I’ve noticed this before. “Adult” sounds a lot like “A dolt” to me.

“First used as a noun in Early Modern English, from dialectal English dold (“stupid, confused”)”

Source: dolt, Wiktionary.

So I made a distinction between people who are perceived to be “adults” versus people who are the more healthy “grown ups”. Is this just a personal theory of mine ? Maybe I am projecting my own frustrations onto society in some way ? So I looked a little deeper.

“French adulte, Latin -adultus (“grown up”), perfect passive participle of adolescō (“I grow up”). Compare adolescent.”

Source: adult, Wiktionary.

“Dold” and “Dult” could be a coincidence. But then look here …

First used as a noun in Early Modern English, from dialectal English dold (“stupid, confused”), from Middle English dold, a variant of dulled, dult (“dulled”), past participle of dullen, dollen (“to make dull, make stupid”), from dull, dul, dwal (“stupid”). More at dull.” [My emphasis]

Source: dolt, Wiktionary.

But look closer at “dult” !


past participle of dølja”

Source: dult, Wiktionary.

dølja (present tense døl, past tense dulde, past participle dult, passive infinitive døljast, present participle døljande, imperative døl)

(archaic) to hide, cover, keep out of sight

Dei dulde seg bak døra.

They hid behind the door.” [My emphasis]

Source: dølja, Wiktionary.

To hide ? To cover ?!

This is starting to sound a lot like another mythic/etymology revelation of collective trauma. It looks like the word “adult” used to mean something different as in “stupid person”. Then the meaning changed to mean something much more neutral. However part of its word root traces back to “to hide, cover, keep out of sight”. This sounds much closer to what is really going on today. Trauma became partly normalised as a “normal” state of being grown up. It is assumed that a “healthy” grown up has left, and must leave their innocence behind as something that “is supposed” to be left behind in childhood. This process would certainly match the Freudian/Jungian model of complex trauma where any serious childhood abuse before full ego development (even neglect) causes a split to occur where the innocence (spirit) is split off for its own protection. However this causes problems in later life.

So the etymology is “telling me” that this is how the  collective trauma manifests itself in this cunning (trickster daimon, see Inner World of Trauma by Kalsched) process that hides itself (“to hide, cover, keep out of sight”) and portrays itself as “the proper way to behave”. Those who have a more healthy integrated innocence from childhood now they are grown up can get seen as …

  1. Somehow being “not normal”, or even “child like”.
  2. A threat by the inner “self care system” (Kalsched’s term) because integrated innocence represents the authentic human emotion AND SPIRIT that was part of the problem in early childhood trauma of what ever kind.

You would have to read Inner World of Trauma to really get this but I suspect I have given the flavour.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *