“The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance.’ In other words, a different kind of learning is required before someone can be truly trusted with social power and potent things like weapons. If a man does not know the wounds of his own soul, he can deny not just his own pain, but also be unmoved by the suffering of other people. More than that, he will tend to put his wound onto others. He may only be able to see the wound that secretly troubles him when he forcefully projects it into someone else, in forms of abuse or violence.
So in the old culture-making idea, in order to properly bear arms a person must first become disarmed, as in becoming vulnerable and connected to something meaningful and supportive of life. The idea of forging the temperament of young men took precedence over the idea of simply giving them weapons at a certain age. The tempering of the souls involved discovering what kind of anger each might carry and learning about the inner line where anger turned into blind rage. Becoming tempered also meant immersing in the sorrow of one’s life and thereby being in touch with the grief of the world.
~ Michael Meade