Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sam Keen - Fire In The Belly

Quick vid of Sam Keen on his interview with Ernest Becker (author of "The Denial Of Death") a month before he passed away.


Fire In The Belly by Sam Keen -- awesome book.

Read it.

This is the sort of book that pushes you to develop that deep inner game.

I can say that after reading it, it really helped me to establish a stronger sense of grounding and direction in my life.

There were points where I was considered glossing over it or putting it down, but as I got deeper into it I'm glad that I realized what a good call it was to stick it through.

Some highlights.....

-Where men find their identity in this day and age, talking about the confusion that's come with the evolution of society through the last century.

-The unwritten rules of today's corporate lifestyle (don't make moral judgements, stay indoors, live by the clock, wear a uniform and conform, etc...)

-How negative emotions are often a symptom of "living sombody else's life, marching to a drumbeat that doesn't syncopate with your personal body rhythms, playing a role you didn't create, living a script written by an alien authority"

-The man's ego ideals about himself versus shadow beliefs (believing you're strong, unconsciously doubting yourself, etc...)

-Self acceptance as "a man gains acceptance of the multiplicity of his being".

My favourite part about this book is Sam Keen's way of articulating the "Hall of Heroes" versus the "Hall of Exemplars."

To Sam Keen, there are heroes of the modern day, who in a thousand years will be relegated to the scrap heap of popular culture, and there are exemplars who lived in ways that will be modeled for as long after they're gone.

This relates me to Ayn Rand's concept of "Mastery of nature versus mastery over other men" -- there are some who seek excellence, and some who seek being perceived as excellent by others.

I also think Sam Keen has a lot of important things to say about being involved in something greater than yourself, whether it be activism or whatever else, without allowing it to drain you of your vitality.

A lot of people I know will talk like "I used to be involved in x-cause, but I felt like it was tripping me out after a while and getting me all negative... So I stopped."

As Sam Keen says, that's really coming at it from the wrong angle.

Overall, the primary message of Fire In The Belly is just about what it means to be a man, and more importantly, what it means to be grounded in a masculine identity in a time of role-confusion and cultural evolution.

I found a great deal of of sense in a great deal of what he has to say, and I felt that by connecting with a perpspective of someone whose been around a lot longer than I have, there was a lot of burden that's been lifted off of my shoulders.

Highly recommended.



Anonymous said...

I remember listening to the audio edition of this book some time ago. Very insightful. I also recommend David Deida's 'The Way of the Superior Man'.

Peter said...

I'm curious if you've ever read anything from Carl Rogers. His person-centered theory of personality sounds almost exactly like the recent post on self-esteem (in his words, "organism") and ego ("self-concept"), and a lot of his ideas are paralleled in this book, it sounds like.

Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

I will check this out. I'm reading 'Iron John' by Robert Bly right now and it's blowing me away in a way that's literally scary. Love that.

Great blog Tyler, much appreciated.

nick said...

Hey Tyler,
I dont know if you've already read this book Ryan posted on the forums, but its really good.
Its called "The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People".
It seems to really saturate core confidence in a really really clear way. I hope you read it if you havent already, enjoy it, and add it to the list of books you posted so others can enjoy as they pass through.