Please Note: FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition is the definitive, main presentation of Jeremy Griffith’s breakthrough biological synthesis on the human condition, and is the recommended access to these understandings that save the world. Freedom: Expanded presents the expanded, comprehensive account of his insights, which means it will eventually incorporate the content of all his books and writings, including this essay, The Great Exodus.
The Essay — The Great Exodus: From the horror and darkness of the human condition
by Jeremy Griffith
This essay is an extremely brief, 7,000 word summary of the book The Great Exodus: From the horror and darkness of the human condition. After Jeremy Griffith was interviewed in September 2005 by Jason A. Merchey on World Talk Radio in California, the largest internet talk station, Jason invited Jeremy, among other scientists and thinkers, to submit an essay for inclusion in Living a Life of Value: A Unique Anthology of Essays on Values & Ethics by Contemporary Writers which was being compiled and edited by Jason. This is the essay Jeremy submitted which was published in Living a Life of Value in America in mid-2006. Copies of Living a Life of Value can be obtained by contacting Values of the Wise at <>.
The human condition is the underlying issue in all human affairs and finding understanding of it delivers a whole new, utterly fulfilling, world-saving and almost unbearably exciting way for humans to live.
The human condition is not, as some think, the state of inequality or warring or globalised greed or environmental devastation or racial and gender oppression in the world, although these problems are all products of it. It is the issue of our species’ non-ideal, corrupted, ‘fallen’ state.
The real, fundamental question about humans is why are we so competitive, aggressive and selfish when the ideals are to be cooperative, loving and selfless? Are humans essentially good and if so, what is the cause of our evil, destructive, insensitive and cruel side?
The difficulty however has been that whenever we tried to think about this fundamental question we couldn’t find an answer and, not finding one, were left feeling insecure, uncertain about our goodness and worth. In fact, so deeply depressing has the underlying issue of our human condition been that we learnt, from a very early age, not to think about it. Indeed, while there has been an infinite amount written on the subject of humans’ capacity for good and evil, only a rare few individuals have been able to engage the core issue and fear in being human of whether or not we are at base evil, meaningless, worthless beings—even, for the believing, unGodly. The 20th century philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev was one who was brave enough to write of an ‘ancient, primeval terror’ in facing the issue of ‘the fallen state of the world’, elaborating that ‘the very distinction between good and evil is a bitter distinction, the bitterest thing in the world…There is a deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931, tr. N. Duggington, 1955, pp.14—16 of 310). The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was another who dared to articulate the ‘deadly’ depression caused by trying to confront the ‘tormenting contradiction’ of our condition, saying the depression is so great it is equivalent to living death and, as a result, we learn not to ‘even dare strike up acquaintance with’ it, so much so we are able to ‘only now and then’ ‘glimpse’ ‘its presence’. In his suitably titled book, The Sickness Unto Death, Kierkegaard wrote that, ‘the torment of despair is precisely the inability to die…that despair is the sickness unto death, this tormenting contradiction, this sickness in the self; eternally to die, to die and yet not to die…there is not a single human being…in whose innermost being there does not dwell an uneasiness, an unquiet, a discordance, an anxiety in the face of an unknown something, or a something he doesn’t even dare strike up acquaintance with…he goes about with a sickness, goes about weighed down with a sickness of the spirit, which only now and then reveals its presence within, in glimpses, and with what is for him an inexplicable anxiety’ (1849, tr. A. Hannay, 1989, pp.48—52 of 179).
Human alienation is at base our denial, or block out of the issue of the human condition. The psychiatrist R.D. Laing recognised that ‘The condition of alienation…is the condition of the normal man [p.24 of 156]’, emphasising the extent of it when he said that ‘between us and It [our true self and the issue that resides there] there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete. Deus absconditus. Or we have absconded [p.118]’. Laing, like Kierkegaard, also pointed out that we have so blocked out the issue of the human condition we hardly know it exists, saying, ‘We are so out of touch with this realm [where the issue of the human condition resides] that many people can now argue seriously that it does not exist’, summarising in the next sentence that ‘it is perilous indeed to explore such a lost realm [p.105]’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967). We can appreciate how ‘perilous’ it has been and thus how important the ‘fifty feet of solid concrete’ block out is when we consider that if we were to suddenly remove the block out and fully confront the issue of the human condition we would, at that moment, die from suicidal depression—or at least go mad.
In his poem, No Worst, There is None (like Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death, another apt title) Gerard Manley Hopkins summarised the suicidally deep depression that faced anyone who dared plumb the terrifying depths of the issue of our corrupted condition with the words, ‘O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall / Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed’ (approx. 1885).
It is true that until now this riddle of riddles of the existence of good and evil in our human make-up hasn’t been able to be understood, or ‘fathomed’, and that near total denial of the issue has been the only means to cope with it. What has happened to change all this is that science has finally made it possible to explain this ultimate of riddles; science enables us to understand that when humans became fully conscious and able to wrest management of our lives from our instincts, our instincts resisted this takeover and that it was this opposition that unavoidably led to the upset angry, egocentric and alienated state of our human condition.
A simple analogy helps explain what happened. We all know that many bird species are perfectly instinctively orientated to migratory flight paths. Of course this is not a conscious understanding of where they should or shouldn’t fly, rather it’s an instinctive orientation their species acquired over generations of natural selection. What then would happen if we placed a fully conscious brain, such as humans have, in the head of one of these migrating birds? With its newly acquired conscious mind this bird now needs to understand where it should and shouldn’t fly. Not having any understandings it has to find this knowledge through experimentation. Looking down from its migratory flight path, it sees an apple tree on an island and thinks, ‘why not fly down for a feed?’. Not knowing any reason why it shouldn’t, it goes ahead with this, its first experiment in self-management, and flies toward the island. As soon as it does so however its instinctive self tries to pull it back on course. It is in fact inadvertently trying to stop its search for knowledge. The bird’s instinctive self in effect criticises it because the instinctive self is unaware or ignorant of the conscious self’s need to search for knowledge. The bird is in a dilemma—it is experiencing the equivalent of the human condition. If it obeys its perfectly orientated instinctive self it will remain perfectly on course but it will never find understanding. If it defies its instinctive self it will find understanding but it will have to live with the ignorant criticism from its instinctive self. Unable to discard its brain the bird has no choice but to persevere with its experiments in understanding and battle the criticism. Not able to refute the criticism with explanation of why these mistakes were necessary all the bird could do was retaliate against the criticism, try to prove it wrong or simply ignore it. It did all three: it became angry towards the criticism; it tried to demonstrate its worth, prove it was good and not bad; and it blocked out the criticism. The conscious bird became angry, egocentric and alienated—in a word, upset.
This is similar to the Biblical account of the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve take the fruit from the tree of knowledge—go in search of understanding—except in this presentation Adam and Eve are not the banishment-deserving evil, worthless villains they are portrayed as in Genesis but immense heroes. They had to go in search for knowledge and defy ignorance. Upset was the price we had to pay to find understanding. As it says in the song The Man of La Mancha, we had to be prepared ‘to march into hell for a heavenly cause’.
The fearfully depressing so-called ‘burden of guilt’ has finally been lifted from the human race by science because, after centuries of discovery, science is now able to reveal that while the gene-based learning system can give species orientations only the nerve-based learning system is capable of insight, and therein lies the explanation of the human condition.
Finding the understanding of the fundamental goodness of humans ends the unjust criticism that has so upset us. Our anger, egocentricity and alienation can now subside. To draw on the analogy once more, our conscious bird would not have become upset if it could have explained why it was not bad to fly off course.
The real need on Earth has been to find the means to love the dark side of ourselves, to bring understanding to that aspect of our make-up—because that is where the inability to love others comes from. As psychoanalyst Carl Jung emphasised, ‘wholeness’ for humans depended on the ability to ‘own their own shadow’—or as philosopher Laurens van der Post said, ‘True love is love of the difficult and unlovable’ (Journey Into Russia, 1964, p.145).
