I find myself sickened by the emotional division of this country into right and left armies at war with each other. The odd thing is that in my time the descriptions of right and left seem to have been turned inside out. Right of what or left of what is the question. I suppose the significant part is that they are teams opposing each other in a political game of thrones.
The concept of the Egregore is an occult term, but we have all experienced the effects of an Egregore. I'll try to explain how I am using this term. When I was a small child, I remember being deeply affected by certain objects that I chose to personalize. My first experience of this was a bottle of Calamine lotion used for sunburns. I spent lots of time on the beach with my grandma free of the turmoil at home. I took it with me everywhere. The lotion itself was not important. It was the bottle that I personalized and turned into a virtual pet. This was during the Pacific scene of WWII. I was three years old, my mother was ill, my new baby sister was dying from a birth defect, my father worked at the Mare Island Shipyard repairing damaged Navy ships, and I was the last thing on anyone’s mind. I created an intimate friend from that bottle and grieved for days when I accidentally left it on the beach where it was taken by the tide. This was a simple type of Egregore, but any mentally/emotionally enhanced object to which one transfers personal heart/soul identity and support whether good or bad acquires a personality and a degree of independent existence. This includes social and religious groups. Trumpism has acquired an intense independent identity. An Egregore fulfills an otherwise vacant niche in a person’s life.
I am deeply disappointed with the Americans who stormed the United States Capital yesterday, and yet they feel something wrong at the core with our government. They created a hero out of Trump, ignoring his extreme narcissism, immorality, habitual lying, racism and disinterest in actual governance. He is a personality cult, but we need to ask why. Simply condemning the radicalism, paranoia and pent-up violence recently unleashed at the Capital is not helpful.
I noticed that most of the rioters were young and middle-aged white men. This seems to be the group that is most attracted to fear driven radicalization. However, the John Wayne approach to life’s challenges glamorized in the movies no longer works, if it ever did, and these men don’t have an honorable role with which to replace it.
The real conflict not being addressed may be about diverging beliefs about what America is or should be in essence. The men (and a few women) who stormed the Capital are admirers of the independent hero of the cinema who acts against the weak and corrupt leaders who have shut out the common person who pays taxes and dies in wars to save the values of the country.
THE UN-UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The truth is there are several Americas, and they clash with
each other. What they have in common is that human beings have a need to feel
that they are living and working for principles higher than personal aggrandizement.
There are the people in the Capital center of the United States of America who
regard themselves as the functional heart of the country placed in its hallowed
temple to protect the values laid out by the founding fathers. But the values have changed and the power of money has replaced the power of ideals.
On the other side are the rough and ready bunch who see the world divided into white hats and black hats. Only the first side sees our country as a land of law and order. The other side sees America as a land of conquest, survival of the fittest and the Hero who triumphs over hardship diversity and suppression. This side believes in force rather than compromise. This is the America seen in the action movies that feature a non-conformist anti-hero warring against the stultifying laws and barbed wire fences of the modern world.
It’s ironic that both Covid-19 and Trumpian inspired conspiracy theories have something in common. They are super spreaders. Each in its own way. I have been shocked by how many well educated, reasonable and once spiritual people have caught the Trump virus and or Covid-19. I don’t believe their consecutive rise at this time is accidental. One is voluntary and the other is snared unconsciously, or so it seems. As someone who believes in synchronicity and astrological patterns, it appears like the onset of a perfect storm. But storms don’t come without a prior build-up.
Social/political theater has a cosmic aspect. I happen to believe that creation and evolution are not something that happened in a past too deep in time to measure but are a continuous process. The fact that government officials in the Republican party tried to ride Trumpism to political power shows a deep misunderstanding of the depth of American dissatisfaction with business as usual. Until the insurrection at the Capital yesterday, they were living in a bubble.
Attention is focused on Trump by his own design, but he unconsciously
lit the fuse to a cultural bomb. He isn’t a skilled politician, but a cunning salesman
who detects the fears and hopes of his followers and wears a seductive persona
due to his exaggerated narcissism and lack of concern for the outcome of the
chaos he unleashes. Only a magic mirror makes him look admirable. In fact,
there is a magic mirror, and it is being held up to him by the people who are
disillusioned by the way they believe government has failed them. However,
Trump intuits how to make his people feel that he is one of them and feeds on their
dissatisfaction. His followers completely accept his conspiracy accusations about
election fraud no matter how convoluted they may be. But we must ask ourselves
why this is. Trump genuinely believes that defeat is worse than death or
perhaps is an ego death which is even worse, and the desperation of his fight to
hold power is echoed by his followers as if they will go down with him. They have acquired a voice that can't be ignored and they aren't going to relinquish it without a fight.
There is also a racist aspect to this mirror that must not be discounted. Middle aged and older white males make up a large number of Trump worshipers. Most Blacks, Native Americans, Mexicans, and other people of color who have been pushed to the margins of political power haven’t been under illusions about the hidden meaning of the ‘greatness’ of America or the influence of this person who claimed the power to make America great again. In this sense, America itself is an Egregore for a psycho/spiritual force. However, an Egregore derives its real life-force from those who meld with it and is unquestionably a type of idolatry. The fear and seduction of idolatry is about the power of an image to soak up the spiritual/psychological power of its worshipers but in this case, it is the destructive power of fear and shame.
THE AMERICAN HERO?
The mass attraction of Trumpism calls to my mind a Bible verse. Matthew 7:13-15: Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep, but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. This applies to any group of slavish followers whether left or right.
Worshiping the Egregore of a country is not a harmless thing. A nation is made up of mortal humans who live ordinary lives. To worship a country is only an intoxicating step up from worshiping one’s mortal family. To love one’s family, have disagreements with family members, to recognize where one’s family is dysfunctional are all normal healthy behaviors, but to worship one’s family seems extremely dangerous and delusional. When love of country begins to require the elevation of certain people and the rejection of other’s based on projected powers, it becomes perilous. An Egregore has overtaken and suppressed a natural relationship. This is what happened in Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. It is tribalism turned in on itself.
We are in a civil war. Although the conflict hasn’t been officially named as such. This time the boundaries are not geographical which makes it more complicated. The great United States of America has voraciously overtaken the continent. It is made up of lands stolen first from native peoples and then as booty from wars with Spain, France and even Russia. There is a sword of Damocles hanging over our head as a country. We are not the shining castle on the hill, or maybe we are just that! There are bad habits brought along from ancient feudal times that will have to be purged before we can claim to be what we aspire to be.