Where is that Iron John, the core of masculinity? Embodied in the warrior spirit and virtue that echos into modern day. The same core that brought Alexander to the gardens of Babylon. That same core that made 300 men accept death with grace and honor, facing an overwhelming opponent. The same core that had Roman soldiers marching awe inspiring distance and then build their encampment. Where is that core found in the Belgae resisting Roman occupation with unprecedented success? The same core that set viking boots on the American continent. The very core that had men in WW1 running out of trenches after barrages of artillery in the walls of enemy fire. The core found in men in WW2 charging machine gun nests against all odds. That same core still present in enlisted men and special operators all over the world. Embodied by anyone that hasn't lost connection to the core. Yet a core only embodied and worn as skin by few.
I see the search for manhood in many a men. Some slightly older than me, plenty in my age category and a majority with those that are younger than me. I myself have been denied the initiatory process of manhood along side a mentor. Although I've met many men on my path, very few ever came close to real mentoring. Many have helped me, and have provided me with something. Still a real mentor in the traditional sense was missing. In my personal quest I look for the embodiment of the warrior spirit. I look for an integral, whole and balanced leader, surely flawed for he is yet human. Where were the men that took pride in their physical prowess? Where were the warriors that balanced a sharp blade with a sharp mind?
I have found a handful with their warrior spirit strongly ablaze but none able to have me under their wings. They are out there none the less, in the shadows. Being mentor-less, It led me to build on characters of fiction. John 117, master chief of the Halo franchise. Setting the standard for virtue and impeccable character. With no mentor around I found myself drawn to books: scores of them. To find the steps to the sacred rituals of male initiation. To be for myself what none could be for me. This pain and void is apparent in the men of today. This lack of initiation and mentors manifests itself in young men seeking gangs, cults or a cause that supplies them with ritualistic initiation. We speak of toxic masculinity and wonder why it's so prevalent in today's society. It's built on traits of masculinity without it's dichotomy, sacredness and elegance. Toxic masculinity are traits pulled to the extreme because of lack of grounding, balance and virtue. So I pose the simple question: why is it so? Why do we see boys pretending to be men? I say: they were not raised by real men, or often: no man at all. They were not initiated and thus left un-mentored.
I see it in the high schools of West Oslo where I had a hard time distinguishing boy from girl. I caught myself last week that in a training group not a single man stood out from the women, as it took me a third glance to see three men. Suffice to say there are real men, real warriors, out there. In nations that fly their warrior flag proudly. While other nations flags hang with pain and shame.
It's easy to see why men of my generation flock to bombard Jocko Willink and Echo Charles with questions about how to be a man. Questions on how to lead, how to be strong, how to overcome weakness. It's the same reason men look at Tim Kennedy for a sheepdog to shepherd them. They are looking for their role models, mentors and initiators. They are looking for the genuine in masculinity, which lies in it's dichotomy. Love balanced with toughness. Guidance led by hand balanced with a push in the back.
There are those out there working to heal men, such as: Lewis Howes, Tony Robbins and Jordan B. Peterson . I won't be so arrogant and naive to state I'm one of them. I can only tell where I see deep to the root of the problem. Because everyday I work tirelessly to fill that gaping hole myself. Every time I don't act according the deep profound nature of true masculinity, a piece I put in to fill the hole is tossed back out into the darkness. Genuine masculinity, like anything else, is a practice. We chose to act according to the highest order of manhood, or we chose to act against it. The suffering of men thus manifests itself in aggression and anger. Instead of kindness and understanding, for if you are truly grounded and secure in yourself: why be angry or aggressive (unless the situation calls for it). Only by acting in line with the virtues passed down from ancient times is that hole able to be filled. So that in due time, I can stand on that hole filled with the right actions and intent. To further divinity of masculinity with balanced properties and it's sacred touch.
Most men possess the masculine core. Access to it however has been obscured and buried under layers. Buried under the guise of being civilized, which in most cases is actually being over civilized. Buried by the socioeconomic requirements of work etiquette and status through finance. Obscured by certain cultural requirements, especially present in western cultures. Further dissonance created by the expectations imprinted on us by parents. We're insecure because all those layers tell us something different, and we lose sight of what the core is really about. Underneath all those misconception and misinterpretations lies the masculine core, the Iron John. The very nature of man that wants to be expressed. That very nature expressed in warriors down the ages, still resides in us. It is due time that we are reminded that the masculine core and warrior nature has never left us. For the good of the world, the good of our environment and ourselves: we are called to find our way back to genuine masculinity.