1. ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION
AND ITS RESOLUTION
WTM FAQ 1.47 How does Jeremy Griffith’s explanation of the human condition differ from the theories of Freud or Jung?
While both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung bravely revealed that we humans are living in denial of a great deal of truth—that, as they described it, we suffer from a ‘personal’ and ‘collective’ psychosis—neither attempted to confront what it was that we were particularly living in denial of, which is our species’ cooperative and loving past. They talked a lot about our psychosis and how it wrecks our lives and how we need to do something about that if we are to become ‘whole’ or sane, but they didn’t dare confront what our psychosis actually is, which again is denial of, and thus psychotic alienation from, our cooperative and loving instinctive self or soul.
In FREEDOM and other works, Jeremy Griffith acknowledges Freud’s courageous recognition that humans repress negative elements of our personality, creating a ‘personal unconscious’. However, beyond that, there is very little similarity between Jeremy’s explanation of the human condition and Freud’s thinking. Freud believed that the ‘ID’, our unconscious, instinctive mind, contained primitive selfish ‘savage’ urges that the conscious mind or ‘ego’ has to control, writing, for example, that ‘Civilization has to use its utmost efforts in order to set limits to man’s aggressive instincts’ (Civilization and its Discontents, 1930), whereas Jeremy has now explained that our instinctive self is completely cooperative, selfless and loving from a time when our ape ancestors lived in that state (see ), and that our aggressive and selfish behaviour is psychological in origin, the result of a clash between our instincts and intellect. Freud also believed that our morals are learnt and held by the ‘superego’ as a way of restraining our ‘aggressive instincts’, whereas Jeremy has now explained that they are the expression of our loving, cooperative moral soul or instincts. All of which meant Freud’s explanation of the source of human’s psychological problems was fundamentally flawed.
Jung made a critical contribution to our journey to understand the human condition with his discovery that humanity shared a ‘collective unconscious’, which is a repressed awareness of collective, shared-by-all instincts within us. However, like Freud, he could not admit the true nature of those instincts, which is that they are all-loving. According to Jung, the ‘collective unconscious’ ‘is made up of what he called “archetypes,” or primordial images. These correspond to such experiences as confronting death or choosing a mate and manifest themselves symbolically in religions, myths, fairy tales, and fantasies’ (‘Jung, Carl Gustav’, Microsoft Encarta 96 Online Encyclopedia, 1993–1995). While we do have ancient, ‘primordial’, pre-conscious instinctive adaptions to coping with ‘death’ and ‘choosing a mate’, the most significant ‘primordial’ instinctive awareness in us is of our distant ancestors living in a cooperative, selfless and loving state. In fact, Jung dismissed the ‘Paradise myth’, which is our instinctual memory of this cooperative, selfless and loving state, as merely ‘an analogy for the mother-infant relationship’ (Richard Heinberg, Memories & Visions of Paradise, 1990).
And so while Jung recognised the urgent need to bring rehabilitating, reconciling understanding to our ‘dark side’, forever saying, ‘wholeness for humans depends on the ability to own our own shadow’, he ultimately reached for the same excuse for our psychological problems that Freud relied on—that our conscious mind had to repress unpalatable parts of our character which were based in our selfish animal instincts: ‘The shadow is that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors’ (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Collected Writings, Volume 9).
Basically, Freud and Jung didn’t take people outside of Plato’s metaphorical cave where they were living in fearful denial of the issue of our species corrupted condition. And what is significant about them not taking people outside Plato’s cave of denial where they would have to actually confront the human condition, the truth of our species’ 2-million-years corrupted state, is that everyone could relatively easily relate to Freud and Jung, which is why they became such famous therapists; people have liked being able to talk about psychosis and neurosis, and admit to being damaged and how much they are suffering psychologically. Indeed, such superficial honesty where you pretend to be talking about the human condition when you actually aren’t could be very relieving, which is why pseudo therapy is now the most popular and fastest growing industry on Earth!
In the end, the only way humans could ‘own our own shadow’ was to ameliorate the guilt we, our conscious thinking mind, feels for having corrupted our all-loving instinctive self or soul, and that could only be achieved by explaining why we had to endure becoming upset—why our corrupted human condition was actually a heroic and loveable condition rather than a bad, ‘evil’, ‘sinful’ condition. Answering this question of questions, lifting the ‘great burden of guilt’ from the human race, required finding the clarifying difference between the way the intellect and instincts work, and that is the great biological breakthrough Jeremy presents in THE Interview and his book FREEDOM. This is why Professor Harry Prosen, a former President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, said, ‘I have no doubt this biological explanation of the human condition is the holy grail of insight we have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of the human race.’