Initiation or How To Become A Man

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How to become a man? You have to exchange your naive assumptions about the world for a worldview that is more grounded in reality. You can do this by going through a series of initiation rituals.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
  but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
  ~Corinthians 13:11 Bible (KJV)

initiation rituals or how to become a man

Leonidas vs. Wolf, 300 The Movie; Artist: loks11

In historical times, initiation rituals were organized by your tribe. You had to pass through them every few years or be cast out.

Today’s society offers only sub-standard, non-mandatory versions leaving male humans at immature levels of development well into adulthood, even old age.

On that condition, you have to create initiation rituals on your own. You do this by intentionally disrupting your set behavioral pattern.

The problem is that you still deal with the world the same way that you did in the past. It has worked for the demands of your childhood environment, but no longer does in the real world. What was cute before, is now ridiculous.

To overcome this state, you have to put yourself in an extreme environment, far outside of your comfort zone, where your old behavior does not work. The experience of an initiation ritual will make you question everything you know about, and forces you to beat a new path.

That was also the essence of the historical rites of passage. The old you had to die for the new you to emerge.

When you come back, you will have an open mind and can deal with reality in a more mature and self-reliant way.

However, the new solution soon becomes a rut as well. You have to break your behavioral pattern every few years or risk becoming a caricature of yourself.

So initiation is not a one-time event for a boy to become a man, but the continuous process of adapting to changing circumstances throughout a man’s life.

To honor this fact, the tribes of Vanuatu (an island state in the Pacific Ocean) even had a system of 15 separate levels of initiation rituals.

Initiation rituals or how to become a man

Land Diving, Islands of Vanuatu, Source:

preview: what it means to be a man. Preview: Scrum Transformation Process

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