The Tetrarchic Self:
Correlating Freud's Transference with the Four States of Bahá'u'lláh

By Wolfgang Klebel

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #123
Bosch Baha'i School: Santa Cruz, CA
May 22–25, 2014
(see list of papers from #123)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 16, pages 27-48
under new title
"Freud’s Transference and the Four States of Bahá’u’lláh"
© 2015, ‘Irfán Colloquia


    In Lights of 'Irfán, Book 6 (2005; presented in Bosch 2003), this writer has taken the statement of Bahá'u'lláh in the Seven Valleys as the "Mother Verse," and further developed this idea in most of his later papers. Bahá'u'lláh explains that this formulation is added here so "that the full meaning may be manifest" and then follows with "And thus firstness and lastness, outwardness and inwardness are, in the sense referred to, true of thyself, "¦" Building on this, and correlating it with Niels Bohr's concept of "Complementarity", Romano Guardini's idea of "Gegensatz" (Polar Oppositeness), Ken Wilber's "Quadrants" and Karl Wucherer's "Integral Whole," Ferdinand Ebner's and Martin Buber's "I-Thou" relationship and some findings of neurocardiology, means developing this statement of Bahá'u'lláh into a tetrarchic structure, all of which could be called a Bahá'í­ Theological Analysis.

    Following this development, this paper will look at the Freudian concept of Transference (Carry-over) of the initial relationship between the child and the mothering-one, which is transferred into analysis and all other relationships. What is carried over is the relationship between parent and child, where several things happen during the early years.

    The instinctual needs of the child are taken care of by the mother, who with verbal and non-verbal communications brings spiritual values and meanings into this relation. Providing food expresses mother's love for the child and cleanliness becomes the symbol of being beautiful and acceptable to the child. It can be stated that Freud's transference concept understood in this way provides the bridge between the spiritual and the biological, the nurture and the nature of man. Additionally, this concept demonstrates how this relationship is carried over from one generation to the next. This is what Freud meant when saying that "the mother teaches the child to love."

    Long before that, this author has demonstrated in his Dissertation (1976) that Freud was unable to understand the spiritual aspect of transference, because of his deterministic and reductionistic world view. Yet, when analyzing his patients in therapy, Freud observed and studied transference and reported it. On the other hand, he never could combine anything he said about culture with the transference concept, and never used these two words in the same book together, in spite of his understanding that both are essential in all human relationships.

    If the transference concept is understood in a wider sense —Freud always insisted that transference occurs in all human relationships —it becomes a very useful idea bringing the spiritual and material aspects of all human relationships into focus. Both pairs of opposites described in the Valley of Unity of the Seven Valleys —"Inwardness and Outwardness, Firstness and Lastness" —will then be supported and correlated with the idea of this carry-over, this transference of the original relationship between the child and the mother, connecting and uniting the four poles of the tetrarchy.

    The psychoanalytic Object Relation Theory has further developed the transference concept of the mother-child relationship. In this relationship the child develops his sense of self, actually becomes a self in relation with the other —the mother —and Winnicott has developed this idea into the cultural realm. The transference concept seems to be correlated with the statement of Bahá'u'lláh that "Inwardness and Outwardness, Firstness and Lastness are "¦ true of thyself," given us a psychological understanding of what is "true of thyself." How the child acquires her first "God Representation" in the process of becoming a self at age 3 was documented by Ana Maria Rizutto MD and will be correlated with the Bahá'í­ Writings as well, considering the understanding that the Manifestation is the One "Who representeth the Godhead.

    In a sense all the prior papers of this writer come to a closure by using transference in developing some basic ideas of a future Bahá'í­ philosophy and psychology, originally based on the "Mother Word" of Bahá'u'lláh in the Seven Valleys.

    This paper is a continuation of Understanding Reality: Bahá'u'lláh's "Four States" of Man, Seen as Tetrarchic Structure (2012).