Buenos Días folks
To dissolve some of today’s gender-bashing, I decided to provide a general overview about the mechanics of masculinity. We will cover the historical development of masculinity during the ages as well as how they are still active in man’s subconsciousness today.
All of those stages that historically arose have their psychic equivalent resonating in the male subconsciousness and being completely aware of this process profoundly supports individual development as well as more harmonic relationships.
It’s not easy these days for men, with social and emotional requirements of women and children at one hand and patriarchal, competitive society structures on the other. Let’s go this path together.
Spiral dynamics claims that humanity underwent several development waves. In each wave, certain worldviews and paradigms dominated the consciousness of most individuals. Hunter-gatherer tribes for example were characterized by identification with bloodline and men served as hunters and providers.
The mythological paradigm change at about 10’000 bc put the individual’s power and violent strength on top. Gangs raped and burned villages and men defined themselves by their impulsivity. You know that ferocious energy when you’re angry and punch someone in their face? This is the egocentrical stage resonating in you.
In later centuries men committed to higher purposes like religions or serving their king. Manliness incorporated virtues like chivalry and trustworthiness as it’s pictured by the ideal of the honorable knight.
Nowadays we’re mainly living in the modern era, where performance and individualism counts as most valuable. Modern man defines himself as an achiever in a world of competition.
I see you understand. It’s the evolution of masculine mindsets.
But there are as well newer stages on the rise. Peacefulness, veganism and fair trading gets slowly more important than pure capitalism. What on earth does manliness mean in a world that is in need for more empathy and equality? Last but not least we take a glimpse at the integral stage, where one learns to integrate all those parts inside himself. Learn how the future man makes use of different masculine archetypes and how they’re played out like a set of wild cards.
What’s the benefit for you?
• You learn the mechanisms of masculinity
• As woman, you understand what drives men at the subconscious level
• As man, you learn how to target each layer of archetypal manliness and how to develop it
This post will contain 8 parts where I get further in depth:
The Archaic Man
The Intuitive Man
The Violent Man
The Conventional Man
The Achiever Man
The Peaceful Man
The Wise Man
Now let’s get it started with a quick overview.
The Archaic Man
Let’s have a look at the archaic stage with its beginning in the animal kingdom millions of years ago. Consciousness is developed pretty rudimentary and instincts focus on sex and pure survival in rough wilderness. Biologically, we can find tons of differences between males and females since the former are designed to roam the territory on the sought of sex. The male brain is wired differently than a woman’s as well, enabling the one-man army to focus narrowedly on a target. Even nowadays, men are statistically proven to be more aggressive and risk-taking due to testosterone levels.
The archetype of the „caveman“ lives instinct-led. The archaic layer in modern men’s subconsciousness identifies himself with an undivided I. He’s the center of the world, in fact he is the world.
Sexuality can be pictured very primitive in this stage. To have orgasms in female wombs is the only purpose and drive of masculine existence. Sexuality is permanently present in a man’s head and instant attraction to a fertile look stems from this era of evolution, we can’t help.
This is the animal within all of us. It shouldn’t be negated nor be used to reduce masculinity on biology. This is just one aspect of manliness but the one that stands at the very beginning.
Being a man in the archaic stage is:
• Defined by the hunt for sex
• Characterised by a biological distinction from women
• Basic aggressivity and narrowed focus as survival tools
The Tribalistic Man
It was most probably due to the promiscuitive sexuality of the women, that men developed a stronger loyalty towards female-centered tribes. Fertile traits were probably highly valued since sexuality got ritually cultivated in the paleolithic (since 70’000 bc.). Unclear fatherhood and the so-called hidden fertility made men stick to the same women for a longer period, resulting in strong emotional bonds between the usually 100-150 humans.
For the first time in history, consciousness of humaneness and identity occured, that distinguished man from his environment in which he still was profoundly embedded. The intuitive man puts the survival of his family and his bloodline into the centre of his worldview and masculine pride founts of his role as a provider. He actively takes influence on the spirits in his environment by praying, perform rituals and reading nature’s signs. He establishes as the guardian of traditions and rites and orients on the rules of elders.
Here, the man’s sense for building and inventing stuff gets developed. He builds solid houses, fences and weapons. Crafting something with one’s own hands is a deep-rooted manly desire descending from the tribalistic aeon.
Masculinity was defined by entering sexual maturity, since boys had to leave the mother tribes for preventing incest. Rites of initiation introduced boys into the men-groups, who frequently left the tribes to go on hunts for the purpose of finding food, discovering new territory and seeking contact to other tribes. The pattern of brotherhoods occured, designed for men to connect with their masculinity and give them structure, orientation and emotional security. Today you find a bunch of rites practiced in the military, in prisons, in youngster groups or criminal gangs.
Let’s define manliness in the animistic stage:
• Defined by the role of the provider
• Identification over Family and native country
• Likes to build and craft
• Provide sexual satisfaction of women to ensure their fertility
• Joins manhood by undergoing initiation rites
• Pragmatic contact to other men for conjoined pursuing of goals
The Violent Man
Uprising agriculture, settledness and cattle ranching since 10’000 bc. led to the new concept of possession and men discovered their self-power. New society structures defined by shared myths, currencies and governments required men to identify over their patriarchal line. Men conquered control over sexuality and the phallus gained symbolic power. The „red“ man identifies with his potency, ready to penetrate everything and everyone. Sexuality becomes less about procreation and more about cementing power structures in relation to women and subordinates. „Everything is about sex except Sex. Sex is about power.“ – to cite a popular author.
The former harmonic world now got divided into allies and enemies, in victors and victims. Governments as well as institutions and religions developed enforced hierarchies usually with a small elite or a single ruler on top. A black-and-white worldview was generally occupying peoples’ minds and a man was usually fighting either for pure survival in a suddenly very hostile civilisation or for gaining more power over others. The masculine mindset was characterized by the concept of concurrence and not seldomly violence was used either for defensive reasons or to gain dominance over an opponent. Becoming as powerful as possible was decided by cold, merciless steel.
Do you know Conan the Barbarian?
This man is impulsive. He does what he wants and follows his will and spontaneous desires. Imagine a remorseless pirate. He’s right because he’s the strongest. This is how the „red“ world works.
In these times, men often relied on their brain structures for determined, impulsive decisions and on a battlefield as well as on raids they had to be ready to take high risks up to the danger of sudden death. In principle, a man regarded as right what felt best for his gut instinct and gods were „bought“ with sacrifices to gain fortune, strength and wealth since happiness has become a scarce good one had to fight for.
Today’s men need to establish a healthy relationship to this stage in their subconscious psyche to gain self-confidence, a feeling of control over life and being assertive. Let’s dig out this fountain of masculine power but use it wisely.
In the egocentrical sense masculinity means:
• Male-centered control of sexuality
• The masculine as ruler over the world and women
• Mindset of possession, scarcity and power matters
• World of competition and concurrency
• Black-white-thinking, distinction between self and world
• Readyness for violence and risks
• Impulsive, determined decisions
• Violently enforced hierarchies
The Conventional Man
The first god-rulers of humanity were men who legitimated their power through a higher order. The imagination of consequences in the afterlife – reward or punishment, heaven or hell – became part in the every day life of people. The basic human need for safety transformed raw power into reliable structures and institutions. Abrahamic religions established the belief in a higher, god-given order. The roman or greek military replaced the horde with an hierarchical structure abolishing the warrior’s individualities. Instead they now followed conventions.
Right or wrong mostly became a matter of shared religious affiliation, other believers were automatically perceived as enemies. To orient on the laws and rules set up by government or religion (usually both in one) was a question of honor and service on the people counted as the most masculine duty. The manly concept of honor stems from exactly knowing one’s place in the bigger order. Man defined himself over norms and values of his society and acted transparently within the pre-determined boundaries. Men were expected to contribute to stability, consistency and security of their society and patriarchal families. Especially brain structures for binary thinking and strategic long-term planning for evaluating consequences (the destination of hell or paradise) have been more in use. The man follows crystal-clear principles and a moral code. In this era chivalry was born. Men are aware of their savageness and strive to control their impulses. Power is still something valuable but now it isn’t achieved by personal strength but legitimated from outside by rules even kings have to submit to.
Sex is also often dedicated to a higher purpose, solely to reproduce in the name of the nation, otherwise it’s usually a taboo topic. The monogamic marriage should restrict excessive sexual activity and a loss of discipline but still enable every man to release sexual energy on his wife.
Conventional masculinity can be characterised with:
• Legitimation of masculine power through higher order (sanctification)
• Meaning and purpose seeked outside of oneself
• Clear perceptions of right and wrong
• Transparent acting according to norms and values
• Identity over collectiv of the people, language, religion, nation or government
• Strategic long-term perception
• Consistency, stability and security seeked in all life aspects
The Achiever Man
Are you an achiever? Welcome to the 21st century. Throw belief out of the window and replace it with cold facts. Logic and statistics provide control over the matter and knowledge is power as you might know.
The conquest of the Americas since 1500 marked the beginning of a new epoch. Men began to take a look beyond the boundaries of their beliefs, shared myths and legends and let run free their exploring drive. Men developed the drive to go on adventures, exploring new territory and building expanding companies. The personal willpower of bold men to conquer and embrace the unknown pushed the curiosity of scientists who refused to be restricted from researching the mechanics of life by dogmas of belief. Knowledge, rationality and technology became pragmatic tools to achieve individual goals or that of the growing economy.
Capitalism got born and with it the idea of eternal growth. Whereas folks of the middle ages regarded the world as cake, that had to be divided between people and nations, progressive men began to strive for simply enlarging the whole cake.
As an achiever man you put your individual goals first with a strong sense of self-importance. Do you want to grow your business or exploring science? Whatever you pursue, you want to become excellent in it. In a world of a giant competition only the cleverest and most hardworking will reach the top.
As crucial shall be mentioned the individual drive of man, to create and achieve something, that surpasses the own person. External achievements and visible successes like dolled-up wifes, study degrees or luxury mansions became objects of orientation and identity at the same time.
The modern achiever is:
• Trespassing known boundaries and expanding them to eternity
• Gaining control through knowledge
• Pragmatic use of science, rationality and technology
• Creative drive to invent and achieve something
• Orientation and identity defined by external successes
The Peaceful Man
Let’s figure out how humanity answers to the dark sides of capitalism. At least since Romanticism, the principle of the feminine increasingly gained attention and modern feminism’s critics on patriarchal structures leads men to explore their feminine sides. This isn’t necessarily bad; developing more empathy towards other beings and implementing fair trading standards surely is a healthy thing for our world. But the so-called softie who arose out of the ’69 hippies is a questionable picture of manliness.
Since personal focus slowly changed from concentrating on the outside to the inside, men began to value their individuality more which went along with a discovery of the colorful world of feelings. The consciousness of the inner spiritedness, which is inherent for the core of humans and living beings is still rising and men in this stage identify with the collective of whole humanity. Globalization caused worldwide interconnection and at least since the rise of the internet, humans all around the globe are potentially accessible to each other. Connectivity and network-interactions mark the way of thinking and social life becomes more based upon similarity and mutual interests than ethnic differences.
In today’s society, where soft skills are more important than rough power, the role of men changes again. Egocentricity gets bashed more and more and men seem to be forced to cut their edges to maintain social bonds. At least becoming leaders in a harmonic way is what the paradigm of our time requires men to seek. Finding creative solutions, mediating between parties and inspiring the crowd become our major tasks for the future.
In a man’s vision, a healthy living environment and peaceful togetherness become main goals. We reach this by submitting to higher guidelines and ethics, but this time they’re called political correctness and stigmatising ostracised products. The „green“ man fights for a better world in a non-violent way and sees himself as a crusader in the global picture. Pluralistic, postmodern men gain meaning and purpose out of the connection to other humans and they tend to value emotional responsibility for their partners and children more.
Let’s describe the peaceful man with:
• Exploring feelings and seeking contact to inner Anima
• Identity over the collective of living beings
• Romanticism and honoring of the feminine
• Relativation of dogmas, stereotypes and boundaries
• Rising emotional responsibility
The Wise Man
An estimated 1% of men have probably reached the integral dimension, which requires a distanced, self-reflexive approach to one’s own person. Pros and cons of earlier stages get recognized as such and merged into an integrated, authentic personality. The archetypal energy patterns of each stage can be played out like wild cards. Fully integrated, a man can situationally choose his role and react adequately to every-day life’s requirements. Mature men don’t fear exploring their subconsciousness and constantly seek new, hidden parts of themselves which need to be integrated.
This approach is characterized by constant changes in the flow of life and a life-long learning process. In this flow, chaos and unpredictability are welcomed since they become sources for possibilities, innovations and growth. The wise man develops and evolves constantly but still tries to always focus on the essential. He sees himself as the centre of executive power on his very personal path of life on realizing his vision.
In contrast to former stages, the wise man doesn’t see a need of profiling himself. The so called „wisdom-barrier“ gets overcome, once a man doesn’t put his procreational consciousness before others and instead seeks ways to find harmonic approaches.
„Masculinity“ as a concept begins to loose significance, more appliable would be the term „Yang-power“, of which man makes use to pursue a life, that is personally fulfilling and serving humanity at the same time. His masculine polarity shows the most contrasting effect in relationships and tantric sexuality, where partners become mirrors of their souls and a conscious approach to the emerging tension enables visionary co-creation.
Masculine characteristics of the integral stage:
• Self-reflection and exploration of the subconsciousness
• Change, chaos, innovation and flow as normal states
• Life-long learning, development and focus on the essential
• Realizing visions on the personal path of life
• Putting Yang-power in the service of life
• Generating contrast and creative tension in relationships
Now you know what journey’s expecting the men of the world. Here, the road of masculinity ends, since the difference between masculine and feminine looses relevance in further following development. Nevertheless, life continues and may it be our brothers, husbands or sons, they will all undergo the same path of initiation to manhood, so let’s walk it together.
The Guide of Sexual Masculinity
If you’re interested in more knowledge specifically about the sexual aspect of a man’s development, I recommend you to grab a copy of my E-Book here: