From Fire in the Belly – A Book by Sam Keen
“A man must go on a quest
to discover the sacred fire
in the sanctuary of his own belly
to ignite the flame in his heart
to rekindle his ardor for the earth.”
– Sam Keen, Fire in the Belly
“The root of humanly caused evil is not man’s animal nature, not territorial aggression, or innate selfishness, but our need to gain self-esteem, deny our mortality, and achieve a heroic self-image.”
― Sam Keen, The Denial of Death
In his book Fire in the Belly Sam Keen speaks of the virtue of moral outrage to which the two above quotes are firmly linked. A man must first find that fire in his belly and then face his own mortality in order to fearlessly let his ‘outrage’ inspire his everyday actions.
This fire, this passion, this drive is almost primal. When left unrecognized and untapped it starts to leak out sideways in destructive or non-productive ways. In a way relieving the urge to do important things many men do anything they can to take the edge off the fire they feel in their belly – risky behavior, crazy sex, alcohol and drugs, fast car driving, or edgy sports. Sometimes the opposite shows up in the form of distraction or voyeurism like watching excessive television, sports, digital media, or pornography.
If a man is to put his fire to good use he must first notice what he is outraged about in his life and the environment around him and then simply do something about it. He must also know and accept he has but this life as the man he is to take action before he faces himself in the mirror we call death.
It brings into stark reality the oft asked question; “What must I do before I die?”
Personally, I am outraged at the way we treat death and dying here in North America and how we have taught our men to be strong and stoic and hold their authentic human emotions in check. Our current approach to death actually diminishes our capacity to live life to the fullest. It is outrageous that we fight death at all costs!
Why this article?
Well, I noticed my own fire has dimmed a little under the all too often and regularly polite no responses I get as I continue to walk along my chosen path of bringing death back to life in a human way. I had pulled back from my edge and become a little hesitant and noticed I was wasting time by not doing what my fiery heart was demanding I do. My fervor had dimmed and I needed to publicly rekindle it. So it is to myself actually that I write this article.
Hope it serves y’all too!