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.
[Note: This ended up being a weird, but perhaps important, post where I started with one question and ended up going down a rabbit hole. Read at your own risk.]
If you’ve been reading red pill philosophy for a while, you’ve probably come across the term “open hypergamy.”
“Hypergamy” refers to a woman’s nature to secure the best man she can get. In a society that values marriage and shames having children out of wedlock, hypergamy means “marrying up.”
But in our “sexually liberated” culture, hypergamy simply means securing the best genes from a man and then finding an alternative source of provision (e.g. welfare or a beta male.) This strategy can accurately be termed as “fucking up.”
This second scenario is commonly called “open hypergamy.” It’s a woman’s hypergamous nature without restraint. And it’s not good for society.
It’s not good for women, who end up leading miserable lives as single mothers or get “stuck” in a sexually unfulfilling marriage with a beta male.
It’s not good for the majority of men, who become involuntary celibates (“incels”).
It’s not even good for the alpha males, as successful pick up artists soon find that an abundance of sex without meaningful context only creates disillusionment and ruins their ability to find satisfaction in a long-term relationship.
In short, it seems that God’s design is best: sex is for marriage.
There’s no doubt that “open hypergamy” is bad. But there is some controversy over whether hypergamy itself is bad.
After all hypergamy is what drives women to commit adultery. And adultery is clearly a sin.
Unraveling the Nature of Women
So is hypergamy part of a woman’s “sin nature”?
To answer this question we have to look at what the Scriptures say about the nature of women. There are two fundamental passages on this topic [emphasis mine]:
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Gen 3:16)
When it comes to interpreting Scripture, I follow the Occam’s razor principle: the explanation with the fewest assumptions should be tested first. Theological theories are usually unnecessary when a plain explanation suffices.
Case in point:
“Help meet” (ezer) can be translated as “succor” which means giving assistance in a time of hardship and distress.
So what was Adam’s distress?
Was he having a hard time classifying the animals?
No. His mind was well-suited to that task. Adam’s distress is found in verse 20:
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Now, not to get too crude here, but it’s important to note that it was studying animals that caused Adam to recognize his distress.
Last I checked, animals are not particularly romantic creatures. They are primal and driven to mate.
No doubt, Adam thought something like, “I need to do that to. But the parts don’t align. What do I do with this urge?”
It was only after God made Adam aware of the need, that he introduced the woman. Hence the significance of Adam’s expression “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
At last! Adam had found his sexual counterpart.
So the first fundamental aspect of woman’s nature is this:
A woman was designed to fulfill a man’s primal urges. And, as a corollary, a woman feels most fulfilled when she is relieving a man of his primal “distress”. She is the “help meet”… the succor.
But then something happened that changed the sexual dynamic:
Sin entered the world.
As a consequence, God made some adjustments to female nature.
The first thing God did was adjust the woman’s anatomy. It would now be painful to give birth to children. Presumably this would also mean it would be painful to have sex with a man. She is too “tight” to be penetrated with ease.
Now, if God had stopped there, sex would be ruined. No woman would ever want to have sex or get pregnant. It’s all pain, and no pleasure.
So how did God resolve this problem? With a change in the woman’s psychology:
“thy desire shall be to thy husband”
Note that “husband” is ish which simply means “man.” There was only one man on the marketplace at the time. And, unlike our “soy boy” culture of today, being a man back then had a connotation of strength… a masculine man.
So with these clarifications in mind, the meaning of “desire” becomes apparent:
A woman yearns for a strong man.
This is in contrast to the pain involved in having children. If it’s a masculine man, the desire for that man’s seed overrides the future pain of childbirth and even the pain of intercourse.
In other words, in the presence of a strong man, a woman becomes (to a certain extent) masochistic. She derives pleasure from pain.
This also explains humanity’s timeless obsession with the tightness and size of certain sexual parts. The scripture itself illustrates in vivid terms what happens when female sexuality runs out of control:
There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. (Ezek 23:20)
This is “open hypergamy” at it’s most extreme. All pretenses of restraint are thrown out the window and men are judged simply on the size of their members.
This potential degradation of female sexuality necessitates the final point of God’s decree to the woman:
“and he will rule over you.”
