Friday, 3 December 2010

The Dark Places of Self

It is my feeling that the men who have abused are men who have been abused. We condemn those men who abuse women and the vulnerable. What society is far more accepting of, however, is abuse between men. Men’s inhumanity to their fellow men. There is little of what might be called the brotherhood of man. It is easy to brandish the rhetoric of love, of male solidarity, but the reality is very often different.

The reality is often one of a cold, brutal competiveness, a mutual contempt and resentment born from a deep insecurity about our masculine prowess. Dismiss all this if you want. But I don’t write this from my arse hole. I write it as a result of deep study, from a familiarity with the masculine mythos.

I also write it as one who has suffered the insidious abuse between men. I know what men can do to each other. I know the cruelty that we subject each other to without even thinking. We are all each other’s bully. We are all each other’s enemy. It is a rare thing indeed when a male friendship can be free from this insidious dynamic.
You are denying it, I know. Right now, you are balking at all this. But that’s just because you refuse to recognise it. In fact, the problem is so endemic, so normalised, that it doesn’t appear to be a problem at all.

We perpetrate these crimes unthinkingly, and often we raise up these behaviours as symbols of masculinity, when in fact, they represent a damaged manhood. What we call “being a man,” very often constitutes an abuse of ourselves, and an abuse of each other. The abuse of women is simply the frightful but inevitable outcome of a brutality that is bred into our hearts, even before we come out of the mother. #

This is not something will be fixed quickly. And it is not always going to be pleasurable to work at. As men, we really are going to have to look into the eyes of satan, to stare him down, and to bravely face the realities of our deeply set brutal urges.

But the good news, is that there is nothing essential to yourself that is brutal, that is abusive. What is abusive, is the way that “civilisation” has bred you to view yourself as nothing more than a kind of tool, that your body is a weapon, and that your unique, testosterone–charged energies are best exhibited in acts of war. War on the self, war on each other and war on those around us.

The reality of masculinity has evolved from the primal war man has with his environment.

For all of our philosophies and sciences, for all of our logics and dreams, we are still apes petrified of the tiger’s shadows in the wood. We are at war with the unseen, with death itself.

And until we “man up” enough to look into this heart of darkness, we will continue to be slaves to this primal terror, however we choose to dress it up. And the meaning of human love will continue to elude us.

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