Whatever happened to that (the free and the brave)? Whatever happened to the attitude that had Patrick Henry at the Virginia convention in 1775 say “give me liberty, or give me death”?
Whatever happened to the patriotic fervour and the uncanny commitment to face suffering and death that resulted in over two million young men volunteering for service in World War I, and five times that number volunteering to serve in World War II?
Whatever happened to the ability to conquer fear and ride on the excitement for adventure and potential for immeasurable success that drove hundreds of thousands of men and women into the wild, and dangerous, frontiers of the American West?
Whatever happened to the spirit that filled the souls of those that faced stark adversity, danger to life and limb, that lead over 50,000 hapless men and women (mostly men) into the jungles of Central America to build the Panama Canal? — ultimately killing over 5,000 of them as a result of accidents, all manner of diseases including malaria and dysentery?
Yeah, this is about us, guys (me included!) Sure, women can be brave — any biological sexual orientation can activate the warrior archetype — but more commonly it is the gendered male that falls into this archetypal constellation.
Bravery — a compulsion to protect those he loves, have a critical and logical assessment of a difficult situation, and the force and power, at the very least a potential force and power, ready to inflict whatever necessary to protect partner and family, community and nation.
We, us men, have seemed to have lost much of that. Have we become a bunch of puss-balls?
Dr Mark McDonald, a prominent medical doctor with a speciality in psychiatry, doesn’t mince words when he says while describing the psychological state of men and women during this crises:
we essentially have men with no balls, and then we have histrionics, women who have no emotional containment, because there are no men to contain them anymore.”
Sexist? Maybe some will think so, but McDonald is not putting all the blame on one sex, or exclusively on the masculine or feminine archetypes, the responsibility here is rather well balanced.
What does this mean?
Very basically it means we have created a culture that has done a pretty good job of emasculating men — the radical feminist movement, as well as a general lack of situations where men can express their “man-ness” in a healthy way, has been a big part of the problem.
“Toxic Masculinity” is a phrase and concept that has taken the world by storm, and contributes quite a bit to the confusion that men are experiencing while trying to ascertain what a “real man” is in today’s “anti male” culture.
“Oh boo hoo” some of you may be saying. “Men, through their powerful patriarchal history of abusing women and treating them as inferior partners in relationships deserve a little pull back!”
There certainly is truth to that, but two wrongs don’t make a right. You can’t carve out an essential part of being a “man” without some collateral damage, all the way around.
So what does being a “real man” have to do with bravery? A lot, actually. Facing adversity and danger, primarily in order to protect the physically weaker, is a very important attribute of the masculine archetype of warrior, or even king if you want to get more detailed about it.
Historically and traditionally the man has been the protector, the physical, and sometimes intellectual (intelligence that is present in logic reasoning and critical thinking) found in masculine archetypes (again, archetypes both men and women have access to).
These attributes are primarily directed toward protection and outwardly projected as strength and resolve. This often stabilizes the more emotional feminine archetypal factors that again, typically, are activated by the female, or woman, in a relationship.
As a psychotherapist, and an archetypal psychologist at that, I see these archetypal powers and influences playing out in my clients every day. Most of the problems I find in a couple’s therapy stems from an imbalance, or a dysfunction, in these energies of masculine and feminine.
Again, the “man” in a couple can be activating both masculine and feminine archetypes, as well as the “woman.” The problem comes in if the archetypes activated are inappropriate, out of balance, and create a result that is unexpected, undesired, or not beneficial. Most of these influences run in the unconscious, so very seldom are they consciously manipulated.
It wasn’t until I met Dr McDonald that I connected some very important dots. McDonald recently wrote and released a book titled United States of Fear. The subtitle of the book, “How America Fell Victim to a Mass Delusional Psychosis” is the primary focus.
McDonald holds nothing back when he addresses what he believes to be a fundamental cause of this mass psychosis. He believes that women (feminine archetypes driving the woman’s behaviour) need a strong, and masculine man, to contain her emotionality (due to the unfettered expression of her feminine archetypes.) McDonald, in an interview given on Jerm Warfare, said:
Do you think men with masks on make women feel safe? It only shows they have no balls. I’ve spoken with female police officers who see men in camouflage, tattooed, driving around in trucks with gun racks — wearing masks. They tell me, ‘this does not make me feel safe. This makes me afraid. If they are this scared of a virus, how will they react to a real threat — what’s going to happen when the bear comes out of the woods? What’s going to happen when a rapist tries to attack me? What’s going to happen when my children are going to be kidnapped by the man in the park, what are they going to do? With their mask on are they going to say, “please stop. Please. Please.” They’re not going to put their lives on the line. They won’t even put their mouth on the line.’”
Harsh words, my brothers. Harsh words, but I think quite on the money.
Is this the only thing that is driving the collapse we are seeing in those that cannot stand up to this current tyranny, and say “enough is enough, step back!” No, of course not, but, in my opinion, it is a large part of the problem.
Our culture, at least in the West, has been set up for this to happen. We have become more and more dependent on government taking care of us, thus losing our own personal drive to develop character and strength. We depend on government and authority to think for us, and tell us what is best for us, to, in a word, parent us. We comply, we stay children, and we ultimately suffer.
The brave hold onto what makes them free and are willing to fight for it. Freedom is a God given right, not one bestowed upon us by any other authority. The healthy masculine archetypes of warrior and king have at their side the symbolic sword representing their power over adversity and danger.
There is a time for the warrior to pull the sword from its scabbard just a few inches to allow the sun to glint off of its polished surface, flashing in the eyes of a potential enemy, letting them know who they are dealing with.
And then there is the time to pull the sword completely free from its confines and slash what is seriously threatening the warrior and those he loves.
Now is the time to fight.
Todd Hayen is a registered psychotherapist practicing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He holds a PhD in depth psychotherapy and an MA in Consciousness Studies. He specializes in Jungian, archetypal, psychology.
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