Hierarchy, Structure And Challenge – How Men Thrive

As men we thrive on hierarchy, structure and challenge. In tribal societies it is through challenge that men establish hierarchy and prove that they are men.

As men we thrive on hierarchy, structure and challenge. In tribal societies it is through challenge that men establish hierarchy and prove that they are men.

In those societies there was a powerful need for this behaviour, need based on the survival of the tribe. Is that need still there for men?

As men we seem to need to judge other men, as potential rivals, as standards to measure ourselves against, even as drivers to push ourselves on. This can work on a primitive level but mostly it creates a sense of defensiveness in men, a need to justify who or what we are.

We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.
—Paulo Coelho

Tam Matlack, of The Good Men Project, recently wrote on ‘Why We Don’t Need A Men’s Movement To Be Good Men‘ in Huffington Post. In it he says,

… we have to have the guts to talk about the male experience with our own voices, digging beyond the discomfort to the truth of what it means to be a man amidst all the conflicting expectations and confusion about what is really important …

He says this in relation to the issues of divorce and fatherhood, but it’s applicability is much more general. As men we need to look at ourselves and talk about who we are and what we do.

Jayson Gaddis, in “Deep Community“, talks about a more generalised sense of community, the possibility of a real, conscious community, a type of idealised family. He says,

We all long to belong and be a part of a tribe, a real family where acceptance and love are actually practiced and not given lip service due to everyone’s neurotic limitations. And because of this longing, we must not expect the community to save us or make us feel better.

That’s right, we need to be responsible for saving ourselves, for making ourselves feel better.

Not only are men drifting together in groups to complain about how society and the media are sapping their power and portraying them as a gender that has been found wanting but also individuals are becoming more vociferous in their desire to be supported in what they want or need. As men we still seem to want our mothers to come and make it better for us, hierarchy structure and challenge.

Why is Hierarchy Structure and Challenge important to me?

This site is based on my life and experience and on my approach to the issues of men, and I have become aware of my personal contribution to this situation. I have realised the extent to which I have been judgemental and critical of other men. The individual effect may be small but the cumulative effect of all the men I influence doing it is potentially huge.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
—Carl Gustav Jung

In a recent post, ‘Masculinity Required‘, I said in relation to other groups of men,

Egocentric is the level of selfishness, we think of ourselves and our needs. This makes sense for ‘Macho Man’, Alpha Males’ and the ‘PUA’. These men are only thinking of themselves and their immediate needs. They have, therefore, a need to dominate others, particularly women. Relationship is not important to them and they simply don’t care about the needs of others.

This is unnecessarily judgemental and only serves to divide men. I don’t agree with their ideas and methods but that doesn’t give me the right to judge them according to my rules. I believe that what irritates us about others not only leads to an understanding of ourselves but also projects what irritates us about ourselves. Our perception is purely our creation so our judgements are merely of ourselves.

Judgements prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.
—Wayne Dyer

This site is about creating change from within, an alternative to hierarchy structure and challenge. It’s about men seeing what is inside themselves and using that to change themselves and thereby creating and encouraging change in the world. If I don’t start right here, then I can’t expect any useful or effective change.

I am, therefore, making a commitment that I will no longer accept judgement by me in my life or in these pages. I will work to create change in myself, and others, from a position of strength and authenticity, not hierachy structure or challenge. My intention is to congruence between my message and how I say it and to show others that it can be done with elegance. My hope is that this will inspire and encourage others.


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