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Y Not Like Hillary (5)

November 6, 2016

I’m thinking that the wide-spread “I just don’t like Hillary” is so extreme and irrational that actually it expresses a deeply sub-conscious fear that an extraordinarily powerful woman might be the archetypal “tooth mother,” projected onto H. One who births, nourishes, and devours. Instead, we should look into ourselves and affirm mother Kali (with Siva) as an imaginal one who gives life by destroying male chauvinist, Herculean, ego-inflation (of which Trump has made himself a dramatic image).

If you have additional time for reading, here’s my argument:

There are many good reasons to dislike the “sins” of the Bill Clinton administration, Hillary’s political and quasi-political activities, and the Clintonite Democratic Party, without a deep and disproportionate dislike of the “sinners.” And yet many people, especially Republicans but also Democrats and even highly rational Progressives, share what appears to be a driving dislike of the candidate herself. I really don’t think that, for instance, her remarkably low “unfavorable” # can be explained by objective causes. So, how to explain it?

I’ll start with the hardest part (for me, anyway), based on James Hillman’s thinking. As I understand him, all human behavior is psychological, it’s all the “logos” of the “psyche.” Most of our mental behavior is happening unconsciously. But when we see an external behavior that is extreme, and especially if it is highly irrational and not satisfactorily evidence-based, we can figure that it is an expression of a content that actually is imaginal, taking place unconsciously, where the brain’s imaginative activity is being molded by “ruling” patterns (archetypes). It’s all about spotting those patterns; like when you’re in the Amazon rain forest and you know there can be a large snake in a nearby tree; you scan the patterns and sure enough you spot the silhouette (that was my experience).

My argument is that the widely shared, “I just don’t like her,” even to the point of emotional inability to vote for her, is not a normal response to a flawed politician (she’s not that flawed); it is not evidence based; it is, in short, extreme and irrational.  On page (4) I granted rational reasons for seriously disliking Hillary, the politician. Here I’m talking about something else that is going on, and I’ve got this guess about what it is.

Yes, a satisfactory explanation must include the amazing, 30-year, vicious Republican campaign of character assassination. That sets us up, but it directly accounts only for Republicans. Another major fact that must be included is American misogyny and racism; but again, this directly accounts only for the depth of feeling of Republicans.

Those factors only set the stage for a negativity that is socially and culturally pervasive (but not universal).

So here’s the thing, within those contexts, and well beyond them: as of April 2015, a WOMAN, humanly flawed, with whom we all are very familiar in the context of politics, controversial as any politician must be, who has been painted as a figure of evil, a Jezebel and a Medusa (projection? sure), is about to become the most powerful person in the world, and our President. Repeat: Is about to become the most powerful person in the world, and our President. Americans have never seen anything like this. We did not see Elizabeth I. We did not see Catherine the Great. And a lot of reasonable Americans are freaked.

Because, deep in our individual and collective psyches there exists a very scary archetypal figure; and we are afraid that this woman, this Hillary, right here among us, might turn out to be She. Eve? Yes, but more: the “tooth mother,” an all-devouring source, nourisher, and destroyer of life. It’s as if, when I first glommed onto mom’s nipple, she bit me!  For a while I felt ambivalent about going back; but then hunger won out, and I repressed the memory. (Actually, that was not my experience.) And it didn’t matter whether I was a boy or girl.

There are various images of this terrifying mother, world wide. I’ll just honor one, briefly: the Hindu goddess (i.e. complex of motifs in the logos of my psyche), Kali. Who is she? I’ve read that the description that comes up on Google, from the Encyc Brit, is a misunderstanding:

“. . .goddess (or Devi) of death, time, and doomsday. . .often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love.”

That’s enough to confuse anybody. It’s spooky, and it seems just fundamentally wrong. In fact it’s horrifying.

That might be a misunderstanding of Kali, but it’s a description of the tooth mother image I’m talking about, in the American collective psyche. I’m guessing that it is a male Christian projection onto Kali of fear of the dark side of Mother Mary, who would devour god, himself. After what Eve did, many Christian men (and fundamentalist women) have found it hard to trust a woman in an exalted position, so they’ve had to suggest, consciously, that Mary isn’t threatening. She’s a virginal vessel of God.

But that BE entry is a description of the “power” that I think is scaring many Americans, and not just Christians.

The problem is not that we imagine a “tooth mother.” Such archetypal images are natural aspects of our psychological, imaginal life. It’s a problem when we don’t bring it into consciousness, as an image, and thereby imagine our way through it, and by means of it, to an understanding of that aspect of what complex creatures we are. Instead, in this case, under the pressure of circumstances and propaganda, we literalize the image—thereby sickening the imagination—and project it onto an actual woman, “crooked Hillary,” the devious one.

That literalizing is a delusion enacted by a male chauvinist ego in a male chauvinist culture, and so we get a deep fear expressed as “I just don’t like….”

But ego is also an archetype. So suppose, instead, we recognize that the “tooth mother” is the image of the ego’s fear of changes that threaten it’s delusions of heroic invincibility, expressed for instance in it’s image-inflating, Herculean exaggerations of might. Some of us mistakenly literalize the ego, as ourself with its needs and fears, and project it onto Trump (who is himself a prime agent of that literalizing, that sick imagination).

If we keep both ego and Kali imaginal, we can imagine her, not as a tooth mother, but as the feminine half of a couple, within us, who express the power of imaginal reality, of anima, soul, to destroy our ego delusions, and bring us back to healthy reality. Then we can empower ourselves, and be soothed by another understanding of Kali, that she is a mother of life by being a destroyer of the delusions that we suffer when we literalize the ego.

Perceived that way, in our current political context, Kali, powerful woman image and anima-animated imagination, is available to us as a soothing helpmate in a time of ego stress, especially on the part of men. Kali is thus a healer of ego, and of a culture dominated by male-chauvinism.

Thus imagined, Kali is goddess of time as an archetypal image of change, destroyer of attachment to the body, to the ego, and to ego-driven illusion.

Hillman suggested that when there are figures who generally appear together in the mythology, their complexes come in tandem. For instance, when Psyche is present, so is Eros; Demeter, Persephone. So, when Kali is present, so is one of my favorite gods, her consort, Siva, trickster and destroyer with a sense of humor, who for me is a comforter because of his creative spontaneity and ability to get along well with change.

Then Kali/Siva becomes a yin/yang pattern of deep imagination that de-literalizes the ego, that is a flowing water of life dissolving the ego. They are a gesture, hand dancing to the heart, being to Being, breath to soul, that calms and nourishes the panting, starving ego.

Something like that.

If all that stuff about archetypes, as subconscious, ruling patterns of our imagination of life, is true, then to my mind Kali (or there are other images of her) is the logical, simple, and eloquent explanation. If not,…what can I say?

[Update 3-12-17:  Something more to say:  The effects of Russian propaganda (& another), of Fake news out of Macedonia and Albania (& another), and of US Right-wing media lies, all amplifying falsehoods about H.]

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  1. A Herculean Ego Rampant | tomkoontz

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