Barry Spector's Blog – February 2014 Archive (4)

Barry’s Blog # 82: Male Initiation and the Mother in Greek Myth (Part Four)

Part Four

With Oedipus as our primary example, let’s consider how Greek myth imagined three other young male heroes in more detail: Orestes, Pentheus, and Telemachus. All three boys were the only sons of heroic kings, yet none of them knew their fathers. Pentheus’ father Echion was absent or dead. Agamemnon, Orestes’s father, was gone ten years at Troy and murdered immediately upon his return. And Odysseus, father of Telemachus, wandered for ten more years before returning. But…


Added by Barry Spector on February 26, 2014 at 4:53pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 81: Male Initiation and the Mother in Greek Myth (Part Three)

Part Three

Perhaps we need to look backwards toward old forms and old stories to re-imagine approaches to this dilemma. Greek myth is a tangled amalgam of stories, some of which date from the pre-patriarchal eras when, it is imagined, the genders lived in harmony. Over time, myths that justified the rule of men replaced most of the older tales. But we can still find the archetypal theme of initiation in many of them, because all stable societies have had to address…


Added by Barry Spector on February 23, 2014 at 4:22pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 80: Male Initiation and the Mother, Part Two

Part Two

Barbara Ehrenreich argued in 1983 that the “breadwinner ethic” had more or less collapsed in America. Men who avoided marriage were “deviant” in the fifties; now they are considered quite normal. By 1990 one third of all children (sixty percent of blacks) lived apart from their fathers, and fifty percent of children of divorced families saw their fathers once or twice per year, or not at all. Fifty percent of all children spend part of their childhood with one parent.…


Added by Barry Spector on February 20, 2014 at 9:46am — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 79: Male Initiation and the Mother in Greek Myth (Part One)

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free! – Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Part One

The problems of our modern condition threaten to overwhelm us: meaningless work; broken communities; environmental degradation; rampant consumerism; religious literalism; the collapse of democracy and constant warfare, both abroad and in our streets. Despite being overloaded by media images and distractions, we have a diminished…


Added by Barry Spector on February 17, 2014 at 7:53pm — No Comments

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