May interview with Bill
Bill Kauth is a co-founder of the New Warrior
Training Adventure of the ManKind Project
(www.mkp.org), the Inner King training and the
Warrior Monk training (www.warriormonk.org); and
the author of A Circle of Men: The Original Manual
for Men's Support Groups (1992, St. Martin's Press,
still in print). Bill is continuously developing
new courses and trainings in mens work.
Bill Kauth was interviewed by Stu(art) in
November 2003 by telephone and e-mail. Bill was
asked about his childhood, early aspirations, the
founding of the New Warrior Training Adventure
(NWTA), his mission, contemporary social
philosophy, and future visions. Bill lives in
S: Tell us about your family background
and childhood? Where and when were you born?
BK: I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
in 1943. My dad grew up on a farm, married his high
school sweetheart and was a Navy Pilot Trainer when
I was born. My childhood seems typical with the
usual wounding and blessing all mixed up.
S: What did being a man mean
to you as a child?
BK: Being a man meant being as honest as
I could. I learned this kind of integrity from my
dad and the Catholic Church. Despite all the goofy
dogmatic junk which drove millions of us out of the
old Church, its strong principles of social
compassion and integrity came to live in me. I
could feel the inner conflict and pain of many nuns
and priests, yet in a few nuns and one Capuchin
monk who came around a couple times a year I felt
authentic soul connection.
A few people of integrity can go a long way.
S: What did you expect to do when you
BK: I expected to take over the family
business; however, my father discouraged me in
hurtful covert ways, but essentially was saying
follow your own heart. I dont
think he was doing this consciously. More likely,
because he hadafter the wargiven up his
dream (of becoming a veterinarian) in order to
raise his family he wanted me to live my dream. And
indeed I have. For over three decades Ive
been able to listen for my call, hear it and follow
it. I do what I have big passion for and somehow it
serves people and I receive enough money to live
adequately. I feel very blessed.
S: Tell us about your current family
BK: What strikes me as most relevant is
my dad having done the Warrior Training Adventure
(NWTA) when he was seventy-five years old. He had
very bad emphysema and had never done anything like
this, yet he stepped in. He got to finally grieve
his daughtermy sisterwho was killed in
a car accident when she was seventeen. He got to
see the pain of other men and felt less alone. He
also learned to really bless others for the first
time, and for the last five years of his life he
could openly give and receive love. So he and I
completed in a good way: We had a healthy, loving
relationship when he died.
S: What are the workings of a
typical day for you?
BK: I honestly have no typical day.
Ive been a social entrepreneur for so long
that I rarely do the same thing in a repetitious
way. My projects grow and change and eventually I
give them away and move on to whatever calls me
S: What is spirit? What can men do to
connect with spirit?
BK: I make a clear distinction between
spirit and soul. Spirit is about assent, going up,
looking for the light, the right answer, perfection
and cosmic truth. Soul is about descent, going down
into the mysterythe not knowing; confusion;
darkness; material. I got this distinction from
Thomas Moore and Richard Rohr who suggest we as a
culture are drowning in spirit and desperately
hungry for soul. I believe this explains why the
NWTA keeps spreading as its 95% soul work.
Its what men need to feel whole and balanced
S: What is your mission? How do you
assess your living this mission?
BK: My mission is I create a safe
planet through empowering a balance of spirit and
soul. Ive been living it largely in the
creation of the Warrior Monk Training Intensive, in
which people learn experientially to embrace both
spirit and soul and take that energy out in to the
world through a very clear life mission and goal
which will manifest itself without doubt.
S: Tell us about the early years of
MKP/NWTA creation. What were your
BK: This question could be a book; there
are so many stories. Anyway, in 1984 I attended a
feminist therapists conference and had the
eyes to see the high consciousness of these female
humans. In that moment I felt deeply called to do
something for men. I just did what I had to do,
called together two other men, and we just began.
Ron Hering was a university professor with a Ph.D.
in Curriculum Studies, Rich Tosi worked for General
Motors and had been in the US Marine Corp for ten
years, and I was a psychotherapist running seminars
on the side. We knew nothing at that time of
archetypes or initiation, so in retrospect it feels
like the NWTA got channeled through us. We had each
done a lot of emotional opening work so our hearts
were clear to allow something very new and
simultaneously very ancient to show up. We knew
very early, from the results we saw in the men,
that we had something great. We held it with very
open hands as it spread quicklyin the
Midwest, then to the coasts and over to England. We
now have strong training centers in 8 countries,
and have served over 25,000 men.
S: In your recent speech at the Men's
Speakers Series, Sept 2003, sponsored by MKP -
Indiana, you spoke of evolving social inventions
that may be useful for happiness and survival. What
are some of these inventions, and how can we use
them for social and personal growth?
BK: I define a social invention as any
structure that brings people together to connect
with each other. We call that connection social
capital. Its the bond between humans, the
trust and friendships. We might see social capital
as the glue of society. Its what makes
democracy work. Examples might be the Elks, Moose,
Rotary and Boy Scouts. Unfortunately, according to
Robert Putnams book Bowling Alone, the volume
of social capital has been in serious decline for
fifty years. This threatens our inner identity as
social beings, and democracy itself. I believe
people are dying for social capital in our culture.
I constantly encourage young social entrepreneurs
to fill this huge need. Build the social invention
and they will come. And you will make a living
doing something you love.
MKP stands as a large and growing social
invention. It bonds men and sustains the bond in
our follow up integration groups which
often continue for years. The quality and depth of
the social capital generated radiates out into the
world. We could measure this by imagining: 10 men
in a group multiplied by a 3 hour meeting generate
30 hours of social capital. Or 50 men interacting
over a weekend for 40 hours creates 2000 hours of
social capital. I estimated that MKP and all the
training events that have spun off it generate
between two and three million hours of social
capital a year.
S: You also said (at the Speaker's
Series) that one must be prepared to doubt
everything and rely upon ones inner sense.
This sounds to me as very similar to existentialist
ideas. The personal weight and accountability that
MKP encourages is also similar to that purported by
the existentialists (Sartre, Camus, et al). What
connection, if any, do you see between
existentialism and MKP philosophy?
BK: I made that statement as a social or
political comment with no particular philosophical
intention. I simply believe that we live in such a
sea of lies and prepaid public relations releases
that we seriously need to doubt everything. Then we
rebuild an open culture that actually serves the
authentic needs of humans and all life. The
inner sense I mentioned means knowing
the truth of who we really are as not separate from
the divine. From that place of knowing our inner
truth we will make decisions which serve all
S: There seems to be a fine line in
mens work between self-indulgent inward
warrior energy and necessary protection of Self.
How do you maintain your sense of connection with
BK: That a great question, very subtle.
Often as men get to feel themselves as newly
empowered they will strut it in narcissistic ways.
And as you suggest, its within the connection
of community where men find this healing, through
men guiding each other with principles of integrity
and accountability. I like to think of our
communities as places where compassion and
confrontation live well together, where holding
each other accountable is considered as
complementary, not contrary, to helping community.
In these ways we polish each others healthy
warrior energy as it becomes strong enough to
protect the emotionally open soul or
S: Given that MKP will grow, what are
the major challenges you perceive for the
organization? How will we meet these
BK: Ive seen too many
organizations lose their vision, their soul and
their original purposes as they get older. The
single major MKP challenge I see involves
maintaining the core essence of what we do around
initiating men into a manhood of emotional
literacy, transpersonal mission, integrity and
accountability. And I see us doing it well. Year
after year at our annual meeting I watch as we grow
and mature. I really mean mature in the best sense.
We grow and evolve individually and so the
collective body grows. The vision gets larger, the
integrity deeper and the petty little fights just
dont happen much anymore. The original vision
of a fully inclusive brotherhood continues to
unfold in an amazingly pure way, around the
S: What do you like about MKPs
BK: I especially like the new vision
brought forward by our new chairman, Curtis
Mitchell, in which we can envision ourselves as
the generous men. Imagine the line
under our logo reading, MKP: Creating a
Culture of Generosity." I love that because it
says, in new language, what we have always been. We
have done what we called living the give
away since the NWTA started in 1985. Living
the give away means really devoting your life to
some higher, transpersonal service.
I especially like this as it seems to be the way
of the future in the most idealistic sense.
Ive been working with young men in developing
a new training called Beyond the Machine. As
Ive gotten to know them Ive learned of
Linux and other Internet creations which are given
away, literally, to be co-created into a higher
form for the good of all.
These young people seem to intuitively know that
the predatory corporate culture is a death sentence
for us all, and they are building a culture based
on cooperation rather than competition. And we in
MKP seem to be tracking the cultural shift and in
some ways taking a lead in its manifestation.
S: What lies in the future for you? How
do you prepare for the future?
BK: As you may know, my title in MKP is
Visionary at Large and Ive taken
it seriously. I study the world situation, and have
some big concerns about the US believing it has the
right to invade other countries. I feel deeply
concerned about the level of lies and
misinformation in all the popular media. Its
my understanding that over 90% of what passes for
news is public relations releases. Ive
appreciated The Matrix films and have some growing
urgency to develop trainings on how to live outside
the machine. This ties in with what I
said above about the pervasive, highly intentional
media bombardment such that most of us dont
know just what is real anymore, as in the
S: What advice or wisdom would you like
to pass on to your grandchildren?
BK: Doubt everything, think critically
and learn to live with your heart open at the same
timejust another day in paradox.
S: Thank you for your time and
Bill Kauth's 2006 Holiday
© 2006, Stu(art)
* * *
The fame you earn has a different taste from the
fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria
Reid Baer, an
award-winning playwright for A Lyons
Tale is also a newspaper journalist, a poet
with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide,
and a novelist with his first book released this
month entitled Kill
The Story. Baer has been
a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and
currently edits The New Warrior Journal for
The ManKind Project www.mkp.org
He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife
Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.
Menstuff® is a registered trademark of Gordon
©1996-2019, Gordon Clay