“The Crux of Men’s Suffering”

Image by Paolo Troilo

Surely the greatest tragedy for men in regard to the feminine principle is that their fear alienates them from their own anima, the principle of relatedness, feeling and connection to the life force. This alienation from self obliges alienation from other men as well. Often their only connection with each other comes through superficial talk about outer events, such as sports and politics.

…Men today cannot claim their identity via culture because they are obliged to find other uninitiated males as their models or succumb to the empty values of a materialistic society. Again, before healing may begin, men must acknowledge the reality of what lies within. Among those confusing emotions is a deep grief for the loss of the personal father as companion, model and support, and a deep hunger for the fathers as a source of wisdom, solace and inspiration.

…Our society has long treated men as machines, as bodies expendable in the name of progress or profit. Men have overruled their pain and soul’s delight, taught to think of themselves as “mechanisms”. Such an estrangement wounds very deeply; it has gone on so long and is so taken for granted that healing individuals, let alone a whole gender, is a dubious undertaking. But the beat goes on, the Saturnian shadow lives, the only game in town, and shame on the defector. The wounding is institutionalized and sanctified, and men unwittingly collude in their own crucifixion.

…How difficult it is for modern men to cross the great abyss without any help! The rituals have not been preserved, there are almost no wise elders left, and at least some model of the transition of a man to a state of maturity is missing. So most of us stay with our individual addictions, boasting about our dubious macho compensation, and much more often suffering alone from shame and indecision.

…When men feel the wound that cannot heal, they either bury themselves in woman’s arms and ask her for healing, which she cannot provide, or they hide themselves in macho pride and enforced loneliness.

…To leave the comforts of home, the mother world, one must have some place to go. Admittedly, the rites of passage of traditional cultures were to initiate the youth into a simpler society, a more homogenous culture than ours. As well, their interest lay not in the individuation of the person but in the integration of the unformed person into the collective definition of tribal masculinity. Still, take away such psychically charged images of identity, take away the wisdom of the elders, take away the community of men, and one has the modern world.~

~James Hollis. Selected quotes from: Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men

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