While the arrival of the dignifying and thus liberating biological understanding of our human condition is the ultimate breakthrough in the human journey to enlightenment—the Holy Grail of the whole Darwinian revolution—there is an immense problem with its acceptance. While humans couldn’t explain our corrupted, fallen state we sensibly coped with it by denying it and creating contrived, artificial forms of reinforcement to sustain our sense of self-worth. However, with the arrival of this ameliorating truth about why we became so upset, all the artificial, fabricated denials, delusions and evasions that we have been using to cope are suddenly exposed. The truth destroys the lies, as it must, but we are now so adapted to the lies we find the truth hard to face. Honesty day, truth day, revelation day is also exposure day, transparency day, in fact the ‘judgement day’ many mythologies have long anticipated. While ‘judgement day’ is actually a day of great compassion—as an anonymous Turkish poet once said, it is ‘not the day of judgment but the day of understanding’ (National Geographic, Nov. 1987)—having the truth about our false selves revealed can feel like the foundations of our whole existence are being taken from under us. When the all-precious reconciling, humanity-saving understanding of the human condition arrives, rather than it feeling like the long sought-after liberating fulfilment and reward for all our species’ accumulated efforts, it feels like a hurtfully exposing, vicious, even punishing attack. Again our mythologies have foreseen this problem. In the Bible the prophet Isaiah spoke of a time when the truth arrives, which ‘gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage…[that it] 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’ (14:3; 35:4,5; 47:3).
The essential problem that occurs when understanding of the human condition arrives is that the generation present at that junction are faced with too much change to have to adjust to. Alvin Toffler anticipated this crisis in his book Future Shock, writing, ‘Future shock…[is] the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time’ (1970, p.4).
The question then is, how are we to cope with the sudden exposure the liberating understanding of the human condition inevitably brings? To answer this question we must first context how humans have, up until now, coped with their extremely upset angry, egocentric and alienated state.
The 13th century Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan could be described as someone who lived out his upset to the full. Every day he satisfied his anger with bloodletting, his egocentricity through the domination of others, and his mind or spirit by blocking out any feelings of guilt or remorse. There would have been no peace in his world or in his own life.
The need to manage excessively upset behaviour led to the establishment of the first major social form of control, Imposed Discipline—a series of rules and laws enforcing social behaviour through threat of punishment. For example, at the time of the arrival of Europeans to North America a grand union of Indian tribes, known as the Iroquois Confederacy, was formed by two Indian prophets, Hiawatha and ‘The Great Peacemaker’. These prophets realised that the endless rounds of payback warfare between and within the tribes could only be stopped by everyone agreeing to a set of restraining rules that were to be enforced by punishment. So effective was the resulting imposed discipline that the Confederacy rapidly emerged as one of the strongest forces in northeastern North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. Parallels can be drawn with the way in which the Jewish prophet Moses effectively brought order to the Israelite Nation through his Ten Commandments.
The limitation however of imposed discipline is that restraining your upset through fear of punishment is a negative, oppressive way to have to live. As immensely successful it has been in constraining upset, complying with laws out of fear is not a very spiritually inspiring existence. What was needed was a more personally satisfying form of restraint, and the solution that arose was Religion.
The essential premise of religion is that it requires individuals to defer to the soundness and integrity of thought of a great prophet, or prophets. Rather than live through your upset self you place your faith in the soundness and truth of the prophet, and in doing so you are effectively ‘born again’ from your upset angry, egocentric and alienated state to that of a well behaved, ‘good’ person. The benefit of religion is that you are actively participating in goodness rather than having it forced upon you; you feel you are on the side of right at last, that you are righteous, and, as a result, gain immense relief from the guilt of being so upset.
Possibly the best sales pitch ever given for religion was by the apostle St Paul when he wrote: ‘Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory…fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!’ (The Bible, 2 Corinthians 3:7—11). Thus, in coping with the human condition the first ‘glorious’ improvement on destructively living out our upset was that of discipline enforceable by punishment. But since discipline provided little in the way of joy for the mind or spirit it was hard to maintain, it didn’t ‘last’, it was ‘fading’, especially in comparison to the immensely guilt-relieving, ‘righteous’ way of living offered by the next ‘surpassing glory’, religion. Through our support of the religion’s prophet we could participate in idealism.
However, as the search for knowledge continued and the resulting upset state of anger, egocentricity and alienation increased, so too did the need to find more effective ways to cope—in particular escape the increasing levels of suicidally dangerously depressing guilt. This ever increasing need to find ways to feel good and not bad about ourselves did however have an extremely dangerous potential. Eventually it could stop the search for knowledge and if that were to occur then the ultimate knowledge we had to find, namely self-knowledge, understanding of the human condition, would never be discovered and humanity would be condemned to terminal upset—specifically, unbearable levels of self-estrangement or alienation from having to adopt excessive amounts of psychological denial and delusion. Ultimately, only the reconciling, dignifying understanding of the human condition could liberate humanity from its insecure state and stop our species’ march to extinction from excessive alienation.
To explain how finding relief from the ever-growing sense of guilt could stop the search for knowledge we have to return to the analogy of the bird that became fully conscious and flew off course. At any time the bird could fly back on course, obey its instinctive orientation and, in so doing, stop and thus relieve the criticism emanating from its instinctive self for having flown off course, but that meant abandoning the all-important search for knowledge.
As the need grew in more and more people to give up the corrupting quest for knowledge and take up guilt-relieving support of an expression of the cooperative, loving, selfless ideals of life, the danger of humanity entering a state of terminal alienation also increased. If we graph the growth of upset in the world it follows an exponential path, eventually entering a stage of almost vertical ascent where the levels of alienation in society double every few generations. At this point a crisis stage in the human journey occurs where there is an extreme danger of the search for knowledge ending. It is precisely this crisis point that has now arrived.
The following documents the different ways of coping that humans have had to adopt during the final stages of the march of upset—when the graph of upset climbs vertically—and which have now culminated in this crisis situation.
To derive the sense of guilt-relieving righteousness that religions supplied involved living in denial of the need to participate in humanity’s heroic but corrupting search for knowledge, however given humanity’s inability to clearly explain the search such denial hasn’t been too difficult. In The Simpsons TV cartoon series, Ned Flanders is the born again religious character who is typically portrayed as having a self-satisfied, ‘I-occupy-the-moral-high-ground’ attitude over the still-human-condition-embroiled Homer Simpson. This drives Homer crazy with frustration because he intuitively knows Ned is deluding himself in thinking he has the moral high ground, is the more together, sound person and is on the right track, but Homer can’t explain why Ned is so extremely deluded and totally dishonest in his view of self.
It was this delusion and dishonesty that made giving up the battle particularly dangerous because its maintenance required constantly persuading yourself, and others, that you are right—even Ned has an intuition he is practicing delusion so he has to work hard at maintaining it. There has always been much talk of the need for freedom but it is only now that we can clearly explain what we needed to be free from—namely, free from the condemning oppression of idealism in order to search for knowledge and, to a degree, be non-ideally behaved. Dogmatic insistence on idealism oppressed the job at hand, and the associated denial and delusion destroyed the honesty that the effective pursuit of truth so depends upon.
In fact the great value and indeed beauty of religion was that while you personally had abandoned the upsetting battle of searching for knowledge, the battle continued indirectly through the honesty of the prophet your religion was founded around. The prophet’s soundness was an indirect acknowledgment of your lack thereof. Religions provided a way for humans to be, to a degree, honest about their corrupted, false state without having to openly admit and therefore confront it and, in so doing, helped minimise the truth-destroying levels of denial and delusion in the world. As Carl Jung was fond of saying about Christianity, ‘the Christian symbol is a living being that carries the seeds of further development within itself’ (The Undiscovered Self: Present and Future, 1961).
However, as upset increased and the need for relief from guilt grew this great benefit of religion, of its degree of honesty, became its liability. As people became more upset the honesty in religion became too confronting, guilt-inducing and dangerously depressing. By retaining a presence of soundness and truth in the form of the prophet, religion reminded us of our own corrupted state and alienation from truth, which in turn accentuated our sense of guilt. As author Mary McCarthy once wrote about religion, ‘Only people who are very good can afford to become religious; with all the others it makes them worse’ (Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, 1957).
