1. ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION
AND ITS RESOLUTION
WTM FAQ 1.31 ‘When I was being cooperative and loving, how do I know if I was behaving in a genuinely selfless, soulful, cooperative and loving instinctive way or in a deluded, selfish, feel-good, pseudo idealistic way?’
Jeremy Griffith’s response:
Firstly, when we in the WTM have been asked this question, it is usually not in the past tense that the question is written here, but in the present tense, as in ‘How do I know when I am behaving in a genuinely selfless, soulful, cooperative and loving instinctive way, or in a deluded, selfish, feel-good, pseudo idealistic way?’ But the question should be posed as it is in the past tense, because now that we have found understanding of the human condition we can leave our human-condition-stricken, insecure life behind and live a genuinely selfless, cooperative and loving life free of any of the delusion that we were being selfless when we took up support of a pseudo idealistic cause. ( is the definitive presentation of what is wrong with pseudo idealism, and is such a significant essay it has also been produced as the standalone booklet titled , which is freely available on our homepage as one of the WTM’s four key books. and of FREEDOM explain the fabulous transformation that understanding of the human condition makes possible.)
The answer to this FAQ must begin by emphasising that with understanding of the human condition we can now know that while all humans have inevitably been variously upset by humanity’s heroic battle to find understanding of our upset, corrupted human condition, all humans are equally, good, worthy, meaningful and lovable. Further, with the defence of upset found, it finally becomes psychologically safe—and necessary if we are to truly understand ourselves and free ourselves from living in Plato’s horrible cave of soul-dead, alienated darkness—to acknowledge differences in upset between humans.
To now look at the question of whether, when you were behaving in a seemingly cooperative and loving way, was it genuinely selfless, instinctive, soulful, alienation-free, natural, innocent, cooperative and loving behaviour, or were you deluding yourself that you were being selfless when you were actually so needing to find relief from an extremely upset and insecure state that you selfishly couldn’t resist taking up support of some form of pseudo idealism to make yourself feel good about yourself.
The first point to make is that it will be much more informative of the answer to not look at any one incident or action in your life but to look at your behaviour in general or overall. Then, when doing that, you need to assess where you have existed in the spectrum of innocence to extreme upset because, as we will see, that will be the best indicator of the true nature of your seemingly selfless behaviour.
To look at that spectrum—there were three basic states of upset that have existed under the duress of the human condition.
The most innocent state was the Unresigned state, which we can term the ‘U’ state. People in this state included children and the extremely rare exceptionally innocent, denial-free thinking adults we called prophets. Also in this category were people who were not as free of upset as prophets but still sufficiently innocent to be able to avoid resigning to living in denial of the issue of the corrupted state of the human condition, which were people we in the WTM refer to as ‘ships at sea’, people who metaphorically didn’t ‘pull into a port’ to escape the fearful ‘storms out at sea’ that occur when, if you are not exceptionally innocent, you try to confront the human condition. It should be said that not all ‘ships at sea’ were people who were so innocent they didn’t need to resign because some ‘ships at sea’ weren’t exceptionally innocent, rather they were people who refused to resign for a particular reason. Such reasons include having been so ill-treated by the resigned adult world when they were children that they refused to resign when they were adolescents and become part of that hated resigned existence. Another reason is that they were egocentrically wanting to be able to consider themselves superior to those who resigned and became determinedly alienated. However, in many, if not most cases, ‘ships at sea’ were exceptionally innocent people (see & for further explanation of Resignation and ‘ships at sea’).
The next two states of upset consist of groups of people who weren’t sufficiently innocent to avoid Resignation. These resigned adults could either be individuals who were still innocent enough to continue participating in humanity’s heroic but upsetting search for knowledge, or people who were so upset they weren’t able to resist taking up support of some do-good-to-feel-good, human-condition-relieving-and-escaping pseudo idealistic cause or culture.
To look at the first of these two groups, which is those who were resigned but innocent enough to continue participating in humanity’s heroic but upsetting search for knowledge—we could term these the resigned Competitive and Combative ‘C’ group. Of course, not everyone who was resigned and continuing to participate in humanity’s upsetting search for knowledge were innocent enough to be natural participants in this ‘C’ group. Some were actually so upset that they should have joined the resigned pseudo idealistic group. The reason for not doing so included being exceptionally determined to continue participating in humanity’s all-important, heroic search for knowledge. Some who did this were able to do it effectively and others not so effectively. In of FREEDOM I wrote that the criticism that could be levelled against someone extremely upset who stayed in the competitive and combative battle to find knowledge when they should have become pseudo idealistic by, for example, becoming religious, and were extremely, brutally destructive as a result, were people like Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini. So, as with the unresigned situation, this ‘C’ group was only generally speaking comprised of relatively innocent people.
To now look at the second of these two resigned groups, which were those who were resigned and not innocent enough to continue participating in humanity’s heroic but upsetting search for knowledge and as a result weren’t able to resist abandoning that upsetting search and taking up support of some do-good-to-feel-good, human-condition-relieving, pseudo idealistic cause or culture, which is the resigned Pseudo idealistic group we could term the ‘P’ group. Again there were exceptions, some of those in this group were actually sufficiently innocent to continue participating in the corrupting search for knowledge but chose not to for some particular reason, such as not being strong enough in character to resist the tide of many other people around them deluding themselves that being pseudo idealistic meant you were a selfless, ideally-behaved, upset-free, good person. So again, while there were exceptions to those in the ‘P’ group being the most upset, generally speaking the ‘P’ group were comprised of those who were most upset.
It should be mentioned that some people will argue that there were people who were sufficiently innocent/sound to not have to join the ‘P’ group but did so because the situation in the world had become so destructive and dire that they felt they had to join the ‘P’ group to save the world. However, this argument is not actually correct because the truth is if the world is in dire straits, as it certainly is, there is an even greater need to continue the upsetting search for knowledge, ultimately for self-knowledge, the explanation of the human condition that alone can bring an end to all the upset in the world.
Overall what this description of the three states of upset reveals is that a person has to be exceptionally innocent to still be behaving in a genuinely soulful, sound, selfless, cooperative and loving instinctive way, and that this unresigned ‘U’ state has been very rare in the world today, and that the reality is that most adults today are going to be resigned. And further, amongst those who are resigned, any who have had a focus and strategy on behaving in a selfless, cooperative and loving way were doing so because they were so extremely upset that they had to selfishly find a cause and/or align themselves with a cause that was able to superficially make them feel that they were good people and so relieve themselves of the agony of their corrupted condition.
To appreciate just how corrupted the human race now is, just how much angry, egocentric and alienated competitiveness, selfishness and aggression has developed, you only have to read (or its book version, ) because it describes all the historical stages that the ‘P’ strategy of pseudo idealism went through, revealing the development of more and more denial and delusion as more and more upset developed—taking humanity to where we are today, having to adopt such extreme dishonest denial and delusion to cope with absolutely extreme levels of competitiveness, selfishness and aggression that our species is on the brink of extinction from terminal levels of alienation. The point that F. Essay 35 makes very clear is just how extremely selfish humans have actually become even though that’s been hidden by extreme states of pseudo idealistic delusion and denial.
So the answer to the question ‘When I was being cooperative and loving, how do I know if I was behaving in a genuinely selfless, soulful, cooperative and loving instinctive way or in a deluded, selfish, feel-good, pseudo idealistic way?’, is that the person asking the question needs to read this FAQ and then hopefully he or she will be able to make a reasonably accurate assessment of how innocent or upset they actually are, and as a result how much real selflessness or how much pseudo selflessness they have been practising. The conclusion for almost everyone will be that when they were behaving in a cooperative and loving way they were doing it from what was actually a selfish pseudo idealistic basis.
Of course, in a world where almost everyone has been living in Plato’s dark cave of resigned denial of the human condition, learning that your behaviour that you thought was selfless was actually selfish can be a shock. In particular, almost all parents will find this discussion very difficult to accept because it means accepting that their selfless loving of their children was actually extremely limited, soul-separated, selfishly pseudo idealistic, ego reinforcing and artificial in nature. But, as is explained in of FREEDOM, for almost all parents today that has actually been the case. Parents tried desperately to love their children in an authentic, genuinely selfless, soulful way, as their child’s instincts expected, but since the whole human race is 2 million years separated or alienated from our species’ original natural, genuinely cooperative and loving instinctive self or soul, try as they did to be genuinely unconditionally loving, for virtually every parent that just wasn’t possible—which is basically why upset has been unavoidably carrying on from generation to generation. Thank goodness the human condition can now be ended and real love can return to human behaviour.
The fact is that after 2 million years of living with the upsetting search for understanding of the human condition, the whole human race has to be saturated with upset anger, egocentricity and alienation, and any truthful look at almost all human behaviour now indicates layers and layers of this alienated, soul-separated, innocence-destroyed, self-focused strategising to find ways to artificially make ourselves feel good. So it really shouldn’t be surprising that virtually all ‘selfless’ behaviour has actually been selfish, deluded, artificial, superficial and pseudo idealistic in nature. That exceptionally honest Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing spelt out the truth about our species’ present 2 million years developed, extremely corrupted condition when he wrote that ‘Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life…We are born into a world where alienation awaits us. We are potentially men, but are in an alienated state [p.12 of 156] …the ordinary person is a shrivelled, desiccated fragment of what a person can be. As adults, we have forgotten most of our childhood, not only its contents but its flavour; as men of the world, we hardly know of the existence of the inner world [p.22] …The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man [p.24] …between us and It [our true selves or soul] there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete. Deus absconditus [God has absconded]. Or [more precisely] we have absconded [from the Godly ideal state] [p.118] …The outer divorced from any illumination from the inner is in a state of darkness. We are in an age of darkness. The state of outer darkness is a state of sin—i.e. alienation or estrangement from the inner light [p.116] …We are all murderers and prostitutes…We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another’ [pp.11–12] (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967). ‘We are dead, but think we are alive. We are asleep, but think we are awake. We are dreaming, but take our dreams to be reality. We are the halt, lame, blind, deaf, the sick. But we are doubly unconscious. We are so ill that we no longer feel ill, as in many terminal illnesses. We are mad, but have no insight [into the fact of our madness]’ (Self and Others, 1961, p.38 of 192). ‘We are so out of touch with this realm [out of touch with the truth of our corrupted human condition] that many people can now argue seriously that it does not exist’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, p.105). Yes, we could add, ‘we are selfish but think we are selfless’.
In conclusion it needs to be emphasised that, now that we have the redeeming understanding of our corrupted human condition, this whole discussion about the different degrees of upset that inevitably occurred during our conscious mind’s immensely heroic battle to find understanding of why it destroyed our species’ original all-loving and all-sensitive instinctive self or soul is all ancient history and of no significance. Of course all humans are variously upset, but we can understand now that all humans are equally good, meaningful, lovable and worthwhile. Upset is an immensely heroic, good state, not at all a bad state; so it is of no real significance who is upset and who is not; we are all immense heroes. I needed to talk about different states of innocence and upset to answer the question in this FAQ, but it is an obsoleted, meaningless, pointless discussion. We all move on now to what IS meaningful, which is to focus our attention forward on using the understanding of the human condition to end all the upset in the world and bring the human race together forever in a genuinely selfless and loving, soul-connected, alienation-free state.
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As an addition to what has been said in this answer, the example of the two ‘C’ and ‘P’ resigned states that is given in and of FREEDOM using The Simpsons cartoon characters Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders is very revealing of the differences between the two states. What is particularly revealed is the delusion that pseudo idealists had to employ to disguise the fact that they were actually extremely upset, selfishly-focused-on-doing-‘good’-so-that-they-could-appear-‘good’ people. The two paragraphs describe how the character Homer Simpson is still living out the corrupting battle to overthrow the implication that we humans aren’t fundamentally good, while his neighbour Ned Flanders had become so upset, so unsound, that he had to abandon that all-important battle and become a Christian, someone who was deferring to, and living through their support of Christ. In one episode, Ned lends Homer his lawnmower, which Homer ends up wrecking without remorse. But rather than becoming angry or defensive, Ned simply accepts Homer’s behaviour—he is the ‘goody-goody’ while Homer is one upset ‘Adam Stork’, living out the battle to the full; he is massively angry, egocentric and alienated. In paragraph 1213, I wrote that: “Ned has a ‘goody-goody’, self-satisfied, ‘I-occupy-the-moral-high-ground’ attitude, which drives the still-human-condition-embroiled heroic Homer crazy with frustration because he intuitively knows that Ned is deluding himself in thinking he occupies the moral high ground, that he is the more together, sound person and is on the right track, but Homer can’t explain why Ned’s view of himself is so extremely deluded and dishonest. Homer can’t explain and thus reveal the truth that real idealism and the truly on-track, moral high ground lay with continuing the upsetting battle to find knowledge, ultimately self-knowledge, understanding of our corrupted human condition, and that Ned had become so upset, so unsound, that he had to abandon that all-important battle and leave it to others, including Homer, to fight. Worse, by effectively condemning those still upset and fighting the battle, Ned was basically siding against those still trying to win that battle, adding substantially to the opposition they had to overcome. In fact, it was the delusion and dishonesty that made giving up the battle particularly dangerous, because to uphold that position required constantly persuading yourself, and others, that you weren’t being dishonest and deluded in what you were doing.”
I wrote an essay that was published in The Spectator Australia magazine in 2020 titled ‘’ about this extreme need of those in the Left to persuade themselves and others that they were being selfless and ideally behaved.