Thoughts on economics and liberty

Bogus “biologist” Jeremy Griffith’s book: Freedom, the end of the human condition – a useless book, best trashed

I am very sceptical when people use titles such as “World Transformation Movement” and make wild generalisations in their videos.

So today there was this massively advertised book by one Jeremy Griffith in The Australian. A massive advertisement on the front page (online edition). Clearly a lot of money has been poured into advertising a free book.

A book called Freedom is naturally of great interest to me. So I quickly download and skimmed through key sections of the book.

I was disappointed from the start.

There is nothing remarkable in the book. It is written MOST UNSCIENTIFICALLY and makes bogus claims. The following is an example:

E.O. Wilson—that lord of lying, the master of keeping humanity away from any truth; indeed, the quintessential ‘liar…the antichrist’ (Bible, 1 John 2:22 ) , the ‘deceiver and the antichrist’ ( 2 John 1:7 ) , ‘The beast… given… to utter proud words and blasphemies’

And there are massive quotations from various religious scriptures, as if these documents mean anything to the world of science. Why do I need to read extracts from bogus books in order to understand the human condition?

So what you have here is a failed Christian/ religious man trying to feed us his delusions about how he understands reality and can fix the world.

Now, I’ve read Edward O Wilson and thoroughly enjoy his works, which are deeply scientific and knowledge-based.

That someone will hit out at EO Wilson so brutally and yet claim to be a scientist meant I had to investigate further. And this is what I found:

The problem is that Griffith’s writing presents a romanticised view of hunter-gatherer life.” [Source]

 

The problem is that this is a PATHETICALLY CONFUSED book. He distorts the truth to suit his preconceived notions, he has no understanding whatsoever of freedom in the real sense (political), and rambles into religious territory – which may well suit some confused people, but adds no value to the human race or the human condition.

And read this:

we can all now know that our insecure, egocentric need to validate ourselves through winning power, fame, fortune and glory is obsoleted.

Guess what! This man wants REAL GLORY – as head of a new religion called the World Transformation Movement! No desire for fame! Pah!

As I skimmed through the book for any real knowledge, I was severely disappointed. Pure CRAP. A severely garbled book.

And here is Jeremy Griffith the new messiah speaking:

we can immediately and completely change our mind’s attitude from living a selfish, self-preoccupied life and be, as it were, ‘born again’ to a consider-the-welfare-of-others-above-your-own-welfare, unconditionally selfless, soulful, pre-resigned-like way of thinking and living. While every resigned human naturally becomes extremely habituated to living for the relief of power, fame, fortune and glory, it is possible to completely relinquish that way of thinking and living and, in its place, adopt a completely different, unconditionally selfless way of thinking and behaving.

Hold it, what has any of this to do with knowledge? That too, false knowledge, that involves denying the basic science of human nature.

The issue before mankind is this: GIVEN human nature and colossal human ignorance, what system of human interaction can be devised that minimises violence and enhances human well-being and life on earth? As James Madison said:

The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

Refusal to even acknowledge the facts of human nature can only lead us seriously astray

The man doesn’t understand freedom and therefore the title of the book is misleading. By no means is this a book on freedom.

I’m afraid I must give the book a ZERO out of 10.

==KEYWORDS==

Review of Freedom, the end of the human condition, zero out of 10

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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21 thoughts on “Bogus “biologist” Jeremy Griffith’s book: Freedom, the end of the human condition – a useless book, best trashed
  1. Joe Blow

    I’ve been studying Griffith’s ideas for over 25 years. I began as a believer and ended as the vocal critic that I am today. I do find more of value in Griffith’s work than you do, but as a stimulus to my own thinking rather than as a source of insight.

    I think that the central question Griffith sets out to answer – Why are we so often drastically out of sync with our own ideals? – can be answered in one sentence :

    Ideals tend to set up a negative feedback loop in which they under-mine the self-acceptance which is the necessary foundation for loving behaviour.

    We see this dramatically in the case of religion. Christianity admonishes us to love and forgive each other, which is fine if we find a way to love and forgive ourselves, but if we are exposing ourselves to ideals which undermine our self-acceptance, it may make us more insecure in a way which can manifest in violence and intolerance towards others, hence the often violent and oppressive history of the church. I remember reading a comment somewhere that religion is fine if you are already a very good person, but if you are not, it will make you worse. (By the way, my understanding is that Griffith was not a religious person before he began his writing and that he was led to study the Bible because someone else pointed out similarities between his ideas and ideas expressed in it.)

    My philosophical wrestling with the issues Griffith raises led me to write my own book (a much, much shorter one) on the subject of how to achieve psychological freedom :

    http://howtobefree-theblog.blogspot.com.au

     
  2. Kevin

    Griffith uses religious text, art, etc., as evidence to prove his hypothesis. Seems like lots of the examples he uses prove his point about the conflict between genetic instinct to be good and conscious need to understand is the origin of the human condition.

     
  3. Craig

    If one was to make an observation on Sanjeev’s review of Jeremy Griffith’s book it would be that Sanjeev has an agenda stated at the top of this page – “One-stop shop” for the TOTAL transformation of India – which would necessitate such a trivialising review.

    Unfortunately Jeremy’s book doesn’t fare well if skimmed. It is one of those books where immersion by the reader is required to fully understand the complexity which ultimately delivers simplicity. As I am a high level skeptic of religions, new and old and cults, subliminal or stated, I was keen to see if Jeremy’s book was another Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health or similar.

    As it turns out, Jeremy’s book is nothing more than a culmination of a life’s work dedicated to answering an unarguable observation, which is why human’s fundamentally do not like each other and are therefore so selfish, aggressive and competitive. Freedom is not an easy read but it is surely a good read. No new religion or cult has evolved from Jeremy’s book as stated by Sanjeev. If one was to actually read and understand Jeremy’s book they would see there is little foothold for a new religion to evolve.

    If nothing else, the salient points from Jeremy’s book is the essential nature of mother’s nurturing and the need for the human race to reinstate a matriarchal society. With this in place the rest would follow.

     
  4. Joe Blow

    Kevin : Religious dogma and art cannot be used to prove a scientific hypothesis. They are open to many interpretations.

    Even if one were going to test the theory by assessing Griffith’s ability to provide a viable explanation for the mystery of a particular religious dogma, Griffith doesn’t pass the test when it comes to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, something which plays a central role in his book.

    His explanation is that Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge represents our ancestors experimenting with their newly acquired capacity for reason and thus departing from strict adherence to some genetically encoded moral guidance system. This leads to selfishness, anger, egocentricity and alienation – they are kicked out of the Garden and find themselves alienated from “God”.

    That’s all well and good. But the story has other features. Eve is the first one to take the fruit. She is tempted to do so by a snake. And the tree is not simply the Tree of Knowledge but specifically The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    I can give an explanation which accounts for all these features – thus a better explanation than Griffith’s.

    The story is about the arrival of idealism and the curse that it brought to humans. With our newly acquired capacity for reason we would have asked ourselves why we (at that time) were a loving, nurturing community, and yet there was predatory behaviour in nature which was in stark contrast to the love which made our lives, generally, so pleasant and meaningful. Animal predators would kill human infants. We needed to protect ourselves, but we also needed to understand this part of nature. In fighting against the predators, we discovered our own capacity for aggression.

    Women, being the nurturers, would have been the first to recognise the problem that evil represented and to insist on some kind of solution. Unfortunately once a distinction was made between good and evil, idealism (the idea that we should hold ourselves to a high standard of good behaviour and feel shame for bad behaviour) arose. On the surface this makes sense, but actually it doesn’t work, because love can’t exist without forgiveness. Love is all-accepting and arises only from unconditional self-acceptance. Our conscience – that part of our ego where we store our moral expectations of ourselves – undermines our self-acceptance and thus deprives us of the capacity to feel the very love which – were we healthy – would be the motivation behind the very behaviour it criticises us for not showing.

    So the deadly side of nature (a snake) caused a woman to distinguish between good and evil. This distinction led to a cultural manifestation which robbed us of our ability to love and thus alienated us from “God” (the cooperative theme of creation).

