The Emerging Millennial
PART TWO: FALLS FROM GRACE:
A DEVOLUTIONAL MODEL OF
CONSCIOUSNESS INCORPORATING PRE- AND PERINATAL
AND SPECTRUM PSYCHOLOGY
by Michael Derzak Adzema, M.A.
The Third Fall From Grace:
Primal Scene/ Oedipus
Third Fall From Grace
Philosophic Bands: Who to Be?
Chapter Eight: The Third Fall from Grace:
Primal Scene/ Oedipus
THIRD FALL FROM GRACE
The primal scene occurs at around the age of four
or five years. It corresponds exactly with Wilber's tertiary dualism,
as also it correlates with the beginning of the Oedipal struggle (in Freudian
terms). It consolidates the formation of the ego against the body,
severing the Centaur into "a horseman divided from his horse" (Wilber,
1977, p. 149). It may be likened to a third shutdown, a third
stage in the removal of self from divinity, a third denial of God — this
time under the terrorizing influence of what might be called social
or relationship trauma.
According to Janov (1970), at around the age
of four or five there occurs a point at which the child perceives the hopelessness
of ever being loved for him- or herself and becomes instead what the parents
(and, by proxy, society) want. Their needs become her or his needs.
The real self — the "child within," the natural
self, the God within — is slain and buried in the unconscious (once again)
and becomes the unconscious self. Janov (1970) explains this process
of losing the real self in a systematic and detailed manner. He points
out, first of all, that
We are all creatures of need.
We are born needing, and the vast majority of us die after a lifetime of
struggle with many of our needs unfulfilled. These needs are not
excessive — to be fed, kept warm and dry, to grow and develop at our own
pace, to be held and caressed, and to be stimulated. These Primal
needs are the central reality of the infant. The neurotic process
begins when these needs go unmet for any length of time. . . .
The split evolves into the permanent disconnection
between the real and the unreal selves — between the real, needing, "feeling"
self and the self we must pretend to be in order to try to get some our
Since the infant himself cannot overcome
the sensation of hunger (that is, he cannot go to the refrigerator) or
find substitute affection, he must separate his sensations (hunger; wanting
to be held) from consciousness. This separation of oneself from one's
needs and feelings is an instinctive maneuver in order to shut off excessive
pain. We call it the split. (p. 22)
Demands for the child to be unreal
are not often explicit. Nevertheless, parental needs become the child's
implicit demand. The child is born into his parents' needs and begins
struggling to fulfill them almost from the moment he is alive. He
may be pushed to smile (to appear happy), to coo, to wave bye-bye, later
to sit up and walk, still later to push himself so that his parents can
have an advanced child. As the child develops, the requirements upon
him become more complex. He will have to get A's, to be helpful and
do his chores, to be quiet and undemanding, not to talk too much, to say
bright things, to be athletic. What he will not do is be himself.
The thousands of operations that go on between parents and children which
deny the natural Primal needs of the child mean that the child will hurt.
They mean that he cannot be what he is and be loved. . . . (p. 25)
The upshot of this process, then, as Sam Keen
(1972) described it:
He knows he cannot both be himself
and be loved. So he splits into a real and an unreal self.
His real feelings are sealed in the throbbing vault of the lonely inner
self and he begins to tailor his conduct to the expectations of his parents.
His watchword becomes: I will be what you want me to be if you will
only love me. Although I feel hurt, alone, fearful, and unlovely,
I will act trustworthy, loyal, helpful. . . . Henceforth the budding
neurotic child gets plastic approval but no genuine love. His unreal
self is rewarded for being obsequious while his real self seethes in the
prison of loneliness. (p. 46)
The primal scene itself, however, is that
crystallizing event that for the child symbolizes the essential truth of
all the accumulated interactions that from birth on have demonstrated that
in order to get a semblance of one's needs fulfilled one cannot simply
be oneself but must instead struggle to please another — for now a parent
or parents, later it will be a lover, a spouse, a boss, society in general.
Janov (1970) describes this primal scene:
As the assaults on the real system
mount, they begin to crush the real person. One day an event will
take place which, though not necessarily traumatic in itself — giving the
child to a baby sitter for the hundredth time — will shift the balance
between real and unreal and render the child neurotic. That event
I call the major Primal Scene. It is a time in the young child's
life when all the past humiliations, negations, and deprivations accumulate
into an inchoate realization: "There is no hope of being loved for
what I am." It is then that the child defends himself against that
catastrophic realization by becoming split from his feelings, and slips
quietly into neurosis. The realization is not a conscious one.
