Becoming “Adult,” Rites of Passage: Resistance Is Futile … One Doesn’t Have One’s Own Mind … One Takes Up the “Mind” of the “Collective” — The Fourth Fall From Grace
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Whence Kitty-Drowners and Butterfly-Mashers: How We Lose Our Selves at Adolescence and Why Conformers and Conservatives in Every Society Hate and Suppress the Rebellious
Resistance Is Futile — The Fourth Fall From Grace
Wilber (1977) relates the fourth duality to the rise of the philosophic bands: “[I]n many cases the philosophic bands are instrumental in the generation of the quaternary dualism-repression-projection, and in all cases they are instrumental in its maintenance” (p. 150). Concerning these bands, he quotes Erich Fromm (1970):
[I]n addition to the social taboos there are individual elaborations of these taboos which differ from family to family; a child, afraid of being “abandoned” by his parents because he is aware of experiences which to them individually are taboo, will, in addition to the socially normal repression [of the Biosocial Band], also repress those feelings which are prevented from coming to awareness by the individual aspect of the filter. (Wilber, 1977, p. 150)
Rites of Passage, Becoming “Adult”
The end-result of this fear of parental abandonment that pushes the philosophic bands is what Freud calls the resolution of the oedipal conflict. This splitting and consequent repression/projection corresponds to the rites of passage of puberty and adolescence.
How We Lose Our Souls
At this point, the child no longer identifies with God (pre-conception), with mother (pre-birth), with body (pre- primal scene), or even with his or her best idea (one’s philosophic ideal); but identifies instead with the same-sex parent, the representative of the social order. Thus he or she becomes totally Other: totally separated from his or her own mind (pre- puberty rite); from his or her body (pre- primal scene); from his or her destiny, karma, dharma, duty, and purposiveness (pre-birth); and from God (pre-conception).
Every Parent’s “Atman Project”
This pattern—this doomed and illusory “atman project” wherein the parent seeks to immortalize him- or herself and to redeem his or her life—is of course obvious in the situation of the son “following in his father’s footsteps” in taking over the family business and in the daughter’s emulation of her mother, traditionally, in the role of wife and mother. But there are many subtler versions of this “identification,” and it happens even in situations where it seems it most definitely does not.
For example, Keniston’s (1968) study of young radicals of the sixties—the epitome of rebellious youth, you say—were found to be very much in agreement with their parents’ values. In fact, their rebellion was essentially in seeking to put into practice and actually live out what they saw as unlived values and philosophies (hence the charge of “hypocrite”) in compromised and compromising parents. Note again the theme of living out the unlived dreams of the previous generation—here, even in spite of the conscious stance of those youth.
Little of Self in the Decision of Who to Be
Cross-culturally and traditionally, however, we see this pattern in perhaps its most rudimentary and clearest form. In a great many cultures, the rites of passage into adulthood embrace the function of bestowing upon and initiating the recipient into the social roles and functions as decided by the tribe and family. For most, then, there is little of self in the decision of who to be; it is decided outside of oneself. Corresponding with this, in relation to the marital role, in many cultures the choice of spouse is also decided by others.
One Continues “Their” Dream … One’s Divine Uniqueness Fades
One doesn’t have one’s own mind. One takes up the “mind” of the parents, and of society. One continues their dream, society’s dream. One’s divine uniqueness fades into insignificance in the pattern of the social consensual reality.
Self Is Split Again … Becoming “Borg” … Serving the Collective
At any rate, the upshot of all this is that at the quaternary dualism, the self is split again. It is required to give up even “its own mind,” its own concept of itself. Originally one’s divinity was given up; then one’s deepest transpersonal directives and organismic unitary awareness; then one’s biological rhythms, one’s sense of flowingness and inner-directed purposiveness; then one’s feelings about self and other; and finally one is required even to give up the best possible ideas one can have about oneself and one’s relationship to and actions in the world. One represses one’s own decisions, initiatives, evaluations, and self-images in conformance to other-directed wants and needs, the result of others’ unfulfilled ambitions—which are presented to one by one’s parents but represent by extension the other-directed wants and needs of the collective, of the prevailing fear-pushed and desire-pulled economic constraints . . . of the socially-constructed reality in general.
A “Darkness” Develops
Raheem (1991) describes the result:
When the soul becomes so covered over by conditioning that it cannot shine through, when personality completely dominates, a “darkness” develops within the person, characterized by mental or emotional dullness, physical deterioration, accidents, depression, or “bad luck.” Such a person seems asleep or unconscious while walking around; she has gotten off her own soul path. (p. 31)
And what happens to these repressed dreams, aspirations, initiatives, and values is that, as at previous levels, they are repressed, then projected outside of oneself. Thenceforth they are seen in the world as the “Shadow.” Unfortunately, to the extent that we disown and fight these potentials in ourselves, we fight and hate them when we see them outside ourselves.
Every Society’s Culture War
This accounts for the fury with which people will attack and seek to suppress certain individuals and groups who may represent, for example, disowned artistic or creative potentials, disowned aliveness and “charisma,” disowned sexuality, disowned intellectual or bohemian dreams, simple disowned “feeling” in general, and anything that smacks of an idealism or freedom or joie de vivre that needed especially to be slain in the self in order to make the identification with another’s dreams.
Creating in this way the kitty-drowners and butterfly-mashers of the world, the quaternary dualism is complete and, with it, a fourth fall from grace.
Selling One’s Soul
At this point, then, there is very little Self left. In discharging the life that remains—so totally other-directed and other-programmed—one may as well have commissioned an android. Thus we have the endpoint of the spectrum’s “evolution”—from divinity to machinery, from pure-Bliss-Consciousness to cybernetic control.