Man Alive! Chapter 5: The Greatest Love of All

Here’s the post that kicked it all off. This is chapter 5 of 12, to give interested readers the chance to take on the free ebook chapter by chapter over the weekend, debate it amongst themselves, or even challenge the author who’s keeping tabs.


From: Man Alive! A survival manual for the human mind.

by Greg Swann

Chapter 5. The greatest love of all.

When the subject of love and sex come up, our friends in the lab coats have a field day. For one thing, gibbons and other critters pair-bond for life, so they’re “just like us.” And for another, when you’re in the thrall of your best-beloved, your brain is all but drowning in pheromones and oxytocin and a mad obsession to rut yourself raw, so you’re no different from a house-cat in heat. Everything they have to say about you omits the inconvenient fact of Fathertongue, which makes their comparisons specious and invalid. However, as a consolation to deluded butterfly collectors everywhere, a genetic Homo sapiens without Fathertongue really is just like a poorly-adapted animal.

But since no mere animal can think in Fathertongue, no members of the animal kingdom bother to study the dating and mating habits of professors and graduate students – a fact that might raise a question in the minds of those assiduous researchers, if they were of a mind to question their contra-factual prejudices. A plausible meta-goal of reductionist science, arguably unknown to the scientists but presumably very well understood by modern philosophers, is to reduce everything to nothing – to trivialize everything in order to trivialize the human mind.

It can be useful to judge intellectual causes by their observed effects, and it is certainly the case that the study of humanity in the modern epoch has robbed you of the desire to learn more about your own nature. You see summaries of allegedly unassailable scientific studies “proving” either that your mind is no better than an animal’s brain or that animals are every bit as wise and capable as you and – instead of standing up for your identity as a member of the only conceptually-conscious species in existence – you wince and turn the page. By that means, their error, knowing or not, becomes your error – an error I am working very hard to correct.

And while the subject of romantic love and sex is so interesting to me that I’m taking it up separately in another treatise, there is a love-before-all-other-loves in your life, one you have probably never thought about at all – and one you will never, ever hear about from theologians, philosophers, academics, artists, journalists or other “thought leaders.” Yes, you love your spouse romantically and erotically. And you love your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings and the closest of your friends with a filial love, the love of families. But there is a love in your life that precedes all those loves, and, without it, no other love is possible.

What is it? Your love for your self, of course.

Or maybe not “of course.” I am writing about being – ontology – but philosophers and theologians and everyone who follows their lead are all about shoulding – teleology. And the emphatic shoulding that undergirds every putative argument of being, going back forever, is that you should never, ever love your self. To the contrary, the love of the self is held to be the ultimate evil in almost every philosophical or theological doctrine ever devised in all of human history. The most important question in philosophy is “What should I do?” but, in fact, virtually all dogmas have concerned themselves primarily with what you should not do – and what you most emphatically should not do is love your self.

Are you feeling a little stirred up just now? Queasy in the bowels, maybe, or a little hot under the collar? All you are doing is reading. If you are having an averse emotional reaction to the words you are reading, this is an evidence of the success of your lifelong indoctrination. My take is that the people who taught you to have bodily reactions to ideas are not your friends. By means of fallacious, underhanded appeals to your emotions – starting when you were much too young to identify intellectual dishonesty – they indoctrinated you against your self. They taught you to make war on your own life.

And guess what? It worked. The indoctrination “took” – with tragic results. You are attending to these words, perhaps against your better judgment, because the world you thought you understood is falling apart. And it is falling apart because the philosophies that have guided human civilization for all of human history are perverse – all of them are perverse. And in the modern world, when you scale perversion up to the size of the whole globe, you get global perversion. For the entire history of human life on Earth, theologians, philosophers, academics, artists, journalists, politicians and other so-called “thought leaders” have commanded you to betray your own interests in the service of any interest other than your own.

Guess what? It worked. Your life is wrecked, or close to it. Your family life has been destroyed or badly damaged. Your finances are in ruins. You spend huge amounts of your time hoping and praying that you and the people you love are not living on the cusp of a new Dark Age. This is philosophy in action. This is the awesome power of perverse ideas, if they are spread widely enough. Meanwhile, your despoilers – all those theologians, philosophers, academics, artists, journalists, politicians, government functionaries and other so-called “thought leaders” – are living the high-life at your expense. Their homes are gorgeous and their families are intact. Their finances could not be better, thanks to your generous donations and tax payments. They, too, are pretty sure dark days are ahead of us – so they’re snagging onto more and more wealth, as fast as they can. But while they might seem to “have it all,” in reality they are even more miserable than you are. That’s why they drink so much.

But guess what? None of this matters, except for what we can learn from it. The past cannot be changed. Those so-called “thought leaders” misled you, and you were more than happy to be misled. But the future is the only thing subject to change. You have been wrong – badly, madly, outrageously wrong – but there is no benefit to you in chastising yourself for your past errors. All you can do in the service of your values is learn from your mistakes, put matters right to the extent that you can, and then do better going forward. My job is to help you learn how to do better.

Start here: All human thought occurs in Fathertongue – in words or other man-made symbols – and therefore all human thought consists of the mental manipulation of concepts – ideas. The ideas you hold inside your mind will be organized into a hierarchy of importance – importance to you, not to some imaginary arbiter of canonical importance – which, of course, will change over time. To a young boy, the idea of playing with toys matters a lot more, to him, than the idea of socializing with girls – a circumstance that will change dramatically in due course. We act upon our ideas iteratively, by thinking about them, and, in obvious consequence, the ideas that matter to you the most are the ones you think about the most.

So which one of your ideas do you think about far more than any other?

It’s your self. You may never have thought of your self as an idea before, but that’s what it is. Your self is your own internally-abstracted concept of your life, and there is a sense in which every idea you might consider is a manifestation of your self. Your body is your self’s personal, private puppet, and every purposive, voluntary action you take is an expression of your self: “This is what I do.” “This is how I behave.” “This is how I express mastery of this task.” “This is how I display indifference to this other chore.” “This is how I dance with my cousin.” “This is how I dance with the person I hope to marry.”

But even though we usually think of the body when we use the word “self” (as in, “I wash myself”), because of Fathertongue your physical body is in fact simply an extension of your self. The you that is the real you, most fundamentally, is the idea of your self that you hold in your mind. Everything you do with your body – with your hands or your feet, with your voice and your vocal intonations, with your facial expressions, with your stride or your posture or your gestures – each one of those actions is actually a secondary consequence of the mental actions you are taking upon your self in the silence and solitude of your mind. Those behaviors we call a person’s mien or manner or style or character are simply the automated, habituated expressions of that person’s idea of his self.

Every purposive action – every consciously-chosen action – you take in your life is taken first by the self upon the self. By an overwhelming majority, most of the purposive actions you will take in your life will be taken only upon the self – with no externally-observable secondary consequences of any sort. This is the mental process called introspection, but it is an error to think of introspection as being simply a matter of rumination, wool-gathering, void of all consequences. To the contrary, every thought you have either enhances or diminishes the idea of your life that is your self. Every action you take with your body is deeply meaningful, since much of your notion of who you are will come from your having seen who you have been in your actions. But even actions you don’t take – such as thinking about doing the right thing but ultimately not doing it – will have permanent consequences for your self.

We’ve been talking for quite a while now about human nature, so it might make sense for me, by now, to define the nature of human life.

So: Your life as a fully-conscious human being, most fundamentally, is your awareness of your life as a fully-conscious human.

You have a body, including your brain, and not only does it resemble in some ways the bodies of other organisms, it is also influenced in important ways by the same sorts of internal and external goads that influence the behavior of other organisms. But because you mastered Fathertongue as a child, you are a being of rationally-conceptual volitionality, and because of that critical, insuperable, bright-line distinction, your life is nothing like that of other living things. Non-human organisms do what they do because this is how they are made, and they cannot voluntarily deviate from their in-born nature in any way – nor even conceive of that nature.

But your own life is the product of nothing but your conceptions. Your experience of your life in real time can have bodily manifestations and consequences, but it is your awareness of that experience that matters to you. I used to say that your life as a human being consists of your awareness of your experience of being alive right now, your memories of past experiences and your anticipation of future experiences. I would expand that description now to include your awareness of actions you might have or should have taken in the past, but did not, as well as empty dreams you indulge about your future, knowing all the while that you will never follow through on them. All of these ideas are the substance of your self, and the self is the essential characteristic of the uniquely-human life.

What’s the purpose of life? Scruffy, bearded teenagers of all ages have been asking that question for thousands of years, and each one of them has come up with an answer even more ludicrous than the absurd prescription put forth by the previous nitwit. But here is the full answer to that age-old question:

The purpose of human life is self-expression.

The purpose of every organism’s life is to be lived, and since your own life, most fundamentally, is the life of your self, the purpose of your life is to make your self manifest in every way you can. This is a matter of ontology – of being. It sounds like shoulding – teleology – but in fact this is what you are regardless of what you or anyone else might say about human nature. Every purposive action you take is taken first by the self upon the self, and this is the unavoidable consequence of your having come to be a self. You didn’t cause this to happen – your parents did – and you could not have stopped the process even if you had known it was happening. Only a mind already possessed of Fathertongue could even conceive of the possibility of preventing the cultivation of Fathertongue in any human mind.

You are a self as a matter of inescapable ontology. The effect was caused by volition, by choice, by an iterative shoulding process initiated by your parents. And of course it can be terminated – by your death or by a serious head injury. But the fact that you are a self is a fact of being, not a behavior to be caused or prevented by shoulding. While you are a self, you cannot not be a self. You can pretend you are not a self, albeit not as deceptively as you can pretend your house-cat is a vegan by feeding it nothing but spinach. But you are a self by no choice of your own, and you cannot stop being a self by any act of volition short of bodily self-destruction.

This is what you are, regardless of what anyone says about it. It can be worth your while to read all of those descriptions of your nature promulgated by theologians and philosophers and academics and artists and journalists. They don’t have very much to do with your true nature, do they? Why do you suppose that might be so?

Everything I have described to you is clear and obvious on its face, really just thoroughgoing elaborations on common sense. Truly, there is nothing I have to say that is not plainly obvious to any five-year-old child newly graced with the power of Fathertongue. I can express the truth of human life in greater depth than he can, with greater precision. But there is nothing I know that he did not come to understand well-enough in that scales-falling-from-the-eyes epiphany that is the birth of Fathertongue within an individual human mind.

But don’t stop reading yet. There’s much more to be covered. Take note that we have talked about nothing but being so far, even though I told you at the outset that the most important question in philosophy is “What should I do?”

So what should you do – to make the most and the best of your one, irreplaceable, finite, uniquely-human life?

That’s easy: Love your self.

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  1. LeonRover on June 24, 2012 at 11:17

    . and . . . .

  2. LeonRover on June 24, 2012 at 11:25

    . . . it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 24, 2012 at 12:03

      One should always endeavor, however imperfectly, to act otherwise.

      • marie on June 24, 2012 at 20:23

        . . . and in the act that follows : This is the very ecstasy of love.

  3. BabyGirl on June 24, 2012 at 16:54

    Dang Richard, could I get the Cliff Notes on that soliloquy?

    • marie on June 25, 2012 at 14:33

      Laf! No need, just ask LeonRover – he can quite possibly recite the whole, with subtle emphases. The rest of us are Fortinbras to his Hamlet….and poor foils at that. :-)

      • LeonRover on June 26, 2012 at 01:35

        Nay, Lass:

        We each are but a GuildenKrantz to Greg’s RosenStern.

      • marie on June 26, 2012 at 07:20

        Ha! But russian heroics aside, those gentle interchangeable twins are dead, no?

        . . . and, you made my case.

        I do so love to be kept on my toes ;-)

      • Greg Swann on June 27, 2012 at 17:13

        I think I’d rather be the hawk than the handsaw.

      • marie on June 27, 2012 at 18:31

        Oh yes, top of a food chain is best:)

    • marie on July 6, 2012 at 22:46

      GuildenKratz and RosenStern seem also to be spoonerisms on steroids….found the minotaur obviously, do you no longer monitor that account for requests?

  4. Greg Swann on June 25, 2012 at 06:42

    This is the chapter I expected to ignite the hellfires of eternal damnation, among both devoutly religious people and committed statists. So far none of that, but the book is not yet three months old.

