In recent weeks I have had a number of conversations of late with readers, friends, and associates, from all walks of life and corners of the Earth, on a number of different subjects. All of them are men, some of them are quite a bit older than me, others younger.
These men are successful in their own fields. One is a highly respected and well-published combat veteran and author. Another is a nationally known mass casualty disaster response management expert. A third is a military veteran with extensive experience in military training, security, and police tactics. Yet another, younger than me by some distance, is a highly successful businessman living in Eastern Europe with whom I have collaborated on various projects. Another longtime reader is of Asian origin who has helped me out with technical tweaks to my podcast and site.
And every single one of these men, regardless of background and life circumstances, has expressed a remarkably similar set of sentiments.
Every one of them feels a sense of foreboding and impending doom, of hard times to come. They each feel a sense of existential dread that drags them down, demotivates them, makes their burdens much harder to bear, and leaves them drained and tired no matter how strong their bodies might be.
Every one of them has been tested, HARD, by recent events.
Some of my readers have had to go through the deaths of beloved family members.
Some have seen once-thriving businesses destroyed and new opportunities shut down because of the Chinese Mumps.
Some have been furloughed, seen their hours cut, and been forced to seek alternative means to support their families as best as they can.
Some are seeing their own children used against them by literally psychopathic exes.
Some are struggling to deal with the aftereffects of poor parenting and weak fathers.
These are far better men than me. They have dealt with far tougher and more difficult circumstances than I have ever faced. And even men as good as these are struggling in the face of existential despair.
Worse than that despair is the sense that we are each of us alone in carrying our burdens, while we are surrounded by hyenas who laugh at our misery and fools who demand our help while offering nothing in exchange.
One of my friends was telling me recently about how unmotivated he feels these days because of the people he has to deal with. Up until now he has been quite successful in creating his own ventures and lifestyle, but he is constantly harassed by people who want him to do everything for them, and don’t want to put in any of the work on their own.
Another friend was telling me about how he feels as though his life has gone to waste. He is unmarried and childless, and has suffered from personal losses and severe health problems over the past year. He feels as though he is merely surviving – just counting time until the Reaper comes for him. And he knows that, when his time comes, he will leave no legacy behind, nothing to carry on his name.
Repeatedly I heard men telling me that they lack purpose and drive in life. They feel as though no matter what they do, it just doesn’t matter – the feeling among them was that doom is upon us and defeat is inevitable.
When I heard these things from my friends, I was reminded of a particular and very powerful passage from the Bible that is, of course, remarkably relevant:
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.
4 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”— Judges 7:2-7, English Standard Version
Therein lies the solution.
Hard times are coming – there is no way to avoid this. We have had good and easy times for far too long. We have fooled ourselves into thinking that the good times can continue indefinitely, without cost to ourselves. We are desperate for ease and comfort in our lives, not realising that this ease makes us weak.
Men are not meant to live in weakness and dissipation. We are meant to struggle and fight and fail. Suffering is our curse – and, in some strange ways, also our blessing.
Worst of all, we have turned away from God, therefore from Truth. And the price for this will be horrendous – as it must be.
Now, we have two options. We can complain about things – or we can do something about it.
Too many of us, myself included, have spent too long complaining and not enough time doing. If I look back at my blog articles from the past several months, in particular, it is clear to me that far too much of my time was spent merely commenting on current events – and not doing a whole lot to actually fix the problems that I observed.
There are reasons for this, and I could waste your time making excuses for myself, but I won’t. My failure to give my readers actionable life advice is mine, and mine alone. I own it, and it’s up to me to fix it. Others have suffered far worse than I have, and borne much greater pain, with much less complaint.
That has to stop. Enough of the whining, complaining, bellyaching, and grousing, from others and especially from ourselves. My friends and I don’t need more complaining – we need SOLUTIONS.
We need action. We need to make a stand. We need to make the only choice worth making.
Most importantly, we need to build alliances among men who share a burning desire to win. Not the jackals and the hyenas who feast on the leavings of others and prey on the weak and the fearful – but the wolves and the lions who hunt for themselves and defend their own.
There is a reason why we men regard wolves and lions with respect as apex predators. They do not act alone. These magnificent creatures are united in specific tribal and familial groups. They look out for each other and protect each other and defend their territory.
And that is an apt metaphor for the way in which we can solve our current problems.
Over and over again throughout history we see examples of small groups of men acting in concert against overwhelming odds, standing firm, helping each other, fighting hard, and ultimately winning – or dying gloriously.
This must be our model and inspiration. The time for idleness, dissipation, and complaints must end. In its place must come observation, planning, and action.
We do not need much to fix our problems. We only need to remember some very basic yet profound truths.
One of those very basic truths is that, of the thousands and tens of thousands of men who complain and whine and do nothing, we only need a few men with the courage to stand firm. History confirms this fact beyond dispute.
With three hundred men, Gideon saved a hundred times that number of his own people.
Thanks to a bare three hundred Spartans and about seven thousand auxiliaries and allies, Greece held off an invasion of hundreds of thousands sent against them by the greatest empire in the ancient world at the time.
Because of a mere twelve once-frightened, once-cowardly, once-forlorn men, billions throughout history have become the blessed children of the Almighty God.
That is all it takes. That is all we need – the few, the brave, the strong. Nothing more – and nothing less.
So here is my pledge to you:
This site is going to become a place that will consolidate and codify advice that will help you become stronger, more resilient, more dangerous, and more capable than ever before. I intend to turn Didactic Mind into an agoge of sorts, designed to help men become better servants of the Lord, that they may spread His Truth to all corners of the world.
I will give you direct and actionable advice that will improve your body and mind.
I will find ways to help you build your own platforms, so that your voice can never be silenced.
I will show you the wider world as it truly is, and tell you where you can go so that you can gain perspective for yourself.
I will fight the despair and nihilism that threatens to consume us all with whatever strength I have left in me, for as long as I draw breath.
And I will do my best to impart a spirit of hope and optimism to you in the process.
This I swear, by my faith and honour.
You came for the commentary and the Browser Killers and the stunning women. (By the way, the Friday T&A archives have been completely revamped and redesigned – you’re welcome.) None of that is going away. We all need diversions and distractions. It does a man great good to look at beautiful women and listen to good music and watch manly men beating the shit out of each other with hands and fists and lifting heavy things. These are things that remind us what it means to be men.
These are all good reasons to come here. But I want you to stay for far better reasons than these.
It is well past time for Didactic Mind to start living up to the didactic part of the name, and teach men how to fight back, rather than merely talk about it.
I want and need your help to do this.
First – write to me in the comments below (or directly if you prefer to keep your anonymity) about what is troubling you in this current time. Tell me what struggles you face. We will overcome them together. If I don’t know how to fix the problem, then I probably know someone who does.
Second – sign up for my mailing list. There’s one widget up on the top right and another down below this post. Once I reach twelve subscribers, I will start sending out emails.
Why twelve? Because that is all we ever needed to achieve victory against the Evil One. Seems like a pretty propitious number to me, then.
There will be more changes coming to this site over the coming days. Soon there will be a page where you can contribute directly to my success and get your hands on tools that will help you build your own platforms. There will be other sites coming in the future, designed to give you a broader and stronger perspective.
Join the agoge, brothers. Fight back against despair. Help your brother carry his cross – do not give up, and do not give in.
Ooh, an altar call!
I have a big one I need to email you about anyhow. Your experience in IT may be helpful.
But I have one that’s good for the viewership.
My son has himself in the clutches of a wall smash woman who is lining him up to be a beta provider. She’s a few years older. When I first met her, I though “Man, this one his careening into the wall at ramming speed with a fat grenade in her hand. And I think she’s pulled the pin”.
Didn’t help that when my wife asked what I thought, that’s exactly what I told her.
He’s had all kind of trouble, and for the most part has been asking his mom advice. At one point, we were out on the patio as he was asking her how to deal with the latest drama. I leaned back and quipped – “It’s a shit test. The only test you fail by doing what’s asked. The solution here is to ghost her”. I had been…uh…celebrating…Ah, screw it, I was hammered.
Dude has yet to talk to me much about her.
The women in our family hate this chick. Their intensity varies from my wife’s grace and southern charm, being nice enough yet trying to guide her son away from the rocks, to my oldest daughter who viscerally hates the woman. So much so she’s told him to never bring her to their house again. Both daughter’s have been quite candid about their feelings to him. That in itself is a bad sign.
I did get him to open up over a few bottles of wine the other weekend. I told him that at this stage in the relationship (a year or so) they should be on cloud nine, attached at the hip. Not with him seeking pro counselling. That’s where couples get to after years of marriage. I said she reminded me of women two of my friends (Whom he’s met) married, only to suffer profound misery. The woman, although nominally our faith (doesn’t practice), is pulling him away from his.
So I gotta do something but it needs a light touch. He’s like me.
As I type this, I’m feeling divine intervention. I have a divorced friend from Church. Almost a brother to me. I should call him and arrange a guys weekend. My son knows him and likes him. A pig hunt, maybe. Kid’s never hunted (A failing on my part).
BTW – I had a better post, but the captcha fisted me and blew it out
Your son NEEDS a real warning from men that he respects and honours, and he needs it fast. This is definitely one of those situations where counsel from you and your friend will be useful. You can provide him with advice from the perspective of fatherly love and affection as his role model. Your friend can do so by providing an understanding of what life looks like before and after a divorce.
I can tell you that this story probably will not end well. I have been through similar relationships myself, and I have seen one of my friends break his own family apart by marrying a woman that his friends and his mother absolutely hated. When a man is blinded by the extraordinary seductive power of the Mighty V – and it IS mighty, for sure – then nothing short of Divine intercession can stop him.
And intensive and focused prayer is of course a must in this case.
I think the root of the problem for most of us is not being able to easily find other men in meatspace, beit groups or one-on-one. Truth be told, none of us would be hanging around this blog if we had a gaggle of real world friends to help and be helped. I think if we solve this problem, the others fall like dominoes.
I agree entirely. With the Coof and the need (for now) to preserve anonymity, though, there is no way to get around this for the moment.
One possible solution is to hold online fora through Zoom and other platforms. That is something that I will have to consider, though maintaining anonymity would be difficult, to say the least.
Nearly every Christian church will have a men’s club of some sort. I’m Catholic, so I’m a Knight of Columbus, as well as a Men’s club member.
I joined the KofC when I moved down here and realized I needed to meet other men such as myself.
I have more brothers that care about me deeper than any friends I’ve met through work or in my neighborhood.
I formerly belonged to a church that had a men’s group. We met once a month for an hour at a Chick Fil-A. I was the only member there under 60. They did do some projects and things, but all of the meetings and work were done during the work week. It was next to impossible for a working man with a family to participate. That’s the problem.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the inspiration and support that you have given me, even though we have never met. Your site's previous incarnation, Didact's Reach, has helped me get through a rough year, and I like the new one even better, as it runs that much more smoothly. I'm speaking as someone who has had some challenges this year [breakup of 22-year marriage, homelessness, someone I loved being VERY ill with the Kung Flu, etc], you have provided inspiration and support. I have signed up for the newsletter, and will be looking forward to receiving it. Pray forgive this being a day late, but I didn't have a chance to check in yesterday.
May the peace and grace of Christ be with you, brother. I am most grateful for your support and pray for your good health and your success. I am also deeply sorry to see what you have gone through. I have received stories from a number of readers and friends about these hard times that they are going through, and every single one has been tested to, and sometimes beyond, the breaking point. Honestly, your challenges make mine look trivial by comparison.
I will do all that I can to provide hope, inspiration, and support to you and others who derive value from my work. I will be sending out newsletters and emails over the coming days with this goal in mind.
Comment test #6
Previous replies blocked by failed reCaptcha event.
Yeah, that one worked. Stupid JetPack comments system borked things up pretty good – I went back in and unFUBARd them.