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“The primary experience of being a man is being inadequate.” Robert Bly And then working so hard at a job, relationship, and success to overcome that feeling.
We are a culture where grown men spend their spare time playing video games. We are afraid to fail, and we are glad to have that next life, so we can score more points, improve our game, get to the next level, beat the guy next to us, and thereby feel that we have accomplished something. Then perhaps,,, we will feel good,,, maybe even good about our self.
Do we respect our self as men? Do we respect and honor our self? Do we respect and honor other men? No. Not when we are young. We are not taught to. And when we do, we honor only the part of a man that we are trained to. We don’t honor all our emotions, all our experiences, our weaknesses, our creativity, or our challenges. We’ve learned to respect “being tough”, “strong”, “successful”, an education in the form of degrees. And in respecting and revering these limited attributes, we fear failing to become them.
The result is that our goals and ideals become our demons.
In the last 150 years the way children, particularly boys, have been raised has changed. There is a lost connection between father and son. And then those sons have become fathers of sons they don’t have connection with.
There is a way back to recovering those lost connections. I can’t cover it all here, but we can begin the journey. Robert Bly is an elder for men on their journey. Perhaps take a peek at this world of men as he describes it in this video interview with Bill Moyers.
Excellent video of poet Robert Bly being interviewed by Bill Moyers in 1990. They discuss what it means to be a man in today’s society – the pains of being a man and the things that can be done to heal them.
I particularly like his comments around minute 36. “When you were young you needed to receive something,,, and you didn’t receive it. And the proper attitude for that is mourning.” Rather insightful.