The Question of Unity

What is unity?  Some might consider it oneness, or a totality that combines all parts into one.  To others, it is merely an absence of diversity, or unvaried uniformity of character.  Descriptors of unity could include concord, harmony, or agreement.  What about continuity without deviation or change?  Perhaps it is a sense of singleness, or constancy of purpose and action.  In short, unity transforms a series of unorganized and independent actions, into a unifying effort bound by guiding principles, and focused toward a collective purpose.

How do groups of men, brotherhoods, or fraternities such as the Mannerbund, attain unity?  As we know from my previous articles, the single basic element of a brotherhood is the individual man.  How then, does a brotherhood achieve unity when each man who comprises the vetted and sworn membership has free will?

On the one hand, leaders cannot simply dictate unity to individual members.  To expect this is naïve.  To implement such a strategy is foolish and fraught with pitfalls.  On the other hand individual men, no matter their mettle, character, or worth, are not able to force unity from below.  They might be able to influence others, but over time that influence will wane for lack of foundation.

To achieve unity, the Mannerbund and its members must work as a team.  Ah, but is that not a form of unity?  Yes and no.  A team is merely a demonstration of cooperation.  Time, hardship, pain, suffering, and hard work, are the tools by which a team gains cohesiveness, and at some point, possibly unity.  For a tight-knit fraternity to have unity, it requires personal investment and loyalty.

The men of the Mannerbund, and those who would join must invest themselves in the brotherhood.  They must do this with body, mind, and soul; and through blood, sweat, and tears.  These may seem like catchy words to represent a lofty and esoteric ideal, but they remain true in their most basic sense.  Men must work and toil to make their bodies as strong, resilient, and durable, as they can be so they can withstand the hardships that may come.  Their minds must be molded and focused on purposeful intent, never wavering.  Their souls must be true to their most closely-held beliefs, for these beliefs shape their worldviews, and determine their character.  Men might also be called upon to shed blood, sweat, and tears, not only for individual brothers, but also for the Mannerbund and its people as a whole.  These are the investments men must make for a brotherhood to be united.  Without such an investment, membership is weak, and susceptible to fracturing into the shards of yet another dissident group shattered on the rocks of reality.

Then there is the issue of loyalty.  Men must be loyal to the group, which means that no matter what decision leadership makes, that is the Mannerbund position.  At this point, all discussion and argument must cease, and the men must remain loyal to the group and its leaders.  Also, men must be loyal to their brothers on an individual basis.  They must treat their fellow members with both respect and honesty, but remain tempered by tact and love.  If problems arise brothers resolve them, and put the issues behind them.  There is no room for grudges, anger, or resentment.  Finally, men must be loyal to themselves.  This means honest assessment and appraisal, through deep introspection.  Such a process identifies weaknesses, which are then improved and eliminated.  A man who shirks his duty to eliminate personal weakness is a blight on the brotherhood, and has demonstrated disloyalty to himself, his brothers, and his people.

Why are personal investment and cohesion important?  To ignore them is to risk disunity, which breeds resentment and fosters disloyalty.  Without personal investment, it is very difficult for a man to be loyal, for he has no “skin in the game,” and he has little worth to the brotherhood.  Without loyalty, a man is a wild card and a detriment to the well-being of the Mannerbund.  Personal investment and loyalty go hand-in-hand, and they form two very basic expectations when vetting a candidate.  Those brothers who join must be strong and resolute in both, or risk banishment from the group.

For a brotherhood to maintain the course, it must provide purpose to its membership.  Guiding principles, an ethos, codes of conduct and honor, a vision, a mission statement, and a campaign plan; these are the vehicles by which we glean purpose.  Through purpose, men can unify their effort.  They have goals and milestones which measure their success.

As you can see, unity is a two-way street.  Leadership provides the purpose and membership provides the effort.  In this way, the Mannerbund succeeds and remains united in the face of adversity.  But the men must remain focused and strong to avoid the dangers of disunity, and the pitfalls of disloyalty.

Unity without loyalty amounts to empty promises.

Loyalty without unity is just a shallow and tenuous web of platitudes.

How does a brotherhood achieve unity and loyalty?  The answer lies in action, for both unity and loyalty require it.  Action means more than mere motion.  It requires purpose and intent.  Sitting in front of the computer and participating in a chat room is not action.  This activity is merely an emotional outlet.  The action to which I refer consists of self-improvement, strengthening the bonds between brothers, and working towards tangible goals for the sake of our people.

Are you up to the challenge?  Are you a man of action, who is resolute in conviction?  Or are you a LARPer, playacting as a dissident; all talk and no action?  Get off your ass and man up.  The time of the Mannerbund is now.  Will you participate and contribute? Or will you simply watch and comment?  Decide now. The Mannerbund waits for no inactive man.

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