Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Reflection: Learning Hu-manliness

Violence is a contagion—perhaps the worst of them all, for there is no vaccine. As the carnage in Lebanon turns into an all-out war (supported by none other than a renowned Bush-bashing comic); Baghdad reaches a deeper level of Hell.

This is the way violence works: like a plague that sickens all who are touched by it. I have no particular judgment to make upon any of the groups involved; all of them—perhaps most of all the United States government, because it instigated this massive spiral of death and loss—have illustrated what Lao Tzu taught some 2,600 years ago:

Natural law decrees that violence backfires
Upon all who resort to its means.

Armed forces camp and crawl
Amid thorns and brambles,
Which grow like cancer and close like traps.

Wherever group violence is done,
Desolation walks in its wake.
Truly, the harvest of violence is misery.


Could cloning Neanderthals somehow help in all this? You never know, but it sure couldn't make things worse than they are.

Jon Stewart gets Mr. PC to say it again, as the latter's fruity employer celebrates another quarter of lavish profit.

Head-to-Sternum Brings Slap-to-Wrist: Didn't this soccer guy retire? Or did I hear incorrectly? I swear the TV guys were saying that the World Cup final was "his last game." So FIFA "punishes" him for delivering a potentially disabling cheap shot to a man's heart by suspending him for three games. It sounds like a court posthumously condemning a suicide bomber to death. Oh, and he'll have to pay a fine of about five grand. Chump change: that'll cost him about a hundredth part of the advance on his book deal.

But 'Roid Boy the HR King has gotten a reprieve, so I guess we can't cast aspersions about how other nations govern their sports zeros.

So we turn instead to another Friday Reflection, which is just for us guys. But the ladies are welcome to read along.

Sensitivity is your strength. Shutting down feeling doesn't make you a man—just a clumsy and reclusive goon. Find the feminine that breathes deep within you, and watch as the ladies draw nearer (if you want them to).

Weep for those who suffer, and cry out in their defense; cry out for justice. Not for revenge, not for violence, but justice.

The more you nurture the moonlight of your heart, the more attractive you will become. The farther you spread your love, the greater will your influence be in the world.

The tyranny of a forced silence brings waste; the darkness of a powerful image is desolation to the self and repulsion to those who would love you.

The breadwinner gives no nourishment; the strong and silent type is inwardly weak and shrill. If you try to make your home into a castle, it will become a feudal tenement, in which you are torn from yourself and estranged from your family. The man who attempts to rule becomes a pawn of fate.

Strive for manliness, and you are pursuing a ghost. Learn instead to be humanly. It is merely a matter of discarding from within the self-images that have been drilled into you by the toxic tube and its advertising machine; by teachers and role models and societal heroes and even your parents. A humanly man can nurture and create; he can love purely and deeply, with no facade to separate himself and his beloved. He can tend a garden, change a diaper, cook a meal.

The roles we accept into ourselves entrap us. They also repel those who would want to come closer. So every time you feel an image or a stereotype murmuring from the back of your mind, "you can't do that," or "you shouldn't be that way," or "a real man would attack (or defend, or retreat, or go cold)"—turn within and ask Ego firmly, "who do you think you're talking to?" Then turn it off: shut ego down, and go where your heart leads you.

You were conceived and born amid Love; it is still there, sounding the rhythm of your life. Embrace it whole and express it completely, without a care for how its music resounds against the facades of ego and its patriarchal barriers. Barriers, after all, are for weaklings; not for men.

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