Sam Keen* mentions several BIG obstacles towards
becoming a mature man. First of all the latter is born out of a mother. It means that deep
down his archaic memory is dominated by the Eternal Feminine.
* "Fire in the belly"
Secondly, he has been nurtured and cared of for many
years by his mother as well. Making him depending on her support, love and protection.
Again the feminine occupying his entire world.
Add to it the early erotic feelings, which he
projects into the mother-figure, without the possibility of further developing this. Which
creates a sense of primitive frustration.
Today a new factor complicates this all. The
negative effects of single motherhood. To spend your entire childhood without the
possibility of identifying with a father figure is not exactly favorable to finding your
way in life as a man.
The classical approach is that of trying to overcome these dependencies
through developing an independent male ego. In order to achieve this you have to give up
your warm nest (hopefully you had one) creating distance between your mother and yourself.
Your greatest fear is to "fall back" into mother's
"womb" loosing your precious ego, something that you achieved through much
effort (fear, pain). In many cases the consequence is a love-hate relationship, in later
life disturbing a loving contact with women.
If "successful" the two worlds separate. The problem of the past
was a patriarchal world in which the boy had to give up his most precious feelings,
intuitions and desires in order to become part of a rationalist environment.
The problem of today is
that this world has fallen apart without providing a young man support, recognition and
meaning to his life. Deep within he is subjected to a fatal insecurity about his identity.
While fanatical feminists enjoy this
development - men harvest what they have sewn - to (wo)mankind as a whole this is a
disaster. For the wellbeing of women is depending on the wellbeing of men.
The sad thing: while millions of poor
women further impoverish (even in Western Europe), being oppressed and discriminated, a
small group of well-to-do women has internalized patriarchal "values" by
pursuing a capitalist career, alienated from their cyclic nature and bodies......
identifying with the (male!) rationalist ego, while rejecting mother(hood), everything
under the banner of feminism...(sic)
Women", "Weise Frauen" (Deutsch)
While on the other hand the problem for
many men is that they don't have the power to develop a mature future. On the contrary,
what you see is a rapid deterioration of male functioning. On many levels, to start with
school, boys and men are behind of women.
As such this wouldn't be a problem if
society could adapt to the new situation. In reality this a far dream. Men become
"lonely wolves" roaming around full of frustration, anger, bitterness
The Western male capitalist ego has
dugged its own grave. For its "ideal" has been independence, rationality,
competition, soul & body denial, work-obsessed, alienation from life, and
WESTERN AND CHINESE MEN
In contrast the traditional
self-understanding of e.g. Chinese men used to be based on living according to Cosmic
Balance, harmony with the ancestors, respect towards elderly members of the family, care
for body and mind....
While the fears of Western ego circle
around "getting lost" in a greater whole ("loosing oneself) the Chinese
male has made "to become part of Tao" the ultimate goal of life.
The shock to Western men: the Chinese
counterparts aren't less "masculine", "mature", "powerful"
or even "effective". On the contrary: we all know now that traditional
Chinese values are a strong foundation to even being successful in a world (still)
dominated by capitalism.
It all depends on self-definition! It
appears that Western ego is self and life-denying. It has lost contact with itself and its
immediate surroundings. It is an artificial entity. This entity fears everything with
which it has no contact with, to start with femininity.
If rationality is your
"core-value" then everything "non-rational" becomes a threat. This
fear has been projected into women. The irony: while men face the collapse of this their
self-image, an increasing number of women adopt it!
The challenge for men is to learn and
accept that they created their own mess. Making your life depending on a life-denying
self-definition is asking for trouble. Men have to start with coping with their fear of
From the very beginning this is
centered around the "confrontation" with the all-powerful femininity, which
characterizes the beginning of his life. As said above the answer was sought in developing
a strong ego WESTERN STYLE.
Chinese men are a puzzle in this
regard. How can they survive the early dominance of the mother? Without developing a
"strong" ego? They all must be mother weaklings. Apparently they are not. So how
they "did it?"
During many millennia Chinese have been
educated as part of society for which they are responsible. Unlike the West where the
"free" (selfish!) ego is the highest goal, in China the community comes (came)
first. (NB. Unfortunately this did NOT include women! Confucianism is decidedly
patriarchal. Women emancipation was only introduced by Mao Ze Dong...).
However: Chinese males didn't have the
ideal of "personal freedom" in the Western sense, namely a life entirely by
yourself and for yourself. As a consequence, no-one (no mother) is standing in their way.
From the beginning males understand that they have to arrange themselves WITHIN the
context of a greater whole.
To make the contrast more sharp I will
take the Mosuo men - part of "matriarchal" people in Southern China - as an
example. Society is structured along the line of mother-centered families.
It means that all children remain part
of their own family, no one lives with a member of another family. These extended families
consist of a grand (grand) mother, together with their daughter/mothers and their children
- daughters and sons, while the eldest male, usually the brother of the (grand) mother,
has the role as "uncle" or social father of all children.
The difference with Western education:
boys and girls remain under the wings of the mother(s) (aunts, cousins), while at the same
time grow up identifying themselves with their own gender roles. How is that possible? I
stayed with the Mosuo myself, interviewing men. Without exception these were strong,
self-confident and very warm-hearted and joyful persons.
The secret is the group. Let's talk
about the boys specifically. Although receiving love and care of the mother(s) the actual
daily life is spent with the "uncle" and other boys. Why with the
"uncle" and not the father? Well, because the biological father isn't part of
the family e.g. isn't often even known.
Although the mother is always present,
boys are not fixed on her. They identify with the social father (who has no personal
claims on the children) and the group. Boys are "group-animals" after all
(compare their roles in the work-place, the football club, the pub and the army). They
learn about themselves by sharing life with other boys.
No chance for any "oedipal
relationship". It means that the Mosuo achieved a healthy balance between "being
yourself and living in harmony with the community". Boys are very affectionate with
the females (no any reason to reject, nor hating them!), while simultaneously enjoying
their roles as males.
A first conclusion is that our
monogamous family, in which children are forced to identify with one parent only, is one
of the root causes of our current trouble. The current breakdown of that family structure
is therefore not a loss. Provided that something better will be put in place within short
For both parents the burden of raising
children within the "traditional" family structure has become unbearable.
Various factors are involved. The stress of the capitalist rat race forces them to work
harder and harder. In order to "survive" both parents have to work. The costs of
living have become such that one cannot raise children anymore.
Children are neglected. Many parents
don't even provide them with proper food. The former are totally fixed on their personal
ego-trips. Children are increasingly not welcome. The single-culture is the end-station of
the breakdown of community-life on all levels. All signs that we are approaching a
A healthy educational environment
consists of three pillars: the family, the school and.....youth movements. First of all,
mothers - for the sake of their children - have to become solidary with each other. They
should start new style "tribes". Subsequently, the second "echelon" is
formed by husbands, partners, friends. They provide the support system to the core group.
It is something that doesn't have to
become (forcefully) created. The process is already ongoing. Many one-parent families
already consist of a mother and her children, the former often having one or more partners
e.g. boyfriends. The next step is that these partners should come together, acknowledging
the common responsibility for their core-group.
This comes very close to the
Mosuo-concept. Men sharing responsibility rather than having the father-burden alone. They
share the work, becoming solidary with each other. Shifting from the capitalist
competition to cooperation. Wouldn't that be a relief to all? It is the seed for a larger
scale New Community, indeed for a New World.
The second pillar - the school - is a
disaster too. Not aiming at critisizing teachers at all. They are often on the brink of a
burn-out, due to their unrestrained commitment. No, it is the system, which destroys the
life of both children and teachers. The first cause is its one-sidedness, in which only
intellectual performance counts. Secondly, the curriculum is dictated by the demands of
The school therefore increasingly has
become a place where children are brainwashed to become willing slaves to a future
work-place. While, upon leaving school, there doesn't appear to be any job for them at
all. Or, after having reached their 30s they have become simply "too old" and
kicked out. Moreover, the obsession with "virtual communication" alienates them
further from life, not to speak of all kind of related disorders popping up.
Youth are the deprived of our Western
societies. Neither the family, nor the school giving them any support with regard of their
effort to build an identity, to find their way in life, self-knowledge, to establish
healthy relationships with their bodies, feelings, sex-life. School serves as
mind-training only, what about life-experience, the growth towards maturity?
Here the third pillar comes into play.
We dearly need the revival of youth movements. It can be compared to the group-education
of the Mosuo. Where both family and school fail and further deteriorate, leaving the
children in despair, frustration, bitterness, meaninglessness.... often ending up with
drugs, crime, violence and extremism.... the youth movements have to fill in the gap.
I have called our initiative the Green
Men Youth (GMY) and the Wise Women Youth (WWY). Their primary care is to restore
wholeness, to start with themselves. They have to re-discover and re-define the
relationship with themselves and their environment.
Who am I? Why am I here? What is my mission in life?
How to develop body-awareness and inner balance? What is my relationship with the other
sex? How to become part of a (new) community? What is the optimal way to work for a
sustainable future? Which profession or activity suits me best? In what kind of society I
want to live? What is my relationship toward nature? Toward the Cosmos?
In practice, many models e.g. training programs have
been worked out. One is called "To Restore the Wholeness of Life". It consists
of re-establishing the unity with your True Self, with your mind, your body and nature,
your human environment and with the Divine, everything completed by meditations and
various other exercises.
the Wholeness of Life"
These activities have to be completed
by experiences in the field of permaculture e.g. organic agriculture, alternative energy
techniques, self-help healing practices (natural medicine), creativity and arts,
developing skills in handicrafts and trade, wilderness experience, sports, leisure, dance,
and much more
RITE DE PASSAGE
At the end there will be a "rite
de passage" to maturity. It reflects the spiritual experience of many cultures. First
of all, boys and girls retire from social life. They start focussing on their inner realm.
There are group sessions that pave the way for the actual withdrawal into wilderness. This
takes e.g.three days. After that everyone goes one's own way, finding a solitary spot
where they will stay alone, in silence and while fasting.
I call it "Mother Quest", the
Quest for the Source from which everything originates. The aim is to search for the
Ultimate Truth in life, while "once and for all" becoming part of the Whole.
Thus, you surrender to the Darkness of the Night in order to find the Vacuum, Cosmic Womb
or "Vessel of Abundance".
Secondly, you focus on the inner Light,
the Divine Spark within yourself. Subsequently, restoring intimate contact with your body
and nature is a further crucial step toward Wholeness, while thoughts, emotions, desires,
fears, worries, insights, obsessions, images, visions.... come and go. You watch and feel
them, learning from them, while remaining the observer.
After three days the participants
re-join sharing their experiences, receiving feedback from the trainers. The
core-exercises remain part of your life guiding you through all further stages. As a
member of the Green Man Youth, the Wise Woman Youth respectively, you may decide to become
a fully trained Green Man or Wise Woman, committing yourself to "Healing the
See: "Transformatorium", "The
Additionally in German:
"Die Ganzheitliche Transformation"
Interested in the Green
Men or Wise Women Youth?
Please Contact us!