Written by Théun Mares for the last male course held at Hopefield on the weekend of 28-30th May, 1999.

When I look around in the world today, it is with a deep sense of anguish that I still hear echoing in my ears the haunting words of a female friend who asked, “Where have all the heroes gone?””

Yes! Indeed! What has happened to them all? No longer do men stand tall and proud in their masculinity. No longer are there bards who sing the honour of hero-saviours. The bards are gone because the hero-saviours are gone, and the ballads too are gone because the honour which men once carried with pride is also gone. But the deepest anguish of all comes from knowing that when the last of the bards died, so too did beauty. And when the last of the hero-saviours died, so too did hope. Without beauty and without hope, what is left? Nothing! Only a cold sterile world of crime and violence, of ugliness, injustice and despair, and a sickening sense of hopelessness that breeds a debilitating apathy.

Are there then, no heroes left? Are there no men left on this earth who can step forward to save the world from the greatest catastrophe that has ever befallen the human race? Are all men today so completely emasculated that they have become nothing more that semen donors, with some doing drugs in a futile effort to numb their minds and feelings to the pain of that emasculation? Are there no men left who are at least willing to try?

I know of no heroes still walking this earth, and I know of no saviours either. But I guess, in considering everything, that if I do not like what I see, then there is still me. Although I do not feel like much of a hero, I nevertheless am willing to try. And although I do not know too much about being a saviour, I am willing to learn.

But I realise that I do not know where to go, and from whom I will be able to learn what it is to be a hero-saviour. Yet I also know that if I do not know where to go, then “here” must be as good a place as any other; and if I do not know when I will find my way, then “now” must be the right time; and if I do not know from whom to learn, then I must teach myself.

So, what do I have that I can offer you right now, right here? In the greater scheme of things, I guess not much. In fact, perhaps not much at all! But I am willing to share with you as much as I can of the things I have learned upon my own quest for maleness. If, through my sharing, I am able to inspire in you a sense of what it is to be a true male, then that shall be my reward. If I can instil in you at least some sense of the beauty I have encountered upon my journey, then that shall be my joy. If I can impress upon you even just a little of the hope I have discovered along the way, then that shall be my honour. And if I can share with you my belief in the spirit of man, then I shall look upon that as having been the real purpose of this weekend.

But, gentlemen, I do not wish you to labour under a false impression! It is not fanfares, white stallions, billowing capes and swords I am pursuing. Instead I am in search of the impeccable honour, the quiet dignity, the unwavering hope and the tenacious courage that is implied within the essence of the true male. If I can share with you some of this, by sharing my knowledge with you, then within my heart of hearts I shall know that I am a true male, a hero, and a saviour, for you must understand that any man is only as good as other men make him! For example, an army general may lead his troops into battle, but unless his men respect him enough to follow him, he rides alone to his death, in his heart a hero, yes, but in the eyes of his troops and his enemy, a lonely fool!

If it is a leader you are wanting, then I am willing to show you the way. But if what I tell you here does not call forth your respect, then I guess, come Monday morning, I will be riding on alone. In relation to this, know that although I too long for that uplifting camaraderie that exists between males who share a quest, I have long ago come to the conclusion that loneliness upon the quest is preferable to remaining in a world that has become filled with ugliness and despair, and that death is strangely more enticing than a life of hopelessness and apathy.

Therefore, and in honour of your wish, my friends, let us pause in this place for a brief while, and I will share with you what I have learned upon this quest. But know that no sunrise finds the male where sunset left him. After this sharing I will continue upon my quest, with or without you! In my heart of hearts I know what I seek. If you join me, I shall be en-joyed by your presence. If I go alone, then I will go alone!

This is the last male course I will teach. I have made this decision in honour of the human spirit. You see, gentlemen, I believe that you and every other man out there is ready and capable of finding your way and of claiming your power as a true male. But if I continue to teach this course, I will be implying that men in general, including you, are not yet ready, and therefore that you still need to be taught. However, I believe that you are ready, and that you can do it on your own! And to prove my belief in you, I am making this the final male course.

This belief is my commitment to you, and to all other men.

Théun Mares
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