FROM PATRIARCHY TO COMPLETENESSBy Claudio Naranjo, M.D.
I - CRITICAL OBSOLETENESS
II - THE REAL HOLYWAR
III - ADDRESSING THE ROOT PROBLEM
I - Critical Obsoleteness
The Encyclopedia of Human Problems and Potential lists and describes over eight thousand problems of the world as of 1984 and points out the additional problem presented by the fact that the specific measures required for the solution to each is likely to interfere with the solution of others.
This situation has been addressed to some extent by inter-disciplinary teams, but mostly constitutes a challenge to identify the basic ills that underlie the manifold symptoms.
HOW CAN WE PROCEED IN SUCH A SEARCH?
What follows is something of what I have arrived at through an extension to the social domain of the notion of "capital sins", through which the early Christian fathers sought to understand individual aberration.
Being a specialist in a characterology of central Asian origin that is rooted in the predominance of one or another among nine root passions (or sins) it has been easy for me to recognize the social extensions of each of the personality styles. Yet while in my book The Enneagram of Society I described the nine social pathologies that may be recognized as extensions of the well-known individual personality pathologies, now I will concentrate on five among these which appear to be particularly characteristic of the institutional structure of society.
In the following exploration of the social projections or extensions of the human passions, I will not only let myself be guided by my understanding of the character dispositions that are associated to each of the root passions, but will take the "enneagram" as a map. This is an abstract formulation related to an esoteric Christian school that is attracting the interest of many psychologists today. It consists of a design constituted by a triangle inscribed in a circle with nine equidistant points along its circumference (those belonging to the triangle and six others that are interconnected in a specific manner) and when applied to the domain of the traditional sins or passions, the map is used as in the figure below:
It will be seen that the five issues that I am regarding as quintessential in the structure of our social world are mapped on the enneagram's inner triangle and on the points adjoining its apex.
I now begin the proposed consideration of the chief social projections of character pathologies by addressing the social analogue of enneatype-8, the character moved by lust, which is characteristically anti social, exploitative, and aggressive.
Because those endowed with this rebellious personality style are defiant of social rules, anti-conventional or radically inclined, it may come as a surprise that I am claiming that such antisocial characteristics have become a generalized trait of the establishment.
Yet it seems that this was the typical personality of early chieftains, and anthropological data suggest that the individual power and dominance-drive has been an important antecedent in the history of armies and wars. At any rate it is easy to see that in this violent and dominant character-that tackles life through the strategy of intimidation and overpowering -lies the seed of that social violence and intimidation that is intrinsic to the "civilized" world.
Wars have certainly been a prominent trait of our history (one year of peace for 17 years of war, it has been calculated) and in every country military victories are recounted with pride at school to the children of each new generation. In fact, it would seem that very little has been regarded important in traditional school history textbooks besides such conquests, military victories and subjugation. Yet by now it has become clear that matriarchal cultures had no war, and it appears that war, along with slavery originated
in the bronze age some 7000 years ago and thus is not intrinsic to human nature. Patriarchal war is intrinsic to sovereign states, and is embodied in armies; yet these are but the organs of an implicit philosophy of power intrinsic to our way of life.
Violence is in the rise today in response to the violence intrinsic to the oppression and injustice of a system that we don't feel that we have chosen. And if what I say is not obvious we only have to look at the history of the civilized world's history of aggressive colonialism. War expenses are an important source of our economic problems, however advantageous they may be to arms manufacturers, and an implicit violence is at work in the choice of such limited interests at the expense of untold destruction, poverty and unhappiness. Consideration of the foreign policy of seemingly advanced, enlightened and exemplary countries should be enough to realize how far we are from a truly good society.
Next, I turn to the question of what may be the social pathology associated to what at the individual level theologians called wrath, and animates the character that I have proposed calling "perfectionism". We might call it moralism (to contrast it with morality), puritanism or phariseeism, and understand it as intrinsically repressive. It is a policemindedness intrinsic to civilization, and its institutional embodiment may be found, of course, in the police force and related organizations.
All civilizations have been repressive, though ours has characteristically perfected its repressive operation to such an extent that we don't notice it, so that a relative unconsciousness permits our well being. Yet prisons nowadays are beginning to become a problem, since so many people in them not only detract from the productivity of our society but are expensive to maintain. Since it is clear that this situation will contribute to the psychic deterioration of the world rather than its healing precisely at a time when consciousness is becoming critical, we may wonder whether repressive moralism "pays". As it has been said, "the moral majority is neither" and people today are catching on to how the seeming righteousness of the past war on Communism or the present "war on drugs" has involved a desperate attempt to survive on the part of a dysfunctional Establishment. Even schools begin to look like prisons, since children, perhaps less alienated from their instinctual selves and their intuition, react with violence against the authoritarism flavor of what is being offered to them in the guise of education.
They sense the irrelevancy of instruction that has little to do with their existential predicament, they rebel in the face of educators that seem not to be awake enough to life to realize such irrelevance and, sometimes, in their impotence, they become destructive. But because this is regarded their problem, the authorities feel perfectly entitled to impose order through power, and the situation escalates.
At the individual level, the curtailment of the instinctual self is possible in view of the construction of what seems to be the noble ideals and high standards that the perfectionist is proud to adhere to. Similarly, at the social level, repression is justified through a sense of moral superiority and right, with a kind of moral indignation that is implicitly an act of vilification. When turned against those in our own society it takes the form of criminalization; when turned outwardly it becomes prejudice, xenophobia or, at the societal level, nationalism. Far from being a simple expression of love toward one's own country, nationalism is selfishness on a large scale, complicated by a false sense of moral superiority that serves as an unconscious pretext for domination and exploitation.
We may think that we have made progress in going beyond the sexual repression of the Victorians -but to what extent are we denigrating our neighbor and ourselves (not to forget our children) through the adoption of life-denying notions of decency such as I recently had occasion to see portrayed in the movie "American Beauty"?
America is a peculiarly self-righteous country. In spite of the cultural shift (during the "Roaring Twenties") from the old Puritanical dominance in the culture to the more lighthearted dominance of the market-orientated personality, self righteousness is one of our distinctive psychosocial characteristics; and in the political arena it is not only reputable but almost a must for success; for in a world so impregnated with moralizing rhetoric not to adopt it would make any political candidate marginal.
Let me now consider Point 9 of the enneagram, which at the individual level maps the sin originally known as acidia and consists in a psycho-spiritual inertia rather than physical laziness (as is suggested by the modern word sloth).At the social level it is easy to recognize a comparable psycho spiritual inertia which manifests in the fossilization of institutions and the characteristic institutional inertia intrinsic to it. This status-quo is part of the aging of social movements and is closely related to the size of social groups.
An expression of it is what has been discussed as "the bureaucratic phenomenon" - the characteristic resistance of bureaucracies to change and to creative initiatives. Another is the exaggeration of conservative tendencies, which come in conflict with social evolution through an attachment to obsolete ways and ideas.
I am not saying that conservatism is necessarily less valid then radicalism, inasmuch has we need both a healthy regard for the wisdom of the past and an openness to what change and adaptation are intrinsic to life. Yet just as parasites and microbes defend their survival, it is easy to discern how dysfunctional aspects of social life also protect their survival through conformity and resistance to change.
The personality type gravitating around spiritual laziness is one where the individual seeks psychological comfort through the avoidance of conflicts and the narrowing of awareness and yet becomes hyperactive, as if energy where diverted from the essential to the inessential and from the inner to the outer. Still another societal manifestation of psycho spiritual inertia, echoing this predicament, is a generalized and growing incapacity for leisure. Our modern secular world turns faster and faster around itself with increasing levels of noise, and its people seem to be increasingly addicted to distraction.
And so it happens that the leisure that was to some extent expected from the progress of the industrial age not only fails to become a reality, but would be wasted on those who by now have become incapable of true leisure through an addiction to TV and entertainment and through a horror of the void.
The Jewish culture, from which ours partly derived, regarded holy leisure its central commandment, understanding the need to set aside a time for the soul - a time to be with oneself and to contact one's depth; a time to extricate oneself from the world and from worldliness. I think that the very secularity of our world, its absolute worldliness, makes it imperative that we come to appreciate again the sacred dimension of just being, and the vital importance of true restfulness. I suspect that in our noisy and hyperactive world already the understanding of this could have some remedial effect.
I proceed now to the left-hand corner of the enneagram, which at the individual level maps fear and a character inclined to either subordination or dominance and is excessively guided by its position in hierarchies.
Psychology today gives fear a prominent role in its elucidation of psychopathology, but religion has not emphasized it in its view of fallenness. And it is not surprising, for listing it among the cardinal sins would have thrown into question the individual's resistance to domination and the hierarchical system based on an education for obedience.
Fear had to wait for Freud and post-Freudian psychology to be recognized as the defining characteristic of neurosis.We either think what we think (or do what we do) in order to run away from something or somebody (and thus diminish our anxiety) or we act freely. If anxiety is our motive, we know from the outset that we are in the territory of psychopathology. Authority has been central to our civilization since it began through the establishment of rulership, when the earth began to dry up after glaciation and the first large populations gathered around the great rivers. Dominance, since then, has been the hallmark of social organization, and continues to be a defining characteristic of the system despite the fact that it has become covert: we have moved from tyranny to pseudodemocratic control through indoctrination and the media, which sustain a sort of democratic veneer demonstrating the good intentions of politicians, the high ideals-religious and patriotic alike-of our leaders and the signs of cultural and economic progress. Yet in the social as in the individual situation, the construction of an appealing reality may be the most effective form of repression, and the greatest refinement of repression in our midst may be seen in the extent to which we don't know that we are oppressed.
I have already shifted, to some extent, to the consideration of point 3 in the enneagram, which corresponds-in the sphere of individual pathology and traditional religious language-to vanity, self-deception and identification with a constructed self-image.
Certainly vanity is a sin, inasmuch as it makes us oblivious to our ultimate concern while it distracts us with the trivial and ephemeral.And surely the same concept may be transposed to the societal level, where the issue is the construction of a social make-believe world, a social illusion.Yet the most important influence of achievement-oriented vain character on society results from its confusion between intrinsic value and market value. Remarking on the importance of this trait Erich Fromm even proposed the expression "market orientation" as a descriptor for this personality type in which the individual is intent on selling her image in a quest for success. It is no wonder that the American culture, where this personality abounds, is dominated by the profit-motive. Yet the profit motive is universal in our civilized world, and was already one of the ills of society when Hyeronimus Bosch eloquently depicted it in his Hay Wane. Only its expression has changed, and just as authority is embodied today in the sovereign state, the profit motive is embodied mostly in the transnational corporations. The wealthier the world becomes, the more striking the poverty, and the more evident it becomes that we have a money problem. Government and politics today concern themselves largely with money, and surely many believe that it is mainly economic matters that we need to address to attain a better world. Indeed, poverty is not only a cause of suffering to those affected by it, but a serious interference in the quality of mothering and of education thus contributing to the perpetuation of both individual and social underdevelopment. Yet an excessive concern with our money problem may well be part of the problem itself, and it is unlikely that we may be able to deal with it successfully without attending to its inner aspect - which involves greed, injustice and impotence vis-à-vis the seemingly ineluctable laws of the market.
Yet we are slaves of the market only to the extent that we have chosen to exclude other values besides profit from our economic life-i.e. the extent to which we choose to put the profit motive in the place of our ultimate concern.
II - The Real Holy War
The spelling out of the above-described facets of our social meta-problem suggests the task ahead of us. Yet so much has been said about each of the aspects of what change that we need to bring about that I will be brief on the subject.
The remedy for violence is, of course, the Christian formula of answering violence with love :"presenting the other cheek." This has not been given a chance in the politics of Western Christian Civilization, though Tolstoy's faith inspired Gandhi. Pacifism may seem to be unrealistic nonsense to many, but it is clear that we should aspire to a less violent future and concern ourselves creatively with its achievement. The main problem that stands in the way of a reduction in institutional violence may be a generalized immaturity in regard to the development of love in the individual, and I think that the emergence of psychotherapy during the past century may in time make a difference - particularly with the spread and refinement of self-help groups.
A good remedy for moralism at the individual level is, again, deep psychotherapy-inasmuch as moralism (either an unconscious or hypocritical manipulation) cannot for long survive in the presence of self-insight. Nietzsche, from whom Freud derived his own insight into the defensive nature of compulsive morality, saw the answer to this excess in the Dionysian spirit so characteristic of the post-Freudian psychologies.
Where are we to find the specific remedy for the psycho-spiritual inertia that pervades our modern secular world? Largely in inwardness, in attention to our experience and in an ethic of work on ourselves. Whatever supports the individual's psycho-spiritual unfolding may be expected to make us less passive vis-à-vis the momentum of history and social habits, and perhaps nothing would be so helpful in this regard as an education that takes into account self-knowledge and interpersonal repair. Today's education is remarkably irrelevant to human development and its irrelevancy may well be the most significant manifestation of collective acidia in the modern world: like a white elephant with the best intentions, the educational establishment is standing in the way of its social function through fossilization. Were it to grasp how in its obsolescence it is perpetuating our immaturity and were it to evolve into an educational venture, however, it would contribute to our social evolution more than anything else I can think of - besides the transformation of our economy.
Concerning the remedy for authoritarianism - the dominator mentality - much has been said, but just as a traveler in the desert may be waysided by a mirage, we may be waysided by thinking that we have already achieved a democratic world. Democracy cannot arise without an appropriate education in the sense of community and without a lessening of parental authoritarianism, and will hardly become the condition of the world before people can experience it within their families. Therapeutic repair of interpersonal difficulties may be expected to be of great help toward such healing of the family, just as the healing of the family may be expected to provide the building block for a democratic world. It is easy to see today how it was the absolute authority of the pater familias that was extended in the past to larger social groups giving rise in time to the early monarchies and empires. And it is remarkable that in the long history of egalitarianism the issue of the balance of power within the family has not been seriously addressed.
As for the remedy that would cure us from our excessive subordination to gain and profit, I'm convinced that Marx was on the right track when he said that we needed to transcend the strait-jacket of capitalism. In view of this I think that it is unfortunate that the (otherwise fortunate) failure of Leninism-Stalinism has brought Marx into disrepute - for it amounts to the throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water. Marx made many mistakes, to be sure, and what the Russians did in his name was atrocious, but we should not use the failure of the Soviet experiment as an argument in support of Capitalism - particularly when the crisis of capitalism challenges our resourcefulness.
Since money is more powerful than sovereign states and their armies and the small percentage of those who control more than half of the world's wealth are not interested in giving up their power and advantage, how can we conceive evolutionary change?
If it is true that we cannot "serve two masters", the time will have to come when we are willing to subordinate Mammon to something greater; a time when we understand that it is not good business to be excessively business minded; when we are ready to come out of our passivity vis-à-vis the "laws of the market". In the name of these (and the free enterprise) we have been allowing them to squelch our humanity, but we are not as impotent or irresponsible as economists make it sound.
How we may put an end to the gross inequality in the distribution of wealth in the world I don't know, for money buys power, and the powerful of the world have little interest in letting go of their power. Perhaps in virtue of the "hundredth monkey phenomenon" the enlightened spirit will overflow one day from the majority to the minority in control; perhaps those who control the transnational corporations in our increasingly global economy will one day come together and conceive of some arrangement allowing them to shift from competition to collaboration, freeing themselves from enslavement to profit while saving us all from a sort of dinosaur-death by over-growth. Perhaps it would do well that we pray for the enlightenment of wealthy; for as the world gets richer and its economic problem worsens, it is they who, with sufficient wisdom and compassion, may find themselves in a position of unique opportunity to devise and implement an alternative economy. Globalization is now threatening to become the vehicle for the union of capitalists in the service of better business alone - but does there not lie in it the opportunity for something better?
III - Addressing the Root Problem
If the way out of our predicament is in a combination of efforts such as pacifism, the struggle for justice, the pursuit of a representative democracy, etc - can we be optimistic?
Many feel not, and supporters of the system would like us to give up any hope of changing it. As in the individual holy war against the ego, the struggle is necessary in one case as in the other, yet for anyone who is realistic it will be difficult to feel enthusiastic, for the problems intrinsic to civilization not only thrive as ever, but the technological ethos is delegitimizing all values, and this makes all remedies week. It was religion that in the past sustained moral values and the secularization of the system has rendered it a fairy tale fit for primitives. The consequent death of ideals involves not only religion, but culture proper: that living transmission of humanity, in which values are primarily embodied.
Yet there lies hope in the thought that we have been mostly looking at the symptoms of our global disease, and just as medicine gained potency when it came to understand and tackle disease beyond its symptoms, so we may also become more "potent for evolution" when we address the real meta-problem at the core of our problematique.
WHAT IS THEN OUR ROOT-PROBLEM, BEYOND ITS MANY FACETED MANIFESTATION?Marx, of course, believed it to be capitalism, and more recently Willis Harman has proposed that it lies the way of seeing things that has developed with the industrial age-a proposition that has the merit of addressing the psychological aspect of the matter.
Capra, on the other hand, has proposed that the problem lies in an all too simplistic, linear way of thinking, while we should be approaching things in a systemic manner. Though this analysis is useful, I think it addresses only a facet of a more encompassing social pathology, that comprises both a limited way of thinking and the exploitative manner of living intrinsic to capitalism.
In my book of The End of Patriarchy I have argued for the view of that the present crisis stems from the destructive obsoleteness of something much older than capitalism and the industrial mind, and involves a dysfunction in human relations.
Something is wrong with our manner of relating to others, to our environment, to ourselves and to "The Highest" whatever we want to call it - piety, love of truth, an orientation to values, dedication to an evolutionary urge, the sense of sacredness or whatever. History shows that we are in general incapable of fraternal relations, and psychology shows us that, instead, whether excessively prone to relate to one another either as a dependent child does on the mother or has an obedient child does in face of paternal authority. Psychology also shows us an intra-psychic disturbance in the manner of relationship between our instinctual (childlike) self and our socially transmitted (and Father like) ideal self, and now some are proposing that the source of our generalized love problem is to be found in the disconnection of our limbic,
mammalian and emotional brain.
To say it in the simplest manner: at the core of our many faceted world-problematique (to use the expression coined by the club of Rome) is a "love crisis". While it seems as if for millennia we have been able to thrive in spite of an inability to love that has been at the root of greed and violence, it also seems that we have become big and powerful for our emotional disturbance to be viable.
In the book written years ago I have proposed that our root problem is as old as civilization and is to be found in the patriarchal organization of the mind and of society. In this I coincide with Eisler and some other feminists, but mostly echo the vision of one who lived before them and already in the '30s was concerned with the dangerous obsoleteness of the patriarchal mind: Totila Albert, a Chilean born visionary who was not only concerned with the impending crisis but with the importance of envisioning a psychosocial order involving the balance of father, mother and child in the individual's psyche,
in the family and in the culture.
Rather than elaborating on the notion of father-dominance, I now want to draw attention to some corollaries that flow from the diagnosis of patriarchy as the fundamental social pathology underlying our crisis.
One of these is the relevance of healthy (tri-une) family systems, for just as the patriarchal establishment arose from the tyrannical dominance of the pater familias in the family, it is to be anticipated that a proper balance and loving communication between father, mother and child would be echoed in a democratic society.
Also,"patriarchy" being an interpretation that emphasizes psychological imbalance, it highlights the political potential of individual development: if the good society can only exist on the basis of healthy or integrated (tri-une) individuals, it follows that it is essential to our social evolution that we support what furthers psycho-spiritual transformation.
It also follows from the diagnosis of patriarchy that (both at the individual and the collective level) we need to attend to the re-integration of our "inner-three".
Since Freud, psychotherapists have understood pathologies in terms of an internal split in the mind brought into effect by "defense mechanisms, and such filtering of experience and thought that takes place at the artificial boundary that we have been socialized to construct between our unconscious mind and our consciousness may well be regarded the root of our individual sickness. Yet the idea of a patriarchal bent of mind suggests a conception of pathology in terms of two distinct barriers within the three-brained structure of our nervous system, and not just a single barrier between consciousness and the unconscious: two boundaries or dams within our threefold interpersonal self that are intrinsic to structure of our father-dominated culture, and have led us to the repression of our inner child and our inner mothering self.
Thus both at the individual and the collective level we need to attend to the re-integration and liberation of our "inner mothering, the aspect of our psyche that arose, like mothering itself, in the evolution of our mammalian ancestors, and is today understood to be a function of our limbic brain.
Just as female monkeys that have been deprived from appropriate mothering are unable to nurse their offspring when they in turn become mothers, so the human ability to nurture others fails to develop in the absence of mothering. It would appear that mothering is
learned, or passed on through the generations. And even when there is a sufficient bond between mother and child in early childhood, it is possible that conflict between father and mother in the dynamics of family life leads to a further complication:
the child may take sides with his father and internalize father's antagonism or devaluation of the mother. Thus there arises an intra-psychic situation where our mothering potential is alienated or denied expression.
I have recently been concerned with the formulation of a feasible education geared to psycho-spiritual development - to the development of full humanness rather than eventual entry into the work market. In connection with this I have read the more relevant literature, and I have been struck by the relative absence of the word "love" in formulations of an alternative curriculum. Even when the discussion takes into account the importance of an interpersonal education, an education relevant to the sense of community, or to the development of a civic sense, it would seem that words such as "compassion" and "love" are implicitly taboo. I see in this a reflection of the empire of science and rationalism in the patriarchal culture: issues of love are considered too "romantic", relevant to art but not quite pertinent to serious conversation.
And while, after decades of feminism, considerable progress in the matter women's rights in the political and work arenas, not so much has been accomplished when it comes to the re-balancing of masculine and feminine values. Yet it is quite possible to settle matters related to gender injustice by giving power to women without touching the underlying core issue, which is precisely the preference for power over love. Of course, inclusion of women in positions of power is likely to bring about, in time, policies that take into account the dictates of the heart as well as those of reason; but we still live through times when exploitation by far overrides cultivation, competition overrides cooperation and power overrides love. Even when we become concerned with ecology and speak against the ongoing rape of the earth we often do so out of economic considerations rather than out of a healthy sense of belonging to the human species if not to the ecosphere, as our "primitive" ancestors did. Let us consider now how we have blocked earlier part of our life's stream - our childhood - particularly relevant to bring up when we begin to question the extent and quality of our parental and institutional dominance.
A patriarchal world, by definition entails the preponderance of the father figure in the family system, but I am concerned here with the preponderance of our forebrain or intellectually specialized neo-cortex over both our mammalian midbrain (that is our organ of relatedness) and our instinctual, reptilian brain.
While at this point in history and we have had a women's movement, and the voice of the youth made itself heard significantly in the '60s, we have not come, thus far, to a time of "children's liberation"- and it is hard to conceive that such a thing could happen:
children's needs and perceptions are certainly the most repressed in the family group, for children are powerless and dependent - while the adults are usually less fit to be parents than is recognized, and thus power fills in for incompetence and for a dimly perceived moral wrongness.
So much has the inner child within each of us been invalidated and frustrated, that it is usually necessary for psychological healing to begin with some realization of what has been done to us, some catharsis of the early pain and with awareness of repressed archaic rage. And even this is not enough if we are to become complete human beings: our inner child needs to be brought back to life.
Even this is not all; for if we consider that within ourselves live three sub-personalities (corresponding to the imprint of our parents along with our "inner child"),we have to concede that this inner child has scarcely a voice in our internal family politics. And so it not only needs to be in some way restored to life, liberated, but welcomed and given a voice and a vote in our internal dialogue.
Among those who today pursue a spiritual path, many, no doubt, feel deep veneration for a father like divine being, and many harbor a sense of the sacredness of life, of "Mother Earth" our the universe itself. But I am afraid that not many among the spiritual seekers have the vision necessary for the recognition and appreciation of the "Divine Child" within - much less with the utter simplicity of our universal "inner newborn".
And yet I don't think that enlightenment is possible without the resacralization of that most simple unified awareness beyond content that preceded our intellectual development and is the reality behind our notion of a subject of consciousness.
Today we are prone to believe that we began as nobodies and then evolved, like nature evolves, through an increasing complexification. Yet this is only one side of things, insofar as, in healthy development, complexity doesn't take away from simplicity. (Only with the deterioration of consciousness do our mind-branches forget the trunk of our life-tree, which of course gets in the way of their bearing fruit). If biological evolution brings about increasing complexity, psycho-spiritual evolution involves the progressive penetration of complexity by spiritual awareness, which is utterly simple, a-conceptual, basic and as archaic as that "original face" of ours "before our parents were born".
A little over a century ago Nietzsche indicted Christianity for its sins against the earth, and claimed that only the spirit of Dionysus might remedy our collective predicament.
What did he mean by that? That our civilization is painfully "dammed up", constrained, over-controlled, excessively subjected to our limited ideals and our corresponding sense of should and ought. The spirit of Dionysus, symbolized by the spirit of wine, involves the willingness to die to ourselves in an act of surrender, transcending our boundaries and dissolving our consciousness into a wider realm.
Of course the Christian mystics have known surrender to the point of death-in-God, but in spite of its wine the church (along with its theologians) has not been particularly sympathetic to its mystics, at least during their lifetimes. And not only the church but the patriarchal culture in which it is embedded continues to be in need of the Dionysian spirit. For Dionysus, the marginal god of the Greeks, breaks up all forms in its profound allegiance to life as it is and as it wants to be.
I am convinced that the initiates of the ancient mysteries knew well of the inseparability of Apollo and Dionysus - embodiments of apparently contradictory qualities:
lucidity and drunkenness, mastery and surrender, equipoise and enthusiasm. But we can assuredly say that the Christian world has not been an instance of a comparable understanding or realization, for otherwise the image of Dionysus would not have been borrowed for the characterization of the devil. And yet it is not enough that we have the Apollonian (and patriarchal) qualities of lucidity, mastery and detachment without a corresponding Dionysian (and matristic) ability to surrender of the mysterious stream of life. The liberation of our inner child, then, requires from us an attitude that, unlike anything that may be accomplished through discipline, requires the relaxation of all discipline and the cultivation of an innocent internal freedom.
Even our collective vision of self realization or enlightenment needs to be corrected, I think, to compensate for the grim austerity of traditional religiosity in the Western world-which involves the repression of child-likeness and the demonization of pleasure.
I think that in spite of the sexual liberation of the last decades and in spite of our secular culture, the vision of spiritual accomplishment in the minds of most religious people is one where pleasure, aliveness, and vitality are de-emphasized.Yet how likely are we to find the higher life that we are seeking without re-inviting the playfulness, the creature-likeness and vitality of the child-within?
Certainly austerity constitutes a spiritual path, or a vehicle along the path - but it seems that we have forgotten its instrumental quality and have come to take it to be a goal in itself, or at least part of the goal.We need discipline, we need austerity, but we also need a quality that we already had as embryos, which I have proposed to call "organismic trust": trust in our impulses, trust in the wisdom of our spontaneity - and trust in pleasure as a built-in sense of what is coherent with our instinctual self.
I believe that just as the divine manifests in our consciousness through the triple face of father/mother/child, we can only find spiritual fulfilment through the development of the father/mother/child components of our humanness. A thirst for transcendence without mother love and without childlike freedom is only compatible with comparatively bloodless worship, and for one in whom the inner mother is dominant there will hardly be the "mystical insight" or wisdom that is intrinsic to spiritual experience at its best. And for one in whom the child component of the psyche predominates (as it often does through rebellion) spiritual fulfilment is difficult to conceive, for it requires the maturity of love and wisdom.
Yet without acceptance and love toward our desiring self and the desiring self of others, that is, without love toward the instinctual self that is intrinsic to our earthly nature (as beings who are also animals) I think that we are unlikely to achieve happiness or a good society. And I wonder whether it is not the case that spiritual stagnation persists in spite of the rich legacy of the different traditional paths because the inner child in our nature doesn't have enough of an advocate in our world.
Such an advocate would understand his mission to be that of tearing up the dam that impoverishes us through the alienation of our instinctual nature, with its normal appetites, it's pleasure seeking and pain avoidance-a dam made of implicit self-hate that confuses the instinctual with the realm of neurotic motivation.
I think the ancient Babylonians and the Egyptians knew well that God-realization in a human being is closely connected with the re-sacralization of the animal within - as is echoed in their representations of divine beings with animal features. Of course, the shamans understood this much before, when they experienced, for instance, the spirit of the eagle upon their entry into the path.
What I have been saying may be rephrased in the statement that we have turned against both agape and eros and in so doing we have dammed up both our benevolence and our desiring. In the name of what? Of our ideals. And in consequence of our absorption in our "love of the ideal." For there is in us a third kind of love quite independent of the other two, the nature of which is neither desire nor generosity, but appreciation; a love that manifests as reverence, admiration, esteem, and the supreme expression of which is to be found in adoration or worship. And though Plato spoke of eros in reference to the love of the sumum bonum I think that it is better that we call it philia, for it is something quite different from ordinary desiring and in the recognition (or attribution) of value lies the basis of friendship. There is certainly nothing wrong with respect. Just as romantic love, that centers on the giving and receiving of pleasure, and protective benevolent love involves our mothering self, esteem and respect involve a quality of love present in our original relation to our father. Totila Albert, whom I mentioned as a source of my concern with patriarchy, envisioned a healthy state of humanity as a threefold loving embrace between father-mother-child. Alternatively, according to the reflections above, it may be envisioned as a condition of balance between the three forms of loving that lie in our potential. Needless to say, this is not the case in our day, and I'm not sure that it ever has. Patriarchy is totalitarian (however hidden this may be in our modern democracies) and it goes hand-in-hand with the tyrannical state of affairs within our psyche where a part of our mind has taken control and speaks for the whole.
Copyright © Claudio Naranjo From Patriarchy to Completeness