A Species In Denial—The Demysticification of Religion
The authority of an unresigned prophet
A person cannot be secure enough to look into the human condition and be an insecure, self-opinionated, arrogant, deluded megalomaniacal seeker of fame, fortune, power and glory. The question remains however, if you are secure then why do you need to claim to be a prophet and make such dogmatic statements as ‘the human condition has been solved’, and such and such an explanation ‘is the Page 455 of
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What needs to be explained is the difference between the authority of a denial-free, unresigned mind and the arrogance of a deluded mind. While resigned, evasive thinking is blind, uncertain and egocentric, unevasive thinking is not. Evading such fundamental truths as integrative meaning, the significance of nurturing in human life and the existence of humans’ alienated state means evasive thinking progresses from a false basis and as a result is not in a strong position to know if ideas are true or not. Operating in a false framework, resigned thinking is insecure and uncertain. Unresigned thinking on the other hand, progressing from a truthful basis, has an infinitely greater capacity to know if an idea is right or wrong.
Living with the truth an unresigned mind can be certain in its thinking, it can know when its thinking is right and when it is wrong. If we are standing in a well-lit room and someone asks where the chair is in the room we can say exactly where it is without being considered arrogant. If we are metaphorically living in a dark room—in Plato’s dark cave of denial—and someone asks where the chair is, all we can say is ‘I think it is possibly over there somewhere’. Christ described this reality of the alienated state: ‘The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going’ (John 12:35). The reason people ‘walk in the dark’ was also explained by Christ using this light analogy when he said, ‘everyone who does evil hates the light [the truth], and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed’ (John 3:20).
Unresigned prophets could think truthfully. They were not uncertain in their thinking like resigned minds. They were not making an arrogant statement when they said ‘the chair is there’, rather they were simply making a truthful, authoritative statement. As was said in the Bible about Christ, he taught ‘as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law’ (Matt. 7:29).
Denial-free, holistic thinkers have an authoritativeness that evasive, mechanistic thinkers aren’t capable of and find difficult to comprehend. In fact resigned, evasive, mechanistic thinkers tend to project their insecure view of the world and assume the authoritativeness is arrogance. They forget that having adopted denial they have forfeited the ability to think truthfully and thus effectively. Victims of incest, after finding they cannot comprehend such abuse often Page 456 of
Print Edition decide they have no choice other than to block out any memory of it. ‘Repressed memories’, living in denial of an issue, is a common enough coping mechanism, but there is a down side or penalty to such practice. In the case of the incest victim, having blocked the issue from their minds they are in no position to think truthfully and thus effectively about their psychological state. Humans who are resigned to living in denial of the crux issue in all human affairs of the human condition—and along with it denial of all the truths that bring the human condition into focus, such as of integrative meaning and the extent of human alienation—have basically forfeited the ability to think truthfully. So fundamentally false is the paradigm they are living in that subjectivity for them cannot be trusted. Christ explained the comparative integrity of unresigned thought when he said, ‘if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father who sent me [I don’t live in denial of and thus am truthfully guided by integrative meaning]’ (John 8: 16).
Christ also forthrightly acknowledged his innocence, his uncorrupted, unresigned, alienation-free, sound state when he said, ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30), and ‘The Father is in me, and I in him’ (John 14:10, 10:38).
Prophets have always been accused of being arrogant and deluded. Christ claimed to be the son of God (see particularly John 5:16-30, but also Matt. 26:64, Mark 14:62, John 17:1) and he said such things as ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6). To the resigned mind such statements could appear as arrogant, and the person making them as deluded. In fact ‘The Jews insisted “…he [Christ] must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God”’ (John 19:7) and Christ was subsequently mocked with a crown of thorns and put to death. In truth it was Christ’s innocence and unresigned honesty that exposed and threatened the resigned mind and caused the resigned mind to murder him. His claimed arrogance in saying he was the son of God was merely the excuse used to eliminate his confronting presence. Ironically Christ’s persecutors only ended up martyring his soundness and honesty. As mentioned, the martyrdom of Christ’s soundness and truth is the real meaning of Christ’s ‘resurrection from the dead’.
