There’s always something to howl about

From Man Alive! – “The love of Splendor is the life divine.”

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

Extract from Chapter 12. The love of Splendor is the life divine.

There is one more idea I want to take up with you, and I think it is the most demanding one I know. You had to wrap your mind around the self, after being told all your life to despise it, and then I sprung the notion of self-adoration on you. I undermined just about every dogma you have ever heard about, and then I made you eat anarchy-pie and like it – or at least not spit it out. And now I plan to make you stretch even farther, to go with me where no philosophy of reason has ever gone before.

Where might that be?

To heaven.

“Say WHAT?!?”

But, but, but… Heaven is for theologians. Heaven is for priests. Heaven, every smug academic will sneer, is for wishful thinkers who can’t handle the infinite hell that is human life on Earth.

I think you might be able to guess what I think about a claim like that. If theological pronouncements about ontology and teleology are intellectually useless, invalidities defended with insipidities, so, too, are the metaphysical opinions of modern philosophers, academics, artists, journalists and politicians. If you hate the self, in time you cannot fail to hate life as well – your own life and all of human life. You will not be able to stop yourself from sneering at joy, at hope, at ambition, at every value the fully-human life requires. You will look for nothing but evidences of failure and despair in the world around you, and your one, unique, irreplaceable human life will become the infinite hell you insist you see everywhere.

But what if you were to point your mind in the opposite direction?

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5 Comments so far

  1. Dylan Darling April 19th, 2012 9:35 am

    Wow… Still can’t believe you wrote that in 8 days. From the heart. “Me, I’m doing fine, and I hope you are, too. And, if bad ideas can make you ill, I cannot see why it should not be the case that good ideas should help you stay well – and feel elated.” I wonder how my wife will feel about my new self adoration… Thanks Greg.

  2. Greg Swann April 19th, 2012 10:49 am

    > Still can’t believe you wrote that in 8 days.

    It was slow working for me. I’m normally ~1,000-1,200 words an hour. ManAlive! came along at 400 words an hour. In revision, it took me seven hours at a time to read it. But I wanted it to be unassailable, and that takes time.

    > I wonder how my wife will feel about my new self adoration…

    You’ll have to share it with her, of course. That’s how you make more.

    Thanks, Dylan. I’ll be interest how things go for you, going forward. We’re hearing wonderful things from people who have taken the book seriously, and I’m feeling the effects of it even in my own life — a serendipitous surprise.

  3. Dylan Darling April 20th, 2012 6:39 am

    I read it in bits and pieces at a time. I’ll sit down and read the whole thing again soon. Cheers.

  4. Greg Swann April 20th, 2012 8:14 am

    > I’ll sit down and read the whole thing again soon.

    When you drive at night way out in the desert, that’s when you feel the danger and risk implied by your inescapable solitude. I want to be the light on the horizon.

  5. Lori Aaron April 25th, 2012 1:23 pm

    Quite powerful, Greg. I can’t believe you hammer out 1,200 words an hour. I guess it goes to show how much effort you’ve put into Man Alive! I’ll have to go back and read this again as you said quite a bit.
    Thanks for sharing.