[N.B. I originally posted this article on the Society of Southern Gentlemen blog. I don’t plan to maintain that site, so I am merging all the posts there onto this site, but keeping the original timestamps.]
A few weeks ago an article was posted on Return of Kings that was titled Game Is A Modern Rite Of Passage That Helps Turn Boys Into Men. I’d like to briefly explore some elements of that article. Mr. Anthony begins by stating this fact:
Anyone who’s been involved in the manosphere for long enough knows about the concept of a rite of passage. For tens of thousands of years, when boys hit the age of puberty, they were forced to undergo a set of challenges.
These challenges were meant to break them down, and build them back up even stronger. These challenges were meant to test them as men, and they are collectively known as an “initiation,” or as a “rite of passage.” When a boy successfully completed the tasks laid before him, he became a man.
Our society, for the most part, lacks these rites of passage. This is, in large part, why there is such a lack of masculinity in our culture—boys are never given a chance to develop into men. We have all of these 45 year old boyish-men running around for a reason: there exists no institutionalized rite of passage in the West.http://www.returnofkings.com/99770/game-is-a-modern-rite-of-passage-that-helps-turn-boys-into-men
When I look back at my own life, the closest thing I had to a rite of passage was Basic Training. I’d imagine that would be the case with many men of my generation. I’d enlisted in the Army National Guard my Junior year of high school and went to Ft. Jackson, SC, the summer before my Senior year in what was called the “Alabama Buddy Platoon”. A whole platoon (and a half) of Alabama kids spent a summer setting aside racial differences, as the platoon was fairly evenly split black and white, being broken down as individuals to become soldiers. We had a Puerto Rican drill sergeant who absolutely enjoyed forcing us to sing the Hee-Haw Song: he considered us all rednecks. When I finished Basic and went back to school, it was if all my friends had reverted to Kindergarteners, but I knew I was the one who’d changed.
The author explains his reasoning of why rites of initiation are essential and why he believes that Game can fill the void:
I believe that, although it isn’t perfect, game is a phenomenal substitute for this lack of a male initiation ritual. Game provides us with many of the characteristics that you need to be a man, and it has many of the characteristics that the old rituals of the past did:
- Destroys your ego
– Requires you to face your fears
– Forces you to be decisive, in times of uncertainty
– Develops confidence, ferocity, and a strong will
While I like the aspects presented, here is my dissention with the premise: Game is largely focused on sexual satisfaction, although I’ve seen a bit of maturity beyond the original PUA mentality in recent years. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes where we are told “There is nothing new under the sun” which I wholeheartedly agree with. Game isn’t a modern innovation, it’s a rediscovery of lost knowledge adapted to deal with the dysfunctional society we live in. My disagreement on Game as a rite of initiation is that it serves as an unguided act without the tribal and paternal interaction with father and elders that are traditionally part of such rites.
I’m not knocking Game as a rite of initiation; it’s a better option for instilling manhood than almost anyone else is offering. It comes about eight or so years later than most traditional rites of initiation, but so did my Basic Training experience. It leaves early teens still wandering between childhood and adulthood without offering a guiding hand.
Here is where those of us with sons or nephews nearing that age can fill the gap. We can be the men to restore the traditions of our ancestors, which requires us to learn them. We can restore tribal identity in a morass of globalist non-identity. That means, for me at least, looking at my Welsh and Ulster Scots ancestors to see what kinds of rites they had. What did their descendants do after settling in the South? Fortunately for me, I still have a few years before my son comes of age.
In all, I encourage you to read the article. In this post-modern era, we’re all struggling to maintain tradition and identity, and Mr. Anthony’s article is as good as any other on the topic, and far superior to any progressive notions on how one becomes a man.