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The Shearing of Hair Trompf (59)

12-10-19 The Articles of Impeachment. With annotation by Bump (WaPo).

12-11-19 The Rs have been conducting a rolling coup against our Constitutional, democratic concept and structure of governance since at least the early ‘50s with the John Birch Society and Joe McCarthy. I’m thinking that the Big Play that they are making now, including but not exclusively resistance to impeachment, is designed to put in place the “permanent majority” that they have been talking about since 2010—a single-party (R) democracy with an all-powerful (R) Executive, with a fascist monopoly on the use of governmental powers, in the service of private wealth.  After all, why should any successful international businessman today believe that some radical farmers, tradesmen, and small businessmen in the late 1700s knew what form of government would always be best.  Even then, democracy was anathema to many citizens of the new nation.  And now David Koch has died.  How much longer can Charles hang on to see the Promised Land?  Bill Barr is getting up there; this is probably his last chance “to vest [all] that power in a single person.”

Understanding Trompf Voters (2)

White Fundamentalist Christian Supremacists [below is barely a start, but I want to get this page going]

With this group of Trompf voters (perhaps 25% of the 2016 electorate) we come face to face with a profound (indeed deeper even than fundamental) American political question:  how can a voter (and a cohesive Christian community of voters) who worships one of history’s most important teachers of unconditional love and selfless, compassionate action, indeed one who is identified by that worshipful voter (and community) as one of the integral personages that manifest the nature of God, Himself, vote to make an evil person (along with his enabling political party) the most powerful individual on earth?  How can such a person vote to empower that evil?

Is it just all too tempting? The devil stands with a WFCS on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the world, and the devil says, holding out his hand like Huck’s Pap to Judge Thatcher, “If you really believe that Jesus will save you, hold my hand and we’ll jump.”

[Page (1) of this episode.]

Just Being in Larks!

What can I say?

Earth, fire, water, air.  Each becomes the others.

Every animal eats and provides itself as food (to each according to its needs, from each according to its ability).

Everyone is nourished, everyone nourishes.

The first principle of living in Larks! is just being.  The first principle of governance is just living.  “No action is taken and everything gets done” (TTC).  As Thoreau put it, “That government is best that governs least.”  It’s just neighborly.  The first principle of organization is just to say hello, how are you?  The first principle of building is to put things together, together. The first principle of writing is “le mot juste” but any word can do.

[Intro to Larks! Contents page for Larks!]

What Is Zen?

Ha

I ask because at this moment we need all the laughs we can get.

Even Bernie needs more laughter. His recent cardiovascular experience holds potential for that, and in fact he has appeared to be more free and light-hearted. Punning is good. So is his sense of irony.

What Is "Huge"?

Or at least what do I mean by that?  And what difference does it make?  Well it’s a big subject, but I want to at least begin thinking out loud about it, at this very moment.

What is huge is reality, the whole shebang, being, the way of being, being in a way that is always mindful * of the way of being.  The difference that it makes is all the difference in the world (of our daily being).  Being in that way places the self (and one’s “ego” image) within the truest perspective, the largest perspective,** the huge.

Obviously I’m borrowing Bernie’s word.  And btw, that vision is what makes Bernie outstanding, but not unique, among politicians.  Among presidential candidates his vision does make him unique, and stubbornly ordinary.  His vision is “huge”: not “me.”  “Us.”

“The wise have no mind of their own, / finding it in the minds / of ordinary people.”  

That’s the first section of the Tao Te Ching #49, trad. Ursula K. Le Guin (Shambhala).  (From a zen point of view, we can play with the phrase, “no mind,” the perfectly natural, ordinary.)

In solidarity.

* By mindful, mindfulness, I mean habitually living within the acknowledgment of the way, and in the perspective thereby lived, with constant awareness of, and alertness to the way in/of things, and placement of the mind/thought as fully as possible within our intuition of ordinary whole being.

** More about enlarging perspective, with some thoughts about a WWI story of life/death, on the recent page about fear. And note too that enlarging perspective relates to spherical, rather than linear and hierarchical, thinking, and thus to Larks!.]

Fear

“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” – T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)

In American culture since 1620 there have been three major things to fear:  God, natural destroyers (e.g. storms, starvation, microbes) and males. In 2016 we added an orange clown.

This page has general applicability, but I’m writing it in the quotidian context of that clown, Herr Trompf, and the question of how anyone can vote for him.  His evil-trickster scariness has cowed, for instance, the Republicans in Congress to the point that they are willing to make public jackasses of themselves, rather than risk his wrath and the wrath of his voters (whose power they have enhanced with their anti-democratic tactics of voter suppression).

Trompf voters are Amygdalians.

I’m thinking that the bulk of Trompf voters are guided in their socio-political, as well as domestic and religious, decision-making by emotions  In politics that means mainly fear, pride, greed, resentment, anger, hatred (they also feel love and joy, for instance, and those positive emotions of wholeness are larger and more powerful, but when it comes to politics they become twisted by demagogues into service of the negatives, which they supercharge).  Especially fear.

So I’m thinking about fear mainly in connection with understanding support for Herr Trompf—understanding his voters, as well as the man himself.  I think that their major motivation, certainly in politics and maybe in life in general, is fear.  Thus their main motivation is an emotion, an emotional response to life.

I think it helps my understanding to keep in mind (as I take it from neurology) that an emotion is a state of body.  That is, it is visceral; it is a physical activity (muscle tissues, skin, cardiovascula, lungs) produced by electrochemical signals coursing throughout the body, and in this case between the brain and e.g. the amygdala.  An emotion is more like my thumb’s experience of a hammer, than it is like Plato’s reasoning about a Form.  My reasoning in response to my fear is much different from my reasoning in response to Plato’s reasoning about a Form.

Plato’s reasoning does not engage my ego (unless I have a moment of pride at maybe having understood it, or embarrassment at once again failing to understand).  I’m thinking, from Jung et al., that what is activated when my “ego” is engaged is my imagination (which is also, of course, a set of electrochemical substances in the form of signals) of a self (also), taking the form of an archetypal image an of individual unit of living matter, and this one happens to be me, taking the “imaginary” form of an archetypal image, called the “ego.”  My ego isn’t me, the whole unit-self organism-being; but I easily confuse the two.

More than anything, life wants to go on living.  That’s not it’s fault.  It’s simply the way things have evolved (at which point I want to acknowledge that my thinking is never 100% correct, and that anyone, especially you, dear reader, is welcome to disagree—but not on the basis of superior ignorance).  The human unit has evolved to be intensely aware of itself, viscerally and reflectively, as a unit; and a major form of that awareness is the imagination, active on both the unconscious and conscious modes of brain activity, including imagining in archetypal images:  Voilà, my ego, as the image of my living unity with its drive to go on living

Et voilà, the amygdala, with its ability to signal danger, a threat to my life.  My receipt of that signal and my response to it includes visceral and then imaginative emotion, fear. But in the context of love, fear can be overcome.

A story came out of the American military experience in WWI.  I don’t know for a fact that it is true, but it makes good sense.  A unit of American soldiers were pinned down in a trench across no man’s land from enemy machine gun positions that were laying down sheets of death.  These soldiers were ordered to attack the enemy position. But when their officer gave the signal to go, the men hesitated to leave the trench, risking almost certain death.  Just as it seemed the attack might falter, the officer shouted to his men, “What’s the matter with you?  Do you want to live forever!”  With a shout of courage and determination, and of acceptance of fatal self-sacrifice, the soldiers “went over the top.” That grim triumphant humor transformed the soldiers’ perspective to one that overcame their egos.  It replaced that potent archetypal image with the greater power of an image of something much much larger than themselves, making their spirits, their larger image of themselves much larger, thereby overcoming their fear of dying.

I’m thinking that in this flat-out moment of life in death and death in life, these soldiers immediately got the joke, the good grim humor of it.  No joke, all humor, they got the essential existential reality of simultaneously the literal, ironic, paradoxical, and a perspective that is so big that it subsumes the duality, and places the moment and the individual in a much larger, much more meaningful experience of reality.  Of being.  Of course they wanted to live forever, of course they were not going to live forever.  What, then, was it, “to live”?  It was to be natural, fully knowingly alive, and to offer their lives to that truth, that way of being.  It was to offer their lives in death in a way that transcends the temporarily apparent and necessary duality.  In the temporary that makes the permanent, in an act that they believed served a living reality beyond their temporary lives (maybe even beyond the finite), they had vowed to obey a just order, to the best of their understanding.  They had promised their lives, if need be, in service to the lives of others.  Now they intuited the vast necessity of both life and death in the wholeness of being.   It was a very big deal, for some the biggest deal of their lives; but in action within the perspective that had just been given them by that officer, it was also “no big deal.”  “It’s nothing, really,“ and it’s everything.  It’s both.  They were given the opportunity to live that remarkable realization; and they seized it, gave themselves to it, and let it all go.

