Masculinity-as-cultural-construct is one of those beliefs that sounds good in the abstract, perhaps. But I think most folks, men and women alike, feel deep in their gut that it isn’t so, isn’t desirable, and isn’t working. As someone who has examined the research and history of masculinity, I find the idea of it being wholly a cultural construct utterly untenable. It is a conclusion one can reach only by willfully ignoring large swaths of the data and the human experience.
~ Brett McKay
Masculinity is not — not “entirely”, nor even “mostly” — a social construct. I believe one is free to attempt to take on whatever role one wishes. (I see that as one of the big benefits of our current level of human progress.) But if you attempt the role of a “Man”, you do not get to simply make up what you think a Man should be.
That’s where we are as a culture. We run desperately to abstraction and avoid action at all costs. Thoreau’s man of “quiet desperation” has never been so prevalent. The world is full of men who are “stuck” in life. There has been some mass paralysis. Modern man has forgotten how to take action.
~ Kyle Eschenroeder
Curious: My self-perception is that I too often charge ahead doing things. By which I mean, I should more often take some time to reflect, think-through, etc. I am frequently way off on a tangent doing something, which from the hind-sight of next year, was clearly not a good expenditure of my efforts.
Curiouser: Others tell me that I spend way too much time figuring out systems and trying to sort-out/plan every little detail of something. When what’s needed is to make a few steps forward.
Curiouser and curiouser: What if both of these ideas are perfectly correct/true?
But if aspiring was our true fulcrum, you’d be on your throne already. Here’s the truth: It’s not the heights we aspire to but the FLOOR WE PUT UP WITH that determines our place.
A good friend recently said something to the effect of, “Life is full of compromises which you cannot avoid. So don’t compromise with yourself.”
I find both of these things are very useful for me to keep in mind.
…as we flee the discomfort of the wild without, so we flee those of the wild within, estranging ourselves from the power and beauty of the uncharted life…
“The un-examined cake will bury you in a never-ending steady stream of slow debris, your life wasted in lower-order, derivative problems.”
To develop this trait favorably one should stick to a job until it is done. Form the habit of staying, not quitting. And when you do feel like quitting think of Joe who trained for the distances, or Daguerre who spent fourteen years to get a photographic image to stick on glass. Don’t be a putter-off.
The problem with human nature is that we are all prone to what might be called “virtue forgetfulness.” Our principles and values – our vision of the men we want to be — do not stay at the forefront of our minds at all times, ever at the ready to sway our choices. Instead, our craniums are so busy processing our day-to-day issues and concerns that more philosophical data ends up stored in the reserve trenches rather than the frontlines. It is for this reason that moral reminders are so effective and necessary in our lives: they act as cues in our environment that summon thoughts about our values from the back of our minds to the front, where they can influence our behavior and be brought to bear on the temptations before us.
I don’t care how much you say you love your work. If your vision is bold enough, there will soon be a point where your passion is used up before the work ends. Enjoyment does not carry you far enough when you are sailing epic waters.
Creative hoarding is different than other kinds of hoarding. You’re not withholding your treasure from others, you’re withholding it from yourself. You are denying yourself permission to take the best of what you have, here and now, and make it manifest in the world.
Wherever your life has locked you in, wherever force has failed you, put down the hammer: pick up the crowbar.