Since the time when Robert Bly took up the drum and men gathered in men’s circles, no new voice or movement has offered men a powerful and relevant voice for their experience in this culture. While Ken Wilber’s theory of evolution has great insight into the stages of consciousness, it only encourages men to anchor themselves in the mental realm and attach to notions of achievement in the areas of evolution. He still fails to offer men a personalized journey home.
In a culture that puts a premium on production, mastery and outward engagement, an introverted, sensitive or evolving man has no model for his journey. There is no commonly shared vocabulary for his experience. In a dieing culture, any man moved to untangle himself from the crumbling infrastructure is at a loss when it comes to understanding the process of disengagement.
Whether it is the high functioning attorney who has a stroke at age 35 and must learn to walk and talk all over again, the financial advisor that must relinquish the notion of making clients money in a falling market, the entrepeneur committed to sustainability who comes to understand there is no saving the planet or the management consultant who must watch his wife die of breast cancer – when these men face the abyss, there is no philosophy, book or cultural movement to support them.
Men remain a fringe population. We have failed to make available to them tools that assist them in:
~achieving access to inner realities
~gaining trust in themselves
~learning skills of intimacy as they relate to themselves and relationships with others
~separating and healing from cultural biases
~tolerating an absence of competence
~developing a relationship to their personal values and vision.
The maverick, eccentric, bohemian, fringe dwellers who chose long ago to opt out as a way to maintain their inner integrity remain the largest group of men in our culture who have forged lives independent of the mainstream. Sailors, homesteaders or entrepeneurs, they found a way to march to the beat of their own drums.
This population tends to make choices by avoiding engagement in cultural norms. Yet, they can often feel alienated from possibilities that might be available to them if they were more in and of the mainstream. They can feel alienated from others, they can miss intellectual stimulation and they can feel deprived of emotional intimacy.
Perhaps, as economic, social and political turbulence continue to fracture preexisting paradigms of the culture, men who are outside of the mainstream will find greater room to participate.