3. ABOUT THE WORLD TRANSFORMATION MOVEMENT
WTM FAQ 3.12 Is the World Transformation Movement a cult?
The work of the World Transformation Movement (WTM) of bringing understanding to the human condition produces the most wonderful paradigm shift for the human race where humans are transformed from a state of profound insecurity about their worth and meaning to a state of secure understanding of themselves. However, having lived in fearful denial of our seemingly highly imperfect, ‘good and evil’ afflicted human condition, the arrival of liberating understanding of it cannot be anything other than an immense shock. Since, as playwright George Bernard Shaw observed, ‘All great truths begin as blasphemies’ (Annajanska, 1919), it is inevitable that the arrival of understanding of this most repressed of all subjects will initially be seen as the ultimate blasphemy and as a result meet extreme resistance; indeed, outright hostility. What follows is a description of the extreme resistance the WTM has met in disseminating biologist Jeremy Griffith’s all-important, human-race-liberating understanding of the human condition, and how that resistance was overcome.
What will be described is how an extremely malicious and ferocious fear campaign, based on a completely unfounded and dishonest accusation that the WTM is a cult, was launched against the WTM during the 1990s, and how that extreme resistance to our work of bringing scientific understanding to the human condition was defeated by winning what at the time was the biggest defamation case in Australia’s history.
The first point to make is the WTM is the complete antithesis of a cult
Cults are basically where people give up trying to make sense of reality and its dilemmas and instead defer to some person or belief system in which they invest their trust; whereas the WTM is concerned with making sense of the dilemmas of life. The escapism, abdication and subjugation of our conscious thinking self that characterises cult practices is the opposite of what the work at the WTM is concerned with, namely bringing reconciling, healing and transforming biological understanding to that ultimate dilemma of life of our ‘good’ and ‘evil’ conflicted human condition.
The WTM is all about being mindful not mindless. De-braining ourselves was never going to work—ultimately what we conscious thinking humans wanted was brain food not brain anaesthetic. We wanted answers for our minds, not some brain-dead, let’s-everyone-just-behave-in-an-ideal-‘correct’-way, pseudo idealistic dogma, or some other mindless doctrine, to live by, and it is precisely that ultimate gift for humans of the relieving and peace-bringing understanding of our deeply psychologically troubled human condition that the work of the WTM is concerned with providing.
And so it is science that the WTM is concerned with, not faith or mysticism or superstition or dogma. ‘Science’ literally means ‘knowledge’ (derived as it is from the Latin word scientia which means ‘knowledge’) and knowledge is the opposite of faith, mysticism, superstition and dogma. As Socrates famously said, ‘the only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance’ (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, c.225 AD), and, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ (Plato’s dialogue Apology, c.380 BC; tr. B. Jowett, 1871, 38). Yes, what did the ancients have emblazoned across their temples: ‘Man, know thyself.’ Precisely!—the work of the WTM is about empowering people with self-knowledge, the very opposite of wanting people to de-power themselves by subordinating themselves to someone else, or to some mindless doctrine or other. It’s about being mind-liberated, not mind-controlled.
The truth is the WTM is the least cult-like organisation in existence. The most mind-controlled, cult-like state of all is the resigned state that virtually all adult humans are living in (see Freedom Essay 30) where they practice determined, mind-controlled denial of the issue of the human condition. The next most mind-controlled, cult-like state that humans are practicing in great numbers is the left-wing political attitude of living by the Marxist doctrine of obeying pseudo idealistic, ‘politically correct’ dogma. Again, dogma is the opposite of understanding. We needed reconciling, healing and transforming understanding of our psychologically upset and distressed human condition, not mindless, answerless, straight-jacketing discipline of that upset state! We humans needed to be able to think our way to sanity, not abandon thinking and just behave like brain-dead robots. (See Freedom Essay 35 for a description of the extreme danger of pseudo idealism.)
