Prototaxic Level

The earliest and most primitive experiences of an infant take place on a prototaxic level. Because these experiences cannot be communicated to others, they are difficult to describe or define. One way to understand the term is to imagine the earliest subjective experiences of a newborn baby. These experiences must, hi some way, relate to different zones of the body. A neonate feels hunger and pain, and these prototaxic experiences result hi observable action, for example, suckhig or crying. The infant does not know the reason for the actions and sees no relationship between these actions and bemg fed. As undifferentiated experiences, prototaxic events are beyond conscious recall.

In adults, prototaxic experiences take the form of momentary sensations, images, feelings, moods, and impressions. These primitive hnages of dream and waking life are dhnly perceived or completely unconscious. Although people are incapable of communicating these images to others, they can sometimes tell another person that they have just had a strange sensation, one that they cannot put mto words.

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