professor in the cage coverThe Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch

Jonathan Gottschall
Penguin Publishing Group, 2015. Kindle Edition
ISBN-10: 1594205639
ISBN-13: 978-1594205637

 

 

I downloaded Jonathan Gottschall’s The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch and started reading it the morning it came out. I stopped two chapters in, because I had to head to my boxing class.

Gottschall and I aren’t the same, but we know something about each other.

When a man on the far side of thirty-five decides to learn how to fight, he’s got some reasons. He doesn’t do it because he’s already good at it, and he doesn’t do it on a whim. He’s not trying to keep his lunch money away from the school bully and it ain’t about impressing girls.

When you’re in your twenties, if you have any sense of self worth, you figure you could to do just about anything if you really put your mind to it. After that, you start to realize that doors are closing behind you, and you can see more closing doors in front of you. Thirty and forty aren’t nearly as old as they seem when you are twenty, but they aren’t twenty, either. You can probably still do almost anything, and you can still surprise yourself, but you know that you can never go back and do some things as well as you could have if you’d started earlier. Fighting is one of those things.

Gottschall did two courageous things in the process of writing The Professor in the Cage. First of all, the man took a fucking MMA fight. That takes a plumper sack than you’ll find between four average football fans. It doesn’t matter if he won or lost. And that courage only reached its pinnacle in the octagon. As he wrote in one of my favorite passages, it would have been much safer to avoid training altogether:

“The very last thing I feel like doing most nights after dinner is getting in a series of fistfights with a bunch of twenty-year-olds — is doing anything requiring strapping armor to my genitals. But since I began work on this book , trading punches with twenty-year-olds has kind of been my job , and so I drag myself to the gym like a shift worker dragging himself to the factory. I limp onto the mat feeling tired and old, and after I warm up and get going . . . I have so much fun. The blubbery, congested sensation of incipient middle age gives way, and I feel young again, and strong. When I’ve competed well, and especially when I’ve held my own in the sparring, I leave the gym feeling so awake, my whole system revving with something purer than a runner’s high. I drive home knowing that I’ve been going through life half asleep, and I feel a euphoric gratitude for my living muscle and bone and blood.”

The visceral joy of a man being a man, of this beautiful thing that we are losing and that fewer and fewer men will ever feel or know or understand — it is right there, exposed and palpable.

The book wasn’t all like that. Gottschall’s accounts of his fears about training and fighting felt overplayed to me, and were a little cringey in spots. It even seemed like he wanted to lose his fight — like it was a kind of good-guy writer’s martyrdom. But he still fought, and I’d buy him a beer for that.

Social courage, on the other hand, is a lesser form of courage, but the metaphorical beatings come from more angles and the bruises hang around longer. If only the bitchy snipings of critics were as clean and simple as a punch in the face…

The second courageous thing Gottschall did was dismiss a lot of civilized groupfeel about gender, men, and violence. While he unconvincingly argued that manly bloodsport is no threat to the feminist project, he convincingly argues that men are and have always been more inclined to violent competition than women, and that it has as much to do with nature as it does with nurture. The increased male tendency to pursue violent competition is not merely verifiable in our species, it is consistent with animals with similar reproductive abilities and behaviors throughout the natural world. “Across species,” he writes, “most male aggression is ultimately tied to a shortage of female reproductive supply relative to male demand.” We do a lot of the same “monkey dances.”

And humanity hasn’t “evolved” past the point where this sort of male violence is no longer necessary, as many spoiled and sheltered airheads like to believe — it is simply contained and suppressed by state-sanctioned violence.

Wrapping up one of several entertaining and informative tangents in the book, this one on the rise and fall of dueling culture, Gottschall makes the point that the disappearance of the kind of honor cultures that made fighting and dueling a normal part of life is not owed so much to the “evolution” or “moral enlightenment” of modern people as it is to the rise of the efficient Leviathan. The highly policed state protects families and property, and punishes men who take matters into their own hands, so demonstrating publicly that you will stand up for yourself is not only unnecessary, but potentially more costly than doing nothing. In early America and pre-20th Century Europe, this was not the case, and it is not the case in failed or weak state pockets of the world where honor cultures thrive in various forms.

In several statements sure to be deemed heretical by his Chardonnay-sipping academic peers, Gottschall sketches out a familiar definition of masculinity that is rooted in both biology and evolutionary psychology. It’s not different everywhere, or completely subjective. The differences are differences of degree. He writes, “Masculinity is simply strength and toughness— of body and mind. There are many valid ways to be a man, things that cultures respect or disrespect, but there is no masculinity without strength.” Check. “…in every culture, men were seen as more active, adventurous, dominant, forceful, independent, and strong. And in every culture except for one (but not always the same one), males were seen as more aggressive, autocratic, daring, enterprising, robust, and stern.” Check. Further:

“stereotypes about masculinity became so entrenched for a reason: they are mainly true. To be timid, muscularly weak, and emotionally shaky is now and has always been unmasculine. Masculinity is not a cultural invention. It is not the result of a conspiracy by men against women. It is a real thing that has evolved over millions of years as a response to the built-in competitive realities of male life.”

Strong, Courageous and Able. He also notes that, everywhere and always, masculinity has been something that needed to be proved through rites of passage. Women simply became women through reproductive maturity, but, “To earn the status of a real man, not an ersatz one, a guy must prove he has the right stuff.” That is to say, he must prove himself to other men. He must earn his reputation, and be willing to defend it. He must have some sense of… Honor. The Professor in the Cage is the first mainstream book I’ve read that verifies the cross-cultural reality that the tactical virtues I listed in The Way of Men — Strength, Courage, Mastery and Honor — are the most basic components of human masculinity as a universal concept.

Gottschall also explores the connection between masculinity and violence, and the lingering desire in men to find something to fight, even if they don’t have to. He compares modern men to Don Quixote. “They conjure dragons just so they can try to kill them,” because something in them still wants to prove, “they have inherited the legacy of their grandfathers, the pure stuff of manhood: courage and strength.”

The Professor in the Cage is supposed to be about MMA, but it is more about masculinity than mixed martial arts. MMA fighters and fans won’t find much they don’t already know, though they may walk away with some academic ammunition for arguments about why they do what they do and like what they like. As a narrative about a nerd learning to fight, I preferred Sam Sheridan’s more straightforward and less self-deprecating A Fighter’s Heart. But as Gottschall and I are in the same age range, his experience was useful in helping me reflect on my own. As a book about masculinity, it deserves a place on a shelf right beside Harvey Mansfield’s Manliness and James Bowman’s Honor: A History. Like Mansfield’s Manliness, though, it ultimately seems to have been written more for women and fellow academics than for a general male audience. It’s more apologia than manifesto, explaining to “others” why men, despite strong efforts to turn them into nice little girls, still persist in being…masculine. It’s not because we fear the mystical power of women, or because we secretly hate women and want to oppress them. Men still want to behave like men because we like ourselves better that way.

I won’t ruin the story of Gottschall’s fight for you, but it is worth noting that the book wasn’t just a stunt. He may never take another real fight, but he’s going to keep training and sparring until he finally leaves the gym on a stretcher.

I’d buy him a beer for that, too.

Buy The Professor in the Cage on Amazon.

The Way of Men Audiobook

 

The Way of Men audiobook is finally finished, and it is now available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

Readers are enjoying it so far, but please be advised that there is a known quality issue with the chapter “The Perimeter.” The whole chapter is there and can be understood, but a few listeners have reported that there are a few clicks or skips. I will re-record and re-submit that chapter when I can find the time, but for those of you who have been waiting for the audiobook either to share with friends who would rather listen than read, or for your own enjoyment, I wanted to put it out there.

I hope you enjoy my narration — I felt strongly that it had to be me who read the book, since so much of it was written in first person.

As always, your positive and constructive reviews are greatly appreciated. Eventually, as with Amazon, there will be some reviewers who write “one star” reviews without reading the material, because they don’t like whatever they think the book might say. (They are probably right about that…)

I think the audiobook will help the message of The Way of Men expand its audience substantially, and while it is a lot of work, I’d advise other dissident writers to look into the Amazon’s ACX service.

A full chapter sample of the chapter “On Being a Good Man” is now on YouTube.

