essay

 

The Transcript of Part 1 of the 3-part video titled
‘Savage Instincts Excuse’, which has Jeremy Griffith
talking with Franklin Mukakanga, Tim Macartney-
Snape and Stacy Rodger in Sydney on 3 March 2017.
This Part 1 describes how ‘Left-wing ideology has been
based on false savage instincts excuse’.

 

(To view the 3-part video see the WTM Transformation page at
www.humancondition.com/​transformation/#candid-discussions)

 

Jeremy Griffith talking with Franklin Mukakanga about the false ‘savage instincts’ excuse in biology

 

Jeremy: Franklin, there’s something I talked to Stefan Rössler [the founder of the Austrian WTM Centre] about before he left [to return home to Austria] and I think it’s really important. In Tony Gowing’s opening video at the top of our website titled, ‘Why this solves everything’, first of all he says, ‘All the problems we’re experiencing on this planet, aside from natural phenomenon, are caused by us humans. They are caused by “the human condition”, and, astonishing a claim as it is, it is that underlying, core issue of our troubled human condition that the World Transformation Movement website actually addresses and solves.’ And then he tells The Up River Story. That little presentation is short and sweet, a page or so of text which is about five minutes. Tony follows that with a talk about the traditional excuse we have had for the human condition which is, basically, that we have savage instincts. [Please note, Tony Gowing’s opening video at the top of the homepage has now been replaced by Jeremy Griffith presenting Your block to the most wonderful of all gifts, and Tony’s second talk has now been replaced by a presentation by Jeremy Griffith on the same subject, Video/​F. Essay 2: The false ‘savage instincts’ excuse.]

Now, what I talked to Stefan about, and what I want to talk about now, is just how pervasive that is. If you push anybody, nudge them enough about humans’ selfish and destructive behaviour, they will say that, ‘Look, it’s all human nature and you can’t change human nature, Jeremy.’ You saw Sir Bob Geldof do this when he spoke at the launch of FREEDOM at the Royal Geographical Society in London last year, the transcript of which appears in the booklet Transform Your Life And Save The World (TYL). To quote from Part 1, page 11:

 

Sir Bob, you’re a fabulous humanitarian, however, when it comes to such fundamental questions as ‘the holy grail of “why”’ the human condition exists, you said to me a few days ago that ‘they are questions for biologists like you Jeremy to answer’and on that score you remarked that ‘We’re not all going to turn into people who are all hugging each other Jeremy because we’re all competitive by nature. The question is how do we relieve ourselves from our unchangeable primal instincts [that are selfish and competitive]?’

 

Now that view is so drenched into our whole psychology and the code word for it is ‘human nature’. People say, ‘Look, you can’t change human nature.’ That’s the everyday description of that interpretation that we have savage animal instincts. ‘Human nature’, the unsaid words being, ‘which is to be competitive, selfish and aggressive, that’s our instinctive animal heritage and you can’t change that. The job of every human is to try to restrain that as best they can.’ And that excuse pervades everybody’s mind. Everybody that’s resigned takes it up and lives off it and practices it. The term ‘survival of the fittest’ is basically that we’ve got savage instincts that are competing to reproduce our genes. So it saturates our thinking.

When Tony was preparing these videos for our homepage he added the second 4-minute video titled, The false savage instincts excuse [which, as explained above, has now been replaced with a presentation on the same topic by Jeremy Griffith, Video/​F. Essay 2] because he was talking to his mother and after a little bit she felt sort of pushed to the point where she blurted out, ‘Okay, look Tony, it’s all very well to be idealistic but the fact is human nature is what it has always been and you can’t change that. Humans are always going to be selfish and greedy and there was always going to be bad people and there will always be wars and murders and so on.’ That’s her reasoning, so when you try to teach this to others, you’re fighting that underlying assumption in their mind that you’re just being idealistic: ‘Look, humans have got savage animal instincts in them and our job is to try to contain them as best we can. We’re all born brutish, savage and aggressive barbarians and we’ve got to try to restrain that as best we can with our conscious mind.’ So they’re all living off that. As I said, pre-resigned children don’t buy that at all because their instincts are just saturated with yet-to-be-repressed awareness of our moral nature which is to be loving and selfless, not to be competitive and aggressive. So children, before they resign [see F. Essay 30: Resignation] don’t accept it, they know, their whole being is letting them know, that this is all wrong. Their instincts are to be cooperative and loving [see F. Essay 21] and the world is not like that. That’s what they’re wrestling with. But what happens after they resign is they grab this excuse that we’ve got savage animal instincts in us like you wouldn’t believe because it gets them off the hook [see an elaboration of what happens at Resignation in Jeremy’s talk ‘How to become Transformed’ which forms the basis of F. Essay 33].

