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Jack Donovan
Blog, Feature, STW Podcasts

All Training is Sacrifice – STW Episode #18

Don’t kill your ego. Sacrifice Yourself To Yourself.

Bruce Lee wrote that: “Punches and kicks are tools to kill the ego.”

It sounds like mountaintop mysticism, like some far-out, far-eastern form of overdubbed, white-bearded enigmatic enlightenment.

It’s become a training cliche. Whether you are training with weapons or weights, someone will eventually tell you that your ego is your enemy.

The problem with that is, your ego is also — you.

People tell you to kill your ego because they want you to get out of your own way. They want you to stop acting like you already know everything, because by seeking out training, you’ve already acknowledged on some level that you don’t know everything.They want you to leave your status or perceived status in the world behind, so that you can submit to the learning process as a student — with no chip on your shoulder and nothing to prove.

They want you to train with humility and avoid hubris — an ancient Greek concept describing a man who overestimates his own power or status and brings himself into conflict with natural law, which is, from a mythopoetic perspective, the will of the gods. His hubris eventually leads to his downfall. In the case of training, a man’s hubris makes it more difficult for him to learn and grow as a practitioner — his hubris becomes the cause of his stasis.

Conceit, hubris, arrogance…this kind of ego-tism is only one negative connotation of the word ego, which also describes a much broader concept of self.

“Ego” is actually a Latin word for “I,” sometimes translated as “I, myself.”

The Twentieth Century use of “ego” in English to mean “self” stems from the psychoanalytic work of Sigmund Freud, who used the simple word “Ich,” also “I,” in German. This seems less editorial and more in keeping with the Latin “I, myself.”

In the Freudian model, the super-ego, or Über-Ich is the ego above and beyond the self. It’s the part of the conscious and unconscious self that absorbs and processes collective identity as well as the demands and the norms of the group, culture, society — tribe.

If you train on purpose — if you train because you want to train — your training is driven by the ego.

sidebaradVoluntary training is endured in the service of the ego, with the ultimate purpose of validating the ego, increasing self worth and improving social status. You train because you believe that you are good enough to be better, and worth improving. Or perhaps you see yourself training for the sake of others, for the group, to protect them or fulfill a role you believe you are good enough and able to fulfill. If you train for honor — to be worthy of your peers, your ancestors, your gods — you train because you believe yourself to be capable of honoring them. (1) This too, is a product of your ego.  

The ego, in both the broadest and the psychoanalytic sense, describes your conscious mind. It makes up the bulk of your “I” or “Ich.” Your ego is what separates you from dust in the wind. It’s the part of your mind that is awake, sentient, self-aware. To whatever extent you are the master of your own fate and the captain of your soul, the “you” is your ego. It is your ego — inseparable from any knowable version of “you” — that perceives and processes information about the world around you, evaluates that information, and selects a direction or course of action. It is the ego that manifests will.

Men train in the service of a higher version of the self, imagined and willed into existence by the ego. Training is self-creation — becoming — not self-destruction.

The aspects of the ego which must be destroyed or contained in training are self-imposed scripts and limitations and habits which may impede the progress of your self-development.This is a pruning of the ego — a sacrifice of old growth to stimulate new growth.

This pruning may be painful as you clip away or brush aside cherished ideas about the talents or even perceived limitations that you believe make you special.

People seem to take almost as much pride in the untested reasons and rationalizations they’ve dreamed up for why they can’t learn in a certain way or do a certain thing as they do in untested delusions of grandeur — especially in this slave age that prefers victims to victors. Often, their perceived limitations are like those of a boy who believes he can’t swim or doesn’t like swimming because he fell in a pool once and didn’t know what to do.

The world is also full of men who want to tell you how much they used to lift or how fast they used to run, before they got “old” or suffered some injury that elite athletes work through all the time. “Limitless potential” is a fantasy, but most people set their own limits long before they come anywhere close to the top end of their potential.

While some believe they can’t when they can, many others believe they could when they probably couldn’t. Millions of doughboys overestimate their ability to fight because they won an altercation in high school once — or worse, because they’ve watched a lot of videos of fights and think they “have a pretty good idea of what they’d do.” You can find them second-guessing professional fighters and quarterbacks in bars and in front of television sets all around the world.

To truly become the kind of men who know they have the ability and the conditioning to do what these men merely believe they can do, these couch captains would have to abandon their self-authored fictions about themselves. They would have to go through a process of failing and looking stupid before they even started to look like they knew what they were doing — much less became truly capable of performing as they’ve imagined.  

To train successfully, you must be willing to sacrifice portions of your present self-concept to a future, higher version of the self created by your ego. It is your ego, god-like, that is initiating and driving the process of self-transformation and becoming. This process requires you to exchange something you have for something you want. Nothing worth anything is truly free, and everything worth having requires some kind of sacrifice.

Instead of “killing your ego” — instead of fighting yourself — approach training as a sacrifice of a part of yourself to a higher self.

This is the way of Odin.

Odin is usually depicted with a missing eye, because he sacrificed one of his own eyes to the giant Mimir in order to drink from his well of wisdom. He sacrificed a portion of his superficial sight for a deeper, higher way of “seeing.” .

In another tale, Odin disguised himself as a farmhand and labored through a growing season, doing the work of nine men to gain access to Óðrœrir, the mead of poetry and inspiration. To get the mead, the hooded wanderer eventually had to seduce the giantess Gunnlod, whose name translates roughly to “invitation to battle,” and slam her out for three nights in a row. (It must have been a rough three nights.)

Odin is perhaps best known for his self-directed ordeal hanging from the world-tree Yggdrasil, wounded by what was (presumably) his own spear. After hanging without food or drink for nine nights, the runes reveal themselves to him, and from them he gains magic and a greater understanding of the universe.

While this scene is superficially Christ-like, and it makes sense to wonder how much Christian imagery and intent colored any of the surviving stories of pre-Christian European pagans, the stark difference here is in Odin’s motivation.

The spirit of Odin’s ego-driven self-sacrifice is captured in the following lines from the Hávamál:

og gefinn Óðni

sjálfur sjálfum mér

a sacrifice to Odin

myself to myself

 

The Hávamál is known as “the sayings of the high one” — sayings attributed to Odin himself. The majority of the first 138 verses pass down practical advice for living, as if from a grandfather or a wise old king. These lines about the sacrifice of self to self are found in a distinctive portion of the text that reads as if the speaker has slipped into a trance. In this dream state, the high one recalls his initiation into the mysteries of the runes, through starved meditation, while hanging from the world tree (2):

 

Veit ég að ég hékk

vindga meiði á

nætur allar níu

geiri undaður

og gefinn Óðni

sjálfur sjálfum mér

á þeim meiði

er manngi veit

hvers hann af rótum rennur

*

Við hleifi mig seldu

né við hornigi

nýsti ég niður

nam ég upp rúnir

æpandi nam

féll ég aftur þaðan

I know that I hung

on a windy tree

for nine full nights

wounded with a spear

a sacrifice to Odin

myself to myself

on that tree

which no man knows

from what root it runs

*

None made me happy with loaf

Or with horn

I looked down below

I took up the runes

Screaming I took them

And then fell down from there

 

Odin’s martyrdom is a self-martyrdom, done in the service of no one but himself, for reasons of his own. He sacrifices himself to reach a new level of understanding, and through that understanding becomes a higher version of himself.

Odin acknowledges that he doesn’t know everything, and instead of sitting on his throne sipping mead and marveling at his own creation, he pushes himself out of his own comfort zone and forces himself to do what he believes to be necessary to know more and become better. The Allfather could easily compare himself to other gods and humans and all of the lesser creatures, and be satisfied. But Odin doesn’t measure himself against others, he measures himself against himself.

The opposite of Odin wouldn’t be a giant or a dwarf or a man — or even the wolf who swallows him and ends his life. Odin’s opposite would be the person who tells you to “just be yourself” or to “be happy just the way you are.”

The story of Odin is a challenge and a reminder that no matter who you are or what you’ve achieved, you can do more, learn more — you can make yourself better in some way.

The practice of Odinism requires no worship of Odin with kneeling prayers.

One who practices Odinism acknowledges the worthiness — the original meaning of the Old English word, “weorðscipe” — of the Odinic ideal by embodying Odin. A man becomes Odin by acknowledging the worth of the way of one who is always seeking, always improving, always willing to sacrifice a piece of himself to become more, to become better, to do more.

All training requires some kind of sacrifice of self to self. Of something you have for something you want. Of something you want to do now for someone you want to be later. It may even be a part of you that you cling to, some idea about yourself that you’ll have to give up temporarily or permanently, because it is preventing you from becoming who your ego believes you can become.

When you’ve decided what you want to learn or what you want to do or how you want to transform yourself — work to remove the internal obstacles that are preventing you from achieving mastery or realizing that goal.

Be the loosener your own fetters.

Determine what you have that you need to give up — time, money, work, habit, comfort — and sacrifice it on the bloody altar of that vision.

When you are tempted to feel burdened or victimized by the hunger of your vision for sacrifice, remember that you are the visionary — the father of it all.

You are the god, the priest, the slaughter and the harvest.


(1) For more on training for honor, read my essay, “Train for Honor” in the collection A Sky Without Eagles.(2014)

(2) The translation is mixed and simplified, based on the comparative work done here:

https://notendur.hi.is/haukurth/norse/reader/runatal.html.

I’ve done my best to mimic the reconstructed Old Norse pronunciation in the recorded version on that page, albeit with my own quirks and dramatic inflections. Following the example of Paul Waggener, I’ve made this a part of the opening of every Wolves ritual I conduct.

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No One Will Ever Make America Great Again

Donald Trump Isn’t Your Daddy, And He Can’t Fix What’s Broken In America

British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos frequently refers to Donald Trump as “daddy.”

Milo introduces himself as, “the most fabulous supervillain on the Internet,” so calling a Presidential candidate “daddy” is consistent with his own quirky brand of camp conservatism.

I don’t know of anyone else who calls Trump “daddy.” But when I see my peers caught up in stadium-style slave wave that is ready to crown a shifty, wheeling and dealing New York City businessman as America’s savior and “emperor god-king”…

…“daddy” does seem uncomfortably appropriate.

The incontinent progressive mainstream would have you imagine Donald the “daddy” as the paternal leader — or Führer, as they put it once upon a time in Deutschland. However, Donald Trump is no artist, and his vision for American Greatness seems to be far less grand, let alone “great.”

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All They Have Is Fear

Progressives use every man’s natural fear of showing fear to manipulate him — inventing fake “phobias” and implying he is afraid of everything they want.  But what men are truly afraid of are the legal, social and financial consequences associated with challenging the progressive agenda. 

To listen to the audio version of this essay as a special STW podcast, scroll to the bottom of this page.

 


Progressives only have one good trick, and men keep falling for it.

They keep calling you a coward, so that you’ll do or say whatever they want to prove that you are not a coward.

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Feature, Reviews

The Professor in the Cage

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.

Odin Illustration by Jack Donovan 2014
Blog, Essays, Feature

The Way of Men, Gods and Runes

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.

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Wolves of Vinland
Blog, Feature

A Time for Wolves

The Wolves of Vinland are Building a Tribe Outside the System

Wolves of Vinland - Grimnir

Grimnir oversees a fight at Ulfheim.

Brothers will battle to bloody end, and sisters’ sons their sib betray; 
woe’s in the world, much wantonness; 
axe-age, sword-age — sundered are shields — wind-age, wolf-age, ere the world crumbled;
will the spear of no man spare the other.
 
— “Völuspá”

Grimnir moved barefoot through the dirt at Ulfheim like he didn’t know he wasn’t wearing cowboy boots.

He rolled his shoulders, shook out his neck, and called out to Frejulf. This would be Grimnir’s third match of the day, and it wouldn’t be his last.

Frejulf seemed chipper for a kid who knew was about to get his face fucked up. He was a junior patch member of the Wolves, and this was going to be a disciplinary beatdown. Grimnir, leader of the Lynchburg chapter, had promised that if Frejulf didn’t get some extracurricular mixed martial arts training within a few months, he would show him why he needed it. Frejulf knew his time was up.

A red bearded patch with an algiz ᛉ rune tattoo on his freckled shoulder started picking out a tune on the banjo.

Grimnir and Frejulf touched their MMA gloves. Then hoots, hollers and brawling.

The fight was over in less than a minute.

Frejulf had blood on his face when he got up. He looked a little dazed, but he was smiling. He’d taken his medicine like a man, and hadn’t made too bad of showing — all things considered.

Paul Waggener, who you know as Grimnir, gave him a quick hug and a pat on the back.

Ulfheim

Ulfheim

There’s this video making the rounds designed to convince people that the worst thing you can tell a young male to do is “man up.”

It’s far worse to let a young men luxuriate in his own tears and fears and fantasize that he’s something special for doing nothing special. That’s a degradation of his spirit and a waste of a perfectly good Y chromosome.

A fat lip is just a fat lip.

Grimnir grabbed a wifebeater, cleaned the mud off his face and called out for a prospect to bring him a beer. He looked on as the fights continued. A few more serious matches, and a lot of light sparring. Another bloodied smile, a mild concussion and some vomiting. All in good fun.

Grimnir told me that the fighting was just a warmup for the main event at dusk. His brother, Jarn-nefr, who runs the Wyoming chapter, added later that the greatest achievement of the Wolves has been their ritual practice.

The Wolves of Vinland officially identify themselves as “a tribe of folkish heathens.”

About seven years ago, Grimnir and Jarn-nefr were running a black metal venue in the Lynchburg, Virginia area, and they decided to start a regular Viking theme night. They drank beer, played Icelandic folk music, and started reading the Eddas. As more of their friends became interested, they decided to move things outside. The Wolves started holding regular sumbels in a National Park.

The sumbel is a common practice in Germanic paganism, derived from ancient texts like Beowulf, Lokasenna and Heimskringla. Sumbel loosely means “feast” or “gathering” and often involves “boasting” or “toasting” with drinking horns filled with mead.

As the Wolves entered their second year, the guys started wrestling at sumbel, and some of the members started wearing motorcycle gang style “battle jackets.” From the initial “come one, come all” approach, a natural hierarchy and sense of collective identity emerged. The men felt the need to determine who was “in” and who was “out.” Oaths of loyalty were taken, and new members were filtered through a prospecting system. As Grimnir said to me, “why hang out with just anyone?”

Jarn-nefr and a prospect after a grappling match.

Jarn-nefr and a prospect after a grappling match.

By the end of the third year, the current system was more or less in place, and all new members had to be voted in unanimously at the Lynchburg group at Ulfhiem. The Wolves have members in eleven states and a handful of international prospects. They’ve been denounced as “luckless bastards” by some more “settled” heathen organizations, so they decided to make a joke of it. Several of the Wolves wear “luckless bastard” patches on their battle jackets.

Ulfhiem is a 12-acre property owned by the Wolves. There’s a small cabin, a tool shed, and a structure for smaller fires where music is played. In 2013, the group crowd-funded the construction of a massive longhall, which is almost finished. The majority of the group’s activities, however, are funded by dues.

The afternoon of fighting was part of the Wolves’ monthly “moot” — a word with deep Indo-European roots that means “meeting” or “gathering.” It’s where “moot point” comes from. Originally, “moot point” meant an issue that needed to be resolved by an assembly of a people, but has come to indicate an issue already resolved and therefore irrelevant. Part of the moot’s purpose is for patched members of the Wolves to discuss official business. At some point during the afternoon, Grimnir called them over and they disappeared to vote on patching in a new member — and other subjects unknown to outsiders.

As Sköll chased the sun across the sky, I joined some of the prospects at the top of a hill. They were cutting themselves and using their own blood to draw runes and sigls on a large piece of white fabric. It was the sail for a fifteen or twenty foot long mock wooden ship they’d built earlier. I helped them fill the hull with branches for the night’s ritual — a yearly celebration of Baldr’s funeral.

Baldr's Ship

Baldr’s Ship

The women of the tribe prepared food and we ate as home-brewed mead and beer were passed around. Grimnir joined a few of the other musicians and played country music. A couple of kids had their own wrestling matches. Everyone was restlessly waiting for dusk. As golden hour approached, a tall guy with several runic brands on his lanky frame came over to talk to me about the ritual. His name was Finnulfr, and he’d given a workshop on sigils earlier in the afternoon. He invited me to come down and “get crazy” with the guys in their ritual pre-funk.

