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What is Masculinity at its Core? (An Ancient Perspective)

what is masculinity

Many men have grappled with the concept of masculinity in their life. There are numerous lenses through which to look at it, and everyone has a slightly different opinion.

I believe, however, that masculinity essentially comes down to one, simple, basic characteristic. Whether you define masculinity on a biological and evolutionary level, like Jack Donovan, or on a spiritual level, like David Deida, it still comes down to this one basic characteristic.

This one basic characteristic has been referred to many times throughout history. The Greeks called it Thumos, the Egyptians called it Ka, and the Chinese called it Yang.

Once you learn to tap into this force of masculinity within you, you will become an unstoppable force.


Thumos: Fire in the Belly

what is healthy masculinity

Plato, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, believed that every man’s soul had three components. These three components were all essential to living a healthy life as a man.

If any one of these three components was out of balance, your life would also be out of balance:

  • Epithumia
  • Nous
  • Thumos

Epithumia is the animalistic part of you. It’s the part of you that wants to fight, fuck, eat, and shit. It’s your basic, primal drives; the pleasures of the body that every animal and human being wants.

Then, there was the Nous. This is your intellect—it’s how you understand the world around you. Your nous grows when you learn new things, develop new skills, and read the books that every man should read.

Your Thumos, which I argue is in many ways the core of masculinity, is your will. It’s your drive to succeed, your ambition, your will to conquer. It’s your desire to change your environment and impact your surroundings.

In short, Thumos is your masculine spirit. The ancient Greeks looked upon Thumos as if it was a gift from the gods, that helped us keep our appetites in check.

Remember: if any one of these three components is out of balance, your will experience turmoil. Not enough Thumos, and you won’t ever accomplish anything or be able to succeed at life.

Too much Epithumia, and your appetites will overcome you. You’ll become an addict, and succumb to frivolous physical pleasures and hedonism as a way to avoid your responsibilities as a man.

Too much Nous, and you become paralyzed with inaction—this is very common for men nowadays, and even for men that read my blog. They spend all of this time learning, and don’t ever take action on what they’ve learned.


Ka: Your Life Force

what is hegemonic masculinity

The ancient Egyptians believed that your soul was comprised of five parts—I won’t focus on the other five, because the one that’s really important is Ka. The ancient Egyptians believed that your Ka was your vital life force; your life spark.

Without a strong Ka, a man would be dull, lifeless, and weak. He would be incapable of bringing about change in the world.

Ka, according to the ancient Egyptians, is your vital spark. It’s that force that causes you to be vibrant and alive; it’s the force that gives you a spark, and pushes you to engage with life.

The Ka is very similar to the Greek concept of Thumos, and to the concept of “Spirit” in other religions. They’re all pointing to the same thing: a vital, life force. An energy that is vibrant, that influences its environment directly.

All religions and cultures of the past were pointing to the same thing—they were pointing to that masculine drive, that ambition, that aggressive energy that makes men great.

Without this energy, you are nothing.


Yang: Masculinity at its Core

what is traditional masculinity

Although Ka and Thumos are great ways to understand masculinity, I believe that the Chinese concept of Yang is far more accurate. Not that Ka or Thumos are bad, per say, but they’re just incomplete.

Eastern philosophy generally dictates that there are two forces in the world: Yang (the Masculine) and Yin (the Feminine). The interaction of these two forces creates change.

I briefly discussed this in a previous article, but Yang is essentially the force in the world that goes forth. Every other characteristic stems from this basic principle. Yang is:

  • Assertive
  • Direct
  • Decisive
  • Action-taking
  • Outgoing
  • Powerful

Do you see the point? If you look past the characteristics, you’ll see an underlying mindset or energy—it all comes down to going forth.  This is the root of masculinity: it goes forth.

Tapping into this energy, that resides in every man, is the key to unlocking your fullest potential.


Yang Attracts Women

If you take this lens of Yang and apply it to learning game, everything becomes abundantly clear. What is a man supposed to do, first and foremost, when he’s trying to seduce a woman?

He’s supposed to take the lead. He’s the one who holds the burden of the interaction. When you see a beautiful woman, and decide to go talk to her, you’re being outgoing. You’re being direct—you’re moving into her life. You’re penetrating her with your actions.

When you’re trying to overcome approach anxiety, what do you do? Do you sit around and think about it? Or do you go out there and take decisive action? Obviously the latter.

Learning to look at game through the lens of Yang will answer 90% of the questions that you have.

The seduction process, and the process of building and maintaining a relationship with a woman, is all about Yang. This is why the man is the one who takes the lead, it’s why he’s the one who protects her, and it’s why he’s supposed to be direct.

Women can sense when a man is fully embodied in his Yang—they literally have a radar for it, and it’s why they can pick out a successful man in the crowd without even trying. They’re very attuned to this.

Men who are action-takers and winners, men who fully embody Yang, that aggressive, masculine energy, are the ones who get the most women…period.


Yang in Fitness

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The body of a man is meant to be the physical manifestation of Yang—a man’s body is the mechanism which he uses to channel his Yang. Without your body, you can’t do anything in the world.

Even a man’s body is representative of Yang. A man’s body is strong and powerful, which is what he uses to be direct, assertive, and decisive in the world.

When a man’s body is in line with this principle of masculinity, he can use it to exert his will onto the world. Think about it: the men who have accomplished incredible things, the men who have build civilizations and conquered nations…do you think they were weak?

Of course not! Their bodies were strong and powerful. This isn’t to say that you need to be shredded and cut, but every man should have a base level of physical strength and power.

Every man needs to train his body to be in line with “Yang.” Even looking at a man’s body will tell you that it’s meant to take action—our bodies are built for battle. They’re built to protect and to BE ASSERTIVE.

Contrast this with a woman’s body: it’s supple and tender, which is the polar opposite of masculinity—it’s mean to receive, to be nurturing, and comforting. Are you starting to see the difference?

When you start to realize that a man’s body is built with his purpose in mind (to take decisive action), you will see why it is so important to exercise.


Yang in Business

christian bale masculinity

Yang is especially important in business, because businesses are, perhaps, the most pure form of Yang. What is a business? It’s an idea that a man made into a reality.

A man had an idea, and he took DECISIVE ACTION to make it real. Remember! This is the essence of masculinity: to go forth.

This is how a business succeeds. If you get too indecisive, you don’t know what to do, or you get stuck in not taking action, your business will fail. It’s really that simple.

Business is, in many ways, a competition: which man has more Yang? Which man is more closely aligned to Yang? Which CEO and company will be more assertive, decisive, and action-taking?

Whichever CEO has more of the Yang characteristics will inevitably lead his company to victory. Look at Blackberry vs. Apple! For years, Blackberry was the dominant phone in the market.

Nobody could touch them; they were raking in billions of dollars a year, and life was great. But, as they became less and less Yang, they began to stagnate. They didn’t innovate, and they weren’t aggressive with their expansion and marketing, but they didn’t take note.

“We’re the best!” they thought. And who could blame them? For years they’d been at the top of the industry, and it seemed like nothing could stop them…until Apple came along.

Steve Jobs was incredibly Yang—very few CEO’s have ever been more assertive, direct, and action-taking. He saw an opportunity, and he seized it.

And like that, he toppled the billion dollar tech giant and created the global behemoth known as Apple. This, my friends, is an example of how being more Yang is the key to business.


Yang is a Way of Life

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“Is this Yang? Is that Yang?” the newbie might ask. Be careful not to get caught up in the specifics—don’t get too worried about specific actions or situations.

Realize, instead, that Yang is a way of life. It’s an underlying energy and driving force that pushes you. Yang is that aggressive masculine energy that dwells within all men.

Women have some of this energy for sure, but men typically have much more—this is why seduction is a dance, so to speak. It’s your Yang energy interacting with her Yin energy. It’s your assertiveness, decisiveness, and masculinity interacting with her receptiveness, emotions, and femininity.

Yang can be summarized quite aptly: go forth. Yang is the energy of going forth. Yang is when you see something, and you take action to get it. It’s the drive to expand, to seize, to grow. It’s masculine energy.

Most men nowadays lack this energy, and consequently, experience numerous problems. They don’t have the lifestyle that they want, they don’t have the dating life that they want, they don’t have the body or the mind that they want.

It all comes down to Yang. What do you want? Do you want more money? Okay then read some of the best books on generating wealth and start implementing their advice.

Do you want a better girlfriend? Okay, then go out there and learn game so that when you meet her you’ll have the confidence and skill set to seduce her. Do you want to be happy? Then consider meditating and taking action—design a life that makes you happy!

Or maybe you want a better body? Great, check out my eBook on How to Get Jacked. Take action—go for a jog, sign up at the gym, and start lifting weights. Remember: it all comes down to Yang. If you don’t take action, nobody will for you.



In summary, the core of masculinity isn’t so much physical, as it is energetic—masculinity is an ENERGY. It’s that decisive, assertive, action-taking energy and mindset that GOES FORTH. It’s that underlying drive and ambition to enforce your will onto reality. The men of the past understood this.

Men like Alexander the Great, Hernan Cortes, and William the Conqueror understood this—they were in touch with their Yang. They didn’t dabble or fret around, they just took fucking action.

And this is what you must do if you wish to succeed at life. Just. Take. Action. Nobody is going to do it for you…you have to do it yourself.

If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, let me know. And as always, I’ll see you next time.

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6 years ago

Steve jobs only contribution was the apple sign and announcing new apple gear others painstakingly created. He’s a phony Steve Wozniak is apple along with a guy bought in for marketing forgot his name. This Steve brought apple into reality and kept it their.made all the sacrifices and paid the bill. If he wasn’t such a nice guy jobs would have gotten no money after a certain point.

6 years ago

Just want to ask if Mahatma Gandhi has a “yang” body?


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