The universe has been evolving for 14 billion years. “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”
No doubt about it: The first absurdity is anger.
Individual egos take each other to court. Tribal egos cheer wildly at football games and beat each other up. National egos become fevered, declare war, drop bombs. Are we not adrift in aggrievement?
Fear is always of the body. The more identified we are with our bodies, the more fearful, superstitious, competitive, security-driven and future-obsessed we are. Relationships with men whose knowledge of themselves goes no deeper than the body—these relationships are full of hiding places.
A nagging sense of littleness and insufficiency, of not being quite up to it, produces a range of compensatory behaviours, from Easy Rider, a comfort-seeking somnambulist whose motto is “Take it Easy” and who spends his life doing just that, to Mr. Helpful who knows what you need before you do but who’s puzzled about how to help himself; from hyper-clean perfection-seeking Good Boy who denies he’s angry while firing back the antacid, to Uber Bro’ who lies first of all to himself and then, convincingly, to everyone else; from the socially inept introvert with high privacy needs, a fixed expression and no friends, to the long-suffering loyalist whose pension will be great but who needs, in the meantime, to get to the bottom of why he’s so bloody depressed; from the relentlessly affable puer aeternus whose fear has carved a rictus, to that classic thruster, Bully Boy, a matchlessly profane and conflict-loving middle finger of a man.
Men with the biggest egos are also the most hostile. Hostility may be projected or repressed. If projected, it’s impossible to mistake—somebody’s getting blamed, shamed, laughed at or shot. Repressed anger is less obvious, but it too displays itself, often as impatience, judgment, criticism, passive-aggression, false jollity or do-gooding. Perhaps fearing that something worse lies beneath it, men are generally incurious about their anger. On a functional level, they’re basically OK with it.