The masculine man today doesn’t merely struggle to find quality male friends whom he can respect, trust, and admire. Equally frustrating are the lack of worthy enemies, which are as equally valuable as a good friend.
“Enemy” perhaps is too strong a word. Maybe “rival” or “opponent” are more appropriate. An enemy in this sense is the antagonist, the person whose goals are mutually exclusive of yours. They want the trophy, the rank, the position, the title, or the girl you desire, and they have the will to pursue it.
Few such men exist that bring value, and I have a feeling this explains much of the malaise plaguing modern men. Not only do they lack a “tribe” or brotherhood, but they have no one whose opposition prevents stagnation.
As the saying goes, good times create weak men, and good times in this sense mean no worthy enemies. Blunted iron cannot sharpen iron.
In ancient times or during the Dark Ages where wars and combat were a part of everyday life, this wasn’t a problem. When they weren’t fighting the heathen and infidel, Medieval knights jousted in tournaments that were so violent they frequently proved deadly. Even until recent history in America, physical brawls were commonplace and an acceptable outlet for natural male aggression.
But as societies grew more civilized, the kind of enemies a man would have and the manner in which they fought changed from overt to covert. The open sword was exchanged for the cloak and dagger. Also, the enemies in question now disguised themselves. The world transitioned from avowed foe like Attila the Hun to deceitful traitors like Othello’s Iago.
While ordinary men can and will certainly encounter enemies in real life from high school to the corporate office, the quality of one’s enemy can be inspiring or degrading. Typically, it’s the latter.
Masculine men yearn for open and direct conflict, whether violent or not, as a means of settling differences or challenging another’s perceived superiority in area they value. They can respect an opponent who openly challenges them in an honest manner, whose rivalry is known and unambiguous. They despise men who avoid open conflict in favor of passive aggression and evasion. One of the reasons civilizations weaken over time is when the rules for conflict are written to favor the most unmanly men in the room.
The importance of a worthy enemy is hard to overstate. They are the ones who more than anyone will hold you accountable when you don’t give it your all. Your friends may avoid calling you out, but a worthy enemy will not. The threat of their victory will constantly remind you of what happens when you slack off and get lazy. They, more than a friend, will keep you on your toes and inspire you to achieve what you are truly capable of. You will put in the effort and time to push yourself to your limit. When you win, there is a sense of genuine accomplishment worth celebrating, because the rival and opponent is good at something you consider admirable.
The worthy enemy helps you discover your true self.
An unworthy enemy brings out the worst in you. They are the ones who you can only beat by bringing yourself down to their level, so that even if you “win” they’ve still corrupted your masculinity in the process.
Too often this is what men face. Instead of having a Rommel to their Patton or Napoleon to their Wellington, their enemies are devoid of any admirable quality. They fight via subversion, gossiping, slander, hearsay, backstabbing, double-crossing and shameless behavior. They thrive on all the toxic elements poisoning every stratum of society and that the masculine man can’t stomach. Deep down they know they are inferior, yet they relish the fact that the rules constrain the better man to his benefit. The unworthy enemy seek indirect conflict as a way of destroying men who either dare to achieve or succeed in achieving what he secretly craves yet is too weak or cowardly to pursue.
Men should love the worthy enemy, because they are as rare as a loyal friend. If a man encounters one, he should consider himself fortunate.