A Species In Denial—Resignation
Ships at sea
It has been explained that young adolescents can read my books with ease because they are unresigned and do not suffer from the deaf effect. Yet there is another smaller category of people who also can ‘hear’ description and analysis of the human condition. These people are what we in the WTM have come to term ‘ships at sea’.
Occasionally an individual refused to resign when they should Page 219 of
Print Edition have—they refused to ‘pull into port when the storms out at sea were raging’. Such people, perhaps one in a hundred, chose to hold onto an awareness of the idealistic true world rather than adopt the relieving but false option of blocking it out and living in denial. Although this allowed the person to retain their capacity to recognise and acknowledge the world of ideality and all the truths that emanate from that honest position, it also meant their corrupt self was constantly facing condemnation from idealism—they were constantly being ‘tossed about at sea’. People who refused to resign when they should have held the moral high ground in terms of not having given in, but the price was often madness; ‘ships at sea’ chose honest madness over alienated stability.
Every year the WTM receives a few letters from such ‘ships at sea’. Invariably the writers express immense relief at finally having the truthful world that they have held onto acknowledged and explained. The following is a recent example. While the author of this letter has given the WTM permission to publish her letter, we have withheld her name to protect her privacy. The underlinings and emphasis are her own. She wrote:
‘Dear Sirs, I’m taking the time to write to thank you for your book “Beyond The Human Condition”. I can not begin to put into words what this explanation has done for me.
Many years ago my Dad looked at me in his deep strange way and said—that rainbow you’re chasing isn’t there and you will be very unhappy when you discover that. Words to that effect. I loved the ground my Dad walked on and everything he said was to me “the truth of God” [note the innocent’s instinctive total trust in the world, which was explained earlier]. He was right about the rainbow. For the last several years it just seemed easier and it seemed that others were happier with me when I was selling out to the “Big Lie” (“The Big Lie” is what I call it). Material success came and I was friends with the type of people who say things like this, “all our friends live in big houses”. I remember that statement the best because I felt at that very moment “the wheels fall off”. Misery set in—I believed I was genetically predisposed to addictive chemicals (until now). I’m not exaggerating when I say I had to use drugs to cope with the whole set up (society), “The Big Lie”, the UPSET. I depended on the heroin haze to get thro’ each day. I’ve always known my soul is too sensitive to cope with the state of the world. A few weeks ago my hubby found me bawling in front of the TV. An elephant had been shot on “Foreign Correspondent”. There are many incidents like this. (I had been “clean”, that means no drugs) for 3 months. My Page 220 of
Print Edition hubby and I went to the Gold Coast for our holiday—big mistake that one except that’s where I bought your book—don’t go there. After speaking to the maintenance guy of our hotel following noticing there was no birds—yes you read right we saw 2 ibises on the whole of Surfers Paradise. The hotels/ motels/ units put some poison on their roofs—kills the birds. Each day I’m dying a little more. When I hear that stuff I feel like something gets torn out of my heart.
Anyway your book is brilliant. I finished it about one week ago and coincidentally I found my purpose and a way out of the ugliness and hate. I’m going into business—kind of non-profit eco thing. I’m happy and I feel good—after reading “Beyond The Human Condition” I can feel myself evolving and I can see in others an undescribable “knowing”. I think we (as humanity) are waking from the nightmare. This gives me hope, courage and purpose.
Keep up the great work guys. I’m still slaving for the government but not for much longer—at the moment the world is geared up to “suck your energy”. I recommend you listen to Dire Straits “Industrial Disease” and “Telegraph Road”. Truly wonderful lyrics and it always gives me confidence that I’m not alone in my inability to tolerate the “human condition”. There are others out there that can see the destruction.
I’ve raved on. Really I just wanted to say thanks—thanks for contributing this excellent literature to humanity—thank you for telling the truth and thanks for gifting us with such an insightful Foundation. If you have any I would love a “Adam Stork” sticker!!
I may write to you again soon, my new direction is still in the early research stage, any ideas/contribution (non-financial) would be appreciated.
Thanks again…29 years old’ (31 May 2000).
