Why Only the Strong can be Good.
Updated: Jun 21
'I have often laughed at the weaklings who thought themselves good because they had no claws.'
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Often, when we talk about goodness in men, what we really mean is nice, well-mannered men. But what we must remember is that niceness doesn't always equal goodness.
I know that not only because I work with men, but because I have struggled with the same problem since childhood.
I think that, today, if we want men to be good, we must create a society which empowers, trains, and initiates boys into manhood — young boys, to be sure, but also boys in grown men's bodies, like the one I was for most of my life.
Only when men are strong, truly strong on the inside, will they be comfortable in their souls and bodies; only then will men be at peace with themselves...
And this is when peace will increase in the world around us as.
* * *
In my work with men, I have often found that many who lived under heavy depression, had a lot of disowned, buried anger. Many of them, unsurprisingly, were educated, well-mannered men.
When the lion's roar is silenced, and his fearsome strength and presence is subdued — what becomes of that lion?
In the village where I grew up, there lived, and still lives, a man who has always been liked by everybody. 'He is a very good man,' all people say of him, and indeed, he is nice to all. Yet, every time I see him, I cannot help but notice his lack of will and inner strength; like a caged lion who has been imprisoned for decades, he is subdued and his true nature suppressed — yet, he does not even know it.
That man, whom I know very well, is not a man who could stand for anything or fight for anything in his life, even if he wanted to; he is a man who is not moved or stirred by anything and only comes close to expressing any feeling when he is drunk.
This man has very little energy to live and move; he pursues nothing and desires nothing... apart from pleasure, ease, and material prosperity, that is.
He lives a life of passionless, gray existence, but to the world, he is a 'good man'.
I think that, if a man is to be called good, he must be strong enough to fully live first; he must be fully capable to do evil as well as good — only then can he be judged as to his goodness.
If a man is to be called 'good', he must be able to be bad. Otherwise, there is always a risk that what the world sees as goodness in him, may simply be his cowardice.
As the psychology professor and cultural critic Jordan Peterson says in one of his lectures:
Most people who are cowards disguise their cowardice as morality. And they claim that their harmlessness – which is actually a consequence of their fear and inability to be harmful or dangerous – is actually a sign of their moral integrity. And that’s a really bad idea. So, you know, if you’re an axe murderer but you don’t have an axe, that doesn’t mean that you’re moral.
Such people are dangerous.
I know that from personal, intimate, brutal experience.
* * *
We all know the ancient saying which tells us that 'the meek shall inherit the earth'. Yet, one quick search of the words and its origin would attest to the fact that the meaning of the word 'meek' in the old, Biblical text, is not at all what the modern translations make of it. I was simply astonished, years ago, when I read that the Greek word praus is not used to describe 'meekness' in terms of being nice, passive, and submissive, but is used to describe a trained warhorse!
When the ancient Greeks captured a wild stallion, he was taken through training, in order to become a warhorse. Only after that training, was he fit to be used in battle. Only then did he have the discipline and self-control needed, in order for this fearsome strength to be harnessed, directed, and used in battle.
In other words, only after he had become 'meek'.
Back in those days, and even now, a warhorse was never meant to be nice or soft in any way: the training provided by the people is not meant to train his wild spirit out of him. No: he was needed to be what he has always been — still as fierce as before, still strong — but also disciplined and useful, serving a cause greater than himself. A warhorse who has been made 'meek' is as strong and capable of destruction as any wild, untamed stallion, but he now serves a higher purpose: his strength is now harnessed and saved to be used only when it is needed.
And this is just what a good man should be.
Not soft, not 'nice', but strong and alive...
Because, if one is to be good, he must first know, deeply, that he possesses the strength to assert himself, oppose others, and yes, even cause destruction.
Only after a man knows that he is strong, he must be taught how to control his strength — because by then, he would know how powerful he actually is, and so would not risk feeling diminished and resentful toward himself and others.
Only after a man knows that he is fully able to stand up for himself, confront, and challenge another person, he must be taught patience, gentleness and humility — because by then, he would not feel weak and would not hate himself for being unable to defend his own position and beliefs.
Only after a man knows he is fully capable, physically and mentally, to attack another person and hurt them, he must be taught the virtues that would help him to avoid that — because by then, he would take himself seriously, and would desire to keep his dangerous abilities under control and use them only if he really needs to.
* * *
If we want to be good men today and stand out in a society that seldom sees such men, we must take the journey of discovering and embracing our inner strength and the ability and the readiness to use it: then, and only then, will we be worthy of being called good.
Imagine it: a society full of good, strong and noble men — men who are free, who are willing to care for, protect, and defend the peace and the honor of those around them, because their know that their own inner being is worthy of honor and respect.
Most of the men who served good causes and changed the world for the better were not tame; they were not 'nice'.
But they were good.
With much respect,