Editor’s Note: S.E. wrote this comment, which I am reprinting without permission because, well, it was already printed here. It is a great response to the Ties-Are-Dying crowd.
The wearing of a necktie is an act of rebellion. Hell, the same can be said for opting for Classic Ivy. But more about that in a minute.
JB speaks courageously about “getting better.” Although I feel sure I’ve never been where he (once) was, I’ve known plenty of men who privately confess feelings of depletion and despair. How was it Thoreau once put it? “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” True–and reason for both lament and the mustering of courage.
For all the talk about habit-forming, “getting outside,” plenty of exercise, and diet (veganism is the thing around these parts these days), I’ll offer another suggestion: rage against the machine(s). Raise the fist to-and-at the bureaucracies, stifling and staid, that threaten to weigh an individual soul down. Resist.
Too many books and movies to count have chronicled this act of courageous defiance. William H. Whyte wrote a groundbreaking book about the spirit-sapping power of bureaucracy, which is really about (a.) being told daily and often what to do and how to do it (by a manager, or, God forbid, team of managers) and (b.) telling others what to do and how to do it. This is a form of modern-day slavery — and it’s brutal. No amount of diet, exercise, therapy, or habit-keeping will save you from it.
If you’ve become, to borrow from Whyte, “an Organization Man,” do yourself a life-saving favor and get out. Escape. I don’t care about the size of the mortgage, car payment, or savings for the summer house. Get out. Escape. Run.
A bit of excavation has confirmed that this is the root cause of 99.999 % of the listlessness, lethargy and despair I’ve witnessed in men.
I have a theory about all revolutions and uprisings throughout history– they’re all (basically) rages against bureaucratic machines. This includes Jesus’ raised fist to-and-at both Rome (the emperor and his empire) and the religious bureaucracy (Sanhedrin). This is how he ended up on a cross. The same can be said for Luther and Calvin (Protestant Reformation), and … well, the list goes on and on. When men have had enough of being told what to do and how to do it so they can subsequently tell others what to do and how to do it)– well. It’s powerful.
Thoreau continued: “…What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..”
And so on.
Do what you must to take care of yourself– and get help if it’s become clear to you (or others who care about you) that you’d benefit from it. In the meantime, here’s a thought:Put on a blazer, a pair of linen pants, and a necktie. And your loafer of choice.
Be different. Be unique.Resist and defy. You’ll feel better– in a matter of seconds.