Remy Sheppard

Let's burn it down and try again.

As A Man Thinketh – Review

SJ from reached out to me with a copy of his book, Becoming A Lion Among Sheep. It was a good book and I enjoyed reading it, but right off in the very beginning he drops a quote,

Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.

That quote comes from James Allen and his 1902 essay entitled, ‘As A Man Thinketh‘. The “book” as a whole is only 31 pages which makes you think it’s going to be an easy, or light read. Except it is anything but.

If you manage to read this book in one sitting, then you haven’t truly read it. Allen opens up with his thoughts on what makes a man, and how a man can be successful, and how everything in life is linked back to the mind.

Allen himself looked like a smaller man and didn’t have the strongest jaw line I’ve ever seen, but he was very intelligent nonetheless. He draws heavily from Christian Scripture and Buddhist teachings (and probably various other sources that I didn’t pick up on for my own lack of knowledge) and makes constant references to the omnipotence of thought.

He asserts (correctly) that man is an essentially creative being (he is), and that his thoughts will always direct his actions. It’s interesting because the idea of being guided by your thoughts is one we all understand, but I don’t believe we truly think about it.

Allen says in his work that if you have a man who is a good man, a well respected member of the community and he one day finds himself jailed, the people of his community will cry foul. Oh what mistake must have been made!? John was a good man! He wouldn’t do something like this! Allen says that John, while he may be a good man, harbored certain evil thoughts and desires, and acted upon them when presented the opportunity.

The idea that man controls himself and his circumstance so completely is a revolutionary one with the potential to change your life, if you let it. There is no circumstance you are in, nothing that happens to you in your life, that you did not create and bring upon yourself with your own thinking.

You think and harbor thoughts in your heart and mind. These thoughts grow until you make choices based upon them. Your choices then lead you into circumstances – either positive or negative, but always of your own design. He proves this by way of parable, saying,

Here is a man who is wretchedly poor. He is extremely anxious that his surroundings and home comforts should be improved, yet all the time he shirks his work, and considers he is justified in trying to deceive his employer on the ground of the insufficiency of his wages. Such a man does not understand the simplest rudiments of those principles which are the basis of true prosperity, and is not only totally unfitted to rise out of his wretchedness, but is actually attracting to himself a still deeper wretchedness by dwelling in, and acting out, indolent, deceptive, and unmanly thoughts.

A man wants to escape his poverty, but he is lazy and refuses to work, lies to his employer, and believes that wealth should be his simply because he’s “entitled” to it.

Allen also spends a lot of time on the masculine virtues as Jack Donovan understood and penned them. In fact, Masculinity as a whole is thread that runs through the entire book. That masculinity should be achieved, but it can only be achieved through careful thought, mastery of yourself, and then deliberate action.

True to the pithy nature of the book (though not the bloated nature of the essay), Allen extols silence as a virtue of masculine men, stating the the peaceful and stoic attitude makes a man a beacon among other men.

All in all, it is a very interesting read. You can tell that James Allen was no Casanova but that doesn’t mean he didn’t understand Masculinity and how to achieve it, and other goals, through the power of thought. If you can get past the often flowery language, you’ll end up with some life-changing thoughts and ideas.

Click here to buy this book!

The Art of Manliness

It’s time we shed these black and white categories, and embrace a much more multidimensional concept of masculinity.

In one of the Art of Manliness’ articles, “The Alpha Male Myth“, guest columnist Scott Barry Kaufman asserts the claim that alpha males don’t exist and that women want the “Masculine Gentleman” who will be strong and brave and rescue them in times of peril, but who are also polite and sweet and gentle.

If that sounds like advocating White Knighting, it’s because it is.

Mr. Kaufman, who near as I can tell is your average beta, wrote the piece in July to convince the not insignificant readership of Brett McKay’s site that they shouldn’t read those evil manosphere blogs and should instead accept that women want a knight in shining armor.

The comments section is full of cheering on from women who couldn’t agree more – a red flag if I ever saw one.

In the end, Mr. Kaufman sounds like a woman himself in the article – in my humble opinion – and gives out some pretty shitty advice on masculinity.

Ah yes, the picture of masculinity.

But the problem isn’t necessarily with Mr. Kaufman himself, whom I’m sure is a pretty decent guy. The problem is with The Art of Manliness altogether. It’s a site for women, not men. At the start of the site, Brett McKay was honestly looking to join and fuel a revival of masculinity in the modern era.

