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 576 ***** out of ***** ratings on U.S. iBooks.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Thoughts on Jeremy Griffith's "Freedom : The End of the Human Condition" - Part 14

Love Indoctrination or Love Liberation

Sometimes when Griffith talks about his concept of “love indoctrination” it seems like something almost aggressive. “…all the other relatively developed/integrated/social mammals are still battling to develop and maintain love-indoctrination to the point where it has overcome selfish competition amongst males to reproduce their genes.” This concept of love as something you have to be “indoctrinated” into, that has to be controlled by dictatorial instincts, feels so wrong to me.

A mother loving her child is not “indoctrinating” it. She is accepting it unconditionally and responding to its needs. She is not trying to control it. Indoctrination is an attempt at control. I know Griffith isn’t trying to say that she is, but he is presenting this process as one controlled by the genes.

To me love is something which is liberated when the obstacles which impede it are removed. I can see where the need to compete in harsh environments or for breeding opportunities would act as an impediment to love. But surely social animals are not competing all the time. Are there not signs of love - of affection and cooperation between them - in those times when they are not? I don’t watch a lot of nature programs, so I can’t really speak from experience.

And if a food rich, relatively predator free, environment provided the opportunity for our proto-human ancestors to increase their nurturing time, would there have been a need for “indoctrination” in love, would love not have been liberated by the removal of its impediments. With the need to compete for food removed, and the mind - freed up by the longer nurturing period to no longer be rigidly focussed on survival issues and thus develop the power to self-manage - having the power to transcend the dictatorship of the genes’ insistence on competition for breeding opportunities, surely the potential for love, which lies buried under all those inhibiting influences in other animals, could have a chance to flower.

Griffith says : “No, the only accountable explanation for the emergence of the fully conscious mind in humans and for what is blocking its emergence in other species is the nurturing, love-indoctrination explanation…” But doesn’t my idea that all what was needed was the space and time away from competitive imperatives make sense? Why is there the need for nurturing to be seen as a process of “indoctrination” rather than liberation?

And I think that here there is a sharp distinction between my concept of love and Griffith’s concept of love. And between how he is going about trying to help the world and the way I am trying to go about helping the world. I believe we all have a virtually limitless capacity for love which just needs the impediments to it to be removed in order that it should flow forth and heal the world. Unconditional self-acceptance is the source of this love. The impediment to its expression is our armour. Our armour is defensive. To put it aside we need to feel safe. We can increase our own feelings of safety by cultivating unconditional self-acceptance and we can spread a feeling of safety through the world by spreading a practise of acceptance of other people as we find them. Idealism and other attempts to push people to change only make such change harder for them. Let freedom and acceptance reign and love will guide us towards a healing of our society and our world.

But Griffith, with his belief that a person’s capacity for love is, to a large extent, bound by the limitations of the nurturing that they received, the saving of the world involves our accepting of his theory, without spending too much time on confronting thought about it, and passing it on to future generations, who will gradually be healed by their ability to understand the world and the fact that, with the importance of nurturing acknowledged and the need for our previous aggression, egotism and alienation explained away, they will finally get the nurturing they need. But if his theory is wrong, as I believe that it is, doesn’t this sound a bit like “indoctrination”?

Where Is the “Human Condition” In Me?

Fundamental to Griffith’s theory is that there is a conflict going on within us between our supposed genetic orientation to selflessness and our ego. Now for much of my life there was a conflict going on within me. Do I send money to starving kids in Africa or spend it on myself? Do I watch porn or do I stop supporting this “shameless objectification of women”? Do I eat pork knowing that pigs are often kept in atrocious conditions or do I not?

So Griffith’s theory seemed to have relevance to my experience.

But over time I went through a process of introspection, much of it spurred on by a need to assess Griffith’s ideas.

One key point arose when I was troubled about the pig issue. I felt so guilty I considered becoming a vegetarian. But then I thought through my response. If I did give up eating pig meat, how would I feel about the fact that pigs were still suffering? “It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest,” I honestly admitted to myself. As long as I’ve got a clean conscience why should I care about the pigs? So I realised that my feelings of guilt were entirely selfish. I was walking around wondering if I were good enough. Someone hands me a brochure about suffering pigs. I eat pig meat. This sends me the message : “You aren’t good enough.” But it is all about my ego. It goes no deeper than that. My compassion for the pigs is virtually non-existent.

So I didn’t give a shit about the starving Africans or the pigs or supposedly exploited women. All I cared about was my own happiness.

But, what I’ve found over time is that all that guilt I’d been feeling about not being good enough had been sapping my enthusiasm for doing things for other people. Once I decided to give up on worrying about whether I’m good enough I was liberated to really enjoy the things I chose to do for myself and had a whole lot more energy to be more helpful to others. Guilt-driven attempts to do the right thing by others left me depressed and were always unsustainable. But unconditional self-acceptance means that when I do feel like making a contribution to someone else’s welfare I do so with full enthusiasm and no internal conflict or resentment.

Now I do what I like. I feel no guilt. I have no war going on inside me. I do whatever feels good and right at the time.

So where, I have to ask myself, is this “human condition” in me? Where is this bottomless well of anger I’m supposed to have deep down inside. Where is this condemning genetic conscience? If these things are real, why can’t I feel them anymore? Am I wrong to assume that that conflict I experienced was nothing to do with my genes, but occurred entirely within my ego?

The Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome?

Griffith says : “Another malicious device that has been used to try to dismiss my work is claiming it puts readers in a ‘non-falsifiable situation’ where if you oppose this information you are said to be suffering from denial, leaving you no way to disprove or falsify the explanation being put forward — but the problem really exists at the superficial level because the ideas being put forward can be tested as true or otherwise. These are not untestable hypotheses that must be accepted on blind faith… In fact, since humans are the subject of this particular study, each person can experience and thus know the truth or otherwise of what is being put forward. Once the explanations are presented and applied you will discover they are able to make such sense of human behaviour that your own and everyone else’s becomes transparent.”

I’ve been living with these “insights” for about 25 years and they didn’t make my behaviour or that of others transparent. Initially I was attracted to the ideas because they resonated with a conflict which was going on inside me. But Griffith’s “explanations” of much of human behaviour, especially sexual behaviour, never rang true to me. It was the need to resolve that conflict inside, and the faith that his ideas could do that because he said they could, which led to my initial support. But later I would discover that the conflict that troubled me was within my ego - a battle between my ego’s need to maintain self-acceptance and various forms of idealism which threatened to rob me of it. Over time my need to have faith in Griffith’s ideas declined and my ability to find a grounding in my own conceptual framework increased. I stopped suffering from the depression which had plagued me off and on from the time of my adolescence, and the bipolar disorder, with which I had been diagnosed in 1995, so that now I have been happy and stable for at least eight years. And in the wake of abandoning belief in Griffith’s ideas, I feel that the world really has become transparent to me. Reader’s can judge for themselves whether my writings are insightful, but obviously they seem that way to me.

If Griffith’s ideas do represent a superficially credible but ultimately delusional belief system which has  the ability to latch on to us by virtue of our desperate need for a solution to humanity’s problems and an inability to deny them if they resonate with our internal ego-battle - if their “confronting” idealism undermines our self-acceptance and makes us need to hang onto their supposed “defence for humans” - would anyone who was on the inside of that condition be aware of it, or would it require someone who was now safely outside of it to point it out?

Read Part 15

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