On Manhood

Thumbnail image for Are You a Sheep or Sheepdog? Part I

Are You a Sheep or Sheepdog? Part I

by Brett & Kate McKay

Last December, 58-year-old Ki Suk Han was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City. Even though 60-90 seconds passed before an oncoming train hit the man, a group of up to eighteen bystanders simply stood on the platform and looked on as the train approached and ran him over. One, a freelance photographer […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — Conclusion

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — Conclusion

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article concludes a series that studied the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. We hope you enjoyed our ten-part series on the life and thumos of Jack London. I know we enjoyed researching and writing it. I’ve never found another man’s story so fascinating and […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #10: Ashes

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #10: Ashes

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. Jack London might have lived a long and happy life – living comfortably off the fruits of his literary achievements, devoting himself to making his ranch a success, writing new […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #9: The Long Sickness

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #9: The Long Sickness

by Brett & Kate McKay

Jack London followed up the resounding success of The Call of the Wild with two more popular novels: The Sea-Wolf and White Fang. He continued to publish numerous short stories, articles, essays, and poems in magazines across the country as well. Now thirty years old, he was the highest paid writer in the country and […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #8: Success at Last

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #8: Success at Last

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. “There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #7: Into the Klondike

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #7: Into the Klondike

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. When the ship Excelsior docked in San Francisco in 1897, it carried word that would grant Jack London salvation from his mindless toil in a steam laundry: gold had been […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #6: Back to School

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #6: Back to School

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. The students of Oakland High School did not know what to make of their new peer. He was older than them, nineteen, and wholly unlike anyone else who walked the […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #5: On the Road

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #5: On the Road

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. As Jack London worked more than ten hours a day, seven days a week keeping thread wrapped around bobbins in a jute mill, his deep sea voyage, and with it […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #4: Pacific Voyage

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #4: Pacific Voyage

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. On January 12, 1893, his seventeenth birthday, Jack London signed onto the Sophie Sutherland, a splendid three-topmast schooner bound for seal hunting in the Bering Sea, and ultimately Japan. Jack […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #3: Oyster Pirate

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #3: Oyster Pirate

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos. As fifteen-year-old Jack London toiled away in a steamy, rank pickle factory for ten cents an hour, he hatched a plan that would allow him to make much more money, […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #2: Boyhood

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #2: Boyhood

by Brett & Kate McKay

This article is part of a series that studies the life of Jack London, and especially his display of the Ancient Greek concept of thumos.  John Griffith London was born in San Francisco in 1876 the illegitimate son of Flora Wellman — a free-loving spiritualist who conducted séances in her home. He never knew his […]

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Thumbnail image for The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #1: Introduction

The Life of Jack London as a Case Study in the Power and Perils of Thumos — #1: Introduction

by Brett & Kate McKay

“Jack London was the type of man to have commanded other men. [He has] eyes to inflame youth, inspire men, madden women.” -Frank Pease “He just jumped into life with both feet in that courageous way of his, and he got romance and mystery and beauty out of it where other men could see only […]

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Thumbnail image for How Not to Become Your Absentee Father

How Not to Become Your Absentee Father

by A Manly Guest Contributor

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Andy Harrelson. In 1969, then governor of California, Ronald Reagan, signed into law the country’s first no-fault divorce bill. Many other states quickly followed his example. Whether his signing the bill was the cause of the skyrocketing divorce rates that were to come in the next decades […]

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Thumbnail image for Got Thumos?

Got Thumos?

by Brett & Kate McKay

Last week we explored Plato’s allegory of the chariot, which the ancient philosopher used to explain the tripartite nature of the soul or psyche. In the allegory, a chariot (representing the soul) is pulled by a rebellious dark horse (symbolizing man’s appetites) and a spirited white horse (symbolizing thumos). The charioteer, or Reason, is tasked […]

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Thumbnail image for What Is a Man? The Allegory of the Chariot

What Is a Man? The Allegory of the Chariot

by Brett & Kate McKay

What is a man? What sort of man should I be? What does it mean to live a good life? What is the best way to live and how do I attain excellence? What should I aim for, and what training and practices must I do to achieve those aims? Such questions have been asked […]

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Thumbnail image for Personal Responsibility 102: The Importance of Owning Up to Your Mistakes and How to Do It

Personal Responsibility 102: The Importance of Owning Up to Your Mistakes and How to Do It

by Brett & Kate McKay

Yesterday we discussed the cognitive blind spots our brains generate that can make it difficult for us to honestly assess our actions and determine our responsibility for those actions and their consequences. We discovered the way in which our brains are inclined to flatter and shield our egos from blame when we make mistakes. Despite […]

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Thumbnail image for Personal Responsibility 101: Why Is It So Hard to Own Up to Our Mistakes?

Personal Responsibility 101: Why Is It So Hard to Own Up to Our Mistakes?

by Brett & Kate McKay

“All this has been my fault. I asked more of my men than should have been asked of them.” –Robert E. Lee, after heavy Confederate losses at Pickett’s Charge “I had the opportunity and the information and I failed to make use of it. I don’t know what an inquest or a court of law […]

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Thumbnail image for Manly Honor VII: How and Why to Revive Manly Honor in the Twenty-First Century

Manly Honor VII: How and Why to Revive Manly Honor in the Twenty-First Century

by Brett

Over the last few months, we’ve defined traditional honor, and then taken a look at the different ways that definition has been interpreted and lived by men over the centuries. Traditional honor consists of having a reputation judged worthy of respect and admiration by a group of equal peers who share the same code of […]

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Thumbnail image for Manly Honor VI: The Decline of Traditional Honor in the West in the 20th Century

Manly Honor VI: The Decline of Traditional Honor in the West in the 20th Century

by Brett & Kate McKay

Our last three posts – on Victorian, Northern, and Southern honor respectively, detailed the final manifestations of traditional honor cultures in the West, while also hinting at the cultural forces that were emerging even then that would eventually erode them almost entirely. Today we will cover how those forces were amplified, manifested themselves, and led […]

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