Friends,

I am posting a paper I wrote for Pacifica regarding the phenomenon of Donald Trump. It is an analysis of what is happening from a Jungian perspective, outlining the underlying dynamics of our current environment. I believe we as a country need to look at the implications of Mr. Trump's popularity. We ignore this reality at our own peril. I hope it is useful for anyone inclined to read it.

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Good morning Julia - thank you for your review of "the phenomena of Donald Trump"...according to Jungian archetype nature analysis.  This read was helpful for me for Jungian ground remains unfamiliar ground as I was not Jungian trained.  

Your work helped me as I continue in my struggle grasping the conceptual nature of anomalies.  As David Spiegel, MD stated in his 2000 remarks...book review of:

Varieties of Anomalous Experience [ISBN 1-55798-625-8]..."The book deserves its consciously positioned place in the tradition of William James's objective analysis of the subjective"...for we moderns are..."the people looking for our "lost keys under the lamp post because the light is better there, first focusing on behaviour, then cognition, then emotion."  The editors..."Cardena, Lynn, and Kripper have provided a powerful flashlight to expand the territory to be explored for the key to experiences that challenge our power to explain."

Best I say no more for I am too novel in Jungian analysis and American politics, however, I am paying attention to the multitude of depth voices arising - in here, out there, everywhere.    Peace + Love Linda

 

Linda, I love that quote about looking for the "lost keys under the lamp post because the light is better there, first focusing on behavior, then cognition, then emotion." Very relevant for our situation as I don't think we, as a society, are looking where we need to be looking. Thanks for sharing.

This is great!  I downloaded your paper to share with my spouse Tom Lavin a Jungian Analyst here in the Chicago area.  Tom is doing a presentation at the Jung Center in Evanston April 1st (April Fools Day :-) entitled "The Trump Phenomena"  His talk is not to criticize Trump but to discuss why our culture is so vulnerable to such a trickster.  Who would have thought he could have gone this far?  We as a nation need to study this phenomenon.  Trump has tapped into something.

Mary Ellen, feel free to share my typological views with Dr. Lavin (posted directly below).  They may inspire him.  :-)

Thanks Mary Ellen!

I agree that this is critical to understand. A Trump presidency is a frightening prospect. But, maybe some clarity can come from it somehow.

I wish I could see your husband's presentation, but I live on the East Coast. I'm sure it will be lively.

FYI Pacifica has some audio recordings of Tom Lavin presentations that are worth one's time.  (My husband and I listen to them in the car whilst driving.)

This was great fun, Julia!  It's given me a great deal to chew on.  You seem to have really nailed some aspects of The Donald.

I've been working out a perspective based in typology.  Van der Hoop, who was analyzed by Jung for six months, wrote a book on typology fifteen years later, after practicing as an analyst and interacting in depth with patients and immersing himself in typology.  In his book on the topic, Van der Hoop did some interesting switcheroos with Jung's vocabulary.  One of the switcheroos is that instead of referring to the "sensation" type as Jung did, he refers to them as the "instinctive" type.  Now I don't know whether "instinctive type" is a good descriptor for introverted sensation types, but I can see why it might fit for extraverted sensation types.  This type generally does not tend to reflect, but is more inclined to behave instinctively, and their instincts are closely identified with the ego... there is little forethought or afterthought -- there is simply action.  They are the ones who often "become the ball" when playing games, "become the car" when racing the Indy 500, or "become the musical instrument" when performing in a concert.  Their ability to be "present to the moment" is remarkable.

Based on the foregoing... my conjecture is that people are attracted to Donald Trump because he's an "instinctive type" [an ESTP in MBTI parlance] who behaves somewhat like a wild animal.  Rather than showing a polished persona (such as Hillary has developed), Trump is "real" and "lets it all hang out" and "speaks his mind."  And this is invigorating to people.  He is tactical, rather than cautiously strategic and well-considered... which (in contrast) politicians are typically renowned for.  

It's possible that our culture is so disconnected and deadened through our constant exposure to media, technology, and inauthentic "political correctness" that it seems "real" to see an instinctive character show up.  It's like having a wild tiger onstage.  (An old theatrical maxim tells actors never to perform in a play with children or wild animals, because they are so "real" that they will upstage you.)

I also think that our culture has defined its primary values according to power, wealth, and celebrity -- all of which Trump enjoys.  So he is the epitome of our culture's highest values.

It has been said we get the elected officials we deserve.  My fear is that we will end up with Trump as our President because he reflects the values our country has chosen to honor, consciously or unconsciously.  :-(

Much interesting material here. Your description makes a lot of sense, especially with extraverted types. I guess on some level our culture knows the instinctual is needed. Isn't it just like us to gravitate to the loudest, most raucous form of it embodied in Donald Trump.

I read something by M.L. von Franz in her book Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales last week that stuck with me related to this situation. She writes "..in a population, in a confused way, the simple suffer more than the learned people from the undercurrrents of archetypal development." To me, this says that the people who are supporting Mr. Trump's candidacy, many of whom are not highly educated, may be particularly tapped into the archetypal need of the times. If only he was more conscious and mature perhaps he could actually carry out the trickster cycle and help us to transform into something better.

I wish the parties would start talking to each other about how to deal with his candidacy. It would be a much more worthwhile conversation than they are having. Alas, I am fantasizing again. :-)

Well, the Trickster has a "leveling" effect.  Hermes stole Apollo's cattle, and as a result of his theft, he gained attention from Zeus, was given privileged status, and even became a compatriot to Apollo -- even though he was a thief!  Somewhere in the literature Hermes says outright that he's looking out for himself and through his activity he's going to get somewhere in the world. 

Through Trump, do not the "simple" put themselves on par with the "learned people"?  Nobody is better than anybody else, especially when it comes to American politics.  (It occurred to me last night after posting that Trump and Bernie share this in common:  both are appealing to segments of the population that long for radical change, upheaval, and a fresh approach to politics.)

I may be crazy, but I do think Trump is "individuating" through this process.  Seriously!  He's being forced to address issues just beyond his reach, and is growing behind the persona mask in ways we cannot fathom.  Personally, I cannot write him off as a narcissist, sociopath, or all-around "bad guy" like the Hitler he is often compared to.  Having said that, I do NOT believe he has the competence and the diplomatic intelligence necessary to being presidential... and that is what frightens me.  God forbid his "instinctive" finger hover over the nuclear arms button.  :-(

Interesting perspective on his individuation process. I hope he is, but it is hard to discern the real man from the public persona. I guess he's not unique in that. Just much more obvious. Thanks for the conversation, and the reference to the Tom Lavin material at Pacifica. I will check that out.
I tend to agree with your type of analysis Vicky. If Trump or even Hitler showed up in a dream, we would be best served by analyzing his place and purpose in our psyche. If he shows up in our culture, which is the effect of the collective psyche, we have to ask why. I think you're pretty on target. Personally I don't think even Adolph Hitler himself in his most pschopsthic phase would be able to do anything like what Germany allowed him to do. America is so much more culturally and ideologically diverse than Germany was, and our system even though quite eroded, still presents major stumbling blocks for a president that wants to rule dictatorially. We should be much more alert to the "totalitarian tiptoe", I feel.

My father used to take me and my brother to great movies when we were kids. He had a background in acting and film analysis and he would point to certain scenes and ask us "What does this mean?" In our collective movies of life, Trump is an important character to understand more than to physically oppose. And the same goes for each of these other politicians. Every president in my lifetime at least has acted as an abandoning shadow father type, some more or less punitive, but none have served us in a healthy way. In my view, the bigger problem is that we have still not left this abusive household and continue to put faith in these "father things" (men and women both) that will continue to appear until we work though their meaning and integrate the energy in ourselves that they represent. :-)

Julia

i appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to express and share your ideas in regard to Donald Trump. I happen to vehemently disagree with them. Trump's self adulating and vainglorious appreciation of himself and his achievements represents one of the highest expressions of the masculine spirit. Another famous American  Muhammad Ali expressed the same sentiment this way "I AM THE GREATEST." And most middle class mothers tell their children to go out into the world and become the best person and achiever that they can possibly become. The Olympic motto of faster higher stronger is supposed to be what we all aspire to as human beings. Trump lives and feeds off his spiritual desire to be the best at what he does. This is good. This is masculine. He has made billions of dollars in the real world out of his spiritual obsession with being the best at what he does. He doesn't  hang around with convicted pedophile procurers  like the bored prince randy andy or the jaded pervert bill clinton. He has an empire to build. That he enjoys the adrenaline rush stemming from his success only inspires him to go higher faster and stronger. This individual built his empire out of his own inner resolve and resources. Besmirching one of the highest expressions of the human spirit does not reflect well on your analytic judgement. I'll leave it there because I appreciate the fact that you stuck your neck out there and placed your thoughts on the line. I appreciate your courage in that regard...

 

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