It’s my belief there are, through our own doing or with help from others, times when every man runs low on his supply of what one writer calls the “tactical virtues”; strength, courage, mastery, and honor. Those times are extremely tough times.
(For instance, right now I’m writing at the library and there is a man who has violently coughed almost incessantly for 20 minutes. My honor is running terribly low.)
Tactical Virtues Explained
In all seriousness, our tactical virtues, when running as intended, are akin to Ironman’s power disk, his Arc Reactor. The reactor allows him to perform superhuman feats, to say nothing of it keeping him alive. Unlike our superhero, it’s only when our tactical virtues wane that we begin to be slowly poisoned.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been re-reading a useful book, The Way of Men, by Jack Donovan. He describes the “tactical virtues” as this:
“Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor are the virtues that protect the perimeter; they are the virtues that save us…Whatever men fight for, Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor are what they must demand of each other if they are going to win…they are the fundamental virtues of men because without them, no ‘higher’ virtues can be entertained.”
How important does that sound?
I believe the guy. I look at my life thus far and see the times when I’ve felt weak, acted less than courageously, been a master of very little, and lacking all sorts of honor. Without question, there have been times such as those. They may come be again. Maybe tomorrow. Who knows? I try to keep them at bay.
(My honor is again being tested, because it’s now two days later, I’m at home writing, and my kids are having what sounds like a wrestling match upstairs that I expect to come through the ceiling at any moment. They are girls.)
Full Tactical Ability
Those times are like a virus; they are the poison within our arc reactor. They can grow, deepen, affect your mindset, hinder your progress, prevent advancement both toward higher virtue and goals and aspirations. One day, you’ll open your eyes and months or years have passed while absorbing the poison. In short, when a man is lacking his tactical virtues, he simply feels like he isn’t worthy of higher aspirations. The only thing that makes sense while in that mindset is negativity, from within and from without, as in from other people.
Now, Mr. Donovan would likely say that a man just needs to pull himself out of the nosedive. Again, he’s right, but it isn’t meant to be done alone. If you can do it alone, and it can be done, do it! There are times, however, when more help is needed.
In those times, we certainly must look inside, past whatever put us in the destructive mindset, and regain the fire. We certainly must look heavenward for direction. And, despite the I-can-do-it-myself affliction that men seem to have, we certainly must look to others, men and women, to bring us back to full tactical ability.
Whether a mentor (real or virtual), a spouse, friends, Romans, countrymen, or any combination of the foregoing, we aren’t meant to go it alone. If that were so, God would’ve stopped with Adam. We must draw upon the encouragement, successes, inspiration, and wisdom of others (tactically chosen, I should add).
The more distance we place between full tactical ability and the hell that is always seeking us out, the less likely it is to catch us.
I Don’t Care What He/She/They Think
Mr. Donovan is also correct on another matter. When speaking of that group of men who profess to not care what others think or say or do, he maintains they “…will not be trusted by the hunting and fighting gang.” They have no loyalties, and thereby cannot be counted on. I agree.
I might add, those who profess a deep concern for freedom of thought and speech, but want to limit the rights of those with whom they disagree to think and speak, fall into that same group.
Donovan, Jack (2012-03-22). The Way of Men.