I have argued here several times since inauguration in January that an incestuous dynamic had invaded the White House, the dynamic having been reflected in numerous video recordings of Trump’s lascivious intentions for his daughter Ivanka in the past decade. I have predicted that just as with any incestuous family, the need for privacy (i.e. “secrecy”) is paramount in a household tainted with this poison as it has dark secrets that needs to be hidden from the light of the day. And I’m not talking necessarily about sexuality for there are times in which the incest dynamic never reaches the point of acting out in terms of sexual violation but is nevertheless no less dangerous. The sexual acting out dimension of the poison is only one symptom and the core of the problem is much more pervasive and ultimately catastrophic. There is in a household of this “style” a deep-seated fear and distrust of the outside world which often can be described even as “paranoid.” The lunacy of this dynamic has been on display almost daily in the White House. From even before inauguration, Trump was lambasting “fake news” which was his label for any news report that was critical of him. And he has sought to muzzle the press and even enquired about changing laws that would place limits on the freedom of the press.
A closed system is intrinsically averse to information from outside of its echo chamber. It doesn’t want any information coming in from the outside and it does not want any going out. It is a static universe and finds the dynamic quality of life that meaningful exchange with the “other” would put on the table to be terrifying and even threatening of a complete loss of control. The result is an echo chamber in which the only “noise” permitted is a carefully orchestrated exchange of thoughts and ideas that are slavishly devoted to the mandate of…in this case…the Great Leader. This is the “epistemic closure” or “confirmation bias” that I have focused on for the past several years as I watched this conservative madness metastasize.
In the dysfunctional family that is inordinately closed off from engagement with the outside world, we find an illustration of what C.S. Lewis called “violation of the law of exchange.” Lewis knew that life was inherently dynamic and requires a “flow” in which meaningful participation occurs between those “entities” (i.e. “persons”) opting to participate in the process of life. Those that don’t, those who opt for the privacy of a self-referential system, will have declined to participate in life and have opted instead for death. This death can be subtle, as with a family or group whose soul is captivate by the repressed poison and become a caricature of the human experience, and has produced generations of spiritually inbred children…and maybe even physically “inbred.” The death can become literal, as when the incest victim is violated, but the violence of incest which is often sublimated can instead lead to behavior and someone will then die, even literally. Yes, the violation of a child in an incested family is itself a death, a death which sometimes takes the lifetime of the victim to complete its murderous intent. And then, there are times when it leads to overt acting out in which blood shed can occur. The eruption of the violence is when the poison contained within the tightly-closed cauldron explodes and then a family will erupt into a violent episode causing bloodshed. Sometimes in the incested cauldron of group dynamics the eruption will take the form of violence inflicted on others, venting upon someone or some group who fell conveniently into the category of “them” and therefore earned their disapproval and abuse.
An inbred dynamic is a black hole. And if the body politic is not careful, it can dutifully continue on a course of civic and political decorum rather than intervene and make the creators and perpetuators of this tragedy face “reality.” By not holding the perpetrator responsible and therefore setting a limit, he is being validated and again being told, “Go ahead. No one will stop you,” and the end result will be a catastrophe. Physics, and the biological sciences, will tell you that a closed system will always self-destruct at some point as it has betrayed a fundamental quality of life, reaching out to others and making oneself available for others to reach out to. Mental health, and the whole of life, requires boundaries and reciprocity and almost daily we see indication that the Trump administration, and the Republican Party, is opting for a different direction.
But when one, or a group of “ones” is trapped in this black hole of self-referentiality…described by Paul Tillich as “an empty world of self-relatedness”…the resulting tragedy is inevitable. Shakespeare saw this closed-ness as a dark disease and those who are stymied by its grip on the heart are, “like the owner of a foul disease, to keep it from divulging, (will) let it feed even on the pith of life.” He was saying, “It will eat your heart out as it feeds on your heart.”
Here I have used a clinical perspective about dysfunctional families which, nevertheless, is sometimes applicable to the human family or some portion of it. The term “incest” is a bit over the top for our White House even though Trump’s incestuous inclinations are clearly documented and his attitude and behavior has been consistent with this incestuous dynamic. It is almost comical to think of a family like the President, the cabinet, the various political appointees deserving the label “incestuous.” But the metaphor has value nevertheless.
Here I am using a clinical perspective about dysfunctional families which, nevertheless, is sometimes applicable to the human family or some portion of it. The term “incest” is a bit over the top for our White House even though Trump’s incestuous inclinations are clearly documented and his attitude and behavior has been consistent with this incestuous dynamic. It is almost comical to think of a family like the President, the cabinet, the various political appointees deserving the label “incestuous.” But the metaphor has value nevertheless.
Two other blogs of mine are listed here which I invited you to check out: