Monday, February 4, 2019

On Being a Man Today

What does it mean to be, a "Man" in today's world? That's a good question. One that is leaving many confused, flustered, even angry and bitter. We are also seeing this in the workplace when jobs disappear when businesses fall by the wayside. When we refuse to change with the times. to learn new things, to adapt as our ancestors did with changing environments during the ice age and beyond up until today.

I'm not talking about macho bullshit. I'm not talking about homoerotica. I'm not talking about self-involved obtrusiveness, aggressiveness or arrogance. I am not talking about misogynistic ridiculosities.

I'm talking about being, a Man. Not just a male. Bu a useful, respectful and decent human being. it is about at least understanding humility if not exhibiting it openly.

Note that there are many things similar to being an enlightened being, to what it means to be a woman, a minority, a person in a weak position in a culture. Or a human. When you have to watch out for all you do every day or suffer the consequences, you have to be more aware. And when you do not and "suddenly" find you have to, it's a shock which elicits anger and a lashing out. Better to stop and think and react appropriately.

Due to a variety of factors including not being a woman, a minority, in my view as I am a man, I really have no right to tell women what to do. I have no idea why men do not seem to see this. Fear of a loss of control one might presume. When I'm holding a deciding factor (as an elected official, as a legislator) I would need to be aware of concerns outside my realm, my comfort zone.

Yes, we all make mistakes. We may be raised with a belief system that is challenged once we get out into the world and as an adult. And so we pick ourselves up and try to do better with each day.

Still many male American politicians seem to think they have or should have, just that right. As if, God-given. Some of those "rights" some "people" also seem to believe are God-given rights. Obviously, they are among some of the biggest assholes on earth. Obviously, those types got us into this situation in the first place.

Abraham Maslow  (1954) came up with several things that all humans need in order to survive.

Late in the process, however, thank "God", he added in sex as one of those elements.

Good for him. Good for us.

Here's his list:

1) Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts, sex, etc.;

2) Safety/security: out of danger;

3) Belongingness and Love: affiliate with others, be accepted; and

4) Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition.

5) Cognitive: to know, to understand, and explore;

6) Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty;

7) Self-actualization: to find self-fulfillment and realize one's potential; and

8) Self-transcendence: to connect to something beyond the ego or to help others find self-fulfillment and realize their potential.

To address these issues in the context of being male, I would offer this...

We seem, especially some on the right in this country, to stop politically at number four.

We keep the first one, our physiological needs as primary and so it should be. But we need to realize others have those needs, too. At times we seem to forget that.

As it is with #2, safety, #3 association, social needs, #4 self and group esteem.

But one does not need to put down others in order to raise oneself or one's group up. It leads to racism and bigotry and the "us against them" tribal mentality so prevalent today in American politics.

We need to move beyond into the latter numbers. The argument has always been lame: "We don't have the money for less important issues." Then where is the money? We had it, where does it go?

We need as number four indicates, to think more, to see beyond ourselves, to see the entire picture, not just our own, or our own group's view. That is what being enlightened is about, in seeing all the associated issues and having the wherewithal to address them in productive and helpful ways. Not ignoring them because, they are too hard. That means that sometimes we may even need to take a backseat to others' needs when it is appropriate.

Self-actualization means we need to move beyond ourselves to be better and to always try to be even better tomorrow than we are today.

Self-transcendence is taking our higher selves and actualizing that part of ourselves. To see beyond our self and our concerns and that of our group. To feel empathy for others and compassion, and to seek not just our better position in the world but our ability to be a better human this world. That one thing could make this world a better place. Not just for ourselves, but for others and for others who have little say in how things are done, when, or where.

Truth, decency, compassion, understanding. Being a "man" is not just about the old paradigms. It is also about being aware of, and being better than, and even outside of our personal understanding of the world. It is about being more than we are and think we can be.

Yes, being a Man, being a Person in today's world is not as easy as it once was.

But this is the world we live in today and we need to at least try, to understand when we fail, to know that our attitude about all this has much to do with how we view the world and how we are perceived and so too, how we grow as a person.

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