Black Label Logic (BLL) wrote an excellent article on how men need to find their life mission in order to become men. It's an important topic I will be writing about in future posts, but it was BLL's particular theme on this topic that I wanted to comment on.
The idea of a man having a life mission - a dream if you will - comes from a much older manosphere writer by the name of Da Pook. He is not much discussed now because The Commandments Of Poon have come to dominate the half of the male population that still wants to talk to women.
Which is where BLL starts his discussion, with the 3rd commandment to be exact.
III. You shall make your mission, not your woman, your priority
The main thrust of BLL's argument is solid and goes like this:
- The majority of men today have no mission for their life.
- They live lives of random events and urgings, drifting, unless an outside force, usually a female, moves them to action.
- He asks "How can this grave mistake, not having a life mission or inability to find one, be prevented?"
- His answer is to reframe the question - "What lifestyle do you want to live?"
The question of innate purpose in Man was answered that men are no longer brought up to go out and find one. While this is true, his reasoning that men should reframe the question (what lifestyle do you want) in order to better find one (life purpose/mission) does not solve the main issue.
The main issue is this.
What, precisely, is a Man's, capital M, mission in life?
This is how I would reframe the question of a dream or life mission for oneself as a man. It takes the lens and looks at it from an interior, not an exterior, perspective.
Anyone can achieve a lifestyle they desire if they make that their goal and put forth the effort. As Bruce Lee is often quoted, the mind is everything. What you put your mind to you turn into reality. The problem today is that too many men are focusing on lifestyle, and not style of mind, like Bruce Lee was.
BLL's post resonated for me because I set out on a mission for myself in my third decade and failed. It happens, even to the best of us. I am now at the beginning of my fourth decade and having difficulty setting for myself a new mission. While there is much "lifestyle" I want to yet experience, age and wisdom begins (for me at 12) to ask the question "Is it worth it? Will it bring any lasting happiness?" More to the point...
If I DON'T achieve the lifestyle goal I set for myself, will that mean I am a failure, as a Man?
Will I collapse into a deep depression with visions of utter worthlessness?
Men lead lives of quiet desperation not because they lack a life mission, per se. It is because they have missed the mark of becoming a Man, capital M. That capitalization is a focus of my writing for a reason; it can't be found in a lifestyle, only in one's mind, in one's actions, and thus in one's character.
The Last Samurai captures beautifully what I am trying to illustrate.
Captain Nathan Algren is a man in the bottle and lacking a life mission. Which is to say, he once had one and had it all; a high ranking postion in the army, great pay and status that would allow him to live a very good lifestyle for his social positon in society. A position many men today would envy if they could slip into his successful shoes.
But all Algren wanted to do was die, by the bottle or by the bullet.
Thoreau talks of men's quite lives of desperation, but he is not talking about their lack of lifestyle or life mission.
Thoreau is talking about man's lack of ultimate purpose - Character & Honor.
Walden: Life In The Woods was not a book of revelation for me. It was the discovery of a like mind, another man that "get's it." The confirmed desperation in resignation Thoreau speaks of is precisely man's naivety in measuring himself, his lifestyle, against that of other men.
Men running after material possessions, experiences, women - lifestyle in 21st century parlance - is precisely an act of desperation, not wisdom.
But does this mean we are not to take action to live a good life? Have fun? Money, freedom, women?
Not at all. What Thoreau was asking is what style of mind inhabits such a man who desperately chases after a lifestyle that he cannot take with him when he dies. Thoreau wanted to know what was real in the life of Man. He moved to the woods because it seemed the city, urbanization, was the exact opposite of seeking what was real in life.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
I think success in life, for most men, acts as a permanent block on the path to authentic masculinity.
I see it everyday. Alpha males who preen and bray like cocks and asses at how great their life is. How many women they have bed or how awesome their trophy wife is. Before my own failure in pursuing my life's mission, pursuing a lifestyle, I envied some of these men. In full honesty, I can say there are times I still do. That said, I think what drives most of these alpha males is the envy of more successful men and the fear of becoming a loser "like that beta guy." It is a negative drive, not a positive one, that makes them successful in the end, and this negative focus undermines and undercuts the power of their masculinity.
When I failed, and I truly did fail, I had to take a MASSIVE step down in lifestyle. I never had an amazing one I am sure to most people, to each their own, but I liked what I had and it was, and still is, a huge loss for me.
But I noticed something.
I noticed that I had gained something in that failure, in that loss, that I would never have attained had I achieved success.
When I walk about, I don't walk with my head down, or my shoulders slumped, in defeat and desperation in comparison to the lives of other men both less and more successful than me.
I walk high and with authority.
Authority not over others, no.
