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This is Freedom Essay 47


Humour and swearing explained


Written by Jeremy Griffith, 2017


As has been explained in all these Freedom Essays, 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 soulthe more we searched for knowledge, the more upset and soul-destroyed we became. That is not to say that we didn’t learn to restrain our upset, to ‘civilise’ itbut underneath that disguise, we were becoming more and more angry, egocentric and alienated.


Cartoon showing two angry men hiding their anger behind civil masks

‘…underneath that disguise we were becoming more and more angry, egocentric and alienated’


Civility certainly had an important role to playit has been a marvellous tool for helping to restrain upset and allow individuals of various states of self-corruption to co-exist (see F. Essay 28: The end of racism, for an explanation of differences in self-corruption); however, it obviously necessitated repressing or bottling-up our frustrations and angers, which produced yet another problem of how then to relieve that pent-up state. Our inability to be honest about our internal upset (which required the redeeming understanding of the human condition that is presented in Video/​F. Essay 3) meant we had to somehow learn to valve off and relieve ourselves in ways that weren’t destructive of those around us. As described in F. Essay 43, some so-called ‘primitive’ peoples used mask ceremonies to exorcise their true, upset condition, while others, including the ‘!kung’ Bushmen, used such measures as fatigue-inducing, soul-accessing dances.


A mask depicting a human-like face with an expression of great anger

“Mudman”, Asaro Valley, Papua New Guinea,
photo by David Austin

African tribesman performing traditional dance

Fatigue-inducing dance allowed access to
our much repressed, all-sensitive soul


The origin of our developed sense of humour stems from the same source. Once it is understood how false resigned humans became, the source of so much of our sophisticated sense of humour becomes very clear (see F. Essay 30 for explanation of the process of Resignation). For the most part, adults maintain a carefully constructed facade of denial, but every now and then a mistake is madewe ‘slip-up’and the truth of our real situation is revealed, providing the basis for humour. 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 wasso farcical it was funny; a ‘joke’, in fact. For instance, when someone tripped or fell over, or had their ‘bluff’ called, it was humorous because suddenly their carefully constructed, civilised image of togetherness disintegrated.


Image from Simpsons cartoon with Homer saying ‘DOH!’

In an article titled ‘There’s nobody like him...​except you, me, everyone’,
the farcical Homer Simpson was described as ‘the greatest comic creation
of [modern] time’
(Lindsay McIntosh, The Sunday Times, 8 Jul. 2007).


We take our developed sense of humour for granted now as being a natural part of our make-up, but it follows that there was a time, prior to becoming alienated and false, when the only comic situations were those that childrenand, as has been witnessed in research situations, bonobosfind 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 the extremely ridiculous, fraudulent situations appeared in human life to laugh about and make fun of. (from par. 869 of FREEDOM)


Graphic showing a voice balloon with symbols inside it indicating swearing


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 in F. Essay 27, 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. (see pars 792 & 870 of FREEDOM)

In the end though, while humour and swearing could relieve our pent-up frustrations, civilising our upset didn’t stop its developmentit could only ever conceal and help contain itand so it was inevitable that, as the corrupting search for knowledge continued, levels of upset were only going to escalate, so that today, underneath that highly sophisticated veneer of civility, we have become immensely embattled, saturated with upset, and thus absolutely despairing about our situation.


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What follows is further elaboration on the subject; it is an adapted excerpt from the chapter ‘Humour, swearing and sex demystified’ in my 2003 book A Species In Denial.


In one sense the civilised state, which requires that humans avoid swearing, was marvellous because it made life bearable by concealing the ugliness of humans’ extremely false condition, but in another sense it made life unbearable because it hid the truth of humanity’s extremely false, pretentious and deluded condition. The importance of civility, therefore, depends on your position: do you want to contribute to the maintenance of the lie, or do you want to relieve the world of its lying?


Image of group of Englishmen in bowler hats


The following comment about George Gurdjieff, a Russian philosopher who took on the world of denial, supports the civilised position: ‘In his writings he used both humour and vulgarity to stimulate man’s awareness of his own unworthiness and these “weapons” often detract from Gurdjieff’s reputation as a serious philosopher’ (Gurdjieff: An Approach to His Ideas, Michel Waldberg, 1989).

Prophets adopt the opposing position of relieving the world of its lying, and in doing so they are typically raw, defiant and irreverentuncivilised. As it says about the defiant personality of prophets in the Bible, ‘zeal for your [denial-free] house consumes me’ (Psalm 69:9 & John 2:17). As was mentioned in F. Essay 39, prophets were ‘warlike’ rather than saintly, capable of being both sensitive and tough. They have to be sensitive enough to access the true world of the soul and tough enough to defy the all-dominating world of denial. Kahlil Gibran was quoted in that essay as saying, ‘Jesus was not a bird with broken wings; He was a raging tempest who broke all crooked wings. He feared not His persecutors nor His enemies. He suffered not before His killers. Free and brave and daring He was. He defied all despots and oppressors. He saw the contagious pustules and amputated them…​He muted evil and He crushed Falsehood and He choked Treachery.’ In a tirade against the intellectuals of his day, Christ said, ‘You snakes! You brood of vipers!’, repeatedly adding, ‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites…​you, blind guides!…​You blind fools!’ (see Matt. 23).


Painting of Christ cleansing the temple by Valentin de Boulogne

Christ Driving the Money Changers out of the Temple
by Valentin de Boulogne, c.1618


While I am not defending public swearing because I view it as unnecessarily offensive to people not familiar with my unevasive paradigm, within the World Transformation Movement, where people understand what I have explained here about the honesty of swearing, it is justified and, in fact, a necessary tool for introducing an honest world. There are so few honest aspects of our evasive world, that I make use of any that are available.

For me, swearing signals to those listening that I am not party to the hypocritical world of denial. Many young adults in their late teens and early 20’s find relief from having the false world torn apart, for, as is explained in F. Essay 30, having just left the pre-resigned state where they could see the world was utterly false, they are still resistant to adopting the artificial, monstrously egocentric resigned adult world of lies. In opening up the issue of the human condition, my fundamental task is to defy and expose the world of denial. I have to shatter the delusions and artificialities of that world.


R.D. Laing in front of crowd sitting on corner of table smoking cigarette

The irreverent R.D. Laing (right), addressing the ‘Dialectics of Liberation’ conference, July 1967


The Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, who is featured in the next F. Essay 48, was a prophet who regularly used swearing to ‘shock…​the established order, the fool living in ignorance of his own ignorance’ (R.D. Laing A Biography, Adrian Laing, 1994, p.133 of 248). The following is one sample of Laing’s use of swearing, which he is using to emphasise just how corrupted, and dishonest about being corrupted, humanity has become: ‘How do you plug a void plugging a void? How to inject nothing into fuck-all? How to come into a gone world? No piss, shit, smegma, come…​[etc], will plug up the Hole. It’s gone past all that, that, all that last desperate clutch. Come into gone. I do assure you. The dreadful has already happened’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967, p.153 of 156).

Carl Jung was another prophet whose ‘language, which could be just as earthy as it was poetic, when he was roused in this profound regard was worthy of an inspired peasant, and words like “shitbags” and “pisspots” would roll from his lips in sentences of crushing correction’ (Sir Laurens van der Post, Jung and the Story of Our Time, 1976, p.220 of 275).


Carl Jung smoking pipe

Carl Jung (1875–1961)


Even the great Australian educator and prophet Sir James Darling was not averse to using strong language, as this quote from a journalist who interviewed him records: ‘Indeed; Darling’s lengthy conversations during my visit revolved from intense thoughts on God, Socrates, Jung and the unconscious, to a joke with the copulating adjective rousingly pronounced’ (Janet Hawley, Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend mag. 19 Nov. 1988; see

Yes, swearing and humour have been invaluable tools in helping humanity cope with the torturous situation of having to continue to search for knowledge without being able to acknowledge its corrupting effects! Thank goodness that [email protected]#!ing search is now over!

In conclusion, this further passage from A Species In Denial is included as it shows my empathy with the non-conformist, irreverent, no-bullshit attitude of the Irishwhich, as I explain in paragraph 1036 of FREEDOM, probably befits my Irish and Welsh heritage.


Irish tourism message - Don’t grow up, its a trap

Irish tourism slogan reflecting their refusal, in effect, to resign to the adult world of denial


For their part the Celtic Irish, Welsh and Scottish have contributed a ‘non-conformist’, ‘joyful and productive’ (from the 2001 documentary, The Sea Kingdoms) freshness to the world, qualities that have greatly complemented and assisted the endeavours of the English. There is an integrity about the Irish in particular that is admired throughout the world, to the extent that Ireland, or ‘I-love-you-land’ as I saw a Chinese woman refer to it on television, has become a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the world irrespective of their racial origins. In an upcoming essay in this book (A Species In Denial) titled The Demystification Of Religion, the section ‘Australia’s role in the world’ (see also F. Essay 50: Australia’s role) emphasises the special contribution the Irish people have made to the world with their refusal to conform to the artificial, sophisticated and dishonest way of living. In terms of what was explained in the Resignation essay earlier, it is almost as if the Irish as a nation refused to accept resignation, to ‘grow up’, preferring to remain a somewhat mad ‘ship at sea’ (as mentioned, you can read about Resignation, including the ‘ship at sea’ strategy, in F. Essay 30). In comparison, the English applied their ‘cool and practical’ (The Sea Kingdoms) temperament to humanity’s fundamental task of accumulating knowledge using the relatively safe guise of eccentricity and ridiculous degrees of sophistication to valve-off the resultant corruption and angst. In their preference to stay ignorant and honest rather than become sophisticated and false, the Irish served to keep the English honest, preventing them from becoming too alienated from the soul’s true world. (You can read about different levels of alienation between races in F. Essay 28.) Once when unloading my suitcase from a cab in an up-market part of London I was approached by a short man who smelt of alcohol. In a strong Irish accent he offered to carry my suitcase. When I said that I was happy to carry it myself he said, ‘That’s OK, you carry it but I’ll come along and you can still give me the tip.’ The logic was confusing but it was very amusing and I found his off-centred way of thinking and his unconcerned, even disrespectful, attitude to all the sophistication around him immensely refreshing and relieving. We ended up sitting on the suitcase on the edge of the footpath talking about Ireland. Such is the effect the Irish have on people. (You can read a short biography of Jeremy by Professor Harry Prosen in F. Essay 49.)


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Watch Jeremy Griffith present the breakthrough redeeming explanation of the human condition in Video/​F. Essay 3, or read chapter 1 of FREEDOM.


Discussion or comment on this essay is welcomedsee below.




These essays were created in 2017-2019 by Jeremy Griffith, Damon Isherwood, Fiona
Cullen-Ward, Brony FitzGerald & Lee Jones of the Sydney WTM Centre. All filming and
editing of the videos was carried out by Sydney WTM members James Press & Tess Watson
during 2017-2019. Other members of the Sydney WTM Centre are responsible for the
distribution and marketing of the videos/​essays, and for providing subscriber support.



Please note, we encourage constructive discussion about this information and so reserve the right to moderate or decline posts that we feel are not relevant or inappropriate. In particular, with the subject of the human condition being so confronting, malice can easily occur, and where comments are deemed to be motivated not by objectivity but by malice, they will be declined. It has to be appreciated that the possibility of malice toward this subject matter is very real, and we have a responsibility to manage that as best we can.

  • Vladimir on July 27, 2017 at 6:58 am

    The explanation makes sense.

  • Tommy on July 27, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Priceless! Refreshing is an understatement for this civilised-backgrounded person! Reading this or any of Jeremy’s work or watching one of his videos, with all it’s exposure but also understanding and defence of our denial-filled world on this website is truly heart-and-soul-reviving-and-saving! Irish U2’s lyrics “I wanna tear down the walls” (from their amazing song “Where The Streets Have No Name”) come to mind. We live in such fear of having our denial broken revealing our upset natures but you discover there is no need (as we are truly 100% understood, defended and loved now) and is actually exactly what we each want. All we want deep down is to actually understand ourselves and for the suffering on the planet to end. Through this information a new paradigm is opened up for all humanity, filled with so much excitement, purpose, security and fulfillment you might [email protected]#!ing burst!! Let’s go brave humanity!!

  • judy66 on August 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Oh my, this is wonderful! It is interesting isnt it, that all these things that we take for granted and just dont even think about, turn out to be symptoms (I suppose that is the right word), of the human condition.
    And I just love the bit about the Irish and I want R.D. Laing to come into my work and give a presentation!

  • richard on August 16, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Im sorry Judy66 but Ronald Laing is no longer with us. But as a fellow Scotsman I can tell you I am very proud to see him featured here. What a great man he was. Make sure you don’t watch the recent movie about him though, because it is full of inaccuracies. On to more important matters, it is something of a revelation (if I can use that word) how everything becomes explicable once you understand the riddle of the human condition. Its as though I now have an ‘understandascope’ and can see everything. Admission: I have stolen the idea of an undersandascope from a cartoon in Freedom! Everyone should have one!

  • Anna on December 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    At last a profound explanation for swearing! I knew there had to be a good reason for why it felt so relieving – especially in civilised settings.

  • seamus on December 6, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Bless you Mr Griffith. You will be welcome to be sharing many a pint with us after this email! I am reminded of a saying, ‘There are only two types of people in the world. Those that are Irish, and those that wish they were!’.

  • Roberto Grosso on July 1, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    How may I found an Italian translation of you your thoughts ? I’m very interesting, for my study of stomatology and human anthropology of ancient mandible, and aos9 f9r your philosophy . But I understand your deeply thought only at the 50%. I need s9me italian translation of you.

    • Susan on July 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Roberto and Werner, Thank you both for your interest in the WTM. In regard to having an Italian or Dutch translation available, as it says in our FAQ 3.9, Jeremy Griffith’s books are currently printed in English only, however, we are looking to translate his key work into as many languages as possible as soon as we can including the Freedom Essay series. This will probably unfortunately be of no help to you but the Austrian WTM Centre is in the process of translating, into German, the Freedom Essay series, ‘FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition’, and its condensation, ‘Transform Your Life And Save The World’ — and has already translated Jeremy’s online publication ‘The Rising Sun’. You can access this on their website Also, if you happen to speak Swedish you might like to visit our Swedish WTM Centre website where Olof Österman speaks about why he opened a Centre in Sweden in both English and Swedish — go to
      Until we have translations available you can go to our YouTube channel to watch our videos using subtitles translated into your native language. You may be aware of this YouTube function but if you aren’t I have included instructions below. Even though the translation isn’t 100% accurate it does allow you to watch all our videos, especially our Homepage Video Series. The first 4 videos of this series have received excellent feedback as being key presentations so they are a must-watch. The new Video 4 is particularly important in making it completely clear that the instinct vs intellect explanation is the true explanation of the human condition, and in the process reveals where the core insecurity of our condition, that has been driving all our upset behaviour, has been coming from.
      For YouTube subtitles
      Go to the WTM YouTube channel
      Select the video you wish to watch
      At the bottom right of the video player there are 4 icons
      Click on the ‘Subtitles/closed captions’ icon to turn the subtitles on
      Then click on the ‘Settings’ icon and select ‘Subtitles/cc’, then ‘Auto-translate’ and then select the language

  • Werner Wallenburg on July 31, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    How may i found an Nederlands translation?
    Hartelijke groet
    Werner Wallenburg

  • Nathan Sandiford on August 29, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Wonderfully grounded information to which each and every one of us can relate.
    Gives me inspiration for my own attempts at article writing online. Thankyou for the words.

  • maurice on July 7, 2019 at 2:20 am

    Brilliant essay,,,,Very well written. …..thank you.

  • Reginald Khotshobe on August 16, 2019 at 6:21 am

    This is so so, honest. Often I am with indigenous people, and boy do they love their swearwords. What I find even more fascinating is the reputation traditional/ indigenous healers have of being ‘careless’ about what they say and do. The civilised folks battle to process that,more so because, we’re talking about people here that are seen as being more in tune /alignment, with the Devine.

  • karina Maher on November 22, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    This for me is b breath of fresh air, and I will now certainly read more. Thank you Jeremy
    When I was at a very posh party and all the women were talking about tennis (excluding me ’cause I wasn’t one of them and I am German) I said you know the most fabulous word in the English language is the word “Fuck” I went on to say how powerful it is ,conversation stopped, the men laughed their heads off and after much denial from the women who initially said they would NEVER use that word, the evening ended with a very drunk lady saying “I am sooo Fucked. hahaha

  • Elizabeth Kotze on January 17, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Loved this essay. Now I know and understand the only swear word I love using, especially amongst the holier than though = the variations inclusive of, fuck!
    What shocked expressions, but never a reprimand….. As if fuck’s explosiveness, just does the trick somehow.
    I shall keep on fucking!!
    and reading of course

  • Carry Meijs on January 29, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    Very good and ilustrative component of humor made clear. Thanks🙏🕊

  • Lesley Hamill on May 14, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Wow!! I have been receiving your emails on human condition for several weeks now and this is the first one I’ve actually read…thank goodness I’ve saved the earlier ones…will be spending my winter with you, catching up on those…
    Thank you

  • TONY MORRISON on July 26, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Just brilliant and so refreshing. Breaths of fresh air and clarity of mind from reading this article. I am an English man. In 1983 with a car and bicycle I travelled from Liverpool to Dublin on a ship and I was blown away by the friendliness of southern Ireland and less so with northern Ireland which had been invaded by the Brits. From Larne in northern Ireland I travelled by ship to Scotland. The Scottish are more friendly than the English. The southern Irish were the friendliest people I had met. Even later in life working in Libya before Libya was bombed by the UK, USA with a little support from France which has left Libya and now western Europe especially so the UK in a right mess through causing refugee floods from Africa not to mention the middle east, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria but all that is another story but my point is the Libyan people contrary to what the western propaganda had led people to believe were even more friendly than the Irish. Libya when I worked there was completely safe and you could walk at night in Tripoli and the town of Ubari in the western Sahara completely safe and the Libyan people did not drink alcohol. Later I married a Taiwanese and we now have a daughter 2 years old and over a period of 7 years I got to travel to Taiwan many times and even to live in Taiwan for 6 months during which time our daughter was born and Taiwan is the most friendliest of any country I have been to and I have been to many. Guess what, in Taiwan the mainstream culture is no one drinking alcohol unlike the UK mainstream culture which is drinking alcohol. In Taiwan people are very happy but Taiwan is a tropical Island full of Buddhism and Taoism.