To be wild, to hear the heartbeat of nature, to feel the rush of adrenal strength, to drink from the fresh air and howl at the moon – these are things that are embedded into men.
Hunting today isn’t what it once was. We used to hunt because it was life. We didn’t hunt, we didn’t eat. Now, it’s a sport, a multi-billion dollar industry. A government managed program that requires permits, fancy orange vests, and expensive equipment.
At the core of the wild is the idea that we must seek, stalk, kill, and haul our prey home to feed our young.
It was a right of passage for young men for generations – to get that first kill. To take the life of an animal, and to learn that our life depends on the life of another.
I understand that there are some that don’t eat meat -but don’t think for a minute that you aren’t still killing SOMETHING when you pluck that carrot out of its dirty ground!
Our cultured and shiny environment now doesn’t require people to get their hands dirty. If you go to the store to buy meat, you buy meat. You don’t see the beating heart, the twitching nerves, or the cold stare left behind by the animal that gave its flesh for you.
Today – our “hunt” may be translated to many things.
• Rites of Passage. What rites do we use to identify our maturity into manhood? What ritual marks a teenage son turning to a man? What ritual marks a man turning to an elder? I fear we may have dropped many of these by the wayside, and I think we must begin to resurrect them.
“Men cannot be men—much less good or heroic men—unless their actions have meaningful consequences to people they truly care about. Strength requires an opposing force, courage requires risk, mastery requires hard work, honor requires accountability to other men. Without these things, we are little more than boys playing at being men, and there is no weekend retreat or mantra or half-assed rite of passage that can change that. A rite of passage must reflect a real change in status and responsibility for it to be anything more than theater. No reimagined manhood of convenience can hold its head high so long as the earth remains the tomb of our ancestors”
— Jack Donovan (The Way of Men)
• Strenuous Activity. Chasing a deer through the woods, wrestling a bear to the ground, or even holding perfectly still to avoid chasing off the rabbit are all strenuous. They build strength and speed in us. What are we doing to build strength today? Are you active? Are you moving? Are you training to build your body better than it is?
“Training for me is a metaphor for life. Period. The Dedication. The Determination. The Desire. The Work Ethic. The great success and the great failures – I take that into life.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
• Respect for the source. In many cultures, a hunter or farmer would say a prayer as he slit the throat of his animal so that it could be bled out. He respected the beast that would feed his family. Now, we could have a long talk about the evils of factory farming, but that’s another topic for another day. The crux here is: Are we grateful for the sources of our provision today? Do we show respect for the company where we earn our cash? Do we show honor and respect for the work and for the hunt for our success? Or do we just demand and assume that our wealth will be handed to us?