Atonement with the Father


Like many sons, Adler had learned from his “father” not what the father said, but what he did.

For the ogre aspect of the father is a reflex of the victim’s own ego – derived from the sensational nursery scene that has been left behind, but projected before; and the fixating idolatry of that pedagogical nonthing is itself the fault that keeps one steeped in a sense of sin, sealing the potentially adult spirit from a better balanced, more realistic view of the father, and therewith of the world.  Atonement (at-one-ment) consists in no more than the abandonment of that self-generated double monster – the dragon thought to be God (superego)* and the dragon thought to be Sin (repressed Id).  But this requires an abandonment of the attachment to ego itself; and that is what is difficult.  

Cont’d … One must have a faith that the father is merciful, and then a reliance on that mercy.  Therewith, the center of belief is transferred outside of the bedeviling god’s tight scaly ring, and the dreadful ogres dissolve.  1000 faces, page 110

When the child outgrows the popular idyl of the mother breast and turns to face the world of specialized adult action, it passes, spiritually, into the sphere of the father – who becomes, for his son, the sign of the future task, and for his daughter, of the future husband.   1000 faces, page 115

Cont’d…. Whether he knows it or not, and no matter what his position in society, the father is the initiating priest through whom the young being passes on into the larger world.  And just as, formerly, the mother represented the “good” and “evil,” so now does he, but with this complication – that there is a new element of rivalry in the picture: the son against the father for the mastery of the universe, and the daughter against the mother to be the mastered world.   1000 faces, page 115

For the essence of time is flux, dissolution of the momentarily existent; and the essence of life is time.   1000 faces, page 124

The problem of the hero going to meet the father is to open his soul beyond terror to such a degree that he will be ripe to understand how the sickening and insane tragedies of this vast and ruthless cosmos are completely validated in the majesty of Being.  1000 faces, page 125

Cont’d … The hero transcends life with its peculiar blind spot and for a moment rises to a glimpse of the source.  He beholds the face of the father, understands – and the two are atoned. 

The Grail Legend   To be fatherless appears to some extent to be one of the attributes of the mythological hero, as may be observed in so many myths and fairy-tales.  This same feature is met in the dreams and fantasies of modern men and not least in life itself.  How may it be explained?  Perhaps it is that with a fatherless boy all those conditions that dispose him to become a hero are strengthened and intensified because he has to make his own way and is compelled to develop independence and feelings of responsibility, while a boy who lives under the guidance of a father who offers him support will be less impelled towards such achievements.  While for the latter the father represents the figure of the “successful man” outwardly, this image falls back upon the fatherless boy himself, so to speak, and drives him on to its realization.   TGL 45