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This is Freedom Essay 52
Jeremy’s children’s book, A Perfect Life!
(Filmed in Sydney, 2017)
The following videoA Perfect Life.is a brief, entertaining talk, in which Jeremy describes a little book he’s designed for children, titled
Looking at the lives of crocodiles, wildebeest and lions on the Serengeti, A Perfect Life is a humorous take on the thought-provoking question of how did our distant innocent, all-cooperative and all-loving forebears cope with all the brutal must-reproduce-your-genes, natural-selection-derived competition and aggression in the natural world around them? (Jeremy provides the answer to this question in , when, referring to ‘Mr Crocodile’, ‘dressed in armour’ and with a mouth full of ferocious teeth designed to kill creatures, he explains that ‘In more innocent times, we were magnanimous towards the sometimes divisive behaviour that occurs in nature, such as in our animal friends, because we could feel and see the greater truth that love is universal; that it is the one fabulously wonderful, great force in the world. Again, this was before the upset state of the human condition became so developed that our shame killed off this awareness.’)
Watch the video here:
Make and see comments here
The Transcript of this video
Jeremy: I drew this cartoon for children, a children’s book about the Mara River in the Serengeti in Africa and about the crocodiles, and it’s a very funny cartoon—I think it’s very funny anyway!
So this is my children’s book about ‘a perfect life’. [Jeremy reads the above passage] ‘Sir Brian Widdlpiddle (late of West Wyalong) was the person who named the Wilderbeasts Wilderbeasts (it was a Wednesday morning 1277 PC (short for percussion cap pistol)). It was a sad name because he thought they were weird, lost beastly souls, shaggy-heads-down, grunting and groaning trudging through the wilderness—wilderness beasts—BUT the truth is they are the happiest of animals because they are all together walking around in the very heart of our original instinctive self or soul’s home under the warm and lovely skies of the African savannah, and their constant grunting is not grunting but actually each of them saying to each other, huh, huh, huh, can you believe how lovely it is out here! Sir Brian new stuff-all about Africa!
So they are Heavenly Beings, not WilderBeasts, and there is nothing more special than to share their wanderings around our soul’s home, like the little Bushmen of the Kalahari still do, and our distant ancestors also did.’
So here is the Serengeti with all the ‘wilderbeasters’ progressing; and here is a lion happily eating—no I’ll have to explain that in a minute. And here’s me having a cup of tea sitting on the back of my van which is drawn by a wilderbeaster, and they go ‘uh, uh, uh, uh’, and on the drawing it says ‘Lion protectors—drop down at night, or if lion comes during the day’. So you just drop that down and they can’t eat you. So that’s the lion protector, and here’s me sitting in the middle of our soul’s home in Africa having a cup of tea amongst all these lovely animals.
Right, so now the problem is the lions eat the wilderbeast, which is not a very nice thing to do. So we have to solve that problem for the new world. So what we do is we feed cabbages to these lizards that drop their tails—they’re vegetarians—and then we harvest their tails, and it doesn’t hurt anybody! You can see in the bottom corner it says, ‘Tails for export’. Right, and we use these tails to feed the lions so they don’t eat the wilderbeast—that’s why in the first drawing the lion is there happily eating his lizard tails! So, that’s how we feed the lions so they don’t eat the wilderbeasters anymore.
Stefan: That makes perfect sense.
Jeremy: OK, so now we are crossing the Mara River, where all this useless bloodletting used to happen. So we’ve built this walkway for the wilderbeast to get through—the ‘Wilderbeaster Tunnel’, right. And out through the gaps in the tunnel we throw the harvested lizard tails for the crocodiles to eat so they no longer have to eat the wilderbeasts!
See the wilderbeasts going in through the tunnel, and there’s me sitting on the back of the wagon as it went through the tunnel and so everyone’s happy.
This is another idea I’ve had. We breed a special meat-lump on cattle and we graft their bums off, so we don’t have to kill the cattle to eat some meat!
These are just ideas that might be useful in the new world.
Stefan: That is an idea for down the road.
Jeremy: Because our soul’s would be a bit worried about what the crocodiles are doing to the wilderbeast and the wilderbeast aren’t going to be too happy about it. So we could have a talk to them about it and tell the crocodiles to stop doing it, and then they’ll say ‘What am I supposed to do with these big teeth if I can’t eat people with them?’.
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Interestingly, in Jeremy refers to a wonderful description by Fyodor Dostoevsky of the empathy our distant innocent ancestors had with nature, a sensitivity Jeremy has exhibited towards nature in his A Perfect Life story—Dostoevsky wrote: ‘They showed me their trees, and I could not understand the intense love with which they looked at them; it was as though they were talking with creatures like themselves…and I am convinced that the trees understood them. They looked at all nature like that—at the animals who lived in peace with them and did not attack them, but loved them, conquered by their love.’ This Dostoevsky quote also appears in , which contains many other marvellous mythological and historical descriptions of our species’ past time in innocence.
Discussion or comment on this essay 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.