“The way of a superior man is three-fold: virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.” –Confucius
“Manhood is the defeat of childhood narcissism.” –David Gilmore
Wow, I’m really screwed then. I am constantly riddled with anxieties about everything. Having enough money, am I eating the right foods, do I exercise enough, am I doing the right thing with my life. I would have to say without anxiety I lack an actually personality. Most of who I am is because I am pent-up or wound tight about something, anyone who knows me can attest.
If I were to pick three words that best describe myself, I think I would choose sentimental, cautious, and angry. Now I can easily bring up Webster’s Dictionary and access the Thesaurus section but I already know that not a single one of those words are a synonym for wise. I can certainly say I am knowledgable, I have experienced shit and am an information junkie, but being able to quote almost the entire Kevin Smith movie series and name all the original X-Men is not what I would consider wise.
Fear. I’m afraid to answer that question. No seriously, I’m petrified to talk about fears. I have an irrational phobia of death, actually I don’t think it’s that irrational, death is fucking scary. At any moment it could be all over, and that’s the end of you. No more anything at all. I’m afraid of losing my job for getting pissed off and throwing a laptop through a plate-glass window. I’m afraid of farting in front of people who have a direct impact on the future of my career, and I can go on and on and on for eternity.
And I obviously will never defeat my childhood narcissism, after all, this is my shrine to myself. So it begs the question, what is a man? I never really had a father to show me what it meant, and the step father I did have for a few years taught me things I’ve spent a lifetime repressing or forgetting. I choose those two quote’s because I don’t understand my own genetic makeup, I don’t get my sex, and I 100% don’t understand other men. Does that make me less of a man? I like to think that there are still common threads between all of us as men even though I can’t stand sports and competition. There must be more to us as a sex than just aggression and a penis. I’ve spent the last few years endeavoring to do things that interest me and feel manly. I grew a mustache and that helped a bit, but there is certainly something I am missing. Is really the only difference between me and my wife is X and Y?
There are obviously millennia of societal gender roles placed upon each of us, and I’m not saying that is always a bad thing, but am I still really the hunter gatherer my ancestors were back in the cave days? I don’t feel the urge to hunt or gather, just gather moss and sit comfortably on the couch. If I had to hunt and kill my coffee and pizza I would give up on it all together.
Where am I going with this. I don’t know, but I do know that I still have a lot more growing to do, and a hell of a lot more learning to do.