Trump Continues to Not Understand Irony

Trump told students at Liberty University yesterday that there is “nothing more terrible than being a critic.”  Now, I can’t help but wonder why he would be so critical of critics???  His saying that would be like accusing the media of lying or calling someone crazy.  Oh, he does this doesn’t he?  It would be like me saying, “There is nothing more terrible than being bald-headed and neurotic…or wasting one’s time writing a totally important blog as if it is important.”  It is similar to his party’s insistence that it is the responsibility of Democrats to “stand behind our President and give him a chance” not remembering their battle cry in the early days of the Obama Presidency, “Let’s make him a one-term President” and “I hope he fails.”

But the GOP is trapped in the delusional world they created which brought their spokesman to power.  If they fail to keep him propped up, even as he digs himself in deeper, their dishonesty will be more apparent to all and might even begin to dawn upon them.

******************

Two other blogs of mine are listed here which I invited you to check out:

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

 

Posted in conservatism, group psychology, psychology, Republican Party, Spirituality and politics, U.S. Congress | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Lunacy Marches Onward!!!

One of the pithiest Shakespearean glimpses into the human soul is when Hamlet, under the duress of internal demons, pines, “Oh, if I could but flee into a nutshell and there be the king of infinite spaces.”  Shakespeare knew that lunacy offers an escape from the monotonous and often vicious daily grind of reality that that most of us have the wherewithal to cope with.  In the realm of a “nutshell,” a delusional system, one finds escape in a private referential system from which the “slings and arrows” being hurled from outside are just not recognized, possibly even being described in present world as “fake news.”

But this lunacy of Donald Trump could not have existence without a support network of the Republican Party who are terrified of what happen if Trump is removed from office.  What they don’t realize is that with their tacit approval, they are letting us know that they locked in their own “private, self-referential system” which permits them to tolerate a man who is not capable of speaking and behaving in a manner that shows respect to the social contract that most of us abide with.  Compliance with this consensually validated reality requires limits, ego boundaries, which facilitate our respect for decorum and civil niceties, not to mention the law itself.  Trump and Trumpsters daily demonstrate a tolerance for disrespect for this social contract, a willingness they first committed to when they lined up behind him in the campaign last year.

Almost daily Trump makes outrageous statements and assumes that we have no reason to doubt him when daily he also gives us clear evidence that there is no reason to believe he is telling the truth.  Increasingly he is secretive, even paranoid, and now threatening to even stop the daily press briefings.  Anyone trapped in the hell of this abyss of isolation fears any intrusion from the outside.  Just now I heard him on TV insist that the recently fired FBI director James Comey must “speak the truth” even though he and his handlers daily speak untruth, or as Kelly Anne Conway once said, “alternative truth.”

I read somewhere, “To be real, that is to be an object in a known field of circumstances, is to be amenable to a rule.”  Trump has demonstrated from day one of his candidacy for the presidency that he is not “amenable to a rule” and this character flaw has been so egregiously demonstrated that the welfare of our country is in jeopardy.  But the GOP stands lamely by, hands in their pocket, smile on their face and blames the Democrats, the media, or even Obama.  We are witnessing the human dilemma unfolding before us, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality” (T.S. Eliot) and will opt for lunacy en masse.

Posted in conservatism, Donald Trump, psychology, rationality, Republican Party | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greek Drama, Truth, and Our Political Mess

For months the Trump administration has refused calls for an independent special prosecutor to investigate Russian influence in the U.S. election last November.  With Trump’s firing of James Comey yesterday, the FBI director who was investigating the matter, there is additional clamor from both sides of the aisle for a special independent investigator.

The Republican stance continues to be that this is totally unnecessary, that the investigatory capacity of the government is already in play and is quite capable for handling this issue.  But, they fail to acknowledge the obvious, that since they control all three branches of the government they have the power to readily influence any investigation, especially since now Trump can select the new director of the FBI.  To allow a special investigator to come onto the scene would be risking the presence of a perspective in their house which is not enslaved with their preconceptions, a primary one being to keep Trump and his team propped up even in light of the profound lunacy that unfolds almost daily.

