Authoritarianism and Fascism as Faux Masculinity

We are meditating lately on a very important topic: that of recovering the healthy (sacred) masculine.  To talk about recovering the healthy masculine is to say that it has been lost or shelved, forgotten or smothered.  Has it? 

Professor Scott Galloway and The Washington Post’s Christine Emba discuss the ideas behind Emba’s latest opinion piece ‘Men are lost. Here’s a map out of the wilderness.’ MSNBC

One looks around the world today and sees all the strutting men on the world stage with “strongmen” aspirations surrounded by strongmen worshippers clinging to them, treating them as idols, as bearers of truth.  It seems that lost and confused masculinity is a clear—and sad and dangerous–sign of our times.

We see the rise of authoritarianism and the yearning for it: Quick answers to complex situations.  Call it “institutional violence.”  Call it “Only I can fix it.”  Call it: “Control and power for power sake.”  Call it: “Fascism.”  Call it “Faux Masculinity.”  Call it: “The reptilian brain out of control seeking to smother the mammalian and compassionate brain.” 

We also see many violent men, young men in particular, violent to themselves (suicides four times that of women) and violent toward others (95% of mass shooters are men and most are young men). 

The “I’m Just Ken” dance scene from Barbie explores the journey from solitary, fragile toxic masculinity to becoming a man among men. Movie Scenes

What to do about it?  That is what these meditations are about.  It is time to recover the healthy masculine.  The problem is not just with men—many women are very much involved in the hero worship and blind  projections onto strongmen that dominate our times. 

Faux strong men are actually very weak men who lack a center and need outside props to justify their existence and/or their manhood.  Outside props like unbridled amounts of power and acting beyond rules and laws and truth altogether and feeling entitled to do so.  Men in need of self-adulation and self-worship.

A healthy man looks deeply at himself.  That is often hard to do.  That is why meditating on deep archetypes of authentic masculinity, that offer  alternative views of manhood, is so important.


See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.

Banner Image: “The Kindergarten.” Image by Daniel Arrhakis on Flickr.


Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize aspirations toward authoritarianism and fascism in our time as instances of faux masculinity?  Can the archetypes of Father Sky and the Green Man that we have been meditating on assist us to move beyond faux masculinity?


Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God


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7 thoughts on “Authoritarianism and Fascism as Faux Masculinity”

  1. Avatar

    Yes I agree that the Archetypes of Father Sky and the Green Man can assist brothers in identifying with a healthy/balanced image of masculinity. Brothers need to mentor brothers, in order for men to engage with archetypes; through ceremonies and rituals created by men, preferably in nature, which is more natural for them to relate to. Many young boys and adolescents are experiencing the absence of a father in their lives, being raised solely by their mothers; and this has created deep wounds in brothers.

    With all due respect to the feminist women’s movement, there unfortunately is still a lot of male bashing and dare I say hate directed towards men. Which means there is still a lot of healing that needs to unfold, evolve and emerge within women and their own identification with their inner masculine aspect of self… which I believe can be accelerated as men begin to converge with a new vision of masculinity within themselves.

    The Shaman is another wonderful archetype, of the wounded healer, healing thyself and then assisting others to do the same… (regardless of gender). Shamanic Drumming is an ancient ceremonial, meditative, spiritual practice that I sense easily appeals to brothers; which could assist brothers in accessing the unconscious aspects of not only their masculinity but the depths of their soul as well.

  2. Avatar

    Yes!Yes! Matthew! Your book, “The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine” is a timeless message to help heal and guide men and women to restore a healthy balance of Sacred Masculine Energy with Divine Feminine Energy on a personal and societal level. As part of the great review of the book above says, “These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.”
    In the human spiritual evolution of our souls, I believe we have all been called to integrate our Divine Male and Female Spiritual Energies. The imbalance of these inner spiritual energies, and the consequent toxic masculinity, have prevailed for too long in human history up to our present modern times with patriarchal values and beliefs in human societies causing destructiveness and human suffering, mainly to women, Indigenous peoples, and to our beautiful Sacred Mother Earth and all Her creatures and graceful abundance, the source of All Life on earth, including our own human species.

  3. Avatar

    I find the picture at the top of todays meditation troubling. Not because it’s not apt, but because we, who follow your meditations, are struggling to be better than this. Portraying others like this is simply being the way we were, and still are at times. But I strive to be better; to see the Christ in all others. This means I must stop myself from taking cheap shots at everyone. I pray that these men and so many others, may find the grace to be better, to do better. I pray that I, and so many others, may find the grace to be better and to do better.

  4. Avatar

    The problem is not in the message, with which I agree for the most part. It is both men and women, as we can see played out in Congress by the shameful behavior of both. The problem is how to reach those who are suffering from the lack of any kind of compassion or sense of real community. Dr. King’s beloved community seems very far off. But, as Richard Rohr and others have said, the best way to deal with the bad is the practice of the better. I think we need to stretch our own compassion and love to those who are doing such damage, to try to listen and engage whenever we can, and pray without ceasing.

  5. Avatar

    Author John Eldredge has made similar observations from an evangelical perspective. After reading his book “Wild at Heart” nearly 20 years ago, I saw the deficits in my life — this despite that I was never physically or sexually abusive toward women.

    I’m also a musician and thus have come to the understanding of the life of the heart. I’ve play big-band jazz in a specific band for 17 years and received some unexpected “fathering” from older band members when I decided to write music for the band — one man who would be my father’s age were Dad still here said, “You know what you’re doing.”

  6. Avatar
    Margaret A Murphy

    We have all been victims of Masculine Control-Superiority for —————–years!!!!!!!!!!
    Organized Religion has played a huge role in this as women were totally CONTOLLED by RELIGIOUS MALES.
    Well those days are over.
    And things will only change when Religious Male Groups face the reality of this FACT!!!!!!!!

    We are all EQUAL !

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