Robert Bly On Male Violence Essay, Research Paper

[ Note: The followers is a transcript of an interview with Bly from the PBS plan

“ No Safe Topographic point: Violence Against Women ” which aired March 27, 1998. Click here to see

PBS ‘s comrade web site for the plan ]

Q: What are the roots of male force? Is it merely a portion of work forces & # 8217 ; s nature? A

desire to keep control? The absence of the male parent function theoretical account? Is it rooted in the


The roots of male force. I & # 8217 ; ll give you three replies that about any reasonable individual

gives, and I & # 8217 ; ll give another 1 that we & # 8217 ; ve learned recently. The roots of male force

evidently travel back to possibly four hundred thousand old ages of killing animate beings. And, so one

the beginning, work forces were asked to be violent. And after that, as you know, after the

huntsman clip, so people went int agribusiness and the metropoliss began to organize. Then

there was a excess of grain and so neighbouring people come to steal their grain. And

they think there was no existent warfare in the hunter-gatherer groups. But one time the metropoliss

were formed, there was force. So we have that in our organic structures.

Another ground I would give as to the roots of male force is the sum of shame

that work forces take in. Womans take in enormous sum of shame excessively, but adult females have talked

about that for a long clip. They discuss it, even in high school, that they went out on a

day of the month and they felt ashamed of this and the work forces merely say they, they lie & # 8212 ; “ Buddy, I

scored this, and I did & # 8230 ; & # 8212 ; you understand what I & # 8217 ; m stating. So it takes a long clip

for work forces to larn to be able to speak about their shame. And sometimes what happens in the

household is that a adult female will state a unfavorable judgment to a adult male, absolutely ordinary unfavorable judgment, and it

goes into some shame topographic point in the bosom, and he can & # 8217 ; t acquire it back out. And the lone thing

so he & # 8217 ; ll make, you understand me.

So when people talk to me about force, I say we have to believe about shame. We have

to believe about the adult male being able to state at that minute, & # 8220 ; I feel ashamed here by what

you merely said. & # 8221 ; And the adult female says, & # 8220 ; Well, I didn & # 8217 ; t intend that. I was merely

seeking to indicate out that you said you were traveling be, but you weren & # 8217 ; t. & # 8221 ; So we do a batch

of work with that. To seek to, there & # 8217 ; s a great book called Shame by Gershin

Caufman that talks about that. And I & # 8217 ; m a guilty individual, so I know something about that

Violence is non in the manner that I went and my male parent didn & # 8217 ; t travel that manner, but I

think he treated his shame with intoxicant.

The 3rd thing and a 4th is this: you know the motion that we do ( no affair what

is said in telecasting ) about running naked in the forests and crushing membranophones and all that

material is truly an attempt to do work forces more expressive. This would be expressive. Many work forces

asleep themselves so they & # 8217 ; re non expressive. If you & # 8217 ; re excessively expressive in IBM, you get fired.

And, so th vitamin E ground we tell narratives and when we have groups we recite poesy, read poesy

to them for an hr before we go on to anything, that & # 8217 ; s expressiveness being able to make

that. So I want to now associate that to force, shall we?

A John Lee is here and he is the 1 whose done the most work in the state on choler.

So one of the things he & # 8217 ; s worked out is that there & # 8217 ; s three phases in this force. First

of all, there & # 8217 ; s the experiencing of choler which is felt indoors, so there & # 8217 ; s the

look of choler verbally, and so there & # 8217 ; s the effort to throw out the choler from the

organic structure. They & # 8217 ; re rather different. What happens is that we find that when we get many work forces,

younger or older, they will see the choler that they have and the when you ask

them to show it, they can & # 8217 ; t make it. They & # 8217 ; re non expressive in poesy or in choler. So

he & # 8217 ; ll set two people together and he & # 8217 ; ll say to one adult male, & # 8220 ; I want you to be this adult male & # 8217 ; s

father. & # 8221 ; Then you & # 8217 ; ll have them keep their finger so they can & # 8217 ; t hit it or anything and

say, & # 8220 ; Now I want you to state your male parent precisely how you feel about what he

did. & # 8221 ; and so the 2nd adult male encourages him more. & # 8220 ; Oh, you sound like a

wimp. & # 8221 ; And all of a sudden you have 40 work forces shouting at the top of their voice and showing

choler that they ne’er expressed in their life, and so when that & # 8217 ; s over, John says,

& # 8220 ; Now were you hurt by what he said? & # 8221 ; & # 8220 ; No. & # 8221 ; Because it was played. And

he turns to the audience, where you ache? No. You must larn how to show choler in a manner

that no 1 will be hurt by it. And you pattern making this with your friends, you do non

make this at place. The intent of a adult male & # 8217 ; s group is that they can show this choler and acquire

natural states, they and work forces. No 1 & # 8217 ; s hurt by it, and so they & # 8217 ; ll say, “ You are non to make

this at place. ”

So another manner we can state that is until they learn this expressiveness being able to

verbally do it with metaphors and so on. What happens is that we have work forces who go from the

experience of the force to the effort to throw out it & # 8212 ; wham & # 8212 ; in 20 seconds. Expeling

it means you want to hit something or person, do you hear me? It & # 8217 ; s as if the choler is in

your organic structure and you think you can acquire it out by making that. And John say ne’er expel the

choler with the same individual with whom you express it. If you express your choler to work forces in a

work forces & # 8217 ; s group and after you & # 8217 ; ve done it 15 times, as to how you & # 8217 ; re angry with your married woman

because she looks like your female parent or whatever all that is, so distill it and travel to

your married woman and state, & # 8220 ; By the manner, I want to state this to you, without the anger. & # 8221 ;

The choler should be done with the work forces, you understand what I & # 8217 ; m stating? And so if you

still have anger in your organic structure, you go out and take a stick and get down hitting the land

because the land doesn & # 8217 ; t mind having the choler. The Indians in India say all choler

comes in the vegetable universe and it doesn & # 8217 ; t head, the Earth doesn & # 8217 ; t mind to have it

once more. You know, unbelievable thought. But that & # 8217 ; s really, really helpful.

Q: Why should a adult male & # 8217 ; s choler be shared with other work forces?

It & # 8217 ; s good, because work forces have to larn to show those emotions over and over softly, a

small spot every twenty-four hours, non wait until all of a sudden the married woman throws something at them and & # 8211 ;

wham & # 8212 ; it all comes out. Womans are really different that manner and one of the things you

notice is that a adult female will wake up in the forenoon and this will go on, and so she & # 8217 ; ll

name her friends and she & # 8217 ; ll say, & # 8220 ; You know, I kicked the refuse can this forenoon. I

think possibly I must be angry about something. & # 8221 ; And they & # 8217 ; ll speak for a half-an-hour and

she & # 8217 ; ll calculate out what she & # 8217 ; s angry about. You understand? Men wear & # 8217 ; t do that. They don & # 8217 ; T

kick the refuse can. They don & # 8217 ; t even think of it until 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon when

they get place and all of a sudden & # 8212 ; bam & # 8212 ; it comes out, towards the married woman, or towards the boy,

or something like that. You understand me? Expressiveness means that you continue to make

it, you don & # 8217 ; t wait until 2:00 in the afternoon.

Q: You & # 8217 ; ve talked a batch about the looming cultural crisis, in which society is

absent of authorization and adolescene regulations. How is force tied into that?

So you & # 8217 ; re inquiring about the sum of discourtesy that & # 8217 ; s occurrence in the book I & # 8217 ; m making

called The Sibling Society. I say it & # 8217 ; s one of the worst qualities of the sibling

society that the disrespect towards adult females, towards grownups, towards parents, toward

instructors and it & # 8217 ; s increasing. There are 3rd graders now that say to their

instructors, & # 8220 ; You & # 8217 ; re nil but a instructor and I don & # 8217 ; Ts have to obey you. & # 8221 ; I met, or

I & # 8217 ; ve heard of a adult male late, his name was Ryke, it isn & # 8217 ; t one of the well-known 1s who

says that a civilization is defined by what it says no to. Not by what it says yes to. So,

what & # 8217 ; s occurrence in the sibling society is we say no to about nil. We say yes to

pre-teen gender, we say yes to watching telecasting 40 hours a twenty-four hours, we twenty-four hours yes to pot

and smoke and imbibing and disbursement your life, and we say yes to all those things. What

do we state no to? So, one of the of import things would be to larn to state no to

discourtesy. And when your kid says something disrespectful you say, & # 8220 ; Sorry, but

that & # 8217 ; s non allowed. & # 8221 ; We can & # 8217 ; t do that. It has got to get down early. I don & # 8217 ; t cognize if

that & # 8217 ; s an reply to you but & # 8230 ; It & # 8217 ; s astonishing tha we as parents, who lost some sort of

unity in the 60s, started going hazards of their kids alternatively of person who

says no.

Well, the inquiry is from whom does the kid receive its cognition of what & # 8217 ; s proper

to make? In speaking with the parents. The old tradition is that you can non alter a kid

into a grown up without a batch of conversation with grownups. In America, the typical clip a

adult male spends in conversation with the boy or girl is ten proceedingss a twenty-four hours. In Russia, the

old Russia, it was two hours a twenty-four hours. Now the saddest thing the New York Times reported

is that with adult females their clip of conversation with the kids is falling quickly. It & # 8217 ; s

nearing that of work forces now. And the adult females who stay home do non pass any more clip in

conversation with their kids than the adult females who work. That & # 8217 ; s unbelievable. They & # 8217 ; ll speak

with a girl or the boy a few proceedingss and so they & # 8217 ; d all sit down and watch

telecasting. So the inquiry so is, who teaches the kid how things get done in the

universe? Well, the reply is the telecasting. And a capitalist economy has come in between the parent

and the kid. And for capitalist economy and action films, the force is evidently the manner you

do money. And they & # 8217 ; re understanding it more and more. So, hence, this toxicant is

coming in all the clip. It & # 8217 ; s a pro-violence toxicant. And the thought of doing person like a

Schwarzneger the caput of the fittingness motion in the United States & # 8212 ; I mean Reagan did

that and it was a wholly insane thought. He stands for that sort of force and, you know,

it & # 8217 ; s acquiring worse now because the picture games withing six months are traveling to hold such

clean definition that you can barely state the difference between a populating individual, and so

far they & # 8217 ; re merely sketchs. But what if it looks like it & # 8217 ; s really a individual at that place, and

so you kill that individual in the same manner you kill small marionettes.

I think that it & # 8217 ; s a primary occupation of parents now to recognize what Neal Postman says that

telecasting is doing childhood disappear. It & # 8217 ; s giving kids excessively much cognition excessively

rapidly of all the corrupt sides of big stuff. No 1 wants to go an grownup, and

it & # 8217 ; s binding all that behaviour into force. So in my book, I & # 8217 ; m traveling to state something

like, if parents allow their kids to watch telecasting of that kind before they can

read, they go to gaol. I feel that it & # 8217 ; s a existent crisis. And that to let that, if a individual

came into your house and started killing your cats and your Canis familiariss and throwing things

against the manner, you tell them to acquire out. But we allow the telecasting to stay. It & # 8217 ; s as

if we & # 8217 ; re in a enchantment. We don & # 8217 ; t understand. It & # 8217 ; s an encroacher in the livingroom.

Q: How should we cover with male batterers?

There & # 8217 ; s a friend, a black adult male from New Jersey, who has been working with the largest

plan for male batterers in the United States in Rhode Island. It & # 8217 ; s been traveling on 10s or

twenty old ages. But he was deeply disturbed by what he found at that place. He was the lone male

on the staff, all of the patients were males who had been sent there by the tribunals, and

the manner they wer treated was by dishonoring them, to do the work forces feel ashamed that they

were batterers. And that makes sense on the surface and yet the ground they are batterers

is because they are already ashamed in the manner we were speaking about. And what & # 8217 ; s more,

this sort of dishonoring people out of things does non hold any resonance psychologically. The

Russians tried to make that with alcohol addiction. They would acquire the people in and dishonor them and

state you & # 8217 ; re a awful individual, you & # 8217 ; re an alcoholic, you should ne’er be so bad. They go

back out and imbibe instantly. So, what is necessary I think is for many more work forces to be

allowed to speak to the work forces or to discourse with them. One twenty-four hours the picture broke down, and so

it didn & # 8217 ; t work, and so he asked a certain adult male why why are you here? And the adult male said his

married woman four old ages ago was traveling out to acquire some coffin nails

and she was killed by random

gunshot: “ So my miss friend last hebdomad started out of the house, and I took her arm

like this, and I was put in prison for that act of force & # 8230 ; ” But no 1 had asked

him why he took her arm. He was terrified that the same thing would go on to her. No 1

had asked him this inquiry because they thought they could work out this merely by dishonoring


We know now you can & # 8217 ; t acquire kids to act by dishonoring them. You have to inquire them,

“ Why did you really steal that money? Did you want, were you truly stealing love?

Is that what you were making? ” So what I & # 8217 ; m stating is that the adult females who are covering

with batterers, my suggestion is first of all that they listen much more to the narrative and

Don & # 8217 ; Ts make up their head instantly that the individual was ever a batterer by nature. And

secondly, we need work forces in there to make a batch more.

Q: Is prison a solution?

Well, I & # 8217 ; ll merely reference this to you and I know it isn & # 8217 ; t an reply, but it came through

my married woman & # 8217 ; s work. She worked for a long clip with beat-up and abused kids in Northern

Minnesota and with sexually abused kids. One of the things that happened there is that

when they would bear down a adult male with sexual maltreatment of a kid, what would normally go on is

that the sheriff would travel to see him and state things like, you know, “ You got Tas

unbend up, John. ” They found out that the lone manner to hold any lasting affect

in the kid maltreatment was to direct the adult male to prison would do him recognize what he is and

they & # 8217 ; vitamin Ds have assorted names for him. And so hence, the societal workers in Northern

Minnesota a few old ages ago were traveling about to the territory lawyers and stating,

“ Please set these work forces in gaol, even for six months. ” Because when a adult male tells a

adult male something, they frequently hear it, I say anything to you, and there is that decency

quality in work forces. We mustn & # 8217 ; t say it & # 8217 ; s gone and even those work forces in prison when they see a

adult male semen who has abused kids. They will do it clear to him that adult male & # 8217 ; s a Canis familiaris as far

as they & # 8217 ; rhenium concerned. It & # 8217 ; s non rather an reply to your inquiry, but prison is a absolutely

good solution for a batch of those work forces and for the remainder I think we should put up plans

where work forces have a batch to make with it.

Q: Some people feel your book Iron John encourages antipathy and choler

toward adult females, that Iron John is the original of counter maleness. What & # 8217 ; s your


Well, that depends on if they & # 8217 ; ve acquire the thought from the media or if they read the

book. Those who have read the book, I mean my girl was at Yale at the clip Iron

John came up and she had a batch of problem at that place. Peoples would come up and state,

& # 8220 ; Your male parent is sexist, ” and Mary would state, “ Well, have you read the

book? ” “ No. ” And so the other twenty-four hours she said, “ It & # 8217 ; s changed a batch now

because a batch of the adult females have read your book now and they know that International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; t so. ” But

what happens besides is that there & # 8217 ; s a narrative here and we & # 8217 ; re non really good in taking in

fabulous narratives, and so some people don & # 8217 ; t hear that they hear merely the word, like

Iron John, means a adult male who has been under the H2O so long he has gotten rusty. But

people would pick up the word Fe and I was accused of desiring work forces to pump Fe. There

was a book called a lampoon of the book called Pumping Iron. In which we & # 8217 ; re non and I & # 8217 ; m non

an counter to work forces, to adult females, or to work forces. I taught adult females for 10 old ages before I began

learning work forces, and the media doesn & # 8217 ; t even pay any attending to that, because they & # 8217 ; vitamin Ds like to

put you in the class. The most unsafe thing is to conceive of that if a adult male likes and

admires work forces that he thereby dislikes adult females. And that is simple. Dualist thought. And

we have to state no. That & # 8217 ; s non where I am. That & # 8217 ; s non where Iron John is at all.

Q: Margaret Mead has talked about the function of male parents. How can beget play a

more of import function in patterning a more nurturing maleness?

You mentioned Margaret Mead. I admire her enormously. One of the things that she said

in her book is that a paternity someplace in the yesteryear of the human race, they got the

thought that work forces could be fostering male parents. It doesn & # 8217 ; t go on among the Primatess frequently. With

Pan troglodytess they don & # 8217 ; t do that. So, paternity for work forces is a erudite behaviour. And we need

to recognize that erudite behaviour is go throughing now. We have to state that & # 8217 ; s a cherished behaviour

and we need to maintain that. I said, & # 8220 ; It & # 8217 ; s easier to socialise a immature adult male into being a

warrior than to be a father. & # 8221 ; You can make that in the marine corp. And work forces are geared

for that in some manner, but to socialise them into being male parents is a different affair. We

should be honouring male parents alternatively of assailing them. I think all of the older work forces have to

be one of the grounds we like immature work forces to come. This weekend if we say if you want to

convey your boy, he comes free. Because it & # 8217 ; s of import for the boy to hear the male parents say

how of import fathering has been to them. How of import it is in their life. How it & # 8217 ; s

twice every bit of import as anything they thought they were making in concern. Young work forces need to

learn that. So I say it & # 8217 ; s as difficult to socialise a immature adult male into being a decent and

responsible male parent as to socialise them into being a decent and responsible creative person. In the

sibling society you & # 8217 ; rheniums supposed to hold no preparation and go an creative person in 15

proceedingss, be a male parent in 15 proceedingss. No, so we have to make up one’s mind, do we desire to let the

military to maintain make up one’s minding what maleness is. Or would we wish to take some portion in it

ourselves? And I understand the sum of choler that adult females feel over the patriarchates

demeaning of adult females, my married woman and my female parent feel enormous choler about that. And yet all

work forces are lumped together and we say all work forces are rapers or all work forces are patriarchal, that & # 8217 ; s

non socialising work forces to be responsible male parents. It & # 8217 ; s dishonoring them once more.

Q: Why are adult females and the feminine so feared by work forces?

Well, I & # 8217 ; ve already mentioned, I & # 8217 ; ll merely reference it once more. They are afraid of being

shamed. Why are work forces afraid of adult females? The reply that & # 8217 ; s being given now is a really unusual

one. That all foetuss in the uterus are originally female, we know that. And when the babe & # 8217 ; s

marked to be a male child at about the age of six hebdomads, alterations begin to happen, two hundred

50 of them. This finally changes the organic structure from a female into male, changes the

encephalon, changes all these things. So, when the male child comes out he & # 8217 ; s truly non certain that he & # 8217 ; s

a adult male. Work force are an experimental species. And the male child & # 8217 ; s afraid he & # 8217 ; s traveling to skid back.

This takes topographic point below the degree of consciousness. But you can still experience it in

seventeen-year-old male childs. That & # 8217 ; s why they go to military school. Because there will be no

one around there that will be feminine male. And they see a feminine male, they feel

terrified that somehow they will steal back once more. That & # 8217 ; s the panic.

Male panic of homosexualism. They & # 8217 ; re afraid they are traveling to steal back once more into the

topographic point in which they came. Now that was the intent of induction in the old yearss. That

when the male child comes out of the uterus his organic structure is masculine but he isn & # 8217 ; t finished. The

journey International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; t finished at all, and the older work forces so would come in at the age of 8 or 10

or 12 and state, we & # 8217 ; ll complete this journey. We are traveling to seek to learn you what adult

maleness truly is like. And in topographic points what they would make is take the male child off from the

female parent, conveying him out in the forests and so the old work forces would dance for a dark and a

day-and-a-half, state unbelievable narratives and the male child & # 8217 ; s eyes acquire large & # 8212 ; is this what being

male is. And that is really beautiful. And so they & # 8217 ; d tell him narratives and all of that.

Womans should non oppose the induction processes of the male child, because the effort is non

to brutalise the male child, but to take him frontward into a sort of responsible and soft

maleness that he & # 8217 ; ll ne’er pick up out of telecasting. So there are many initiatory

patterns that are barbarous and barbarous, but that doesn & # 8217 ; t intend that you throw off the

possibility of induction.

The thing that I have said that & # 8217 ; s had the most consequence is that both work forces and adult females need

wise mans. They need older adult females and older work forces as wise mans. And the other twenty-four hours I was at a

funeral in a New Hampshire and a adult female came up to me and said she wanted to thank me

because she had three boies and her male parent and hubby died and she read my book and

understood about the male wise man. And she said she wanted to demo me a image of her

youngest boy. She wanted me to cognize he & # 8217 ; s got a wise man now in school, a manager, and the

manager is really sweet to him and to see how the male child looks when he has a wise man. You

understand what I & # 8217 ; m stating? And adult females have to understand that about their boies. And you

hold to be careful in picking a wise man. There are a batch of wicked old work forces out at that place. Can & # 8217 ; T

be sentimental about that. You have to look into them out. But there are certain things that

merely a male wise man can make that the female parent, no affair how great she is, won & # 8217 ; t be able to

make. And I think it & # 8217 ; s true of adult females excessively. That no affair if the male parent is raising the

girl entirely, no affair how good he is, they would still necessitate an older adult females as a wise man

for her. In Minneapolis there is a fantastic old adult female, MaryDella Sir, who & # 8217 ; s an old

communist. She & # 8217 ; s about 88 old ages old now and they have adult females & # 8217 ; s meetings in Minneapolis so the

immature adult females can come and merely expression at her.

Q: You & # 8217 ; ve said that maleness is denied in our civilization. Some women’s rightists have

responded to your work stating that a work forces & # 8217 ; s motion encourages stiff gender functions and

creates a kind of masculinist patriotism that farther consolidates male power. What & # 8217 ; s

your response?

The intent of holding work forces & # 8217 ; s groups to which you invite younger work forces is that the younger

work forces need instructors as to how to travel into a soft and responsible maleness. And the

female parents try to learn them, but the male parents and the older work forces need to besides. They & # 8217 ; re ne’er

traveling to larn soft responsible maleness from the mass media or the telecasting. So we

hold to state that.

Q: If the mass media and popular civilization condone or promote force, how can

we curb force when good parenting International Relations and Security Network & # 8217 ; t present to antagonize those permeant forces?

You & # 8217 ; ve talked a batch about the importance of mentoring. Isn & # 8217 ; t that a solution?

As for diminishing force. If you have an parentless kid, something will go on.

When you & # 8217 ; re looking at packs of immature work forces, you & # 8217 ; re looking at immature work forces who have no older

adult male in their life at all. And when a immature adult male feels parentless, he will seek to fire your

metropolis down for you. When a immature adult female feels unparented, she may go down or have a

teenage babe, but a male child will go violent. And we have to recognize that the greatest

danger to the civilization is coming from these immature unparented males all over the universe. And

if we want to make something about that, alternatively of pouring money in from Washington, one

thing you would make is you would travel to South Los Angeles and you would inquire in the black

communities who is a responsible older male here. And they would cognize. They merely know that

at the block degree. Then you & # 8217 ; d travel to that older adult male and you & # 8217 ; vitamin Ds say to him, & # 8220 ; Listen,

I & # 8217 ; m gon na give you 18 thousand dollars and I want you to maintain two immature work forces out of

prison in that time.. It costs 35 thousand to maintain a immature adult male in prison. It

costs more to maintain a immature adult male in prison than to direct him to college. & # 8221 ; And the older

adult male so has something to make and the younger adult male has person to speak to and be with. And

it & # 8217 ; s amazing the alterations that come in immature work forces when that happens. We do a batch of work

in this group now with packs. Sometimes we have fifty-percent black work forces and sometimes

35 per centum of those are gang members. There was one in Los Angeles in which two

immature work forces came in who & # 8217 ; d already killed over eight work forces and were at that place. And it & # 8217 ; s amazing

how they will alter when they realize there & # 8217 ; s older work forces who are interested in them.

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