Free the Animal: The Manifesto

Manifesto: A public declaration of principles and intentionsIt's probably about time I set about to differentiate and distinguish.

Version 1.0

1. You must think yourself lean and thin, and strong and healthy...to a proper regulation of hunger and satiation. There is no prescription or proscription that will necessarily work for you. You must write your own "diet and fitness book" from your own trial and error experience.

2. Thinking and principles rule. Applications must be tested and critically evaluated. One-size-fits-all plans and roadmaps are doomed to mediocrity, at best. Your best has to come from you.

3. Humans are animals. Moreover, the same sorts of physiology, biology, climatology, geology and sociology that holds sway over the life, death and prosperity of the entirety of the animal world applies just as soundly to humans.

4. Humans, unlike other animals, can consciously act against their own best interest. They can also command nature and their environment to a degree other animals can't and don't. Think fire breaks, dams, roads, cities, suburbs, airports, skyscrapers, division of labor and trade.

5. Human ill health, unhappiness, sexlessness, sleeplessness, stress, slavery, drudgery, suicide, and disease are adverse manifestations of the human ability to work against his own interest: his ability to produce, and his ability to command nature taken to irrational levels.

6. The ability of humans to work against themselves and their own nature so effectively is the root cause of all human-created problems. The ability to "create reality" by marvelous human minds exacerbates the downside on many levels when the creation of "reality" it taken beyond the pleasure of fantasy.

7. Disease, obesity, failed relationships, and other adverse human conditions are fundamentally a result of dishonesty.

8. Dishonesty is fundamentally a failure to properly perceive and integrate data from the senses into a reasonable and logical framework or hierarchy of values to pursue, hold, promote, or celebrate.

9. Humans are the only animals with the ability to be dishonest with respect to reality and thus, dishonesty with self and others is the fundamental root cause of all disease, inability to flourish and early, unnatural death.

10. Non-human animals exist in various environmental niches they have evolved within to exploit, within a balance. Human animals migrated out of Africa to populate the Earth from equator to arctic and antarctic circle, and sea level to 16,000 feet of elevation, and everything in-between. Thus, human animals evolved to migrate over eons of time to exploit the environment available and along the way.

11. Each human individual has encoded within his genes the ability to survive and thrive on a wide range of food sources from terrestrial, to sea, to tree, to subterranean.

12. Non human animals don't typically become obese (unless by nature, such as in advance of hibernation) or die unnaturally. Humans become obese. Pets become obese. Zoo animals can become obese when zookeepers stray from a naturally appropriate diet.

13. Human animals should not have any difficulty eating a mix of the right natural foods suitable to them, when available, maintaining and enjoying natural health and longevity as a result. Good health is natural. It's not something that needs to be man made, industrialized or drugged.

14. Human animals have developed complex social structures to the extent that a few dominate all the rest, to a level of welcome cheerleading and hand-clapping, such that the few can cleverly and parasitically sustain an unearned livelihood through implicit or explicit threat of force, or more elegantly: promise of reward.

15. Modern human animals developed the propensity to believe they have power through a Neolithic device known as a democratic vote. It actually gives them about equal odds in terms of effective power to buying a lottery ticket. Conversely, we know ancient humans were individually and socially powerful, because they survived on their own. We have the anthropology and we're here. It happened. Nobody voted on it.

16. A domesticated animal can exhibit guilt and shame, but not to the extent that they can possibly sacrifice their well being over it. Human animals invented guilt and shame, and they went on to make a place for it being unbridled and unearned. They invented religion; they conjured "reality" and got everyone to buy onto it and teach it to their offspring. They laid the seeds for control.

17. The guilt and shame works hand in hand with religious fantasies that most notably involve fear. Guilt and shame, combined with irrational fear, to make a malleable human animal who will do his part to see to the livelihood of the parasites. Anciently, it was the parasites of church and now, the parasites of State. The former is voluntary and the latter, compulsory undef threat of prosecution.

18. All humans have within themselves the ability to change everything on a dime.

19. Of self-destruction, of guilt, of shame, of fear: the worst of these is fear. While fear is natural, that's the rub. The Neolithic, above all else, has been a massive story -- fundamentally -- about how to use it to advantage. The Neolithic is above all, a story about how our natural tendencies have been used against us in just about every conceivable way. 

...So there's my hour or two stab at a first cut of what I hope to refine over time. Your criticism in comments is highly encouraged.

Comments

  1. “Your criticism in comments is highly encouraged.”

    Unfortunately, sir, I have concluded that you are above criticism. (winking emoticon.)

  2. Manifestos make me itch.

  3. Where is point 11 ?

  4. My first comment ever. Brutal, honest, inspiring, thought provoking, fucking awesome! Wild animal, the real free one.

    Greetings from Spain. Cojonudo, si señor!

  5. Johnathan says:

    I don’t know how I feel about number 7. I get that you’re partially right, but you can’t really say as an absolute that all diseases or adverse human conditions are created by dishonesty.

    I think you’re being “dishonest” and hid number 7.. just kidding.

    • Johnathan, wat I mean is that in a totally natural state, animals die from a lot of things, but all natural, even predation as n extreme. Humans have come up with novel ways to kill themselves.

      Thank you, sir. I will have a look and see if I can refine to make more clear. This input is invaluable and please, please let me know of amything that doesn’t jive for you or make sense or seems incongruent.

      For all of you.

    • I think #7 works, but it should come after you define dishonesty (Currently #8). Also, I think #8 is wordy, but I’m not sure how to fix.

      • “Dishonesty is fundamentally a failure to properly perceive and integrate data from the senses into a reasonable and logical framework or hierarchy of values to pursue, hold, promote, or celebrate.”

        Dishonesty is the failure to integrate data into a logical framework or a hierarchy of values worth pursuing and celebrating. The failure may occur at the perception level or the data integration level.

  6. Travis Steward says:

    You’re bumping up on powerful ideas here, Richard. I am, like you, of the opinion that the “paleo” approach goes far beyond diet, rather describing an entire way to live life in accordance with one’s nature. You’ve pinpointed the main element of control (the manipulation of fear) and how it’s ravaging the modern human through guilt and shame. Everything that is wrong with man is simply man acting against his own well being. While I am no Randian, Ayn Rand spoke frequently about how anything going against one’s wellbeing is the height of immorality. As well, a little known auther named Don Miguel Ruiz speaks about the very derivation of “sin” meaning “to go against oneself.” To this issue as you’ve pointed it out, I couldn’t agree more.

    The modern human, to me, is “locked in the prison of their own mind” courtesy of the extraordinary programming that has occured by the powers that be. You’ve accurately identified this as an all encroaching promotion of dishonesty. Our authorities are brutally dishonest, and in turn, we have become totally dishonest in our dealings with ourselves. The human being is scarcely capable of altering beliefs and achieving transformation, as they are more interested in never appearing as a failure, which alteration of beliefs always requires.

    I attribute much of the modern problems with humanity to the public education system. The babyboomer generation is, on the aggregate, completely devoid of ancient knowledge and philosophy. I believe this is because they are the first generation largely raised by the state. My generation, the children of the babyboomers, is the first generation completely raised by the state, and our outlook and interests reveal the complete corruption of our intellects. We are almost exclusively a dishonest generation. Of course, I am speaking in general terms here.

    You used the word “unearned” a few times, which really caught my attention. I created a concept a while back called “the doctrine of earning” which is a guideline on how to achieve a sustainable end. I came up with the idea after looking at well off people around me with government jobs who strangely had totally destructive marriages and social lives. I concluded that because their careers were largely subsidized by government to some degree, they never earned the knowledge to make those sums of money, so they’ve been allowed to survive better with others in an unearned fashion. The cost then must always be borne somehow, and in their cases the cost was due to their actual absence of knowledge and therefore a strong immaturity to many areas of life. This made them intolerable to talk to, and intolerable to be with in a relationship. Any end that is not EARNED, will always be lost. Earning describes the process of accumulating knowledge to achieve the end, without this, the person will pay the cost to achieve the end in some other fashion. One of the greatest promotions of the unearned lifestyle is the modern proliferation of debt.

