Why Man Needs His Myths

Man cannot live by bread and woman alone.  He also needs a myth to sustain him, to console him in his bereavements, to provide a code to anchor his life, and to impart a sense of meaning to this brief mortal existence.  Snatch away his mythos, rob him of his ideal, and you banish his spirit to a rudderless drifting in life’s expansive ocean.  It is a cruel fate, and one that is far too common.

But for some men, the myth is strong.  And it is the last thing to die.

Take, for example, the case of Sir Thomas Malory.  He was a English knight who fought in the Hundred Years War, and in 1445 even briefly served in Parliament.  He was living at a time in which the medieval notion of chivalry—the age of the knight—was on the wane.  Malory had built up his identity around the idea of knighthood, chivalry, and the centuries-old moral code that went along with it.  He was bound up with this mythos, and it animated his soul.  But returning home to England after his campaigns in France, he found peacetime society unbearable.  Here was nothing in his previous experience that he could call his own.  And he found his martial skills of no value in the humdrum drudgery of the English society from which he was alientated.

He couldn’t bear it.  He writhed and rolled in his peacetime agonies.  His way of life was doomed, and he knew it.

At this point, he made a startling reversal.  Turning his back on is previous life, he plunged into crime.  He broke into the home of a man named Hugh Smyth and raped his wife; he extorted a sum of money from another couple; he raped Smyth’s wife a second time.  He committed a long series of thefts, robberies and burglaries, even from a Cistercian Abbey.  His crime spree came to an end when he was caught and thrown into prison.


While languishing in the fetid darkness of confinement, Malory managed to write one of the most elegant and transcendent works of early English prose:  The Noble Histories of King Arthur and of Certain of His Knights.  Time has shortened the name of his book to Le Morte d’Arthur.

Malory implores his countrymen and fellow knights to return to the ideals of King Arthur and his 150 “Knights of the Round Table;” here are found the tragic and timeless stories of Tristram, Lancelot, Guinevere, and many others.  He requires of a knight

never to do outrage nor murder…by no means to be cruel, but to give mercy unto him that asketh mercy…and always to do…gentlewomen succor, upon pain of death.

Considering the source, the irony is so thick that one could hardly cut it with Excalibur.  In Le Morte d’Arthur, no one ever gets his boots muddy, the skies are always brilliant and clear in Arthur’s ethereal realm, and love and war are wondrously pedestalized.  It is about as mythic and idealistic as a writer ever managed.

Because it had to be.  Because Malory knew that he, and his myth, were doomed.  How can we reconcile the sublime, airy beauty of Malory’s book, with its noble language and moral code, with the base reality of his crimes?  How could such a man write such a book?

Because man is a complicated being.  That’s why.  Complicated, with many faces.  He can possess the heart of a monster, and the tenderness of a saint, in equal measure.  And somehow, each of these voices needs to speak.  Don’t take away my cherished myths, O World!  Don’t deprive me of my consolation.

But he knew his time was running out, and he died in prison in 1471.  The colophon of his book is a poignant cri de coeur:

I pray you all gentlemen and gentlewomen that readeth this book of Arthur and his knights, from the beginning to the ending, pray for me while I am alive, that God send me good deliverance and when I am dead, I pray you all pray for my soul. For this book was ended the ninth year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth by Sir Thomas Maleore, knight, as Jesu help him for his great might, as he is the servant of Jesu both day and night.

Several years ago I visited the Tower of London.  There is a part of the fortress where visitors can look at the wretched cells where prisoners were housed.  I remember seeing an attendant on duty there, a pale, grey-haired man sitting at a desk, fidgeting obsessively with a gold cigarette lighter.  The other tourists had left the room, and he was looking out the window. I decided to give him something to do, and began to make idle conversation.


“Some of the carvings on the cell walls” I said, “are amazing.  It’s hard to believe they were allowed to make graffiti like that.”

He eyed me furtively, taking in my American accent.

“Well, now,” he began, clearing his throat and shifting himself slightly in his chair, “you have to remember that these inmates were rich people, noblemen and such.  They had their knives, tools, and the like.  They had their ways.  Wasn’t much security in those days, you know.”  Accustomed to tourist ignorance, he had the impatient demeanor of a man who had answered the same questions a thousand times.

