This is from a book highly recommended by psychiatrist Harry Prosen, who has become friends with its author, Jeremy Griffith. Book taken from Griffith’s web site, available if you google his name.

Section 1
Introductory summary
What is to be presented must surely be the greatest, most heroic story ever told. It is
the story of the human race, our species story. From a pre-conscious state of untroubled
ignorance, to conscious awakening and with it the emergence of the horror and darkness
of the good and evil, human-condition-afflicted state, to finally finding the redeeming
understanding of that condition, what is to be documented is a truly horrendous saga.
The suffering however has not been in vain because humanity now begins an absolutely
fabulous existence.
This will be no superficial account of humanitys journey, or of our lives as part of
it, but rather a deeply profound presentation of the biological origins, effects and, most
importantly, resolution of the underlying issue in all human affairs of our so-called human
condition, our species extraordinary capacity for both good and evil.
What has enabled this, the real story about humanity, to at last, for the first time, be
told is that after centuries of inquiry science has accumulated sufficient knowledge for
the human condition to finally be able to be explained and by so doing understood. It is
science that enables humanity to be liberated from eons of living in doubt and uncertainty
about our species fundamental worthiness and relevance.
Most significantly, by explaining the biological origins of good and evil in
our species make-up the real reconciling, peace-bringing amelioration that we have
always sought for that condition is at last made possible. This is the breakthrough we
have yearned for as a species since we first became fully conscious some 2 million
years ago and began our search for knowledge, ultimately self-knowledge. And this has
arrived only just in time because without the greater dignifying, reconciling biological
insight into our species divided nature, and our own personal split selves as part of that
condition, humanity would remain, as it has been, besieged and stalled by the distress
of that condition, rapidly festeringin fact dying. Now, instead, with the finding of this
all-important liberating insight, the great exodus from the horror and darkness of that
untenable divided state can and will begin. The real dawn for the human race has at last
arrived.
Importantly for current generations what this reconciling knowledge makes
immediately possible is a whole new, utterly fulfilling, world-saving and almost
unbearably exciting way for us to live. With the finding of understanding of the human
condition everything we have ever dreamed of suddenly becomes possible. Our deepest
hope and faith that sometime, some day, somewhere, on the shoulders of all the efforts of
all the humans who have ever lived, ameliorating insight into our condition would emerge
has finally been realised. Humanity has finally broken free from the chains of ignorance
about our species true worth and dignity.
13 The Great Exodus
Section 2. What is the Human Condition?
Here on Earth some of the most complex arrangements of matter in the known
universe have come into existence. Life, with its incredible diversity and richness,
developed.
By virtue of our mind, the human species must surely be the culmination of this grand
experiment of nature we call life. As far as we can detect, we are the first organism to
have developed the fully conscious ability to sufficiently understand and thus manage the
relationship between cause and effect to wrest management of our lives from our instincts,
and even to reflect upon our existence. With all our preoccupations it is easy to lose
sight of the utter magnificence of what we are. The human mind must be natures most
astonishing creation.
One of the greatest demonstrations of our intellectual brilliance was sending three of
our kind, in a machine of our own invention, to the Moon and back.
How far we have come.
But what a state our world is now in.
Despite our magnificent capabilities, levels of personal and environmental
wellbeing are at unprecedented lowsand hurtling towards greater depths at an equally
unprecedented rate. Every day brings with it startling evidence of the turmoil of the
human situation. There is conflict between individuals, races, cultures and countries.
There is genocide, terrorism, mass displacement of peoples, starvation, runaway diseases,
environmental devastation, gross inequality, racial and gender oppression, crime, drug
abuse, family breakdown and epidemic levels of depression and loneliness.
While humans do have a capacity for immense love and sensitivity, the fact is we
also have an unspeakable history of greed, hatred, brutality, rape, murder and war. Try as
we might to deny it, behind every wondrous scientific discovery, artistic expression and
compassionate act lies the shadow of humanitys darker accomplishment as undoubtedly
the most ferocious and destructive force that has ever lived on Earth.
This duality of good and evil, which is the essence of the human condition, has
puzzled scientists and thinkers since time immemorial: are humans essentially good and
if so, what is the cause of our evil, destructive, insensitive and cruel side? The eternal
question has been why evil? In metaphysical religious terms, what is the origin of sin?
More generally, if the universally accepted ideals are to be cooperative, loving and
selflessas has been accepted by modern civilisations as the basis for their constitutions
and laws and by the founders of all the great religions as the basis of their teachings
then why are humans competitive, aggressive and selfish? Does our inconsistency with
the ideals mean we are essentially bad? Are we a flawed species, a mistakeor are we
possibly divine beings?
The agony of being unable to answer this question of why we are the way we are,
divisively instead of cooperatively behaved, has been the particular burden of human life.
It has been our species particular affliction or conditionour human condition.
3. The suicidal depression that confronting the human condition has
caused
Good or bad, loving or hateful, angels or devils, constructive or destructive, sensitive
or insensitive, what are we? Throughout our history weve struggled to find meaning in the
awesome contradiction of the human condition. Neither philosophy nor science has, until
The Great Exodus 14
now, been able to give a clarifying explanation. For their part, religious assurances such as
God loves you may provide temporary comfort but fail to explain why we are lovable.
Indeed, if we refer to the embodiment of the ideals that govern our society as God,
then humans have been a God-fearing speciesa people living in fear and insecurity,
made to feel guilty as a result of our inconsistency with the cooperative, loving, selfless
ideals. The human predicament, or condition, is that humans have had to live with a sense
of guiltalbeit an undeserved sense of guilt, as will shortly be explained. Whenever we
attempted to understand why there was such divisiveness and, in the extreme, evil in the
world, and indeed in ourselves, we couldnt find an answer and, not finding one, were left
feeling insecure, uncertain about our goodness and worth. In fact, so deeply depressing
has the underlying issue of our human condition been that we learnt that the only practical
way to cope with it was to avoid thinking about it.
While the human condition is the underlying real issue in all of human life, it has
been such a troubling and ultimately depressing subject that we humans learnt, from a very
young age, that we had no choice but to stop thinking about it, avoid even acknowledging
its existence, force the whole issue from our minds. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein
made the point about our inability to even acknowledge the issue of the human condition
in his now-famous line, About that which we cannot speak, we must remain silent (Tractatus
Logico-Philosophicus, ch.7, 1921), while T.S. Eliot recognised our species particular frailty of
having to live psychologically in denial of the most significant and real issue in our lives
of the dilemma of our condition when he wrote that human kind cannot bear very much
reality (Four Quartets, Burnt Norton, 1936).
So daunting has this subject of the human condition been that we rarely referred to it.
For example, while human nature appears in dictionaries, human condition never does.
Only in moments of extreme profundity did we even mention the topic, and even then it
was only ever a glancing reference. For example, the mission statement of a philanthropic
organisation in America called the Fetzer Foundation contains lofty words about the
foundations dedication to research, education and service, and spliced in amongst them
are the words: as we press toward unique frontiers at the edge of revolutionary breakthroughs
in the human condition. Humans have lived in such deep denial of the issue of the human
condition that when they encounter the term human condition many think it refers
to the state of poverty or disease that afflicts much of humanity. If you search human
condition on the Internet most references interpret it as being to do with humans physical
predicament rather than with humans psychological predicament, which, as will become
clear, is its real meaning.
Testament to how virtually impossible it has been for humans to confront the issue of
the human condition is that while there has been an infinite amount written on the subject
of humans capacity for good and evil, only a very rare few individuals in recorded history
have been able to engage the core issue and fear in being human of whether or not we are
at base evil, meaningless, worthless beingseven, for the believing, sinful, defiling and
not part of Gods intended world. The following few examples constitute almost the entire
collection of descriptions of the agony of the human condition that I have found in the 31
years since 1975 when I first started to actively write about the subject. You will notice that
even in these rare examples it called on the capabilities of some of the worlds most gifted
writers to manage even to allude to the issue.
The 19th century Danish philosopher Sren Kierkegaard was one who was brave
enough to write about the human condition, describing the horrific depression that came
from trying to confront the tormenting contradiction as being so great that it is equivalent
to a living death. In fact, in the 1849 book that he so aptly titled The Sickness Unto Death,
15 The Great Exodus
Kierkegaard wrote that the subject of our contradictory nature is so fearfully depressing
that a human doesnt even dare strike up acquaintance with it, adding that this denial becomes
so important and practiced that we can only occasionally glimpse the presence of the
issue, and that even those glimpses cause us inexplicable anxiety. Kierkegaard wrote (all
underlinings in quotes and text are my emphasis): the torment of despair is precisely the inability to
diethat despair is the sickness unto death, this tormenting contradiction, this sickness in the self;
eternally to die, to die and yet not to die [p.48 of 179] there is not a single human being who does
not despair at least a little, in whose innermost being there does not dwell an uneasiness, an unquiet,
a discordance, an anxiety in the face of an unknown something, or a something he doesnt even dare
strike up acquaintance withhe goes about with a sickness, goes about weighed down with a sickness
of the spirit, which only now and then reveals its presence within, in glimpses, and with what is for
him an inexplicable anxiety [p.52] (tr. A. Hannay, 1989).
In this next quote from his 1931 book The Destiny of Man, the Russian philosopher
Nikolai Berdyaev also bravely acknowledged the existence of the horror of the human
condition. Referring to, and possibly inspired by the courage of Kierkegaards writing,
Berdyaev acknowledged an ancient, primeval terror of the fallen state of the world; of the
deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of the valuable and the worthless, describing
the distinction between good and evil as the bitterest thing in the world. He wrote:
Knowledge requires great daring. It means victory over ancient, primeval terror. Fear makes the
search for truth and the knowledge of it impossible. Knowledge implies fearlessnessConquest of
fear is a spiritual cognitive act. This does not imply, of course, that the experience of fear is not lived
through; on the contrary, it may be deeply felt, as was the case with Kierkegaard, for instanceit
must also be said of knowledge that it is bitter, and there is no escaping that bitterness Particularly
bitter is moral knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil. But the bitterness is due to the fallen
state of the world, and in no way undermines the value of knowledgeit must be said that the very
distinction between good and evil is a bitter distinction, the bitterest thing in the world Moral
knowledge is the most bitter and the most fearless of all for in it sin and evil are revealed to us along
with the meaning and value of life. There is a deadly pain in the very distinction of good and evil, of
the valuable and the worthless. We cannot rest in the thought that that distinction is ultimate. The
longing for God in the human heart springs from the fact that we cannot bear to be faced for ever with
the distinction between good and evil and the bitterness of choiceEthics must be both theoretical
and practical, i.e. it must call for the moral reformation of life and a revaluation of values as well as
for their acceptance. And this implies that ethics is bound to contain a prophetic element. It must
be a revelation of a clear conscience, unclouded by social conventions; it must be a critique of pure
conscience (tr. N. Duggington, 1955, pp.1416 of 310).
