Toward a core set of principles for men

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by Novaseeker on September 22, 2009

One of the main issues confronting men, as a group, currently is an apparent lack of unity about the current circumstances in which we, as men, find ourselves in the current era.

Much ink has been spilled discussing things such as the male dominance hierarchy, the inherent competitiveness among men when it comes to anything pertaining to men and women, the failure of men in the past to confront similar historical circumstances in earlier contexts and so on. It is often presumed as a foregone conclusion that any kind of broad or wide coalition among men as men (as opposed to coalitions around ideas, communities, or nations) is simply not possible to achieve to any significant degree. And certainly, surveying the neo-Darwinian landscape around us, it’s easy to see the persuasiveness of this view.

I don’t think it’s quite correct, however. Or, rather, perhaps is is quite correct, if taken in its narrow and literal terms.

It may be true that it is difficult to unite men around the current issues confronting them in a direct way, in a way that makes these issues the main focus, or even the entryway, into thinking about the kinds of challenges many of us have written about over the past few years. Perhaps the entryway, and the initial point of unity, however, can nevertheless be an idea or a set of ideas, principles or values around which quite a few men can rally as ideas that many of us hold true. We will of course never achieve unanimity around a set of ideas or values, but unanimity is not, and can never be, the goal. The goal is simply to articulate a core group of ideas, principles and values around which men can find unity and community, as a pathway to learning how to stand a bit more together as men in the current age.

What might this core of ideas, principles and values look like? At this stage, any inventory of this kind must be tentative and exploratory, open to the experiences and perspectives of reflective men, and building upon their collective inspirations and ideas. If we can articulate this, together, over time, it will certainly be as part of an iterative, and likely open-ended, process. At the outset, here, I can offer only my own reflections, based on my own experiences, as a type of starting point for further reflection, refinement, expansion, revision and clarification.

So, having said that, a few very preliminary thoughts as to some elements that might comprise this core of ideas, principles and values that can be shared by men in the early 21st Century –

*  mental strength as a core masculine virtue
*  freedom and independence of thought and action as a principle criterion of masculinity
*  personal character, exemplified by honesty, integrity, reliability, as the main indicator of mature masculine personality development
*  self-reliance, a suspicion of the use (and abuse) of state power, and personal resourcefulness as core aspects of practical masculine living in any period
*  responsibility, both personal and interpersonal, as a touchstone of masculine integrity and character, based on the foundation of masculine freedom and independence
*  openness to experience, truth and ideas as key indicia of core masculine curiosity about the world, life, and the male experience

These are only a few preliminary ideas, based on my own personal experiences and reflections. I’d like to see the thoughts and ideas of other men about the idea of core principles for men, what purpose they might serve for us at this point in time, and what they might look like.

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