The idea of MenAlive began on November 21, 1969 with the birth of our first son, Jemal. Over the years MenAlive was grown from a commitment to my son to be a different kind of father than my father was able to be and to create a world where fathers were fully engaged with their children, to a world-wide movement to heal men and heal the planet.
12 Rules for Good Men is my most recent book and details twelve areas of healing that I have found to be most important for men and offers guidance for men and their families. The book was inspired by my wife, Carlin, who surprised me when I told her I thought my 15th book would be my last.
“You have to write at least one more book,” she told me.
“At this time where the world is so polarized and men and women are seen as adversaries, you have to tell people about what is good in men and help everyone understand the societal pressures that separate men and women and cause so many men to armor themselves and cut themselves of from their own hearts. Too many men die needlessly. I want you around for a long time and I want that for our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and I want it for everyone.”
My wife is very wise. Things usually go well when I listen to her. I meditated on whether I was ready to write such a book. It was a big “yes.” I began the book with this quote from the philosopher Paul Tillich who I had met when I was an undergraduate at U.C. Santa Barbara.
“Every serious thinker must ask and answer three fundamental questions:
– What is wrong with us? With men? Women? Society?
– What would we be like if we were whole? Healed? Actualized? If our potentialities were fulfilled?
– How do we move from our conditions of brokenness? What are the means of healing?”
The 12 Rules for Good Men are one answer to Paul Tillich’s questions.
- Rule #1: Join a Men’s Group.
- Rule #2: Break Free From the Man Box.
- Rule #3: Accept the Gift of Maleness.
- Rule #4: Embrace Your Billion Year History of Maleness on Planet Earth.
- Rule #5: Recognize Your Anger and Fear Toward Women.
- Rule #6: Learn the Secrets of Real Lasting Love.
- Rule #7: Undergo Meaningful Rites of Passage From Youth to Adulthood and From Adulthood to Super Adulthood.
- Rule #8: Celebrate Your True Warrior Spirit and Learn Why Males Duel and Females Duet.
- Rule #9: Understand and Heal Your Adverse Childhood Experiences and Male Attachment Disorders.
- Rule #10: Heal Your Father Wound and Become the Father You Were Meant to Be.
- Rule #11: Treat the Irritable Male Syndrome and Male-Type Depression.
- Rule #12: Find Your Mission in Life and Do Your Part to Save Humanity.
Our work has expanded and deepened over the years. In November 2021, we launched our Moonshot Mission for Mankind in Support of Humanity.
The Moonshot Mission and Why Healing Men Will Do More Good Than Curing Cancer
As I approached my 78th birthday in December 2021, two things were becoming increasingly evident: (1) Humanity was in trouble and we weren’t doing well to address big problems like the global climate crisis, the underlying causes of pandemics, systemic violence, depression and loss of hope among many. (2) If we were going to change things for the better we needed to bring people together in support of a solution that could help humanity.
My experiences over the years with men’s work has convinced me that by healing men, we can heal the planet. I’m sure when people concerned about the deteriorating conditions in Yellowstone came together to come up with a solution, “introducing wolves” who had been absent from Yellowstone for 70 years was not the obvious solution.
Likewise, the idea that focusing on healing men, can have an impact on the overall health of humanity may seem like a stretch of the imagination. But I have been imagining and exploring these ideas for some time.
In 1994, my third book, The Warrior’s Journey Home: Healing Men, Healing the Planet, was published. In the introduction I said,
“If we believe the media, the men’s movement is something of a joke, and recovery is a passing fad. Yet, if we could get inside the hearts and souls of the over 80 million men in this country whose manhood is constantly under attack, and who continue to be confused about what it means to be a man, we would know a different reality…If we could hear the cries of women who work with, live with, and love these wounded warriors, and must deal with their deadly outbursts of rage and stony silences, we would know a different reality.”
Many people questioned me about the title, “The Warrior’s Journey Home,” and why I used warrior language to talk about healing men and healing the planet. I addressed the issue throughout the book. In the introduction, I had this to say:
“Meditation master Chögyam Trungpa says that we must separate the life of the warrior from the destruction of war. ‘Warriorship here does not refer to making war on others,’ he says. ‘Aggression is the source of our problems, not the solution. Here the world warrior is taken from the Tibetan word pawo which literally means one who is brave. Warriorship in this context is the tradition of human bravery, or the tradition of fearlessness. Warriorship is not being afraid of who you are.’”
I concluded saying,
“In rediscovering the ways of the original warriors—the hunger-gatherers—I believe I have found the key to unlock our own recovery from addictions, and to aid in the reemergence of mature masculinity and the healing of the planet.”
A number My colleagues Randolph Nesse, MD and Daniel Kruger, PhD examined premature deaths among men in 20 countries. They found that in every country, men died sooner and lived sicker than women and their shortened health and lifespan harmed the men and their families.
They concluded with four powerful statements:
- “Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death.”
- “Over 375,000 lives would be saved in a single year in the U.S. alone if men’s risk of dying was as low as women’s.”
- “If male mortality rates could be reduced to those for females, this would eliminate over one-third of all male deaths below age 50 and help men of all ages.”
- “If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer.”
As the time of their study, they hoped their findings would stimulate governments to create programs to address these issues, but thus far, this has not happened.
A more recent study by Muhammad Zakir Hossin from the Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, offered similar findings. In an article, “The male disadvantage in life expectancy: can we close the gender gap?,” published in September, 2021 in the journal International Health, the study notes that
“Men are usually considered to be the stronger sex. However, when it comes to health, they are evidently weaker than their female counterparts. In almost all countries around the world, men consistently live shorter lives than women. The gender gap in longevity has once again been evident during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which kills men disproportionately.”
The study concludes saying,
“we can certainly narrow the gap by promoting healthy lifestyles and designing a society where both men and women will have a fair chance to maximize their health potentials.”
The purpose of my Moonshot Mission is to bring together organizations and individuals throughout the world who are doing significant work to help reduce male mortality, to share our resources, and coordinate efforts for change. We invite your participation and involvement and will be sharing more about our join efforts.
If you’d like to join these efforts, you can learn more here.
Here are a few of my colleagues who have joined with us in bringing the Moonshot Mission into reality:
Jim Garrison, PhD. President of Ubiquity University and founder of Humanity Rising.
George Cappannelli. Co-Founder and CEO of AgeNation.
Mo Gawdat, serial entrepreneur, and former chief business officer of Google X.
Riane Eisler, Founder of the Center for Partnership Systems.
Come visit me, Dr. Jed Diamond, at MenAlive.com