Low “T”

Ever wonder why there is a men’s Low “T” clinic on every corner?  Could it be a result of the systematic emasculation of men in our society?  It’s not just an all out societal attack on all things manly, it’s biological as well.  Everything from the crap posted on choosemyplate.org, which couldn’t be more wrong for a man’s diet, all the way to the statins that too many guys take to lower borderline cholesterol.  In case you didn’t know it, Testosterone is made from cholesterol.  Eat like Michelle Obama and the USDA tells you to and you’ll need to get those man boobs fitted for a bra pretty soon.  Grain and wheat have been linked to higher estrogen levels, which is great if you are a lady, but none for me thanks.  Oh and you need monounsaturated fats from things like avocados, nuts, and olive oil.  Watch out for flax and soy, both of which contain estrogenic isoflavones that put the kibosh on “T” production.  Dudes need to really limit soy and flax! Eat protein, eggs (yolks and all), broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower.  Drink more milk.  Supplement with Maca and ZMA (look this stuff up).  Work out so hard that you sweat thru your shirt AT LEAST 4 times per week and SLEEP.  Testosterone is our jet fuel, and your body will make it all by itself if you work it, feed it, and rest it … Testosternone is made while you sleep.  I’m no doctor, and I would tell you to check with your’s first, but I think that will backfire on you.  Educate yourself first, then talk to your doctor.  And whatever you do, don’t sign up for synthetic testosterone replacement … I predict within a few years, this whole notion will be debunked like snake oil.

The Big Four

It is hard to believe that the revival is twenty days old already and that this week will be my sixth post to the blog. A lot has happened this past week and I am so excited to see that, we hit new records on the number of views for the blog. That tells me that the message is resonating and connecting with you.   I get the pleasure of meeting some of you in person every once in a while and your feedback is really important to me. Please keep forwarding the site to your friends and be sure to send them to the intro page since it is the best place for a newcomer to begin.

In this weeks post I will dig deeper into four foundational questions that every male needs to answer, if indeed, he wants to be a real man. In addition, we will take a look at the four frames that one can use as one seeks to root out incoherence in his worldview. I want to thank you for sticking with me as we go through some of these hard topics. There are so many practical truths that I almost can’t wait to share with all of you; however, wouldn’t feel right in doing so without first addressing these foundational things. As you may recall, the four questions are:

  1. Where did I come from (The Question of Origin)?
  2. Why am I here (The Question of Purpose)?
  3. What are the rules (The Question of Morality)?
  4. What happens when I die (The Question of Destiny)?

If you recall from last week, I made that case that, as males, we were not made for relativistic thinking, but that our very nature craves absolutes. Being a man is about a certain degree of absolute thinking, which leads to the kind of absolute living that enables us to lead and love in the ways we were designed. In addition, I attempted to make the case that cognitive dissonance, caused by incoherence or conflict among these core beliefs is to blame, at least partly, for the fact that males, on the whole, are being marginalized in the western world. Towards the resolution of that, I have proposed four frames that you can use as you sure up your worldview:

  1. Naturalistic
  2. Pantheistic
  3. Polytheistic
  4. Monotheistic

Which frame you chose to use to answer life’s four questions, is entirely up to you; however, this is the first absolute you must decide. If you think you can get by with the selection of a naturalistic view of human origin and mix in a little monotheism when it comes time to answer the question of destiny, then you need to go back and read last week’s post. It simply isn’t possible. A cohesive and coherent worldview is one that is answered consistently within a frame.

Sociologist Daniel Bell defined culture as “the effort to provide a coherent set of answers to the existential questions that confront all human beings in the passage of their lives.” That is exactly what I am referring to here and notice the use of the word coherent, just in case you think I am presenting to you some new fangled and untested concepts and ideas.

I sincerely hope you were very intentional about carving out some time over the past week to consider your own worldview. I cannot stress enough the importance of rooting out incoherence and disagreement in your fundamental beliefs. I will go so far to say that if you have an inconsistent worldview that is riddled with conflicts and disagreements in core beliefs, there is no hope for you to find peace in a pattern of absolute thinking and absolute living. Rest assured, I will bring this up regularly in future writings. On a practical note might I suggest you get a notebook, physical or electronic, it doesn’t matter the medium, and begin a journal to catalog this part of your journey. Even if you are certain you have a set worldview and answers to these questions, you will find value in the writing down of them. To make sure you don’t miss the point, that was an action step!

I’ve decided that the most logical place to begin is to first briefly define what I mean by a frame and then define each of the frames. When it comes to answering these deep questions, each of you will have to decide upon what set of premises you will base your conclusions. It is really a consistent set of premises that will allow you to quickly identify conflicts and incoherence in your worldview and deal with those one at a time.  What I call frames are simply a collection of like premises, which will makes sense more as we go over them. Please know that entire books have been written on each and I am in no way claiming to fully explain them. If you do not already have a frame settled in your mind, I would encourage you to do some significant research and thinking before moving on. There will be no shortage of content for you to consider if you do the research.

The Naturalistic Frame

In this frame everything in the world around you can be explained naturally and scientifically and the only empirical truth is that which can be known ultimately, which is that which can be tested, observed, and proved by way of the scientific method. There is no room for the spiritual or supernatural, nothing transcendent, when using the naturalistic frame to form a worldview. When answering questions about origin, purpose, morality, and destiny, the naturalist must look only to the natural realm for answers.

The Pantheistic Frame

In this frame god is everything and everything is god. Pantheism, unlike naturalism, provides for transcendence but not a transcendent god. Which is another way to say that in the pantheistic frame there is no separate being called god.

The Polytheistic Frame

In this frame multiple gods and/or goddesses form a system of deities. Not all gods and/or goddesses are equal nor to they necessarily work together in harmony.

The Monotheistic Frame

In this frame there is only one transcendent god. This god operates autonomously and is often described as the creator who has no creator.

Again, this way of thinking might be new to you and the definitions offered here are short; that is intentional. My hope is that they peak your interest and inspire you to do your own research as part of your journey to form your own worldview. As we explore the next section, you will see why having some sort of frame is helpful. Having briefly identified a way to group your premises together into a frame, we can now briefly discuss the four big questions. So I wonder how many of you are wondering why I am spending so much time on these things. These questions may seem so basic; however, it is in the simple things that we often overlook the details. I can’t say it enough; one of the first hurdles to clear in the metamorphosis to manhood is the decision to accept absolute thinking as a means to absolute living. I’m not going to spoon-feed you the absolutes, you are on your own for that, but you simply must have them.

First things first, everyone has to answer the question, “Where did I come from” and I’m not talking about the facts of life. I’m talking about the origin of humans on the whole, each of knows that our parents made us, but who made our parents? How you answer this question will have ramifications in the answers to every other question.

Having answered that question, the question of purpose naturally comes to mind. So why am I here? Not just why am I here but why are we here? For example, If I have answered the question of origin using the naturalistic frame, I will have settled on biological evolution. Having settled on biological evolution, there are a certain number of ways to answer the questions related to purposeful human existence. As you explore this area, you will quickly sense any areas where your answers become incoherent. For example, and I’m not picking on any particular view here, a naturalistic worldview with a purpose having anything to do with making the world a better place. Making the world better is totally foreign to a naturalistic frame. The way you make the world better is by using every advantage you have to survive and thrive, that furthers the advancement of the species through natural selection.

Rules flow from origin and purpose; there is no way around it. Your answers to these two of the big four start to box you in at this point as you consider the questions of morality. What is right, what is wrong, and why? The naturalistic frame is the only frame free from a moral law; in fact it is incoherent to introduce moral law in naturalism because it naturally interferes with the survival of the fittest and advancement of the species.   Every other worldview has a series of rules, of moral laws, and you must as well. Not only must you know what these are, but also you must know from whence they came. Moral laws must have a “law giver” and a judge who will measure. For the polytheist, this can be a bit of dicey since various gods or goddesses might have varying moral laws and scales. For the pantheist, there is karma. For the Jew, Mitzvot and Halakha. For the Muslim, the Quran and Sharia. For the Christian, there are the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. No matter the frame, there is no way around this reality. Even for the naturalist, while there is no moral law, nature itself dictates certain behaviors by way of compulsions, wills, and desires. How you reconcile your own views on a moral law will shape the way you live your life.

Having now reconciled and settled your beliefs one through three, you will land squarely on the question of destiny. Where do I go when I’m all done here? Make no mistake, how you answer this question will change every single thing about your life. Allowing incoherent views here, views that conflict with your answers in any prior question, will serve as a pebble in your shoe. Not just any pebble, but a jagged little dirty pebble in the shoe of a runner in a race. This pebble will be but a minor annoyance at first, then a painful reminder, then the source of injury, and eventually a festering infection. I’m not overstating for dramatic effect. I am stating a reality that the way you answer this question simply must be in absolute agreement with how you answer the ones that came before.

The great men that have come before us, the men who have set examples of living, the men upon who’s shoulders we now stand; these men had answered these questions. Dietrich Bonhoeffer comes to mind, a Lutheran minister who saw the Nazi regime come to power in Germany. Bonhoeffer had spent time at the Bethel Infirmary, a place where many with mental and physical handicaps were sent to live. As he learned of the infamous Nazi euthanasia laws to rid the German race of what Hitler called “useless lives”, he couldn’t help but think of the sweet souls at Bethel. For many reasons Bonhoeffer came to face the reality that, as he said, “it was not a case just of a deluded, vainglorious Germany. Rather, a sick man was in charge of a sick nation in a sick world”. And upon that realization, he made his decision to join the resistance. Never for a moment did he ever come to terms with Nazi power. His believing was absolute and his absolute living followed thereafter. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a real man and he was executed in a Nazi death camp for his participation in a plot to assassinate Hitler. You don’t have to agree with his actions, but you can’t help but be inspired by his resolve. Real men must have a core set of beliefs that they have honed and tested and that they will die for if they have to. You can be sure that beliefs like that will compel you to action.

I spend a good bit of time driving, from client to client, activity to activity … at least a few hours per week for sure. During this time, my mind often wonders off to higher order things, like this blog, much of it is written in my head before I ever sit down in front of my computer. I’ll admit that I am a terrible driver, that goes without saying, but there are times where I get to where I’m going and really don’t even remember much the act of driving? Can you relate? So why is that? How is it possible, given the complexity of driving? Other than the fact that after twenty some years of driving, it’s just automatic. One factor is in the existence of certain driving laws and rules that have become engrained for me. As I drive, there are lines on the road to tell me where I am supposed to be. I say, “supposed” because, for those of you who have had the misfortune of being a passenger with me, you know I take those lines as more of a general guideline. Nonetheless, the lanes are set for us. We have speed limits as well as other processes and procedures. It is safe to say that the rules of driving have been set for us and there is great comfort in that. In fact, more than comfort, there is freedom. Why can my mind journey to the esoteric as I drive? Because the basic questions of driving have been answered for me.

The same is true for our male ancestors of old. Even just one hundred years ago, most young males inherited a pretty rigid and set worldview from their fathers. More so even farther back, into the early eighteenth century, before the enlightenment, but even after that, as recent as just one hundred years ago, most young males didn’t have to struggle with the questions of worldview alone. And even those who did, the frame was given to them, and while they probably tested in the hubris of male youth, generally it was accepted as truth. The problem is that in today’s world, we have undone that. We have sacrificed the passing down of coherent worldviews upon “the alter” of open mindedness and put our young males out to drive on highways with no lanes, in a world where you have to make up the driving rules as you go. Imagine, literally, driving in a place where there are no rules, no lanes, no limits, and you must make it up as you go. That is what it is like to drive in certain parts of the world and, having driven in some of those places, I can assure you your mind doesn’t have any cycles for pondering while driving under those conditions.

It is with this post that I can close the chapter on the second main point of the revival. You may recall that the first endeavor was to convince you all that real men are the world’s most endangered species. Now the second has been to convince you that the first action step starts with you and what you believe. Being a man is about absolute thinking and absolute living. Over the next few weeks I will weave into these posts some examples of how this journey has played out in my life and how what I believe has come to shape all that I am and all that I do.

Stay tuned this week for a hard hitting, but still lighter post, on Wednesday this week. I am going to attack some “stereotypical man bashing dribble” that is circulating the internet right now and I want to make sure that you see it for what it is and that we are unified in our response to this internet fodder. One of my mentors ends each of our conversations by saying, “stay in battle” and it is with that, I close this week’s post.