    Adam and Eve also became ashamed of their nudity and donned clothes. Griffith gives an interpretation of this which conforms to much later feelings about nudity – i.e. nudity arouses lust. A much better interpretation would be that nudity is symbolic of honesty. Before the arrival of idealism, we would have been neither critical of others nor self-critical. But, in the harsh unforgiving light of idealism, the impulse would be to “clothe” ourselves with lies – to lie to others and to lie to ourselves – to become false, to be come alienated.

    Craig : Why are people so selfish? Selfishness is the natural self-directedness of the suffering or threatened individual. As long as we feel we need to prove something about ourselves – to establish our worth – we will tend to be selfish and thus competitive. The principle psychological cause of suffering is idealism. Idealism robs us of self-acceptance and also of acceptance of others. Kill idealism, by recognising that it is a destructive thought virus, and we can find an unquenchable love for ourselves and each other. I see no evidence that we have a genetic conscience which dictates that we be selfless, but love is at the very core of our biology. A baby is born with no morality – no conscience – but with an instinct for unconditional love – uncritical acceptance of others – which allows bonding with them to be the intense source of pleasure that it should be.

    It didn’t take me all that long to understand Griffith’s first book Free : The End of the Human Condition, or the ones which have come since. It did take me a while to understand why he was wrong and to work out the real explanation for the human condition.

     
  5. Scott F.

    I’m about 100 pages into “Freedom
    ..”…..and it’s a bit of a slog. Griffith is an awful writer…repetitive, long-winded, too much reliance on various modes of EMPH-A-SIS, and far far too much self-promotion/ aggrandizement. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being sold a bill of goods– what it might have been like speaking to Joseph Smith as he was first promoting Mormonism. Not sure I want to continue😜

     
  6. Max

    Didnt J.Krishnamurti talk in great detail about the human condition?
    Unlike mr Griffiths, he was wise enough not to pretend that there was a straightforward solution,pointing out that it was for the individual to understand how things were an find out for himself if it was possible to change, any help from outside being considered useless. Not a philosophy that would make a million seller and though paradoxical, is probably, unfortunately, true.

     
  7. Jason Brown

    I’m with Scott F. on this one – the use of different fonts, font sizes, apostrophes around multiple words in each sentence, underlining, bold and italics – sweet Jesus, what a mess.

    Even without the dreadful formatting, I too feel the bill of goods vibe. So it was great being able to read the comments here, and get more perspective on an area I know so very little about.

    But anyone who feels so passionately about something they cannot bear to listen to professional advice about presentation must surely suffer blindspots?

    Might try and run the PDF through a converter to word, remove all the wildly differing formats, and see if it reads a little easier.

     
  8. Bob O'Brien

    I was at first, excited to dive in and make my life instantly amazing, but it looked a lot like a cult in the making. It reminded me a little of J.W. with their free brochures, and more like “The Path”, that minnie series that keeps on going forever.
    I am so glad I found these blogs to give me perspective. I won’t waste my time on reading “Freedom…”.

     
  9. Lesley Flint

    I thought ‘Freedom ‘ was going to be a really worthwhile book, so strongly promoted and supported by such dignitaries as Prof Harry Prosen and Tim Macartney-Snape. When I saw Bob Geldolf giving it his backing,I thought that’s for me – maybe it will be ‘The book that saves the world’. What a claim ! I have taken nearly a year to have got only half way through (I keep falling asleep), it is so badly written and repetitive,with sooo many references. For some reason I am determined to finish it – will there be a wonderful revelation at the end ? – I doubt it. I can’t really believe that Bob G actually read it. If he did, I bet there’d be a few expletives in his review !

     
  10. Radu C. Serban

    I have almost finished it, and I agree with you, Lesley Flint: it makes me fall asleep, as I find it too repetitive, and instead of simply tackling the problems, the author makes us aware of why, HOW and IN WHICH WAY (I deliberately use synonyms) he would explain his ideas in a further chapter. Oh, how I don-t like reading books with FOREWORD longer than the content in itself!

    The reading is good as a support in starting to think (maybe) wider than we used to.
    By the way, by reading comments about this book, I found different interesting ideas, like the ones from another reader:

    http://howtobefree-theblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/thoughts-on-jeremy-griffiths-freedom_29.html

    And, by the way, I started to write (at the moment for myself) down ideas, which I will gather, consider, and reconsider, over and over, so latter on I can decide whether to publish (even on internet only) or not something that may be helpful for some individuals of our species.

     
  11. Joe Blow

    Lesley : From what I saw of the book launch, my understanding is that Geldof was not convinced by Griffith’s presentation of his ideas. Griffith says that Geldof told him : “We’re not all going to turn into people who are all hugging each other Jeremy because we’re all competitive by nature. The question is how do you relieve yourself from an instinctive primal state.” In his speech he said: “…we need to think, we need new ideas, we need proselytisers, we need obsessed people, which I think Jeremy is. We need him to be questioned. We need it [FREEDOM] to be argued, we need it to be read and talked about and understood. It may be right, it may be wrong. But you need someone as committed to trying to understand what gets us here time after time…” Although I can’t confirm it, my theory is that Geldof was hired to do the launch. He is available for hire : https://www.apbspeakers.com/speaker/bob-geldof/ Griffith spent an awful lot of money promoting his book. There were large, sometimes full page colour adverts in The Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other papers. No major periodicals decided to actually review the book though. There was something in a tabloid, but it looked like a perfunctory bit of filler slapped together after reading a press release, rather than the book itself.

    Radu : I’m glad the writing on my blog was of interest to you. And I’m glad to hear that you are doing some writing. I have found that wrestling with Griffith can stimulate useful thought along the lines of “if not that, then what”. Exploration is always useful. Griffith’s problem is that he believes he has arrived at the final destination.

     
  12. Roger Paine

    Aside from the repetition and awful formatting, I find the notion that our ancient predecessors lived in Edenic is bliss a bit far fetched – life, it seems to me, is a shit fight all the way down to bacteria; How could it be otherwise? Competition is the driver of evolution.
    It seems our growing understanding of ourselves and the universe are more likely to deliver a secure world than an attempt to resurrect a mythical state of innocence.
    Stephen Pinker’s ‘Better Angels of our Nature’ and the WHO statistics on the battle against poverty clearly show that we live in a time of decreasing aggression and enjoy greater prosperity than ever before. Our time is the least violent ever; never, has your chance of being murdered been less than it is now.
    Reading Griffith triggers caution alarms – why should it be necessary to watch a bunch of videos before you read the book? Smacks of programming and feels like Scientology.
    Haven’t finished it and am dubious… but Griffith would say that is because I haven’t watched the videos. ‘You can only understand if you believe’ is a red flag.

     
  13. melody thompson

    An absolutely excellent book for me because I always searched for scientific answers for myself and why we are here as humans and especially if there is any great reason.
    Scientifically the book has a lot of answers from the hominid state we came from and developed. Today then look at what we are in truth, humans destroying not only each other to a great extent but our own earth, we kill violently are angry and bitter and full of egotistic selfishness.
    Will this continue to take us further as a species? Will our guilt and heartache stop us in our tracks and cause us to take another look at what we have become?

    I love all Jeremys books because they complete me in the way that they tell us all that we are amazing wonderful humans because we have survived all this time over millions of years and that we suffered inside of ourselves because we thought we were bad and selfish and greedy.

    It turns out that when we became conscious we were stuck between a conflict of instinct and our new mind willing us to go on to thinking.
    Today we are thinking humans but we are still suffering, searching for answers to who we are which Jeremy proves in all of his writings is amazing.

    Men have been absolutely heroic in carrying our species on and on and women have been absolutely amazing in their nurturing love for their infants and so who wants to believe in false gods or dogma of religion when even Christ new man in simple language was his own worst enemy and suffering and it was not his fault. It was all about not understanding his instincts from his intellect.
    I hope all the angry men who have been suffering on this site wake up and think, from me to you trust me your are not guilty, you are amazing and if you live today thank your ancestors for all their determination and love

     
  14. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I’m afraid, Melody, what you are saying makes no sense, indeed. No one thought they were selfish and greedy. This kind of weird thinking is inconsistent with human reality. If you want to read good stuff, go read Steven Pinker and F.A Hayek. Trash this Griffin fellow whose work fosters utter confusion.

     
  15. Joe Blow

    Roger Paine : The Edenic origins aspect of Griffith’s theory is actually something I don’t have a problem with. I haven’t really looked into the paleontological evidence, but Griffith makes the point that human competition and aggression is a product of psychological insecurity and this makes perfect sense to me, based on introspection as well as observation of others. We can see that the need to “prove something about ourselves” lies behind are concern with status, our materialism and our propensity for anger. If we are very secure in ourselves then we feel we have nothing to prove, thus our needs are less. Of course we may still compete or resort to aggression because of unmet physical needs, such as hunger, but our exceptional psychological needs arise from a lack of self-acceptance, i.e. insecurity. This was well articulated by psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich with his concept of the character armour – rigid self-protective personality characteristics arising from neurotic feelings such as fear and shame, and making us susceptible to fascistic forms of social organisation.

    It seems to me that our primary motivation is self-interest. As long as our basic physical needs for food and shelter and mating opportunities are taken care of, self-interest, when not perverted by neurotic insecurity, would lead us to harmonious social organisation. Other species have a limited capacity to achieve this because their environment tends to require a level of competition for these basic needs which does not allow such a social organisation to form. Griffith gives the example of bonobos as a species closely related to ourselves which has come close to such a society. Their troupes are relatively peaceful, with loose coalitions of females preventing alpha males from achieving dominance and with generalised erotic pleasure smoothing out social tensions. Why would any individual want to go the hassle of competing with his fellows if he had plenty of food and they were rubbing his genitals all day. To compete would be to forfeit his pleasure.

    I haven’t read Stephen Pinker, but I would suggest that one aspect of decreasing aggression is that we are “drugged” on materialism and television, etc. We also have an increasing rate of mental illness. To what degree are we doing to ourselves the violence – emotional if not physical – we once did to others?

    Having said all that, Griffith is not the answer. I believe the answer is the cultivation of unconditional self-acceptance unlinked to any scientific or pseudo-scientific theory at all. It is important for us, as a society, to seek greater empirical knowledge about our origins and about how our brains work, etc., but it isn’t necessary to our therapy or to an improvement in our behaviour towards one another. Understanding that unconditional self-acceptance, by ending our psychological insecurity at its roots, leads to increased honesty, generosity, creativity and capacity for cooperation is enough to recommend it. And it will help us in our search for knowledge because we will no longer feel the need to hide from truths which, in our insecurity, we experienced as criticism.

     
  16. Joe Blow

    Melody Thompson – I was a supporter of Griffith over twenty years ago. The problems with his theory gradually became clear to me and now I am a critic of that theory.

    One of the key principles of science is that, when you have a theory, you must set out to falsify it, i.e. to find evidence that it is wrong. You don’t go around looking for evidence that it is right. That is what is known as confirmation bias and it is a defining feature of pseudo-science. Now I’m not in a position to do a detailed critique of Griffith’s presentation of paleontological evidence for his theory, but when it comes to his sociological and psychological presentation he relies very heavily on quotes from literature and pop songs, often taken out of context. This is the epitome of confirmation bias, because you can “prove” anything through a selective presentation of such material. And sometimes he misreads this material. Here are a couple of examples :

    From Species in Denial : “The poet Alexander Pope said in his 1733 Essay on Man, ‘Know then thyself, presume not God to scan/ The proper study of Mankind is Man’ Pope’s admonition that we should not leave it to ‘God to scan” made the point that faith was not going to be sufficient.” The problem is that Griffith’s understanding of the English language is not particularly good. “Presume not God to scan” is another way of saying “don’t be so presumptuous as to try to understand God.” If Pope had meant what Griffith claims he meant, he would have said something like : “…presume not that God WILL scan…” But perhaps Griffith misreads it because to read it properly would be to be confronted with a criticism of his own work. He has been presumptuous enough to think he can understand God. Now I don’t think that’s a problem personally, but Pope might not have approved.

    In Freedom : He talks about Goya’s etching The sleep of reason brings forth monsters (1796-97). Griffith says : “Even the title is accurate : ‘The sleep of reason’ – namely reasoning at a very deep level – does ‘bring forth monsters’.” This is a strange interpretation of this phrase. Surely “the sleep of reason” means the period when rational thought ceases… when reason “goes to sleep”… Why would “reasoning at a very deep level” be referred to as “the sleep of reason”. When we reason at a very deep level, our reason is particularly active, it isn’t asleep. If we look at the more obvious reading we find that is very meaningful. It is presenting reason as a defence against that which we fear most. Rational thought is a crucial tool for managing life and finding understanding, but it can also be something we cling to for security and use to keep our scary emotions bottled up. Again, there may be a reason why Griffith misreads this phrase. He often talks about how autism is a defence mechanism against unthinkable anxiety, and uses this as an analogy for the state of denial of humans generally. Like reason, as presented in Goya’s etching, the alienated mental framework of the autistic individual holds off the “monsters”, i.e. the unthinkable anxiety. What if Griffith’s theory, which has obsessed him since the mid-seventies and driven him to do a massive amount of writing, is just such a defence against an unthinkable anxiety personal to himself? If deep reasoning, like he has done, is the scariest thing, as his interpretation of Goya suggests, then all is well. But if all that reasoning is a defence against something scarier, that would be unthinkable for him.

    He presents Francis Bacon’s paintings as being accurate depictions of the human condition. I’m not entirely sure why. I suppose he believes that we are all disgusted by ourselves and thus it is honest to paint self-portraits which are incredibly grotesque. But he fails to mention that Francis Bacon was an effeminate homosexual whose father was so disgusted by his effeminacy that he repeatedly had him horsewhipped from a young age. Is it any wonder he painted himself as if he were the Elephant Man? His father taught him that he was a revolting freak. He was wounded by his father’s idealistic conception of masculinity.

    And he quotes Andrea Dworkin – “All sex is abuse” – but he fails to mention that she was sexually abused by a strange man in a movie theatre at the age of 9. This is an example of his confirmation bias. He believes that sex is an “attack on innocence” so he uses the quote as evidence of this. Were he trying to falsify his theory he would dismiss this “evidence” on the grounds that it is more easily explained as a projection onto the world of a traumatic personal experience, than as an accurate insight. But maybe his beliefs about sex are just such a personal projection. Can sex be used as a weapon, absolutely, but there is no reason to believe that the affectionate sharing of genital pleasure need necessarily be seen as an example of this. Sex, like language, is a medium which can be used to transmit a wide range of messages, ranging from love to hate. His idea that sex is essentially “an attack on innocence” leads him to the ridiculous conclusion that men would cease to be sexually interested in women if they knew they were not innocent. Most of the women on porn sites aren’t exactly acting innocent, and men haven’t lost interest yet.

    Of course he is not all wrong. The ideals do make us angry, egocentric and alienated. They undermine our self-acceptance and lead us to become increasingly selfish, or ego-embattled. Selfishness is the natural self-directedness of the suffering, or otherwise insecure, individual. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you will have a hard time thinking about anything but your thumb. When we are wounded by criticism – such as idealism’s message that we can never be good enough – we turn inward in search of relief or we come to filter our view of the world around us according to what we think may offer us that relief. Blocking out further criticism is alienation.

    But the source of idealism is not within us. Our conscience is not a genetically encoded program for selflessness. We are motivated by self-interest, which, in the absence of ego-embattlement, would orientate us toward living cooperatively and thus meaningfully and lovingly with our fellows. This feels better than the loneliness of a competitive existence. Our conscience is learned. It begins as an internalisation of others’ critical feedback about our behaviour and develops into a personal code of conduct which may be added to at any time. The problem with the conscience is that, if it is too critical, it tends to undermine our self-acceptance and thus make us more ego-embattled, more selfish. Perfectionistic moral principles are what we call “idealism”. Idealism is a kind of thought virus which has cursed us throughout our history, undermining our self-acceptance and generating our capacity for malevolence. If our self-acceptance becomes undermined to too great a degree, we may find these moral principles so oppressive that we are motivated to “seek revenge” against them by deliberately doing the worst thing we can imagine. Why else does anyone do something as pointless, from a practical perspective, as torture an animal or an infant? To harm the innocent is the worst crime and thus, in the mind of the individual oppressed by idealism, the most effective way of defying that oppression.

    I would suggest that the reason you find such relief from Griffith’s books is not that they answer the needs of your reasoning mind on the deepest level, but because you BELIEVE that he has provided a defence for humanity. If we have been suffering from the oppression of idealism and what we need to undo the damage and restore our capacity for love, cooperation and creativity, is to be unconditionally self-accepting, then as long as you believe that he has made it unnecessary to strive to “prove anything” about yourself and has made it appropriate for you to accept yourself and others unconditionally, you can access the benefit of that self-acceptance. But that doesn’t mean that his theory is actually correct.

    Griffith’s organisation may have the potential to implode into something genuinely creative. If Griffith’s theory is wrong, and this eventually becomes evident to Griffith and/or his followers, then the infrastructure he has set up could be used to spread a genuine message of liberation which would spread faster and actually work. What we need to know for our rehabilitation is much simpler and less “confronting” than the message Griffith is currently conveying, but the end of ego-embattlement, the self-acceptance, the unleashing of our capacity for love and creativity, all of that remains.

     
  17. Joe Blow

    Sanjeev – You may not be selfish or greedy. You may never have thought you were selfish or greedy. But I don’t know how you can say “No one thought they were selfish or greedy”. I spent many years feeling that I was selfish and feeling very guilty about ti. I’m sure I’m not alone. Look at Christianity. You can tell all those people that they are not sinners or deny that they feel that they are sinners, but that leaves the question of why so many of them say they are sinners. It seems to me that self-criticism, usually about being selfish (lust, gluttony, envy, etc. are forms of selfishness), has been quite common, at least within the Judeo-Christian tradition.

     
  18. Aristoteles

    I´d like to say some things here as my former girlfriend got drawn into that group..

    It all started with an incentive trip she was asked to attend in order of her job. I knew before, that one of her bosses were a member of the WTM, she told me about it, i didn´t take it very seriously so the months passed until she went on that trip. she was flying with him to a congress and stayed there for some days. After that journey i picked her up at the airport and i immediately recognised that she kind of changed a bit, the way she spoke and also the things she spoke about during the drive home. I managed to dig down to what she might bothers. Than she told me that she had long talks with him about the human condition and this whole philosophical concept of J. Griffin. I have to say, she always was kind of a seeker and lost in her thoughts about what life is all about and about how people treat each others totaly understandable for a twenty something woman.
    after we arrived she stated that she couldn´t take it any longer and that she would follow the invitation of her boss to join one of that meetings.
    I was shocked!
    We had a huge fall out that evening and i went for a rly long walk. After i came back i couldn´t rest. So i decided to look into her Phone and checked for messages, usally i´m not that kind of person but i rly thought that she was drifting into a thing where she couldn´t get out anymore..
    Of course he wrote her and said that all these information he gave her must be overwhelming for her and once she decided to accept the truth he will be happily guiding her through all the following steps that will come.
    He also wrote her that she is a “ship at sea” (a term for people who dont stop seeking the truth and never stop believing that there is an answer to all those miseries in our lifes) also told her that he would have never thought to have such a person in his surroundings and that she was truly special.
    Sounds like brainwashing right? of course it was..
    So i started digging.. I stayed up all night trying to get some information about the WTM and also found some Blogs where it was discussed if it is a cult or not. I also stumbled over her Boss and it turned out that he wasn´t only a fellow follower but a leading figure in that whole movement.

    I started reading the short summary of “Freedom” and it was one of the worst books i ever got to read, no footnotes, just plain quotes that made no sense, it didn´t have the slightest standards of a scientific paper (I´m an historian of ancient greece and roman republic), Nothing what would ever pass even a Beginners Seminar. And there was one part at the end of that book that made me (as a crictical thinker) gasp.

    I´d like to cite this here under the rights of international copyright law.

    “The fact is, if you do become overly confronted, you could become defensive, angry and retaliatory toward the information, and the consequence of such a response could be to, in effect, sabotage the efforts of every human who has ever lived to bring the human race to this dream-of moment of its liberation. In short, the effect of overly studying this information, studying it beyond your degree of security of self can cope with, can be both dangerous to you and dangerous to the human race, an no one should want, nor risk, either of those outcomes.”
    Jeremy Griffith: Transform your Life and save the world. Through living in support of the biological truth about the human condition. Sydney: 2016

    So that just blew my mind, he even add a very bad drawing that shows how you should not be aggressiv against the truth in order to prevent the apocalypse and just follow his “true” writtings without questioning them. Can u really say that these are no Dogmas? That these are not carefully chosen words to lure in people who are struggling with their life at the moment? For me it´s just all a big falsehood that can be very dangerous and nobody has any idea where this movement is leading his deciples…
    Be really careful with that manipulating theory and inform yourself before you read this about what scientific standards are, cause this book is nothing near it..

    Needles to say that she got drawn into that that thing and the fact that i slowly saw her drifting away from me and all her rational thoughts still breaks my heart.

    We broke up after a couple of months later, i did try to help her but it was to late she already was gone.

    Maybe she wil come to her senses some day, i rly wish her that.

    thanks for reading

     
  19. Joe Blow

    Aristoteles : From my experience, the WTM has not been constructed deliberately to lure people in and manipulate them. It arises from the genuine beliefs of the founder Jeremy Griffith. The problem is that his attempt to explain human nature is a closed system supported by his confirmation bias. People are attracted to it, as I was, because it is clear that we, as a species, are dysfunctional in a way which leads to war, ecological devastation, depression, suicide, social alienation, etc., etc. The spread of superficial “politically correct” attempts to address these problems also frustrates many people who may feel like we are losing the plot socially. So Griffith is genuine and those attracted to him are genuine, and that makes the fact that his theory is fundamentally wrong all the more of a problem. It would be far easier to respond to if he were a scam artist. I know of no evidence that he is gaining anything from what he is doing except a sense of satisfaction that he is, in his own mind, doing his duty. No L. Ron Hubbard-style orgy yacht.

    What happens with this kind of organisation though is that the desire to believe and the need to belong will kick in so members will concentrate on thinking about what satisfies them and avoid thinking about what might raise doubts. Because doubts not only remove the source of joy – belief in the new world that this “information” is meant to be ushering in – but also could end up being expressed in a way which will mean a loss of acceptance by the group.

    Genuine understanding doesn’t lead to this kind of dependency. The individual with genuine insight can stand alone and doesn’t require the acceptance of others.

    The passage you quote is crucial. As someone who has study Griffith’s work intensely I know how this works. I did become destabilised.

    It can be disturbing to think deeply about what it is to be human, especially when one’s guide in this journey began as an extreme idealist. While Griffith would not class himself as an idealist now, as he presents his work as a defence for why we are not ideal rather than a plea for us to be ideal, nevertheless his writing is drenched in an extremely idealistic worldview. In his first book he talks about looking at a silver teaspoon and says that once we feel defended by his explanation we will be able to “recognise that it is a two or even three starving Ethiopians extravagance.” That kind of way of looking at things, in the absence of a defence anyway, leads to guilt. It doesn’t even have to be accurate. We are insecure. We are prone to guilt. It’s like telling an anorexic girl she is fat. It doesn’t have to be true. His reasoning is that it is O.K. to talk that way because he is providing a defence which will eliminate the guilt. But it works backwards as well. The guilt inspired by the critical idealism can make us need the defence so desperately that we will not question whether it is in fact the truth.

    If you do look into it far enough to find things which make you question, of course you will tend to express your criticisms. This will be interpreted as “being evasive” and “retaliating against the information”. For me – desperately needing to believe and wanting to belong – this put me in a double bind. Part of the WTM philosophy is that “the truth will set you free” – “honesty is what is required”. When I honestly expressed my doubts, it was called “delusion”. When I disingenuously apologised it was accepted as honesty, even though it wasn’t honesty but a lie. I was asked to be truthful, but honesty was punished and a lie was rewarded. This threw me into a double bind and I spent some time in a mental hospital.

    What I learned in retrospect was that the truth CAN set you free. What ultimately destabilised me was not “retaliating against the information” but rather prevaricating – betraying my own integrity rather than pursue the truth as I saw it. For the last ten years I’ve been critiquing Griffith’s theory and my mental health has been fine.