Level Up is a new category I launched last year to share my extracurricular writings on becoming a better man. My latest essay posted over the weekend and centers on a few traditional activities all but guaranteed to improve your sense of well-being: weightlifting and martial arts on one hand, and prayer and meditation on the other. Taking up these things will probably also curtail any urge you might feel to leave anonymous petty comments on the Internet, which plants seeds in your subconscious that you are weak and spiteful.
Here’s a preview:
If the mainstream media constantly demonizes traditional masculinity, then pop culture counters with endless fodder for rupturing the unconscious fault lines of male psyches and dislodging fossilized masculine archetypes. Such as the kind of man desirable to women but devoted to a higher calling. There are the wifeless wall guards in Game of Thrones and the chaste Templars of History Channel’s “Knightfall,” and then all the bold, free men in countless cinematic depictions of Arthurian legend, Greek battle, and the two world wars.
These heroes of the eras, as Alexander Dumas put it, “when life was life and men were men,” have all the requisite alpha-male qualities from strength to bravery and even rugged good looks. But their life is devoted to something higher than using their high status to procreate. That’s because the whole notion of sex as the primary preoccupation of a man’s energies is but a recent blip on the timeline of evolution, a product of the 1970s, as it was only then — thanks to birth control and the Sexual Revolution — that it was made possible for men to ape the exploits of Jacques Casanova. In the heroic annals of history, manhood was not formed by languishing in perfumed sheets, but was forged like a sword by other men. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio tries to set lovestruck Romeo’s priorities straight when he essentially says: “Why are you so into this woman when you could be practicing your fencing?”
So what are today’s lone wolves doing when they “go their own way”? Many are gathering around online channels devoted to weightlifting and martial arts on the one hand, and spiritual matters on the other. And in doing so they are reviving a long-lost archetype, the warrior monk.
Along this journey, you might find within yourself a most unexpected discovery. And then you’ll be in a much-better position to graduate from monkdom, find a mate, and take her is she is, not what you’re projecting on her based on what you want her to be.
Head over to National Review’s website to check out “Rise Of The Warrior Monk: Men dissatisfied with society drop out of it — but may discover something surprising about themselves in the process.” — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD