What is a man? What is manhood?
Today we will abandon the western notion of toxic masculinity and examine how ancient cultures and indigenous peoples answered the question of “What does it mean to be a man?”
Now I’m not arguing to put man in a rigid box. Each man is a unique composition, and I honor him as an individual, but there are also universal qualities, virtues, and attitudes essential to manhood. We must create a vision of manhood to guide us, or else, our boys will continue to remain lost and our culture will suffer. We must create some kind of foundation and framework if we are to outgrow the boy psychology that the west is stuck in.
Right now, we are very confused about manhood and masculinity. The woke idealology says Manhood is simply a social construct with no objective reality. They believe that men have been conditioned to be a certain way, and anyone can identify as a man. Others will argue for biology. They say men are simply born as men, and they are such due to there sexual organs.
But in my eyes, both are wrong. You cannot just identify as a man, nor are you a man by virtue of being male. No, my belief, similar to that of most tribes and societies across the ages, is that manhood must be earned.
Traditionally, manhood has not been defined by physical sex alone. Manhood is a state that must be achieved through the cultivation of manly virtue. To be a true man is no given, it is prize to be won. Manhood is the exception, not the rule.
“A woman simply is, a man must become.” – Camille Paglia
The native Fox Tribe of Iowa called Manhood the “big impossible” which only the masterful few can attain.
Manhood to them is a peculiar state of virtue that boys must win against powerful odds. They must win it in their hearts, minds, and character. Manliness is an ideal.
This notion that manhood is rare and difficult to achieve is found in all continents, in cultures both ancient and modern. Manhood, since the dawn of time, has been venerated and aspired to. And yet, it has been recently forgotten and cast aside by the West.
Today, we face a crisis in masculinity. Not the toxic masculinity so many misunderstand, but a crisis of weak masculinity. Men are psychologically infantile, and taught to be effeminate. They are immature, uninitiated, and prone to psychological stagnation and regression.
INITIATING BOYS INTO MEN
So what has happened to men and masculinity?
I could off on a long diatribe about the evolution of moral systems, how urbanization and prosperity weaken masculinity, and on and on about the toxic nature of our food and environment. But that is for another video.
At the root of things, boys are no longer being initiated through rites of passage ceremonies. And they have grown up without fathers, elders, and comrades. They lack the traditional supports that guided boys into a strong and open manhood.
Boys come into this world, like all children, in a state of prolonged dependence on the mother. They are suckled in safety, and are emotionally and physically connected to the mother for the first years of life. In traditional villages, boys are mostly raised by women as they develop life skills, social skills, and learn the ways of the tribe. Yes they play hard as all boys do, but they are perpetually safe and without true responsibility. The woman’s domain is the one that is already conquered, and as such, it is a place of ease and order. It’s like the shire, a place that nurtures and supports the flourishing of young girls and boys alike.
At some point, usually around puberty and late adolesence, there must be a split from the world of the mother, and the boy is be thrust into the world of man. He must sever from his upbringing and the ways of women and start his journey into manhood
Unlike the safe nest, man’s domain is the chaotic, untamed world. It is the open, wild, and dangerous spaces that catalyze true masculinity. Out there in the unknown, boys develope autonomy and self identity amongst other men. They find courage and strength, and discover what it means to be a man through the difficulties they face. Masculinity grows through challenge, and that, along with insight, is what these essential initiations sought to produce.
In the Rituals of Manhood, Gilbert Herdt said, “Femininity unfolds naturally, whereas masculinity must be achieved; and here is where the male ritual cult steps in.”
Throughout all of time time boys have undergone tests and ordeals, overseen by elder men, where the boy dies and is reborn a man. Theses rites of passage have assisted boys in severance, individuation, and the discovery of their authentic self.
One problem with our culture compared to traditional ones, is that we are perpetually in the woman’s world. We are nurtured by our mother and by school systems and indoctrinated into an ideology that is largely feminine. This is not a bad thing as a whole, but boys must break away from the whole feminine world to be initiated into masculinity, or they will lack a foundation. Only in this way, can they return as true men ready to serve the community. Boys must strengthen their body, mind, and will in the company of other men, and allow the wilderness to open their hearts.
As a result of not leaving the world of the mother to be initiated into masculinity, boys have not developed the manly virtues of self-reliance, courage, and fortitude; many lack the vigor and industriousness in active enterprises of life that is expected of men. They remain weak, unsure of themselves, insecure, and dependent. Many of these stuck men are consumed by lethargy, addictions, and tend to escape from struggle and responsibility. Hence, why vanquishing this boyish psychology was so important to past cultures. Infantile men threaten the entire tribe. Weak men are spiteful, insecure, and self-centered. They are cunning instead of wise, reactive instead of rooted, and they tend to manipulate their way to power instead of earn it. Strong men, however, are protective, nurturing, and community centered. These capable men ensure the growth and flourishing of the Tribe. And in the past, men found their meaning and value through this service to women and the whole.
Without initiation and meaningful struggles, no men are produced. They withdraw to safety and pleasure and remain boys. This is what we see today. Men are stuck in psychology infancy, adopting lifestyles and attitudes that are in opposition to manhood. The pursuit of pleasure, escapism, and reactionary living has become the norm. Men are incapable of protecting and serving others. They are lost in themselves, without responsibility, and far from mature masculine presence and virtue. As a result, they don’t feel capable, alive, or valued. They wrestle with dragons of addiction and misery and anxiety, and have largely been cast aside.
Watch the full video on Wisdom Warrior YouTube to get the second half of the essay!