Your masculinity comes from your thought about who you are. Broadly speaking, it is culture that has controlled your idea of who you are. So, right off the bat, you are fighting, struggling and barely coping, with your own identity. Because, that masculine energy, that manifesting power is castrated by the simple fact that it is being filtered through a cultural ideal.
Most men live lives of quiet desperation. This is the slogan of the New Age mens movement. But the Thoreau quote is well placed. Because the energy of self-definition, the ability for a human being to existentially create her or his self, is exactly what I would call masculine energy. It is the masculine energy which evolves. It is the masculine energy which survives. But if the culture, that is the organism's inherited body of knowledge about itself and its environment, is oppressive in nature, then that very energy is limited and cut off from itself. It is not free. It is not creative. It cannot manifest from a purity of spirit.
In this context, abuse is born. The abused becomes the abuser. If there is any slogan from this blog it is that The Abused Becomes The Abuser. This is one thousand years of masculine culture summed up in five words.
What we have in modernity, however, or what some call the post-modern context, is a myriad of conflicting and contradicting demands. I think most men can empathise with the fact that what is demanded of them, has become way more complex, way more impossible than it was even twenty years ago. We have to be all things to all men. All things, more importantly to all women.
Just a few days ago a female friend of mine said she wasn't interested in men who think too much, or are too creative. She wanted a man who "did stuff," like a joiner or a tradesman. As if there were such archetypes in reality. As if to separate these demands made sense in a modern context.
Let me tell you this – all men brood. All men have an intense self-reflective nature, regardless of how complex. To say that there are types of men, and that men should somehow fit into certain roles according to types, is the single most abusive act against masculinity that society can muster. The only reason that it is not recognised as abuse is that our idea of violence, our idea of abuse itself, is so narrow as not to take in the mental realm. We associate abuse with only physicality.
In this way, the ten thousand forms of abuse that men suffer every day go unnoticed and only physical violence against women becomes a political reality. As with all things, however, cross-gender violence evolves from a far wider and less simple cultural context, that even the most ardent of feminists will be reluctant to acknowledge.
The chief ways that society controls you, are your ideas of yourself. In reality, the masculine spirit is pure. It manifests out of a zen-like, thoughtless realm, and creates something from nothing. In society, it drizzles into the world like a broken tap. It is strained through culture into certain very rigid and conformist ideas of what it is to be a man – and many of these rigidities are themselves contradictions and confusions. And as modernity progresses, I can see only more and more contradictions and impossibilities arise. As this culture's pathologies intensify, the abuse of this sclerotic ideology of manhood becomes more and more destructive.