"The self you have betrayed is your mind; self-esteem is reliance on one's power to think. The ego you seek, that essential 'you' which you cannot express or define, is not your emotions or inarticulate dreams, but your intellect, that judge of your supreme tribunal whom you've impeached in order to drift at the mercy of any stray shyster you describe as your 'feeling'. Then you drag yourself through a self-made night, in a desperate quest for a nameless fire, moved by some fading vision of a dawn you had seen and lost" - John Galt, in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Are we animals? Perhaps. But what seems to set us apart from all other animals is our capacity for rational thought; our ability to reason. Our ability to reason is a function of survival drive, and we as humans are otherwise extremely physically vulnerable.
We do not survive vicious weather events, or stalking predators, because of our superior physical strength, as a tornado or lion's strength dwarfs our own. We do not experience nutritional contentment because food is lying around, prepared, in plenty, ready for our mindless consumption.
We do not survive based on feelings, or intuitive judgements that we cannot explain. We survive because of our knowledge, and failing our incomplete knowledge, our bitter experiences absorbed into our memories and recalled for objective evaluation and contextualization. We either know, learn, or die.
The self-made night is the rejection of the power in our mind to sustain its body. Oh the hell one makes for oneself on earth when will, curiosity, responsibility, and free choice are sacrificed to the unknown; and we fall down, begging (or demanding)favour from those who did not sacrifice their self-esteem. And this is done not to save our lives, but to feed the monster of our feelings - to assuage the guilt we feel for relinquishing our minds, and consequently, our lives.