Monthly Archives: December 2016

Toady of the Year

It was a pageant. Magnificent. Wonderfully satisfying. The one bright moment since the election.

Trump staged it over several weeks. Like Stalin, Trump forgets no slights. He bides his time. When a beauty queen from a decade back, a teenager, gave The Donald a tiny grief, he ranted and raved for half a week against her.

But for Mr. Toady, The Donald arranged a Pageant of Revenge breathtaking in its brilliance. Six months earlier, Mitt Romney had eviscerated Trump, the most accurate, brilliant, savage analysis by anyone throughout the nearly two year campaign.

“So, Mitt, Baby, why not dinner at my Golden Tower,” purred the Master. “We’ll talk about you as my Secretary of State.” And Mitt went to the Golden Tower. This was big stuff, not a silly beauty pageant. Secretary of State is about Power! And The Donald was now, well, a great leader. Mitt said so. And when Mitt got invited for a second visit with The Lord of The Golden Tower, of course he went.

Today, Trump revealed it had all been a pageant – of Revenge. No, and again No! No Secretary of State.

Mitt Baby, sancta simplicitas, his bloodied head in his hands, rushed a tweet to We the People. The Con Man, the Fraud, the Rogue, the Rapscallion a mere six months ago had transmogrified into a great Lord and Leader. Surely Romney tweeted while on his knees.

Trump’s magnificent Pageant of Revenge:

Mitt Romney – Toady of the Year!

Vaporization of Facts

The most remarkable fact of Trump’s world, population 62 million, is the vaporization of facts. We feel crazy, as, 24/7, Poof! there goes reality. The five senses are not the problem, continuously streaming data. The brain, a physical organ, has suffered no damage. The impairment is one of judgment, and that is the province of mind.

Brain evolved through nature, mind evolves through other minds. Mind is like sourdough bread – it always needs a starter. Some 80% of Foundlings without a mother-surrogate, abandoned to a mindless world, died before two years of age. Only humans create humans. We become human through other minds. From birth, this ongoing interaction not only shaped our internal world; it kept and keeps us alive! “God is infinite, but we cannot imagine the infinite. We must have some finite person. I feel someone is standing behind me. I feel always the hands on my shoulders.”

What is the relationship between Trump and the mind of his 62 million voters that vaporizes the factual world? That is our problem. It is not trivial.

A suicidal, depressed man jumps off the Golden Gate bridge. He survives. As he plunges to his “death,” his mind suddenly becomes bombarded by a thousand searing lights, illuminating sorrow, regret, terror, grief, a torrent of sadness breaking the heart. “What have I done!”

What he has done is throw light on the workings of mind. At the moment he leaped off the bridge, his mind was throttled by one thought, that of suicidality. His mind had been narrowed to one channel. No input from other points of view modified that thought. The enormous pain of depression had silenced his mind, reducing his inner world to one dimension. As he plunged to his death, the vast emotional richness of his inner world re-awakened from which depression had exiled him. He had become sane. This astonishing turn-around is well known. One treatment with electro-shock therapy can, at least temporarily, restore the powers of mind.

What narrows the mind of 62 million Trumpians?

ANXIETY!

which denudes mind to one dimension, that of

OMNIPOTENCE AND THE POWER OF FANTASY!

“When Moses didn’t come back down the mountain right away, the people went to Aaron. ‘Look,” they said, ‘make us a god to lead us, for this fellow Moses who brought us from Egypt has disappeared, something must have happened to him.’

“Give me your golden earrings,” Aaron replied. So they all did – men and women, boys and girls. Aaron melted the gold, then molded and tooled it into the form of a calf. The people exclaimed, “O Israel, this is the god that brought you out of Egypt.”

Anxiety had denuded the mind of the Israelites to one dimension, that of fantasy. They imagined a golden calf with the powers of a god. They could not think. A colleague describes Trump as “1/3 P.T. Barnum, 1/3 Liberace, 1/3 Mussolini.” Mind discriminates. Fantasy can imagine whatever it pleases. It gives the delusion of omnipotence. It disregards fractions and arithmetic.

Trump doesn’t communicate through stone tablets brought down from a mountain top. He tweets from the golden heights of Trump Towers. For unnumbered millions he whispers messages with the authority of someone speaking with god. He does as he pleases. He will run his business and the country at the same time. The Presidency of the United States is not a big enough responsibility He is ruthless and vindictive, amping anxiety.

The political system that brought us through the last 240 years is threatened. That is a terrifying realization. It generates anxiety. That threatens our capacity to think.

Mind recognizes that our country has suffered a grievous injury with the election of Trump. Mind also recognizes that Trump is 1/3 P.T. Barnum, 1/3 Liberace, 1/3 Mussolini.

Mind will exercise its full powers of judgment.

The Genius of Trump

Trump is a genius. He has become the most powerful man on the planet. THAT’S GENIUS! He is one of a kind, a sui generis – in the United States! He has manipulated 62 million American voters to give him the vast powers of the presidency.

Anna Marie Cox, a contributor to MSNBC, is “terrified.” Can psychoanalysis help us understand how Trump pulled off this looming disaster, how he got that army of 62 million to vote for a con man, for a fraud?

Yes It Can!

Begin with the obvious fact that to the world we present many persona. When with friends, we present a different state of mind than at a conference with colleagues, or when with our children, or talking family finances with our spouse. These persona are recognizable and persist through time. They have structure. They are predictable. They make up what we call “our personality.”

Suppose we map these durable and familiar patterns of behavior onto our internal world. They must be housed somewhere, and that’s where the mind comes into the story. OUR mind! Each of us has a recognizable personality, shaped by our unique internal structures. Psychoanalysis refers to them as internal objects. They make up our internal world.

We now add a critical observation: the internal objects that make up the structure of our mind – the sum total of our persona – invariably generate an emotional field, the intensity of which varies enormously. Using the electromagnetic spectrum as metaphor, some are experienced as mildly as radio waves, some with the unbearable intensity of gamma rays.

Let’s assume our mind is made up of an x-number of persona half of which are shaped by experiences as an individual, and the other half linked to our experiences in groups. Psychoanalysis began with the individual, by examining the vicissitudes of sexual life. The emotional energies associated with sex, like the Oedipal structures, overwhelm the power to think. The mechanisms of defense the mind jerry builds are wasteful and ineffective. Psychoanalysis presents a methodology to make these hidden conflicts conscious and managing them economically efficient.

Do the emotional energies as members of a group likewise overwhelm the capacity of mind? Absolutely. Sexual conflicts are powerful, but group life arouses issues of identity and survival. These emit gamma rays. Throughout history, “Us Against Them,” the most intense of our group persona, has all but torn the planet apart.

Trump’s genius is that he knows how to get a group to operate on the same wave length, and from that region of the spectrum which emits the most powerful energies. 62 million voters responded emotionally to his mendacious assertions America is going under, crime and violence are ubiquitous, collapse of the social order is imminent. The enemy is at the gate. Survival is at stake.

And his prescription for dealing with this radiation of hate and violence and impending annihilation?

I ALONE CAN SAVE THE GROUP!

It is the genius of every authoritarian to elicit these levels of energy and belief in his prescription. What makes Trump unique is that he pulled it off in the longest surviving democracy, our beloved United States of America. After 240 years, along came The Donald, and we believed!

Verne Lundquist observed, “It’s almost impossible to overstate the degree of passion fans have for college football in the southern part of our country.” As it is impossible to overstate the degree of passion that racism commands – still raging after criminal centuries of slavery, 620,000 dead in the Civil War, a hundred years of Jim Crow, magnificent two terms of a black President.

Trump’s campaign bombarded our electorate with waves of radiation that vaporized all facts. Common sense gave way to omnipotence. “Come let us reason together” echoed from a lost planet. Now, King of kings and Lord of Lords resounds through our land. That is not music by Handel.

Psychoanalysis can help us understand this catastrophe by recognizing the group’s vulnerability to delusional fantasies. It has examined for over a century the problem of omnipotence.

(to be continued)