We are so fortunate to be alive in this period of time.


If you really think about it, the chances of us being here, right now, are so low they may as well be zero. Technology is advancing at an extremely rapid rate, people are living longer, there are cures and remedies for just about everything and the majority of crises can be avoided, and instead of praying to any saint or god to come and save us, we know what's required of us in order to prevent outbreaks of war/famine/disease etc.


Sure there is corruption in high and low places and at times there are failures, but when there are there is usually someone to be held accountable for the screw up and more preventative measures can be put in place to ensure it never happens again. We don't just shrug our shoulders anymore and passively say something along the lines of ''that's life'' or ''God's will be done'' but instead now we can take ownership and at least promise to do better next time. In general, taking into account the bloodstained history of humanity, this is quite a cosy time to be alive.


For the first time in history more people die from eating too much than from starvation; more people die from old age than disease; more people commit suicide than they are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals combined. You have more chance of McDonalds killing you before a drought, Ebola or a terror attack does. It's very likely the union of what seem to be set in stone polar opposites will start to collide beautifully in the 80-90 years we have on this earth; science and religion, West and East, introverted and extroverted, masculine and feminine.


From a biological standpoint, humans haven't changed much at all since the stone ages but our roles as men and women have drastically changed with time. With women fighting tirelessly to assert themselves in todays society coming from a background of being heavily oppressed for as long as history goes back they are finally starting to be treated as equal members of society. However, men have kind of lost their footing, what it means to be a man is now blurred and unclear, so forgive us if we are unsure of where we stand. Essentially, since the dawn of man, men have sat comfy on the dominate throne and these big social shifts, shakes, and changes have had an effect to men and women alike, not just on a broad societal level but also on an acute individual and personal level . The media barrage us with expectations that are unattainable. There isn't a clear right of passage to manhood or any initiation process that tells us ''you're a man now''. Women are just as capable of doing the previously perceived 'men only tasks'. Too much choice. A general feeling of emptiness. Work that demands more of our time and, to a point, our souls but offer less and less security. There are very few answers given from organised religion, and monogamy must have been completely differently to when life expectancy was 45.


The ongoing sickness in men can be pictured quite clearly in the average suburban man. This is the life story of Suburban Steve. He wakes up 6:30am every weekday, commutes to work on the same train, gets in the same office to perform the same task, goes to lunch at the same coffee shop, goes back to completing the same task, catches the same train home, has two kids, does the newspaper crossword every now and again, spends a two week holiday at a beach every summer (which he doesn't really enjoy), goes to church every Christmas and maybe at Easter too. He continues this robotic, mechanical like existence every year until he retires at around 60/70 years of age and dies a decade or two after due to a stroke or heart failure possibly brought on due to a repressed, monotonous, dreary lifestyle, and if that's not what kills him then I suspect boredom will.


I'm sure you've heard the tales of brave knights diving in to battle beasts and dragons in suits of armour, sword and shield in hand. Whether you believe the tales or not, those men are idolised as the pinnacle of manhood, and rightly so. Those courageous men not only accepted impossible tasks but completed them, demonstrating a flurry of attributes that can only be looked upon as the height of masculinity. Hercules and his 12 labours. Greeks' finest warrior Achilles. Theseus, the minotaur slayer, hero of Athens. Stories of great heroism are easy to come by, we hear them almost daily, where there was a great impeding threat and an unlikely hero swoops in and saves the day. But, in the 21st century there are no dragons, minotaurs, or giants to be slaying. We have swapped our suit of armour for maybe just a suit, swapped the shield for a briefcase and the sword for a pen. Dangers aren't that dangerous any more, the dragon becomes the boardroom where you need to nail a sales pitch. Your very own 12 labours may be found in school/sixth-form/University. The Man-eating Giant is your boss. The minotaur is an abusive father perhaps and medusa maybe a belittling mother? And any labyrinth you try to navigate your way through is really just your own head and any demons you come across are your own. Point being we, or our communities, are never really threatened or at risk of unavoidable danger like in those tales, myths and legends. In other words there is no room for 'Heroes'.


So how do we become adults in a society that doesn't ask for sacrifice? How do we become men in a world that does not require courage? It's seems we are brought up and fed a diet of Jason Bourne and 007, and then let loose to roam free in the land of PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets.