Category Archives: Manhood

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

 

Over the past few years and up until recently (within the past few weeks) I have given up a number of things. As a result I have gained immensely in numerous other ways and, to be honest, I feel as if I have been reborn as a kid (teenager to my early twenties). Psychologically that is. And in my worldview and in my mental and behavioral outlook upon Life (and Death) and upon many other things as well – such as Work and Achievement and Enterprise and Industry.

Physically I am approaching 55 years old but the vast majority of the time I feel (in my body and how I can use it) like I’m about 30 years old.

Here are some of the things I have given up and what I have gained as a result:

Video games (gave them up years and years ago), haven’t missed them at all, they were a huge time-suck. Gain: Productive use of my time and an absolute revulsion for escapist entertainment. Feeling of being a kid again. To replace that kind of passive, escapist entertainment I took up real recreations again, including, but not limited to playing wargames and RPGs and board games with real people.

Cell Phone: as my family and friends will tell you I only use it for emergency and business communications. Or to take pics if I am vadding. I am untrackable otherwise and never turn it on. My wife and kids and even friends spent years trying to convince me to get one. But I’ve never liked the God-damned thing. (It is one of those pieces of modern technology that I can honestly hear God saying, “ah, that’s a real piece of infiltrating demonic shit son, and will only lessen your ability to truly Live, not enhance it. Burn the damned thing.” I can easily hear Christ saying that too, as an off-hand remark.) It has always revolted me. The idea of being traceable is also disgusting and unmanly to me. Nevertheless I keep it to please my wife and kids and for security reasons. Gain: Not using it or activating it means I always enjoy the Real World far more. I observe closely and easily all that goes on around mem as is my natural inclination. I haven’t had an auto-accident in over thirty years. Though I have avoided many. Time means nothing to me. I go where I wanna go and do what I wanna do. I talk constantly to strangers when travelling, often engage in and initiate conversations, or am engaged in or others initiate conversations with me. Nobody will bother talking to ya, nor do you bother meeting new people if you have a fucking phone stuck to your face all of the time or you’re so damned rude you think it more important than the actual people you’re in the company of. I don’t care for those shitheads and most others don’t either. Who would?

Eating: I gave up eating (doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my food, just don’t need much of it) any more than I really need to in order to sustain myself and to grow myself or repair damage during training. Gain: less weight, leaner, more muscle, better health, more energy, easy to fast.

Sugar: aside from chocolate (usually semi-sweet form) I take in none. Gain: Better energy, rarely tired (I can go to bed at midnight or one, arise at five or six AM and be good all day. Better health, hormone, and metabolic regulation. Rarely sick, injuries don’t bother me nearly as much as they used too. Rare pain unless I over-exert myself clearing land or training or boxing. Quicker recovery.

Soda: Gain: same as above for sugar. No advantages of any kind for sodas or processed sugar.

Bread: Gain: same as above. Occasionally I’ll eat flatbread or unleavened bread or antique breads.

Coffee: I drink this still, but very rarely now. Gain: better energy and metabolic self-regulation.

Junk Food: gave that shit up a long time ago. Gain: rarely sick, not fat, good diet and nutrition, take no meds of any kind (you’d be surprised how this shocks modern doctors and nurses and surgeons), good energy, train easily, little to no exhaustion, no desire to eat it. Taking in eating as a whole (diet, sugar, soda, bread, less consumption) my body is far better off, my mind is clear and alert, my concentration is superb, I dream and recall my dreams better, and my attitude is positive, optimistic, and happy.

Politics: gave this up about a six months or so ago. Aside from the necessary evils of my political duties (to thwart this world becoming a modern liberal, socialistic, Islamic, communistic, impoverished, tyrannical hellhole) I could give a shit less about politics and take no notice of it. Gain: nothing but positive, especially on my outlook and optimism. Also I got out of that modern, effeminate, unmanly, pussified habit of just talking about problems and politics ad infinitum (instead of acting on them) as if “consciousness raising” or “internet awareness” were some kind or form of valid problem solving. What a self-deluding, unmanly pussy pursuit. It is the political and social equivalent of modern Christians who say, “I’ll pray,” but never left their hands or can’t be bothered to actually do anything.  So I’m glad to be shed of that shit.

TV: gave up watching TV. Sent back DirectTV receiver and don’t watch local channels (haven’t done that for decades) and eliminated Netflix, etc. Gain: Don’t miss it. At all. Time I would have spent on that shit now goes to far more important things (like traveling, spending time with family, clearing land, my Work and Career, new start-ups, making submissions, networking, exploring, vadding, hanging out with friends, etc.) I also now spend a lot of time with my kids, cuddling and showing affection to my wife, more sex with her, etc. My self-education program flourishes. I stargaze more. My language acquisition programs have improved and advanced. Very much like being a kid again when I never watched TV. I was always far too busy doing things, learning things, having fun, and enjoying myself instead.

News: I gave up watching all TV news some time back. Gain: Happy, optimistic, not bothered by modern bullshit, not obsessed by disaster, doom, or politics (next to criminal and terrorist activity and entertainment and crack-whoring the lowest of all forms of human enterprise). Far less distraction.

Introversion: gave up any idea at all that I am a natural introvert. Yes, when it comes to Work I prefer to work alone, and always have, and likely to some degree always will. But with the kids now in college and having a free hand to maneuver my extroverted side has reasserted itself vigorously. So I have gone back to being what is my natural and true inclination, an Ambivert.  When working I am still basically an introvert, but when out in public or otherwise I am very much an extrovert, as my wife and kids can tell you. Gain: Immense.

Worrying About Money, or giving a shit about it: gave this up maybe two or three years ago. Something like that. Gain: better marriage, better family, increases in income, more time on Work and Career, easier money and time management, more saving and investments, more entrepreneurialism. Instead of giving a shit about money I now just say to myself: “what are my real momentary and monetary priorities, and knowing those I’ll get the money and constantly (over time) increase my income and Wealth.” If it is not really a priority then I don’t care one way or another. I am neither enslaved by lack of money, nor impressed by having it. And I feel more and more, even absolutely confident, that I will become incredibly wealthy over time. But I don’t give a shit for money other than what I can use it to do. (Build things, advance my career, take care of others, start businesses, invest, do charity and philanthropy, engage in science – do important things in the world.) Aside from what it allows me to do I am completely Stoic and entirely unconcerned about money. And I Sleep like a baby.

Professional Sports: I gave up watching professional sports decades ago, (almost three decades now) and college sports not long after that (reminds me far too much of pro sports).  To me they are merely vastly overpaid, spoiled, self-absorbed entertainers, and also they tend to be primarily urbanized Europeans in their mindsets (probably the result of nearly all pro-sport teams being located in big and degenerate cities, big city people never really understand just how naturally corrupting their urbanized environments and mindsets make them, but the corruption is deep even if rarely realized). I do not admire or respect most professional athletes and as far as their thin and anemic contributions to society I rank those right up there with other professional entertainers. Which means I don’t rank them very high at all. Not as a profession anyway, individuals vary, of course. I do not consider most to be manly in their natures at all. When a damned professional football game or team takes ten minutes to run a single play because of time outs and clock delays and men have to reset in huddle for an interminable time period lest they break a real sweat (or anything else) then to me that is the very height of pussydom and unmanliness, not sport. And there is nothing “professional” about that. That is the very opposite of professional when it comes to sport – which should be a test not only of skill, strength and of power, but of endurance, speed, toughness, reflexes, drive, determination, and exhaustion, and the effort to overcome weakness.  It isn’t any of those things anymore, it is an effeminate attempt to appear impressive yet preserve and coddle and overcompensate “assets” for purposes of entertainment. Also I won’t even bother to mention the effeminate nature of the politics that now also infect all professional and collegiate sports top to bottom. But I will say this, the modern politics of professional sports is the result of the decades long slide into effeminacy, over-concern with money and profit, and the obsession with appearance, not performance – or in other words, the effeminacy and unprofessionalism is not the result of the politics. That’s just a late stage symptom (and hopefully a terminal one). First came the decline in the full range of athleticism, then came the resulting political corruption, not the other way around. So instead I indulge myself in personal and amateur athletics – climbing, hiking in pack, weight-lifting, running (a little, not so much after I broke my wrist), boxing, exploring, outdoor activities, clearing land, using my axes and hatchets, etc. I will however watch little league baseball, or kids play soccer, rugby, football, baseball, etc. Because they are enjoying it just as sport, and as fun, and because they aren’t clogged and cluttered with endless rules and endorsements. Gain: great advantages to my own health, no time, money, or effort wasted on these meaningless distractions, and far better uses of my recreational activities.

Social Media and most of the Internet: aside from business purposes or aside from the fact of someone mentioning me on social media (don’t wanna be rude) or something truly important happening I don’t comment on it, respond to it, give a shit about it or use it. Social media might take two minutes out of my day, usually just to scan and make sure distant family and friends are okay. Many days, sometimes weeks go by, and I don’t bother to look at it. Also I am now far more naturally skeptical or anything and everything I see on the internet nowadays and many things tend to amuse rather than bother me. Gain: how do I list them, or how many can I possibly name? All that pointless, wasted time is now free for me to do as I wish, want, desire, or need. To spend on far more important things. And most everything in life is far, far more important. (Looking back upon it objectively now one of the worst sins of the baby-boomers was laying the groundwork for whole generations growing up on this bullshit and thinking it normal. Pathetic. Even bathetic. I hope one day when you kids grow past this pointless shit, and give it up too, you will forgive us… we really did a number on you. Not to mention ourselves.)

Other Things I have Gained as a Complimentary Result of my Revolt against all this Modern Bullshit: I spend more time with God, more time improving myself, I have more time to practice Christian Theurgy, more time for charity and philanthropic work, I spend more time praying and in meditation, more time at philosophy, and languages, more time writing (poetry, novels, articles, short stories, songs), more time learning music and playing guitar and piano, have more time for physical training, more time for inventing, I have gone back to the practice of Raja Yoga, more time playing wargames and gaming with people (RPGs etc.), more time with family, more time travelling, more time making new friends (in person, not on internet), more time outdoors and in nature, more time to pursue my more obscure interests and experiments, and I could probably go on and on in this vein.

In short, I haven’t lost a thing. Instead by giving up all of that otherwise unimportant, petty, modern shit and by fully enjoying the naturally resulting Gains thereof I am living like my ancestors, ancient ancestors, and a like Real Human Being again.
About bloody time…

FUN MORNING AND ENJOYABLE WORK

Felled a lotta trees this morning. Really like my new Poulan Pro chainsaw.

(Had planned to use it much earlier but with all the rain and travel had been using my WorX instead.)

Ordinarily I much prefer, and tend to use my axes.  But the underbrush had grown up so much that I just charged in with my chainsaw and started taking em down left and right.

Took me awhile to get back into the swing of using it because ordinarily I do it the Roman Way and use my hand-axes and hatchets. But once I remembered my old techniques it went really well.

Took down maybe five trees, many saplings, and a lotta underbrush.

By then the engine was smoking hot even with the oiling and the drive breaks. I figure from now on I’ll take down about ten full size trees or about 12 good sized saplings at a time then knock off.

They still gotta be cut up and hauled anyway.

Did have one problem though. Cutting down a sapling (about twenty feel tall) and apparently it was partially diseased and rotten on the inside and collapsed backwards against the direction of cutting and trapped my chain and chainsaw blade.  I tried lifting the tree back against the direction of the fall but couldn’t grab the chainsaw at the same time. But the tree snapped after a few moments anyway due to the rot.

Didn’t appear to warp the blade or damage the chain and so I went on and cut down some more trees.

Gonna do a complete cleaning maintenance on it before next use though.

Fun morning and enjoyable work. Now to hike Sam and move on to writing and business… have a good day folks.

ALWAYS ACT

Always Act. Always act at good and noble objectives and causes, and always act in a Virtuous manner, but always act.

With fire in your blood and with relentless drive.

Our entire society in America (all of the corrupt parts anyway) and especially in the West (Europe I mean you) is geared towards impotent things; like groupish herdism, innate passivity, and overall emotional effeminacy.

They mistake talk for Activity, and argument and protest for actual Solutions.

But instead you should Act in a Manly and Masculine fashion (and that has nothing to do with sex or gender, but rather with individual Behavior and personal Weltanschauung) at good and important things and you will not only go much, much farther at achieving your real goals in life, but eventually you will conquer the world… but not if you acquiescence and submit to, or genuflect for, the current cultural and societal norms pathetically common in the West.

That is a somewhat lonely life at this point in time (especially in the effeminate West) but it is the only kind of worthwhile life that has ever been worth living.

Podcast #425: Action Over Feelings

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/e4920c26-dd54-4fb7-aa6d-59c95d2babe3/embed

While we often associate Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions with meditation and contemplation, there’s another side to this wisdom that centers on action and can help us move through depression, anxiety, fear, and just general malaise.

My guest today is the author of a book about this action-oriented philosophy. His name is Gregg Krech, he’s the co-founder of the ToDo Institute, and his book is The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology.

Today on the show, Gregg and I discuss a Japanese psychological technique called Morita therapy, which concentrates on accepting instead of fixing one’s thoughts and feelings, and acting in spite of them. We discuss how action can be a powerful antidote to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts, how to act when you don’t feel like it, how to stay motivated when the initial rush of a new project or relationship has worn off, and why it’s better to have a purpose-driven rather than a feelings-driven life. We end our conversation unpacking the idea that busyness is not the same thing as purposeful action, and why we need self-reflection to tell the difference between the two.

Show Highlights

  • What is Morita therapy? How does it compare to Western psychology?
  • The action-oriented nature of Eastern philosophy
  • Gandhi, man of action
  • How does Morita define action? What does taking action really mean?
  • The skill of using your attention effectively
  • What playing some blues at a nightclub taught Gregg about anxiety
  • How do you take action when you can’t get yourself to do anything?
  • Why you’re only depressed when you notice you’re depressed
  • Why do we put off taking action?
  • How we tend to let feelings determine our actions
  • Moving from feeling-oriented to purpose-oriented
  • The role of kaizen in Morita therapy
  • How Morita can help people who may be good at starting things, but can’t finish them
  • Is there such a thing as too much action?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Gregg

ToDo Institute

 

RETURN TO YESTERDAY

I have returned to a 1970s lifestyle and I haven’t been this happy since I was a teen and in my early twenties.

Over the past few years I have given up video and computer gaming, the phone (I only use my phone to take pictures, necessary business calls, take security text from my children, and I have a program which mimics a tricorder with which I take electromagnetic readings, use as a compass, etc. when exploring or traveling – otherwise I don’t use my phone and never use it or answer it in public) all professional sports (actually I haven’t watched professional sports in decades really), watching the news, any kind of car communications, and recently I have given up all social media (other than my blogs) and most of the use of my computer and the internet (except for professional reasons).

Also other than the bare minimum (as a necessary evil) I take no interest in or notice of politics, for politics is, without any doubt at all, the single lowest of all human occupations and interests (aside from criminal activity, terrorism, and that kind of thing).

As soon as the kids both get back into college (in about another month) the wife and I have been discussing giving up TV altogether too.

