Do You Know A Man?

“The great genius returns to essential man.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is a man today?  Is he a man at all. Does a man of today stand tall on his valor?  Do they see further because of their wisdom? Does he hear better because of his compassion?  Or does he look down on all others because of what he possesses? Do they look down because of who they are and not what they are?

“They measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

But I did not ask what a man has, I asked what a man is.  Is he a man, or is he a mule? A man can carry burden. A man can carry anger.  A man can carry disappointment. A man can carry an entire village on his shoulders. But the vessel that is a man is meant to haul something more magnificent than disappointment, regret, and shiny things.  

“But that which a man is does always by necessity acquire, and what the man acquires is living property, which does not wait the beck of rulers, or mobs, or revolutions, or fire, or storm, or bankruptcies, but perpetually renews itself where ever the man breathes.”  

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man cannot be robbed.  The true strength that resides inside of a real man cannot be touched, let alone taken.  It is a power, a weapon that can only be wielded by one. No man ever found himself outside of himself. Became more powerful inside because of what they have outside. Sheathed in sackcloth or gold, there is only one man, the man in the mirror.  As weak or as strong as you were inside, with an interchangeable facade. The illusion of strength or power is only that an illusion. The cargo is ephemeral, while the impact of the man may be felt in perpetuity.    

“Thy lot, or portion of life,” said the Caliph Ali, “is seeking after thee; therefore be at rest from seeking after it.”  

Ralph Waldo Emerson/Caliph Ali

Some laws cannot be broken.  “A man dies once, but a coward dies a thousand deaths.”  A real man can…..not……..broken! He can only be killed.  A man renews himself, through callus, through bruise, and laceration.  Through pain, and mistakes and loss washed over, drowned, buried by sheer faith, strength, and will.  This is a man.

It is the infliction of experience and pain that makes the man.  But a coward avoids pain, and they avoid the experience, as they chase after shiny things. A man stands and takes his lashes, and then he uses the scars to navigate his slow walk to freedom.  And what he might find is a simple place. Filled with very few inessential things, but a portion that is just suited for his humble appetite.  Because a man, the essential man, needs very little.

He is content with his hands.  One hand could grow a farm, one hand can raise a son, one can save a life.  With two hands, a man can change the world. If he is truly a man.

Aaron L. Carroll  

Photo by Daniel Páscoa


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