FREEDOM Search Results
These search results are taken from the book FREEDOM only. If you would like to search the entire WTM website, use the ‘Search entire website ’ input box in the top right hand corner.
Showing search results for: ‘’
Download the PDF
Choose your preferred paper size:
For more info see PDF Help and Troubleshooting
Choose your preferred eBook format:
For more info see eBook Help and Troubleshooting
‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 8 The Greatest, Most Heroic Story Ever Told
Chapter 8:12 Angry Adolescentman
The species: Homo sapiens — 0.5 million (500,000) to 0.1 million (100,000) years ago
The individual now: 30 to 40 years old
It was during the Angry Adulthood Stage (of Humanity’s Adolescence) that we encountered the reality, frustration and anger of trying but failing to defeat the ignorance of our idealistic instinctive self or soul and had to impose upon ourselves SELF DISCIPLINE in order to contain or civilise our now overly upset state.
Throughout our 20s we individually now, or, in the case of humanity, Homo erectus, settled into the long, corrupting journey to find understanding, ultimately understanding of why we became corrupted in the first place. But, tragically, the more we searched for knowledge, the more upset we became, and the more upset the human race as a whole became, and the more new generations had to contend with that ever-accumulating upset. It was an extremely upset-compounding situation. As the just included graph charting humanity’s increase in upset over the last 2.4 million years shows, for the first three-quarters of the journey (to the end of ‘Adventurous Adolescentman’/H. erectus’ reign), the rate of increase in upset, while beginning to accelerate, was not yet extreme. However, in the last quarter of that time period (during the reign of ‘Angry Adolescentman’/H. sapiens), the graph descended markedly, and then, in the final 200,000 years (during the reign of ‘Pseudo Idealistic and Hollow Adolescentman’/H. sapiens sapiens), it entered into free fall, with upset beginning to compound at an extremely rapid rate—a rate that can only be brought to an end by the rise of the human-condition-understood-and-ameliorated, transformed ‘Adultman’, or what could be termed ‘Triumphantman’, or even Integrative-Meaning-compliant ‘Godman’.
A contributing factor to the speeding up of this progression in upset was the hardship and confinement of life throughout the four great ice ages that occurred during the Pleistocene epoch, the period from 1.8 million years ago to 10,000 years ago. These ice ages greatly contributed to the increase in upset because, in forcing close habitation between people of varying degrees of upset, they dramatically accentuated the difficulties encountered by humans coexisting under the strain of the human condition, to the point where life today, towards the bottom of the graph, has become so difficult that even coupling has proved untenable for many, with marriage breakdown a common occurrence.
The closer humans lived during humanity’s adolescence and/or the more difficult the living conditions, the greater the occurrence and spread and thus increase in upset. Innocence doesn’t last long in New York’s Times Square or Sydney’s Kings Cross where drug pushers, prostitutes, muggers and beggars work the streets. And as those from cold climates will attest, winters are particularly confining and testing, so each great ice age did, in effect, represent one very long, trying winter. It is not surprising then that out of the hardship of each of the great ice ages came the next more upset/soul-exhausted/embattled/alienated stage of humans. From the rigours of the first great ice age, called the Günz Ice Age, came the flowering of H. erectus. H. sapiens emerged after the second ice age, the Mindel Ice Age, while Neanderthal man, a precursor of H. sapiens sapiens, appeared after the third ice age, the Riss Ice Age. The Cro-Magnons, described as the first behaviourally modern humans, emerged after the Würm Ice Age, the fourth ice age. Each ice age also contributed significantly to the culling of the human race in terms of humans’ ability to adapt to life under the duress of the human condition. This is because as upset increased throughout humanity’s adolescence many individuals must have, in effect, quit the great battle humanity was waging against the ignorance of our instinctive self or soul through their inability to withstand the degree of compromise to their soul that was increasingly being demanded of them, leaving only the most courageous, determined and enduring—but, it follows, also the most