A woman’s sexuality requires domination from the man. If she is not dominated by a man (or if she rebels against the “patriarchy”) she will seek lewd avenues of expression to her sexuality.
So in sum, the fundamental nature of woman is:
- Finding fulfillment in relieving a man’s primal urges (the succor role)
- Yearning for the strongest man she can get (hypergamy)
- Deriving pleasure from pain and subjugation to a strong man (masochism)
Female Nature: Sin or Design?
Now, to bring this full circle back to the original question: “is hypergamy sinful?” There’s something worth noting in the Genesis 3 account:
When God made his decrees, both the serpent and the man were given a “because you did this… therefore this” type of judgment. But the woman was not.
The woman was simply told, “this is what is going to happen.”
The responsibility fell on Adam. “Because you listened to the voice of your wife.”
In other words, it seems that the nature of woman was changed because of the man not because of the woman.
What you believe about the nature of women will determine your attitude toward them.
One worldview says, women are the way they are because of sin. The female nature must be suppressed because it is evil.
The other worldview says, women are the way they are because it makes better men. Feral women is a consequence of weak men. The proper solution is to build stronger men.
It’s easy to call hypergamy a sin. When unrestrained, it can wreak a lot of havoc.
But what if hypergamy is simply the challenge designed by God to make stronger men?
I’m hesitant to call “sin” what was apparently designed by God.
Most young men today have grown up without fathers.
The father may have been in the home. But there was no masculine presence.
There was no one to teach him to follow his own conscience. He never learned that it was okay to be rejected in order to do what was right.
He never learned how to stand up to a woman.
Instead, he was taught that his mother’s approval is the standard. “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
This craving for female approval carries over into this young man’s life.
He wants a girlfriend. What do women say they want? What does his mother say women want?
They say women want a “sweet guy”. A man who’s kind and considerate.
This poor “nice guy” finds a girl he likes. He ups the “sweetness” factor and all those things he was told women want.
He works up the courage to ask her on a date. He gets turned down. 2 weeks later she’s dating a “jerk.”
Now he doesn’t know what to do with himself. His worldview has been shattered. He retreats to the lonely world of wanking off to hardcore pornography.
Eventually, he gets a girl and, after several years of dating, she decides she’s finally ready to marry.
Now his wife has replaced his mother as the central source of female approval in his life.
What will make his wife happy?
He’s determined to be a great husband. He helps with chores around the house. He’s doesn’t push too much for sex. He always gets her flowers on all the appropriate dates.
But after awhile, this illusion ends.
His wife is not happy and no one knows why.
He was hoping for a blissful marriage. Instead, he gets something like this:
Surviving as a 21st Century Man
Young men today face at least 4 difficult challenges. None of which they are adequately prepared for.
- The middle-class life script no longer works. And housing is priced based on double-income households. Plus inflation. Plus student debt payments. Good luck figuring out how to make enough money!
- He doesn’t know how emasculated he is. You don’t know what you don’t know. And it’s a painful process to wake up. And it’s difficult to figure out what to do. A man has to piece it together from random strangers on the internet.
- Feminism has infected all women. Even if a man knows what to do, he can expect his wife to resist his attempts to regain his masculinity.
- Ingrained habits. It’s difficult enough for a boy to become a man under the guidance of a strong father. It’s at 3x more difficult for a weak man to overcome his ingrained habits on his own, without the luxury of childhood, and with practically every force in society against him.
If the “obstacle is the way”, I predict that the millennial generation will end up with a small number of extraordinary men, contrasted with a large number of men who simply give up on life (either literally or through apathy.)
Perhaps this has always been the case though. I don’t know. The world of men has always been unequal.
In the meantime, if you want series of steps to build yourself up as a man, this is what I’m using for myself:
Level 0: Philosophy – Understand and accept the nature of women. If you want to take this in quick-hitting style, I recommend starting here.
Level 1: Virtues – The four virtues of men are courage, strength, mastery, and honor. Or, to put it negatively, don’t think it’s okay to be a weak, incompetent coward. Here’s a quick test I devised to check myself on these virtues.
Level 2: Presentation – The virtues are what makes you a man on the inside. But everyone else judges you based on what they see on the outside. Hence, you must learn to present yourself properly to be taken seriously as a man. Pat Stedman’s “3 Pillars of Attraction” is the most useful framework I’ve found for this. When you’re ready to improve your bedroom “presentation” there’s Don of Desire.
