Author Topic: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement  (Read 31930 times)

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #105 on: June 08, 2012, 05:12:39 pm »
(...) The mythopoetic men's movement aims to liberate men from the constraints of the modern world which keep them from being in touch with their true masculine nature, and is best known for the rituals that take place during their gatherings. (...)

I haven't read the whole thread yet so maybe this has been answered, but I couldn't find anything about these rituals on the Wiki page either, what are they?

I think what's more important to them isn't so much as the rituals themselves but rather more so the ritual space they intend to create.  They use drumming, story telling, do poetry readings, sing songs, tell anecdotes, reveal personal wounds, make masks, dance--sort of thing--all in the company of supportive fellow men.

From what I've read so far it doesn't even seem that tight of a uniform. Maybe not quite as loose-fit as Discordianism, but like many types of self-actualization things, it seems like you can do it for a while, learn some valuable things (about yourself and/or people in general), and then drop it as you discover you reached the bottom of what there is to learn. Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I think that people who get "stuck" in such a uniform would have gotten stuck in one thing or the next, regardless.

From what I've read/listened to so far, I think Bly might agree with this.

One of the things Robert Moore (the second generation Jungian of whom Bly is an enormous fan) says that younger men should be admired by an older man in a kind of mentor role.  So, rather than being stuck in a uniform, it's more about finding fellowship and a path through the previously constricted uniforms in which men find themselves in post-industrial society.


(BTW in all fairness, the above paragraph also holds for the whole PUA thing. At least, 10 years ago when I became interested in it: Learned some very valuable things [actually basic social skills that I had managed never to pick up], noticed how the rest was kinda flawed, and moved on, but an experience richer)

The flaw in this particular movement, from what I've seen so far, is that it makes the assumption that before feminism, all great men were very masculine. And men that weren't, can't have been great men.

I think this might be the narrow view.  While it does seem to be related to feminism I don't think it's necessarily a reaction AGAINST feminism.  A least from the several lectures and books I've read so far. 

Bly takes a mythological standpoint as a foundation to explore into the masculine archetypes.  He feels that in our post-industrial culture that men have a lot of less time with their fathers and so boys no longer have that strong masculine role around. They talked a lot about how in the past boys would have a rite of passage where the men would take the boys away from their mother, go through initiation, and then become men.  Since our fathers are no longer around as much, boys are more raised by the stronger feminine role rather than the masculine.

I've heard Bly full acknowledge how women are oppressed in the various ways feminism describes but what he is against is the tendency for some feminists to blame all men and put the responsibility on all men for the heinous atrocities some men have done.

Even if this were the case--which it isn't--that would mean the situation is reversed, complain now about how men might feel restricted and held back to "express their masculinity" (lol), means that back then, brilliant men that had a more feminine streak or just didn't care for the whole masculine thing, would feel pressured to behave according to the "manly" expectations of the time.

Bly and Moore have made a distinction between 'being a man' and 'being macho.'  I think what you're describing falls under the macho category.

In other words, it's going for the fallacy that there was some mythical period in time when people were still "pure" and "natural" (and organic! and not from concentrate!) when everything was better and we somehow lost this paradise over our lust for progress and we need to get back to this and die from infected toenails at the age of 30 again (oh wait that was the other movement).

The idea here isn't necessarily going back into that 'better time' but to use mythologies and fairy tales to find those core masculine archetypes.  See my previous post about the King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.  They use a ritual space to do this exploration among fellow men of all ages in order to regain a sense of masculine self that was left off and wounded due to the lack of a masculine role to follow as they grew up.

In my own opinion there are parts that are useful and parts which I don't find particularly valuable.

Let me point out something I did on a more personal level and probably wouldn't otherwise if I hadn't checked this stuff out...

My own father left my mother when I was about five years old and my mother did a pretty amazing job as a single mother. She saved money to buy a plot of land and then build a modest house on it.  She raised me while working under a drug abusing, highly unstable boss. 

In her own grief and frustration she would pretty harshly put my dad down for what "he had done to us."  A lot of my life growing up involved a lot of trying to please mom and help her out.  This inevitably resulted in 'nice guy behavior' and found its way into many of my personal relationships.  This approval seeking and sometimes manipulative behavior didn't help me very much.

My father just did his thing, but never ever kept me out of his life.  Although, for a good number of years (20+) I harbored a lot of unnecessary resentment toward my father that cause a bit of an unspoken strain on our relationship.

So I called him up the other day.  I told him that I loved him and that I've been doing some inner work and wanted to let him know that I no longer think of him the way my mom thinks of him (among a few other things, while related, I don't really need to go into here). I told him how my view was colored and that we don't need to continue our relationship like  that any more.  There was some emotional poison there that's no more..

