“All men die – not all men really live.” William Wallace, Braveheart
All men should have the highest regard for the gift of life. But the gift-giver had a sense of irony when he put us in the world. Because for men to properly regard their lives, they must disregard them – put them in danger.
Proper men properly order the achievement of manhood over mere survival. They should fight, explore, compete, jump, run, throw, climb, ski, drive, fly, and do all sorts of life-threatening things. In experiencing challenge and pain and the risk of death, they become what they are meant to be.
Men who choose instead to live in comfort may seem to have a higher regard for his life than adventurous man, but this is not so. Men who live in comfort never become interesting. They never become strong. They never become soulful. As Wallace might say, they never really begin to live as men in the first place. And a boy who dies in the act of his first manly deed is more a man than the 80 year old who cowered.
This is another paradox of manhood. If anyone fears death, they should redirect their fear toward comfort. If anyone regards his own life, he should regard less his own survival.