Eventually the increasing need for a more guilt-free form of idealism to live through gave rise to Socialism or Communism, movements that didn’t involve the condemning recognition of the world of soundness that religions were based upon. These movements avoided the whole issue of soundness and denied the depressing notion of a perfecting God. Instead they simply, dogmatically demanded an idealistic social or communal world and, in doing so, denied and oppressed the whole reality of the knowledge-finding, creative, egocentric, corrupting, unavoidably-variously-upset, individualistic, competitive, combative, materialism-compensation-needing, self-distraction-hungry, human-condition-afflicted world. As Karl Marx, whose theories underpinned socialism and communism, said, ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is [not to understand the world but] to change it’ (Theses on Feuerbach, written in German in 1845). By ‘change it’ he meant just make it cooperative or social or communal. The attraction—and inherent lie—of socialism or communism was that you could support and have the ideals without acknowledging the reality of humans’ knowledge finding struggle and resulting human condition. It can be seen from this that both movements were far more sophisticated than religion in their degree of evasion, superficiality and dishonesty.
The limitation of socialism or communism is that while there is no confronting prophet present, there is an obvious acknowledgment of the condemning cooperative, sound ideals. In time, as levels of upset and thus insecurity rose, the need developed for an even more guilt-free form of idealism to live through. This was supplied by the New Age Movement (the forerunners of which were the Age of Aquarius and Peace Movements). In this movement all the realities and negatives of our corrupted condition were transcended in favour of taking up a completely escapist, think-positive, human-potential-stressing, self-affirming, motivational, feel-good approach. The truth is the new age movement was not leading humanity to an aquarian new age of peaceful freedom from upset, but to an even more heightened state of deluded, dishonest alienation than that espoused by socialism. As the philosopher Thomas Nagel recognised, ‘The capacity for transcendence brings with it a liability to alienation, and the wish to escape this condition…can lead to even greater absurdity’ (The View From Nowhere, 1986).
The limitation of the new age movement was that while it did not remind humans of the cooperative ideals, its focus still remained the issue of humans’ variously upset, troubled, estranged, alienated state—a problem the next level of delusion dispensed with by simply denying its existence. The Feminist Movement maintained that there is no difference between people, especially not between men and women. In particular it denied the legitimacy of the exceptionally egocentric, combative male dimension to life that we can now understand was taking on the heroic front role in fighting ignorance. Based on extreme dogma, the feminist movement could not and has not produced any real reconciliation between men and women, rather, as this quote points out, ‘What happened was that the so-called Battle of the Sexes became a contest in which only one side turned up. Men listened, in many cases sympathetically but, by the millions, were turned off’ (Don Peterson, Courier Mail, June 1994). Only by winning the battle to champion the ego—that is, explain the human condition and establish that our egocentric conscious thinking self is good and not bad—could the polarities of life of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, that women and men are in truth an expression of, be reconciled.
Where feminism falls down is in the fact that while it superficially dispensed with the problem of humans’ divisive reality, we still remain the focus of attention and that is confronting. The solution that emerged to this limitation was the Environmental or Green Movement which removes all need to confront and think about the human state since all focus is diverted from self onto the environment—as this quote acknowledges, ‘The environment became the last best cause, the ultimate guilt-free issue’ (Time mag. 31 Dec. 1990). Of course the truth is that by not addressing the cause of the destruction of the natural world, namely the issue of our human condition’s angry, egocentric and alienated state, there has been no real let up in the pace of the devastation of our world.
Yet, for all its guilt-relieving benefits there is still a condemning moral component to the environment movement. If we are not responsible with the environment, good, we are behaving immorally, bad. Moreover, the purity of nature exists in stark contrast to humans’ corrupted condition. At this stage in the march of upset a form of pure idealism had to be manufactured whereby any confrontation with the, by now, extremely confronting and depressing truth of the dilemma of the human condition was totally avoided. This need for a totally guilt-stripped form of idealism was met by the development of the Politically Correct Movement and its intellectual equivalent, the Post-modern Deconstructionist Movement. These are pure forms of dogma that fabricate, demand and impose ideality or ‘correctness’, in particular that of an undifferentiated world, in complete denial of the reality of the underlying issue of the existence of and reasons for the different levels of alienation between individuals, sexes, ages, generations, races and cultures. In his 2001 book, The Liar’s Tale: A History of Falsehood, Jeremy Campbell described ‘postmodern theory’ as having elevated ‘lying to the status of an art and neutralised untruth’. It has ‘neutralised untruth’ because by denying the existence of the whole issue of humans’ variously upset state it made any discussion of such differences—any pursuit of insight—impossible. Instead of actually reconciling and thus ‘deconstructing’ the good versus evil dialectic and, by so doing, taking humanity beyond or ‘post’ the existing upset, ‘modern’ world to a human-condition-ameliorated, upset-free, ‘correct’ one, as these movements in effect claimed they were doing, they were in reality leading humanity further away from that state. The gloves are off now, the confidence of—and sheer anger and aggression underlying—the industry of denial and delusion was such that it was now prepared to go the whole hog and brazenly mimic the arrival of the true world at the actual expense of any chance it had of arriving. The fact is post-modernism represents the very height of dishonesty, the most sophisticated expression of denial and delusion to have developed on Earth. Terminal alienation was upon us.
The science historian Jacob Bronowski summed up the dangerous situation humanity had arrived at when he said: ‘I am infinitely saddened to find myself suddenly surrounded in the west by a sense of terrible loss of nerve, a retreat from knowledge into—into what? Into…falsely profound questions about, are we not really just animals at bottom; into extra-sensory perception and mystery. They do not lie along the line of what we are now able to know if we devote ourselves to it: an understanding of man himself. We are nature’s unique experiment to make the rational intelligence prove itself sounder than the reflex [instinct]. Knowledge is our destiny. Self-knowledge, at last bringing together the experience of the arts and the explanations of science, waits ahead of us’ (The Ascent of Man, 1973, p.437 of 448).
We can now understand that the decision by many to quit the battle to find knowledge was not a cowardly ‘loss of nerve’ but a necessary decision to avoid suicidally dangerous depression. As upset increased, ever more deluded and artificial guilt-relieving ways of living simply had to be adopted.
Of course this guilt-relieving aspect could not be admitted because without the explanation for upset we had to cope by denying we had anything to be guilty about. To avoid admitting that these new directions in ways of living were driven by guilt we justified them by saying that they were necessary means of countering the devastating levels of upset in the world. The truth is however that the procession of movements, from religion onwards, was entirely selfishly based upon finding better ways to avoid guilt because, as we can now see, from humanity’s journey to enlightenment’s point of view, religions offered an infinitely better way to support idealism and counter upset both in ourselves and in the world.
The danger for humanity’s journey to enlightenment came from the increased levels of delusion and denial that we were having to employ to cope. To be truly free we humans had to confront and understand our condition, not escape it by adding more and more layers of denial. Denial blocked access to the truth, that being its purpose, but ultimately we had to find the truth. The purpose of a conscious mind is to understand; ultimately to understand ourselves—as Socrates said, ‘the only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance’, and ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’—but in the end a preference for ignorance and the associated need to oppress any examination of our lives, oppress any freedom to think, question and pursue knowledge, threatened to become the dominant attitude in the world. As George Orwell famously predicted, ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face [freedom] forever’ (Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949). Of the great twin political problems of the age, of the brutality of the right and the dishonesty of the left, it is the dishonesty of the left that has the potential to, and is poised to, destroy the world.
This insight can come as a shock because until now we have been unable to explain the human condition and, as a result, see through all our denials and delusions. Now that we are able to explain the human condition we can at last understand that real idealism involved being prepared to ‘fly off course’ in search of knowledge and that these movements that lacked religion’s central element of honesty and truth were pseudo-idealistic. They were deluding their adherents that they were capable of bringing about real change in the world when the truth is they were leading humanity away from any meaningful change. Ever since its inception pseudo-idealism has been the art of creating the cooperative ideal state by denying the reality of the upsetting battle involved in achieving it. The litany of pseudo-idealistic causes served to relieve humanity of excessive guilt but, as Bronowski said, ‘They do not lie along the line of what we are now able to know if we devote ourselves to it: an understanding of man himself’.
