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True Manliness vs. False Manliness: How True Are You?

The following is an essay I found written by James Freeman Clarke, in 1886, two years before his death. He writes about how it might be difficult to tell the difference between a real man and a fake man. With different times (125 years) comes a vast difference in colloquialisms and inference to the differences of man and woman, parent and child, as well as race… don’t read this as if this was written today, read it as if you are living in 1886 and you will see much can be taken from this essay about general ‘good’ behavior and what it means to be a gentleman. At the bottom feel free to spread the word about the essay, and/or leave a comment. Enjoy. 

James Freeman Clarke

True and False Manliness

MANLINESS means perfect manhood, as womanliness implies perfect womanhood. Manliness is the character of a man as he ought to be, as he was meant to be. It expresses the qualities which go to make a perfect man, — truth, courage, conscience, freedom, energy, self-possession, self-control. But it does not exclude gentleness, tenderness, compassion, modesty. A man is not less manly, but more so, because he is gentle. In fact, our word ” gentleman ” shows that a typical man must also be a gentle man.

By manly qualities the world is carried forward. The manly spirit shows itself in enterprise, the love of meeting difficulties and overcoming them, — the resolution which will not yield, which patiently perseveres, and does not admit the possibility of defeat. It enjoys hard toil, rejoices in stern labor, is ready to make sacrifices, to suffer and bear disaster patiently. It is generous, giving itself to a good cause not its own ; it is public-spirited, devoting itself to the general good with no expectation of reward. It is ready to defend unpopular truth, to stand by those who are wronged, to uphold the weak. Having resolved, it does not go back, but holds on, through good report and evil, sure that the right must win at last. And so it causes truth to prevail, and keeps up the standard of a noble purpose in the world.

But as most good things have their counterfeits, so there is false manliness which imitates these great qualities, though at heart it is without them. Instead of strength of will, it is only willful; in place of courage, it has audacity. True manliness does what it believes right; false manliness, does what it chooses to do. Freedom, to one, means following his own convictions of truth; to the other it means thinking as he pleases, and doing as he likes. The one is reverent, the other rude; one is courteous, the other overbearing ; one is brave, the other foolhardy; one is modest, the other self-asserting. False manliness is cynical, contemptuous, and tyrannical to inferiors. The true man has respect for all men, is tender to the sufferer, is modest and kind. The good type uses its strength to maintain good customs, to improve the social condition, to defend order. The other imagines it to be manly to defy law, to be independent of the opinions of the wise, to sneer at moral obligation, to consider itself superior to the established principles of mankind.

A false notion of manliness leads boys astray.

All boys wish to be manly; but they often try to become so by copying the vices of men rather than their virtues. They see men drinking, smoking, swearing; so these poor little fellows sedulously imitate such bad habits, thinking they are making themselves more like men. They mistake rudeness for strength, disrespect to parents for independence. They read wretched stories about boy brigands and boy detectives, and fancy themselves heroes when they break the laws, and become troublesome and mischievous. Out of such false influences the criminal classes are recruited. Many a little boy who only wishes to be manly, becomes corrupted and debased by the bad examples around him and the bad literature which he reads. The cure for this is to give him good books that show him truly noble examples from life and history, and make him understand how infinitely above this mock-manliness is the true courage which ennobles human nature.

In a recent awful disaster, amid the blackness and darkness and tempest, the implacable sea and the pitiless storm, — when men’s hearts were failing them from terror, and women and children had no support but faith in a Divine Providence and a coming immortality, — the dreadful scene was illuminated by the courage and manly devotion of those who risked their own lives to save the lives of others. Such heroism is like a sunbeam breaking through the tempest. It shows us the real worth there is in man.

No matter how selfish mankind may seem, whenever hours like these come, which try men’s souls, they show that the age of chivalry has not gone; that though

” The knights are dust, and their good swords rust,”

there are as high-hearted heroes now as ever. Firemen rush into a flaming house to save women and children. Sailors take their lives in their hands to rescue their fellow-men from a wreck. They save them at this great risk, not because they are friends or relatives, but because they are fellow-men.

Courage is an element of manliness. It is more than readiness to encounter danger and death, for we are not often called to meet such perils. It is every-day courage which is most needed,—that which shrinks from no duty because it is difficult; which makes one ready to say what he believes, when his opinions are unpopular; which does not allow him to postpone a duty, but makes him ready to encounter it at once; a courage which is not afraid of ridicule when one believes himself right; which is not the slave of custom, the fool of fashion. Such courage as this, in man or woman or child, is true manliness. It is infinitely becoming in all persons. It does not seek display, it is often the courage of silence no less than speech; it is modest courage, unpretending though resolute. It holds fast to its convictions and principles, whether men hear or whether they forbear.

Truthfulness is another element of true manliness.

Lies usually come from cowardice, because men are afraid of standing by their flag, because they shrink from opposition, or because they are conscious of something wrong which they cannot defend, and so conceal. Secret faults, secret purposes, habits of conduct of which we are ashamed, lead to falsehood, and falsehood is cowardice. And thus the sinner is almost necessarily a coward. He shrinks from the light; he hides himself in darkness. Therefore if we wish to be manly, we must not do anything of which we are ashamed. He who lives by firm principles of truth and right, who deceives no one, injures no one, who therefore has nothing to hide, he alone is manly. The bad man may be audacious, but he has no true courage. His manliness is only a pretence, an empty shell, a bold demeanor, with no real firmness behind it.

True manliness is humane. It says, “We who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.” Its work is to protect those who cannot defend themselves; to stand between the tyrant and the slave, the oppressor and his victim. It is identical in all times with the spirit of chivalry which led the good knights to wander in search of robbers, giants, and tyrannical lords, those who oppressed the poor and robbed helpless women and orphans of their rights. There are no tyrant barons now, but the spirit of tyranny and cruelty is still to be found. The good knight to-day is he who provides help for the blind, the deaf and dumb,the insane; who defends animals from being cruelly treated, rescues little children from bad usage, and seeks to give working men and women their rights. He protects all these sufferers from that false manliness which is brutal and tyrannical to the weak, abusing its power over women and children and domestic animals. The true knights to-day are those who organize and carry on the societies to prevent cruelty, or to enforce the laws against those who for a little gain make men drunkards. The giants and dragons to-day are those cruelties and brutalities which use their power to ill-treat those who are at their mercy.

True manliness is tender and loving; false manliness, cold and hard, cynical and contemptuous. The bravest and most heroic souls are usually the most loving. Garibaldi, Kossuth, Mazzini, the heroes of our times; Luther, who never feared the face of man; Gustavus -Adolphus and William of Orange, are examples of this union of courage and tenderness. Bold as lions in the defense of the right, such men in their homes and their private life have a womanly gentleness. False manliness is unfeeling, with no kindly sympathies, rude and rough and overbearing. True manliness is temperate; it is moderate, it exercises self-control, it is capable of self-denial and renunciation. False manliness is self-willed and self-indulgent…….

True manliness differs also from the false in its attitude to woman. Its knightly feeling makes it wish to defend her rights, to maintain her claims, to be her protector and advocate. False manliness wishes to show its superiority by treating women as inferiors. It flatters them, but it does not respect them. It fears their competition on equal levels, and wishes to keep them confined, not within walls, as in the Mohammedan regions, but behind the more subtle barriers of opinion, prejudice, and supposed feminine aptitudes. True manliness holds out the hand to woman, and says, ” Do whatever you are able to do; whatever God meant you to do. Neither you nor I can tell what that is till all artificial barriers are removed, and you have full opportunity to try.” Manly strength respects womanly purity, sympathy, and grace of heart. And this is the real chivalry of the present hour.

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The 1 to 10 Hotness Scale For Women, Explained In Detail

This may seem like an odd topic for me to talk about, one that might get me a lot of flak from men. I assure you, I’m not breaking any man laws. But lately I seem to have gotten into a few arguments about the 1 to 10 scale with a few women. Most find it stupid, while others find it demeaning. This post will explain the inner workings of the 1 to 10 scale that men use oh so much and I will also explain why women shouldn’t have a problem with it.

The 1 to 10 scale is something every man intrinsically knows and yet it still can take a lot to explain it in full detail. If you want to add something, by all means do.

First off, women need to understand that their rank on the 1 to 10 scale is not set in stone… it can vary greatly by demographic (sample size) as well as vary from person to person. We can safely assume that a rank of 5 is considered “average” among the given demographic. If a woman finds out someone has ranked her as a 5, she needs to realize that is not a bad number. This means that, on average, half the men in her demographic will find her sexually attractive… which are, in fact, decent numbers. Not to mention, of those men, some will see the “5” as an 8. What this shows is that a girl might be ranked a 3 or 4 in her given demographic yet still have a decent percentage of men exhibiting sexual interest.

Now, for example, lets use high-school as an example demographic. If a boy in high-school ranks a girl as a 10, then that means she is one of the (if not the) most pretty girls of the other girls in her school. But once she goes off to college, she is now thrown into a larger demographic, the college demographic… full of women in their utmost prime, so her once to be 10 rank now is most likely to drop to an 8 or 9 unless of course she really is that gorgeous.

If you take this same woman and set the demographic to the size of the state she’s in, the odds are her rank will drop to roughly an 8 on the 10 scale. Or better yet, the world… a once 10 rank will most likely be a 6 or 7 in the world.

Why, might you ask? Well, the once 10 ranked girl is now included on a 1 to 10 scale that includes people like Mila Kunis, Megan Fox, Kristin Bell, Olivia Wilde, Natalie Portman, or any of the Victoria’s Secret Super Models. But it also includes all the dirty, decrepit and homeless people that exist in the world.

So quite obviously you can see that the greater the demographic size the less likely a woman is to be on the high or low end of the spectrum. But that’s not all we can say, in fact, that’s the least we can say.

You also have to realize that the demographic is also different for each person. Because a guy is going to rate a girl on the 1 to 10 scale based off the environment he is in. Myself, being a senior in Aerospace Engineering at a big name university, will have a different ranking system for the women in my life than, say, somebody like Brad Pitt who is surrounded by all the women I listed above and is with one of the most gorgeous women in the world, Angelina Jolie.

The single most important understanding is that the scale tells no lies. While a girl might have an average ranking of 6 in her demographic, there will always be that somebody who sees her as a 9 or 10… and that is what matters.

- Timbo

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Random Act of Kindness Today

This evening I experienced a random act of kindness. In our busy world today nobody stops to care about other people’s situations. Everyone is cared about where they are going, what they are doing and if they have gotten a text yet. Once you stop and take a breath, you realize and take note of other people’s situations better than you thought you could. Next time you are walking or driving around, look and see what people are doing around you. Sometimes all people need to make their day that much better is a smile and hello.

As a member of the Air Force here on campus, it is our responsibility to put up and take down the central campus flags. This evening it was chilly, somewhere in the high teens low 20s. I was at central campus and my fellow wingman never showed to help me take down the flags. For those who have ever taken down flags before, it’s not easy with just one person. That is, if you plan to do it correctly and not let either of the 2 flags touch the ground as well as fold both of them correctly. As I was struggling taking down these flags, there were many students that looked over at me and continued on with their day.

(below you will see 2 photos of central campus… our weather right now is essentially in-between those 2 photos)

Until… one lady asked if I needed help. She helped me take down as well as fold the flags. Took about 5 minutes out of her day to help a random stranger. I thanked her greatly for her care to help me and then we both went on our way. There is an upside and a downside. The upside is that people still will take time out of their day just to help someone. The downside is that so many people didn’t even bother to care even when it involved the American Flag, a symbol of our society and a point of respect.

I challenge you, the next stranger you pass by… smile and say hello. I’m curious how many people will do it. Maybe you won’t and you’ll remember what I said and kick yourself for it. Or maybe you’ll do it, and when you do, you’ll feel noticeably better and you sure as hell made the other person feel better as well. If somebody looks like they need a quick hand, whether it be with groceries, holding the door because their hands are full, or whatever, help them!!!

Post a story of a random act of kindness you have either done or experienced… we need more of it in our ever busy world.

- Timbo

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The Beautiful Life Journey

If any of you have read the About Me section, you would see that I LOVE discussing the concept of life. Today, I got into a pretty awesome conversation about this with a pretty close friend (whom I will refer to as Ashley to keep anonymity) and every time such thought provoking discussion occurs, you can’t help but become inspired and love life’s opportunities that much more.

Life

We got to talking about how every little minute decision in our lives affect us. Ever little detail, whether it is intentional or not, can forever alter the outcome of your life. Ashley, is somebody who has really grown to become a really close person in my life and we just seem to click… there seem to be only a handful of those people in my life and it is most likely the same in your life. Just think about these people for a second. Think about the people that maintained their relationship with you from the transition from high-school to college and from college-and beyond. These are the people that are in your wedding or travel long distances just to spend a weekend with them.

Who are these people in your life? If you have a story, feel free to share it!

We began to discuss the happenstance of how we met and I would like to share it with you. My Freshman year of college, in the dorms, all the community advisors passed around a piece of paper to volunteer for work at a local haunted house. Now, I was contemplating signing up thinking it would be fun to scare the pants off some ladies (pun intended)… so I was the ONLY person in our dorm to sign-up for this. Now, working at this haunted house, I briefly, for only a few seconds, met Ashley and that was it.

Later, the next semester, spring semester… just by complete chance, we registered for the same English 250 class on campus. She chose that section of that class because it was section PB and she liked peanut butter ( I know, I love it). We kept exchanging glances of “do I know you?”. Eventually, that led to talking to each other.

Well, long story short, years down the road, we have a pretty tight friendship. And if I even so much as hesitated just slightly more not to put my name on that haunted house volunteer sign-up sheet… or had she not liked peanut butter, we probably would have never gotten to know each other. Sooo trippy.

And further more, how much has our relationship with each other, built and shaped each others lives? This is where it gets deep and you begin to ponder every minute detail in your life. Every person you ever interact with, even ever so briefly, can change your life without even knowing it. Every single decision you make, even the involuntary ones, can and will change your life forever.

This is why it is so important for you to take up opportunities presented to you, even if it’s as simple as signing up to volunteer work at a haunted house. The people who lead the best lives, the people who succeed at the goals they set, the people who are the happiest and have the most rewarding lives are the people who give themselves opportunity and people who take up the actions they might be hesitant to do. If you want your life changed for the better, just look at every person and every decision you make in your life as an opportunity. Because in this world, that’s the best we can do.

If you have an inspiring story or just want to share something, feel free to comment, I’d love to hear!

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