 

Start The World Patch

“I prefer to not to use the words, ‘let’s stop something’. I prefer to say, ‘let’s start something, let’s start the world’.

- Peter Fonda, 2011

Many readers have asked for The Way of Men-themed patches for gear bags, backpacks, jackets, cuts, and so forth. I also wanted some myself, so I created my first patch.

Life comes from Death, Creation from Destruction.  The modern world must be plunged into chaos and destroyed to make way for a new age of virility.

Spin the wheel and get the world started.

I used the upward Algiz/Elhaz rune, the elk or elk-sedge rune, to symbolize life, and the downward facing rune to symbolize death.

The first batch of 100 will ship to the Continental US only.

START THE WORLD RUNE PATCH
Price: $6

Shipping: $1
Total (each): $7

THESE SOLD OUT IN 3 HOURS 

I am ordering more, and will make an announcement when a second run is available.

I’d like to thank Justin Garcia, also known as “Master Chim,” and in Middle Earth, “Gimli,” for including me in the 100th episode of his bold and unapologetic Pressure Project podcast. Garcia had me on one of his first episodes, and since then has tirelessly devoted his efforts to talking about the failing state of American manhood and other taboo topics from a pro-strength and masculinity perspective. To put it simply, he and his guests approach the issues of the day like a man would approach them. Episode #100 is one of the best podcast conversations I’ve been a part of, on par with the Art of Manliness podcast and Mating Grounds with Tucker Max.

The other guest on the show was Thomas Kier from Sayoc Tactical. I’ve met Tom in person, so it was good to see him again at least on-screen and talk about tribalism, violence, multiculturalism, feminism, masculinity and self-reliance with him.

One thing that stuck with me after the podcast was Tom’s discussion of “feeders” and “receivers.” He uses the concept to teach an aggressive mindset, but it certainly has broader applications. In particular, it made me think of our relationship with “the media” and how, as I mentioned in the podcast, people who we wouldn’t respect in person are able to drive our discussions. I noted this a year or so ago in my piece “I’m Sorry, I Just Don’t Keep Up With The Ladies’ Magazines” for Counter-Currents. Since then, while I sometimes agree to write about a “hot topic” or get caught up in the outrage of the moment, I’ve tried to avoid “reacting” to the daily clickbait. I would never pay attention to someone like Lindy West or Micheal Moore or Anita Sarkeesian or Jessica Valenti or any of he finger-wagging SJW fags at Gawker media. Their opinions have zero value to me, and their interests are in conflict with my own. As long as we remain “receivers” of their “attacks,” we will always be reacting and defending — even when we are “mocking” and “criticizing” them. They are still calling the shots. I want to be a feeder of ideas, not a receiver. I want to produce and demonstrate and take action, not merely “comment.” To create meaningful change, those of us who see the world differently and who want to live differently need to become feeders.

I think it should be LE Voie, just on general principle…

web
Today I received my author copies of Éditions Le Retour aux Sources French language translation of The Way of Men with Introduction by Piero San Giorgio, author of Survive: The Economic Collapse. They look great, though of course I can barely read a word of my own writing, which is a strange feeling.

If you speak French, here is a spirited video introduction by Piero San Giorgio.

 

And here is a French translation of my speech, “Becoming The New Barbarians.”

I have finally started writing my new book, “Becoming A Barbarian,” though I have no idea when that will be finished. Hopefully before the end of the year.

Dollarphotoclub_69714369fbshare

This year I quit driving delivery trucks and opened my own by-appointment tattoo shop, attached to my good friend Chris Duffin‘s powerlifting gym. I’m starting to develop a consistent blackwork style, and in 2015 I should have that dialed in enough to add a tattoo portfolio to this site. I also started taking boxing classes and broke my ankle in a SAMBO but came back strong with a 510lb gym pr deadlift and a 315lb bench in the second half of 2014. Not bad, considering I also turned 40 this year. I spent a lot of time being a gym rat who occasionally writes and tattoos, but I write about men and masculinity, so standing around bullshitting with powerlifters and strongman competitors counts as field research. Or that’s what I tell myself. Mostly it’s just fun. I was kicking around competing in participating in a strongman competition for fun this spring, but some nasty bicep tendonitis in my right arm stalled my training in December, so I’m wavering.

