What I reckon!
written by Jeremy Griffith 1967-68
Jeremy carried this document, his earliest thinking about the human condition, everywhere he went during his 1967 to 1973 remarkable search for the Tasmanian Tiger.
I think people are preoccupied with survival and it’s because of the burden of survival that we don’t enjoy life nearly as much as we could.
The supreme motivating force has been to survive, to obtain security, to obtain money. Our minds are narrowed to serve this aim. In the past culture has been the means of putting up with or escaping from the rat race but the emphasis has still been on survival and the eventual result has been decadence through frustration and corruption.
Culture in the form of the arts was the beginning of the break away from the dead end road based on survival. It is through culture that we can enter another world of our minds. This other world is outside the channel of survival where things aren’t measured in dollars and where there doesn’t have to be reasons for everything. It is a world of appreciation of sensation, of inspiration, of living. Artists when they are inspired to paint or musicians to play music are living in this other world. When you are out in the bush on a sunny day just mooching along and you feel good right down to your boots you are experiencing this other world, this otherness that is in you and all around you. Babies and other young animals feel it and show it more than adults because their minds are free and not narrowed by the burdens of survival. People are at last beginning to appreciate this other world which the burdens of existing have for so long obscured.
I get a laugh dreaming up what I call ‘Ultra Nothing’—like—Nigle was a race horse good dog Nigle, or—there was this old tree you see all bent and silly—which mean absolutely nothing and because in the mind of survival things have to have meaning people can’t appreciate it or couldn’t 50 years ago. You have to let your mind free itself—expand.
If you enjoy an aspect of this ‘you beaut’ world of your mind enough you find yourself wanting to express it. It becomes ‘too much’, you have to sing, you have to paint, dance, do something or ‘bust up inside’. This otherness is in everything but often you have to be taught or shown how to appreciate it.
Sometimes it can fill you so much with ‘u-beautness’ you can’t stand it you have to hop round on one foot yelling marmalade! When an artist frames a blank piece of canvas he is trying to shock your mind out of its numb state and make you aware that there is something there to appreciate after all. You see this otherness is in everything. Somehow even the birds and the trees know it.
There is nothing supernatural about this otherness and I don’t think it has anything to do with religion although I suspect religion might have something to do with it. When you’re riding a horse at full gallop with the wind blowing your hair everywhere and you feel so good tears come to your eyes then you are in the world of living and not merely the world of existing and that, I reckon is what life is all about.
A lot of young people today aren’t satisfied with drowning themselves in work—they are striving to find out what is really important in their lives. Living for an after life is not good enough, to live this life is what they want.
I reckon, to live, to really live you have to live in this other world of your mind as much as possible yet still survive. This is the problem facing each person in his life. You have to make this compromise successfully to be really happy.
There are all sorts of radical experiments going on at present to free the mind and reach this other world. L.S.D. for example. Still, others alienate themselves from society completely and ‘live with the flowers’ in an attempt to make it easier to ‘turn themselves on’. Still, I reckon it will take a long time before the motivating force of the world changes from existing to living and thence the problems of the world are solved. I think wars are only a result of imperfections or differences in the process of survival.
A person who can live in this other world of his mind and throw off the burdens of survival is consequently a more passive and rational being as well as being alot happier and more satisfied. Hence the ‘power of the flower’. This much I know if a person has a gift for writing or poetry for example and society doesn’t encourage him to cultivate this ability so that he can express this otherness that is ‘within and without’ him then that society is only helping to strangle itself and the world. I suspect that the real world is the fantasy world. I think stories like Winnie the Pooh and John Lennon’s ‘A Spaniard in the Works’ will one day be monumented as great achievements. They are both examples of Ultra Nothing and I think very pure forms of expression in that they belong totally to the ‘u-beaut’ world of the mind. I believe passionately in this other world of our minds.
As I see it science has got to help the world to live as well as to exist. Still someday I reckon everyone will be happy and the world will have turned into a huge garden. Survival as a force will be non existent.
But first I suppose we have to master the art of survival. In the meantime I think we would be derailed a lot less if we were to appreciate where we are going and what it’s all about. At least the younger generation is starting to realise way down in their guts where the answer lies.
Strawberry fields forever and Marmalades my grandmother.