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‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 6 End Play for The Human Race
Chapter 6:4 The problem has been that the nurturing origin of our moral soul has been devastatingly, unbearably, excruciatingly condemning
As mentioned in chapter 5:7, the answer to all these ‘whys’ is that the nurturing explanation for our moral soul has been devastatingly, unbearably, excruciatingly condemning of humans’ present inability to nurture children with the real, unconditional love that their instincts expect. Indeed, in his aforementioned paper, Allott noted that when the nurturing explanation for our moral instincts was put forward by Fiske, and supported by a few others, it ‘attracted a good deal of opprobrium [abuse]’. But as I also pointed out in chapter 5:7, since the upset state of the human condition emerged some 2 million years ago, no child has been able to be given the amount of love its instincts expect, and unable, until now, to explain the human condition and thus provide the explanation for why this provision of love has been so compromised, the human race has had no choice but to deny the role nurturing has played in the development of humanity and in the maturation of our own individual lives. The great difficulty we have admitting the importance of nurturing in human development is evident in the comments that were referred to in chapter 5:7, that ‘The biggest crime you can commit in our society is to be a failure as a parent and people would rather admit to being an axe murderer than being a bad father or mother’; and that ‘For a lot of women the only really important anchor in their lives is motherhood. If they fail in a primary role they feel should come naturally it is devastating for them.’ To these two comments I might add these others that, read one after the other, capture the full horror of the difficulties and consequences of parenting under the duress of our alienated, soul-estranged, insensitive, loveless human condition. Firstly, from the child’s point of view: ‘The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved’ (John Steinbeck, East of Eden, 1952, p.268 of 640), ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had, and add some extra, just for you’ (Phillip Larkin, This Be The Verse, 1971), ‘There is no great event I can pinpoint; just years of feeling unknown…by my mother. She doesn’t have the language of emotional connection’ (‘The Ties that Unwind’, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 1 Mar. 2014) ; and from the parent’s point of view: ‘Parents who fail to produce a well-adjusted child carry a terrible burden of guilt’ (‘The parent trap’, The Australian, 12 Jan. 1999), ‘Ultimately, you are only as happy as your most unhappy child’ (Jamie Oliver, ‘Please, Sir, I want some more’, Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Feb. 2010); and, finally, with regard to the overall effect: ‘The greatest chasm between two people is love withheld by a parent’ (Nikki Gemmell, ‘Body blows of love’, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 12 May. 2012), and this revealing joke: ‘be sure to have at least four kids. Why? So you’ll have at least two you can talk about’ (‘A parent’s nightmare’, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 6 Sep. 2014).
These quotes are remarkable in their honesty; in fact, in my 40 years of constant thinking and writing about the human condition, I have only been able to assemble a small collection of such rare occasions when the human-condition-avoiding, denial-practising, dishonest world we live in momentarily dropped its guard and let some truth through. The following two passages are cases in point—they are by far the most honest admissions I have come across of both the importance of nurturing in human life and the now dire inability of mothers to adequately nurture their children due to the corrupting effects of our species’ heroic search for self-understanding. Firstly, consider this quote from the author Olive Schreiner that also featured in chapter 5:7: ‘They say women have one great and noble work left them, and they do it ill…We bear the world, and we make it. The souls of little children are marvellously delicate and tender things, and keep for ever the shadow that first falls on them, and that is the mother’s or at best a woman’s. There was never a great man who had not a great mother—it is hardly an exaggeration. The first six years of our life make us; all that is added later is veneer…The mightiest and noblest of human work is given to us, and we do it ill.’
Then there is this powerful extract from the anthropologist Ashley Montagu’s extraordinarily honest 1970 paper, ‘A Scientist Looks at Love’: ‘love is, without question, the most important experience in the life of a human being…One of the most frequently used words in our vocabulary…[yet] love is something about which most of us are still extremely vague…There is a widespread belief that a newborn baby is a selfish, disorganized wild creature who would grow into a violently intractable savage if it were not properly disciplined. [However,] The newborn baby is organized in an extraordinarily sensitive manner…He does not want discipline…he wants love. He behaves as if he expected to be loved, and when his expectation is thwarted, he reacts in a grievously disappointed manner. There is now good evidence which leads us to believe that not only does a baby want to be loved, but also that it wants to love; all its drives are orientated in the direction of receiving and giving love. If it doesn’t receive love it is unable to give it—as a child or as an adult. From the moment of birth the baby needs the reciprocal exchange of love with its mother…It has, I believe, been universally acknowledged that the mother-infant relationship perhaps more than any other defines the very essence of love…survival alone is not enough—human beings need and should receive much more…We now know that babies which are physically well nurtured may nevertheless waste away and die unless they are also loved. We also know that the only remedy for those babies on the verge of dying is love…The infant can suffer no greater loss than deprivation of the mother’s love. There is an old Eastern proverb which explains that since God could not be everywhere he created mothers…maternal rejection may be seen as the “causative factor in…every individual case of neurosis or behavior problem in children.”…Endowed at birth with the need to develop as a loving, harmonic human being, the child learns to love by being loved…To love one’s neighbor as oneself requires first that one must be able to love oneself, and the only way to learn that art is by having been adequately loved during the first six years of one’s life. As Freud pointed out, this is the period during which the foundations of the personality are either well and truly laid—or not. If one doesn’t love oneself one cannot love others. To make loving order in the world we must first have had loving order made in ourselves…Nothing in the world can be more important or as significant…love is demonstrable, it is sacrificial, it is self-abnegative [self-denying]. It puts the other always first. It is not a cold or calculated altruism, but a deep complete involvement with another. Love is unconditional…Love is the principal developer of one’s capacity for being human, the chief stimulus for the development of social competence, and the only thing on earth that can produce that sense of belongingness and relatedness to the world of humanity which is the best achievement of the healthy human being…Scientists are discovering…that to live as if to live and love were one is the only way of life for human beings, because, indeed, this is the way of life which the innate nature of man demands. We are discovering that the highest ideals of man spring from man’s own nature…and that the highest of these innately based ideals is the one that must enliven and inform all his other ideals, namely, love…Contemporary scientists working in this field are giving a scientific foundation or validation to the Sermon on the Mount and to the Golden Rule: to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, to love your neighbor as yourself…In an age in which a great deal of unloving love masquerades as the genuine article, in which there is a massive lack of love behind the show of love, in which millions have literally been unloved to death, it is very necessary to understand what love really means. We have left the study of love to the last, but now that we can begin to understand its importance for humanity, we can see that this is the area in which the men of religion, the educators, the physicians, and the scientists can join hands in the common endeavor of putting man back upon the road of his evolutionary destiny from which he has gone so far astray—the road which leads to health and happiness for all humanity, peace and goodwill unto all the earth’ (The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol.51, No.9).
But while these quotes are incredibly honest, with understanding of the psychologically upset state of the human condition finally found (the explanation of which was presented in chapter 3), we can at last explain what is, in fact, fundamentally wrong with what Schreiner and Montagu have written, which is that rather than loving our infants being ‘the mightiest and noblest of human work’, and of there being ‘nothing in the world…more important’ than being loved, the incursion of the human condition saw a ‘mightie[r]’ and ‘more important’ task assigned to humans, which was to persevere with humanity’s corrupting, love-destroying search for knowledge until we found the understanding that would finally liberate the human race from that condition and allow the practice of nurturing to once more regain its place as the ‘mightiest and noblest of human work’.
So there has been a very good reason for why humans ‘have literally been unloved to death’, but until we could compassionately explain that reason we had no choice but to leave ‘the study of love to the last’. It is only now that we can explain the human condition, explain that humanity has had to be preoccupied with its soul-corrupting, love-destroying, anger-egocentricity-and-alienation-producing heroic search for knowledge, that we can explain why we have been so alienated as parents that we have been unable to give our offspring anything like the alienation-free, sound, secure, unconditional love needed to create ‘The real vision of the human being’ of the sound child, the ‘child wonder’. Yes, it is only now that we can afford to admit that the playwright Samuel Beckett was only slightly exaggerating the brevity today of a truly loved, soulful, happy, innocent, secure, sane, human-condition-free life when he wrote, ‘They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more’ (Waiting for Godot, 1955), or that the psychiatrist R.D. Laing was right when he wrote that ‘To adapt to this world the child abdicates its ecstasy’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967, p.118 of 156).
Such is the enormous paradox of the human condition: we humans appeared to be horribly bad but are, in fact, heroically wonderful—but until that reconciling biological understanding was found we had no choice but to be prepared to create and live in a world that was devoid of truth—and love! As the song The Impossible Dream described this predicament, we had to be prepared ‘to march into hell for a heavenly cause’. So what is really needed to balance Schreiner’s and Montagu’s honest but unfairly condemning revelations about how inadequate parents have been in their ability to provide their children with the unconditional love their instincts expect, and, as a result, how hurt and alienated children have been, is a presentation emphasising just how incredibly, amazingly, extraordinarily heroic all parents have been to have even had children while they were living under the horrific duress of the human condition. Yes, a balancing presentation was needed, which this book now supplies, about how the human race has had to live with 2 million years of unjust condemnation—about how every day humans have had to get out of bed and face a world that, in effect, hated them, that considered them to be horrible mistakes, blights on this planet, defiling, bad, awful, even evil, sinful creatures, when, as explained in chapter 3, humans are nothing less than the heroes of the whole story of life on Earth!!
It follows then that there has been a justifiable reason for each of the ‘whys’ listed earlier—except for the last one of why I and those advocating my work have been so thoroughly persecuted for presenting the nurturing explanation for our moral instincts. As emphasised, it was only when we could explain the human condition and thus finally understand our inability to nurture our offspring that it would be safe to admit the critically important understanding of our species’ nurtured origins and, as Montagu said, put ‘man back upon the road of his evolutionary destiny from which he has gone so far astray’ and restore ‘health and happiness for all humanity’, and since it is precisely that explanation of the human condition that I have presented, inclusive of that nurturing explanation, there is NO justification for the rejection, ostracism and persecution I have been subjected to. Quite the reverse, in fact—such a response represents the very height of irresponsibility and an abuse of science’s mandate to support endeavours that seek to understand and ameliorate the plight of man. The seriousness of this ill-treatment will be revisited shortly (in ch. 6:12).
From the perspective, however, of mechanistic science, this need to deny the importance of nurturing in our human origins until we could explain the human condition has meant that biologists had to find some way of supporting this denial. And, as we are now going to see, this need to deny the truth that our distant ancestors lived a nurtured-with-love, all-loving life, which led to the corruption of Darwin’s idea of natural selection into a ‘survival of the fittest’ process, through to the development of E.O. Wilson’s dishonest Multilevel Selection theory for eusociality to deny that we lived an all-loving existence, also led to the dishonest Social Intelligence Hypothesis to deny the nurturing-with-love origin of that all-loving life. (Obviously, the entire need for denial should have been eradicated 30 years ago when I first presented the nurturing explanation in accompaniment with the explanation of the human condition, but, again, that is an issue I will return to in ch. 6:12.)