Grimnir handed me the end of a bottle of home-brewed mead and told me to kill it. It was deliciously dry compared to the sugary meads I’d tasted in the past. I followed him and a few others into the woods and down a hill to a place called the Ve. There was already a small fire going, and Finnulfr and the others were busy preparing for the ritual. It was almost dark, and the failing light beyond the crackling fire of the Ve seemed cold and blue. Three black, rune-painted drums were beaten in a steady, ominous rhythm. The men took off their cuts and shirts and passed around a bowl full of black ash, blood and  mead. Each Wolf smeared it on his face, chest and arms. One of them asked me to draw algiz on his forehead. I wasn’t sure how much I should participate as an outsider, but I was glad when he smeared the black goop across my face in some unknowable configuration.

After they’d all anointed themselves, they gathered around one of the drums and started a group death drone that sounded a bit like low Mongolian throat singing. Different men picked up different registers, adding growls and howls to an otherworldly mix of primal sounds.

This is the point where you decide whether you want to remain a smug “objective” outsider, or allow yourself to be moved by the experience and become part of it. You decide whether the movie is good enough to lose yourself in it.

I wanted this experience. I traveled across the country for it. I closed my eyes for a while and let go.

Somewhere between the drums and the hums and wild throat singing, out here in the darkness, we folded into the headspace of our barbarian fathers. Men, magic and nature were all the same thing, and the world was alive again.

After a few more minutes, the drumming reached a climax and stopped. The men got up and there were embraces and pats on the back and shoulder and the hand-to-forearm handshake the Wolves favor. There was some joking and quiet laughter, but the Wolves reminded each other to keep the mood.

I was seated beside an eight foot wooden stretcher covered in black cloth that symbolized Baldr’s corpse. Grimnir came over and handed me a plastic milk jug full of wormwood-infused homebrew.

“This should get you in the mood.”

I took a few pulls, but Grimnir and Lyðulfr insisted that I keep chugging it until I’d swallowed what I’d guess was at least a full pint. I drank until they were satisfied and joked about being an old man, but the truth was that I wanted to make sure I’d be able to remember the night.

It was whispered that we had about twenty minutes before the actual faining would begin. Finnulfr explained later that it was called a faining instead of a blot because no sacrificial blood would be spilled during this particular ritual. Some of the guys relaxed, and some of them focused on final preparations. Grimnir, Jarn-nefr, Finnulfr and Lyðulfr had each prepared readings for Baldr’s funeral and they quietly coordinated them.

The story of Baldr’s death, harrowing and rebirth comes from the Völuspá in the Poetic Edda, was developed in the Gylfaginning in Sturluson’s Prose Edda, and was retold by poet Matthew Arnold in 1855.

Baldr was the son of Odin and brother of Thor. As the god of light and purity, he was known as the most beautiful of all the gods. He and his mother, Frigg, dreamed of his death, so Frigg asked all of the plants and animals and stones to swear they’d never hurt him. She overlooked the mistletoe, because it seemed harmless and too young to swear. Because nothing could hurt him, he became invincible, and the gods made a game of hurling things at Baldr — knowing he’d be unharmed. Loki, ever mischievous, made an arrow (or a spear) of the mistletoe, and gave it to the blind god Höðr to shoot at Baldr. When he shot the arrow, Baldr fell dead.

The gods wept and placed his funeral pyre on a ship to burn at sea, “for that is what the dead desire.” In death he went to the underworld, with Hel, and although his mother tried to broker his release, he was forced to remain there until Ragnarök, the end of the world. After the other gods die and the giant Surtr sets fire to the world with his flaming sword, Baldr will be released from the underworld and begin a new age with the survivors of the cataclysm.

The story of Baldr is a story of hope and the rebirth of beauty and purity following an age of darkness and despair.

Baldr's Funeral Pyre

Baldr’s Funeral Pyre

We saw lights following the path down the hill. The drums started up again and everyone took their places. The women and other members of the tribe gathered above the Ve.

When everyone was settled, Finnulfr called out the directions with a spear — invoking the land spirits, gods and ancestors. Grimnir, Jarn-nefr and Lyðulfr gave fiery, nearly Nietzschean speeches about self-overcoming through discipline and will, and increasing the honor of the group by becoming a higher version of oneself. Grimnir reminded the assembled heathens that they were in a place “out of time,” consciously revolting against the modern world and becoming a different kind of man. He spoke about the evils of the encroaching world and concluded that it was a good time to be a wolf, because the future belongs to wolves. Lyðulfr spoke about the rebirth of Baldr and knowing that light will come from darkness. He ended his grim, pagan sermon by shouting “LONG LIVE DEATH!”

After all of the men had spoken, Jarn-nefr introduced a prospect who had travelled from Wyoming to moot. He was a tall, solid guy with white-blond hair. I’d watched him win a boxing match earlier that day. Jarn-nefr wrapped a wolf skin around his shoulders and directed him to a stone podium to read out his oath to all and become a full member of the Wolves of Vinland. His name was “Ref the Fox.”

At that point Finnulfr and the others “loaded” some mead with galdr, meaning that they sung sacred songs over it. The women of the tribe took the sacred mead around the group and filled each horn with enough for one toast to the gods. After drinking, we each spit in a bowl that was passed around, and the contents of the bowl was poured out onto the ground.

Jarn-nefr initiated the procession back up the hill, and told everyone to prepare their thoughts for sumbel and take a moment to be sure their words would be “worthy of the gods.”

The Wolves carried Baldr’s body carefully and somberly up the switchbacks, and laid him on his pyre.

We gathered in a circle around the ship, and sumbel was held, with toasts made by all to gods, heroes and ancestors followed by a round of more personal boasts and oaths. Some toasts were serious, some were grand, some were sad, and some were funny.

When we’d gone around the circle three times, someone placed a rune-painted plaque in front of Baldr’s corpse. Some words were spoken in his honor, and Jarn-nefr set the ship on fire. We watched the conflagration grow from a light crackling of hay bales and branches to a blazing bonfire with flames jumping fifteen or twenty feet in air.

Baldr's Burning Ship

Baldr’s Burning Ship

The tribe dispersed, with folks going back to the smaller fire to check on children or to grab musical instruments or more booze. Several songs were sung in unison, including the Wolves’ own battle hymn, “I’m A Good Old Rebel” and some old seafaring tunes. I pulled out a pack of cigars, offered one to Grimnir and a couple of the other guys. We smoked them by the calmed fire, which still glowed in the outline of a ship. Grimnir put the moves on an unattached female and disappeared into the woods. Some of the Wolves retired to tents, some to cars and some just passed out in the dirt next to the glowing coals.

The Wolves wouldn’t want me to trivialize my experience by comparing it to something as bougie as a television show, but I have to admit that my time at Ulfheim felt like a cross between Sons of Anarchy and the Vikings.

The exception is that, unlike those shows, Ulfheim is not just a set up for another go-girl narrative or another hair-pulling drama between women. What happens at Ulfheim is designed to create authentic brotherhood between men. It’s about escaping to another world, not just for an hour or even a day, but for good. The Wolves of Vinland are becoming barbarians. They’re leaving behind attachments to the state, to enforced egalitarianism, to desperate commercialism, to this grotesque modern world of synthetic beauty and dead gods. They’re building an autonomous zone, a community defined by face-to-face and fist-to-face  connections where manliness and honor matter again.

If they can do it, what’s stopping you?

——————————-

The Way of Men - Buy Now on AmazonJack Donovan is the author of The Way of MenHis latest book is a collection of essays, titled A Sky Without EaglesTo read more of his work on masculinity and tribalism, visit www.jack-donovan.com/

 

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Zompocalypse Now

America’s Training Wheel Tribalism

Zombie Home Alone. © Jack Donovan, 2012Part I: “Zombies Are People, Too”

A few decades ago, only B-movie buffs and Michael Jackson cared about zombies. Now, there’s no escape from the undead. From feature films, popular TV dramas and comic books to Zombie walks, pub crawls and 5ks, the people want zombies like zombies want brains. America’s growing appetite for zombietainment has been called a commentary on cubicle life and brain-dead consumerism, and it’s been attributed to fears of economic instability and bioterrorism, but those explanations don’t quite cut it. Zombies aren’t like other monsters or aliens — they’re other people who suddenly turn on us. It’s because zombies are humans who become sub-human that the “Zombie Apocalypse” has become America’s safest shorthand for our most taboo tribal fantasies.

GUNS DON’T KILL ZOMBIES, PEOPLE KILL ZOMBIES

Last week, my gun-nut pal came back from the magazine rack with a copy of the premier issue of Zombie Nation. Intermedia Outdoors — the company that publishes Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times and Bowhunter — dreamed it up to cover the growing zombie niche of the weapons trade.

That’s right; gun manufacturers are producing real guns to appeal to people who want to protect themselves from imaginary monsters. And they’re coming up with some pretty cool shit.

Take, for instance, the “Zombie Muzzle Thumping Device” (ZMTD). For 200 bucks, you can attach it to the end of your assault rifle and use it to stab a zombie in the face in case you run out of ammo — or don’t want to make noise that would attract more zombies. You can get it from Specialized Tactical Systems, or you can just buy the complete “Zombie Slayer,” a “uniquely zombie” AR that ships with the ZMTD and a copy of the Zombie Survival Guide.

Mossberg has come out with the ZMB series of zombie-themed pump-action shotguns for your Zompocalypse needs. The editors of Zombie Nation argue convincingly that shotgun ammunition will simply be easier to obtain in the end times, because military and law enforcement will consume most of the NATO-spec ammunition while fighting the initial outbreaks.

The producers of the classic USMC KA-BAR knife have put out a line of bladed weapons with toxic-green grips.

There’s also a fully functional zombie-killing chainsaw that you can attach to the end of your AR to “cut through a cord of firewood” or “chew through the rotting flesh of the reanimated dead.”

What’s more, Valkyrie Armaments has developed a series of mods for your AR-15 to help you determine for yourself if happiness really is a belt-fed weapon. Zombie Nation assures us that their goal wasn’t to create a “civilian-legal machine gun.”

Of course it wasn’t. Don’t be ridiculous. What kind of decent red-blooded American man would want to own a thing like that?

 

To get you in the end times spirit, Hornady has come out with a line of zombie-themed ammunition. In cooperation with the National Guard, they’re also hosting a “Zombies in the Heartland” shooting event in Nebraska this July.

Companies are selling zombie-themed shooting targets (there’s a freebie foldout in Zombie Nation) and even zombie dummies that bleed when you shoot them. (Undead character options include “The Ex,” the “Terrorist,” and of course… the “Nazi.”)

Zombies may be completely fictional sci-fi monsters, but rest assured that all across the heartland, God-fearing Americans are preparing to blow them to smithereens…just in case.

BUT WHY ZOMBIES, AND WHY NOW?

Writing for Alternet, Kristin Rawls recently supposed that Zombiegeddon was the greater of two evils, an imaginary external “doom that we cannot possibly defeat,” contrasted with an “impending self-destruction” that “offers us a shred of agency.” For Kristin, zombieland is a wanton escape from the overwhelming moral burden Americans must feel in a world with “diminished standards of living and growing inequality.” She also believes zombie fantasies actually ease our fears and anxieties about an uncertain future because the prospect of social, political and economic decline isn’t quite as terrifying as rotting corpses clawing their way into our condominiums.

Isn’t that cute?

What Kristin Rawls is either too naïve and solipsistic to comprehend or too uncomfortable to mention is that not all Americans are so deeply troubled by inequality or the coming collapse. Not everyone navigates solely by guilt and fear.

My guess is that for every smug, spoiled liberal rending her earth-friendly active wear and gnashing her privileged teeth over each and every HuffPo headline, there’s a guy out in ‘Merica whose pants got a little tighter when he heard about those homeless dudes caught chewing off each other’s faces.

“Is it finally ON?”

Zombie Nation and Mossberg aren’t catering to the people planning to face the end times sobbing with their heads in their hands, wondering what they could have done differently. This isn’t about the red wine and Seconal set.

It’s about people who see the same problems in the world, but see in civilizational collapse an opportunity to fight for their own survival. Even as they fear disaster, they crave it. The tagline for The Walking Dead comic is, “In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.” Our world offers measured indulgences and meaningless distractions; the Zompocalypse promises meaning and life-or-death immediacy.

ZOMBIES ARE PEOPLE, TOO

For most of human history, survival wasn’t a “human right” owed to you by some benevolent bureaucracy; it was something you worked for — something you had to fight for. Humans have always wondered what they would do if outsiders came to kill them — if the “shit hit the fan.” Survivalists are often treated like tinfoil hat crazies or dangerous psycho gun-nuts, but what they are doing is the most natural thing in the world.

My pal reminded me it wasn’t so long ago that folks in the NRA’s demographic were waiting for the Russian invasion and World War III. During the Cold War, the Russkies were our sworn enemies. It was OK to talk about Russians as if they were all Bond villains and lab rats who bled pure evil. Now, the Russians are just foreigners, and we’re fighting Muslims — but we’re killing them to win their “hearts and minds.” We’re not supposed to hate them or treat them like they are really our enemies. The general idea is that there are bad Muslims and good Muslims and we’re all supposed to agree that the bad Muslims are merely “misinformed” or “confused” about their own religion and what kind of lives they want for themselves.

These days, actually saying that you want to kill any people — really ‘em dead — will get you into trouble in polite company. We’re not supposed to want to feel those kinds of feelings, because we’re supposed to be better than that.

We’re supposed to be more “evolved” than that, but that’s not exactly how evolution works. The engines of evolution aren’t fueled by bumper sticker sentimentality. We’re still basically the same bellicose bipeds who went to war with neighboring tribes over women or honor or resources — or just because we were bored and thought we could win.

We’re not much more evolved, but we are a lot more civilized. We’ve all been taught to say “please” and “thank you” and to love our neighbors or at least pretend we do. We’ve been taught that we’re all part of the same big, happy multicultural human family and that it’s wrong to judge others who look different or behave differently or who have customs that seem strange to us. As Kristin Rawls would surely agree, when people threaten us, we’re supposed to say and believe it is because they’ve been improperly socialized, or because they’ve somehow been disadvantaged.

All of this goody-goody, nicey-niceness relies on a cultish faith in a perilous dogma, and even Kristin somehow senses that its spell is breaking and that the elder gods — the Gods of the Copybook Headings — will return with terror and slaughter.

Prepping for the Zompocalypse gives the more adventurous folks on your cul-de-sac a way to dip their big toes into a kiddie pool of tribalism and get used to the feel, texture and temperature of blood. It allows them to work through primal gang survival scenarios using live ammo without looking like psychos. Zombiegeddon also gives tactically-minded parents a socially acceptable way to train their overly sensitive, public-schooled children how to kill without freaking them out about stranger danger or blowing Bambi’s head off.

It’s only the zombies. It’s only for fun. It’s just a game, like on the Xboxbut louder.

The Zombie threat fantasy gives normal people a way to work through separating “us” from “them.” Dehumanizing outsiders is a survival strategy, and given the “one world tribe” re-education Americans have received over the years, they are bound to be a little rusty. The Zombie Apocalypse helps nice people separate the humans from the “sub-humans.”

Zombies are socially acceptable substitutes for the people we’re afraid of, the people we worry we might have to kill if we don’t want to be killed. Zombies are stand-ins for violent “youths,” for the hungry poor, for criminals and gangs and the people out there who want to break into your house and take your stuff.

Prepping for the Zompocalypse is training wheel tribalism. It offers Americans an atavistic fantasy, a way to return to barbarian life as a pastoral nomad, to a simpler form of social organization, to a group where everyone who is “in” really matters — and everyone who is “out” is dead meat.

Head down to your local gun shop and have a snicker about stocking up for the Zombie Apocalypse. They’ll get the joke. It’s lighthearted shorthand for something even scarier — the idea that you’re getting ready and maybe even getting a little excited about the idea of killing other people. You might even think to yourself that, when things get ugly, if they’re not coming to help you — if they’re not “us” — “they” might as well be walking corpses.

 

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Everyone A Harlot

Originally published at Alternative Right – July 5, 2012

Ego-inflating rhetoric is everywhere. At work, at school , and at the mall, Americans expect everyone to tell ’em how special, talented and important they are. In our inverted world, the weak are somehow strong, everyone who survives a hangnail is “brave,” and every bean-counter who works for the Department of Defense is a goddamn hero.

At GloboCorp, the human resources department tries to convince every John and Juanita that they are absolutely essential to the success of the organization. Everyone’s creative talents are valued, and everyone from the janitor to the CEO is capable of making tremendous positive contributions. In his recent book about the value of work, Matthew B. Crawford argued that modern corporations devalue meaningful achievement when they pander to us and speak as though everyone were some sort of Einstein.

Americans like to be told that they are brilliant and brave, but as a people these aren’t our highest values anymore. Who can name five legitimate, recent war heroes? The hoi polloi don’t care too much about who is smart, either. They only care about science when they want to lose weight, win an argument on the Internet, or find out how the world is going to end. If you can name ten guys doing hard science right now, you’re probably a scientist.

