I've been looking into that whole "Men Going Their Own Way" thing. Oh for heaven's sake. I'm wondering if Laurel actually looked into this stuff before she sent me that first video from that MGTOW guy. I've been checking into some of this stuff. I admit my curiosity was bitten. Gah. The more I come to understand "movements" the more I come to understand that they are all collectivist in nature and cannot escape the effects and consequences of the essential nature of "movements." All of these people join these things looking for an identity: MGTOW's, Objectivists, even Molyneux's "cult." It's just silly, at best. At worst, it's yet one more shell that people can wear. Good gravy, as I have written before, if a man is going to "go his own way" then he should just shut up and DO it and not get on YouTube whining about his intentions and this ideology he needs everyone else to consider so that he can have some sort of validation. I am not a "movement man." I endorse certain philosophical tenets, and I share with others, but I don't need anyone to join a "movement" for me and I don't need to join one, myself in order to validate myself or give myself identity. Sheesh.
This is not to say that people in these "movements" have nothing to say. Rand had something to say, despite developing a cult of personality around her and inventing a philosophical "movement" that many people pick up and wear as a shell. The same is true of Molyneux. Some of the MGTOW guys do have truths to speak. I found some interesting videos by a guy named "JohntheOther." Much of what he has to say strikes me as ranty, and he calls the whole MGTOW thing a "social phenomenon," but that doesn't stop him from picking senseless fights with people proclaiming themselves to be the MRM (Men's Rights Movement) over labeling and who gets to call themselves what. Oh brother. I went through that whole pile of baloney with the Libertarian movement/phenomenon when I dabbled in that. Sheesh. Collectivists, you owe it to yourselves to wake up! Be real! Calling yourself an individualist does not make you one, especially if your individualism is subsumed by a collectivist "movement" identity. I wonder if Laurel will ever figure that one out. Who knows? At any rate, when he's not writing ranty screeds denouncing heretics and attempting to define or "police" the MGTOW "social phenomenon," JohntheOther does come across as an interesting thinker. I can agree with at least a few of the things he says about men, women, and philosophy. Specifically, one of his videos really impressed me. It's titled "Dancing With Stefan Molyneux."
Jeeze, he really nailed Stefan's creepy messianic tent-revival charismatic problem. It's brilliant. I couldn't have written any better myself, and I would endorse almost every word of it as expressing my own thoughts on the subject as well, even though I would disagree with JohntheOther's assertion that "the feminist movement needed to 'self-police'". That assertion is a floating abstraction: "a movement" does not act, by nature. "It" cannot "self-police," which is one of the problems with collectivisms in the first place: they attribute thought and action to abstract collections of individuals. What JohntheOther says about Molyneux though, is spot on. Molyneux, like Rand before him, does speak an awful lot of truths, but he is, also like Rand, becoming a cult of personality. When one combines an ideology with a political/social movement, one turns oneself into a religious leader who cannot bear to lose political (and economic) capital by ever admitting he is wrong, about almost anything. Molyneux and his "movement" are heading there pretty darned quick, in my opinion. JohntheOther, on the other hand, seems to still entertain the possibility that Molyneux's reticence to practice his own philosophy and "be straight and speak the real truth" to his "listeners" is some sort of oversight or something. I think the critic Molyneux mentions in the Real-time Relationships book had it right: it's Neo-cheating. Molyneux is attempting to build a mystery or a mythology and then profit from it. Other than that, Molyneux's ideas are good, but not when people just claim to adopt them, as a ready-made identity, like a shell; they're only good when they're practiced. The meat of the video is the content of a written essay, also by JohntheOther, entitled "Excuse Me, Mr. Molyneux"
, excerpted here. The strong emphasis
For the entire 16 minutes of your “Truth About Stefan” video, you speak only in metaphor and platitude, using ever more hyperbolic rhetoric. You provided no details whatsoever, and no specifics whatsoever about your own history – in a show named after the format of “Truth About” videos which explicitly deal with the histories and details of legendary figures. You have dispelled the accepted mythology about your subjects but, in a reversal of the format of your “Truth About” series, you built a myth about yourself and totally omitted any specifics or details. That is my objection, Mr. Molyneux: One standard for others, a separate standard for yourself.
You have mentioned in previous videos that you suffered abuse as a child, and I do not doubt the truth of those assertions. I am confident that you were abused, as were so many of your show’s callers. I will also note my genuine sympathy for you, in what you went through – even without knowing its specifics.
At 1 minute 40 seconds of your Truth About Stefan video, you also note that you escaped from this trauma and reclaimed yourself as a self determined adult.
I made it out. I made it out of the abuse. I made it out of the tyranny, and the hysteria, and the hypochondria, and the violence, and the disconnection, and the chaotic stone age brutality of my origins.
In your video, this is the closest you get to revelations about yourself, but with respect, Stefan, this is all simply characterization. It’s a non-specific characterization of a bad childhood.
You are obviously under no obligation to reveal your own past, neither what was done to you nor what, in childhood and adolescence, you may have done to others. But if you don’t want to do a “Truth About Stefan” revelation, then you should not have uploaded a video titled The Truth About Stefan Molyneux.
What you did upload with that title would have been more accurately called “Stefan’s myth of Molyneux”.
I have the intelligence, the skill and the verbal fluidity to do the dance that dislodges the demons...
You are certainly doing a dance, my friend.
...to yodel the high octaves of truth, below the snow capped mountain, so that the avalanche of bullshit falls and reveals the glowing peaks of personhood, in people.
Holy shit, dude. I’m a fan of using hyperbolic rhetoric too, but damn, – this is a video called “The Truth About Stefan Molyneux.” Are you sure the truth you’re revealing is not one which indicts rather than exalts you? Yes, that has occurred to me, which means it’s occurred to others. Will you demonstrate that this impression is false? I’m not the only one counting on you.
And I felt that the good thing to do, the right thing to do, the responsible thing to do was to go back. To go back, not to drag people, because you cant drag people. Not to push people, because you cant push people. But to go back into the hell I came out of and to invite people to get out.
So, you’re the Bodhisattva. Okay.
You’re returning to Samsara to rescue the rest of us poor benighted bastards. At least, those of us smart enough to run along with you.
And that smile you keep mugging for us is pretty good, but I think Jack Layton’s estate might want it back.
But honestly Stefan, you’re much smarter and more self-aware than this particular “Truth About” would lead a new listener to imagine. You can do better, my friend. You also, I am sure, have big enough balls to recognize an error and to correct it.
Of course, if I’m wrong, I’m sure I will not be the only person to benefit by being shown my mistake.
I hope you will take this criticism in the spirit of friendship that it is intended, and I thank you very much for your kind attention.
Here's my question: What if he can't do it?
What if Molyneux's "inner-children" freak out whenever he get's "too real" about certain touchy subjects, and his "inner-guardians" rush to dissociate and clamp down on him before he shares that kind of intimate details with "The Listeners"? What if his "total honesty" is not quite as perfected as he would have people believe? What if he's not quite as "enlightened" as he claims? What if Molyneux himself is wearing his own philosophy like a shell, an excuse to disconnect, or a thin cover for dissociation, and what IS all of that hyperbolic wild-assed metaphor about, anyway? What if it is an avoidance of intimacy and honesty in the guise of advocating for it or possessing it? Does his behavior invalidate the thesis of his book, Real-time Relationships
? I don't think it does, per se, but it does call into question claims of enlightenment. Openness, honesty, vulnerability, these are things that take time and work and courage. Anyone can claim
to be "more enlightened than thou."
We look at ourselves and at others through the moving keyhole of the present moment, but the shape of our existence is vaster than the present moment. There is a quote from the protagonist of the movie "Fight Club," that is meant to be "cool" and profound: "This is your life, and it is ending, one minute at a time." I say rather, "This is your life and you are creating it one minute at a time. Go live it."