On the heels of the recent survey which found that only 2% of young men feel “masculine”, this article is on the subject of “Self-Overcoming”. As the saying goes, women are born women, but males must “become men”. Mere biology is not enough to define one as a “man”, as an entire generation of young men are finding.
But how then does one “become” a man? Hundreds of pages could be devoted to this question, but at the heart of it lies the process of “self-overcoming”. This process was written about by Nietzsche, and can best be exemplified in that most inspiring symbol of masculinity, Teddy Roosevelt. For Roosevelt, who would as President practice Judo in the Oval Office, swim naked in the Potomac on cold fall mornings, and reminisce on battling Spaniards in Cuba until his old age, began his life with a far different disposition. He was born a sickly child, “terrified” of the world and everything beyond his nursery. Roosevelt’s father set him on the right course however, when he challenged young Theodore to embrace his fears instead of hiding from them. Through “pretending not to be afraid”, eventually Roosevelt was able to conquer those fears, and become the great man he longed to be.
This is highly relevant for the situation in Europe, and for modern Europeans. For Europe, as the seat of Western modernity, and of left-wing Negationism and Cultural-Marxism, has created a society, and large numbers of young men, very similar to the young Teddy Roosevelt. Men become men through being tested, but in modernity, real tests and real trials typically lay outside our grasp. The maternal nature of our societies, obsessed with safety and comfort, leaves us weak and afraid, as we are never forced to confront our fears, and discover the heights of bravery contained within our hearts. Furthermore, the political indoctrination of Europe and the modern West forces us to stifle many of our instincts. These include the desire for aggression, the desire for triumph, the desire to protect women, the desire for brotherhood, and the desire to experience danger. With these instincts thus muffled, it is no wonder we find it difficult to act with the fortitude and valor of our ancestors, who explored these drives to their full measure.
So if the journey of “self-overcoming” is a large component of becoming a man, how does it happen? And how might one consciously attempt to chart it? This essay will posit three answers.
The first is to develop a healthy relationship with fear, and learn to test oneself. For if we were to examine a large cross-section of society, and evaluate their life, their success, and their greatness as members of our world, we would find each individual’s relationship with fear at the heart of their standing. Those who never take the courageous step, to woo the girl, to throw the punch, to quit their job, to chase their dream; are the ones whose lives end up as tales of mediocrity and bitterness. But on the contrary, those who embrace their fears, and consciously strive to test themselves- the “men in the arena” as Teddy Roosevelt called them- are the ones who attain greatness.
Such testing can come in a myriad of forms. Everyday events can suffice. Young men might find cliffs to jump off, purposefully get into a fight, ask a beautiful woman on a date, or sail solo across an ocean. They can start a business, climb a mountain, give a public presentation, or any number of other things. It is okay if these choices seem pedestrian. For the act does not matter as much as the fear that such an act provokes within the man. Indeed, for young men especially, even small opportunities for testing oneself are critical. I plan to write a book someday about this subject as it relates to public high schools versus homeschooling. For homeschooled male teens are often, tragically, the most effective object lessons in this subject. Confined at home all day, surrounded only by their parents, they are crucially denied a chance to ever test themselves in a meaningful fashion. As a result they are often sullen, afraid, socially awkward, and depressed. On the opposite end lie those young men who attend public high school. They are not necessarily better off however. As public high school students they have myriad ways to test themselves, but few if any healthy ones. Therefore while in school each day their lives are little different than when they were in kindergarten, at night they dive into the most reckless and self-destructive ways to test themselves, and often this leads them to great trouble, and they end up in rehab or in jail. The middle ground between these two experiences is therefore key. But if that is the case, where might examples of it be found? I will give several examples here:
Teddy Roosevelt as a young man was deathly afraid of large animals like bears. Yet instead of shrinking from this fear, he embraced it and learned big game hunting, eventually killing many of the bears that formerly terrified him.
Pat Tillman, the pro-football player and Army Ranger, built his life around the concept of self-overcoming. Even after becoming a pro football player, he would go on pilgrimages to the woods every summer, and jump across canyons into the canopies of trees, where one small misstep would have plunged him 50 feet down to his death on the rocks below.
Johnathan Gottschall, a contemporary writer and college professor, was increasingly confronted with the existential question of “Am I a coward?”. Yet instead of stewing on it, or rebelling against “outdated models of masculinity” like most of his colleagues, he joined the MMA Gym across the street from his office, and eventually competed in an amateur MMA Fight.
These men also lead us to the next component of self-overcoming I would note, which is the importance of tracking one’s progress. Gottschall took detailed notes of his experience that he would eventually use to write a book on it. Tillman kept exhaustive notes and journals. Roosevelt tracked his progress and his masculine journey in notes and writings throughout his lifetime. The importance of doing this is great, and I take pains to emphasize it. For it is in understanding our power to improve, that we gain true self-confidence. I would encourage men to track everything they possibly can. They should lift weights, and track their progress and personal bests. They should track what they eat, and measure their muscles and their fat. They should track their expenditures, and measure their finances and net worth. Such practices are not vanity, but rather a key component of success and manhood. For once a man knows he can direct his own fate, once he knows that anything he sets his mind to he can improve upon and conquer, then he knows the sky is the limit, and that his dreams are attainable if he works hard enough.
Finally, it seems clear from the studying the lives of such men, and other great men throughout history, that an additional component of the equation is the importance of having a guiding force, or a “why”, behind it all. This force can take multiple forms.
It could be one’s God, as we have seen throughout history. Indeed, the two fastest growing faiths of the last 200 years, Mormonism and Islam, have been spread far and wide precisely because of powerful men motivated by a fierce desire to serve their God. In the modern West however, religion has largely been abandoned, and while I would welcome a reembrace of historical religions in Europe, it seems doubtful that that will be the catalyst that spurs Europe’s men on to battle and victory.
What one views as their ‘mission’, however, can be just as powerful a motivator as one’s God. Teddy Roosevelt is said to have driven himself to such heights of heroism in large part out of shame at his father’s failure to fight in the Civil War. He considered his father “the greatest man [he] ever knew”, but suffered a horrendous inferiority complex his entire life over the fact that his father had sent a replacement to fight in his stead during the war. This was a huge part of the impetus behind Roosevelt’s obsessive drive towards manhood and danger.
In our case, and the case of young men across Europe, a personal “mission” of vast importance looks squarely back in our face. We have our ready-made mission right in front of us: to turn around the suicidal decay of our societies, to topple the corrupt genocidal governments delivering us unto our doom, and to do battle against the Muslim hordes quickly overtaking our lands. This is the most powerful mission, the most powerful driver, towards self-overcoming I can imagine. It is a huge part of what motivates me and give me strength to overcome and persevere. Were this side of the equation not enough however, there is one more big “why” to touch on, which is of arguably of comparable importance.
This is our ancestors. While not a subject ever brought up in modern education, media, or politics, how our actions reflect upon our ancestors and their legacy is a question we absolutely must look at. Throughout all of human history, this question has driven men to great heights. The Macedonians conquered half the known world trying to live up to the mythical deeds of their ancestors. Caesar conquered half the world again trying to live up to the example of Alexander. Our Viking forebears in Northern Europe, some of the toughest and most heroic men who ever lived, engaged in intense ancestor worship that buoyed their sails to foreign shore after foreign shore. As far as I am concerned this is more than enough “why” for us today. Each and every one of us in modern Europe and North America are only here because of countless generations of Europeans that came before us. They built civilizations in some of the most inhospitable places on earth, they fought in countless wars, they tamed fire and beasts and forests and seas, built great fortresses and towers, sailed vast oceans and fought alien tribes, and survived the worst plague in the history of the modern world, all so that we would be here.
With such being the case, it makes even more disgusting those progressive revelers in filth and decadence, wasting their lives in self-hatred, reveling in the bacchanalian excesses of their carpe diem existence. For all the while these civilizations our ancestors fought for disappear, and are subjugated by the same alien invaders they once repelled through great sacrifice.
We, as a civilization, must self-overcome these issues that confront us. That will start with each and every one of us doing it individually however. Such a task is, doubtless, of vast measure. However, our ancestors have left us detailed maps and models. If we as European men follow these examples set down for us, we can rise up, inject glory and valor back into our people’s hearts, retake our lands, and leave a legacy worthy of our people’s history. Therefore, within that framework, every act of self-overcoming that every European man engages in, is another drumbeat toward victory.