‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 1 Summary of the contents of FREEDOM
Chapter 1:3 A brief description of the human-race-transforming explanation of the human condition that is presented in FREEDOM
So, what is this psychosis-addressing-and-solving, fully accountable, real explanation of our human condition that makes the world of humanity so understandable that it becomes transparent?
(Again, what follows is a very brief description of the explanation that will be provided in more comprehensive form in chapter 3—after which chapter upon chapter will dismantle the whole universe of dishonest excuses that humans have had to invent for all aspects of our behaviour while we awaited this real explanation of our divisive-instead-of-cooperative condition.)
Our human condition is directly related to the emergence of our conscious thinking mind—it is a result of our species having become fully conscious—and once we accept this foundation truth, then the explanation is actually fairly obvious. Clearly, before our species became fully conscious our lives must have been controlled by instincts, as the lives of all other animals continue to be. So the essential question is, what would happen to a species if it became capable of consciously understanding and thus managing its world? If we think about this scenario, what would obviously happen is that the conscious mind would start to take over management from the instincts. And if we think further about that development, we can appreciate that a conflict would have arisen between the already established instinctive management system and the new conscious, understanding-based management system.
To help visualise this development, consider the situation of a migrating bird that had just acquired a fully conscious mind.
Many bird species are perfectly orientated to instinctive migratory flight paths. Each winter, without ever ‘learning’ where to go and without knowing why, they quit their established breeding grounds and migrate to warmer feeding grounds. They then return each summer and so the cycle continues. Over the course of thousands of generations and migratory movements, only those birds that happened to have a genetic make-up that inclined them to follow the right route survived. Thus, through natural selection, they acquired their instinctive orientation.
So, imagine a flock of migrating storks returning to their summer breeding nests on the rooftops of Europe from their winter feeding grounds in southern Africa. Suppose in the instinct-controlled brain of one of them we place a fully conscious mind (we will call the stork Adam because we will soon see that, up to a point, this analogy parallels the old, pre-scientific Biblical account of Adam and Eve taking the ‘fruit’ (Gen. 3:3) ‘from the tree of…knowledge’ (2:9, 17); that is, becoming conscious). As Adam Stork flies north he spots an island off to the left with a tree laden with apples. Using his newly acquired conscious mind, Adam thinks, ‘I should fly down and eat some apples.’ It seems a reasonable thought but he can’t know if it is a good decision or not until he acts on it. For Adam’s new thinking mind to make sense of the world he has to learn by trial and error and so he decides to carry out his first grand experiment in self-management by flying down to the island and sampling the apples.
But it’s not that simple. As soon as Adam’s conscious thinking self deviates from his established migratory path, his innocent instinctive self (innocent in the sense of being unaware or ignorant of the need to search for knowledge) tries to pull him back on course. In following the flight path past the island, Adam’s instinct-obedient self is, in effect, criticising his conscious mind’s decision to veer off course; it is condemning his search for understanding. All of a sudden Adam is in a dilemma: if he obeys his instinctive self and flies back on course, his instincts will be happy but he’ll never learn if his deviation was the right decision or not. All the messages he’s receiving from within inform him that obeying his instincts is good, is right, but there’s also a new inclination to disobey, a defiance of instinct. Diverting from his course will result in apples and understanding, yet he already sees that doing so will make him feel bad.
Uncomfortable with the criticism his newly conscious mind or intellect is receiving from his instinctive self, Adam’s first response is to ignore the temptation the apples present and fly back on course. As he does so, however, Adam realises he can’t deny his intellect—sooner or later he must find the courage to master his conscious mind by carrying out experiments in understanding. So, continuing to think, he next asks himself, ‘Why not fly down to an island and rest?’ Again, not knowing any reason why he shouldn’t, he proceeds with his experiment. And again, his decision is met with the same criticism from his instinctive self—but this time Adam defies the criticism and perseveres with his experimentation in self-management. His decision, however, means he must now live with the criticism and immediately he is condemned to a state of upset. A battle has broken out between his instinctive self, which is perfectly orientated to the flight path, and his emerging conscious mind, which needs to understand why that flight path is the correct course to follow. His instinctive self is perfectly orientated, but Adam doesn’t understand that orientation.
In short, when the fully conscious mind emerged it wasn’t enough for it to be orientated by instincts, it had to find understanding to operate effectively and fulfil its great potential to manage life. But, tragically, the instinctive self didn’t ‘appreciate’ that need and ‘tried to stop’ the mind’s necessary search for knowledge, as represented by the latter’s experiments in self-management—hence the ensuing battle between instinct and intellect. To refute the criticism from his instinctive self, Adam needed the discoveries that science has given us of the difference in the way genes and nerves process information; in particular, he needed to be able to explain that the gene-based learning system can orientate species to situations but is incapable of insight into the nature of change. Genetic selection of one reproducing individual over another reproducing individual (the selection, in effect, of one idea over another idea, or one piece of information over another piece of information) gives species adaptations or orientations—instinctive programming—for managing life, but those genetic orientations, those instincts, are not understandings. (Note, a more complete explanation of what instincts are is presented later in pars 247-248.) The nerve-based learning system on the other hand, can, if sufficiently developed, understand change. Nerves were originally developed for the coordination of movement in animals, but, once developed, their ability to store impressions—what we refer to as ‘memory’—gave rise to the potential to develop understanding of cause and effect. If you can remember past events, you can compare them with current events and identify regularly occurring experiences. This knowledge of, or insight into, what has commonly occurred in the past enables you to predict what is likely to happen in the future and to adjust your behaviour accordingly. Once insights into the nature of change are put into effect, the self-modified behaviour starts to provide feedback, refining the insights further. Predictions are compared with outcomes and so on. Much developed, nerves can sufficiently associate information to reason how experiences are related, learn to understand and become conscious of, or aware of, or intelligent about, the relationship between events that occur through time. Thus consciousness means being sufficiently aware of how experiences are related to attempt to manage change from a basis of understanding. What this means is that when the nerve-based learning system became sufficiently developed for consciousness to emerge and with it the ability to understand the world, it wasn’t enough to be instinctively orientated to the world—conscious understanding of the world had to be found. The problem, of course, was that Adam had only just taken his first, tentative steps in the search for knowledge, and so had no ability to explain anything. It was a catch-22 situation for the fledgling thinker, because in order to explain himself he needed the very knowledge he was setting out to accumulate. He had to search for understanding, ultimately self-understanding, understanding of why he had to ‘fly off course’, without the ability to first explain why he needed to ‘fly off course’. And without that defence, he had to live with the criticism from his instinctive self and was INSECURE in its presence.
To resist the tirade of unjust criticism he was having to endure and mitigate that insecurity, Adam had to do something. But what could he do? If he abandoned the search and flew back on course, he’d gain some momentary relief, but the search would, nevertheless, remain to be undertaken. So all Adam could do was retaliate against and ATTACK the instincts’ unjust criticism, attempt to PROVE the instincts’ unjust criticism wrong, and try to DENY or block from his mind the instincts’ unjust criticism—and he did all those things. He became angry towards the criticism. In every way he could he tried to demonstrate his self worth, prove that he is good and not bad—he shook his fist at the heavens in a gesture of defiance of the implication that he is bad. And he tried to block out the criticism—this block-out or denial including having to invent contrived excuses for his instinct-defying behaviour. In short, his ANGRY, EGOCENTRIC and ALIENATED state appeared. Adam’s intellect or ‘ego’ (which is just another word for the intellect since the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘ego’ as ‘the conscious thinking self’ (5th edn, 1964)) became ‘centred’ or focused on the need to justify itself—selfishly preoccupied aggressively competing for opportunities to prove he is good and not bad, to validate his worth, to get a ‘win’; to essentially eke out any positive reinforcement that would bring him some relief from criticism and sense of worth. He unavoidably became SELFISH, AGGRESSIVE and COMPETITIVE.
Overall, it was a terrible predicament in which Adam became PSYCHOLOGICALLY UPSET—a sufferer of PSYCHOSIS and NEUROSIS. Yes, since, according to , ‘osis’ means ‘abnormal state or condition’, and the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology’s entry for ‘psyche’ reads ‘The oldest and most general use of this term is by the early Greeks, who envisioned the psyche as the soul or the very essence of life’ (1985 edn), Adam developed a ‘psychosis’ or ‘soul-illness’, and a ‘neurosis’ or neuron or nerve or ‘intellect-illness’. His original gene-based, instinctive ‘essence of life’ soul or PSYCHE became repressed by his intellect for its unjust condemnation of his intellect, and, for its part, his nerve or NEURON-based intellect became preoccupied denying any implication that it is bad. Adam became psychotic and neurotic.
But, again, without the knowledge he was seeking, without self-understanding (specifically the understanding of the difference between the gene and nerve-based learning systems that science has given us), Adam Stork had no choice but to resign himself to living a psychologically upset life of anger, egocentricity and alienation as the only three responses available to him to cope with the horror of his situation. It was an extremely unfair and difficult, indeed tragic, position for Adam to find himself in, for we can see that while he was good he appeared to be bad and had to endure the horror of his psychologically distressed, upset condition until he found the real—as opposed to the invented or contrived not-psychosis-recognising—defence or reason for his ‘mistakes’. Basically, suffering psychological upset was the price of his heroic search for understanding. Indeed, it is the tragic yet inevitable situation any animal would have to endure if it transitioned from an instinct-controlled state to an intellect-controlled state—its instincts would resist the conscious mind’s search for knowledge. Adam’s uncooperative and divisive competitive aggression—and his selfish, egocentric, self-preoccupied efforts to prove his worth; and his need to deny and evade criticism, essentially embrace a dishonest state—all became an unavoidable part of his personality. Such was Adam Stork’s predicament, and such has been the human condition, for it was within our species that the fully conscious mind emerged.
We can now see that the Biblical story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden accurately describes the primary situation involved in our human condition of the psychologically upsetting battle that emerged between our instincts and our conscious intellect’s search for knowledge. It says Adam and Eve/we took the ‘fruit’ (Genesis 3:3) ‘from the tree of…knowledge’ (Gen. 2:9, 17) and were ‘disobedient’ (the term widely used in descriptions of Gen. 3). In other words, we developed a conscious mind and free will. But in that pre-scientific story it says Adam and Eve then became perpetrators of ‘sin’ (Gen. 4:7) and as a result were ‘banished…from the Garden of Eden’ (Gen. 3:23) for being ‘evil’ (Gen. 3:22), whereas this scientific presentation reveals Adam and Eve to be the HEROES, NOT THE VILLAINS they have so long been portrayed as. So while humans ARE immensely upset—that is, immensely angry, egocentric and alienated—WE ARE GOOD AND NOT BAD AFTER ALL!!!! And ‘upset’ is the right word for our condition because while we are not ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ we are definitely psychologically upset from having to participate in humanity’s heroic search for knowledge. ‘Corrupted’ and ‘fallen’ have sometimes been used to describe our condition, but they have negative connotations that we can now appreciate are undeserved.
For our species, it really has been a case of ‘Give me liberty or give me death’, ‘No retreat, no surrender’, ‘Death before dishonour’, ‘Never back down’, as the sayings go. Our conscious thinking self was never going to give in to our instinctive self or soul. Even though we had developed into angry, egocentric and alienated people, we were never going to accept that we were fundamentally bad, evil, worthless, awful beings; we weren’t going to wear that criticism—for if we did, we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed each morning and face the world. If we truly believed we were fundamentally evil beings, we would shoot ourselves. There had to be a greater truth that explained our behaviour and until we found it we couldn’t rest. And so every day as we got out of bed we took on the world of ignorance that was condemning us. We defied the implication that we are bad. We shook our fist at the heavens. In essence, we said, ‘One day, one day, we are going to prove our worth, explain that we are not bad after all, and until that day arrives we are not going to ‘back down’, we are not going to take the ignorant, naive, stupid, unjustified criticism from our instincts. No, we are going to fight back with all our might.’ And that is what we have done; that is what every conscious human that has ever lived has done—and because we did, because we persevered against all that criticism, we have now finally broken through and found the full truth that explains that humans are wonderful beings after all. In fact, not just wonderful but the heroes of the whole story of life on Earth. This is because our fully conscious mind is surely—given its phenomenal ability to understand the world—nature’s greatest invention, so for us humans who were given this greatest of all inventions to develop, to be made to endure the torture of being unjustly condemned as bad or evil for doing just that, and to have had to endure that torture for so long, some 2 million years (the time we have likely been fully conscious), has to make us the absolute heroes of the story of life on Earth. We were given the hardest, toughest of tasks, and against all the odds we completed it. Humans are the champions of the story of life on Earth. We are so, so wonderful! Yes, we can at last understand the absolutely extraordinary paradox that neither Pascal nor Shakespeare could at all understand, of how on earth could we humans be ‘god’-‘like’ in our ‘infinite’ ‘faculty’ of ‘reason’ and ‘apprehension’, a ‘glor[ious]’, ‘angel’-‘like’ ‘prodigy’ capable of being a ‘judge of all things’ and a ‘repository of truth’, and yet seemingly behave so appallingly that we appear to be ‘monster[s]’, ‘imbecile[s]’, ‘a sewer of uncertainty and error’ and ‘chaos’, the ‘essence’ of ‘dust’, ‘the scum of the universe’. We have made sense of the seemingly nonsensical!!!
As we will see throughout this book, now that we can finally explain the seemingly-impossible-to-explain paradox of how we humans could be good when all the evidence appeared to unequivocally indicate we were bad, all our mythology can at last be made sense of. For example, why was Miguel de Cervantes’ 1605 novel Don Quixote voted ‘The Greatest Book of All Time’ by the world’s most acclaimed writers in a poll arranged by the Nobel Institute? Well, Don Quixote is the story of an elderly man who gets out of bed, re-names himself ‘Don Quixote of la Mancha’, dons an old suit of armour, takes up an ancient shield and lance, mounts his skinny old horse, and calls on his loyal but world-weary companion Sancho to join him on the most spectacular of adventures. As I have depicted below, coming across a field of large windmills, the noble knight says, ‘Look yonder, friend Sancho, there are…outrageous giants whom I intend to…deprive…of life…and the expiration of that cursed brood will be an acceptable service to Heaven’. And so the crazed and hopeless adventure goes on, gloriously doomed battle after gloriously doomed battle. But that has been the lot of every human for some 2 million years; hopeless battle after hopeless battle, feeble beings charging at and trying to vanquish the ‘outrageous giant’ ignorance-of-the-fact-of-our-species’-fundamental-goodness! Wave after wave of quixotic humans have thrown themselves at that ‘outrageous giant’ of ignorance for eons and eons, as bit by tiny bit they accumulated the knowledge that finally made the redeeming explanation of our human condition possible!
Joe Darion’s fabulous lyrics of the song The Impossible Dream, which featured in the 1965 musical about Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha, perfectly describes the unbelievably courageous and heroic participation in humanity’s corrupting search for knowledge by every human who has ever lived during the last 2 million years, which Don Quixote’s story personifies: ‘To dream the impossible dream [of one day, in the far future (which has now arrived), finding the redeeming understanding of the human condition], to fight the unbeatable foe [of our ignorant instincts], to bear the unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go. To right the unrightable wrong [of being unjustly criticised], to love pure and chaste from afar, to try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star. This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far. To fight for the right without question or pause, to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause. And I know if I will only be true, to this glorious quest, that my heart will lie peaceful and calm, when I’m laid to my rest. And the world will be better for this, that one man scorned and covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable star.’
Again, it has to be emphasised that this has been a very brief outline of the explanation of the human condition that is provided in chapter 3. There is so much more to explain—in particular, humans aren’t migrating birds, so what was the particular instinctive orientation that our species was defying when we went in search of knowledge? In chapter 2 it will be pointed out that humans have unconditionally selfless, moral instincts, the ‘voice’ or expression of which within us is our conscience, while chapter 5 will provide the biological explanation for how we acquired these extraordinary altruistic, moral instincts. So it follows that when we humans became fully conscious and went in search of knowledge and became angry, egocentric and alienated, that behaviour only served to further exacerbate the condemnation we already felt from defying our particular instinctive orientation. Yes, our necessary search for knowledge has been an extremely guilt-inducing enterprise—it required us to defy our instincts, a necessary defiance that made us angry, egocentric and alienated, which was an outcome that further offended our particular instincts that expect us to behave in an unconditionally selfless, cooperative and loving way. So, if Adam Stork felt guilty for merely veering off his flight path, but was still a hero for doing so, just how much more heroic are humans to have endured and surmounted the horrendous degree of guilt we encountered!
Consider then the fact that humans have been living in this extremely unfair and torn state where we couldn’t explain the good reason for our species’ psychologically upset condition for over 2 million years! With this in mind, we can start to register just how much hurt, frustration and anger must now exist within humans. After all, imagine living just one day with the injustice of being condemned as evil, bad and worthless when you intuitively knew—but were unable to explain—that you were actually the complete opposite, namely truly wonderful, good and meaningful. How tormented and furious—how upset—would you be by the end of that one day? You would be immensely upset. So extrapolate that experience over 2 million years and you will begin to get some appreciation of just how much volcanic anger must now exist within us humans today! While we have learnt to significantly restrain and conceal—‘civilise’—our phenomenal amount of upset, it nevertheless follows that, under the surface, our species must be boiling with rage, and that sometimes, when our restraint can no longer find a way to contain it, that anger must express itself. Yes, we can finally understand humans’ capacity for astounding acts of aggression, hate, brutality and atrocity.
While all of this will be explained more thoroughly in chapter 3, this brief Adam Stork analogy does serve to convey the main upsetting clash that occurs when a conscious mind develops in the presence of pre-established instincts. And even from this simplified analogy, we can see how absolutely wonderfully exonerating and psychologically transforming this psychosis-addressing-and-solving explanation of the human condition is, because after 2 million years of uncertainty it allows all humans to finally understand that there has been a very good reason for our angry, alienated and egocentric lives. Indeed, this fact of the utter magnificence of the human race—that we are, in truth, the heroes of the story of life on Earth—brings such intense relief to our angst-ridden cells, limbs and torsos that it will seem as though we have thrown off a shroud of heavy weights. The great, heavy burden of guilt has finally been lifted from the shoulders of humans. Yes, doesn’t the core feeling exist in all humans that far from being meaningless, ‘banish[ment]’-deserving ‘evil’ blights on this planet we are all immense heroes? Doesn’t this explanation at last make sense of the immensely courageous and defiant attitude of all humans? And won’t this explanation bring deep, bone-draining relief to the whole of each person’s being?
Our ability now to explain and understand that we are actually all good and not bad enables all the upset that resulted from being unable to explain the source of our divisive condition to subside and disappear. Finding understanding of the human condition is what rehabilitates and transforms the human race from its psychologically upset angry, egocentric and alienated condition. In fact, the word ‘psychiatry’ literally means ‘soul-healing’ (derived as it is from psyche meaning ‘soul’ and iatreia, which according to The Encyclopedic World Dictionary means ‘healing’)—but we have never before been able to ‘heal our soul’, explain to our original instinctive self or soul that our fully conscious, thinking self is good and not bad and, by so doing, reconcile and heal our split selves. As Professor Harry Prosen, the former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association to whom I am eternally grateful for writing his deeply appreciative Introduction to this book, has said about the psychological effect of this all-loving, all-compassionate understanding of ourselves: ‘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.’ Yes, our ability now to understand the dark side of ourselves means we can finally achieve the ‘wholeness for humans’ that the analytical psychologist Carl Jung was forever pointing out ‘depends on the ability to own our own shadow’. As the following picture powerfully intimates, we have needed, and now have, the key that liberates the human mind from the underlying deep, dark, psychological trauma of the human condition!
As for the veracity of this explanation, it is precisely this explanation’s ability to at last make relieving sense of human life, of all our behaviour in fact, that lets us know that we have finally found the true explanation of the human condition. The great physicist Albert Einstein once wrote that ‘Truth is what stands the test of experience’ (Out of My Later Years, 1950, p.115 of 286), and since this study and explanation is all about us, our behaviour, we are each in a position to personally ‘experience’ its validity, to know if it’s true or not. As the subject of this study, we can each know if the ideas being put forward work or not. We can each know if these explanations do make sense of our deepest feelings—of all our competitive anger and egocentricity, of our lonely estranged souls, of our insecure state yet core belief that we are wonderful beings, etc, etc—as, in fact, they do.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, these explanations are so powerfully insightful, accountable and revealing (so true) that they render our lives transparent—a transparency, a sudden exposure, that can initially be overwhelmingly confronting and depressing. But there is a way, indeed an absolutely wonderful, joyous way, to deal with the arrival of exposure day, or transparency day, or revelation day, or truth day, or honesty day—in fact, what has been described as the long-feared ‘judgment day’, which is not, as has just been described, a time of condemning ‘judgment’ but one of compassionate understanding. And that wonderful way of managing the arrival of the all-liberating, all-rehabilitating but at the same time all-exposing truth about us humans is the subject of the concluding chapter (9) in this book. But the point being made here is that the transparency of our lives that these explanations bring, which the aforementioned interview with Brian Carlton reveals, confirms just how effective, how penetrating, and, therefore, how truthful these understandings actually are.
Yes, while searching for the real explanation of the human condition humans had no choice but to develop all manner of behaviour to protect ourselves from exposure to criticism of our divisive-instead-of-cooperative condition—with the result being that we humans have been hiding behind very large, carefully constructed facades of evasion, pretence and delusion. And, as we will see in the next chapter, as our vehicle for enquiry into the nature and workings of our world, science and its human-condition-afflicted practitioners invented and contrived all sorts of false excuses for our divisive behaviour to support this denial. But when the truth arrives about the human condition, all these facades and false excuses are suddenly exposed for the lies they are. The truth reveals the lies, as it must, and there has been an immense amount of lying going on, so all this sudden exposure of the extent of our fraudulent existence will come as a sudden shock—it does represent a kind of exposure or revelation or judgment ‘day’—but as will be explained in chapter 9 when the great transformation of the human race is described, that exposure is easily managed through not overly confronting the truth that has now arrived and instead focusing on redeeming the whole human race and to repairing the immensely damaged world that has come about as a result of all our upset behaviour.
Again, this chapter contains only a very brief outline of what this book presents. The long-awaited arrival of the truth about our psychologically distressed human condition was always going to produce a huge paradigm shift in our thinking—a great deal of sweeping change—which means there is much to explain, describe and have to digest. As mentioned earlier, chapter after chapter that follows dismantles the whole universe of dishonest excuses that we humans have had to invent to try to account for all aspects of our behaviour while we waited for the real explanation of our divisive-instead-of-cooperative condition. And not only will all the dishonest biological excuses for our behaviour be exposed for the lies they are, the truthful explanations for all our behaviour will be provided in their place. This is because, as will be described and explained and become evident in chapter 2, trying to investigate human behaviour while you’re living in denial of the human condition—as reductionist, mechanistic scientists have been doing—was never going to produce the truthful insights into human behaviour. Only a human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding approach—the holistic approach taken in this book—could find the answers to all the great outstanding questions in science, namely of the real and true explanation of the human condition (which has been outlined here and is fully described in chapter 3); of the real and true explanation of the meaning of our existence (which is presented in chapter 4); of the real and true explanation for the origins of humans’ unconditionally selfless, moral instincts (which is presented in chapters 5 and 6); of the real and true explanation for how and why humans became conscious when other species haven’t (which is presented in chapter 7); of the real and true description of the emergence of humans from our ape ancestor to our present immensely human-condition-afflicted upset state (which is presented in chapter 8 and includes the explanation of the roles of men and women in this journey, the explanation of sex as humans have practised it, the explanation of religion and politics, and many, many other insights into human behaviour); and finally, the description of how the real and true explanation of the human condition transforms the human race (which is presented in chapter 9).