Berdyaev points out here that we cannot bear to be faced for ever with the distinction
between good and evil, we cannot rest in the thought that that distinction is ultimate. As a species
we couldnt endure having to live with the crippling depression of the human condition
forever. One day humanity had to find the reconciling, ameliorating understanding of
the dilemma of our split nature. In fact, as humanitys vehicle for inquiry into the nature
of our world and place in it, sciences fundamental task was to find this all-important
liberating understanding of the human condition. Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson
was recognising this all-important task of science when he said, The human condition is
the most important frontier of the natural sciences (Consilience, 1998, p.298 of 374). The problem for
science is that it, like the rest of humanity, was having to practice denial of the issue of
the human conditionand not just of the human condition but of any truths that brought
the issue into focus, which, as we will later see, were manyand this denial made any
effective inquiry into the human condition virtually impossible. Denial is a form of lying
and you cant build the truth from lies. Later it will be described in some detail how this
The Great Exodus 16
necessary practice of denial or lying in science had completely stalled any real progress
being made in science, namely progress in fulfilling its fundamental responsibility of
delivering liberating understanding of the human condition. While science found a
great deal of valuable knowledge about the mechanisms of the workings of our world,
in fact sufficient knowledge to make explanation of the human condition possible, its
practice of denial became so over-developed it almost prevented any possibility of this
knowledge being effectively used to explain the human condition. Denial in science had
become so sophisticated that progress was only being made in matters unrelated to the
human condition. The American General Omar Bradley, who rose to eminence during
World War II, highlighted this deficiency in science when he said, The world has achieved
brilliancewithout conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants (Armistice Day
Address, 10 Nov. 1948, Collected Writings of General Omar N. Bradley, Vol.1). A caller I once heard on a
talk-back radio program was making the same point when she said we can get a man on
the moon but a woman is still not safe walking down the street at night on her own. The truth is
the real frontier and challenge for science was not outer space but inner space, solving
the human condition no less. The significance of Berdyaevs quote is that he not only
bravely acknowledges the depressing horror of the human condition, he also addresses this
problem of the deficiency of science by emphasising what is required to overcome it. He
says that to achieve victory over [the] ancient, primeval terror of our condition so that we are
not faced for ever with the distinction between good and evil requires the conquest of fear of that
condition. He says moral knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil requires great daring, a
fearlessness, and that such fearlessness can only come from a clear conscience, unclouded by
social conventions; it must be a critique of pure conscience. He emphasises that only a prophetic
approach, one that fearlessly defies all the lying of denial can succeed to penetrate and
thus see into the issue of the human condition, and that we cannot rest until such an
approach does succeed. Indeed the words of all the authors quoted in this collection are
prophetic in their exceptional denial-free honesty. One of the greatest prophets of our
timein fact in his London Times obituary he was described as a prophet out of Africa (20
Dec. 1996)Sir Laurens van der Post reinforced Berdyaevs earlier assertion about the need
for a new fearless approach in science, one unclouded by social conventions of denial of
the issue of the human condition, when he wrote, we need a new kind of explorer, a new kind
of pathfinder, human beings who, now that the physical world is spread out before us like an open
bookare ready to turn and explore in a new dimension (The Dark Eye in Africa, 1955, p.133).
In this next quote the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing didnt talk about the depression
that confronting the human condition causes however he did describe the effect of the
denial of the issue, which is our separation or alienation from our true situation and true
selves. He described the alienating block-out as being so great that it is like fifty feet of solid
concrete. Like Kierkegaard, Laing also observed that we have so psychologically denied
the issue of the human condition we hardly know it exists, saying, We are so out of touch
with this realm [where the issue of the human condition resides] that many people can now argue
seriously that it does not exist, further acknowledging that it is perilous indeed to explore such
a lost realm. Laing, like Berdyaev and van der Post before him, also emphasised that the
essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life demands
that the human condition be confronted rather than denied, describing the undertaking
as this desperately urgently required project for our timeto explore the inner space and time of
consciousness. In his 1967 book The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise, Laing
wrote: Our alienation goes to the roots. The realization of this is the essential springboard for any
serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life [p.12 of 156] The condition of alienation,
of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of ones mind, is the condition of the normal man
17 The Great Exodus
[p.24] between us and It [the Godly, ideal state and the issue it raises of our inconsistency with it]
there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete. Deus absconditus. Or we have absconded
[p.118] We respect the voyager, the explorer, the climber, the space man. It makes far more sense
to me as a valid projectindeed, as a desperately urgently required project for our timeto explore
the inner space and time of consciousness. Perhaps this is one of the few things that still make sense in
our historical context. We are so out of touch with this realm [so in denial of the issue of the human
condition] that many people can now argue seriously that it does not exist. It is very small wonder
that it is perilous indeed to explore such a lost realm [p.105].
We can appreciate how perilous it has been and thus how important the fifty feet of
solid concrete block out has been when we consider that if those needing to employ such
block out, which is virtually all humans, were to suddenly remove the block and fully
engage the issue of the human condition they would, at that moment, die from suicidal
depressionor at the very least go mad. The following quotes provide more evidence of
just how dangerously confronting the issue of the human condition has been.
When Time magazine invited Alan Paton, author of Cry, the Beloved Country, to write
an essay on apartheid in South Africa they received in its place a deeply reflective article
on his favourite pieces of literature. In what proved to be the great writers last written
work, Paton revealed: I would like to have written one of the greatest poems in the English
languageWilliam Blakes Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright, with that verse that asks in the simplest
words the question which has troubled the mind of manboth believing and non believing manfor
centuries: When the stars threw down their spears / And watered heaven with their tears / Did he
smile his work to see? / Did he who made the lamb make thee? (25 Apr. 1988). The opening lines
of the poem, Tiger, Tiger, burning bright / In the forests of the night, refer to humans denial
of the issue of our divisive condition. It is a subject humans consciously repress and yet it
is one that burns bright in the forests of the night of our deepest thoughts. The very heart
of this issue lies in the line, Did he who made the lamb make thee?a rhetorical question
disturbing in its insinuation that we are wholly unrelated to the lamb, to the world of
innocence. The poem raises the age-old riddle and fundamental question involved in
being human: how could the mean, cruel, indifferent and aggressive dark side of human
naturerepresented by the Tigerbe both reconcilable with and derivative of the same
force that created the lamb in all its innocence? As Paton pointed out, despite humans
denial of it, the great, fundamental, underlying question has always been, are humans
part of Gods work, part of his purpose and design, or arent we? With these final words,
in what was the culmination of a lifetime of thoughtful expression, Paton transports the
reader into the realm where the deep fear about what it really is to be human resides; he
raises the core questionthat one day had to be addressed and solvedof whether or not
humans are evil, worthless, meaningless beings?
In this next quote, English poet Alexander Pope considers wisdom to be the ultimate
system because it can make all things understandable or coherent. As with all the authors
of this collection of quotes, Pope believed that in the scale of the reasoning involved in
becoming wise, the ultimate question to be answeredthe one the human mind has
wrangled or struggled with for so longis this question of whether or not humans are a
mistake. In his renowned 1733 work Essay on Man, Pope wrote: Of systems possible, if tis
confessd / That Wisdom infinite must form the best / Where all must fall, or not coherent be / And all
that rises, rise in due degree / Then in the scale of reasning life, tis plain / There must be, somewhere,
such a rank as man: / And all the question (wrangle eer so long) / Is only this, if God has placed him
wrong?
In this key passage from his 1981 autobiography Flaws in the Glass, Patrick White,
Australias only literary Nobel laureate, offers another rare, honest description of the core
The Great Exodus 18
agony of having to live with this unresolved question that Pope referred to of whether we
are worthy or not: What do I believe? Im accused of not making it explicit. How to be explicit
about a grandeur too overwhelming to express, a daily wrestling match with an opponent whose
limbs never become material, a struggle from which the sweat and blood are scattered on the pages
of anything the serious writer writes? A belief contained less in what is said than in the silences. In
patterns on water. A gust of wind. A flower opening. I hesitate to add a child, because a child can
grow into a monster, a destroyer. Am I a destroyer? this face in the glass which has spent a lifetime
searching for what it believes, but can never prove to be, the truth. A face consumed by wondering
whether truth can be the worst destroyer of all (p.70 of 260). In this distillation of a lifetime of
mentally grappling with what it is to be human, White has bravely managed to articulate
the core fear shared by virtually all humans. If you allow yourself to think deeply about
what it is that White is daring to face down you will see it is a terrifying issuethis
tormenting contradiction, this sickness in the self that not a single human does not suffer from,
as Kierkegaard acknowledged. The truth is this issue of the human condition is such an
incredibly difficult subject for humans to acknowledge that to do so virtually requires that
we betray and undermine ourselves.
