The burning man

Check out this video.

This is a good song, I rather like it. But there is also something else to ponder: the role of fire, men, and women.

The male is burning and yearning for the female.

I’m burnin’
‘cos you set my soul on fire
Girl, I dont know what I’ll do
‘Cos I’m burnin’
I’m burnin’
I’m burnin’ with desire

This is a romantic, well established picture, Werther all over again, only in a lesser degree.

Of course there are aspects of power as well, and competition.

The runner is fast so that he can win the prize. Men try to “run” in so many ways to win the woman-prize. Woman is attractive, that is magnetic. She draws the man to herself, as a lodestone. This is training and tradition: Of course we men turn around after her in the street , and of course she doesn’t turn around after us.

But if woman is a magnet, what then is man? Maybe electric. He does not draw; he emits, radiates. But in these times with confused and mixed-up gender roles the Electric Man cannot be taken for granted.

It is noteworthy that there is much talk about the Strong Woman, but not much or anything about the Strong Man. Yes, we have the cliche of the strong silent type, but it seems to be mostly something literary or cinematographic.

The man, if he is to embody Yang or at least have a fair share of Yang (masculinity) balancing Yin, needs electricity. There are many kinds. One man is electric in practical matters, or he is a “doer” or a “thinker”. Or a knight (not necessarily errant).

The knights around King Arthur seem to me to embody a rare and valuable Yin-Yang balance.

But is the electric man a “burning man”, as in the song?

Many romantically inclined men (“stupid men” some call them) are burning and yearning. The imbalance is that while generally men have retained a lot of romantic images about politeness (paying the check, holding up doors, letting women and children take the lifeboats, etc.) and courtship, few women are fair damsels nowadays. My impression is that after a certain age only a very small number of women are romantic, “burning”: they get rid of these tendencies and quickly turn practical and pragmatic.

Women are the only realists; their whole object in life is to pit their realism against the extravagant, excessive, and occasionally drunken idealism of men. (G.K. Chesterton)

Women have moved on. Women’s Lib has changed the picture radically. I would say that women in the West are living in the present much more than men, who hold on to older images and patterns of behavior. Some men even tramp around in the swamp of Courtly Love.

This, women don’t necessarily mind, because it gives them advantages. They can be at the same time emancipated à la Spice Girls AND be treated as frail porcelain figures.

So the temptation for many women is the ethical part. Can they admit that they hold lots of power — more or less (in)visible — over men? And that this also counts in the balance, not only equal pay and other materialistic matters? Men are materialistic enough, don’t imitate us in that respect, ladies.

Men have admitted to countless faults and sins, among them (according to some feminists) having destroyed nature, the environment and generally created all the problems and mayhem in the world. That’s some burden on our shoulders.

The problem in a way boils down to the following questions: Do we work as a team, support each other and share the responsibility? Are we in this together, or are we opponents? In short: Peace or war?

The burning man (burning for women) is not very balanced or peaceful. It can be called “dynamic”, but it is so in an old-fashioned, out-of-sync way. Tactical, invisible female control over men (emotionally and sexually) is not peaceful either.

The battle of the sexes — an unbalanced “balance of power” — is still in the air. Even more so after the finger-pointing, polarizing tension and social media war declaration of #MeToo. #MeToo has led to a couple of male suicides, which is hardly a sign of a progressing peace process.

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