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Jeremy Griffith in conversation with one of
Australia’s most admired journalists,
In 1988, as part of the promotion of his first book, Free: The End Of The Human Condition, biologist Jeremy Griffith was interviewed by the esteemed Australian journalist Caroline Jones on her flagship ABC Radio National program, The Search for Meaning. In the interview Jeremy succinctly and brilliantly describes what the human condition really is (and his motivation for getting to the bottom of it); presents the actual explanation of the human condition; explains science’s role in the human journey; explains the meaning of the left and right wing poles of politics; describes the fabulous world that opens up for all humans now that the human condition has been explained; and so much more. According to Jones, the interview attracted the second most enthusiastic listener response in the program’s twice-weekly, eight year history, and as a result of that popularity was re-broadcast twice later that year.
A veteran writer, presenter and social commentator who has spent over 50 years with Australia’s national broadcaster, Jones is one of the country’s most distinguished and loved journalists. In addition to receiving the industry’s highest accolade (a Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism), in 1988 she received the Order of Australia (AO) and the Media Peace Prize Gold Citation, and in 1997 was voted one of Australia’s ‘Living Treasures’.
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The Transcript of this interview
Caroline Jones (program introduction): This is Caroline Jones. My guest this morning is Jeremy Griffith, a scientist whose search for meaning has produced a book called . The book examines the conflict between conscience and intellect; the guilt this conflict has brought to mankind, how an understanding of humanity’s necessary growing up period frees us from guilt and how humans can now look forward to peace on Earth. Jeremy was raised in the country. As a young scientist he did a great deal of work in the wilds of Tasmania on the plight of the Tasmanian Tiger. With his brother he makes beautiful furniture which you may have seen featured on A Big Country [this was actually a documentary about ]. But his major life work to date he considers to be his new book and its passionately held ideas. At the end of our conversation I’ll give you details about the book but let’s meet Jeremy Griffith.
Caroline Jones: Shall we start talking about childhood and maybe you’d say something about your childhood and what that was like.
Jeremy Griffith: Well, I grew up in the country on a sheep property and spent all my time playing with nature I guess, in the bush. I was very fond of animals and birds and I guess I was fairly idealistic as a young man and I guess all that isolation and the reinforcement I got from nature is the reason for that idealism and the protection my parents, my whole background, I guess the isolation, made me an idealist. [See for further details about Jeremy’s upbringing and life.]
Caroline Jones: What do you remember especially about teen age and the sort of feelings you were having then because it always seems to be, often seems to be a difficult time for us, those adolescent years? [Caroline is here alluding to the psychological process of Resignation that most adolescents go through—see .]
Jeremy Griffith: Yeah, I guess that’s when we are orientated to life’s problems and in my case, being, I was extremely idealistic, I had little awareness of reality and I guess it’s through our parents that we’re orientated to life. We encounter the battles on Earth through discovering the battle that our parents are waging and in my case I saw my father as what I thought was a very good man, he was almost sort of saintly if you like, and yet the world didn’t seem to recognise those qualities that I saw as so worthwhile and ideal. I guess my orientation as a young man was to try to champion his goodness in the world and the journeys went on and on and eventually I gained an understanding of why we, humanity as a whole, when I say we I mean humanity, aren’t able to acknowledge the ideals that I held in such high esteem.
Caroline Jones: Yes and I know that has become something of a life work. I wondered before we go into that, if you had from an early age even, the idea of the existence of another world, beyond this one which we live in?
Jeremy Griffith: Not really, the world I was living in, I was very euphoric, very happy, all my report cards at school said I had a zest for living. It was only much later on that I discovered the oppressed world if you like, I remember someone saying to me, ‘Oh you should go and listen to this person who is giving a talk’, he had come out from America and I went to that and he started off by saying, ‘all those who have some experience of another fabulous world at some time in their life put their hands up’, and then he counted the hands and he said that’s usual, 70% of people at some time in their life experience an awareness of another world. But for me I was living all the time in that other world and I was extremely idealistic. When I went to Tasmania, I went to Tasmania to look for a rare animal, I loved animals and I heard about this extraordinary animal in my backyard almost…
Caroline Jones: The rare animal…
Jeremy Griffith: The rare animal, yeah, this Tasmanian Tiger and I was fascinated and I thought well no one seems to be doing anything about it. I mean I was not aware of the human condition, the real problems on Earth, I thought this seemed to be the priority as I understood it, so I was determined to go and try and save the animal and I hitchhiked to Tasmania and started there and went on for a period of six years after I finished my university degree in science and I discovered then that the real problem was within ourselves, but when I came out of Tasmania at something like 28 years old, I was still incredibly out of touch with reality. It was a great mystery to me why the devastation of our planet, why the upset in people, the anger and the aggression on Earth, it was a complete mystery. I mean realists take all the reality for granted, it’s sort of self-evident but to an innocent, an idealist, it’s an extraordinary mystery that no one is able to explain to them, and I remember for instance I could never go to a movie and sit through a movie. The only movie as a young man I sat through was a thing about Africa called, Where No Vultures Fly and I remember when I watched Gone with the Wind for instance and I saw that [the film’s character] Scarlett O’Hara used other people, I just got up and walked out because I said people just shouldn’t do that to each other. I can remember coming out of Tasmania and being invited to this dinner party with [high-profile Australian businessman] John Walton and all of these important people at the time and I just couldn’t cope and eventually I stood on a chair and I accused everybody of being false and fake and laughing and I was furious, I was black with fury because I thought that there was a real problem. It’s like living in a house that’s burning down and everyone’s joking and pretending that there is nothing wrong, so the world of reality was an extraordinary mystery to me, I was extremely idealistic.
Caroline Jones: Was it very painful feeling separate I suppose, feeling that you had almost a separate set of values from most others?
Jeremy Griffith: The pain, I mean I was living in a state of real happiness in myself, the pain was my inconsistency with the real world and the real world’s inability to acknowledge the difference, that there was something, they were silent, there was this problem on Earth that no one was addressing, the suffering of others, the unhappiness of people and no one was looking at it, and you go to university and you go to school and they teach you mathematics. I remember asking the mathematics teacher, why are we teaching mathematics? I mean I couldn’t adopt mechanism. I couldn’t evade the whole truth of the ideals, that we should be all integrative and selfless and loving and helpful and kind. Why are we so competitive and aggressive and angry? Everyone was making jokes and laughing and keeping a brave front but I didn’t know, to me it was just blatant lies and denial of the real problems on Earth and I was furious and determined to champion as I said, my idealism and never to let it go. I remember when my father died, he was killed in a tractor accident, my resolve turned to rock and I said, I am never ever going to abandon my ideals. But the incredible journey, starting out so idealistically, was to finally one day discover that there was a really good reason for our human upset and to learn incredible compassion for humanity and I guess that’s the journey, the grand journey, adventure of humanity as a whole. [You can watch Jeremy present the breakthrough redeeming explanation of the human condition in .]
Caroline Jones: And you’ve encapsulated these ideas, the result of many years of thinking in a book called Free: The End Of The Human Condition. I am talking with Jeremy Griffith. Take us into the ideas won’t you, Jeremy?
Jeremy Griffith: Well, let me say for a start that my book is holistic in its approach or deterministic or teleological, the argument. In essence it accepts Integrative Meaning as I call it. To explain Integrative Meaning: atoms form molecules and molecules integrate to form single celled organisms and single-celled organisms come together to form multicellular organisms and then the next layer is multicellular organisms come together to form societies, if you like the Biblical equivalent to that would be the wolf lying down with the lamb. And there’s a higher order still, all things will finally come together to form the larger whole and I guess the religious equivalent for that would be peace on Earth and in heaven. So there is this development of larger wholes and holism means, if you look it up in the dictionary, ‘the tendency in nature to form wholes’ (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 5th edn, 1964) and teleological or deterministic argument is one that accepts purpose. Now, that purpose is this drive towards the development of ever larger and more stable wholes.
Now, the essential ingredient to form a larger whole is selflessness. The parts of the whole have to consider the welfare of the whole above themselves, so unconditional selflessness is the ingredient for the development of larger wholes. So, selflessness is the essence of this whole process of development of order of matter, integrative commitment. But you see the great complication that raises is that humans are a competitive, aggressive, selfish species and if we accept the purpose of integration, that there’s a vitalistic purpose to develop larger wholes, to be selfless, well then why are we selfish? It seems to imply that humans and humanity as a whole, is a bad species. You see, it raises the question of guilt, of the origin of sin, all these questions that religions struggle with and the fundamental problem that humanity has agonised over for ages. So, you see humans appear to be a guilty or bad species. Now, the paradox of the human condition is that in fact we are not a guilty or bad species. There was a good reason for our apparent inconsistency with these ideals and that is what my book explains so that, as I said, I started out believing extraordinarily in these ideals of selflessness, only to find there was a reason for our selfishness, a good reason.
The thing is that science, humanity, has had to evade this acceptance of Integrative Meaning so it’s very dangerous, the teleological or deterministic or vitalistic or holistic approach is very dangerous and there’s a great yearning on Earth at present for the New Age, a great hunger that the existing world is exhausted and our planet is exhausted, we’re exhausted and the old world is dying, but the new world is just not able to be born, and the holistic world, the ideal world will not gain ascension until we find the defence for ourselves. You see, it says in the Bible for instance that ‘God is love’, right. Love is the theme of integrativeness, this development, so really God is our personification of this integrative development. So God, selflessness, love, integration all mean the same thing. But we have been an insecure species, a God-fearing species because we haven’t been able to defend ourselves in the presence of God, in the presence of Integrative Meaning. [See on Integrative Meaning or ‘God’.]
Caroline Jones: So what is the defence? Take us into the defence.
Jeremy Griffith: Well, currently, to date we’ve used what I call contrived defences, for our human condition of upset, our divisive state.
Caroline Jones: For example.
Jeremy Griffith: For example, there is a film out at present called The Gods Must Be Crazy in which they contrast the innocence of the Bushmen of the Kalahari with our mad, driven, chaotic, competitive world [see on the difference between races; and on Sir Laurens van der Post who wrote extensively about the relative innocence of the Bushmen]. But in it it accounts for our competitiveness on the basis that it was due to our possessions. In the field of biology there was Robert Ardrey’s book The Territorial Imperative which said that our competitive nature, our selfishness is due to our imperative to defend our territory. Currently the prevailing scientific evasion or excuse for our divisiveness is a theory called Sociobiology which says that our selfish nature is due to our selfish genes. But as I say these are contrived defences, they sustain us until we find the real excuse. And what I’m saying is that my book is presenting the real excuse. [See on the danger of the false ‘savage instincts’ excuse, and on the industry of denial in science.]
Just before I explain what my explanation of our upset state is, I should say that science has had to progress mechanistically rather than holistically, as I pointed out. It had to evade acceptance of holism, of the development of order of matter, until such time when we could defend ourselves against it, explain ourselves. So, science has very properly been mechanistic because any acceptance of holism would only add to our sense of guilt, not alleviate it. So it’s progressed by investigating reality, step by proven step. But whenever it encountered a truth, a partial truth as I call it, that was dangerous, that implied that we were bad, such as Integrative Meaning, it evaded it. So, in science they stress entropy which says that systems run down towards heat energy, they don’t stress negative entropy which is the physical law that explains the integration of matter that Arthur Koestler and Teilhard de Chardin have accepted [again, see on Integrative Meaning]. They are what I call unevasive thinkers where scientists, in general, are evasive thinkers, they’ve had to be. So, science investigates the mystery, the mechanisms that might one day allow us to find an understanding. So, science is evasive and represses many, many partial truths that are dangerous and hides them. Now, that means that it’s finding the understanding of ourselves and it’s finding all these pieces of the jigsaw of explanation but it is unable to look at those jigsaw pieces right-side-up because they’re hurtful; the picture they’re presenting is a hurtful one, it’s implying that we’re bad all the time. So it finds these pieces of the explanation and presents these pieces upside down. Now in the end it requires, to synthesise the full truth that will liberate us, someone has to go now and look at all those pieces of the jigsaw right-side-up and assemble the full picture that liberates us, since the full picture doesn’t criticise us, it explains us. All these partial truths tend to criticise us when the full truth won’t. So it’s the story of David and Goliath, in the end the whole of humanity is arrayed at the edge of this battlefield, unable to go out into it and slay this giant Goliath. So an exceptional innocent is required at that time to go out because these partial truths such as Integrative Meaning don’t hurt someone who’s not aggressive, angry, divisive, someone who is yet to become embattled. [See for an explanation of the role of innocence in finding the explanation of the human condition.] They’re still idealistic. So, my approach was a holistic approach but I suggest that only a holistic approach in the end could unravel the jigsaw, could look at the jigsaw pieces right side up and synthesise the full picture.
