The Value of Values & Why You Need Them
In our age of instant gratification, values such as self-restraint, discipline
The problem many men are waking up to is that none of these things are real.
Instagram presents life as sanitized simulacra.
Twitter detaches politics from reality, engendering rage and faux outrage in the masses, while creating boogiemen in your mind and paranoia in your heart.
Pornography renders sex unrealistic and loveless, and is increasingly extreme too.
The above promise satisfaction, but don’t actually satisfy you at all.
In fact, each of these mediums gives you a dopamine hit akin to a drug.
They give you just enough to offer a short burst of satiation before you begin craving the experience again.
Studies are showing people are literally becoming addicted to the instant gratification of social media and the Internet.
The dream of web-inspired convenience is turning to a nightmare, yet there is an alternative to this increasingly meaningless void of noise: Old-school values.
Old-school values may conjure images of your Granddad decrying sex on television, the rate of divorce, and how footballers shouldn’t wear gloves in winter, but given our current predicament, maybe the old boy had a point.
Present day values have clearly changed since the war generation and we seem to tacitly assume everything has drastically improved – and in some ways it has – but could you bring to mind a framework of values you live by now?
Give it a go… It’s not as easy as you may think.
While it seems damn obvious that when men lose values they lose identity, studies have been conducted which back this up, yet it’s not something modern men often consider to be at the root of contemporary purposeless.
If we look at our present age with its uncertainty around what gender roles are and its increasingly pathological dislike of powerful authoritative male figures, we can see that our identity as human beings is in flux.
We live in an age where science tells us new things about our biology regularly, while social sciences increasingly tell the counter.
Even to state you believe men and women are biologically defined is becoming controversial in this day and age.
While this is all ongoing the male suicide crisis in the West is worsening – as is depression and addiction.
The politically correct explanation for this is toxic masculinity.
I once accepted this notion, yet as I went year after year with my life never changing, I began to question it deeply.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who’d argue life is tougher for men now than in the 1970s, yet men were committing suicide at much lower rates then as compared to now.
In this day and age, a man can literally leave his wife and children and pretend he’s a six year-old child.
Just look at this mess:
With this sort of madness going on, are we seriously supposed to believe we live in a society with an endemic ‘toxic masculinity’ problem?
I’ve written before on how my recovery from trauma, panic attacks and addiction was actively due to taking responsibility and manning-up rather than wallowing in an endless vortex of self-pity and blame.
It seems so strange that what actually helps men is being pilloried as ‘toxic’ while what keeps them in chains and actually worsens depression and suicide rates is being ever-promoted.
Well, in this age, everyone must be a victim in order to acquire social currency.
And men are many things, but they are not victims.
They may have been victimized, but the moment a man takes on a victim mindset, he is not prepared for what the world will throw at him.
This social sense of victimhood is now increasing tribalism in the West.
Such tribalism has made the embodiment of long-held deep cultural, emotional and spiritual values dissipate in the face of this continual rage against modern man.
We seem to be trying (and failing) to continually define new values in our societies, but perhaps this isn’t quite so simple as simply changing them at a whim.
What if they are deeply in built into who we are?
One reason why values are becoming evermore relevant in our era of instant gratification is that they are the opposite of what we have in our throwaway culture.
Values are the eternal, not the ephemeral.
They are ties that guide us through the stormy world with its tangled computer wires, shallow media, and ever-present drive for the drug of more.
So how do you start unpacking what your values really are?
Such as task is more complicated than asking your family members or friends ‘what are my values?’
It also requires more than sitting down with a pad and pen in a café and scribbling down how you may believe in justice because you were against the Iraq war or the dropping of the atom bomb.
This is because, most fundamentally, your values aren’t created by you.
They are much deeper than that.
The truth is that values are uncovered when we hit a wall.
They are part of our culture, a gift from the mythology of societies spanning back thousands of years, and they exist inside you.
Like the iceberg, we may see the clichéd head of values just above water, but the roots go deep into the still ocean and the unconscious element of who and what you are.
Only when we get lost deep underwater do we see the purpose of the value in keeping us afloat.
It is part of a man’s growth to transgress values and find the boundaries of himself and his society.
While this is always an exercise fraught with danger, it is also that which offers meaning.
In the present era, we’ve become so accustom to consistently transgressing boundaries we’re losing where the lines are.
It is this that has led you to the place where it’s hard to define what values you live by.
It’s also this that breeds our addictive instant gratification culture.
Updating the Code
A deep idea in the Judeo-Christian tradition is that while social progress is good, moral progress is an oxymoron, because moral truth is always fixed.
It is always wrong to steal, murder or cheat, for example.
What’s so cool about this is that when we look at the values that recovering men are implementing in their lives: discipline, self-restraint and hard work, we see these values correspond with old Granddad’s mentioned at the beginning.
This is because such values are eternal law, and in our present journey of re-finding the meaning in life, we are simply updating our value set for present day relevance.
In applying such values to present day issues you can ask yourself:
- If you spend 3 hours a day arguing about politics on Twitter, are you going to be happy when you encounter a friend with a different political point of view in real life? Or are you going to have a preconceived image of who this person is and what they should know?
- If you spend 2 hours a day looking at Instagram, are you going to feel good about your lot in life?
- If you spend an hour a day jacking off on tube sites, do you feel confident in social situations, and more importantly, do you feel pure when speaking to women?
If we flip the script on all these things, what state of being are you left in?
If you follow the values of self-restraint around arguing with people on Twitter, of manifesting authenticity in not falling into the superficiality of Instagram, and exercise sexual control in not fapping, how will you feel when engaging in the real world?
Will you feel like a man who is in control of his nature?
Try it and see.