Beyond The Human Condition
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Print Edition 6. Psychiatry
(The word ‘psychiatry’ comes from the Greek psyche
which means soul and iatreia which means
healing — literally ‘soul healing’.)
THE most destructive element of the human condition was the silence, the denial we had to practise. Unable to explain (defend) our upset state, we couldn’t acknowledge its existence.
To demonstrate this, let’s return to Adam Homo who now has a son, Tom. Since we instinctively expect the world to be like it was before upset developed, Tom’s instinct gives him certain expectations of a father. He expects an idealistic world where there is no anger, egocentricity or alienation. But his father is not idealistic. He is seldom home, always out trying to achieve a win for his ego. When he does come home, he is angry. When Tom asks why he is so aggressive and preoccupied, Adam can’t tell him. An unsuccessful attempt to explain his upset would be seen by an innocent (such as Tom) as an admission of badness. Since Adam isn’t bad his only options are to say nothing or contrive a false excuse.
Adam’s apparent denial of his upset leaves Tom no choice but to believe his father is bad, so he leaves home. Adam Homo is rejected by his own offspring. Condemned by his instinctive self, by nature and by those he loves, his despair is immense.
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Print Edition How much courage has been demanded of us! We can see now just how marvellous we humans are. We’ve endured so much injustice for so long it’s beyond appreciation — and may be for all time. The real Hell has been here on Earth. Nothing could be worse than making ourselves seem bad, ugly, destructive and wrong to further the cause of constructive good.
For copyright reasons I am unable to reproduce the lyrics of Joe Darian’s song The Impossible Dream from The Man of La Mancha (1965), paraphrased in part as follows:
Dreaming the impossible dream, fighting the unbeatable enemy, coping with unbearable sorrow, running where even the bravest wouldn’t dare go and righting unfixable wrongs . . . Being willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause . . . The world will be a better place now that one scorned, scarred man has striven with his last grain of courage to reach a seemingly unreachable star.
Humans are Development’s (or God’s) great heroes. We are wonderful and sublimely beautiful beings. We have so much to love ourselves for now. This ability to love ourselves and each other is the therapy we have longed for.
What happened in our lives was not the problem so much as our inability to understand why it was happening. If we knew why it was happening we could cope with it honestly. We could avoid becoming upset. Adam’s problem wasn’t taking the fruit, but his inability to explain why he took it.
Unable to explain their upset, parents could only deny it, give false explanations for it, or simply be silent about it. Kept in the dark about what was going on, children have been left with no alternative but to block out the pain their parents’ world of upset caused them.
. . . grown-ups are certainly very, very odd.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1945.
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Print Edition Since upset first appeared, each new generation has had to learn to repress its true self and adopt prevailing levels of evasion, denial and silence. Now, suddenly this pattern is broken and we can speak the truth.
For copyright reasons I am unable to reproduce the lyrics of Tracey Chapman’s song Why? (1986), paraphrased in part as follows:
Why do babies starve when there’s enough food in the world for everyone? Why are people still alone when there are so many people? Why are weapons that are aimed to kill called peace keepers? . . . Among all these questions and contradictions there are still some who seek the truth. Somebody will have to answer soon. The time is coming when blind people will remove their blinkers and the speechless will say the truth.
Children will no longer have to die inside themselves, adrift on a sea of silence, superficiality and what appear to be lies. They can be told why we are the way we are and be given the ability to reconcile the upset adult world with the ideal world they instinctively expect. Children will now cope with reality. They won’t have to resign themselves to a horrible world of evasion of the truth and repression and denial of the magic world of their souls.
The critical psychological point in our lives came when we resigned ourselves to reality. We were born into the world expecting it to be ideal and still like it was before upset appeared, only to discover it wasn’t.
Man is born free but is everywhere in chains.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Le Contrat Social, 1762 (published in English as The Social Contract, 1791).
At first we asked why it wasn’t ideal. We asked ‘Mummy, why do you and Daddy shout at each other?’ and ‘why are we going to a lavish party when that family down the road isPage 80 of
Print Edition living in poverty?’ and ‘why is there so much emphasis in the world on sex?’ and ‘why do men kill one another?’ and ‘why is everyone so unhappy and preoccupied?’ and ‘why is everyone so artificial and false?’. Unable to explain their upset world adults could only say something bewildering like ‘one day child you will learn life is more complex than it first appears’. In fact we soon learnt that for some reason, no-one wanted to hear these, what are in truth the real questions about human life.