Truth is in play only when openness and candor is allowed.  In fact, the Greek work for truth, alethia, is formed by the alpha privative “a” and the root word “lethia.”  “Lethia” is the stem for the term “lantern shade”, which when pulled down would block the light from radiating outward from the lantern.  The alpha-privative coupled with “lethia” tells us that truth comes when the “lantern shade” is lifted and the light can radiate, implying that the commonplace is for the lantern shade to be down and the light not allowed to radiate into the darkness.  The Greeks, introducing humankind to consciousness, realized that darkness is the routine of day to day life and that “light” only comes when some “truth-teller”, always a hero of some sort, had the courage to lift the lantern shade and tell the truth.  And, yes, at times this truth teller is even a mad man, the Shakespearean fool, or an an artist, or certainly someone who is not certainly ensconced in the collective “truth” which upon closer scrutiny is merely agreed upon dishonesty.

This is not necessarily as sinister as I’m presenting it.  This is day to day reality and allows a tribe to function.  But when the dishonesty metastasizes to the extent that it has with the Republican Party, it can produce a tragedy-in-the-flesh like Donald Trump and woe threatens us all.  But Republicans hold the power, and they are supported by a base who have pledged their support to Trump with the entirety of their soul, and the voice of our “prophets” in the field of artists, comedians, and poets can be over-ridden with the monolithic power of those who hold the reins of government.  May the Lord have mercy on us.  The Greeks in their drama would, in a case like this, would often employ a “deux ex machina” in which the play would be interrupted with a God intervening, mechanically coming down from above the stage, and resolving the dilemma of human folly.  Yes, may the Lord have mercy upon us!

*****************************

Two other blogs of mine are listed here which I invited you to check out:

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.com/

Posted in conservatism, Donald Trump, Election 2016, Greek Tragedy, group psychology, psychology, Republican Party, Spirituality and politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama Warned Trump about Michael Flynn!

The New York Times just reported that President Obama warned Trump after the election that hiring Michael Flynn to his national security team would be ill-advised. Now, boys and girls, get ready for the fun to start.

I predict Trump’s response will be simply, “That’s a lie.  That’s fake news!”  And is spin machine is now furiously working on how to cover for Trump once again.  Shortly Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary, will be facing the media and we will see another display of his non-sense.

And, of course, the base of his party will blame Obama, accusing him of lying.  And, in their line of thinking, they might have a point as they believe the Lord has placed Trump in charge of our government and certainly the Lord, the Essence of Truth Himself, would not put a liar in the office, would He???

The leadership of the GOP will respond lamely, afflicted of the same illness of Trump, a complete inability to admit to having made any mistake.  Meanwhile, Trump’s overt dishonesty and general lack of character continues to unfold and eventually the only way to stop a complete unraveling of his administration will be to provoke a war.  And, of course, his supporters will be quick to say, “Atta boy!”

Seriously, I’m not as cynical or hopeless as I seem.  I’m in this for the long-run and this current “tempest in a teapot” in human history will find resolution, though possibly long after my allotted “three-score and then” have passed.  Shakespeare felt, like I do, “There is a Divinity that doeth shape our end, rough hew it how we may.”

Posted in extremism, mental illness, psychology, Republican Party, U.S. Congress, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fox News, Sexuality, and Power

Fox News is showing its ass again, and in a sense even more graphically than before. While sexual harassment is wreaking havoc in the organization, one low-level unimportant talking head with a background of obnoxious behavior recently felt the liberty to utilize a vulgar sexual innuendo in reference to Ivanka Trump.  And just today Bill Shine, a network co-president, was forced to resign because of his tacit approval of the atmosphere of sexual tyranny in Fox News.  (See link— http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/28/fox-friends-news-psychology-appeal-conservative-media-215044)

What these incidents reveal is the smugness, the unquestioned assumption that men are in power and they can do and say what they will with women.  And, I grew up in this culture…as most of us did…and treating women as an object was totally acceptable.  I worked in a factory in the early 70’s and women on our team learned to live with Penthouse and Playboy “spreads” of naked women on the walls of the office.  The women, who were usually “objects” of the male gaze, had to accustomize themselves to walking into the office where breasts and “gaping” genital spreads were conspicuously posted on the walls.  This was a way of reminding these women, remember when you look at these pictures, “This is your place, this is where your value lies.”  I am not without complicity.  Though I was very young and too timid to actively participate in the implicit objectification of my female colleagues, subjectively I did.  Women were “things” and we men had the prerogative of owning these “things” and using them for satisfaction, be it in our imagination, or in the closet of the break room, or in the parking lot during break time or lunch break.

Now, objectification is part of human experience and I am comfortable with the male emphasis of viewing women as objects.  We are all objects in some sense.  But what is often missing is the complementary understanding that these “objects” have a reality of their own and do not exist merely as a “thing” to toy with and “amuse” ourselves with.  The objectification is a necessary part of human experience but it is possible, and imperative upon us, to realize that the “object” of our desire is also a “subject.”  One dimension of this relationship is to grasp, cognitively and emotionally, that these objects of our desire have a subjective reality and find violation as, shall we say, “difficult.”  But in traditional culture, this “difficulty” is not an issue and the man’s role is to “take it” and the woman’s role is to “submit to it .”  This is because women are mere objects and men, being the subject in the universe, can only relate to them as the object.  The subjective experience of the women is totally over looked and the violation of her “space” is even an essential element of the engagement.

What is the solution?  Well, the solution is underway as sexual politics have changed and in the bedroom, I suspect the dynamics are changing, reflecting the changing dynamics in the work place and in society at large.  The specifics?   Hmm, well my prurient interests are intrigued but the curiosity is idle.  Couples are working out the details and hopefully there will be no explicit tell-all book about the details.  Sexuality is personal.

Like all issues, this is a spiritual issue.  The complex relationship between men and women, described in Proverbs as, “the way of a man with a maiden,” is an arena where the heart of collective mankind is put on the table.  In some cultures, such as with Isis, it has been solved as women “know their place” and dutifully submit, without question.  Questioning would be extremely dangerous.  In many parts of our culture, the gender roles are being questioned and redefined.  This reflects a general trend of questioning boundaries in the whole of our culture which threatens our definition of what is real and what is unreal.  Inevitably, this is met with a fierce insistence that boundaries be rigidly defined, that “walls” be erected to shut out anything that is different, including those “damn Mexicans.”

Posted in racism, rationality, sexism, Spirituality and politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Moon is “Still” Made Out of Cheese!!!

Several times I have used this assertion to demonstrate our human lunacy.  For, if you think “the moon is made out of cheese, then it is made out of cheese” in your mind, in the mind of the one who is thinking this!  For, one having this belief reflects a private, self-referential view of the world, a dungeon which any other view point is not permitted.

Trump is now providing legitimization of a common criminal.  But inviting Rodrigo Duterte of the Phillipines to visit the United States, he is offering our hospitality to a man who is reprehensible to all that we stand for.  This is not unrelated to the fact that Trump himself is a man who represents for this country “all that we stand for.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/30/us/politics/trump-duterte.html?_r=0)  But, perhaps that is not the case.  Perhaps, beneath the surface our Superman-claim affirmation of belief in “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” there is a subterranean dimension in which that bromide means nothing more than, “A view of the world as we see it.”  Anytime our view of the world is so sacrosanct…to ourselves…that we believe it is inviolate, we are demonstrating our avarice and rapacity.  And we can claim our Christian values, our “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” as much as we want but those others in this human tribe that we all belong to can see readily through our hypocrisy.  Of course, like anyone in a delusional system, we solve any threat by simply adopting the perspective on any such criticism, “Fake news!!!”  As Auden reminded us, “And Truth met him, and held out her hands, and we clung in panic to our tall beliefs and shrank away like an ill-treated child.”

