Manhood

Listening to a radio show host today on the way home has got me thinking again about manhood, what it is and what we, as a culture, have done to it. One of my favorite quotes is from Yukiyoshi Takamura, “A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence. He chooses peace. He must be able to make a choice.”

How many times have we seen portrayed in story the brash, over confident young man and the seasoned old man, both learning some things from the other? They are almost stock characters. But there is truth there. What if the young man never finds an older one to teach him how to be a man? What if the hard won wisdom of the old man goes to his grave with him, never passed on to the next generation?

Scratch a bully and you will find a coward. But where does that fear come from? Sit around with a bunch of old soldiers and you can’t help but hear old war stories. You can tell what sort of old soldiers they are by the stories they tell. Fobbits will tell you all about the one time they left the FOB and thought they heard a shot off in the distance. A warrior with real stories will tell you all about how SGT Schmedlap slipped on a used condom and fell flat in a pile of horse shit, but he won’t tell you about the shiny burn scars peeking out of his collar and he sure as hell won’t tell you about the way it feels when you slip a knife between someone’s ribs, the pop of the diaphragm more felt than heard, the warm rush of blood over your knuckles and the halitosis laden death rattle in your face.

Seems to me, whether handling men, women or horses, a real man does what he does from a sense of his own strength. And he gets that strength from having been tested and not found wanting, or, having been found wanting, having been fathered in the right ways by another man.

So, for you young me, don’t despair. Look around for a real man and emulate him. Be willing to work hard, humble enough to accept correction, and confident enough to keep taking a licking and getting back up. And, you older men, be open enough to re-learn what you know with a younger man. Otherwise, we might as well roll over and turn the nation over to Oprah.

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About cptcaveman

An Army Major, my family and I are in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. We enjoy photography, cooking, reading and outdoor sports like hunting, fishing and trapping.
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8 Responses to Manhood

  1. aleph says:

    “A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence. He chooses peace. He must be able to make a choice.”

    good point – I had never thought of it like that before.
    How are you doing?

    • cptcaveman says:

      Pretty well. Dari is kicking my butt. There may be a change of plans soon, but as of right now, headed to Kathmandu sometime early next year. Otherwise, enjoying my attempts at gardening and trying to survive. This blog has turned out to be very therapeutic. You did get your invitation to the big wedding, right?

      • aleph says:

        You did get your invitation to the big wedding, right?

        No invite has turned up here,

      • cptcaveman says:

        Well, at least you can watch it on the telly. Im sure it will be the social highlight of your year ;).

        I do think that concept of pacifism applies to other endevors. We can offer our weakness, our brokenness, our gifts more genuinely if we do so from a place of strength…even a place of strength rooted in the sure knowledge of our weakness.

  2. aleph says:

    yea sure. Social highlight – me and my telly for 3 hours in a close and meaningful entrecôte. Sir, what do you take me for?

  3. aleph says:

    as opposed to Revolting Colonials

    Ducks into bunker too

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