“Yes.” I nodded in agreement, anticipating a yarn.

“Here, let me show you something.”  He stood up and walked over to one of the cells and pointed to an amazingly  detailed carving in the wall, made by a prisoner centuries before.  It was carefully covered with a clear plastic shield to protect it from the curious fingers of tourists.  It looked like a coat of arms, or some family or clan monogram.  Other cells had similar little carvings, some of very high quality, and all covered with clear little plastic squares.  They were all obviously of great significance to their makers.

I tried to imagine the effort the condemned man must have exerted to produce this little piece of gallows artwork.  I tried to imagine the sustained willpower that would have been needed.  To carry it off would have required the soul of a true believer.  It may have been the last thing he ever did.  His family coat of arms, his lineage, his house, his earthly identity:  scratched out in stone for eternity.  There it was.  His last and final act.  It was moving in its own silent way.

“I can imagine the effort it must have taken,” I said blankly, not knowing what else to say.

“Of course.  But it was his identity.  That meant something in those days.  Much more so than now.  We all need something to keep us going, you know.”  Then he shrugged his sunken shoulders and walked away.

And I thought to myself, the myth truly is the last thing to die.  When that goes, so goes the man.  

Read More:  Shortness Of Life

48 thoughts on “Why Man Needs His Myths”

  1. This article needs to be shared on all the corners of the world. How many men are living without a virtuous myth in which to believe in? When you walk down the street, its almost like seeing zombies walking around.
    Fine it can be good to be ambitious, following your dreams and aspiration but what if those dreams are realized sooner than expected? What if you have failed and your mind, soul and body have been depleted in the path of trying to achieve your dreams? Most people begin to despair.
    A man needs something immortal and immune-A myth. Whether its religion(Muslim, Christianity, Rastafari etc), a code(48 Laws of Power, Code of honour) or an ideal. This will repel any harboring nihilism.
    Sure people will laugh at you for believing in a myth but at least you will always be living an eternal and righteous path till the grave.
    “better to die like a man than live like a coward” Tupac Shakur

    1. It doesn’t have to be a myth. The word is wrong. A man simply needs to believe in his own capability to change the world to something closer to what he thinks it should be. A man needs to believe that at some point in his life, he’ll see positive, permanent change that was the result of his own hands.
      This is why oil rig workers, steelworkers, construction workers in general die happy, because they can point to a bridge, or a building and say, “I built that”. For women, it’s much easier, they can (ideally) at some point in their lives point to productive adults and say, “I made those with my own body.”
      Men *NEED* the belief that they will see the fruits of their own labor before they die, or it all feels like a waste. Kids are no substitute in this regard, because men do not generally put their bodies, minds, blood, and sweat into their kids. Men want to believe that they will be making a mark on their society in some fashion, that all of their effort wasn’t just “for the weekend”.
      If you take away the belief in the valuation of a man’s productivity, you take away a significant chunk of what it is to be a man.

  2. This is indeed a poignant and well-written little treatise.
    In an odd way, it coincides with the “Atheists are Fatties” post from Fat Shaming Week, because I have noticed how much more virile and robust true religious believers tend to be than their listless and bloated atheist counterparts.
    Conversely, all the beta hipster and pop liberals have as their myth is “the Nothing”, as it was coined in the beautiful ‘Neverending Story’.
    For my fellow white men, a great companion piece to this article is this review of the Patton Oswalt “comedy” Big Fan, where a modern beta, desperately grasping for a myth of his own, is an NFL fanatic: http://www.counter-currents.com/tag/big-fan/
    Quinton Curtis: How about a follow-up: How to have a GOOD myth versus bogus ones, like sports fandom or American patriotism?

    1. “I have noticed how much more virile and robust true religious believers tend to be than their listless and bloated atheist counterparts.”
      Even being an atheist myself, i can’t disagree with these observation. Today i am strong and virile but just 2 years ago i was a train wreck.

  3. I think this also reflects why some might say that Islam has the potential to take over parts of the West. Europeans no longer believe in much more keeping their work hours low, ensuring that nobody messes with their pension, etc., but the immigrants in their midst take their religious beliefs extremely seriously. When a radical muslim opposes a secular sceptic, muslim fervor wins.
    It’s also more “alpha” to women when a man firmly stands for something. German girls are known to hang with Turkish men, Beligan girls wear headscarves because the immigrants will hassle them if they don’t (and respect them if they do) but Beligan dudes are too weak to do anything about it.
    The human need for “myth” is very real.

    1. Me too dude. I think a man need something ”numinous” to see some sense in life. Then I look at the followers and…. would you like to pray five times a day and be a slave to god ? Or to admit your sins to Jesus ? The Ten Commandments are outdated – religion is outdated. Damn, I don’t need a religion and you don’t need either. A man needs his ”gang” or his ”tribe”, he needs to live by principles and he needs struggle.

  4. Possibly your best-ever work Quintus. I’ve read Le Morte D’Arthur twice and it is as idealized as you say- a far cry from the harsh realities of war that Homer wrote about to compare. But Chivalry was really already dead at that time, and never truly lived, the passing eras can be depressing, as they are now.
    What is the present myth that is has been waxing for the past 50 years? Victimhood.
    Is it any wonder why men in the West are often so weak?
    I pray that that myth has reached its peak.

    1. Libertas, I’m glad to hear you liked Le Morte D’Arthur. I confess a weakness for this book.
      There is just something about it. True, as you say, we miss in it the clash and clang of the Iliad’s bold hexameters, its realistic depiction of rage, fury, and brutal struggles.
      But there is something in the medieval tenderness of the old chivalric ethic, that is touching in its own way. It can be moving beyond words.
      You may also enjoy parts of the Aeneid. Books 1 and 4, mainly. I have been exposed to it for the first time this year and have been amazed how good it is. All of this stuff makes you a better man.
      And when you’re a better man, your inner game skyrockets to the clouds.

      1. It’s the ideal vs the real in a way. We all want to be Lancelot in some ways- but there is also a warning as he went against the “bros over hoes” rule and that’s what cost him, hahah.
        Yes, I need to read the Aeneid. I’ve only read parts of it. Virgil never really stuck to me like Homer did.
        I like the idea of a Manosphere canon- fiction and non-fiction books to make you a better man. Roosh touched on this but it can be expanded.

  5. Guess it’s time for me to dump some Joseph Campbell quotes:
    Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.
    Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.
    I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.
    The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
    If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.
    If you are falling….dive.
    Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.
    Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.
    I don’t have to have faith, I have experience.
    Myth is what we call other people’s religion.
    We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.
    Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.
    It may be a species of impudence to think that the way you understand God is the way God is.
    It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
    Regrets are illuminations come too late.
    Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.
    A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation: as you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.
    The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.
    Gods suppressed become devils, and often it is these devils whom we first encounter when we turn inward
    Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have one before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.
    They thought that it would be a disgrace to go forth as a group. Each entered the forest at a point that he himself had chosen, where it was darkest and there was no path. If there is a path, it is someone else’s path and you are not on the adventure.
    We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.
    The big problem of any young person’s life is to have models to suggest possibilities. Nietzsche says, ‘Man is the sick animal.’ Man is the animal that doesn’t know what to do with itself. The mind has many possibilities, but we can live no more than one life. What are we going to do with ourselves
    As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off. Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance. Having a sense of humor saves you.
    We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
    Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world.
    Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?
    Man should not be in the service of society, society should be in the service of man. When man is in the service of society, you have a monster state, and that’s what is threatening the world at this minute. …Certainly Star Wars has a valid mythological perspective. It shows the state as a machine and asks, “Is the machine going to crush humanity or serve humanity?” Humanity comes not from the machine but from the heart. What I see in Star Wars is the same problem that Faust gives us: Mephistopheles, the machine man, can provide us with all the means, and is thus likely to determine the aims of life as well. But of course the characteristic of Faust, which makes him eligible to be saved, is that he seeks aims that are not those of the machine. Now, when Luke Skywalker unmasks his father, he is taking off the machine role that the father has played. The father was the uniform. That is power, the state role.
    Society has provided [children] no rituals by which they become members of the tribe, of the community. All children need to be twice born, to learn to function rationally in the present world, leaving childhood behind.
    The problem in our society and in our schools is to inclulcate, without overdoing it, the notion of education, as in the Latin educere–to lead, to bring out what is in someone rather than merely to indoctrinate him/her from the outside.
    What we’re learning in our schools is not the wisdom of life. We’re learning technologies, we’re getting information. There’s a curious reluctance on the part of faculties to indicate the life values of their subjects.
    How to get rid of ego as dictator and turn it into messenger and servant and scout, to be in your service, is the trick.
    The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases, until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos to a realization transcending all experiences of form – all symbolizations, all divinities: a realization of the ineluctable void.
    [Comedies], in the ancient world, were regarded as of a higher rank than tragedy, of a deeper truth, of a more difficult realization, of a sounder structure, and of a revelation more complete. The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man…. Tragedy is the shattering of the forms and of our attachments to the forms; comedy, the wild and careless, inexhaustible joy of life invincible.
    You become mature when you become the authority of your own life.
    The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.

    1. Here’s moar lol:
      Following your bliss is not self-indulgent, but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There IS a track just waiting for each of us and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else
      The schizophrenic is drowning in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.
      Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamic of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions sown are directly valid for all mankind.
      Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.
      Marriage… is not a love affair; it is an ordeal.
      The rise and fall of civilizations in the long, broad course of history can be seen to have been largely a function of the integrity and cogency of their supporting canons of myth; for not authority but aspiration is the motivator, builder, and transformer of civilization.

    2. Moar lol:
      Mythology is composed by poets out of their insights and realizations. Mythologies are not invented; they are found. You can no more tell us what your dream is going to be tonight than we can invent a myth. Myths come from the mystical region of essential experience.
      One great thing about growing old is that nothing is going to lead to anything. Everything is of the moment.
      Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the highroad to the soul’s destination.
      Life will always be sorrowful. We can’t change it, but we can change our attitude toward it.
      The psychological dangers through which earlier generations were guided by the symbols and spiritual exercises of their mythological and religious inheritance, we today must face alone, or, at best with only tentative, impromptu, and not often very effective guidance. This is our problem as modern, “enlightened” individuals, for whom all gods and devils have been rationalized out of existence.
      How teach again, however, what has been taught correctly and incorrectly learned a thousand thousand times, throughout the millenniums of mankind’s prudent folly? That is the hero’s ultimate difficult task.
      The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.
      The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.’ And so it starts.

  6. Just been studying myths extensively trough anthropology. One does not realize how important they are, until scientist present it to you in a way that is convenient for a student to understand. Every nation without exception is founded on a myth.
    Who knows, maybe us PUAs will have our myths once day. Myth of first approach, myth of giant triple-headed cockblocker (and a little David PUA that sliced its heads), myth of Sisyphus who was banished to Toronto for paying drink as an opener.

  7. Yes, the true man needs a purpose, an ideal. Something that inspires him to be the best he can be. So few people have that any more in this modern day and age. Great topic, Quintus.

  8. Very insightful and touching.
    Mencken adroitly perpetuated his presence, his “myth”, long after his career-ending stroke and eventual death.
    And the instinct to propagate must certainly tied to quest for an afterlife, a perpetuation of one’s myth.
    The call to action here is do something in life that will live beyond you.

  9. “Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the
    heroes of all time have one before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we
    have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had
    thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had
    thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought
    to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence;
    where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”
    -Joseph Campbell; Hero with a Thousand Faces

  10. “Here was nothing in his previous experience that he could call his own. And he found his martial skills of no value in the humdrum drudgery of the English society from which he was alientated.”
    Excellent timing. As the Global War on Terror draws to an inglorious halt, many soldiers are waking to this same reality. I know that, personally, a quiet life on the outside appeals to me much more than when I set out on this path. However, it was that quiet life that drove me to drinking and brawling before . . . and into the Infantry.
    The ancient Greeks did not consider the word ‘muthos’ to be creative fiction. It was their History. We are not so far removed from it now – we remember things in narrative. Men are far more moved by what they are told by their peers, their family, and in narrative fashion, than by statistics and hard fact.
    Urband legends, and such . . .

    1. I served a few years in the Infantry myself. I spent a year in Korea in 2003-4, the first time I had been outside the US for more than a week. I came back and was appalled at what I saw. My subsequent year in Baghdad didn’t help. I identify strongly with Quintus’ description of Mallory’s alienation from his country and it’s degrading integrity. Our country’s mythos of individual liberty and limited government is quite dead as a real thing, and will seemingly be dead as a myth as well, if things keep on as they are.

  11. Wonderful story, Quintus – you are the most engaging bard. I truly hope you are working on a book.
    I tend to keep circulating to the same comment which may or may not be useful to all, but it seems all questions of being circle around a central truth covered by a core myth: the myth of man. What, truly, is man? Without unwavering inner guidance (not manufactured by belief, decree or nihilism), we lose our compass. The hero’s journey is largely taken within. We devour these tales because of that epic cycle and both wish for and dread our own call to action. Joseph Campbell’s interview series ‘The Power of Myth’ with Bill Moyer is absolutely amazing!
    “Joseph Campbell – On Becoming an Adult.”

    To actually die before you die is to see through the to undergo the great initiation, the Great Myth. Then life, while not necessarily made easier, can be lived with more truth, courage, awareness, strength and (paradoxically) vulnerability. You are ONE with life and put nothing above, below or outside yourself – all is contained within you, including every manner of mythology.

  12. The current paradigm is run by sadists, for theirs is the myth of myth at all. They therefore assassinate the myths and beliefs of others, for if others myths exist, theirs must surely die.

    1. ^^^Yes…I think this is called “Cultural Marxism” ….the long march thru the institutions.

  13. Semantics my dear friend. Myth is a story that explains how some things came to being. Legends are historical facts with a twist and that twist gave us knights and wizards and folklore in general. Mallory didn’t look up to a myth but to an ideal that changes as society does. He couldn’t accept the fading of his ideal hence his crimes. Men need ideals, strive to become legends and never become myths.

  14. Semantics my dear friend. Myth is a story that explains how some things came to being. Legends are historical facts with a twist and that twist gave us knights and wizards and folklore in general. Mallory didn’t look up to a myth but to an ideal that changes as society does. He couldn’t accept the fading of his ideal hence his crimes. Men need ideals, strive to become legends and never become myths.

  15. “Of course. But it was his identity. That meant something in those
    days. Much more so than now. We all need something to keep us going,
    you know.”
    Why is the first thing that pops into my mind the concentrated effort to get me to hate my grandfathers, my grandgrandfathers and so on…
    Once you are disconnected from your heritage, you know that your lineage will be disconnected from you, thus you are disconnected from yourself.
    You swim in a sea of lies and a sea of busyness, without creating anything, without leaving anything behind.
    The perfect slave.
    Work, obey, perish.

  16. This article contradicts itself horribly. Quintus, you are a great writer with great idea but you always get something twisted, and this article is a classic example of that. It should be pretty clear at this point that Le Morte D’Arthur is a piece of shit that for the good of whatever remains od Western Civ needs to be burned and whose ashes must be pissed on. Both because it is classic beta propaganda teaching men that they are disposable, and because clearly the myths of the man who wrote it didnt do him a hell of a lot of good.
    The man, according to your own words, was an animal that needed to be locked up. It not being enough to have gone on a frenzy, he has to infect the rest of humanity with his insane bullshit.
    Aside from that one point, amazing article.

    1. I appreciate your comment, Tickletik, but I see things a bit differently than you.
      Yes, it is true that Malory fell far short of his ideals. He forgot the crimes and limitations of chivalry, as well as his own crimes and limitations. And one could with some justification call Le Morte d’Arthur, as well as all feudal epics like the Song of Roland, the Niebelungenlied, the Norse sagas, the Eddas, the Beowulf poem, etc. all part of a deliberate myth-construction.
      But that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
      All societies need their mythology, their myth. It is the mortar holding the whole edifice together. And when that goes, the society goes.
      So, yes, we can easily condemn the myths, as you have. But we should not forget that they once served a purpose. Don’t rage at them: seek to understand them.
      The very fact that the mythos of knighthood had such a hold on Malory that he exalted it till his very death, proves my point. Man needs something to aspire to, something to die for. Even if in practice he can’t live up to the ideal. But you know what? There is something eminently noble and grand in that. The fact that man can fall short of his ideal, but striving for something greater.
      Man is an idealistic, noble creature. Don’t underestimate the power of myth, legend, and ideology.

  17. QUOTE: “Because man is a complicated being. That’s why. Complicated, with many faces. He can possess the heart of a monster, and the tenderness of a saint, in equal measure. And somehow, each of these voices needs to speak. Don’t take away my cherished myths, O World! Don’t deprive me of my consolation.”
    So true. Excellent article.
    Biggest myth of all: that women actually love men. Women love what we can potentially do for them, but not us as human beings. Women are a creature that do what they do to survive, namely latch on to men, in exchange they spread their legs for us; then come the poets and writers that talk about “love” etc. There is no such thing, but a part of every man, for the sake of his sanity, he would like to believe in it. Because without it his spirit is gone.

    1. And with this comment, you reveal yourself as being extremely bitter.
      Yes, they do what they need to do to survive just as we do. They want to latch on to a powerful man because it’s their biological imperative, just as ours is to spread our seed with as many fertile females as possible. But to categorically deny that they can ever love a man is wrong. Love is an emotion that evolved for the long-term rearing of children in both women and men. It is present because it perpetuates the species. To deny that women experience it is absurd.

      1. Quote: “and with this comment , you reveal yourself as being extremely bitter”
        I could easily say by your comment that you reveal yourself as having not enough experience with women.
        But respectfully I do not want to insult nor make you defensive.
        “Love” was never needed for procreation.
        Ask any seasoned cocksman who has had extensive experience dating women and they will say the same thing as I did.
        Read the 1971 book Manipulated Man, its author is an Argentine female who also stated that women do not care for men.
        With women it may not be about money per se, but it will be about resources and / or status, not about love. The best that the sexes can expect from each other is mutual respect
        This does NOT, I repeat not make women a bad sector of the human race, but this is simply being realistiand honesty about what one can expect from each other.
        The best thing that a man and a woman can have is mutual respect

        1. Mostly agreed, but I think you’re setting up a straw man in one way: I never said love was “needed” (though I sort-of portrayed it this way), rather that it was beneficial to long-term attachment and thus facilitates child-rearing.
          Never brought up marriage. Whoever takes that plunge, especially in this day and age, deserves what’s coming to him.

        2. Agreed. I’m just saying that the man that does get married is a man who lacks experience with enough females. This is why most women who are smart early on in life try to dupe their boyfriend’s into marriage while he has not been with very many women, because she knows all to well that if he manages to stay single beyond say, age 35 that he will be less likely to flush his life because of either a) gaining more knowledge of female behavior through dating multiple women or b) seeing his male friends get divorced and fleeced, and financially, and spiritually broken when (not “if” but “when”) it ends.
          Marriage under the patriarchy was a noble institution. But now, as far as i am concerned, marriage has become a peripheral part of the BDSM culture, where any man who says “I do” is declaring is servitude to a female, so that she may use and discard as she so chooses.

  18. The (post) modern narrative tells us to “Imagine no religion” like John Lennon. They even tried peddling that line when I was in Hebrew school. It’s why I became a Christian. My dad even said the virtue of Judaism is that it isn’t superstitious, just a collection of history. Means it lacks spirit, the holy spirit. There’s no myths in their interpretation of the Old Testament. Can hardly be called a religion at all.

    1. Curiously enough, that’s exactly why I remain Jewish. I remain Jewish because of the lack of myth. Of course, some vocal atheist jackass will likely start bitching that God is a myth.

    2. Curiously enough, that’s exactly why I remain Jewish. I remain Jewish because of the lack of myth. Of course, some vocal atheist jackass will likely start bitching that God is a myth.

