ABOUT MASCULENITY

Posted by Tolga Ergin on

THE CONFLICT BINDRUNE
Several readers have asked about the meaning of the Conflict Bindrune that appears on the back cover of Becoming a Barbarian.
In the opening chapter of Becoming a Barbarian, I made the point (as I have in several other essays and speeches) that masculinity is action-oriented. Masculinity reaches its most perfect form in life-or-death conflict — in a battle between the individual man and the natural world, which includes other men. This does not mean that there are no other aspects of masculinity, or that masculinity is absent in the absence of conflict. It simply means that if you conceptually map out the differences between male and female humans at their extreme opposite points, the perfect feminine nurtures life and the perfect masculine fights.
It is tempting to say that the perfect masculine fights for human life or to defend human life. That argument could be framed in evolutionary and biological terms, but this seems unnecessary. Adding that hint of heroic narrative to something so primal seems bound to touch off a pointless circle-jerk about how noble and valorous men are for doing what they want to do anyway. Men often fight for the sake of fighting, or for personal gain, and in some sense this is genetic competition that supports life. But it is more truthful to say that masculinity in its most perfect form is about fighting, and leave it at that.
It could also be argued more broadly that living itself is a form of conflict. As I wrote in Becoming a Barbarian:
“All of our life stories are a collection of highs and lows, of victories and defeats, of struggles and overcoming. Without conflict, no life story is worth telling. Without conflict and struggle, the answer to the question ‘What happened?’ is: ‘Nothing.’
Like Odin and Thor, we know we will die, but unless we fight, we are already as good as dead.
Better to live vigorously, better to fight, than to simply wait for the end…in peace.”
The conflict bindrune is essentially an inverted peace sign, used to illustrate this point. It is a synthesis of contemporary and ancient symbols that results in a new symbol that captures a basic human truth about men and life that is too easily forgotten in this age of safety and comfort facilitated by wealth and technology.
The conflict bindrune was designed to visually convey this truth:
“Life is Conflict. Peace is Death.”
 

WRITTEN BY - Jack Donovan


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