As we men go about our everyday life, we forget that our present Western culture is a product of ideas that were planted centuries ago in Western consciousness. As these ideas grew and flourished, they brought forth their fruit over time. This fruit produced behavior that is present in culture t0day. One such idea is the individualism and hyper-individualism that pervades our culture. While my focus in this blog is more on the soul, the mind matters a great deal. How our worldview is shaped and informed deeply effects how we men live and have our being in a post-modern ago. Kierkegaard warned us, “We live forward, but we can only think backward.”
James White in his book, “Serious Times” makes this point very simply. He talks about the “second fall.” We know about Adam and Eve and the first fall. White suggests, “The first fall led to God’s explusion of humans from the Garden of Eden. The second fall occurred when we returned the favor. The leaders of science and commerce, of education and political machination have ceased operating with any reference to a transcendent truth, much less a deity.” This is new in Western history. We lives without a need for God. My concern is how this effects men and their self-understanding
One of these “seed ideas” was planted by a Christian philosopher named Boethius in the 6th century. This simple idea has grown to greatly impact our day. He defined a person as “an individual substance of a rational nature.” This definition implies that we are basically “self-enclosed” persons, who are primarily rational beings. There is nothing in this definition that points to the importance of relationships and the intutive-imaginative aspect our the heart. We are “separate selves with individual centers of consciousness.” In other words, we can do it alone. We don’t need help. We can “fix” ourselves and others
From the seeds of this thought our modern Western understanding of persons has been evovled to that of free, rational subjects who act on their own. From this has come the emphasis on individualism. with the priority on thinking. The John Wayne and Rambo mentality is found in this idea. Women have suffered for years in our culture, because men have not valued the importance of personal relationships, fearful of knowing what is hidden in their hearts. Men have attempted in our culture to control with their reason. But men are finding that influence is not in power and control, but in “servant relationships.” Women in our day are saying “enough is enough.” Men are waking up to the awareness that we live with a new personal consciousness today. It is is focused on relationships and the personal.
A wildman would totally agree. A wildman would say yes to the need for dependent relationships. He can not stand alone. He is in needs others. A wild man is like a man “coming out of the cold,” having been locked in his enclosed self for years. He is asking for help to know how to relate to the significant others in his lives. He is learning to climb out of the control tower of reason, into the rewarding, yet dangerou freedom of personal relationships, where feelings and desires are being expressed. Yes, a wild man is a new bread of man in our day.