In truth, all these movements that have emerged since the advent of religion have been led by false prophets, merchants of denial and delusion, advocates of means to escape rather than pursue understanding of our condition. Mythologies contain extremely powerful warnings about the rise of pseudo-idealism and its rejection of religion. In the Bible the apostle Matthew recorded Christ’s counsel about ‘the sign…of the end of the age’ (24:3) when ‘many will turn away from the faith…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people’ (24:10-11), concluding that ‘when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that caused desolation,” spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader…flee to the mountains…For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now’ (24:15-21). In Daniel’s description of ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ (11:31), where ‘truth was thrown to the ground’ (8:12), he said, ‘a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong…He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior’ (8:23-25), and he ‘will invade the kingdom [of honesty] when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue [deceit]’ (11:21), clarifying that ‘With [truth-and-guilt-avoiding, feel good] flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant [seduce those who have become extemely upset]’ (11:32).
In the race between self-discovery and self-destruction from terminal alienation, it appeared the latter had won. R.D. Laing got the truth up about just how sick with alienation the human race has become when he wrote: ‘We are born into a world where alienation awaits us [p.12]…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 outer divorced from any illumination from the inner is in a state of darkness. 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]’ (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).
What has saved the day at this eleventh hour is the arrival of the dignifying, ameliorating, biological understanding of the human condition—that is, as long as we can overcome the final hurdle arrived at earlier of there being too much accumulated superficial and artificial denial and delusion in the lives of humans, as R.D. Laing made very clear, for us to have to suddenly confront. Understanding of the human condition is the all-precious, ameliorating, liberating truth we have always sought but when it arrives, rather than feeling wonderfully liberated by it, we feel damnably exposed.
The reality is that to solve this problem of the dangerously depressing exposure that the liberating truth brings, we have two choices. We can refuse to accept the liberating knowledge—attack and try to destroy it with all the misrepresentation and vitriol we can muster while building our wall of denial up even higher to block it out. However, since the accumulated efforts of all the humans who have ever lived have essentially been dedicated to finding this liberating knowledge that will secure the welfare of all future generations, this option is not really open to us.
The second option we have is to accept and support the liberating knowledge but avoid confronting it too deeply. Clearly it is this option that we must take up—and avoiding overly confronting the exposing information can be done. We each have to investigate the explanation of the human condition that is now available sufficiently to verify to our own satisfaction that it is the liberating explanation of the human condition and then support the information without pursuing our study of it and the truths it reveals beyond what we are personally capable of confronting.
The main concern has to be that the all-important insights into our human condition are made available to future generations so they don’t have to grow up without understanding of the human condition as we did. With access to the reconciling explanation of the human condition they won’t have to adopt all the denials and delusions we had to adopt to cope and which now make confronting the truth about ourselves so difficult.
The task of the current generations who have grown up in the dark as it were, without the ability to understand the human condition, is to hold this key understanding aloft, support it in every way possible. By doing so the upset state of the human condition will, over only a few generations, be brought to an end. We have to see ourselves as the conduit generation connecting the old world of denial with the new denial-free world.
What is so wonderful about this new way of living is that whereas only yesterday there seemed to be no hope for the human race and the world appeared to be spiralling to destruction, suddenly, today, a totally psychologically rehabilitated human race is only a step away.
There is still some artificiality in this new way of living whereby our old egocentric, competitive, individualistic way of living is abandoned in favour of living in support of the insights into the human condition that are now available. We are not living out our upset and we are to a degree transcending our upset state, but the level of dishonesty is minimal compared to all the aforementioned artificial ways of coping with the human condition.
Importantly this new way of living has no relationship to religion. There is no deity or central figure of worship or adoration, nor is there any mysticism or religiosity or abstract metaphysic involved. The focus is entirely on knowledge, albeit knowledge we can’t always confront. Further there is no faith involved. Faith has been replaced by first-principle-based knowledge that is able to be verified through scientific investigation.
