There is a great need/yearning for these understandings everywhere I look
I recently listened to an audio podcast from the radio show This American Life called Middle School. It was incredibly moving as it had Middle School students (aged 11-14) talking honestly about what the world is like for them at that age—a place we have all been, but quickly forget about as we resign and move on with life.
It was how their voices sounded as much as their words that affected me so deeply, particularly a boy called ‘Leo’ (not his real name but the name they used on the program to protect his privacy). He had just moved schools but the quiet agony in his voice revealed more, and spoke volumes of the difficulty and overwhelming struggle you feel at this time in your life when you are about 13 or 14.
There is a great need and yearning for the explanation of the human condition everywhere I look and this again connected me to that—to how the explanations that Jeremy Griffith is putting forward really do save us, and will end all the hurt and anguish we have had to go through, particularly children, as a result of growing up in a world without answers to the deeper questions of life. It ignites my support and drives me, I see the power of these understandings and how they unlock so much at such a profound level.
In his books Freedom: Expanded and A Species in Denial Jeremy gives a full explanation of Resignation. For me personally, understanding Resignation was a massive unlocking point in understanding the world. Once you understand and can see there is a world of denial, then the whole dilemma of the human condition opens up before your eyes.
Jeremy writes ‘Resignation to living a life of denial of the issue of the human condition and any truths it bought into focus has been a feature of human life since humans became fully conscious some two million years ago and the agony of the human condition emerged…Resignation has been the most important psychological event to occur in human life and yet it has never been explained and only very rarely acknowledged before now’.
What Leo said, and hearing his voice as he talks about it, is such tangible evidence of that time in your life of trying to grapple with Resignation.
I get overcome with the feeling of thank Goodness—just thank Goodness there is this explanation now- that finally Resignation has been explained and that children and adolescents won’t have to die a million deaths inside themselves, battling the dark thoughts of ‘am I good or bad?’ with no explanation or understanding of what they are feeling or going through and eventually after a great struggle resigning to the world of denial.
Below are some extracts from Leo’s interview (underlinings are mine):
Interviewer (I): Is this the first time in your life where you felt like you've been sad about something for this long?
Leo: I think so, except for maybe when my other cat died… my old cat.
I: And does this feel worse than that?
Leo: Yes. I’ve never had long periods of sadness until now. I don’t know. I don’t know anyone here really, and I think it’s just everything in general. It’s overwhelming.
and later in interview
Leo: The older you get, the more you judge people on their looks, their background, how they act, like what cool is for kids. Because in kindergarten, you could just walk up to someone and say, “Do you want to be my friend?” And that would be it. But it’s harder. I just think people are more wary before they open up. Like in first grade, if I met someone, I wouldn’t really care who they were. I would just care if they were nice or not.
Leo then made his first friend at his new school and the interviewer asked if that had helped:
Leo: That I know someone at school. It helps. Not all that much, but sort of, yeah.
I: And this is when I realized I had underestimated the depth of Leo’s gloom, that he greets every morning of every school day with dread. And not because he’s being bullied or anyone’s being mean to him.
Leo: I feel sick, because I know that I have the whole day ahead of me, and then I have the next day and the next day and the next day and the next day and the next day ahead of me.
This reminded me of the poem of Fiona Miller’s in Jeremy’s explanation in A Species in Denial in the chapter titled Resignation Poetry, the line which says “what you will do today you will do tomorrow and what you do tomorrow you will do for the rest of your life…”. The agony of having to resign to a superficial, empty, false, dishonest, adult existence and saying goodbye to soul and the true childhood ‘I would just care if they were nice or not’ world when you can see it so clearly (like you can when you are going through it) truly is excruciating.
I: Does it pass once you get to school?
Leo: No, not really. It usually increases to a climax around lunchtime, and then I—actually, I’ve been throwing up recently. And then it just stays that level of sickness until I get home.
I: You're kidding me. You’re throwing up at school?
I: That’s awful. In the bathroom or where?
Leo: Yeah, in the bathroom. Usually at lunch I feel really bad. And I go to the bathroom and I throw up.
I: Has that happened this week?
Leo: Today it did.
I: Do you tell your parents, I don’t want to go. I want to go. Or do you just...you know you have to, so you don’t say anything?
Leo: No, I throw a screaming fit.
I: Every morning?
Leo: Yeah, pretty much. I didn’t today.
I: What was different about this morning? How come you didn’t today?
Leo: I felt resigned. I knew that I would have to go anyway, so I gave up.
I: Here’s the curse of being almost 13, old enough to understand his life will supposedly get better with time, but not old enough to really believe he’s going to feel any differently than he does right this minute.
Jeremy includes a powerful quote in Freedom Book 1 from Robert Coles who says: ‘I tell of the loneliness many young people feel, even if they have a good number of friends…It’s a loneliness that has to do with a self-imposed judgment of sorts: I am pushed and pulled by an array of urges, yearnings, worries, fears, that I can’t share with anyone, really’.
I did find myself remembering, connecting back to that time as I listened to Leo. Whenever I think back to Year 8 and 9 (ages 14-15) there is just a big dark cloud over it and that’s as far as I go. I just remember a deep unhappiness, a heaviness that would not go away. I, like Leo, moved schools in Year 8, but it was far deeper than just being put down to that—like it was for Leo too. It wasn’t until about Year 10 (aged 16) I felt the cloud lift and I suppose the relief of Resigning start to work.
Whenever we look squarely at the horror of any situation that has been on Earth—which we only can now because of this understanding—the equal joy and relief we can feel now that we have a solution to get behind—a way out of the mess—is so completely wonderful. We will be saying thank Goodness, thank Goodness this is here for years to come yet! The cavalry is coming to four corners of the Earth that’s for sure and it’s the truth of this information that will really save the world. It is amazing to think of the transformation that is possible now. That everyone can come out of our own personal horrors, that the silence has finally been broken for these adolescents is the most amazing thing. The relief from now being able to admit the hypocrisy of adult life to children is going to really allow them to stay alive inside themselves and we will see more and more faces emerging like the ones in the picture below. My heart is so full when I think about that.