[That’s huge, and I’m thinking more about overcoming larger perspective, on that page.]

Under most ordinary conditions, I’m happy to be able to say, certainly in my privileged time and place, it is a reasonable, good thing to want and strive to go on living.  There are many good reasons for doing so.  I’m grateful to my amygdala for its aid in recognizing and responding to reasonable threats.  Still, sometimes it response must be informed by a higher image.  And sometimes it responds urgently to false negatives, which can seem to be reasonable; then, if my emotion overwhelms my reflective reasoning, and my imagination amplifies the seeming state of danger, I succumb to paranoia and/or panic attack.  My amygdala receives those signals, and, unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, thinking we are genuinely, urgently under attack, it sends out more electrochemicals.  Frankly, that’s no way to live.  It can lead to big mistakes, of judgment and voting.   

I’m thinking that many Trompf supporters live in a perpetual state of paranoia and panic attack.  He encourages that error.  (Perhaps his own narcissism is an overcompensatory defense mechanism that results from his own extreme fear.  It keeps him going, in a constant state of self-defensive self-inflation and destruction of everyone else.)  He speaks directly to his supporters’ amygdalas, and thereby to their egos.  To the ego he says, like many Republicans before him, “Be afraid.  Be very afraid.”  But then he says, “I alone can save you.  I want you to do me a favor, though.”  

Of course they are all too willing.

[to b revised]

Understanding Trompf Voters (1)

Who would vote to make a Trompf the Pr*sident of the United States?  Who would even invite such a piece of shit to dinner, not to mention giving him the power of life and death over everyone at the table, in the kitchen, and up and down the street? He seems always on the verge of proving that if there is a God He is neither just nor merciful. And yet 63 mil voted for him, and polls consistently report his “favorable” at around 40% (38-43).  Why why why?

In trying to understand, I’m going to take the approach that support of Herr Trompf is primarily a psychological phenomenon (in line with my narratorial point of view and perspective).  So, thinking aloud:  (1) extreme behavior signals the psychological; (2) as a way of putting it (pun intended), continued support of the devil in the face of his in-yr-face evil, and even when it threatens yr own wellbeing, is extreme; (3) during his campaign, as I’ve suggested on an earlier page, Trompf created himself as a psychological image in the minds of a vulnerable portion of the electorate; (4) during his pr*sidency—for himself (also extreme and psych) and for his followers, that asterisk is part of the pain, the wound that perversely empowers him/them—he has further created himself beyond image into a symbol, a battle flag for the self-perceived embattled to rally ’round, held high by a “warfighter” (T’s word). As the dream revealed to Constantine, “in this sign [symbol, painted on the shields of his soldiers, many of whom were Christians, who had until very recently been officially persecuted] shall you conquer.” Smart populist move by C.

I’m thinking that the bulk of the Trompf voters in 2016 (including the 3rd party voters who provided his winning margin in key states) were protest voters.  Most of his voters were aggrieved (a-grèved, and they went out on strike).   

The basic grievance of Trompf voters was that they felt shat-upon by the Establishment.  They felt suppressed, disempowered, under threat, ignored, and discarded by a dominating liberal culture.  They wanted to reassert their freedom to be themselves—their righteous, superior, realAmerican selves, their white fundamentalist christian supremacist, and/or racist, and/or sexist, and/or authoritarian, overtly or covertly violent, fearful selves.  They wanted to be made great again.  So they joined the rich, comfortable, privileged, also etc etc, 1% selves, who wanted to stay the privileged, comfortable way they were, by any means necessary, to elect a Trompf.

But again, the devil aside, we have to face what apparently is a grim fact of American life: 40% of adults hold a favorable view of a leader who is evil. To understand ourselves we must understand them. Why would they vote against their own self-interest? Even more shocking, why vote for someone who violates, indeed mocks, their professedly highest values, and in some cases, even their core understanding of the nature of human life. I’m thinking that it’s because those Trompf 2016 voters who continue to support him are being true to themselves, triumphantly asserting their psychopathological selves. They are Americans who are motivated by the negative psychopathologies of our democracy, all of which are gathered together in the madness of Herr Trompf, the perfect American sociopath.

We’re living one of the most extraordinary moments in American history, brought to us by a crazy real-estate dealer (but that’s what it has always been about, from the moment when Europeans saw the property) and a remarkable number of fools.

I suppose the biggest organized group of those fools among the American electorate are the white fundamentalist christian supremacists (whom VP Pinch brought to the 2016 R ticket). I’m thinking a lot about understanding them.

[to be cont.]