It's not just that people sacrifice their love relationships, and the care of their children, to pursue their careers. Something like this has perhaps always existed. The point is that today many people feel to do this, feel they ought to do this, feel their lives would be somehow wasted or unfulfilled if they didn't do it.
We are on strike against martyrdom and against the moral code that demands it. We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another. We are on strike against the morality of cannibals, be it practiced in body or in spirit. We will not deal with men on any terms but ours and our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others.
What I was suddenly aware of was the importance of their being whatever each of them was---cocky and contemptuous, or bothered and beaten---as long as it was something they'd come to in their own way: the importance of being human, in fact. The peace and harmony Uncle Ian and the others claimed to be handing out in fact was death, because without being yourself, an individual, you weren't really alive.
Of all the dangerous ideas that health officials could have embraced while trying to understand why we get fat, they would have been hard-pressed to find one ultimately more damaging than calories-in/calories-out. That it reinforces what appears to be so obvious - obesity as the penalty for gluttony and sloth - is what makes it so alluring. But it's misleading and misconceived on so many levels that it's hard to imagine how it survived unscathed and virtually unchallenged for the last fifty years. It has done incalculable harm. Not only is this thinking at least partly responsible for the ever-growing numbers of obese and overweight in the world - while directing attention away from the real reasons we get fat - but it has served to reinforce the perception that those who get fat have no one to blame but themselves. That eating less invariably fails as a cure for obesity is rarely perceived as the single most important reason to make us question our assumptions, as Hilde Bruch suggested half a century ago. Rather, it is taken as still more evidence that the overweight and obese are incapable of following a diet and eating in moderation. And it put the blame for their physical condition squarely on their behavior, which couldn't be further from the truth.
And, don't you see, the terror of the position was not in being knocked on the head - though I had a very lively sense of that danger, too - but in this, that I had to deal with a being to whom I could not appeal in the name of anything high or low. I had, even like the niggers, to invoke him - himself - his own exalted and incredible degradation. There was nothing either above or below him, and I knew it. He had kicked himself loose of the earth. Confound the man! He had kicked the very earth to pieces. He was alone, and I before him did not know whether I stood on the ground of floated in the air.