So that’s why TYL begins with Geldof saying this traditional excuse: ‘Look Jeremy, you’re being idealistic. You’re not going to get people to hug each other and be nice to each other because we’re all innately competitive and aggressive. That’s our eternal affliction. That’s human nature. You can’t change it. You can try to contain it and that’s our responsibility as a human to try to restrain it, but we’re all brutes underneath.’ TYL goes on in the next few paragraphs to say that’s just not true. That’s the excuse we used when we were waiting for the real excuse that got us off the hook. I do this mental flip and I say, ‘Just imagine that we did have cooperative and loving instincts’ and I refer to the bonobos and I quote Hesiod and Plato [see F. Essay 20: The Genius of Transform Your Life for further discussion on the strategy underlying TYL]. So the first point I make is that it’s a lie for two reasons, as I point out in Part 1 of TYL:

 

First, we humans have cooperative and loving moral instincts, the voice or expression of which within us is our conscienceas Charles Darwin recognised, ‘The moral sense perhaps affords the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals’ (paragraph 375 of FREEDOM). And in order to have an instinctive altruistic moral nature, our distant ancestors must have been cooperative and loving, not competitive and aggressive like other animals.

 

Second, descriptions of human behaviour, such as egocentric, arrogant, inspired, depressed, deluded, pessimistic, optimistic, artificial, hateful, mean, immoral, guilt-ridden, evil, psychotic, neurotic, alienated, etc, all recognise the involvement of our species’ unique fully conscious thinking mindthat there is a psychological dimension to our behaviour. Humans have suffered not from the genetic-opportunism-based, non-psychological animal condition, but the conscious-mind-based, PSYCHOLOGICALLY troubled HUMAN CONDITION. (par. 40 of FREEDOM)

 

So it’s just not true that we’ve got brutish instincts. But when you go on this journey through Part 1 of this little booklet it performs a great trick. It says, ‘Okay, I know you are probably believing in that we’re all selfish by nature, that’s human nature. But let’s just imagine that we did have cooperative instincts.’ And this is what Plato said, ‘our state of innocence, before we had any experience of evils to come, when we were…​simple and calm and happy…’, and this is what Hesiod said, ‘When gods alike and mortals rose to birth / A golden race…’, and Richard Heinberg, ‘Every religion begins with the recognition that human consciousness has been separated from the divine Source, that a former sense of oneness…’, and Rousseau, ‘nothing is more gentle than man in his primitive state’. Then the evidence from the bonobos and the description of them was exactly what Plato and Hesiod described early humans as having lived by, and they didn’t even know about bonobos. And the skeletons of our early australopithecine ancestor and that of a bonobo are almost indistinguishable. So the evidence is undeniable. [See F. Essay 53 for more acknowledgments from some of history’s greatest thinkers of our cooperative past.]

It goes on in TYL to say, but if that’s true and we became conscious and, as it were, competitive, aggressive and divisive, and in the metaphorical story we are thrown out of the Garden of Eden, this state of original innocence, how ashamed would we have been of having destroyed paradise?! So guilt-ridden, unbelievably guilt-ridden. Even if you look at the Adam Stork story which just says he flew off course from the migratory flight path [see Video/​F. Essay 3], how guilty would Adam Stork have felt, unable to explain why he had defied his instincts? But if you add to that, that our instincts weren’t to a flight path but to being cooperative, loving and selfless then that’s doubly guilty as soon as we become competitive and aggressive. And then there’s a triple whammy when you realise that Integrative Meaning is the theme of existence and now we’re being divisive. So now we’re at odds with God, we are at odds with our original instinctive self or soul. [You can read more about the double and triple whammies in chapter 3:5 of FREEDOM.] It’s a horrendously guilt-ridden state. So just walk a mile in that state of extreme guilt. That’s the beauty of Part 1 of TYL, because it paints the picture of how wonderful we were living in this golden age of togetherness, then we became conscious and for some reason we messed it all up. We destroyed paradise. Then how incredibly guilt-ridden must we have been?

Now if you allow that appreciation of how guilty we must have been into your mind, just on the logic of what I’ve said we would be enormously guilt-ridden. And then, AND THEN imagine we looked at animals hunting and killing each other and we said, that’s just our original nature and our conscious mind has to come in and mediate and play the hero against these vial instincts. It’s such a fabulous excuse because instead of our instincts being loving and cooperative and condemning, suddenly they’re the evil part! Instead of our mind being the guilty party that caused us to be thrown out of the Garden of Eden, it’s made out to be the mediating hero! So you see this true explanation of the human condition that the Adam Stork story makes clear has humans coming out the hero doesn’t it? But that cheat explanationthat we have violent, savage instincts, not cooperative and loving ones, and that our conscious mind has to mediatethat makes the conscious mind the hero also. Both have us as the heroes but one does it falsely.

