If you say that brotherhood matters to you, why is your brotherhood so cheap? Why is it given so freely? Do you ask nothing in return for your brotherhood? What does your brotherhood offer?
Seeing Gen Y as “heroic” may seem like quite a stretch to some. But as Howe pointed out in my interview with him, “Remember that no one said anything about the GIs being the Greatest Generation until the very end of the last fourth turning.” No one thought the last Hero generation was anything special at the time either; it was only in retrospect, after they had fully risen to the challenge of their age, that they were venerated.
The linked article is rather long and covers a wide variety of sources and ideas — some I’d venture most “modern” people won’t be interested in. BUT, the thread running through this is very real, so I’ve pull-quoted a very useful bit for your consideration.
These days, cues on living a virtuous life are virtually absent from school or popular culture. And there are thousands of other stimuli vying for your attention. What this means is that you can’t hope to accidentally bump into cues every day that will help you remember the things that are most important to you. Instead, you have to purposefully plan for your regular exposure to those cues. You do this by regularly reading your scriptures, or personal manifesto, or books on philosophy and development, and doing other things which continually pull up all your past feelings and insights into the man you want to be, bringing them to bear on your present challenges.
Despite of all this seeming weight, a certain part of ourselves remains unmoored. We don’t lack for tasks, but we do lack meaningful ones. We haven’t made any goals since college. We don’t experience the tension that emerges in “the gap between what one is and what one should become,” because the gap simply doesn’t exist – at a certain point we stopped aiming for anything above paying the bills and checking off to-dos.
We think we want rest and relaxation – the absence of all labor and responsibility – but what we really crave is the presence of meaningful work and interests. We don’t want a complete lack of tension, but a different variety of it.
We don’t need less stress, but more of the right kind.
This piece is a clear manifesto that coincides with my efforts of the past couple years: “Load the arch intentionally!”
One guy is always happy to see me. I don’t mean well-duh-that’s-obvious happy, the way say, my mom is always happy to see me; I mean, just outright happy, twinkle-in-the-eye, “Hey there you great lug!” sort of way. This fellow gives automobile-crash hugs– WHACK and you fall over into him. His aren’t “A-frame”, I’m-hugging-but-no-actually-i’m-not hugs. I think I could back over his dog — he doesn’t actually have a dog, and I’ve never backed over ANYONE’s dog — and he would STILL be happy to see me. Consequently, it is IMPOSSIBLE to not feel better after receiving one of these greetings. It is not just me which receives this treatment. The world is a better place every time someone gets a crash-test-dummy hug like that from him.
The second guy is a Gentleman. This is a highly-intelligent, engineering-degree-from-respected-University… he knows there’s evil, and people do bad things, etc… AND he’s such an impeccably, unwaiveringly, decent soul. I have never heard him curse, or even speak ill of anyone. In fact, I have NEVER heard him even raise his voice. This is not hyperbole; I’ve known this guy decades. In fact, having talked to others who know him, no one ELSE has ever heard him raise his voice, curse, speak ill or generally be anything other than pleasant and polite. His composure rises above “great self control”, to the level of — well… honestly, I’ve no idea. I just wander around my life, thinking — how the F*** does he do that?!
(Alas, one of them recently died, and the world is a little bit poorer for it.)
These two men were best friends for — my guess here — 70+ years. One of them married the other’s sister, which as far as I can tell, only made them better friends.
I suspect that none of the above is coincidence . . .
Three things define you:
1. Your patience when you have nothing.
2. Your attitude when you have everything.
3. …and who you help whenever you are able.
Men and women may in the end be forced to admit: “I made a fool of myself,” and still be fairly happy. But no one can possibly be satisfied, and therefore no one can in my sense be happy, who feels that in some paramount affair he has failed to take up the challenge of life. For a voice within him, which none else can hear, but which he cannot choke, will constantly be murmuring:
“You lacked courage. You hadn’t the pluck. You ran away.”
And it is happier to be unhappy in the ordinary sense all one’s life than to have to listen at the end to that dreadful interior verdict.
He who knows only his own generation remains always a child.
Without male mentors, many men of this generation have felt adrift, unsure of how to deal with an indescribable but acute lack in their lives.
How did we get to the point where it is possible, as Edward Abbey put it, “to proceed from infancy into senility without ever knowing manhood?”
My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. …and it makes life so much easier.