TOPAZ Issue 9 / 2004
Welcome
Likes And Dislikes
North American Template Homestead
Balanced nutritional habits
In the Quest of the Man
The Honour between Men
Understandings about the xx and xy gender
Success: An end result or a way of life?
Gender and Singing - a Musical Exploration

In the Quest of the Man, about males, men and gentlemen

Out from his value for each gender, their different strengths and qualities, Roland Böhringer explores some of the ingredients that make a man a richer man.

Over the last 30 years, and increasingly so, women have been entering the domains that were traditionally reserved solely for men. In many professions they are now established on equal footing to men, and in some, especially when teamwork is required, they surpass them. This has been both impressive for men to witness, and yet can also tend to stir an innate insecurity. Man has witnessed the feminine strengths of persistence and tenacity, communication skills, diplomacy, intelligence and common sense and, of course, charm.

So what does this mean for the men? Will this stir us to further development in our inherent strengths and qualities, updating our view on what it means to be a man in the twenty-first century? Without this, it is unlikely that the best of both genders can begin to co-operate in making a better future for all. In strength the genders can work together, in weakness they battle.

The contemporary man: a short look at the media

We can see some of these developments appearing in films and in the media. One of these is the film ‘What Women Want’ in which Helen Hunt plays a part where she gets the job of art director in competition with Mel Gibson’s character. Although Mel Gibson determines to take revenge for his defeat, he becomes reflective about his behaviour and comes clean - leading, of course, into a new romance.

The film ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ gives a humorous insight into the decision-making process between a Greek restaurant-owner and his energetic wife - clearly the real boss. She wants their daughter to be allowed to work in a travel-agency, and in a very humorous scene, she creates the circumstances where her husband believes that he has come up with the idea that the daughter should take the job. Afterwards he is pleased with himself and feels confirmed that he has solved a family issue that was brought to him. The wife wins too as she manages to get her way.

These two films humorously reflect many of today’s realities and scenarios within the exchange of the genders.

What could be the focus of a man’s inner development?

Let us start with a thesis: As long as human-ness and ongoing personal growth are not the joint endeavour of both genders, then neither of them will be able to realise and actualise their full spiritual potential.

Our mutual intention could be respect, shared support and true, lived humanity. This aspect of a declared, mutual endeavour is often curiously overlooked in the debate between the genders. Such an approach could lead to a softening of barriers that exist and into a greater joint understanding, as both genders in partnership set themselves a common purpose, each to then freely express their distinct way and style in this greater endeavour.

It is clear that this is easier said than done. However when one manages, by actual common sense, to agree on a common intention that has an overriding importance to both, it becomes a sanctuary to return to when the going gets tough. Returning to respect, mutual support, humanity can lead us further forward, for otherwise we can only come back to ways governed by our past – whether governed by genetic, cultural, moral or other determination.

The idea of being a man

Somewhere it is said that a real man should beget a child, plant a tree and write a book. I find this an interesting consideration. The first speaks of a physical ability to fertilise life and continue the genetic line, the second speaks of an ability to care for and protect life and nature and the third of gathering knowledge and wisdom that is worthy to be passed on. Together they indicate three levels in a man, similar to the idea of body, soul and mind, and to which perhaps we can ascribe the names, male, man and gentleman.

Sometimes when we talk in a descriptive way about men, we hear ourselves use words like ‘a good bloke’ or, ‘a real man’ or ‘a man of honour’. Looking at these expressions, what kind of qualities come to mind? Well, here is my attempt to indicate some of the qualities that we can perhaps attribute in the distinction of the male, the man and the gentleman aspect of a person.

Male

Man

The Gentleman

  • Physical power, vitality and good stamina.
  • Robust, prompt and handy.
  • Healthy curiosity, discovery and pragmatic.
  • There when needed.
  • An adventurer.
  • A strong interest in broadening horizons.
  • Patient, polite, respectful and protective.
  • A good teamworker.
  • Aware of his strengths and weaknesses.
  • The ability to laugh at self.
  • An ability to admit to mistakes made.
  • Courage and steadfastness.
  • Honour.
  • His life stands for definite ideas and principles.
  • The ability to handle and live with responsibilities.
  • Reliable and with integrity.
  • Generous, helpful with a humane disposition.
  • Exchanges from accrued wisdom out from his actual experience.

Perhaps one might also say that the male works to develop self-control, the man works to understand himself and the gentleman works to learn how to best apply his self-awareness in a wise manner.

I appreciate that these distinctions[note 1] set out in this way may appear a touch too simplistic and cut and dried, for all three mix and permeate in us as men in everyday life. However I have found this a useful means of understanding the trend of my own life in relation to my own development as a man.

To conclude, here is a philosophical contemplation on the nature of both genders:

Might it be...
... that a woman carries all that she is within her, but needs to unlock it, whilst the man needs to discover and unlock what he can become?
... that a woman needs to free her future from within, whilst a man needs to win his future every day anew?
... that both man and lady can discover and find the higher nature of their own spiritual being in the other gender?

To me there is so much yet to be discovered about the future and the development of both genders. This is a small contribution into a great issue and debate. In the article 'The Honour of Men' you can find interesting video recommendations about this subject.

Note 1: inspired by workshops with Mary Noble, co-founder of the international Feminenza network (see interview on page 13) and the book, ‘A Feminenza Trace of Essences and Elements’, ISBN 0 952 1674 68.

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