We can see how her father tried to warn her about the difficulty of holding out for ‘rainbows’—idealism—and the immense struggle that doing so caused her, but we can also see the exceptional sensitivity and truthful awareness she has retained as a result of resisting resignation.
In Consider Me Gone, the singer and songwriter Sting composed these words about the danger of trying to confront the dilemma of the human condition: ‘I’ve spent too many years at war with myself / The doctor has told me it’s no good for my health / To search for perfection is all very well / But to look for heaven is to live here in hell’ (from the 1985 album The Dream of the Blue Turtles).
In Giovanni’s Room (1956) the award-winning American author James Baldwin wrote: ‘Perhaps everybody has a Garden of Eden, I don’t Page 221 of
Print Edition know; but they have scarcely seen their garden before they see the flaming sword. Then, perhaps, life only offers the choice of remembering the garden or forgetting it. Either, or: it takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both. People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.’
The ‘ships at sea’ are those referred to by Baldwin as the ‘people who remember’ ‘the garden’ ‘of their innocence’, and as a result ‘court madness through [the] pain’ of it. As was mentioned in the Introduction, the biblical story of ‘the Garden of Eden’ is a metaphysical reference to our species’ time in cooperative innocence, the time before the corrupt state of the human condition emerged. It was also explained that the ‘flaming sword’ wielded by the angel Gabriel to prevent the banished Adam and Eve from returning to ‘the Garden of Eden’, was a metaphor for the depressing dilemma of the human condition that has kept humans out of the Garden of Eden—kept humans from returning to alienation-free soundness and sanity.
In this quote Baldwin courageously admitted how, once people are resigned, they have a ‘hatred of innocence’. As was explained earlier, this was because of the unjust condemnation innocence presented to those more alienated. Someone once said to me, ‘as far as I’m concerned the word “innocence” doesn’t exist’! That is how confronting and thus loathsome a concept it has been for some people.
Innocence was attacked, denied and repressed by the resigned world because of the condemnation innocence represented to the corrupted world of adults, just as it was within each human when they resigned. The trees, the wind, all of nature is ‘a friend’ of our original, innocent instinctive self or soul and by association has condemned humans for their lack of innocence; in response, humans have retaliated mightily against nature. The environmental or green movement, like almost everything in the resigned world of denial, proved to be empty rhetoric because it did not address the real issue involved in humans’ destruction of nature, namely the human condition, and in failing to do so was not a real attempt to end humans’ destruction of the natural world. Only by confronting and solving the human condition could the criticism the natural world represented be resolved, and the need to attack it be removed. In truth Page 222 of
Print Edition the green movement was just more ‘bullshit’, another ‘brick in the wall’ of the denial and delusion humans have lived off in the resigned world.
Baldwin’s belief that some people—the ‘heroes’ as he calls them—could both ‘remember’ and ‘forget’ is recognition that some people were less arrogant and deluded about their resigned, false, alienated state than others, and, as a result, were capable of at least alluding to the existence of another true world. That was a heroic thing to do because once you were resigned, breaking the silence, admitting to your alienation, being a little bit honest, ‘ratting on’ your condition, undermining or betraying yourself, did require considerable courage. The great literature of the resigned world, such as the examples given from the writings of Patrick White and Alan Paton and others in the Introduction, is ‘great’ precisely because of its honesty in breaching the fortress of denial in the face of the overwhelming necessity to maintain that fortress.
The courage required to disown your resignation was different to the courage of ‘ships at sea’ who avoided resigning when their corrupted condition dictated that they should. Similarly the ‘pain’ associated with avoiding resignation was different to the ‘pain’ from the loss of clarity and integrity that came with having resigned and become alienated.
There has been another heroic response to the human condition, in this case one that involved despising and mocking the resigned structure, despite being part of it—being as we say, ‘larger than life’. 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. It was actually the degree of honesty in two individuals, one a ‘ship at sea’ and the other a ‘larger than life’ character, who helped save me from total bewilderment and estrangement when I was defying the resigned world of denial as a young adult. I will talk a little about my journey in the essay titled The Demystification Of Religion.