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What Is The Man Cage, and; How Do You Get Out Of It

Max Weber was a German sociologist, philosopher, legal scholar, and political economist whose ideas profoundly influenced social theory and social research, Weber believed that an iron cage of conformity would eventually form.

The iron cage of conformity is a symbol of the social pressure we feel from others and ourselves to act in a way that is strategically beneficial to us.

Good examples are people who feel as though they are ‘trapped in the rat race’ of always trying to get ahead in their careers or climb the corporate ladder.

So much emphasis is placed on hard work and earning a living, that an attitude of conformity has begun to influence all of our decisions.

Ideas like ‘time is money’ and ‘getting ahead of the game’, in our society we are defined by our occupation and by how much money we make.

The iron cage is the one set of rules and laws that we are all subjected and must adhere to.

It was through reading about Max Weber and his theory as well as my own experience that I first became interested in exploring more about this iron cage; I felt like I was inside this iron cage in many aspects of my life.

  • I wasn’t doing a job I enjoyed but felt trapped and pressured (main bread winner, I felt like an idiot because I didn’t know what I wanted to do or be, and; I thought other people had it all figured out)
  • Even though I had studied spiritual teachings and personal development, my life wasn’t anywhere near where I thought it should be in terms of progress (conformity and comparison)
  • I felt there was nobody I could talk to about my spiritual experiences (its not the most popular subjects among men)
  • I had suffered inside with guilt from hiding my binge drinking and felt there was nobody to talk to who understood ( self judgement)
  • I saw that so many men were going through similar issues and that society had deemed ‘men seeking help’ as being a wussy (stigma)
  • I know that suicide is higher with men than women because men don’t usually seek help
  • I knew that through my own spiritual journey (not religious) I had gained a lot of strength and knowledge which I drew on to help me get through my issues/problems. I felt that more men would do well to also embrace spiritual teachings and connection to nature – as I had done – and I wanted to share my experiences with these lost, stuck and lifeless men still inside the iron cage or man cage as I refer to it
  • I felt that the name The Late Starter represented how I felt about life, my career, my passion, purpose and personal journey

This is the world of men, but not too many people are talking about it.

I recently saw on TV that yet another man had taken his own life at his workplace. He was working within the construction/mining industry in Australia and was suffering from depression. The powers that be have made recommendations for workers in this field, and they are as follows:

  1. take more time off
  2. mental health training
  3. support programs
  4. more research
  5. better reporting

I would add to that list:

  • encourage the learning of spiritual teachings (not religious)
  • learn how to reconnect with the natural world (so that people don’t feel isolated as much)
  • learn meditation and mindfulness – take a holistic approach (to deal with anxieties or panic attacks)
  • turn the stigma around seeking help around so that NOT seeking help is regarded as being a wussy

The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

How to escape the cage?

Spend time figuring out what your truly love to do or would love to explore as a career and talk to your spouse about exploring that as a possibility. Read books on topics that appeal to you, knowledge is power. Start a meditation practice and learn basic spiritual teachings (energy healing would be a good start). Watch The Secret. Listen to encouraging and motivating videos on YouTube. Find a coach. Be with nature and reconnect with nature and animals.  Talk to friends and family. Don’t isolate yourself and don’t be afraid to express yourself. Sign up to The Late Starter!

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