The self-observational aspect of human consciousness is that characteristic of the mind most responsible for the development of an abstract concept of selfness (i.e. the ego).  The abstract sense of self thus defined is both cause and subject of its own awareness, having as one of its primary characteristics the capacity for infinite regress (exampled, for instance, in the observing self's having been discovered via the operations of another observing self).  This capacity for infinite regress and of the fecundity of "selfness" which is its result leads quite naturally to a belief in the transcendent existence of abstract principle over material reality, and hence of a belief in the existence of a "higher" or "transcendent" self.  The fecundity of selfness, amplifying and aggrandizing the belief in a transcendent self, also leads – again quite naturally – to the assumption of power with regard the relationship of the transcendent self to its material environs.  Hence the birth of the will, or willfulness, of the ego, of its desire to assert itself over its physical domains, and of a belief in the rightfulness of that desire.  The anxieties contingent upon this belief pertain not only to the mind's functional limitations (as addressed previously), but also, and more obviously, to the fact that the external, material realm manifestly does not respond to a sheer exertion of will on the part of the ego, which is delimited by the physicality both of its bodily trappings and of its surrounding environs.  The universe is substantively indifferent to that which is desired by the human ego:  indifferent, that is, to those demands put forth without regard for those constraints which are a defining characteristic of both the ego itself and of the environment in which it finds itself located.

Recognition of this indifference is the cause of that sense of fundamental "aloneness" common to human beings; perhaps, in a less well-defined manner, it is fundamental to other sentient beings as well.  In humans, awareness of this sense of aloneness gives rise to feelings of loneliness, to which everyone is subject, for periods of greater or lesser amounts of time, depending upon circumstance and the amount of energy devoted to its avoidance or denial.  The only alternative is to seek somehow to accept, and therefore embody, the factual quality of a universal indifference within our own psyches.  Should this be done under the auspices of some form of religiosity, it will likely take on the shape of self-abnegation, in which case it may lead to a life devoted to service, whether this be to a god, to society, to another individual being, or to nature.  Lacking a religious or spiritual form of outlet, as applied to the sacred and/or secular realms, the psychological embodiment of indifference may lead to the development of a criminal nature, the evolvement of which is commonly held in check by social inhibitors, first externally, then internally applied, resulting in fear of punishment for transgressions committed against current laws and mores.  When such inhibitions are lacking or ignored and behavior accorded with the amoral principle implicit to indifference, an individual may find him or herself subject to a variety of reactions by other members of society, ranging from pity to fear, from distaste to outright hatred, depending on how transgressive the act or acts committed.  Regardless of its form, some measure of antipathy (this being the ego's common – one might almost say, its "natural" – response to the indifference of the universe) will be at the root of any reaction towards those who embody such indifference, pity and fear being but graded variants on this main theme.

It remains to be emphasized, however, that the embodiment of indifference by the either the criminal or the spiritual character will not necessarily or automatically preclude a desire to fulfill the body's basic needs.  At the very least, under virtually all circumstances a wanting for food, water, and oxygen will continue unabated.  Imprisonment, for example, particularly when the threat of execution is the only means offered for its termination, will inspire feelings of desperation and dread in the prisoner precisely because of his or her innate sense of its fundamental wrongness on a purely material plane of comprehension.  Knowledge of this sense of wrongness derives, ironically, from a knowledge of the universe's fundamental indifference:  though the universe may not care whether the prisoner lives or dies, it likewise will not have cared about whatever act of aggression was committed by the prisoner in the first place.  Conversely, while the psyche conditioned to indifference may fully comprehend the reason antipathy is expressed towards it by other members of society, the body will continue to insist that a deeper injustice is about to occur, when the state brings about the cessation of its vital force.