So, instead of that meaningless crap, I do these things: I explore, I travel, I work and write (by hand mostly, in manuscript form and have others type it), I read (even more so than before), I research and when I need to do research I do it in libraries not on the internet, I hike, I pray, I meditate and talk with God a lot, I practice Raja Yoga again, I practice Christian Theurgy (more and more successfully I might add), I invent, I discover, I conduct scientific experiments, I engage in business projects, I invest, I practice charity and philanthropy, I market and submit my work, I spend time designing my new mansion, I build my wealth, I socialize a lot, I watch little league baseball and soccer games played by kids, I build my networks, I explore churches and old buildings, I vad, I visit other cities and towns and universities and many libraries,  I add to my personal library, I write poetry, I listen to and compose music, I write songs and am learning to play the guitar, I practice playing the piano,  I spend time with my pets and family and children, I improve and work on my marriage (which is already good, but only gets batter over time), I play D&D and wargames (I actively recreate rather than engage in passive entertainments), I learn new languages, I work on my math,  I make useful observations, I build things, I weight lift and train, I clear land (by hand mostly, though I do have new chainsaws), I meet new people (almost every day), I adventure and have fun, and most of all I enjoy the living hell out of myself. (Or Heaven even, depends on how you wanna phrase it.)

As a result I am extremely happy. And I am deeply at peace. And I am supremely confident and satisfied. Not complacent or content, I have many ambitions yet to fulfill in life – but for the moment I am highly satisfied and truly grateful.

I have come to understand that so many of the technologies and conveniences and the overall “lifestyle” (if, indeed, it can be called truly living) of modern life are designed (either intentionally or unintentionally) to entrap and suck the Real Life from you – body, mind, soul, and spirit. And that deeply repulses me. I have a natural revulsion of man-traps.

So, I have returned to the lifestyle I so much enjoyed back n the 1970s. And in some ways I also practice a lifestyle very similar to that of the Medieval and Ancient ages as well. I live partly as an inventor, partly as a poet, partly as a scientist, partly as a householder, husband, and father, partly

And it enthralls and enthuses and elates me.

I will therefore not be returning to the “modern lifestyle” or to being a “modern man.” (Not that I ever really was a modern man.) Both are ugly and infantile, impotent and morose, and mostly useless. Both are harbingers of death and unhappiness, not Life, Satisfaction, and Achievement.

So to hell with and fuck em both.

For the rest of my Life I will be myself instead and do things exactly as I desire to do them. Which has been most of the course of my life anyway, but for a while I let the modern world make me forget that. To distract me with its empty toys and to try to convince me of its pathetic and deceptive values.

But to fix that I’m burying that skeletal sonuvabitch right now.

And I won’t be digging him back up. Not ever again…

(THE EXTROVERTED) SIGMA MALE

Whereas I don’t agree with every detail of this description I do agree that it is accurate to a large extent.

I have also personally discovered that the more and more I reengage with personal social activities (now that my children are finally in college) the less and less I care for social media.

I am becoming extremely extroverted again but I only really desire personal, real world social contacts and social media (on the other hand) more and more repulses me. (Though that has been building upon me for several years now.)

And I have little desire or interest in social media (I hesitate to call most of it truly social and much of it actual media) other than for purely professional reasons.

 

THE TRUTH MUST BE GREATER THAN FICTION

MORE ROMAN PROGRESS

Got my time down to 40 minutes for a  2 1/2 to 3 mile hike in light pack (30 pounds) plus cutting down two small pine trees (soft wood) of about 15 to 20 feet tall with my hatchet. Just finished timing and testing myself.

Also I have divided my packs and rucks into light (30 pounds), medium (50 pounds) and heavy (70 pounds). I thought about making my heavy pack 80 to 100 pounds but given my previously broken back and my knee injuries 70 pounds seemed adequate for my training purposes especially since my Roman Way training (which I’ll discuss later) usually involves carrying tires and logs as well. No sense courting injury, especially at my age. Yeah, yeah, I know, 53 ain’t what it used to be.  People are a lot healthier, stronger, and more youthful than they used to be. Assuming they eat right and take care of themselves. And often I feel like I’m in my thirties, not fifties.

But it took me almost six months to fully rehab my broken wrist from last year and I’m still not up to where my bench press used to be.

However just last week I did 20 pulls ups and later 20 chin ups in the same training routine in addition to my bench presses and the rest of my routine with no wrist pain at all. So that’s good progress as well. And I’m down to 175 pounds, much of which is lean muscle now and so that’s a big advantage.

Also this past weekend I went out in the car and measured where I used to run as a kid. No wonder I was so skinny back then. Turns out I used to run about 8 to 12 miles most every day after school back when I was a kid. Depending on the circuit I took of course. I was thinking I was running more like 4 to 8 miles a day as a kid.

Of course back then I seriously overtrained. I’ve learned better over time.

But now I know exactly how far to run my wife and how to better train her for the mini-marathon she wants to run.

So that’s good too…

THE TACTICAL ATHLETE AND THE ROMAN WAY

Although I like and regularly follow the Art of Manhood this fit in so well with the new training program I’ve developed, The Roman Way, that I decided that this should definitely be shared here as well. This is exactly how I perceive The Roman Way, as being a tactical, personal, mission-oriented, and fully-functional form of athleticism for the average man and woman (and child).

My wife, by the way, who aside from my youngest daughter and myself happen to be the guinea pig(s) for my program has lost nine pounds (so far), regularly hikes and rucks now and every day after her workout and run she chops down two ten to twenty foot tall trees with her hatchet to help clear our land.

Soon I will teach her how to build things out of the trees she cuts down. Anyway enjoy the podcast and conversation. Later on I will return to The Roman Way and discuss it in more detail as I am now writing a book and training manual on the program.

A lot of really good things are happening nowadays in the fields of personal health and athleticism.

 

Brett | January 17, 2017

Podcast, Tactical & Military

Podcast #270: Becoming a Tactical Athlete

We don’t normally think of soldiers and first responders as “professional athletes,” but that’s exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he’s the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute — a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters, as well as folks who participate in strenuous mountain activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing, should view themselves as tactical athletes and train not just to train, but for a purpose outside the gym.

Today on the show, Rob and I discuss what makes the Mountain Tactical Institute’s mission-focused approach to fitness different from other organizations, why it is that soldiers and first responders should think of themselves as professional athletes, why soldiers in Afghanistan started following his fitness programming for mountain climbers, why there are so many out-of-shape first responders on active duty, and how to train to become a “tactical athlete,” even if you’re a civilian.

Show Highlights

  • Rob’s background and how he got started in tactical training
  • Why do mountain/adventure athletes even need specific programming?
  • How MTI caught the eye and focus of active military members
  • Why different missions and events require specific fitness programming
  • The most important things listeners can know about fitness requirements for military service
  • The fitness culture (or lack thereof) of first responders
  • The safety issues that present themselves when first responders aren’t fit
  • What happens in our society when fitness standards are implemented in police and fire departments
  • How age impacts one’s role in the military, and in first responder departments
  • Why first responders and military members should see themselves as athletes
  • The philosophy behind becoming a tactical athlete
  • Specific fitness benchmarks and goals for police officers, military members, etc.
  • The importance of durability in any athlete
  • Should civilians strive to be become tactical athletes?
  • The next evolution of fitness, and how we’ll move on from gyms and obstacle races
  • What to do when your programming and workouts get stale
  • What Rob calls “the burden of constant fitness”

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re looking for a fitness routine that’s mission-specific and designed for a purpose, be sure to check out the programs available at MTI. I’m thinking of trying one of them out myself.

Connect With Rob Shaul and Mountain Tactical Institute

Mountain Tactical Institute website

MTI on Instagram

MTI on Facebook

MTI on Twitter

Tell Rob “Thanks” for being on the podcast via Twitter

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

FURCKAED UP – THE ROMAN WAY

FURCKAED UP

I am seriously considering inventing an improved and a modern version of this gear system for my adaptation of the Roman Way. Also I very much like the fact that if you have to go into combat you can immediately shed the weight as compared to a ruck or backpack. I will still use the weight vest to simulate armor but adapt this system for carrying additional weight and gear.

 

 

A BROTHERHOOD OF TIME

A BROTHERHOOD OF TIME

Had a great Veterans Day in the company of a man whose friendship between us runs back a little over 40 years.

Some people you can have a great friendship with in a relatively short period of time. I am glad of those. But in other cases, rare cases, a friendship that has seasoned over an entire lifetime (or nearly so) is deep in a peculiar and particular way that is completely irreplaceable.

The things we have seen, the joys we have known, the fun we have had, the hardships endured, the mutual commiserations, together and alone, they go back a very long time indeed.

In some cases there is a bond far deeper than blood.

A Brotherhood of Time.

And I know you said you were ready to move on, but thank you again for your military service. Our conversations yesterday (on shop and on many other things) reminded me that without men like you, in peace and in war, our nation would have lain vulnerable to many, many threats.

I know also that you think you lost much, and you did, and I wish I could return those things to you. But you gained much for others and I for one have not forgotten it.

And in the big scheme of things I think God will return it to you as well. Maybe not in this world, but it will be returned, and blessed, and multiplied.

I love you man. Safe travels home…

By the way you old bastard, I still owe you a meal. What you did last night, well, that just made us even again…

CONCEIT AND COWARDICE

Most modern people spend their entire lives terrified of being seriously hurt and eventually killed. But once you realize that at some point (if not often) you will certainly be seriously hurt, and that one day, without fail, you will eventually be killed (by something or someone), then being terrified is a rather ridiculous conceit. Not to mention an extremely cowardly one.

from Lessons Learned

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO DO WRONG

EVERY SINGLE LIBERTY AND RIGHT

Every single Liberty you enjoy is composed of a set of high moral duties for which you are directly accountable. Otherwise you possess merely a license to do wrong rather than the freedom and opportunity to do what is best and true.

Every single Right you have been granted by God is composed of high responsibilities for which you are personally answerable. Otherwise you do not possess a Right; you are merely the human agent of self-indulgent recklessness and selfish wrong-doing.

God, the Good, and the Truth are the natural Masters of your Liberties and your Rights, not merely your own desires and wishes. License is not a Liberty, and you have no Right to do wrong. Do not be deceived by those who would make a petty self-god of your Rights and Liberties. They were granted you as a great opportunity, they were not promised you without consequence. Your Rights and Liberties are not inexhaustible, and you will be held accountable for both.

Your Liberties and your Rights end at the stony shoreline of evil and indulgence. If you take alien ship beyond that safe point then you do so entirely at your own cost and at your own peril. Your Liberties and your Rights will always ultimately sink upon the seas of self-deception.

The Wise Man fully understands this and therefore he both fears God and he is judicious and responsible in the exercise of his Liberties and his Rights.

He is also entirely unwilling to both unfairly strip the natural Liberties and Rights from another, or equally egregiously, to tell another that they naturally possess unlimited and unchecked Liberties and Rights.

Because no one ever has nor ever will possess such unreal things.

THE BEST THING

The best thing about my Lord (Jesus Christ) is that within himself He skillfully unites what is best in mortal Man, with the Perfection of Immortal God, that he patiently and favorably expects the same of me, despite being acutely aware of my many limitations, and yet He will not blithely excuse my faults, but rather demands of me that I conquer them without pretense or procrastination.

I instinctively understand a Man of exacting and energetic expectations, and I well appreciate a God of grace and gentle forbearance. It is a combination of Extreme Wisdom and Divine Consideration.

A MAN SHOULD BE A MAN AND A THING TO ADMIRE

Brett | October 10, 2016

A Man’s Life

A Eulogy for My Grandfather, William D. Hurst

grandpa_3

Editor’s Note: Last week my grandfather, who was my last living grandparent and a big inspiration in my starting the Art of Manliness, died. He was someone who I can happily say made me feel bad about myself, and of which people exclaim, “They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.” 

I was asked to give the eulogy at his funeral this weekend, and wanted to share it here on the site in honor of his legacy. I did add one story to this article that my uncle recounted. 

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William (Bill) Daly Hurst passed away on September 29, 2016, just six days shy of his 101st birthday.

And what a life he lived.

My grandfather has always loomed large in my imagination. Even though we were separated by hundreds of miles and sometimes went years without seeing each other, Grandpa’s presence has always been with me. He was an icon for me and almost a kind of institutional figure — an embodiment of the values of the Greatest Generation. In fact, he’s been a big part of the inspiration behind the ideal of manhood that I write about on the Art of Manliness. He was both a good man and good at being a man.

As I look back on his life, three characteristics of my grandpa stick out to me that I hope to emulate: his dedication to service, his unyielding curiosity, and his humility.

As a third-generation U.S. Forester, Grandpa was born into a legacy of service — a commitment to protecting and managing our country’s natural resources.

It started in 1905 when William Hurst (Grandpa’s grandfather) was appointed assistant ranger on the Dixie Forest Reserve in Utah. Three months later, he became a forest supervisor. Gifford Pinchot — the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, appointed by Theodore Roosevelt — sent him two full pages of instructions, the most specific being, “As soon as you can get to it, please look up desirable rooms for an office. A full set of blank forms, office equipment, and furniture have been requested to be sent you.” Supervisor Hurst made a formal reply: “I will endeavor to magnify the trust reposed in me and shall discharge the duties imposed upon me in a dignified manner without fear or favor.” This was William Hurst’s rule until he resigned in 1913 as supervisor of the Beaver and Fillmore National Forests, and it was a rule my grandfather followed during his tenure in the Forest Service.

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My grandpa at 9 months old. His family nickname was Snooks.

William M. Hurst (my grandpa’s father) started as Assistant Ranger in the service in 1910 in Panguitch, Utah. He was a District Forest Ranger when my grandfather, William D. Hurst, was born on October 5, 1915, in Parowan, Utah.

Think about that for a minute. My grandpa was born a year into the First World War. In his memoir he recounts his memory as a three-year-old of people banging pots and pans and whooping in the streets on Armistice Day. My grandpa was what blogger Jason Kottke calls a “human wormhole.” His long life and the amount of history he saw firsthand provide an embodied reminder of just how connected we are to the past. When I gave my grandfather a hug, I was hugging a man that was hugged by his grandparents who were born during the Civil War. That idea really puts time in perspective for me.

Grandpa was raised in Panguitch, Utah, and graduated as student body president and co-valedictorian of his class at Garfield County High School in 1934. He attended Utah State Agricultural College and graduated with a B.S. in Forestry and Range Management in 1938. During the summer months of his college years, Grandpa worked as a sheepherder, where he accumulated some pretty cool stories. In his memoirs he describes in explicit detail how to castrate sheep; the methodology wasjust as Mike Rowe famously explained it: a sharp knife and your teeth.

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Grandpa’s first day working for the U.S. Forest Service.

During the summer of 1937, he worked for the United States Forest Service as an Administrative Guard in the Stansbury Mountains near Grantsville, Utah. After graduation, he took a permanent assignment with the Forest Service in the same location, thus becoming a third-generation forester in Utah, after his father and grandfather.

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Bill and Dolly Hurst.

In Grantsville, he met his sweetheart, Emma (Dolly) Johanson. Grandma worked as phone operator and Grandpa came into town one day to make a phone call. He was immediately smitten and I’m sure started finding reasons to make more phone calls. They were engaged in 1940 and married March 19, 1941.

In 1942, Grandpa became the District Ranger of the Manila Ranger District on the Ashley National Forest.

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Like millions of men from his generation, Grandpa answered the call to serve and fight for his country during World War II. He served in the Army, training for the invasion of Japan, and then spent one year in that country as part of the occupation forces in 1946.

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Grandpa riding a horse while serving in the Army in Japan during WWII. 1946.

Grandpa was 31 years old when he began his military service, making him much older than many of the soldiers in his platoon. That earned him the nickname “Pops,” but he took pride in the fact that he could out-hustle and outwork men ten years his junior. After the war, Grandpa continued his service in the U.S. Army Reserves, obtaining the rank of first lieutenant.

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Staff at the Ashley National Forest where Bill Hurst served as supervisor from 1950 to 1955. Grandpa’s in the middle holding his hat.

After leaving the military, he became the Staff Officer of the Cache National Forest in Utah. He served as Forest Supervisor on the Ashley National Forest from 1950 to 1955, before going to the Washington office as one of the Assistant Chiefs in Range Management. Grandpa then served as Chief of Range & Wildlife Management of the Intermountain Region from 1957 to 1962. He was the Deputy Regional Forester for the Intermountain Region as well. In 1966, Grandpa was appointed Regional Forester for the Southwestern Region, where he remained until he retired in 1976.

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Bill Hurst served as Regional Forester of the Southwest Region from 1966 to 1976. He’s in the middle.

During his appointment as Regional Forester of the Southwestern Region, Grandpa brought not only a keen mind and almost 30 years’ experience, but also a pride in the history and traditions of the Forest Service and a genuine concern for the well-being of the forests and the people who used them. He imparted a level of professionalism to his region that still remains today.

As a Regional Forester, Grandpa didn’t have an ideological axe to grind nor did he have political ambitions within the Forest Service. He just strived to follow his own grandfather’s rule to “discharge the duties imposed upon me in a dignified manner without fear or favor.” Grandpa was a pragmatist. He just wanted things to work and work well for everyone. And that often meant trying to find a middle ground among multiple parties who all had conflicting interests — ranchers, farmers, timber companies, indigenous people, and environmentalists just to name a few. And he was able to walk this line for the most part thanks to his curiosity and humility. He talked to people, asked questions without prejudice or preconceived notions, and researched on his own. But more importantly, Grandpa took action and found solutions and compromises that could prevent gridlock and keep things moving forward. (Note: For those of you interested, Utah State University has digitized diaries, reports, etc. from my grandpa’s career as a forester.)

Grandpa retired from the Forest Service in 1976 and spent his retirement at his home at Bosque Farms — a small ranch in New Mexico. Here he provided idyllic summers and Thanksgivings for his grandchildren, full of swimming and horseback riding. For me, Bosque Farms is where my most cherished memories of Grandpa, and of my childhood, exist.

Bosque Farms was a Garden of Eden. But time eventually drove us all out of this Western paradise. Grandpa got too old to manage the place by himself, and we all got older and busy with our adult lives. But Bosque Farms is a place I still long for. Every now and then, memories of spending time with Grandpa on the ranch hit me like a tidal wave.

I miss the smell of coffee and hotcakes in the morning and the smell of pinyon wood burning in the living room fireplace. I miss the smell of the barn on a clear, crisp Thanksgiving morning.

But most of all I miss Grandpa leading me around the corral on a horse, patiently and lovingly telling me how to guide my noble steed.

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Pictures of me and Grandpa at various times at Bosque Farms, New Mexico. Still have that hat Grandpa gave me.

It’s a painful yearning to return home. The Greeks called this nostalgia. While my heart aches for that time, it’s a good ache. I’m glad I have those memories and I’m indebted to Grandpa for giving them to me.

Even in retirement, Grandpa continued his dedication to service. If there was a club or organization dedicated to service, he belonged to it. He was a charter member and past president of the Society for Range Management where he continued his work in conserving and managing our country’s natural resources. He was also a member of the Lion’s Club, Rotary, the Society of American Foresters, and the Wilderness Trail Riders of Prineville, Oregon.

Grandpa was active in Scouting and was awarded the Silver Beaver for distinguished service. He was also the grateful recipient of Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow award, the Jim Bridger Award for conservation achievement, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Utah State University, as well as the 2004 Frederic G. Renner Award from the Society of Range Management — the most prestigious award given by the society.

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Grandpa and my Aunt Kathy.

Grandpa’s service wasn’t only to the public and his community but to his large and ever-growing family as well. Grandpa was always looking out for us and made frequent trips to visit all of his grandkids during retirement. He even drove by himself from Albuquerque to Tulsa when he was 90 years old to come to my wedding. Kate’s grandma thought he was crazy, but Grandpa didn’t think much of it.

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Grandpa and Grandma Hurst with their five children.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Dolly, and two sisters and brothers-in-law, Margaret and Ralph Tingey and Katherine and Vernon Barney of Panguitch, Utah. He leaves behind his five children and their spouses, nineteen grandchildren, thirty-four great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Grandpa’s entire life was dedicated to service — to his country, to his community, and to his family. If he could help in some way, he was there.

Whether in work or play, Grandpa also stayed curious. It’s one of the most refreshing and vital things about him. He was always reading books to learn more and taking notes in the pocket notebook he kept in the breast pocket of his shirts.

My uncle recounts a story of this note-taking practice: When my grandpa was 90, my uncle found him reading a book, but stopping every now and then to write in his pocket notebook. When my uncle asked Grandpa what he was doing, he said, “I’m writing down the words I don’t know the definition of so I can look them up later.” When my uncle asked him why he was doing that, Grandpa responded matter-of-factly: “To improve my vocabulary, of course.” Ninety years old, and my grandfather was still trying to enrich his treasury of knowledge.

Another example of Grandpa’s curiosity in action can be seen in his retirement, when one of his old phonograph players broke. He learned how to fix it (this was before the internet, mind you), which led to a small side hustle in retirement repairing phonograph players for others. He did the same with antique buggies. He became a self-taught expert on repairing and restoring them, and people started paying him to fix up theirs.

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Grandpa was always happiest out in the mountains somewhere on a horse.

Grandpa traveled extensively throughout his life within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, in addition to China, Panama, Russia, and the U.K., though he was happiest riding his horse or mule on adventures through the mountains of the West from New Mexico to Oregon.

But what I loved most about Grandpa’s curiosity was his genuine interest in others. He wasn’t jaded or cynical about people at all. He sincerely thought every person — no matter their walk of life — had something interesting to say. Grandpa could go anywhere and have a friend because he could make one instantly. As a kid, this interest in others could get kind of annoying. I knew going on quick errands with Grandpa would often result in me standing around waiting for thirty minutes while he talked to complete strangers, sharing stories with them, peppering them with questions, and intently listening while interspersing the conversations with his characteristic chuckle and “Well, I’ll be damned!” or “Well, that’s a hell of a thing!” And he meant it! He was always genuinely surprised by and interested in the things people would share. Like Will Rogers, Grandpa “Never met a man he didn’t like.”

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Finally, Grandpa didn’t take himself too seriously. He took his work very seriously, but never himself. There was never an air of self-importance about him. Because of his humility, I sometimes forget about his accomplishments and the amount of influence he has had in public affairs, particularly when it comes to conservation. Grandpa was too busy being useful to worry about being important.

What I’ve spoken of are just the highlights of Grandpa’s earthly sojourn.

Like I said at the beginning…what a life.

He’s been an inspiration to me, and can serve as a pattern for all of us seeking to live the good life.

We will miss Grandpa, but I’m thankful for the example of service, curiosity, and humility that he gave us. I’m looking forward to seeing him again one day, and until then I hope we all will do our best to live up to his legacy.

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Bill Hurst’s grandsons were his pallbearers at his funeral. We all wore one of Grandpa’s iconic bolo ties in honor of him. Those of us who had cowboy boots also, sported those. My cousin, Tom Hughes, shared this thought about the experience: “My grandfather, Bill Hurst, died last week, 6 days shy of his 101st birthday. As I and my cousins, the pallbearers, stood in a semi-circle, looking at his flag-draped coffin in the back of the hearse, we said almost nothing. We just stood there for several minutes until the funeral director came out, found us standing there, and told us we could get in our cars. I don’t believe there has ever been group of boys–now men–who more loved, admired and revered their grandfather than those of us standing there, wearing his bolo ties. And I know his granddaughters feel the same way. Pity there weren’t more bolo ties for them.”

