Manhood Is Not Natural

Manhood is not natural, but it is essential. No society can endure if it does not harness male sexual energy and teach men to take care of the children they father and the women who bear them.

Few would disagree that manhood is in crisis today. Men are falling behind women in important measures of personal and social well-being. In deeply consequential ways, they have become the weaker sex.

Some women celebrate this. Most, however, are deeply concerned, especially since the weakness of the men in their lives makes it increasingly difficult for them to become wives and mothers. The equation is really quite simple: if boys don’t become good, dependable men, they can’t become good, dependable husbands and fathers.

The majority of women want marriage and babies, and usually quite dearly. They don’t need to be talked into them and never really have. Ask women today their biggest obstacle to achieving this goal. It’s not a shortage of males, but of responsible adult males. Men. If they cannot find marriageable men, they often go with other choices. It’s no coincidence that the two fastest growing family formation trends are unmarried cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbearing among twenty- and thirty-something women.

The causes of these trends can be found in the underappreciated and often-denied distinct natures of manhood and womanhood. It’s rooted in a strange but essential anthropological truth: Womanhood is natural. Manhood is not.

Womanhood Is Natural

Womanhood is a natural phenomenon. A female’s biological make-up usually ensures that she will grow into a healthy woman. Leave her to herself, and it’s likely to happen. It’s why the phrases “woman up,” “be a woman,” or “make a woman out of her” don’t exist.

As her body matures, internally and externally, it sends her and those around her an unmistakable message about what she is and what she’s becoming. It moves her inexorably in that direction with a force as great as it is mysterious. Few girls miss these cues. It’s not just her body that is changing; she is becoming a different person. Her family and community treat her differently because of it. A father shudders at it, as it forever changes the way he interacts with “his little girl.” He must bow to and honor it. I’m the father of a girl. I know it all too well.

Women must be taught, with great political and ideological pressure, to ignore their womanhood and abandon their children, for doing so is contrary to all nature.

Manhood Is Taught

The opposite is true of manhood.  Unlike a woman, a man has no civilized role or agenda inscribed in his body. The boy has no on-board GPS directing him toward his future. His transition into manhood can only come into being with significant, intentional work by other men. As a behavior, manhood must be learned, proven, and earned. As an identity, manhood must be bestowed by a boy’s father and the community’s larger fraternity of men. His mother can only affirm it. She cannot bequeath it.

Maleness just happens, but manhood does not. The first is a biological event, while the second is a developed character quality. When manhood is not formed and cultivated, males fail to mature, resulting in the “perpetual adolescence” or “failure to launch” that plagues our culture. When so many men play beer pong into their forties, live in their parents’ basements, play videogames twelve hours a day, and encounter women only in the form of pixels on a porn site, it seems clear that we have a manhood problem.

The human male nature doesn’t naturally go in the direction civilization requires; it requires the direction of other men. Unlike the female nature, which tends to exist reliably among the median scale of human behavior, the male nature is oriented more toward extremes, for good or bad.

Manhood must be crafted and refined in order to orient males in pro-social, communitarian directions. In fact, this is the first work of every civilization. Anthropologists tell us that the original and most fundamental social problem of any culture is the unattached male. Left to his own, he is not inclined to play well with others. He is not disposed to make himself, or anyone around him, a better person. He is not likely to become other-focused. Either fiercely competitive or indolent, he is more likely to become a social contagion. He will either seek to define himself in the community by power, false confidence, and selfish conquest, or shrink away toward inactivity and reticence.

In every known human society, everywhere in the world, the young male learns that when he grows up, one of the things which he must do in order to be a full member of society is to provide food [and protection] for some female and her young. … every known human society rests firmly on the learned nurturing behaviour of men.

Thus, across virtually all cultures, manhood has largely consisted of three essential qualities: procreation, provision, and protection. If the boy doesn’t learn these things, then he is not likely to become a good, selfless, serving man. Shame and derision from the community will become his lot.

Tragically, manhood is becoming extinct because we are not teaching it.

Male vs. Female Sexuality

Additionally, the most elemental destabilizing force in every culture is not merely unrefined male energy, but his unchecked sexual energy. Full stop. In its fundamental essence, it is deeply anti-social. It has no civilizing, pro-social nature in itself. To become so, it must be acted upon by other forces. By contrast, female sexual energy tends to be inherently pro-social. Female sexuality has the power to create human civilization by moderating the behavior of men, but it can only do this when there is social appreciation for these differences in male and female sexuality, coupled with the strong social morals they require.

Of course, the flip side of unmoderated male energy goes beyond sexuality. A female’s naturally domesticating influence on overall male energy and behavior is easily demonstrated. Who pays substantially lower auto, health, and life insurance premiums, married men or their single peers? Service to the god of equality requires there be no difference here. But we all know better. The wedding-ring-clad man enjoys the financial benefit, and not because insurance companies have a sentimental heart for weddings. Every insurance company knows married men direct their male wanderlust and energy toward safety and responsibility. Single men, not so much.

Without the essential tempering influence of female sexuality, male sexuality is a whole other animal, and not a pretty one.

Sex Makes Babies

This is a problem, because sex makes babies. Every society must give greater attention to this fact than it does to the need for food, shelter, and protection from outside attack. These and all other vital needs are either enhanced or crippled by what a community expects of the relationship between a man, the children he sires, and the woman he does so with. If it doesn’t get this right, few other good things the community needs are likely.

Of course, the male’s attitude and approach toward his procreative act is drastically different from hers. His necessary participation in the act is solely orgasmic, lasting seconds, and is all pleasure. He is not naturally connected to the potential of that act. The mother’s connection, however, is profound, starting shortly after conception and intensifying daily. It costs her dearly in energy, sleep, and overall comfort, starting long before the pain of childbirth. She is inescapably invested. He is not.

The crucial process of civilization is the subordination of male sexual impulses and biology to the long-term horizons of female sexuality . . . It is male behavior that must be changed to create a civilized order. The crucial process of civilization. No society can develop or endure without succeeding at this.

Manhood, Marriage, and Fatherhood

The woman is not only the stabilizing force of male sexuality; she is the authorizing factor in fatherhood. If a particular man desires to be involved in the life of his child, it is the child’s mother, and she alone, who determines whether and how he may do this. She typically desires to make this relationship public by making the father of the child her husband. Anthropologists have called this the legitimization of the child.

Consider the etymology of two key words: matrimony and husband. The first comes from the Latin, matrimonium, meaning literally “obligation to the mother.” Since it is virtually impossible for a mother and her child to thrive by themselves, marriage arose in nearly every civilization throughout time as a way to have the impregnating male take responsibility for his child and the mother. The surrounding community expects the male to fulfill his obligation so it doesn’t have to. It is why marriage is a deeply public act and no society has found a way to function without it.

Thus, the good man steps up, and in doing so, becomes a husband. This stems from the Old Norse, meaning literally house dweller: hús (“house”) bóndi (“dweller” and “bonded serf” or “slave”). The husband settles down and confines himself to a particular household, serving and providing resources for its inhabitants. He becomes a whole other kind of man, taking full responsible for his sexuality and his part in the coming generation.

What Happens When Manhood Isn’t Taught?

It is then certainly no coincidence that the term “feminization of poverty” was coined as the sexual revolution initiated the great divorce between sex, babies, and marriage.  While large opportunities were opening for women due to greater equality, Poverty is rapidly becoming a female problem. She blamed the significant increase in the number of female-headed families.

Ghettos are not created by city planners, crime by the police, or failing health by big pharma. Each of these social ills arises by inattention to the sexual behaviors of males. If he doesn’t have to marry before having sex (and potentially fathering children), the average man won’t. So he hasn’t. The feminization of poverty and the accompanying declines in female happiness and childhood well-being are the tragic results.