    I’m rambling a bit but this post is truly the beginning of something very big. There is a core logic here that governs all human existence; that is, when a human desires to live an enjoyable and sustainable existence. I personally call this the “lean life” which views body fat, debt, high expenses, bad friends, and unfavourable commitments as fundamental elements of suffering that all spawn from the same cause: beliefs that lead one to perceive high cost actions as instead beneficial. Examples of high cost actions passing as benefit: mortgages for home ownership, consumption of grains, running on a treadmill to lose weight, getting a career you dislike because it pays well, leasing a car that’s too expensive in order to fit in, etc. As you pointed out, the level of dishonesty from authorities and from ourselves has made us largely incapable of seeing cost and benefit in a more rational light, and we therefore experience great suffering for no good reason because of it.

    The answer is to “get lean” and identify and eliminate anything that leads to “fat” in one’s life. Anything that leads to “fat” is an action that is a net cost, but perceived as a net gain.

    Anyways, great post. The renaissance is starting.

    • Wow Travis, that was an amazing response. I loved this, “The renaissance is starting.” I see this in so many areas. Very profound.

      Richard, freaking awesome. So much so that you got me to finally comment after being just a reader. Guilt and shame are killers I’ve felt a lot before. Does no good what so ever.

  7. how to best free the animal?

    If you love the animal set it free.

    lets see criticism:
    maybe focusing on the enormity of Federal politics while ignoring more primal municipal politics, perhaps discouraging people from becoming engaged civic minded beasts. when one way to really solve this stuff is for people to be less consumer(what I buy at the supermarket will make a difference) and more citizen (what I care about and talk about and vote for will make a difference) real political participation is more than just voting.

    I disagree with # 5 sometimes things just go wrong , even with 100% perfect diet, movement , community, sex, intelligence, sustainability bad things will still happen, the world is not made for us.

    #8 is complicated by subjectivity and bias

    scientist looks at a sunset , artist looks at a sunset , musician looks at a sunset which is the proper read and integration of the data the painting, the sound or the equations? I would say all three are valid.

    • “dishonest” is a bad word to use because of its association with the concept of fairness(at least for me) and we know nature and life are not fair.

      • I’m pretty set on using honesty/dishonesty, Alex, owing to the dynamic nature of it. I will expand it it as I write an essay for each thesis as part of my book (that’s the whole point to this exercise). yea, I know the book thing has gone back and forth, many topics and such, but this is what I’ve finally settled on. Finally.

        Anyway, honesty has a dynamic implication whereas ‘truth,’ for instance, is static, a snapshot in time (That’s why you often hear people use the phrase “the whole truth”). Honesty implies that you integrate everything applicable that you know, and even more, leaving out something applicable might leave you with a “truth,” but you’re not being honest.

      • Richard Carlow says:

        I hope you remain set on Honest/Dishonest. That choice is what hit me hardest.

      • Richard,

        As a former student of mathematics and philosophy, I like this material for your book. My off-hand advice is to balance the meta-physical with physical; and don’t make your reality exclusive, incorporate other realities as well (which you are already attempting through the comments).

        You’ve got a great deal of work ahead of you – good luck and enjoy the ride.

        I’ll comment more properly after I’ve digested the piece more completely.

        -Al

      • Thanks for the reply , I just finished reading Steven Pinkers – The Stuff of thought, an evolutionary look at language, recently so I probably went a little too semantic in my criticism, but I wanted to give my… honest opinion.

  8. Joss Delage says:

    It seems that you have been strongly influenced by Ayn Rand, no? I mean that as a compliment.

  9. 7. Disease, obesity, failed relationships, and other adverse human conditions are fundamentally a result of dishonesty.

    Quote from “Black Beauty” – “Don’t you know that ignorance is the worst thing in the world next to wickedness? And heaven alone knows which causes the most mischief.”

    This I like about you Richard. You are definitely honest. But you are also knowledgeable. It’s a good combination if one desires to help oneself and others improve their circumstances.

    So here’s another quote by Thomas Jefferson – “Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.”

    And one last thought (quote from memory – can’t remember source) – “Lives there a man with soul so dead who never to himself has said, ‘I’d like to do something to help the next generation get a better break than I did.'” Doesn’t trip off the tongue but I appreciate the sentiment.

  10. #21 The human animal is perfectly capable of living a long and productive life without the decline typically associated with age in modern society. It is possible to experience health, vitality, and happiness right up until the last few days/hours/minutes of life.

  11. I like this. I’m a fan of real and considerate thoughts that are honest reflections on life, our ownership of our own problems and the root of our perceptions good and bad in our own lives.

  12. I love you.

  13. You can’t see it, but I am on my feet giving you a fucking standing ovation, Richard.

  14. To expand on the points about guilt and shame:

    21. Natural human impulses such as lust, jealousy, the desire for social acceptance (and greed, to an extent) all have their roots in our evolutionary history. Our brains are evolved organs in just the same way as our kidneys, livers or ovaries are. To suppress behaviours that our hard-wired into us is a betrayal of our natural selves.

    Don’t let ancient institutions (religion, states, traditions) dictate how you behave. Our natural desires are far more ancient than any institution.

    By the same token, ‘positive’ impulses such as empathy, the desire to protect your family, the desire to be healthy and to not be bored are also natural. By understanding the root of these emotions, you’ll understand yourself a hell of a lot more.

    There’s my two pence.

    James, Nottingham, UK

  15. Great list Richard. #7 reminds me of something that a client of mine, a relationship counselor, once told me: “There are 2, and only 2, rules in any relationship: be kind, and be honest.”

  16. Sean II says:

    I will like to see the basic reminder that life is not complete without death put in there. Without it we can always be looking out for the Utopia of Paleo.

    I fundamentally believe that Nature never achieves any ideal, it is always in flux. To me no set of humans ever enjoyed objective optimum health. Perhaps, for example, a paleolithic human group having access to a low hanging high fructose fruit (sapoldilla, mango, soursop), gorges on this while encountering something to kick start a cancerous growth, who knows where that went.

    In the Paleo community we are each forming a picture of pre-agricultural societies with the limited tools of our 21st C lenses. I am happy where you are pointing with your blog and the questions you are raising now. Paleo goes beyond diet for sure and to expand to a whole life approach requires more probing.

    You never step in the same river twice and we will never be Paleo again but I welcome wholeheartedly the moving away from / changing of this glorified experiement called civilisation.

    To return to my point, death is characterised by FEAR in our society and from charities to government we are all warned about how special life is and how we must do everything to preserve it. So we sign up for the security and safety of the state and become stripped of the responsibility of taking care of ourselves and this within our immediate social circles.

    Keep up the great work.

  17. I understand what you are saying about dishonesty, but how does greed fit into that. I would say that’s a large part of the picture and a possible distinction from how our HG ansestors lived.

    • I’ll have to think about greed. Offhand, it comes under the areas that talk about force, both private and public.

      I’m not replying to each of these very valuable criticisms in comments, preferring to focus instead on creating version 2.0 of this manifesto.

      • Been thinking about such things as morality, honesty, greed with respect to bringing up our children. I have one child who is extremely moral – as though she was born to do the ‘right thing’, and I don’t mean the ‘agreed right thing’. For example she is true to herself, and is also true to what is right and honest, combined with not hurting other people in any malicious way. Which fits in with be kind and honest.
        And the other -well he does what he can get away with – in a way that reflects the worst in our world. Theft, but justifying it, being a bully so he won’t get caught out, being sneaky. Always justifying why not doing the right thing doesn’t really matter, e.g. the teacher doesn’t care – he’s only doing his job, when he was caught stealing at school, and I asked him to look at it’s affect on people in his life.

        How do we teach him that everything he does has an effect? That each action will in someway cause a ripple in the world – either to make the world better, or a have negative effect. Like many in this world he does not think past the immediate benefit that his action gains him. There is so much agreement / collusion in the world for acting this way.

        Which brings me back to greed, greed has negative connotations – taking more than we need, it benefits us immediately and in the short term but has no respect for the bigger picture. An immature and narrow focus.
        Maybe greed is hard wired into humans – a survival instinct, and it seems many will never get past that immediacy of reward.
        I Like the view that honesty rules. If my son was honest – he would be honest about the impact his actions would have, dishonesty is hiding his head in the sand and pretending his sneaky actions don’t really matter. A view so profound in many of my kids generation.
        I may have gone out on a bit of a tangent here, but instilling what matters into the next generation is somewhat of a focus for me at the moment.

      • Julianne:

        Offhand, I’d have to employ Occam’s Razor. Your post suggests to me — but what can I know since it’s 6 paragraphs and you live with your sone & daughter?

        In my experience, females are far more socially mature than males, until perhaps mid 20s, unless the male happens to be lucky and one of the few that the majority of females love no matter what. Then he gets to rule them, lucky bastard.

        Young males are far more varied and variable than females, who tend to try to fit in. There could be many explanations. I might suggest your boy might be highly intelligent and just using the social sphere he perceives to his best advantage. IOW, he doesn’t want to de domesticated just yet.

        Just idle thoughts.

        I stole shit as a kid too, and did a lot of things I would not do now. So, there’s that. But you may not hope or trust for him to figure out a way over time.

      • Johnathan says:

        I’m with Richard, I did stupid things like stealing as a kid. My friends did too. I’ve grown a lot since those days. Sometimes people have to form their own way. Make their own morality. Really it just took maturing and facing consequences to learn my mistakes.

        He still has a chance. Maybe he needs a job, a purpose?

      • Julianne,

        You use the “dishonest” with respect to your son almost as ( I read it) a synonym for inexperienced/lack of knowledge/uneducated/lack of wisdom.

        You daughter seems to have “learned” this idea early; while some of us never seem to.

        -Al

      • Thanks all for your replies. Much appreciated. I don’t think my boy is bad either, nor does psychologist who has worked with the worst. It is however frustrating to have your kid stood down from school, and get in trouble so often… Yes it is a brain maturity issue. Just astounding to have one kid way ahead of her peers and one kid way behind!

        He is on the other hand a boy who at 10 years old stage managed – (as in managed a team of kids doing lighting, powerpoint, sound) for the end of year school concert with calm and poise.
        Richard you are very perceptive of my boy – he is highly intelligent, a brilliant reader of people, a leader and very astute at using situations and people to social advantage, BUT – lacks ability to think ahead at times. He is also dyslexic and somewhat frustrated at his mismatch between intelligence and classic academic grades.

        We will get there though! I do have faith in him.

      • Be patient. At 50, my wife still harbors the conviction that I’m Aspergers. :)

      • Travis Steward says:

        Just wanted to provide a thought I had regarding what you said about greed: it is not about taking more than you NEED, but rather it is about taking more than you EARN. “Need” is very arbitrary.

  18. Powerful and thought provoking.

  19. Heatheranna says:

    Might want to add that we’re so pampered and safe nowadays that we actually need to invent things to be afraid of. “They hate us for our freedoms, so kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out, and good thing we have TSA to keep us safe,” Or “the climate is changing, the climate is changing!” As a new parent I see this all the time – “you let your kid walk to school with a big group of friends, omg hope a pedophile doesn’t kill them.” And my favorite “if your baby sleeps on his tummy he’ll DIE!”

    • Heatheranna says:

      I’ll add that these fears are often made up by our parasites to keep us down. We keep believing them because of both our ability to work against ourselves, and, I think, the relative safety and pamperedness of the times.

  20. Love it! A friend of mine who’s a personal trainer has a pretty basic tenant for his clients in regards to exercise, diet, etc. “Does it help?” Why as humans must we so stubbornly do things that clearly don’t? Alas!

    Here is something I would consider: what do our more advanced faculties allow us to do that other non-human animals cannot, but for the better? I don’t see embracing Paleo as fully acting like lions and tigers. Elsewise we’d all go running off for caves. I happen to like my house and my gym and my fridge full of yummy meat and veggies. What quality do human animals possess that has allowed us to progress this far DESPITE all of the crippling flaws of modern man? You touch on it with our ability to exploit and adapt but personally I think it goes deeper. Just a thought!

  21. Thanks for this…so much of what you wrote speaks to my own journey away from the conventional life. Discovered nine years so that I was useless by design. A product of LA Unified in the late 70s and early 80s. I could shop and make reservations and that was it. Fortunately, I am intelligent and decided useless wasn’t how I wanted to live (or define myself, regardless of society’s approval and encouragement for maintaining the status quo). Since then, I’ve not stopped learning…learning trite things like crafting and important things like cooking from scratch, sewing, and gardening. Now I’m learning about my body with Crossfit and paleo-style eating. Pulled the kids out of school because I figure I can do better than the warehousing that passes for education these days.

    Number 7 is a powerful truth. Number 14? I am so glad that you included this…everything seems so disconnected to real contributions.

    P.S. Travis’ comment was amazing!

  22. mehitabel says:

    Mimi writes:
    “What quality do human animals possess that has allowed us to progress this far DESPITE all of the crippling flaws of modern man? You touch on it with our ability to exploit and adapt but personally I think it goes deeper. Just a thought!”

    I like Sapolsky’s answer.

    We are unique in that we alone gain the strength and will to do “X” from the irrefutable evidence that “X” cannot be.
    The more something cannot be forgiven, the more it must be forgiven. (ps. he’s a very smart athiest.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrCVu25wQ5s&feature=player_embedded#!

    Wonderful lecture. Start at 34:00 if you don’t have time for the science.

  23. Great stuff!

    By the way, thank you for the link love a few posts back

  24. John Nugent says:

    There’s a lot in what you say. Too much to digest in one reading.

    I have an idea that people who follow paleo in whatever form and (diet or lifestyle or both) may benefit from living in paleo communities.

    It’s an idea, it needs to be developed but your initial manifesto serves to help that process.

    Thanks Richard, you are one of very few voices who dare to criticise the appalling system we find ourselves in.

  25. Dave, RN says:

    Here’s your #11: Access, or lack thereof, to food shall not be legislated”.

    The point being of you want to drink raw milk, then you should be able to without the fear of the government stepping in to protect me from myself.

    Maybe that’s a better #11: Nobody shall have the power to protect you from yourself.

  26. Hey Richard,

    As others have said, maybe add in some acknowledgement that our minds evolved to be the way they are in the same way our bodies did.

    I found Robert Kurzban’s ideas about a modular mind interesting. It explains how people can be so hypocritical (it’s because one part of their mind is working for the interests, while another part is ignorant in order to keep those motivations a secret)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmSbEsNONTo

  27. I’ve not read all the comments, Young Lothard, but I’ll chime in on this one:

    “4. Humans, unlike other animals, can consciously act against their own best interest.”

    As you point out, humans are animals and this strikes me as exceptionalism. Like other highly adaptable predators, humans live in a constant balance of fear and curiosity. Humans have problems calculating risk, not making snap judgements, etc, but these can be traced to being adapted to an HG lifestyle (making snap judgements is probably optimal for an HG who’s had tons of experience with their environments). And I don’t think this is much different than being adapted to living in a wolf pack. How we act against our own best interest vs other animals, and to what extent we are aware of what our self-interest is is just a matter of degree I think.

  28. My comments are worth what you paid for them but..
    The first sentence of #6 seems to be a bit of a tautology.
    And, re #17 – I wasn’t there myself, but in former times, I get the impression that religion was less than ‘voluntary.’ (See, e.g., the inquisition.)

    Mere quibbles.

    • Cathy, I suspect that if you see that first sentence in #6 as tautological then that means we’re on the same page. Unfortunately, it seems to me that it’s necessary to sometimes point out the self evident. But I’ll chew on it.

      As to 17, what I mean is today’s mondern civilized world, but again, I’ll consider what I can do to make it more clear.

      Thanks.

      • Oh, there’s no question that we’re on the same page.
        And the basis for my second comment was the use of the word “ancient”, which led to my confusion.

        The thing that drives me insane is the willful ignorance of the masses. I suspect you’d use the word “dishonest” to describe it – but to me, it’s the so-called “leaders” (whether governmental, social, religious – name your institution) who are dishonest and 99.9% of the rest of the sheep just go along because it’s easy, and they want somebody else to think for them. And of course, as you well know, if you point out any of the lies, they will lynch you.

  29. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t43VgJ4U9_Q&ob=av3n

    Cool music video by the Avett Brothers that reminds me of this manifesto.

  30. I’m going out on a limb here and labeling this manifesto as axioms. I would though like to add ignorance to #7. Thanks Richard.

  31. Razwell says:

    Very well though out post, Richard.

  32. Razwell says:

    Richard

    You once made the comment “Neolithic mind poisons” about organized religions and other such things. I agree with that completely. That was an accurate description.

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