The crux of the matter

Henrik C. V. Hansen
Rational psychoanalyst

Love your neighbor and common sense,

opposites or assumptions of each other?

Let me immediately reveal what I think is the answer to the above question, and then use the rest of the scripture to argue for this position:

Love you neighbor and common sense are prerequisites for each other!

In fact, they are so much each other's prerequisites that they ARE each other:

Love your neighbor IS common sense, and common sense IS love your neighbor.

Conversely, there is no love your neighbor given where there is no common sense, just as there is no common sense where there is no love your neighbor.

In what follows, I will consider and love your neighbor common sense as ideals. By this I mean some ideas that the person uses as benchmarks for his work in the world. It is not the case that as a normal average person you will be able to live 100% up to your ideals, but you will have them as your goals and make an effort to live up to them. I would further argue that I believe that the ideals of and love your neighbor common sense should be the central ideals around which one builds one's personality.
I would also like to initially emphasize that I do not want this to be understood as a religious scripture, even though I use a thermology that most people will recognize from religious scriptures. I would instead describe it as a pragmatic writing, where I take as my starting point the knowledge I have acquired through many years of study, where I will attach great value to my own experiences, and where also the logical argument will be given its rightful place. So my goal is to make use of all the essential sources to get to the heart of the matter.

I have further tried to formulate my thoughts in as concise a form as I can find. This in the hope that as many as possible can find time to read the scripture. Should you therefore think that there is a lack of argumentation, you can probably find some answers on my website. It is also possible that lectures will be given in continuation of the scripture. Here it will be possible to ask questions. Otherwise, you can just read the scripture as an inspiration, and even search for the answers that you think are missing.

So far so good, but what is really meant by love your neighbor and common sense, what is the definition? I will try to answer that in the following.


ove your neighbor

I think the first thing you notice about the term love your neighbor is that it's something you know from the Bible. It will therefore be natural to look at the definition given here. Jesus used to say:

"You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself" (Mark 12:31)

I think most people have a sense of what it is Jesus wants to convey with this statement. But when you read it as a psychotherapist, there is a problem that stands out. From his practice, he will have the experience that it is not uncommon to have clients. who express that they have a hard time loving themselves. It is probably also logical that if you do not understand how to love yourself, then you will have a hard time understanding how to love your neighbor, as Jesus puts it. For if one must love his neighbor as himself, and not love himself, how then to love his neighbor? In fact, several clients express that they find it easier to love their neighbor than themselves, but that does not change the issue so far. The bad news is that it is not only those the therapist encounters in his practice who are affected by this issue. If you look at the statistics for Danes who are affected by depression, stress, substance abuse, pill abuse, eating disorders, alcoholism, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, you get the impression that it is common for the Dane to have difficulty loving himself. This causes that while one may probably have an intellectual understanding of Jesus' statement, it is difficult to get the immediate experience of the truth of this statement. What I would like to conclude is that it seems as if many people, and not only in Denmark, have a hard time getting the immediate experience of what charity is based on Jesus' statement. But precisely because it is through the immediate experience that we gain the understanding of charity, I will seek a definition that is easier to relate to.

Jesus' commandment is known as "the golden rule" and is also found in other religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Confucius, Buddhism and Hinduism, so it is widely known.

Another formulation of the golden rule is:

"You must do to others what you want them to do to you."

Again, most people probably understand what the point is. But as a psychotherapist, I must once again state that there is a twist here. If this formulation is understood in a sadomasochistic context, the meaning will be somewhat different. That such is not a purely theoretical objection is well seen, among other things. of the hype, such as the book "Fifty shades of gray" by E. L. James has received. Another author who is obvious to mention in this context is Marquies de Sade, who gave his name to sadism and who in his books just philosophized about this conflict. The point here is that one again has an issue that stands in the way of the immediate experience of what love your neighbor is.

A third possible definition is given by Immanuel Kant and his categorical imperative.

"Act so that humanity in your own person as well as in any other person is never treated only as a means, but always also as a goal".

The challenge here is that not only is it difficult to relate to this definition emotionally, but it is also difficult to understand it intellectually.

Therefore, since none of the above definitions are completely satisfactory in my optics, I have allowed myself to come up with a bid that I believe both provides the necessary definition and that is easier to relate to:

Love your neighbor is to support a person's ability to realize his personal potential.

Please note here that this applies to other people as well as your own person.

Common sense

It is perhaps appropriate here first to give an impression of how I weight common sense when comparing this with other ways of relating to the outside world. When comparing with science, philosophy and religion, I would place common sense as what the others must measure up against. That is, when, on the basis of common sense, one can reject or object to the statements that are formulated using these disciplines, they must put themselves in the saddle to create new and better documentation for their claims. So I consider common sense to have greater authority than the other disciplines. Someone may be sitting now thinking about how to treat religions with common sense, but that was probably what Jesus gave a number of examples of. In short, it can be said that Jesus preached charity and common sense, precisely the context I want to focus on.

When defining what is meant by common sense, one often encounters the argument that it is difficult, since what is common sense for one is not necessarily so for another. To this I will answer both yes and no. No, especially since it is not all that it is possible to suggest that can be described as common sense. So there are limits to what can be considered common sense, and when something is delimited, it must also be possible to give a definition of what is within the limits. What we are looking for, then, is a general definition of what is within the bounds of what can be termed common sense.

Perhaps the easiest thing is to start by looking at the definition in Gyldendal's, The Great Dane:

Common sense is man's natural ability to consider and reason independently of authorities, learning and formal logic. Common sense became a key concept in the Enlightenment, sometimes under its English term common sense (lat. Sensus communis).

As the opposite of common sense, one could suggest insanity. This is often defined by the following saying:

Madness is doing the same thing over and over again, with the expectation of a new outcome.

A definition often attributed to Albert Einstein, although this is not historically correct.

This distinction, between on the one hand common sense and on the other madness, was also observed by the Danish rational psychoanalyst Erik Carstens. He observed that when a human being had to relate to the outside world, one could observe that such a human being could be in two states of mind. The one state of mind, here referred to as common sense, he gave the term "healthy soul life", and this was characterized by a good contact with reality. The second state of mind, here referred to as madness, he gave the term "sick soul life," and this was characterized by the person, instead of relating to reality, acting on the basis of more or less appropriate beliefs. It should be noted here that it is the same person who may be in the two states of mind at different times. This observation led him to the following definition:

Sick soul life is the part of soul life that consists of unnecessary and inappropriate repetitions.

The healthy soul life is not subject to the same mechanisms.

This became the basic axiom of his school of psychoanalysis, which he termed rational psychoanalysis. Those interested can read my: "A brief account of the main principles behind rational psychoanalysis", which can be read on my website.

From this basic axiom it can be seen that in order to relate with common sense to the outside world, it must first and foremost be required that one is in the state of mind called "healthy soul life", as it is at the same time just as obvious that there will be no any common sense out of a state of mind characterized by e.g. obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is also interesting to note that with the help of the therapeutic methods associated with rational psychoanalysis, it is possible to promote the role of healthy soul life in our lives, so that common sense will increasingly shape our lives. I would therefore argue that one of the best examples of common sense is to acquire the understanding of and recognize the correctness of the basic axiom of rational psychoanalysis.

Is there a God?

This section may come as a surprise when I have just stated in the past that I do not want this to be understood as a religious scripture. But as will be seen, it is a question that is difficult to get around, and which therefore makes good sense to try to deal with with common sense.

If the universe is created, there must be a creator. Such is the modern science today called the Big Bang. Before then, this creator had a wealth of names, here no one mentioned, no one forgotten. But to make it simple, the easiest way to describe the creator is God. Some atheists, who do not believe in a god, therefore similarly choose to believe that the universe has existed forever. However, I'm not sure it simplifies the issue.

An important question, however, is what values one attaches to this God (or the Universe if one is of this belief). Mankind has been arguing about this since they first set foot on earth.

If there is a God, I would prefer that one be a role model for mankind. I have previously written that I consider charity and common sense as the primary ideals from which to shape one's personality.

By the primary ideals I mean the cornerstones on which one builds one's life, those which are the starting point for one's assessment in ethical and moral issues. The ideals that are perhaps precisely the foundation that many express that they lack when navigating the modern world. The primary ideals can then be added to some secondary ideals, which are ideals that are close to the primary ideals. The secondary ideals can again be added to some tertiary ideals that are close to the secondary ones, etc., until one thinks one has what one needs of ideals to be able to handle his existence. In this writing, however, I will deal exclusively with the primary ideals and therefore leave the question of secondary and tertiary ideals to another good time.

I have previously mentioned that a normal average person can not be expected to be able to live 100% up to the demands of the primary ideals. Conversely with God. What would make God exactly the role model I would seek in a religion is a god who is in complete symbiosis with love your neighbor and common sense. One can then define God as:

God is the epitome of love your neighbor and common sense.

