1. ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION
AND ITS RESOLUTION
WTM FAQ 1.43 Why does Jeremy Griffith use so much unconventional formatting in his writing? / Why is there so much bold, capitals, underlining and other emphasis in Jeremy’s writing? / In its publications and on its website, why doesn’t the WTM comply with accepted typesetting conventions?
Jeremy Griffith’s response:
As is explained in FAQ 1.16, when most people start reading about the human condition their brain suffers from a ‘deaf effect’ because the subject of the human condition has historically been the most terrifying of subjects for humans to face. So even though the redeeming and relieving understanding of the human condition has finally been found (see THE Interview) and it is now safe to engage with the subject, when someone starts reading about the human condition it is very common for this historic fear to kick in and prevent, or make it difficult for, their mind to take in or ‘hear’ what is being said or written. For instance, we receive comments like, ‘When I first read this material all I saw were a lot of black marks on white paper’ and ‘Reading this is like reading another language—you know it’s English, you can understand the words, but the concepts are so basic and so different that they are almost incomprehensible—it’s a paradigm shift of a read’ etc, etc. So if that’s happening then it is my responsibility to help in whatever way I can to tell people which bits of the explanation they really do need to take in. This is why I use all the emphasis I have at my disposal, including bold, CAPITALS, underlining, italics and punctuation, to help the reader know what is important. It is not from wanting to brow-beat the reader, it is the product of a lifetime of trying to help people hear what I’m saying. If I took all the emphasis out of the typesetting, I don’t believe what is being presented would be nearly as clear, accessible, interesting and dynamic.
And beyond the use of bold, CAPITALS, underlining, italics and punctuation, with computer technology making it easy to change font styles and sizes, I have been able to re-design many of the conventions for text layout and presentation. For example, with regard to quotes, because it is now possible to make fine adjustments to text size, it is possible to make the quotes bold but in a slightly smaller size to the surrounding text so that they are clearly differentiated but do not overpower the rest of the page. Having the quotes differentiated is extremely helpful, because once you explain the human condition, which is what my work does, virtually every aspect of human behaviour is able to be re-described in an honest way, and this means that there is an endless stream of new ideas being presented, so what’s especially needed to assist the reader is a quote to help verify each idea that is being put forward. So quotes are very important because they are the stepping stones of validation for the reader. And this computer technology also means it is possible to include the source of quotes in small text with the quote, instead of in a bibliography at the end of the document as is conventionally done. This allows the reader to immediately see when, where and by whom the quote was made. (Also, rather than give the particular edition and publisher of the book that the quote comes from, the page number where the quote appears and the total number of pages of the particular edition used for the source is provided. This enables the reader to find the comparative place of the quote in any edition. It also keeps the quote source relatively short. Here is an example of a quote source: (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, p.36 of 310).)
Another convention I have used in my main books is to number the paragraphs so people can easily refer others to parts of the book across all of the book’s formats (print, ebook, etc).
And yet another unusual convention I use is to list words meaning the same thing, but separate them with slashes ‘/’ to indicate their common meaning; for example, ‘Clever semblance of our conflicted condition, diabolically clever, but entirely untrue, the epitome of shonk/evasion/denial/‘phon[iness]’/‘fake[ness]’/separation-from-the-truth—alienation!’ (FREEDOM, paragraph 213). Another technique I frequently employ is to use hyphens to combine words into phrases, for example, ‘The human race had an immensely happy, all-sensitive-and-all-loving, thrilled-and-enthralled-with-all-of-life, zest-for-living-drenched, ecstatic infancy and childhood’ (FREEDOM, paragraph 469).
With regard to the use of capital letters, a sceptical person has said that we shouldn’t ‘refer to THE Interview or FREEDOM with all capital letters. It’s just too evangelical. Book titles only need one capital. It’s like referring to Him with a capital H’. My response, which I have encouraged others to point out, is, ‘But imagine if the human race was about to die from a horrifically crippling and traumatising and sickening disease which humans were living in such denial of that they weren’t even aware of, but which you could see, and not only that, you had the cure for, what would you do? Hide amongst the masses or somehow shout your message from the rooftops?’ Putting FREEDOM in capitals and referring to the human-race-saving interview as THE Interview are among the least of the things we can do.
Again, the way I write is from a lifetime of trying to help people to access what I’m saying, and in time we think that these conventions will be recognised as sensible and effective. Indeed it is significant that we have been using these unusual devices for many years now and while some people initially find them off-putting, we have never had anybody who has become familiar with them complain about them. Quite the reverse, the common response once people become familiar with them is that these conventions are extremely helpful. We have even had people over the years make comments to the effect that they think these conventions are so effective they will eventually become universal conventions in book and article presentations, especially in books where evidencing quotes and their sources is particularly important. For example, the following is feedback from a Dutch couple (a scientist and an engineer) who translated FREEDOM: ‘The practicality of the numbered paragraphs, and having the quote sources right there with the quotes in small text, and the quotes themselves standing out in small dark text, it’s brilliant! We’ve never seen it before. We’re appreciating the effectiveness and simplicity of the whole design more and more.’
In fact, every aspect of the text size, document design and layout has been carefully thought out, and we think the benefits are clearly apparent in our documents. For this reason we wanted the public—as well as our own staff—to know what this new thinking is, which is why we created the WTM Style Guide which documents every aspect of these new conventions.
Just as the new thinking about all aspects of the human condition in my writing does take some time to adjust to before its benefits are appreciated, so the unconventional formatting I use in my writing does take a little time to become accustomed to and be appreciated. The truth is there is so much thinking and practice that has been going on in Plato’s cave world that needs fixing up for the human-condition-free, out-of-Plato’s-cave new world. Clean thinking is needed everywhere; in fact every aspect of the old soul-dead world needs cleaning up. We need new forms of entertainment and distraction that are not dishonest and artificial, we need simple, functional humanity-and-Earth-considerate transport, and the list goes on and on. Imagine when there is no more lying or pretence, how free and happy our world will be! All the upset suffering in our world just has to stop and end. Let’s get out of Plato’s dreadful dark and desolate cave world.