I want to clarify the line between men in general and patriarchal values propagated and imposed on human society.
In order for patriarchy to succeed, it had to kill more efficiently than the nine months gestation it took for a woman to give birth. So the craft of war became more than simply defending territory. It became the ritualized erasure of our human nature for the rule of centralized power.
And no, it hasn't succeeded in diminishing the human population on this planet but it has succeeded in sustaining an ideology of what it means to be a man.
Civilizations built on myths of great conquerors. Histories about the exploits of the greatest killers. Inventions of race, religious ideology and ritual that transformed the teachings of thoughtful prophets into crusades. Endless games of winning and losing. Men who celebrate life through medicine, science, education, art, philosophy and poetry must be dismissed as soft, shamed as effeminate.
Where does "Greatness" come from? The imagination? Facts? Confidence? A willing suspension of disbelief in a slogan that makes us happy? A capacity to judge well? An ability to observe and find solutions that benefit most if not all? Taking responsibility for the community? A masters degree from Oxford or Yale?
Let me offer the opinion that greatness comes from extraordinary effort or talent. Greatness as it may exist in our anonymous ambitions does not win fame except in isolated circumstances. That is to say, fame is not a realistic goal for an individual.
Greatness is like a dove in the imagination, an angel, a temporary insight, a fleeting epiphany. Something aspired to in the privacy of our minds.
Greatness was an ambition I held when I was a teen and had no proof that I was good at anything or useful to the world at all. After repeated criticism and dismissal from the community around me where I attempted to win something, anything, like a medal, a competition, or a…