How do you reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable?
I was thinking about the terrible school massacre that happened in the USA in December 2012 and how such a tragedy can have such a big effect on so many people and their lives. Not just the victim’s families and the surrounding community, but world wide people mourned for the innocent women and children that were gunned down for no reason that day. And as if the shootings weren’t bad enough, people then started variously trying to profit from the tragedy by setting up bogus charities or buying the domain names of the dead children and selling them back to the grieving parents.
A tragedy like this one has such a lasting effect on people because it cuts so close to the bone, to the human condition, and when we try to make sense of it, it brings up so many unanswered questions like:
How could someone living in one of the luckiest countries in the world do something like that?
How can someone have so much hate and anger inside them?
How much angst and anger is inside of me, and if I was put in similar circumstances or led the life that that young man had, how would I react or what would I be capable of?
How can people be so sick as to then try to profit from such a tragedy?
If America is leading the world in development, is this where we are all heading?
How can we be good when we appear to be so bad?
Everywhere around the world the effects of the human condition are escalating at an exponential rate and there are so many atrocities happening world wide that it is almost unbearable to even just watch the news at night. As the Australian journalist Richard Neville said in 1986 (and things have got worse since then) “The world is hurtling to catastrophe: from nuclear horrors, a wrecked ecosystem, 20 million dead each year from malnutrition, 600 million chronically hungry…All these crises are man made, their causes are psychological. The cures must come from this same source; which means the planet needs psychological maturity…fast. We are locked in a race between self destruction and self discovery” (Good Weekend mag. Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Oct. 1986; cited in Freedom: Expanded Book 1 ‘Part 2:5 The Propositions’).
Humanity’s Journey to Enlightenment
Luckily for us, we now have that self discovery that humans have been yearning for for generations. We have the explanation of why we are the way we are, to the human condition and it is this macro view of the journey that humans have been on that can explain the questions posed above and can reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable. While that extreme type of behaviour is utterly appalling and of course intolerable, we are at last able to understand the source of pain, anger and upset in us humans, and through that understanding we are in a position to not only manage it, but actually resolve it fundamentally. I find the above picture of Humanity’s Journey to Enlightenment (Freedom: Expanded Book 1, Part 3:13) so good for this as it shows just how long humanity/we have been suffering under the duress of the human condition. Two million years is a long time to be living with the wrong assertion that we are bad when we actually know in our bones that we are good but just can’t explain why. As Jeremy says when referring to a drawing by Michael Leunig in Freedom: Expanded Book 1 Part 3:7:
“As we can now understand, humans have been unjustly condemned since our conscious mind became fully developed and we became a self-managing species some two million years ago—so how deeply, deeply angry must we be inside ourselves having had to live undefended on this planet against so much unjust condemnation for so long! I ask you, wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, we be as angry as Leunig has depicted us in this cartoon?”
But the key is that it is no one’s fault, but just a part of the terrible but unfortunately necessary journey that humans had to go on in order to understanding of the human condition; and once this can be understood then all of our anger, egocentricity and alienation can be let go of, as it is explained and dealt with by these explanations. As Jeremy goes on to say:
“The cartoon encapsulates the whole human story now, starting as it does with the human race emerging in an unconscious, unaware, unknowing, ‘knowledge- less’, ignorant, upset-free, pre-human-condition-afflicted, innocent instinctive state. We then, however, developed a fully conscious thinking, self-adjusting mind and became an extremely psychologically upset, angry, retaliatory, defensive, egocentric, human-condition-afflicted species, before finally finding the redeeming and ameliorating understanding of why our good-and-evil-afflicted state emerged, which in turn allows us to return to an upset-free, psychologically-untroubled, settled, relieved, peaceful, harmonious existence” (Freedom: Expanded Book 1 ‘Part 3:7, The depth of anger’).
Yes! I/we/humanity is now totally defended by this explanation and all of our anger, egocentricity and alienation is disarmed and can subside as it is dealt with—we don’t have to go around trying to prove that we are good and not bad, as this explanation does that for us, it explains why we are good and not bad, and it is through this that all the suffering in the world will end.