Caroline Jones: I’m talking with Jeremy Griffith who’s the author of a book called Free: The End Of The Human Condition which embodies ideas which he has worked out, which have come to him over a period of many years. Before we go on where does religion, the religions fit into this picture?
Jeremy Griffith: Well, before I answer that I should, to answer it I really should explain the story.
Caroline Jones: Ok.
Jeremy Griffith: Because the story involves becoming exhausted and then when we were exhausted we needed religion. So just to introduce my explanation for our human condition of upset, a great battle emerged. In anthropology we know that the species Homo, which is what we are, intelligent man, emerged some two million years ago from the australopithecines who I’ve redescribed as Childman. So during our childhood and prior to that, during our ape ancestry, we acquired what I call an instinctive orientation to integrativeness [see for evidence of this from the fossil record]. In the equivalent in the Bible it says in Genesis that we were once in the image of God, that is absolutely loving, kind, selfless, generous, all these traits. And then at two million years, intelligent man emerged and a great battle emerged between this intelligent self and this original instinctive self or soul, the expression of which is our conscience.
Now we became instinctively, that is genetically aware of what was integrative and what was divisive, what was good and what was bad. Our soul in its conscience is perfect in criticism but completely deficient in explanation. So the problem was the mind had to search for understanding, the fundamental problem was that the mind is a nerve-based learning system, which is insightful, it has to operate from a base of understanding. So, when the mind emerged it had to search for understanding, there were none available. But whenever it made a mistake the instinctive self criticised it. And so it implied that we were bad to conduct these experiments in self-management when we weren’t and we got angry with innocence for its unfair criticism of us and we have had to live with this sense of guilt, this implication that we are bad when we never were. The mind had to search for understanding, it had to make mistakes. The innocent self, we needed the guidance of our conscience to tell us when we were being divisive or integrative but we didn’t deserve its criticism, we weren’t bad to carry out these experiments and it implied that we were and had it had its own way we would have never been allowed to conduct these experiments in self-management.
So, the ignorance of our original instinctive self or soul tried to stop our search for understanding, and so we had to defy it, we had to combat the ignorance of innocence and so we turned on innocence and attacked it and paradoxically we had to start evading Integrative Meaning because all our upsets that emerged from this battle—we became angry with innocence for its unfair criticism of us; we became egocentric, ego in the dictionary means conscious thinking self, our ego became embattled forever trying to prove that it wasn’t bad, explain itself. But it was a Catch-22 situation, we needed the understandings we’re setting out to find in order to defend ourselves and then we became angry and we became alienated, we started putting our fingers in our ears to block out the unfair criticism. So the more we searched for understanding the more angry, egocentric and alienated we became. In a word ‘upset’, the more upset we became. And eventually we had to strike a balance, if we were too free from the imposition of these ideals, free to search for understanding, we would become too corrupt. On the other hand if we were too obedient to these absolute truths of ideals of integrativeness or selflessness, we would never search for understanding, we would be too oppressed. So socialism stresses obedience to the absolute truths of being social, communal and selfless and integrative, whereas capitalism stresses the need to be free to search for understandings and we as a community, vote. We say, ‘Oh we’re now too corrupt, we’ll vote in the [left-wing] Labor Party for a while and practice obedience to the absolutes for a while’, and that becomes too oppressive and we need to be free and so then we switch to vote in the [right-wing] Liberal Party. [See for further explanation of politics.] So, we become more angry and more upset as we search for understanding. So what happens in the end is that we become excessively embattled, in the end we can’t live with ourselves.
If we and our ancestors that produced us have been experimenting in self-management, we can become excessively angry. Now, what do we do at that point? We need to find our way back, scramble back to the ideal world as quick as we can because that’s the only true world there is and our soul lived in a really beautiful place where everybody was loving and there was no anger, no ego, no alienation and after a long search for the understanding, just living in darkness and completely lost from the truth, we’ve blocked it all out at which time we have to try and scramble back. At that point our unevasive thinkers become very precious, so historically we’ve looked for our prophets. These were those, the odd person that occurred that had been sheltered from exposure to the battles that humanity was waging and who still had access to all these ideals that we’d repressed long ago and they could walk around and express truth that we’ve long since lost access to. So we quickly wrote down what they’d said and through them we could live again because we could be reborn.
Caroline Jones: Who are you talking about here?
Jeremy Griffith: Well, I’m talking about the founders of the great religions.
Caroline Jones: Yes.
Jeremy Griffith: Such as Christ, Muhammad. They were exceptional innocents, exceptionally unevasive thinkers and that’s why we murdered Christ. Because his innocence only reflected on our lack of innocence that we couldn’t defend. So, the great paradox is encapsulated in Christ. I mean, that’s why we wear a cross and things like this because, you see while we murdered him, his innocence was the ideal that we had to repress. Humanity had to lose itself to find itself. To win in the end, for the restoration of the older ideal world, we had to be prepared to carry out these experiments in self-management and cop the inevitable corruption of self that resulted. And so the presence of innocence both was a symbol of the ideals but it was also extreme criticism. And Christ was extremely hurtful to some people and this whole battle. So people, once we became exhausted we had to live through our religion, we go and live through one of these people and we can be an effective force again in spite of our exhaustions and it was the most amazing thing when religion came to Earth—imagine being a Mongol horde and raping and pillaging and expressing your angers to the nth degree until in the end you just cannot live with yourself any more. I remember reading about Burt Reynolds and all his sexual conquests and in the end saying, ‘Look, I got to hate myself so much, I was just desperate’, and then suddenly there was these religions. I mean very great prophets emerged who could really articulate the truth, had not lost access to that magic world and all the truths that reside there and through them we could live again. [See for more analysis of prophets.]
In the old days in our more naive times we collected our prophets, but now their great innocence only reflects on our lack of innocence and so we repress innocence, we repress our prophets, we’re mechanistic, not holistic. In our desperation at present we’re trying to find our way back to a more holistic approach but it’s a very dangerous world since it confronts us with our divisiveness that we’re unable to defend, but now that we can defend ourselves we can confront God. It’s the end of Adolescentman, of insecure-man, we’ve found our identity now and all our upsets can subside now and gradually as our understanding of why it all was the way it was becomes clear to us, our mind will find peace. So this brings peace to Earth, this understanding, this is what we’ve been in search of for two million years, the defence for ourselves, we can now go back to innocence and say, ‘Now listen, we weren’t bad and now we can explain why.’ I mean religious assurances such as that God loves us, while comforting, didn’t allow us to understand ourselves, we still had to find that understanding. So while we were still finding the mechanisms that might make a full explanation possible, great prophets got in the way in a lot of ways because they just reminded us of our lost world of paradise and they remind us of our corrupted state, which we were unable to defend.
Caroline Jones: So, you’re suggesting really that man’s journey has been a most heroic one, so far.
Jeremy Griffith: Fabulous. It’s like it’s been a match, a football match, you know. Now, [legendary Australian rugby league player] Ray Price comes off the football field covered in scars and embattled and his dislocated shoulder and everything, but he’s completely happy, his [winning] cup is held high and he’s smiling and we’re all with his team, Parramatta, in tears of joy for his win. We don’t worry about his exhaustions because we know the game he’s been involved in was worthwhile. But humans come off the battlefield exhausted and because we’re unable to know the merit of the battle that we’ve been in, we can’t see ourselves as wonderful, we’re just insecure about our exhaustions. We can love ourselves now. I can take an extreme, someone who has, I don’t know, grown up with their parents having left them at Kings Cross [the red light district in Sydney] or somewhere, these terrible things that are happening now outside this very building [near Kings Cross], I can take that boy or girl and I can tell them now a story, a wonderful story that humanity has been through, an incredibly worthwhile journey and they can then for the first time see themselves in that journey as being worthwhile. In spite of their exhaustions they can love themselves, and they have so much courage, I mean they paint their hair red and they try to have an identity for themselves in spite of all this incredible oppression that they’re a bad person when they’re not, and now they can love themselves, they can understand themselves. Understanding is freedom, is compassion.
Caroline Jones: Jeremy Griffith is speaking and he is the author of a book which contains his thinking for the last, what, 13 years?
Jeremy Griffith: 13 years.
Caroline Jones: It’s called Free: The End Of The Human Condition. What difference do you feel this is going to make to the world if people truly understand it and take it on board, what change could we see?
Jeremy Griffith: It’s not like a religion. Religion depended on abandoning our thinking self, this thing that got us into so much strife, and just living through these, hanging on to these ideals, which can become very important to us because, that’s where you get a sort of fundamentalist approach because those religions are what’s saving us and any threat to those is challenged. But it’s not like a religion see, this is the understandings that our mind needs now. These are the tools to think with. In the past we tried to understand that we were good but couldn’t.
Caroline Jones: What difference do you think it will make though, to our attitude and behaviour towards the environment, for example?
Jeremy Griffith: Well as I say in my book, this is the end of a two million year lifestyle. We will now dismantle our cities because they were, there is a best-selling book out in America now, Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of Vanities, he said, ‘New York is just a bonfire of vanity’, well it is, and our egos now, our desire to try and establish our worth, each one of us is committed to winning somehow, to winning a game of football, to win anywhere. We are punch drunk for relief from this incessant criticism we live with. That’s ended now. I mean all our competitiveness can subside now. We’ll go on playing the game we’ve been playing for two million years, it will take a while to dawn on us that it’s all over but it is all over.
Caroline Jones: But what will be the effects of that, how will we see difference?
Jeremy Griffith: Well, we won’t be angry, we won’t be alienated, we won’t be egocentric. Our great difference in personalities that we see amongst humans are all our different encounters with this battle with the human condition. So our personalities will become very similar. I mean, people will try and put down the future when they have a flash look at it occasionally and say, ‘Oh, it will be boring’. But they don’t understand it. We’ve lived off the adventure and repressed the other great positives because we couldn’t have those other positives. But now we can afford to look at those other positives. There’s a world that we’ve denied and repressed of so much magic that all the things that we’ve collected to sustain us, lovely meals at night, sex, all these other distractions, rate absolutely nothing.
Caroline Jones: Would you see us taking more care of the world if we are truly illuminated by the idea that you outline?
Jeremy Griffith: Absolutely.
Caroline Jones: Yes.
Jeremy Griffith: Absolutely, I say in my book that the Green Movement and this desire for a steady, stable ecology to try and save our environment is really only a stop-gap measure [see , or its book version, ]. We have to stop the fundamental upset within us. We have to resolve the anger, the alienation, the superficiality of people, us, you know and those things are now soluble. We can go back now and unlock all the doors that have been locked inside us. All our upsets can subside and then we will become sensitive, incredibly aware. There’s a world out there of so much beauty that we can now tap that we’ve never been able to tap, and occasionally a great artist might just make some, cut a little window into that magic world through which we could all get a little access to the paradise. But there’s a world where one minute of the future, the beauty encapsulated in that would be more than all the beauty we can accumulate in a whole lifetime. There is nothing that man has created that would remotely compare with the magic of our lost paradise.
Caroline Jones: So, what is death then in the scheme of things that you’re describing?
Jeremy Griffith: The answer is if we were ideal still and hadn’t become embattled and upset, death wouldn’t worry us at all because we would be so selfless, so considerate, concerned for the larger whole that our life is only worthwhile in terms of what it contributes to the whole and that we have a limited life is not a problem.
Caroline Jones: But is death in any sense returning to the whole?
Jeremy Griffith: Ah, yes, we’ve departed on this grand journey, which has all been worthwhile and so our life and everything about it carries on in the effort, our efforts are never lost, and that is really the true sense of our afterlife. All that we do is never lost, we say hello to someone in the morning and be kind, that goodness flows on and everything about our life carries on. So, it is true, but we don’t come back as a cow like Shirley MacLaine would superstitiously like us to believe, but we do have an afterlife. Our spirit, the determination of humanity to champion this wonderful device, the mind, carries on in the work of everybody. In our insecurity we become very afraid of death and it can consume us, but it’s just an expression of our, our lost access to the truth.
Caroline Jones: And what is art?
Jeremy Griffith: Art is people who cultivate some access back to paradise [see F. Essay 44]. So they, as I said earlier, try to cut a window back to paradise so we can live through it and they do it at great pains to themselves. Once again, if you confront beauty it only accentuates our sense of guilt, it confronts you with our lack of beauty. So artists can, like Van Gogh, you know, they struggle so hard to grapple, to grow this rose and all they feel is the prickles. It just accentuates the question, ‘Are we a bad species?’ When the rest of us can just go on denying it and blocking it out and not even worrying about that fundamental question, if you grapple with beauty, you’re grappling with God, you’re grappling with the question of our goodness and the more you discover beauty and find access to it, the more you make your life difficult and confront yourself with our inconsistency with it. So the artists give us all a respite, a place to go, we can go and touch beauty again through them and their work.
Caroline Jones: Through music, through painting.
Jeremy Griffith: Absolutely.
Jeremy Griffith: Well, I grew up in the bush and I’ve always been good with my hands and because I’ve a lot of imagination and so working with wood is incredibly rewarding. It’s a wonderful material, it’s been with mankind all times, so we have an affinity for it. It’s warm and giving and someone said that wood has as much give and take as the human body so it’s a fair fight, it brings the best out in both contestants. So, working with wood is incredibly therapeutic. See, creating things with your hands or anything we create we take the magic of creativity for granted, but it’s the mind’s ability to manage events that allows us to manipulate our world so effectively. So, creativity is the most reinforcing of things we can do. If we make something, the reinforcement, the marvel of that creation is just stunning, we take it for granted as I said, we’ve been living with it for so long, but really it’s incredibly reinforcing, the magic of creation. Our ability to manipulate our world to our own desires is an astounding talent. So, I think children should, television is numb, it doesn’t give them the reinforcement. They should make things and be reinforced through that, the power of the ability to use their mind and that should then raise the questions of the meaning of all this beauty and creativity. So making things, making furniture for me was a stage in my development towards these more serious questions.
Caroline Jones: Jeremy, what do you most hope for now?
Jeremy Griffith: Well, I most hope that all the suffering in the world will stop and the devastation of the Earth will stop and my effort is towards that, to try to bring peace to Earth at the most critical point and I just kept focusing my life closer and closer to the real problem and then tried to unscramble the real problem and that led to these explanations which bring peace to our mind.
Caroline Jones: So will you keep moving around, speaking as you’re being increasingly invited to speak, meeting people?
Jeremy Griffith: I will talk to anybody, I will do anything to help explain these ideas and bring peace to people’s minds, to take the pain out of our brain, to champion humans, to give us the understandings that will liberate us from our upset.
Caroline Jones: And to bring us a better world by the sound of things.
Jeremy Griffith: Absolutely.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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Discussion or comment on this email is welcomed—see below.
These essays were created in 2017-2021 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 2017-2021. Other members of the Sydney WTM Centre are responsible for the
distribution and marketing of the videos/essays, and for providing subscriber support.