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What Does It Mean to Be a Man?

The attempts of today to gain our manhood are to true manhood as sports are to the Olympic games of the ancients.

This question – What does it mean to be a man? – must be the beginning and end of any philosophy which aims to be more than an empty abstraction or a play with words. For we are men – nothing more, nothing less – and it is only through being men that we can know and live any Truth. Only by knowing what we are, can we know what we must do, and only by doing, can we become that which we are meant to be.

The most promising quality of the Right of today is its yearning and search for manhood. The Right has recognized that the only thing that can really break the numbing embrace of modernity, is for us to first become men again. Yet at the same time, this search is the most worrying part of the Right, as it so often misses the actual essence of manhood, and thus risks that every struggle will be completely in vain, resulting only in a pseudo-tradition as false as modernity. Many times, the understanding of man does not pierce the surface, and remains as an appreciation and imitation of how manhood was expressed and acted by men and societies long since dead and gone, which is not radical enough to rekindle the actual flame that burned at their deepest depth. Other times, and much worse, it is only a thinly veiled materialism or pseudo-religious Darwinism, equating man with him who is strong enough to win the favour of woman or nature, thus defining man through that which is below his actual self.

Of course, these attempts are most often useful for man on a material level, as they doubtless turn him into a healthier and stronger specimen – but man is far more than a part of a species. I do not need to be told how much better these attempts are for man than what modernity has given him, neither do I need to remind my reader of it – but I do need to explain why they are unsatisfactory, why they do not reach the deepest essence of man, as known by Tradition. The attempts of today are to true manhood as sports are to the Olympic games of the ancients. While sports are good for man, they remain a meaningless game, lacking that breath of eternity that made the ancients’ games into a display of heaven transformed into struggling blood and flesh. And if one could move from a sport to an Olympic game, nothing of value would be lost, but infinitely much would be gained.

This essay is based on a need and crisis of our own time and the duty I have to give what I can for this struggle.

I will not present anything of philosophical value in this text which I haven’t already said in my other essays in this Journal. But where they were based on an appreciation of art, literature and thought of men much greater and nobler than myself, this essay is based on a need and crisis of our own time and the duty I have to give what I can for this struggle, regardless of how unrefined my own thought may be. I aim in this essay to assemble a straightforward and comprehensive answer to the question we all want to have answered: What does it mean to be a man?

1. Man and Matter

Firstly and at the most elementary, we must state that man is both matter and spirit, a duality known to every Tradition. For surely, we are of matter, and our individual is inseparable and unthinkable from the body, people and history we are born into; without the differentiating matter, we could never speak of man. But the true and absolute core of our individual is spirit, as this is the life-giving spark Eternity has breathed into the dead wood of our matter; and if one denies this spirit, one doesn’t need to ask what it means to be a man. For then one has debased oneself into a numb force of matter, and whether one chooses to be manly or unmanly, chooses to struggle or simply to lie down and die, doesn’t really matter, as the end result is only death and dissolution into matter anyways.

This spirit, the great Sky Father, is known through both the mind and heart of man. For every effect has a cause, and every cause points towards a first, absolute and self-sufficient cause, a transcendent and unmoved mover from which everything springs. And we also know him as Being, as that which make every individual being exist rather than not, and at the same time transcend every individual being and determination. And we know him as the origin of everything great and beautiful, as the eternal archetype to which every flawed accomplishment of human is compared to. He is the greatest from which everything lesser flows – the fountainhead of Beauty which we can never surpass, but only fall away from.

And man, in order to reach manhood, must reinstitute spirit as the origin of his individual, must make it into the great spark from which his material body and life branch, not as the dead wood of a tree, but as the arms of a terrifying thunderbolt. He must live the eternal through the temporary, in order to become what he really is – an image of God.

And the first step towards this is to overcome matter in the name of spirit. Everyone in the true Right knows that man is more than his material individual, knows the meaninglessness of fulfilling one’s own needs and desires alone, and that he who deserts his duties to secure his own well-being is no true man. But far too many fail to see that this ‘greater than man’, this antithesis to the material individual, is spirit; instead they only put the group as the antithesis of the individual. They think that man overcomes himself by sacrificing himself for the good of the group, that he only exists to nurture the animistic ghost of the nation or the race with his spilled blood. They know how to revolt against the materialism of the modern world, but they are not radical enough to revolt against matter itself.

For in the end, the group is also only matter, and if we know that there is no inherent value in the existence and well-being of the material individual, we will never find any inherent value in that of the group either. For the group might be ‘greater’ than man, in the aspect of it containing his material individual, but both the group and man lies infinitely below the absolute spirit, the spirit which man must unearth within himself. Of course man has duties to fulfill towards his group, which as all duties override his material individual, but these duties do not stem from the empty matter of the group, but from the imperative of spirit, and man will never fulfill them truly, if he doesn’t do so from the realm of spirit.

To be satisfied only with sacrificing oneself for the greater good of the group is ultimately to hide from one’s true purpose, to not undertake the terrible revelation of the emptiness of all matter, and to not reach the spirit beyond. And by performing this sacrifice without spirit, the group will also be lost and forever without worth, as there are no men who can turn it into a work of eternity. Yes, man must deny any inherent value in his individual, in his group, in nature and in the whole of existence itself, and realize that all value is created by the absolute spirit, which has chosen to live through the flesh of man. He must shatter every hollow shell of matter, in order to fill it with true value, in order to become a creator in the image of God, and bring God’s eternal order and beauty into the part of the world that is his own.

2. Man and his Father

Man must recognize the Sky Father as the sole and absolute source of his life and being, and, by revolting against matter, by leaving the ghostly and incomplete world of becoming below, he is yearning and striving to be as unconditioned, unmovable and pure as his Father.

Yes, to be like the Father above – that can be said to be the essence of man, but if one truly wants to be like the Father, it is not enough to only reach for spirit. For the Father has chosen the world of matter, he has chosen to give life to a world which can add nothing to his greatness, which can never reach his own beauty and which can only fall, yet he has chosen to give this world his order and value, chosen to live as spirit through the flesh of man. And so man must return to the world of matter he initially left behind, but not as a numb force of matter, but as spirit made matter, living and creating like the Father did when he chose to bring the world and existence out of his perfect and unconditioned Nothingness.

3. Will and Love

To know how man is supposed to carry out this synthesis of matter and spirit, to find the essence from which man act, one should reflect over how the Father relates himself to matter, and then act according to him.

A word most commonly used by the Right today for this essence of man is will, and more specifically the manly and bombastic will to power, which is contrasted with the supposed meekness of a loving God above. If one wants a word which captures our essence as a material individual, will is probably the best, for as individuals we are incomplete and broken, and need to strive in order to become the men we are supposed to be; and we are also differentiated and opposed to other individuals, resulting in the struggle which is needed in order to affirm and realize ourselves. But we are not only a material individual, but also spirit, and as surely as we must make our individual a manifestation of spirit, so must our will be subdued to the essence of spirit, in order for us to act as true men.

And can we really say that spirit wills? Spirit is the absolute from which everything great stems, and spirit does not need to overcome itself, as it already is what anything can aspire to be. Neither is spirit divided or opposed by anything, but rather it is the source of everything, transcending every struggle imaginable. Will is to overcome the weak and broken, which we need to do as men; but this also means that will is the consequence of incompleteness, born from the fact that spirit is the perfect, which we are not. Thus it would be ridiculous to say that the true nature of spirit, hence of our core, is to will. Rather will stands as something secondary, as that which we must act through in this world, but which must not be the source of our act.

Rather, love is the only word which can capture the absurdity and wonder that the absolute Father has chosen to live through, giving value to the empty forms of matter; and it is only through a celestial love of our material individual and its duties that we can turn our lives into an image of God, acted through a holy will to power. We must know the inherent worthlessness of ourselves and everything in the world of matter, yet choose to return from the absolute beauty of spirit, and sacrifice everything in order to make our own broken piece of matter as great and beautiful as it possible can be. And the only thing that can make us return from the unlimited freedom of our spirit, and shackle ourselves in the duties of the insignificant life that is our own, is an absurd and limitless love, mirroring the love of God himself.

This love is not some sentimentalism, meekness or self-denial, but the feeling of being over-full with life and value, and wanting to spread one’s light and truth to that which is below oneself. And this sacrifice is both the greatest self-overcoming and self-affirming, destroying ourselves yet making us into the greatest thing a man can be, namely an image of God. And this love does not deny or contradict will, but is rather the giving which corresponds to the lacking of the will, and it transforms every will into a living, bleeding struggle of eternity.

4. Man and Tradition

The essence of Tradition is the same as the essence of man, for Tradition is the path upwards towards the Father, and the path downwards into a concrete life in the image of the Father. This double movement has been expressed through different teachings, rituals and acts in the particular traditions of different peoples and different times, and while these forms used by civilizations and men since long dead and gone are good for studying, the manhood that birthed and gave meaning to these forms does not exist anymore.

We can not revive this manhood by going backwards, by stitching together the dead residues of its forms and summoning the ghosts of those who once wore them, but must rather be radical enough to create manhood again within ourselves – a living manhood of tomorrow which will then organically give birth to the forms suited for our time and our peoples.

That the Right of today is not radical enough to become a true creator, to rebirth manhood from nothing, is why so many attempts to be a man, no matter how sincere and self-sacrificing they are, are cursed to emit an aura of masquerading or roleplaying. Yes, the closer one comes to imitating the thoughts and values of men before us, the nearer one lives according to one’s old traditions and livelihood and the more devout one is to one’s dead gods, the more does it all seem like a game, and the more one only manages to detach oneself from true spirit, which already resides within oneself, and which yearns to become a man again.

One might rightly ask, what I have to give in exchange for leaving these dead traditions behind, ask me to show what the traditions of tomorrow will be. And the cold, harsh truth is that I have nothing to give, that I do not know how tomorrow will be, but this uncertainty and disorientation is a small bet, when one is gambling for true Tradition. We cannot predict what the manhood of tomorrow will bring, as little as the Judaism could predict or imagine what the greatness of Christ would be; but if we do not try to find manhood again, radically pure and unconditioned, there will never arise a true man among us, never someone who can revive Tradition. There will be a great pain in destroying our reliance on these residues of times already gone, but it is a necessary pain, for they are only gravestones of dead gods.

Tradition is inseparable from manhood – where there are true men, there will be Tradition.

Tradition is inseparable from manhood – where there are true men, there will be Tradition, and if there are not, there is not Tradition – and this is both our greatest despair and hope. It is a despair, because it means that we have a complete responsibility to become men ourselves, and that we cannot rely on the deeds or dead traditions of men who were before us. Yes, even if we had a living tradition today to guide us, the actual leap and sacrifice required to reach manhood would still lie upon us. For no one else can reach manhood for us, and in the end it is always the individual which must unearth the spirit within himself, and turn his life into its manifestation. But this also means that we have a great hope, for the key and source of Tradition still remain within us, as the absolute, unchangeable spirit which is at our core, and we can still reach a manhood equal to those who were before us: the only difference is that we have no one alive to guide us. Our search for manhood will thus be much harder, hopeless and terrifying than that of those before us, but if we succeed, we will have found the same flame as they held, and in tomorrow we will find the golden age which previously was forever lost in the depths of the past.

5. Active and Reflective

Everyone in the true Right admires the warrior, but it is a great sign of materialism and inadequate understanding of manhood when some worship the act of the warrior, but dismiss the priest and the contemplative man with scorn.

The true essence of the warrior is not to fight for the benefit of the group against other groups, but to overcome himself through battle, to reach heavenly spirit yet return to manifest it in a conquest on earth. As an individual man, he is a part of a certain group which he has the duty to fight for, but the source of his act is not the group, but spirit, and his heroic act remains only a manifestation, standing in relation to spirit as will stands to celestial love. To dismiss the priest either because he doesn’t directly profit the group, or because he doesn’t possess the vain splendor of the act, is to also to dismiss the true warrior, as none of these things are his real essence.

It is misguided to call the priest submissive or passive; that he is ascetic and unmoved is not submission, but a self-overcoming analogous to the one the warrior finds in battle, and that he manifests the Truth to his fellow men through reflection and the word is not passivity. For if the priest really was passive, he would have been satisfied to remain in the realm of spirit, letting the shackles of his body slowly wither away, and leaving everything imperfect behind forever. Yet there he stands, among his people, sacrificing his own purity and tranquility in the troublesome effort of showing others what they are meant to be. To help in the reshaping of one’s fellow men into the image of God is a tedious and often hopeless work, yet he is ready to sacrifice everything for this, as he just like the warrior has chosen to love and conquer.

They are of the same stock, the warrior and the priest – they belong to that highest caste of men, those who have both seen the infinity of the Father, and returned to manifest his order in the broken mess that is the world. Their only difference is accidental – one is active, the other reflective, one conquers those outside of the state, the other those within. And any true leader needs to be both a warrior and a priest, and whether fate would chose a warrior-like priest or a priest-like warrior to fill this role in a particular society, does not really matter.

To worship the warrior whilst denying the priest only shows that one either has a false antipathy one needs to overcome, or that one simply stands so far below the holy caste of these men, that one can’t recognize the brotherhood that is clear to both the warrior and the priest. In either case, this one-sided cult of the warrior and his manly act is obnoxious, and only distances the worshipper from the warrior-caste he believes or wishes himself to be a part of.

6. Man and Woman

In a way, Woman stands at the core of matter, being both the mother who birthed man into the world as an individual, and the girl who he feels the strongest desire towards. Any return to matter will be inadequate, without an adequate return to woman, for man’s celestial love of the earthly woman might very well be the the centre of his existence as spirit made matter, analogous to the great love and order the Father has chosen to give the world.

But just as man had to reject matter, man must reject woman before he can return to her. It is of greatest importance that boys (of the higher castes at least) are solely raised in the domain of man, that they are taken from the realm of mothers, sisters and girlfriends, to spend the pure and free years of their youth in the battalion of the state, which in its true form is the greatest representative of God on earth. All that great energy and passion which comes with the youth of man should be used to reach as close towards the Father as he possibly can, whether it is through the path of the warrior or the priest. Before he sees the bared breasts of girls, he must have seen the terrible face of Eternity; before he speaks to flatter woman, he must have known and praised the beauty of the sky; and before he kiss the soil of his Motherland, he must have set sail across the sea, to reach and conquer some lost and fabled holy lands where his god once walked, and win the soil of the heavenly kingdom.

The basis of the family is the womb of the mother, and to put the family as the foundation of a society is as foolish as putting woman over man, or matter over spirit.

The basis of the family is the womb of the mother, and to put the family as the foundation of a society is as foolish as putting woman over man, or matter over spirit. The one and only foundation of a true society is the holy state, ruled by the warrior-priest, and just as man must see spirit as his true core, must he see the state as the origin and parent of him as a citizen. And thus he shall only see and serve the state as a young man, while the family remains hidden behind several layers of fabric, just like the womb of woman. Only when he has reached as near to the Father as fate has allowed him to, and when he is ready to return to the world of matter, should he be allowed to enter the family, to undress and love that which in of itself is so shameful and filthy, but which he has the power to love and redeem, by giving it his seed, and becoming a father himself.

But to say that fatherhood and the birth of children is the real ‘purpose’ of man’s love to woman is to debase the absolute and self-sufficient character of celestial love, and thus to completely miss the essence of man and his love. Either this mistake stems from the false belief that man only exists to serve the group, and that the highest goal of his love thus is to spawn more children for the benefit of the Motherland; or it stems from a fear of woman and matter, from not being able to wholly and lovingly tread down into her realm from the purity of spirit, and thus needing a duty or purpose to excuse one’s love. But in either case, one puts the birth of children as the origin of man’s love, when it really is just a consequence, which does not exist in the mind of man when he is full of love.

7. Man and Death

The Father is the undying source of life, and he has chosen to tread down and let his spirit live through the flesh of man; and when we are birthed by the mother, we are thus not given life, but death, as death is what makes man differ from the eternal life of the Father. Yes, death is the ultimate essence of our material existence as men – we will die, our peoples will die, humanity will die and the whole world will dissolve into cold and lifeless matter, sooner or later – and to be a man ultimately means to embrace death. Not only enduring the thought of it and facing it proudly, but wholly and lovingly welcoming it, wishing for nothing more than total annihilation at the end of our struggle and sacrifice – for this is how the Father chose to love the world, when he gave life to the unending abyss of death, when he chose to live and die through the flesh of man.

The thought of an afterlife is a great mistake. Surely spirit is eternal, and will exist after our death, but there is no further existence for us as individuals, as our individuality is a result of matter, and the essence of matter is death. To imagine an afterlife for us men is to hide from the death which makes us into men, and thus to hide from true manhood. Also, an afterlife implies that man’s ultimate mission is only to be pure enough to be admitted back into the eternal realm of the Father; but man is not born to return to the Father, but to repeat and fulfill the Father’s love to matter, to make the sacrifice he did when he chose to give matter life. We are not to be saved by the Father, but to be like him, to face death as he has chosen to do.

An even greater mistake is made by those who do not ascribe life to the Father, but to Nature and the Mother, seeing our birth as the creation of life, rather than the clothing of life into death. They think that existence is life, and that man reaches ultimate life by simply securing his existence and that of his children and his people. They think that man lives on through the existence of the people that they believe gave him life. This too is an idea of afterlife, but instead of being founded on the true life of the Father, it is founded on an animistic ghost of matter, creating a filthy perversion of the already mistaken religious afterlife.

Man must realize that by becoming a father of sons, and struggling for their existence and well-being, he is neither creating value, nor continuing life. Concerning value, sons have no inherent value; rather they must make the leap towards manhood themselves in order to make their life worthwhile, and neither can they give value to their father, if he is not able to create value himself. To think that one is given value by fathering sons creates an unending recursion, down into the abyss of meaningless matter, where every generation shuns its responsibility to create value upon the next. And concerning life, the sons are only given death by being born, and they do not continue life (life is already transcendent and eternal spirit, and does not need to be ‘continued’ anyways), but rather repeat death, in an unending cycle.

But this cycle of death is what the Father has chosen to create and love, chosen to continue by again and again letting his undying spirit die through the flesh of man. To father children, to love them more than anything and to struggle for their future and prosperity is the greatest embrace of death, for it is the choice of not only loving one’s own death, and turning it into a manifestation of eternity, but to also force another generation of men into existence, who must repeat the love of their father, and again turn death and matter into a work of eternity. To father children is to give one’s celestial love of matter and death another repetition, mirroring the love of the Father, when he chose to put his spirit through the eternal recurrence of death.

And giving this love to the world, through the struggle of the will, is what it means to be a man.

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