The Tragedy of Young Men

“There’s a huge investment in the Western world in self-destructive young men. We need to have these tragedies acted out for us… because we want to imagine what it must be like without actually having to do it ourselves.” — Joy Division – Under Review (1:04:26).

Consider professional boxing. It has a well-known track record of multi-million-dollar, champion boxers going broke — perhaps the best-known example of which is Mike Tyson. Likewise, according to one estimation, 80% of NFL players go broke three years after within three years of being out of the league. Leaving sport aside, singers and musicians have, as we know, ended up ripped off and/or dead — Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis being among the latter group. Continue reading “The Tragedy of Young Men”

Men, Women, Violence and Hate: Some Thoughts

Recently, I spoke to a relatively large gathering on the subject of manhood and initiation — no doubt a taboo subject today that may already have one or two readers tut-tutting with disapproval.

To be clear, by “manhood” I don’t mean exaggerated, macho behavior, boozing and fighting in nightclubs, leering at women, or any of the modern cliches that society seems to think is the essence of being a man. I am referring to — and spoke about — ideas of manhood from tribal society (especially ritual initiation into manhood, which can be found in every culture from African tribes to European ones) to classical civilizations (most notably the Confucian idea of the superior man, the Chun Tzu). Continue reading “Men, Women, Violence and Hate: Some Thoughts”

Courage and Generosity

“(Wealth) is a consolation to everyone,
although every man shall distribute much
if he will, before the Lord renown be
dealt in his lot” — Old English Rune Poem.

A few years ago, I made a translation of The Old English Rune Poem. Above is the first stanza. My translation is probably slightly different to others. But, here, I’m not concerned with technicalities of language, but what we might learn from the poem.

“Wealth” — whatever we might define that as — “is a consolation.” And I would suggest, that it is a “consolation” for the fact that we are mortal and will no longer experience life as we do now. “Wealth” represents the comforts of life. Continue reading “Courage and Generosity”