soul-destroyed. Sir Laurens van der Post once described how a member of the relatively innocent Bushmen ‘race’ (relatively because they are still members of the extremely upset stage of humanity, H. sapiens sapiens) found it impossible to cope with having his innocent, natural spirit compromised: ‘You know I once saw a little Bushman imprisoned in one of our gaols because he killed a giant bustard which according to the police, was a crime, since the bird was royal game and protected. He was dying because he couldn’t bear being shut up and having his freedom of movement stopped. When asked why he was ill he could only say that he missed seeing the sun set over the Kalahari. Physically the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with him but he died none the less!’ (The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958, p.236 of 253). Sir Laurens was more specific when (as mentioned in par. 745) he stated that ‘mere contact with twentieth-century life seemed lethal to the Bushman. He was essentially so innocent and natural a person that he had only to come near us for a sort of radioactive fall-out from our unnatural world to produce a fatal leukaemia in his spirit.’ Given how ‘radioactive’ our present ‘unnatural world’ is for the innocent souls of children, it’s little wonder there is an epidemic of distressed, non-coping, dissociating symptoms like ADHD and autism breaking out amongst children now. Yes, the human race has suffered 2 million years of soul-destroying, toughening, upsetting, anger-egocentricity-and-alienation-producing adaption to the horror of life under the duress of the human condition! But just how toughened the human race has become is now hidden under layer upon layer of self-restraint, or, as stated in par. 276, what we call ‘civility’. This restraining, civilising process will be elaborated upon shortly, but the point being made here is that beneath our facade of restraint and manufactured positivity, which was so necessary to cope with the horror of the human condition, lies a highly genetically toughened and resilient individual.
But to return to humanity’s journey through its adolescence, by the age of 30 in the case of the individual now, or by some half a million years ago in the case of humanity, the exponential increase in upset meant that the levels of upset, namely anger, egocentricity and alienation, had exceeded the inflection point on the graph charting our development of (dis)integration/rise in upset, and had entered the stage where upset increased both dramatically and rapidly, which it has continued to do ever since. So while all the adjustments that were made during the Adventurous 20s had served us well—both as individuals today and, in the case of humanity, as members of H. erectus—there had emerged an urgent need to take more specific measures to manage the new extreme levels of upset.
If we consider what happened to the 21-year-old more closely we can see why management of upset had become such a serious matter, for despite their bravery and sheer optimism, it wasn’t long before the reality of, in the case of the resigned, trying to win the battle of proving you were good and not bad—or, in the case of the unresigned, trying to reform upset behaviour—started to sour. Gradually he or she came to experience and appreciate just how truly difficult it was to self-manage and contain upset without the ameliorating understanding of that upset.
The problem for those who were resigned was the harder they fought to validate themselves, the more criticism they attracted from their idealistic soul, and thus the more upset they became. Also, throughout their 20s, they were increasingly encountering the upsetting difficulty of trying to survive and compete alongside other embattled humans who were also trying to prove their worth. The resulting compounding of upset meant that by the time they reached 30 they were becoming very frustrated and angry, and by the time they reached their mid-30s they were becoming seriously upset, embattled individuals. While resigned 20-year-olds were naive about the difficulties of living under the duress of the human condition, resigned 30-year-olds had become realists about such an existence. Rod Stewart’s song I Was Only Joking contains lyrics that vividly describe the reality check of reaching 30: ‘Me and the boys thought we had it sussed. Valentinos all of us…running free, Waging war with society…But nothing ever changed…What kind of fool was I. I could never win…Illusions of that grand first prize, are slowly wearing thin…I guess it had to end’ (lyrics by Gary Grainger & Rod Stewart, 1977).
While our inability—until now—to defend the corrupted state of the human condition has meant that it hasn’t been possible to admit it, the following Japanese proverb does, at least, acknowledge the stages of the development of upset in a resigned person: ‘At 10 man is an animal, at 20 a lunatic, at 30 a failure, at 40 a fraud and at 50 a criminal.’ But with understanding of the human condition now found we can finally decipher these stages. Ten-year-olds were ‘animals’ in the sense that they had yet to learn any methods of restraint for the upset that they were beginning to experience from the frustrations and agony of the human condition. Twenty-year-olds—and young men in particular—were ‘lunatics’ in the sense that they were swashbuckling cavaliers who deludedly believed they could take on and overthrow the ignorant world of the soul and prove they were good and not bad by winning power, fame, fortune and glory. Thirty-year-olds (and, again, men in particular) were ‘failures’ in the sense that, although they were still determinedly trying to defy the inevitable, they were being forced to accept that the corrupting life of seeking power, fame, fortune and glory was not going to be a genuinely reinforcing, meaningful and satisfying way of living. As will be described shortly when the resigned 40-year-old stage is explained, when this stage was reached, men in particular were ‘frauds’ in the sense that they had become so corrupted and disenchanted with their efforts to ‘conquer the world’ that they suffered a ‘mid-life crisis’—a crisis of confidence that resulted in their decision to take up support of some form of ‘idealism’ to make themselves feel better about their corrupted condition. Having had enough of the critically important, yet horribly corrupting, battle to champion the ego over soul, they effectively ‘changed sides’ to become ‘born-again’ supporters of the soul’s ‘idealistic’ world. This ‘born-again’ conversion made them ‘frauds’ because in taking up support of some form of idealism they were deluding themselves that they were at last on the side of good when, in truth, they were working against good, in that the good, right and responsible path depended on defying and defeating—not supporting—the ignorant ‘idealistic’ world of the soul. They were being pseudo idealistic, not genuinely idealistic. And, finally, as will be described when the 50-year-old stage of a resigned person’s life is explained, at this age men, in particular, were ‘criminals’ in that they had become so disillusioned with the extreme dishonesty of the born-again state that many returned to the battle of championing the ego over ignorance, but were, by this stage of their journey, so deeply upset that they were extremely angry and cynical about life—basically, they knew they were beaten on every front and had become bitter and vengeful ‘criminals’.
To return, however, to the 30-year-old stage or, in the case of humanity, the life of H. sapiens, we can see that this period was characterised by extreme frustration and anger. Thirty-year-olds/H. sapiens had entered the rapidly deteriorating stage in the development of upset where they were brought into contact with the destructive and depressing horror of their ‘failure’, of being either, in the case of the resigned, excessively upset, or, in the case of the unresigned, having had their innocence so destroyed that they too had also become overly upset. At this stage in the human situation and journey, upset was becoming overwhelming everywhere.
It follows then that it was at this point that the radical measures alluded to earlier had to be implemented to contain the growing upset in the world, with the first solution being, as mentioned, to practise self discipline.
Fully aware that upset was not desirable we, as individuals, had been trying to, with varying success, practise self-restraint of our upset ever since it first appeared in our childhood. But during our 30s, when upset started to become seriously destructive of the fabric of our society, self discipline became an essential part of our behaviour, something that everyone had to make sure they practised. And so we learnt to manufacture a calm, controlled, even compassionate and considerate exterior, and to conceal the real extent of our, by now, inner savage fury from being so unjustly condemned by the Godly ideals of life. We civilised our upset; we brought it under control. Since this self discipline, and its civilising effect, has been the primary way of managing our extremely upset state and has been practised since the emergence of the human condition some 2 million years ago, it has become, to a large degree, an automatic, instinctive element of human behaviour, so much so that we now hardly notice we are practising it—the consequence of which is that we are barely aware of just how upset we all really are underneath our restrained exteriors. Our civility has disguised the volcanic upset that exists within us, both as individuals and as a species, from living for so long with the injustice of being condemned as evil, bad and worthless when we intuitively knew we weren’t but couldn’t explain why we weren’t. As mentioned in par. 271, the writer Morris West offered a rare honest insight into the extent of the upset that exists in all humans today when, in his memoir, he confessed that ‘The disease of evil [now able to be understood as upset] is pandemic; it spares no individual, no society, because all are predisposed to it…I know that, given the circumstances and the provocation, I could commit any crime in the calendar.’
And not only did civility conceal the extent of our anger and egocentricity, it also masked the degree to which we had departed from our original, upset-free, happy, innocent soulful selves. In order not to be overcome by the true negativity of life under the duress of the human condition we have had to, as it’s said, ‘put on a brave face’, ‘keep our chin up’, ‘stay positive’, and ‘keep up appearances’. And so we manufactured smiles and politely greeted acquaintances with ‘Good morning’ and asked ‘How are you?’ and talked about totally non-confronting subjects, such as the weather and sporting results. But while such civility and positivity made living together possible, it was an extreme form of pretence—of being what we were not. But, in turn, although this falseness in adults was highly corrosive of any young unresigned innocent looking on who found it unbearably ‘phony’ and ‘fake’, it was far less destructive than allowing our real upset to express itself and has, therefore, been a very necessary and effective tool. But, again, after millennia of use, our civilised facades now hide the extent to which we have blocked out the truth of our upset, corrupted, alienated condition—so when, for instance, we donned scary masks, items that have been used in the ceremonies of almost all cultures, we were, ironically, not disguising who we were but actually exorcising our real upset self; we were being honest about ourselves; we were admitting that ‘This is what I am really like, this is who I’ve become.’
Yes, R.D. Laing certainly spoke the truth about just how corrupted our species has become when he said, ‘The condition of alienation…is the condition of the normal man…between us and It [our true selves or soul] there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete.’
At this point, it needs to be emphasised that adopting self discipline in our/humanity’s 30s did not mean we/the human race had stopped our/its corrupting search for knowledge—we had just decided to try not to allow any expression or manifestation of the effects of that search, of our corruption, to show. However, when the 40-year-old stage is explained in more detail shortly we will see that when upset developed even further some individuals were, as just mentioned, forced to abandon, and even side against, the corrupting search for knowledge in a far more drastic attempt to stem their ever-increasing upset by becoming ‘born again’ to pseudo idealistically supporting some form of idealism—this being the ‘fraud’ stage that featured in the aforementioned Japanese proverb.
Again, the overall essential feature of the human journey since we first became conscious is that of the accumulation of knowledge at the expense of our innocent soul—the more we searched for knowledge, the more upset and soul-destroyed we became. Certainly we learnt to restrain our upset, civilise it, but underneath that disguise we were becoming more and more angry, egocentric and alienated. This means that while children, adolescents and young adults—and their early human equivalents—could at times behave very angrily and aggressively (such as children deliberately torturing insects by burning them, or when their disagreements turn into rowdy, physical altercations), older adults who had learnt to civilise and thus hide their upset were actually far more upset, angry, egocentric and alienated than those younger than themselves. Throughout history, however, older and thus more civilised people and ‘races’ (ethnic groups) have misused this appearance of being ‘better behaved’ to denigrate other more innocent people and ‘races’ by referring to them as ‘savages’—or ‘barbarians’, as the Romans did when they spoke this way about the northern Scandinavian and Germanic tribes (such as the Goths, Vandals, Franks and Lombards). The adventurous soulful soundness, enthusiasm, vitality and energy of these supposedly backward, savage, primitive, 20-to-30-year-old equivalent northern barbarians was apparent in their ability to conquer the more technologically advanced but more soul-exhausted southern ‘races’ who lived around the Mediterranean—including the Romans—during the fourth to sixth centuries . Their victories, however, do not mean that all conquerors were more innocent than those they conquered; when humans become extremely upset—when they reach the 50-plus-year-old equivalent ‘criminal’ stage—they could go on extremely angry rampages, murdering everyone in sight. It is this variety of extreme upset that has characterised most of the warfare that has occurred in the last thousand years of human history. There is a very big difference between a high-spirited Viking-like adventurous mindset and the massively angry and massively egocentric Genghis Khan/Napoleon/Hitler/Mussolini-like vengeful, conquering and murdering psychopathic mindset. The true story of the ever-increasing levels of upset anger, egocentricity and alienation in humans has not been told, but with the upset state of the human condition now explained and defended, it can, and is, at last being revealed—as you will especially see when the last 200-year stage of humanity’s journey from ignorance to enlightenment is presented (in ch. 8:16).
