1. ABOUT THE HUMAN CONDITION
AND ITS RESOLUTION
WTM FAQ 1.25 Does Jeremy Griffith cherry-pick quotes from other thinkers, manipulate them, use them out of context, omit key words and passages, misrepresent or misinterpret them, in order to pervert their real meaning and fit an untrue theory?
(This FAQ adds to the questions of a similar nature in FAQ 1.16 of ‘Why can FREEDOM be so difficult to read and appear so repetitive?’; and in FAQ 1.10 of ‘Is this a ‘non-falsifiable’ situation where if I disagree with Jeremy Griffith I’m in denial?’; and in FAQ 1.17 of ‘What is the point of the hyperbole of making dramatic claims?’)
FREEDOM contains an unparalleled collection of human-condition-confronting, honest quotes from thinkers from all eras of human history. However, as is explained in chapter 2:3 of FREEDOM and indeed throughout the entire book, most humans have lived in mortal fear of the human condition, and so it follows that whenever the human condition has been honestly referred to, human-condition-avoiding humans will want to (or even subconsciously and unwittingly) twist the meaning of those words so that they are not as confronting.
For example, with regard to Jeremy’s interpretations of what people have said or written, Jeremy interprets John Lennon’s 1971 song Imagine where ‘the world will be as one’ and there will be ‘a brotherhood of man’ as Lennon looking forward to a time when the reconciling understanding of the human condition would arrive and our present extremely upset state of the human condition would end (see paragraph 1217 of FREEDOM). However, as someone once said to Jeremy, ‘Imagine simply means that. Lennon knew the things described in his lyrics could never happen, however it was nice to imagine it happening, and so Lennon would find your interpretations of his song alarming’ (Oct. 2014). In another example, Jeremy interprets the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible as Christ looking forward to a time when the immensely corrupted state of the human condition would be resolved and the cooperative and loving integrative ‘Godly’ state that our species once lived in would return, however, for some people this interpretation is completely inconsistent with their extremely abstract and metaphysical, human-condition-avoiding, relatively non-confronting view that the Lord’s Prayer looks forward to a time when, if the human race sufficiently repents of its sins, angels with wings will come and take us all up to a mystical heaven. And it is also completely inconsistent with the almost universal human-condition-denying view that humans have a savage past (see chapter 2 of FREEDOM) that we are civilising, and therefore have nothing to resolve. Basically, as someone else once said to Jeremy, ‘I don’t agree at all that humans are fallen and heading for disaster, rather humans are only getting better and better, look at how much quality of life has improved in China’ (Oct. 2014).
As a way of trying to undermine the truth of what’s being presented, people try to say that Jeremy cherry-picks quotes, manipulates them, uses them out of context, omits key words and passages, and misrepresents or misinterprets them in order to pervert their real meaning and fit an untrue theory. However, we at the WTM suggest that Jeremy’s representations and interpretations of the quotes used in FREEDOM are extraordinarily accurate and profound, and that fair scrutiny of the sources will confirm this.
To ensure that the reader can make up their own mind, the quotes are always meticulously sourced, encouraging the reader to view and verify for themselves that Jeremy has presented the completely accurate representation and interpretation of the quote, not an inaccurate or evasive one. The WTM even has a dedicated website at www.WTMSources.com/ for storing/caching quote sources where the source would otherwise be difficult to find or where online articles or webpages might be removed from the internet.
So for example, when Jeremy quotes from Plato’s writings about ‘the cave’ from Plato’s book The Republic, Jeremy sources H.D.P. Lee’s translation of The Republic, as well as the year of the edition, and always refers the reader to the Stephanus page number of the quote. Jeremy even provides a link to a copy of the relevant Parts of Lee’s translation of The Republic with all the quotes he’s used highlighted—you can see this in paragraph 83 of the online version of FREEDOM, and in Freedom Essay 11, where a link is included to this reproduction of the actual translation by H.D.P. Lee with the quotes highlighted at www.wtmsources.com/227. If the reader goes to that source they can confirm for themselves that there has been no misrepresentation or distortion or manipulative editing of Plato’s words. Similarly, with regard to other quotes Jeremy has used from Plato’s writings, he has given the source of those quotes, including the translator and the year the edition was published, which allows the reader the confirm that there has been no misrepresentation or distortion of Plato’s words.
As Jeremy explains frequently in FREEDOM, Plato is one of the most honest thinkers in history and being so honest, many people have tried to misinterpret his truthful words to avoid their confronting nature, but again, the reader is encouraged to view www.wtmsources.com/227, and verify for themselves that Jeremy has presented the truthful, not the evasive, interpretation of Plato’s words.
Jeremy similarly explains in FREEDOM that the Bible is a rare collection of human-condition-confronting, not avoiding, honest truth, and that honesty has also led people to try to evade and misrepresent that truth, as in the example of the Lord’s Prayer given above. And just as Jeremy did for the quotes he has used for Plato, he also makes sure that the reader is able to find the original source of all the quotes he is using, providing the reference to the particular New International Version (NIV) 1978 version of the Bible that he’s drawn those quotes from (see the ‘Notes to the Reader’ at the beginning of FREEDOM). So again, the reader can fully source and verify for themselves that there has been no manipulative editing or misrepresentation of the Bible.
As to why Jeremy uses the NIV 1978 version of the Bible, in his 2003 book A Species In Denial Jeremy wrote that: “I trust the New International Version because of the effort made in it to be accurate and because of the relative soundness or innocence of those involved in the translation. The preface to the NIV translation says that the project began in 1965 (a very idealistic and sound period) with more than 100 scholars working ‘directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts’. These scholars came from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand ([as explained in chapter 8:16E of FREEDOM] these are all relatively young, uncorrupted, innocent, sound cultures ) and from Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and other denominations, none of which are regarded as particularly fundamentalist. … I might mention here, that within the various NIV editions of the Bible, I prefer the first edition over later ones. The 1960s, when work on the first edition commenced, was such an idealistic, innocent time. Subsequent decades were less idealistic and I think the revisions of the NIV Bible they made in those subsequent periods reflects this. In the first 1978 NIV edition, Matthew 24-27 reads, ‘For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.’ In the second, 1983 NIV edition, this text has been changed to, ‘For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.’ Christ was clearly using the most powerful metaphor available to express how exposing and thus confronting the truth about human nature would be when it arrives—that it will be like the onset of a great clashing and flashing thunderstorm. The revised version has corrupted this all-important point and changed it to using the brightness of lightning to illustrate the visibility of the second coming. It is the confrontational nature of the truth, not its visibility, that warrants the use of the metaphor of a thunderstorm.”