Growing Up and the Hidden Masculine Identity.
Updated: Aug 8, 2019
'Genius is the power of carrying the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood.'
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I believe that every man comes into the world with a mission, a deep sense of purpose, which, in young boys, is yet to be discovered. Among many other things, it is the father's job to affirm and develop his boy's identity and a sense of being a man among men, a strong, able man, belonging in his community and fitting well in the world of men — the world of his father. In the same way, alongside much more of course, the mother's job is to offer mercy to her boy, to develop those aspects of his masculinity that will later enable him to feel compassion toward others, and be open, sensual, and passionate with the woman he chooses to pursue.
Before we go on, however, we must recognise the fact that, even the best of families fail in this work, at least to a degree; and that's an understatement...
Because if we agree that a father and a mother would inevitably fall short of providing their boy with the conditions needed for the development of his masculine identity, character, and mission in the world, we must also agree that a boy with one parent, or no parents at all, would have had very little chance of being aware of (let alone fulfilling) his masculine potential.
I had two parents: good, hard-working people who, in the general sense 'did their best' to raise me...
But their best was not enough.
You see, in those Socialist and post-Socialist years, every parent back home was too busy to secure the basic needs of his family. And if this sounds like I am granting my parents' hidden motives, desires, and wrongdoings, a quick pardon, I must assure you that this is not so...
I spent a decade trying to find out who I really am, under the rubble of my broken self, the dirt of my own sins and my parents' sins against me; for ten years I lived under a constant process of meeting my deepest pain, so that my true identity could be unveiled and uncovered.
Then and only then, in the middle of that decade, when the fruits of my inner journey had began their outward manifestation, I could finally begin to pursue the work I am now doing — being before doing, identity before activity.
But it was hard. It was brutal, in fact — and yet, all my life I believed I cam from a 'normal' background. But let me tell you this: there is no such thing.
All humans are broken and dysfunctional, and so are all families, to a degree.
* * *
In today's world, we confuse adulthood with something that is in fact, brutal: we (barely) endure our boys' dreams for a life of heroism, bravery, and legacy, and as soon as they are old enough to have been poisoned by the world as much as we are, we execute their open, trusting heart...
We deaden our boys and give them the message that, whatever their childhood aspirations might have been, they must leave them behind, and enter the 'real world'.
Because, let's face it, there is something foolish in a man who is hopelessly clinging to his 'childhood dreams' and doesn't seem to have the discipline and the desire to work like all other people. And we can see why any normal parent would hate to see his children taking this road...
Yet, what we very often offer them is exactly the opposite — a life of robotic, numb existence; a life with no transcendence, no great vision or a purpose, no legacy...
No wonder we have created a generation of people who are rootless, who have no deep sense of identity and purpose; people who are even bitter and angry...
What then is the way forward? Is there a middle ground between keeping our boys in a bubble of positive energy, telling them that they could be whatever they wanted to be — lying to them, really — and the approach of 'man up, shut up, kill your dreams, be a good man and provide for your family, make some money and...die.'
The third option as I see it, would be this:
Look for the hidden identity of the boy; find it in the books he reads and the films he watches...then, nurture it, affirm it, feed his dreams of heroism, valour, mission and legacy — do this believe in his unseen, glorious nature, no matter what the world thinks of him, no matter what his teachers or peers say about him...
And when he is old enough, secure enough in his identity, his belonging in the world of men — then, you can introduce him to hardship: hard work for the development of toughness, discipline, grit, and perseverance, but also hardship in terms of facing his fears, and overcoming the inner roadblocks to the fulfillment of his potential as a future leader, husband, father, and a man who would be fully alive.
But the key is, and always will be, in his identity.
* * *
By taking boyhood dreams and desires seriously, we do not destroy the future masculine potential; we give it fuel.
The way forward therefore, is not 'cutting' the line of aspirations and dreams — the strong cord which has its beginning deep in the baby's soul, his spiritual being — but allow it to run through a boy's life, all throughout his years of maturation, adulthood, through his old age, and into eternity...
Hard work, challenges, tests, trials, and all the storms of life — these must be used as training, to hone, develop and perfect this hidden identity, and ensure its full expression in the man's lifetime.
This line must never become frayed, or in any way broken, if we want the boy to be a true man.
A true man is that man who is true to his inner heroic nature, and therefore, true to all the world...
For that very nature is given him not for his own pleasure, but so that he can serve the world.
Like the great poet Coleridge said, the feelings and dreams of childhood must be brought into the powers and actions of manhood. Not to be lost, and not to be served — but instead, employed in a life of service of a greater good.
This is the genius of masculine identity.
And although it may be hidden and undiscovered, it is there — every man has it within himself.
With great respect,