Sunday, 22 June 2014

Letter to a young masculinist: You're young, you're handsome and you know what you are. Fuck everyone else

Hero: Brando doesn't care about your opinion
Masculinity is difficult to define. And actually it can't be defined. But we all know it when we see it. 

As I write this, it is only now that I see the beginnings of who I am as a man. 
I always knew my own mind. I always knew my own values, though I struggled to articulate them. What's changed? Not my idea of who I am, but my experience of who I am. You go through enough, and you test yourself enough, suffer enough, to realise who you are. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much the person I now experience myself to be, is the person I always thought myself to be when I was younger. 

The big thing here is not thinking of yourself as enlightened. It is just knowing that the needs you have are natural needs, and in the acceptance of those needs you find a kind of peace. Maybe peace sounds to self-congratulating. What I mean is... rest. 

Whatever the truth is, I still need a mummy-figure sometimes, and maybe I will always feel a certain amount of lack in that regard. But what's different is that I don't attack myself for needing those things now.

Other people, they think they know things but they don't. The think they see the truth about you but they don't. As soon as you show that you need something, that you lack something, and that you harbour a desire to get that something from them, they either treat you with suspicion, or they delude themselves into thinking they have power over you, even if that power is simply just being able to 'see' you.

These people are idiots. They know nothing of the Socratic maxim, 'the wisest man is is he who knows he is not wise.' They think phrases like that are just cool things to say, or that they pertain only to the natural sciences. Of course this is not true at all, they pertain mostly to the sciences and explorations of the mind. They become most relevant in human relationships.

It is a factor of our generation that we mistake familiarity with knowledge, fanatical connoisseurism with wisdom. What our generation does not realise is that true wisdom is the ability to be able to empty the mind of its own concepts. To empty the mind of its cleverness.

As Sun Tzu says in the art of war, he who knows the enemy but does not know himself, will win half of his life's battles. He who knows himself, but knows nothing of his enemy, will lose at least half of his life's battles. He who knows his enemies, and knows himself, is indestructible.

So what people say about you is irrelevant. And I do mean completely and utterly irrelevant. Those who like to espouse on other people's lives will think I am being ignorant. Or that I am advocating a kind of arrogance. I am not. None of us needs a lecture on seeing things from other people's perspectives. What we do need to cultivate, however, is the habit of trusting our own natures, the in-built wisdom of our perceptions, and putting a greater trust in those things than external, second-hand reflections.

Contrary to what the self-congratulating types think, this is not ego. Ego, as the Bhagavad Gita tells us, is attachment to external identifications of the self. The quickest way to root out the narcissistic tendency, is not abnegate the self. Rather, it is to acknowledge, with compassion and perspective, the instincts and desires that have become the basis of our negativity.

Yes, you may be vulnerable. Yes, as a man, you will feel shame about your vulnerability. It is the hardest thing, however, to be able to accept your vulnerability. Other men will hear it and avoid you for it. Women, sadly, will mistake it for immaturity. Most people, will use it against you. 

Even if they won't admit it, they will feel better about themselves in witness of your vulnerabilities. 
The task is to be able to practice self-acceptance in such a way that does not condone a shameful rigidity and lack of growth, but which also doesn't increase the shame of our wounds by masking those vulnerabilities.

The tough love here, is that you can't get help from other people. You ARE alone in this. However, it is in that aloneness that you cultivate the confidence to be yourself. Alone does not mean cut off, or alienated. On the contrary, the chances of resonant relationships forming in your life greatly increase when you are comfortable with yourself.

It can't be emphasised enough though, that this doesn't mean some false, zen-like ideal of 'being at peace with yourself.' No. It's about being at peace with your unrest. Resting in your turmoil. Stop looking for the elusive place of permanent poise. Stop trying to 'be a man.' Be a boy. Be at peace with that within yourself. Be needy, be volatile, be angry and whiny. Once we become able to live with these things within ourselves, and not deny the power they have over us, then they affect our external relationships less and less.

Do you come over as a dick-head to others? Fine. Do women pass you up because they can't associate emotional wounds with their socialised ideas of what a man is? So what. The test of moral integrity does not lie in external judgement. People enjoy seeing the worst in you, because it makes them feel better about themselves. It's a quick fix, isn't it. Feel superior, rather than heal. It's the easy way out.

These days I don't care if people think I am weak. Or if they think I am infantile. I don't care if their opinions of me are that of a self-aggrandising judge. These people appoint themselves.
Nor do I care what women think. Not really. I like to feel desired, and I like to be wanted. I am not over my neediness. But I can honestly say now that what's more important to me is my inner space, the validation of those needs, rather than their fulfilment. Whether those needs are met or not is no longer my chief concern. The truth is, we all know that as we get older, many of our needs will NEVER be met.

I feel no need now to either force those needs on others, not hide them from others. I don't care if I never get laid again. Do you think I am lying? I am not. The validation of my sexuality and my sexual needs is more important to me than their fulfilment. I have my methods! What matters to me is the standards to which I hold myself. And being a human being, with the privileges of modernity and Western heritage, I am perfectly capable of holding myself to account.

I don't need a woman to tell me how much of a man I am. I don't need society to tell me whether I am a 'good' person. And I certainly don't need the full-time censorious chorus of snippety opinions to validate my existence for me.
I have learned the hard way, that my own experience is enough. Right or wrong, in the validation of that experience, I find my growth. 

This is a non-normative truth. I am not talking about morals. I am talking about virtue. I am talking about empowerment, and without empowerment, morals, opinions and academic or back-slapping chit-chat aren't worth a damn.

I know who I am. And who am I? I am boy with a mother-complex. I am man with a sexual appetite big enough for three grown men. I am not very clever, I am outright dumb when it comes to analytical intelligence. I am very intuitive. I am very impatient. I am aggressive. I can be fanatical and judgemental, and I can be thoughtlessly overbearing in conversation. I am lazy, and spoilt and self-obsessed. I can be idealistic to the point of irritating pretension. Above all of that, I am blind to my weaknesses, and therefore arrogant.

I have some decent qualities too, I think. But so what. The point is that I am a real pain in the ass, and the more so as I get older. I don't care though, because I accept those things. 

That doesn't mean I condone it or justify it. Just that I see myself for what I am, and I don't want someone else's desire for me to mask my nasty parts. In my nasty parts I find a necessary honesty with myself. I know that whatever the truth is I am trying my best, not just to get along, but to improve – to grow. And that's enough for me. 
Those of you who want to stand in judgement of me - as men in a competitive way, or as women in a sexual-selection kind of way – can kiss my cock. Fuck you.

No comments:

Post a Comment