Freedom: Expanded Book 1—How Upset the Human Race Became
Part 7:5 How Alienated did we become?
The final element of our upset is our alienation, the truth of the extent of which is even more shocking than the just-described extent of the anger and egocentricity (and cynical selfishness) in humans. So, the question this raises is: just how alienated are we humans after two million years of not having any other psychological defence for our corrupted condition other than to block the truth of it out of our minds?
As described in Part 6:2, Plato said our species’ alienation was so great that it was as if we were imprisoned in a cave ‘a long way underground’, where we could see only ‘shadows’ that were ‘illusions’ and ‘delusions’ of the real world outside the cave. As mentioned earlier in Part 3:5, the cover of my book A Species In Denial (pictured below) features two powerful paintings by William Blake: Cringing in Terror (c.1794-96), which shows a person in a foetal position, screaming in terror—yet another accurate depiction of our horrifically estranged, alienated state—and Albion Arose (c.1794-96), which symbolises our liberation from our terrible state of cave-dwelling alienation; in this picture Blake has even included a bat flying out of a supposed cave.
© Fedmex Pty Ltd 2003
The most honest description I have ever read of the extent of alienation of the human race comes from the aforementioned great Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, who wrote that ‘Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967, p.12 of 156). Before presenting more of this quote, we should consider what Laing has said here—‘our alienation goes to the roots’ of our condition, but if we are not prepared to admit that then we are not even beginning to think effectively about human behaviour; we are not in a position to undertake ‘any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’. Darwin, for example, didn’t try to look into human behaviour because he responsibly recognised that he wasn’t prepared to take this, according to Laing, necessary step and look into our species’ alienated condition. But, as has been described, other biologists weren’t so scrupulous—they found ways to deny the issue of the human condition and therefore didn’t conduct a ‘serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’.
As described in Part 7:4, the situation is that humans have become so insecure, so unable to make ‘the realization’ that ‘our alienation goes to the roots’, that no one has been allowed to even acknowledge differences in alienation between individuals, races, genders, generations, countries, civilisations and cultures. Sir Laurens van der Post made the ‘academic experts’ ‘berserk with rage’ when he dared to talk about the relative innocence of the Bushmen of the Kalahari. In Parts 6:4 and 7:4, but more so in my book A Species In Denial in the aforementioned chapter, ‘The Denial-Free History of the Human Race’, I talk about the relative innocence of the Aryans of northern Europe. The original Greeks and Romans also came from Aryan stock, but they had their innocence bled dry through endless wars and other agonising struggles that arose from being overly exposed to the upset state of the human condition, as did other races around the Mediterranean, so that in the end the only relatively innocent people left in Europe were those isolated in the northern outreaches of the continent. But such descriptions about different levels of innocence that feature in my books and in this presentation would be regarded as heretical; indeed, I could be falsely accused of being racist, such has been the extent of pseudo idealistic, politically correct, postmodern denial in the world today. There has been no tolerance of truth at all. Denial/alienation has been plunging the world into total darkness. Truth has been denied in favour of fabricating equality by denying there are any differences between individuals, races, genders, generations, countries, civilisations and even cultures.
The problem was that while we couldn’t explain the human condition and therefore defend the upset state, any acknowledgment of people being differently upset would have led to the more upset being accused of being evil and bad, and worse, actually believing they were evil or bad, in which case they could, in desperation, go out and shoot themselves. Descriptions of some people being more alienated than others would only lead to prejudice against such people. The deeper truth that we have always intuitively believed in, which has now at last been explained, is that no human is fundamentally bad, which is why we have always tried to be compassionate towards overly upset humans—for example, most countries have abandoned the practice of capital punishment, keeping the worst of criminals in jail rather than killing them. Obviously, despite displays of compassion, we haven’t been able to tolerate or manage or rehabilitate upset beyond a certain point because we have not been operational enough or, more importantly, had the psychological insights into the human condition to do so, but enlightened societies at least chose to remove the death penalty.
But with understanding of the human condition now found the essential equality of goodness of all people is finally established. As the story of Adam Stork at last makes clear, while all humans are variously upset, all humans are equally good because upset was a result of an unavoidable and necessary battle. Some people are taller or shorter than others, but they are all equally good. In exactly the same way, some people have been more or less involved in humanity’s great heroic battle than others and are thus more or less embattled/upset, but they are all equally good. The equality of goodness of all people is a first-principle-established, fundamental and universal truth now. Humanity no longer has to rely on dogmatic assertions that ‘all men are created equal’ because it is a ‘self-evident’ truth, as the United States’ Declaration of Independence asserts. We can now explain, understand and know that our equality is a fundamental truth. Prejudice, the view that some individuals, races, genders, generations, countries, civilisations or cultures are either superior or inferior to others, is eliminated by understanding of the human condition. In fact, with understanding of the human condition the concepts of good and bad, superior and inferior, disappear from our conceptualisation of ourselves.
So we haven’t been able to talk about different levels of innocence without condemning those more corrupted as bad when they are not. In effect, a lie that said there was no difference in alienation between people was less of a lie than a partial truth that said there were differences with some people being ‘good’ and others ‘bad’. The end result of taking this denial to the extreme has been the emergence of an unsaid, blanket rule where no one is allowed to say anything meaningful about human behaviour—to the extent that even the children’s nursery rhyme Baa Black Sheep is said to be racist and must instead be recited as ‘Baa baa rainbow sheep’ (London Daily Telegraph, 18 Feb. 1997). Political correctness is a dogma that has become ridiculous and yet that is where the human race has wound up—in a state where totally superficial, truthless non-sense reigns! Feminists are now saying there is no real difference between the sexes, and even men can now give birth through some weird surgery. Under this blanket rule, in order to avoid prejudice we are not allowed to talk about different individuals, races, genders, generations, countries, civilisations or cultures being more or less innocent than other individuals, races, genders, generations, countries, civilisations or cultures. No one is allowed to talk about such differences and yet they are the only differences that will make any real sense of the different behaviours that each human exhibits. Our different personalities reflect our various states of alienation, how hurt we were in our childhood, etc, so if we want to understand human behaviour, we have to look at how upset we humans are—in particular at how much denial we are practicing. As Laing said, ‘the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life’ depends on acknowledging that ‘our alienation goes to the roots’.
As outlined in Part 4:4E when the problem of prejudice was introduced, since the basis of coping with the issue of our upset, corrupted human condition has been denial—the result of which is alienation—when understanding of the human condition arrives that denial is obsoleted: the lies are replaced with the truth and the alienation is revealed. It can’t be any other way. We can’t have the truth and not have the truth, but the problem is that while all the upset that the denials/ lies/ degrees of alienation have been concealing is now safely explained and defended it still comes as a shock to have it all laid bare. The situation where there was no acknowledgment of differences in alienation between individuals, races, genders, generations, countries, civilisations or cultures suddenly changes to having all those previously hidden differences exposed—such as the Anglo-Saxons being acknowledged in Parts 6:4 and 7:4 as being sufficiently free of alienation and its cynicisms to still remain functional, or prophets being acknowledged in Part 5:1 as being sufficiently free of alienation to think truthfully and thus effectively. This outcome is actually described in the Bible where, immediately after describing the arrival of the all-exposing, shocking truth about the human condition as being ‘like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other’ (Luke 17:24, see also Matt. 24:27), Christ describes how ‘two people will be in one bed; one will be taken [revealed as sound, non-alienated] and the other left [revealed as being alienated]. Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left’ (Luke 17:34, 35; see also Matt. 24:40). Again, it has to be stressed that ‘judgment day’ is not a time when some will be judged as deserving of being ‘taken’ to heaven and others ‘left’ rejected, but a time of compassionate understanding of everyone. With the arrival of understanding of the human condition no one is going to be ‘left’ behind. When the TRANSFORMED LIFEFORCE STATE is described in Part 9 it will be explained that all humans will fully participate in the new human-condition-liberated world. There will be no inequality, no prejudice and no discrimination of anyone. Implying that the more upset would be ‘left’ behind when understanding of the human condition arrived was simply a way of trying to dissuade people from allowing their upset to continue to express itself; it was to stop them ‘sinning’. Like using the dishonest threat of going to a burning hell if you sinned, it was a way of intimidating people into behaving in a less upset, destructive way by misrepresenting the future. As the Turkish poet, who was cited earlier, said, ‘judgment day’ is ‘Not the day of judgment but the day of [compassionate] understanding’ (National Geographic, Nov. 1987). The paradox of being wonderfully liberated but at the same time agonisingly exposed was captured by the prophet Isaiah when he said that the liberation that ‘gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage…will come with vengeance; with divine retribution…to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped…Your nakedness will be exposed’ (Bible, 14:3; 35:4, 5; 47:3).
Following on from Laing’s comment that any ‘serious reflection’ of human behaviour depended on recognising that ‘our alienation goes to the roots’, Laing went on to practice what he preached, confronting the truth of the extent of our alienation by saying, ‘We are born into a world where alienation awaits us. We are potentially men, but are in an alienated state [p.12 of 156] …the ordinary person is a shrivelled, desiccated fragment of what a person can be. As adults, we have forgotten most of our childhood, not only its contents but its flavour; as men of the world, we hardly know of the existence of the inner world [p.22] …The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man [p.24] …between us and It [our true self or soul] there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete [p.118]’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967). What Laing has said here is supported by a quote from the Russian philosopher George Gurdjieff, who said that ‘It happens fairly often that essence dies in a man while his personality and his body are still alive. A considerable percentage of the people we meet in the streets of a great town are people who are empty inside, that is, they are actually already dead’ (In Search of the Miraculous, P.D. Ouspensky, 1950, ch.8, p.164). The prophet Isaiah in the Bible similarly described the extent of humans’ alienation when he said, ‘“You will be ever hearing, but never understanding; you will be ever seeing, but never perceiving.” This people’s heart has become calloused [alienated]; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes’ (Isa. 6:9,10, footnote).
I should say that Laing’s phrase about our alienation being like ‘fifty feet of solid concrete’ is probably the most used phrase in my writing. There is ‘fifty feet of solid concrete’ between us and our true self or soul—that is how deep the human race has dug itself into the cave of denial. We have blocked all the light of truth. It is as if our whole world is now encased in a fifty foot layer of solid concrete—worse, it is as if the outside of that layer of concrete is enclosed in another layer of steel that has been bolted on so no light gets in at all, so that no truth exists on Earth! So heavily blocked out was the truth, so deeply in denial has the human race been living, that E.O. Wilson could swan around unchecked as ‘captain of the world’—the recognised leader of humanity in its quest to find the biological understanding of humans—spreading all his dishonest thinking about human behaviour for the rest of the world to gladly, and gratefully, believe in.
That one person managed to penetrate all that denial, all that concrete and steel, and remain on their feet and bring this truth out about the human condition is incredible. Again, being able to do so has nothing to do with being special in any way, it is simply the result of the extraordinary set of circumstances described in Part 5:1. Historically people have talked about a ‘second coming’ of innocence, but, as I mentioned in Part 5:1, in the spectrum of alienation that has necessarily existed in humanity’s great battle against ignorance, there have always been a few individuals left out on the fringes of the battle who were still relatively innocent. Thankfully, even in this end play stage of that great battle where the exhausted state of extreme alienation has become all but universal, that situation still applied and there was enough innocence left to finally make its contribution to the battle. Importantly, it was science—and humanity as a whole as the support base for science—that had to do all the hard work of accumulating sufficient understanding of the mechanisms and workings of our world that would finally make it possible for denial-free innocence to assemble the clarifying explanation of the human condition. Innocence played an important but miniscule concluding role. It is science, and in fact humanity as a whole, that is the ‘messiah’ or liberator of humanity. As I mention in Section 1:14 of Freedom: Expanded Book 2, it is like in a game of gridiron football where the team as a whole, with one exception, does all the hard work, gaining yardage down the field. Finally, when the side gets within kicking distance of the goal posts, a specialist kicker, who until then has played no part, is brought onto the field. While he—in his unsoiled attire—kicks the winning goal, the win clearly belongs to the team of exhausted players who did all the hard work. Soul/instinct was the synthesiser and science/knowledge/intellect was the liberator. In the end all the fundamental elements in our mind’s make-up came to play a role.
Following on from his statement that ‘between us and It [between our current alienated, estranged state and our true self or soul] there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete’, Laing continued his deadly honest treatise on the extent of alienation in the world today, saying, ‘Deus absconditus. Or we have absconded [p.118] …The outer divorced from any illumination from the inner is in a state of darkness [the darkness of Plato’s cave]. We are in an age of darkness. The state of outer darkness is a state of sin—i.e. alienation or estrangement from the inner light [p.116] …We are all murderers and prostitutes—no matter to what culture, society, class, nation one belongs…We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another, and to the spiritual and material world [pp.11-12]’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967). ‘We are dead, but think we are alive. We are asleep, but think we are awake. We are dreaming, but take our dreams to be reality. We are the halt, lame, blind, deaf, the sick. But we are doubly unconscious. We are so ill that we no longer feel ill, as in many terminal illnesses. We are mad, but have no insight [into the fact of our madness]’ (Self and Others, 1961, p.38 of 192).
Laing wrote his above description of our state of alienation in the relatively innocent 1960s. Since then, the levels of alienation have become much, much worse—if that were possible! As mentioned in Part 3:12, recent generations have been revealingly labelled the ‘X generation’, the ‘Y generation’, and now the ‘Z generation’, which, according to Wikipedia, comprises ‘people born between the mid-1990s and late 2000s’. The Canadian writer Douglas Coupland defined a Generation X’er as one who ‘lives an X sort of life—cerebral, alienated, seriously concerned with cool’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Aug. 1994). These are all qualities associated with having had to adjust to an extremely soul-exhausted world. In Part 3:11H, the adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg was reported as saying that ‘Generation Y is being ravaged by depression, anxiety disorders and stress disorders’ (‘Face it, we are all narcissists now’, Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Sept. 2009). The obvious question that was also asked was what exactly did we mean when we said the X, Y, Z generations? The answer is the end game state of alienation, terminal alienation. After all, what comes after Z? Look at the colours in the clothing that are considered fashionable now, it’s all black, charcoal, grey, dark blue, dirty browns—drab, depressed, alienated colours. If you look at a crowd of people now there is hardly any brightly coloured clothing to be seen. Young people slouch around in hooded jackets and dark glasses that they hide away from the world in, seemingly eking out a living like depressed souls from some dark underworld. Life for humans had become unbearably painful.
A 2008 documentary on the destructive effects of all the consumer advertising directed at children features a montage of powerful news clips from American television that provides a graphic snapshot of the symptoms of terminal levels of alienation being reached in society. In the first clip the newsreader reported that ‘Forty times as many young people are now being diagnosed with bipolar disorder than 13 years ago.’ The second clip reported that ‘Almost 4.5 million children in this country have been diagnosed with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.’ The third clip said that ‘Doctors are writing a growing number of prescriptions for anti-depressants for children, as many as eight million a year.’ The fourth clip reported that ‘One in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes.’ The fifth clip said that ‘For the first time in decades the rate of hypertension in children is rising [with a medical journal cover in background saying] 2 million + American children may have high blood pressure.’ The sixth clip reported that ‘This generation of children is the heaviest in American history. An estimated 16% of all children and teenagers are overweight—four times as many since the 1960s. Life expectancy of children today will be shorter than that of their parents—the first such decline in modern times’ (Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood, Media Education Foundation).
I should comment that while technology is helping the alienated human race by giving it a means to further distract itself from its immensely upset condition, it is also rapidly increasing and spreading the level of alienation in society. In a 2010 BBC documentary series about the world wide web called Virtual Revolution, in the episode Homo Interneticus, the presenter, Dr Aleks Krotoski, comments that ‘Burners Lee [who invented the web in 1990] built into it what is called hyperlinks, the ability to link from one piece of information to another. But the question is whether hyperlink associative thinking is good for us. In mirroring the way the brain functions by darting from subject to subject in a click, does this make us lazy and easily distracted?’ Nick Carr, author of Is Google Making Us Stupid?, is then quoted as stating, ‘I think science shows us that our brain wants to be distracted and what the web does by bombarding us with stimuli and information it really plays to that aspect of our brain, it keeps our brain hopping and jumping and unable to concentrate.’ Krotoski continues: ‘We used to be trained in the discipline of reading and writing and language. Now the generation raised on the web of associative links seem unable to face the rigours of such lineal thinking—even it seems at our top universities.’ David Runciman, a Political Scientist at Cambridge University, then says, ‘What I notice about students from the first day I see them when they arrive at university is that they ask nervously “What do we have to read?” And when they are told the first thing they have to read is a book they all now groan, which they didn’t use to do five or ten years ago, and you say, “Why are you groaning?”, and they say “It’s a book, how long is it?”’ The great attraction of the web and its offshoots, like Facebook and Twitter, is of course not that ‘it makes us easily distracted’ but that it allows us to be ‘easily distracted’; that, as Nick Carr who, as the program said, wrote the book with the title that appropriately asks Is Google Making Us Stupid?, said, ‘our brain wants to be distracted’. In the case of Facebook, it allows people to be preoccupied/distracted (from the human condition) all day long with inane, frivolous, narcissistic, superficial gossip. As Krotoski said herself, ‘In my life it is increasingly rare that I have time on my own, time to think. I have a Twitter account and several blogs to maintain, plus my Facebook status updates, my photo diary, my video blogs and my podcasts that I have to record. And that’s the content that I create, there is also the content that I consume. Not least of which is the emails that are in my inbox and all the messages on my answering machine. I was away for a week and I had 283 emails that I had to go through.’
The program tried to present the web age in a positive light because obviously people weren’t going to admit how superficial and trashy their lives have become—how could they live with that truth without the defence of the explanation of the human condition! It noted, for example, that in the 1960s the Canadian maverick thinker Marshall McLuhan actually anticipated the internet age but saw it as a positive development because he said everyone would be more connected and, as a result, more informed, warning that ‘We go on singing the old song of fragmentation and alienation because every society always looks at the preceding age while living in the new, current age. It never sees the age it’s living in.’ It’s true that all kinds of massive generation gaps occur, but the fact is increase in ‘alienation’ is the underlying and overwhelming trend, and being more informed doesn’t necessarily mean more deeply informed, better able to think deeply or understand and comprehend more effectively. As the Australian journalist and newspaper editor Peter Hartcher said about Facebook: ‘Users get attention from hundreds or thousands of people on a scale that, before now, only the famous or the freakish could expect’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Jan. 2011). Facebook feeds the overly embattled and insecure self-esteem or ego of current generations by making each person feel as though they are the centre of attention, but that egalitarian equality of attention is at the expense of attention being directed to what is meaningful in terms of our species’ core responsibility to find and accumulate knowledge. Put simply, Facebook has become the greatest facilitator of alienation ever invented, single-handedly threatening to derail the whole human race from the pursuit of knowledge—it is another illustration of humanity entering dangerous end play. The internet is the ultimate communication technology, but it is currently being used to spread and increase alienation, not knowledge. Television and materialism in general also fed and spread escapism and alienation but, unlike the internet, they haven’t threatened the pursuit of knowledge. To use the Adam Stork analogy to make the situation clear, the only way Adam can stop the upsetting criticism coming from his instinctive self is to find sufficient knowledge to explain why he has had to defy his instincts. His core task and responsibility is to find that knowledge and until he succeeds he will only become more upset—more angry, egocentric and alienated. So, to paraphrase Richard Neville, Adam is in a race between self-discovery and self-destruction from becoming excessively upset—excessively angry, egocentric and alienated. Since upset is the unavoidable price he has to pay to search for knowledge, he needs ways to express his anger to some degree; and he needs to contrive ways to find some reinforcement for his ego or sense of self-worth; and he needs to employ some escapism and denial from the guilt or criticism he is having to live with if he is to continue the task of searching for knowledge—but he can’t afford to become too corrupted/upset/angry, egocentric and alienated. Television and materialism have, in general, supplied a degree of escapism, but developments such as Facebook are so powerfully self-distracting they are fast leading the human race to excessive, indeed terminal, levels of alienation.
Overall, what has happened is that communication technology has accelerated humanity’s already rapid progress towards excruciating, unbearable levels of alienation, so much so that humanity has arrived at the situation where levels of alienation in humans are now almost terminal. The problem raised by this situation is that while the need for the relieving understanding of the human condition has become absolutely desperate, the levels of alienation now, of deafness, of inability to take in and think about any deeper analysis of our human predicament, have become so great that there is a very great risk that the arrival now of the liberating understanding of the human condition will not be able to rise above the ruckus and be heard! In 2011, a writer, identified only as ‘Fitzy’, published an online article about my work, in which he recognised its importance, writing that ‘The cause of the malaise [in the world] is exposed, remedied and the reader is left with the very least an understanding of themselves, and for me something of an optimism for the future.’ However, he also recognised the danger of these answers going unheard when, in the same article, he commented that ‘We have a lot of competing noise for our attention these days, and it would be criminal to let that overwhelm our true potential, by masking [this] useful information with hideous noise’ (Humanitus Interruptus — Great Minds of Today, accessed 24 Oct. 2011 at: <>). Yes, there is a real danger of all the extremely superficial, escapist, me-only-focused, ‘hideous noise’ in the world now making it impossible for these all-precious answers about the human condition to be heard—but thankfully, as this response from ‘Fitzy’ demonstrates, there are still people who can hear this information. There is naturally a ‘deaf effect’ for everyone who is resigned when they try to listen to or read discussion of the human condition—in fact, ‘Fitzy’ himself acknowledged that he too initially encountered this deaf effect with my writing when he wrote in his article that ‘The core concepts keep slipping from my mental grasp, at the time I put it down to bad writing, however a second reading revealed something the Author had indicated from the outset—your mind doesn’t want to understand the content. The second read was quick and painless.’ But, again, at least there are still people like ‘Fitzy’ who aren’t so deafened by the ‘hideous noise’ in the world now that they eventually can still hear analysis of the human condition. As predicted in the Bible, by the time the liberating understanding of the human condition was finally found the levels of alienation amongst humans will have likely become extreme, so much so, in fact, that the liberating understanding will at first be ‘rejected by this generation’ (Luke 17:25) and few ‘will understand, but those who are wise will understand’ (Dan. 12:10). Yes, thankfully there ‘will’ still be enough ‘hearability’ left in the world for the truth about the human condition to be recognised now that it has finally arrived.
To return to the main discussion about how alienated the human race has become.
Plato and R.D. Laing were both extremely honest about the true extent of alienation in humans and we can now add to their honesty the truthful expression and descriptions of the alienated state of humanity that can be found in music. Part 3:12, ‘Anticipations of the arrival of our species’ liberation from the horror of the human condition and resulting TRANSFORMATION of the human race’, documented the many, many honest descriptions of the human condition that I have come across in music. As I mentioned there, while some of the lyrics referred to, most particularly the lyrics of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jim Morrison and Bono, were extraordinarily prophetic in their anticipations of our species’ liberation from the human condition, the lyrics and music most deeply revealing of the actual agony of the human condition are those of the American heavy metal band, With Life In Mind.
If you search the band With Life In Mind on the internet and listen to a YouTube video of their music, what you will hear is basically an intense, excruciating droning barrage of unabated pain! As mentioned in Part 3:12, their music is a terrifyingly honest portrayal of the terminal level of alienation that the human race has now arrived at—which, as described above, Generations Y and Z so suffer from. At the time of writing this inclusion in Freedom: Expanded Book 1 about the band With Life In Mind (which was February 2012), the online store Relapse, which specialises in the heavy, ‘death’ metal music so popular amongst young people today, listed the following bands as their top selling artists: Death, Repulsion, Toxic Holocaust/Midnight, Neurosis, Spawn of Possession and Brutal Truth. These names alone reveal the end play state of alienation that the human race has arrived at.
Set against a blood red background, the cover of With Life In Mind’s first album, titled Grievances (see next image), which was released in 2010, depicts a person being ruthlessly beaten up, with the victim’s hand seen clawing at the air in horrific pain and a desperate plea for help. It’s an absolutely deadly honest metaphor of how horribly we humans have been brutalised by the human condition for some two million years, and how desperate our need for release from that condition has become!
This album, with its Biblical-Job-like, human-condition-protesting title, contains the following songs whose titles fully reveal the whole horror and saga of the human condition: Grievances, King of Frauds, The Collapse of Men, Anxiety Ridden, Surroundings, One Day It Will All Make Sense, The Human Condition, Plagued, Silenced, Self-Righteous and Our Endless Existence!! The song that the band actually titled The Human Condition contains this amazingly honest description of the human condition: ‘We’re staring through the eyes of a bitter soul. Constantly surrounded by this empty feeling…Never good enough for those ideals that seem to mean the most…Driven into madness, I see no end in sight, and inadequacy seems like the only means to pass through this life. And I sit and ask myself when will it end? The art of contention is an uphill battle I’m not ready to fight.’ Yes, we would be ‘driven into madness’ with ‘no end in sight’ to the unbearably depressing ‘empty feeling’ caused by the terrible ‘inadequacy’ of our seemingly horrifically imperfect ‘human condition’ if we didn’t resign ourselves to giving up trying to ‘conten[d]’ with it, confront it, stop trying to live ‘with’ the issue of ‘life in mind’! Denial of the human condition has been the only way we have been able to cope with the human condition while we couldn’t explain it. What has happened in recent times, the last 20 years or so, is that the agony of the human condition has become so great for humans that any representation of life that doesn’t express this agony is inappropriate and meaningless—which is why the music of young people today is so saturated with this pure pain; any other description of life today would be completely dishonest, hypocritical. Terminal alienation is the subject the current Y and Z generations are the absolute specialists in.
To illustrate something of the extraordinary honesty about the human condition that young people’s music of today reveals I have compiled some of the other lyrics from With Life In Mind’s Grievances album. You will see that many of the lyrics are very, very similar to the truthful poems that people wrote during Resignation, such as Fiona Miller’s Resignation poem that was reproduced in Parts 3:8 and 3:11B. These parallels are not surprising since Resignation was the time when people most acutely felt the agony of the human condition before learning to block it out, and, as just pointed out, this agony of the human condition has now become so great that trying to block it out, live in denial of it, has become all but impossible. The agony of the human condition is now so great that even the resigned—those committed to living in denial of the human condition—can’t deny the agony of it. So, in addition to the lyrics that were included earlier from their ‘Human Condition’ track, the following are some of With Life In Mind’s other song titles and lyrics from their Grievances album that are so indicative of the end play state of terminal alienation that the human race has arrived at:
From ANXIETY RIDDEN: ‘It scares me to death to think of what I have become…I feel so lost in this world…This self loathing can only get me so far.’
From OUR ENDLESS EXISTENCE: ‘Our innocence is lost.’
From SURROUNDINGS: ‘I scream to the sky but my words get lost along the way. I can’t express all the hate that’s led me here and all the filth that swallows us whole. I don’t want to be part of all this insanity. Famine and death. Pestilence and war. [Famine, death, pestilence and war are traditional interpretations of the ‘Four Horsemen’ described in Revelation 6 in the Bible. In Matthew 24:6-8 and Luke 21:10-11, Christ referred to similar ‘Signs of the End of the Age’ (as those sections of the Bible are titled) and all of these descriptions from Revelation, Matthew and Luke are accurate because such extreme disintegration is the end play state of terminal alienation that occurs at the conclusion of humanity’s heroic search for knowledge.] A world shrouded in darkness…Fear is driven into our minds everywhere we look. We’ll never forget all the sadness of this world and this tragedy that surrounds us. This tragedy that consumes our lives.’
From THE COLLAPSE OF MEN: ‘We’ve been lying to ourselves for so long. We truly forgot what it means to be alive. Trying so hard for a life with such little purpose. How could we ever recover? Lost in oblivion. Through our failed attempts, we try to find meaning in this chaos. Shackled in chains, bound and held down. We’re constantly repressed by our actions to live a lie. We could never be content. We could never face our own reflections in the mirror.’
From SILENCED: ‘Your hands tied. You are bound and gagged. Everything you’ve been told has been a lie…We’ve all been asleep since the beginning of time. Why are we so scared to use our minds?…We pretend as if it [the human condition] doesn’t even exist. Muzzles are tied to our mouths…What will it take for us to come alive?’
From KING OF FRAUDS: ‘How long do you have to live a lie before you’ve convinced everyone that it’s true? Realize that what everyone sees in you was nothing more than a well stacked ten stories…The man you are is not the man you were meant to be. A coward. A fake. Keep pretending; soon enough things will crumble to the ground. You’re the king of a world you built for yourself, but nothing more than a fraud in reality…If they could only see the truth they would coil in disgust. How much longer until the pressure makes you break? You have been exposed as the monster that you are’.
From SELF-RIGHTEOUS: ‘How do you judge the ones that are carbon copies of yourself?…You feed on the power; the idea that you’re superior. You raise your head so high…Judge so blindly to a world you don’t understand. Your ignorance displays shallow existence.’
From PLAGUED: ‘How do we save ourselves from this misery…So desperate for the answers, we search for a reason to survive. We spend our days staring at the sun, only to be blinded by the mere thought…We’re straining on the last bit of hope we have left. No one hears our cries. And no one sees us screaming.’
From GRIEVANCES: ‘Our fight is the struggle of man…we search for this form of clarity. Hoping that this life has any purpose. This is the end.’ And finally, ONE DAY IT WILL ALL MAKE SENSE, an instrumental without lyrics.
With Life In Mind’s lyrics absolutely beg for relief from the human condition: ‘I feel so lost in this world’, ‘Lost in oblivion…we try to find meaning in this chaos…We could never face our own reflections in the mirror’, ‘I scream to the sky but my words get lost along the way’, ‘What will it take for us to come alive?’, ‘How could we ever recover?, ‘How do we save ourselves from this misery…So desperate for the answers, we search for a reason to survive…We’re straining on the last bit of hope we have left. No one hears our cries. And no one sees us screaming’ and ‘we search for this form of clarity’. Thankfully, since the pain they are expressing is so, so terrible, With Life In Mind have been able to look forward to a time when ‘one day it will all make sense’—and at last it has all made sense—the human condition has been explained and humans have been dignified and redeemed. As ‘Fitzy’ also said in his online article about my work, ‘In light of Griffith’s work, this [dark] behaviour is easily understandable, we can arrive at conclusions about our Human dark behaviour, that are compassionate and humane, better still we can be left with enthusiasm and a realistic hope for the future. When we stop damning ourselves, because we understand how we arrived at this junction, we can start living free and fair lives based on knowing what we are.’
The lyrics ‘No one hears our cries. And no one sees us screaming’ from the song Plagued remind me of the artist Edvard Munch’s famous 1895 painting The Scream (see next image). This painting has become an iconic representation of the end play state of terminal alienation that the human race has arrived at. Indeed, in announcing its May 2012 auction of the only one of four versions of the Scream that was still held privately, Sotheby’s auction house described Munch’s work as ‘the defining image of modernity’ and said they were expecting it to attract one of the highest prices ever for a painting (The Australian, 23 Feb. 2012). And indeed it did, selling for almost $US120 million—$US40 million above expectations!
With the subject of visual representations of the agony of the human condition now introduced, it is necessary to move discussion onto the British painter Francis Bacon’s extraordinarily honest depictions of humans’ alienated state. In fact, if no one, prior to the human condition being explained, had managed to describe the situation of the human condition as well as Plato, and no one had managed to write about the extent of the alienation involved in our species’ condition as well as Laing did, and no band had managed to create music about the agony of the human condition as truthfully as With Life In Mind, then no one has been able to visually depict the human condition more truthfully than Francis Bacon (1909-1992).
The following three paintings by Bacon provide an indication of the nature of his work. Even on quick inspection, there is no mistaking the agony of the human condition in Bacon’s twisted, smudged, distorted, death-mask-like—alienated—human faces and tortured, contorted, arms-pinned, psychologically imprisoned bodies, and in his frequent use of the grey-green of decaying flesh and the purple-red of a carcass to accentuate the deadness of our immensely alienated state. (As an aside, these images recall Irish step dancing—made famous by the aforementioned Riverdance phenomenon of the mid-1990s—in which the feet dance but the arms remain rigidly in place beside the dancer’s body, which is really an accurate representation of how humans have lived in a psychologically imprisoned or shackled state—especially white people because black people seem to exude so much more rhythm and freedom in their movement.)
While Bacon’s subject matter is unmistakable, we humans are so in denial of our condition that most struggle to recognise what it is that he is depicting. In shocked bewilderment his work has been described as ‘obscene’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April 1992), ‘enigmatic’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 30 April 1992), and ‘embodying a singularly bleak view of human existence’ (ibid). It’s not a ‘bleak’ view in the sense of being unjustified, rather it is an honest view—as Bacon himself said in an interview with the distinguished art critic David Sylvester: ‘I am trying to…set a trap…to catch the fact at its most living point [p.54 of 176]’ with ‘facts’ being ‘what used to be called truth [p.48]’, ‘you unlock the areas of feeling which lead to a deeper sense of the reality of the image [p.66]’ (Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester, 1975 & 1980). In the interview Sylvester referred to some of the bewildered interpretations that have been applied to Bacon’s work, saying that ‘people seem to feel in looking at your figures that they are seen in moments of crisis, moments of acute awareness of their mortality, moments of acute awareness of their animal nature’ (ibid. p.80). It’s clearly not ‘moments of crisis’, or an ‘acute awareness’ of one’s ‘mortality’, or humans’ supposed ‘animal nature’ that is being portrayed—as Bacon himself acknowledged. When Sylvester asked Bacon directly to ‘tell me what you feel your painting is concerned with’, Bacon replied, ‘it’s concerned with my kind of psyche, it’s concerned with my kind of—I’m putting it in a very pleasant way—exhilarated despair’ (ibid. p.83). That’s what the human condition is: excruciatingly heightened ‘despair’. The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard made that abundantly clear in his book The Sickness Unto Death where he gave this account of the near suicidal, worse-than-‘death’ depression that the human condition has caused the human race: ‘the torment of despair is precisely the inability to die [and end the torture of our unexplained human condition]…that despair is the sickness unto death, this tormenting contradiction [of the human condition], this sickness in the self; eternally to die, to die and yet not to die’ (1849, tr. A. Hannay, 1989, p.48 of 179). The philosopher Michael Leiris, who was a friend of Bacon’s, spoke the truth about Bacon depicting our species’ present tortured state of near total alienation when he said that his ‘searing’ paintings ‘express the human condition as it truly and peculiarly is today; man dispossessed of any durable paradise’ (The Times, 15 Sept. 1983).
Not surprisingly, the brutal honesty of Bacon’s paintings has been unbearable for some. In a review of a retrospective exhibition of Bacon’s paintings that in 2009 toured the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate in London and the Prado in Madrid, the art critic Jed Perl described Bacon’s works as ‘angst for dummies’, ‘the 20th century’s most august visual claptrap’, ‘high-style bummers, bad dreams with fashionable upholstery’, ‘cheap sensation’, a ‘freakshow’, Bacon as a ‘poseur’, and the whole show as a ‘hideous spectacle of an artist in the process of eviscerating the art of painting’ (The Australian, 15 June 2009, reprinted from The New Republic). Throughout the ages, there have always been people who became extremely angry towards anyone who dared to reveal the truth about the human condition. As has been mentioned, I have had such fury and dishonest vitriol directed at me in buckets full, but the depth of the anger is just a measure of how confronting the issue of the human condition has been. What has to be understood now is that with redeeming understanding of the human condition found it is at last possible, and indeed necessary, to be honest about the human condition. At least the extraordinary integrity of Bacon’s work is now being recognised in dollar value, with his Triptych (1976) attracting ‘the record [at the time] for contemporary art auctions’ of ‘$US86 million’ in May 2008 (The Weekend Australian Review, 18 Oct. 2008).
Of Bacon’s paintings, the one I like the most is one I have included above, his Study for self-portrait (1976), which happens to be held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. I noticed that a recent book about his work (Bacon, ed. Rudy Chiappini, 2008) uses that particular painting on its cover. Bacon’s painting on the top left of the three, of the screaming pope, is of Pope Innocent X. He doesn’t look so innocent!
In terms of art being able to reveal the underlying tortured state of our condition, the drawings of the renowned British cartoonist and caricaturist Ralph Steadman, along with the work of the great Spanish artist Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) should also be mentioned.
Steadman’s The Lizard Lounge drawing has already been included twice—first to illustrate Hollow Adolescentman in Part 3:11F, and again in Part 7:2 to illustrate how angry we became—but it is so revealing of all aspects of the human condition that it should be included once more to illustrate just how alienated we became. The empty, hollow eyes of the main dragon in the very middle of the picture especially reveal how lost and deranged we humans have become.
Like Bacon and Steadman, Goya was an artist who throughout his career bravely tried to penetrate the facade of denial and its fabrication of an artificially happy state and reach the underlying truth of our tortured, human-condition-afflicted reality. I have included here two paintings that encapsulate Goya’s heroic journey and which are best introduced through the words of someone who has been described as ‘the best known art critic in the world’ (The Bulletin mag. 11 Nov. 2003), the Australian Robert Hughes, who for many years was TIME magazine’s art critic. Once again we can see in the following comment how much it escapes people what it is that is being portrayed by the likes of Bacon and Goya, namely the agony of the human condition. In a documentary Hughes made in 2002, titled Goya: Crazy Like A Genius, he commented that ‘ever since I started writing art criticism more than 40 years ago…I have always been fascinated by one artist…Goya. For years I have been trying and failing to write a book about him…For a long time now he has haunted my dreams…I have wanted to understand him…There are two paintings of the same subject that sum up the huge changes that took place in Goya across his long career. [The paintings are of] a big religious festival, that of St. Isidro. On that day thousands of citizens, in their Sunday best, converged on a pilgrimage chapel outside Madrid and had a picnic.
[In the first representation, shown above, titled] St. Isidro’s Meadow…the girls are in their white parasols, the men in their finery, the scene is of social pleasure and jollity…
Thirty years later Goya returned to the same theme. In this picture [above, titled]… The Pilgrimage of St. Isidro, instead of these happy fashionable well-dressed young people, you have this horrible snake of…dark figures…like demons crawling across an ash heap. The faces are…of madmen and hysterics…The whole picture is deeply threatening, deeply irrational, profoundly weird…[This is what] Goya saw through the filter of his old age and his intense pessimism.’ In his 2003 best-selling book Goya, which accompanied the documentary, Hughes again began by focusing on these two paintings and the profound mystery they presented to him. In the book, Hughes referred to Goya’s so-called ‘Black Paintings’, a series that includes The Pilgrimage of St. Isidro, as ‘deeply enigmatic’ (p.11 of 429). He also mentioned that ‘it is not so long ago…that most people who thought about Goya considered him mad’ (p.25). It is only a measure of how in denial we are of our actual practice of denial that The Pilgrimage of St. Isidro, and so much of Goya’s work, could be viewed as ‘deeply irrational’, ‘profoundly weird’ and ‘deeply enigmatic’ because in truth what Goya sought to depict was very rational, un-weird and clear. It wasn’t Goya who was ‘mad’; it is our extreme estrangement or alienation from the truth of our condition that is the real madness on Earth. As Laing was quoted earlier as saying, ‘We are dead, but think we are alive. We are asleep, but think we are awake. We are dreaming, but take our dreams to be reality. We are the halt, lame, blind, deaf, the sick. But we are doubly unconscious. We are so ill that we no longer feel ill, as in many terminal illnesses. We are mad, but have no insight [into the fact of our madness].’ Goya knew humanity was living a completely fraudulent, escapist, deluded existence. In an accompanying text to his Capricho 6 etching he even wrote that ‘The world is a masquerade. Looks, dress and voice, everything is only pretension. Everyone wants to appear to be what he is not. Everyone is deceiving, and no one ever knows himself.’ ‘No one ever knows himself’ echoes Laing’s observation that ‘we are mad, but have no insight’ into the fact of our madness. Goya knew that ‘The world is a masquerade’ and he sought to unmask it. As part of this courageous journey to bring out the underlying truth of our alienation, Goya did utilise horrific pictures of humans being tortured, inmates in mad houses, strange apparitions and weird creatures, but these were only situations and forms that he could draw upon as being emblematic of our inner, underlying condition—as this comment accurately recognises: ‘In [Goya’s] later plates, however, phantoms, witches, goblins and a variety of metamorphosed animals begin to vie for centre stage. Brilliantly utilizing these creatures as symbolic forces, Goya’s examination of the human condition leaves the particular and enters the universal’ (<>). The fact is, it wasn’t, as Hughes asserted, an ‘intense pessimism’ from his ‘old age’ that Goya was revealing in his series of ‘Black Paintings’, which were painted in his final years, but hard-won insight into the truth of our condition. Indeed, towards the end of the documentary, Hughes reported that a friend of Goya’s observed that in his old age the artist was ‘so happy and so anxious to try everything’. Having finally succeeded in reaching the truth about humans in his art it is reasonable to surmise that Goya would have been content and expansive.
In Goya, Hughes wrote that ‘The book I meant to write on him [Goya] had hit the wall; I had been blocked for years before the [car] accident [that led to Hughes writing Goya]’ (p.9). ‘The wall’ that Hughes hit and couldn’t get through (and still didn’t get through in Goya) was the ‘fifty feet of solid concrete’ wall of denial that Laing referred to. As mentioned, the incredible thing about Goya is he did finally get back through that all-but-impenetrable wall of denial and reach the truth of the horrific pain that we humans have been experiencing from the insecurity of our tortured condition. So it is a measure of how almost totally lacking in ‘insight’ (as Laing pointed out) we are that such an acclaimed art critic as Hughes could have failed to recognise, despite lifelong efforts, what such a central figure in art as Goya was seeking to depict. But although Hughes couldn’t decipher his meaning, he did at least recognise that Goya held the secret to what is going on in human life, namely an utterly escapist preoccupation with evasion and denial of the unbearably depressing issue of our human condition.
Mention must again be made of the exceptional human-condition-revealing honesty of the ceremonial masks that have been used in almost all cultures. In Part 3:11C it was explained how masks were a powerful means of exorcising both the truth of the extent to which our soul has been brutally repressed, and the depth of the anger of our conscious mind. Having learnt to contain and restrain our, in truth, extremely upset state, and also conceal it from view so that we weren’t confronted with the extent of it—having, as we say, learnt to ‘civilise’ our upset—such denial of our true situation could also become unbearable, in fact, psychologically and physically sickening, at which point some purging, cathartic, exorcising honesty was needed. The wearing of masks that revealed the true depth of how either soul-dead or furiously angry we humans had become was a powerfully effective way of bringing some relieving, therapeutic honesty to our lives. Reference was made to this quote from Picasso, in which he recognised the healing purpose of masks: ‘The [African] masks were not simply sculptures like any other. Not at all. They were magic objects…They were weapons. To help people stop being ruled by spirits, to free themselves. Tools. If we give a form to these spirits, we become free…I understood why I became a painter…Les Demoiselles d’Avignon must have come to me that very day [when I visited the museum and saw the African masks], but not at all because of the forms; because it was my first exorcism painting’. Picasso’s painting of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, a detail of which is included in the next image, was also shown in Part 3:11C.
The following extraordinary similarities between some of the tribal masks that were included in Part 3:11C and the faces from Bacon’s Study for self portrait 1976, Steadman’s The Lizard Lounge, Goya’s The Pilgrimage of St. Isidro and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon show just how brilliantly revealing of our alienation and anger masks have been. Since these paintings and drawings are representatives of our greatest works of art, and these various masks are equally powerful in what they reveal about our true condition, it follows that these masks must also rank amongst our greatest works of art. Indeed, as described at some length in Part 3:11C, the African masks, like the two shown here, were the actual inspiration for modern art! In titling his 1985 book I Am Not Myself: The Art of African Masquerade, the African art historian Herbert Cole was recognising how the mask allowed the wearer to disengage from his everyday ‘pretension’/‘masquerade’ that Goya referred to when he wrote, ‘The world is a masquerade. Looks, dress and voice, everything is only pretension. Everyone wants to appear to be what he is not. Everyone is deceiving, and no one ever knows himself.’ Masks allowed the wearer to momentarily relieve themselves of their extremely dishonest everyday ‘masquerade’ of being a secure, sound, well-adjusted, happy person, and let the truth out, which could be very therapeutic for both the wearer and the observer. Interestingly, the same inability of humans to recognise in their everyday, alienated state what was being depicted in Bacon and Goya’s paintings also applied to their observations of tribal masks—in the book African Masks: The Barbier-Mueller Collection, it records that ‘Some observers…described them [African masks] as “horrible, ugly, devil’s grimaces”’ (Hahner, Kecskési & Vajda, 2007, p.11 of 287)!
At this point it should be reiterated that while humans have been as torturously alienated as Plato, Laing, With Life In Mind, Bacon, Steadman, Goya and the mask-makers have revealed, this is not the full story about humans. As has been emphasised throughout this presentation, the greater truth is that humans have also been the most courageous, heroic, successful and meaningful creatures to ever exist on Earth. We are not the awful beings we appeared to be; rather, given the magnificence of our fully conscious mind, nature’s greatest invention, and given all the injustice we humans have had to endure for some two million years, we fully deserve to be considered divine beings. While there has been much conjecture as to whether that most contemporary of artists, Britain’s Damien Hirst (1965-), did sell his now famous diamond-encrusted human skull (see next image) in 2007 for the £50 million he claims, or whether it was sold for a figure half or even a fifth of that, or even whether Hirst still owns it, the fact is it is an extraordinarily value-deserving emblematic representation of what humans are: we humans have appeared to be the walking dead, but the truth now revealed is that we are such incredibly wonderful beings that we do indeed deserve to be encrusted in diamonds. The paradox of the human condition is perfectly captured by this diamond-encrusted skull.
We can even make sense of the seeming sacrilege of the title Hirst gave his creation, For the Love of God. With understanding of the human condition now found we can see that while we humans did become walking corpses, we did so in order to fulfil the potential of nature’s/ Integrative Meaning’s/ God’s most magnificent invention, namely the fully conscious thinking mind—so we did suffer becoming corrupted For the Love of God! Hirst’s skull appears to be smiling, which is also a just representation of the final paradox of the human condition where we can jubilantly rejoice in our victory of having established that we humans are good and not bad after all.
So although we had to pay the price of becoming immensely upset/ corrupted/ alienated/ dead, we humans ARE the heroes of the story of life on Earth. Furthermore, as a result of finding this greater dignifying understanding of the human condition, our species’ tortured state of alienation is about to end, and virtually overnight—well, in only a number of decades which, in the scheme of things, is a very short time—because being able to understand the human condition makes it possible for everyone to finally escape the tortured human-condition-afflicted state and fully participate in a glorious, truthful, sun-filled, effectively alienation-free world. It has already been emphasised, and will be further explained in Part 9, that while we won’t be able to eradicate all the psychosis of alienation from human life for a number of generations, humans can immediately be TRANSFORMED and live effectively FREE of the alienated state through their support of a denial-free, truthful, human-condition-understood world. This is the new, all-exciting, Sunshine Highway, Liberated, Exhilarated and Empowered, TRANSFORMED LIFEFORCE WAY OF LIVING that is going to sweep the world and become universal in an extremely short time once this incredible opportunity to be FREE of the horror of the human condition catches on. (Affirmations from people practicing this TRANSFORMED LIFEFORCE WAY OF LIVING can be read in Section 3 of Freedom: Expanded Book 2, or viewed online in ‘The Transformation of Humans’ category of the Video Library.)
If we deliver these reconciling understandings of our corrupted, damaged, less-than-ideal human condition to new generations of humans they will not have to grow up employing denial to cope with their corrupted condition and, not having to adopt a false existence, will be able to remain secure in self, free of the artificiality and superficiality of our alienated state—and very soon after the emergence of these secure generations other generations will appear who aren’t corrupted and damaged in self. It is these damage-free generations who will know of an existence that for us immensely heroic but at the same time immensely embattled, exhausted and alienated humans will be so glorious it is beyond our comprehension. We can see here that the liberation of humanity from the human condition is a three-stage undertaking—commencing with us present day insecure generations, progressing to secure generations, and then finally concluding with the emergence of human-condition-free generations.
While past and current generations have had to live in near total denial of the truth of our upset in order to cope with the horror of it, our struggle with the human condition has been so preoccupying, so dominating, so oppressive and so destructive of our lives that our ability to access the true potential of existence has been stymied to the point where we have been living only on the surface meniscus of life, confined to a dark, deadened, estranged, blocked-out, alienated, cave-like, almost totally superficial and artificial state. Clearly when this horrific siege of the human condition is lifted a near total change comes to humans—we will be like a new species, able to access all the dimensions and depths of existence that have previously been denied us. Indeed, the TRANSFORMATION and transmutation—in fact, transfiguration—will be so great we will be virtually unrecognisable as humans, so much so that the name ‘humans’ should be changed. Instead of being ‘the alienated ones’, we will be an utterly integrated, harmonious, upset-free, all-loving species with such great sensitivities towards each other and the world and indeed the universe around us that we will be properly termed ‘UNIVERSAL BEINGS’. In Buddhist scripture there is a reference to this time when humans ‘will with a perfect voice preach the true Dharma [preach the supreme wisdom, namely understanding of the human condition], which is auspicious and removes all ill’; it states that ‘Human beings are then without any blemishes, moral offences are unknown among them, and they are full of zest and joy. Their bodies are very large and their skin has a fine hue. Their strength is quite extraordinary’ (Maitreyavyakarana, tr. Edward Conze, Buddhist Scriptures, 1959, pp.238-242). The Bible similarly describes how ‘Another book [will be]…opened which is the book of life [the human-condition-explaining and humanity-liberating book]…[and] a new heaven and a new earth [will appear] for the first heaven and the first earth [will have]…passed away…[and the dignifying full truth about our condition] will wipe every tear from…[our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain [insecurity, suffering or sickness], for the old order of things has passed away’ (Rev. 20:12, 21:1,4).
Some glimmer of an indication of this coming time, when ‘Human beings are…without any blemishes, moral offences are unknown among them, and they are full of zest and joy’, can be gleaned from another photograph from my picture collection. Included below, it is a photograph of two young girls from a Hare Krishna commune that featured on the cover of LIFE magazine in April 1980. The photograph accompanied an article about ‘an austere commune in the West Virginian hills’ in the United States called ‘New Vrindavan’ where children are ‘raised…according to…ascetic practices’ and where ‘The elders hope to prevent their children’s “contamination” by the culture outside.’ The article reported that ‘To prevent the children’s “corruption” by the “material world” adults restrict the books, photos and television programs the children see.’ It also mentioned that ‘the virtue of chastity is repeatedly impressed upon the women, and the sexes are segregated whenever possible.’ The group’s leader said that ‘Some children produced here are very special…The parents’ souls are pure and they attract a pure soul in the womb.’ Maintaining such extreme austerity in the midst of the immensely upsetting battle that the human race has had to wage in order to find redeeming understanding of the human condition has not been realistic for most people—and I don’t know how many of these communes still exist, I suspect not many; it is certainly many years now (2011) since I saw the orange-robed Hare Krishnas on Sydney’s streets like I once did. But whether such communes have been realistic or not, we can see something of what a human-condition-free face will look like in these children’s faces. It seems to me that while the elements of each face, the eyes, nose, mouth and overall shape and proportion of each face, are not aesthetically perfect in terms of what is considered classically beautiful, there is so much purity and freedom in each child’s face that they are both perfectly beautiful. True beauty does indeed come from our soul.
I might comment on the fact that in the 1980 article on the Hare Krishna commune, one of the commune’s teachers said that ‘girls don’t have an inclination towards philosophic exploration’, while the group’s leader was quoted as saying that ‘feminism is a trap’ because ‘women need men to protect them’. These are brave statements that few would be game to make publicly under the current intimidation of political correctness, and it is true that acknowledgments of differences between men and women have often led to unjust prejudice against women—indeed, the article said that in their ‘school, girls receive less instruction than boys’ because of their lack of interest in philosophy, and that if couples don’t seek permission from their leader to bear children they ‘may be “punished” by giving birth to a female baby’!! As explained in Part 7:1, men and women have had different roles to play in humanity’s battle to find understanding of the human condition—and as a result women haven’t been as responsible as men for seeking that understanding; and as a result of that women haven’t been as aware of the nature of that battle—as ‘mainframed’—as men have been; and as a result of that women have needed men to not only help protect them physically from all the upset in the world but also help them judge where the realistic balance lies in situations involving the highly imperfect, non-ideal state of the human condition. But thankfully, with understanding of the human condition now found there is no longer any reason for women not to be as cognisant of the battle that humanity has been through as men. It is understanding of the human condition that alone could achieve the freedom that feminists—indeed, all women—have yearned for.