Friday, February 14, 2014

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Contemporary Literature and Modern Manhood

          I've been working on comparing and contrasting these novels, Mist by Miguel de Unamuno and The Tunnel by Ernesto Sábato. We were also required to read an essay by Milan Kundera which talks about the history of novels, which details the way they've been changing from Don Quixiote to existentialism, and he argues that the problem with modern literature is that real problems such as war, famine, plagues, or just the need to chop some wood and build a fire. 

          What does this do? This gives us time. Both Mist and The Tunnel are about a man who falls in love with a woman. One's set in a sarcastic tone, one's set in a dark tone, but the same thing happens in both, which is that the man gets so involved and so obsessed with his woman that he begins to put her needs above his while the woman doesn't even give anything back. One of the men spends the book trying to kill himself and the other ends up killing the woman. 

         Kundera expresses the opinion, which holds pretty close to reality, that novels reflect the reality of society's situation at the time. Don Quixiote was about the dual nature of reality and a man's idealism. This was written when the Spanish Empire was thriving. You can choose any novel you want and you'll find something similar. The same goes for any manifesto, any essay, a damn piece of writing on the wall. 

Fucking writing on the wall.
         So, how does this reflect contemporary man's reality? We don't have to hunt, we don't fight each other, hell, it's hard to fight each other without breaking the law now, we don't have wars, at least in (most of) the Western World, we don't have tribes, we don't manage ourselves the same way that cavemen used to. And now we're supposed to be all politically correct because somebody will be offended, which is, pretty much just a whine. We have time. With time, and nothing to fix, nothing to keep our minds, we create our own problems, like the men in the novels who would do anything to please their women. 

             Another thing is the heavy influence that feminism has had on society. I respect what the movement stood for at first, but it has been transforming to such an extent that lead it to extremism, which is not good in any context. Although it's not just that. There's also the anti-bullying. It's all right, discrimination's something ugly and you're not going to just pester somebody because they're different, but you're not going to glorify things that will affect your health in the long run. There's fat acceptance, for example, which at first was meant to prevent people from discriminating on those who are overweight, obese, and all, but it's not an acceptable excuse to be fat, and for those who argue that being fat is healthy, a quick, superficial investigation should suffice to change your point of view. 

Modern man.
        But lo and behold, I'm treading too deep in just one point. There is a suppression of competition, and many see the ideal and instead of trying to reach it, they try to bring it down, like crabs in a bucket. The need to please others before pleasing yourself is only one of the many problems that men have created for themselves, as is apparent. Here we have a whole generation of males who have been told that they should be ashamed of being raw and crude with their way of being when, throughout thousands of years, it's worked out. Another example is that many men don't work out at all anymore. Intellectuals can claim that they work out their minds, but even the great Greek philosophers worked out and considered that everybody should be able to see the capacity of strength and power that their bodies have.

Here you see Plato and Aristotle with invisible basketballs.
            When you get yourself busy, you'll notice a change, which is that you'll get more things to do without even having to seek them out, and things that appeared pretty meaningful before will become trivial compared to what you're doing, because now you're actually getting busy with real shit. It's like what happens in American Beauty. Once the narrator actually gets busy, he develops this aura that causes awe in others. If you read contemporary literature, you'll find that many of the main characters are men with weak willpower who never put themselves before others. 

         Don't be the contemporary man. Be like the men of ancient lore, those who were willing to fight a fucking windmill for the thrill and bravery (Note, I do not condone fighting windmills, people will believe you're high on acid). Be like the Greek philosopher, the Rennaisance man. Be yourself, but always be better than what you were the day before.

Grow some facial hair if you can as well. That's cool.