Free the Animal: A Manifesto – Version 2.0

OK, I’ve been picking at this for the last week here and there, expanding it quite a lot, making the integrations as wide as I can without tons more text. This is Part 1. I think I did a decent job incorporating most of the idea in comments. many were incorporated into existing theses.

Manifesto: A public declaration of principles and intentions.

Version 2.0

1. You must think yourself lean and thin, and strong and healthy…to a natural point of proper and normal regulation of hunger and satiation. There is no prescription or proscription that will necessarily work for you. You must craft your own diet, health and fitness paradigm from your own trial and error experience. Modern society only wants to sell you stuff. Look around you, to recognize that the burden is squarely upon you. They care not about your belly or health. They care about your buying power and where you are going to choose to spend.

2. Thinking and principles are paramount, because the TV commercials and press releases change daily and are wildly varied. Applications must be tested and critically evaluated, personally. Rigid and authoritative, one-size-fits-all plans and roadmaps are doomed to mediocrity, at best. Your best must come from you. You’ll be effectively left in the wilderness to fend for yourself, should you choose not to fill your cart with frozen and otherwise preserved boxes from your local market. That choice is yours. Health accrues as self determination and independence accrue.

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

4. Humans, unlike non-human animals, can consciously and with purpose, act against their own best interest, even to the point of suicide. They can also command nature and their environment to a degree non-human animals can’t and don’t. Think fire breaks, dams, roads, cities, suburbs, airports, skyscrapers, computers, the Internet, division of labor and trade.

5. Generally, human ill health, unhappiness, sexlessness, sleeplessness, stress, slavery, drudgery, suicide, disease and decrepitude, years and decades before the eventual finality of death, are adverse manifestations of the human ability to work against his own interest by purpose or default: his ability to produce, and his ability to command nature, taken to irrational levels. Non human animals have only to concern themselves with the environmentally given, which they essentially do automatically.

6. The ability of individual humans to work against themselves and their own best interests so effectively — and even collectively — is the root cause of all human-created problems. The ability to “create reality,” by means of marvelously, powerfully creative human minds, can exacerbate the downside on many levels; when the creation of “reality” is taken beyond the pleasure of fantasy. It’s a double edged sword, a dangerous weapon: one which can be used in advance of breathtaking achievement in the pursuit of survival, happiness, and individual and civilization enhancing prosperity…or it can be used to destroy all of those.

7. Since non-human animals can’t be dishonest, and only act on their limited knowledge, dishonesty is a human-animal condition or ability — an adverse effect of “free will” or merely the product of super intelligence that’s owing to our ability to fake, simulate or “create” reality. Dishonesty is the failure to integrate sensory data into a logical framework or hierarchy of values worth pursuing and celebrating.

8. Unnatural human-animal disease, unhappiness, obesity, failed relationships, initiatory predation, and other adverse human conditions are fundamentally a consequence of dishonesty. For, non-human animals operating automatically have only the metaphysically given, and they always act accordingly and without culpability. Such failures and consequences in non-human animals are not moral failings but natural and environmental. By contrast, Human animals crate man-made problems where no insurmountable natural problems otherwise exist, either by design or default. By design constitutes initiatory predation via fraud, deception, or outright violence. By default is the failure to exploit obtainable values necessary for survival, which can leave one open to injury, death, exploitation by predators, or any and all.

9. Since human animals are the only animals with the ability to be consciously and purposefully dishonest, i.e., the failure to perceive sensory data data and further, integrate it, and even further, act upon it rationally — by self, with others, and collectively — in society is the fundamental root cause of all disease, inability to flourish and early, unnatural death. In time, this thesis could extend to recognizing, acquiring and implementing life extending technologies.

10. As with male and female non-human animals, human males and females are different physiologically. The nature that requires that we identify, choose and pursue values for our survival and happiness opens also the door to sexual values not driven by nature, and even explicitly counter reproductive ends. Human animals have the capacity to pursue and enjoy multiple sexual encounters daily, even with multiple partners, even mechanically or chemically thwarting reproduction. Such capacity evolved human values and behaviors that serve as a natural control: jealousy, social acceptance, the exclusivity, scorn for infidelity, empathy, the family unit, etc.

11. Non-human animals exist in various environmental niches they have evolved within to exploit, with no external purpose and yet, within a balance. Human animals purposely migrated out of Africa to populate the Earth from equator to arctic — and antarctic — and sea level to 16,000 feet, and everything in-between. Human animals evolved to migrate over eons of time by evolving hand-in-hand to exploit the environmentally given available along the way.

12. 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. And yet this was only to survive, reproduce, and carry our genes forward to future generations in a repetitive cycle. 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, and even minutes of life.

13. Our large brains desire more, far more that pure survival. And so the human animal, by means of super intellectual capacity, trade, and division of labor, evolved the capacity to exploit and control nature to its own ends in terms of prosperity, happiness, and non-reproductive sexual pleasures.

14. Non-human animals don’t become unnaturally obese or die unnaturally. Humans become obese, as do pets and zoo animals under the stewardship of human animals. This is a debilitating condition rooted in dishonesty; that is, the failure to identify and implement a humanely appropriate diet. Likewise, humans become depressed, unfulfilled, unproductive, dependent, sexually starved, uncompetitive, and at large, unhappy for the same fundamental reasons.

15. 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, by definition. It’s not something that needs to be man made, industrialized, or drugged beyond our ability to evolve. Industrialization comes with powerful advantages, and equally powerful disadvantages. Human advancement in knowledge, technology and profitable implementation comes with as much individual responsibility as does the technology to split atoms and light cities. That same technology can annihilate hundreds of thousands of human and non-human animals, destroy human and non-human habitat, and destroy the productive capacity to sustain more human animals than nature in the same environment.

16. Human animals, like all primates, are social animals that by nature, exchange values with others to mutual benefit, in small circles, where each individual can account for each other individual and take action when deemed necessary or appropriate. Human animals have gone on to develop complex collectivist, centralized, hierarchical and oftentimes authoritarian and dictatorial social structures to the extent that a few dominate all the rest. When the domination isn’t totalitarian and brutal, it’s nonetheless clever, dishonest and fraudulent enough to engender welcome cheerleading and hand-clapping from its subjects. It is 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; or the most elegantly of all: promise of status, a “place at the table.”

17. Modern human animals, with a history of being subject to despotic domination, developed the political “technology” and consequent wishful propensity to believe they have Great Power through a Neolithic device known as a “democratic vote.” Where in reality, such trinket actually gives them about equal odds in terms of effective power as does buying a lottery ticket. Conversely, we know ancient humans were individually and socially powerful, because they survived on their own, without modern technology, as social beings. Nobody voted on it.

18. 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,” got everyone to buy onto it, teach it to their offspring, and then taught them to replicate it, i.e., to reproduce and teach…to reproduce and teach. So whether it was oppressive primitive religion burning heretics, or oppressive political systems — that became religion’s perfect bedfellow — imprisoning, enslaving or kangaroo trailing the state’s enemies, the core mechanism had been established: tameness. And even that wasn’t enough. In today’s zoo human tameness isn’t an issue. The only concern is in keeping order between the two halves of the zoo that put on a fight between each other for the benefit of what spectators remain unknown.

19. Guilt and shame work hand in hand with religious tenet, dogma, catechism…that most notably involves: fear. In a primal and primitive world, there is plenty to fear, and quickly recognizing and integrating such fear was absolute key, part, and parcel to human survival success. But most never went on to realize that fear is so easy to manipulate. Others went on to realize that there is much power, profit, status and generations of unearned livelihood in manipulating fear. Guilt and shame, combined with irrational fear…all to to make a malleable, submissive, slavish, hand kissing “human animal,” who will then do his part to see to the livelihood of those same humanoid parasites. Anciently, it was the parasites of church and now, the parasites of State. The former is finally voluntary, but only because its chief bedfellow is compulsory, under threat of prosecution.

20. All humans have within themselves the ability to change everything on a dime. This is the most important realization of all of these theses.

21. 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 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.

Alright, so can we have another critical go at it? Thanks very much. I hope you see how the first set of comments really helped.

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  1. mike on October 7, 2011 at 16:01

    Outstanding…thank you

  2. Bill on October 7, 2011 at 16:49

    Phew. Sensory overload. Find my response below the first 100 comments. I hope you get a massive response.
    Your “heart on your sleeve” approach is refreshing.
    Goodnight from Blighty.

  3. Juan on October 7, 2011 at 16:52

    Super stuff, Richard! (One quick read so far). I like that you didn’t mention food until no. 12. And, frankly, you could use no. 15 as a near synopsis of the whole thing. I do feel that 16, 17, and 19 are manifestations of some of the earlier points and not necessarily necessary for a manifesto, but hey, it’s your manifesto! Good on you, mate!

  4. Tommy on October 7, 2011 at 17:02


    • Richard Nikoley on October 7, 2011 at 17:12


      Sorry man. You seem like such a nice person, too.

      Problem is, see, is I have a lot of really brainy readers and I have to try and keep up with them. I think there’s a lot of blogs with pictures, though, if that’s any help.

  5. bk davis on October 7, 2011 at 18:14

    Good work, so far. Now if you can fit your manifesto into a propagandized infomercial for the masses you might do some real damage. Nevermind, let them eat funnel cake from the zoo concession stand.

  6. Razwell on October 7, 2011 at 18:14

    I kind of have a Bruce Lee – ish philosophy and view on this one, that ultimatley the most important knowledge of all is SELF knowledge.

    I will take very consistent personal RESULTS and experience anyday over ANY study. It is far more valuable and can lead to wisdom. Self knowledge is an absolute must.

    Extensive list and very good.

  7. Sx on October 7, 2011 at 18:42
  8. Erin on October 7, 2011 at 20:07

    Watching this evolve is fascinating. I am really enjoying your articulation of the role of religion in taming the human animalAs a secular household, we’ve struggled to explain to our kids why we won’t “just join a church”…I’ve seen so many ways that conformity would make their lives so much easier, at least initially. Hypocrisy, control of the masses, manipulation by fear of the future and the unknown are all difficult to explain to children who just know they’re being excluded for being different. (throw in homeschooling because public schools create drones and our poor kids are really “different”)…thanks for taking the time to do this.

  9. Stan (Heretic) on October 7, 2011 at 20:54

    I like that! Your manifesto reminds me the “Seth Book” philosophy (Jane Roberts and Robert Butts) , did you ever read that?

  10. Daniel Kirsner on October 7, 2011 at 21:38

    “Non-human animals can’t be dishonest”

    Huh? (to name but one)…

    • Richard Nikoley on October 7, 2011 at 22:01

      That’s not conscious dishonesty, but merely various evolved behaviors that _ALL_ members of the species perform in response to the requisite stimuli.

      • Daniel Kirsner on October 8, 2011 at 20:30

        As I said, to name but one. We could quibble over that, but if I could bring you over and have you listen to my cats (or some dog, or other creature) moan and act as if it is in deathly agony simply so I’d get my ass out of bed and feed them you might change your tune…

        Certainly I agree that humans have far greater latitude in their dishonesty (or oodles of other choices) than do non-human animals on this particular planet…

      • Richard Nikoley on October 8, 2011 at 20:36

        My dogs do that night and day.

  11. ben on October 8, 2011 at 06:37

    Numbers 1 through 5 are excellent.
    Number 6 starts getting into the “well, yeah I suppose but…what is your point?” territory. Number 7 is a non-sequitur, 8 as well.
    What is the point of 10? I don’t want to sound harsh but it reads a bit like your attempt to let homosexuals in but with a caveat as to their “nature-ness.”
    In 11 I’d simply comment that claiming that humans purposely migrated out of Africa to populate the Earth from equator to arctic seems beyond what we could know of their motives. They could’ve simply started leaving one place to get food in another and kept having babies along the way, inadvertently populating the earth, no?
    12 seems like a nice basic summary of much of what we all banter about in our paleo talks.
    I agree with 13.
    The beginning of 14 is spot-on, but your use of “dishonesty” is, again, less-than-ideal. It just seems needlessly difficult as a word-choice.
    15, like 12, seems like a nice basic summary of much of what we all banter about in our paleo talks.
    I wouldn’t argue with 16. I think that sums up Diamond’s description of what the harnessing of agriculture began to allow humans to do.
    With 17 I suppose you’re arguing the value of (or lack there of) consensus. While I don’t think there is much in the paragraph to disagree with I think the use of the word “trinket” is problematic. The fact is that consensus does indeed allow pretty major, concrete things/projects to incur.
    In 18, from your opening line to the closing line you’ve strayed quite a bit. I don’t think there is much coherence here.
    19 is all over the place, too. It reads as very reactionary – like you’ve just got done reading too many annoying articles in the news and just want to spill it all out. It’s not cogent.
    20 is true but I don’t see why it’s where it is, at 20 between 19 and 21.
    By 21 I think that you’re perhaps relying to strongly on words that just don’t have clear enough definitions and differentiations to make your point. The words guilt, shame, and fear in modern US English are too problematic to explain what it is you are trying to convey.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 8, 2011 at 08:14

      Thanks for thorough review, ben. Much appreciated and I will go through it with a fine tooth comb.

      My own sense is that my first take was a bit too slim and this, a bit much. My aim is to convey as much meaning in as few words as possible.

    • Keith Thomas on October 8, 2011 at 15:47

      I’m puzzled by 20. Human can’t change “everything”. Seems to me that destructive and utopian political ideologies take it as given that we CAN change everything.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 8, 2011 at 15:57

        What, your gonna give me shit over the single ideListic thesis of the whole bunch? :)

        I get what you’re saying, but if I have any room for fantastical idealism at all it is that hmans can surprise you – to both the good and bad.

        It’s merely a possibility in principle.

  12. Razwell on October 8, 2011 at 11:00

    I forgot to mention, as far as animals. There is evidence elephants actually recognize death and grieve. They perform many rituals like gathering around elephant skeletons, putting branches on the decseased, pouring dirt , long silence, touching their trunks on the deceased, they make various sounds, and much more. All of this is a thoughtful, deliberate action. They even visit “graveyards” after time has past. Amazing creatures that we have not even begun to understand.

    Elephants are perhaps the smartest animal, certainly the top 2 or 3.

    • Ben on October 8, 2011 at 18:27

      That true about the elephants? Bizarre. I don’t disbelieve it but I’ve never heard of it. Cool.

  13. Steven L on October 10, 2011 at 12:55

    Holy haberdashery batman! My 4 years of religion class at catholic high-school just made a lot more sense. From what I gather: dishonesty=sin.

    • LXV on October 10, 2011 at 13:45

      Your very on-point. The biblical idea of sin is very close to Richard’s concept of dishonesty. The difference is whether you believe the natural order is the result of chance (for lack of a much-better word) or divine intention. (And I’m sure I’m going to receive a digital ass-kicking for tying Richard into theological dogma here, but his religious education is showing). Whether you interpret Genesis 1 as allegory, pleasant myth, or literal fact: original sin seperated man from living in harmony with the natural world. After the Garden of Eden, man’s relationship with nature – and his own self – becomes oppositional.

      Now the church has taken the idea of sin away from the concept of seperation from what was intended, and used it as a club to control human nature. The idea of error-and-punishment is far too prevalent in society (all societies, I think). I don’t know, I’m writing this as I think it. This site has some of the smartest commenters on the ‘net and I do appreciate how they make me think.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 10, 2011 at 14:12

        Hmm, writing as I think, I rather regard the doctrine of Original Sin as one of the foundations of what I’d call “institutional depravity,” that is, the idea we’re fucked, but smomeone has the unfuck key.

        I regard dishonesty principally, as a consequence of intelligence…we’re smart enough and clever enough to thwart reality, and have enough anecdotes that people try, or they are simply enamored of fantasy, which I know from personal experience is seductive.

        Love her or hate her, this has always been my touchstone for unpacking the doctrine of original sin.

  14. LXV on October 10, 2011 at 13:24

    I would make #20 the first point. It has a nice brevity and strong impact that will hook readers into the subsequent points. Especially since it is the “most important.”

    The list needs to be reordered to achieve a better flow. (Which will increase the memorability). When I get some more time I’ll post the order I’d put them in. (In the meantime, they seem to fall under the category of mental health, physical health, and societal health. I’d start with physical, move on to mental, and wrap up with societal.)

    I’d also look at leading each point with a punchy sum-up. A direct, non-compound sentance with no asides. (A soundbite if you will). #20 is a fantastic example.

    Finally, and this is getting down into the weeds, consider your audiance. I would guess that this is written at about the 10th grade level of reading (or higher). That’s not a bad thing, but it will limit who reads (and understands) your work. For maximum audiance-reaching potential, try to write about the 6th or 7th grade level. This doesn’t mean to dumb down your content or the words you use, but rather to make the phrasing less complex and more direct. For example I would rewrite #21 as:
    “Fear is worse than guilt, shame, or self-destruction. Fear is natural, and that’s the problem. Neolithic society uses our natural tendencies against us. It uses fear to break us down, divide us, and control us.”

    • Richard Nikoley on October 10, 2011 at 14:02


      Please continue.

      Now I am realizing the value of 2.0, which even I don’t like all that much. I went over the top enough to cull down the input to those few who really understand what I’m laboring to get at.

      Thank you, sir.

      • LXV on October 10, 2011 at 14:33

        You’re quite welcome, but I’m a “ma’am” – not a “sir.” ( It’s impossible to tell from mere initials though, I know. :D )

      • Richard Nikoley on October 10, 2011 at 14:34

        You’ve exposed my natural bias! Hell, for all I know, you’re a natural hunter, too.

      • Richard Nikoley on October 10, 2011 at 14:36

        On another note and counting from your email, this is a very welcome thing. It is critically important to have the female perspective integrated into this sort of thing naturally, and not merely my male take on it, even though I’ve been obsessed with females for most of my life.

  15. Txomin on October 10, 2011 at 20:40

    I would sum it up as self-deceit. However, I don’t consider it a moral flaw. It’s in the nature of the software we call the mind. Just try to keep you eyes on the road and help fellow sentients do alike.

  16. […] 3-4 hours last Friday — and created somewhat of a bloated monstrosity that while containing about everything I could think of, did not seem to create spark with readers, nor myself if I'm honest about it. But still I got some […]

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