A celebration of life
One of my most favourite pastimes as a child was to be with my step grandmother, Mave. Visiting Mave was like running away with your best mate and embarking on some unknown, naughty adventure into a world of wonder, discovery and delight. And leaving would often result in tears as I faced the massive disappointment of having to return to the world of the mundane and ordinary.
To me, Mave was an unexpected and extraordinary gift of life in a world that had become so life-less under the agony and duress of the human condition. Even upon her recent death, Mave’s ‘larger-than-life’ spirit is alive and with me more than ever, defying death as she had always defied the human-condition-crippled world, by celebrating life itself—breaking out in song and dance at the most unexpected moments and taking pleasure in her sacred love of the simple, natural world of the bush and the sea and in beautiful and meaningful works of music and literature. Infuriatingly for some, Mave was forever questioning and refusing the status quo, pushing the boundaries and taking you places you’d never dare go without her fearlessly leading the way.
Jeremy explains that this ‘larger than life’ strategy is another ‘heroic response to the human condition, in this case one that involved despising and mocking the resigned structure, despite being part of it. The character Zorba from Nikos Kazantzakis’ classic 1947 book (and subsequent film) Zorba the Greek was someone who was larger than life. He was often irresponsible, and even destructive, but in his crazy way defied, and even to some degree escaped, the confines of the human condition.’ (A Species in Denial, Ships at Sea).
The human condition really has been so all-consuming and so oppressive of our lives. Before we could fully understand the terrifying issue of our highly imperfect selves, we had no choice but to deny and bury it and avoid anything that brought the issue of ‘self’ into focus and that is why we have become so alienated from our real selves and the real world. Our world necessarily became extremely fearful, shallow and small, to the point where we have been living, as Jeremy describes, on the ‘surface meniscus of life, confined to a dark, deadened, estranged, blocked-out, alienated, cave-like, almost totally superficial and artificial state’ (Freedom: Expanded Book 1, How Alienated did we become?).
Now that I can appreciate the depth of our, and my own, insecurity and alienation through this explanation of the human condition, I can understand why I so deeply treasured Mave’s defiance of the way things were, why I loved her infectious enthusiasm and energy and why her courage in attempting to live above it all was so inspiring—especially when she, like every other human, suffered her own immense personal pain from her encounter with the human condition. But that is the incredible courage that all humans have shown in having to live out all the horror and upset of the human condition, while still functioning enough to participate in the search for knowledge to solve the whole life-sapping dilemma! No wonder we are all so completely and utterly exhausted and battle weary.
When I really think about that, I am absolutely astonished by the scale of what humanity has achieved under the burden of that condition—that it has managed to gather all the bits of knowledge needed to explain the human condition and thread them through history, ready for the right person from a little corner of the world that was still sheltered enough to love and nurture the purity of a child’s mind and soul sufficiently to keep them alive inside so that they could complete the work that the whole of humanity has been working towards. That mind, Jeremy’s mind, had to stay open and honest, questioning and strong, loving and selfless enough to resist the world of denial, synthesise all the combined knowledge and solve the human condition, no less! And as a result, we are all FREE!! Through this compassionate biological explanation of ourselves all the fear, pain, suffering and alienation can end, because our conscious minds can now understand our greatest fear, our un-ideal selves and why that side of ourselves has so legitimately existed. The human race can actually come alive again and access all the dimensions and depths of existence that we have been denied for so long!
As difficult as it is for our resigned minds to absorb, it is true!! And with this most wonderful gift of insight, understanding and freedom, rather than mourn Mave’s death I am able to truly celebrate with her, knowing the incredible meaningfulness of her life and the role she played in the greater human journey and knowing in my bones that she, with all her enthusiasm and defiance in life, will be with me, always. A most fabulous story and truth that all humans will now be able to access, as Jeremy so beautifully articulates in A Species In Denial (The Demystification of Religion: Afterlife explained):
“Now that it is possible to understand the human condition, understand that humans were actually good and not bad, were indeed part of ‘God’s’ great plan—a profound part of the development of order of matter on Earth—it can be understood that all human effort since time immemorial has been meaningful. Humans can now understand that each and every human life is extraordinarily significant and that their efforts on Earth, the real essence of their being, do carry on and endure. The spirit of humans, the enormous courage that they have exhibited on the journey to enlightenment through the incredible darkness, loneliness and hardship of having to live in denial, lives on in each of us and is carried on in all subsequent generations…Sir Laurens van der Post described how humans carry on in an even greater way after their physical death when he wrote: ‘We make a great mistake when we think that people whose lives have been intimately woven into our own, cease to influence us when they die…The dead become part of the dynamics of our spirit, of the basic symbolism of our minds. They join the infinite ranks of the past, as vast as the hosts of the future, and so much greater than our own little huddle of people in the present’ (The Face Beside the Fire, 1953, p.63 of 311).”