So it’s an unbelievably relieving excuse to come up with that our instincts are savage and our conscious mind has to manage them as best we can. So when Tony’s mother said to him, ‘Tony, you’re a nice boy. You’re idealistic and no doubt Jeremy is very idealistic and naïve (which were the same words Stefan used in his presentation opening the Austrian WTM Centre, when he said, ‘I’d get called naive and people always told me that I’m a dreamer and that it’s about time for me to finally adjust to reality.’ [See F. Essay 16 for Stefan’s full presentation]), but I’m afraid human nature is human nature and it will never change. There’s always going to be bad people, there’s always going to be evil in the world and the job of us conscious humans is to try to restrain that evil side of ourselves, our vicious instincts.’ You see how condescending that was? ‘Nice work Tone, to believe in idealism, but you’re up against reality.’ Now, you’ve got to stand back and look at that. So here’s Tony’s mother walking into the room, here’s Tony coming up with all this stuff that he’s very excited about and wanting her to read about, and her response is, ‘Yes, yes, yes, Tone. That’s nice. I love you son. You’re a lovely lad’, whatever, I don’t know, but in her head is this stuff running around that human nature is unchangeable. And that’s what you’re up against ‘my well-meaning son’ kind of thing. Is that right Tone, what I’m saying?

 

Tony: Yes.

 

Jeremy: It’s almost patronising, and Tony is perplexed because it’s so entrenched, she’s so comfortable in this understanding that she’s got in her head. And that’s what I’m trying to warn you [Franklin] and Stefan about before you return home, that that’s what’s running through everybody’s head around the placethey just think we’re being idealistic.

Now, we can now understand what’s happening with the left-wing and their anger with Donald Trump [someone who is not interested in imposing idealism, but rather, is concerned with championing the egosee F. Essay 34: Ending the polarised world of politics] because if you extrapolate from what Geldof said, because he’s extremely left-wing, he said, ‘Jeremy, you can’t change human nature. Humans are innately brutal and savage.’ He said, ‘We’re not all going to turn into people who are all hugging each other Jeremy because we’re all competitive by nature. The question is how do we relieve ourselves from our unchangeable primal instincts?’ They are his exact words‘unchangeable primal instincts’that are, by inference, savage and competitive.

This is really important: what the left-wing are believing is that therefore it’s unchangeable, we have to impose dogma, we have to just demand ideal behaviour, the only way we’re ever going to solve this unchangeable ‘human nature’ we’ve got is to impose idealism onto it, that’s the only solution. What I’m trying to say is that the left-wing culture is all an extrapolation from this fundamental belief that we are competitive and selfish by nature, that our instincts are selfish, because from there that’s how they justify that at some point we’re just going to have to superimpose, force idealism on the world, because you’re up against human nature which won’t be idealistic. That’s our only solution. So they pursue that path to the bitter end. They’re insisting on dogma but once you understand this explanation, about the battle between our conscious mind and our instinctsthe Adam Stork storythen the only way to actually relieve the world of what we can now understand is a psychosis, is through understanding. But we are up against everybody living off ‘human nature is unchangeable’ and believing that therefore the only solution is to impose, dogmatically impose idealism on the equation. So they think, for example, ‘Well, globalisation and multiculturalism is a good thing, we should let everybody flood into the West and that way we will impose idealism.’ Now that’s all based on this fundamental untruth that we’re selfish and competitive by nature. That’s how they justify their selfishness. [See Video/​F. Essay 14 for far more on the left-wing’s reliance on the false ‘savage instincts’ excuse, and the threat its dogma poses.]

So when I try to point out to Geldof that we’re trying to fix the world through a psychological solution, it’s not resonating because he’s believing what he said in his opening comment, he began straight away with, ‘We’re not all going to turn into people who are all hugging each other Jeremy’. In other words, ‘You’re a lovely idealistic man and you want everyone to hug each other but they’re not going to do it’, because of what I’ve just explained. And then he went on to say, ‘The question is how do we relieve ourselves from our unchangeable primal instincts?’ And the unsaid words there are that the only way is obviously by imposing idealism. That’s his solution, but the mistake is the ‘unchangeable primal instincts’. And immediately after he said that, I said, ‘No, no, no. The problem is psychological, and psychoses can be healed through understanding.’ So I had the perfect counter-response and I said it but he’s locked on to his excuse. And that’s where you will run into a problem with other people in Africa, like maybe the ear surgeon that you ran into briefly who’s been reading this. I’m just warning you that you’re up against that they all subscribe to the belief that human nature is ‘unchangeable’, unsaid words: because we’ve got innate selfish and aggressive instincts. And beyond that, if they extrapolate from that, therefore the only solution is to impose ideality onto that situation. So that’s their justification for dogma. Like [the political theorist] Karl Marx said, ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is [not to understand the world but] to change it [just make it cooperative/​social/​communal] (Theses on Feuerbach, 1845).

So why I’m explaining all this is because it’s so important. The only way to get them to change their way of thinking is to start from the beginning and explain that we don’t suffer from selfish, competitive animal instincts, that ours is a psychological problem, get them to understand, to start again. To use the little metaphor of Tony’s mother’s situation, Tony runs into someone who’s resigned in the old world, they think we’re just being idealistic and naive. Underpinning that is the belief that we’re by nature competitive, selfish and aggressive, that’s our animal heritage, that’s human nature and you can’t change that. Be as idealistic as you’d like, ‘Hug each other’ as Geldof said, ‘It won’t happen’. Tony’s mother used that phrase, ‘There will always be bad people’. Is that right Tone?

 

Tony: Yes.

 

Jeremy: So the starting point to unravelling it is those two points I read at the beginning from TYL. Firstly, that our moral instincts are to be cooperative and loving, which is the voice of our conscience. Our conscience didn’t come out of thin air, it exists. As Charles Darwin said, ‘the moral sense perhaps affords the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals’ (The Descent of Man, 1871, ch.4) [see F. Essay 21 for the origin of our moral conscience]. And secondly, clearly we don’t suffer from a genetic-opportunism-driven animal condition but from a psychologically troubled human condition.

So now you can see what’s going on out there with Trump and co., they’re getting nowhere because the left-wing believes from the starting point that we have an innate unchangeable nature and they have to impose a dogma. That’s their justification for their dogma. Once we understand the Adam Stork story and the real explanation, dogma is an anathema, the opposite of what’s going to answer such fundamental questions as ‘the holy grail of “why”’ the human condition exists, because dogma means no knowledge, no thinking. The most beautiful line in all of the presentations given at the Global Conference to launch the first three WTM Centres outside of Sydney was yours, Franklin, when you said, ‘Knowledge is power. And no knowledge is more powerful than self-knowledge’. Magic words. But you see, you’ve got to understand what we’re up against, the enemy don’t subscribe to that there’s anything wrong with dogma, because they say our instincts are dogmatic in a sense and we have to impose a dogma to contain them. And that’s what you’ve got to deal with. [Again see Video/​F. Essay 14 for far more on the left-wing’s reliance on the false ‘savage instincts’ excuse, and the threat its dogma poses.]

That’s the magic of the structure of TYL, because it says, to use Geldof’s and Tony’s mother’s words, ‘We’re selfish by nature and you can’t do anything about that.’ And I immediately go on to say that’s bullshit [see F. Essay 47 for an explanation of swearing], we had to have that excuse but it’s crap and I give the two explanations for why it’s crap, that our instincts are to be cooperative and loving and that the human condition is a conscious-mind-based psychological condition. And then the book takes you on a journey; it says, ‘Well, just imagine we did have loving and cooperative instincts and let’s imagine the conscious mind did stuff it all up, well how guilty would we have been? And then God, would we have needed some excuse at that point, and then this excuse that we have savage instincts would have been a fantastic excuse, absolutely fabulous excuse.’ Suddenly our instincts are bad and not good. Suddenly our conscious mind is the hero and not the villain. Reverse-of-the-truth-lie, out of jail! And then everything flows from that. [Again, see F. Essay 20 for further analysis of TYL’s structure.] Tony dealing with his mother, you [Franklin] and Stefan dealing with people out there, us all dealing with people out there, have got the same problem. Tony’s mother is running with the belief that human nature is fundamentally selfish and you can’t really change that, so to make any headway Tony’s got to undermine that, or throw some doubt onto that, at least acknowledge that he’s aware of that. So that’s the beauty of all my books and you’ll see that this structure is in all of them. The first video at the top of our homepage is simply The Up River Storywe’re the real problem. But as quick as a flash the second video says, ‘I know you’re all thinking human nature is unchangeable but you’re wrong’. Boom-boom! And it gives the two reasons why. [Again, the first video at the top of the homepage is now Your block to the most wonderful of gifts, and while Jeremy now presents the second video, not Tony, the subject of Video/​F. Essay 2 remains the false ‘savage instincts’ excuse.]

The most famous quotation from Sun Tzu’s famous Chinese military manual, The Art Of War, is that you should know your enemy and I’m trying to nail what our enemy is. And it’s this bloody problem. And what’s so good about TYL is that it deals with the problem up front, bang-bang, and even uses Geldof’s own statement. And it’s got this wonderful trick of imagining that we did have loving, cooperative instincts and how guilty we would have become when we defied those instincts. Because no one ever thinks about it from that angle but if you did of course we would have felt guilty, and then how addictive would this bullshit explanation be. It would be hugely addictive.

 

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Read the other transcripts of this 3-part video: Part 2: ‘How universities are built on the false savage instincts excuse’ and Part 3: ‘Teleology & mechanistic science’.