Thursday, February 20, 2020

Mansfield, Manliness

A classic work to explore the very modern idea that "Manliness" is "bad", and the eternal issue of "Nature vs (or in concert with?) Nurture (social pressure/constructs),

To get the left view of the book I chose this review the Harvard Crimson.  Not surprisingly, it ignores one of the major themes of the book, understanding "Thumos"  ... "spiritedness", "passion", "drive", "courage" ... whole books are written on the subject, and it is quite visible today as Trump is very much an embodiment of Thumos.

The New Criterion has great coverage of this fact in this article.  ...

Most people don’t think of Plato when they think of Donald Trump, but they should. Our usual forms of political analysis—both the more rigorous, like academic political science, and the more popular, like the conventional wisdom of political journalists and commentators—utterly failed to come to grips with the Trump phenomenon. They did not predict his success as a presidential candidate. To the contrary, they confidently, repeatedly, and erroneously predicted his failure.

A way to understand the "Enlightenment" is "Mind over Matter" ... and as "matter" is worshipped --  history, classic literature, religion, and also philosophy, are consigned to the "dustbin".  The worship of matter is the worship of "particles and progress" ... relentless, inevitable (it is hard not to be a determinist if one is a materialist, a discussion of many posts). In any case, the assumption of "modernity" is that any of the old Natural Rights thought is simply bunk -- Darwin, Nietzsche, and Marx have repealed all those "myths".

So as Mansfield laments, men have decided to just roll over and submit to the program of the feminization of culture -- but have they really?

As I read the book, an old model that I read somewhere and can't remember, and I'm CERTAINLY not going to take credit for inventing! is that humans are darned easy to understand.

When a man walks into a room, his underlying snake brain (subconscious)  evaluates the other men in the room to see if he is confident that he can adequately handle any of them should they challenge him.  The same low level functions evaluate the females for "desirability".  If there are any "standouts" in either category, these will come to conscious attention ... along with assessment of "friend or foe".

The female snake brain does a similar evaluation -- what is the "attractiveness ranking" of the women relative to her, where do the men rank on "desirability".

One of the major modern dilemmas is that materialist science is increasingly showing the power of these "lower level" materialist elements vs the "higher level" conscious functions of nurture, culture, etc. Our believed "mastery" over the "mere material" as science advanced in results through technology led us to believe we could subdue ALL the "mere material", including the material of which we are made (flesh).

Predictions the development of Artificial Intelligence (see 2001 a Space Odyssey)  the ability to create "life" ,,, which it turns out we have a very poor idea of what it even is, and likewise consciousness, have led even some really intelligent scientists to question some of the more basic assumptions of secularism, humanism, feminism, materialism, etc ...

Western civilization "sold its soul" (denied it even had one), and as Mansfield discusses on page 121, when you kill god, you get nihilism and the ubermensch. Tired old ideas like Christianity, created soulful behaviors like Gentlemanliness ,,, throw out the baby of the manger and you get the Satan of Nietzsche!

"Darwin's theory by destroying the specialness of human beings denies that nature can be a standard for them; "nature" is merely what evolves by chance, and thus has no authority for us. This very denial makes nature into a standard for us in the phrase "survival of the fittest"-- first a description of what happens, then a prescription of how men should behave".

Nietzsche understands human nature very well, and applauds it ... "Man would rather will nothingness than not will" ... "That is of course a statement about human nature and it's perverseness. It implies that the low and the high are permanent elements of in man and that if the low does not serve the high, the high will serve the low".

On 239, Mansfield says "If you are weaker, you have to pay more attention to the context than if you are stronger, I believe it really matters that women are weaker than men, and that is why I have mentioned the fact more often than a gentleman would have preferred."

I question if anyone truly denies this ... being a fairly robust 6'4" 300 lb male, I'm comfortable walking up to a group of bikers or a rough looking bar. While our current feminized society is working hard to create female superheroes ... Elsa, Black Widow, etc, on a day to day basis in the real world, does that actually work? We can imagine a lot of things, but reality is often far different from our imagination.

On 37, we get a succinct definition of Manliness: " What does a John Wayne or Theodore Roosevelt show us about manliness is it's completeness. A manly man is nothing if not an individual, one who sets himself apart, who is concerned with the honor rather than the survival of his individual being. Or to better say, he finds his survival only in his honor."

At the very bottom, the definition of a secular "real man" is as simple as Rhett Butler ... "Frankly, I don't give a damn!"

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