Friday, November 28, 2014

Zizek on the Illusion of Nature

Humans are becoming a "geological factor," not simply one species among others. Paradoxically, therefore, "nature does not exist," as in the idea of nature that we commonly accept as a "balanced, harmonized circulation, which is then destroyed through excessive human agency," this doesn't exist. Nature itself is "crazy," a "series of mega-catastrophes." Nature isn't a puppy we need to protect to put it another way. It is a lion that could destroy us at any moment. Technology is an extension of nature, of human nature. Zizek therefore questions, "What is the extent of our omnipotence?" We must accept the fact that we live in an irreversibly technological world; well, the only fathomable way that such a condition is irreversible is if "nature" annihilated the entire human population.

David Foster Wallace on Mediated Experience

Time stamp: 28:05-29:59

Those of us who write partly as a subject about popular culture are, I think, doing something important, which is that television and popular culture has become so saturated for people our age that we don't notice it's there. We don't notice that much of our experience is mediated, but it's got an agenda. It's trying to sell us things, that an attempt to—I don't know what you would call it—get behind the scenes, humanize, defamiliarize the experience of a mediated world is I think a good and important thing if nothing else to slap people kind of unpleasantly across the face and say, "There may not be something wrong with 68 hours of television, but it would be very nice for you to remember that you are essentially being offered a sales pitch and a seduction, six to eight hours a day." If we forget that, then for some reason just intuitively, I think we're in huge trouble. At a time in the US when I think it's very hard to find and commit to things that you think are important or good, at least for me, in some elements of fiction, it seems to me, it's a rather high-minded agenda to try to wake people up to the fact that our experience is weird now. There is something weird and thrice removed from the real world about it, and a lot of us don't realize it. What's at stake is in many ways human agency about how we experience the world. Would I rather go muck around in the hot sun by the seashore or watch a marvelously put together documentary about the death of egrets. But by the time I go to the G**d*** seashore and have seen the egrets, I have already experienced this smooth documentary so many times that it becomes quickly incoherent to talk about an extra-mediated or extra-televisual reality. Now that fact in and of itself is frightening, and it's that kind of—almost just sort of shooting flare into the sky and inviting people to say how weird that is. I can go to the ocean that I've never seen before, but I've spent a 1,000 hours... I mean, who would want to live when you can... watch?


Source: Endnotes: David Foster Wallace, BBC Documentary,

Memo: A Philosophy or Theology of "Like"

A memo to think about how people often say we don't need to like people but only to love them. What is meant here by "like"? Is it an affective attraction to a person? Is it how that person makes me feel? These two things (an attraction and how a person makes me feel) are different, yet both are usually associated with "liking" a person.

Does loving a person lead to some sort of attraction to them?

Also, what are the social consequences of "liking" or "upvoting" or "downvoting" as is becoming common on social media websites for a notion of "like"? Does "like" become synonymous with some form of intellectual (social, political, philosophical, theological, etc.) or affective support?

If I don't "like" a person, why does it seem very difficult also to love that person? Is there a strict separation between liking and loving even when loving is defined as willing another person's good? Did our Lord "dislike" anybody?

A. Liege on Cafeteria Faith

"If the faith is essentially a union with the Spirit of God Who reveals Himself, the man who exercises private judgment in matters of faith constitutes himself a judge of the truth of salvation on an equal level with the Holy Spirit. If his rejection of any particular point of faith is formal, this is sufficient to taint his entire faith at its very source of light. O man, who are you to judge the secrets that God delivers to thee?"

-A. Liege, O.P.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Memo: Grace and Nature, Unconscious Affect and Spiritual Emotion

If I could have the opportunity, I would like to study the intersection of unconscious affect and spiritual "emotions."

It would also be interesting to see the extent to which grace depends on nature. For example, if a person very advanced in holiness were to suffer such a brain injury that they lost all sense of morality or self control, what would be the implications for the relationship between grace and nature?

Supernatural Joy and the Folk Music Mass

There are two extremes regarding joy in the spiritual life: one is a forced depression, which St. Teresa of Avila famously warned against. Contrition, while deeply sorrowful, is not overwhelming to the point of despair but rather strengthens the soul to trust more firmly in God, to hope for assistance to rise from sin, and to rejoice in God's love.

