The Mass Programming of Men
Masculinity and femininity - as energies, or impulses, or tendencies - are within every man (and every person, but here I´m going to talk about man).
If we define masculinity as 'the tendency to power', and femininity as 'the tendency to love' - we see at once that they need each other: that power without love can be dangerous, and love without power can be impotent.
But let´s take care - let's not conclude this means that every man has to balance his masculinity and femininity, and become 50% masculine and 50% feminine! Men tend to have more masculinity, and women more femininity - not because they have been programmed that way, but because it´s the natural, psycho-biological condition of the human species. And there are many men who are predominantly feminine. So looking for a state of "perfect equilibrium" would be to impose an artificial concept.
What´s important is that the masculinity and femininity within each man are connected. That's why I said "power without love can be dangerous, and love without power can be impotent." And the mass cultural programming that we have received as men is separatist - it separates the masculinity and femininity within us.
Although there are millions of us, this has damaged each man individually. In what way? It depends on the man. We each need to observe our emotional states and our behaviour: our lack of purpose, or zest for life, perhaps (disconnection from our masculinity), our uncontrolled rage, or perhaps, our difficulty opening up in relationships, and entering deep intimacy (disconnection from our femininity). And we can ask ourselves if we want this separatist programming to continue to control our lives.
Also - if we take a good look at ourselves we will notice that, for whatever reason, sometimes we are not under the influence of this programming. Sometimes the two energies are more connected within us, and we behave in a dignified way - boldly, yet with heart.
So looking at it all - the whole panorama of our personality - from the most damaged to the most dignified - we are presented with an existential choice: the choice about what kind of man we want to be.
And if we choose to free ourselves from the separatist programming we´ve received, if we choose the path of wholeness, of connection, of dignity - then there will be work to be undertaken, existential work. And the raw material of this work will be ourselves.
1. The Macho Man - Masculinity Without Femininity.
Basically, we can divide the programming that has been imposed on us in two: Macho Man programming, and Sensitive Man programming...
The programming our grandparents received was that "to be an upright man", a "real man" was to live a masculinity disconnected from one´s femininity. The got the traditional man: the Macho Man.
Of course, this man is still very present today. But again - let´s be careful! He´s present in every man! He is present in me, and he is present in you. It´s important to recognise this. We are not talking about others - we are talking about an inherited aspect of each man's psyche. It may be an underdeveloped part, a part we reject and repress, or a part we love - but it´s there in us all.
What´s it like, this Macho Man aspect of the psyche of man? It´s too simplistic to call it 'bad'. He can have a lot of will and determination, and be a good creator. He can be faithful and responsible. At the same time, he can be rigid - physically and emotionally - driven by narrow ideas. And therefore superficial - dangerous, even. Above all, he is disassociated from his emotions, he believes that "men don't cry" - and this leaves him dry and numb.
He can be powerful and sexually potent. He can be noble and brave. But, at the same time, he believes in his superiority over women - which is why he can be ´machista´ and abusive. He likes to control. In fact, he still controls the entire world. He can be arrogant and violent. He denigrates modern men who have renounced traditional male power. For him, they are not "real men". Above all, he likes to be right, to win - and dominate.
If we want to free ourselves from this mass programming, we have to acknowledge this aspect of our own programming - even if we don't want to admit that it lives on inside of us. Honesty is crucial. Seeing women (or other men) as sexual objects for our consumption, being not aggressive but violent, finding ourselves lacking in empathy and tenderness - these are all symptoms of the presence of the Macho Man within. We have to acknowledge him. Only then can we 'marry' (connect) his enormous power with the emotional and instinctive power of our femininity.
2. The Sensitive Man - Femininity Without Masculinity.
More recently, men have received a second stage of collective programming. This stage is separatist too - but instead of trying to indoctrinate us that we have to identify with a masculinity separated from our femininity, it tries to convince us that "a real man" is a man who identifies with a femininity separated from their masculinity.
This "new man" is a good person, reasonable and gentle. He is the man who has embraced the feminist argument, he is a feminist man - he is a man on the side of women who have been persecuted and oppressed. He is the man who rejects the values of the patriarchy. Above all he rejects the Macho Man. He is The Sensitive Man.
And just as The Macho Man is inside us all, The Sensitive Man is too. What´s he like? He can be respectful, benevolent and affectionate. He values ´being´ more than ´doing´. He can be understanding, flexible, humble, and emotionally open. He weak-willed - he´s more of a dreamer than a creator. Of course, he´s 'green' - a devotee of "Mother" Earth. He doesn't mind taking care of the children while his partner goes to work. He is enormously sincere, with a huge desire to be good. He has no authority.
He says that he believes in equality, but in fact he doesn't just respect women - he feels inferior to them. He is ashamed of his rage, his sexual passion and his innate instincts. He can present himself as more erotic than sexual, but then have a secret pornographic sex life. He feels personally guilty for the patriarchy. He believes that being a man is bad in itself.
He denies, disguises and represses his power and his masculine potency. This is why he lacks definition, direction and purpose. He uses the mind to attack. And he has a tendency towards depression. He puts down traditional masculinity (separated from femininity) - he is 'anti-macho'. This is why he is disconnected from his ancestors, has no role models, and lacks roots. He is afraid of woman's rage. Above all, he is driven by guilt and shame - and likes to serve and please.
If we want to break free of separatist mass programming, we have to acknowledge this aspect of our programming as well - even if, once again, we don't want to admit that it lives on inside of us. Honesty is crucial. Being ashamed of the predatory aspect of the male psyche, lacking competitiveness and ambition, feminising the Earth as "Mother", having a tendency towards self-pity and depression - these are all symptoms of the Sensitive Man's presence within. We have to acknowledge him. Only then can we 'marry' (connect) his enormous sincerity and capacity for empathy, with the instinctive strength and sexual potency of our masculinity.
3. The Man of Dignity - Masculinity and Femininity Connected.
Recognising how we have been manipulated by mass cultural programming; recognising how this indoctrination has entered not only our ideas and values, but also our emotions and our sexuality... Recognising, therefore, that our ideas and emotions and desires are not our own - but imposed - we choose to free ourselves from both the Macho Man and the Sensitive Man within us. We choose the path towards connection - and towards the unknown. We choose "el camino que se hace al andar" - the path that appears as you walk it.
If The Macho Man has been dominant in our psyche, we open ourselves to our vulnerability. We learn to feel. We give ourselves permission to feel - and not just our pleasant feelings. And we let go of our false and ridiculous superiority - which has distorted our power - and we open ourselves to the wounds that have always made us want to win, dominate and control. Of course this will be a painful path. But it is a brave path, and a necessary one if we want our masculinity and femininity to get to known each other - and become The Man of Dignity we always were.
If The Sensitive Man has been dominant in our psyche, we open ourselves to our anger. We get to know our power. We learn what it is to be powerful - even if we are ashamed of our power, and even if we are afraid of it. And we let go of our false and ridiculous inferiority - which has distorted our love - and we open ourselves to the wounds that have always made us want to be good, and to serve and please. Again: of course it will be a painful, as well as a joyous path - but it is a brave path, and the only choice we have if we want our femininity and masculinity to get to know each other - and become The Man of Dignity we always were.
And whatever type of programming has been dominant in our psyche, given that The Macho Man and The Sensitive Man live within us all - we will all need to heal both our masculinity and our femininity if we are to let them find their natural balance within us - which can be very different from their balance within other men - because we are all unique.
What can we say about this Man of Dignity? We can say that his power has been freed of superiority/inferiority and that, therefore, his power doesn´t depend on others. He´s not powerful relative to others. He is powerful in himself. He is already powerful when he´s alone. He is powerful under the stars, and "in the presence of his truth." He doesn´t feel above or below anyone. He feels himself to be equal to everyone. And not just human beings - he feels an equal to the other creatures, to the birds, to the trees... His pure power - purified of the programming that separated him from his femininity - is honest, open, expanded and compassionate.
And while each Man of Dignity is unique - with masculinity and femininity 'married' in a unique way within him - we can see that his love has been set free as well. He´s no longer loving in order to be accepted or approved. His love for others is based on his love for himself. He loves himself as a unique, wonderful being, with his own gifts and ´weirdnesses´ - an indefinable being, an unrepeatable expression of the universe - just like everyone else. He is not stupid, and he can evaluate - but he no longer judges others the way he used to, because he no longer judges himself. He brings the same acceptance to everyone else that he now brings to himself. And that is why he is capable of deeper, more intimate and beautiful relationships.
This Man of Dignity, freed from the mass separatist programming promoted by society, is a Free Man - in the most absolute sense of the word: he is not free, for example, because he has a lot of money, which allows him not to work. He is not free "from" anything. He is just free. He has purged himself of the programming that controlled him, and he now allows both his tendency to power and his tendency to love to flow naturally within him. Just as those energies flow naturally in nature.
"The Tao" is the nameless flow of existence. The Man of Dignity knows and feels that he is, and we all are, unique expressions of the Tao. And his life flows with the flow of the Tao.
Mark the Mystic Activist.
Catalonia, Spring 2023
How is this article related to Conscious Tribes?
Conscious Tribes are groups of people who understand "everyone only has their own, unique experience of the moment" - and who relate and act based on this understanding. The more a man has freed himself from our mass cultural programming, and the more he has become a Man of Dignity - the more he will be able to relate to and act in this way. So, in a way, we could say that this article talks about the preparatory work a man has to do to be able to consciously participate in a Conscious Tribe.
But it's not really like that - because we don't have to arrive as "perfect men" when we form or join a Tribe. When we form or join a Tribe, the work continues. We enter into a shared journey. And the practice I recommend to unite the Tribe, the Conscious Relating practice, is a fantastic tool for helping a man continue to develop himself as a Man of Dignity. The first part of the practice is focused on the masculine, on the vertical plane. It helps us strengthen our axis - our axis that "unites the earth and the sky". The second part of the practice is focused on the feminine, on the horizontal plane, on heart-to-heart connection. And the third part of the Conscious Relating practice unites the first two parts. It invites us to communicate while staying aware of our axis (of our uniqueness), and while staying intimately connected (aware of our sameness).
I wrote this article on the mass programming of men because I now am offering private consultations for men: http://hombredigno.elementfx.com/wp/