He was man like the rest of us who wanted to see real men have their day once again, to see boys be proud of being boys and not be ashamed as the feminist overlords would have them be. The early articles on the site were quality, useful stuff about masculinity and how to better yourself.

As the site has grown, however, the focus has shifted.

Brett made his first mistake when he broke the 10% rule of female participation, allowing copious amount of women to voice their thoughts on masculinity. The more saturated an environment becomes with women the more it must cater to their needs.

He is no longer allowed the freedom to write raw articles about masculinity for fear of reprimand from shrieking harpies that may disagree. You can’t create a “safe space” for men that won’t allow them to give voice their minds without fear of reprisal.

As for Brett himself, he now writes very little on his own site. He spends most of his time making YouTube videos that – by and large – rehash his older, better posts.

Now that he makes a living off of his very popular blog, he can’t say anything controversial or counter-current for fear of losing income so he simply doesn’t write. This, unfortunately, leaves his readership with shitty guest writers.

Because the site’s focus has shifted to bringing in a stable income, the quality has inevitably gone in the toilet. Relying too much on the site for income does the opposite of making Brett anti-fragile – instead making him paranoid for his site. He dares not be controversial anymore because it would cost him readership – negatively impacting site revenues.

The truth is, The Art of Manliness is a site for women. Brett is scared to offend anyone, he’s scared to put out any kind of honest critique of our culture, and when he isn’t hiding from writing, he’s posting things with his wife’s name in the byline.

The focus of the site is so far off from what it should be that it has become a caricature of itself, with its mustache icon and the stained pictures of men boxing – the site has become a joke.

I’m not saying any of you should stop reading it, or denounce Brett. Far from it! I’m hoping that eventually Brett will come to and get back to posting the content we all used to love. That hopefully he will kick all of the shitty emasculated guest posters out of his kingdom. Maybe he will realize he worries too much about what people think, and that his focus on monetizing his site has made his site lose focus of its goal: Teaching men how to kick ass and take names.


The Importance of Others

Saturday night I had the chance to spend about an hour and a half video chatting with Florian Ulrich of Life Science Mentor. We spoke about what was going on our lives, holocaust education in Germany, the fountain of youth, and various ways astrophysics and theology intersect.

It was one of the best conversations I’ve had a very long time.

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Responsibility To Breed

Lately I’ve been wondering what, precisely, I should do about having children. I’ve been married for a little while now, and we’re both reaching an age where we need to go ahead and get the ball rolling if we’re planning on having kids.

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Does God love me even when I sin?

My dad used to build houses. Not a construction worker, but a general contractor. He built these lavish homes at the beach for retiring senators and judges and businessmen. We made a lot of money. And with our wealth came its typical trappings: Toys, new cars, computers (or, what passed as computers in the 90s), and a very large house.

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Masculinity Is A Joke

Masculinity these days is starting to become a joke.  There are a lot of guys out there these days, but not very many men.

Let me explain the difference….

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Is God Punishing Me?

Just in time for Easter! Let’s talk about punishment, God, and Christianity.

Is God punishing me? I wanted to sit down and write a post for the blog. This isn’t really a problem for me, I have been blogging for a long time and writing for even longer. Usually when I want to write the words will just start flowing. If they don’t I’ve found that I have enough “technical ability” as a writer to at least start until my muse kicks in.

But when I sat down and powered up my word processor, I found a very strange thing had happened to me: The words didn’t come. Nothing. I was just sitting there, staring at a blinking cursor.

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Who is your tribe?

I’ve been reading a lot of Jack Donovan lately. Leading up to my re-read of his book The Way of Men, I thought I would go through his archives and read the stuff he was writing before I “found” him.

His writing has gotten me to thinking about the impact I have on those around me, my life, and the things I say and do. Do I act to quickly? Do I speak to quickly? Am I making my words count?

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Does God Do It, or Do I?

I used to write a lot about self improvement. I would write about things like weight lifting, eating right, starting a side business. I wrote about destroying bad habits like masturbation and pornography and different ways to remove them from your life.

A lot of what I wrote about centered around discipline.

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The 10 Commandments of Masculinity

These are the  10 Commandments of Masculinity – the basic rules and principles that should govern a real man’s behavior.  These things should give you a framework to build on and a good understanding of how the different pieces of advice on this site work together.  Read these, and put them in your heart. I truly believe these ten principles hold the key to changing your life.

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