Believe Something Revision

As I look at my own journey and think about where things really went wrong, the root cause of so many of my bad choices, were a few foundational things I had out of order and inconsistencies in my beliefs. But, just because they are foundational, doesn’t mean they are easy; In fact, they are intensely hard to deal with. There is a reason why so few males ever really deal with these fundamental issues, because they are so very difficult. It’s easy to focus on the outward, to get educated, build a career, to stop using naughty words. However; to take a deep dive into your very own soul and sort things out is daunting and it seems that many males put it off as long as possible, and never get around to dealing with them until pain or circumstance make it impossible not to.  It’s why many males never make the trip to manhood and so many that do, do it much later in life.

I find it odd that for all the toxins we are being warned against, there remain so many that we are not dealing with at all. Of all the influences we have declared war on, from trans fat to high-fructose, we seem to readily accept, dare I say embrace, some of the most toxic things … cognitive dissonance being the one I have decided to take on in this post.

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable and unnatural psychological state that we all seek to eliminate as we drive towards internal consistency.  Perhaps it is best explained with an example.  If I am a staunch environmentalist but drive a Cadillac Escalade and never recycle, I have created for myself a dissonant situation. This situation creates unresolved internal conflict between the things I believe and the things I do. Worse still is the sort of dissonance that comes from conflict between the very things that one believes.  So if I, for example, held to a naturalistic world view, was an atheist, and believed in evolution as the origin of man and, at the same time, believed that man is subject to some kind of given moral law that requires him to be “good”, I have created a cognitive dissonance of the highest order.  A nagging inconsistency that eats away at me from the inside.

In his essay entitled, “What is Enlightenment?”, written in 1784, Kant wrote, “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another.”   Rousseau said, “We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason.  All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man’s estate, is the gift of education.” I quote these two specifically because, in many ways, these, and a handful of other thinkers, shaped the way the postmodern world thinks, that means the way you think – whether you know it or not.  We certainly don’t lack education, yet, as you have seen in my prior posts … we do indeed lack men.  We live in a world of relativism and pragmatism of belief, we see it everywhere.  The problem is that as males, and to be men, we must have cohesion of thought and belief; our logical nature craves it! The object of our male intellect is truth and we are intellectually emaciated and cognitively constipated. I would present to you that postmodern, relativistic, and pragmatic thinking are to blame.

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”  That is precisely where we are today, we believe anything and wonder why we are incapable of doing anything. We are infected with cognitive dissonance of the worst sort and it is eating away at us from the inside out. Worse still, many don’t even know that is what at the root of many of our societal ills.  You see, I strongly believe that men were not made to be relative at all; we are designed to be absolute.  We need the absolute like we need food and water, yet somehow we’ve gotten to the point where we believe that the more open-minded one is the more intellectually astute one is.  Open-mindedness, seems to me, to be a mask worn by those who choose not to wrestle with the hard things.  For those who would rather believe anything than seek out and firm up what it is they themselves believe. Of course, that is to say that being closed-minded and being judgmental are two different things. The more I study, think, and ponder, the more closed minded I become, yet the more close minded I become the more accepting of others beliefs I become.

Our world today preaches a kind of open-mindedness that says you believe what you want to believe and I’m going to believe what I want to believe and all of our beliefs can be fluid and fluctuating and incoherent and self contradicting all at the same time and that’s just okay because it’s all relative.  A thinking man simply cannot accept this kind of incoherent worldview without taking on a great deal of uncomfortable and life-draining dissonance.  I’m not telling you what to believe.  I have my own belief system that is historically trustworthy and naturally cohesive, when taken literally and completely, and that is of great comfort to me.  So how can I proclaim to be a reformed evangelical Christian, yet seem so relative in this statement?  It’s simple; I have a deep trusting faith and deeply believe that that object of the intellect is truth.  When then intellect is truly freed it will seek out and land on truth.  I can be perfectly comfortable in this because I have explored many of the popular worldviews in earnest and found them lacking in cohesion and consistency.  I can trust that if the “men in training” among us, free the intellect from the cholesterol of relativism and pragmatism, these visages of the enlightenment, truth will be found.

But for goodness sake man, shut off the television and go on a journey find out what you believe, test it, refine it, make it consistent, and be able to defend it.  It’s time to man up and think for yourself … but think well.  That is what being a man is all about. So here is my call to action, Men … if indeed you want to be men, you need to figure out what exactly you believe. Start your journey to root out dissonance by relentlessly seeking cohesion in your beliefs. This will be the hardest part of your journey, if you don’t bother with it; there really isn’t much hope for you to make the male to manhood trip.  A real man knows what he believes and is able to defend it.  A real man holds to a core set of beliefs and will die for them if he has to.  That kind of belief leads to resolute thinking and absolute living.  No more can there be an “it depends” for us, we know what we believe and we know what we need to do.

Being on this journey is the most important phase of your metamorphosis from male to man, and it will take time. Let me tell you, things will get worse before they get better as you come face to face with inconsistencies in your current beliefs.  It will get hard when you come face to face with the absolutes that you have been running from. Choices that you have to make and stand firm to.  Relativism and flexibility can be a great comfort for guys who want to live in perpetual puberty. You will have to allocate time, time to read, time to think, and time to wrestle with life’s four hardest questions:

  1. Where did I come from (Origin)
  2. Why am I here (Purpose)
  3. What are the rules (Morality)
  4. What happens next (Destiny)

Living without these questions answered is meaningless. Living with these questions answered incoherently will fill you to the brim with toxic dissonance and a deep deep unrest.  Men were made to seek … so seek my friends … seek.

New Page Added – Start Here and Check Often

I have added a new page to the site.  This is a simple page that has two purposes. First, to provide a landing page and starting point for new members. There is a general order in which you should read the first few blog posts, so that others are in context.

The second objective is to act as an index to find all prior posts quickly without having to use search or scroll through the feed.

Visit the page here, it’s a great page to bookmark and forward to others who you think would enjoy the posts on this blog.

Someday … there will be enough of us to make a difference

att_thinks_businessmen_are_spineless

I saw a commercial on television yesterday that made my point from my prior post even stronger.  In this commercial, an AT&T Business Solutions saleswoman goes head to head with four smart and capable business women who are accompanied by their male counterpart who is portrayed as a spineless doofus not even sure how to conduct himself in public without looking first to the ladies for guidance.  This is how the advertising executives at AT&T have chosen to portray men.  Read to the end, then click on the screen shot above, or here, watch the video and see what you think.

Right now, our numbers are small, the revival is just beginning … but someday, and this is why I am so committed to this, we will be in a position to rally and react to these negative portrayals.  Someday … there will be enough of us to make a difference.

For now, how many of us, I wonder, have influence over mobile spending in our own families and businesses.  How many of us are strong, wise, and capable businessmen who look nothing like the weak doofusman AT&T has portrayed here?  I, for one, am and do!  In fact, one company I sold to another company had an AT&T account and the new parent company has Sprint.  I’ve been pushing back on the migration of the AT&T lines to Sprint for almost a year now, but somehow I think I’ll go ahead and fast forward that starting Monday.  My plan, prior to seeing this commercial, was to request that the new parent company have a competitive look at AT&T versus Sprint with a hope that both companies would consolidate on AT&T.  That won’t be happening now.  Also, I happen to be in a position to coach and advise entrepreneurs as they launch new tech businesses in my town.  Let’s just say that AT&T will be the last choice for any recommendations I make as I work with the tech leaders of tomorrow in the setting up of their companies.  Lastly, a link to this blog will be sent to AT&T corporate PR for blogger relations (the email is sbloom@connected.att-mail.com in case you want to join me) as well as the local AT&T rep who will be losing the business.

Realistically, right now, we are just a few hundred in numbers and this won’t make much of a difference.  My actions will cost AT&T just a few thousand dollars a month … trust me, they won’t even notice.  But humor me for a moment, while I dream of the day when there is ten-thousand of us and we collectively rally against companies who portray us this way.  Humor me, or dare to dream with me, about a day when some executive at some company says, “guys, pull that ad … we starting to get e-mails from those crazy guys again.”  Dare to just dream with me, or better yet, join with me.  Send an e-mail to as many like minded friends as you can think of, forward this post, and ask them to follow the blog and join with us.