While it was claimed that Christ was deluded and arrogant for saying he was the son of God, the truth is he was neither deluded nor arrogant. He was simply being honest, as history has verified. The soundness of Christ has stood the test of experience. He was an uncorrupted expression of humans’ integratively orientated soul, he Page 457 of
Print Edition was the ‘son of God’, he was a pure expression of integrativeness. He could not have confronted the human condition as he was so clearly able to do if he was deluded and arrogant. History of course wasn’t needed to verify Christ’s soundness. Listening to his words, humans’ repressed, unevasive, subconscious self instantly knew the depth of his soundness, while humans’ surface, evasive, resigned self instantly knew how confronting that soundness was. Persecuting Christ for his innocent, denial-free honesty was acknowledgment by his persecutors that they knew full well he was the exact opposite of the deluded and arrogant person their evasive, resigned self was accusing him of being.
It is not difficult to find examples of the authority of unevasive truthful thinkers. In P.H. Butter’s Introduction to his 1982 book, William Blake Selected Poems, he talked of William Blake being a prophet: ‘The prophet is also a spokesman for God…Blake claimed in a letter in 1803 to have completed “the Grandest Poem that this World Contains…I may praise it, since I dare not pretend to be any other than the Secretary; the Authors are in Eternity.” His belief in inspiration contributed to that “terrifying” honesty which T.S. Eliot saw in him’ (p.xiii of 267). Unlike resigned adults, prophets were not evasive of the truth of integrative or cooperative meaning or God. As it says in the Bible prophets were able to ‘delight in the fear of the Lord’ (Isa. 11:3). This unevasiveness is what allowed prophets to think truthfully and thus effectively—to be, as the aforementioned definition of a prophet states, ‘someone who speaks for God’.
Like Blake, when he stated, ‘I may praise it, since I dare not pretend to be any other than the Secretary; the Authors are in Eternity’, Christ explained his denial-free, unevasive, integrative-meaning-accessing, sound, secure, non-egocentric state when he said, ‘By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me’ (John 5:30) and ‘He who speaks on his own does so to gain honour for himself, but he who works for the honour of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him’ (John 7:18). Prophets were the very essence of humility. They were the least egocentric of people. To quote Moses they ‘served the Lord’ (see Deut. 34:5) not their ego. They stood by the truth of integrative meaning but when they did they were misrepresented as being arrogant.
The unresigned prophet Sir Laurens van der Post was misunderstood as being arrogant, egotistical and dogmatic, writing in one of his books that he was ‘accused of always knowing better, and being dogmatic Page 458 of
Print Edition and domineering in my ways and in the advice I gave. As far as I was concerned, this was not in the least due to any hidden, egotistical agenda in my spirit’ (The Admiral’s Baby, 1996, p.142 of 340). In the Plato essay it was described how J.D.F. Jones attempted to ‘crucify’ Sir Laurens van der Post as a liar and a charlatan in his 2001 ‘biography’. I pointed out that if Sir Laurens were guilty of exaggeration, it wasn’t because he was arrogant and egocentric, rather it was because of the need to counter the immense loneliness of being a denial-free thinker. The real motivation for J.D.F. Jones’ book was that Sir Laurens had an unresigned prophet’s authoritativeness and capability to reveal the truth about the human condition—attributes that J.D.F. Jones’ resigned world found unbearable.
One of the greatest Indian chiefs to emerge during the invasion of the American west and the associated virtual genocide of the plains Indians by the Europeans, was the American Indian chief Tashunkewitko or Crazy Horse. The largest sculpture in the world is a sculpture of Crazy Horse that is slowly being carved out of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Crazy Horse was undoubtedly an unresigned thinker or prophet. He was instrumental in the defeat of General Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn and was never defeated in battle. He was one of the few plains Indian chiefs who never sold out to the invading whites and in the end, like Christ, died a martyr’s death with his own people accomplices to his murder. His complete incorruptibility was due to his ability to stay in the denial-free true world. As is explained in the Resignation essay, once you have resigned you have in a sense already sold out, your paradigm is not a clean one, and so it is much easier to sell out again. On the other hand if you haven’t resigned, sold out, you are holding onto something pure, true and precious and that gives you immense strength. The following quote about Crazy Horse is from the best-selling book that told of the demise of the plains Indians, Dee Brown’s 1971 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: ‘Since the time of his youth, Crazy Horse had known that the world men lived in was only a shadow of the real world. To get into the real world, he had to dream, and when he was in the real world everything seemed to float or dance. In this real world his horse danced as if it were wild or crazy, and this was why he called himself Crazy Horse. He had learned that if he dreamed himself into the real world before going into a fight, he could endure anything. On this day, June 17, 1876, [in the lead up to the battle of Little Bighorn] Crazy Horse dreamed himself into the real world, and he showed the Sioux how to do many things Page 459 of
Print Edition they had never done before while fighting the white man’s soldiers’ (p.230 of 392). Note the assertion that Crazy Horse named himself and that the name he gave himself acknowledged his unevasive access to the true world.
In the insecure, resigned, evasive world, acts of self-acknowledgment were especially distrusted because in that world they were more than likely to be symptoms of delusions of grandeur than expressions of soundness. Self-acknowledgment and self-commendation in the insecure world was a case of arrogance, however in the secure, unresigned, denial-free world it was simply a case of stating the truth. Acknowledging myself as a prophet is not self-glorification, it is simply truthful, necessary self-description. Blake was pointing out that his self-commendation was authority and not arrogance when he said, ‘I may praise it, since I dare not pretend to be any other than the Secretary; the Authors are in Eternity.’ Similarly Christ taught ‘as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law’ (Matt. 7:29). Self-acknowledgment in the secure, denial-free world is simply a case of telling the truth. It is honest, necessary self-description, not arrogant, deluded self-promotion. A prophet acknowledging himself as a prophet is not arrogance but authority.
At this point I might relate an incident that illustrates the gulf between resigned, insecure, denial-complying, mechanistic thinkers, and true (as opposed to ‘false’) unresigned, secure, denial-free, holistic thinkers or prophets. In January 1983 I met with Professor Anthony Barnett, head of the biology faculty, at the Australian National University in Canberra. At that time Professor Barnett was presenting a weekly radio program called the Biological Images of Man. In the program he warned listeners that scientific theories, such as the selfish-gene-emphasising theory of Sociobiology, were not necessarily correct. Impressed by this warning about the limitations of mechanistic science, and other comments that effectively acknowledged the need for science to be more holistic (a rare admission in those days), I arranged a meeting with him. Unfortunately my efforts to have him consider my explanations of the human condition failed. As soon as I took the discussion into the realm of the human condition by pointing out that resistance to holism occurs for the good reason that holism confronts humans with their lack of compliance with holism—that humans are divisively rather than integratively behaved—Professor Barnett became agitated. When I persevered our dialogue became heated. Finally Professor Barnett ended the meeting Page 460 of
Print Edition with this outburst: ‘Listen, 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 [all-confronting, macro] scale about the human condition, and I’m not sure that you’re one of them’ (in a recorded interview, Jan. 1983).
The first point I would like to make is that this statement was extremely valuable to me at the time because in the heat of the moment Professor Barnett broke the rules or etiquette of denial. He broke the code of silence and acknowledged firstly that the issue of the human condition exists, and secondly that people are living in denial of it. These were truths that I knew but to hear them acknowledged by a professor from the world of denial was very relieving. Living in a world of total silence about what has been going on has not been easy.
Secondly in regard to Professor Barnett’s insinuation that I must be deluded and suffering from hubris, I said to him that the intention of my visit was not to arrogantly want him to blindly accept anything I was saying as truth, only to have him consider the merits of the rational explanations I was putting forward. While scepticism about such extraordinary claims, such as that with the help of science I have solved the human condition, are entirely justified and necessary, it does not justify summary rejection and intolerance. The ultimate reason for democracy and the principle of freedom of expression was to allow the human condition to be addressed and ultimately answered. Without tolerance in society, human prejudice, scepticism and fear would stop anyone from ever addressing the human condition or having their explanation of it considered, and humanity could never hope to free itself from the human condition. Despite the odds against someone being able to confront and solve the human condition, there has always been and had to be so-called ‘hope and faith’, with the unsaid words following this expression being that one day, somewhere, some place, some one will be able to confront and solve the human condition.
The hypocrisy of Professor Barnett’s position, and other scientists, who in the last 25 years of the 20th century have sought to make science more holistic, is that unless he and they are prepared to consider explanation of the human condition, which as Barnett demonstrates they are often not, then they have no sincere intention of introducing holism. They are in fact mechanists masquerading as holists.