The Stages of Growth: A Beatlist Essay
It is believed by many that as we grow, we go through distinct phases in our lives that are typified by the dominance of a particular Inner Beatle. The traditional view assumes that we begin as Ringo, then proceed through the stages of George, Paul, and finally John, all in order. This is to say, as a child, we are like Ringo, happy but oblivious to the world. As we gain a sense of our surroundings, we enter a George stage, and become highly contemplative, and afraid. Next, as we approach adolescence we become like Paul, acting rashly and out of an emotional impulse. As we mature, we enter the adult phase of John, where we have synthesized the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of the other three Beatles.
Although this theory postulates the presence of a dominant Beatle, it is important to remember that the other Beatles are definitely present throughout this maturation process. It is unclear how, but in some subconscious, rudimentary fashion all of these suppressed Beatles affect the individual during every stage of growth. It is as if the balance of power between the inner Beatles is simply uneven at the early stages, and the checks and balances that keep them level have not yet been formed properly. For example, if the Inner John is not yet exerting his calming influence on the Inner Paul, the Paul is able to flail about with emotional abandon, easily dismissing the George's impotent cries for spiritual restraint. Thus, as we grow and form the necessary connections and repulsions between the four Inner Beatles, we allow ourselves to experience a fullness of life that is impossible earlier on in our growth.
More recent Beatlist theorists have written at length of a possible cycle, in which the relationships between our inner Beatles dictate certain psychological changes that affect our behavior and cause particular problems. The idea is that our Beatles are constantly being pushed apart and pulled back together by the Inner Yoko and George Martin, and this can cause the balance of power to shift. When the Beatles are the closest together (the high GM phase), it is likely that one will enter a Ringo phase. This regression comes about due to the lack of creative tension, and can lead to a real rut in one's life. Alternatively, when the Inner Beatles are furthest apart, and seem almost completely disconnected (the high Yoko phase), we are likely to experience an extreme of George, feeling adrift with the self, and unable to relate to anyone. The point at which the Beatles are pulling together, but still are still distinct (the mid-GM phase) is often dominated by Paul, leading one to emotional outbursts and extraordinary prolificness. Of course, when one's Inner Beatles are in the midst of being forced away from one another (the mid-Yoko phase), it is typically a John phase, and is perhaps when we are at our most lucid. While these four phases are typically the cycle we go through, part of the Beatlist's goal is to break free from that repetition (even if to do so one must embrace the repetition). This may be accomplished by trying to maintain a balance between these inner Beatles and gaining greater mastery of the inner George Martin and the Inner Yoko. It is only by overcoming the cycles of our inner Beatles that we can hope to reach the Upper John.
There are a number of philosophical debates that have been raised by the above theories. Of course, there is determinism vs. free will, whether our Inner Beatles are predetermined on some cosmic or biological level to interact these ways, or do we have some power to alter their relationships. Are our Inner Beatles bound to eventually break up and splinter as we grow old, or is it possible to keep them together through some effort or discipline of mind? And do we as unique individuals come with a predisposition towards favoring a particular Inner Beatle, or are these preferences and tendencies chosen and fostered by us during our lifetime? Another question is how the lower (George & Ringo), and upper (John & Paul) Beatles can exist as distinct and equal members of a hierarchy in which all Beatles must interact with each other at all times. Are the George and John simply two parts of the same entity, or are they separate? John is the evolution of George, yet he is also the negation of George. Simillarly, Paul is Ringo's conclusion, and yet Ringo must exist outside of Paul.