Your block to the most wonderful of all gifts
How to overcome your block to self-understanding
By Jeremy Griffith, 2018
This is Freedom Essay 1 of the Freedom Essay Series
“What would you do if the most wonderful gift you could absolutely ever dream of became available to you — yet a thick wall was blocking your access to it — but you were given some instructions that would allow you to get through that wall? You would follow those instructions to the letter, wouldn’t you! Well, that’s exactly the situation I want to now describe.”
These are Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith’s opening words in the first of the introductory videos that appear at the top of the homepage of the World Transformation Movement. In this first video, Jeremy describes the predicament of being offered the liberating explanation of the human condition, but, in a terrible irony, not being able to access it because of our historic fear of the issue. But, as Jeremy also explains, there is a solution to overcoming this impasse — so we urge you to watch this critical presentation now as you begin your journey with this most momentous and all-exciting of breakthroughs for the human race!
This video also appears as Video 1 in the Introductory Series of videos at the top of our homepage at www.humancondition.com.
The Transcript of this video
Hello, my name is Jeremy Griffith, I am an Australian biologist and the author of this book, FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition.
I want to start by posing a question: what would you do if the most wonderful gift you could absolutely ever dream of became available to you — yet a thick wall was blocking your access to it — but you were given some instructions that would allow you to get through that wall? You would follow those instructions to the letter, wouldn’t you! Well, that’s exactly the situation I want to now describe.
The most wonderful of all gifts
The greatest of all goals of the human race — in fact it has been our species’ great hope, faith and trust — is that one day we would find the redeeming, reconciling and psychologically healing biological understanding of our ‘good and evil’-conflicted human condition. As the renowned Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson has written, ‘The human condition is the most important frontier of the natural sciences’ (Consilience, 1998, p.298 of 374), and in another of his books, ‘There is no grail more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to understanding the human condition’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, 2012, p.1). Well, as will be revealed in the next two short videos, that most ‘precious in the life of the mind’ breakthrough of the biological ‘understanding [of] the human condition’ has been found.
So this IS just the most momentous event in the whole of human history where each and every human can now be transformed from having to live a life where in truth everything is just so desperate, disappointing, meaningless, hopeless, depressing, tiring, hurtful and false, to a life where every situation, every person, absolutely everything now can be flooded with meaningful understanding and the relief, excitement, enthusiasm, peace, togetherness and happiness it brings. All the confusion, insecurity and uncertainty, all the darkness in our lives, can go and we can be free of the agony of the human condition. And solving the human condition doesn’t just bring immense relief and happiness to our personal situations, it solves all the world’s problems at the source — it is the key to ending the dystopia we live in of polarised politics, failed economies, rampant greed, corruption, hate, conflict, inequality, envy, starvation, over-population, mess, refugee floods, and terrorism, and everywhere environmental devastation. It will solve family breakdown, drugs, obesity, epidemic levels of loneliness, depression and mental illness. And it will end the extreme anxiety that is now paralysing younger generations, with their grey clothing and here-comes-the-end-of-the-world hoodies, their psychosis-crippled zombie parades in the streets, and their understandable, too-much-unbearable-pain-in-the-brain, snowflake-short attention spans, which really all herald our head-long plunge to the psychotic death of our species.
SO YOU CAN SEE THAT THIS REHABILITATING UNDERSTANDING OF THE HUMAN CONDITION IS ABSOLUTELY THE MOST WONDERFUL OF GIFTS FOR EVERY PERSON, AND FOR THE WHOLE WORLD!
But there is a block!
Yes, with the human condition at last resolved, and our existence finally made sense of, everything can now be fixed and brought back to life. That is the magnitude of the gift on offer, BUT THERE IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM, which is that virtually everyone will find this world-saving and life-transforming explanation of the human condition initially impossible to access — I emphasise, ‘initially impossible to access’!
Why this happens is because even though the human condition has been, as Wilson said, the most ‘precious in the life of the [our] mind’ and thus ‘the most important’ of all issues to solve, it has also been the most terrifying of subjects to face, and this fear makes our mind so afraid it can’t absorb discussion of the issue, and discover that it has finally been explained and made safe to confront, which means we can’t derive all the fabulous benefits of the explanation! As soon as discussion of the human condition begins, the mind of virtually everyone starts blocking out what is being said because its prior experience of where it is being asked to go has been too terrifying. The situation is akin to giving someone who suffers from a fear of snakes a book that will free them of their phobia, but as soon as they open the book and see descriptions and images of snakes, they fearfully slam it shut; their fear blocks them from being able to access the book’s cure.
So why has the subject of the human condition been so terrifying?
People bandy around the term ‘human condition’ often enough, which gives the impression that there is nothing particularly fearful about it, but that superficial treatment of the subject is part of the denial we have practised to protect ourselves from just how terrifying the issue really is. The scientist Blaise Pascal spelled out the true horror of our species’ contradictory nature or condition when he wrote, ‘What a chimera [a multi-faceted being] then is man! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth, repository of truth, a sewer of uncertainty and error, the glory and the scum of the universe!’ (Pensées, 1669). William Shakespeare was equally revealing of the paradoxical nature of the human condition when he wrote, ‘What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty!…In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? [Brutal and barbaric] Man delights not me’ (Hamlet, 1603).
This extraordinary dichotomy that Pascal and Shakespeare have written about is what the human condition really is. We humans embody this extreme ‘contradiction’ of being the most brilliantly clever of creatures, the ones who are ‘god’-‘like’ in our ‘infinite’ ‘faculty’ of ‘reason’ and ‘apprehension’, and yet we also behave in the seemingly completely unclever ‘monster[ous]’, ‘imbecile worm of the earth’, ‘sewer of uncertainty and error’, ‘scum of the universe’ ‘quintessence of dust’ way. Not only are we competitive, aggressive and selfish when the ideals of life are so obviously to be cooperative, loving and selfless, we are also the meanest, most vicious of species, one that is only too capable of inflicting pain, cruelty, suffering and degradation. As the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote, ‘man is the only animal which causes pain to others with no other object than causing pain…No animal ever torments another for the sake of tormenting: but man does so, and it is this which constitutes the diabolical nature which is far worse than the merely bestial’ (Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1970, p.139 of 237).
Yes, as I will explain in the third and fourth videos/essays of this series, we humans have been living with an horrific injustice that has caused such volcanic frustration and anger in us that we have been capable of behaving far more viciously than other animals, and it’s precisely that deep injustice — which, I’ll tell you now, is the implication that we are vile and worthless creatures when we haven’t believed we are but couldn’t explain why we aren’t — that this explanation of the human condition reaches to the bottom of and brings relieving understanding to.
But without this relieving understanding, our often ferocious and vile behaviour has seemed to indicate that we humans are, as Pascal described us, the ‘scum of the universe’ — and trying to face that seemingly irrefutable conclusion has been sheer terror for our minds and has led to absolutely unbearable, in fact suicidal, depression. Indeed, our fear of facing the seemingly irrefutable conclusion that we are the ‘scum of the universe’ has been so great it has taken the minds of some of the world’s greatest philosophers to even articulate the fear. That is how great this fear has been — we could hardly even bring ourselves to mention it!
A reviewer wrote that it is widely regarded that the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s ‘analysis on the nature of despair is one of the best accounts on the subject’ (Wikipedia; see www.wtmsources.com/137)—with the ‘nature of despair’ being as close as the reviewer could go in referring to the worse-than-death, suicidal depression that the subject of the human condition has historically caused humans, but which Kierkegaard managed to give such an honest account of in his aptly titled 1849 book, The Sickness Unto Death: ‘the torment of despair is precisely the inability to die [and end the torture of our previously unexplained human condition]…that despair is the sickness unto death, this tormenting contradiction [which is our ‘good and evil’, human condition-afflicted lives], this sickness in the self; eternally to die, to die and yet not to die’ (tr. A. Hannay, 1989, p.48 of 179). So that’s how suicidally depressing the issue of the human condition has been!
It follows then that to confront the until now unexplained human condition has been an impossible ask for virtually everyone — as another great philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev, acknowledged: ‘Knowledge requires great daring. It means victory over ancient, primeval terror…it must also be said of knowledge that it is bitter, and there is no escaping that bitterness…Particularly bitter is moral knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. But the bitterness is due to the fallen state of the world…There is a deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless’ (The Destiny of Man, 1931; tr. N. Duddington, 1960, pp.14–15 of 310). Yes, that has been the absolutely unbearable question — are we humans so awful that we actually are ‘worthless’?!
In his appropriately titled poem No Worst, There Is None, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins similarly wrote, ‘O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall, frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed’, articulating how fearfully confronting and depressing the previously un-‘fathomed’ issue of the human condition has been.
So, again, while we couldn’t explain and understand it, that is how terrifying the subject of our corrupted or ‘fallen’ human condition has really been, and it’s why virtually all humans had absolutely no choice but to resign themselves to blocking the issue out of their minds, not allow themselves to confront it.
The ‘deaf effect’ this historic fear now causes
So given this extreme commitment to blocking the issue out, when that most sought-after of all gifts for the human mind, that fabulous, all-redeeming, all-relieving and all-transforming understanding of ourselves — that Wilson described as the most ‘precious in the life of the mind’ holy ‘grail’ of ‘science’ of ‘understanding the human condition’ — is finally found — as the third video in this series will explain that it now has been — you need to be aware that your mind will be too afraid of the subject to effectively take in and absorb analysis of it. An extreme ‘deaf effect’ (as we have come to describe it) to what is being said will occur in your mind.
So how can the ‘deaf effect’ be overcome?
The obvious question then is, ‘How can you overcome the problem of not being able to absorb or ‘hear’ discussion of the human condition, so you can access the incredibly relieving gift that the understanding brings?’
The answer, that many years of experience has taught me and many others, is that the way to overcome the ‘deaf effect’ is through patient perseverance. What will happen as you continue to read and/or listen to discussion of the human condition is that the reassuring logic of the explanation will start to ease your subconscious fear of the subject, and before long you will find that you can actually take in or ‘hear’ what is being said without encountering any of the problems you initially experienced. If you are patient and persevere, your mind will start to realise that this previously terrifying subject has actually been made safe to confront, and it will start to relax and take in what’s being said.
I might mention — and this is something absolutely astonishing — that way back during the Golden Age of Greece, in 360 BC, the very great philosopher Plato gave the most truthful and penetrating account that has ever been given of the human condition. In it he described humans as living in such fear of the ‘human condition’ (and this is the earliest mention I’ve seen of the term) that we’ve had to metaphorically hide ‘a long way underground’ in a dark ‘cave’ so none of the ‘painful’ ‘light’ outside the cave can reach us because it would make ‘visible’ ‘the imperfections of human life’ — even predicting the ‘deaf effect’ by saying that when someone finally ‘escapes from the cave into the light of day’ and from there finds understanding of the ‘human condition’ and then tries to help the cave prisoners ‘escape into the sun-filled setting outside the cave’, that our minds would be so completely frozen with fear that, he said, we ‘wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things’ we were ‘now told were real’, at least ‘not at first because’ we ‘would need to grow accustomed to the light’ of the truthful understanding. So Plato said we ‘wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things’ we were ‘now told were real’ — that’s confirmation of how extreme the problem of the ‘deaf effect’ is! (I present a much more detailed account, with sources, of Plato’s amazingly truthful description of our fear of the human condition and its effects in Video/F. Essay 11 of this series.)
To illustrate the effectiveness of persevering and, as Plato said, ‘grow[ing] accustomed to the light’, a reviewer of this fully accountable, all-explaining and all-solving analysis of the human condition that I will be presenting a short summary of in the third video/essay of this series wrote: ‘[When I first came across this information] it was not an easy read. The core concepts kept slipping from my mental grasp, at the time I put it down to bad writing, however a second reading revealed something the Author had indicated from the outset — your mind doesn’t want to understand the content [actually, doesn’t want to confront it]. The second read was quick and painless…[and I was then able to see that] The cause of the malaise [in humans] is exposed, remedied and the reader is left with at the very least an understanding of themselves, and for me something of an optimism for the future’ (‘Fitzy’, Humanitus Interruptus — Great Minds of Today, 21 Oct. 2011; see www.wtmsources.com/106).
Many more almost identical descriptions of the difficulty of the ‘deaf effect’, and of how you need to be prepared to persevere if you are to overcome it, are also presented in Video/F. Essay 11. I might mention that this reviewer’s initial thinking that the reason he found it hard to ‘grasp’ what was being said was because of ‘bad writing’ occurs with nearly everyone, and this is because being unaware that we have been living in denial of what’s being talked about, we can’t help but think the problem has to be in the presentation.
Tony Gowing’s experience
At this point I would like to ask Tony Gowing, who is a founding member of the World Transformation Movement (which is the movement that supports this breakthrough understanding), to describe his experience with the ‘deaf effect’, and the excitement that lies on the other side of it.
Tony Gowing: Thanks Jeremy. Yes, in my case, I actually inadvertently overcame the ‘deaf effect’ because my best mate’s sister is an active supporter of the World Transformation Movement, and when I was at university I often went with him when he visited her at the WTM. At first I only took a vague interest in their discussions about the explanation of the human condition because, like the reviewer Jeremy just mentioned, I also found it very difficult to ‘grasp’ what they were saying. Luckily for me, after happening to listen in on a number of their conversations what they were saying all started to become clear, and then, to my amazement, the whole explanation of us humans seemed so straight-forward it actually seemed obvious. Getting through the ‘deaf effect’ really is like walking out of a fog. Wilson’s description of the biological explanation of the human condition being the most ‘precious’ thing ‘in the life of’ our ‘mind’, is just so true. Man, have we been living in a fog because once you get through it being able to understand everything is really and truly just so ‘precious’! So here I am, more than 20 years later, an extremely excited full-time supporter of the WTM who’s deeply relieved to understand and have hope for the world — and best of all for me personally, to be free of the whole horror of the effects of the human condition in myself.
I tell you, this understanding does bring an end to all the pain, all the suffering, all the confusion, insecurity and uncertainty. I now know why we are the way we are, and why the world has been so mean and full of pain, and why there can now be a wondrous change of heart in every single human from being completely consumed by an incredibly insecure, mad, terrified and obsessively egocentric and selfish mindset, to a completely 100 percent secure person living out an all-meaningful, wildly exciting existence dedicated to helping make this great change from darkness and pain to an all-understanding state of freedom from the human condition. And what I’m talking about is not another deluded ‘New Age’-type, or politically-correct, dogma-based, pseudo-idealistic, false start to the human-condition-free new world that the human race has lived in hope, faith and trust would one day be possible. No, this is, as Wilson said, the ‘science’/‘understanding’-based relief for the human ‘mind’ that actually brings about that dreamed-of transformation of all our lives. We conscious humans needed to be able to understand our way to freedom from our distressed condition; we needed relieving answers for our mind; as Jeremy often says, we needed brain food, not brain anaesthetic — and now, at last, and in the nick of time, we have it!
Honestly, the wonder and relief of this biological insight is just endless!
Jeremy Griffith: Thank you very much Tony. You can hear more from Tony in Video/F. Essay 5.
In the next video, I will describe the dishonest and extremely dangerous excuse that we’ve been using for the human condition, and in the video after that, which is the third video, I’ll present this all-redeeming and all-transforming, human-race-saving biological explanation of the human condition.
Thank you for watching, and I hope you continue watching these videos.
Appreciation of Jeremy Griffith’s treatise
“I have no doubt Jeremy Griffith’s biological explanation of the human condition is the holy grail of insight we have sought for the psychological rehabilitation of the human race”
“It is the most profound piece of work I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot”
“This understanding of the human condition will end all prejudices, like racism, forever”
“The clarity of it is euphoric”
“This explanation brings about the true liberation of women and the reconciliation of the sexes, which is truly extraordinary”
“It has to be the most important book ever written”
Watch Jeremy Griffith present the breakthrough redeeming explanation of the human condition in Video/F. Essay 3, or read chapter 1 of FREEDOM. And you can watch a much more in-depth description of what the human condition really is in Video/F. Essay 10, and a more in-depth description of the problem of the ‘deaf effect’, of people’s experience of it, and of how to overcome it, in Video/F. Essay 11.
These essays were created in 2017–2022 by Jeremy Griffith, Damon Isherwood, Fiona Cullen-Ward, Brony FitzGerald & Lee Jones of the Sydney WTM Centre. All filming and editing of the videos was carried out by Sydney WTM members James Press & Tess Watson during 2017–2022. Other members of the Sydney WTM Centre are responsible for the distribution and marketing of the videos/essays, and for providing subscriber support.
This article was originally published at www.humancondition.com.