When I began this blog a couple of years ago I was fortunate in my timing as The New York Times published their now infamous 27 Ways to be a modern man list which I replaced over time with my own list. Recently I discovered an article by mark Rippetoe of Starting Strength fame from the same period which also deals with the same list and the travails of Pajama Boy.
Rippetoe breaks apart the conceit behind the attempt of popular culture to reduce men to a charade of what they once were; men without physical strength; men who are in touch with their feminine and childish feelings; men who are good obedient men instead of men who are good at being men.
The key quote of the article is the following:
A tan, abs, hideously expensive yoga pants, coffee made by other people, a meticulously trimmed beard, the politically-correct demeanor – all are affectations designed to improve your stock with other people. They lack intrinsic value, since any value they impart to you is assigned externally. People who depend on value assigned to them by others are obviously in a perpetually vulnerable position. They are fragile, in more than a physical sense.
This is a very important concept for you to understand, and once understood and successfully implemented it is the key to unlocking yourself from your self-imposed prison that you have constructed around yourself with the encouragement of our modern society.
I wrote about this in my 19th trait of the modern man, The Modern Man is not I.
Change is necessary if you do not like who you are or if you are constantly searching for an external satisfaction to fill an internal void. That void is your dissatisfaction with your self. External forces are beyond our personal power. You might have a very high opinion of me. But it is beyond useless for me to value that for you may change your opinion of me at any time and then what do I possess? I have nothing, just as I had when your opinion was positive. It is an illusion.
This is what teachers mean when they say the world is an illusion. What you do possess is the self, and the process of understanding the self begins the journey of becoming who you are. We begin this process by defining who we are not. It is useless to say, ‘I am’. The term ‘I am’ is not just self limiting; if the external factors are out of your control how can you then identify yourself as something else? It makes no sense.
It is critical for all men to undertake this journey for if you avoid it then not only will you be trapped in your own behavior patterns, you will also feel the deep regret of never having confronted yourself and affected the change necessary to become a man.
But it is also important to understand that the self is merely concerned with getting your own behavior patterns under control. Our modern society worships the individual self in a narcissistic push to cut men off from forming successful relationships, whether that be with women, with other men, or with God.
I was thinking about loneliness, and the loneliness that a young man feels, and I think he feels lonely in three distinct ways.
1. He feels loneliness for a woman.
2. He feels loneliness for a brotherhood.
3. He feels loneliness for a lord, which we may think of as being for god
And these three types of loneliness are not commutative, and the satiation of one will amplify the emptiness from the others.
The trap encouraged by the modern world is for men to shape and worship themselves under a preordained guidance from modern society that is ever in flux and thus impossible to keep up with. In addition men are cut off from that which gives them agency and purpose. Consider the worldwide uproar and massive push back a couple of years ago when Roosh V attempted to organise his followers around the world to simply meet up with each other so as to talk, exchange ideas, and ultimately to form a brotherhood. It didn’t happen.
Your first step is to break free of the shackles imposed upon you and which you have been manipulated into imposing on yourself. The next step is to become anti-fragile. The step after that is to solve the 3 problems of loneliness.
One step at a time.