Over the past few days, I have stumbled upon something and it has been an eye-opening thought. I have been experimenting that and thought I have to write what I have learned with my contemplation and practice on that subject. Not only it will help you gain some insights but will gain more clarity for myself and it will be the best thing I do for my entire life. I intend to write this as a series of articles and this is part 1. Warning: These articles will look more manly just because these are intended for the men. But women readers can also benefit from it as you could identify some common grounds.
Our culture has become soft. We live in a world where softness is being rewarded. The modern world is no longer asking anything hard from anyone. Not from family, work or human relations. One could live without having to get out of their bed or their room for days. One could live without any actual human interactions, thanks to social media. One could live life without any boredom, thanks to all the entertainment platforms. One could have a work-life without having any actual mud on their feet. One could eat food without knowing how to cook one. The list is long and that’s all part of the cultural decadence that has happened as we moved towards the modern world. To quote what my friend said a few days ago – “This is the modern world”.
The roots of the modern man are far-flung as cultures that existed in Ancient Rome and Japan, Mexico and Kenya, Spain and India. If there is one thing that every culture is forgetting it’s the culture itself. Every culture had a code of lifestyle that carried them to survive the hard realities of life and raw nature. There was a common tenet that our ancestors idealised – the code of manhood.
Each culture has striking similarities in the ideal qualities ascribed to each gender. But there was a huge difference in how women attained their womanhood and a man attained their manhood. No culture has asked the woman to “woman up”. A girl enters womanhood by their first menstruation or child-birth. Womanhood was never been questioned as long as they looked after their kids and internal affairs of the family.
But a male was always insecure about their manhood. As the woman did, the man doesn’t have any biological transformation to prove their manhood. Being born as a male doesn’t make him a man. In every culture manhood was something the male has to prove and earn as an honour. A male has to “man up”. In the same way, manhood can also be lost out of shame.
The reason manhood was stressed more was the fact that the harsher the environment they were in, survival required men to fight the adversities of nature and protect and provide their societies. Every male was expected to hunt and fight. No one gets a say to decide whether to relax or to fight and hunt. As I have pointed out before in Samurai culture, men were expected to train to fight every morning. Opting out of such endeavours would bring them shame and will be ostracized as an outcast. Men’s identity was so tied up with honour and pride and carrying shame was emotionally crippling for them.
From the Sikh in Punjab to Jats in Chandigarh and men in the ballads of North Malabar, courage and the willingness to take risks were the major values of the male and manliness.
The men of our past in every culture carried the three pillars of manhood as described in Manhood in the Making by David D. Gilmore – Protect, Procreate and Provide. To build those qualities of manhood, a man has to be mentally and physically strong and tough. Such mental and physical strength and toughness is what the modern men are lacking.
The truth is our culture is not demanding male to prove their manhood. Even in our work culture, men could sit back at a desk in a corporate office and live a mediocre life. They are not asked to have any scar or to be in any fight. They are not asked to train their physique or to do some outdoor works using some practical intelligence.
Men are not asked to exhibit courage and indomitable willpower. Men could literally get some education, an office job and then marry and die without any scar on their face or mud on their feet. Despite what we see in our past, not every male is demanded to join the military.
When machines replaced the hard jobs, men were retreated to do office jobs by taking over the women’s work. Thus gender equality became a question and led to the rise of feminism. The culture softened the men to not having a strong physique and mental virtue. Instead, men are living under the protection of their roof and in the comforts of luxurious gadgets, staring at online pornography.
Now it will be obvious to you that, If a man wants to embrace his manhood, he should do it intentionally. The culture would only become softer than it is now and not in the opposite way. A man has to seek for the chances where he can make use of his manly energy in a good way. In the modern world, the hard way manhood has become a choice for a man to embrace.
We are a generation of men raised by women.
This is a famous line by the Tyler Durden character in the movie Fight Club. This line says nothing against women but what it really means is our current generation of men lacks true examples of manhood being provided by the real men.
But this isn’t the first time luxury and softness stood in the way of men towards his manhood and virtue. Our history has great examples of great men choosing the hard way to live. The Stoics of the ancient roman empire knew that the fulfilment for man in his life comes from living the hard way. Most Stoics were rich and powerful and they could have lived in the indulgences of luxury and comfort.
No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself – Seneca (Stoic philosopher)
Fast-forwarding to today, after 2000 years men are faced with the same question- how much men should indulge in the comfort of luxury and softened life. How men should identify his independence, physical toughness and mental discipline? A choice exists for men between the path of least resistance and the hard way.
We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shrinking the rough work that must always be done – Theodore Roosevelt
Squandering our heritage
In human history, polygamy existed and because of that only 40% of the men reproduced. The other men were the ones who had no power, strength, confidence, courage or intelligence to take risks and become successful. Those men who didn’t gamble or took leadership of their people died childlessly.
This means that every man born today is a descendent of the strongest, toughest, intelligent, fastest and bravest alpha men of our past. The blood of their powerful heritage runs through our veins. It is this heritage that most men are squandering in the corporate office desks, luxury, social media, video games and porn.
“I see in the fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of the history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great war, no Great depression, our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives, we’ve been all raised by television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won’t and we’re slowly learning that fact. and we’re very very pissed off.”
We also remember this line by Tyler Durden from Fight Club.
When fight club was written there weren’t any great war or great depression. People led a mediocre life in a mediocre world. With 2 Million confirmed cases of the COVID 19 pandemic and unfortunate death of almost 2 lakh people, it obvious that we don’t live in a world of harmony and peace. The very human rights are thwarted not just in any country but all over the world. According to the International Monetary Fund(IMF), the world may see the worst recession since the Great Depression.
To fight what we will be facing shortly, we need men to lead and take action to find solutions. We need men to be emotionally and physically tough when they have lost their jobs, family members, friends and social life. We all have a war to fight and to rebuild and lead our people back to harmony. Even if no crisis is being faced, the man who spends a lifetime cultivating the traits of manhood and deep life will have the confidence, resourcefulness, and fortitude to be ready for whatever comes. If his life never faces a crisis, he’ll have the capacity to handle the smaller adversities in his day-to-day life.
Blaming the modern culture and the environment we live for our lost manhood is a show of weakness and weakness is not something that code of manhood tolerates. You are a man of great heritage and this is what you are made to do. Living by the code of manhood is not a one-time decision. It’s a daily struggle. Virile agitur is a Latin phrase that means “the manly thing is being done”. Always and forever.
In the next part, I will dwell into the pillars of manhood and qualities one should own to follow the of the code of manhood.