What’s the difference between boyhood and manhood?

Acceptance of responsibility.

Whatever local rites and customs, my gut tells me that acceptance of responsibility underlies them all.   Bear with me while I throw around some thoughts about it.

  • a therapeutic culture is particularly deadly to manliness. Special snowflake syndrome means you have nothing to strive for, therefore nothing to take responsibility for.
  • Responsibility is glory
  • Mormon missions are great rites of passage because the salvation and exaltation of souls is a supreme responsibility
  • Marriage and childbearing is a natural rite of passage.  No cultural agreement needed to make it so.
  • No responsibility without authority. That is the basic germ of patriarchy.
  • Can responsibility exceed your capacity so much that it decreases your manhood? Probably. Because massive failure constrains your future ability to take on and acquit yourself of responsibilities.
  • America is the land of second chances. Is this foreigners often see us as a childish country?
  • The cowboy film is concentrated manliness because the cowboy rides into town, solves the problem, and then leaves. It is nothing but assuming responsibility. The cowboy film is also quintessentially American. How to reconcile that with the endless American capacity for reinvention?
  • Reinvention: abandoning your old manhood, and starting over again. Retransitioning from boyhood to manhood
  • Wider spheres of responsibility may just mean wider spheres of helplessness.  Manhood is helplessness?  Action is responsibility.  Action is risk.  Action is vulnerability.
  • Full responsibility is impossible for mortals. Any sober, sane, adult judgment—any manly judgment—will conclude that we need second chances and a divine backstop and tutelage. We are still apprentices. We are still boys. Of such is the kingdom of heaven.


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