The Great Exodus
41. The last 11,000 years when Imposed Discipline and Religion were developed
As a result of this situation where adopting pseudo idealism was resisted and even abandoned and the upsetting search for knowledge was continuing, we can expect that from 50,000 years ago to 11,000 years ago upset would have continued in its compounding nose-dive rate of increase. In other words the advent of pseudo idealism would not have greatly lessened the now dangerously rapid rate of increase of upset in humans.
What happened around 11,000 years ago to dramatically increase the level of upset in humans and take the graph of its increase into almost vertical descent was the advent of agriculture and the domestication of animals that began around that time. Why agriculture and domestication of animals lead to an even greater increase in upset than was already occurring is the effect living close together in numbers—which is what these developments made possible—had on the spread and increase in upset in humans. As was explained earlier when the effect of the ice ages was being described, the closer humans lived during humanity’s adolescence and/or the more difficult the living conditions, the greater the spread and thus increase of upset. Coexisting under the strain of the human condition dramatically accentuated the difficulties encountered by humans who were living with upset. Isolation from encounters with the battle of the human condition minimised the spread of upset or soul-exhaustion. If we were each alone with our level of Page 187 of
PDF Version exhaustion we would not be criticised by the fresher souls or corrupted by the more battle-worn. Jean-Paul Sartre’s comment that ‘Hell is other people’ encapsulated the difficulty of upset, alienated people trying to live with each other. The more people interacted the more effect one person’s upset had on another. Isolation from others preserved innocence while the lack of it contributed to the destruction of innocence. To take the extreme situation, innocence did not survive long in New York’s Times Square or in Sydney’s Kings Cross where drug pushers, prostitutes and muggers worked the streets while extravagant, chauffeur-driven limousines cruised by. As was mentioned earlier, the prophet Mohammed said ‘every prophet was a shepherd in his youth’. There was a good reason for this. Only individuals who were extremely sheltered from the horror of the effects of the human condition, such as natural living and almost totally isolated shepherds, were going to be sufficiently free of exposure to the corrupted upset state of the human condition and thus sufficiently free of needing to adopt denial, delusion and alienation to be, as Berdyaev said, capable of a ‘prophetic’ ‘critique of pure conscience’. The more humans lived in close proximity the more upset spread and grew.
The introduction of agriculture and the domestication of animals from 11,000 years ago onwards brought about a more sedentary lifestyle for humans and with it closer interaction which in turn led to an even more rapid increase in upset than was already occurring. By some 4,000 years ago (2,000 ) the development of villages, the movement by people into specialised occupations, the beginnings of trade and industry and the close interaction between humans that each development inevitably brought led to humans becoming so upset that some could no longer contain their upset and had to live it out, let it express itself if they were to find any relief from the pressure of being so upset. Men especially began to feel the periodic need to go on a rampage of raping and pillaging. The 13th century Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan could be described as someone who lived out his upset to the full. Every day he satisfied his anger with bloodletting, his egocentricity through the domination of others, and his mind or spirit by blocking out any feelings of guilt or remorse coming from instincts within himself; to quote the words of the words of a Yomut Turkoman Mongol marauder: ‘I do not have a mill with willow trees, I have a horse and a whip. I will kill you and go’ (The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin, 1987, p.221 of 325).
The periodic feelings of needing to go on the rampage and express unbearable levels of upset resulted in endless rounds of payback warfare where warriors from one tribe or village would raid another tribe for their material goods and maidens which in turn would provoke a counter raid and so it went on. Clearly at this point, where the upset in humans had become so great that the constant warfare and killing and raping of other humans was being carried out in wave after wave of ever-increasing ferocity and brutality, a new way of restraining upset simply had to be invented. The truth is that despite Genghis Khan or the Yomut Turkoman marauder obtaining some relief from feeling so upset by rampaging across the world, there would have been no inner peace in their own lives, nor, more significantly, any peace in their blood-soaked worlds.
What emerged to address this overwhelming need for a new form of restraint was the first major social form of control, Imposed Discipline—an agreed upon set of rules and laws enforcing social (integrative) behaviour through threat of punishment. Once it was developed this new form of restraint proved very effective. For example, around the time of the arrival of Europeans to North America a grand union of Indian tribes, known as the Iroquois Confederacy, was formed by two Indian prophets, Hiawatha and ‘The Great Peacemaker’. These prophets realised that the endless rounds of payback warfare Page 188 of
PDF Version between and within the tribes could only be prevented by everyone agreeing to a set of restraining rules that were enforced by punishment. The result proved so effective that the Confederacy rapidly emerged as one of the strongest forces in north-eastern North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. Parallels can be drawn with the way in which the Jewish prophet Moses effectively brought order to the Israelite Nation through his Ten Commandments some 1,500 years .
Before talking more about the effect of Imposed Discipline on the march of upset it is necessary to briefly return to the case of individual humans who adopted a born again to cooperative idealism, pseudo idealistic lifestyle in their 40s. Given the falseness and cowardice of adopting the pseudo idealistic way of living there was, as has been explained, a reluctance to live that way and those who did were inclined to tire of it and abandon it. Not only did those taking it up become disenchanted by the deluded lifestyle, they were also becoming so upset by their late 40s that their anger was continually breaking through to the surface of their lives. As was described in the explanation for the Japanese proverb presented earlier, 50 year old men were ‘criminals’ in the sense that they were beaten on every front and had become bitter and vengeful; their attempts to win power, fame, fortune and glory had not proved satisfying, nor had the fraudulent, immensely deluded life of being born again to the soul’s world of idealism. This ‘grumpy old man’, vengeful, burnt-out, empty, sad state that men inhabited by the time they reached 50 and beyond was perfectly described by T.S. Eliot in his 1925 poem The Hollow Men: ‘We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men / Leaning together / Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! / Our dried voices, when / We whisper together / Are quiet and meaningless / As wind in dry grass / Or rats’ feet over broken glass / In our dry cellar // Shape without form, shade without colour / Paralysed force, gesture without motion //…This is the dead land / This is cactus land / Here the stone images / Are raised, here they receive / The supplication of a dead man’s hand / Under the twinkle of a fading star // Is it like this / In death’s other kingdom / Waking alone / At the hour when we are / Trembling with tenderness / Lips that would kiss / Form prayers to broken stone // The eyes are not here / There are no eyes here / In this valley of dying stars / In this hollow valley / This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms // In this last of meeting places / We grope together / And avoid speech / Gathered on this beach of the tumid river //…Between the desire / And the spasm / Between the potency / And the existence / Between the essence / And the descent / Falls the Shadow /…This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper’ (T.S. Eliot Selected Poems, 1954, pp.77—80 of 127).
For women, ageing during humanity’s adolescence was, in its own way, similarly horrible because it meant the loss of the image of innocence they depended on for reinforcement; the loss of their sex-object ‘attractiveness’, and with it, the loss of their meaning in the world—a source of meaningfulness that all women’s’ magazines that focus entirely on how to be ‘attractive’ are testament to. When women are young their beauty is generally so empowering it is as if they own the world, but when they become older and their beauty/ ‘attractiveness’/ innocence fades they discover that they have become invisible; when they walk in the streets they are no longer noticed. While men become ‘hollow’, women become ‘invisible’; you see older couples walking together in the park united by their comparable afflictions. This quote from the French beauty therapist Diane Delaheve describes how devastating it can be for women to lose their sex appeal: ‘Her eyes, the mirror of her soul, speak nothing but despair. Her face may have kept its beauty, but it has become Page 189 of
PDF Version a picture of affliction. For some women, the prospect of age is sheer tragedy, worse than death, which might be seen as an escape’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 4 Sept. 1988).
In his 1947 novel Zorba The Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis gave this stark account of how difficult women have found losing their sex appeal: ‘“But what do you mean, Zorba?” I replied. “Do you seriously think all women have nothing else but that [sexual attention] in mind?” “Yes, boss, they’ve nothing else in mind. Listen to me, now—I’ve seen all sorts, and I’ve done all kinds of things—A woman has nothing else in view. She’s a sickly creature, I tell you, and fretful. If you don’t tell her you love and want her, she starts crying. Maybe she doesn’t want you at all, maybe you disgust her, maybe she says no. That’s another story. But all men who see her must desire her. That’s what she wants, the poor creature, so you might try and please her! I had a grandmother, she must have been eighty. What a tale that old soul’s life would make! Never mind, that’s another story, too—Well, she must have been eighty in the shade, and opposite our house lived a young girl as fresh as a flower—Krystallo she was called. Every Saturday evening, raw young bloods of the village would meet for a drink, and the wine made us lively. We stuck a sprig of basil behind our ears, one of my cousins took his guitar, and we went serenading. What love! What passion! We bellowed like bulls! We all wanted her, and every Saturday we went in a herd for her to make her choice…So every Saturday the old girl pulled her mattress up to the window, took out her little mirror and combed away at the little bits of thatch she had left, and carefully made a parting. She’d look round slyly, for fear someone saw her. If anyone came near, she’d snuggle back and look as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, pretending she was dozing. But how could she sleep? She was waiting for the serenade. At eighty! You see what a mystery woman is, boss! Just now it makes me want to cry. But at that time I was just harum-scarum, I didn’t understand and it made me laugh. One day I got annoyed with her. She was hauling me over the coals because I was running after the girls, so I told her straight out where to get off: ‘Why do you rub walnut leaves over your lips every Saturday, and part your hair? I s’pose you think we come to serenade you? It’s Krystallo we’re after. You’re just a stinking old corpse!’ Would you believe it, boss! That day was the first time I knew what a woman was. Two tears sprang into my grandma’s eyes. She curled up like a dog, and her chin trembled. ‘Krystallo!’ I shouted, going nearer so as she’d hear better, ‘Krystallo!’ Young people are cruel beasts, they’re inhuman, they don’t understand. My grandma raised her skinny arms to heaven. ‘Curse you from the bottom of my heart!’ she cried. That very day she started to go into a decline. She wasted away and two months later, her days were numbered”’ (pp.52—53 of 315).
There has been an added dimension to the situation faced by older women. As was explained in Section 22, women were not responsible for the main battle of having to champion the ego over ignorance. As a result of this women found that their role of living in support of the battle was limited. A common observation of a woman’s life has been that she progresses from ‘bimbo, breeder, babysitter to burden’. Men, able to be involved in the battle of championing the ego, do not face the prospect of one day feeling they are a ‘burden’ to the extent that women do. In his 1993 book The Fisher King & The Handless Maiden, the American Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson relates the myth of the Handless Maiden. In it, a miller makes a deal with the devil in order to complete more work with less effort. The devil demands the miller’s daughter as payment. ‘The miller is desolate but unwilling to give up his much expanded mill, so he gives his daughter to the devil. The devil chops off her hands and carries them away’ (p.59 of 103). Waited on by her newly prosperous family, the handless maiden is content for a time, until her growing sense of desperation sends her out to the forest alone. Johnson explains that the cry of women, like that of the handless maiden, is ‘What can I do? I feel so useless or second-rate and inferior in this world that puts its women on the rubbish heap when they are through with courtship and childbearing!’ (p.56).
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PDF Version In Section 25 it was mentioned that the artist Francis Bacon depicted the human condition as honestly as anyone has ever managed to write about it. Ralph Steadman is another whose drawings have always managed to wrench to the surface the truth of the full horror of the predicament of humans during humanity’s insecure adolescence. His work includes one particularly revealing drawing that depicts humans as reptilian monsters. It features in Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 classic novel about the human condition, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and is reproduced below. Humans live in such denial of the extent of their alienation that it is only in pictures such as this, or in exceptionally honest passages of literature, such as those just included from the writings of T.S. Eliot and Nikos Kazantzakis, that the true extent of the corruption of humans’ soul is revealed. For example, the eyes of the main dragon in this drawing show the hollowness that T.S. Eliot wrote about: ‘This is the dead land / This is cactus land’. Also apparent is the terribly sad, ‘sickly creature’, ‘old corpse’ state of women that Kazantzakis described so honestly.
In effect the maturation of our own lives from 40 years on followed the maturation that has been described for humanity through that equivalent age. The out-of-control, all-restraints-thrown-to-the-wind, rampaging, warring state that humanity arrived at was equivalent to the beaten-on-every-front, bitter and vengeful, burnt-out, ‘dead…cactus land’ grumpy old man and ‘sickly creature’, ‘old corpse’ state of women.
Thank heavens this tragic state of the human condition that humans have so courageously had to endure as best they could can finally end and our true self can be restored! The arrival of understanding of the human condition finally makes it possible for Insecure Adolescentman to mature to Secure Adultman.
The question arises, if all humans who have lived since 60,000 years ago belong to the 40-year-old-equivalent, Pseudo Idealistic Adolescentman stage, why were the hunter-gatherers of recent times described earlier as being in the procrastinating teenage-equivalent stage, and the herding Caucasians described as having entered the adventurous 20-year-old-equivalent stage? What is being described is another level of refinement of the already established stages. The first T-model Ford car had all the basic elements of a car in place but that did not mean the elements could not become much more refined. Page 191 of
PDF Version The relatively innocent hunter-gatherer Bushmen people of the Kalahari Desert have all the basic adjustments in place for managing extreme upset. They are civilised, instinctively restrained from living out all their upsets; they don’t generally attack when they feel frustrated and angry. They have a form of marriage to artificially contain sexual adventurousness. They clothe their genitals to dampen lust. The women love to wear adornments such as jewellery; they are adapted to being sex objects. The men love hunting animals; they find relief from attacking innocence. Men and women don’t relate to each other as well as their own gender; there is a lack of understanding between the sexes. They make jokes about their fraudulent state; they employ a sense of humour to lighten the load of the agony of being so corrupted and fraudulent. They employ fatigue-inducing dance to access their repressed soul. In short they are members of Pseudo Idealistic Adolescentman. While they have these basic adjustments for managing extreme upset well in place, they are still a relatively innocent race compared to the adventurous, high-spirited Vikings, or the embattled, angry Mongols who raided Europe.
To return to humanity’s journey, effective as Imposed Discipline was in containing upset, it did have a limitation, which was that restraining your upset through fear of punishment was a negative, oppressive way to have to live; complying with laws out of fear is not a very spiritually inspiring existence. In time, as levels of upset continued to grow, it became apparent that what was needed was a more personally satisfying form of restraint, and the solution that arose was religion.
The essential premise of religion is that it requires individuals to defer to the soundness of self and resulting integrity of thought of a great prophet, or prophets. As was explained earlier in this book, obviously a great range or spectrum of upset exists amongst humans. Some people have been more exposed to the upsetting battle that humanity has been waging against the ignorant instinctive state than others. Prophets were simply those individuals at the extreme innocent end of that spectrum, individuals who had relatively little exposure to upset and who were thus relatively sound in self, relatively free of the psychological block-out, denial and its alienation, that upset humans have historically had to employ to varying degrees to protect themselves from the condemning criticism of their corrupted condition. Again, the word ‘holy’, as it is used to describe prophets, literally means whole or entire; it has the same origins as the Saxon word ‘whole’ and thus confirms the prophets’ wholeness or soundness or lack of alienation. It was no coincidence that it was prophets from amongst the native American Indian nation and the prophet Moses of the Israelites who had the clarity of insight to introduce the great social revolutions referred to above. Alienation with all its defensive dishonest denials is not in a position to think truthfully and thus effectively. It can’t think in a way that is free of distortion. You simply can’t think effectively with lies. It is this purity of prophets and their honesty, soundness and effectiveness of thinking that offered upset humans a way to overcome the problem of their corrupted condition. Rather than live out and live through your upset self you placed your faith in the purity, soundness and truth of the prophet, and in doing so you were, as has been said, effectively ‘born again’ from your upset angry, egocentric and alienated state to that of a well behaved, ‘good’ person.
