In pursuit of true wisdom
It’s Good To Be A Man: Map to Manhood (the IGTBAM documentary) is now available on Canon+. You can get Canon+ for $7.99, and they have a free trial available:
Here’s the description from Canon:
In this Canon+ Original Documentary, Michael Foster [also Bnonn —Bnonn] lays out a map to manhood through the depths of Clown World.
It's for bastards and wild men, and any man whose father didn't teach him how to shoot clay.
It's for boys without gravitas who can't command the room.
It's for pickup artists, incels, and white knights who need a mission beyond women.
It's for virtual loners devoid of fraternal blessings, like a good insult from a brother-in-arms.
It's for porn addicts "repenting" every other night, helpless and without the Proverbs 31 wife.
Many people can't process a fact or statement devoid of moral or political sentiment. This is why factual statements elicit responses such as:
They can't process a fact without being told how to feel.
Here are a few other things we’ve noticed about many people:
They are scared of being misunderstood, so they over-explain. Ironically, this is a repelling trait. A willingness to be misunderstood often engenders favor.
They are quick to think first of how something is not true, before considering how it is true. Something about our culture causes a tendency to push the antithesis. It is worth reflecting on why. We believe it betrays a deep-seated insecurity of its own kind.
They speak in “monotone” rhetoric. They’re unable to adapt their tone to the situation. But if you’re always edgy, you’re angry or unstable. If you’re always agreeable or winsome, you’re a man-pleasing coward. We must use different tones for different situations, and this requires maturity and discernment. Just as egalitarians push androgyny, the “winsome at all costs” crowd pushes being monotone. This rhetoric is the fruit of immaturity and a hatred of discernment.
Christians often have an insatiable consumer mindset.
They will claim to be “inadequately fed,” but it’s usually baloney. (Yeah, we know what just happened there, but sometimes these things slip out.)
Most Christians who claim to be underfed are getting more teaching than Christians have at any other time in history.
The problem is not a lack of content. It is seeing content as an end in itself, and not something requiring actual application into their lives.
If you got a solid sermon on Sunday, you should have plenty to meditate and work on until the next Sunday.
If you feel inadequately fed, ask yourself, “How did I apply last week's sermon to my life?”
The point isn’t to get as much knowledge into yourself as possible.
The point is apply the knowledge you have.
Too often we think the former is wisdom, when in fact the latter is.
Think of Adam and Eve.
God gave them very little in the way of teaching. He simply told them to be fruitful, to multiply, to take dominion—and to not eat of that one tree.
And yet, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Remember how this happened?
The snake deceived Eve.
“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and (listen carefully) that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Why did Eve fall for it?
Why, at least in part, did Adam go along with it?
They desired to be wise.
As Romans put it: “Professing to be wise, they became fools…”
Our first parents desired to be wise, and it lead them to death and the dishonoring of their body.
Commenting on Eve’s desire to be wise, Matthew Henry says:
See here how the desire of unnecessary knowledge, under the mistaken notion of wisdom, proves hurtful and destructive to many. Our first parents, who knew so much, did not know this—that they knew enough.
At present, men in the Reformed world—especially the younger men—lack the concept of unnecessary knowledge. Within them there is an unending and insatiable desire to know, to be in the know, and often to be known by what they know.
They would rather have much, and make little of it, than have little, and make much of it through meditation and application. They would rather follow the futile example of the Athenians, who spent their lives in nothing else but hearing and telling some new thing, than Spurgeon, who advised:
Master those books you have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they saturate you. Read and reread them…digest them. Let them go into your very self. Peruse a good book several times and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution is more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by twenty books he has merely skimmed. Little learning and much pride comes from hasty reading. Some men are disabled from thinking by their putting meditation away for the sake of much reading. In reading let your motto be “much not many.”
Remember what Matthew Henry said—“how the desire of unnecessary knowledge, under the mistaken notion of wisdom, proves hurtful and destructive to many.”
Manhood was lost in the cheap and hasty pursuit of wisdom that wasn’t wisdom to begin with.
If you’re relying on ChatGPT for facts, you are…not wise
After being given the content of our book, ChatGPT did a pretty good job of summarizing its key principles…at least, it did one out of ten times:
The other nine times? Well, here’s another example to give you an idea:
Pretty much every detail of the first two paragraphs contains errors, is flatly wrong, or is plain made up. These books probably don't exist; certainly Bnonn did not write them. His old business was called Information Highwayman, not Information Highway; it was never the kind of site implied here; he has never spoken at a conference; and if he has been featured in Forbes and Entrepreneur, perhaps someone could send him a copy of those issues.
Also interesting is the bias. It doesn't just fail to mention his actual marketing books (authored or contributed to). It entirely omits his theological work, especially It's Good To Be A Man—and his own blog, which for over a decade has been the first thing that appears if you search for his name. So where is it getting its information from, and why this particular selection?
Part of this presumably comes down to ideological bias. As Michael has observed, ChatGPT is like if Wikipedia was animated and possessed by the spirit of a PC corporate HR manager.
Michael’s summary of the key concepts in Jocko Willink’s Extreme Ownership:
Extreme Ownership: Take full responsibility for your actions and those of your team. As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens under your watch, including successes and failures.
No Bad Teams, Only Bad Leaders: A strong leader can turn any team into a high-performance unit. If a team is underperforming, it's the leader's responsibility to diagnose the problem and take corrective action.
Believe: Leaders must believe in the mission, their team, and their ability to achieve the objective. This belief instills confidence and drives the team to perform at their best.
Check the Ego: Ego can be a destructive force, leading to poor decisions and conflicts. Leaders must keep their ego in check, stay humble, and always put the team and mission first.
Cover and Move: Teamwork is essential for success. Teams must support each other, work together, and coordinate their efforts to achieve the common goal.
Simple: Keep plans and communication clear and simple to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. Complexity can lead to confusion and mistakes.
Prioritize and Execute: When faced with multiple challenges, leaders must prioritize tasks, focus on the highest priority, and execute efficiently. Once complete, move to the next priority.
Decentralized Command: Empower junior leaders to make decisions and take ownership of their roles. This approach enables faster decision-making, reduces bottlenecks, and improves overall team performance.
Plan: Develop a clear, well-thought-out plan, and communicate it effectively to your team. Anticipate potential issues and have contingency plans in place.
Leading Up and Down the Chain of Command: Effective leaders must be able to lead both their subordinates and superiors. Communicate clearly, provide necessary support, and maintain situational awareness to ensure smooth functioning at all levels.
Decisiveness amid Uncertainty: Leaders must make timely decisions, even with limited information. Waiting for perfect information can lead to missed opportunities or failure.
Discipline Equals Freedom: Consistent discipline in personal and professional life leads to increased efficiency, focus, and ultimately, more freedom and success.
New content this week
All things alpha, red pill, and masculinity have become a massive sales funnel for predators to take advantage of guys. It’s been true for a while—but it has gone mainstream:
Talk again soon,
Bnonn & Michael