I was pondering today how, up until now, we’ve managed collectively to not deconstruct the Yin and Yang. This is probably, I think, because it still belongs somewhere up there with the archetypes, hanging out above our current capacity to interfere. And though we may not know the exact meanings of the Yin and Yang symbol, collectively we still agree, at least, on what it is when we see it.
But it’s interesting that if I say “Masculine-Feminine” (let alone “Man-Woman”) our attention likely narrows. “What will he say next? How will I respond to his angle?” The listening temporarily stops as we search for the “appropriate” context and the deconstructing likely begins. Whatever position we take, or quietly pretend to refuse to take, this is something we collectively have in common now.
And I suggest there may be something even more unifying going on: amazement. Whether your amazement is awe-inspired, healing, hopeful, gobsmackingly stunned, or even tortured… it is indeed amazing we cannot use the words “man” and “woman” and collectively agree on what they mean any longer. It’s a new age. Amazing. We must be learning something together.
All told, I’m quite concerned about the well-being of those who identify as young men today.
In spite of all the legitimate correcting of the obvious wrongdoings of the patriarchy, our role models of positive men are fairly limited. We may be doing well in routing out the “bad” men but we’ve done poorly to reconstruct, or at least emphasize, what the “good” ones could or would look like.
In the current YouTube climate (with social media being the primary source of information for most young men), I see very few male candidates who are both 1) healthy, balanced, and competent and 2) have the skills and outlook to reach the generations below them. And how could we when a predominant though covert message on YouTube is that you do not really need wisdom, honesty or even competence to become rich and famous today?
It’s true, young men are being given some pretty shitty options. On one hand the antiquated toxic masculine is doubling down in reaction to cancel culture, unwilling to be amazed. There are definitely some real “dicks” out there. On the other hand, as we enter an age which is correcting toward the feminine, today’s young man often escapes the tension by becoming more like a woman which has left him feeling irrelevant, shamed, collapsed, much like a “pussy”.
At worst case the masculine archetype of the truly powerful and integrated man has gone underground to such a degree that he plays out his potentials of actually being powerful by being “virtually” heroic in video games, abusing pornography, grandiosely fantasizing about his antics as the next influencer, or in extreme cases becoming the next school shooter. Even before the pandemic, men were declining in over 60 measures of mental and physical health.
Dear young men, you are not wrong in raging that the world which you’ve been given is inadequate, barely sustaining you, perhaps on the brink of social, moral, and environmental collapse. You may well have been failed while the adults who were supposed to protect you and initiate you have gone mad or are too overwhelmed to keep up with all that you will be facing. But let’s be clear: if you can see the failure of those above you, you know deep down no one is going to save you. Like perhaps no generation before you, it's up to you now.