I recently read an article suggesting that Donald Trump represents the Jungian Shadow, the buried unruly, unmannerly part of people like me with liberal, progressive personae, who were the losers of the 2016 American presidential election.
I believe there’s at least some merit to this article. In particular, it makes the point that the “He’s Not My President” meme used by those who didn’t win the White House in 2016 is—in an almost uncanny way—nearly the same as that of the Tea Party and such folk after Obama’s first election win in 2008.
Carl Jung’s “active imagination” technique
I recently used a technique that Carl Jung called active imagination to write a dialogue with my inner Trump. This is something anyone can do, of course. What appears below is what my insides came up with that day.
As we stand up politically for values that appear endangered, it’s important to keep looking inside as well, to make sure we’re coming from truth and love, rather than mere anger and preference.
This dialogue [see below] was written, by the way, on January 21, 2017, the day of Trump’s inauguration.
In the month and a half since then, I have—besides attending the Women’s March on January 22, 2017—written an “inner letter” to Trump and a one-scene monologue of what I imagined as his inner thoughts. The monologue appears here below the dialogue and the letter will be published later.
I have also, on occasion, placed T’s photo on my home shrine and prayed for him. Not, of course, for the success of any of his divisive rhetoric or programs, but for his spiritual healing and well-being—the same way, really, that I pray for myself.
Max: Donald, you are loud, boisterous, argumentative, arrogant, angry, narcissistic, prideful, authoritarian, divisive and obnoxious. You are “not politically correct” – i.e. insulting, selfish, and bombastic. How can I dialogue with you?
Donald: I don’t know if you can, you pussy! You elitist! You pantywaist, you snob!
Max: I try to live values that, if everyone lived them, would lead to a better world—not that I always succeed.
Donald: You live in a dream world! Your father told you that! You live in a world that’s not real! The real world is every man—every country—for himself, for itself! There are enemies everywhere! You have to take care of Number One! Me first! America first! Nobody else is gonna look out for you!
Max: But you see, I feel we’re evolving beyond that! I feel that part of me is an anachronism! And you, who believes that, are like a Neanderthal! You even look like one! We have to be our brothers’ keepers! Your ways will kill us! They’ll kill everybody! You’ll have the whole world at our throats! And you have no impulse control! You’re likely to start a nuclear war just because you’re pissed at someone who’s not deferring to you enough!
Donald: You people never get out of your cities and suburbs, your cafes! You don’t even know what real people are like! You’ve never had to really work for a living!
Max: Well, neither have you!
Donald: I’m going to take over! I’m a 4-year-old boy having tantrums, and I can have them whenever I want because I’m the President! I won! I own all the toys! I’m the boss now, and you have to listen and everybody else does, too! You scorned me but you lost, asshole! You lost and I won! So eat shit!
I’ll do whatever I want and I won’t let the pussies in the press or anyone else say mean things about me! They don’t know! They don’t understand! I’m a good boy! The people who like me—the people who look up to me—know that! The rest of you are my enemies, and I don’t care what you think, and now I have armies to make you be quiet if you keep up what you’re doing!
If you can’t see the great things I do, the great boon I am for America, then you deserve everything I do to you! You won’t like me, I won’t like you! Only I’m the Boss! And when the Boss doesn’t like you, watch out!
Max: I recognize that we all have fantasies of omnipotence. At a certain point, usually very early in life, we want all the toys, all the power. Most of us learn to share. I’m a preschool teacher and every day I see children learning that—along with a few who don’t seem able to.
What’s unusual is that you seem to have grown into adulthood with a 4-year-old mentality! It’s true, you made a lot of shiny buildings and you coupled your emotional immaturity with grown-up skill in some areas. You really do seem kind of like an Ayn Rand character: the “hero” who only cares for himself; the romantic individualist whom the bureaucratic world tries to, but fails to, take down.
Donald: They’re not gonna take me down! I’m gonna take them down if they keep trying!
Max: I see you more as a Shakespearean villain figure. Whatever the strength of your ego might be, to let you even get away with being a personification of a grown-up boy’s omnipotence fantasy—whatever there is of that, that you’ve been able to actualize up to this point in your life—I feel you’ve reached too far, and your hubris will bring you down! I only hope it doesn’t bring down the whole world with it!
Donald: Nothing’s gonna bring me down!
Max: That’s what some of Shakespeare’s villains thought, too, I think.
Donald Trump tells all: A monologue
(Dark stage, Donald Trump sitting in a chair. He seems to notice the audience, sits a bit more, then starts to get up.)
DONALD: Oh. You came here? People usually don’t come here.
But, here you are.
OK. You found your way here. This is where I live.
I don’t live in that glitzy tower in New York. I don’t live in that mansion in Florida, or that big white place in DC.
No. I appear in all those places.
I live here. I live in my own mind. Just like you.
On a dark stage, with nothing but my thoughts, my feelings, my memories. My desires.
And you found your way here.
We all have our stage, I guess.
Who we are when no one else is around—no fans, enemies, wife, children—no one.
So you want to know the real me?
You came to the right place.
I didn’t get to be President without a lot of trial runs. (D.T. seems to be looking and thinking back.)
It wasn’t long ago, you know, that I was just a boy.
Born to a man who was, believe me, a very tough man, a real slave-driver.
And he, well, he acted like, believed that, he owned me.
And he hated himself!
He was full of rage. And all of it, he laid on me!
I lost count of how many times he beat me with his belt! How many times he screamed, “You STUPID!”
But there was nothing I could do. There were no escape holes in that world. And I was so miserable.
And then he sent me of to military school – governed by the same law of the pack.
I realized early on that the world, everything, is just shit!
People are shit; they’ll screw you, and the only way you can get by is to screw them first!
The world is basically hell, and the King of Hell is the one who doesn’t even pretend to play fair
or to the kinds of niceties that so-called “good people” live by, at least in public.
This is just stuff I’m telling you, but I learned it.
Day by day, through all those years.
I learned that to not be bullied, you have to be the bully yourself!
I learned to make people fear me! I learned what I’ve seen people quote me as saying:
If someone screws you once, you screw them five or ten times!
I learned to give the least and get the most in everything!
So now I’m President. Now I have all the power of the President, which is virtually infinite power.
There are very few “checks and balances” if a President uses all his power aggressively. He can call out the army! Hell, he can blow up the world! And if you use bluster and threats … you become almost invincible!
So, I do what I do. Power. Exercise of power. Theatre. Threats!
(Seems to change mood, becomes thoughtful in a different way)
Some say there’s a God and Love is the Key to life!
Some say brotherhood and harmony and belief in Infinite Possibility are the hallmarks of life, because life is structured spiritually!
I don’t know. Maybe it is.
I’ve never seen any evidence of that, though.
For me, there’s only my own reflection in the mirror.
Only the applause or jeers, the laughs, the dealing, the fear in people’s eyes, the saying whatever it takes, no holds barred.
And then sooner or later, I come back here.
I have all that power.
And where does it get me?
Where is there to get?
Nowhere, in this hell! It’s all shit!
And yes, you’ve somehow followed me here.
And I’ll tell you this truth, though if you say I admitted it, I’ll deny it!
Having the most, being the most, in the shit.
That’s the best there is.