THE SIBLING SOCIETY (1996) by Robert Bly
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
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
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
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.
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