“The Sibling Society” by Robert Bly

I think I read this book shortly after it’s publication in 1997. Not just before I started blogging about books, but possibly before I kept even a hand written reading journal! So I doubt that I wrote about it anywhere.

Why think about it now? Because, as we try to figure out how America became so divided and dysfunctional, we sometimes shake our heads and say, “Where are the grownups?” Where is someone to say “That’s enough, now. Settle down and behave yourself.”

The edition of The Sibling Society currently offered on Amazon has a subtitle: An Impassioned Call for the Rediscovery of Adulthood. 

Bly accused my generation (the baby boomers) of refusing to grow up and accept adult responsibilities, as well as lack of respect for tradition, religion and precedent. Bly uses myths from various cultures to illustrate his concerns.

The problem with this book is that Bly made such broad assumptions about American society that he merely became part of the endless complaining of the old about the young. Sometimes I think the real issue is change. Bly doesn’t like it. I don’t like it. We’re told that younger adults THRIVE on it. I wonder…

I think Bly should have stuck to poetry. His excursions into mythology remind me of Joseph Campbell, but Campbell did it better. 


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