I recently read about a fascinating study on the psychology of killing.
Brig. Gen. S. L. A Marshall was a United States combat historian in the Pacific during World War II. And he observed a fascinating phenomena that occurred many times in his studies:
Almost all soldiers would obey and fire their weapons while their leaders were present to command them, but when the leaders left, the firing rate immediately dropped to between 15-20%.
Not only would the firing rate drop, the accuracy would plummet as well. The soldiers would essentially “cheat” on they duty to kill by deliberately missing.
Marshall believed the great relief displayed by the soldiers was not so much because they realized they were safer, but because they were no longer under the compulsion to kill.
Killing another human being is unnatural. Normal men with a conscience cannot do it without extensive training (or perhaps a compelling self-defense context).
Sure, we can fantasize about killing. Yet when it comes to actually pulling the trigger, we are unable to do the deed…
Unless we are compelled to do so by a present authority.
It is this “nearness of authority” that drives much of our behavior and even overrides our conscience. Most of us will obey someone who looks like an authority and is telling us what to do right now.
War gives a graphic microcosm of human nature. It’s the ultimate contest between conscience and authority. Authority wins when it is present. Conscience wins when authority is absent.
This is why those who wish to manipulate depend on a constant present authority.
We may not be asked to fire a gun to kill, but men are asked to violate their conscience in a variety of other ways in the nearness of authority:
- You know the Scriptures say one thing, but the preacher says another thing from the pulpit… so you doubt your conscience.
- You know the right thing to do, but your wife is so upset by it… so you hold off (since you’ve been conditioned to view a woman’s approval as authoritative.)
- You decided in your conscience that something was “pure” and “undefiled” but then you read a strongly opinionated article online by a persuasive writer… so you doubt.
- You decide the life path that’s best for you, but your father disproves, so you “put your dreams on hold” for something more “sensible.”
- You want to live a certain lifestyle, but no one else in your religious circle is living like that… so maybe it’s not appropriate.
Real masculine power comes from the ability to follow your conscience in the face of present authority.
It’s easy to follow your conscience when the authority is distant. It’s when perceived authority is near that our true character is tested.
This is why it’s not uncommon to see men with a masculine exterior (a “man’s man”) who are privately fearful of their wives’ wrath on a daily basis.
A woman’s disapproval is the nearest “authority” that a man encounters on a daily basis.
It’s easy to talk about your bold politics. Not so easy to face an angry woman in the home.
The home is where the real test of manhood takes place. And there is no one there to witness your struggles and victories. It’s a private battle.
If you can face your angry woman without compromising your conscience, the more distant “authorities” will seem less threatening.
Further reading on conscience vs. authority:
Femininity is good. But “the dose makes the poison.”
This is why maintaining frame control and passing shit tests is so difficult for most men. We’ve been trained from our youth to seek female approval.
This is made doubly difficult because men naturally pity women. This pity is good, but it can be easily manipulated.
Be mindful of your reaction time between feeling pity and responding.
The “nice” approach isn’t always advantageous.
Pity is a choice.
And your woman has no authority over your life.
I’ve finally decided to give this newfangled Twitter a try. Here’s why:
The second wave of the red pill is growing fast. There is a huge audience of young men hungry for masculine mentorship. And they’re mostly hanging out on Twitter and YouTube.
Gotta fish where the fishes are.
I’m already getting some traction. This tweet of mine was picked up by Rollo Tomassi and went semi-viral:
I’ve almost got as many followers in less than 1 week on Twitter than I do readers from almost a year of blogging.
Granted, a blog reader is more engaged than a Twitter follower. But Twitter is a great first contact medium.
Btw, “Unbound Men” is a “re-branding” experiment I’m doing.
I originally wanted to help Christian men mold better women and have a better sex life.
Now I’m realizing the problem is more fundamental:
We need to heal the inner man.
We cannot “save Eve” when we can’t even stand up straight as men.
“Put your own oxygen mask on first” as the saying goes.
Anyhow, I expect I’ll be updating my blog soon to better align with this mission.
