The media storm about the wrestler Chris Benoit and the steroid-fueled waste of three lives, one a woman and one a seven-year-old boy, has haunted me. It begs the question, 'What makes a man?'
When a man becomes a father his testosterone levels naturally go down. Why? It is nature's way of saying, "You competed and got the woman, you have a child. You need to be a companion and help-mate now, a partner and protector – not a danger to them, not hunting for new mates, not abandoning them.
There is a cult of the testosterone-poisoned man in current culture. I see his face screwed up into an ugly mask of violent rage reflected on everything from boys' toys and games to movies, video games, body building magazines… and the mock-berserkers of wrestling, phony warriors that little boys think are as harmless as their Teddy bear while holding out the promise of phallic dominance; which has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with asexual power.
If you murder your wife in a blinding supernova of hormone-intoxicated rage, you can hardly be said to be a good lover. You didn't even enjoy sex yourself unless violence is what gets you off, which gets us back to the whole phallic dominator paradigm again. Emptiness, numbness, and a creeping fear, alienation, and a paranoid disassociation are the real end result.
Note to men: I love you guys, so I want you to get things right — when you are set on dominating women (and children) you are displaying weakness, not strength. You cannot be a lover, husband, or father of any quality from this paradigm. You can't even be a philosophical friend. The mask of testosterone rage is the image of a man 'out of control', 'out of his mind', unable to create, unable to think, or to contribute to society and civilization. All he can do is destroy in an infantile narcissistic rage that ultimately destroys him as well; if all it does is leave him abandoned, unloved, and alone.
There is no weaker state than this. It is total failure, as a human being, but specifically as a man. Injecting steroids and other substances is not the answer. I suggest a different paradigm, one that is more mature and fuller in the musky poetry of virile masculinity.
I suggest the Tantric paradigm of Shiva's role, and the Celtic Green Man, or horned Cernunus who operate in harmonic dance with the female whose truth of goddess-center then becomes something that enables his masculine flowering into the hero, or the Adonis; the conscious heroic man. Google and start your own explorations. Familiarize yourself with male archetypes that exist in harmony with nature. This is inner work. Nothing you do in the gym, and certainly nothing you inject, will give you this.
The potential of man is found by honoring the Primal Feminine in his woman, not by running in fear and seeking to dominate and destroy that which reflects the cosmic void of womb and tomb; the Shakti energy of raw creative force, coming back to her armed with injections of testosterone beyond which nature designed for his health. Read up on the philosophy of Tantra. It's about more than lasting longer in bed.
Health is defined as being able to function in nature, as all creatures are designed. The bloated raging cartoon man is advertising his extreme insecurity and fear of women, women of intelligence, women who are goddess-like in their spirits and will not be intimidated or dominated. It is like he is trying to create flesh armor and weapons to better go into battle against them, or defend himself against them. In any case, the insides always betray themselves, even if one manages to look like a brontosaurus with the charming temperament of a T. rex.
Too many men, and increasingly teenaged boys, are being sucked into a gym culture whose bible is found on the magazine racks, and whose gods are somato-narcissistic oafs who hold their extreme vanity which poses as a 'sport' over health, good sense, and healthy relationships. A 'sport' that necessitates injecting steroids, and juggling insulin and Tamoxifen is hardly a 'sport'. It’s pharmacology.
I have seen my husband gape at 'documentaries' of such steroidal characters. One in particular sticks in my mind because I am too often asked how he looks in comparison, and ‘aren’t I amazed?’ by him. (Quite frankly, no.) I looked over his shoulder as this fellow mumbled nonsense and kicked food he didn’t like off his plate. “Why are they filming this?” I thought. “There are nature documentaries that are more exciting, like ‘the mating rituals of Amazonian tree frogs.'” What was interesting to me was that panning around this man’s home I noticed there were no books, no art, nothing that showed a life of the mind.
There were only pictures of himself and his bodybuilding trophies lying around. There was nothing else in his life but the endless rituals of lifting, eating, injecting, with the occasional interruption for a pedicure or massage. This film could be marketed as a sleeping aid. "Are we driving back to 'Black Eyed Pea' again for more steak?… Oh, it's different… It's chicken now… ZZzzzzzzzzzz."
He lived alone, because his wife obviously could not live like this and was probably tired of being ignored or abused (and ignoring your wife is a form of abuse). There is actually more than one of these wonders. In one such 'documentary' I observed his mother cooking for him like a servant. In another it was his daughter, beleaguered at the stove with no care for her appearance, numbly catering to the all-consuming somatic narcissism of her father who ignored her and left no space for her to shine. There was room only for him. It was sad to watch.
Like Narcissus, such men fall out of the natural order, fall into the pool, or in their case, the mirror and lose… perspective, and often much more. The physical, emotional, and relational wreckage of steroids is quietly kicked to the side, or swept under the table until a case like Chris Benoit's explodes onto the stage of public awareness, because there are literally billions of dollars to be made brainwashing boys and men into believing that they are 'less than men' unless they do this, and that these bloated men with GH gut and nothing on their minds but primping for a beauty competition are to be their idols of manhood.
Men are lured in with the promise of women and sex, but it turns into something else that will ultimately exclude them both. Women like men to be fit and they appreciate muscles, to a point. There is the question of proportion, and looking good in your clothes. A man needs more than a loincloth or thong to be a well-presented man. Then, a man has to show himself to be a whole human being who loves and adores us and has our interest in mind, not just his own. We want a partner.
When somatic narcissism becomes a disease that swallows a man's life, there could be no one left but the man in the mirror. Sadly for many of these men, that becomes enough. They are lost. Those women who stay have tales of abuse. Mrs. Benoit does not even have this anymore. Her story is done. Unfortunately, she too bought into the paradigm that ‘a real man’ is a raging dominator and not a loving partner.
Many of these fellows do not realize that when you take testosterone, your body stops producing its own. It also throws your estrogens off balance. And yes lads, you need your estrogens too. It makes a total mess. The old margarine ad cliché 'It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature' was never truer.
I am not against the use of hormones for replacement therapy, far from it. This is the difference between a 'physiological' dose though and a 'pharmacological' dose. For a man experiencing andropause, testosterone can improve mood, and help age-related muscle loss. In contrast, Mr. Benoit's 'doctor' was enabling him to take the dose equivalent of ten months of testosterone therapy every three to five weeks, thereby turning him into a monster, not a man – a monster who hogtied and strangled his wife and then used the very choke holds kids cheered him for on his seven-year-old son.
Then, being the real man he was, he went into the garage and hung himself.
What is a man?
If you are male, you will need to find the courage to look into the heart of darkness and ponder this yourself. Your future, health and happiness and that of your family will unfold upon the way you can answer this question, and the 'paradigm' of masculinity you choose to ascribe to. Philosophically speaking, the paradigm forms the scaffolding of your self-consciousness, and your choices spring naturally from that. It's the primal operating program, the root. It will affect the way you see yourself, the world, and the way you see women.
It pays to examine it, question it, and tweak it if necessary, especially if you are being led down a bad path by some glossy presentation challenging you to live at the gym and take their products 'or be a less of a man', even more so if you are considering taking steroids or already do so. You need to be able to hold your masculinity 'disembodied', or you will never hold it at all. You may even lose it. As Chris Benoit learned, it is literally a matter of life and death.