Eduardo Garcia calls for a cultural and social revolution of manhood.
Too much sanity may be madness, and the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.
–Miguel de Cervantes
Friends, Readers, Compadres, lend me your ears. After my initial post on Macho-Men and Caballeros, a post that I originally though would have been a one shot, I have been given the opportunity by the wonderful people here at The Good Men Project to continue with my Caballero rants. With that in mind, I realized that the best place to start is at the start, a proper introduction. Let me tell the story of a great man, Don Alonso Quijano. While surrounded with a bland, humorless world where imagination and wonder were no longer in the air and society conspired to kill off all aspirations of a man, he stumbled upon the secret to life and the universe itself. He realized that he was able to see the world, not as it is, but as HE is.
He ignored the world presented to him by the pessimist and the pedestrian, and started to look at it with his heart, seeing things as they should be and could be. He focused on the beauty and the miracle of life. He realized that although he had no control over the date of his death, he had full control over how he could handle his life, living every day without regrets as if every day could be his last. His cup stopped being a half empty vessel and now overflowed with inspiration and fascination.
The small minded will say to this day that he went mad. I say he found enlightenment. He dreamed the impossible dream, he fought the unbeatable foe, he tried to right the unrightable wrong, and he ran to where the brave did not dare to go. A mad fool or brilliant genius, he lives to this day thanks to his legacy as written by Miguel de Cervantes, remembered as The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. He is proof that even after a long life and a world bent on breaking a man’s spirits, you can still open your eyes and become the idealistic and romantic Caballero the world needs.
I come to speak of a great problem we face today as men. We all come from long and proud traditions, based on the Universal Ideals of Honor, Respect, Principals and Character, or at least that is what my mothers tried to teach me under threats of physical harm for my own good. As a kid, I remember my grandfather and his friends, all distinguished gentlemen, sitting in the plaza, drinking their coffee, smoking their cigars or pipes, and discussing current events heard over the radio, while they played dominos, chess, or cards. They valued their family, their honor, and their principals over all things. For these they would be willing to fight or even die, but mainly just argued about it all loudly. A lot. These were the Caballeros that shaped my youth, the examples that forged the image of a true man, one that could be called a Caballero. I remember one trying to instill life lessons on me by quoting Jacinto Benavente and Martinez: “During a fight you’ll know who’s a soldier, but only in victory do you know who’s a gentleman.”
But alas, those days seem like distant memories, mainly because it happened when I was a kid and I am a lot older now.
I believe that all men, regardless of races, ethnicities, and ideologies, should stand up and rebel against a society slowly poisoning our souls as it descends into a crass and classless homogeneity where stupidity and ignorance are applauded in prime time, egotistical avarice is the example set as an acceptable goals for our youth, and get rich quick schemes are favored over dedication and hard work. Instead of simply complaining, tweeting, and drama-blogging via the social media, we must decide to become the change we want in our society. We must lead by example; be the dreamers, the un-realists, the idealists. We will show the world how a proper Caballero should behave. What should be our goal?
Be the role model you needed growing up.
For too long the media has bombarded us with an improper image of what it is to be a man. A cultural and social revolution must happen, a movement of self-empowerment, of taking responsibility for ourselves. This revolution is totally in the hands of every individual, for it is a revolution of the soul. Understand that no other group or person holds power over your dreams besides you.
As I look at the world today, I see that we have forgotten the lessons of yesteryears, when a man took responsibility for his actions, where he was the foundation over which his family and community would grow. We are constantly blaming our surroundings and exterior situations, using them as excuses as to why we don’t even try to succeed, instead of taking personal responsibility of our lives. Sure, the news generally promotes all the reasons why we cannot succeed and all the bad things in the world that could hold us back. We see how crime, scandals, and corruption are so common place that they are glorified as acceptable behavior. The truth is that for every disaster, there are those who willing to help. For every corrupt politician, there is another trying to help a community. And for every person pushed down, there is one strong enough to stand up again, serving as an example to everyone around them. Mr. Rogers said it best when he stated:
“When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Have we fallen so low that these great Caballeros of our society have been replaced by Macho-Men and Social Rejects? Screaming about how you will not be defined by society? Looking like every other gangbanger or wife beater out there does not prove your principles. Treating women as complementary accessories to your car, using them as simple substitutes to your hand in more personal moments, is NOT something to be proud of. Some of us have chosen to become the most degrading stereotype that has been placed upon us.
We need to step up, past the Macho stereotype, and step into the Caballero’s elegant dress shoes. We need to accept personal responsibility for our actions and appearance. Remember, society does not look at you as an individual. You represent all Men. Why the hell would you be proud to act like Trash? Have some pride, if not for yourself, for the rest of us! This is about self-respect and more importantly, self-empowerment. You have to be aware of YOURSELF. You promote a culture of diversity and inclusion simply by being proud of who you are and where you come from! Marcus Aurelius said it best:
“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
The revolution of empowerment begins in our communities, our homes, and our selves. Promote being a modern Caballero as an act of noble rebellion against:
- Giving power to the insults and discriminations from the bigot, the ignorant, and the uneducated. Show that you are above the slander and take the high road. Not everyone with economic challenges are deviants living off welfare and not everyone who is well off is a manipulating money grabbing bastard.
- Being another stereotypes perpetuated by the Mass Media. Society is composed of all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. We are masters of our fate and not a result of our surroundings.
- Bad examples perpetuated by own crass and classless brothers. Every one of us comes from hundreds of years of history and culture evolution. ACT LIKE IT!
- Social homogenous blandwash that seeks to eliminate cultural diversity. We do not live in a melting pot where everyone blends in, but rather trail mix. Educate society by BEING the example of diversity you want to promote.
As a Man you see these things every day, making you angry and frustrated. The first truth that you must understand is that even though you have power over yourself, you have no real control over outside events. The Macho will always be a Macho and the ignorant will always be ignorant, as long as they have no interest in changing. They are happy in their own misery and in making others miserable, so don’t waste your energy on them. You have to decide how much power you are willing to give them over your life.
“Without frustration you will not discover that you might be able to do something on your own.” –Bruce Lee
Brothers, as Caballeros we must lead by example. We cannot demand respect if we don’t encourage respect, to ourselves and to those around us. We must take responsibility for our actions, appearance, education, and develop a general sense of personal and social justice, to teach by example future generations of Men on how to traverse the perilous world we live in. Lead a life that future generations can aspire to.
We WILL fight, but not with violence. Our armor will be our virtue, our shield will be our morals, and our sword will be our integrity. As Fray Antonio de Guevara said:
“A caballero is to be measured in his speech, generosity in giving, sober in eating, honesty in living, kindness in forgiving, and courageousness in fighting.”