In The Odyssey, Odysseus comes ashore on the island of the lotus eaters, where the inhabitants eat flowers that make them completely peaceful and content. Some of his men taste the plant and sink into a peaceful apathy, losing all desire to return to their homes and families. This episode in the Odyssey reminds me of the circumstances of modern man.

I travel to America frequently, and occasionally to Canada and through Europe. The men I meet are hollowed out. Mentally, they are wraiths. Anatomically, they remain males, but even that distinction might be receding. Overall, there is an absence of masculinity as an ideal. Men throughout history, and presumably, prehistory, have had a conception of masculinity. No more—masculinity is verboten. It is a punch line, an object of contempt. There is a sense that we’ve all been robbed, but most dare not talk about it, except in hushed tones in the corner of a seedy bar or in a wilderness hunting cabin. Old folks may speak of times when “men were men, and women were women,” but their voices are tolerated as the ramblings of senility.

In this age where identity politics are king (or queen, rather), men are refused the right to an identity.”Fight Club” wasn’t about underground boxing rings or anarchist terrorists. It was about men secretly reclaiming the identities that have been denied to them.

A character in a book I read when I was younger said, “Man does not live by bread alone,”and he certainly doesn’t. His soul, his mind, his spirit, or whatever you prefer must be fed as well. The starvation is palpable, and starving people become angry people. As Colonel Slade says in Scent of a Woman, “There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit.” There is nothing but a bloody stump where masculinity once was.

Whenever human civilization colonizes an area, it seeks to tame the nature that surrounds it. Forests are felled, livestock are bred, the soil is plowed for crops, and stones are taken from the furrowed fields to become cottages and towns. The wolves and lions that circled the edges of primeval man’s watch fires are beaten back into the darker parts of the forest. Only the most intrepid hunter still sees them. The wild animals will be the unseen monsters used to frighten wayward children into submission.

The humans move farther into the forest, until one day an axe edge touches the last virgin tree at the heart of the woods. The animals that represent a darker age are extinct, and they pass into legends of times when heroes and gods walked the earth. The humans are content on their farms and in their towns, but there is regret for what they lost. In the TV miniseries of the novel Lonesome Dove, the retired Texas Ranger Gus reminisces with his partner: “Has it ever occurred to you, Woodrow; that all the work we done was for the bankers? Hell, we killed off everybody that made this country interestin’!”

Like the monsters of the deep woods, the beleaguered men of Western civilization retreated to a few enclaves, but even those are falling away. Not a day passes when a feminist doesn’t gloat that men have been brought low. “You are neither wanted, nor needed!” comes the cry.

But a tribe without its men is just as dead as a tribe without its women, and society is becoming uncomfortable as it senses this crisis. We need nothing less than a Renaissance of masculinity. Return of Kings and the larger manosphere are good beginnings.

Every article on this site and its cousin sites is an opportunity to define ourselves. This reconstruction is difficult, because manly ideals were so imprinted on our forefathers that they often didn’t explain completely what those ideals were. How do we have a discussion about things that were so second nature at one time? We’re looking to the recent past, to our fathers and grandfathers for the ideas we need. We’re looking to the distant and ancient past. We’re looking to the present, and most of all the future. Let no one say that our striving for manliness is antiquated, because without better men (and better women), the days ahead will be more dreary and inglorious than they already are.

Feminism is a reactive force. It stands for nothing; it needs a “patriarchy” to rail against. In my last article on ROK I shied away from attempting to strictly define manliness. But there is one masculine trait that seems universal to cultures conceptions of manliness: that trait is the Active, marked by assertiveness and aggression. As men, our instinct is to take action, and we must have a positive masculine ideal in place in the West before we can move forward; otherwise we will only flail helplessly as feminism and her associated cancers drag us farther into the abyss.

In the Iliad, Achilles’ mother tried to convince him he was a woman to prevent his death in the Trojan war. But Achilles remembered who he was when Odysseus showed him a sword, and went on to claim his legend on the fields before Troy. Men who listlessly drift around the land of the lotus eaters must remember who we are if we are to find our way to a true conception of masculinity.

Read More: Cultural Marxism Produces Matriarchy