"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Roughness and Toughness

I think that there is in our society today a lamentable confusion between two conceptions of masculinity, which I believe can be encapsulated in two words: roughness and toughness.

Roughness
signifies the willingness to force others to submit to your will. A rough man, as signified by the term roughneck, won't take anything from anybody. He'll fight for what he thinks is his, and often for what is not his but which he merely wants. He is willing to do to others whatever harm is necessary to achieve his goals.

Toughness signifies the tendency to accept punishment from the world. A tough man is one who seeks to do what is right, and recognizing that not everybody else is into that same pursuit, knows that he will have to receive much trouble for his attempts to do good. A tough man will take a lot of abuse rather than do what he knows to be wrong. A tough man lives by the rules, and doesn't look to force other people to do his bidding, including those times when he knows others are doing wrong. He would rather accept unfair abuse himself than visit well-deserved pain on someone else.

(To me, Jesus Christ is the highest example of a tough man.)

Young men, you might well ask yourself which of these types of man you aspire to be. Young women, you might well inquire of yourself which of these types of man you would like to be with.

Until more of us aspire to the right ideals, our society will continue to deteriorate.

1 comment:

Evanston said...

Extremely useful dichotomy. I expect to exploit it frequently in the future.