The fourth part of a four part essay
I read your series with great interest, Chris. You certainly highlight what our amazing brains can accomplish if focused to do so. But, you also focus on the positive attributes that are more associated with masculinity (except for your mother/birth suffering portion, of course) - to wit: courage, duty, strength, self-reliance, risk-taking. These men you focused on are all heroic, and should rightly be celebrated. I am not saying that you couldn't find a story like these about some heroic woman; I am saying - there won't be nearly as many!
When I read "Into Thin Air", I was struck by the story of Buck Weathers who saved himself while others would/could not. I also read the book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why. It's the story, almost always of men, who face great suffering and risk and make it out alive. Or look at the amazing story of Tham Luang cave rescue - a whole bunch of guys risked their lives (one lost his) to save the kids trapped there. And so forth. Why am I writing this? Because many men are awesome in a way I - and most women - are not. And it's not celebrated enough in our culture.
Feminists are often accused of trashing men. I just want to say that I am a from-a-very-young-age feminist, and I what to be the counter-tide of feminists who appreciate our differences and our different strengths as well as our many shared human traits.
Vive les hommes!
Another awesome piece, Chris. I periodically re-read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning as I think it's like medicine for the soul. "When we accept suffering we are forging meaning" -- beautifully put. I loved your words on Bach and totally agree on your refusal to call Frederick the Second of Prussia, "The Great". Thank you for writing so profoundly. I really enjoy reading you. (PS: great photo with your daughter!)