Granted, I didn't need to go to a retreat in Minnesota for this but I can say, on a personal level, that this sort of work can be useful.

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #106 on: June 08, 2012, 05:54:27 pm »
(...) The mythopoetic men's movement aims to liberate men from the constraints of the modern world which keep them from being in touch with their true masculine nature, and is best known for the rituals that take place during their gatherings. (...)

I haven't read the whole thread yet so maybe this has been answered, but I couldn't find anything about these rituals on the Wiki page either, what are they?

I think what's more important to them isn't so much as the rituals themselves but rather more so the ritual space they intend to create.  They use drumming, story telling, do poetry readings, sing songs, tell anecdotes, reveal personal wounds, make masks, dance--sort of thing--all in the company of supportive fellow men.

They were doing it in the Black Hills.

The BLACK HILLS.

Which were deeded to the Lakota in a treaty "as long as grass grows and water flows", and have since been peppered with such attractions as the Flintstones Bedrock City and a bunch of lawyers and accountants playing Indian. The decision to have his mens weekends in the Black Hills - after Wounded Knee I and II and a laundry list of other shit - all this tells me pretty much all I need to know about Bly right there.
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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #107 on: June 08, 2012, 10:21:01 pm »
(...) The mythopoetic men's movement aims to liberate men from the constraints of the modern world which keep them from being in touch with their true masculine nature, and is best known for the rituals that take place during their gatherings. (...)

I haven't read the whole thread yet so maybe this has been answered, but I couldn't find anything about these rituals on the Wiki page either, what are they?

I think what's more important to them isn't so much as the rituals themselves but rather more so the ritual space they intend to create.  They use drumming, story telling, do poetry readings, sing songs, tell anecdotes, reveal personal wounds, make masks, dance--sort of thing--all in the company of supportive fellow men.

They were doing it in the Black Hills.

The BLACK HILLS.

Which were deeded to the Lakota in a treaty "as long as grass grows and water flows", and have since been peppered with such attractions as the Flintstones Bedrock City and a bunch of lawyers and accountants playing Indian. The decision to have his mens weekends in the Black Hills - after Wounded Knee I and II and a laundry list of other shit - all this tells me pretty much all I need to know about Bly right there.

I guess it's another example of the lack of white American conscientiousness.  However, I'm more interested in the archetypal and cultural aspects of which this movement is only a small aspect.  Earlier, ITT, i was  trying to direct this thread more toward Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette's work as I think it has been noted throughout this thread that prancing around in the woods in some (now obviously extremely insensitive) pseudo-Native American fashion isn't necessarily the best manner of approach.

Incidentally, I now know the origin of your PD name...and had no clue that horrible shit like that went down as late as the 1970s....jesus christ.   :sad:

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #108 on: June 08, 2012, 11:33:46 pm »
It's a play on Tina Turner's original name: Anna Mae Bullock.
I'd never use Anna Mae Aquash that way, it didn't even occur to me. Ugh, now I've gone and done a Bly...need a name change.  :x
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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #109 on: June 08, 2012, 11:54:40 pm »
 
It's a play on Tina Turner's original name: Anna Mae Bullock.
I'd never use Anna Mae Aquash that way, it didn't even occur to me. Ugh, now I've gone and done a Bly...need a name change.  :x

oh shit! sorry about that...  :oops:

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #110 on: June 08, 2012, 11:59:34 pm »
That's ok!
I like this new one better.  :lulz:
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Re: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover
« Reply #111 on: June 10, 2012, 10:52:08 pm »
Riffing a bit off the archetypal aspect of Bly's Jungian connection, I'd like to mention the four masculine archetypes presented in Robert L. Moore's and Douglas Gillette's book: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine

From the link:
Quote
They define the four mature male archetypes - the King (the energy of just and creative ordering), the Warrior (the energy of self-disciplined, aggressive action), the Magician (the energy of initiation and transformation), and the Lover (the energy that connects men to others and the world) - as well as the four immature patterns (Divine Child, Oedipal Child, Precocious Child, and Hero).

I also found a nice illustration to describe how the immature patterns manifest in the mature male archetypes. 
Here that is:



The authors, too, think that the initiation rituals present today such as military, gangs corporate structures are inadequate for a healthy masculine Individuation.  You know, if you're into that sort of thing.  (Relatively).

What do you folks think of these archetypes and immature patterns?  Can we use these archetypes to grow in other ways aside from making a male ritual space where old dudes recite poetry and spout fairy tales?

One place I would disagree with this is calling the coward the immature form of the masochist.  Masochists are not cowards, they choose to experience pain, they put themselves in a place to have pain inflicted on them, that's sort of the opposite of cowardice.  Not that some masochists are not also cowards about other things, but I don't see any correlation between the two.
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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #112 on: June 11, 2012, 01:31:59 am »
It's not meant to be as I understand, standard kinky 'masochist'.

It's in the archetypal sense that the warrior in it's fullness does not primarily seek to cause or suffer pain.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #113 on: June 11, 2012, 07:20:52 am »
Riffing a bit off the archetypal aspect of Bly's Jungian connection, I'd like to mention the four masculine archetypes presented in Robert L. Moore's and Douglas Gillette's book: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine

From the link:
Quote
They define the four mature male archetypes - the King (the energy of just and creative ordering), the Warrior (the energy of self-disciplined, aggressive action), the Magician (the energy of initiation and transformation), and the Lover (the energy that connects men to others and the world) - as well as the four immature patterns (Divine Child, Oedipal Child, Precocious Child, and Hero).

I also found a nice illustration to describe how the immature patterns manifest in the mature male archetypes. 
Here that is:



The authors, too, think that the initiation rituals present today such as military, gangs corporate structures are inadequate for a healthy masculine Individuation.  You know, if you're into that sort of thing.  (Relatively).

What do you folks think of these archetypes and immature patterns?  Can we use these archetypes to grow in other ways aside from making a male ritual space where old dudes recite poetry and spout fairy tales?

One place I would disagree with this is calling the coward the immature form of the masochist.  Masochists are not cowards, they choose to experience pain, they put themselves in a place to have pain inflicted on them, that's sort of the opposite of cowardice.  Not that some masochists are not also cowards about other things, but I don't see any correlation between the two.

I was going to go and relisten to the part of the audiobook where Moore and Gilette describe the Masochist and give you a succinct reply but Brett and Kate McKay at artofmanliness.com do a pretty good summary:

The Masochist. The Masochist is the passive shadow in the tripartite Warrior archetype, and its attributes closely parallel those of the boyhood Hero archetype’s cowardly shadow. A man possessed by the Masochist feels he is powerless. He is a push-over who has no personal boundaries and will let others walk all over him. He may hate his job or the relationship he’s in and complain about it, but instead of quitting, cutting his losses and moving on, he digs in and tries harder to be who his boss or girlfriend wants him to be and takes even more abuse. Because while he might complain about the pain, he really likes it. This is the man who enjoys being the martyr.

I think the key here is describing it as the Warrior's passive shadow side rather than thinking of it as a 'practicing masochist."

Sadly, I can think of a LOT of people I know IRL who never seem to be "happy" unless they're bitching and complaining about something.


ETA:  Also, what Placid Dingo said, lol
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 07:24:14 am by Bu☆ns »

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #114 on: June 11, 2012, 10:49:48 am »
It's not meant to be as I understand, standard kinky 'masochist'.

It's in the archetypal sense that the warrior in it's fullness does not primarily seek to cause or suffer pain.

Agreed.

Generally the Masochist Archetype are the people that subconsciously put themselves in a position where they will fail or be disappointed. (Like arguing on PD.com  :lulz: ).
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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #115 on: June 14, 2012, 07:19:00 am »
So I think I'm going to close this thread now....

I'll close in the spirit of the mythopoetic along with a synchronistic bend.

I'll end by describing how a story or myth has helped me draw a parallel between my youth and a passage into my manhood. 

You've all seen The Avengers, right?  Perhaps you've seen the most recently grossed intellectual property of the series, Iron Man?

Well I was able to check out Iron Man 2 for the first time in the past couple weeks. I've always loved Iron Man...even as a kid.  There was something about his being a human who used technology to gain a super human status that really appealed to me.  Even today, I work in the IT field, I've developed a penchant for programming and so on.

!!!Spoiler Alert!!!

So in Iron Man 2 Tony Stark had an ill understanding of his father.  Howard Stark was always absorbed in his work, never really available to his kid, Tony.  Finally, when the contents a S.H.I.E.L.D. .. uh...footlocker (?) revealed that Howard Stark's greatest contribution to the world was his legacy in the form of his son, Tony, was his "greatest achievement" was Tony finally able to cure himself of the poisonous arc reactor in his chest that was both killing him and keeping him alive.  (It was an energy source connected to a magnet that was keeping shards of metal from going into his heart and killing him.  Turns out that the radioactivity (?) in the arc reactor itself was poisoning his body as well, thus slowly killing him).

The turning point was when Tony used his father's legacy that he was able to discover a new element that was both abundant as well as nontoxic to his body that he was able to fulfill the Great Work of the past and transcend his predicament into the full force man he was destined to become.

In the same way, it was when I was able to tell my father that it was up to us to fulfill our family legacy that our inner poison could be released. From a story point of view, it wasn't until we were able to frame our history as a 'necessary course of action' that we were able to rise above the guilt and shame that has plagued us and framed our relationship for years. 

In fact, it has thus helped make clearer my already formulated Master Plan, which includes my own children as an integral part.

When Tony Stark first inserted the new element into his chest, replacing the old technology, his words were, "IT TASTES LIKE METAL .... AND COCONUT!" The experience was powerful and orgasmic.

After I was able to reconcile this healing process, I can't even begin to tell you how much power is at my disposal.  There really is something to this process...we don't need drums or rituals...but what's required is honesty and reflection.  A man ... hell... an adult, to me, seems to be nothing more than a person with purpose and integrity. Someone who isn't afraid to take the past and redeem the frailties of one's predecessors.  A person who takes responsibility for the future of his or her legacy with love and strength. An Iron John or Jane whose exterior is of strength and fierceness and interior of love and growth.
 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 07:22:33 am by Bu☆ns »

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #116 on: June 14, 2012, 08:19:43 am »
You've certainly got the poetic element going on. I like your take on it.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #117 on: June 17, 2012, 03:47:47 pm »
Ah ah... that's a different sort of myth than I was referencing. I meant mythic stories (ala Joseph Campbell) that provide a model for people as they grow in their own experience of life. Many traditional societies had Hero stories, about some guy that is the everyman/fool/child who goes on a life changing experience, becoming the hero. In each individuals life, they take that same path, from the birth/child/fool position through taking the adventure that leads to being a grown/contributing member of society.

There are some stories that sorta cover this, Star Wars, obviously and also Avatar The Last Airbender as a more recent example... but these stories aren't a society wide tool, they're attempts by modern storytellers to recapture the old mythic concept. They still cling to the most classic model and don't really cover the modern cultural experience well enough IMO.

It's more of a trope, because it appears in a fuck-wad of stories, but an example of this sort of myth (wrong as it may be) is what I call the "Hugh Grant".

It goes like this: Handsome, well-to-do, carefree bachelor. Living a free and breezy lifestyle. Thinking he's got it all figured out. Then he meets some wholly insufferable woman. The one that doesn't fall for his boyish charm and see's right through him. Then of course he's hooked, but it fucks up his whole worldview and drives him insane, until he finally "grows-up" and realizes that the life he had was really empty, shallow and meaningless, and he needs to man up for the love of a good woman...or something to that effect.

It's a wholly fuct version of the heroic journey, but all the elements are there...and it's pretty reflective of a prominent cultural attitude.
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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #118 on: June 18, 2012, 12:34:05 pm »
Ah ah... that's a different sort of myth than I was referencing. I meant mythic stories (ala Joseph Campbell) that provide a model for people as they grow in their own experience of life. Many traditional societies had Hero stories, about some guy that is the everyman/fool/child who goes on a life changing experience, becoming the hero. In each individuals life, they take that same path, from the birth/child/fool position through taking the adventure that leads to being a grown/contributing member of society.

There are some stories that sorta cover this, Star Wars, obviously and also Avatar The Last Airbender as a more recent example... but these stories aren't a society wide tool, they're attempts by modern storytellers to recapture the old mythic concept. They still cling to the most classic model and don't really cover the modern cultural experience well enough IMO.

It's more of a trope, because it appears in a fuck-wad of stories, but an example of this sort of myth (wrong as it may be) is what I call the "Hugh Grant".

It goes like this: Handsome, well-to-do, carefree bachelor. Living a free and breezy lifestyle. Thinking he's got it all figured out. Then he meets some wholly insufferable woman. The one that doesn't fall for his boyish charm and see's right through him. Then of course he's hooked, but it fucks up his whole worldview and drives him insane, until he finally "grows-up" and realizes that the life he had was really empty, shallow and meaningless, and he needs to man up for the love of a good woman...or something to that effect.

It's a wholly fuct version of the heroic journey, but all the elements are there...and it's pretty reflective of a prominent cultural attitude.

 :lulz:

An excellent point!
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Re: Robert Bly - The Mythopoetic Men's Movement
« Reply #119 on: June 18, 2012, 12:43:08 pm »
is there a name for this trope on TV Tropes at all? If you are refererring to particular films, can you list them so I can figure out the common trope?

Although it is male-focused, it's still a pretty positive (from a feminist viewpoint) trope of maturation.
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