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Who is Amfortas?

Recently it was my privilege to hear an extraordinary audio podcast by NewsCream’s own Amfortas, responding to a series of questions by interviewers John Dias and Christian J.

Audio: (part 1) (part 2)

Part II of this transcript available here.

Who Is Amfortas?

Q. Tell us a little about your online name. How did you decide upon that name? What significance does it carry?

I have been asked by my friends Christian J and John Dias, well known and respected Men’s Rights Advocates to speak in my own voice. They have given me a whole list of questions here to answer and I can tell you it goes on and on. I shall confine myself to just the first in this Podcast.

In fact, even to answer the first properly, in my way, as befits men of precision and depth that you all are will take two podcasts.

They ask that I talk about my online name; how I decided upon it and what significance it carries. I like questions that focus on Meaning – they are few and far between in the MRM. So sit a while, pour a horn of fine foreign bevvie of distinction and settle in for twenty minutes or so.

I write under two names. Percy and Amfortas.  They are related in a Great Allegorical Story of our Western Cultural era and are Archetypes of all men. In that sense they are meaningful as an MRA. All men have their story, no matter how different those men are or what their circumstances are. A man is a man.

Let me tell you about Percy and Amfortas and you will see what I mean.

The Greeks attempted to define what being a man is about through myths and stories but were hampered by an early and barely glowing form of consciousness about the ‘self’. The wholeness and completeness of a man’s life journey was only slowly dawning on them and they had a peculiarly Asiatic tone. They looked East far more than west.

There were many stories about men as it was difficult to pin down his many aspects in just one, and oddly they were all ‘stageless’. He was a ‘complete’, very much one-dimensional being without much discernible growth. It is how many women quite blindly see men even today. He looked ‘outward, to the world. He was a traveler; and explorer. He barely looked inward at himself.

This was really odd as they had pretty well nailed down all the detail, all the major stages and attributes of a woman’s life in the myths of Psyche and Hera – the girl and the woman. Just two stories and connected. All men would do well to read these two stories as they tell most of what you need to know about women.

Women were well known in all their aspects two and a half thousand years ago. Personally I think that this is a natural response to the direction of a man’s interest. He looks at her and figures her out, before he has much of an idea about himself.

Men, the gender accused of being incommunicative described women well while women were as incoherent as today. Just as noisy as well, of course. Women were seen as comparatively less complex though quite dangerous and devious.

Men are very complex, ‘bound’ by women, then as now, but seen then as bits and pieces.

So it was another millennium and a half before Wolfram von Eschebach got around to looking very closely at men who were undergoing the transitional period of breaking free from women and their ways.

It is relevant and still going on. At that time in what we now call the end of the dark ages, men were beginning to discern themselves, just as they were changing. Men were starting to look at themselves and inside themselves.

There have been subsequent changes over the last thousand years and these were documented in stories too.

The Three Great describers of men as they have moved through two dimensional to three and latterly to a complete four dimensional man are Parzival, The Man of La Mancha and Faust. I recommend any young man reading and comprehending all three before they are twenty. It should be mandatory man-education.

Wolfram’s story ‘Parzival’ is the modern man’s journey, and in it young Percy the ‘Wannabe’ meets, quite briefly, his Uncle Amfortas, a man who holds all the keys to what being a man is for. The story tells what a man is about as well as for. These are MRA issues. Far more so than Feminism.

We have to wait another eight hundred years to find what a man is, in Faust. It is the first attempt to look into the heart and soul of man and his journey through the landscape of his internal world.

Every man can look at young Percy and see the kernel of his ‘being’ in the world, in him. Any man can. It is a story of the inner ‘Landscape’ of a man.

Percy’s life is one of toil after an initial start of ‘great promise’. He has no Father in his life – like many of today’s boys, regrettably – and is raised by his mother Hertzeloyde (whose name translates as heart’s sorrow). Mark that. It is an important sign. She does not want him to engage the world at all, but should it befall that she fails to stop him, only on terms that she determines.

She means well; she is a doting mother, but she has created a personal, tight-knit Matriarchy, a ‘Society’ set in a forest, on a farm, a ‘natural’ world, quite deliberately in order to protect him from the world – not so much because she loves her son but because she is heartbroken.

Wolfram makes this point that we all start out under the direct and untrammeled control of a woman, our Mother and that she is a closed-off, sorrowful being. This is our ‘Society’. The one we have with a vengeance, today where cosseted matriarchy rules its childish subjects all through life. But a matriarchy cannot ‘contain’ a man once a chap attains his true manhood.

I say, she means well, but as with most women what she says and does is not always what she means and Parzival cannot guess the reasons for this ‘society’ he is raised in. How often do men have to struggle with the female mind that says ‘You know what I mean’ and five minutes later say, ‘That’s not what I meant’.

It was men’s battles, you see, that took her husband, a Great Knight and King, named Gamhuret. She adored him. He protected her and provided for her. He gave her a comfortable life with Status. She loved him deeply. Something all men want. He fought in her name. For her. She was his Purpose and his Comfort. He was hers. As it should be. But he died in battle for her. This has been the way of men for ten thousand years.

She hated thereafter all that men do, even if it had been for her benefit.

How like feminists today.

Almost Incidentally, but ultimately significantly, there was also another woman in Gamhuret’s life; another wife, Belcane, a foreigner. It reminds me of the MRA trend to looking at foreign climes for better wives. It was before he met Hertzloyde. He had another purpose and another comfort.

Herzeloyde does not trust women. They can all ‘steal’ men from her, even temporarily, just like the world does. This despite the fact that it was she who took Belcane’s husband. How very like Today’s woman who is so hypocritical and projecting !

Except today most women push the men away first. Women today, like Carly Simon sings, “Gave away the things they loved and one of them was YOU. Also like the song, they turn it around as an accusation. Women are distrustful of women; They try to control the lives of women, through Feminism and restrict the lives of men, to the point of incarceration.

One wonders about the ‘Heartbreak’ of the Modern Woman. Like then, men fought to protect women and provide for them.

I see the wars of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries having played a major part in the rise of modern Feminism. So many men died or came back maimed.

Women have a huge guilt built up over hundreds of years of men’s clear sacrifice and struggle to provide and protect, and like Herzloyde, it is an unbearable guilt and is projected out onto men. It is men’s fault !

Feminism’s roots are in female Guilt. Neurotic and poisonous.

Eventually, as Percy, the ‘Innocent Fool’, untutored in the ways of the world reaches mid-teens and his manhood arises in him, he ‘sees’ the world of men pass by his farm and determines to break free.

He leaves home, taking with him only the lessons he has gained from his limited experience. This has consisted mainly of play, often against animal ‘prey’ that he hunts and which gives him sound hunter skills. And also those lessons learned from her – lessons, from a woman’s perspective, which will damage his life. She has ‘Rules’; one set of ‘rules’ for him for dealing with men and one set for women – a double-standard if you like. He is to woo and root women, any and every he meets. Very permissive. ! And treat them all as princesses. !

He is not to show compassion for men. Not even ask much about them. No asking ‘What’ or Why’ or even ‘How’. Men’s curiosity should be directed only toward women she thinks.

She calls her Rules ‘politeness’, the roots of the Chivalric code as she wants it to be. (Chivalry was being developed at the time of Wolfram’s writing and women had a big say in its detail, which is why it has always worked more for women’s benefit than men’s.) He is to fight men all his life. So knowing them and recognizing himself in them, maybe even seeing his father in them, is a nono !

(One other thing. He is made to promise to wear his mother’s silk shift under his armour. It keeps the ‘feminine’ between him and the cold steel. It stops the rust chafing his skin. There is possibly sound reason in men having some softness close to them)

Percy has to take manhood, as there is no one around to give it to him. He understands this from his mother, the one who doesn’t like fighting. And he has to fight, literally, to gain acceptance into the men’s world and to maintain his Integrity in it. He must be his own man. It is his first step.

Young Percy has no idea how to go about it but with a total lack of finesse he is spectacularly successful right from the start. Successful, after a fashion.

He becomes a Knight in less than a month, through both his own stumbling ineptitude and fortuitous efforts, and it is at great cost to another man, who, on cue, he picks a fight with and kills. Manhood is passed from one man to another, often at great cost.

You see, he has no way of determining one man from another. As with so many boys today he has never been taught about good men. Virtuous men. Even his father’s goodness has been hidden from him. He does not know what a good man is. He sees only armour and strength. The man inside the armour is an unknown to him. He is quite unaware of what is inside himself. He does not know himself.

Young Percy is a farm-boy. The sort one finds all over the Men’s boards. He has no ‘logic’, although he claims its superiority, just as many young men in the MRM are all passion and hubristic claim but who could not tell a syllogism from pidgeon shit.

Parzival kills a reasonably good man. An honourable man. And he steals his armour. A good man gone, replaced by an untested and rather dim lad. That’s me, once.

Our generation has seen the severe limitation and dismissal of good men and our education system has produced farm-boys.

We all have to start somewhere. But oh, the damage we do. I do not know anything of the men I have killed. Not even their names.

Young Percy is sent out on the Quest to find the Holy Grail. It is at the Command of the King and so he goes, along with all the other Knights, of course. They, like him, travel alone, independent, to all the corners of the world. Men, Going Their Own Way, but with a common Duty. They are United in a Brotherhood. It is the beginning of a Philosophy for him. A purpose in life. It is Divinely ordered. Not much like today. Maybe we are going backwards.

The Grail he is searching for is the Meaning and Power of Life. It is the Light of the Spirit. It affords us Full Consciousness. It can cure all the ills of the world and restore the Kingdom. That is to be the Task of Men. Their task is to find it. It is our task.

It is a journey into ourselves. A discovery of who we are as men. We have to seek out that treasure that lies deep within us. It is a bigger task than defeating Feminism or even Marxism, and defeating those can only be done by fully conscious men.

On the first evening out on the Quest he meets his Uncle Amfortas, who he has never met before, and who is the Guardian of the Grail. He is the Old Man inside all of us. Parzival had not a clue about this.

Amfortas is an old man, very wise, slow, careful, dignified, after a long career as a Knight and King, and he is severely wounded. He has the Male Wound; the same wound all men have. Few men even recognise that they are wounded.

He is ambulatory, with difficulty (a bit like me), and rarely leaves his rooms (also a bit like me). At dinner that evening Percy sees the Grail paraded through the Hall. He sees and takes benefit from the Cornucopia that can feed and sustain the World. All we have is the ‘gift’ that Men provide from their own meager resources. But were we to discover our real manhood, our deep humanity, we could restore the world.

But young Percy fails to ask two fundamental questions. The first was about his Uncle’s obvious distress (remembering his mothers rules) and this is the first ‘fault’ that prevents the Grail passing into his possession. Men still do not ask other men the decent question, the compassionate question.

The second, which is what the vast majority of men and particularly for us, what MRAs fail to ask was “Who does the Grail serve”. It was vital. Next day everything is gone.

As he leaves the empty Castle the drawbridge snaps shut, clipping his foot.

How many young men shoot themselves in the foot with their own angry certainties and ignorance.

We as MRAs while providing space for ourselves in small internet crevices, rarely ask the fundamental questions. We are only starting to make the space for understanding other men’s pain. It is our own.

And we still have not approached the question of Who does the Grail serve. Is it just YOU?

I will end this first Podcast here and continue in the next one I do. There will be lessons for us all and many questions for us to ask ourselves.

Please send this podcast to another three men.

Part II of this transcript available here.

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