For most of the year, I wrote monthly for RADIX, my favorite “alternative right” site, and also managed a few pieces for Counter-Currents and this site. I started Start The World, my podcast, but decided to produce it only when I had someone I particularly wanted to talk to or introduce to my audience. I was also interviewed on numerous podcasts, including Tucker Max’s Mating Grounds, Master Chim’s Pressure Project, Hangover Radio, Radio3Fourteen, Knowledge For Men, Practical Tactical, Alpha Man Project, Dating Skills Review, and probably a bunch more I’m forgetting and one recorded yesterday that isn’t out yet. I also did some interviews for international publications in Greece and Germany that may or may not have come out yet.

All of this extra promotion meant that 2014 has been the best year for sales of The Way of Men, and December 2014 has been the book’s biggest month ever (thanks in part to a boost from that viral Breitbart piece that quoted me). The Way of Men has sold well over 13,000 copies at this point and seems to be picking up steam. It came out in a French language edition this month, and there are Spanish and Portuguese translations in the works. I’ve finally started recording the audiobook, and I’ll be releasing that via audible.com in January. My book of essays, A Sky Without Eagles also came out this year, and it’s done surprisingly well.

Reflecting on my books recently has reminded me that somehow I became an author, and my books are the accomplishments I am most proud of in my life. I’m going to focus even less on writing essays and reviews in 2015, and am committed to starting and finishing my next book, Becoming A Barbarian (or something like that) before the end of the year.


Below are some my favorite projects I worked on in 2014.

 

A Time for Wolves

In June I traveled to Virginia to observe a moot and ritual with a tribe of heathens called The Wolves of Vinland, wrote about it for this site, and recorded a podcast with Paul Waggener – outlaw country singer and one of the leaders of the Wolves. Since then, the Wolves have become part of my life, and a couple of them flew out to perform a ritual with me and others here in the Pacific Northwest.

A Sky Without Eagles

Collecting my best essays, writing some new ones, recording an audiobook and drawing up the right cover art took up a big chunk of my time this year.

Start The World Podcast – Episode #5 – “Deep Conan” with Piero San Giorgio

This is my favorite STW podcast so far. The author of Survive: The Economic Collapse and I discussed the deeper themes of one of our favorite movies.

“That’s Ms. Potato Head To You – Transsexuality, Transhumanism, Transcendence, and Ecstatic Rites of Highly Conspicuous Consumerism”

In terms of style and insight this is one of the strongest pieces I’ve written.

“Beauties in Beast Mode

This had a lot of crossover appeal, in that it pissed off many groups of people, and re-reading it has me disgusted all over again about the way that men sell out men and fawn over women who do…anything. Also see my 10% Law of Female Sex Pollution, which isn’t so much an argument as it is absolute truth. So many comments I got about that post were along the lines of “I’ve seen it play out exactly like that at my gym/workplace/etc.”

“What is Masculinity?”

Making this video was the hardest thing I did all year, hands down.  Big learning curves in several areas, combined with late night shoots.

Chris Duffin’s Ourobouros Tattoo

We clocked in about 37 hours of tattoo time wrapping this Nordic wyrm all the way around a guy who walks around at about 250lbs.

“Rape Culture Isn’t About Sex, It’s About Power”

While it is true that women enjoy sex, they are also pragmatic and especially interested in safety and security. If there has been a “war of the sexes” raging throughout human history, men have almost always been the victors, precisely because they are bigger and stronger, more willing to take risks, and more inclined to be violent. Women see the potential for violence in men and they recognize that it is the greatest threat to the new order of society–their order. A majority of women in the developed world now have more political and economic power now than they ever have in human history, and this increase in status is utterly dependent on the continued pacification of men.

So they lie. They lie about male sexuality the way men lied about female sexuality.

They’re willing to trade satisfying sex for quasi-coital man-milking if it means holding on to their newfound political and economic power. They’re willing to use the tragedy of rape as a tool to cow men morally–to make normal, decent men prostrate themselves to prove they are not rapists or enablers of rape. As with “privilege,” men will always be guilty until proven innocent, and no matter what they do, no matter how they dishonor themselves, they will never be innocent enough. To release men from guilt is to relinquish power over them, and this power has already corrupted the hearts of the women who revel in it and gain from it.

