There’s this picture of me, before I started preschool, that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
I don’t particularly remember what occasion it was, probably Halloween or something, but I was over at a guy friend’s house and we were on a couch with a girl inbetween us, waiting to get a picture taken. We were only introduced because all of our moms were friends, but that didn’t really matter. The guy was my best friend and I treated him like a brother; the girl was a friend too and I treated her like I treated my sister. For whatever reason though, the girl latched onto the guy and they were moving away from me. I was used to taking pictures stock-still, but if both of the other people in the picture with me were going to be playing over at one end of the couch, I should join in too right? Basic stuff, even kids understand this.
But for whatever reason… I was rejected. Either one of them or both of them wouldn’t let me join in. So, I moved to the other side of the couch, and pouted, like all kids do when they don’t get what they want in public… except this time, everybody was content with it. Happy with it, even. All the grown-up women were laughing, my sister was laughing, and the guy and girl who I thought were my best friends were also laughing. All laughter, all happiness, a bright light flashed, and I was the only one alone unhappy, and now more importantly, confused.
The guy and girl didn’t get together. The girl’s mother was actually really strict. Before middle school, the guy’s parents divorced, and he moved away. We’re all around 20 now, and though I’m Facebook friends with the guy, I can’t say I know him at all. He’s a completely different person – that of itself doesn’t mean much, but he’s changed from that open and spontaneous “friends forever” boy I loved, the guy who seemed to be happy to triumph in getting the girl and showing it off for everyone to see… to someone dark, brooding, with no big dreams, no passionate and silly relations, no personality on the street where every stranger would look on and think, “I’d like to find out personally what that man’s all about”.
He had lost “it”.
Just like everyone else.
I have a need to derive things from the ground up. I have this need everywhere I go, in everything I do. It is inescapable, and I do not care to escape it – I encourage it. If this need ever goes unfulfilled, you have yourself a >99% certainty I will be bored of it within three months and 100% certainty I’ll not care about it at all within a year.
I need to derive things from ground up.
I need to understand every single link, every single reason anything is true, from a point which is “natural”. It could be calculus, where the idea being shown is the truth of the Epsilon-Delta definition. It could be a movement, where the idea being shown is how you should personally be involved in the political change of something. It could be just a motivational message, where the idea being shown is why you should believe in yourself and your ability to succeed at anything you put your mind to. In all of human life every activity starts with an understanding of something, which leads to either more understanding or a course of action. And for me, understanding needs to be absolutely sure all the way to “Ground”.
“Ground”, or the natural state, is where we are comfortable naming our knowledge as axioms or assumptions. We all know of math classes in school or university where, rather than actually following the professor who gives “useless” rigorous proofs in class, many of us simply memorize how the method works and that’s good enough. We know that there is a more grounded understanding than ours, but we are satisfied with our Ground. Even better examples are Biology and Psychology, famously known as “memorization” classes, but the Ground idea exists everywhere. It’s why the classic philosophy question of how to answer a kid who asks why the sky is blue, then why does the air diffract light in that way, and then ad infinitum , seems so silly to us. Some of us are fine with just accepting that the sky is blue; that is our Ground. Others of us are fine with accepting that air happens to reflect light in such a way, that light operates with such and such wave properties, that the sun creates light in such a way; that is their Ground. Some of us don’t feel that’s enough, and search for even more Grounded answers – that would be the people at CERN and NIF.
I believe the choice in Ground is only partially arbitrary.
Those who think of classes as “just memorization” never end up actually caring for the subject matter. People who think of activities as nothing more than following the set of instructions they’re told or handed will not think back fondly on those times they spent – they may even think of it as a waste.
However, kids who have all their life seen math as an art, a way to explain and see the world, something they can engage theirselves in and something they can produce real and amazing things out of, have a passion for it most people can’t understand. See this video of Terence Tao. There are three notable figures in it, Mr. Tao himself and two faculty members. You can see very clearly that Tao is in love with math. One of the guys is in love with Tao. And the other guy just doesn’t give a shit and treats it like an interview. You don’t even need to read his body language or need to listen to his tone. The fact that he keeps using vague words like “gifted” and “talented”, these facetious and arbitrary Grounds, shows that his opinion is really just filler and he believes it.
As for people who only follow instructions but think of their activities as more than just being a cog in some machine… look at any brotherhood, ever. Did mafia boys ever think of their job, no matter how small, as just something else to fuck around with while they were on earth? Do battle-hardened soldiers treat their orders like a college freshman treats his math homework?
I accept that different people have different inherent tendencies on where to rest their Ground. Not everybody’s going to like math, or psychology, or whatever subject or hobby here. Few people will care why the sky is blue, how tire spokes hold up the entire weight of bikes and cars, or insert any fact here. I’m an aspiring aerospace engineer whose dream is to get people to space, but I think of the entire world as flat when I go out cycling and I really couldn’t care less about the solar activity going on this second. Ground is as relative as Truth – it depends on your Purpose. My purpose right now involves me getting a degree, so I care more about math than I did in middle school. Currently my purpose does not involve studying solar winds, but it may someday and my Ground will change to force me to pay more attention to the physics of that and its intricacies.
However… I’ve always believed there was a Ground of All Grounds. A more fundamental “theory of everything”. It could be improved of course, as everything can be improved – the Grounding process is called “learning”. But to improve something, it must first be there.
And it was missing.
I think we have more people in society now that describe a feeling of missing something, “There’s just something missing in my life, I don’t know what’s missing”,
but yet they describe something very tangible, very very close to them…
– Bicycle Dreams
If I had to pick one point in my life where my life “started”, it was that point where that picture was taken. And if I had to pick one question, one line my life has revolved around, it is “Why do people do what they do?”
“Because they love it”, “Because they have fun”, “Because it makes them happy” has never cut it, and until recently I have always read such lines as lies and all who used them as liars. Happiness, you say? Why are you a snide little bitch when it comes to certain topics then? Why do you blame others when you encounter misfortune? Or perhaps most importantly, how exactly does walking into a large building and giving paper to somebody or showing a plastic rectangle to a machine and then obtaining some machined material make you “happy”? (I just described buying stuff.)
How the questions were linked was uncertain to me, but I felt they should be linked. It just felt like, even though they happened at different times under different circumstances, that the questions belonged with each other. After all, I’m still describing the same person, or the same group of people. If we consider larger scales, we’re also in the same geographical location with the same culture in the same era of time speaking the same language, and we’re all people, not aliens or something.
I’ve been told all my life that those questions are separate, that they shouldn’t be asked with each other because it’s apples to oranges.
As if “fruits”, “stuff to eat”, or “plant reproduction methods” were all invalid categories.
All my life, everything has been sorted into disconnected categories, like subjects in elementary school. Just like how everything was done for an hour, bell, do something else, bell, repeat until 3:15PM, every question posed and every activity done in all spheres of human activity seemed… isolated. Unmeaningful. Not special. Like scrolling through pages and pages of videos or images, on your hard drive or on some site, of 3D or 2D women getting nailed so you can jack off, just to get it over with, just to do it and be in bed for the night. Which one you pick doesn’t exactly matter. Really, the fact that you jack off doesn’t seem to matter much either (after you’re finished). Point seems to be just jack off and get it done with.
Except you’d just rinse and repeat and do the same the next night, so there’s no real point at all.
I’ve searched for a meaning to those categories for as long as I can remember. Any category. Every category. Sorting fruits and vegetables makes sense because historically we’d need to know what to eat and not to eat so we don’t get poisoned. But why does it matter or not we get poisoned? Because we want to live. But… why? The answer to the meaning of life is quite simply to reproduce and to propagate. But even armed with the meaning of life, it felt like I had not reached the Ground of All Grounds. There was no unifying idea.
I’ve tried on many hats.
I’ve been all over the spectrum politically both in breadth and depth, everything from the average vanilla democrat to the social democrat / Marxist to the conservative white nationalist (I’m not white) to the anarchocapitalist. Politics and economics did seem to give a much better explanation than the non-existence and non-explanation any average person would give. But none of it was based on any personal desire that I could “truly” connect to. Equality, liberty, or even just money – none of these things unified anything outside of a specific bubble. Money famously fails to explain why people choose to start a family. Liberty and Equality are just high minded talking points.
Psychology looked promising because it claimed to explain how people think, but it only talks about people in context of themselves and is riddled with silly assumptions. Sociology isn’t cutting it; it talks too much bullshit, not enough real patterns about real questions, and is completely at the whim of politics. Linguistics, with the powerful Sapir-Whorf, was able to show many differences I had not thought of, but in the end it was only a dry “form defines function” truth and not something which provided any direction.
That’s the other thing, right? You can look back and be like “Oh I did good”, but then there’s also those times where you know you’re going to win – you just pulled something off, something which took great discipline and awareness, a passionate drive and the graces of fortune. But the timing window has closed for all that opposes you. Nothing can stop you anymore. You’re going to win, and the only thing that is left is for the fat lady to sing.
I’ve gotten close to the Ground of All Grounds with my own attempt of unifying Discipline and Motivation, a glimmer of the correct feeling I think I should be getting, but it ultimately fails – as I have always stated it will. I only talk about how to improve individual behavior. I talk about social dynamics only as a side note, as a way to improve something else.
One of the reasons why I’ve been interested in antifeminism and the manosphere is because it’s just like another psychology or socio class to me. I believe that, perhaps here, I will find the unifying idea I’ve been searching for. Many things I’ve learned have indeed explained a lot. Why women fall for bad boys, why there’s sexual harassment suits everywhere, the fact that women are not even socially shamed for lying about an event which would throw a man in an isolated steel cage for over 10% of his entire lifetime and grant her more money than she’d ever know what to do with (I just described false rape accusations). On top of the bad news, I learned many amazing things as well. The logistics of how to approach a woman, how the way we’ve been trained to look at the world is inconsistent with multiple real and otherwise obvious thigns, that you need to actually be an interesting man with an interesting life if you want a woman to be interested, and many other things on what to do. It’s all made a lot of sense. It was definitely something much greater, much more true, much more real, than some political movement or theory in psychology.
I felt I was getting closer but nothing I read and I knew that it was somewhere here, but not even the intro and summary to the manosphere hit it right on the head.
It was here though.
And I’ve found it.
The Unifier is in Jack Donovan’s book “The Way of Men”.
In the 70’s the American Army did a scientific study on soldier psychology. They researched stress levels when fighting aliens and the effectiveness of certain motivations in new recruits by comparing psychological evaluations of soldiers during the two world wars and the early BETA conflicts. They found and interviewed retired veterans from every corner of the globe.
They found some interesting results in the part of the survey asking why front-line soldiers fought.
What do you think the most common reason was?
Well, the obvious answer would be… for the sake of humanity or the Earth – And in the older wars, for the sake of their country I guess…
Wrong. That’s the reason given by soldiers who’ve yet to be sent out or are on their way to the battlefield. Some keep thinking that way even on the battlefield. But it seems that the more unfamiliar they were with real warfare, the more likely they were to give idealistic, political answers, or what their education told them. The families of those being sent out probably want to hear reasons like that in order to help them accept the painful truth.
Then… was the correct answer fighting for their relatives or loved ones?
Unfortunately, no, that’s also one most common before reaching the front lines. It also seems to be the real motivation for many of those being sent out.
In the end, the most common reason was… they fought for their comrades.
Surprisingly, whether they were fighting humans or BETA didn’t change this result. They didn’t want to let their comrades-in-arms die after living through battles with them. That’s why they fought so hard. Far below in second place, was the fear of being killed by the enemy.
That was why the retreating German Army resisted so fiercecly near the end of the German-Soviet war, for instance. The fear of what would happen if the Soviet Army took them prisoner was enough to reinvigorate the German Army, whose equipment and morale were in ruins.
What about you, Captain? What do you fight for?
Me?… good question… I think… I fight for my comrades too. I want everyone I’ve fought alongside to live at least a little longer. Not that I don’t want Alternative IV to succeed or humanity to win the war. If I’m ordered to infiltrate a hive, I’ll obey, even if I have no chance of survival.
But, once I’m inside, it would be difficult to fight to the end for that reason alone.
Maybe because I’d start to want something more concrete to fight for…
Maybe because I’d start wanting a reason to believe my death would not be in vain…
– Capt. Isumi to 2nd Lt. Shirogane, “Muv-Luv Alternative“
Donovan’s book is relatively simple.
In the first half of the book he discusses the four virtues of men, and in the second half he discusses history and society today. In addition to the standard fare structure, the reading and wording are very accessible, and the ideas have plenty of citations. Some pages feel like they’re missing “something”, until you flip the page and find that the reason why there was a blank area on the previous page was because the last part of the paragraph was moved for a long footnote on the next.
What Donovan fills the simple and generic structure with is what makes “The Way of Men” The Way of Men and The Unifier.
What is masculinity? Ask ten men and you’ll get ten vague, conflicting answers. Unlike any book of its kind, The Way of Men offers a simple, straightforward answer-without getting bogged down in religion, morality, or politics. It’s a guide for understanding who men have been and the challenges men face today. The Way of Men captures the silent, stifling rage of men everywhere who find themselves at odds with the over-regulated, over-civilized, politically correct modern world. If you’ve ever closed your eyes and wished for one day as a lion, this book is for you.
– Book description, Amazon.com
Many people easily Ground at “These men are angry at the world, just men being men”… even men who are angry at the world. I’d seen this book advertised before on several occasions and I didn’t get it for that very reason, that broken-record reason that you hear everyone saying whenever a man does something society doesn’t like. We all know it’s always going to be men too, because if women do something society doesn’t like, it’s because somebody or the system (“The Man”) has wronged them. It’s always men. But we don’t ask why. Even those of us who are unsatisfied with this Ground (mostly men, because obvious reasons) can’t help but be swept along almost all of the time, because there’s not enough to hold onto.
We know that men don’t just do shit because they’re crazy. In this age where everybody goes through almost literally the same experiences from age 6 to 18, it has become harder to imagine the theft or drug dealer or serial killer or activist or literally anybody that isn’t exactly like the sitcoms we see on TV as someone who’s truly alien. We can’t say anymore that these people were raised in the wild, lived without language and human interaction, and then just happened to do this thing. We can’t imagine that the cannibal or homosexual or rapist is just someone from another community, another culture anymore, because we all live in the same culture. We can’t explain it away.
But we do, and that’s why we’re all scared and confused. We hear “This person is just like that because they’re unique”, “Men are just being men”, more of this “just bad apples” isolated incident bullshit every single time, and we know something’s wrong with it. The average 30 year old LA gangster has gone through about the same experiences as the 30 year old prodigy CEO in Europe – people living in those two areas would have been much more different even just one thousand years ago, less than one step in the path of written history. We know that something, somewhere, is going horribly wrong. If that something wrong is in the guy on TV, it’s also in all of us. Or, if it’s the “system” that’s wrong for the guy on TV… that’s the same “system” that’s over our heads as well.
We know enough about Ground, intuitively, that something somewhere is wrong, and that we need to seek the Ground of All Grounds in order to begin to really fight and change anything. Unfortunately, the Ground of All Grounds these days is a fucking commodity. From Vegetarianism to Occupy, from Saving the Planet to 9-11 Truth, every god damn whore and her pimp is selling meaning. A friend of mine is interning for some startup, and he asked me to help him put up an ad for it last night. So I went to the site, and guess what I found the slogan was?
Experience Real Life. Can you imagine? They’re selling you YOUR OWN GOD DAMN LIFE.
If there is one problem about this book, that would be it. It’s sold. It’s another book about not selling out, but it has to be sold. A message in media, criticizing the form it has been delivered in. For anyone who still can see reality, and definitely for any jaded consumer, it is going to be hard to believe yet another manifesto which claims to tackle a large problem in a small amount of space. It has come out in a nonoptimal form in a nonoptimal time.
But really, that’s not the fault of the book. If fault is to be distributed, it should all be to the times.
Problems which are inevitable and a threat to all things good must be solved in some way. Everyone recognizes that those who complain about how violent revolutionaries should instead seek to work within the system to change its direction while people are being murdered for walking across the street have their heads on backwards. There’s a set of priorities we know must be adhered to no matter what. But the moment it’s not so overt anymore, everyone becomes those guys who have their heads on backwards. It’s not okay if just anyone is murdered for walking across the street, but it’s okay if they were all locked up instead. Or no maybe that’s not okay, but it’s okay if people were just separated and different. Or no, that’s not okay either! WE NEED FULL EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE! But you have to do that through the established channels. Otherwise it’s not okay.
All this standardizing based on what’s okay. What’s acceptable. Everything that’s not “don’t do that”.
Not what’s desirable. Not what is worthy of praise. Sure we always get the TED talks and the political campaigns about how this or that should be done, but once you look at the concepts themselves, they’re all just negations of something else. Equality is for ridding the evil differences between people. Education is for saving the children from horrible experiences of never being in debt. Peace is for democratizing a nation and getting rid of those bad fascists and people who disagree with us. Never discussed is what’s honorable. Never is something tried and achieved, suffered and accomplished.
Always this god damn running away.
The Way of Men holds the fucking line.
It states, simple and clearly, that there are four virtues all men everywhere and from all times admire, and should respect, for those ideas are inherent and necessary for the role men play in reality. The virtues are Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor. The role all males play that we can never avoid, and should never avoid, is – for lack of a better word – Man. In these gender-free times, the idea that men have to be Men means less and less – and that is not correct. There are certain things men cannot become, without destroying or corroding all that we know and love out of existence. Cultural relativity and all other relativities be damned. There are things that must happen at all times.
Drawing from history, discussing evolutionary psychology, and touching on philosophy, Jack Donovan lays out exactly what it means to be a man and why the meanings make sense. It is not something that can be achieved once and forgotten about; it is a code of conduct, an ideal of perfection, something for which you must strive for at any and all points in time to even be near it. Being a man, Donovan argues, is not something men choose to want. Like the natural tendencies to be intrigued by this or that subject, The Way of Men argues that all men want to be men.
It is this desire, this inherent need, which causes many if not all of the true social problems we have today. Not only are men being forced to not be men, they don’t know what it means to be a man. They know vaguely what’s respectable. They know that this man is fit to be a mentor and that one is just forgettable. But there is no coherency in the mainstream culture about what it means to be a man. A real man does this. A real man does that. But in our hearts we all recognize the same problem as it exists in politics and inspirational talks: everyone’s talking about something to evade. About fixing some problem. Not about accomplishing a dream. Nothing about something to run towards.
Men aren’t the kind of creatures designed to run away.
Donovan builds civilization from chaos in front of your eyes in the second half of this book, and weaves not only sense into why societal things are the way they are and why it seems to be getting worse, but also constructs a cautionary and inspiring tale of how history itself operates – for what is history, but a story of men creating reality?
In and of itself, Jack Donovan doesn’t explain too much in this book. He doesn’t discuss the manosphere’s topics of picking up girls and female psychology in starting divorces. He doesn’t talk about national problems about welfare and healthcare, of war and economics. He doesn’t do the muscle work and elbow grease for explaining every single empire throughout history, why they rose here and fell then. It really doesn’t say too much at all.
But what it does say, unifies everything else. It is a set of ideas which causes all others to adhere and organize in the way they do.
There have been criticisms from the Humanists to people like me – they say I shouldn’t deconstruct things so often. That I should look at things “as a whole”, because there are many things you can’t know about something by studying it alone in a controlled and nonexistent environment. I agree with this criticism fullheartedly, and I turn it back to them and everyone else:
You are ignoring men. It is not Liberty or Equality or Social Welfare which holds civilization up. Men are the glue which holds everything together, and Men are the ones who created it, and Men are the ones who will create civilizations after this one has fallen, and Men will be there again to create it again and again, for the duration of all time.
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, men and women alike. If the understanding you seek of something has anything to do with “Why do people do what they do”, this book will help you understand it. For women, it can help gain an insight into who men really are, not some vaguely humanized version of the laughingstocks on the glowing screen. Of course, for men, learning who you are is a great reason to read this too. But more importantly, this book also points you in the direction you need to walk, shows you an image of what you want to do, and will need to do, for all things good, holy, and sacred.
“The Way of Men”, by Jack Donovan.
I have added the author’s site to the blogroll on the right.
This is the excerpt that got me to buy the book.