Any fair scrutiny of Jeremy’s human-condition-confronting-not-avoiding scientific treatise, and of the WTM’s support of it, will quickly reveal the profound, first-principle-based, knowledge-focused, biological nature of the analysis—and of the integrity of the WTM and of the people supporting it. And, unlike what happens in cults, there is no undue focus anywhere on Jeremy himself, only on the biological explanations of the human condition. (FAQ 3.13 explains that while the WTM is explanation/understanding focused, not personality focused, obviously there is some need to explain how Jeremy managed to find this wonderful understanding of the human condition, and it is natural that this ability is recognised and appreciated.) Furthermore, the WTM is operated through registered not-for-profit charities and there is no focus whatsoever on making money from people as cults typically do. The WTM is funded through donations. All our materials, including books and videos, are made available for free, and membership is also free. The truth is the WTM is a bold, strong, healthy, thoughtful, dogma-free, responsible, transparent, sound and selfless movement, the absolute opposite of a cult-like organisation. All we in the WTM are guilty of is daring to think, and think about the most important subject facing the human race of the human condition—as the renowned Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson has written, ‘The human condition is the most important frontier of the natural sciences’ (Consilience, 1998, p.298 of 374).
Adolf Hitler advocated ‘the big lie’ because he said it has the best chance of being accepted as ‘credible’!
As initially pointed out, the subject of the human condition can be unbearably confronting and this can lead some people to become ferociously angry and vindictive and resort to the most extreme denigration they can invent, which is to claim that Jeremy’s meticulously argued, evidenced and accredited scientific analysis of the human condition (see Freedom Essay 56 for a summary of the first-rate scientific support Jeremy’s treatise of the human condition has received) is just some unscientific meaningless rubbish, and that those who are supporting it are mind-controlled followers of a dangerously deluded megalomanic cult leader! Outrageously dishonest as such a reverse-of-the-truth lie is—because, as has been explained, the WTM is the very opposite of a cult—Adolf Hitler recognised the abhorrent effectiveness of the reverse-of-the-truth lie when he said that the most convincing lie is the absolute lie ‘because in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility’! (Mein Kampf, 1925; tr. James Murphey, 1939, p.185 of 525).
One reason the enemies of truthful analysis of the human condition desperately resorted to ‘the big lie’ is because they were trying to combat the simple and obvious truth that Jeremy could not be sound enough to address, talk about and look into the most psychologically challenging of all subjects of the human condition, as he does page after page in his writings, and at the same time be so unsound as to be a dangerously deluded megalomanic charlatan! Quite simply, as Christ pointed out when he was similarly accused of being ‘possessed by…the prince of demons’ (Mark 3:22) for his truthful, human condition confronting and penetrating words, ‘A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit’ (Matt. 7:18), and ‘How can Satan drive out Satan?’ (Mark 3:23).
When, in a similar quote to his earlier one above, biologist E.O. Wilson said, ‘There is no grail more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to understanding the human condition’ (The Social Conquest of Earth, 2012, p.1), he was recognising how absolutely important finding understanding of the human condition is—but again, the problem is that while the reconciling, healing and transforming ‘understanding’ of our ‘good and evil’ conflicted ‘human condition’ is the holy ‘grail’ of ‘science’, it is also the most confronting and thus contentious of subjects because it deals with the underlying subjective dimension to life of the issue of ‘self’, which has been an unbearable subject for some people.
Writing specifically about the all-important, human-race-saving challenge of ‘the enlightenment or ignorance of our human condition’, the great Greek philosopher Plato long ago warned that when someone tries to take us out of the dark ‘cave’ where he said we’ve had to ‘take refuge’ from the ‘painful’ ‘light’ that makes ‘visible’ ‘the imperfections of human life’, that we ‘would much object’—even predicting that some ‘would say that his [the person who attempts to deliver understanding to the human condition] visit to the upper world had ruined his sight [they would treat him as mad], and that the ascent [out of the cave] was not worth even attempting. And if anyone tried to release them and lead them up, they would kill him if they could lay hands on him’! (The Republic, c.360 BC; tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, or see the relevant section with quotes highlighted at www.wtmsources.com/227). (More can be read about Plato’s anticipation of resistance to the arrival of truthful analysis of the human condition in Video/Freedom Essay 11.)
And sure enough the vilifying, try to ‘kill him’, attacks began—in the form of highly defamatory publications—which the WTM responsibly met by successfully suing the vilifiers in court for defamation
Thankfully, we live in more civilised times, but Plato’s point is clear: the temptation to ferociously vilify, maliciously misrepresent and wilfully fabricate evidence against carefully considered, argued, evidenced and authoritatively supported scientific analysis of that most ‘precious in the life of the mind’ holy ‘grail’ of ‘science’ of ‘understanding the human condition’ (as Wilson described it) produces a crisis point in the human journey where extreme prejudice and persecution does threaten to shut down crucial enquiry and progress—which clearly has to be resisted.
As mentioned at the beginning of this document, during the 1990s, the WTM and its supporters, in particular its founding directors, Jeremy and the twice-honoured Order of Australia recipient, mountaineer and biologist Tim Macartney-Snape AM OAM, were the subject of several highly defamatory media attacks orchestrated by a fundamentalist minister of the Uniting Church. As just emphasised, this vilification had to be, and was, strongly resisted, and in the civilised way our society prescribes, namely through the law courts in what was then the biggest defamation case in Australia’s history against two of Australia’s biggest media institutions, including the national public broadcaster.
When the absurd cult accusation and litany of outrageously dishonest fabrications and misrepresentation of us and our work were publicly broadcast across Australia in 1995, the World Transformation Movement (then called the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood) and its founding directors Jeremy and Tim successfully sued the publishers for defamation, resulting in a public apology and a payout of $700,000 plus costs. The most revealing part of the final 2010 judgment, in terms of what Plato predicted, was the following, in which the NSW Court of Appeal, led by his Honour Justice David Hodgson, unanimously overturned an earlier lower Court finding about Jeremy’s scientific synthesis on the basis that it did ‘not adequately consider’ ‘the nature and scale of its subject matter’ or that ‘aspects of Mr Griffith’s work are apt to make those who do take the trouble to grapple with it uncomfortable. It involves reflections upon subject-matter including the purpose of human existence which may, of its nature, cause an adverse reaction as it touches upon issues which some would regard as threatening to their ideals, values or even world views’.
Yes, ‘reflections upon’ the human condition can be extremely ‘threatening’ for some people, but that doesn’t justify malicious misrepresentation and persecution of a rigorously argued and evidenced scientific analysis of that most ‘precious in the life of the mind’ holy ‘grail’ of ‘science’ of ‘understanding the human condition’. The truth—as the court judgment essentially found—is that the WTM is the complete antithesis of a cult.
It is worth noting that Justice Hodgson, who wrote the unanimous Court of Appeal decision referred to in the above paragraph, was a Rhodes Scholar, a published philosopher and was, according to a former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, ‘one of the finest judges who ever graced a court in this country’ (www.wtmsources.com/256). Indeed, in his 4 September 2012 obituary in The Sydney Morning Herald, Justice Hodgson was described ‘from an early age’ as having ‘been fascinated by what went on inside the head that gave rise to conscious experience’, and that he was said to be blessed with ‘flawless logic’ and to ‘fit the description of Plato’s “philosopher king”’ (see www.wtmsources.com/184).
So the WTM has been through that ‘boiling oil’ test of extreme persecution and then scrutiny and was completely vindicated. Further malicious attacks, which do still occur, are just going over what has already been tested and found to be baseless and unjustified—so they are extremely unfair and, given the desperate need to find the reconciling, redeeming and psychologically healing, human-race-saving understanding of the human condition, profoundly irresponsible.
John Stuart Mill, in his seminal 1859 essay On Liberty—a document considered a philosophical pillar of Western civilisation—emphasised this irresponsibility when he wrote, ‘the dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of those pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes. History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution.’
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For further reading about the outrageous, reverse-of-the-truth lie that the WTM is a cult, and our successful vindication in the courts, see the Persecution of the WTM section on our website. Another relevant WTM essay is Crisis Point in the Human Journey. Also, Freedom Essay 56: Why there have been ferocious attacks on the WTM is another excellent summary of the persecution our work at the WTM has had to endure.
Chapter 9:3 of FREEDOM, and Freedom Essay 40, which are about the arrival of truth day or exposure day or ‘Judgment Day’, are also extremely relevant in terms of understanding why there has been persecution of the WTM.
Chapter 9:7 of FREEDOM about the more upset having to support rather than study understanding of the human condition when it arrives, and Freedom Essay 15 about how to become transformed and free of the human condition, are also particularly relevant presentations.