“For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”— Rudyard Kipling
Graham Seibert recently posted an article at Return of Kings citing eight reasons why a man should teach his son to cook:
- Cooking gives a boy adult responsibilities
- Cooking is educational
- Cooks pay attention to their health
- Cooking is thrifty
- Cooks learn to clean up
- Cooking saves time
- Ladies love men who cook
- Cooking is highly social
You can read this excellent article in its entirety here, but I’d like to share another reason that my father impressed upon me at an early age.
Being a grizzled veteran of the vile divorce wars, he told me in absolute terms that someday my wife might leave me, and if I didn’t know how to cook I’d starve. Granted, there’s a bit of hyperbole given the preponderance of restaurants this nation is blessed with, but the admonition was seared into my conscience. Thankfully, the Good LORD has blessed me with a loving and faithful wife, so I’ve never had to test my father’s theory.
I have a love-hate relationship with General Jackson over the treatment of the Five Civilized Tribes and his expansion of Executive power as President, but he was a man of action and unafraid to defend any perceived slights to his honor. Old Hickory is a complicated figure indeed.
A few weeks ago an article was posted on Return of Kings that was titled Game Is A Modern Rite Of Passage That Helps Turn Boys Into Men. I’d like to briefly explore some elements of that article. Mr. Anthony begins by stating this fact:
Anyone who’s been involved in the manosphere for long enough knows about the concept of a rite of passage. For tens of thousands of years, when boys hit the age of puberty, they were forced to undergo a set of challenges.
These challenges were meant to break them down, and build them back up even stronger. These challenges were meant to test them as men, and they are collectively known as an “initiation,” or as a “rite of passage.” When a boy successfully completed the tasks laid before him, he became a man.
Our society, for the most part, lacks these rites of passage. This is, in large part, why there is such a lack of masculinity in our culture—boys are never given a chance to develop into men. We have all of these 45 year old boyish-men running around for a reason: there exists no institutionalized rite of passage in the West.
When I look back at my own life, the closest thing I had to a rite of passage was Basic Training. I’d imagine that would be the case with many men of my generation. I’d enlisted in the Army National Guard my Junior year of high school and went to Ft. Jackson, SC, the summer before my Senior year in what was called the “Alabama Buddy Platoon”. A whole platoon (and a half) of Alabama kids spent a summer setting aside racial differences, as the platoon was fairly evenly split black and white, being broken down as individuals to become soldiers. We had a Puerto Rican drill sergeant who absolutely enjoyed forcing us to sing the Hee-Haw Song: he considered us all rednecks. When I finished Basic and went back to school, it was if all my friends had reverted to Kindergarteners, but I knew I was the one who’d changed.
The author explains his reasoning of why rites of initiation are essential and why he believes that Game can fill the void:
I believe that, although it isn’t perfect, game is a phenomenal substitute for this lack of a male initiation ritual. Game provides us with many of the characteristics that you need to be a man, and it has many of the characteristics that the old rituals of the past did:
- Destroys your ego
- Requires you to face your fears
- Forces you to be decisive, in times of uncertainty
- Develops confidence, ferocity, and a strong will
While I like the aspects presented, here is my dissention with the premise: Game is largely focused on sexual satisfaction, although I’ve seen a bit of maturity beyond the original PUA mentality in recent years. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes where we are told “There is nothing new under the sun” which I wholeheartedly agree with. Game isn’t a modern innovation, it’s a rediscovery of lost knowledge adapted to deal with the dysfunctional society we live in. My disagreement on Game as a rite of initiation is that it serves as an unguided act without the tribal and paternal interaction with father and elders that are traditionally part of such rites.
I’m not knocking Game as a rite of initiation; it’s a better option for instilling manhood than almost anyone else is offering. It comes about eight or so years later than most traditional rites of initiation, but so did my Basic Training experience. It leaves early teens still wandering between childhood and adulthood without offering a guiding hand.
Here is where those of us with sons or nephews nearing that age can fill the gap. We can be the men to restore the traditions of our ancestors, which requires us to learn them. We can restore tribal identity in a morass of globalist non-identity. That means, for me at least, looking at my Welsh and Ulster Scots ancestors to see what kinds of rites they had. What did their descendants do after settling in the South? Fortunately for me, I still have a few years before my son comes of age.
In all, I encourage you to read the article. In this post-modern era, we’re all struggling to maintain tradition and identity, and Mr. Anthony’s article is as good as any other on the topic, and far superior to any progressive notions on how one becomes a man.
I want want to share with you a well written article titled Ressurecting Honor that was recently posted on By Spear and Axe.
The author reinforces many of the points that have been made on this site. I’m proud to live in the South where the honor culture still exists, but it has been greatly eroded in the past couple generations.
Once people stopped holding their honor as sacred, the world began a nasty descent into what it has become today. Men and women both view relationships, even marriage, as temporary arrangements and get married only for tax benefits or to be on one another’s insurance, nothing more. So-called “protestors” initiate violence regularly. Alleged leaders defend a would-be killer and excoriate the police officer who ended the threat.
The author goes beyond pointing out the problem and offers some solutions:
- Don’t Be Self-Righteous About It
- Treat People Like Your Life Depends On It
- Own Up To Your Mistakes…Then Make Amends
These are all areas that a true Southern Gentleman will recognize as essential to maintaining honor, and I commend the author on bringing them to our attention.
Chronicle’s most distinguished contributing editor, can be relied upon, always, to tell it like it is. He is doing just that when he writes in a blurb to Reinventing the South:“these essays are splendidly written—mercifully free of contemporary critical jargon and easily accessible to the good and serious reader.” And he amplifies this description of Professor Winchell’s work with “high intelligence joining wit, good humor, and common sense.”
Read more here:
Prior to viewing materialism through the lens of the pillars of the GentlemanProject I want to discuss the importance of creating and upholding your own personal value system. This is not a value system that is created by those around you, or by your hometown. This is a value system you create with yourself and the loved ones in your life. Creating and upholding your own personal value system is critical to your overall success, and ultimately, your happiness. We’ve all heard of the old adage, “Keeping up with the Jones”. This is NOT something you want to be a part of, because you’ll never be truly happy, or ahead of The Jones.
Read more here:
The word “meritocracy” is one which we’ve seen thrown around a lot in recent years. In theory, the word would describe the rule by those with the most “merit” (which would, on its face, seem to make it a synonym for aristocracy, but in practice this is most certainly not the case). As it is popularly used in the media and other outlets, it tends to take on a very narrow definition, with “merit” appearing to be used synonymously with “bureaucrat” or “public policy wonk.” In other words, those which our society considers to have merit are those who would more properly be classified as “experts.”
Read more here:
One of the open secrets of social media, especially groups or pages on social media platforms, is that whoever creates a page becomes the petty1 dictator of that particular piece of virtual estate. They are fief holders in a greater online empire. This applies for websites as well, but usually with a website, there is a clearer indication of who the particular owner is (the founder of this site, should it be unclear, is Jeremy Blevins, although he [I] would love to have it become what it was envisioned to be). Nonetheless, the petty dictator of a particular web presence can either be benevolent, neutral, or malignant.
Such is the case of a particular Facebook page earlier this week. A discussion was started as to creating a lapel pin for the pseudo organization and one of the members of the page (in full disclosure: me) submitted a graphic for consideration for the purpose. The owner of the page, whom I had collaborated shared with when he was setting up the page, took umbrage with my claim to the graphic, which was in no way unique, given it was based on traditional elements, and I was “called out” to give credit where credit was due, the other fellow being of the impression that he’d created the particular graphic. I posted proof I’d created it a couple years prior the page being set up, and awaited the fellow to realize his mistake and issue an apology, as surely a gentleman would. I suppose I will be waiting until eternity because injudiciously and without notification, I was kicked out of the group. Another gentleman who was a member of the group engaged the fellow in discussion on a different issue, and when the fellow was unhappy with the course of that dialog, he kicked that gentleman out of the group as well (this I cannot provide a first-hand account of, as I had already been kicked out of the group, but the other expelled gentleman shared the story). I have to be honest, were it a real organization with real people who met in person, I might take greater offense to my integrity being called into question, but it goes to prove a greater point: the relative security and lack of recourse provided by online forums exposes dictatorial tendencies, which I believe are more natural to human nature than forced and artificial egalitarian and democratic ideals.
To elucidate the point: the fellow who created the page didn’t like that I’d countered his challenge to my integrity, so he deleted me from the group like I didn’t exist. That is how dictators react. Dissidents through the world, and especially in countries like North Korea, to cite a modern example, are silenced when they speak out against the dictator. Only a benevolent dictator allows dissidents to speak, and unless that dictator is well regarded (and strong), such speech poses a great threat to the authority of the dictatorship. I’m not insinuating the fellow with the Facebook page is a bad guy, I really don’t know him well enough to make such a claim. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt. The fact remains, however, that by deleting me from the group, he has asserted dictatorial control over the message. He could still be accusing me of “stealing” the paltry little graphic, and I have no recourse to defend my good name.
So the moral of the story is this: don’t give too much credence to online communities (this one included). If you really want to associate with likeminded individuals, find a way to meet in person and share a human experience. Online forums are great, but they make us lazy and give us a feeling that we are more powerful than we truly are. Don’t hide behind a keyboard, be willing to stand up and be accountable in the real world with real men.
1In the medieval sense, i.e. “Of lesser importance or rank; subordinate: a petty prince.” (The Free Dictionary)
“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after.” Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 (ASV)
Back in 1995, Kurt Vonnegut gave a lecture in which he described his theory about the shapes of stories. In the process, he plotted several examples on a blackboard. “There is no reason why the simple shapes of stories can’t be fed into computers,” he said. “They are beautiful shapes.” The video is available on YouTube.
Vonnegut was representing in graphical form an idea that writers have explored for centuries—that stories follow emotional arcs, that these arcs can have different shapes, and that some shapes are better suited to storytelling than others.
Vonnegut mapped out several arcs in his lecture. These include the simple arc encapsulating “man falls into hole, man gets out of hole” and the more complex one of “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.”
Vonnegut is not alone in attempting to categorize stories into types, although he was probably the first to do it in graphical form. Aristotle was at it over 2,000 years before him, and many others have followed in his footsteps.
However, there is little agreement on the number of different emotional arcs that arise in stories or their shape. Estimates vary from three basic patterns to more than 30. But there is little in the way of scientific evidence to favor one number over another.
Today, that changes thanks to the work of Andrew Reagan at the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont in Burlington and a few pals. These guys have used sentiment analysis to map the emotional arcs of over 1,700 stories and then used data-mining techniques to reveal the most common arcs. “We find a set of six core trajectories which form the building blocks of complex narratives,” they say.
As many of us who’ve watched movies in the last couple decades can attest, this seems like a pretty reasonable statement. We can recognize this. It is formulaic.
Also, there are examples of lost technology that is more advanced than anything that we had up until the past 100 years. A perfect and recent example of this is the Antikythera Mechanism:
More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera. It astonished the whole international community of experts on the ancient world. Was it an astrolabe? Was it an orrery or an astronomical clock? Or something else?
For decades, scientific investigation failed to yield much light and relied more on imagination than the facts. However research over the last half century has begun to reveal its secrets. The machine dates from around the end of the 2nd century B.C. and is the most sophisticated mechanism known from the ancient world. Nothing as complex is known for the next thousand years. The Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical “computer” which tracks the cycles of the Solar System.
To give an idea of how complex this machine was, take a look at this video:
My point is this: it has taken us quantum leaps in scientific advances to recognize we’re not as much smarter than our ancestors than we believe we are. For those of us who allow ourselves a modicum of humility (which I am often accused of not having), we understand from Ecclesiastes (written thousands of years ago) that there is “nothing new under the sun”. No, Solomon didn’t have a rocket ship to Mars, our ancestors were as intelligent as we are, they just didn’t have the sum of technology to build upon that we do… or did they, and we just haven’t found record of it yet?