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When my grandpa was 9 years old he encountered a tassel-eared squirrel on the Kaibab Plateau in Southern Utah, an area that’s 20 by 40 miles wide. It was the Kaibab Squirrel — a species not found anywhere else in the world. Since that time, Grandpa took a keen interest in this little critter and strove to protect it in his position as Regional Forester. Nearing his 100th birthday, Grandpa, along with some friends and family, formed the “Friends of the Kaibab Squirrel,” a group dedicated to educating federal and state agencies and citizens about this unique animal, so that pragmatic steps can be taken to prevent population decline. Should you like to honor my grandfather at his passing, you can support Friends of the Kaibab Squirrel bypurchasing a lapel pin. Proceeds go to FKS.

SOMETHING REALLY HELPFUL FOR THIS ELECTION SEASON

If you believe that you will advance or repair this nation, much less the world, merely by voting in the upcoming election (or in any election) then you are both an outright and ignorant fool and an intentional and unashamed coward.

Now, don’t misunderstand me – I am in no way discouraging you from voting. That is not my point.

But in a Republic (or even in something as degenerate and pointless as a mere democracy) voting is but a duty, it is never a Solution.

The reason your Republic, hell the reason this world, stands upon a precipice of self-destruction is not because of the people that you do or do not vote for (though every honest man has to know instinctively that you have created this shit-bed for yourselves based upon your relentlessly juvenile desire to “be led“), but this set of situations continues to exist primarily because of your own cowardice and lack of balls.

If long ago you had simply had the courage and the manhood to actually revolt against many of the things you have simply bent the knee to as half-men thralls and soiled fealty-serfs then you wouldn’t be here and you wouldn’t have the “rulers” that plague you and your feckless and impotent generations.

By all means vote, for that is your duty as a Citizen and a Free Man in a Republic.

But do not confuse your duty with an Accomplishment or your obligations with an actual Solution.

Your desperate, degenerate, and unmanly inner cowardice and lack of revolt against widespread and persistent wrong had bred this pathetic state (I mean that both as your internal psychological state and as your political state) upon you, and it is one you richly and undeniably deserve.

And one that you will continue to deserve until you stand up again as Free Men and Free Women.

This nation and this world will not be “fixed” by Trump or Clinton or Johnson, or by any of your “elected officials.” It never has been and it never will be.

It will be fixed by you, if it can be fixed at all. Or put another way to the degree it can be fixed at all, by human effort – it will not be fixed by your “leaders.” For that requires no effort and no risk on your part.

Indeed the very idea that you so desperately “need” your leaders to fix things for you is the very reason you are so gutless, ineffectual, and degenerate in the first place.

Indeed if you only had the man-balls to revolt against the very idea that you need to be led and that someone in authority must act in your absent stead then you wouldn’t need to revolt against that idea, but since you lack the man-balls to revolt against that idea the one thing you most desperately need (personal courage) is beyond your effective reach.

See, it always works that way with cowardice (for that is the very nature of cowardice)… 

With courage, though, it just works.

I know you don’t get that, but you sure as hell need to. And pretty damned quick too.

So as this election approaches instead of merely electing something different, or, God forbid, yet another carious version of the same, how about you trying to be something different, and eschewing the same.

That would be really, really helpful. For once.

You know, you being the solution that you spend so much time whining and bitching and wishing that someone else would be… for you.

Like a real man or woman.

Like an Actual American.

EVERYTHING YOU DO

Everything you do in life should be a simultaneous, active, and fearless advance of what is best and what is good, and an outright and unflinching revolt against evil and wrongdoing. Simultaneous, active, and fearless. Not unrelated, separate, passive, and safe.
from Divine Sophia

CHARACTER AND DUTY

Manvotional: The Character of a Soldier

Editor’s note: The following excerpt was included in FM 21-13, an Army field manual published in 1952. While it outlines the character of a good soldier, the qualities mentioned represent the kind of character all men should strive for.

FM 21-13
THE SOLDIER’S GUIDE

Section VII. THE CHARACTER OF A SOLDIER
The Things You Are

When we say that a man has “good character,” we mean that he has many strong qualities and virtues that, added together, make him a man whom we like, respect, and trust. One definition of character, therefore, is this: The sum of the qualities that make a person what he is.

It’s not easy to tell you exactly what qualities and virtues you must have to be a good soldier, but perhaps you can understand better what is meant by a “soldier’s character” if you consider some of the qualities that all of our good soldiers have had. These qualities include honesty, courage, self-control, decency, and conviction of purpose. This is by no means a complete list, but those are the qualities that most good soldiers possess. Let’s talk about them.

You must be honest because there is absolutely no room in our military world for dishonesty, half-truth, or any other shade in-between. When the outcome of a battle could rest on the truth of your report, your word must be your bond. In private life, one can avoid or make allowance for those who have trouble telling the truth. But in the Army, soldiers depend on each other too much to accept anything but complete honesty. All good soldiers understand the need for truthfulness and shun those who lie.

As a soldier, you may be called on to be courageous in many ways. In battle, you may have to keep moving forward in the face of heavy enemy fire. Lives of other men may depend on this kind of courage. Battle plans are based on it. Then, in addition to courage in battle, you need courage to admit your own failures. You may need still another kind of courage to ask your fellow soldiers to keep going when they have nearly reached the limit of their endurance.

In any talk of courage, however, it is important that you know the difference between real courage and foolhardiness. Taking unnecessary risks is stupid and often endangers the lives of others. Being courageous doesn’t mean that you won’t be afraid at the same time. Fear in battle is natural, and some of our best soldiers have been those who have been afraid, but who went ahead into battle, even with a shaking hand and pounding heart.

Soldiers who have displayed this kind of courage were able to do so because of another quality, self-control. As a soldier, you will be living and working closely with other soldiers. You will be leading a highly disciplined life. Good self-control makes this discipline easier. It will also help you avoid temptations that may plague you — temptations to dodge your duty, to indulge in immorality, or to use your power unfairly. Sometimes you may be the law itself, and only your sense of right and self-control will stand between you and your abuse of power as a soldier.

Self-control is “inner discipline.” You were not born with it, but all good soldiers have acquired it through the years by checking their tempers and desires, and by “counting 10” before they acted.

Another quality that all good soldiers have is decency. This means personal habits that make it easier for others to live and work with you. Your honesty, courage, and self-control will strongly affect your companions, but in addition, it is important that you give them the same consideration that you’d like them to give you. This means respecting their property and views, keeping yourself clean in body and speech, and accepting others for what they are – not for the color of their skins, or where they came from.

All these qualities are important parts of a good soldier’s character, but the quality that all of our great soldiers have had – the quality that gave meaning to all of their other virtues – is conviction of purpose. This means that these soldiers fought well and were able to endure the hardships of war because they were convinced that what they were doing was right.

Admittedly, this quality isn’t easy to have. Many combat veterans will tell you that they were never quite sure why they were fighting. Some say that they fought to save themselves. Others say that they fought for the men around them, or because they hated the enemy. There is never any single reason why men fight.

Our truly great soldiers, however, have fought for our country because they believed that our freedoms and way of life were worth the sacrifice. You probably know the story of Sergeant York. When he first entered the Army in World War I, he was troubled because his training and his conscience told him “Thou shalt not kill.” After a long struggle with his conscience, however, he realized that fighting the enemy was just, because that enemy would have enslaved the world if they could. When he realized this, he became one of our greatest heroes, because he was convinced that it was right for men to remain free.

These are some of the main qualities that make up the character of a good soldier. Nobody can give you these qualities. You have to get them yourself by hard work. But at least you know what the qualities are and if you don’t have all of them, you have a goal that is worth reaching.

MANLY MARRIAGE

Podcast #239: Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts

If you’re a man on the precipice of marriage or have marriage as a life goal, one worry you likely have is “Will my marriage last?”

While divorce rates have been decreasing since they reached their peak in the late 1970s and early ’80s, there’s still a perception out there that marriage is just a crapshoot — a game of Russian roulette — and that the odds favor you ending up in a family court, or at best in a sad and loveless relationship. 

My guest today argues that doesn’t have to be your fate as long as you take a proactive approach to marriage. With some thought and intentionality, you can help ensure that you have a happy, loving, fulfilling relationship that lasts until death do you part. His name is Les Parrott and he’s a clinical psychologist specializing in marriage and family. He, along with his wife Leslie, who’s also a marriage therapist, have written a book to help couples prepare themselves for matrimonial commitment. It’s called Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before — And After — You Marry

Today on the show, Les and I discuss how a man can know if he’s personally ready for marriage, the myths people have about marriage that set them up for disappointment, and the conversations you should be having with your future spouse to help ensure you have a happy life together. While the conversation is geared towards soon-to-be-marrieds and newlyweds, even if you’ve been married for a couple decades, you’re going to find some useful advice and insights in this show.

Show Highlights

  • How to know if you’re ready for marriage
  • Why self-awareness is paramount for a successful relationship
  • The five attitudes towards marriage Millennials have
  • The effectiveness of pre-marital counseling in helping stave off divorce
  • What happy marriages look like
  • The expectations people have coming into marriage that can set them up for failure
  • The unspoken rules and unconscious roles in a marriage
  • The three factors that contribute to lasting love
  • How love changes as a relationship progresses and how to nurture it through the years
  • Why marriages are their strongest after 25+ years
  • How to cultivate passion in a long-term relationship
  • The saboteurs of marriage
  • The different needs of men and women in a relationship
  • Why conflict is good for a relationship and how to have a “good fight”
  • What couples who have been married for awhile, but are experiencing marital problems, can do to solve them

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

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Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts is filled with research-backed insights and actionable steps that about-to-be married or newlywed couples can use to make sure their marriage starts off on the right foot. Even if you’ve been married for a few years, you’re going to find the book useful. Also, consider taking the Parrotts’ SYMBIS Assessment with your spouse for further insights about your marriage. 

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

SPOOKED

SPOOKED

If you are a young black male and you don’t understand that police are sometimes spooked by you, especially if you live in a high crime, urban area, then you aren’t thinking this out very far. Now as a black kid or man is that necessarily your fault? If you are law abiding and peaceful and doing the best you can, then no, it is not your fault. But at the moment anyway, it is the way it is. And no one can argue the way things actually are. You might not like it, and in this case you shouldn’t like it, but you can’t argue it’s not true.
If you are a police officer and you don’t understand that a lot of young black males (or others) are sometimes spooked by you, especially if you react to them with automatic suspicion or an assumption of guilt, then you aren’t thinking this out very far. Now as a cop is this your fault? If you are a good cop and doing the best you can, then no, it is not your fault. But at this moment, anyway, this is the way it is. And no one can argue the way things actually are. You might not like it, and in this case you shouldn’t like it, but you can’t argue it’s not true.
Everyone is spooked. Sometimes for entirely legitimate reasons and sometimes for assumptively dubious and entirely erroneous reasons. And when people are spooked, then rightly or wrongly, bad things tend to happen. People react instead of carefully observe, people are triggered by instinct rather than reason, people’s emotions become actively paramount rather than their common sense. The result of those habits are often very bad (certainly stupid and unnecessary), even murderous things.
But no one but criminals and terrorists and very bad men will benefit if young law abiding citizens and young men and the police are spooked of each other, and are reflexively hostile towards and automatically dubious of each other.
What’s the answer? Hell, I wish I could tell you the answer. The one that will work in every case. But no answer will work in every case. That’s just not real life. Not the way real people are. People are people. They will at times revert to their worst instincts or their most illogical and counter-productive habits. Or even to bad or incomplete or misguided training.
However I can tell you this much: When you are angry at each other, and vengeful towards each other, and automatically suspicious of each other, and spooked by each other then no real good can come of that. And no solutions either. Sometimes though, just really thinking and dwelling on the problem can give you an understanding of how to start.
However I can tell you what ought to be happening. What ought to be happening is that young black men, the law abiding and decent and good ones should be working with the police to take down criminals and thugs and terrorists in their own neighborhoods and to straighten out those neighborhoods for everyone else. (Including for the benefit and safety of their own children and women.) What ought to be happening is that cops should not to be automatically suspicious of all young black men who live in a dangerous area (and yes, they have every right to own personal firearms and maybe even more reason than most – because, well, think about it, they live in a bad or violent or high crime neighborhood) and instead the police ought to be conscripting the young, decent, good ones as allies and informants and friends to help clean up bad neighborhoods. (And good cops cannot stand beside or defend bad ones, or even wrong ones.) There should be an alliance and a true friendship and a partnership between citizen and police, but that has to run in both directions at once and respect and protection and cooperation and trust has to also run in both directions at once, and keep running in both directions at all times and as much as humanly possible.
Now I fully understand human beings and their true natures. I’m not fooled by how things will have to go or will go, or are even likely to go. And I’m not gonna try and deceive you with a bunch of feel good, talk-show, pop-psychology, fairy dust and glitterized bullshit. Mistakes will be made and will continue to be made. That’s human nature. Humans are imperfect. But no one should defend wrongdoing in either direction and over time the mistakes should become fewer and fewer, and even less and less egregious.
But this shit has got to stop people. My nation is already entirely fucked up enough as it is. Manslaughter and mass murder and unending suspicion and chaos and innocents being slaughtered and riots in cities and snipers on rooftops and kids shot dead out of suspicion is not the way. We’ve nowhere else to go from here but straight down to hell.
Being spooked all of the time will make spooks of far too many of us. Dead men in a dying land.It is a false hope to live as ghosts in a ghostland, to be half-men in a dead land, when we could be a Great Thing in a Great Land.
We should all be living and thriving and growing and developing, and at and about worthwhile, profitable enterprises.
What we’re doing right now ain’t working, and it can’t work. And, in the end, because it cannot hope to succeed, for anyone, it will have to be abandoned anyway. Or to stubborn self-ruin we go.
I hate even mentioning shit like this because I despise politics being interjected into life and death matters and matter of Right and Wrong. Right and Wrong should always stand on it’s own because, well hell, it’s fucking Right and Wrong. If you don’t get that then I can’t help you. Truth is you should never have to interject race or class or sex or any other far lesser considerations into Right and Wrong. But my wife is black, and my kids are half-black, and a lot of my good friends are black. And I grew up around cops and I’ve worked crime and tracked murders and rapists and thieves (and I know exactly how it works, I’m not in the least naïve or misguided about how criminals and terrorists are) and a lot of my good friends are cops and God-damnit it all to hell this ain’t fucking working.
I’m sitting here about to cry just thinking about all of the totally useless, murderous, violent shit I’ve seen over the years and I don’t fucking cry. And I keep thinking, Christ in Heaven, damn this mindless, habitual shit, don’t they ever, ever, ever fucking get it? How useless this shit is? How utterly unnecessary most of it is!!?
And if they don’t get it by now then what will it actually take?
Look, I’m under no illusion that most criminals are not gonna get what I’m saying. Nor are they gonna care. But by God, why can’t the rest of us? Get it?
So start now. For God’s sake. For your own sakes… Start doing things differently. Start treating each other differently. What in the fuck do any of us have to lose if we all do this differently?
Otherwise this shit is all you’re gonna have and this cycle of idiocy and death is all you’re going to have to hand down to your children and grandchildren.
You’ve already bankrupted them. Do you want to hand them down this useless shit too?
So man the fuck up already people, throw in together, and stop being so bucking spooked when you don’t need to be. And stop giving out reasons for others to be spooked by you too.
Because what we’re doing right now can’t possibly work over time.
And we’re running the hell out of it.
Pray for your nation folks. Pray for your own understanding. But just as importantly, if not more so, start doing things differently.
This shit is all on us. The solution will be on us too.
Or the doom and the fucking damnation will be.
And I for one have had a fucking nuff of the doom and the damnation.
I want to see things they way they ought to be. I want to see all men behaving as they should.
For God’s sake, for your own sakes, don’t you?

THE DREAM AND THE FEARLESS

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”  So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley.  During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.  If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah  and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.  The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

THE ALPHA MALE – MAN AND WOLF

As I have always have told my wife, I stand alone when needed, in the front when necessary, and in the background when I’m superfluous.

I’m fine and happy with whatever is required, and however it shakes out… there’s only one thing I can’t stand to be – a sheep and a herd animal.


How to REALLY Be Alpha Like the Wolf

 alpha

Scroll through some young guy’s Tumblr or Instagram feed and you’re bound to find a picture of a menacing-looking wolf with blood around its chops or a lone wolf howling at the moon. Superimposed on this image is invariably a quote in big bold lettering — some kind of edgy, muscular platitude about ignoring your haters, striking out on your own, and dominating everyone in sight.

You know, being a straight up alpha wolf.

howl

The idea of there being alpha (and beta) wolves originated from Rudolph Schenkel of the University of Basel in Switzerland, who studied a pack of wolves living at a zoo in the 1940s. Schenkel observed that the wolves competed for status within their own sex, and that from these rivalries emerged a kind of “alpha pair” — a “lead wolf” that was the top male dog, and a “bitch” that was the top female dog.

Then in 1970, American scientist L. David Mech wrote a book called The Wolf, which expanded on Schenkel’s research and popularized the idea of alpha and beta wolves and the leader/subordinate social dynamic of wolf packs.

Both researchers described this dynamic as a competition for rank, with alphas being those who were domineering, aggressive, and violent, and used these qualities to fight off rivals to become the supreme leader of the pack.

Popular culture soon took this conception of the alpha wolf, along with the whole alpha vs beta distinction, and applied it to humans — especially men. Hence, the idea that to be an alpha male, you’ve got to take no prisoners, f*** s*** up each and every day, take what’s yours, and never say sorry.

There’s just one problem with this idea.

The research it’s based on turned out to be hugely flawed.

Below, we’ll explore the myth and reality of the alpha wolf. As we’ll see, looking to wolves for inspiration for human conduct can actually be useful and inspiring, but only if you’ve got a correct conception for what that behavior consists of. Here’s what it really means to be alpha like the wolf.

The Myth and Reality of the Alpha Wolf

For most of the 20th century, researchers believed that gray wolf packs formed each winter among independent and unrelated wolves that lived near each other. They had reached this conclusion from observing groups of wolves that had been taken from various zoos and thrown together in captivity.

Under these circumstances, researchers observed that wolves would organize the pack hierarchy based on physical aggression and dominance. The alpha male wolf, indeed, was the wolf that kicked ass and took names.

But then some researchers decided they should actually try to observe how pack formation happens in the wild.

Based on their studies on confined wolves, they thought they were going to see this:

wolf1

But were instead surprised to see this:

fam

Instead of forming packs of unrelated individuals, in which alphas compete to rise to the top, researchers discovered that wild wolf packs actually consist of little nuclear wolf families. Wolves are in fact a generally monogamous species, in which males and females pair off and mate for life. Together they form a pack that typically consists of 5-11 members — the mate pair plus their children, who stay with the pack until they’re about a year old, and then go off to secure their own mates and form their own packs.

The mate pair shares in the responsibility of leading their family and tending to their pups. In 21st century human terminology, they “co-parent.” And by virtue of being parents, and leading their “subordinate” children, the mates represent a pair of “alphas.” The alpha male, or papa wolf, sits at the top of the male hierarchy in the family and the alpha female, or mamma wolf, sits atop the female hierarchy in the family.

In other words, male alpha wolves don’t gain their status through aggression and the dominance of other males, but because the other wolves in the pack are his mate and kiddos. He’s the pack patriarch. The Pater Familias. Dear Old Dad.

And like any good family man, a male alpha wolf protects his family and treats them with kindness, generosity, and love.

After observing gray wolves in Yellowstone for more than twenty years, wolf researcher Richard McIntyre has rarely seen an alpha male wolf act aggressively towards his own pack. Instead, an alpha dad sticks around until his pups are fully matured. He hunts alone or with his mate and children to provide food for the family (and sometimes waits for them to get their fill before he digs in himself), roughhouses with his pups (and gets a kick out of letting them win), and even goes out of his way to tend to the runts of his pack.

This isn’t to say male alpha wolves are all cuddles and kisses. They’re of course fierce predators, and can take down large prey like moose and bison. And when his family is threatened by outside enemies and competitors, the alpha male will fiercely defend it — sometimes sacrificing his own life to save his mate and pups.

This also isn’t to say male wolves don’t sometimes engage in displays of social dominance. Mature male wolves do have dominance encounters with other male wolves – fathers will stand up to a stranger alpha, or sometimes show their own kids who’s boss, and an older wolf brother will demonstrate his superiority to his little wolf bro.

So an alpha wolf can indeed be violent and assertive when the situation calls for it. Yet for the most part, he leads not with noisy brashness and teeth-bared aggression, but steady strength, mettle, and heart; as McIntyre told another wolf researcher:

“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”

After learning how wolves actually form packs, researchers like L. David Mech retracted their original theory of alpha wolves and now eschew terms like “alpha male” or “alpha female” altogether when describing wolf hierarchy, instead preferring to classify the leader wolves as “breeding males” and “breeding females.”

Unfortunately, the old conception has stuck around, and many men today have a mistaken notion of what it means to harness your inner alpha wolf. The reality of being an alpha is truly much more multi-faceted, and even more inspiring.

Making the Wolf Your Totem Animal of Manhood

wolf

I love the idea of animal totems, or at least finding inspiration from animals on how a man should live his life. Animals can serve as powerful symbols to us humans. The symbols become all the more powerful and meaningful when we have a correct understanding of how the animal actually behaves.

The gray wolf’s proclivity to roam and its prowess as a predator has for thousands of years made it a powerful symbol of the warrior, and of the freedom, wildness, and ferocity of masculinity. But that’s just one side of the wolf, and one side of what it means to be a man.

Yes, alpha male wolves are wild, aggressive, and savage. But they’re also protective, nurturing, and tender.

So if you want to truly become alpha like a wolf, you’ll need to do more than become a beast in the gym, and strive to overcome your competitors. You’ll also need to become a committed and dedicated family man — a loving and protective father.

While I’ve always loved wolves and their wildness, after learning more about the nuances of their social dynamics, I’ve fallen in love with them even more. The wolf is a nearly perfect symbol of the ideal of masculinity that I’m trying to get across here at Art of Manliness. Like alpha wolves, I want to see men who tackle life’s adventure with their mates by their side, and lead their families with heart and strength. I want to see men who have the ability to marshal the hard tactical virtues of masculinity when needed against external threats, but temper that ferocity with softer virtues like compassion and gentleness, particularly towards those they love.

In short, the male alpha wolf is the totem animal of the Gentleman Barbarian.

So by all means, continue sharing your savage wolf memes on Instagram and Tumblr. Wolves are awesome. But know that gray wolves howl to assemble their mate and pups before and after a hunt, to warn them of danger, and to locate each other during a storm, when traversing unfamiliar territory, or when separated over a great distance. It’s the call not of the angry, antisocial lone wolf, but of a father who’s leading, guiding, and lovingly gathering his pack.

There is but one way to advise – by example.

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