Level 3: Judgment – Once you have perceived power, your wife (and others) will value your opinions. She will believe what you approve of and become whoever you expect her to be. It’s basic psychology. People (and especially women) conform themselves to perceived power. So think carefully about your values and opinions.
Level 4: Art – This where you think about how you will present your values and judgments. Use whatever medium is appropriate for you. Use contrasts. Show that you care and have her (or whoever’s) best interest in mind.
Level 5: Ask – After you’ve built yourself up as a man, you have the power to make requests that will be readily complied with. Ask for small commitments before larger ones. Physical action changes people’s identity.
This isn’t a strictly linear process. I’ve gone through several iterations of this throughout my marriage. But if you’re having difficulty on one level, check the lower levels.
Yes, it’s a long and difficult process. But it’s necessary. And it’s all up to you. No one is going to push you through this process.
Stay strong soldier!
Contrary to the script young men are indoctrinated with, learning to properly objectify a woman is a critical manhood skill.
I’m not talking about the degrading kind of objectification… like telling her she doesn’t need to use her brains or any such nonsense.
I’m referring to the skill of being able to look at a woman as an object that needs to be acted upon.
Most men try to view their woman as a friend. And friendships are fragile. Friendships only last as long as there is shared interest.
But marriage is not a friendship.
A real marriage occurs when a man actively cultivates and protects a woman.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Gen 2:15)
Man was created to fulfill two tasks:
- Work the garden (abad) – in this context, to till or cultivate the garden so that it brought forth it’s fruit
- Keep the garden (shamar) – keep watch, preserve, protect the garden
Now, as we learn in the Song of Songs and in Ephesians 5, man’s real work is not gardening. The garden was a real life metaphor to help men understand women.
Some clarification on the cultivation process might be helpful here:
Loosening and breaking up (tilling) of the soil. The soil around existing plants is cultivated (by hand using a hoe, or by machine using a cultivator) to destroy weeds and promote growth by increasing soil aeration and water infiltration. Soil being prepared for the planting of a crop is cultivated by a harrow or plow.
A woman must be regularly “loosened” and broken in to destroy the negative effects that accumulate in her body. She must be opened up and “prepared” to be nourished with life-giving water. Deep plowing is especially necessary when planting a new “crop” or opening up new channels for “water infiltration.”
Also note that cultivation is not for the timid. The man must use the appropriate amount of force that the situation calls for. The ground gives resistance and a slack hand cannot penetrate the ground deep enough to properly plant his seed.
In short, the gardener cannot be preoccupied with whether he’s hurting the ground’s feelings. He “objectifies” the ground by seeing it as something that needs to be worked upon.
Most men lack confidence with women. Seeing a woman as a garden that needs to be “worked” is the key to confidence.
- Are you willing to face rejection now to live the life you truly want later?
- Are you willing to lose money now to have an abundance of wealth later?
- Are you willing to endure physical pain now to become stronger later?
- Are you willing to endure being wrong and confused now to become wiser later?
- Do you give up when you “fail” or double-down on your effort?
- Do you pick goals that are rewarding and difficult… or adequate and easy? Are you hunting antelope or field mice?
The final question is the most important. A man must hunt what will truly satisfy his hunger.
As I was ruminating the ways of women, I had an epiphany on why they seem so confusing to men who are especially logical.
Men who are rigorously logical have an inclination to pursue careers in engineering, coding, or some sort of field that relies on numerical intelligence.
I spent a few months at one point training to go into the coding field. I found that my numerical intelligence was not high enough to solve the problems in an efficient manner. I actually found it rather distressing. So I decided to drop that pursuit and stick with what I’m good at (psychology and words.)
Point is, I can respect the guys that do that kind of work. These guys are no dummies.
But, stereotypically, the engineer/coder type has a hard time “getting” women.
I’ve wondered why that is.
Why doesn’t one type of intelligence transfer over to figuring out women?
Then it hit me:
Based on my limited experience with coding, I realized that the way engineers solve problems goes something like this:
- Recognize an error
- Find what’s causing the error
- Fix the cause of the error
Each problem has a fresh cause. Hence the need for high intelligence. You have to figure out from just a small clue what the root cause might be.
Since this approach is logical, it would make sense to apply this to women:
- She’s upset
- Find out what’s bothering her
- Change what was bothering her
Problem is, that doesn’t work with women. In fact, it tends to make things worse.
Women are a completely different “system.” It’s almost the opposite with women:
Rather than having an infinite range of possible causes, there are only a few causes that cause an infinite range of symptoms.
In other words, you don’t to be terribly smart to figure out women. You just have to guess the root cause from a small list of possibilities.
But if you’re too smart, it could backfire on you. You think the cause is something more complicated than it is.
For the most part, all of a woman’s frustrations and anxieties are rooted in at least one of the following:
- Looking uglier than her friends
- Being fatter than her friends
- Losing her attractiveness as she ages
- Losing her man (or not getting a man if she’s single)
- Harming her children
- Being shamed by other women (especially other moms)
And, depending on her background, she may also have some of the these fears:
- Fear of being poor
- Fear of being sick
- Fear of going to hell
You don’t need to solve each problem. Just play multiple choice and take a stab at what the underlying issue is.
Case in point:
Just tonight I accidentally dropped my wife while we were swing dancing. Naturally, she was upset. I assumed she was mad at me. But after talking about it, it turns out she mostly worried that she fell ungracefully like a fat girl. I assured her that she didn’t look fat when she fell and actually handled it rather gracefully. Then we moved on with our evening.
Hopefully this will help some of you gents out.
Looks like the West is in for an interesting dilemma:
The human race is approaching the point where it’s no longer reproducing enough to expand the global headcount. In the world’s biggest economies — the U.S., China, Japan and Germany — it’s already happening or will soon. Economists say these countries could see slower economic growth unless they increase their working-age populations by accepting immigrants, possibly from regions with higher fertility rates, like parts of Asia and Africa. Lower fertility rates — the number of live births per woman — could also threaten safety-net programs like pensions and health care.
On the one hand, you have career-oriented women who delay having children. The more intelligent a woman is, the more likely she’ll pursue an education and start a career. That certainly slows down the replacement rate.
But the other side of the equation is simply that modern technology has allowed dumb people to survive and have more babies.
Also, notice how this crisis was leveraged to advocate pro-immigration policies.
It’s a politically charged mess that no one wants to talk about. It seems we’re headed towards one of two outcomes:
- Society will become collectively dumber
- Some catastrophe will kill off everyone unfit for survival
Scenario #2 could likely be caused by Scenario #1.
We’re in for some interesting times.
In the meanwhile, remember that your responsibility as a reasonably intelligent man is to ensure the survival of yourself and your family. “Survival” is not the same thing as “security.” The more precautions and risks you take now, the more likely you are to survive. Ideally, you want to be anti-fragile.
Antifragility in a nutshell means what will you do if you:
- Lose your job?
- Get threatened with violence?
- Lose your wife?
- Get disowned by your friends and family?
- Discover your beliefs are wrong?
Once you can cope with the worst, you find opportunity in every change.
I recently came across a fascinating piece of propaganda called “Men as Providers.”
It was an article published on the Council of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW)’s blog several years back. Their stated mission is to “set forth the teachings of the Bible about the complementary differences between men and women.”
So far so good.
But as I delved into the article I realized that the advice given, as noble as it sounded, was precisely the line of thinking that almost shipwrecked my marriage a few years back.
Since this rhetoric is so pervasive in conservative church culture, I thought it’d be worth a quick analysis here.
The article opens with the claim “Christian men are called to provide for their families.”
Hard to disagree with that.
Then 1 Timothy 5:8 is used as authoritative backing of that claim:
“But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
There are two red flags here.
One is that shameful rhetoric is entirely unnecessary. You should always be suspicious of an argument that opens with shame.
Shame is a fear trigger. Being shamed means you are rejected by the group. And when your mind is in a state of fear, it cannot think rationally. And the elimination of rational thought is the necessary condition for making people receptive to false ideas.
Shaming can be used for good, of course. That’s what Paul does. But that brings us to the second red flag:
The author is using Paul’s words in an entirely different context!
