Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Manhood Means Responsibility

March 25th, 2015 by G.

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.


Comments (4)
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March 25th, 2015 07:00:46

Bruce Charlton
March 25, 2015

Until about 40 years ago, the English educational system was (for better and worse) a series of one-off chances.

At 11 you sat an exam on one day which decided whether you went to an academic grammar school or a non-academic secondary modern school.

At 16 you sat O-levels which determined what you could study at A-level (18 years old) which determined what you could study at university.

At the higher level of selection there were no second chances – if you re-sat O or A levels then it did not really count.

At college, all marks came from supervised exams (as did O and A levels) and you only had one attempt at your final exam, the grade from which you carried the rest of your life.

All this has now gone – for better and worse. The problem is that people pretend that nothing significant has changed, and deny the qualitative discontinuity.

March 25, 2015

Today we have responsibility and authority without consequences for failure. Good intentions are excuse enough in cases of failure, and are used to grant a second (and a third and a fourth) chance to the same failed policies and people.

Robert A. Heinlein
March 25, 2015

Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal — else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. The unlimited democracies were unstable because their citizens were not responsible for the fashion in which they exerted their sovereign authority …other than through the tragic logic of history.

March 25, 2015

The modern world is losing its concept of responsibility.
For many high in politics, taking responsibility, is a joke and a dodge. Lois Lerner has yet to be punished, and is in fact receiving bonuses. Hillary is not going to be punished for her private server.

Likewise, too many churches don’t hold people fully responsible either, excusing too much.

Those in power, politics, business or otherwise, are not beholden the way the rest of us are. But society at large learns from them.

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