Fire is a hero. It brings warmth to those who are cold, cooks their meals, and lights their way.
Fire is also a villain. It burns away homes and habitats, injures, and erases.
Perhaps it is the duality of fire that draws men to stare into its flames and entices them to wield it. To stoke the base and provide more fuel, urging it to grow ever larger and more dangerous, giving those who tend to it a feeling of control, if only at the edges.
There is something deeper to the fascination with fire that almost all men hold within them. Perhaps it is the feeling of thanks for having the gift of flame. Maybe an appreciation for the versatility of such a magical creation. The thought of building something that others can find beneficial is alluring. Or maybe, men enjoy the flames which inspire creative and introspective curiosity.
Men have a special affinity for fire, and here are a few reasons why.
The mythology behind the discovery of fire is intriguing. The Greeks believed that a rogue Titan named Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to men so that they could have warmth and cook their food. For this defiance, the kind Titan was punished by being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten by an eagle each day, just to have it regrow overnight so his pain would be felt for eternity. An extreme imagining, perhaps.
Many cultures have their thoughts and folklore about how man first received fire, usually as some form of benevolent act. Perhaps that is why men are drawn to fire. Perhaps they are thankful and see fire as a gift that was given to them, so it must be valued, appreciated, and utilized.
Whatever one’s belief may be about how fire was first obtained, there is a deep appreciation for the physics of fire, even not understood.
In today’s world, most men rarely have the opportunity to enjoy a good fire. Perhaps they live in a cold climate and get to make a fire in a fireplace each winter. Or, perhaps they get to create a fire in their BBQ pit or grill and use it to cook for themselves and others on holidays. One of the reasons to appreciate fire is for its utility, and that is why men are the first to volunteer to start a fire.
Fire was used in the past as a means to move wild game into an area of convenience for hunters. Flames burned away undergrowth and encouraged the renewal of flora through the fire-induced release of seeds and enrichment of the soil. In extreme cases, fire was used as a weapon, but also to help heal and prevent illness.
For all these reasons, and the ones discussed before them, the value of fire is deeply embedded within the psyche of man. Even today when men rarely have the opportunity to create fire, they all know that its services lie dormant in wait, ready to comfort or destroy when called forward.
If all the world is a stage, fire was the stage lighting with which people of the past told their history and stories to each other. Stories of creation, victorious hunts, and hard-won battles have always been better when shared around a campfire.
Solitude provides the same sort of audience, however, when a fire is the sole form of companionship. Men of many cultures have spent their time around fire, either in the open expanse of the outdoors or while sitting in front of an enclosed hearth, staring into its flickering light and wisps of smoke, seeking out answers from the ether or cleansing the mind of troubles. As destructive as fire can be, something is soothing about a flame within one’s control.
The amber and orange colors of a healthy fire provide a constant movement of dancing tendrils that reach for the sky. They are easy to get lost in while pondering life’s great mysteries and challenges. Almost like the ASMR of time past, the relaxing life of a burning heat quiets the static of the mind and opens it to take in the true treasures of life, of being alive.
Whatever the reason that men are drawn to fire, it is indisputable that there is a romancing of the male species by the vitality of a fire that provides and consumes. All men should explore that romance whenever the opportunity provides itself.Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash