If Donald Trump Had a Selfie Stick, We’d All Be in the Picture
A psychoanalyst concludes that Trump is the modern incarnation of Narcissus — an intrusive, omnipresent and terrible-to-behold mirror image of America’s worst public face.
Because a single powerful leader will draw from the rest of us powerful projections ranging from savior to devil, from healer to destroyer, I have long been interested, as a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst, in the relationship between politics, mythology and psychology. For people like me, this is our year.
Like many others, I didn’t take Donald Trump seriously at first. Then, while traveling in Australia in the spring, I saw a young man taking pictures of himself and his girlfriend using a long selfie stick that he used to place his iPhone right in a koala bear’s face. At that moment I thought of Trump. He is using the longest selfie stick in the world to project his face around the globe, stirring intense emotions in others with simplistic ideas about race, ethnicity, gender and national security — the ingredients of what in our field we call “the group psyche.” Unlike many political commentators, I spend a lot of time exploring the psyche of the group — what lives inside each of us as individual carriers of that psyche and what lives between us in our shared experience of swimming, so to speak, in the same waters of powerful collective emotions.
Each of us has taken a Trump trip over the past months — a nonstop rollercoaster ride: obsessive, compelling, endlessly dramatic and at times outrageous and terrifying. Sometimes it seems we have crossed over into a mad incomprehensibility — as with Trump’s recent suggestion that “2nd Amendment Americans” just might take care of Hillary Clinton…