Saturday, June 22, 2019

Book review: THE SIBLING SOCIETY by Robert Bly

THE SIBLING SOCIETY (1996) by Robert Bly

From time to time, the matter of "masculinity" becomes a public debate. What does it mean to "be a man?" How does a man earn his adulthood? Should society change its demands on men? There will never be an end to this discussion.

In the 1990s, Robert Bly gained enormous attention with his book IRON JOHN, where he tried to give "modern" men a myth, or story, to help them figure out the mental growth and change they needed to develop a mature sense of self.

Bly is a poet, not a social scientist.
His approach is that myth, ritual and story are tools to instruct young men on a quasi-unconscious level. There's a whiff of "New Age" thinking about this, but I take his argument seriously: We need these tools.

In the book THE SIBLING SOCIETY, Bly further develops the theme of "reaching mental maturity." He is worried that modern Western society has not only lost the "rites of passage" that instruct young men that they must stop being kids - it's actively encouraging men to never grow up, leading to stunted development and unhappiness.

Note: Bly is not the reactionary you might expect. He clearly accuses commercial interests for denigrating the value of maturity and "infantilizing" men. (For example, he means that Western movies are a prime example of glorifying immature males.)

Recommended as "food for thought" rather than as a cure-all.

#bookstagram #bookreview #bookreviews #robertbly #thesiblingsociety #mensissues #menshealth #masculinity #mythopoetic

No comments: