Spin Machine Now in Full “Spin”

Again, the Trumpster is demonstrating, “Brain stem with arms and legs.”  He is speaking off the cuff without any “pauser reason” that is Divinely gifted to us with our neo-cortex.  He declared today his intent to use executive order to violate the 14th amendment which explicitly states that anyone born in this country is an American citizen.  So his “spin machine” is now in full gear, saying in so many words, “Well, how to we get him out of this…without putting him into the moral/spiritual crisis of saying, ‘Oops! I was wrong.'”  I would love to have a rough estimate of how many man hours (and “woman hours”) have gone into covering up the impulse-ridden blatherings of this this man who is, in spiritual terms, a neanderthal.  And those who march in lock step with him might scratch their heads and ask, “Hmm.  Is this me?  Is he speaking those ideas that I’m just too timid to speak?  Am I, too, lost in my own private reverie to the point that I lose all concern for basic human decency?”

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Posted in anthropology, Collective Unconsciousness, Donald Trump, extremism, group psychology, neurophysiology, Republican Party | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Crazed and Stumbling Lunatic,” huh???

Trump today labeled one of his critics,Tom Steyers as, “a crazed and stumbling lunatic.”  I can only imagine his handlers looking nervously at each other, seeing how anyone in his position should be aware of his own frailty and know that he could not accuse anyone else of being a, “crazed and stumbling lunatic.”  Just as in his early childhood, he has no one who will set limits and, mustering some respect say, “Mr. President, at times you are kind of “erratic” and that makes it problematic to accuse anyone of being a, “crazed and stumbling lunatic.”  But just as in a pathologically disturbed and dysfunctional family, no one will confront him with reality and probably scurry and will even about trying to get in a position of reassuring him that he is right.  As in my clinical experience with adolescents and children suffering from the “Trump syndrome,” the family will passionately reaffirm him, make excuses for his excesses, and blame the school and often law enforcement for, “picking on our little boy.”  But what the “family” in this scenario does not understand is that they are reinforcing his pathology and thereby encouraging him to continue on his path of self-destruction.  For, if they set limits with this miscreant, they would no longer have anyone to put on display the hidden pathology of their own hearts.  Trump is the living expression of what the American soul has hidden for centuries; and, yes, this is especially so of the Republican Party.  It is frightening to look before you, having a living example of your soul’s core, and be faced with the responsibility of owning your own ugliness.  ‘Tis much easier to blame someone else…such as “the Democrats,” or “Obama,” or the “Jewish fat cats”, or the “media.”  It is too troubling to utter the famous words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Posted in psychology, Collective Unconsciousness, mental illness, rationality, dysfunctional family | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nationalism Can Just Be Collective Egotism

Trump declared last night in a campaign rally for Ted Cruz, with great pride and emphasis, “I’m a nationalist.”  That is not necessarily bad as pride in one’s nation state is noble just as it is to have pride in one’s tribe.  But his rhetoric over the past three years has suggested that his emphasis of “nationalism” is primarily a declaration that the United States is great…as in “Make America Great Again”…and some countries are “shit-hole countries” and by extrapolation all other countries are, “shit-hole countries.”  Tribal pride is noble but when it is overly emphasized to the point of de-emphasizing the value of other tribes it cannot help but lead to violence, as in “war.”

My clinical background provides a pertinent comparison.  Trump’s declaration, as described above, parallels what some of my clients might have declared if they’d have had the self-awareness to do so, “I am an egotist.”  For egotism, very much related to narcissism, is an inability to recognize that there are others in the world, from a clinical situation meaning “others” in the sense of others in the family, the school, and the tribe.  But when egotism runs rampant, the individual’s unmet needs are so paramount that he/she cannot consider the possibility that fulfillment of his/her needs might impose unnecessary duress on others.  When the egotism metastasizes, he announces in so many words, “I don’t give a damn” about others.  I will take care of myself first.”  Or, in Trump’s case, “America first”; and, borrowing from Queen Marie-Antoinette, he might have said, “Let them eat cake.”

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Here is a list of my blogs.  I invite you to check out the other two sometime.

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

Posted in conservatism, Donald Trump, group psychology, psychology, Spirituality and politics, Trumpism, U. S. Congress | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Absence of Discretion Strikes Again.

The recent murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey gave our hyperbolic president another chance to demonstrate the lack of even rudimentary diplomatic skills.  He immediately responded with the threat of “severe punishment” if this murder was orchestrated by Saudi Arabia.  He could have easily resorted to a more appropriate response, such as, “We take this event very seriously.  We will continue to gather further about this tragedy, will consider our options, and then respond appropriately.”  This does not have the bully dimension but clearly conveys that the matter is taken seriously and then leaves Saudi Arabia to consider, “Uh oh.  What does he have in mind.”  But Saudi Arabia, knowing quite a bit about bullying…just ask their women…responded with the promise that any follow through on Trump’s threat be met with “greater action” on its part.  In standard issue bully dialogue, when one bully makes a threat to the other bully, the other will respond with, “Oh yeah!  I dare you…and we will up you one!”

Trump responds to any crisis with threats and intimidation.  If he had that neo-cortical capacity to employ, “the pauser reason”, he would consider his words carefully and realize that threats are likely to be met with threats.  But he lives by contention and thrives on it.  As his critics say, he feels any attention is better than none and the more contentious he can be the more attention he will be creating for himself. This type of behavior is ok on the elementary school playground.  But this two-year old holds the nuclear codes, given to him by the GOP hierarchy, a commitment reaffirmed daily as they continue to refuse to set limits to this little boy that articulates daily the voices in their head that they don’t have the courage to speak themselves.

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Here is a list of my blogs.  I invite you to check out the other two sometime.

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

Posted in Donald Trump, extremism, psychology, Republican Party, U.S. Congress | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump, Shame, and Shamelessness

I heard a noted psychologist share an anecdote about his toddler son in a lecture one day relevant to the subject of healthy shame vs. unhealthy shame.  This psychologist and his wife were entertaining another couple in their living room one evening when their young son, ambled out from the bathroom with great joy, announcing to everyone the size of a stool he had just left in the potty, gesturing with his hands just how magnificent this accomplishment was.  The psychologist responded affirmatively, saying, “Wow” but immediately added, “Now let’s go in the next room for a moment and talk about it.”  He then shared with the young tyke about the need of not discussing “potty” activities with other people, especially visitors.  The son was probably shamed somewhat, a “healthy” shame, but was not excoriated or paddled.  The father knew that this was just a matter of his son not knowing yet about social niceties regarding eliminative functioning.

This little boy was in the process of getting “shamed” into human culture and from this anecdote his experience probably did not involve emotional or physical brutality.  His parents were “aware” of the subtleties of human behavior and knew that their guests were also and so there was no need to over react and introduce a “shame-base” to the child’s character.  At the same time, the father did not neglect to tactfully and kindly introduce his son to a social nicety as failure to do so, with the assistance of further similar neglect, would have produced an adult who might even today be quite proud of such “accomplishments.”  He would then be living a “shameless” life.  Shameless people can live in defiance of common convention and be very proud of it.

“Shamelessness” is what happens when a child does not learn limits.  He will run roughshod over basic civilities, social conventions and niceties, rules of decorum, and just common-sense etiquette.  A person like this will have not learned self-restraint or self-monitoring, and will be “disinhibited”; he might even be described at times as a, “brain-stem with arms and legs.” In my clinical practice, this behavioral style could usually be curtailed if addressed early enough and if the family was mature enough to learn to set limits.  But if the child was too old, or if the family and the family’s social context reinforced the aberrant behavior, there was no way to change the shameless behavior and a “train-wreck” was unleashed upon the community.  Hopefully no one with this profile ever becomes a prominent political figure.

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Here is a list of my blogs.  I invite you to check out the other two sometime.

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

Posted in Donald Trump, dysfunctional family, mental illness, psychology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Existential Quandary

Sarah Huckabee Sanders brought to my mind a quip from the book of 1 Timothy in the New Testament about people have “have their conscience seared with a hot iron.”  In the religious culture of my youth, this always meant that “they” (someone different than us) had their conscience seared so that they could not speak the truth or see it.  I did a little research on the word and it applied to all people, not just the “sinners” and even can apply to Christians.  The word “sear” in Greek gives us the root of our word “cauterize” so Timothy was speaking of people who had their senses numbed to the point that they could not know pain or pleasure.  Shakespeare described people of this sort of having their heart “bronzed o’er” so that “sense” or feeling could not penetrate their stony heart.  And without “sense or feeling” our ability to think with maturity will be stymied and we will be locked in a private referential system of thought.

Ms. Sanders is a good woman.  And I have no doubt that she is a Christian as she says that she is and even in her current situation I have no doubt of the efficacy of her faith.  But she demonstrates how that we can have firm and passionate faith and still be seduced by the temptation of Trumpian darkness.  She frequently stands before the country and defends her “boss” when he has blatantly lied or behaved unseemly and then contorts Trumpian grossness into something that will make it appear palatable to the Republican base.  For example, yesterday Sanders defended the president in his mockery of the Kavanaugh accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, saying that Trump was just stating facts. And with this assertion she was demonstrating the Trumpian mindset which thinks that “facts” are objective, not realizing that what appears “factual” must be taken in a context. Again, we have a demonstration of how many Christians have “sold their soul” in some sense to Trump, maintaining loyalty to this man who embodies everything antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.  Trump appeals to their darker impulses, a notion which, of course, they live in complete denial of.  They cannon contemplate the notion that one can be a good person, and even a good Christian, and still have dark impulses that influence their life.

I described Ms. Sanders as a “good woman.”  This is because “good” men and women can be seduced by darkness and even evil, though Christians often have the specious defense, “Well, God is leading me.” They then hunker down behind this “divine leadership” as they are convinced that anything they feel and think is valid and not to be questioned, certainly the matter of God’s leadership.  But they forget the wisdom of 1 John who has told them to, “Try the spirits whether they be of God.”  Sure, they know this verse and “know” that they have “tried the spirits” but fail to consider the possibility of a self-serving “trying.” Again, my favorite bumper sticker is relevant, “Don’t believe everything you think.” The wisdom of an ancient Greek philosopher is relevant,  “Men honour what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.”    People mired in literalism, scriptural or constitutional, have chosen to deny the presence of anything lying beyond the grasp of their mind and thus they are free of any doubt about what they, think, say, and do.

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Here is a list of my blogs.  I invite you to check out the other two sometime.

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

Posted in Collective Unconsciousness, conservatism, extremism, Fundamentalist Christianity, group psychology, psychology, religion and politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump Does Not Think but is at the Mercy of Thoughts.

Trump today insulted a female reporter, apparently misunderstanding her and then rather than giving her a chance to clarify, told her, “Oh, I know you are not thinking.  You never do.” However, he is the one that “never thinks” and is actually constitutionally incapable of it.  Oh yeah, he has a lot of thoughts bouncing around in his skull, a package of thoughts…you might even say “a binder full of thoughts”…and they are all self-referential.  This is why he has made so many events about himself to the point that the U.N. laughed at him last week when he claimed to be such a great President.  If he would have been “thinking” he would have known that it is not socially apropos to share your grandiose thoughts about yourself.  Most of us know that to share thoughts of this sort will make one subject to being laughed at.  Most of us have what Shakespeare calls “the pauser reason” which is a more mature level of thought, thinking that is infused with self-awareness so that consideration for the social…and political…context will be included.  Trump does not have that filter which is the reason he could brazenly speak publicly in the past about his lascivious desires for his lovely young daughter.

A closed mind is one that circles around itself, even feeding on itself in some fashion, and therefore, “feeding even on the pith of life” as Shakespeare put it.  It consists of “packaged thoughts” which are centered on a very few principles, usually characterized by the need to maintain a very private and self-referential view of the world.  A closed mind cannot allow any contrary notion to filter in as it would entertain the fear of crashing like a house of cards.  It would not do that in most cases but its fear-base cannot permit the perceived danger.  This is the phenomenon of epistemic closure, believing only what one wants to believe so to maintain one’s preconceptions and premises.  This is not “thinking” but being “thought” by the aforementioned “packaged thoughts” that constitutes the person’s reality.  This is tantamount to having been brainwashed; and brainwashing that is most effective will be so emotionally soothing that its victims will never be capable of awareness of their bondage.

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Here is a list of my blogs.  I invite you to check out the other two sometime.

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

Posted in conservatism, Donald Trump, epistemology, mental illness, psychology, Spirituality and politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment