Friday, 29 July 2011

Ethical Consistency and The Masculine Experience

Trust is at the heart of authentic masculinity. Trust comes from a consistency of ethical conduct. The fact is, that the roles we have been expected to play in society have become more prominent than the simple humanity of our authentic sense of self. But we cannot play a role for our wives and our daughters if do not have a rooted sense of self.

Authenticity comes from love. I don't mean any one kind of love. I am using love in the grandest sense possible here. I am using love in the sense of having an expansive compassion for the truth of existence itself. Religion has bastardised the real meaning of spirituality. If we can reclaim anything from the concept of spirituality in the modern intellectual context it is this: a sense of value in life, both within and without us.

There is so much I could say on this, and perhaps it is necessary to parse out what I am talking about, but for now let's just leave it at this. Moral conduct emanates from a spiritual knowing. Anything short of ethics from the spirit, is false morality – slave morality even. It is grounded on exterior authority. One will always be searching for an archaic God at its root. Whether it is in religion, philosophic doctrine, or even some objectivity, some queerness of fact.

However, the reality is, our conduct springs from our experience. That is, the experience of the world, and who we are in relationship to that world. In the present cultural context, our experiences of who we are have been confused and are full of contradiction. We bounce from a meaninglessness in the face of the infinite, like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, or we act from an inflated narcissism, and history abounds with men who exemplify that pathology.

The dynamics of the male ego are manifestations of exactly this modern predicament. Asserting oneself in the face of annihilation. The task for us now is to explore whether it is possible to give men a rooted, secure idea of themselves in the face of the modern reality, but at the same time make it so secure that it needs no diseased obsession with itself as a truth, in order to remain strong.

Feminism offers no help here, that is why I react against it. Because rather than offer some spiritual understanding of the modern predicament through the experiences of women, it has become another part of the patriarchal scheme. Like all revolutionary ideas, it risks becoming the thing it professes to hate.

So we would do well to set aside gender discussions, or even get wrapped up in whether or not there is a difference between the genders, or whether women are this, or men are that. What is important is that the next generation of men are secure enough in themselves that the cycle of abuse and power-play does not continue.

It is not an intellectual question of whether such a revolution is “true” or “possible.” I am not interested in messing around with a dialogue of arguments around this. We have no choice. We either carry our sons and our daughters into a world of pain and abuse and shame, or we welcome them into a world of trust and consistency that allows them to develop into emotionally self-sufficient and sensitive beings.
The masculine revolution is not about being reactionary. It is about realising that our choices now determine the possibilities of the future.

What it means to be a man, is a vital question among many other questions that face the human being in its existential development. And we can no longer allow the answers to be determined by cultural feedback. We have to construct a new truth. What it means to be a man, is the same as what it means to be a human. There are no preset answers. The answer is a declaration, and that declaration will resonate into the future of our families, our society and our culture.

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