Sunday, October 16, 2016

Positive Thinking

Donald Trump was married to Ivana in a ceremony conducted by Norman Vincent Peale (who said of Trump, that he was "kindly and courteous in certain business negotiations and has a profound streak of honest humility.").  

I am going to call this ironic, because of a thesis I am about to advance: the creed of Positive Thinking, which Peale did so much to advance, is almost inherently one which leads to what might be called "emotional exclusionism".  This exclusionism, or dissociation, is a big part of the psychic split which Trump has done so much to make visible.

We have all met people who were deeply committed to putting the brightest possible light on everything, of always staying upbeat and positive, and of smiling as much and as often as possible.

We have an older gentleman in sales at my company who embodies this now somewhat Old School ethos.  Friendly to a fault, vivacious, always laughing, everyone is terrified to drive with him.  He doesn't pay attention and he flies into rages at everyone.  You get to the destination, all smiles and positivity again.

It seems to me that in America we have a tendency to confuse pretending with reality; that if we just believe something is so with enough will, it becomes so.  In its most extreme form this manifests as things like The Secret.  There may or may not be something to it, but there is clearly not a core correspondence between what we HOPE will happen, and what actually reliably does happen, unless hard work and a good plan are part of the hoping. 

But this habit accustoms us to confusing surface reality with deep reality.  It makes us more reluctant to go negative places consciously.  It enables an insult driven campaign like Hillary's to accuse Trump of being insult driven, and not cause any cognitive dissonance.  "They started it" is often a de facto admission of unprocessed feelings of aggression and rage.

And we seem to have internalized a sense that everything has to be OK all the time, and that it is not OK to talk about deep feelings, especially those of anger and rage and fear and disgust. It is OK to EXPRESS them on the political Left, but as feelings one OWNS as one's own, as not inherently connected to the external world, not so much.

It is unquestionably the case that Trump's appeal depends on mass anger on the part of the marginalized majority (hey, that's a good phrase), who can likely be counted on to turn up to vote in droves, but it is equally the case that the HATRED and FEAR of Trump can best be explained as psychological projection.  He has become a lightning rod for all the feelings the "enlightened left", the culturally sensitive, always willing to take it up the ass for the team Left, cannot express openly within their group, lest they lose their Club Pass.

But self evidently, given my own commitments, I think the feelings of the conservative majority in this country are healthy, and the ugly vitriol being heaped on us by the Left is not.

We can't talk any more, and that is not the fault of conservatives.  The Left starts off assuming the most ugly things possible about us, doesn't have any interest in listening, and abuses us as often as possible, both directly, and amongst the cult members, as a unfunny running joke.

"Ha, ha, ha, he thinks we should have BORDERS.  Fucking hilarious. Where do these fools come up with this stuff?"

One hopes that there remain ACTUALLY sensitive souls--and I have met a few, but very few--who are capable of both retaining a core commitment to the broad idea of Progress, but also seeing and claiming a landscape of failures perpetrated in its name.

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