Manliness - is that what we're fostering here?

I've been talking with my girlfriend about The Art of Manliness, and realizing that there's a danger to online communities like this. How many truly manly men are we creating/helping? Is there more manliness in just going out and doing things, instead of writing long posts about it?

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Point: We are a community of men seeking to discuss the issues that we face and figuring out ways to help ourselves and each other
Counterpoint: By simply discussing the ideas, we're wasting valuable time that could be spent living the ideas we're discussing.

Point: How will we know the traits we want if we don't have a community like this? Man was meant to learn from his forefathers, and to be an apprentice to other men until he himself is man enough to take on a younger man.
Counterpoint: We're not all the same, so we can't discuss moulds to put ourselves into, we just need to put ourselves into situations that help us to figure out our own styles of manliness.

Point: We're all helping each other to grow and develop as men, and so it's worthwhile time spent.
Counterpoint: You don't grow from thinking and talking, you grow more from living.
I think there are important values to be found in The Art of Manliness, and that it is a good and noble way to seek to regain our own sense of what a man is. But not necessarily in daily doses, definitely not for long times. Getting sucked into the void of endless discussion of more and more and more manly men and their traits will just bring us down into a state of subordination.

We are manly, if we're man enough to show it.

I want to know your thoughts. What merits do you see in the AoM community, and dangers?

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Comment by Natalia T on May 10, 2009 at 6:11pm
I don't know how many women there are on this site, but I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the concept of this website.
Since I am the catalyst for this post, I'd like to add a few of my own thoughts.
My first impressions of this site are:
a) it is a fast and easy way to share neat information from man to man, specifically from the viewpoint of MALENESS which makes it easier for you all to understand each other and to share with one another (ie. COMMUNITY)
b) it is a bit of a safe-haven for men who are afraid to jump out into the world seemingly "alone", and thus want to feel a bit "researched" and clearer about ways to approach life, ways to deal with things, and things to try to squeeze every bit of seize-able day out of their lives
c) it could become a scapegoat to a man's personality to why he doesn't take on courageous "scary" parts of life. that is to say, he'd feel like "ah, yes, I'm being vulnerable in this area of my life, so I've got that stuff down. that's enough courageousness so I'm not going to go out and be courageous in the 'real' [ie. non-online] world."

part c) is my fear. There are too many scapegoats given in our society for men (and women, don't get me wrong, but this is a men's site... so I'm talking about men here) to hide away and not live courageously, dealing with the REAL issues that they are hiding from.
Comment by John Clanton on May 8, 2009 at 4:12pm
The main point of the counter points says that we should get out and do stuff. While I think that that is a good thing, it isn't always possible. There is such thing as a healthy balance of time spent online and in the real world.

For me, what have I gained? A lot of the articles I read that I like are ones that give me an idea that I have never even considered before. Or they give me a new point of view on a topic I thought I knew a lot on. It is also a place to gather with like minded people to discuss topics. I think the gain would be tremendous if I could translate most of these topics into my everyday life. Also, if I could find other men that have these same ideals and we can take the camaraderie to the real world. I think that would be great.

I would have to say that I have learned a lot from AoM site, not sure how much from this social site. But I think more knowledge will be gained from more participation.
Comment by Will on May 8, 2009 at 1:14pm
But we don't have to be all theoretical; let's also be practical. Discussing manly things *can* be useful (as well as fun). But is it being useful, to *you*? What have you gained from discussions here?

In my case: not enough. I do gain a little male camaraderie, which is a good thing in and of itself. Maybe if my local state group expands enough I may pick up some friends. But, no, I'm not learning new attitudes, new things that I'm going to do, new bits of wisdom to make my life better.

Then again, I'm one of the older ones here. I'm interested to see what a younger man has to say.
Comment by Will on May 8, 2009 at 1:12pm
And here are my thoughts:
Counterpoint: By simply discussing the ideas, we're wasting valuable time that could be spent living the ideas we're discussing. AND You don't grow from thinking and talking, you grow more from living.

Counter-counterpoint: We don't have to *simply* discuss the ideas. We can discuss them and also live them.

There is a lot of not-knowing on this topic, especially among young men (who form the majority here), but even among older heads. Until we know what we're doing, it's pointless to try to do it.

Another counter-counterpoint is that if we don't talk, we are alone. A lone man is not really stronger than a group! Divide, and be conquered.

Point: How will we know the traits we want if we don't have a community like this? Man was meant to learn from his forefathers, and to be an apprentice to other men until he himself is man enough to take on a younger man.

Counterpoint: We're not all the same, so we can't discuss moulds to put ourselves into, we just need to put ourselves into situations that help us to figure out our own styles of manliness.

Counter-counterpoint: In addition to the earlier point about the ineffectiveness of doing everything alone without talking, there's an assumption here that it's all or nothing: we are all identical, or we are so totally different we can't meaningfully communicate. The reality is in the middle: we are somewhat alike and somewhat different. So something that another man says may not be useful to you, but there's also a good chance it will be.
Comment by Stephen Young on May 8, 2009 at 12:55pm
excellent point, it's true that going out and living isn't always the way people can thrive and grow.

I think one of the best ideas about the community is the events, because we need to be able to have mentors that we can go to, so we need to meet people. It's much easier to know what to do with onesself when we can have tangible examples to follow.

But it's great to have a site like AoM to fall back on too, when we don't necessarily have someone else, which happens at times.
Comment by Dylan Brown on May 8, 2009 at 12:53pm
I agree that if you think posting on a website without ever leaving your living room is manly...then you're painfully mistaken. However, I also think that one of the major points on this site is that manliness is a dieing quality and as a result, men who are interested in embracing it are often hard pressed to find a close social network of like minded people in their day to day lives. I think that manliness is something that needs to be discussed and debated and while we wait for a renaissance of manliness to come and for men to be men again, this site can help to satisfy the absence of such a venue.
Comment by thehuhman on May 8, 2009 at 12:49pm
I get what you are saying, And the point/counterpoint format you used is very effective. But the over-riding message of your blog is that it would be way more "manly" to just get outside and DO it, for heaven's sake... rather than to sit at our keyboards wasting our time, discussing various theories. At first glance, your message seems clear, and correct. But it is irresponsible, to say "just do it" to a kid who is truly clueless. You, sir, may be able to act on pure impulse, intellect, and your inate abilities; but you can't apply that logic universally to all of the other young men here.

As one of the older participants in this little experiment, know as "The Art of Manliness", I can attest that there are a number of young men here, who are completely lost. It's as if they've had ZERO influence from ANY man in their lives. I am constantly amazed at what they simply, DON'T know. And it is for this reason that I remain an active participant in this endeavor.

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