Rather, the child begins acting around his parents, and then elsewhere,
in the manner expected by them. He says their words and does their
thing. He acts unreal — i.e., not in accord with the reality of his
own needs and desires. In a short time the neurotic behavior becomes
A good mythic reflection of the dynamics of this
third fall from grace is the Abraham and Isaac story in Genesis.
A more elaborate exposition of the myth is forthcoming, in Part 3, but
note for now that in the story, God "tempts" Abraham by telling him to
sacrifice his only son Isaac. Therefore, the altar Isaac is to be
sacrificed on is that of the parent's own misapprehended growth needs.
Neurosis involves being split, disconnected
from one's feelings. The more assaults on the child by the parents,
the deeper the chasm between real and unreal. He begins to speak
and move in prescribed ways, not to touch his body in proscribed areas
(not to feel himself literally), not to be exuberant or sad, and so on.
The split, however, is necessary in a fragile child. It is the reflexive
(i.e., automatic) way the organism maintains its sanity. Neurosis,
then, is the defense against catastrophic reality in order to protect the
development and psychophysical integrity of the organism.
Neurosis involves being what one is not
in order to get what doesn't exist. If love existed, the child
would be what he is, for that is love — letting someone be what he or she
is. Then, nothing wildly traumatic need happen in order to produce
neurosis. It can stem from forcing a child to punctuate every sentence
with "please" and "thank you," to prove how refined the parents are.
It can also come from not allowing the child to complain when he is unhappy
or to cry. Parents may rush in to quell sobs because of their anxiety.
They may not permit anger — "nice girls don't throw tantrums; nice boys
don't talk back" — to prove how respected the parents are; neurosis may
also arise from making a child perform, such as asking him to recite poems
at a party or solve abstract problems. Whatever form it takes, the
child gets the idea of what is required of him quite soon. Perform,
or else. Be what they want, or else — no love, or what passes for
love: approval, a smile, a wink. Eventually the act comes to dominate
the child's life, which is passed in performing rituals and mouthing
incantations in the service of his parents' requirements. (pp.
25-26, emphases mine)
Moreover, just as Isaac, the son, the child,
is to be offered in sacrifice to Abraham's relationship to the divine,
to his supposed spiritual needs; so also we, most of us, are asked to forego
our own dreams, our own unique directions, for the unfulfilled dreams,
desperate hopes, and ego vanity of another — usually the same-sex parent.
PHILOSOPHIC BANDS: WHO TO BE?
After the consolidation of the ego, the unreal
self, at the primal scene and its consequent severing of even the felt
connection to transpersonal realities by way of the body through severance
of ego from body, one is no longer concerned with addressing one's reality
(in terms of attempting to secure even the satisfaction of felt needs).
Since one has given up on being one's self, all that remains is to decide
who to be. In the struggle to decide who to be (in
order to be loved), we have the emergence of the philosophic bands.
Their emergence is pushed by the force of unmet
needs, which at this point stem most immediately from needs for simple
acceptance, belongingness, self-esteem; but farther back have roots in
the energy of unmet biological needs at infancy and early childhood; in
the repressed dynamo of the fear of death inherent in the birth trauma;
in the energy of unaddressed transpersonal yearnings and directives; all
the way back in the energy of the original act of creation of the primary
dualism (the creation of sperm and ovum, of form out of no-thing-ness)
which, from this perspective on the other side of all the subsequent blockages
and repressions of Energy, is beginning to look like some kind of "big
Nevertheless, at this point all this accumulated
energy that pushes the emergence of the philosophic bands is called libido.
And as for the pitiful remnant of the Real in the personality — that is,
of Mind, of Absolute Subjectivity, of archetypal pattern, of karmic direction
and dharmic purposiveness, and of heartfelt human feeling . . . well, that
is relegated to a locked and dirty Pandora's box called id — a shabby and
distorted remnant, divinity dressed in demonic drag clothing.
And so these years of later childhood continue
until the time at which culture and society, the Other, make another significant
departure from the reality of self requiring another radical adaptation.
This latest and final duality, this fourth separation, splitting, and shutdown
is what I call the fourth fall from grace; and it occurs around the time
CHAPTER EIGHT NOTE
1. In this connection,
see again Chapter Three, "Matter As Metaphor," and Roger Jones's Physics
As Metaphor. [return to text]
CHAPTER EIGHT REFERENCES
Janov, Arthur. (1970). The Primal Scream: Primal
Therapy, The Cure for Neurosis. New York: Dell.
Keen, Sam. (1972). Field report: Janov and
primal therapy. Psychology Today, February 1972, 43-46, 86, 88,
Wilber, Ken. (1977). The Spectrum of Consciousness.
Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House.
Copyright © 1999 by Michael Derzak Adzema
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