Wednesday, January 14, 2015

anti-definition of cathedral manliness

Art of Manliness | When I first started the Art of Manliness, I didn’t put too much stock in physical strength as an important component of manhood. Strength of character, sure, but physical strength was more of a secondary pursuit. Maybe it was because I started AoM partly to get away from the overdone fetishization of getting ripped that was (and is) promoted by other men’s magazines. Maybe it was because I wasn’t in shape myself at the time. (We often construct our definition of manhood in accordance with that which describes ourselves best, and I’m certainly not immune to this temptation!). I had played football in high school, but after going to college, my workouts became halfhearted and sporadic. This was especially true in law school — between trying to keep up my grades and running a fledgling blog, exercise just wasn’t a top priority.
Over the last couple years, however, working out, and lifting weights in particular, has become a fundamental part of my life. It started with my 90-day testosterone experiment; I started exercising regularly to see what effect it would have on my T levels. When the official experiment ended, the habit stuck. I went from being fairly indifferent to exercise, to looking forward to my workouts as my favorite part of the day. And I found that building my body changed the way I felt and carried myself as a man.
At the same time, my research into the core of masculinity gave me a theoretical understanding of the role of strength in the ancient, universal code of manhood. This research convinced me that strength forms the nucleus of manliness, as it truly makes all the other manly virtues possible.
Over time then, the importance of strength-building to a man’s virility sunk into both my mind and my bones. Strength may not seem very necessary in today’s world where most men sit behind desks at work all day. But being strong is never a disadvantage, and it is frequently quite beneficial on a variety of fronts. Most importantly, strength forms the backbone of the code of manhood. Today I’d like to talk about why.