THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION MYTHOS
This paper does not intend to deal with the issue of what actually happened to President John F. Kennedy. Instead it seeks to focus upon its psychological value to American society. So, in referring to the Kennedy assassination mythos, I am not attempting to state that I think one theory or another is only a myth, but rather am pointing out the psychological meaning that event holds for Americans. A myth is an unconsciously generated idea, and is thus capable of relating to our cognitive mind some insight our cognitive mind is not privy to.
It has been well documented that the vast majority of Americans do not believe the conclusions the government has published concerning the killing of President Kennedy. There are a number of stories Americans ascribe to as their version of events. There is not just one alternative version of events embraced by Americans. The version I am assaying for its psychological value is the version that has become most developed and most documented over time, in the hands of the majority of researchers. This myth is essentially that there were a collection of institutional and personal adversaries (and their willing accomplices) of JFK, who found it necessary to kill him, and in doing so, removed the leader elected by the people of the united states, in an act of violence not simply against John F. Kennedy, but against the entire nation of the United States of America and all it once stood for (a government by the people, for the people).
In this myth the list of conspirators includes The Joint Chiefs, the CIA, the FBI, The Secret Service, The American Media, the US Congress, Earl Warren (a US Supreme Court Justice), members of Organized crime families in the US, politically and financially powerful Texas Capitalists, the Governor of Texas, and the Vice President of the USA.
The main thing one must do in order to assay the mythos from a pivotal event is to attempt to decode the symbolic meaning of that event by restatement of the event in its most essential terms. What follows is first a breakdown of the basic idea of the assassination, and then an attempt at restatement.
1. Kennedy angered the Joint Chiefs and the CIA, the institutional forms that the Military Industrial Complex took on at the conclusion of WW 2, by countering their intentions to take advantage of the collapse of the British (and French and German empires) and establish the great American Empire.
2. Kennedy countered and threatened their Empire-building plans by questioning the usefulness of the civically unaccountable, rogue Central Intelligence Agency (Kennedy was considering breaking it up into smaller pieces), and by not giving in to the plans of the Joint Chiefs (who wanted a Nuclear war with the soviet Union while the US still held an overwhelming superiority in the number of long range bombers, and formulated a number of plans to start such a war), and by rethinking the whole idea that manifested as the Cold War (of there being a need for an all out covert and limited overt war to “Contain” the Soviet expansion).
3. Kennedy was moving decisively toward a more friendly relationship with the Soviet Union, thus threatening to castrate the political instrument (the Cold War) needed by the Military Industrial Complex to be able to freely co-opt the US government for their Empire-building plans. His stubborn opposition to the Joint Chiefs’ strongly voiced position on the need for war with the Soviet Union was in itself a threat to their ascendant power over the federal government.
4. Kennedy (via his Brother Robert, the Attorney General of the US) was threatening to declare war on the organized Crime families in the US.
5. Kennedy was going to Replace Johnson in his re-election bid, which would have opened Vice President Johnson up to murder charges in Texas (and the collapse of his corrupt life).
6. Kennedy’s plans to submit to congress a bill that would remove the favorable tax treatment Texas oil corporations had been receiving since 1922 was clearly a threat to the income of those corporations.
Thus, to restate, Kennedy, the enlightened self-interest of, the idealistic Will of the US people, was destroyed, cut down in its flower, by the American lust for
A. Security (safety, as in the military Industrial Complex)
B. Productivity (as in the Corporate barons who wanted to build the US Empire abroad, which would have been completely to their advantage.).
C. and rationalization of fears (its Intelligence, Defense Establishment).
The mythos of the execution of Kennedy was the collective unconscious mind of the American people telling them that their ideals were now officially dead, and that they have been killed off by the American lust for safety/security (especially in the face of the greatly feared Soviet take over of the world), the American lust for productivity (especially as it manifested in the intentions of Americas most powerful capitalist players’) of filling the empire vacuum left by a greatly diminished Great Britain and France), and our lust to rationalize our obsession with safety Symbolically represented as our Central Intelligence Agency).
The involvement of the FBI in the cover-up is a statement that the US national conscience accommodated our compulsive behavior. This is what we call rationalization.
The involvement of the American media in the cover-up is a statement that our psyche is not yet able to overcome its powerful tendency toward denial of painful and threatening facts.
The involvement of Organized Crime families is a statement that we have ulterior motives that have worked together with the instinctual impulses (such as the power drive, the survival instinct, and the instinctual drive for productivity) to subvert and utterly destroy our ideals.
The persistent referencing of Arthurian legend in connection with Kennedy’s administration, specifically that of Camelot, a fictional city imagined as the home of a great idealistic leader, confirms the reality that the American unconscious mind is telling them that their clinging to the idea of an idealistic America has come to an end in its post WW2 American empire building.
A careful study of Post WW 2 American history will support such an idea. The United States, which long fed on the idea that it was a people formed and held together by Ideals, not by the furtherance of national interests, progressively stopped feeding on that idea throughout the Cold War (the loss of American innocence was the true cost of the Cold War), until it stopped believing altogether, in the coup d'état that was the Kennedy Assassination.
The unconscious minds’ purpose for such a myth is that the American people cannot yet face the objective truth of this loss of their idealism and innocence. The unconscious mind generates myth in order to provide the cognitive mind with the means to overcome the delusional thinking of its fear-driven subjective consciousness.
That the Kennedy Assassination still grips the American public after so many decades implies that the death of American idealism is a great blow to the American idea of itself, and that the American community still has not come to face the truth of this loss. We still mourn the loss of Kennedy, not because we loved Kennedy that much, but because he represented an identity Americans long held, of being a community formed by ideals. Americans now no longer hold such an identity, and this loss is so terrible to them that after 5 decades, they still cannot face up to this loss. We still have not faced up to the reality that the American experiment has failed, completely.
All of this loss of identity raises some rather interesting questions; if Americans no longer identify themselves as the idealistic nation, what national identity have they replaced that with? I would suggest that they have been trying to replace it with the old empire idea of being God’s country, and therefore worthy of limitless prosperity and endless sacrifice. Such a swap of identities will lead to (and has already led to) all of the horrifically exploitative behaviors of past empires. And like those empires before them, Americans will remain unaware of their descent into collective, selfish, fear-driven destructiveness, rationalizing away all knowledge of their selfishness until they are destroyed in their turn, as all selfish empires eventually are.
But for those Americans who do face this statement of their society’s unconscious mind, they will be liberated from the terrible psychological weight of complicity with evil. They will be freed to engage the world around them in acts of generosity and thoughtfulness, a world that will become progressively hostile and terrifying to their fellow Americans.
One final note, the notion that something might be done to reverse the direction of the American government is based upon the delusion that the government is something other than the society that produced it. Unless the American people will begin to face up to their lust for power and productivity and safety and their propensity for rationalization of their selfishness, they will never even be able to contemplate altering the path of their government.
The destruction of the American way of life will represent the outcome of the collective unconscious mind of our species attempting to convey to our species that even the loftiest human ideals are not strong enough to govern fear-driven instincts. The Unconscious mind never gives up. It wrestles with our collective cognitive insanity continuously, sending up symbolically encoded insight for our healing, while knowing that we as a species will have to learn from experience the failure of our ego to govern our life before we can begin to listen to it.
We have left a natural connection with our unconscious mind, and the natural healthy existence it provided us, like the connection with God at the paradisaical door of our species’ infancy. We turned toward a serpentine self-conscious clinging to our idea of our self, and consequently developed an appetite for the knowledge of good and evil, and as a result turned away from our unconscious mind and its soft voice of symbolically encoded insight.
We are a stubborn species, a species made even more stubborn by the coping mechanism of pride (of a brittle identity). Yet our unconscious mind is not even remotely daunted by this stubbornness. And it will win in the end, albeit after we have collectively come to the end of our self, come to the full realization of the utter futility of ego rule of our unruly humanity by means of laws (of good and evil).
We are still quite proud of civilizations’ rule of law, and have no thought of giving up on that vain hope. It will take our species’ near extinction to tear this delusion from our grasp. In the mean time, you and I will either pursue the ends of our ego or the ends of our unconscious mind.
The ends of our unconscious mind will involve the total humiliation of our ego. This is an absolute requirement of a human born into the universal delusion of the egos’ supremacy. If you want to know what the ego-less path would look like, it will look like you not having to achieve something in order to walk that path. As long as your ego can possibly feel proud of your achievements it will remain tightly in control of your delusional psyche.
So, what is an alternative to achievement? The Humiliating quest. And by this I mean, questing until you find. Your ego will not love you for going on an undefined quest and remaining on it until you find whatever it is you need. It has no way of exerting any of its control over your life on such a quest. It is forced to sit in the back seat (while your unconscious mind and its cognitive interface, the intuition, sits in the drivers’ seat), and merely observe on such a quest. And it will violently oppose any attempt on your part to go on such a quest.
Your ego will whisper constantly to you, sweetly to you, go in this well worn path over here. We can measure our self against the progress of others who have walked this path, and you know how much you like measuring yourself. Look, they have things broken down into these wonderful little steps. If we do this we can achieve something in a measurable form, and you know how much you like to measure yourself. After all, we do still need to know just how good or evil we are, don’t we?
And all the while our unconscious mind is there waiting in patience and peace for us to see the truth that all of our haughty ego-driven steps have led us to merely being educated sick people. Our unconscious mind whispers to us to heed the completely foolish-looking call to go on a quest.
Our Ego replies; WHAT’S THAT? WHAT’S A QUEST? WHAT KIND OF PIE IN THE SKY NONSENSE IS THAT?
Go to some mystical school of thought, some religious center, some academic house of cards and do whatever they have you do. That’s what you want; you know it is! And be sure to get those credentials, by which you can measure your status of good and evil.
You know how much…
This is where this topic becomes something more than just an intellectual exercise for us. We are each faced with the dilemma of deciding between a path sponsored by our Ego, a path we can use to measure our self by, and a path sponsored by our unconscious mind, of intuitively questing for something we need and cannot even define, a path our ego wants no part of.
I believe a quote by Robert Frost is in order at this point in the essay. Something about the awareness (emerging from my forested unconscious mind) of their being two paths, and I chose to take the path of individuation, away from the path most people take of ego-domination of their life, to a path defined by harmony with the unconscious mind. And this choice has made all the difference.
The ego and the spiritual aspect of our species (what today we call the unconscious mind) are the two paths our species has available to us in our attempts to govern our problematic human condition. The USA represents for our species an experiment not merely in democratic government, but in the rule of ideals. Such an experiment was doomed to failure because it is dominated by the Ego’s fear-driven attempts to control our life via its subjective ideas about good and evil. Our impulses have never been governable by means of the deployment of rules. We always find ways to circumvent the rules we impose upon our self.
Our discussions of religious/philosophical/psychological ideas regarding the ego and enlightenment/or individuation are essentially our way of sorting out for ourselves how we might be able to better govern our own problematic human condition.
This study of the “American Experiment” with Democracy and its all too typical failure in the coup d'état that was the Kennedy assassination, reveals a very important lesson for our species on the bankruptcy of our fear-driven ego in its complete inability to govern our humanity.