Through a Jungian Lens

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Mondays, Men and the Masculine – Part 1

with 4 comments

David Tacey's book.

David Tacey’s book.

One of the very good things that came my way during midlife crisis was an opportunity to talk with David Tacey, author of Remaking Men: Jung, Spirituality and Social Change. I was able to participate with a number of other Jungian oriented therapists in a discussion about David’s new book at that time. It has been a little more than fifteen years since that event, and I have met at talked with so many Jungians and I have  read so many of their books as well as other books; yet not much has changed. The world is still going to ‘hell in a hand-basket.’ And, I ask myself, “What have you done as your part for this needed change?” Truthfully, not much if anything. I was too focused on my own change. However, it is time that all changed.

There is a reason for my spending time with the topic of the masculine here on Through a Jungian Lens, the first of which is simply that I am a man and as such feel first hand the struggles that men and women are experiencing with masculine energy in our modern, patriarchal world. We’ve made a mess of it and we need to do something about it for our children and grandchildren regardless of their gender. Patriarchy has wounded so many men as well as women and is, in my opinion, the prime psychological cause of our planet’s environmental stress.

Patriarchy is about the dominance of a wounded and immature masculine, boy psychology as termed by Moore and Gillette in their book, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. In order to rescue our planet and to give our children and the gift of mature parents and leaders. we need to confront the issue of the masculine in our modern world context.

The Iron John tradition is virtually All-Phallus, while the contrary antimasculine discourse is No-Phallus. Why can’t we have the phallus without appalling idealisations or guilt-ridden demonisations? We must unpack and disassemble patriarchy, while at the same tie developing new meanings and metaphors for masculinity which must never be constructed as the ‘enemy’ of men or women.” (Tacey, Remaking Men, pp 6-7)

Yes, the need to do something different in order to get different results is critical. But what is it that must change? We can’t just burn it all down and rebuild from square one. We will only end up at the same place again because we failed to become conscious of the underlying roots of the problem. The old ways don’t disappear, they reappear in new faces, in new assemblies and communities. We have learned this lesson through history and through our stories told in our myths. We must know ourselves, our weaknesses as well as our strengths and refashion the journey forward, a new version of the Hero’s Journey.

The postmodern or post-matriarchal hero does not have to throw in the quest and go back to the mother, but every would-be contemporary hero must take a genuine commitment to the feminine soul, as the ultimate cure for male narcissism and infantilism.” (p. 7)

Join me as I go in search of solutions in the minefields of the masculine in the modern world. Challenge me, lead me. This is not a singular need, this is a collective need.


4 Responses

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  1. this looks like a ‘TGR” < thumping good read.
    I hope to find it this year.


    January 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    • I am sure you will enjoy it – my book is well marked with highlighter pen and tagged various coloured sticky notes. 🙂


      January 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm

  2. Dear Robert,

    Thank you for this interesting Post.

    Although not being a scholar in the Bible, perhaps reading the New Testament through the eyes of Jung, with special attention on the issues of the masculine,(these days materialized in the Ego) and the Anima and to achieve Balance – may for some people shed some light in the collective and personal darkness.

    Opa Bear

    January 8, 2013 at 4:51 am

    • I agree with you that investigating the New Testament with regards to the masculine would bear some very interesting fruit, perhaps vitally important fruit if we are to ever fully understand the modern western world psyche 🙂


      January 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

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