Video & Transcript of the 2-part video titled
‘Resignation | The Unresigned Mind | “Ships at Sea”’
by Jeremy Griffith with Franklin Mukakanga and
Stefan Rössler, in Sydney on 25 Feb. 2017.

 

(The transcript of Part 1 of this presentation appears below the video; to read the transcript of Part 2, click here.

 

 

Part 1

 

You give this book, Transform Your Life And Save The World (TYL), to people and they are just in shock because it dares to start off by saying that we were once innocent, then it talks about Resignation and it includes Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream (1895), because now we can understand that the horror of the resigned world is like that.

 

‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, 1893, a dream like painting of a man holding his head with a horrified facial expression.

Edvard Munch’s The Scream (1895)

 

You see these two people walking along the promenade? They’re just walking like it’s a normal day, but for this guy, he’s screaming. The whole atmosphere is vibrating with terror because this is the real situation, this is a mad world and this person can see it. That’s the effect the resigned world has on an innocent. When you’re like these two people here, resigned, it’s just as it’s always been, so what? So this section of Part 1 of TYL is all about Resignation and it’s just breaking the rules all day long, every sentence of this book is. We’ve never discussed or admitted Resignation, let alone that there are unresigned people which is hugely shocking. [See Freedom Essay 30 for explanation of Resignation and the ‘ship at sea’ state.] I found this understanding before I was 30, so I had a bridging understanding to help me deal with the horror of the resigned world. But when I was in my early 20s and conducting my search for the thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) in Tasmania I carried around a bit of paper that had the first words of each sentence of a document I wrote called What I Reckon! to help me memorise what I’d written rather than carrying around the whole document. It was a pretty childish kind of explanation, but I had to have some bridging understanding to keep me going.

 

 

But the very, very, very important thing, I’ve worked out in my mind anyway, is that Franklin [Mukakanga, from WTM Zambia] is 10 years older than Stefan [Rössler, from WTM Austria]. Both of them are ‘ships at sea’ but Stefan, this is an amazing story, was so desperate to try to understand this resigned world, this mad world of adults, that he actually decided that aliens must have infiltrated planet Earth, that resigned people must be aliens. He couldn’t understand why they were so different or why his thinking seemed to be so different from theirs. Anyway, this is very funny, when he got hold of a copy of FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition (FREEDOM), the first thing he looked up in the Index was the word, ‘aliens’, and there was the word ‘alienation’, which is used in nearly every sentence to describe that we have become alienated from our soul’s truthful world! And he thought, ‘Shit, my worst fears are confirmed!’ It’s a very funny story but that’s how desperate you become when you’re unresigned, because you can’t make any sense of the resigned world, because the resigned world is living in silence. The comment I made the most through those early years before I found this bridging understanding was that adults take it for granted that the way they live is self-evident, because they’re so silent, they don’t admit it. They aren’t even aware they are. They think it’s self-evident why they behave the way they do, but to an innocent it’s a total mystery, it’s absolute sheer pain, if you haven’t got a bridging understanding (par. 761 FREEDOM).

What happens at Resignation is that you decide, ‘I can’t try to make sense of this world and myself, so I have to resign to world being the way it is.’ And then you’re part of the problem, you’re part of the world as it is. But if you stay unresigned, it’s a torturous life, absolutely torturous. I mean how horrific was it that Stefan had to actually believe there must be aliens on this planet? ‘I can’t understand, they’re weird as all get out!’ So if Stefan didn’t find that bridging understanding, and he’s up to believing the world is full of aliens, and he’s now 31, and Franklin’s 41, so add another ten years to Stefan’s equation, Franklin is going to be absolutely desperate, really shut down. Because the only way they cope if you listen to these two guys, and I’ve been listening to them for a fortnight, is by adopting, masquerading ‘faking it to make it’, pretending to be part of the resigned world. In his presentation for the opening of the WTM Centre in Austria, Stefan says, ‘I always knew that I was different and either everyone else was lying and odd or I was just completely crazy. I’d get called naive and people always told me that I’m a dreamer and that it’s about time for me to finally adjust to reality. But I refused to do that and instead I just decided to become a likeable and seemingly well-adjusted person. Then I decided to become very operational, which was pretty easy for me because I knew it wasn’t realit was just a game. It was a case of “faking it to make it”. But underneath the surface I was getting more and more desperate for answers and I needed to find a meaning in life.’ (To watch Stefan’s presentation or to print the transcript go to testing.humancondition.com/community/?video=global-conference-playlist_global-conference-stefan)

