Asheville Citizen-Times Article on A Clear and Present Danger

Donald Trump is the best thing for America

Suppose this headline greets us on Nov. 9. Win or lose, the challenge before us with his candidacy is first to comprehend what is occurring and then to muster a meaningful response.

The book A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump, recently assembled by 18 psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and university professors who examined the subject of narcissism. To some, Trump’s ascendancy has been a spectacle worthy of Ancient Rome. To others, he offers a bastion of hope that America’s pre-eminence can be restored.

According to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, we are all influenced by a personal unconscious comprised of material that for many reasons we repress and a collective unconscious comprised of forgotten or more universally represented material shared in common with other cultures and epochs. For example, recurring Trinitarian motifs exist in many world religions: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (Hinduism), Osiris, Isis, and Horus (Egypt), and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Christianity). Jung proposed that these recurring ideas in myth, fairy tales and religion provide evidence of a collective unconscious domain.

Donald Trump is a galvanizing figure who tapped into something deep, collective and highly energetic. From a depth psychology perspective, the divisions and polarizations evoked by the 2016 presidential election provide an opportunity for transcending the opposites that Trump and Clinton revealed. The Divided States of America are more apparent today than a decade ago and we might do well to quit blaming Trump, Clinton or Obama. Trump may have provoked reactionary elements in the electorate, Obama and Sanders may have activated exuberant, hopeful progressive elements, and Clinton has stirred intense enmity that strikes some people as misogynist, but at most they exposed already existing elements in our society…..

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