  5. Kate Ground on June 25, 2012 at 19:56

    Mark 12:31

    • Greg Swann on June 25, 2012 at 23:14

      Not possible. You can’t love anyone or anything in the way you love your self. Plausible counter-claims are addressed in Chapter 6, but there really is no relationship you can have with anything outside your mind that even remotely compares with the relationship you have with your self. This is another bright-line distinction, a difference not of degree but of kind.

      • Kate Ground on June 26, 2012 at 05:32

        “Or maybe not “of course.” I am writing about being – ontology – but philosophers and theologians and everyone who follows their lead are all about shoulding – teleology. And the emphatic shoulding that undergirds every putative argument of being, going back forever, is that you should never, ever love your self. To the contrary, the love of the self is held to be the ultimate evil in almost every philosophical or theological doctrine ever devised in all of human history. The most important question in philosophy is “What should I do?” but, in fact, virtually all dogmas have concerned themselves primarily with what you should not do – and what you most emphatically should not do is love your self.”

        My reference was in response to your statement above. Ideally we should love out neighbor as ourselves. That is what I was taught. I was not taught the way you mentioned above. Whether that is acheivable is not the point. But it is to be a goal. How can I love my neighbor at all if I don’t love myself first.

      • marie on June 26, 2012 at 07:42

        Kate? The ‘love doctrine’ overlay to the Bible is a fairly recent thing.
        If you were actually taught to love yourself (as opposed to inferring it from love that came your way) you were taught by rather enlightened people because it is no where in the Bible. In fact, the context for ‘love thy neighbor as you would yourself’ is that we are entirely too selfish, that love of ourselves Above all others is the root of all evil and that the way then to counteract that evil is to love your neighbor as much.
        I think the point Greg is making is exactly that it is not wrong to love yourself more than others, and that in fact it is both a natural and desirable state.
        I don’t agree or disagree with any of this, just trying to get the arguments straight. . . I think.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 07:45

        I thnk that’s a load of rubbish.

        Now, the Golden Rule, on the other hand (DO as you’d have them DO to you), is something I can get behind.

      • marie on June 26, 2012 at 08:34

        The Golden Rule rules, always :-)

      • Paul C on June 27, 2012 at 08:54

        The other person will give you 30 bananas, and you will give them liver, resulting in two unhappy people.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 09:25

        Perceptive, Paul C. This is the root of freedom of association.

      • Greg Swann on June 27, 2012 at 17:18

        > How can I love my neighbor at all if I don’t love myself first.

        Indeed. Your neighbor, your spouse, your child, your job, the view from your kitchen window. The problem is that you cannot love anything in the way that you love your self, because the phenomena are incomparable and hugely disproportionate. My take would be that “love your neighbor as yourself” is intended to divert you from your own interests. The Marxists went much further, demanding that you love anyone BUT yourself. No one can actually do these things, which we get to in Chapters 9 and 10, but the cognitive dissonance of trying to is devastating to the human mind.

      • Kate Ground on June 28, 2012 at 08:57

        If you are so inclined, this is an interesting Interpretation of the Mark scripture I referenced. consciousness is a relatively recent development.

        He says it better than I could

    • LeonRover on June 26, 2012 at 03:30


      but this flea, and mark in this,
      How little that which thou deniest me is

      • marie on June 26, 2012 at 08:39

        Shhh, tempter, “Thou know’st that this cannot be said.”

  6. Pauline on June 26, 2012 at 00:29

    I believe all our ills are due to insufficient sense of love of who we are, a constant comparing of ourselves to others and lack of faith in our own worth. I was fortunate to have my mother’s love, I know others who are not so lucky, the strong sense of self that comes from an inner knowledge of our own goodness and ongoing potential is limitless.

  7. Pauline on June 26, 2012 at 00:32

    I love the sentence – make your self manifest in every which way. This giving which we do to others, is firstly a most profound giving of ourselves, an enlarging of a sense of self, which is entirely selfish in the best way. Your giving is ultimately to yourself, for every person too is a reflection of some aspect of one’s self (whether owned or disowned).

    • marie on June 26, 2012 at 08:30

      “…which is entirely selfish in the best way.”
      Yes, not a sacrifice, not ‘charity’, but a natural enlargement of self.

      And perhaps “this giving which we do to others” is evolution-driven, as it feeds back advantages to the giving individual as well as the receiving one/s – one of the traits without which the single, very weak human animal may not have succeeded in forming/maintaining social groups, gaining the powerful advantages of close, cooperative association.
      Natural selection also acts on the individual human traits that enable the survival success of the group (and why women live decades past menopause – there was something advantageous in non-child bearing women, clearly not acting on their Direct reproductive success). So there was selection also for ‘givers’, (be they teachers or nurturers or…), and a selection for that sense of connection that has individuals seeking-out others, and…., and a selection for both cooperativeness and competition (in-tribe and out).
      And so maybe, just maybe, that’s where ‘civilization’ and the more philosophical aspects of religion have, at some times, been at their best, acting on that vital balancing act between competition and cooperation, between self and other, driving towards a realization that the combination provides a powerful advantage for any single individual.
      We are individuals. We are social animals. Negating either one for the other is in my mind the definition of torture.

  8. Pauline on June 26, 2012 at 02:34

    To Have or To Be – Erich Fromm

  9. rob on June 26, 2012 at 08:04

    I don’t really know what it means to “love yourself,” like most living creatures I have a highly developed drive towards self-preservation, is that loving yourself? Seems to me it is an emotional condition we are talking about.

  10. Pauline on June 26, 2012 at 11:16

    We all are self-preserving and hence our need to survive inside or alongside a given ‘tribe’ where our own well-being is knitted with the well-being of others. No Man is an Island, although we wish we could be sometimes, we are interconnected. I can only speak for myself but that need to have a greater sense of one’s self changes in expression over time. When younger it is to birth one’s self and that may involve coupling and childbearing as part of that journey. As children mature and leave home we come back to that place of ‘who do i want to be and what do I want to do’ and re-define our purpose. We begin to seek new forms of expression – we want to create and design an idea, a website, a novel, a lifestyle, a business. We are all students and teachers, interchangeably, in this game of life. Wonderful!

  11. Pauline on June 26, 2012 at 11:24

    But there is something else here, hidden perhaps, where love of self is taught by important role models early in our lives in a conditional way. If you behave in a certain way or achieve in a certain way, or model my expectations of you, I will love you. So we grow up very uncertain of that ‘intrinsic value’, its performance driven and not intrinsic – you are valuable because you are. Whether you succeed or fail, your life has value unconditionally. Is this achievable? Is it possible to love another human being unconditionally, and is this love possible towards ourselves? Certainly as a parent you feel this for your children most of the time, maybe towards your pet? But towards yourself, towards another person?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 14:22

      Pauline: I envy others who may have grown up in such a ‘love yourself’ paradigm.

      I never saw it. The very best thing I saw was hypocrisy. That, I count myself lucky for. It was a world in which everyone around me behaved as though they adored themselves and for many good reasons. But it was all salt and peppered with the toxic spice of bullshit, Mormonism, Lutheranism, and eventually when I was about 10, fundamental baptist evangelicalism.

      The latter ruined the acceptable former delusion.

      • Pauline on June 27, 2012 at 02:19

        Hi Richard, I never grew up in a ‘love yourself’ paradigm unfortunately. I had my mother’s love and my love for her as a focus growing up, but now I see that even that love was very conditional. Yes I was also part of that spiritual/religious trip as an adolescent that was also very conditional based on be good and all will be well. I did question all of that, and moved away into philosopy and psychology to explore different ideas on being. I just wonder where we find this ability to love ourselves unconditionally, without reserve, in splendor as Greg puts it. We all get glimpses of it through experiences we have but I don’t think its a static state. I would love to hear what other’s think about this.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 07:46

        Hmmm, I don’t see it as advocating unconditional love for one’s self or anyone. It’s more a moral license to love one’s self, but you still have to will yourself into being the kind of person worthy of that love.

      • Pauline on June 27, 2012 at 08:54

        Ah…I see. Moral license, interesting phrase…. Can you explain that, it sounds good.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 09:14

        Most simply, morality is merely a recognition that there is objective right and wrong. In human terms, there is the existential recognition that we are not just social beings, but moral beings. What’s right and wrong is important to us, and we have evolved beyond snarling to convey it to others.

