Become as Little Children

“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Genesis 3: 22-24

Who are the Cherubims guarding the way back to the garden of Eden? Embodiments of cynicism and fear.

Cynicism arises as a consequence of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But it is a far bigger problem now than it ever was when Genesis was written. You might go so far as to say that it’s a defining characteristic of modernity and postmodernity, especially in the West. On a psychological level, it manifests as an aspect of what Freud called “the Superego”, or as a subpersonality, variously called “the Cynic”, “the Critic”, “the Scoffer”, “the Know-It-All”, “the Blackadder”.

The adult ego is adept at dismissing anything that challenges its control and authority as infantile and silly. Freud himself fell under its spell when he dismissed religion as regression to a primitive state of childish dependence. Jung, on the other hand, didn’t fall for such rationalist cynicism.

Where the Cynic relies on ridicule and mockery to circumvent any perceived threats to the controlling ego, the Frightened Child just runs away and hides under the covers. At the first sign of danger or difficulty, it shuts down in a kind of psychological narcolepsy.

Cynicism results in ironic detachment. Fear results in dissociation. Thus it is the Cynic and the Frightened Child that stand guard at the gates of Eden and bar the way to the Tree of Life, maintaining our pathological disengagement with life.

The Happy Child, on the other hand, is full of life, energy, courage, curiosity, innocence, imagination and trust, qualities that the cynical and frightened adult ego has lost. Which is why you won’t get far with psychedelics until you connect with your inner Happy Child.

The Psychedelic Way is a way of magic, adventure, playfulness and wonder. It is the way of the little heroes of children’s fiction, of Alice, Christopher Robin, Peter Pan, Momo and Chihiro.

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18: 2-3