Ecclesiastes and MGTOW

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Ecclesiastes and MGTOW

fschmidt
Administrator
Below is an old post of mine.  It still seems relevant here.



MGTOW stands for Men Going Their Own Way.  The basic idea is to not conform to cultural directives but to go ones own way.  This particular applies to marriage which MGTOW reject.

I do agree with MGTOW that one shouldn't conform to modern culture.  And I share their low opinion of modern women.  But I disagree with the idea of rejecting all cultures.

MGTOW think they have an original idea, as is common of most modern people who are ignorant of history.  In fact MGTOW-like movements have appeared many times in history.  There is nothing in MGTOW philosophy that can't be found in Ecclesiastes in the Bible.  On women:

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And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, her heart a net, and her hands chains. The one who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner will be captured by her. “Look,” says the Teacher, “I have discovered this by adding one thing to another to find out the explanation, which my soul continually searches for but does not find: among a thousand people I have found one true man, but among all these I have not found a true woman.
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Ecclesiastes 7:26-28

Women are more conformist and less independent-minded than men.  This is why, in evil cultures (like ours), you will find one good man out of a thousand, but no good women.  Of course the reverse is also true, in a good culture, all the women will be good and those who are evil will be men.  MGTOW apply thinking like in the quote above to conclude that all women are evil.  But the quote above doesn't consider non-evil cultures.  Even in neutral cultures, like those in anarchy because culture has fallen apart, one can find good and bad women and men.

MGTOW doesn't believe in conforming to any culture or to any kind of self-sacrifice.  It considers these things pointless.  I will give a few more quotes from Ecclesiastes that make the point:

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“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher.
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.”
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Ecclesiastes 1:2

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I have seen that there is nothing better than for a person to enjoy his activities because that is his reward. For who can enable him to see what will happen after he dies?
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Ecclesiastes 3:22

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There is a futility that is done on the earth: there are righteous people who get what the actions of the wicked deserve, and there are wicked people who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile. So I commended enjoyment because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, for this will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.
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Ecclesiastes 8:14-15

In other words, there is no real point to life, no reward for good behavior, so you might as well just enjoy yourself.  This is decadence.  When men don't sacrifice to cooperate, society disintegrates.  The MGTOW response, and the Ecclesiastes response, is that we cannot fix our society, it is too far gone.  And even if one could make a difference, one won't get a reward for it.  Both of these statements are true.

The author of Ecclesiastes never seems to find contentment.  Why?  Because he fails to recognize that we humans are tribal by nature.  We cannot find contentment by ourselves but only through connections to others.  We find contentment by being part of something larger than ourselves, this being our tribal instinct.  Morality is built into all of us and this makes cooperation and societies possible.  A moral person who is part of a group/tribe/society that he believes in will be far more content than an immoral person who has infinite wealth and physical pleasures.  To answer the Ecclesiastes question of what happens after one dies:

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I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.
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Exodus 20:5-6

In religious terms, God represents morality.  When people act morality, the reward goes to their descendants, and when people act immorally, the punishment goes to their descendants.

So what of the point that our (modern liberal) society is too far gone to be fixed?  This is true, so one must look elsewhere for a solution.  One must either find or start a moral community.

Ecclesiastes was included in the Bible because it is so well written and because it raises the most basic question that societies must answer, which is why people should conform to society instead of going their own way.  Ecclesiastes ends:

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In addition to the Teacher being a wise man, he constantly taught the people knowledge; he weighed, explored, and arranged many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and write words of truth accurately. The sayings of the wise are like goads, and those from masters of collections are like firmly embedded nails. The sayings are given by one Shepherd.

But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.
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Exodus 20:5-6

"The teacher" referred to here is the one expressing the views of Ecclesiastes, and this ending is the Bible's response.  This ending seems to be saying that there are so many opinions, and Ecclesiastes is just another, so don't let it move you away from God.  I think this is a weak answer, the Bible should have done better.  I have tried to explain my answer to Ecclesiastes and to MGTOW in this article.

One should find a community worth conforming to, and then conform to it, because this is the only way to find lasting contentment.  This is the only way to escape the sense of futility expressed in Ecclesiastes.  And the reason for this is because we humans are designed to live as part of a community and we can only find contentment by doing what we were designed to do.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: Ecclesiastes and MGTOW

ShaunS
I disagree with much of this as I have a different view.

fschmidt wrote
In other words, there is no real point to life, no reward for good behavior, so you might as well just enjoy yourself.  This is decadence.  When men don't sacrifice to cooperate, society disintegrates.  The MGTOW response, and the Ecclesiastes response, is that we cannot fix our society, it is too far gone.  And even if one could make a difference, one won't get a reward for it.  Both of these statements are true.
I believe that we can fix our society. The idea that it has gone too far cannot be right. Germany after WW1 had gone too far and couldn't possibly be fixed, much like Greece today, yet along came the Nazi and they fixed it and turned it around in an astonishing way. They went too far of course. If they had stopped and drawn a line they would now be as powerful a nation as America is today. I believe (as posted elsewhere) that Democracy cannot cope on it's own as a singular system, and that it's structure implies that some other complementary culture is also required.

Cooperation is a problematical argument here. Clearly we don't wish to cooperate with the existing society or culture. If it was split in two then each side could cooperate and interoperate with the other. The Nazis cooperated with each other and were able to turn around Germany's fortunes for a time. But the key problem with the Nazis is that they replaced the previous system and also probably only supported half the population. A singular system probably won't work. You have to co-exist with an opposing group as a duality because that structure gives your people a choice.

So it's not a case of cooperating with the present culture, but a very strong tendency to attack the existing culture (much like the Nazis). Your reward (if you get it right) is a better culture that supports more people, and in the case of Nazis Germany - significant improvement occurred.

So both these statements are false - tell it to the Nazi.