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My understanding is that Griffith would say that we have an instinctive memory of our ‘time in paradise’, which are altuistic or loving instincts developed through the love-indoctrination process. And because he says the ultimate meaning of the universe is altruism or love (or God or Negative Entropy or Integrative meaning), then this instinctive memory is totally in-synch with what we have historically described as ‘spiritual’.
It did take me some time to appreciate that Negative Entropy could encompass our normal ideas of spirituality, but like all of Griffith’s work it takes some digestion time. This FAQ may further help you Mo, it has a handy summary under the heading, “Does the scientific explanation of ‘God’ really contain all the attributes of religion’s metaphysical ‘God’?” and includes explanation of how the ‘omnipresent’ attribute is confirmed with this demystifying explanation.
Griffith is correct that memory is essentially a by-product of the action of nerves. He is also correct that the mechanisms by which this occurs is not yet fully understood. For an introduction to the subject I would recommend the following Australian website: https://qbi.uq.edu.au/brain-basics/memory/how-are-memories-formed. And the following paper represents a technical summary of the current thinking in the field, with a particular focus on the role of the synapse: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnsys.2018.00052/full.
As with a lot of these things, there is the explanation for how and why something came to be before the human condition emerged, and then there is a different explanation for how and why something occurred after the emergence of the human condition, which is usually a psychological reason.
Firstly, in chapter 8:11B of FREEDOM (par 784) Griffith explains the basis of monogamy under the duress of the human condition. He writes: “In the case of the convention of marriage, this institution was invented as one way of containing the spread of upset. By confining sex to one life-long, monogamous relationship, the souls of the couple could gradually make contact and coexist in spite of the sexual destruction involved in their relationship. As stated in the Bible, in marriage ‘a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one’ (Mark 10:7, 8).” Obviously there is a lot in that – to understand it fully it is necessary to understand that we became psychologically upset as a result of the batttle between instinct and intellect, and that this upset was increased through exposure to upset that around us; and that sex was an expression of upset, and in turn spread upset. But essentially Griffith’s explanation is that today monogamy is a societal construct designed to limit the spread of upset.
I had to do a little bit of searching to find the where Griffith explains monogamy/polygamy in our pre-human condition history, but it is there! If you go to Freedom Expanded Part 8:4D there is a very interesting section on monogamy amongst our ape-ancestors. To understand this topic fully you obviously need to be familiar with Griffith’s ‘love-indoctrination’ theory which is presented in Chapter 5.4 of ‘Freedom’, the fossil evidence of which confirms it in the following chapter, and the living evidence in the bonobos in the one after that.
So in Freedom Expanded, Griffith explains that there was an important biological reason for monogamy in that it was a very effective way of containing sexual opportunism once selfishness had been overcome in our ape ancestors. Griffith writes: “If bonobos had been able to complete the infancy stage and become a fully integrated species they would no longer need to use sex as an appeasement device and, in fact, would have developed monogamous relationships. To explain, once competition for mating opportunities was brought under control, monogamy would have become the natural state because, firstly, each female pairing with a different male maintains more variability than the situation where one male dominates a group of females, and, secondly, because it provides infants with the greatest stability and continuity of love. Although the multiple partners, ‘free love’ strategy that bonobos are having to employ for appeasement while selflessness is still being perfected does provide more variability than monogamy, it doesn’t offer infants the same stability and continuity of love as monogamy. Again, the reason variability is advantageous is because it gives a species the greatest chance to genetically adapt to different situations, and it has to be remembered that the longer life span that accompanied the longer infancy period in the love-indoctrination process limited variability and thus adaptability, so monogamy helped counter that limitation.”
So, as with most aspects of our lives under the human condition, monogamy has a psychological basis, but Griffith also explains how monogamy was established in our species prior to the advent of the human condition.
Mr Daniels, there are all the references Griffith makes to the instinct vs intellect idea, such as occurred in “all religions and mythologies” as Heinberg stated, and also from other pre-eminent thinkers and scientists; they are not being pulled out of thin air, but from experience of the instinct vs intellect clash being the case!
To respond some of your other commments…
jdaniels said “Instincts cannot on their own make someone feel like a bad person.” Certainly they can: our conscience makes us feel like we are a bad person all the time. This is what Griffith writes about them clashing — “I should clarify that while instincts are hard-wired, genetic programming and as such cannot literally criticise our conscious mind, they can in effect do so. Our instincts let our conscious mind know when our body needs food, or, as our instinctive conscience clearly does, want us to behave in a cooperative, loving way, and certainly our conscious mind can defy those instinctive orientations if it chooses to [because we have a conscious-mind-derived free will]. Our conscious mind can feel criticised by our instinctive conscience; it happens all the time.” And as Jeremy explains, when the conscious mind reacts in a defensive way (angry, egocentric) to those instincts, then that reinforces the feeling that they are a bad person.
jdanielssaid, “How could they [instincts] feel they need to assert control [over the consicious mind]”, and similarly “How could they feel they need to criticize the intellect or reassert control if instincts are not conscious?” The key here is that the self-adapting conscious mind is a relatively recent development, and occurred on top of pre-existing instincts, so when the conscious mind emerged the instincts could not help trying to assert control. That is the tragedy of the situation. And I would emphasise that Jeremy goes to lengths to explain that the instincts ‘in-effect’ criticise the intellect. An instinct is a neural highway developed through natural selection. Everybody has them. If you consciously decide to ignore or overide that instinctive highway, that highway will still be expressing itself, even though it may not be a direction that the conscious mind wants to go. This is the ‘criticism’.
jdaniels said, “How do genes tell someone they are bad? How could a biological reaction cause humans to get angry at instincts? Which gene is responsible for criticizing humans?” It isn’t genes telling someone they are bad, it is the effect of our rigid instincts—which are a product of the gene based learning system—resisting the conscious mind’s plasticity. If the conscious mind cannot explain itself, then it will feel criticised by the instincts’ resistance.
I have realised that what I’ve said here basically reiterates the position reached in an earlier post by Dr Fitzgerald.
Thanks for that clarification Dave; sorry if I misunderstood you. As you say, Sapiens does lay out the events of our species’ history for us to look at and using Jeremy’s work we can understand the whole mess now (even if Harari does not!).
I definitely agree with you Dave that books like ‘Sapiens’ show just how much we need Jeremy Griffith’s understandings of the human condition, but if I am reading you correctly, I don’t think in the way you mean. There is nothing in ‘Sapiens’ that sheds any truth on humanity’s origins or history at all and in fact, takes us further into what Griffith and Plato called the cave of denial.
The author Harari does not recognize that our instinctive heritage is cooperative. He says that 2million years ago our ancestors ‘competed for status and power’ just like ‘chimpanzees, baboons and elephants’. He argues that humans came to dominate the planet because of our ability to cooperate in large numbers and that this ability arose from our unique capacity to believe in things purely in the imagination, such as (he says), Gods, nations, money and human rights. In contrast, Griffith explains that the meaning of life is integrative, and that cooperation and love is our natural instinctive state, but that the emergence of the human condition meant we had to deny this state. Jeremy explains that religion is where humanity has preserved the truth of integrative meaning and our cooperative past.
Its probably important to say too that Griffith does indeed reveal the extent of our denial and upset, and all our falseness and artificiality that has resulted under the duress of the human condition, but its always under the framework of that upset behavior being completely explained, defended and loved. Thats the ridiculously huge breakthrough here as Im sure you will agree. Anyway, I am with you Dave and would also like to thank Jeremy and the WTM for their vital work too – its literally world saving.
Certainly there is a burgeoning scientific discipline known as epigenetics that deals with gene expression as a result of environmental factors. In some ways it is a validation of Lamark, but is still a world away from his over simplistic idea that a giraffe’s offspring will have longer necks because the parent strained to reach high branches. However it is correct that gene expression (which is inheritable) will be effected by children’s experiences at school. Perhaps though, it is human consciousness that gives us the unique power to renew ourselves as we learn new experiences that you are alluding to. This is what sets us apart from all other members of the animal kingdom and accounts for our slow development. Griffith’s chapter (7) on Consciousness is a model of economical profundity.
I do agree with you in your conclusion that without Griffith’s key insight that brings peace to the battle between instinct and intellect, all the learning or renewing our conscious mind could do would still leave a nagging unanswered ‘scared’ voice.
May I recommend you read Freedom Essay 4? I believe you will find it very rewarding.
Im not aware that Griffith ever says there is a parallel psychic law corresponding to the 2nd path of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. What he says is that humans have an instinctive orientation toward cooperation and love, gained through what he describes as the ‘love-indoctrination’ process – see Freedom Essay 21. However he also says that the integrative tendency in the universe has been unbearably confronting for humans while we couldn’t explain the DISintegrative tendencies that we adopted under the duress of the human condition – see Freedom Essay 23. But Griffith argues (and this ‘but’ is a showstopper), now that the explanation of the human condition has obsoleted the need for those disintegrative tendencies, humanity can embrace the integrative tendency. Which makes sense to me…
You are right that Griffith’s work is based off evolution from our ancestors, but the main evolutionary event that he points to is the emergence of consciousness, and that occurred about 2 million years ago, which is well before humans came to Europe, which is where the Rhesus mutation arose. So people with the rhesus mutation are all from the same family as the rest of us. Really, its just a genetic variant, like having a widows peak, or having a longer second toe. I would be surprised if anyone thought the human condition didn’t apply to them because of that.
Attributes that are normally detrimental can develop in a situation where the existence of some other factor means that on balance they are helpful. For example, sickle cells are normally detrimental, but they can help against malaria, so sickle cells do thrive in some populations where malaria is a real problem. Similarly, it is thought lack of rhesus protein could have developed because it helped certain populations against parasites that were particularly problematical where they lived. Whatever the advantage it bestowed, it is just a mutation, and now it is in the gene pool, and gets passed down like any other recessive gene. Just like the human condition, there is a scientific explanation.
Yes, and I would add to what Chris has said that while throughout history there have been spiritual methods for dealing with the problem of the human condition , for teaching people how to ‘wake up’, how to reconnect with their lost self, the real question remained to be answered – and this is what I am suggesting Griffith has done- which is ‘why are we walking around in a complete daze’; why are we ‘asleep’; why are we separated from that inner resource that you and Chris talk about? Not, ‘how do we live with the human condition?’, but what is its source cause so we can end it for good. Freedom Essay 3 is where the explanation is presented, and I suppose Essay 15 is also important because it explains who this explanation transforms your and everyone’s life on the planet. Stick with this Sober, because the difference will become very apparent.November 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm in reply to: Anyone seen Genius of the Ancient World on Netflix
The journalist Christopher Booker writes (Griffith put me onto this book) that the Cave Allegory is similar to an old Cheyenne story called ‘Jumping Mouse’. Booker writes, “When Jumping Mouse returns to the dark forest and tries to tell his fellow mice about his journey to the great river, and how he had caught a far-off glimpse of the ‘Sacred Mountain’, they cannot understand what he is talking about and scorn him.” So I dont know if it is about humans living in denial of the human condition so much as a tale about seeking enlightenment and being scorned by the masses when you find it. This ‘heroic’ plot cycle is fundamental to many stories really, and just by acknowledging that there is something to seek, they all infer that our current state is somehow incomplete. But when it comes to actually identifying that humanity is living in a blinkered state, the Buddhist story that Michael relates about men not being able to see the whole elephant is probably more on point. This is a good thread.
Great topic for a thread! The problem is that the question of purpose or meaning has thwarted any hard edged, scientific answer for so long, that most people (and I would politely suggest that includes peaje and amfinking) think it cant be answered in any rigorous scientific fashion. And so I am not surprised to see ‘mystical’ and ‘just love the universe’ type answers to it.
But what I would like to see argued is the logic that Griffith presents in chapter 4 of his book. As I understand it, it goes like this:
That life is a result of an integrative tendency in the universe, which physics calls negative entropy.
That humans have had to deny or deify this integrative tendency in the universe, because it confronted us with our dis-integrative behaviour.
That now we can defend and explain our dis-integrative behaviour, we can finally admit that the meaning of life is to be integrative.
As I say, I would like to see some comments on the logic presented in this chapter of his book. https://www.humancondition.com/freedom-ch4-the-meaning-of-life/
Hey guys. Part of what I like about Griffith is his ‘plain speak’, and so I am going to paste in how he answers the original question on this post, which is ‘what should I do now that I know the human condition has been solved?’ (and thank you ‘nomad’ for pasting that very succinct summary of that solution). This is a paragraph from Part 3 of Griffith’s book, Transform Your Life, and it is to the point:
“All that really matters now is that the truth is kept alive and that it is disseminated to the world’s population, because it alone can heal the human race and save the world. All everyone should do now is support the truth about the human condition and it will achieve everything everyone has ever dreamt of. If we look after this information it, in turn, will look after each of us and the world. That is the mantra of the new world that understanding of the human condition brings about.”December 17, 2016 at 8:53 am in reply to: Have people made progress with their religious family and friends?
Has anyone read the section in Freedom where Griffith talks about this being the fulfilment of religion? See para 1217. ‘Finally, it should be reiterated that religions aren’t being threatened by the arrival of dignifying understanding of the human condition—they are being fulfilled.’
Wow that is a bold comment right there! I happen to think it is true, but Im not sure how open a lot of religious people are going to be to the logic!