Authority because I took a risk to take control of my life at 25. Took a risk to live better, to be better, to have more and do more. The interesting thing is, I can no longer have, do or perhaps even dream of more than the very, very, very little I have right now. And yet, I don't feel like a failure or a loser, as I suspect many men would judge me if they knew the truth of this author's present circumstances. In fact, I feel I am above many men, both older and younger than myself, and not in an arrogant or prideful way. It is a very humble authority and confidence I possess because I know it is mine and mine alone, not derived from any THING I posses, any EXPERIENCE I have lived, or any ONE person in my life. I took a risk to live my life as I saw fit, my way, win or lose.
Sinatra. Think about that one name, that last name. It sums up an entire generation of men that The West used to be. Sure, Thoreau's desperate masses were still out there, but at their core, they were ALL striving to do something for themselves, to lead lives of purpose, driven by character, for the goal of meeting some great end for which they felt their lives were leading them to pursue.
Frank Sinatra did not set out to attain a lifestyle.
The lifestyle he attained was the direct result of the Man, the mind, that he focused himself to become.
In my local gym, there is a successful guy. Multiple businesses/streams of income. He is not arrogant per se, but he talks only with others "on his level" for the most part. Something you read about on many "winning" manosphere blogs, surrounding yourself with "winners" and getting the "losers" out of your life. The problem is that for these men that have won, they may have been smart, they may have had skill, talent or even the clincher, sheer persistence and will.
What these successful men lack in wisdom however is this: they truly believe their success is do to their own efforts, and nothing else. They have no idea, none, that at any time, they can lose it all; and there is nothing, nothing, they can do to prevent that failure from happening. Perhaps, on an intellectual and superficial level, some men of success know they could have failed. But they have had so much success to date, or even failure and rebound from that failure, that they honestly believe COMPLETE failure could never, ever happen to them. After all, they are successful right? And I, and all the beta losers, are not.
Yet, when I walk into the gym, this guy gets quiet and avoids eye contact with me. Hell, I get looks from men as many times as I do women now as I go about my life. I am tall, in good shape and have learned I have a "good look," but that does not explain it because I may have had some degree of this "good look" my whole life I suppose and never got looks like this when I was younger, ever. In fact, I don't recall anyone ever looking, let alone staring, (yes ladies, I can see you even when you think I can't) at me before my personal transformation to live my life as I saw fit at 25.
The best I can describe this look is... I don't want to say fear or even intimidation... but it is something to that effect. At the root though I think it is personal strength they see emanating from me and they don't like it, or are uncomfortable around it. A personal, spiritual, inner strength they lack in spite of their success with the lifestyle they set out to achieve for themselves and have attained.
I think Frank Sinatra understood this. He put forth great effort, achieved great success, but he also had great failures and a long road to recovery. In the end... win or lose.. the only thing that mattered to Frank was not what he attained, his lifestyle, but who he was, who he became as a Man, in living his life.
I faced it all... and I stood tall... and did it... myyyyyyyyyy waaaaaaayyyyyy.
This... is what separates the men from the boys.
This... is Thoreau's desperation. Men, winners or losers, who have never truly felt strong - in mind, in character, in soul.
Gi. Rei. Yu. Meiyo. Jin. Makoto. Chu.
Honesty & Justice. Polite Courtesy. Heroic Courage. Honor. Compassion. Complete Sincerity. Duty and loyalty.
These are seven key components of Bushido - the way of the warrior.
Samurai culture fascinates The West because it is it's complete opposite - a state of mind, not a lifestyle.
The lives of most men in The West are all focused on lifestyle. Some achieve more than others, but the illusion of success does nothing to separate these alpha males from the beta losers they so desperately (think on this deeply) do not want to become. Successful men of lifestyle may be risking, may be hustling, they may even SEEM to be men of strength. But test them yourself, or have life test them, even just a little, and they will be found wanting.
Too few men are capable of real honesty or standing up for justice. Are too afraid to show politeness, courtesy, compassion, for they feel they will be seen as "weak" men. Courage and honor for them are badges they wear to appear alpha, but when the chips are down, their women learn it was all a front, just another "frame" they mastered imitating but never, ever became at their root. Duty is to himself, not to his honor. Sincerity is for manipulation and playing the lifestyle game, not for the sake of respecting the person with whom he is speaking and dealing with.
Which brings us to the true crisis of masculinity in our age.
You can't take any, any, of the lifestyle success you attain with you when you die. Your honor will be your only true legacy as a Man, capital M, on this earth.
For what is a man... what has he got...
if not himself... then he has not...
the right to say... the things he feels...
and not the words... of one who kneels...
the record shows... I took the blows...
and did it...
There was a time when men realized this, but it seems those days may be forever lost to the past.
The 16 Commandments Of Poon will get you pussy.
Mastering your finances will bring you a grand lifestyle.
Finding a mission for your life may even bring you fame and accolades.
But will you have attained true manhood? Authentic masculinity?
Will you have become a Man, capital M?
Strength & Honor