 

Posted in Collective Unconsciousness, Donald Trump, group psychology, mental illness, psychology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Negative Capability, Psychosis, and Politics

Several weeks ago I blogged about negative capability as viewed by a psychotherapist, Diane Voller.  She applied this literary term to describe the need of a therapist to become “involved” with the patient on a level that is not the safe cocoon of clinical detachment.  She explained how this required finding the courage to embrace the vulnerability that certainly lead her into the profession in the first place, and finding that she could survive in the tumult, confusion, doubt, fear, and ambiguity that lurks in the human heart. Any meaningful therapy can be offered only by someone who has found the courage to live “in the trenches” of human pain and not be affected too much by what the anthropologists call, “contagion.” (Voller’s article can be found here– http://www.contemporarypsychotherapy.org/vol-2-no-2/negative-capability/)

The term was coined by poet John Keats in the early 19th century to describe the gut-level turmoil that he recognized gave him the ability to cavort about in verbal field of his heart produce poetry.  Good poets have a facility to venture into that territory as they have found a solid core in their heart which allows them to handle the duress, though often this ability is tested to the limits.  These poets can stand tall, stand firm in an existential abyss that would destroy a lot of people. Most people avoid this duress and do so without problems.  They will certainly live on the surface of life but that is the calling for most people and “surface dwellers” are always the back bone of any tribe.  It is true their “calling” is an escape in a sense but “escape” has its place always in human experience.  Even the poet, standing firm and tall, utilizes an “escape” but does it while giving expression to the subterranean energy that flows in his heart.  Standing “firm and tall” merely means that he has the ego integrity that will permit him to abide, at least occasionally, in this existential dark place and withstand the tumult.

But there are some in any tribe whose heart is anchored in this existential abyss in a way that threatens reality, his own and others.  In fact, this person’s heart is not just anchored there but it has become a “comfy zone” to the point of removing any desire to find his way out or any awareness that there is an, “out there.”  The delightful cocoon in which he is imprisoned, his “empty world of self-relatedness” (Paul Tillich), has become a fortress from which he will wreak havoc on those around him.  While the rest of us daily face reality, part of which is, “those thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to,” as we toil-on in life most of us do not sip the tasty nectar of a private delusional system. A extreme delusional system, such as psychosis, sometimes allows one to function in a social context if he can find one in which his need for power and control is accommodated.  This person can even achieve great power, even becoming the leader of a huge and important nation if he can find enough people who are fear-based in their identity to allow his fear-mongering to trigger deep-seated insecurities and frailties.

“Psychotic” or even “mentally ill” is not a fair term to describe to most of these who have fallen under the spell of a demagogue.  The internal conflict that is common to us all does not reach so deeply that it expresses itself in the need for power and control like it does with a demagogue.  Many people’s response is one of powerlessness and even hopelessness making them fodder for a demagogue’s promises of power and might, possibly in slogans like, “Make America Great Again.”  Any culture provides “conflict avoidance” maneuvers or contrivances…religion being one…and the internal strife can be avoided or minimized. But, the suppressed pressure, often generations in the making, seeks to find expression and sometimes deep-seated needs will supersede moral and ethical standards and people will pledge their support to someone who is the embodiment of everything that they have spent their life opposing.  They will have found someone who can articulate the rage and frustration they have spent a life time silently enduring.

Let me be less subtle.  I don’t know that “psychotic” is the appropriate term for Trump but I do know that he demonstrates classic psychotic features.  And he has the structure of a political party who finds his delusional machinations compatible enough with theirs that they stand firmly behind him.  It is a “folie a deux” carried to the extreme of a, “folie a millions.”  If they fail to support him, then their quest for power will be thwarted and possibly even for the long-run, and they might have to acknowledge their “internal conflicts” without blaming them on Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.  Denial is always easy and more comfortable…in the short run.  But the conflict that is being avoid, in all its abysmal ugliness, eventually will “out” and great will be the devastation.

I must reiterate.  I am not saying that those who voted for Trump and support him are mentally ill…any more than the rest of us!  I am suggesting that they, like all humans, have internal conflict which Henry David Thoreau had in mind when he noted, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.”  It is often extremely painful to bring to the light of the day this existential anguish and it can lead to mental illness, including psychosis.  But those with an open mind and heart, or at least one that is not rigidly closed, can give expression to this turmoil through art, music, poetry, and non-dogmatic religion.  This turmoil cannot be given redress by mere regurgitation of cultural commonplaces and naïve unexamined premises.

***********************************

Here is a list of my three blogs.  Check the other two out sometime!

https://anerrantbaptistpreacher.wordpress.com/

https://literarylew.wordpress.com/

https://theonlytruthinpolitics.wordpress.co

Posted in Donald Trump, group psychology, mental illness, psychology, Republican Party, Spirituality and politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment