Life is stranger and more fascinating then most of us glimpse. Our brain has an instinctive tendency to quickly turn the numinous into the bland in order to save resources. If our ancestors stood in awe at the magnificent color and pattern of the tiger stalking in the bush, we wouldn’t have made it this far. However, it is beneficial to peak behind the curtain and examine some of the awe we take for granted.

One of these ideas that pulsate behind the curtain is what infancy actually is. We take for granted the psychological Atlas-esque task the infant must go through, a task all of us accomplished, in order to become conscious. This is a task psychology, specifically psychoanalysis, pays significant attention to.

(RAWism note: This post’s perspective is influenced by the Jungian reality tunnel as remixed by my unique bias.)

Jung’s significant discovery, and an idea I try explaining to all my friends, is that there is a Collective Unconscious. Most people understand that there is an Unconscious aspect of the human psyche, but most people understand this unconscious as a repository of the individual’s collective experiences. A different way to look at this is that most people see the Unconscious as the roots of a single tree, while Jung sees the Collective Unconscious as the entire earth, which connects all trees through the soil it produces. Both are true, we each have an individual unconscious, but deeper, we also all share a Collective Unconscious.

Jung’s further discovery is that there is an instinctive organizing function within each individual he termed the “Self.” The Self is the organizing energy that shapes the seed into the Oak tree. The Self is the organizing energy that helps us grow into our genetic potential. However, the human has something unique that no other organism seems to share. We have the conscious ego, thus the freedom of choice to participate in our growth or to resist it. It is this uniquely human quality that this post is focused on, which arises in infancy.

The ego is the crown and the curse of human nature. 

In our first months of life outside the womb, we had no ego. The potential latent ego was in complete identification with the Unconscious. The infant feels like a deity. There is no concept of death, or separateness, or suffering. We need only make noise and we are caressed, held, fed, and cleaned after. We had no concept of the other, of mother or father, those things were energetic extensions of ourselves. We were identified with the entirety of experience. We were whole.

And this feeling, this is nostalgia. The birth of our ego shatters nostalgia. The birth of the ego separates the infant from the Unconscious. The wholeness becomes fragmented. The energetic force that pleasured us with food and warmth, is now identified as an Other being (infant’s caretaker.) The infant now realizes it is dependent. This realization is a fear more intense then we can consciously understand.

The birth of consciousness, of the ego, wounds the individual. Our entire life, if you are courageous enough to grow, is a continues cycle of ego-self union and ego-self separation.

The Golden Age illusion

Every human goes through this process. All of us have this psychic wound. Personally and historically, humans have resisted their urge to growth and yearned for the infantile nostalgia. This yearning shows itself in Utopian myths, and in any metaphysics that promises an end to suffering. Conscious life will always have suffering, death, and evil, but it is equal to the benefits of free will, love, and creativity.

A symbolic look at the Eden myth highlights this entire process. The Garden of Eden is the human psyche. Adam and Eve represent the Individual.  Yahweh represents the urge to remain in the Unconscious state. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good an evil represents the ego. And, like the Gnostic perspective, the hero is this myth is the serpent, which represents the Self, the urge to grow from a place of unconsciousness into a place of consciousness.

Once the ego is acquired, the individual must leave the security of the infantile nostalgic state. The curses Yahweh delivers are the curses the ego must inherit with consciousness; death, suffering, and evil.

(A quick side note; the Jungian perspective believes that myths are expressions of the Unconscious and are symbolic. So what is being done above with the Garden of Eden myth is standard procedure and is done with all myths.)

Pragmatic Perspective

The reason I explain this is to help the curious from being deceived. Any belief system or metaphysical system that offers any version of the “Golden Age” myth or a kind of perpetual state of nonsuffering is at its best the unconscious fantasy of a charismatic leader or writer, and at worst, a technique to exploit the immature and weak for the pleasure or profit of the leader.

Life is a constant dance of opposites. There is no destination. To believe so is only going to amply your suffering. Embrace the dynamism of life. Learn to dance. All growth grows out of conflict and resolution. Resisting this will stunt your growth. Stunted growth causes inflation, (a topic of another post), and inflation causes falls. (Think Icarus myth.)

“He who feels punctured
Must once have been a bubble,
He who feels unarmed
Must have carried arms,
He who feels belittled
Must have been consequential
He who feels deprived
Must have had privilege. “




Review your beliefs, goals, and fantasies. Can you find evidence of a hidden or not-so-hidden infantile yearning for nostalgia? Why do you want this? What aspect of growth are you resisting?

Whatever aspect of growth you are fearing, imagine something simple and small you can do to get closer to this fear. (For example, if you are afraid of cutting off a connection to a person who you know energetically feeds off of you, go a day where you don’t communicate with them. Write about how you feel at the end of the day.)

Look at your metaphysical beliefs. What about this unprovable (and non-disprovable) belief system attracts you? Is it offering you a version of the Golden Age illusion? What behaviors are you holding onto that you know keep you from growth? What benefit are you getting from ignoring these?


I love you. Embrace the dance. Namasteezy.