Sam Keen is an American author, philosopher and professor born in the year 1931 whose writings and teachings have explored areas such as religion, philosophy and psychology. Sam Keen's writings have been focused on the countless questions of love, life, religion, and being a man in a modern society; which he discusses in his book 'Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man' (1991). From the book 'Fire in the Belly' the essay 'Man and WOMAN' was extracted. Along with these literary pieces, popular books such as Apology of Wonder (1969), Faces of the Enemy (1986), and Learning to Fly: Trapeze- Reflections on Fear, Trust, and the Joy of Letting Go (1999) are all products of Keen's literary works of art. After Keen's academic pursuit of graduating from Ursinus College in 1953 with his undergraduate degree. Keen obtained obtained his graduate degrees from Harvard University and Princeton University. Keen was then a professor of the philosophy of religion at a seminary known as the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary for six years. Keen later became an editor for Psychology Today magazine and thereafter ventured in to the field of writing. The focus of this essay will be on the extract 'Man and WOMAN'. Man and WOMAN as was mentioned before, was extracted from Keen's book 'Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man' that is based on the examination of the stereotypical perceptions and myths surrounding the idealistic concepts of man and WOMAN, and the roles both sexes play. This essay will discuss what is required of a man to attain true manhood as they examine their trinomial views of WOMAN as Goddess and Creatrix, WOMAN as Mother and Matrix, and WOMAN as Erotic-Spiritual Power.
The concept of 'manhood' has been falsely identified for several generations now. The qualities believed to be possessed by a male in order to be considered a 'man' are commonly those that are contrary to the characteristics actually possessed by a true man. In past generations and even more so today, being manly involves being 'macho' - in full control of any and everything, being Mr. Know It All, being strong and mighty, fierce, and a cocky braggart. However, these traits in no way contribute to manhood. In Man and WOMAN, Keen expresses that 'men' in fact are those responsible for their struggles in reaching the state of true manhood. Keen mentions that "one of the major tasks of manhood is to explore the unconscious feelings that surround our (men's) various images of WOMAN, to dispel false mystification, to dissolve the vague sense of threat and fear, and finally to learn to respect and love the strangeness of womankind" (Verburg, 2000, pg.332 ). However, without a doubt, more than half the males in society that regard themselves as 'men' are no way near even sharing the same opinion or train of thought as Keen's in regards to evaluating one's self and validating and embracing the being of a woman to reach the destination of true manhood. In fact, their efforts of becoming a man is focused solely on themselves. The input or significance of woman in the opinions of males today have no relevance whatsoever throughout the course of them becoming true men. In Keen's essay, he opposes the idea of males solely becoming men. Keen argues that in order for a child; who later becomes a man-child, to evolve into that of being a man, he must first purge his mind of the misconceptions of a WOMAN, and the "unconscious feelings" (Verburg, 2000, pg.332 ) that surround those misconceptions. The first of the three views on WOMAN males must address in the journey of becoming a man is WOMAN as Goddess and Creatrix. As the title WOMAN as Goddess and Creatrix would imply, it is referring to the fact that women are the sex that brings about creation. Only females possess the ability to bring forth a child, which males often times feel threatens their significance and importance as 'men'- the sex believed to be the dominantly essential. However, what 'men' fail to realize as what...
References: Denee, K.D. (2005) Misconceptions of Manhood. What is True Manhood? Retrieved July 13, 2013 from http://rcg.org/youth/articles/0303-witm.html
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Verburg, C. J. (2000). Ourselves Among Others: Readings from Home and Abroad. Boston, MA.
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