The other extreme is an undifferentiated joy, one that lacks discernment. Not every joy is holy, and not every joy is of Christ. A person may smile during Holy Mass for many reasons, and not every reason may be a good one. There are many who are temperamentally excited and happy-go-lucky, and some of these people happen to be Christians. Does that mean that they radiate Christ because they are so constantly joyful? Hardly.

St. John of the Cross distinguishes six kinds of joy: temporal, natural, sensory, moral, supernatural, and spiritual (Ascent of Mount Carmel 3.17.2; trans. K. Kavanaugh).

Temporal joy originates over riches, worldly honor, status, prestige (ibid., 3.18.1).

Natural joy is caused by "beauty, grace, elegance, bodily constitution [i.e. physical looks], and all other corporeal endowments; also, in the soul, good intelligence, discretion, and other talents [....]" (3.21.1).  God grants these latter gifts only so that He may be better known and loved (ibid.). This second joy is the source of lust (cf. 3.22.2).

Sensory joy refers to things of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch as well as images in the imagination (3.24.1). The distinction here between natural and sensory goods is subtle and metaphysical since St. John was trained as a philosopher and theologian. Nevertheless, his point is the same.

Moral goods refer to virtues and the practice of mercy and good works (3.27.1). St. John tells us that "though Christians ought to rejoice in the moral goods and works they perform [...] they ought to rejoice [...] that insofar as they perform these works for the love of God, these works procure eternal life for them" (ibid., §4). Thus we ought not stop to look at our good works and congratulate ourselves, but to look to God and thank Him for the grace to serve Him.

Supernatural goods refer to the"gifts and graces of God" (3.30.1) as well as extraordinary graces, such as healing, miracle working, visions, etc.

Finally, spiritual joy derives from all those things "that are an aid and motivating force in turning the soul to divine things and communion with God" (3.33.2). This can occur in several ways: through goods that motivate us, through goods that provoke or persuade us, through those that direct us, and those that perfect us directly. Holy images are an example of motivating goods (3.35.1), and preaching is an example of a provocative good (3.45.1). St. John gives this advice: "On seeing the image [the faithful] should not allow their senses to become absorbed in it [....] They should pay no attention to these accidents; they should not dwell on the image but immediately raise the mind to what is represented. They should prayerfully and devoutly center the satisfaction and joy of their will in God, or the saint being invoked [....]" (3.37.2).

St. John of the Cross warns against turning even the Church's ceremonies into vain objects that prevent our union with God, such as even Holy Mass:
These people attribute so much efficacy to methods of carrying out their devotions and prayers [....] They put more trust in these methods than they do in the living prayer [....] For example, they demand that the Mass be said with a certain number of candles, no more nor less; or that it be celebrated at a particular hour, no sooner nor later; or that it be said after a certain day, not before; [...] and that the person performing the ceremonies have certain endowments and characteristics. (3.43.2)
He says further on, "The manner of saying Mass should be left to the priest who represents the Church at the altar, for he has received directions from her as to how Mass should be said. [...] And regarding other ceremonies in vocal prayers and other devotions, one should not become attached to any ceremonies or modes of prayer other than those Christ taught us" (3.44.3-4).

In other words, St. John's point repeatedly is that our joy must be in God alone; any attachment to joy in anything other than God will hinder our union with God. His great guiding principle is the following:
I should like to offer a norm for discerning when this gratification of the senses is beneficial and when not. Whenever spiritual persons, on hearing music or other things, seeing agreeable objects, smelling sweet fragrance, or feeling the delight of certain tastes and delicate touches, immediately at the first movement direct their thought and the affection of their will to God, receiving more satisfaction in the thought of God than in the sensible object that caused it, and find no delight in the senses save for this motive, it is a sign that they are profiting by the senses and the sensory part is a help to the spirit. [...]  
Thus they are not solicitous about these sensible goods; and when, as I say, these good are offered to them, the will immediately leaves them aside, passing on to God. [...]
Yet anyone who does not feel this freedom of spirit in these objects and sensible delights, but finds that the will pauses in and feeds on them, suffers harm from them and ought to turn from their use. Though according to reason one may want help from them in order to go to God, nonetheless they assuredly prove more a hindrance than a help. [...] 
Every joy unaccompanied by this negation and annihilation of all other joys—even when these concern something apparently very elevated—is vain, without profit, and a hindrance to union of the will with God. (3.24.5-7)
That being said, what kind of joy does the following tend to provoke? For empirical evidence, check the comments. Most of them focus on the song, on the joyful singers, on the performance, on how fun the song is, on how much the singers are enjoying singing. Even at the end, one girl can be seen shaking her arm in sync with the tambourine. Prima facie, such a movement doesn't indicate joy in God but joy in the tambourine. Hardly any comment goes to the point that the song makes the listener want to love and serve God more deeply. What is said is just as important as what is not said.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fiction Disproves Nominalism

If there is no such thing as a mind-independent relation, i.e. relations that obtain independently of my awareness of them, then there is no such thing as the distinction between fiction and reality.

Fiction is purely objective reality, depending totally on mind-dependent relations. If there are no mind-independent relations, one is left with mind-dependent relations alone, hence total solipsism and hence also fiction. The distinction of fiction from reality would then itself be a fiction.

Distinction: Critical vs. Cynical

Cynicism as we commonly use it refers to the idea that every person is inherently selfish and that all altruism is actually selfishness in disguise; it is the automatic tendency, for whatever reason, towards a negative conception of the other. Criticism historically has been free of this leaning towards negative judgment and simply meant an evaluation of something (usually literary or artistic work) based on a standard of aesthetics (e.g. a movie critic) with the purpose of revealing faults constructively and opening a space for reflective self-consideration. In English, criticism has taken on the denotation of a negative judgment—hence "why do you have to be so critical?" implies almost "why do you have to be so judgmental?"

Some may say that criticism is observing, interpreting, and appropriating the observations into one's framework in order to entrench current viewpoints. I think this is an inherently cynical perspective and actually too generalized (I think the determination of how an observation was appropriated should be evaluated by the case rather than generally; our experiences may however lead us to generalize that most people appropriate their observations uncritically). I'm not satisfied with it; the critical aspect could conceivably fall under only that last stage of appropriation, opening up the twofold possibility: 1) either to challenge one's beliefs, or 2) to confirm one's beliefs (if one views this confirmation as always negative, one might use the connotatively laden word "entrench" as I did above, but I suspect one would agree that sometimes the confirmation of an already held belief is not necessarily negative but simply always possibly dangerous).

Reflecting on criticism, I realize that it is a form of judgment, where judgment is simply, when stripped of its contemporary negative connotations, that function of our intellectual capacity to determine something either to be or not to be the case with respect to some explanatory principle or standard; in other words, to conclude whether something is or is not this or that way. Criticism implies a certain form of judgment. Off the top of my head, I distinguish different qualities a judgment may take on, in the form of binaries, and this list is by no means exhaustive:

A judgment may be:

reflective or not
thought through or not
positive or negative
informed or uninformed
self-oriented, other-oriented, or inclusive

I distinguish between reflective and thought through. Even if someone thinks something through, they may not be in a place of reflectivity, the capacity to see oneself, to bracket one's 1st person viewpoint into a 3rd person viewpoint or even a 2nd person viewpoint; reflectivity leads almost immediately to empathy, whereas simply thinking something through may just be the fodder of a tirade. A reflective criticism is that which opens the space of reflectivity, either towards myself, for others, or for all of us; the space of reflectivity is where we can truly begin to face our strengths and weaknesses in honesty and mutual support. It is a "democratic" space of rational, informed dialogue and public application to put it pragmatically.

I distinguish also between positive/negative and constructive/destructive. By positive/negative I mean something like affirmative/disapproving. We can affirm/praise and be constructive or destructive, destructive if what we affirm really ought not be affirmed. We can disapprove in a way that is constructive or destructive. Usually a destructive form of disapproval is shaming another person. I think shaming is one of the worst things a person can do to another person.

A judgment can be informed about its subject matter or not. We see people talk about things and make judgments based out of ignorance and out of information; we appreciate those judgments made out of information even if we disagree with them because at least the judgment is less likely to be coming from a place of bigotry or in other words non-reflective, unconscious prejudice.

Self-oriented/other-oriented simply refers to the direction of the judgment—is it directed to myself, to others, or to all of us?

I think criticism in its best form should be inclusive, reflective, thought through, informed, and constructive. It may be positive or negative depending on the context, but if negative, at least sensitive to the other. Criticism as it usually is referred to, however, is other-oriented, non-reflective, uninformed, destructive, negative, etc.

The Never-Ending Argument and Service Work

The desire to end the discourse, to have the final say, is the same dynamic that feeds a never-ending argument. A never-ending argument is neither constructive nor dialogical; open, rational discussion, while creating space for voicing disagreement, clarification, and proof, is not argumentative even if it may continue on forever. An argument, on the other hand, misses the point of what was being discussed; it is an act of battering each other with crystalized concepts cut off from their proper referent in reality.

Both of these phenomena are rooted in a form of solipsism, an overemphasis on esse in, the substance itself as an atom, disconnected from those around us.

Personal transformation is a positive manifestation of esse in; it acknowledges and respects the individual and seeks to improve it by admitting its poverty. The admittance of poverty, or in other words, humility, is also the necessary foundation for mutual transformation, the transformation of individuals in a network, a corporate body, a society. The collective transformation of esse in through esse ad, being towards or for another, enriching the other with each of our respective riches.

What, then, becomes of the status of service work when an individual who serves others at the same time treats other individuals with contempt, impatience, condescension, etc.? It's a contradiction. How might it be explained? The service, the movement to enrich another, whether it be an individual or collective, somehow loses its proper referent. Service properly speaking must always acknowledge and respect the other, in spite of disagreements and annoyances. But if service loses its proper referent, the impetus of service, which is esse ad, returns to esse in, or solipsism. Service then becomes an unconscious form of self serving.

In order to avoid the selfishness that creeps into service, it is therefore necessary to always return the referent of service to its proper object, the other in poverty, in need of enriching, and this referent must extend to all without discrimination with respect to the sharing of qualities of mutual support: patience, generosity, gentleness, kindness, consideration, affirmation. Of course, the extent of this support depends on context and circumstances, but the willingness to share and its equal distribution irrespective of persons is the condition by which esse ad refuses to remain esse in. It is the condition required to avoid the never-ending argument. It is the condition required to be willing to have an ongoing discussion, to resist the desire to have the last word.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Circumstance as sign and opportunity

We often view circumstances in a fatalistic way. Circumstances "happen." The famous bumper sticker comes to mind. Circumstances are interpreted as beyond our control, or otherwise they are placed in an evaluative framework of what is in our control and not.

Maybe it is not so. Maybe circumstances are very deliberate processes, deliberate but not deterministic. Maybe circumstances are the expressions of conscious processes, meeting, connecting, bouncing off of and bumping into each other.

If we take it as true that all things are governed by God's Providence, then a thread of intelligibility, of love, of wisdom, runs through all things. All things have a conscious direction even if asymmetrical. Perhaps intelligibility doesn't equate with symmetry and balance, but perhaps reality as intelligible is intelligible precisely as a mixture of symmetry and asymmetry, of order and chaos, of articulate and ineffable.

Maybe, then, circumstances even those circumstances that are not apparently caused by human consciousness are nevertheless not things we can try to control or fall under the control of but rather the sort of possible encounter that reality proposes to us here and now.

I am sick. In the common view of circumstance, my sickness is not under my control, but I do everything I can to alleviate it. I complain of its grasp on my life, my livelihood. Perhaps sickness is something else; perhaps it is a link in a chain of possibility, connection both to God, to myself, to others, to the underlying intelligibility of the universe, an opportunity for transcending myself here and now.

I am late. Therefore I try to speed to work. Maybe there is something else going on here; maybe the circumstance is a symptom, a sign.

If circumstances are signs instead of chance events, then I can dialogue with circumstance and draw it up into a greater conversation, the conversation of my life.

Human Rights as Morally Ambivalent

Human rights strike me as morally ambivalent, i.e. they can both support and undermine the moral dimension of man. How so? Consider that the same rights can be used both to protect the autonomy of an individual while also entrapping that individual's conscience to the requirements of the state. Or else consider that a right might protect what is owed by justice as well as what is harmful to human flourishing; it might protect the necessities of life while at the same time creating the space in which individuals no longer have to consider each others' existence. "We can and will do as we please so long as we don't get in each other's ways."

