Emerson famously said “society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” 

My guest today says things have gotten a lot worse since Emerson uttered those words over a century and a half ago. His name is Robert Twigger. We last had him on the show to discuss his book Micromastery. Today we discuss a book he wrote 20 years ago called Being a Man in the Lousy Modern World. We begin our conversation discussing how the modern world infantilizes men so they’re easier to control, and whether Robert thinks things have changed since he initially published the book. We then dig into the four factors Robert says need to be in place for a man to feel like a man, and why experiencing these qualities has become harder to do in the present age. We then discuss what Robert did to counter the currents of modern malaise like hiking the Pyrenees mountains and learning a martial art, and whether doing those things actually made him feel manlier. We end our conversation with what men can do to start fighting back against the conspiracy against their manhood.

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Show Highlights

The impetus for this book when Robert wrote it 20 years ago What is it about the modern world that makes manliness feel obsolete?How the modern world keeps us perpetually children The 4 factors to be in place for a man to really be a man Watered down modern rituals Is courage truly rare? How do we test ourselves?What is it about handiness that makes you feel manly?Violence and manliness Passivity vs. action Society’s disservice to boys and men How to find courage, rites of passage, and adventure in our world Do these self-made rites of passage make a difference in your psyche? What Robert’s kids thought about the book What can men do today to start feeling more masculine? 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

My first interview with Robert about micromasteryPodcast: How to Be Braver9 Ways to Become More CouragousMy 8-Week Microadventure ChallengeShadow Work and the Rise of Middle-Class SerfdomDeveloping the Heroic ImaginationHow to Create Your Own Rites of PassagePodcast: A Man’s Need for RitualCourage vs. Boldness: How to Live With Spartan Bravery100 Skills Every Man Should KnowA Call for a New Strenuous AgeWhen Violence Is the AnswerThe 3 P’s of Manhood: ProtectWhy Every Man Should Be StrongYou’ve Got to Be a Man, Before You Can Be a Gentleman Meditations on the Wisdom of ActionRide the DissonanceThe Magic of WalkingCenter for Practical Wisdom 

Being a Man book cover by Robert Twigger.

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Read the Transcript

Brett McKay: Brett McKay here and welcome to another edition