Masculinity-Movies blog

Interview with Kevin Latham, our new Principal Writer

posted by Eivind on March 6, 2018, at 9:20 pm

kevin-mm

Hi everyone! In this interview, our first new content on Masculinity-Movies.com for more than two years, you will meet Kevin Latham, the man responsible for our upcoming review of "Logan" and for overseeing the future developments of this website. 

So without further ado, let's meet mr Latham!

Who are you, Kevin?

I'm a self-taught artist, writer and poet – as well as a committed advocate of holistic self-development. I've always felt the urge to use my skills to inspire and nurture others, and so in addition to producing creative work that aims to enrich people's lives, I've worked as a support worker for the homeless, ex-offenders, substance abusers, adults with learning difficulties and other marginalised groups.

What drew you to Masculinity-Movies.com?

I was directed to the site by my long-standing friend and occasional collaborator, David Schofield – who is a graduate of the Reclaim Your Inner Throne program. He felt that writing for the website could be a great opportunity to hone my skills and hasten my development – as well as making a valuable contribution to a thriving community of men committed to positive change. I think he was right!

I know you took some time reaching your decision to get involved. What tipped the scales towards YES?

I found the prospect of writing for Masculinity-Movies.com intriguing from the outset – having always been a bit of a film-buff, the idea of reviewing movies was immediately appealing to me – and the knowledge that I'd be evaluating those movies through an archetypal lens peaked my interest further. Having a number of strings to my creative bow, however, I had some other projects jostling for my attention and didn't immediately give the concept the eagle-eyed focus it deserves.

It was only when I actually viewed the site and started thinking about how I might approach the material that I became really excited by the project's potential. For some time now I've been re-evaluating my beliefs and cultural orientation in light of the new (or old!) knowledge that I now have at my disposal. I had not, however, applied this knowledge specifically to the cinematic arena, and contemplating the films I might be interested in reviewing, I was quite shocked to discover that I didn't have to think very hard to extract multi-faceted layers of meaning from their narratives that only a short time ago would've remained hidden to me.

I don't mean to suggest that teasing this stuff out is an easy business mind - upon closer inspection it then became apparent that I could peer deeper and deeper into the allegorical well, identifying evermore complex and subtle shapes bubbling up from its subterranean recesses. It's this limitless process o exploration that I find so compelling – there's really no cap on its potential for inspiration.

I know you have been on a journey of change yourself. Could you share a little about it?

I guess you could say that until recently, I'd confined my thinking to a pretty limited and insular political prism. I had other interests and influences – but I didn't really allow them to alter the terrain of my psychological landscape.

Having been born and raised in Wales, at the height of Thatcher's neoliberal revolution – I was brought up with staunchly socialist values and a pretty virulent attitude towards the political class that had instigated that policy drive – a tectonic shift that devastated the lives of working class communities throughout the region.

My dad was an extremely capable, intelligent and versatile man – a man of the old school, who favoured action over communication and whose sense of self-worth rested upon his ability to perform practical tasks and provide for his family. He also possessed a tremendously strong work ethic – even by the standards of his generation – and so when his dogged determination failed to free us from the poverty trap we were caught in, it proved to be a source of great pain, resentment and bitterness for him.

My mum, on the other hand, suffered from bipolar disorder and was hospitalised on several occasions due to a series of psychotic breaks – exacerbated if not caused by the pressures of an unstable economic life. Given these experiences – and the fact that I exhibited strong leanings towards openness and sensitivity from the outset, it was inevitable that I would identify with the plight of the poor and the disenfranchised – and seek to redress these injustices by means of left-leaning political solutions.

Learning more about the corruption and injustice permeating our contemporary socio-economic systems only solidified these predispositions – and although my hunger for change prompted me to devour texts on the subjects of politics, economics, ecology, spirituality and philosophy – I failed to recognise that my studies were causing me to become increasingly one-sided in my outlook.

I was steadily succumbing to a cultural tribalism that prompted me to repress fundamental aspects of my own nature. This reaped a pretty appalling toll on me – like my mum before me, I was gripped by mental illness – suffering from horrifically debilitating bouts of clinical anxiety and HPPD (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder – a nightmarish visual trip that persisted long after the chemical effects of a particular batch of psilocybin mushrooms had worn off).

Though these experiences were not altogether 'bad' (even at their worst, I could see that they were opening me up to new ways of perceiving the world – and even the nature of reality itself) they were extraordinarily frightening – having no idea if I would ever make it back to a normative plain of consciousness.

It was the psychoanalytic practices of Carl Jung – whose direct experience of subconscious phenomena correlated so strongly with my own – that allowed me to wade through the psychic soup pervading my waking life and rejoin the land of the living. Interestingly enough, my mum always attributed her recovery to Jung's work too – and so I represent the second generation of my family to be wrenched from the clutches of the underworld by the psychiatrist's visionary mythological teachings.

I have since dedicated myself to the exploration of archetypal structures in psychology, mythology, indigenous practices and contemporary culture – and found, to my great surprise – that I share far more in common with those on the 'other side' of the political divide than I ever imagined. I now aim to focus on the ties that bind each of us together, rather than the competing forces that set us apart – and though I inevitably still posses personal and political views of my own – my focus is firmly upon encouraging others' process of individuation, and facilitating constructive dialogue, compromise and reconciliation amongst people of all cultural creeds and dispositions.

What is your vision for your involvement with Masculinity-Movies.com?

Having established a greater sense of balance within myself as a result of the unveiling and application of archetypal structures in psychology and mythology, it's my hope that Masculinity-Movies.com can be a potent catalyst for the same process in other men.

Cinema is a wonderfully accessible medium – too easily dismissed as a superfluous or trivial distraction; but even the most simplistic escapist fare depends upon an inexplicably dense foundation of archetypal imagery for its success. I want to mine this imagery, extracting the nuggets of gold nestled within its crevices – to alert men everywhere to the precious materials they already possess.

To this end I'll be exploring a pretty varied canon, ranging from the classic to the contemporary - primarily examining material that already has a high profile within the public sphere, but also occasionally drawing visitor's attention to works that may be less familiar to them (either older movies or indie/foreign language films – providing additional cultural context to the exploration of masculinity in cinema, by examining the similarities and differences in the way that alternative cultures broach the subject).

You have decided to write your first review on "Logan". Why?

Well, firstly, it's awesome! I really feel that it's a creative triumph – a movie that operates equally well as both a scintillating comic-book action flick and a deeply reflective, thematically rich and intricately nuanced work of art. So, in-keeping with each of these traditions, it oozes mythological symbolism from every pore!

Add to that Jackman's brooding, belligerent – but essentially honourable – portrayal of the ageing (and ailing) Wolverine, and we're afforded an irresistible opportunity to peel away the Warrior's adamantium armour and inspect the bones that lie beneath it. What more could you ask for in a Masculine Movie?

Do you have anything else you'd like to share?

Only that I would like the site's audience to feel that it belongs to them every bit as much as it does to me. Whilst I hope that reader's find my analyses of movies and masculinity insightful and provocative, I don't claim to be an authoritative expert on either subject. It's therefore my heartfelt wish that this site becomes a truly collaborative venture – and that others will feel compelled to contribute their own thoughts and observations to it – growing not only as individuals, but as a supportive community of movie-mad men!

I feel certain that this project can be a tremendous vehicle for integrative growth – but it can only achieve its full potential with your support and input. So, I urge everyone who's interested to get involved and flex their film-reviewing muscles. Let's set out on this hero's journey together – and have plenty of fun along the way!

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I'm grateful to Kevin for taking on this responsibility and to Reclaim your Inner Throne alumni David Schofield for making the connection.

(if you want to get to know Kevin better, you can check out his spoken word Youtube Channel)

Eivind,
Masculinity-Movies.com founder

Happy New Year! Here’s a vision for 2016. Are you in?

posted by Eivind on January 5, 2016, at 9:34 pm

Hello Tribe!

I recorded this video for you to mark the beginning of 2016.

In it, I address Masculinity-Movies.com and the reason why there has not been much activity here lately.

Most of my time goes into Reclaim your Inner Throne these days, and in this video, I talk about the new paradigm that seems to be arising around the planet, and how Reclaim your Inner Throne is an expression of this.

Want to be part of the new world that is being born? I hope so. I do! 🙂

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

PS! This blog and video also went out to the Reclaim your Inner Throne community

Terry Patten and I speak about activating the heart

posted by Eivind on February 9, 2015, at 3:25 pm

My friend Terry Patten has created some terrific new work about activating the integral heart that is about to be launched on the Shift network.

We had a quick chat about it the other day that and covered this territory that is incredibly difficult, even taboo for many men.

Many men close down their heart in service of being powerful and as Terry says, this makes them brittle.

If we want to be authentically powerful, loving men in the world there’s no way around dealing with our hearts. Listen in on this short conversation and if you feel called to learn more, then Terry has a free webinar coming up in two days where he will share more of his powerful teachings.

The conversation gets better and better and by around the 8-minute mark has become really powerful.

If this conversation lights you up, make sure to sign up for Terry's free webinar this upcoming Wednesday at 5:30 pm PST for more his teachings on activating the integral heart.

Sign up for the free webinar »

Vladimir Putin and warped images of masculinity

posted by Eivind on January 19, 2015, at 1:44 pm

The biggest problem I see in the world today, bar none, is the frequently warped image so many people have of masculinity.

The misconceptions generally land in one of two categories: Posturing or collapse. In the more traditional world, the masculine ideal is one of posturing, of pretending to be strong even when you’re not (which for a posturing man is pretty much all the time).

In the more postmodern parts of the world, collapse is encouraged. Here, we are encouraged to give away our power, to not be overtly sexual creatures and to “stop being mean” like all those posturing types. Such men are also consistently exiled from their true source of strength. With these men, you can tell, however. They don’t even seem strong.

My own country Norway is a country where masculine collapse is encouraged. Russia is one where posturing is encouraged.

Putin’s masculinity

The Russian worship of Putin, now essentially a dictator, tells the story of a country where masculinity is seen as some sort of chiselled jaw, strong man stereotype. This morning, I read a news report on the huge economic upset that’s currently taking place there (the Rubel has plummeted due to a steep decline in international petroleum prices and economic sanctions in the wake of Russian intervention on the Crimean peninsula).

The article was a very discouraging read. There were interviews with a lot of people who couldn’t afford iPhones or fancy holidays anymore. Interviewees explained how problematic this was: They simply had to have an iPhone, as that was considered cool and good for your image. One woman, a designer, found that people would not take her seriously if she didn’t own one.

The same woman described how many Russians were willing to have a small flat without furniture if that meant they could have an iPhone and a nice car. In other words, they were willing to “surrender their castle” as long as they could maintain the right image and fit in (faux belonging).

In terms of the evolution of consciousness, this is normal: When totalitarian regimes collapse and the market economy takes over, it seems commonplace behavior that people become incredibly image-conscious. Everyone wants to look good in the new and more open system. The disappearance of communist conformity opens the door to fierce competition and image worship. The Russian interviewees describe lives where looking good is more important than feeling good.

Of course, there is nothing typically Russian about this at all – it’s simply a kind of unexamined herd mentality that is still commonplace in humanity at large.

The more bone-chilling part of the article’s interviews, however, is how Vladimir Putin remains incredibly popular. The inteviewees seemed to see no connection whatsoever between the financial problems and Vladimir Putin’s dictatorship. These people see an empire that’s rising from the ashes, and predictably that makes them more proud to be Russian.

vladimir-putinPutin, due most certainly to his own trauma, Russian pride and his warped image of masculinity and power, is now busy restoring Russian imperialism and totalitarianism, and most of the Russians interviewed loved him for it. His approval ratings are high.

The thing is – even I find Putin’s form of masculinity frequently more appealing than the pussy-whipped “sorry that I’m alive”-attitude men in e.g. Scandinavia often have. I mean, he seems strong right. He isn’t of course – he’s just busy covering up profound insecurity – but he does seem strong. That’s enough right? It seems so.

Appearing strong is apparently often more important than being strong when your job is to run a country. For the truly powerful often don’t appear as such to people who are asleep, because their worlds are not black and white. And if your world is not black and white, it’s hard to market your politics to people who view the world through lenses like Fox News. That the weak who act strong are often perceived as stronger than the strong who are acting human is ample evidence that we live in an insane world.

As for Russia, they would not be busy rewinding the evolution of their country’s collective psyche if they hadn’t, as many of us do, this warped image of masculinity in their heritage. When you fear the dangers of the world, you need someone who appears strong to show the way. Putin is taking advantage of this fact – portraying himself as some kind of Siberian Tarzan.

The danger of immature masculinity

So ideally speaking, I would now place my attention on another country and tell you how things are so much better there, right? And then speak about hope for a brighter tomorrow. Unfortunately, every country that I know of has a warped image of masculinity. If we examine countries where they have a collapsed image of masculinity (countries like my own), people will frequently point at the posturing images of masculinity and say how it’s important not to be like that. And then you go to the posturers and then they will tell you how it’s important not to be like those soft-willed, Western liberals.

And they’re both right, but only partially.

In a world where consciousness evolves when polarities are bridged, the two prevailing camps of masculinity still have some way to go before they realize that their maturity depends on embracing the other camp in higher synthesis.

Before significant parts of the world population wakes up to the face of mature masculinity, where heart and spine meet in higher synthesis, our warped views of masculinity may remain the single greatest threat to the survival of our species. A future with Vladimir Putin in power and a similarly fossilized American president scares me. I thought we were done with this nonsense. Seriously, humanity, isn’t it time to get with the program and wake up to a more dignified view of who we are?

So, dear reader, what is your image of masculinity and how are you exiling parts of your masculine gifts based on your culture’s prevailing stereotype of ideal masculine behavior?

Let me know in the comments below.

2015: A blessing and a challenge for a happy new year

posted by Eivind on January 4, 2015, at 3:24 pm

(video greeting at the bottom)

201Earth4 has been a year of enormous change and growth for me and most of the people I know and love.

If you are someone who is in honest conversation with your life, I bet you’ve had the same experience. We are in many ways in over our heads, with lives full of activity. And while "activity" used to mean that we do a lot of different things in the outer time-space dimension, this rapidity has long since infiltrated our inner worlds as well.

The consequence is that we seem to be transforming, for better or worse, faster than ever before. People seem to be "popping" all over the place. Indeed, waking up from the trance of conventional life seems no longer reserved for hardcore meditators only.

We have become fed up with the "old world", have we not? This tight-assed, hyper-rational, consumerist, destructive, depressed world seems to be gradually losing its grip on humanity, and while its consciousness should never be eliminated (it's part of the spiral of evolution that we all must traverse), it looks set to lose its status as top dog.

This is good news!

The bad news is that on the way down, it seems quite willing to take the whole eco-system with it. You would think the problem is "out there", but this process towards ecological collapse is fuelled by normal folks like you and I who are simply too busy, challenged or depressed to go looking for the answers to their problems in their inner worlds. So instead, they keep buying shit they don't need, polluting both their inner lives and the planet in the process. We are probably the most addicted people the world has ever known.

This planet has everything we need to thrive. And if we were to take this opportunity to turn towards lives of sanity, our future looks bright indeed. But for that to happen, we must, in a sense, die.

Failing identity structures in a changing world

"The world is changed. I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air". Thus opens the start of the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings epic. For those who have done deep inner work and opened the door to mysticism in their lives, Galadriel’s words ring true these days. The other day, I could feel it as an "electric charge" and an otherworldly, pregnant silence in the air. A friend described it as “the quiet before the storm”.

It seems that these shifts in the collective soul of humanity and the spiritual air we breathe are causing large numbers of people to come face to face with their false identity structures. I went through this process in 2014 and many of my friends either did go through it or are in it now. We became so allergic to ourselves (a concept poet David Whyte talks about beautifully) that we were forced to drop our attachments to our old world identity structures and fall into the alchemical crucible of underworld initiation.

And in this dropping of old world relics from our inner geographies, landscapes of connectedness and mysticism seem to open up. This isn't woo-woo. Such phenomena are studied at esteemed learning institutions such as Harvard and MIT (check out the research of Robert Kegan or Susann Cook-Greuter for more information).

Not only are serious practitioners hitting their Nekyia journeys, en route to their fully incarnate Sovereignty, “normal people” are starting to wake up as well. I have made my own contribution to this process, particularly with my Inner Throne work, and many, I'm happy to say, have been waking up through material I've offered. (I’m obviously not talking about enlightenment here, but of becoming introduced to some bedrock truths about who we are and how we operate.)

What is going on?

It seems we are at a stage in human history where the forces of evolution have pressed the red "nitro" button and are speeding forth into some sort of crescendo. (remember those fun driving games from back in the 90s?)

Where are we headed?

I'm reading about Carl Jung's life now, and am intrigued and impressed by the level of guidance he opened to in his life. He was a truly remarkable man. In 1913, he had a premonition of bad tidings in the world, just like in Galadriel’s voiceover. And as we all know, World War I started the year after.

Dr. Jung was clearly a very intuitive, tuned in man and I doubt not for a second that his premonition was more than mere coincidence. So when one conscious man can put his finger on the world pulse and read it accurately, what are we to think when thousands of conscious people simultaneously feel the exact same thing? What are we to make of this persistent collective feeling that we are moving towards the point of "make it or break it"? Shall we adopt the ostrich strategy and pretend nothing's going on?

Or shall we rise to the task and assume responsibility for a world which hovers periluously close to disaster?

Armageddon fantasies

The world is so beautiful. Yet, it can be a pretty scary place. For the ecological crisis isn’t our only one: Large parts of humanity are now fanning the flames of their wet armageddon fantasies. Millions of “right believers” are concurrently, from opposite sides of the globe, invoking the end of the world. “Chosen people” mythologies like those of right wing Christians and radical Muslims hold that the old world must end before the new world will be reborn. The consequence is that they will, more or less consciously, encourage any developments in the world that promote the coming of the end times. Essentially, the sooner the world goes to shit the better. In their mind, you see, there is such a thing as paradise, and it is not on earth as we know it! (that’s what happens when you exile the Lover archetype to the afterlife)

So understand that there are many people who think that the world should end as soon as possible and that anything you do in service of saving it is actually an obstacle to the fulfillment of their chosen people mythology. Of course, you can’t campaign politically with such ideas, but that still doesn’t prevent you from being run by them.

When you understand that millions of people – and a large percentage of Fox News-watching Americans and politicians – actually live within this paradigm, you may start getting very scared indeed.

And this is but the start of the challenges we are faced with!

Ah, humanity! We sure made a mess of it this time.

Becoming guardians of the balance

If you are one of the many who have had a glimpse of reality – who have seen the true face of madness that (still) governs humanity – you cannot anymore pretend to be okay with conventional living. And I believe 2015 is a year when you will need to accept the consequences of what you have seen more fully than ever before. This is a blessing and a curse. It will give rise to tremendous joy, even bliss. And it will fill you with despair.

This much is clear to me: When you take the red pill, you can’t undo it. You can’t plug back into illusion as if you hadn’t seen the truth. That’s for characters in movies only. As one who knows, you must either assume leadership in the process of birthing the “new world” or you must suffer deeply trying to pretend you can be happy in the old. The suffering you may experience in 2015 is simply your soul’s way of telling you that you’re out of alignment with reality. Trust it.

And know that there is a wave of awakening washing over the world. This is not some trite new-age concept; I see signs of it in my life every day, as I’m in the privileged position of counting some of the most powerful change agents in the world as friends.

What I want for you, dear reader, is that you let yourself be inspired by all of this. There has never before, in the whole history of humanity, been a time when the forces of the world have been more perfectly aligned for individuals like you to discover and give their Great Work. This is a gift to you. It also happens to be a moral imperative. Your life plays a crucial role in getting us all safely through this unfolding human drama. If you discover what you are here to do, and then do it, all of us will have a better chance of making it through.

And by plugging in to the global network of change agents who are actively taking on these challenges, you will discover friendships unlike any you ever before have experienced. In the real world, staying in the matrix simply isn’t as fun as unplugging from it.

Here’s the deal: If fulfillment and empowered masculinity is what you’re after, you don’t really have a choice; you must engage with the battle for the soul of humanity as soon as possible. Anything else will be out of integrity with your deepest calling and the depression and suffering you feel will remind you of it every day.

You can tell the degree to which you are on the right track from your level of addictive behavior. If you are severely addicted, yet thinking idealistic thoughts, you’re still a symptom of the disease and not the cure. Having nice ideas is not enough – you must engage with life. You must accept your destiny as a guardian of the balance of the world.

Our survival is at stake. Wake up.

May 2015 be your best year ever

There’s a lot of talk in the world of self-development of creating your perfect life. Yes, it’s important to have a good life. I want that for you, just like I want that for myself. But it’s a limited perspective. Thinking that the purpose of your existence is merely to create a good life for yourself will create a bad life for yourself. For a good life is found in giving. Learning to receive openly is more important than you may think, but learning to give sustainably is even more so. In fact, it seems that your level of happiness is in direct proportion to the level of service you are offering to others.

In some strange and ironic way, your life is not really about you. This is what I want you to wake up to in 2015. You live to be fully given away. You must die an empty vessel or what you die with is regrets.

I will give all of my energy to this global alchemy in the time to come. And I would be honored if you let me play a part in your awakening. The Reclaim your Inner Throne workshops and online training are powerful ways of unplugging from illusion and putting you on the path to Sovereignty (see calendar). And I offer powerful one-on-one coaching for those who want to take it deeper.

Whether you choose to work with me or not, I sincerely hope – from the very bottom of my heart – that this becomes an amazing year for you. Truly, there has never been a better time for amazing years. But the stakes are high, higher than they ever have been. You may find that you will have to give up a lot of things which you hold dear to manifest this joyful life of service.

As for me and Masculinity-Movies.com, I don’t know for sure what will happen. My energy will go to where it has the greatest impact. I love connecting with you here on this site, and if that keeps changing lives, I will keep doing it. What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, however, is that you will find me hard at work spreading Inner Throne work in the world. And I would love to see you in a workshop or an online training soon!

A very happy new year to you, friends and followers of Masculinity-Movies.com. May you rise and rise again, with heart and with fierceness, and become who you truly are.

My best wishes for your best year ever,
Eivind Figenschau Skjellum,
Founder of Masculinity-Movies.com
and creator of the Inner Throne process