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 inspirational WTM Email 26
The deeper meaning of Hollywood’s superhero and disaster films
Two types of films now dominate the box office. There is the ‘end-of-the-world’ disaster film — whether it be man-made or natural disasters, zombie epidemics or alien invasions; and there are superhero films — such as the cartoons brought to life by the Marvel and DC franchises, the Star Wars trilogies featuring ‘the force’, and even the magical Harry Potter films.
So what does it all mean? What deep vein of awareness are these films mining?
Our fascination with disaster films is not difficult to interpret. It obviously reflects an awareness that in the real world the human race is in terrible, desperate straits. As Professor Harry Prosen, a former President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, writes in his commendation for Jeremy Griffith’s book FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition,
I think the fastest growing realisation everywhere is that humanity can’t go on the way it is going. Indeed, the great fear is we’re entering endgame where we appear to have lost the race between self-destruction and self-understanding.”
It is this quest for “self-understanding” — in particular, understanding of our ‘good’ and ‘evil’ conflicted human condition — that lies at the heart of our obsession with superheroes. Only by finding the reconciling ‘self-understanding’ of our human condition can we save ourselves from the imminent disaster of ‘self-destruction’. BUT finding that liberating understanding needs someone to confront the human condition, and who is going to undertake that terrifying journey — because, as the philosopher Sir Laurens van der Post has written, ‘He who tries to go down into the labyrinthine pit of himself, to travel the swirling, misty netherlands below sea-level through which the harsh road to heaven and wholeness runs, is doomed to fail and never see the light where night joins day unless he goes out of love in search of love’ (see par. 1285 of FREEDOM). Yes, as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about the unbearable ‘cliffs of fall’ of depression that would overcome anyone who tried to confront the human condition if they weren’t sufficiently sound in soul and full of ‘love’: ‘O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed’ (see par. 108 of FREEDOM).
This is what the human race has been waiting for, someone sound enough to confront and by so doing ‘fathom’/solve the human condition, and whenever we thought about that task from our human-condition-terrified positions, it did seem like a superhuman undertaking. But, amazingly, it is that ultimate ‘road’ ‘down into the labyrinthine pit of’ ourselves to achieve ‘heaven and wholeness’ that Jeremy Griffith has succeeded in undertaking — the result of which is his seminal masterpiece book FREEDOM. (Read more about our historic fear of the human condition in the Resignation ).
So the fabulous news is that humanity has won the ”race between self-destruction and self-understanding”, because the redeeming, reconciling and rehabilitating understanding of the human condition has at last been found and presented in FREEDOM.
Again, Professor Prosen sums up the situation:
Astonishing as it is, this book by Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith presents the 11th hour breakthrough biological explanation of the human condition necessary for the psychological maturation and transformation of our species.”
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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.