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Jeremy Griffith

Jeremy Griffith (born 1945) is an Australian author. He first came to public attention for his attempts to find the Tasmanian tiger. He later became noted for his writings on his concept of the "human condition" and theories about human progress. He founded the World Transformation Movement to advance his ideas in 1983.

Jeremy Griffith
Born 1945 (age 72–73)
Nationality Australian
Citizenship Australian
Alma mater University of Sydney
Occupation Author
Years active 1967-present
Organization World Transformation Movement
Known for Theories on human progress
Notable work Freedom: The End Of The Human Condition


Early lifeEdit

Griffith was educated at Tudor House School in New South Wales and the Geelong Grammar School in Victoria. [1]

He first became known for his search for surviving Tasmanian tigers or thylacines,[citation needed] the last known specimen of which died in captivity in 1936. The search conducted from 1967 to 1973,[2] [3] included exhaustive surveys along Tasmania's west coast;[2] installation of automatic camera stations; prompt investigations of claimed sightings;[4] and, in 1972, the creation of the Thylacine Expeditionary Research Team with Dr Bob Brown, which concluded without finding any evidence of the animal's continuing existence.[3]

Writings on the human conditionEdit

Griffith began writing on the human condition in 1975, publishing the first of his six books on the subject in 1988.[5] A Species In Denial (2003) became a bestseller in Australia and New Zealand.[citation needed]

His works on the origins of human nature assert that "humans act angrily because of a battle between instinct and intellect".[6]The Irish Times summarised the thesis presented in Freedom as "Adam & Eve without the guilt: explaining our battle between instinct and intellect";[7] Kirkus Reviews wrote that "Griffith offers a treatise about the true nature of humanity and about overcoming anxieties about the world";[8].

The Templeton Prize winner and biologist Charles Birch, the New Zealand zoologist John Edward Morton, the former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association Harry Prosen, and the Australian Everest mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape have been long-standing proponents of Griffith’s ideas. Morton publicly defended Griffith when he and his ideas were attacked in the mid-1990s.[6] Griffith’s ideas have been criticised based on perceived problems with the empirical veracity of his anthropological writings, an objection that highlights his reliance on the writings of the African novelist Sir Laurens Van Der Post, and also the work of anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, .[9]

Griffith has argued throughout his writings that the driving force in human evolution was increased nurturing of offspring, a process he calls 'love indoctrination'.[10] He adopts a neo-Lamarckian view in which mothers model pro-social behaviour to offspring, with consequent behavioural changes resulting in 'soft' Lamarckian inheritance. Such behaviours will deferentially proliferate if they are performed in the context of a social niche in which co-operative behaviour is favoured. Consequent to this genetic selection will stabilise changes that were initiated at the level of social behaviour. It is this process that he argues gave rise to the human moral sense. Evidence for this view is the reduced sexual dimorphism in the early stages of human evolution, particularly the loss of the aggressive canine morphology evident in other extant primate taxa. The theory postulates an intensification of maternal care, and associated increased pro-social behaviour of offspring, as being the distinguishing feature of the human lineage. His theory echoes that of Adrienne Zihlman, who postulated changes in patterns of sub-adult socialisation may have been important in the early stages of human evolution.[11]

The World Transformation MovementEdit

The World Transformation Movement was founded by Griffith in 1983, as the Centre for Humanity’s Adulthood, an organisation dedicated to developing and promoting understanding of the human condition. It was incorporated in 1990 with Griffith and his colleague mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape among its founding directors and became a registered charity in New South Wales in 199, known as the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood. In 2009, the name changed to World Transformation Movement.[12]

In 1995, Griffith, Macartney-Snape and the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood ( the World Transformation Movement name at the time) were the subject of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation Four Corners program[13] and a Sydney Morning Herald newspaper article, in which it was alleged that Macartney-Snape used speaking appearances at schools to promote the Foundation, which was described as a cult. The publications became the subject of defamation actions in the NSW Supreme Court .[14][15] In 2007, the ABC was ordered to pay Macartney-Snape almost $500,000 in damages, and with costs the payout was expected to exceed $1 million.[15] The proceedings against the Herald were resolved when it published an apology to the Foundation in 2009.[16] Although Griffith was not awarded damages in relation to the Four Corners broadcast, on appeal in 2010 the NSW Court of Appeal found what was said of him was untrue.[17]

Selected bibliographyEdit


  1. ^ Griffith, Jeremy (2003). A Species in Denial. WTM Publishing & Communications Pty Ltd. p. 528. ISBN 978-1-74129-001-1. 
  2. ^ a b Griffith, Jeremy (December 1972). "The Search for the Tasmanian Tiger". Natural History. American Museum of Natural History (81): 70–77. 
  3. ^ a b Park, Andy (July 1986). "Tasmanian Tiger- Extinct or merely elusive?". Australian Geographic. 1 (3): 66–83. 
  4. ^ Robert Paddle (2000). The Last Tasmanian Tiger: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine. Cambridge University Press. p. 197. ISBN 0-521-53154-3. 
  5. ^ Griffith, Jeremy (1988). Free: The End of the Human Condition. WTM Publishing & Communications Pty Ltd. p. 228. ISBN 0-7316-0495-4. 
  6. ^ a b Fray, Peter. "7 Days: Religion". The Sydney Morning Herald. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Adam & Eve without the guilt: explaining our battle between instinct and intellect". The Irish Times. The Irish Times. 30 May 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Freedom: The End of The Human Condition". Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Clark, Gary (13 October 2014). "Biologist Jeremy Griffith examines where the human race is headed". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  10. ^ Griffith, Jeremy 'Free: The End of the Human Condition| year= 1988, WTM Publishing & Communications Pty Ltd.
  11. ^ Zihlman A. 1978. Women and Evolution, Part II: Subsistence and Social Organization among Early Hominids. Signs 4.
  12. ^ "Description of the WTM". World Transformation Movement. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  13. ^ Luck, Geoffrey (November 2012). "The Hubris of Four Corners". Quadrant. LVI (11). Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Kux, Y.C. (29 September 2005). "Jeremy Griffith & Ors v John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd and David Millikan". Gazette of Law & Journalism. 
  15. ^ a b Drummond, Andrew (1 August 2008). "Half-million payout for ABC defamation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Apology". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 June 2009. 
  17. ^ "Court of Appeal overturns finding of truth regarding biologist Jeremy Griffith's treatise on the human condition". The Australian. 16 December 2010.