If you look up Paul’s argument in context, it goes something like this:
Do not scold your elders.
Honor (true) widows:
- A widow’s children or grandchildren should learn to reciprocate love by providing for their own mother/grandmother (i.e. the church should not intervene)
- A true widow is a woman who has no family to provide for her
- A woman who squanders her resources is as good as dead
- A man who refuses to provide for his own [widowed relatives], and especially his family [mother, grandmother] is worse than an unbeliever.
Qualifications for a true widow:
- Not under 60 years old
- Remained married to her husband
- Known for good works
So we see that the point of Paul’s rhetoric was to shame men who refused to provide for their poor old mothers.
But this context is not even hinted at in the article. Instead, the rhetoric is re-purposed for something entirely different:
One of the most God-glorifying pictures of the gospel is when a man puts his childhood dreams to the side, steps up to the plate, gets a job, and valiantly cares for his family.
Now we see the true intention of this article: to motivate men to give up on their dreams and settle for a job that is less desirable to them.
The author says that “this is a man dying to self and living for another.”
Finally, the author concludes with this:
Our hearts break when we see a man who selfishly refuses a job because it does not align with his dreams while his wife and kids suffer. We are not alone in condemning this man. Scripture condemns him too. He is worse than an unbeliever.
By “suffering”, I’m assuming the author means having a smaller kitchen than her friends, having to shop at a thrift store, and not being able to travel. 21st century life is difficult.
Kill the Dream, Kill the Marriage
The irony of this advice is this is the exact line of reasoning that got my marriage in trouble in the first place.
I married my wife while in college. During my junior year I realized I was wasting my time and wanted to drop out and go into business.
But my wife didn’t want me to because she valued college degrees and the economic security it represented. So I stuck with it and got my degree.
When I graduated college, I had no marketable skills. And these supposed jobs that hire anyone with a college degree didn’t exist.
But I realized one thing about myself: I was an entrepreneur at heart. I knew that, with the right skills and perseverance, I could make money on my own.
But it took longer than expected. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
So my wife begged me to get a regular job with a steady paycheck. So I found a writing job that paid $12/hour.
I absolutely hated that job. The company was dishonest and constantly took on clients that we couldn’t help. I was instructed to lie to get writing opportunities and had to write about topics I had no real-world qualifications to write about.
I wanted to quit the job. But my wife wanted the steady paycheck.
I told myself I was doing the right thing by gritting my teeth and “providing for my family.”
I felt like a trapped and emasculated man. I began to despise both myself and my wife.
I began to vent my frustrations on her. Our sex life dried up. I started making stupid financial decisions out of desperation to escape my hated situation.
It wasn’t until I quit that job and reclaimed pursuing my mission that our marriage got back on track.
Don’t buy into the shameful rhetoric.
A must do what he was created to do.
Americans have become so anxious that a new industry is emerging: “anxiety consumerism.”
Fidget spinners, weighted blankets, adult coloring books, aromatherapy, essential oils, etc.
Nothing wrong with these products per se. Entrepreneurship is all about finding what people want and giving it to them. But the fact that this even exists as a viable business opportunity is telling of our culture.
Some of the reasons the “talking heads” have come up with include:
- Donald Trump
- climate change
- the recession
- social media
- student debt
- the 24-hour news cycle
- the economy
- living farther from family
- toxins in your gut
- too many choices
- too little sleep
- too little sex
Those all may be plausible. But I think the media is unwilling/unable to admit the root cause:
The loss of masculine virtues.
We are facing a time of great change. People want to rely on institutions to direct us: school, media, church.
But these institutions are unable to provide meaningful answers in a chaotic world. The success of these institutions has largely depended on resisting change rather than embracing it.
School does not teach us how to navigate life. It teaches us how to follow orders. But what happens when the rewards for compliance disappear?
The mainstream media does not help us find meaning in life. It tells us what to be afraid of and what to buy.
Church does not answer people’s most personal questions. It tells us what questions to ask and then gives the answer.
And so it is that each individual is left to navigate a world of chaos on their own.
The ones who will survive and thrive?
Men with courage to face uncertainty and risk.
Men with strength to endure difficult times.
Men with skill who can navigate life on their own.
And the women and children who are joined with such a man.