true description of the emergence of humans from our ape ancestor to our present immensely human-condition-afflicted upset state (which is presented in chapter 8 and includes the explanation of the roles of men and women in this journey, the explanation of sex as humans have practised it, the explanation of religion and politics, and many, many other insights into human behaviour); and finally, the description of how the real and true explanation of the human condition transforms the human race (which is presented in chapter 9).
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 1 Summary of the contents of FREEDOM
Chapter 1:4 The problem of the ‘deaf effect’ that reading about the human condition initially causes
While the shock of the arrival of the all-liberating but at the same time all-exposing truth about our 2-million-years upset/corrupted/fallen condition will bring inevitable problems, it is accompanied by absolutely wonderful solutions—the main of which will be presented in chapter 9. There is, however, one particular issue which needs to be addressed and solved here and now, which is the problem of the ‘deaf effect’ that reading about the human condition initially produces.
As has been described, there have been three ways of coping with the imperfections of our upset human condition while we couldn’t truthfully explain it: attack the unjust criticism; try to prove it wrong; and block it out of our mind. And as will become increasingly clear as you read through this book, it was this third method of blocking any criticising truth out of our mind that has played a hugely important role in coping with our previously unexplained upset condition; we humans have had to adopt a great deal of block-out, denial and evasion of any truth that brought the unbearable issue of our upset condition into focus. So with the arrival now of the redeeming explanation of the human condition our human-condition-avoiding minds are clearly going to apply all that determinedly practised block-out, denial and evasion to prevent us from taking in or ‘hearing’ what is being presented. As soon as discussion of the human condition begins, our minds will be subconsciously alert to the fact they are being taken into a historically off-limits realm and start blocking out what is being said. Our minds will suffer from a ‘deaf effect’ to what is being presented, with the consequence being that we will struggle to read and absorb the liberating and transforming explanation of the human condition. Our habituated practice of denial will prevent us from gaining our FREEDOM from the human condition!
To illustrate the power of this ‘deaf effect’, consider the following reactions my books have generated amongst readers: ‘When I first read this material all I saw were a lot of black marks on white paper’; and, ‘Reading this is like reading another language—you know it’s English, you can understand the words, but the concepts are so basic and so different that they are almost incomprehensible—it’s a paradigm shift of a read’; and, ‘This stuff is so head on it can be crippling, which, initially at least, can make it hard to get behind what’s being said and access the profundity of where it’s coming from’; and, ‘At first I found this information difficult to absorb, in fact my wife and I would sit in bed and read a page together, and then re-read it a number of times, but still we couldn’t understand what was written there and ended up thinking it must be due to poor expression.’ As the last response indicates, a consequence of being unaware that this resistance and block-out is occurring in our mind (because when we are in denial of something we aren’t aware we are in denial, because, obviously, if we were we wouldn’t be in denial of it!) is that we naturally blame the inaccessibility of what is being put forward on flaws in the presentation; we think it is, as readers of my earlier books have said, ‘badly written’, ‘impenetrably dense’, ‘disjointed’, ‘confusingly worded’, ‘too intellectual for me to understand’, ‘long-winded’, ‘unnecessarily repetitive of vague points’, ‘desperately needs editing’, and even ‘lacking in any substance or meaning’. Frustrated readers have often even written seeking ‘an executive summary so I can grasp what you’re trying to say’!
The situation is akin to giving someone who suffers from a phobia about snakes a book that cures their phobia when, to date, their fear of snakes has been so great they couldn’t even admit they had a phobia. So if I were to ask them, ‘Why don’t you ever go outdoors?’, their unawareness or blindness to their phobia, or condition, might prompt the defensive response, ‘Well, I like living indoors because I like carpets and square walls and I like going through doorways; in fact, going through doorways is what made humans stand upright in the first place!’—or some such ridiculous excuse like that! To account for their inability to face their phobia they have had no choice but to create absurd theories based on the denial of their phobia (which, as mentioned earlier and as we are going to see in chapter 2, is exactly what mechanistic science has been doing as a result of humans’ fear of the human condition). So, in order to cure them of their phobia, I give them a book that introduces them to and explains their condition—but therein lies the problem, for as soon as they open the book and see descriptions and images of snakes, they fearfully slam it shut; their fear, in effect, blocks their ability to access the book’s fabulously relieving understanding of, and thus solution to, their phobia!
While this snake phobia analogy gives some idea of the problem of the ‘deaf effect’ resistance that blocks access to the compassionate, reconciling and immensely relieving understanding of our species’ condition, there is a much better analogy and description of it—one that was given by that greatest of all philosophers, Plato, way back in the Golden Age of Greece, some 360 years before Christ. As to Plato’s greatness as a philosopher (philosophy being the study of ‘the truths underlying all reality’ (Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd edn, 1998)), Alfred North (A.N.) Whitehead, himself one of the most highly regarded philosophers of the twentieth century, described the history of philosophy as being merely ‘a series of footnotes to Plato’ (Process and Reality [Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28], 1979, p.39 of 413).
So what was Plato’s marvellously descriptive analogy of humans’ extreme fear of the human condition and the resulting ‘deaf effect’ difficulty we have when reading about it—and what importance did he place on the difficulty of the ‘deaf effect’ in his profound contribution to the study of ‘the truths underlying all reality’? Well, Plato’s most acclaimed work is The Republic and the central focus of The Republic is ‘our human condition’; and, most revealingly, in describing ‘our human condition’, Plato metaphorically depicted humans as having to live deep ‘underground’ in a ‘cave’ hiding from the ‘painful’ issue of ‘the imperfections of human life’—these ‘imperfections’ being the issue of the human condition. So the greatest of philosophers recognised that the central problem in understanding the ‘reality’ of our behaviour is our fear of the human condition!
This is what Plato wrote: ‘I want you to go on to picture the enlightenment or ignorance of our human conditions somewhat as follows. Imagine an underground chamber, like a cave with an entrance open to the daylight and running a long way underground. In this chamber are men who have been prisoners there’ (The Republic, c.360 BC; tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, 514). Plato described how the cave’s exit is blocked by a ‘fire’ that ‘corresponds…to the power of the sun’, which the cave prisoners have to hide from because its searing, ‘painful’ ‘light’ would make ‘visible’ the unbearably depressing issue of ‘the imperfections of human life’ (516-517). Fearing such self-confrontation, the cave prisoners have to ‘take refuge’ in the dark ‘cave’ where there are only some ‘shadows thrown by the fire’ that represent a ‘mere illusion’ of the ‘real’ world outside the cave (515). The allegory makes clear that while ‘the sun…makes the things we see visible’ (509), such that without it we can only ‘see dimly and appear to be almost blind’ (508), having to hide in the ‘cave’ of ‘illusion’ and endure ‘almost blind’ alienation has been infinitely preferable to facing the ‘painful’ issue of ‘our [seemingly imperfect] human condition’. Then, with regard to the problem of the ‘deaf effect’ response the ‘cave’ ‘prisoners’ would have to reading about the human condition, Plato described what occurs when, as summarised in the Encarta Encyclopedia, someone ‘escapes from the cave into the light of day’ and ‘sees for the first time the real world and returns to the cave’ to help the cave prisoners ‘Escape into the sun-filled setting outside the cave [which] symbolizes the transition to the real world…which is the proper object of knowledge’ (written by Prof. Robert M. Baird, ‘Plato’; see <>). Plato wrote that ‘it would hurt his [the cave’s prisoner’s] eyes and he would turn back and take refuge in the things which he could see [take refuge in all the dishonest, illusionary explanations for human behaviour that, as we are going to see in ch. 2, we have become accustomed to from human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic science], which he would think really far clearer than the things being shown him. And if he were forcibly dragged up the steep and rocky ascent [out of the cave of denial] and not let go till he had been dragged out into the sunlight [shown the truthful, real description of our human condition], the process would be a painful one, to which he would much object, and when he emerged into the light his eyes would be so overwhelmed by the brightness of it that he wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things he was now told were real.’ Significantly, Plato then added, ‘Certainly not at first. Because he would need to grow accustomed to the light before he could see things in the world outside the cave’ (The Republic, 515-516).
So again, in his central and main insight into ‘the truths underlying all reality’ of ‘our human condition’, Plato warned that when we ‘first’ start reading about what ‘our human condition’ really is we ‘wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things he was now told were real’. And I say ‘really is’ because, as will become very clear in the next chapter, many refer to the human condition without engaging with what it really is. Yes, the ‘deaf effect’ will be a very significant problem when reading this book that presents the human-condition-confronting, truthful-yet-fully-compassionate and psychologically relieving explanation of human behaviour. (I should mention that after Plato warned about the problem of the ‘deaf effect’, he went on to describe how the person who tries to liberate the cave prisoners from their world of ‘illusions’ would be viciously attacked. He wrote that ‘they [the cave prisoners] would say that his [the person who attempts to bring them liberating understanding of our human condition] visit to the upper world had ruined his sight [they would say he was mad], and that the ascent [out of the cave] was not worth even attempting. And if anyone tried to release them and lead them up, they would kill him if they could lay hands on him’ (ibid. 517). Later in pars 574-578 I describe how true Plato’s prediction here of horrible persecution would prove to be.)
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 1 Summary of the contents of FREEDOM
Chapter 1:5 Solutions to the ‘deaf effect’
The obvious next question then is, ‘How can the reader overcome the problem of not being able to absorb or ‘hear’ discussion of the human condition, so as to be able to access the incredibly relieving understanding of our species’ behaviour?’ Plato indicated the answer when he said that the ‘cave’ ‘prisoner’ ‘would need to grow accustomed to the light’ of the compassionate analysis of ‘the imperfections of human life’ of ‘our human condition’ to consequently achieve, as summarised in Encarta, the wonderful ‘transition to the real world’ ‘which is the proper object of knowledge’. And over thirty years of experience presenting the fully accountable, all-clarifying, relieving and transforming insights into human behaviour that are contained in this book has taught me that this is indeed the case and that there are three main ways to ‘grow accustomed to’ analysis of ‘our human condition’ and, through doing so, overcome the ‘deaf effect’.
Solution 1: The first and most important method is to view the companion introductory videos for this book that are freely available at . In fact, such viewing is really a prerequisite, a necessity, for reading this book because in these presentations I describe the book’s purpose, explain and warn of the problem of the ‘deaf effect’, escort readers through its chapters, and explain and discuss various aspects of our human condition. This familiarisation process has the enormous psychological benefit of allowing you to watch someone talk openly with others about, and walk freely around, this historically forbidden realm of the human condition—which experience has shown will greatly diminish the subconscious fear in your mind of discussion of the human condition. As will be made very clear at the beginning of the next chapter when the extreme extent of our fear of the issue of the human condition is revealed, our minds have been absolutely terrified of thinking about the human condition, so to see someone talking freely, happily and securely about the subject is subconsciously immensely reassuring: ‘No one could be so at ease talking about the human condition unless the redeeming and relieving understanding of it had been found. That great breakthrough must have occurred’, is the subconscious conversation that takes place in the reader’s mind. The realm where the issue of the human condition resides has been such a terrifying place that for someone to be so comfortably walking around in it is extraordinarily reassuring and comforting; it is extremely helpful in overcoming the shock of having this subject of the human condition broached.
Evidence of how reassuring and effective in eroding the ‘deaf effect’ watching the introductory videos is, is that when giving introductory talks about the human condition people, after having attended a second or third talk, often say, ‘That was a much better presentation this time than last time, the explanations and descriptions were so much easier to follow.’ The talks are virtually identical—what has dramatically improved is not the quality or content of the presentation but the listener’s ability to take in or ‘hear’ what was being said.
So, in short, the more introductory videos you watch, the more your fear of the subject of the human condition will be eroded and the easier you will find the book to read. The importance in watching these videos cannot be overstated; put bluntly, you won’t be able to read this book unless you watch them!
Solution 2: In conjunction with viewing these videos, what also helps overcome the ‘deaf effect’ is a willingness to patiently re-read the text, as this further allows your mind the time to ‘grow accustomed to’ description of ‘our human condition’ and to start to ‘see things in the world outside the cave’ of denial.
Solution 3: Once the ‘deaf effect’ has started to erode through viewing the introductory videos and through being prepared to patiently re-read the text and you have begun to access these human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding, truthful understandings of human behaviour, you will find having a venue where you can participate in discussions (and/or watch others discussing these understandings) extremely helpful—another necessity, in fact. To cater for this need, online discussions about this new paradigm are held regularly that you can take part in, anonymously if you prefer. For details about these online discussions, visit .
I have to emphasise that despite Professor Harry Prosen also warning of the ‘deaf effect’ in his Introduction, people typically disregard these warnings because they think the problem won’t apply to them, that if something makes sense they will be able to follow it—and yet the ‘deaf effect’ does apply to virtually every reader; it’s simply the reality of what occurs when the historically fearful issue of the human condition is brought into focus.
To emphasise the very real nature of the ‘deaf effect’, take the following further example, this time from an online article about my 2003 book, A Species In Denial: ‘I read it in 2005, and at the time it was not an easy read. The core concepts keep slipping from my mental grasp, at the time I put it down to bad writing, however a second reading revealed something the Author had indicated from the outset—your mind doesn’t want to understand the content. The second read was quick and painless…[and I was then able to see that] The cause of the malaise [of humanity] is exposed, remedied and the reader is left with at the very least an understanding of themselves, and for me something of an optimism for the future’ (‘Fitzy’, Humanitus Interruptus – Great Minds of Today, 21 Oct. 2011; see <>). Yes, the ‘second read’ is all-important—and regarding this last point about being left with ‘an optimism for the future’, Plato also emphasised just how relieved the cave prisoner would be to be free of his old, human-condition-avoiding, dishonest existence by saying that once he had become ‘accustomed to the light’, ‘when he thought of his first home and what passed for wisdom there, and of his fellow-prisoners, don’t you think he would congratulate himself on his good fortune and be sorry for them?’ (The Republic, 516). The following are some other quotes you can search online that reveal this sense of ‘good fortune’ of being able to access understanding of the human condition and of finally being in the position to make sense of human existence: ‘If Plato and Aristotle were alive and read Griffith, they would die happy men’; and, ‘We don’t have to put up with “Not Knowing” anymore’; and, ‘tears stream down my face, so overcome have I been by this book. It is the greatest book on the planet, no wait, in the universe. In fact it is the greatest anything in the universe’; and, ‘I don’t care what question you have, this book will answer it’; and, ‘Here is the breakthrough biological explanation that PROVES we are ALL very, very good’; and, ‘This, to me, is the most significant thing I have ever stumbled across…If it doesn’t hit you right away—it will down the road’; and, ‘Gah! words are too limited for this. Here have some love brother! ☺’; and, ‘This book is why I’m alive enough to scribe to you. Joy and Love to you all.’
So, once you listen to the introductory videos and patiently re-read the text you will be astonished to discover that the fog does begin to lift, that what is being presented does begin to make extraordinarily accountable sense of human behaviour. This process of illumination is palpable in this additional extract from Brian Carlton’s interview with me (which can be viewed at ): ‘I remember when I first read one of your books I went through a stage where I couldn’t quite get my head around it. I got about half of it and it was a little confusing and a little dense but I didn’t give up. And in time your explanations did start to become clear and it made a hell of a lot of sense to me…The process of stripping off the denial is the difficult part, but once you’ve done that the answers become glaringly obvious…It’s an intellectual epiphany; I have a more complete understanding of myself, everybody around me, the society at large, the way the planet works. It’s a revelation! I don’t use that in a religious sense, it’s a quantifiably different thing but it has a similar impact on you. You wake up the next morning feeling more invigorated, more able to deal with the world because your level of understanding of it is so much higher…It’s very simple, it’s not hard. The end process is easy and reassuring and calming and self-accepting. Getting there is the difficult bit, once you have the revelation, the clarity of it is euphoric almost…when you get it, it is an event. You remember the day, you remember the section of the book, you remember when it happened, it stays with you…Don’t underestimate the extent to which your work has impacted me in terms of how I think about what I’m seeing, how I interpret behaviour. I worked up this ability to be able to work out what a person was like in the first five or six seconds of a conversation [as the host of a talk-back radio program]…the trickle-down transfer to every day life and every day human relationships and experiences has been hugely valuable.’
It should be mentioned that it is inevitable that some people will react angrily towards this human-condition-confronting-rather-than-avoiding information. As has been stressed throughout the latter stage of this first chapter, the arrival of understanding of the human condition can’t but be a shock, and that shock has to be worked through—a process chapter 9 has been written to facilitate. It deals there with the massive paradigm shift that the human race is now faced with—a process of adjustment that hopefully won’t take too long.
Having now warned of the problem of the ‘deaf effect’, and how best to overcome it, it is now necessary to explain in more comprehensive terms what the human condition actually is and reveal the mortal fear humans have of it so that our species’ behaviour can be compassionately explained and relievingly understood. Indeed, what will become apparent as you read FREEDOM is that almost all our behaviour has been affected by, indeed is a product of, even driven by, our fear of the human condition. What this means is that to understand our behaviour (which is the purpose of this book) we have to acknowledge and recognise this immense fear—which is why the main presentation in this book, which begins in the next chapter, starts with this all-important focus.
The Threat of Terminal Alienation
from Science’s Entrenched Denial
of the Human Condition
Chapter 2:1 Summary
98Since the instinct vs intellect explanation of the human condition (which was outlined in the previous chapter and is fully explained in chapter 3) is a reasonably obvious explanation, the question that arises is why was it not recognised long before now? As will become clear in this chapter, the answer is that humans have been so afraid of the issue of the human condition that we haven’t been able to think truthfully and thus effectively about it. In fact, those charged with the task of finding understanding of human behaviour, namely biological scientists, have been so committed to living in fear-driven denial of the human condition that they not only failed to find the instinct vs intellect explanation, they built an immense edifice of human-condition-avoiding, dishonest ‘explanations’ to excuse our behaviour—including completely false explanations for the human condition itself. Furthermore, this attachment to living in denial of the issue of the human condition is why the so-called mechanistic, scientific establishment has so determinedly failed to recognise—indeed, it has ignored—this fully accountable, human-race-saving, instinct vs intellect explanation ever since it was first presented back in 1983. While we couldn’t truthfully explain the human condition, denial of it saved us from unbearable confrontation with the subject, but with the compassionate, redeeming, fully accountable, true explanation of the human condition now found, that practised, historical denial is not only unnecessary, it is blocking the way to humanity’s freedom from the human condition.
99Essentially, what has happened is that humans have become so habituated to living in Plato’s dark cave of denial that when finally given the means to exit the cave and stand in the warm, healing sunshine of self-understanding, we have refused to leave! And, most frighteningly, in choosing to stay there means denial and the alienation from our true self that results from that denial can only continue to increase, so that very soon the human race will succumb to horrific terminal alienation. Indeed, the recent flood of movies and documentaries based on zombie, apocalyptic, escape-to-another-planet, ‘we are being attacked by aliens [by our own alienation]’, doomsday-preparation, ‘we need a super hero to save the world’ and other judgment-day-and-anxious-Bible-related-epic themes reflect the fact that the end play state of terminal alienation for humans that Michelangelo and Blake so frighteningly depict is upon us. The epidemic levels we are now seeing of the extremely psychologically distressed states of psychopathic narcissism, manic depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and the ultimate completely-dissociated-from-the-world state of autism (states that will be explained later in chapters 8:16B, C and D) are similarly indicative of this state.
100So the great hope, indeed expectation, with FREEDOM is that by complementing the carefully argued and constructed presentation of the instinct vs intellect explanation of the human condition (and all the other insights that flow from it) with deaf-effect-eroding introductory videos and the opportunity to participate in interactive online discussions, support for this world-saving information and the fabulous life outside of Plato’s dark cave of denial it makes possible, will finally begin in earnest!
The just described inability to think truthfully, or to accept truthful thinking, and the associated problem of the deaf effect that was explained in the previous chapter, all reflect a truth that will be established in this chapter, which is that our species has suffered from an immense fear of the human condition. In fact, our fear has been so pervasive that almost all human behaviour has been affected by—indeed, is a product of, even driven by—it. What this means is that to truly understand our behaviour—which is the purpose of this book—we have to first truly understand our extreme historical fear of the human condition. As such, the main presentation in this book, which begins here in chapter 2, must start with an exposé on just how terrified we humans have been of the issue of the human condition, of our species’ upset state. The latter part of this chapter will then demonstrate how that extreme terror has dictated all of mechanistic science’s human-condition-avoiding, blind and extremely dishonest thinking about the biology of human behaviour, a process that will in itself dismantle the giant edifice of denial-based non-answers about human behaviour that has so determinedly been assembled.
Following that demolition, chapter 3 will present the detailed account of the truthful human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding, instinct vs intellect, real explanation of our species’ condition that was outlined in chapter 1, with subsequent chapters providing the truthful explanation, alongside the dishonest accounts, of all the other outstanding questions about human behaviour—of the meaning of human existence (in chapter 4); of the origins of our altruistic moral nature (in chapters 5 and 6); of how and why humans became conscious when other species haven’t (in chapter 7); of the true story of our species’ journey from an original state of cooperative, loving innocence to our now immensely psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated condition (in chapter 8)—and, finally, how this real understanding of the human condition liberates and transforms the human race (in chapter 9).
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:2 The psychological event of ‘Resignation’ reveals our species’ mortal fear of the human condition and thus how difficult it has been for scientists to find the explanation of the human condition and make sense of human behaviour
To briefly recount the description given in chapter 1 of what the human condition really is, it is worth reciting the incisive words of the polymath Blaise Pascal, who spelled out the full horror of our contradictory condition when he wrote, ‘What a chimera then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth, repository of truth, a sewer of uncertainty and error, the glory and the scum of the universe!’ Shakespeare too was equally revealing of what the human condition really is when he wrote, ‘What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty!…in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me’. Pascal’s and Shakespeare’s identification of the dichotomy of ‘man’ is what the human condition really is—this most extraordinary ‘contradiction’ of being the most brilliantly clever of creatures, the ones who are ‘god’-‘like’ in our ‘infinite’ ‘faculty’ of ‘reason’ and ‘apprehension’, and yet also the meanest, most vicious of species, one that is only too capable of inflicting pain, cruelty, suffering and degradation. Yes, the eternal and seemingly unanswerable question has been: are we ‘monster[s]’, the ‘essence’ of ‘dust’, ‘the scum of the universe’, or are we a wonderful ‘prodigy’, even ‘glor[ious]’ ‘angel[s]’?
Thankfully, as was outlined in chapter 1, we can at long last now explain and understand that we are not, in fact, ‘monster[s]’ but ‘glor[ious]’ heroes. However, having had to live without this reconciling and dignifying understanding has meant that each human growing up under the duress of the human condition has suffered from immense insecurity about their fundamental goodness, worth and meaningfulness. So much so that the more we tried to think about this, in truth, most obvious question of our meaningfulness and worthiness (or otherwise), the more insecure and depressed our thoughts became. The emotional anxiety produced when reading Pascal’s and Shakespeare’s descriptions of the human condition gives some indication of just how unnervingly confronting the issue of the human condition really is. The truth, that will now be revealed, is that this intensely personal yet universal issue of the human condition has been so unbearably confronting and depressing that we eventually learnt as we grew up that we had no choice but to resign ourselves to never revisiting the subject, to never again looking at the seemingly inexplicable issue of the human condition. The examination of this process of what I call ‘Resignation’ to living in Plato’s dark cave of denial of the human condition, and how it unfolds, will reveal just how immensely fearful humans have been of the human condition, and, it follows, how impossible it has been for mechanistic scientists to think effectively about human behaviour.
As will be explained in detail in chapter 8, as humans grew up in a human-condition-afflicted world that wasn’t able to be truthfully analysed and explained, we each became increasingly troubled by the glaringly obvious issue of the extreme ‘imperfections of human life’ (as Plato referred to ‘our human condition’). This progression went through precise stages—and I should point out that all these stages of resignation to a life of blocking out the issue of the human condition have not been admitted by science, because like almost every other human, its practitioners have also lived in mortal fear and thus almost total denial of the human condition. What follows then is a very brief summary of the life stages that will be fully described in chapter 8.
As consciousness emerged in humans we progressed from being able to sufficiently understand the relationship between cause and effect to become self-conscious, aware of our own existence, during our infancy, to proactively carrying out experiments in self-management during our childhood, at which point all the manifestations of the human condition of anger, egocentricity and alienation began to reveal themselves. It follows that it was during our childhood that we each became increasingly aware of not only the imperfection of the human-condition-afflicted world around us, but of the imperfection of our own behaviour—that we too suffered from anger, selfishness, meanness and indifference to others. Basically, all of human life, including our own behaviour, became increasingly bewildering and distressing, to such a degree that by the time children reached late childhood they generally entered what is recognised as the ‘naughty nines’, where their confusion and frustration was such that they even angrily began taunting and bullying those around them. By the end of childhood, however, children realised that lashing out in exasperation at the imperfections, wrongness and injustice of the world didn’t change anything and that the only possible way to end their frustration was to understand why the world, and their own behaviour, was not ideal. It was at this point, which occurred around 12 years of age, that children underwent a dramatic change from being frustrated, protesting, demonstrative, loud extroverts into sobered, deeply thoughtful, quiet introverts, consumed with anxiety about the imperfections of life under the duress of the human condition. Indeed, it is in recognition of this very significant psychological transition from a relatively human-condition-free state to a very human-condition-aware state that we separate these stages into ‘Childhood’ and ‘Adolescence’, a shift even our schooling system marks by having children graduate from what is generally called primary school into secondary school. What then happened during adolescence was that, at about 14 or 15 years of age and after struggling for a few years to make sense of existence, the search for understanding became so confronting of those extreme internal imperfections that adolescents had no choice but to ‘Resign’ to living in denial of the whole unbearably depressing and seemingly unsolvable issue of the human condition—after which they became superficial and artificial escapists, not wanting to look at any issue too deeply, and, before long, combative and competitive power-fame-fortune-and-glory, relief-from-the-agony-and-guilt-of-the-human-condition-seeking resigned adults.
Delving deeper into how the journey toward ‘Resignation’ unfolds will reveal just how terrifying the issue of the human condition has been, which is precisely what the reader needs to become aware of in order to appreciate why it has, until now, been impossible to truthfully and thus effectively explain human behaviour. Yes, describing what occurs at ‘Resignation’ makes it abundantly clear why resigned humans became so superficial and artificial in their thinking, incapable of plumbing the great depths of the human condition and thus incapable of finding the desperately needed understanding of human existence.
So what happened at around 14 or 15 years of age for virtually all humans growing up under the duress of ‘the imperfections’ of ‘our human condition’ was that to avoid the suicidal depression that accompanied any thinking about the issue of our species’, and our own, seemingly extremely imperfect condition, there was simply no choice but to stop grappling with the answerless question. And so despite the human condition being the all-important issue of the meaningfulness or otherwise of our existence, there came a time (and, although it varies according to each individual’s circumstances, it typically occurred at about 14 or 15 years of age) when adolescents were forced to put the whole depressing subject aside once and for all and just hope that one day in the future the explanation and defence for our species’, and thus our own, apparently horrifically flawed, seemingly utterly disappointing, sad state would be found, because then, and only then, would it be psychologically safe to even broach the subject. In 2010 a poignantly honest film titled It’s Kind Of A Funny Story (based on Ned Vizzini’s book of the same title) was made about a 16-year-old boy named Craig who is going through the agonising process of grappling with the human condition; he struggles with ‘suicidal’ ‘depression’ from ‘anxiety’ about ‘grades, parents [who don’t seem to have ‘a clue’ that ‘there’s something bigger going on’], two wars, impending environmental catastrophe, a messed up economy’. Eventually a psychiatrist counsels him that ‘there is a saying that goes something like this: “Lord, grant me the strength to change the things I can, the courage to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference”’; basically he is advised to resign himself to living in denial of the human condition. The Beatles’ song Let It Be—consistently voted one of the most popular songs of the twentieth century—is actually an anthem to this need that adolescents have historically had, when confronted with the unbearable ‘hour of darkness’ that came from grappling with the issue of all ‘the broken hearted people living in the world’, to ‘let it be’ ‘until tomorrow’ when ‘there will be an answer’ (Lennon/McCartney, 1970). So when the great poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about the unbearably depressing subject of the human condition in his aptly titled poem No Worst, There Is None (1885), his words, ‘O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed’, did not exaggerate the depth of depression humans faced if we allowed our minds to think about the human condition while it was still to be ‘fathomed’/understood/‘answer[ed]’. Yes, when, in ‘my hour of darkness’, ‘Mother Mary comes…speaking words of wisdom, let it be, let it be’—accept the adults’ ‘wisdom’, and don’t go there!
It’s little wonder then that the human condition has been described so vehemently as ‘the personal unspeakable’ and as ‘the black box inside of humans they can’t go near’ (personal conversations, WTM records, Feb. 1995)—and why it is so very rare to find a completely honest description of adolescents going through the excruciating process of Resignation, of resigning themselves to having to block out the seemingly inexplicable question of their worth and meaning and live, from that time on, in denial of the unbearable issue of the human condition. Having already been through this terrible process of Resignation, most adults simply couldn’t allow themselves to recall, recognise and thus empathise with what adolescents were experiencing (they were, as Craig complained, rendered ‘clue’-less to the situation). And so our young have been alone with their pain, unable to share it with those closest, or the world at large. All of which makes the following account of a teenager in the midst of Resignation, by the American Pulitzer Prize-winning child psychiatrist Robert Coles, incredibly special: ‘I tell of the loneliness many young people feel…It’s a loneliness that has to do with a self-imposed judgment of sorts…I remember…a young man of fifteen who engaged in light banter, only to shut down, shake his head, refuse to talk at all when his own life and troubles became the subject at hand. He had stopped going to school…he sat in his room for hours listening to rock music, the door closed…I asked him about his head-shaking behavior: I wondered whom he was thereby addressing. He replied: “No one.” I hesitated, gulped a bit as I took a chance: “Not yourself?” He looked right at me now in a sustained stare, for the first time. “Why do you say that?” [he asked]…I decided not to answer the question in the manner that I was trained [basically, ‘trained’ in avoiding what the human condition really is]…Instead, with some unease…I heard myself saying this: “I’ve been there; I remember being there—remember when I felt I couldn’t say a word to anyone”…The young man kept staring at me, didn’t speak…When he took out his handkerchief and wiped his eyes, I realized they had begun to fill’ (The Moral Intelligence of Children, 1996, pp.143-144 of 218). The boy was in tears because Coles had reached him with some recognition and appreciation of what he was wrestling with; Coles had shown some honesty about what the boy could see and was struggling with, namely the horror of the utter hypocrisy of human behaviour—including his own.
The words Coles used in his admission that he too had once grappled with the issue of the human condition, of ‘I’ve been there’, are exactly those used by one of Australia’s greatest poets, Henry Lawson, in his extraordinarily honest poem about the unbearable depression that results from trying to confront the question of why human behaviour is so at odds with the cooperative, loving—or, to use religious terms, ‘Godly’—ideals of life. In his 1897 poem The Voice from Over Yonder, Lawson wrote: ‘“Say it! think it, if you dare! Have you ever thought or wondered, why the Man and God were sundered [torn apart]? Do you think the Maker blundered?” And the voice in mocking accents, answered only: “I’ve been there.”’ The unsaid words in the final phrase, ‘I’ve been there’, being ‘and I’m certainly not going ‘there’ again!’—with the ‘there’ and the ‘over yonder’ of the title referring to the state of deepest, darkest depression.
In his bestselling 2003 book, Goya (about the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya), another Australian, Robert Hughes, who for many years was TIME magazine’s art critic, described how he ‘had been thinking about Goya…[since] I was a high school student in Australia…[with] the first work of art I ever bought…[being] a poor second state of Capricho 43…The sleep of reason brings forth monsters…[Goya’s most famous etching reproduced above] of the intellectual beset with doubts and night terrors, slumped on his desk with owls gyring around his poor perplexed head’ (p.3 of 435). Hughes then commented that ‘glimpsing The sleep of reason brings forth monsters was a fluke’ (p.4). A little further on, Hughes wrote of this experience that ‘At fifteen, to find this voice [of Goya’s]—so finely wrought [in The sleep of reason brings forth monsters] and yet so raw, public and yet strangely private—speaking to me with such insistence and urgency…was no small thing. It had the feeling of a message transmitted with terrible urgency, mouth to ear: this is the truth, you must know this, I have been through it’ (p.5). Again, while the process of Resignation is such a horrific experience that adults determined never to revisit it, or even recall it, Hughes’ attraction to The sleep of reason brings forth monsters was not the ‘fluke’ he thought it was. The person slumped at the table with owls and bats gyrating around his head perfectly depicts the bottomless depression that occurs in humans just prior to resigning to a life of denial of the issue of the human condition, and someone in that situation would have recognised that meaning instantly, almost wilfully drawing such a perfect representation of their state out of the world around them. Even the title is accurate: ‘The sleep of reason’—namely reasoning at a very deep level—does ‘bring forth monsters’! While Hughes hasn’t recognised that what he was negotiating ‘At fifteen’ was Resignation, he has accurately recalled how strongly he connected to what was being portrayed in the etching: ‘It had the feeling of a message transmitted with terrible urgency, mouth to ear: this is the truth, you must know this, I have been through it.’ Note how Hughes’ words, ‘I have been through it’, are almost identical to Coles’ and Lawson’s words, ‘I’ve been there.’
And so, unable to acknowledge the process of Resignation, adults instead blamed the well-known struggles of adolescence on the hormonal upheaval that accompanies puberty, the so-called ‘puberty blues’—even terming glandular fever, a debilitating illness that often occurs in mid-adolescence, a puberty-related ‘kissing disease’. These terms, ‘puberty blues’ and ‘kissing disease’, are dishonest, denial-complying, evasive excuses because it wasn’t the onset of puberty that was causing the depressing ‘blues’ or glandular fever, but the trauma of Resignation. For glandular fever to occur, a person’s immune system must be extremely rundown, and yet during puberty the body is physically at its peak in terms of growth and vitality—so for an adolescent to succumb to the illness they must be under extraordinary psychological pressure, experiencing stresses much greater than those that could possibly be associated with the physical adjustments to puberty, an adjustment, after all, that has been going on since animals first became sexual. No, the depression and glandular fever experienced by young adolescents are a direct result of the trauma of having to resign to never again revisiting the unbearably depressing subject of the human condition.
That sublime classic of American literature, J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, is a masterpiece because, like Coles, Salinger dared to write about that forbidden subject for adults of adolescents having to resign to a dishonest life of denial of the human condition—for The Catcher in the Rye is actually entirely about a 16-year-old boy struggling against Resignation. The boy, Holden Caulfield, complains of feeling ‘surrounded by phonies’ (p.12 of 192) and ‘morons’ who ‘never want to discuss anything’ (p.39), of living on the ‘opposite sides of the pole’ (p.13) to most people, where he ‘just didn’t like anything that was happening’ (p.152), to wanting to escape to ‘somewhere with a brook…[where] I could chop all our own wood in the winter time and all’ (p.119). He knows he is supposed to resign—in the novel he talks about being told that ‘Life…[is] a game…you should play it according to the rules’ (p.7), and to feeling ‘so damn lonesome’ (pp.42, 134) and ‘depressed’ (multiple references) that he felt like ‘committing suicide’ (p.94). As a result of all this despair and disenchantment with the world he keeps ‘failing’ (p.9) his subjects at school and is expelled from four for ‘making absolutely no effort at all’ (p.167). About his behaviour he says, ‘I swear to God I’m a madman’ (p.121) and ‘I know. I’m very hard to talk to’ (p.168). But like the boy in Coles’ account, Holden finally encounters some rare honesty from an adult that, in Holden’s words, ‘really saved my life’ (p.172). This is what the adult said: ‘This fall I think you’re riding for—it’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind…[where you] just keep falling and falling [utter depression]’ (p.169). The adult then spoke of men who ‘at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with…So they gave up looking [they resigned]…[adding] you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior’ (pp.169-170). Yes, to be ‘confused and frightened’ to the point of being ‘sickened by human behavior’—indeed, to be ‘suicid[ally]’ ‘depressed’ by it—is the effect the human condition has if you haven’t resigned yourself to living a relieving but utterly dishonest and superficial life in denial of it.
Going through Resignation has been a truly horrific experience. A friend and I were walking in bushland past a school one day when we came across a boy, who would have been about 14 years old, sitting by the track in a hunched, foetal position. When I asked him if he was okay he looked up with such deep despair in his eyes that it was clear he didn’t want to be disturbed and so we left him alone. It was very apparent that he was trying to wrestle with the issue of the human condition, but without understanding of the human condition it hasn’t been possible for virtually all humans to do so without becoming so hideously condemned and thus depressed that they had no choice but to eventually surrender and take up denial of the issue of the human condition as the only way to cope with it—even though doing so meant adopting a completely dishonest, superficial and artificial, effectively dead, existence.
I haven’t as yet come across a photograph of an adolescent in the midst of Resignation, however, in my picture collection I do have the following haunting image of a boy who had, the previous day, lost all his classmates in a plane crash, and his expression is exactly the same deeply sobered, drained pale, all-pretences-and-facades-stripped-away, pained, tragic, stunned, human-condition-laid-bare expression I have seen on the faces of adolescents going through Resignation. We can see in this boy’s face that all the artificialities of human life have been rendered meaningless and ineffectual by the horror of losing all his friends, leaving bare only the sad, painful awareness of a world devoid of any real love, meaning or truth.
Although rarely shared, adolescents in the midst of Resignation quite often write excruciatingly honest poetry about their impending fate; indeed, The Catcher in the Rye is really one long poem about the agony of having to resign to living a human-condition-denying, superficial, totally false existence. I have written much more about Resignation at , however, the following are two horrifically honest Resignation poems that are discussed at that link and worth including here to provide first-hand insights into the agony of adolescence: ‘You will never have a home again / You’ll forget the bonds of family and family will become just family / Smiles will never bloom from your heart again, but be fake and you will speak fake words to fake people from your fake soul / What you do today you will do tomorrow and what you do tomorrow you will do for the rest of your life / From now on pressure, stress, pain and the past can never be forgotten / You have no heart or soul and there are no good memories / Your mind and thoughts rule your body that will hold all things inside it; bottled up, now impossible to be released / You are fake, you will be fake, you will be a supreme actor of happiness but never be happy / Time, joy and freedom will hardly come your way and never last as you well know / Others’ lives and the dreams of things that you can never have or be part of, will keep you alive / You will become like the rest of the world—a divine actor, trying to hide and suppress your fate, pretending it doesn’t exist / There is only one way to escape society and the world you help build, but that is impossible, for no one can ever become a baby again / Instead you spend the rest of life trying to find the meaning of life and confused in its maze’; and ‘Growing Up: There is a little hillside / Where I used to sit and think / I thought of being a fireman / And of thoughts, I thought important / Then they were beyond me / Way above my head / But now they are forgotten / Trivial and dead.’
Yes, as these poems so painfully express, Resignation means blocking out all memory of the innocent, soulful, true world because it is unbearably condemning of our present immensely corrupted human condition: ‘You have no heart or soul and there are no good memories / Your mind and thoughts rule your body that will hold all things inside it; bottled up, now impossible to be released / You are fake, you will be fake, you will be a supreme actor of happiness but never be happy.’ And since virtually all adults have resigned, that is exactly how ‘fake’, or as the 16-year-old Holden Caulfield described it, ‘phony’, they have become. Clearly, the price of Resignation is enormous, but the alternative for virtually all humans of not resigning has been an even worse fate because it meant living with constant suicidal depression.
Appreciably then, in what forms the key passage in The Catcher in the Rye (indeed, it provides the meaning behind the book’s enigmatic title), Salinger has Holden Caulfield dreaming of a time when this absolute horror, indeed obscenity, of Resignation will no longer have to form an unavoidable part of human life: ‘I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around—nobody big, I mean—except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be’ (p.156). And, as will be explained in this book, the time that Holden Caulfield so yearned for when we will be able to ‘catch’ all children before ‘they start to go over the [excruciating] cliff’ of Resignation to a life of utter dishonesty, ‘phony’, ‘fake’ superficiality, and silence in terms of ‘never want[ing] to discuss anything’ truthfully again, has finally come about with the finding of the all-clarifying, redeeming and relieving truthful, fully compassionate explanation of human behaviour! Yes, the real ‘catcher in the rye’ is the ability to explain ‘human behavior’ so that it is no longer ‘sicken[ing]’ but understandable, and, best of all, healable.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:3 Our near total resistance to analysis of the human condition
It is a measure of just how unbearable the issue of the human condition has been that while Resignation has been the most important psychological event in human life the process is never spoken of and has virtually gone unacknowledged in the public realm, with only a rare few of our most accomplished writers even managing to write about the suicidally depressing experience of engaging the subject of the human condition itself. To this end, many ‘philosophers and psychologists’ consider that the great Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s ‘analysis on the nature of despair is one of the best accounts on the subject’ (Wikipedia; see <>)—with the ‘nature of despair’ being as close as the reviewer could go in referring to the worse-than-death, suicidal depression that the human condition has caused humans, but which Kierkegaard managed to give such an honest account of in his aptly titled 1849 book, The Sickness Unto Death: ‘the torment of despair is precisely the inability to die [and end the torture of our unexplained human condition]…that despair is the sickness unto death, this tormenting contradiction [of our ‘good and evil’, human condition-afflicted lives], this sickness in the self; eternally to die, to die and yet not to die’ (tr. A. Hannay, 1989, p.48 of 179). Kierkegaard went on to include these unnervingly truthful words about how, even when the blocks were in place in our minds against recognising the existence of the issue of the human condition, the terrifying ‘anxiety’ it caused us still occasionally surfaced: ‘there is not a single [adult] human being who does not despair at least a little, in whose innermost being there doesn’t dwell an uneasiness, an unquiet, a discordance, an anxiety in the face of an unknown something, or a something he doesn’t even dare strike up acquaintance with…he goes about with a sickness, goes about weighed down with a sickness of the spirit, which only now and then reveals its presence within, in glimpses, and with what is for him an inexplicable anxiety’ (p.52).
Another great philosopher, the Russian Nikolai Berdyaev, gave this extraordinarily forthright description of how trying to address and solve the sickeningly depressing issue of the human condition and, by so doing, make sense of human behaviour, has been a nightmare: ‘Knowledge requires great daring. It means victory over ancient, primeval terror. Fear makes the search for truth and the knowledge of it impossible…it must also be said of knowledge that it is bitter, and there is no escaping that bitterness…Particularly bitter is moral knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. But the bitterness is due to the fallen state of the world, and in no way undermines the value of knowledge…it must be said that the very distinction between good and evil is a bitter distinction, the bitterest thing in the world…There is a deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, pp.14-15 of 310). Yes, trying to think about our corrupted, ‘fallen’, seemingly ‘evil’ and ‘worthless’ state has been an ‘ancient, primeval terror’, a ‘deadly pain’, ‘the bitterest thing in the world’ for virtually all humans. As one of the key figures of the Enlightenment, the philosopher Immanuel Kant, said: we have to ‘Dare to know!’ (What is Enlightenment?, 1784).