Especially prescient, and even more relevant now, given recent scandals in feminist journalism like the UVA gang rape hoax and other fake rapes fabricated so that feminists could acquire more power and resources.

Oh yeah…almost forgot one of my most important essays from RADIX.

“I Don’t Care.”

The expectation that we are supposed to care about everyone’s happiness is what gives social justice warriors power. If you admit that you don’t care about their feelings, they have nothing. They don’t know what to do with “I don’t care if Barbies make girls feel bad about their bodies. So what?” Own it and tell them to fuck off.

La Voie Virile, The Way of Men, French Language EditionThe French publishing company Le Retour aux Sources has released a French language edition of The Way of Men, titled La Voie Virile.

Le Retour aux Sources has published a range of interesting books about survivalism, economics and globalism, including the work of American author James Howard Kunstler.

La Voie Virile includes a Preface by Swiss speaker and survivalist Piero San Giorgio, author of Survive: The Economic Collapse, Rues barbares – Survivre en ville and Femmes au bord de la crise. For more on Piero San Giorgio, watch his 2013 NPI speech, “The Center Cannot Hold,” or check out the Start The World podcast where he and I talk about Conan the Barbarian.

The French edition of The Way of Men also includes a French translation of No Man’s Land, which is available in English on this site for free.

I look forward to seeing how the book is received in France.

La Voie Virile

Sortie : 14 déccembre 2014
Prix public : 19,00€
ISBN : 978-2-35512-061-9
Broché : 292 pages

Here is a French subtitled version of my “What is Masculinity?” video, courtesy Le Retour aux Sources.


Qu’est-ce que la « masculinité » ? Introduction… by Scriptomaniak

Odin Illustration by Jack Donovan 2014
Strength, Courage, Mastery and Honor are the four “tactical virtues” that I used to define primal masculinity in The Way of Men.

In a band-level society or “gang,” these are the virtues that men would look for and value in other men, because men who are strong, courageous, competent and loyal make better cooperative hunters, fighters and protectors. I talk more about defining masculinity in this video, but for an in-depth explanation of my “gang” theory of masculinity and the tactical virtues, read The Way of Men.

Like many of my readers, I’m drawn to Germanic Paganism and Runes. It occurred to me that each of the tactical virtues could probably be assigned a corresponding rune.

For those who aren’t familiar, the runes come from a series of alphabets that were scratched into rocks, wood and metals by various Germanic peoples. But each rune is also associated with an abstract concept or “mystery” and also sometimes a natural form — like ice, hail or a yew tree. As such, they become a simple shorthand for a bigger, more complex idea.

This was my first formulation:

Strength     -     ᚢ (uruz)

Courage     -     ᛏ (tiwaz or Týr)

Mastery     -     ᚱ (raido)

Honor        -     ᛟ (othala)

Uruz is associated with aurochs, the now-extinct ancestor of modern domestic cattle. According to the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem,

“The aurochs is proud and has great horns;

it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;

a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.”

Aurochs were very large, with bulls reaching a shoulder height of almost 6 feet, and weighing almost a ton. Uruz works as a symbol of raw strength. I like it for any kind of strongman or powerlifting or other “beast of burden” training, and I have it scratched into my lifting belt. “Strong like bull.”

Raido means “ride” or “journey” and it is associated with becoming and, according to Edred Thorsson’s Runelore, “rightly ordered action.” In Collin Cleary’s essay, “Philosophical Notes on the Runes” in Summoning The Gods, he identifies Uruz as the “Will to Form” and links it directly with Raido, “Dynamic Order.” I’ve been personally associating Raido with technical ability and the ability to apply concepts in motion for a while.

This arrangement makes sense, but it occurred to me that the tactical virtues align perfectly to the gods themselves. The gods can be seen as aspects not only of elemental man and nature, but also as aspects of manliness as an idea.

Strength    -    Thor ᚦ

Courage    -    Tyr ᛏ

Mastery    -    Odin ᚨ

Honor is Othala– not a god, but a runic concept that in this application encloses and represents the sum of the others.

The Mannaz rune symbolizes man, so, in a formula:

Man, or (Mannaz) ᛗ = ᚦ + ᛏ + ᚨ + ᛟ

There is also an optional addition to the concepts that describe masculinity which corresponds directly to the qualities of the god Freyr.

Below are my brief rationales for linking the virtues to gods and runes. As we really don’t know exactly how our ancestors might have used the runes or conceptualized them — and even then, which ancestors? in what place? in what period? — I can only speculate and make my own associations based on what information is available. The purpose here is to take something old and breathe new life into it, and make it useful to men who are alive today.

 

thurisazThor – Strength

Thor, god of thunder and lighting, is known for his strength and muscularity. He wields a heavy hammer, Mjölnir, and when he wears his belt, megingjörð, his already great strength is doubled.

In Gylfaginning,  Thor is said to be, “the strongest of all gods and men.” When tricked by illusion into thinking he was fighting a sleeping giant, he split valleys into mountains with his hammer, and through further deception was tricked into drinking so much of the sea that it ebbed, and lifting part of the serpent that circles the world into the sky.

The rune ᚦ is called Thurs or Thurisaz. ᚦurs means “giant” in Old Norse, and it is the work of Thor to use his strength to battle giants and split their skulls.

It’s often occurred to me that “might” could be a better word than “strength” for the tactical virtue, because it seems to covers a wider range of physical capability and power — though the words are often used interchangeably. Might includes speed, athleticism and dexterity — all aspects of strength.

 

tiwazTýr – Courage

Týr is best known for the courageous sacrifice of his hand to the wolf Fenrir, the monstrous offspring of Loki and a giantess. To trick the wolf into allowing itself to be bound, Týr  agreed to place his hand in the wolf’s mouth as a guarantee of good faith from the gods. When Fenrir could not break free and realized he had been tricked, the wolf bit off Týr’s hand. He is often referred to as the “one-handed” god, as in the Icelandic Rune Poem.

“Tyr is a one-handed god,

and leavings of the wolf

and prince of temples.”

The Romans identified the Germanic worship of Týr with their own worship of Mars, the Roman god of war. Týr has long been associated with courage, martial valor, victory and doing what must be done to maintain a right order of things.

A man who will take no risks or make no sacrifices for the group when risks are necessary can’t be counted on, and his aversion to risk could actually make the group more vulnerable as a whole. He won’t hunt the aurochs or fight the enemy.

 

ansuzOdin – Mastery

Odin hung himself for nine days and nights, until the forms of the runes revealed themselves to him. He ripped out his own eye for the opportunity to drink from Mímir’s well and gain knowledge of the past, present and future. Odin has many names and aspects, but in his essay, “What is Odinism?,” in TYR: Myth, Culture, Tradition.Volume 4, Collin Cleary argues that “Odin’s key feature is his ceaseless quest for knowledge.”

“Closely connected with this is his striving for power. But these are so tightly linked that they are almost corollaries of each other. Greater knowledge — increased insight into the nature of the universe and its secrets — brings with it an increase in the ability to manipulate and to control all manner of things. So that, as the saying goes, knowledge is power.”

Odin wants to know, understand and master the world. Mastery is the tactical virtue that critics of the tactical virtues always seem to skip over.

Engineers and programmers and researchers and philosophers always seem to want masculinity to be about being an engineer or a programmer or a researcher or a philosopher. If they don’t see themselves as being strong or courageous, they tend to discount the importance of those virtues and re-stack the deck so that their own virtues are the most important ones.

Understanding, judgement, wisdom, knowledge and technical proficiency are essential virtues in any survival group — because otherwise you have a bunch of strong, clumsy guys who don’t know anything taking risks for the sake of taking risks. Mastery is technology, and technology is a kind of magic to those who don’t understand it. Martial arts require mastery. Tool and weapon making and operation require mastery. Strategy and tactics require mastery.

Knowledge is power, but without the courage or the ability to use that power — apply it — knowledge is just information. Knowledge is only useful when it is used, though having no immediate use for knowledge does not make that knowledge useless.

Mastery alone can’t define masculinity, and while Odin is the Allfather, he’s not the only god, because human life is also a physical endeavor. We are our bodies, and our bodies must survive to make the seeking of knowledge possible. To think otherwise is a conceit of the spoiled. Violence is Golden, and that conceit depends on the outsourcing of strength and courage and the protection of the perimeter to “someone else.”

 

othalaOthala – Honor

Honor, as I defined it in The Way of Men, is about loyalty to a group. You behave a certain way, make sacrifices and do things you wouldn’t normally do because you care what the other men in your group think of you. If you act like you don’t care what anyone thinks of you, you are more attached to a group than part of it. You’re a wild card. Your honor is your reputation among your peers and your commitment to them. Honor is about the “us” — those who are “within the perimeter.”

In Runelore, Edred Thorsson refers to Othala as “the sacred enclosure” and writes that, “in it is embodied the central concept of Midhgardhr and of the whole idea of ‘in-sidedness’ and ‘out-sidedness’ so prominent in Germanic (and Indo-European) thought.”

Because masculinity is both a physical reality and a way of being, a man who does not care about masculinity or being regarded as masculine cannot be masculine. Now, many men will bluster and tell you they don’t care what anyone thinks of them, but they will draw lines in the sand quickly if you start asking them to dress or behave like women in public. They still chafe at being called weak or cowardly. They still care about being seen as masculine by others, but in many cases those “others” may be absent or abstract. Men who barely have any friends at all still care about “others” seeing them emasculated.

In a globalized world with billions of humans, choosing who you are loyal to and which men you agree to be judged by is especially important, because you can’t please everyone. There are feminist men who have inverted masculine virtues to the extent that if you show that you value strength, courage, mastery and honor, they will (hypocritically) call you a coward for clinging to “old ideas” about masculinity.

Your honor is your reputation as a man among men, but because there are so many men with so many ideas about masculinity, to stay sane you have to decide which group or kind of men. Define your boundaries and close the circle, or leave yourself open to judgment by a thousand codes and billions of eyes.

The sowilo or sig rune ϟ has also been associated with honor and victory, as well as the sun. Depending on how the rune is formed, two facing sig runes can be joined to create an othala rune.

 

ingwazFreyr (Ingwaz)

It is likely that the majority of the warriors who fought and died in wars probably did not have children. A lot of them probably died virgins. Many young men have joined dangerous expeditions, war bands, pirate ships, armies and so forth with the hope of one day being able to afford a wife or children or even a regular whore. A man can demonstrate all of the tactical virtues and be regarded as an exceptional man among men, but remain a bachelor or without children. Two Odin-like adventurers, soldiers, researchers and writers — Lawrence of Arabia and Richard Francis Burton — both died without children, and they would be regarded as having been good at being men by almost anyone. I’m sure you’ve encountered fathers who appear to be extremely weak, passive, cowardly or effeminate. Masculinity can exist without fatherhood, and frequently does, and extremely effeminate men can become fathers, so fatherhood cannot define the phenomenon of masculinity as a way of being.

Still, fatherhood follows naturally from manhood, and without children, no band, gang or tribe can survive more than a generation unless it continually recruits from outside. Most men who survived long enough eventually fathered children by a wife, mistress, slave or concubine. Fatherhood is an aspect of masculinity and a role that most men eventually take on in some form. It’s not essential to masculinity, but it’s still important and relevant.

The god Freyr is associated with fertility, the harvest, wealth, peace and prosperity. And just as fatherhood is separate from but linked to masculinity, Freyr is separate from but linked to the other gods, who are known as the Aesir. Freyr is one of the Vanir, a distinct tribe of gods who fought with the Aesir until a truce was called and Freyr, his sister Freya, and their father Njörðr – a god of seafaring and wealth – went to live with the Aesir. Odin is, of course, “The Allfather,” and could be associated with fatherhood as well, but Odin as a concept is more concerned with big ideas than with home life and the everyday reality of fatherhood.

Milo Yiannopoulos recently interviewed me for a Breitbart UK piece on young men giving up on modernity and modern women.

Breitbart UK – The Sexodus, Part 1: The Men Giving Up On Women And Checking Out Of Society 

Edwin Dyga mentioned me among “heretics” in an in-depth piece on the future of conservatism in Australia in the October 2014 issue of The Quadrant, which is, from what I gather, a well-respected magazine down under.

The Quadrant – The Future of Australian Conservatism

Finally, martial arts instructor and prolific writer James LaFond wrote that The Way of Men  is to date the “most important book of the 21st Century” in his new book, Taboo You. He also offers some criticisms that I hear frequently from men who see themselves as loners and see group belonging and group-think as some kind of weakness or unmanliness. So many American men — and it seems to be mostly white men — reject group belonging and group identity because they are afraid, like LaFond, ” that any such act will obscure the elusive ‘truth’ about life that I am, like some 19th Century Gnostic nut-job, looking for.” I get it, myself being kind of a Nietzschean personality who keeps evolving.  But I also think that’s why we’ve become so powerless against larger forces and interest groups who are organized collectively. To borrow a phrase a pal of mine uses all the time, the Truth and two dollars will buy you a cup of coffee.  This back and forth between individualism and the group is the phenomenon I started addressing in my speech, “Becoming The New Barbarians” and what will really be the topic of my next book, should I manage to write it.

LaFond seems like he would have a lot of good training advice. I especially enjoyed his recent piece, “Getting Hammered In The Hood.” It dealt with some of the issues that bug me about dealing with white guys who are so proud of being “civilized.” I thought about writing a piece titled, “Your Good Manners Won’t Save You.”

LaFond has commented on many posts, podcasts and articles I’ve written (thanks!), and the “ManCave” section of his web site is well worth reading on a regular basis for anyone who is interested in men, masculinity and violence. And if you’re reading this site, you probably are.

 

 

 

The Origins of Political OrderI wrote up a brief review of Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order for Counter-Currents.

Cohesive Societies Check State Power:
On Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order

The first part of the book, “Before The State” should be of particular interest to anyone studying tribalism and pre-state societies.

The rest should be of interest to anyone who wants to better understand where modern liberal institutions came from, why they don’t necessarily work everywhere, and why they may not last forever.

Here are six quotes pulled from my own notes on The Origins of Political Order:

On Patrimonialism

“…the natural human propensity to favor family and friends — something I refer to as patrimonialism — constantly reasserts itself in the absence of strong countervailing incentives. Organized groups — most often the rich and powerful — entrench themselves over time and begin demanding privileges from the state. Particularly when a prolonged period of peace and stability gives way to financial and/or military crisis, these entrenched patrimonial groups extend their sway, or else prevent the state from responding adequately.”

 On The State of Nature

“The state of nature might be characterized as a state of war, since violence was endemic, but the violence was not perpetrated by individuals so much as by tightly bonded social groups. Human beings do not enter into society and political life as a result of conscious, rational decision. Communal organization comes to them naturally, though the specific ways they cooperate are shaped by environment, ideas, and culture.”

[...]

“For the account of the state of nature given by Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau to be correct, we would have to postulate that in the course of evolving into modern humans, our ape ancestors somehow momentarily lost their social behaviors and emotions, and then evolved them a second time at a somewhat later state in development. It is much more plausible to assume that human beings never existed as isolated individuals, and that social bonding into kin-based groups was part of their behavior from before the time that modern humans existed. Human sociability is not a historical of cultural acquisition, but something hardwired into human nature.”

 On Alpha Males

“An alpha male in a chimp colony is not born to that status; like a Big Man in Melanesian society, he has to earn it by building coalitions of supporters. While physical size and strength matter, dominance is ultimately achieved through an ability to cooperate with others.”

On The Struggle for Recognition

“Since human beings organize themselves into social hierarchies, recognition is usually of relative rather than absolute worth. This makes the struggle for recognition fundamentally different from struggles over economic exchange, since the conflict is zero sum rather than positive sum. That is, one person’s recognition can come only at the expense of the dignity of someone else; status can only be relative. In contests over status, there are no win-win situations as in trade.”

On Violence and Social Change

“Societies can get stuck in a dysfunctional institutional equilibrium, in which existing stakeholders can veto necessary institutional change. Sometimes violence or the threat of violence is necessary to break out of the equilibrium.”