Quoting Robert Bly's book, A
GATHERING OF MEN:
"Eventually a man needs to throw
off all indoctrination and begin to discover for himself what the father
is and what masculinity is. For that task, ancient stories are a good help,
because they are free of modern psychological prejudices...and because
they give both the light and dark sides of manhood, the admirable and the
dangerous...In the Greek myths, Apollo
is visualized as a golden man standing on an enormous accumulation of the
dark, ...dangerous energy called Dionysus."
There is a general assumption
now that every man in a position of power is or soon will be corrupt and
oppressive. Yet the Greeks understood and praised a positive male energy
that has accepted authority. They called it Zeus energy, which encompasses
intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will, and
generous leadership. Zeus
energy is authority accepted for the sake of the community. "
"...All the great cultures except
ours preserve and have lived with images of this positive male energy....
He has been lifted up to what is great in him.... At twelve or fourteen,
when fueled by sexual instinct, we rose or fell deeply in love, and knew
that was good, very good. Later…we felt mental abilities and physical abilities
in us that we had never even imagined. "
"Each of us had already guessed
that we were sons of kings and queens, and somehow had landed mistakenly
in our prosaic and dumb family. Our grandiosity then was already in us,
even if (not) visible. We know the feeling of grandeur, and we want to
have it all the time."
"In order to keep the grandeur
feeling a child may refuse to remember ugly facts of childhood, may look
away from disorganization, abuse, abandonment, lack of protection, and
skip over our parents' indifference, addictions, or dark side. Animals
apparently don't have to worry so much about inflation, but we are human
beings and a little bit of gold--or genius feelings--can send us into high
altitudes, from which we don't want to descend. "
thinkers have done well in noticing and describing this phenomenon, and
the phrase puer aeternus (holy or eternal boy), and puella aeterna (holy
or eternal girl) are phrases familiar to many…. "
"In many cases these flying people,
giddily spiritual, do not inhabit their own bodies well, and are open to
terrible shocks of abandonment; they are unable to accept limitations,
and are averse to a certain boring quality native to human life.... The
Little Prince, ...and Peter Pan belong among the fliers, as do most
ashram habitués, devotees of "higher consciousness," determined
to avoid earthly food, platonic lovers and celibates, and some Don Juan’s,
to leave each one in whom they fail to find the missing pearl."
"Grandiose ascenders...come out
of all sorts of families, and sometimes the ascension is taken on as an
intelligent survival method..."to be above it all," not to be involved."
What does the son do?
He turns away, louses courage,
goes outdoors to feed with wild
lives among dens and huts, eats
distance and silence;
he grows long wings, enters the
spiral, and ascends.
The classic book on this
topic titled "PUER AETURNUS," (the eternal boy) was written years ago by
Marie Louise von France. She wrote that usually "the young puer aeternus
men are by no means negative; they love spirit and embody much of the spiritual
energy of the nation.... So the grandiose ascender is a complicated person."
von Franz concluded from her experience with these heavenly fliers...that
they choose ascent as a revolt against maternal earthiness and female conservatism.
They fly upward, she believes, out of fear of the magnets she says some
women hide in the ground in the hope of luring light-headed men down to
the ground of marriages, jobs, and long-range commitment.... the young
ascenders often find themselves achieving spirit, but often at the expense
of life or their own grounding in masculine life...Some say that the man's
task in the first half of his life is to become bonded to matter: to learn
"The passive man: During the last
thirty years men have been asked to learn how to go with the flow, how
to follow rather than lead, how to live in a non-hierarchical way, how
to adopt consensus decision-making, how to be vulnerable."
"Some women want a passive man
if they want a man at all; the church wants a tamed man--they are called
priests; the university wants a domesticated man--they are called tenure
track people; the corporation wants a team player, and so on.... Passivity
increases exponentially as the education system turns out "products."
"The infant boy struggles against
his father's hands, fighting the narcissistic father's desire to bind or
murder him; and he struggles against the swaddling bands, fighting the
narcissistic mother's desire to change him into what she wants. When the
boy fails to get free...he learns to sulk... he becomes passive to his
"When no old men appear to break
the hold of the sulking infant, the habit of passivity spreads to other
parts of his life.... (He) may ask the woman to do his loving for him...
not say what he wants and (she) has to guess... may go into robot production
at work....The passive man may ask his children to do his loving for him.....
Children are active in loving to the point of sacrificing themselves. The
passive man may skip over parenting...leaving his wife to do that."
"The naive man feels a pride in
being attacked... He feels that he is doing the brave and advanced thing;
he will surely be able to recover somewhere in isolation.... The naive
man will also be proud that he can pick up the pain of others...something
of a doctor...he is often more in touch with women's pain than with his
own.... I think each gender drops it's own pain when it tries to carry
the pain of the other gender... I don't mean that men shouldn't listen.
But hearing a woman's pain and carrying it are two different things. Women
have tried for centuries to carry men's pain, and it hasn't worked well"
"The word special is important
to the naive man, and he has special relationships with certain people.
We all have special relationships, but he surrounds himself with a cloying
kind of goodwill. The relationship is so special that he never examines
the dark side of the person... He accepts responses that are way off, conspires
somehow with their dark side. "Some people are special," he says..... He
may also have a special relationship with a wounded little boy inside himself.
If so, he won't challenge the little boy, nor will he point out his self-pity,
no actually listen to the boy either. He will simply let the boy run his
"Sincerity is a big thing with
him. He assumes that the person, stranger, or lover he talks with is straightforward,
good willed, and speaking from the heart. He agrees with Rousseau and Whitman
that each person is basically noble by nature, and only twisted a little
by institutions. He puts a lot of stock in his own sincerity. He believes
in it as if it were a horse or a city wall. He assumes that it will, and
should, protect him from consequences that fall to less open people...."
"He acts out strange plays of
For example when him, an angry woman is criticizing him, he may say, quit
sensibly, "You're right. I had no right to do that." If her anger turns
to rage, he bends his head and says, "I've always been this way." In a
third act, he may implicate his father."
"He was never there; he never
gave me any support." Her rage continues and he bends over still farther.
He is losing ground rapidly, and in the forth act he may say: "All men
are shits." He is now many more times isolated than he was a few minutes
ago. He feels rejected by the woman and he is now isolated from other men
as well." -Bly