Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Towards a Sustainable Masculinity

The new man will not be specialized. He will not be a category. Being a man will not be something identifiable with fixed characteristics. Rather, he will be a fluid personality, an adaptable and flexible human being, whose mind is creative and whose heart is resilient.

The new generation of men will draw for themselves a confidence based on spirit – that is, a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives which does not depend on exterior factors such as their jobs, their possessions and their relationships. There will be no window dressing, no bravado. The new masculinity will be grounded in a compassionate sense of the big picture.

There will be no need for the male ego. Because there will be nothing to protect, nothing to attack or hurt or damage. A man's growth and identity, will be intimately entwined with the fate of his family and his tribe. His human community.

To be a man will be to work for a higher purpose. What will define a man will be his nobility, and his nobility will be grounded in his work at the level of spirit. That is, the constant development and fostering of the naturally nomadic energy of the human heart. In a word, evolution will the responsibility of the new man.

Somewhere along the line, men have become exploiters. They have sought to subjugate, perhaps in search of an easy life. Leisure, self-indulgence and narcissism have come to characterize the masculine gender. But this is not sustainable, because empathy, compassion and altruism are virtues which constitute the fabric of life.

It is not about blind self-sacrifice or martyrdom. It is about understanding how life works. Life itself is grounded in a the big picture, the process itself, rather than the survival of its aspects. If the process collapses, then all life collapses.

We are at a crucial moment in the history of masculinity. It is the wounds and the narcissism at the heart of masculinity that has caused environmental, economic and political chaos that we live in now. And make no mistake, we live in end times. The old paradigm of patriarchy has screwed us all up.

Contrary to what some small minded scientists and philosophers might tell you, we are not selfish by nature. It is not our moral purpose to look out for ourselves. This actually contradicts the reality of life and of being human. For the individual to survive, the race must survive. For the race to survive, the environment must survive. For the environment to survive the planet and the fabric of life itself must become a priority.

In this new, but-not-so-new paradigm, men will become again protectors, but not protectors of their families, or their small portions of land – but protectors of the life-system itself. We carry with us the seed of living, the catalyst for birth. Our greatest contribution to life is the creative energy of life itself. As men we must protect and foster this energy, knowing that it is essential to the sustainability of being.

Man is a political animal, wrote Aristotle. And what he meant was that man's fulfillment, his eudaimonia, is found not isolation, not as the king over others, but as part of a wider context, a greater process of community and organic environment.

Modernity has systematically eroded the masculine connection with life. Men have, over thousands of years, become increasingly cut off from the system of life they are a part of. Perhaps as men, we have always survived until now, through fear and rage, taking on the perceived hostility of our environments by subsuming the trauma of our experiences and using it as the energy of the fight. Life became a struggle.

From this has grown what we know to be the male ego. Without spirit, without a deep knowing that our meaning here on earth is grounded in our place within a larger context, we become narcissists, we become conquerors for conquest's sake only. The experience of fighting, winning and dominating is the only way that we have found assurance of the self, knowledge of our identities.

But the new masculinity will be the rediscovery of the meaning of being a man. The new man will be someone committed to the sustainability and evolution of life itself. In the same way that women are born to give birth to more life, men are born to pave the way for that life to reach its full potential.

Men are the protectors, but we are not protecting our children, our own land and our families simply for the sake of it. We are here to husband the process of life itself, the holistic environmental process of becoming.
It might sound bold, pompous, and perhaps to some of you, arbitrary, but this is the new masculinity. The new virtues can be summarized as growth, leadership, evolution and sustainability.

No comments:

Post a Comment