The Warrior Versus Modernity’s Cult of Eternal Boyhood

Michel Houellebecq, a controversial (and plain brilliant) French author, about whom the UK’s The Guardian deemed an “aging literary enfant terrible”, wrote in his La Possibilité d’une Île

The physical bodies of young people, the only desirable possession the world has ever produced, were reserved for the exclusive use of the young, and the fate of the old was to work and to suffer. This was the true meaning of solidarity between generations; it was a pure and simple holocaust of each generation in favor of the one that replaced it, a cruel, prolonged holocaust that brought with it no consolation, no comfort, nor any material or emotional compensation.”

Undoubtedly, it seems quite a grim outlook of adult life or just a philosophical entrenchment after Turgenev, things have indeed changed these days.

Jung made use of the mythological term Puer Aeternus from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It’s Latin for ‘Eternal Boy’. In this case, the Boy-Daemon named Iacchus, from the Eleusinian Mysteries, being a minor deity of vegetation and divine youth; it was also Demeter’s Daemon, a naughty boy for copulation. In analytical psychology, the puer element describes adult men whose emotional lives remain at an adolescent stage with too great a dependence on the maternal figure. Remember Tyler Durden in The Fight Club? “Our great war is a spiritual war… Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t.” Precisely, we are the “f@&k-you-Mom” generation.

In our particular case, the focus is on men this time. Women do manage these issues much better than us. Their brain physiology makes them true emotional managers.

There is quite an arrested-development case to be made for most men in Western nations. Specifically, for young men who do not know they have much to contribute to themselves and the rest of us mortals but seem to shy away from their potential, as there was no paternal companionship in human terms to their childhoods, to push them to ‘combat’, to improvement, to “chin-up-chest-out” for themselves. These young men need to feel embraced, protected and many are doing so by then in turn embracing certain ideologies that directly accuse them of ‘patriarchy’ without understanding much about it.

You must be above 60 to remember anything of importance to this issue or being the age of any of the above mentioned young fellas. It was after all the 60s and 70s during which a Zeitgeist turning point or metaphysical mutation occurred. Some of its features were and still are Juvenile-ism, Ever-presentism, the negation of death and individual finiteness. Silicon Valley – accidental provider of many a digital father for these kids – is not an exception, for death must be disrupted. Google-backed Calico or Ray Kurzweil’s Transhuman Singularity are good examples.

Does this disparagement of our species perpetuation fit into the modern warrior credo? How does an often cackled and seemingly tyrannical sense of compassion affect individual autonomy? How come this Peter Pan-like conduct – another representation of the ‘eternal boy’ – has taken roots to reject established standards sine causa and to overvalue everything ‘disruptive’ or transgressive?

Names like Marcuse, Foucault, Derrida, Althusser, and Bourdieu are some to be remembered as the university professors and intellectuals behind France’s May 1968 social movement. Peter Pan remains a faithful soixante-huitard (a 68’s follower) to this day; people who have entered adult life and already seem tired of the responsibilities of living a real life, under the laws of Nature (such as old age), without method, without goals other than creating ‘impact’ or feeling irremediably without purpose. There is no götzen dämmerung for these comfort seekers from Paris’ Quartier Latin or Berkeley’s grasslands (both beautiful places).

Peter Pan still draws from La Sorbonne, now to every major academic institution in the so-called West. He wants to remain static, unnatural, deconstructed and he is not alone. Just as any other meme in history – using the reinterpreted term Dawkins provided the English language with – he wants to live the ‘nowness’, the timelessness, a chandala-sort version of Nirvana. The postmodern archetype of the eternal juvenile seeks new Lost Boys and Darling children. Tinker Bell is thus whispering new sociopolitical strata.

Industriousness, Self-Reliance, Courage, Sense of Duty, Discipline are some universal characteristics of The Way of the Warrior. None of these can ever be used improperly. None of these can ever be called ‘inhuman’. Most important for the sake of this argument, none of these are divorced from Creativity, Art, Science, Solidarity.

Frank Escandell is a fiction writer, researcher, and high tech blogger. He is also a collaborator with several Spanish radio and television programs on technology, society, and culture and the co-author of I Tego Arcana Dei: El Simbolismo Secreto de Rennes-le-Château, a hard study on the origins of the strange symbolism contained in that French church.

2 thoughts on “The Warrior Versus Modernity’s Cult of Eternal Boyhood

  1. I believe this is truth. So is it by accident or design? It’s interesting how the promotion of comfort and stagnation over discomfort and growth has become the accepted ‘wisdom.’

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