As will become clear in the explanations and descriptions of the different forms of pseudo idealism that developed after religion, religions represented the first and greatest of all refinements of the born again, pseudo idealistic way of living. In religion the form of idealism or ‘goodness’ that you became supportive of in order to feel good about yourself Page 192 of
PDF Version was the ultimate form of goodness available in the corrupt world that a person could possibly find to defer to and live through, namely the actual embodiment of uncorrupted, integration-orientated, Godly soundness in the form of an exceptionally innocent prophet.
Compared to living under the oppressive yoke of Imposed Discipline—the strategy that had been developed to contain the outbreak of violent levels of upset in society—the great benefit of religion was that you were actively participating in goodness rather than having it forced upon you; you felt you were on the side of right at last, that you were righteous, and, as a result, you gained immense relief from the guilt of being so overly upset. Through your support of the religion’s prophet you could participate in idealism, be living on the side of idealism instead of feeling oppressed by idealism as occurred with Imposed Discipline. While Imposed Discipline was a negative, oppressive state religion offered an immensely uplifting positive way to live.
Possibly the best sales pitch ever given for born again, pseudo idealistic religious life was by the apostle St Paul when he wrote: ‘Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone [Moses’ Ten Commandments that were enforced by the threat of punishment], came with glory [because they brought society back from the brink of destruction]…fading though it was [there was no enticing positive in having discipline imposed on you], will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!’ (2 Corinthians 3:7—11). Thus, in coping with the now raging levels of upset in ourselves the first ‘glorious’ improvement on destructively living out that ferocious upset, that for example Ghengis Khan lived out, was that of discipline enforceable by punishment. But since discipline provided little in the way of joy for the mind or spirit it was hard to maintain, it didn’t ‘last’, it was ‘fading’, especially in comparison to the immensely guilt-relieving, ‘righteous’ way of living offered by the next ‘surpassing glory’, religion.
Religion wasn’t only the first and greatest refinement of the born again, pseudo idealistic way of living because you were in support of the ultimate form of ‘goodness’ or idealism available in the corrupt world of an exceptionally innocent and thus sound prophet; it was also by far the greatest refinement of the pseudo idealistic way of living because of all the forms of pseudo idealism to develop religion was the only one that contained a way to counter the extreme dishonesty of the pseudo idealistic strategy. It has been mentioned how the degree of dishonesty increased with each new method for coping with the human condition. The levels of artificiality, superficiality, pretence, delusion and denial, and thus alienation from our true selves and along with it all the great truths such as integrative meaning, increased dramatically from the resigned way of living to the strategies of Self-Discipline and then Imposed Discipline and now to sophisticated forms of pseudo idealism. The great danger of the dishonesty of denial and delusion was that they not only deceived innocents looking on, they also blocked access to the issue and truth of the corrupted state of the human condition. The effects of denial in blocking access to the truth were clearly evidenced in Section 16, where it was described how science, humanity’s vehicle for inquiry into the truth, ended up totally derailed and confounded in its ability to find understanding of the human condition. The fundamental objective of the human journey was to find the truth about ourselves; therefore adopting more and more denial and evasion of truth, especially of truth about the human condition, was clearly taking humanity away from its objective. In terms of this great danger of excessive dishonesty, especially in the most dishonest strategy ever developed for coping Page 193 of
PDF Version with the human condition of pseudo idealism, religion represented a way of countering the dangerous dishonesty.
The great value and indeed immense beauty of religion—especially in comparison to increasingly escapist, guilt-relieving and dishonest forms of pseudo idealism that, as we will see, followed religion—was that while you personally had abandoned and were in effect taking sides against the upsetting battle of searching for knowledge, ultimately self-knowledge, understanding of the human condition, that great battle to find liberating knowledge did continue indirectly through the honesty of the prophet your religion was founded around, in particular honesty about the sound, soulful, ‘heavenly’, cooperative, loving and selfless Godly, ideal state and the less-than-ideal, upset, corrupted, ‘fallen’, ‘sinful’, competitive, aggressive and selfish present condition of humanity. The prophet’s soundness/ integrity of self and honesty of thought was an indirect acknowledgment of your lack thereof. Religions provided a way for humans to be, to a degree, honest about their corrupted, false state without having to openly admit and therefore nakedly confront it. In allowing this, religions helped minimise the truth-destroying levels of delusion and denial in the world. As Carl Jung was fond of saying about the Christian religion, ‘in Christianity the voice of God [truth] can still be heard’, and ‘The Christian symbol is a living thing that carries in itself the seeds of further development’ (The Undiscovered Self, 1957).
The beauty of religion was that it allowed you to live in denial of your corrupted state and of the issue of the human condition while at the same time indirectly allowing the truth out about the issue of the corrupted state of our human condition, as well as many other related truths—such as integrative meaning, which the religious concept of God was an acknowledgment of, and the truth that humans once lived in a cooperative, harmonious, soulful, integrative state that became corrupted which religions’ focus on the emergence of sin and guilt recognised. Thus religion was a way to live in safe denial about your condition but at the same time indirectly be honest about.
Of course while being able to indirectly be honest was extremely valuable, the ability to live in denial was the fundamentally important aspect and attraction of religion. Obviously to derive the pseudo idealistic sense of guilt-relieving righteousness that religions supplied depended on being able to delude yourself that you had eliminated the problem of your corrupted state and that there wasn’t any great battle that you were siding against. Given humanity’s inability to clearly explain the upsetting battle to overthrow the ignorance of our idealistic soul the reality was such delusion and denial wasn’t too difficult. In The Simpsons cartoon series, Ned Flanders is the born again religious character who is typically portrayed as having a self-satisfied, ‘I-occupy-the-moral-high-ground’ attitude over the still-human-condition-embroiled Homer Simpson. This drives Homer crazy with frustration because he intuitively knows Ned is deluding himself in thinking he has the moral high ground, is the more together, sound person and is on the right track, but Homer can’t explain why Ned is so extremely deluded and totally dishonest in his view of self. Homer can’t explain and thus reveal the truth that real idealism and the truly on track, moral high ground lay with continuing the upsetting battle to find knowledge and that Ned had become so upset, so unsound, he had to abandon that all-important battle and leave it to others to have to fight, including Homer. Worse, Ned was effectively siding against those still trying to win the battle, adding substantially to the opposition they had to overcome. As has been pointed out, it was this delusion and dishonesty that made giving up the battle particularly dangerous because its maintenance required constantly persuading yourself, and others, that you are right—even Ned has an intuition he is practicing delusion so he has to work hard at maintaining it.
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PDF Version While the great benefit of religion was the honesty imbued in the prophet, or prophets the religion was founded around, that honesty was to eventually become a liability. As upset continued to increase at a rapid rate and thus the need for relief from guilt grew this great benefit of religion, of its degree of honesty, became a problem for humans. As people became more upset the honesty in religion became too confronting, guilt-inducing and dangerously depressing. By retaining a presence of a prophet’s soundness and truth, religions reminded us of our own corrupted state and our alienation from truth, which in turn accentuated our sense of guilt; as author Mary McCarthy once wrote about religion, ‘Only people who are very good can afford to become religious; with all the others it makes them worse’ (Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, 1957). It was at this point when the honesty of religion became too confronting that much less confronting and less guilt-emphasising forms of pseudo idealism had to be found, with the extremely dangerous negative being the loss of the precious honesty contained in religion.