Dangerous On Demand: Authentic Protector
In our on-going examination of the “5-P’s” of Authentic Masculinity, I am going to drill-down into each individual “P” in detail, on a rotating basis.
Today’s examination deals with the privilege of being a protector. I will begin with this declarative statement: An Authentic Man has the ability to be dangerous on demand”. He possesses a certain level of knowledge, skills, physical abilities, and a proper mind-set, which enable him to quickly cycle through his “OODA Loop” (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act), to address threats, be they common, or uncommon.
When a threat materializes, and when identified, an Authentic Man will seamlessly cease being whatever he “is”, and will instantly become the warrior that nature designed him to be. The challenge is, our society tends to view male aggressiveness in negative terms. Let me be clear, an Authentic Man harnesses his natural aggressiveness in ways that benefit his family, and his community, and not for selfish gain, or for predatory ends.
An oft used analogy for the Authentic Protector is the “Sheep Dog”. The problem with this analogy is the Sheep Dog has one purpose: Protect the Sheep. That’s what Sheep Dogs do. This analogy won’t do, because we must fulfill several other roles, so many other “P’s”, just as effectively as we fulfil the role of protector. What the Sheep Dog lacks is balance. When contemplating my authentic role as a protector, I tend to think in classical terms, using classical examples from history. I think of the ancient Greeks, specifically the classical period, and more specifically, Spartans, Argosians, and Athenians.
Spartans are much admired, (and romanticized) as the ultimate warriors of the classical period. This reputation was well-earned. Spartan society was militaristic, and war was central to everything a (free) Spartan male did. Taken from his family as a child, a Spartan boy was raised to be “Always Dangerous”. Today we make blockbuster movies about 300 Spartans, have competitive events that all have “Spartan” in their names, and tee-shirts sporting “Molon Labe” as a cry against oppression. The problem with this is unless you were a free Spartan male, your life was that of a slave. Spartan males could spend their lives training for war, because they had slaves and serfs to do all the logistical work.
When someone says “ancient Greece”, do you think of Argos? If you don’t, there is a good reason why. Argosians could care less about preparing for war. Their philosophy was seek neutrality, and if that fails, capitulate. They were too busy working and enjoying themselves, to think about training for the fight. If a threat appears, try to avoid it, and if this is impossible, surrender without a fight. Males in Argos were “Never Dangerous”. The problem with this type of thinking is their survival was 100% dependent upon the good will of others.
Athens is considered the model Greek state, and classical Athenian culture the highest of all. Athens engaged in intellectual, artistic, and economic pursuits, and Athens is credited as the birthplace of Democracy, as well as western philosophy. This prosperity lent itself to a high degree of security as well, but make no mistake, the Athenian Hoplites were quite effective warriors. They were fully prepared to step away from the potter’s wheel, set down the sculptor’s chisel, or pause their philosophical debates when duty called, and pick up their spears, swords and shields to face a threat. The Athenians had balance, and were prepared to be “Dangerous on Demand”.
Which type of Greek will you be?
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