In the meantime, if you’re into Twitter, you can follow my latest musings and brain farts.
OKRickety “strongly disagrees” with my claim that the line “God hates divorce” is unbiblical:
I, along with many others, do not agree with your statement that “the scriptures do not say that God hates divorce”. In fact, the BibleHub link you provide to Malachi 2:16 transliterates the text as “Yahweh says divorce that He hates”. And, if you follow the link it has to Strongs Hebrew 7971 shalach, its reference to Malachi 2:16 states that the sending away, shalach, in that instance is equal to divorce.
As to the concept that divorce was “for wives”, I find that impossible to reconcile with the fact that the Mosaic Law only allowed men to divorce their wives, not the other way around. Nor do I see any suggestion that Deut. 24:1-4 is primarily to prevent women from being abused.
Just for good measure, I will point out that it is very common for Christian women to maintain that they are shamed into remaining in abusive marriages by “modern religion” when they would much rather divorce.
While I am generally in agreement with the rest of your post, I disagree strongly with your footnote (asterisk).
Let’s unpack this a little further:
The belief that God hates divorce depends upon the definition of a Hebrew term shalach. This word is translated as “divorce” in many modern English translations in Malachi 2:16. Older translations use “putting away.”
Usage determines the meaning of a word, not a single translators choice. A dictionary is only as good as it accurately summarizes the uses of the term.
So how is the term shalach used in the Bible? We can find out with a concordance. I’ve bolded the English phrases translated from shalach:
God sent him forth from the garden (Gen 3:23)
Send me away unto my master. (Gen 24:54)
The Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand (Ex 4:4)
These are just a few of 847 examples. There is no doubt about the biblical usage of the term. It simply meant “to send” or “put forth.”
The Hebrews had a separate concept for divorce: kerithuth. It’s only used 4 times in the Old Testament. Twice in Deuteronomy 24.
The context reveals God’s heart for divorce:
When a man takes a wife and possesses her, and it comes to be that she should not find favor in his eyes, because he has found in her the nakedness of anything, then he would write for her a scroll of divorce, give it into her hand and send her away from his house. When she goes forth from his house, goes and becomes another man’s, and the man (the latter one) dislikes her, then he would write for her a scroll of divorce, give it into her hand and send her away from his house. Or when the man should die (the latter one who took her to himself as a wife), then her possessor (the former one who had sent her away) shall not be able to reverse himself to take her back to become his wife after she had had herself defiled, for that is an abhorrence before Yahweh.
Clearly, the point of the divorce law was to prevent the woman from having to remain bound to or return to her first husband. The woman had been “defiled” (through abuse) and so it would be abhorrent before God to have her go back to an abusive husband.
A lot of red pilled men seem to forget that abuse of women at the hands of men really does occur. We are living in unusual times today in that the man is always assumed to be guilty.
Painting men as rapists by default is harmful to both men and to the women who truly are being abused. How can we tell if a woman’s testimony is legit or if she’s just an attention whore?
Regardless, many Christians believe hatred of divorce is the righteous attitude regardless of circumstances.
But like many of the so-called “tenants of the faith”, this belief comes from ego-investment in man-made religion rather than from the Scriptures.
I suspect there is a certain objection to this argument. I will delve into this in more detail if someone brings it up.
A long time ago, there were clear rites of passage for a boy to become a man.
Today, we have no such rituals. Perhaps the closest common experience we have is graduating high school or college.
What does it take to graduate school?
Do your assignments.
Pass the tests.
It takes no feat of courage to graduate school. To the contrary, boys are trained to seek the approval of the teacher (usually a female). In negative terms: don’t be rejected and you will succeed. This is the opposite of courage. It’s the opposite of what real life requires of a man.
It is rare that a teacher will encourage boys to experiment… to try a new idea… an idea that could be wrong.
Instead, we’re trained to ask, “will this be on the test?”
If a boy passes enough of these tests, he supposedly becomes a man and is ceremoniously released into the “real world.”
But inwardly, he does not feel like a man. He lacks direction. The burden of performance is great. And he feels unable to cope.
Assuming he does not immediately give up, he is forced to initiate his own rite of passage. He must find his own “Hero’s Journey.”
Yet the inner boy is not prepared for this journey.
He soon discovers that there are no adequate role models of mature, successful men in his life.
It’s “every man for himself.”
In desperation, he attempts a move. He takes a stab at what he was perhaps created to do.
His first attempt is unsuccessful.
His efforts are met with hostility. He is ignored and belittled.
He failed the “test.” He got the “wrong” answer.
So what is he supposed to do?
The “correct” answer is given to him:
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Be grateful for what you have. Work hard and try to keep your job. It’s a tough economy out there. Remember that family comes first. And you better treat your woman well. You’re a lucky guy. Don’t blow it.
OK. Now he knows how to pass the test:
- Keep the boss happy
- Keep the parents happy
- Keep the wife happy
Oh, and what about God? Doesn’t he have the highest authority?
Well, turns out He wants the same things:
- “One who does not provide for his own is worse than a heathen”
- “Honor your father and mother”
- “Love your wife as Christ loved the church”
So the young man sets out to pass these tests.
Yet as time goes on, he finds himself losing energy. Perhaps he needs to do something for himself?
He goes back and attempts his rite of passage again. That difficult but important project that’s been buried in his heart for all these years.
But soon enough, his “selfish” pursuits interferes with his ability to pass “the test.”
His boss demands more time. His parents disapprove. He has less time to help his wife.
He faces resistance. Clearly this is not what God wanted him to do.
So he compromises.
It’s a balancing act. How can he keep all his key relationships afloat and still sneak in some time for his passion project?
In the end, he ends up being just another guy who “doesn’t have it together.”
He’s the bad employee. The bad manager. The bad husband. The bad father. The disappointing son. The weak Christian.
And, on top of that, he never became the king that his heart yearned to become.
So it is that the manipulated man never completes his journey into mature manhood.
The test was rigged from the start.
Yesterday, my bank account balance hit a new low:
A few weeks ago, I burned through the family’s emergency cash to repair our Subaru Forester. Blew out the radiator. Temperature gauge was broken. My own fault for not checking the coolant frequently enough.
The week after that, I sent my wife to a health clinic to get some necessary blood tests. It was one of those “sliding scale” clinics for poor people. They told her to get some ultrasounds done at the local hospital.
My wife went into the hospital with the expectation that it would cost around $50 – $100. Nope. They sent us a surprise bill for almost $800. Plus the $200 she already spent at the previous clinic.
And guess what the hospital said after all the expensive work?
(Which is good I suppose. But still…)
Then immediately after that our bank card got hacked and drained out what little cash we had remaining in the account.
So once again, I am broke.
Furthermore, when I’m preoccupied with closing the next deal and paying the next round of bills, my libido plummets. Failure to produce in one area produces failure in another.
It’s a vicious downward cycle.
I say this not to solicit pity. I’ll be fine. I have a couple clients I’ll be invoicing next week. I’ve got several prospective clients “in the pipeline.” I’m all too familiar with how to survive this game.
Add my wife’s part-time income from music teaching and the food stamps and we can just manage to pay our bills, feed our child, and put a mild dent in my student loans (plus my credit card debts from all my naive post-graduation screw up attempts to make money.)
The question always running through the back of my mind is “Why don’t I have my shit together yet?”
Supposedly, I’m a member of one of the most privileged classes in the world: a young educated white male from a middle class background.
Yet I can’t help but feel my first decade of adulthood has been more like the refrain from the 21 Pilots song:
We used to play pretend, give each other different names
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face
Saying, “Wake up, you need to make money”
Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out
If I’m honest, it was my long string of screw ups that led me to the red pill and masculine development. I had to learn how to recover my dignity as a man, and handle a woman who witnessed a long string of objective “non-successes.”
I had to get her to believe in me again. To believe in my purpose. To believe that I could not settle for being a cog in a machine or living someone else’s life script.
Or at least, if she wouldn’t believe it, I had to believe it myself and become indifferent to her response.
A woman cannot perceive or appreciate the growth that happens in a man beneath the surface. She cares not for the inner boy struggling to become a man. She is not designed to empathize with a man.
Honestly, I can understand why many men give up on life. The burden of performance is unrelenting.
And it’s not just about money. Every man I’ve known feels he doesn’t “have his shit together” in some way.
Bad father. Bad husband. Bad in bed. Bad manager. Bad student. Bad health habits. Bad Christian. Bad at getting dates. etc.
Men are quick to condemn themselves for their shortcomings. And wives, preachers, teachers, and the media are all-too-happy to quickly reinforce this condemnation.
There is no neutral ground for a man. The pressures of life will either make or break a man.
Men today don’t necessarily need more advice.
We need healing.
Heal the boy and the king will emerge.
Have you ever felt like your life was ran by a bunch of sociopaths?
If not, you should.
Courtesy of a commentor on the Heartiste:
According to Martha Stout, the author of “The Sociopath Next Door”, the most reliable sign of a sociopath is their appeal to a normal’s person sympathy, despite their abusive, destructive, manipulative, and mendacious behavior.
“If, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath.”
Hmm… this sounds strangely familiar. Can you think of any institution that constantly appeal’s to men’s sympathy while continuing to abuse and manipulate them into submission?
Now the spirit is saying explicitly, that in subsequent eras some will be withdrawing from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons, in the hypocrisy of false expressions, their own conscience having been cauterized… (1 Tim 4:1-2)
As best I can tell, the manipulation and abuse of men at the hands of these religious sociopaths can be summed up by these 4 lines of rhetoric
- “Servant leader”
- “Every man’s battle”
- “God hates divorce” *
- “One woman man”
Each of these lines to appeal to a man’s noble sympathies. But the real message is this:
- Put away your “selfish” dreams. A servant leader compromises his priorities for the real master, the wife.
- Your wife is your only sanctified source for releasing your semen… so don’t you dare offend her
- You can never walk away from this woman for any reason. You are trapped. Best to learn to cope with her drama. Lower your standard of happiness if necessary.
- This is the only woman you will ever have. Don’t bother improving yourself as a man in order to be attractive to women. Making her jealous is evil. Instead, shower her with confessions of your unyielding love for her. Then come to us for marriage counseling when you’re having “bedroom problems.”
Choose for yourself whom you will follow: the word of God, or the religion of man.
* The scriptures do not say that God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 says God hates when wives are “sent away” treacherously. This was a common practice in ancient Israel where a man would decide he no longer liked his wife, marry another woman, kick his first wife out while still claiming her as his own (i.e. no other man could legally touch her.) It was treacherous because the man was deliberately abusing the woman by cutting off her food and sexual rights but not allowing her to be free to marry another man.
Apparently, the modern abusive man is much less subtle than the ancient Jew… preferring to just bash her head in the wall or slap her around instead of devising such an elaborate passive scheme of abuse.
Needless to say, this is not the same concept that we call “divorce.” Check the terms. Divorce was God’s gracious allowance for wives who needed to be released from abusive husbands (Deut 24:1-4). But modern religion has twisted the concept to shame ordinary men into believing he has no escape plan from a rebellious woman.
God himself sent Israel away many times without treachery. He even divorced her in the end. An exit is rarely needed, but it gives a man power to know he has the option.
An interesting survey done back in the ’70s comparing the privately ranked values of men and women:
(Screenshots from Mind Access by Kevin Hogan.)
It’s interesting to note that the value rankings were similar with one major difference:
Women care little about a comfortable life and value salvation instead.
As 60 Years of Challenge put it, “Women are comfortable being uncomfortable.”
A woman can thrive in discomfort and even take pleasure in pain. This is confusing to men who place a high value on comfort.
A woman does not necessarily want a man who will make her environment comfortable. She wants a man who will save her from herself.
I talk a lot about the importance of being “antifragile.”
The concept comes from Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book. And, admittedly, the book is a difficult read… even if you consider yourself an intellectual. The concept is simple in theory. But the nuances are complex. The challenge is recognizing how the concept applies to whatever area of life you’re trying to analyze.
One of the most important areas of life to be antifragile in is finances. This is my weak area right now.
I’ve managed to learn a valuable antifragile skill (copywriting), but I’ve done a terrible job at monetizing it. Part of this was due to my own ignorance and lack of initiative. The other part was a common 21st century problem: an overwhelming number of options combined with a lack of guiding principles.
Antifragility is the guiding principle that allowed me to sift through the noise and cut out what’s not worth pursuing. After pondering the concept for almost a year, I’m finally starting to get it on a personal level.
To that end, I’ve constructed a financial plan for myself that fits the antifragile criteria. You can follow it if you wish. There’s no guarantee it will make you (or me) extraordinarily wealthy. But it is carefully designed to avoid mistakes that could lead to poverty.
(Recommended resources are embedded in the list.)
- Learn the basics of copywriting and negotiation.
- Identify your “skin in the game” value proposition(s) (i.e. what are some important problems you have first-hand experience solving?)
- Practice writing copy every day for a future product you will create (or someone else’s product you’ve successfully used)
- Leverage your skill and examples to get clients as a freelance copywriter*
- Pay off your debt and build a “screw you fund” as quickly as possible
- Start growing your audience and/or network
- Build a “10-Minute Workday” business
- Build another “10-Minute Workday” business
- Take a monthly income of about 3x your housing cost
- Invest extra cash using the “Triangle Investing” strategy
- Keep your eyes open for opportunities to invest in a “Star Business“
The fun stuff is at the end. But the boring fundamentals are required to get the money needed to do the fun stuff.
* You could also make money doing other kinds of freelance work like coding or design. But I don’t know the market or how well it pays. Regardless, if you ever need to send an email or talk to someone, you need to learn basic copywriting and negotiating.
I remember my first few years of adulthood anxiety came from 3 urgent questions:
- What’s my calling in life?
- What do I need to work on now?
- How do I get a wife?
In a way, these are just variations on the questions a man asks all throughout his life. The main difference being that question #3 often becomes “how do I revive my wife’s passion?”
Being an early twenty-something was not a fun time in my experience. My angst was at an all-time high, I was horny all the time, and I had a perpetually guilty conscience (mostly due to my porn habit and “lusting” after women.)
So if anyone reading this is in that position in life, I’d like to offer a simple solution that has potential to resolve all three questions. It can be summed up as this:
Money Before Women
Every young guy wants a girlfriend. I get that. I was there.
But you have to realize that getting a girl doesn’t solve your problems. It exacerbates them.
Yes, you have the “new love” phase and it’s fun. But after you get married, your unsolved problems will compound.
Now, I certainly picked a good wife. But the big mistake I made was that I didn’t establish my career first. Women simply don’t understand the amount of time and “failure” that it takes for a man to get himself established.
She’ll hold every unsuccessful plan against you. She’ll pressure you to stop taking risks. She’ll guilt-trip you into thinking you’re a bad husband or father.
And she’s not being malicious. It’s just that women value the immediate perception of security above almost anything else.
Most men give into this pressure and settle for a mediocre life that slowly neuters them. Then their wife will ditch them for a man with more “passion.”
I let myself slip into this passive role for a few years. Had I stayed on that course, it probably would have ended the marriage… or at least led to a completely dead bedroom.
I have a stronger frame today, so I can more effectively handle the pressure. But I’m still dealing with the consequences of marrying before I was ready.
As the Proverbs says:
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. (Prov. 24:27)
Dealing with Your Sex Drive
There’s a lot of pressure on young Christian men today to marry as early as possible.
Most Christian men believe that they are sinning every time they look at a woman with sexual desire. They think they need to rush into marriage because that will solve their “lust” problem.
The reason you look at women with sexual desire is because you are a man. And men are polygamous by nature.
This is very different than the sin of lust. I’ve written in more detail on this elsewhere. But the short answer is this:
Lust is synonymous with coveting. It means you’re obsessing over another man’s wife. Simple as that.
Ironically, expectations create reality. If you believe you are committing the sin of lust. You are more likely to actually lust for another man’s wife. You’ve already created the identity for yourself. Now your mind is just meeting the goal you set for it.
So, yeah. Do some studying on that and cleanse your mind from all that B.S.
In terms of masturbation, I recommend keeping it to a minimal but not trying to abstain.
Masculine energy can be transferred towards goals other than sex. Anything involving risk and intensity is enough to keep a man focused. But once in awhile, you may need to rub one out to calm down or something. Do you what you need to do and don’t waste your energy worrying about it.
And no. The Bible does not prohibit masturbation. Anyone that says otherwise is either delusional or illiterate.
Pornography is tricky. God never prohibited erotica, so we can’t categorically say it’s wrong. But the porn industry isn’t exactly your friend. You’ll get a lot of false beliefs about sex if your “education” comes from watching porn.
My best advice is to start by avoiding masturbating if you’re looking at or reading anything that arouses you. That will reveal your true intentions (i.e. art appreciation vs. settling for bad sex). Beyond that, you can let your conscience decide how much or little you want to expose yourself to such material or whether or not it’s okay for you to use the “self-release valve” during such times. There’s really no biblical standard on this.
OK. So that’s what do avoid. Now on to what to do.
How to Go About Building a Career
[Disclaimer: I’m still in the middle of my career journey, so take this with a grain of salt. This is just what I’ve learned so far.]
It’s critical to think about how you want to make your living. You don’t want money to be your master. You want it to be your slave.
For me, I value creative freedom. So my goal is to make a sufficient income (not get super-rich) with minimal time and effort. This means 3 things:
- The product or service can be produced and delivered by someone else
- I can charge recurring revenue for it (i.e. monthly subscription or invoice)
- I can sell it (or pre-sell it) online (i.e. the written or recorded word can do most of the heavy lifting in selling it)
There are many ways to make income that fits the above criteria. The challenge is you’ve got to persevere long enough to succeed.
If you want a simple heuristic, I’d say success is
- 50% luck
- 40% confidence
- 10% skill
You need all 3 elements. Assuming you’re not a sociopath, developing your skill is the best way to get confidence. When you complete a task, you become more competent, and competence gives you confidence.
People give you money for your confidence. They pay you because they are not confident enough to do the job themselves.
I just paid a mechanic $700 to fix my car. I have no idea how skilled he is. But he was confident he could fix my car. And other people were confident in him. Money is a transfer of confidence.
Luck is the other part of it. Most people don’t like to admit how random things are. We have survivorship bias. We look at someone successful and assume if we do what they did, we will be successful too.
But we ignore all the people who did the exact same thing and failed.
In reality, you have no idea how or when you will end up becoming successful.
The main difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is that the successful persevere long enough to get lucky and confidently execute at the opportune moment.
While you can’t control when or how you get lucky. You can avoid getting unlucky and increase your chances of getting lucky. This is what it means to be antifragile.
Don’t make any big mistakes that will devour your time. What these mistakes are depend on your field. In my field (marketing & entrepreneurship) some of the big mistakes are:
- Not understanding your market’s world
- Trying to sell a solution in search of a problem
- Not screening out bad prospects
- Trying to get immediate sales rather than building an audience
- Letting your offers and business get complicated (it takes discipline to keep things simple)
Everyone has to market and sell to some extent. So studying those topics is a good place to start.
Beyond that, keep exposing yourself to opportunities to get lucky. Keep your implementation simple so you can “fail fast.”
And best of all?
The same skills and mindset needed to establish a career will help you with women. (In fact, for me it got me laid sooner than a career.)
So to bring it all full circle:
What’s my calling in life?
For now, establishing your career. Efficiency by the Wall Street Playboys is the best introduction to this I’ve found. Then learn how to sell (a.k.a. negotiate). Then, if you want to quit the job market, learn how to write copy.
What do I need to work on now?
Establishing your career.
How do I get a wife?
Establish your career.