What is it to be a man..
Is it to team up with other men and build towers, reaching for the sky? Is it to build empires, plundering and stealing to raise up your own? Is it to look down on all that is not man, to treat the feminine as an adjunct, to say “she completes me,” is it to build big ships with guns and conquer those who are regarded by you, The Man, as inferior?
Is it to heat up the earth with the cynical joy of burning stuff, and then tearing deep into the earth, leaving scars and wounds, just to find more and more and more fuel to burn?
Is it to regard growth as Growth, every penis must grow and never relax again? Every economy must, MUST grow, and only grow, as an answer to all evils?
Is it to build gods, and then to unify them all into one single man-god, that is now the ultimate ideal of being? Is it to try and defy darkness, to defy gravity, is it to kill slowness, to kill decay?
Is to be a man to be a Putin, growing feelers all around the world to seek out the weak ones you can manipulate, to sell to them weapons of destruction, energy systems of destruction, ideas of destruction, simply to grow your own stature into a lost ideal? Is it to be a blatant man like Trump, living in a room of mirrors, constantly looking at the world with a need to recognize only himself?
Is to be a man to become an abstraction, to fall in love with abstractions, to become untouchable like a law? Is it to build cathedrals of dogma, to turn society into a community of followers and then into slaves? Is it to sell products that create need and addiction, in order to grow (and please never to stop growing) getting rich? Is it to love the king of abstraction – money – so much, that you would use it again and again just to gain more money, and then more?
Is it to assume that the world only belong to winners, and that to win is the supreme justifier?
All of this COULD be what it is to be a man. And all of this is what BECAME to be a man, if one sweeps over the saga of human civilization over the past 10 000 years. What makes being human so different from being an animal? Is it curiosity? Is it a non-dying soul? Is it having landed here from another planet? No. Humans burst through the circle of animal life through the collective efforts of teams of men: hunting, making war, burning the planet – to the near-point of full-scale destruction. Almost imperceptibly, the holy circle, where a man and a woman were equal partners, where the conscious and the subconscious still played with each other, where the sky was limited and disciplined by the earth, gave way to the man steering and leading from a point of isolation. And so, the ascent of Man, marks the journey of a lonely humanity.
Never has a species invoked loneliness so widely over itself and unto others. The Man becoming absolute (a mirror to his absolute god-man), divests his soul. He craves what can never truly satisfy. He is King and Overlord, heaped on with impossible responsibility. He is the one who goes for the kill and slowly dies. He is the one who holds all power, but is impotent. He is the one who must lead, but has no direction.
How did it all go so wrong? Go wrong? It didn’t go wrong. The man in each of us, the man in each epoch and human story, MUST rise. No one can stay a child without failing life itself. Yes, man! We HAD to become the humans that we are, taking life on this planet one dangerous step further. We DID become Erect; our history, an erection – we have truly and utterly lived our adolescence.
And – and but – now, it is time to stop growing. Now it is time to let the seeds be, wherever we let them fall. Now is the time to simply realize and respect our limitations.
A woman steps into my life, matches me, and does just that. See, I can fly, I can fly so high I’ll touch the sun, and burn away all chance of happiness (not the smiley sort of happiness, but the deep content-ness and reconnection with the rhythms of the universe). She did just that. She made my limitations to be FELT. Our global civilization suffers from the hankering isolation of the delusional. We are lonely. And no heavenly nor material gods can break this spell for us – they only create the need for more of them, more devotion to them, more consumption of them, more guilt for not being able to satisfy them.
The delusion cannot be broken, unless we own up the fact that we have created them – we created the artifices of religion and we created our draining monetary system.
What is it that the Feminine teaches Man? The Feminine teaches Man that you cannot create something out of nothing. Every step upward carries its price. It teaches that there is never really any win-win situation, if you care to look around; that the growing tree grows both downward and upward at the same time, lest it becomes top-heavy and falls over; that the core of the solution to every problem we encounter, lies not in the future, but in the present.
Absolute man is a man of forgetfulness, especially to the fact that he was shaped in a woman’s womb. Absolute man kills the feminine within himself. The restoration, or rather, the maturation of man does not lie in reshaping or adjusting his manhood. It rather lies in putting his humanity back to his core.
For what is it to be a man? Nothing much! Like being a woman, it is a flavour to the meal, it is a functional tendency, an auxiliary necessity to the human core that they both share. Great things can indeed be accomplished when men team up. But never should this team take the place of, or outshine the most primary teamwork of all, the teamwork we need in order to create and procreate: that of the masculine along with the feminine. Abstractions are very handy, but they should serve the whole. When abstractions assume the sheen of something concrete, we lose our bones. Hunting and war-making are extremities we can and should employ to sustain ourselves, when doing otherwise would be committing suicide. But never should we glorify them, turning soldiers into heroes. Like the Bushman hunter, we should bow down in humility and sorrow for the kill, so our own wounds can heal and our hearts not harden.
Man meeting woman, sharing a common core, is heaven meeting earth. We can learn how to fly, but escaping Mother Earth will not bring us lasting peace.
The loneliness of our Great Adolescence (which we like to call civilization), can lead us to despair regards the future. We need not despair. Somewhere, from crying over rhinos being killed, from landing on our knees because of a super storm, from bringing teams of women into the boardroom, from the voices of the downtrodden finally being listened to, from agreeing on ways not to burn fossil fuels anymore, from scaling down on the intake of concentrated proteins and starches, from seeing justice trumping corruption and the re-empowerment of local communities, the signs of our potential maturity are here.
There’s no guarantee we will reach that, all of us, collectively. Perhaps it takes some thousands of years more. Perhaps we are too late, having earned the terminal wrath of a demeaned environment. Perhaps teams of men (co-opting some women, too) will push us even further, still chasing that pot of gold of their hungry imaginations. Perhaps.
But something in me became relaxed. I do a lot of flying, but I’m not trying to reach the sky (anymore). I do dabble with abstraction (like in these newsletters!), but I call on them to show themselves up. Perhaps “HA!Man” is a way to say, yes I am a man, but HA!, I breathe, a breath we all share – humans, animals and the symphonies of the stars.
What Joke and I do, carries a certain value. I believe that. But it’s also not that much. It only lives when shared, with you, in moments that are born from silence.
It’s been a momentous year so far: death, existential realizations, record heated months. Who knows what wind will blow over us after the November US election? (we’re relishing being close to the drama!). But ja, something in me is rested, smelling the dust rising from my parents’ grave and feeling the skin of her who journeys herself to the full in the spaces we share.
Thank you to all of you who carry us through in so many little ways. We continue. We feel the winds of change.