I don't see anything intrinsic to the notion of a right that suggests protection of what is morally good. It may have been used as such and in such a narrative—we uphold the rights of humans in order to protect their good, but the narrative depends on a notion of the good that may not be shared, that may arise from a consideration of ideology rather than reason or nature. Couldn't rights conceivably be used to protect something evil?

Finally, what happens to the status of man as a moral individual when the state takes away or replaces his rights? Or rather, what is revealed about the condition of man under the state when the state removes these rights by diktat. If the state no longer says that man has rights, and rights are political principles upheld by a state, would not man as citizen be reduced to a slave? But if the state can already do this act, doesn't that mean man is already a slave of the state but likes to go on pretending otherwise simply because his "rights" remain present by decree of the state?

Should not morality rather be grounded in nature itself then rather than a political construct? This issue also raises the question of how humans existed as moral and political beings before the concept of rights existed.

Paul Ricoeur on the Critique of Religion and the Masters of Suspicion

These masters of suspicion have nurtured the modern context to the point that religion and religious interpretation will [...] have to face the challenge they represent. We are hereafter, as modern religious subjects and believing communities that desire mature faith, required to do business with the iconoclastic panoply of interpretation generated in work of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. Ricoeur writes:
What we have appropriated to ourselves is first, the critique of religion as a mask, a mask of fear, a mask of domination, a mask of hate. A Marxist critique of ideology, a Nietzschean critique of resentment and a Freudian critique of infantile distress, are hereafter the views through which any kind of mediation of faith must past.

Source: Paul Ricoeur, "Two Essays by Paul Ricoeur: The Critique of Religion and the Language of Faith," in Union Seminary Quarterly Review, 28, no. 3 (Spring 1973): 209, in Richard R. Topping, Revelation, Scripture and Church: Theological Hermeneutic Thought of James Barr, Paul Ricoeur and Hans Frei (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2007), 178.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

St. Louis de Montfort on Praying the Rosary Slowly and Fervently

41st Rose:

It is not so much the length of a prayer, but the fervor with which it is said which pleases Almighty God and touches His Heart. One single Hail Mary that is said properly is worth more than one hundred and fifty that are badly said. Most Catholics say the Rosary, the whole fifteen mysteries or five of them anyway or, at least a few decades. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? Surely it must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy.

To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin. This we know because all our theology teaches us that good works and prayers are only dead works if they are done in a state of mortal sin. Therefore they can neither be pleasing to God nor help us gain eternal life. This is why Ecclesiastes says: "Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner." [1] Praise of God and the salutation of the Angel and the very Prayer of Jesus Christ are not pleasing to God when they are said by unrepentant sinners.

Our Lord said: "This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." [2] It is as though He was saying: "Those who join My Confraternity and say their Rosary every day (even perhaps the fifteen decades), but without being sorry for their sins offer Me lip service only and their hearts are far from Me." [...]

44th Rose:

[...] Take great care to avoid the two pitfalls that most people fall into during the Rosary. The first is the danger of not asking for any graces at all, so that if some people were asked their Rosary intention they would not know what to say. So, whenever you say your Rosary, be sure to ask for some special grace. Ask God's help in cultivating one of the great Christian virtues or in overcoming one of your sins. 

The second big fault a lot of people make when saying the Holy Rosary is to have no intention other than that of getting it over as quickly as possible! This is because so many of us look upon the Rosary as a burden which is always heavier when we have not said it—especially if it is weighing on our conscience because we have promised to say it regularly or have been told to say it as a penance more or less against our will.

It is really pathetic to see how most people say the Holy Rosary—they say it astonishingly fast and mumble so that the words are not properly pronounced at all. We could not possibly expect anyone, even the most unimportant person, to think that a slipshod address of this kind was a compliment and yet we expect Jesus and Mary to be pleased with it! Small wonder then that the most sacred prayers of our holy religion seem to bear no fruit, and that, after saying thousands of Rosaries, we are still no better than we were before! Dear Confraternity members, I beg of you to temper the speed which comes all too easily to you and pause briefly several times as you say the Our Father and Hail Mary. I have placed a cross at each pause, as you will see:
Our Father Who art in Heaven, † hallowed be Thy name, † Thy kingdom come, † Thy will be done † on earth as it is in Heaven. † Give us this day † our daily bread † and forgive us our trespasses † as we forgive those who trespass against us, † and lead us not into temptation † but deliver us from evil. Amen. 
Hail Mary, full of grace, † the Lord is with Thee, † blessed art thou among women † and blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. †
Holy Mary, Mother of God, † pray for us sinners, now † and at the hour of our death. Amen.
At first, you may find it difficult to make these pauses because of your bad habit of saying prayers in a hurry; but a decade that you say recollectedly in this way will be worth more than thousands of Rosaries said all in a rush—without any pauses or reflection. [...]

47th Rose:

Dear Rosary Confraternity members, if you want to lead a fashionable life and belong to the world—by this I mean if you do not mind falling into mortal sin from time to time and then going to Confession, and if you wish to avoid conspicuous sins which the world considers vile and yet at the same time commit "respectable sins"—then, of course, there is no need for you to say so many prayers and Rosaries. You only need to do very little to be "respectable": a tiny prayer at night and morning, an occasional Rosary which may be given to you for your penance, a few decades of Hail Marys said on your Rosary (but haphazardly and without concentration) when it suits your fancy to say them—this is quite enough. If you did less, you might be branded as a freethinker or a profligate; if you did more, you would be eccentric and a fanatic. But if you want to lead a true Christian life and genuinely want to save your soul and walk in the saints' footsteps and never, never, fall into mortal sin—if you wish to break Satan's traps and divert his flaming darts, you must always pray as Our Lord taught and commanded you to do.

If you really have this wish at heart, then you must at least say your Rosary or the equivalent, every day. I have said "at least" because probably all that you will accomplish through your Rosary will be to avoid mortal sin and to overcome temptation. This is because you are exposed to the strong current of the world's wickedness by which many a strong soul is swept away; you are in the midst of the thick, clinging darkness which often blinds even the most enlightened souls; you are surrounded by evil spirits who being more experienced than ever and knowing that their time is short are more cunning and more effective in tempting you.



1. Eccl. 15:9.
2. Mark 7:6.


Source: St. Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, Catholic Tradition,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Judgment Is the Only Sin

I have heard some people claim that their philosophy is that "judgment is the only sin." They proceed to act as they please and allow others to do likewise so long as the twain shall ne'er harm each other or get in each others' way against their wills.

But what is judgment? The person may reply, "It is to condemn another for their beliefs and their way of life." In other words, it is to say that something that a person is doing or the way a person is—that is wrong. It is to declare something wrong. A judgment in its most simple form is an assertion that something is or ought to be this way. But then to say "judgment is the only sin" is itself a judgment against judgment. Furthermore, to say, "People can do as they please" is also a judgment, a judgment of freedom; it is an apparently positive judgment but still a judgment. To qualify a statement that one can do as one pleases so long as it harms no one else is a restriction imposed by judgment: behavior is good insofar as it isn't harmful. And what is harm? It is up to the judgment of the individual (and practically speaking, the law).

Why is judgment the only judgment prohibited? These same people will then also assert, when pressed, that obviously things such as rape, genocide, pedophilia, etc., are wrong. But who are they to pass judgment? Why can a person do anything they please except those things that harm others? And who determines what it means to harm others? The individual?

This is a morality of solipsism, of individualism. It allows the individual to get away with anything he wants without responsibility for consequences and without regard for others.

Remember, Christ never forbade judgments in Matthew 7; He forbade hypocritical judgments. Christ Himself made many condemnations and was fully justified in doing so.

Judgment is fundamental to human action. Every action presupposes a judgment. Even animals make judgments. This morality of solipsism is simply a justification for sin, and it seeks to alleviate guilt by removing the possibility of judgment, of condemnation for bad behavior. That is why judgment is the only sin: because the presence of judgment means the possibility that I have to own up to my sins, that I can't simply do as I please without regard for consequences, that I am not an isolated individual who schizophrenically has no regard for others and regard for others only when I desire, when I determine.