Achilles, masculinity, and diversity

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In this ~50-minute video I talk about the philosophical theme of diversity with masculinity as a case in point. Some of the main points:

  • How art captures patterns of everyday behaviour to turn them into archetypes. Those help us understand profound insights in a relatable way.
  • Discussion about the archetype of Achilles: the champion who fought in the Trojan War (reference to the relevant art).
  • How Achilles is as relevant as ever with regard to discourses about masculinity and how men “should” be.
  • We can find the Achilles type in the form of the influencer who prompts his audience to be forceful.
  • Why exceptional skills do not justify one being arrogant and intolerant towards others.
  • Achilles is not the only type of man. Even within a single gender, there are many types.
  • The case of Odysseus, another hero of the Trojan War, and how there can be different types of man.
  • How modern-day narratives discount the diversity even within a single gender. This encourages once group of men to bully other men.
  • Comments on how Odysseus differs from Achilles in terms of dealing with challenges. Sometimes you do not just power through; sometimes you have to work around.
  • The case of Odysseus and the Cyclops. This is an example of not trying to solve everything with brute force, as that is foolish.
  • There is nothing wrong with being strong. The problem is when we are trying to create a monoculture among men.
  • Instead of recognising how things stand, we are quick to judge them.
  • I don’t think there is anything wrong with some elements of advice, such as exercising. But if we make that the be-all-end-all of manhood, there starts the problem. It breeds intolerance towards the fact that there are other activities as well; other types of man.
  • Personal stories where men try to play tough.
  • How being pretentious is bad for you and your relationships.
  • Connecting the dots in all the aforementioned.
  • Explaining discipline as opposed to obedience and conformity.
  • The archetype of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and what it symbolises.