Please note, you can access all previous explanatory and inspirational WTM Emails at the end of this email. Wednesday’s explanatory emails and Friday’s inspirational emails are numbered in order of appearance, so one is odd and the other even numbered.
This is explanatory WTM Email 29
The march of left-wing pseudo idealism to terminal alienation and the extinction of the human race
Last Wednesday’s explained that eventually humans’ search for knowledge, ultimately for understanding of the human condition, led to so much upset angry, egocentric and alienated behaviour that the temptation to give up the search became irresistible. As a result, many people became advocates of abandoning the search, dogmatically insisting instead that everyone behave in a cooperative, loving, idealistic, ‘politically correct’ way. It was then emphasised that this left-wing dogmatic imposition of cooperative and loving values on our anger, egocentricity and alienation-producing search for knowledge was actually a pseudo idealistic false start to an ideal, upset-free world. The true start to a human-condition-free world depended on continuing the upsetting search for knowledge until we found the reconciling understanding of the human condition that would actually free us from being angry, egocentric and alienated.
This explanatory WTM Email examines the progression that has taken place over the last 200 years to increasingly dishonest and deluded forms of pseudo idealism — a progression that is rapidly taking the human race to terminal alienation and extinction. (What is going to be presented is a summary of .)
The first and least dishonest and deluded form of pseudo idealism to develop was RELIGION. To explain the virtue of religion it is first necessary to emphasise the two fundamental problems with abandoning the upsetting search for knowledge. They were firstly, that you were siding against humanity’s heroic battle to find knowledge, ultimately self-knowledge, understanding of the human condition. And secondly, by ‘flying back on course’ (as explained in the ) and supporting cooperative, loving and selfless ideal values, you were deluding yourself you were actually a good person, even someone who didn’t suffer from the upset state of the human condition.
It is understandable then that when upset anger, egocentricity and alienation became so great that abandoning the battle to find knowledge could no longer be resisted, it was these two problems of siding against the human journey to find understanding, and dishonestly deluding yourself you were a ‘righteous’, good person, even someone free of the agony of the human condition, that those who were abandoning the battle intuitively knew they most wanted to minimise. Well, the great benefit of religion is that it provided this relief because when you abandoned your upset way of living and instead deferred to, put your ‘faith’ in, and lived in support of, the sound words and life of the great unresigned, denial-free-thinking, truthful prophet around whom your religion was formed, you were minimising these two problems.
This is because, firstly, you were indirectly still supporting the search for knowledge because the truthful words of the prophet that you were living in support of have, in fact, been the most denial-free expressions of truth and knowledge that the human race has known. In particular, most religions acknowledge the existence of ‘God’, which, as was described in explanatory , is the personification of Integrative Meaning, and acknowledgement of this most fundamental of all truths meant you were giving the search for truth and associated knowledge the absolute best possible alignment and guidance. And there are many other guiding truths imbued in religious scriptures; the reverence humans have developed towards them is witness to that. Christianity, for example, is remarkably aligning to truth and thus supportive of our search for knowledge, which the psychoanalyst Carl Jung recognised when he wrote that ‘[in Christianity] the voice of God [truth] can still be heard’, and that ‘The Christian symbol is a living thing that carries in itself the seeds of further development’ (see paragraph 927 of FREEDOM). The value of the denial-free truth contained in religion was also recognised by Einstein when he said ‘Science [knowledge] without religion [denial-free truthfulness] is lame, religion without science is blind’ (see par. 611 of FREEDOM).
Secondly, by taking up support of a religion you were minimising the problem of the dishonesty of deluding yourself you were a good, even a human-condition-free person, because of the many descriptions in religious scripture that recognise how corrupted, ‘sinful’, ‘guilty’, banishment-from-the-Garden-of-Eden-deserving we upset humans have been. Also, by acknowledging the soundness of the prophet by your worship of him, you were, by inference, acknowledging your own lack of soundness. You were indirectly being honest about your extremely upset, corrupted condition.
So religions have been a marvellous way for humans to indirectly support the search for knowledge, and to be honest about our corrupted condition.
The problem, however, that emerged with religion as humans became even more upset was that the great benefit of religion of its honesty became its liability. Basically, without the defence of the explanation for the upset state of the human condition, the more upset we humans became the more unbearably confronting and condemning it was having our upset, corrupted state acknowledged. And so, when upset became extreme, the honesty in religion about our corrupted state became intolerable; as the author Mary McCarthy once wrote, ‘Only people who are very good can afford to become religious; with all the others it makes them worse’ (see par. 1063 of FREEDOM).
It was at this point that less honest, more guilt-stripped, less confronting and condemning, more feel-good ways of abandoning the battle had to be found. One of the first ways of achieving this was to modify religions so they were less confronting. This was done by interpreting their teaching and scripture in very superficial, simplistic, literal and fundamentalist ways, and by focusing only on the relief your faith was bringing you through emotional, euphoric, ‘evangelical’, ‘charismatic’ forms of worship. The philosopher Sir Laurens van der Post pointed out how dangerously ‘starved and empty’ of its truthfulness, guilt-stripped Christianity has become when he wrote that ‘Yet the churches continue to exhort man without any knowledge of what is the soul of modern man and how starved and empty it has become…They behave as if a repetition of the message of the Cross and a reiteration of the miracles and parables of Christ is enough. Yet, if they took Christ’s message seriously, they would not ignore the empiric material and testimony of the nature of the soul and its experience of God’ (see par. 1071 of FREEDOM).
As upset further increased, atheism or disbelief in God, and non-religious secularism, became popular — to the point where the scientist Richard Dawkins has angrily said, “Faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus, but harder to eradicate. The whole subject of God is a bore”…those who teach religion to small children are guilty of “child abuse”’ (see par. 938 of FREEDOM).
Since any form of religion was becoming unbearable, a much more dishonest, guilt-free form of idealism had to be found. The first solution was COMMUNISM or SOCIALISM which did not contain any recognition of the sound, relatively upset-free, innocent, unresigned world of prophets, or acknowledgement of the condemning truth of Integrative Meaning in the form of ‘God’. Instead, communism dogmatically demanded an idealistic social or communal world and denied the depressing notion of God and associated guilt.
The dishonesty and delusion of communism/socialism was made very clear when its creator Karl Marx asserted that ‘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). No, the whole ‘point’ and responsibility of being a conscious being is to understand our world and our place in it — ultimately, to find understanding of our seemingly horribly flawed human condition.
The limitation of communism was that while there was no confronting innocent prophet present, there was an obvious acknowledgment of the condemning cooperative ideals. So in time, as levels of insecurity rose, the need developed for an even more evasive and dishonest 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 which all the negatives of humans’ corrupted condition were transcended in favour of taking up a completely escapist, think-positive, human-potential-stressing, self-affirming, motivational, feel-good approach.
In talking about how he became ‘a personal growth junkie’, the comedian Anthony Ackroyd summed up the extremely deluded artificiality of the New Age Movement when he said: ‘What are millions of us around the globe searching for in books, tapes, seminars, workshops and speaking events? Information to enhance our lifestyles and enrich our experience on this planet? Certainly…But I smell something else in the ether. Something more desperate and deluded. A worrying snake-oil factor that is spinning out of control. It’s the promise of salvation. Salvation from the basic rules of human life. This is the neurotic aspect of the human potential movement. This hunger for a get-out-of-the-human-condition-free card.’ Yes, to ‘get out of the human condition’ we had to confront and solve it, not deny and escape it; our ‘desperate and deluded’ attempts to escape it only made it worse. 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.’ (see par. 1081 of FREEDOM)
The limitation of the New Age Movement was that while it didn’t remind humans of the cooperative ideals, the focus still remained on the issue of humans’ variously troubled, alienated, upset, innocence-destroyed state. So the next level of delusion dispensed with the problem of alienation by simply denying its existence. The FEMINIST MOVEMENT maintains that there is no difference between people, especially not between men and women. In particular it denied the legitimacy of the egocentric male dimension to life. As is explained in paragraphs 770-777 of FREEDOM, far from being destructive villains, men turn out to be nothing less than the heroes of the story of life on Earth!
Being 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’ (see par. 809 of FREEDOM).
The limitation of feminism was that while it sought to dispense with the problem of humans’ divisive reality, humans were still the focus of attention and that was confronting. So again, as upset increased and an even more evasive form of idealism to support was needed, the ENVIRONMENT or GREEN MOVEMENT emerged in which there was no need to confront and think about the human state since its focus is away from self and onto the environment.
The inherent dishonesty and irresponsibility of this movement was summed up by these quotes: ‘The trees aren’t the problem. The problem is us’, and ‘We need to do something about the environmental damage in our heads.’. The bumper sticker ‘Save the Humans’ that parodies the green movement’s ‘Save the Environment’ slogan also makes the point about how evasive of the real issue the environmental movement is — as does this statement: ‘Environmentalism has largely superseded Christianity as the religion of the upper classes in Europe and to a lesser extent in the United States. It is a form of religious belief which fosters a sense of moral superiority in the believer, but which places no importance on telling the truth [about the real issue of our corrupted condition].’ (see par. 1083 of FREEDOM).
So while it has been said that ‘The environment became the last best cause, the ultimate guilt-free issue’ (Time mag. 31 Dec. 1990), the Environment Movement has an undermining limitation in that it still contains a condemning moral component. If we are not responsible with the environment, ‘good’, we are behaving immorally, ‘bad’. In addition, the purity or innocence of nature contrasts with humans’ lack of it.
At this point in the emergence of ever more extreme levels of upset, a form of pure ‘idealism’ had to be developed where any confrontation with the, by now, extremely confronting and depressing moral dilemma of the human condition was totally avoided. This need for a totally guiltless form of ‘idealism’ was met by the development of the POLITICALLY CORRECT MOVEMENT and its intellectual equivalent, the POSTMODERN DECONSTRUCTIONIST MOVEMENT. These were pure forms of dogma that fabricated, demanded and imposed equality in complete denial of the reality of the underlying issue of the reasons for the different levels of alienation between individuals, sexes, ages, generations, races and cultures. For example, the politically correct argue that the children’s nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep is racist and must instead be recited as ‘Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep’ (see par. 1086 of FREEDOM).
Postmodernism has been described by a journalist as ‘a bewilderingly complex school of continental philosophy, or pseudo-philosophy’ of ‘intellectual assumptions — [that] truth is a matter of opinion, there is no real world outside of language and hence no facts independent of our descriptions of them.’ While language is artificial it nevertheless models a real world, so to say that just because language is artificial there can be no universal truths is ridiculous, but when the need to escape the truth becomes desperate, any excuse will do; just baffle the world, and yourself, with intellectual baloney. 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 ‘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 solution and state. (see pars 1096-1097 of FREEDOM)
The gloves were 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 human-condition-understood-and-reconciled true world at the actual expense of any chance it had of arriving. The fact is, postmodernism represents the very height of dishonesty, the most sophisticated expression of denial and delusion to have developed on Earth. Terminal alienation was upon us.
In his insightfully titled 1987 book, The Closing of the American Mind, the political scientist Allan Bloom wrote of the devastating effects of the ultimate pseudo idealistic form of lying of postmodern, deconstructionist teaching in universities. As summarised in this review of The Closing of the American Mind: ‘we are producing a race of moral illiterates, who have never asked the great questions of good and evil, or truth and beauty, who have indeed no idea that such questions even could be asked…As Mr Bloom says…“deprived of literary guidance they [students] no longer have any image of a perfect soul, and hence do not long to have one. They do not even imagine that there is such a thing”…If the classics are studied at all in the universities they are studied as curiosities in the humanities departments, not as vital centres of the liberal tradition, and not as texts offering profound insight into the human condition’ (see par. 1103 of FREEDOM). Of course, the whole point of the postmodern movement was to avoid ‘the great questions’ about our species’ all-loving, original instinctive self or ‘soul’ and what has happened to it, namely the question of our self-corruption and alienation, the issue of ‘good and evil’, ‘the human condition’, ‘truth’.
We can now fully understand from a basis of first principle science how dangerous pseudo idealism has been and appreciate even more Nietzsche’s warning that ‘You are not yet free, you still search for freedom. Your search has fatigued you…But, by my love and hope I entreat you: do not reject the hero in your soul! Keep holy your highest hope!…War [against oppression, especially from dogma] and courage have done more great things than charity. Not your pity but your bravery has saved the unfortunate up to now’ (see par. 1121 of FREEDOM).
Yes, as Socrates famously 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 truthfully, question and pursue knowledge, threatened to become the dominant attitude throughout the world. George Orwell’s bleak prediction in his famous book Nineteen Eighty-Four that ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face [the human mind] – for ever’ was about to be realised (see par. 892 of FREEDOM).
How precious is it then that understanding of the human condition has been found and this terrifying imminent prospect of the death-by-dogma end of the human race has been avoided, and the real transformation of the human race from a human-condition-stricken state to a human-condition-free state can take place.
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For further reading on the progression of increasingly guilt-stripped and thus ever more dishonest and thus ever more dangerous forms of pseudo idealism, read . And for the description of the real transformation of the human race from a human-condition-stricken state to a human-condition-free state, read .
Discussion or comment on this email is welcomed — see below.
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(Note, Wednesday’s explanatory emails and Friday’s inspirational emails are numbered in order of appearance, so one is odd and the other even numbered.)
These emails were composed during 2017 by Jeremy Griffith, Damon Isherwood,
Fiona Cullen-Ward & Brony FitzGerald at the Sydney WTM Centre.