Sharing the same sentiments and even using similar imagery to Patrick White, English
poet laureate William Wordsworth wrote too of the agony of the dilemma of the human
condition in his celebrated poem of 1807, Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of
Early Childhood. In this extraordinarily honest and thus penetrating poem, which will be
referred to again in more detail later, Wordsworth begins by recalling all the beauty in the
world that humans were able to access before the fall, before the human species departed
from the fabled state of harmony and enthralment it lived in prior to the emergence of the
alienating, good and evil-afflicted state of the human condition. (The reference here to
a time when our distant ancestors lived in a pre-conscious, innocent, human-condition-free
state is a subject that will be addressed shortly.) Wordsworth then concludes the poem by
alluding to the reason for humans loss of innocence and sensitivity of a clash between
our instinct and intellect (another subject to be addressed shortly), and then this honest
description of the agony of the human condition: The Clouds that gather round the setting
sun / Do take a sober colouring from an eye / That hath kept watch oer mans mortality / To me
the meanest flower that blows can give / Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. Thus the
emergence of the human condition made humans red-eyed from being worried about their
lifes value, meaning and worth. Wordsworth is saying that worrying about our mortality
is ultimately due to being insecure about our lifes value and worthhence the reference
in the poems title to the intimations of immortality humans had during our species pre-
fallen, pristine, uncorrupted early childhood. The thoughts that are now buried so deep
that they are beyond the reach of humans everyday emotional selvesthey are too deep
for tearsare the thoughts about humans present corrupted state that the beauty of even
the plainest flower has the ability to remind us of, if we let itif we have not practiced
burying the issue deeply enough.
Morris West is another distinguished Australian writer. The author of 26 novels,
including The Shoes of the Fisherman, West has been described as one of the 20th
centurys most popular novelists. Many times he was asked to write the story of his life
and many times he declined, until 1996 when, at the age of 80, he reviewed the chronicle
of his life and belief in A View from the Ridgethe testimony of a pilgrim. In possibly
the books central passage West confided: Evil, you see, is not explainable. It is not even
understandable. It is what the writers of the Dutch Catechism called the great absurdity, the great
irrelevancybrutalise a child and you create a casualty or a criminal. Bribe a servant of the state
and you will soon hear the deathwatch beetles chewing away at the rooftrees of society. The disease
19 The Great Exodus
of evil is pandemic; it spares no individual, no society, because all are predisposed to it. It is this
predisposition which is the root of the mystery. I cannot blame a Satan, a Lucifer, a Mephistopheles,
for the evils I have committed, the consequences of which have infected other peoples lives. I know,
as certainly as I know anything, that the roots are in myself, buried deeper than I care to delve, in
caverns so dark that I fear to explore them. I know that, given the circumstances and the provocation,
I could commit any crime in the calendar (p.78 of 143). It is the caverns so dark that exist in all
humans to varying degrees that will to be explored in this book, and, despite what West
has said, evil too will be explained, made understandable. Laurens van der Post once
wrote that it was Only by understanding how we were all a part of the same contemporary pattern
[of selfishness, greed, anger, hatred, brutality and indifference] could we defeat those dark forces
with a true understanding of their nature and origin (Jung and the Story of Our Time, 1976. p.24 of 275)
and, anticipating the arrival of that reconciling insight, added, Compassion leaves an indelible
blueprint of the recognition that life so sorely needs between one individual and another; one nation
and another; one culture and another. It is also valid for the road which our spirit should be building
now for crossing the historical abyss that still separates us from a truly contemporary vision of life,
and the increase of life and meaning that awaits us in the future (ibid, p.29).
The renowned Australian literary figure, Henry Lawsonwhom Ernest Hemingway
greatly admired, and whose work he referred to in his 1970 book Islands in the Stream
wrote extraordinarily forthrightly about the dangerous depression that awaits those who
attempt to confront the issue of the human condition. In his 1897 poem The Voice from
Over Yonder, Lawson wrote: Say it! Think it, if you dare! / Have you ever thought or wondered
/ Why the Man and God were sundered? / Do you think the Maker blundered? / And the voice
in mocking accents, answered only: Ive been there. Implicit in the final phrase, Ive been
there, are the unsaid words, and Im not going there again. The there and the over
yonder of the title refer to the state of depression that resulted from trying to confront the
issue of the human conditiontrying to understand why the Man and God were sundered or
torn apart, why humans lost their innocence, fell from grace, became corrupted, evil,
sinful. To avoid depression humans had no choice but to repress the issue of the human
condition, block it from our conscious awareness, cease trying to decide whether the
Maker blundered.
In his 1885 sonnet No Worst, There is None (like Kierkegaards The Sickness Unto
Death, another apt title), poet Gerard Manley Hopkins summarised the suicidally deep
depression that faced virtually anyone who was crazy enough to dare attempt to plumb
the terrifying depths of the issue of our less-than-ideal condition. The poem was written
in the late 1800s in what is now archaic English, but there is no doubting what Hopkins
is talking about: No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief / More pangs will, schooled at
forepangs, wilder wring / Comforter, where, where is your comforting? / Mary, mother of us, where
is your relief? / My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief / Woe, wrld-sorrow; on an geold
anvil wince and sing / Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked No ling- / ering! Let me be
fell: force I must be brief / O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall / Frightful, sheer, no-manfathomed.
Hold them cheap / May [any] who neer [have never] hung there. Nor does long our small
/ Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep / Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind:
all / Life death does end and each day dies with sleep. The word hung is the perfect word for
depression, for the state that there is no worse than. Hopkins says that the only people
who hold the frightful mountains of the mind where the issue of the human condition
resides cheap are those who have never hung there, which, as Berdyaev said are those
with a clear conscience, namely the exceptionally innocent. For everyone else, trying to
confront the issue of the human condition without the ability to understand it meant that it
was an impossible task.
The Great Exodus 20
(Note, consistent with what Kierkegaard and Laing have said about being so out of
touch with this realm [where the issue of the human condition resides] that many people can now
argue seriously that it does not exist, many readers may find the existence of a complete
block-out or denial in the human mind of a terrifyingly depressing yet all-important
subject difficult to accept. On the face of it, to be told there is a crux, fundamental, allimportant
issue facing humans that they are currently not consciously aware of must seem
absurd. It is not easy to accept that there is a subject that looms so large in its significance
in our lives that it is like an elephant that lives in our living room and yet we are in such
denial of it that we cant see the elephant. While this situation may sound unbelievable
at first, the mental process involved is no different to that which takes place in the minds
of, for example, incest victims who, after finding they cannot comprehend such violation,
realise that their only means of coping is to block out any memory of it. Repressed
memory, living in denial of an issue, is a common occurrence. In fact blocking thoughts
from our mind has been one of humans most powerful coping devices. For those who
arent persuaded by the quotes presented here of the presence of this deep psychosis in
humans I recommend reading the Resignation chapter in my book A Species In Denial,
because I believe you will find there all the evidence you need of it. How we are to cope
with fully confronting and finally overcoming the fear and psychosis associated with the
issue of the human condition once we are reconnected with it is the subject of this book.)
4. Humans historic denial of the issue of the human condition
As Sren Kierkegaard, Nikolai Berdyaev, Laurens van der Post, R.D. Laing, Alan
Paton, William Blake, Alexander Pope, Patrick White, William Wordsworth, Morris
West, Henry Lawson, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Albert Camus, in a quote that will be
included shortly, bravely express, it took virtually all humans courage merely to exist
under the duress of the human condition. Having no answer to the core question in human
life of our meaningfulness or otherwise meant that trying to think about the problem led
only to deep depression. Despite being the only fully conscious, thinking-based beings on
Earth, the truth of the matter is thinking has been a nightmarish activity for humans. Like
Gerard Manley Hopkins when he talked of the cliffs of fall that lay in wait for any who
tried to think deeply, the Australian comedian Rod Quantock has similarly acknowledged
that Thinking can get you into terrible downwards spirals of doubt (Sayings of the Week, Sydney Morning
Herald, 5 July 1986). Nor was the philosopher Bertrand Russell exaggerating when he said
Many people would sooner die than think (quoted in Antony Flews Thinking About Thinking, 1975). The
fact of the matter is only an existence absolutely dedicated to escapism and superficiality
was at all bearable for humans.