Manhood ideologies always include a criterion of selfless generosity, even to the point of sacrifice. Again and again, we find that “real” men are those who give more than they take away; they serve others. Real men are generous, even to a fault. Non-men are often those stigmatized as stingy and unproductive.

A good man is the fountain, not the drain. The formation of such men is the first task of human civilization, and its largest threat when ignored.

The question is, how can we recover manhood today? We must find the answer. For it is not only the fate of men that is at stake, but the fate of our women, children, and society as well.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green

Law 1: Never outshine the master

Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power

When it comes to power, outshining the master is perhaps the worst mistake of all.

Never take your position for granted and never let any favors you receive go to your head.

Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies

But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them

Since honesty rarely strengthens friendship, you may never know how a friend truly feels. Friends will say that they love your poetry, adore your music, envy your taste in clothes— maybe they mean it, often they do not.

The key to power, then, is the ability to judge who is best able to further your interests in all situations. Keep friends for friendship, but work with the skilled and competent.

Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions

Use decoyed objects and desires and red herrings to throw people off the scent

Hide your intentions not by closing up (with the risk of appearing secretive, and making people suspicious) but by talking endlessly about your desires and goals— just not your real ones. You will kill three birds with one stone: You appear friendly, open, and trusting; you conceal your intentions; and you send your rivals on time-consuming wild-goose chases.

Use smoke screens to disguise your actions. This derives from a simple truth: people can only focus on one thing at a time. It is really too difficult for them to imagine that the bland and harmless person they are dealing with is simultaneously setting up something else

As Kierkegaard wrote, “The world wants to be deceived.”

Law 4: Always say less than necessary

One oft-told tale about Kissinger… involved a report that Winston Lord had worked on for days. After giving it to Kissinger, he got it back with the notation, “Is this the best you can do?” Lord rewrote and polished and finally resubmitted it; back it came with the same curt question. After redrafting it one more time— and once again getting the same question from Kissinger-Lord snapped, “Damn it, yes, it’s the best I can do. ” To which Kissinger replied: “Fine, then I guess I’ll read it this time. ”

Persons who cannot control his words shows that he cannot control himself, and is unworthy of respect. But the human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will run wild and cause you grief. Power cannot accrue to those who squander their treasure of words.

Power is in many ways a game of appearances, and when you say less than necessary, you inevitably appear greater and more powerful than you are.

Learn the lesson: Once the words are out, you cannot take them back. Keep them under control. Be particularly careful with sarcasm: The momentary satisfaction you gain with your biting words will be outweighed by the price you pay.

Law 5: So much depends on reputation, guard it with your life

Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.

Doubt is a powerful weapon: Once you let it out of the bag with insidious rumors, your opponents are in a horrible dilemma.

Once you have a solid base of respect, ridiculing your opponent both puts him on the defensive and draws more attention to you, enhancing your own reputation.

Law 6: Court attention at all costs

Surround your name with the sensational and the scandalous.

Better to be slandered and attacked than ignored.

Every crowd has a silver lining.

At the start of your career, you must attach your name and reputation to a quality, an image, that sets you apart from other people.

Create an air of mystery.

Remember: Most people are upfront, can be read like an open book, take little care to control their words or image, and are hopelessly predictable. By simply holding back, keeping silent, occasionally uttering ambiguous phrases, deliberately appearing inconsistent, and acting odd in the subtlest of ways, you will emanate an aura of mystery. The people around you will then magnify that aura by constantly trying to interpret you

Do something that cannot be easily explained or interpreted

Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit

No notes.

Law 8: Make other people come to you, use bait if necessary

For negotiations or meetings, it is always wise to lure others into your territory, or the territory of your choice. You have your bearings, while they see nothing familiar and are subtly placed on the defensive.

Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument

No notes.

Law 10: Infection: Avoid the unhappy or the unlucky

When you suspect you are in the presence of an infector, don’t argue, don’t try to help, don’t pass the person on to your friends, or you will become enmeshed. Flee the infector’s presence or suffer the consequences.

Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you

No notes.

Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

No notes.

Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self interest, never their mercy or gratitude

No notes.

Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy

No notes.

Law 15: Crush your enemy totally

No notes.

Law 16: Use absence to increase strength and honor

The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.

At the start of an affair, you need to heighten your presence in the eyes of the other. If you absent yourself too early, you may be forgotten. But once your lover’s emotions are engaged, and the feeling of love has crystallized, absence inflames and excites. Giving no reason for your absence excites even more.

Law 17: Keep others in suspended terror, cultivate an air of unpredictability

Too much unpredictability will be seen as a sign of indecisiveness, or even of some more serious psychic problem. Patterns are powerful, and you can terrify people by disrupting them. Such power should only be used judiciously.

Law 18: Do not build a fortress to protect yourself, isolation is dangerous

No notes.

Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with, do not offend the wrong person

No notes.

Law 20: Do not commit to anyone

Do not commit to anyone, but be courted by all.

When you hold yourself back, you incur not anger but a kind of respect. You instantly seem powerful because you make yourself ungraspable, rather than succumbing to the group, or to the relationship, as most people do.

People who rush to the support of others tend to gain little respect in the process, for their help is so easily obtained, while those who stand back find themselves besieged with supplicants.

Do not commit to anyone, stay above the fray.

Remember: You have only so much energy and so much time. Every moment wasted on the affairs of others subtracts from your strength.

Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker, seem dumber than your mark

Given how important the idea of intelligence is to most people’s vanity, it is critical never inadvertently to insult or impugn a person’s brain power.

Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transform weakness into power

People trying to make a show of their authority are easily deceived by the surrender tactic.

It is always our first instinct to react, to meet aggression with some other kind of aggression. But the next time someone pushes you and you find yourself starting to react, try this: Do not resist or fight back, but yield, turn the other cheek, bend.

If you surrender instead, you have an opportunity to coil around your enemy and strike with your fangs from close up.

Law 23: Concentrate your forces

intensity defeats extensity every time.

Law 24: Play the perfect courtier

The laws of court politics:

Avoid ostentationPractice nonchalanceBe frugal with flatteryArrange to be noticedAlter your style and language according to the person ou are dealing withNever be the bearer of bad newsNever affect friendliness and intimacy with your masterNever criticize those above you directlyBe frugal in asking those above you for favorsNever joke about appearances of tastesDo not be the court cynicBe self observantMaster your emotionsFit the spirits of the timesBe the source of pleasure

Law 25: Re-Create Yourself

Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you.

The world wants to assign you a role in life. And once you accept that role you are doomed.

Remake yourself into a character of power. Working on yourself like clay should be one of your greatest and most pleasurable life tasks.

The first step in the process of self-creation is self-consciousness— being aware of yourself as an actor and taking control of your appearance and emotions.

The second step in the process of self-creation is a variation on the George Sand strategy: the creation of a memorable character, one that compels attention, that stands out above the other players on the stage.

Law 26: Keep your hands clean

Conceal your mistakes, have a scapegoat around to blame.

Make use of the cats paw.

Law 27: Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult like following

Five rules of cult making

Keep it vague, keep it simpleEmphasize the visual and sensational over the intellectualBorrow the forms of organized religion to structure the groupDisguise your source of incomeSet up an us vs them dynamic

Law 28: Enter action with boldness

The bolder lie the better.

Lions circle the hesitant prey.

Boldness strikes fear, fear creates authority.

Going halfway with half a heart digs a deeper grave.

Hesitation creates gaps, boldness obliterates them.

Audacity separates you from the herd.

When you are as small and obscure as David was, you must find a Goliath to attack. The larger the target, the more attention you gain.

Law 29: Plan all the way to the end

No notes.

Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless

No notes.

Law 31: Control the options, get others to play with the cards you deal

You give people a sense of how things will fall apart without you, and you offer them a “choice”: I stay away and you suffer the consequences, or I return under circumstances that I dictate.

Color the choices, propose three or four choices of action for each situation, and would present them in such a way that the one he preferred always seemed the best solution compared to the others.

Force the resister, Push them to “choose” what you want them to do by appearing to advocate the opposite.

Alter the playing field.

The shrinking options: A variation on this technique is to raise the price every time the buyer hesitates and another day goes by. This is an excellent negotiating ploy to use on the chronically indecisive, who will fall for the idea that they are getting a better deal today than if they wait till tomorrow.

The weak man on the precipice: This tactic is similar to “Color the Choices,” but with the weak you have to be more aggressive. Work on their emotions— use fear and terror to propel them into action. Try reason and they will always find a way to procrastinate.

Brothers in Crime: You attract your victims to some criminal scheme, creating a bond of blood and guilt between you.

The horns of a dilemma: The lawyer leads the witnesses to decide between two possible explanations of an event, both of which poke a hole in their story. They have to answer the lawyer’s questions, but whatever they say they hurt themselves. The key to this move is to strike quickly: Deny the victim the time to think of an escape. As they wriggle between the horns of the dilemma, they dig their own grave.

Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies

People rarely believe that their problems arise from their own misdeeds and stupidity. Someone or something out there is to blame— the other, the world, the gods— and so salvation comes from the outside as well.

Law 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

Finding the thumbscrews

Pay attention to gestures and unconscious signalsFind the helpless child, look to their childhoodLook for contrasts, an overt trait often reveals its oppositeFind the weak link,Fill their emotional voidFeed on their uncontrollable emotion

Always look for passions and obsessions that cannot be controlled. What people cannot control, you can control for them.

Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion. Act like a king to be treated like one

No notes.

Law 35: Master the art of timing

No notes.

Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have, ignoring them is the best revenge

Remember: You choose to let things bother you. You can just as easily choose not to notice the irritating offender, to consider the matter trivial and unworthy of your interest. That is the powerful move.

Desire often creates paradoxical effects: The more you want something, the more you chase after it, the more it eludes you. The more interest you show, the more you repel the object of your desire. This is because your interest is too strong— it makes people awkward, even fearful. Uncontrollable desire makes you seem weak, unworthy, pathetic.

Law 37: Create compelling spectacles

No notes.

Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others

If Machiavelli had had a prince for disciple, the first thing he would have recommended him to do would have been to write a book against Machiavellism.

Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish

Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive. You must always stay calm and objective. But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage.

Law 40: Despise the free lunch

The worth of money is not in its possession, but in its use.

Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes

No notes.

Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

Within any group, trouble can most often be traced to a single source, the unhappy, chronically dissatisfied one who will always stir up dissension and infect the group with his or her ill ease. Before you know what hit you the dissatisfaction spreads. Act before it becomes impossible to disentangle

Once you recognize who the stirrer is, pointing it out to other people will accomplish a great deal.

43: Work on the hearts and minds of others

Remember: The key to persuasion is softening people up and breaking them down, gently. Seduce them with a two-pronged approach: Work on their emotions and play on their intellectual weaknesses.

44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson.

45: Preach the need to change, but never reform too much at once

If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

Even while people understand the need for change, knowing how important it is for institutions and individuals to be occasionally renewed, they are also irritated and upset by changes that affect them personally.

46: Never appear too perfect

Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.

Do not try to help or do favors for those who envy you; they will think you are condescending to them.

47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for. In victory, know when to stop

No notes.

48: Assume formlessness

By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes.

The 49th Law of Power is “You do not talk about the Laws of Power“. There is a reason why Robert Greene decided to leave it out. Don’t go running your mouth about the cool manipulative techniques found in the book. You will only draw resentment upon you.

The 50th Law of Power is -You must go the opposite direction and move before you think you are ready. It is as if you are making it a little more difficult for yourself, deliberately creating obstacles in your path. But it is a law of power that your energy will always rise to the appropriate level.” Keys: Make the most of what you have.