So Carl Jung certainly exhibited ‘great daring’ in his thinking when he wrote the following words about the terrifying nature of the human condition: ‘When it [our shadow] appears…it is quite within the bounds of possibility for a man to recognize the relative evil of his nature, but it is a rare and shattering experience for him to gaze into the face of absolute evil’ (Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self, 1959; tr. R. Hull, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 9/2, p.10). The ‘face of absolute evil’ is the ‘shattering’ possibility—if we allowed our minds to think about it—that we humans might indeed be a terrible mistake. And so to avoid that implication, humans have had to avoid almost all deep, penetrating, truthful thinking because almost any thinking at a deeper level brought us into contact with the unbearable issue of our seemingly horribly flawed condition: ‘There’s a tree with lovely autumn leaves; isn’t it amazing how beautiful nature can be, I wonder why some things are beautiful while others are not—I wonder why I’m not beautiful inside, in fact, so full of all manner of angst, selfish self-obsession, indifference and anger…aaahhhhh!!!!’ The very great English poet William Wordsworth was making this point when he wrote, ‘To me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears’ (Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, 1807), for it is true that even the plainest flower can remind us of the unbearably depressing issue of our seemingly horrifically imperfect, ‘fallen’, apparently ‘worthless’ condition. Yes, as the comedian Rod Quantock once said, ‘Thinking can get you into terrible downwards spirals of doubt’ (‘Sayings of the Week’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Jul. 1986). The Nobel Laureate Albert Camus wasn’t overstating the issue either when he wrote that ‘Beginning to think is beginning to be undermined’ (The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942); nor was another Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Bertrand Russell, when he said, ‘Many people would sooner die than think’ (Antony Flew, Thinking About Thinking, 1975, p.5 of 127). And nor was the equally acclaimed poet T.S. Eliot when he wrote that ‘human kind cannot bear very much reality’ (Burnt Norton, 1936). ‘The sleep of reason’, reasoning at a deep level, does indeed ‘bring forth monsters’.
Already we can see the truth of the initial point made in this chapter—that to understand human behaviour requires bottoming out on the fact that almost all of our behaviour is a product of, even driven by, our fear of the human condition, for we can appreciate here how our fear of the human condition has limited, indeed relegated, us to an extremely superficial existence. As this book progresses, it will become increasingly clear that making sense of human behaviour and finding the answers to all the mysteries about human life depends on recognising humans’ immense fear of the human condition. Moreover, recognising this underlying fear will enable you to see through our behaviour, see what is behind it, what is causing it—to such an extent, in fact, that our behaviour becomes transparent. You can get a feeling for this concept of transparency in the extract from the interview included earlier with the Australian broadcaster Brian Carlton (see par. 94).
The fact is, the human race has lived a haunted existence, dogged by the dark shadow of its imperfect human condition, forever trying to escape it—the result of which is that we have become immensely superficial and artificial; ‘phony’ and ‘fake’, as the resigning adolescents so truthfully described it, and living on the absolute meniscus of life in terms of what we are prepared to look at, feel and consider. We are a profoundly estranged or alienated species, completely blocked-off from the amazing and wonderful real world, and from the truth of our self-corruption that thinking about that beautiful, inspired, natural, soulful world unbearably connects us to—as the absolutely ‘fear’-lessly honest Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing has written: ‘Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life…We are born into a world where alienation awaits us. We are potentially men, but are in an alienated state [p.12 of 156] …the ordinary person is a shrivelled, desiccated fragment of what a person can be. As adults, we have forgotten most of our childhood, not only its contents but its flavour; as men of the world, we hardly know of the existence of the inner world [p.22] …The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man [p.24] …between us and It [our true selves or soul] there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete. Deus absconditus. Or we have absconded [p.118] …The outer divorced from any illumination from the inner is in a state of darkness. We are in an age of darkness. The state of outer darkness is a state of sin—i.e. alienation or estrangement from the inner light [p.116] …We are all murderers and prostitutes…We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another’ [pp.11-12] (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967). ‘We are dead, but think we are alive. We are asleep, but think we are awake. We are dreaming, but take our dreams to be reality. We are the halt, lame, blind, deaf, the sick. But we are doubly unconscious. We are so ill that we no longer feel ill, as in many terminal illnesses. We are mad, but have no insight [into the fact of our madness]’ (Self and Others, 1961, p.38 of 192). ‘We are so out of touch with this realm [where the issue of the human condition lies] that many people can now argue seriously that it does not exist’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, p.105).
Laing’s honesty is astonishing. One other rare example from the twentieth century of someone who managed to depict and penetrate our ‘fifty feet of solid concrete’ wall of denial of the truth of our tortured, ‘good-and-evil’-stricken human condition was the Irish artist Francis Bacon. While people in their resigned state of denial of what the human condition actually is typically find his work ‘enigmatic’ and ‘obscene’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 Apr. 1992), there is really no mistaking the agony of the human condition in Bacon’s death-mask-like, twisted, smudged, distorted, trodden-on—alienated—faces, and tortured, contorted, stomach-knotted, arms-pinned, psychologically strangled and imprisoned bodies; consider, for instance, his Study for self-portrait below. It is some recognition of the incredible integrity/honesty of Bacon’s work that in 2013 one of his triptychs sold for $US142.4 million, becoming (at the time) ‘the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction, breaking the previous record, set in May 2012, when a version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream [another exceptionally honest, human-condition-revealing painting] sold for $119.9 million’ (TIME, 25 Nov. 2013). (It may seem incongruous that people living in denial of the human condition should pay such exorbitant sums for such stark depictions of our psychologically upset state, but living in an almost completely ‘phony’, ‘fake’, ‘alienat[ed]…to the roots’ and truthless world, as this book reveals we have been, has meant that the honesty about our true state depicted by Bacon and Munch could be immensely valued for its cathartic, purging, purifying, relieving powers. This book, however, provides the ultimate form of this therapy, because in explaining the human condition it at last allows us to be completely honest without that honesty bringing with it any condemnation of our horrifically upset condition.)
Indeed, Laing’s words and Bacon’s images are so cathartically honest that if they don’t reconnect us with the human condition then nothing will!! But again, despite the contributions made by these great thinkers and artists, and the horror of the world around us, that reconnection is not easily achieved because what Laing wrote is true—resigned humans have learnt to live in such complete denial of the issue of the human condition that many people do now ‘seriously’ believe the issue ‘does not exist’, at least not in its true form as a profoundly disturbed and insecure, psychological affliction.
A further illustration of just how impenetrable the issue of the human condition has been is Plato’s aforementioned allegory of the cave (see par. 83) in which humans have been incarcerated, unable to face the glare of the sunlit ‘real’ world because it would make ‘visible’ the unbearably depressing issue of ‘the imperfections of human life’. Plato said that while ‘the sun…makes the things we see visible’, such that without it we can only ‘see dimly and appear to be almost blind’, having to hide in the ‘cave’ of ‘illusion’ and endure ‘almost blind’ alienation was infinitely preferable to facing the ‘painful’ issue of ‘our [seemingly imperfect] human condition’. Clearly, what enabled Plato to be such an effective and penetrating thinker was that he was able to ‘realiz[e]’ that ‘Our alienation goes to the roots’, which, as Laing wrote, is ‘the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’. Plato was one of the rare few individuals in history who have been sound and secure enough in self to not have had to resign to living a life of denial of the human condition, because only by being unresigned could he have fully confronted, talked freely about and effortlessly described the human condition the way he did; you can’t think truthfully if you are living in a cave of denial.
I should mention that while there have been innumerable interpretations of Plato’s cave allegory, none that I am aware of has presented the interpretation that was given in par. 83, which was that Plato was describing humans as living in such immense fear of the human condition that they were having to hide from it in the equivalent of a deep, dark cave. However, if this interpretation is true and adult humans are living in terrifying fear of the human condition (and what has been described about Resignation evidences they are), then it makes complete sense that they wouldn’t want to acknowledge that interpretation, they wouldn’t want to admit that Plato was right about them wanting to hide from the human condition, and so they would have sought a different, less confronting interpretation. Admitting to having to hide from the human condition means acknowledging and having to confront the issue of the human condition, which humans haven’t wanted to do. And in addition to not wanting to be reconnected to the issue of the human condition and the terrible depression they experienced at Resignation, adults haven’t wanted to admit that they did resign to a life of lying—to living a completely superficial, ‘phony’, ‘fake’, ‘alienat[ed]…to the roots’, ‘asleep’, ‘unconscious’, ‘out of one’s mind’ existence. Such honesty would undermine their ability to operate; it would be self-negating: ‘I’m lying, so neither you nor I can trust me.’ No wonder humans have been so sensitive about being called liars. In the absence of understanding, denial and delusion have been the only means we have had to cope with the extreme imperfection of our lives. It is only now that we can properly explain the human condition and, by so doing, fully defend and understand our upset, corrupted, alienated state that we can afford to abandon that delusion and denial and be honest about Resignation and its consequences. Indeed, the only outright admissions of Resignation and its effects that I have found have come from exceptionally honest, unresigned, denial-free-thinking individuals we have termed ‘prophets’, namely Plato with his cave allegory, and, as will be described in par. 750, Moses with his Noah’s Ark metaphor.
We can therefore appreciate why every effort has been made to avoid the, in truth, obvious ‘we-are-hiding-from-the-human-condition’ interpretation of Plato’s cave allegory that was given in par. 83. And it is a very obvious interpretation, because, in Sir Desmond Lee’s translation of Plato’s own words, Plato wrote, ‘I want you to go on to picture the enlightenment or ignorance of our human conditions’, where the ‘fire’ that blocks the cave’s exit ‘corresponds…to the power of the sun’, which the ‘cave’ ‘prisoners’ have to hide from because its searing, ‘painful’ light would make ‘visible’ the unbearably depressing issue of ‘the imperfections of human life’—those imperfections being ‘our human condition’!
Some might question whether Lee took liberties in translating Plato’s original Greek words as meaning ‘our human condition’. The first point I would make is that Lee’s translation is held in very high regard; it is, for instance, the translation the publishing house Penguin chose for its very popular paperback edition of The Republic. And the second point I would make is that the most literal interpretation of Plato’s original Greek text, by the philosopher Allan Bloom, carries the same meaning. In his preface to his 1968 translation of The Republic, Bloom (the author of the renowned and exceptionally honest book, The Closing of the American Mind) explains why he went to such pains to be literal: ‘Such a translation is intended to be useful to the serious student, the one who wishes and is able to arrive at his own understanding of the work…The only way to provide the reader with this independence is by a slavish…literalness—insofar as possible always using the same English equivalent for the same Greek word’ (The Republic of Plato, tr. Allan Bloom, 1968, Preface, p.xi of 512). So what is Bloom’s ‘slavish[ly]’ ‘literal’ translation of the passage Lee translated as ‘picture the enlightenment or ignorance of our human conditions’?—it is ‘make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following kind’ (ibid. 514a). ‘Our nature’ or ‘condition’ is ‘our human condition’! I might include more of Bloom’s rendition of the passage Lee translated, on how the ‘fire’ that blocks the cave’s exit ‘corresponds…to the power of the sun’, which the cave prisoners have to hide from because its searing, ‘painful’ light would make ‘visible’ the unbearably depressing issue of ‘the imperfections of human life’, those imperfections being ‘our human condition’. Bloom’s translation of these key words and phrases is that we should ‘liken’ the ‘fire’ that blocks the cave’s exit ‘to the sun’s power’ (ibid. 517b), which the cave prisoners have to hide from because its searing, ‘distress[ing]’ (ibid. 516e) light would make ‘visible’ the unbearably depressing issue of ‘human evils’ (ibid. 517c-d), that propensity for evil being ‘our nature’. So Lee’s translation of those other key words is equally accurate.
So, despite the human condition being the all-important issue that had to be solved if we were to understand and ameliorate human behaviour, it has been, for all but a very rare few individuals like Plato and Moses, the one issue humans couldn’t face. It has been the great unacknowledged ‘elephant in the living room’ of our lives, THE absolutely critical and yet completely unconfrontable and virtually unmentionable subject in life.
With this in mind, we can now finally understand the resigned mind’s inability to make sense of human behaviour, and the problem posed by the ‘deaf effect’ when reading about the human condition, and why humans resigned to a life in denial of the human condition. And with this appreciation, it is not difficult to see the connection between our species’ denial of our condition and the following account of one woman’s reaction to being told she had cancer; her ‘block out’ or denial of her condition is palpable: ‘She said, “I thought I was cool, calm and collected but I must have been in a state of shock because the words just seemed to flood over me and I remembered almost nothing from what the doctor said in the initial consultation”’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Aug. 1995). And, since discussion of the human condition involves re-connecting with Resignation, an experience worse than death (a ‘horrible’ ‘shattering’ ‘deadly pain’ of such depressing ‘despair’, ‘doubts and night terrors’ that it was like a ‘sickness unto death’ where you ‘just keep falling and falling’, ‘eternally to die, to die and yet not to die’, as Hughes, Salinger, Kierkegaard, Berdyaev and Jung variously described it), it should be clear to the reader that even though you will think you are ‘cool, calm and collected’ and able to absorb what is being explained here, your mind will actually be in ‘shock’, so the words will ‘flood over’ you and you will ‘initial[ly]’ be, as Plato said, unable to take in or hear much of what is being said. Once you are resigned to living in denial of the issue of the human condition, as virtually every adult is, then you are living in denial of the issue of the human condition—so your mind will, at least ‘initial[ly]’, resist absorbing discussion of it. So while you may think you will be able to follow and take in discussion about what the human condition is, like you would expect when reading or learning about any new subject, this ‘deaf effect’ that ‘initial[ly]’ occurs when reading about the human condition is, in fact, very real.
The problem is that once humans resign and become mentally blocked out or alienated from any truth that brings the issue of the human condition into focus (which, as will be revealed in this book, is most truth), we aren’t then aware that we are blocking out anything; we aren’t then aware, as Laing said, that ‘there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete’ between us and ‘our true selves’ or soul that is preventing our mind from accessing what is being said. As pointed out earlier, this inability to know we are blocking something out occurs because obviously we can’t block something out of our mind and know we have blocked it out because if we knew we had blocked it out we wouldn’t have blocked it out. The fact is, we aren’t aware that we are alienated!
So the ‘deaf effect’ is very real, and so, therefore, is the need to watch the introductory videos and have the willingness to patiently re-read the text and engage in interactive discussions about these understandings.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:4 How has science coped with the issue of the human condition, and the dangerous ‘trap’ involved in the way it coped?
In light of what has now been explained about our species’ extremely committed denial of the human condition, how has science—as humanity’s designated vehicle for enquiry into the nature of our world, particularly into the all-important issue of human nature—coped with the human condition? Well, given it is practised by humans who have had no choice but to avoid the suicidally depressing subject of the human condition, science has necessarily been what is termed ‘reductionist’ and ‘mechanistic’. It has avoided the overarching whole view of life that required having to confront the issue of the human condition and instead reduced its focus to only looking down at the details of the mechanisms of the workings of our world, in the hope that understanding of those mechanisms would eventually make it possible to explain, understand and thus at last be able to both confront and ameliorate or heal the human condition.
Of course, the great danger inherent in the reduced, mechanistic, whole-view-evading, resigned-to-living-in-denial-of-the-human-condition, hiding-in-Plato’s-cave, fundamentally dishonest approach is that it could become so entrenched, so habituated to its strategy of denial, it could resist the whole-view-embracing, human-condition-confronting, out-of-Plato’s-cave, truthful explanation of the human condition when it was finally found and continue to persevere with its dishonest strategy to the point of taking the human race to terminal alienation and extinction. Yes, despite the arrival of the truthful scientific paradigm being science’s great objective and fundamental responsibility—and the only means by which the human race can be liberated from its condition, and thus transformed—the risk is that the established dishonest scientific paradigm might not welcome or, indeed even tolerate, its arrival!
What has just been said in the above two paragraphs is so critical it needs to be further explained and emphasised.
If we were to stand back and consider the situation the human race has been in—where it needed to find understanding of humans’ less-than-ideally behaved, competitive, aggressive and selfish human condition in order to liberate itself from the insecurity of not knowing why that divisive condition emerged—then we can see that there was a very serious obstacle that had to be overcome: how on earth could the human race investigate a subject that virtually everyone was too terrified of to go near? Well, if we then imagine a group of objective thinkers were elected to address this problem—an enlightened board of directors overseeing our situation, if you like—the rationale of their thinking would surely have been that all the human race could do was investigate the nature of our world while all the time avoiding any truths that brought the unbearable issue of the human condition into focus—and just hope that with sufficient understanding of the nature of our world found someone who didn’t find the issue of the human condition unbearably condemning and confronting would then be able to assemble the explanation of the human condition from those understandings. No other strategy was possible, and, as mentioned, that is the strategy the human race took.
Human-condition-avoiding, whole-view-evading, so-called reductionist or mechanistic science had to complete the difficult and painstaking task of finding all the pieces of the jigsaw of the explanation of the human condition, but unable to look at the whole picture its practitioners were in no position to put the jigsaw together—that final task required a whole-view-confronting, denial-free thinking approach. I have drawn the following picture to illustrate the strategy. (Note, not all the captions in this drawing will be able to be understood at this early stage of the book; however, the essential roles played by human-condition-avoiding science and human-condition-confronting science in finding the key unlocking insight into our human condition should be sufficiently clear. Our ideal-behaviour-demanding, ‘condemning moral conscience’ was briefly referred to in chapter 1:3 and will be more fully described shortly in this chapter; the concept of truthful, cooperative-meaning-accepting ‘holistic’ thinking will be fully explained in chapter 4:2, with inductive and deductive science explained later in par. 581; while the reason deductive or mechanistic science is described as having been ‘supposedly objective’ rather than actually objective, is provided in pars 590 and 1151.)
As was briefly explained in chapter 1, and will be fully explained in chapter 3, the all-important ‘piece of the jigsaw’ that finally made it possible for the human-condition-confronting, truthful thinking approach to find the explanation of the human condition that is presented in this book was the discovery by human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic science of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information—that genes give species orientations but nerves give rise to a conscious mind that needs to understand existence, with the inevitable clash between the two learning systems explaining the psychologically upset state of the human condition.
However, while the two approaches taken by human-condition-avoiding science and human-condition-confronting science have now played their part and the explanation of the human condition has been found, there remains one final step to fulfil our board of directors’ plans to save humanity—and it is at this last step that a very dangerous ‘trap’ exists, which our enlightened board of directors would have to have recognised. That most dangerous of traps is the possibility that the all-dominating world of mechanistic science might become so attached to its human-condition-avoiding mechanistic approach—so habituated to living in Plato’s dark cave of denial—that it might not tolerate the world-saving insight into the human condition that has now been found. In terms of what our board of directors thought could be done to mitigate or avoid this trap, the reality is that all they, or anyone, could do was just hope that there would be a sufficient number of scientists who could appreciate that finding the fully accountable, exonerating and rehabilitating understanding of the human condition made the need for science to be mechanistic obsolete, and that the responsibility now for science as a whole, and for scientists individually, is to acknowledge and support that world-saving insight.
The critical question then is, will there be enough integrity, courage and vision amongst scientists for this understanding to receive the support it now needs to survive—because, as the science historian Thomas Kuhn said, ‘In science…ideas do not change simply because new facts win out over outmoded ones…Since the facts can’t speak for themselves, it is their human advocates who win or lose the day’ (Shirley Strum, Almost Human, 1987, p.164 of 297—Strum’s references are to Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd edn, 1970). And as will be documented later in chapter 6:12, despite support from some very eminent scientists like Harry Prosen, the current situation is that, as of early 2016, the scientific community is failing to demonstrate the integrity, courage and vision necessary to guarantee the understanding survives. Indeed, two of the main themes running through this book are the enormous struggle for acceptance, within both the scientific community and the wider world, that this all-important understanding (along with all the other critically important truthful explanations of human behaviour that accompany it) is having to endure, and the dire consequences for the human race if that acceptance fails to eventuate.
And the consequences are dire, because if sufficient support for these understandings doesn’t develop, humanity can only become more and more psychologically upset until it eventually becomes terminally psychologically upset—in particular, so committed to denial of any truth that brings the issue of the human condition into focus (which, as we are going to see in this book, is most truth) that the human race perishes in a horrific state of terminal alienation!
So it is most distressing that the scientific establishment hasn’t taken the lead in recognising the importance of this explanation of the human condition and has, instead, been treating the explanation as an anathema. By this conduct, and by perpetuating its own dishonest path with the development of an extremely dangerously dishonest account of the human condition itself by someone who has been lauded as the ‘living heir to Darwin’, science is completely failing its responsibility of ensuring humanity avoids the horror of terminal alienation.
Yes, in 2012, E.O. Wilson published his ‘summa work’, The Social Conquest of Earth, the opening sentence of which truthfully recognises that ‘There is no grail more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to understanding the human condition’ before going on to claim to, as the book’s dust jacket says, present ‘the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origins of the human condition’. But, despite all the accolades this book has received, including The New York Times rating it one of ‘The 100 Notable Books of the Year’ (and the nod to Darwin’s throne that also appears on the book’s dust jacket), we have to wonder whether, given the human condition has been such a terrifying, unapproachable subject, Wilson has actually been able to confront, think effectively about and, by so doing, find the long sought-after, human-race-liberating, holy ‘grail’ of science of the explanation of the human condition—or has he, in fact, not actually confronted and thought truthfully about the human condition at all, and, therefore, not presented the liberating and ameliorating understanding of ourselves that we humans so desperately need? As we are going to see further on in this chapter, the answer is the latter; indeed, rather than delivering the dreamed-of relieving insight into our ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted lives, Wilson, who turns out to be the quintessential exponent of dishonest, human-condition-avoiding mechanistic science, is taking the human race so deep ‘underground’ into the darkness of Plato’s human-condition-avoiding cave of denial that he is effectively locking humanity onto a path to the utterly tortured, permanent darkness of terminal alienation that Michelangelo’s and Blake’s paintings at the beginning of this chapter so dramatically depict!!
I must emphasise the extreme seriousness of what has occurred. Instead of opening the shutters and letting the liberating light of understanding stream in upon the agonising dilemma of our human condition, which in effect is what Wilson claims he has done, he has actually taken the human race into the deepest and darkest corner of truth-avoiding denial and alienation it has ever known! The appearance is that mechanistic science is taking humanity to terminal alienation and extinction!
So it is most significant—and relieving for the human race—that this exposé of Wilson’s completely dishonest, condemning-humanity-to-the-torture-of-unspeakable-levels-of-psychosis account of the human condition is now countered by the denial-free, human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding, alienation-removing-not-increasing, psychologically-rehabilitating-and-thus-human-race-transforming, real biological explanation of the human condition, which was outlined in chapter 1 and will be fully explained in chapter 3. Further, it is this fully accountable and thus true explanation of the human condition that finally makes it both possible and psychologically safe to also provide the fully accountable, real and true answers to the three other (only slightly less important) outstanding holy grails in science: the meaning of existence; how humans acquired our altruistic moral instincts—as well as a rebuttal of scientific theories that have been put forward on the subject; and how humans became conscious when other animals haven’t—explanations that are presented in chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively. Chapter 8 will then provide the denial-free, real and true account of humanity’s journey from ignorance to enlightenment that these fully accountable, true explanations make possible—an account that includes the reconciling understanding of the lives of men and women, the explanation of sex as humans have practised it (including homosexuality), the explanations of religion and politics, and many, many other denial-free explanations of human behaviour.
In short, this book has the power to transport humanity from a world of ignorant darkness and excruciating, human-condition-afflicted bondage that Plato’s cave so honestly depicted, to a liberated world bathed in the light of redeeming, relieving and psychologically rehabilitating understanding. The book’s concluding chapter (9) describes how this fabulous transformation can, and, with this new presentation that has the supportive ‘deaf effect’-eroding introductory videos, will now occur.
(Much more can be read about mechanistic science’s strategy of investigating the human condition while avoiding it, including the role the Greek philosopher Aristotle played in developing the strategy, at .)
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:5 The three fundamental truths that have to be admitted for there to be a true analysis of the human condition
As has been mentioned, what is going to be revealed in the remainder of this chapter is how human-condition-avoiding mechanistic biology—with E.O. Wilson at the helm—has fast been leading humanity to terminal alienation and extinction.
The most effective way to begin this exposé is to identify the three fundamental truths about human behaviour that have to be admitted for there to be a true analysis of our condition, but which mechanistic biology has been determinedly avoiding because they have been unbearably condemning of our present psychologically upset competitive, aggressive and selfish human-condition-afflicted existence. We need to bring into the open what it is that has consistently been avoided by mechanistic biology in order to reveal the field’s hidden agenda.
So what are the three fundamental truths about our human condition that have been determinedly denied by mechanistic biology? As explained in chapter 1 when the fully accountable explanation of the human condition was outlined, the human condition emerged when our conscious mind challenged our instincts for the management of our lives, with the resulting psychologically upset competitive, aggressive and selfish condition being greatly exacerbated by the fact that our moral instincts are orientated to living in a way that is the complete opposite of this state, namely cooperatively, lovingly and selflessly. (Note, the biological explanation of the great mystery as to how our distant ape ancestors came to live unconditionally selflessly, cooperatively and peacefully, the instinctive memory of which is our moral conscience, is presented in chapters 5 and 6.) Thus, the three fundamental elements involved in this explanation are that our conscious mind caused our upset state to emerge, that it is a psychological psychotic and neurotic state of upset that we are living in, and that our species’ original instinctive orientation was to living in a psychosis-free, peaceful and harmonious state of cooperation, love and selflessness. The problem, of course, has been that until this reconciling explanation of the human condition was found that defends our conscious mind’s upsetting search for knowledge, relieves our psychosis and neurosis, and explains why we had to depart from an original cooperative, loving, selfless state of innocence, each of these three fundamental truths was unbearably condemning of our present competitive, aggressive and selfish upset, psychotic and neurotic conscious self, and therefore had to be denied. We couldn’t face the truth until we could explain it. So these are the three truths that have been denied by human-condition-avoiding mechanistic science—and, as sufferers of the human condition, it is most likely that they are truths that readers of this book will also have been living in denial of, and thus unlikely to have been accepting as being ‘truths’.
It makes sense, therefore, that the reader will require evidence that these are, in fact, all truths before being presented with an exposé on how mechanistic science has dismissed and denied them—but in the interim the following paragraph serves as a helpful introduction to how mechanistic biology has gone about denying these truths.
As was mentioned in chapter 1:1, the main way mechanistic science managed to deny these three extremely condemning and confronting truths (that we, in the form of our conscious mind, caused our upset, corrupted condition; and that humans now suffer from a psychosis; and that our species’ instinctive heritage is of having lived in an all-loving, cooperative, peaceful state) was to assert that our present behaviour is no different to that seen in the animal kingdom. It was argued that humans are competitive, aggressive and selfish because of our animal heritage; that we have savage animal instincts that make us fight and compete for food, shelter, territory and a mate—basically, for the chance to reproduce our genes. Further, as will be described shortly in chapter 2:9, we said that the task of our conscious mind is to try to control these supposed brutal, savage instincts within us. As will be pointed out, this was an absolutely brilliant excuse because instead of our instincts being all-loving and thus unbearably condemning of our present non-loving state, they were made out to be vicious and brutal; and, instead of our conscious mind being the villain, the cause of our corruption, the insecurity of which made us repress our instinctive self or soul or psyche and become psychotic, it was made out to be the blameless, psychosis-free mediating ‘hero’ that had to manage those supposed vicious instincts within us! Of course, as was pointed out in chapter 1:1, the whole ‘animals are competitive and aggressive and that’s why we are’ excuse cannot be the real cause of our divisive behaviour because descriptions of our behaviour, such as egocentric, arrogant, inspired, depressed, deluded, pessimistic, optimistic, artificial, hateful, mean, immoral, guilt-ridden, evil, psychotic, neurotic, alienated, all recognise the involvement of our species’ unique fully conscious thinking mind—that there is a psychological dimension to our behaviour. We have suffered not from the genetic-opportunism-based, non-psychological animal condition, but the conscious-mind-based, PSYCHOLOGICALLY troubled HUMAN CONDITION. The other reason (which I didn’t mention in chapter 1:1 but can now include) for why the savage animal instincts in us excuse doesn’t hold water is because of the third fundamental truth about humans, which is that we have unconditionally selfless, cooperative, loving, moral instincts, the expression or ‘voice’ of which within us we call our conscience. The reason adolescents have become so depressed during Resignation, and why they don’t fall for and adopt the savage instincts excuse (although they gladly embrace it after resigning and deciding they have to live in denial of the human condition) is because their moral instinctive self or soul lets them know their behaviour should be cooperative and loving, not competitive and aggressive. The fundamental reason humans have had a sense of guilt is because we have a moral conscience. Yes, the truth is we do all know that the old ‘animals are competitive and aggressive and that’s why we are’ defence doesn’t explain our psychologically distressed, guilt-ridden human condition. In fact—as is going to be revealed—‘the savage instincts excuse’ and ‘the conscious mind is the psychosis-free hero’ accounts of human behaviour have all just been terrible reverse-of-the-truth lies, albeit hugely relieving ones for humans needing to seek relief from the human condition while it wasn’t able to be truthfully explained.
Now, to supply evidence for the reader of the three truths that our conscious mind caused our upset, corrupted condition, that we suffer from a psychosis, and that our instinctive heritage is of having lived in an all-loving, cooperative, peaceful state.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:6 Evidence of the three fundamental truths, as provided by Moses and Plato
If we ask ourselves what is the ‘we’ that we are talking about when we refer to the possibility that ‘we’ are a terrible mistake, a worthless blight on this planet, the ‘face of absolute evil’ as Jung said, we can see where the real problem about our seemingly horribly flawed condition lies: the ‘we’ is surely our conscious thinking mind or intellect. It is our conscious mind that is uncertain of its worthiness, that suspects that it might be to blame for our species’ present seemingly highly imperfect, even ‘fallen’ or corrupted, competitive, aggressive and selfish condition. And indeed, that most famous mythological account of the origin or genesis of the human condition, the story of Adam and Eve from the book of ‘Genesis’ in the Old Testament in the Bible, which the very great prophet Moses wrote (versions of which also appear in the Torah of Judaism, and the Koran of Islam), recognises that this was the case—that it was our conscious mind that led to our ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted condition. Moses said that the first humans, represented in this account by Adam and Eve, lived ‘naked, and they felt no shame’ (Gen. 2:25) in ‘the Garden of Eden’ (3:23) and were ‘created…in the image of God’ (1:27), obviously meaning we once lived in a pre-human-condition-afflicted state of original innocence where we were perfectly instinctively orientated to the cooperative, selfless, loving, ‘Godly’ ideals of life. Moses then said that Adam and Eve took the ‘fruit’ ‘from the tree of…knowledge’ (3:3, 2:17) because it was ‘desirable for gaining wisdom’ (3:6), obviously meaning we became fully conscious, thinking, knowledge-seeking beings. Then, as a result of becoming conscious, and being ‘disobedient’ (the term widely used in descriptions of Gen. 3), Moses said we ‘fell from grace’ (derived from the title of Gen. 3, ‘The Fall of Man’), obviously meaning our original cooperative, selfless and loving (good) state became corrupted and our competitive, selfish and aggressive—indeed, angry, egocentric and alienated—(‘evil’/‘sinful’/guilt-ridden) state emerged. It was at this point that humans ‘realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves’ (3:7), meaning nudity was no longer a ‘shame[less]’ state, with sex as humans now practise it emerging where, as will be explained in chapter 8:11B, the act of procreation became perverted and used as a way of angrily attacking or ‘fucking’ innocence because of its implied criticism of our lack thereof—at which point it was necessary to clothe ourselves to dampen lust and reduce the ‘shame’ we felt for being so horrifically destructive of innocence. (Note: this explanation of sex as humans practise it now will likely be another concept new to the reader, requiring some thought before it can be accepted as being true, but it really is just a further honest, obvious explanation we couldn’t afford to admit while we couldn’t explain the human condition and defend our immensely corrupted lives.) Moses then said that, as a result of the emergence of all our corrupt angry, egocentric and alienated behaviour, we were ‘banished…from the Garden of Eden’-like (3:23) state of original innocence and left ‘a restless wanderer on the earth’ (4:14); that is, we were left in our present, psychologically upset, distressed and alienated condition.
It should be emphasised here that while Moses’ extraordinarily sound and thus effective thinking enabled him to describe all the elements involved in producing the human condition, the story of Adam and Eve is only a description of the conflict that produced the upset state of our human condition, not an explanation of WHY the conflict occurred. As was described in chapter 1, for that all-important explanation to be possible science had to be established and understanding of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information found; we had to understand that one, the genetic learning system, is an orientating learning system while the other, the nerve-based learning system, is insightful. And until that clarifying explanation was found it wasn’t possible to explain that the intellect is actually the hero not the villain, deserving of being ‘banished…from the Garden of Eden’, it is portrayed as in the story of Adam and Eve. Moses was an exceptionally honest and thus effective thinker and could describe the elements involved in producing the human condition, but he could not liberate humanity from the insecurity of that condition. For that to be possible science had to be developed.
As we have already established, Plato was, like Moses, an extremely honest, denial-free, effective thinker, one whose mind was focused on ‘the enlightenment or ignorance of our human condition’. Given his extraordinarily truthful and accurate description in The Republic of the human race being imprisoned in a dark cave of denial, it should come as no surprise that Plato also recognised that, as Moses said, we ‘fell from grace’ from a ‘Garden of Eden’ pre-human-condition-afflicted state of original innocence, and identified the elements involved in that fall of our conscious mind in conflict with our original innocent instinctive self. Yes, in The Republic, prior to introducing his cave allegory, Plato presented what he termed in the original Greek wording as his theory of the psychē or psychological condition of humans, in which he spoke of the conflicting elements that caused ‘the imperfections of human life’, namely our moral instincts, which (again, in the original Greek wording) he referred to as thymos, in conflict with our conscious intellect, which he referred to as eros. This conflicted state is clearly ‘our human condition’—an interpretation that is even more apparent when Plato returned to this thymos vs eros conflict in his dialogue Phaedrus, this time describing our condition using what is, after his cave allegory, his second most famous allegory, the allegory of the two-horsed chariot.
Firstly, with regard to our species’ original innocent state, in his chariot allegory Plato gave this exceptionally honest description of it: ‘there was a time when…we beheld the beatific vision and were initiated into a mystery which may be truly called most blessed, celebrated by us in our state of innocence, before we had any experience of evils to come, when we were admitted to the sight of apparitions innocent and simple and calm and happy, which we beheld shining in pure light, pure ourselves and not yet enshrined in that living tomb which we carry about, now that we are imprisoned in the body, like an oyster in his shell’ (Phaedrus, c.360 BC; tr. B. Jowett, 1871, 250).
And, with regard to the conflict between instinct and intellect that gave rise to our upset ‘tomb’-like human-condition-afflicted existence, Plato was equally extraordinarily insightful, writing: ‘Let the figure [of the two-horsed chariot] be composite—a pair of winged horses and a charioteer…and one of them [one of the horses] is noble and of noble breed, and the other is ignoble and of ignoble breed; and the driving of them [by the charioteer, which is us having to try to manage these two conflicting elements within us] of necessity gives a great deal of trouble to him (ibid. 246). Some pages later, Plato was even more explicit about the nature of the two horses and the clash between them, writing that ‘one of the horses was good and the other bad [ibid. 253] …[and the bad horse], heedless of the [charioteer]…plunges and runs away, giving all manner of trouble to his companion and the charioteer…[they being] urged on to do terrible and unlawful deeds’ (ibid. 254).
Plato added that the ‘noble’, ‘good’ horse is ‘cleanly made…his colour is white…he is a lover of honour and modesty and temperance’ (ibid. 253)—clearly the representation of what we now know is our innate, ideal-behaviour-demanding moral instinctive self, the voice of which is our conscience. Obviously Plato was not using scientific terms, but, as mentioned, he designated this white horse as thymos, which is usually translated as ‘spirit’, a concept described by the political scientist Francis Fukuyama as being ‘something like an innate human sense of justice’ (The End of History and the Last Man, 1992, p.165 of 418). And in The Republic, Plato spoke plainly about the happy, loving, goodness-and-‘justice’-expecting, soulful ‘innate’ nature of thymos (or ‘spirit’), writing that ‘You can see it in children, who are full of spirit as soon as they’re born’ (The Republic, tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, 441).
As for the ‘ignoble’ or ‘bad’ horse, in his original Greek wording, Plato called it eros, which signifies carnal love or sexual desire (it is the origin of the English word erotic), or more generally, any excessive desire. Plato described this horse as ‘a crooked lumbering animal…of a dark colour…the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf’ (Phaedrus, 253), which is clearly a reference to our upset, ‘terrible and unlawful’, ‘deaf’-to-the-truth conscious intellect. Some people have misinterpreted this horse as representing animal instincts within us, specifically the instinct to reproduce, however, it is clear in the quotes above that Plato recognised our instincts as ‘innocent’ and ‘pure’, which can be seen ‘in children’, ‘before we had any experience of evils to come’, when we were ‘not yet enshrined in that living tomb which we carry about, now that we are imprisoned’. No, in Plato’s time, when upset behaviour was not restrained, or civilised, to the extent that it is in today’s modern society (much more will be said in chs 8:15 and 8:16 about humanity’s adoption of restraint), destructive sexual behaviour would have been the most common and obvious manifestation of our psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated state, and so eros or sexual desire would have been the obvious concept for Plato to use to depict it. That Plato intended for eros to signify our full upset state, not just sexual desire, is made clear in Allan Bloom’s Interpretive Essay on The Republic, in which he wrote that Plato ‘characterizes the tyrant as the erotic man, and eros, as…a mad master…Eros is the most dangerous and powerful of the desires, an infinite longing which consumes all other attachments in its heat’ (The Republic of Plato, tr. Allan Bloom, 1968, p.423 of 512). Yes, eros is more than just the excess of sexual desire as we know it, where, as has been mentioned, the act of procreation has become corrupted and used to attack the innocence of women; its ultimate manifestation is found in a ‘tyrant[’s]’ ‘infinite longing’ for power and glory where an overly insecure, upset mind forever seeks to validate itself and, by so doing, avoid the implication it is unworthy or bad. (The psychological reason for the tyrannical, power-addicted mind is explained in ch. 8:16D.)
It should be mentioned that just as Plato referred to sexual desire as the most obvious manifestation of our psychologically upset state, so did Moses in his Genesis story when he alluded to sexual desire in the form of Eve tempting Adam to take the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and, as with Plato, this reference by Moses to sexual desire has also been misinterpreted as Moses inferring that we have competitive, have-to-reproduce-our-genes ‘animal’ instincts. However, again as with Plato, it is clear that Moses recognised that we don’t have competitive, selfish, ‘have-to-reproduce-our-genes’ instincts, rather that our instinctive heritage is one of having lived an innocent, cooperative, loving, moral existence, writing that humans were, as has been mentioned, ‘created…in the image of God’; our distant ancestors, the first humans, which Adam and Eve represent, lived in accordance with the cooperative, loving, ‘Godly’ ideals of life, and ‘Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame’; meaning at that point sex hadn’t been perverted and used as a way of attacking innocence, but after this innocent, pre-conscious, pre-human-condition-afflicted time our psychologically upset, ‘fall[en]’ condition emerged and our innocence was destroyed. As Moses described it, after we took the ‘fruit’ ‘from the tree of…knowledge’, ‘the eyes of both of them [Adam and Eve/we] were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves’.
Although Moses clearly recognised that our distant, pre-conscious, pre-human-condition-afflicted, pre-upset ancestors were innocent, cooperative and loving, the question arises as to why did he infer that it was the upset state of sexual desire, in the form of Eve supposedly using sex to tempt Adam, that caused Adam to take the fruit from the tree of knowledge? The answer can only be that an account of the emergence of the human condition, which is what is being provided by Moses, should include reference to the immense role sex has played in the life of upset humans (indeed, as will all be explained in chapter 8:11B, after the upset state emerged ‘sex’ became one of the main means by which the upset was spread from one generation to the next), and having Adam ‘tempted’ by Eve in this great moment of transition for our species from innocence to upset gives recognition to that, even though the upset behaviour of sex as humans now practise it emerged after we set out on our upsetting search for knowledge, not before. This misplaced representation of when this perversion of ‘sex’ occurred is very apparent in this critical passage, in which Moses wrote that Eve ‘gave some [fruit from the tree of knowledge] to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves’. The first sentence is where it is historically inferred that Eve ‘seduced’ Adam into taking the fruit from the tree of knowledge; however, the second sentence says that their ‘eyes’-‘opened’, conscious, upset, ‘shame[ful]’, lustful state emerged after they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge!?
It should be mentioned that in another of Plato’s allegories, which will be described shortly, he also referred to our distant pre-conscious ancestors as having lived shamelessly in a lust-free naked, innocent state, writing that our ancestors were ‘earth-born’, meaning they were not born of the sexual perversion of the act of procreation that is involved in sex now, and there was no ‘possession of women’, no ‘devouring of one another’, and ‘they dwelt naked’.
As to why people have misrepresented Plato’s ‘dark’ horse and Moses’ reference to sexual desire as indicating we have brutish, have-to-reproduce-our-genes animal instincts, it is because—as has been mentioned and as will be explained more fully in the latter part of this chapter—blaming our present competitive and aggressive behaviour on supposed savage, competitive, have-to-reproduce-our-genes animal instincts in us which our conscious mind has had to try to control, has been the main device used to deny that we once lived in a cooperative, selfless, loving innocent state that was upset by the emergence of our conscious mind. (It will become very clear through the course of this chapter just how determinedly humans have sought to avoid the human condition by blaming our divisive behaviour on savage, we-have-to-reproduce-our-genes instincts.)
To return to Plato’s two-horsed chariot allegory, and the explanation of the meaning of the ‘charioteer’. Designated in Plato’s original Greek wording as logos, the charioteer represents the overall situation our species has been in where we have been trying to understand the two conflicting elements within us of our ideal-behaviour-demanding instinct and our defiant, searching-for-knowledge, psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated intellect, with the ultimate goal being to find the reconciling understanding of our condition that will enable us to be liberated and transformed from it. Logos is normally inadequately translated as ‘reason’, but in the context of Plato’s chariot allegory it takes on a broader meaning of our reasoning intellect seeking the true understanding of our condition, or as Plato wrote, guiding our chariot to those realms of ‘justice, and temperance, and knowledge absolute’ (Phaedrus, 247), of which we have an ‘exceeding eagerness to behold’ (ibid. 248).
So, Plato’s two-horsed chariot allegory is an astonishingly clear description of the upset, ‘crooked lumbering’, ‘dark’, ‘mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf [alienated]’ intellect rising in defiant ‘heedless’ opposition to our ‘upright and cleanly made’, ‘white’, ‘lover of honour and modesty and temperance’, ‘pure’ ‘innocent’ original instinctive self, or soul, leading us to ‘terrible and unlawful deeds’, so that we are now condemned as ‘evil’ and ‘enshrined in that living tomb’. However, it has to be emphasised that, like Moses’ Garden of Eden story, the chariot allegory is only a description of the conflict that produced the upset state of our human condition, not an explanation of WHY the conflict occurred. Like Moses with his story of consciousness developing in the Garden of Eden, Plato was still only able to view our intellect as an ‘evil’, ‘bad’, ‘ignoble’ influence in our lives. Despite being the greatest of philosophers, Plato couldn’t explain the human condition. He could describe the situation perfectly but he still couldn’t deliver the clarifying, psychosis-addressing-and-relieving explanation—he couldn’t explain HOW humans could be good when we appeared to be bad. As has been explained, for that to be possible science had to be developed.
Nevertheless, Plato’s insights were absolutely remarkable, for not only did he clearly identify our original state of uncorrupted innocence and the two conflicted elements that then produced our psychologically upset, corrupted, fallen human condition in his two-horsed chariot allegory, in one of his final dialogues, The Statesman, he was even more incisive. While still not able to explain why the conflict occurred and from there explain how humans are good when we appear to be bad, in what is known as the myth of the ‘reversed cosmos’ he gave a perfectly clear description of the sequence of events that led to that conflict, even anticipating its eventual peaceful resolution!
To fully appreciate this account, the references Plato makes in it to ‘God’ being ‘the orderer of all’ (The Statesman, c.350 BC; tr. B. Jowett, 1871, 273) need to briefly be explained. Later in chapter 4, it will be explained that there is a teleological or holistic purpose or meaning to existence, which is to develop the order of matter into ever larger and more stable wholes—atoms come together or integrate to form compounds, which in turn integrate into virus-like organisms, into single-celled organisms, into multicelled organisms, etc. But while this integrative meaning of existence is one of the most obvious truths, it too has been denied by human-condition-avoiding mechanistic science because it implies humans should behave in an integrative, ordered, cooperative, sharing, selfless, loving way—behaviour that is at complete odds with our present seemingly divisive, disorderly and disintegrative competitive, selfish and aggressive behaviour. No, only when the human condition was explained and our divisive state understood, as it now is, would it be safe to admit this truth of Integrative Meaning that our concept of ‘God’ represents, which Plato in his extraordinary human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding honesty was able to acknowledge.
So, just as he did with his chariot allegory, Plato began his ‘reversed cosmos’ allegory by giving a truthful description of our innocent ancestors, referring to them in this instance as the ‘earth-born’ (ibid. 271), so-called because they were born of the earth rather than through ‘procreation’ (ibid). ‘Earth-born’ is presumably a metaphor for the time prior to the emergence of ‘sex’ as we upset humans practise it, where, as mentioned earlier, the act of ‘procreation’ has been corrupted and used to attack the innocence of women. And I should mention that Plato insisted that this ‘Golden Age’ in our past was a historical reality, writing that in ‘this tradition [of the earth-born man], which is now-a-days often unduly discredited, our ancestors [in the form of existing relatively innocent ‘races’ of people, such as those who still exist today like the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the Australian Aborigine], who were nearest in point of time to the end of the last period and came into being at the beginning of this, are to us the heralds [of that earlier innocent age]’ (ibid. 271). What now follows is Plato’s second extremely honest description that he gave of this innocent ‘Golden Age’ in our species’ past; he wrote that we lived a ‘blessed and spontaneous life…[where] neither was there any violence, or devouring of one another, or war or quarrel among them…In those days God himself was their shepherd, and ruled over them [our original instinctive self was orientated to living in an integrative, cooperative, loving way]…Under him there were no forms of government or separate possession of women and children; for all men rose again from the earth, having no memory of the past [we lived in a pre-conscious state]. And…the earth gave them fruits in abundance, which grew on trees and shrubs unbidden, and were not planted by the hand of man. And they dwelt naked, and mostly in the open air, for the temperature of their seasons was mild; and they had no beds, but lay on soft couches of grass, which grew plentifully out of the earth’ (ibid. 271-272).
Continuing with his extraordinary honesty and resulting clarity of thought, Plato then described how management of our lives transferred from our instincts to our emerging consciousness, and how we slowly began to accumulate knowledge: ‘Deprived of the care of God, who had possessed and tended them [we disobeyed our original instinctive orientation to living in an integrative, cooperative, loving way], they were left helpless and defenceless…And in the first ages they were still without skill or resource; the food which once grew spontaneously had failed, and as yet they knew not how to procure it, because they had never felt the pressure of necessity [we had lived in a cooperative, sharing, loving way, free of the insatiable greed that exhausts resources]…the gifts spoken of in the old tradition were [now] imparted to man by the gods [of fire, creativity, agriculture and so forth], together with so much teaching and education [knowledge] as was indispensable…fire…the arts…seeds and plants…From these is derived all that has helped to frame human life; since the care of the Gods, as I was saying, had now failed men, and they had to order their course of life for themselves, and were their own masters’ (ibid. 274).
He also described the upset, corrupted, fallen state that resulted from the emergence of consciousness, writing that in the very beginning the world was of a ‘primal nature, which was full of disorder…[then] the world was aided by the pilot [God, the process of integrating matter] in nurturing [creating] the animals, [and] the evil was small, and great the good which he produced [in our innocent human forebears], but after the separation, when the world was let go [when the conscious mind began to challenge the instincts for mastery], at first all proceeded well enough [our intellect mostly deferred to our instincts]; but, as time went on, there was more and more forgetting [alienation, or separation from our instinctive moral self], and the old discord [disorder] again held sway and burst forth in full glory [the psychologically upset, divisive, disordered state of the human condition emerged]; and at last small was the good, and great was the admixture of evil, and there was a danger of universal ruin to the world’ (ibid. 273).
And showing even more honesty and clarity of thought, Plato then described how such truthful, denial-free, God/Integrative Meaning-acknowledging thinking would one day re-establish cooperative, loving order amongst humans: ‘Wherefore God, the orderer of all, in his tender care, seeing that the world was in great straits, and fearing that all might be dissolved in the storm and disappear in infinite chaos, again seated himself at the helm; and bringing back the elements which had fallen into dissolution and disorder to the motion which had prevailed under his dispensation, he set them in order and restored them, and made the world imperishable and immortal. And this is the whole tale’ (ibid. 273).
Even more astonishing still is the fact that Plato could not only think truthfully enough to see and thus prophesise how such truthful, effective thinking would one day ‘set them [humans] in order and restore…them’, he went on to predict that the restoration would be achieved by appreciating that the corrupting search for knowledge was of paramount importance. While still not able to clearly explain why the conflict occurred and from there reveal how humans are good when we appear to be bad, Plato did recognise that we had to search for knowledge. Posing the question of whether a ‘blessed and spontaneous’, instinctively guided innocent ancestor ‘having this boundless leisure, and the power of holding intercourse, not only with men, but with brute creation [in other words, having the power to sensitively relate to each other and even to other creatures]’ would prefer that existence over the situation of an upset human, someone ‘of our own day’ who is dedicated to developing ‘a view to philosophy’ and ‘able to contribute some special experience to the store of wisdom’, Plato said that ‘the answer would be easy’—he would ‘deem the happier’ the life ‘of our own day’ in which we each had the opportunity to ‘contribute some special experience to the store of wisdom [the necessary search for knowledge]’ (ibid. 272)!
So that is Plato’s truly extraordinary, denial-free, pre-scientific account of our past instinctive ‘blessed and spontaneous life’ and the subsequent emergence of our conscious mind that allowed us to become our ‘own masters’, the result of which was the emergence of our upset, ‘evil’ condition of ‘discord’—a state we were then so ashamed of that we ‘often unduly discredit[ed]’ the truth of our ‘blessed’ past, leaving us ‘enshrined in that living tomb’ of a ‘cave’-like state of dishonest psychosis and neurosis-producing denial where there was ‘more and more forgetting’. So ‘enshrined’ in denial, in fact, that the human race has now reached, as Plato predicted, the state of terminal alienation that threatens ‘universal ruin to the world’, from which only a denial-free approach, one where ‘God’ in the form of Integrative-Meaning-acknowledging truthfulness, has ‘again seated himself at the helm’, could, as has now happened with this book, ‘set them [humans] in order and restore…them’. Plato certainly had no trouble admitting the three great truths underlying the reality of our condition—that our conscious mind caused our fall from innocence, that we suffer from a psychosis, and that our distant forebears lived cooperatively and peacefully. I think we are now able to fully appreciate why A.N. Whitehead said that all philosophy, which again is the quest for ‘the truths underlying all reality’, is merely ‘a series of footnotes to Plato’!!
It should be noted that Plato emphasised that we would ‘often unduly discredit’ the truth of our species’ ‘innocent’, ‘blessed’, ‘upright’, ‘cleanly made’, ‘pure’, ‘noble’, ‘good’, ‘modest’, ‘honour[able]’, ‘spirit[ed]’, ‘simple and calm and happy’ past—which is part of the ‘more and more forgetting [denial]’, that, unchecked, leads to ‘universal ruin to the world’. This journey to ever increasing levels of alienation and its dishonesty is the underlying story that this book documents.
There is yet one more very impressive reference that Plato makes to our species’ original all-loving, all-sensitive, always-behaving-in-a-way-that-is-consistent-with-the-integrative-cooperative-Godly-ideals-of-life instinctive self or soul. This appears in his dialogue Phaedo where he wrote that humans have ‘knowledge, both before and at the moment of birth…of all absolute standards…[of] beauty, goodness, uprightness, holiness…our souls exist before our birth’, describing ‘the soul’ as ‘the pure and everlasting and immortal and changeless…realm of the absolute…[our] soul resembles the divine [God]’ (tr. H. Tredennick, 1954, 75-80).
So both Moses’ Garden of Eden and Plato’s various accounts identify our conscious mind as causing ‘the fall’ from an original, cooperative, loving ‘blessed’, ‘calm and happy’ state of ‘innocence’. They recognised that our present ‘fallen’, corrupted, psychologically upset human condition resulted from the emergence of our unique fully conscious thinking mind.
(Note again that the biological explanation for the great mystery as to how our distant ape ancestors came to live unconditionally selflessly, cooperatively and peacefully, the instinctive memory of which is our moral conscience, is presented in chapters 5 and 6.)
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:7 Further evidence of the three fundamental truths, as provided by religion, mythology, profound thinkers, and primatological and anthropological studies
And, tellingly, this awareness that humans did once live in a pre-conscious and pre-human-condition-afflicted peaceful, cooperative, selfless, loving ideal state is something all our religions and mythologies recognise. In addition to Moses’ account of Adam and Eve’s innocent heritage in the Garden of Eden, the Bible also contains a passage in Ecclesiastes that reads, ‘God made mankind upright [uncorrupted], but men have gone in search of many schemes [conscious understandings]’ (7:29), and the references Christ made to a time when God ‘loved [us] before the creation of the [‘upset’, ‘fallen’, corrupted] world’ (John 17:24), and a time of ‘the glory…before the [corrupted] world began’ (John 17:5). Taoist scripture also features a description of our distant forebears as being ‘the Men of Perfect Virtue’ (Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines, 1987, p.227 of 325), while Zen Buddhism similarly speaks of the loss of an uncontaminated, pure state as a result of the intervening conscious mind, referring to ‘the affective contamination (klesha)’ or ‘the interference of the conscious mind predominated by intellection (vijñāna)’ (D.J. Suzuki, Erich Fromm, Richard Demartino, Zen Buddhism & Psychoanalysis, 1960, p.20). And prior to Plato and his vast contribution—including his two-horsed chariot account of ‘our state of innocence, before we had any experience of evils to come, when we were admitted to the sight of apparitions innocent and simple and calm and happy, which we beheld shining in pure light, pure ourselves and not yet enshrined in that living tomb which we carry about, now that we are imprisoned’, and his ‘reversed cosmos’ description of our species’ past ‘blessed and spontaneous life…[where] neither was there any violence, or devouring of one another, or war or quarrel among them…And they dwelt naked, and mostly in the open air…and they had no beds, but lay on soft couches of grass’—there was his compatriot Hesiod, who, in his epic poem Theogony, said of our distant ancestors that ‘When gods alike and mortals rose to birth / A golden race the immortals formed on earth…Like gods they lived, with calm untroubled mind / Free from the toils and anguish of our kind / Nor e’er decrepit age misshaped their frame…Strangers to ill, their lives in feasts flowed by…Dying they sank in sleep, nor seemed to die / Theirs was each good; the life-sustaining soil / Yielded its copious fruits, unbribed by toil / They with abundant goods ’midst quiet lands / All willing shared the gathering of their hands’ (c. eighth century BC).
The consistency of all these descriptions of how consciousness led to the corruption of our species’ original all-loving cooperative state has been borne out by the investigations of the author Richard Heinberg, who found that every human culture has a myth involving both the emergence of consciousness and a ‘fall’ from an original ‘Golden Age’ of togetherness and peace—from the major religions, to ‘races’ as isolated and diverse as the Eskimos, Aborigines, and Native Americans—summarising in his 1990 book Memories & Visions of Paradise (a well-researched collection of acknowledgments from mythologies and religions of our species’ innocent, Edenic past) that ‘Every religion begins with the recognition that human consciousness has been separated from the divine Source, that a former sense of oneness…has been lost…everywhere in religion and myth there is an acknowledgment that we have departed from an original…innocence and can return to it only through the resolution of some profound inner discord…the cause of the Fall is described variously as disobedience, as the eating of a forbidden fruit, and as spiritual amnesia [alienation]’ (pp.81-82 of 282). Yes, as Berdyaev recognised, ‘The memory of a lost paradise, of a Golden Age, is very deep in man’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, p.36 of 310). So when John Milton titled his epic 1667 poem ‘Paradise Lost’, he was recognising the existence of this ‘deep’ ‘memory’ ‘in man’—as were the Australian Aborigines with their ‘memory’ of a ‘Dreamtime’. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau also expressed what we all do intuitively know is the truth when he wrote that ‘nothing is more gentle than man in his primitive state’ (The Origin of Inequality, 1755; The Social Contract and Discourses, tr. G. Cole, 1913, p.198 of 269).
William Wordsworth was another who spoke honestly when he wrote, ‘There was a time when meadow, grove, and streams / The earth, and every common sight / To me did seem / Apparelled in celestial light / The glory and the freshness of a dream / It is not now as it hath been of yore / Turn wheresoe’er I may / By night or day / The things which I have seen I now can see no more // The Rainbow comes and goes / And lovely is the Rose / The Moon doth with delight / Look round her when the heavens are bare / Waters on a starry night / Are beautiful and fair / The sunshine is a glorious birth / But yet I know, where’er I go / That there hath past away a glory from the earth // …something that is gone / …Whither is fled the visionary gleam? / Where is it now, the glory and the dream? // Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting / The Soul [the instinctive memory of our species’ past all-loving, selfless, cooperative existence] that rises with us [that we are born with], our life’s Star / Hath had elsewhere its setting / And cometh from afar / Not in entire forgetfulness / And not in utter nakedness / But trailing clouds of glory do we come / From God, who is our home / Heaven lies about us in our infancy! / Shades of the prison-house begin to close / Upon the growing Boy / …And by the vision splendid / Is on his way attended / At length the Man perceives it die away / And fade into the light of common day / …Forget the glories he hath known / And that imperial palace whence he came’ (Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, 1807). This beautiful description by Wordsworth of our original instinctive self or ‘Soul’ equates perfectly with that given by the poet Henry Vaughan when he wrote, ‘My soul, there is a country far beyond the stars’ (Peace, 1655). The sentiment is also reflected in the words of the polymath Sir Thomas Browne, who said, ‘We carry within us all the wonders we seek without us’ (Religio Medici, 1643, Sect.15), and in the poet Lord Byron’s observation that ‘Man is in part divine, A troubled stream from a pure source’ (Prometheus, 1816). With regard to Wordsworth’s reference to ‘God’, as outlined earlier and as will be explained in chapter 4:3, ‘God’ is our personification of the terrifyingly confronting truth of the teleological, integrative, order-of-matter-developing, cooperative, selfless, loving theme or direction or meaning of existence that our distant ancestors lived in accordance with, but which we no longer appear to. And like Laing, the prophet Isaiah recognised how upset/corrupted we humans have become, but was more specific about how it is a corruption of this integrated state we once lived in, writing that ‘From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness—only wounds and welts and open sore…Your country is desolate…the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her’, and ‘the world languishes and withers…The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws [become divisively rather than integratively behaved]…In the streets…all joy turns to gloom, all gaiety is banished from the earth’ (Bible, Isa. 1 & 24).
The consistency of these accounts is remarkable, but beyond what is revealed by myth, religion and profound thought, consider the evidence provided by our studies in anthropology and primatology. While fossils of our early ape ancestors who lived from 12 to 4 million years ago are rare, recent discoveries from this period are now providing proof of a cooperative past, which anthropologists are beginning to admit; for instance, C. Owen Lovejoy has written that ‘our species-defining cooperative mutualism can now be seen to extend well beyond the deepest Pliocene [well beyond 5.3 million years ago]’ (‘Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). In primatology, studies of living apes reveal that bonobos (Pan paniscus) are not only humans’ closest relatives, but an extremely gentle and cooperative species. While bonobos and chimpanzees (Pan troglodyte) both share around 99 percent of humans’ genetic material, the primatologist Frans de Waal points out that ‘the recent discovery [by neuroscientists Elizabeth Hammock and Larry Young in 2005] that bonobos and humans share genetic code in relation to affiliative [social, cohesive, loving, integrative] behavior that is absent in the chimpanzee’ indicates bonobos and humans are more closely related in terms of their social nature (‘Foreword by Frans B.M. de Waal’, The Bonobos: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, eds T. Furuichi & J. Thompson, 2008, p.12 of 327). The anthropologist Adrienne Zihlman has also shown that of bonobos and chimpanzees, bonobos are closer anatomically to our ancestors (‘Reconstructions reconsidered: chimpanzee models and human evolution’, Great Ape Societies, eds William C. McGrew et al., 1996, pp.293-304 of 352). As to their peaceful nature, many primatologists attest to it; consider this from Barbara Fruth: ‘up to 100 bonobos at a time from several groups spend their night together. That would not be possible with chimpanzees because there would be brutal fighting between rival groups’ (Paul Raffaele, ‘Bonobos: The apes who make love, not war’, Last Tribes on , 2003; see <>). (The evidence of our cooperative past that is provided by anthropology, some of which is referred to above, and by the bonobos, will be documented in some detail in chapters 5:5 and 5:6, respectively.)
Of course, proof is also apparent in the relative innocence of existing so-called ‘primitive’ people, such as the Bushmen of the Kalahari, who, according to DNA studies, are the oldest human population on Earth. While some people, such as Carl Jung and Erich Neumann, have sought to dismiss the idea of an innocent, Edenic past as nothing more than a nostalgia for the security and maternal warmth of infancy, and certainly ‘never an historical state’ (Erich Neumann, The Origins and History of Consciousness, 1949, p.15 of 493), the explorer and philosopher Bruce Chatwin bravely rejected this paradise-as-infancy theory and recognised the relative innocence of these ‘primitive’ ‘races’, writing that ‘Every mythology remembers the innocence of the first state: Adam in the Garden, the peaceful Hyperboreans, the Uttarakurus or “the Men of Perfect Virtue” of the Taoists. Pessimists often interpret the story of the Golden Age as a tendency to turn our backs on the ills of the present, and sigh for the happiness of youth. But nothing in Hesiod’s text exceeds the bounds of probability. The real or half-real tribes which hover on the fringe of ancient geographies—Atavantes, Fenni, Parrossits or the dancing Spermatophagi—have their modern equivalents in the Bushman, the Shoshonean, the Eskimo and the Aboriginal’ (The Songlines, 1987, p.227 of 325). The great South African philosopher, Sir Laurens van der Post (whom I consider to be the pre-eminent philosopher of the twentieth century) had an incredibly deep appreciation of the Bushmen, and when writing about the effect of our alienated, innocence-destroyed modern world on their relative innocence, he described how ‘mere contact with twentieth-century life seemed lethal to the Bushman. He was essentially so innocent and natural a person that he had only to come near us for a sort of radioactive fall-out from our unnatural world to produce a fatal leukaemia in his spirit’ (The Heart of the Hunter, 1961, p.111 of 233). As Plato said, in ‘this tradition [of the innocent earth-born man], which is now-a-days often unduly discredited, our ancestors, who were nearest in point of time to the end of the last [innocent] period and came into being at the beginning of this [corrupted period], are to us the heralds [of that earlier innocent age]’.
Note again that even in the earlier more innocent times that Plato lived in (recall in chapter 1 that alienation has been increasing from generation to generation ever since the human condition emerged), there was already a strong desire to ‘unduly discredit’ the truth that ‘our ancestors’ lived in a pre-human-condition-afflicted, ‘innocent’, ‘blessed’, ‘divine’, ‘upright’, ‘cleanly made’, ‘pure’, ‘noble’, ‘good’, ‘modest’, ‘honour[able]’, ‘spirit[ed]’, ‘simple and calm and happy’ state. Yes, given how extremely condemning and confronting the truth of our species’ cooperative, all-loving, innocent past has been while we couldn’t explain our present corrupted, ‘fallen’, ‘evil’, ‘ignoble’, ‘bad’, ‘crooked’, ‘terrible’, ‘unlawful’, ‘insolent’, ‘pride[ful]’, ‘lumbering’, ‘disorder[ly]’, ‘chaos’-causing, increasingly ‘forget[ful]’, ‘deaf’, threatening ‘universal ruin to the world’, ‘imprisoned in’ a ‘living tomb’ lives, it is not at all surprising that efforts have been made to ‘discredit’ this truth of an innocent ancestry as nothing more than nostalgia for the security of infancy—and by claiming that the Bushmen and other ‘primitive’ ‘races’ are more war-like and aggressive and less peaceful than the majority of the human race now. (This latter ridiculous claim that ‘advanced’ ‘races’ are, in effect, more innocent than ‘primitive’ ‘races’ is dealt with later in pars 205-208, and more fully in pars 862-868.) But, of course, as has been mentioned and will shortly be elaborated upon, the main way our innocent past has been denied has been to claim that our distant ancestors were no different from other animals, in ferocious competition with each other for food, shelter, territory and a mate.
Further to the numerous acknowledgments and recognitions of a pre-human-condition-afflicted, all-loving past, some of our greatest contemporary thinkers have also identified the rise of consciousness as being key to understanding and thus resolving our present corrupted, soul-devastated condition. In particular, the just mentioned Sir Laurens van der Post lifted description of the truth of our species’ innocent past and the enormous tragedy of our present consciousness-induced psychologically upset, corrupted state into the stratosphere of beautiful writing when he composed these words: ‘This shrill, brittle, self-important life of today is by comparison a graveyard where the living are dead and the dead are alive and talking [through our instinctive self or soul] in the still, small, clear voice of a love and trust in life that we have for the moment lost…[there was a time when] All on earth and in the universe were still members and family of the early race seeking comfort and warmth through the long, cold night before the dawning of individual consciousness in a togetherness which still gnaws like an unappeasable homesickness at the base of the human heart’ (Testament to the Bushmen, 1984, pp.127-128 of 176).
The South African naturalist Eugène Marais, the first person to study primates in their natural habitat, also got to the point of our condition being a psychologically embattled one when he focused on a conflict between our already established instincts and an emerging consciousness, saying, ‘The highest primate, man, is born an instinctive animal. All its behavior for a long period after its birth is dominated by the instinctive mentality…it has no memory, no conception of cause and effect, no consciousness…As the…individual memory slowly emerges, the instinctive soul becomes just as slowly submerged…For a time it is almost as though there were a struggle between the two’ (The Soul of the Ape, written between 1916-1936 and published posthumously in 1969, pp.77-79 of 171). And after a lifetime spent hunting the cause of the human condition, the great Hungarian-English polymath Arthur Koestler similarly identified the emergence of consciousness as the catalyst for our condition: ‘the brain explosion gave rise to a mentally unbalanced species in which old brain and new brain, emotion and intellect, faith and reason were at loggerheads’ (Janus: A Summing Up, 1978, p.10 of 354).
Berdyaev was another who regarded consciousness as an intrinsically important consideration in the quest for self-understanding: ‘the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious mind is fundamental to the new psychology’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, p.68 of 310). The very great English biologist Charles Darwin also recognised the acknowledgment of the emergence of consciousness as being ‘fundamental to the new psychology’; in fact, he used almost the same words, saying such acknowledgment will mean ‘Psychology will be based on a new foundation’. While it has been noted that Darwin’s seminal 1859 book ‘The Origin of Species contains almost no mention of the human species’ (Robert Wright, The Moral Animal, 1994, p.3 of 467), near the end of the final chapter he did write that ‘In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history’ (The Origin of Species, 1859, p.458 of 476). So while Darwin studiously avoided trying to explain human behaviour in The Origin of Species, he did at least recognise that for ‘Light’ to ‘be thrown on the origin of man and his history’ and a new meaningful, ‘important’ world of understanding to be ‘open[ed]’ up, ‘Psychology’ will have to ‘be based on a new foundation’ ‘of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation’—that it will need to recognise the involvement of the emergence of our ‘mental power’ of consciousness in creating our species’ unique ‘psycholog[icall]y’ troubled human condition. Yes, the key to understanding the origin of man’s ‘psychology’ is to recognise the ‘acquirement’ of our ‘mental power’ of consciousness.
(With regard to Darwin not addressing the issue of human behaviour in The Origin of Species—which was a stark omission given the book is titled The Origin of Species and the most important species we needed to understand the origin of was ourselves—it is true that 12 years after the publication of The Origin of Species Darwin did publish The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex in which he did make an attempt to look at the origins of our behaviour, but it was still only a tentative step in that all-important exploration. As I talk more about later in par. 485, the evidence suggests that while Darwin was honest enough to recognise that trying to address the issue of human behaviour meant addressing the issue of the human condition, he apparently didn’t feel secure enough to attempt it himself; in fact, when asked why he didn’t address human behaviour in The Origin of Species, Darwin even said, ‘I think I shall avoid the whole subject’ (Letter to A.R. Wallace, 22 Dec. 1857; The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online, ed. John van Wyhe, 2002). The Cambridge academic Jane Ellen Harrison recognised Darwin’s reticence to deal with issues relating to our human situation when she wrote that Darwin ‘foresaw that his doctrine must have, for the history of man’s mental evolution, issues wider than those with which he was prepared personally to deal’ (‘The Influence of Darwinism on the Study of Religions’, Darwin and Modern Science, ed. A.C. Seward, 1909, ch.25). But as we are going to see in this chapter, many who purport to be biologists, such as E.O. Wilson, have shown no such scruples about trying to explain human behaviour when they couldn’t confront the human condition. Indeed, they haven’t been interested in explaining human behaviour at all, only in using their claimed stature as a biologist to invent a way to avoid the issue of the human condition!)
Yes, any truthful analysis of our human condition, its origins and its amelioration requires a ‘fundamental’, ‘new’, honest ‘foundation’ in thinking that recognises the involvement of our conscious mind in our species’ departure from an original, cooperative, loving state, as well as the psychosis and neurosis it has produced in us. It has to acknowledge that our condition is a ‘psycholog[ical]’ one—that our conscious mind is deeply psychologically troubled, that we are a psychotic and neurotic, immensely alienated species. This is the point Laing was emphasising when he wrote that ‘Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life.’
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:8 The ultimate paradox of the human condition
So if we do have a cooperative past (which we do), and our consciousness is behind our destructiveness (which it is), then the ultimate paradox of the human condition, indeed the reason we are still able to get out of bed in the morning and face the world, is that, as mentioned in chapter 1:3, we fully conscious humans don’t actually believe we are fundamentally bad/evil. Despite all the damning evidence, we don’t accept that we are a terrible mistake, a worthless blight on this planet, the ‘face of absolute evil’. In fact, the incredible determination with which we live our lives bespeaks of a core belief within us all that we are not only not bad/evil but the great heroes of the story of life on Earth, and that one day we will be able to explain why that is true!
It follows then that while awaiting the exonerating, liberating explanation of our present egocentric, competitive, selfish and aggressive condition we couldn’t afford to concede that we did once live in an innocent, all-loving instinctive state that was corrupted by the emergence of our conscious mind. Accepting such truth without the full, clarifying explanation for it would have left us unbearably condemned as bad and worthless, sentenced to a state of completely insecure, permanent damnation. So, as dishonest as it was, there has been a need to deny the truth of our species’ cooperative, peaceful past and the role consciousness played in its corruption. Yes, while, as has been emphasised, denial in science carried with it the great risk of becoming overly entrenched, rendering its practitioners incapable of fulfilling their fundamental responsibility of acknowledging the human-condition-confronting-not-denying, fully accountable and human-race-saving, true explanation of the human condition when it eventually arrived, it has been necessary in the interim, not just because we couldn’t cope with the depression that resulted from trying to think about the human condition, but because we didn’t believe we were fundamentally bad/flawed/‘the face of absolute evil’.
Having explained and evidenced the fundamental elements involved in a true analysis of human behaviour, I will now describe how this denial in science led to the development of a litany of human-condition-avoiding, dishonest, not-truly-accountable biological theories on human behaviour—all of which will be exposed for the lies they are, including the most prominent and seductive offering of all, that which has been put forward by E.O. Wilson.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:9 Social Darwinism
Prior to the development of science and its evasive offerings, humans had already found a way to avoid the condemning truths of a cooperative, all-loving, innocent past and of a consciousness-induced ‘fall from grace’, which was to simply assert that nature is brutally competitive and aggressive—‘red in tooth and claw’, as Tennyson put it (In Memoriam, 1850)—and that’s why we are. Basically, we looked around and saw that animals always appear to be fighting and competing with each other and instead of acknowledging that our instinctive orientation is to be cooperative and all-loving, we said that our instincts are similarly ruthlessly competitive and aggressive. We said that we have brutal, savage animal instincts that our conscious mind has to somehow try to control. As was mentioned in par. 153, it was an absolutely brilliant excuse, because instead of our instincts being all-loving and thus unbearably condemning of our present non-loving state, they were made out to be vicious and brutal; and, instead of our conscious mind being the villain, the cause of our corruption, the insecurity of which made us repress our instinctive self or soul or psyche and become psychotic, it was made out to be the blameless, psychosis-free mediating ‘hero’ that had to manage those supposed vicious instincts within us! It was all a terrible reverse-of-the-truth lie, but a hugely relieving one for humans seeking relief from the human condition.
What happened when Charles Darwin presented his idea of natural selection in his momentous book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was that the excuse that claimed we have ‘savage’, ‘barbaric’, ‘backward’, ‘brutish’, ‘bestial’, ‘primitive’ animal instincts within us was supposedly given a biological basis through the misrepresentation of natural selection as a ‘survival of the fittest’ process. Natural selection is the process by which some members of a population reproduce more than others in a given environment, and, most significantly, in the first edition of The Origin of Species Darwin left it undecided as to whether those individuals that reproduced more could be viewed as winners, as being ‘fitter’. However, in later editions Darwin’s associates, Herbert Spencer and Alfred Russel Wallace, persuaded him to substitute the term ‘natural selection’ with the term ‘survival of the fittest’ (Letter from Wallace to Darwin, 2 Jul. 1866; The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Vol.14, p.227 of 706). While Darwin’s friend and staunch defender, the biologist Thomas Huxley described the term ‘survival of the fittest’ as an ‘unlucky substitution’ (1890; Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Vol.3, ed. Leonard Huxley, 1903, ch. 3.7), from the point of view of humanity needing to contrive an excuse for its divisive selfish, competitive and aggressive behaviour it was a lucky substitution because it reinforced the dishonest but human-condition-relieving argument that our instincts are competitive and selfish and that we, in the sense of ‘we’ being our conscious thinking self, are blameless. (I should mention that later in chapter 4 in par. 358 it will be explained that Darwin’s original position, where he left it undecided as to whether those who reproduced more are ‘fitter’, was right because being unconditionally selfless, where you give your life to help others and don’t seek to reproduce more, can be a biologically meaningful—‘fitter’—outcome.)
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:10 Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology
There were, of course, serious problems with this so-called Social Darwinist contrived excuse that ‘nature is selfish and that’s why we are’. For starters, it didn’t account for instances in nature where selflessness occurs, such as in ant and bee colonies where workers slave selflessly for the whole colony. And secondly, and most particularly, it didn’t account for our instinctive memory of having lived in a cooperative, loving, ‘Garden of Eden’-like existence, which is our selfless, consider-the-welfare-of-others, born-with, instinctive moral nature, the ‘voice’ of which is our ‘conscience’.
Seeking to address these cracks in the argument, biologists developed the theory of Sociobiology, with E.O. Wilson acting as its main proponent. Later known as Evolutionary Psychology, this theory explains, truthfully enough, that worker ants and bees are not actually being unconditionally selfless, truly altruistic when serving their colony because, when doing so, they are fostering the queen who reproduces their genes, which means their apparent selfless behaviour is, in fact, just a subtle form of selfishness: they are helping the queen to selfishly reproduce their genes. But in terms of maintaining the primary agenda of avoiding the unbearable and unacceptable issue of the human condition at all costs, this idea of selfless behaviour actually being a subtle form of selfishness, where you indirectly promote the reproduction of your own genes by fostering others who are related to you—your kin—was then not surprisingly, but in this case extremely dishonestly, commandeered to explain our moral instincts. Yes, it was claimed that our moral inclination to help others was no more than an attempt to reproduce our genes by supporting others whose genes we shared, with any anomalies put down to ‘misplaced parental behavior’ (George Williams, Adaptation and Natural Selection, 1966, p.vii of 307)! As Wilson boldly summarised, ‘Morality has no other demonstrable function’ other than to ensure ‘human genetic material…will be kept intact’ (On Human Nature, 1978, p.167 of 260); even saying that ‘Rousseau claimed [that humanity] was originally a race of noble savages in a peaceful state of nature, who were later corrupted…[but what] Rousseau invented [was] a stunningly inaccurate form of anthropology’ (Consilience, 1998, p.37 of 374)!!
So, in saying our moral soul is still basically selfish, the old ‘nature is selfish and that’s why we are selfish’ excuse was preserved; the same ‘I’m going to determinedly avoid, not confront, the human condition’ attitude had been upheld.
The problem that then emerged, of course, was that this denigration of our moral self as nothing more than a subtle form of selfishness was both deeply offensive to and entirely inconsistent with what we all in truth know about our moral instincts, which is that they are unconditionally selfless, genuinely altruistic. As the journalist Bryan Appleyard pointed out, biologists ‘still have a gaping hole in an attempt to explain altruism. If, for example, I help a blind man cross the street, it is plainly unlikely that I am being prompted to do this because he is a close relation and bears my genes. And the world is full of all sorts of elaborate forms of cooperation which extend far beyond the boundaries of mere relatedness’ (Brave New Worlds: Staying Human in a Genetic Future, 1998, p.112 of 198).
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:11 Multilevel Selection theory for eusociality
This ‘gaping hole’ in the theory of Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology brings us to the present and the publication in 2012 of E.O. Wilson’s The Social Conquest of Earth. Yes, once again, it was Wilson who concocted a ‘solution’ to this problem of the offensiveness of Evolutionary Psychology’s denigration of our moral instincts as selfish. Now, to the dismay of his earlier supporters, he has dismissed ‘his’ previous Evolutionary Psychology theory as ‘incorrect’, ‘inoperable’ and as having ‘failed’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, pp.143, 180, 181 of 330), proffering in its place a new theory that not only contrives an explanation for our genuinely moral instincts, but takes the art of denial to the absolute extreme by contriving a non-human-condition-confronting explanation of the human condition itself!
Known as Multilevel Selection or ‘a New Theory of Eusociality’ (ibid. p.183) (eusociality simply meaning genuine sociality), this theory claims that humans have instincts derived from natural selection operating at the individual level (where members of a species selfishly compete for food, shelter, territory and a mate), and instincts derived from natural selection operating at the group level (where, it is claimed, groups of altruistic, cooperative members outcompete groups of selfish, non-cooperative members)—with the supposed selfish individual level instincts being the bad/sinful aspects of our nature, and the selfless, supposed group-selected instincts being the good/virtuous aspect of our nature. According to Wilson, ‘Individual selection is responsible for much of what we call sin, while group selection is responsible for the greater part of virtue. Together they have created the conflict between the poorer and the better angels of our nature’ (ibid. p.241). In summary, Wilson asserts that ‘The dilemma of good and evil was created by multilevel selection’ (ibid).
Before looking at the way in which the Multilevel Selection theory for eusociality misrepresents, in fact, avoids, the real, consciousness-derived, psychological aspect of the human condition, we need to look at the ‘group selection’ mechanism that Wilson says accounts for our moral sense—because while we certainly do have a genuine moral sense, under scrutiny Wilson’s theory of how we acquired it completely falls apart.
While it makes sense that, as Wilson states, ‘groups of altruists [will] beat groups of selfish individuals’ (ibid. p.243), the biological stumbling block is whether genes, which have to selfishly ensure they reproduce if they are to carry on, can develop self-sacrificing altruistic traits in the first place. (Indeed, the initial premise of group selection makes so much sense that even Darwin canvassed the idea, but with far less arrogance than Wilson, aware as he was of the inherent difficulties of the concept. With regard to Darwin’s tentative approach to group selection, one of the leading evolutionary theorists of the twentieth century, William Hamilton, said that ‘Darwin had gone [there] circumspectly or not at all’ (‘Innate Social Aptitudes of Man: An Approach from Evolutionary Genetics’, Biosocial Anthropology, ed. R. Fox, 1975, p.135 of 169). I describe Darwin’s flirtation with group selection in Freedom: Expanded at .) To reiterate, while it is true that a group of altruists whose members are prepared to make sacrifices for each other will defeat a group whose members are concerned only for themselves, the question is whether a group of altruists can ever actually form in the first place? The genetic reality is that whenever an unconditionally selfless, altruistic trait appears those that are selfish will naturally take advantage of it: ‘Sure, you can help me reproduce my genes but I’m not about to help you reproduce yours!’ Any selflessness that might arise through group selection will be constantly exploited by individual selfishness from within the group; as the biologist Jerry Coyne pointed out, ‘group selection for altruism would be unlikely to override the tendency of each group to quickly lose its altruism through natural selection favoring cheaters [selfish individuals]’ (‘Can Darwinism improve Binghamton?’, The New York Times, 9 Sep. 2011). The only biological models that have been presented that appear to overcome this problem of genetic selfishness always prevailing are so complex and convoluted they seem highly implausible, in that they involve the disbanding of a population into new, separate colonies, formed by solitary fertilised females, some of whom only have selfish genes and some of whom have altruistic genes, with those altruistic colonies out-competing those with just selfish genes to build larger, more altruistic populations. Then, before the colonies with altruistic genes ‘quickly lose…[their] altruism through natural selection favoring cheaters’, the colonies peacefully merge back into one population, after which fertilised females separate out again to breed new, isolated groups (and so on). Essentially the model requires a process of constant merging and disbanding in order to ‘outrun’ the genetic imperative in nature to exploit altruism or selflessness. The situations where this between-group selection of unconditionally selfless traits is said to have taken place are in the occurrence of female-biased sex ratios in some small invertebrate species, and in the evolution of reduced virulence in some disease organisms (see David Sloan Wilson & Elliot Sober, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, 1998, pp.35-50 of 394). However, for large mammals especially, who don’t have complex life cycles, the mechanism is so implausible it has to be considered impossible.
Nevertheless, in defiance of the biological reality that, even where there is selection between groups, unconditionally selfless traits will be exploited and eliminated, Wilson proposes that extreme warring between groups of early humans where cooperation would have been an advantage was a strong enough force to overcome this problem of selfish exploitation and thus allow for the selection of altruism and the emergence of our genuinely moral instincts! So, according to Wilson, our ability to war successfully somehow produced our ability to love unconditionally!
Wilson’s theory not only defies biological reality, it also flies in the face of both our cultural memories and anthropological evidence. As has been emphasised, standing in stark contrast to Wilson’s proclamation of ‘universal and eternal’ warfare (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.65) are the cultural memories enshrined in our myths, religions and in the words of some of our greatest thinkers that attest to humans having a peaceful heritage (recall, for instance, Plato’s description of how our distant ancestors lived a ‘blessed’ ‘life’ where ‘neither was there any violence, or devouring of one another, or war or quarrel among them’), and in the evidence gleaned from studies in anthropology and primatology—such as the aforementioned recent fossil discoveries that are now confirming a cooperative past, and studies of bonobos, who are our species’ closest living relatives and extraordinarily peaceful.
But, in attempting to prove we have a warlike past, Wilson ignores the evidence provided by the fossil record that reveals at least 7 million years of cooperative existence and instead argues that ‘to test the prevalence of violent group conflict in deep human history [one can look at]…archaic cultures [such as]…the aboriginals of Little Andaman Island off the east coast of India, the Mbuti Pygmies of Central Africa, and the !Kung Bushmen of southern Africa. All today, or at least within historical memory, have exhibited aggressive territorial behavior’ (ibid. pp.69, 71). In addition, in his 1978 book On Human Nature Wilson wrote of the Bushmen that ‘their homicide rate per capita equalled that of Detroit and Houston’ (p.100 of 260). However, there is ample evidence for just how extraordinarily cooperative, social and relatively peaceful the Bushmen are. For example, Lorna Marshall, regarded as ‘the doyenne of American anthropology’ (Sandy Gall, The Bushmen of Southern Africa: Slaughter of the Innocent, 2001, ch.10) and one of the only Westerners to live with the Bushmen before they became contaminated through contact with more upset-adapted, alienated ‘races’, described ‘their predominantly peaceful, well-adjusted human relations’ (The !Kung of Nyae Nyae, 1976, p.286 of 433). Marshall’s daughter, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who accompanied her on her expeditions in the 1950s, wrote the classic 1959 book about the Bushmen, The Harmless People. In a 1989 addition to that book, Marshall Thomas wrote: ‘To my knowledge Wilson has never visited the Ju/wasi [Bushmen]. His book [On Human Nature] never mentions how important it was to them to keep their social balance, how carefully they treated this balance, and how successful they were. That he discusses them at all is perhaps due to the fact that in the 1970s they were selected by academics as a sort of living laboratory in which studies could be made on attributes of human nature, the most intriguing of which at the time seemed to be aggression’ (p.283 of 303). (More will be said in pars 862-868 about mechanistic science’s misrepresentation of Bushmen and other so-called ‘primitive’ societies as ‘violent’ and ‘aggressive’ in order to comply with the human-condition-avoiding excuse that we are competitive, aggressive and selfish because of our animal heritage.)
Wilson also cites recent archaeological evidence to support ‘the prevalence of violent group conflict in deep human history’, stating that ‘Early humans had the innate equipment—and likely the tendency also—to use projectiles in capturing prey and repelling enemies. The advantages gained were surely decisive. Spear points and arrowheads are among the earliest artifacts found in archaeological sites’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.29). But this ‘data’ proves equally unreliable, as the archaeologist Steven Mithen has noted: ‘No, the earliest artifacts are from around 2.5 million years ago, but spear points are not made until a mere 250,000 years ago and arrowheads might have first been manufactured no longer ago than 20,000 years’ (‘How Fit Is E.O. Wilson’s Evolution?’, The New York Review of Books, 21 Jun. 2012). And in response to Wilson’s claim that ‘Archaeologists have found burials of massacred people to be a commonplace’ and ‘archaeological sites are strewn with the evidence of mass conflict’, Mithen argues that ‘No, both are quite rare, especially in pre-state societies, and those that are known are difficult to interpret’ (ibid).
On primatology, in an attempt to dismiss the example bonobos present of a cooperative, peaceful heritage, Wilson suggests there is no difference between bonobos and the more aggressive, selfish chimpanzee, claiming, for instance, that like chimpanzees, bonobos ‘do not share the fruit they pick’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.42), despite the fact there is a wealth of data recording instances of bonobos sharing fruit—such as a report by Barbara Fruth and Gottfried Hohmann, included in 2002’s influential Behavioural Diversity in Chimpanzees and Bonobos, which states: ‘In bonobos (Pan paniscus), food sharing between mature individuals is common…[and] bonobos often divide large-size fruits’ (‘How bonobos handle hunts and harvests: why share food?’, Behavioural Diversity in Chimpanzees and Bonobos, eds C. Boesch et al., 2002, pp.231-232 of 285). Wilson also claims bonobos ‘hunt in coordinated packs in the same manner as chimpanzees’ ‘wolves and African wild dogs’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.32). While bonobos have been known to capture and eat small game, including small monkeys, to supplement their diet with protein, they are not known to routinely hunt down and eat large animals such as colobus monkeys, like chimpanzees do, with ‘hunting behavior [by bonobos] very rare’ (Tetsuya Sakamaki quoted by David Quammen, ‘The Left Bank Ape’, National Geographic, Mar. 2013). Wilson relies upon a 2008 report by Hohmann titled ‘Primate hunting by bonobos at LuiKotale, Salonga National Park’ to draw these erroneous comparisons with the more aggressive chimpanzees—but Hohmann’s report actually reveals extraordinary differences between bonobos and chimpanzees, recording that ‘at the Lilungu site, bonobos catch guenons and colobus monkeys but do not eat them, and at Wamba, bonobos and red colobus monkeys have been seen to engage in mutual grooming’ (M. Surbeck & G. Hohmann, Current Biology, 2008, Vol.18, No.19). A brief look at the papers Hohmann, in turn, cites, reveals that at Lilungu ‘the bonobos interacted with the captured primates as if they were dealing with individuals of their own species. They sought cooperation in their interaction with the captured young primates without success. There is no evidence that they ate the captives…this interactional behavior…satisf[ies] the ethological definition of play’ (J. Sabater Pi et al., ‘Behaviour of Bonobos (Pan paniscus) Following Their Capture of Monkeys in Zaire’, International Journal of Primatology, 1993, Vol.14, No.5); and that at Wamba, despite ‘red colobus [being] major hunting targets of common chimpanzees…there is little evidence of hunting by the pygmy chimpanzees [bonobos] of Wamba, despite the fact that they have been intensively studied for over ten years’ (Hiroshi Ihobe, ‘Interspecific Interactions Between Wild Pygmy Chimpanzees (Pan paniscus) and Red Colobus (Colobus badius)’, Primates, 1990, Vol.31, No.1). So it turns out that Hohmann’s 2008 paper, which Wilson relies so heavily upon to depict bonobos as chimpanzee-like, ruthless killers, contains reports of bonobo behaviour that would be unthinkable from a chimpanzee (let alone from wolves or wild dogs) but which Wilson has just ignored! ‘That’s one more problem out of the way’, he seems to be saying. It would appear that just as the rest of the insecure, human-condition-afflicted human race has had to practise the art of denial of the human condition, Wilson too has had to fudge the evidence to try to find support for his lies.
In summary, our moral instincts are not derived from warring with other groups of humans as Wilson and his theory of group selection would have us believe. No, as will be explained in chapter 5, humans have an unconditionally selfless, fully altruistic, all-loving, universally-benevolent-not-competitive-with-other-groups, moral conscience. Our instinctive orientation is to love all people, not love some and be at war with others. The ‘savage-instincts-in-us’ excuse for our selfish behaviour is entirely inconsistent with the fact that we have completely moral, NOT partially moral and partially savage, instincts.
Overall then, while the Multilevel Selection theory for eusociality adds unconditionally selfless instincts to selfish instincts in the mix of what allegedly forms our species’ instinctive make-up (thus countering Evolutionary Psychology’s offensive denial of the fact that we have unconditionally selfless instincts), the same old reverse-of-the-truth, escape-rather-than-confront-the-human-condition agenda—that we have villainous selfish instincts and a blameless conscious mind that has to ‘step-in’ to control them—continues. (It should be mentioned that there has been an attempt to counter the selfishness-emphasising-and-justifying biological theories that have been described in this chapter with cooperation-not-competition, selflessness-not-selfishness emphasising biological theories. A summary of these ‘left-wing’ theories, as put forward by scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould, David Sloan Wilson and Robert Sussman—which all avoid the human condition just as ardently as these ‘right-wing’ theories and are therefore just as, if not more, dishonest, false and unaccountable—is provided in chapter 6:9, ‘A brief history of left-wing dishonest mechanistic biology’. I should also mention here that the real reason for, and consequences of, genes having to selfishly ensure their own reproduction—which is the genetic reality that all the ‘right-wing’ and ‘left-wing’ biological theories have had to accommodate—will be explained when the integration of matter is described later in chapters 4:4 and 4:5.)
To look now at how Wilson’s Multilevel Selection theory for eusociality avoids the real, consciousness-derived-and-induced psychological aspect of our human condition.
If our instincts are wholly peaceful and cooperative (which they are), and we are not selfish because of selfish instincts (which we are not), what is the source of our selfishness—or what Wilson calls our propensity for evil? The honest, human-condition-confronting answer is that it is the result of a psychosis.
As shown previously, our human behaviour involves our unique fully conscious thinking mind. As I have emphasised, descriptions of our less-than-ideal condition, such as egocentric, arrogant, deluded, artificial, hateful, mean, immoral, alienated, etc, all imply a consciousness-derived, psychological dimension to our behaviour. We suffer from a consciousness-induced, psychological HUMAN CONDITION, not an instinct-controlled ANIMAL CONDITION. And so it is to this psychological dimension to our behaviour that we should look for the cause of our selfishness. And yet in Wilson’s psychological-problem-avoiding model our consciousness is merely a mediator between supposed selfish and selfless instincts—as he writes: ‘Multilevel selection (group and individual selection combined) also explains the conflicted nature of motivations. Every normal person feels the pull of conscience, of heroism against cowardice, of truth against deception, of commitment against withdrawal. It is our fate to be tormented…We, all of us, live out our lives in conflict and contention’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.290). Clever semblance of our conflicted condition, diabolically clever, but entirely untrue, the epitome of shonk/evasion/denial/‘phon[iness]’/‘fake[ness]’/separation-from-the-truth—alienation!
In finding a way to avoid the truth of our psychologically conflicted condition with a non-psychological ‘clever semblance’ of it, what Wilson has done is not explain the human condition but nullify it, render the issue benign, virtually inconsequential—and in doing so he is effectively burying humanity into the deepest, darkest, ‘underground’ depths of the ‘living tomb’ of Plato’s cave of denial. Make no mistake, Wilson’s great ‘phony’, ‘fake’, superficial, not-genuinely-biological, ‘Darwin’s’-‘heir’-be-damned, deliberately-human-condition-trivialising account of the human condition is the most sophisticated expression of denial to have ever been invented—and thus the most dangerous. Certainly, providing humans with a ‘get out of jail free’ card, a way to supposedly explain the human condition without having to confront the issue of the extreme psychosis (psyche/soul repression) and neurosis (neuron/mental denial) of our real human condition, is immensely appealing to the now overly psychologically upset human race—but it is precisely that seductiveness that is so dangerous. (Already school children are talking about the human condition in an off-hand way, with a teacher reporting in 2013 that one of her students had remarked that ‘I love the term The Human Condition; I can use it in just about any essay for any subject’ (WTM records, 15 Feb. 2013).) This Ultimate Lie had the potential to seduce the exhausted human race to such a degree that it obliterated any chance of the real human condition ever being truthfully confronted and thus understood! While denial was necessary while we couldn’t explain ourselves, taking the art of denial to the extreme that Wilson has done with his dismissal of the fundamental issue before us as a species of our human condition as nothing more than two different instincts within us that are sometimes at odds, is a truly sinister—in fact, unconscionable—lie. It is the ultimate tragic expression of the human-condition-avoiding, superficialising, dumbing-down, dogma-not-knowledge-preferring, madness-becomes-universal, end play situation the human race is now in—the time Plato prophesised where there would be ‘more and more forgetting [dishonest denial to the point where]…there was a danger of universal ruin to the world’. Yes, it is nothing less than the final great push to have the world of lies with all its darkness take over the world—and condemn humanity to extinction. If the real psychosis-addressing-and-solving explanation of the human condition that is presented here in this book hadn’t emerged then this Ultimate Lie would have given humanity’s headlong march to ever greater levels of lying denial and its terrible alienating effects its terminal impetus.
I should add that despite Wilson’s hateful dismissal of religion as mere group propaganda—as nothing more than ‘an expression of tribalism’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.258) that is ‘dragging us down’ and that ‘for the sake of human progress, the best thing we could possibly do would be to diminish, to the point of eliminating, religious faith’ (‘Don’t let Earth’s tapestry unravel’, New Scientist, 24 Jan. 2015)—the fact is, religions resonate with us, and have done for millennia, because they contain profound truth. Contrast Wilson’s dangerously superficial account of our condition, where our consciousness is the blameless mediator or manager of villainous selfish instincts within us, with Moses’ Garden of Eden account of the origin or genesis of the human condition or Plato’s two-horsed chariot and ‘reversed cosmos’ accounts (see ch. 2:6), all of which say that our instinctive heritage is wholly selfless and that it was the emergence of consciousness that led to our selfishness. These are the accounts that acknowledge the problematic role of our conscious mind, which is where the real terror of the human condition lies—our deep insecurity about whether ‘we’, our conscious thinking self, is actually evil. And it is these accounts that have been reinforced by some of history’s most profound thinkers—like van der Post, Marais, Koestler and Berdyaev, whose words were included earlier (in pars 186-188).
It is worth including here a review by the journalist Christopher Booker of Wilson’s The Social Conquest of Earth. While I don’t agree at all with Booker’s assertion that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is a flawed and deficient theory that ‘can’t explain’ how all of life developed (the explanation of how it can and does is presented in subsequent chapters of this book), in every other respect what he has to say about Wilson’s book is extraordinarily honest—in particular that ‘what Wilson completely misses out is any recognition of what is by far the most glaring difference between humans and ants…we have broken free from the dictates of instinct…that peculiarity of human consciousness…has allowed us to step outside the instinctive frame…But it is this which also gives us our disintegrative propensity, individually and collectively, to behave egocentrically, presenting us with all those problems which distinguish us from all the other species which still live in unthinking obedience to the dictates of nature. All these follow from that split from our selfless ‘higher nature’, with which over the millennia our customs, laws, religion and artistic creativity have tried their best to re-integrate us’ (‘E.O. Wilson has a new explanation for consciousness, art & religion. Is it credible?’, The Spectator, 7 Sep. 2013).
Yes, in summary, Wilson continues to look everywhere for the cause of our condition, except to our consciousness; and instead of explaining our psychosis (‘all those problems which distinguish us from all the other species’, as Booker referred to it) he simply states that it does not exist. Like most resigned, human-condition-avoiding humans (and other mechanistic scientists) he is effectively saying, ‘What psychosis? What inner insecurity? What sense of guilt? What original ‘Golden Age’ of innocence? What ‘split from our selfless “higher nature”’? What ‘fallen’ condition? What ‘haunted existence dogged by the shadow of our human condition’? What deeply troubled state? What depression from the ‘mountains’ of the ‘mind[’s]’ ‘cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer’? What agonising issue of the human condition that we, as teenagers, had to learn to ‘let it be’? What cave-like state of alienated denial that I’m now living in? What ‘phony’, ‘fake’, ‘alienat[ed]…to the roots’ existence? What great elephant in the living room of our lives that we can’t acknowledge? What sickness of the soul; for that matter, what ‘soul’? What dreamed-of psychologically rehabilitated, transformed human race? What wonderful time when ‘we’ll all live as one’ that John Lennon ‘imagine[d]’ (Imagine, 1971)?’ To Wilson, the human condition is nothing more than a conflict between selfless and selfish instincts within us. He is basically saying, ‘To hell with your psychological garbage, I’m not going there!’ So, while he might have won almost every accolade in science, in the end Wilson has revealed himself to be just another victim of the human condition—coping with it by finding a way to deny it.
There is one last but very important aspect of Wilson’s account that needs to be addressed, which is that his notion of our condition being a result of selfish and selfless instincts within us would mean that unless we change our genes we are, as he asserts, ‘intrinsically imperfectible’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, p.241). BUT such a fate is completely inconsistent with one of the central beliefs about the real, psychological nature of our condition, which is that finding understanding of it will bring about the psychologically ameliorated transformation of the human race. If, as Wilson maintains, we don’t suffer from a psychosis, then we can’t be healed—but we do suffer from a psychosis, which can be healed. Carl Jung was forever asserting that ‘wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own their own shadow’ because he knew that finding the psychologically ameliorating understanding of the dark side of ourselves would make us ‘whole’. In religious terms, The Lord’s Prayer contains the hope of the time when ‘Your [the Godly, ideal, peaceful] kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ (Bible, Matt. 6:10 & Luke 11:2). In contemporary mythology, the same sentiment is conveyed in the words of our modern day, truthful thinking prophets: in John Lennon’s ‘imagin[ings]’; in Bob Dylan’s anticipation of ‘when the ship [understanding of the human condition] comes in…and the morning will be a-breaking…and the [dishonest] words that are used to get the ship confused will no longer be understood as the spoken [truth]’ (When The Ship Comes In, 1963); in Jim Morrison, of The Doors, singing of ‘Standing there on freedom’s shore, waiting for the sun…waiting…to tell me what went wrong’ (Waiting for the Sun, 1968), waiting for the liberating light of understanding of our upset lives to arrive because when ‘day destroys night’ we can ‘break on through to the other side’ (Break on Through, 1966) to our ‘freedom’ from the agony of the human condition; and, finally, in Bono’s (of the band U2) lyrics about the coming of a world ‘high on a [uncorrupted] desert plain’ where there will be no more egocentricity and ‘the streets [will] have no name’ and ‘there will be no toil or sorrow, then there will be no time of pain’ (Where The Streets Have No Name, 1987). This last prophetic vision is exactly the same as that expressed in the Bible where it states that ‘Another [denial-free, honest, all-clarifying] book [will be]…opened which is the book of life…[which will introduce] a new heaven and a new earth…[and] wipe every tear from…[our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ (Rev. 20:12, 21:1, 4). Buddhist scripture contains the exact same anticipation of a fabulous time when humans ‘will with a perfect voice preach the true Dharma [present the supreme wisdom, namely the psychologically rehabilitating, transforming, true understanding of the human condition], which is auspicious and removes all ill’, saying, ‘Human beings are then without any blemishes, moral offences are unknown among them, and they are full of zest and joy’ (Maitreyavyakarana; Buddhist Scriptures, tr. Edward Conze, 1959, pp.238-242).
Yes, the fulfilment of Holden Caulfield’s dream of a time when the need for Resignation, with all its horrible alienating, psychosis-and-neurosis-producing effects—that Francis Bacon so honestly depicted—will end is what the human race has tirelessly been working towards, and has now, in the nick of time, finally achieved. We are precisely the opposite of what Wilson argues, because we are, in fact, ‘intrinsically’ ‘perfectible’!
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 2 The Threat of Terminal Alienation from Science’s Denial
Chapter 2:12 While denial has been necessary, you can’t find the
truth with lies
In concluding this chapter, I need to emphasise that Wilson, as the quintessential exponent of reductionist, mechanistic science, is only doing what all mechanistic scientists have been doing—and, indeed, what virtually all resigned humans have been doing—which is avoiding the issue of the human condition at all costs. But when it comes to finding understanding of the human condition, the costs of such evasion are great indeed because, clearly, if you’re committed to living in denial of the human condition you are in no position to ever find understanding of it. When Laing said, ‘Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’, he was making the fundamental point that for there to be ‘any serious reflection on’ ‘human life’ the truth of our alienated, psychotic and neurotic, human-condition-afflicted state had to be ‘realiz[ed]’/confronted. You can’t find the truth from a position of lying—a case the aforementioned philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was making when he wrote that ‘The discovery of truth is prevented most effectively…by prejudice, which…stands in the path of truth and is then like a contrary wind driving a ship away from land’ (Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1970, p.120 of 237). As Martin Luther King Jr once said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate [relevantly here, hate/fear of the issue of the human condition] cannot drive out hate; only love [relevantly here, love/tolerance of the issue of the human condition] can do that’ (‘Loving Your Enemies’ sermon, Christmas 1957).
The psychologist Arthur Janov gave this deadly accurate description of the psychological basis of resigned, human-condition-avoiding, neurotic, alienated, ineffective, mechanistic thinking when he wrote that (underlinings are my emphasis) ‘As the child becomes split by his Pain [caused by his particular encounter with the human condition], he will develop philosophies and attitudes commensurate with his denials. He will have a warped view of the world…Thus, intellect becomes the mental process of repression…We can understand now why it is so difficult to change a neurotic’s ideas with facts, reasoning, or even counselling. He needs his ideological padding, and he will incorporate into it whatever he needs to strengthen it [this explains the ‘deaf effect’ resistance to discussion of the human condition described in ch. 1:4]…The more reality a person is forced to hide in his youth, the more likely it will be that certain areas of thinking will be unreal. That is, it is more likely that thought process will be constricted so that generalised extrapolations cannot be made about the nature of life and the world. Conversely, to be free to articulate one’s feelings while growing up will lead to becoming an articulate, free-thinking person, unhampered by fear, which paralyses thought…A young child can split from his feelings [from his Pain, the human condition] and learn every aspect of engineering. He can be a “smart” engineer or scientist…His intellect is something apart from his feelings…Neurotic intellect is an order superimposed on reality…Neurotic intellect is subject to indoctrination and brainwashing—because neurosis [blocking out] is brainwashing. So long as the neurotic has lost his full internal frame of reference, his mind can be swayed by false ideas and inaccurate systems. So long as he is neurotic, his judgment will be poor…He is truly a specialised man, living in his head because his body [where his feelings/pain/hurt soul lives] is out of touch and reach. He will deal with each piece of news he hears as an isolated event, unable to assemble what he sees and hears into an integrated view. Life for him is a series of discrete events, unconnected, without rhyme or true meaning’ (The Primal Revolution, 1972, pp.158-160 of 246).
Yes, once you are resigned to living in denial of the human condition, you are in no position to think truthfully and thus effectively—as the aforementioned, painfully honest poem of the resigning adolescent lamented, ‘you spend the rest of life trying to find the meaning of life and confused in its maze’. This sense of confusion was something Plato also acknowledged when he too wrote about the consequences of ‘unconnected’, ‘true meaning’-blocked, ‘warped’, ‘paralyse[d]’, soul-and-truth-denying, mechanistic, reductionist intellectualism—that ‘when the soul uses the instrumentality of the body [uses the body’s intellect with its preoccupation with denial] for any inquiry…it is drawn away by the body into the realm of the variable, and loses its way and becomes confused and dizzy, as though it were fuddled [drunk]’ (Phaedo, c.360 BC; tr. H. Tredennick, 1954, 79). And of course in his cave allegory (see par. 83), the inimitable Plato described how being unable to face the ‘sun[lit]’ true world that ‘makes the things we see visible’ meant that humans could only ‘see dimly and appear to be almost blind’. Indeed, as mentioned in par. 172, Plato described how in the situation of the human race as a whole, the practice of ‘more and more forgetting [denial]’ only leads to ‘discord’ and ‘disorder’ ‘burst[ing] forth’ and eventually ‘universal ruin’. Similar to Plato’s concerns are those expressed by the Templeton Prize-winning physicist Paul Davies who recognised the stultifying, ‘confused’, ‘fuddled’, ‘paralyse[d]’, ‘blind[ing]’, ‘ruin[ing]’, ‘more and more forgetting’, alienating effect of being ‘driv[en]’ ‘away from’ the ‘truth’ in his observation that ‘For 300 years science has been dominated by extremely mechanistic thinking. According to this [whole-view-evading, human-condition-psychosis-avoiding, mechanisms-only-focused] view of the world all physical systems are regarded as basically machines…I have little doubt that much of the alienation and demoralisation that people feel in our so-called scientific age stems from the bleak sterility of mechanistic thought’ (‘Living in a non-material world—the new scientific consciousness’, The Australian, 9 Oct. 1991).
Arthur Koestler was another frustrated by mechanistic, reductionist science’s avoidance of our species’ consciousness-induced, human-condition-afflicted psychosis, writing that ‘symptoms of the mental disorder which appears to be endemic in our species…are specifically and uniquely human, and not found in any other species. Thus it seems only logical that our search for explanations [of human behaviour] should also concentrate primarily on those attributes of homo sapiens which are exclusively human and not shared by the rest of the animal kingdom. But however obvious this conclusion may seem, it runs counter to the prevailing reductionist trend. “Reductionism” is the philosophical belief that all human activities can be “reduced” to – i.e., explained by – the [non-psychosis involved] behavioural responses of lower animals – Pavlov’s dogs, Skinner’s rats and pigeons, Lorenz’s greylag geese, Morris’s hairless apes…That is why the scientific establishment has so pitifully failed to define the predicament of man’ (Janus: A Summing Up, 1978, p.19 of 354). Like Davies, Koestler complained too of ‘the sterile deserts of reductionist philosophy’, making the fundamental point that ‘a correct diagnosis of the condition of man [had to be] based on a new approach to the sciences of life’ (ibid. pp.19-20), concluding that ‘the citadel they [mechanistic scientists] are defending lies in ruins’ (p.192).
And in addition to pointing out the psychological nature of our condition when he said that ‘Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’, Laing also bemoaned the fact that mechanistic science has ‘pitifully failed to define the predicament of man’ when he wrote that ‘The requirement of the present, the failure of the past, is the same: to provide a thoroughly self-conscious and self-critical human account of man [p.11 of 156] …We respect the voyager, the explorer, the climber, the space man. It makes far more sense to me as a valid project—indeed, as a desperately urgently required project for our time—to explore the inner space and time of consciousness [p.105]’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967). Since our condition is consciousness-induced, ‘consciousness’ has become (and this will be more fully explained in ch. 7:2) code word for the issue of the human condition.
Charles Birch, my professor of biology at Sydney University and another recipient of the Templeton Prize, also bravely spoke the truth about the limitations of human-condition-avoiding mechanistic science when he said, ‘[mechanistic] science can’t deal with subjectivity [the issue of our psychologically distressed condition]…what we were all taught in universities is pretty much a dead end’ (from recording of Birch’s 1993 World Transformation Movement Open Day address). He also perceived the stultifying, ‘truth’-‘prevent[ing]’ effects of dishonest, denial-based, mechanistic thinking when he said, ‘Biology has not made any real advance since Darwin’ (in recorded conversation with the author, 20 Mar. 1987), and, some 10 years later, that ‘the traditional framework of thinking in science is not adequate for solving the really hard problems’ (Ockham’s Razor, ABC Radio National, 16 Apr. 1997), with the ‘hard[est] problem’ of all for truth-avoiding thinking to solve being the all-important issue of our psychologically distressed human condition. Yes, as Birch concluded, ‘Biology right now awaits its Einstein in the realm of consciousness studies’ (ibid).
It is no wonder that humanity has lost faith in science. General Omar Bradley was certainly clear-sighted when, in pointing out science’s failings, he said, ‘The world has achieved brilliance…without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants’ (Armistice Day Address, 10 Nov. 1948; Collected Writings of General Omar N. Bradley, Vol.1). Yes, as Carl Jung said, ‘Man everywhere is dangerously unaware of himself. We really know nothing about the nature of man, and unless we hurry to get to know ourselves we are in dangerous trouble’ (Laurens van der Post, Jung and the Story of Our Time, 1976, p.239 of 275). Sharing Jung’s concerns about science’s inability to provide us with the all-important, psychologically liberating, redeeming and transforming understanding of ourselves was the author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who wrote that ‘We are living through deeply anxious days, and if we are to relieve our anxiety we must diagnose its cause…What is the meaning of man? To this question no answer is being offered, and I have the feeling that we are moving toward the darkest era our world has ever known’ (A Sense of Life, 1965, pp.127, 219 of 231). And lastly, when Sir Bob Geldof wrote and sang about our species’ plight in his aptly titled 1986 album, Deep in the Heart of Nowhere, ‘What are we going to do because it can’t go on…This is the world calling. God help us’, and ‘Searching through their sacred books for the holy grail of “why”, but the total sum of knowledge knows no more than you or I’, he was recognising that not only has science failed us, religious scripture has also been unable to help us with the ‘holy grail’ of answers we needed of the ‘why’ of the human condition. As explained in par. 156, until science clarified the difference between the gene and nerve based learning systems, the great prophets of old were in no position to explain the human condition—but even with that key knowledge found, science has been practising such extreme denial that it couldn’t use that knowledge to answer ‘why’.
The picture these concerned thinkers have painted of humanity’s predicament may be bleak, but it is true—‘Man…is [so] dangerously unaware of himself’ that ‘we are moving toward the darkest era our world has ever known’; ‘Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants’, ‘the scientific establishment has so pitifully failed to define the predicament of man’, ‘what we were all taught in universities is pretty much a dead end’, ‘the traditional framework of thinking in science is not adequate for solving the’ human condition, the ‘demoralisation that people feel in our so-called scientific age stems from the bleak sterility of mechanistic thought’, ‘the total sum of knowledge’ hasn’t been able to explain ‘why’ we are the way we are. Dishonest mechanistic science couldn’t solve the human condition, which is what was needed for the human race to progress to a human-condition-ameliorated, transformed state. And so human progress has been stalled, piled up and festering. The dialogue of one character in the 1991 film Separate but Equal accurately recognised the plight of our species when he said, ‘Struggling between two worlds; one dead, the other powerless to be born’—words that echo those of the philosopher Antonio Gramsci: ‘The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appears’ (Prison Notebooks, written during Gramsci’s 10-year imprisonment under Mussolini, 1927-1937). The politician Lionel Bowen also alluded to the futility of trying to reform our lives and world without first finding the reconciling, ameliorating understanding of ourselves when he said, ‘I think it’s just impossible to bring about change until such time as some new civilisation develops to allow change’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Sep. 1988). But it was perhaps the historian Eric Hobsbawm who most succinctly captured the stark predicament facing humanity—that ‘the alternative to a changed society, is darkness’ (The Age of Extremes, 1994, p.585 of 672).
Yes, only a whole new way of thinking, in particular the reconciling, redeeming and healing way of understanding ourselves, and resulting new transformed civilisation could alter our species’ plight. We had arrived at a situation where humanity desperately needed clear biological understanding of ourselves, understanding that would make sense of our divisive condition and liberate us from criticism, lift the psychological burden of guilt, give us meaning. There had to be a scientific, first-principle-based, biological reason for our divisive behaviour and finding it had become a matter of great urgency. The ‘race’ that Richard Neville so accurately identified we were ‘locked in…between self destruction and self discovery’ had reached crisis point, for to be stranded in a state of insecurity about our worthiness or otherwise was to be stranded in a terminally upset, psychologically immature state of arrested development—as Benjamin Disraeli, a former Prime Minister of Great Britain, famously recognised, ‘Stranded halfway between ape and angel is no place to stop.’ The essayist Jonathan Swift’s anguished cry to ‘Not die here in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole’ (Letter to Bolingbroke, 21 Mar. 1729) did not exaggerate the truth of our predicament. The cellist Pablo Casals similarly emphasised the danger of our species’ stalled state when he said, ‘The situation is hopeless, we must take the next step’ (at a press conference in Madrid, on the occasion of his 80th [approx.] birthday). The journalist Doug Anderson made the same point when he wrote, ‘Time may well be dwindling for us to enlighten ourselves…Tragic to die of thirst half a yard from the well’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Oct. 1994). In saying ‘enlighten ourselves’, Anderson was intimating that only understanding ourselves, understanding of our psychosis and neurosis afflicted human condition, could make the difference that was needed. In quoting clinical psychologist Maureen O’Hara, the science reporter Richard Eckersley also acknowledged that ‘humanity is either standing on the brink of “a quantum leap in human psychological capabilities or heading for a global nervous breakdown”’ (Address titled ‘Values and Visions: Western Culture and Humanity’s Future’, Nov. 1995; see <>). The psychotherapist Wayne Dyer was another who understood that it is only the reconciling, dignifying understanding of our seemingly imperfect human condition that could save the human race, when he said, ‘We’ve come to a place…where we can either destroy ourselves or discover our divineness’ (The Australian Magazine, 8 Oct. 1994). Yes, as the great Australian educator, and my headmaster when I was a student at Geelong Grammar School, Sir James Darling, wrote when referring to the critical need now to solve the human condition: ‘The time is past for help which is only a Band-Aid. It is time for radical thinking and for a solution on the grand scale’ (Reflections for The Age, ed. J. Minchin & B. Porter, 1991, p.145 of 176).
Knowing now how evasive, truth-avoiding, defensive, excusive and deluded the resigned mind is, it is really to an unresigned adolescent mind that we should go for a truly accurate description of the seriousness of our species’ plight—and that’s what we have in these clearly unresigned, denial-free, honest lyrics from the 2010 Grievances album of the young American heavy metal band With Life In Mind: ‘It scares me to death to think of what I have become…I feel so lost in this world’, ‘Our innocence is lost’, ‘I scream to the sky but my words get lost along the way. I can’t express all the hate that’s led me here and all the filth that swallows us whole. I don’t want to be part of all this insanity. Famine and death. Pestilence and war. [Famine, death, pestilence and war are traditional interpretations of the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ described in Revelation 6 in the Bible. Christ referred to similar ‘Signs of the End of the Age’ (Matt. 24:6-8 and Luke 21:10-11).] A world shrouded in darkness…Fear is driven into our minds everywhere we look’, ‘Trying so hard for a life with such little purpose…Lost in oblivion’, ‘Everything you’ve been told has been a lie…We’ve all been asleep since the beginning of time. Why are we so scared to use our minds?’, ‘Keep pretending; soon enough things will crumble to the ground…If they could only see the truth they would coil in disgust’, ‘How do we save ourselves from this misery…So desperate for the answers…We’re straining on the last bit of hope we have left. No one hears our cries. And no one sees us screaming’, ‘This is the end.’ Saying ‘We’ve all been asleep since the beginning of time’ echoes all that Laing said (par. 123) about the extent of our blocked-out, alienated condition; and saying ‘Everything you’ve been told has been a lie’ reiterates the extent of the dishonest denial in the world, especially in science, today; and saying ‘So desperate for the answers’ confirms how incredibly important are all the ‘answers’ about our human condition that are presented in this book. If there was ever a collection of words that cuts through all the dishonest pretence and delusion in the world about our condition these lyrics from With Life In Mind surely do it!
Thankfully then it is precisely this ‘solution on the grand scale’, this ‘enlightenment’ of ‘ourselves’—in fact, the ‘discover[y]’ of the reason for ‘our divineness’—that makes possible the ‘quantum leap in human psychological capabilities’ from alienation to transformation that alone can ‘save ourselves from this misery’ of the human condition, that is going to be presented in the next chapter. Yes, finding understanding of the human condition is the real game-changer the human race has been waiting for, such that when only yesterday the levels of human suffering and distress and anger and environmental degradation from the effects of our horrifically troubled, upset human condition seemed irredeemable and irreversible, and all looked hopeless, suddenly people are going to appear who are inspired and transformed; so inspired and transformed, in fact, they are super-charged on a super-highway to a fabulous future for the human race. As will be explained and described in chapter 9 of this book, that sublime future is what becomes possible when the human condition is truthfully explained and solved, as it is in this book—and, indeed, the affirmations provided at evidence this is true.
Indeed, the next chapter in this book evidences what is possible if you don’t think dishonestly and instead acknowledge important truths such as that humans did once live in a cooperative, loving, innocent state, and that it was our conscious mind that led to our present ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted, immensely psychologically upset, fallen condition—for it provides the presentation of the dreamed-of, psychologically liberating, human-race-transforming, fully accountable, true explanation of the human condition.
In conclusion, the following amazingly honest cartoon by Michael Leunig summarises all that has just been said about how truth and beauty can only be accessed via another paradigm outside the mechanistic one the human race currently lives in. In it we see a lone, self-powered, self-sufficient individual leaving the great artificial and superficial, alienated and alienating metropolis that has been built on dishonest denial to seek ‘truth’ in the dark night of all that we have repressed, and, by so doing, resurrect ‘beauty’ on Earth. Yes, as Sir Laurens van der Post wrote, ‘There is, somewhere beyond it all, an undiscovered country to be pioneered and explored, and only a few lonely and mature spirits take it seriously and are trying to walk it’ (About Blady, 1991, p.87 of 255)—a statement of prophetic honesty that reiterates an observation he made some 40 years earlier that ‘the one primary and elemental approach to the problem [that the world faces] is through [understanding] the being of man. Unfortunately it is an increasingly lonely way, trodden more and more not by masses but by solitary individuals…[only these few] sustain [man’s] urge to seek an answer to the riddle of life [confront and by so doing solve the human condition]’ (The Dark Eye in Africa, 1955, p.15 of 159).
The Human-Race-Transforming, Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:1 Summary
234What will now be presented is the human-race-liberating-and-transforming, psychosis-addressing-and-solving, fully accountable, REAL biological explanation of the human condition that was introduced in chapter 1. This is the understanding that the human race has been working tirelessly towards since humans first became fully conscious beings some 2 million years ago and our deeply psychologically troubled, conflicted state of the human condition emerged.
235And given the just described extreme threat of terminal alienation and extinction of the human race from mechanistic science’s entrenched denial of the psychological nature of the human condition, this is the psychologically redeeming understanding of the human condition that is now desperately needed to bring about a new world for humans that is free of the human condition, a world in which we all stand liberated from Plato’s terribly lonely, dark, bat-filled cave of alienation and magnificently transformed—the FREEDOM Blake so wonderfully anticipated in his above picture.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:2 We cannot endure being faced by the problem of the human condition forever
Before presenting this dreamed-of, human-race-transforming explanation of the human condition, the following extraordinarily honest words from Nikolai Berdyaev’s 1931 book, The Destiny of Man, provide a powerful summary of all that was just said in chapter 2 about the stalled, festering state of science, and thus of the human race.
Firstly, in regard to our species’ overall plight, Berdyaev wrote that (and part of this extract was referred to in par. 181) ‘The memory of a lost paradise, of a Golden Age [our species’ pre-human-condition-afflicted state of original cooperative, loving innocence], is very deep in man, together with a sense of guilt and sin and a dream of regaining the Kingdom of Heaven…We are faced with a profound enigma: how could man have renounced paradise which he recalls so longingly in our world-aeon? How could he have fallen away from it?’ (tr. N. Duddington, 1960, p.36 of 310). When it came to our consciousness-induced psychosis, he recognised that ‘Philosophers and scientists have done very little to elucidate the problem of man’ (p.49). ‘[P]sychologists were wrong in assuming that man was a healthy creature, mainly conscious and intellectual, and should be studied from that point of view. Man is a sick being…The human soul is divided, an agonizing conflict between opposing elements is going on in it…the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious mind is fundamental for the new psychology’ (pp.67-68). Significantly, Berdyaev also acknowledged how our species’ immense fear of the human condition has blocked access to finding understanding of it, writing that ‘Knowledge requires great daring. It means victory over ancient, primeval terror. Fear makes the search for truth and the knowledge of it impossible. Knowledge implies fearlessness…Particularly bitter is moral knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. But the bitterness is due to the fallen state of the world…Moral knowledge is the most bitter and the most fearless of all for in it sin and evil are revealed to us along with the meaning and value of life. There is a deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless. We cannot rest in the thought that that distinction is ultimate…we cannot bear to be faced for ever with the distinction between good and evil…Ethics must be both theoretical and practical, i.e. it must call for the moral reformation of life…this implies that ethics is bound to contain a prophetic element. It must be a revelation of a clear conscience, unclouded by social conventions’ (pp.14-16). (Note Berdyaev’s accord with Janov’s fundamental point that ‘fear…paralyses thought’ (in par. 221).)
No, ‘we cannot bear to be faced for ever with the’ ‘deadly’ ‘distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless’—nor with the resulting ‘social conventions’ of having to live with the psychologically ‘sick’ state of alienated denial as our only means of coping with that patently untrue ‘distinction’ between ‘the valuable and the worthless’. Permanent damnation and terminal alienation are simply not acceptable options for the human race, but to find the liberating, exonerating, reconciling and rehabilitating understanding of our ‘divided’ condition, and, by so doing, bring about ‘the new psychology’ and with it the transforming ‘moral reformation of life’, required ‘victory over [the] ancient, primeval terror’ of our condition—a ‘victory’ that could only be achieved by ‘a revelation of a clear conscience, unclouded by social conventions’ of denial, because only those who don’t suffer from the ‘terror’ of the human condition could hope to ‘fearless[ly]’ investigate the subject.
Yes, to find understanding of the human condition necessarily required a truthful, ‘clear conscience’-guided, instinctual approach, not a resigned-to-living-in-denial-of-the-human-condition, alienated-from-the-truth, blocking-out-of-condemning-moral-instincts, hiding-in-Plato’s-cave, ‘intellectual’ approach. It is simply not possible to build the truth from a position of denial/lying. You can’t think effectively, insightfully, ‘prophetic[ally]’, if you’re not being honest.
Indeed, as I pointed out in chapter 2:12, trying to investigate reality while living in denial of any truths that brought the, for most people, ‘deadly pain[ful]’ issue of the human condition into focus, as mechanistic science has done, was an extremely compromised and deficient way of searching for knowledge. In fact, it is a measure of the blindness of human-condition-avoiding, denial-based thinking, and the effectiveness of human-condition-confronting, honest thinking, that when the whole truth about our condition is finally reached, as it now has been, it can appear so straightforward and simple that it seems self-evident. But simplicity has always been a hallmark of insightful thought—as the pioneering biologist Allan Savory observed, ‘whenever there has been a major insoluble problem for mankind, the answer, when finally found, has always been very simple’ (Holistic Resource Management, 1988, 1st edition, p.3). For instance, when Charles Darwin put forward his breakthrough, and necessarily exceptionally ‘fearless’ and truthful-thinking-based insight of natural selection, it was, in hindsight, such a simple explanation that the eminent biologist of the time, the aforementioned Thomas Huxley, was prompted to exclaim, ‘How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!’ (1887; Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Vol.1, ed. Leonard Huxley, 1900, p.170). So, yes, the author George Seaver was prescient when, in anticipating just how simple the explanation of ‘the riddle of life’s meaning and mystery’, namely the human condition, would be, he wrote that ‘The ultimate thought, the thought which holds the clue to the riddle of life’s meaning and mystery, must be the simplest thought conceivable, the most natural, the most elemental, and therefore also the most profound’ (Albert Schweitzer: The Man and His Mind, 1947, p.311).
But while the crux question facing the human race, of the much-needed clarification of the nature of ‘good and evil’, does have an amazingly simple answer, the implications of it could not be more significant, far-reaching or exciting.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:3 The psychosis-addressing-and-solving real explanation of the human condition
In another brilliant cartoon (below), Michael Leunig succinctly dares to ask the fundamental question of ‘What does the chaotic, traumatic and strife-torn life of humans all mean—how are we to make sense of our existence?’ He has done so by placing a very perplexed and distressed gentleman behind an ‘Understandascope’, through which he peers into a sea of apparent madness. Everywhere he looks there is tumultuous congestion: there are people furiously arguing and fighting with each other; there is a church where people pray for forgiveness and salvation; and there are vehicles polluting the chaos with fumes and noise. And, in this 1984 drawing Leunig even seems to have predicted a climactic demonstration of all our human excesses and frustrations when, on September 11, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the tall, square-shaped towers of the World Trade Center in New York City! Well, it is precisely this great burning, searing question of ‘What is wrong with us humans?’—‘How are we to understand it all?’—‘How are we to make sense of human existence?’—that is now going to be answered here. The explanation to be given here in full is the ‘UNDERSTANDASCOPE’ we have always wanted, needed and sought.
As emphasised in chapter 2, to provide this all-exciting, human-race-liberating, amazingly simple, fully accountable, true explanation of the human condition requires starting from the unequivocally honest basis of acknowledging that humans did once live in a completely loving, unconditionally selfless, altruistic state, and that it was only after the emergence of our conscious mind that our present ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted, immensely psychologically upset condition emerged. If we do this and consider what would happen when a conscious mind emerged in the presence of an already established cooperative, loving instinctive state—given what human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic science has managed to discover about the gene-based natural selection process and how nerves are capable of memory—then the explanation is right there in front of us.
Clearly, since our altruistic, moral instincts are only genetic orientations to the world and not understandings of it, when our fully conscious, reasoning, self-managing mind emerged it would, in order to find the understandings it needed to effectively manage events, have had to challenge those instinctive orientations, which would have led to a psychologically upsetting clash with our moral instincts.
The exceptionally ‘clear conscience’-guided, truthful, and thus effective-thinking, ‘prophetic’ naturalist Eugène Marais was on the right track when, as mentioned in par. 187, he recognised that ‘As the…individual memory slowly emerges [in humans], the instinctive soul becomes just as slowly submerged…For a time it is almost as though there were a struggle between the two.’ Berdyaev was also approaching the truth when, as just mentioned, he wrote that ‘The human soul is divided, an agonizing conflict between opposing elements is going on in it…the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious mind is fundamental for the new psychology.’ Other thinkers, such as Arthur Koestler, Erich Neumann, Paul MacLean, Julian Jaynes and Christopher Booker, have also delved into the problem of the human condition to a similar depth to Marais and Berdyaev, but what was missing was the clarifying explanation of the nature of that ‘struggle’ and ‘conflict’ between our instincts and our consciousness. (After all, as pointed out in chapter 2:6, even Moses’ Genesis story of the Garden of Eden contains the truth that our corrupted, ‘fallen’ condition occurred when our conscious mind emerged from an original, presumably instinctive, idyllic state, and Plato recognised there was a conflict between ‘noble’, ‘good’ instincts, a ‘white’ ‘horse’, against an ‘ignoble’, ‘bad’, ‘crooked’, ‘unlawful deeds’-producing conscious intellect, a ‘dark’ ‘horse’, but the degree of insight apparent in these descriptions didn’t liberate humanity from the human condition.) So, yes, what is the particular ‘distinction’ between our instincts and intellect that caused the psychologically upset state of our ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted condition? As just stated, the answer is that the gene-based refinement system is only capable of orientating a species, whereas the nerve-based refinement system has the potential to understand the nature of change.
To present the explanation in more detail.
As briefly introduced in par. 61, nerves were originally developed for the coordination of movement in animals, but, once developed, their ability to store impressions—what we refer to as ‘memory’—gave rise to the potential to develop understanding of cause and effect. If you can remember past events, you can compare them with current events and identify regularly occurring experiences. This knowledge of, or insight into, what has commonly occurred in the past enables you to predict what is likely to happen in the future and to adjust your behaviour accordingly. Once insights into the nature of change are put into effect, the self-modified behaviour starts to provide feedback, refining the insights further. Predictions are compared with outcomes and so on. Much developed, and such refinement occurred in the human brain, nerves can sufficiently associate information to reason how experiences are related, learn to understand and become CONSCIOUS of, or aware of, or intelligent about, the relationship between events that occur through time. Thus consciousness means being sufficiently aware of how experiences are related to attempt to manage change from a basis of understanding. (Much more will be explained about the nature and origin of consciousness in chapter 7.)
The significance of this process is that once our nerve-based learning system became sufficiently developed for us to become conscious and able to effectively manage events, our conscious intellect was then in a position to wrest control from our gene-based learning system’s instincts, which, up until then, had been in charge of our lives—instincts being ‘a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary; see <>). Basically, once our self-adjusting intellect, or ability to ‘reason’, emerged it was capable of taking over the management of our lives from the instinctive orientations we had acquired through the natural selection of genetic traits that adapted us to our environment. Moreover, at the point of becoming conscious the nerve-based learning system should wrest management of the individual from the instincts because such a self-managing or self-adjusting system is infinitely more efficient at adapting to change than the gene-based system, which can only adapt to change very slowly over many generations. HOWEVER, it was at this juncture, when our conscious intellect challenged our instincts for control, that a terrible battle broke out between our instincts and intellect, the effect of which was the extremely competitive, selfish and aggressive state that we call the ‘human condition’.
An analogy will help further explain the origin of our human condition. (I should mention that a condensation of the explanation of the human condition given in this chapter, in particular some of the ‘Adam Stork’ analogy, was included in chapter 1’s summary of the contents of this book, so the reader should expect some repetition of that material.)
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:4 The Story of Adam Stork
What distinguishes humans from other animals is our fully conscious mind, our ability to understand and thus manage the relationship between cause and effect. However, prior to becoming fully conscious and able to self-manage—consciously decide how to behave—our earliest ape ancestors were controlled by and obedient to their instincts, as other animals continue to be. (Of course, humans are still apes, so when I say ‘ape ancestor’, I mean when we were like existing non-human great apes.) Aldous Huxley, author of famous novels such as Brave New World, acknowledged how other animals live, and also how our distant ancestors would have lived, obedient to their instincts, when he wrote, ‘Non-rational creatures do not look before or after, but live in the animal eternity of a perpetual present; instinct is their animal grace and constant inspiration; and they are never tempted to live otherwise than in accord with their own…immanent law. Thanks to his reasoning powers and to the instrument of reason, language, man (in his merely human condition) lives nostalgically, apprehensively and hopefully in the past and future as well as in the present’ (The Perennial Philosophy, 1946, p.141 of 352). I have underlined part of this passage because it raises the important question of what would happen if a species was ‘tempted to live otherwise than in accord with their own’ instincts—to, in effect, break that ‘immanent law’—as Huxley infers humans must have done when we became fully conscious? The following analogy involving migrating storks provides an illustration of what would happen.
Many bird species are perfectly orientated to instinctive migratory flight paths. Each winter, without ever ‘learning’ where to go and without knowing why, they quit their established breeding grounds and migrate to warmer feeding grounds. They then return each summer and so the cycle continues. Over the course of thousands of generations and migratory movements, only those birds that happened to have a genetic make-up that inclined them to follow the right route survived. Thus, through natural selection, they acquired their instinctive orientation.
Consider a flock of migrating storks returning to their summer breeding nests on the rooftops of Europe from their winter feeding grounds in southern Africa. Suppose in the instinct-controlled brain of one of them we place a fully conscious mind (we call the stork Adam because we will soon see that, up to a point, this analogy parallels Moses’ pre-scientific account of the origin or genesis of the human condition in the Bible where Adam and Eve take the fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden). So, as Adam Stork flies north he spots an island off to the left with a tree laden with apples. Using his newly acquired conscious mind, Adam thinks, ‘I should fly down and eat some apples.’ It seems a reasonable thought but he can’t know if it is a good decision or not until he acts on it. For Adam’s new thinking mind to make sense of the world he has to learn by trial and error and so he decides to carry out his first grand experiment in self-management by flying down to the island and sampling the apples.
But it’s not that simple. As soon as Adam’s conscious thinking self (as depicted by the stork on the left) deviates from his established migratory path, his innocent instinctive self (as depicted by the wide-eyed stork on the right) tries to pull him back on course. In following the flight path past the island, the instinct-obedient self/stork is, in effect, criticising Adam’s decision to veer off course; it is condemning his search for understanding. All of a sudden Adam is in a dilemma: if he obeys his instinctive self and flies back on course, he will remain perfectly orientated but he’ll never learn if his deviation was the right decision or not. All the messages he’s receiving from within inform him that obeying his instincts is good, is right, but there’s also a new inclination to disobey, a defiance of instinct. Diverting from his course will result in apples and understanding, yet he already sees that doing so will make him feel bad.
Uncomfortable with the criticism his newly conscious mind or intellect is receiving from his instinctive self, Adam’s first response is to ignore the temptation the apples present and fly back on course. This ‘correction’ not only makes his instinctive self happy, it also wins back the approval of his fellow storks, for not having conscious minds they, like his instinctive self, are innocent, unaware or ignorant of the conscious mind’s need to search for knowledge. Furthermore, since Adam’s instinctive self developed alongside the natural world, it too reminds him of his instinctive orientation, thus contributing to the criticism of Adam for his rebellious decision.
Flying on, however, Adam realises he can’t deny his intellect. Sooner or later he must find the courage to master his conscious mind by carrying out experiments in understanding. This time he thinks, ‘Why not fly down to an island and rest?’ Again, not knowing any reason why he shouldn’t, he proceeds with his experiment. And again, his decision is met with the same chorus of criticism—from his instinctive self, from the other storks that were ignorant of the need to search for knowledge, and from the natural world. But this time Adam defies the criticism and perseveres with his experimentation in self-management. His decision, however, means he must now live with the criticism and immediately he is condemned to a state of upset. A battle has broken out between his instinctive self, which is perfectly orientated to the flight path, and his emerging conscious mind, which needs to understand why that flight path is the correct course to follow. His instinctive self is perfectly orientated, but Adam doesn’t understand that orientation.
In short, when the fully conscious mind emerged it wasn’t enough for it to be orientated by instincts. It had to find understanding to operate effectively and fulfil its great potential to manage life. Tragically, the instinctive self didn’t ‘appreciate’ that need and ‘tried to stop’ the mind’s necessary search for knowledge, as represented by the latter’s experiments in self-management—hence the ensuing battle between instinct and intellect. To refute the criticism from his instinctive self, Adam needed the understanding found by science of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information; he needed to be able to explain that the gene-based learning system can orientate species to situations but is incapable of insight into the nature of change. Genetic selection of one reproducing individual over another reproducing individual (the selection, in effect, of one idea over another idea, or one piece of information over another piece of information) gives species adaptations or orientations—instinctive programming—for managing life, but those genetic orientations, those instincts, are not understandings. This means that when the nerve-based learning system gave rise to consciousness and the ability to understand the world, it wasn’t sufficient to be orientated to the world—understanding of the world had to be found. The problem, of course, was that Adam had only just taken his first, tentative steps in the search for knowledge, and so had no ability to explain anything. It was a catch-22 situation for the fledgling thinker, because to explain himself he needed the very knowledge he was setting out to accumulate. He had to search for understanding, ultimately self-understanding, understanding of why he had to ‘fly off course’, without the ability to first explain why he needed to ‘fly off course’. And without that defence, he had to live with the criticism from his instinctive self and was INSECURE in its presence. (I should clarify that while instincts are hard-wired, genetic programming and as such cannot literally criticise our conscious mind, they can in effect do so. Our instincts let our conscious mind know when our body needs food, or, as our instinctive conscience clearly does, want us to behave in a cooperative, loving way, and certainly our conscious mind can defy those instinctive orientations if it chooses to. Our conscious mind can feel criticised by our instinctive conscience; it happens all the time.)
And so to resist the tirade of unjust criticism he was having to endure and mitigate that insecurity, Adam had to do something. But what could he do? If he abandoned the search and flew back on course, he’d gain some momentary relief, but the search would, nevertheless, remain to be undertaken. So all Adam could do was retaliate against and ATTACK the instincts’ unjust criticism, attempt to PROVE the instincts’ unjust criticism wrong, and try to DENY or block from his mind the instincts’ unjust criticism—and, as the stork on the left of the picture illustrates, he did all those things. He became angry towards the criticism. In every way he could he tried to demonstrate his self worth, prove that he is good and not bad—he shook his fist at the heavens in a gesture of defiance of the implication that he is bad. And he tried to block out the criticism—this block-out or denial including having to invent contrived excuses for his instinct-defying behaviour. In short, his ANGRY, EGOCENTRIC and ALIENATED state appeared. Adam’s intellect or ‘ego’ (which is just another word for the intellect since the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘ego’ as ‘the conscious thinking self’ (5th edn, 1964)) became ‘centred’ or focused on the need to justify itself—selfishly preoccupied aggressively competing for opportunities to prove he is good and not bad, to validate his worth, to get a ‘win’; to essentially eke out any positive reinforcement that would bring him some relief from criticism and sense of worth. He unavoidably became SELFISH, AGGRESSIVE and COMPETITIVE.
Overall, it was a terrible predicament in which Adam became PSYCHOLOGICALLY UPSET—a sufferer of PSYCHOSIS and NEUROSIS. Yes, since, according to , ‘osis’ means ‘abnormal state or condition’, and the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology’s entry for ‘psyche’ reads ‘The oldest and most general use of this term is by the early Greeks, who envisioned the psyche as the soul or the very essence of life’ (1985 edn), Adam developed a ‘psychosis’ or ‘soul-illness’, and a ‘neurosis’ or neuron or nerve or ‘intellect-illness’. His original gene-based, instinctive ‘essence of life’ soul or PSYCHE became repressed by his intellect for its unjust condemnation of his intellect, and, for its part, his nerve or NEURON-based intellect became preoccupied denying any implication that it is bad. Adam became psychotic and neurotic.
But, again, without the knowledge he was seeking, without self-understanding (specifically the understanding of the difference between the gene and nerve-based learning systems that science has given us), Adam Stork had no choice but to resign himself to living a psychologically upset life of anger, egocentricity and alienation as the only three responses available to him to cope with the horror of his situation. (And by alienation, it should be clear by now that I don’t mean alienation from society or some other group or individual, but the situation of being estranged or detached from our own instinctive self and any truthful thinking it inclines our conscious mind to pursue.) It was an extremely unfair and difficult, indeed tragic, position for Adam to find himself in, for we can see that while he was good he appeared to be bad and had to endure the horror of his psychologically distressed, upset condition until he found the real—as opposed to the invented or contrived not-psychosis-recognising—defence or reason for his ‘mistakes’. Basically, suffering upset was the price of his heroic search for understanding. Indeed, it is the tragic yet inevitable situation any animal would have to endure if it transitioned from an instinct-controlled state to an intellect-controlled state—its instincts would resist the intellect’s search for knowledge. Adam’s uncooperative and divisive competitive aggression—and his selfish, egocentric, self-preoccupied efforts to prove his worth; and his need to deny and evade criticism, essentially embrace a dishonest state—all became an unavoidable part of his personality. Such was Adam Stork’s predicament, and such has been the human condition, for it was within our species that the fully conscious mind emerged.
What now needs to be explained is how the situation faced by humans when we began searching for knowledge was so much worse than it was for our hypothetical Adam Stork. This is because, as was emphasised in chapters 2:5 to 2:7, our instinctive orientation wasn’t to a flight path but to behaving in an unconditionally selfless, all-loving, cooperative moral way, so when we started carrying out experiments in understanding and then unavoidably began reacting defensively in an angry, aggressive, competitive, selfish and evasive, dishonest way to combat the criticism from our instincts, that divisive response drew even more criticism from our particular cooperative, loving, ideal-behaviour-demanding, integrative, ‘very essence of life’-orientated moral instinctive self or soul or psyche—a vicious cycle that fuelled our upset immensely. (Chapter 5 will present the biological explanation of how humans acquired such unconditionally selfless, universally loving, moral instincts, the ‘voice’ of which is our conscience.)
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:5 The double and triple whammy involved in our human situation or condition
When Adam Stork began searching for knowledge and unavoidably became angry, egocentric and alienated, that upset response didn’t attract further criticism from his instinctive orientation—but that certainly wasn’t the case with us humans. No, when we began searching for knowledge and became angry, egocentric and alienated, that response was extremely offensive to our particular instinctive orientation because our instinctive orientation isn’t to a flight path, or to any of the various instinctive orientations that other animals are obedient to; it is to behaving in the opposite way, namely lovingly, selflessly and honestly. So in our case, when we began experimenting in understanding and were criticised by our instincts and unavoidably responded in an angry, egocentric and alienated way, we had to endure a further round of criticism, a second hit, a ‘double whammy’, from our instinctive orientation. Yes, in our necessary search for understanding we were firstly unjustly condemned for defying our instincts, and then again for reacting to that condemnation in a way that was counter and offensive to our instincts. So if Adam Stork had cause to be upset, we had double cause to be upset!
And yet the horror of our situation didn’t end there—for we weren’t just unjustly condemned twice, we were unjustly condemned three times; we were forced to endure a ‘triple whammy’, which I will now explain.
While the following explanation will be covered in greater detail in chapter 4, to context why we have experienced this ‘triple whammy’ of condemnation it is necessary to briefly explain that there is a teleological, order-of-matter-developing, integrative, cooperative theme or direction or purpose or meaning to existence, which God is the personification of. Everywhere we look we see hierarchies of ordered matter—‘There is a tree that is composed of parts (leaves, branches, a trunk and roots) and in turn those parts are composed of parts (fibres, cells, etc).’ Our world is clearly composed of a hierarchy of ordered matter: atoms have come together or integrated to form compounds, which in turn have come together or integrated to form virus-like organisms, which integrated to form single-celled organisms, which then integrated to form multicellular organisms, which have come together or integrated to form societies of multicellular organisms. Significantly, the behaviour required for these ordered arrangements of matter or wholes to stay together is selflessness—because selflessness means being considerate of the welfare of the larger whole or integrative, while selfishness is divisive or disintegrative. Selflessness is, in fact, the theme of existence, the glue that holds wholes together. But in light of our divisive selfish, egocentric, competitive and aggressive behaviour, humans have obviously found this truth of the selflessness-dependent, integrative meaning of existence unbearably condemning. And being so unbearably condemning, the main way we coped with this truth of Integrative Meaning was to deify it, make it God—a concept we revered but claimed had no material relationship to us. Again, all this will be explained in chapter 4, but, in terms of explaining the ‘triple whammy’ we suffered from when we searched for knowledge, what this selfless, cooperative, Godly, integrative theme of existence means is that when we started retaliating against the criticism from our instincts in a divisive, selfish, uncooperative, angry, aggressive, egocentric and alienated way, we were not only at odds with our cooperative, selfless, loving moral instincts, we were also defying God! Our retaliation against our instinctive self made us appear as though we were out of step with creation, living in a way that was entirely inconsistent with the integrative, cooperative, selfless theme or meaning of existence! The point here is that despite having removed the confronting presence of Integrative Meaning by abstracting it as God (and even by outright denial of the existence of Integrative Meaning or God), the development of order of matter in nature is actually such an obvious truth that our conscious mind is well aware of it. So, when we humans went in search of knowledge we were initially criticised for not obeying our instincts, and then secondly for responding to that initial criticism in a way that offended our cooperatively orientated, moral instinctive conscience, and, then thirdly, by that behaviour defying the very integrative, cooperative theme of existence that our intellect could so plainly see existed in nature. We defied our instincts, we offended our moral conscience, and we insulted the very meaning of existence/God!!! We humans could hardly be more guilt-ridden. And all this guilt, which we can now understand was completely unjustified, made us extremely, excruciatingly upset—absolutely furious, in fact. As necessary as it was, in our case, ‘flying off course’ was an incredibly upsetting act of defiance—which is why we humans have been capable of absolutely extraordinary acts of brutality, barbarism and cruelty. While we have tried to restrain and conceal the anger within us, ‘civilise’ it as we say, it is, in truth, volcanic—but, again, we can now at last understand the origin of all that anger.
To appreciate exactly what occurred when humans began to actively experiment in understanding we can consider what occurs in the lives of children today, and must have occurred in the lives of our distant, child-equivalent ancestors, who, as will be described in chapters 8:2 to 8:7, were the australopithecines who emerged from our infant-equivalent, bonobo-like ape ancestors some 4 million years ago.
In the case of young humans today, when they begin to actively experiment in managing their lives from a basis of understanding, which is what occurs during the stage of a conscious mind’s development that we call ‘childhood’, they encounter this upsetting criticism from their instinctive moral conscience and from their mind’s awareness of the integrative theme of existence—as well as from other minds around them. Imagine, for instance, a situation where a young boy sees a birthday cake on a table and, being new to this business of reasoning, thinks, innocently enough, ‘Why shouldn’t I take all the cake for myself’, before doing so. While many mothers actually witness these grand mistakes of pure selfishness that young children make when they first attempt to self-manage their lives, they still have to be reasonably lucky to do so because, once done, the child usually doesn’t make such a completely naive mistake again due to the criticism it attracts from its moral instincts, from its own conscious mind’s awareness of the very obvious integrative, cooperative, selfless theme of existence, and from others present. But despite the nasty shock from all the criticism and his subsequent determination to never again make such a mistake, the child, although he is unable to explain his actions, does feel that what he has done is not something bad, not something deserving of such criticism. In fact, by this stage in the child’s mental development, he has become quite proud of his efforts at self-managing his life, drawing attention to his achievements with excited declarations like ‘Look at me Daddy, I can jump puddles’, and so on. So the child is only just discovering that this business of self-adjusting is not all fun and that some experiments are getting him into trouble. It is at this stage that ‘playing’, as we call these early experiments in self-management, starts leading to some serious issues for the child. Indeed, the frustrated feeling of being unjustly criticised for some of the experiments gives rise to the precursors of the defensive, retaliatory reactions of anger, egocentricity and alienation, with some angry, aggressive nastiness creeping into the child’s behaviour. Furthermore, in this situation of feeling unfairly criticised, it follows that any positive feedback or reinforcement begins to become highly sought-after, which is the beginning of egocentricity—the conscious thinking self or ego starts to become preoccupied trying to defend its worth, assert that it is good and not bad. At this point, the intellect also begins experimenting in ways to deny the unwarranted criticism, which, in this initial, unskilled-in-the-art-of-denial stage, takes the form of blatant lying: ‘But Mum, Billy told me to do it’, or ‘But Mum, the cake accidentally fell in my lap.’ These apparent misrepresentations weren’t actually lies, rather they were inadequate attempts at explanation. Lacking the real excuse or explanation, it was at least an excuse, a contrived defence for the child’s mistake. The child was evading the false implication that his behaviour was bad, in the sense that a ‘lie’ that said he wasn’t bad was less of a ‘lie’ than a partial truth that said he was. Basically, the child has started to feel the first aggravations from the horror of the injustice of the human condition—and we can expect that exactly the same kind of mistakes in thinking and the resulting frustrations with the ensuing criticism would have also occurred in our australopithecine, child-equivalent ancestors. Some of them, those who had become intelligent enough to actively experiment in self-adjustment, would have begun to encounter criticism of their efforts to self-manage and, as such, begun to exhibit the psychologically upset behaviours of anger, egocentricity and alienation.
Once the experimentation in self-management gets underway, so the upsetting frustrations with the resulting criticism increases. The journey of ever-increasing levels of upset has begun—and this corrupting journey of escalating upset could not and would not stop until the exonerating explanation of the human condition was found, which has only now, in this book, finally emerged millions of years after this self-fuelling process began, which means there must be, and indeed is, an absolutely astronomical amount of upset built up in us humans! That horrific journey of ever-increasing levels of upset is described in chapter 8, but just to follow its development a little further—throughout childhood the experimenting in understanding increases and the resulting frustrated upset also increases, such that by late childhood children enter what is recognised as the ‘naughty nines’. By this stage the resentment and frustration with the criticism from their efforts at self-adjustment has become so great that the child starts lashing out at the unjust world. Indeed, by late childhood children become very angry, even taunting and bullying those around them. However, by the end of childhood, children realise that lashing out in exasperation at the ‘injustice of the world’ doesn’t change anything and that the only possible way to solve their frustration is to find the reconciling insight into why the criticism they are experiencing is not deserved. It is at this point, which occurs around 12 years of age, that the child undergoes a dramatic change from a frustrated, protesting, demonstrative, loud extrovert into a sobered, deeply thoughtful, quiet introvert, consumed with anxiety about the imperfections of life under the duress of the human condition. In fact, it is in recognition of this very significant psychological change from a relatively human-condition-free state to a very human-condition-aware state that we separate these stages into ‘Childhood’ and ‘Adolescence’, a shift even our schooling system marks by having children graduate from what is generally called primary school into secondary school. And indeed, this critical junction in our species’ development is also acknowledged in the anthropological record, with the name of the genus changing from Australopithecus, the extrovert ‘Childman’, to Homo, the sobered ‘Adolescentman’. The story of the journey through this next stage of adolescence was briefly introduced in chapter 2:2 when Resignation was described, but to quickly recap: after struggling for a few years during their early adolescence to make sense of existence, by about 14 or 15 years of age that search for understanding generally became so confronting that denial of the whole unbearably depressing issue of the human condition had to be adopted—after which adolescents became superficial and artificial escapists, not wanting to look at any issue too deeply, and, before long, combative and competitive power-fame-fortune-and-glory, relief-seeking resigned adults.
So while the upset state of the human condition emerged during our childhood, and in the case of our species’ journey, during the life of our child-equivalent australopithecine ancestor, the real struggle with the agony of the human condition didn’t arise until our adolescence, which began when we were around 12 years of age, or, in the case of our species, during the life of Homo who emerged from the australopithecines some 2 million years ago. Indeed, we could say that we only became fully conscious in the sense of being fully aware of the situation we humans have been in of having to live with the agony of the human condition some 2 million years ago when our species entered adolescence. Again, all the stages of ever-increasing levels of upset that humans both individually and as a species have progressed through will be much more fully described in chapter 8.
In summary, unlike Adam Stork who only had to contend with criticism of his attempts to self-adjust, humans have had to contend with that criticism and criticism of our unavoidable angry, aggressive, competitive, selfish and dishonestly evasive response to that initial criticism—a response that went against our moral conscience and against the integrative meaning of existence; against the Godly ideals, no less. In short, through our efforts to self-adjust and experiment in self-understanding, in order to find the ultimate knowledge of understanding of the human condition that we needed to make sense of ourselves, we were made to feel extremely guilty, ‘evil’ and ‘sinful’, which very greatly compounded our insecurity-of-self and frustration, making us immensely angry and egocentric and very much needing to live in denial of any confrontation with the problem of our corrupted condition. We had to live totally separated, or blocked-off, or dissociated, or alienated from our true situation—metaphorically ‘enshrined in that living tomb’ of Plato’s dark ‘cave’ where no exposure of our corrupted condition was possible.
Yes, humans have been immensely insecure about our upset, corrupted, fallen condition—extremely fearful of the suicidally depressing implication that we are bad, vile creatures for having departed so incredibly far from our species’ original unconditionally selfless, all-loving-and-all-sensitive, fully-cooperative-and-integrative, Godly, ‘ideal’ way of living. But while total block-out/separation/dissociation/alienation from the truth of our species’ original all-loving world meant we had chosen a ‘living tomb’ of dishonest darkness to live in, that existence was infinitely preferable to trying to confront the suicidally depressing truth of how far we had departed from our original world of all-loving innocence! Such has been the horror of the human condition. Thank goodness we can at last explain why we couldn’t avoid becoming angry, egocentric and alienated and as a result no longer have to hide in that ‘living tomb’ dungeon of dishonest darkness anymore!
If we immerse ourselves in the truth of how pure we humans once were—as Plato and Hesiod did when they admitted ‘there was a time when’ we lived a ‘blessed’, ‘innocent and simple and calm and happy’ ‘pure’ existence where there was no ‘war or quarrel[ling]’, and ‘no forms of government or separate possession of women and children’ and where we ‘dwelt naked…in the open air…and…lay on soft couches of grass’; a time when we were a ‘golden race…with calm untroubled mind[s]…unbridled by toil…[and] all willing shared the gathering of…[our] hands’—and then contrast that existence with our present immensely upset competitive, selfish, greedy, uncaring, mean, aggressive and materialistic existence, the distinction is most certainly a suicidally depressing one to have to face, unless you are exceptionally free of upset, as Plato and Hesiod must have been, or you can explain the good reason why that extremely upset state emerged. Appreciating this distinction allows us to now fully understand what Gerard Manley Hopkins meant when he wrote in his 1885 poem No Worst, There Is None, ‘O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap may [any] who ne’er [have never] hung there.’ Yes, only innocent people, those free of upset, have been able to confront the issue of the human condition without becoming depressed—‘hung’ being the perfect description for the depressed state. For innocents it was not costly; rather, as Hopkins said, it was ‘cheap’ for them. But now that the upset state of the human condition has been explained and defended the whole human race is freed from ‘frightful[ly]’ depressing condemnation!
And to think we have been living in this extremely unfair and torn state where we couldn’t explain the good reason for our species’ upset condition for over 2 million years! With this in mind, we can start to register just how much hurt, frustration and anger must now exist within us humans. After all, imagine living just one day with the injustice of being condemned as evil, bad and worthless when you intuitively knew—but were unable to explain—that you were actually the complete opposite, namely truly wonderful, good and meaningful. How tormented and furious—how upset—would you be by the end of that one day? You would be immensely upset. So extrapolate that experience over 2 million years and you will begin to get some appreciation of just how much volcanic anger must now exist within us humans today! While we have learnt to significantly restrain and conceal—‘civilise’—our phenomenal amount of upset, it nevertheless follows that, under the surface, our species must be boiling with rage, and that sometimes, when our restraint can no longer find a way to contain it, that anger must express itself. Yes, we can finally understand humans’ capacity for astounding acts of aggression, hate, brutality and atrocity. The following is but one description of how much anger humans have accumulated as a result of being unjustly condemned; it is an account of the bloodshed that was commonplace during World War I: ‘The flowing blood of these murdered men, ten million gallons of steaming human blood could substitute for a whole day the gigantic water masses of the Niagara [Falls]…Make a chain of these ten million murdered murderers, placing them head to head and foot to foot, and you will have an uninterrupted line measuring ten thousand miles, a grave ten thousand miles long’ (Mrs Will Gordon, Roumania Yesterday and To-day, 1918, p.251 of 270). And it can now be understood that this capacity for inhumanity exists in us all—as the author Morris West so bravely acknowledged in his memoir, A View from the Ridge: ‘brutalise a child and you create a casualty or a criminal. Bribe a servant of the state and you will soon hear the deathwatch beetles chewing away at the rooftrees of society. The disease of evil [now able to be understood as upset] is pandemic; it spares no individual, no society, because all are predisposed to it. It is this predisposition which is the root of the mystery [of ‘evil’ that is now explained]. I cannot blame a Satan, a Lucifer, a Mephistopheles, for the evils I have committed, the consequences of which have infected other people’s lives. I know, as certainly as I know anything, that the roots are in myself, buried deeper than I care to delve, in caverns so dark that I fear to explore them. I know that, given the circumstances and the provocation, I could commit any crime in the calendar’ (1996, p.78 of 143).
It certainly is an understatement of the grandest proportions to say that it is a relief that humanity’s 2-million-year journey of conscious thought and enquiry into the nature of our condition has finally delivered understanding of it—that the ‘caverns so dark’ where the ‘mystery’ of our horrifically upset human condition lies have at last been ‘explore[d]’ and the greater dignifying, redeeming, liberating, healing, ameliorating explanation for that condition found.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:6 Adam and Eve — we humans — are heroes NOT villains
We can now see how The Story of Adam Stork—which describes the primary issue involved in our human condition of the upsetting battle that emerged between our instincts and our conscious intellect’s search for knowledge—has parallels with Moses’ Biblical account of Adam and Eve’s experiences in the Garden of Eden, except in that presentation when Adam and Eve took the ‘fruit’ (Gen. 3:3) ‘from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (2:9, 17)—went in search of understanding—they were ‘banished…from the Garden’ (3:23) of our original innocent, all-loving state for being ‘disobedient’ (the term widely used in descriptions of Gen. 3) and becoming ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ or ‘sinful’. In THIS presentation, however, Adam and Eve are revealed to be the HEROES, NOT THE VILLAINS they have so long been portrayed as. So while humans ARE immensely upset—that is, immensely angry, egocentric and alienated—WE ARE GOOD AND NOT BAD AFTER ALL!!!! Yes, this explanation finally allows us to see that our conscious mind that caused us to take the ‘fruit’ ‘from the tree of…knowledge’ is NOT the sinful, evil villain it has so long been portrayed as. And ‘upset’ is the right word for our condition because while we are not ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ we are definitely psychologically upset from having to participate in humanity’s heroic search for knowledge. ‘Corrupted’ and ‘fallen’ have sometimes been used to describe our condition, but they have negative connotations that we can now appreciate are undeserved.
The following is another famous cartoon by Michael Leunig that beautifully illustrates the journey humans have been on in our quest for understanding—what is missing, however, from his depiction is this final, truthful revelation of our species’ heroism that the explanation of the human condition has now made possible. So it is with deep reverence to Leunig that I have taken the liberty of drawing three more frames in his marvellously expressive style to complete the story. Leunig’s cartoon depicts the Genesis story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, beginning with the wide-eyed and innocent Adam and Eve taking the ‘fruit’ ‘from the tree of…knowledge’ and being ‘banished…from the Garden of Eden’ as a result. Up to that point there is nothing unusual about the story being portrayed, however, the cartoon goes on to show Adam reaping revenge upon that hallowed Garden. It is possible that Leunig meant for the retaliation to be interpreted as a straightforward joke about human behaviour—‘You kicked me out, I’ll get even’—but surely there is a deeper truth to the retaliation that accounts for the cartoon resonating with so many people. Hasn’t Leunig got to the truth that lies at the very heart of the issue of our human condition, and summarised that truth in the most succinct way possible using the story of the Garden of Eden? Hasn’t he captured the underlying feeling that we humans have of being condemned as fundamentally evil and God-disobeying when in our heart of hearts we don’t believe we are; and hasn’t he captured the psychotic and neurotic anger that feeling of unjust condemnation has caused us? This is a deservedly celebrated cartoon, for, as emphasised, we humans have been unjustly condemned for some 2 million years—so how deeply, deeply angry must we be inside ourselves having had to live undefended on this planet for so long! Wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, we be as angry as Leunig has depicted us in this cartoon!
To analyse the cartoon’s elements more closely, in the fourth frame Adam is shown fuming with rage and resentment for being evicted, implying that he doesn’t believe it is deserved, and deciding that he has no choice but to retaliate against the injustice; he can’t be expected to just sit there and take it, he has to find some way of demonstrating that he doesn’t accept as true the criticism that he is fundamentally bad. And so a vengeful Adam returns with a chainsaw to raze the Garden. The guardian angel is in tears at the wanton destruction, and we can see that Eve is similarly distressed by his actions. (This lack of empathy by women for men’s immensely upsetting battle to defy the ignorance of our instinctive self, which Leunig has so honestly expressed here, will be explained in chapter 8:11B.) But Adam’s expression and body language shows the enormous relief and satisfaction his retaliation brings him. In giving the guardian angel ‘the finger’ in the eighth frame, he’s symbolically saying, ‘Go to hell you bastard, for unjustly condemning me!’
BUT, above all, in the expression of extreme anger on Adam’s face, Leunig has revealed just what 2 million years of being unjustly condemned by the whole world has done to us humans. Yes, since the sun, the rain, the trees and the innocent animals are all friends of our original innocent, instinctive self or soul, through that association they too have condemned us, which is why Adam’s/our, retaliation against nature for its unjust condemnation of him has left the whole natural world such a wasteland! We burnt the scrub, tore down the trees and dumped rubbish, pollutants and cement over what was left of nature, and we murdered animals who, in their innocence, condemned us. For example, there has been ‘5,843 Sq km of Amazon rain forest reportedly lost to deforestation from August 2012 to July 2013; activists blame the 28% rise in one year on looser environmental laws’ (TIME, 2 Dec. 2013)—the deeper truth being that if we humans weren’t so hateful and couldn’t-care-less we wouldn’t destroy pristine rainforest like this. Similarly, the diary of the legendary ‘white hunter’, the suitably named J.A. Hunter, reveals that he dispatched ‘966 Rhinos’ from ‘August 29th 1944 to October 31st 1946’ (Peter Beard, The End of the Game, 1963, p.137 of 280). That’s the equivalent of nearly 10 rhinoceroses every week for more than 2 years that he shot to death! Incidentally, we can see here how, if we really wanted to save the environment, that ‘hugging trees’ and ‘patting dolphins’ wasn’t going to do it. Pretending to be loving and kind and considerate could make us feel good but it was never going to fix anything. To ‘save the planet’ we had to find the understanding that would end the underlying upset in us humans. We had to confront the issue of us, the human condition, NOT find ways to delude ourselves we were good so we didn’t have to confront that issue. Pretence, delusion and escapism got us nowhere; in fact, it made the situation the human race is in much, much worse because it hid the real issue of the immensely psychologically upset state of the human condition. So yes, while we have learnt to conceal how upset we are—learnt ‘civility’—underneath that facade of restraint and delusion lies the level of anger Leunig has portrayed.
It really has been a case of ‘Give me liberty or give me death’, ‘No retreat, no surrender’, ‘Death before dishonour’, ‘No guts no glory’, ‘Do or die’, ‘Die on your feet, don’t live on your knees’, ‘Never give in’, ‘Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven’, ‘You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down’, as the sayings go. We were never going to give in to our instinctive self or soul; we were never going to accept that we were fundamentally bad, evil, worthless, awful beings; we weren’t going to wear that criticism—for if we did, we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed each morning and face the world. If we truly believed we were fundamentally evil beings, we would shoot ourselves. There had to be a greater truth that explained our behaviour and until we found it we couldn’t rest. And so every day as we got out of bed we took on the world of ignorance that was condemning us. We defied the implication that we are bad. We shook our fist at the heavens. In essence, we said, ‘One day, one day, we are going to prove our worth, explain that we are not bad after all, and until that day arrives we are not going to ‘back down’, we are not going to take the ignorant, naive, stupid, unjustified criticism from our instincts, or from Integrative Meaning/God. No, we are going to fight back with all our might.’ And that is what we have done; that is what every conscious human that has ever lived has done—and because we did, because we persevered against all the criticism, we have now finally broken through and found the full truth that explains that humans are wonderful beings after all. In fact, not just wonderful but the heroes of the whole story of life on Earth. Now, at last, we can finally understand that the Greek playwright Sophocles was right when he wrote that ‘There are numerous wonders in the world, but none more wonderful than man’ (Antigone, c.441 BC). This is because our fully conscious mind is surely—given its phenomenal ability to understand the world—nature’s greatest invention, so for us humans who were given this greatest of all inventions to develop, to be made to endure that torture of being unjustly condemned as bad or evil for doing just that, and to have had to endure the torture for so long, some 2 million years, has to make us the absolute heroes of the story of life on Earth. We were assigned the hardest, toughest of tasks, and against all the odds we completed it. We humans are the champions of the story of life on Earth. We are so, so wonderful!
In chapter 1:3 the story of Don Quixote was used to illustrate the stupendous courage of the human race. This painting by Turner (above) is an equally powerful portrayal of how absolutely incredibly HEROIC the human race has been, huddled together as best we could for some reassurance, and with a few provisions, while we struggled through 2 million years of terrifying darkness and tumultuous storms. To be given a fully conscious brain, the marvellous computer we have on our heads, but not be given the program for it and instead be left ‘a restless wanderer on the earth’ (Bible, Gen. 4:14) searching for that program/understanding in a dreadful darkness of confusion and bewilderment, most especially about our worthiness or otherwise as a species, was the most diabolical of tortures; as the great denial-free thinking prophet Isaiah put it: ‘justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes…Truth is nowhere to be found’ (Bible, Isa. 59). Those lyrics that so plead the terrible agony of our species’ seemingly lost and meaningless condition—‘How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction home, like a complete unknown’—have understandably led to the 1965 song from which they come, Like a Rolling Stone by that prophet of our time, Bob Dylan, to be voted the greatest of all time by that arbiter of popular music, Rolling Stone magazine, in 2011. Yes, how incredibly heroic have we humans been—and how wonderful, beyond-the-powers-of-description, is it to now have freed ourselves from that horrific situation where the ‘truth’ about ourselves was ‘nowhere to be found’!
So, the essential truth that has now at last been explained is that we should never have been ‘thrown out of the Garden of Eden’ in the first place—which is why, to return to Leunig’s cartoon, I have taken the liberty of drawing three additional frames to complete the story. The first addition depicts Adam and Eve beckoning to the guardian angel to return, while the second shows them explaining to the angel the irrefutable, first-principle-based, biological reason why humans are not fundamentally evil; in fact, explaining, as I have just done, that we are the absolute heroes of the story of life on Earth—an explanation that so affects the angel that it starts to cry out of regret and sympathy. In the third and final frame, we see the angel taking Adam and Eve—the human race in effect—by the hand and apologetically escorting us back to the Garden of Eden. Yes, the human race is coming home now, our ‘banish[ment]’ has ended; we are no longer ‘strangers in paradise’ (popular song from the 1953 musical Kismet), rather we are the heroes of paradise—its most revered, cherished and loved occupants! What a wonderful change of circumstances for us humans!!
This is a detail from The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo’s famous masterpiece that adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City in Rome. In interpretations of the painting, God is said to be in the process of creating Adam, yet it can also be construed as God and man reaching out to each other. Since we can now afford to acknowledge that God is the personification of the integrative, cooperative, selfless, harmonious ideal values of life, then with the reconciling understanding of our less-than-ideal, human-condition-afflicted state found, the ‘out-stretched fingers’ of God and man have finally touched. Our seemingly un-Godly, upset anger, egocentricity and alienation resulted from our participation in humanity’s heroic search for knowledge. Yes, it turns out that in that classic 1980 American film The Blues Brothers, for all their wild, off-the-wall, upset behaviour, the Blues Brothers really were ‘on a mission from God’, as they kept telling everyone they encountered; indeed, the life of every human who has ever lived has been entirely meaningful and thus Godly.
Another universally iconic symbol that can now be interpreted through the truthful lens that this explanation allows is the Statue of Liberty that stands so proudly in New York Harbor. The United States of America presently sits at the forefront of the human race’s immensely upsetting but critically important, heroic search for knowledge; it really has been ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’, as its national anthem proclaims. So it is entirely fitting that this symbol of the USA is such a brave one because it has been so difficult maintaining the freedom/liberty necessary to continue the upsetting/corrupting search for knowledge. This is because as soon as there was too much corruption of humans’ cooperative, selfless, loving instinctive self or soul—too much anger, egocentricity and alienation, but especially too much egocentric selfishness—a society became dysfunctional and decadent, and then, in a bid to counter that dysfunction, it became oppressive and restraining of the freedoms each person needed to continue the corrupting search for knowledge. Yes, you had to be ‘brave’ to avoid giving up the corrupting search for knowledge and maintain the ‘free[dom]’ needed to continue humanity’s heroic search for knowledge—and the story of the human race as a whole is that it has never completely abandoned that corrupting search for knowledge, and as a result of that tenacity it has now finally succeeded in finding the particular knowledge it was in search of, namely the explanation of the human condition: the reconciling, ameliorating, peace-bringing understanding of why humans are good and not bad.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:7 Our instinctive moral conscience has been ‘A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!’
Greek mythology describes how Prometheus stole fire from his fellow Gods and gave it to humans for their use, an act which enraged the Gods, and Zeus in particular who punished Prometheus by having him strapped to the top of a mountain where, every day in perpetuity, he was forced to suffer having his liver eaten out by an eagle. In light of what has been revealed, we can now understand that in this story fire is the metaphor for the conscious intellect (as it is in many mythologies; indeed, ‘Prometheus’ literally means ‘forethought’), and that the consequence of humans gaining a conscious mind was extremely upset behaviour, which explains why Prometheus was punished by the Gods—in their eyes his gift to humans of consciousness was responsible for the corruption of the human race, for our falling out with the Godly ideals.
Yes, for 2 million years our intellect has been seen as the villain of the piece while our instinctive self or soul’s moral conscience was held up as the epitome of goodness, but the truth, which we can now finally explain, turns out to be the exact opposite in the sense that it was our instincts’ unjust criticism that caused us to become upset. This paradoxical turn of events in which our ‘good side’ is revealed to have been the ‘bad side’ is the theme of the crime writer Agatha Christie’s famous play The Mousetrap. The play is just another ‘whodunit’ murder mystery and yet it is now the longest running play in history, having been performed continuously since opening in 1952; indeed, the play’s enduring popularity is such that it celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012 with a global tour. All enduring myths and stories contain truths that resonate, and in the case of The Mousetrap, the police inspector involved in the murder investigation, who is held up throughout the play as the pillar of goodness and justice, is revealed at the very end to be the culprit. It is the essential story of humanity where the apparent ideals of our original instinctive self or soul’s selfless, loving world are revealed, at the very last moment, to have been the unjustly condemning influence. As with so many aspects of the human condition, THE TRUTH WAS NOT AS IT APPEARED. We discover at the very end of our journey to enlightenment that conscious humans, immensely corrupt as we are, are ‘good’ and not ‘bad’ after all, and that which was ‘good’, our moral conscience, turns out to be the cause of our ‘sin’.
The same essential paradox appears in G.K. Chesterton’s 1908 ‘masterpiece’ (Simon Hammond, The Guardian, 7 Oct 2012), The Man Who Was Thursday, in which a policeman representing the ‘good’ side has to infiltrate and expose the sinister members of a quintessentially corrupt organisation, but as the tale unfolds each of the apparently corrupt members are revealed to be forces for good commissioned to fight evil.
The poet Alexander Pope acknowledged the pain, guilt and frustration caused by the unjust criticism emanating from our species’ instinctive moral conscience when he wrote, ‘our nature [conscience—is]…A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!’ (An Essay on Man, 1733, Epistle II). It was a sentiment echoed by William Wordsworth in his great 1807 poem, Intimations of Immortality: ‘High instincts before which our mortal Nature / Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised.’ Albert Camus was another who felt the sting of the criticism from our naive, ignorant, innocent soul when he asked ‘whether innocence, the moment it begins to act, can avoid committing murder [?]’ (The Rebel, 1951, p.12 of 269).
Considering then how unjustly hurtful our instinctive self or soul has been it is little wonder we learnt to psychologically block it out, deny and bury it to the point where we now refer to it as ‘the child within’ and the ‘collective [shared by all, instinctive] unconscious’. Indeed, if we look at the situation from the perspective of our original, unconditionally selfless, all-loving, moral instinctive self or soul for a moment, we can begin to appreciate just how enormous the schism between our instinctive soul and conscious mind has been. Imagine then what a shock it was for our all-loving, moral instincts when our conscious mind began searching for knowledge and became angry, aggressive, selfish and competitive—our soul would have been absolutely mortified, as children are today by the extreme imperfection of human behaviour. Our soul would have been utterly bewildered and distressed, completely overcome with shock and disappointment, absolutely devastated: ‘Why, when all our behaviour has been so cooperative, loving and perfect, and our world so happy and content as a result, are you, our conscious mind, doing this?—this is SO wrong!’, is how our soul has perceived the situation. Unable to explain our divisive behaviour, we conscious humans have never allowed ourselves to properly consider the hurt that behaviour has caused our moral soul, but now that we can at last explain our upset state we can afford to do so. Yes, when our conscious mind emerged and the angry, aggressive, selfish and competitive behaviour started to appear, our original, all-loving and all-sensitive instinctive self experienced the most profound shock imaginable. Our soul has been completely distressed and overwhelmed by this turn of events: ‘Why is this happening, this behaviour simply must stop, this is absolutely wrong!’ Our soul has been in tears of distress and disappointment, utterly overcome with unhappiness—BUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING HAD TO GO ON, THE UPSETTING SEARCH FOR THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WOULD LIBERATE OUR SPECIES HAD TO CONTINUE.
To return, however, to viewing the situation from the perspective of our conscious intellect, this ‘sharp accuser’, these ‘high’ and mighty ‘innocen[t]’ ‘instincts’ that made us ‘tremble like a guilty thing’, have been ‘murder[ous]’ and thus completely unbearable, SO WE SIMPLY HAD TO BLOCK OUR MORAL INSTINCTIVE SELF OUT, OTHERWISE WE WOULD DIE FROM THE PAIN, THE SHAME, THE MORTIFICATION, THE GUILT, IT WAS CAUSING US. So the extent of our soul’s unhappiness with us, which was of a level of extreme unhappiness, is the extent we, our conscious mind, had to block out and become alienated from it, which is, it follows, a level of extreme alienation. As a species, we are EXTREMELY soul-repressed, or psychotic, and EXTREMELY mentally committed to living in denial, or neurotic. R.D. Laing was right when, as mentioned earlier in par. 123, he described humans as being ‘a shrivelled, desiccated fragment of what a person can be…between us and It [our true selves or soul] there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete…The outer divorced from any illumination from the inner is in a state of darkness. We are in an age of darkness. The state of outer darkness is a state of sin—i.e. alienation or estrangement from the inner light…We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another’, and ‘We are dead, but think we are alive. We are asleep, but think we are awake…We are the halt, lame, blind, deaf, the sick. But we are doubly unconscious…We are mad, but have no insight [into the fact of our madness].’ We have certainly been, as Plato said, ‘enshrined in that living tomb which we carry about, now that we are imprisoned’—but again, our conscious, intellectual self simply had no choice but to block out our instinctive self or soul, to banish it to our subconscious where it only now occasionally bubbles up in dreams and on other occasions when our conscious self is subdued, such as when praying or meditating. As Carl Jung wrote, ‘The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche [soul], opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego consciousness’ (Civilization in Transition, 1945; The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, tr. R. Hull, Vol.10). That pre-eminent philosopher Sir Laurens van der Post also wrote about the repression of our soul when he acknowledged that ‘Human beings know far more than they allow themselves to know: there is a kind of knowledge of life which they reject, although it is born into them: it is built into them’ (A Walk with a White Bushman, 1986, p.142 of 326). And in talking about how human psychosis and neurosis develops, the psychiatrist D.W. Winnicott wrote that ‘The word “unconscious”…has been used for a very long time to describe unawareness…there are depths to our natures which we cannot easily plumb…a special variety of unconscious, which he [Sigmund Freud] named the repressed unconscious…what is unconscious cannot be remembered because of its being associated with painful feeling or some other intolerable emotion’ (Thinking About Children, 1996 posthumous publication of his writings, p.9 of 343).
Yes, our ability now to understand the human condition, understand the consequences of humans gaining a conscious mind, means the whole mystery of our life in extreme alienation finally becomes fully understandable. Of course there is ‘a kind of knowledge of life which they [conscious humans] reject’, even ‘though it is born into’ us—our moral conscience has been an unbearably ‘sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!’ Of course we have had to block out our soul, and with it any truth that brought the unbearable issue of our corrupted human condition into focus! And no wonder we are 2 million years wedded to a life deep underground in Plato’s metaphorical cave of dark, truthless, alienated denial. And, given how precious, indeed life-saving, that block-out or denial has been, and how practised and habituated we are in applying it, it is no wonder it has been almost impossible for anyone to break through that denial, actually confront the human condition and find the liberating explanation of it—and, further, that there has been so much resistance to having all that denial demolished and exposed. Tragically, we had no choice other than to suppress our all-sensitive, unconditionally selfless, all-loving (although unloving of our intellect’s need to search for knowledge!) soul—as the saying goes, ‘we hurt the one we love’—BUT THANKFULLY, WITH THE EXPLANATION OF WHY WE FULLY CONSCIOUS HUMANS BECAME ANGRY, AGGRESSIVE, SELFISH AND COMPETITIVE FOUND, WE NO LONGER HAVE TO. Indeed, we now have the ability to end our psychosis, to rehabilitate our wondrously sensitive soul. Further, our conscious mind no longer has to practise denial, which means we can also end our neurosis—all of which means the human race can be psychologically rehabilitated; our species can be brought back to life from its psychologically dead state.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:8 Most wonderfully, this psychosis-addressing-and-solving, real explanation of the human condition makes possible the psychological rehabilitation of the human race
What is so utterly exonerating and psychologically healing about our ability to understand the human condition now is that we can finally appreciate that there was a very good reason for our angry, alienated and egocentric lives—in fact, we can now see why our species has not just been ego-centric, but ego-infuriated, even ego-gone-mad-with-murderous-rage for having to live with so much unjust criticism/guilt, for some 2 million years. At long last we have the reason for humans’ capacity for shocking acts of cruelty, sadism, hate, murder and warfare—we now know the source of the dark volcanic forces in us humans. And no wonder we led such an evasive, escapist, superficial and artificial, greedy, smother-ourselves-with-material-glory-while-we-lacked-the-spiritual-glory-of-compassionate-understanding-of-ourselves, power, fame and fortune-seeking existence. Yes, it was the accumulation of money or capital that served to supply the symbolic wins we needed to counter the insecurity of our seemingly worthless condition. And indeed, the so-called Seven Deadly Sins of the human condition, of lust, anger, pride, envy, covetousness, gluttony and sloth, are all just different manifestations of the three fundamental upsets of anger, egocentricity and alienation that unavoidably emerged when humans became fully conscious and had to set out in search of knowledge in the presence of unjustly condemning instincts.
And with the ability now to explain and understand that we are actually all good and not bad, the upset that resulted from not being able to explain the source of our divisive condition is able to subside and disappear. Finding understanding of the human condition is what rehabilitates and transforms the human race from its psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated condition. The word ‘psychiatry’ literally means ‘soul-healing’ (derived as it is from psyche meaning ‘soul’ and iatreia which according to The Encyclopedic World Dictionary means ‘healing’), but never before have we been able to ‘heal our soul’, explain to our original instinctive self or soul that our fully conscious, thinking self is good and not bad and, by so doing, reconcile and heal our split selves. As Professor Harry Prosen has said about the psychological effect of this all-loving, all-compassionate understanding of ourselves: ‘I have no doubt this biological explanation of the human condition is the holy grail of insight we have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of the human race.’ Yes, our ability now to understand the dark side of ourselves means we can finally achieve the ‘wholeness for humans’ that Carl Jung was forever pointing out ‘depends on the ability to own our own shadow’. Sir Laurens van der Post was also describing the understanding that was required to heal our species’ corrupted, ‘fallen’ condition when he wrote that ‘True love is love of the difficult and unlovable’ (Journey Into Russia, 1964, p.145 of 319); and, ‘how can there ever be any real beginning without forgiveness?’ (Venture to the Interior, 1952, p.16 of 241); and that ‘Only by understanding how we were all a part of the same contemporary pattern [of wars, cruelty, greed and indifference] could we defeat those dark forces with a true understanding of their nature and origin’ (Jung and the Story of Our Time, 1976, p.24 of 275); and that ‘Compassion leaves an indelible blueprint of the recognition that life so sorely needs between one individual and another; one nation and another; one culture and another. It is also valid for the road which our spirit should be building now for crossing the historical abyss that still separates us from a truly contemporary vision of life, and the increase of life and meaning that awaits us in the future’ (ibid. p.29). Yes, one day there had to be, to quote The Rolling Stones’ lyrics, ‘Sympathy for the devil’ (1968); one day, we had to find the reconciling, compassionate, healing understanding of the dark side of human nature. One day, ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’, as William Blake titled his famous book (c.1790), had to occur.
This explanation is immensely positively reinforcing and thus therapeutic because we can now understand that humans are nothing less than the heroes of the story of life on Earth. This is the fundamental truth that, as I said in chapter 2:8, we humans hoped and believed we would one day establish, and now have! Despite all appearances to the contrary—despite our anger, egocentricity and alienation—humans are the most wonderful beings. In fact, if there is a word such as divine that can be applied to mortals, then we can now see that it truly does belong to us humans—because to withstand 2 million years of the injustice that we have had to endure and still be on our feet, still be able to laugh, still be able to smack each other on the back with encouragement, still be able to carry on, get out of bed each day and face life under the duress of the human condition, we must be the most magnificent of organisms! Truly, as Camus wrote, ‘man’s greatness…lies in his decision to be stronger than his condition’ (‘The Night of Truth’, Combat, 25 Aug. 1944), to not give in to the possibility he famously described in his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, that ‘There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life [under the duress of the human condition] is or is not worth living’.
This fact of the utter magnificence of the human race—that we can now understand and know is true rather than merely hope it is so—brings such intense relief to our angst-ridden cells, limbs and torsos that it will feel as though we have thrown off a shroud of heavy chains. The great, heavy burden of guilt has finally been lifted from the shoulders of humans. Yes, doesn’t the core feeling exist in all humans that far from being meaningless, ‘banish[ment]’-deserving ‘evil’ blights on this planet we are all immense heroes? Doesn’t this explanation at last make sense of all humans’ immensely courageous and defiant attitude? And won’t this explanation bring deep, bone-draining relief to the whole of each person’s being?
Yes, this explanation, this understanding of the human condition, provides the ‘insight we have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of the human race’, as Professor Prosen said it would. It enables us to see that our divisive human nature was not an unchangeable or immutable state as many people came to believe it is, and which E.O. Wilson’s Multilevel Selection theory for eusociality deems it to be, but the result of the human condition, our inability to understand ourselves, and, as such, it can dissipate now that we have found that understanding.
Importantly, this understanding of why we became upset as a species doesn’t condone or sanction ‘evil’, rather, through bringing understanding to humans’ upset behaviour, it gives us the power to ameliorate and thus subside and ultimately eliminate it. ‘Evil’—humans’ divisive behaviour—was a result of a conflict and insecurity within us that arose from the dilemma of the human condition, so once you resolve the dilemma, you end the conflict and insecurity. Peace could only come to our troubled, divisive state and world through removing the underlying insecurity of our condition. With our ego or sense of self worth satisfied at the most fundamental level, our anger can now subside and all our denials and resulting alienation can be dismantled. From having lived in a dark, cave-like, depressed state of condemnation and, as a result, had to repress, hide and deny our true selves, we can at last, as the 1960s rock musical Hair sang, ‘Let the sunshine in’—end our horrid existence of having to depend on denial to cope. The compassionate-understanding-based psychological rehabilitation of the human race—the TRANSFORMATION of all humans—truly can begin. Yes, finally, at last, we can, as Jim Morrison hoped when, as mentioned earlier, he sang of ‘Standing there on freedom’s shore, waiting for the sun…waiting…to tell me what went wrong’, have ‘day destroy…[the] night’ and ‘break on through to the other side [to a sound world free of alienated denial]’. (A detailed description of how the transformation of the human race is now able to take place, such that every human can now immediately be free of the human condition, is presented in the concluding chapter 9 of this book.)
As for the veracity of this explanation, it is precisely this explanation’s ability to at last make relieving sense of human life, of all our behaviour in fact, that let’s us know that we have finally found the true explanation of the human condition. The great physicist Albert Einstein once wrote that ‘Truth is what stands the test of experience’ (Out of My Later Years, 1950, p.115 of 286), and since this study and explanation is all about us, about our behaviour, we are in a position to personally ‘experience’ its validity, to know if it’s true or not. As the subject of this study, we can know if the ideas being put forward work or not, if these explanations do make sense of our deepest feelings; of our volcanic anger, of our lonely estranged souls, of our insecure state yet core belief that we are wonderful beings, etc, etc—as, in fact, they do. Moreover, these explanations are so powerfully insightful, accountable and revealing (so true) that they render our lives transparent—a transparency, a sudden exposure, that can initially be overwhelmingly confronting and depressing. But there is a way, an absolutely wonderful, joyous way, to cope with the arrival of exposure day, or transparency day, or revelation day, or truth day, or honesty day—in fact, the long-feared so-called ‘judgment day’, which is actually not a time of condemning ‘judgment’ but of compassionate understanding. And that wonderful way of coping with the arrival of the all-liberating, all-rehabilitating but at the same time all-exposing truth about us humans is, as stated above, the subject of the concluding chapter (9) in this book. But the point being made here is that the transparency of our lives that these explanations bring reveals just how effective, how penetrating, and, therefore, how truthful these understandings actually are.
So, we can see that as dishonest as it necessarily was in its approach, mechanistic, reductionist science turns out to be the liberator of humanity, the proverbial ‘messiah’ or ‘saviour’ of humanity, for it has finally enabled us to lift the so-called ‘burden of guilt’ from the human race! It found understanding of the difference in the way nerves and genes process information, that one is insightful and the other isn’t, which has finally made it possible to explain that greatest of all mysteries, that holy grail of all human conscious thought and enquiry, of the human condition. As was mentioned in par. 245, the fundamental conflict involved in our condition between our innocent instinctive self and our conscious self was described as far back as when Genesis was written by Moses and Plato presented his allegory of the two-horsed chariot, but we couldn’t explain that conflicted state until science found understanding of the different ways genes and nerves process information.
Significantly, now that we are able to understand from scientific first principles that upset is not an ‘evil’, worthless, bad state, but an immensely heroic state, we can know that while, inevitably, all humans are variously upset from their different encounters with, and degrees of engagement in, humanity’s epic search to find knowledge, ALL HUMANS ARE EQUALLY GOOD. Everyone is variously angry, egocentric and alienated, but everyone is good, and not just good but a hero of the story of life on Earth! No longer does humanity have to rely on dogmatic assertions that ‘all men are created equal’ purely on the basis that it is a ‘self-evident’ truth, as the United States’ Declaration of Independence asserts, because we can now explain, understand and know that the equality of goodness of all humans is a fundamental truth. We can now understand why everyone is equally worthy, and that no one is superior or inferior, and that everyone deserves the ‘rights’ of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. Indeed, through this understanding, the whole concept of good and bad disappears from our conceptualisation of ourselves. Compassionate, relieving truth and honesty about humans has finally arrived. Religions have taught us that ‘God loves you’, and while that mantra has been comforting, ultimately we needed to understand why we were lovable (again, the issue of who or what God is will be addressed in more detail in chapter 4:3). Similarly, the Bible states that ‘the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32), and while we know this statement to be true, the problem has been that all the partial truths—such as that humans are the most brutal and destructive animals to ever walk the earth—condemned our upset state, fuelling it further, which means that, ultimately, for the truth to genuinely set us free, it had to be the full truth that explains why humans are all good and not bad.
Yes, the human condition is certainly shot through with paradox: to become happy we had to first endure unhappiness; we appeared to be bad but believed we were good; we are intelligent, smart and clever but, by all appearances, behave in such an unintelligent, stupid way that we have brought the world to the brink of destruction. But most wonderfully, we at last have the understanding that reconciles not just these but all the polarities of life that existed under the duress of the human condition—between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, instinct and intellect, emotion and reason, conscience and conscious, ignorance and wisdom, soul and mind, heart and head, ‘I feel’ and ‘I think’, yin and yang, light and dark, the innocent and the corrupted, the un-embattled and the battle-hardened, the selfless and the selfish, the happy and the upset, the light-hearted and the heavy-hearted, the cooperative and the competitive, the integrative and the divisive, the ‘Godly’ and the ‘unGodly’, the gentle and the aggressive, the loving and the hateful, the sound and the alienated, the secure and the insecure, the honest and the dishonest, the natural and the artificial, the non-sexual and the sexual (sex as humans practise it is explained in chapter 8:11B), altruism and egotism, idealism and realism, spiritualism and materialism, socialism and capitalism, left-wing and right-wing, instinctualism and intellectualism, religion and science, holism and mechanism, young and old, women and men (the different roles of women and men under the duress of the human condition is also explained in chapter 8:11B), blacks and whites (the differences in upset between ‘races’ is explained in chapter 8:16E), unresigned and resigned, country and city, etc, etc. The explanation of the human condition unravels and makes sense of the whole seemingly impenetrable and insoluble confusion of human life—and does so in such a simple and obvious way that it brings to mind Huxley’s famous response to Darwin’s idea of natural selection: ‘How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that!’ Yes, we have at last found the UNDERSTANDASCOPE for human behaviour.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:9 The end of politics
Most wonderfully, with this understanding everyone can come in from the cold, from their lonely outposts of bewilderment about what has actually been going on in the world of humans. The result is that immense—and urgently needed—fundamental change can now occur for the human race. Conflict from misunderstanding especially goes. For instance, this explanation obsoletes the conflict between the philosophically opposed left and right wings of politics because we can now understand that while giving in to our ideal-behaviour-demanding instincts—‘flying back on course’ in the Adam Stork analogy—was an immensely guilt-relieving exercise that made us ‘feel good’ (the left-wing approach), it was fundamentally irresponsible because it meant abandoning humanity’s upsetting but necessary search for knowledge (the right-wing approach). The truth was not as it appeared—participating in humanity’s selfish, aggressive and competitive battle to find knowledge was not the ‘bad’ transgression it has been condemned as, rather it was the responsible course of action and thus a ‘good’ thing. The paradox of the situation was marvellously summed-up in the musical Man of La Mancha, when, as mentioned in par. 68, it says we had to be prepared ‘to march into hell for a heavenly cause’ (Joe Darion, The Impossible Dream, 1965). Yes, we had to, as it were, lose ourselves to find ourselves—suffering upset was the heroic price we had to pay to find understanding, ultimately self-understanding and, with it, freedom from the upset state of the human condition. So while the left-wing has had an absolute field day demonising the right-wing’s support of the non-ideal state—even labelling it ‘evil’, as was proselytised by the left-wing activist Michael Moore (Capitalism: A Love Story, 2009)—we can now see that it was the philosophy of the left that was morally bankrupt, void of meaning in the sense that while siding with idealism made its practitioners ‘feel good’, it ultimately had no relevance in humanity’s critical journey from ignorance to enlightenment. Proponents of the left-wing approach were deluding themselves that they were holding the moral high ground when, in fact, the reverse was true—their stridently pseudo idealistic, dogmatic, condemning, ridiculing, escapist, deluded, arrogant, dishonest culture oppressed progress towards humanity’s liberation from the human condition, stymieing the return of the genuinely peaceful, ideal world. Karl Marx, the political philosopher whose mid-nineteenth century theories gave rise to socialism and communism, was very wrong when he asserted that ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is [not to understand the world but] to change it [just make it cooperative/social/communal]’ (Theses on Feuerbach, 1845). The whole ‘point’ and responsibility of being a conscious being is to understand our world and our place in it—ultimately, to find understanding of our seemingly horribly flawed human condition. In short, pseudo idealism demands that we ‘Just be ideal, don’t think about why we are not ideal; in fact, don’t go anywhere near the issue of “self”, namely the issue of the human condition’. Just pretend there is no human condition that has to be understood and that all humans need to do to fix up their world is behave ideally! It is an attitude of total delusion and complete dishonesty.
The immense danger of pseudo idealistic left-wing thinking was that the longer the upsetting search for knowledge went on without the goal of that search of the true, psychologically relieving explanation of the human condition being found, the more people became upset sufferers of the human condition and the more they couldn’t resist the artificial, feel-good relief offered by the left-wing’s dogmatic, anti-knowledge, pseudo idealistic, deluded, dishonest, ‘fly back on course’ way of living. And, in contriving the Multilevel Selection theory for human behaviour, E.O. Wilson furnished the whole dumbing-down process with the ultimate delusion it needed of a ‘biological’, non-explanation nullification of the core, critical, all-important issue of the human condition itself, thereby virtually locking humanity onto a path to terminal dishonesty/dogma/‘phon[iness]’/‘fake[ness]’/alienation/darkness/extinction! As the author George Orwell famously predicted, ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever [stamping forever on the freedom that humans’ extraordinary and unique conscious mind needs to search for knowledge]’ (Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949, p.267 of 328).
The impact of this pseudo idealistic development on the democratic process is grim indeed, because democracy—in which the proper balance is sought between the need to maintain a degree of selfless, loving, soulful, cooperative ‘ideal’ behaviour for society to function, and the need for there to be sufficient freedom from the imposition of the expectation of such ‘ideal’ behaviour, for people to be able to carry on the corrupting search for knowledge—is destroyed as an effective and meaningful process when people start voting for idealism not because there is too much selfishness in society but simply because it makes them ‘feel good’. We can now at last appreciate that when we vote this way we are not participating in the true democratic process that human advancement has been dependent upon, we are exploiting and subverting it. And while many people think that even if feel-good pseudo idealism is not a real form of idealism it is surely harmless, that is most certainly not the case. No, it is extremely bloody-minded, totally selfish and dangerously destructive behaviour that says, ‘I no longer care about the human race, only about finding personal relief from my human condition.’ Of course, such behaviour was always going to develop when the levels of upset in society reached unbearable heights because at that end play point the need for relief from the agony of the human condition was going to become the only concern amongst an ever-increasing proportion of the population—with the dire consequence that democracy would fail to find the proper balance because the human-race-indifferent, deluded, feel-good, pseudo idealistic, left-wing political attitude would become impossible to defeat in an election, leading to the human race suffering a horrifically alienated death by dogma.
Certainly, the upset behaviour that results from right-wing participation in humanity’s heroic search for knowledge is increasingly bringing about immense human suffering and environmental devastation, but it is the knowledge-oppressing left-wing that poses the real threat to the survival of the human race because only through successfully completing that search for knowledge could humanity be liberated from the upset state of the human condition. So while, as the journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft recognised, ‘the great twin political problems of the age are the brutality of the right, and the dishonesty of the left’ (‘The year of sexual correctness and double standards’, The Australian Financial Review, 29 Jan. 1999), it is NOT ‘the brutality of the right’ but ‘the dishonesty of the left’ that stands like a colossal ogre over the human race, threatening to destroy it. Yes, we can now appreciate that the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spoke the truth about the need for humanity to hold its nerve when he wrote that ‘There have always been many sickly people among those who invent fables and long for God [ideality]: they have a raging hate for the enlightened man and for that youngest of virtues which is called honesty…Purer and more honest of speech is the healthy body, perfect and square-built: and it speaks of the meaning of the earth [which is to fight for knowledge, ultimately self-knowledge, understanding of the human condition]…You are not yet free, you still search for freedom. Your search has fatigued you…But, by my love and hope I entreat you: do not reject the hero in your soul! Keep holy your highest hope!…War [against the oppression of dogma] and courage have done more great things than charity. Not your pity but your bravery has saved the unfortunate up to now…What warrior wants to be spared? I do not spare you, I love you from the very heart, my brothers in war!’ (Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One, 1892; tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1961, pp.61-75 of 343). Yes, as stated in par. 281, you had to be ‘brave’ to avoid the temptation of giving up the self-corrupting search for knowledge. (Much more is explained about the extreme danger of pseudo idealism in chapter 8:16, ‘The last 200 years’.)
Thankfully, the arrival of the demystifying, exposing and reconciling, true explanation of the human condition has the power to cut short this frightening, death-by-dogma, left-wing threat to humanity—that is, of course, if humanity accepts this lifeline it has been thrown. And, for its part, the right-wing’s need to support the upsetting, often brutal, competition-aggression-and-selfishness-producing battle/‘war’ to defy the ignorance of our ideal-behaviour-demanding, unjustly condemning, moral instinctive self or soul and find understanding of ourselves, can also come to an end with the acceptance of this liberating insight. Yes, with understanding of the human condition now found, the whole necessary but ugly business of politics can happily come to a close.
The explanation of just how the human race can now ‘put down the sword’, end its egocentric, ‘must-prove-that-we-are-good-and-not-bad’, ‘warrior’ existence, and by so doing transform itself into a peaceful state, is explained in the concluding chapter 9 of this book.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 3 The Real Explanation of The Human Condition
Chapter 3:10 ‘Free at last!’
The end of the political process as we know it is just one example of the great change that can now come to the human race—this is the ultimate ‘future shock’, massive paradigm shift, for humans—BUT, as will be explained in some detail in chapter 9, since this shift is an immensely positive change, the transformation will not only be easy but fabulously exciting. Indeed, so great is both the amount of change we now face (the ‘future shock’) and the self-confronting exposure (the ‘judgment day’ effect mentioned earlier) that I and others established the World Transformation Movement to introduce and help manage the truly wonderful way we are able to manage these huge transitions. It is called the World Transformation Movement because the most fabulous effect of having understanding of the human condition is that all our psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated behaviour can now, immediately, be put aside, and eventually completely disappear, thus bringing about the complete rehabilitation and transformation of the human race and thus of our planet.
So this is the end of the world as we know it and the beginning of the world we always hoped for! Indeed, while the ‘Socialist’, ‘Temperance’, ‘Age of Aquarius’, ‘Peace’, ‘New Age’, ‘Feminist’, ‘Green’, ‘Politically Correct’, ‘Postmodernist’, ‘Multicultural’, ‘Anti-Capitalist’ movements (and these are only the more recent of the litany of deluded, false starts to an ideal world for humans that we have witnessed) have all severely discredited—and inhibited—the prospect of a truly human-condition-resolved, psychologically ameliorated, completely transformed new world for humans, one of the founders of the 1980s New Age Movement, the author Marilyn Ferguson, did offer this accurate description of the now-realised hope of its arrival: ‘Maybe [the Jesuit priest, scientist and philosopher] Teilhard de Chardin was right; maybe we are moving toward an omega point [a final genuine unification/individuation of our split selves]…Maybe…we can finally resolve the planet’s inner conflict between its neurotic self (which we’ve created and which is unreal) and its real self. Our [original all-sensitive and loving instinctive] real self knows how to commune, how to create…From everything I’ve seen people really urgently want the kind of new beginning…[that I am] talking about [where humans will live in]…cooperation instead of competition’ (New Age mag. Aug. 1982; see <>).
Yes, from being selfish, aggressive and competitive, humans can now return to being selfless, loving and cooperative. Our round of departure has ended. T.S. Eliot wonderfully articulated our species’ journey from an original, innocent yet ignorant state, to a psychologically upset, ‘fallen’, corrupted state, and back to an uncorrupted but this time enlightened state when he wrote, ‘We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’ (Little Gidding, 1942).
I have drawn the following picture to summarise this horrendously agonising but awesomely heroic journey that our species has taken from ignorance to enlightenment. From its innocent, happy, cooperatively orientated, selfless and loving infancy and childhood, humanity progressed to the horror of an insecure, upset adolescence where humans had to search for our identity—specifically for understanding of why we lost our innocence and became selfish, aggressive and competitive. But with understanding of the human condition now found, humanity can, at long last, enter the happy, ameliorated, secure and mature state of adulthood. (Again, all these stages that the human race has progressed through will be explained and described in some detail in chapter 8.) Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘dream’ has finally come true; we can now ‘allow freedom to ring…from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city’ because ‘all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics’ can ‘join hands and sing’, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’ (‘I Have A Dream’ speech, 28 Aug. 1963).
Yes, the human race can now, at last, ultimately, finally leave Plato’s horrid ‘living tomb’ ‘cave’ of truth-avoiding, alienated, psychotic and neurotic darkness and stand in the warm, healing sunshine of understanding. And to celebrate the completion of the first draft of this book that ‘let[s] the sunshine in’, I have made, from golden sea shells I found on a beach in Sydney, this exciting picture that depicts that all-fabulous liberating and healing sun, which also represents a mandala of the arrival of harmony and happiness.
Having now established the fundamental goodness of humans it finally becomes both possible and psychologically safe to present the fully accountable and thus true scientific explanations for the meaning of existence; for how humans acquired our moral instincts; and for how we became conscious when other animals haven’t. These answers, as well as a rebuttal of the false accounts that have been put forward to supposedly explain the origins of our moral instincts, are presented in the next four chapters of this book. Chapter 6, which contains the rebuttal of the false theories that have been put forward for our moral nature, also provides an account of the ill-treatment, even persecution, these human-race-saving answers have received for 30 years from the mechanistic paradigm—for while our species’ journey to enlightenment is complete, this explanation’s journey to acceptance is still a work in progress. Since the conscious mind must surely be nature’s greatest invention, its failure to fulfil its great potential by not recognising the psychosis-addressing-and-explaining real explanation of the human condition that has now arrived would represent a failure of the whole story of life on Earth! This resistance, especially by the scientific establishment, to recognise this understanding of the human condition is an extremely serious matter. The survival of humanity is hanging in the balance, and that balance simply must tip the right way.
The final chapters of this book, chapters 8 and 9 (respectively), present a description of humanity’s journey from ignorance to enlightenment, and a description of how the human race is now able to be transformed.
(A more complete description of this fully accountable, human-race-transforming, true biological explanation of the human condition can be found in my freely available, online book Freedom: Expanded at .)
The Meaning of Life
Chapter 4:1 Summary
313While the conventional view in science is that there is no direction or purpose or meaning to existence, and that change is random, there is, in fact, a very obvious theme, direction, purpose and meaning to existence, which is the ordering or integration or complexification of matter into ever larger and more stable wholes. Indeed, the answer to the great question of ‘what is the meaning of life’ is that it is to live in accordance with this integrative, order-of-matter-developing, cooperation-and-selfless-behaviour-dependent theme or meaning of existence. HOWEVER, until we could explain our seemingly imperfect human condition, explain why humans appear to have been living in defiance of ‘Integrative Meaning’, namely in a divisive competitive and selfish way, such a truth could not be faced. BUT, as seen in the previous chapter, since we CAN now at last explain the good reason why we humans have been divisively rather than integratively behaved, we CAN finally admit the truth of Integrative Meaning and acknowledge that there is a direction or purpose to existence. And furthermore, since our concept of ‘God’ is actually the personification of the unbearably condemning truth of Integrative Meaning, through admitting this truth humans can also demystify ‘God’ and, by so doing, change from being a ‘God’-fearing species to a ‘God’-confronting one. Yes, the instinct vs intellect explanation of the human condition makes sense of and reconciles all the unresolved manifestations of the polarities of the human situation—‘good’ vs ‘evil’, idealism or ‘God’ vs human’s non-ideal existence, religion vs science, holism vs mechanism, altruism vs egotism, communism vs capitalism, conscience vs conscious, and so on—thus ameliorating or healing, and finally ending, the psychologically upset, divisive way we have been living!
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 4 The Meaning of Life
Chapter 4:2 The obvious truth of the development of order of matter on Earth
In starting this fully accountable, true explanation of the meaning of life, we need to take a look at our surroundings. As you do, you’ll note that the most obvious characteristic of our world is that it is full of ‘things’, variously enduring arrangements of matter, like plants, animals, clouds and rocks. And not only that, it is apparent that these arrangements of matter consist of a hierarchy of ordered parts; a tree, for instance, is a hierarchy of ordered matter—it has a trunk, limbs, roots, leaves and wood cells. Our bodies are also a collection of parts, as are clouds and rocks, which are built from different elements and compounds. Furthermore, what we have seen happen over time to these arrangements of matter is that there has been a progression from simple to more complex arrangements. From the fundamental ingredients of our world of matter, space and time, matter has become ordered into ever larger (in space) and more stable or durable (in time) arrangements.
To elaborate, our world is constructed from some 94 naturally occurring elements that have come together to form stable arrangements. For example, two hydrogen atoms with their single positive charges came together with one oxygen atom with its double negative charge to form the stable relationship known as water. Over time, larger molecules and compounds developed. Eventually macro compounds formed. These then integrated to form virus-like organisms, which in turn came together or integrated to form single-celled organisms that then integrated to form multicellular organisms, which in turn integrated to form societies of single species that continue to integrate to form stable, ordered arrangements of different species. Clearly, what is happening on Earth is that matter is integrating into larger and more stable wholes. And this development of order is not only occurring here, it is also happening out in the universe where, over the eons, a chaotic cosmos continues to organise itself into stars, planets and galaxies. As two of the world’s greatest physicists, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, have said, respectively, ‘The overwhelming impression is of order…[in] the universe’ (Gregory Benford, ‘The time of his life’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Apr. 2002; see <>), and ‘behind everything is an order’ (Einstein Revealed, PBS, 1997).
The law of physics that accounts for this integration of matter is known as the ‘Second Path of the Second Law of Thermodynamics’, or ‘Negative Entropy’, which states that in an open system, where energy can come into the system from outside it (in Earth’s case, from the sun, and, in the case of the universe, from the original ‘big bang’ explosion that created it), matter integrates; it develops order. Thus, subject to the influence of Negative Entropy, the 94 elements from which our world is built develop ever larger and more stable wholes.
In Janus: A Summing Up (1978), the scientist-philosopher Arthur Koestler gave this excellent summary of the history of the concept of Negative Entropy: ‘One of the basic doctrines of the nineteenth-century mechanistic world-view was Clausius’ famous “Second Law of Thermodynamics”. It asserted that the universe was running down towards its final dissolution because its energy is being steadily, inexorably dissipated…cosmos dissolving into chaos. Only fairly recently did science begin to recover from the hypnotic effect of this gloomy vision, by realizing that the Second Law applies only in the special case of so-called “closed systems”…whereas all living organisms are “open systems” which maintain their complex structure and function by continuously drawing materials and energy from their environment [p.222 of 354] …It was in fact a physicist, not a biologist, the Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger, who put an end to the tyranny of the Second Law with his celebrated dictum: “What an organism feeds on is negative entropy” [p.223] …Schrödinger’s revolutionary concept of negentropy, published in 1944 [p.224] …is a somewhat perverse way of referring to the power of living organisms to “build up” instead of running down, to create complex structures out of simpler elements, integrated patterns out of shapelessness, order out of disorder. The same irrepressible building-up tendency is manifested in the progress of evolution, the emergence of new levels of complexity in the organismic hierarchy and new methods of functional coordination [p.223].’ Significantly, Koestler wrote of ‘the active striving of living matter towards [order] [p.223]’, of ‘a drive towards synthesis, towards growth, towards wholeness [p.224]’, and that ‘this “innate drive” derives from the “integrative tendency” [p.225]’.
So the theme of existence, the overall direction or destiny of change, or, from a conscious observer’s point of view, the overall purpose or meaning of existence, is the ordering or integration or complexification of matter. ‘Teleology’, ‘the belief that purpose and design are a part of nature’ (Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd edn, 1998), and ‘holism’, which the dictionary defines as ‘the tendency in nature to form wholes’ (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edn, 1964), are terms that recognise this integrative ‘tendency’. The concept ‘holism’ was first introduced by the South African denial-free thinker or prophet, the statesman, philosopher and scientist Jan Smuts in his 1926 book Holism and Evolution. Smuts conceived ‘holism’ as ‘the ultimate organising, regulative activity in the universe that accounts for all the structural groupings and syntheses in it, from the atom, and the physico-chemical structures, through the cell and organisms, through Mind in animals, to Personality in Man’ (p.341 of 380).
But while the integrative meaning of existence is the most obvious of all truths, it has also been the most difficult of all truths for humans to acknowledge, for an extremely good reason.
The difficulty arises from the fact that for a collection of parts to form and hold together, for matter to integrate, the parts of the developing whole must cooperate, behave selflessly, place the maintenance of the whole above the maintenance of themselves, because if they don’t cooperate—if they compete, behave selfishly or inconsiderately—then the whole disintegrates, the parts break down into the more elementary building blocks of matter from which they were assembled. As Koestler stated, to create ‘order out of disorder’ requires ‘functional coordination’. A leaf falling from a tree in autumn does so to ensure the tree survives through winter and carries on; it puts the maintenance of the whole, namely the tree, above the maintenance of itself. The effective functioning of our body similarly depends on the cooperation of all its parts, on every part doing what is best for the whole body. Our skin cells, for example, are in constant turnover, with new cells replacing the old ones that have sacrificed themselves to protect our body. Cancer cells, on the other hand, destroy the body precisely because they violate this principle and follow their own selfish, independent agenda. Indeed, the very reason ant and bee societies work so well is because all their parts, the worker ants and bees, behave selflessly; in their behaviour, they put the welfare of the larger whole above that of their own.
Put simply, selfishness is divisive or disintegrative while selflessness is integrative—it is the glue that holds wholes together; it is, in fact, the theme of the integrative process, and thus of existence. It is also what we mean by the word ‘love’, with the old Christian word for love being ‘caritas’, meaning charity or giving or selflessness (see Col. 3:14, 1 Cor. 13:1-13, 10:24 & John 15:13). So ‘love’ is cooperative selflessness—and not just selflessness but unconditional selflessness, the capacity, if called upon, to make a full, self-sacrificing commitment to the maintenance of the larger whole. BUT—and herein lies the nub of the problem—if the meaning of existence is to behave integratively, which means behave cooperatively and selflessly, why do humans behave in the completely opposite way, in such a competitive and selfish divisive way? Yes, the integrative theme of existence squarely confronts us humans with the issue of the human condition, the issue of our non-ideal behaviour. And so despite being such an obvious truth, Integrative Meaning has been so horrifically condemning of the competitive, aggressive and selfish human race that until we could explain the good reason why humans have been divisively rather than integratively behaved (which was done in chapter 3)—and thus make it psychologically safe to admit the truth of the order developing, integrative meaning of existence—we had no choice but to live in near total denial of it. Hawking’s, Einstein’s and Koestler’s acknowledgments of the order developing, integrative process when, as Koestler said, ‘mechanistic’ science has maintained such a dedicated, ‘hypnotic’ denial of it, were bold indeed.
In summary then, selflessness, specifically unconditional selflessness or altruism, is the theme or meaning of existence. And since love means unconditional selflessness, love is the theme of existence—it is the meaning of life. The very great truthful, denial-free-thinker or prophet Christ emphasised the unconditionally selfless significance of the word ‘love’ when he said, ‘Greater love has no-one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends’ (Bible, John 15:13). And of the biblical references to love cited above, Colossians 3:14 perfectly summarises the integrative significance of love: ‘And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.’
But, unfortunately, while the unconditionally selfless nature of love is acknowledged in the Bible (as virtually all the great truths are), in our everyday world we couldn’t admit that love is unconditional selflessness and, therefore, the theme of existence until we could explain why humans don’t behave lovingly and are so seemingly at odds with the integrative process. In fact, in the human-condition-avoiding mechanistic scientific paradigm it is considered improper, unscientific, to even use the word ‘love’. The linguist Robin Allott summed up mechanistic science’s attitude to love succinctly when he wrote that ‘Love has been described as a taboo subject, not serious, not appropriate for scientific study’ (‘Evolutionary Aspects of Love and Empathy’, Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems, 1992, Vol.15, No.4). Indeed, love has been deemed so ‘[in]appropriate for scientific study’ that it has been reported that ‘more than 100,000 scientific studies have been published on depression and schizophrenia (the negative aspects of human nature), but no more than a dozen good studies have been published on unselfish love’ (Science & Theology News, Feb. 2004). So mechanistic science has determinedly resisted analysis of one of humanity’s most used, valued and meaningful words! The psychologist Harry F. Harlow was another who highlighted this discrepancy when he observed that ‘Psychologists, at least psychologists who write textbooks, not only show no interest in the origin and development of love or affection, but they seem to be unaware of its very existence. The apparent repression of love by modern psychologists stands in sharp contrast with the attitude taken by many famous and normal people. The word “love” has the highest reference frequency of any word cited in Bartlett’s book of Familiar Quotations’ (‘The nature of love’, American Psychologist, 1958, Vol.13, No.12). The concept of ‘unselfish love’ has certainly been an unbearable area of scientific enquiry for us selfish, seemingly non-loving and unlovable humans!
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 4 The Meaning of Life
Chapter 4:3 ‘God’ is our personification of Integrative Meaning
So, ‘love’ has been ‘a taboo subject’ for science, and yet if ‘love’ or unconditional selflessness forms only an aspect of Integrative Meaning, how much more unbearable has the overall tenet of Integrative Meaning itself been? The answer is the Negative Entropy-driven integrative, cooperative, loving, selfless, order-developing theme or meaning or purpose of existence has been an almost completely unconfrontable truth for the psychologically upset, competitive, aggressive and selfish human-condition-afflicted human race. In fact, we have lived in such terrified fear and awe of the truth of Integrative Meaning, have been so confronted, condemned and intimidated by it, so unable to deal with it on any sort of an equal footing, that we deified the concept—and not just as a God, but the one and only God, the most universal and fundamental, yet completely unconfrontable, of truths.
Monotheism, the belief that there is only one God, is an insight that goes back as far as 4,000 years ago to two very great denial-free thinkers or prophets—the Hebrew prophet Abraham, who lived around 2,000 , and the pharaoh Akhenaton, who reigned in Egypt from approximately 1,350 to 1,335 . The very great Persian prophet Zoroaster also recognised that there is only ‘one supreme deity’, as this reference to the faith describes: ‘sometime around or before 600 BC—perhaps as early as 1200 BC—there came forth from the windy steppes of northeastern Iran a prophet who utterly transformed the Persian faith. The prophet was Zarathustra—or Zoroaster, as the Greeks would style his name. Ahuramazda [the supreme being or wise lord] had appeared to Zoroaster in a vision, in which the god had revealed himself to be the one supreme deity, all seeing and all powerful. He represented both light and truth, and was creator of all things, fountainhead of all virtue. Ranged against him stood the powers of darkness, the angels of evil and keepers of the lie. The universe was seen as a battleground in which these opposing forces contended, both in the sphere of political conquest and in the depths of each man’s soul. But in time the light would shine out, scattering the darkness, and truth would prevail. A day of reckoning would arrive’ (A Soaring Spirit: Time-Life History of the World 600-400 BC, 1988, p.37 of 176). And in approximately 360 , that other very great denial-free-thinking prophet, Plato, similarly recognised that God is Integrative Meaning, writing that ‘God desired that all things should be good and nothing bad, so far as this was attainable. Wherefore also finding the whole visible sphere not at rest, but moving in an irregular and disorderly fashion, out of disorder he brought order, considering that this was in every way better than the other’ (Timaeus; tr. B. Jowett, 1871, 30).
But until we could explain the human condition and explain in first-principle-based, scientific terms who, or more precisely, what God is—namely our personification of the Negative Entropy-driven integrative theme, purpose and meaning of life—and why we needed to resort to deification in the first place, we had no choice but to leave the religious concept of God in that safely abstract, undefined state. And so despite Integrative Meaning being an extremely obvious truth, with evidence of the hierarchy of the order of matter everywhere we look, without understanding of our divisive condition it was imperative for humanity that human-condition-avoiding mechanistic science found a way to deny such a seemingly totally condemning truth. This was easily achieved through the simple assertion that there is no meaning or purpose or theme to existence and that while change does occur, it is a random, purposeless, directionless, meaningless, blind process. And, as stated, to cope with the imbued recognition of integrative ideality and meaning in the religious notion of God, mechanistic science simply left the concept undefined and undefinable, maintaining it was a strictly abstract, metaphysical and spiritual notion unrelated to the scientific domain; if ‘God’ existed in any form, it was as an inexplicable deity, a supernatural being seated on a throne somewhere in a remote blue heaven who could be worshipped from afar as someone superior to us ‘mere mortals’, thus nullifying any direct and confronting comparisons with our own upset state. Religion and science were firmly demarcated as two entirely unrelated subjects. Indeed, E.O. Wilson succinctly captured mechanistic science’s view on the matter when he said, ‘I take a very strong stance against the mingling of religion and science’ (‘Edward O. Wilson From Ants, Onward’, National Geographic, May 2006).
But of course, the truth is, to use Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles H. Townes’ words, ‘they [science and religion] both represent man’s efforts to understand his universe and must ultimately be dealing with the same substance. As we understand more in each realm, the two must grow together…converge they must’ (‘The Convergence of Science and Religion’, Zygon, 1966, Vol.1, No.3). The physicist Max Planck (another Nobel winner) similarly recognised that ‘There can never be any real opposition between science and religion; for the one is the complement of the other’ (Where Is Science Going?, 1977, p.168). As my headmaster at Geelong Grammar School, Australia’s greatest ever educator, Sir James Darling, said, ‘The scientist can no more deny or devaluate the truths of spiritual experience than the theologian can neglect the truths of science: and the two truths must be reconcilable, and it must be of importance to each of us that they should be reconciled’ (The Education of a Civilized Man, ed. Michael Persse, 1962, p.68 of 223). And with understanding of the human condition now found, ‘converge’ they have; ideality (which religions and the truthful, denial-free-thinking, God-confronting-not-avoiding prophets they were founded around represented) and our search for understanding of our non-ideal reality (which science represented—the word ‘science’ literally means ‘knowledge’) have finally been ‘reconciled’. Yes, with the human condition now explained and our divisive, seemingly non-integrative state finally understood, all humans can at last safely admit and recognise that there has only been one God, one all-dominating and all-pervading theme or meaning of existence, which is Integrative Meaning—a truth we recognise when we say ‘God is love’ (Bible, 1 John 4:8, 16).
It should be mentioned here that despite the fact that the admittance of Integrative Meaning first required solving the issue of our divisive human condition, a rare few holistic scientists have not only courageously defied the almost universal need to deny the development of order of matter on Earth, or Integrative Meaning, they have actually acknowledged that it is what we mean by God. If we include more of what the aforementioned giants of physics, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein, said earlier about order being the main characteristic of change in the universe, we can see that they both regarded God to be the personification of Integrative Meaning. In 1989 Hawking said, ‘I would use the term God as the embodiment of the laws of physics’ (Master of the Universe, BBC). In 2002 he went further, saying, ‘The overwhelming impression is of order [in the universe]. The more we discover about the universe, the more we find that it is governed by rational laws. If one liked, one could say that this order was the work of God. Einstein thought so…We could call order by the name of God’ (Gregory Benford, ‘The time of his life’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Apr. 2002; see <>). Einstein’s views on the matter were chronicled in the 1997 PBS documentary Einstein Revealed, which reported Einstein as saying that ‘over time, I have come to realise that behind everything is an order that we glimpse only indirectly [because it’s unbearably condemning]. This is religiousness. In this sense, I am a religious man.’ Einstein was also recognising that God is order or harmony when he said, ‘In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God’ (Hubertus zu Löwenstein, Towards the Further Shore, 1968, p.156). Einstein’s friend and occasional collaborator, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger, was another leading scientist who acknowledged that integrative unity is what we have been terming God when he wrote that ‘Science is reticent too when it is a question of the great Unity…of which we all somehow form part, to which we belong. The most popular name for it in our time is God—with a capital “G”’ (Nature and the Greeks and Science and Humanism, 1954, p.97 of 184). Schrödinger’s contemporary and fellow Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Werner Heisenberg, also recognised the relationship between the integrative meaning of existence that science is able to point to, and the concept of God that religion recognises, when he wrote, ‘I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought [science and religion], for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point’ (‘Scientific and Religious Truth’, Across the Frontiers, 1974, p.213). Yes, the ‘reality’ of ‘order’ or ‘harmony’ or ‘unity’ is apparent everywhere and it is what our ‘religiousness’, our belief in ‘God’, is concerned with acknowledging. I might mention that while Mahatma Gandhi was an inspired leader of the Indian nation rather than a scientist, he was another who bravely acknowledged that ‘There is an orderliness in the Universe, there is an unalterable law governing everything and every being that exists or lives…That law then which governs all life is God’ (Louis Fischer, Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World, 1954, p.108 of 224)—as did Plato, who referred to ‘God, the orderer of all’ (see par. 173).
In his 1987 book, The Cosmic Blueprint, another holistic physicist, the Templeton Prize-winner Paul Davies, actually went so far as to protest against the denial of Integrative Meaning in the world of science, writing that ‘We seem to be on the verge of discovering not only wholly new laws of nature, but ways of thinking about nature that depart radically from traditional science [p.142 of 232] …Way back in the primeval phase of the universe, gravity triggered a cascade of self-organizing processes—organization begets organization—that led, step by step, to the conscious individuals who now contemplate the history of the cosmos and wonder what it all means [p.135] …There exists alongside the entropy arrow another arrow of time [the Negative Entropy arrow], equally fundamental and no less subtle in nature…I refer to the fact that the universe is progressing—through the steady growth of structure, organization and complexity—to ever more developed and elaborate states of matter and energy. This unidirectional advance we might call the optimistic arrow, as opposed to the pessimistic arrow of the second law. There has been a tendency for scientists to simply deny the existence of the optimistic arrow. One wonders why [p.20].’
We can now appreciate the reason ‘why’ ‘Science is reticent when it comes to a question of the great Unity’—the reason ‘why’ ‘scientists’ ‘deny’ ‘the optimistic arrow’ of Integrative Meaning—is because it was far too psychologically dangerous to acknowledge without first finding the biological reason, and thus defence, for our divisive, apparently non-integrative, un-Godly human condition. No wonder we have been, as we say, a ‘God-fearing’—in fact, so in awe of God to the point of being a God-worshipping—not a ‘God-confronting’ species; as Berdyaev put it, ‘He cannot [man struggles to] break through to paradise that lies beyond the painful distinction between good and evil, and the suffering connected therewith. Man’s fear of God is his fear of himself, of the yawning abyss of non-being [alienation] in his own nature’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, p.41 of 310).
Our species’ immense fear, and thus denial, of the truth of Integrative Meaning is, of course, the subject of Plato’s famous allegory of the human condition, referred to in par. 83, which describes humans as being imprisoned in a cave. As ‘prisoners’ in this metaphorical cave, we are only able to envisage the outside world via shadows cast on the back wall of the cave. These shadows, which symbolise our limited and distorted, human-condition-avoiding, dishonest, immensely alienated ‘phony’ and ‘fake’ view of the world, are thrown by the light of a fire that, situated in the entrance to the cave, effectively prevents any escape from it. Explaining the symbolism of the fire, Plato wrote that ‘the light of the fire in the [cave] prison [corresponds] to the power of the sun’ (The Republic, c.360 BC; tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, 517), from which we have to ‘turn back’ because if we/the cave prisoner were to go ‘out into the sunlight, the process would be a painful one, to which he [we] would much object’ (515-516). Plato explained that the sun represents the ‘universal, self-sufficient first principle’ (511), the ‘absolute form of Good’ (517) and the ‘highest form of knowledge’ (505), which we can now understand is Integrative Meaning.
Fire is a common theme in many mythologies, appearing as a metaphor for the integrative, Godly ideals of life whose condemning, scorching glare we had to ‘turn back’ from. In the Zoroastrian religion, ‘Fire is the representative of God…His physical manifestation…Fire is bright, always points upward, is always pure’ (Edward Rice, Eastern Definitions, 1978, p.138 of 433). In Christian mythology, the story of Genesis features ‘a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life’ (3:24). The Bible also records the Israelites as saying, ‘Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire any more, or we will die’ (Deut. 18:16). The biblical character Job was another who pleaded for relief from confrontation with the unbearably depressing integrative, Godly ideals when he lamented, ‘Why then did you [God] bring me out of the womb?…Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and deep shadow, to the land of deepest night [depression]’ (Job 10:18, 20-22). Christ also recognised the problem of the exposing ‘light’ of truth that he was an unresigned, denial-free spokesman for, when he said, ‘the light shines in the darkness but…everyone who does evil [becomes upset sufferers of the human condition] hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed’ (John 1:5, 3:20).
So, again, while Integrative Meaning is the most obvious, profound and thus important of all truths it is clearly also the truth that has appeared to most condemn humans—and in the absence of the explanation as to why we, as a species, appear to be so at odds with the integrative meaning of life, we humans have sensibly taken one of two options: we either practised denial of Integrative Meaning, and even of God, and thus of the issue of our self-corruption, or we indirectly acknowledged our self-corruption by acknowledging the existence of God and embracing some expression of faith that a greater dignifying understanding of our divisive condition does exist and would one day be found. To cope with our less-than-ideal human condition there has only ever been either denial or faith.
To counter the utter dishonesty of mechanistic science’s denial of the existence of Integrative Meaning/God, support for an extremely literal interpretation of God, in the form of so-called ‘Creationism’ and ‘Intelligent Design’, emerged. While still having to avoid the human condition and, therefore, the truth of Integrative Meaning, these movements did acknowledge God, but only in a fundamentalist way in which God took the form of an actual being who ‘designed’ life on Earth, or ‘created’ the world in just six days. In truth, both the mechanistic approach and these more literal attitudes were immensely dishonest in that mechanistic scientists wanted to pretend to be rational and either deny any semblance of Integrative Meaning by refuting the existence of the concept of God, or acknowledge the concept of God but claim it has nothing to do with science, while supporters of Creationism and Intelligent Design chose to admit to a semblance of Integrative Meaning in the form of a God who is literally a special being or deity, with the downside being that such a stance necessarily meant abandoning all attempts at rationality. We can see that the real issue neither party was willing or able to acknowledge is the issue of Integrative Meaning and its human-condition-confronting implications. (I should mention that advocates of Intelligent Design would have us believe that their position is different to that of Creationists. The main website for Intelligent Design states that ‘The theory of intelligent design…[is concerned with] whether the “apparent design” in nature…is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations’, and that ‘unlike Creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural’ (Center for Science & Culture; see <>). In other words, Intelligent Design acknowledges Integrative Meaning, the development of order of matter, but doesn’t discount that a supernatural-type creator/being/God might be involved—so Intelligent Design is trying to have it both ways, appear to be scientific but still allow for a supernatural creator; it is still fundamentally similar to Creationism, which unscientifically supports the idea of a supernatural creator.)
Indeed, the truth of Integrative Meaning and its human-condition-confronting implications have been so unbearably confronting that in recent years mechanistic science has, in an insidious attempt to keep the issue even further at bay, evasively steered the discussion toward whether the concept of God has been irrevocably undermined by physicists’ ongoing discoveries about the big bang origin of the universe, the extinction of time before the big bang and, more recently, the possibility of multiple universes! This is classic ‘displacement’ behaviour—‘an unconscious defense mechanism whereby the mind redirects affects from an object felt to be dangerous or unacceptable to an object felt to be safe or acceptable’ (Wikipedia; see <>). The fact is that starting with the boundaries of our reality of matter, space and time, and drawing on the laws of physics within which we live, we can construct the human condition, and also solve it—and, by so doing, make it possible to demystify God, and, indeed, bring to an end the whole debate about ‘His’ existence. The enormous issue of ‘God’ that has existed in the lives of humans relates entirely to the integrative process of the development of order of matter that occurs in the world within which we live that is bounded by the elements of matter, space and time and the effect the laws of physics have on those elements as we experience them. The insecure state of the human condition that caused us to so fear and revere all manner of gods, and then just one God, is created and solved within that realm. Science’s task has been to be a winnower of mystery and superstition, with the ultimate mystery it needed to solve being the human condition. So our ability now to understand the human condition necessarily ends the fear, confusion, bewilderment and mystery that fuelled such superstitious thought; it ends ignorance. Paul Davies was emphasising the Integrative-Meaning-related real issue about God when he said, ‘So where is God in this story [of physics]? Not especially in the big bang…To me, the true miracle of nature is to be found in the ingenious and unswerving lawfulness of the cosmos, a lawfulness that permits complex order to emerge from the chaos’ (‘Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address’, 3 May 1995).
Yes, with understanding of the human condition now found, it is at last psychologically safe to demystify God as Integrative Meaning, and, by so doing, finally reconcile religion and science. From the religious perspective, this is the time the prophet Isaiah was looking forward to when reconciling understanding of the human condition would be found and we could ‘revere’ instead of fear the truth of Integrative Meaning/God: ‘Why, O Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?…Do not be angry beyond measure…do not remember our sins for ever…all that we treasured [before the human condition emerged] lies in ruins. After all this, O Lord, will you hold yourself back? Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?’ (Isa. 63-64). And from the scientific side of the fence, when the scientist-philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote in 1938 that ‘I can see a direction and a line of progress for life, a line and a direction which are in fact so well marked that I am convinced their reality will be universally admitted by the science of tomorrow’ (The Phenomenon of Man, p.142 of 320), he too was recognising how obvious the truth of Integrative Meaning is, and how it wouldn’t be able to be ‘universally admitted’ until the human-condition-reconciled ‘science of tomorrow’ emerged.
I should mention here that there have been a few scientists in addition to Hawking, Einstein, Koestler, de Chardin and Davies who ‘jumped the gun’ and ‘admitted’ Integrative Meaning, as the titles (particularly the words I have underlined) of the following books (including three by Davies) illustrate—for instance, David Bohm wrote Wholeness and The Implicate Order in 1980; Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers wrote Order Out of Chaos in 1984; Paul Davies wrote God and the New Physics in 1983, The Cosmic Blueprint in 1987 and The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning in 1992; Charles Birch wrote Nature and God in 1965, On Purpose in 1990 and Biology and The Riddle of Life in 1999; M. Mitchell Waldrop wrote Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos in 1992; Roger Lewin wrote Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos, the major new theory that unifies all sciences in 1993; Stuart Kauffman wrote The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution in 1993, At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity in 1995 and Anti-chaos in 1996; and Richard J. Bird wrote Chaos and Life: Complexity and Order in Evolution and Thought in 2003. But such admissions are, nevertheless, an anomaly, because, as has been emphasised, the vast majority of scientists haven’t been prepared to go anywhere near the historically unbearably confronting truth of Integrative Meaning, and, as stated in chapter 2:12, in coming off such a dishonest base it is impossible to find a true understanding of our world and place in it—which de Chardin also understood when, in 1956, he wrote that ‘biology cannot develop and fit coherently into the universe of science unless we decide to recognise in life the expression of one of the most significant and fundamental movements in the world around us…the vast universal phenomenon…of complexification of matter. This is something that must be clearly appreciated if we are to get away to a good start in our study of man [p.19 of 124] …This [complexification of matter] is a very simple concept, but the more we think about it, the more, in fact, are we led to see the world of life as a vast sheaf of particles rushing headlong…down the slope of an indefinite corpusculisation…First, there are the regressive currents: entropy, dissipation of energy…But there are progressive, or constructive, currents too…a growing complexity…the passage from an unordered to an ordered heterogeneity…[where, at a certain point in this progression, vitalisation occurs, and] one portion of the cosmic stuff not only does not disintegrate but even begins—by producing a sort of bloom upon itself—to vitalise [as will shortly be explained in par. 348, this is when the replicating DNA molecule appeared and ‘made a business’ of actively resisting disintegration] [pp.31-33] …life can no longer be regarded as a superficial accident in the universe: we must look on it as…ready to seep through the narrowest fissure at any point whatsoever in the cosmos—and, once it has appeared, obliged to use every opportunity and every means to reach the furthest extremity of everything it can attain: the ultimate, externally, of complexity, internally of consciousness [p.35]’ (Man’s Place in Nature).
Plato was another who recognised this inherent limitation of the Integrative-Meaning-denying mechanistic approach when, long ago, he wrote that ‘the Good [as explained in par. 331, the Good is Integrative Meaning]…gives the objects of knowledge their truth and the mind the power of knowing…[just as] The sun…makes the things we see visible…The Good therefore may be said to be the source not only of the intelligibility of the objects of knowledge, but also of their existence and reality’ (The Republic, c.360 BC; tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, 508-509). Yes, this loss of ‘the power of knowing’ has been very serious indeed. Koestler also who felt it, bemoaning the crippled, stalled, atrophied state of all of science, but of biology and psychology in particular, when he said that blind, reductionist, mechanistic science’s denial of Integrative Meaning has ‘taken the life out of biology as well as psychology’, writing that ‘although the facts [of the integration of matter] were there for everyone to see, orthodox evolutionists were reluctant to accept their theoretical implications. The idea that living organisms, in contrast to machines, were primarily active, and not merely reactive; that instead of passively adapting to their environment they were…creating…new patterns of structure…such ideas were profoundly distasteful to [Social] Darwinians, behaviourists and reductionists in general [p.222 of 354] …Evolution has been compared to a journey from an unknown origin towards an unknown destination, a sailing along a vast ocean; but we can at least chart the route…and there is no denying that there is a wind which makes the sails move…the purposiveness of all vital processes…Causality and finality are complementary principles in the sciences of life; if you take out finality and purpose you have taken the life out of biology as well as psychology [p.226]’ (Janus: A Summing Up, 1978).
As was pointed out in par. 188, towards the end of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin anticipated that ‘In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history’ (1859, p.458 of 476). Given Koestler’s comment that ‘if you take out finality and [the ‘integrative tendency’ or] purpose you have taken the life out of biology as well as psychology’, what was required to bring about Darwin’s ‘new’ en-‘light’-ening ‘foundation’ for ‘far more important research’ in ‘biology as well as psychology’ was not only acknowledgment of the involvement of our conscious ‘mental power’ but also of ‘integrative’ ‘purpose’.
So, what is the ‘far more important research’ that results from thinking from the ‘new’ en-‘light’-ening ‘foundation’ of accepting the truth of ‘integrative’ ‘purpose’?
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 4 The Meaning of Life
Chapter 4:4 The denial-free history of the development of matter on Earth
In commencing this denial-free analysis of the development of matter from a perspective that takes into account the truth of Integrative Meaning, we first need to replace the word ‘evolution’ with the word ‘development’, for while evolution implies that organisms do change or evolve it avoids acknowledging that there is a direction and purpose to that change, which is to develop the order of matter.
As the study of physics has shown, our world is made up of three fundamental ingredients—time, space, and energy—with, as Einstein revealed in his famous formula E = mc2, energy taking the form of matter, which comprises the 94 or so naturally occurring elements that, when subjected to the laws of physics, particularly the law of Negative Entropy, became ordered or integrated; they formed more stable or enduring (in time) and ever larger (in space) arrangements.
This development of order of matter involved the initial mixture of the Earth’s elements and their gradual formation into stable arrangements called molecules—earlier I provided the example of a water molecule being the stable arrangement of two single positively charged hydrogen atoms with one double negatively charged oxygen atom. In time, through the mixing of different elements, each with its own particular properties, many stable arrangements were found or developed, leading to even greater order and complexity of arrangements in the form of very complex macromolecules.
The problem, however, was that the more complex these macromolecules became, the more unstable they tended to be. Highly complex macromolecules would only occasionally form and, when they did, they didn’t tend to hold together for long before breaking down into their separate parts. Eventually an impasse was reached where the degree of instability imposed a limit on how complex macromolecules could become. When this ceiling was reached it appeared Negative Entropy—or ‘God’ if we were to personify the process—could not develop any more order of matter on Earth. And yet matter did continue to ‘develop’ beyond this apparent impasse, with the emergence out of the primordial soup of a complex macromolecule with an unusual property—DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid. What was unusual about DNA was that it could replicate. It could split, allowing the two halves to draw material from the environment to build two complete DNA molecules. The significance of this replication was that it meant DNA could defy breakdown. It could turn a relatively brief lifetime for a complex macromolecule into a relatively indefinite one. DNA’s ability to replicate meant that even though some of the replicates disintegrated into smaller parts, others would survive and go on to replicate further. With slight variations called mutations occurring from the effects of solar radiation, replicates were ‘found’ that were even more stable/enduring (in time) and more ordered/complex/larger (in space). The process of natural selection of more stable and larger arrangements of matter—and the origin of an indefinite lifetime, or ‘life’ as we call it—appeared.
In this process, each replicating arrangement of matter or reproducing individual was, in effect, being tested both for its ability to survive and reproduce in its lifetime and, over generations of offspring, for its ability to adapt to changes in the environment in which it lived, with those that managed to survive and adapt inevitably, whenever possible, finding/refining/achieving/growing/developing even greater order of matter. The effect of this process over time was that more and greater order of matter was integrated. It was the ability to survive and adapt that supplied the opportunity for more and greater order of matter to develop. Thus, using the tool of replicating DNA, Negative Entropy was able to integrate matter into larger wholes; it was able to develop ever more and ever greater order of matter on Earth.
DNA is actually a very complex crystal. Crystal molecules abound—common salt, sodium chloride, for instance, is one—and in a suitable nutrient environment they all have the capacity to reproduce; to grow their structure from their structure. However, being much simpler than DNA—having fewer elements within their molecular structure—they have little or no potential for adaptation and, it follows, for the development of greater order.
Indeed, variability is so critical to this DNA process of developing greater order of matter that ‘sexual reproduction’ of DNA molecules developed, where the split halves from two compatible DNA molecules were made, through natural selection, to come together (be ‘attracted to and mate with each other as males and females’) to form a new, slightly different DNA-based sexually reproducing individual. This greatly increased the variety of a particular DNA type or ‘species’ and, by so doing, greatly increased its chances of finding/achieving/growing/developing larger and more stable arrangements of matter. Sexual reproduction, therefore, soon replaced non-sexual or ‘asexual’ reproduction as the most successful or effective form of DNA reproduction in this business of finding or developing greater order of matter.
It can be seen then that Negative Entropy’s development of order of matter really comes down to being a product of possibilities. The differing properties of matter mean some arrangements of matter break down towards heat energy, while others stay stable and still others become part of larger and more enduring associations of matter. In time, all the possible associations of matter will be automatically or, as Charles Darwin called it, ‘naturally’ investigated until the largest, most stable association is left or found or, as Darwin described it, ‘selected’. What happened with DNA was that it not only turned a relatively short lifetime for extremely complex molecules into a relatively indefinite one, it also made a business, as it were, of this ‘negentropy’ direction—both of resisting breakdown and of developing order. The replicating DNA molecule gave rise to a process that actively resisted breakdown and actively developed ever more and greater order of matter. This is ‘the active striving of living matter towards order’, ‘a drive towards synthesis, growth and wholeness’, the ‘active’, ‘creating’, ‘purposiveness’, ‘vitalisation’ of life about which Koestler and de Chardin wrote.
The DNA unit of inheritance is called a gene, with the study of the process of change that genes undergo termed ‘genetics’. As a tool for Negative Entropy’s development or refinement of the order of matter on Earth, the genetic process was very powerful—it was able to develop the great diversity of matter that we term ‘the variety of life’. From DNA, virus-like organisms developed, then from virus-like organisms developed single-celled organisms (such as bacteria), and from single-celled organisms developed multicellular organisms (such as plants and animals). The next level of order to be developed or integrated by Negative Entropy was societies or colonies or ordered arrangements of multicellular organisms. It was at this point, however, that Negative Entropy (or God) encountered another major impasse.
While genetics has proved to be a marvellous tool for integrating matter it has one very significant limitation, which arises from the fact that each sexually reproducing individual organism has to struggle, compete and fight selfishly for the available resources of food, shelter, territory and the mating opportunities it needs if it is to successfully reproduce its genes. What this means is that integration, and the unconditionally selfless cooperation it depends on, cannot normally develop between one sexually reproducing individual and another. Indeed, the competition between sexually reproducing individuals is the basis of the natural selection process that gave rise to the great variety of life on Earth. The word ‘selection’ in ‘natural selection’ implies competition—a comparison between sexually reproducing individuals for their ability to survive, adapt and develop greater order of matter. So integration beyond the level of the sexually reproducing individual—that is, the coming together or integration of the sexually reproducing individual members of a species to form the next larger and more stable whole of the Specie Individual—could not, normally, develop (the Development of Order of Matter chart included earlier shows where the Specie Individual appears in the hierarchy of integration). This was the second major impasse that Negative Entropy (or God) encountered: the development of order of matter on Earth had seemingly come to a stop at the level of the sexually reproducing individual.
To elaborate, each sexually reproducing individual normally has to ensure the reproduction of its own genes, which means sexually reproducing individuals cannot normally develop the ability to behave unconditionally selflessly towards other sexually reproducing individuals—which, as has been explained, is what full cooperation and thus complete integration requires. Certainly sexually reproducing individuals can develop conditionally selfless behaviour towards other sexually reproducing individuals. Situations of reciprocity can develop where one sexually reproducing individual selflessly helps another on the proviso that they are selflessly helped in return, which, in effect, means both parties are still selfishly benefiting. So sexually reproducing individuals can develop reciprocity because it is, in essence, still selfish behaviour: it doesn’t give away an advantage to other sexually reproducing individuals and, therefore, doesn’t compromise the reproductive chances of the sexually reproducing individual practising the behaviour. Unconditionally selfless, altruistic traits, on the other hand, do give away an advantage to other sexually reproducing individuals—that being the meaning of unconditional selflessness, that you are giving without receiving—and, therefore, unconditionally selfless, altruistic, self-sacrificing traits do compromise the reproductive chances of the sexually reproducing individual practising such behaviour and, therefore, cannot normally develop.
So cooperation between sexually reproducing individuals cannot normally be developed beyond a situation where there is reciprocal/conditional selflessness, and, since conditionally selfless behaviour is still basically selfish behaviour, full cooperation and thus complete integration cannot normally be developed between sexually reproducing individuals to form the Specie Individual. This inability to develop unconditionally selfless, altruistic behaviour leaves sexually reproducing individuals competing relentlessly with each other for available resources of food, shelter, territory and a mate. So much so, in fact, that what we see happening between sexually reproducing individuals as they try to develop more integration under this limitation of not being able to develop unconditionally selfless behaviour is that the competition between them becomes so intense that the only way they can contain it at all is by establishing a dominance hierarchy, where each individual accepts its position in a hierarchy that is ordered according to the competitive strengths of the various individuals involved. The benefit of a dominance hierarchy, or a so-called ‘peck order’, is that once established the only time competition breaks out is when an opportunity arises to move up the hierarchy; for the rest of the time there is relative peace. The emergence of a dominance hierarchy is a sign a species has developed as much integration as it possibly can.
It should be pointed out that in situations where competition between individuals breaks out—when, for instance, male elephants or whales or kangaroos or birds or solitary insects, etc, etc, chase a female in estrous—it’s not simply because the female wants to discover which is the strongest male with which to mate to ensure her offspring is the strongest, most competitively successful individual it can be, as is currently taught, but because the Negative Entropy integrative tendency has driven the males and the females to that extreme state of competition. Such extreme competition is, in truth, a result of trying to develop greater order of matter. More will be said about this shortly, but the real story of life on Earth is not about selfish competition but integration.
So although dominance hierarchy hides it from view for most of the time, the reality is that extreme competitiveness characterises the behaviour of the more cooperative and thus integrated, or what has evasively been called ‘social’, species. In my youth I remember feeding hens in our hen house and seeing a hen twist her leg and become temporarily crippled, at which point all the other hens immediately attacked her. In that instant it was suddenly apparent to me just how closely and intensely each hen was watching all the other hens for an opportunity to literally move up the peck order. The hen house was not at all the gregarious, peaceful community I thought it was; rather, it was a place of absolutely fierce competition! Charles Darwin recognised this truth about the real struggle in the lives of most animals when he wrote that ‘It is difficult to believe in the dreadful but quiet war of organic beings, going on [in] the peaceful woods and smiling fields’ (1839; The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online, ed. John van Wyhe, 2002, Notebook E, line ref. 114).
This situation where sexually reproducing individuals relentlessly compete for available resources is the situation, the condition, that almost all animals have to endure—it is the great, agonising ‘animal condition’. When humans become free of our numbed, alienated human condition we are going to be shocked by the agony of the animal condition; we are going to feel the distress all non-human animal species live under, where each sexually reproducing individual, through its Negative Entropy-driven commitment to achieve greater integration, is having to relentlessly and fiercely compete to reproduce its genes. Unfortunately, because animals’ innocence (lack of the psychological upset we humans suffer from) confronts us with our lack of innocence (our vicious angry, egocentric and alienated state), we humans have so hated, despised and resented animals that we have hunted and shot them for ‘sport’; but one day we are going to have so much sympathy for animals because of what they have to endure trapped in a life of having to relentlessly compete with each other, often with their closest friends! (‘Friends’ in the sense of those with whom they have shared their life and developed emotional bonds.) Certainly the same extremely competitive state exists for plants and microbes, but, not having the developed nervous system that animals have, their awareness of the agony of that horrifically competitive existence could obviously not be anywhere near as great as it is for animals. (The other issue about the life of non-human animals is that they rarely die peacefully; as soon as they grow old they are ruthlessly picked off and eaten by a lion or fox or mongoose, often while they are still alive. Thank goodness they can’t reason and thus look forward in time. As the poet Robert Burns wrote about non-rational animals, ‘Still thou art blest, compared with me! The present only touches thee: But och! I backward cast my eye, on prospects drear!’ And forward, tho I cannot see, I guess and fear!’ (To A Mouse, 1785).)
What now needs to be explained is, firstly, that while sexually reproducing individuals cannot normally be integrated, the sexually reproducing individual itself could be elaborated, enlarged, expanded—developed further to become bigger—which, as will be explained next, is how single-celled organisms developed into multicellular organisms, and how multicellular colonial ants and bees integrated into their fully cooperative and thus completely integrated colonies. Significantly, in these ‘elaborated sexually reproducing individuals’, the cells of the multicellular body, or the individual ants and bees in their fully integrated colonies, are no longer sexually reproducing individuals themselves, but part of a larger sexually reproducing individual, which is the body, or, in the case of ants and bees, the colony. Secondly, it has to be explained why I have been saying it is ‘normally’ not possible for sexually reproducing individuals to become fully integrated to form the Specie Individual. There was, in fact, one species who managed to achieve the development of the next larger whole in the integration of matter on Earth of the integration of sexually reproducing individuals to form the Specie Individual: our ape ancestors. As will be explained in chapter 5, this amazing step in the development of matter was achieved through maternalism—the nurturing of our offspring—which has been another of those unbearable truths that humans couldn’t face until we could explain our divisive, unloving human condition.
To summarise what has been explained so far: in the development of order of matter on Earth, all non-human animal species are stuck in the ‘animal condition’, with each sexually reproducing individual member of the species forever having to compete to ensure its genes reproduce and carry on. That is the essential fact or rule of the gene-based natural selection process—genes are unavoidably selfish; they have to ensure they reproduce if they are to carry on. It is important to reiterate, however, that even though this selfishness—and the extreme competition between the sexually reproducing individuals it gives rise to—is characteristic of virtually all of nature, such selfishness is only occurring because of the limitation of the genetic process of normally being unable to develop unconditional selflessness between sexually reproducing individuals. In his 1850 poem In Memoriam, Tennyson famously wrote: ‘Who trusted God was love indeed / And love Creation’s final law / Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw / With ravine [in violent contradiction], shriek’d against his creed.’ While Integrative Meaning or ‘God’ and its theme of unconditional selflessness or ‘love’ is the ‘creed’ or ‘final law’ of ‘creation’ that the competitive, selfish and aggressive, ‘red in tooth and claw’ characteristic of so much of ‘Nature’ seems to be in violent contradiction ‘against’, we can now understand that this selfish characteristic doesn’t mean that the overall biological reality of existence—life’s meaning and theme—is to be selfish, as the dishonest theories of Social Darwinism, Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology and Multilevel Selection would have us believe. As will be explained in chapter 5, in the case of humans, we don’t have selfish instincts like other species, rather we have unconditionally selfless instincts. And the selfishness that is characteristic of so much of nature is only occurring because of the limitation of the gene-based refinement process—its inability, in most situations, to develop unconditional selflessness. The genetic process would develop unconditionally selfless, fully cooperative behaviour between all sexually reproducing individuals if it could—because such selflessness is what is required to maintain a fully integrated whole—but, because of its particular limitation, it normally can’t. Integrative selflessness, not divisive selfishness, is the real nature or characteristic of existence, the theme of life.
Incidentally, in par. 195 it was mentioned how, in describing his concept of natural selection, Darwin originally left it undecided as to whether individuals who managed to reproduce are ‘fitter’ or better than those who don’t, but was later persuaded by human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic biologists to describe natural selection as a competitive, ‘survival of the fittest’ process. Well, we can now see why it was right for Darwin to leave it undecided as to whether individuals who manage to reproduce are better or ‘fitter’ than those who don’t. As has now been explained, it can be completely consistent with the integrative meaning of existence for an individual to give their life for the purpose of maintaining the larger whole of their society and thus not reproduce. Unconditionally selfless, self-sacrifice for the good of the whole, is the very theme of existence. It is only because of the limitation of the gene-based natural selection process that unconditionally selfless behaviour normally cannot be developed between sexually reproducing individuals. Selfless cooperation, not selfish, competitive, ‘survival of the fittest’ behaviour, is the real characteristic of existence, the theme of life.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 4 The Meaning of Life
Chapter 4:5 Elaborating the sexually reproducing individual
As stated, while sexually reproducing individuals cannot normally be integrated, the sexually reproducing individual itself could be elaborated, made bigger, which, as will now be explained, is how single-celled organisms developed into multicellular organisms, and how multicellular colonial ants and bees integrated into their fully cooperative colonies. Struggling to find a way to develop greater order of matter by integrating sexually reproducing individuals, it was as if Negative Entropy (or God) decided, ‘Well, what I’ll do is develop greater order of matter within each genetically reproducing individual, making it bigger.’
As was also mentioned, in these ‘elaborated sexually reproducing individuals’, the cells of the multicellular body, or the individual ants and bees in their fully integrated colonies, are no longer sexually reproducing individuals themselves, but part of a larger sexually reproducing individual, which is the body, or, in the case of ants and bees, the colony.
The biological mechanism for elaborating the sexually reproducing individual involved the body’s cells, or the colony’s multicellular bees/ants, delegating the task of sexual reproduction to a distinct part of the whole that specialises in reproduction. In the case of the integration of single-celled organisms, the green alga known as Volvox provides an example of an organism in transition from the single-celled to the multicellular state, as this quote describes: ‘Volvox is…a small, green sphere…composed of thousands of flagellates embedded in the surface of a jelly ball…Volvox is a colony of unicellular animals rather than a many-celled animal, because even the simplest many-celled animals have considerably more differentiation between cells than appears among the cells of Volvox. The colony swims about, rolling over and over from the action of the flagella; but, remarkably enough, the same end of the sphere is always directed forward…Its behaviour can be explained only by supposing that the activities of the numerous flagellates are subordinated to the activity of the colony as a whole. If the flagella of each member of the colony were to beat without reference to the other members, the sphere would never get anywhere. In such subordination of the individual cells of a colony to the good of the colony as a whole we see the beginnings of individuality as it exists in the higher animals, where each animal behaves as a single individual, although composed of millions of cells…The co-ordination of numerous components into an individual is usually followed by the specialisation of different individuals for different duties. Only the slightest degree of specialisation is seen in the Volvox colony; the flagellates of the back part of the colony are capable of reproduction, while the front members never reproduce but have larger eyespots and serve primarily in directing the course of the colony’ (R. Buchsbaum, Animals without Backbones, 1938, p.50 of 401).
The marine invertebrates known as siphonophores, which include species such as the Portuguese man-of-war (otherwise known as the Bluebottle), live in colonies composed of ‘zooids’, individual animals that are not fully independent—indeed, their reliance upon and integration with each other is so strong the colony attains the character of one large organism. In fact, most of the zooids are so specialised they lack the ability to survive on their own. Thus siphonophorae, like Volvox, exist at the boundary between colonial and complex multicellular organisms.
We can imagine the path to the creation of Volvox and siphonophores began with cloning, which is the asexual reproduction of identical offspring where competition between the clones is pointless and unnecessary since each individual is genetically identical and, therefore, the division of labour and cooperation can develop and exist between individuals. One concern with cloning, however, is loss of variability—for example, if one colony kept reproducing asexually it could become so big it monopolised the available resources of food, space and territory, leading to the detriment of other colonies and a subsequent lack of variability in the species. We can imagine that eventually a limited, functional size would be arrived at through natural selection, which presumably is the size at which Volvox and siphonophores operate. And obviously to maintain variability, it would also be beneficial for sexual reproduction to occur from time to time, as it does amongst Volvox and siphonophores.
In the case of bees, the queen bee feeds all of her offspring that she intends to be workers a ‘royal jelly’ that causes sterility (ants also employ a similar chemical retardant). To ensure the reproduction of their genes these sterile offspring then have to support the queen because she carries their genes. (It should be mentioned that saying the queen ‘intends’ and the offspring ‘have to’ is obviously personifying the genetic process. The queen and the offspring are obviously not conscious thinking organisms, deciding they ‘intend’ and ‘have to’ do something or other as humans do; however, this form of anthropomorphism is simply a useful way of describing what, in effect, occurs. For example, the way genetics actually causes offspring to ‘have to’ support the queen is that, out of the many different mutational varieties of offspring that appear over time, only those that happen to have a genetic make-up that inclines them to support the queen will tend to reproduce, naturally selecting that particular behaviour for all subsequent generations and eventually the whole species.)
Elaborating the sexually reproducing individual allows the members of the elaborated individual to develop the ability to at least behave unconditionally selflessly, which, as has been explained, is fundamental if the fully cooperative integration of members into a new whole is to develop. The reason our body works so well is because each part has sublimated its needs to the greater good of the whole body; each part behaves unconditionally selflessly. Just as our skin cells are in constant turnover, with new cells replacing the old ones that have sacrificed themselves to protect our body, the leaves that fall in autumn do so to ensure their tree survives through winter. Bees and ants readily sacrifice themselves for their colony; for example, when a bee stings to protect its hive, its innards are attached to the sting that is left in its victim, so when it stings, it dies. The skin, leaves and bees/ants have behaved unconditionally selflessly; they have, in effect, considered the welfare of the greater good above their own welfare.
Of significance, however, is the emphasis here on our body’s skin, the tree’s leaves and the bees/ants only behaving unconditionally selflessly, because the selflessness apparent in these examples is not actually true unconditional selflessness, it is not true altruism. This is because the self-sacrificing skin, leaves and bees/ants are all indirectly selfishly ensuring their own genetic existence will be maintained by supporting the body, tree, or bee/ant colony that carries the genes for their existence and so reproduces them when it reproduces itself as a whole. Genetically, they are selflessly fostering the body/tree/colony to selfishly ensure their own genetic reproduction. Their apparently unconditionally selfless behaviour is not actually unconditional and thus altruistic, but rather a subtle form of selfishness. As explained earlier, such reciprocity can develop genetically because it doesn’t compromise the chances of the sexually reproducing individual reproducing its genes. (As pointed out in par. 197, the dishonest biological theory of Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology was truthful to the extent that it did recognise this fact that the selfless behaviour of social ants and bees is due to reciprocity—where the theory was dishonest was in its application of ‘kin selection’ to explain all social behaviour, even our own unconditionally selfless, universally benevolent, fully altruistic moral instincts.)
It now needs to be explained that large animals couldn’t employ this device of elaborating the sexually reproducing individual to develop a fully cooperative, integrated association or whole of their members because for them it involves too great a loss of the variability that all species need to be able to adapt to their environment. For example, if a female buffalo happened to be born with a particular mutation that caused her to produce a chemical in her milk that retarded the sexual maturation of most of her offspring such that those offspring then had to have selected mutations that inclined them to protect her to ensure their genes are successfully reproduced by her, and this became a common practice amongst buffalos with every queen buffalo having, say, 9 protector sacrificial buffalos from 10 offspring (so there is a sexual offspring to ensure the reproduction of the buffalo species, like ants have a few fertile females and males to carry on their species, but these fertile offspring have the same potential to produce some infertile offspring), then the genetic variety of a population of 1,000 buffalos would be reduced to just 100, a drastic loss of the variability so critical to ensuring that the species’ genetic pool remains able to adapt to any changes in its environment and thus keep maintaining and/or developing greater order. In the case of bees/ants, they are so small in relation to their environment that they can afford to have many fully integrated colonies in their environment without any significant loss of variability within their species.
The following two photographs illustrate the point. As will be mentioned shortly, while termites are a variety of cockroach rather than ant or bee, they have developed the same colonial capability as colonial ants and bees, which means that although there are millions of termites in each termite mound, in terms of the genetic variety present in the territory shown, these mounds do, in fact, represent a similar number of sexually reproducing individuals to the number of sexually reproducing individual buffalos shown in a corresponding area in the second photograph.
Quite a number of species that are much larger than ants and bees are attempting to create the integrated society of members by temporarily elaborating the sexually reproducing individual. Many bird species, such as the Australian kookaburra, delay their sexual maturation for a few years after they fledge, during which time they selflessly help raise their parents’ subsequent offspring. Wolves, African wild dogs and meerkats do the same thing. However, what these species have obviously found is that to delay their sexual maturation permanently leads to too great a loss of variability in their species.
Underground-living colonial naked mole rats form fully integrated colonies of up to 300 members comprising a single queen who uses hormones to inhibit the sexual maturation of nearly all the others who then act as ‘workers’ and ‘soldiers’. A few ‘sexual disperser caste’ are allowed to reach sexual maturity and these periodically leave their natal burrow to access other colonies and, in doing so, help maintain the genetic variety of the mole rat species. Significantly, like colonial ants and bees, and the dozen or so other varieties of multicellular organisms (including the termite) that have been able to permanently elaborate the sexually reproducing individual, mole rats are relatively small; individuals typically measure only 8 to 10 centimetres (3 to 4 inches) long.
What has been explained here is very significant for humans because it means, as large animals, we could not have employed the integrating device of elaborating the sexually reproducing individual to create the pre-conscious and pre-human-condition-afflicted, fully cooperative, completely integrated, ‘Golden’, ‘Garden of Eden’-like state that our distant ancestors lived in. Further, during that fully integrated, idyllic past our instinctive orientation was not to reciprocity’s subtle form of selfishness that the parts of multicellular organisms and bee/ant colonies practise, as the theory of Sociobiology/Evolutionary Psychology claims, but to being truly altruistic, genuinely unconditionally selflessly orientated towards all of life. Thus, even if we could have employed the device of elaborating the sexually reproducing individual it would not even begin to account for our unconditionally selfless moral soul. I italicised ‘all of life’ because while ant and bee colonies have members who are dedicated to supporting each other, each colony is, in fact, engaged in fierce competition with other colonies. Worker ants and bees are not interested in behaving selflessly towards all of life, which, contrary to what the theory of Multilevel Selection claims, our moral self is interested in. As pointed out in chapter 2:11, our ability to love unconditionally didn’t arise from an ability to war successfully. So, the question remains: how did humans manage to develop our absolutely wonderful and astonishing unconditionally selfless, genuinely altruistic, all-loving moral instinctive orientation to the world?
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 4 The Meaning of Life
Chapter 4:6 Negative Entropy found a way to form the Specie Individual
In conclusion, while elaborating the sexually reproducing individual does allow greater order of matter to be developed, it doesn’t achieve the next level of integration, which is the coming together or integration of sexually reproducing individual members of a species to form the Specie Individual or whole. The question, therefore, is, could Negative Entropy or God find a way to overcome the impasse of integrating sexually reproducing members of a species into a Specie Individual—or had the limit to the amount of order of matter that could be developed on Earth finally been reached?
As will be fully explained in the next chapter, the reason I have written in this chapter that it is not ‘normally’ possible to integrate sexually reproducing individuals is because Negative Entropy or God did find one way to integrate sexually reproducing members of a species to form the Specie Individual, which was through the nurturing of offspring—and it was this device that our ape ancestors employed to achieve the fully integrated state, the instinctive memory of which is our unconditionally selfless, genuinely altruistic, all-loving moral instinctive self or soul.
The Origin of Humans’
Unconditionally Selfless, Altruistic,
Moral Instinctive Self or Soul
Chapter 5:1 Summary
375When the philosopher Immanuel Kant had the following words inscribed on his tombstone, that ‘there are two things which fill me with awe: the starry heavens above us, and the moral law within us’ (Critique of Practical Reason, 1788), and Charles Darwin wrote that ‘The moral sense perhaps affords the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals’ (The Descent of Man, 1871, ch.4), neither man was overstating the magnificence of our altruistic moral sense. Our moral instinctive self or soul, the ‘voice’ or expression of which is our conscience, is a truly amazing phenomenon, for it provided the cooperative, unconditionally selfless love that created humanity.
376But as amazing as our moral soul most certainly is, its very existence is also a cause for wonder because it raises the baffling question of how on earth did humans acquire such an ‘awe’-inspiring, ‘distinct’-from-other-animals moral sense? For biologists especially, the great outstanding mystery has been how could the cold, selfish, competitive, gene-based natural selection process have possibly created such warm, unconditionally selfless, cooperative, loving instincts in us humans?
377While it may seem astonishing to suggest that what is now going to be presented is that most elusive of answers to this most intriguing of mysteries, that is, in fact, the case—this chapter contains nothing less than the truth about what it really means to be human.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 5 The Origin of Humans’ Moral Instinctive Self or Soul
Chapter 5:2 How could humans have acquired their altruistic moral instincts?
As evidenced in pars 180-182, throughout our mythologies and in the work of our most profound thinkers there is a recognition that our distant ancestors lived in a pre-conscious, pre-human-condition-afflicted, innocent, unconditionally selfless, genuinely altruistic, fully cooperative, universally loving, peaceful state; as the author Richard Heinberg’s research into this collective memory of a ‘Garden of Eden’-like, ‘Golden Age’ in our species’ past found, ‘Every religion begins with the recognition that human consciousness has been separated from the divine Source, that a former sense of oneness…has been lost…everywhere in religion and myth there is an acknowledgment that we have departed from an original…innocence’ (Memories & Visions of Paradise, 1990, pp.81-82 of 282). So yes, when Nikolai Berdyaev acknowledged that ‘The memory of a lost paradise, of a Golden Age, is very deep in man’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, p.36 of 310), he was expressing what we all intuitively know is the truth about our species’ past innocent existence—as was the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau when he, almost two centuries earlier, wrote that ‘nothing is more gentle than man in his primitive state’ (The Social Contract and Discourses, 1755; tr. G. Cole, 1913, Book IV, p.198 of 269).
The origin of the words associated with our moral nature reveals this underlying awareness of the extraordinarily loving, ideal-behaviour-expecting, ‘good-and-evil’-differentiating, sound nature of our instinctive self or ‘psyche’ or ‘soul’, the ‘voice’ or expression of which is our ‘conscience’. For instance, our ‘conscience’ is defined as our ‘moral sense of right and wrong’, and our ‘soul’ as the ‘moral and emotional part of man’, and as the ‘animating or essential part’ of us (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edn, 1964), while, as mentioned in pars 258 and 260, the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology’s entry for ‘psyche’ reads: ‘The oldest and most general use of this term is by the early Greeks, who envisioned the psyche as the soul or the very essence of life.’ Indeed, as the ‘early Greek’ philosopher Plato wrote about our innate, ideal-or-Godly-behaviour-expecting moral nature, we humans have ‘knowledge, both before and at the moment of birth…of all absolute standards…[of] beauty, goodness, uprightness, holiness…our souls exist before our birth…[our] soul resembles the divine’ (Phaedo, c.360 BC; tr. H. Tredennick, 1954, 65-80).
When the philosopher John Fiske wrote about the existence of our moral nature, he was similarly effusive: ‘We approve of certain actions and disapprove of certain actions quite instinctively. We shrink from stealing or lying as we shrink from burning our fingers’ (Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy, 1874, Vol. IV, Part II, p.126). And, while our moral instinctive self or soul will ‘shrink from stealing or lying’, it is not merely concerned with avoiding the ill-treatment of others—it is also deeply concerned with ensuring their well-being. For instance, when the professional footballer Joe Delaney admitted that ‘I can’t swim good, but I’ve got to save those kids’, just moments before plunging into a Louisiana pond and drowning in an attempt to rescue three boys (‘Sometimes The Good Die Young’, Sports Illustrated, 7 Nov. 1983), he was considering the welfare of others above that of his own. The truth is that everywhere we look we see examples of humans behaving unconditionally selflessly, such as those who show charity to others less fortunate, or sacrifice their lives for ethical principles. Indeed, now that we can explain the human condition it becomes clear that since the human condition fully emerged some 2 million years ago, every generation of humans has had to suffer becoming self-corrupted in an unconditionally selfless effort to aid the accumulation of knowledge that would one day liberate humanity from the human condition; to borrow the words from the musical Man of La Mancha that were included in par. 68, every generation has altruistically ‘march[ed] into hell for a heavenly cause’.
Our species’ unconditionally selfless moral nature is undoubtedly a wonderful phenomenon. However, as mentioned in chapter 3:7, Alexander Pope saw our ‘awe’-inspiring, ‘best and highest distinction’-deserving, ‘divine’-like, ‘absolute standards…[of] beauty, goodness, uprightness, holiness’-expecting, ‘animating’, ‘very essence of life’, ‘moral and emotional’, ‘essential part’ of us in a very different light, pointing out that ‘our nature [is]…A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!’ And he was right in the sense that, as was made clear in that chapter, our ideal-behaviour-expecting, moral conscience has been ‘a sharp accuser, but a helpless friend’; it has criticised us aplenty when what we needed was redeeming understanding of our ‘good-and-evil’-afflicted, corrupted or ‘fallen’ present human condition—which we now at last have.
Paradoxically, until we could explain our present soul-devastated, innocence-destroyed, angry, egocentric and alienated condition we couldn’t afford to face the truth that our ‘awe’-inspiring moral soul is our instinctive memory of an unconditionally selfless, all-loving past. And so we undermined its very existence; yes, just as human-condition-avoiding, mechanistic scientists argued that ‘unconditional love’ was ‘not appropriate for scientific study’, the psychologist Ronald Conway noted that ‘Soul is customarily suspected in empirical psychology and analytical philosophy as a disreputable entity’ (Letter to the Editor, The Australian, 10 May 2000). But with the fully accountable, human psychosis-addressing-and-solving, truthful explanation of the human condition now found, we can finally acknowledge what our soul is, and, most significantly, heal our species’ psychosis or ‘soul-illness’; yes, since psyche means ‘soul’ and osis, according to , means ‘abnormal state or condition’, we can at last ameliorate or heal our species’ psychosis—its alienated, psychologically ‘ill’, ‘abnormal state or condition’.
But recognition and resolution of the issue aside, the very great question that remained to be answered was how could we humans have possibly acquired such a ‘distinct’ from other ‘animals’, ‘awe’-inspiring but ‘sharp accus[ing]’ instinctive orientation in the first place? What is the biological origin of our species’ extraordinary moral nature?
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 5 The Origin of Humans’ Moral Instinctive Self or Soul
Chapter 5:3 The integration of sexually reproducing individuals to form the Specie Individual
As was explained in some detail in chapters 4:4 to 4:6, while the gene-based system for developing the order of matter on Earth is powerfully effective—it is, after all, responsible for the great variety of life we see on Earth—it has one very significant limitation, which arises from the fact that each sexually reproducing individual organism has to struggle and selfishly compete for the available resources of food, shelter, territory and the mating opportunities it requires if it is to successfully reproduce its genes. What this means is that integration, and the unconditionally selfless cooperation that integration depends upon, cannot normally develop between one sexually reproducing individual and another; which in turn means that integration beyond the level of the sexually reproducing individual—that is, the coming together or integration of sexually reproducing individuals to form a new larger and more stable whole of sexually reproducing individuals, the Specie Individual—can also not normally develop. Thus, it would appear that Negative Entropy’s, or God’s, development of order of matter on Earth had come to a stop at the level of the sexually reproducing individual. The integration of the members of a species into the larger whole of the Specie Individual could seemingly not be developed.
What this means is that only a degree of cooperation and thus integration could be developed between the sexually reproducing individual members of a species before the competition between them became so intense that a dominance hierarchy had to be employed to contain the divisive competition; and, in fact, that is where most animal species are stalled in their ability to integrate. They could become integrated to a degree (what has been termed ‘social’), but not completely integrated into one new larger organism or whole. Certainly each sexually reproducing individual could be either temporarily (in the case of large animals like wolves) or permanently (in the case of small animals like ants and bees) ‘elaborated’—developed to become bigger—thus allowing greater integration of matter to occur within the sexually reproducing individual. But those elaborated units (the wolf packs and the ant/bee colonies) were, nevertheless, still engaged in competition with each other. It seemed that the integration of sexually reproducing members of a species and thus the full integration of the members of a species into a Specie Individual could not be achieved; Negative Entropy, or God, had seemingly developed as much order of matter on Earth as it could.
HOWEVER, this was not the case—the integration of matter hadn’t come to an end, because a way was found by Negative Entropy, or God, to integrate the members of a species into the larger whole of the Specie Individual, AND, moreover, it was our ape ancestors who achieved this extraordinary step. Yes, as Moses recognised in his account of the emergence of the human condition in Genesis, we humans did once live ‘in the image of God’ (1:27), we were once a fully cooperative, unconditionally selflessly behaved, completely integrated species. We did once live in ‘the Garden of Eden’-like (3:23) state of original cooperative, loving, innocent togetherness, then we became conscious, took the ‘fruit’ ‘from the tree of…knowledge’ (3:3, 2:17), and, as a result of being ‘disobedient’ (the term widely used in descriptions of Gen. 3), we ‘fell from grace’ (derived from the title of Gen. 3, ‘The Fall of Man’) because we became divisively behaved sufferers of the human condition, supposedly deserving of being ‘banished…from the Garden of Eden’-like (3:23) state of original innocent togetherness. Our divisive, non-integrative, seemingly unGodly, psychologically angry, egocentric and alienated present corrupted condition meant that ‘Today you [God/Integrative Meaning] are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence [humans will have to live in a disconnected-from-the-truth, meaningless, lost, extremely-distressed state of alienation, and as a result], I will be a restless wanderer on the earth’ (4:14)—but we can now at last emerge from this state because we can finally explain and thus compassionately understand why we had to search for ‘knowledge’ and suffer becoming corrupted.
So THE GREAT QUESTION is, how did Negative Entropy, or God, achieve this amazing integration; this ‘blessed’, ‘innocent and simple and calm and happy’ ‘pure’ state that Plato described (in par. 158), where there was no ‘war or quarrel[ling]’, and where we ‘dwelt naked…in the open air…and…lay on soft couches of grass’ (see par. 170); the time when, as Hesiod said (in par. 180), we were a ‘golden race…with calm untroubled mind[s]…unbridled by toil…[and] all willing shared the gathering of…[our] hands’? How did our human ancestors develop the fully integrated state of the Specie Individual, the instinctive memory of which is our unconditionally selfless, genuinely altruistic, cooperative, loving, moral self or ‘soul’, and the ‘voice’ or expression of which is our conscience? What is the biological origin of our species’ extraordinary ‘shrink from stealing or lying’, ‘got to save those kids’, selflessly prepared ‘to march into hell for a heavenly cause’ moral sense?
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 5 The Origin of Humans’ Moral Instinctive Self or Soul
Chapter 5:4 Love-Indoctrination
Ever since Charles Darwin published his natural selection explanation for the origins of the great variety of life on Earth in 1859 all manner of theories have been put forward to suggest how one species, namely our species, managed to defy the essential selfish nature of the natural selection process and develop unconditionally selfless moral instincts. Indeed, in response to the great build up of anxiety in the world about the now desperate plight of the human race and the resulting urgent need for the relieving answers that are being presented in this book—especially answers to the questions of the origin of our species’ moral nature and present human-condition-afflicted lack of compliance with it—almost every edition of every science journal over the last 10 years has either presented or discussed a new theory that attempts to account for our moral sense. But of all these theories (a brief history of which will be presented in chapter 6) only one provides the fully accountable and thus adequate, true explanation for the origins of our moral sense, which is that it was achieved through nurturing—a mother’s maternal instinct to care for her offspring. However, as will be acknowledged shortly (in ch. 5:7), and described in detail in chapter 6, the problem with this nurturing explanation, and why its early permutations were discarded by the scientific establishment, is that it has been an unbearably confronting truth. It is only now that we can explain the human condition and thus understand why the present human-condition-afflicted human race hasn’t been able to adequately nurture our infants to the extent their instincts expect that it becomes safe to finally admit that nurturing is what made us human—that it was nurturing that gave us our moral soul and created humanity. So how did nurturing create our extraordinary unconditionally selfless moral instincts?
Genetic traits for nurturing are intrinsically selfish (which, as has been emphasised, genetic traits normally have to be if they are to survive) because through a mother’s nurturing and fostering of offspring who carry her genes her genetic traits for nurturing are selfishly ensuring their reproduction into the next generation. However, while nurturing is a genetically selfish trait, from an observer’s point of view it appears to be unconditionally selfless behaviour—the mother is giving her offspring food, warmth, shelter, support and protection for apparently nothing in return. This point is most significant because it means from the infant’s perspective its mother is treating it with real love, with unconditional selflessness. The infant’s brain is, therefore, being trained or indoctrinated or inscribed with unconditional selflessness and so, with enough training in unconditional selflessness, that infant will grow into an adult who behaves unconditionally selflessly. Apply this training across all the members of that infant’s group and the result is an unconditionally selflessly behaved, cooperative, fully integrated society.
The ‘trick’ in this ‘love-indoctrination’ process lies in the fact that the traits for nurturing are encouraged, or selected for genetically, because the better the infants are cared for, the greater are their, and the nurturing traits’, chances of survival. The process does, however, have an integrative side effect, in that the more infants are nurtured, the more their brains are trained in unconditional selflessness. There are very few situations in biology where animals appear to behave selflessly towards other animals—normally, they each selfishly compete for food, shelter, territory and mating opportunities. Maternalism, a mother’s fostering of her infant, is one of the few situations where an animal appears to be behaving selflessly towards another animal and it was this appearance of selflessness that exists in the maternal situation that provided the integrative opportunity for the development of love-indoctrination, the training of individuals in unconditional selflessness. And with this unconditionally selfless behaviour recurring over many, many generations, the unconditionally selfless behaviour will become instinctive—a moral soul will be established—because genes will inevitably follow and reinforce any development process occurring in a species; in this they are not selective. The difficulty was in getting the development of unconditional selflessness to occur in the first place, for once it was regularly occurring it would naturally become instinctive over time.
But for a species to develop nurturing—to develop this ‘trick’ for overcoming the gene-based learning system’s seeming inability to develop unconditional selflessness—it required the capacity to allow its offspring to remain in the infancy stage long enough to allow for the infant’s brain to become trained or indoctrinated with unconditional selflessness or love. In most species, infancy has to be kept as brief as possible because of the infant’s extreme vulnerability to predators. Zebra foals, for example, have to be capable of independent flight almost as soon as they are born, which gives them little opportunity to be trained in selflessness. But as the following photo of a rhesus monkey trying to carry its infant illustrates, being semi-upright as a result of their tree-living, swinging-from-branch-to-branch, arboreal heritage meant primates’ arms were largely freed from walking and thus available to hold dependents. Infants similarly had the capacity to latch onto their mothers’ bodies. This freedom of the upper body meant primates were especially facilitated for prolonging their offspring’s infancy and thus developing love-indoctrination.
It follows that the longer infancy is delayed, the more and longer infants had to be held, and thus the greater need and, therefore, selection for the arms-freed, upright walking ability known as bipedalism. When I first put forward this nurturing, ‘love-indoctrination’ explanation for humans’ unconditionally selfless moral nature in a 1983 submission to Nature and New Scientist (see ), I said, contrary to prevailing views, that it meant bipedalism must have developed early in this nurturing of love process, and, in fact, as will be discussed in more detail shortly, the early appearance of bipedalism in the fossil record of our ancestors is now being found. For instance, in 2012 it was reported that ‘The oldest hominins currently known are Sahelanthropus tchadensis…dated to between 6 and 7 mya [million years ago]’, which the fossil record suggests ‘stood and walked bipedally’ (Herman Pontzer, ‘Overview of Hominin Evolution’, Nature Education Knowledge, 2012, Vol.3, No.10).
But while bipedalism was the key factor in developing nurturing and thus love-indoctrination, other influences also played a pivotal role, most notably the presence of ideal nursery conditions. This entailed uninterrupted access to food, shelter and territory, for if any element was compromised, or other difficulties and threats from predators excessive, then we can assume there would have been a strong inclination to revert to more selfish and competitive behaviour. The successful nurturing of infants therefore required ample food, comfortable conditions and security from external threats over an extended period. But, in addition to these practical factors, to ensure the success of the love-indoctrination process, it wasn’t enough to simply look after the infants, they had to be loved, and so maternalism became about much more than mothers simply protecting, providing for, and training their infants in life skills—it became about demonstrably loving them. Significantly, we speak of ‘motherly love’, not ‘motherly protection, provision and training’.
So, in addition to the prerequisites of, firstly, a physiology that facilitated an extended infancy and, secondly, ideal nursery conditions, what was also required for love-indoctrination to occur was the presence and influence of more maternal mothers. Of course, the difficulty with selecting for more maternal mothers is that their genes don’t tend to endure because their offspring tend to be the most selflessly behaved, too ready to put others before themselves, leaving the more aggressive, competitive and selfish individuals to take advantage of their selflessness. Such selfish opportunism could, however, be avoided if all members of the group were equally well nurtured with love, equally trained in selflessness—this situation being yet another of the delicate conditions that has to be maintained if love-indoctrination is to develop, for any breakdown in nurturing within a group that is in the midst of developing love-indoctrination could jeopardise the whole situation and see it revert to the old state of the ‘each-for-his-own’, opportunistic, all-out-competition-where-only-dominance-hierarchy-can-bring-some-peace, selfish-genes-rule, ‘animal condition’.
It can be seen then that while the development of unconditional selflessness through the love-indoctrination process of a mother’s nurturing care of her infant was possible, it was not easy, even for the exceptionally facilitated primates, which explains why none of the primate species apart from our ape ancestors have been able to complete the development of love-indoctrination to the point of becoming fully integrated. While, as will shortly be described in chapter 5:6, bonobos are on the threshold of this achievement, the evidence so far indicates that it has only been our ape ancestors who managed to complete the process, the result of which is our species’ unconditionally selfless, genuinely altruistic, universally loving instinctive self or ‘soul’, the ‘voice’ or expression of which is our moral ‘conscience’. Before concluding this section, it is important to note that this love-indoctrination process involved an indoctrination or training in unconditional selflessness, not an understanding of it. The search for knowledge still had to take place, which is why the human-condition-producing clash between our instincts and conscious intellect occurred. (The process by which love-indoctrination liberated consciousness will be introduced in ch. 5:8, and fully explained in ch. 7).
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 5 The Origin of Humans’ Moral Instinctive Self or Soul
Chapter 5:5 Fossil evidence confirming the love-indoctrination process
Although the fossil record has been slow to yield evidence of our ape ancestors who lived during humanity’s infancy (which, as will be explained in chapters 8:2 and 8:3, lasted from some 12 to 4 million years ago), the very recent discoveries of fossils belonging to our direct ancestors from this period are now confirming the love-indoctrination process. These recently unearthed ancestors are: Sahelanthropus tchadensis (who lived some 7 million years ago and is thought to be the first representative of the human line after we diverged from humans’ and chimpanzees’ last common ancestor); Orrorin tugenensis (who lived some 6 million years ago); and the two varieties of Ardipithecus: kadabba (who lived some 5.6 million years ago), and ramidus (who lived some 4.4 million years ago). Incidentally, Sahelanthropus means ‘Sahel man’ (Sahel is an area near the Sahara); Orrorin tugenensis means ‘original man whose fossils were found in the Tugen region in Kenya’; while Ardipithecus means ‘ground ape’, with kadabba meaning ‘oldest ancestor’, and ramidus meaning ‘root’ or basal family ancestor.
It is worth emphasising that these fossils have all been found very recently. Sahelanthropus was only discovered in 2002 (in the form of a skull) and decisively identified as a human ancestor in April 2013, while fragments of a skull, jaw and thigh bone belonging to Orrorin were first unearthed in 2001. Although fragments of Ardipithecus were first discovered by a team led by the anthropologist Tim White in 1992, and their excavation of a largely intact skeleton (which was nicknamed ‘Ardi’) began in 1994, the remains of the skeleton—1 of only 6 reasonably complete skeletons of early humans older than 1 million years—were in such poor condition that it took until 2009 (over 15 years of analysis) for reports to be published. With studies on all of these recently discovered ancestors now becoming available, including the series of 2009 Ardipithecus reports, which the journal Science deemed ‘Breakthrough of the Year’, it is exciting to see that confirming evidence of the love-indoctrination process that led to the establishment of our extraordinary unconditionally selfless moral instincts is slowly but surely emerging.
So, how does this new evidence confirm the love-indoctrination process? How, for instance, does it affect our understanding of the emergence of bipedalism, the first key factor in developing unconditionally selfless moral instincts?
As I just mentioned, when I first put forward the nurturing, ‘love-indoctrination’ explanation for such instincts in 1983, I said, contrary to prevailing views, that it meant bipedalism must have developed early in this nurturing of love process and, it follows, early in our ancestors’ history, and, indeed, that is what these fossil discoveries now show. Scientists can infer whether a species was bipedal by several methods, including the position of the foramen magnum (the opening at the base of the skull through which the spinal cord enters), because in species that stand upright the opening appears toward the centre of the skull rather than at the rear. Using information such as this, the current scientific thinking is that bipedalism arose at least as early as Sahelanthropus, with anthropologists now reporting that ‘Bipedalism is one of very few human characteristics that appears to have evolved at the base of the hominin clade [species more closely related to modern humans than to any other living species]. Recent fossil discoveries have apparently pushed back the origin of the hominin clade into the late Miocene, to 6 to 7 million years ago (Ma). The oldest known potential hominin [human line] fossils [are] attributed to Sahelanthropus tchadensis’ (Brian G. Richmond & William L. Jungers, ‘Orrorin tugenensis Femoral Morphology and the Evolution of Hominin Bipedalism’, Science, 2008, Vol.319, No.5870).
Fossils belonging to the slightly more recent Orrorin provide further proof of this bipedalism. In addition to the evidence revealed by the fragments of its skull, the analysis of Orrorin’s femur (thigh bone) has allowed scientists to conclude that ‘O. tugenensis is a basal hominin adapted to bipedalism’ (ibid), and ‘that Orrorin was a habitual biped as shown by a suite of features in the proximal femur’ (Martin Pickford et al., ‘Bipedalism in Orrorin tugenensis revealed by its femora’, Comptes Rendus Palevol, 2002, Vol.1, No.4).
Fossils of Ardipithecus, and particularly Ar. ramidus, confirm that bipedalism was well established by 4.4 million years ago, with studies of ‘Ardi’ (the relatively intact skeleton) leading the prominent anthropologist C. Owen Lovejoy to conclude that ‘Ar. ramidus was fully capable of bipedality and had evolved a substantially modified pelvis and foot with which to walk upright’ (‘Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). Furthermore, Lovejoy confirmed the long history of bipedalism that preceded Ar. ramidus when he said that Ar. ramidus ‘has been bipedal for a very long time’ (Ann Gibbons, ‘A New Kind of Ancestor: Ardipithecus Unveiled’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949).
The second requirement for love-indoctrination to occur is the existence of ideal nursery conditions, namely an environment that provides uninterrupted access to food, shelter and territory. You would perhaps expect such conditions would be found in humid forests and woodlands, where food is plentiful and trees provide shelter and refuge from predators, but the scientific community’s traditional view has been that the factor in our ancestral history that propelled our ancestor’s development beyond that of the other apes was their movement onto the savannah. However, in light of the fossil evidence that has emerged in the last decade or so—and in the 30 years since I first proposed the nurturing, love-indoctrination explanation—the scientific community now widely accepts that this separation of our human ancestors from other primates occurred while our ancestors lived in forests and woodlands, the sort of environment I identified as being required for the love-indoctrination process to begin.
Scientists are now able to reconstruct the habitats of Sahelanthropus, Orrorin and Ardipithecus based on their physical characteristics, the information provided by the fossils of other animals and plants found accompanying them, as well as climate data. While Sahelanthropus fossils are so limited they don’t provide the information needed to confirm that they were adapted to climbing trees and thus lived in forests or woodlands, reconstructions of their environment have narrowed Sahelanthropus’ habitat to ‘a mosaic of environments from gallery forest at the edge of a lake area to a dominance of large savannah and grassland’ (Patrick Vignaud et al., ‘Geology and palaeontology of the Upper Miocene Toros-Menalla hominid locality, Chad’, Nature, 2002, Vol.418, No.6894). As we move forward in time to Orrorin some 6 million years ago, its skeletal structure shows tree climbing adaptations, which clearly point to them living in an arboreal habitat. Further, associated animal and plant fossils have allowed scientists to infer that ‘Orrorin tugenensis may have evolved in well wooded to forested conditions margining lakes and streams with open country-side in the vicinity’ (Soizic Le Fur et al., ‘The mammal assemblage of the hominid site TM266 (Late Miocene, Chad Basin): ecological structure and paleoenvironmental implications’, Naturewissenschaften, 2009, Vol.96, No.5); and that ‘the surroundings of the site were probably open woodland, while the presence of several specimens of colobus monkeys indicate that there were denser stands of trees in the vicinity, possibly fringing the lake margin and streams that drained into the lake’ (Martin Pickford & Brigitte Senut, ‘The geological and faunal context of Late Miocene hominid remains from Lukeino, Kenya’, Comptes Rendus de l’Academie des Sciences–Series IIA–Earth and Planetary Science, 2001, Vol.332, No.2). Forest and woodlands continued to be the preferred habitat of Ar. ramidus some 4.4 million years ago, as indicated by its retention of tree climbing features such as a pelvis that supported large climbing muscles, flexible wrists that allowed walking on all fours along the top of branches, and an opposable big toe that allowed it to grasp the branches with its feet: ‘Ar. ramidus preferred a woodland-to-forest habitat rather than open grasslands’ (Tim D. White et al., ‘Ardipithecus ramidus and the Paleobiology of Early Hominids’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). In fact, the wealth of surrounding evidence from the Ar. ramidus fossil site in Ethiopia allowed the paleoanthropologist Andrew Hill to remark that ‘There’s so much good data here that people aren’t going to be able to question whether early hominins were living in woodlands’ (Ann Gibbons, ‘Habitat for Humanity’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949), and fellow researcher Giday WoldeGabriel to state that Ar. ramidus lived ‘in an environment that was humid and cooler than it is today, containing habitats ranging from woodland to forest patches’ (Giday WoldeGabriel et al., ‘The Geological, Isotopic, Botanical, Invertebrate, and Lower Vertebrate Surroundings of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). Indeed, this ‘good data’ associated with the ‘Ardi’ dig has meant that paleobiologists have been able to reconstruct Ar. ramidus’ habitat to an extraordinary level of detail: ‘Ardi lived on an ancient floodplain covered in sylvan woodlands, climbing among hackberry, fig, and palm trees, and coexisting with monkeys, kudu antelopes, and peafowl’ (Ann Gibbons, ‘Breakthrough Of The Year: Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5960) while ‘doves and parrots flew overhead’ (Ann Gibbons, ‘Habitat for Humanity’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). Combine this environment with our knowledge of Ar. ramidus’ diet, which indicates ‘Ar. ramidus was a generalized omnivore and frugivore [fruit eater]’ (Gen Suwa et al., ‘Paleobiological Implications of the Ardipithecus ramidus Dentition’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949), and our knowledge of existing ape behaviour, which indicates Ar. ramidus ‘almost certainly slept and fed in trees’ (Craig Stanford, ‘Chimpanzees and the Behavior of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 2012, Vol.41), and a picture begins to emerge of the ideal nursery conditions that enabled love-indoctrination to develop.
These ideal nursery conditions also refute the long-held nurturing-avoiding theory, espoused by E.O. Wilson amongst others, that upright walking supposedly developed when our ancestors moved out onto the savannah: ‘Ar. ramidus did not live in the open savanna that was once envisioned to be the predominant habitat of the earliest hominids’ (Giday WoldeGabriel et al., ‘The Geological, Isotopic, Botanical, Invertebrate, and Lower Vertebrate Surroundings of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). In fact, the evidence that bipedality developed in ‘forest or wooded environments’ is now so conclusive that Hill was able to assert that ‘Savannas had nothing to do with upright walking’ (Ann Gibbons, ‘Habitat for Humanity’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). Yes, because the development of bipedality is closely associated with the love-indoctrination process it had to have occurred while our ancestors were inhabiting ideal nursery conditions, which clearly suggested an arboreal environment—as I maintained when I originally put forward the love-indoctrination process in 1983.
These recent fossil discoveries also confirm the third requirement for love-indoctrination to occur: the presence and influence of more maternal mothers. Scientists are able to deduce a remarkable amount of information about the social behaviour of our ancestors from their fossils, and, as a result of this evidence, are now beginning to acknowledge that they exhibited low levels of aggression toward one another, and that females were not only not dominated by males, but dictated mate choice by choosing to reproduce with non-aggressive, cooperative males—hallmarks you would expect of a society highly focused on maternal nurturing of their infants.
The first striking evidence provided by the fossil record to support these deductions is that these early humans had small canine teeth: ‘male canine size and prominence were dramatically reduced by ~ 6 to 4.4 Ma’ (Gen Suwa et al., ‘Paleobiological Implications of the Ardipithecus ramidus Dentition’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). This is relevant because ‘canines function as weapons in interindividual aggression in most anthropoid species’ (ibid), particularly in aggressive male-to-male sexual competition for mating opportunities, and so canines ‘inform aspects of social structure and behavior’ (ibid), with small canines indicating minimal levels of social aggression. This connection is well established, with primatologists saying, ‘It has long been evident that body and canine size are good indicators of the intensity of male-male competition’ (Peter M. Kappeler & Carel P. van Schaik, Sexual Selection in Primates: New and Comparative Perspectives, 2004, p.5 of 284).
Furthermore, comparisons of canine size in Ar. ramidus with current apes indicate that Ar. ramidus males ‘retained virtually no anatomical correlates of male-to-male conflict’ (C. Owen Lovejoy, ‘Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949), a situation that would apply to our earlier ancestors Sahelanthropus and Orrorin since they too had small canines. Given that the reality of the animal kingdom involves fierce competition between sexually reproducing individuals seeking to reproduce their genes, this reduction in aggressive male competition for mating opportunities is an extremely significant anomaly, as Lovejoy recognises: ‘Loss of the projecting canine raises other vexing questions because this tooth is so fundamental to reproductive success in higher primates. What could cause males to forfeit their ability to aggressively compete with other males?’ (ibid). Traditional attempts to answer this ‘vexing’ question have argued either that large canine teeth were made redundant when humans adopted hand-held weapons—the so-called ‘weapons replacement’ hypothesis; or that large, overlapping canines made eating certain foods difficult and were therefore selected against; or that large canines had to make way for the large grinding teeth of the robust australopithecines. However, the fossil record now shows that canines were reduced well before the emergence of the australopithecines; and as mentioned, it also shows that ‘Ar. ramidus was a generalized omnivore and frugivore [fruit eater]’ like baboons and many other species of current primates who have retained their large canines. And with regard to weapon use rendering large canines redundant, the fossil record now shows that our ancestors developed small canines at least as early as Sahelanthropus, millions of years before any fossil evidence of weapon or tool use—and even if those ancestors brandished weapons such as branches or bones that would not leave ‘evidence’, the argument still fails to explain why having weapons and large canines would not be an advantage in any contest. A 1992 paper articulated the confusion that has surrounded the evolution of human canine reduction, stating that ‘the issue of human canine evolution has continued to be controversial and apparently intractable’ (Leonard O. Greenfield, ‘Origin of the human canine: A new solution to an old enigma’, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 1992, Vol.35, No.S15). And the new discoveries have only increased this confusion. But as we can now see, the answer to the ‘vexing’ and ‘apparently intractable’ question of ‘what could cause males to forfeit their ability to aggressively compete with other males’ is the love-indoctrination process. As will be explained below, conscious self-selection of integrativeness—especially the female sexual or mate selection of less competitive, less aggressive, more integrative males—developed to assist, speed up and help maintain love-indoctrination’s development of integration. Indeed, male competition for mating opportunities is so ‘fundamental to reproductive success’ that only active sexual selection against it can account for its reduction, as is made clear in this quote: ‘Canine reduction did not result from a relaxation of selection pressure for large canines, but rather a positive selection against them’ (Arthur Klages, ‘Sahelanthropus tchadensis: An Examination of its Hominin Affinities and Possible Phylogenetic Placement’, Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology, 2008, Vol.16, No.1). Indeed, it is now so apparent that canine reduction could only be caused by ‘a positive selection against them’ that the importance of sexual selection is now being recognised by leading anthropologists such as Lovejoy, Gen Suwa, Berhane Asfaw, Tim White and others, who write, ‘In modern monkeys and apes, the upper canine is important in male agonistic [aggressive] behavior, so its subdued shape in early hominids and Ar. ramidus suggests that sexual selection played a primary role in canine reduction. Thus, fundamental reproductive and social behavioral changes probably occurred in hominids long before they had enlarged brains and began to use stone tools’ (Gen Suwa et al., ‘Paleobiological Implications of the Ardipithecus ramidus Dentition’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949).
As these authors make clear, the reduction in canine size was such a remarkable achievement that it required ‘fundamental reproductive and social behavioral changes’ in which ‘sexual selection played a primary role’. These scientists are describing a society that switched from being patriarchal—dominated by male sexual selection with males aggressively competing for mating opportunities—to matriarchal, dictated by female sexual selection where females choose mates that are less aggressive. However, what these scientists don’t explain is the only mechanism that could allow such a switch: love-indoctrination. This remarkable reversal where females are empowered, and males ‘forfeit their ability to aggressively compete with other males’, is discussed in more detail in chapter 6; however, it is sufficient to emphasise at this point that the fossil record is increasingly providing compelling evidence that female sexual selection was occurring very early in human history, at least as early as Sahelanthropus some 7 million years ago, and that it ‘emerged in concert with habituation to bipedality’ (C. Owen Lovejoy, ‘Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949), which again is in accord with love-indoctrination, all of which I first predicted in 1983.
Another significant factor revealed by the fossil record is the difference in the size between males and females, including their canines, a phenomena known as sexual size dimorphism. Since ‘sexual size dimorphism is generally associated with sexual selection via agonistic male competition in nonhuman primates…if a species showed very strong size dimorphism, it probably was characterized by intense male mate competition’ (J. Michael Plavcan, ‘Sexual Size Dimorphism, Canine Dimorphism, and Male-Male Competition in Primates’, Human Nature, 2012, Vol.23, No.1). Conversely, scientists recognise that a low level of sexual size dimorphism is an indicator of a society in which males do not aggressively compete for mating opportunities. As mentioned, the fossil records of our human ancestors show that ‘There is no evidence of substantial canine dimorphism in earlier hominins, including Sahelanthropus, Ardipithecus, and Australopithecus anamensis, or later hominins’ (ibid). In addition to this low level of canine dimorphism, Ar. ramidus exhibited low levels of body size dimorphism, which, in terms of behaviour, ‘were probably the anatomical correlates of comparatively weak amounts of male-male competition, perhaps associated with…a tendency for male-female codominance as seen in P. paniscus [bonobos]’ (Gen Suwa et al., ‘Paleobiological Implications of the Ardipithecus ramidus Dentition’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). As will be described shortly, the prevailing view about bonobos is that rather than having achieved ‘male-female codominance’, they have, in fact, gone further and achieved female dominance, a matriarchy.
So the three requirements of the love-indoctrination process of bipedality, ideal nursery conditions and selection for more maternal mothers are now being dramatically confirmed by the fossil record. However, as I mentioned earlier and will elaborate on shortly, the problem with this nurturing, true explanation, and why its early permutations were dismissed by the scientific establishment, is that it has been an unbearably confronting, exposing truth for our present human-condition-afflicted human race that has been so unable to adequately nurture our infants to the extent our instincts expect. This new evidence has left those scientists who continue to deny the importance of nurturing in our development in a predicament in which they are forced to ask the right questions even though they are ‘vexing’, but refuse to acknowledge the truthful answer, because until the human condition was explained nurturing was an off-limits subject. The following passage from Lovejoy exemplifies this predicament: ‘Why did early hominids become the only primate to completely eliminate the sectorial canine complex [large projecting canines that are continuously sharpened against a lower molar]? Why did they become bipedal, a form of locomotion with virtually no measurable mechanical advantage?…These are now among the ultimate questions of human evolution’ (‘Reexamining Human Origins in Light of Ardipithecus ramidus’, Science, 2009, Vol.326, No.5949). (Note, the above quote from 2009 also contained the question ‘Why did body-size dimorphism increase in their likely descendants?, but that has been omitted here because Lovejoy has since found that body-size dimorphism in Ardipithecus’ descendants is far less than previously thought, with ‘relatively stable size patterns observed between Ardipithecus and Australopithecus’ (Philip Reno & C. Owen Lovejoy, ‘From Lucy to Kadanuumuu: balanced analyses of Australopithecus afarensis assemblages confirm only moderate skeletal dimorphism’, PeerJ, 2015, 3:e925).) Lovejoy further reduced these ‘ultimate questions’ to this one, final sentence that admits the reality of a cooperative past: ‘Even our species-defining cooperative mutualism can now be seen to extend well beyond the deepest Pliocene [well beyond 5.3 million years ago]’ (ibid). Yes, as stated at the outset of this chapter, the great outstanding mystery for biologists has been how could the cold, selfish, competitive, gene-based natural selection process have possibly created such warm, unconditionally selfless, cooperative, loving instincts in us humans? But to answer that question of questions required the explanation of the human condition that would finally make sense of why we haven’t been able to adequately nurture our infants—because with that compassionate insight it at last becomes psychologically safe to admit that nurturing is what made us human, thus allowing these ‘ultimate questions of human evolution’ to be answered.
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 5 The Origin of Humans’ Moral Instinctive Self or Soul
Chapter 5:6 Bonobos provide living evidence of the love-indoctrination process
While these recent fossil discoveries are providing exciting confirmation that our ape ancestors completed the development of the love-indoctrination process, of the living primate species, only Pan paniscus, the bonobos (or pygmy chimpanzees as they were once called because of their comparatively gracile bodies), have not only developed love-indoctrination, they appear to have come close to completing the love-indoctrination process to become a fully integrated Specie Individual; they are certainly by far the most cooperative/harmonious/gentle/loving/integrated of the non-human primates. It follows then that although there is no suggestion that bonobos or chimpanzees are a living human ancestor, comparisons have been made between bonobos and our ancestors. For instance, the physical anthropologist Adrienne Zihlman first proposed in 1978 ‘that, among living species, the pygmy chimpanzee (P. paniscus) offers us the best prototype of the prehominid ancestor’ (Adrienne L. Zihlman et al., ‘Pygmy chimpanzee as a possible prototype for the common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees and gorillas’, Nature, 1978, Vol.275, No.5682), using the then earliest known human ancestor, Australopithecus, to compare the two species’ physical characteristics, including their bipedality, canine teeth and lack of sexual size dimorphism. In 1996 Zihlman refined her assessment to include similarities with the (at the time) newly discovered Ardipithecus. In a further example, the primatologist Frans de Waal has noted the extraordinary similarity between Ardipithecus and the bonobo, saying, ‘The bonobo’s body proportions—its long legs and narrow shoulders—seem to perfectly fit the descriptions of Ardi, as do its relatively small canines’ (The Bonobo and the Atheist, 2013, p.61 of 289). (Note, although the bonobo male ‘possesses smaller canines than any other [male] hominoid [apes and their ancestors]’ (J. Michael Plavcan et al., ‘Competition, coalitions and canine size in primates’, Journal of Human Evolution, 1995, Vol.28, No.3), which, as explained in par. 406 above, is in itself a marker of low levels of aggression between males and thus a sign the love-indoctrination process is well underway in bonobo society, their canines do feature a sharp cutting edge that is absent in Ardipithecus, which suggests competitive fighting hasn’t been completely eliminated within bonobo society and that the process is not as advanced in bonobos as it was in Ardipithecus.) So bonobos (who, along with their chimpanzee cousins, share 98.7 percent of their DNA with humans) are physiologically extremely similar to our fossil ancestors, but beyond the physical similarities, some scientists are suggesting bonobo behaviour also corresponds with that of our ancestors. In addition to the view expressed above by Gen Suwa, that, like bonobos, Ardipithecus were not male dominated, Zihlman has suggested that ‘the Pan paniscus model offers another way to view the social life of early hominids, given their sociability, lack of male dominance and the female-centric features of their society’ (‘Reconstructions reconsidered: chimpanzee models and human evolution’, Great Ape Societies, eds William C. McGrew et al., 1996, p.301 of 352).
So given the exceptionally cooperatively behaved, matriarchal bonobo species has developed the love-indoctrination process, we should expect that they provide living evidence of the three elements previously identified as being required for that process to occur: bipedalism, ideal nursery conditions, and selection for more maternal mothers.
In relation to bipedalism, research confirms that bonobos are extremely well-adapted to upright walking; in fact, they are ‘the most bipedal of all the extant [living] apes’ (Roberto Macchiarelli et al., ‘Comparative analysis of the iliac trabecular architecture in extant and fossil primates by means of digital image processing techniques’, Hominoid Evolution and Climate Change in Europe: Vol.2, eds Louis de Bonis et al., 2001, p.71 of 372). As was explained earlier, we can now account for this bipedality, along with bonobos’ peaceful cooperative nature: the longer infancy is delayed, the more and longer infants had to be held, thus the greater need and, therefore, selection for arms-freed, upright walking.
As mentioned, ideal nursery conditions are the second requirement for establishing love-indoctrination—and bonobos have certainly benefited from a comfortable environment in the food-rich, relatively predator-and-competitor-free, ideal nursery conditions of the rainforests south of the Congo River. (Bonobos, for example, don’t have to compete with gorillas, who have a diet similar to that of the bonobo but who live north of the Congo River.) This fortuitous geographic situation is thought to have been created about 2 million years ago after the formation of the Congo River divided an ancestral population of what became, some 1 million years ago, the two distinct species of bonobos and chimpanzees, with the bonobos, Pan paniscus, as mentioned, living south of the river, while the chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, found themselves confined to areas north and east of the river.
The ideality of these nursery conditions, which have been so conducive to their successful development of the love-indoctrination process, and the resulting love-indoctrinated cooperativeness of the bonobos compared with that of their chimpanzee cousins, is apparent in this quote: ‘we may say that the pygmy chimpanzees historically have existed in a stable environment rich in sources of food. Pygmy chimpanzees appear conservative in their food habits and unlike common chimpanzees have developed a more cohesive social structure and elaborate inventory of sociosexual behavior…Prior to the Bantu (Mongo) agriculturists’ invasion into the central Zaire basin, the pygmy chimpanzees may have led a carefree life in a comparatively stable environment’ (Takayoshi Kano & Mbangi Mulavwa, ‘Feeding ecology of the pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus)’; The Pygmy Chimpanzee, ed. Randall Susman, 1984, p.271 of 435). Indeed, it is an indication of how difficult it is to develop love-indoctrination that even bonobos, living as they do in their ideal conditions, and who ‘have developed a more cohesive social structure’ than chimpanzees, still find it necessary to employ sex as an appeasement device to help subside residual tension and aggression between individuals; this is the ‘elaborate inventory of sociosexual behavior’ referred to in this quote. As Frans de Waal has written, ‘For these animals [bonobos], sexual behavior is indistinguishable from social behavior. Given its peacemaking and appeasement functions, it is not surprising that sex among bonobos occurs in so many different partner combinations, including between juveniles and adults. The need for peaceful coexistence is obviously not restricted to adult heterosexual pairs’ (‘Bonobo Sex and Society’, Scientific American, Mar. 1995<