It needs to be explained here how adventurous 20-to-30-year-old equivalent ‘races’ could be said to exist during the last 2,000 years when that period is described later as being part of the born-again Pseudo Idealistic 40-to-50-year-old ‘fraud’ stage and the horrifically angry, punch-drunk, bitter and vengeful Hollow Adolescentman 50-plus-year-old ‘criminal’ stage of humanity’s maturation. The answer is that what is being referred to here by ‘adventurous 20-to-30-year-old equivalents’ indicates a further level of refinement within the already established stages of maturation. To elaborate, while the first T-model Ford car (a development that replaced the horse and buggy form of transport) had all the basic elements of a car in place, that didn’t mean those elements could not become much more refined over time, as in the variety of cars we see today—and even highly refined as in the form of a Ferrari. In the same way, the relatively innocent hunter-forager Bushmen people who live in the Kalahari desert today, for example, have all the basic adjustments in place for managing extreme upset. They are, for instance, 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. They employ fatigue-inducing dance to access their repressed soul. In short, they are members of the Pseudo Idealistic and Hollow Adolescentman stage that all humans living today occupy. But, while they have these basic adjustments for managing extreme upset firmly in place, they are still a relatively innocent ‘race’ compared with other more human-condition-embattled-and-adapted ‘races’ living today—they could be described as a 15-year-old equivalent variety of Pseudo Idealistic and Hollow Adolescentman. In the same way, the northern ‘barbarians’ were members of the Pseudo Idealistic and Hollow Adolescentman stage but were still relatively innocent compared with other more human-condition-embattled-and-adapted people—they were 20-to-30-year-old equivalent varieties of Pseudo Idealistic and Hollow Adolescentman. We are talking about levels of refinement occurring within the main stages of refinement. It should be emphasised that while we couldn’t explain and defend the upset state of the human condition we couldn’t afford to differentiate individuals, ‘races’, genders, ages, generations, countries, civilisations and cultures according to how upset they were because it would have left the more upset condemned as bad, unworthy and inferior. It would have led to unfair, destructive and dangerous racist, ageist and sexist prejudice and discrimination against the more upset—and so a dishonest attitude of not allowing any differentiation was maintained.
The truth is, the only significant difference between humans—the acknowledgment of which makes it possible to truthfully explain and understand much of human behaviour—is the difference in upset anger, egocentricity and alienation between individuals, ‘races’, genders, ages, generations, countries, civilisations and cultures, but until the human condition was explained and upset was defended as a good, heroic state we couldn’t admit and talk about that all-important, clarifying difference.
Some appreciation of just how condemning innocent ‘races’ have been of those more upset can be gained through looking at the determination with which mechanistic science has sought to deny that so-called ‘primitive’ peoples such as the Bushmen, Australian Aborigines and the Yanomamö of South America are in any way more ‘innocent’ than the more alienated ‘races’. For example, as discussed in pars 205-208, to support the idea of a history of ‘universal and eternal’ warfare, E.O. Wilson portrays Bushmen and other ‘primitive’ societies as ‘violent’ and ‘aggressive’, even saying ‘Rousseau claimed [that humanity] was originally a race of noble savages in a peaceful state of nature, who were later corrupted…[but what] Rousseau invented [was] a stunningly inaccurate form of anthropology’ (Consilience, 1998, p.37 of 374). In contrast to that view is of course all our mythology that attests to an innocent past, including Plato’s reference to our distant ancestors having lived a ‘blessed’ ‘life’ where ‘neither was there any violence, or devouring of one another, or war or quarrel among them’, as well as the honest research of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who wrote that in her and her mother’s (Lorna Marshall’s) accounts of the Bushmen in the 1950s ‘we both emphasized the absence of violence and competition. Indeed, we were struck by it…The relatively few outbreaks of violence seemed isolated and were discussed over and over, since they caused such distress’ (The Harmless People, 1989. p.286 of 303). But, as explained above, the acknowledgment of the existence of relative innocence in one ‘race’ would unfairly condemn the more upset, less innocent ‘races’ as ‘bad’, unworthy and inferior, so such reports of the relative innocence of the Bushmen could not be tolerated. Marshall Thomas recounts how mechanistic science rapidly mobilised to neutralise the threat her reports represented: ‘In the ten to twenty years after we started our work, many academics developed an enormous interest in the Bushmen. Many of them went to Botswana to visit groups of Kung Bushmen, and for a time in Botswana, the anthropologist/Bushman ratio seemed almost one to one. Yet although the investigators were numerous, the range of some of their investigations seemed narrowed to an emphasis on questions of violence and aggression’ (ibid. p.284). Yes, to escape the agony of the human condition, some excuse had to be found—some evidence of aggression had to be identified and then a case determinedly built around it, regardless of how transparently false the case really is! As has been repeatedly pointed out, when the need for denial is critical any excuse will do, and the art of denial is to then stick like glue to that excuse because doing so saves you from suicidal depression.
One of the more prominent anthropologists whose ‘investigations [into the Bushmen] seemed narrowed to an emphasis on questions of violence and aggression’ was Melvin Konner, who stressed ‘findings that seemed to confirm what might be called the darker side of !Kung life’ (Melvin Konner & Marjorie Shostak, ‘Ethnographic Romanticism and the Idea of Human Nature’, The Past and Future of !Kung Ethnography, eds Megan Biesele with Robert Gordon & Richard Lee, 1986, p.73 of 423). When Konner wrote a clearly biased review of Marshall Thomas’s 2007 book The Old Way: A Story of the First People, Marshall Thomas felt compelled to respond, writing that ‘the moment I saw Konner as the reviewer, I knew we were back where we started. I measured the length of his review—141 inches or 11¾ feet in all—and saw he was averaging four attacks per foot of column. And in the barrage, I’d say only one criticism had substance. Even then he distorted what I’d said’ (‘Response to Dim Beginnings’, The New York Review of Books, 29 Mar. 2007). Another who focused on violence was anthropologist Richard Lee, author of The Dobe Ju/’hoansi, who argued for a Bushman ‘past that was decidedly not “noble” and that was out of kilter with the harmless image [put forward by Marshall Thomas]’ (2013, p.125 of 294). Despite his own argument, however, Lee recognised that ‘the Ju/’hoansi [Bushmen] managed to live in relative harmony with a few overt disruptions. How the Ju/’hoansi and people like them could live as peacefully as they did has puzzled and mystified observers for decades’ (ibid. p.121). Yet another who ‘attack[ed]’ Marshall Thomas was the primatologist Richard Wrangham (who, as described in par. 514, put forward the Chimpanzee Violence Hypothesis), who accused Marshall Thomas as having ‘conjured’ the idea of ‘Peaceful primitives’ (Demonic Males, 1997, p.76 of 350).
And just as Marshall Thomas was attacked for her honest description of the peaceful nature of Bushmen society, so too was Sir Laurens van der Post for his recognition of their relative innocence. A prime example of this persecution occurred after Sir Laurens’ death, when the journalist J.D.F. Jones wrote a book that set out to denigrate Sir Laurens as a charlatan, with one of the focal points of his attack being Sir Laurens’ depiction of the Bushmen; for instance, he accused Sir Laurens of having ‘a romantic and no doubt inaccurate portrait of this dying social group’ (Storyteller, 2001, p.230 of 505). Jones’ deep allegiance to the world of denial is also apparent in this emotionally charged comment he made on the topic: ‘the academic experts on the Kalahari [Bushmen] are absolutely berserk with rage about the things he [Sir Laurens] said, because, if you read The Lost World of the Kalahari, you must not believe that this is the truth about the Bushmen; it’s not’ (Late Night Live, ABC Radio, 25 Feb. 2002). Unable to defend our immensely corrupted human condition, to have it exposed naturally made humans ‘berserk with rage’. And just as Marshall Thomas pointed out the ‘narrow’, superficial, mechanistic, confrontation-avoiding studies anthropologists were making of the Bushmen, so too did Sir Laurens, who wrote that ‘It seemed a strange paradox that everywhere men and women were busy digging up old ruins and buried cities in order to discover more about ancient man, when all the time the ignored Bushman was living with this early spirit still intact. I found men willing enough to come with me to measure his head, or his behind, or his sexual organs, or his teeth. But when I pleaded with the head of a university in my own country to send a qualified young man to live with the Bushman for two or three years, to learn about him and his ancient way he exclaimed, surprised: “But what would be the use of that?”’ (The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958, p.67 of 253).
Again, while there is violence in primitive peoples, the true explanation for the aggression apparent in their societies is that while they are undoubtedly more innocent than the majority of humans in the world today, they are, as mentioned above, still members of the extremely upset stage of humanity, H. sapiens sapiens, and are, therefore, nowhere near as innocent as humans were some 2 million years ago when the battle of the human condition first emerged. Moreover, while basic levels of restraint are instinctive in primitive hunter-forager people such as the Bushmen, as will be explained in ch. 8:16E, they do not possess the more sophisticated levels of self-discipline that more upset ‘races’ adopted following the advent of agriculture and herding some 11,000 years ago, and which has subsequently become, to a degree, instinctive. As a result, to draw upon data on homicide rates, as E.O. Wilson was shown to do in par. 206, where he equated Bushmen homicide rates to those present in the more upset-populated cities of Detroit and Houston, and use that comparison to argue that more primitive peoples are not more innocent than more alienated ‘races’, is to totally ignore the effect increasing levels of restraint have on upset behaviour. As any mother will attest, a nine-year-old child is more innocent than an adult and yet, as was described in ch. 8:7, during the ‘naughty nines’ phase they will lash out at the world in a way that a more restrained or ‘civilised’ adult would not.
The effect of restraining violence was well demonstrated by the successful ‘Iroquois Confederacy’ of the North American Indians. As will be described shortly in par. 916, by the time Europeans arrived in North America, a grand league of American Indian tribes had been established to prevent, through adherence to certain restraining rules that were enforceable through punishment, the endless rounds of payback warfare that had been occurring between and within the tribes. The absurdity of evaluating a peoples’ level of innocence through their display of violence is apparent if we were to imagine anthropologists measuring homicide levels the month before and after the Confederacy was established. While homicide rates would have dropped dramatically, the only difference or reason for that change would be that the levels of restraint had increased dramatically, not the degree of innocence, which would have, of course, remained unchanged. The fear of punishment was simply preventing each member from expressing or living out their upset.
The whole story of the human journey during the last 2 million years that has been described in this chapter is really the story of the emergence of ever-increasing levels of upset, and the development of ever more sophisticated ways to restrain and contain each new level of upset. The recognition in all our mythologies and in the work of our most profound thinkers of a wonderful, all-loving, innocent past for the human race isn’t some ‘romantic’, fanciful dream of some impossible, unrealistic, idyllic, utopian existence, nor is it, as was mentioned in pars 184-185, nostalgia for the security and maternal warmth of infancy, as mechanistic science has tried to dismiss it as—no, it is a completely real time in our species’ distant past that recently discovered fossil evidence is now confirming, and that bonobos provide ample living evidence of. The true story of human life over the last 2 million years is that of the loss of innocence—our ‘fall from grace’, our departure from the ‘Garden of Eden’, the corruption of our soul, our ever-increasing levels of anger, egocentricity and alienation! Everyone does, in truth, know that under the duress of the human condition we each, and our species as a whole, started life in an innocent state and ended up in a variously psychologically upset, embattled, soul-corrupted state. Innocence is associated with youth, not old age. As I pointed out in par. 185, it is ridiculous to claim that ‘advanced’ ‘races’ are more innocent than ‘primitive’ ‘races’.