Most people know they aren’t Einsteins, and they really don’t care. They have a more pressing concern.

What they’re really asking themselves is, “Am I hot, or not?”

Beautiful people are the brightest beacons in our floating world. Attractive models and actors get far more praise and attention than Medal of Honor recipients. People love technology, but they use it to keep up with the Kardasians. They pack into gyms, but strength and fitness are by-products of their desire to be desired. A six-pack has a higher value than a powerful bench press or a heavy squat. No one cares how much Tatum Channing or Brad Pitt lifts, or how fast they can run, or what they can build, or how many men they could defeat in combat. They’re admired for being desirable.

It used to be that only young women worried excessively about being desired. In traditional patriarchal societies, a woman who no one wants as a wife becomes a burden on her parents. An unwanted woman could never become a mother or run a household. She remained forever a dependent daughter or an independent, lonely spinster. For women of marriageable age, attractiveness had a very high value, and while the importance of attractiveness decreases with age, most men would still rather have a pretty wife than an ugly one. Whether by habit or by nature, many women tend to enjoy painting and adorning themselves to appear youthful, fertile, feminine and appealing.

However, the woman who cares the most about being desired is the harlot, because her survival depends on her ability to lure men into her loins.

Some will point to male ornamentation as a counter-example, but the motivation behind male embellishment has traditionally been different. When men decorated themselves, they did it to appear more fearsome or to communicate status. Samurai wore rouge, and like many finer points of samurai grooming, they did it so that their enemies would respect them as virile opponents even after they were dead. They didn’t tart themselves up to get laid. They did it to gain the respect of men.

Last weekend, a movie about male strippers made $39.2 million dollars at the box office. America’s come a long way since Flashdance.

In The Way of Men, I used Bonobos and Chimpanzees to compare the female-oriented society to the male-oriented society. People aren’t exactly the same as apes, but I think Chimps and Bonobos make revealing metaphors for where we’ve been, and where we seem to be headed.

Bonobos live luxuriously, with access to as much food as they need. Female coalitions check male aggression, and males rarely form tight-knit groups. Males don’t know who their fathers are, only their mothers. Sex is, as a bar whore once said to a pal of mine, “like shaking hands.” Homosexuality is commonplace because sex is a social activity, and everyone has sex with everyone. It’s not about reproduction; sex is about mutual masturbation and having a good time. Sex is a major part of bonobo life. Bonobos are said to be peaceful, and while that may not be completely true, they’re definitely matrilineal and exceptionally horny.

Chimpanzees form patriarchal hunting groups. The males stick together, and the females end up moving from group to group. Sex is a reproductive activity. Homosexuality is rare. Males dominate females and the males at the top of the male hierarchy control the group.

America is fast becoming a “Bonobo Masturbation Society,” devoted to pleasure and organized primarily to serve the interests of females. More and more men are raised by single mothers, and males are discouraged from organizing without female supervision. Sex is social, and the majority of the hard, dangerous work that men used to do is either done by machines, idiot-proofed, or outsourced to countries where life is cheap. Women and dishonorable men micromanage male aggression with endless laws and lawsuits, and bad boys who can’t pay big lawyers are drop-kicked into a multi-billion dollar prison industry that boasts the highest incarceration rate in the world.

In our Bonobo Masturbation Society, fucking is one of the only things men are encouraged to do that actually makes them feel like men.

Throughout the Alt-Right, several writers have criticized “pick-up artist” culture and “game.”

Because just about the only manly thing that most men are allowed to do is bang, I am more sympathetic. I see what many call game as a kind of gateway masculinity. Game is essentially assertiveness training for a generation of young men who spent most of their lives playing “mother may I?”

Manliness is like a talent. Some males are more gifted than others, but like any talent, masculinity has to be pushed and developed to amount to anything impressive. Boys who were raised by single moms or overprotective parents and put through the public school feminist brain-washing system were never tried or trained by groups of hard men. You can’t hand a hen-pecked boy a high school diploma and expect him to spit like Clint Eastwood.

When they talk about game, men in the Manosphere are shoveling through the bullshit that the system tells boys about girls. This is work that needs to be done. If average young guys believe the official malarkey they are told about sex and relationships, they’ll be used and abused by entitled American girls for the rest of their lives. And, as they unpack feminist myths about the sexes, I’ve seen a lot of those guys start to wonder what it really means to be men. This is an important conversation. However, it almost seems like a safer route in today’s cultural climate to make chasing poon a long-term lifestyle choice. That’s where the positive mean slides toward a negative extreme.

Andy Nowicki wrote that if men really wanted to undermine the matriarchy, they would stop fucking. He may have his own (possibly religious) reasons for saying so, but I think he has a point.

Our feminist, globalist handlers would love nothing more than to keep young men — the most dangerous and potentially revolutionary group in any civilization – completely distracted by tang. And while it may feel like asserting dominance (in conveniently the most harmless way possible), if everything you do is designed to make you more appealing to women, you’re an eager vibrator. When your muscle is just for show, when everything you do is to make yourself more desirable, you’re playing the female role. When your worth as a man depends on how many women you can lure to your loins, you’re just a gigolo.

As Hunter S. Thompson noted, sex is the most fun for amateurs. It’s great when you’re young, pretty, naïve and carefree — but “old whores don’t do much giggling.”

Mark Simpson had a lot of this figured out when he coined the word “metrosexual” way back in 1994. The metrosexual is not necessarily gay or effeminate in the flamboyant sense of the word — that’s just the way people picked up the word. Simpson’s idea of the metrosexual is a “mirror man” whose highest narcissistic concerns are pleasure-seeking and being regarded as “desirable.” He may be in love with himself, but that, too, is a shallow kind of love. He cares more about how he looks and how well he fucks than what he has achieved or how well he is respected. It’s a harlot’s vanity.

Hugh Hefner was far ahead of his time. It was homosexual men who pioneered the bonobo lifestyle en masse. Before today’s PUAs were in pre-school, homos were doing it for the numbers, looking for validation, basing their self-worth on how many and how hot. Homosexual men rejected traditional male roles and expectations, and channeled all of their masculine aggression into sex for the sake of sex. Their idea of masculinity became masturbatory — a pumped up Tom of Finland caricature of masculine form without function or honor or virtue. Homosexual men, because they were men, set the cultural stage for objectifying men the way that men have always objectified women.

As pilot bonobos, the homos discovered the downsides of harlotry. An experienced player was bound to acquire a handful of STDs, and AIDS practically wiped out an entire generation of “sexually liberated” men. For many, there are also psychological costs. Being desired is a drug, and it’s addictive. When it’s your highest value, it becomes your identity. One of the problems — and this has always been a curse to women — is that sexual attractiveness is linked to the mating instinct, and it peaks in the young. Men mature more flatteringly than women, but most men who trade on their sex appeal won’t relax into the confident, secure, middle-aged manhood of their forefathers. Like homos and movie stars, I wonder how many of today’s players will chase steroids and sex drugs and eventually convince themselves that maybe that Kenny Rogers face lift will look better on them than it does on him. (It won’t, fellas. You’ll still look like an old lesbian who can’t blink.) There’s something particularly desperate, sad and undignified about a man of a certain age who spends too much time looking for sexual validation.

What’s worse is that straight men aren’t in the market for men, they’re in the market for women, so biology puts them at a major disadvantage. Game strategist Heartiste recently posted about an online dating experience where together, the two best looking guys managed to get a total of 50 messages from women, while the most attractive woman got over 536 messages from men in the same time period. That playing field will never be close to equal, but game is gaining popularity because men see that disparity and want to increase their odds.

Good-looking men with some game may be able to keep at it for most of their lives, and they’ll end up with some good stories. A small minority of men have always been libertines, and some men are probably particularly well suited to it. Some will have regrets, and some won’t.

The problem isn’t what happens to a few players, but what we become as a society when everyone wants to be a player. Libertinism used to be a form of rebellion, but increasingly, it’s part of the program. In a society where sex and attractiveness are the highest values, what happens to the other two-thirds of the curve?

The flesh won’t be democratized. Attractiveness isn’t any more evenly distributed than strength, size, or IQ. The world is full of fat, ugly people. People can improve their lot with diet and exercise and grooming — and they should — but you can only put so much lipstick on a pig. Some men and women just aren’t that great looking. A lot of people are actually pretty repulsive. A few should probably avoid daylight altogether, because they frighten small children.

Women have always been aware of the cruel elitism of beauty’s natural hierarchy. In societies where other virtues had higher value, they could focus on piety or simply being good mothers. When women were “sexually liberated,” some feminists (usually the fat, ugly ones) thought they could rely on social conditioning to give us all permanent beer goggles and make every bloated hag as desirable as Heather Locklear. If only Barbie had realistic proportions, or we were forced to watch more morbidly obese people on television, then fewer tears would tumble into buckets of ice cream. They keep pushing for “fat acceptance” and keep telling us that “big is beautiful.” When that doesn’t work, they barrage us with bad clichés and try to convince us that beauty is either in the eye of the beholder, or “on the inside.” We might patronize them, or try to be more sensitive, but pretending everyone is equally beautiful is just as absurd and untrue as pretending everyone is an Einstein.

No one wants a Barbie doll with cankles, and the de-objectification of women is at odds with the Zeitgeist of our oversexed Bonobo Masturbation Society. Andrea Dworkin lost, and more teenage girls than ever are watching hardcore porn to learn how to twist, stroke and swallow like the pros. I go to the gym and I see young guys who aren’t there to lift or get big. They’re following routines to “cut up” and build a body “for the ladies.” Those ladies are tanning, getting boob jobs, and trying to look like strippers. A friend who teaches at a high school in California said they had to cancel Halloween dress-up days because the kids didn’t want to be scary or cute anymore. Boys and girls alike used the holiday as an excuse to come to school as close to naked as possible.

People used to have decent aspirations. They wanted to have families. They wanted to do good work. They wanted to be good citizens, good Christians, good people. Now everyone wants to be a player and a porn star. Everyone wants to be the kind of monkey that all of the other monkeys wants to rub up against.

We call this matrilineal hump-fest “progress,” and seek our moral redemption in recycling.

Sex may be natural, and it sure is fun, but it’s just a part of life. A society that over-emphasizes sex to the point where it seems like the only thing in life that means anything is grotesque and degraded, and for most people it delivers more emptiness than ecstasy.

In healthy patriarchies, men push themselves to earn the respect and admiration of other men. They work to prove their strength, courage and competence to each other. Men pride themselves on their reputation for mastery of their bodies, their actions, and their environment. They want to be known for what they can do, not just how well or who they can screw. And they sure as hell don’t waste their time trying to figure out what they can do to bedazzle bimbos.

Hell, in some places, when a man is ready to take a wife, he just picks one andkidnaps her. Men used to get married and get on with their lives. It seems like a healthier life path to me, and I’ve previewed what the other side has to offer.

Recently, I watched Restrepo, a documentary about soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. There was this scene in it where the Americans had to negotiate with local tribal elders. The elders were a bunch of dead serious-looking old dudes and their long beards were dyed bright red with henna.

Our tribal “allies” in the graveyard of empires have their problems. They shit in their hands and rape little boys. Their customs leave room for improvement.

However, as I watched their grave eyes, I wondered if any of these men had spent much time wondering, “Am I hot, or not?”