I lived in south Italy many years ago and one of the things that most impressed me was the pleasure men took in everyday life. This information sat in the back of my mind for thirty years until I finally understood what it signified.
Nations such as Japan, Britain and Germany tend to have specialised roles for men and women. Women specialise in pleasure while men specialise in death. This is not to say (of course) that women have perfect lives but it does mean that women have permission to indulge themselves in ways that men do not. Women spend money on their appearance and on their health. They also consider there own feelings to be important and take the time to look after their emotional health.
The greater the disparity between the sexes on the issue of pleasure the more willing men appear to be to die. We see this very clearly in Japan where men literally work themselves to death and do not even take holidays. It is very striking to look at the Japanese tourists on the London underground. The only male examples I have ever seen were in excess of seventy years old.
If a man is not worthy of pleasure then he is not worthy. Period. So what does a man do in order to prove himself? It depends on the needs of the moment. Sometimes it involves empire building, sometimes industry and sometimes it involves huge explosions of cultural creativity. It is no coincidence that all of the nations mentioned have histories of empire and are currently great economic powers.
We may ask ourselves why this mode of culture is so popular in the world when it offers so little pleasure. The truth is that these attitudes are spread by empire. The USA for example has copied this life destroying culture from the UK and continues to promote it through its own empire building in the middle east. Life destroying cultures tend to be very good at war.
In order to understand the alternative we must look at nations that are bad at war such as Italy. Here you will find men who behave as if they were worth something. They spend money on clothes, they eat well, they form deep and meaningful friendships with one another.
Pleasure and joy in life is our secret weapon. Most people know there is something missing.