Tragically, until the clarifying explanation for our contradictory nature was
found, humans had no choice other than to live in denial of the issue. While we lacked
understanding of our condition, denying itextremely dishonest, false and limiting a
response as that washas been our only sensible means of coping with it. The truly
extraordinary aspect of humans, and measure of our immense bravery, is that we have
managed to keep the semblance of a bright and optimistic countenance despite the awful
realities of our circumstances. The courage to live in denial, despite the dishonesty of this
behaviour and the extremely artificial and superficial existence it left humans with, has
been the very essence of our species immense bravery.
As will shortly be explained, humanitys historic denial of the issue of the human
condition began when consciousness first emerged from the instinct-dominated state some
21 The Great Exodus
2 million years ago when the large thinking association cortexed brain first appears in
the fossil record, and has been reinforced ever since. As a result of having practiced this
denial for so long, humans are now at a conscious level almost completely unaware of the
existence of the issue of the human condition. The issue is now deeply buried, a part of
our species subconscious awareness. A characteristic of the human race now is that at a
subliminal, subconscious level there is an immense insecurity, a deep sense of guilt about
being divisively behaved.
The issue of the human condition is so much the dominant issue in all human life yet
so deeply denied by us now that it is as if we are living with an unacknowledged elephant
in our living rooms. In fact so dominating has this practice of denial been in human life
that if there were any enlightened intelligence in outer space it would likely regard us as
that species that is living in denial. Indeed humans live in such complete denial and, as
a result, are so deeply separated from our true situation and true selves that we could also
be known throughout the universe as the estranged or alienated ones. Having said this it
also needs to be emphasised again that while humans may be the most alienated species in
the universe we must also be among the bravest.
The real problem we humans are faced with on Earth is our predicament or condition
of being insecure, unable to confront, make sense of and deal with the dark side of our
nature. The real struggle for humans has been a psychological one. In truth, human selfesteem,
which at base is the ability to defy the implication that we are not worthwhile
beings, is so fragile that if a man loses his fortune in a stock market crash, or his reputation
from some mistake he has made in the management of his life, he all-to-frequently will
suicide or if not suicide then completely crumple as a person, lose the will to actively
participate in life. The truth is that the framework within which humans feel secure and
can operate is extremely narrow. Humans insecurity from the dilemma of the human
condition has been such that the comfort zone within which we live is only a fraction of
the vast, true world that we have the potential to live in.
As the full extent of humans insecurity under the duress of the human condition
becomes clear we will see that the world humans have lived in has been a miserable,
tiny, dark fortress corner of what the world really has to offer. Thankfully, with the
human condition now solvedthe poles of good and evil in the human make-up now
reconciledthis great potential will at last be able to be accessed. Although she wasnt
aware of the issue of the human condition as being the cause of our species neurosis and
the issue that had to be confronted and solved for a new age for humans to come about,
Marilyn Fergusonone of the gurus of the deluded 1980s New Age Movementwas
actually anticipating this time of liberation from the human condition when she wrote:
Maybe [the Jesuit scientist] Teilhard de Chardin was right; maybe we are moving toward an omega
point [final unity]Maybe we can finally resolve the planets inner conflict between its neurotic self
(which weve created and which is unreal) and its real self. Our real self knows how to commune, how
to createFrom everything Ive seen people really urgently want the kind of new beginning[that
I am] talking about [where humans will live in] cooperation instead of competition (New Age mag.
Aug. 1982). As will be explained much more fully later, the delusions that the ideal-worlddemanding-
but-issue-of-the-human-condition-avoiding New Age Movement was based
on meant that that Movement was actually leading humans towards greater alienation and
thus away from a new age of unification; however the thrust of what Ferguson is saying
about the need to end our estrangement from our true selves is true.

Last edited by Olde.   Page last modified on November 28, 2007

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