So yes, tribal warfare and outbreaks of individual violence have been occurring for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that the relative innocence of hunter-forager tribes still living, like the Bushmen of South Africa, the Australian Aborigines and the Yanomamö of South America, don’t reveal a great deal about how extremely upset the great majority of the human race has become, and how much civility, and other pseudo idealistic means of restraint, humans now rely upon to mask and contain that extreme upset. But again, the psychological agony of our human condition has been so great that while we couldn’t truthfully explain our condition all we had to protect ourselves from the vicious, unbearable self-confrontation of such relative innocence were equally vicious, retaliatory, denial-based lies. Yes, it is only now that we can explain and defend upset that we can admit and talk about different states of upset and by so doing finally make sense of human behaviour. Again, much more will be explained about the differences in upset between ‘races’ of humans in ch. 8:16E.
So civility has been a marvellous tool for helping to restrain upset and allow individuals of various states of self-corruption to co-exist; however, it obviously necessitated repressing or bottling-up our frustrations and angers, which produced another problem of how then to relieve that pent-up state. And so, in our inability to be honest about our internal upset, we had to learn to valve off and relieve ourselves in ways that weren’t destructive of those around us, such as the mask ceremonies already mentioned, or the fatigue-inducing, soul-accessing dances of the Bushmen. The origin of our developed sense of humour, for example, has never been able to be properly explained, but once it is understood how false resigned humans became, the source of so much of our sophisticated sense of humour becomes very clear. For the most part, adults maintain a carefully constructed facade of denial, but every now and then a mistake is made, we ‘slip-up’, and the truth of our real situation is revealed, providing the basis for humour. Occasionally situations occurred where the extreme denial, self-deception, delusion, artificiality, alienation became apparent and transparent, and in those moments the truth of that immense falseness was exposed for what it really was—so farcical it was funny; in fact, a ‘joke’. When someone tripped or fell over, for instance, or had their ‘bluff’ called, it was humorous because suddenly their carefully constructed, civilised image of togetherness disintegrated. We take our developed sense of humour for granted now as being a natural part of our make-up, but there was a time, prior to becoming alienated and false, when the only comic situations were those that children—and bonobos—find amusing, such as when a harmless trick is played on someone. The power of consciousness makes it possible to recognise and even create such silly and funny situations that delight our emerging minds, but it is only when the absurdly dishonest situation of the resigned, alienated human-condition-afflicted state emerged that extremely ridiculous, fraudulent situations appeared in human life to laugh about and make fun of.
Swearing has been another way of tearing down and breaking free from the extreme dishonesty of our condition. Indeed, it is a stark measure of just how dishonest humans have become that we don’t even have an everyday word for all the evasions and dishonest denials and delusions we practise every minute of the day, except for the swear word ‘bullshit’, or ‘BS’ or ‘bull’ or ‘crap’! To understand why ‘fuck’ is such a powerful swear word we only have to recall the truth of what sex really is. As explained, while sex at its noblest level was something that marvellously complemented the human journey and as such has truly been an act of love, it has, nevertheless, at base been about attacking innocence (which women represent) for innocence’s unjust condemnation of humans’ (especially men’s) lack of innocence. ‘Fuck’ means destroy or ruin, and what is being destroyed or ruined or sullied or degraded or violated is innocence or purity. Sex has been such a preoccupation of humans and yet everyone lives in denial of the truth that it is, at base, an attack on innocence. This makes sex one of the biggest lies and thus jokes of all, which is why using the word ‘fuck’ is such a powerful attack on the world of lies, and thus such a powerful swear word.
Returning to the main stages of maturation again: as emphasised, since civilising our upset didn’t stop its development—it could only ever conceal and help contain it—it was inevitable that, as the corrupting search for knowledge continued, levels of upset were only going to escalate until eventually, by our late 30s, we/H. sapiens were embroiled in a rage of hate and anger. Even though we were for the most part still containing and concealing our upset, the compounding effect of upset meant that underneath that civility we became immensely embattled, saturated with upset, and thus absolutely despairing about our situation. On reaching this state of extreme anger and destructiveness we began to hate even ourselves. Life had become both personally and socially unbearable, an untenable position that produced a crisis, the well-known ‘mid-life crisis’ of the early 40-year-old individual now, or, in the case of humanity, the emergence some 200,000 years ago of H. sapiens sapiens.