        We have pen & ink (a metaphor), now.

        But morality, in essence, the seeking of higher rightness was co-opted by the same cadre that thinks it right and moral to enslave humans to their own ends. A critical, fundamental component is that you must sacrifice your own self for the good of the society (tribe, collective, whatever).

        Greg undercuts all that, because if your self can actually be your first and primary love–and you will yourself to deserve it–then everything else falls, easily.

        Think about it.

      • Greg Swann on June 27, 2012 at 17:28

        > I just wonder where we find this ability to love ourselves unconditionally, without reserve, in splendor as Greg puts it.

        I don’t think self-adoration can be unconditional. Splendor is a consequence of your own good behavior, as judged by your own moral standards, and Squalor is the unavoidable result of bad behavior. We get to a metaphor for understanding the iterative construction and destruction of the self in Chapter 7. Self-love is the consequence of behaving lovably to your self.

      • Kate Ground on June 28, 2012 at 06:49

        I see all the hypocrisy in so called religious people, but that doesn’t disprove God’s existence. It just proves man is a selfish being. That’s why I don’t go to church. but still believe in God. Hypocrisy is true for all of us…believers and non-believers.

  12. Mr Dave on June 26, 2012 at 15:29

    I’m not sure I agree with the problem he seems to be trying to solve. I see a bunch of self absorbed ass holes every where I look. Everyone gets a medal, you are all unique little snow flakes. the self esteem movement has screwed up a lot of kids. Perhaps at 43, I’m at the “kids these days” stage of life. But young people seems to have plenty of self love, and a sense of entitlemnt.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 26, 2012 at 15:38

      Look deeper, Mr Dave

      If you truly love yourself, you would never strive for, much less accept an unearned reward. Greg is talking principle. You’re stuck on dysfunctional parenting.

      • Mr Dave on June 26, 2012 at 18:32

        Thanks for acknowledging the post. I think there is a little “shoulding” in your response. One persons’ manifestation of self love will not necessarily look like or act like another’s. Even, though I agree unearned awards do not mean anything.
        Greg wrote:
        “The most important question in philosophy is “What should I do?” but, in fact, virtually all dogmas have concerned themselves primarily with what you should not do – and what you most emphatically should not do is love your self.”
        I never picked that up in Sunday School but I long ago stopped going to church. My parents told me to take pride in what I do, and do your best, if you want something to get after it, all that.
        When I read the title to section one: “You’re in this all alone.” I thought what a great thought and an important message. I wish he did more that.

    • Greg Swann on June 27, 2012 at 17:36

      From one of my favorite essays on this topic, in essence a pocket summary of the book:

      Shyly’s delight — or: Manifesting the secondary consequences of splendor

      Nor is the modern canard, “self-esteem”, a substitute for self-love. Self-love is the joy and reverence you earn and deserve by the relentless pursuit of everything you admire, everything you desire, everything you aspire to. Self-esteem is the high regard in which you presume to hold yourself in appreciation for the accomplishment of absolutely nothing.

      Most of the bad conduct you see is display behavior, with most of that originating in fear of exposure.

  13. Cow on June 26, 2012 at 21:54

    “Love” just imagined human concept, like “god”, “sasquatch,” and “monogamy”. Human wish for love to be true, profound, unbreakable thing. Is part of wish for human to has somethings bigger than self to clings to, for to sooth mortality, and allow selfs to create perceived meaningfulness in face of pedestrian lifes and deaths.

    • Kate Ground on June 27, 2012 at 07:08

      “Love” just imagined human concept, like “god”, “sasquatch,” and “monogamy”. I “love” the groping here. Equating Sasquatch to monogamy so as,to have,something greater than ourselves to cling to? What’s wrong with monogamous relationships? Why should I share juices with some other woman? Who says thermos nomsasquatch? People claim…… And God? I won’t go there. Show me there isn’t something greater than ourselves. Now the deep one: love is a human concept? I’ll cling to my love anyday

  14. Pauline on June 27, 2012 at 02:24

    Maybe a better word for love yourself, is trust yourself.

    • Kate Ground on June 27, 2012 at 07:29

      Pauline, I love myself. I don’t always like certain things about myself, and don’t always trust things like decisions I may make, but I can truly say I love myself. I’m the greatest. No, I wasn’t always taught to do so, but I was never taught not to. I know many people who can’t stand themselves, and it is not easy for them to love others. They were either neglected children, or bullied in school, or bullied as an adult. Abused. My sister for one. She was bullied for being over weight. But she found her “higher power” and, long story short, loves herself. I find it odd that so many think that this is all there is. How limiting!

      • Cow on June 27, 2012 at 08:55

        For me Pauline, I think is more like every brain is it own BFF. Is not mean relations always joyful and supporting, is sometime lie, name callings, sabotages, tedium, assorted addiction and other crazy makings, etc., but at end of day you in it with self for better and worse.

  15. Pauline on June 27, 2012 at 08:56

    Yes, I think I use the phrase unconditional in the sense that we all have things about ourselves we maybe don’t feel great about, or would like to change or improve. So the unconditional positive regard is more of a background feeling, that although you make mistakes sometimes, generally your feeling towards yourself is one of positivitiy and hopefulness. Like a work in process…

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 09:28

      This is where conscience comes in. It’s easier for most people to screw over someone else than to screw over themselves in perpetuity. You can flee the scene when you screw over someone else. You can’t flee your own mind.

  16. Kate Ground on June 27, 2012 at 10:48

    Here’s a question? Where does “conscience” come from? Evolution? I’m curios your feeling about this. Does my dog have a conscience? Or does he just fear punishment? Does my conscience come from fear instilled in me as a child? I Don’t think so.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 11:53

      Kate, I guess you took zero notice when I posted it the last time. Is you interst in this only to make people run around mulberries to your benefit?

      • Kate Ground on June 28, 2012 at 06:53

        Sorry but haven’t caught up on your years of blogging. That was from Novermber? I guess I better get reading

      • Richard Nikoley on June 28, 2012 at 08:05

        Kate, I was talking about putting that link in comments in one of the previous chapter threads I believe you posted in.

      • Kate Ground on June 28, 2012 at 08:08

        I now remember you referencing this before.
        ” Until only about 5000 to 6000 years ago, homo sapiens existed as unconscious, robotic animals, without subjective awareness, self-concept, self-direction, planning, introspection, reflection, and abstract reasoning possible only in the realm of consciousness”
        Sure glad the author of this fabulous book of yours was there back 5000 years ago to know what was in the minds of men. It is, to me, equivalent to space aliens and big foot.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 28, 2012 at 08:19

        Yea, I know, Kate. Far more plausible that a being with Sooper Pow3rz willed it into existence around the same time, and in only 6 days, at which point he really needed a rest.

      • Kate Ground on June 28, 2012 at 09:03

        Maybe… Or just maybe it was around 5000, 6000, 8000 years ago God made unconscious men conscious. Just a thought

      • Richard Nikoley on June 28, 2012 at 09:37

        “Just a thought”

        Not what I’d call it.

      • Cow on June 28, 2012 at 11:56

        Is some evidences that human worship of animal, trees, sun, etc. (Animism) go back 70,000 year. This suggest much earlier human was, even if very crudely, contemplating ‘source’ of life and endeavoring to find favor with it.

        I copies from article: Archaeologists found evidence of animism from approximately 50,000 years ago in a cave in Siberia. In Africa, a 70,000 year old altar to a snake spirit was recently uncovered.

      • Kate Ground on June 28, 2012 at 14:18

        Nah, not a good thought. I agree with cow. We around longer than 8000 years and cognitively aware of God(s)

    • Greg Swann on June 27, 2012 at 17:43

      > Where does “conscience” come from?

      Persistence of memory. Your past behavior will recall itself to your memory again and again, unbidden. If you like what you see, of if you can at least stand it, you can press on. If you can’t abide your memories, you will have to silence them, either by self-medicating or by some kind of outrageous acting-out behavior — either of which will make the problem that much worse. Most of us learn why we must not behave atrociously very young, when our capacity for self-destruction is still minute. Those few of who don’t learn this simple lesson shed tragedies wherever they go.

  17. Cow on June 27, 2012 at 14:25

    ‘Loving youself’ really only meaningful as way to enjoy you life more, so to self is something positive inherently for this effect. But objectively, sadist torturer/killers is often total in love with they selfs and enjoy highest self esteems, meanwhile some most accomplished people is plague by self loathings. So maybe loves you self …but no believes you own hype.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 16:12


      You write very well for a cow.

      • Cow on June 27, 2012 at 16:30

        Oh thank you for kind words. Yes, I writer for living. You maybe enjoys my very poignant essay “Love Is A Fickle Bitch,” by Cow.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 17:58

        Wow, writing for a living publishing to your Facebook page.


      • Cow on June 27, 2012 at 19:02

        I write advertisings for living, Richard. Link just brief essay I put on FB. Is on topics at hand yet also profane, so I thought maybe it gives you chuckle. I no mean to make offense. Is my apologies, yes?

      • Richard Nikoley on June 27, 2012 at 19:52

        Alright, cow. Be well.

  18. Pauline on June 28, 2012 at 02:21

    I don’t know why I found this line sooo funny – ‘Alright, cow. Be well’.
    Everytime I read it I start to chuckle. Maybe its got to do with the fact that I pass a meadow full of cows each day right on the estate where I live. I usually send them a greeting of ‘hello’ and ‘how you doing?’ in my head… Because seeing them up close and right on my doorstep makes me feel a kind of kinship to them and to nature. They look so solid and always graze in groups together and move around socially from one corner to the next, chewing the cud. I wonder what they think when they look back at me, are they saying something ‘whose that strange bird waving to us from her car’. haha

    • marie on June 28, 2012 at 08:04

      Nah, you biased. Is because cow cute! And use bizarre grammar consistently. Appeals subconscious of word people, poets…. :)
      And now….. ‘outing’ : HAPPY BIRTHDAY Pauline !

      • Pauline on June 29, 2012 at 00:54

        Thanks Marie, it was a day full of splendor! Great energy and fun with friends and loved ones.

      • Kate Ground on June 29, 2012 at 07:02

        Happy Birthday, Pauline

    • Cow on June 28, 2012 at 11:25

      Cows is probably ponder why you goes away everyday in you little moving box, if you only gonna come back. Yes, Cows is very deep thinker, like dolphin, only without insufferable screechings.

      • Pauline on June 29, 2012 at 01:00

        Yes, cows look like they do lots on contemplation and have a steady gaze. Here is a link for Temple Ghadin who is autist and has a special relationship with cows in particular. The woman who thinks like a cow:

      • Pauline on June 29, 2012 at 01:02

        Temple Gradin.

      • Pauline on June 29, 2012 at 01:47

        Wow, wonderful video on youtube, series 1-5, really worth watching. Always been fascintaed by Temple’s story and her intuitive understanding of how animals think and feel.

  19. Greg Swann on June 28, 2012 at 09:50

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect day to share Man Alive! with the people you love, the Supreme Court says today is that day.

  20. marie on June 28, 2012 at 16:02

    There’s a lot of earning and deserving of love and even self-love being discussed by many above. It’s alien to me, so I’d be interested to hear more on this and anyone’s thoughts on the idea below :
    I grew-up thinking that you earn (and can deserve) approval and even appreciation, but that you gratefully receive love, it’s a gift not a reward?
    No one owes love to anyone else, no one is owed love by anyone else and so it’s a magnificent if received or given.
    By the same token you can will it for yourself (self-love)or not, like you can forgive yourself, or not…. love, forgiveness, ‘grace’ (not necessarily religious) live in the realm of generosity, not of commerce. If you earn it, what value then do you place on love? How much ‘earning’ do you have to do to ‘deserve’ it?

  21. Pauline on June 30, 2012 at 10:58

    Approval, appreciaton, love…so many words for this complex emotion or attitude. I am looking forward to Greg’s expounding on self love as he sees it. Maybe he will tell us if we are left alone and not influenced away from our natural state of self awareness, wonder and playfulness we will find within us a magnificent ability to be, to enjoy, to create and to give. Maybe from an early age our ‘locus of worth’ is shifted away from ourselves and towards the approval of others, to fulfilling some imaginary ideal of who we should be. I like the idea of bringing that ‘locus of worth’ back into its rightful place within ourselves.

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