A man does not become a man on his statutory birthday. But that is pretty much all we can muster for boys today—some date on a wall calendar. Why so thin and superficial, so uninspired and desultory? Mainly, our connection to initiatory cultures is utterly broken. We don’t know why why it would be important to introduce boys on the cusp to the other world, to the dimension of being. We think cake and candles is roughly good enough. The thing is, young men need to be initiated. That’s why so many of them die at frat parties.
The characteristics of a healthy masculinity are energy and confidence. To develop these, we need challenges and difficulties. Life is exceedingly generous in this respect—and preternaturally precise. We get what we need.
Beware the man who cries prettily. He’s got an agenda. He wants something.
“You are my son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased.” Few and widely spaced are boys whose fathers tell them that. So they cobble together a sense of themselves from other sources. Now they are men, divorced from the ceremonies of innocence, twisted by compensatory behaviours and lost in their lusts.
A men’s court called the “Holy Inquisition” required only a few hundred years to kill upwards of five million women. Today we have the drip-drip of “Me too.” If the survival of the species depends on a healthy masculinity, we are in trouble.