If the American people use Trump as a mirror to see our Shadow, we can liberate ourselves from our own base instincts and build on the resistance to Trump to transform the United States into a compassionate community.
The shadow, said celebrated Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung, is the unknown ‘‘dark side’’ of our personality–-dark both because it tends to consist predominantly of the primitive, negative, socially or religiously depreciated human emotions and impulses like sexual lust, power strivings, selfishness, greed, envy, anger or rage, and due to its unenlightened nature, completely obscured from consciousness. Whatever we deem evil, inferior or unacceptable and deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow, the counterpoint to what Jung called the persona or conscious ego personality….
The pervasive Freudian defense mechanism known as projection is how most people deny their shadow, unconsciously casting it onto others so as to avoid confronting it in oneself. Such projection of the shadow is engaged in not only by individuals but groups, cults, religions, and entire countries, and commonly occurs during wars and other contentious conflicts in which the outsider, enemy or adversary is made a scapegoat, dehumanized, and demonized.
Unfortunately, with his blatant “power strivings, selfishness, greed, envy, anger [and] rage,” Trump is an All-American. He’s just more honest about it.
Are you free of those tendencies? I know I am not.
When we deny those realities, avoid confronting them in ourselves, and cast them onto others, it’s easy to demonize Trump and get carried away with our own irrationality.
Trump is a threat. It may well be that he is “crazy like a fox.” There may be a method to the madness that he, Bannon, and Miller exhibit.
He’s discrediting the lamestream media and creating his own reality, which his loyal followers accept uncritically. And he still has a 40% approval rating. That’s a lot of people.
And all he needs is a major crisis, whether manufactured or not, and more violent anti-Trump protesters to boost that base and increase his power.
If we are hateful ourselves, we’ll give cover to the anarchists. Somehow we need to figure out how to deal with those who are prone to violence. Conducting demonstrations with a clear, strong tone of dignified nonviolence would be a great first step.
I remain hopeful that our strong civil society and judiciary will restrain Trump — if we are thoughtful in how we resist.