A few years ago I read Sibling Society, a book by Robert Bly, poet and story teller from America. The main theme of the book was how to reclaim the forgotten art of adulthood, if we can call it an art or a necessesary life cycle. He refers to the people caught up in a sibling society as people that ” face difficulties caused by an inability to reach full maturity” So in theory people that want to stay young hip and contemporary, all the time.
He makes the point that in all societies the elders in the communities used to be treated with reverence. Their knowledge and experience held in high esteem and in high regard.
In the 60’s things started changing with music becoming more available, and the driving force of that music being driven by the youth. The financial rewards that it created for the “outsiders” the rule breakers made them icons made them worthwhile to emulate in being successfull and famous. Those two words Famous and success are new definitions of values to be achieved. The youth and the outliers and the rebels found a voice. That voice was music. Technology gave them a voice, their voice driven by the financial rewards became some of the biggest industries yet to be seen by any generation. Technology made it possible for the new voices, the desolate the lonely the trampled to have a voice. The lonely, the ones with issues, issues with adults with responsibility. Exposure was given to the problem children, the ones with issues with mummy , with daddy.
The holders of legacies and structure was out voted with the sheer success and prevelance of the new. Music and entertainment became the drivers of our news, our culture and in the end our identities. The personal vandettas against parents was fought and won in the dance halls and disco’s later on to the Rock generation.
Inherently the entertainment industry is dependent on people that does not like to and wont use the faculty of self control and delayed gratification. From a monetary perspective you cant have people not consuming your unending stream of new and even more absurd but entertaining newbies. They become the new trend setters and the new “IN” thing, that what children and teenagers aspire to. The need to be different becomes bigger than the drive to conform, to succeed within the confines of society.
With our focus so clearly set in instant and self gratification the ones that can do and do use delayed gratification has been moved to the outside the impediments to change to the new has been sidelined.
The new executives are 20 and 30 somethings, having no knowledge of history and precedent. It has served us well in the sense that we have moved “forward ” at enormous speeds. We have more change and more wealth than ever in the history of human existence.
What has been left behind and we are starting to see in our societies is that the system is collapsing and dissolving under the pressure of lack of care. It is the adults that are not present that are not guiding the growth, taking the responsibility. We have sidelined adulthood and adult behaviour to a later stage, postponed it, to when we are old and decrepid. Unfortunately life does not work like that, it needs structure , balance and containment. There are no free lunches, you have to pay for the excesses of the now.
The free for all that the Siblings have created is killing the planet, the ecosystems and the soul of our societies.
I have made a list of the difference in behaviours between those caught in what Robert Bly calls the Sibling society and also a list of what it means to live in a adult society.
Herewith my list, not exhaustive or anything just a list as I see it of people and charactaristics of people that have a wish and need to never grow up.
- Need for freedom
- need for equality
- No accountability
- no responsibility
- Feelings over thinking
- Identity politics
- No boundaries
- Belief in a political or other eutopia
- Lack of respect of people
- Feelings of injustice.
- anything/everything goes.
- the overemphasis of the feminine in society
Those that are not all caught up in the Sibling society tend to have a differnt set of charactaristics.
- A focus of also the importance of the male in society.
One can walk into any new age kind of orgnization and elements of the first one will be present. It seems like in the more structured careers like finance,construction and manufacturing these elements are less prevelentI think lagely there are more males present as well as a building will collapse with theory if not built according strict rules and structures.
They have no memory of war, the ugliness of killing people for a dogma. They are all for love and freedom, the shadow side of the human has been hidden from them. They cant deal with the shadow of adulthood. They live with their parents, cant find a job or a “career” that pays enough. Adulthood comes when the shadow of the human existance has been seen confronted and internalized and accepted as part of every one of us.
Our society is teethering on the brink of choas. Its the abdication of responsibility and of the Sibling Society and their free for all and anything goes mindset.
In South Africa we have a variety of movements or mobs that espouce sibling behaviour and demands. Our society is one where we broke down an injust and suppressing system but we are allowing the teenagers to design where our new society should go.
I am concerned. It is like giving the keys to your house to your child on university and asking them not to thrash the house while you are out on hilday. We are being held ransom by siblings running amok with our institutions and society, they are by a sheer volume of numbers the majority, they have the power to change things. They have the technology and media and lack of willingness for confrontation of the adults on their side.
We are a society in decline given over to teenagers and Siblings that are fighting how to divvie up the spoils of absent parents.