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Firestarter: On Being a Man

Audio Version

As men, we have aspirations, desires, goals, and aims, and as a result, we tend to be hard on ourselves on a regular basis; giving ourselves shit for taking too long to get an idea (or our careers, or families) started, not earning enough, not having enough confidence, not being healthy or strong enough, being a beta male, p-whipped whiner — whatever it is. It’s alright! This is natural, par for the course, and very, very common, even among the most successful, rich, and wealthy.

Those who are genuine, of true character and purpose, are constantly demanding more of themselves: to be less reactive and more calm and assured; to be of better service to their partner, family, community, or society; to be able to provide for and protect those they love; to be more generous with their time, energy, and money; to challenge conformity and trust their intuition; to pursue their mission in earnest, and to leave a legacy.

While there is always “room for improvement,” this concept applies to both learning, training, and self-expansion, as well as unlearning, addressing, and healing personal and family (adopted, inherited, borrowed) traumas, and reconnecting with the deeper aspects of our spiritual nature. We are constantly unconsciously, subconsciously formulating and defining our capacity for growth and integration, while discarding the excess and waste of things, ideas, and beliefs that no longer serve us.

So, never think you’re alone, weak, unworkable, or unique in your self-hatred, self-judgment, or desire to be better, stronger, clearer, dominant, more secure in your identity, or financially successful than you are now. Everyone around you is operating in the same Earth environment and faces the same challenges, regardless of their physical characteristics or the personality traits they were born with, developed, or try to hide and deny.

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That normality does not equal mental health can be seen in the high rates of anxiety disorders, depression and suicides and by the widespread abuse of drugs and alcohol. What is more, the mob mentality and group think which has been raging on social media for a decade and which is now playing out in the streets is a further sign of the collective insecurity of our age.

Academy of Ideas

The critical issue, in my opinion, is how we use our energy: whether we are poking, prodding, urging, and pushing ourselves to improve — to apply the lessons, learning, training, and studies — or perpetuating a victim mindset. In the modern era, I believe the latter is far more common, much to the detriment of men and their necessary transition from childhood to adolescence into functional, empowered self-reliance, self-awareness, and adulthood. Instant overwhelm lurks around every corner, and enablers (government handouts, apologists, socialists, and communists) are becoming far too common, eroding the foundations of a resilient culture, society, and larger civilization.

There are many reasons, the most important of which are social programming and social engineering. These are pernicious and malevolent sociopolitical elements that are ever-present, perplexing, disempowering, and psychologically and emotionally damaging. These are the tools with which our cultural narratives are devised and maintained. As a society, we don’t challenge these disruptive, forced, unnatural, and frequently irrational narratives often enough. The onslaught of anti-manliness, anti-fatherhood, anti-family, hyper-sensitive messaging, several generations of arguably weaponized feminism, the celebrated and rewarded anti-heroes, the infantilized, manipulative, narcissistic, and anti-masculine men in all forms of popular and heavily consumed media… layers upon layers of psychological manipulation, both subtle and overt, undermine anyone’s potential for true self-inquiry and self-love.

Do not misunderstand me; women and womanhood have faced just as much, if not more, frequent, and vocal attacks than men and manhood. The relentless onslaught of psychological, political, and ideological attacks has affected both sexes dramatically. A cloud of fragmentation, segregation, polarization, frustration, and the regrettable spread of superficiality and affectation envelops both sexes.

Consider this simple truth: you cannot fall behind in life, nor can you advance. There is never a perfect situation in which everything is just right, when it is best to start, and the outcome is guaranteed. It is a continuous learning process of forward and backward, up and down, adaptation and adjustment. You can only be fully present in this moment. That’s all we get, and it’s gone in an instant. Everything else is a tool, an informative element of what came before (and our tricky memories), as well as what we aspire, desire, dream, hope, and wish to be for ourselves in the future.

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The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal … they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.

— Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

Ultimately, we are our own firestarter, and when the fuel runs low, we have to find the means to rekindle, reinvigorate, and replenish. Outer influences will forever attempt to make inroads to our better knowing, to subsume, disrupt, divert, and displace that which is real and true, with that which is unmistakably specious and false. If we succumb to the pervasive messaging and manipulation that surrounds us, our beliefs and emotions will be frequently weaponized against us.

Allow these obtrusive plot points and fictitious stories to serve as a reminder to step back, think things through, stand up for ourselves, and speak up for causes that aren’t always popular or easy to support. Keep in mind that what is real, authentic, and true will eventually be revealed

Solvitur ambulando