Truth & Beauty mugged in an ugly attack of insecurity
Last week the philosopher Alain de Botton passed comment on the appearance of Brisbane, one of Australia’s capital cities. He was on tour in Australia to promote his new book The News: A User’s Manual. While in Brisbane he felt compelled to make an unflattering comment about the city’s architecture.
The ugly truth, according to Mr de Botton is that the Brisbane waterfront is an ‘ugly, chaotic mess’ compared with somewhere like Paris for example. This is untrue according to the outraged residents and a wave of hostility ensued with Brisbane-ites arguing their case with comments like, ‘a stuck-up Pommy “philosopher’’ arrives in town to tell us Brisbane is a dump. …If you don’t like Brisbane Alain de Botton, get out…Well thanks a lot mate. You can see yourself to the front door and close the gate on your way out…Give me Brissy any day’. Even Brisbane’s Lord Mayor has leapt to the defence of his city.
Under attack from the mob Mr de Botton retaliated saying, ‘We feel paralysed—unable to state the obvious. And that’s because we have talked ourselves into the belief that taste is always relative.’ Eventually though, he completed a perfect backflip. ‘I want to apologise to the good people of Brisbane. I have been made to see the error of my ways. Your city is beautiful.’ (http://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/philosopher-and-author-alain-de-botton-backtracks-on-bagging-brisbane-as-ugly-city/story-fnii5v6w-1226868172391) According to the article, it’s just possible that Mr de Botton knew exactly what he was doing in criticising the city, ‘The post provoked outrage online, and the timing could not have been better for the Swiss-born philosopher, whose book…is conveniently about sensationalism and superficiality in the news media.’ Unfortunately for Brisbane, the conversation turned so quickly into antagonised confrontation that it lost an opportunity to openly discuss its architecture. Regardless of where the truth lies in this little argument what it does demonstrate is how easily our self-interest and insecurity can stifle honest debate. If you extrapolate, just think how utterly dysfunctional the whole of society has become when the truth of any given situation, every problem that is needing to be discussed across the globe, is completely lost in the hullabaloo of immense insecurity. This example of a city being beautiful and well-planned is so infinitesimal compared to some of the confronting issues needing to be discussed truthfully. But the exciting thing is that now that the human condition has been solved all these issues, big and small, can in fact be dealt with and discussed with complete openness and honesty. WHAT A RELIEF!
Once you can truly understand our species underlying psychosis and condition and the deep, tortuous insecurity and depression that lies at the very heart of it (as we now all can), it becomes very obvious just how much truth and beauty there actually is in this world—and currently, how devoid of it our crippled lives are.
The human condition has been so incredibly debilitating for us because deep inside ourselves, covered with layer upon layer of denial and alienation, we all know the truth is that we expect to and should behave in a totally unconditionally loving and selfless way. But we just can’t and therefore don’t, and we haven’t been able to explain why, until now. For two million years, generation after generation, we have had to go through this same situation. We are born expecting and truthfully knowing that unconditional love is the foundation upon which the whole world functions, yet we grow up realising that humanity is definitely not unconditionally loving and cooperative. For the last 11,000 years we humans have had no choice but to resign ourselves to living in complete denial of the truth of our condition and simply go about our lives gaining as much superficial reinforcement as we can to bolster our incredibly insecure sense of worth.
The world without explanation of the human condition is a dead world, a superficial world, a world without truth and real meaning, a death camp for children and a warzone for adults. But this situation can now change, which is monumentally exciting for humans. Yet until we grasp what is here now for us and are able to hear and act on this all-explaining, all-relieving and all-exciting understanding of the human condition, we are left with an appalling state of affairs which is getting more and more desperate by the second. The example above is just one of trillions of examples that highlights the incredible superficiality and insecurity that cripples us and renders us completely dysfunctional, unable to hold any open and honest discussions in the most basic and benign of situations.
With Jeremy Griffith’s explanation of the human condition now available the changes that are about to take place in the world are bigger than any of us can genuinely comprehend, so big as to completely obsolete superficial tit-for-tats about our city of origin’s pros and cons. We can now be truly honest about the horrendous situations that are facing us everywhere we look on the planet, because we have the compassionate explanation for why things are the way they are, and not only the explanation for why, but the wonderfully exciting, relieving and ameliorating solution. And not a moment to soon. What a time to be alive!