Iron John, a book about men (1990)
The highly celebrated American poet Robert Bly passed away in 2021 at the age of 94. Bly is well known for his 1990 book Iron John, concerning the importance of mentoring boys across the threshold to manhood. In support of this ancient, initiatory wisdom, Bly references Jung, Hillman, Joseph Campbell and others. In recent times we have witnessed an epidemic of young men committing atrocious acts of violence across our nation. Tonight, we will re-visit Iron John thirty-two years after its first publication.
Racism is a brutal fact of life spanning many centuries. Race, however, is a deeply rooted ideological fiction and falsehood that perpetuates racism. Such is the soul of inequality in American life, as vividly shown in this book by scholars Barbara J. and Karen E. Fields. “You never see it, yet you can always see it. Real-world evidence is ever at hand… The focus of racecraft is not the outward, visible color of a person’s skin (hair type, bone structure, etc.) but the presumed inward invisible content of that person’s character.” With a psychological lens, we will take up the authors’ theme of “the obviousness of the invisible… an invisible ontology.”