Whether there can be added further to this topic, I think must be up to the individual. Religions have many colorful signs to offer. But I wish it were possible to agree on this definition of the core of God's being.

Feedback mechanism

I have previously written that love your neighbor is common sense and common sense is love your neighbor. Furthermore, the relationship between them is a feedback mechanism. By this I mean that the two ideals inspire each other. How to understand that one can ask how much common sense there seems to be in the love your neighbor one practices, and conversely, how much charity there is in the common sense one practices. It is my point that this mutual inspiration will lead to an inward spiral, towards a center which is the true core of life. In this core, love your neighbor and common sense will meet and become one. It therefore makes good sense to denote this core a singularity. When I write that love your neighbor and common sense become one in this singularity, one sees that it is also the definition of God. One can therefore say that one is one with God when this state is attained, that one has taken a seat at the right hand of power.

Why both love your neighbor and common sense?

When this question is asked, it is because, for the last 2000 years, there has been a great deal of attention paid to love your neighbor, and hardly so much to common sense, and virtually never at the same time, although Jesus undoubtedly preached both. The Beatles sang, for example: "All you need is love", were they not right? As a therapist, I must state that this is not the case. When a person has grown up in an environment that is characterized by madness, or what we have now termed "sick soul life", this environment will influence the person's psyche. Whether we are talking about unhealthy political, religious or sectarian circles, dysfunctional families, pseudoscience, pseudo-philosophy or any other form of propaganda or manipulation, any person who is exposed to this and who is unable to defend himself will be affected, and develop "sick soul life". After this, the "sick soul life" will i.a. manifest itself in symptoms as mentioned in the section on love your neighbor, but also as fanaticism or an anxiety to open up to something new. In addition, of course, the classic disease pictures known from the neuroses. This no matter how much love a person receives. In fact, one just as often experiences that a manipulator just uses love to break down a person's defenses against insanity. One might ask whether in such a case there is true love. This can easily be the case, not least if the manipulator is not aware that he or she is manipulating, and is convinced that this is the right thing to do.

Conversely, common sense is not enough either. Of course, since love is in the world, one must ofcourse relate to it in order to attain a complete realization of reality.

The relationship between truth and reality

Since in the following we will get into the relationship between truth and reality, I will make some considerations here.

It is a question that philosophers have discussed throughout human history. Actually, I would like to get around the question, as it is incredibly difficult to capture the connection between truth and reality purely linguistically. I think now most people have an intuitive sense that there must be a connection. To make a long story short, I will here confine myself to trying the following definitions:

Truth and reality stand in a constructive relationship with each other.

Thus to understand that truth leads one on the trail of reality, and reality will, when recognized, support the truth.


The lie and the reality are in a destructive relationship with each other.

Thus to understand that the lie is trying to circumvent reality and reality will, when acknowledged, reveal the lie.

More about reality

When discussing the manifestation of reality in the world, I would very much like to draw attention to Erik Carsten's work: "Is man an automaton?" This is an epistemological dissertation, for which no self-thinking human being must deceive himself, and which also forms the basis of the way I relate to the questions concerning reality. In this context, however, I will try a different approach.

When discussing the concept of reality, one encounters many different perceptions, but one thing is agreed upon, namely that reality, everything else being equal, has a substance that manifests itself in the world.

This conclusion that reality is something concrete, has substance, is an important point because I want to confront it with the realm of lies. When one considers the lie, one will of course first acknowledge that it as a phenomenon is part of reality. Lies exist in reality. But the content of the lie is precisely defined as something that has not happened in reality, that is, the content of the lie is not reality. If we have established that reality is something, then we must at the same time conclude that the content of the lie is nothing. We can also choose to say that the lie is empty of substance, or simply describe the content of the lie as emptiness in relation to the substance of reality. Recognizing that the content of the lie is substantially emptiness is important, as it is largely this emptiness that many experience in their lives. In other words, when life is based on a lie, then this life will be empty of real content. It is often experienced that many people try to compensate for this emptiness by encircling themselves with a shell of pretense. Simultaneously with this pretense, it is not uncommon to make use of the escapism of the entertainment industry in a desperate attempt to give this empty shell a content. Other strategies are to acquire various issues such as abuse, fanaticism or what has already been mentioned in the previous in the same ballpark.

The truth, the life and the way

I often find that only a few recognize the full depth of this statement of Jesus. Since I myself believe that it very accurately captures the whole point of this writing, I will in the following try to convey my perception of the statement.


As described in the previous section, a life based on lies leads to an existential emptiness surrounded by a shell of pretense. It follows logically that if one is to avoid this, one must try to let the truth be the guiding principle in life. In fact, I would argue that life itself cannot exist outside of the truth in the following.


When we find that life is a part of reality and can only unfold in reality, it follows that life cannot exist in the lie. The content of the lie is not part of reality, but a matrix created by the human will to circumvent the truth or as an escape from the same. The motives for this can be many, which I will explain in a later section. Here I will only emphasize again that the life one creates in the lie is emptiness surrounded by pretense. Truth and life are inextricably linked in this way.

The road:

The path is also a representative of reality, namely the part of reality that a person moves through during a life. No ordinary human being will come into contact with the whole of reality in the course of his life. One will instead be able to observe the path that a person traverses, through the part of reality that he comes in contact with. When Jesus says the way, definite form singular, it is because it is a very definite way that Jesus has in mind. This is the path that a person must follow if he or she wants to realize his or her personal potential.

The conclusion is that one must seek the truth if one wants to experience the fullness of life, also expressed as fullness of meaning, and that life is only fully realized when one finds the path through reality that corresponds to the realization of a given person's full potential.

The meaning of life

In order to provide a further understanding of the materiality of the content of this writing, it is my view that we need to look at the question of the meaning of life. A short definition is as follows:

The meaning of life is to make life meaningful.

What is the challenge here is that it is individual what makes sense for the individual. However, there will be something that makes sense and something that does not make sense. To understand this, it is first necessary to gain an understanding of what is meant by the word meaning:

The meaningful arises when what is observed forms a whole.

The word whole can then be defined as:

The word whole refers to a state in which there is an inner connection between the individual elements.

Conversely, lack of wholeness will be seen where there is an absurd or contradictory state between the individual elements.

It follows that a meaningful life arises where there is consistency between the personal potential and the life lived. Conversely, a life that is contrary to personal potential will be perceived as meaningless.

In an example from the TV series Matador, you meet Maud, who is torn between two beliefs about a good life. One is the public as a petty-bourgeois director's lady, whose aim is to keep the forms. The other is a secret dream of living as an artist and bohemian. The first one hangs her out of her throat, which is why she also jumps in when she gets the chance to test her skills as an artist. It turns out, however, that this life does not live up to expectations either. She therefore returns to her husband with an understanding that neither the previous nor the newly tested existence is happiness. Her personal potential may well lie in being the leading lady in the city, but she now understands that that role can be lived out with a far greater personal format than when her only desire was to fulfill her parents' expectation of a stately lady. It can be seen from the example that neither the one nor the other idea of a good life is perceived as meaningful by Maud, but that it was necessary to reach a deeper understanding of the personal potential before it was possible to make the choices that could lead to a meaningful existence.


To get the full understanding of what I have been trying to convey so far, it might be a good idea to look at it from the opposite side. And that is exactly what the word Satanism means: the opposite.

Now one might get the idea that one has to get acquainted with a huge substance area to benefit from the following. But that is actually not the case, as I can, based on what has already been reviewed, very easily describe the thoughts I am making in this section. I just have to write the opposite.

I have described the Divine idea as represented by the primary ideals of love your neighbor and common sense. Based on the definitions of these, the definition of Satanism must be:

To manipulate his neighbor, in order to gain power over the person so that he can be exploited for his own selfish gain.

One sees that this definition describes the exact opposite of what has been reviewed so far.

The definition may create some wonder for those who have been in touch with the subject of Satanism. One might think that it is something with goats, altars with blood sacrifices, black masses and not least incantations. It could very well be. Satanism comes in many guises. But when you consider all these activities, the core of them is precisely a desire to manipulate and thus gain power over a given challenge you face in order to be able to turn it into your own gain. And that is in line with the definition. The goal of Satanism is thus to turn the world upside down so that life is about power and manipulation as opposed to the ideals of charity and common sense.

The question now is whether one can defend a choice of existence that follows from the definition of Satanism. It is clear that from a Christian point of view one will not be able to defend it. But, as mentioned earlier, it is not my goal to give a religious answer in this scripture.

One could try to look at it from a moral / ethical point of view. However, it is not that simple, as discussion can quickly arise about the basis for such considerations.

If one is of the opinion that we live in a world where the only thing that counts is that the strongest survive, this leads to the fact that there are no arguments against a satanic choice of existence.

The fact that the strongest must survive is an argument that most people know from Darwin's theory of evolution. "Survival of the fittest", meaning that the strongest must survive, is now not a term from Darwin, but formulated by Herbert Spencer. He was a philosopher who lived at the same time as Darwin and in parallel with him used the same ideas to describe the man-made society. This theory was called social Darwinism. However, the two were so inspired by each other that Darwin used Spencer's formulation in late works, and Spencer quite openly used the idea of natural selection as inspiration for his philosophy. However, this mutual respect ironically seems to disprove the very core of the two people's work. As closest competitors, according to their own theories, they should be in a deadly quarrel instead of cooperating and respecting each other. So there seems to be something more at stake than just survival.

Freud asked himself a similar question during World War I: "How can it be that some people were willing to sacrifice their lives to save others?" The theories he had derived so far could not explain this. Freud solved the problem by inventing the so-called death drive. However, I will not spend time on it here, but only focus on the interesting fact that he formulated this question.

Certain groups that practice Satanism may argue that the above definition of Satanism applies only to enemies, and that one treats one's loved ones in much the same way as described above, ie with love of your brother and common sense. But this involves dividing humanity into enemies and loved ones. A division that is the exact opposite of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which preached that one should love one's enemies. Those who support this form of Satanism also worship the so-called Antichrist. The danger of this understanding is that one thereby removes man from that which is the most human, namely the ability to be able to understand his neighbor in a larger perspective. This is the opposite of making man something animal. This variant of Satanism is also known as panism, which is precisely about a one-sided identification with the animal animals of man. According to this, life can be compared to life in a herd of lions: one lives surrounded by loved ones and sees the rest of humanity as prey. It is clear that such a way of thinking significantly reduces the possibilities of the whole of humanity. This in itself should be a significant argument against this line of thinking. However, one must further be aware that the definition of "loved ones" in a satanic context is such that it only applies to people who are with one. For anyone who opposes one, it may be justified to apply the definition of Satanism, no matter how close they may be. Exactly as you know from the lion herd. Know your place or be reprimanded.

But more specifically, what is it that makes Satanism not a satisfactory choice of existence? One sees that manipulation is a tactic that in its substance lies close to the lie. That is, a person whose life is based on manipulation has a life that consists of the same emptiness and pretense as the liar. I hope I managed to convince the reader in the section on the meaning of life that what gives life value is meaningfulness. This fullness consists of reality. The substance of life is reality. The substance of truth is reality. This is the opposite of the emptiness and pretense that comes with lying and manipulation. The consequence of Satanism is thus a life consisting of emptiness and pretense.

Just for the record: I do not mean that lions are Satanists. Their existence is conditioned by other factors. But if a human identifies unilaterally with the lion, then it is that Satanism arises. Man is much more than an animal.

The lie, the emptiness and the delusion

One sees that the title of this passage is the exact opposite of Jesus' statement: "Truth, life, and the way." That is what will be the consequence of the choice of satanic existence. One may be tempted to formulate it: the lie, the death, and the delusion. But if we have defined life as being full of reality and truth, conversely it must be such that death must be characterized by an absolute emptiness for the same. So death is not the key, it is emptiness. It is emptiness that is the disease, death is a symptom. Therefore, it is right to use the wording: The lie, the emptiness and the delusion.

The good and the evil

The question of good and evil is something that has mystified philosophers of all time. Based on this script, it is easy to define what the difference is:

To be good is to support a fellow human being's opportunities to realize his personal potential and to be a defender of common sense.

The evil is to manipulate one's neighbor, in order to gain power over the person so that he or she can be exploited for his or her own selfish gain.

The sting community

In the scripture, the necessity of living in the truth in order to experience meaning has been extensively explained, as the lie conversely leads to a life of emptiness and pretense. It should be noted, however, that a society where everyone goes and points fingers at each other is not encouraged. Truth, too, must be handled within the framework of love of your brother and common sense. It should be noted that the truth can also be used in the service of Satanism. That is, if one uses the truth to manipulate one's neighbor, in order to gain power over the person so that he or she can be exploited for his or her own selfish gain, then one is outside the realm of love of your brother and common sense, and society has developed into a stinging society. Such will not be in the spirit of this writing.


The aim of this writing has been to argue, that love of your brother and common sense should be the primary ideals, for both the individual human being and for the society we want to live in. This is because it provides a meaningful life. Conversely, I have given arguments against choosing a satanic basis of ideas, as this, as described, gives a meaningless existence. The crux of the matter is therefore that one must choose between these two offers of a life.

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