What Are We Sacrificing?

There’s an old story about a science experiment. It goes something like this:

A group of monkeys are introduced to a cage. After a day or two the monkeys are introduced to both a ladder in their cage and, at the top, a beautiful bright yellow banana. As the first brave monkey begins to spelunk the ladder, one of the watching scientists sprays the entire troop with cold water. As the monkey descends on his family, boasting of his accomplishments they beat him up. They’re pissed they were sprayed.

This repeats a number of times until, at last, the whole group understands… you DON’T go on the ladder or we’re all gonna get sprayed.

None of them go up the ladder.

Slowly they replace all of the monkeys one by one. Each new one is taught the system… “you don’t go up the ladder.” Until finally the entire cage is replaced with hot new fresh monkeys…

None of these NEW monkeys go up the ladder.

Here’s the kicker if you haven’t figured it out… NONE of them go up the ladder, but NONE OF THEM KNOW why.

I have seen this video making the rounds in the last few days. It even came up during a meeting. 

I’m sure you’re all wondering: “what’s your take on this crying maiden?” 

Well let me satiate you baby birds… with some pre-chewed maggots of wisdom. 

The War on Maturity

I have watched for quite some time the consequences of modernity on women in my life. These are women I’ve worked with, women I’ve employed, women I’ve loved – including my mother. I’ve had many deep conversations with thousands of women over the last decade about just this topic – whether we as human beings were meant to work ceaselessly at jobs that (at the end of the day) are in many ways ultimately meaningless, in order to make the dollar we’ve all agreed to exchanging, only to die, with few, if any, remembering us or our deeds.

My own “semi-retirement” in 2017 after selling Atilus is a reflection of this. I literally never heard from a single work associate (many of which I worked with for over a decade). The business world marches on without a care and on a very subconscious level, ultimately, we’re all thinking the same thing “if this person doesn’t align with my mission, my money, why am I wasting my time?” or… “I wish I could, I wish I had more time, I wish I had more money in order to more deeply enjoy the relationships that bring meaning to my life, but alas… I MUST grind.

This all goes on subconsciously. 

This very thing governs people’s behavior on social media as a whole (on this platform in particular). Don’t believe me? You know what social media network where I saw 0 objections to the major events of 2020 and beyond?… Even here I have to speak esoterically because of how these systems now overtly work.

In hindsight there was a reason both 1984 and Brave New World were always my favorite books growing up. Side note: 1984 was originally titled… “the last man.”

LinkedIn is such a weird social network BECAUSE it’s directly tied to one’s income. There is NO such thing as “free speech” on a platform like this, as, in part, we are the best at limiting our speech, when we know it may affect our future, our job, our employer, our ability to eat or take care of our children.

I digress…

On one hand capitalism (particularly in the United States) is a modern crucible that forges boys into men, separating the wheat from the chaff and ironing out some of the immaturities of childhood. On the other, it can be dehumanizing and many cry out for “this can’t be it… there must be more.” 

It grinds many a soul into dust… as they realize that there really isn’t that much more, at least not if they choose this path. 

In civilizations past and cultures completely forgotten, boys used to transform into men through ritual. The ritual of surviving the harsh, brutal, realities of the world through a test of bravery, or solitude or strength. Major religions still have similar rituals but the secular world has given way to a more sterile proxy of this transition to adulthood. For men it’s generally success in business, in growing in honor and reliability as a member of a team or community – of getting to 6-figures. This makes a lot of sense, in that – as men, it’s our responsibility to lead, protect, and provision for those in our lives.

But what of women?

As society, culture and the latest Marvel movies have encouraged women to adopt the masculine hero’s journey, I wonder if it has been the correct course of action?

A part of me wishes I spent more time with my mother when I was a child and less time with strangers and that we lived in a world that allowed that. 

So it is with this perspective I watched this short video. 

In what world do we live in where this beautiful young woman is so brutalized,   she has no alternative but to attend to social media to air her grievances on the toughness of her circumstances and while there, while voicing some very serious concerns (if in a very “basic” way) “men” like Cardone, have nothing better to offer than “toughen up buttercup?”

11 hour days is nothing to scoff at. And what of the rest of life? Of finding a husband? Of Marrying? Of having children?

Sure, it’s easy to hate on women, or hate on the younger generations for “not being strong” but it’s our responsibility as men to raise, take care of, and develop them for the world outside the home and to the best of our ability right that world.

Maybe something is very wrong? Maybe this woman deserves a world where she doesn’t have to grind at a meaningless job for a chance at… nothing meaningful.

The other day during a somewhat heated conversation along these lines about the rights and responsibilities of men and women in modern society with my mom I finally asked her… “which was more meaningful, your 30+ year career in law, or my brother and I?

There was no hesitation. The career was meaningless compared to her children.

So why are women constantly telling other women they must compete with men in the workforce, often at the expense of their families and time with their children?

Is this all there is?

What are we sacrificing?