In the introduction to the preceding essay, Sir James Darling’s Acknowledgement of the ‘Paramount’ Need to Solve the Human Condition, a brief biography of Sir James Darling was included. It was mentioned that from 1930 to 1961 Sir James was headmaster of Geelong Grammar School (GGS) in Victoria, the school that 4 of the 7 Founding Directors of the WTM attended, my brother Simon Griffith, Tim Macartney-Snape AM OAM, Christopher Stephen and myself.
James Ralph Darling was born in Tonbridge, England on 18 June 1899. He came out from England to Australia to take up the headmastership of GGS when he was 30 years of age. After his 30 years as headmaster of GGS Darling was appointed chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (as today’s Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC, is known), a position he held from 1961 to 1967. He died in Melbourne on 1 November 1995, aged 96.
It was also mentioned in the biography that in Australia’s bicentennial year, 1988, Sir James Darling was designated one of 200 ‘Great Australians’. Of the 200–22 then living–Darling was the only headmaster, public recognition thereby being given to his exceptional, indeed unique, influence in Australia as an educator. In fact by the end of Darling’s tenure, GGS had become one of the most highly regarded schools in the world. The current heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, was sent there for part of his education.
This essay seeks to describe just how important the work and vision of Sir James Darling has been in the world. His influence on my own life can be gauged by the fact that my 1991 book Beyond The Human Condition is dedicated to him, along with Sir Laurens van der Post and Dr Louis Leakey.
In 1989 I wrote a letter to Sir James to thank him personally for the help and inspiration he had given my life and included for him a copy of my first book Free: The End of The Human Condition. In response Sir James wrote to me on the 21 February 1989 saying, in part: ‘The main, perhaps the only thing, that a school can do is to create an atmosphere in which boys can grow up in such a way as to develop their own selves without having too much imposed upon them or destroyed in them…From reading what you have written it seems to have been successful with you. I particularly like the combination of furniture building and metaphysical thought.’
You can see even from what Darling has written here that his objective in education was to preserve and protect students’ innocent instinctive soul’s world by firstly not imposing upon it, and secondly by fostering and encouraging its sound, wholesome, idealistic values over the values of the competitive intellectual world. As will become clear in the material that follows Darling saw education as a case of preserving innocence as long as possible. Such an attitude was heresy in a world where education was becoming increasingly committed to introducing students to pragmatic competitive and evasive, superficial, esoteric intellectual goals. When virtually all other academic institutions emphasise intellectual excellence Darling emphasised instinctual excellence. Darling went in the opposite direction to social trends; instead of feeding and encouraging alienation he sought to limit its imposition and development in students. His was a monumental act of independence and courage. In recognition of his courageous, clear-sighted attitude to education the Australian College of Education created, in 1994, the ‘Sir James Darling Medal’ to be presented annually to a leader in education in Australia.
A criticism of delaying a student’s introduction to the adult world of alienated reality is that it can strand them in unworkable ideality, but Darling could see that only preserved innocence could confront, and think deeply about, the serious issues facing humanity. For everyone else such thinking is too dangerous. It is worth repeating the description I gave of the work of Friedrich Nietzsche at the conclusion of the preceding essay titled Sir James Darling’s Acknowledgement of the ‘Paramount’ Need to Solve the Human Condition: ‘Nietzsche was aware of the defiance of the false, evasive, alienated world that is required to think effectively when he wrote, “we have to await the arrival of a new species of philosopher, one which possesses tastes and inclinations opposite to and different from those of its predecessors–philosophers of the dangerous ‘perhaps’ in every sense” (Beyond Good and Evil, 1886; trans. 1966). The central thesis of Nietzsche’s work was of the need for the arrival of what he termed an “overman” or “superman”, people who are secure, independent and highly individualistic; basically people who could and would defy the evasion/ denial/ alienation that has held the minds of humans in a vice-like grip since time immemorial. Nietzsche cited, amongst others, Christ and Socrates as models for such defiant thinkers.’ Darling was another such model of defiance and, as will become clear in the material that follows, his goal in education was to produce the ultimate defiant thinker, someone who could, with the benefit of science, confront and resolve the dilemma of the human condition. Darling’s was an extraordinarily noble and courageous undertaking.
Darling set out his attitude to education in his celebrated 1962 book, The Education of a Civilized Man, which is a collection of his speeches. In one of the speeches, one that has the same title as the book, The Education of a Civilized Man, Darling says: ‘The objective [of education] is a development of the whole man [note, GGS was a boys school during Darling’s headmastership], sensitive all round the circumference…[A] criticism [of developing such sensitivity]…is that the sensitive man cannot survive in the hard modern world. In a sense this is true…he may at first sight appear less well equipped to deal with life than his more callous or superficial fellow…But the future, someone has said, lies not with the predatory [selfish] and the immune [alienated] but with the sensitive [innocent] who live dangerously [defy the world of evasion]. There is a threefold choice for the free man…He may grasp for himself what he can get and trample the needs and feelings of others beneath his feet: or he may try to withdraw from the world to a monastery…: or he may “take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them”…[And so] There remains the sensitive, on one proviso: he must be sensitive and tough. He must combine tenderness and awareness with fortitude, perseverance, and courage. The sensitivity is necessary because without it there is no life of the mind, no growing consciousness, no living conscience; nor is there any real communication one with another. It is necessary also if we accept Father Teilhard’s extension of the idea of evolution as illuminating the end of life. Only by a growth of sensitivity can man progress from the alpha of original chaos to the omega of God’s purpose for him…Sensitivity is not enough. Without toughness it may be only a thin skin…[only from] an inner core of strength are [you] enabled to fight back…Can such men be? Of course they can: and they are the leaders whom others will follow. In the world of books there are, for me, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, or Laurens van der Post [I might mention here that Sir Laurens van der Post and Saint-Exupéry are two thinkers I have come to especially trust. As has been mentioned Sir Laurens is one of the people my book Beyond The Human Condition is dedicated to].’
In another of Darling’s speeches from The Education of a Civilized Man, a speech titled On Looking Beneath the Surface of Things that was discussed at length in the preceding essay titled Sir James Darling’s Acknowledgement of the ‘Paramount’ Need to Solve the Human Condition, Darling repeats the quote about ‘the predatory and the immune’. Attributing the quote to Canon Raven, Darling reiterates his attitude to education: ‘Canon Raven says, “the future lies not with the predatory and the immune but with the sensitive who live dangerously”. It should be the prime object of education…to develop sensitivity…the truly sensitive mind is both susceptible and penetrating: it is open to new ideas, and it seeks truth at the bottom of the well. It is the development of this sort of mind which it should be the object of the educational process to cultivate.’
It needs clarifying what Darling was referring to when he talked about (Father) Teilhard de Chardin’s ‘idea of evolution as illuminating the end of life’ and man’s ‘progress from the alpha of original chaos to the omega of God’s purpose for him’. Darling was actually talking about biology one day explaining the human condition and by so doing dignifying humans and thus liberating them from the trauma, upset and denial of the human condition–and in the process reconciling the two opposed worlds of the soul and the intellect that religion and science represent. To evidence that this is the case I will firstly quote from the dust jacket of de Chardin’s major work, The Phenomenon of Man (1955; trans, 1959), ‘…[de Chardin] applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect and his great spiritual faith to the concept of building up a philosophy that would reconcile Christian theology with the scientific theory of evolution’. Secondly there is this quote in Encarta Encyclopedia 96’s reference to de Chardin: ‘Scientific evolutionary theory is the key to Teilhard’s thought. Evolution, he wrote, “is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforward if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts…” His major work, The Phenomenon of Man, is an attempt to set forth a comprehensive evolutionary vision that speaks to both scientific and religious interests. Matter, argued Teilhard, has always obeyed “that great law of biology...the law of ‘complexification.’” He interpreted evolution as a purposive process in which the matter-energy of the universe has continually changed in the direction of increased complexity.’ De Chardin was one of the earliest holistic scientists (and incidentally he was persecuted by religious fundamentalists for being so, this occurring despite the fact that he was clearly a man of ‘great spiritual faith’). As was explained in Step 5 of A Brief, 8-step Description of the Nature of the WTM’s Work, a holistic scientist is one that acknowledges the integrative, cooperative, teleological, ‘complexification’ theme or purpose or meaning of life. In fact de Chardin conceived the idea of an ‘Omega Point’ for humanity, an ultimate cooperative unification of our species and world. This time of ‘co-operation of humanity’ or ‘God-Omega’, as de Chardin variously referred to it, that is liberated when the poles of the human condition are finally reconciled, is what Darling is referring to when he talked about man’s ‘progress from the alpha of original chaos to the omega of God’s purpose for him’.
De Chardin and Darling were referring to a time when the poles of the human condition would be reconciled. The following quote is even more specific. It is from Marilyn Ferguson who is the author of the 1980 book The Aquarian Conspiracy, the book that launched the New Age Movement: ‘Maybe Teilhard de Chardin was right; maybe we are moving toward an Omega Point–Maybe we can finally resolve the planet’s inner conflict between its neurotic self (which we’ve created and which is unreal) and its real self. Our real self knows how to commune, how to create…From everything I’ve seen people really urgently want the kind of new beginning…[that I am] talking about [where humans will live in] cooperation instead of competition.’ (From an interview with Marilyn Ferguson, New Age, August 1982.)
These quotes I have given from The Education of a Civilized Man about Darling’s attitude to education, together with the above clarification of what Darling meant in his reference to the work of Teilhard de Chardin make it clear that Darling’s objective in education was to cultivate the qualities that were going to be needed to solve the fundamental problem in the world of the human condition. As described in the previous essay, Sir James Darling’s Acknowledgement of the ‘Paramount’ Need to Solve the Human Condition, Darling even prepared the way for the undertaking by forewarning of the problems that would be encountered.
Darling’s vision for education was to train men to liberate humanity from the human condition. It was a truly extraordinarily bold vision. I have been told that Darling couldn’t live with the fact that he survived the First World War–where he served as an artillery officer–when so many of his contemporaries died and to try to make amends he decided to attempt to live the life of ten men. In terms of being able to make a gargantuan contribution Darling was the beneficiary of some of the best education England could provide, and England, with its Oxford (where Darling read history) and Cambridge, was the centre of learning in the world at the time. One of his teachers and later mentor, William Temple, went on to become what many regard was the Church of England’s greatest ever Archbishop of Canterbury. All the indications are that Darling was attracted to Australia because he saw it as a place where there would be sufficient sheltered innocence to undertake his monumental vision of healing the world. He was certainly on a mission. When he came out to Australia and took up his headmastership at GGS at the young age of 30 there were only 330 pupils at the school but 30 years later when he retired the school had so developed that it had become, as has been mentioned, one of the most highly regarded schools in the world.
It obviously also took unusual foresight and courage on the part of the administrators of GGS to select Darling as headmaster. In fact the founding fathers of GGS and the administrators at the time of Darling’s appointment must have all, to some degree shared Darling’s view about education. Interestingly Tim Macartney-Snape’s ancestor, the Reverend H. B. Macartney, Dean of Melbourne, was one of the founding fathers of GGS. Thus, in a sense the story comes full circle with Tim’s involvement as a founding director of the World Transformation Movement because what is possibly even more astonishing than Darling’s dream of fostering the capacity to solve the human condition is that he succeeded. Some of his students, the Old Geelong Grammarians in the WTM, assisted by a group of exceptionally able and courageous young Australians are bringing enlightenment of the human condition to the world.
The certainty and forthrightness of this last statement may seem like arrogance and immodesty. What needs to be explained is the difference between arrogance and authority and between immodesty and honesty. Later in this essay it will be explained that if you are unevasive in your thinking you can know when your thinking is true and when it is not. The importance of saying what you know to be true will also be emphasised.
Darling described the specific qualities that would be needed to ‘seek truth at the bottom of the well’–solve the human condition–as ‘sensitivity’ and ‘toughness’. He explained that ‘Sensitivity is not enough. Without toughness it may be only a thin skin…[only from] an inner core of strength are [you] enabled to fight back [against all the denial and dishonesty in the world]’.
His recognition of the need for toughness to accompany innocence in order to defy the entrenched resigned, false, alienated world has been recognised in many mythologies. In Christian mythology the story of David and Goliath is a symbolic story of innocence going out from humanity’s besieged ranks to slay the monster ‘Goliath’, who represents humanity’s all-dominating, evasive, false, alienated state. While David needs exceptional soundness–that innocent youth symbolises–to defy the denial of the evasive world, he obviously also needs to be tough enough to stand up to the monster ‘Goliath’.
Humanity is a species that has been living in denial–denial of the subject of the human condition, and all associated truths–such as the extent of alienation in humans, the truth of integrative meaning, the fact that we have an instinctive self or ‘soul’ orientated to behaving cooperatively, the importance of nurturing in the maturation of humanity and in our individual lives, etc, etc. We are effectively a species living in amnesia. Throughout history great thinkers, such as Darling, have wondered about the day humanity would have to stop living in denial and face the truth about itself. Would there be sufficient courage, ‘toughness’ for the task, was the great question. The final section of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, is essentially someone’s description of their anxiety and fear of having to face the liberating but naked truth about themselves. The Greek name for the Book of Revelation is ‘apocalypse’ which actually means ‘uncovered’ or ‘revealed’.
The great question in the mind of deeply thinking humans was whether or not humanity would ever have the courage to face ‘truth day’/ ‘honesty day’/ ‘exposure day’/ ‘judgement day’. Firstly the denied truths about humans would have to be dug up by someone and the unevasive, dignifying biological explanation of the human condition then assembled. The next step would be to defend that unevasive, reconciling truth against the historic, habituated tide of denial that would try to re-impose itself and repress it. It was difficult for a more alienated person to imagine there would be sufficient courage. For someone, such as Darling, who was not so alienated, and still relatively full of love and enthusiasm for life, to imagine such courage was not as difficult. Nevertheless such a person as Darling still knew it was going to be a ‘tight corner’, to put it mildly. Those involved in the turning around of humanity from its historic state of denial would definitely have to be both innocent and ‘tough’. Metaphorically it would be like trying to turn the Amazon River around in its bed and make it flow the other way.
In Australian mythology our favourite poem, Banjo Paterson’s 1890 The Man from Snowy River, describes how a ‘stripling’ boy–the embodiment of innocence again–goes out beyond where the alienated adults dare go to overthrow alienation and retrieve the truth about ourselves, symbolised by the thoroughbred horse that has escaped into the impenetrable mountains. To succeed at the task the boy needs more than just the unerring guidance of his truthful, uncorrupted innocence, he also has to be tough enough for the task–in the story he has to be bold enough to ride down the mountainside’s ‘terrible descent’–to quote: ‘When they reached the mountain’s summit even Clancy took a pull / It well might make the boldest hold their breath, / The wild hop-scrub grew thickly and the hidden ground was full / Of wombat-holes, and any slip was death. / But the man from Snowy River let his pony have his head, / And swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer, / And raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed, / While the others stood and watched in very fear. // He sent the flintstones flying, but the pony kept his feet; / He cleared the fallen timber in his stride, / And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat / It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride. / Through stringy-barks and saplings on the rough and broken ground, / Down the hillside at a racing-pace he went, / And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound / At the bottom of that terrible descent.’
‘Terrible descent’ because you have to go down into the subconscious world of denial that almost all humans practice; penetrate to the very bottom of the human predicament. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins described the devastating depression that awaits anyone who tries to look into the depths of the human condition who is not exceptionally sound. He wrote in his 1885 sonnet No Worst, There is None: ‘O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall / Frightful, sheer, no-man fathomed. / Hold them cheap / May [any] who ne’er [have never] hung there.’ ‘Hung’ is the perfect word for depression, for the state that there is ‘no worse’ than, and Hopkins says that the only people who ‘hold’ the psychological depths where the human condition resides ‘cheap’ are those who don’t experience depression when they attempt to ‘fathom’ those ‘frightful’ depths. Darling talked of ‘the sensitive who live dangerously’ and Nietzsche talked of the ‘dangerous “perhaps” in every sense’. Similarly, R. D. Laing said in the quote used to introduce the preceding essay, Sir James Darling’s Acknowledgement of the ‘Paramount’ Need to Solve the Human Condition: it is ‘perilous indeed to explore such a lost realm’. The subject of the human condition is dangerously confronting for most people.
In an essay titled Resignation that the WTM is hoping to publish in the near future, a letter to the WTM from a 16-year-old named Lisa Tassone is referred to. In the letter Lisa talked about being suicidally depressed and having that depression lifted when she read my book Free: The End of The Human Condition. As will be explained in that essay, what had happened was that Lisa had encountered the ‘frightful’ depression that awaits virtually all humans in their early teenage years when they naively try to confront the dilemma of the human condition. Significantly, as soon as Lisa was able to understand the human condition her depression was lifted, and she will now be one of the first adult humans to have been able to use understanding to avoid resigning herself to a life of denial and evasion of the human condition. As a result she will be in a relatively strong position to defy the entrenched false, resigned evasion in the world–but it still won’t be easy, especially while this breakthrough understanding of the human condition is still to be publicly accepted and supported. Lisa has gone on to study psychology at university. Pity help her when she encounters the evasion that has to date had to be practiced by that discipline, along with every other scientific discipline–as Professor Charles Birch has acknowledged, ‘…science can’t deal with subjectivity…what we were all taught in universities is pretty much a dead end’ (WTM Sydney Open Day, 4 Dec 1993). Interestingly, this ‘dead end’ to meaningful inquiry that evasive mechanistic science eventually had to arrive at was anticipated by Christ 2000 years ago when, in uncivilised, defiant terms, he said to the intellectual custodians of evasion of his day, ‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!…You blind guides!…You snakes! You brood of vipers!…you who kill the prophets [you who practice denying, persecuting and even murdering unevasive truthfulness]…’ (see Matt 23). Lisa will indeed need to be tough if she is to stand up to and defy cooperative-meaning-denying and alienation-ignoring mechanistic, reductionist science. The pioneers of this new understanding simply have to have exceptional courage and character. The essence of that character and the source of that courage is the combination of sensitivity and toughness, the ‘inner core of strength’ that Darling said enabled a person ‘to fight back’.
Nobel prize winning author Albert Camus wrote an extraordinarily honest description of the underlying, core task in all human endeavour of finding the dignifying and thus liberating understanding of the human condition. His description is reproduced at length elsewhere on this website but it is appropriate to quote here the part of it that emphasises the need for courage. Camus wrote, ‘Before the vastness of the undertaking [of solving the human condition], let no one in any case forget strength of character. I do not mean the one accompanied on electoral platforms by frowns and threats. But the one that, through the virtue of its whiteness [innocence] and its sap [toughness], stands up to all the winds from the sea. It is that which, in the winter for the world, will prepare the fruit.’ For where such ‘whiteness and its sap’ might still be found in the world Camus added, ‘I turn towards those shining lands where so much strength is still untouched [uncorrupted]. I know them too well not to realize that they are the chosen lands where courage and contemplation can live in harmony’ (The Almond Trees, 1940).
Banjo Paterson’s 1890 poem The Man from Snowy River is a prophetic anticipation of Australia’s role in solving the human condition and an accurate, albeit symbolic, description of the task. In much more recent times, in the 1998 Australian-made animated film, Babe: Pig in the City the need for sensitivity and toughness for the job of solving the human condition is also symbolically emphasised. In order to save the farm, which symbolises the alienation-free true world, the pig has to take his innocence into the very heart of alienation, which is the city, and defy and defeat the alienation to release the captured soul of humanity, represented by the innocent animals held captive there. To symbolise that the immensely hazardous undertaking is going to take toughness as well as innocence, the pig wears the bulldog’s spiked collar into battle, which the bulldog donated because he recognises he hasn’t sufficient innocence/ soundness to do the job himself.
Interestingly Kennedy Miller, who made the Babe movies, also made the late 1970s and early 1980s Mad Max movies. These have the same theme of unrecognised (because the world practices evading and denying unevasiveness) and brave (to the point of almost madness) innocence taking on the alienated world and leading humanity out of bondage from the darkness of the blind, alienated world. To quote a review of the film Mad Max–or The Road Warrior as the film was titled in the USA–Max is ‘a hero in the classical tradition–a figure whose origins lie in the ancient myths; his role, in common with classical heroes, is of a man from nowhere destined to lead society into the next generation’ (Sunday Telegraph newspaper, 21 March 1982).
Terry Hayes, co-producer and co-writer of Mad Max once said about the movie, ‘This is Jesus in leather, mate’. As is talked more about in the Resignation essay that the WTM hopes to publish shortly, Christ was essentially someone sufficiently innocent to tackle and penetrate humans’ alienated world of denial, and he, like Sir James Darling, recognised the need for toughness to accompany sensitivity when taking on the false world when he said, ‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves’ (Matt 10:16). A comment about Albert Schweitzer makes the same point about needing to be shrewd. This comment also emphasises the need for self-sufficiency and diligency if you are going to be able to stand alone against the all-dominating and all-powerful evasive, alienated world: ‘He [Schweitzer] learned that the idealist must be more practical than the realist, because he stands alone–that successful idealism cannot live on pure enthusiasm, but demands a willingness to muddy one’s boots in incessant tedious detail and a certain cynical cunning’ (Albert Schweitzer: A Biography, James Brabazon, 1976).
The most popular figure in Australian folklore is the bushranger Ned Kelly. His irreverence towards, and defiance of the evasive establishment and the ingenuity and self-sufficiency of the armour–his bullshit/ evasion/ denial deflector!–that he and his mates made out of plough shears and wore into their final battle against the establishment typifies the Australian intellectualism-defying, non-conformist character. So important a symbol is Ned Kelly for me that I have a photo of his armour beside my desk.
When Christ said ‘I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33) he meant he had been both sufficiently innocent and sufficiently tough to successfully stand against the all-dominating resigned, evasive world that denies God/ truth/ cooperative meaning, and many other confronting truths. Sir Laurens van der Post, whom Darling nominated as one of his two favourite authors, wrote many books acknowledging the relative innocence of the Stone Age Bushmen people of Africa’s Kalahari Desert. The natural living Bushmen people were all prophet-like in their level of innocence. As Bruce Chatwin said about older, more innocent races, such as the Bushmen: ‘If Christ were the perfect instinctual specimen–and we have every reason to believe He was–He must be the Son of God. By the same token the First man was also Christ’ (What Am I Doing Here, 1989). Similarly in the preceding essay, Sir James Darling’s Acknowledgement of the ‘Paramount’ Need to Solve the Human Condition, Darling talked of Christ being an ‘Example’ of ‘the forerunner of our race’, our ‘Elder Brother’. While the Bushmen people were all prophet-like in their relative innocence the interesting question is would they be sufficiently tough to successfully stand against the false world and find understanding of the human condition? The problem is the Bushmen race have not been hardened to the competitive and aggressive brutality that has become part of the world of the more alienated, human condition-adapted races. For example, in his wonderful 1958 book, The Lost World of the Kalahari, van der Post described what happened to a Bushman who was jailed for hunting recently protected game. Being locked up was so great an offence to the Bushman’s spirit that he died within a few days. There was no physical injury, he had simply died of a broken heart. While the Bushmen have sufficient innocence for the undertaking it is difficult to imagine a Bushman entering the world of evasive mechanistic science and keeping his uncorrupted, innocent love and sensitivity sufficiently intact to defy all the ruthless evasion and denial that is practiced there and bring out the reconciling biological explanation of the human condition.
Interestingly van der Post actually wrote a book about a Kalahari Bushman going to New York, the very capital of the evasive world, and converting it with his great love/ innocence/ soundness. This 1975 book, A Mantis Carol, was inspired by the true story of a Bushman, Hans Taaibosch, who was taken to live in New York city. The idea of such innocence being thrown right into the belly of the evasive, alienated beast was so overwhelming for Sir Laurens that he couldn’t help using the situation to anticipate the time when innocence would take on and defeat the false, evasive world. Certainly the innocence of the little Bushman offered the ideal metaphor for this undertaking but while innocence is the primary requirement it alone is not enough, because, as Darling said, you have to be both sensitive and tough. Thus, while the love of Hans Taaibosch did prove to be greater than the brutally tough world he entered, he obviously wasn’t able to bring an end to the evasive world of denial because people in New York, and in the rest of the world, didn’t subsequently change their evasive, alienated way of living.
It is worth including some extracts from A Mantis Carol for their unevasiveness/ honesty and resulting profundity: ‘We too were living in another Roman hour of time, with life under arrest crying for a renewal and rebirth in every aspect of itself [p.136]…But first, I believed, [ie before we could find the understanding of ourselves that would make the rebirth possible] we had to accept the mystery in full, take upon ourselves the mystery of things in the way Shakespeare would have put it, as if we were God’s spies…as spies from behind the lines of unawareness, beyond the boldest of those outposts of mind on the far frontiers of the unknown where the image of Hans Taaibosch was out tracking at this moment, we might bring some worthwhile intelligence back…[p.132]…[Hans Taaibosch had] decided that life had suffered enough and far too long from so great a sham [the denial practised by the resigned, alienated world] and decided to take up the challenge of the fraudulent proposition and expose it for the lie it was. Moreover [he] appeared to have done it deliberately in so extreme a form, with odds so much in favour of the sponsors of the lie and so much against its chosen challenger, that no one would be able to doubt the outcome if the challenger won [p.147]…This love [exhibited by Hans Taaibosch], this improbable calling for wholeness in life, had to be experienced first in loneliness and isolation by a single heart and lived out in the small round of one unique life, however powerless and absurd it may appear to itself, before the great impersonal and arrogant collective spirit of our time would be moved…[p.157]’
I should say that it turns out to be true that while Hans Taaibosch wasn’t able to change the world, ‘the great impersonal and arrogant collective spirit of our time’ was able to ‘be moved’ by the love of the Bushmen people as a race. This is because the Bushmen’s exceptional innocence was van der Post’s great inspiration to write so honestly about humanity’s collective loss of innocence, and it was this acknowledgement by van der Post of the soul’s true world that played a crucial part in preserving my unevasive way of thinking. In particular my mother gave me a copy of a book by van der Post (I think it was Venture to the Interior because I remember the zebras pictured on the cover) when I was in my late teenage years and it was the confirmation that I gained from this book that my very different unresigned, unevasive way of thinking wasn’t some form of madness that encouraged me to hold onto my unusual way of thinking. I was variously being described by people as ‘hopelessly idealistic’, ‘quixotic’, ‘a dreamer’, ‘utopian’ and more unkindly as being ‘mad’, ‘idiotic’, ‘childish’, ‘pathetic’, and as being ‘offensive’ and ‘just plain wrong’ in my thinking. Later in my life I was regularly accused of practicing ‘bad science’, which is mechanistic science’s code word for science that doesn’t comply with its evasive etiquette. With confirmation from van der Post’s writing that I wasn’t mad I was able to go on thinking unevasively and eventually find my way to the humanity-liberating truth about the human condition. Assistance from van der Post has never ceased. There has been nothing that I have thought of that I haven’t been able to find confirmation of in the writings of van der Post. In my book Beyond I acknowledged the role that the Bushmen played in unravelling the dilemma of the human condition when I included in the book’s dedication this quote from van der Post: ‘...for I had a private hope of the utmost importance to me. The Bushman’s physical shape combined those of a child and a man: I surmised that examination of his inner life might reveal a pattern which reconciled the spiritual opposites in the human being and made him whole...it might start the first movement towards a reconciliation…’ (The Heart of the Hunter, 1961).
I mentioned that van der Post was a favourite author of Darling’s, as he has been of mine. Interestingly, the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, who as I have mentioned also attended Geelong Grammar School as a student, chose van der Post to be godfather to his eldest son Prince William.
This shared recognition may seem an extraordinary coincidence given van der Post is not widely recognised as a great literary figure. Most people have heard of the likes of Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad and T.S. Eliot but few have heard of van der Post. In fact van der Post very rarely appears in the bibliographies in scholarly books. Unresigned adult minds, or unevasive thinkers, or prophets are naturally very rare and they are not popular because resigned, evasive adult minds prefer the truth to be artfully alluded to, rather than directly and clearly stated. Unevasive thinkers however do find each other because nearly everything that is written in the world is written from a resigned, evasive perspective and writing that isn’t, while extremely confronting and even offensive to resigned, alienated minds, stands out like a beacon of relieving honesty to unresigned minds. The fact is, on a planet swarming with billions of humans staggering around in a state of blind alienation there were a handful of humans who, being unevasive, were organised and clear in their minds, specks of sanity lashed together in a tiny raft of dialogue floating in an ocean of madness.
There has been so much media trivialisation and official insulation of Prince Charles it is difficult for me to know the profoundness of his mind. I don’t know if he is an unevasive thinking contemporary prophet or not, but I do know the inspiring influence Geelong Grammar School could well have had on him, especially the uplifting, soul-reinforcing influence of Timbertop, the outward-bound year students at GGS spend on a small campus in the Victorian mountains that Prince Charles attended in his year at GGS. The author Joanna Trollope, who knows Prince Charles well, has described him as ‘probably the most thoughtful member of the royal family since Prince Albert’ (The Weekend Australian, 25 March 2000). Certainly van der Post and Darling were prophets and both were acknowledged as such in their obituaries. (For those readers who are interested in the full-page obituaries as they were published in The Australian newspaper see and .)
Incidentally, I mentioned above that people described my unevasive way of thinking as ‘idealistic’. Before going onto the next section of this essay I should explain that the idealism of the innocent, unresigned state is very different from the idealism that came after deciding to try to rediscover the true world of the soul years after you had resigned to a life of denying it. When people became exhausted from the battle of the human condition and decided to become ‘born again’ through a religion, or through joining a New Age movement, or even a left wing political movement, the idealism they were able to resurrect in themselves was not a living expression of the soul’s true world but an alienated, long repressed, much faded memory of it.
There is another important difference about such return trips to the soul’s true world; while the idealism of unresigned innocence is an entirely selfless desire to stop the suffering in the world there was a selfish agenda in trying to resurrect the soul’s world years after resignation. That selfish component was to relieve your sense of guilt about being corrupted. For example there is this truthful quote about environmentalism from Time magazine (31 Dec 1990), ‘The environment became the last best cause, the ultimate guilt-free issue’. To be genuinely concerned for the world required being honest about the alienated state. Focusing on the environment is evading the true problem in the world, namely ourselves, our human condition. Children are taught to be environmentally aware but no one teaches or talks to them about the real pollution in the world, humanity’s upset, alienated condition. As an article in Time magazine put it, ‘We need to do something about the environmental damage in our heads’ (Time, May 24 1993). Environmentalism is really about supplying people with an escape from the real problem, a way to feel good about themselves–it’s a selfish evasion, the ultimate guilt-freeing cause. Of course while humanity couldn’t explain the human condition it wasn’t safe for most people to address the human condition but that doesn’t alter the fact that the environment is not the real realm that needs repairing.
Like ‘environmentalism’, ‘aboriginalism’ has become a massive guilt-freeing industry here in Australia. The media, especially the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper and the Australian newspaper, run feature stories about Australian Aboriginals pretty well daily. Aboriginals’ plight, their historic affinity with nature, their ancient culture and demands for reconciliation are discussed endlessly–but no-one is talking about or acknowledging the real issue of aboriginal people’s comparative innocence and resulting vulnerability to European’s much greater adaption to the alienation and self-corruption that has accompanied the battle to solve the human condition. There is no honesty about the comparative alienation of ‘whites’ on the negative side, or, on the positive side, honesty about the comparative toughness and character of whites for the battle of solving the human condition–just selfish, make-yourself-feel-good (ie, escape-confrontation-with-your-human-condition-afflicted-corrupted-state) by supporting Aboriginals. Real dedication to ending the suffering of our soul’s world, including the suffering of those more innocent representations of it such as aboriginal races, begins by confronting the truth about humans’ variously human-condition-oppressed, alienated state. To re-quote R. D. Laing from my previous essay on Sir James Darling: ‘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.’ The dedication of my second book is to the aboriginal people of Africa–that is how deeply committed I am to ending the plight of aboriginal people, but I will have no part in the current selfish, feel-good, pseudo-idealistic fraud of the ‘aboriginalist’ movement. Real reconciliation between the natural world and the corrupted world, blacks and whites, women and men, young and old, innocence and upset, good and evil, the left wing and the right wing in politics, etc, etc depends on confronting and solving the human condition–not on escaping it–that only adds more alienation and ultimately corruption to the situation.
If the reader would like to read more about the pseudo idealistic politically correct culture that is trying to impose its extremely dangerous dishonesty and delusion on the world today there is an essay titled Death by Dogma that the WTM is hoping to publish in the near future.
With regard to my acknowledgement of different levels of innocence or alienation, such as between the Bushmen race and people living in New York, or between Aboriginal races and white, European races, I should emphasise the point that while humanity couldn’t explain the human condition–that is, reconcile the innocent, upset-free state with the soul-corrupted, alienated, upset states–humans couldn’t afford to admit who was innocent and who was upset because it led to the upset being unjustly condemned by the innocent and feeling unjustly condemned themselves for not being ideal. It led to ‘prejudiced’, ‘ageist’, ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ perceptions of inferiority or superiority. The truth is that while no person, age group, generation, race or gender is superior or inferior to another there are immense differences in levels of innocence and associated naivety between individuals, age groups, generations, races and sexes.
Again the problem was that while we were unable to explain why lack of innocence wasn’t a state of badness (ie while we couldn’t explain the human condition) we couldn’t differentiate between loss of innocence and the perception of badness–in which case it was better not to admit who was innocent and who wasn’t. The result of this necessary avoidance was the emergence of one of the most pervasive of all lies; which is that there are no real differences between individuals, age groups, generations, races and sexes in their levels of innocence and alienation.
With the arrival of understanding of the human condition this extremely dishonest situation changes: understanding of humans’ embattled, upset, soul-corrupted, divisive angry, egocentric and alienated state takes humanity beyond the concepts of good and evil to where we can all at last understand that while humans have been variously soul-corrupted or ‘upset’ from encounter with the necessary battle of the human condition no human is fundamentally bad and inferior. Understanding the human condition dignifies all humans, explains and allows us all to understand that all humans are equally good.
I should emphasise at this point that soul-corrupted, upset, divisive behaviour–what we used to term ‘evil’–isn’t condoned by the arrival of understanding of it, rather it is given the means to subside and repair. Understanding ‘evil’ doesn’t sanction ‘evil’, rather through bringing compassion to the situation it heals it.
It is only after finding this dignifying, ameliorating and reconciling greater understanding of the human condition that it becomes safe and thus legitimate to acknowledge states of alienation and innocence. While Darling laid the foundation for the assault on the human condition he didn’t solve the human condition and having not done so he was obliged to comply with the necessity of not confronting humans directly with the existence of the extent of our variously alienated states. While he did comply with the need to be evasive he went as close as he possibly could to breaching the etiquette. Instead of using the word ‘innocent’ he alluded to the innocent state by using reference to Christ as ‘the great Example’, and by using phrases such as ‘the whole man’, people who are ‘whole and healthy’ and the ‘sensitive’ man. Similarly, instead of using the words ‘alienated’ and ‘corrupted’ he alluded to those states with descriptions of the effects of such corruption, such as ‘the superficial’, ‘the immune’, ‘the callous’ and ‘the predatory’. In fact for some students, instead of being uplifting and reinforcing GGS’s idealistic, soul-emphasis was a condemning and oppressive experience. In an article by Janet Hawley about Sir James in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine (that appeared sometime in late 1988) an eminent Melburnian who went to GGS said he ‘hated’ the school and ‘disliked Dr Darling’, complaining that ‘It was such a monastic environment, compulsory cold showers, no women…Darling’s highly moral sermons irritated me–I decided he had a guilt complex and was trying to pass it on to us.’ Incidentally, the accusation that Darling suffered from a ‘guilt complex’ is a reverse-of-the-truth lie, a form of lying specialised in by the evasive world. The problem for this person is that Darling had a ‘soundness or truth complex’, the very opposite of a ‘guilt complex’.
In his role as a headmaster of a school confined to the parameters of the evasive, mechanistic world, and as someone fostering the potential to solve the human condition rather than actually solving it, Darling knew he had to hold back. Nevertheless he fully recognised that the actual undertaking of solving the human condition could not involve any holding back, acknowledging, ‘It is the function of…prophets…to open eyes to what is there, to the unrecognised beauties of the creation and to the evils which we would prefer not to see’ (Reflections for The Age, 1991, p.95).
I might mention here that, like Darling, van der Post, and even to some extent Christ, complied with the etiquette of avoiding confronting humans too directly with the truth about their corrupted condition. Van der Post hid the truth in stories, so much so that many people read van der Post’s books and think that they are nothing more than travel stories and adventure novels. Even the dust jacket descriptions of a number of his 24 books describe the books as adventure novels, and van der Post as an explorer, soldier and writer, very rarely as a philosopher, which was his true occupation. Hiding the truth inside stories allowed each person to avoid the truth to the degree they needed to. People have frequently said to me that they have read for example van der Post’s The Lost World of the Kalahari and don’t remember coming across any of the quotes that I use from that book. Again, to unevasive minds the truth stands out like a beacon whereas to an evasive mind anything too profound is blocked out.
In the case of Christ it’s clear he used parables and stories for two reasons. Firstly, since science hadn’t been invented in his day there were no first principle understandings of the workings of our world with which he could explain and interpret the truths that he knew, and, as a result an analogy in the form of a story was the best way he could communicate his meaning. Secondly, there is this other dimension that I have been talking about, which is that, because science hadn’t been invented, and thus Christ couldn’t explain the human condition, he couldn’t afford to confront humans too directly with the truth and a story gave listeners the ability to choose their own depth that they were prepared to go to in comprehending his meaning. Christ often talked about seed being thrown on barren ground and not germinating, and he often accompanied this analogy with the phrase, ‘He who has ears, let him hear’ (see Matt 11:15, 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8). When Christ was then asked directly why he used parables he said, ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeking but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused [alienated]; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes”’ (Matt 13:13-15).
Without the ability to explain the human condition and thus defend humans, confronting humans with the truth of their corrupted, alienated condition too directly was dangerous because it could lead to suicidal depression. Making Christ out to be someone supernatural and someone who performs miracles were ways of making his innocence and the truths he put forward less confronting–if he isn’t a normal human then normal humans don’t have to compare themselves with him. Even with his truths hidden in parables and him made supernatural, from some ethereal realm unrelated to ours, he and his work have become too confronting for many people in the extremely alienated world of today, and, as a result, Christianity is becoming increasingly unpopular. For many people nowadays his soundness and truth represents one big condemning ‘guilt trip’ that they cannot safely bear.
With compassionate understanding of humans’ variously upset states it at last becomes both safe and necessary to be honest about the various upset, alienated states of humans. In fact that honesty is the therapy that sets humans free from their historic insecurity about their corrupted condition. Truth comes out of the closet now. Evasion and denial as ways of coping stop.
Not only does it become important to be honest about humans’ individual states of upset and alienation, it also becomes important to acknowledge the differences in levels of innocence between individuals, age groups, generations, races and sexes. We have accepted that young people are in general more innocent than older people, but have studiously avoided further differentiation. Obviously some individuals have had their true, cooperatively-orientated instinctive self or soul more upset by their particular encounter with the battle of the human condition than others and obviously some races, through having been more exposed to the battle of the human condition, have become genetically more upset-adapted over generations than other races. In the example already given, the Bushmen were comparatively so innocent that life in the more upset-adapted world was deeply offensive (in the case of Hans Taaibosch), and even unbearable (in the case of the Bushman who died in jail). Innocent races have disappeared from Earth not always through conflict with tougher races, but through finding themselves unable to accept and cope in the new reality, the new level of compromise of the ideals. As Sir Laurens van der Post has written: ‘Nor should we forget that there were races in the world which vanished not because of the wars we waged against them but simply because contact with us was more than their simple natural spirit could endure’ (The Dark Eye in Africa, 1955). D. H. Lawrence spoke the truth when he wrote that, ‘In the dust, where we have buried / The silent races and their abominations [their condemning, confronting and thus detestable innocence], / We have buried so much of the delicate magic of life.’
Similarly, from the time humanity was young and innocent some 2 million years ago, each succeeding generation has, overall, become more alienated. In recent years the graph of the rate of increase in alienation has begun to climb vertically. Now alienation has reached such an extreme level that new people arriving find the level of falseness and denial pretty well unbearable, hence the break-out in the Western world of childhood madness, or what has evasively been referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder. It has to be appreciated here that alienation can’t recognise or see its alienation–if it could it wouldn’t be alienated–but new people can see it and have to somehow try to adjust to it.
We will now also be able to safely admit there has been a sensible role differentiation between the sexes and as a result there are now differences between the sexes in their levels of upset and in their degree of naivety about the battle of the human condition. When the battle of the human condition emerged it made sense, given that fighting and loving are opposite qualities, for men to take up ‘the sword’ of having to fight to champion the conscious thinking self or ego over the unjustly condemning ignorance of our innocent, idealism-demanding instinctive self or soul. It also made sense for women to stay out of the fight as much as possible in order to preserve their innocence for the loving or nurturing of a fresh generation. As a natural outcome of these different roles in the human journey women are more naive about the need to defy the idealism-demanding world of our soul. As is explained more fully in my books, to contain this naivety women were oppressed by men in many ways, most especially through sex. Sex was originally mainly for procreation but when the battle of the human condition emerged it became ‘perverted’ and used as a way of oppressing women. Men violated women’s innocence or ‘honour’ by rape; they invented ‘sex’, as in ‘fucking’ or destroying the innocence of women. Importantly, while sex is fundamentally rape over time it also became an act of love. Managed in a civilised way, it became a way of complementing the partnership between men and women. This differentiation of roles for men and women will seem like chauvinist and sexist heresy to feminists but feminism, like anti-racist, politically correct views of there being no difference between races, was an entirely dishonest, evasive necessity that humanity developed while the human condition couldn’t be explained.
This honesty about differences in upset and naivety between individuals, age groups, generations, races and sexes is part of the therapy that brings about the human condition-free world, although it is also part of the extremely confronting and disorientating ‘future shock’ of the ‘brave new world’ or ‘tectonic paradigm shift’ or ‘massive sea-change’, in fact ‘judgement or truth or exposure day’, that understanding the human condition brings. All our old evasive defences and false, manufactured structures for avoiding prejudice come tumbling down. Our artificial world of denial is suddenly made transparent and redundant. For example all our libraries virtually become museums. Almost every book in the world is written from an evasive perspective and all of these evasive books will have to be extensively revised if they are to be at all relevant in the human condition-resolved world. An entirely new world dawns with the arrival of the understanding of the human condition, and not a moment too soon.
It should be emphasised that while such a revolutionary change can make us feel that the foundations of our existence are being destroyed, once we get over the initial shock of the change exceptional excitement emerges. When we realise that we can now live free of the denial we humans have had to practice and all be free of alienation and as a result be truly together at last in a state of real peace we will see that all our greatest hopes and dreams have come true.
At this point I should address the issue of my apparent immodesty in recognising myself as a contemporary prophet and apparent arrogance in claiming to have solved the human condition.
These issues of apparent immodesty and arrogance were briefly addressed in Step 7 of A Brief, 8-step Description of the Nature of the WTM’s Work, and are fully addressed in the essay titled The Demystification of Religion that the WTM is hoping to publish shortly. To very briefly address the issues here; what needs to be explained is a fundamental difference between evasive, mechanistic thinking and unevasive, integrative meaning-confronting, holistic thinking. As was explained in Step 5 of A Brief, 8-step Description of the Nature of the WTM’s Work, mechanistic thinking evades the greater truths such as of integrative meaning and the existence of humans’ alienated state. Since mechanistic thinking progresses from an evasive, false basis it is not in a strong position to know if ideas are true or not. Operating in a false framework it is an insecure, uncertain way of thinking. Holistic thinking on the other hand, progressing from a truthful basis, has an infinitely greater capacity to know if an idea is right or not. The analogy used is of being in a lit up room and someone asking you where the chair in the room is. Able to see you can say exactly where it is without being considered arrogant. If on the other hand you are being evasive, metaphorically living in a dark room, and someone asks where the chair is, all you can say is ‘I think it is possibly over there somewhere’.
Unlike most people prophets were not evasive of the truth of cooperative meaning or God. As it says in the Bible, prophets were able to ‘delight in the fear of the Lord’ (Isaiah 11:3). This unevasiveness is what allowed prophets to think truthfully and effectively–to be, as the dictionary definition of a prophet says, ‘someone who speaks for God’. Christ described the situation very clearly when he said, ‘But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father who sent me [I am truthfully guided by, I don’t evade, integrative meaning or the cooperative ideals]’ (John 8:16).
Further, since prophets weren’t insecure from a lack of reinforcement of their idealistic soul’s true world during their upbringing their self-worth or self-esteem was intact. This means they were the least egocentric of people. Their soundness or security of self or innocence of soul meant they weren’t hungry for reinforcement.
The question then is am I an unevasive thinker because if I am, acknowledging myself as a prophet is not arrogance but authority. To establish if someone is an unevasive thinker or prophet you only have to establish their capacity to confront and look into the human condition. By definition, an insecure, evasive person cannot begin to look into the human condition.
Self evaluation and description in the secure, unevasive world is simply a case of telling the truth. It is honest, necessary self-description not arrogant, deluded self-promotion. Also, despite the scepticism of evasive minds projecting their cynicism onto an unresigned mind, it is vital that an unresigned mind never succumb to that cynicism but keeps thinking and talking truthfully. Christ as an unevasive thinker never weakened to cynicism and hid the important truths that he could see. As he said, ‘I have spoken openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret’ (John 18:20). He explained the predicament of the unresigned mind when he said, ‘Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?’ (Mark 4:21). A prophet’s apparent immodesty is really secure, responsible, forthright honesty.
It is no wonder Sir James Darling was described as ‘a prophet in the true biblical sense’ in his full-page obituary in The Australian newspaper on the 3rd of November, 1995 (again, to view Darling’s obituary ). To create a school dedicated to fostering the qualities that were going to be needed to defy, overthrow and bring an end to the false, alienated world Darling had to be an exceptionally unevasive or honest thinker or prophet himself. What is so exceptional is that Darling actually created a school dedicated to producing prophets, and advocated that objective for all schools. It was his great vision for education. Solving the human condition was the goal of all humanity’s efforts and Darling simply aligned both himself and education to that goal and task.
Darling’s astonishing vision was to produce men capable of undertaking the task of delivering humanity from the human condition. The following are some quotes from Darling that anticipated the complete independence of unevasive thought and rock-solid steadfastness that were going to be required to find and then defend the unevasive truth about the human condition.
(Note, before giving the quotes I might mention that while we at the WTM have used such quotes as these to inspire us, we are not living by some script that Sir James laid out. While Darling was responsible for the education of a number of us, this is not a manufactured project. As Darling knew, what was needed was innocence not a script. Innocence would simply behave in a way that would defy the dishonesty in the world. In my case, as the person who brought together or synthesised these understandings of the human condition, I am simply following through on, and living out the concepts that my mind works out make sense and has confirmed by experience, research and other forms of evaluation. I talked earlier about the inspiration and confirmation I have derived from the writings of Sir Laurens van der Post. In the case of Darling, while I personally have for many years drawn inspiration from reading his book, The Education of a Civilized Man, it is only recently, in the last few years, that I actually realised he was deliberately training students for the specific undertaking of solving the human condition. In fact, in researching for this essay I have become even more astonished at just how true that interpretation of his life’s work is. It has been a journey of discovering what this job is that I’m involved in; not of planning it. I am always just following up what my mind makes sense of. People who are resigned and evasive naturally find thinking truthfully and thus effectively very difficult, but if you are not resigned and evasive it is not difficult to make sense of experience. People have said such absurd things to me as ‘you were a carpenter and Christ was a carpenter so you have tried to emulate Christ’. Once again, if you are unresigned and unevasive you are living in a state of exceptional enthusiasm and love for the world that your unresigned, unevasive mind has not lost access to. You are naturally imaginative and creative. When I was younger I was forever making things with my hands and working with wood is something I was naturally drawn to. I imagine this is because humans have such an ancient, hunter-gatherer association with wood. At the conclusion of my final year at GGS in 1963 the new headmaster, who had replaced Darling in 1961, advised my parents that I should take up a manual occupation because I was good with my hands but a very poor student academically. It was my mother who wouldn’t accept this and enrolled me in a correspondence course to do the necessary university entrance exams from home on our country property. I managed to scrape through–although I did gain first class honours in biology after writing an essay that asked why some ants don’t become lazy and live off the rest. I had no plans of becoming a philosopher. I merely started thinking like everybody else does but unbeknown to me at the time my unresigned, unevasive mind meant that I was able to keep making sense of issues. Then I found confirmation of my unusual ideas in the writings of a few people who I now understand are unevasive thinkers like myself. I am not gifted or special just relatively soul-connected or uncorrupted or innocent. If anyone is special in the world it is those who have already lost their innocence because by definition they have contributed more to the battle of life than I have. Those who have already endured suffering are the real heroes, the people most deserving of love, respect and consideration.)
All the following quotes are understandable in terms of Darling’s mission to prepare the way for solving the human condition, train students to defy and ultimately break the strangle hold evasion has on the world.
From Darling’s address at Geelong Grammar School on Anzac Day 1961 where Darling refers to ‘the one paramount purpose of saving the world’–not of ‘serving’ the world but of actually ‘saving’ it!: ‘This means, for every single man and woman here today, for every boy, however young, that he should here highly resolve that those whom we commemorate should not have died in vain. It means that each of us should regard our lives as pledged to the one paramount purpose of saving the world: that we should choose our job in life on the basis of what needs to be done that we are capable of doing: that, beyond that, we should use our spare time, not in pursuing transitory and expensive and unsatisfying pleasures but in working for our society:…we should use our educational and other advantages, not in our own interests but as an opportunity for leadership in conduct, in taste, and in intelligent appreciation of the issues before us…Pray, therefore, for faith [in Jesus Christ] above all things, for that and only that will bring with it the will and power to serve. The alternative is death, not only of the soul but of the body also, and the sands of time are running out.’ (The Education of a Civilized Man, 1962.)
From Darling’s 1960 GGS Speech Day address: ‘There are two attributes of leadership…to think independently and originally, and the instilling of the confidence and courage required from those who are going to take a line different from that of the majority. Archbishop Temple once asked me whether I had ever noticed that in the Old Testament the majority was always wrong. This is just as likely to be true today, if the majority lack leaders from within who are prepared to think for themselves and stand up for what they believe. It is much easier to conform, but nothing worthwhile was ever achieved that way.’ (The Education of a Civilized Man.)
In Weston Bate’s 1990 book about GGS, titled Light Blue Down Under, Bate refers to Darling’s most renown speech, his 1950 GGS Speech Day address, saying: Darling ‘spoke of the kind of man needed to save Australia and humanity: “We need in this generation, as we have had them in the past, men of conscience, driven, even against their wills, certainly against their own interest, to take a stand for principles. Men not afraid of facing unpleasant facts, not afraid of being different in their views from other people, men who cannot rest so long as opportunities remain to work for the really great human objectives–peace, justice, honesty and decency between men.”’
From Darling’s 1960 GGS Speech Day address: ‘It requires more toughness to resist the world than to join in the rat-race.’ (The Education of a Civilized Man).
From Darling’s address at GGS on Anzac Day 1961: ‘Last Sunday the Bishop spoke to you about St George and reminded you that life at all times was a challenge to live dangerously and to be strong…’ (The Education of a Civilized Man). As has been explained the ultimate strength-demanding life of danger for a human is to defy the evasion that the great majority of humans practice.
From Darling’s sermon at GGS Chapel, on the 11th of June, 1950: ‘Lean towards danger like a good boxer…’ (The Education of a Civilized Man).
From Darling’s address at Rugby School Chapel in England in 1955: ‘…when you think of the way in which you plan that your life should be spent, decide to disregard the rewards: think first of what needs to be done rather than of what you want to do: do not run away from the heroic and the apparently self-sacrificing vocations.’ (The Education of a Civilized Man).
Quoting further from Darling’s renown 1950 GGS Speech Day address, ‘We are not now that strength which in old days moved Heaven and Earth…but something ere the end, some work of noble note may yet be done’ (From Weston Bate’s Light Blue Down Under). Note Darling is here quoting from Tennyson’s Ulysses. The ‘noble work’ that still remained to be done, despite the human race having lost so much innocence and soundness, was the task of confronting and solving the human condition.
Many boys with fortunate rural backgrounds, especially those from the once-rich western district of Victoria, went to GGS and, as has been mentioned, the evidence is that Darling was attracted to teaching in Australia because he knew there would be sufficient sheltered innocence left here in Australia and especially amongst these graziers’ sons, to one day undertake the task of solving the human condition. In this next quote Darling refers to the extra responsibility that comes with exceptional good fortune.
From a sermon at GGS Chapel on the 14th of August, 1932: ‘The greater the power, the greater the opportunity and the responsibility: and from those who, besides the tradition of their race and family, have added to them a more than average capacity, even more is demanded. If an empire is to be great, it must be because there are never wanting such men as Theodosius and Ambrose to understand the greatness of their opportunity and to undertake the double burden of their responsibility to their fellow men and to the Law of God’ (The Education of a Civilized Man). Note, this quote is similar to what Christ said: ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’ (Luke 12:48).
This next quote refers to the kind of fraternity that was going to be needed to stand up for and defend the truth about the human condition when it was found. The quote is from a sermon Darling gave at Christ Church, Geelong, the 23rd of November, 1941: ‘Under the strain of danger and persecution, the society [Darling is using for his illustration the early Christian Church] was tested like gold tried in the fire. Inside the fellowship we can imagine that the bonds of fellowship were very strong and the pride in membership high. Such a fellowship, though only the brave would join it, would naturally attract the best, but, even so, only if its members were convinced themselves and anxious to convince others that they had found in the new religion a pearl of great price.’ (The Education of a Civilized Man.)
With regard to this last quote, it has to be emphasised again here that the WTM is not establishing a religion. What the WTM is putting forward is not dogma, in fact it is the very opposite of dogma, it is testable, accountable, understandable, first principle, biological explanation. It is true that the understanding of the human condition the WTM supports is based around the same confronting truths, such as integrative meaning, that religions support. While they are the same unevasive truths as religions support in our case those truths are expressed not in abstract terms such as ‘God’, ‘soul’, ‘sin’, ‘evil’ and ‘heaven’, but in the form of actual understandings of these aspects of the human condition. This means that the need to defer to an expression of soundness as occurs in religion is obsoleted by the ability to confront and understand ourselves. We at the WTM are concerned with self-managing, not self-abandoning. The whole of the human journey has been about replacing mysticism, superstition and dogma with rational, understandable knowledge that dignifies humans, allowing our insecurity to subside. That has been the purpose of science and is why science is so fundamentally different to religion. Religions are about faith, science is about knowledge, in fact the word ‘science’ literally means ‘knowledge’. Humans are essentially thinking beings who have been struggling to become masters of thought, in particular able to understand themselves. Faith sustained humans until self-knowledge arrived. Faith depends on ignorance, and, for humans at least, self-understanding is the very opposite of ignorance. Socrates said, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. He also said, ‘the only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance’. This being so the ultimate objective of science was to replace faith. To quote Darling, ‘The scientist can no more deny or devaluate the truths of spiritual experience than the theologian can neglect the truths of science: and the two truths must be reconcilable, and it must be of importance to each of us that they should be reconciled’ (The Education of a Civilized Man). The 1964 Nobel Prize winning physicist Charles H. Townes emphasised the same point in an article titled The Convergence of Science and Religion: ‘For they [religion and science] both represent man’s efforts to understand his universe and must ultimately be dealing with the same substance. As we understand more in each realm, the two must grow together…converge they must…’
As I said earlier, solving the human condition was the goal of all humanity’s efforts and Darling simply aligned both himself and education to that goal and task.