On Monday Jan 20, Reclaim your Inner Throne was featured in a documentary on Norwegian Television called “De glemte Guttene” (The forgotten Boys).
The documentary, produced by Oslo-based production company Novemberfilm for Norwegian TV2, featured stories and interviews of several young men and their struggles, asking questions such as “why does nobody talk about this?”
Why does nobody care?
It was an incredible experience for me and us to see representatives of mainstream media openly pursuing truth, being willing to learn about a theme that has been almost universally attacked and ridiculed by the media up until now.
Here at Reclaim your Inner Throne, our vision is to create A World where People thrive by supporting men of all ages (though primarily 25–55) become Evolutionary Entrepreneurs that use their talents to build the more beautiful world we all know is possible (Eisenstein).
As I learned of the plans for this production, I knew we had unique and rare insights to share in the documentary, and I started a conversation that ensued in a terrific collaboration. The Novemberfilm crew joined us in the Norwegian mountains last July for the Kings of the North summer retreat, eager to learn what the hell happens in a place like that.
And the way they ended up portraying it was beautiful, respectful, and altogether encouraging.
As alluded to above, colleagues of ours have experienced that media invitations such as the ones we received have turned into hit jobs more or less consciously designed to make men who work on themselves appear as pathetic weasels.
This, of course, is a convenient strategy if you are trying to hide the fact that men are also human beings with needs and feelings. But why would you want to do that? Why would a culture want to hide the suffering of men?
American authors Warren Farrell and Roy Baumeister argue that it’s been central for the success of human culture that men for thousands of years were trained to see themselves as expendable.
As millions of men died in the building of civilization and in the fighting of wars to protect women, children, tribe and nation, we gave men voting rights, money, titles, medals – bribes to make the suffering and sacrifice worth it.
Simultaneously, preparing for the deaths of fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, people learned to desensitize themselves to the likely loss of a loved one.
This resulted in a culture where the sensible choice was to not get too attached to men, as they were likely to die anyway.
(I grew up with my grandfather – a fisherman – sharing stories of men lost at sea, and the culture surrounding it matches Farrell’s and Baumeister’s theories to a tee.)
On some level, it’s therefore easier for many to celebrate a man after he’s dead. The more a man gets injured or beat up, the greater his sacrifice, which makes him a hero. But if he is crippled by it – turning “pathetic” in the process – better we forget him, for we don’t want to feel ashamed.
Imagine the military spectacle as a dead hero comes home from war, contrasted with the crippled veteran that rots away in some decrepit house, forgotten by everyone.
It’s precisely in the same vein that we say “women and children first”. What we mean is that if a man on the Titanic were to put his life ahead of his wife or child’s, he’s subhuman – an absolute wretch.
When a child or woman is hurting, we turn towards them and want to help, giving them a seat in the life boat so to speak. When a man hurts, however, most of us feel uncomfortable and want to push him away. “Stay on board the sinking ship to prove you’re a man.”
In other words, a man is only good if he’s prepared to die for others, preferably without complaining.
The wiring to turn away from men’s pain runs so deep that many men themselves would rather put a bullet through their brain than talk about it.
To see, then, that mainstream media here in Norway chooses to defy expectations and focus in on the challenges of boys and young men as if it’s something worth caring about is a momentous occasion, to the point that one man in my network wrote me a message, calling it “an historic event”.
The documentary has received great feedback, and confronted many people’s judgments of what men’s work is (for it would be most comfortable if it was for pathetic guys, but of course it isn’t).
The program managed to show what is possible when a man takes charge of his life and finds meaning again. Reclaim your Inner Throne alumnus Sakarias (picture above) did us proud with his openness and authenticity, and our Kings of the North retreat looked almost as good as it was.
Society caring about boys and men. Men caring about boys and men. Women caring about boys and men.
All revolutionary acts. All instrumental to creating the world we yearn for.
And with mainstream media starting to “get it”, change is on the horizon.
Eivind F. Skjellum,
Reclaim your Inner Throne Founder
PS! I am unfortunately unable to share the documentary with you all, as it’s copyrighted property of TV2. It’s available (albeit without English subtitles) on TV2’s subscription service TV2 sumo, and I’m so grateful for everyone involved, including my co-creators Paal Christian Buntz of the Wildman Program and former Reclaim your Inner Throne course leader Karl-Otto Sandvik.
PPS! If at any point, I gain the rights to share it with you, I will let you know!