Our culture is so fucked up that it has a number of things completely backwards. It’s easier to find a doctor willing to tell you about the benefits of male infant genital mutilation than it is to find one willing to tell you about the benefits of medicinal cannabis. As this essay will examine, one of the things we currently have backwards is blaming a lack of masculinity on an excess of it.
The phrase “toxic masculinity” is bandied about, ever more frequently nowadays, as if it described an established phenomenon in psychological science. Ostensibly, the term is limited to the description of particular behaviours, performed by men, that are toxic to others or to society at large. In reality, the term is only ever used in the attempt to belittle men – or masculinity in general.
People frequently use the term with the implication that the toxicity comes from an excess of masculinity. But we live in the least masculine age in the history of Planet Earth. In New Zealand at the time of the 2013 Census, around 14% of children were raised by single mothers. When they are at primary school, 88% of their teachers will be women.
This means that most of the adult influence on boys in their formative years is female. Some boys will get to school having never seen a positive male role model or perhaps any at all. If these children are growing up to cause problems because they don’t recognise other people’s physical boundaries, it’s not the sort of problem that more femininity will fix.
The phrase “toxic masculinity” is often used to attack participatory sports, especially under the guise that these sports teach men to be aggressive, domineering and invasive of other people’s personal space.
The reality is – as everyone who has played sport knows – the rules of every game force you to channel aggression into goal-directed activity that does not harm anyone without their consent. You can’t just punch someone on a sporting field, or you’ll be sent off and possibly kicked out of your team. In this regard, the older men (usually) act as models of composure for the younger ones to follow.
Moreover, participatory sports have done more than any government initiative to break down barriers between different race and class groups and encourage them to all meet on the level. On a cricket field, a three doesn’t become a four just because the batsman was brown or middle-class or for any other reason. Masculine energy can therefore be used as a leveller in the interests of horizontalisation just as much as feminine energy can.
Our time in history is so completely feminised, and so confused, that hardly anyone even knows what masculinity is any more. It’s little wonder that some people can call it toxic with a straight face, when they have such a confused conception of it.
We’re so confused nowadays, that we have to go right back. Way, way, way back before even Jesus and even Socrates and Plato, back to the real ancients, who told us: masculinity is the ability to impose order upon chaos. Fundamentally the world is made of a feminine yin-chaos and a masculine yang-order, and in much the same way that the feminine makes chaos out of order, so too does the masculine make order out of chaos.
There are several ways that a person can impose order upon chaos, but correct conduct means that you impose order upon yourself first. This is something that is understood by every actual man, and is not understood by boys or by boys masquerading as men. They go out to impose order upon the world first, and do not realise that the strongest influence is the most subtle.
Socrates, perhaps the foremost Western example of manhood, taught that happiness came from making peace with death. Esoterically, one might describe this as imposing order upon one’s own spirit. As a previous article here has discussed, a failure to impose order upon one’s own spirit by making peace with death is akin to labouring under chains of gold, such that one becomes the slave of anyone who can credibly promise absolution.
A person who has imposed order upon their own spirit is able to impose order upon their mind also. Not being afraid of death means to not be in a state of constant panic at the inevitability of it, which means that it becomes possible to use one’s time on low-intensity pursuits such as reading. They will also be much more able to behave appropriately, on account of having imposed order upon their emotions.
It can be seen here that the common modern conception of masculinity is completely arse about face.
A properly masculine man will not sexually harass women for the simple reason that he has imposed order upon his reproductive instincts and, as such, can discharge them when appropriate, as a matter of will. His animal instincts don’t lead him – that would be an example of chaos being in control.
Likewise, a properly masculine man doesn’t feel the need to dominate everyone, or to boss them around, or to avenge minor insults with violence. He has imposed order upon his own ego, and as such does not have the same insecurities that a less masculine man would have. A truly masculine man has imposed such order upon his emotions that others can not easily knock him off balance. He is in charge of himself.
As such, a properly masculine man attracts the feminine not through force and aggression, but through attracting its freely-willed devotion. Rapists and molesters are not examples of too much masculinity but too little. A real man will have imposed such order upon his life, his behaviour and his appearance, that women will naturally want to be devoted to him, and therefore he doesn’t feel impelled to move on them without their consent.
Men who act on their impulses without consideration for the well-being of others are not “toxic males” – they are shitheads. What our society needs is more masculinity, so that young men can see examples of the correct imposition of order upon chaos. If young males are shown older males being rewarded for correctly imposing order upon themselves, they will imitate it. Thus, what we need is more masculinity, not less.
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.