Freedom Expanded: Book 1––How Upset the Human Race Became
Part 7:3 How Egocentric did we become?
So, it has been a case of ‘Give me liberty or give me death’, ‘No retreat, no surrender’, ‘Death before dishonour’, ‘Death or glory’—‘I am going to pursue as much reinforcement as I can through winning power, fame, fortune and glory because I will never accept that I am bad.’
In truth, no amount of power, fame, fortune and glory could establish that we were good—only clarifying explanation of the human condition could achieve that—but at least the upset human race could derive some relief from the implication that we were bad through winning power, fame, fortune and glory. And because it was the only thing that could sustain us, the selfish greed from egocentrically seeking power, fame, fortune and glory was never going to subside until understanding of the human condition was found—even though that selfish greed was destroying the Earth and would eventually destroy humanity through terminal levels of alienation, as the explanation given in Part 6:4 made clear when it described how egocentricity turned children into power-addicted adults. Only the arrival of understanding of the human condition could stop the march to self-destruction.
‘Power’, ‘fame’ and ‘glory’ were to do with achieving success—becoming the best, dominating, receiving accolades, etc. ‘Fortune’, as in wealth or money, could buy us goods and services and a lifestyle that would relieve the implication that we were bad—it supplied us with material success. We were forever talking about materialism without ever stopping to ask what we really mean by the term, but in truth, materialism became the poor substitute for the spiritualism we couldn’t have: we couldn’t find sustenance for our mind or spirit, we couldn’t explain that we were good and not bad, so all we could do was seek material relief. A bigger house and a bigger car were statements of defiance of the implication that we were bad when we rightly didn’t accept that we were. Ultimately, we built not just bigger houses, but buildings that were so big they ‘scraped’ the sky. Skyscrapers were giant statements of defiance of the implication that we humans were bad. There was no end to our will to never back down and accept that we were bad—but, by inference, there was also no limit to the destruction we were prepared to wreak in our pursuit of relief from that criticism.
And such rampant materialism is now a global phenomenon; today the immense populations of China and India are seeking all the material trappings of the Western world. These, and many other once-labelled second and third world nations, have tried all the false starts to an upset-free new world, such as socialism/communism, but dogma—the insistence to just be social and communal despite the reality of humans’ embattled condition—was never going to work. Only through the opposite of mind-less dogma, which is mind-full understanding, could an upset-free, cooperative new world emerge. Artificially restraining people, pretending that they are not enormously upset and therefore enormously in need of material reinforcement and self-distraction, was not realistic. Socialism and communism were lies that denied reality; they said that everyone could live in humble sackcloth, but that was a complete denial of the fact that people needed something to embellish their lives, anything to make them feel better about themselves. These movements pretended that the human condition didn’t exist. Of course, to supply material reinforcement required money or capital, and so capitalism accompanied materialism.
Self-distraction and entertainment were also part of the materialistic lifestyle, the materialistic way of gaining relief from the agony of the insecurity of the human condition. As the American film director, writer, actor and comedian Woody Allen once said, ‘Don’t underestimate the power of distraction to keep our minds off the truth of our situation’ (interview with Bob Costas, titled ‘Woody’, Dateline NBC, 29-30 Nov. 1994).
So yes, the human race has been on an all-out bender to find distraction, find relief from the human condition, so much so that we were prepared to destroy the planet if need be—‘Death before dishonour.’ Greed, greed, greed, selfishness, selfishness, selfishness—nothing could stop our march to destruction, except the arrival of dignifying understanding of the human condition. We even had to block out nature because since our original instinctive self or soul grew up with nature, by its association with our instinctive self it too criticised us. The innocence of nature also confronted us with our own lack of innocence. In fact, the reason spiky plants like cactus and palms became popular in landscaping was because they look as alienated as we humans are—they are ‘punk’, angry, aggressive and dead-looking. Mosques in the Islamic culture invariably feature soothing, stop-the-pain-in-the-brain blue colours and running water, while other decoration is restricted to stylised lettering, or occasionally very stylised images of nature. Generally, any images that relate to humans or to nature are avoided because they can trigger thoughts about the issue of our imperfect human condition. The extent of the insecurity of humans now is extreme.
Blocking out the subject of our rapidly increasing upset, corrupted condition through distracting and entertaining ourselves—or even through mentally not allowing ourselves to think about such unpleasant subjects—meant that we humans became more and more superficial and artificial, more and more disconnected from our true self or soul. In the end, as mentioned earlier, even our political stance became a superficial farce in which we adopted pseudo forms of idealism such as feminism, environmentalism and postmodern political correctness as a supposed solution to our and the world’s problems. Our world was quietly going completely mad. ‘Quietly’ in the sense that no one was seeing through what was happening, seeing the extreme danger of the situation. There was once concern about the dogma of socialism taking over the world but the threat of the dogma of pseudo idealism has been far more real and dangerous and yet virtually no one was recognising and acknowledging that threat; in contrast, many of the world’s political leaders, and its press, noisily advocate its ‘merits’.
Essentially, the emergence of the upset state of the human condition meant that we humans became self-preoccupied—preoccupied trying to validate ourselves by whatever means possible while we lacked the understanding that would, once and for all, explain our fundamental goodness. For men, as the party who had to champion the ego, those means translated into power and glory, while women channelled their efforts into being ‘attractive’ because that was their way of gaining reinforcement, gaining relief from the insecurity of their condition. Of course, when men became so embattled, so punch-drunk for power and glory and women so desperate for attention and as a result had their innocence destroyed through sex, it all had a devastating effect on the next generation who are born innocent and unaware of such upset in the world.
As mentioned in Part 6:4, Adam Stork has a child, Adam Stork Junior, who comes into the world expecting his or her father to be at home and emotionally present and not preoccupied with some terrible battle—not punch-drunk, narcissistic, angry and preoccupied, with no empathy for anything or anyone aside from his own circumstances. But given this was the case under the duress of the human condition, when Adam Stork Junior did receive some attention from his or her father it was conditional on proving his or her self worth, thereby contributing to his or her father’s ego castle. In the case of mothers, they were preoccupied with having to pander to their husband’s every need. Men have been so embattled and needing of endless attention that they have been like black holes in space from which nothing can escape, so somehow mothers had to juggle the task of nurturing and raising children around their husbands’ insatiable need for attention. And worse, having been used as sex objects their relatively innocent, soulful true self had been sullied or corrupted; in fact, women’s encounter with the immensely upset world in general so compromised their innocent soul that many ended up neurotic. As described in Part 6:5, children in their innocence could sense this neurosis in their mothers and somehow had to adjust to it—many, however, could not adapt and instead were forced to dissociate from the world, become autistic, or extremely mentally distressed, which is what Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is. Children come into the world so innocent they are like little Christs and while parents can’t see their own alienation, children can and are forced to adjust to it very quickly by blocking out the pain of it, and as a result dissociating from their true, innocent, ideal, happy and loving soulful self that is trying to understand why the world has become so wrong—as the following quotes make very clear. The great Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing recognised how innocent all children are to begin with when he said that ‘Each child is a new beginning, a potential prophet’ (The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967, p.26 of 156). The American architect and philosopher Buckminster Fuller also recognised the fleeting nature of children’s innocence when he described the odds of such innocence surviving in the world today: ‘All children are born geniuses. 9999 out of every 10,000 are swiftly, inadvertently de-geniused by grown-ups’ (Education for Human Development: Understanding Montessori, by Mario M. Montessori Jr., Paula Polk Lillard & Buckminster Fuller, 1987, Foreword). The Irish writer Samuel Beckett was another who wrote about the brevity of the life of the soul today: ‘They [humans] give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more’ (Waiting for Godot, 1955). The British artist Francis Bacon made this brutally honest admission on the topic, ‘the shadow of dead meat is cast as soon as we are born’ (The Australian, 15 June 2009, reprinted from The New Republic), while the nineteenth century French poet Stéphane Mallarmé bravely acknowledged that ‘L’enfant abdique son extase’, ‘To adapt to this world the child abdicates its ecstasy’ (Prose pour des Esseintes, 1885; tr. from R.D. Laing’s book, The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, 1967, p.118 of 156). William Wordsworth also truthfully said that ‘something that is gone / …Whither is fled the visionary gleam? / Where is it now, the glory and the dream? // Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting’ (Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, 1807). Similarly, in House of Cards, a 1993 film based on a screenplay by Michael Lessic, one of the characters makes the following intuitive comment about how sensitive and vulnerable innocent children have been to the horror of the alienated world of adults: ‘I used to watch Michael [a character in the film] about two hours after he was born and I thought that at that moment he knew all of the secrets of the universe and every second that was passing he was forgetting them [he was having to live in denial of them].’ These quotes provide a measure of how alienated we humans now are because if our soul died as much as has been described in the first moments of life, how much would it have died off by the end of the first day of our life, let alone the first week or even year. Truly, as Laing said, by the time we are adults there must be ‘fifty feet of solid concrete [denial]’ between us and our true selves. Again, these are all terrifying truths that exist deep in the middle of the abyss of depression in the Humanity’s Situation picture.
The point is, the Adam Stork picture describes the pristine situation where there is no prior upset. In reality, once a generation has become upset then the next generation not only has to contend with the upset that comes about as a result of their own search for knowledge, but, before they even reach that stage, they have to cope with the impact their parents’ upset has upon them. They have to cope with inadequate love and reinforcement, and worse, a world of utter silence and denial—because everything their resigned parents say is shot through with denial/lies, which children in their innocence recognise. The embattled egocentric world of adults has devastated not only the world but also the next generation, the future.