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The Definition and Philosophy of the Space Between a Handshake

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The Definition of a Mensch:

  1. A person having admirable, noble, or dignified characteristics, such as fortitude, responsibility, and firmness of purpose: "He radiates the kind of fundamental decency that has a name in Yiddish; he's a Mensch." (James Atlas).

  2. A person who is admired, respected, and trusted because of a sense of ethics, fairness, and nobility.

Alternate Spellings: Menschlichkeit

The Philosophy of Menschkeit:

Menschkeit is a philosophy... a way of living... a selfless, innate drive for doing the right and decent thing, in every possible situation, according to the foundational ethics and values shared by most people in a society. Below is the philosophy of Menschkeit (including, but not limited to the following principles). No Mensch possesses all these qualities, but he does spend his life trying to attain them. No one knows how many or which of these qualities one must possess to be a Mensch, yet one Mensch knows another when he sees one.


  1. Strength - physical, as well as of conviction

  2. Honor - Every Mensch has a Code of Honor.

  3. Integrity - A Mensch is honest with firm moral principles; his word carries the weight and trustworthiness of an iron vault.

  4. Loyalty - fierce, to his fellow Menschs, loved ones, wife, children, mother, and family

  5. Sacrifice - A Mensch's personal desires are subordinate to Menschkeit.

  6. Uncompromising Ethics - A Mensch always strives to do what is right.

  7. Intelligence - not necessarily academic, but raw intelligence

  8. Control - A Mensch has the ability to forge/manhandle/bend a situation towards his will; if not in control, a Mensch will find a way to be in control. Alternatively, a Mensch will relinquish control in order to be in control.

  9. Stoicism and Toughness - high pain tolerance; absence of complaining

  10. Fairness - A Mensch always considers all sides.

  11. Knowledge - may be specific to a particular area, as long as it is at the level of mastery

  12. Killer Instinct - A Mensch goes after what he wants like a bulldozer, makes things happen, gets things done.

  13. Independence - A Mensch draws upon the inner strength of Menschkeit.

  14. Instinct to Protect - a Mensch's loved ones, wife, children, mother, family, and those close

  15. Perseverance - A Mensch never quits until he succeeds, or until his intelligence tells him there is a better path.

  16. Instinct to Survive - "never say die" attitude; A Mensch is reigned by wisdom (knowledge, intelligence, and ethics), but will fight like a cornered animal when necessary.

  17. Open-Mindedness - A Mensch is not so foolish as to be complacent with his ideas.

  18. A Certain Degree of Crudity - A Mensch realizes what is important and what is not; as such he is at ease with himself and not inhibited by meaningless proprieties.

  19. Directness - A Mensch does not mince words; he says what he means and means what he says; "When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less." - Lewis Carroll

  20. Discipline - Every Mensch is Master over himself.

  21. Work Ethic - A Mensch spends his life breaking his back; a Mensch enjoys hard labor, and the equivalent in any pursuit.

  22. Self-Sustainability - A Mensch needs very little to survive, and, indeed, be happy; in certain cases, only Menschkeit alone is needed to sustain life.

  23. Perceptiveness - A Mensch has the ability to see in a flash, like an X-ray, the core of a person, situation, and/or place, with 100% accuracy.

  24. Judgment - Because of his perceptiveness, a Mensch possesses the uncanny ability to consistently make the best decisions possible; a Mensch always knows what to do.

  25. Mechanical Inclination  - Some of a Mensch's closest friends are his tools.

  26. Camaraderie - Every Mensch possesses an unspoken bond with his loved ones, wife, children, mother, family, and those close.

  27. Vision - A Mensch always has a clear goal in mind, and affects that goal with supreme efficiency through use of his Menschkeit qualities: If a Mensch sees it, it is done.

  28. Absence of Fear - A Mensch knows that his Menschkeit qualities will carry him through to triumph over any situation.

  29. Composure - A Mensch never appears perturbed or shaken, but maintains a mental evenness that allows him to navigate any situation.

  30. Ingenuity - A Mensch has the uncanny ability to find novel and creative solutions, 10 out of 10 times.

  31. Craftsmanship - Nothing satisfies a Mensch more than to have created something from scratch with his bare hands.

  32. Dependability - A Mensch can be counted on as the sun rises.

  33. Fertility of Mind - A Mensch always has some sort of project running on the side to satisfy his creative impulses.

  34. Appreciation of Women  - A Mensch appreciates a good woman and the beauty of the female.

  35. Physical Endurance - A Mensch takes a beating and keeps on ticking; in fact, a Mensch welcomes a beating.

  36. Awareness - A Mensch is simultaneously aware of all that is around him, his mind ever present, ever vigilant, his surroundings accounted for, every scenario considered, weighed, and chosen at will.

  37. Quality - The job a Mensch does is the best. No question. Hands down. Finished.

  38. Economy of Speech - A Mensch does not talk much; to those without Menschkeit he may seem reticent, but in reality a Mensch is a master of his spoken language, using as few words as necessary to precisely convey his message. In fact, most Menschs have transcended language. This explains why two Menschs hardly ever talk, yet never miss a step. Whereas the non-Mensch must blather on, a simple nod from a Mensch suffices.

  39. Logic - In any stressful situation, a Mensch always chooses his path by logic; his logic is never swayed by emotion.

  40. Work and live to serve others, to leave the world a little better than you found it, and to garner for yourself as much peace of mind as you can. This is happiness.

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