The Manifesto

  1. We seek first to heal our own wounds, and do our own work.
  2. We seek, men and women, to find our way back to each other.
  3. We seek to build a world that works for everybody.
  4. We dare greatly in pursuit of our vision.
  5. We renounce status-seeking in favor of a purpose-driven life.
  6. We surrender emotional control in favor of emotional maturity.
  7. We exchange competence in violence for competence in non-violence.
  8. We give up divided attention so that we may practice Presence.
  9. We seek liberation from the ego.
  10. We refuse to bow to fear of economic scarcity.
  11. Women are not the source of our problems. Nor are they the Solution.
  12. We live chivalrous lives, with unending adoration for women, our co-creators of the world.
  13. There is no “Other” that we demonize.
  14. We take personal responsibility for the state of the world.
  15. We understand at last what true Wealth is, and where it comes from.
  16. Morality is our daily habit: we exercise generosity, maintain strong determination, make diligent and sustained effort, give selfless Love, tell the truth in all cases and all ways, discipline ourselves, show tolerance, seek wisdom, practice renunciation, and cultivate equanimity.
  17. We play our real edge.
  18. We address the biggest problems we are capable of solving.
  19. We refuse to turn against our Brothers.
  20. We stand undefended against the world.
  21. We are for the integrity of the interconnected individual who, listening to the wisdom of their hearts, finds the courage to act.

THE LONG VERSION

All over the world, a generation of men is dreaming of a better world — and beginning to realize that dream.

They’re not waiting for the politicians or the priests. They have taken matters into their own hands.

They are filmmakers, poets and economists; ranchers, sculptors and coaches; engineers, designers and teachers; claims adjusters, illustrators, and chefs.

They watched as the brilliance of a generation was shuttled into official administrivia by government-sponsored, competence-destroying misinformation and systematic corporate subversion.

They watched from the sidelines as their freedoms were taken away in the name of security.

They watched the grand visions of a vital past worn down to the meager paper-piling of the enfeebled present, the vibrancy of the big dreams gutted on the altars of the feasible and the realistic.

They watched futures shrink away, piled under mountains of administrivia, petty bureaucracy, and lawyer’s fees. They watched marriages crumble under dissatisfaction, infidelity, and ennui.

They watched women march to the beat of the drum men set, yet these same women found no lasting fulfillment in the pace.

They watched corporate greed spiral out of control.

They watched their passion for enriching the world become twisted into a passion for enriching only themselves and their buddies, only monetarily.

They watched their food chain begin to crumble.

Today they say, no more.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we are all these men. Human civilization has been crumbling into dust and irrelevancy, and we’ve been complicit.

As J.S. Mill said, all that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to lose their way; and we have lost ours.

But we are finding it again.

It turns out that many of the truths we were taught growing up aren’t actually true: money doesn’t buy peace, and he who dies with the most toys, still dies.

It turns out that profit is not the only way to measure value.

It turns out that the acceleration of technological progress has also inadvertently sped us toward planetary disaster via resource competition.

It turns out that we will never have peace in the Middle East until we have peace in our relationships.

The Fierce Gentleman is my name for any man who dares take action on these ideas.

The Fierce Gentleman is a man who refuses to be churned under by the engines of economic efficiency.

He is a man who refuses to be bullied by the state, instead recognizing, viscerally, that the governments and would-be rulers of the world serve at his pleasure, not the other way around.

He is a man who refuses to make a distinction between his shackles, whether they be put on by government or private business, and realizes that only he holds the key that can unlock them.

He is a man who refuses to be distracted by partisan bickering and the easy divisions of the 20th century: man vs. woman, black vs. white, rich vs. poor, north vs. south, new vs. old.

He is a man who will sift the sands of our entire history and pre-history to find useful wisdom that can be applied to the task of building a better world — a world that works for everybody.

The Fierce Gentleman refuses to demonize women as the cause of his miseries and the miseries in the world. He refuses to accept feminism, racism, cronyism, or any other ‘ism’ as the singular cause of all the worlds’ ills and his personal suffering, the eradication of which would fix anything.

The Fierce Gentleman is smarter than that. He knows that our current misery does not come from one single cause, but from a constellation of causes, many of which he must address within himself if they are to be solved in the world.

The Fierce Gentleman takes personal responsibility. His is a life of practical morality.

Ethics is not a theoretical matter for him: it is the subject of daily habit. In this practice he exercises generosity, maintains strong determination, makes diligent and sustained effort, gives selfless love, disciplines himself, tells the truth in all cases and all ways, shows tolerance, seeks wisdom, practices renunciation, and cultivates equanimity.

The Fierce Gentleman plays his real edge, not faking it and not shrinking from it.

He plays life from the biggest place possible. He cares about as much of the world as he is capable of caring about, and addresses himself to the problems and solutions therein, because anything else is an artificial limitation on his genius.

The Fierce Gentleman is a hero of old, willing to face down the biggest demons in this world: ignorance, inequality, kleptocracy, plutocracy, official incompetence, inefficiency, sloth, envy, self-seeking self-interest and, above all, his own personal weakness and fear.

He knows that the world will not be whole and healed until he is whole and healed, and so has undertaken to do the work to heal himself.

The Fierce Gentleman has re-discovering chivalry. He cherishes women — all women — with the respect they deserve, and showers the loves of his heart, for whom there can be no replacement, with the adoration they inspire. In this he understands that he is called to set an example with his actions, to build and uphold a new social contract with women, the co-creators of this world.

Although he may practice the martial arts, he refuses to be judged according to his ability to wield violence. He is willing to resist becoming cannon fodder in the world’s wars for profit or resources.

He knows that this refusal may demand of him more courage than dying on the battlefield. He understands that the renunciation of all violence is the key to the securing of the helpless, the defenseless, and the weak from violence.

He refuses to turn against his brother.

The Fierce Gentleman understands that defensiveness invites attack, so he knows that true safety lies in standing naked and undefended against the world.

He cultivates a peaceful virility that allows him to take all the drama that the world makes, and transmutes it into fearless laughter, ecstatic joy and equanimous play.

In the 20th century, mankind almost succeeded in eliminating itself in one bright burst of atomic flame.

In the 21st century, mankind must successfully set his heart alight, so his Love may conquer despotism, kleptocracy, systematic corruption, and the systematic deprivation of one part of humanity by a slightly different part of humanity, because of fundamental fear of resource scarcity.

This has nothing to do with economic doctrine, nothing to do with political ideology, nothing to do with religious dogma.

This has everything and only to do with the individual, listening closely to the deepest voice he can hear within himself, in the deepest silence of his mind and heart, and in this finding the courage to act in a way that is absolutely true to what it says.

Is he going to listen to that truth within himself, or is he going to go along with the crowd?

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