This book is a Get Out of Jail Free card and a passport back into the playground.

The aim of this book is to set you free. But free from what? Free from neurosis. Free from the feeling that you have to obey authority. Free from emotional intimidation. Free from addiction. Free from inhibition.

The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.

But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :

1. Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.

2. While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.

Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.

This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.

How to Be Free is available as a free ebook from Smashwords, iBooks in some countries, Kobo and Barnes & Noble

It is also available in paperback from Lulu or Amazon for $10 US, plus postage.

The ebook version currently has received 593 ***** out of ***** ratings on U.S. iBooks.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Thoughts on Jeremy Griffith's "Freedom : The End of the Human Condition" - Part 15

His Psychosis

Presumably being well-nurtured would make it easier for values of cooperativeness to be imprinted on the blank slate of a child’s uncritical acceptance, because frustration would not have yet built up in such a way as to lead to rebelliousness against this programming.

But eventually life does provide frustrations to the growing individual. If Griffith tried to hang on to his “good innocent little boy” persona, then the source of frustration would be two-fold - that others didn’t behave according to these principles, and that his own frustrations, including anger at others for not behaving cooperatively, threatened to undermine his own ability to be cooperative himself.

These kinds of insecurities would require the adoption of a form of character armour, so the “good innocent little boy” became his increasingly rigid embattled perception of himself. It was how he would prove himself.

This persona needed to be maintained by self-nurturing - remaining close to nature, for instance. If it were really the genetic basis of the human individual, as he would come to believe, it would be far less fragile than that. You might block out your genetic orientation mentally, but it would be much stronger, and any time the mind lost its strength it would return to that orientation.

When our psyche becomes split - when we hang onto one aspect of ourselves in such a way that it requires us to repress all that is contrary to that aspect, e.g. cling to cooperativeness by repressing feelings of anger, those contrary feelings will only tend to build up more strongly in the subconscious.

So “good little innocent boy” Griffith gradually became more troubled by the aggressive and uncooperative behaviour of those around him, because their aggressiveness and lack of cooperation resonated with his own repressed aggressive feelings and resentment towards his cooperativeness-demanding character armour.

And the “good little innocent boy” isn’t sexual, so Griffith became increasingly troubled by other people’s sexual behaviour and felt the need to repress his own sexual feelings in order to hang onto that persona. Thus he came to view sex as essentially an “attack on innocence”, because other people’s sexual behaviour resonated with his repressed sexual desires which threatened to undermine his “good little innocent boy” persona.

Eventually, if he were to live in the world, and not hide himself away in a monastery somewhere, he had to seek some kind of reconciliation between the extreme idealism of his character armour and the contrary tendencies which he saw all around him and felt within him.

He built a theory, but it was a biased theory intended to normalise his position. He took his own position as the normal inborn condition of all humans and tried to work out why everyone else had diverged from that.

His battle to transcend selfish tendencies is evident throughout his theory. “Love-indoctrination” overcame the horribly competitive nature of other animals. What is “indoctrination” but learned alienation? In just such a way, the “good little innocent boy” persona Griffith has nurtured in himself alienates him from acknowledging the selfish impulses which lie beneath it.

Of course going down this path has made Griffith angry, egocentric and alienated, so when he looks into the mirror of the world he sees his own face staring back at him. And he rails against what he terms “pseudo-idealism” because his own idealism is “pseudo”, i.e a cultivated form of egotism. He also identifies now strongly with the right wing, because their embattled state, in a world in which their selfishness is causing great suffering and endangering the planet, resonates with his own.

In his first book Free : The End of the Human Condition, 1988, Griffith predicted, about its reception : “We will suspect it to be an expression of some form of disguised psychosis and will see its authority, its sense of conviction, as offensive arrogance.” Now we can see that that is what it was. The truth does carry its own authority, but that authority is intrinsic and does not need to be accompanied by big claims and promises.

The “Human Condition” Personified

Griffith says we set out seeking understanding of the human condition. In adolescence we resign ourselves to the fact that we are not going to achieve it. We adopt a false front and become angry, egocentric, selfish and alienated. Alienated in that we block out and angrily deny any truth which criticises us.