While we stopped asking these questions that adults seemed to find so unsettling we continued to think them. Eventually, normally at about the age of sixteen, the time came when we decided we had to stop worrying about reality and just resign ourselves to it, as everyone else was doing. Usually what finally convinced us of the need to block out ideality was the discovery within ourselves of a depressing lack of idealism. We discovered the human condition without and within.
So we sensibly resigned ourselves to reality. We practised evading the unanswerable questions about the contradictory nature of human behaviour. Eventually the hypocrisy became invisible to us (hence the need, in the Introduction, to resurrect realisation of the hypocrisy). By the age of 40 most of us were so skilled at evasion we had lost all recall of the ideal state and saw nothing wrong with the world the way it was.
I don’t know many people over, say, 50 who really believe there’s a serious threat to the world. Most of the people I know under 30 really believe it.
Australian cartoonist Karen Cooke in the Sydney Morning Herald, December 12, 1986.
Incidentally, it can be appreciated here why it is difficult for most adults to read unevasive books. When a post-resignation mind reads information it has been evading, it blocks the information from coming through. Unaware how deeplyPage 81 of
Print Edition evasive or alienated we are, we think we find such books difficult to read because of the way they’re written. We say the language is too academic or the ideas are not clearly expressed. Christ, who spoke unevasively, understood the problem. He said Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. . . . The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God [you evade integrative meaning]. (The Bible, John 8:43—47).
There have always been conspiracy theories such as the world’s rich manipulating events to keep everyone else impoverished and under their control. There is something going on that is not talked about but what is it? What is the great silence on Earth? It is our complete denial of the world of our soul and all the idealistic truths and beauty that reside there. We have had to cope by repressing our soul and, unable to defend/explain what we were doing, we couldn’t talk about it. We are alienated but for most of the time we don’t admit it, even to ourselves. It is in our humour that the truth comes out. Our falseness is so transparent sometimes it’s funny and makes us laugh. (Note here that humour emerged with the human condition.) This book breaks this great silence on Earth; it flouts the rules of evasion. Coming from the unresigned, unevasive, unalienated world, it’s looking on our alienated world from outside. Because it’s unevasive it leaves most adults in shock and unable to respond to it.
We have had to be evasive because we couldn’t defend ourselves but having found our defence, I know I have the right and most importantly, the responsibility to break the silence. While the information in this book is innocent unevasive thought it has reached all the way to the full truth — it doesn’t criticise us as innocent thought almost always has done in the past — it is not another naive condemnation of humanity.
It was mentioned above that we don’t admit that we are alienated even to ourselves. We forget that we once abandoned idealism and resigned ourselves to realism. Proof ofPage 82 of
Print Edition the extent of this self-deception is the great numbers of people who go in search of the truth after resignation, often later in life or after having become born-again to the ideal world. If we realised how determinedly we had been blocking out the truth for virtually all our thinking lives, we would never claim any ability to be able to think truthfully again. To decide not to see and then claim to be able to see is complete hypocrisy. The number of people in recorded history who have been sufficiently innocent to avoid resignation can probably be counted on one hand and yet there are thousands of books claiming access to the truth!
Again, the exciting prospect now is that children will not have to resign themselves to reality. The most effective way to preserve the soul is not to let it go under in the first place. Avoiding resignation, they will retain the ability to think truthfully and thus effectively and, able to stay alive inside themselves, they will retain all their youthful happiness forever. They will be like gods compared to us, but doesn’t the world need them! The strength they’ll derive from their happiness will produce a zest for living and enthusiasm that will easily solve any remaining problems. Compared with the struggle against the intolerable burden of undeserved criticism by those who preceded them, the task of future generations will be easy.
The truly great heroes are those who lived during humanity’s defenceless adolescence, when the whole world effectively disowned them for their unavoidable divisiveness. For 2 million years, humanity has sent generation after generation against the wall of ignorance. We’ve been incredibly heroic.
Hokusai’s famous painting Under the Wave Off Kanagawa (pictured below) says it all. Look closely and you’ll see humans huddled in that long boat, which is actually moving forward and already has its bow through the great swell! And there are other boats following! Look at the cold fingers trying to pull them down. What courage!
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Courtesy the Board of Trustees, Victoria & Albert Museum