  19. Great article. What’s to be done?? The modern , feminized world has crushed this way of thinking. If you have ideas like this you’re a throwback…”quaint”. Modernity, affluence , technology has taken all the struggle out of life. Food?? Go to Trader Joes? Making things??Nope our stuff is produced by the Chinese. Manual labor ?? Call Manuel for the yardwork and Maria for the laundry. Do our boys know how to use tools even? Remember “shop” class ?

  20. Honestly this article is among RoK’s best, and I couldn’t agree with it more: In our world where information counts for more than wisdom and where tradition is disdained in favor of fad, we’ve lost an all-embracing mythos and with it a sense of meaning and identity in our lives. In turn, people try to fill the void with technology and consumption, which only results in widening the rift between life and purpose. The rampant depression and indifference that’s easily sensed in the anglosphere comes down to this as much as anything else, I’d say.
    Perhaps not so different from Le Morte d’Arthur is the Roman literature of the late republican period, which often expressed the idea that their society had lost its golden age; however in hindsight it’s usually accepted that Rome’s greatest years were in fact ahead of her. The golden age of Rome was indeed something of a myth then as much as it is now, but it held significance and power because it denoted and symbolized something that her contemporaneous citizens strove to achieve in their own time. Without a myth, there is rarely vision.
    Like the coat of arms carved into the prison wall, myths ennoble us even (or especially) in our most difficult moments. Since men of our time and place have received no myths, it’s up to us to forge our own as we will.

  21. Not to nitpick but it is possible that the crimes reported were committed by someone else called Thomas Malory, since it was not necessarily an uncommon name (neither Thomas nor Malory), so it could very well be that he wrote the book without ever having raped or murdered anyone. We actually know almost nothing about the man himself. i don’t mean to be a downer or ruin your article, i just wanted to state that malory may not have committed those crimes, or I should say the same malory didn’t necessarily commit those crimes.

    1. This opinion is not correct. Reputable scholarship has established well beyond a doubt that Le Morte d’Arthur was written during the incarcerated years of Sir Thomas Malory, and that this same Malory was a disaffected veteran knight who had gone on a crime spree. For full discussion, see G.L. Kittredge, “Harvard Studies and Notes in Philology and Literature”, 2 vols., Vol 2, 87. Nearly every discussion of Le Morte d’Arthur accepts the tradition, and it has been so for nearly a hundred years.
      Truth is stranger than fiction, Roger.

  22. The impression I got from discussing Le Morte Darthur in school (and perhaps this says something about what universities teach) was that Lancelot embodied the contradiction that exists within the idea of chivalry, because he keeps backing himself into corners due to his secret relationship with Guinevere. Thus all of his acts as a knight are covering up lies and betrayals of his king for the sake of love. If this is indeed a bad reading, in what way is it?
    Also I thought that the rapes committed by Malory were in dispute, because of the incentive on the part of the woman in that situation to lie to protect herself, which I guess was common then. But maybe not.

  23. Another fine piece Quintus. I love your writing style, am jealous of your domination of the English language (which is not my native language BTW), and admire your determination to get to the core of what drives us as a species.
    I believe that every man needs to feel to have accomplished something in his lifetime, to leave something behind for future generations. In the middle ages that must have been a hell of a lot harder than these days, when one can get rock-star status overnight by posting a video of one’s laughing baby on YouTube.
    People, for ages, have been inventing stories (myths) to explain stuff that nobody was able to explain. The individuals who figured out that these stories could be used to manipulate the rest of the population were able to become “leaders”, I guess many of them undeserved.
    In this day and age, standing out from the crowd could be a dream of many, but how many can handle it? People these days want the easy, lazy life, the crap fast food, crap TV shows, big house, luxurious car, 10 doctors who will fix them up again after every stroke (because, you know, they become obese and stuff)… They want to show off and look important because of what they HAVE, and don’t look further than their neighbor’s house to decide what their next move will be (OMG, he bought a bigger car… I need one too).
    The stories about Arthur and his knights, chivalry, honor… can be interesting and inspiring, but to really BE that way is simply too much of an effort for all those modern men whose idea of physical activity is picking up the phone to call the Pizza Hut.
    Modern day knights? I can’t say I know any. Do you?

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