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This is Freedom Essay 56
Why there have been ferocious
attacks on the WTM
Firstly, it is important to emphasise that while vilification of the WTM’s work of bringing understanding to the human condition has occurred, it is by no means the typical response, as the following illustrate:
Support from world-leading scientists
Over the years biologist Jeremy Griffith’s work has generated interest and acclaim from a wide cross-section of the scientific and literary world.
Commendations from scientists for Jeremy’s most recent book FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition, which was launched in 2016 at the Royal Geographical Society in London, include:
- ‘This book by Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith presents the 11th hour breakthrough biological explanation of the human condition needed for the psychological rehabilitation and maturation of the human race!’ Professor Harry Prosen, former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (you can )
- ‘Nothing Dr. Prosen has said about the immense importance of this book is an exaggeration. This is the book all humans need to read for our collective wellbeing.’ Dr Scott D. Churchill, Professor and former Chair, Psychology Department, University of Dallas
- ‘The sequence of discussion in FREEDOM is so logical and sensible, providing the necessary breakthrough in the critical issue of needing to understand ourselves.’ Dr David Chivers, University of Cambridge anthropologist and former President of the Primate Society of Great Britain
Jeremy’s earlier works have also attracted praise and support from eminent scientists and philosophers:
- ‘[Professor Hawking] is most interested in your impressive proposal.’ Dr Stephen Hawking, world-leading physicist
- ‘Frankly, I am “blown away” as the saying goes…The ground breaking significance of this work is tremendous.’ Dr Patricia Glazebrook, Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Dalhousie University
- ‘It might help bring about a paradigm shift in the self-image of humanity—an outcome that in the past only the great world religions have achieved.’ Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Professor of Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
- ‘a superb book… [that] brings out the truth of a new and wider frontier for humankind, a forward view of a world of humans no longer in naked competition amongst ourselves.’ Dr John Morton, former Professor of Zoology, University of Auckland
Appreciation from the general public
- ‘Freedom is the most enlightening and informative book I have ever read. It offers to us in depth insight into the reasons behind our dual natured personas and the psychological complexity of the human being.’
- ‘The smartest author I have read in the past decade (and I place him ahead of Illich, Monbiot, Martenson, Aristotle, Plato, and Chomsky) is an Australian scientist and philosopher Jeremy Griffith…Reading Griffith is like reading another language—you know its English, you can understand the words, but the concepts are so basic and so different that they are almost incomprehensible—it’s a paradigm shift of a read. Awesome.’
- ‘In his book he defines a number of issues that confront Humanity, he then goes on to demonstrate how they are symptomatic of a deeper malaise. The cause of the malaise is exposed, remedied and the reader is left with at the very least an understanding of themselves, and for me something of an optimism for the future.’
- ‘What’s radically different about this, is that it makes an explicit link between biological-psychological evolution, particularly instincts vs conscious thinking, and the answer it gives is radically different to anything so far. This idea or explanation has not been given so far, it is new. Although there have been many discussions about instinct vs conscious thought trying to understand them, the level of clarity about this has yet not be proposed this way…This is a radically new insight about this phenomenon.’
- ‘This book hits hard in areas of truth that we are afraid to learn for ourselves…I can’t thank Jeremy enough for his hard work and concern for a problem that has been unsolved since ancient times. This book is a true life changer and much needed mind opener.’
- ‘There are all sorts of philosophy books out there that try and explain the human condition, or at least how to live with it. This is the only book I have ever read that categorically gets to the bottom of it all. It scientifically explains the human condition, and with that explained, all the questions about our behavior just unlock before your eyes. I don’t care what question you have, this book will answer it. Extraordinary.’
- ‘If Plato and Aristotle were alive and read Griffith, they would die happy men.’
Affirmations from personal experience with the work of the WTM
For examples of the direct experience people have had with the work of the WTM there are that can be watched and/or read on the WTM website. Again, these responses could hardly be more considered, supportive or enthusiastic.
So why has there been vilification?
The problem is that while the subject of the human condition is by far the most important of all subjects for the human race to address and solve, it is also the most confronting—for some even terrifying—of subjects. This means that when human-condition-addressing-not-avoiding, and thus effectively penetrating, fully accountable and solving analysis of the human condition finally appears, a great crisis in the human journey occurs where extreme prejudice threatens to destroy the desperately needed ameliorating enlightenment of our species’ now terminally angry, egocentric and alienated condition. Basically our species’ step to freedom from the human condition is jeopardised by a terrible loss of nerve and retreat back into darkness—which would, before long, result in the death of the human race from unthinkably horrendous levels of psychosis.
The fact that has to be faced is that only by understanding and solving the human condition can we save ourselves from the now rapidly escalating effects of it. So we either continue to fearfully resist and persecute truthful analysis and insight into the human condition, or we tolerate the work and by so doing avoid a fast approaching horrific dystopia of humans everywhere suffering from unbearable psychosis—the terrifying end-play zombie apocalypse so many of our movies, young adult novels, and even zombie street parades, are anticipating (see )!
The renowned Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson recognised the absolutely critical, human-race-saving importance of finding the reconciling, rehabilitating and solving understanding of the human condition when he wrote that ‘The human condition is the most important frontier of the natural sciences’ (Consilience, 1998, p.298 of 374), and in another of his books, ‘There is no grail more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to understanding the human condition’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, 2012, p.1). But again, while ‘understanding the human condition’ is the holy ‘grail’ of ‘science’, it is, as will now be evidenced, the most confronting and thus contentious of all subjects, dealing as it does with the underlying subjective dimension to life of the issue of ‘self’—which is why solving it has been so ‘elusive’. Indeed, it has taken the minds of some of the world’s greatest philosophers to even articulate the fear of engaging with it.
The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s ‘analysis on the nature of despair is one of the best accounts on the subject’ (Wikipedia; see )—with the ‘nature of despair’ being as close as the reviewer could go in referring to the worse-than-death, suicidal depression that the subject of the human condition has historically caused humans, but which Kierkegaard managed to give such an honest account of in his aptly titled 1849 book, The Sickness Unto Death: ‘the torment of despair is precisely the inability to die [and end the torture of our previously unexplained human condition]…that despair is the sickness unto death, this tormenting contradiction [of our ‘good and evil’, human condition-afflicted lives], this sickness in the self; eternally to die, to die and yet not to die’ (tr. A. Hannay, 1989, p.48 of 179).
It follows then that to confront the until now unexplained human condition has been an impossible ask for most people—as another great philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev, acknowledged: ‘Knowledge requires great daring. It means victory over ancient, primeval terror…it must also be said of knowledge that it is bitter, and there is no escaping that bitterness…Particularly bitter is moral knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. But the bitterness is due to the fallen state of the world…There is a deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, pp.14-15 of 310).
In his appropriately titled poem No Worst, There Is None, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins similarly wrote, ‘O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed’, articulating how fearfully confronting and depressing the previously un-‘fathomed’ issue of the human condition has been for virtually all humans.
No wonder then that the great psychoanalyst R.D. Laing wrote that while the ‘desperately urgently required project for our time—[is] to explore the inner space and time of consciousness…We are so out of touch with this realm [living in such fearful denial in our conscious mind of the issue of the human condition] that many people can now argue seriously that it does not exist. It is very small wonder that it is perilous indeed to explore such a lost realm’! (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967, p.105 of 156; also, see more of this quote from Laing in ).
Indeed, writing specifically about the all-important, human-race-saving challenge of ‘the enlightenment or ignorance of our human condition’, the great Greek philosopher Plato long ago warned that when someone tries to take us out of the dark ‘cave’ where he said we’ve had to ‘take refuge’ from the ‘painful’ ‘light’ that makes ‘visible’ ‘the imperfections of human life’, that we ‘would much object’—even predicting that some ‘would say that his [the person who attempts to deliver understanding to the human condition] visit to the upper world had ruined his sight [they would treat him as mad], and that the ascent [out of the cave] was not worth even attempting. And if anyone tried to release them and lead them up, they would kill him if they could lay hands on him’! (The Republic, c.360 BC; tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, or see the relevant section with quotes highlighted at ).
And sure enough the vilifying, try to ‘kill him’, attacks began — in the form of highly defamatory publications — which we responsibly met by successfully suing the vilifiers in court for defamation
Thankfully, we live in more civilised times, but Plato’s point is clear: the temptation to ferociously vilify, maliciously misrepresent and wilfully fabricate evidence against carefully considered, argued, evidenced and authoritatively supported scientific analysis of that most ‘precious in the life of the mind’ holy ‘grail’ of ‘science’ of ‘understanding the human condition’ (as Wilson described it) produces a crisis point in the human journey where extreme prejudice and persecution does threaten to shut down crucial enquiry and progress—which clearly has to be resisted.
Certainly, during the 1990s and early 2000s, the WTM and its supporters, in particular its founding directors, Jeremy and the twice-honoured Order of Australia recipient, mountaineer and biologist Tim Macartney-Snape AM OAM, were the subject of several highly defamatory media attacks orchestrated by a fundamentalist minister of the Uniting Church. As pointed out, this vilification had to be, and was, strongly resisted, and in the civilised way our society prescribes, namely through the law courts in what was then the biggest defamation case in Australia’s history against two of Australia’s biggest media institutions, including the national public broadcaster.
When an absurd cult accusation and litany of outrageously dishonest fabrications and misrepresentation of us and our work were publicly broadcast across Australia in 1995, the World Transformation Movement (then called the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood) and its founding directors Jeremy and Tim successfully sued the publishers for defamation, resulting in a public apology and a payout of $700,000 plus costs. The most revealing part of the final 2010 judgment, in terms of what Plato predicted, was the following, in which the NSW Court of Appeal, led by his Honour Justice David Hodgson, unanimously overturned an earlier lower Court finding about Jeremy’s scientific synthesis on the basis that it did ‘not adequately consider’ ‘the nature and scale of its subject matter’ or that ‘aspects of Mr Griffith’s work are apt to make those who do take the trouble to grapple with it uncomfortable. It involves reflections upon subject-matter including the purpose of human existence which may, of its nature, cause an adverse reaction as it touches upon issues which some would regard as threatening to their ideals, values or even world views’.
Yes, ‘reflections upon’ the human condition can be extremely ‘threatening’ for some people, but that doesn’t justify malicious misrepresentation and persecution of a rigorously argued and evidenced scientific analysis of that most ‘precious in the life of the mind’ holy ‘grail’ of ‘science’ of ‘understanding the human condition’.
It is worth noting that Justice Hodgson, who wrote the unanimous Court of Appeal decision referred to in the above paragraph, was a Rhodes Scholar, a published philosopher and was, according to a former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, ‘one of the finest judges who ever graced a court in this country’ (see ). Indeed, in his 4 September 2012 obituary in The Sydney Morning Herald, Justice Hodgson was described ‘from an early age’ as having ‘been fascinated by what went on inside the head that gave rise to conscious experience’, and that he was said to be blessed with ‘flawless logic’ and to ‘fit the description of Plato’s “philosopher king”’ (see ).
So the WTM has been through that ‘boiling oil’ test of extreme persecution and then scrutiny and was completely vindicated. Further malicious attacks, which do still occur, are just going over what has already been tested and found to be baseless and unjustified—so they are extremely unfair and, given the desperate need to find the reconciling, redeeming and psychologically healing, human-race-saving understanding of the human condition, profoundly irresponsible.
John Stuart Mill, in his seminal 1859 essay On Liberty—a document considered a philosophical pillar of Western civilisation—emphasised this irresponsibility when he wrote, ‘the dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of those pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes. History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution.’
This is mindful scientific enquiry into the human condition — the very opposite situation of mindless cults
As mentioned, some retaliatory, angry vilification and even outrageously dishonest misrepresentation and fabrication of the WTM still occurs—including the suggestion or implication that the WTM is a cult.
Cults are basically where people give up trying to make sense of reality and its dilemmas and instead defer to some person and/or dogma-based belief system. In contrast, the WTM is concerned with providing self-empowering scientific understanding of the dilemmas of life, in particular of the ultimate dilemma of our ‘good and evil’-conflicted human condition. So, the truth—as the court judgment essentially found—is that the work of the WTM is the complete opposite of a cult, but again, as has been described, such thinking can be unbearable for some people and result in angry, defensive vilification. Moreover, this is why, in all our publications, we particularly caution people with a history of psychological instability or mental illness to be careful to avoid overly studying and confronting analysis of the human condition. Such people are advised to study it only sufficiently to be able to understand and verify its accountability or otherwise, and, if satisfied that it does explain the human condition, to preoccupy themselves supporting it rather than studying it further.
As the Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan advised in his song about the arrival of understanding of the human condition, The Times They Are A-Changin’, ‘your old road is rapidly agein’, please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand [support this new paradigm]’ (see ). Christ was actually making the same point when he anticipated the time when ‘the meek [the more innocent/sound/less psychologically upset]…inherit the earth’ (Bible, Matt. 5:5), and when ‘many who are first [the intellectually able] will be last, and many who are last [the psychologically innocent/sound but overly trusting and easily victimised] will be first’ (Matt. 19:30, 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30), because the implication is that the more sound have to lead the way to a human-condition-free world. It makes sense; in the old human-condition-stricken world the more intelligent led because we had to find understanding, but in the new human-condition-understood world the more sound lead the way home to the new human-condition-free/sound state. There’s a change of emphasis from IQ [Intelligence Quotient] to EQ [Emotional Quotient]—as Dylan said, ‘the times they are a’changin’’.
Be your own judge
The WTM is a completely open and transparent organisation with a comprehensive website at where there is a great range of books, publications and audio-visual material available to be viewed or downloaded that we encourage everyone to explore so as to reach your own conclusions about the veracity and importance of the work of the WTM.
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For further reading about the outrageous, reverse-of-the-truth lie that the WTM is a cult, and our successful vindication in the courts, see the section on our website. Another relevant WTM essay is . Also, as has been mentioned, is particularly relevant.
And finally, we also recommend reading about the more upset having to support rather than study understanding of the human condition when it arrives, and on how to become transformed and free of the human condition.
Discussion or comment on this essay is welcomed—see below.
This essay was composed in 2018 by Jeremy Griffith, James Press, Damon Isherwood, Fiona
Cullen-Ward, Brony FitzGerald, Lee Jones & Tim Macartney-Snape at the Sydney WTM Centre. All filming and editing of the videos was carried out by Sydney WTM members James Press &
Tess Watson during 2017-2018. Other members of the Sydney WTM Centre are responsible for the distribution and marketing of the videos/essays, and for providing subscriber support.