The significant of son to the father's destiny in a post patriarchal age | Avi Bauman

:" Throwing a pocket knife to his son, the father cries
!,At last do something for  me, kill me and help me
Save me from my own chains as
The Executor of law and order"
From the movie Karakter 1997[1]

In the mythological tales of the Greeks there are two tendencies in a father-son relations   -one endless struggles; second interdependency of the father and the son for the sake of he humane development. Zeus himself is told by the Oracle, that in order to become a real Olympian God he needs a human son as a hero that will fight for him, with him, against the Giant, The archetypal archaic shadow forces of the Father. Only his son Hercules, a humane being, can help him to achieve that goal?! With the help of the son, God the father can win and becomes more humane, an Olympian developed god.

Being a Father and individuation process
Being a son to a father who is still alive, a father to two daughters and a son, and a grandfather to five grand children, I can look backward and see how becoming a father, and especially having a son, was a key element in my individuation process.
My father father's issues, His escape from Europe, home coming immigration and finding a new ideology in father and mother land of his,and of course some other personal issues affected me as a son and as a father.

Traditionally psychoanalysis believed, I will put it bluntly , that once the son "kills" the father, overcome and internalizes his figure,  he leave him behind and he goes forward into life ,while father is threatened by son success and overcoming him. There is no discussion of how the father needs the son. And there is no mention of the interdependency of those two roles. No reference to the long process of relationships that bring up the modeling and shaping of the inner father image at both of them in a never ending process.
On the other hand, Jungians believe that the internalization of the father image is a very long lasting process taking place mainly in childhood and adolescence but no talk about further development in life through their own fatherhood.
We also understand, following Jung that the fascination with the father image and the source of its power, come from the Archetypal realm. In Jung's own words: “The personal father inevitably embodies the archetype, which is what endows his figure with its fascinating power.” (CW 4 p. 302). "
In order for the inner image (or images) [2]of the father, (as well as the mother), to be helpful as a constructive guide and source of positive inner care, the significant parent's personal figures must be good enough, flesh and blood, human and definitely the kind of figures that can carry the archetypal but not stuck in their own complexes. "…Man can appropriate the power of the archetype by identify with the daemon, by letting himself posses by it", and Jung continues: "Thus forfeiting his own humanity.” (Jung revised paper 1949, p. ). Samuels, in the Introduction to his collection of essays: "The Father" (Samuels 1986), stresses the fact that the more Archetypal the image of the father is, the more extreme and primitive it becomes, and the more difficult it will be for a son to achieve a human connection with his own father. According to the Jungian view and language , it is not enough to speak of the intergrations of  the good and the bad object; there is a need to feel and perceive a "humane object" as well.

The development and unfolding of the Self in a longitudinal way, implies being open to new ways to correct, develop and even unfold our father image beyond what we were as a son or a daughter to our parents. I believe the two archetypes, the Father and the Son, are connected as two poles along the same axis. These two archetypes are interrelated in their ability to bring change and growth on a personal level .One can even say that if these two archetypes are segregated in our psyche, the possibility of split, inflation, narcicistic envy ,detachment ,or some other psychopathological phenomenon might be caused. As well as Hillman says about Puer Senex archetypes (Hillman 1979)
A father(55)  came to my office for a consultation, as if not for himself. He was anxious, depressed, felt himself as a failure, and was afraid of his son crisis; even that he, the son, will commit suicide .He did not know what to do. His son, a soldier in the army, fails to get into a high quality combat unit in the army. After a short intervention it came out clearly, that his son was not depressed at all. His son even tried to convince the father that nothing happened. But the father continued to project on the son his own complexes and did not see the son at all! .There was no dialogue, not a sign of a true relationship at all.
In front of me was a father, who is totally absorbed by his own imagined failure. After being in a therapy for a while, he confront his own issues and some of his own complexes as a son to oriental immigrant parents, having his own anxieties as a soldier, not being part of the fighters. Having himself a father, who had grandiose fantasies for the patient, as son? He then opened himself up to his son, to the son's real wishes; the truth was, that the son wanted to get into a military music band .The son did not dare to tell him. Then he got even relieved and open to learn from his son on what is really important and what not! It seems as if he was cured and his mind was open when he finished his therapy. Son and father were connected.
Freud and Jung understood the importance of the father image for the son’s mental health, for his growing and finding his path in life (Jung CW. 4 p. 302). Both of them did not refer to that father imago, as elastic, changing and modified throughout life and with the help of our children. Similarly , Jung discusses the Anima's and Animus's transformation as due to the withdrawing of the projections and broadening our consciousness, but never to the real influence of the actual outer man or woman with which we live on that transformation.

No doubt that our children (sons and daughters alike),from the moments of their coming into the world,   help us to develop our father and mother inner figures[3], some more, some even is a big and crucial challenge in our parental and personal life! Some of us can thank them for our growth, even if it was for some of us a hell for a while! Many children teach their Mothers how to let go and their fathers how to give place for someone else, especially another male in the family –attainments that are central for the fathers and mothers progressions.
Our first Psychological fathers
I would like to examine  the pioneers of the depth psychology, the first fathers, Freud, Jung and Neumann as model for learning about father-son issues, Archetypal and  personal   and see how dyads Freud to Jung, and Jung to Neumann, affected their theories and the elaboration of their thoughts.
If we psychoanalyze Freud and Jung’s relationships, we can see, that the glorifying of the personal father by Freud’s Oedipus complex was countered by the magnifying of the Archetypal Father by Jung. It was as if Jung was saying: "You are not my father; we both are under the archetypal father!" This dynamic caused much pain for both of them. The issue was not who the "father" is but who has the power,given that  only one can have it . For Freud, the father position was based on his need to protect this position as leader of the herd from threatening sons (Dieckman on authority, 1986). It is true that Freud believed the killing of the father of the herd brought about guilt feelings, and the development of the super-ego and religion. But he did not go on to explore the archetypal realm of the father, although as Dieckmann says," he was affected by it". In Samuels's view: “In Freud's Psychoanalysis there is much more of the father-son struggle than on the father-son alliance.” (Samuels 1985, p.33 ).
Jung brought his new idea of the father archetype that Freud could have theoretically added to his theory .By that, Freud could have accepted his new, beloved "son", instead of rejecting him. Jung in his relations to Freud sought of a father-son alliance.

Jung, by discovering the Archetypal father, liberated himself from his personal father, as well as from the theoretical psychoanalytical father. Jung added the "ultraviolet spectrum of consciousness", the human spiritual layer, to "the infra red side of the spectrum" of consciousness, the lower instinctive, in general, and to the spiritual father and patriarchy, in particular. Being a truly developed father means to give a place to your son and I might say, even be proud that your son brought new theory and ideas, even if the son surpassed his father or went against him, or even if he "dis-covered" his father’s shadow or the shadow of his theory.

Jung saw the father and patriarchal consciousness in a very positive light and he absorbed some of the spiritual father inflation which he had to struggle with. Jung, however, was less aware of the shadow of the archetypal father and the shadow of patriarchal in both personal and collective realms. Only in 1949, when he revised his paper on the significance of the father, did he write: "Letting oneself possess by the father archetype forfeiting his own humanity "(CW 4 –p. 149).
In my view, Jung, by looking for the numinous, was not aware ,how difficult it is to humanize the powerful imago of our ancestors. Neumann, his brilliant disciple, saw the shadow of patriarchy,  in a way that made him realize the shadow of his “father”, Jung. One can hear his cry through all his letters to Jung ,from Tel-Aviv in the beginning of Nazi's period!
Jung in the grip of the powerful spiritual father, i.e. archetypal and not human father, who was thirty years older than Neumann! And yet he could not give him his place beside him, nor add Neumann's discoveries to his own theory. He did not hear him. It seem that Neumann reacted by moving away from the paternal to focus on matriarchal consciousness. Crucially, Neumann emphasized the significance of the struggle with the dual father (personal and archetypal) for everyone. We all need to struggle with both the personal as well as the archetypal father in our development. "Both imagoes and the confusion between them in the personal life, is the cause of much agony and sorrow "says Neumann. It means that we can project them on the other or live them, without knowing what is archetypal and what is personal.  Although ,on the one hand, at a certain period, the attachment to the archetypal father by the son is important; As Abraham was listening to God. It is a way of listening to the inner voice.
But if the father is still caught up by the archetype or daemon, what happen than to the son?
Neumann , by acknowledging the dark side of the archetypal world, stressed, that the unavoidable humanization of the parents imago, is done in the growing child with a significant help of the parent. The parents deliver the child from the archetypal realm. Neumann gives the parents the power and the duty to deliver the child, and that is one of his contributions to the theory. But at the same time we can see, that the parent himself either from certain traumas or complexes, can be caught, or possessed by an archetype, daemon, or he can be at the same way detached from that realm! What happens then? My experience is that being caught can leave the child deserted and helpless. Detachment of the father from that archetype can cause an inability of the son to leave matriarchy, a failure to become a man, and holding the son in a symbiotic, narcissist or sometimes Puerish [4] way.
Although Neumann was aware of the Patriarchy's dangers he  didn't mention and was not aware how Patriarchy can be balanced beside by fortifying matriarchy, also by strengthening the dyad of the two archetypes father and son.
None of these three great psychologists gave the son the place to influence the personal father or to add to the Archetypal father. The reason could be that all three of them were acting and discovering their ideas from the archetypal and even caught by it, and could not relate as a personal human father figure!

Fathers stuck in the Archetypal layer
What happens if the father is stuck in an archetypal imago or in the persona (role) of a father? Then the children, especially the sons (in our time it can be also the daughters), has to be the one to liberate the father from being stuck there. They can succeed in helping the father, or fail and give up having a personal father. If they give up, this is then, the failure of the father?  This problematic situation, which fathers are caught by the archetype, or are detached from it, can happen frequently with pioneer fathers, fathers in a culture at change. Possession in the archetype or the persona can especially happen with a new Ideology, religion, culture, carrying out new, big projects. Detachment can happen at a situation of immigration, refugees etc. Israel till recently was such a new country, new homeland; pioneers were coming to our fatherland or motherland, developing new ideologies.
My hypothesis is that the main reason for the struggle of Father Son to kill one another, besides Freud's idea, is the inability of the father to get down from the archetypal treetop, to become a humane individual father.

Founders of the kibbutzim movements were caught by their Ideology and neglected their family life, children and spouse. One of them was Yitzhak Ben
Aaron, as described in the biography: Unexpected Child –An Intimate Biography (2003). Ben Aaron belonged to the pioneer culture of the kibbutzim movement, which was the culture that lived a pure collective life par excellence. Individual life on the kibbutz was a Taboo, "Privacy was never my quantum it was impossible, I was a real property of the public" says Ben Aaron. I called my son Yariv which means is an Opponent   in Hebrew! I thought of calling him Yeru Baal (the destroyer of the Baal ) but this was craziness! I was in a fight with the revisionists so I wanted my new born to hold the flag of the fight". The child was deserted by his parents for an entire year alone in the kibbutz while they went on a mission to Berlin of the Third Reich. "It was like an obligation ".  Five years later the father was recruited in the British Army and the mother went to the town for another mission! Yariv was alone in the Kibbutz. When the father came back, Yariv was eleven years old! Yariv felt deserted, but also anxious for his father. Paternal expectations led him to try to be the executive coordinator of the kibbutz at from the age of 28. At the age of 32, he was expelled from the Kibbutz conference because he announced there: "You need to take out from under the wheels of progress, the corpse that are laying there, preventing progress to take place". For years he tried to publish a book about a young officer who committed suicide after being unable to suffer anymore in the army, and this was manuscript written after the suicide of two sons (23) of the main leaders of the Kibbutz Movement:  that according to Yariv interpretation " could not stand it anymore", ! But his real rebellion started only at the age of 52! It was a bitter, journey of revenge. In his own words: "My father belongs to a generation of revolutionists who want to build the whole world, but don't know how to build one house and to raise one child!
A myth of father founder is passing from generation to generation and scatters destruction on all. My father was my Lenin. I want to tear out with cranes above the monuments all " Lenins" and to make  an exhibition that all will see and be afraid". Yariv wrote a novel, "Peleg"(an Hebrew name with double meanings a Brook and a division in). That tells about a man from a kibbutz who was an officer in the Israeli army. The book opens with a lamented cry of the son: "Father, how long wills your journey last? How long will I ran after your chariot while my soul is asking vainly…vainly…vainly…for your love…your love, your love …?" Forgive your beloved son ".The young officer, who is wounded, begins a violent patrol, in which he loses his sanity and acts destructively without any pity to his family and the whole kibbutz. The descriptions were shocking. His father, Yitzhak, said that this book and the statements of his son were his biographical scar. He cried painfully, shut himself in his room for days and said he himself might leave and stay forever out of the country. There was an attempt for closeness from the father. The father asked:" Do not judge me with whips and scorpions". using biblical reference of Kings 12:11

"Please tell me about all your pain" but the son replied: "I cannot get closer to you because the myth is founded of a stone, and when I punch the stone, punch with my tongue till blood flows. I want to get to the bleeding flesh, to your soul, to your father's soul, punch and beat and believe that the breathing flesh is not in the stony myth! I want to touch to separate the stony myth of Ben Aaron from his sparkling father soul!"
At this point the father broke down and trying to be honest and fair. He admitted: "We were addicted to the revolution, we were a generation in love and married to the vocation, mission, and they (my son Yarive's generation) paid the price being sons to such a crazy father .  In this speech one can see the beginning of father’s change and the beginning of giving up his inflation, but only at the age of but still wise and healthy 85!
I call this dynamic" the humane father as opposed to the archetypal, mythological father".
My second group of examples illustrate a situation when the father is wounded narcissistically and needs the son to overcompensate for his narcissistic needs. In that
Situations one can see how the father is either detached from the archetype or caught in another archetype or complex (e.g. mother, persona) and the son as his extension must be the hero. Elsewhere (Baumann 1995) I described the clinical picture of a sons caught up in the Puer archetype, who will try to save and redeem the post traumatic fathers with a painful failure. Some of the clinical cases of the second generation of the holocaust survivors, or first Generation of the Israeli born children, have to make up for their father's masculine inferiority as a "Galut" (Diaspora-exile) type of a Jew.  And in another case:  In the therapy very quickly father's  issues came up: "My father always wanted me to be a hero, to be a brilliant soldier". And maybe part of it was to get the perfect beautiful girl. That son reminded me of Icarus, carrying his father complex! It came very strongly from the therapy: "I always got a double massage from him (my father); be a hero, be a fighter, we are the new kind of Jewish heroes!" And on the other hand in his own words:"big panic that I will die with the same red Barrett in the war".   Through his analysis the wounded son has to work out his father complex and in a way, with the time to help his father to get rid from his archetypal hero and his false, masculine persona of which the son unconsciously always knew about.


In this paper, I wanted to reconsider the wish of the son to kill the father, or vise-versa, the father to kill the son or to hold his superiority which was so popular in our psychoanalytical thought. I wanted to stress that both modes of relationships: struggle and alliance are important for the development of both father and son. The struggle is important for the son in order to come to his own real power, for strengthening his ego and masculinity,his ability to compete and sometimes to help his father to be a" real father". For the father, the struggle is essential for several reasons:   to get down from the archetypal father or from the father persona or sometimes to stop projecting his own complexes or compensations on his son. All these will help him to enhance his individuation process.
The alliance is also important. It is important for both: for the son in order to connect to his masculinity to internalize the father image in a better way, and for the father to have a good dialogue with the son, to listen to him in order to enhance his own fatherhood, and  individuation process. In that sense, the son is significant to the father destiny. This can take place if the two archetypes, father and son are connected in a good way and not segregated in the father's psych.

Baumann A." The Torchbearers, Puers as revivers of second generation of Holocausts survivors" in Zurich IAAP conference 1995
Dieckmann H. "Some aspect of the development of authority". in Samuels, the Father.(1986) pp211-227
Hillman G. Senex Puer and the Puer wounds in: Puer Paper 1979 Spring Publication.
Jung.c.g CW 4,1949 (and old version of 1909)
Jung c.g. The significant of the father in the destiny of the individual revised of the original paper 1909 in Samuels, The Father (1986) pp229-247
Neumann E. The origin and history of consciousness, The slaying of the father 170-191, Karnak Books,Ltd 1989
Samuels A, Ed. And introduction The Father, contemporary Jungian Perspective, N.Y University press 1986. 1-45

In Hebrew: Yael Gewirzt The Unexpected Child, Yitzhak Ben Aaron-An intimate biography
Miskal-Yediot Ahronot 2003
Miskal –Yediot Books 2003

[1]The movie, directed by Mike Van Diem is based on the short story by Ferdinand Bordewik Drevehaven en Katadreuffe 1996 .
[2] Jungians tend to speak and refer to an image and not to an objects
[3] Baumann Absalom (Avi) :" Motherhood and Fatherhood images in the transition to parenthood" Thesis submitted for the doctor of philosophy ,Hebrew University Jerusalem 1986
[4] Stuck in the complex of the eternal youth

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