Nightbirds is an investigation of what happens when a man follows his natural instincts rather than the advice that his society gives to him. Dan Bauer is functioning according to what Wayne Burns calls "the Panzaic Principle" in that he follows his hungers rather than his intellect, his guts rather than his head. His victory over his brother is an easy one simply because while he may have certain illusions about his world, he does not attempt to make those illusions real. Just why he does not is anybody's guess. Perhaps he is too lazy to go to the effort of putting into effect the dreams that he has, or perhaps he never does fully believe in those dreams enough to allow them to mislead him. Perhaps he instinctively knows that they will mislead him if he does follow them. What it amounts to is that Dan Bauer functions according to the mandate of his guts rather than the dictates of his heart or brains. And while he may be lazy or unconcerned about getting ahead in the world in the eyes of his brother and of those others who strive after the grand illusions of our society, he is within himself more alive, more vital than any of the rest with their dreams can ever be. Dan Bauer is an example of what D.H. Lawrence called "man alive" and his aliveness is contrasted to the deadness of those who surround him. Nightbirds is an attempt to depict "man alive" and "the Panzaic Principle" as Burns and Lawrence have described it.