Modernity And The Dormant Demi-Gods of Manhood

What would have become of Herakles do you think if there had been no lion, hydra, stag or boar – and no savage criminals to rid the world of?” asks Epictetus in his Discourses. “What would he have done in the absence of such challenges? Obviously, he would have just rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep. So, by snoring his life away in luxury and comfort he never would have developed into the mighty Herakles. And even if he had, what good would it have done him? What would have been the use of those arms, that physique, and that noble soul, without crises or conditions to stir into him action?

Epictetus wrote these meaningful and eternal questions on the issue of manhood, and, of course, on the issue of power: Power, understood under the scope of the Primordial Tradition, not as the misconstrued, politically-correct caricature of power as tyranny, corruption, or misogyny. Continue reading “Modernity And The Dormant Demi-Gods of Manhood”

The Romantic Nature of Men

I’ve sometimes been criticized by my female friends for suggesting that men might be more romantic than women. Women have to remind their boyfriends or husbands to do the little things like remembering an anniversary or Valentines Day, they remind me. Most men don’t want to go for walks along the beach at sunset, and they aren’t interested in dancing or flowers. But that’s not really what I mean by “romantic.”

The history of the term reveals something curious. From about the beginning of the 14th century, at least, “romance” referred to a story about a knight and his heroic deeds. Only from the 17th century did the term begin to refer to the “love story,” and only in the early 20th century was “a romance” used to describe a love affair.   Continue reading “The Romantic Nature of Men”

The Decline And Rise of Authentic Manhood

A friend of mine recently described a first — and last — date with a young woman he met online. Things went fine at first, but then he mentioned that he liked going to the gym and — worse still — that he felt that men should be physically strong. Although this would not offend anyone of any culture prior to the modern era, nor anyone of a non-Western culture today (masculinity is seen as normal and valuable in Middle Eastern and African cultures, for example), my friend found himself being lectured on why this was inherently evil and why he was on the wrong side of history. Continue reading “The Decline And Rise of Authentic Manhood”