The big difference in this new way of living is that the ‘weakness’ aspect of giving up the battle has gone because the battle to ‘fly off course’ and find knowledge, ultimately self-knowledge, has been won. There is no longer any justification for anyone pursuing the upsetting, corrupting search for knowledge. The search for more knowledge goes on of course, but from here on it has to be conducted as much as possible from a secure, unevasive, denial-free basis, rather than from the insecure, evasive, denial-complying position from which it has been conducted in the past. The priority for the immediate future is not to attain more knowledge, but to expeditiously bring the human race, and indeed the world, back from the brink of destruction.
Giving up the battle is an extremely discredited strategy because it has for so long been perceived as weak and that misperception does take time to overcome. The truth however is this new way of living has virtually no negative aspects to it and as that fact dawns on people—that they can go to work for humanity now in a most extraordinarily effective way without there being any tainted aspect to doing so—it is going to lead to an almost unbearably excited state of being for humans. While we are not yet free of the human condition we are as good as free of it because the excitement of just being able to participate in this final great charge to freedom will carry all before it. The great exodus from the horror and darkness of the human condition is on. Soon an army in its millions will appear from horizon to horizon to do battle with human suffering and its weapon will be understanding. In St Paul’s measures, if imposed discipline was considered ‘glorious’ yet had ‘no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory’ of religion, where we participated in idealism through our support of the embodiment of the ideals, then this new way of living where we live in support of the understandings of the ideals is the beyond-comparison, culminating glory of all glories.
Many mythologies have anticipated this time when everyone is finally able to, and indeed now has the responsibility to go to work for humanity and not for themselves. In the Bible the prophet Joel provides this description: ‘Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come…Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste—nothing escapes them. They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry…They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other’ (Joel 2). There are similar portrayals elsewhere in the Bible, for instance in Isaiah 2 where Isaiah says, ‘They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore’, and that ‘the earth will be full of the knowledge of the’ truth and, as a result, ‘the wolf will live with the lamb’ (11:6,9). Other entries can be found in Isaiah Chapters 5, 11 and 40; in Daniel Chapters 8 to 12; in Hosea Chapters 5 and 14; and in Hosea Chapter 6 where Hosea says the relieving truth, ‘will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth’.
In recent times other equally prophetic descriptions have appeared in popular culture, such as in the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s songs When The Ship Comes In (1964) and The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1964); Jim Morrison’s Break on Through (1966); Aquarius (1966, written by James Rado & Gerome Ragni) from the rock musical Hair; Elvis Presley’s If I Can Dream (1968, written by Earl Brown); Cat Stevens’ Peace Train (1971) and Changes IV (1971); John Lennon’s Imagine (1971); Tracy Chapman’s Why (1986); and Hunters & Collectors’ Holy Grail (1993, written by Mark Seymour). In a similar vein, while The Rolling Stone’s I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (1965), Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone (1965), Supertramp’s The Logical Song (1979, written by Richard Davies & Roger Hodgson) and U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (1987), don’t anticipate the new human-condition-ameliorated world, they fully see through the existing one.
In conclusion, it can now be seen that there were three great steps in managing our upset state during our species’ journey to enlightenment: firstly, living in fear of punishment; secondly, living in support of the embodiment of the ideals through religion; and now, finally, living in support of the understanding of the ideals. In 10th century Flora, Italy, an abbot named Joachim famously proposed that human history unfolds in three stages. He expressed his concepts in terms of the Trinity, with God the Father being the first stage of authority where humans obeyed the disciplining Ten Commandments of Moses. This was followed by God the Son, the stage where humans supported the embodiment of the ideals in Christ. The third stage, he said, would be the age of the Holy Ghost or Spirit, which we can now understand is the stage where humans support the understanding of the ideals. He predicted this final stage would occur at the end of the first millennium, much to everyone’s disappointment when that didn’t eventuate. It turns out he was a millennium short in his prediction of when we would be able to live the ultimate life of value.
(Note: there are many questions not answered in this brief presentation, such as what was our species’ original instinctive orientation that we were having to ‘fly off course’ from. To read a more complete presentation of this new way of living, and the answer to this question and many more, read the book FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition which is also presented on this website at <>.