Blame It On The Bronies

Welcome to the second blog post!  Last weeks post was the initial introductory post, really to introduce myself and start to frame out how I see things.  This week’s post will start the process of accomplishing two major goals.  Firstly, to convince you that real manhood is eroding and that that erosion is negatively impacting the world around us.  Secondly, to begin the process of painting a picture of what real manhood might look like.  I’m purposefully using some loose language here because there is no way I can paint a picture of manhood in one setting, and have no idea how long it will actually take.  It is more likely that today’s post will be a general overview … a single stroke of the brush, a swatch of color, on the canvas of that picture.

For some time now, I have been exploring ideas about what it means to be a real man and how different that is from the examples and pictures of men I see in the world around us.  And it’s not just me, there is something terribly wrong in the world today and it could very well be the undoing of our society, as we know it.  For over two years now, I have been reading, researching, and writing, but keeping it to myself really, for the most part, except my poor wife … she’s had to hear it all.  Several weeks ago, I saw an article that stated,  “the internet has a new kind of hero, a pony-loving kind” which went on to exclaim, “bronies are redefining fandom and American Manhood”.   In case you don’t know, bronies are grown males who like to get together and play with little plastic toy ponies.  They brush their hair, dress them, and have devised a whole little board game around it.  Having been pushed over the edge when the article identified them as heroes, I launched this blog and began to organize all of my work over the past few years into a form that it can be shared over time.

Bronies are simply a symptom of a greater illness, and that illness is killing manhood.  Dr. Zimbardo is a psychologist and a professor emeritus at Stanford University, part of the secular academy, and while I don’t agree with much of his worldview, we see eye to eye on this issue.  In his TED talk, The Demise of Guys, he quickly paints a scary picture of the state of things and ends by saying:

But who should care? The only people who should care about this is parents of boys and girls, educators, gamers, filmmakers and women who would like a real man who they can talk to, who can dance, who can make love slowly and contribute to the evolutionary pressures to keep our species above banana slugs.

Ouch!  So how bad is it really?  Before digging in to some alarming statistics, think about your own experiences.  Simply look at the world around you, the men you interact with, and the ones you see portrayed in the movies and television.  My gut tells me that your own experience will bear out the current state of manhood in the west without me ever quoting a single statistic.  But the statistics are alarming indeed.  Males are now thirty percent more likely to drop out of school and thirty-five percent more likely to commit suicide.  Two-thirds of all special education students are male and men are diagnosed, and treaded with powerful mind-altering drugs, for ADHD five-to-one.  As I make this case, I will continue to quote secular academic sources, lest anyone think this is a religious or ideological stance. A recent Psychology Today article, sums things up surprisingly well:

Overwhelmingly, the portrayal of men and male identity in contemporary western societies is mostly negative. Men today are extensively demonized, marginalized and objectified, in a way reminiscent of what happened to women. The issue of the male identity is of crucial importance because males are falling behind in school, committing more suicides and crimes, dying younger and being treated for conditions such as ADHD more than females. There has also been a loss of fatherhood in society as artificial insemination by anonymous donors is on the rise. Further, medical experiments have shown that male sperm can now be grown artificially in a laboratory. There has been a rise in divorce rates where in most cases, child custody is granted to mothers. Continuous negative portrayal of men in the media, along with the feminization of men and loss of fatherhood in society, has caused confusion and frustration in younger generation males, as they do not have a specific role model and are less able to define their role in society. From once being seen as successful breadwinners, heads of families and being respected leaders, men today are the butt of jokes in the popular media.

And now, as the pièce de résistance, pardon my French; we can simply look at a startling difference in the very definition of the word.  I had to go pretty far back into the Webster’s archives to find a definition of man that even closely resembled my understanding.  The 1828 Webster’s dictionary, definition number two, to be precise, which states:

(2) Bearing the sense of a male adult of some uncommon qualifications; particularly, the sense of strength, vigor, bravery, virile powers, or magnanimity, as distinguished from the weakness, timidity or impotence of a boy, or from the narrow mindedness of low bred men.

Now fast forward and see how the dictionary defines the word man today:

(c) A bipedal primate mammal (Homo sapiens) that is anatomically related to the great apes but distinguished especially by notable development of the brain with a resultant capacity for articulate speech and abstract reasoning, is usually considered to form a variable number of freely interbreeding races, and is the sole living representative of the hominid family; broadly: any living or extinct hominid

(d)(1) One possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood

(d)(2) [Obsolete] The quality or state of being manly

So we have gone from strength, vigor, bravery, and virility to a “bipedal primate mammal”.  But here is the best part, look at definition D, sub-definition 2; “The quality or state of being manly”, and what is that [Obsolete] in brackets?  Decidedly that definition, according to Webster, is obsolete, men still have a ways to go but we are rapidly heading that direction.   You may want reject the notion that manhood is approaching the end of the downward slope, I know I did; however, the reality is everywhere around us.  The average young male has played 10,000 hours of video games by the age of twenty, two-thirds of that in isolation, the average man views fifty pornographic clips per week and reads an average of 1.5 books per year, women outnumber men in the workforce, testosterone levels and sperm counts are at historic lows … can I stop now?  We’ve fallen asleep in the sirens lap of some tropical dream and time is marching forward without us.  WAKE UP … WAKE UP … WAKE UP!

I’ll stop here, for a moment of clarification, lest any of you jump on this bandwagon without first having a sense of where this thing is going.  In future articles, I will cover the topics of feminism, male and female differences, roles, and so in, in detail, but for now let me clearly state a few things.  I affirm much of what has gone on in the realm of women’s liberation and feminism and think that much of what Judaism, Christianity, and Islam call “complementarianism” is just misogyny in a prettier package.  I absolutely and whole heartily support the rights of women and the beautiful ways in which they are so different from us, but it stops when feminism becomes anti-masculinity, and sadly that is where we are today, and we have no one but ourselves to blame.  Unlike the women’s lib movement, we can’t look to the opposite sex and blame them for oppressing us … no friends, the problem and the solution both lie with us.

Up to now, the point has been to raise the issue, and I’m not done yet.  Over the next few posts, I will continue to raise issue after issue that I believe are fundamentally destroying our kind.  The mind numbing effects of gaming.  The links between alcohol and male estrogen increases.  Weight gain and decreased cerebral blood flow.  Porn and the rewiring of the brain.  These are issues that we need to carefully understand and make some decisions to do something about.  It’s that that will separate the males from the men.

When you are born, you are born either male or female.  There is no middle ground here.  If the sperm carrying an X chromosome fertilizes the egg, a female will be born.  If the sperm carrying a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, a male will be born.  Gender is either male or female, even in the rare hermaphrodite, the genetic composition is either XX or XY … female or male.  “Gender issues” simply don’t exist; this is one of the few areas of life that really is very simple.  I’m not talking about sexual orientation, there’s plenty of blogs you can go read on that … I’m talking about basic gender.  But, to be male and to be a man, are two different things.  It is that distinction that will be the focus of our discussion here. It is a journey that I am still on myself, it has been the hardest most wonderful thing I have ever done, and I hope you will join me in a journey that is all your own.

Next week, I have two different posts in the works.  One is short and practical, the other a bit more in depth.  The Friday post will be called, “Believe Something” and will address, what I believe, are foundational issues in what we have been programed to believe.  I will address specifically how relativistic and naturalistic world views are systematically attacking manhood and how dissonance of belief is eating away at us from the inside out.  I can’t think of a better, or more important, place to start.

Don’t forget to follow the blog, invite your friends, and find some way to man up this week.

The Obligatory Introductory Post

Several years ago I set out on a journey to grow up once and for all and was faced with the daunting reality that I wasn’t really sure what that looked like.  The more I discovered the more I realized how vastly different true manhood is from what we have been lead to believe by the world around us.  I realized that the media has it all wrong, the academy has it all wrong, industry has it all wrong, and sadly so do most of the religious organizations.

This blog isn’t about me, but since I am the author, you’ll want to know a thing or two about me; at least enough to have some context as to what shapes my thinking on things.  There are a few basic things you should know.

I’m married to the most amazing woman in the world, she is good from the inside out, and has stood by me through it all. Each of you will need to find what I call “anchors” and “motivators”, concepts that I will define in several of my first few posts to this blog.  For me, “because she deserves to be married to a real man” serves in both categories.  I understand that not every reader is married and some who are, may have difficulty finding anchorage or motivation there; however, stick with me and you may find your eyes being opened to possibilities you never before considered. Together, this woman and I, have added three precious souls to this planet.  They are still young, which also deeply shapes my views on things.

I am a businessman, for almost twenty years now, a leader, coach and entrepreneur.  I have experienced a great deal of success in this realm, and great disappointment as to the lack of satisfaction that came along with this success.

I am not perfect, never have been and never will be.  I have made so many mistakes in my life which is partly why I haven’t shared my mantastic discoveries publicly until now.  I felt totally unqualified to bring this message forward until I read this quote by Soren Kierkegaard, where he takes on the piety of the clergy:

Parsons who live by presenting the sufferings of others; and that is regarded as religion, uncommonly deep religion even, for the  religion of the congregation is nothing but hearing this presented.  As a religion … just about as genuine as tea made from a bit  of paper which once lay in a drawer beside another bit of paper which had once been used to wrap up a few dried tea leaves  from which read had already been made three times. 

There is a lot you’ll need to know about Soren Kierkegaard, an awkward man he was, but a man’s man indeed, and the topic of a whole series of blogs I have planned some time in the future.  In this quote, he was taking issue with preachers who built entire religions by preaching on the suffering of others, while having none of their own.  Soren likens that to making tea from a piece of paper that had once been used to wrap up a few used and dried tea leaves … not tea at all really!  As I read this, I realized, who better to explore manhood than someone who has mucked it up entirely, gone round, and began to discover a set of truths that work.  I accept that there will be a tinge of hypocrisy in these writings, and I, at the same time, loath hypocrisy; however, I have resolved these things in that I am writing about idealic manhood.  I know I fall short of it myself, but know all too well how much we all need an ideal to which to strive.  In my writings I affirm to ideal as well as my personal commitment to it, but make no claims that I have arrived.

I am a spiritual person and much of my discovery of what it really means to be a man is inseparable from my spiritual journey.  My spirituality can best be categorized in the Judeo-Christian vein and further as an evangelical Christian.  I cringe even as I type those words because of what those words have come to mean and how they have been abused in the world today.  Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him”.  Nonetheless, the reality of Jesus and His teachings, and the teachings He inspired, are worked into every nook and cranny of my views on manhood. I understand that not all readers will approach things from this particular world view and that is okay.  We don’t have to believe the same things, on all things, to discuss the journey to manhood; however, to understand much of my views on things you do have to be, at least, neutral with regards to Jesus.  If you do not believe in His Deity, as I do, that is okay; however, if you reject Him, wholesale, many of these concepts may not resonate with you.  The same can be said of The Holy Bible.  I’m not asking for you to believe, as I do, it the total sufficiency, inerrancy, and perspicuity of it; however, if you reject it, wholesale, I’m afraid that, for you, reading on might be a waste of your time.  Along with the Bible, much of my views have been shaped from antiquity, and I will periodically call on literature from Beowulf to Bronte and Lord Byron to Thoreau.  Old books can tell us a lot about what manhood has looked like over these many thousands of years. 

I am endeavoring to write in this way because I have come to deeply believe that true manhood is in grave danger.  In danger in America and in danger in The West as a whole.  The situation would be dire, or down right hopeless, except that by all definitions “the west”  includes Australia and New Zealand.  I suspect that the “real men per capita” (a metric I have just now invented but fully intent to qualify and quantify), is being propped up by Australia and New Zealand despite the attempts of Europe, United States, Canada, and Latin America. Of all of the battles that we have taken on so far in the twenty-first century, none, to my mind, are as important as the battle to protect a true and right definition of manhood.

And with that, I come to the end of the obligatory, first blog, for which I am so very glad.  This post was important because it has started the process to set a stage, a foundation, upon which I can build out for you some of these concepts in ways that you may not have previously considered.  The next several posts will continue to build the framework so be sure to click the FOLLOW button, at the bottom of the page, so that you will receive notifications of new posts by email.  I will also be posting notes on Facebook and Twitter as I make new entries.

My next post will be titled, “Blame It On The Bronies” and will explain the genesis of this blog, expound on why I believe manhood is in danger, and provide a practical test for maleness that I call the “full right hand test”.  You won’t want to miss this next blog.   Post number three will be titled, “Believe Something” and will address, what I believe, are foundational issues in what we have been programed to believe.  I will address specifically how relativistic and naturalistic world views are systematically attacking manhood and how dissonance of belief is eating away at us from the inside out.

I’m excited about this journey and look forward to hearing from you along the way.

-S