Griffith set off to find understanding of the human condition. He was unable to, because to do so he would have had to be able to confront the fact that the social phenomenon of idealism, which has no basis in our genes, was at the heart of the problem. He would have had to confront the fact that the idealism expressed by those he admired and the idealism he had been in the habit of expressing, was the source of all the manifestations of brutality and cruelty which troubled him. This is the central insight of any holistic systems view of the problem of good and evil, as Oscar Wilde acknowledged when he said : “It is well for our vanity that we slay the criminal, for if we suffered him to live he might show us what we had gained by his crime. It is well for his peace that the saint goes to his martyrdom. He is spared the sight of the horror of his harvest.”

Trying to reconcile his “extreme idealism” with “reality” he came up with an evasive explanation for the human condition, one which tried to reconcile the two by providing an appeasing excuse for the “non-ideal”, a “defence for humanity”.

This theory became central to his character armour. In his state of increasing insecurity about his own worth it became his way to prove himself. He became increasingly aggressive and egotistical about the way that he tried to push it on the world. And became more and more alienated, placing more and more effort into collecting bits of quotes from famous thinkers to reinforce the blocks that prevented him from truthful thinking.

All of this is evident in his projections. It is humanity which suffers from a “psychosis”. It is humanity which is “evasive”. He thinks that simply thinking about how the conscious mind works would be enough to quickly lead us to think : “‘Well, if I’m so cleverly insightful why can’t I manage my life in a way that is not so mean and indifferent to others; indeed, why, if I am such a brilliantly intelligent person, am I such a destructively selfish, angry, egocentric, competitive and aggressive monster?’” But is it not possible that this is what his subconscious mind is saying about himself? “What if my theory is wrong? What if my behaviour in support of that false theory has, in truth, been destructively, selfishly, angrily, egocentrically, competitive, aggressive and monstrous behaviour”?

He says that our attitude to the truth is : “‘I don’t believe the criticism is deserved, and in any case it’s too unbearable to accept, so I will never tolerate any insinuation that I am a bad person.’” But hasn’t that been his embattled response to criticism of his work or behaviour?

Griffith is not a bad person. He lacks insight into his own madness. The road to his Hell has been paved with good intensions.

An holistic systems view of the universe sees that everything unfolds in the only way that it can. Thus any judgement of individuals as “good” or “evil” is inappropriate. Griffith has done something which had to be done. Just as Jesus is reputed to have taken the sins of the world onto himself, Griffith has absorbed all of the destructive poison of idealism into himself, so that, by his downfall, he can forever end humanity’s contamination by that poison. In William Blake’s philosophy Satan was the Accuser (the accuser of sin), i.e. idealism. So Griffith, in this metaphorical sense, is possessed by “Satan”. And his battle to have his ideas accepted is “Satan’s” last stand.

But, as I say, nobody is evil. Evil resides in destructive ideas which “possess” us. In time, Griffith’s “demons” will be cast out, both to his relief and the relief of us all.

We can see that the mythological figure Satan represents idealism, i.e. the accusation of sin. “He” is known as “the father of lies”, and it is because of idealism (that original distinction between “good” and “evil”) that we first began lying. When the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis says that we became ashamed of our nakedness and began wearing clothes, I think this a metaphorical way of saying that we became dishonest, we began telling lies as a way of trying to protect ourselves from the criticism which idealism brought with it. Nakedness is a powerful symbol for honesty. Dishonesty to protect ourselves from criticism was the first kind of character armour. And today, still, what keeps us in our various “closets” is the fear that aspects of our thinking, emotions or behaviour will be exposed to criticism. (Of course idealism would eventually cause us to become afraid of our erotic feelings and part of the process of repression that led to would be the literal wearing of clothes because idealism’s intolerance of our natural bodies and natural sexuality eventually made us ashamed of them.)

We can see in religions that they contain intertwining threads of the “Satanic” (the accusation of sin) and the “Godly” (love and forgiveness). This has been religions great flaw, the reason that it has failed to heal or liberate humanity. The disease has generally been a part of what was offered as a cure.

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