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A Herculean Ego Rampant

November 7, 2016

It occurred to me that I have been using that image for Trump without really explaining what I mean. It comes right out of Hillman. His insight was that in our culture, the male ego (remembering that the ego is imaginal, an archetype) is powerfully pressured to imagine itself and to display itself as heroic. The result, of course, is remarkable feats of inflation, followed by real downers. He gave a number of examples from myth and literature, including Achilles, Samson, and Hercules.

Hercules is especially pertinent as I’m writing this page (Sunday afternoon 11/6), because FBI Director Comey has just released a new letter to Congress stating that he has found no incriminating evidence against Hillary in the Weiner batch of emails.

You can see where this is going. Yesterday (11/5) Hercules, I mean Trump, began airing his closing campaign ad, in which, with considerable antisemitism, he charges that Hillary is the center of an international stables, I mean conspiracy, of corruption and criminality. Today (yesterday when I post this page) he began his closing tour of rallies, in which he assures his supporters that Hillary will very soon be indicted for criminal conspiracy, as proven by those emails.

One of Hercules’s most celebrated feats was his cleaning out of the massive pile of bull shit in the Augean Stables, in a single day. There was so much to be removed that nobody could possibly clean it all out.   Except Trump, I mean Hercules.

Mythology lives!

Here’s a description in lay language (from):

The Hercules Complex (coined by James Hillman AFAIK) is the tendency in men to think we need to be strong, to muscle through it, to exert heroic willfulness and perfect our strategy to make a killing in the game of life.

A lot of men are engaged in this game, and they generally seem to be miserable and unbalanced motherfuckers heading for burnout while trying to look good.

(Reminds me of a bunch of the guys in the film, “The Big Short.”)

You can imagine what happens when male Herculean Ego meets Tooth Mother. She’s everything he thought a woman would be. Instead of realizing she’s his projection, Hercules thinks she’s another lion that he has to slay.

So, imagine what a guy is like, who is psychologically out of balance because he is dominated by this archetype. And when our personhood is dominated by an archetype, really dominated, it throws us so off balance that it is very difficult for us to see through ourselves and become something other than what we imagine we are.

Hillman: “One thing is absolutely essential to the notion of archetypes: their emotional possessive effect, their bedazzlement of consciousness so that it becomes blind to its own stance. By setting up a universe which tends to hold everything we do, see, and say in the sway of its cosmos, an archetype is best comparable with a God.” I, for one, learned this by experience. Trump, of course, is absolutely bedazzled by his godlike heroic self.

Here’s a  brief presentation of Hillman’s evolving thought on this subject of the heroic ego.

Here’s a useful 5-pg pdf about Hillman’s key concepts of archetypal psychology.

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