So they both ‘faked it to make it’. They develop adaptions to try to look like they’re participating in getting on with the upset world, but they’re not really. They’re only doing it so they can coexist and the longer you do that the more habituated it becomes. In my estimation I think Franklin, because he’s got such a wonderful mind, has built a facade around being somewhat intellectual, because he’s so good with words and so good on paper he can sort of scam it get on in that world. So that intellectualism has now become part of his persona and he’s got a lot of layers. He talks about peeling the layers from an onion to get back to this innocent child within him, his original innocent, happy state. So he’s, I use the word ‘crushed’. When Franklin was young, instead of going to university he just went bush for a couple of years, he didn’t want to go and see the European countries like all his other African friends, he wanted to stay close to nature and disown all that rubbish because he was an unresigned prophet.

We don’t know all of Stefan’s story, but he was an exceptionally innocent boy too. When he was 12 he looked at his father who was overweight and all these grotesque older men and said, ‘I just don’t want to be part of that world.’ And at 16 he fell in love with a girl who was in a band at a folk festival, but when he talked to her the next day she told him she’d slept with another bloke the night before and that was just a spear through his heart, because when you’re very innocent the commitment to your first love is very great. So throughout Stefan’s journey he has struggled to cope with this mad world of upset. But Franklin’s crushed. He’s had to live in this terrible resigned adult world for so long that he’s developed all these defences to cope, and so his real self is a littleI said to Franklin, ‘We’re going to tie you to a tree and put your head back and get a huge crane with a big hook and lower it right down into the bottom of you, and then pull out your soul bit by bit to get it to come back onto the surface.’ So [in Franklin] there’s another ten years on top of Stefan; you can still hear excitement about life in his [Stefan’s] voice. But they both were troubled by the question, ‘Why isn’t everyone else happy and excited?’, just as I was.

I went to that party when I came out of Tasmania, and it was just a sea of people, a huge auditorium. I stood on a chair, and I talked so loudly that everyone shut up, and I told them they were all frauds and fakes and artificial, and I was really angry. Everyone went totally silent and then the blokes turned their backs on me. The woman I was with, Jill White, who later married a Premier of NSW, Neville Wran, just said something like, ‘Jeremy, sit down, the world’s more complicated than you understand and you’ll get used to it.’ But that’s how naive and desperate I was for a bridging understanding.

So it’s a whole new world of description to explain what it’s like to be a ‘ship at sea’, someone unresigned. It’s a horror story. And that’s been Franklin’s and Stefan’s story. The killer punch on that one is we’ve got a 67 year old ‘ship at sea’ who’s written to us, so that’s another 27 years of living without a bridging understanding, no understanding of the mad world; how terrible would that be! Some of his correspondence is reproduced in TYL on pages 27-28 (or pages 23-24 of the 2016 First Edition). This is the story of what happens to somebody who hasn’t had a bridging understanding as a ‘ship at sea’: ‘Have watched the video presentations [on your website] and have read to part-way through chapter two [of FREEDOM] when I read the line; “To be confused and frightened to the point of being sickened by human behaviour, indeed to be suicidally depressed by it, is the effect the human condition has if you haven’t resigned yourself to living a relieving but utterly dishonest and superficial life in denial of it.” This has shaken me to the core, as it describes my tormented life of 67 years, and it tells me why it has been so, which nothing or no-one has been able to. Having discovered this immense truth, I hope I can find in the rest of this book a way to cope with the avalanche of emotions it has unleashed. At the moment I feel overwhelmed and vulnerable, which I presume is not unknown to yourselves when this realisation occurs in people like me, and would dearly love to receive some guidance on this. I honestly believe that if anything can save the world, this book has the potential to; if the world can cope with it. Thank you. Bill [real name withheld]So that’s how incredibly traumatised his whole life has been.

Franklin said a similar thing about no one ever having explained his ‘ship at sea’ life in his speech for the opening of the WTM Centre in Zambia, ‘…within 5 weeks I had devoured the book [FREEDOM] from ‘cover’ to ‘cover’, as well as a lot of his earlier writing, and found his explanation of the human condition not only answered so many questions about us as a species but also explained me as an individual in ways that nothing else had done beforeand it did this so thoroughly that it completely rewired my understanding of the world and immediately began stilling my mind and healing my soul…What truly amazed me about the answers provided in Jeremy’s work was just how deep they went for me on a very, very personal level.’ (To watch Franklin’s presentation or to print the transcript go to testing.humancondition.com/community/?video=global-conference-playlist_global-conference-franklin)

So I found a bridging understanding, I had a little bullshit explanation for a long time but then I found the real one, and so I didn’t have to die a million deaths like these two guys have, Stefan and Franklin. So they’re coming back from the dead as it were, layer by layer. Like I said to them the other day, twice, ‘I don’t think there’s anybody on Earth at this moment who’s recovering from an understanding, or some sort of psychological breakthrough in their understanding of themselves, and making as much progress as quickly as these two blokes.’ It’s such a torturous position to not understand the world of reality, the upset world/​the resigned world. And to finally find that understanding; well you can read it between the lines in Franklin’s emails to me, it’s just so enormously relieving. You can just feel the relief pouring out of their pores from finally having some understanding.

Anyway. So that’s a bit about their background, is that pretty right? [Stefan and Franklin both nod their heads in agreement.]

 

Franklin: Yep.

 

Jeremy: So this is a whole new discussion and description of our world.

 

______________________

 

Part 2

 

Stefan and Franklin discussing Resignation and Ships-at-sea

 

Jeremy: If we could find more ‘ships at sea’ we would, you can bet on that. The problem is that they’re very rare, we haven’t encountered that many over the years, and we’ve had the information out there for a long time. They are really rare. Well, you guys must know that from your personal experience how rare your life’s been, how unusual. Like I was saying about Stefan [Rössler, from WTM Austria], you can see in a presentation he gave in June 2014 before he found this explanation of the human condition (https://creativemornings.com/​talks/stefan-rossler/1) his preparedness to commandeer a gathering of people on some other pretext and then just tell them about his concerns. He used the analogy of an elephant tethered to a stake in the ground by a rope, that the elephant is strong enough to break the rope but he’s so used to being captive that he doesn’t ever try to escape. This analogy had nothing to do with the subject he was supposed to be talking about but he used it to talk about what troubles him: ‘What’s wrong with these humans? Why are they tethered, and why are they living in a cave and why won’t they get out of it? Because there’s a whole lot of stuff out here that is real and true and they won’t go near it. They’re all tethered and strangled and artificial and false, and they’re living in this false world, like a tethered elephant in the circus, they don’t know that they can break free.’ From where he’s sitting it’s ridiculous behaviour, but they’re very rare, ‘ships at sea’.

 

Genevieve Salter: They’re also often very traumatised.

 

Monica Kodet: Crippled by their situation.

 

Jeremy: You mean ‘ships at sea’ are traumatised?

 

Genevieve: Yeah, so it’s hard for them to be functional.

 

Jeremy: Yeah, well that’s very true. That’s the point I was just making if you walk a mile in Stefan’s shoes. There’s a clue in that talk you gave, Stefan, because you are a very extroverted, very determined person, a very motivated kind of dude. So you’ve said, ‘Listen, there’s something going wrong here, you’re all dead and artificial and false and for some reason you’re living in this state of stupidity and screw it, I’m not going to accept it!’ I mean, that’s the most amazing thing about that little video of the talk you gave before you came across us. You say, ‘Look, I don’t care what’s going on in your head but something is terribly wrong, I’m going to tell you what’s important. There’s this bloody elephant that’s strangled and ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to know why? What’s going on? Why is this happening? Why is it that humans are so tied down, when they could be free of that?’ It was such a courageous and defiant stand.

One of the things I did when I was a young man, similar to that, was when I came out of the Tasmanian wilderness after searching for the Tasmanian Tiger. I was going out with this girl and she in invited me to a formal dinner and dance ball in Sydney. All the ‘Young Turks’ were there, all the up and coming young men and women in Sydney, and it was in a huge auditorium. I was so distressed by it that I stood on my chair, this is fair dinkum, and I started telling them how they are were frauds, dishonest and artificial and fake. I just went for it. The room went from here to that fence over there, it was huge and full of people, and they all went silent. And that’s how defiant I was, and how frustrated I was, totally bewildered by what the hell was going on on this planet. They were all smiling and laughing and having a big feast and to me it was mad in the most extreme form. Anyway, the girl I was with just stood up and tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Jeremy, just sit down, the world’s a bit more complicated than you realise’, and all the blokes turned their backs and just ignored me. But that’s how frustrated I was, and how defiant I was, and that’s what your story of the elephant is, it’s you, Stefan, saying, ‘I’m not going to accept the resigned world.’

In terms of what Genevieve said about how difficult it is to be a ‘ship at sea’, how lonely and distressing it is, we have a WTM member from Sweden called Olof and his is a real fluke situation. When he was 12 or 13, he was entering the process of Resignation but he realised that everyone that was resignedhe didn’t know about resignation of coursewere friendly and extroverted. [See F. Essay 30 on Resignation.] He didn’t know they were on a giant escape mission, that they were pretending, just wanting to escape this dark corner. They are massively stewed up and excited about it but it’s all artificial. Olof didn’t want to be a loner, so he artificially pretended to be one of them. He didn’t resign, but he faked being a resigned person so that he would be accepted by them. So he pulled off this stunt and he pulled it off until he was 21 years old. At 21 he went to a university somewhere in northern Sweden and he was flatting with another bloke who was a pseudo idealist in a big way, like he went down to Oslo and held up placards saying ‘greed is evil’ at the G8 Summit. But, Olof is such a cleanskin (unresigned) that he knew that this guy was just faking it, that he was being artificially idealistic. He knows he’s full of shit and he’s just pulling off this stunt and it absolutely distressed him. So, in effect, he was forced back into engaging with the issue of the human condition which he’d put aside.

So now he’s 21 or 22 and he’s back going through Resignation, trying to face down the truth. He’s thinking, ‘This guy is a fraud. I know he’s a fraud and I’ve got to put up with all his fraudulent pseudo idealism about the G8 Summit and capitalism killing the world’, and he was just so distressed about it. He’d effectively picked up where he was at 12 and started wrestling with the human condition again. He was near death. His family were really, really worried that he was going to suicide, because he wasn’t giving in to Resignation. Adolescents don’t want to give in and resign, even though eventually they have to, because they pay the huge price of becoming a total fraud. Once you resign, your life is meaningless. Everything you say and think is coming off a false base, you’re artificial as all get out. Kids don’t resign easily but if they fight too long they will suicide because they can’t reconcile the ideal with the real.

So Olof got deeper and deeper into depression. He got to a point where he couldn’t go to university anymore and his parents were really terrified that he was going to suicide. But one day he searched Google for, ‘freedom from the human condition’ and he found the WTM [amazingly, this is also how Stefan found us], and he’s coming back to life, bit by bit, from a state of extreme terror. He’s still afraid of the issue of the human condition but every email he writes, because I tune in a bit to the correspondence we are having with the new members, I can see that psychologically he’s coming back to life, he’s thawing out. But how much terror has been in his system? Unlike you, Stefan, because you’re an extrovert and you forced yourself on the world and you weren’t going to go under, you were going to make this crazy world face this issue, you weren’t going to give up on it. Whereas Olof is a different personality, not as extroverted, I suppose, and he just came up with this trick to avoid Resignation which backfired when he was 21 making him seriously depressed, and then he found this information and it saved his life.

If you walk a mile in Franklin’s [Mukakanga from WTM Zambia] shoes, if you read his early emails to the WTM, he says, ‘This has saved my life! I’ve tried this and that. I’ve been an anomaly, I’ve been considered ‘weird’, I started all these idealistic projects like a barter system.’ Because a lot of people in Zambia don’t have much money Franklin tried to introduce a barter system so they could trade goods instead of money. That’s really incredible, to try to replace the existing exchange system which is full of sharks, because I guess barter is more sincere, it’s real exchange. He also started a radio talk show to help people with their problems and he learnt many different techniques for healing yourselfabsolutely totally sincere about trying to tackle the problem of the wrongness of the world. Courageous stuff, difficult, to get on radio, get out there and talk to people, try to study all these different self-help techniques. When he came across the WTM he’d already given up. If you read his Facebook page his friends are saying, ‘Good to hear from you again’, so there’s been a hiatus there where Franklin basically went offline because he’d given up because he could see it was all futile, religion’s futile, all these new age courses are futile. Franklin is beautifully articulate and he’s described all that in the emails he’s sent us. Basically he’d come up empty and was just about ready to quit, still wasn’t going to go along with the bullshit world, but had no other path left to him.

So what Genevieve just said about the traumatised life that many ‘ships at sea’ end up with is right. It’s a torturous life. Before Stefan got here last night, I was trying to immerse Franklin in thinking back about how many unresigned ‘ships at sea’ there have been and how torturous a life they’ve had. The further you go back, the greater the number of people in society were ‘ships at sea’. The metaphor of Noah’s Arkthat’s 10,000 years ago maybe. He’s talking about the emergence of agriculture and of people living on top of each other; suddenly the graph in numbers of resigned people is going to increase dramatically. For a long time humans weren’t resigned at all, a very rare person in society would have been resigned and the equation would have been the other way around, where if you were resigned you’d have a torturous life because you’re totally out-of-step with all these other people who are going to be talking fearlessly about the truth all day long. You’re terrified of it and they won’t stop talking about it; it would be a horrific life for a resigned person when most of your society is unresigned. We haven’t discussed the human journey at all honestly, but when we do we go back and start immersing ourselves, well what was it like 11,000 years ago prior to agriculture? And then at 9,000 years ago when the number of resigned humans was starting to increase?

In par. 750 of FREEDOM there is a great etching of Noah’s Ark where the Ark is grounded on top of a hill and there are bodies strewn around the place symbolising all those who have resigned and psychologically died. And Noah was the only unresigned person left or as van der Post tells of the Bushman mythology, ‘he who was left after the reaping’ (The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958, pp.159&129 of 253)symbolising the very few that still hadn’t resigned.

 

‘The Dove Sent Forth From The Ark’. Engraving by Gustave Dore, 1866

The Dove Sent Forth From The Ark, Gustave Doré (1866)

 

So Genevieve is right, even if there are unresigned people out thereand we’re looking for themthey’re all stranded in all manner of horrific tortured places. They’re not that functional from that point of view. Remember the quote in TYL from a ‘ship at sea’, he was 67 years old: ‘Have watched the video presentations [on your website] and have read to part-way through chapter two [of FREEDOM] when I read the line; “To be confused and frightened to the point of being sickened by human behaviour, indeed to be suicidally depressed by it, is the effect the human condition has if you haven’t resigned yourself to living a relieving but utterly dishonest and superficial life in denial of it.” This has shaken me to the core, as it describes my tormented life of 67 years, and it tells me why it has been so, which nothing or no-one has been able to. Having discovered this immense truth, I hope I can find in the rest of this book a way to cope with the avalanche of emotions it has unleashed. At the moment I feel overwhelmed and vulnerable, which I presume is not unknown to yourselves when this realisation occurs in people like me, and would dearly love to receive some guidance on this. I honestly believe that if anything can save the world, this book has the potential to; if the world can cope with it. Thank you. Bill [real name withheld]’.

Franklin was 41 when he found the WTM and it saved his life. He had already run out of rope, hit the end of his chain where everything had failed him, pseudo idealism and the new age movement had failed him, religion had failed him. He had nowhere to go. If this guy is 67, which 41 from 67 is $2.50 [everyone laughs, Jeremy starts joking around]. Whatever it is, 26 more years down the track.

You haven’t seen yet Franklin but I’ve been doing wrestling, teaching Stefan some wrestling tricks! [laughter]

 

Stefan to Franklin: He lifted me up!

 

Franklin: OK, yeah?!

 

Jeremy: Mind you, he was so shy when I started wrestling him that I exploited it, that’s what you’ve got to do as a wrestler! You’ve got to exploit that moment of doubt, of hesitation. [laughter]

 

Franklin: I wish I’d seen it!

 

Stefan: I was afraid to come up the stairs because I was afraid he was hiding behind some plants! [laughter]

 

Jeremy: Like in the film The Pink Panther! The guy jumps out from the cupboard and jumps on Peter Sellers.

 

Stefan: It’s going to be a dangerous two weeks I guess!

 

Jeremy: Sorry, we should stay on track. We’re trying to talk about how to crack the problem of getting this project started. ‘Ships at sea’ would be great but they’re all in torture and there’s very few of them. There’s a spectrum of ‘ships at sea’, from those who should have resigned, that are really hurt souls, to exceptionally innocent. The ship at sea quoted in TYL, for example, has so much pain he should have resigned. Those that don’t resign can pay a very high price because it will send them mad trying to face down the human condition without that a reconciling understanding. This is the first time in the history of the Earth that we’ve had a bridging understanding. It’s an amazing moment in human history. People say, ‘ships at sea could use the “we-are-competitive-because-of-selfish-instincts” excuse’ but the thing is when you’re unresigned you know that’s a bullshit excuse. They know we’ve got a soul, that’s the whole issue. When you’re a kid, our soul tells us that we should all be cooperative; it’s fundamental, it’s in our makeup. So why the hell is everybody doing the opposite? Being brutal and selfish and mean and careless and couldn’t care less and dishonest and silent? So the old ‘animals are competitive and aggressively trying to reproduce their genes and that’s why we are’-excuse is just bullshit to a kid. Their soul is not competitive and aggressive, it’s their soul that’s telling them that the world should be different, should be ideal and it’s bloody well not, so yeah, they just psychologically die.

J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye is an absolute ripper, it’s so beautifully written. It’s about a 16-year-old boy, Holden Caulfield, struggling against Resignation and he’s just wandering around and cannot cope and wants to live in a little cabin by a stream and just cut wood and not integrate with the worldlike Franklin going off and living in the African scrub. Stefan said he had the inclination to but didn’t quite do it. So in Catcher in the Rye, Holden is struggling and struggling and then he finally encounters some rare honesty from an adult that, in Holden’s words, ‘really saved my life’ (p.172). This is what the adult said: ‘This fall I think you’re riding forit’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind…​[where you] just keep falling and falling [utter depression](p.169). The adult then spoke of men who ‘at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with…So they gave up looking [they resigned][adding] you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior’ (pp.169170). Salinger then has Holden Caulfield dreaming of a time when this absolute horror, indeed obscenity, of Resignation will no longer have to form an unavoidable part of human life: ‘I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s aroundnobody big, I meanexcept me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliffI mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be’ (p.156).

You’ve got to walk a mile in my shoesimagine how much I know how precious my work in understanding the human condition is. All these kids are psychologically dying, surely there are people out there that can hear this and come and grab it and help, you know what I mean? Imagine all these years [Jeremy started writing about the human condition in 1975 and first started seeking support for his ideas in 1983] of giving people the most precious answer that’ll stop all these kids ‘go[ing] over the cliff’, if you want to use that analogy, and they couldn’t care less about it; well basically they can’t hear it is the problem. [See Video/​F. Essay 1, 11 and 13 on the ‘Deaf Effect’ people experience when they encounter this understanding.]

You guys are discovering, very excitedly, that this reconciling understanding actually saves your life, so you’ve been freed from this pain, and are very excited about that. And everyone lives with the pain of the human condition inside them so everyone needs this desperately, but once they’ve resigned they don’t want to go near it. As much as you say, ‘Look, this time it’s safe, you can look at the subject. Honest to God, you can look at it this time and it’ll be alright, you won’t get cooked.’ TYL and the very first video on our homepage [Video/​F. Essay 1: Your block to the most wonderful of all gifts] both say, almost within 10 words, this will be a positive story. This is going to have a positive ending, it’s not going to dump you in depression, it’s going to liberate you. That’s supposed to bought a little bit of trust from people, ‘OK, I’ll listen to a little bit.’

Thank God for Plato because Plato told us that this would happenthat ‘at first’ they ‘wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things’ they were told were ‘real’ (The Republic, 515516). He said, ‘single’, ‘a single’. He wasn’t pretending. He could have said, ‘They’ll make it a bit hard’, but no, he said, ‘wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things’ they were told were ‘real’, ‘a single one’shit! He knew from his personal experience. If you walk a mile in Plato’s shoes you can see what he didhe was hitting the ‘deaf effect’ big time. That’s why Plato wrote The Republic as a dialogue with Socrates, because Socrates gained a lot of acceptance because he actually wasn’t very confronting. He was just an honest old bloke who would go around and tell people to question everything  and that seemed sort of meaningful. Like the sort of phrases Franklin throws around, lots of quotes, but they are hard to understand. If you haven’t got this understanding and you try to make a profound statement about the world it’s not going to confront the issue squarely. Socrates was very authoritative saying, ‘You’ve got to question everything’, and everyone thought, ‘Oh, well that’s very profound’. But Socrates wasn’t really cutting through to the truth, but he got a lot of notoriety just for his sheer courage and because at the end of his life he said to his detractors, ‘I’ll drink your poison, you can get stuffed.’ He was so courageous that he martyred himself.

So Socrates was accepted because he wasn’t really that threatening, but one of the people in his group was this kid, Plato, and Plato was a cleanskin, he was an honest thinker. He encountered the ‘deaf effect’ enormously to the point where he realised that he’d have to make his work a dialogue with Socrates because he has the credibility and the acceptance: ‘I’ll make this a dialogue with Socrates so everyone will be interested.’ It was a bloody great con-job to get people to read his work. He bled himself right out of it and bled Socrates right into it because Socrates had become the folk hero. God knows how we let all this truth slide through because he is so honest. Plato is just such a clean thinker, unbelievable stuff.

Anyway, thank God they did let all this truth slip through because we get so much help from that. Because Plato is talking to us, right in this room, this little group, no more. From 360 BC, so that’s 2,377 years ago, he said, ‘Listen, you poor suckers, you are going to try to get this out there and they won’t hear one single thing you try and tell them. I warn you.’ So, I’m reading Plato thinking, ‘Mate, how do you solve the problem?! You’ve described it well enough!’ [laughter] Well, he gives us a bit of a clue, he says ‘at first’. ‘Because [they] would need to grow accustomed to the light’. Oh, yeah? Well how long before they become ‘accustomed’? Do you know anything about analytics or the internet, Mr Plato? [laughter] Well I can’t find any clues in there beyond what I’ve told you as to how we solve it.

Anyway, so that’s the story behind ‘ships at sea’. They are really rare and they are all traumatised, they’re all dying a million psychological deaths.