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Sacred masculinity

By Warwick Marsh - posted Thursday, 1 April 2010


Eric Clapton sang, “If I could change the world”. Many men dream about changing the world, but very few actually attempt it. Some succeed in bringing change, but is that change healthy, or does it create more problems than it solves?

As a student radical, growing up in the late 60s, I believed it was possible to change the world. Of course when you are young, and want to change the world, you are always on the lookout for revolutionary role models. One of those was Che Guevara. Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Che was born in Argentina in 1928 and grew up with a love for poetry, philosophy, political science, mathematics and literature.

In 1951 Che Guevara took a year off from his medical studies at university to motorcycle across South America. He was confronted with the abject oppression and poverty of the poor. This trip became a catalyst for him to take up arms on behalf of the oppressed. Jesus Christ, another revolutionary that my generation looked up to in the late 60s, said, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword”. Perhaps this was more than prophetic, because Che Guevara died a violent death at the hands of the Bolivian military in 1967. Violence begets violence. Hate begets hate.

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Alvaro Vargas Llosa, in an article about Che Guevara, called The Killing Machine wrote, “Guevara might have been enamoured of his own death, but he was much more enamoured of other people’s deaths. In April 1967, speaking from experience, he summed up his homicidal idea of justice in his ‘Message to the Tricontinental’: ‘hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine.’ ... Guevara murdered or oversaw the executions in summary trials of scores of people - proven enemies, suspected enemies, and those who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time ... He did not show the full extent of his rigor until Castro put him in charge of La Cabaña prison. ...”

Gerard Brookes writes about a 14-year-old boy and other victims of Che Guevara: “San Martin who was a reluctant guest in early days of Castro’s Gulag recounted that on one occasion Guevara’s thugs dragged a 14-year-old boy out his cell and into the prison court yard where the heroic Guevara was waiting for him. He bellowed at the boy to kneel in front of him ... the lad eye-balled Guevara and shouted in his face: ‘If you're going to kill me you’ll have to do it while I'm standing! Men die standing!’ Guevara then put his pistol to the boy’s head and blew out his brains.”

However, Che Guevara wasn’t the only one who wanted to change the world in the late 60s. During this time radical feminism was born. One of its many leaders was Germaine Greer. She said, “All societies on the verge of death are masculine”. Linda Gordon said, “The nuclear family must be destroyed”, and Robin Morgan said, “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage”. Noted feminist, Andrea Dworkin was more to the point, “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig”.

The radical feminists’ solution to change the world was very simple. They watched which gender was responsible for most of the violence, theft, rape, war and crime in the world. After identifying that the greatest proportion of evil was coming from the male of the species, they decided to demonise masculinity. After further research the radical feminists realised that masculinity is passed down from father to son and so they deducted that fatherhood (patriarchy) was in itself evil. Patriarchy became the source of all evil. That's how the campaign to destroy fatherhood (patriarchy) was born, and haven't they done a great job?

This whole analysis of manhood as the personification of all things evil was based on the faulty notion of moral relativism, which postulates that nothing in itself is wrong but all things are relative and are neither good nor evil. The truth is whatever you want it to be. There are no absolutes. Che Guevara was a subscriber to this theory. That’s how he justified killing anyone who disagreed with his form of violent revolution.

Aided by guilty men in powerful positions, aware of their own moral shortcomings, the deception that masculinity was evil and needed destruction or eradication took hold in our universities and popular culture. People forgot that there was such a thing as a good man, or a bad man, and began to label all manhood and fatherhood as evil. The shocking treatment of men in the family law court is a prime example. As Aboriginal elder Peter Morgan said to me one day, "A deception is a skin of a reason stuffed with a lie”.

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It is fair to say that most of the world's problems are caused by men, but that is because men are natural leaders and natural achievers. Testosterone makes them so, and it’s no use denying the fact. If men gravitate towards evil, they lead the world on an evil path. If they gravitate towards good, they lead the world to become more compassionate and caring. Society becomes what its men tolerate. Our apathy entangles us. As Edmond Burke said, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. The radical feminist policy to remove men from positions of leadership and destroy fatherhood (patriarchy) was a hare-brained solution to a very complex problem.

As Bettina Arndt once said, "No gender has a monopoly on vice". The oppressed became the oppressor. In fact our radical feminist friends threw the baby out with the bath water, because the only real answer to changing the world is to recover true masculinity in a spirit of humility. I call it "a renewal of male servant leadership". Ed Fell from Hawaii says, "Only in the initiation of men into their sacred masculine will there be hope for the planet".

I have no doubt that we are destroying our “fragile family ecosystem” that is built on the premise of moral excellence and the law of love. Our planet is paying the price of our negligence. Materialism and greed abound unabated. Our belief in the moral good of blind consumerism is killing us in more ways than one. We don't need another Earth Hour, but we do need men to set aside more hours to discover the high calling of their manhood as men. Only then will our planet truly benefit.

It is no accident that the greatest man that ever lived was also the greatest servant leader of all time. We must learn to walk in his footsteps. We celebrate his death on Good Friday. Like Che Guevara, Jesus Christ was a revolutionary, but his revolution was based on love and forgiveness, not war and hate. As the nails were driven into his hands he cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”, the sacred masculine, in bodily form. As the 14-year-old boy said to Che Guevara, “Real men die standing”.

We must rediscover the “sacred masculine” before we destroy ourselves. Good Friday might be a good place to start. Sting wrote, "We are spirits in a material world". If we are spirits in a material world, then there is transcendence. If there is transcendence, it is our duty to rise above our moral mediocrity. Reject the demonisation of the masculine, or the feminine, and work towards the renewal of healthy manhood. Let us reject hate and embrace love.

Great men produce great fathers and great fathers are the key ingredient to great families. Children are always the winners in this process. Generational renewal is the best way to change the world.

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About the Author

Warwick Marsh is the founder of the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation with his wife Alison. They have five children and two grandchildren and have been married for 34 years.

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