The Shining Stranger sees the essential messages of all humanity’s “beginning” legends as 1) the parent-child relationship as one of mutual adoption, and 2) the parents ultimate duty of casting out the child from the parent’s hosting role into the life that awaits them. Preston Harold says of this casting out:
Because the fetus is a parasite, albeit symbiotic, each child expresses parasitic will. His problem is to have done with it, for it leads to an attempt to possess and feed upon another human being – mentally, emotionally, economically, and long ago, literally.
Parent must break the parasitic bond. The mental, as well as the physical, umbilical cord must be cut. The process begins as the child is weaned and must be complete before he becomes responsible as an adult in the eyes of society, his body sufficiently mature that he may be parent himself. At best, this operation is painful for the parent, but more so for the child…. Life demands this.
Yet today we have a record number of young people between the ages of 18-30 living at home. Modern economic factors are the main contributor. Since the great recession of 2008, many jobs have been lost and those that are available pay on average a good deal less. College graduates are saddled with ridiculous amounts of tuition loan debt. Even those graduates who have found jobs can’t afford to leave the nest. Well-adjusted young adults want to leave the nest. It is psychologically important for both them and the parents that they do so. From the parental perspective, Preston Harold tells us:
The exposure myths symbolize the conscious or unconscious parent-sense that recognizes the need to drive the child out of his infantile paradise – just as God, eternal parent, drives man out when the time has come that he wants to exercise his God-given intelligence and know or experience life.
From the child’s perspective:
The Eden legend says that man’s curiosity cannot be irresponsibly expressed and idly satisfied without his doing evil, that one cannot feed upon truth irresponsibly because truth places responsibility for himself and for his acts upon him, that knowledge of life cannot be acquired within the parasitic state secured by paternalistic bonds.
So will there be a price to pay for this contemporary societal “failure to launch?” One must keep in mind that not all cultures hold hard and fast to this rule of leaving the nest, but it certainly dominates Western culture. That being said, we will explore more of what it means to enter the world of adulthood in our next entry. Until then, peace…